Tuesday, February 28, 2006

pray for rain!

Those readers who believe in the power of prayer, please mention NE Oklahoma. We are in bad need of rain. Our landscape is beginning to resemble southern California.
We've responded four times in the last three days to the same wildland fire. If I've been unattentive to this blog, this is the reason why. I was out to midnight last night fighting this fire and now we're at it again today. The two trucks are perched at the edge of a ridge ready to defend houses from an advancing flame. I took the other photo on the way. You can see the fire truck behind us through the sideview mirror.

Monday, February 27, 2006

quote of the day

The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
--John Stuart Mill

Sunday, February 26, 2006

quote of the day

Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.
--Richard Armour

afternoon interrupted

We were sitting around visiting this afternoon, stuffed with a wonderful meal and cake and ice cream when a fire call came over the radio. Off I went. I went to the fire station and drove off with one of our tankers. Someone had set something on fire on the highway and it quickly spread up a hill and caught the woods on fire. The Forestry Service responded quickly with bull dozers and within two hours we had the fire knocked down. We had a total of 6 fire tankers helping. After I arrived on the scene I was put to work directing traffic and with the use of a radio my partner and I kept traffic safely moving through a narrow defile clogged with all manner of fire fighting equipment.
This is a photo of the truck I drove to the fire.


I forgot to make mention the source of those delectable morsels. Although Dorothy is an excellent cook, alligators are not readily available in our area. We picked up the chickens and appetizers at Hebert's Specialty Meats in Tulsa. Check out their website, you can have the stuff shipped Fedex.

cajun birthday dinner

The left chicken is stuffed with an alligator rice dressing; the middle, broccoli and rice; the right, crawfish and rice. Below, jalapeno peppers stuffed with shrimp and crab.

Hunter insisted that Grandma open her present before dinner. The girls sample the blooming onions.

We combined two birthdays this year. Dorothy and the girls blow out her candles and Burk prepares to do the same.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

quote of the day

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
--Henry David Thoreau

work day for the fire dept.

At the fire dept. we're working on a project. We had some land donated to us and we plan to build a helipad and a new fire station on it. So, today we were hauling gravel to use as fill for the pad and we measured and staked the property.

Friday, February 24, 2006

quote of the day

Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible - not to have run away.
-- Dag Hammarskjold

Thursday, February 23, 2006

quote of the day

Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.
-- Russell Baker

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

sixth month retirement report

This will be my sixth and final report on how I'm adjusting to retirement. Why the last one? Because I think I have this retirement thing down. Work is a distant memory. I'm sleeping 8-10 hours a night after twenty years of getting 7 hours or less. I'm just recovering from a lung infection and this cold weather has kept Dorothy and I from walking so I've gained some weight and I'm out of shape, but Spring is just around the corner and I'll take care of those problems soon.
I see the need for self discipline. I have to make myself start the remodeling projects on my agenda, and even though I love to paint I'm having trouble getting started. I have a huge piece of masonite already covered in gesso, sketched out and ready to go, but I keep putting it off.
My job as a volunteer for the fire dept. is a real stretch for me. Responding to the fire calls is very physically demanding, and I'll be kept busy as their secretary, setting up their computer system, scheduling training, reporting to the national incident management system, etc.
Tomorrow I hope to start tilling the garden. This snow has moistened the ground to the point that I can till without letting the topsoil blow away as dust. I'm anxious to get some seeds in the ground, especially since Marley (6) and Hunter (3) are going to help. When Tara and Sami were little I put a sign on the highway and they sold my tomatoes to passersby to make a little cash, so I'm giving the two little ones the same opportunity.
I have some trips planned. We're taking Tara and Sami to New York as a graduation present. Sami won't graduate until next year but this will just be an early gift for her. We also have a wedding/family reunion to attend in July, and we'd like to fit in a trip to the Bahamas sometime this year. After all, it will be our 40th anniversay in August and you can't let that pass without a celebration.
We've had a modicum of success selling on eBay and Amazon and I hope to pursue that a little more. It's always good to augment a modest retirement income, especially to avoid either of us going back to work. I'm beginning to react to that word the way Maynard G. Krebbs did.
So all in all retirement has been good for me. I like spending time with Dorothy. After all these years I'm getting acquainted with my neighbors. Most of the guys on the fire dept. went to school with my daughters and now I'm getting to know them as men. I'm not sitting in the porch swing watching the cars go by, but you know what? I think I'll set aside some time just for that.

jealous lizzy

Lizzie doesn't like the grandkids getting too close to Dorothy.


Watching tv

quote of the day

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
--P. J. O'Rourke

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

getting out

Dorothy and I went to Tahlequah today in an effort to overcome cabin fever. We'd been cooped up for several days with snow and ice on the roads and it was time to escape. We went to Lowe's and exchanged a defective microwave oven we purchased there earlier in the month. There's still snow on the ground but the highway was clear and dry. While we were in town we ate at a new restaurant called Swanky Frank's. It's a 50's style diner complete with black and white square floor tiles and chrome and vinyl stools. Dorothy and I had chili cheese dogs with jalapenos and a combo order of onion rings and french fries. For dessert, coconut cream pie. The pie was good, but Dorothy can make better.

quote of the day

Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.
--Omar N. Bradley, General of the Army, U.S., 1893-1981

Thursday, February 16, 2006

retirement quote

Dorothy's reading a book by Fannie Flagg called Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!, and she read me a paragraph or two that she thought I might like. I thought it was blogworthy so I'm quoting it here: --- 'As they walked Dena asked what it was like for him now that he was retired. He laughed. "Each morning I wake up so stiff and arthritic I can hardly get out of bed. I go into the bathroom and look in the mirror at what used to be a pretty passable mug and what stares back at me is this gray-haired, old, turkey-necked, geezer and it's pretty depressing. But then I think, Howard, old boy, today you can say any damn thing you want...and that puts a spring back in my step, I'll tell you. That's what I wish for everybody, that they get old enough not to have to please anyone, and ornery enough to thumb their noses at all the idiots in the world. It's worth getting old. I recommend it to everybody."
"You look about ten years younger."
"I don't know about that but I can tell you this, I feel better than I have for a long time."
"Do you ever miss it at all?"
"No, strangely enough, I don't. Not a minute of it. As a matter of fact, I wish I had stopped years ago. I'm just beginning to realize how much of life I missed."

i long for the porch swing

Every time I go out the door I look over at the porch swing and remember the plans I made to spend a lot of time there watching the cars go by after my retirement. There's a hammock in the front yard that goes unused. I spent some precious time in it in the days following my escape from the work world, but I seem to be getting busier as time goes by.
I thought it would be fun to join the volunteer fire department. You know, go to a fire once in awhile, red lights and siren, adrenaline flowing. Great fun. Well, I was elected secretary for the department. (someone told them about my expertise, such as it is, with the computer) And now I have a job again. The department is building an office for me and buying a computer for me to use. My job is to compile run reports for each incident we respond to, bill insurance companies, keep records of training, and get us compliant with the fire incident reporting system by September of this year. I designed a website for the department and I'm keeping it current. So I think about the porch swing, and then I think about the workload I just took on. Well, I do get to ride in a fire truck, and wear a great looking helmet. (We were just issued lights to attach to them, neato!)

Firemen get to wear cool hats. Posted by Picasa

hogwild review

My daughter Rachel emailed me this link to the review given the Hogwild Pizzeria by LunchTour.com. It's an amusing read. Fortunately they liked the pizza. Read: http://www.lunchtour.com/wp/

quote of the day

It is only by following your deepest instinct that you can lead a rich life, and if you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin.
-- Katharine Butler Hathaway

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

worn out

I'm still tired from the fire Monday night. We were called to the same location this morning to apply some water to some still smouldering ashes. This is the crew I respond with.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

another fire call

At 2:30 yesterday afternoon I was paged to a structure fire about 5 miles away. I grabbed my gear and drove to the fire station. I arrived just as two firemen were pulling away in a truck. They motioned for me to get the other truck. I raised the vertical door and started to get into the truck and the door came down. I repeated that several times until the door finally stayed up. (It was beginning to resemble an episode from the Keystone Cops) By that time another firefighter arrived; I let him drive. When we arrived at the fire the back of the house was fully involved in flames. Eight fire trucks responded from three communities. I took a turn with a hose until I was relieved. I kept the hoses pulled around so the hose man didn't have to expend too much energy pulling the hose himself. It's a real work out just to move around in those fire suits. We kept the fire contained but just couldn't suppress it totally. We were still on the scene at 7:00 when Dorothy showed up with sandwiches, coffee, and bottled water. That was a lifesaver. I finally got home at 9:15. I'm exhausted today, not only from the exertion, but probably from the presence of carbon monoxide in the blood. I hung my suit on the fence to wash it, not only because it was dirty, but I had left the pants on the porch over night and the cats peed on it.
I had to give this suit a good scrubbing Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 12, 2006

quote of the day

The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.
-- ---Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

Thursday, February 09, 2006

quote of the day

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

enslaved by trivia

The quote below got me thinking, as it did Lorna and Dawn. When I retired I was looking forward to much needed leisure. Being released from the slavery of working for a living and all the little things that come with it, such as getting up at a certain time each day, repeating routine functions of the job day after day, week after week; and most of all the psychological ball and chain of being obligated to show up and do another's bidding for most of a lifetime--I was ready for an unstructured, lack-a-daisical lifestyle. But I soon found out that without definite goals and some sort of structured activity you are soon overtaken by the trivial little parts of your day, from the ritual of your morning coffee and television news, to the meals that punctuate your days. I work in the yard and have remodeling projects to keep me busy, but there's no sense of urgency to bring me back to those things regularly and I'm not so ambitious that I've sought some sort of meaningful work. But I have had work brought to me. I was asked by a neighbor a few months ago to join our local volunteer fire department. I at first turned him down, after all I'm 60 years old; what business do I have fighting fires? But he persisted and I did feel an obligation to help the community in any way I can. Now, after just two months, I've been elected secretary of the department and my responsibilities, in addition to responding to fire calls, are to keep training records, transmit reports to the emergency management agency in our state, prepare presentations for board and public meetings, and maintain the department website. I'm really afraid of the job. I suppose I doubt my abilities and and my willingness to do it over the long haul, but Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "Always, always, always, always, always do what you are afraid to do." So, here I am, performing a vital service to the community while yearning to return to those trivialities that kept me immobile and bored.

Monday, February 06, 2006

quote of the day

In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
-- Robert Heinlein

Sunday, February 05, 2006

quote of the day

Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep; for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as by the latter. -- --Paxton Hood

Saturday, February 04, 2006

emergency LZ for helicopter training

Members of the Christie-Proctor Fire Department check out a helicopter at the Tahlequah base of EagleMed. More photos at: www.cpfire.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 02, 2006

firefighter training

We're all getting ready to crawl the maze to train us to find our way through a burning building. Of course, there was no fire or smoke in this exercise.

Here the guys are helping me get geared up. The fire suit is very heavy plus an air tank. Posted by Picasa

Here I am at the beginning of the maze. The room is actually dark, plus I have a hood over my head. I had to find my way around the maze and back feeling my way along the short wall. At the end of this exercise, you are soaking wet with perspiration and so exhausted you need help to get to your feet.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

family night at hogwild pizzeria

We all met at the Hogwild Pizzeria tonight for dinner. At top are me, Kelly and Burk, then, Marley, Tara, Megan, and Sami. Hunter couldn't be bothered to have his picture taken with the girls. The little twerp was too busy playing pinball. Pictures of Dorothy and Rachel didn't turn out so I'll have to catch them next time.

quote of the day

Years ago a person, he was unhappy, didn't know what to do with himself, he'd go to church, start a revolution -- something. Today you're unhappy? Can't figure it out? What is the salvation? Go shopping.
--Arthur Miller