Thursday, January 29, 2015

First Items Ready To Go

The month of January 2015 is close to being history. I haven't exactly burned up the blogosphere with posts so far this year. The lack of content on this blog lately is a combination of a couple of things. 

I am busy working on my initial goals for the year and I haven't really had anything I feel is interesting enough to blog about. But I'm hoping that changes soon. 

Nevertheless it's time for another post and I hope it is at least a little interesting for you and profitable for me. 

Last weekend the sorting and "downsizing" of my personal possessions began. I now have some of the things I've decided to part with that are up for sale. 

These first items are my way of passing on the extra time I have on my hands. They are all watches.  

The first is a limited edition watch commemorating the 100th anniversary of the New York Yankees baseball team back in 2003. 

It comes in a round tin that's 4 inches in diameter. The watch fits in the foam filler. 
The face of the watch 1 1/2 inch in diameter and has the 100th anniversary logo on it. The strap is brown and 9 inches in length. 
The watch has been worn but not very often. I can't really remember the last time I wore it. It's still in "like new" condition. This is a great addition to the collection of any Yankees fan. It does need a battery. I am asking $25 for it. 

This next watch is probably going to be the one that gets the most interest. That's because it's features Disney's #1 icon. 

This classic Mickey Mouse comes with it's own decorative tin. It features the likeness of the "original" Mickey that started it all. Its just the right size for kids and adults as well. 


The face is round but the watch case is 1 1/2 inches square. 
The hands illuminate in the dark. It needs a battery. The strap is 8 inches in length and is decorated with an alternating colored diamond pattern on the inside. You can see it in this picture.  

 Although it's used, I have only worn it less than a dozen times in the last 10 years. I'm asking $30 for it. If you are a Disney fan or know anyone who is this would be a great gift. 

This third watch is has a very whimsical look but it's a very serious watch. It is a Stuhrling Original brand. 
The face of this watch has multicolored numbers. It has a very unique look. I have never seen another one like it. The watch case is 2 inches high and 1 1/4 inches wide. It weighs 3oz, which is above average weight for a watch. The strap is 9 1/2 inches long. When you have it on you will definitely know you are wearing a solid watch. 

I bought this watch while I was still working at ShopNBC back in 2012. I thought it was a great accessory to wear when I performed ventriloquism. I kept forgetting to wear it so it's only been worn 6 or 7 times. It does need a battery.  


It comes in it's original box with all the documents and a cleaning cloth. It's quite a conversation piece. I am asking $45 for it.

So there you have the three watches I want to sell. If you want any of them or have questions email me at RHavens1423@aol.com. If you are a Facebook friend you can send me a PM. If you follow me on Twitter (@RHFactors909) you can tweet me. 

I will sell each of these watches to the first person who tells me they want them. I will go by the time stamp on the means used to contact me. If you live close to me I will make arrangements to get the watch to you. If you need to have it mailed to you that will be an additional cost depending on the shipping charges. I will let you know that cost before we complete the transaction. 

I know I have never posted for this type of thing before. But as I sort through some of my things to "downsize" this year I will be using this blog and other forms of social media to get the word out about what I have to offer. 

Keep checking back. Maybe you'll find something you can't live without. 







Saturday, January 24, 2015

Train Trap

Just a short post today to share with you a unique experience I don't think ever happened to me before this past Thursday. 

Let me remind you that I am currently working as a driver that for a private company that transports Medicare & Medicaid patients. 

While transporting a client from her home just south of Bowling Green on Thursday, I crossed a set of railroad tracks and headed toward another. As I did the warning gates came down and I heard the horn of the approaching diesel engine. 

As the train passed in front of me I thought about turning around and going the other direction. But that was impossible because a train was now crossing behind me as well. 

I was stuck on an island bordered by two streams of railroad cars. They were both very long trains. 

Here's a picture of a graffiti covered hopper car that was in front of me and a box car from the train behind me in the sideview mirror. 



I also took this short video to show the motion of the two trains. The music playing has no significance; just happened to be on the radio at the time. 

video
After that video was shot the train in front of us stopped. It sat idle for about 2 minutes. Then the cars that took 10 minutes to go by us started going backwards. 

Ten minutes later the engine paraded past us, the warning lights went off, and the gates came up. We were "free at last."

I know I may be making a big deal out of something that was not all that uncommon. But it's the first time in all my 54+ years that it's happened to me. 

I just had to share it with you. What are your experiences with being blocked or delayed by a train? Let me know. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Household Clearance

As the first month of 2015 comes to an end most of my initial tasks for January have been accomplished or at least started.

After a fit of frustration, some adjustments, rearranging of things in the room, I've gotten my recording studio set up with my new headphones, monitoring amplifier, and mic boom. I'll be featuring the completed setup in a future post. 

I have sorted the receipts I kept from last year. Now I have gathered those I need for filing our tax return in a couple of weeks. 

I have once again continued my "LEGOcy" by getting back to building the set I started back before Christmas. It's the first step in reaching my goal of putting together all of the sets I have in my Lego kit queue by the end of the year. 

I have been successful in cutting out my massive soda consumption (I was drinking 64 oz. or more everyday) and limiting sweets and carbs. I am well on my way to improving my physical health to get it to what I want it to be by my birthday in September.

One of the "bigger" projects I plan on doing this year is making space in and organizing the rooms in our house. This means going through the stuff that's in them and deciding what we need to keep and what can go away.

On a personal basis this means going through my Lego, puppets, t-shirt collections and "thinning the herd." 

I will either be donating the "gotta go" stuff to our local Goodwill store or selling it.

I will be doing that through various social media platforms. I am not going to do E-bay right away because I want to offer my stuff to my blog readers, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers, first. 

I will also be posting to a local online "yard sale" and Lego Buy & Sell pages on Facebook. Items will have a set price and will be sold on a "first come first serve" basis. 

So keep reading my posts or look for announcements in those other places I mentioned. 

The first item should be put up and posted within the next week. Come back and see if it's something  you can't live without at a bargain price. 



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Silver Lining Weekend

How was your weekend? Did it go as you planned? Well, mine didn't exactly turn out the way I thought it would. 

As of Friday afternoon, my plans for the pending two days off were to start cleaning up and organizing several rooms in my house.

My wife was pretty sure she would have to be doing work for her job from home most of the day on Saturday. I thought the best way to spend my time was to sort through some of the things in those rooms. I could decide what I wanted to keep, give away or sell over the coming months. 

But by the time my work day was over things had changed. Out of respect for those involve the specific details are not mine to share here. 

Although my time at home during the weekend would be different than what I wanted them to be; every cloud has a silver lining. That silver lining came in the form of a little visitor. 

Our two year old granddaughter came to spend the day with us both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, James brought her and on Sunday we had her all to ourselves for the afternoon while James & Brandi went to the movies.  

It was two days of playing with toys, looking at Lego mini-figures, watching Disney videos, and playing Farmville on Nana's Ipad. 

Here she sits busily playing a game on James' cell phone while enjoying a chocolate popcicle. 

The majority of her time was spent sitting with Nana playing with Play Doh. 

They made flowers, trees with blue leaves (they didn't have any green) but mostly snowmen. 

Her Papa also spent a lot of time with her making "snakes" and snowmen too. 

We also played with my latest series of Lego Mini-Figures. She was drawn to them and wanted to "see them."

Because of the small parts her investigation of them was well supervised by me. I took them down off the shelf and let Aria set them on the TV stand on her own. She also picked them up and took them to show her Nana. 

We had fun as she repeated the character's names as we moved them. Her favorites were: The Unicorn Girl and the Hot Dog Guy. 


We had a great time with our granddaughter on both days. 

Not all my weekend plans had to be changed. I finally put the last of the Christmas things still out in boxes. They are now stowed in the attic until this year's holiday season comes around. 

On Sunday before Aria got to our house and the NFL championship games came on, I made a errand run into Bowling Green. I needed to return something to Toys R Us and pick up a few things we needed at the house.  

One of the things I purchased was an e-collar for my dog, Angel. She has a irritated sore on her right hind leg that she will not stop licking. The e-collar will keep her from doing that. 


But she is not, I repeat NOT, happy about it. After doing her best to get out of the collar, she decided that all she could do is lay down and sulk. 


The surprise of the weekend happened while I was on my trip into town. As is my normal routine at the start of each week, I stop into a local convenience store to check my lottery tickets from the previous week. 

Each week I ask the clerk that checks the tickets to replay them, "Unless I've won the jackpot. In that case I'll give you enough to go buy a cup of coffee...in Brazil."

What routinely followed was the clerk running the old tickets through the lottery machine, confirming that they were not winners and then replaying the numbers as requested. 

This time was no different; until the clerk informed me that I had won $200. That's the most I've ever won in the lottery ever. I was so happy. 

Of course I was anxious to share my good fortune with my wife. But instead of just calling her and telling her about my windfall, I bought her a present; a pair of sparkling round earrings she had liked while we were Christmas shopping in December. 

She liked them so much that she put them on right away and wore them all day. You can see her wearing them in the above picture of her and Aria playing. 

To treat myself with my unexpected gain, I bought a newly released Lego kit that I really want. It's from the Lego Movie. 
So there you have the details of my "adjusted" weekend that was changed by some unexpected "clouds." Getting to spend a couple of days with Aria was the silver lining and the winning lottery ticket also added a little "gold".

Have you ever had weekend plans that changed but turned out to be better than you initially thought? Ever win "big" in the lottery? I'd like to know your story. 

Add a comment to this post, send me a Facebook message (facebook.com/ron.havens.50) or a Tweet (@RHFactors909) or an email (RHavens1423@aol.com).  















Friday, January 16, 2015

Ugly Elves

Back in December, in part 2 of my post series about Christmas, I included a picture of a garland hanging over a living room doorway. 

It's special because its the one decoration that I have from my parent's house. 

Because of a "lucky discovery" the other day, I now have a set of three decorative figures that are also a reminder of my holidays with mom & dad.  


With the help of my wife I have dubbed these small wooden figures (they are about 6 inches high) the "Ugly Elves."

Figures like these were part of my mom's Christmas decorations at our house for many years. They were set up on handmade wooden shelves that were hung in a diagonal pattern on the wall behind our TV each Christmas season. 

I guess you could say that our family was the first to have an Elf on the Shelf.  

I have had the one dressed in yellow for a couple of years. In 2012 I found it at a local indoor flea market. I was excited when I found it. It was like finding a family heirloom. Seeing it again brought back so many great family memories. 

I was a little disappointed that I couldn't find the other two but I proudly displayed the figure each of the next two holiday seasons. 

You can see it here in this picture as part of my roll top desk display this past Christmas.

This past Wednesday I had some free time so I stopped at that same flea market. I was just looking around to see if there was something I couldn't live without. I came up empty until I came across the flute player and the harp player figures. 

I couldn't believe it, over 2 years later, I found the remaining pair of elves to complete the set. Needless to say these were the things I couldn't live without. 

I bought them and brought them home for a special Christmas decoration reunion. 

Although I don't really know the exact reason why, there are only a couple I can think of for my mom associating these unique wooden musicians with Christmas. 

You can't really tell in the picture because it's faded but the middle figure's coat was originally green. So the color scheme of the set falls aligns with Christmas. 

Also, if I remember correctly, the figures were sold in a C&B toy catalog that my mom used to sell from in order to get credit to get her kids gifts. 

She must have gotten them using her credit or as a "reward" for her sales. And because they were in the catalog as Christmas decorations she used them as such.

Whatever the reason, those figures replaced the everyday knick-knacks on those diagonally hung shelves during the holidays for many years in my parents' house.  

While the figures I have aren't the exact same ones they are just like them. Since their appearance is a little unusual the three of them will probably not be put anywhere in our living room but rather displayed on the top of my desk come next Christmas.

They may look strange to you but because they remind me of many happy holidays of my teenage days, I consider them a treasure. Finding them was a very pleasant surprise.  

Do you have something special that reminds you of your parents or family member? What is it? 

What's the history of your oldest Christmas decoration or other keepsake you put on display in your house?

What's the best thing you ever found at a flea market or yard sale?

Put your answers or anything else you'd like to share with me in the comment section of this post or contact me on Facebook, Twitter or email me. I'm very interested in hearing from you.



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My First Favorite Words Of 2015

Just last month we heard about some of the new words that were added to the dictionary for 2014. "Selfie" and "Hashtag" were among them. 

I can only wonder what "buzz words" will make it in 2015. Personally, even though it's still rather early in the year, I've got a few candidates. While not exactly new, I can tell you now, they are definitely going to be some of my favorite words of the entire year. 

In order to put this story into perspective I need to explain some relationship dynamics between my granddaughter and her "Nana" & "PawPaw". (that's what she calls us). 

When Aria comes to visit she looks to both Paula and me for very specific activities and actions.

Paula is her I-pad buddy. She loves to sit in Paula's lap and play various games with her on the Apple tablet. 

Also, during most visits Aria likes to take Paula and some of her toys, books, and her special pillows into our bedroom. Then they climb on our bed and watch cartoon videos on Netflix. It's during this time that Aria snuggles with and does fun "girly" things, like brushing hair or putting in hair clips, with her Nana. 

To sum it up, Paula is Aria's choice for, what I call, "close up" fun. 

Her Paw Paw, on the other hand, is the one she turns to for really fun toys. The majority of Aria's toys at our house are kept in our storage room. They are brought out and spread all over our living room floor each visit. 

Then there are the toys that are kept in the drawer of Paw Paw's end table. These are some of her favorites and include: a trio yo-yos (which she doesn't quite know how to use yet), a pair of rubber balls, Silly Putty and the classic "Barrel of Monkeys". You know the plastic ones that hook together to make a chain. 



Yes, my role with my granddaughter is being her playmate. I'm also the "go to" guy when it comes to acting silly.

She never wants to just sit on my lap and hang out. She'd rather have me down on the floor helping her with her Duplo blocks, playing our ukuleles together, or just chasing her around so I can catch her and tickler her. 

I used to get her to sit on my lap when she was younger. But that was only when we shared a chocolate coated vanilla ice cream treat. 

At the beginning of 2014 she started holding the ice cream on a stick on her own,. I was no longer a means to a delicious end. Those special moments were a thing of the past.  As someone who loves his granddaughter as much as a grandparent can that really bothered me. 

But after this weekend I'm hoping perhaps things between Aria and me have changed.

Now you are up to speed I can tell  you the story of my first favorite words of the year. 

Last Saturday night, Paula and I were invited to go out to dinner with James, Brandi, & Aria. We went to Smokey Bones on Scottsville Road. 

Because it was a restaurant in Bowling Green on a Saturday night there was a bit of a wait for a table. We stood in the front of the restaurant waiting for our names to be called. 

Although she had smiled at me and let me pick her up to hug her, Aria was all about Paula while we were waiting. Eventually, she coaxed my wife to get her Iphone out of her purse and let her play some games on it. 

When some seats in the waiting area opened up. Paula and I sat down. Aria was still attached to Paula because of her phone. 

I got out my phone and showed her some pictures of a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer toy figure she had become fascinated with over the Christmas holidays. 

I was pleased that I got some of her attention but she went right back to Paula's phone.

It was then that those wonderful words came from my granddaughter that took me totally by surprise.

"Pawpaw will you hold me?", she asked. For just a second I was a bit taken back. But when I realized what she had requested it sent a heart warming feeling all through me. 

Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity I quickly took her from Paula's knee and sat her on mine. 

Paula's phone came along with her so we sat there looking at the screen trying to find the game she had accidentally closed. 

I was just starting to interact with her when we were called to be seated. The moment had passed but the echo of that special request remained in my mind and I smiled.  

During dinner, I entertained Aria by reciting the "Here's The Church" rhyme and and demonstrating with my hands. She liked it and kept asking me to do it again. 
Also, when she wanted someone to "sing Elsa" (aka any song from the movie "Frozen) while she drummed on the side of our booth, I stepped up to the plate again.

Dinner was delicious and we all had a good time. The last thing Aria said to us before we said "good-bye" expressed her desire to come back to our house for a visit. 

"Go to your house", she told us, "I'll be right there."

An unexpected but memorable night with my granddaughter. The first of what I hope will be many this year. If I don't remember anything else about it though I will never forget my favorite first five words of 2015. 













Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hey, It's 2015!!

We're in the middle of the first month of the new year so I guess it's time to start blogging in 2015. 

My posting goal for this year is to surpass 1000 posts by my birthday in September or, at the very latest, by Christmas. This is post 805 so the goal is just under 200 posts away.

It's hard to believe that coming up in April will be the 8th anniversary of this blog. Most of you have joined me along the course of this 8 year journey. But there have been some who have with me from the start. No matter which applies to you, I thank you for sticking with me.

A lot has changed in 8 years; both in my life and the place of a blog in relationship to the rest of social media.   

Therefore, in this first post of 2015 I'm going to tell you what I want this blog to be going forward. 

Actually, I'd like to start with what this blog is not. It is not a way of bragging about my life. I am not the kind of guy who thinks he is better than everyone else. I write about and share accounts of, the people, places, things and events in my life because I am grateful for the blessings I am gracefully given by God.  

I want everyone to know that life is good and full of surprises for me. I am continuously amazed at the places I get to go and the things I get to do. A lot of times it all seems so surreal. Some are fulfillment of life long dreams and others are complete surprises. 

As I've recently realized, when you have a spirit of gratefulness, something very positive, you don't have room for a lot negativity that seems to seep into any void in your life in a kind of emotional osmosis. There's no room for negativity in your life when it's filled with gratefulness. It is with that new attitude of gratitude that I write what I post on this blog.  

Keeping in touch: The same reason I started this blog back in 2008 continues to be paramount with every post. I want to share my life with my family and friends who live in other parts of the country. Most of them are in the Lehigh Valley area of Eastern Pennsylvania. 

I don't get to see or talk to them any where as often as I would like. It's been years since I've actually seen some of them. I just want to share the blessings and events that happens in my life. Hopefully, they will share some of their life with me as well. 

I also want to share things that happen in my life with my family and friends here in Kentucky, who I do see on a regular basis. Every day life is so busy and "crowded" that often difficult to find time to sit and talk on a personal basis with those whose company I am blessed to share occasionally. 

Because the time I get to spend with them is, sometimes, so short, I'd like to give us the advantage of starting out already beyond the introductory "so what's new?" level of conversation. Blog posts help us to do that. 

Learning: I consider myself a life long learner. Now I may not have been very good in the classroom because I'm more of an independent learner. I am very driven to learn about things I'm interested or curious about. I love to learn the little known details. 

Most of what I look to learn about has to do with pop culture or history or things I enjoy. That's why I taught myself how to play the ukulele. Learning has to intrigue and entertain me at the same time. I guess the best way to describe it is to borrow an old term used at EPCOT in Walt Disney World back when it first opened: "Edutainment"  

The way I learn varies. I read books and magazines, listen to audio books and podcasts, watch informative programs on cable stations like the History and the Smithsonian channels, listen to movie commentaries on DVDs. 

Of course the internet has become a valuable resource for learning. You have to be a bit skeptical about what you read on it. However, if you are discerning enough to just take in what's credible you can learn a lot. 

I like to share what I learn with my family and friends. Again, not to show them how "smart" I am. I am no expert on anything but do pride myself on knowing a little about a lot of different things. I love making discoveries of connections and similarities between things. 

One thing I know for sure, all my blog readers have skills, knowledge and experiences, I can learn from. I want to make this blog a resource for learning for both my readers and me.

Geek Search: I admit it. I have a tendency to be a bit obsessive about things. This includes my hobbies and entertainment interests.  

In our culture today someone who is overly enthusiastic or obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit is called a "Geek".

I am a geek about several thing including: my music collection, Walt Disney World, Lego, TV, movies, and baseball. Those are just generalizations. There are multiple subsets of each of those things about which I really geek out. 

 I like to post about my geekiness for all those things on this blog for two reasons. One is that my passion for my hobbies & interests are a big part of who I am and I want to share that. Two, I am sharing the enjoyment of my pursuits in hope that I can connect with some of my readers who have the same or similar interests. 

Essentially, I'm saying, "Hey reader, I'm a geek about (fill in the blank) are you? If not, what are you do you geek out about? I'm sending out a beacon in search of fellow geeks.
Come out of the shadows, my readers, show me your geeky side. 

 Conversation: Not only do I want to share the events of my life through this blog. I want my posts to spark exchanges with you. If, for example, I write about a day with my granddaughter,telling me about a day with your favorite kid. 

I want this blog to be an exchange between you and me. You can contact me by leaving a comment on this blog or sending me a friend request and message on Facebook (facebook.com/ron.havens.50)  or Twitter (@RHFactors909). If you want to send a longer comment or have a questions email me: RHavens1423@aol.com. 

I want to be more socially involved in 2015. Now in my mid 50s I want to take advantage of every day to share with those around me. Now that social media is a part of daily life the extent to which I can do that is almost unlimited. So not only do I want you to be a reader, I want you to actively interact with you on a consistent basis. 

Okay, so it took a while to get there (it may be a new year but some things just don't change) but there you have an explanation of what I want RHFactors to be in 2015. 

Eventually, I would like this blog to be a component in a bigger network of social media which includes the platforms I've already mentioned and a couple more. But those are things still to come. 

2015 is going to be an exciting year of change and growth for this blog. I invite you to be a part of it with me. Its going to be fun.