Category Archives: miscellaneous

A Gathering of Writers

About a month ago a I saw a notice for a writers gathering on Sunday, Jan 2, in Bella Vista. It’s been close to a year since I’ve gone to any writing event, either as a participant or observer. That was a small group, but it was good. So, I put this event on my schedule and looked forward to it.

There’s just something about being with other writers. I can’t explain it. It just gives me a boost, and makes me write all the more.

So yesterday I got home from church after picking up lunch from Wendy’s and dropping recyclables at the AARP recycling center. That gave me an hour to eat, rest a bit, and drive the fifteen minutes to the venue. I got there at exactly the time it was supposed to start, and found…

…one other car there—a pickup, actually—with one man in it. He rolled down his window and said he was calling the organizer to find out what was going on. Two or three calls later he got the word: It was cancelled.

Disappointed, I drove the fifteen minutes home, got some coffee, and checked the website. Now, when I first heard about this event, I didn’t see it on the organization’s website. Rather, it was on a Facebook page for the Ozarks region, a place where a number of organizations share their information. Now, I checked the organization’s Facebook page and, sure enough, there was the notice that the event had been cancelled.

Shame on me for not double-checking, or for not going to the organization’s own Facebook page instead of to that other page.

Ah, well, I went to The Dungeon with the mug of coffee, but didn’t feel much like writing. I looked over a few things, did some planning, but, otherwise, just pulled up some oldies on YouTube and listened to them. That, is always time well spent for me.

2017 Re-cap

While I had much family here for Christmas (some still here, till tomorrow), I didn’t worry about keeping to my blog schedule. So here I am, writing this post on New Year’s Eve, my birthday, for posting tomorrow. I think what I’ll do is just paste in our Christmas letter, perhaps adding a few comments at the end.

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Christmas displayDecember 2017

Greetings family and friends!

This branch of the Todd family has fallen into routine. Not a rut, for that has a negative connotation. Routine, on the other hand, can be good. It helps you to be efficient in your activities, and to effectively complete all tasks you need to complete. Yes, routine is good.

the four EsOur routine was broken a few times this year, three of them being extra significant. In June we drove, in caravan with our daughter Sara and her family, to the quadrennial General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene in Indianapolis. Richard was a delegate to one of the pre-assembly conventions. We went along to help out with the four kids, and, of course, to see old friends. Last time we attended general assembly was in 1980 when it was in Kansas City. The trip was good, without unsafe incidents of car trouble. It was indeed a good time. We saw those old friends, worshipped a great God with thousands of others, and were renewed and refreshed. Our accommodation was an older home rented by the week. We had a yard and parks nearby, so the kids had room to run.

Richard and SaraThen, on the way home, we spent a week in Branson, at a townhouse that is part of our timeshare company. We saw plenty of sights there. Branson has so much to do, for all ages. When someone wasn’t up to something, we just stayed at the townhouse. Miniature golf, Silver Dollar City, and a whole lot more filled our five days there. While we were gone for the almost two weeks, Lynda’s brother was here from Santa Fe to be with their mom. So we got to see him.

Another unexpected “event” came from Dave’s genealogy research. For years he has been trying to find out more information about his (supposed) maternal grandfather. Having only a name and a few anecdotal statements by his grandmother, he hit dead ends. Until DNA relatives showed up in 23andMe, and he was able to make connections. It turned out his grandfather had two other families, and he is now in touch with most of his previously-unknown first cousins from those families. Getting to know all these people, through Facebook so far, has been a delight.

And Dave had another “event” that broke up the routine. He’s been Corporate Trainer for CEI for eleven years now, and figured he’d stay that until his retirement at the end of next year. But, in early November his boss asked him to take on management of projects that have moved into the problem stage after construction. It started with three projects, is now up to four, and more are in sight. This has taken him back to his project management days. It has certainly been a change, as his hours have increased as he deals with the problems, leaving him almost no time for training. He thinks this new normal will take him right up to retirement.

Lynda has had some physical challenges this year. She’s had severe aches and pains show up in her legs, that caused her doctor to put her on a new medication. It turned out that med has some bad side-effects, however. She weaned herself off that med before things got bad. Now she’s wondering if other meds she takes have caused other problems, such as morning listlessness and what she calls “brain fog”. She does a lot of studying of health issues, and is hoping to gradually get off some meds and see if that helps. Meanwhile, she continues with stock trading, with Dave’s help from time-to-time. It looks like the year will turn out profitable.

We made several trips to Oklahoma City for grandchildren’s birthdays. They are growing up fast. The three older ones are in school, and little Elijah gets into everything when his sibs aren’t around. They teach him well. All three seem to like school, and to do well at it. Richard continues to split his time between pastoring the church and managing the R.O.C. ministry.

Charles at podiumCharles is now working two jobs. He continues as a dean for the College at the University of Chicago. He is also a dorm parent for an off-campus dorm. In both of these he stays busy. He will surely advance through university administration. The dorm thing is temporary. He plans on doing that for a year or two, then seeing where life and career takes him. Because his dorm job required him to be there over Thanksgiving, our family gathering is a Christmas this year.

EMB at birthdayEsther, now 92, continues as always, a little slower, a little farther removed from the world around her, but still kicking. She hasn’t had any new health problems develop this year. The biggest thing was the death of her sister, Faye, in July. We made the trip back to Meade for the funeral. So Esther, the oldest of four sisters, is the last still alive.

O Come O Come EmmanuelWe close this letter with a wish for the best for each of you. May God bless your lives, filling you with good things, and may they spill out with compassion for others.

Love,

Dave, Lynda, and Esther

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Emmanuel has come. We had a good Christmas with much family here, and contacting many more by phone. Yesterday I spent a quiet birthday with my mother-in-law and brother-in-law, as Lynda is in Oklahoma City for babysitting. For the moment, all is well. 2017 was a challenge in many ways. May 2018 be better.

Death In The Journey

Death does in fact change life, for those who are left to mourn.
Death does in fact change life, for those who are left to mourn.

In my last post, I started talking about the life journey I’ve been on. Several times death has punctuated that journey. At least once that death was life-changing. I allude to this in my most recent publication, When Death Changes Life. While those collected stories are officially fiction, they do come from a point of knowledge about how a death in the circumstances described will impact a family.

In my melancholy moments, I often think about another death: that of Chemala Johanan Babu. He worked for me in Kuwait. When I changed companies there and became a Director of Infrastructure Engineering Services at Kuwaiti Engineers Office, I inherited a crew that was working offsite. We were partnered with a British firm to improve one of the interstate-quality highways in Kuwait. The crew we supplied was mostly CAD technicians. They worked under the supervision of the Brits, in their office, although they were employees of our company. I had no need to do anything regarding this team. The Brits processed everything about them, even their timesheets. All I had to do was watch their billable hours get added to our department’s.

I met them all only once. When I learned that I had this crew working offsite, since I hadn’t met any of them, I made a trip across the city to meet them. They were all names to me, who became faces, but faces I wouldn’t ever have to deal with. Babu was one.

Nothing to do with, that is, until the job they were working on came to an end, and these men (about eight of them) would have to be let go. It was a sad day when I had to write them all a memo, telling them their assignment would come to an end in a month, and that we had no other work for them, and thus would have to let them go. Sad, yes, but they knew it was coming. They knew they took an assignment that would end at some point, and that their employment wasn’t needed after that. Kuwait allowed workers in their position to shop around on the open labor market, and hopefully they’d find a job with another engineering company.

The day after that memo was out, Babu was in my office. I recognized him, and realized I had seen him one other time, at the National Evangelical Church of Kuwait. There were two large Indian language congregations (Tamil and Malayalam, if I remember correctly), typically each over 1,000 in attendance, that met very early Friday morning, much earlier than the English Language Congregation, all of us sharing the same facilities. I had seen him there once, not sure why the two of us were there at the same time. Now here he was, the third time I’d seen him. I’d met him once, and then seen him. Now seeing him again, I realized who he was.

He came to plead his case to remain employed. He really needed the job, he said. There was something about his visa that wouldn’t allow him to stay in the country unemployed while looking for a job. He would have to go home. At least, now 27 years after the event, that’s how I remember it. I felt sorry for him, and said I’d see what I could do.

I checked with the other directors, scoured my own department’s workload, and had nothing. I did, however, have the promise of a couple of projects that would start soon. One was another roadway project with a different British firm; the other was improvements at a university campus. Neither project was guaranteed, but both looked good. We would know on both in a couple of months.

I decided I could take a chance, keep Babu on staff for a month while we waited on those projects, and help him out. If those projects both came through I would have to hire someone. I reasoned that keeping him on staff for a month without billable work would be no more expensive than having to go through a hiring process.

I called the off-site office to tell him the good news. He wasn’t there; had been that morning, but not since lunch. He didn’t call me that day. The next day I called again. He hadn’t yet reported to work. Later in the morning I learned the awful news. The previous day he had been to the Indian embassy on some personal business. Taking the bus to near the office, he crossed a six-lane road on foot. Except he didn’t make it. He was hit by an Iraqi driver who was in the country illegally and driving without a license. Babu was killed instantly.

A day or two later I went to pay my respects to the family. He had lived with his sister and brother-in-law in one of the poorer sections of Kuwait City. I went there to find the streets packed with people from southern India, all coming to mourn with the family. One of our senior mechanical engineers was from Babu’s province and language group. He met me and brought me up to the house, through the crowd.

Inside, I met only the brother-in-law, as the sister was wailing in another room and didn’t want to meet anyone. He and I talked about what would be done with the body, if the police were notified, if there were any mourning rituals I could participate in (such as fasting). It was a good ten-minute visit, and I was off again. The mechanical engineer thanked me over and over for coming. I hope it helped them.

So, this was part of my life journey. Not a happy part, obviously. But, as I said earlier, it’s something that always comes to mind in my melancholy moments. As I get older, and am nearer to death myself than to birth, death will become more and more a part of my life. I’ll have many more chances to grieve, and to mourn with others. Yet, the story of Babu will stay with me, forever a memorable part of my journey.

A Day Late

I often write my Monday blog post on Sunday afternoon, and schedule it to post on Monday at 7:30 a.m. This past Sunday, alas, I spent that time working on our annual Christmas letter. Normally I write this, then Lynda edits it—sometimes lightly, sometimes severely. It gets done, as do the cards, and they go out. Seems like fewer and fewer each year.

That took up most of my free time Sunday afternoon, so I didn’t get my blog post written. I wanted to do it Monday morning, in my personal time at the office before I start my work day. Alas, other things got in the way. My devotional reading ran long, and morphed into editing. I read in my Harmony of the Gospels, either the text or the Passage Notes. Right now I’m in the passage notes. I read those notes related to a certain passage, then I go back to the text and read the harmonized passage. It’s a good way to do it, except I tend toward editing rather than just devotional reading. Still, I enjoy this, and don’t mind if it runs long.

But that meant I had less time than normal before work started, and I had to get to my long to-do list before I could tackle writing this post. So, here I am, writing it a day late.

And, I have nothing more to say, really. The days are busy, the evenings full, and sleep is a welcome escape from all I have to do. Retirement is now 1 year and 26 days away. Perhaps that will be a welcome relief as well.

When Busyness Leads To Weariness

Sold one of these this week.
Sold one of these this week.

The good news first: I sold 5 books this week.

Two of them were direct sales to someone who buys all my print books when they come out. The other three were on-line at the Kindle store, most likely to a man from church I met with this week. He has a book idea and wanted to discuss the self-publishing process with me. We met for lunch in my office on Tuesday. He mentioned particular interest in two of my books, and those are two that sold. Maybe he bought those, and a third one as well. That puts me at 70 sales for the year. Not great, but certainly better than last year.

Meanwhile, on the engineering front, I’m now up to four problem projects I’m dealing with for this one client. I wrote about this situation before. My wife asked me how long I would be dealing with these. I told her 1 year, 1 month, and 1 day, my (then) countdown to retirement. These are consuming just about all my work time, forcing training issues into the background.

And then, two different people have asked me to work on specifications for their projects. One is a mostly done spec that needs correcting. The other is a spec for a project that’s part of a nation-wide rollout program for which we have standard specs. That will be about a day’s job. The spec to edit may only take a couple of hours.

Put into this mix a trip to St. Louis next week (maybe) to see the site of one of these troubled projects, and you have a real problem as to time to do anything. I’ve written nothing this week. Christmas is coming, and right now it looks like I won’t have any writing time till after that. Maybe, I suppose, I might be able to carve out an hour here and there, but that’s about all.

It’s making me very weary. I had three nights this week where I slept poorly. Last night was better, but I’m not yet caught up. A heavy day of yard work and other chores awaits tomorrow. I sense a very weary Saturday evening, and falling asleep either on the couch or in my chair.

What’s Consuming My Imagination

This is the e-book cover. The print book cover will be very similar.
This is the e-book cover. The print book cover will be very similar.

It’s been a while since I wrote anything new on my works-in-progress, or even about what new things have come to mind. I guess it was less than a month ago that I laid out my 4th quarter writing plans. Nothing has changed in these plans—officially, that is. I published When Death Changes Life as an e-book, and am about a week away from having it published as a print book. So that’s good. I haven’t yet resumed work on Adam Of Jerusalem or The Gutter Chronicles: Volume 2. However, Sunday afternoon I actually wrote a little on AoJ. And today I looked at prior edits to TGC with an idea of typing them later. So both works are simmering, and may boil soon.

But, I find my gray cells consumed—my creative gray cells, that is—by two other things. Some things I’ve been discussing with my grandchildren, especially my oldest one, have gelled into what could become a book, or more likely two small books. For now I’m titling this Nine Life Freedoms Gained and Lost. For some time now I’ve noticed how my grandchildren have developed, and how freedoms have come to them. The first freedom is learning how to walk, which is a freedom of mobility. How much more territory can a toddler claim than a crawling infant?

The second freedom is when you are potty trained, and free from diapers. This is a freedom of control over bodily functions. It gives you great freedom of movement; you aren’t tied to a toilet any more, or, worse, covered in a diaper. It signals physical growth.

I started thinking of these somewhat over a year ago, maybe even two years ago, as I watched my grandchildren develop. Since they live four hours from me, and I see them five or six times a year, I see their development in spurts, not continuously. I’ve noticed these freedoms they develop into. I’ve thought about the additional freedoms they will someday have. I’ve expanded this into a total of nine. This was all sort of organic, I guess you would say. I was mainly trying to understand the growing up and maturing process, not thinking about writing a book.

I’ve also noticed over the same time period how these freedoms are lost to people as they age. The ability to walk is lost in whole or in part as your legs grow weaker with age. Incontinence is the manifestation of loss of the freedom of control of body functions. The other freedoms, gained during childhood, youth, and early adulthood, are slowly lost with age. Perhaps not all of them, and perhaps some not at all, but all can be lost. It is when one of these freedoms is lost that the person requires a caregiver. The caregiver has to help the person who has lost one of more of these freedoms.

This has been rattling around in my head, consuming so much of my creative gray cells that I’ve had little energy left for actual writing. That it could possibly become a book became evident to me in the last month. But would it be a book for parents, for caregivers, or for both? The latter didn’t seem like a good idea, and the first one seems to be too crowded a field. That meant it would be a book for caregivers. Today in church it hit me that perhaps I have two books here: Nine Life Freedoms Gained, which would be for parents; and Nine Life Freedoms Lost, which would be for caregivers. They wouldn’t be large books. I’m somewhat leery of starting them. For now they are nagging ideas. At some point I’ll put a little more on paper. Perhaps that will free up my mind for other things.

Speaking of other things, a new book idea came to me a week or two ago. Yes, yet another book idea. This one came to me as a title. I was studying in Romans for teaching Life Group when this idea came. I was thinking of Paul’s impact on the early church, and how the story and teachings of Jesus were disseminated. The title came to me: And So It Begins: The First _____ Years of Christianity. It would be non-fiction, but would draw from what I have written or plan to write in my church history novel series.

This book, if I ever write it, is further down the road than is the freedoms books. It will be after AoJ and one more book to be sandwiched between Doctor Luke’s Assistant and Preserve The Revelation. I’ve already written some ideas for the contents. Once I get them put in a notebook, and hence retrievable in the future, their activity within my mind will soon die, and I can concentrate on current work.

NFL Player Protests

I wrote a post some time ago about Colin Kaepernick’s protest during the playing of the national anthem at the start of NFL games. Since then, many other players have joined the protest. They won’t stand for the anthem, looking at the flag with their hand over their heart. Instead, they stand, kneel, sit, or raise a fist. What Kaepernick started has grown significantly. No end is in sight.

The protest is mostly by black players. It concerns unfair treatment of black Americans by police forces throughout the nation. They say that police are harsher in their dealings with Blacks, and are more likely to shoot and shoot to kill, whereas with Whites the police try more extensively to work it out with verbal commands. I hope I’ve stated this position correctly.

The protest is very visible, as they intend for it to be. It has also produced considerable response from NFL fans, a response that is, perhaps, exactly opposite of what the protesters want. Fans are tuning out in anger. Attendance at NFL games is down this year. Television ratings are down. Both of these drops seem to be more than statistical anomalies, and rather reflect that something’s going on. The NFL has suggested it’s due to over-saturation, and that they’ve gone too far in pushing the NFL out to the public. Most people, however, believe the drop in attendance and viewership is fan backlash against the protests.

You could say that the fans are making their own protest, a private protest against the protesting players and against the league, which is allowing them to do this. But is a silent protest any good? Shouldn’t protests be visible? Otherwise, how to you bring about the change in the situation you’re protesting? To not do a thing is passive. To do a thing is active. Players are actively protesting, and fans are passively protesting the active protest of the players.

I haven’t heard any fans who say the players have no case, or are protesting a problem that doesn’t exist. Fans are simply saying the protests are at the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong way. Or, perhaps another way of interpreting this, is fans truly aren’t sympathetic to the protest, i.e. they don’t see the same problem as the players see, and thus don’t want to hear about it. They don’t say this, but they believe this. Who knows which is correct.

Into this mix, throw in the concept of free speech. The players have a right to protest, a God-given right of free speech protected from government interference by the Constitution. Yes, this is true. Also true is that everyone who works for a living gives up some of their rights when they enter their employer’s place of business. Some even give up some of this right outside of the place of business. A public school teacher who posts nude photos of themself online, outside of normal working hours, will almost certainly be fired. Long ago I realized that I shouldn’t put political bumper stickers on my vehicle, since my employer seeks to win public projects and any political display by me might hurt those prospects. My employer never said don’t display political leanings in a way that would harm us. It wasn’t necessary to mention it; I was smart enough to know not to. But, had my employer said that, my rights would not have been restricted. It was an employer saying that, not the government.

So where am I going with this? I look at the protesting NFL players. Their employer—either the teams or the league—could restrict their free speech as a condition of employment. But the teams haven’t, and the league hasn’t. What’s going on, however, is they are losing their audience. Their protests are backfiring. Because the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees you a right to free speech (i.e. no government infringement on free speech) but it does not guarantee you an audience. You have to earn an audience, earn it by the way you protest and the words you say. Earn it by making plain what it is you are protesting, not just grandstand the problem. Earn it by trying to actually make a change, not just call attention to it.

Someone might say, “Some are in a position to make changes; others are in a position to call attention to the changes needed but not necessarily to bring about the changes.” That’s a valid argument. However, everyone needs to consider the effectiveness of their work (in this case their protest), and decide if the audience is getting the message, which would suggest that change is coming. If the audience isn’t getting the message, or if the audience is rejecting the message, it’s time to reconsider the protest methods and perhaps do something else.

This is where we are right now, it seems to me. The NFL players who are protesting are losing their audience. Meaning they aren’t bringing about the change they desire. It might be time to change tactics.

I assume the NFL players are trying to make me see the need for a change: that I’m part of their target audience. I don’t know for sure if that’s what they want, but I think that’s the case. I’m just a part of who they want to reach. They want to reach the whole country. I’m part of that demographic.

I would say to the players: Look around you. See how your protests are being received. Is your message getting through? If not, change what you’re doing. Protest in another manner. Or, better yet, rather than just calling attention to a problem, DO SOMETHING to solve the problem. Your platform is huge; your influence is great. If you would work to solve the problem, rather than just call attention to it, maybe, just maybe, you will change the world.

Stream of Consciousness Post

I haven't seen "Eustace" for more than a year. Wonder if he and his family still live under our lower deck.
I haven’t seen “Eustace” for more than a year. Wonder if he and his family still live under our lower deck.

As I start writing it, I have no idea what this post will contain. Just whatever comes into my head.

I write this Sunday afternoon. After a good Life Group (which I didn’t have to teach) and worship service, I came home exhausted. Ate my hamburger, then retired to the sun room to read and rest. I read about five pages, then set the book down, put my head back against the swivel easy chair back, and fell asleep. I’m not sure how long I slept. I became aware of voices near me. Through the closed door I could hear my wife and her mother speaking. At one point my wife said, “Looks like Dave’s sound asleep.” I kept hearing noises in the leaves outside, and kept getting up, making as little noise as I could, to see what was out there. I thought maybe the groundhog that has taken up residence under the lower deck would be there, but I saw nothing except a couple of playful chipmunks. Perhaps they were making all the noise.

I believe this is a book I will enjoy—if I can ever get through it.
I believe this is a book I will enjoy—if I can ever get through it.

The book I just started reading is Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson. It’s a thick book. I got it out over a week ago from my reading pile, but it looked daunting due to its size, so I just let it sit there. Friday I finally picked it up and started reading. It’s about WW2 in Sicily and Italy. Since Dad was in Italy with the 5th Army, I had bought this to read. I’ve now read in it three straight days, and find it quite interesting. I believe I’ll enjoy it. Just due to the length, however, and the many things I have to do, I may not finish it before Christmas.

Saturday we made one major decision. We ordered a new dishwasher at Lowe’s. This is where we replaced our fridge about five years ago, so I figured we’d have the easiest time matching it there. However, they really couldn’t convince me that the one that is supposed to be part of that appliance set had the same textured finish as the fridge. So, we decided to get a different one. It has a black finish like the fridge, but isn’t textured. It was on sale, at the same price as the supposedly matching one. And, it’s about 5% quieter. Installation should be sometime this week.

What else? I spent time on Saturday updating the checkbook and budget spreadsheet. That was after balancing the checkbook Friday evening, and finding no errors in it. Also on Saturday we went to a funeral here in Bella Vista. A family here had lived in Meade, Kansas, and Lynda and her mom knew them. In fact, her mom was the one who invited them to church, an invitation accepted that eventually resulted in them turning their lives around. From Meade they moved to Talequah OK and then retired in Bella Vista. We would see them from time to time, at church or in the community. Eugene died five weeks ago, and Marie died this week. Sad, but at the same time good to know one of them doesn’t linger here without the other.

This is the e-book cover. The print book cover will be very similar.
This is the e-book cover. The print book cover will be very similar.

I haven’t felt much like writing new material for a while. Ideas for new books continue to come into my head. I have two that I’ve documented within the last month. I don’t expect to work on them any time soon. This week I hope to get the print book done for When Death Changes Life. The interior design and formatting is done. All that remains is the cover. I have that mostly done. I wanted to tweak the front cover a little to improve the spacing. I’ll then have to load it into t he G.I.M.P. file and do some work with it there. Other than that, I think all I need it some words on the back cover, and I’m ready to submit it. I have no sales of it so far, and may just drop the price to 99 cents. I won’t make a lot of money, but anything is more than nothing. I also haven’t ordered any print copies if Headshots. I put out two calls on Facebook for local folks who wanted a copy, and got no response. So I’ve not been sure how many to order. Still, I’ll put that order in fairly soon, maybe this week. It won’t reflect boldness and confidence.

My stream of consciousness has pretty much run out. I’m not sure what I’ll do next. Possibly another nap. I’ll try to find something productive, however.

Time for a Pity Party

I was introduced to the concept of a Pamper Party some years ago, when our daughter was a teenager, and decided to throw herself one. It was interesting to watch her

I was introduced to the concept of a Pamper Party some years ago, when our daughter was a teenager, and decided to throw herself one. it was interesting to watch her going through the activities. She felt good about herself afterwards.

I don’t expect that a Pity Party will produce the same results, but I’m ready to throw one for myself. What’s so bad that I’m ready to hold a pity party? Perhaps nothing, at least nothing of monumental significance. But it seems that too many things are not going right right now. Major projects aren’t getting done. Minor projects aren’t even getting started. And I have no desire to write right now. Haven’t written anything except this blog for over a month.

My latest publication, When Death Changes Life, doesn’t count as writing. That was just boxing up short stories that were already written and re-publishing them as a short book. Since it didn’t include any new writing, it wasn’t writing.

So, what’s so terrible that I need a pity party? I’ll just use the dishwasher as an example. That’s clearly a first world problem, but it’s a problem nevertheless. It started going out some months ago. I didn’t catch it before it started doing damage to the ceiling in the basement. Finally I had our plumber come to verify where the damage was, and he confirmed it was the dishwasher. That was in late August or early September. Back in 2012 we put in a new refrigerator that we got at Lowe’s. I looked, and saw they had a matching dishwasher. But it’s noise level is higher than what’s currently available. I could live with that, but I need buy-in from my wife. So far I don’t have it. So we need to go to Lowe’s to see what’s available. Or, any other place that sells dishwashers.

I told Lynda I wanted to get this done this weekend, that I wanted us to go together to Lowe’s either Saturday or Sunday to decide on what to get: the matching one or a quieter one. She said fine. Saturday morning was full of work inside and outside the house. Then came the Wal-Mart run, which I made alone. That brought us to sometime after 4, maybe closer to 5 p.m. I still had to study my lesson for Life Group, and I was dead tired, so I didn’t ask to go to Lowe’s. Sunday was Life Group and church (I went alone), followed by lunch and a quick nap. At lunch we learned that Lynda’s mom was totally out of her insulin. She took the last pen from the box in the fridge and didn’t tell us. Since we don’t normally go looking for her insulin, we didn’t know until she had to take it for her meal and found the problem.

So, I called the pharmacy. It turned out the prescription wasn’t refillable without a doctor’s consent, which of course we wouldn’t get on a Sunday. So I spoke to someone at the pharmacy about an emergency fill, and they said they would. It would be ready by 2:00. I decided to wait until 3:00 to go, after my nap. When I got there it wasn’t ready, them saying they were waiting on the doctor’s authorization. So, I went through the whole emergency thing again, and finally got the prescription. I looked for a new jar-opener pad (ours being close to disintegrated, and me not remembering to get one on my normal Wal-Mart trips) but couldn’t find one. So I bought a package of Reese’s cups and went home.

By then it was 4:00 p.m. I still had supper to fix, and had planned a meal with a lot of fixing. I started that at 4:45 p.m. and was on my feet till 6:45. During that time I washed a boatload of dishes (because, of course, we don’t have a working dishwasher), cleaned some dead stuff out of the fridge, and threw the garbage into the woods. We ate dinner. My new main dish turned out very nice.

By that time, I was more tired than I had been on Saturday. I decided not to bring up a visit to Lowe’s, and my wife didn’t bring it up. So we didn’t go. One of my main goals for the weekend was unfulfilled, and was no closer to fulfillment. The wife has headaches all the time. I’m not sure she will ever want to go, nor will she want to leave the decision up to me.

Well, the pity party should be over, except much more has happened of late.

  • Despite having 26 items for sale, with a new item added, I have zero book sales in October. Zero. Obviously I’m not writing the kind of things people want to buy. I can’t see my way clear to spend the time needed to learn the tasks necessary to place advertisements, so my writing sales seem to be at a standstill.
  • I can’t write with all these things hanging over me.
  • We are no closer to replacing either of our ancient vehicles than we were two months ago when we decided to do so.
  • Once the dishwasher is repaired, I’ll have to see about getting the ceiling in The Dungeon fixed.
  • I found it very difficult to prepare for the Life Group lesson I taught yesterday; hence I don’t believe I taught a good one. I don’t think I teach next week (though who knows, since I never hear from my co-teacher before Friday evening, sometimes not till Saturday evening, when I receive a text “whose week is it to teach).
  • For the last two weekends/weeks I guess I’ve way over eaten. My weight have ballooned, and six months (or more) of weight loss is wiped out. I don’t know if I have the strength to do it again.

Okay, pity party over. I probably shouldn’t have written any of this. I do so knowing almost no one will see it. Or maybe it really will be no one.

Writing This As I Go

I don’t know if I wrote in this blog before that I’ve been sick of late. Sometime around September 20 I began coming down with a cold. It never hit me hard, and was never a head cold. It was a chest cold. I suppose it could have been bronchitis, but I never seemed to run a fever. While the cold was never deep, it sure lingered. All the coughing I did wore me out. We had the trip to Oklahoma City the last weekend in September to October 1, and the cold seemed better.

The next week, however, it came back again. I lost another day of work, worked some short days, and seemed to be better. However, the weekend of Oct 6-8 I was still coughing hard, and a little too much. I rested that weekend. Didn’t work around the house, didn’t go to church. I read and slept, slept and read, watched television. I did go to Wal-Mart for a grocery and medicine run, but that was about it. I didn’t even write a blog post for last Monday (which I normally do on Sunday), and so missed a blogging day for the first time in a while.

Monday I went to work, coughing much, much less than I had been. I got even better day by day as the week progressed. This past weekend I was able to follow a normal weekend schedule. I’m working on all eight cylinders.

So what am I up to, and what’s on my mind, and what will I do next? Yesterday I finally published When Death Changes Life to Amazon Kindle. Today I’ll try to add it to Smashwords, and tomorrow or Wednesday get the print book up. I’m feeling more confident with both interior formatting (which is 98% done) and cover creation, so I don’t think there will be a big lag with the print book.

Then, I need to work on one of three writing projects: either the prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant, or the second Gutter Chronicles, or the next Sharon Williams stories. I wrote about that recently. Other plans have been running through my brain, and I may be changing up what I do after these three.

I’ve also been thinking about premonitions. I’ve had a fair number of them in my life, and almost all of them have come true. I don’t want to catalogue them here, but some of them have been amazing. One was recently, something concerning our church, which turned out to be almost 100% true. I’ve come to the point of wondering why I get these. Is God alerting me in advance of things that are yet to come? Or is something else going on.

I think I wrote some not to long ago about genealogy discoveries I’ve made recently, specifically finding/confirming who my maternal grandfather was, and making contact with other, previously-unknown family members. That took quite a bit of time in late-August and early-September. It’s still on-going. I’ve made contact with almost all my new half-first cousins. I’m not trying to figure out how we can all keep in contact with each other, and get to know each other better.

And, of course, that leads me to much work to do finding out more about ancestors I previously knew nothing about.

Meanwhile, it’s almost time to begin to prepare for the holidays. The kids will be coming for Christmas this year, not Thanksgiving. So we will have much work to do to get the house in shape and decorated. We’ve actually begun some of that, dealing with piles of clutter.

I have more random thoughts to write, but the workday is upon me. I’ll end this. On my to-do list this week is to develop a list of blog posts to facilitate being on-time and