Tuesday, February 21, 2006


We spent a lot of time and money rebuilding our 72-hour-kits this past weekend.

The focus switched as we organized this time around. Funny, how your perspective will change when you have to re-do something.

This time we purchased water filters. One for her and one for me.

We also bought new backpacks and made sure they had pretty much the same stuff in them in case we get separated.

Trying to prepare for prophesied calamities is about like trying to catch a fly with tweezers. Lots and lots and lots of variables.

At least with bug-out bags ready, we'll be prepared to leave the house in minutes with little effort. I have this sneaking suspicion that when we do leave we probably won't be back in three days. Look at what happened in New Orleans.

There were no Rook cards at Wal-Mart when we went looking. Hmmmm. Still, I did put my new travel Scrabble game in the First Aid duffel bag.

This time we'll keep our packs waiting in the apartment instead of in the back of the Jimmy.

Thank Heavens for my extra job right now...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ages, revisited

Once there was a little boy who thought he was twenty.

He pretended that he was like big people around him. He listened to their words so that he could talk like them. He tried to think like them, but never quite got the hang of it.

Eventually he became twenty, himself. He figured his grasp on life was pretty solid. Things fit comfortably into the box. But he still didn't quite think like everybody else, and, as a result, he didn't talk like others at times.

A friend punched him once: "I agree with everything you say, I just can't stand the way you say it!" POW!

The little boy thought about that for a long time.

Eventually he found his match. She was the part that helped him feel whole. She added her perspective to his. He found out the box was shaped much differently than he'd thought previously. She helped him learn how to talk with folks a little better.

They had experiences. They grew common understanding between them. They filled a small apartment with children, then a small house with a big yard.

They followed promptings to move from place to place. They had more experiences. They collected friends. They learned. They grew apart and then back together, successfully. He grew overweight, gray and balder. He listened more and protested less.

Their children married and moved away. The bubses came along.

Funny, he still feels like he is twenty.

He is better able to communicate. But that box has all but disappeared. Things that used to be boxable, out-grew the box a long time ago.

He's still a little boy. At times he pretends he's like the young people around him. When he visited campus a couple months ago, though, he felt like quite an alien.

His understanding about life around him is more tenuous than ever.

He is impatient: has always had a tough time waiting through Christmas eve. The Grand Return is close, and he can't wait for things to get cleaned-up so that He can come back.

Even so, that Return is closer than it has ever been.

He waits; pretending that he's like the people around him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


We stopped into a Vision Center last night to get my frames adjusted. The optometrist was working late, so I decided to get my eyes examined while I was there. It has been over 3 years since the last time I bought glasses and things are getting a bit fuzzy again.

He gave me a thorough exam, dilation and all. He told me that the nerve in my left eye is larger than the nerve in my right eye. Because that is not the normal situation and a possible (very) early symptom of glaucoma, he suggested further testing with a specialist. None of the other tests suggested any problems...

It could be that my optic nerves have been this way my whole life. Getting an image taken of the nerve will establish a baseline for comparison and diagnosis in the future. I'll make the call today.

Having my eyes dilated is always a fun experience. I enjoyed watching things get a little misty as my pupils expanded. It felt as if my field of vision narrowed a bit.

This was probably the first time I'd had my eyes dilated during the evening. The drive home was a spectacle that only I could see. Head and street lights had long, skinny pokers of light protruding in an extended crescent from the lower half of each glowing globe.

Stoplights, on the other hand, had soft, fat streaks extending around them, like using the wide side of a magic marker to draw instead of a sharpie fine point.

It was a fun drive home.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lessons Learned

One last night and another this morning:

We went to see how Steve Martin did in casting himself as Inspector Clouseau. I enjoyed it. She laughed a couple times. Normal, I guess. We didn't start learning until we returned to our vehicle.

Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never go to the movies at the Gateway on a Friday night.

Did I suggest that you should consider other entertainment options than the Gateway on a Friday? Do so.

It took us twenty minutes to ascend from the depths of the parking structure. Twenty.

By the time we got to the Parking Attendant, we needed an extra validation to get out without paying. The movie validation was only good for three hours. We'd been there three hours and 10 minutes...

#1. Gateway. Friday night: go somewhere else.

This morning I'd just bitten into a fresh toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese spread on it, when my cell phone went off. My hands were full (I was taking the other half to her...) so I missed the call. Pity.

When I'd delivered the other bagel half, I noticed blood on my fingers. I knew I hadn't cut myself when splitting the bagel (it was pre-cut, I used my fingers to pry it apart...), and the butter knife isn't sharp enough to inflict an unnoticed injury.

Quickly I realized there was more than cream cheese on my lip. My lip was bleeding. I knew that I hadn't bitten it. But it was bleeding. Profusely. I grabbed a handful of tp and started dabbing my lip between bagel bites.

When they bagel was gone, I began to apply continuous direct pressure, expressing my dismay to her about the volume of blood that continued to flow from a non-existent injury to my lip.

Eventually I traded the tp for a paper towel. It steadily filled with my leaky fluid too.

After about fifteen minutes with no slowing of the flow, she suggested that I use a wet wash cloth. I hesitated a nano second, before I located an older wash cloth and ran it under cool water. Surprisingly, the blood flow slowed, then stopped after another few minutes.

Now, I've had minor problems with nose bleeds during the dry of a cold winter, but I've never had my lip spontaneously split before. I put on some lip balm.

By that time our daughter had arrived. While she was there the blood flow unexpectedly started up again. I applied the cool, wet cloth again and brought it under control. I came to work.

Just a few minutes ago I sneezed and things started up again. Luckily my leaky lip responded to direct pressure and stopped bleeding in less than a minute. I applied more lip balm.

#2. Bleeding lips respond better to cool, wet cloth than scratchy, dry paper.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Last week I watched an odd DVD.

It was a 4-hour-long presentation by Ian Xel Lungold. I watched it from 8 pm until midnight, so my cognitive skills might not have been clicking at their most effective rate. However, I think I learned some good stuff. So, I'll summarize here.

Mr. Lungold taught of Conciousness and Calendars. His presentation revolved around learnings he's gleaned from the Mayan calendar. I'm not going to go into all the background information he presented, just the stuff that hit me:

According to the Mr. Lungold's understanding of the Mayan calendar, from about 1755 to the beginning of 1999 we were in an era when periods of progress lasted 19.7 years. In January 1999 we started a period of time in which the periods of progress last 360 days.

That is, the amount of progress I experienced over the course of 19.7 years when I was growing up, now takes place in a little under one year.

Oh my.

No wonder it feels like things are going faster than usual.

Mr. Lungold explains that the final era on the Mayan calendar will begin in 2011. At that time things will be multiplied again and the period of progress will be 20 days. That means in 2011 things'll be happening in 20 days which previously took 19.7 years to accomplish.

We are in a time when information is being processed in millionths and billionths of a second. Our minds, on the other hand, process information and pictures in 24ths of a second. Mr. Lungold suggests that as we get deeper into this consciousness crunch we will go "out of our minds". Literally. Our minds will not be able to process all that is coming our way.

He states that when we go out of our minds, all we will have left to use is intuition. While that is an interesting concept, and valid as far as it goes, I feel that we will also have access to one other resource to make it through the difficult times ahead: trust in the Lord.

The Lord has assured us that all things will give us experience and will be for our good. So I am getting ready to go out of my mind and put my trust in Him.

There are those who feel I've already achieved the first part of that last statement. Maybe this post could be used as an example.

But as for me and my house, we will trust in the Lord.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


My boss retrieved a voice-mail yesterday, late in the afternoon.

We were the only ones in the room. I heard the message because he was on speaker.

When the caller mentioned a problem with the screens on the Patron Desktop, my ears perked up. That's my job. I got up and walked over to his cubby to hear some more.

She said that it had come to her attention that we used the word "website" on the Desktop screens. She went on to tell him that "website" is an improper word and doesn't follow the corporate style guide. The corporate style guide details that "web site", with a space between the two words, is the preferred usage. She asked us to please make appropriate changes to the Patron Desktop screens...


I was dumbfounded.

Some of the thoughts that flew through my cranium:
  • I didn't know there was a style guide...
  • I didn't know there were folks tasked to check out and report on style guide infractions...
  • Someone has time to check out my style?
  • The Desktop screens are a little over two years old, I've been sinning for quite a while now...
  • Not a big deal, but this really demanded a phone call?

My boss and I had a little chuckle. I agreed to make the changes, then got ready and went home, thinking no more of the incident.

I pulled the latest issue of Time magazine from the mailbox on the way up to our apartment. After I changed my clothes, I was glancing through it, when I noticed "website" right there on the page. Hmmm?

It's okay to use the word that way in Time.

I made a quick check of the Official Word List of the National Scrabble Association. Yup. "Website" is an acceptable play in Scrabble.

I just used spell-check here on Blogspot.com. Yup. "Website" is spelled correctly.

Thinking back, I remember that Brother Brigham counseled us to have a style of our own. I wonder if this is really what he was talking about.

I just didn't realize that such minor details would matter so much.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Gotta Dance

We first noticed it last Memorial Day.

It is memorable because the day was extraordinary. It rained that day. Lots. Water came into the basement. My son and his family came over in the afternoon to help me pull up the carpet.

After we had cleaned as much as possible in the basement, we were relaxing upstairs. I was playing music over my new computer speakers and we saw it.

Silas started to bounce.

Classic rock seemed to get him going most easily. He was 10 months old, just barely able to stand and make his way around tables and chairs. But the music got him to dance.

Thereafter whenever we had him in the car with us and a tune with a good beat came on he'd get his head nod going. My grandson, the headbanger at 10 months.

Tuesday we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. While we were waiting for a table we observed another toddler. He obviously heard some music that made him move. He was just outside the restaurant entrance. There was a hubbub of sound. But he zeroed in on some music and it made him move.

He would take three steps forward, pause, then take three steps back. Over and over again. He was obviously having a wonderful time. I couldn't hear the music that made him dance, but it was clear that he was motivated.

Apparently, there is something in some music that makes you want to move. It's silly and people try to supress the urge, but it's there. As I look at things, I think that expressing the enjoyment of good music through dance is probably a good thing. I'll do it more often.

Just not in public.