Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Bear and the Monkey...

Had a dream as I do sometimes. It involved a bear and a monkey.

Seems the kids were little. It was one of those things a parent does to furnish a creative outlet for the little ones. Teach that work, play and responsibility are all fun. The bear and the monkey were able to run some kind of sewing machine, loom or something. They worked, it was fun to watch them, there were products produced and then the kids got to take care of the bear and the monkey.

The machine the bear and the monkey operated was about the size of a large wooden dining room table, big, long and flat. The monkey and the bear sat at either end and it was kind of a tandem operation where they each pushed and pulled leavers and switches to make parts move threads and cloth back and forth so that items were woven, sewed or otherwise created. It was poetry in motion, they really knew what they were doing.

After they finished with their project they got up from the table. The monkey had a cage he slept in. It was real clean considering that monkeys poop where they please. Maybe the kids were being responsible and taking care of him. The bear went outside. There was an old stump in the yard and he curled up in a ball, it really was a small bear and lay on the sheltered side of the stump out of the wind. There was a big fire ant pile on the other side of the stump. I put poison on the fire ants, careful not to scatter any to the other side where it might get on the bear.

I could not help but admire that the bear slept well and I hoped he would not be bothered by the ants.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cleaned out real good...

At least that's what the Doctor who performedmy colonoscopy said today. Funny how just a little bragging on a person like that can make you feel so much better.

Anyway it was no big deal. The cleaning out the night before was not so bad. At the hospital I dressed in a gown and was warned to remove wedding rings and piercings. I rolled to my side and watched a couple of injections go in my IV. Next thing I knew I was sitting in a chair and my wife was there. She said the doctor said there was a lot of twists and turns. I was glad it was interesting for him.

Sometimes people worry they may say stuff when they put you under. You know, embarrassing stuff. Click on the labels below and you will have an idea how it went for me.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekend off is kind of slow...

...but the big event is yet to come.

Started Saturday with an all day training session for RCIA team members in Tyler. Slow for me sitting in the class all day but will help us as we continue to participate with helping adults on their faith journey at church.

That evening we stayed in Tyler to visit with Quince (not his real name) and his wife Terry. I guess I have know Quince since about 1976. He and Terry have been married 13 years.

Had a real nice dinner at Mario's where Quince and Terry were well know to the staff.

This is not the first time me and Quince have had our picture taken together. I hope you can tell, we do it so well. Whoops, there goes my poetry springing forth again.

I also received two snail mail birthday cards and an ecard so the birthday week continues.

In about 15 minutes I begin the big event for the weekend. Tomorrow I have my first colonoscopy. You know they stick a camera up your butt and check stuff out. Really not too big a deal, takes about 15 minutes and after it's over you ask them when they are going to get started. I think the big deal is the potion you have to drink to get cleaned out enough so the camera can see stuff. I will start drinking it as soon as this post hits the cyberspace.

Funny how all the other guys, the pharmacist, the doctors, your friends try to help. Not try to help stick the thing up your butt, but help with the little things that they think will make it better for you.

It's heady sensitive stuff, guys all acting like this.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Slow Week...

Not much to comment on this week. I guess I am just such an old man now that I'll sit there looking like old Dan Tucker at all that pass me by.

Anyway I get to enjoy one of my birthday presents, a new computer monitor. A flat screen job, nothing too fancy, a left over display model got as a bargain. It sure is an improvement, especially with the photos.

I don't know how the pictures on the blog have looked to you guys, but many times I have made adjustments to make them more viewable. I just laid it off on poor photo skills, making the pictures look mostly dark. Turns out it's the monitor.

So to go with a slow week I have been looking over recent pictures and returning them to their original state. Turns out some culls considered unworthy are really pretty good. Here is a couple from our last New Orleans vacation.

Casa Samba drummers with a volunteer dancer.

Bass player for the Lee Boys.
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to me...

Here is a picture from the parade held in my honor last night. You know how it it is in these small east texas towns where everybody knows everybody. The local leaders are kind enough to drop everything and honor birthdays by letting the celebrant drive the fire truck through town. In my case this was an extra special evening because they put the Christmas decorations back up.
These events have a good turn out because everyone can't wait till it's their birthday and they get to drive the fire truck. There is only one way that you can miss out on driving the fire truck and that's if you write a letter to the editor of the Lufkin News and mention something about driving the fire truck and its postmarked before your birthday they won't let you drive it. Kind of a silly rule but a lot of the newcomers get tripped up by it and miss out on their first time and have to wait till next year. One of those unspoken good old boy rules that you have to find out the hard way.
Thanks again for all cards, letters and firetruck rides.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Folk Art...

One more person to mention that lived her life out on the Melrose Plantation.

Clementine Parker was a field hand that picked up some paint that was discarded by one of the artsy types staying in the Yucca house and started turning out scenes like this in what has become known as "folk art."

Clementine, who passed in 1988 at the age of 101 was honored with a one women show at the Smithsonion in 1982. These pictures are from a mural painted on ply board that can be found on the second story of the Africa House pictured in the last post.

Subject matter is the important stuff. Life in general with many images of baptism, angels, work, church, play, death and marriage. If you look at the juke joint scene it depicts the tale of a man who would not mind his business and suffered a common Saturday nigh punishment for this type of thing which was being shot in the foot. Take a closer look at this scene. The bigger the character, the more important. These are actually folks that Clementine knew, this juke joint still operates nearby and it's safe to say that the small folks in this picture were not well liked by the artist.

There were also numerous paintings hung in the big house that were from all stages of Clementine's career.

I guess to draw all my thoughts together about what I saw and felt while standing around on the banks of the cane river I would have to say just because you cruise past those folks who do not appear to be accomplishing things in the busy time oriented sense that the world imposes on us does not mean there is not fire and passion for putting what someone feels, on paper, on ply board or floating around on the internet somewhere.

Like Papa Mali said, "I am trying to find my Place..."

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Something in the Water Round Here...

Just look at the size of this oak at the Melrose Plantation which is a few miles outside Natchitoches. It's big. Must be 300 years old I expect. Something around here making this a special place which is in addition to the plantation business that ranges from indigo, cotton, tobacco, cattle and once the biggest producer of pecans in the country.

Here is the big house, can't remember the date it was built, but dates from mid 1800s with add ons as needed. Most interesting person that lived here was a Mrs. Henry. She invited all kinds of interesting artists and writers of the early 20th century to come and work here in a quiet atmosphere fed by her lively personality and the extensive library and scrapbook collection she assembled that came in handy for research.

This is where these folks stayed to do the creative work. This is the original plantation home, built in the late 1700s by the original plantation owners that were free people of color. The last living freed slave died in the late teens, he had lived in this house and that is what opened up the invites to various artsy types, most notably Lyle Saxon, a New Orleans based writer. Originally called the Yucca House.

Right next to the Yucca house is the Africa House so called because of the African influence on the roof design. Once you get to recognize this design you start to see it around the community on apartment buildings, businesses and so on. Culture goes deep. Dates from the early 1800s. Upstairs is a mural by folk artist Clementine Parker, another creative person who lived out her whole 101 years on this plantation. More on her later.

Here is what they called the women writers cabin. This place was a good place to come, especially during prohibition. Theses sensitive types could get a snoot full here. Only thing was each night at supper Mrs. Henry held a round table discussion about what you had written or painted that day. If its was you practice to drink coffee and watch the river flow by till snoot filling time arrived you were soon to be handed your hat. Mrs. Henry like to have some types around for amusement but she wanted them working.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

More Natchitoches...

The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Natchitoches. Dates to way way back. We ran into a guy when we were taking a little self guided tour that gave us a big run down on different locations and periods of remodeling that the church had undergone.

The first Mass celebrated in this parish was celebrated by Father Margil, a Spanish priest considered the unofficial patron saint of Catholicism in East Texas. He also founded Sacred Heart in Nacogdoches and is credited with performing a miracle there. He is said to have struck a rock overhanging La Nana creek during a drought and the water that sprung forth relieved the dry conditions. A busy fellow, he walked from Nicaragua to his assignment in East Texas. Another tie in to how our lives still feel the actions of this great man is that fact that there are folks that don't want people walking this way anymore.

Here is a spiral staircase in the church leading to the choir loft. Constructed by an unknown craftsman the hand rail is one piece of wood bent and shaped to follow the stairs. That's about as much as anyone knows about it.
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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Natchitoches Weekend...

Me and Cathy did an overnighter to Natchitoches La. Not much going on, but we found a cheap motel Called the Riverview Inn that was fine for a town that is really known for the bed and breakfast scene and ate plenty of good seafood.

The area is a left over of the confluence of French and Spanish culture. The river front has that old French Quater look.

Old south charm.

The Cane River passes right through downtown. It is the the second of three river channels that the Red River has occupied during the past couple of hundred years. Here are some shots of some rowing, not quite sure what this is called, but it was a little hard to catch these guys in the view finder they were moving so fast. Natchitous is famous for Christmas decorations. Looks like they might leave the up for Mardi Gras. Check the dove in the back ground.

Looked like a fun body of water that I could imagine being quite busy in warm weather. Lots of docks, boathouses and pontoon boats tied up at houses lining the river.

Lots of old stuff to see, post more as I get the time.
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Friday, January 11, 2008

Odds and Ends...

Busy week.

Took down Christmas decorations.

Did a little PRN work at a local nursing home after I finished my regular gig at the hospital. Just a couple of days and it's opened ended about when I will next work for this company. Census at my hospital has been real low through the holidays so naturally with me taking on extra work things pick up there so I hope I don't get a call real soon, but it's nice to have made this contact.

Here is a little youtube video I posted to keep visitors occupied while I'm busy. It's from a November tournament in Little Rock, a small tournament where I place second in sparring. I won this round, I'm the guy on the left.
The title of the video is Carl Sparring and it was shot by Mary.

Lot of Taekwondo business coming up in February.

We are taking off for some mild adventures of the R&R kind this weekend. Hopefully have some interesting pictures when we get back.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Floating Dock...

Went to the lake a little while yesterday, no fish seems like the wind has blown out all my best spots lately, but they are fixing up stuff around the park.

Here is a new floating ramp, one of two. The other boat ramp is closed for now but the same dock has been built there.

You can see how low the lake is, without some rain, you may not be able to pull up to this much longer with out grounding. Should be nice when the water is up.

There is a sign that says no fishing from dock. Good luck enforcing that come spring time when traffic in this area picks up. I suspect it will make a real good diving platform also.
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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Little This Little That...

That's two little dogs. The black one is a stray that Rose and Juan picked up. I think it is going to be Cathy's dog. Name is under careful consideration.

Me and Juan walked up the woods over at Big Slough two mornings in a row. Ducks flew pretty good this morning and I should have potted a couple on the water, but they went around one side of the tree and I went around the other. I think Juan passed on some that would have landed in fast current and been swept away before he could have retrieved them.

I was off due to a swap with a co worker. Things have been slow at work the past week and I guuess that's a good thing. Means not too many people sick.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Big Bird...

After I got off work yesterday (surprise, I do have a day job, just a small supplemental salary to what I make mining the Internet) we headed out to the lake. Very cold and windy. No fish. Water levels very low.

Here is a picture of a large pelican. These guys winter on Big Sam, migrating in from the great lakes region. Usually spotted in groups of 10-30 birds hanging out in water about 25' deep this guy was all by himself in a shallow cove. There were other local birds around, maybe auditioning for a a new job. He says, "I just thought I could make it on the Great Lakes."

I suspect the grouping together of these guys is actually a herding of whatever kind of fish is for dinner into the middle of the flock where they can be contained and eaten at leisure, which is how I like to eat my fish, at leisure.

Maneged to get a fair picture in flight. These are big birds. I bet they require several pounds of fish swimming in their bellies each day to survive.
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