Holy Pic Folder!


I decided to sort and organize ALL of my photos that I’ve taken and kept for the past 2 decades…and it turns out I have over 24,000 pictures and 122 Gigabytes of data. Good lord!

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Wedding Ring Review for Guys


Okay, I’ve gone through 3 wedding rings now. No, not 3 marriages, just 3 wedding rings during my 10+ years of marriage. First, a traditional Silver ring, then a more expensive Titanium, and finally a cheap(er) Silicon ring.

The first ring I bought when I got married was a traditional Silver ring. Honestly it never fit right and was kind of annoying. But, you know how it goes; there is pressure to spend some bucks and do the traditional thing. Unfortunately, it would come off easily, and one day while walking the dogs, it just popped right off my finger without me even noticing. Later that night my wife – being a detailed oriented person – noticed it wasn’t on my finger and asked, “Where is your ring??” Suddenly, I was aware it was gone. I knew it could’ve only come off during that walk with the dogs, but a thorough search and backtracking of my steps turned up nothing.

Traditional Silver Ring

Traditional Silver Ring

So, I decided to replace it, but this time get something unique and what I actually liked. I settled on a black titanium ring with gold stripes. It just looked cool, I thought, plus the selling point was the super-hard metal that would last forever. The price was around $200. I actually ordered it on-line with the typical skepticism of whether it would even fit, but it fit perfectly. So this ring stayed on my finger for several years to come.

But, as time passed, I gained a little weight, and this ring that used to fit perfectly was now snug and creating a rash on my finger. It was often itchy and next to impossible to pull off of my finger. I literally had to use petroleum jelly or baby oil to lubricate my finger and then twist, twist, twist and pull to pull the thing off. It was painful, as well, to pull it off. After several attempts to clean it and wear it again…each time with same irritation and discomfort, I finally just took it off one day and didn’t put it back on. Done with that.

1-Mens-black-Titanium-Wedding-Band-with-rose-gold-Beveled-Edge-e1486066873666

So, I go shopping again for a ring and I stumble upon an advertisement for a Silicon ring. What’s that, I wondered? It claimed to be much more comfortable than a traditional ring, as well as MUCH more safe because it is flexible. I decided to give it a try mainly because the price was so low…anywhere from $10 to $80 for a ring. I figured, well, there’s not much to lose! Just a little cash maybe. Let’s give it a try. So I ordered a ring… 3 rings, in fact, for just $25.

A week or so later, a dude from Amazon tossed a box over my fence, I opened it up, and there lay 3 nice little rings… slipped one one… ahhh! So nice and comfortable. Yes, it is flexible. Much like a rubber band, but only thicker. It slips on and off easily, but while it is on it does not slip or move around, and doesn’t irritate in any way. It also comes with some peace of mind knowing it won’t get caught on machinery and rip my finger off.

Black_Orange_Rendering_HiDef_copy_600x

So, my advice is go for the silicone ring right from the start. Yes, I know there is a bit of a stigma there – it’s a cheap ring, whereas I’m supposed to be spending thousands of dollars on wedding rings, right?! Well, go ahead and spend thousands on her ring, but for yourself just know that a man’s ring is potentially more hazardous or likely to be lost. No, it won’t stay on your finger permanently forever. There are many situations where it will need to be removed. It probably won’t shine forever either. It WILL lose its luster after awhile and lots of wear and tear. Spend your money on a ring that is comfortable, safe, and flexible. Actually, it’s more likely THAT will stay on your finger longer than an expensive gold-plated diamond-covered piece of rock. The only downside is that a silicone ring isn’t going to be shiny and sparkly. No one is going to look at your ring and say “Ooh, that’s nice!” And there is always that subtle fear that some snooty jerk is going to look at your ring and quietly condemn you as cheap. Just laugh and ask why are they looking at your ring anyway? Shopping around?

If you want more reviews, just go look it up on Youtube. There are LOTS of reviews, comparisons, and even advertisements for silicone rings. Like this one…

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on My Wedding Ring Review for Guys

End of Summer Review


School vacation is almost over! So once again here is a summer vacation review.

This summer wasn’t quite as full as the last few summers. I didn’t feel like being on the go-go-go every day, and Ivy indicated she didn’t want to be super busy either. Much to my surprise she was often quite content to just be at home and do nothing (well, watch cartoons or play on her iPad). But still, we managed to pack in plenty of activities and fun and accomplishments.

  • Art Museum – Kicked summer off right with a visit to the art Museum. Lots of boobies! Boobies at every turn!
  • Shiny New Skyscraper – Mooovin’ on up! Scenes from the 30th floor.
  • 1903 Circus show – It’s Holly’s birthday! Let’s go to the circus. Good show! We saw them appear on America’s Got Talent later on in this truncated version of the show – > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbLRJ3oa3Qw
  • Rusty Dies – Sad day for us. He quietly passed away on July 12th.
  • Impact VBS – What an awesome church. This 6 week vacation bible school is more like a Summer Camp. The kids got to go places and do lots of things, and even got a bag of school supplies and some Sketcher shoes that light up!
  • St John’s VBS – Another round of this awesome and exciting VBS with Jenna Kuykendahl
  • Girl Scout Sleepover – Spent the night with a bunch of giggly girls at “The Cottage” (Girl Scout headquarter house in the Heights).
  • Got on TNT Team – Tumbling and Trampoline here we come!
  • Vault! – See video below.
  • Eclipse Day at SplashTown – See video below.
  • Hurricane! – See video below.

Vault Daycamp Only a few blocks from our house is this awesome training center for acrobatics. Ivy did 5 days in a daycamp for kids. 4 kids altogether participated, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. Heck, it looks fun to me too. I want to do that!


Splashtown day of the eclipse!
It’s a bummer that we couldn’t fly our private jet to Wyoming and watch the total eclipse. So the next best thing is go to a water park! Ivy, Jose, and myself spent the day at Wet n Wild in Houston. It was fun! We also brought along some special glasses to look at the eclipse which was about 60% here in Texas.

School is supposed to TODAY (Monday, August 28th) but right now there is Hurricane Harvey is blowing through and causing havoc. The first day of school was cancelled…and then the entire week of school has been cancelled! An epic amount of flooding is going on, and more flooding is expected. It will be Wednesday or Thursday before the rain stops. We’re sitting here in the house safe and dry, but bored to death. Mom was here (Ivy’s Grandma Shirley) as her husband and his daughter and grandsons were down in Surfside on the beach. But they had to evacuate because of the hurricane, and on Sunday they made their way out of town toward Austin and then on to Arkansas.

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on End of Summer Review

Rusty Passed Away Today


Today my good friend Rusty passed away. I’ve often wondered when that day would come, and how it would happen, so today I found out. He died quietly in the back seat of my truck on our way to the Heights Hospital for Animals. Ironically, he passed away almost in the same way we met. In 2004, I was doing satellite dish installation in Arkansas and went to this really run-down home full of dogs and cats. Of all the dogs running around, only one was on a leash. I asked the homeowner why was he on a leash? The guy said it is because this dog constantly tries to escape and run away from us. I thought, “I can see why!”, but didn’t say that out loud. I just felt a little empathy and took a few minutes to pet him. The owner saw me and said, “You can have that dog if you want.” I honestly wasn’t looking for a dog to take home, but I considered it in the moment. I decided to take a little risk and remove the chain from around his neck. I was thinking, okay, perhaps he’ll run away, but a life in the wild would be better than chained up here in this pit. The dog immediately made a bee-line for my truck (the door was open) and jumped right in. I sat in the driver’s seat and he snuggled right up next to me as if to say, “Okay, I’m ready, let’s go!!”

So we did. That would be the first of many, many rides in the truck. He often didn’t even seem to care where we were going. He just loved get in the truck and go.

After that first day, it didn’t take long for this dog to become a good friend. He was an incredibly quick learner, and in fact learned the basics (sit, stay, speak, and lay down) in just one day. He also was house broken in just a matter of 2 or 3 days. He stuck to me like glue everywhere we went, and would even follow me down to the creek and jump in the water if I was in the water. Rusty become the first dog I ever had an emotional bond with. I didn’t know it was possible to love a dog like a child or any other human, but yes indeed that is certainly possible. He was an ever-present furry friend through many days of boredom, aggravation, poverty, wealth, sickness, and everything else you can think of. I’m glad he doesn’t speak. He could probably tell some stories about me! LOL.

I moved him from Arkansas to Houston, Texas in 2007 and was a little worried about how he well he do adapting to life in the city (and me too for that matter). We both did fine and he quickly found there were plenty of rabbits to chase along the Bayou near downtown Houston, and…omg…the beach in Galveston was just loaded with stinky, smelly dead things. He would literally roll around in that stuff and cover himself in stink. It was awful a couple of times driving back from Galveston.

Rusty was a one-person dog with me being the one person. He didn’t particularly like other dogs either, but he would gradually accept the presence of our dogs Tootsie, and Fifi, and even Potrillo. Amazingly, he got along very well with Potrillo and would even share a food bowl. That is something he’d NEVER do with any other dog. I think Rusty thought Potrillo was his child. LOL.

Around 2014, though, he began to noticeably age and lose some of his sense. He used to be scared to death of storms, but now it would thunder and lightning outside and he would flinch. It was because his hearing was slipping away. Then his eyesight began to fade as well. I could toss food to him and he wouldn’t even see it. Only his sense of smell remained and he’d follow his nose to the goodies I had tossed.

I knew Rusty didn’t have too much longer left in this world, but still I was hoping for a few more years at least. That wouldn’t be the case. In June of this year he suddenly began having difficulty breathing. I took him to the vet to see what the problem was, but the price to find out was HUGE – like $500 or more. I thought, well, maybe I can figure this out on my own and give him some natural remedies. I’m pretty sure it was some sort of fluid building up around the lungs. It was causing his blood pressure to rise and difficulty in breathing. After about 7 days, I realized nothing I was doing was fixing the problem, so I set an appointment to the doctor again for July 12th at 10:00 a.m.

During the night on July 11th, Rusty’s behavior changed slightly from the norm. He disappeared in the middle of the night. I think he was uncomfortable or possibly in pain. In the morning, I found him laying in the living room floor just sort of zoned out. He wasn’t whimpering or in any obvious pain, so we just went about our normal morning routine. I got Ivy ready for her daycamp at Impact Church of Christ, and picked up Rusty and carried him out to the truck. He actually got a little excited…like he always does…when I put him the truck. I guess he thought we were going to the park or something.

Maybe the excitement put him over the edge. On our way to Daycamp Ivy turned and looked at Rusty in the backseat when I asked, “What is he doing?” She said he was just breathing heavy. About 9:35 a.m., when she exited the truck and went into the church, I saw Rusty rustle around and move to the other passenger side of the back seat. He continued to breathe heavy, but he was just staring at me with a far-away look in his eyes. I drove on and headed toward the clinic for our appointment at 10 am.

As we were driving up Heights Boulevard, I turned up the volume on a song on the radio by The Bleachers called “Rollercoaster.”

When the song ended, it became quiet in the truck…I mean very quiet…I suddenly became aware there was no sound of breathing from the backseat. I glanced back and, sure enough, Rusty was not breathing. I pulled over to the side, turned and scratched his head. Nothing. I poked and shook him. Still nothing. He seemed to be gone. He must have passed away somewhere between I-10 and the library on 13th street on Heights Boulevard.

But suddenly, he twitched. Maybe he is still alive?! So I drove on to the clinic (only about 5 more blocks), picked him up and carried him in. I told the doctors he twitched a couple of times, so he might still be alive, but after a few minutes the doctor said, no, he is gone.

I left Rusty with the veterinarian to be cremated. It was a sad day.

I’m really glad things ended in the same way that it began…just me and Rusty in a truck. That seemed to be his most favorite thing in the world. I’m also glad he seemed to pass away quietly and with no apparent pain. I’m also glad he waited until Ivy was out of the truck in her daycamp. It was only 5-10 minutes after she exited the truck that he passed away. If he had died while she was still with us I’m afraid it would’ve been traumatic for her. Rusty has been a part of Ivy’s life since the day we brought her home from the hospital. I remember how curious he was about the baby, sniffing and even licking her head.

Overall, he lived a good life and chased a lot of squirrels and cats. I’m glad I was a part of it. Goodbye, my friend. Hope to see you again in Heaven.

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Rusty Passed Away Today

We Visit Holly’s Shiny New Skyscraper


BHP Billiton spent a lot of money to build a new skyscraper in the Post Oak area. Holly already worked on the 22nd floor of one of the older buildings, but BhpBilliton decided they needed a new one. It was finally ready in the spring and Holly packed up her stuff and moved to the new office on the 13th floor of the new building. One fine afternoon in May – Ivy’s first day out of school, in fact, we decided to drop by and check out the new place.

IMG_6597

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on We Visit Holly’s Shiny New Skyscraper

School’s Out – Summer begins


School finally came to an end and Ivy completed 3rd grade successfully. Grade average? I think a B. She did well okay in ever category, but excelled in mathematics. She showed signs of being an artist as well. Didn’t do so great in Spanish reading, but she didn’t fail either. I think she just didn’t have any real motivation to get better at speaking Spanish because all of her friends and family speak English. But, she has two more years to go at this Spanish-language school, so maybe she’ll get better.

Otherwise, she was ready for school to end. Mr. Tomaz was her first male teacher and a bit more of a task master than she had experienced before. He sent homework home with her EVERY night! Even I got a little frustrated with the amount of homework. She was definitely sick of it by the end of school. The past few months we had to endure lots of complaining and resistance to doing homework each night. But she did and passed 3rd grade with a B average. Excellent!

Usually, on the first week of no school we’d send Ivy to a day camp at the Museum of Natural Science. But this year she just didn’t want to go, and we didn’t want to spend the extra $200. So we had a week to piddle around and kill time. What to do? Let’s go to the Art Museum! Ivy has shown an interest and aptitude in art, so I thought maybe exposure to fine art would be a good thing. I quickly learned she is not quite ready for that yet. The only thing she noticed was all the BOOBIES! Boobs and naked people everywhere in the museum. She could see their boy parts and girl parts. Ewwww!

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on School’s Out – Summer begins

Easter


Easter was fairly tame this year. We just went to Easter morning services at Klein Methodist Church with Jane (her home church). It was nice! Then some good food at Harris County Smokehouse in Tomball. I had never heard of the place, but Jane said it was really good. So we went and tried it…and, yep, it was really good! 🙂

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Easter

Ancestry Archive


For Christmas in 2011, Holly bought me a membership to Ancestry.com I ended up with so much information that it was a bit overwhelming, mind-boggling, and seemingly never-ending (I never quite finished it). But at the very least, I did write a few blogs posts about what I had found. I’m just creating this blog post just to have them all in one spot for future reference.

The Dutton side…

On the Ivy side

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ancestry Archive

Godeo the Rodeo…for free!


I had resigned to think I wouldn’t be going to the rodeo at all this year. Nobody wanted to go! And the concerts that I wanted to see were quickly sold out…especially the Zac Brown Band. So, I figured, oh well, there’s next year.

But on Sunday, the final day of the Rodeo, a neighbor posted a message in our neighborhood Facebook page saying, “Too much rodeo for me! I’m kind of burnt out. But I have 2 tickets to today’s show if anyone wants them. No charge. Just come get them.”

Heck, yeah! I totally jumped on that grenade. 5 minutes later I had 2 tickets in my hand for the Rodeo and Concert. I asked…well, no, I TOLD Jose to get ready to go because he was going to the Rodeo. He obliged. 🙂 It was 2:30 and the rodeo started at 3:45. Off we went to get on the Metro (parked downtown near the YMCA) and make our way to NRG Stadium.

Jose had never been to a rodeo before, and never to NRG stadium either. So it was a treat for him. I totally enjoyed it too. The seats were great, too. We were at Level 3 (sort of in the middle, not real high and not real low), and we had a few empty seats around us so we could stretch out. It was a good show and a great day!

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Godeo the Rodeo…for free!

Went Wild in Waco


Spring break!

Wait. Didn’t we just have a Christmas break? Do we really need another break? A whole week?! I guess so.

It’s that time again to find stuff to do for the kiddos, as well as take the obligatory photos of bluebonnets. This time around, though, some of the relatives from up north decided to make a big trip to Texas and Arizona. My mom also was wanting to come down and visit with Ivy during Spring Break. So the suggestion came up that we all get together, and it just so happened that everyone likes that show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. So how about we meet up in Waco, Texas!

That’s exactly what we did. It was a long drive for George and Loann (South Dakota), and for my mom and Larry as well (from Arkansas), but a short 2 1/2 hour drive for us from Houston. 🙂 Everyone stayed at the same hotel on the night of the 14th and 15th, and we enjoyed a nice breakfast the next morning compliments of the hotel (Texas shaped waffles!). Then off we went to the Magnolia Market!

Afterward, George and Loann and Jane went decided to take a Tour Bus of Waco, while Mom, Larry, Ivy and I went to the Dr. Pepper Museum.

Then later that night we met up at Texas Roadhouse restaurant and just happened to arrive on a night where they had an awesome affordable special – $10 for an 11 ounce ribeye steak and 2 sides. We had lots of food and plenty to take home in a doggy bag! Awesome!!

IMG_6477

On the morning of the 16th, we had breakfast together again and then George and Loann headed off on their next big leg of their journey to Arizona. The rest of us returned to Houston. But not before checking out one more site in Waco – the Mammoth National Monument.

I began to feel a bit ill as we were returning to Houston, and by saturday was pretty well sick with a cold. 🙁 Despite that, though, we went to see the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie at Movie Tavern. Mom and I shared a big plate of nachos as we enjoyed the movie. I thought both the nachos and the movie were pretty good!

Finally, on Monday, I shipped mom off to Arkansas and Ivy to school…and then just slumped into a Nyquil coma for the rest of the day. Having a cold sucks. Not a great way to end a nice spring break, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Share on Facebook
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Went Wild in Waco