Monday, January 30, 2006

a light at the end of the bronchial tube

Maybe my coughing will come to an end soon. I went to the doctor today and found out I have a lung infection and may have had it for a while. Every winter I get this congestion and cough that just goes on for weeks. So far this winter, I've had it twice. It was time to call in the professionals. Evidently, my lungs may have been damaged from breathing poultry dust years ago. (I worked at an experimental poultry farm 26 years ago) Anyway, these chronic bouts of coughing fits have been caused by a low grade infection that's been around awhile. I won't try to use all the jargon the doc used. So I'm on antibiotics, two kinds of inhalers and an allergy medicine. I should be a new man soon. Dorothy will be glad, I think she's been wanting a new man. (just kidding)

I'm a Mazda RX-8!

You're sporty, yet practical,
and you have a style of your own.
You like to have fun, and you like to bring
friends along for the ride, but when it comes
time for everyday chores, you're willing
to do your part.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

can't sleep

Well, I'm awake. I just Googled the side effects of the cold medicine I'm taking and sure enough, insomnia is listed. Oh well, maybe I can catch up on my sleep as soon as I get over this crud.

Since I'm up I checked the Lotto and Powerball numbers. I got four numbers on the Missouri Lotto. Yipee! I checked it out. $29.00 I was going to wake Dorothy up with the good news but I guess I'd better not.

For years I've suspected that historical events have been more often affected by commercial interests than some of the more noble causes like "making the world safe for democracy", "fighting the war over there so we won't have to fight it over here". So I've been reading a book called "The Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy". The book has confirmed my suspicions, but here's what I learned the most from the book: It was hard to read. It was published in 1915 and I was able to obtain a 1965 edition. It was a scholarly work and clearly was not written for a mass audience, but I soon realized it was going to be hard work to digest this book. I think modern readers have been dumbed down by the literature we read. When we read non-fiction we want it to read like a novel. I do. There's nothing wrong with wanting your reading material to be entertaining as well as informative, but good grief, I'm getting to where I'll put a difficult book down no matter how many nuggets of information I'm able to mine from it. But I guess I'll keep reading the hard ones. I want to know the truth and it can't be found in the tabloids, popular page turners, or on the evening news. Truth has to be searched for, I just pray I'll have the wisdom to recognize it when I find it.

While I'm up: I've found the perfect throat lozenge. Do you ever get burned out on cough drops and just can't stand the taste of them by the time you've kicked the cold? I've been using chocolate kisses with caramel centers. A lot better than cough drops.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

rain, rain, don't go away

Last night it started raining and as I write this it's still coming down and I can see flashes of lightning in the distance. It's the first significant rain we've had since October. This will do wonders to put out the wildfires that have burned so much of Oklahoma. And hopefully prevent new ones from flaring up.

Dorothy and I drove to the Wal-mart in Stilwell this afternoon to buy more cold medicine. On the way we saw some people burning trash. Although it was raining, those people were risking a $500 fine. That's for burning during a ban. If the fire gets out of control the fines start increasing in proportion to the property damage. But, by some backwoods reasoning, I suppose, the risk of a fine or worse is worth avoiding the $11.00 a month it costs to have your trash picked up.

In addition to the the cough suppressant/decongestant/cold remedy, we bought a cough throat mist. I tried it on the way home. It worked. It also tasted ten times better than cough syrup. That being said, it still failed to make it half way across the taste scale from ptooey to yummy.

I'm glad to be feeling better. I'm still coughing but not so much that I feel like I'm going to lose a lung. My daughter Kelly told me this morning I should be developing a good set of abs from all that coughing. Actually, when I got up this morning I noticed I had a great six-pack showing. I put my glasses on and it was just wrinkles and folds.

Wednesday, and Thursday nights I slept in the recliner. Last night it was the couch. Tonight I'm going to try sleeping in bed. Dorothy's already in bed and I'm giving her a head start on sleep as I write this post before I join her. I'll take a shot of that throat mist and then hit the sack. Maybe I'll sleep all night.

One of the benefits of being sick is losing weight. I haven't felt like walking but I lost about 5 lbs anyway. I don't know why I can't lose simply by deciding to eat less. This whole diet, exercise, metabolism thing is a complicated affair. At any rate, I need to keep my personal tonnage down to avoid high blood pressure and diabetes.

I hope I'm completely over this by Monday. I've got things to do. I have all the materials I need to build a closet for Dorothy in the master bath. I have a masonite panel cut, gessoed, and a scene sketched in for a landscape I want to paint. I also need to clean up the garden area and start tilling the ground and get it ready for planting. Marley (6yrs old) and I went through a garden catalogue the other day and I sent the order off. We'll have plenty of seeds to plant.

Well, I'm going to get a blast of that throat spray and go to bed. Wish me luck. I may be up In the middle of the night with another post if it doesn't last.

quote of the day

We who claim to love peace and justice must always be careful that we do not use our righteousness to provoke the violent, and in this way bring about the conflict for which we, too, like other men, are hungering in secret, and with suppressed barbarity.
-- Thomas Merton, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander"

Thursday, January 26, 2006

coughing, coughing, coughing

I spent the night in the recliner. No, Dorothy and I weren't fighting. Even if we were, she wouldn't kick me out of bed. Where would she put her cold feet?

No, I had to sit up to sleep because of chest cold. I can't seem to be able to stop coughing. I'm taking some over the counter stuff that does relieve the symptoms somewhat, but I'll be glad when this is over.

When I was delivering mail I would usually come down with one good cold a year, and I thought after retirement that one cold would be eliminated. After all, I'm not out in the cold air. But, maybe that's where I need to be. I've been going to fire training, and fire meetings, and we try to carpool when we can. Being enclosed with other people has caused be to catch several colds.
Not that I have any plans to return to the delivery of mail. But, I think I need to spend more time outside.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

here it is

I suppose it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the meme, so let me get it over with:

Four jobs I have had:

  1. Military Policeman
  2. Bill collector for a finance company
  3. Research technician for an experimental poultry farm
  4. Mailman

Four movies I would watch over and over:

  1. A Christmas Story
  2. Red River
  3. Flying Deuces (Laurel and Hardy)
  4. A Walk in the Sun

Four favorite foods:

  1. Tacos
  2. Beans and cornbread
  3. Spaghetti
  4. Peanut butter sandwich

Four places I have lived:

  1. Hermosa Beach, Ca.
  2. La Puente, Ca.
  3. Pomona, Ca.
  4. Westville, Ok.

Four place I've been on vacation:

  1. Lake Tahoe
  2. Asheville, N.C.
  3. San Francisco, Ca.
  4. Grand Canyon, Az.

Four Websites I visit daily:

See the blogroll at right.

Four places I'd rather be:

I hate to get philosophical on you, but there's no place I'd rather be than where I am at any given moment.

I'm not going to tag anyone with this meme, but if it appeals to you have a go at it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

quote of the day

Every time I've done something that doesn't feel right, it's ended up not being right.
--Mario Cuomo

Monday, January 23, 2006

Just back from Lowes with material to continue the remodel project. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 21, 2006

quote of the day

The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms--this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religion.
--Albert Einstein

Friday, January 20, 2006

fire call

I hadn't been asleep long when a fire call came over the radio. The dispatcher said there was a fire on Hall Hill Rd. I jumped out of bed quickly and clumsily put my clothes on. It took a minute to find my truck keys. Dorothy handed me my radio and flashlight, I jumped into my fire pants and boots and out the door I went. I keep my fire coat and helmet in my truck so it will be ready, but I was fumbling with the keys trying to find the right one by the light of the porch light when Mike drove by in the fire engine. He stopped for me but I waved him on and finally found the key and pulled out of the drive way in pursuit. My throat was parched and dry already by the time I drove past our mailbox.

I drove down highway 62 towards town as fast as I could. Mike was trying to get me on the radio; I kept responding but in the dark I wasn't sure I was even on the right frequency. Every time I rounded a curve I could see the flashing lights of the fire truck up ahead in the distance. I wasn't gaining on him. I reached Hall Hill Rd and turned south. I could see the flashing lights ahead and it soon became evident that they were coming back in my direction. This is typical of fire calls in rural areas. The person who called in probably gave the location as well as he could but very often the information is inaccurate. By the time I turned around, the fire truck was headed east along 62 with several responders in their p.o.v.'s behind it. I could see in the distance as they turned south again on Ross Swimmer Rd. As I approached the intersection a truck from Westville came in from the east. I pulled over and let them pass. By the time I caught up with them they were stopped in the Addilee community. No fire. Someone may have seen smoke from a wood burning stove, and reported it as a fire; who knows. We all went back home. Now I'm up at midnight writing this post and drinking a diet Pepsi free to slake my thirst. I'm too keyed up to go back to sleep.

I keep my fire pants folded over my boots (note the obligatory red suspenders) near the back door(just like a real fireman). I can see I need to be even more organized. I think when I go to bed I'll leave my wallet, cell phone, keys, and anything else I might need on the washing machine so I can grab them on my way out the door.

The primary problem is that once I'm asleep and then get awakened by the pager I'm dazed and confused for a few minutes. If Dorothy hadn't been here to steer me around and put things in my hands I would still be stumbling around the house trying to get ready when Mike returned with the truck after the call. Mike Wolf is the official mechanic for the department and usually has a fire truck at his house which is just down the road from me. So as he rolls down the road, siren blasting and lights flashing, I try to be ready and standing out in the road to hitch a ride with him to the fire. This time I just didn't make it. Well, I'm going back to bed now; I'm keeping my socks on just in case.

quote of the day

Wanting to reform the world without discovering one's true self is like trying to cover the whole world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much better to wear shoes.
--Ramana Maharshi, Indian sage, 1879-1950

musings in the wee hours

This afternoon at 5:45 I started reformatting the hard drive on this computer. I was finished reinstalling Windows by 10:00 but for some reason I couldn't get the modem installed and working. So I uninstalled it a put in one I bought at a yard sale. I was hoodwinked. The software didn't match the modem. At 11:30 I just gave up and went to bed. An hour later after a refreshing nap I got up and took out the yard sale modem and reinstalled the original one and low and behold it worked perfectly. Now over the next few days I'll install Works Suite and all the other programs I've accumulated over the years that make computing a pleasure (I can't do without my PhotoShop).

When I was working I would meditate for about 20 minutes every morning just before I went to work. It really helped to keep my blood pressure down and it enabled me to cope with the stress of the job. Now that I'm retired I find it hard to meditate. There's no stress to be relieved of. (I know, you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition) Maybe I'm just in a state of constant, walking meditation. Retirement is very soothing to the nerves.

In a few weeks we're going to be going up and down ladders in the firefighting class so today I got out my 20ft extension ladder, leaned it against the house and went up and down a few times. I'm going to continue that and get in shape because I don't want to be embarrassed by not keeping up with the "kids" on the department.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

quote of the day

Whoever is loved is beautiful, but the opposite is not true, that whoever is beautiful is loved. Real beauty is part of loved-ness, and the loved-ness is primary. If a being is loved, he or she has beauty, because a part cannot be separate from the whole. Many girls were more beautiful than Laila, but Majnum did not love them. "Let us bring some of these to meet you," they used to say to Majnum, and he would reply, "It's not the form of Laila that I love. Laila is not the form. You're looking at the cup, whereas I think only of the wine I drink from that cup. If you gave me a chalice studded with gemstones, but filled with vinegar or something other than wine, what use would that be? An old broken dipper-gourd with Laila-wine in it is better than a hundred precious goblets full of other liquid."
--Rumi - Sufi mystic and poet 1207-1273

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

quote of the day

Our government has abandoned fiscal responsibilty by unprecedented favors to the rich, while neglecting America's working families. Members of Congress have increased their own pay by $30,000 per year, since freezing the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour (the lowest among industrial nations).
--President Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis

Monday, January 16, 2006

fire dept blog

I've created a new blog for the Christie-Proctor VFD. We'll use it to keep members up to date on meetings, training, and other events. If you'd like to check it out click here.

quote of the day

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
--Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

Saturday, January 14, 2006

five month retirement update

At the five month mark the initial retirement euphoria is beginning to fade and it's no longer a novelty to be free from work. The usual winter blues (SAD) has set in and it's hard to get going on these projects. I'll have to tough it out and force myself out of bed each morning and talk myself into starting the day. Of course I can't get started until I've had my morning coffee and that takes until 9:30 or ten. At first I would be up by 5:00am or earlier but now I've settled into a wake up at around 7:00am with a nap in the afternoon. What luxury! This is a typical week:

  • I've been staining and varnishing the bathroom door and towel cabinet. I'll start building a closet in the master bath this week.
  • I cut out some masonite boards to use as painting canvases and hope to start a new painting this week.
  • I went to a fire meeting in Westville and got caught up on the concerns, both political and financial, of our local volunteer fire departments. The wild fires here in Oklahoma are taking their toll. We've been lucky in Adair County. (I've responded to three fires in the last month) Some firemen in other communities have been using their own personal credit cards to fuel their fire trucks because they've run out of operating funds.

Last night I got a call from a neighbor who's grand kids saw a horse down on the creek behind my house that seemed caught in the fence. I called the neighbor on the other side of me who has horses and he came down and we jumped in my truck and took off across the pasture. The creek is at the bottom of a 30 foot bluff and I parked my truck at the top of the bluff and kept the headlights pointed in the general direction of the horse. We climbed down the bluff and and spotted a big red mule standing in the corner of the fence. My neighbor waded the creek while I kept my flashlight trained on the mule. Another neighbor soon arrived driving his truck up the creek from the south. The two of them found the mule just standing in the corner with a dead limb of a tree pressed against his backside. He thought he was stuck and had been standing there probably all afternoon. Some horses and mules when caught in a situation like that will simply stand until someone comes to help. Others will hurt themselves trying to get loose. This incident turned out ok, in fact, it was kinda comical.

  • Today, Dorothy and I drove to Tulsa to a Remodeling and Landscape show at the Convention Center. It was a disappointment. There just wasn't much to look at. We like to go to those shows to get ideas for our own place. It was a waste of time except for the Asian diner we went to for lunch. I had a hot and spicy dish called coconut curry pork.
  • I stopped in at the post office this week and visitied with my old boss. While I was there, some of the employees whined about having to do without Dorothy's cinnamon rolls, so next week I'll take a couple of dozen right out of the oven and have coffee with them during their break.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

quote of the day

Simple distortions are more politically persuasive than complicated truths.
--Christopher Jencks

applying the stain Posted by Picasa

crazy weather

Tonight on the 5:00 news the weather man said we might get a few drops of rain from a cold front moving through. I was at the Westville Fire Dept. for the quarterly meeting of the Adair county firefighters when a thunder storm blew up. We interrupted the meeting while the Westville crew moved their trucks back into the fire station to avoid hail damage. We usually don't get storms like this until April or May. I took this picture of dime size hail when I got home from the meeting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

gecko with british accent

Have you noticed the Geico Gecko is speaking now? In his commercial he mentioned pie and chips and since he speaks in a British accent I did a search for food of the U.K. Pie and chips; a pie containing meat, potatoes, and just about anything else you can think of accompanied by fries (chips). Every year Tulsa, OK. hosts the Scottish Games. When we go we usually buy some Scottish meat pies. They have beef, oats, and some veggies and spices. Very tasty.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

quote of the day

"Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
--Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, 1953

the remodeling continues

Yesterday I installed this unfinished cabinet in the master bath. Today I'll stain it to match the vanity and then start building a closet in the space where that dresser now resides.

Monday, January 09, 2006

quote of the day

"The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
--Carlos Castenada

Friday, January 06, 2006

quote of the day

Are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul?

goodbye ol' mare

Our neighbor John Shafer leads this pinto mare and her colt past our house to a horse trailer. He sold her to a lady who is going to use her to pull an Amish buggy. She'll make that Amish rig look fancy. We'll miss seeing her in the pasture.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


There are too many choices these days. Whether it's buying a car or an antacid how do we make up our minds as to which product to buy? When I was a kid there was a good variety of soda pop to choose from: Coke, Pepsi, RC, Orange Crush, Dr Pepper, etc. Now, how do you choose which Coke product to buy? You have Classic Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free, Vanilla Coke. You may even be able to buy a Diet, Caffeine Free, Vanilla Coke.

I think having a huge variety of choices is a marketing ploy directed toward women. (I know, I'm treading on dangerous ground here.) Let's take shampoo for instance. If I go to the store for shampoo (Come to think of it, I've never done that) I will go directly to the shampoo section, pick up a bottle that has the word shampoo on the label, pay for it and bring it home. Dorothy will stand there and deliberate and read labels for what seems like a long time in order to get the perfect shampoo. It has to add body (what's that?). On the front of her shampoo bottle it describes itself as a lightweight formula that boosts hair with volume and body. Wow! I never knew that. It contains amino proteins and a lot of other unpronounceable ingredients, but no Jojoba. There's a shampoo for every scalp condition and type of hair. Of course, I may have chosen the wrong example seeing as how I don't have much hair.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that as I get older I value simplicity. I know the younger generation revels in the multiplicity of car models to choose from, a myriad of electronic devices to serve every need, and a mind boggling list of chain restaurants, each with a menu that takes twenty minutes to read and consider all the entrees. The life we live in modern times is fast paced and when presented with so many choices my baby boomer brain tends to freeze up like my computer when it is asked to run too many programs at once. I think I'll have some Ctrl, Alt, Delete buttons installed in the back of my head so that Dorothy can reboot me whenever she finds me frozen in place, staring off into space, trying to decide which deodorant to buy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mike Wolfe just dropped me off after a fire. Just some people burning leaves. They didn't know there was a burn ban in effect! Posted by Picasa

something to think about

....the United States of America stands almost alone in the world in our fascination with the death penalty, and our few remaining companions are regimes with a lack of respect for basic human rights. Ninety percent of all known executions are carried out in just four countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. In fact, our nation and Somalia (which has no organized government) are the only two that have refused to ratify the International Covenant on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits execution for crimes committed by children. Since 1990, only seven countries other than the United States had executed people for crimes they committed as juveniles, and even those -- Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- now have disavowed the practice. Finally, in March 2005 the U. S. Supreme Court voted five-to-four to outlaw juvenile executions -- a decision strongly condemned by many conservative Christians.

Jimmy Carter -- Our Endangered Values

Monday, January 02, 2006

black-eyed peas

Did you eat black-eyed peas yesterday? If not, then, you've probably never seen Magnolias in bloom, tasted sweet tea in the summer time, spent an afternoon on a porch swing, or know what the earth smells like after a thunder storm. If you don't eat black-eyed peas on New Years day, then you're not from the south.