Archive for Ryan’s Ramblings

1,158 — Wow

Friday, June 12th, 2015

So, it has been 1,158 days since my last post. I guess that means it has been 1,158 days since my Grandpa Cookie–my last living grandparent–passed away. Hard to believe I have been that quiet, or that it has been that long since my g’pa passed.

Well, I am back–at least for awhile. Most likely I am typing this for myself, but today marks day 1 of a project I want to document. Today, we begin finishing my basement. And being married to a cheapskate (sorry, Rebecca), I have decided to general contract the project myself. What makes me qualified to be a construction general contractor? It’s quite simple, really, and is one word:

Google Logo


Yes, thanks to Google, I have all the skills and knowledge it takes to manage this project.

So, here’s how we have gotten here.

On Friday, June 5, I ordered the wood necessary for delivery. On Wednesday, it showed up at 9:00 am — right when they told me it would.

The wood sat in my driveway until today, when the contractor I hired to frame the basement showed up with his 13 year old son and moved the wood into my clean basement. Why the emphasis on the word clean? Well, quite simply since we moved into my new house back on October 31, 2012 (yeah, sorry — a lot has changed since I last posted), our basement has been jam packed with stuff. Why the emphasis on the word stuff? Frankly, I didn’t want to swear as my mother will probably be one of the 5 people to ever read this article.

Over the last few months in preparing to finish the basement, Rebecca and I have:

  • Donated a bunch of stuff to the Good Will
  • Sold a bunch of stuff, including some really nice and expensive stuff from my old home theater, on Craigslist.  Sidenote:  I have some stuff still for sale on Craigslist if you’re local and interested.
  • Taken a load of stuff to the dump.

After ridding of all of that stuff, the basement was clean and ready to begin accepting walls.  That begins tomorrow.

I plan to post some before, during and after photos of the project in the days, weeks and months to come.  My stretch goal is to have the basement completed before I host our neighborhood poker game in September, but no matter what, I need it done in time for our 10th Annual Halloween Party.

So, if you are really, really bored, be prepared to follow along and see the evolution of our empty space below.

Peace — and don’t vote for Hillary Clinton (some things will never change).


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I Love You Mommy!

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

It’s hard to imagine life without my mother.  My sisters would undoubtedly tell you I am a mama’s boy.  I don’t really know that to be the case, considering I have a close relationship with my dad, too, but if that’s the case, so be it.  My mom is a great woman, and I am proud she is my mom.  I am thankful we have a day each year designated to pay our respects and show our love to our mothers, though they most certainly deserve far more than a single day a year.

My Mommy and My Princess

Mothers are truly amazing, and their work and efforts do not get recognized near enough.  I see that much more clearly now, having two kids of my own and a step-son.  My wife is a wonderful mother, too.  As are my two sisters.  If you pay even the slightest bit of attention, you will recognize what superior people moms are.  My mom, my wife, and both of my sisters all work(ed) full-time jobs (my mom retired a few years back).  Yet, when their work work is done, that is when they kick it into high gear.  From changing diapers, cleaning house, cooking dinner, running errands, getting kids to practices/games/events, doing laundry… man, the list is overwhelming and non-ending.  The  things they do blow my mind.  I am spoiled.  I am fortunate.  The mothers in my life are champions.  I get exhausted physically and mentally at work, and when I get home, I just want to relax and chill.  My wife picks up my slack.  I feel the pain when my wife travels out of town.  I do not know how many times I have told her that she is a much better primary care giver than I am.  She is.  I am thankful for all that she does in taking care of me and the kids, much like my mom did (and still does) and my sisters do.

My dad’s mother passed away just a few weeks ago.  This is his first mother’s day where, at least in physical form, he cannot thank his mother for all of the wonderful things she did for him.  I can’t even imagine being in that situation.  I saw his post on Facebook this morning and shed a tear.  Mothers are so important.  My mom’s mom passed back in 2004.  Seeing my mom posting pictures of her yesterday makes me realize that even 7 years later, a mother’s love is never forgotten.

On this Mothers’ Day 2011, I find it so easy to say “Thank You” and “I love You” to the moms in my life:  my mother, my wife, and my sisters.  And oh, I would be remiss to not mention my mother-in-law.  What a wonderful mother she is, as well.  Mothers are remarkable.  While it is easy to say today, I realize I need to say it again tomorrow, next week, next month, and all the days ahead.  Without mothers, we’d all be in trouble.

To all you wonderful mother’s out there, Thank You and Happy Mothers’ Day.

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The Social Birthday

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The Social BirthdayOver the past two years it seems that birthdays have changed significantly. On Tuesday, my 39th anniversary of life on this planet, I experienced my second “Social Birthday”. What I mean by this is that the traditional methodology of friends and family wishing me a happy birthday has officially evolved from a phone call or greeting card to a text or Facebook message.

The Social Birthday actually begins the day before the actual birthday. There is no doubt as to why this is, since Facebook lists your FB friends birthdays for you, sometimes showing you who will have one the next day. It is clear to me people actually look at this stuff daily and make a practice of wishing their FB friends a happy birthday on their birthday (plus or minus a day).

My Social Birthday
Happy Birthday, LOLTo show what I mean about birthdays becoming Social Birthdays, let’s look at my birthday greetings. I received:

  • 8 text messages
  • 3 physical greeting cards in the mail
  • 1 phone call greeting (thanks, mom!)
  • 1 e-mail greeting (Thanks Shawn Porter)
  • 107+ individual birthday greetings on Facebook, beginning several hours before my birthday and ending the day after my birthday. These greetings came from friends and family both, and some included some “wonderful” facebook application greeting cards. I’m pretty sure there were more greetings hidden in comment threads, but I didn’t go back and count those.

Additionally, I received quite a few in-person, real social greetings from my wife, kids, co-workers and friends. One friend (@ShawnHashmi) even picked-up my lunch check.

I should note that my mother contacted me in the most methods: phone, Facebook, text, and physical greeting card (including a check!) Thanks, mom!

My Conclusion
It is clear that birthday’s of old are gone by the wayside. Having said this, and while I greatly appreciate all of my “Social” birthday greetings, my birthday was most complete by the “Happy Birthday” from my daughter Braelyn (who peeked around the corner of the shower), my son Brody, step-son Spencer, wonderful wife Rebecca, my mother who called me and my friends and co-workers who said it in person.

There is definitely a place for the Social Birthday and it is great to be able to send and receive FB greetings to those we don’t interact with as regularly. I guess as I think about March 21, though, I just wish there was more personable interactions with those we are truly closest to than a thread on Facebook or a text on the phone.

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Where I Come From, We’d Call It Tuesday

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Some are calling it the “Blizzard of Oz”. Others refer to it as “Snowmageddon”. Where I come from, we’d simply call it “Tuesday”.

NBC photo

Oh my, Shut Down the City

Yes, the midwest is bracing for possibly the worst storm in decades. Forecasters are calling for anywhere from 4 inches to 3 feet of snow out here in Kansas and Missouri. Schools are closed. Light snow flakes fill the air. The roads have some snowpack. The winds might get to be 30-35 mph. Yes, we are boarding up our windows now, having successfully raided the grocery store for flashlights, candles, bottled water and canned foods. We are hastily switching channels between the local news stations to see what’s happening out there. I really enjoyed the clip of a snow plow driver prepping the streets, talking about safety, while driving with a bright tv camera light in his face (showing off at least three teeth). Please pray for us…

Here it Comes!

Having grown up in Casper, Wyoming, this is nothing. Schools would be in session. Offices would be open (yes, I closed our office today–it’s the thing to do out here). Traffic would flow at the normal 30 miles per hour (sadly, speed limits are still dreadfully low in Casper). People would survive. Afterall, 35 mile per hour wind is just an average Tuesday in “C” town. But not out here. We’re all hunkered down, fearing the worst but praying for the best. If you don’t hear from me, wait for Snowmageddon to stop and call for help. Thank you.

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The Titty ‘Spection Agency (TSA)

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Not too long ago, I was watching Saturday Night Live and they did a spoof sex line commercial portraying the Transportation Security Administration as the people you will talk to. While I thought the bit was funny, I also thought people have been drastically over-reacting to the TSA and their new pat-down procedures. That was until this week.

TSA Physical

Turn your head and cough, please.

On Monday morning, I flew from Kansas City to the west coast. With the weather conditions we had here in KC, I left early for the airport and ended up getting there with much time to spare. I grabbed a bite to eat then proceeded to a lengthy line to get through security. While waiting in line to prove my identity, I could see the TSA hard at work with their pat-down procedures. I watched two people get the rubber glove treatment. Both of the individuals were at least 70 years-old, it appeared. One man; one woman. It took me about 4 or 5 minutes to get through the line, and for the entire duration, the two were being rubbed and frisked. I truly felt like the lights should be dimmed and there should be some Sinatra playing over the PA system. I felt as though I was watching a complete body massage. Fortunately I got to the check-in point and lost site of the TSA agents before I could see if there was a happy ending for either of the two elderly people.

I was, however, thankful… I felt very secure as it was so reassuring to know these two people were not going to bring my plane down. I know my government is looking after my well-being, making sure grandma and grandpa were free of any weapons or explosives. In reality, I know now what I felt when the TSA was formed after 9/11 — our government really shouldn’t be heading security at the airports. What they do is more for show than really to protect us. They are there to create a false sense of security. And until recent times, that has mostly worked. But now, they are proving to be the joke that they are. We have people making ~$29,131 per year that should be making $8/hour at Walmart or $1.99/minute on a sex line that nobody would call.

TSA Breast Inspection

Any explosives in there, grandma?

Just this past week, it was announced that the TSA’s show is not all about showing the public how safe they are making our airports and flights, but that they also seem to like the show they receive when they give their massages. Lynsie Murley sued the TSA last year and has now settled for an undisclosed amount after her breasts were exposed during a pat-down. The event became a laughing matter, so it seems, for the TSA members around. Their “attention to detail” and joking around about it has led to some sort of a payday for Murley. I bet the payday was not insignificant. Many of you will also recall that last November, John Tyner’s encounter in which he proclaimed “…touch my junk and I will have you arrested” prior to his pat-down received much publicity, as he secretly recorded the “private” meeting with the TSA on his cell phone. Without rehashing the whole story here, I encourage you to read his blog post here or watch a Fox News story about it below.

Personally, I have not had the privilege in all of my flights of late to get my personal pat-down, though I must admit I am anxious to have one. Would certainly make my flight a bit more relaxing, having received a thorough massage with a happy ending (I just wonder if they will provide a cigarette afterwords). While I haven’t received that special treatment, I have twice been through the new full-body-imaging scanners. I know some people feel this is a total invasion of privacy, but to me, I feel happy that I am able to make some pervert’s day. My only real surprise is that the images acquired haven’t been leaked in a new WikiLeaks scandal. That day will likely come, I am sure.

I leave you with the clip from SNL’s parody on the TSA. It is well worth the watch. Enjoy your flight. Maybe my long trip to Maui next week will be kicked off with a bang… almost literally. After all, the skies are much more friendly these days (or at least the pre-flight, I should say).

If you want to read some more pat-downs gone wrong, check out this link. Even more, if you are currently working at McDonald’s or Walmart and would prefer a titillating job with the TSA, you can apply on-line here.


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Elway the Comedian

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

John Fox

Elway wants to interview John Fox for the Broncos head coaching vacancy.

If a report on is true, John Elway, in his new role as Executive VP of Football Operations with the Denver Broncos, wants to interview John Fox, the ever-so-successful embattled Carolina Panther’s football coach, for the Broncos head coaching vacancy. All I can say is, “Are you kidding, Elway?” There is no Rooney Rule equivalent saying you must interview at least one horrible candidate before you can hire a head coach. Something, though, must be making this even a consideration, as I hardly believe Fox’s record with the Panthers even hints as a positive move for the Broncos.

Yes, Jim Harbaugh is out of consideration now that the San Francisco 49ers have pulled him from his successes at Stanford. For this, I am thankful. I wrote the other day that I think Harbaugh would be a big mistake, as it is rare to find someone successful in the college ranks who jumps to the NFL and finds success. I further find it unlikely that NFL coaches who can’t find success in one organization probably won’t find success in another, unless of course they worked for Al Davis and the Raiders, in which case all bets are off.

John Fox

John Fox and the Broncos fan will share this look if he takes over the head coaching duties with the Broncos.

As the Panther’s head coach, John Fox does have a winning record. In his 9 years at the helm, he has ammased an amazing 73-71 record. This is hard to do when you have to overcome three successful seasons (11-5 in 2003 and 2005, and 12-4 in 2008). Those three seasons, each with over ten wins, are the only seasons in which Fox had a winning record. The Broncos need better. They must have better. Let Fox finish out his final season of his contract with the Panthers and go find someone else.

I am all about the Broncos picking up a seasoned head coach, but one with a track record of success would be ideal. The Broncos made a lot of mistakes over the past two years, and hiring Fox would extend the streak. Hopefully Elway will come to his senses and find a winner to lead the team, so the fans of the Broncos don’t have to share the same posture as Fox.

Enjoy your weekend watching some playoff football… and sorry, Broncos fans, try not to dwell too much on Elway’s interest in Fox. I am certain he is just working on his stand-up routine this weekend and he will make another comeback in the coming weeks.



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My Teams and their Brilliant Coaching Changes

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

As Kansas City Chiefs fans are all getting pumped up for their playoff game this weekend, I am thinking about the wonderful moves my university (Colorado State University) and my favorite football team (Denver Broncos) have made in the past few years.

Mike Shanahan
Almost two years ago to this day, Sir Patrick Bowlen, owner of the Broncos, decided that consistent winning seasons and playoff appearances was just not enough. And on that day, he decided to dismiss Mike Shanahan as coach and VP of Football Operations. Yes, Mike and the Broncos were failing to advance in the playoffs, and missed several years. But the season the Broncos had before his firing was one marred with injuries, and yet the Broncos just missed out of the post season. But that just wasn’t good enough, and so Shanahan was out and the New England Patriot’s young offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, was in. At the same time, the Kansas City Chiefs were seeking their head coach, and Shanahan was rumored to be in. Instead, the Chiefs took Todd Haley. As an aside, had the Chiefs picked-up Shanahan, I would have finally converted. When they hired McDaniels, I felt like it might be okay…

Fast forward two years and McDaniels was fired mid-season. Despite my love of the Patriots (my 2nd favorite team), I was happy that McDaniels was out. He created more issues and led to the Broncos heading further in the wrong direction. But it all boils down to Bowlen and his idiotic move of crushing his franchise. On that day two years ago, Bowlen turned his investment upside down.

Denver BroncosNow, the Broncos turn to the legend, the man, John Elway, to assume the VP of football operations. While I am a huge Elway fan, I think this move is as much about positive publicity as it is rebuilding a franchies destroyed by the owner. My sis, who lives in Ft. Collins, says rumor is Bowlen has Alzhemier’s Disease setting in, and she swears it’s not a joke. Well, I don’t know if I believe that, but maybe that would give some logic behind his brain-dead moves of the past 730 days.

On the pro-scene, my only comfort is found in thinking about the Chiefs setting a new NFL record… becoming the first NFL team to lose 7 consecutive playoff games. That, following their assistance this past weekend in the Raiders becoming the first NFL team to go undefeated in conference play and not make the playoffs, is something to put a smile on my face.

Sonny LubickA year before Bowlen went nuts, Colorado State did the same thing. Out with the legendary Sonny Lubick (108-74 in his 15 seasons at the helm of the Rams, including 6 conference championships and 9 bowl game appearances) and in with Steve Fairchild. While it was nice that Fairchild was a former Ram, his accomplishments at CSU make that a moot point. Yes, in his three years in charge have yielded a stellar 13-24 record, including an 0-8 conference season in his second year. Yes, Oh and Eight. Hard to do in the Mountain West. CSU offered Lubick a PR position when they forced him out, but unlike Elway, Lubick passed. While Sonny was definitely past his prime (he had 3 losing seasons in his last 4 years), he built CSU football and should have been allowed his final season and to leave on his own terms. Instead, out with the old and in with the new.

The Broncos and the Rams certainly have made it difficult to continue being a fan. But I am, and always will be. I just hope that Elway’s first move will be to bring in a quality coach. I would have loved it to be former Steeler’s coach Bill Cowher, but that won’t happen for sure now that someone holds the VP of Ops title. Instead, it looks like we’ll probably end up with Stanford’s coach Jim Harbaugh. Folks, someday people will learn that with little exception, college coaches tank in the NFL. Yet they keep getting hired (and ultimately fired).

Chiefs Suck
This weekend, I will watch the Chiefs play, and no, I won’t be wearing red. I will be reminiscing of the days of old with the Broncos, hoping for a quick and speedy turn-around of a once great franchise.



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The Buried Life

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

As we enter 2011 and I sit here watching the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs do battle at Arrowhead Stadium, I am actually thinking about what I want to do before I die. Spencer got me hooked on MTV’s The Buried Life, a show where four guys try and cross items off of their bucket list while helping others do the same.

The Buried Life

I don’t have a whole lot of items on my bucket list, but there are some things I definitely want to do. In no particular order, the list for my own The Buried Life would include:

Places to Visit

  • Austrailia
  • Dubai
  • South Africa
  • Amsterdam
  • A few weeks exploring Eurpoe

Other things I want to do:

  • Coach high school & Legion baseball again
  • Walk my daughter down the aisle
  • Be a grandfather
  • See 150 Dave Matthews Band shows (I’m currently at 76)
  • Own my own businesses, including a sports bar or some variation
  • Set my children up financially

Not sure how many of the items I will get to accomplish in 2011, but only one or two are probably even close to feasible in the short term. But a guy can wish, right? Some items will definitely require me to live awhile since I became a parent in my mid thirties, but hopefully with a commitment to being healthier, maybe that will just happen.

I am definitely thankful for my wonderful family and friends, and certainly hope to share in my Buried Life experiences with them all.

Peace from the OP,


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Happy 1.1.11

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Happy new year to all of my family and friends. I have no doubt that 2011 is going to be a crazy and chaotic year (thanks, Braelyn & Brody). I just hope it will be a better year than 2010–not that 2010 was all that bad, but you always hope things get better with time.

Braelyn turns three next Sunday, and she’s so excited for her Minnie Mouse birthday party next Saturday. She picked out the cake and everything. Crazy how much she has grown over the past year, as shown in her Christmas pictures from Dec. 24th 2009 and 2010.

Braelyn also just started preschool. She went for a practice day last Thursday, and Monday will be her first official day of pre-school. That and her weekly gymnastics on Saturday are two of her favorite things… aside from any toy that Brody happens to be playing with.

Speaking of the Brodster… he turned one in September and is quite the character. He, too, has grown considerably.

Brody begins toddler school on Monday, at the same place Braelyn goes (La Petite Academy). He loved the place last Thursday when we dropped Braelyn off… so much he got mad when he had to leave. So thankfully, both kids should do well in their new school.

Rebecca is loving her job at Treo Solutions, though she travels to Albany, NY a bit more than I enjoy. I do not think I am cut out to be the primary care giver. Rebecca is awesome at it… I just am “OK” at it. For 2011, Rebecca has vowed to not be grumpy (I give it < 1 day till she breaks that one), to give up soda (Diet Coke has been her cocaine), and until we go to Maui (January 17!!!), she vows she isn't drinking a drop of alcohol. Best of luck to her as she takes on these three monumental tasks at once. She is one tough cookie, though, so I bet she gets 2 of the 3. Spencer is doing real well in his junior year at Blue Valley Northwest High School. He has had a tough past year, with two friends taking their own life. He is a strong kid, and has pulled through. He really is turning into a fine young man. Says his mom is already going through a state of depression, trying to deal with Spencer being out of high school in a year and a half. Something tells me it's more Spencer than his mom, at least at this point. Something else tells me Spencer will be around a year or two after he graduates... time will tell. The big dawg Hoover is doing well. Still a bit gimp from his bad legs, but he is handling quite well. He has even been going up and down the stairs to the basement quite a bit of late. He's a great dog... and just over 5 years old. We will have had Hoover for 5 years in just a few weeks. As for me, I'm doing well. Lost about 12 pounds in the past month, but not completely by diet and exercise changes... while I have been going to the gym a bit more of late, I also took back to my old bad habit of chewing which I gave up on January 1st of last year. It really surpresses my appetite. I made it to labor day weekend without one, but only had a few while at the Gorge. Then I resumed on a regular basis the last week of November. I intend to quit it again right after Maui. I need to keep up the weight loss until then! Work is going strong and keeping me busy... a good thing. Resolutions for me for 2011? Not much, really. Will quit chewing again after Maui. Still don't drink pop (gave that up last NYE). I guess just keep going to the gym and eat better. Be healthy. Yep... sounds familiar, I am sure. Oh, the other thing... as of today, I have seperated my twitter and facebook accounts, and do not intend to post status updates via either. I have grown tired of that, and realize it's pretty much a big waste of time. As such, more about me and my happenings will be found right here on Oh, and twitter will become more of a work thing for me. Less personal, more professional. That's the plan, anyway. To any of you who have stumbled upon this, in whatever manner you came, thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope you have a tremendous 2011. It will be quite a year... and one without my beloved Dave Matthews Band since they are taking the year off. Ugggghhhhhhh. Peace, RE

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Thinking Pink

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Thinking pink this October 1st, and remembering the great lady, my gradma, who my family lost to breast cancer.

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