Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pic of the Day


The first major snowfall of the season began yesterday afternoon. I’m not sure I’m ready for it. I like snow beat when I don’t have to go anywhere, but today, I’ll have to go to work. Hopefully, they will plow my parking lot before I get ready to go. I doubt that will happen since my landlord isn’t the best at thinking ahead or thinking at all for that matter. Anyway, without a doubt, this means I’ll have to go out and get all the snow off my car before I can head to work. Honestly, the fear of the parking lot not being plowed and having to get the snow off my car are really the two major things I hate about winter. I usually don’t mind the cold as long as I don’t have to be in it for long periods of time.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Pic of the Day

Veterans Day

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:

Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.

As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.

It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pic of the Day

Sing for Joy

The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. (KJV) ( Job 29:13 ) 

It's so easy to get consumed with our world and we often overlook other people. But we feel such encouragement when someone we admire takes an interest in us. Believe it or not, you are very powerful as well. You have the ability to make other peoples' hearts sing and flutter, especially to those without hope. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Friday, November 8, 2019

Pic of the Day

My pic is Brian J. Smith who came out yesterday in an issue of Attitude Magazine. I have loved him as an actor since I first saw him in Hate Crime in 2005. My gaydar always went off with him, so I’m glad he’s out.

Conference Session

Today is the last day of my conference. I will be moderating a session on oral history today. I will essentially be asking questions to three of New England’s best oral historians. I’m hoping that the session goes as I have planned. I did organize it after all, so unless my panelists have other ideas, it should go as planned. My session happens to be the last session of the conference, and if everyone who says they are going goes, then we should have a good crowd.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Pic of the Day

Coffee and Conferences

I’ll definitely need my coffee today. Yesterday started the New England Museum Association Annual Conference. Conferences are not all that exciting. They are most exciting when you get to go somewhere, but NEMA this year is in Burlington. So instead of staying in the conference hotel, I have to commute to Burlington three times this week. Yesterday was interesting, but I didn’t learn much that was new. We will see how today goes.  Tomorrow, I will be moderating one of the sessions.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Pic of the Day

Headache Clinic, Aftermath

As I told you on Monday, I went to the headache clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock to be assessed for my headaches. I loved my neurologist down there. She was very nice and very thorough, unlike the neurologist I saw here who was just an arrogant ass. This doctor is also a professor at Dartmouth Medical School. Anyway, after a full assessment, she diagnosed me with chronic migraines. She said though I had some of the symptoms of cluster headaches before, I didn’t meet the most critical of the criteria for cluster headaches and had been misdiagnosed. She also said that besides the occasional seasonal sinus headaches, all of my other headaches were actually migraines, some just acting in atypical ways. However, they were migraines nonetheless.

She stopped all previous headache treatments because they were helping but not completely doing away with the headaches. From here on out, I am not even allowed to take any over the counter medications for pain relief. She first prescribed me Emgality, a monthly injection for my migraines. For milder and moderate headaches she prescribed Anaprox and Vistaral. For major headaches, she prescribed me Migranal. This is where it became tricky. First my pharmacist was worried about interactions with my other health issues (diabetes and hypertension) and my other medications. I did discuss with the pharmacist that we had talked about all my medications, but the pharmacist still would not give me the medication without speaking to the doctor. Furthermore, they did not keep Migranal in stock and would have to order it. That’s all well and good, but the other pharmacist called me yesterday and told me that with the coupon that said it “could reduce the cost to as little as $5” it was still going to cost $1900 dollars a month. My insurance had denied the medication. So they are working with the doctor to try and get pre-authorization for the medication. Incidentally, I looked up the cost of one months supply without the discount card or insurance, and it was $16,000 dollars a month. So it is still up in the air about whether or not I will get the Migranal, because even with the coupon, I cannot afford $1900 a month. Now if one of y’all is a benevolent millionaire with money to spare, there is a donate button over there and if you’re willing to pay $1900 a month for my Migranal, I’d greatly appreciate it. Since I doubt that will happen, I will wait and see if the insurance company authorizes this new medication.

My new doctors goal is not to just make me feel better but to totally eliminate the migraines. Oh and one other little side story about Monday. I had seen the doctor which took about an hour and a half, then I saw a research assistant to be enrolled in the National migraine study which took another hour, and then I headed to the pharmacy at the main hospital to pick of my Emgality. The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Pharmacy is able to cut through the red tape of insurance companies a lot easier than my local pharmacy for this particular medication. So after another hour of paperwork, I got my first dose of Emgality which I was supposed to take when I got home. By this time, it is lunchtime and I went and had lunch then headed home, which is about an hour away from Dartmouth-Hitchcock. I get about 20 miles from home and the pharmacy calls. They had given me the wrong dosage. I was supposed to take two injections the first month and one each month after that. They had only given me one injection pen. So I had to go to the nearest exit, which was about five miles away and turn around and head back to the hospital. By the time I’d gotten the second dose and back home, I then went to my regular pharmacy to pick up my new prescriptions. By the time this was over, it was after 4 pm. I’d left the house at 7:15 am for my 8:30 appointment. It had been a long day. Add to that, I did have a massive migraines on Monday.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pic of the Day


Elizabeth Drew Stoddard

Much have I spoken of the faded leaf;
Long have I listened to the wailing wind,
And watched it ploughing through the heavy clouds,
For autumn charms my melancholy mind.

When autumn comes, the poets sing a dirge:
The year must perish; all the flowers are dead;
The sheaves are gathered; and the mottled quail
Runs in the stubble, but the lark has fled!

Still, autumn ushers in the Christmas cheer,
The holly-berries and the ivy-tree:
They weave a chaplet for the Old Year’s bier,
These waiting mourners do not sing for me!

I find sweet peace in depths of autumn woods,
Where grow the ragged ferns and roughened moss;
The naked, silent trees have taught me this,—
The loss of beauty is not always loss!

PS I will give an update about my visit to the headache clinic tomorrow.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Pic of the Day

Headache Clinic

At long last, I am finally going for my appointment at the headache clinic. I’m not sure what to expect other than a lot of questions about my history of headaches. I know I have often mentioned having a headache on this blog, but I don’t always say when o have a headache. That’s because I have some type of headache 5-7 days per week. It is not as bad as when I had chronic cluster headaches. During those couple of years, I didn’t go a moment without a headache. Now sometimes they last a few hours, sometimes a few days. Sometimes they are debilitating and I can’t even work, at other times they are tolerable. I have learned to work through the pain. So I hope to get some answers and maybe some relief from the doctors at this special clinic.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Pic of the Day

In Trouble

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; (KJV) ( Romans 12:12 ) 

This verse is a helpful nugget of guidance to get us through dark times. As a believer in Christ we have hope and not just a random hope, but a confident hope. We can confidently believe in a time when hurt, pain, and sorrow will end. It's comforting to know amidst all of your despair and discouragement there is one thing you can be sure of which is that it will come to an end. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Pic of the Day


I’ve got a lot going on today, but thank God it’s Friday.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Pic of the Day

Happy Halloween

My favorite time of year. I have always loved Halloween. It’s just a fun holiday. We probably won’t have a lot of trick or treaters tonight because they are predicting pretty heavy rainfall. My neighbor and I will still give out candy to those who come by. It’s always fun to see all the costumes.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Pic of the Day

Travel Hell, Part II

I didn’t fully realize this had happened until last night. I had carefully packed everything I needed for my trip. However, when I got to Pensacola I realized that my glucose meter to check my blood sugar was not in my bag. I distinctly remember picking it up and taking it to my suitcase. I checked all through my luggage and it just wasn’t there. I did notice one thing off though, my bag that I’d neatly packed was in disarray. I didn’t really think much of it at the time because TSA always seems to check my bag and leaves a little note saying the did so. This time though, there was no note. I just thought they may have forgotten.

Then I got home. I searched all over my apartment and my glucose meter is nowhere to be found. I’ve looked everywhere. The only thing I can think that happened is that someone rifled through my bag and stole my glucose meter. I have no idea why someone would steal it, but someone apparently did. Just one more problem to add to my travels.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Pic of the Day

Mr. Macklin’s Jack O’Lantern

Mr. Macklin’s Jack O’Lantern
David McCord - 1897-1997

Mr. Macklin takes his knife
And carves the yellow pumpkin face:
Three holes bring eyes and nose to life,
The mouth has thirteen teeth in place.
Then Mr. Macklin just for fun
Transfers the corn-cob pipe from his
Wry mouth to Jack’s, and everyone
Dies laughing! O what fun it is
Till Mr. Macklin draws the shade
And lights the candle in Jack’s skull.
Then all the inside dark is made
As spooky and as horrorful
As Halloween, and creepy crawl
The shadows on the tool-house floor,
With Jack’s face dancing on the wall.
O Mr. Macklin! where's the door?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Pic of the Day

Travel Hell

My flight Saturday from Pensacola to Atlanta was delayed due to bad weather. My flight arrived in Atlanta just minutes after my flight to Burlington had left. There’s only one flight from Atlanta to Burlington a day, so I got stuck in Atlanta Saturday night. Delta originally rescheduled my flight to send me to Memphis then Detroit and finally to Burlington. After an hour in the Delta service line and on the phone with Delta I finally got my flight rescheduled so that I flew straight to Detroit and then to Burlington yesterday. Not the best situation but it’s the best they would do. Then I got to the service counter to find out what they had done with my luggage only for the bitch at the service counter to yell at me when I enquired about my bag. I told her she needed to settle down, gave her my ticket, and again asked where my bag was. Delta had locked it up with my CPAP and wouldn’t let me have it back assuring me that it would be on the next day’s flight with me.

Next, I had to find a hotel to stay for the night. I settled on the Hilton Atlanta Airport. Big mistake! I checked in got to my room and went down to get dinner. I was starving. After waiting forever for a waitress, someone finally took my order. I ordered wings and fries. The wings came out eventually and were basically all fat with a little bit of meat. I went back up my room and went to bed. I woke up at 6:30 the next morning and headed down for breakfast. I got the buffet because everything looked good. It was not. It was barely edible and the coffee tasted burnt. I went back to my room because I was nauseated and wanted to lay down for a bit before checkout. That’s when I found a bedroom slipper in the middle of my bed under the covers. I could only surmise that the cleaning crew had only made the bed but not changed the sheets after the last person checked out. To top off all of that, they over charged me for the meals I’d had to the tune of an extra $90. So when I did check out I let them know my issues. To compensate me for my troubles, the gave me a hot ginger ale. Ugh! I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

The trip to Detroit was fine. It’s a fairly nice airport.  I ate at Cat Cora’s Taproom for dinner. It was delicious. If you do not know who Cat Cora is, she’s a Mississippi chef who became the first female Iron Chef on Food Network. She’s also a philanthropist, a lesbian, and a fellow alumni of The University of Southern Mississippi. Subsequently, the flight to Burlington went without a hitch. We even arrived early. However, after I’d been assured my bag would be flying with me, it did not. Instead, it took a direct flight to Burlington in an airplane that arrived after mine. So I had to wait an extra 30-45 minutes for my bag. Finally, I was headed home, but it rained the whole way. I hate driving at night in the rain, but I made it home safely to a very happy Isabella when I walked in the door.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Pic of the Day

Judging Others

There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? (KJV) ( James 4:12 ) 

God is the perfect judge because He created the law. When we judge other people it is a sign we don't trust God will judge accordingly. Or it is a sign that our own authority is greater than God's.  Both of these ideas are far from the truth.  If you find yourself looking down on another person, try focusing on your love and appreciation for them.  Your love leaves a greater impact than your judgement. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Pic of the Day

Free Day

I have nothing I have to do today except enjoy Pensacola. I plan to go to the museums downtown and explore them. That should take up most of my day as I do plan to sleep in some this morning. Tonight I’m taking a ghost tour and then will probably head to the gay bar that is downtown and near my hotel.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pic of the Day


Today is the last day of my class. I have to present a ten minute interpretive program as my final project. I also have to turn in my literature review test that the class completed as a group. I hope everyone knew what they were talking about because we will either all pass or all fail the literature review. It has been a pretty interesting and, dare I say, fun class. I’m glad I have gotten the opportunity to do this training to be come a Certified Interpretive Guide. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Pic of the Day


My training class is going pretty well. I am learning some new stuff. My instructor is super cute, and though most of my fellow classmates are much older than I am, they are all very nice. Two of the seven are much younger than I am, so I’m sort of in the middle of the pack. It is all pretty interesting though. I am looking forward to my free day Friday when I can explore some of the local museums.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pic of the Day

To -- -- --. Ulalume: A Ballad

To -- -- --. Ulalume: A Ballad

The skies they were ashen and sober; 
      The leaves they were crispéd and sere— 
      The leaves they were withering and sere; 
It was night in the lonesome October 
      Of my most immemorial year; 
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, 
      In the misty mid region of Weir— 
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber, 
      In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. 

Here once, through an alley Titanic, 
      Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul— 
      Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul. 
These were days when my heart was volcanic 
      As the scoriac rivers that roll— 
      As the lavas that restlessly roll 
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek 
      In the ultimate climes of the pole— 
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek 
      In the realms of the boreal pole. 

Our talk had been serious and sober, 
      But our thoughts they were palsied and sere— 
      Our memories were treacherous and sere— 
For we knew not the month was October, 
      And we marked not the night of the year— 
      (Ah, night of all nights in the year!) 
We noted not the dim lake of Auber— 
      (Though once we had journeyed down here)— 
We remembered not the dank tarn of Auber, 
      Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. 

And now, as the night was senescent 
      And star-dials pointed to morn— 
      As the star-dials hinted of morn— 
At the end of our path a liquescent 
      And nebulous lustre was born, 
Out of which a miraculous crescent 
      Arose with a duplicate horn— 
Astarte's bediamonded crescent 
      Distinct with its duplicate horn. 

And I said—"She is warmer than Dian: 
      She rolls through an ether of sighs— 
      She revels in a region of sighs: 
She has seen that the tears are not dry on 
      These cheeks, where the worm never dies, 
And has come past the stars of the Lion 
      To point us the path to the skies— 
      To the Lethean peace of the skies— 
Come up, in despite of the Lion, 
      To shine on us with her bright eyes— 
Come up through the lair of the Lion, 
      With love in her luminous eyes." 

But Psyche, uplifting her finger, 
      Said—"Sadly this star I mistrust— 
      Her pallor I strangely mistrust:— 
Oh, hasten! oh, let us not linger! 
      Oh, fly!—let us fly!—for we must." 
In terror she spoke, letting sink her 
      Wings till they trailed in the dust— 
In agony sobbed, letting sink her 
      Plumes till they trailed in the dust— 
      Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust. 

I replied—"This is nothing but dreaming: 
      Let us on by this tremulous light! 
      Let us bathe in this crystalline light! 
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming 
      With Hope and in Beauty to-night:— 
      See!—it flickers up the sky through the night! 
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming, 
      And be sure it will lead us aright— 
We safely may trust to a gleaming 
      That cannot but guide us aright, 
      Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night." 

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her, 
      And tempted her out of her gloom— 
      And conquered her scruples and gloom: 
And we passed to the end of the vista, 
      But were stopped by the door of a tomb— 
      By the door of a legended tomb; 
And I said—"What is written, sweet sister, 
      On the door of this legended tomb?" 
      She replied—"Ulalume—Ulalume— 
      'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!" 

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober 
      As the leaves that were crispèd and sere— 
      As the leaves that were withering and sere, 
And I cried—"It was surely October 
      On this very night of last year 
      That I journeyed—I journeyed down here— 
      That I brought a dread burden down here— 
      On this night of all nights in the year, 
      Oh, what demon has tempted me here? 
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber— 
      This misty mid region of Weir— 
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber— 
      In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir." 

Said we, then—the two, then—"Ah, can it 
      Have been that the woodlandish ghouls— 
      The pitiful, the merciful ghouls— 
To bar up our way and to ban it 
      From the secret that lies in these wolds— 
      From the thing that lies hidden in these wolds— 
Had drawn up the spectre of a planet 
      From the limbo of lunary souls— 
This sinfully scintillant planet 
      From the Hell of the planetary souls?" 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Pic of the Day


I made it to Pensacola. It was quite a trip down. Yesterday was so crazy, I never got a chance to post a devotional. I got to the airport in what is usually plenty of time. However, there was only one clerk working the Delta counter, and the line was halfway down the airport to check your bags. Luckily, I was Sky Priority and the line was shorter but it still took at least half an hour to check my bag. Then the TSA was down to one machine in security so that took forever. It was also terribly annoying because some guy from New York behind me kept trying to inch in front of me and continually screamed for a TSA manager because he was afraid of missing his flight. Even after being told they were holding the planes he continued to complain loudly. I get very annoyed at impatient people. Finally, I got through security in time to board my 6 am flight at 5:55. We then sat on the plane for over an hour waiting to take off. I got off the plane in Atlanta just in time for my next flight to start boarding. Luckily, we landed at gate B28 and my gate was B27. Sometimes I get lucky. Some people were not as lucky. The lady next to me missed her flight completely, and two other ladies had a flight boarding in ten minutes on concourse D. I hope they made it, but the Atlanta Airport is a big place. Finally though, I got to Pensacola only to find my hotel room wouldn’t be ready for several more hours. Luckily, my parents  were there and we went and had lunch. When we got back, they’d just finished with my room. 

My training classes begin the morning. I sure hope they aren’t boring.