Sunday, July 18, 2021

I won the lottery!





What's better than a picnic?

Trees are for climbing. The artsy looking soft filter effect is a result of having grubby three year old finger slime applied to the phone camera lens.

##########


"Why," asked the little one, "do you have water running down your face?"

I explained that it was sweat. "I just finished working out and when I work out I sweat a lot. Sweat is good, it keeps you cool and shows that you're working hard."

"I don't like it," she said. She's at a place in her life where she makes major and important pronouncements about whether she approves of things or not.

I am so enormously blessed. I never had any idea what loving children was like, and never would have known had I not met Alexzandra.

I had no idea what loving another human being unconditionally was like until I suddenly found my world completely changed by loving Alexzandra completely and without condition.

These are things I would never have experienced had life not put them in my path, and had I not taken that path and instead chosen the other fork.

Which reminds me of an old post I found while searching for a different old post. It's titled as a Corpsman Chronicle yet it remains a formerly lost post which does not appear in the CC Sidebar Pantheon.

Searching blooger via the search feature is a hopeless task. Therefore I did not yet find the post I was looking for. But I did find a lost and largely forgotten post about forks in the road. Perhaps you'll enjoy the tale. I enjoyed the living of the thing.

##########

I may or may not have mentioned that Alex's birthday was June 13. I didn't expect it to be as hard as it was. I was nearly frantic as seemingly fresh waves of grief washed over me. To my great good fortune I do my livin' in a place where I can easily convert hurt energy into physical exertion. And I can do so in a place where, in mid-June, nature displays a gentle and beautiful canvas of her circle of life work.


Baby Mourning Doves.


Scarlet Globemallow(Sphaeralcea coccinea) or Cowboy's Delight.


Baby Lark Buntings. Or Larks Bunting?


##########

I've been on an incredible journey of discovery these last few months. The immediate, shattering shock of losing Alexzandra has eased. That's not the right word by any means, but I'm at a loss to find a right word. Anyway, I'm finding myself doing actual livin' these days, especially since weathering the emotional storm of her birthday. Actual livin' (the proper phrase I think) as opposed to reactin'. The indescribable shock of loss will always be with me, but I'm beginning to understand that the presence of the thing will be bearable.

##########

I've written at length here about the first and foundational principle of America; that all men are created equal. That all human being are equally human; that none of us are "other." None of us are airplanes or tomatoes or wuhandromeda viruses. The contract we Americans have with our government -- the Constitution of the United States -- stipulates that not only are we all equally human, we are each and every one of us sovereign human beings. We are not the property of the government.

But this argument isn't about the government. It's about the principle of human equality and the responsibility which attends this principle.

In simple formulation we're talking about the Golden Rule. "Treat others as you would yourself be treated."

A lot of people I encounter -- many of them having achieved full adulthood and some having extensive higher education (there's your problem!) -- read that simple dictate differently than I. Their golden rule reads something like, "you have to treat me the way I demand you treat me, because I am me and you are not me."

Another way to write the concept is the way Emanuel Kant did in his Categorical Imperative, which says that one should always seek to treat oneself and others as an end only, and never as a means to an end.

Trolls stop by this place from time to time. Mostly to tell me how wrong I am and how victimized they are by my writings. I guess being a professional victim is hip and cool. 

I mean c'mon, what do you even do with that?

The Golden Rule comes to mind.

The other thing that comes to mind is how very blessed I am to not be mired in a nasty pit of certainty and resentment. My days are filled with livin', and in livin' my life I find myself loving people in a way I didn't even know existed not so long ago. I've won the life lottery. Blessed.

The point of livin' seems to be to keep exploring and discovering new and important things, regardless of the quantities of shit sammiches you encounter along the way. Finding and learning about life's important lessons is the proper path, and along that path is indescribable beauty.

Walking dogs.


Doing the slide the hard way.


##########

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.



    

.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Learning and driving on






Nature in springtime is a beautiful thing.


In this part of the world the transformation from winter to spring is delightful. Cold and drab seem to last a very long time, and I kind of get used to the world looking and feeling like winter. It's not a bad thing, but it is winter. And then spring arrives in a rush of rebirth. In the wake of boring old winter springtime is sensory overload. Delightful sensory overload. Pretty flowers, pretty green grass, pretty leaves, pretty babies. Pretty everything.

Since waving goodbye to Uncle Sugar's Yacht Club I have been blessed to spend a great deal of time out of doors and away from the ape-lizard accommodations where most of us spend nearly all of our lives. Mind you, my daily explorations of nature's reality have been limited to a very local area. I'm familiar with this area and the rhythms of this place have seeped into the core of my being. I feel intimately at home here.

Now you might think that I'm an expert on nature's work here on my familiar stomping ground.

Ha!

Nature surprises me every single day. She is always changing things up and showing me things I've not seen before. Sometimes things which have been certified as impossible by The Committee For Excellence In Ape-Lizard Certification.

The video above is a case in point. This lovely bouquet of breeze-ruffled tickseed appears to be threadleaf coreopsis, Coreopsis verticallata. According to The Committee, it's not allowed to be here. We're allowed to have Coreopsis tinctoria, but not verticallata. Nevertheless...

An important lesson -- for me at least -- is that what exists in nature's reality is truth. Nature doesn't exist in television or film or books or VR video or in this blog. What I can see and touch and smell and taste an hear is real, the other stuff is a poor and incomplete imitation.

Where am I going with this? I'm not entirely sure. Just a reminder, perhaps, that all of the things we see in various magic image machines are woefully incomplete representations. The actual people, places and things they mimic are fundamentally different in reality than they appear in two dimensional dress. This is probably a good thing to keep in mind.

Now where was I?

Oh yeah, springtime!

Spring is a time of rebirth, but death is also part of the process. Predators consume prey, even when the prey is cute. The bullsnake will seek out, find, and consume recently hatched Say's Phoebe chicks. Doesn't matter whether we like it or not. Nature does nature stuff on her own terms.

 




One way an ape-lizard can describe nature is to say it is round. It is round and full and closes a continual circle of birth, livin', death, and rebirth. Nature's holistic cycle is the place in which we live, and we are part of it whether we like it or not. Whether we believe it or not. To paraphrase an oft butchered quote, you may not care about nature, but nature cares about you!

##########

This spring has been a surprisingly hard time for me. There have been moments, minutes, hours, and even strings of days where the sledding has been impossibly hard. Looked at and analyzed intellectually, my path is curious and interesting. Where do some of these roadblocks come from? What is their true nature? Why is the struggle so hard at times?

Many if not most of the what and why questions are simply unknowable. In a very real sense they do not matter. My job is to suck it up and drive on.

None of that makes sense, does it?

It's not all hard all the time though. I get slammed with beautiful life adventures every day.


I paused while writing this to capture some video of the pre-dawn morning. Another microscopic slice of beauty, even though my phone camera lens had a slight coating of three year-old fingerprints.


The last couple of days have been filled with adventure and I have some fun things to share in the next couple of posts.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty. 




Saturday, June 5, 2021

Doc's Monthly(ish) Dump





I have so many drafts started. Ideas flower but life and inertia spring (get it?) to the fore, and the ephemeral beauty fades.

Looking back from today, June 5, I can now see with clarity how hard the winter was. The combination of physical and emotional pain is a tough one. Over much of the winter I was in a sense barely hanging on, shuffling forward haltingly. But I did shuffle forward. I had to bring grit and determination but the table was set by God's grace and the love of family.

It'll be 10 months on Thursday. Alexzandra walks with me, day in and day out. Sometimes I get quite cross with her. "Leave me alone! No more hurt!"

She ignores my bullshit whining. Of course.

Thank God.

##########

Okay, here we go with some funny stuff and pondering. I posted this a while back and I recently experienced a bizarre echo of a similar but completely different experience.

To set the scene I'm thinking about, early in my recounting the tale of Grease's interesting day, there was a point where Grease was having a seizure on the deck of the tiny fighter squadron Maintenance Control space on the boat. The squadron's Maintenance Master Chief -- a very senior, very skilled and experienced sailor who had been sailing the briny years and years before veet-jam was even a thing -- had tried his best to help out by finding a large tablespoon. Back in the day "everyone" knew that if a person had a seizure you had to stick a tablespoon in their mouth to keep them from swallowing their tongue. I can remember being introduced to the concept in elementary school -- perhaps in second grade.

There's a story behind that introduction. During a high school basketball game one of the local players collapsed and perished on the court. As you can imagine this was a significant emotional event for our small town. The word that we second-graders got was that the lad had swallowed his tongue, and if only someone had stuck a tablespoon in his mouth he would have survived.

What really happened? I have no idea and I'm probably not going to to try to research a tragedy half a century gone. But there could be a grain of truth in there. His tongue might have blocked his airway during a seizure and he might have expired from suffocation. Opening the airway by lifting the tongue with a tablespoon might indeed have saved the day. There are better ways to clear an airway though, and sticking a tablespoon in there is quite a risky thing to do, so I can't come down solidly on the tablespoon side.

Anyway, there I was the other day assembling widgets at the widget foundry. Across from my work station is the work station of another olden duffer. This guy has the old-duffer diabetes and doesn't appear to take it seriously. It's not unusual for him to zone out with low blood sugar, and the local ambulance has responded such incidents several times in the recent past.

Now I don't know the old guy's story, but I do know that I find it irritating when he has an attack of vapors. That irritation is all on me; no one else in the universe is responsible for for me being selfishly irritated. In my incomplete world view he should be taking better care of himself so as not to put me in an uncomfortable position.

That uncomfortable position rests in the perspective of a former first responder who still feels responsible for responding. And also knows he's long out of cert. And also knows that it's not his job to super-corpsman his ass into every sniffle that appears in the world.

On the one hand I still want to be the man, on the other hand I don't want to be bothered, especially by the antics of an olden duffer who in my judgement needs to step up to the plate and execute some personal responsibility.

Yep, you got it in one! I'm an asshole!

Now where was I.....?

Kay. Olden duffer begins to zone out. There's a flurry of activity as line leaders, the foundry's self-certified medical response team, bored widget assemblers, and most of the community's dog population converge and begin milling about smartly, shouting advice and encouragement at each other. The crowd makes it impossible to work, and impossible for me to help, unless I decide to use my super-corpsman command voice and take charge. Which I do not want to do.

A fleeting thought is this -- being unconscious and at the mercy of such a bizarrely remarkable crowd is an awful thing. I try to imagine myself in the olden duffer's place and decide that I must, at my very next opportunity, visit my favorite tattoo parlor and have "DO NOT RESUSCITATE" inked across my chest. And across my forehead.

I also think -- again fleetingly -- that the price of not taking care of oneself is sometimes its own reward.

Crap! It has been a hard winter!

At this point it's nearly break time and I have a date with step running, so I slide past the circus and get on with some cardio. Within a couple of minutes I have a good sweat going and my heart rate is up to 180 or so. Feels good.

Then the plant PA system erupts with a call. "Anyone who knows CPR please join the circus immediately!!!"

I'm internally pulled in a couple of different directions. What are the chances that CPR is actually required just now to save olden duffer's life? If so, what are the chances that he can be resuscitated? What are the chances that an out of cert paramedic will be savaged if the circus goes south?

Tiny. Essentially impossible. Highly likely.

I keep running steps.

The plant door bangs open and a circus member rushes out. "Shaun, come quick, olden duffer needs CPR!"

Oh, firetruck me.

Inside the circus crowd has grown and now includes most of the population of the nearby villages of Dix and Bushnell. There are even a few latecomers from Fort Morgan, down in Colorado. It's a festive circus. No ambulance yet though.

I eyeball the situation. Olden duffer is leaned back in his chair. He's clearly breathing and I'm reasonably certain his heart is ticking along. One of the circus acrobats has thoughtfully stuffed an ink pen in olden duffer's mouth, because it's what you do.

I return to my cardio. The best thing I can do to shield myself from the tender mercies of the circus is to stay fit and healthy. Sucks to be olden duffer, but at least he's presenting an object lesson in how not to do it.

Man, am I an asshole or what?

Postscript. The ambulance arrives. Olden duffer gets glucose gel under the tongue. He comes around, signs AMA (against medical advice) for the fifth or sixth time in the last 60 days, and goes home for beer and pretzels. He's back at work the next day.

##########

And now for something entirely more funner.

The first of the cattle arrived yesterday. What's better than cows savaging fresh grass in early June?


Earlier in the day I came across an earless lizard. More properly a Common Lesser Earless Lizard, Holbrookia maculata. Beautiful lizard. If the herp experts are correct, the golden hue on this one identifies her as a female ready for egg laying.


Speedy!


After that adventure I came across a Pronghorn giving birth. I was a quarter-mile away and the optical zoom wasn't quite up to sharp images, especially with shimmering heat waves in the mix.





I left the new pair alone for about an hour and a half, then drove back by just in case I might be able to get some decent video of the baby.


Which I did!


Quite a beautiful springtime day which included lots of physical labor and bumping into nature's springtime rebirth.

##########

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.







   


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Doc's Daily(ish) Dump : Thursday, May 6, 2020





I was working on some thought experiments but I'll save those for another day.

Thought for today: If it's such a struggle to hold on to a mad, why do I often fight that fight? I always lose, thank goodness, because if I win that battle I will die. Little ones teach me beautiful lessons when I'm teachable.


Losing the mad battle.
########## 

Physical therapy is proving to be extremely helpful. The hands on soft tissue work, dry needling, and instruction for stretching and exercise are making me more flexible and able to move much better. The process is also reducing radiculopathy. All in all a very good thing.



Sunlight kisses Scottsbluff National Monument through decomposing morning fog.

##########

Friday and Saturday I was able to get out and train. They were sunny spring days and the lichen encrusted rocks were particularly fetching to my eye. 

Couple of pics from Friday...








##########

On Friday as I hiked I was buzzed several times by a Swainson's Hawk. There are several mated pairs living above and around this particular slice of heaven, and it's not unusual for them to follow me around while I hike. Sometimes they buzz me, but that's usually rare.

The reasoning part of my brain tells me that they follow me in hopes that I will scare up a tiny, tasty morsel for their dining pleasure. Makes perfect sense. To them I'm nothing more than a feature of the ecosystem which they might be able to leverage to their advantage. Their lives are a constant battle for survival, after all.

On Friday, though, one hawk buzzed me more than a dozen times. I began to wonder if she was exhibiting a Jonathan Livingston Seagull-esque delight with livin' and flyin'.

And then, having shared beautiful moments with another in this place, watching these hawks, I began to wonder if something else might be in play.

At one point the hawk buzzed me and then disappeared into a gully. I didn't see her come out, so I thought she might have made a kill. It would be cool to see and capture in images a hawk kill, so I hurried over. I spied the hawk in the bottom of the gully. I didn't see any prey in her talons as she sat there in the sandy gully bottom, so I eased closer. And closer. And closer still. She let me approach to within about 10 feet, something I've never experienced before. I paused there, camera forgotten, and watched her watching me. Slightly (more than slightly) embarrassed, I asked, "Is it you?" She didn't laugh. She just watched me watching her. Finally she lazily spread her wings and floated aloft on a warm updraft. Where she had perched was a Pronghorn leg bone, bleached white from time and sunshine.

Alexzandra's sister is an artist and loves to work bone into sculpture. I picked up the bone, intending to give it to her. I was surprised by the heft. I looked closer. Pronghorn bone without question. But this one was a fossil, completely mineralized.

What do you do with an experience like this?

I delight in the thing, delight in livin' such an experience.

I am so very blessed.

##########

We all know how very serious the wuhandromeda threat is. We'll all die from it. Unless the gubmint saves us. We all know the drill; no need to think about it because tee-vee. Very, very, very, serious business.

Meanwhile, outside the tee-vee...


It's a very good sign in my estimation.

##########

Here's a recycled corpsman chronicle. I selected this one because in a comment Tom made via email, he described having chest tubes placed during a hospital stay. I too have had a chest tube, and I've also placed chest tubes. Re-reading this one gave me a lift and reminded me that while I get mixed up in serious stuff all the time, that doesn't mean I should take myself too seriously. I may be a unique ape-lizard, but more importantly, I'm exactly equal in my humanity to all other ape-lizards, past, present, future..

##########

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.




Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Doc's Daily(ish) Dump





Thought for the day:

To embrace the blessings of liberty one must first embrace the responsibilities of liberty. What are these non-enumerated responsibilities? Good question.

Hint:

They're not what the tee-vee tells you they are.

Good luck and good hunting.

##########

How 'bout a bunch of baloney...

Or should that be Bologna? Or Bologne?

Which calls to mind a non-sea sea story. One day in the distant past our crew caught an R&R hop across the Adriatic to Venice. We didn't like the Venice vibe at all so we rented a Fiat and drove to Bologna to try the sammiches. Bologna was very cool and the sammiches were wonderful. Then on a whim we decided to drive the 850 kilometers (530 miles) to Bologne (not Boulogne! There are about 5,000 Boulognes' in France, one around every corner it seems) to see if the two cities were clones of one another. Our drive through the alps in high summer was spectacular. We'd left Bologna after local noon and overnighted in the tiny Swiss town of Russ, part of the municipality of Silenen, which had nothing to offer except clean beds in a quaint and creaky inn, spectacular beer and a home cooked meal, and locals who were hugely amused at our attempts to converse in Italian, French, and German. Fortunately for us, everyone we talked to spoke much better English than we did. And the waitresses were spectacular examples of Swiss Alpine beauty. Bologne was not a clone of Bologna, and we didn't come within 400 kilometers of Boulogne-sur-Mer, which is up by Calais. We stayed in Russ on the return and were greeted like family. All in all it was a wonderful bit of rest and relaxation. Then it was back to Venice, hop on the VR-24 Greyhound, and back across the lovely Adriatic, where we had work to do.

Those were the days!

##########

Saturday was the very last day the little one would ever be two years old.


Sunday morning she woke up and it was her third birthday!

A year ago I was sitting on a couch in a crowded living room in the midst of a grand second birthday party. In the middle of all that chaos and excitement and love I got blown up by a smile and the most spectacular eyes in the universe.

In that moment I realized that I was orders of magnitude happier than I'd ever been in my life.

Today happy is still a thing for me, and I'm kinda surprised that that's the case. As it turns out, happy is a choice I make, and it's up to me whether I go to happy or not. Surrounded once again by chaos and excitement and love it's an easy choice to make. I wish my Alexzandra were physically here, and I'm forever crushed by her physical absence, but I know she's here in spirit.


As I left off writing this to go do birthday party stuff I was feeling pretty sad. I asked God to give me strength and lift my spirits. I didn't want to be a big crybaby raining my chosen misery on everyone else. As always, God hooked me up. I asked Alex to be with me, and she was. Everything was okay after all.

##########

What's better than playing outside on a beautiful day?


The four year old taught his great-grandma his favorite song. It's the theme song from a computer game (properly a video game I guess) that had something to do with Freddie. I believe the lyric is actually "fire, fire, fire, I'm dancing with my deepest dark desire." That makes sense to me, but the Z-man says I'm wrong. It actually goes, "fire, fire, fire, I'm dancing with my deepest Doctor Zire." He's more likely than I to be correct. In this video there's a bit of three year old finger slime on the camera lens.

 
Later it was time for presents.



And cake.


The cake was made by our local bakery, and Mary Sue's cakes are awesome.

##########

Physical therapy has been super. My muscles and joints are working better every day and increasing flexibility is making me feel and move like a much younger me. This all makes cardio, strength, and endurance training so much more pleasant. It's hard and joyful work and it pushes me farther and farther away from old-guy land.

##########

Here's a Corpsman Chronicle re-run. This one got missed when I fixed (?!?!) the numbering scheme and put CC's on the sidebar.

##########

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.



    

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Babble and triple D





Mostly sunny today with air temps in the mid-50's. Also breezy, and that northwest wind is blowing over a lot of melting snow and cool ground, so it's a bit chill.

Nevertheless, I did a five-mile prairie run (jog, actually) in shorts, sleeveless tee, and trail running shoes. It was awesome. I found some death camas and larkspur along the way.
Toxicoscordion venenosum, or death camas.

Delphinium spp., or larkspur.
Nature is awesome, even the toxic parts.


##########

Thursday I had nerve conduction tests and physical therapy.

The PT was great, though I got beat up a little bit. Physically and mentally. "No one in your age group," said the therapist, "can bend over and put their palms on the floor like you can." Yay, I win!!!

"However," he said, "everyone in your age group can bend backward better than you. We've got some work to do." Ulp!!!

So I learned stuff which is good. I feel like it's stuff I should have known, but I'm open minded enough to listen and put criticism -- especially self-criticism -- in the proper scale, context, and perspective. It takes work to do that, but I'm willing to do the work.

Among other things he gave me a bloody good "hands-on" stretching, which was great. Made me feel better both physically and mentally. One of my body's reactions to the new regime is pain. Not a lot, but enough pain to be a hard challenge. That's okay. Hard challenges are good.

Now we're embarked on a twice-weekly regimen of therapy, which will include dry needle therapy. In simple but perhaps gruesome terms, it's basically jabbing needles into stiff and stenotic muscles to force them to heal both the needle trauma and the stenosis. So basically a fun but hard challenge.

The nerve conduction tests revealed that my nerves from spine through toes are in perfect shape. The nerves branching out from L-4, L-5, and S-1 are very irritated at being squeezed, but they are not losing conductivity or otherwise beginning to fail. That's all very good news.

The doctor who did the tests was very skilled and knowledgeable at the physical stuff. She was even better at getting me to talk about and assess the mental/emotional aspects of having this chronic malady. She got me to talk about navy, ranching, and new family, and remarked with awe and wonder that I've had three amazing lives. Very many folks, she said, only ever have one life, and the one life can often be mundane.

I'd never thought about my life trajectory like that. Pretty cool stuff. What an amazing physician.

I am blessed, and I think I know why.

Strike think. I owe it all to God. And I know it.

##########

I'm quite vexed, as I always am when I sit down to compose a blog post on blooger, that I can't save my compose settings. So I get a goofy serif font and blooger's paragraph setting, neither of which I desire. This is one of the "improvements" the blooger team made. Who, after all, would want to compose a blog post in any way other than the way the norcal blooger team would do it?

So I begin every post with anger and resentment and even fear roiling away in my heart.

A couple of things though. First of all, every scrap of the anger and resentment and fear I experience is on me and me alone. Secondly, I don't know anyone on the blooger team and I have no idea what their blooger motivations are, so when I award them en mass with presumed motivations I'm missing the boat badly. It's said that holding a resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. The poison hurts me, and the other person has no idea whatsoever that I'm bubbling with resentment rage. They don't know, they don't care. Which is as it should be. Thirdly, when I'm raging against imagined bloogerites who I've never met, I'm violating one of the most important foundational principles we ape-lizards have ever developed. I'm treating them as other, as things, rather than as human beings who are exactly equal to me in their fundamental humanity. I'm not treating them as I would be treated. I'm treating them as a means to an end, rather than as an end only. When I think and behave in a way which eviscerates fundamental principles, I destroy my own soul and I jump right off the path, the way. I no longer walk in the sunlight of the spirit; I walk the dark path which is a journey in a living hell.

It's a choice.

Wisdom reflects good or proper decisions, and the ability to make good or proper decisions comes from the experience of making bad decisions. Over time experience and knowledge develop into wisdom, and this is a grand achievement.

But for me, at least, knowledge and wisdom are not enough. I've been doing this life thing for decades, and I still make bad decisions. I make bad decisions all the time, every day, at the drop of a hat.

This is where spirituality comes in. I am weak, and I need God's grace and God's love to carry me back onto the path, back into the sunlight of the spirit. When I lean on God and trust God, all is well. When I do it my way, on my own terms, it's a trainwreck.

So now that I've asked God to take my anger and resentment and fear, He has taken them away. He has placed my feet back on the path and healed my soul. I am no longer a crying victim of imagined evil forces.

Besides, I am reminded, blooger is monetarily free, and no one is making me use it. When I choose to use it I choose to accept the attached strings. That choice and the consequences -- including dealing with the composition settings -- that's all on me.

So there, I tell myself.

And I smile.

##########

As I noted, it's a beautiful Sunday. I'm preparing fried chicken and baked beans for the evening meal. The chicken is buttermilked and floured and fried by me, and while the beans come from a can, they are "baked" by me. One of these times I'll do the whole "home baked beans" thing. If I can get the logistics and planning down, that is.

Perhaps I've babbled on enough.


##########

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.




Friday, April 16, 2021

uppity-date





It's been over a month since I posted here. That's kind of shitty. Kind of? No, not really. it's just shitty.

Big thanks to John Blackshoe for the welfare check he sent out yesterday. I needed the prompting, and even more I needed the reminder that I've been ignoring my friends. I've got dozens of excuses. None of them are reasonably valid.

We just tripped over the eight month mark. I don't have anything remarkable to say about that. Maybe later.

##########

carolina TURTLE shared a lovely video with me a couple of weeks ago. I love the song and the video is stunning. It's from World of Warships which is, I believe, some kind of computer game. Paddles. Wow!


##########

I'm gonna try a 'speriment. Doc's Daily Dump. Can I post a snippet every day? I don't know. The heart and mind are willing but the flesh is weak.

##########

Our major winter storm -- Storm Victimillia XXIX -- is in the process of delivering a gentle rain/snow mix. Which is strange because we all know that both rain and snow are impossible due to algoreism; that in fact there has been no rain or snow since 1998.

Nevertheless...

##########

As you may imagine I've been rather the busy fellow of late. Yesterday I made the pilgrimage to Scottsbluff, Nebraska for nerve conduction/EMG tests and physical torture therapy. It was a grand and successful outing, which I'll try to describe in a follow-up post.

Just for fun...


Impossiblesnow!


##########

This morning...


And that's it for today. I'm pressed for time and this will never get posted if I dick around and try to polish the tee you are dee.

I shall endeavour to return tomorrow.

##########

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.




Thursday, March 11, 2021

Light shines upon the hard path





You may remember this young lady, my cousin Elisa. We share a birthday. She has Cystic Fibrosis. She was three years old when I participated in a CF hike out in Salem, Oregon, where she lives. Many of you kind readers supported the DF research cause, and your thoughts, prayers, and dollars made a real difference. Many lives have been and continue to be improved and blessed with promise.


Elisa is seven now!


The 5K hike you readers and I participated in was fun and cool. On July 10 it will be time for me and other hikers to embark on an adventure in an effort to bring awareness and dollars to the ongoing battle against CF. The Oregon CFF Chapter has challenged us with an Xtreme hike. Can I do 30 miles in one day across the Wildwood Trail in Portland?

Why yes. Yes I can.

I've started training. I'm Team Elisa. The team may expand to include other hikers; it's a work in progress and we're just getting started. I'll post more details here I continue the adventure.

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In the movie The Shootist John Wayne's character J.B. Books takes a small town tram ride on a sunny and warm January morning. "It's what we call a false spring," he remarks to a bubbly young girl on the tram.

According to the calendar and more significantly to the Earth's location in her solar orbit it's still winter and will be until 0337 Juliet (Tango/MDT) on Saturday, March 20.

When it's winter in this part of the world we often experience very nice weather days. Warm sunshine, balmy air temperatures, and little if any wind. Delightful hints of the springtime sure to follow and ultimately the season of easy living.

But these nice weather days are what J.B. Books was talking about.

False spring.


Of course it's not really false spring. It's early March. The days are getting longer, which means the sun has more time to warm the air mass and warm the ground. As the sun shines down and we are enveloped in late-winter warmth, it becomes popsicle weather. Kind of.


Nature responds with a slow waking of grasses and forbs. You have to look beneath the prairie's shaggy coat of dried leaves and stems, but when you do the greening blades of future cow food are evident. Therefore, what would have been false spring on a January day is now in March a neonatal spring day. Lovely and well worth the effort to embrace and enjoy.


There's more cold and snow in store for us. The weather man correctly predicted a return of freezing air temps, snow, and cutting wind. A slow moving weather system has been spitting snow and returning s morning skim of ice to Tommy and Nona's water dish. The next car in the weather train is predicted to bless us with a winter storm this weekend.

This is all as it should be. I relish excursions into false spring, but I also relish winter's return and even winter's unavoidable encroachment into calendar/celestial spring.

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I am in a very odd place. Odd but good.
NAS Oceana SH-3G on the ramp at Cecil. I learned hard and beautiful lessons in this pig.

I'm not the only one.

Pri-Fly, USS Midway. Smell that?

SH-3A/D, USS Midway Museum, June 2017

SH-3A/D, USS Midway Museum, June 2017. This one flew Apollo recoveries.

Countless hours spent in a treatment room just like this one on Midway.

This ladder-bottom pharmacy on Midway instantly made me think of HMC Roundtree. Really old dude, pushing 40 as I recall. His morning routine was to power-slam two pots of coffee while simultaneously smoking two cigarettes and chewing two pieces of nicorette. He was a cool cat after that, but woe betide the sailor who even glanced at him before.

I used to could sneak up this ladder and steal cereal and toast or bread when it was too busy to justify standing in a chow line. On Coral sea of course; this is Midway.

Main entry to sick bay was/is down this second deck ladder. Medical was on the third deck to keep it a little more protected. On later carriers they put medical on the second deck.

Emergency medical supply chest or locker. Whenever I wanted to firetruck off for a few hours I'd grab a clipboard and pen and "Inventory" these things.

There was always a medical locker needing inventoried near the gedunk.

Knee-knocker, yay!

Queer. Yes, it's a queer. Sometimes (but rarely) called the EA-6B Prowler.

She looked good back in 2017. Probably covered in wuhandromeda today.

A great deal of life happened for me here. What a strong connection to livin' a warship represents to a sailor.
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I can't get Post Malone's Circles out of my head.


If you have to have a song stuck in there, Circles might be the best option. Love the song, love the video, don't know why.

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We're at the seven month mark. Over the last 30 days the acute shock of the thing has faded. It feels like the shock was a roaring, consuming flame. The flame has guttered out now, having burned all there is to burn. So what remains of me? Am I nothing more than a burned out husk? While that certainly could have happened, it didn't. With God's help and my conscious decision to actively live life the flame forged rather than destroyed, What remains is clean and spare and case hardened. The forging process continues though, for as the shock departs it is replaced with a more complete understanding  of how utterly smashed I am.

Smashed, exploded, strewn across a metaphorical/metaphysical landscape.

The clean me that's left can look at the devastation, accept it, and soldier on.

It feels... good. Right and proper. I suspect that doesn't make much sense.

Over the years I've learned through trial and error and hard, hard lessons that the best path is the hard path, that actively living and walking with God is the proper place to inhabit. In that place the choice to give up and quit is ever present. The hard and proper thing is to eschew quitting, stand tall, and soldier on. Which is impossible, save for the power and grace of God.

So I go on. I've left the furnace behind now, and as a fundamentally changed man I have a life to actively live. On with the show.

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Kind reader Tom shared this with me, written by his son. It's a good read. It's a good read to be read and re-read, considered, and savored. I don't and can't know the whys and hows of this life-adventure. I do know that God's grace shines on me when I walk the spiritual path, and that path is heaven on earth.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.