Tuesday, September 30, 2014


When I started this blogging thing some time back, I said it would not be about me, but about my viewpoint of things going on around me.  Accurate or not, they have been my viewpoint.  Today, I am going to digress from that statement somewhat.  It will be a little personal, but maybe questionable on the accurate part.  You decide. OH! and there are several people involved in this post along with me, but their names have been changed or just not mentioned in order to protect the guilty. So, on that note, bear with me, or just bow out. Your choice.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away.  Oh wait, that story has already been told.  Start over/
A not so long time ago, in a place close to here, I applied for a life insurance policy. Since this required me to take a physical, I went to the named person for the normal pokings and proddings. And givings. And in some of the giving there were found microscopic droplets of blood. So this particular test was done a 2nd time to determine if it was correct.  It was. So I went to my doctor to determine what was going on. To speed up this post, I went to a urologist and was sent to a big hospital in a big city where some nurses rolled up some towels to about the size of a small barrel and then bent me over it while the Dr. brought out his core drill and took a core sample of one of my kidneys. The resulting tests determined that I had a disease that would cause my kidneys to deteriorate over a period of time.  I ask if I would need dialysis or a transplant. Nope, he said, I would die of old age or some other thing before that likely came about.

Well, time marched along and I continued to be monitored by Doctors and had tests done and in 1998 I was told to go to the North country, AKA Albuquerque, for tests to be put on a transplant list.  After several trips to the North country and many vampire pokes, and other tests I choose to forget about, I was added to a kidney transplant list.  I February of 1999 I went to the local place of sick people incarceration and had a people carver install a fistula in my left wrist. Don't know what a fistula is?  I am sure Bing or Google can enlighten you. I was starting to feel bad and just attributed it to being fat and old.  But in June of 1999 a nephrologist told me I was going to have to have dialysis. What is a nephrologist? you ask.  Well, that's just a fancy name for  "this is gonna be expensive. He was a good kidney Dr. though. I say was, because he eventually relocated to another state and I no longer have contact with him. With his pronouncement, though, I objected. I had places to go, things to do and people to see. A nurse in that clinic said that if I didn't do this, I would get really sick, go to the hospital and they would bring me to dialysis on a stretcher. I it would not be easy to recover. So I went to work and told the boss I would be off for a couple of weeks, and why.  They started me off east, using a 17 gauge needle.  By contrast, a needle that you receive a shot in the clinic is about a 32 gauge or so.  After a few sessions of dialysis I was graduated to a 16 and then a 15 gauge needle.  Or rather two of them. 4 hours a day, three days a week.  Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  I won't go into all the experiences I had while on dialysis, but I managed and I got to go places and do things and see people.  An d I continued to work operating large mining equipment in an open pit copper mine. For reference here, if interested, go to phmining.com and look at the 4100xp.  Yep, that is what I did.

Well, after 23 months on dialysis I received a new kidney. And a lot of medication. And trips to the North country for infusions of high powered medicines of some sort. And a set of instructions longer than this blog post. Don't push shopping carts, let your wife do that.  Don't work in the yard, but if you do, use leather gloves. And above all, don't handle filthy lucre. Yep, money is one of the most dirty and germ laden things in our society.  Fortunately that wasn't a problem. So, now I am back to a somewhat normal life, but with changes that my wife and I learned to live with.  Stay away from sick people, especially kids. And don't mess with animals, especially birds. And on and on. Over time the meds decreased and some of them have went away all together. But the one that suppresses my immune system is still very much in existence. I use a lot of hand sanitizer.  Sometimes I tend to get lax. A few years ago I got as bad Staph infection and had a part of my left ear trimmed.  But it just never healed, so I was eventually sent to a plastic surgeon in the East country. I was put in a people carving institution and the above named surgeon carved on my left ear, and then carved on it some more and then carved on it a third time. Finally the lab told him the skin cancer was all gone.  All this from a staph infection and a bout of MRSA, what ever that is.  Now I am ear marked, but not branded.

So what is all this leading up to.  Well, a few weeks ago a friend of mine had a heart attack. He recovered and is doing good, but he had to change his diet and a few things, but he told me that was a wake up call for him.  He is a rancher and he works hard and making the changes that were suggested hadn't occurred to him. 
Well, since I retired from the mining industry, my wife and I have started walking and eating better and I have lost weight and feel good.  And this past Saturday wasn't seeming to be any different. We were up at 5 a.m. and then went for a walk as soon as it got light enough to see. Walked 2.5 miles according to the ped o meter I had on my pants pocket. Came back to the house and had a cup of chocolate. Watched a little Saturday morning TV and my wife started breakfast. Suddenly I started to shiver like I was cold, but I knew I wasn't. I went to the kitchen and the thought of the food my wife was fixing made me nauseous. Note. I said the thought of eating the food, not the food itself.  I headed for the bathroom to throw up. I didn't but felt like I needed to. I returned to the bathroom a couple of times for that purpose, but didn't throw up. But I was definitely not feeling good and I didn't know why. Around 9 a.m. while sitting on the edge of the tub so I was close to the receptacle of any thing that might spew from my mouth, I just slid into the tub, sideways. Picture a cartoon Tom who has just been cold cocked by a cartoon Jerry as he oozes down a set of stairs on down a drain. That's how I felt. The main difference is that Tom revives and continues the mouse chase being no worse for wear. I did not. My wife eventually got me out of the tub with a lot of work on her part and a little effort on my part and got me to bed. Where I spent the next 7 hours. She gave me an aspirin in case I was having a heart attack, which I assured her I was not, it just didn't feel like that.  I thought it might be a mild stroke. My wife was concerned and I was also. However, I was able to get up at 4 p.m. and each some soup and a sandwich. By Sunday morning I felt better, but still somewhat weak. My left leg was swollen and red. My Stake President and an Elder from our ward came by that evening and gave me a blessing. Need more information on that statement? go to a LDS or Mormon site on the internet and look it up. Or call a missionary.

On Monday I felt better still, but my left leg is still swollen and red, so I went to a Dr. She checked me over from stem to stern and mid section also. After she finished, she said no heart attack, no stroke, just MRSA. Yep, another Staph infection.  When ask by my wife how I may have gotten this, she said I was a dirty old man and infected myself. Well, she didn't say it quite like that. What she said was that we as humans have a lot of germs crawling around on our skin, just looking for a place to get in. Now, a normal person, when they scratch themselves and one of those germs crawl in, the immune system calls up the troops and they come storming in with guns blazing and annihilate the bad guys. In my case, with my suppressed immune system, when one of the bad guys comes in, the troops have stand down orders. The marines and the army and the air force may put up a token resistance and the navy may come sailing down an artery and fire a weak torpedo, but they are mostly just token resistance. So, knowing this, I have to be vigilant. And mostly I am. But this weekend has made me realize I missed something. So to fight these bad boys, or girls, the Dr. prescribed to antibiotics and had her nurse bend me over a table and give me a shot where it would do the most good.

So what is the purpose of this post.  Just killing time while the meds are killing germs. And like my rancher friend, this weekend has been a wake up call for me also. Not for the same reason as his, but as a reminder I cannot let down my guard and become complacent on health issues. My wife ask me how I knew I wasn't having a heart attack. My answer was I just knew. But did I really? After 40 years working in the mining industry and all the training classes I went to and all the things we were taught about health issues, including signs of a heart attack, I just knew I wasn't. Why did I think I might be having a stroke? Because I was weak and disoriented, I was slurring my speech and was just well, a cartoon cat sliding down a stairway with no control over my muscles. Turned out neither of those happened, but what did was bad enough to say, Hey, wake up and pay attention.  I encourage any of you who may have actually made it this far to also become aware of your physical self and take care of your self so that you may not find your self in a position and not know what is going on. I will be paying more attention to my self and try to lose the complacency that I have seemed to slip into.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


WHAT IS IT ABOUT NOISE?  Now, I know I am getting old.  And my hearing is probably worse than I will admit, but better than my wife will admit.  Maybe somewhere in between the two.  But, still. Noise, and lots of it seems to emanate from the whole world now a days.  And I just have to say why?   Here where we live, in a place many miles distant from the ditch bank, is a quiet neighborhood.  Oh! sorry, I meant it used to be a quiet neighborhood.  At least on this end of the street where we live.  Then someone moved in to a house with noisy kids. And some one else moved in next to them with noisy vehicles.  More on that in a moment. Then others moved in with noisy habits.  And it is about to drive us bonkers.  So, I will detail a couple or three things about this.
1. Noisy kids.  I have no objection to kids playing in the street, riding bicycles, pulling wagons, or whatever they do.  At least they are outside and not sitting in front of a video game.  But this group of kids, the ones mentioned above and some of their friends from other streets, seem to delight in making noise.  They don't really play. Sometimes they just stand and scream. At the top of their lungs.  We ask them to not do that.  Play if you want, but go to your house to scream. Nope, Momma and Daddy don't like that.  So they scream in front of our house.  Again, Why? Just for the noise of it?  Who knows.  But this seems to be something that goes on with kids all over the place, not just those here in the used to be quiet neighborhood.

2. Music.  No one likes music more than I.  But I like music and I like me to hear it. I don't blast it so loud that the neighbor hood can hear it for blocks away.  And so much of it is not really music. It is just, uh, well, noise.  And some of it has such bad language, why would any one want to record such filth, much less listen to it. And why blast it so loud that even I can hear it? Again. Just noise on a used to be quiet street. 

3. Vehicles. When I was a teenager, oh so many years ago, I bought a 1955 Ford Fairlane. I had a small V8 engine and twin pipes. I removed the mufflers and installed glass packs. And it had a very pretty putter. And a lot of the cars back then had that sound. Even in the 90's we had a Pickup with a big V8 engine with twin pipes and that good listening putter.  You don't hear much of that any more.  Here on the street where we live, one of the above mentioned family's have 4 vehicles. Three of them or noisy. Not a putter noisy, but a no exhaust muffler of any type kind of noisy. A sedan car, a motorcycle and a jeep. And even though the block from their house to the corner where they have to turn is only a hundred feet or so, they seem to need to hit a MPH for each foot in that distance. With the vehicles would up as loud as they can be.  But, it is not just them.  So many of the vehicles now have that same sound.  Not a pretty twin pipe putter, but, well, just noise. Sometimes when it is quiet I want to go out in the street and holler, "Can you people hear this?"  But I don't want to shatter the quiet which comes around all to seldom lately.  I can't help but think that by the time a lot of these people get my age, they will all be deaf.  The hearing aid people will have a roaring business, and no one will be able to hear the roar.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


THAT IS THE QUESTION? OH! what is the question, you ask.  Well, election is coming up in a few weeks.  Even though there are a number of political parties that will be on the ballot, the primary candidates will be Republican or Democrat.  So, do you vote a straight ticket or not? Yes, that is the question.  Here in the Land of Enchantment, we have the incumbent Governor, a Republican, and a Woman and A Hispanic running to be reelected.  On the Democratic side we have a man who is the State Attorney General.  The Governor has close to $4 million dollars in here campaign war chest.  Her opponent has just over $100 thousand.  And he is running far behind in the polls.  He is not a popular candidate, even in his own party and in a State that votes primarily Democrat.  Why is he so far behind.  well, I don't know. But he recently paid a visit to the city near where I live and the hype surrounding his coming said for all Good Democrats, Republicans and Independents to come out and listen to him and join in whatever they had going while he was here.  I guess the bad ones of those listed above aren't welcome.  But one person said to come out and join them and then to vote for the complete Democrat slate in November.
Well, I didn't go. But I have to say here, in the 5 decades that I have been eligible to vote, I have never, and I repeat never, voted a straight ticket.  I know many who have, on both sides of the aisle. And I have to wonder, why? Many years ago I was approached by a staunch Republican and encouraged to vote for the Republican that was running for the Governor office that year.  I liked the Democrat candidate and intended to vote for him. ( I Did)  But when I ask the above mentioned staunch man, I ask him why I should not vote for the Democrat and he said, Why, because he's a Democrat. Well, Duh. Just because someone is a Democrat or a Republican does not automatically make them the best candidate for the office.  I have voted for Democrats in the past and will do so again in the future, probably in the upcoming election. But I will vote for the Republican candidate for Governor. She is not a perfect governor, and I don't suppose there is such a critter on this earth, but she is pretty good.  I encourage each and every one to vote for the best person they feel is qualified for the office and not for the party they belong to.  AND THAT IS THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK

Monday, September 15, 2014


THAT IS THE QUESTION.  Recently I saw on a facebook post a question about who still wears a watch?  The answers were varied with most, it seems, saying they did not wear a watch.  It seems that most depend on their cell phones for the time.  And that is fine with me, although I still do wear a watch and use it on a regular basis. So, this brings up a question to my simple mind for any of you who may read this post that did not see the facebook post.  Do you wear a watch or not?
I can only assume that most of you saw the news report about the new I phone coming out and in conjunction with that the announcement of an I watch that will be coming out sometime in the near future.  This watch will connect you to the internet, you can surf the internet, get e mails, make on line purchases, it will monitor your heart rate and your pulse. It will have a GPS to tell you where to go and how to get there. And all of this right on your wrist. I don't think Dick Tracy or even Maxwell Smart envisioned something like this.  Would I buy one.  No, not even if I had the money to do so.  But the main question that comes to mind is    WITH ALL THIS, WILL THE THING TELL YOU THE TIME.  
After all, it is called a watch, and isn't that the purpose of a watch, after all. To keep time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


ARE THEY OR AREN'T THEY? That is the question. One I ask myself from time to time.  Myself just don't seem to have a good answer.   
Back i the not quite so dark ages, when I was in High School, several of us were gathered around outside of the school one morning and the basketball coach, looking up at the contrails across the sky, commented, " Well he can't lie to his boss about where he has been".  Since from that time to now a lot of contrails have crossed the sky, a person, namely me, just has to wonder How crowded is the sky? Really.  If you look at a map of all the planes in the sky at any given time, it makes a person wonder just how they all manage to get from point A to point what ever they are going to. But for the most part they do, day after day. having worked for an Airline in the distant past, I understand somewhat the pattern that makes it all click.  So I am not really concerned about it on the rare occasions when I climb inside one of those aluminum tubes and let some jet jockey move me from point A to point wherever I may be going.  
On the other hand, though, there are a few things going on now that wasn't around during the above mentioned almost dark ages.  AM radio was around, and TV was coming along, with black and white pictures, and the air waves were undulating along with invisible contrails of their own.  Then FM radio came into existence, and two way radios became more and more prevalent, especially in the 70's with the craze of CB radios. And of course, the above mentioned contrails were also becoming increasingly numerous.
Now there are cell phones. Millions and millions of them. And the internet,and WIFI, and satellite radio, and space beams and space junk.  It just makes an old bald head like mine just spin in wonder at it all, and never cease to be amazed that somewhere, sometime, if all of this won't collide up there in the crowded sky and just come tumbling down.  Airplanes, satellites, cell phone calls and TV images and all.
Bet that will make a terrible jumbled up mess when it hits.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


AND WHAT DID IT SMELL LIKE?  In a land far away from where I actually reside, lies the land on the ditch bank.  Yesterday, Labor Day, My wife and I spent the bulk of the day on this ditch bank property doing some clean up. And taking pictures of Eagles, bugs and spiders. And the landscape.  And just enjoying the day, on the ditch bank. And sitting in the shade for a picnic lunch and listening to the wind in the pines. And smelling the pines and the grass and the weeds and the country side in general.  Good day and good smells.  All to soon, it seemed, we had to climb aboard the pickup and return to the place where we currently reside. And the accompanying smells.
As we went for a walk this morning, just after dawn broke over the valley, we noticed the difference from what we were smelling as opposed to yesterday.  Automobile smells, scented dryer sheet smells, perfume from a house where the woman was getting ready to go to work.  Perfume or hair spray.  Coffee and cigarette smells.  So much different that yesterday, and not nearly as pleasant. Nope, no where near as pleasant.  Even as we left the confines of the town and got into the hills and vales where we walk, through the weeds and grass, it still smelled different than did the smell of the grass and weeds and pines of the ditch bank. How do people get so used to the perfumery smells of the town.  I don't know. And I can't.  What do you smell where you live? And do you like it and look forward to the morning smells, or the evening smells, or even the mid day or midnight smells.  Nothing and I mean nothing, beats the fresh smell of the country side and the sound of wind in the pines.