Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kay and the closet

Kay says that I snore. Now I cannot with any degree of certainty confirm or refute this allegation. See, I don’t stay awake to find out one way or the other. But this incident rather strongly suggest that I may.

See, I have been suffering from a cold for the last several days. I suppose that this may have had an effect on my breathing that night. At any rate, we went to bed at our usual time. I zonked out almost immediately. Sometime later, I awoke realizing that Kay was not lying in the bed beside me. Occasionally she has issues getting to sleep and rarely manages to nod off before I do. If I snore, I suppose that she would be the one who would know for certain. At any rate, I awoke, realizing that she wasn’t there. I decided that I needed to check on her to see if she was alright. While I was arousing my witts, (you know how it is when you wake up from a deep sleep, and need to spend a second or two to get the cobwebs out), well I realized that the light indicating that I had messages was flashing on my cell phone. Well in today’s society, what does one do when the cell phone indicates that there are messages? One listens to the messages, right? One might also add that 1:30 am is a rather strange time to listen to voice mail messages, but that is what I was doing. (It isn't really all that strange, is it?) Suddenly I heard this rather sheepish little voice come from what I thought was the throne room in our bath area. “Larry, who are you talking to?” I acknowledged that I was listening to my messages. Then, realizing that the voice I had heard did not come from the throne room, I asked, “Kay where are you?” Now here comes the part that I laugh about every time I think of it. She said, “I’m in the closet.” Now the lights were off so it was obvious that she wasn’t looking over her wardrobe for the clothes that she was wearing the next day. I have to admit there were several thoughts going through my mind at that time. The most significant of which I verbalized, “Kay, what in the world are you doing in the closet at 1:30 in the morning” Answer, “I’m trying to sleep.” New thought, “Kay why are you trying to sleep in the closet?” Answer, “You were snoring so much that I couldn’t get to sleep.” (I have to admit that my initial thought processes included denying that I snore but elected to with hold that bit of information.) New thought, “Kay, what are you covering up with?” Answer, “A towel.” New thought, “Kay, why didn’t you just poke me in the ribs and tell me to stop snoring?” Answer, “I didn’t want to wake you up” Now how thoughtful is that. But a towel on the floor of the closet at 1:30 in the morning? Do you see why this struck me as funny?”

Now I am not admitting that I snore. But If I do, Kay, next time try poking me and asking me to stop. No more of this in the closet, covering up with a towel in the wee hours of the morning to avoid the noise. OK? For her version, click here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I didn't mean to swim on Sunday

It has been 15 years since I moved into this house. 15 years with a pool in the back yard. 15 years of maintaining the pool, putting a cover on from time to time, cleaning, vacuuming, brushing and etc. 15 years of doing that and not once have I fallen into the pool while doing so. Not once, that is …… until today.

See a few weeks ago we purchased a pool cover. It had been a couple of years since we had one of these things and knowing that the cover will help hold in the heat, we figured that we could perhaps use the pool somewhat longer with a pool cover. However. removing and replacing the cover is a bit of a challenge. It is a piece of cake with 4 people but a significant challenge for a single person. Well, last week we added to our collection of pool equipment, a roller device that rolls the cover up. One person can easily remove the cover, so doesn’t it seem natural that one person can easily replace it. ………NOT. Today, I made an effort to do so. Not only did the device not unroll , but it tipped over. Special Kay came to my rescue. And between the two of us we almost got the cover on, ……. almost before I fell in. Yes, I fell into the pool, fully clothed. I found myself suddenly without firm footing for my left foot.. not only that but I found that my faith is not sufficiently strong, and the water failed to support my weight. Yes the water parted and accepted me into the depths thereof. Flailing my arms, trying to regain balance, all to no avail. I found my thought process going something like this, “Oh Dang, I am going to fall into the pool. (and if you believe I said dang, you don’t know me all that well)” Yep, my daddy didn’t raise no dummies. I realized that when there was no more footing and my arms were flailing and I didn’t regain my balance, I was going to fall into the pool.

After 15 years of cleaning and maintaining that stupid pool, you would think that I would be aware of the area where the pool juts out to allow for a seat in the side of the pool. Right at this point the wall of the pool juts out about 1 foot. I have sat there, I have cleaned it, I have put my grandkids there. You would think that I would realize that it was there. But no, I tried to walk right over it.

Did you ever try to laugh while under water. Well, that doesn’t work very well either, I know I have tried. As I came back out of the water, I realized what a compassionate wife I have. Yes, Kay was shedding tears in my behalf. The fact that she was laughing so hard that she couldn’t control the tears is of secondary importance. She was shedding tears in my behalf. Thanks Kay, you really are compassionate after all. And it is alright for everyone to laugh about this. I have done so virtually all day. Every time I think about it I break out laughing. Every time I look at Kay, she breaks out in laughter. So laugh with us. It is OK. I will just have to walk forward the next time I put the stupid pool cover on.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Today I am going to blog about…….. well, blogging.

I just can’t figure out where all the bloggers find enough hours in the day to blog even once a week let alone daily. Don’t get me wrong I find no fault with people finding the time to blog. I just find it difficult myself. If I find the time about once a quarter, I think that I am doing pretty well. But people still ask me, “Why don’t you blog more often?” Well, to answer that, I would love to do so. I find it fascinating not only to write about a few things myself, but to find out what other people feel inclined to write about. However, not only can I not find enough hours in the day to blog on a regular basis, I find it difficult to come up with any innovative subjects to write about. So there you have it. Not enough time in the day and a mind that doesn’t seem to be very creative when it comes to identifying something to blog about.

So here is my decision. I am going to keep a list of things to blog about. So far there are……….Well there isn’t a thing on the list just yet, but if I keep trying, maybe I will think of something in time for next quarter’s blog. I suppose we will have to wait and see.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Last week we had my daughter and her family from Colorado here for a visit.   It is too easy to forget just how wonderful it is to have children around.  It is true that there were times when the noise level was a few decibels higher than I am accustomed to,  but it was so nice to have them here.   I do have 5 grandsons that live here in Vegas (all four of my granddaughters live out of state).  I thoroughly enjoy seeing them on a regular basis.  I only get to see the five who live in Colorado and the three that live in Texas, once or twice a year.   Between visits there can be some significant changes, especially in the older ones.   Don’t get me wrong,  I love seeing the parents too,  but there is something about  the grandkids………..


It was also very nice to have so many of my children and grandchildren together at one time.   Last Wednesday we spent the day celebrating Kay’s Birthday.   All of my kids, and grandkids except those living in Texas were here.  We missed the Texans but enjoyed having the rest together.  


Michelle, Mike and Family,  thanks for coming.  Jaidi, Justin and Family,  wish you could have been here,  but we will see you in a few weeks.   Nigel and Z,  Kevin, Cass and Family, and Jeff,  thanks for making last week so very nice. 


Love you guys.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The little Nelson Girl from across the Street

How many men do you think can say, “My wife and I grew up together?”, or “My wife and I lived across the street from each other when we were kids?” Well, my wife and I can. Kay moved into our 8th street neighborhood in Ogden when she was three. (At least that is what she tells me because the reality is, I don’t remember a time before she lived across the street from me.) That being the case, I had to be about six. Kay was closer in age to my younger brother, Keith, so they spent more time playing together as youngsters than Kay and I did. I remember some specific incidents that I have mentioned to her already and she has sworn me to secrecy and threatened me with severe bodily harm if I was ever to divulge them (That is not really true but she asked me not to tell.) So I won’t. But we did in fact live across the street from each other. I suspect that she was probably there the day my family left our home on 8th street headed for Savannah, Georgia ( She would have been about 10 because I was 13). I am not sure about this but I recall that most of our neighborhood friends were there to say goodbye. Kay and I didn’t have much contact then until after I returned from my mission in Japan. We did have some history then. We went out together----- once! Not that I wasn’t impressed by her, because I was. I really can’t explain why we only went out once. But that was our dating experience. (We went to a movie, and recently as we drove past the site where the theater had been, she reminded me that I was stopped by a cop for speeding along the way. How incredible her memory is!) At any rate, not long after Kay and I went out on our first date, she met Carl and I met Shirlene. We got married to our respective spouses, one month apart in October and November of 1970. We recently looked into the guest book from Shirlene and my wedding and sure enough, there were signatures of Kay Nelson, Carl Bruce, Reed and Jean, Mont and Kathy Nelson. We haven’t looked at her wedding guest book but I am reasonably sure that Shirlene and I went to Kay and Carl’s wedding too (I just found out from Kay that Shirlene and I were at her wedding reception as well.).

Kay lost Carl to a Tragic accident after 34 years of Marriage. Shirlene died of cancer just before our 36th anniversary. About 6 months after Shirlene died, Kay sent me a sympathy letter. Sometime after that, we had dinner together (neither of us was willing to call it a date at the time.). We got along very well, kind of like old friends (interesting how that worked out). Conversation came very easily, much to our surprise. Over the next 18 months we continued to get along very well. We continued a long distance relationship, Kay from her home in Ogden, me from my home in Las Vegas (E-mails, IM’s, video chats, etc., really reduced the distance between us.). Since it sounds like we didn’t see each other except via the internet, I will add that I went to Ogden several times, Kay came to Vegas Several times. We saw each other on those occasions and got reacquainted through those visits. On March 21, 2008, Kay and I were married. We can indeed say that we are married to the kid from across the street. Unfortunately, we also have to say that there were nearly 38 years that lapsed between our first and second dates (a point which my new Mother-in-law has reminded me of a time or two). I can’t speak for Kay, but I can say that she has been a wonderful light in my life where there had been a lot of darkness; happiness where there had been a real feeling of loss and sadness; and fullness where there had been emptiness.

I did indeed marry the girl from across the street; the friend from the past. What a blessing she has been in my life. Thanks Kay! Love you!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Old Friends

This week I said goodbye to some old friends. These friends were not people. I am not sure just why it was so difficult to say goodbye to these old friends, it shouldn’t have been. They were just shirts. I have had a number of Hawaiian style shirts that have been in my closet for a pretty long time. I guess it is a matter of common expectation that one will get a little larger over a period of 15 years. Until this weekend I wasn’t sure just how much larger I had become. See, a few years ago, and some of the shirts in my closet would have verified this, I wore a size medium shirt. Sometime along the way, it became necessary for me to move up a shirt size, to large. Then somehow, the large shirts started feeling a little confining, so out of concern for that feeling on confinement (certainly not because I had become larger, just needed more room) I began buying some XL shirts. They felt so good on that I bought a couple of XXL shirts. That means that I had some medium, some large, a ton of XL and a couple of XXL shirts residing in my closet. How embarrassing it was when I realized how many of the shirts that were just hanging in my closet, I haven’t worn for who knows how many years. I decided that I would get rid of the shirts that I no can longer wear. Little did I realize that such a large percentage of my shirts would be taking the trip to DI.

Now I really don’t consider myself a sentimental person. But each shirt I picked up had some kind of memory associated with it. Hence, I was saying goodbye to an old friend with each shirt that hit the bag. This was not one of those sob sob cry cry kind of moments. Just the realization that some of these shirts, regardless of what kind of memories they had associated with them, were no longer worth keeping (Kay says that if I haven’t worn them in 6 months I probably don’t really need them). I haven’t gone down a size, even once, in the time that I have been in Vegas. I figure that it is unlikely that I ever will. In the interest of making more room in my closet, the logical thing to do was get rid of clothes that I couldn’t wear. I have to admit that my closet looks so much better than it did. I have so much more room. Do you know that the walls in my closet were the same color as the walls in my bedroom were? I wasn’t so sure that was the case.

Just a sideline here. I had 4 suits in my closet that I had been holding onto, figuring sometime, just maybe I would loose some weight and get back to those sizes (Well maybe it was really just wishful thinking.). Well that ain’t happening. They went into bag as well.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

And I Call That Work!

I have had a revelation. Yes, I know what you are all thinking about as you read this, “What is this guy talking about.” Well I have had some information revealed to me that has in fact been a real eye opener for me. “What is this information that is so important that he has had revealed to him?” you might ask. Well prepare yourselves. This may come as a revelation to you as well. Ponder what your life was say 15 years ago. Then compare it to what things are like today. This is the important news. You are not as young as you used to be. Maybe you haven't realized it yet as I have. Maybe to make this more correct, I should say that I am not as young as I used to be. How did I receive such a revelation? Read on and you will see.

Some you may have read my wife’s blog referring to the fact that we have been doing some work in the master bedroom and bath. Now, work is the key word here. I go to “work” as I call it 4 days a week, I put in 10 hours and come home. Much of my time is spent talking with students, grading papers, preparing lectures, giving lectures, and other things that teachers do. Yes I call that going to "work" (Kay says this is too easy that I can’t really call it work. Now, I just might be inclined to agree). But after this weekend I think I may have to come up with another way to refer to the activity that I participate in Mon. thru Thurs. Because if that is work, then what I did last weekend has to be something on the order of sheer torture. Or perhaps, more correctly stated, if what I did this weekend is work then, then I am sure lucky for the type or work that I do each week. I just looked up the word work on Here is the def. “exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.” Well that is what I did this weekend and the word is so well defined.

See, while we have been fixing up the master suite, Kay has done most of the painting, I did paint the ceiling but she painted all of the walls. But On Friday and Saturday, my "days off”, we started laying ceramic tile in the bathroom. Now this bathroom is on the 2nd floor so that necessitated placing concrete board down to prepare the floor for the tile. We laid that on Friday. Friday night, I was exhausted. But little did I know what Saturday was going to have in store for me. We rented a tile saw and at 7 am we started the project of laying the ceramic tile. The saw was outside on the patio. The bathroom is upstairs. There were very few tiles that did not have to be cut. Up and down the stairs, first or all carrying the 70 lb boxes of tile to the upstairs area ( no, don’t bother mentioning to me that if I had left the boxes of tile near the saw, there would have been so many trips carrying up the tile only to bring them down one at a time to cut them.) Well by the end of the day, after what seemed like no less than a thousand trips up and down the stairs, we put the past piece of tile in place, around 7:30 that night. Now here is the revelation. Thirty years ago, that day would have been nothing to me. I have had those days many times in my construction career, that would be BD (before dentistry). But on Saturday night, I could barely move. Sitting down in the chair required more effort than I have exerted in some time. Getting out of the chair, well that was just something else that I don’t even want to think about right now. The last trip upstairs to go to bed was, well, sheer exhaustion. I don’t ever remember being that tired, and sore , and exhausted. There is no doubt at all, I am not nearly as young as I used to be.

But Most of the time I don’t feel any older, just when days like Saturday come along. Then I know for sure; my mind, that sometimes thinks I can do everything now that I could at 20, is just deluding myself.

Now don’t get me wrong. Kay is not a slave driver. We worked together on this project. She was by my side most of the time (well not up and down the stairs quite as many times as I was) but she must be a whole lot younger than I am because she didn’t grunt or groan, or complain about being so sore that she couldn’t get back up the stairs, no not even once. In fact she messaged my back just before we went upstairs. She is quite a woman. But, I fear, she just might be as young as she used to be, but not me. I learned that one for sure this weekend.

Oh by the way. As we were getting ready for church this morning, Kay looked down at the floor we "finished" yesterday, and wouldn't you know it, we missed one very small piece of tile. But there is consolation in knowing that when I do put that piece of tile in, it will be only once up and down the stairs. I should be able to handle that.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Take Time to Enjoy Nature

I have as wallpaper on my laptop the same photo that is at the top of this blog page. I took this photo while on the North shore of Oahu, near the beach popularly known as “Bonzai Pipeline.” (This just happened to be same location that I asked Kay to be my wife. Besides being such a beautiful site, it has some special meaning to Kay and I.) I spent some time pondering the picture. I came almost immediately to the realization that there are some beautiful sites on this earth. I have decided to include some of my favorite pictures in this blog. Hope you enjoy them.

Not long ago, Kay and I stopped at Kolob Canyon, just outside of Cedar City, Utah. We happened to get there at about sunset. How incredible it was to watch as the sun set to the west and shining on the walls of the canyon to the east. After considering this I have decided to blog by putting some pictures of beautiful scenes that I have been priviledged to photograph.

Just outside Las Vegas is an incredible area called
valley of Fire. The sky was so very blue when we were there. Neat place right?

On one of the jeeping runs outside of Moab, Utah called Elephant Hill, you can reach this mesa that overlooks the confluence of the Colorado and the Green Rivers. It is pretty amazing that the line separating the brown waters of the Colorado and the green waters of the Green continues for as far as we could see downstream.

This beautiful sunrise was photographed out of my bedroom window one morning when the glow of the sunrise painted my room with an interesting golden glow. Glad I didn't miss that one.

Last Fall while I visited Kay in Ogden, we went up to Snow Basin. This scene of fall colors was taken there.

This is the ocean scene near Sharks Cove, near Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. I never get tired of places like this.

I suppose that one of the great privileges of living in this day and time is that we can see beautiful scenes like those that I have shared here. We can photograph them and and keep them within a key stoke of observing on screen. We can look at them at will and enjoy them anytime we desire. I guess that my biggest concern is that some people spend their time running from here to there and never really learn to appreciate some of the fantastic scenes that nature provides us with. I want to take more time to smell the roses, more time to appreciate the sights that nature has provided us with.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Computers and yours truly

This is a big step for me. The reason I say that is that I have had this blog site since last January. Yes, I know, I have had the site that long and nary a post. Well, that is why this is such a big step for me. Finally, I will post an entry, that is unless I lose this one to the cyber word thief like the last entry that I had prepared. I had an entry ready to post. Then I suffered a Windows moment. Through some key combination that I inadvertently struck, the whole of the document was gone. Yes, gone, just like the snap of my fingers. No undo feature allowed. Just gone. So this time, I have taken the advice of my son, "Nigel" and prepared this one in a word processing program and will then copy and paste it. That should stifle the cyber word thief; at least I hope that it will. But the reality is that if you are reading this post, then I have successfully made the transition from word processor to blog space. If that happens, I suspect that I deserve some congratulations.

Another reason that this is a big step for me is that I am of the pre computer generation. Yes, I remember the time before there was a computer on every lap, well for that matter when only the giant corporations could afford a computer. I remember the television program called "The $64,000 Question". By today's standards with television programs such as "Who wants to be a Millionaire" and "Deal or no Deal" that can potentially give away a million dollars, a program that only offered $64,000, . . . . . well that is nothing but pocket change. But what a program it was in its day. There was a computer on that program; a Univac if I recall correctly, that would spit out a bunch of computer cards with questions printed on them. The contestant worked his way up through the series of questions and if he successfully answered all of the preliminary questions, he would then be put into a sound proof chamber while the final few questions were asked. If he answered all of the questions correctly he was awarded $64,000. Even as a child I looked forward to that program, pondering just what I might do if I were to come into such wealth. One day, and a dreadful day it was at that, word got out that the $64,000 question was fixed, that the sponsors had demanded that the answers be fed to the more popular contestants before the program aired. This event, true or untrue, resulted in the cancellation of the program. However tainted it may have been, that was my first encounter with computers.

I am an educator and have been for longer than I care to acknowledge publicly. In the "pre computer days" I was on the faculty of a prestigious university in the Midwest. I can recall the time when typing an examination was a lengthy time consuming process. It was necessary to type the page, and, being the rather mediocre typist that I am, proof read, re-type making all necessary corrections, re- proof read, and sometimes re-re-type just to make the thing as error free as I possibly could. Now, I put the examination into a word processing program proof read on the screen and can produce a nearly error free document the first time it sees paper. I used to calculate the grades by hand. This of necessity required the calculation of a statistical value called the standard deviation. Many times I sat at my desk, pen and calculator at the ready, and calculated the standard deviation of examinations that I had just given. With class sizes in excess of 100 individuals, the calculation was rather lengthy and sometimes required up to a half an hour to complete (please no comments from you math majors). Now, I type a simple formula in a cell; highlight a column on my spreadsheet page; hit the return key and bang, the standard deviation is there in less than a heartbeat.

Maintaining grades in the pre-computer days required considerable effort. Each student's grade was calculated by hand individually then the statistics for the class were calculated, you got it, by hand. Today, I can put in the formula for one student, hit the fill down screen and bang, the grades are calculated for all students in less time than I could have computed it for one student by hand. In times past, it would take me the better part of a week to manually calculate the grades. Today, I can give an examination, grade it (by scantron of course) put the scores into the spreadsheet that already has all of the previous data recorded, calculate grades, post them, write a form letter advising each student of his scores (something that I did not do in pre computer era) and complete this in less that 2 hours. Some difference don't you think?

I remember countless hours spent in research at the public library, attempting to find information for a paper or publication. Today, I have more information that is better organized and more easily accessible via the Internet from the comfort of my own living room.

Yes I am appreciative of the computer; I use one on a daily basis. I do not long for the "good old pre-computer days". Sometimes I even curse the computer because it seems to be taking so long to retrieve the data. However, it only takes a few seconds of pondering what it was like in earlier times and my admiration of cyber space returns (that is except for the cyber space word bandit who steals my printed data, but perhaps with time, I will overcome even that).

With all of these good features, computers also have their downfall. I detest academic dishonesty. Perhaps detest is too weak of a word, I abhor it, and feel that there is no place in academia for this despicable behavior. I will do everything that is humanly possible to help a student pass my course, but I will not hesitate to fail the student who exhibits dishonest behavior. Now why would a discussion of academic dishonesty be of significance in this blog about computers? Well, I have become aware that there are web sites that have pre-written research papers on virtually any topic and written at nearly all levels of sophistication. Try googling "research papers" and see how many hits you get. Yes, over 29 million (one coincidently is called cheat_______, how appropriate). I am sure that many and perhaps most of the sites are not participants in fostering academic dishonesty. However, a dishonest student need do nothing more than leave a credit card number and he or she can download a research paper, format it and turn it in for a grade. I know that there are sites that I can go to in order to check a student's work to see if major components are plagiarized, but why should I have to? OK it is far too optimistic to expect all students to be honest, but wouldn't it be nice?

Recently an individual on our campus was arrested and charged with downloading kiddie porn on college computers. I am not into the porn thing, in fact I consider it every bit as despicable as academic dishonesty, but viewing kiddie porn...well I can't even describe how I detest such behavior. This contemptible behavior is made all the easier because of the computer. One web site reports that porn sites frequently will get 1,000,000 hits per day.

I have heard that with computers it is easier to find ways to steal another person's identity. Most people will not and do not utilize the computer for such a purpose. But it is possible. It was much more difficult to obtain that kind of information in the pre-computer era. I have heard it said that anytime there is some technology that is developed for important and useful applications, someone will alter and adapt that application for darker purposes. Most people will use the computer in legal and appropriate ways. Some will take advantage and utilize these darker applications to further their own agendas without concern or regard in any way for the rights and sensibilities of others.

Am I glad to be in the computer age today? You bet I am. I find it difficult to conceive just how I coped with the pre-computer era. I use the Internet extensively. I pay my bills on my computer. I monitor my checking and savings accounts on my computer. I keep in touch with my loved ones via computer (that is perhaps the subject of another blog). I have an extensive library of digital photos on my computer. I watch movies on my computer. My laptop goes with me just about everywhere I go. My television is now essentially a computer. House lights can be turned on and off by computer. Yes, I will continue to embrace the computer, and the technology that accompanies it. To do otherwise with such a powerful, useful tool available would be foolish would it not? I suppose that means that I should really maintain a blog then doesn't it? Well, we will see about that.