Some say the world will end with fire.

Others say with ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those that favor fire.

But if I had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate,

To say that for destruction ice,

Is also great and would suffice.

Robert Frost


"Good things come to those who wait, but, only the things LEFT by those who hustle." - Unknown (at least by me)

"Life is wonderful, without it you are dead." - Hy "Pete" Peterson - Park City and Kenecott Miner

"Don't worry about those people in your past---there is a reason they are not in your present." - Unknown

"Life's tough - it's even tougher if you're stupid." - John Wayne

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!" - Vince Lombardi

"If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re probably taking up too much space.” ~ Attributed to Jim Whittaker by Doug ‘Swani’ Swantner, Alaska Smokejumper and Air Attack Base Manager (Ret.)

About Me

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I am married and have seven children and twenty grandchildren. I retired January 1, 2010 after working 39+ years for the Forest Service...NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE HAS BEGUN!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Well yesterday I wrote that I was building a locking storage room in the garage for all the poison, gas, etc...that everyone has stored around their garage. Well it is done and it is really nice---not sure I would ever have done it without the pressure but now, for sure, the grand kids can't get into anything that is hazardous in the garage.

One of the guys that works for me, and is also a building contractor, came over yesterday and did it for me---he does good work. I am really happy to have it done and to have it come out looking so nice.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I am taking today off to build a cupboard in my garage to lock up all the stuff that every single family has in their garage. My gas, lawn fertilizer, weed spray, insect poison, slug bait, D-Con, white gas for the Coleman stove, oil, and everything else marked keep out of the reach of children. It is probably a good idea to do this but it irritates me to no end because it is a requirement of DCFS in order to get closer to meeting their requirements to get our grand kids here.

This has been one of the ordeals in my life where I am forced to believe that there is no one in one...they are just working and doing their own thing and never take anything to completion. We filled out another set of papers yesterday that we were supposed to have done several weeks ago...oh well...back to Murphy's Law and for you that don't know HE IS AN OPTIMIST.

Friday, April 25, 2008


After reading Inklings blog this morning about her law I wanted to go public with my belief in these laws---'MURPHY WAS AN OPTIMIST"---never, ever forget that.


I just got back from a Staff Ride (a ride where a group of fire people visit a fatality site to try to learn what not to do) to the Esparanza Fire on the San Bernardino Forest. I have looked at and reviewed a lot of fires but this is the one that has bothered me the very most. In every single case, until this one, I have been able to truthfully tell the kids that work for me---I would not have been there.

This is one where I would have been there---I don't know if I would have stayed and taken the actions they did to save the house---and if I would have stayed it would be against everything I have ever told myself and the kids that work for me. This one really hit home. From start to finish of whatever went wrong here they had less than two minutes to do whatever they could do to survive. That is the time they had if in fact they saw whatever went wrong when it went wrong. From the evidence we reviewed I believe they had less than 30 seconds to make their decision and take the actions they took.

Anyone can arm chair quarterback any decision that is made or any action that is taken. These five from ENGINE 57 ARE ALL HEROES. The didn't make it out but they damn sure did all they could for what they thought was the right thing.

We have chosen a dangerous occupation and the best that we can hope for is to have the judgement, the skill and the luck to make it through to retirement. I, for one, will make it simply because I no longer do the real tough part of fire fighting.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


----- When a Firefighter leaves the "job" and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if he knows what they are leaving behind, because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times. We know that in a Firefighters life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very being of the man speaks of what he was -- and in his heart still is. These are the burdens of the job. You will see what others do not see or choose to ignore. You will always look at the rest of the fire service world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing. Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the "job" and merely being allowed to leave "active" duty So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that "Blessed are the Firefighters for they shall be called children of God," and you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

Civilian Friends -vs- Firefighter friends:

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week. FIREFIGHTER FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you met.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
FIREFIGHTER FRIENDS: Have cried with you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
FIREFIGHTER FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
FIREFIGHTER FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
FIREFIGHTER FRIENDS: Will kick the crowds' a** that left you behind.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences.
FIREFIGHTER FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.
FIREFIGHTER FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, "You better drink the rest of that before you spill it!!" Then carry you home safely and put you to bed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I spent part of today with an individual that used to work for me about 15 years ago. He had some personal and job related problems and has been directed to work for me again in an area away from where he currently lives.

He will start working for me this Friday so I wanted to meet and discuss with him my expectations and his expectations. It was great to get to sit down with him and talk again---it has been a long time but nothing much has changed. I was a little worried about this happening but his expectations and my expectations still match almost to the letter so this should be old home week.....I am way, way thankful for that.


I have been thinking about my watch or my career which ever you want to call it. I have been really proud of the things that I have been able to get done. We spent some time talking about that in Reno and one of my friends told me I didn't understand it but that I was the sponsored one.

I asked him what he was talking about and he said to look at the record---he said ever since he has known me---and that is a long, long time---that the budget just follows me wherever I go and we always have more jobs to do that we can ever get done.

I spent part of today reminiscing and he's at least partially right---I have never left anything on the list of things I wanted to do in any of the places we have lived undone. Why is that? I really don't know but there have always been people in my life that agreed with where I was trying to get and made sure I had the budget to get there. He calls that sponsored---I call it relationships---and I have had a lot of good relationships with the budget guru's and they HAVE taken good care of me.

Would have been nice if a lot of that money had come in my personal check---but I have loved all of my jobs and will miss the people---not the job---when I walk out the door.


I have had all sorts of stuff running through my mind the last few days. I can't seem to get past it in the middle of the night. Last night I woke up again with a panic attack and it's about to get me down. I can't understand what is there that is making me get like this. I have never in my life ever been afraid of anything. I have never had the racing heart and short breathing that many call the fight or flight reflex. Guess I was just lucky or really didn't care which way it went---I was always prepared to go either way---with anyone---anytime.

In short it sucks to have this going on and not be able to figure out where it is coming from.....if it ties into DCFS there WILL be a major shakeup. I am pretty angry with all the red tape and bull sh#@ that we have had to go through in our journey to get custody of our grandkids. Through all of that we are still nowhere---we have been doing everything we can do for
3 1/2 months and we have no answers and no real progress showing.

As I write this I think cheer up things could be worse---I am afraid to do that because they probably will be worse


Inklings has been on the road to go see our daughters for a couple of hours now---I have been called twice by one of them and once by another wanting to know what time she left and when she would be there. I told them both I didn't know because I wasn't home when she left. I did tell them however that she was past Nephi because a debit card payment showed up from the Nephi gas station we always fill up at when I checked our account balance a few minutes ago. I never thought I would ever track anyone electronically through the checkbook-----

Friday, April 11, 2008


This week I went to Reno to our annual fire team meeting. While I was there I ran into the Air Tactical Group Supervisor from my old team---we had been together about 15 years before I left that team for a new one. During the visit we talked about a lot of things and a lot of old times but we talked about something that I feel like anyone that reads this needs to know about me.

I trained his wife, who is now retired, as a Supply Unit leader many years ago---she became the head of the Great Basin Cache in Boise, Idaho that services all of the fire caches in the Nation before she retired. She was great at that job. The three of us were great friends and had lots of fun just being friends and visiting when we were together and stuff. We never did anything of consequence together but I for sure love both of them a lot.

A few years ago I was heading for a fire in Boise, ID when his wife called me and said---"I have a daughter that needs to go to work for you on this fire." I asked her what she was qualified to do and she told me ANYTHING I was willing to train her to do. I asked her what she meant by that and she told me her daughter was smart and a hard worker but had never been on a fire and in fact had just had her 18th birthday so she was old enough to go out just the day before. I kind of laughed and said OK get her to dispatch and get her signed up---I want her as a camp person and I'll figure out where to use her when I get there. Then I called the dispatch center and ordered her and told them what I was going to do with her. They said OK go for it.

I arrived at the fire camp and was introduced, by the wife, to her young daughter. She was a hard worker and very smart so I trained her up in the Supply Unit area and she did a remarkable job---must run in the family. During the fire we had a major windstorm that blew the roof off the cook trailer and scattered everything in the camp all over he_ _ . During the blow a propane tank became airborn and hit the daughter on the ankle breaking it. We worked on stabilizing her and getting her to the hospital and getting her put back together. She came back to camp in a cast and finished the assignment. She has since gone on in fire and is an engine foreman for one of the Idaho Forests and is doing an excellent job for them.

All of that is just past history so you kind of understand the rest of this blog.

While we were visiting he told me that at Thanksgiving they were talking about the past fire season and some of their fire friends. During that discussion they all talked about some of the things that occurred while they were working with or for me. The daughter told them that they couldn't count me as their fire friend 'cause I was hers and that she would never forget the break I gave her by bringing her on for that fire.

Just goes to show you that you never know what a single incident may buy you in your life. Although she is wrong about them not being able to count me as their fire friend I am thankful that I can count this entire family as my fire friends.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


We just got back from Mesquite---yes we---Inklings went with me to a training session for the first time in our married life. We went to a Forest Service Family meeting in Mesquite, Nevada. It has been five years since we have had a family meeting so we did it even though our budget is bad.

Was it worth the money? I believe it was. The things that come from these relationship building meetings never show up immediately but later on when the relationship is really needed to get through something really, really tough. That is the time when good managers have the relationships to fall back on and the bad ones don't---hope I am in the earlier group.

We had two tremendous speakers tell us some things we should be working on to make our lives better. Lenny Meece, a retired Doctor gone public teacher, talked to us a lot about how to reduce the stress in our lives and give our hearts a break. Randy Frazier, one of the best speakers I have ever heard, talked to us about the relationships we need to build and gave us many examples of how to do it.

Five years ago Randy taught us at the last meeting, he had written a poem titled "My Daddy Was a Farmer" which he read to us. I loved the poem and could identify with it even though my Daddy wasn't a farmer. It made me reflect on my life and the love I had from all the folks in my life as a child. This time he had written a poem titled "My Mamma Was a Farmers Wife". It was a great poem and I sat there with tears running down my face thinking---"I have to get up there as soon as he is done and close this meeting out---How the Hell am I ever going to be able to do that with my throat tied up like it is and the tears streaming down my face." He made a couple of other comments then finished up---by then I had recovered enough to go to the front and have both speakers stand up and we gave them a standing ovation for their time and efforts with us.

After we were finished up I told Randy how impressed I was that he was able to read that poem so well---at which he broke down and cried just like I had been. I am way impressed that he could control his emotions through the presentation---I didn't learn how to do it but I learned that it can be done.