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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Eye update

No drama here. My eye appointment with the retina specialist was a brief one. He said there is nothing to worry about. His diagnosis was just floaters. There are certainly more than there used to be, but in time, your brain adjusts.

Until the next time
John Strain


Monday, February 26, 2007


Big Week

I know it’s been a while since my last post. I have been working on a project. It is a podcast about music. Specifically, the music I grew up with. It has turned into a lot of work, but I am going to be pleased with the result. Look for it here in a few days.

The podcast itself is an overview of all of the music, but it got me thinking about a whole genre, if you will, for blog posts. I will take a song and then post what that song means to me. By describing the time in my life, my feelings, and circumstances, it should provide at least a few decent posts.

This is my last week as a 40 year old. On Friday, I join the ranks of the 50 year olds. To celebrate, we are going to New Orleans on Saturday and eating at Antoine’s – a storied and famous French Quarter restaurant. We will spend the night in the quarter too, so it should be a lot of fun.

OK, almost half-way to 100. I hope the second half is as much fun as the first.

Until the next time
John Strain


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


A picture is worth a thousand words

Photos from Missouri


Thursday, February 15, 2007



by Bear

Bear's going on a trip

Hi Everyone, it's me Bear.

I have some good news. I get to go with Mama and Daddy to see Grandma and Aunt Becky in Missouri this weekend. I usually have to stay at my doctor's place. I hate it there. It's no fun being away from your family and cooped up with a bunch of strange dogs. All those things you ever heard about prison are true.

Anyway, the picture is from last year when Mama and Daddy were leaving to go to the Pensacola Marathon. Daddy can't run right now because he pulled a groin muscle. So since they have a few days off for Mardi Gras, they are going to Missouri.

Yesterday, Daddy called the vet to have me boarded (grrrrr, snarl) but they didn't have any room for a big dog. Daddy called Grandma to tell her and she said to bring me along. I hope Grandma's two cats don't bother me. You know how cats can be.

Also, Uncle George is going to come with his dog Murphy. I can't wait to see the new sights and smell the new smells. Best of all, I get to be with my family the whole time. Yippppeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Grandma will be happy because she will have all of her children in one spot for the first time in a long time. I will get to meet Mr. Rocky for the first time too. I heard he really likes dogs. I figure that will translate into some treats. Wag, wag, wag.

I'd better go, I have to get my bones packed, clean my dog bowl, and make sure Daddy remembers my leash. I can't wait.

Bye for now,


Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Happy Valentine's Day

Here's to a great Valentines Day folks.

I thought of Leslie when I saw this photo.

How about a nice Valentine's Day song.

Until the next time
John Strain


Tuesday, February 13, 2007


The eye doctor

I have logged a lot of hours at the eye doctor. Yesterday was another chapter in the book. It is funny that no matter how old I become, my childhood memories are always close by. Sitting in that office waiting for the doctor to come in and begin the exam was just like it was when I was 6 or 7. The only difference was my mother wasn’t in there making sure I didn’t play with any of the big machines.

The office hasn’t changed much in almost 50 years. The chair is about the same; big, bulky, and an ugly but durable plastic material. Assorted posters hang on the wall displaying the anatomy of an eye. The counter next to the chair is littered with bottles of eye drops, a box of Kleenex, and a big projector that shines on a mirror for eye testing.

I always get my eyes dilated so the doc can see inside better. That means a few drops then another wait in a dark room while the pupils are opening up. The eye doctor is all about waiting.

Yesterday’s appointment was brought on because of something that happened on Thursday. I began seeing a lot of spots, flashes of light, and some blurred vision in my right eye. It was a little better the next day. Some of the problems persisted over the weekend, so on Monday I called the office and got an appointment for 12:30.

Before I knew it I was sitting in that old familiar office with 40 year old memories floating around in my head. Memories of the Plaza in Kansas City and Dr. Eubanks. In those days, doctors were magic men. They knew everything and maybe they even knew how to make me see better. I always had faith and hope in those guys. Now not so much, but that is more a product of my growing up and realizing that doctors are smart, but they don’t have a corner on the magic market.

I like my current ophthalmologist. I met him coaching baseball ten years ago or so. We have sons the same age and we got to know each other on the ball diamond. He did the lens implant surgeries on my eyes and has taken pretty good care of me.

Eventually, the door opened and he came in holding my chart. I told him my story and he began the exam. He began with the little machine you rest your chin on, but quickly graduated to the lenses and head lamp. Then he pulled out a real thick lens, put some kind of gel in my eye, and placed the lens right on my eye.

As he looked from various angles shining the light, he talked out loud. “I don’t see red blood cells . . .there’s a lot of debris in there . . . something happened . . . I don’t think that is a retinoschisis . . . blah, blah, blah.”

He was thinking and scratching his head. Something had happened, he wasn’t sure what. He called his colleague into the room so he could take a look. They agreed on ruling out a couple of retina problems, but also believed the retina wasn’t right.

The bottom line for now is I have an appointment with a retina specialist from Tulane next Thursday. Whatever is wrong is not an emergency. So I will have to wait and see what the next guy says.

So drop in next week to find out the next chapter; I’ll have an eye out for you.

Until the next time
John Strain


Sunday, February 11, 2007


Parties on the bayou

Bear wearing his beads

Bear in the spirit of the moment
At Big Dick's request, I am exposing my breasts. They're in there somewhere.

Hi Everyone it's me Bear,
Mardi Gras is in full swing now. A parade comes close to my house and my daddy had a party. They don't let dogs go to parades in Covington anymore, because some mutt bit somebody and ruined it for the rest of us.

Some dogs aren't too bright.

Anyway, I got to hear it. I heard sirens, marching bands, horse hooves clopping on the street, motorcycles, children yelling, and tractors pulling floats. I don't mind staying home though, because that is where a lot of food is. I get all kiinds of treats I am not supposed to eat.

Sunday morning after the parade, Daddy walked me along the parade route and I found more food. Daddy kept pulling me away from it though, he said it was nasty. Shoot, that's the best kind of stuff to find.

So Happy Mardi Gras if I don't get around to posting before next Tuesday. Do something fun even if you are in one of those places with 10 feet of snow.

Bye for now,


Friday, February 09, 2007


Coffee's on

The coffee is dripping, the dog is waiting to go outside, and I need to get Barb up so we can head to the gym. Now that I cannot run, I have been going to the gym and she has started working out again. I am off today. There is plenty of neglected yard work to keep me busy. It wouldn't hurt to spruce up the yard a bit in advance of the Olympia Parade Party on Saturday night. If you are in the area, stop by. It will be fun.

I think I am going to the eye doctor today too, if I can get in. Yesterday, I started seeing a bunch of floaters in my right eye and the vision is a bit blurry - even for me. It is still that way this morning so something ain't right.

Oh man. Smell that coffee. I am heading for the pot and will start the IV.

Have a nice weekend folks.

Until the next time
John Strain


Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I got my tickets

March Madness Baby!!!! Hear those words as if Dick Vitale were saying them.

Friday, March 16 and Sunday, March 18, the New Orleans Arena is one of the venues for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Rounds 1 and 2. New Orleans is one of 8 cities that weekend to host first and second round games. The other citties are: Buffalo, Lexington, Sacramento, Winston-Salem, Chicago, Columbus, and Spokane.

It will be a good father / son bonding time for John and I and another friend and his son. I can't wait.

I suppose it would be too much to ask to have my favoirte team the Jayhawks be here too. I shouldn't be greedy.

This weekend the Mardi Gras Season kicks into high gear. Saturday, the annual Olympia Parade passes near my house and we have a party for the occasion. You're all invited.

But for now, I need to get ready for work. It's just Wednesday.

Until the next time
John Strain


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Creative Juices

Lately I have been feeling those ol’ creative juices flowing. It has been a long dry spell for me. For a long time I have felt nothing and I have had zero motivation to produce anything.

Things like that go in cycles. Now I find myself wanting to make more videos and better learn the associated software. I am upgrading to Final Cut Studio and that carries quite a learning curve.

On the work front, I am working on producing quality presentations for training purposes. When I get this way I feel like there isn’t enough time to do all of the things I want to do. I enjoy doing so many things. I think about going to back to school.
What usually happens is I swipe the surface of many things; a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

Maybe I will change that. Apple offers certification for their Pro software. One can do self-guided study and then take a test. I may set a goal to do that.

At any rate, the creative juices are flowing and I like it when that happens.

Until the next time
John Strain


Saturday, February 03, 2007


Words are not enough to express our thanks

Thanks to my cousin Joy in Blair, Nebraska for sending me this video. It speaks for itself.

Center for the Intrepid

INTREPID: unafraid, undaunted, unflinching, unshrinking, bold, daring, gallant, audacious, adventurous, heroic, dynamic, spirited, indomitable; brave, courageous, valiant, valorous, stouthearted, stalwart, plucky, doughty; informal gutsy, spunky, ballsy. Antonym timid.

Until the next time
John Strain


Thursday, February 01, 2007


First of the month

It's the first of the month; time to give the dog his heart worm pill. The rent is due, but the paycheck isn't for another week. Cash flow problems? It was a problem 10 years ago; now it is just a state of being.

February is a great month. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Mardi Gras
2. My 24th wedding anniversary
3. The Olympus Parade passes near my house
4. Valentine's Day
5. Ground Hog Day.
6. The last month before I turn 50

It has been raining here so much, I feel like I am in Seattle. Every weekend has been rain the entire year. Like Mark Twain (a fine Missouri boy) said, "Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it."

How about the 2008 Presidential election? Soon the candidates will be vying for a slot in the 2012 race. Is it just me or is it too early? Bush has 2 years to go and all the press can talk about is who is next.

I have my usual gripes. Candidates are playing gotcha and not discussing any issues. They seem much more concerned about getting power than they do going on record with what they would do if they had power.

Blah, blah, blah.

I love the fact that Edwards feels qualified to talk about how bad things are and is the champion for the poor. Never mind he just built the largest house in his county, a 28,000 square foot home. There is nothing wrong with being rich, but I think it is "rich" that Edwards acts as though he were one of the so called "working men" out there.

Good grief.

I'm not going to get myself worked up. I need to pace myself. It is a long way until the election.

At any rate, Happy February everyone.

Until the next time
John Strain