Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gray Morning Light

This Morning it snowed
For the first time
Everything powdered with white
I’ll pull you close
Against the winter chill
And kiss your face
In the gray morning light

Many people have made blog posts this week relating to cold weather. It doesn't snow at all where I live, so I had to pretend for this poem to make any sense as I wrote it. It's not much, but I'm in a snowy mood...


Monday, December 27, 2010

The Jordan H.S. Match Gun Incident

Thanks everyone for the great Christmas messages, posts and comments. I very much appreciate them all. Now it's time to share some more stories from my dysfunctional and crazy childhood. This one was posted shortly after I started my blog and I don't think anybody outside of my family read it and/or commented.  

There is a way to make a “match gun” using a wooden clothes pin and a rubber band. I don’t remember who taught me how to do it, but I experimented until it worked. It had to do with taking the clothespin apart and reassembling it backwards. The rubber band is there to hold one end of the clothes pin together. The match (a wooden kitchen type), lights as it is shot out of the clothespin by one end of the spring. I just found the above picture on the Internet, and it looks pretty close to the ones that we made. Yes, we were evil wicked children...

I don’t remember the exact year, but I think it was 6th grade. It was mid-summer and very hot. Kenny Meeks and I were walking down Myrtle Avenue in North Long Beach, along the backside of Jordan High School where the athletic fields are. We were having an ongoing “war” with our match guns, shooting them at each other. I suppose it could hurt if one hit you in the eye, but we were young and didn’t worry about it at all. I shot one at my friend and it zipped right by his head. We continued on our merry way until we noticed smoke coming from the area we just came from.

We hid our match guns and ran back to where the smoke was. I guess the match that whizzed by my friends head went through the fence and caught some grass on fire.  As we looked through the fence it was very obvious that it hadn't been watered all summer. It was brown and dry and starting to burn. The fence was too tall to climb over and there were no gates on that side of the school. There was only one option remaining and we took it. We ran! The hidden match guns were forgotten. What match guns anyway?

We ended up at our original destination which was the local junior high school to play bombardier in the gym. A few hours later we walked by the high school again on our return trip. A patch of grass about the size of half a football field was burnt. We couldn’t tell if a fire truck had been called to put it out or not, but because there was nobody in the area, we assumed the fire just burnt itself out.

Several years later I attended that high school. Every time I was in that area I thought about the fire and the match guns, and just how little supervision I had as a kid.  Of course with my mother, having little or no supervision was a good thing...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big Doings in So Cal

Many of you are used to extreme weather. Where I live, we are not. We live in a semi-arid very hilly area and even rainstorms cause us problems.  When it rains heavily for three solid days (like it just has) and the ground is already saturated from rain we've had over the past two weeks. We have HUGE problems.  I know that some of you are going to pooh-pooh this, because you experience "real" weather on a regular basis. Our infrastructure simply isn't made to handle it.

This morning I had a follow up appointment with my surgeon. My preferred route would take me through a place called Laguna Canyon (now closed), to Laguna Beach (now closed), and down Pacific Coast Highway (now closed) to Newport Beach.  As an alternate route, I took what I thought was the my best chance of making it through. I was shocked at how many trees were uprooted and/or damaged. Every river, creek, stream, lake, pond, and flood control I saw, had overflowed.  Many of you have seen photos from the lake at the bottom my hill. This morning, the lake was much bigger and every boat there was either sunk or full of water. Most of the famous downtown beach, is simply gone...

This video (thanks to ABC news) shows the mud and water flowing down Laguna Canyon Road.  (please click on the following link)

I have a huge mess to clean up at my house, the roof is leaking and my step daughter (Ashley at Our Journey Begins, as the Kings) just called and said her washing machine broke. So, I'm off to her house. Next storm is due any minute! 

Happy Holidays to all my friends out there. I'll not be posting again until next Monday! I hope you have a great holiday weekend.


Monday, December 20, 2010


please enlarge this photo
My photo won!

Joan Hara at The Retirement Chronicles, sponsers a monthly themed photography contest. It has judges and the monthly competition is fierce. The theme for November was "clouds" and I'm happy to report that my photo won!  The "fire" look to the clouds is caused by the sunset reflection off of the pacific ocean, which is just the other side of that hill. Thanks so much to Joan and to the judges!

If you are interested in photography and don't know Joan already, she has a great blog. She lives close to nature and takes great photos of it during each season. You just may love it there...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend Reflections - Alamitos Bay

click to enlarge

Weekend Reflections by other photographers at Newtown Area Photo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where Clarity Remains

The Walk

The solitary old man
Finds himself
Retracing lover’s steps
In their old places
Where they once 
Stood together
Tossing stale bread
To busy ducks
Nine years later
To the day
He dissolves in tears
With his sight unclear
He shrinks upon himself
To the one place
Where his memories
Are handled and stored
With special care
To the one place
Where clarity remains

Soon my love
He whispers
Original artwork provided by Pam Tucker.
More of her fantastic art can be found at Pam T’s Art Loft.


Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm Baaaack.....

It’s been 5 days since my surgery. So far it’s been kind of a mixed bag. I’m super happy to report that the surgery was a total success. I woke up in the recovery room and all the pain and numbness was gone. The doctor told me that the swelling from the surgery might delay any positive results for a week or two, but so far…nothing!

On the downside, recovery from the surgery has proven to be very painful. Maybe some of the worst pain I’ve ever had. The narcotic that works the best for me is Dilaudid. Of course it makes me VERY sick to my stomach. Anti-nausea medication seems to have little or no effect.  So Wednesday and Thursday were pretty much spent pushing the narcotics button and then throwing up.  In the long run, it was worth it.  I came home on Thursday afternoon and the Dilaudid has been replaced by Codeine. It’s not nearly as effective of a pain killer, but at least it doesn’t make me sick.  Dilaudid and Codeine are both very addictive.  I’ve been down that road before, so I plan on taking the first exit I see. I plan to be off all painkillers in a couple of days.
A couple of people commented that they thought I was emailing from my hospital room. I didn’t take my laptop or phone with me. I was in no condition to do anything. I never turned the TV on even once during my stay….

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the holes in the side of my head. To make sure everything stayed steady while he was operating, the surgeon put my head in a metal ring. It was secured with screws through my scalp and into the bone of my skull.  Man, do I ever wish I had a photo of that for this post.
It’s now Sunday evening and although I'm not totally comfortable, I finally feel up to turning on my laptop.  I didn’t want to wait any longer, because I wanted everyone to know how very appreciative I am for all the supportive words, positive thoughts, good karma, and prayers sent my way.  This is another example of how real the connections are, that we of the blogging community make with each other.   I’ll be posting this on Monday morning after I edit for drug induced errors…
Once again, Thanks so much to all of my friends out there!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Foraminotomy, Laminotomy and Microdiscetomy

Foraminotomy is a surgical procedure performed to enlarge the passageway where a spinal nerve root exits the spinal canal.

Laminotomy is an open surgical procedure whereby a small opening into the spinal lamina is made and access to the spinal canal is created on the backside of the spine.

Microdiscetomy is the surgical removal of herniated disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord.
You might be wondering why I'm posting this information.

Several years ago I was in a pretty bad auto accident. It caused the herniation of a couple of disks in my neck. As time has passed the vertebrae has grown new bone to make up for the missing disk tissue. As a result the seventh cervical vertebrae is putting quite a bit of pressure on my T1 nerve. This nerve runs along the upper back, goes through the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ends in the two little fingers.

Whenever I look up and turn my head to the right, the nerve pinches. In the same order as above, all of those areas of my body feel like they've been stabbed with an ice pick. Then it all goes pins and needles. Not a good thing. Codeine and Lyrica work pretty well, but I've taken entirely too much of them.  Not a bad thing, if you don't mind being in a fuzzy state all the time. As you may or may not know, drugs played a major role in most of my younger days and I liked that "fuzzy state" a bit too much. So I stopped taking the medications a while back.  Pain or fuzzy? At this point, I've opted to live with the pain.

Living with the pain doesn't work either. So I'm going through with the surgery mentioned above. It's happening two days from now and when I wake up in the post-op room, I fully expect that the pain will be gone.  Depending on how it feels and how quickly I recover, will determine when I show my face here next. I'm hoping it will be just a couple of days.

I'm not worried about the surgery at all and I'm looking forward to the warm and toasty pre-op blanket!  Talk to you soon...


Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekend Reflections - Laguna Niguel Lake at Dusk

enlarge for bests viewing
Laguna Niguel Lake at dusk

Weekend Reflections by other photographers at Newtown Area Photo.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Hating Game

Talli Roland is one of my blogging friends. She's not only an  outstanding and creative writer, she's also a very nice lady, who has supported my blog for quite some time.  I've already read an advance copy of her book. I was totally entertained and liked it a great deal. 
Please help her debut novel "THE HATING GAME" hit the Kindle bestseller list at and by spreading the word.  Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push books up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.
Coming soon in paperback.  Keep up with the latest at


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?