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Miscellaneous Pictures - 1996

As with the other years in this photo album, this page for 1996 will contain pictures for that year that are not associated with a particular trip or event, or pictures that Fred took that I wish to include in this album. The page will be divided into sections for each day on which these miscellaneous pictures were taken.


May 8: From Fred

Fred has brought me a copy of a picture he took today when he was visiting out at his stepmother's house. In it, you can see Fred, Prudence, Fred's stepmother Nina, Nina's new husband, Phil, Troy's fiancťe, Melinda, and Fred's half-brother, Troy. Fred gave me a copy of this picture so I could see what everyone looked like.

He talks a lot about his family and the good and bad things that go on. I get the impression that Nina (a postal worker) is a nice person, but she favors Troy, of course. Fred speaks some of Phil, and he seems to be a nice guy and good for Nina. Melinda has been in the picture for some time, and she and Troy recently announced their impending marriage.

This caused some problems for Fred, as his dad's house is still owned jointly by he and Troy, and a marriage would cause some difficulties with that. Fred has let Troy live in the house for just expenses for the last four years- certainly a good deal for Troy. But when Fred suggested that now would be a good time for Troy to buy Fred's half, or for them to sell it, the family got a bit bent out-of-shape. Fred has been nicer than he ever needed to be, but I think they will work it out and the house will go up for sale soon.


June 15: The Bodi-Blo Unit

Last year, I began working with Barbara Reynolds and her friend Paul Shamberger to try to design, build and bring to market a "whole-body" dryer. The theory is that with the costs of washing towels going up, and the trend away from detergents as both irritants and pollutants, there should be a market, in high-traffic locations, for an electric body dryer. Instead of using a towel, one might stand by the dryer and turn slowly, being dried by warmed, filtered air. The unit would be similar to those hand dryers you see these days, but the unit would be much larger.

We think that locations like health clubs would be candidates to use them, as well as hotels (for their swimming pools), corporations (for their employee exercise areas) and other locations. We have got a few prototypes built, and Barbara even has one in use in a health club in New York City so we can gauge how it holds up under use.

The Bodi-Blo Unit
(Picture at left)
Today, Paul Shamberger asked me to come help with a video taping he wanted to do of the Bodi Blo unit in operation. He was using the pool of some family friends over in Highland Park. This is the Bodi Blo unit called "the Big Pyramid." We are still trying to get investor interest to get the company off the ground.




(Picture at right)
The unit looks good here, but then this is a nice house and a nice pool.

The Bodi-Blo Unit


July 20: Landscape Service Gone Wild

In early July, the people who do the yard work around our townhomes came into my patio while I was at work (the gate had inadvertently been left open), and they did quite a bit of damage in their effort to prune things.

My patio near the outside garden wall.

Looking out of my back gate along the side of the garage.

I took this entire series of pictures to show the management at the landscaping company how badly their people had messed up my personal plantings and stuff (and just in case I needed them for legal action). I ended up getting a settlement from them. They promised wholeheartedly that everyone on their crews would be instructed not to repeat the incident.

Just Inside the Back Gate
(Picture at left)
This is a picture showing how the Nandina has been hacked off.




(Picture at right)
This picture shows how the Winter Creeper, which had been climbing six or eight feet up the side of the garage, had also been hacked off into what I guess they thought simulated a hedge. The Winter Creeper had actually climbed to the window in the back stairway, but is now barely six inches above the ground.

Along the Garage Wall

(Note from January, 2001: As it turned out, this would not be the first time the crews would cut things they had been told to leave alone. I have had something of a running battle with them since these pictures were taken, although this was the only time that they entered the patio and cut anything there.)


July 27: From a Visit to Fred's House

This weekend, as I do every few weekends, I have gone up to Fred's house. He has to work every fifth weekend, opening and closing the greenhouses and doing some watering, so it is my practice to go up after work on Friday night, have dinner with him, help him do some mowing or weeding on Saturday while he at the greenhouses and then, most weekends, go down and have dinner and play cards with Ron Mathis in Plano. I spend Saturday night again at Fred's and then head home on Sunday morning. When he is done at the greenhouses on Sunday afternoon, he comes down to Dallas to spend an evening here.

This is a picture of the upper pasture just behind Fredís house on a Saturday morning, which turned out to be something unusual around here- very foggy.

This was one of Fredís work weekends, and that is why I am up here.

The view is almost surreal, and you can see many of the bushes and trees that Fred has planted as part of his many-year effort to beautify the area just behind the house. Fred has done a great deal at his house, and plans a great deal more. I help when I can by doing the mowing, something that I can do independently, and leaving Fred more time to do the things that only he knows how to do. I have sat on the riding mower many hours over the last five years; itís a never-ending task.

This weekend, I also got a chance to see a new arrival at Fred's house- the stray cat that adopted him and that Fred has named "Tanner".

Between now and the time I was last up here, this kitten had started coming around Fredís house, always running away when Fred tried to get close to it. Over time, as he put out milk for it and gave it a chance to get less scared, he was able to get close and make friends with it (but not until he took the other of his cats, Calcitinas, out to lure it in).

Tanner, so named because of his coloring, has turned out to be a wonderful little cat, and has become quite trusting and friendly. Even when I saw him for the first time, he didnít run from me, but came right over for attention. He has, in a very short time, become quite comfortable at Fredís house, and is now basically an inside cat.

At first, Fred tells me, Tanner and Calcitinas did not get along well (as is normal for new cats and older cats that have been the sole animal in a house or apartment), but that they have gotten along much better of late. The main problem is that Tanner, being a kitten, likes to play, while Calcitinas, being an older cat, is content to basically sleep and eat (a fact that shows when you consider how overweight she is).

If you would like to see another picture of this handsome little cat, just click here.


September 7: From Fred

Fred sent me these pictures that he took of some activities at his house early in September.

Fred Working on a Concrete Angel
(Picture at left)
Fred has bought a couple of statues for his garden areas, and was intending to stain them and make them look older and also make them blend in more with the gardens in which they were to go. He took this picture of himself with one of these statues before he actually started working on it. This is the area right in front of his garage.




(Picture at right)
This view from Fredís rooftop looks south and west towards his gazebo. We had just finished mowing the previous weekend, so the lawn looks pretty good- particularly from a distance.

From the Roof Looking Southwest

Working on the statues takes time. The first step is to paint the statues with a concrete stain, and that is what Fred is doing in the picture above. Once the staining is done, the next step is to roughen up the finish, and sand some of it off, to give the statue the appearance of having the patina of age about it.

A view from Fredís rooftop looking west across the street. From this height, you can see the pond/lake across the street; it is not really visible at ground level or even from Fredís computer area on the second floor.

A view from Fredís rooftop looking east down his property, past the pond, and eastward. I think we ended up mowing the pasture just one more time this season. At the end of a normal summer, the pond rarely has a lot of water in it.

The fifth picture is another picture of Tanner.

As most cats, Tanner likes to be right in the thick of things, and here he is, making himself at home on Fredís computer desk. In the month between Tannerís having been at my house and when this picture was taken, he has grown appreciably.

Tanner has quite an expression- probably due to the mouse he is playing with. This is a really cute picture of the cat.


September 11: We Celebrate Prudence's Birthday

Prudence's birthday is actually August 26, but this was the first weekend that all four of us could get together to celebrate- mostly due to Fred's work schedule at the greenhouses.

At left is the picture Fred took of me, Nancy and Prudence at our celebration of Prudenceís birthday in September. We took Prudence out to dinner and a movie as usual, and then came back to the house for coffee and cake- also as usual. Prudence and Fred are the same age this year- 42.

This time, we set up the tripod so we could get a picture of all four of us.

I continue to be quite pleased that I got to meet both Prudence and Nancy through Fred. They have both been fun to go out with (although there was a time when Nancy wasnít ďclued inĒ as to just what the relationship between Fred and myself, and thus between her and I, was). But they remain good friends of ours, although we are anticipating and hoping that each of them will find someone to share their lives with.

(Note from January 2001: From this vantage point I can say that both of them have.)


A Note from Mid-September

If you have already looked at the main album pages, you will know that we took a trip over Labor Day to Las Vegas. When I returned, I had a series of interviews for a new job and, in early September, I got it and began work on September 15th.

The job is with DRT International- the consulting arm of Deloitte and Touche. DRT is itself a 1000-member firm with offices across the U.S. I have been hired as the Data Administrator for a major project they have going here in Dallas. We are working with the actual accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche to create and market some software to help U.S. firms manage their expatriate employees, including relocation, payroll and tax. The issues involved are complex, and the software is rapidly becoming complex as well. Their current Data Administrator wasnít experienced enough to deal with the issues.

We work downtown in the ďkeyhole building.Ē So I am back to the 9-to-5 grind, but it is about time. The folks on the project are all good to work with; the project is being managed by Adrian Soyza, an Englishman of Pakistani descent. There are a number of Pakistani and Indian workers on the project, most of them on two-year work visas. They are interesting people, and it is also interesting to learn a bit about their culture. The lead for the job came from Jeff Milne, a friend of Gregís from BSG, who happened to be sharing Gregís house down the street while he renovates one of his own.

There are also actual employees of Deloitte and Touche on loan to the project; they are providing the requirements for the software. There are tax experts, relocation specialists, and one fellow, Alan Moidel, who used to be the expatriate administrator for Mobil Oil Corporation. Together, we are all working to develop the requirements for the software, and then other members of the team are doing the actual coding work. Iím not traveling, and thatís good, although being a big accounting firm, the job requires a tie once again.

Our quarters are cramped, but there are plans to move to office space outside the downtown area, mostly because Deloitte and Touche itself needs the space we are occupying. The building we are in is just across Ross Avenue from the Myerson Symphony Hall. Thatís convenient because this year, Fred and I have decided to go in together and purchase three season tickets to the Classical Symphony Series. We plan on taking one of our single friends each time to a concert- people like Barbara, Lynne Richardson, Mike Racke and Brad. Jeffie, too, if sheíll go with us.

It only takes me a few minutes to get to work, and I just park in the Symphony garage. I am just now getting thoroughly familiar with the work, the people, and the requirements, but I think the job will work out well. I am adjusting to the new routine. I still go up to Fredís on the weekends he works, but it is a bit harder to get an early enough start to beat the traffic, so I usually get there later than I used to. Other weekends, I get home in plenty of time to meet Fred when he comes down. My relationship with him continues to give me a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction. He is such an easygoing guy, and so considerate, that I consider myself extremely fortunate to have met him and have him like me enough to have continued our relationship for almost five years now.


October 1: From Fred

There are two pictures I got today that I want to include in the photo album. Perhaps one of them really doesn't belong, but since Fred has become part of my personal family, I think a picture his is appropriate.

On this particular weekend, I am up at Fredís. Heís been working on a terraced garden in the front of his house, and has acquired a couple of small concrete statues; this angel is one of them. He stains them a light golden color so they blend in well with the plants and flowers.

Fred gave me this copy of a picture of him and his family from a week or so ago. From the left, there is Fred's half-brother Troy; Ninaís father; Phillip, Ninaís husband; Fred's step-mother Nina; Prudence Lucas; Ninaís mother; and Fred.


October 12: Nancy's Birthday

This evening, Fred and I got together with Nancy and Prudence to mark Nancy's birthday.

Fred got his tripod out and we took this picture- Nancy, myself, Fred and Prudence at Prudenceís house

The four of us got together in late afternoon out at Prudence's house in Arlington. She has moved from her apartment in Irving and now has a very nice house on Corvallis St. in Arlington, in a very nice neighborhood just north of Interstate 30.

As we often do on Sunday nights, we first took the girls out for dinner and then to a movie, returning after that to Prudence's house for the cake we'd brought with us.

Nancy and Prudence are wonderful people, and Fred and I think the world of them.

While we had our camera out at Prudence's house, we thought we would grab pictures of Prudence's two cats, of which she is very fond.

Callie is Prudence's older cat, a compact little animal with really short legs. She is also very shy and hard to get close to.

Prudence got her second cat, Misty, some years ago; she is more of a lap cat who loves attention.


October 19: At the State Fair of Texas

On this particular weekend, a group of us decided to take in the State Fair of Texas. The Fair is one of those events that you can easily tire of if you go year after year, so we allow at least a couple of years between visits.

There were six of us who went to the Fair today- Fred and myself, Nancy and Prudence, and Ron and Chris, our friends from Plano.

It seems as if we do kind of the same things each time we come here; although this is only my third time at the Fair.

Of course there are the exhibit buildings showcasing animals, crafts, agriculture and so on, and these are always interesting to walk through. Chris loves cars, so he wanted to go to the automobile building where the latest model cars are usually on display (kind of like an auto show).

There is a performance stage at the north side of the fairgrounds, and each day there is at least one fairly-big-name performer on the stage for a few performances each day. The Cotton Bowl is located in the fairgrounds, although there are no Fair-related games played there; it's the venue for the famous New Year's football classic, and it is also where the Texas-OU game is played each year.

There's also a Midway and an Amusement Park; the Midway serves all manner of foodstuffs, including whatever odd concoction is being deep-fried that year, and of course has all the games such places are known for.

Also at the Fairgrounds are the Aquarium and the Rose Garden, and we visited both of those attractions this afternoon.

We didn't bring the tripod, although as crowded as it was, we probably could not have set it up and posed for a picture without someone walking between the camera and us or else knocking the tripod over. So Fred volunteered to be the photographer capturing Nancy, myself, Chris, Ron Mathis and Prudence at the State Fair.

I should have turned right around and gotten a picture of the group with Fred, but I neglected to. My bad.

The picture was taken at the top of the midway where many of the large food stands are located.

There was enough new stuff at the Fair to make it interesting all over again, even though we'd been here the year before. But getting to the Fair and parking can be a hassle, so I wouldnít want to do this frequently. We only took two other pictures today, and they are below:

(Picture at left)
We were curious to see what country singer Ty Hardin looked like, so we stopped by the performance stage. Some time ago he had been arrested in Fort Worth for allegedly propositioning a male undercover police officer. He made a clean breast of it (he is married and apparently straight) and, while his career suffered for a while, he seems to be doing OK. He is not one of the higher echelon singers, but a solid second-tier performer with some good material.



(Picture at right)
Most of the Fair buildings are in the Art Deco style, and many of them are decorated with free-standing or bas relief statues, such as this one Fred saw outside an exhibition hall. Fred has an interest in statuary, and he took this picture.

That's the last entry in the Miscellaneous Section for this year, so you can use the link below to return to the Index for 1996.

Return to the Index for 1996