Saturday, December 31, 2005

So I lied...

A couple of days ago. About the last fishing trip of the year.

Cathy caught the biggest. He is fixing to be swimming in my belly.

Unless New Years Eve gets exciting, this is my last blog post...

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Happy New Year...

Happy New Year to all.

Might not have been so great if you were in same place as a famine, a storm or a war or you lost someone dear to you. I try to keep this in mind and pray for those less fortunate as I reflect on the good fortune I had in the past year. School and work went well, my new career is a good choice for me, health was good, and family did well. I spoke out a little more for the injustices I see in the world than maybe I have in the past and me and Cathy continued to contribute to things we believe in and that we believe does good in the world.

I hope and pray that I can continue to beat down the walls that surround me and use the good that I have for better things in the world.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

It took a little longer...

I did manage to catch 11 catfish today. Slow going at first, took me a while to find them. It had been a month since my last fishing trip, the water temp has dropped from 64 to 55, the lake has fell a couple of feet and the fish moved from the flats to the edge of the old river channel 25 feet deep right on the old river bank where it plunges to 44 feet. After I found them it took about 45 minutes to get supper. They are now swimming in my belly.

Good thing I had this technology onboard my boat, the ability to tell water temperature, the sonar to see how deep. Without it I would be reduced to finding the depth and temp of the water like this person in the picture is about to do.

One startling thing, I had a brand new gallon of Danny King's catfish bait ( see link at the side, one of my sponsors) and when I popped the top off it was pink. The last bucket of this stuff was not pink, it looked like catfish bait should, all nasty. They have several flavors, this was the "blood." The catfish apparently do not care about color.

This might have been my last fishing trip for the year.

.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

December in East Texas...

A balmy winter day, too windy to go out on the big lake, let's see what we can see just driving around East Texas.

First there was the manger scene in Wells, Texas. That camel's butt is so well aimed at cars passing on US69 that it is bound to be the work of a terrorist sleeper cell in the area. I can understand the main rule of manger scenes, don't have the camel's butt in baby Jesus's face, but for crying out loud, I don't want in mine either.

At least you could stop and mount the camel.







Next was a little stop on a hiking train in the Davy Crockett National Forrest.
Cathy found a tooth ache tree. Chew the little bumps you see on the tree and it numbs your mouth. Stick it in the middle of your head and it numbs...Hope we don't get selected for that random drug test next week.
Here is a shot looking down stream on the Neches. Water is low now but from the looks of the bluff banks this river gets on "a high horse" each spring.







This tree won't be here when the water comes up, the bank around it is almost washed out now. The are many tales about Spanish gold buried on East Texas river banks. I looked while I was in there. We also took a self portrait. While we were goofing around some hunters came along, a party of three, two men and a woman. They stopped where we slid down the steep bank. I think one of the men pointed out and commented that a big one crossed here. Then I spoke, they had not seen us. The man reading sign said, "oh hell." Later I sneaked up behind them and took their picture. Notice the hunter orange in the center of the picture.




Last but not least was a stop at the ancient Caddo Indian mounds. The park was closed, but we climbed a mound on the side of the highway and took a picture into the park of two more mounds. I was trying to get a feel for what the Indians may have been doing back between 500 and 1000A.D. Bound to have been some important stuff, preaching, politicking, star gazing or speechifying going on. Interesting stuff, I am going to study up on the mound builders one day, maybe build one myself.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Not my yard...


These were not part of my Christmas decorations, but a couple of washed out instruments seen adorning a New Orleans neighborhood.

Picture courtesy of New Orleans resident Professor Loungechair.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Jose, Maria, Jesus...


A little manger scene I fixed up. BVM usually stays there in front of the house all the time, while Joe and child occupy a flower bed out back. Seemed like a natural thing to have them together at this time of the year.

I thought I might go ahead and fill out the whole manger scene with some of the other things usually found, you know maybe add a plastic ass to make it a little more real.

Have you ever Googled the words "plastic ass?" And do you know what they want to have one delivered in time for Christmas?

Mom is home from the hospital, doing fine.

Mom should be home today...

My mom should get out of the hospital today, 8 days after her surgery. She has done great.

Now the hard part, she wants to cook, wrap presents, shop and get ready for the Christmas she thinks she messed up. Me, Cathy and Glenn all have to work. We are going to put Mary over there to take care of her. Mary is a good cook.

In fact the last time Mary fixed a meal was on Monday. Here is what it looked like.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The deck on Christmas lights...


I mean Christmas lights on the deck!

This looks like it might turn into a permanent installation. Matches the blue light in the hot tub.

Mom changes rooms, home soon...

Mom is still doing fine after bypass surgery. She is now in room 295, a little closer to the door. That move out the door might happen today or tomorrow.

Now we just have to figure out how to keep her from holiday cooking, wrapping, shopping and so forth. You know she will want to do it. Me Cathy and Glenn all have to work the next few days. We may have to station Mary over there with a pistol to enforce doctors orders.

I don't know if that will work, those two are often in cahoots. I can see mom letting Mary drive her somewhere, mom in the back, can't ride in the front with the airbags for a few weeks, which will be needed possibly if Mary drives.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Perceptions...

The process of changing perceptions always intrigues me. You see something one way when you are young, or may be not young, but when you first learn it and then later on it makes sense, or links up with other things you know to make a whole thing when you thought you had the whole thing already. It is always more interesting when this awakening spans years or even decades. Makes me wonder what other stuff I hold in my head that is just plain wrong.

Christmas time is a good time for this kind of thing, room for a lot of growth. Staring as a kid and it might last a long time is the excitement of the gifts. It is all about the presents. There may be a change and it's about giving the presents, then the presents are not so important, but then as the journey continues the money gets better and the presents get important again and then we have to back off and examine our faith, or our spirit, the importance of families and friends and so on. Fill in your own thing, you get the idea.

One jolting awakening I had and it really happened last year is when I bought a new Christmas tree stand. If you look at the picture, you can see that we put the Christmas tree in a bay window with a couch in front of it. It's a small tree, always the ugliest on the lot, it finds a home and fits perfect. At least with the old stand it did. When I got a new stand last year it did not fit so well and suddenly thrusting through my memory was the recollection from when I was 8 years old that Uncle Bill nailed the Christmas tree to the floor.

I remember my father, his brothers Leonard, Sammy, all them passed on now and Uncle Don still living in Lufkin discussing Uncle Bill, who passed earlier this year and his decorating skills. (Bill was a little different from some of the other Wallace boys, who could be kind of tight asses, he was a tuba player and do we know about them.) As a youngster I remember listening to the laughter, possibly induced by a couple of Christmas time snorts of Old Crow. They were quite amused by the fact that Bill had nailed the Christmas tree to the floor. Not the way they knew to do it and a little unacceptable to these modern blue collar problem solving plant workers.

In my 8 year old mind I pictured big old nails, may be a little bent like the ones I pulled from old boards that I thought could be reassembled as a club house. My little man mind computed how they were angled through the trunk into the floor to hold it upright and I wondered how many it took and if he had suffered any splitting of the wood like I often did when I nailed stuff that did not really be nailed. His hammer swung in small arcs because there was no room under the tree to swing big. I also thought about my house and how it was on a slab, and I wondered if anything under Bill's floor interfered with the nailing as a concrete slab surely would.

All this flooded back when I tried to put the new tripod stand that replaced a round based stand in the window. The tripod hung a little off the surface of the bay window sill. I noticed there were small holes in each of the feet of this new stand. As I held the tree from falling I hollared at my wife, "Honey, bring three nails and a hammer."

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas at the Land...


They call the place Pop and Geneva live "the Land." This weekend the Cooney clan gathered there and had Christmas, a little early, but a necessary custom since some work next weekend and others scatter to other places around the country to be with in laws and out laws. It was great to be there and have a good time with the gang.

A modern Christmas custom:
Kevin and Margaret stop and buy a sack of oysters when they fly in. This is at least the third year they have done this. Myself I like to think I am somehow participating in Gulf Coast relief efforts, fueling the economy of the region if I try to eat as many as I can. Here is Kevin getting down to business of reconstruction.



Perfect with a nice sauce and plenty of lemon.


This girl shucks!
Ladies, please step away from the oyster knifes.

Stanta showed up, mumbling something about a pig.

There was a lot more to eat than just oysters.



Jim and Sandy.

When you open that present and it has coal in it, this is the look on your face.

When you give coal, see face below.

Joe and Karl made

cookies for everyone.

After a day of hosting this party Pop and Geneva got all dressed up and performed at the Christmas Cantata at the Baptist Church in New Waverly.

Look for a bunch of pictures all week as I work through the season making as many as I can.

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Mom out of ICU

My mom is out of ICU into a room.

Her number is 936-639-7518 if you wish to wish her well.

Been at the inlaws for Christmas, good visit, lot of pictures, watch the blog when I get time.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Better watch out...


The gang gathered in Lufkin to start some Christmas festivities yesterday.

Standing left to right, Morgan, Katie, Travis, Mary, Rose, Juan. Seated me and Cathy.

Now we are off to visit my mom in the hospital and then on to New Waverly for the in laws.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Mom looks good today...

Mom was sitting up today, had been up almost two hours when I got there. O2 a little low, they are trying to get her to breath a little deeper to prevent pneumonia. She is strong, things hurt, but has not lost a lot of strength due to being in bed.

This afternoon they may get the swan-ganz cather out and take her on a walk around the unit.

Looks like a little Christmas with my kids and brother around here today, fire in the fireplace, various family members straggling in, wife is in the kitchen, I smoked a chuck roast the other day.

Have I been good? Is Santa coming for me?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Mom is off the vent...

Off the vent and sat up two hours this afternoon. Doing fine.

Does not want any visitors tonight, tired, wants to rest.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Everything OK...

Everything went fine for my mom today. They ended up doing a quadruple bypass. She went in about 7am, they started the incision about 8:30 and finished up by about 3pm. We got to see her in recovery between 4 and 5. She was fairly alert at this time.

We went ahead and attended the Taekwondo Christmas party, and I came back at 8pm expecting her to be in ICU, but she was still in recovery. Within the hour she was taken to ICU. She was quite alert by this time, feeling some pain in the incision and still on the vent. As a black belt I had been required to wear a tie to the TKD party, she kept reaching for me, I thought my hand, but she was trying to grab my tie, wondering why I had on a tie. She is a tough old bird.

She had a lot of support and prayers from her church family and friends today. Thanks to all who visited and kept us in their thoughts today.

I'll be back up there at 8am tomorrow.

They do it today...

Leaving for the hospital, looks like my mom's bypass is on for today.

My cell is 936.414.6547 if anyone needs to reach me.

Thanks to all for prayers, kind words and concern. It is great to have friends.

I'll try to post later today or tonight any details.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bypass delayed...

They put off my mom's surgery till Thursday, seems the doctor was in surgery all last night. So we wait.

Grades are in, two Bs and an A. Both those Bs were 88 averages. A little disappointed I could not eck out a couple of more points to make them As.

You know what they call the Doctor that graduates last in his class? Doctor.

I think I posted the wrong phone # for my mom's room the other day. It's 639-7273.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mom's surgery...

Mom's surgery will be at 7am Wednesday.

Will post details as I get a chance.

Monday, December 12, 2005

One final grade in...

Final average for the year for my Physical Agents class is 88. A good B, not quite an A, wish I could have choked out a couple a more points.

Pretty easy test today, it will be alright, one more test tomorrow.

Mom in room 273, call her at 936-634-7273. Getting stuff done to be ready for Wednesday.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tunes for the week...

Ok here is my selections for inspiration for a week that will include a couple of finals and my mom' bypass surgery:
Atom Bomb - Blind Boys of Alabama
Jerusalem - Steve Earle
Fabulous T- Birds Greatest Hits
You Better Keep Still - T Model Ford
West Eats Meet - Harry Manx
Plastic Seat Sweat - Southern Culture on the Skids
East Nashville Skyline - Todd Snider
She Aint None of Your'n - Tmodel Ford
A Ass Pocket of Whiskey - R.L. Burnside
Childish Things - James McMurtry

Panthers lose...

Well the season is over, I hate to see it but at the same time makes life easier as far as the busy holiday time.

South Lake Carroll 46 - Lufkin 28.

Keep wearing purple!

Mom still in hospital, but might get out of ICU to a regular room today. Still looks like her bypass will be Wednesday.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Mom is doing ok...

My mom is doing ok, looks like they will hold off on the bypass till Wednesday. That is a good sign that it is not so critical I think. Good for me also as I will be finished with finals. She was sitting up in bed eating a few minutes ago.

I think I will have to give the Panther game a miss tomorrow, too much on my plate with work tomorrow, my mom in the hospital, practice for the state school pageant at 6pm and don't forget finals. We will see.

Go Pack!

Oh yeah, Katie dyed her hair, here is a picture. The red dress really looks fine with the hair, if it was a yellow or green dress it would be too Mardi Gras, a white dress would make it look too Lenten, black would be a threat to us all, so red is perfect.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Mom has heart attack...


My mom is in the hospital, had a heart attack today. They did a heart cath, no damage to the heart, other arteries accommodated for the blockage, but they are going to do a bypass, could be next few days, could be tomorrow.

Everything looks good right now, she is griping about she messed up Christmas. She is 81, good health with few if any concerns so got a real good chance for the best outcome.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

From the email box, this Purple thing is catching on!
From daughter Katie:
"Dad,
I don't know if mom told you but I dyed my hair panther purple! Much love I'll see you in a couple weeks.
Katie"

If she don't send a picture I can post here no presents for her.

From my father in law and mother in law (no, they did not dye their hair purple):
"What a song--what a group--Thanks---GO PANTHERS!--Pop & Geneva"

They are talking about the Panthers AND Gogol Bordello, that's a mouth full. We'll be here all night on those subjects.

Hey we also passed the century mark on site visits, keep coming back folks, we'll try to keep it clean, I mean fun.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Saw this sign today...


What can I say?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Saw this on a car today...


Didn't I mention something about purple on this blog?

Christmas Parade shots...


Here is the Panther Band at the Christmas parade Saturday.

Mary is the cymbal player in the middle.




Here is Texas A&M quarterback and hometown boy Reggie McNeal. He served as grand marshal.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Start Wearing Purple...

With Lufkin rolling in the high school football playoffs I got on a football discussion forum last night (5Atexasfootball.com) and made the suggestion that the Panthers, whose color is purple adopt the GoGol Bordello song "Start Wearing Purple" as their theme song because it seems that the whole town is wearing this color.

I posted my yahoo address and offered to email a song file to anyone interested. I had 3 takers.

This is how the revolution starts...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dual use products...

How much thought does a design engineer put into the possibilities of his or her companies product being used for some other purpose?

I find it very hard to think of any use for a TV. Let me put that differently, I find little use for TV programming, main use of a TV is to view a program. I mean you could not take a TV and drive it to town for instance.

What brings these convoluted thoughts bubbling to the surface is my daughter Mary's preparation for this weeks Lufkin Panther playoff game. Last week they played and Mary marched with the band in a downpour. She had wet shoes that stayed in the bottom of a band uniform bag all week. She used a hair dryer to dry them last night in preparation for today's game.

My inclination, now take this as a generational difference is let my shoes dry own their own or wear them wet. I guess this is because, well get off my lawn, but they made hair dryers to dry heads when I was a kid. The air output part of it was square to optimize the heat deliverance to the largest number of square inches of a head. Any head. My hair dry of the mid 1970 was brown, a color only used by men and monkey poo. It was a man head dryer. Now they got these sleek Euro jobs, uni sex, probably have something to do with taking prayer out of the classroom and it looks like you could drive it to town.

You could not put my square air dryer in a shoe. These sleek Euro jobs fit right in there. Makes me wonder if there was some kind of Town Hall meeting where people aired out their problems with hair dryers and this is what surfaced as a concern, won't fit in my shoe.

I guess the reason all this came to my attention was that I heard that hair dryer. I don't think I had heard it before. Mary either does not dry hair, does not was hair, or may be I am all confused and it really is a shoe dryer. That might explain the Godless sleek Euro uni design, it is a shoe dryer, aren't European shoes heald in high esteem in where ever Euro sleek Godless Uni places exist?

All this increases my resolve to be more flexible, keep my brain active and prevent Al Hammer's disease. I'll wander the house getting creative with appliances, "what can I use this for, what can I use that for," it will be an endless journey of discovery, a quest all my own.

I'm glad stuff comes with extended warranties.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dreams of doors again...

After an evening of study and prior to a big test today my brain was very active in the sleeping hours between these two events.

I dreamed I was with my co-workers, we were eating lunch at wrought iron patio tables in what seemed to be the backyard of a private residence. I sat alone at my table, another table was full of people, I did not feel alone at this table by myself for as others walked by they commented on how good my food looked. We were all dressed in the tan scrubs our department wears at the hospital. We talked about cameras.

Then I was in the hospital. My wife was also there, working, but did not have on her scrubs. I had a camera, I made a picture of a door to a patients room. I looked at it, it was a digital camera, then I took another picture of the door, and another and another...
"...I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinking to himself "Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf..."Bob Dylan from "Lilly Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
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