Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The little boy is now a wounded veteran

Great sadness fills my heart today.

The afternoon started out joyfully as I went out to the country to visit with some old friends. Actually, they were closer than friends; about 20 years ago I fully expected these would be the people who would become my in-laws. After a long relationship with their son, those dreams were shattered. We stayed friend for several more years before I moved on and made a bad marriage with someone else.

During those years, though, I was as close with them as with my own family. And at times, closer. I was friends with their other sons and their wives and we always joked about me being the "out-law" instead of an "in-law."

At any rate, I knew their grandchildren from the days they were born and considered them neices and nephews. They would stay with me for weekends and I would spoil them like an aunt should.

Unfortunately, over time relationships among the adults had to change. I had to step back -- how creepy is it for my ex to see me still involved with his family, after all? It wasn't fair to him or me.

Anyway, the kids I was closest to included Derek and his sister (I'll withhold her name because it's so uncommon.) Derek was always my little buddy. He was the one who was willing to wake up in the middle of the night for a drive to watch the meteor showers in the summers. He's the one who would borrow my dome tent and bring it back stinkin' like an 8-year-old boy. He's the one I helped pull out of the lake when he missed climbing on his uncle's sailboat.

And now, while visiting his grandparents this afternoon, he's the one I've just learned was injured in Iraq last week. They tell me his injuries are not life-threatening. That's all the grandparents know so far.

Everyone else in his unit wound up with head injuries when suicide bombers tried to drive a garbage truck loaded with explosives into a building at their location. Derek's lieutenant shot the driver, then shot the engine to stop the truck and the explosion. Everyone in the unit was wounded; Derek had an injury to his upper arm and his shoulder, and a belly wound. At first, the story was that Derek was the only one who had time to get his helmet and flak jacket on, but the belly wound was below where the jacket ended.

I don't know where he is or if he is being sent home. I can't help but cry, like I did when his toe got stuck under the door at the post office. This is much worse.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Prayers for comfort for the E.R. family

Good friend Erudite Redneck has lost Mama E.R. Please keep the family in prayer.

Friday, February 16, 2007

You have those days when you run through Jell-o?

Today was one, I guarantee it! Needed to write a story before leaving to drive up to Guthrie, but it was two sentences forward, one sentence backward. I started getting ready to leave, and the phone rang time after time. I finally have everything ready to walk out the door at the proper time. I had printed out the Mapquest directions and everything.

I know I should have trusted my instincts and taken the route I knew was closer, but instead of taking the state highway (kind of the "back way"), I trusted Mapquest. Not always the smart thing to do. Certainly wasn't today.

All of a sudden I see that I'm going to be late. Can't figure out how in the world, but I pulled over and made a couple of calls so the photographer and the subject would go ahead before a speech started. I fully expected to be there within 10 minutes.

Oh what a fool! 10 minutes??? What a laugh.

The phone rang, and I couldn't find it. It had slipped between the console and the seat and I had to pull over to find it. Greeeat... I expected it to be related to my destination. But when I found the phone and listened to the message, it was totally unrelated. Grrrr.

I got to Guthrie and tried to find the destination. Hee hee heeeeeeee!! Yeah. Dear Old Mapquest led me to areas of the town that are frequently flooded. There are no through streets where MapQuest is sending me. Just muddy dirt trails.

I get to the railroad crossing and there's a train which has been sitting there for a good, long time. I figure better to find an alternate route. After all, these are supposed to be numbered streets and I can probably figure out a different route to the right cross street.

Nu-uh. No way. I counted streets, thought I was in the right spot, and wind up circling around the creek that floods, on the opposite side of town. OH MY WORD!!

Do you have any idea what time I got to my 1 p.m. appointment? Guess.

No, it wasn't 10 minutes. It wasn't even 20 minutes. I didn't even get to the location until 2 p.m.!! I wanted to hurt someone.

OK, I got there. And then the guard at the gate asked for my driver's license. No problem. No problem.

Are you kidding???? It took me another 5 minutes to find my card holder. Know why? Because it was UNDER MY PHONE!

Yes indeed, I missed the speech completely. But I had called the guy who was speaking before he went on stage and told him I would meet up with him after the event ended. All's well that ends well, but man!! I was so glad to go home.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another snowy day

I've still been laid low by this cold/flu/whatever bug, for almost a week now. I sometimes think I'm better, only to be surprised again. The cough medicine I take at night has spawned a series of disturbing dreams.

For one, Tuesday night a local station had a first-person story from one of its reporters whose home was invaded by squirrels, and saying that the cold has driven them into homes by the truckload. Exterminators are getting rich, apparently charging $1,000 a pop to clear them and their dearly (stinky) departed out of the houses.

That just set me up for a lucid nightmare about said problem. I couldn't decide whether it was a dream or reality when I (either in reality or dream) sat up about 4:15 a.m. thinking I heard a squirrel running in my bedroom. I pulled the covers up and squeezed my eyes shut (maybe) as things quieted again. Then I felt that small shift in the bed that reminded me of my dearly departed poodle, Fefe, jumping up on the bed to get warm next to me. I even felt the pressure of her body against my back and thought I felt her fur brush against my arm. I was convinced it was a squirrel mimicking that coziness but I was so terrified I couldn't open my eyes or move to turn on the light.

When I woke up, it took me some time to convince myself that it WAS just a dream, but there was no evidence of a fuzzy visitor -- and I seriously doubt squirrels are into the "cuddle up here" thing like a poodle is.

Last night I was asleep by 8 p.m., simply wiped out and ready to have Valentine's Day end. I thought I could catch up on the sleep I lost during "squirrel night."

I can't recall details of my dream last night right now, but Dreamland was again a less-than-pleasant place to be.

I woke up to more snow this morning, and no way of getting out of going out today. I do not look forward to being out there again. I managed to avoid outings for almost two weeks during the last of the storms. If only I could pull that off again! I know, I know... the rest of the world has to cope, and so do I. But I donwanna!!

I noticed when I started this post that I've had 500 posts on my blog since I started this. No significance to that other than it's like watching the odometer roll over on the car.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

No one has dropped by here for a while, but Happy Valentine's day to anyone who may happen along.

Monday, February 12, 2007

What browser do you use?

I've pretty much switched over to Mozilla Firefox from IE. There's quite a difference between the appearance of the two browsers. Every now and then I have to switch between the two browsers to see how the blog looks. So if my blog looks really goofy, let me know. Sometimes I work hard to achieve a certain look, but all the work is wasted if someone's looking at it with a different browser.

The opening ceremonies

A few photos from the opening ceremonies of the International Builders Show in Orlando last week.

There was a musical -- "Stand Up and Cheer: A Musical Tribute to America" starring Jimmy Osmond.

Many genres of American music representing decades of our history were performed, from the Gay 90s to Rock-n-Roll.

There was Dixieland jazz --

Elegant dancers with the Big Band era --

and an orchestra with a great drummer.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Where I've been

I have returned from the International Builders Show in Orlando. It was amazing! I'll start with the fun social part of the trip, which was a blow-out party at Universal CityWalk in Orlando. The park was closed to the public during the homebuilders' Spike Party. Tables loaded with food were lined up end-to-end for at least a half-mile. Among other things, I got to see a tribute to Neil Diamond at one club, then a concert by World Class Rockers, a band made up of members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey, Toto, Steppenwolf and Santana.

Following that concert, I spent several hours at Bob Marley, a Tribute to Freedom. All I can say about that is ... what happens in Florida, stays in Florida.

The group with whom I partied finally drove me back to my hotel, miles away from everyone else's places, well after midnight. After packing, I got a one-hour nap before my tax arrived at 4 a.m. My flight headed home left at 6 a.m.

Unfortunately, the trip started catching up with me on the flight home. Smacked down by a dang cold that seems determined to keep me down for a good long time.

More about the business portion of the trip later. Gotta get something to eat and then go back to sleep, so I can try hard to get up early Monday and get some work done. Lots to write about!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Gone for a few days

I'm off on a business trip for a couple of days -- I'll be back by the weekend. Good news before I go: Erudite Redneck's Mama E.R. is getting to leave the heart hospital here and go closer to home for rehab. Best news in months for the whole family so we can all celebrate that good news!

I just took a tumble in the garage. To explain what happened, I have to tell you I've got a 1950s house with washer hookups in the garage. The washer is supposed to drain into a floor drain, but just letting the hose drain usually causes the garage to flood. So I created a makeshift utility sink from a large rubber garbage can -- the water flows from the discharge hose into the garbage can. I've cut a hole in the can and put a length of aquarium hose in the hole and then down into the floor drain. This lets the water flow more slowly in a controlled manner.

Well, controlled unless the garbage can tips and barricades the door. When that happens, as it did tonight, the garbage can can become wedged between the door and a shelving unit, making it virtually impossible to get the door open.

OK, well, I did get the door open. But then the garbage can tipped completely over, flooding the floor. And then I fell flat on my knees into the water and on the concrete floor. My shoes are soaked, my jeans are soaked and I think I did some damage to my knees just before I have to walk all day for the next three days. Owwwww.

Well, back to the laundry and to packing. I have to be at the airport at 4:30 a.m.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Another new drug

I just saw a commercial for another new drug. Cute graphics -- little colorful cartoony things extolling the ways it will make your life better.

The name of the drug is what threw me, though. It's called "Enablex." Now I ask you, doesn't that sound like the name of something that would be prescribed to CREATE a problem instead of solving one?

Patient: "Doctor, I just saw this ad for a new drug called 'Enablex.' I'd really like some. Can you write me a prescription?"

Doctor: "Well, I don't know, but let me ask you a few questions to see if you would benefit. First, have you received any therapy for co-dependency in the past six to 18 months?"

Patient: "Why no, doctor. Nothing like that."

Doctor: "Mmhmmm... OK, do you have any family members or close friends with drinking problems, compulsive shopping, chronic unemployment, drug use or narcissism?"

Patient: "What?! No! Everyone I know is doing just fine."

Doctor: "I'm so sorry to hear that. Yes, I can write you a prescription. Better yet, let me call this in for you. What pharmacy do you use? We need to get you started on Enablex TODAY! STAT!"

(cue music.)

Well, now, Enablex really isn't a drug to create an enabler out of healthy people. If you haven't figured out what it's for, go ahead and guess....

OK, here's the answer:

Enablex is another bladder control drug. Yep. Don't leave home without it or your balloon may burst, if the commercial is to be believed. Ka-Blooey!

Not to be insensitive to those who do have bladder control problems -- I know it is an embarrassing problem that can derail daily living. But hey, all you drug namers out there: Couldn't you come up with something better, maybe something like "Peenomore?"

Friday, February 02, 2007

Busy day with a nice finish

Long and busy day today. I put about 120 miles on my car going all over my part of the state. But when I got home, I couldn't park in my driveway because there was a floral delivery van at my house! I couldn't see anyone on the porch, so I thought it was one of my neighbor's friends taking liberties. WRONG. I parked at the curb and as I got out, a delivery woman asked if it was my house and if I was so-and-so. Yep, that's me, ol' so-and-so...

Anyway, she let me go open the door and set my things down as she got a delivery out FOR ME!!! Whee!!! And looky: beautiful pink tulips in a vase that makes me giddy-happy! Aren't they pretty?

Also good today: My car and house insurance payment went down about $10 a month today. And I've gotten quite a bit of extra work just this week. Halleluyer! Whew!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Removing a post

I don't think I've ever had to do this in the time I've had this blog, but I'm deleting a post and all the responses to it. Too much pain.

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

The Way of Love

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.