Sunday, December 26, 2004

Day 14258

Greetings all! I hope you all had a terrific X-mas or whatever, if any, you celebrate. Anywho, let's get to it.

I took this test after seeing it in a forum on Radio Paradise. I am Hecate. Or, at least, that was the response I got after the first attempt. For the most part, I felt indifferent to the result I got. If pressed, I guess I would say it fits, with the exception being that I don't "always do what I want to". I mean I'm not that selfish and I also understand consequences.

I saw a post by a young lady who commented on changing some close answers to see what she got. She then got Hecate. So, curious, I re-took it changing a couple of close ones as well. I then got the exact same answer she had first received, Nemesis. This answer bothered me. I know it shouldn't, but it does. I will admit to a few common traits, but not all. Certainly, I don't hold grudges. I don't seek revenge. However, it was one of the characteristics I felt was true that really got under my skin.

Something has been apparent to me since I was in grade school: I guess I give out some sort of vibe or power or energy that people back down from. I see this when approaching people and they get out of my way before I can make an adjustment in my path. Even when I am walking in a direction that obviously won't cross their path, they often move. It's as if they see me as some sort of dominant figure, not to be approached, almost feared. Or like my body is significantly larger than it really is. (I am 6'2" and 230 lbs.) It is something that has depressed me ever since I was conscious of how people were reacting to me. I see it almost daily. I think maybe I am walking with a sense of purpose, but certainly not with a "get the hell out of my way" attitude. Nevertheless, I see people move so quickly and in such an obvious way, that it just hurts me. Who would want to be feared, like some bully? Seems to me we would want the exact opposite, which in my mind is a move to hug someone. I certainly would prefer that!

I have lived with this response from people for so long and I just wish I could change it. I smile, a genuine smile, and people still duck away from me. I wave, and sometimes if we are apparently too close, they flinch like they expect to be hit.

I guess it's possible that my sense of personal space doesn't match societal norms. Honestly, I don't think that is the case, as occaisionally, I feel like my space is intruded upon when conversing with some folks. I also try to be conscious of not trying to get too physically close to individuals who I don't know very well. Still, same old same old.

Whatever. I really don't know how to stop it. I just wish it would. Anyway, if you see me approaching, please don't jump out of my way. I'm a nice guy. Really. In fact, give me a hug!

Well, I hope you have a good night or day.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Day 14252

I work with a guy who shows up to work to do his job. Carefully chosen words there. I did not say he had a career. He is a great guy, does well, and would be a great asset to the company if he chose to stay on. I don't think he will. Instead, I think he works to pay bills. Those bills are being taken care of right now. Furthermore, he has money for entertainment. This is bothersome. Not having money...oh, you know what I mean, or soon will.

You would think the hardest aspect of my job would be to fire people. Truth is, though, those that get fired, earned it. Usually this happened because they refused to use common sense, i.e. don't steal, don't lie, show up to work on time, actually do some work, etc. It's hard to feel sorry for those I have fired, as they were all given specific instructions on how to maintain employment before things ever got to an extremely ugly point. They just chose not to take my "advice".

Anyway, the hardest part of my job actually is watching someone go through the motions, void of passion. This gentleman I mentioned earlier is one of those. He is not excited to be at work. He enjoys the company of his co-workers and our customers for sure, but it is obvious that he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He appears to be aimlessly wandering.

I couldn't say what his dream job is...he won't admit to one. I will tell you that he is very funny. He'll probably never be a stand-up comedian, but could someday become a comedic writer. He comes up with some of the most off the wall stuff. One of my recent favorites is "The Lonely Guy Hack". Essentially it's an apparatus designed for a solitary person to play hacky sac. Think of one of those cat toys on the end of an elastic string hanging from the ceiling! Now replace that stupid yellow, fake bird with a hacky sac. Simple. Easily visualized. Funny. You could practice in your home free from ridicule, preparing to play hack in full public view at an outdoor music festival with some trustafarians!

Recently, he and I discussed an idea for a movie, a comedy. We must have brainstormed for a couple of hours, coming up with scene after scene. We laughed nearly non-stop. We also managed to do quite a bit of work. That afternoon flew by and it was definitely one of my better days. Now, all I can think about is how he is toiling for a paycheck and nothing more. Nobody should have to work a job they don't love.

Me, I have wanted to write a movie for some time now. I would love to do this with him, but there's this whole supervisor/employee relationship that is supposed to stay strictly business. Of course, these relationships don't always stay that way. There are couples in our company who met, dated and got married because they were co-workers. Collaborating on a script shouldn't be a big deal, but in my mind it will be a problem at the very least for some of our other co-workers. Jealousy sucks. I think I'll be taking that risk, though. I mean, come on. I live in California, surely I have a movie script in me somewhere!

Which brings to mind the question, "What do I want to do with my life when I grow up?". The answer is, I don't know! When I was younger, I wanted to pitch for the Montreal Expos. That's pretty tough to do nowadays. Later, I wanted to be a pro fisherman or a fisheries biologist. I abandoned those ideas fairly early in life. Let's see, next was musician. Unfortunately, I don't have the skills. Then it was investment analysist for a mutual fund company. I, at least, have a degree in finance to show for that interest. Currently, as I said earlier, I don't know. A writer, maybe?

Think I'll sleep on it.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Day 14251

Sometimes I cry over the most unexpected things. To be truthful, I don't think I cry easily. Sometimes I even feel guilty by what doesn't make me cry. Certain things are a slam dunk though, Trip Through Your Wires by U2 is one of those. Here's another...

One summer day in 1997, while at my home in Klamath Falls, OR, a lady walked up to my front porch door as I was experiencing some writer's block. She said nothing and stared at my stereo speakers as a song by Burning Sky played. I tried not to stare at her black eye. I invited her in. She just stared. I asked if she was OK. She just stared. So we both just stared at the speakers and listened. After the song ended, she turned around, stepped off the porch, and walked down the alley. I never saw her again.

After she left, I set aside my song lyrics and instead wrote the following in a couple of minutes. It's structural defects have never been fixed. It's as if it's damaged; I like it that way. Anyway, I stumbled across it tonight as I was going through a box. The memory of that day made me cry. I wish I understood exactly just what triggers me.

The Visitor

"Why are you distressed, and why is your face fallen?"
It was written on the beam, in the CD's inner sleeve.
So why are you distressed, and why did you leave?
Can't you see the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day?
Outside the trees are dancing, shimmering silver and green.
So why is your face fallen, your demeanor `ever sullen?
Was it something unsaid? Are there storm clouds on the way?
Was it the threat of militia, or another who holds the strings?

I wish I knew the answer,
I wish I could make you smile,
If not forever, at least just for a while.

So who are you anyway? Will you tell me your name?
Are you from this town, or somewhere across the plains?
I tried to cheer you up with some percussion, guitar, and flute,
But judging from your somber look, I guess it was no use.
Now you're walking down the alley, headed for who knows where.
I don't even know you, but for some reason I still care.
And the trees are still shimmering, but now in green and gray.
There's a chill in the air, and storm clouds are on the way.

And I wish that you felt better,
And that I could make you smile,
If not forever, at least just for a while.

Good night. Oh, an honorable gold star to the person who knows which cd the first line is printed in! (See 2nd line for where to look!)

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Day 14250

OK, I got lazy and didn't log on and post this one last night, but here it is anyway...complete with an edited date & time to make it look like I posted this last night!

Why is it that whenever friends or family stop by unannounced, my place looks like a disaster? I clean regularly, but maybe I am letting too much time pass between cleanings! I work 5-6 days a week and usually do a thorough cleaning every other week. In between, I load/unload dishwashers, throw away trash and junk mail, do laundry, and wipe counters. You would think that would be plenty. Apparently not.

Today, some friends from Connecticut (Will, Lisa, and Paisley) surprised me with a visit. They were welcomed to stacks of junk mail in the living room, dishes on the kitchen counters, laundry in a pile in my bedroom, and a dirty bathroom. OK, so I admit that it was messy in here and time for a thorough cleaning. But why did they pick this weekend to visit? Damn, was it embarrassing. They were really polite and pretended not to notice.

We had a nice, but short visit. The adults (that includes me) caught up with each other, while a 3-year old, Paisley "went to work" handing us little tidbits of stuff as gifts. (I got keys!) It was very cute. Apparently, when Will goes to work in the morning, Paisley goes to work at her desk in a corner, where she pretends to do some sort of business, which I gather includes quite a lot of drawing. Lisa said Paisley does this for almost 2 hours at a time, which gives Lisa some time to read on-line newspapers most mornings. I suspect there are a lot of jealous people out there reading this right now!

Anyway, while I was cleaning up the place, it hit me that maybe they weren't pretending not to notice what I felt was a messy place. Afterall, they have a 3-year old! Everyone else I know with young children, live in places that look like a tornado just went through. They just are too tired to continuously keep up with the messes their kids make and the kids just haven't matured enough to pick up after themselves. Nevertheless, it sure was nice to get the place straightened up after they left.

Someday, I do want kids. This must mean that I will want the mess as well. Yikes! It makes me tired just thinking about it. Reminds me of years ago, when I babysat for my twin nieces, who were 4 at the time. I literally crawled out of my brother's house and into my car. I was exhausted after only 1 day! They had been doing it for more than 4 years straight at that point! While driving home, I remember trying to figure out how they ever survived for so long.

Anyway, given my age, it is very likely that I will end up with someone who already has had children. Hopefully, if that is the case, they have started to clean up after themselves! Or, we could adopt a child older than 3 years old, so most of the hard work would have already been done! Look at the title to this post. That's how many days old I am. I don't think I could keep up with an infant or toddler at this point, when it wore me out when I was 20 years old!

Well, I am tired. Here's to all the tired parents! You have my sympathy. Seriously.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Day 14249

Well, time flies while life goes by! Seems I haven't posted anything for a few days and I have far too many ideas popping into my head. Thought about doing some purging by means of a simple list, but one thought keeps coming to mind more than the others...

I work in an industry that is largely populated by males. Like all businesses, it has selling as its central point, or source of income. I'm responsible for ensuring that several of our company's locations continue to increase sales. Stereotypical "used car" sales-slicksters do not increase sales; honest, personable, caring, and intelligent individuals, however, do find themselves attracting new customers and keeping old ones coming back. I needed one of these people in one of our locations in central California. Actually, I still do. Here's why...

I interviewed several candidates recently and concluded the conversation by letting them know I would call them one way or another. I then narrowed the field down to two individuals, an ambitious, friendly lady and a gentleman with revelant experience. Unable to agree on a salary with the gentleman, I next offered the position to the lady. She accepted and we then confirmed a start date and time. At this point, one tends to relax.

I called up the rest and notified them that our company had decided on another individual. To the man, they all expressed surprise that I had kept my word and actually called them to deliver the news and wished them luck on their job search!

No big deal? I beg to differ. To me, that meant they would have treated our customers poorly. I mean, if they didn't expect to be notified of our decision, isn't it probable that they would not have been likely to return calls to our customers? They didn't expect that level of courtesy, so why would they be courteous to others?

Anyway, the lady had existing credit issues. Not with medical expenses or something serious and necessary, but for luxeries. For example, satellite TV and cell phone usage. My gut told me she was far from responsible, a flake. Yet, on paper and in the interview she explained that she wanted to leave her current employer because of lack of hours. As I said, I offered her a job anyway. She accepted and we agreed upon a start date and time. After she didn't show up, I left her a phone message asking if there had been a misunderstanding, another opportunity, or an accident; and to please return my call. I never heard from her.

I thought she was a sweet lady, but found her to be lacking courtesy. It was OK if she had another offer. I expected that she was checking out other job leads. Still, nothing. I try to be courteous. I expect it from those I supervise. I also expect it from all human beings. Nothing. I usually follow my gut, as my intuition has mostly been proven correct. I will never doubt it again.

Interesting note here. After talking to our H.R. dept., it seems this is the 10th time in the past year that this has happened in our California stores. It is not a problem elsewhere.

I certainly never get called old-fashioned, but sheesh! How about a teensy bit of simple, common courtesy, eh?


Well, I'm obviously sleepy! I now have a neat design of a button on my shirt pressed into my forearm! It looks cool. Also, I hear crickets! Seems kind of early in the year for those little buggers!

Anysheesh, G-Nighty!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Day 14244

Bear with me; what you read is not as insensitive as it immediately sounds. OK, brace yourself, I wish I had less money. No, that’s not true. I wish I had less stuff. Yeah, that’s better. I have so much crap, that I don’t use it all, even in one year’s time. I would bet that I am not alone in this.

Here’s a list of some of the junk I probably should either put on E-Bay or donate:

  • A Playstation with a handful of games
  • Computer games I don’t play
  • 2 televisions
  • 2 old computers, in addition to the one I’m on now
  • 2 barely operational cars
  • An electronics experiment kit
  • A remote controlled car

There is probably more, but you get the idea. I have things that, quite frankly, don’t enhance my life. The TV’s, Playstation and computer games just encourage me to sit on my butt and do nothing. The electronics kit and the remote-controlled car would be great X-Mas gifts for some child. I really only need 1 functional automobile. Finally, the computers could be donated to the local Boys & Girls Club.

What the hell is wrong with me? There are some impulse purchases in that list. They were a total waste. The second car cost me money that could have been used to make the first better. And the friggin’ TV’s…their pure evil! It’s not that I didn’t watch television before (I did have roommates with TV’s), but because I didn’t own one, I felt like a user for watching the roommate’s, so, I limited my viewing. I finally bought the main one for my 31st birthday. The 2nd much smaller one followed, get this, in case of bad weather while I was camping! I swear every year since that I have become increasingly more boring. I would say I’ve become literally fatter as well. It’s ridiculous!

I’ve got to make some changes. I still will keep the big TV so that I can rent DVD’s, but the other is a waste. The 2nd car needs to go as well and then use the money from its sale to fix up the nicer vehicle. The rest of the above stuff can be donated or sold. Who knows, after that, I might just read all the books I own! That’s right, I have books I haven’t even read! I bought them because they intrigued me and I thought they would be entertaining. Now they just sit in a bookshelf. I can’t help but feel spoiled when I think of all the excess junk I have. Junk I do nothing with, or allow to take up so much of my time that I don’t really even live. If that makes any sense.

Well, I’m out of excuses and I already have a list started. Time to take the plunge. My goal is to live simpler, buying only what I truly need. Of course, doing that won’t eliminate entertainment, but I hope it forces me to get more of my thrills by going outside and enjoying nature. I used to do it as a kid, why not now? It’s certainly more interesting and I doubt there are ever any re-runs!

This is kind of exciting! I mean, I feel good about this. Well, I need to write an ad for that car, so ...pasta iguana!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Day 14243

Well, I just got news today that I now have a younger sister named Carrie! She is a 6-year-old Cavalier Spaniel that my mom got from someone who shows dogs in the Denver, CO area. I have always loved spaniels, especially ones with long ears. Isn’t she a cutie?

Carrie has been retired, which means she no longer competes and also has been neutered. She has already had a few litters of puppies and I guess some of them are already competing. Below, is a photo of Carrie showing off her athleticism.

The one thing I don’t understand is why someone would part with a dog they had trained and loved for 6 years. It just doesn’t compute. I still miss our family’s Springer Spaniel, named Rocky, who we had to give away back in 1984 when my parents divorced. He was a huge Springer (70 lbs.), all muscle, but gentle as can be and loved kids. Rocky was one of the smartest dogs I have ever seen and because of his size, could handle waterfowl as well as upland game. Luckiest dog ever, too, as people constantly wanted to breed him with their Springers in hopes of having above average-sized puppies. The boy got plenty of action! Anyway, it devastated me to give him away, so I would like to think the former owners of Carrie had a hard time parting with her, too. I really didn’t get that impression, though! It’s all very odd.

Anyway, I'm happy for my mom, who now has a companion, but at the same time, concerned about her ability to physically take Carrie outside for walks. My mom has MS and it has really taken its toll on her over the last couple of years. She was diagnosed with MS about 28 years ago and fared very well for an extended period of time. This is most likely due to the fact that my mom was very active, in fact, a tomboy. She played volleyball, fast-pitch softball, cross-country skied, and hiked. Her leg muscles were well developed and she had excellent coordination. Now, not so much so. She seems to tire easily and occasionally uses a walker or a wheel chair. I just hope that Carrie brings enough joy from companionship to compensate for the challenge of taking her outside. My mom seems incredibly happy, so my guess is everything will be fine.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Day 14242

So, I have been walking in the morning in an effort to get into better shape. I also thought it might give me a chance to meet some of the neighbors. Well, I've found no neighbors. Instead, I regularly see kids presumably walking back home. They usually are carrying a pillow and a blanket. This goes on every day, not just on weekends. I would add that most of these kids appear to be in either junior high or high school.

OK, let's cut to the chase. Are these kids really free to sleep over at any time? Is this the next logical step from latch-key kids? Are they getting any? Am I a prude? Maybe I'm just jealous! I sure wasn't getting that kind of access to the opposite sex when I was their age. Maybe this is just some kind of cycle. Maybe we will soon see kids marrying at 14-15 years of age, again.

I really am kind of surprised to see them out there. They, on the other hand, seem surprised to see me. Maybe I need to start taking a pillow on my walks. Maybe they will think I'm just coming home from some secret rendezvous. Maybe I can make them think the rendezvous was with their mother! Maybe I should start investing in condom manufacturers. Maybe they expect me to just keep getting flabbier. Maybe I need the distraction of a good woman.

Actually, that's the answer to all problems! Here's to good women. May they seek me out and flirt shamelessly!

G'night all.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Day 14241

This is on several of the blogs I read. I poached this outright from Miss Alison. She got it from someone else. (You can't hear me, but believe me, I'm laughing my collective glutes off!) Anyone else familiar with this song?

"I Got It From Agnes" - Tom Lehrer
I love my friends, and they love me,

We're just as close as we can be.
And just because we really care,
Whatever we get, we share!

I got it from Agnes,
She got it from Jim.
We all agree it must have been
Louise who gave it to him.

She got it from Harry,
Who got it from Marie,
And everybody knows that Marie
Got it from me.

Giles got it from Daphne,
She got it from Joan,
Who picked it up in County Cork,
A-kissin' the Blarney Stone.

Pierre gave it to Sheila,
Who must have brought it there.
He got it from Francois and Jacques,
Haha, Lucky Pierre!

Max got it from Edith,
Who gets it every spring.
She got it from her Daddy,
Who just gives her everything.

She then gave it to Daniel,
Whose spaniel has it now.
Our dentist even got it,
And we're still wondering how.

Ah, but I got it from Agnes,
Or maybe it was Sue,
Or Millie or Billie or Gillie or Willie,
It doesn't matter who.

It might have been at the club,
Or at the pub, or in the loo,
And if you will be my friend,
Then I might...(Mind you, I said "might")...
Give it to you!
Anyway. As I was saying, I poached this from Alison:

38 Qs

1) name the last four things you have bought:
1. New selenoid for truck
2. Worst lunch ever from Jimboys Tacos
3. Plain donuts, milk and OJ for breakfast
4. Obsidian Stout

2) name four drinks you regularly drink :
1. Milk
2. OJ
3. Beer
4. Red wines

3) last time you cried? Saturday night because of something Joseph wrote
4) what’s in your cd player? Good question...apparantly, Eels - Electro-Shock Blues
5) what’s under your bed? Dust, flashlight, a hiking magazine, and a bayonet
6) what time did you wake up today? 6:40 am
7) current hair? Brown
8) current clothes? Sadly, still in my work shirt and denim jeans
9) current desktop picture? See post titled Day 14237
10) current worry? That I'm not taking good enough care of my body
11) current hate? Insurance companies
12) favorite places to be? Brookings, OR and Little Jamaica, AZ (Sorry, not on any map)
13) least favorite place? Child-beating section of any mass transit vehicle or store
14) if you could play an instrument? Lately, I've been wanting to learn the concertina
15) favorite color(s)? Green
16) how tall are you? 6'2"
17) favorite expression? "F*** me gently with a chainsaw!"
18) one person from your past you wish you could talk to: Eric
19) favorite day(s)? Saturday
20) where would you like to go right now? To bed in Corvallis, OR
21) where do you want to live when you get married? Coos Bay, OR
22) favorite food? Seafood
23) color of most clothes you own? White
24) number of pillows you sleep with? Two...they're thin
25) what do you wear when you go to sleep: Shorts
26) what were you doing 12am last night: Sleeping
27) how old will you be in 10 years: 48
28) what do you think you’ll be doing in 10 years: At this hour, sleeping (or not) in bed
29) do you have braces? Nope
30) are you paranoid?!
31) do you burn or tan?
Depends on how long I'm in direct sunlight
32) what is the brand of your wallet? Hate wallets, I use a business card holder instead
33) first piercing/tattoo? Left ear in HS / No tats...I hate needles...Yet, tattoo still wanted
34) first enemy? The winter season
35) last person you yelled at? I don't remember the last time
36) last crush? A bank teller named Sarah
37) last thing you ate? Fresh pear
38) the last time you had sex it was...? Better than left-handed sex!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Day 14239

So, $%#@&! I've got some seriously hot, boiling blood pumping through my veins right now. A friend of mine suffers from chronic pain. We're not talking headaches here, he deals with pain from spinal damage from a work-related accident coupled with a rapidly deteriating knee. The spinal damage has left him unable to steady his hand, control his facial muscles, and, as an added "benefit", gives him back spasms and shooting pain from his tail bone to his arm pit. The situation with the knee is that he has lost 3/8" of bone in the last 3 years because he no longer has cartilage around the kneecap.

He has a prescription for Oxycontin. Those familiar with the drug know it is some serious stuff and has become all the rage for recreational usage, at least in the U.S.. A few years ago, he was being perscribed 23 Oxycontin pills per day! I don't know the milligram dosage, but I do know this is a very high amount. On top of that, he was also allowed some Oxyfast, which is a liquid form that acts instantly when needed. I don't know how much of that he was prescribed. When he was on this pain program, he was out of work, on disability, and stayed that way for many years.

He took an enormous risk and decided to attempt to go back to work. (This part makes me sick to my stomach. I encouraged him, in fact, it was my idea.) The risk is this: since he was on disability, he was getting his prescriptions paid for by the govt. Going off of SSI (I think), meant that he would lose his prescription benefit. The medication costs thousands of dollars per month!

Well, he has been working for over 2 years now in a job where he must stand for long hours and do some fairly heavy lifting. Initially, he literally had to perservere as his supporting leg muscles (used for balance) became strong enough to allow him to simply stand. His pain specialist upped his dosage of Oxycontin to 25 pills per day and increased his Oxyfast as well during this time! His doctor was stunned that he had even made it through the first 30 days without quitting his job!

In an era, where a certain percentage of these people on Oxy are lying about their pain and selling their excess pills to people who want to get high, he was actually working, paying taxes, etc. His situation and ability to live through a self-induced increase in pain is not common at all for people claiming to suffer from chronic pain. He was also proud to be able to once again help support his family and had an increase in self-esteem that carried over into his marriage. His wife had gotten back the man she met 25 years ago. They were both happy. They thanked me.

Then, in the last 6 months there has been a significant change. His pain specialist's name appearded on the bottle of some illegally obtained Oxycontin somewhere in the U.S.. This doctor was now being watched very closely. My friend's dosage was so incredibly high, that there was speculation that he wasn't using it all for himself. The doctor decreased the dosage to 16 pills-a-day and eliminated the Oxyfast, so he had no breakthrough pain medicine. My friend was asked to take a blood test. The results showed a high enough rate of Oxy in his bloodstream to prove that he was using the prescription for himself. My friend began to get nervous. He can't work without the Oxy, can't afford to pay for it himself, and would need between 90 and 120 days to get back on disability if he were to quit work. That's 3-4 months without ANY pain medication to get through the day!

Through his work, he has pretty good insurance; it is a PPO, not an HMO. But, they have been extremely slow in paying for the Oxy and he has had to cough up $2000 just to get his prescription written on time over the last year. He is supposed to only have a $15 co-pay, which amounts to $180 per year for this prescription. The insurance company also is hounding the pain specialist to decrease his dosage even further and is requiring to see the notes from his monthly visits to the specialist. There has been disagreement as to whether the notes have been sent or not.

My friend is in a lot of pain and is way overstressed at this point. The very doctor he relied upon to make it through the day has become someone who covers his own ass instead of treating his patient. My friend feels he is at the mercy of this doctor, and quite frankly doesn't trust him anymore, but is freightened to say anything. This doctor has become rude and is even complaining about the money he is taking home per year. Apparently 2/3 of his earnings go to lawyers! My friend's insurance company has asked for an opinion from a 2nd pain specialist to back up the 1st doctor's recommendation of the current dosage. His doctor gave him the name and, twice now, wrong phone and contact info. to another doctor for a 2nd opinion. When the correct phone number was finally given, the 2nd doctor didn't call back. It's been 2 weeks now! To make matters worse, this 2nd doctor doesn't appear on an on-line listing of specialists, considered to be the industry standard association.

My friend feels betrayed by the very people/system who were supposed to help him. They had worked with him to get to the point where he could go back to work, encouraged him to do so, only to now threaten to take it all away. If he loses his prescription, he will have to stop working. This will set off a financial chain reaction. His family will lose their home. (While waiting for Workman's Comp to take care of his medical bills incurred during his accident years ago, his family had become homeless.) I don't think they could survive that again. This whole ordeal is just sickening. And, I KNOW it is not about me, but I feel terrible for playing a part in getting him into this situation. Sometimes, this world sucks.

I need to sleep. Hope I can.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Day 14237

So, I noticed last night that I had included in the title of this blog the word "portrait". Ironically, other than a picture of me at age 4 at our family's 1st cabin, there are not any portraits here. So, I've decided to add one.

This is a picture I took while on vacation this past August of the sickle mower used to clear the lot before we built our 1st cabin. I stopped there in one of those "you can't go home again" moments. I was stunned to see that it was still there and that the owners of the property had even periodically re-painted the famous WW II flying ace! That mower has been there in western North Dakota since 1964, but it doesn't look like it's been used. I have this photo as my background on my computer. It reminds me of simpler times.

Much had changed there and it was both disconcerting and exciting. The building behind the wheel barrow on the right is a new garage/shop, built by the current owners. They also planted the small trees in the photo. The Russian Olive trees on the left were 5 feet tall when we sold the place in 1977. Today they are about 30 feet tall. The large pine trees were between 2 and 3 feet tall and are now about 35 feet tall.

Seeing the mature trees on the property was rewarding. It made all the work my late Grandfather had done on the landscaping worthwhile. It also left something permanent to mark his life. I really enjoyed my visit back there, and that's why I have a photo of an old mower on my computer and now on this site.

Here's hoping you treasure your simpler days, too. Good night.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Day 14236

So, I am back from travelling to several of the locations in my district. The trip went well, with significantly more positive comments than negative being posted in my notebook.

I also got a pleasant surprise upon returning home; I was missed. It seems that my posts to this blog have been regular enough to warrant concern when they didn't show up over the last few days. A few people called and/or e-mailed me to make sure I was OK.

It's an interestingly pleasant feeling to find out I was missed. I have gone through significant periods in the past where I hadn't taken the time to stay in touch with the people I really care about. You could call it being lazy, selfish, depressed, whatever. Point is, I didn't make the effort. Taking notice of others' effort really made me realize how much it would have meant to those I love if I had only made the effort. Even a short note would have at least let those I care for know I was thinking of them. I need to do a better job of letting my loved ones know they're loved. I might even try this before New Year's day and its accompanying resolutions!

Anyway, I feel warm and fuzzy. I'm happy to know I'm loved. I'm smiling. I can't think of a better time to go to bed. I'm going to do that now, but first...

Mom, I love you and really miss you. I often think about my trip back there in August and smile. It was so nice to talk to you and really talk. Also, I enjoyed talking to Larry and I wish I could offer him a job out here.

My brother, Paul, I enjoyed our visit so much that I seriously was questioning you about that business with a point of view of a future partner. I would have started making plans to move back there had I not been promoted. The thought of working with you was exciting!

Will, I am not mad at you. My lack of contact has stemmed from a bout of depression and a guilt about not finishing up your banjo. I miss you, Lisa, and Paisley and thought of you when I was in Stormy's on Thursday night. All the old-school crowd was there, even Tracy, who's daughter is now 3 years old!

Sean and Andy. I haven't visited because of car trouble and from being in a funk over Eric's death. Also, it is not easy for me to be around couples when I feel like a third wheel. I'm happy you both have found someone special to share your lives with, I just feel out of place doing the typical "couples activities". We need to make concrete plans to go deep sea fishing this spring.

The are many of you who I have not mentioned by name who I love dearly. I wish I had shown it more over the last couple of years. I did miss your company and would have written, called or visited if funds, time, and a whole lot of other excuses hadn't gave me an opportunity to close myself off to you people. My funk probably lasted longer because of our lack of contact. Fortunately, no more of us passed away and we can still make an effort to keep in touch.

Much love to all. Good night.