dimanche, décembre 30, 2007

Well, after my fifteen days/nights of work in a row I was off for a full forty-seven hours. Lisa, the boys and I were eating a Toney's Pizza when Pete called me from the refinery. He and the guys on his shift were in the process of shutting down the UFH (clean fuels unit from hell) and they needed someone to work as Top Operator on nights.

We have a shutdown rotation. There are several people who are ahead of me in the rotation, but they were all out on vacation, so that put the button on me. I was very upset, but I was stuck and there was nothing I could do to get out of it. The worst thing is the I will work for almost the whole time that the boys had off from school for their Christmas break. I have arranged for Morgan and Danny to pop fireworks with the boys, since I will be working on New Year's Eve.

This morning Gary invited Bird and me to come by his place for a sip of Booker's Bourbon. Gary and Bird were already sitting at the table when I arrived. Gary poured me a drink and we spent about and hour talking. Then the party broke up and I headed home for bed. I slept until around 2:30 PM.

It's now time to start getting ready for work.

jeudi, décembre 27, 2007

Yesterday evening I finished my fifteen day of working through the Christmas holidays. The area of the refinery in which I work had to shutdown one of our "Reformer" units to fix some problems it was having. This caused a good number of us operators to work overtime through the holidays.

I did manage to be off work for 24 hours last Friday when I finished working graveyard shift at 6 AM and switched to day shift. I started my day shift at 6 AM Saturday morning. The boys and I took advantage of that widow of time off to go see a movie. We picked up MK's son and went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Saturday evening we had Lisa's family over for a Christmas party. Lisa got it all together without any help from me, because I was at the refinery. All went well and everyone seemed to have a good time. Lisa made a crawfish bisque, and everyone else brought food and/or dessert.

Sunday, Lisa fixed a meal for her brother Troy and his sons, Eric and Shawn. Shawn flew in from Okinawa, where he is serving in the Air Force.

Our family opened Christmas gifts early. I had to work Christmas day, when this has happened in the past, we as a family, would open gifts on Christmas Eve. We could not do this our daughter Morgan had plans to be with her fiancee and is family for their family Christmas that evening. Therefore, we opened gifts on Monday, December 23.

The hardest thing for me during all this was getting enough sleep. I was never able to get my body clock properly adjusted back to sleeping at night. I did take an Ambien one night, but we had something going on just about every evening which kept me up late. I would sleep a couple of hours and then wake up and not be able to sleep. One night I got to sleep about 11:30, woke up at 2:30 AM and was unable to fall back to sleep. After 3 hours sleep I was up until I left the house for the refinery at 5:15 AM.

Our clean fuels unit (Unit from Hell or UFH) acted up everyday so we never achieved the quite laid back time at work that we like when working holidays. I'm glad it is over.

This morning I caught up with with sleep. I took an Ambien last night. I did wake once during the night. I was able to fall back to sleep, and did not wake again until 10:00 AM. Nice!


lundi, décembre 24, 2007

Thia will be a short post. I am in my bed watching Future Weapons on the military channel. I got home from work a little after 6PM and will be getting up about 4:30 AM. My sleep pattern is still messed up from my long set of nights and I've not slept since flip flopping to days. So tonight I took an ambien and am waiting to fall asleep.

I plan to write more tomorrow (Christmas Day)

jeudi, décembre 20, 2007

I’m writing this entry while at work and I'll email it home and post it on the blog after I get back there in the morning.
This is my eighth night on graveyard shift (6pm to 6am) and I will have to come back again tomorrow night to work my last one. I'll work off Friday morning. I will likely sleep until somewhere between noon and 2 pm and then I'll walk around in a near vegetative state for a while. I hope to get my head together in time to do something with the boys. They're out of school, but I've been working with no time off and I don’t function well around the house when I am working the nightshift this much.

After a full 24 hours off work, I will start again, but this time I'll be on the daylight shift. My body is now used to sleeping during the day and being awake at night and that is not good for a quick turnaround to days. In order for me to get some sleep, so I can function at work on Saturday, I'll be looking to my doctor and a little pill known as Ambian (sp ?).

There is very little for me to write about. I've been getting up, vegging around the house for a few hours and coming to work. When I get home, I let the dog out, feed the cats and get ready for bed and watch the news for a few minutes. I’m not getting much reading, or anything else productive done around the house when I am on graveyards.

Starting Saturday, I'll work my regular daylight shift. My last full day off was Dec. 11 and my next real day off will be Dec. 27. On my days off I'll have to get some fireworks. The boys and I will go to the country and blast away with the fireworks early, because I start nightshift again on New Years Eve.

That's life as a shift worker at an oil refinery.

Coram Deo,

vendredi, décembre 14, 2007

I worked last night. I just got home and I'm waiting for Lisa to wake up so I can go to bed without disturbing the last few minutes of her sleep. Her alarm should be going of in a couple of minutes.

On the way home this morning I was listening to KRVS (Radio Acadie) and Pete Bergeron's morning program (Bonjour Louisiane) which is in French. I was excited to here Jo-el Sonnier's version of Jolie Blonde. I have always liked Jo-el version.

Well, Lisa is now up and I am off to bed.

Coram Deo,

vendredi, décembre 07, 2007

Sunday was a normal day. We attended worship services at Bethel (PCA), after church Lisa and Morgan attended a baby shower and boys and I stayed at home.

Monday I was on jury duty. I took plenty to read, and it was a good thing I did. We sat in the jury pool room until noon. At that time they called 36 names to return after lunch, everyone else was dismissed for the day.

I ate gumbo at MaryAnn's for lunch and then returned to jury duty. The 36 of us were escorted into court. Twenty-one of us were placed in "the box" to be questioned by the lawyers. We were questioned until almost 6 PM. At that time they dismissed 10 people, and the rest of us were told to return on Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday we were back in the box at 9 AM. the 10 people dismissed on Monday evening were replaced and we were again questioned by the lawyers. They picked the jury while we were at lunch. I did not get picked and had to return to the jury pool and remained there until 3PM when we were dismissed from jury duty.

Wednesday and Thursday I worked days. As is normal, we were very busy for much of the day. My job, top operator, is very busy from 7AM until about 10:30. It then usually slows down until around 1PM. Then the top is busy until about 4PM. When things are going well the top operator stays very busy dealing with supervisors, contractors, maintainance personel, engineers, and other operators. If things in the unit are not going well, then it is really wild.

Today, I was at Rescue Team training. I've been a member of the refinery rescue team for about 13 years. We are trained in "high angle (rope)" and "confined space" rescue.


mardi, novembre 27, 2007

Our Saturday and Sunday were WET. It rained for most of the time on both days. Christians had to drive back to Florida Sunday and he had rain for most of the trip, some of it was very heavy. Despite the rain and two detours he made it back to base safely.

On Saturday, Lisa made a great sea food gumbo. We all feasted.

We continue to work on the house.

I should return to work tonight, but I have a dental appointment and I don't think I will be able to make it to work on time and I will have a call in sick. The dentist told me that I will have a numb face for a good while after the work is done. I don't like to call in sick unless I have a legitimate reason. I think this such an event.


vendredi, novembre 23, 2007

LSU just loss to Arkansas 50 t0 48 in triple overtime. Whoooooee. I'm disappointed but my fingernails are down to the nubs, so I'm glad it is decided.

The LSU game (win or loose) is not the big news for this holiday weekend. The big news is our son Christian made it home last night. Hel be will be here until Sunday, when he heads back to Florida and the United States Navy.

Coram Deo,

jeudi, novembre 22, 2007

Yesterday, the boys and I went to Longville and visited with my parents. My parent's neighbour was smoking a couple of turkeys, one for my parents and the other for he and his family. He was using a makeshift smoker that he had made with cinder blocks and a couple of thin sheets of metal. It was a neat setup that I plan to imitate soon.

On of my parents hens had nine one day old biddies following her around. they were so cute. They had another hen with four young chicks, but they were a few days older.

We had a good visit. My youngest son wanted to do some shooting, so I let him shoot my .22 revolver. I shoot a few rounds from my SKS as well. Then we loaded into the pickup truck and headed for home.

Once at home I went to work on supper. I wrapped a number of potatoes on foil, with butter, and put them in the oven. I then took some steaks out seasoned them, got a pan with olive oil hat and ready, but set the steaks in it. I feed the boys and then Lisa arrived home and we ate. Morgan and Danny (her fiancee) finished off what was left.

Today, I slept in. Lisa fixed a roast and around noon we went just down the road to Woody and Elisabeth's house for Thanksgiving Dinner. Most of Lisa's family was there and it was a good time.


mardi, novembre 20, 2007

I'm on vacation this week. The big event today was I washed my truck and also threw the football with the boys.

Yesterday Lisa and I bought a flat screen plasma television and hung it on the bedroom wall. Tomorrow, I may take the boys to Longville. If we go I plan to bring some of my guns and waste a lot of ammunition. I would also like to make at least on hunt while I'm off.

Life is good.

samedi, novembre 17, 2007

Here is a blog on the web that I think is worth reading. Read this article. It's worth your time.


From Burke to Kirk and Beyond...: "Be shrewd as wolves and innocent as doves."

vendredi, novembre 16, 2007

This morning my alarm went of a 4:40. I got ready for work and arrived at the refinery at 5:30. I "made relief" with Butch in the centralised control room. He filled me in on what had taken place on the night shift. With that done, I poured myself a of coffee (Community of course) and visited with our two board guys. I then filled in the payroll book, got my radio, my hard hat and then headed for our satellite.
The the satellite, I poured myself a second cup of coffee and visited with the outside operators for a while. After that I went to my desk, logged onto the computer, checked email and our unit log. I then wrote many of the work permits that that I knew would be needed. By then it was about 10 to seven, I got a air monitor and did my "morning walkabout" through the units while the other guys were doing there rounds.
My walkabout takes about 20 minutes. When I cot back to my desk, spoke with my supervisor, by then maintenance and construction hands were arriving and things took on their usual hectic pace.
This was a typical day for me when I'm working the day shift. I drink LOTS of coffee and stay very busy. Nights and weekends are usually slower, that's why I like them better.

dimanche, novembre 11, 2007

Lisa and I slept in our almost completely remodeled bedroom last night. At midnight a friend sent Lisa a text to say that she was at the hospital with her daughter who was having a baby, so at 6 AM this morning Lisa went to the hospital to see the new baby and the babies mom and family.

I slept until eight. I got up, made coffee and toast. Lisa returned home shortly after that. The rest of the morning was normal Sunday stuff. We worshipped at Bethel this morning. Pastor Steve gave a very good, practical sermon from St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians.


samedi, novembre 10, 2007

It seems that waterboarding is once again in the news. Some folks want t make it out as a form of torture. I disagree and I can say that as someone who has experianced waterboarding first hand.

I underwent my own waterboarding experiance at S.E.R.E school when I was training to be a Navy helicopter crewman. This was way back in 1979. Thousands upon thousands of American servicemen have experianced waterboarding as part of their training. The United States military DOES NOT torture its on members, but it has waterboarded many members of the Armed forces as part of routine S.E.R.E. training.

I wrote a good bit more about what the experiance is like last year. You can read about it here: Waterboarded Cajun

Just to keep this straight. I did not support the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I thought we were wrong to do so.


vendredi, novembre 09, 2007

I'm on the refinery Rescue Team. The rescue team is responsible for confined space and high angle rope rescue. Today was our monthly day of rescue training. We were not as productive today as we usually are, because a large portion of the team was absent. The refinery just finished a month of extensive turnarounds and a sizable portion of the crew was on vacation, needing a rest after the exhaustive shutdown period.

I was on graveyards until Thursday morning. So I worked until 6 o'clock Thursday morning, went home slept until about 12:30. I then stayed awake until 8 PM. I took an Ambian and went to sleep, and then got up at 3:30 AM so I could get to the refinery at by 4 AM. I hung out with my on shift, because it was still my shift on duty. At 7:30 We started rescue training. At four it was over and I wen home because I had got in my necessary 12 hours (having come in so early).

More later because I am tired and ready to crash.

mercredi, octobre 31, 2007

Yesterday was a typical day. The alarm went off at 4:40 AM I got up and reset the alarm to wake Lisa at 5:30. I then got dress, poured myself a bowl of cereal and turned on the news so I could catch the headlines before heading to work.

At 5:25 I headed for my truck. While driving to work I listened to a Cajun music CD of the Magnolia Sisters. I meet Izzy, the night time top operator, in the Central Control Room. He told me how things went and what I could expect on days. When he left I got a cup of coffee and visited with the Darrin and Gerald. These two were working the “board” job, which is the where the units we work are controlled from.

After about fifteen minutes talking with them about what they had to deal with in their units, headed to the unit. Upon entering the satellite I put my lunch in the icebox (refrigerator) went to my locker and got my coffee cup, poured myself another cup of coffee sat at our kitchen table and spoke with the rest of the crew.

When I finished my coffee, I poured myself a third cup coffee, went to the top operator’s desk and logged onto the computer. I read email, looked at my orders and the write ups from the previous shift. After completing this task I got an air monitor and went for a quick, walk through the units. I like to do this because I make a quick look at the units, listen for odd noises and do the early morning air monitoring. The air monitoring is normally and outside operator’s job, but since I am making my quick unit survey anyway I go ahead and do it. That way they can make their more detailed rounds without having to do the air monitoring too.

I worked untill about 5:45. After work I stopped at Gary J. for a beer and a visit. I visited with Gary and Liz for about and hour. Afte work I came home and had a regular evening.

Today was similar to yesterday, but it Halloween and not an regular evening. We had family and friends here when I got home. Lisa was made up like the Melifacent the witch in Disney’s Sleeping beauty. The boy’s had ghoul costumes.

Mark had made a great chicken and sausage gumbo. We ate good, had a good time and the boys got lots of candy.

Its bed time,

dimanche, octobre 28, 2007

Today was a work day for me. Usually Sundays are pretty laid back, but we had lots of problems with the UFH (Unit from Hell). That kept several of us busy for much of the day. We weren't bothered by supervisors or engineers, and that is always a good thing.

When I got home, the boys wanted me to play fetch with the dog. I would throw the toy and the boys and their young couson would try to get the item from Oakly (our Lab). We had fun doing that then we played a little football. By the tiem we finished it was starting to get dark and we all came inside.

This evening I placed a call to an old Navy buddy. I he popped into my mind and so I Goggled he and his wife and found them in California. The are Ric and Tsugumi. Ric was aNavy photographer and he went on cruise with us out of Yokusuka, Japan on the USS Lockwood. We spent a month (October I think) sailing off the eastern coast of the Soviet Union.

One day we launched our helicopter, Ric was with us, and we found a Russian Victor III submarine sitting on the surface. Ric got the first ever official photographs of this new Soviet submarine. I say official, because we all had nice cameras and we were stationed in Japan.

When we returned to Atsugi, Japan Ric and I remained good friends and I then got to know his fiancee, Tsugumi. We were good friends and kept in tuch for a little while after I left the Navy. He and Tsugumi sent me a picture of their first child (who is now in his twenties) when he was a baby. Then we lost touch until I contacted Ric via email after my google search.

It was graet to speak to both Ric and Tsugumi. I hope to keep in touch with them from here on out.

Coram Deo,

vendredi, octobre 26, 2007

I just got off the phone with my eldest son, Christian. He is in the Navy and still at his A school. He should graduate in a few weeks and then he is off to Air Crew School (which I attended in 1979) and then S.E.R.E. school (I wrote a little about my experiance at S.E.R.E. here) and on to the fleet.

Its a big day for Christian because today is his 21st birthday. So he is now of age and sais he is going to go the the bowling ally on base and have a few beers with some friends. I wish I could be there with him, and if I were off work tomorrow I would have willing made the drive and had a beer with my son.

Coram Deo,

jeudi, octobre 25, 2007

Yesterday was an uneventful day. I went to St. Michael and all the Angels Episcopal Church for their Wednesday morning Eucharistic Service. Rev. Cook, in his homily, did a good job discussing St. James.

After the worship service I returned home and got to work. The back of my pickup was already half full with sheet rock from my bedroom ceiling. I then loaded a good deal of rotting wood, the remainder of my trees that were knocked over by hurricane Rita two years ago, into the back of the truck. After piling the truck bed high with oak logs, I headed for a nearby land fill and disposed of it all.

On returning home I cut the grass. I did not "mow the lawn" because we Cajuns cut grass. I think lawn mowing is for professionals and the people who hire them. We have hired our neighbour's teenage sons to cut our grass, a time or two, but they're not professional "lawn mowers" so even in when we have hired some one, it has always been to cut the grass. :-)

After cutting the grass the next item on my agenda was to pick up the boys after school, which I did. Our afternoon was pretty mundane as well. The boy's did their homework and and then we played fetch with the dog in the front yard (notice I did not say "front lawn"). Then we went down the road to Woody and Elisabeth's new home for grilled burgers. Lisa stayed home because she got home late, had had a long day and was tired.

By 9 pm Lisa and the boys were all in bed. MK came over bearing wine. I lit a fire in the fire pit on the porch. It was beautiful, cool fall evening and we sat by the fire drank a couple of glasses of wine and discussed matters of great weight and importance. We discussed issues like LSU football, Nick Saban, and whether or not Les Miles had a big set of manliness or was he simple a loose canon.

We also talked theology and what we have recently read in the Church Fathers, John Calvin, etc... We are agreed that reading the stuff we read puts us in the "weird" column. We discussed the schismatic problems of Protestantism and reasons why we can not "Return to Rome." We "feel" like we are in an ecclesiastical "no man's land" and really don't fit in anywhere. (I discuss this more on my As I see It blog.)

After sitting around the fire enjoying the conversation and the wine, we walked around the neighbourhood and prayed for a while. It was a good time of fellowship and prayer.

Coram Deo,

lundi, octobre 22, 2007

I worked off graveyards this morning. While I was sleeping my Rescue beeper went off. My wife heard the beeper and she called the refinery to see if I needed to get up and go to the plant. See was told that there was a man down but I was not needed.

I woke a little after noon to go to the restroom Lisa told me about the beeper and her call. I immediately called the unit board man to find out what had happened. I young man working in my area of the plant went down becaus of H2S vapours. Two of my friends saw him collapse. the but both put on a SCBA and pulled the man away from the contaminated area. It was too late. All attempts to revive the man were to no avail. He was dead.

Everyone at work was stunned. How and why this happened we don't yet know.

I just took an Ambian so I can sleep tonight and try to get back on a normal schedule tomorrow.

Coram Deo,

dimanche, octobre 21, 2007

Saturday was Election Day, so when I left work in the morning I went directly to my polling place. I was the first one there and had to wait three minutes before I could vote at 6 am. I voted for our governor elect, Bobby Jindal and others.

After voting I went home, poured myself a pint of Guinness, relaxed and checked for a few minutes before heading to bed. When I woke I checked on Lisa, who is not feeling well, and then my youngest son and I went and threw the football for a while. Then it was time to go to work.

Saturday evening at work was not bad. We did have sporadic periods of business, but I was still able to catch a little of the LSU game over the radio during lulls in activity. I caught the last ten minutes of the game where LSU went ahead 20 to 17, then Auburn scored and it was 24 to 20 and finally with one second left the Tigers pulled out a win with a touchdown pass. I don’t know who caught Flynn’s pass, because the roar of the crowd was so loud that you could not make out a word the sportscasters had to say until the kickoff that followed.

I wish I could have seen it. I called MK how is the biggest LSU fan that I know and after that I spoke with Woody as he and Elisabeth were trying to exit from the stadium. Everyone was ecstatic.

I was able to find out about the governors race shortly after the game ended, but I had to wait for the Sunday paper to get the rest of the election results, because we no longer have access to the web at work.. Just last week the company cut out the Internet, so I could not look up the results on line.

When I got home Sunday morning. I poured myself another Guinness, and I am going to sit on the front porch, relax and enjoy my Guinness Then I will clean up and go to bed. If I sleep until 2 pm I will have a good day’s sleep..

Coram Deo,

vendredi, octobre 19, 2007

I just came home from work and I am getting ready for bed. Work last night was quiet, which is the way I like it. It can make for a long 12 hour shift, but I find that I can occupy my time when things are slow. If all things are going OK then work at night and on weekends is mostly a babysitting job. There are a a few things you have to do, but there is a lot of time to use up also.

Our first night on shift, I volunteered to fix food. I made pain perdu (French Bread) with bacon and sausage. Last night Mac made spaghetti and tonight Matt is making SOS. We do eat good when we work graveyard shift.

Yesterday I awoke around 1:30 pm. I picked up the boys at school at three and we worked on home work until after 4:30, then the boys and I threw the football for a little while before I had to leave for work.

That's about it.

Coram Deo,

mardi, octobre 16, 2007

Last Friday night, MK and I sat on the front porch. It was a nice, cool evening so I lit a fire in my fire pot. We sat on the porch, drank wine, and talked about everyday stuff. For us, everyday stuff includes LSU football (we were both concerned about Kentucky), Reformed theology, the Early Church Fathers, and going to Festival Acadien at Lafayette on the next day. Some of my children joined us on the porch for small portions of our visit, including my lovely daughter.

Next morning, MK, his son, my two young sons and I all headed for Lafayette and the Festival. We met David H. at a McDonalds and he led us to the place to park. We then caught a shuttle to the festival. When we got there, the Lost Bayou Ramblers were on stage. They're a great young Cajun band.

We walked around, listened to music, at some food and drank a little beer. Our time there was cut short because the LSU-Kentucky game started a 2:30 pm. We got back to the car in time for the kick off and listened to the first half on the radio. We watched the rest of the game at MK's house. After the game the boys and I returned home. Kentucky earned their victory over the Tigers.

On Sunday we worshipped at Bethel (PCA), the previous week our family visited Trinity Baptist Church. The sermon was good, but I missed the liturgical style of worship that we have at Bethel.

Coram Deo,

lundi, octobre 15, 2007

I don't belive that I had a day off from work for the whole month of September. That was bad enough but near the end of the month I had a email fight with my boss' boss. I think I came out way ahead in the exchange, because he was just plan wrong. But it is never a thing to have your boss' boss made at you.

I think I did the only thing I could honourably do in the situation I was placed in, but now I have to watch my step at work. I've spent most of my 16 years at the refinery trying to stay below the radar but that ended with a couple of emails.

I went and bought a laptop computer today (yesterday since it is 2 AM) and a router. I then spent 4 or 5 hours on the phone talking with folks in the Phillippines and India so I could get the router to work with my DSL connection.

My family is all well. Morgan is still in school and plans to graduate and marry next spring. Christian is in Pensicola and will be shipping off to other places in November. The little boys are well and my wife is more beautiful than ever (and that is saying something!!).

I will now get me a little sip of ouzo and go to bed.

Coram Deo,

lundi, septembre 17, 2007

I’m on a turnaround working nights. I’ve been on the turnaround for a week and have another week or two to go before this one ends. I’m ready for a day off already. Turnarounds are usually a lot of work and stress for operators, especially during the shutdown and several days after because you have to get the unit cleaned up and ready for maintenance. And it is also very busy near the end and the subsequent time that it takes to start the unit up.

Right now we’ve made it to the middle part of the turnaround. In the middle part, on some small turnarounds there is a lull in the work for operations. This is one of those small ones and we have had a fairly easy night to night, but we have been very busy up until now.

On Saturday of Labour Day weekend, I drove to Pensacola again to pick up Christian. He drove his truck back to Florida then. This last weekend he came for another short visit. He last tonight to return to base. We did not get to visit much, because I’m working every night. We did have on good, though far to short short, conversation on Saturday.

I finished a very good book last week. It was written in 1877 by Arthur Edward Gayer. The book, Papal Infallibility and Supremacy : Ecclesiastical History, Scripture, and Reason, is one I can recommend very highly. It was written not long after the First Vatican Council declared that the Pope, when speaking ex cathedra, was infallible in the area of faith and morals.

Gayer does a great job dealing with the subject and he does so in an interesting and readable 19th century style. I would like to see how a Roman Catholic answers the objections that Gayer presents. I hope to post something on my As I see it! blog when I finish this shutdown.

Coram Deo,

vendredi, août 24, 2007

Saturday, Woody, the boy’s and I went to Longville. He brought his Glock .40 cal. and I brought my SKS. We did some shooting at my parents place and then went to Sandy’s pond so Woody’s two labs could swim in the pond.

In the last month, I’ve worked some overtime and on days when I’ve been off I’ve worked on the garage with Mark C. This last week I had a few days off, but I got sick and did not do a whole lot of work. Monday, I was feeling bad and simply laid around the house. I did read some, mostly from the writings of St. Cyprian, but mostly I did nothing. That evening I did go to RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at the Catholic Church near my home.

On Tuesday I managed to get the grass cut, but this took a lot out of me. Much more than it normally would and it took me a while to get my energy back. Mark came over in the early afternoon and he and I worked on the garage for a while, but I had no energy and called it quits after just a few hours.

I found out that an Episcopal Church (St. Michael and All Angels) near my home has a Wednesday morning worship service that includes the Lord’s Supper. They also appear to be on the more conservative wing of the Episcopal Church. I miss Sunday worship often because of shift work, so I am excited to find a mid-week worship service that includes the Lord’s Supper. Of course the Catholics have daily Mass, but I can not take part in Communion at the Roman Catholic Church. I can receive Communion at St. Michael’s. Lisa and I visited the Church Sunday and I attended Wednesday morning services as well.

Wednesday night I started my stint on graveyard (or hoot) shift. I still do not feel very well, but I am feeling better. Maybe by the time hoot shift comes to an end I will be feeling well again. I certainly hope so.

Coram Deo,

mardi, juillet 31, 2007

Since my last post here I’ve mostly worked. I had been called out to work on Sunday. I worked as Top then. I did get my day off Monday but I was called out to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. On those days I worked as an outside operator on our newest unit (a clean fuels unit), which is the unit from hell (UFH). Thursday I started my regular shift as Top operator. The UFH did not let up and I worked with the outside guy on the unit.

Friday, I took off so Morgan and I could drive to Pensacola to meet Christian. I was hoping to get Christian and bring him home for the weekend, so he could get his truck and bring it back to Florida. He was not able to come home so we brought him a load of civilian cloths.

Morgan and I left our house at 5:30 AM. She slept the first couple of hours of the trip and I listened to David McCullough’s book 1776. I checked it out from the library for the long drive. So far I have not yet finished it, but I am very close to doing so, and it is very good.

Christian had requested that we bring him some boudin and so I stopped in Breaux Bridge and picked up three pounds for him. Morgan woke up in Breaux Bridge. We had a very nice conversation that lasted for several hours. Then she turned to her I-pod for entertainment and I went back to McCollough’s book.

We arrived in Pensacola a little after 11 AM, and hoped we would hear from Christian soon, but it was three hour before he finished his day’s work and called us on the cell phone. Christian had some hope that he would be able to get off work earlier and that is why we got there when we did, but it did not happen.

We went of base picked Christian up and cruised around Pensacola. This was his first chance to get off base since he arrived there two weeks earlier. For supper, we tried to find and Outback Steakhouse, but settled for Ruby Tuesdays instead. We had a good visit, talked and broke bread together. Then we brought Christian back to base, said our goodbyes, he took his clothes and boudin back to his room and we left to return home. It was now 6 PM.

The drive home was uneventful. Morgan and I conversed for a while, then she again turned to here I-pod and I went back to 1776. We arrived at home at 11:30. I had to work the next morning so I immediately got ready for bed. Next morning I was up and moving at a quarter to 5.

The UFH was unrelenting all weekend so our work group did not have the quiet weekend that I had hoped for. We struggled with it both Saturday and Sunday. It lined out Sunday night. We had a normal busy Monday and I today (Tuesday) I am home.

Coram Deo,

mardi, juillet 24, 2007

Sunday morning I was planning on sleeping in (until at least 8 AM) then get up and go to worship service. Instead the phone rang at about 10 minutes to six; Patrick at work calling to let me know that I was scheduled to work and he was waiting on me so he could go home. I had managed to not notice that I was scheduled to work Sunday.

I jumped up, got ready and managed to get to work in less than thirty minutes. I managed to get work before I was officially late, but Patrick was about 20 minutes late heading for home. This was a rare event for me. I hate to be late and don’t like waiting for people who make being late a habit.

Sunday evening MK and his son came over to visit. He had a Robert Mondavi 2001 La Famiglia Barbera and it is a great wine.

Monday, Lisa and our daughter went wedding dress and photographer shopping. The boys and I stayed around the house. Monday evening, Toney B. invited Mark D. and me over for hotdogs, beer and conversation on his back patio. We ate and visited for a couple of hours and had a good time.

Today, I’m at work. It was my day off, but the phone rang about 5:30 this morning. Someone called in sick, so here I am today. Now I have to go outside and make around in the unit.


vendredi, juillet 20, 2007

On Wednesday afternoon, July 12, Lisa, the boys and I drove to Houston and got a hotel room near Bush International Airport. After we checked into the hotel we headed for a nearby theatre to watch the new Harry Potter movie, which I found to be very good.

Next morning, we slept in a bit, had a continental breakfast at the hotel and then caught the shuttle for the airport. This was the boys first time to fly and they were pretty excited about the approaching adventure.

They found the take off to be pretty exciting, and liked the climb through the clouds. The rest of the trip to Chicago they spent playing video games or drawing. On the plane I read a book and Lisa spoke with a lady from Chicago.

The boys were not near as impressed with the landing in Chicago as they had been with the take off from Houston. After finding our way through the airport, we picked up our Hertz rent-a-car and headed to the Ramada in Waukegan. The traffic moved at a snail’s pace for much of the way.

I had picked this hotel because it had a special rate for folks coming to the Navy graduation ceremonies and because it had an indoor pool. This feature was important for the boys, so that they would have something to do when we were at the hotel.

Friday morning we got an early start, and headed to Great Lakes Naval Training Center at about 6:15 AM. We were allowed onto base but had to endure a serious vehicle inspection by the powers that be. We had to exit the vehicle open the hood, trunk and all four doors. They checked all the vehicles visually and with dogs trained to detect drugs and explosives.

After this we parked the car and walked to a large hall where the graduation took take place. We were instructed to get there early and we did. We had 1 1/2 to 2 ours to wait before the ceremony began. The boys were bored, but they sat there and endured the wait.

The ceremony was as I remembered it from when I graduated from Navy boot camp 29 years earlier. Lisa and the boys saw Christian marching when his division past in front of the reviewing stands where we were. I was taking pictures of them, hoping to catch him in some of them, which I did.

After the ceremony Christian headed straight for his mom and gave her a big hug. After all the hugs we talked and headed to the car. Christian said the first thing he wanted was to go to the hotel and take a long shower without a whole platoon of guys showering at the same time.

After his shower we drove to Lake Michigan, so that we could all see it first hand. Christian used much of the car time to contact his friends with Lisa’s cell phone. The only other item that he wanted for the day was to eat a steak at Outback. So that is what we did next. Then it was time to return him to base.

Next day, I went and picked him up so Lisa and the boys could sleep. I got Christian and we headed back to the hotel to pick up Lisa and the boys. We then drove into Chicago and went to Navy Pier. We spent most of the day there.

Christian had to return to base early to stand a watch. After we dropped him at the base we returned to the hotel and the boys and I went swimming.

Sunday morning at 6:30 AM we left the Ramada headed for O’Hare to catch our flight back to Houston. We arrived back at home at 5:PM. Christian flew to Pensacola on Sunday also.

Coram Deo,

mardi, juillet 10, 2007

This morning, while Lisa got herself ready for work, I went out on the porch with a hot cup, my Bible and another book. It’s nice to sit out there, enjoy a nice cup of coffee and read while a mocking bird is singing in a tree near by.

I had to come inside for a moment, so I decided to write this blog note. Now I am going to refill my cup and return to the porch for about 30 more minutes of reading.

Coram Deo,

lundi, juillet 02, 2007

Sunday morning after breakfast Lisa and I went out on the porch. I read St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians aloud. Lisa was not feeling well, so she stayed home from church. The boys and worshipped at Bethel.

We picked up chicken on the way home. The early afternoon was quiet and Lisa began feeling better.

Our nephew Sean, who is in the Air Force and has been in Okinawa for a year, is back in the states for a little while. Lisa fixed a wonderful supper for him and other family members. We had great food and a good family visit. (The picture is of Sean and his older brother - a former Marine - Eric)

Coram Deo,

Note: Pastor Mark came over to visit around 3:30. He informed me that he had resigned the pastorate at Covenant and the congregation had accepted his resignation. This is a terrible blow. Pastor Mark is a gifted preacher, teacher and pastor and though I’m not a member of Covenant I was very disturbed and disappointed by the news.

I’m not privy to all the details as to why this occurred, but I have some knowledge my gut tells me that all parties acted too hastily.

samedi, juin 30, 2007

Thursday was a good day. Lisa woke first and got ready for work. I woke a bit later. We ate oatmeal together. Then she left for work and I walked block to Izzy’s house to feed and water his dog while he is out of town. When I got back to the house I sat on the front porch and read for a while, giving the dew time to depart from the grass.

At about 9 AM I pulled out the lawn mower and began cutting the yard. My neighbour Stan and his eldest son were doing yard work already when I got started. Stan saw that I was working with only one good hand, so he and his son finished their yard and started on my also. I cut about half the yard and Tyler did the rest, while Stan edged for me. Stan and his family are all good Christian people (Southern Baptists), and you can’t ask for better neighbours.

After the yard work was finished, I came inside and spent time with the boys. I had promised them Sonic for lunch, so we piled into the truck and drove to Sonic to get our food.

In the early afternoon Gary J. came over for a visit on the porch. While we were visiting, Lisa returned home. She and the boys headed of to the community swimming pool at park nearby. After Gary left, I ran an errand and meet Lisa. The boys were done swimming, but they wanted to play at the park. Lisa came home to cleanup and I watched the boys at the park.

After our park time we had supper at Chili’s Restaurant. We came home and watched a little TV. MK came over a little after nine. He and I enjoyed a very good California wine, along with some pepper jack cheese, on the front porch. After that we walked around the neighbourhood and prayed a good while.

I have not mentioned my reding much lately, so let me do so now. As is the norm, I am reading too many books at one time. Therefore, I don't finish any of them quickly and I read very slow even when reading one book. I am also listening to audio books.

I just finished the audio book Up From Slavery, the autobiography of Booker T. Washington. I boot the printed version several years ago and had but it on my "to read" list. I found the audio book at the library eagerly checked it out.

This is a great book by a very good and very remarkable man. I wish every American, especially every Southerner (black, white and what ever) would read this book.

I'm currnetly reading a book on the Founding Fathers, a book on the Punic Wars and Shakespeare's Henry V. I am listening to Peggy Noonan's biography of Pope John Paul II.

Coram Deo,

jeudi, juin 28, 2007

I’ve still not written a detailed entry about our trip to Ireland and I may never do so. Since returning from Ireland I’ve written a number of letters to my son Christian, who is in Navy boot camp. I’ve written Christian two or three letters a week since he we recieved his Navy address.

I’ve also written a few letters to a lady in Colorado, who is a graduate student at a Roman Catholic College out there. She was recommended to me as an apologist of the Catholic faith by the school. This happened when I tried to contact one of her professors. I had watched a program on EWTN and I was impressed with the professor (who's name escapes me at this moment). I’ve exchanged several letters with Aimee (the lady mentioned above).

I had minor surgery on my left hand last Tuesday. The doctor removed a cyst that has been bothering me for some time. It hurt when I did work with my left hand, but was mostly a nuisance. So my left hand is all bandaged and I’m not supposed to use it for three weeks.

My typing skills already suck and now, with my left hand bandaged I can only use my index finger. That makes typing very tedious, but I will “endeavour to persevere” (To quote Chief Dan George in the movie Outlaw Josey Wales) in typing letters and (hopefully) for the blog as well.

Our family joined the SPAR (Sulphur Parks and Recreation). They have a very nice centre, which includes indoor basketball courts, 2 racquetball courts, an indoor track, workout equipment room, Olympic size pool and more. I’ve used the racquetball courts several times and I’ve been using the pool also. I need to get back in shape and loose at least 10 bounds.

Coram Deo,

lundi, juin 04, 2007

Christian is still in Navy boot camp and he should be finishing up sometime in mid July. I'm hoping that one of us can go to the graduation ceremony at the completion of boot camp. This picture is of Christian saying goodbye to his sister on the morning he left for the Navy.

I have to cut grass before the afternoon showers arrive, otherwise my grass will get out of control. Therefore this will only be a short note. The boys are fine and I managed to take them and some playmates swimming at my sister's pond last week. They had a good time. On Friday MK and I took them to the Sulphur water park. Saturday I worked around the house and on Sunday I had to work OT at the refinery.

I do hope to elaborate about our trip to Ireland as soon as I make some time. My writing time has been mostly spent writing letters to Christian. I have also spent some time exchanging emails with a Catholic Lady, who is good apologist RCC, about the Christian faith.

Here is another picture from the Cliffs of Moher. This is my beautiful daughter and me. Notice we have the same style of hat. She's had her's for a long time and I bought mine will visiting the cliffs. It kept my head both warm and dry that day.

My daughter should be graduating from McNeese next year. Yeahhh!!!

Well, Im off to work, and when I finish the yard I will pour myself a Guinness to cool off.


mardi, mai 15, 2007

I will not be writing about our visit to Ireland yet. Something much more important happened today. Our oldest son left home for Navy boot camp.

Last night in his honour the family went to Outback Steakhouse. After that He and I went to O.B.'s for a beer, where a bunch of his friends converged to say goodbye. LP went to meet him there for a few minutes, after I got home.

This morning, Morgan, LP, Christian and I at an early lunch at KD's and then we went to the Navy recruiters dropped him office. We said our goodbyes, hugged (a few tears were shed) then he went off excited to be heading to the Navy.

I now know how my folks must have felt when I left for the Navy 29 years ago. I handled today's goodbye very well, but as time progressed I've experienced an increasing of melancholy and sadness that my son is no longer here. I already miss him terribly, but I am also proud that he has chosen to serve in the Navy. It was a good experience for me; I grew up a lot during my years of military service. I think this will be good for my son also.

I will always be his dad and he will always be my son. I love him dearly.

Coram Deo,

Ps. The picture of Christian an me above was taken last week at a Pub in Doolin, Ireland. We ate and had a Guinness there after our visit to the Cliffs of Moher.

lundi, mai 14, 2007

We have returned from Ireland and I have started downloading pictures to Photobucket. Some are at Lisdonagh House and others are here. It will take me a while to download all of them.

I will be writing about the trip as soon as I can get caught up here at home.

Coram Deo,

dimanche, avril 29, 2007

My trip to Washington DC is over. I arrived back home Thursday afternoon, in time to eat a late lunch with Lisa and pick the boys up from school. With that done I went home and took a nap. I had been up since 2:30 AM and need some rest.

My plane from Houston to DC ran late. At the last minute they had to switch planes because the plane we were to take had ingested a bird on landing and that engine was running was running hot. The plane switch put us about an hour late taking off. The flight was a good one. I sat next to a retired Air Force pilot who was going to Maryland to visit his daughter’s family which included grandchildren.

I arrived at Baltimore/Washington airport after 10:30, by the time I got my bag and found a shuttle to the hotel it was 11:30. The shuttle ride took almost two hours, but it was interesting. One of person on the shuttle was a soldier returning to Walter Reed Army Hospital. He was a young soldier, a member of the Missouri National Guard, who had been wounded in Iraq by a road side bomb.

The soldier had been a Walter Reed for four months and it looked as though he was going to be there for a long time to come. He still had pins and other objects protruding out of the lower part of one leg. His second leg and his arms were terribly scarred. The solder was in good spirits and spoke a good deal and answered our questions as we meandered through the streets of DC.

After dropping the soldier at Walter Reed I was taken to my hotel, the Marriott at Wardman Park. By the time I had checked in, gotten to my room and showered, it was after 1:30 AM. I set a wakeup call for 6:30 and dragged myself into bed. I crawled from bed, still very tired. I decided to walk down to the bottom of the hill the Marriott was situated on to find breakfast. The front of the hotel was beautifully landscaped. There were thousands of tulips planted and they were all in full bloom. What a beautiful sight. It brightened my day to walk among them.

After a quick breakfast, I took the longer route back to the hotel, so that I could enjoy the flowers some more. Then it was time to start work. Our union business began at eight. Our local union sent Bruce G. and me here on union business. Bruce had taken George, his 13 year old son, with him to this event. We spent some time going over union issues, then we caught the metro and went to the House and Senate office buildings to meet with Louisiana representatives and senators (mostly with a member of their staff.

I got separated from Bruce and his son after we had met with a member of Senator Landrieu’s office. We had to meeting with the union at 4:30, and I had a little time to kill, so I ran (literally) down Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues to the National Archive Building. I had promised myself that I would make every effort to see the Constitution on this trip to DC. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are all housed in the National Archives.

I was AWED to be in the presence of these great documents. Wow. I was overawed to be so close and to see with my own eyes these great items of American liberty. I’ve read them and loved them; I have studied them and have read so much about them the men who gave them to us. It was, for me, the fulfilment of a dream.

There was another bonus. At the archives is an ancient copy of the Magna Carta, it is a great, great grandfather to our documents of political liberty. Our own liberty is a direct heir of the principles that were established at Runnymede, when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215.

After paying homage to the great documents, I returned to Capitol Hill for our union rally. I found Bruce and George there. When all was over we headed back to the Marriott. Before climbing hill to the hotel, we stopped for a beer at one of the restaurants near by.

Not far from the hotel are a number of ethnic restaurants. After I cleaned up I ventured out once more and decided to have my supper at a Thai restaurant. My waitress was a young lady who had recently emigrated from Thailand. I differed to her in choosing my food. The main course was a spice seafood dish that contained scallops, muscles, calamari and shrimp and other items. My portion was sizable and it tasted very good. I washed it all down with a couple of bottles of Singha which is a Thai beer. It has potent 6% alcohol content. I found it to have an interesting flavour that went well with the spicy Thai food. After supper I was overly full, but my only plan was to go to my room and finish the, The Stuarts: A Study in English Kinship (the book I had picked for this trip).

Next morning we meet again at 8 AM. The union business finished about 1 PM. Bruce, George and I then took the Metro to Arlington. At Arlington National Cemetery Bruce and George took the bus tour, which I did last year, but I decided to walk. The grounds of Arlington are very pretty and serene. I made my way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watched the changing of the guard. It is a solemn and sober sceptical that every American should experience.

After the Changing of the Guard I strolled over to Arlington House. George Washington Parke Custis choose a beautiful place to build this house. The view from the front porch is, even today, spectacular. The house is being renovated and all the furniture is gone, but you can still walk through it. I asked the park ranger what part of the house was it that Robert E. Lee made his decision to turn down the position as head of Union forces, and instead stand with his home state of Virginia in the then quickly approaching War of Northern Aggression, which is commonly referred to as the American Civil War.

After Arlington we visited the Korean, Vietnam, and World War II Memorials all of which are very nice. From the WWII Memorial we walked to the Washington Monument, which is impressive. Earlier we had also visited the shrine built to Lincoln.

After visiting the Washington Monument we caught the Metro back to Washington. Bruce and I had a beer at the hotel bar and then we parted company once more. I went down the hill to an Indian Restaurant. I decided on a lamb dish cooked with a lot of curry. It was very spice and very good. I had a 22 oz Taj Mahal, which is an Indian beer.

Deo Vindice,

samedi, avril 21, 2007

My post vacation week has been a good one for me. I, again, made it up to Longville earlier in the week; I also paid a visit on my grandfather and Mrs. Ester.

Sadly, most of the visit with Pawpaw and Ester was spent watching CNN and the then breaking story of the massacre at Virginia Tech. It’s hard for me to imagine how one person can do so much evil to fellow human beings. It is hard to imagine, but man has proven time and again that he can easily find the will to do evil to his fellow man. History and modern times are both replete with instances of human on human evil and cruelty.

On Tuesday evening a number of friends came over. We had a manly gathering on our front porch for discussion of current events, theology and whatever other subject made its way onto the radar screen. Pastor Mark, MK, Josh P. and I sat around a fire, snacked on cheese (smoked Gouda and Pepper Jack). MK and Josh both brought wine with them. We consumed two bottles of wine, ate most of the cheese, there were a few cigars smoked and a couple of other drinks consumed during our visit. It was a good time.

Three of the four present (MK, Josh, me) are former Roman Catholics, with majority Roman Catholic extended families. Pastor Mark was raised Lutheran. Today we all are strongly influenced by John Calvin and attend Presbyterian Churches. Josh is a Calvinistic Baptist. MK is a deacon at Bethel PCA ; I’m a former deacon there and Pastor Mark serves at Covenant PCA in Sulphur.

The last part of the week has been more difficult. I started graveyard shift on Wednesday night and Lisa went to New Orleans to help Yska with her daughter’s wedding. I spoke with her a little while ago and the wedding is over and they are at the reception. Because of my work and Lisa being gone, the boys are spending the weekend with Rhonda.

We have had good food here at work this week. On Wednesday Lisa brought us a goodly amount of boiled crawfish. They were leftover from a crawfish boil that Christian’s employer had put on that evening. When Lisa delivered them to the refinery they were still hot. They were big and boiled to perfection. Last night the refinery had a Shrimp boil at the Burton Coliseum. They did not forget those of us who had to work and we all got a platter of large well seasoned boiled shrimp.

Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day and Lisa is returning from New Orleans. I always miss her when either of us has to travel, which I will do Monday. I work off at 6 AM and have to catch a flight out of town for 1:30 PM. I’m going to Washington DC on union business. It is only for a few days so I should be back home on Thursday.


dimanche, avril 15, 2007

My vacation week is over (but I don't go back to work until Wednesday). It was a slow week. Mostly I did little jobs around the house.

Wednesday the boys and I went to Longville. Fishing was our main objective, but after a few hours and Sandy’s pond without a nibble, we decided to go my parents.

The weather was better and we did some more practice shooting with the .22 revolver and the CZ. My youngest was the only one interested. I worked with him and let him do most of the shooting. About mid afternoon we returned to my sister’s place and found a couple of the boy’s cousins were swimming at the pond.

So instead of fishing the boys joined their cousins swimming in the pond and I played fetch with Oakly. She loves playing fetch in water. Swimming sapped the energy out of both the dog and the boys, so I had a nice quiet drive home that evening.

Thursday night we attended a pre-Ireland supper at Archie’s Restaurant. The food was very good and there was plenty of wine. There were almost 20 of the Ireland party there. Woody gave out packets for everyone, so that we could have a bit more information about the trip. (NOTE: The gorgeous blond in the black dress on the right is my lovely wife. We will have been married for 24 years this Sept. :-)

Lisa helped her friend Iska with one of her projects most of the week. So she and Iska took a break and went out to D’Angelo’s Pizzaria Friday night and I stayed home with the boys.

Saturday morning Lisa had to work, and I spent much of my morning watching C-Span. The Iraqi ambassador to the US, Samir Sumaida’ie, was speaking at the Center for Strategic And International Studies. I found what he said to be extremely and forthright. I don’t think he soft peddled things. It was well worth watching.

I don’t see things in Iraq getting better anytime soon (decade or two). I hope I am wrong. I was not in favour of our intervention into Iraq and told my friend Tommy Keller that we would be bringing young Americans home in body bags for 50 years if we did intervene.

I have found it interesting that many of my pro-invasion friends now want to leave. I would like to see us get out but we have stirred up a hornet’s nest and I think it would be morally reprehensible (not to mention cowardly) to leave before a self-sustaining Iraqi government is established.

I don’t think Iraq was worth one American life, but we went in and now we have to finish what we started (IMHO). I think President Bush is crazy if he really believes that a “democracy” can be established there. We need a workable, mildly pro-Western, functioning government there and not some neo-con fantasy about democracy.

That is my commentary, we now return more mundane daily life.

The boys and I went with Morgan and Danny to the Railroad Festival in Dequincy. First we went to Danny’s parents home. This was my first time to me my daughter’s future in-laws. I knew that Morgan held them in high regard. They were very personable and I enjoyed meeting and conversing with them. Danny’s dad and I have a number of things in common. We have both enjoyed the hobby of making homemade wine and beer (this alone was a very good sign that this is a man of character). After leaving the Allain’s we were off to the fair. The boys rode on as many rides as I could afford and then they ate festival food. We then headed home.

We had an invitation from the Duncan’s to join them on their family Pizza night. Pastor Mark and Peggy had invited us over for Pizza before, but this was the first time that we could actually make it. I had assumed that we would be eating Pizza Hut or some other take out version of Pizza, but instead Peggy makes Pizza from Scratch. Mark said that it had been a tradition in their house for most of the marriage to have home made pizza on most Saturday evenings, and they often have guests (despite the fact that they have seven children of their own).

We enjoyed very good pizza. Peggy had made four types of Pizza, form cheese Pizza to Pizza with the works. They provided a good wine (a shiraz) and the conversation was very good as well.

This morning, Lisa woke early and prepared a roast for Sunday dinner. We attended Bethel; Pastor Steve preached from Jonah, and will be preaching through the book in the coming weeks.

Here is a picture of the bookshelves Lisa had built for me for my birthday. They don’t hold all my books, but they do hold most of them. We are going to install a ladder like the one you see on libraries as soon as finances allow.


lundi, avril 09, 2007

I am on vacation and the boys are out of school for Easter Holiday. We will spend most of that time around the house, but I do plan to take the boys fishing at least on day this week.

I worked off graveyard shift on Wednesday morning. That afternoon I drove to Lake Charles to a NRA event. Wayne LaPierre was in town, as was another high-ranking NRA representative. They were joined by Senator David Vitter and Rep. Bobby Jindal, all four men spoke to the audience and they showed a video about the seizure of guns from law abiding citizens. The message was “It can happen here! And did!” followed by and “this is what we have done to fix it so it does not happen again. It was interesting.

Saturday the little boys, Oakly (our Lab) and I went to Longville. I took my SKS and a couple of pistols to do a little shooting, but it was very cold (in South Louisiana) for April. We did shoot some pistols, but it started sleeting while we were outside and so we did not shoot for long.

My youngest son got a little practice with my .22 revolver.

I shot my CZ-52 and my dad shot the CZ and his snub-nose .38. We would have done some more shooting, but the weather was nasty, so we went back in doors and visited.

Sunday we went to Church, Woody and Elisabeth came to church as well. Our new pastor’s sermon had great content and his delivery was pretty good also. After church we came home for to a Resurrection Day feast.

Lisa had prepared a wonderful pot of chicken and sausage gumbo, I helped and made the potato salad. We had cold beer, garlic bread, apple pie and plenty of chocolate candies as well.

A number of Lisa’s family came over to sup with us. At dusk we built a fire in the fire pot of the front porch, and sat there to finish the day.

Coram Deo,

dimanche, avril 01, 2007

Lisa and the little boys are in Galveston. They went to visit our friends Duke and Donna. Duke is there for his job and Donna their children went to meet him for the weekend. They invited Lisa and the boys to join them as well.

Morgan was in Texas today also. She and several friends went to an Astros game. I assume Christian is at work right now.

I too am at work. I am working the “board job.” For the past four years I’ve been pumped up to top operator on my shift, and I’ve not worked the board in that time. I’ve been on a crash course to learn how to run the board on our new unit, it is just a little over a year old and I have never worked it before until I was bounced back.

I much prefer to work in my current position. The Top Operator position is a lot more responsibility for very little extra compensation. Patrick was on special assignment for the past four years and I had been moved up to fill his spot. At the end of last year our supervisor (area manager) decided to bounce Patrick back for a little while. He then offered to return him to the set up position, but Patrick decided that he liked our current 5-4 version of the 12 hour shift and so he elected to stay as top and not move back to set up job.

I can not express how happy I am that Patrick elected to stay on as top. Its good for him and me, but I heard our area manager was both disappointed and a bit upset at Patrick. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know Patrick did a very good job in the position he was in.

The latest book that I’ve read is What the Bible Teaches about Guidance by Peter Bloomfield. A co-worker asked me if I would read it so we could discuss its contents. I had never heard of the book or the author before and I have a full plate already when it comes to reading, but I said ok.

It is a great book and very practical. I recommend it very highly. Bloomfield is a Presbyterian minister in Australia. He writes well and his examples and illustrations are superb.

On the listening front, I should finish A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson very soon. This is a good work. Bryson is witty and informative, but he does seem to have a healthy bit of Yankee disdain for both Southern people and culture. Still, it is enjoyable even with that and the several secular sermons that he gives during the book. Bryson's book should get a PG-13 rating for its language.

I went to the parish library Saturday. While there I bought a (used) book on Irish folklore and I also picked up a couple more audio books. I chose Ann Coulter’s book Godless: The Church of Liberalism and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson.

I did listen to the first of the CD’s of Coulter’s book. What I’ve heard so far is interesting. Coulter has no problem calling a spade and spade. She has no problem going beyond that and referring to a spade as a damned shovel either. The book is witty and very irreverent. I wouldn't recommend it to someone interested in facts. It is written more like "pep rally literature." It seems obvious to me that her intent is to fire up the home team and infuriate the opposition. I think she has accomplished both those goals.

I laughed a lot. Her irreverence is funny and she does make some valid points, but this is not for the serious reader who wants greater understanding. Still it is not a long book and so I will continue listening. I am certain that I will enjoy the jabs that she’s throwing at the liberal elites who are in the media, Hollywood, and the Democratic party, even though her defence of the Republican Party may make me green around the gills from time to time.

Coulter does (so far) confuse true conservatism with the Republican Party. This is a gross distortion of reality. The Republican party is the party of neocons at best and this is not (IMHO) true conservatism. True conservatism is much closer to the libertarians than the modern Republican Party is today.

Her attacks on liberalism, while often overly simplistic and hyperbolic, do ring true at the core. However her equating conservatism with Republican Party is not accurate. Yes, the Republicans are more conservative than Democrates, and some of them are truely conservative, but this does not make the party conservative.

I have, at one time or another, belonged to each party. Today I belong to neither. When I was first able to vote, being a Louisiana conservative, I joined the Democratic Party, which was a conservative party long ago. In the 1980's I worked with a guy who had been a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which nominated Jimmy Carter to be president. He had a copy of the Democratic Presidential Platform from that event. This excited me and I asked to borrow it. I read the Presidential Platform, returned it to its owner and then immediatly went the courthouse and changed my party affiliation to Republican.

I officially left the Republican Party two and a half years ago, disgusted by much of what the Republicans were doing, now that they had gained power in both houses of congress and the White House.


lundi, mars 26, 2007

(Continued from 24 March)

Benny B. and I went into Philadelphia. Our goal was to tour a few museums. We visited the Art Museum and the Natural History Museum. Then we walked toward the older part of town. We stopped in at an Irish pub for a Guinness and Philly cheese steak after that we returned to the hotel.

Monday six of us took off early for New York. We visited the Statute of Liberty and then went on to China Town in search of knock off, brand name purses. My wife had heard about the purses that some folks brought back last year and she informed me that she wanted one also. It was certainly an adventure but would take too long to type out.

I did buy two back ally purses, one for the wife and one for our daughter. Most of the other guys had been given the same orders that I was given, so between the six of us we had between 12 to 16 purses.

The rest of the week was spent on very solid rescue training. The folks training at S.T.A.R.T. Rescue Training are very good. I have been doing this for about 13 years and Kurt at S.T.A.R.T. is one of the best trainers I’ve had.

After our week of training we flew back to Lake Charles. The flights were uneventful and we arrived here about 8:30 pm.

On Sunday Steve Wright was ordained and installed as Pastor of Bethel Presbyterian Church. It is so good to have a pastor. It has been a long time coming.

Last Friday, Lisa and Elisabeth went to Austin, TX for marriage stuff. I had to work so Lisa made arrangements for the boys to stay with ReauxReaux. I picked them up after work on Friday and went to see The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion which is part of this year’s Banners Series. They were good and the boys were very impressed.

After work Saturday I went to another Banners event. Ryan Brasseaux gave a lecture on the evolution of Cajun Music. This was followed by a Lost Bayou Ramblers Concert. Both the lecture and music were excellent. My cousin Chris and his wife Mindy came for the concert. They would have liked the lecture but could not make it because of a schedule conflict.

Because Lisa was in Austin I did not get to dance much, but Mindy and I did jitterbug to a few songs. The concert had free beer, provided by Budweiser. They had a number of micro brews that I had never tried before then. Food was also provided. We all passed a good time.

Lisa made it home around 8:30 last night. I am working off days today, and will not return to work until Friday night (unless the call me to work some OT).

Coram Deo,

samedi, mars 24, 2007

Much has transpired since the last time I posted on the blog.

Sunday March 4th was my dad and grandfather’s birthday (they are 70 and 87 years old). My mother called the house as we were getting ready for church, she called to inform me that my uncle, Walter (Bunny) had pasted away early that morning. Uncle Bunny was married to my dad’s sister and they lived in the New Orleans’ area. Bunny and Betty had been married for fifty years.

I already had to leave for New Orleans that afternoon to attend the Louisiana AFL-CIO annual convention. After Church we came home and I finished packing and headed for Metairie. I checked into the hotel three hours later. I discovered that I had forgotten my dress close that I planned to where for my uncle’s funeral. My hotel was near the Lakeside Mall, so I went there (JC Penneys) and bought a new suit, shirt and tie for the funeral.

With that done, I went to my Aunt Betty’s home in Destrehan. My parents were already there as were my all four of Betty and Bunny’s four sons and their families. I had not seen most of them for many years. I offered my sincere condolences and visited with them for a few hours before I headed back to the hotel.

Mom and dad did not want to impose on Betty or any of my cousins so I invited them to stay with me in Metairie. They accepted the invitation and soon after came to the hotel. The three of us slept in the one king size bed. I slept like a rock.

Our union meeting was just down the road at the Steam Fitters’ union hall. The day was passed listening to state and local politicians giving speeches and union leaders speaking on various topics. By mid-afternoon we were finished for the day and I headed back to Destrehan and my Aunt Betty’s place. I again spent a few hours with family members and returned to my hotel as did my parents.

The next morning, I checked out of the hotel and went to the union meeting. We heard a few more politicians and covered more union business. After lunch I noticed I had a low tire and decided call it a day. I aired up the tire and headed to Destrehan. I did not want a flat tire while in Metairie, so I did not attend the rest of the afternoon meetings.

I again met my parents at Aunt Betty’s house, from there we went to visit Aunt Linda. Linda is something else. She’s 87 and the care taker of her son’s 81 year old mother-in-law. Linda is very much a character, she has a heart of gold, but can says what she thinks and is never concerned about sparing feelings. She also has a vocabulary that would put a sailor to shame, as did her mother (my great grandmother).

We visited with Aunt Linda for a while. She gave us rooms for the night, and then we left to attend the wake for my uncle. The wake was at St. Charles Catholic Church in Destrehan and the deacon who spoke did a wonderful job. He and my dad were old friends and they had worked together a Dupont when we lived in Destrehan.

A saw lots of people that I had not seen in decades and was introduced to kin folk that I had never meet before then. After the wake we went back to Aunt Betty’s for supper, friends and neighbours provided tons of food for the family. After supper mom, dad and me returned to Aunt Linda. We talked some more. He all had a hilarious time and a good long overdue visit.

Next morning we got up, dressed for the funeral and returned to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Destrehan. The funeral mass was very nice and again the Priest gave a very good homily/eulogy. Aunt Betty, her sons and their families all did ok during the funeral. They are a very close family. It is good that all the boys still live in the area.

When the funeral was concluded, I was in a hurry to get home to Lisa and the kids, so I did not bother to change and drove the three hours home in my suit.

I was only home for a couple of days (Thursday and Friday). Saturday morning I meet several members of our Rescue team at the airport at about 4:30. We were on our way to Philadelphia for our annual 40 hours rescue training. After arriving in Philly we rented a couple of minivans and checked into the Embassy Suites for the week. This was my first time to stay at Embassy Suites. It was nice. We all had our own room with a kitchenette and living room that were separate from the bedroom.

They had a free happy hour every evening, from 5:30 to 7:30 for hotel guests. We took advantage of this benefit, without anyone getting drunk or stupid. There was also a free breakfast that included a short order cook. They made great omelettes. I was surprised that this Northern hotel had grits, and (even more surprising) the grits were good. That was a major surprise, since most restaurant grits that I’ve eaten over the years have had the texture and taste of glue.

Sunday morning five of us worshipped at 10th Presbyterian Church. It was a good service. We were an ecumunically diverse group, one Presbyterian (me), two Baptists and two Roman Catholics. After worship service we headed back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the crew. Six guys then headed out for Gettysburg. Benny and I decided to stay in and kick around in Philly. We had both been to Gettysburg during last trip to Philly. (To Be Continued…)

jeudi, mars 01, 2007

My days off this week have been filled with a variety of things. I am an instructor in a new ergonomics program at work titled “Safety in Motion” and I was assigned to teach an one hour session to part of the on coming shift (6:00 AM) on both Tuesday and Wednesday., so I spent two hours there (5:30-7:30) both days.

On Tuesday after finishing the course, I spent some time with Alvin, who is head of the Behaviour-Based Safety program at the refinery. After that I went to visit my grandfather, who will be 87 this coming Sunday. We had a good visit. He took me to his garden and picked me some carrots and also some oranges from one of his trees.

The afternoon was spent with home, some of it with Christian and then helping the little boys with their homework.

Today, I had to run an errand early and then I went to Longville to visit my folks. I visited with my mom, sister and dad. Dad and a friend of his, Mr. Coleman, were milling a couple of pine trees that they had taken down. They had not finished a cutting up quarter of the trees and already had about 150 2X4’s stacked up.

I returned home in time to pick the boys up at school. We came home and worked on homework. Tomorrow I have rescue team training at the refinery. It is getting late and I need to get cleaned up and go to bed.

Coram Deo,