Friday, September 30, 2005


      I have a confession to make. It's not nice. It's a failing. I know it is, but I doubt I'll change. It's this: There are a lot of things in this world that I don't care about. Like Tom Delay's supposed crimes. Or whose fault it was in New Orleans. Or anything else that those dolts in Washington do. I don't care. I try to. I know it's important. You can read exhaustive and exhausting debates on other blogs and listen to the debates on Public Radio. The debaters care. Some people go around in a state of constant outrage. Once I admired their energy.
      But those people are important. Listen to Public Radio. Read the editorial page of the newspaper. Read the blogs and websites. They're important. Their opinions are important. People quote the Bible, philosophers, Founding Fathers, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, the Bill of Rights, the New York Times, the Washington Post, secret sources, the CIA, the Toran, the Koran, and the also rans. Everyone has an opinion and the wind to blow it out there so that everyone can smell it. Good for them.
      But it doesn't seem to mean anything. They change nothing. No one convinces anyone of anything. They yell and fight and in the end nothing changes. It's the same fight every time; names may change, but nothing else ever does. It bores me quickly.
      Let me tell you what interests me. Let me tell me of my friend Randall. His church has arranged to take volunteers to Louisiana to help clean and rebuild. That's interesting. I'm looking forward to hearing his story when he returns.
      My friend Linda has life threatening cancer, but is taking a brand new drug that may give her a miracle. That's interesting. I'm looking forward and praying for a good report.
      My Mikey has learned how to spell his name. Loudly, but all the letters are there. That's interesting. That's wonderful.
      I have more, but I guess it comes down to this. I don't care about abstractions. I care about people. Those Change the World links at the left aren't there for show. I give as much as I can to those organizations because they're trying to change the world for the better. They're out there on front lines. They're actually important. They're who you should be supporting or others like them. Stop talking and start doing something!
      This may sound like I'm attacking those other people. I don't mean it that way. Really, I don't. Everyone has the right to spend their time as they wish, but don't expect me to participate or even listen or read. I got taken to task harshly today because I don't wade into those fights with my elbows flying. I was told that I had an "obligation" and a "duty." To be heard. To be a part of the process. To participate. Blah, blah, blah.
      Well, I don't do that. And now you know why.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

This & that

      Good news: My postal carrier found the missing boxes of checks! Now I don't have to change my account or worry about someone having taken them. It was a great relief.
      I will now confess to being a fan of Alias. But I'm not sure I'm going to watch it after tonight. They killed Vaughn! That whole romance carried the show. Anyone remember the last season of Beauty and the Beast? I don't know what the producers are thinking, but I think it will be lucky to make it the whole season. If the character is really dead. Alias brings back more dead people. So here's the deal: If they bring back Vaughn, then I won't complain (much) if that wench Lauren shows up, too. Yes, I need a life. Got one I could have?
      Did you order your GunShy CD yet? See yesterday's post on how to do that.
      I'm worn out so I'm going to call it a night. Y'all take care. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I will not take these things for granted

      A beautiful fall day. I felt the sunshine on my face like a blessing today. So winter's on its way? So what? Today it's still warm.
      My computer. It gives me problems sometimes, but it keeps plugging along, outdated as it is. It helps me write and be creative in ways I couldn't have imagined when I was a kid pounding away on a Smith-Corona.
      My job. Lots of people don't have one. It's not perfect job in many ways, but it pays my bills and keeps me off the streets. That's no little thing.
      A roof over my head. It's a modest house, it needs paint and some repairs, but many poor people would love to have it. Many people have nothing at all between them and the bitter winds and the burning sun.
      Food on my table. Millions of men and women, millions of children struggle with starvation. Truly I live in a land of plenty. The Change the World links are to remind me and my readers to give from our abundance to those who have not.
      My country. It isn't perfect, but it's the best that humanity has ever been able to produce. I'm not one to throw out the baby with the bathwater. We'll fix the problems. We'll continue to grow and change and get better. That's what we do.
      My dear friends. A close second to my family in my affections. I appreciate the laughter and lunches and talks about life, politics, and everything else.
      My precious family. In the end, they're the people I love the most and who count on me and on whom I depend. We've been together a long time, and God willing, have many more years to go.
      My personal salvation. I don't preach to people. I'm not built that way. But it would be a mistake to assume that my silence meant that I didn't take my spiritual life seriously. I hope that people can see by my life and by how I live that there's something more to this life, that we aren't alone by any means, and that even the smallest of us matter in this vast universe. I know I fail in this daily, but the struggle makes life worthwhile.
      Every now and then, I have to remind myself to not take these things for granted.
      Good night.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dear Mr. Etiquette

Dear Mr. Etiquette,
      While I was driving down the street the other day, I saw my ex-girlfriend in front of a store. Immediately I rolled down the window and yelled, "Slut! Slut!" Now my friends are saying that I was rude. What do you think?

Dear Confused,
      I'm afraid I have to agree with your friends on this. The proper form of address should be "Miss Slut," "Ms. Slut," or "Mrs. Slut." It's these niceties of conversation that mark a civilized man.
Mr. Etiquette

Dear Mr. Etiquette,
      I'm 34-26-38, 22 years old, blonde and the recent winner of the Miss Busty Contest, but I'm not very bright. I'm afraid my boyfriend is cheating on me. What should I do?

Dear sweet Worried,
      Yes, he's cheating on you. Leave him immediately and call me so that I can comfort you in your time of despair. I'll be waiting.
Mr. Etiquette, but you can call me Et

Dear Mr. E,
      When it is polite to run your toes through the mashed potatoes? I keep getting strange looks at the local restaurant.
Dining Out

Dear D.O.,
      Was it too much trouble to write out my whole name? You are just another example of the lazy youth of America who, just because their daddy owns the newspaper, get made editor over more deserving employees who have toiled for YEARS at a thankless job answering mail from lackwits.
      But to answer your question, wedding receptions and formal state dinners. It's well known that Nixon's success with China was due to his amazing ability to pat butter into his potatoes with his little toe while sprinkling chives with his big toe.
Mr. Etiquette

Dear Mr. Etiquette,
      Lately my wife has been saying that aliens capture me at night for terrible experiments and that I shouldn't be surprised by any strange visions after she gives me my nightly cup of strange tasting coffee. I once woke up and could swear I saw our neighbor "Bob" wandering the hall in his skivies. And I keep hearing party music and my wife laughing. What do you think the aliens are doing to me?

Dear X-Filed,
      I wouldn't worry about the aliens if I were you. You've got bigger problems. In short order, stop drinking coffee, introduce Bob to the business end of a two-by-four, and get thee to a divorce lawyer. Mention my column, and you'll get a discount. They claim I send them a lot of business, but we know that's not true.
Mr. Etiquette

Dear Mr. Etiquette,
      Yo! I thinks my girl be seeing some sleazy newspaper columnist. I cherish the trollop, I do, 'cause she's wonned many beauty contest like Miss Busty. And now I and my boys think we're going to have to cut him, cut him bad. Should I use a shiv or a machete?

Dear Mr. Maniac,
      Truly violence never solves anything. I'm sure if you take a few days to think about it, the whole problem will sort itself out. Unfortunately I am leaving for an extended vacation across the border and thus will miss out on hearing the good news.
Mr. Etiquette

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Come Saturday Morning

      I need to get away, I think. Go somewhere new. Maybe New Mexico or Oregon. See the ocean. Walk among the redwoods. Be quiet in a place vast. Shake the dust of my life from my clothes and walk into the morning. Do you ever feel that way?
      I heard "Come Saturday Morning" this morning. Some DJ with a sense of the appropriate. It's an escape song. A longing to go away with friends and Saturday spend to the end of the day. I've felt like that a lot lately. What about you?
      Lately I look around at my office at work and wonder at how long I've been there and why I'm still there and how long I can be there and what is yet to come. I play with the idea of getting up and walking out and getting in my car and driving as far as I can, and for a few moments, I think I can. Do you ever?
      But then I remember what I've built here and the people in it and the burdens I took up and the small joys that I've cherished and held on to. And I don't walk away, just resolve to keep keeping on because that's what I do. Do you do that, too?
      And today I did housework, wrote, watched TV, walked among the late summer flowers and felt a bit lonely but not more than I could stand, not enough to seek anyone out or call them on their cell. I listened to the hurricane reports and watched the hazy clouds and the uncertain sun. I emailed some people and answered some emails back. It was good day. Did you have a good day, too?
      And now it's time for bed. Have a good night and good tomorrow. Okay? Okay.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Thoughts from a wandering mind

      "Pagan" received an astonishing number of comments, which greatly surprised me. I've posted poems before, and only a handful of people responded. Not only did "Pagan" receive more than any other poem, it received more than any other post.
      I like "Pagan." It said exactly what I meant and I think it says it well. But it's not my favorite poem or even my best. I write a lot of poetry, probably a poem or two a week. So maybe I've become a bit jaded. This was an interesting reminder of "the power of words," to quote one of the commenters.
      I appreciate everyone's comments -- some more than others, of course -- but the fact you read the poem and responded to it was gratifiying. The debate even spawned a blog entry on another blog. (I'm not sure if she wants me to link to hers here so I won't until I hear from her.)
      In other news, the Post Office or the check supply company has lost six boxes of my checks. That's 900 checks on my account floating around the world. I'm having to change my account and close the old account. Not a fun thing, but I don't think I have any other choice unless the checks show up by Monday. If they don't, the account switch-over will be finished. The joys of modern life.
      Going to the gym seems to be working. The other day after a shower, I was drying my left leg and noticed a muscle! I had to look twice as I hadn't seen one there for years, but there it was. And my right had one, too! Will wonders ever cease? I hope not.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


(For G.W. because I do understand)

And then she said into the stillness:

I will not be ashamed anymore
You can keep your original sin,
your shallow garden, your sly serpent.
They can suffer for Adam if they wish.

But I will weep no longer for Eve.
Keep, too, your tree, that trap baited
with lovely fruit. I have sufficient
guilty knowledge to last my life.

Finally, do not think that you exile
me into the wilderness. I go
willingly. There, I will find honest
trees, wise beasts and innocent waters.

And I will worship the earth and sky
with gentle dances of green rhythms.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Stone stream

A stone stream that carries the sulfur water from Vendome Well to Travertine Creek in Sulphur, Oklahoma.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tuesday's Gone

      I ran out of energy Tuesday before I ran out of things to do. I was sleepy all day, and going to the gym after work was really grinding. I've been sleeping strange the last few days. Maybe it's the shorter days or the approaching autumn. I might be trying to hibernate like all bears do. Or maybe I'm just staying up too late. Could be.
      I had to go to the theater to take more photos of a play for the theater group web page. Didn't get everyone I needed to. Have to go back Thursday night, but hopefully that will be my last trip down there for a few days.
      I'm still using song titles for these posts. I won't do so much longer. I only want to use songs that I've heard of and have the days of the week in their titles. I'm about to run out of the ones I've heard.
      And now I'm going to bed. More tomorrow.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Manic Monday

      Busy at work today and then busy at home, trying to get the Great Filing Project finished. I didn't make it to the gym tonight, but I intend to tomorrow night.
      Ever hear of Larissa Lone? I hadn't until recently. She's a writer who lost everything during Hurricane Katrina. Other writers and editors are raising money for her and her family. One of the ways they're doing it is by auctioning off items on EBay, including manuscript critiques by various writers and at least one editor. I thought it was a great opportunity to help someone who needs the help as well as maybe get some help on my writing. So far, I've been outbid on everything I've bid for. My budget doesn't allow for much, but I thought maybe I'd get something. (I bid on three manuscript critiques and a couple of autographed books.) I hope whoever gets those items appreciates them. I'm sure Larissa Lone will appreciate their aid.
      My town ended up not getting any evacuees from Katrina. Apparently there was a tangle of red tape between the Red Cross and the local and state governments. There were a lot of disappointed people here. The supplies collected will be sent on to the Red Cross or to places that did get evacuees. I'm still proud of my town for the generosity and compassion its residents showed; not so proud of our elected officials.
      Well, that's all I have to say tonight. Take care. Catch you tomorrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A little stream

A little stream at Turner Falls Park.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Weekend Update

      It's been a busy weekend, and I haven't been on the computer as a result. I hope you enjoyed the song from GunShy. I think in a few years they might be playing on the radio everywhere. You'll be able to say that you heard them first here. If you haven't listened to the song, just scroll down and click on the link.
      Friday was an usual day at work. This coming Tuesday will mark my 13th year there. Someday I'll have to tell the long, strange story on how I ended up where I'm at. It's got lots of twists, turns, surprises and a terribly depressing stretch of unemployment that went on for nearly two years. (Those two years are the main reason that I'm in the financial state I am today. During those two years, I lived on my credit cards. Paid all my bills, including home and car, with them. With high interest rates, I basically sold myself into slavery. But slowly I'm digging out now.)
      After work, my roomie and I went and worked out and then out to eat at a local Chinese buffet. The current workout is this: Walk half a mile around the track, ride the exercise bike for 15 minutes, do 75 reps on the bicep and tricep machine, walk another half mile on the treadmill, 10 more minutes on the bike and then stagger a lap around the track to cool off. Probably not the workout of champions, but I'm able to do more each week. I think it's working!
      Saturday morn, my roomie and I went to the gym again first thing. Then I came home, showered and went to the library and bank. My roomie ran other errands. We met back at the house and then went to eat at Pizza Hut. (Strangely enough, I had never been in a Pizza Hut before. Can't say that anymore.) Then we went to flea market. I wish I'd had my camera with me. The market is set up in what used to be a motel. Each booth occupies one room or sometimes two. The outside is painted in bright colors with peace symbols, pictures of animals and people, and slogans (Make Love, Not War; Give Peace A Chance; Hug a Tree). It was rundown and smelly, but interesting in a garage sale sort of way. I stepped into one apartment and smelled the sweet, sick scent of marijuana. I haven't smelled that since college.
      We came home, and my roomie went to do lawn work at our house and his daughter's house. I did laundry and started the Great Filing Project. The GFP is still going on today and is my attempt to get all my business, personal and writing files organized. I had four file folders stuffed with things that needed to find a home or be thrown away. I filled my trashcan three times and am working on the fourth time. I don't know where it all comes from.
      Anyway, around seven, we went to WalMart and did some shopping. I've been trying to buy more food on sale and not eat out during the week. For the most part, I'm succeeding, although I'd be hard pressed to prove it this weekend.
      After putting away the stuff from WalMart, I watched a little TV (nothing that stuck with me; I can't even recall what I watched) and then I went gratefully to bed.
      Today, church, and then more work on the GFP as well as more housework and general straightening. The GFP isn't done, but I have it down to a six inch stack of papers. I'm going to try to get it finished this week.
      That was my weekend. I hope yours went well. I hope this week goes well, too. And now, good night!

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Reflections in Honey Creek.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

One Fine Day

      I've been using songs this week for my post titles and discovered there are no song titles with Thursday in them. At least none I could find. If you're a song writer, Thursday has been sadly neglected.
      Speaking of songs, I have a gift for my readers. As you may recall a few weeks back, I was in charge of my local theater group's patron party. The party featured refreshments and entertainment, including a performance by a local group GunShy.
      Three lovely young ladies make up the group, and they've produced their first demo CD. Their sound is like a country Wilson Phillips or a young Dixie Chicks. Country with pop.
      After I listened to them perform, I had a great idea and approached their manager with it. With the express permission of GunShy, I'm going to post a photo of them and -- drum roll -- one of their songs on Harbor Street. You'll be able to click on the song and actually hear it for free. And the song I've selected is "Til My Heart Grows Wings," a beautiful song that has a further connection to me -- a friend of mine wrote the lyrics!
      I think you'll enjoy them. I know I do. I'll be posting the photo and the song this weekend. Watch for it.
      And now, good night!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Fountain sign

This is the sign that went with the fountain and tells you a little about Vendome Well. You can click on the photo for a larger size, something that you can do on all Harbor Street photos, many of which are large enough for computer wallpaper.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Waiting for Wednesday

      I'd like to call attention to my commenters. They're funny, wise and decent people. I've only been trolled a few times, and I'm grateful, even more so for a fine group of people who read my blog and give encouragement and lend their humor and intelligence to Harbor Street. Y'all are cool, ya know! Should I ever become published, I will dedicate a book to you.
      Do you wait for Wednesday, too? It's the middle of my week. From noon on, I feel like the week is rushing to the weekend. The weekend when I have time to write and play on my computer and call friends and all the things that give me joy. It's a shame that debt keeps so many of us working so hard that we can enjoy life only in small doses. Or maybe it makes us appreciate those times even more. Would our time be as precious if we had all we wanted? We might waste it instead of treasuring it. We humans are like that; give us what we want and we find it wasn't what we wanted and so we misuse what was precious to us. Wisdom is, I think, learning to cherish what needs to be cherished. Or as a writer I admire put it: choosing clear, cold water and a sword. (Read Talyn by Holly Lisle for an explanation.)
      Someone once said that the true test of your character is what you do when no one is looking. I've been thinking about that lately, about the choices I've made and the other paths I could have walked. I was told recently that I'm unyielding. It wasn't meant as a compliment, but I think I will take it as such. I know what's right and I know what's wrong. I know how to choose between the two. And mostly I think I chose the former, but I know of times when I've chose the latter. I'm not perfect, not by a long shot, but ... unyielding, yeah, I'm that. When something is wrong, then we have to speak out against it. We have to oppose it. To not do so means that we simply don't care.
      I must admit that sometimes I get tired of caring. People who don't care seem to have better lives than mine. They have all things that this world measures success by: money, lovers, travel, etc. I guess it makes me small-minded to say that I'd like a few of those cherries on my plate. Well, who doesn't? It's getting those cherries without sacrificing our morals and ideas -- that's the hard thing. I don't know how it's done, but I know people do it. And maybe we will, too. If not, well, heck, there are worse things in this world than working hard and getting by. Don't you think so?
      Learning to take joy in the journey, that's what I'm trying to do. To enjoy time with friends, to embrace the town and state and nation in which I live, to help where I can and to pray and work without ceasing for the better world around the corner of tomorrow.
      Those are my goals. I probably won't achieve them wholly. But the striving for them is what makes life worthwhile. That's my take on things this Wednesday on the 14th day of the month of September in the 2005th year of our Lord. Good night y'all. Pleasant dreams and a good morrow to you and yours.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sulfur fountain at Sulphur

An artesian fountain of sulfur water at (appropriately enough) Sulphur, Oklahoma. We stopped here on our way back from Turner Falls Park so that I could take a few pictures. The rotten egg odor was quite strong, but you can get used to it. They had a drinking fountain where you could take a few swallows of the water. I tried it out. It tasted bad, but there was a family filling up jugs with the water. Many people consider the water to be healthful and drink a glass of it daily.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Ruby Tuesday

      Another day when I was mostly alone at work. Still as busy. Whee. However, we will waste no more time in whining today. It's unseemly.
      After work I went to the gym and worked off some of my stress. I've written before about the power of sweat. A good hard workout seems to lift some of the burdens. Or maybe I'm just too concerned about someone hearing that slapping noise my thighs make when I run to worry about my other problems. Either way, it works. And today it helped me work off some anger. For me, frustration either turns to anger or depression. Of the two, I prefer the former.
      Why am I angry? Well, I'm giving good advice to a person, but it's being dismissed. It's being dismissed casually. That easy dismissal really gets under my skin. It's easier to take when you feel like the person has at least considered what you're saying. I can live with losing or not getting my way. Quick and callous disregard of my thoughts and opinions, though ... grrrr. Makes me grit my teeth.
      So I had a lot of emotional energy for my workout. I walked, cycled, used the machines, treadmilled and then realized that in my anger, I had pushed it until I was staggering. Not smart, but I recovered fairly quickly. I think I'm slowly building up my stamina. And that thought gave me a good feeling for most of that night. The power of sweat, you can count on it.
      Because of my financial status, I had to choose between Weight Watchers and the gym. I chose the gym. I think I know the principles of WW. I do miss that point calculator on the website; that was handy in finding sneaky fat food. Anyway, the point of WW is to teach you to watch what you eat and to eat healthy. I think I have that. Later when my finances improve, I'll sign up again, but right now I think the gym is more important to my health.
      Speaking of health, I've been trying to get to bed earlier than midnight. Just going to make it this time. Barely. Y'all have a good night and a great tomorrow and then come back here and tell me all about it, ya hear! Night.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Rainy Days & Mondays

      It was a Monday today all day. I ended up being the only one at my office for most of the day. Yikes. Mondays are always busy, and my freaking customers didn't seem to understand that I was doing the best I can, but there was a limit on how much I could bend spacetime. Otherwise I could have done all their requests at the same time.
      A good friend of mine is going through a really rough time and there's nothing I can do about it. The problem is going to continue for some time to come, maybe years. He just has to endure, and I need to help him endure, the little that I can. I wish I could shrug and chalk it up to the unfairness of life, but I can't. Don't know how to be that uncaring. I need to learn, I think sometimes, and then I think, but I don't want to be like that. It's a real joy to be in my head sometimes.
      The days are getting shorter; the light is slipping away. Someday I will live where winter doesn't creep in. I won't miss it. Not at all.
      I'm sick and tired of the Katrina Blame Game, played happily and viciously by Republicans and Democrats alike. I wish they would all just shut up. That's right. Shut. Up. Neither party seems to care about how they're tearing the nation apart. I told this to an acquaintance of mine who is a Republican, and he immediately said that it was true but that the Democrats cared less than the Republicans. I could have told him that he missed the point, but instead I just walked away. There is no reasoning with fanatics. I won't waste any of my life by trying. He followed me and told me that he was offended by my dismissal of his opinion. He told me that he expects an apology. I nodded and kept walking. He'll just have to learn how to live with disappointment.
      What a foul mood I'm in. Maybe I just need to count my blessings today. I mean, lots of people would like to have a house and a job right now. I need to be thankful instead of whining like ... well, like something that whines a lot. Maybe I just need some sleep. Yeah, that's it. Good night.

Oklahoma castle

This is the only photo I have of the castle at Turner Falls Park. It was built as the summer home of a doctor during the early 1930s. I intended to explore it, but after the mountain death march, I wasn't able. It will be my main target on the next trip to the park. I took this photo from the Turner Falls View.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pleasant Valley Sunday

      A busy Sunday, but as always not enough time to get done all the things I'd like to have done and that's just how it goes. Honestly, I think I could have done everything, but I took a nap or two, watched a bit of TV and generally behaved like a good couch potato. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day, as Miss Scarlett was prone to say. (I bet that got annoying pretty quick.)
      The theater board meeting today went well. I guess. I'm feeling restless and didn't really enjoy being there. I can't see me continuing to be on the board much longer. I think they do good work, but I'm not sure if I fit in or that it's a proper use of my time when I've got so many other personal projects that I need to do.
      Speaking of those projects, what oh what am I going to do about my book? It just drags on and on. I write this way, I write that way, I send my characters here, I send them there, but somehow we can't seem reach the end. I've finished every book I've started writing, but I've started to wonder if maybe this one will finish me!
      The problem is -- and this is a killer -- that what I'm writing is boring me. If it's not keeping my interest, why should I expect it to keep the interest of a reader? So I back up, hack off the boring part and try again. And again. And again.
      I know there's a story in that thicket of words. It's a good story. It's got love and loss, honor and sorrow, passion and joy. It's hard to walk away from it, even though it might be beyond my skill with words.
      And on that slightly depressing note, good night and good morrow.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

My Saturday

      It's been a long day, and I'm about to call it a night. Despite an IBD flare, I got a lot done, mostly on the local theater's group web page. It needed several things updated, and since I use Microsoft Publisher to build it, it took a while. I need to find a better web page creation program and will if I continue to maintain the page. I don't know if the group will buy one for me if I ask, but they might. If not, maybe I could find an inexpensive one and buy it myself.
      I also prepared my final patron drive report. I'll give it at our meeting tomorrow. The drive raised over $6,000 and nearly doubled the number of patrons. I think I did okay. I'm glad to have it over until next year. And maybe next year, someone else can do it!
      Besides theater stuff, I did laundry, worked on my bills, cleaned house, did laundry, went shopping, etc. Naturally I have a list on which I've been checking items off as I get them done. It's the only way I can stay organized these day.
      I'm continuing to go the gym. I think it's getting better. I don't know for sure, but some of the exercises don't seem as hard. I've discovered that changes from day to day, though, so we'll see. I intend to continue to go until the end of the year. Then I'll decide if it's helping me any. I think it will.
      I read Talyn by Holly Lisle (Yes, it finally arrived). You should buy it! It's a good book. Dark, exciting and sexy (not a word I usually associate with fantasy books, but it is) with plenty of adventure. It also raises some interesting questions about honor and what makes a good war. I liked it, but she has rarely disappointed me ... other than she doesn't put books fast enough to suit me. But like a lot of authors, she insists on having a life. What is up with that?
      I'm sure you're probably getting tired of Turner Falls Park, but I regret to inform you that I took over 80 photos down there. Just take a deep breath and humor me.
      And now I'm going to call it a night. You have a good today tomorrow, okay? Okay.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Honey Creek

Honey Creek sends 5.5 million gallons of water a day over Turner Falls.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.


You can rent a teepee for overnight camping at Turner Falls Park.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


One of the three caves at Turner Falls Park.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Stone wall

The stone wall hedging the road that led nowhere.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Turner Falls

A closer view of Turner Falls. Honey Creek falls over 75 feet to the Blue Hole below.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Turner Falls and the Blue Hole

A view of Turner Falls and the Blue Hole from a turnout called appropriately enough "Turner Falls View."
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Adventure by any other name

      Why is it that adventure for some people means exotic locations, beautiful women and pulse-pounding excitement but for me means pain and hospital trips? I once asked this question of a friend who replied, "It's obvious. You're not the hero. You're the comic relief."
      Ahh, it was clear to me then: That guy was no friend. So I didn't feel the least bit guilty about dating his girlfriend or those odd scratches that showed up on his Camaro that might have spelled "jerk."
      What prompted this question about adventure? you ask.
      Well, go ahead, ask.
      I'm waiting.
      All right, be that way. Now you'll never know that my roomie and I decided to take a day trip to Turner Falls Park on Labor Day and had a wonderful time except for the part when I nearly died on top of a mountain. Bet you feel sorry now, don't you?
      I can see that you do. Don't cry. Here's the story.
      I wanted to give my new digital camera a good workout. We only live a few dozen miles from Turner Falls Park so I suggested to my roomie that we drive down there and explore. We packed some sandwiches and robbed a bank to pay for a tank full of gasoline. And off we went.
      I expected the place to be crowded, but it wasn't. We wandered around the park as I took lots of photos. We found a picnic table beside a stream to eat lunch. As I ate a sandwich, I noticed the start of an old road on a hill. The road was closed off and hedged on both sides by rockwork that looked like that of a castle. So I suggested we walk up the road and see what was there. My imagination built an ancient abandoned house up there that just begged to be explored. My imagination needs to be horse-whipped.
      Up we went. My roomie is in great physical shape. That's why I occasionally hate him. He bounded up the mountain like a gazelle. I trudged up it. The road had been black-topped once, but the asphalt was broken into chunks. I had to watch my step. Fortunately my face was only inches away from the ground.
      Halfway up, I stopped to rest and suggested he go on up and see if what was there. I found shade, sipped my water bottle and tried to remember the signs of a heart attack. Time passed. I realized I wasn't going to die. Then I realized it had been a while and he hadn't returned. So I left him to die, drove his truck home and sold his belongings... No, I didn't. I started wearily climbing up the cliff.
      As I walked, my rotten imagination had him falling into a ravine, getting bit by a snake, being attacked by a bear (!) or ... and this was really good ... he found an old abandoned house except it wasn't abandoned. A crazy, evil man still lurked there ... This made me pause. That and the fact I had fallen. I didn't have a weapon, not even a knife. In fact the only thing I had with me was my water bottle. I immediately vowed to not go into the wilderness again without packing heat. For that matter, perhaps I'd bring a pack mule, too. That'd be nice. And then if you were lost and began to starve, you could eat the mule. Unless the mule got you first, of course.
      Eventually, and it took much longer to walk it than to tell it, the road became a small trail. No house. No roomie, either. I yelled for him. No answer. I was surrounded by scrub cedars, just tall enough to keep me from seeing very far. There was nothing for it but for me to go on.
      I drank some more water, swatted at the horse flies who had discovered what the mosquitoes already know -- I'm an insect IHOP -- and crawled on.
      As my tongue dragged the ground, I began to wonder what I could do should he be the captive of crazed mountain folk. I didn't even have the breath to sing -- which might seem an odd thing to think of, but I remembered reading about how when British explorer Horace Carter was lost in the jungle and was surrounded by cannibals, he began to sing loudly to scare them away. Naturally they killed and ate him, but they talked about him for years.
      The trail split at this point, and I realized I was on top of the mountain. At that moment, my roomie came wandering up the trail. He stopped, a horrified expression on his face.
      "What are you doing here?" he asked.
      "I got worried when you didn't come back," I panted.
      "The trail started going down the other side of the mountain," he said, looking at me closely. "It didn't lead anywhere. But I think we need to get you off this mountain. You're not looking so good."
      I turned and looked down the mountain and briefly considered starting life anew where I was. But I drank some water, threw up a bit, and then I was right as rain, other than the delirium and the lurching. Not me, I was fine, but the world kept lurching. Weird local earthquakes or something.
      But I made it back down with only a mild case of heat exhaustion. Perhaps not the wisest thing I've ever done, but hey, I made up it and back down. In fact, the only casualty of this was my roomie's nerves. That's what happens to gazelles. They're always nervous.
      Over the next few days, I'll be sharing more photos from that trip. I hope you enjoy them because adventure by any other name would still be as painful.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Honey Creek

Honey Creek at Turner Falls Park, Oklahoma.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


      Will wonders never cease?! Haven't you heard? The Unseen World is no longer unseen. I just saw an ad about it on TV. All you have to do is call a 900 telephone number, and for only $3.95 a minute, you can talk live to a psychic who will tell you about your past, your present and your future. And your personal psychic will tell you all that very, very slowly.
      Not that I'm saying that the psychic phone service only exists to separate you from your money. I'm not saying that. I may be thinking that, but you don't know because you can't read minds. Perhaps you can ask your psychic.
      You've probably guessed that I've always been a skeptic about psychic phenomenon, probably because none has ever happened to me. Of course, I'm told that the fact that I'm a skeptic will keep such things from happening. Which is okay. From the movies I've seen and books I've read, psychic phenomenon seems to involve a lot of screaming and bloody body parts. I'll skip that, thank you.
      I used to read my horoscope, but I don't even do that any more. I found it depressing. Everyone else's horoscope would read: "You will inherit money, win the peace prize and meet the man or woman of your dreams, all before lunch. The really wonderful things will happen later in the day." My horoscope would read: "You will polish your shoes today and do a poor job of it."
      I once mentioned this to a friend of mine who had taken Astrology in college.
      "Of course you're a skeptic," she said. "You're a Leo. They don't believe in anything."
      "Do you honestly believe the stars control our lives?" I asked.
      "I think Madonna's influence is overrated, but Cher seems to have some pull in the fashion world --"
      "That's not what I meant," I said. "I was taking about the stars overhead."
      "Oh, well, it's not surprising that you don't believe in horoscopes," she said. "All of them are wrong -- except, of course, for the Reality Horoscope. Here, I just happen to have a copy with me because I knew you'd be blogging about this."
      I took the piece of paper and started to read.

      Your Reality Horoscope
      Aquarius: You have an imaginative mind and are skilled mechanically. You are also well known to be childish and slow. Your mother hates you.
      Pisces: You are gentle and kind. Animals love you. Unfortunately, your belching and scratching drive all humans away from you. Why don't you take a bath occasionally.
      Aries: You are artistic and productive. You are also incapable of handling money and will end up alone and penniless in some nameless rest home.
      Taurus: You are exciting and virile. People think you are a drug-user. Most Taurus braid their armpit hair.
      Gemini: You will meet someone tall, dark and handsome. He will arrest you for indecent exposure and public drunkenness.
      Cancer: You are a rock of strength. Your head is also that hard. People laugh at you a lot because you're ugly.
      Leo: You have all the qualities of a leader. Other people think you're pushy and inconsiderate. They're right. And your breath could kill a walrus.
      Virgo: You are enthusiastic and active. This makes you sweat and smell like a locker-room. And do something about that acne.
      Libra: You are shrewd and thrifty. Children hate you because you are cheap. You will be hit by a bus on Tuesday. Twice.
      Scorpio: You are generous and understanding. That's why so many people think you are stupid and an easy mark. People cheat you right and left because you can't add or subtract.
      Sagittarius: You are sweet and kind. You also fondle frozen vegetables at the supermarket. You give everyone the creeps.
      Capricorn: You are tough and strong. You are also rude and coarse. You will find your place in the world at a meat-packing plant, twisting the heads off chickens, a truly fowl occupation.

      I gave the chart back to her and didn't mention that I didn't believe it, either. Skepticism dies hard. But despite what I've written, I really do try to not ridicule psychics because I remember a story my friend Bill told me.
      Bill, a fellow skeptic, called up the live psychic line.
      "Welcome to The Future Revealed," a voice answered. "And what is your name?"
      "You're a psychic," Bill said. "Don't you know?"
      "Sometimes the spirits are willing and sometimes they are not," the psychic said. "Tell me why have you called today?"
      "Shouldn't you already know that?" Bill asked. And on and on the conversation went with Bill giving the psychic many truly funny answers. But the psychic had the last laugh.
      With all the horseplay, Bill was on the phone for hours. Hours at $3.95 a minute.
      "How much was your phone bill?" I asked, aghast.
      Bill looked at me solemnly and said. "Some things man is not meant to know."
      And you know, maybe he's right.
      And maybe not.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


      I'm proud of my small town. It's not a wealthy place. There's a fair amount of unemployment and a fair amount of poverty level incomes. Oh, we have people with money here, but it's nothing like what you find in more prosperous places. Most people work hard to just get by.
      But today, my town found out that we would be receiving refugees from Hurricane Katrina. Several churches, including mine, will be taking as many as they can. The best guess about how many my town will receive is 500 to 1,000.
      So the radio station began broadcasting about the refugees and asking for supplies. And the people of my small town responded. Toilet paper, paper towels, canned goods, bottled water, diapers, sheets, pillows, blankets, clothes, toys, school supplies (because it's planned to put the refugee children back in school although it hasn't been worked out how that's going to happen), etc. Volunteers collected the supplies and trucked them to the proper churches. People just kept coming, giving until it hurt for many of them. (One little elderly lady brought in three rolls of toilet paper. She'd bought a four-roll package and needed one roll, but wanted to give the rest of it. On her fixed income, it was all she had to give.)
      I realize that in the immense scope of this tragedy this isn't a lot. Thousands more people need help. But it's something. It's people reaching out to strangers. It's people giving sacrificially. Perhaps it's hokey and naive of me, but amidst all this pain, confusion and finger pointing, it gives me hope. Despite everything bad in this world, I still have faith in us. I hope you do, too.
      Good night.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A time to give

      There is little I can say about the hurricane devastation that hasn't already been said and said a lot better. Frankly, words don't mean spit right now. Action is what counts. Please give generously to the charity of your choice. Choose one here. And say a lot of prayers for those caught in this nightmare.
      Good night.