Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I have just finished Dead Koontz novel, Icebound. I understand that it is a reworking of an earlier book that he wrote, called Prison of Ice.

Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

This is the first Dean Koontz book that I have read, and to be honest, it was not what I expected. Nancy had previously read a book of his, and said that it was quite bizarre. Nothing bizarre about this book other than the blizzard that the characters find themselves in.

The story is about a team of scientists who are attempting to develop a way to break apart a piece of the polar icecap so that it can be floated and eventually be used to help solve some of the water shortage issues. The reason why they are there is not important, it is the adventure that takes place when a Tsunami causes the ice shelf that they are on to break away, after they have loaded it with explosives set to go off in a few hours. It is a classic tale of: how are we going to survive, along with a murderous twist.

A well told story that I found hard to put down. I would like to read some more of Koontz's work, any suggestions?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Winning At Life

A number of years ago Nancy, the administrative assistant at Ridge Church returned from a conference she had attended. While she was there, she heard about a church the sponsored a breakfast for the football team prior to every game. We all thought that was the coolest idea, but we knew something like that would never fly in the separation of church and state north, but pondered how we could create something similar.

Three or four years ago, WINNING AT LIFE, was born! Initially we worked with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (a group which has gone belly up here), but since then, we have developed a rapport with the coaches that they trust us and know that we are not going to "proselytize" their students.

What do we do? We offer a hot and taste breakfast cooked by the men of Ridge Church, a hearty thank you to the teams and coaches for making our community a great place to live, and a "Two Minute Drill". Wes Lukoshus, a lay member of the church gives a short, positive, funny life lesson to the students. And then we send them off to school.

This morning we had about 140 at our breakfast. For a while, I thought we might have to perform a miracle (ala. the loaves and fishes) but somehow we pulled it off. This was our 5th breakfast this school year, and we will have at least three more and maybe a fourth this spring.

Thanks to everyone who makes this ministry so successful!

Chuck & Dave in the Kitchen - Wes giving the 2 minute drill

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm impressed

I have written the last few days about my dealings with State Farm. Somebody at State Farm must do a great deal of web watching, because this blog is now being watched by them. I never knew I was so famous. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Last week I wrote about my experience with State Farm on getting my camera replaced. On Friday I thought that we were starting to make progress, but of course, they did not call me back. It wasn't until I called on Monday that I heard from them again (interesting how that works). This time I was put in contact with a camera specialist. She felt that the closest replacement was a Cannon G9. A very nice compact point and shoot --- with a much smaller zoom capability that they would rectify with a telephoto converter. She suggested that the D40X was a step up from my camera and she could not recommend it.

Interesting that they will not "step up", but seem more than willing to step down. Hence the suggestion of the Coolpix s51 or the Cannon G9. It became apparent that the goal was to get me to settle at the least cost to the company --- not to get my value out, nor to, in good faith, truly replace what I had. If they had offered me what I had spent on the 8800, minus my deductible, I would have been ecstatic!

The "camera specialist" was not willing to budge. Even though we were comparing a compact car with a full sized car, that was not in her mind grounds to justify looking at anything else. It stinks because I had almost no recourse. When I called back later in the day with the original adjuster, I requested that she let me have the quote they offered me on Friday, even though it is not close to being what I had. This way I would get $230.00 from State Farm, instead of the $125.00 that the camera specialist offered. My loss was $1,000 (for which I had receipts) I have a $500 deductible, so I understand that I have to eat $500, but to have to grovel to get half of that is ridiculous. What would it be like if I didn't have any receipts!

Guess it is time to start looking for a new company to insure my property.

PS I ordered a new Nikon D80 camera --- I can't wait to get it! I ordered if from Amazon, off the church website, so Ridge should get a small portion of the price!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Choose your Creed!

Woody Allen’s:
"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

Or D. Christian Larson’s
"Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
Make all your friends feel there's something in them.
Look at the sunny side of everything.
Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
Give everyone a smile.
Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.
Be too big for worry and too noble for anger."

November 11

I intended to write this yesterday, but I just never could get around to it. November 11th is a crazy day for me. But it has gotten easier as the years go on.

I woke up about 3:00 am yesterday, maybe that shouldn't surprise me. Shortly after I woke up, Lindsey woke up too, needing to take Zeke out (at least that is what she said). Maybe it was the lightening (and thunder --- 2 loud bursts) that woke him up? I don't know, I was already awake.

Early in the morning of November 11th, 1985, I too was awakened. Nancy and I were on our way to Downers Grove and had stopped for the night in Frankfort, Kentucky. Around two or three in the morning, I woke up, got Nancy up so that we could continue our drive to Illinois. We arrived early in the morning, much earlier than we were expected. 45 minutes after we arrived, Stewart, my baby brother died from his cancer.

November 11th --- the first few years after his death, I would stay home and be miserable all day. I couldn't function on that day. Fortunately, it wasn't until 1990, that I had to deal with November 11th being a Sunday.

I don't get depressed like I once did on November 11th. But I am still sad, sad about a life cut short. Sad about all the missed opportunities. Sad, because Stewart and I never had the chance to move out of being "boys" together and becoming men.

But there is a lesson for me every November 11th. It is a reminder that life is fragile and short. A reminder that disease and illness can rear it's ugly head at any unsuspected moment. A reminder that if I put off smelling the flowers, enjoying my children, my friends, . . . that the opportunity may be lost.

Sounds like a good reason to be a pessimist. Nah, I think November 11th reminds me to see the glass as half full, to look out the right windows, to see and grasp the opportunities that are set before me.

Enjoy today! It is truly a gift from God.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Nightmare on Oriole Dr.

I wrote a couple weeks ago about the break-in to my car (it took place on October 20th). Two days ago I contacted State Farm (my homeowners policy since it is not covered by the auto policy) to figure out where things are at. They were to get back to me and offer me a replacement camera.

This is what they suggested. A Nikon Coolpix S51. It looks like it is a fairly nice point and shoot compact camera. It's suggested retail price is $280.

This is what I had stolen. As anybody can see --- they are not even comparable cameras. When they asked me what would be
more appropriate I gave the the suggestion of the D40X, a nice camera, but I am not sure it is as good as what I had. They have come back suggesting it with a 18x50 mm lens. Not quite the same as the 13 x 350 lens on the 8800. They tried to put me into a conversation with the person who is recommending the cameras, but she could not get the phone to work.

This has been a pain in the butt! I got the window fixed within 48 hours, but getting State Farm to move on the camera has been unreal! I would hate to imagine what it would have been like if this had been something serious. Oh, wait a minute, I remember reading about how quick they were to respond to people after Katrina, and how their strategy was ultimately one of stringing you along until you got tired of pursuing it.

Don't worry, I am not giving up that easily. But I would like to have a camera!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Getting Old

OK, I am not as young or hip as I like to think (using the word hip really dates me!). Jessica, while she was home last weekend, told us that she wanted to get her nose pierced --- just a little small unobtrusive diamond.

Well, I am a parent. She reminded me that she is 19 and is an adult --- I tried to remind her that I was spending lots of money every year allowing her to go to an expensive private school. When she left, the issue was far from settled.

But the truth is, Nancy and I were in a no win situation. As much as I am not a fan of piercings, I did lots of things that drove my parents crazy. (Maybe if you beg real hard I might post a picture of my hair when it was longer than my girls!) But, but, but . . . like I said, it was a no win situation (and I knew it all along!)

Jessica IM'd me tonight (see I am not too out of the loop) to tell me that she just got home from getting it done. I could hear her excitement through the computer.

How can I be mad? I'm not really, I know that as a parent I am supposed to be a little difficult and help my children think through their actions.

And the good news is --- when she gets tired of it, it will close back up. (wishful thinking, I know!)

But please, just don't tell me that I am old!