Things they are a changing.

I have decided to stop recording my personal life on this blog and start using it to talk about various topics that interest me. These topics will be on just about anything. Just a few that come to mind are religion, politics, news, photography, technology, firearms, and anything else that grabs my attention from day to day. So with that in mind I will have my first entry as soon as I think of something to talk about, which shouldn’t be long as there is always something on my mind. I hope to elicit more comments this way as for the most part my personal life is somewhat boring. I will still mention some aspects of my personal life, like when I do things like attend a festival or go to a ball game or something exciting or out of the ordinary occurs.

In October there are a lot of festivals and events that take place and I hope to attend a few of them. I know I will be going to the Military Aviation Museum’s annual Biplane show this October 4th. There is also Octoberfest, the Stockley Gardens Art festival, the Suffolk Peanut Fest, and Driver Days. They should give me something to write about on a personal level. So stay tuned for the next exciting episode….

Fall is Here

Well it is starting to look like I am only going to post here once every season. My last entry was in the summer, where I promised to post more often. Didn’t seem to happen did it? Anyway, there is a lot to write about. My health continues to improve and  for that I am grateful to God and my doctors. My 65th birthday is fast approaching so I don’t expect to feel like any 18 year old any  more. Aches and pains will be the norm for the rest of my time here on earth.  Now  if I could just get used to that.

On the news front I guess front and center is that  I have started taking piano lessons. I have always wanted to play a musical instrument and the last time I attempted that was when I was sixteen with a guitar. Never got very far with that. But now I am taking lessons from our church pianist/organist. She is very good as an instructor and I am making good progress. In fact I am amazed with myself for once in my life. Seems even at 65 learning how to play and instrument  is not beyond me. I don’t have any plans for playing Carnegie Hall but I am enjoying myself. I can read music fairly well and am learning some chords. I have about six or seven tunes in my repertoire that  I can play pretty well. Nothing complicated or fancy but better than chopsticks.

As usual on the technology front I have been busy.  I have a new Nexus 4 smartphone and just changed my data plan from T-Mobile, who  has lousy network coverage in this area to AT&T via  Straight Talk. Seems  AT&T has much better coverage in SE  Virginia. I also bought a used laptop from Cowboom  auction for  only $150. It is going to be delivered by UPS tomorrow. Hope it is not a piece of junk but I think I got a really good deal. We shall see.

Also been reading a lot. Philosophy, history, and religion  along with the usual science fiction. Being retired I have a lot of time to do the things I want. I go out to lunch with my older brother Skip and a friend of ours a couple of times a month and  I enjoy that. I even took in my first 3D  movie, Gravity, at the new theater in the mall. It was really a great movie especially with the 3D effects. Oh, I almost forgot, I was  very fortunate to find a used Wurlitzer digital piano with full 88 weighted keys. It helps me  to practice where otherwise I would have to go to church to practice there.

So  that is about it for now. As usual, keep God first in everything you do. Peace out.

             HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Pumpkin Art

Back Again

Lots of things have changed since my last post. I have been having a few health issues that I am still dealing with. I am on a number of new medications. I guess this is to be expected when you reach my age. I think the number one thing I could do for my health would be to lose about 15 pounds. Not an easy thing to do at my age but I need to give it a shot. I may also be moving in the near future. Things have not worked out as I thought  they would and Max and I will be looking for a new place to live. Moving  is a hassle and I have moved way too  many times in my life. At 64 years I had not really anticipated moving again but one never knows what the future has in store.

On the  technology front, I have only a couple of new toys. The first one is what is called Android TV on a stick. Usually these devices look like an over-sized thumb drive but the one I purchased, the  Odroid-U2, looks like a small board with several  connectors for USB, power,  audio, and a microSD card. It  is housed in what looks like a heat sink. I have it running the  latest version of Android and it is now hooked up to my other new toy. The other new toy is a 39 inch LG HDTV. Since I have moved upstairs to the studio in the house, I needed a new TV. The LG is a very nice LED TV with just the basic functionality. I didn’t need anything fancy or expensive. With the Odroid-U2 connected to it via HDMI it is a SmartTV that runs all the latest Android apps.

That is about it for now. I am sure I left some things out but hopefully I will post again soon instead of only once every couple of months.  Peace out and keep God first in everything you do.

New Year Upon Me

Wow, I have been really remiss in posting here. I just don’t seem to have the urge to post as often as I used to. Not that I have not had anything to write about, just the urge to document it is not as great as it has been in the past.

On that note, It is a new year and man, where does the time go? Today is Groundhog Day and Phil has called for an early Spring. Our winter has been interesting here. It has snowed three times so far, with a significant accumulation on one of the occasions. The temperatures have ranged from 18 degrees to 76 degrees, quite a swing, but not that unusual for this area.

With the weather out of the way, what else can I talk about? Oh, I know, politics. No I would rather not. Suffice it to say that this country is going to Hell in the proverbial hand basket. The liberals are making another run on the Second Amendment. Seems they won’t be happy until they have taken my Red Ryder BB gun away from me.

No, what I really want to talk about is my continued obsession with technology. Since my last post in July when I mentioned I bought a Kindle Fire and a Samsung Dart smartphone, let me report that they have both been replaced. Now I have a Asus Google Nexus 7 tablet and an LG Optimus L9 smartphone. Did I really need to replace either one of the older devices?  Not really, but by now, if you have been reading any of my posts, you know that sometimes I can’t help myself.

The new smartphone is probably the only one I can possibly justify. My old Samsung was slow and under-powered, with a small display and an old version of Android. My new LG smartphone addresses all those issues. I have even gone for a pre-paid data plan as the phone supports 4G. It is nice to not have to rely on finding an open hot spot when I am away from home. The 4.5″ screen is also much better for doing just about everything, not to mention a much better camera.

As for the new Nexus 7, it has several things that my Kindle Fire did not have, the main thing being GPS. It is also much thinner and lighter, which makes it easier to hold for long periods of time. The display is also better and I forgot to mention it has a microphone, which is needed for a lot of apps.

So I think I am set on the technology front for at least a couple of months, although I am looking at one of the Android TV on a stick devices. I got my son Jason one for his birthday and he loves it.

That’s it for now. I am busy with my Bible app on my Nexus 7 doing several devotionals a day, and staying busy with church. I still am plotting and planning our next vacation as I am always excited about going places I have never been before.

Peace out, may the Force be with you, and keep God first in everything you do.

Summer is over Fall is here

Just had the Harvest Moon the other night so Fall is definitely here. The weather is still quite warm but that should change pretty soon. I have had enough of all the hot, humid weather and endless rain. Fall is my favorite season for a number of reasons. Lots of Fall festivals, the colors on the trees as the leaves change, and Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Not much newsworthy has been happening. Our church had its first Family Fun Day and the turnout for it was pretty good. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the menu, tattoo booth, beads booth, inflatable fun house for the kids, corn hole games, and lots of other stuff. Lots of new faces showed up and hopefully some of those will come for a Sunday service.

I have been out and about taking lots of photos with my new camera. I especially like the 25x zoom as it allows me to take candid shots where the subject is not conscious of the camera. I also bought a new Vizio Co-Star media device to replace my old Roku. The consensus on the Co-Star is kind of mixed. Hopefully my opinion will become more favorable as I find out more on its capabilities.

That is about it for now. Just wanted to say something so I won’t have these long gaps in my blog. Hope everyone is enjoying Fall as much as I am.

Where have I been?

The last post I wrote for this blog was in September last. What happened? Guess I just lost interest. Anyway, I feel like posting again so here goes.

Just a few things to write about now, with more in following posts as I try to catch up. On the technology side, since my last post I have bought a Kindle Fire and a Samsung Dart smartphone. I really needed a new phone as my old Nokia was a POS. The new Dart has everything I need, especially sound quality. I find myself using it a lot for sending text messages as well as casual web surfing. I do not have a data plan and am only using wi-fi. I am able to find quite a few free hotspots so a data plan is not needed for now.

The Kindle Fire was a purchase I had not needed to make but I could no longer resist the lure of a tablet. And when I found a refurbished one for only 139 dollars, resistance was futile. Needless to say I am in love with the Kindle Fire and use it all the time. Reading books, checking email. listening to music and podcasts, as well as web surfing and using any number of useful apps, the Kindle is great.

And to make it even more useful, I rooted it and installed the latest ICS ROM from AOKP. Removing the KIndle skinned version of Android with all its bloatware has made it a much more useful and pleasant experience. 

One other thing to note is that I took my son Jason for a one hour plane ride in a Cessna 172. I don’t fly but I am trying to get him interested in flying. So far he seems to enjoy it but is too busy with work to spare the time for flying lessons. I hope that changes soon.

Lastly, we spent way too much money and had a new deck built to replace our old, falling apart one. The new deck is great. I will post a photo of it. That is all.


It’s 2011

Wow, it is a new year and this is the first post I have written. A lot has happened since my last post Christmas Eve. Again, I am not sure why it has been so long between posts. Maybe I just hate winter.

I have had a birthday, and now I am 62 years old. I am not sure how I feel about that. Mostly I wonder where all the years went. Nothing too significant has happened in the last two months, although we did get another big snow storm.

I had some old color slides from 1971 that I sent off to be converted to digital format. They are photos from when I was stationed at Vint Hill Farms Station while I was in the Army. There are also some slide from when we lived in Corpus Christi, Texas and while our family was visiting my Grandparents in Ripley, New York. They sure did bring back old times.

I have been watching my finances closely lately, as the economy is not well and food prices have been skyrocketing. I did break down and buy a new Buffalo 1TB NAS for my home network as well as a new dual band 802.11n router with gigabit ethernet. I hope to use them to stream video to my LG Blu ray player to watch on my HDTV.

I might go to to a gun show today, although I will probably not buy anything. I just like looking at all the guns and accessories. Well, that is all for now. Peace.

Family in Ripley
Grandpa Bemis, Mom, Chris, Jeff, Me, Jon, Michelle, Cheri

Thanksgiving is past, Christmas is on its way

As usual, a lot has happened since my last post. We had a nice Thanksgiving at Teresa’s daughters house. Dana and her friend Chris fried a turkey and cooked dressing, mashed potato’s, collards, rolls, and pie. Teresa and I brought corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, and green bean casserole. The food was great, Dana was on her best behavior, and everyone had a great time.

Teresa, Kirk, and I went to Suffolk to eat at a new diner called Jammin Jerk BBQ. I ordered the jerk chicken over red beans & rice and it was the best meal I have had in a long time. Teresa had coco bread, which is another great dish, and Kirk had brown stew chicken. Everything was delicious! If you live in Hampton Roads, I would highly recommend this place. After lunch we visited St. Luke’s Church and then did a little Christmas shopping at the Christmas Store in Smithfield.

I have been Christmas shopping this month, mostly buying toys for children in programs our church participates in. One is Operation Christmas Child, which is organized by Samaritan’s Purse. The other program is Operation Santa Claus, which is a local charity to give gifts to needy children. I have participated in both these charities for many years.

A Christmas presents to myself, I recently bought a LG Blu-Ray dvd player. This player has built-in Internet access with apps that allow you to download movies, watch YouTube video, view your photos on Picasa, listen to music via Pandora and several other things. You can also stream media from your network connected devices which allows me to view photos and video stored on my hard drive, as well as listen to my iTunes music. The player has a 250G hard drive to which you can download media from your network devices for faster playback. All in all it is a lot of bang for your buck. I also bought a new pocket knife: the Spyderco Delica 4. My old knife was too big and bulky to carry around all day.

My son Jason is looking to sell his house and rent something. He says he is not cut out for home ownership. Can’t say that I blame him as he is single for now. I just hope he can manage to sell his house in this depressed economic climate. That’s it for now.

A Story Of Love

This is one of the kindest things you may ever see. It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies..’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey &Meredith and this note:

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find, I am wherever there is love.


Death of my Mother

90th birthday 004I have not written anything lately because my mother (Jane Tefft) died unexpectedly on May 2nd. I had just taken her shopping a couple of  days earlier and she had a wonderful time. Then she fell and fractured her back May 1st. At first the doctors thought she would be OK but she developed a clot and her body shut down and she died the next day. The funeral was this Saturday at Rosewood Cemetery. Her ashes were placed beside my Dad, who died in 1986. My brother’s and  grandchildren spoke eloquently at the service. We then had our annual Tefft picnic at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens to remember and celebrate her life.

She was 90 years old and had a full life full of  the love that touched so many. She made us who we were and there will always be a vacuum in my life that her love used to fill. She will be greatly missed by many but never forgotten.

Other news of my life will follow as soon as I  can summon the strength to write again.