Thursday, July 20, 2017

So my son comes up for air and I get a call... and it sets me to thinking...

 Which my sister quips back 'so thinking is not normal?' Don't I really love my family that knows me so very well? Yes, I do and I thank God and my parents for those blessings.

Dad scraping paint on home. 1958?
  I had forgotten that he has been busy and absorbed by the mission and the men and this break was the first opportunity to address his personal life worries. And I went all Alfred E. Neuman on him, and told him I was fine, then realized that was what he had heard before my operation, so he had no idea what had happened, what the biopsy revealed, the after action reports from the surgeon, the new cancer doctor, nor how I was back to regular meals and regular diet. In some respects I think about how every time I went home on leave from some foreign adventure or operation, the local television sets hadn't missed me, the same soap operas and game shows droned on... just background noises, and I had been where people weren't like me, doing my best to understand and learn and take care of the men and the mission.

   I learned some things about his future, and saw a current picture of him posted by his wife, between all the garbage scrolling on Facebook... and then I settled back into my life fasting for my visit to my doctor today and thinking about where I am on my recovery at the YMCA, my only personal measuring device on how my recovery is coming. I am unhappy, but then realistic about my age... almost seventy and growth hormones don't swim in my blood stream anymore - with all my preventive medications I am happy that oxygen, carbon dioxide and energy do... and I will look back and think that it didn't take long to get back to my old self... but we all lie to ourselves about some part of our lives,,,, so we don't get frustrated. Or that is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

  Have a picnic for the English speaking church members this weekend, and Sunday school and Church services. While reading Charles Murray's Coming Apart , I realize that I don't like being called 'white' as much as I don't like being called 'English' -- and that Charles Murray has a lot of things he doesn't understand about religion and faith... but then I am reading it to find out what happened to my America in the period he is writing about... and it is interesting. Oh, for those that don't know the Koreans (which is what we think they want to be called - which isn't) call the Americans (which most of us are on the government service level) call us in Korean because of the language we normally use - being a Revolutionary War Veteran wanna-be I object to the label. Being an almost reasonable man I understood what they were saying in Korean and they are using their national term for English not the one for American which they are also.

Well, shower time and get on out the door, to the doctors and then the YMCA. Y'all be good, or even awesome beyond expectations... make our ancestors happy!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Disappointed aren't I...

  Monday started looking like normal and I went off to slay dragons and trolls or just do whatever I had imagined at the YMCA. But I didn't, the whole set of weights and reps done and I had only enough left for a minimum of bike and rowing... which was not where my mind had taken me before I showed up.  And I was content to just sit and ponder and that wasn't burning any calories, making me younger, nor much of anything upon the chair except in the way. Get cleaned up and go on home to hide. Made coordination with a contract estimator set up an inspection and then vegetated watching whatever.

   Tuesday I was determined to do what I hadn't on Monday, so I got 5Ks of rowing in, and then did nine and a half miles of the bicycle, and not one weight lifted nor moved, and I lost my bifocals on the bike... someone has them, check this morning... so I went off to get some shoes to wear so my feet don't hurt. Good idea, new size and two pair and they are just fine. Walking returns tomorrow, which is today. Along with the estimator. And wife's household allowance. Too soon it will be August.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Things keep changing...

  During my brother's visit he made sure I knew that the Ligonier High School had changed mascots, since he had some memory of my drawing an old bearded hillbilly with rifle, and a jug. Probably for some competition to decorate something at the school. I remember that drawing, but labeled the mascot as a Mountaineer (I always liked the image and the title).  But now and I don't know when they changed it the Ligonier Valley High School have a ram as their mascot, and are called the Rams, and the school colors are red and black. The school colors of Ligonier High School were Blue and White.  I graduated in 1966, and our letters for the teams and cheerleaders were LV, no longer L.

   The change was in the air, of going from Ligonier High School to Ligonier Valley High School, in line with the redistricting of the Schools and the supported areas. And when I received my diploma I found myself graduated from Ligonier Valley High School, not Ligonier High School. When I mentioned graduating from Ligonier Valley HS a comment came from an older graduate about I couldn't have in 1966, since the official change hadn't happened yet, for the district but the High School was already shifting into the new terminology. Both of us are correct, just working on the information available.

  So my youngest sister, a fine computer science and mathematics teacher in a Catholic school, tells me that I was wrong and the team was the Mounties not Mountaineers, which are the mascot of the West Virginia University in Morgantown where she went to school. The Yearbook was named the Mountaineer, and was often decorated with the bearded hillbilly, rifle and jug -- she pointedly tells me I am still wrong. Sigh, I am not wrong - so I go and look and the nickname of Mounties worked for cheers at events but the real name of Mountaineers was properly placed in prose when ever it was needed for honoring. So I check my yearbooks, 1962, 63,64 and 66.  I notice the hillbilly missing on the 1966 yearbook. I find printed text about the team season in one. Take pictures to prove my point -  I could be at the YMCA since my wife woke late I am not. Post pictures on Facebook where I have to show how right I am...

   I am finally surprised by the wealth of information from Wikipedia here:

Of course, I am really smart enough to know I will always be wrong about many things with those that really know, but  I do love laughing at myself as I pretend to care what everyone else thinks, I just don't tweet.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Email from nephew: can we send some packages to you?

 The idea was a big ride with his father and some with wife, on motorcycles from Denver, to California to here in Washington and on to Canada, Calgary and back home. They would stop and switch between riding gear for the cooler air and mountains in Canada. In payment we could go to a restaurant and eat dinner. My answer was 'sure send them here and you pick your place to eat'. So I knew when the two FedEx boxes arrived not to open them, they made a great place to put my current reading and coffee for the couple of weeks as I recovered in the recliner.  He sent email for everyday they traveled and it made interesting reading and a fine log of the adventure.

  So on the third of July they arrived and were welcomed, and my wife made dinner with spaghetti and salad and desert of carrot cake and we talked and ate and changed out riding gear and got them a place to shower and sleep. They were talked out and road weary so the firecrackers and frightened dogs outside didn't keep them awake, and after a breakfast they rode off to catch the ferry to Canada at Port Angeles. After 3,000 miles of safe motorcycling on this trip, my brother lost to gravity on some gravel as he turned into a rest stop near Sequim and he went down hurting his pride, helmet and motorcycle. The medical response got him on a back board and to the hospital in Port Angeles, the tow truck got the motorcycle and personal items to locked storage at twenty dollars a day, the state police gave him a ticket for a hundred and fifty plus dollars for hitting some traffic control devices and bending a pole. The emergency room folks hooked him up, ran a bunch of tests and nursed his bruises and road rash and gave him pain medicine, light. He was fine to return to normal life, with his right arm immobilized by a sling. No broken bones but lots of soft tissue trauma.

  My nephew called and my wife and I went up and met them at the Emergency room, and packed my brother out to return to our home for reorganization and calls to all those they needed for help and action. My nephew rode back without lunch, since we stopped to feed before heading home. First hamburger since the operation, it was great!

  Got back home to find my nephew had stepped upon a floor board on the front porch and broke through to the crawl space beneath, dry rot is almost as bad as termites, we knew about the dry rot but after three surgeries this year alone it had been too long delayed, it will move to the front of the line now.  So we settled in for more smart phone conversations I didn't need to hear, and more fireworks outside to include rockets and more noodles, salad and desert and sleep.  The beginning of the new plan took shape, motorcycle movers contacted, airline ticket purchased - worries about everything discussed and choices made. In the morning nephew packed out and departed without breakfast hoping to beat the commuter traffic, here to Missoula, MT by bedtime.  We had breakfast with my brother and got him to the airport on time, can't check the bags in earlier than four hours before flight time, so we waited thirty minutes but that was fine.

  My nephew's log for his ride today catches up on his father reaching home and solidifying his plans for recovering his motorcycle and regaining his better health. So it is all good, and I had a fine visit with them these last two days, brightened my recovery a bunch and made me feel useful - just an illusion but nice to be needed.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

They kicked Hal and me out of the library...

  I had Men's Bible Study last night at Watson's home. Then came back home and hoped it would be cool enough to sleep later, and after eleven it was getting cooler. My wife closed all the windows anyway - worried about things that go bump in the night.
   So Sunday arrives about five AM, and we get up and open the windows, weigh, measure and take pills and get ready to turn on CBS Sunday morning for my dose of culture. Sometimes they amaze me and I am happy. We eat breakfast and prepare for church. We drive off in separate vehicles and she beats me there. I park and go to the church, say hello and shake hands, continuing to amaze everyone that I don't look sick. The service is satisfying and I look forward to adult Sunday school after doughnuts, Erik checks with me and makes sure I will get the rifle, ammunition, reloading items and Biblical references and reloading book after Sunday school. We are about to be real Americans exchanging firearms without government approval. We don't believe in Bloomberg's infringements on the 2nd Amendment which predates buying laws to make one mighty. It is only a communist rifle of WWII fame, and not even semiauto. Still it is a Mosin.
    I have coffee after and talk with the men about guy things and such. I am happy, then it is time to go home and I stop at the local branch library on the way home to pick up four reserves. They have reorganized the shelving and all digital media is in a special enclosure to put a paid employee with watchful eye where they can try to catch fools stealing. My books are in the larger shelving area outside and I get them and wander over to check them out. And HAL! greets me from his check out station beside mine. I finish checking out and he continues to talk loudly in my direction until folks and staff start looking at us. One starts to approach and I remind Hal that this is a library and we will have to tone it down a bit.
   We must have spent another thirty minutes catching up and volume never returned to quiet and sure enough a very pleasant staff lady shows up to tell us that we are disturbing the patrons.  Hal has less regard than I for rules we never made, but we decide to go outside and continue the conversation. One of our friends from my old church died, and his memorial is Saturday at eleven, and my final day of Vacation Bible School is that day. I will see what I can do. One of my Sunday School students had said hello and asked about my health and I had talked with her a bit and finished teasing her about the amount of make up she was using. She doesn't know how pretty she is without it, and keeps trying to be sixteen while almost twelve. But she will figure it all out one day.
   As we finally parted promising to catch up with each other and talk, I did have to tell Hal he had really made my day, and I knew it was already great and meeting him was the really good stuff on top.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Terror strikes again... and suddenly people wonder why...

   If we knew God better, trusted in the LORD more and loved as we were commanded to... you would have no fear of the terror. If you had been on that baseball field this morning fear might rule you, but you would have to take action. The time to concern yourself about what happened and why is after the danger is past and the victims of violence are being given medical care.

   We are at that point now. The killer was trying to make good on bad information and lies, repeated loudly. That goes with most terrorists and murderers. Not enough love in their lives. Nothing the government will prevent stupid criminal behavior in the future, all the laws that needed to be enforced were already on the books.  But people are flawed, most unaware and ill informed, they may not make good decisions. Today a sixty-six year old man made EVIL decisions and acted to harm others.  He didn't do it for love. He didn't do it because he was a liberal, a conservative, a party member or a gun owner.

   The country has coarsened, the idea one should have good manners is fine, but political correctness isn't good manners. There are words I won't use; profane, vulgar and obscene - just not nice enough to be said in my mother's living room. I used one once and went into shock at my carelessness, or just lack of good sense and manners. In front of the woman that tried to teach me better.  I grew up and worked at being better. It isn't that difficult and a very satisfying improvement over being lazy, rude and generally a fool.

   I am not going to worry about more laws and restrictions against firearms, however the government tries to do it. I am not going to worry about anything I cannot affect, focus on the front sight, and for me that is being a better man, the government can't make me one. They can pay me for working for them, they can set the standards and I can leave their employment when they change all the rules and can't convince me they care, they have never cared. People care, but the government is just an idea of the possible without regard to results. Because people think they can influence, control and gain advantage from relationships with the government - they often replace God, {Who does love them), with the government which never will, it has no heart and no soul.

   We do need to pray for our enemies, and do good for those that hate us. Example: someone wants to do bad things to me because I think Ron Paul would be a better President and I supported him. I have to confront the enemy with this "I am glad that God loves you enough to forgive you sins, even die for you. I will have to pray for you, like all my enemies, I am told to be better than them and to show them the Way.  Like all exercises, it must be done daily, must be done to the highest standard as I get stronger, faster and more flexible. Love needs just as much care and attention. You and I have been wrong before, and might be again. But we can be and should try to get better than that. Bless all your best, I will try to forgive all the rest."

No one woke me up for blood drawing this morning... I was released to recover at home Sunday...

 Hello there, stranger.  I am remiss been living on love and Facebook, which will never really be the same.

   So allow me to fill in blanks from the days between.  I had several medical tests, and kept providing information to make a good judgement call. I had a cancer in my colon, big enough to know it had to be removed. Other tests to make sure it wasn't spreading and that it was my only curable problem. I was sure the surgeon was going to be able to do her job and I would be well. She promised that she would only go to a major cut in me if she couldn't do it by the micro surgery, three small incisions to get tools under the skin (cutters and cameras and stuff to seal the empty place).  I was admitted at five AM Thursday, paperwork processed and signed, saw the doctors and went into prep with the nurse and sleep... My wife was given a number, some concerned friends came by but couldn't wait since it went from three to four hours. Then I was moved to the seventh floor to a room for recovery. All hooked up, So Thursday was spent getting clear headed, measured and setting off alarms. One for my heart rate, one for the oxygen content - if I did mouth breathing the alarm went off. They gave me pills, they fed me through the drip tube from my IV, they made sure I could get up and walk around the desks and not fall over. Moving is good. The surgeon came to tell me it was very good operation, I didn't even need a temporary bag for bowel movements (no food until Friday), the soft diet would work and I was to rest and as I recovered I would be better and better. I got pain pills anytime I asked for them, but I was using the pain to tell me what not to move so I took very few, and as time went on I didn't need them. Last one was on Saturday morning.

    I had my wife visiting me daily, pastor and wife's friends on Friday, one of my long time YMCA friends and another brother on Friday evening.. Got prayed upon every visit. On Saturday the Bible Study Men showed up, much more talk, flowers, and prayers. More church ladies. It was nice to hear "You don't look sick!" My doctors for the weekend, started feeling I could go home on sooner and by Sunday morning they came around kicking out to recover better at home. With a complete list of things that I would need to return and get taken care of if anything went wrong. Last visitors came as I was getting dressed to leave, they helped me and my wife pack, wheel me out to the curb and give me more good wishes.

    Sunday afternoon, more friends stop by and I give them coffee and we talk. Getting filled in on all the people at church and their prayers. I still get the 'You don't look sick." Cancer is serious, early detection and treatment makes good things better, but we may be feeding our fears and need to trust in the LORD much more. I have known for too many years that death will come, but I have also known for the same time that it isn't the end.

    I have a nurse's appointment to remove staples and stitches, and a follow-on appointment with my surgeon. As I get stronger it will be more challenge to take things slowly and completely heal. I have past history of toughing it out too soon. Being a paratrooper and young will be that way. Luckily I am only a fat old man and lazy enough to enjoy recovering and watching the little creatures and birds as I heal.