Saturday, June 17, 2006

Back to Work...For a Much-Needed Rest

Well, my five-week hiatus away from the clinic ends Monday, and I return to the practice of Pediatrics for five weeks. People ask me if I am ready to go back, not that it really makes any difference whether I am ready or not. I reply that I am ready. I don't dread going back in the least. I enjoy my work for the most part. I guess I am lucky to be able to say that after all these years. But, I would be just as ready to stay in retirement. I have found the experience to be enjoyable and rewarding. I have not been idle. I have learned some things. And, I have gotten some things accomplished.

My bride said if I listed all the things I did during the past five weeks I would be amazed. So, I decided to do just that.

Spent a lot of time (and money) at Lowe's, WalMart, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

- Downstairs Bathroom: Put in new light fixtures, electrical outlets, and switches & new decorative cover plates; redid grout and caulking; changed tub & shower fixtures; cleaned tile and porcelain; insalled new curved shower curtain rod and new towel rods. (Still to do: install through-the-wall exhaust fan)

-Upstairs Bathroom: Redid grout and caulking; cleaned tile; changed shower curtain and rod.

-Master Bedroom: Hung new window treatment.

-Attic: Installed new motor on roof ventilator fan.

-Yard: Mowed grass weekly; edged the yard (streetside, driveway, and walkway); planted new type grass in area that it is hard to get to grow since it is so shady - new grass is coming up, but spotty - may have to overseed or bite bullet and get sod; weeded flower beds in front yard; replaced Gebera Daiseys in flower bed - after years, the old ones did not come back this year; re-planted herb garden (its in an old wheelbarrow); planted annuals in topiary planters; started cutting back azaleas after they bloomed. (still to do: finish cutting back azaleas and other shrubbery, clean out tool house and pool house, clear out vines [briars & wisteria mostly] from bordering plants, and weekly mowing and monthly edging)

-Kitchen: Cooked supper on many nights, which I enjoy a lot...and the bride still works full time; cleaned out the "tool drawer" and organized my tools in the rolling tool chest that my family gave me for's about time.

-Social: Helped host several pre-nuptial parties. Hosted cookout and manned the grill for the volunteer staff of Camp Spinoza, the bereavement camp for kids, sponsored by my bride's Hospice.

Volunteer: Worked with Realy-for-Life committee. Going to help with fund raiser tonight. Its a dinner dance, beach theme, so should be fun; worked on church committee planning mission trips to the Gulf Coast in July and to Mexico in October.

Personal Stuff: Had pictures made at professional photographer for new passport and hospital physician handbook and for Dr. gallery. Had pictures taken with No. 1 daughter to give to bride for Mother's Day. No. 1 son stuck in Costa Rica, so he was not available as planned; boxed up things to send to No. 1 Son in Costa Rica...sent them UPS...had them refused by him because the tariff was more than the items were worth...lesson learned; framed pictures and sent to No.1 Daughter; sent just pictures to No.1 son...did not want to send another package, and pictures fit in envelope.

Computer Stuff: Blogged some; studied some Spanish lessons; worked on new website for the clinic; organized e-mail address list for church; wrote announcements for church website; planned Alaskan cruise/tour; initiated planning for Greek Isles cruise in seems it is never too early to start these plans; blogged some more.

Its really amazing what one can do when he does not have to go to work every day. It's not like a day off or a weekend. You can really plan and accomplish larger projects. I did enough different things that I did not get the least bit bored doing any of them.

I look forward to my next time off. Besides the "needs to do" listed above, I have other projects that I am just as eager to tackle.

So, with work interfering with my life for the next five weeks, I will not be posting so often, but like General McArthur, "I'll be back".

Friday, June 16, 2006

Just Some "Southern Good Ol Boys"

I was watching The O' Reilly Factor last night. Geraldo Rivera was on the program for a segment on the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, something I favor, by the way.

The subject changed to the Duke lacrosse team rape case. O'Reilly thinks the case should be dropped, and had said as much on one of his "Talking Points". Rivera countered, saying something to the effect that the use of the "N" word really upset him, and it reminded him of what Southern women had been forced to endure in times past. He clarified that to mean black Southern women.

I somehow felt compelled to e-mail a comment to O'Reilly. Since I know it will not be seen on the show, not "pithy" enough, I will post it here:

Dear Mr. O'Reilly,

Mr. Rivera alluded to the fact that when he heard the use of the "N" word he got upset. He then said that he recalled what Southern women, corrected to Southern black women, had experienced in the past. Fact #1: None of the charged Duke students are Southerners. Fact #2: Lacrosse is not exactly a Southern sport. Fact #3: Duke is a Southern university in location only. Mr. Rivera was quick to stereotype Southerners as bigots and racists when Southerners were not involved.

I think my Facts #1 - #3 are correct. I know that #3 is true. Just ask anyone in our area.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Missing In Action

I like pictures and images inserted in my blog entries. Above are shown the images I wanted to insert in my last blog posting. But, try as I might, old Blogspot would not allow me to upload them. The program teased me repeatedly, acting like it was uploading them when it really wasn't. "HELP" was not helpful. I even tried to edit the posting after it had been published. No Go!

Jason M has told me the problem was with the Blogspot program, not with my methodology. Since it works well on this posting, I am more perplexed than ever.

Has anyone had similar problems, and if so, are there any work-arounds to solve the problem when it occurs?

You may want to look at the last entry and try to imagine where the images were to be inserted.

Monday, June 12, 2006

"And on That Farm They Had Some Tractors...E-I-E-I-O"

My bride and I once again helped host and attended another pre-nuptial party last Saturday night. This time, due to the fact that the groom-to-be is a young farmer, the theme of the party was a summer farm picnic. The catering was handled by General McArthur's, best known in the area for his Bar-B-Q and pig-pickings. This night he served fried chicken, baked ham, potato salad, and tomato/onion salad. Dessert was banana pudding (with vanilla wafers). Wish he would have stuck with his specialty.

Music was provided by a bluegrass band, Appalachian Blue, featuring vocalists, banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and bass. They were great, playing favorites such as Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Rocky Top, and Dueling Banjos, among others. They also did some MoTown numbers with a bluegrass flavor, that they termed MoGrass. Also included in their repertoire were renditions of Brown Eyed Girl and Under the Bordwalk. That was one talented bunch of musicians. I could have listened to them all evening, so I did just that. I did not, however, join in the "clogging". Number One Son and I took "clogging" lessons years ago, and did not pass the course. It's hard folks.

The decorating committee adopted the basic green/yellow color scheme associated with John Deere farm equipment. There was a child's small riding John Deere tractor (you know the kind with pedals) at the entrance. The tablecloths, plates, and napkins were color coordinated in the green/yellow motif. Centerpieces on the tables were comprised of toy John Deere farm implements with white daisies with yellow centers. The bride was presented with a John Deere cap with a short veil attached. The couple's chairbacks at the head table were festooned with John Deere T-shirts, her's complete with a bridal train. I am going into such detail to show it was a John Deere evening. I thought it most appropriate, because I wanted to tell the groom, "Nothing runs like a Deere"...but idea was nixed by my bride.

To quote Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, "Big Mistake". For you see, the young farmer groom works for one of the biggest farms in the area, that just happens to be a major user of International Harvester farm equipment. The elder farmer employer and his farmer sons/wives were in attendance, of course. If they were not some of the nicest people in the world, something probably would have been said that was later regretted.

Farmers are pretty much brand loyalists. You are a Deere farmer, an International farmer, or a Massey-Furgeson farmer, period. Much like NASCAR race fans are Chevy fans, Ford fans, or Dodge fans, period. (Sidebar: I guess next year they will be some Toyota fans, as they enter the fray.)

But look at the bright side. The decorating committee could have adopted the red and white color scheme of the Massey-Ferguson brand. Then the young bride could have walked around all night with a large MF emblazoned on the front of her bridal cap.

Monday, June 05, 2006

"We are the Champions, We are the Champions..."

After being blown out (12-zip) in the first game, which ended after only 5 innings due to the 10-run mercy rule, the Fighting Scots of Scotland High School regrouped, came back, and won the next two games (1-0 and 10-5) to win the North Carolina 4-A High School Baseball Championship.

Great news in our One-Horse Town.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tragedy Compounded

Friday's edition of the regional newspaper, The Fayetteville Observer, carried the tragic story of the two misidentified young ladies from Michigan on its front-page.

Saturday's edition carried the following Correction at the bottom of page 2:

"The photos with a story about a Michigan student who was misidentified by the coroner after a traffic accident were mislabled Friday. Laura VanRyn was killed; Whitney Cerak was seriously injured."

Irony of ironies.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Robert Duvall's "Hub " McCann & "Gus" Mc Rae...The Former a Mere Shadow of the Latter

I'm not a big movie buff. It's not an elitist thing. I hardly ever watch PBS or listen to NPR radio. I prefer the "Law & Order" series on the tube and my rather eclectic collection of music stored on my laptop and piped through my stereo system for listening pleasure. Right now I'm listening to "The Eagles" as I type this. Did I just say "type this"? I did. What do you call it when you compose something on a computer instead of a typewriter. "Keyboard this"? "Compute this"? I'll stay with"type this".

Last night I watched the 2003 release"Secondhand Lions" on DVD. That's how current I am in my movie viewing. Number 1 Son has already seen "The Davinci Code". Anyhow, my Mom had gotten it from a friend and thought I may enjoy it. I did, but throughout the movie I had a feeling of "deja vu".

Watching Robert Duvall's portrayal of Uncle "Hub" McCann with Michael Caine's playing Uncle "Garth" McCann was reminiscent Duvall's character Ranger Augustus "Gus" McRae with Tommy Lee Jones's playing Ranger Woodrow F. Call in the classic 1989 T.V. mini-series, "Lonesome Dove", based on the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. (Sidebar: Now that is an example of a run-on sentence if there ever was one.) It was not that the names of the characters were so similar. I wonder if that was intentional, an inside joke, because the characters were so similar, the same.

But, not really the same. Lions's "Hub" McCann's character paled in comparison with that of Dove's" Gus" McRae. I will never forget many of the "Gusisms" so skillfully delivered by Duvall. (Example: Gus to Woodrow during the cattle drive north: "If we don't know where we're going, how do we know when we get there?") The Duvall/Jones pairing and banter also bettered that of Duvall/Caine. Who, if they have seen "Lonesome Dove", can ever forget "Gus" going to see "Lori, Darlin" for a little "poke".

"Lonesome Dove" is one of the few things I preserved on video tape in the pre-DVD era, and the only one I have watched several times over the years. It's that good. I confess, I never read the book. Could it be better?

So, for all my young readers out there (all 3 0f you), I suggest you rent it some weekend and sit back with a lot of popcorn and Coca-Cola and enjoy a true classic. I don't recommend beer, only because I don't want you to miss a thing in this wonderful mini-series.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"MaMa, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys"

Let them grow up to be skilled tradesmen, such as painters, plumbers, glaziers, electricians, finish carpenters, cabinet makers, etc.

During my time off I have been doing a little of this and that around the house...redoing a bathroom and changing some electrical outlets & lighting fixtures, really pretty simple stuff. Of course it takes me much longer than it would a pro, but I tell myself that I am learning as I go. Sort of OJT. So far, I have had to call in the cavalry three times: (1) a plumber, because I did not want to break off a pipe behind a wall; (2) a glazier to fix and hang large bathroom mirrors; and (2) an electrician, because I did not want to be KILLED!

I have discovered why these skilled tradesmen cost so much. As my brother would say, "They, like a divorce, are expensive. But they are worth it".