Thoughts and assorted philosophical musing about: Family, Friends, Fun, Hobbies, & other everyday things.
My continuing efforts to serve as a First Sergeant (Top) in the Army of God.
My latest interest is in Letterboxing.

NOTE: This blog uses a blogger template that is among the large mass of standardized page coding which Microsoft Internet Explorer is unable to interpret and reproduce correctly. To see the actual full content I recommend that you use
any one of the other browsers that are readily available for free download. My personal preference among these is Firefox.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Erie Places and Old Memories

In order to renew her Ohio state teachers certificate Donna needs a few new college credits. She wants to keep it active in order to work as a substitute. She found a "Bunny" class that she could apply to her work which is a study of the lake Eire islands. In order to complete the course requirements she is required to visit and take pictures of several specific and general locations on South Bass, Kelly's, and Johnson's islands. In addition a tombstone rubbing from the Confederate cemetery on Johnson's island is required.

Tuesday we hit the road early arriving in the area in time to catch the 11 a.m. ferry to Kelly's island where we had a quick lunch, then completed the requirements in time to catch the 3:30 run back to the mainland. Two ancient phenomena on her list, the Inscription Rock and the Glacial groves, were of the most interest to me.

After an overnight stay in the area we were off Wednesday to South Bass Island for another photo shoot. The Perry memorial was my favorite of her required stops. We also had the good fortune of photographing a very authentic reproduction of one of Perry's original war ships, the Niagara which happened to be in the harbor that day. After knocking out the required visits we hopped onto the return ferry then grabbed some lunch and set off southeast to complete her remaining tasks. Next we were off to Cross a short causeway to Johnson's Island where she snapped photos of the sentinel statue at the gate and obtained the required rubbing. Then we completed her last requirement in a swing by the Marblehead light for a quick shot on our way home.

It was good to be alone with her away from routine daily maters for a couple of days. We both enjoyed the learning experience and the time spent together.

In a few days it will be memorial day. As a Vietnam war veteran I am reminded of several unpleasant events when this time for remembering rolls around each year. Many of those who I knew or was associated with did not make it back safely. Last year instead of my customary visit to the wall in DC we went to visit my Daughters family north of Detroit where they participate in several parades. That seemed therapeutic to me, we plan to repeat it this year. We are off in the morning. Donna plans to spend all of next week there but I will return Monday.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Singing Seniors at Sugar Creek

You are familiar with the term "senior citizens" used oo describe those of use who are either in, or are approaching, a period in our lives that could lead to the second round of wearing diapers. Our church likes to use the term "Prime Time" to identify activities planned for those in that age group while referring to us who participate as "Prime Timers". Actually neither of these group distinctions have appeal to me as I prefer to think of my self simply as a Post-Teen.

Regardless of the designation applied, prior to my last episode in the ER, Donna and I had signed up for a short retreat. We had laid our money down already, and the speaking and music were being presented by a couple that we had fond memories of hearing in years past, so we went ahead with our plans to attend.

We made many additional preparations the last few weeks to accommodate oxygen therapy, then late Tuesday morning we were off to Sugar Creek OH in the land of black horse drawn buggies. We arrived about noon, checked into our room, and ate at the Amish style restaurant located on the complex. After a light lunch I was able to enjoy some quality time with my pillow while Donna sat out in their garden and read. The group began to assemble about 4pm for event registration, then many milled around the lobby prior to a family-style dinner scheduled for 6pm. By 5:30 most were seated, had eaten the salad left for them on the table, and had begun lowing for the rest of the food.

Our first session with our host moderators, Lenny and Joy Wisehart, was held following the evening meal. Most of the rest of the two day event then followed this same pattern, food followed by a devotional presentation and singing, then circle around and do it again. The Wiseharts may have lost a little of their vim and vigor over the years. The don't hit you with the same knock out punch, but they are still vary enjoyable and have not lost their knack for inspiring you to a better life. Wednesday afternoon was left free for us to enjoy the area. After lunch on Thursday we began the process of stowing equipment in the car for the return trip home. We both had a grand time getting out with others who share so much in common with us.

This was my first multi night outing since starting on oxygen. We were able to pull it off with a few glitches, but it was not an easy or fun process. Having to plan weeks in advance to leave home for more than a few hours is not acceptable to me. Donna and I talked it over, then she suggested that I withdraw funds from my ROTH IRA and buy a truly portable oxygen concentrator. I now own a unit which I used to go to church this morning. It is about the size of a large camera or makeup case, is pretty quite, will run on batteries for about 8 hours, and includes both AC and DC car chargers. The results this morning were very pleasing and satisfying. I think it will make life much easier (and me much happier) as I am now less dependent of bottles and no longer need to order portable equipment weeks in advance. Just as my mobility scooter allows me to reach places that I could not otherwise, the concentrator will free me to travel for hours with minimal prior planning.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What is a Mom

Still no inspiration for a complete Mother's Day blog item. I posted this last year and want to share it with all of you a second time. It is a slightly modified version of a poem which was found on the Internet without attribution.

What is a Mom?

A mom is one of God's best gifts,
Someone to treasure all life through,
She's caring and loving,
Thoughtful and true,
Someone who is always a special part of your life,
Someone who holds a prime place in your heart,
She's a mentor, a confident and also a friend,
Someone on whose love you can depend.
A mom always has your best interests at heart,
She's someone so dear and so good,
She's a blessing, she's a gift,
She's a treasure like no other,
She's someone that is truly wonderful.
Wherever you go, and whatever you do,
A mom’s love will always see you through,
A mom is truly invaluable,
Indispensable and unforgettable.
I wouldn't want anyone but her,
And that's why I'm so grateful,
that God picked her for me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Moms, Oxygen and Me

Here it is Mother's Day weekend.

I have been planning for weeks to write an article about the four mothers in my life that are so dear to me.

My Mom Hazel "Dixie" Galt (Picture at Right), who went to The Lord on 17 August 1995 and is profoundly missed.

My Wife Donna Galt, who extends more effort and energy than she can afford looking after my needs, continuing to nurture our four grown children, and promoting The Lords work.

My Mother-in-law Opal Weed, who was loving caring and supporting of all her children and their families until her passing on 6 May 2000.

Last my Daughter, Ellisa Kobylak a fantastic, unrelentingly cautious, and concerned mother who is fully committed to the education, amelioration, and elevation of her two exceptional and exceptionally luck young men.

Now I am down to the wire and I am still struggling to prepare it or to do anything else positive. I am in quite a funk over my health and trying to adapt to lugging oxygen around with me. Neither medicare or the VA are willing to fund any equipment beyond the minimum necessary. That means lugging bottles around or walking around trailing a tube. Portable concentrators which afford much more freedom are only issued while traveling (if available) and even then they must be ordered weeks in advance. The units provided are big and bulky in order to meet the needs of all potential users. If you want the flexibility afforded by the daily use of a compact unit you must purchase it out of pocket at considerable expense. As a result I am chafing at not being able to get up and go without first completing complex planing and preparations. It is like traveling with babies while having only two cloth and no disposable diapers - it can be done, but is is complicated.

Even simple at home tasks are a pain in the derrière. I can't go within 10 feet of open flame - no grilling or cooking while on oxygen. Trust me on this - It is not possible to shave with a tube up your nose. Using a urinal requires a juggling act as you try to unzip your fly without the bottle falling onto the grimy floor, then being sure that the hose is not in the line of fire. For a new way to fall on your nose, or to yank your ears off, try standing up only to find that you can't straighten up due to your feet being on the oxygen hose. Of course I can go for short periods without it, longer if I am not doing anything more strenuous than lifting a glass of water.

Enough rambling and complaining for now - hopefully I will be in a more upbeat mood tonight or tomorrow morning.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blew 'til Blue

Just like the big bad wolf in the three little piggies story they blew and they blew until they were blue in the face and it was to no avail. It was a great weekend with family in Toledo. Again this year Dot & Gene Kobylak, the parents of my daughter Ellisa's husband Matt, hosted the family birthday party for our eldest Grandson Payton. At six he is aware enough to enjoy an occasional good-natured practical joke. He received one at his birthday party in the form of relighting candles on his cake. He attempted to get them all blow out several times, then his brother and other onlooking children came to his assistance. It was fun to watch and he seemed to enjoy the joke as much as anyone. I don't think that he takes the concept of receiving his wish if he can blow them all out at once very seriously. It was a great time with friends and family galore to help him celebrate the occasion. Of course he/we enjoyed great cake, good food, laughs, and lots of presents. The house was full of cameras, if you were there, wish your were there, or are just curious I have posted those shots that were taken by my wife and I here.

I have had some recent challenges that have once again reinforced the truth that health, wealth, and wisdom are fleeting benefits which we may enjoy for awhile but that we have no assurance of being able to keep. In contrast the rewards of kindling loving relationships with family and friends are much more durable and lasting. Although I was not able to interact fully with those at this gathering it was worth the little extra effort and planning that it took to be there, plus everyone went out of their way to be accommodating.

I guess the guiding principle here is that regardless of circumstances life will go on, and that in order to thrive we must adapt to and move forward with it. Here I am with song lyrics running through my head again, this time it is "I Never Promised you a Rose Garden".

I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden.
Along with the sunshine,
There's gotta be a little rain sometimes.
When you take, you gotta give, so live and let live,
Or let go.
I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden.

While on the subject of the family, you can see from the change in my template I have recently been meditating on the upcoming Mothers Day weekend. I am still missing my mother after many years, but more on that later. For you letterboxers I have put out "Dixie" my Mothers Day letter box. It will be left in it's seasonal home for several weeks.