Sunday, March 11, 2007

Blogger 03/11/2007

We switched over to day-light savings time today; three weeks earlier than usual. Fine by me, I love the light evenings, I can go out and ride my bike after work, and maybe even mow the lawn!! The weather was super nice this weekend, got some jogging and bike riding in, and worked a bit on the house. We just went to see Slinky the horse, I need to see him at least once a week, just to make sure he is alright. Chelsea goes to see him every day, he is out of commission again, the trainer seems to think that he has an abscess in his foot; he is limping and cannot be ridden (again!). Having a horse in the city is a joke, but Chelsea loves him so much, I would never even think of getting rid of him. Besides, he is a pet, and he is our favorite horse! It is actually very nice to see him; he always makes us happy, even with his sore foot. Anyway, enough about horses and being totally crazy (and crazy about my kid!), like I say “there are two kinds of people at the stables, the very wealthy and the totally insane” and of course I belong in the insane camp!
Again, the weather has been very nice, we had some rain last week, but this weekend was nice and warm, just right with a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt; last night we even went to the pool, I primarily sat in the hot-tub, but I took a little swim as well. One of our pools is heated year-around, and it is five minutes from our house (two if you drive, which we do, since we are Californians!), so it is great for a quick dip.
The new job is going very well, but it is a bit hectic. I’m trying to learn all the new systems, while attempting to be useful. I’m primarily doing internal audits, but I’m sure that it will change as I go along. My position is new, so it will evolve over time; right now I’m just another set of hands (which are sorely needed!). But the atmosphere is great, and having a 4 mile commute is just fantastic (still takes me 15 minutes, there is always traffic in SoCal), and all the benefits that one could ask for. I’m thinking of going back to school again, Edwards (my new employer) pays for the whole thing, I’ve applied at Cal State Dominquez Hills, for a Masters in Quality Assurance. This will be all on-line, something new for me, but just the savings in a commute (not even thinking of the gas), will make it worthwhile. I must be insane, getting my MBA was a pain in the neck, and here I go again, but my primary objective is to stay employed as long as possible, and in the dog-eat-dog world of employment here in USA, one better be on ones toes constantly.
I’ve been busy, I drag my lap-top home every night, and probably work on it a few hours here and there, but I think it will change once I get settled in, and know what’s going on. I’m really looking forward to summer, I can’t wait to go to the beach (although we go in the “winter” as well, just to sit and watch the waves), the warm evenings, and hot days. I never got tired of the heat, a lot of people suffer, I don’t, bring on the 90 deg F any day, and I will be happy!! We don’t have any big plans yet, this is the year of culture (read “cheap”), so we will do a few museums, and some other cool things that SoCal has to offer. We are determined to pay some bills (and with three kids, a dog and a horse we have some bills!), so we will do it up on the frugal side this summer (read: we will go to the Beach!), and save a few bucks. So, what else is new? Everybody is doing great, the family is healthy and happy, Kathy works 3-4 days a week as a substitute teacher (mostly in Irvine, saves on gas!), and she enjoys herself. I think Chelsea is finally getting used to college, she is realizing that it is a lot of dedicated work, and that the teachers don’t care if you fail! So, nose to the grindstone, and just do the work! Sidney the Border collie just walked in the room, God we love her soooo much! She has truly turned out to be the greatest dog, and to think that we got her from the animal shelter! Fate? Yes!!! She has the best personality, and not a mean bone in her body. The boys are doing as little as possible, I try to get them out of the house at least for a few hours every weekend, but given to their own devices, they would rather stay inside and play the infernal video-games all weekend! The Devil’s invention, I say, intended to do nothing but to rot the mind. Oh well, I hope it is just a phase, and they will get tired of the darn thing at some point.
Actually, they are pretty good. We went to a garage sale on Saturday, and we bought an old type-writer for $5.00. Mikey thought it was the greatest thing, he started writing letters and stories, just imagine a kid that has been brought up on computers (he has his own lap-top for Christ’s sake), loving an old antiquated type-writer, but he just generally loves any kind of gadget. Anyway, it’s 9:37 (actually my body thinks it is 8:37), and I’m slowly heading off to bed, read for a few minutes, then sleep like a zombie!
You all have a great and wonderful spring, take care of each other, and enjoy every moment, I know I will!!

Love, Kram,
Yours, Peter L.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Blogdate 02-02-2007

I can’t believe that it’s been almost a month and a half since Christmas; again time spins out of control! I have had a great time though, lots of great things going on. We had a wonderful time just after the new-year; Tobias came to visit (Sevek’s son), and we did a whole bunch of fun stuff. He had never been to So Cal before, so we took the opportunity to show him around, but also just hang at the house, and have some simple times in front of the TV. We did San Diego, The Getty Museum, LA, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Chrystal Cove, and had a couple of fun dinners at the Red Robin and Souplantation. Oh yes, we also went to the swap meet, and, to top it all of, the weather was sunny pretty much the whole time that he was here. A great time indeed! We really miss him, a great kid, and as polite as they come!
Also, I started a new job on the 15th of January (oh yes, I’m a bit crazy, but it seems that I just gotta move around every two to three years, otherwise the old brain gets stale), I’m now with Edwards Lifesciences (, working as a Staff Engineer in the heart valve group. Edwards is great, really close to my house, and a wonderful company to work for (I said the same thing about AcuFocus, of course!), and truth be told, I have been interviewing with them for four years (2002, 2004, and now twice in 2006), so its not that this job just fell out of the sky! But different it is; Edwards have some 1,700 people here in Irvine, and a total of 5,000 worldwide, so its pretty good size! Compare that with AcuFocus, with a head-count of 17 total! Just like my other jobs here in So Cal, I just dive in, and try to make myself useful as quickly as possible! But I will miss my trips to Santa Barbara, I must have been there at least a dozen times last year, that drive up the Pacific Coast Highway is just spectacular, and I always had a nice time at my favorite hotel, the Mar Monte, right on the beach! But this job at Edwards is too good of an opportunity to pass up, so it was time to jump ship!
I finally got a wireless network at the house; just before Christmas Chelsea’s computer died, and just a week later the dog tore off some keys on my laptop, so for almost a month I had no computer at home! Then I decided that it was time to leave Chelsea’s computer alone (so that she can’t blame me the next time the darn thing breaks), and I turned loose some money for a wireless router. So, when the darn thing works, it works pretty well, but we are still getting used to the thing! Funny, Chelsea just called from upstairs, claims that the Internet is down! Turn off the modem, then reboot the whole mess, and voila! Now it works! Must be those unruly probabilistic electrons, you just never know how they are going to behave! Anyway, it’s kinda cool, now I can lie on the couch and type (until I fall asleep, that is!), and pretend to do some work! At Edwards a laptop is standard issue, and with the VPN it’s like having an office at the house (of course they know that you will work from home, so it’s not like some gift!), but if I need to I rather work late at my house, than work late at the plant!
We really haven’t done much since Tobias left, the nights have been kinda cold (for us that is!), and the kids are back in school, so we have been hanging at the house, renting a few movies, and some quiet dinners. Also, starting a new job; I’m exhausted when I come home, just want to hit the couch!
This is the year for culture, Kathy and I have decided that we won’t do any big amusement parks this year, instead we are going for the museums and other educational stuff. For the last three years we had season’s tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park, and then last year to SeaWorld, so I’m a bit burned out on amusements. So, we will go cultural (actually read “cheap”), and do the free stuff like art and free music. Also, we are talking about Death Valley, we gotta go before it gets too hot though, so we will probably go early spring.
Overall, things are going great; new job, new attitude, everybody are happy and healthy, and I can’t wait for summer! I will keep you all posted of my new adventures, always something great going on, and there is nothing like life in So Cal! Until next time, please take care of each other, love your kids and your significant others, and have a great time! I know I will!

Kram, Yours, Peter L.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

December 26, 2006

Blog date Boxing Day 2006: Christmas 2006 has come and gone, in a fury of activity. I don’t know when it started (as they said on the Disneyland ride Haunted House: “When two holidays collide”), but it was probably on Halloween. Halloween has gotten a bit weird; now we put up lights and a slew of decorations, such as orange lights and an assortment of other electrical scary stuff (I should put out my old reel-to-reel tape recorder, now that would scare off the kids!), such as a lighted gate and Markus-the-Carcass, a glowing head and glowing hands and feet, like some sort of glowing earth-bound zombie. Anyway, so Halloween came and went, both Mikey and Matt came back with at least 20 lbs of candy each, two pillowcases full. Then the talk abut Christmas began, and the kids changing their lists every two days. Just crazy, we did not put up our Christmas lights until after Thanksgiving (yes, I forgot about Thanksgiving, the feeding frenzy in November), but Kathy was done with the lights around the second week in December, which of course meant that the Halloween lights and decorations had to come down, and the Christmas stuff up!!! I don’t know how she does it; if it was up to me, I would just put on a scary mask for Halloween (or maybe my regular face is scary enough, ha ha), and give out candy, then put up a Christmas tree and be done with the whole thing! Instead, Kathy decorates the whole house for both events, and the kids love it!!! It was weird getting our Christmas Tree, we bought the first tree (story below…) at Home Depot (my old employer), and it must have been 80 deg. F, most people in line wore shorts and tee-shirts! Here is a line of people with great big old Christmas Trees, dressed like beach bums!!! Anyway, the next day when I was about to put up the tree, I realized that the darn thing was so dry that I had to take it back; reason “dead tree”, a little Christmas humor! Then off to Target, to buy another tree, which is still in our living room (but also dry as the desert!). The weather cooled off a bit before Christmas, but on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the weather was just beautiful, a balmy 75 deg. F mid-day, and full sunshine!!! Now that’s what I call SoCal Christmas! I asked Chelsea if she ever remembered a rainy or cold Christmas, and she did not, which is the same for me, if I remember right, the weather has always been beautiful, and warm enough to go to the beach if one so pleases. As always, I have been eating way too much since Halloween, and the last two weeks have been just crazy. The office is always full of goodies, and the lunches have been both many and rich, so I have probably packed on at least 5 lbs this holiday season. Christmas Eve, of to church at 4:00 PM, then watching my favorite Christmas movie “The Muppet’s Christmas Carol”, a masterpiece (no, I’m not kidding, I just love that movie!). Christmas day, the kids were up at around 7:00 AM, full of anticipation; both boys got the new Gameboy Micro, and I did not see them for most of Christmas day after that, they were holed up in their rooms playing away. Chelsea got a few things, at 18 she really just want money, but that’s in short supply when you have three kids! Anyway, everybody was happy, I bought myself some monitor speakers for the PA, so I’m happy, and we can finally hear ourselves sing in the band (I don’t know if this is good or bad…). Now Tuesday, back to work, the office is just about abandoned, so life is very good!! Anyway, it’s going on 5:00 PM, quitting time, and I will sign off. Until next post, have a great continuation of the holidays, and take care of each other!!!

Kram, Peter L.

Friday, October 20, 2006

What Happened to Summer-06?

Star-Log: Planet Irvine, October 20, 2006

I simply don’t know what happened to the summer of -06, is seems just yesterday when I was writing about Chelsea’s horse, and now it is suddenly almost the end of October!!?? How in the world did this happen? I can’t keep up anymore, it seems that the weeks just run in to each other; I turn around and another month has gone by, in a blur of kids, dogs, school, work, horses and appointments. I scream at the earth “Slow Down, don’t Spin so Fast!!!”, but my lament is in vain. Its dark again, I get up around 5:00, 5:30 AM, and take the dog for a long walk, in the pitch black. I might as well be walking in the middle of the night, nothing but moonlight and starlight. Sidney (our wonderful Border collie) doesn’t mind, problem is she sees rabbits and runs after them, almost tearing my arm off. I can’t see a thing, blind as a bat in my old age!!!! Halloween decorations are everywhere (including our house of course), it seems that I just went around the neighborhood with the kids last week; it can’t possibly be a whole year ago! Oh well, enough belly-aching, I can’t stop the inexorable march of time, might as well enjoy the ride. Our summer was wonderful, we did a whole bunch of things (the Beach, cruising PCH, the Pools, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Sea World and Knott’s Berry Farm to mention a few), and throw in a few gigs with the band and life is complete. Work has also been incredibly busy, that’s probably why time seems to slip by with such speed. Just when I think I have everything under control, we change direction and head back into the unknown. However, there is no boredom at AcuFocus, which is probably a very good thing!! I try to get on my bike a few days every week, ride for an hour or so, feels great and the craziness of the day melts away. We are blessed with some great bike-trails, I can ride from my house down to the beach in about 45 minutes, a great ride, and there again is my beloved Pacific Ocean. It’s crazy, I have been here now for almost 25 years (what the heck happened to that chunk of time?), but I never get tired of the Beach. We take the kids to Big Corona, a great piece of beach for the kids (although the waves can get wild), I usually sit close to the surf so I can keep an eye on them, it typically takes a few uncontrollable tumbles in the waves before they start to respect the awesome power of the water, but they learn!!!! I’m not kidding when I say that I haven’t had a relaxing day at the beach for the last 18 years (since Chelsea was born), since I’m always looking out for kids, but it sure beats working for a living, or sitting at home in front of the tube!!!! Or we go down to Crystal Cove in the evenings when parking is free (thanks to Arnold, I’m not gonna spend $10.00 just to park at a state beach), we bring some food, and then walk the beach looking for shells and crabs, just enjoying the scenery. On Fridays and Saturdays, we go driving down Pacific Coast Highway; Newport Beach (they just opened a new Ferrari dealership in town, some drool coming down my cheek when I see all the cars I will never buy, but a man’s gotta dream!), Corona Del Mar, Laguna Beach and them sometimes down to South Laguna, I never get tired of the “American Riviera”. As we drive with the kids to McDonalds for an ice cream, we drive by the quaint little restaurants in Laguna and sigh “that will be us someday, just the two of us at some cute Italian restaurant having a romantic dinner with real placemats without accompanying crayons”, but it will probably be another 10 years. Oh well, in the meantime I will enjoy the kids as much as I can, so what if we eat hamburgers and fries, or cheap Mexican food at Taco Bell, as long as the kids are happy, I’m happy! Life continues to be just excellent in SoCal, I just went out in the sun for a few minutes, and it feels as wonderful as ever. So, as the Long Beach Dub All Stars would say:“I've only count the sunny hours, brightest hours of dayI never count the gloomy hours, I let them slip awayAnd I realize I'm away”Until next time, have a great life, be good to each other and keep each other warm!!!Love, PL

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

08-23-06, Atlanta Airport, Georgia, USA

The truth about horses:

So, this is something that I wanted to write for a while, I got an hour and a half left until my flight back to my beloved Orange County and family, so here it goes: Chelsea has been crazy about horses since she was 6 years old, when she rode her first horse. Chief was a paint pony, who did a pony merry-go-round at Irvine Park. We paid our two dollars, and strapped her into the saddle, never expecting that this little five-minute ride would change her and our life, and eventually turn us into horse-owners. First, let’s get one thing straigt; there are two kinds of horse-owners in Orange County, CA; the very wealthy, and the totally crazy. You can well imagine what category I belong in, yes you guessed right; I’m in the insane crazy camp. This means that a ridiculously large percentage of our family income goes to the upkeep of a 1,200 pound pet, who could never live in the wild. But, this is not about me, it is about a horse-crazy kid and her horses, and how our life has changed in the last five years, and yes indeed, it has (and continues to be) been one of the best things that we have ever done.
So, Chelsea started in 4-H when she was 9 on the campus of UCI, or University of California, at Irvine. This was about 1997, and UCI still had a bit of a working farm on the campus, and what have now been turned into student housing was still acres and acres of open fields. Chelsea started riding Minne, a 20-year old Arabian mare, who had a surprising amount of spunk still left in her. What started out as a lesson a week, eventually turned into hours and hours of cantering around the arena, with Chelsea smiling the whole time. In her free time, she would read kids horse-novels, she must have read a 1,000 of them, with the “Pony Club” series being a perennial favorite. Of course she wanted her own horse, but we were sure not in any way shape or form ready for a horse in our life. I was working two jobs, trying to repair my credit, and save for a house. But there was no question that Chelsea was bitten by the horse bug, and it would probably only get worse. However, we had talked to a few people that had bought their 9-10 year old girls horses, only to have them loose interest by the time they turned 12, when the malls started to be much more interesting than some large brown animal that needed daily care. So, in a weak moment, we promised Chelsea that, if she was still interested in a horse by the time she was 12, we would buy her a horse sometime between her 12th and 13th birthday. Lo and behold, after some two years of lessons (she was probably 11) she started to loose interest, and I thought “Whew, I ducked that bullet”. Lo and behold again, by the time she was 12, all of a sudden her interest started coming back, and again started talking about her own horse. She also keenly remembered my promise, and being the good dad that I am (well, at least at times), we finally gave in. We had bought a town-home in Irvine, our credit was again excellent, and things looked very good.
Now the craziness really started in earnest. Having absolutely now experience with horses, we had to rely on the judgment of a 13-year old, who was ready for any horse, the sooner the better. Only problem was our limited finances, so after talking to Chelsea, we decided to “adopt” a retired Thoroughbred race-horse from Pegasus Horse-Rescue out in Hemet, CA. I think Chelsea had found out about Pegasus on-line, and when she presented us with the idea of rescuing a horse, we just could not resist. It sounded like such a noble idea, we could get a great horse, do a good deed, and the kid could ride whenever she wanted, however much she wanted. So, we went out to the rescue place, and were introduced to Fibonacci, a beautiful bay 6-year old retired racer. Fibonacci was the most gorgeous horse I had seen, he was tall, lean and just sooo chiseled. He looked like the equivalent of a male gymnast, just perfect!!!! He had been born in Ireland, raced in France, before being shipped of to the US. He had also won some money, somewhere between $100,000.00 and $300,000.00 (the facts are murky, but at least a hundred grand), mostly racing on the soft turf in France. After being settled in the States, he started racing on sand, and got injured. He had bone-chips removed from his left-front knee (this is the leg that most race-horses have problems with, constantly going around in that crazy counter-clockwise circle), and there was some evidence that he had been “fired” (a disgusting method wherein hot needles are jammed into an injured muscle, in order to induce “healing”, no, I’m not kidding, this happens on the track), in his front-right “armpit”. So, due to his injuries, he had gotten slow, and a slow Thoroughbred is unfortunately worth more dead than alive (selling for about $1.00 per pound for dog-food, glue and horse-meat for Europe). However, the owner of Pegasus had trained Fibonacci, and subsequently rescued him from slaughter. Well, Chelsea had fallen in love, and there was no turning back, so we paid our $2,000.00 (a bargain, or so we thought), and we brought him to El Toro stables, were we had been lucky enough to get a stall for the most gorgeous horse ever!!
Well, things were good for about a month, Fibonacci was reasonably well-behaved, and like idiots we trusted Chelsea that she would be able to train him herself. She wanted more than anything to have a jumping horse, and she had been told that even though Fibonacci had been injured, he would probably be able to jump a foot or so. So, Chelsea started to have him going over poles and small jumps, and for a short while it looked like that things would work out. However, after about a month, his right (yes, you guessed it) front lower leg stared to swell up, and it was obvious that he was again injured. We still believe that it was probably an old injury that flared up, since Chelsea rode him very lightly, and hardly jumped him. (Oops, they are boarding, better get on that plane…)

Irvine, 08-26-2006
So, the veterinarian came, and the prognosis was a pulled suspensory ligament in the left, or maybe even both front legs (Kathy chimes in…). The cure would be a long lay-up, four to six months, with hand-walking his only exercise. This is a race-horse remember, an animal that is trained for nothing but running like his life depended on it. The recovery was very heart-breaking; in order for Chelsea to walk him, we had to use Ace, a tranquilizer for large animals. In the beginning it worked OK, but as the months wore on, he developed a tolerance toward the drug, and got increasingly antsy and crazy. Chelsea suffered, here she was with her dream about having her own horse turning into a nightmare, and no end in sight. I was amazed that she did not loose interest, we would drive her to the stables every day, so that Fibonacci could get out for his walk (more like a crow-hop if you ask me), and to get his legs wrapped and his food supplements. Fortunately, there were people at the stables with horses that she could ride, so at least she got some riding in, 3-4 times a week. Of course, by this time Fibonacci had turned into a large pet, and even though he was crazy, we still loved him.
Finally, after about 7 months of convalescing, he was ready to be ridden. We had hired a professional trainer, and the trainer started riding him some three times per week. Slowly, Chelsea started riding him again, but very reluctantly. He continued to be spooked by anything; flying birds, garbage cans, dogs, other horses, cars, trucks, people, kids, cats, raccoons, well you get the picture. Chelsea soldiered on, she got a bit delusional, always making excuses for his crazy behavior; “He can’t be ridden in that arena, or this arena, or with other horses, or on Tuesdays, or when the sun shines, or when it is foggy, or humid, or hot, or cold, or windy, or early or late”. Other than that, he was the perfect horse!
Well, things finally came to an end, when he had to be moved from his original stall (which was quite secluded), to a common pipe-stall out in the open. Now, he was surrounded by other horses, mostly polo-mares. Fibonacci had been gelded late in life, since at least in the beginning of his career they though that he could be a stud prospect. Now, with his jowls still filled with bubbling testosterone, he got insane. The mare next to him got in heat, and he spent 24 hours doing nothing but alternately trying to climb over and dig under the pipes to get to the mare, neighing and crying the whole time. A few weeks later it all came crashing down (literarily), when Fibonacci got spooked on a Saturday evening, and got away from Chelsea. He had gotten increasingly unruly, and Chelsea had gotten off him, trying to drag him by the reins out of the arena. He would have nothing of it; instead he broke loose, and half-jumped and half-stepped over the 4” PVC pipe that surrounded the arena. Of course it broke, and a jagged piece cut him down the chest and belly. I would say afterward that if he was not gelded already, he would have been gelded at that moment, with pieces of cut skin hanging between his back legs. Serendipitously, there was a veterinarian at the stables (at 6:30 PM on a Saturday!), and she had a chance to take a look at him, and confirm that no major arteries were punctured, and that he would live and be fine, at least his broken skin. Chelsea was in hysterics, crying as much for her self as for Fibonacci. We all realized that it was time to give him back (the rescue place has a policy that one can bring back a horse, but the adoption fee is forfeited) and Chelsea stopped making excuses for him. A few weeks later he was loaded up on the trailer, and back he went. But what a heartache, he had become our pet, and we all cried over this wonderful, crazy and dangerous animal. I can still see his face looking out of the back of the trailer, neighing as if to say “what are you doing to me?” and I get a knot in my chest. After that, I told myself that I would never again have a thoroughbred!!!!
We stayed cool for a while, Chelsea continued to take lessons, but we did not talk much about horses. But a promise is a promise, and after a few months we started looking for another horse. To show that we were still very naïve, we went from looking in the $2,000.00 range to the $5,000.00 range (we were still crazy, hoping to find a good jumping horse for that price, but once you are horse bitten, you’re bitten). We saw some really weird horses, where you wondered if the description and the picture in the Horse Trader (our local horse selling magazine) was that of the horse that was for sale! Kathy and Chelsea must have looked at some 20 horses, but finally we found Slinky, a wonderful large bay thoroughbred!! Yes, I’m insane, I said no more thoroughbreds, but this one is truly different! Of course we had to pay quite a bit more for him, but he is worth every penny! Slinky was only five when we got him, he was still green, but he had never been at the track (no lip tattoo!), and he is a good-natured sweetheart, and Chelsea loves him to pieces!! We have had him for about two years now, and all-and-all it has been a great experience. Heartbreaks? You bet, I’m beginning to realize that if you own a horse, you exist somewhere between elation and despair, depending on the overall health of your horse. Even with a great horse like Slinky, there are numerous opportunities for injuries, both to horse and rider. Just four months after we got him, he pulled some ligament, and was off for three months. In the meantime, Chelsea got on him bareback (she was supposed to just walk him to speed his recovery), he got spooked, Chelsea fell off, and fractured a vertebrae. She was out for six weeks, wearing a back-brace and fighting pain. In the meantime, Slinky got crazy from no exercise, and we had to work him back. We changed trainers, we moved him from the El Toro Stables to Sycamore Trails down in San Juan, got a great trainer, and finally Chelsea was in a horse show with her own horse!!! A great day, but for another injury (a splint, he was off for six weeks), but he eventually healed up, and Chelsea was back in another show. Then he got a cough, was off for another few weeks, and currently he is lame in is front right leg, and the vet coming out (again!!!). But that’s the way it is owing a jumping horse, you would think that a horse would be one of the sturdiest animals on the planet; instead (probably through selective breeding), they are quite fragile, like the athletes they are.
Moral of the story? Chelsea is now 18 and in college, she still sees her horse every day, and she has a great sense of responsibility and pride. Has it been worth it? You bet, I would not trade it for anything, having a horse has been one of the great life experiences that I have had, but nothing can prepare a person for the work, the tears, the joy and the incredible extravagant expense. But hey, we only have our kids once, and by God, if we can give them an experience of a life-time and a fulfilled dream, we owe it to the kids and ourselves to do what we can to make it happen. And one thing is sure; I would never sell Slinky, since he has given Chelsea so much joy. Instead, we will take one day at a time, and look forward to that day again when the kid is in the saddle, smiling from ear to ear, and Slinky is just perfect! Now that is the Good Horse Life!!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

News From SoCal

News From SoCal
New Hampshire, August 21, 2006

Back in New Hampshire, for another vendor audit. All of my other vendors are in California, with the exception of this one laser machine shop. It appears that they are all in the North-East, so even if I could find another, they would probably still be in the same area!! Enough of the belly-aching, life is good, we are staying at a nice hotel (the Crown Plaza in Nashua, NH), it has both a great restaurant, and a health club with a pool, heated spa, and tons of machines and weights. So what do we do? Well, we eat a great big dinner, then to burn it off we go to the gym!!!! Kinda balances out, or so I hope. Life on the road is not bad, AcuFocus pays for everything, and we always stay in nice hotels, and eat at nice restaurants, so one should not complain. Of course, being away from the family is always a drag, but to do a little traveling is just part of the job. Last weekend we spent two days in Rancho Mirage, just east of Palm Springs, just lying in the sun, then napping in the nice air-conditioned room, and then off to dinner. A great life!! We stayed at the Rancho Las Palmas resort, a great place with a 100 foot water slide dropping into a pool, the boys must have gone up and down the slide for four hours, a great time!!!! We used to stay in Palm Springs when there was just me and Kathy, but the town has become a little run down, and most of the great resorts and restaurants have moved east. The weather was great, but Hot!!! A 112 deg. F during the day, it went down to about 85 deg. F at night. Anyway, we went out on Friday, and stayed until Sunday morning, but it was good to get home. We all missed our dog Sidney, who was spending two nights at the Irvine Pet Complex (where Chelsea also works), and she was indeed treated very well, but there is no place like home, especially for a dog, who has become such a great part of our life. At 50 pounds and about 1.5 years in age, she is both the biggest and youngest dog that we have had, but she is just great. Part Border Collie, she is sturdy, and loves to play, and she can walk for hours!! But, given that she is a mix, she does not have that crazy herding instinct, instead she is a perfect family dog. The boys can rough-house with her, but she also loves to lie on a couch and be petted!!! I never in my wildest dreams back in Sweden thought that I would have a family of 5, plus a dog and a horse!!! It’s just weird how life is, if somebody would have told me 25 years ago that I would be living in Southern California, have a couple of degrees, a great wife and three of the most wonderful kids, and all the other material trappings that comes with a middle class life here in SoCal, I would have said that it would be impossible, things like that just does not happen!!! But here it is, and I’m proof that strange things do happen. Chelsea started College today, she will spend a couple of years at Saddleback College (near her horse), then transfer into a local university (we have some great schools within driving distance, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, and Cal Poly Pomona), and if everything goes according to her plans, she will get a business degree with a concentration in accounting. The little boys are just crazy, we went to a local swap-meet on Sunday and found an old Nintendo-64 for $20.00, and they have been playing Zelda ever since. I hope it is just another phase, personally I can’t stand the games, but at least they are not fighting when they are playing, but to get them out of the house is like pulling teeth!!!! But boys will be boys, I hope that they grow tired of the silly thing, and go back to being outside in the wonderful California Sunshine!!!! I had another gig with the band on Friday, back at the British and Dominion club. We had a great gig, people where actually dancing!!! We are almost starting to sound like a band, the plan is to get a paying gig, then we have finally hit the big time!! Anyway, it is 12:00 Midnight here in New Hampshire (9:00 PM my California time), so it is about time to sign off. So, to all my friends, have a great time, love each other, and enjoy the rest of the summer, I know I will!!
See ya all later, hugs, and have a great time!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Another Blog Posting, Long Overdue!!

It’s been a long while, have been very busy with the family, summer has finally come to SoCal, and with a vengeance!!! It seemed that this winter (which in SoCal doesn’t mean much), was exceptionally dark, so I’m very happy that the light of summer is here!! Of course, at this writing (July 27), we are truly in the middle of the heat!! June went by in a flurry, Chelsea graduated from Woodbridge High, we had some great weekends down at the beach, where the water temperature is unseasonably warm!!! Can’t tell you enough how much I love the beach, even after having gone at least a thousand times, it never gets boring or old. There is just something about looking over the vast Pacific, and standing on the western edge of this great USA. We are blessed, our drive to the beach is about 15-20 minutes, so oftentimes we go down in the evenings just for a few hours, just to watch the sunset and have a dinner at the beach!!! Yes, my life is great, I admit it!!!! The boys have been off school for the last 5 weeks (although they went back yesterday, Bo-Ho!!!), so we have done a lot of stuff with them. The 4th of July weekend was a four-day holiday for me, so we did the beach and Sea World down in San Diego, then just hung out and saw the great fireworks in town. Summer at Casa Lindwall is usually the following: Pool, Beach, Hamburgers and Hot Dogs on the grill, drives down Pacific Coast Highway, and generally enjoy life to its fullest. Throw in a few bike rides and a couple of gigs with the band, and life is complete!!! And yes, we even went to Las Vegas this summer!!! Kathy and I haven’t been since A was out here (1993), and the kids have never been, so a few weeks ago we loaded everybody up in the car, and drove clear across the Mojave Desert in to Sin City. Just for a night, we stayed at the Luxor (the big pyramid), a behemoth of a hotel where one can get lost for hours!!! The kids had a great time, laying by the pool (the temp was a toasty 109F), and then walking around to see the new hotels. Las Vegas is like no other city in the world, truly unique. Where else do you go to admire noting but hotels!? No gambling for the Lindwalls, just a good time and a little adventure. Everybody is doing great, Chelsea is working a lot, before she goes to college in the fall, Kathy is staying home (mostly in front of the fan, the heat wave has been intense), gardening and shopping. The boys are pretty much hooked on Game Boy (my fault, bad daddy!!), but it keeps them from fighting, and what more can you ask for!!!!! I will be taking some time off, a few Fridays here and there, so that I can enjoy myself even more!!!! Work is great, busy, but it makes the days go by, and soon enough it’s the weekend again!!!! Anyway, I will be traveling to Northern California on Monday, so chances are good that it will mean another Post!!! Until next time, all of you out there, have a great time, and enjoy the summer and all of your loved ones!!!!

Yours, Kram, Peter L.