Welcome to Rat Camp

Howdy Y'all!

I hope this can be a place for us all to share our ramblings. The curse of 'Giddiyup!' (and the modern lifestyle) has placed us all far from the old ranch house (aka. Rat Camp), but if you're like me your heart still resides there.
Com'on y'all, show us what you're made of!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas from Louis!

Press the PLAY button to hear a Christmas jingle from Louis!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Louis' Rocks for AC!

Back in September we spent a night on the highest point on Mt. Fuji that you can drive to. We were surprised to see many groups of amateur starwatchers there from all over Japan. As a group, I have to say these were probably the friendliest Japanese I've met in my 14 years here. All of the small groups would invite us to view from their very expensive looking telescopes at the nebulae, stars, planets (Jupiter with 3 mooons), etc. that were overhead in the clear night sky.
Louis had put a bag on to collect rocks in to show Auntie Carol the next time we did video chat. We got this shot of him after dark with a headlamp on. When you watch the video, please remember--this bag is his bag of ROCKS, not his bag of MARBLES!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mem. Day 2009 Reunion

Greetings from Madison/Huntsville, Alabama. I treasure family so very much that I just hate to have to post this, but we will be unable to host a family reunion this coming May, 2009. We had previously talked about and offered last July in Roswell, to host another gathering of the clan in Huntsville this next Memorial Day weekend. I don't know about the rest of you'all, but the economy has certainly impacted many of us. I thought I would just let you know as soon as I knew for sure that we wouldn't be able to do this. I hope we are all able to reconnect and gather again soon, but it's not to be this next year for us. This will enable any of you that want to do so, to make other plans for that Memorial Day weekend.

Roger spent this past weekend in California with his daughter Julie. He also got to see several of his model train buddies as well as several people that were his neighbors while he was raising his girls (in Alameda). He had a great time and traveled safely both ways. Julie and her husband Ryan, are looking to buy a house if it works out, since prices are so relatively low right now in California. Some good deals abound. They were married in June 2007, so are still enjoying that phase in married life. Seem to be doing pretty well from what Roger says.

We will be going to Colorado for Christmas this year. Looking forward to a quick visit with Stan and Linda before they leave town and then looking forward to the rest of our time with Kimberly, Eric and Dylan (plus baby-to-be). It will have been 6 months since I saw them, and about 11 months since Roger saw them. Such a long time with Dylan at 4+ years and changing so fast. I just adore talking with him on the phone....such a big boy now!!!

Just got some pictures from Jason and Stephanie...they had taken a trip to Costa Rica a couple of months ago...between Jason's graduation from law school and his starting his job in Manhattan......If/when I can figure out a way to post the pictures, I'll add one here.... They are doing great!!

Roger's other daughter Jennifer and her husband Donnie, live in Flower Mound, Texas. They bought a house there this past year and are settling in. They were married in Sept 2007, so enjoying that phase of married life!! Also seem to be doing well.

That's kind of an update from here. Hope everyone is doing well. Blessings and Love, Ola

PS I'm going to try to add the pictures.....
Wahoo...I added one!!! Yippee!!!!
Love to all....Ola

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


On this day, 90 years ago, we had one family member in the Military Service. My Dad, or Pappo to most of you, was in Germany when the war ended at 11:11 AM. Through the years of my growing up, he always remembered that day and time and said it was a time we shouldn't forget!

Now, today, we have 3 family members in Service - Brad, Patrick, and CJ. Let us all stop a few minutes today to pray for them as well as give thanks for those who have served in other wars between 1918 and the present time. Over the years, I've had a husband, a brother, a brother-in-law, a double cousin, a regular cousin, a son, several nephews and now great nephews all serve our country to protect and preserve our freedoms. Let's not forget them, ever!

Love to all, Auntie Carol

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good morning again!

Since no one has posted anything since my last "good morning" I'll try again. With this being the day after our election, I can't let it pass by without a comment. However you voted is your business. That is a right and privilege that has been fought for since the beginning of our country. Over those 200 plus years the past occupants have made this into the greatest and most envied country in the world. Therefore, we have many enemies that would like to tear us down. In my day we all studied history and we know what sacrifices have been made to get us where we are today. I'm sorry to say that it seems like many of the younger generations do not even know about World War II and the battles that were fought to keep our freedom. Many think the Holocaust never happened! Well, it did and thousands upon thousands of people were killed because they were of a different religion or upbringing. Hitler was a terrible enemy as was the Emperor of Japan. They both had to be defeated and it was Americans who gave their all to clear the world of such dangers.

Many countries in this world have had leaders who have tried to be the one and only Saviour of the people. None of them have succeeded! Why? Because there is only one true Saviour and that is God! Our country was based on the Christian religion and we succeeded and became the Number One country of the world. Sure, there were mistakes made and errors happened. That is bound to happen because humans aren't perfect and make mistakes.

Now comes change! Just what does this word mean? I've heard no good explanation as to what to expect in the future. Just "change." Some changes, I'm sure, will be good. Most things can always be changed in some way. That, to me, is what we have to watch for and not let changes be made that will affect the true purpose of our country. We are the home of the free, the brave, the independent people who want to make our own way and our own choices. Don't let someone else tell me what I have to do with my money, what doctor I can go to, whether or not I can keep my baby if something is wrong with it, and don't tell me that same sex marriages are ok. God did not make man for man in the Garden of Eden - he made a woman for man!

We have slipped so far from our religious beginnings that it is possible that God can say we are destroying our own lives and our own country. We should not have an Idol
for President. Obama is just another man and not even a true "black." He is more white than black, so to me he is not even true to his own race, white or black. He is not an African American and He is not God! When he cannot even be honest about his true self and has lied to the people, what can we expect from him as President? I just pray to God that He will reach Obama and help him with his decisions.

Right now, I am afraid for the kids of today as to what kind of America they will be living in when they grow up. It will definitely not be the kind where most of you all grew up and enjoyed all the pleasures of life in the United States.

As I've always said, if one doesn't like things here, they are free to go to any other country in the world and live. I'm sure there are many people in other countries who would trade places with you in a second.

Well, I've gone on long enough, but these are my thoughts and I thank God I can express them without fear of someone knocking on my door and telling me I can't do this! This is still a free country, given to us by those who have gone before and many have lost their lives, but freedom is not free! Just remember that in the months and years ahead.

Love to all, Auntie Carol

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good Morning to All

I just wanted to greet all of you this morning and say I think of you often. I guess all are busy just doing their thing! This is moving week for Auntie Flo. She'll be going back to Villa del Rey about Wednesday. Jack and Kevin are both due today to take care of things.

Considering everything that is going on in our country today, I wanted to pass on my thoughts.
I think we ALL have to turn to GOD for guidance and leadership at this time. Just pray that HE will be with the candidates and will guide them in all of their decisions and actions. May it be HIS choice that is the winner. Our country is getting away from the Christian beginnings we had and we must do what we can to protect our believes and live our lives accordingly. Remember, PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!! Love to all of you. Auntie Carol

Friday, October 10, 2008

We're here....finally

Just thought we'd say hi. We are now part of this blog....probably won't be on very often, but wanted to let you know we are alive and well in northern Alabama. Weather is decent right now. More this weekend. Blessings, Ola and Roger

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sad news and new adventures

Sadly, Jed and I lost our baby at 17 weeks gestation (on 9/11 to be exact...what's with that day?!?!?). The docs don't know why and believe our next pregnancy (whenever it may be) will be healthy and hope I will be able to carry to term.

Due to a number of factors we have decided to move from Flagstaff to Buckeye (where Carolyn and Marc are). Jed is starting a fabulous new job as the Special Education Coordinator for one of the middle schools and I hope to continue my career in higher-ed student services.

Sending much love to the rest of the Rat Camp, Jed and Tracey Hayes

Monday, August 25, 2008

ERIC'S Wedding

OH MY GOD!! Eric Congratulations!! I am so happy for you. I did not know that you got married. Way to Go! I will e-mail you later. Carolyn Lee

Mom & Andrew update

OK, here I am again. I had to call Jed to find out how to sign in.
Update on Mom & Andrew. First, Andrew. He is still at the VA and is in the SR. ward. He is up walking a bit. He likes the food, and knows me and his daughter Debbie, but still calls Mom his mother. Go figure. He called Mom last night wanting out of the place because the "people" are mean to him. They have him schedule to move into a nursing home after Labor Day. He needs at least 2 full time people to take care of him. Mom cannot do it alone.

Now for Mom. I took her to her surgeon on Friday. He was amazed and said because of her age, 77, he figured she would take at the bare minimum of 3 months to get back on her feet. She is up and walking with a cane and is looking forward to driving again in two weeks. She has a titanium hip and is showing everyone the picture that they give you to pass through the airport. She is quite pleased with that. She still scares me going up the stairs to her closet; but she promised she would not do it unless someone was there... so we will see.

It is still hot in AZ. 108 today. The rainy season has not been much at our place, but overall Phx is up 3.55 inches for this year alone which is good.

Casey is back from Germany and is in Tucson. Jed and Tracey are in Flagstaff and I know you probably already know BUT I am going to be a GRANNY!!! I am so excited!!

That's the news from AZ. Now that I know my password again, I will try to post more often..Auntie Carol :) Love to you all, Carolyn Lee

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another addition to the family next February

I received the following message today from Kimberly and I asked her if I could post it here and she said sure. So, here it is:

"It is with great pleasure that we share with you, ourfamily and friends, that we are expecting again. We have reached the significant mark of 12 weeks and therefore we thought this would be a great time to share the news with all of you. While we do not knowyet if we will be having a boy or girl, we did get confirmation of a very strong heartbeat and active baby growing inside at today's doctor's appointment. Dylan is very excited about the baby inside mommy's tummy and about becoming a big brother. We expect our newest family member to join us somewhere around February 22nd of 2009. We look forward to sharing more excited news with all of you as we know more. Love you all!!! Eric, Kimberly & Dylan "

We're OK here in the Land of Enchantment! Hope all are well! Love, AC

Friday, August 8, 2008

Photo's of Brad's Homecoming Ceremony

Hi everyone! Well, maybe I have finally figured this out...was simple...don't know why it didn't work (or I couldn't get it to work) before. Now the next step is to figure out how to add a picture or two...so, hopefully I'll be able to do that! I hope to add some photos from Brad's homecoming ceremony from Iraq, on Monday, July 28!

Love to you all!!!! JOYCE aka JOYCE ANN
HA! Well...I did it...I hope anyway! The top two pictures are of Brad holding the company flag...called a "Guide". He was the bearer when they departed as well as on their return...more weight for him to carry all the time! You would not believe how much all of their gear weighs!
The lower photo is, of course, Craig and I with Brad! We brought him some smoked salmon from Oregon and a T-shirt from a favorite place here on the coast...the Beach Dog Cafe!!!! We are all very glad to have him and his company home safely!
Brad has now left on leave...he is in LA to visit Dave and Jeff this weekend. Then he'll fly up to Portland on Monday 8/11 to come home for a while....then it will be back to Ft. Campbell and on with his life!
Take care everyone!!!! Love...JOYCE

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brad's Home Safe

Joyce and I want to thank you all for keeping Brad in your thoughts and prayers (and for the care packages) over the past 9 months. Brad returned to Ft. Campbell a week ago. Joyce and I were there to greet him when he arrived.
He, individually, and his unit performed with distinction. Apparently, his unit has a long history of distinguished service. They were called to deploy unexpectedly when another company could not prepare in time. They completed 4 months of training and preparation in 40 days. While at Camp Taji Air Base (the busiest helicopter base in the middle east), the unit directed 60,000+ flights without mishap. His senior officer and NCO received Bronze Stars, Brad and one other received Army Commendation Medals.
Despite being ATC trained, Brad's role there was more administrative but still mission-critical. He functioned as the supply sergeant and company administrator (it's a long story). He had no training for either role, but learned them OJT with 12 to 14 hour days. Kids with great computer skills, smarts and a sense of responsibility are still at a premium in the service. Most of Brad's fellow soldiers were sequestered on the air base. Brad was assigned some responsibilities that got him into Baghdad, Kuwait, Qatar, and other locations in Iraq. Not all of these were unpleasant.
Most of the time, Brad was relatively safe. But not always. The air base was a target for random mortar attacks. Brad had one or two close calls, but always had his battle gear on and was uninjured. Aside from that, and one other incident (the kind that parents are better off not knowing about), he was out of harm's way. Perhaps the worst part of his tour was having to endure extreme weather conditions (temps peaked at 138 degrees, sand storms, etc.) and no beer.
Now that he's back, he has to complete his re-integration program (a euphemism for no drinking for several days), then flies to LA to visit his brothers (a euphemism for much drinking in several days). He will be home with us next week for 10 days (a euphemism for moderate drinking).
Brad's immediate future in the military presents several options. He is deliberating over those and will decide what he wants to do over the course of the next several months. He still has over two years left on this enlistment and is considering a re-enlistment.
Again, we all appreciate your support of our son. It means a lot. Things are different now compared to the Viet Nam era. We took Brad and a couple of his buddies out for dinner last week at one of those Japanese steak houses. Four others shared our grill station and struck up conversations with the guys. They were fascinated by the stories from Iraq. When dinner was over, I went to pay the bill only to discover that one of the other gentlemen had picked up the whole tab (not an insignificant amount). Our bill came back with "Thank you for your service. Y'all are taken care of." scrawled on it. Military service is still largely a thankless task, but gestures like these and the support you have given our son help a great deal.
Love to you all.
Craig and Joyce

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Andrew & Billie having a rough go

I wanted to pass the word about Billie and Andrew. A week ago last Thursday, he went for a walk late in the evening and stumbled and fell and broke his foot in two places. A neighbor saw him and called Billie and of course she called 911 and to the VA Hospital he went. So, he's in a cast and as of this morning hasn't walked at all. They say no weight at all on the foot, so he hasn't walked even with walker. Just in a wheelchair, only he hasn't even been out of bed yet, so Stephen told me this morning. But he was being moved to a Rehab Center today, so we'll see what happens. Another worry tho is that he is all disoriented and they discovered that he hasn't been taking his medicine probably for about a month. So, he's been kind of out of it.
Carolyn and Sally both came last week to be with Billie and help her and things were doing ok, until Sunday aft, when they were leaving the hospital and Billie fell and lo and behold, she broke her hip and is in Presbyterian Hospital and had a ball replacement yesterday. So, she is down now also and will probably go to Rehab in a couple of days, so Sally said this morning. Carolyn has had to go back to work but Sally has this week and most of next that she can stay.
So, just what they are going to do and how they will manage no one knows yet. Some thought is being given to them going into an Assisted Living Place and then their house would just have to be sold, etc. So, only time will tell.
Boy, when it rains it pours.
Bye and love, AC

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

email-to-blog test

this is a test to see if i can send an email which then becomes a post on the rat camp blog.


it worked..... click here for info on how to do it.

and if you try and don't succeed, please let me know to see if i need to grant permission to let you be able to do it.

hope this'll make posting easier!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Eric's Wedding

Hi all,

Eron here. I, with good
old friend of the family Mike Lucas, went up to Oregon last weekend for the wedding of my brother Eric Ersch to his lovely new wife, Lana. (She's the one in the white dress.) I'm attaching the photos I took. As you can see, it was a beautiful ceremony. Let's wish Eric and Lana the best for many years together!

(roll your mouse over the pictures to show stop/back/fwd controls. click on a pic to go to another page with more control options -larger size, etc. -ed)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Quick news

Hi all - We just wanted to post a quick little note about a change in our situation. We have decided to move back to Flagstaff, in northern Arizona. Actually - it was decided some time back - but we are only now sending the word along. We are moving on July 26th. I think most of you have my email - and that's the best way to contact me, as my phone number will likely change soon. My mom (Carolyn) will also have the contact info

So, if you're in the neighborhood, stop in and say hullo.

Jed and Tracey Hayes

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A good morning!

Yes, it is a good morning here in Roswell. This past week we've had several good rains and that really helps! Thanks to the Good Lord.

This morning I just checked out the blogs of Casey and Jed and find them both very interesting.
I just wanted to recommend them to the rest of you. They really provide us with info on these two guys and I feel that I know them much better. This is a great way to get acquainted. Families should not be strangers to each other. This blog provides us a way to keep that from happening!


(There are links to Casey and Jed's blogs at the bottom of the right hand column -Elton)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thoughts from NM

Greetings to all from the Land of Enchantment! This lil' ole country gal has finally gotten to the point of doing this posting. Thanks to Elton for entering my first message and to Jed for giving me more instructions on how to get on and do this!

I had wanted to get this to you all by the Fourth, but I'm just late, but I wanted to do it anyway.
Memories of the Fourth of July! When I was a kid, the big thing was to have "fried chicken" on the 4th. Our baby chicks would just barely be big enough by then, so that was a great thing, followed by either ice cream, made at home, or maybe a watermelon. After I was 10 or so, we usually managed to have a few fire crackers, a Roman Candle or two and some sparklers! That was our fireworks. We all thought they were wonderful and, of course, my big brother, Jack, got to do all the lighting of them and he even put some of the firecrackers in a can for a big bang! I can't say exactly when it was, but I can remember the first 4th when Jack and Joyce got to go to Carlsbad to see the fireworks, but me, I was too little, so I stayed home. Ha.

You see, when I was growing up all through the 1930's, we raised our own chickens and it was very important to have them for the 4th! As a result, I still like to have fried chicken and water-melon on the 4th and last week, that's what we did! I just wanted to share with all of you "young" ones that times have really changed as to what we have and the way we live. I do feel that we, in the United States, have SO MUCH to be thankful for, but it is very easy to take it all for granted and forget that it used to be so different. Just sharing my thoughts and memories with you all. Take care and love, Auntie Carol

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hello To All

Thought I'd check in just to prove I could do it.

First, Elton, thank you for setting up the family blog. Looks like it took much work, but how's an old fart to know? Nonetheless, thanks. Could be a real kick if folks give it a try.

Joyce and I just finished a road trip from central Oregon to LA. Our oldest, David, just celebrated his 30th. LA, while more crowded than ever, still has some magic -- particularly in the beach communities. Joyce and I haven't lost our craving for Tommy's burgers either.
On the way down we visited Crater Lake for the first time. It's dramatic and worthwhile. The main lodge serves an incredible breakfast with an even more incredible view. The snow banks were still 8'to 12'. We had good snowpack in the Cascades this year.

Our two oldest sons, Dave and Jeff, live in LA (Santa Monica and Redondo Beach). Both work in Internet companies. Brad, our youngest, has been in Baghdad since December, but is due to return soon. Can't wait to hear the stories.

Joyce and I have been settled on the Oregon Coast for almost 5 years now. We love it. We have a room with a view. Come visit.

Craig (Grant)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to Post to the Blog

There have been some questions about how to post to the blog. Here's a short-and-(I hope) simple answer...

  1. First, log in to your google account (do this at blogger.com. Don't have a google account yet? Contact Elton for an invitation.)
  2. You should then be taken to the Dashboard page. There you can click on 'New Post', and then jump to #4 below.
  3. Or at the Dashboard page, you can click on 'View Blog'. On the blog homepage (http://www.ratcamp.blogspot.com) you should able to see your log-in name on the top right of the page. Next click on the 'New Post' link next to your log-in name at the top right of the Rat Camp homepage.
  4. The next page is for writing a Post, and is pretty much like writing an email (except you also have icons there for attaching pictures and movies). There is also a very useful HELP link if you have any more questions...
  5. Last, click 'PUBLISH POST', and Voila! your post will appear on the blog.

    Hope this helps...
PS. You can also click on the 'about blogging' link in the righthand column to bring to the top all of the posts about.... how to blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Exciting News

Hello all,

I just wanted to post a quick note about some very exciting news. Soon, (roughly 6 months or so from now) there will be a new little Hayes in the world. In case that's too cryptic, Tracey is pregnant with our first child! I will post more as we learn more.

Love to everyone,

Jed and Tracey Hayes

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our Veterans

A slideshow of our family members who served our country in the Armed Forces. We thank you and remember you!
Scroll over the lower left corner of the picture and click on the link to see larger sizes, or click on the speech bubble to see captions.

Active Service Members

Here is a slideshow of our current active Armed Forces members, Patrick Luadzers and Brad Grant. Scroll over the picture and click on the link to see larger sizes and captions.

Alexander Family pictures, circa 1930

Here is a slideshow of some old family pictures taken at or near Rat Camp.
Scroll over the picture and click on the link to see larger sizes and captions.

More (recent) pictures

I got a request for some more recent pics of the family. Here they are--scroll over the picture and click on the link to see larger sizes.
I use a mac notebook computer-it has a built-in camera over the screen. These pictures are 'funny face' pictures we took one recent weekend morning.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Greetings from HOT-HOT-HOT Arizona

With the help of my younger son, he got me signed up. Whenever I tried, Google did not like it. I am Technologically Challenged. I hope everyone is well.

Marc and I just returned from a week long trail ride in NM around Quemado Lake. It was really beautiful and cool there. No cell phones worked! It was wonderful to get away from that and just relax.

I have a busy week with 4 auctions and have to spend the night Thursday night in Las Vegas, NV. Then, Sunday we are going to Tucson to help Jed celebrate his birthday. On Monday, I catch a flight to NM to spend time with Mom (Billie) and Sally (my sister). I can't wait.

I spoke to Casey this morning, all is well in Germany and he will be coming back to the States on August 3. I am excited that he is coming home, it has been a long year without him here.

I have sent the invitation out to a number of relatives that were not on the list, i.e. Kevin Alexander (Leon's son), Skip and Mel (again), so hopefully they will contribute as well. I love reading all of the posts from everyone. Until next time, Carolyn Lee

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's working for me

Thanks for the recent posts, kinfolk. And thanks to Auntie Carol for kicking some but! to get it started again.
Just wanted to say it's been great to connect with a cousin I haven't heard from in decades (literally), and a pair of cool brother-cousins I haven't ever really had a chance to get to know. It's fascinating to note the old family tone in their writing--interesting how we perpetuate ourselves (as a family character). And fun to know there's another of us enjoying the love/hate affair of living abroad.
Thanks to the others of you who have sent me emails of interest--hope you'll be posting here soon, too!


From Leipzig

Hello all,

I am glad that Auntie Carol shamed a few of us into writing more in the blog...good stuff. I am currently enjoying the nice weather in Leipzig and sweating the fact that I fly back to the states in about 43 days. Mixed feelings all around. I am definitely excited about seeing my friends, family and homeland, and the prospect of eating some REAL mexican food make me just about explode with excitement, but I have to leave someone special behind. Maybe just temporarily, but who knows.

Nothing new to report and no new pictures. Keep the posts coming. I am off to the Bierbörse tonight - sort of like a beer festival. It is taking place at the monument for the Battle of Nations which was fought here in 1813. On the winning side..Germany, Austria, etc., on the losing side France (Napoleon) and Saxony, which is where Leipzig is located. SO...we have a monument commemorating the winning of a battle located in a land that was one of the losers. I feel that it is a little humorous. At any rate, the monument was erected in 1913 and represents a typical Imperial German style and sensibility. Yeah.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hello from Leesville, South Carolina

Hi family,
Just a quick note before I head off to teach an "extended school year" session with one of my students and then off to Charlotte, NC (we actually have a house in York, SC which is just outside of Charlotte). We (my husband, Randy and I) are going to see Toby Keith tomorrow night. We are fine here. Staying busy - as usual.
Randy is a retired English teacher and is currently working on our houses. We plan to sell the one in Leesville and move to York to be closer to his parents. I am still teaching students with severe autism at Lexington High School and am close to finishing my Ph.D. in special ed administration - and much like Casey - what the heck did I do this for. But hang in there Casey. It is worth it.. I think.
I am going to Albuquerque on June 25 for 2 weeks to visit with mom (Billie) and Stephen (my son). they are fine and I am really looking forward to seeing them. My other two sons: Dustin is in Clarksville, TN working and planning on getting married soon and Patrick with his wife, Mary, and step-son, Zack, live in Washington state. He is in the Army and will be deployed to Iraq on Oct. 26. I will keep you posted about that and I will send this information to all of the boys in hopes they will join in.
Take care and this is so GREAT!!
Love you all, Sally

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Greetings from temperate (yeah, right) Tucson. Here's my update:

I live here in Tucson with my wife Tracey and our dog Gracie. I am very fond of both of them and I hope they echo such sentiments.

I'll go way back for those of you who may not know of my past few years. I got my MFA in Playwriting from UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television (Francis Ford Coppola's alma mater) in 2004. I write as much as I can - but there are not, as it turns out, too many job options for us playwrights. Following our move to Tucson in 2005, I taught high school Drama and English for one year before going back to school. In 2007, I received my Master's degree in Education (with distinction, I might add) from Northern Arizona University's Tucson Campus and have been teaching Middle School Drama, English and Humanities. I also tutor several students from various grades (K-12) in Reading and Writing.

I am currently working on 3 new plays at one time - some times the Muses really smash me down. My future goals (aside from finishing these) are to start a youth theater, and a community educational outreach program. Hopefully I can accomplish these things in the next couple of years.

My wife Tracey just completed her Master's in Education in Counseling (also with distinction) also from NAU. She works for NAU in student services, and plans to continue on for a multi-disciplinary PhD in physiology and psychology (among other things).

Our wonderful dog Gracie spend many laborious hours perfecting her snoring techniques and generally loving us unabashedly. She enjoys walks, stealing our recliners, waking us up early, and being a very spoiled only-child.

I'm not sure really what else to add. One can never tell exactly what the future holds. Perhaps we will chuck it all and move to French Polynesia. If so, you're all welcome at our Tahitian hut.

Good wishes,
Jed, Tracey and Gracie Hayes

Monday, April 7, 2008

Stan Bungee Jumping in New Zealand

I'm trying to put a slideshow on the blog. Here are 3 pictures Stan sent me of him Bungee Jumping in New Zealand in February 2008. "Awesome!" in Stan's own words!
Click on the link to go see larger pictures...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The View from Elton's House (video)

Here's the view from our apartment in Japan. Just click on the triangle play button at the bottom left to view it....

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hello from Germany

Hello Alexander-Jordan Clan. I certainly hope everyone is having a nice spring. In Leipzig the sun is not so sure if she (feminine in German) wants to come out yet. We'll have one nice day of weather and then rain/snow or whatever. Make me wonder if Global Warming really exists (he he). Anyway, I am finishing up my second PhD year here in Leipzig and am probably going to continue back in Tucson in August. I am having one of those Graduate School.."what the hell am I doing all this for" phases. Oh, well...this too shall pass. Along with what I am doing for the Uni, I am working on a side project developing tests for business English. So far I have been developing scripts for listening comprehension tests and writing instructions for the writing portion of the exams. All that along with the occasional translation project. All in all, I have enough to keep me busy.

German Winters are pretty depressing, and this one was particularly hard on me. Being from the desert and seeing the sun almost 300 days a year has that effect on me. Things are turning around, however, and I look forward to rinding my bicycle to the lake and possibly getting some sun....who knows.

I have a blog of my own on Blogger called "Ruminations of a Desert Rat," unfortunately I haven't updated it since October. I have no real excuse for it, I just find it hard to blog. I guess that is why I have never kept a journal.

(By the way the picture is me in Prague...neat town)

Anyway, enjoy the spring and hope to read something from you all soon.

til then


Monday, March 24, 2008

Starting to Post to the Blog

To post to the Rat Camp blog, first you must receive an invitation. Contact Elton at the email link at the top right of the page if you haven't been invited.
Once you receive your invitation by email, if you don't already have a Google account, you'll have to set one up. Click on the link in the invitation email to be led through the steps. You don't have to have a Google (@gmail.com) address to do this.

If you already have a Google account, you should be enabled to post when you log in (? and go to the Rat Camp blog homepage).

You might have to first click on Blogger on your Google Accounts page to access the blog.

After I saved my Google password in my computer, when I go to the Rat Camp homepage, there are symbols and links for me to click on to post and do other things.

Hope this helps, Elton

Hello to all!

I think this is a great idea and wonderful way for us to keep in touch.
I just have to comment on the name Elton picked - "Rat Camp". I don't know how many of you know, but that was the name of the camp on the ranch where I was born. A few miles east of Lake Arthur, NM. Pappo (my dad) was a cowboy there. Part of the old house is still standing and has been added on to. Later, Auntie Carol

Things you can post

A short list: audio, video, a picture, a slideshow (a series of pictures), even receive calls and voicemail! See blogger help for more.
Almost anything you can write in html code can also be included. It's not that hard. Look here.

Or when you're writing a post, click on Edit Html on the top right corner, and then click on Help in the topmost right corner. Then type HTML CODE into the search box. You'll find html tags that you can copy and paste into your post.

For more (simpler!) ideas, go to blogger help.

Birthdays, Please!

I'd like to make a list of all of our birthdays. Send me your birth date (and any others you know, or corrections!), and I'll put it on the list. Thanks!

Viewing a post and comments on one page

To view a post AND its' comments on one web-page, click on the brown title for the post. A new page will appear with the original post, with all the comments showing.

How-to-blog video

Click here for a video about how to make a blog. The first half of the video has already been done; the last part of the video shows how to make a post and add a picture.

How to Blog-Help!

Writing a blog seems to be new to all of us. As you learn how to do something cool, please make a post telling others how to do it, too. And label the post 'about blogging' so we can make a one-click resource for all the great ideas. Thanks!

Labeling Posts

Labels are an important part of blogging. It's the way the blog software uses keywords you choose to sort the posts.

When you're posting, please put your first name and family name, separated by commas (for example: elton, ersch), in the label box at the bottom right of the posting page. Your names will appear in the right hand column so others can click on your name and find your posts.

If you're posting advice about how to do something on the blog, please use 'about blogging' for the label. Thanks.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A nice visit...

I suppose I'll make a timely addition to the blog...Just a few days ago I traveled from Denver, Colorado to Berkeley, California to visit the University of California, Berkeley campus. I was considering pursuing a Ph.D. at Berkeley, but it turns out I'll end up across the bay at a certain rival school.

Anyway, while I was there, I had a lovely few days with Eron Ersch, his wife Burr Tyler, and their daughter Chloe. Thanks to Eron, Burr, and Chloe for opening their home and sharing their life with me...I hadn't seen them for nine years or so (I think it was approximately at or after Chloe's arrival), so it was particularly nice to catch up. Thanks again!

Another highlight of my stay was talking with Elton, Kumiko, and Louis via webcam. Although I did spend a couple of years in Japan, and I saw Elton and Kumiko several times during that period, this week was the first chance I've had to see Louis...Who is, of course, adorable.

Thanks to all involved for a great time. I figured this might be a decent (and timely) entry to kick off the blog.

The Ersch's in Japan

Kumiko and I and our son Louis, 3, live in Fujikawa, Shizuoka, Japan, about half-way between Tokyo and Nagoya on the Pacific coast. I teach English in the town's 7 schools (kindergarten, elementary & jr hi). Kumiko has been a stay-at-home mom since Louis was born. Louis (loo-ee, or roo-ee, in Japanese!) is a good boy, most of the time!

We're starting our 12th year here; for me, the longest I've lived anywhere, ever. Our home is surrounded by hills, has a view of Mt. Fuji, and is near the Fujikawa River. Our town sits at the top of the Suruga Bay.

When we can we like to take walks, have a campfire in the backyard, paddle our canoe or kayak, and travel. We have a van with a bed in the back that makes it cheap and easy to sleep most anywhere. The general safety in Japan and the hot springs that are everywhere make it easy.

My own hobby is mountain biking. I've also started another blog called DIY Health and Wellness and have a webpage for teaching English or other foreign languages.