Saturday, September 14, 2013

Can You Spell Mystery?

It's been awhile since I last set down to put fingers to keyboard and write something.  I'm grateful that I can type at all.  Wish I could spell better though.  A quick funny story...I took leave from work on Friday (September 13th, 2013).  I don't know if you work in an office, but where I work, we used email extensively to communicate throughout our organization.  Since I was planning to be off work, I prepared an "out of office" message.  When someone sends me an email, they automatically receive a response with a pre-arranged message that I wrote earlier.  Well, my message announced that I wouldn't be there on Friday because I was going to a "mistery" writer's conference.  Yes, I typed M.I.S.T.E.R.Y.  Not Mystery.  I'm sure the people who got that message are probably thinking, "he should have gone to a spelling conference." instead.  It dawned on my Friday morning  that I had made the spelling mistake, but I wasn't going to go back into the office just to change that.  Oh well.

Monday, March 4, 2013


     Well, there is only three days before my neck surgery.  I didn't mention that I'm having surgery, you say?  Actually, I am having surgery on 7 March 2013 at Johns Hopkins.  I have mixed feelings about the operation.  The surgeon will open up the front of my neck to get to the C-Spine, remove three disks and fuse the vertebrae together.  How do they do it?  Magic I suppose.  I mean, it must be magic.  I go there Thursday, I go to sleep, I wake up, my neck is fixed, I refrain from talking for a few days, and recover.  Magic...right?
     Okay, not magic really. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hydrating Hydrants

As you know, I vacationed in Chicago a couple of weeks ago and it was hot, hot, hot.  I needed lots of water to keep myself hydrated.  I was just getting used to the Chicago water again, then had to come back to Maryland water.

When I was a kid, I remember visiting my cousins Jeff and Randy in Chicago and as usual, the summers were scorchingly hot.  I don't remember if it was the city or someone from the neighborhood who turned on the fire hydrants, but the whole neighborhood would be out there on the street, running through the refreshing cool hydrant water.  I think it was the city who did that because many times there was this thing that looked like a saw horse that clocked the end of the street so cars would slow down when they came through.  Some kids would be out there in their street clothes, some with bathing suits, even some of the younger ones in their underware.  Everyone was having fun, splashing around and directing the force of the water toward cars as they cruised by.  The car drivers didn't seem to mind.  For them it was a free car wash.

On one occasion, I remember all the kids out there playing and there was a local kid out there who had giant feet.  So help me they were giant feet.  In fact they were so huge, the kid didn't wear shoes.  He wore bandage cloths around his feet, they were so big.  I don't think they even make shoes the size of this kids feet.  He was an oddity.  His ears were big too, but the thing you'd notice the most was those enormous feet.  He had trouble walking and wouldn't run.  He just sort of shuffled where ever he was going; as if he had ski's on the end of each leg. I felt sorry for him.  Poor guy didn't have shoes.  But there he was with the rest of the neighborhood kids, playing in the water to cool off.  If there was a pool around those feet might have come in handy as flippers for swimming, but there weren't that many pools you could go to around there at that time.

My cousins lived around 27th and St. Louis Ave, in a three story apartment building with a huge yard on the side of the appartment.  There was an apple tree in the yard, that was right outside the window of Ina's apartment. Aunt Ina everybody called her.  She was fat, wore a mu-mu style dress, and had dark circles under her eyes.  She was a bit scarey looking and she told scarey stories too.  Like the story she told when she was a little girl and was sitting on the commode, a large sewer rat crawled through the sewer and came up through the commode while she was sitting on it.  She told of having to go to the hospital to get rabies shots, because the rat bit her on her behind.  She told us how scared she was every time she had to go to the bathroom after that.

The apple tree that was outside Ina's apartment was a favorite climbing tree. I used to climb it so I could show off to the neighborhood girls, Kathy and Susan Fabor, Maureen, and Judy Staggs (my cousin who lived in the same building as Jeff and Randy).  When I was playing outside, I spent a lot of time in that tree, proving my manhood by climbing as high as I could, and showing off to the girls.  In fact I was in that tree when one of the most unjust things happened to me one summer.

At the back of the yard and apartment building were these sheds/garages that must have been put there for kid-dom's amusement.  We kids thought so anyway.  They helped enclose the yard in to separate it from the alley.  In case you don't know, the alley is where us city folk put our garbage cans and other trash to get rid of our garbage.  On the appointed day the garbage truck came through and emptied all the 55 gallon steel drums of their garbage.  The alley is also used as a drive way for cars to get their vehicles into their garages.   The alley is also a place where us creative kids scavenge for raw materials to make something to play with.

On one occasion, I was playing outside with my cousins and climbing on the apple tree, when I noticed a slight commotion near the back of the yard.  My cousin Randy had drug a cardboard box from the alley into the yard and the kids were crawling through it having fun.  I don't know what possessed him to do it, but Randy got a hold of some matches or a lighter or something and started the cardboard box on fire.  I came down out of the tree and headed toward the fire just in time for Randy to let go of the front box flaps and my brother, Tim, came flying out of there.  I had perfect timing because about that time my uncle J.C. was bent over the second floor outdoor stairway yelling to get the fire out and for us boys to get upstairs.  We went upstairs alright - to our death.  Well, not really death, but to a fervent butt whooping, as we called it..  Uncle J.C. tore Jeff, Randy, and me up for trying to burn my brother Tim alive in the box.  I pleaded my innocents to no avail.  I was whipped (whooped) right along with the guilty.

I heard someone say recently, that when you are punished for something you did not do, it hurts double.  I think that might be true, because to this day, family members think I was involved in trying to burn my brother up in a box, when I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time (which I have managed to accomplish a couple times in my life).  I'm not claiming I have never done anything deserving of a whooping, but on this occasion, I was innocent.  Yes, it's true I have done things I was never caught at, so I was probably due a whooping, but not for setting fire to my brother.  It is also true that I was involved in other assasination attempts on my brother; like the time I tried to hang him, or the time I hit him in the head with a shoe that busted his head open and blood filled Randy's cupped hands.  I have done things.  But I DID NOT DO THIS THING!   I should mention that my brother did not sustain any burns from the ordeal, but he could have been burned alive had Randy held him in there.

I'm thirsty now and am going for a drink of water.  I'll have an extra glass for you.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back with a Tangent

I'm BAAAaaaaaK!  Ug!  My vacation is over and boy did I have a wonderful time in Chicagoland.  I got to spend time with my family and friends, but  I didn't get to see everyone that I wanted to.  I spent a lot of time trying to stay cool, but I also managed to squeeze some great memories in there as well.

I was born at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois (the "s" is silent in Illinois) on a cold winter's day in January 1960.  A few days later, my mom brought me home to our apartment in Chicago where I remember absolutely nothing until I was about three years old.  That was the year that all the adults were acting strangely when President Kennedy was killed.  Then the days just drug on because I couldn't watch any cartoons on TV because all programming was preempted by the endless funeral that followed.  Back in those days there were about seven channels on television; Channel 9 - WGN (Chicago's own TV station),  channel 2 - ABC, channel 5 - NBC, channel 7 - CBS, channel 11 - PBS, channel 26 (WCIU - UHF) and channel 32 (WFLD - UHF).  I didn't really know that then.  I just asked a grown up for cartoons and if cartoons were on, I'd get to watch them.  If there  were no cartoons on, then there was some mushy soap opera on, which was boring.  I was so lucky that WGN had lots of children's programming; Romper Room, Ray Raynor, Garfield Goose, and Bozo.  PBS had a nice selection too; Tiny Toe, Sesame Street, and Electric Company (oh yeah, we had electricity back then).  Keep in mind some of these details might be incorrect, but are probably pretty close, being interpreted by a three year old.

I have no idea why I went off on that tangent, I just felt that I needed to say that.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sleepy Monday

Well, it's Monday and I slept until after 1200 today.  No, I'm not on vacation.  I didn't sleep  last night.  I had heartburn all night long.  I took some calcium tablets, about four every hour.  Still, no joy.   It wasn't until I got up from my bed around 0430 to swallow about a 1/4th of a bottle of anti-gas/anti acid liquid that the fire was put out enough for me to get to sleep. Even then I just sort of dozed because I was thinking about going to work after only a couple hours of sleep.  Finally, I made the decision to call in about 0630, then slept until after 1200.

At least I slept fairly soundly.  Did you ever sleep and dream about being at work?  After you wake up you feel like you've already put in a days work and you need to rest, but in 30 minutes you have to be to work for real?  I hate it when that happens.  Especially when I get my paycheck and don't have anything extra in there to show for it. 

Did you ever have that dream where you are in highschool, in the hallways, and you don't know where you are supposed to go for your next class and to complicate things you don't have any clothes on, so you are trying to navigate to this class you have no idea where it is in nothing but a book to cover you up?  Yeah, me neither.

Seriously though, I used to have a recurring dream - I was in a car, in downtown Chicago and there are draw bridges that cross the Chicago River.  While crossing one the bridge is open and I plummet down into the River's water.  I never actually hit the water though, I usually wake up just before then.  It was the same dream over and over for many many years.  Not every night, but fairly frequently.  Once I woke, I'd go back to sleep to some other dream.  It must be over 15 years since I've had that dream (will probably have it tonight since I stirred the memory up).  Some people can decide what they are going to dream on any given night.  I don't have that power.  I wish I did.

I do like sleeping though.  I think I appreciate it more since I have a sleeping disorder, and without wearing my mask with my constant positive air pressure (CPAP) machine I can't sleep...well, I can't get into a restorative sleep without it.  Sleep Apnea has been linked with all sorts of health issues - diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and a litany of other things.   I have diabetes (too much sugar in the blood) and high blood pressure (too much pressure in my veins).  I'm a regular one-man-carnival - sugar, like cotton candy, pressure, like balloons, and CPAP like some carnival ride.  I don't know if Apnea caused these conditions or of the conditions caused the apnea.  Bring in the clowns.  Having the apnea has let me experience what it's like to be Luke Skywalker's Father though or a fighter pilot.  I put my mask on and in a few seconds the air starts blowing into my nose and mouth.  It makes that heavy breathing sound like Darth Vader makes when he talks.  I can put my mask on, lay down and stare at the ceiling, count down...3, 2, 1, Blast...(make Vader noise here)

My wife has a favorite dream too.  It's not one that she had, it's one that I had.  One night, my wife awoke to me making a noise in my sleep.  She heard, "Whooo...whooOOOOOooo....WHOOOOooo." She didn't know if I was having a nightmare or what; and was wondering if she should wake me up.   She finally decided to shake me a little so I'd wake before I continue, I should tell you that I have a "thing" for watching, what Cindy calls, "bludgeonings."  You know those Forensic Files shows, like, "Body of Evidence" or "Who the Bleep Did I Marry" or "American Justice" to name a few.  I have a morbid fondness for those True Crime shows.  Plus I read those Detective Magazines too. I don't know why I like them so much, but I do.  I like to see how they put the pieces together to figure the crimes out.  Anyway, it's against this backdrop that I'm having this dream and making that noise.  I woke up and Cindy told me what was going on and asked me if I was having a nightmare.  I immediately started laughing.  The reason I was saying, "whoo, whoo, whoow,  was because I was dreaming I was on the Moon.  Each time I said, Whooo, I was jumping into the atmosphere in slow motion, getting higher, and higher, with each jump.  I was having a great time.  Cindy said that she wsa the one who has nightmares when I watch bludgeonings and I have fun dreams like floating on the Moon. 

I made a little light of having to wear the CPAP but really, it's serious business.  If you think you might have sleep apnea, go get a sleep study done.  If you think your partner might have it, encourage him or her to get the test done.  It may save your life.  You can die from it if left untreated.  I've sort of grown addicted to breathing. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Church of Barnes and Noble

Sunday is the day that many people go to church, including my wife.  Each Sunday morning she usually gets up before dawn and starts her day.  I, on the other hand, usually don't even roll over until 0930ish - and that's a big "ish."  Like 1030 to 1100 in my book is still 0930ish.  Like so many people who go to church, with their routines and rituals, I go to my "church," the church of Barnes and Noble, and perform my own rituals.  One of the things I like about my church is when I give my tithe (10%), I have something to show for it - a child that I bring home and introduce to the rest of my children.  Now, before anyone calls the police, I should explain what I mean by bringing home a child...

When Cindy and I were first married, I introduced her to my voluminous sundry of books.  When we moved in to our first teeny tiny apartment I displayed those books on two book cases in our bedroom. The books took up more room than a two pound bologna in a one pound casing.  One day Cindy and I were having a discussion about my book collection and I was telling her all about when I purchases this book or that book, what each one was about, what it meant to me, etc.  She had a smile on her face and said, "you talk about those books like they are your children."  I pretty much was able to give a chronology of my life with the books that I had obtained.   I got to thinking about it and it's true.  I do feel a certain connection with my books.  Like a child's Teddy Bear, they mean a lot to me...the stories I've read are linked to significant times in my life.  I have the first spiritual book I read, The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey.  I read that book cover to cover in one day when I lived in the Barracks at RAF Chicksands England.  I bought it at a quaint religious book store in Hitchen, England.  I remember the smells of that place. I remember the cobble stone streets I walked to get to and from the store.  I remember paying for the book in English Sterling. I remember the feeling I got from reading the book and the room and bed I sat on while I read it.   I remember discussions I had about it's content with other guys in the barracks, some agreed with me, others didn't. I have many books that have stories linked to them, like that one, that brings me pleasure and pain.  And I love them all.

So, after showing Cindy several of my books and giving her the background,  we started referring to any book that I purchased as a "child."   "So, did you adopt any children today," Cindy would ask. "No, not today" or "yes, I adopted three children today" or whatever the case may be.

I suppose, if I'm to be honest about things,  I am just as religious about going to my church as Cindy is about going to her church - I just have to drive a little further.  There is no dress code at my church either, but I shower and shave anyway before I go.  For me, it's a place where I go to recharge, contemplate things, meditate, have moments of silence and read good books - not THE good book, but good books.  I'll have to ask my wife if her church books are all GOOD books, or good books, or just books.  At my church they don't pass the sacrament, but they do make a pretty good Mocha Frapachino, and I often pay a partial tithe to get one.  Also, I've attended the church of b&n long enough that the people there know me and even exchange pleasantries sometimes.  I'm sure that some of them have even seen me sleep and heard me snore - probably a lot like your churches - come on guys, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, after I've had my religious experience for the day, I head back home in the afternoon to spend the rest of my day with my wife.  Apparently what they do at her church must be different than mine, because when I get home, Cindy is exhausted  - she is usually napping on the couch and either watching or listening to BYU T.V.  She assures me she is not sleeping though.  She is only resting her eyes.

Why don't I attend church with my wife?  Well, it's complicated and so I'll leave that for another day.  Because to explain it, I'd have to get into some of my ugly past, which I'll do later, and discuss some things that may be sensitive to some readers. For now though, let me just say I'm a skeptic with an open mind.  Besides, the church of b&n doesn't have tall slender members that I can develop a thing for - so for now, I'll continue my rituals's safer for me that way.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Random Thoughts and Other Things

I haven't read too many blogs, so I really don't know how you're suppose to start one of these things.  And, I guess by beginning with these words I actually started the blog...I'm now a blogger.  Blogger, blogger, blogger.  I just like the way that word sounds...I love the way my tongue shoots forward and sort of pops out of my mouth when I say the word...blogger. It makes my cheeks puff and lips pop.  Sort of like the loose drooling lips of a Basset Hound saying, "blogger." 

I didn't start this thing just to talk about that, I thought I'd share with you what it's like being a 25 year old man in a 52 years old body.  Chronologically it's 52, but sometimes I feel like it's 92.  When I was a kid, I always thought that when I got older, like in my 20's and 30's, I'd have it all figured out.  I'd have my career (a paramedic doctor astronaut who fights crime like batman), a wife (that cute chick from The Partridge Family) and kids (Buffy and Jody), then fill each day with interesting hobbies, like collecting baseball cards and playing alley hockey with my best friend, Mike.  I also knew that one day Darla from third grade would be sorry she liked Carlos instead of me and would come crawling back begging me to be her boyfriend.  I of course would tell her, "no.  I can't.  I'm married to that cute chick from The Partridge Family.

My wife says I have a "thing" about tall slender girls with dark hair.  She's wondering how could I ever have ended up with her?  She is 5'3 1/2" and has short brunette hair.  Did I mention that she is cute?  She has this dimple on her left cheek that is adorable when she smiles. Crystal blue eyes and the cutest little nose (which I dare not touch for fear of having my finger bit off).  She is a little fireball - and I love her.  Plus she is Mormon, so I can have as many wives (or as many "things" for tall slender girls) as I want (yeah I know they don't practice polygamy any more, but I'm holding out until they do).

Anyway, my blog is titled Pulling Up People.  I sort of have this idea (not fully formed) that I would write about normal stuff; about my daily struggles with weight, self esteem, health, career, goals, and family.  I'll share stories from my past and keep you up to date on stories in my "now."  Why "Pulling Up People"?  Well, I am all about helping and serving people; helping and serving them with the resources that I have been endowed with; like my money, time, friendship, knowledge, skills, and abilities.  When someone (people) are in need, they need to be PULLED UP - so they can stand on their own, in dignity. So, Pulling Up People is sort of my philosophy in's who I am and who I am becoming.  I'm just trying to figure out how to do that better.