Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yup, Me and Daniel Boone

Here in Kentucky we like to go hiking at Christmas time. This year our first trek was to Pilot Knob, near Clay City Kentucky. This spot is famous because Daniel Boone climbed to the top when he first arrived in that area. That was his first view of the Bluegrass. The view from the top covers several hundred square miles. We could see buildings in the city we left about 30 miles away.

The hike to Pilot Knob is about 1.5 miles to the top. Most of the hike is climbing up. The temperature was below 30 most of the time. We were dressed warmly, but it was windy at the top where we stopped for lunch, which fortunately, consisted of hot chocolate. My heart was sure pounding hard on the hike up, but the return trip down made up for it.

Since I could see several cell phone towers, I called my friend Jerry to let him know where in the world I was today. On the way up we had some sleet falling, but on the way back to the car it turned to rain, which was unfortunate because the interstate overpasses started icing up causing multiple wrecks, none of which involved us.

We hiked to a very historic, beautiful spot and got home safely in bad weather. All in all a good day.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Holidays

Dog gone it, but I like this song I found. I guess it's the survivalist in me. Here are the lyrics and a link to hear the song.


Chipmunks Roasting On An Open Fire
By Bob Rivers

Chipmunks roasting on an open fireHot sauce dripping from their toes
Yuletide squirrels fresh filleted by the choir
They poked hot skewers through their nose
Everybody knows some pepper and a garlic clove
Help to make them seasoned right
Tiny rats with a crisp golden coat
Will really hit the spot tonight

And now when Santa sees his tray
There'll be some homemade chipmunk jerky for his sleigh
And every hungry child is gonna spy
To see if chipmunks really sing when they fry
And so I'm brushing on some honey glaze
To keep them crisp and juicy too
Let's hope they get served many times many ways
Tasty Chipmunks; good food

And so I'm offering some recipes
From chipmunk pie to chipmunk stew
I'm not really sad that it ended this way
Furry chipmunks to you?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oy Vey to Oh, Boy!

As I left off last time I was due for a root canal. Monday was the scheduled appointment, and believe you me, I was early. My blood pressure was a little high as I went into the office. They thought I was nervous about being there. On the contrary, I was thrilled to be there to fix my tooth, but you'd think they'd factor in all the ibuprofen I was taking and the pain. Now, had I known how the procedure would go, I might have been more anxious. Once they numbed me up I was doing ok, until they put a rubber patch over my tooth and mouth and stuck a big rubber stopper in my mouth to bite on. That arrangement makes it pretty hard to swallow, which really did make me anxious. It's probably a good thing that they didn't monitor my blood pressure during the root canal.

I've been quite lucky all my life, the oral surgeon says it's because some of my teeth have 3 roots instead of two....like the one that needed the root canal. As he went into the nerve of each root, it was clear that the novocaine didn't help much in the root. I nearly came off the chair 3 times as he worked. Fortunately, after that, the rest was comparatively easy.

When I got home afterwards, I quickly discovered that not only does novocaine wear off too fast, but that ibuprofen doesn't work very fast. I wandered around the house holding an icepack to my jaw, moaning to myself and Laura, desperately waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in. Laura and her dog, Orion, were both freaking out and Laura had to go to work before I was doing better.

Doing better only meant that the tooth didn't hurt much anymore. In the process, it seems I picked up shigellosis from my granddaughter, Tamra. This is a kid's disease, but it has high fever, vomiting and diahrrea as it's symptoms, which kept up for over 24 hours. Monday and Tuesday I was recovering from the root canal, Wednesday I went to San Antonio for training till Friday. I lost 6 pounds and still do not have much appetite. Tamra's mother informed me that shigellosis will stay around for 4-6 weeks if you don't get major antibiotics. I had ampicillin for my abcessed tooth, but don't think it was strong enough to clear up the shigellosis.

Friday and Saturday we dealt with Laura and Niels' wedding and reception, which all went well. Tomorrow I'll call the doctor to see if I need another round of antibiotics.

Let's see. My tooth is fixed. The pain is gone. My daughter got married. I lost 6 lbs and don't want to eat a lot now.

I know there's a down side in here somewhere.....


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oy Vey!

Oy vey is a common phrase among jewish people. It means oh pain. That pretty much sums up my past week. I went to Fort Worth Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for training at work. I started having a tooth pain Monday or Tuesday and it got progessively worse. I called my dentist on Wednesday, but they were not open. Thursday morning I finally got the office and told them I thought I had an abcessed tooth. I was hoping to get a prescription of antibiotics faxed to me where I could start on the regimen. They told me they could see me at 8am Friday. Since I probably couldn't have filled a prescription anyway, I set up that appointment. The only way I made it home from Fort Worth was to take a drink of water about every minute or so. For some reason it made the pain ease up.

Friday the dentist's assistant xrayed my teeth and they decided I needed a root canal. I went straight from the dentist's office to the oral surgeon, but they were booked until Tuesday. They did promise to work me in if possible. Friday came and went without getting worked in. The pain on Friday was easily the most intense pain I've ever had in my life. I started the antibiotics and darvocet pain killer, but didn't notice much difference.

Saturday, the sharp pains were gone, but then it became an intense ache whenever pain medication wore off. The only thing that seems to help is to take 3 or 4 ibuprofen. I can only hope that they can work me in on Monday. If not, I have an appointment scheduled for Tuesday before taking off again for San Antonio on Wednesday.

I have a feeling it's going to be another long week.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

When Garage Sales Go Bad

We had a garage sale today. We've been building up, saving up for it for about a month now. Chris & Tandy had a lot of things stacking up since they got married, at their house, our house and their storage. We sold quite a few things. Our only advertising that most people saw were two boxes with our address on them. We strategically placed them at two of the most popular corners of our area. The results were fantastic. Lots of stuff got bought up.

A blog or so ago, I wrote about survival kit stuff, in particular, how to start a fire. I asked Sticks and others what their favorite odd method is of starting fires. No you may think I just got off track, but in actuallity, what I did was discover a way to make a fire. You put a garage sale sign box out on the corner with a bottle of water inside. The sun's rays shine through the water and are magnified enough to set the box on fire. Fortunately, a good samaritan passing by saw the smoke and used some of the water in the bottles to put the fire out, then let us know about it.

I don't think I can carry a cardboard box and 3 liter bottle of water around to light a fire in case of emergencies, but it is sure a principle I can adapt.

Do you smell smoke?......


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sea Turtles, Salmon and....Spiders?

It is a well documented fact that many animals can find their way back to where they were born. Turtles and salmon, for example may travel hundreds of miles to return to their nesting/spawning locations, but I've never heard it said that spiders do it.

We had a spider in our front yard, called Charlotte by some, Bella by others, you know.. a vampider.. Anyway, I liked to just refer to it as ookie. As Halloween approached, we decided to relocate the spider to avoid any web collisions by trick-or-treaters. Not to mention, a similar spider in Plainview really attacked a stick we used to move it away from our doorway.

I got a small (small not short) branch and swirled it around the web, effectively getting enough of the web to keep the spider attached. It was eating a bug at the time or it might have gotten away again. I took that stick and web around the house out the back gate and threw it down the alley on the opposite side of the alley from our house. I figured it would be happy enough with a tree down the alley.

That might have been all of a week ago and there is a spider back in the original tree again. Whether it is the same spider or another, I don't know, but Laura said, "Wouldn't it be really ookie if it went through the house to get back to the front yard. (Shudder).

As Mom would say, now I itch all over.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Touched by the Spirit

We had general conference 4 weeks ago. Although it was hard to concentrate with little ones around, it was an inspiring event. One thing that always helps me is to take notes on my laptop while conference is going on. It helps me focus on the speaker and how I feel.

While the talks were great, ideas during the conference were not what touched me the most. Being so influenced by the Spirit, has helped me in the past 4 weeks, long after conference was over. Our family has personal experience with inspiration that affects lives. Now I may have concentrated a little more on doing the things I should and avoiding worldly influences, but I have had a multitude of promptings by the Spirit lately. The surprising part lately has been how many of these promptings were meant to help at my work. Things which would definitely help me and others. The trend continued this weekend during Stake conference as assigned tasks needed to be accomplished.

There have not been any earthshaking changes happen, but my own little world is truly grateful for being notice by One who continually watches over my life, even in things that might be considered trivial. I just hope to continue the trend as I have some really lifechanging decisions coming up in the next few months.

See you a little later on down the trail,


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Survival of the Most Prepared

The fittest may look better, but the most prepared last longer. I've been interested in survival techniques, kits, gadgets, etc since I was a young Boy Scout. I've always tried to be prepared to stay alive by knowing what to do and how to do it. Lately I've once again been trying to compile what I think is the perfect small survival kit. I even included some of my ideas in my book, Tall Trail Tales. A couple of the items on my list are really bigger than I'd like, but I would still include them in my ideal kit. Here's my list of what I've come up with so far. If you have a favorite not on my list, let me know what it is and why you'd include it. Remember this is trying to be space conscious.

Obviously my ideal kit would be a motorhome full of stuff.


Hot Spark Flint
Fire starter chip
Plastic Magnifying lens
Small Bic lighter
Tinder wick

Duct tape
Orange bandana
Parachute cord
Pencil / paper
Signal mirror
Small knife
Survival cards

Dental Floss
Snare wire

Emergency blanket
Tube tent

Gallon ziplock bag
Mesh bag
Plastic sheet for solar still
Potassium Permanganate
Water purifier tabs
Water tubing for seeps

Candle wick
LED light
Small glow stick

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No Joy in Mudville

In the continuing saga of the historic rain here, the day after the rain fell was Friday night. Date night for my youngest daughter Samantha. She and her date, a respectable RM, decided to go to the park. Unfortunately, the park was under 4 feet of water. Unfortunately, that didn't stop them.

They waded out until they found the swingset. They swung in the swings for awhile. I'm not sure quite how they managed since the swings were actually under water. When they'd had enough, or were too cold to stay, they got up to leave when, to their horror, both of them had lost their sets of car keys in the murky waters. They tried and failed to find either set of keys and got keys delivered from one set of parents and drove home for the other set of keys.

My wife and I were not informed of this key loss, which said keys belonged to my truck, until Saturday evening. We went speedily to the park where I waded out about 25 yeards only to decide that the water would be way to deep another 100 yards out where the swingset was located.

I talked to Chris about borrowing his kayaks mentioned in my last blog. He and Tandy decided that was as good an excuse to kayak as any and headed out before I could. In the kayaks they quickly got to the swingset. Chris told Tandy, "Watch my leg to see how deep the water is" and he got out of the kayak. With a shocked look he told Tandy, " I think I'm standing on the keys!"

Sure enough, the first place his foot touched down was on my keys.

Monday, Samantha and friend were going to meet at the park to look for the other keys, which Chris did not find. Before Samantha could get there, he'd already found his keys.

We're happy we found both sets of keys in the flood, but we were both disappointed that we didn't get to play in the kayaks and water.

I wonder what else I could find if I paddled out anyway...


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Clouds All Around and Pouring Down in the Middle

With the approach of Hurricane Ike, much of the south expected some rainy weather. In the plains where I live, however, we only usually average 22 inches of rain per year. When I moved here 6 years ago, we had a huge rain of 3 inches in an hour or so. Streets were flooded to overflowing. Local ponds spilled over their shores into the neighborhoods and the city decided to spend millions of dollars to put in a major drainage system. There has not really been a very large rain to test the system, but the small ones seemed to drain away as intended.

Hurricane Ike did not reach my home, but it seemed to alter the flow of moisture in the air sufficiently to cause a pretty good rain. OK, it was the most rain my area has received in over 100 years. Basically, the only other known rain that was larger floated an ark. We had a solid rain for nearly 24 hours, culminating in an accumulation of about 8 inches of rain.

I was taken back to days of my youth, towing behind and being towed behind a bicycle on an air mattress down the rain filled street where I grew up. My son, Chris, has several kayaks, all of which he most dastardly put into storage instead of leave at least one at my house. I would readily have put on my wet suit and paddled my way down the gutter into the evening news, but alas, por Twist, he hath no water craft small enough for such a venture.

At 2am after the rain, there was a knock on the door. Our friendly, neighborhood city engineer wanted to know if we wanted sandbags for our house. Now, I would assume, that he would have noticed, even at 2am in the morning, that there was no water near my house, that the water closest to the house was downhill at the end of the block, probably .2 of a mile away, but perhaps he was singularly focused on his task. Perhaps the flashing lights of the fire engine block the road there distracted him, but regardless, we refused his offer of sandbags. How short sighted of me! I could have used those bags of sand in the back of my truck this winter. Oh, well, maybe I'll get a couple of bales of hay instead.

There are lots of pictures of the flood damage, but none struck more fear in the hearts of people than the picture I included, the football stadium with 8 inches of water in the bottom. The pumps that would normally have made the water go elsewhere failed. With a home game later in the day, would it be ready in time?!? The fire department came to the rescue and thousands of fans breathed a sigh of relief and a heartfelt thank you to the firemen.

Later in the day than 2am, at a more respectable hour of about 10am, another city engineer, once again focused on his task, asked if we had any water damage from the storm. I once again pointed out that the water was about .2 of a mile away, down about a 6 foot drop in elevation. Several more 8 inch rains would still not make the water reach our house. He went away, somewhat disappointed that he could not add thousands of dollars in damage to our house to his slowly growing list. I expect the city wanted a larger list to report to the federal government. Maybe my hens and chickens were overwatered in the rain.

I wonder if it's still too late to put in some damage estimates....


Monday, September 1, 2008

Stuck in the Middle

I have a really good idea for my next book. If I do the book right, I will have a character developed for any number of future books. I'm off to a great start. I have what I think is a dynamic start for the book, a fair, vague idea of what I want to write and lots of notes.

Today being labor day, I thought I'd sleep in. For me sleeping in goes to about 7am, 7:30am if I'm lucky. I guess today I got more than lucky. I was starting to wake up at about 7:20am. Normally when I wake up the first thing that goes through my mind is my morning song. In fact, earlier in the morning as I stirred the theme song from Jonathon Living Seagull by Neal Diamond was my morning song, which, though I don't remember the dream, I remember it went with whatever the dream was. My last time up, however, instead of my morning song, which had started several times, something different ran through my thoughts. This morning what ran through my brain was the perfect way to end my book. I immediately got up and wrote down as much of the details as possible. Now all I have to do is come up with the five hundred or so other pages I want to write for this book

I'm going to need a new laptop.


Friday, August 22, 2008

You want me to do what? Hello?

At my work, we have our new phone system that uses VoIP, internet phone. You can call any of our offices around the state and ask for my extension. They will promptly transfer the call. I assume it works for out of state to our toll free phone number as well.

This morning, we were only getting busy signals as we tried to dial out, a clear indication of a recurring problem we've been having where we can only dial extension on the network or receive incoming calls. I contacted our help desk to see if they could fix the problem. The conversation ended like this:

IT guy: "What I need you to do is unplug your phone line for about 5 seconds..........."

Me: "I don't think you'll be able to tell me what to do next after that."

Here's your sign.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Oh Happy Birthday!

Since I can't be there to sing happy birthday, little brother, I thought I'd send my geriatric hamster with his walker.



Sunday, August 3, 2008

Summer Days

I just returned from vacation. Most of my siblings have beaten me to blogging, but I still want to record a few thoughts. Even though there was occassionally not even standing room, even though the mosquitos were fierce, even though it rained much of the time, even though some of that rain made it in the tent, even though our normal routine was totally thrown askew, I love to be with my family. I hugged the ones that came, and missed the ones who didn't. I guess the days are gone where everyone will be there, but I miss them just the same.

Highlights besides visiting were fishing with my brother-in-law and nephew and trips into the hills either by vehicle or on foot.

For all those I didn't see, hug, laugh and cry with, I love you all as well.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

All We Need is Love

I have discovered why so many teenagers and others get on facebook and myspace. While I don't have a myspace account, I do now have a facebook. Initially I signed up so I could view some group photos of a camp I recently helped as an adult leader. Shortly after signing up, I began to accumulate friends on my facebook account. People requested to be my friend, I asked others to be my friend. This is the true secret. We all want friends. We all want to be wanted. In the world of youth, this is of ultimate importance. As an adult, it's not so bad either. Friends I know, friends who have moved away, friends I had forgotten about, friends I don't even know. I find myself wanting to request friends that are young , old, and unknown just to show my friend count higher and higher. And if one of your friends writes on your wall, well that is akin to having your house teepeed. It's not done out of hate or dislike. You only teepee your friends.

That's about all I can write for now. I need to see if anyone's replied to my friends requests on facebook.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Eagles' Nest

My son Nathan,will soon be 16. That means he could get a drivers license, start to date, and it means he needs to get his eagle scout project done within 2 years. Fortunately, he's been working on the project over the other things. We spent a number of hours this past week working on the project. He is renovating the Outdoor Nature Center at the elementary school where my wife works. There is now a 4x6 foot turtle habitat, a bird feeder, bird house, and soon a weather center. Lots of new plants were put in, the bridge resealed and handrails painted and a general cleanup all over. I personally hauled hundreds of pounds of materials in the wheelbarrow. The entire project is more work than several we've heard about. Most all of it's done now just waiting for the write up. We're hopefull that he'll be approved and receive his award by the time school starts again. Chris got his eagle just before he turned 18. Nathan will have 2 years to spare. Their mother fully deserves a pat on the back for a job well done.

I think I need some ibuprofen.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wedding Bells

While I was away at camp, my wife was planning the wedding, luncheon and reception for Chris and Tandi. I got back in the afternoon on Friday and in the evening we started decorating the church building. We setup chairs, we carried food, but everything was pretty much a simple affair. I know, easy for me to say. They got married and headed out to Colorado for a honeymoon in a cabin in the mountains. They are going white water rafting. While they are gone, Tamra went to her father's and we get to babysit the sheltie and the wolf. Yes, I said wolf. He's sweet, but if they'd taken him to Colorado, who knows, he might have run off to join a pack somewhere. Now we're in the process of getting everything out of Chris' room to move kids around.

To top all the week off, Laura and Niels just announced their engagement as well! They are planning to be married December 12th this year. Never a dull moment around our house.

Maybe I should have just purchased a tux. Might come in hand a lot in the next few years.


Summer Camp

There has been so much going on, I'm going to put two posts out. I've spent the past week at Girl's Camp. 4 Men, 21 women leaders and about 75 young women at camp. We had hummingbirds, a deer, a young bear in camp, threat of a forrest fire all week, and a water balloon fight that threatened to never end. We went through over 1000 balloons and had two launchers.

The last night of camp, the women leaders woke up the men at 1:30am to the smell of smoke. Fortunately, the fires were about 100 miles away, but I'm sure some of the women didn't sleep the rest of the night.

The Spirit was incredible all the camp, but especially for the testimony meeting and closing events. The food was great. I probably gained 5 pounds.

I hope I get to go again next year.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guilty Until You Pay

The first of March I was in Austin for a few days. I took a class and ate too much, then I went home again. I thought that was the end of it until a week ago when I got a letter in the mail from a company call Violations Management Service. They informed me that my rent car got a parking ticket while in Austin, therefore they were charging me a $40 fee for their service which they had already added to my credit card and that I could expect to get a notice from the City of Austin parking control as well for another $30.00. Austin, of course, had no idea who rented the car, but Advantage Rent-a-Car was more than happy to give them my name as the guilty party.

All this was 2 months ago, so I worried about having a warrant out for my arrest. I went online to verify what I already knew. The parking ticket was written for an expired parking meter, except that my rent car was parked 4 miles away at the time. I have confidence that a meter maid can read a license plate, so I assume that Advantage Rent-a-Car can't read their own records. You'll notice I've used the name Advantage Rent-a-Car a few times. I just want to warn others away from them.

Nothing on my contract specifies the license number of my rent car except the original receipt, which I didn't think I'd ever need after they determined I brought the car back with no new dings. The VMS company wouldn't remove the $40 fee unless I proved to them first that the ticket has been dismissed against me. At least they wouldn't until Advantage Rent-a-Car advised them that they don't charge state employees that fee. The $40, supposedly has now been taken off my card, but I have to wait till I get a copy of the original ticket, a copy of the original signed receipt for the car and prove that they are two different cars. If Advantage Rent-a-Car, however, wrote the license number for the wrong car and I didn't catch their mistake, I then have to provide affadavits from my instructor and classmates to prove I was 4 miles away from the expired parking meter.

I'll let you know how it turns out, unless I get arrested for an outstanding parking ticket. I think I need to go take some alka-seltzer to settle my churning stomach.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Twist's 6 Word Memoir

Nearly published author is satisfied dad.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Page 161 Tag

I'm not much for blog tags. Partly because I only go to the blogs I link to. I'm reading a several books right now. # 3 in the Anne Rice vampire series is Queen of the Damned, but I couldn't find a very interesting quote on that page.

I am reading the Old Testament in Spanish, so here goes:

Números 23:24

He aquí el pueblo que como león se levantará,
Y como león se erguirá;
No se echará hasta que devore la presa,
Y beba la sangre de los muertos.

That last line almost sounds like a line out of the vampire book

Nos veremos más adelante,


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Missed it by That Much

We had a little excitement tonight. My part of the country doesn't get much rain, but when we do, nature puts on quite a show. The lightning, rain and clouds are usually visible from miles away. I have seen some storms through the years that have stayed in my memory to this day. Today's storm may not stay with me for years, but it was exciting while it happened.

The line of storms was heading straight for us. We faithfully watched the television meteorologist with his doppler, super enhanced, colorized radar as it showed the heart of one storm heading straight for our house. The tv station also happens to be about 4 blocks south of our house. The rain started first and was impressive for our area, but then the newsman said they were starting to get golf ball sized hail at the station. I didn't see any hail out the back door, but as I opened it, I could hear random hits of hail around the neighborhood. As the staccato beat picked up considerably as marble sized hail started falling, much to my wife's dismay. Her roses and flowers don't fare well under such treatment.

We considered how to best shield the cars parked outside. Some friends visiting made a run for their car and took off to try and beat the large hail to a garage. We thought about parking my daughter's car on the porch, but about that time the hail tapered off and went away.

In a nutshell, the golf ball sized hail dropped about 3-4 blocks from my house. They say a miss by an inch is a good as a mile.

I'll take the mile every day.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

If You Haven't Got Your Health...

I went to the doctor a week ago to get my blood lab work done. It has to be done once a year to get the doctor to renew my prescriptions. I had hoped to get in and out without needing to wait for the doctor or even paying a co-pay. Sometimes they do that when you are only doing blood work. The doctor had other plans. Since he hadn't really done my yearly exam he took his time. He poked and prodded places that don't take kindly to it. I thought I'd get away after that with no harm done, unfortunately, he took a look at my blood pressure. It was high. I knew it was. I knew it had been, but it's like extra weight. You keep thinking you will cut out the salt, get some exercise and it will go back to normal. He put me on a low dose of high blood pressure medicine. Like my cholesterol medicine, I can't complain about the results though. My lab work came back with great levels on nearly everything. How do you feel, he said. I'm great. Unfortunately, twelve hours later, a sore throat and a cough hit with a vengeance. If it had been earlier, I'd have said I have a cough and sore throat and he'd have given me prescriptions to deal with it. I paid him $30 for a doctor visit and was too cheap to go back and pay it again. A week later, my cough is nearly gone. Oh, well. My prescriptions have been renewed and my blood pressure is down.

I'm feeling much better now.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Amber Alert

I saw this Amber Alert and unlike many I see, I thought I needed to pass this one along. Amberlillies on Blogspot has disappeared. One of my favorite people, with I might say, perfect hands, even after trajedy, has lost posting on the web. If you see her anywhere, please let her know her web family misses her.


Too Many Hats

My office, like all, has a fairly well defined division of duties. There's a manager, who fortunately lives in another city. We have a supervisor, secretary, customer service representatives, criminal investigation division and field personnel. Yours truly falls into the last category at the present time, and I am to be out in the field 2-3 days a week, ideally. I'm not sure who's idea that was, as it sure wasn't mine.

I was preparing for one or two days out this week, travelling a little. First, my co-field worker was sent to another city for a couple of days, better him than me. Second, the secretary was promoted to being a field worker, so she is in training half a day for that. Third, one of the customer service people had an emergency and was out all week, with me filling in. Next the other customer service person has had to be out for medical appointments.

Now the stage is set. I'm the only one in the customer service area. Most of the week I greeted people as they came into the office and helped them. While the secretary was training I answered the phone. Since there was nobody to help people on the phones, I worked each phone call. No one was my backup, so I worked the incoming mail and faxes. When the supervisor went to lunch, I performed supervisory responsibilities in his absence. As a field person, I worked on my cases in preparation to get to the field, including scheduling a late night visit to a business, which fortunately was cancelled.

If I have to wear any more hats at work, I might just run screaming into the night....again.

At least it's Friday. Two short days before Monday and it all starts again.

I better get started relaxing fast,


Friday, March 28, 2008

Matchmaker, matchmaker

Several months back a couple of people came to my mind. I think it started when a young man returned from a mission and his mother accompanied him to hear his report to the Church leaders. Her husband left her a number of years ago and she raised her three boys by herself, including supporting all three as they served missions. As I thought about what a wonderful woman and mother she's been, I thought about a cousin of mine.

My cousin's wife died suddenly of cancer as a relatively young woman. The widower continued raising their children, but, living in a small town, life was much lonelier than before. As I thought about the two of them, I realized that they needed to be introduced. The thought would not leave me alone and I finally approacher her about the subect. She had not dated in many years and was very skittish about starting again. I couldn't talk her into getting me a photo to send to my cousin.

As her three sons are dating and contemplating their futures, my friend came to a realization that soon she would be totally alone again. This reality prompted her to rethink her potential future and she emailed me a picture of herself. I called my cousin and explained to him for the first time what I have been trying to organize. I was anxious and dreading the discussion, but he was totally open to begin a friendship via internet, phone, snail mail or whatever.

Will anything happen now? I hope so, but at least I have helped two people meet who would never have happened across each other any other way.

See you on down the trail,


Saturday, March 8, 2008

"I think, therefore...."

The famous quote goes, "I think, therefore, I am." But what if you can't seem to think very clearly anymore. More often than not it goes more like "I think, therefore...I forget."

A few years ago, I had part of my thyroid removed. I have half of it remaining. The reason was a nodule the size of a fifty cent piece. It was not cancerous, but it still needed to be removed. Hormone replacement therapy was then prescribed for the rest of my life, in part to keep the other half of the thyroid less active, less likely to produce another nodule, and part simply to make up the difference in the lack of production of the natural hormone from the removed half of the thyroid.

I can pinpoint a cloudy mind to the time of that surgery. Perhaps it's all in my mind, so to speak, and perhaps it is an effect of taking this hormone supplement. This is the only one I take, so I don't have any experience with other hormone replacment therapy, thus the reason for this blog. Has anyone else had this experience with either thyroid other other hormone medications they take. Do you feel as though you have a harder time thinking clearly since beginning such a regimen?

A good friend of mine advised me that the symptom of a cloudy mind is simply a matter of getting enough rest and exercise. He says all I need is a solid dose of prosperity that will allow me to rest more and use my free time for healthier endeavors. Sounds good to me.

I think I'll go try to take a dose of that medicine,


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Too Much Excitement

We had a testimony meeting today in Church. Anyone can go up to the pulpit and share their testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the usual type meeting with moving testimonies and touching experiences. The last person up was nearly finished when she paused and pointed to the back pew. At first most people had no idea what was going one, but when the doctors and nurses in the congregation quickly went to the back, we all started turning in our seats. An elder gentelman, Cecil T_ had been gasping for breath, and a nurse nearby had him lay down.

This is a tribute to the talents available. Two doctors and three nurses were at his side in seconds to take care of him. The doctor had his wife retrieve his medical bag from the car as they checked him over. Two or three cell phones were out and faster than I would have believed it, the EMTs had arrived. Cecil, though looking like he'd been drawn through a knothole, was awake and talking to the medical personnel as they wheeled the stretcher out.

The member doctor who attended him first told me that he thought Cecil had a stroke. He said there seemed to be some problems with his right side, but we haven't heard anything official yet.

Dejavu'. Back in the 70's, another friend, Glenn M_, passed out in Church and hit his head on the pew in front of him. Untrained individuals back then were seeing about him, trying to make sure he didn't swallow his tongue. He obligingly bit one of them. If no one is around, I'll help, but I also know when to stay out of the way.

See you on down the trail,


Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Not....

"It's not the cough that carries you off.
It's the coffin they carry you off in."

That's one of my Mom & Dad's favorite funny sayings. That pretty much sums up my past two weeks. The flu left, but it didn't leave me alone. I'm into my 3rd week now living with the effects. Zinc lozenges help me tremendously when I have a cold, but I've tried so many types of medicines I've decided nothing really works for a cough, although I haven't tried Grandpa Twist's remedy. He had a honey/whiskey mix you take by a tablespoonful. No, it wasn't an excuse to drink whisky. You probably didn't get as much alchohol as in a dose of Nyquill. I've wondered about a honey, vinegar, lemon juice mix though.

What I'd really like to try is the sweat lodge cure. Get a good hot steam room with maybe some eucalyptus and menthol going on.

I'm open to suggestions.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Oh, Crud...

I was sitting in a worldwide satellite training meeting Saturday and enjoying the meeting when I started to notice the perfume fragrance coming from the lady in front of me. My favorite perfume is White Shoulders, and I'm pretty sure that's what she was wearing. My normal reaction to the smell of that perfume is a euphoric stupor. I get lost in the fragrance and lose my train of thought. This time there were a few other reactions I hadn't counted on such as watery eyes and congestion. I thought, hoped, that it was just an allergic reaction to a strong perfume, but as Sunday came and went, I realized I had caught the crud.

I can't complain much. I don't remember the last time I had a cold/flu, but the timing could have been better. Sunday morning my wife and I had a speaking assignment in Church in a nearby town. Fortunately the bulk of the systems didn't hit until later in the evening. Unfortunately, my youngest daughter was in a production of the 10 Virgins at Church. I was so sick by then I couldn't bring myself to go and expose other people.

Wednesday, I'll be travelling to Ft Worth for some important training for my work. As much as I'd rather not expose people at work, I really need to go to the training, so will go, handkerchiefs in hand, and hope for the best.

I did finally hear what is going on at work. One of our field personnel is leaving this month and I will go back to working in the field. I will work the entire eastern half of the Texas panhandle. It's a huge area and there is no way a single person can adequately do everything that needs to be done, but at least I will be getting large travel checks.

See you on the dusty trails, roads or whatever.



I've been off work for two days with fever, chills, aches, sniffing and sneezing. After waiting two hours in the doctor's office today, the test results were positive for the flu. I'll be off work the rest of the week. Hmm, I've lost five pounds, I'll be off a full week of work.

I'm sure there's a downside to this somewhere.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Love and Hate

I still don't know anything more about my job, so, since I've been tagged by Nene, here's my list of 5 things I love and 5 things I hate.

1 Swinging in a hammock in the shade on a summer day with or without company
2 Classic musical movies (does that make me sound gay?)
3 Laying on the floor by a heater vent
4 Baby animals
5 White Shoulders perfume on, what else, soft white shoulders

1 Tobacco smoke
2 Having my time wasted by someone else. (I do fine by myself, thank you very much.)
3 Having to do plumbing or auto repairs
4 Conflict, arguing, contention
5 Having a body that’s wearing out, with pieces parts that drop, crack, sag or just break down.

Did I mention surveys like this on either list?


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Winds of Change

Right at 5pm last Friday, the manager sent an email to everyone in my office. Bear in mind that my manager does her job mainly from an office 120 miles away. The email basically said that our main field person will no longer be working in the field. She will, effective Monday, be working customer service backup and out of state accounts. Coincidentally, that happens to be my job, among other things.

Now I know I'm not getting fired. No one escorted me from the premises on Friday with my worldly belongings. But there were not enough field personel with the re-assigned coworker there before. I have to wonder now, though, whether or not they will be putting me back into the field for my last year of work.

I have mixed emotions about going back out into the field. My vehicle is not quite as depenable as I've had in the past. The area to work is massive. When I started at my job 24 years ago, we had approximately 20 people doing what two currently attempt to do. An advantage is that the travel checks get large for reimbursement on mileage. Field personnel get to be on their own quite a bit while they are out, but they are monitored quite closely by Big Brother. More downsides include occasional late night and weekend work, plus being the bad guy in collections up close and personal.

I reckon tomorrow will be an interesting and revealing day at work.

Gee, I sure love the weekends.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Mello Yellow

I have been at the same government job for over 24 years now. Next year I will retire from this job, even though I will look for another to supplement my retirement income. My biggest complaint through the years is that management does not treat employees as well as customers. All measuring criteria is meant to find out just exactly what you must be doing wrong.

I was given a packet of observations of my work for the past 3 months and told to review and sign them, in preparation for a workload review. One of the observations decided that I must have wasted over 5 hours on the specified day of the observation. Now I get to work usually about 15 minutes early, I don't take regular breaks, I bounce from one desk to another wearing different hats as I work all over the office. Everyone from customers, to employees in ours and other divisions and management in both divisions come to me to ask me questions and get help. I don't surf the internet at work. I don't get more than a couple of personal phone calls in a week.

I was prepared to battle my manager over this negative review, but the closer I got to the meeting, the less important it seemed to make my point. We had the interview, I simply stated what I was doing, signed my papers and left the interview. The overall meeting was very positive. I actually trained my manager when she signed on with our agency several years ago. I don't know whether this will affect me at all one way or the other, but I decided that a year from now, I won't really care.

I'm off now for the weekend. My ulcer doesn't have anything more to worry about. I think I'll kick back and enjoy.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Honey Do's

I had passing thoughts of looking for a new hiking area around town, something not too far away, but still with that certain je ne se qua, the wild something in the city. I had also kicked around the idea of going to a shooting range or looking for a new geocache.

What I finally decided, was actually decided for me. Mrs Twist, son C_ and his fiancee' T_ all decided that this middle of January would be a good day for a garage sale. Mrs Twist also decided that a refrigerator that used to belong to T_'s mother should replace the one we had. I'm not sure what all the fuss was about to tell you the truth. Our old fridge has done fine for 24 years. I reckon it would keep on keeping it's cool for awhile yet, but there you have it.

T_ also decided that she needed new living room furniture and the we should get her old ones, that were in pretty decent shape. Needless to say, I spent most of the day today moving refrigerators in and out of place, trucks, the garage and then moving couches, shelves and miscellaneous odd pieces of domestic paraphenalia till the only thing that I can't move anymore is my back.

Reminds me of a famous short prayer, " Lord, bless ole Parley, he's shore tired."

If anyone needs me I'll most likely be right here in the easy chair.