Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Summer Stripes" by Bernie Walsh

"Summer Stripes" by Bernie Walsh

The Three Day Work Week

How about that Microsoft survey that indicates us desk jockeys are getting in about 3 days of work a week?

Before you get too excited, that doesn't mean we are off hiking, fishing, swimming, gardening, playing with the kids, blogging, surfing the web or reading or whatever else we enjoy the other 4 days of the week. We are averaging 45 hours a week "at our desks" but we only get about 3 days of work done.

I dare say there may be workplaces that would find three days of productive work a vast improvement and others that would consider that intolerable. Microsoft didn't provide a standard deviation for the results...just the average. Why is this important you ask?

Assume there were two respondents and one of them got in 1 day of work and the other 5 days of work. The average is 3 days of work. Without an idea of the variance we can't say what that average means exactly. Most office workers have a good idea intuitively what it means though.

We waste a lot of time at work.

Microsoft Survey Finds Workers Average Only Three Productive Days per Week

In summary the respondents said they get about 3 productive days of work out of a five day work week, meetings are a big time waster, Email is overwhelming, software directly effects their productivity (or lack thereof), they don't feel like they have a good balance between work and family life and don't have tools they need to plan for more efficient use of their time or improve their productivity.

Nothing surprising about the results. It is interesting how we refuse to acknowledge our lagging productivity. From the results it would be logical, if you were a perfectly productive person, to show up for work for 3 days...nobody I know is recommending that.

So what do we do?

Stick our heads in the sand, ignore things we could do to increase productivity, and continue with the myth that face time is all that counts - "If you are at your desk you are being a good worker bee."

A recent article in written by Demir Barlas points out,

"Microsoft can doubtlessly provide the scheduling, collaboration, productivity, and applications tools needed to make workers more productive. The question is whether what Frederick Taylor noted as "soldiering" -- workers' deliberate attempts to be less productive -- is something that can be addressed merely by better tools.

Taylor's Scientific Management establishes that soldiering is the result of several factors -- e.g., the facts that most salaries are not linked to productivity, companies do not always provide the right incentive schemes, and workflows are often poorly laid out. As a result, Taylor said of the common worker, "This man deliberately plans to do as little as he safely can."

It's depressing to think anyone would be so burned out or cynical about their job that they would deliberately plan to do as little as possible. Frederick Taylor was studying the effects of automation on steel mill workers in the late 1800's, I'm not so sure we could correlate his studies with someone working at say...Microsoft at a desk job.

Not to say there aren't some burned out cynical office workers that may do pretty much what Fredrick Taylor supposed. I would propose hopefully that they are the minority and the majority of us would like to be as productive as possible.

In any case there are definitely areas where we could make drastic improvements in our efficiency (read - happier workers, more productivity, higher profits, all around win win) given the results of the Microsoft survey.

So how could we get more work from ourselves at work?

Microsoft would like to sell us software. That might help but there are deeper less easy to solve issues than getting everyone the latest copy of Microsoft Office.


Two things that we could devote time to understanding and solving that would increase our productivity significantly are "presenteeism" and "low level office noise".

The first "presenteeism" is a complex phenomena that can only be addressed by integrated solutions. The second, "low level office noise" is not complex, but methods of addressing it are expensive and not easily implemented.

Neither are solveable by software upgrades.


Productivity, Presenteeism and Low Level Noise

Assume you are an office worker of some sort.

Surely being present at work must be a sign of a productive worker.

Turns out that may not be the case. In fact being present in an office while you are sick or for some other reason disengaged from your assigned work describes a condition, with a relatively newly coined name, known as "presenteeism".

There was a time when workers were given rewards for most days at work with out taking a sick day. Someone figured out having sick people at work spreading germs and viruses to other people wasn't the best thing for productivity. We don't see those rewards for most days at work without taking a sick day anymore.

Researchers have found that productivity losses due to "presenteeism" are caused by more than the obvious cases where someone who is physically ill (e.g. someone with an allergy, migraine, hacking cough, the flu) shows up to work and is unable to perform at their peak or even at an acceptable level. Companies are beginning to focus on the lost productivity (read profits) due to "presenteeism" defined as "at work, but not optimally producing."

Some of these causes of productivity loss besides physical illness could be emotional problems, family issues, aging parent care, childcare, worker/management distrust, worker/worker distrust, overwork, workplace distractions ranging from heat/light/air quality, poorly written or targeted Email, insufficient or inappropriate use of a person's talents, unclear job assignments, lack of training, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.

In other words, some of the things the Microsoft survey touched on, expanded to include some deeper issues, not addressable by a software upgrade.

I'm all for good software tools don't get me wrong.

I think we might work toward solutions by considering two points -

(a) It's not a wise choice to equate a person being present as a mark of a good (productive, engaged, valuable) worker. That seems so obvious that it's silly to me, but it's still in vogue. Yes I can be at my desk and read the paper, surf the web, eat breakfast, talk to people about whatever, complain, or I could be at my desk and doing productive work. And the survey says, for about 3 days out of five the latter is true.

(b) We need to make our work spaces into places that are more conducive to productive work. I'm not sure about most people but if I have to work on something intellectually challenging I need uninterrupted space to begin concentrating, get ready to do the work and then do the work. There are studies that show for some types of work, for example programming, the spool up time to get ready to work is significant. For that type of work the wrong office environment can not just degrade productivity, it can make it close to zero, if there is not enough uninterrupted time to spool up, get ready to work and then actually start to work.

This lack of productivity due to office noise and interruptions, isn't limited to computer programming; any intellectual pursuit qualifies, where you have to begin thinking (concentrating on the task), lay things out (your papers, your tools, books, computer programs, references, your thoughts) to get started, before you can even begin to produce. Assume that takes you a half hour to get ready to do a task, if you are interrupted every 15 minutes productive work just ain't gonna happen.

What's my point? We need quiet or at least non-distracting work spaces to accomplish certain types of intellectually challenging tasks. Part of the day could be spent in the marketplace atmosphere of the office with noise/phones/email, but if you need a person to perform certain types of intellectual work you will need to provide them the proper tools (one of which is a space to work conducive to the type of work they are assigned).

Before you decide that some low level noise can't hurt it is instructive to read
Cornell University professor of design and environmental analysis ,Gary Evans, study on the impact on low-level noise on office workers stress levels, willingness to tackle, and ability to solve, complex problems.

Low level office noise was shown to be significantly detrimental to productivity. "Interestingly, however, the workers themselves did not report higher levels of stress in the noisy office. "But just because people fail to report that environmental conditions are negative, we can't assume that there are no adverse impacts,"

A few links on these topics -

The CEO Refresher - Presenteeism article - The Dangers of Presenteeism article - Presenteeism.

Postscript - I have to put in a caveat here.

I'm not one to propose that anyone should be a drone with their head down working working working 8 or 10 hours a day. What I am proposing is exploring ways to increase our enjoyment and satisfaction with work and thereby becoming more productive. The end result is we can spend more time having fun at work as well as having fun, and taking care of important things away from work. My basic premise is that no one enjoys being unproductive. Okay almost no one. I used to dream about being a bum but that's another story ;-)

Monday, March 28, 2005

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Hot Java Cool Jazz

I was lucky to have a chance to attend the Starbucks "Hot Java Cool Jazz" concert at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle last Friday night.

It was a great show put on by fantastic musicians. There were many really gifted and hard working young people playing in five local high school Jazz bands and two local middle school Jazz bands.

Seattle has a long history of Jazz music. It's fascinating to me that these young people devote themselves to playing this type of non-mainstream music. Very cool.

You would not have believed a few of the solos; a trombonist with a sweet slide, piano player tickling the heck out of the ivories and a couple of great saxaphonists. Any of the musicians good enough to be in these bands are of course quite talented, but there were a few that had what I would consider true greatness. Lot's of potential and bright futures on stage that night.

Plus Starbucks was giving away some good sweet coffee drinks. It was funny to see some of the little middle school jazzcats lining up to grab a little cup of java. What the heck they deserved it and it was a Friday night. It was a dixie cup sized cup of java that tasted like hot chocolate with whipped cream and caramel on top. Tasty.

Learn a little about the The Roots of Jazz In Seattle in the book "Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle" by Paul De Barros.

Lot's of Seattle Jazz music is available for your listening pleasure. Here's just one example that happens to have the Space Needle on the cover -

One of the best saxophone players of all time was the late great Eddie Harris. If you've never listened to any jazz because you're not sure if you'll like it, try "Live at Montreaux - Swiss Movement". The end of the first song "Compared to What" is really cool when Les McCann introduces himself and Eddie Harris and then they break into "a song we just learned today...Cold Duck Time". It's great.



A Moveable Feast

Easter is known as a moveable feast since it falls on a different day each year based on the lunar calender.

Easter is observed on "the Sunday after the first full moon on or after the day of the vernal equinox".

The vernal equinox is the first day of spring in the Northern hemisphere.

I like the phrase "moveable feast". It brings to mind images of celebration and joy. Appropriate mindsets for Easter and the beginning of Spring; new life, rebirth, resurrection, victory of the spirit and forgiveness for our sins.


These are some snapshots I took at a feast yesterday. No food pics sorry. There was lots of good food but I had my hands full during dinner, or my mouth anyway.

A good friend has invited us to Easter dinner, egg dyeing, and egg hunt since my daughters were little. That would be about 15 years or so.

He is building a new house in a pretty area. He has planted lots of growing things (fruit trees, aromatic cedar, bonsai trees, flowers, vegetables) around his house. He spends quite a bit of time planting and tending to his place. It looks very nice and has a beautiful view. He and his wife live in the original smaller house at the bottom of a hill for now, until the bigger house is finished.

It's a nice tradition to see these people and share dinner year after year during the Easter season.


Not an Easter story -

Ernest Hemingway wrote a book called "A Moveable Feast" about living in the Paris in the 1920's. If you have a chance to read some Hemingway stories it's well worth your time. He is known for his spare and precise writing style that beautifully captures images, thoughts and feelings with a minimum of clutter. Oh to write like Ernest Hemingway....

The product description of A Moveable Feast from Amazon -

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

From The Miraculous to the Mundane

There was a beautiful sunset last night. I didn't have my camera until it was almost gone.

Mount Baker was particularly beautiful and impressive yesterday afternoon too. The sky was clear, except for Mount Baker which was surrounded by snowy, wind blown, wispy clouds. I'd like to learn what type of equipment and technique you need to take landscape photographs someday.

I was thinking about writing about everyday life. Mundane things like broken furnaces and miraculous things like sunsets, healing, new life - babies, plants, animals, people, sunrises, mountains, weather...lots of miraculous things around us.

We just need to look.


One of my favorite books about some mundane and miraculous things, like raising chickens, is E.B. White's "One Man's Meat". Here's a quote from Amazon -

"One Man's Meat continues to delight readers with E.B. Whites witty, succinct observations on daily life at a Maine saltwater farm. Too personal for an almanac, too sophisticated for a domestic history, and too funny and self-doubting for a literary journal, One Mans Meat can best be described as a primer of a countrymans lessons a timeless recounting of experience that will never go out of style."


I also love James Thurber's classic funny writing. I used to entertain myself during summer vacation with books of his from the library. Those were the prehistoric times before cable TV, Playstation, X-box, Nintendos, internet(s), and computers.

I recently ran across the book "Is Sex Necessary" by E.B. White and James Thurber, it sounds fun to read and look at.

From the Publisher,

"The classic send-up of sex manuals and how-to books--and one of the funniest books ever written. "One of the silliest books in years, and perfectly lovely."--Saturday Review"

and the product description,

"The first book of prose published by either James Thurber or E. B. White, Is Sex Necessary? combines the humor and genius of both authors to examine those great mysteries of life -- romance, love, and marriage. A masterpiece of drollery, this 75th Anniversary Edition stands the test of time with its sidesplitting spoof of men, women, and psychologists; more than fifty funny illustrations by Thurber; and a new foreword by John Updike."

E.B. White books at Amazon.

James Thurber books at Amazon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Assembly is the Reverse of Disassembly

I like to take things apart to see how they work.

That's a picture of a relay from our furnace. I'd replaced the motor, the wiring to the motor, and fiddled with it for several hours...taking the motor out, putting it back in, checking the wires, swearing, sweating etc.

Turns out there were three things wrong (a) motor was burned out, (b) relay contacts had fused due to overheating when the motor burned out and (c) a separate inline switch box had popped a fuse. There's a circuit breaker for the motor and controller in the main service panel and a separate inline switch box with those old screw-in type fuses as well.

Now that I got those three things fixed we have heat!

I still have to go to the store and get one of those old screw in type fuses, put new air filters in and watch the belt and motor for awhile to make sure they continue to run smoothly.

The tag on the old motor was dated 1940 so I guess I got my money's worth out of that one.

Anyway that picture at the top is a relay from the controller. The controller is a neat piece of machinery, it's an old Honeywell unit that's built like a clock, with lots of little pieces. As the heater warms up a thermocouple heats up, energizing a coil which pushes a rod on that relay to turn the fan on. It was interesting to take it apart and figure out how it worked.

If you ever need someone to come over to your house and sweat and swear..just give me a call. I'm pretty good at fixing washers/dryers/furnaces too.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Thich Nhat Hanh - Smiling and Breathing

From Interlude Retreat -

"Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace."

Thich Nhat Hanh


Tom Barrett's Meditation of the Week is on breathing -

"Awareness of the breath is basic to meditation as breathing is basic to life. Humans naturally manifest our emotional states in our breathing. Fast hard breathing arises with powerful emotions—anger and fear, for instance. Slower, deeper breathing comes with more relaxed states. We can pump up our emotions by pumping up our respiration, and we can calm our emotions by deepening and slowing our breath. When we need to calm down, the place to start is to become conscious of the breath and intentionally slow it down and make it deeper."

Nice deep breath.....

Sunday Morning - Norwegian Pancakes

One of my favorite cookbooks is the Butte Heritage Cookbook edited by Jean McGrath.

It has a variety of recipes from 21 ethnic groups that lived in Butte Montana, from American Indians to Yugoslavians. The recipes are contributed by citizens of Butte and many include small stories that are interesting to read.

When there are a few people around the house on Sunday morning I like to make -


"Norwegian Pancakes"

1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 scant cup milk
1/2 cup flout (or trifle more)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Grease pancake griddle lightly. Make a thin pancake, using 1 or 2 tablespoons batter. When bubbles form, turn and brown other side.

My grandfather Mr. Charles Ronning was born in Trondheim, Norway in 1864. He brought this recipe to Montana in 1897. Many members of our family remembered how he mixed his pancakes in a lard pail to feed his five hungry children.

Mrs. F.A. Pascoe


This is part of a picture from the cookbook. It's called "The Success Cafe" - The smallest restaurant in the world.

"The Success Cafe" From a photo, courtesy Gay Stewart - John Alley 1976

I made a copy of it years ago to use as a bookmark for the cookbook. It has a lot of splatters on it from mornings making Norwegian pancakes and other tasty recipes from the cookbook.

Life is good at the Success Cafe.

Wishing you a good start to the week.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Trout Fishing in America - Richard Brautigan

One of my favorite Richard Brautigan stories is The Kool-Aid Wino from his book Trout Fishing in America.

I used to see Richard occasionally at the Eagles Club in Bozeman Montana. He was teaching a writing course at the university. They had great burgers and beer at the Eagles back then. On Friday's you could head across the street to the Bozeman Hotel / Rosie's Cantina for nickle beer night. People would spill out of that small bar into the street on warm Fridays. It was a great time.

Richard Brautigan Works From Amazon


I know a person who once mixed a batch of Koolaid in a wheelbarrow when he was a small fry. His friend and him apparently couldn't find a pitcher, or maybe it made perfect sense to a 4 year old.

"Let's make a big batch of Kool-aid and share it with our friends!"

"Okay but we need a container."

"How about this wheelbarrow?"

"Great! Then we can deliver it."


"He created his own Kool-Aid reality


was able to illuminate himself by it".

Richard Brautigan "Trout Fishing In America"


I'm all hopped on green Kool-aid tonight.


Jack Crossen "CafeJack - Cook and Dishwasher"

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Hot Sites and Cool Tunes - Macromedia Flash

Really fun use of flash and some nice sounding tunes from

2005 SXSW Interactive Festival "Music" award winner Billy Harvey Music


2005 SXSW Interactive Festival "Flash" award winner A Break In The Road

Studio MX with Flash Pro

US Macromedia Studio_300x250

2005 Web Awards - Learning From The Gurus

The 2005 Web Awards are happening in Austin Texas.

This page lists the 2005 award winners.

Besides looking at the 2005 award winners websites, I thought it would be interesting to learn from the experts and have a look at the websites the judges are associated with.

Judges for the 2005 Web Awards and the websites they are associated with are:

Yul B. Karel -   (Creativebehavior)

Alan Watts -   (Pixeltees)

Jason Arber -   (Pixelsurgeon)

Adriana de Barros -   (Scene360)

Michael Brown -   (Ventilate)

Stuart Constantine -   (Core77)

Nicholas Da Silva -   (Zoolook)

Drew Davidson -   (Waxebb)

Michael Dowidowicz -   (Urbancollective)

Trevor Dodd -   (Trevordodd)

Clay Ferguson -   (Factor27)

Robert Ford -   (Favouritewebsites)

Carole Guevin (Netdiver)

Karen Ingram -   (Krening)

Seabrook Jones -   (Seabrook)

Nikolai Nolan -   (Fairvue)

Paul Ortchanian -   (Reflektions)

Francis A. Preve -   (Fap7)

Shawn Pucknell -   (Flashinthecan)

John Allsopp and Maxine Sherrin -   (Westciv)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Using Images to Think, Communicate and Create

It can be very relaxing to play with your creative side a bit. Learning, or rather relearning, to do "art" like kids can be quite fun, free and freeing.

It's good to exercise that part of our brain that helps us be creative. It's fun to do it by yourself and really fun to do with friends or in a classroom setting when you have an opportunity. It can take you out of your comfort zone and make you feel quite vulnerable. Not such a bad thing maybe.

Finger paints, colored pencils, paints, clay, crayons, glue, glitter, scissors, colored paper, shiny pretty things should be at anyone's disposal for when they feel the urge to make something. I have participated in some graduate level design classes where we made representations of ideas either individually or as groups using basic art supplies (or whatever you wanted to use). It was great. My wife's pre-schoolers do that kind of thing every day. That's great too.

We are never to old to learn. Never to old to try something new. Maybe go to a park or anywhere you like and try sketching something. No big deal just a chance for our minds use images instead of words. You might be surprised at what you ideas you come up with.

Speaking of using images to express ideas, there's a fellow named Christopher Alexander that has written extensively on "pattern language" if you would like to delve into this a bit a place to start is his website Pattern Here's a piece about Christopher from that site to give you a little background -

"Christopher Alexander is Professor in the Graduate School and Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.

He is the father of the Pattern Language movement in computer science, and A Pattern Language, a seminal work that was perhaps the first complete book ever written in hypertext fashion.

He has designed and built more than two hundred buildings on five continents: many of these buildings lay the ground work of a new form of architecture, which looks far into the future, yet has roots in ancient traditions. Much of his work has been based on inventions in technology, including, especially, inventions in concrete, shell design, and contracting procedures needed to attain a living architecture.

He was the founder of the Center for Environmental Structure in 1967, and remains President of that Company until today. In 2000, he founded"

Fascinating stuff.

I was lucky to be able to participate in some graduate level classes a few years ago with creative people where we read and discussed some of these ideas. I'm amazed at how fun it was and how useful it can be to access some of your hidden brain power.

It's an interesting train of thought. Maybe consider Wittgenstein's ideas on the "limits of language" and how we might use our minds to overcome those limits with iconic language or imagery of one sort or another.

I'd say just have fun with it. The great thing about self directed learning is there's no grades in your class (or just give yourself an A+ if you like to have a grade or a gold star if you are into those).

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Wisdom of Crowds

Interesting article at MIT Technology titled "Is It Possible to Be Too Connected?" written by Wade Roush.

Here's the first paragraph to give you a sense of what it is about,

"Perhaps you shouldn’t be reading the TR blog. Or at least, not solely this blog. Why not? As James Surowiecki--New Yorker writer, Technology Review contributor, and author of the recent book The Wisdom of Crowds--pointed out today at the O’Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference in San Diego, it may be possible to be excessively hooked into the buzz, zeitgeist, or groupthink around a certain topic. To the extent that the TR blog attempts to capture the zeitgeist in the world of emerging technologies, therefore, you’re probably better off if you seek your information from a variety of sources."

From the Wade Roush Blog


Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Scribbles - some pages I'm fiddling around that have a notebook paper background and typewriter-like font.

Nothing beats Blogger for convenience when it comes to a way to quickly and easily record and share thoughts.

You and This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Happy St Patrick's Day

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again, may God hold you in
The palm of His hand.

I Believe in the sun…
When it is not Shining.
I Believe in Love…
Even when I feel it not.
I Believe in God…
Even when He is Silent.

May There Always Be Work For Your hands to do
May your Purse Always hold a Coin or Two
May The Sun Always Shine On your Windowpane
May a Rainbow Be Certain to Follow Each Rain
May the hand of a Friend Always Be Near You
May God Fill Your heart with Gladness To Cheer You

Irish Blessings Courtesy of my Brother Kelly


To all the Irish men and women I know and have known; and in particular this morning thinking of Tim, Kelly, Pat, Colleen, Mike, Jack, Jeannie, Becky, Hugh, Margaret, Jim, Claudina, TP, Paul, Mary Pat, Father Kelly, Father Tobin, Ginger...and all those Irish family and friends I am missing - thank you for the memories. I consider myself very lucky to have shared paths with you. I hope you are sharing a bit of blarney and some Irish cheer today. God bless you, God Bless America and Erin Go Brah.

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

There's a tear in your eye,
And I'm wondering why,
For it never should be there at all.
With such pow'r in your smile,
Sure a stone you'd beguile,
So there's never a teardrop should fall.
When your sweet lilting laughter's
Like some fairy song,
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be;
You should laugh all the while
And all other times smile,
And now, smile a smile for me.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

For your smile is a part
Of the love in your heart,
And it makes even sunshine more bright.
Like the linnet's sweet song,
Crooning all the day long,
Comes your laughter and light.
For the springtime of life
Is the sweetest of all
There is ne'er a real care or regret;
And while springtime is ours
Throughout all of youth's hours,
Let us smile each chance we get.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

From Images of

I'm making up a recipe for a green punch to have on St Patrick's Day. So far it's

7 Up Soda
Lime Sherbet
Lemon Lime Kool Aid (it's a green color)

Put some hunks of Lime Sherbet in the bottom of a punch bowl or pitcher.

Sprinkle a little Lemon Lime Kool Aid on top.

Pour in 7 Up soda.

It looks really cool as the 7 Up foams up with the green kool aid, you get a nice green tinge on the foam.

Make and serve in clear containers so your guests can enjoy the lovely green color.

Don't forget to check out monkey's st. patricks day for other great ideas.

I put together a page of clipart for Saint Patrick's Day on mysite at Feel free to use the clipart for whatever sort of St. Patty's day thing you might be working on. Please note that some of these files are .wmf and require use of Internet Explorer to view (sorry all you Firefox fans..I couldn't figure out a good way to convert them to a format Firefox likes).


Start with these ingredients.

Pour on the 7 Up

You have a nice pretty green concoction.


The old furnace gave up the ghost last night.

I had a small celebration in it's honor.

Early Morning Furnace Party


Got a new motor on the way from Bid, Buy or Sell on eBay!.

Thanks goodness we are experiencing a warm spell so I can wait a week or so for the motor to be sent UPS from Wisconsin. I got a good price. You can get 10 dollars knocked off purchases of 50 dollars or more by signing up for a PayPal credit line.

I'm looking forward to getting toasty warm again once my new motor shows up. In the meantime why not join Ebay and see what they have that you might need or want?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Good Morning - Velkommen This Day

I enjoy reading a variety of material for inspiration and education. Here are a few Christian thoughts that you may find meaningful.


"Good morning. Welcome to Monday, March 14th..

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me..." Jeremiah 29:11-14a

We can trust that God's intentions for our lives are always ultimately good. We can also trust that God wants only what is best for us. But how do we get there from here? How does God help us find his will for us on a daily basis? How does God help us make decisions?

I want to spend some time with you this week seeking an answer to those questions. Since I write these devotions daily, I don't where we will find ourselves by Friday, but I hope we move beyond the "scatter gun in desperation" approach to seeking God's will.

Do you know what the "scatter gun in desperation" approach is?

It's like the time that a guy, whose life was in utter turmoil, found himself late at night in a lonely hotel room. He didn't know what to do. He didn't know where to turn. He was at the end of his rope. Only then, in total desperation, was he ready to turn to God. He opened the night stand, took out the Gideon Bible, flipped it open and stabbed his finger onto the page. He had found Matthew 27:5b, "And he departed and went and hanged himself." Not satisfied with that answer, the guy tries again. He closes the Bible, whips it open and stabs another verse. This time he finds Judges 7:17b, "Look at me and do the same."

Obviously, there has to be another way. But I know that there have been times in my life, and probably in yours as well, where we have done precisely what the guy in the hotel room did - waited until the absolute last second and then expected that God would somehow magically bale us out.

God, it seems to me, wants to be more than our "celestial fireman" who comes running whenever we sound the alarm in desperation. God has identified himself to us as "Father," has revealed himself so we can get hold of him, in order that we might truly have a relationship with him. More like a loving Father than a celestial fireman.

Let's begin our week, seeking after answers to how God helps us make decisions, with the firm assurance that God is here for us. That God is available to us. That God wants to be helpful in our lives. That God really does respond to our heartfelt cries for help and guidance.

Let us pray: We pray that your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Help us, Lord God, to seek and find your will, that the decisions we make in our lives might lead us down paths pleasing to you, and useful for the sake of our neighbors.

In Jesus' name.


From Pastor Kerry Nelson.

See more of his writings at Archive "Daily Devotions".

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 (NRSV)

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Jesus said to the scribes and the Pharisees, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
- John 8:7 (NRSV)



"THERE IS nothing easy about forgiveness. It draws us closely into the creative and dehabituating movement of Lent, asks us to be unmade and refashioned anew. Again and again and again, time after time after time. Yet ultimately, forgiveness is healing, both for the one who is injured and for the one who injures. ...

How astonishing: that in releasing another from being bound and identified with pain, we release ourselves as well."

-- Wendy M. Wright

More good thoughts at The Upper Room

I think you can learn from a variety of sources without becoming a "true believer" in Eric Hoffer's pejorative sense of that term (inflexible, fanatic, hateful).

The Eric Hoffer Resource is a good source for a snapshot of who he was. Fascinating fellow that Eric; smart, hard working and no formal education, but he wrote some of the most thought filled and thought provoking pieces you can imagine.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Welcome My Friend

I've been doing a little remodeling of my page on Verizon. The calendar with the camellia makes a cool desktop image. You will have to resize it to fit your displaying or printing desires.

Welcome My Friend

Hope you had a good weekend and are looking forward to the beginning of this week.

Take care of yourself.


Rachel drink plenty of liquids, including chicken soup and get your rest.

Sweet dreams....


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Anyone Missing a Horse?

Grand Avenue Park - This morning

Okay...I have to be honest, this picture has been altered. There really wasn't a horse or a funny looking dog when I walked through Grand Avenue Park this morning.

Treating every day like a holiday at Pretty Colored Stuff.


Don't forget the The 22nd Annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is coming up in April.

Head up to Mt. Vernon, Conway, LaConner and those areas of Western Washington for some of the most vibrant and spectacular colored fields of tulips you can imagine.

I was amazed the first time I saw them. The tulip festival is a great place to take pictures of the kids, or paint, have lunch or just take a nice slow drive.

Here's a picture I took years ago of a couple of cuties in the tulip fields -

Wishing you a restful and refreshing weekend.

As always


Friday, March 11, 2005

Sense of Place - Home

Good morning dear kind and gentle reader.

I'm just mopping up the floor and wiping off the counters, getting ready for the morning crowd.

Can I get you a cup of cocoa? Tea? Chai? Coffee? A shot of whiskey? Several shots of whiskey?

Relax..let's have some caffeine and nicotine or chew on some betal nut and talk.


A friend of mine will return to Vietnam this summer.

I can tell she is very happy.

Happy to be going to a place with connections; to the land, the weather, the foods, the smells, the sights...a sense of place.

We can assimilate into a place but there is always a sense of not being from "this place."

I've lived in Washington state for over 20 years but I'll never have the sense that this is my place.

I would hypothesize that, (a) Connections to a place are formed at an early age. and (b) The time in our development, when we are most able to learn languages (0-5 years), is also the time are brains are wired to learn the "language" of a place.

When I went back to Montana for a week long retreat last Spring I had the feeling of being in my place. I wasn't in my birthplace or in a town I'd ever spent much time in, but the general feeling I had was that I was in some sense home. It felt really good.

I can imagine my Grandfather being in the dry Montana prairies and thinking about the mountainous water rich place he had left in Norway. To go from the fjords to the prairie, not knowing the language, not knowing the people, not having money or a job, took a lot of character and courage. I have a great deal of respect for anyone with the character and courage to be an immigrant. My moving around the United States pales in comparison.

Still I can't trivialize my connection to rivers, mountains, open spaces, smells, animals and all the things that make up my sense of a place.

Not sure if it's obvious but I have not included people in my sense of place. I don't want to confuse "sense of place" with "home".

One way of looking at home (aside from the sense of place - the physical environment) would be to think of home as the place where people love you. This would help to explain how people can be happy wherever they are physically located. It would help explain how people can be happy, but it wouldn't be sufficient, since having people love you is not as important as loving who you are (but I digress).

I love the Pacific Northwest. It's just not my place in some sense of the word. That's okay I don't mind being an outsider.

I always have to laugh a little when I see one of those bumper stickers that says "Colorado Native" or "Montana Native" or whatever place the car owner is from. To have a feeling of pride, or some sense of superiority, because by accident of birth, and whatever accidents of fate happened to leave you in the place you were born, seems funny and a little sad. I was born here and I never left. Okay...but then what?


"Tell me about your place?"

"In America we don't have places we have jobs."

Those words come from a book called "This Place on Earth" by Alan Thein Durning.

Here's a piece from an interview with Alan Thein Durning by where he mentions the origination of that story,

Q:You shifted your home from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, and changed your whole career because a woman in the Philippines said to you: "Tell me about your place." Why did that remark change your life?

"A:Starting in 1986, I worked as a researcher at the Worldwatch Institute. Based in Washington, D.C., I travelled the world, documenting injustices and highlighting successful strategies for sustainable development.

This had, I suppose, been a lifelong ambition. I come from a line that reveres wanderers. My family has moved to a new place with each generation, and sometimes with each decade. In this way, we have been typical Americans. We have been migratory, pursuing profit, knowledge, and ideals always to new locales.

But then, a few years ago, I was in the Philippines, interviewing members of indigenous tribes about their land and livelihood. I saw ancestral farms and forests that these tribes insisted they would defend with their lives. Late one day, a barefoot old woman who was revered by the others as a traditional priestess, said to me. "Tell me about your place. What is your homeland like?" I was speechless. I had no idea what to say. Should I tell her about one of various neighborhoods where I'd had an apartment in and near Washington, D.C.? Neighborhoods where I didn't know my neighborhoods and felt no connections? In the end, I admitted "In America, we have careers, not places." She looked at me with pity in her eyes, and it ruined me for the life of a globe-trotting eco-evangelist.

A year later, after failed attempts to shake the burn of her pity, I quit my job and moved my family back to the city where I grew up."

From an interview with Alan Thein Durning.


So to sum up -

Wherever you go can be home as long as you are with people who love you.

No need to despair if you are alone though, since even without loving family and friends you can make a happy home (be happy wherever you are) if you consider all the reasons to love yourself. It's hard but that's good. Being self-critical is not a bad thing in my book, as long as you give yourself a break every so often to be thankful for what a marvelous creation you are.

Learn to love, or at least appreciate, your place. Maybe think about how you define that place - your birth place, your home town, your city, county, country, your planet.

The phrase wherever you go...reminds me of a bumper sticker I like that says, "Wherever You Go There You Are."

That's right. Wherever you go, you will be there. That might sound like a joke or just silly, but think about it for a moment.

It's not where you go, or what you experience from the outside, it's what is inside you that matters.

Change comes from the inside, we work from the inside out. If we want to be specific; happiness comes from the inside...not from a vacation or a place or things; or dare I say it - even other people. It comes from within.

That phrase, "Wherever You Go There You Are" is also the title of a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I'd like to read it sometime.

On a humourous note..

I saw a clip from Blazing Saddles a couple of days ago that I'd forgot all about. Mel Brooks is the governor holding a meeting. He starts to play with, and then give people sitting at the table with him, paddle balls. It looked really funny. I think I'll see if I can get that movie this weekend.

This is the Quote from Blazing Saddles (1974) -

Hedley Lamarr: Meeting adjourned. Oh, I am sorry sir I didn't mean to overstep my bounds, you say that.
Governor William J. Le Petomane: What?
Hedley Lamarr: Meeting is adjourned.
Governor William J. Le Petomane: It is?
Hedley Lamarr: No, you say that governor.
Governor William J. Le Petomane: What?
Hedley Lamarr: Meeting is adjourned.
Governor William J. Le Petomane: It is?
Hedley Lamarr: Here sir, play with this.
[Hands the governor a rubber ball and paddle set]

The Mel Brooks clip was on as a promo for the new movie "Robots".

Sometimes I think the world has gone completely mad, and then I think, "Ah, who cares?" And then I think, "Hey, what's for supper?"

From SNL Archives | Deep Thoughts


At the risk of sounding a little like Pollyanna or Stuart Smalley I will say -

Take good care of yourself because by golly you are good enough, and smart enough and people like you.

Wishing you a wonderful or wonder filled or just a nice relaxing (or exciting if you like)....



Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Life Is a Game

Life Is a Game is an interesting article in the MIT Technology Review about Will Wright, creator of the Sims. The article says, "His prized possession is a global astrogator, a navigational computer with a tiny spinning globe inside."

Dang that sounds cool.

The theme of Will Wright's next game is "everything".

The article says, "This time around, players get the ultimate sim: life, the universe, and everything."

That sounds really cool.


In a related vein. You might be interested in a fellow named Jay Forrester.

This PBS article A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries: Jay Forrester is a nice overview.

Thinking about global equilibrium or organization and social dynamics is really fascinating stuff.

Maybe ponder on the implications for our planet as China, and other nations we think of as third world countries, grow more wealthy. What's the limit? Is there one?

Can everyone have an SUV, a big screen TV and a fast computer? How might the "system" (our planet) be impacted by huge server farms, explosive population growth, pollution; consider our air, water and food supply, education, and the environment.

I spent a few years studying "systems" thinking in an Antioch University Seattle graduate program, ala Jay Forrester, Peter Senge, etal.

This page Intro to ST give you a flavor of what systems thinking is about.

A couple of things I would consider important learnings -

Be careful when you tinker with a complex system. Do your best to understand the effect of system feedback loops, oscillation, time delays may have on the output. That sounds dry as heck I know but it's really key.

Secondly - There is no "other", there is no "out there". It's all right here. Whatever you do or don't do - it will have an impact.


This Wikipedia article contains information on Norbert Wiener, another pioneer of systems thinking.

This short biography from Scotland's University of St. Andrews gives an interesting glimple of a complex and fascinating man.



That's the number of impressions CafeJack has gotten this month of March. Yesterday was a better than average day at 5,432 impressions.

What does that mean?

I have no idea. I suspect a lot of robots are checking out this page. Googlebots, Yahoobots, Jeevesbots...those type of bots.

Hi bot.

I'm happy to get a lot of impressions. My main goal in creating this and other pages on the Web is pretty self-centered. I want to keep my brain active and webwork is intellectually stimulating. I like fiddling with computers, pretty things, style and writing. I also like to think I can communicate some things (on a pull basis) that someone might find useful or interesting or funny or touching.

This page and any of my other pages are just for fun. I won't quit my day job anytime soon, it's too much fun, plus I need the money and the human interaction.

Hope you are having a great Wednesday. I'm playing on the web from home today because of an allergic reaction.


Kid on Bus: What are you gonna do today, Napoleon?
Napoleon Dynamite: Whatever I feel like I wanna do, gosh!

Robots - A Yahoo! Movies Sneak Peek

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

More Nudity!!!!

Check it out at Pretty Colored Stuff

Sunlit Path

These four paintings are: "Sunlit Path" by Bi Wei, "Spring Too" by Emma Davis, "Spring Beauty" by Andrew Wyeth, and "Spring Flowers From A Piano" by Salvador Dali.

Bi Wei, Sunlit Path

"Sunlit Path" by Bi Wei

"Spring Too" by Emma Davis

"Spring Beauty" by Andrew Wyeth

"Spring Flowers From A Piano" by Salvador Dali


$20 off $40


Today Is Tuesday, March 08, 2005

We are at a crossroads. We can choose to be positive, loving and kind, or we can choose to be negative, hateful and mean. In the moment between stimulus and response let me pause to reflect and choose the right, kind and loving path.

Thank you Lord.

I am so thankful to be alive at this moment. The coming of spring brings us hope and joy. The trees and flowers, birds and grasses come forth to show their beauty after a long winter’s nap. People begin to dress in colorful and lighter clothes.

Thank you Lord.

Children begin to play outside. Their laughter and innocence is charming and loveable. Lord give me a childlike nature; loveable, loving, innocent and kind. Let us be playful, happy, active, full of energy and light.

Thank you Lord.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Embracing, Accepting, Trusting - Change

I've been reading Pastor Kerry Nelson's daily devotions for some time now. Today he writes about change. If not embracing all change we at least have to accept it as inevitable and trust that God will see us through.
The thought of change reminds me of this passage from Isaiah -

A voice says, "Cry!"
And I [the second voice] said, "What shall I cry?"
[The answer is] All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people is grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:6-8 RSV)

Who is Like our God?

Here's a sample of Kerry Nelson's writing from today -

Good morning. Welcome to Monday, March 7th.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” Psalm

The only sure things in life….well, death and taxes certainly make the list but wouldn’t you also add CHANGE?

Change is a constant in life. Nothing stays the same. Everything is in process. Now what do we do with that? Is change a good thing or not?

Do we resist change or do we embrace it? Do we see change as a threat or as the promise of something new? I guess that depends, doesn’t it?

When we are ill, we long for the change of restored health. Yet when we are healthy, don’t we dread the change that potential illness could bring our way?

When we are young, we long to grow older…old enough, at least, to do what we can’t do while young.

The truth is that we wrestle constantly with change. The changes of our lives bend over backwards to remind us that we are not nearly as in control of life as we think we are, or think we ought to be. Changes keep coming. And try as we might to stem the tide, the tsunami of change overwhelms us.

So what do we do with this change? What do we do with any change? The word for Monday is…we realize that while God is our sure foundation and we can trust that God’s presence and love will never change, everything else in life is up for grabs!

Let us pray: Lord, sometimes we flee from change as our enemy and sometimes we embrace it as our friend. But this we know – when the earth is moving under our feet we seek solid ground. Ground us in you! Be our Rock and our Redeemer amid the chances and changes of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Kerry Nelson

Covenant Lutheran

Archive of Previous Devotions

Wishing you a great week.

Peace always and

Remember to take time for yourself, relax when you can and breathe deeply...

Psychedelic Rainbow - Grateful Dead - Jam Bands stickers, patches, and clothing.

Psychedelic Rainbow has some cool Grateful Dead stickers and stuff. I used to listen to the Grateful Dead a lot more in the 70's than I do these days. Still like their songs and lyrics this one -

"Uncle John's Band"
Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia

Well, the first days are the hardest days,
don't you worry anymore
When life looks like Easy Street
there is danger at your door
Think this through with me
Let me know your mind
Wo-oah, what I want to know
is are you kind?

It's a Buck Dancer's Choice, my friend,
better take my advice
You know all the rules by now
and the fire from the ice
Will you come with me?
Won't you come with me?
Wo-oah, what I want to know,
will you come with me?

Goddamn, well I declare
Have you seen the like?
Their walls are built of cannonballs,
their motto is Don't Tread on Me
Come hear Uncle John's Band
by the riverside
Got some things to talk about
here beside the rising tide

It's the same story the crow told me
It's the only one he know -
like the morning sun you come
and like the wind you go
Ain't no time to hate,
barely time to wait
Wo-oah, what I want to know,
where does the time go?

I live in a silver mine
and I call it Beggar's Tomb
I got me a violin
and I beg you call the tune
Anybody's choice
I can hear your voice
Wo-oah what I want to know,
how does the song go?

Come hear Uncle John's Band
by the riverside
Come with me or go alone
He's come to take his children home
Come hear Uncle John's Band
playing to the tide
Come on along or go alone
he's come to take his children home

Saturday, March 05, 2005

I Pressure Washed Myself Today

You know how sometimes when you start something and just can't stop?

That happened to me today with my pressure washer.

I started out today planning to pressure wash a fence in the back yard and a deck. Once I got going I couldn't stop. I love the way things smell when you are pressure washing. It's sort of a mossy forest smell around here. We have a lot of moss and mildew because of all the moisture. When you break it up with a pressure washer you get a fresh scent.

It was supposed to be sunny and in the 60's today. Didn't quite make it but it was nice enough to be out in shorts and a T shirt.

I used a hand sprayer with a little bleach and detergent mixed with water to wet the surfaces down before I pressure washed. I cleaned off an old fence in back and now will need to repaint it. I'll probably let it dry for a couple of years first :-)

Betsy says not.

Cleaning Yourself Using a Pressure Washer

Disclaimer - Don't try this at home!

Unless it's an emergency and you don't have another way to clean up. If you know what you are doing it's sort of fun. I was wearing shorts and sandals and my legs and feet were so dirty I thought I'd better clean up a little before I went back in the house. Just make sure you hold the pressure washer far enough away from your bare skin and you'll be okay...

"Just Glad to Be Here"

Have you ever heard a baseball player, when asked by a reporter a question like, "Well Joe what do you think about being called up to the major league?"

say "I'm just glad to be here"?

It's a cliche and sort of funny but I like it.

I knew a guy who would say "I'm just glad to be here" when we were in team meetings and it was his turn to speak in an around the room, gripe/comment session. It would relieve the tension or gloom a bit after someone had shared some particularly worrisome, hopeless or depressing bit of information.

Just glad to be anywhere.

Just glad to be.

Just glad.


I'm going to tell a story about something old and something new. I'll start with the new.

Next week Becca and I will go see her good Doctor Runyon to discuss protein S disorder. Becca has that disorder. She inherited it from me.

Thanks to modern medicine we know that and proper precautions can be taken to prevent the effects of this blood disorder.

Your blood has a variety of proteins that effect clotting, protein S is one of them. Protein S disorder means you have less than normal levels of protein S which reduces the time it takes, and increases the propensity, for your blood to clot. The short story is that depending on the level of protein S in your blood you will be somewhat more likely to develop minor blood clots, phlebitis (blood clots in your legs), pulmonary embolisms or suffer a stroke.

We will be talking to Dr. Runyon about precautions Becca will take to make sure none of those things happen to her.


Now an old story.

I had a near death experience once.

It has given me a somewhat unique point of view (at least I like to think that).

I was a sailor on the USS Belleau Wood LHA-3 in the 70's. It was a great ship and I enjoyed my work and the people I worked with. Near the end of my enlistment I hurt my back.

I ended up in a Navy hospital in Bremerton where I had back surgery. It was a more invasive procedure back then, compared to today. It caused a fair amount of internal bleeding/bruising because of the additional trauma caused by opening up your back, as opposed to an arthroscopic procedure you might get today. I know because I had a second back surgery about 20 years later.

About 3 days after my surgery I was laying in bed in the hospital and began to feel like I was getting the flu. It got progressively worse. It was a Sunday.

I told the nurse that something was wrong. She was an old stern sort and told me she thought I was feeling the withdrawal symptoms from the pain medication they had been giving me. I knew that wasn't it.

I was reaching the point where I couldn't talk and tried to convince her she needed to call in a Doctor (none were on duty at the time). She wouldn't. I remember very vividly what happened next. They brought in lunch for my roommate and the smell of it made me feel really really bad. Couldn't stand it. You know the sensation when you are sick and smell certain things? It was like that magnified 10 times. I was having trouble breathing, my chest hurt and I thought I was going to vomit.

I started to cough up blood.

bright red blood all over my pj's.

I was blessed because a Navy Corpsman was in the ward and knew what was going on. He took charge and ordered an artery stick to check my blood oxygen level and hooked me up to breathing oxygen.

I had a pulmonary embolism. A blood clot had formed in my back as a result of the surgery and traveled into my lungs where it got stuck and caused a blood vessel to burst, and my lungs started to fill with blood. It hurt like hell just to try and take a breath. All I could manage to do was take very short gasping breaths. When you lungs are filling with blood there is very little they can do for you in a hospital other than hope you keep enough free volume in your lungs to sustain your life.

There isn't a machine they can hook up to force air into your lungs if they are filling with blood and they aren't going to try to pump out a lung and cause additional trauma and bleeding. They will give you oxygen to try and keep your blood oxygen level up to the point where you don't suffer brain damage. You are left literally with a fight for your life, if you are lucky.

It gets old fast. Your chest hurts like heck, your temperature starts to go up because you aren't repirating and you feel like crap.

I reached points where I thought "this is too much pain it would be better to just give in and let death come." I could actually let up gulping air a little bit and start to fade into a fuzzy sort of semi-conscious state. I knew if I just let the semi-conscious state become an unconscious state I could be free. Each time the corpsman would talk me back. At one point I was so exhausted from trying to gulp air and wrung out from the pain in my chest that I started to cry. I was going to miss my friends and family but I could see the peaceful release of death and was ready for it. The corpsman took my hand and talked to me, gave me hope, told me not to give up, he gave me the will and support to carry on.

I ended up in intensive care for a week or so. I went home to Montana to recuperate and fully recovered with only a slight decrease in my lung function.

I don't know that Corpsman's name. He sat with me and helped me but I never saw him again. He was my guardian angel that day. The page I AM A NAVY CORPSMAN talks about those great guys.

Subsequent to that I had another back surgery years later and ended up with blood clots in my legs. Then a few just popped up out of nowhere. That led to my being given the blood tests that detected the protein S disorder. Now I take coumadin and things are just fine. I feel very fortunate that I have a minor problem like that which can be treated thanks to the marvels of modern medicine.

Life is good.


I'm just glad to be here.

Just glad to be anywhere.

Just glad to be.

Just glad.

Life is so precious. I love it.



THE PATH of love that I walk is neither predetermined nor clear-cut. It is forged in the process of walking day by day, listening
deeply to the silence brooding beneath the noisy instructions issuing from without and within our own hearts.

God's will is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be lived into. It is a mystery whose contours emerge as we journey on."

-- Wendy M. Wright

Thursday, March 03, 2005

You Smell Good

Like chocolate chip cookies baking, or a laundromat.

Mmmm mmmm good.

Demeter makes perfumes that smell like chocolate chip cookies, a laundromat, cotton candy, cremecicle, dirt, brownie, sugar cookie, angel food cake and other smelly things.

I might see if I can synthesize the smell of fresh bread baking. Or maybe the smell of the ground after a rain. After I learn some chemistry skills that is.

Speaking of great skills -

Memorable Quotes from Napoleon Dynamite (2004): "You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills."

This site has some good stuff about The Best Smell Ever (v1.32) Here's a sample.

"Bean likes the smell of -

Oh totally LOVE that book smell...and new magazine smell. *ahem* Reply

* Lavender (many, many stars for this one)
* rain
* chocolate
* coffe
* ok, food in general
* that old smell that some buildings have...ya know, when its all dark and can practically feel the dust settling on you as you walk....and the walls are creaking and moaning..........*Shiver*
* the decay-y smell of forests
* Mushrooms
* Paint
* Fresh bread earns another point!
* Ironed clothes
* black tea



Howstuffworks "What causes the smell after rain?"

The word of the day awhile back was petrichor, the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell. Probably won't be using the word petrichor too much in conversation but I love the thought it conveys.

I've got to be begging off now. So I'll say good night to you and wish you a great Friday kind and gentle reader.

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