Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's CATURDAY!

Every week, it comes, bringing with it pictures of cats, which need captions..... Yes, it's CATURDAY!! Most of these pictures I captioned myself. It gets addicting after a while. These come from my page at Icanhascheezburger.com



Since Tonjia is allergic to cats, we have dogs now, but I've always thought of myself as a cat person. I've had cats for most of my life, or more correctly, I've been on the staff of many cats over the years.




My first cat that I had on my own, that wasn't just a family cat, was Roto. He was a big grey furball, that weighed 18 lbs. He wasn't afraid of anything, or anyone. He loved to be the center of attention. I can't find my favorite picture of Roto, but this guy looks something like him.



This cat family expresses my beliefs about the power of hugs...




So, everyone, hug your cat, or your dogs, or your significant other, and have a great Caturday! (Frankie says I have to include this one, from Ihasahotdog.com.)




Dana (I'm at work till Sunday morning)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Love Letter.

The other day, Tonjia found a love letter I had written her while we were "dating". As I mentioned before, Tonjia and I met on the internet, and we had a long distance relationship going on for several months, before we met for the first time. After we met, we still exchanged letters, phone calls, and e-mails until we could move Tonjia and Breanna in with me. In that time, we sent each other hundreds of love notes.

I realize, that since we are now together, I haven't sent Tonjia a love letter in a long time, so I'd like to make up for it here. Without further ado, this is a love letter to my lover, best friend, and wife, fortunately all the same person.

Tonjia, we've been married for 9 years now, and I am more in love with you now than ever. You truly mean everything to me. The time we have spent together has been the happiest of my life, and I cannot imagine being without you ever again. Whenever we are apart, I miss you, and ache to have you near me.

I love the way you work hard, for long hours, to make a home for us, and to keep us warm and safe. I love how you take delight in small things, and how you find facination in new ideas. I love how you like to read, and how you take care of your family. I love that you keep in touch with your mother and father, and that you care about their welfare. I love that you keep your mind open, and that you have a caring heart.

Perhaps what I love about you most is that you are willing to put up with me, and all my faults, and foibles. Thank you for sharing my life, and for filling my days with happiness.

Hugs and kisses...


Dana

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hi, This is Max

This is Max, I'm a Basset Hound, and I think I'm 6 years old. I 'm doing Dad's blog today, because Dad says he's tired, and can't think of anything to write about.

My Dad takes me for walkies, and that's my favoritest thing in the whole world. He was gone to what he calls "werk" for Two WHOLE DAYS so Frankie and me didn't get to go walkies. Today Dad came home and we got to go walkies all around the neighborhood. Frankie and me got to pee on trees, sniff the ground, and say "Hi" to all the other dogs in the park. We even got to see a pretty little Basset Hound puppy named "Molly" today.

Frankie likes to chase the kitties, but I like to just walk around and pee on things. I came to live with my Mom and Dad almost a year ago now. Before that I was living in Salt Lake City, where my family before gave me up. I don't know why they left me, but I'm happy to find a new forever home, with a Mom and Dad that feed me, rub my belly and take me walkies. I also like my two legged sister Breanna.

I even like my little brother Frankie sometimes, even though he pulls my ears, and tries to take my goodie bones. I sometimes take Frankie's pig skin twists (don't tell Dad).

Here is a movie starring ME!, and my sister Breanna. Do you think I'll make a good movie star?



. video


Well goodbye for now. I hear Mom making supper, and I have to supervise.

Maxwell Smart Tweedy, Basset Hound.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

All your troubles are behind you.....

There's an old saying, "When you are a bus driver, all your troubles are behind you". I've been driving school buses for a year and a half now, part time. I first took the job when we first moved here, the local school bus company was advertising for school bus drivers. I thought that, with my work schedule, that on my days off, I could pick up a little extra money and learn something different. With that in mind, I applied for a part time bus driver position.


After a brief interview, I was sent to bus driver training for one week, where I learned about managing a bus and how to wrangle students. I got my Colorado CDL (Commercial Drivers License) just a few weeks after getting my regular driver's license. I got to know the people at the DMV very well over those few weeks. Finally, I was allowed behind the wheel of one of those huge yellow people eaters. I work as a subsistute driver, filling in for drivers who are sick, or need a day off. I have a different route most days I work.


The people I work with at the Ambulance company think it's strange that I drive school bus when I'm not being a paramedic. My fellow drivers at the Bus company think it's strange that I am a paramedic, who drives school buses.

I kind of see it as the both jobs are similar. Both involve hauling around persons, who quite often don't really want to be your passenger. Both involve dealing with children, (of all ages) and difusing temper tantrums.

Both jobs involve trying to find poorly marked addresses in the dark, and in bad weather. Both involve having to deal with stupid drivers, who don't pay attention to flashing red lights. Both require knowledge of maps, and a fairly good sense of direction. Both jobs require a lot of paper work, but at least with bus driving, I don't have to fill out a long report for each passenger I haul.

Which do I like better? I know that being a paramedic will aways be in my blood, but there are times when I could just chuck the whole thing, and drive buses full time. Maybe when I retire, I'll keep the bus driving gig, or maybe I'll find something else to occupy my time. I forgot to mention, that bus driving is something of a family tradition. Two of my sisters also drive school buses, back in Pennsylvania.


Dana

Monday, January 12, 2009

Frankie's new pastime.

I just got back after a weekend at work. We had the usual transports, and 911 calls, another few days in the glamorous world of EMS. We transported a teenager who overdosed, stood by at a bull riding event, responded to an elk vs car collision, and transported a new mother and her hours old son from a small hospital to a larger one.



I drove home this AM, and was met by Max and Frankie. They were happy to see me, and even more happy when I took them for a walk this afternoon. Walks are Max and Frankie's most favoritest activity ever. Max watches me very closely all day, and when I stand up, or move toward the kitchen cabinet where I keep the plastic bags, he starts getting excited. I don't even have to say the WALK word, the boys just KNOW that they are going walkies.



I've noticed that Frankie has decided that he's now a Big Boy, and has discovered the pleasure of peeing on things. When I first started taking Frankie on walks with Max, Frankie didn't pause to pee very often and usually squatted. Now he likes to to lift up his leg and pee a mighty stream on trees, lamp posts, and road signs.



He also loves to hunt for kitties to chase. I keep the boys on leashes whenever they are out of the yard, but Frankie knows to look under the cars in the area, because that's where the cats tend to spend their days. In the winter, the underside of cars are warm, and in the summer, they are cooler than the surrounding area.

Frankie stalks the cats, and when they see him, they either run off, in which case he tries to chase them. If they don't run, he barks at them. Most of the cats are bigger than Frankie, and I keep telling him that someday some cat will kick his butt.

Tomorrow morning I am going to drive the school bus, so wish me luck.


Dana

Friday, January 9, 2009

Complaints Dept.

Sometimes it seems like a person's Blog is nothing but a complaints department. I don't want for this outlet to be nothing but me whining about my problems, but sometimes you just need to speak out about what annoys you.

For me, one of my pet peeves is people who don't take their shopping carts back to the cart rack. Usually the place to corral the carts in a supermarket parking lot is just a few feet away, but some people are too lazy to take a few steps to put their cart away properly. This afternoon, I had to stop by the local market, to pick up a few items, and I was pulling into a parking spot, when I had to steer around a cart some moron left in the middle of the space. The cart rack was literally 10 feet away! How much of a problem would it have been to walk that cart a few steps and put it where it's not going to hit someone's door.

Another thing that annoys me is big companies that don't care about their customers. Today, I found out that our home owners insurance had been canceled almost a month ago. This company, which I won't name, except to say it's "Foremost" in my mind, left us high and dry.

Apparently the insurance company didn't feel it was important enough to notify us, that we had no coverage should something happen to our home. I only found this out, when they sent us a rebate check for $8 that they said had overpaid. It seems that I had made an on-line payment that the company decided wasn't enough, so they just dropped us, like a hot potato. I didn't get a phone call, a letter, or an e-mail from the company, or the local agent. (I also wonder how I could be canceled for "non payment", and then they send me a rebate?)

When I called the local agent, they claimed they knew nothing about it, and the employee who handles the home insurance was out of the office, and wouldn't be back till Monday morning. Now this was about 3pm on Friday, meaning that we would be without insurance for another weekend. This was not an acceptable option, so I had to go and call around town, looking for another insurance company. Fortunately I found another agency, and signed up for policy from a different company, and it's actually going to save us about $20 a year on homeowners insurance. I won't say what the new company is, but All I'll State that they seem to be more interested in customer service. We will be looking into changing our car insurance over to this company as well, if we can get a good deal. Hopefully we'll be in good hands with this new company.

I'm back to work for another two days, starting tomorrow morning. I'm hoping for a quiet weekend, but I'll see what we get.

Dana

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to Work

Tomorrow morning I head back to work, getting up at 4 AM to drive to the town of Silt. I'm doing a 24 hr shift, then I'm off on Friday, and back again for Saturday and Sunday. My shifts are kinda odd, and don't follow any set pattern. I usually work 96 hours in a two week period, i.e. two 48 hr shifts in a week. Sometimes, however it works out differently.

I've been off for the last 6 days, so I can't complain too much. The drive to Silt is usually not bad, just an hour on the road, with my XM radio to keep me company. I often listen to the "old time" radio programs, like The Lone Ranger, or Dragnet, or "The Shadow". For some reason I don't care much for the comedies, such as "Fibber McGee and Molly", or the "George and Gracie" show. Some of the radio shows seem to hold up better over the years.

The town rents an apartment for the ambulance crew, so I have a place to sleep, and watch TV after the work is done. I'm going to be given the position of Lieutenant at the company, which means I have some more responsibilities and duties. Hopefully it will mean a raise in pay too, but I don't count on it much. The town is suffering from the recent economic downturn, and had to lay off a few maintainence workers, so I'm just happy to have a job.

I hope to have some time to blog tomorrow, if not I'll check in on Friday.


Dana

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Winter wonderland? Phooey!

The Christmas tree is down, and the decorations are put back in their box for another year. New Year's day is past, and it's time to settle in for a few more months of cold and snow before spring returns. As much as I love the holidays, I'm always a little sad to know that they usher in winter, with all it's cold and misery.

Mt. Garfield, covered in snow


I've always liked spring and fall much more than winter and summer. I like the mild weather, and the change of seasons. Winter it seems is a little too long, and wears out it's welcome much too fast. Once you've shoveled the walk a few times, or cursed the frozen locks a few times, "winter wonderland" loses it's charm.

Colorado Winter


January is a time for dry skin, chilled toes, and chapped lips. Some people love winter sports: skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating and such. For me, I prefer to stay inside with a good book and a warm blanket. Slipping and sliding on the snow and ice is not for me. I also don't care much for driving on slippery highways. Colds, flu, frostbite, chilblains, and hypothermia, all make more work for me, and Tonjia. Icicles on rooftops always remind me of teeth, and the peaceful snow, hides the treacherous ice beneath it. Let's face it, winter is something to be endured, not enjoyed.

So, for the next few months, I'll be watching for signs of spring.

Tell the ground hog to wear sunglasses, round up some robins, and get those swallows back to Capistranto, pronto!




Come on Spring!

Dana

Monday, January 5, 2009

Whales with Legs

Another passion of mine is the Creation/Evolution debate. I've been active on the newsgroup Talk.Origins for several years.

I'm strongly pro-evolution, and I feel that accepting the science of evolution doesn't mean one must give up one's religious beliefs. One famous biologist is Dr. Kenneth Miller, who wrote a book called Finding Darwin's God which discusses how one can believe in God, and accept evolutionary science. Here's a video of Dr. Miller discussing the evidence for evolution of whales.



Dr. Miller's newest book is "Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul" and is available at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Only-Theory-Evolution-Battle-Americas/dp/067001883X

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dinosaurs

Nearly every little boy has a thing for dinosaurs. They are big, loud, and awesome creatures, now safely dead. Most little boys eventually grow out of it, and go on to sports, or some other pursuit. I never did, and dinosaurs are still a passion of mine.

Fortunately for me, I live in Western Colorado, one of the centers of dinosaur fossils. The first specimens of Bracheosaurus altothorax were found just outside of Grand Junction. Other dinosaur fossils, such as Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus have been found just outside of town. The nearby town of Fruita has a dinosaur museum, and Tonjia got me a year's pass to the museum. In October, 2007, I dragged Tonjia off to Jensen Utah to see Dinosaur National Monument. The trip took about 2 1/2 hours, on a clear fall day. It was beautiful weather that day.

While the park was open, unfortunately, the dinosaur quarry building, that covers a slab of rock with hundreds of dinosaur fossils still encased in the rock, was closed due to structural issues. It's unknown when the building will re-open, but we still got to view the park, and see some dinosaur bones. This is what greets you as you approach the Park entrance:


Inside the temporary visitor's center, some fossils were on display. This is the skull of an Allosaurus
We hiked back a trail, about a half a mile, to a rock outcropping where some dinosaur bones were still embedded in the rock face. The trail wound around some rough terrain, but we were able to see the remains of a juvenile Apatosaurus. Here's a forearm bone sticking out of the rock:


In this picture, you can see a row of vertebrae along the rock face, just below the overhanging rock :



After viewing the dinosaur fossils we took a drive around to see some Indian petroglyphs in the park.


There's still a lot of dinosaur related areas I'd like to visit, and maybe next summer I can go on a real dinosaur dig at Rabbit Valley, where there's an active quarry. The geology of this area continues to fascinate me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What's it like....

Max, Frankie, and I just got back from our daily walk, and Frankie is just furious! Some little boy called Frankie a "Cha wah wah". Frankie wants everyone to know he's a Dachshund, not some "Cha wah wah".

The boy's misconception leads to the many misconceptions about what's it like to be a Paramedic. I get that question, from time to time, "What's it like to be Paramedic"? I've thought it over, and I have a few ideas, that might help for those not in EMS to understand.

"What's it like being a Paramedic?"

Well, it's sometimes like being a taxi driver. You are sent to a stranger's home to give that person a ride, sometimes the most important ride of their life. You go no matter when, where and what the weather is doing. Your passenger may be drunk, high, or even violent.



But unlike taxi drivers, Paramedics and EMTs don't get tips, and Taxi drivers don't usually have to write a long detailed reports for each passenger they pick up.

Being a paramedic is something like running on a treadmill. No matter how fast you go, or how hard you work, you feel like you aren't getting anywhere. People still drink and drive, do stupid things with dangerous equipment, still smoke, even when they are on supplimental Oxygen. Every day you go to work, you know that you'll most likely see the same product of stupidity that you've seen hundreds of times before.



Being a Paramedic is something like being a counselor. You sit, and listen to people as they are having the worst day of their lives. You hold the hand of an elderly patient who doesn't remember what day it is. You hear curses, ramblings, excuses, and you hear the wail of a mother who's child isn't coming home. You are the sounding board for those who have no one else to talk to. You are the visitor for the lonely, and the buffer for family fights.

It's also like being a Cardiologist, who must read and correctly interpret ECGs in just a few moments. You are a phlebotomist, who starts IV's and draws blood, but in the back of a moving and swaying ambulance at 75 mph. You must know how much of a drug to give, and estimate the weight of a random person off the street. You must know about the electrical system of the heart, and how to restore a beat to a heart that has lost it's own.

What's it like being a Paramedic? It's getting the responsibility of a doctor, but only a tiny fraction of the pay. It's getting all the danger of a police officer, but no bullet resistant vest, and no sidearm. It's getting spit on, kicked at, swung on, and threatned with lawsuits, all because you responded to a call for help. It's still making house calls, at 3 AM when someone has a headache. It's standing on a freezing Interstate Higway, in heavy snow, while tractor trailers whizz by, trying to remove enough twisted metal to remove a person from what was a car.




Being a Paramedic is a thankless, underpaid, and overstressed job, but it's one that gets into the blood. Although I complain sometimes, there's nothing else I would rather be doing. Despite all the trials and tribulations, there is nothing like saving a life. There's nothing like the feeling one gets from shaking the hand of someone who a few weeks ago was without a heartbeat, and now is with his family. There's nothing like getting a card from a child who apologizes for "trying to bite you" when you treated her dislocated shoulder.

What's it like being a Paramedic? Like nothing else on Earth.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

do we really need another blog


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Lava Lamp


Happy Anniversary!

Nine years ago today, Tonjia and I began our married life together. I haven't regretted a minute of it, and I know Tonjia feels the same way.

We met in a fairly unconventional, but becoming more common, way. Tonjia and I first met on the internet. We were both posting in a chat room for the TV show "ER". Neither of us were looking to find someone online, and neither of us was looking for romance, but romance found us.

I was living in Pennsylvania at the time, and Tonjia was in Kansas. We started out as friends, while Tonjia was going through a messy divorce. Later, after the divorce was finalized, we began a long distance relationship.

I don't think I need to tell anyone how hard it is to conduct a relationship over nearly 1000 miles of space. I still hate to think how much we spent on phone bills over that time. At last, we decided it was time to see each other for real.

I bought a ticket to Tulsa OK, (the nearest airport). Despite Tonjia's friends' worries that I might turn out to be an "axe murderer", we spent a magical weekend together, visiting the sights of the city, described as "The Paris of Oklahoma" by Chandler from "Friends". After that weekend, we knew that we were meant to be together forever. By the end of the year, I had flown out to see Tonjia a few more times, and she had flown to see me.

The last time I flew out, I brought an engagement ring, and moved Tonjia, lock, stock and daughter Breanna, to Pennsylvania. We moved in November of 1999, and set up house in PA. We decided that we wanted to get married as soon as possible, and with ''Y2K" coming up fast, we picked the date as Jan 1, 2000 to start the century out right.

After a few years of living in the humidity of southern PA, Tonjia was getting homesick for the mountains of Colorado. So, another move later, here we are in the high desert, still together, and going strong. Next year, we hope to take a cruise to celebrate our 10th Anniversary!

Although we didn't plan on it, we ended up falling in love, but as Elvis put it, "I just can't help falling in love with you".

Happy Anniversary, Tonjia. I love you more and more each day.

Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay, would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be

Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be

Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you
For I can't help falling in love with you