Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Rain in Spain...

Now I know I am not in Spain, and just like New Orleans, I am sure I would have great pleasure to be there, but I just wanted to quote a line out of an old rhyme because I get complaints of not enough poetry on these pages and besides, it has been raining.

I am not enough of an old man yet to have a rain gauge where I can track the amount of rain. I am pretty content to say it's rained a lot or just a little. Right now I would say it has rained a whole lot. The temperatures are staying cool also.

It has rained so much that if you go in my yard your body weight applied to the gumbo ground will cause water to rise from crawdad holes in a two foot diameter around. It might not just rise depending how hard you step, it might shoot up your pant leg.

Now I know rain is good, some places and people in the world have not near enough. The impact around here right now is that my clean patio, the site planned for many fish frys this summer is awash with mud that has been carried there by the rising waters. Might be a week before I am able to mow the yard again without bogging down the mower. At the lake it looks to be late summer before the water level drops enough for the best catfish stumps to stick up so you will have a place to tie the boat to. Also there was a certain college student who was moving out of his apartment yesterday and got a trailer load of belongings washed clean. Maybe he was getting them ready for his move to College Station in August, they will surely be dry by then.

The rain in Spain
Falls on the dusty plain.
But we know that one day it will be dry again.
time to turn on the air and close the door
or from our hot bodies the sweat will pour
Till the rain comes to cool once more.

There's your poem.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So Good to be Working Again...

I am getting right into the swing of things at the hospital. I don't think I have ever been so glad to go to work each day in my life.

I have my own patients, but I am still in kind of a new grad period where I have some orientation type things to do and there will be some critique from the boss and stuff, but all that is no problem. Seems I have been under a continual critique at school for the past two years.

I have scheduled my board exam. It's June 14th at high noon in Tyler. Don't know if I have reported that here. This won't be the last time it's mentioned.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day on the Lake...

Although it was not real bright and sunny it was nice to be on the lake and have a holiday. Started out good with girls on a tube.

But then El Guapo threw the boat into a hard left turn and we felt the

foot of the outboard barely strike an unseen object. I could feel a different vibration in the motor. The prop was broken.

This boat came with an aluminum prop. They are not as durable as a stainless steel which is the better prop of choice for a lake like Rayburn. Don't worry folks, this is nothing that $300-$400 can't fix. We will be back in action soon.

It might have been a blessing in disguise. When I removed the prop this is what I found, a big tangle on mono fishing line. This would have eventually worked it's way up the shaft and caused the foot to take on water, damaging the gears located there. Cathy will try to locate a prop, stainless steel while I am at work tomorrow.

We just limped back to the boat ramp at a slow speed and fished around there. There is usually a pretty good bream spot, but as we launched I noticed two small boys coming from that direction on foot with a nice little stringer of pan fish so fishing was slow there. Cathy had a tomato horn worn plucked from her plants and she punished him by catching 3 small catfish and one bream with him for bait.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Goofy grad pictures...

Got these from a company that snapped shots as we walked across the stage. They want me to buy them.
Pose 1, if you can read the caption, shows me shaking hands with some one that never lectured in any of my classes, never had to hear me cry and help me wipe my tears or has any idea what night screaming is all about. Notice the tassel swinging out jauntily.
Pose 2 was found posted on one of those terrorist web sites that they use to whip other wise normal folks into a frenzy over one thing or another. I forget which side it was on. I was advertised as either the new secret weapon or the new secret weapon for the other side, I forget which they were claiming. Note the tassel. Stuck in my whiskers. I was aware of this at the time, all I could think was "blew that shot."
By the way, I scheduled my board exam. It's June 14th in Tyler at high noon. Don't worry, this is not an invite to be there, just keep me in your prayers that day.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Al Largent Passes away...

An old friend, Al Largent passed away yesterday. He leaves behind his wife, Madeline. They had been married 55 years I think is what she told me yesterday. I know in these days when relationships tend not to last too long sometimes, the divorce rate is 50% and people get married later in life some of us will miss out on this kind of commitment. I can only guess how much she will miss him.

I guess I have know the Largents most of my adult life. I went to school with their son, Mike. Al worked at the mill. Madeline worked at the credit union there and made me the first auto loan I ever had. Thanks a lot Madeline. I guess when Morgan was about 12 or so we began mowing and raking their yard, his first job. I continued to do this myself after he went to work at the TKD school and it gave me and the Largents many hours to visit. It was pretty easy to do this yard work as a little sideline while I worked shift work at the mill, but once I went back to school, attending classes in the day and working weekends there was just not enough hours to continue this. We would still see each other at various St Patrick activities and Madaline keeps up a lively email stream.

I'll be a pall bearer. funeral is Monday at 10. Please remember the family in your prayers.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

College Student Kitchen...

Morgan is moving back from Doches, a short time will be spent at home and then he moves to College Station to become a full time Aggie. He signed a lease at an apartment there yesterday.

For now we must absorb his household goods till he is gone again. Let's take this time to do an examination of what is here. Look at this sack on the kitchen cabinet. Looks like the contents of his kitchen.

Let us examine several articles in the sack. What's this? Looks like some kind of sanitary wipes. I cannot remember ever having anything like this the first time I went to college. I do not think they had been invented.
Besides, I can't remember getting my stuff dirty.

How about this, oatmeal. What's a young guy doing eating oatmeal. I never ate any myself till just recently. My wife made me. Said it was good for my cholesterol or sex drive or something. I forget which.

What about this? "Improves the Taste" it boasts on the label. Even the oatmeal? What's in this stuff? Is it legal to have this stuff?

Here is a bunch of the other stuff. Jumbo can of tomato soup, must like this stuff. Store brand chili, that means no brand alliance in that category or a craving for mystery meat.
Chunky Soup? I don't even get that around here, must have been an impulse buy. Pancake batter in a plastic container? What's the world coming to, things are just too modern. Hamburger helper and a bag of cereal for dessert, works for me.
I know what, lets mix all this stuff together and eat it right before bed time. Swimming in my belly if you wish. I bet you would wake up feeling like Mr. Puffy.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Got my temp license...

I checked the Texas Physical Therapy Board of Examiners web site yesterday afternoon and found myself to be temporarily licensed as a Physical Therapist Assistant until I am able to take the national exam. I have until Aug. 31st to take the test. I hope to take it much sooner, but that is how long the temporary license is good for.

My boss is checking with HR today, I would not mind getting a call to come on to work. I am scheduled as a tech this weekend, but my boss mentioned that he would let me work as a PTA instead if I had a license by then. I hope so, I am ready for this schooling to start paying off.

Maybe I will be able to schedule my exam later this morning. I'll update this post in that case.

Report to work at 8am tomorow!


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Just Sitting Here Looking...

The old minstrel song dating to 1843 is a favorite quote around here.

So, git outa de way for old Dan Tucker,
He's come too late to git his supper.
Supper's over and breakfast cookin',
Old Dan Tucker sittin' and lookin'

I think it was first used when the kids were little. You know how sometimes in the big free for all of family life there is always someone whose actions seem to fit this description. Someone not quite caught up in the event of the moment, a little removed, but still there, just thinking their own thoughts. Most lately this little verse has been used to describe El Guapo, he seems to be sittin' and lookin' most of the time.

I feel a little like Dan Tucker myself, waiting on my temporary license to arrive from the state board so I can get started to work and schedule my exam.

All the rain made a lake trip a wash out yesterday. Those short fat cats that don't make the size have a few days to grow.

I dreamed last night I was playing the tuba onstage at the old Lufkin High Auditorium. I played one number and then a girl asked me not to play anymore because she had to leave and would not be there to hear it. I said, "It does not matter if you are here to hear it or not, I'm playing it." A true artist for sure. Then as I sat at my music stand a draft passed through causing my music to blow off the stand. I looked around and there was a big bag of clothes pins at the edge of the stage, just for such situations, and I pinned my music to the stand. Then I was roused from a very deep sleep by the elbows of my wife. The elbows did the trick because the alarm was not.

I got up, took Mary to school and now I am back to being Old Dan Tucker.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Just call me Jim...

We went to the lake again today, I'm just hanging fire till I hear that the board has granted my temporary PTA license. The fishing trips are nice, but it would be good to start work, be able to schedule my board exam and plan a study schedule for that. Seems right now I get a couple of study days in and then I get to doing other stuff. Got to keep the groove going a little while longer.

We landed 10 pretty nice catfish, all caught in about 6 feet of water under slip corks. I also landed this nice red ear slider. That's Huck Finn holding it. He was caught in the foot and tried to bite us while we did the humanitarian thing. No, he is not swimming in my belly.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Great Preakness Catfish Round up and Bream Rodeo...

Try as we may it's just hard to make all those national events. Makes us feel bad when we miss things like The Kentucky Derby, Datonya, Sturgis, The Belmont, or the Gilmer Yamboree so we try to honor them any way we can. Sometimes a good Catfish Rodeo and Bream Round up makes us feel a lot better.

Suzi and Charlie joined us for this trip (no last names so it will make it hard for your employer, Cheney or the Yamboree committee to google you up) to Big Sam Rayburn. We forgot to count how many fish we had but it fed the four of us and Morgan and Mary with just enough.

There is a fish eagle nest, think there might be some fish around here guys?

Cats might have run a little larger than normal. Several nice blues hand fishing, mostly caught by Suzi and Cathy. Pose with your fish lady, I mean, pose with you fish, lady. She says with a naselly voice, "You just want to post it on that blog."

Some nice pan fish were caught on small spinners.

We even put out the floating noodles and took the biggest fish of the day, about a three pound blue that had a five inch long catfish in his belly that he had had for lunch.

The infamous tub shot.
As always, swimming in my belly.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

I ain't no Dan-Danz...

But here is some flowers and stuff around the yard. To see better flower photos, check out the Dan-Danz link on the side bar.

Here is looking down a row of oleanders.

Here is the tomatoes in the porch planter thing. Getting bigger all the time. Click on the tag to see previous pictures.

Here is some porch pots, Cathy and the squirrels are at war for control of this territory. This is a mouse plant.

The squirrels really like these.

Desert scene with purple rock imported from another solar system

Easter lilies might finely bloom. That's lantana in the background.

Wild onions dug up and transplanted years ago from the old scout house.

New side of the house decoration smiles down on all.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Spring band concert...

Only notified at the last minute, I had to cancel from my regular state school gig this month, but the Lufkin High School bands along with the 6th, 7th and 8th graders put on a big spring concert. Music was all TV and movie themes. Pictures may appear grainy, they are blown up and lightened quite a bit.

Here's Mary on bongos.

On kettle drums.

Here's the whole scene, the Lufkin Civic center was packed. That's Mr. Williams, high school director about the center of the picture.

For you long range planners, mark June 30th on your calendar. That will be the day of the Lufkin High School Band Alumni Concert. I'll be playing, Waymon Bullock directs, the proceeds go to the scholarship fund.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


With the nice warm weather and a big lake rodeo planned for the weekend Mr. 100% whether he is right or wrong dreams he is duck hunting.

In the dream me and some unidentifiable folks are on the lake. We have a pretty fast boat, so we are able to cover some ground looking for ducks. It's real important to hunt where the ducks are. Seems that the have that ability to be where you are not. I do not know how many cold mornings I have stood on the bank of a backwater cove only to have the ducks stand on the other side. The next day I would return to stand on that side in the cold dawn, wearing all those layers of clothing that make a quick urination impossible to find that the ducks are standing on the side I stood on yesterday. It's some kind of allegory of life I think.

Any way we arrive at some sort of camping area and decide that this is the place to hunt for some reason. There are duck decoys already in the water, a huge spread of them, and they seem to belong to some Arabic guys. These guys let us take a place near the end of the spread. They are nice (don't tell Cheney I said this) and have better equipment than us. They look cleaner than we are. My children like to point out that I slip in the mud a lot when hunting, but I don't remember doing it in this dream.

Anyway after a bit a couple of ducks fly over. I remember I have my dad's old Model 12 duck gun, a gun I still hunt with today (not TODAY, silly, duck season is closed, but when the time and place are proper) and I point to the ducks. They fly past and when they are gone, I shoot in the air. I hollar to the other guys, "I saw some, I missed."

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Monday, May 14, 2007

All foot loose and fancy free this morning...

Man, I don't have to work, no school, what do I do now? Good thing my wife never reads this, she would want to make suggestions.

Really, I have things. I'll study for the board exam a little. I have been looking forward to some morning study time since I tend to fall asleep over a book in the evenings after about 30 minutes.

I have an eye doctor appointment. Got to catch up on some stuff like that. Got friends coming this weekend. Take CPR recertification next week. Got a lot of stuff like that to catch up on. Need to get the yard mowed this week. The pay checks start coming I need to put tires on my car, who would have thunk that.

This blog has reached the milestone of 515 posts today. I guess that's a lot, but somehow it seems there should be more. I have a blog goal for the summer and that is to work on the tags. The way they work if you have not clicked on the tags at the end of each posts is that you will be able o access each post that contains that word. This really has been my idea along for long time readers to have catch phrases that they would recognize from time to time. This project may take a while but hopefully in the near when you click on say, big screen or swimming in my belly ( I have been prompted that it is actually swimming in our bellies, I'll have to research which it is) each post where that occurs will be displayed.

This may take awhile. It's going to be strange looking over old blog posts. You know they say that sometimes when Bob Dylan walks into some place and hears himself on the muzak he will say, "who is that singing?" He does not always recognize himself, he has had so many songs, but he knows it's something he likes. May be I will recognize what I wrote and still like it, or at least know what I felt when I did write it.

Whoops here I am all crying and bawling again. Kind of like the school thing ending is a chapter of life closing and now we start chronicling something new. I get sad so easy. I am so going emo.

And everybody that buys that just won a big screen.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Graduate...

No I did not bawl. I was quiet and reflective as my wife drove me to and from Kilgore yesterday. I gazed upon the five DPS units we saw. I noted the road kill carcasses for the last time. I wondered who was going to buy the big pontoon boat in Henderson they have not been able to sell in over a year. I reflected on my classmates as we scattered all different ways. God's blessing to them all.

One thing over, another begun.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

The Pinning Ceremony...

The Kilgore Class of 2007 PTA grads had their pinning last night. Very nice occasion. The sign out front said it all.

Here is the class picture, that's instructors Carla Gleaton and Dr. Bice flanking us and I think we had one classmate absent.

Here is the pin.

It has been a little over three years since I lost my job of 25 years and went back to school with this goal in mind. I can't believe those three years are over, but at the same time those 25 years seem as if they are some kind of pre history, an evolving, a crawling from the muck to live in a different place kind of experience.

I can't begin to thank all the folks that have helped me along the way. There have been so many, teachers at Kilgore and Angelina College, co workers that guided me and gave me a chance to learn new things, folks that I know prayed for me and most of all my wife, Cathy. She has put aside many things she wanted to do while I studied and drove these years. Looks like there will be some pay back involved, but the payments I must make are not going to be a strain on the account at all.
Durn, I am all sensitive this morning. I think I am turning emo, talking all about feelings and relationships and stuff like that. I still got to walk across the stage tonight. I'll be bawling like a baby by then.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Posting from high atop the Kilgore Computer Lab...

Just finished the mock National Licence exam.

I passed. Not by much, but I passed. If I continue on the course of study I have been going and with the increases I have seen in the practice type scores the big test looks like a slam dunk.

Pinning ceremony tonight.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Getting Ready to Graduate...

Tried on my cap and gown tonight. Just making sure that all is in order.

I am going to have to return it. They left out the trousers.

Don't want any screw ups at this late stage.
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Only 3 more times...

Do I drive to Kilgore. It's almost over. I might even just drive two times. I could make Cathy drive me up there to walk across the stage.

Anyway the drive got to really be a drag yesterday. I was so bored I stopped and talked to a man in a black and white car. Well, he did most of the talking. No, it's none of your business what he said.

I also got my cap and gown yesterday. I'll have to take it back, they left the pants out of the package. Should be an easy fix. I'll talk to them today.

Let me see how many test can I take this month? I need to renew CPR, take defensive driving, oh yeah, the National Board Exam for Physical Therapists Assistants! I almost forgot about that one!

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Making our Contributions...

I'm making my contribution to depletion of fossil fuels and global warming again this week. That's the long drive to Kilgore. Just a few more days till graduation. The nightmare of the last three years has the end in sight.

Another contribution was made yesterday. It was by Mary and it is a saying that needs to enter the lexicon of popular slang. I asked Mary about a friend of the family. I said, "What does that guy do for a living?" Mary replied, "He's in the R.E.D. Neck business." I guess you had to be there but it was hilarious. She says it is original.

All I can say is go my child, my work with you is finished. Make the world your own.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

It was 1959...

Buddy Holly had crashed and died in a snowy field. Things looked pretty bleak.

Then on May 7th Cathy was born. Things picked up a bit, at least around here.

Happy Birthday Cathy!

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

The did not get to go to Jazz Fest Catfish Round up...

That says it all. Maybe next year.

Anyway, we had to work at the fish a bit yesterday. Me, Cathy, Mary, Rose, Juan, Geneva, and Bill ended up with 14 cats, slightly bigger than last trip, and with a package from the freezer we had a fine fish fry.
It was a very windy day, really should have never gone out. Big Sam has nearly killed me a couple of times but with so many fine folks to take with me this time I was not even scared.

Here is a shot of Cathy landing one as Rose looks on.

Next we have Pop and Juan. Those waves are kind of rolling, you guys aren't chumming are you?

Back home we pose with our catch. Rare shot of the mojo bag that hangs from mudbelly's neck.

Somehow the evening took a turn towards that weird old America that the poets lament the loss of. You know the place where there is no easy access to dining establishments that take credit and few clean well lit restrooms. The place where people bring old banjos to the jam sessions. You see people like this:

Signs on the roadside like these are the only guide you may find to help you through.

Speaking of Jazz Fest, Happy Birth Day Suzi! 5/5/55. Hope you made it to N.O. for your birthday.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mary Gets Confirmed...

Mary's confirmation was last night. Bishop Cordova gave a very good Homily where he basically said don't show you ass to a group of St. Patrick teenagers.

We are embarking on the Everybody Who did not get to go to Jazz Fest Catfish Round Up today. Look for details layer.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Another Transition...

I said transition, not transmission although it feels like I am transmitting sometimes.

Last day of clinical. I won't have to wear this pin anymore. As Waylon Jennings said, "Got my name painted on my shirt I aint no ordinary dude, I don't have to work." He was referring to the gaudy country western suits of the old days. The SPTA stands for student physical therapist assistant, most of the time it is pronounced SPITA.

I will miss my patients. Should be an easy day, some kind of employee appreciation day with free food going on, maybe a humble student will be able to slip in.

Next week it's back to Kilgore for a week to finish this thing out. I wrote that I made a mad dash on my lunch hour to Kilgore to turn in my case study during my lunch hour last week. Something about Kilgore makes my stomach rumble. The next part of this is pretty graphic, so continue to read and you can consider yourself warned. As I drove toward Kilgore I began passing very loud and frequent gas. I made it with no accidents, auto or otherwise, hoped out of the car, delivered the paper, it only took a second and back to the car. I opened the door and it was quite rank inside. I hope not too much of that clung to my clothes when I passed through the office.

On the drive back my stomach was quiet as I got further and further away. After next week I will take a roundabout way to avoid Kilgore if I ever go that way again.

One more thing. My pinning ceremony is next Thursday May 10th. The graduation is May 11th. I'll walk.

Here is the invite to the pinning, invites extended through the press, but if all 4000 odd visitors to this web site show up I need a little advance notice. I said I would have four guests. I have come to know that my instructors do not like surprises.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

We are bleeding maroon around here...

Big news around here yesterday. Morgan was accepted into the Texas A&M engineering program. Begins in the fall. I think he is going to do mechanical engineering and has expressed some interest in renewable resource type technology. Just in time looks like. Hope the oil holds out two more years then we should be OK.

He is furiously looking for a place to live. May go down there this weekend.

I remember the good old days when we were kids and we watched old South West Conference football on the TV with my dad. Teams that struggled mightily against each other with no bowl playoff glory and big money at stake. Only school pride. Teams like A&M, Texas, Rice, Baylor, the Razorbacks and the TCU Horned Frogs and so on.

I remember my dad calling the Aggies by a name that no doubt came about in an earlier time. A&M stands for agricultural and mechanical. My dad would stare at the black and white screen and and those big old farm boys in maroon uniforms that we would have to use specialized brain cells to superimpose color on to make up for the short comings of the small screen in those days (not like today when we have the big screen and give them away freely, the big screen, not the specialized brain cells). and he would say, "Them manure spreaders are going to have to do something this quarter."

Renewable energy, manure spreaders, let's see, that might just go together.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Road Trip Shots...

As you may know Mary is back from Disney World, a band trip thing, 150 stinking teenagers crawling charter buses like lizards. Maybe we can get her used to being home this weekend, she has been gone the last three weekends somewhere or other.

This looks like a shot from a bad 80s TV show. See the sponsor on the car. Come July when she gets the licence they will send me a decal like that.

Disney was always a scary guy to me. The movies were good, nothing against that. I know someone who works there and I have had a view of behind the scenes so to speak. Seems the employees love it so don't get me wrong, they are not required to be cult members or anything. I was told that "they"walk around the park and a vacationing family gets tapped on the shoulder and they get to stay in old Walt's apartment for a night. First off I don't know who "they" is and I don't want to know and second it seems a little spooky to sleep in Walt's apartment to me.

Surf babe shot.
Just a site administration note, I am not getting email notification of your comments anymore, so if you write something and I don't reply bear with me. The loss of this feature is inconvenient in the new blog set up, I will try to get it back. It was the fastest way for me to know when someone posted a porn link on an old post.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Reasons for being sleepy...

I reported here that I was tired over the weekend and required two big ugly naps. Makes me think of something I write in my patient notes. "Patient was drowsy but arousable and participates in therapy as requested."

I think I discovered the reason for my tiredness. I had changed the type of caffeine I consume in the morning. Let me tell you the morning routine.

Alarm wakes. If I need a shower, like after an active evening of good sweaty soul purging night screaming I make sure I have two cups of coffee before I get in the shower. I kind of deal in the business of people who fall and break something, not the shower, but a bone or something so I like to be fully alert for this morning shower even though I have about 20 or so years to go before this really comes to be a concern. It may never be a concern since male members of my family seem to only live to a median age of 69. I might not fall. I think I'd like that.

But the concern I deal with here is the change in morning caffeine. Cathy requested that we do the cold brew coffee thing, where you create a concentrated coffee mix and have it in the ice box so you can just pour two fingers in a cup, add water and whatever and have a little drink. Tastes good, but I don't think that the caffeine is there. This is the beverage I was using last weekend and ended up so drowsy.

My beverage and it kept me going all yesterday is the cheapest instant coffee available, as many scoops as necessary, one pack of splenda, milk to taste and you are gone. I check the label and yes it is a good product. Comes from all Southern to us countries where we have crushed the rebels. I don't know how they do that. Make it come from all countries. I know how they crush the rebels.

Anyway you can just sort of make a power sludge out of this and eat it out of a spoon if necessary, there are no restrictions on uses. I like a product like that. So many times these days they say don't put it over your head, don't take it in the water, read the directions and so on. Kind of refreshing the coffee and the possibilities.

I am a bitter old man this morning, wide awake, hating war, restrictions on product use and wide awake. Did I say wide awake?

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