Photo Portfolio:
Product Portfolio:
Jim Stanfield

OTR Publications
The Flora of Crete The Potter of Pano Arhanes A Walkabout in Crete Villages A Walkabout in Heraklion Crete
A Walkabout in Athens The Palace-City of Knossos A Walkabout in Jerusalem Masada and the Dead Sea
A list of planned and 'in process' books!

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December 7, 2008

December 7, 1941: a day that changed the world! Ref: the Encyclopædia Britannica website.

While doing Internet research for my "Photographer's Notes" in A Walkabout in Athens, I discovered the Athens Info Guide and Borch Maps websites - both excellent sources of information and entertainment for inquiring minds!

I am fortunate to have access to the journal I made in 2005 - ref: journal snapshot - which helps me recall information and facts for the photographer's notes. A disclosed remark:

Last night I spent several hassled moments with vague memories while trying to find my 2005 Journal files on my laptop. "Let's go back," I ruminated, "before my previous website and working with asp.net - back to my days of working with Cold Fusion . . . . ah ha! . . .found them! - my 2005 Journal files." I double clicked on the index.cfm link within Explorer: the page began to load; then, error message 'Unable to find file default.aspx.' "Ah, yes, now I remember: I had the cfml pages linked into my previous website, and I had to define a default. aspx reference in a metadata tag to get everything to work (or something like that). And I had to install Blue Dragon because the Macromedia/Adobe Cold Fusion Server was way too expensive! Sigh.... almost there! Just remove the default.aspx metadata tag from the index.cfm, start Blue Dragon . . . and the 2005 Journal pages load!"

Now you know why I stopped actively working as a computer geek - way too much complexity when ole Bubba really prefers the K.I.S.S. principle and elegance! A poem entitled 'Symphony' by William Henry Channing:

"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common -- this is my symphony."

Ole Albert said it best:

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler!"

I am also quite amazed by Neurogenesis!

December 6, 2008

Yesterday UPS delivered the proof copy of The Flora of Crete and my printer-distributor emailed me that a proof copy of The Potter of Pano Arhanes and A Walkabout in Crete Villages had been shipped via UPS.

Sister Sylvia, Mom's CNA, and I inspected the 'Flora' proof copy. The only change I might make to the book is to increase the width of the text area on the 'Forward' page. The printing and binding are first class. I'm glad I tweaked each photo's Gamma value (eg: average adjustment of +0.10%) to increase its luminance or brightness - a photograph appears darker on paper than on computer monitor. For most photos, the transition from the RGB Color Model (used by a computer's color monitor) to the CMYK Color Model (used by a book printer) was transparent, without perceived change in visual attributes. The 'bottom line': ole Bubba thinks the book looks pretty good!

So, the printer is preparing the proof copy of book four - A Walkabout in Jerusalem - and I should be able to finish book five - A Walkabout in Athens - later today or tomorrow. I hope to complete books six, seven and eight - A Walkabout in Heraklion Crete, The Palace-City of Knossos, Masada and the Dead Sea - prior to my entry into the monastic community later this month.

The research and development of my "Photographer's Notes" and the Bibliography for each book really slows down the publication process; but, without these two book sections, I would be publishing collections of travel photos - without the 'words' which add value, information and meaning.

Completion of the eight book projects is probably the beginning of a gradual transition toward a demarcation between my secular life and monastic life

It is my hope and desire that: the published books require a very small amount of my time after I am a member of the community; my first weeks and months within the community is an 'easy passage'; I am capable of being of good service to God and to this community.

Please keep me in your prayers!

Thank you!

BTW: This morning I discovered the Christian Life Vs. Secular Life forum article at the eNotAlone.com website. - well worth reading (IMHO). You may want to BookMark this webpage: - Glossary of Internet Terms.

December 5, 2008

Last night I worked on the front cover for A Walkabout in Athens. I decided to create a digital painting from a photo taken in Monasteraki Square - please take a look. I also decided to include several photos from A Visit to the Acropolis and A Visit to Delphi within the Athens book.

December 4, 2008

Yesterday was productive: I completed the prose for the Bibliography in A Walkabout in Jerusalem; created the front and back covers via PhotoShop; registered the book with my printer-distributor; distilled and uploaded the book-block (eg: the pages within a book) and book cover pdf files (via SmartFTP) to the printer-distributor. As a reward for this 'mini-milestone', I prepared one of my favorite dinners - linguini with tuna in a sautéed onion and garlic sauce - and watched another dvd from the BBC Planet Earth series.

This morning I upgraded the A Walkabout in Jerusalem website from 'Flash Preview' to an infomercial/marketing website. I received email notification that an attorney with the USPTO is validating the OTR Publications trademark.

A Walkabout in Athens is the current focus of my work efforts.

I continue to think about, re-read, Liars, Cheaters, and Thieves by John C. Dvorak at the PCMAG.com website. What is your evaluation of the article's veracity?

December 2, 2008

I was reminded yesterday that the Christian Season of Advent began this past Sunday - a season of Fasting and abstinence - in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus. That reminder informed me of neglected aspects of my life, of significant spiritual events, I have subordinated with secular concerns. That reminder motivates personal change, a personal advent in and for my life, begun yesterday. I am truly thankful for all that God is doing with my life - me - just average 'feet made of clay' - Jim. Forgiveness is such an incredible blessing! I am very excited about celebrating this Christmas in a Holy Place, within a spiritual community, as I experience, watch, and feel this new chapter of my life! Thank you, God, for this wonderful and glorious prayer!

December 1, 2008

Gene "silencing" drug blocks heart disease in mice from Reuters is good news for everyone!

AP IMPACT: US diluted loan rules before crash from the Associated Press highlights likely causes of the current national financial and economic problems - perhaps an indicator of the need to increase regulatory economics. Perhaps President-elect Obama will favor an approach similar to that taken by FDR.

For each of us, a timely, succinct and eloquent quote from Thomas Jefferson:

"I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

As of December 1, 2008 @0700, according to the U.S. NATIONAL DEBT CLOCK, my "share" of National Debt - $ 1 0 , 6 6 5 , 5 9 5 , 5 5 6 , 2 0 1 . 1 8 - is $34,946.91. And when will YOU! pay your share? (Rhetorical question.)

The Future of the World Economy is good reading by anyone interested in understanding one of the reasons for our current world economic crisis. Is A New Bretton Woods imminent? Ref: the former Bretton Woods system.

Sigh . . . too much cogitation for ole Bubba's noggin! I need a....

Critter Carol!

Began 'My Living Situation Daydream' in the Writing section.

November 30, 2008

Last night I installed Ulead® COOL 3D™ 3.5 to create/evaluate alternative trademark graphics for 'OTR Publications' (eg: like this graphic). Learning about the 'Cool 3D' software, I created a "whirling dervish" banner graphic for the 'OTR Publications' front page. (Note: The whirling banner will only be used for a few days!)

After the 'Cool 3D' session, I registered the trademark via the Trademark Electronic Application System at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and N.C. State website. Sigh... everything costs money; at least my dba trademark and trade name are legally protected.

In preparation for registering the trademark, I needed to change the image resolution of the graphic from 96-dpi to 300-dpi. IrfanView was suggested by the USPTO as software that would resample the image and upgrade its resolution. It works great!

Now, back to work on 'A Walkabout In Jerusalem'.

BTW: I plan to start 2009 with a new front page (eg: the page you are viewing). I will archive the 2008 front page content and provide a link to it on the new 2009 front page.

November 29, 2008

The Associated Press news article "Iowa cafe swamped with orders for 'Obama cookie'" perhaps suggests the favorite after-dinner snack in the White House . . . in days to come.

Yesterday I received email notification that Lightning Source packaged and shipped via UPS (next-day service) the proof copy of The Flora of Crete. This humble little book is my first effort in book publication; as such, it is the proof of concept and proof of methodology to be applied to most of my book projects.

Today I continue the winnowing process begun yesterday for A Walkabout in Jerusalem photographs.

I'm not sure why; but, I felt compelled to add 'My daily vitamins and nutrient supplements' to the Writings section.

November 28, 2008

I am awake at 0315 today, ready to plunge into the book projects! Before work, I surfed My Yahoo! account and read the news article 'Faiths in climate change summit' from BBC World News. Let us keep this summit in our prayers!

November 27, 2008

This morning I installed SWiSH Max2 - The Ultimate Flash Creation Tool to create better flash movies. Each book now has either the book info-marketing website or a 'flash preview' page.

I visited with Mom and sister Sylvia at mid-day. Sylvia and I really enjoyed the Thanks Giving Day meal Sylvia ordered from J and S Cafeteria. I sat with Mom while Sylvia was making the cafeteria round-trip. I read a pamphlet given to Sylvia by the local Hospice care givers: Gone From My Spirit, written by Barbara Karnes, which...

...outlines the process of dying from disease or old age. It is a short, direct, simple yet gentle explanation of the changes that occur three to four months before a death from disease occurs.

That little booklet is well worth reading by everyone! At the back of the pamphlet is the poem Gone From My Sight by Henry Van Dyke - a very insightful and appropriate poem for Ms. Karnes pamphlet.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the The National Dog Show, and I "discovered" several breeds of dogs! One of the show's infomercials was about Critter Carols. It's difficult for me to decide which I liked best: 'Jingle Bells' performed by three dogs; or, 'Deck The Halls' performed by three cats!

Another dog-show infomercial featured a homemade video of Duncan - the intrepid paddler ...NOT swimmer! - from the 'Video Hall of Fame' at LongLiveYourDog.com.

The 'Critter Carols' and the 'Video Hall of Fame' helped to re-energize my joviality; especially, after reading the pamphlet mentioned above.

November 26, 2008

I visited with Mom, sister Sylvia and Moe (Mom's CNA) yesterday. We shared a meal consisting of Sylvia's Brunswick stew and a slice (two) of Moe's freshly-baked sweet potato pie (topped with Cool Whip). Both were a MAJOR yum!

Ahhhhhhh! Such lessons and learning curves I've recently experienced and continue to do so! Perhaps our earthly reality is indeed a School of Life! This last link is a website I've just discovered and briefly explored - looks interesting. Here is a sampling of its content.

One of my last minor lessons was 'how to remove unwanted visual stuff' from a layer via Adobe PhotoShop CS4. This is one of the lessons I needed to learn in order to create book-cover pdfs for Lightning Source using their required Book-Cover Templates.

A few minutes ago I paid for another week at this extended stay hotel. Fortunately, the hotel management reduced my cost for the weekly rental. To accomplish the creation and publication of the other six+ color photography books will require at least another two weeks of concerted effort, and I really need to cut expenses.

I hope everyone has a very enjoyable Thanks Giving Day! Joyfully and humbly I share this Thanksgiving card with you.

Question: Are the 'messages' on the slip of paper within Fortune Cookies worth thinking about, worth believing in, worth incorporating into our understanding of our individual and unique reality? Two of my current favorites are:

"You will be fortunate in the opportunities presented to you."

"You find beauty in ordinary things. Do not lose this ability."
The above question may suggest this emoticon...

Late-night update: Added a 'flash preview' page for A Walkabout in Jerusalem, A Visit to Bethlehem, and A visit to Masada and the Dead Sea.

November 25, 2008

The book-cover pdfs for The Potter Of Pano Arhanes and A Walkabout In Crete Villages are available to Lightning Source, and I have ordered a proof copy of "potter" and "villages".

Free enterprise and entrepreneurs are alive and (perhaps) prospering on the Internet! My 'unscientific gauge' of entrepreneurial activity is the amount of spam email. Almost every day I receive 20 or more unsolicited emails which Gmail automatically filters and deposits into its spam folder. I frequently view the list of 'subject lines' of email in the spam folder to assess what email marketers deem as 'in demand'. Clicking Gmail's 'Delete all spam' button is my typical response after viewing the spam list - occasionally there is a non-spam email (from a friend or business associate) - that I move to my Gmail In Box.

I support and use most anti-spam resources. The 'How can I help make a difference?' page lists pro active measures each of us should take.

Should spam email one day cease to exist, I will continue to have other preferred means of evoking laughter and amazement.

November 24, 2008

I solved my laptop's problem with executing Adobe's PhotoShop CS4. Solving the problem made me realize how much I have (almost) forgotten about the internal's of the Microsoft (XP) operating system. The problem was that PhotoShop needed lots (at least 3096 mb) of RAM memory. My laptop has 480 mb of RAM. XP-based computers utilize Virtual Memory so that RAM-intensive programs run! I discovered that my laptop was setup to default to 2096 mb of Virtual Memory. I increased the Virtual Memory Default and Maximum settings to 3096 mb. As 'backup insurance', I changed the 'Memory Usage' parameter to favor 'System Cache'.

To take a look at your computer's Performance parameters:

  • Right click on the Start button and then left click on Explore.
  • Locate 'My Computer' in the list on the left side and highlight 'My Computer'.
  • Right click on 'My Computer' to select (left click) 'Properties' from the pop-up 'System Properties' window.
  • Left click on the 'Advanced' tab; then, left click on the Performance 'Settings' button.
  • On the pop-up 'Performance Options' panel, left click on the Advanced tab.
  • The 'Virtual Memory section and 'Memory Usage' section show current values for each.

    Solving the above allowed me to use PhotoShop CS4 to create the book-cover pdf for 'The Potter of Pano Arhanes'. Earlier today, I downloaded a copy of Professor Franklin's Instant Photo Effects program, to embellish the photo on the front cover. The Potter of Pano Arhanes website was updated with thumbnail versions of the covers.

    This morning I selected archived photos for A Walkabout In Jerusalem, A Visit To Bethlehem, and A Visit to Masada and the Dead Sea.

    The current time is 2215 and time to shutdown and read (ref: 'Breaking The Spell' mentioned in a previous blog) to relax prior to sleep. G'nite!

    November 23, 2008

    I've been trying to work on the book-cover pdfs for 'The Potter of Pano Arhanes' and 'A Walkabout In Crete Villages' today. Earlier today I tried using PhotoShop CS4 to create the book-cover pdfs and the program abnormally terminated after issuing a fatal error message. The earlier work around (eg: closing all non-essential active programs) did not work, and I submitted an assistance request to Adobe Technical Support.

    This may sound critical of 'state of the art' software; but, in my opinion, most are bloated, ram-memory hogs, with so many non-optional features and accessories that it is difficult to easily use them on anything but the 'latest and greatest' personal computers (eg: I bought my Toshiba laptop (a factory reconditioned unit) in 2005 from a Circuit City in San Bernardino CA. I realize that my laptop is getting old.

    If Adobe is unable to provide a tenable solution, I may just take a cd with all of the book-cover pdf source documents to a Kinko's and let Kinko's create the book-cover pdfs. I prefer to own whatever software I require, and prefer to create my own stuff!

    I will continue to create book-interior pdfs to send to my printer-distributor. The book-block (interior pages) pdf for 'A Walkabout In Crete Villages' should be ready to upload tomorrow.

    November 22, 2008

    Finally uploaded the 'The Flora of Crete' book-cover pdf to my printer-distributor! The last hurdle I had to jump was getting PhotoShop CS4 to run on my laptop, without crashing - had to close almost all executing programs in order to free up enough ram memory for PhotoShop. Later today I will upload the revised front and back covers to 'The Flora of Crete' website.

    Just ate one of the Nissin 'Chow Mein with Shrimp' meals - has a good flavor, could have more shrimp. For 88 cents (Wal-Mart price), the 'just add water' and microwave meal is a good way to economize and have a tasty entrée.

    November 21, 2008

    The current time is 2149 EDST. Because I worked late last night, I napped for an hour or so after waking up at 0500. Today has been more learning curves, a few frustrations, and steady progress toward "getting things right" - book wise. Late last night I uploaded the 'The Flora of Crete' book-block pdf (eg: the book's internal pages and photos) to my printer / distributor. Most of today was spent: discovering that Corel's 'Paint Shop Pro Photo X2' was not the image editor to use; in downloading a trial version (841 mb) of Adobe's 'PhotoShop CS4'; in learning how to accomplish in PhotoShop what needed to be done. I was successful in producing 'The Flora of Crete' book-cover pdf by using PhotoShop CS4; however, while using Paint Shop Pro, I discovered a 'photo frame' tool, and one of its effects, that I want to use on the photos for the front and back covers. I hope to upload the revised book-cover pdf tomorrow.

    I've been giving additional thought to my decision regarding entry into a monastery. I am not sure what to do. I could continue to 'strive to succeed' with my transition to 'author-photographer-publisher' . . . and probably succeed in publishing at least most of the books I currently have planned. Would that success be the kind of success I really need? Would that lifestyle lead me to the 'best possible life I might live'?

    As you may have surmised, I am not afraid of change, of taking risks, of speaking my mind, of sharing my life with you (to the extent possible via this blog-journal). Some of my other concerns is growing old alone, without very much of a support network; of not really being-feeling a part of a community, or church, or family; of working at some job until I am too old to work, and then living a frugal existence as an old man in a "new man's" world; of not doing what God might be asking me to do.

    Time to find out what doors are open to me; to consider the alternatives for my future; to reflect, meditate, and pray; to 'sleep on it'. Please keep me in your prayers. Thank you!

    BTW: A 'Pizza Hut' 'Personal Size Pizza' - the supreme version - makes an excellent meal (lunch).

    November 20, 2008

    Uploaded web content for A Walkabout In Crete Villages. Uploaded a revised book list that provides ISBN assignments for most books. Requested a Library of Congress catalog card number (LCCN) for eight books.

    Even though I prioritized the book list, 'work wise' it makes sense to complete the publishing process now for The Potter of Pano Arhanes and A Walkabout In Crete Villages because I have these almost ready to send to my printer/distributor.

    Beginning to make plans to return to work - whatever that turns out to be - probably, as an OTR truck driver (appears to be the path of least resistance). The transition, to my desired vocation and lifestyle, is expensive and self-funded. Unfortunately, I do not have an altruistic benefactor; regardless, I continue to strive to succeed! Please, God, let it be!

    BTW: In my spare time (a humorous oxymoron?), I am re-reading Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett, a University professor, professor of philosophy, and co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. Reading the book is one way to robustly invigorate one's mind! . . .so is prayer and meditation...

    Mid-morning update: The book list now contains LCCNs for most of the books.

    Late-night update: Sort of drained emotionally, mentally, after spending most of the afternoon and night (after a Chinese dinner) working through minor tweaks to the pdf files I sent to the printer/distributor, and uploading the tweaked files. The book block (interior) pdf was not a problem to fix - had to re-distill the pdf to tag it "PDF X/1-a:2001 Compliant" (technical gobble-de-gook). The cover pdf was/is a different story - turns out I cannot add text to a pdf using the Acrobat 9 text tool IF the pdf is to be the source of a high-quality printed book AND "PDF x/1-a:2001 Compliant" . . .and I was informed the printer/distributor does not remove the 'guide marks' (explained below) from the pdf. Sigh.

    Such are the learning curves of a wanna be book publisher - so many details and Do's/Don't's..! Had to download and install a copy of Paint Shop Pro Photo X2, as a less expensive alternative to PhotoShop CS4 . . .to fix the text and 'guide marks' problems mentioned above, etc.

    I had forgotten all about layers used in editing of digital images. Good stuff, layers . . .allows you: to open a cover template, with all of its different color 'margin', 'safe', and 'trim' dashed lines, as the first layer; then, to add a new layer for each object (text, photo, etc.) added to the image. A final layer (in this case, with a white background) is added and moved to the rear (behind/bottom) of the other layers. Remove the template layer and the result is a multi-layered image you can save as a postscript file to be processed through Adobe distiller to create a "PDF X/1-a:2001 Compliant" pdf to send to the printer/distributor.

    Sigh. G'nite!

    November 19, 2008

    Yesterday was a day for solving problems, riddles and puzzles . . . for sorting out the 'logistics' of creating Portable Document Format (PDF) files to send to my printer/distributor - pdfs that conform to their exact specifications! For me, creating pdfs is normally an easy task. Distilling a pdf from html pages; using book cover 'creation templates' provided by the printer; purchasing, downloading, and installing an upgrade (654 megabytes) to Abode Acrobat 9 Professional; downloading and installing Internet Explorer version 7; deciphering the 'recipe' for obtaining the desired result from these "software consors". . . all parts of the puzzle!

    All day long, I continued to search for the 'genie' button on my laptop's keyboard - the 'Just Do It' button! Most of the time I 'felt' like I was trying to piece back together a shredded letter written in a foreign language - and ole Bubba only speaks/reads two languages: English and BAD English. Such are my trivial pursuits - my 'learning curves'.

    Progress was made, however arduous the cognitive process and activity. Perhaps people really do periodically succumb to 'brain flatulence' - serves me right for sitting on my brain! (Eg: being mentally lazy, not fighting entropy.)

    I received the block of (10 additional) ISBNs I purchased from Bowker last week, paid for another week's 'extended stay' hotel room, connected briefly via email to an ole friend, had another 'linguini and tuna' dinner, channel surfed for a few minutes to relax my mind prior to sleep.

    Today: final steps in solving the above puzzle; ftp upload of pdfs for two books to my printer/distributor. Please, God, let it be!!!

    Mid-morning update: "Case solved" - not the most elegant and simplest of solutions; but, "it" works; meaning: I successfully distilled my first 'book block' pdf, per printer's specifications, and uploaded the cover and 'book block' pdfs to the printer. I also completed the printer's 'Ingram Catalog Service' database information, and ordered a 'proof copy' of 'The Flora of Crete'. I am 'close'; but, not a 'done deal' until I receive and review the proof copy. Now, on to the next book, and development of a more efficient and faster 'work process'. BTW: I prioritized the book list based upon perceived marketability.

    Thank you, God!!!

    November 18, 2008

    Earlier this morning I made the decision to withdraw as a candidate for postulant at the 'Abbey Of Our Lady Of Peace' monastery. My decision was made after several days of wrestling with the decision, and after much time spent in prayer and reflection regarding same. There is much about the monastic lifestyle that is appealing and compatible with who/what I am; however, I believe that I can also serve God by continuing to develop and publish books. To that end, later today I will send two books to my book printer and distributor, for set up and printing of proof copies.

    November 17, 2008

    Updated the above 'OTR Publications' links table. Working on 'Flora', 'Potter', 'Villages', and 'Heraklion' books. Completing paperwork for Brother Clement. "Pedal to the metal!" Later!

    November 16, 2008

    Added a page for "Breathe In, Breathe Out".

    November 15, 2008

    The OTR Publications' Book List has been updated to reflect my work and progress. I added the OTR Publications' 'links table' to the top of this page.

    I hope I am one day remembered as a lousy prophet . . .or, predictor of future events! Current national and world events, mostly political and economic, strongly suggest that President-elect Barak Obama and his administration may be the FDR of our next Great Depression!

    Even with modern Food Production technologies and processes, within the next decade (or so), multiple (worldwide) dust bowl areas AND multiple (worldwide) areas of severe Ground-water depletion may deprive populations in many countries of both sufficient food and water! Additional information about the food-water situation is available here.

    Here are a few links germane to my current blog: Air Quality | Climate Change | Global Warming | Human Population | Sustainability | Economics | Church attendance | Real Climate | Competitive Enterprise Institute | Beyond Bailouts.

    And, so, I continue to work on my book projects; to "Breathe In, Breathe Out"; to continue a "positive outlook" about life (in general); and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, to remind myself of the Twenty-third Psalm. Please visit this Twenty-third Psalm website!

    November 14, 2008

    Yesterday was a day to relax, to do long-overdue laundry, to return the Avis rental car, to make one of my favorite meals (linguini with tuna and sautéed (olive oil and butter) garlic and onions, heavily sprinkled with Parmesan/Romano cheeses), to visit Mom and sister Sylvia, to watch some t.v., to read about Arian Catholicism, to take a brief walk . . . outdoors in the (light) rain. Most of these activities are impossible to do when I drive a truck over-the-road. I have missed these things.

    I ordered Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series set of dvds from Amazon.com . . . so that I may enjoy (and share) that which I shall never actually/completely experience.

    I watched 'PBS' and the 'History Channel' last night. I listened to USA Secretary of the Treasury discuss our government's most recent bail out . . . of the banking system. I watched/listened to 'Mega Disasters', to scientists and historians explain/discuss the causes for the extinctions of life on planet earth, of the inevitable recurrences of the same random (earth-based) natural and cosmological events. Sigh.... I'm certainly glad that I am simply a 'Stranger in a Strange Land' . . .earth is a much too dangerous place to be home!

    Roman Catholicism / Protestantism and Arian Catholicism are 'distant cousins' within Christianity ; but, with one or more quite divergent understandings of basic Christian theology. Perhaps God, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit . . . simply overlook (deem inconsequential) mankind's incomplete perspective and knowledge of Who and What they are. To me, it seems that every 'brand' of religion wants to be THE authority and unquestioned expert regarding things spiritual/Spiritual. Is Roman Catholicism (and therefore Protestantism) divergent 'cult' organizations which have followed erroneous assumptions and decisions dictated by Roman Emperor Constantine and the First Council of Nicaea? Was Emperor Constantine really baptized into Arian Catholicism on his death bed? I think it best if I 'opt out' of further reflection and contemplation of things so universal and basic to a large segment of earth human population . . .yet, it is impossible for me to do so! Some of my concern is that 'truth' lies buried within man-made camouflage of ideas and words! Perhaps the 'truths' I seek, must know, are impossible to find, to know, while limited by this human body . . .and therein lies the reason to suspend my searching - at least writing about my quest . . . for now. "Breathe In, Breathe Out"; Feel my heart beating. Simply know that I am alive, and be grateful!

    Today is a day to work on book projects. This is ole Bubba wishing everyone a really great and fantastic day!

    November 13, 2008

    I awoke at 0330. I had been dreaming about this new journey I have begun - entering a monastery, saying 'Good Bye' to living in the secular world. What I have just written will be worthy (at most/best) of a second or two of thought before you plunge ahead into the next 'thought byte' (eg: a byte is computer science lingo), and/or click 'out' to another web address.

    'This Is Your Life!' was one of my favorite t.v. shows during my late teens and twenties. Each show usually featured a well known celebrity or personality (and sometimes, one of us "average Joe's") whose life was synopsized and presented to the viewing audience. This t.v. show was a tangent of thought predicated by my thinking about 'this is my life' . . . and what is the best use of my time, money, and effort . . . during the next few days . . . before I 'move on' with this next phase of my life.

    To most casual observers, everything I write is simply 'Much Ado About Nothing' - as perhaps it should be! The analogy between my life and this Shakespearean play may be apropos. If I am blessed with sufficient grace, a 'Holy Marriage' will eventually occur, with minimum meddling and nefarious interference from 'Don John'.

    Perhaps the best that I could ever be in this life is to be a Joseph.

    Why is it so important to/for me to 'Follow Christ' . . . to enter a monastic order . . . to change from my 'status quo'? A search for answers to this question begins with 'time before time', with my birth, with my ancestors and parents, with my initial understanding of God and Jesus and Holy Spirit, with a spiritual reality and knowledge and certainty that could never be diluted, adulterated, compromised by man. Perhaps this sounds too mystical for you. I humbly use only the words and thoughts native to my intellect and being.

    A few minutes ago, while researching links via google, I discovered the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church website, and its Arian-Benedictine Monastic Order. Perhaps God is trying to tell me something - perhaps a new direction (from that currently planned).

    More details later. I have 'new reading' to digest. G'bye!

    November 12, 2008

    I feel like I've just made a jump into 'hyperspace' - the world is rushing past me as I slow down within. Not every day that you begin a new journey! Today was a whirlwind of activity - put my 'truck stuff' back in my storage room; dropped the trailer at a company yard; turned over the truck, its keys, my employee cards to a company supervisor; rented an Avis car; drove to a secluded location for r&r. I have checked in to an 'extended stay' hotel, and it feels really great to pull off the boots and socks . . .and relax for a few minutes!

    A few minutes ago, I downloaded documents from the monastery. Tomorrow I will print the documents and begin the application and response process. Nothing is a done deal until it is a done deal! Please keep me in your prayers as I proceed with this.

    While in seclusion for several days, I hope to complete work on the four books I hope to publish before January . . . before I enter the monastery.

    BTW: I took a few photos of the tractor before I resigned. I added 'The Last Truck' to the Over-The-Road section.

    November 11, 2008

    I delivered in Charlotte N.C. 30 minutes ahead of schedule - @0830 this morning. The drive from the Cartersville GA shipper to the Charlotte NC receiver took 5 hours - 289 miles. I arrived at the shipper @0220 and left @0330. My scheduled pick-up time was 0400. I would not have delivered on time if I had waited until 0400 to show up at the shipper. I tried to tell my dispatcher that 0400-0900 was too tight a run schedule. "Do the best you can" was all the dispatcher told me. After delivery, I sent in my "Empty" QualComm message and optioned the message to not go "on board" for another load assignment. A few minutes later, my dispatcher messaged me wanting to know why I did not go on board. I replied that I was en route to the nearest truck stop (with parking) to sleep. No message from HQ dispatch with words like "Good Job!" or "Are you okay?" or "Do you need to sleep for a while?"

    During my drive to Charlotte this morning (0330-0830), I had lots of time to think about what I was doing with my life; in particular, about hauling 44,464 pounds of beer product . . .on very little sleep . . .at 4 o'clock in the morning! There are situations in life which border on insanity . . . corporate insanity, that is. Remember that I am under "forced dispatch" (eg: take the load assignment or you're fired) and could not easily turn down the load assignment. I call this situation "insane" because the "lust for money" will drive individuals and companies to do things they would not normally to do people. I mean: the receiver had a warehouse full of beer product when I got there, so my load was not urgently needed by Charlotte beer lovers. What would have been wrong with having the load assignment start at 0600? Why 0400? I had 90 miles to drive to get to the shipper, and I had to stop to fuel the truck . . .which meant my work day started at midnight (0000)!

    I have decided that I have had enough of corporate greed and trucking companies that are insensitive to a driver's natural bio-rhythm. When I started driving for this company, I tried to tell my dispatcher that I would give them 14 hours a day Monday through Friday, and a half-day on Saturday, that I worked best between 0500 and 1900, and that I wanted to observe Sunday as Sunday! I might as well have been talking to a mocking bird! It's all about money with any company you work for! I have had enough!

    After a long nap, this afternoon I called a monastery that accepts "older candidates". I am "headed" toward a monastery - currently, figuratively; in a few days, literally. During my conversation with the monastery, I explained the four books I have "in progress" . . .and they are supportive and enthusiastic that I am attempting book publication! Hurray!

    Tomorrow, I clean out the truck in Mooresville N.C. and repack my 'truck stuff' in the storage room.

    More details later.

    November 10, 2008

    Delivered @0950 in Griffin GA. Parked at a Flying J in Jackson GA @1130. Took a brief nap. Surfed some, waiting for a load assignment. Load Summary came in (via QualComm) @1430: pick up in Cartersville GA @0400 11/11 and deliver in Charlotte NC @0900 11/11. Ninety miles from Jackson to Cartersville; 278 miles from Cartersville to Charlotte. Should be a 'piece of cake' run . . . if you're mostly machine and can sleep 'at will' . . . going to be a long night! Current time is 1845. Going to try for another nap, until 2300. See ya!

    November 9, 2008

    I started driving this morning at 0630, from Iowa LA, headed east on I-10/I-12 to I-65 north @ Mobile AL. Coming across the 18+ miles of bridge over the Atchafalaya and Robertson swamps (LA.) . . . my impression is that the water level was 'down' . . . maybe an inter-tidal situation.

    The last two+ hours of driving this afternoon - from Mobile AL to Hope Hull AL - was a challenge to keep 'cool' and safe . . .with all the Sunday afternoon drivers out for a 'leisure drive' on the interstate (I-65). Traffic was fairly heavy (an almost constant stream of traffic in the hammer/left lane) most of the way, with six to a dozen cars getting on at almost every on ramp!

    It TASTES GREAT to be back in the SOUTH! Pulled in to the Flying J at Hope Hull AL (15 miles south of Montgomery) at 1530. Walked into their restaurant and checked out the buffet - all you can eat for $7.99 (before 4 PM). Started with a big garden salad with Ranch dressing and lots of fresh munch-n-crunch goodies! And, then... Butter beans and yellow corn in a butter sauce! Green beans seasoned with lean bacon and sautéed onions! Cauliflower in a cheddar cheese sauce! Brussels sprouts in a butter sauce! Meat loaf seasoned with green pepper, onions, herbies and (mild) tomato sauce! Y-U-M-!-! Topped that with a helping of REAL banana pudding, and a helping of baked vanilla custard (pastry topping), and a tall glass of iced water. A lot of other 'stuff' on the buffet . . .only selected when both stomach and eye shouted "GET IT"!

    I dropped the empty trailer, hooked to the loaded trailer in McAllen TX @0745 on the 8th; then, drove to Baytown TX for fuel . . . and to eat my favorite meal @1500 at the Baytown Seafood Restaurant: deviled crab in shell, large piece of flounder, six large shrimp, six medium oysters, French fries, and garden salad with Ranch dressing. The seafood was 'lightly' fried and respectably seasoned 'Cajun style'.

    Both yesterday and today, I began the day with coffee and an apple Danish pastry, plus the 10+ vitamins and supplements I take daily. Nothing else to eat until I'm about ready to stop for the day. Yesterday was an exception: I drove 120+ miles from Baytown TX to Iowa LA before stopping for the day (night).

    I deliver in Griffin GA - 40 miles south of Atlanta - @ 1000 on the 10th. By the time I deliver, I will have approximately 22 work hours for my next load assignment. I'm about ready for a 34-hour restart . . .might have to wait until after my next load.

    My eye lids are drooping from the weight of sleep and food! Feels great to have had a really good Southern meal! Could have made the entire meal vegetarian . . .the veggies were that good!

    The current time is 1802. G'nite!

    November 7, 2008

    This has been one HELLUVA day! Up at 0045, at shipper in San Antonio @0115. Waited until 0550 to hook to loaded trailer at shipper because the product had not been made. At 0815, I stopped at a Love's Travel Center in Kingsville TX for a 'to go' Arby's breakfast sandwich. When I returned to the truck at 0830, I discovered someone had taken a nail or ice pick to the two super-single tires on the trailer's right side! Sabotage! THANK YOU, GOD, FOR LETTING ME BE PARKED!!! Three hours later, two new tires on the trailer, I head for San Benito TX and the first of two delivery stops. While en route to San Benito, I get a QualComm message about my next load to pick up in McAllen TX @ 1700. Oops! I reply "OK" before I realize 1700 is two hours past my 14 hours of work time for today. Sigh! After several messages and phone calls to HQ dispatch, I'm approved to pick up the load in the A.M. I complete the second delivery in Weslaco TX and head for a Flying J in Edinburg TX. I have eaten my favorite meal (eg: steak and salmon, broccoli, baked potato). Local time is 1841. Time for bed. G'nite!

    November 6, 2008

    On the 3rd @2315, I 'bumped the dock' at a shipper in Topeka KS . . . and did not leave the dock until the 4th @1850, after the last of 18 pallets of flour (43,646 lbs.) was loaded. A bit more than 19 hours at this shipper, and a personal record for hours of detention at a shipper or receiver. I will receive detention pay for 17 hours. I slept perhaps four hours during the detention period - hard to sleep soundly, or for long, when a forklift with loaded pallet rumbles into the trailer every 45 minutes or so, sending me bouncing around on the bunk bed like a rag doll in a clothes dryer (or something like that)...

    I ran south for about two hours before parking at a service center on the Kansas Turnpike near Emporia KS. I wolfed down a Big Mac meal and two apple pies before crashing until 0700 on the 5th. An hour or so into my continued run south on the KS turnpike, I received a QualComm message from HQ Truck Maintenance advising me to go to the nearest approved service shop to have a P.M. (Preventative Maintenance) on the CAT engine. I stopped at the Petro Stopping Center in Oklahoma City for the P.M. - a mistake 'time-wise' - I was there for five hours - really absorbed any slack time I had in my run schedule. I stopped for the night at a rest area near Gainesville TX on I-35.

    I started driving @0430 CST and arrived in San Antonio TX @1000. Bad directions caused a delay in reaching the receiver. At 1100, I delivered (on time) the flour to a grocery wholesaler in San Antonio TX.

    I pick up a load here in San Antonio @0200 on the 7th, and deliver in San Benito TX @0800 the 7th.

    I received LCCNs (Library of Congress Control/Catalog Numbers) for four books to be available by January 2009. I updated the OTR Book List with this information. So, I'm making progress . . . slowly and surely.

    I spoke with sister Sylvia earlier this afternoon. Mom is 'about the same and sleeping a lot more' - per Sylvia. Please keep Mom and my family in your prayers. Thank you!

    The current time here in San Antonio TX is 1641. Need to sleep. Later!

    November 3, 2008

    A monastic organization has emailed me twice in recent days, to remind me of the benefits of the 'cloistered life' within a monastery - an example would be The Abbey of Gethsemani. I have visited this monastery several times. My longest visit was for seven days in 2005. I also visited St. Bernard Abbey for a few days. I spent six or seven weeks with The Brothers and Sisters of Charity. My most recent monastic visit was at Belmont Abbey. The website for each monastery stipulates that their ideal Vocations candidate should be between the ages of 20 and 45, approximately. I have lived the better part of 61 earth years. Maybe the emailing monastic organization simply needs to update their contacts database.

    A few days ago (the 29th) I voted early, and I voted for Obama and other N.C. office seekers. Why Obama? Perhaps the main reason I voted for Obama is that I think the U.S.A. needs a very strong and positive 'change agent' at this particular point in our country's brief life. I respect the accomplishments of Senator McCain and Governor Palin; however, in my opinion, their leadership would be a continuation of the visions and policies of the past few Presidential administrations. What is needed is a USA President who will lead this country toward "good governance".

    Perhaps more than anything else, the U.S.A. (from 'average Joe' to top politicos) . . .and world-at-large. . . needs to LIVE the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments.

    November 2, 2008

    Last night I decided to take a break from my book projects: I watched 'The Cradle of Life' dvd - one of the 'Lara Croft "Tomb Raider"' movies. Sigh. Angelina Jolie is a very beautiful woman! Yep! might have to watch this dvd a few more times....

    I could try to convince you that I watch movies like this one for the stunts, special effects, and computer graphics . . . . and, Angelina Jolie is a very beautiful woman, a very physical and talented actress, and a delightful and engaging entertainer! Viewing the dvd's 'Special Features' - about the making of the movie - definitely gave me an appreciation for the movie's artistry, craftsmanship, and engineering.

    This morning I spent a few hours thinking about work activities, priorities, schedules, and personal goals. Obviously, my top 'work' goal and priority (probably, until age 65) is to continue gainful employment as an OTR truck driver, meeting my employer's requirements of/for me: picking up, transporting, and delivering freight safely and on time.

    I am fortunate to have a few hours each week to devote to preparing for life after OTR truck driving. To facilitate my work towards non-OTR goals, I made a list of planned / in-progress books I hope to publish, and a brief activity/task checklist for each book. This information is available at OTR Publications.

    Without doubt, I have made a few very ambitious work goals for myself. Making the list, prioritizing the list, working the list . . .will hopefully help me to keep on track and focused.

    November 1, 2008

    At 1600 on the 30th, I picked up a load in Concord N.C. I deliver at 0800 on the 3rd in Spring Hill KS, a few miles south of Kansas City. Today at 1230, I arrived at a Flying J truck stop in Peculiar MO, where I will park until time to roll towards Spring Hill. The Rand McNally Trip Planner says it is 44 miles or 52 minutes from Peculiar MO to Spring Hill KS.

    A few minutes ago I ate one of my favorite meals at Flying J restaurants: a flat-iron steak and salmon fillet with broccoli and baked potato - steak medium-rare, with sour cream and butter on the potato. YUM..! I skimped on breakfast (eg: an apple Danish pastry and coffee) and plan to eat a bowl of Kashi cereal (with 2% milk) and a bowl of mixed fruit (with almonds) later. My apology if this is TMI (eg: Too Much Information) - all of the links provided for my brother-in-law Ray who recently asked me about 'truck driver' food.

    So, the rest of today and tomorrow I will work on book projects. A day ago, I received my account information for the Library of Congress website - this will allow me to request a Pre-Assigned Control Number (PCN) for each book (eg: a PCN is the same as a Library of Congress Control/Card Number that a publisher may request for a book prior to the book's publication).

    October 30, 2008

    Awake at 0400 - awakened because a dream ended, a dream about being part of a church service. In the dream everyone was singing a song 'in the round' (eg: one group would begin a verse; a few stanzas later, a second group would begin that verse; then, a few stanzas later, a third group would begin that verse). It was a beautiful hymn of praise - phrases "Heavenly Father...", "Jesus Savior...", "Holy Spirit...", "Children of God...". I do not recall ever having sung that particular song during an earthly church service. I did not want the song, the dream, or the church service, to end.

    Fixed a 4-cup pot of coffee and fired up the laptop. Decided to share the above dream with you. I'm smiling as I recall the dream and write these words: it was beautiful imagery, music, worship. I have chill bumps thinking about it. Maybe I was somehow a part of a heavenly church service - if I might ever be so fortunate! Lord, please let it be!

    Yesterday morning, I voted "early" - I will probably not be near North Carolina on November 15th. When I arrived at the voting station, there were 100+ people in line; when I left, about the same number standing in line. Voting took about an hour. Voting officials told me they expect a very heavy voter turn out.

    I spent more time yesterday afternoon with Mom, and shared another meal with sisters Sylvia and Carol and brother-in-law Ray.

    I said good bye to Mom.

    Last night I spent a couple hours working on my book projects. I realized I need to slow down and follow my plan, to complete both Copyright and Library of Congress registrations prior to publication. My books are truly becoming "On The Road" work efforts (eg: OTR Publications) - as I find time to work on them.

    In a few minutes, I will eat breakfast, shave and shower, dress, pack up my stuff, and head for the truck. I need to be available for load assignment at 0700 CDT.


    October 29, 2008

    Got a minute? Need a reason to smile, to feel better about yourself and "life"? Take a look at this "dread locks" photo. The photo is part of "A service reminder" page in 'Writings'.

    May you share in God's blessings and grace, part of what I received the day of the photo . . . and continue to receive each time I look at the photo . . . the smiles on the children's faces, their joy and happiness, the laughter dancing in their eyes. I was really, really humbled and filled with a sense of God's awesome power and love . . . that moment, that day. May you receive as I have!

    October 28, 2006

    Awake and up at 0500 this morning, "time off" day 1 of 2. I spent the early hours thinking about the book projects. I thought I had two books ready to send to the printer; another two books in rough draft, with 80+ photos each. All four books have ISBNs. Two books have "in progress" websites; the other two books have registered domain names. Time to ponder the amount of prose content for each book. My intuition tells me to slow down a bit, to make sure the first version of each book contains both the photos AND relevant (needed?) prose content. I think I need to balance my photographer's "A picture is worth a thousand words" minimalist attitude . . . with my writer's need to "Show it with words". I think I need to support my photos with succinctly stated background information about people, places, and things. This may delay publication for a month or so.

    I spent several hours with Mom, both yesterday afternoon and today. Mom is lucid, talkative, and a joy to be near . . . even though her speech is very difficult to understand because she is not wearing her false teeth (eg: her gums have receded so much in recent weeks that there is no longer gums to "hold" her teeth in place).

    I had lunch with sisters Sylvia and Carol and brother-in-law Ray. Carol shared with us some of her homemade 'Brunswick Stew' - a major YUM! Sharing a meal and after-meal conversation really bolstered my sense of having a family. Thank you God for these simple things in life - the meal and conversation - these blessings, this grace!

    October 26, 2008

    I arrived in Duncan SC at 1415 this afternoon. I deliver in Greer SC at 0800 tomorrow. After delivery, I have two days of "home time". I hope to spend time with Mom and with sister Sylvia.

    I hope to complete pre-publication activities on two books during my time off. The Flora of Crete and The Potter of Pano Arhanes I have two additional book projects about Crete: "A Walkabout in Crete Villages" and "A Walkabout in Heraklion Crete". I may never make the New York Times' "Best Seller List" with any of the books I publish; but, that would be a well received, unexpected and ancillary result of publication.

    October 22, 2008

    I arrived in Laredo TX late afternoon on the 21st - too late to deliver 42,000+ pounds of in-shell peanuts to a freight forwarder (eg: peanuts are going to Mexico). This morning I dropped the loaded trailer on the forwarder's lot, exchanged paperwork with the forwarder, and headed to the Flying J truck stop on the north edge of Laredo.

    A few minutes after bob-tail parking at the Flying J, I received a phone call from sister Sylvia - she wanted to let me know that the hospice staff "see" in Mom definite signs that . . . sigh . . . Mom has begun her transition to life's next phase. I told Sylvia I would begin the process of getting back to High Point NC.

    After my conversation with Sylvia, I sent QualComm messages (to HQ dispatch) requesting "time off". The trucking company has five business days to get me to High Point, based upon my current location (eg: Laredo TX). I'm not sure when I will actually arrive in High Point. I have only earned two days "time off" - one day for each week "on the road".

    While waiting for a load assignment out of Laredo, I have begun work on my second color photography book - "The Potter of Pano Arhanes". So far, I have prepared 56 photography pages and the "overhead pages" (eg: front and back covers, title page, copyright/isbn page, etc.), purchased an ISBN, and completed the layout/design for the book's marketing website. Like my first book, the size of this book will be 8.5-inches by 11-inches, and will contain between 90 and 110 digital color photographs, plus a few pages of prose about Crete pottery and the village of Pano Arhanes (Crete).

    Prior to the telephone call, I had thought about a nap; afterwards, not in the mood for a nap. I decided to just work while I wait.

    Please keep Mom in your prayers. Thanks!


    October 19, 2008

    On the 17th, I delivered to two stops: in Clovis NM and Lubbock TX. On the 18th, the Lubbock TX 'Kenworth' dealer made a minor repair to the CAT engine. I waited from 0900 to 1300 (CDT) for a load assignment; then, sent HQ dispatch an "On Break" QualComm message. Earlier this morning, I completed a 34-hour restart. I decided to wait until 0500 on the 20th to go "On the Board" - ready for my next load assignment.

    Yesterday afternoon and today, I worked on the "final" tweak of the source pages for my first color photography book. I might have this book ready to send to the printer-distributor - pending further tweaks I might discover. I have finalized the layout and design for the marketing website for this first book. Take a look! The website address is TheFloraOfCrete.com. Still more web pages to update; but, what is there will give you an idea of the book's contents and layout. I hope you enjoy your visit!

    So, I'm feeling good about life and everything! I hope you are having a great day! Time to unwind with a hot shower, a good meal at the Flying J - Lubbock TX restaurant, and a night's rest and sleep. Later, you'all....

    October 16, 2008

    On the 13th, I hooked to an empty trailer at the Joplin terminal, loaded it in Columbus KS and delivered that load on the 15th in Phillipsburg KS. Later on the 15th, I dropped the empty and hooked to a pre loaded trailer in McPherson KS. This load has two delivery stops on the 17th: first, in Clovis NM; and second (final) in Lubbock TX.

    I arrived in Amarillo TX around 1600 EDT, and parked for the night at a Flying J truck stop. I drove 8.5 hours today. In the Flying J restaurant, I had a "flat-iron steak" and grilled salmon fillet with broccoli and baked potato. YUM..!!! Man, was it good! And I was really hungry!

    I set up the fax-scanner-printer and printed (via eFaxMessenger), signed, then scanned a one-page fax from Lightning Source I received via an email attachment - a page of the New Account Application I forgot to sign. The signed fax I scanned into PolyView Photo Editor and saved it as a ".gif" file. I attached the signed-fax photo to an email that I sent to Lightning Source.

    Nothing like having a small mobile office inside this truck! Still reviewing applications for a receptionist / secretary / travel companion. Qualifications: Must be an attractive and single female over the age of 50. Athletic and healthy in body, mind, spirit, and soul (one of us has to be!) And, a NON SMOKER!

    Yea, I am trying to kick the nicotine habit, using the "patch", the "gum", and lots of determination. I slipped up around midnight last night: I was really spooked by a new, weird, hissing sound that I at first thought was coming from beneath my bunk bed - and I smoked half a cigarette. (SIGH.....) I dressed, listened for a minute or two, then, armed with a small flashlight, I went outside to trace the source of the sound. Turns out the hissing was from a pressure relief valve on an old fashioned air tank beneath the truck parked next to me.

    Have you ever heard a snake hizzzzz? Well, I have and at very close proximity. NEVER go exploring along the edge of a coastal estuary in late evening when water snakes and water moccasins are catching the last warm rays of the sun near water's edge. I am deep inside rattlesnake country, and rattlers have been known to crawl up and sleep on warm parts of a truck's under carriage and inside the engine compartment.

    A few minutes ago, I finished printing the last ten pages of a draft copy of my first photo book. I will use the draft to finalize a version of the book, in preparation for distilling the book's html pages into an Adobe PDF file. To comply with Lightning Source requirements, I have to use Adobe Acrobat to distill the pdf, and this software is waiting for me in High Point. I hope to do the final tweaks to the book, distill the book's PDF, and transmit the PDF to Lightning Source during my four "home time" days - ETA in High Point is November 1st. Having this book ready for printing by Thanksgiving Day is a personal goal.

    Gotta roll @0400. Time for sleep. Later!

    October 12, 2008

    Seven days since my last blog post. Time for a little "catch up".

    • I'm now driving a "fire engine red" 2007 Kenworth T-600, with a CAT engine and a 13-speed manual transmission. I really like driving this truck - sort of like driving a sports car except this big truck body hides the two-seater coupe! About half as much driver space inside the cab and sleeper area, as my previous trucks.
    • Took a load of custom-built commercial windows, made in Monett MO, to a glass/mirror installation company in Stevensville MI.
    • Picked up a load of "chicken equipment" in Holland MI (a few miles east of Grand Rapids) for delivery in Springdale AR on the 13th.
    • Arrived in Joplin MO @1600 on the 11th.
    • Currently parked at a Flying J truck stop in Joplin MO, doing a 34-hour restart to reclaim my 70 driving hours.
    I spoke with sister Sylvia earlier today. Mom is "about the same" - still has a touch of pneumonia and GYN infection, lungs sound "chunky" and heart sounds "strong" (per the hospice nurse), and Mom is not sleeping very much (eg: not at all Friday night; otherwise, 1 to 2 hour naps periodically), per Sylvia.

    I guess I telepathically picked up on Sylvia's need to talk, because when I called she told me she was just thinking about calling me - said she needed to talk to someone about "stuff". Evidently family members could trust Sylvia with taking care of Mom during the past five years, without questioning Sylvia's decisions, without offering very much assistance with Mom and relief for Sylvia. Now? Now that Mom is approaching _________ - her days/weeks numbered? Seems that NOW certain family members are wanting to tell Sylvia when Mom's CNA should work, and not work. NOW certain family members barge unannounced into Sylvia's home to see Mom . . . and are inconsiderate and rude to Sylvia. NOW certain family members DEMAND to plan Mom's funeral . . . as if Mom and Sylvia had not pre-planned all of this months, more than a year, ago . . . . and, yes, at least one other family member (not me) was involved in this planning process. NOW certain family members are sharp-tongued and quick tempered with Sylvia because they NOW think they should have been Mom's Power of Attorney, instead of Sylvia, as if Sylvia had a choice in this matter! I hope Sylvia follows through on her idea of having Mom's lawyer call the other family members, to set the record straight regarding Mom's Last Will & Testament and choice of Power of Attorney and Executrix. To the best of my knowledge, I am not listed in either Mom's Will or Testament - Mom and I worked all of this out years ago, because we both suspected that "all hell would break loose" after Mom _______.

    During my last visit with Mom, at the hospital, Mom and I talked about her going home to Sylvia's later that day. I asked Mom what she wanted most once she was home. Peace and quiet? "Yes." To see Sylvia's cat and dog? "Yes." To sleep in her own room? "Yes." To have lots of extended family coming to visit? "No." That was more than a week ago. Today, I asked Sylvia what Mom thought about having so many visitors. Sylvia told me that she and Mom had talked about this shortly after Mom's return to Sylvia's . . . that Mom told Sylvia she . . . "just wanted peace and quiet" . . . "the way it was" . . . . "before the hospital visits" . . . "just Moe, you, and me" . . . "before everyone rushing to see me one last time".

    Yea, everyone who knows Mom loves Mom! Everyone wants to see Mom one last time. Mom and Sylvia are too kind hearted and too considerate to . . . . just say no! . . . to everyone's visit with Mom . . . even though a lot of "company" is probably the last thing either Mom or Sylvia need at this time. Yea, I use the word "company" because if these visitors were really close family . . . . well, maybe they could have visited much more than they did during the last five years . . . maybe one family member is really embarrassing them self by rushing back after more than a year without calling or seeing Mom or Sylvia, without acknowledging Mom's BIRTHDAY . . . or . . . MOTHER'S DAY.!!!!!!

    Oh, before I forget. Sylvia told me she suspects "family" stayed away from them (eg: Sylvia and Mom) because both Sylvia and Mom "stuck by me" during the last few years . . . . even though I was unaware they were doing that! Seems that certain family members are doing the ole 'psychological transferral' trick to absolve themselves of guilt and responsibility for their years-old actions/inactions. Seems they're dumping on me, via the rumor mill, all of their negative crap and unresolved emotions in their own lives! In the eyes of at least one family member, evidently I am right up there with Hitler, Al Capone, Judas Iscariot, and other evil doers! I'm glad Sylvia told me about all of this . . . sort of confirms what I already knew . . . . that a few people will go to extreme lengths to spread rumors and ill will, to bad mouth someone, to think the worst about someone . . . without first noticing their "glass house", stinking breath, and gross denial of all that is un-Saintly in their own lives! Me? A "saint"? Never! The best I can hope/pray for is forgiveness of whatever mistakes/sins - imagined/real - I may (or may not) have committed. If trying to "live right", to do "good deeds", to help others and to be "at peace and happy" . . . during the last 20+ years . . . helps to atone for whatever wrongs I may have done to others . . . . God, let it be!

    God, please keep all of us close to you during the coming days and weeks, that each of us may at least act kind and loving and considerate and sincere toward each other . . . if only for one day, for Mom's sake.

    One final note: please keep me in your prayers, that my enlarged heart does not cause me further problems.

    October 5, 2008

    Added 'Thoughts - 05oct08' to Writings.

    On the 3rd, I visited Mom at the hospital. She was awake and alert. We had a good conversation; mostly, me talking. Our 'eye contact' was very good. She did not appear exhausted or tired. Oxygen 'nose tube', iv-drip, stomach feeding tube - helping her continue. Before I left, I told her I love her very much, and thanked her for all the thousands of 'little things' she did for me, through the years. I kissed her forehead, she kissed my cheek.

    After my visit with Mom, sister Sylvia and I sat in the visitors' waiting room. Sylvia told me Mom was near the 'final stage'; that Mom's pneumonia was less pronounced, but persistent; that Mom is enrolled in 'hospice care' for the 'end days'; Mom's prognosis: "not very good". Hospice is a very benevolent, caring, and skilled group of nurses, doctors, and volunteer mercy workers. Hospice will help Mom and Sylvia cope.

    I feel the coming loss. Deep inside, and near the surface, I feel like crying. Silent, invisible, tears, for now. Grieving must be managed, controlled, for now.

    I slept a few hours Friday night at an Asheville NC motel. I was back on the road at 0600, heading west toward Joplin MO. I arrived in Joplin at 2030 (08:30 P.M. Central Time). The Rand-McNally website, its 'Trip Planner' estimates: 161 miles from High Point to Asheville; 843 miles Asheville to Joplin MO. (Note: officially, DOT-wise, I am off-duty.)

    A very nice hotel, the Quality Inn in Joplin. Two trips, using the hotel's luggage cart, to store my 'living in a truck stuff' in my room. Yea, I brought way too much stuff! Later today I will return the 'Mercury Grand Marquis' rental car to Avis at the Joplin airport; then, wait for assignment to a truck.

    Thank you, God, for keeping me safe the last 200 miles, through mountain forest and rolling prairie, with worn-out and 'shrieking' bearings in the a/c compressor, and frequent 'lurching' of the car's engine.

    BTW: My 2nd fuel stop yesterday was in Calvert City KY. I bought a 'Snackers' meal at a KFC across the street, and donated a $1.00 to the 'From Hunger To Hope' campaign. The bottom of the donation receipt was returned to me - it has a "code" I entered at this website to download a free mp3 of Mariah Carey's "Love Story" song. Check out a KFC, maybe donate....

    October 2, 2008

    Tomorrow will be the last day of 'new driver' orientation with my new employer. I really like what I have learned and observed about this company (more on this later). I leave Charlotte NC tomorrow morning in a rental car provided by my employer for a trip to Missouri to pick up my assigned truck. On the way, I will stop in Mooresville NC to retrieve my 'living on a truck' stuff, and will stop in High Point NC for a brief visit with Mom and sister Sylvia.

    I have made progress with my new 'hobby-business' - OTR Publications. My first 'photo book' should be available before Thanksgiving 2008. I realize that my first priority will be OTR driving and making a living; but, I might as well utilize whatever wait time, delays, and 34-hour restarts . . . to pursue a hobby which I enjoy, a business which may one day become profitable and full time, and additional 'trickle income' streams for my retirement and non-otr years.

    Please keep me in your prayers. Thanks!

    October 1 2006

    Today a friend sent me an mp3 file of the song 'Mercy Now' by singer - guitarist - songwriter Mary Gauthier. I really like this song. Its lyrics speak to my heart. "My father needs a little mercy now..." "My brother needs a little mercy now..." "My church and country need a little mercy now..." "Every living thing needs a little mercy now..." "We ALL could use a little mercy now..."

    I googled "Mary Gauthier Mercy Now" and found an mp3 file and biographical sketch. After listening to the track a second time, after reading Ms. Gauthier's bio . . . I knew I had found a 'kindred spirit'.

    Mercy, oh how good and precious and humbling! Thank you, "God", for giving us wanderers, sinners, and 'free spirits' . . . . a second, third, fourth..... ad infinitum . . . .chance . . . at happiness, peace, love.

    Please do yourself a favor: go read her bio and listen to the track.

    September 28, 2008

    The EMS transported Mom back to High Point Regional Hospital at 0100 today. Sister Sylvia, Mom's primary care person, called me at 0530 and told me Mom had a temp of 103, had been vomiting two or more times per hour, and was constantly coughing. After 5+ hours in the ER, Mom was admitted, and has an iv-drip of antibiotics and hydration solution, and her feeding tube. Mom has pneumonia. She is 94.

    I am 'torn' by two conflicting needs: to return to High Point; to continue with company orientation on the 29th. Sister Sylvia and I agreed that I will stay in Charlotte, for now - her 'support network' now includes the CNA, two sisters, relatives, neighbors, and friends. Please keep Mom and sister Sylvia in your prayers.

    During the last 3 days, I researched 'book self publishing' via Internet websites, and I created a 'print ready' draft of a 'photo book' (8.5 x 11) in pdf format, from 65 photos I made while in Crete. As soon as I receive my ISBN and Copyright for this book, it will be ready for delivery to a 'print-on-demand' company . . . amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc. - get ready! I need to do this right the first time to minimize further problems with publication of this book, and publication of other book projects.

    My 'book publishing venture' will be a part-time business-hobby, while driving OTR will continue to be my primary work effort and source of income, for now. In a few years, when I "retire", I hope to have multiple sources of 'trickle income' plus my pension and social security benefit . . . . and maybe earn enough to live modestly, eat at McDonald's every now and then, have a high-speed Internet connection. . . .and pay for all those geriatric medicines.

    Might as well make productive use of wait time, delays, and 34-hour restarts.

    Time: our most valued and most important non-renewable resource.

    September 26, 2008

    I added 'Homes on Crete' to the Photos section. Why am I still in Charlotte NC? Read on....

    When I arrived in Charlotte NC on the 21st, I had hopes of being rehired by a transportation company. The rehire processing on the 22nd - DOT drug test, company road test, update of my computerized personnel file - took four or five hours. After an additional two hours of rehire processing on the 23rd, to complete my computerized employment application, I was ready to be assigned to a company truck. My fleet manager told me to report to the company's terminal at 1100 on the 24th. I was assigned to a truck; but, the truck needed repairs and my fleet manager told me to go back to the motel. I returned to the terminal on the 25th at 1100 and the terminal's repair-shop service writer informed me that my truck had been assigned to another driver. My fleet manager told me to call him at 1300 CDT. While waiting at the terminal, I had conversations with several company OTR drivers. Based upon information from these drivers, I decided that this company offered me only a marginal potential for an acceptable level of income, that OTR drivers with this company are an 'endangered species'. I paid for a taxi to another hotel in Charlotte NC. I called another transportation company and I am scheduled to begin 'new hire' orientation with this company in Charlotte on Monday, the 29th. This morning I made a courtesy call to the fleet manager with the rehire company to apprise that company of my decision to 'go elsewhere'.

    September 23, 2008

    Added 'Home Places' to the Photos section. Ancestral homes of families Capps (Mom's parents) and Stanfield (my parents home).

    I arrived in Charlotte NC on the 21st. Yesterday, I spent a half-day in company orientation, DOT drug test, and driving test. Today, I will be assigned a tractor (class 8 road truck) at the company's Concord NC terminal. I will set up the truck with my over-the-road living stuff later today, currently stored in my Mooresville NC climate-controlled storage room. And, then, it's off to see the wizard . . . (kidding) . . . once the truck is set up, I will resume work as an OTR truck driver.

    September 20, 2008

    Added 'Reflections: 26aug08 - 20sept08' to Writings.

    September 19, 2008

    Uploaded a few 'Favorites'.

    Added "Hurricane Isabel - photos and articles from 'The Carteret County News-Times'" to Writings'.

    September 18, 2008

    Added a few titles to the Books section. These are "keepers" read years past.

    Added a photo to "Family" in the Photos section.

    Added "Hilda" to the Writings section. Added "Paul" to the Writings section.

    Added two photos to "handmade-crafts consignment store" page in the Resume section.

    Making the most of "wait time"...

    September 17, 2008

    The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said "An unexamined life is not worth living." To that end, I have added "A service reminder..." page to the Writings section.

    Several photos were added to the "Bands" page in the Photos section.

    Added a photo to the "Residential Construction" page in the Resume section.

    September 15, 2008

    Added a "Southport, Fort Caswell, Oak Island" travelogue to the Travels section.
    Added "Living each precious moment" prayer to the Writings section.

    September 13, 2008

    Added a link "where the road ends" to the September 9, 2008 blog; began a '"Down East" area of Carteret County, N.C.' travelogue to the Travels section; added links to 'Residential Construction Coordinator' page in the Resume section.

    September 9, 2008

    I have begun several updates to the Travels section. Speaking of travel, I leave today to go to "where the road ends" - to be near the Atlantic, on an island, alone except for a few trusted friends and servants of God. Today is a new day, full of hope, dreams, and opportunities. I am grateful to be led by our Father. Remember a line from my simple prayer: (Father,) "Please help me, teach me, to live the best possible life I might live."

    September 8, 2008

    I added several subordinate pages to my resume, and added "A simple prayer" to "Writings".

    September 7, 2008

    I have updated the "Books", "Travels", and "Writings" sections. I met my older daughter after 17+ years of non-communication. I have helped Mom and sister Sylvia. I have re-experienced interpersonal relationship conflicts, peoples' anger/hatred, and emotional/spiritual wounds I have and those of other family members. I have learned that my first "true love" (at age 17) has been turned into a sordid and evil thing by others. I am ready to leave.

    September 6, 2008

    The EMS transported Mom back to sister Sylvia's yesterday at 1300. So far, so good...

    September 4, 2008

    I spent another night in Mom's hospital room. During the late evening and night, I observed the following changes in Mom:

    • Reduced ability to speak, to form sentences, to respond to questions.
    • Nearly continuous labored breathing, as if she was "fast walking".
    • The anti-tremor medication was much less effective.
    This morning Mom's doctor confirmed the above observations, and is keeping Mom in the hospital today to conduct additional tests (eg: CAT Scan and X-Rays). The doctor suspects that Mom may have had "mini strokes" yesterday afternoon.

    September 2, 2008

    A bit of "catch up" on Mom's condition:

    • On August 26th, instead of a visit to her doctor, Mom was taken back to High Point Regional Medical Center. While preparing Mom for the doctor visit, the large blister on Mom's inner right calf ruptured, releasing a quantity of blood and puss onto bed linen, etc. .... and her doctor said take her to the hospital ER for treatment.
    • Mom was admitted on the 26th, for treatment of her leg wound, and for additional tests.
    • A "swallowing test" revealed that Mom's masticated foods/liquids were entering her lungs, regardless of food liquidity/density, and that she was basically unaware this was happening.
    • A decision was made that a "feeding plug" should be inserted into her stomach. This surgical procedure was postponed until 10:00 A.M. September 1st. The operation lasted approximately 30 minutes in total, and was completed without problems (per surgeon).
    • This morning (the 2nd), the feeding pump and line was connected to Mom's "feeding plug". A low volume of body nutrients was begun at 10:00 A.M. If all goes well - no vomiting or other adverse side effects - the food-flow volume will increase to 100% sometime within the next 24 hours.
    • Mom's doctor recommends monitoring Mom in the hospital for another day or so, then moving Mom to a skilled nursing facility for a week or two.
    • If all goes well, as hoped, Mom should return to sister Sylvia's home around the 16th.
    As for me, I will either: 1). return to driving OTR; 2). find a local job; 3). go back to the Monastery. More on this later.

    August 29, 2008

    My visit at the monastery was interrupted after three days because my sister asked for my help in caring for Mom during Mom's (unexpected) hospitalization. On my last day at the monastery, I took a few "rushed" digital photos. Perhaps the monastery's abbot will allow me a second visit, during which I hope to make better digital photos.

    August 25, 2008

    I made an on-time delivery in Mooresville N.C. this morning. While storing my "living in a truck" stuff in my U-Haul storage room, I received a phone call from the monastery: I was approved by the abbot for a visit. This REALLY excites me! I am looking forward to this monastic r&r!

    I returned tractor and trailer to the Concord terminal late this afternoon, and shared a cab ride with two other drivers to the Ramada Inn in Concord. Tomorrow morning I take a cab to the monastery.

    Also tomorrow, the EMS service takes Mom to meet her new doctor, and to have the bruises on her legs examined and treated. I pray that Mom receives the medical care and attention she needs, and that she is made comfortable and at ease. Please keep her in your prayers. Thank you!

    August 23, 2008

    I am parked at a Pilot truck stop in Freemont, Indiana. Tonight, between 2352 and 2359, I pick up a load in Shelbyville, Indiana, for delivery at 0900 on the 25th in Mooresville, N.C. After delivering in Mooresville, I plan to clean-out the truck (eg: store my "living in a truck" stuff in my Mooresville U-Haul climate-controlled storage room), drive to the trucking company's Concord N.C. terminal, and resign.

    Why resign after only a week or two employed by this trucking company? Maybe the main reason is that I am simply tired of this particular occupation. I love to travel and I love to drive a big truck; but, this over-the-road (OTR) truck driving situation has become my entire life. There are many, many things that I love more, that I miss, am unable to do OTR, that require a more stationary (eg: not driving from place to place) lifestyle. The drive from Riegelwood N.C. to Sturgis, MI ... and, the QualComm dialog I had with the trucking company's dispatcher while en route ... were definite factors in my decision to resign.

    The load's Bill-Of-Lading stated that the Riegelwood shipper loaded the trailer on the 15th. I hooked to this trailer at 1630 (CDT) on the 19th. I had 1.5 work hours remaining for the 19th, and I decided to park overnight at the shipper rather than having to stop somewhere in very rural N.C. and most likely not having a safe place to park overnight. I realized that the load was already late (eg: it should have been picked up at least on the day before (the 18th), and that I would probably be unable to make on-time delivery. Unfortunately, I did not think about communicating this fact to the trucking company's dispatcher - actually, the dispatcher should have already known that the load was late, and that on-time delivery was in jeopardy.

    I began driving @ 0600 the next day (the 20th), had a fuel stop in Wytheville, VA, and I parked for the night at a rest area 20 miles north of Charleston, WV. I drove 508 miles on the 20th - a good day's run! The mountains in Virginia and West Virginia, on Inter-State Highways 77 and 64, really gave me opportunities to practice shifting gears - down shifting (eg: 10th gear to 9th to 8th to 7th, etc.) while going up and coming down mountain grades. The load weighed 43,654 pounds - a "heavy" load in a 53-foot dry-van trailer (eg: 46,000 is close to the maximum weight).

    Back to the QualComm dialog and the drive mentioned above. I began driving at 0600 near Charleston WV on the 21st - the delivery day in Sturgis MI. At Charleston WV, I exited I-64 onto US-34 to US-35 west. About 20 miles on US-35 west, I crossed the Ohio state line - a state that has a strict 55-mph truck speed limit. I missed a turn onto OH-117 west - I really think the US-117 road sign was missing - and I was 'lost' in farmland Ohio on narrow country lanes. Around 0830 (CDT), I received a QualComm message from the trucking company's dispatcher: he stated that I was 389 miles from the receiver and he wanted to know why I was going to be late (eg: delivery was scheduled for 1215 EDT and impossible to make in 2.45 hours.)

    The dispatcher's message (mentioned above and received at this point en route) really upset me: the dispatcher placed all of the 'blame' and responsibility for the late delivery upon me. I replied that I hoped to make delivery by 1730-1800 on the 21st. The next message from the dispatcher stated that I should have told him earlier that I would be unable to make on-time delivery. Maybe I should have done that; but, the more I thought about the load situation, the more I realized that it was entirely likely that the dispatcher had 'set me up' - to use this load (and its lateness) - to teach me a lesson about planning my run schedule.

    You have to realize that the trucking company has programmed the QualComm device so that a driver is unable to read or send messages while the truck is in motion. I agree completely with their decision: it is simply too dangerous to use the QualCommm while driving! Each time I received a QualComm message, I had to find a safe place to pull off the road and park in order to read/reply to the message - and parking places for a big truck and 53-foot trailer are not easy to find along narrow farm-to-market roads in Ohio. My last park-and-QualComm was to send a message to the trucking company's dispatcher requesting that I be routed asap to their Concord NC terminal so that I might resign from their employment.

    During the ensuing 8 hours, I made several wrong turns trying to find a big-truck-safe and reasonably direct route to Sturgis MI. I became frustrated with being placed on a route for this load that was not on interstate highways (eg: big rigs really need to be routed on big roads/interstate highways - in my opinion). I finally found the road leading into Fort Wayne Indiana and to I-69 north. Unfortunately, I made my biggest (ever) navigational blunder at the intersection of I-69 and I-80/I-90: I turned east instead of west, and I drove 130 miles in the wrong direction! (Note: my too hasty glance at the Rand-McNally road atlas led me to think the I-80/I-90 exit I needed was in Ohio - it was in Indiana.) By the time I was able to turn around and head west on I-80/I-90, I realized that I was close to the 11th hour (maximum driving / DOT rule) for the 21st. I parked for the night at the Erie Islands service plaza @ 1800, sent a message to the trucking company's evening-shift dispatcher to let them know I had really screwed up on navigating and where I was parked for the night, and FINALLY ate my first real food (eg: not peanuts and crackers) since 0530 that morning.

    I made my pre-trip vehicle inspection @ 0545 on the 22nd, and started driving the 160+ miles to the receiver in Sturgis MI @ 0600. Prior to leaving the Erie Island service plaza, I noted that the fuel gauge indicated just over 1/4 full. About 20 miles into this drive, the fuel gauge needle suddenly "jumped" into the gauge's low-fuel zone! One of the first things I was told about trucking, two years ago, is that a driver NEVER allows a diesel-fueled engine ... to run out of fuel. I pulled over into the emergency lane, turned on the 4-way flashers, turned off the truck engine, and called the trucking company's Road Service via my cell phone. I explained the situation to "Terry" in Road Service, he "pinged" my truck (via satellite communication) to determine my exact position, and asked for the truck's odometer reading. Based upon the odometer reading I entered at my last fuel stop and the current odometer reading, Terry said I should have enough fuel to drive approximately 200 miles - enough fuel to get me to the Pilot truck stop in Fremont IN.

    After pumping 160 gallons of fuel into the truck's two one-hundred-gallon tanks, I completed the drive to Sturgis MI, and a very late delivery @ 1030 CDT. After sending in my QualComm 'empty' message, I waited an hour in a parking area at the receiver for my next load assignment (not received), before driving back to the Freemont IN Pilot truck stop. At 1600 CDT, I received my current load assignment: pick up in Shelbyville IN @ 2352-2359 tonight and deliver in Mooresville N.C. @ 0900 on the 25th. After hooking to a pre loaded trailer at the shipper, I plan to park overnight at a Petro truck stop about 60 miles southeast of the shipper, then drive the 570+ miles to Mooresville N.C. on the 24th.

    So..... the above conveys a part of what I experience as an OTR truck driver. Perhaps my current employer is "different" and better to work for. My gut instinct strongly suggests that all trucking companies are basically the same: in an industry with rampant cut-throat competition, an OTR truck driver is a very expendable, usable, and easy 'fall guy' for everyone higher up in the company's food chain. I have never encountered, in each of the three trucking companies I have worked for, anyone who either congratulates an OTR truck driver for a 'job well done' ... or, who accepts responsibility for missed pick up and delivery schedules: it appears that the OTR driver is ALWAYS the person to blame! OTR drivers I have talked to, drivers with 20+ years OTR experience, tell me it was not like this in the 'old days' - that in years past, OTR drivers were treated with more respect and were appreciated for the hazardous work they do every day.

    Yes, hazardous work every day, because not only are some loads 'hazardous material' that have the potential to spontaneously combust/catch fire and/or explode and/or leak and release poisonous fumes and liquids ... the work environment, the weather, roads, other drivers (especially four-wheel operators) can ALL be potentially life-threatening hazards. At the time (26 months ago), I gave minimum credibility to a statement made by one of the instructors during my first day in truck driving school:

    "A truck driver puts his/her life on the line every time they get behind the steering wheel of a big truck."
    My personal experience during the last two years has changed my attitude about the above quote: I now think it to be true and accurate. After a bit of Internet research, I conclude that life insurance companies factualize/concretize that quote in their actuarial/rate tables for various jobs/vocations.

    In a previous post, I mentioned my Mother's health and her current condition. The EMS people returned Mom to my sister's home yesterday afternoon (the 22nd). Her doctor wanted Mom to stay a week or two in a skilled nursing facility; but, Mom did not qualify per nursing home guidelines! Perhaps my conscious and subconscious reactions to Mom's health, decline, and eventual death .... effected my ability to concentrate and to be 'the best' while driving. Whatever else, I was safe, cautious, and professional during the above road trip and scenarios. I believe I have become more accepting of the inevitable, and definitely more aware of just how precious each moment of life really is!

    So, what is next vocationally for me? Perhaps these three goals/objectives: 1). I have not had a real vacation in over two years; 2). I continue to have a desire to try life as a monastic; 3). I would like to 'right the wrong' I inflicted upon myself 45+ years ago by not pursuing a 'higher education'. I have contacted a monastic organization whose life work is the operation of a college/university. Simply being a retreatant at their monastery will be like a vacation to/for me. If it is God's will, I hope to accomplish the aforementioned goals/objectives within this monastic community.

    Life is an adventure one should LIVE to the fullest of their abilities, opportunities, and desires! I do not feel 61 years old - more like 'mid 30s or 40s'. I realize that it will take God's help and blessings in order for me to achieve whatever I attempt. I shall also accept whatever fate befalls me ... because if I have asked for God's help, then I must also remember the 'Serenity Prayer' and be happy and joyful about my life, moment by moment!

    Serenity Prayer:

    "God grant me the ability to change the things that I might, to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference."

    Please remember me in your prayers. Thank you!

    P.S.: I used the wait time today to take digital photos of the truck. Click on the "Over-The-Road" link on the left side of this page; then, click on the OTR link "The Truck".

    August 18, 2008

    I passed the trucking company's road test with a score of 90. My personal opinion is that I did a lousy job of shifting gears, and I told the tester that and that it had been two years since I last shifted gears in a big truck ... or anything else. He told me it should be like riding a bicycle (eg: once learned....).

    I completed orientation on the 13th, was assigned a truck on the 14th, setup the truck on the 14th with stuff stored in Mooresvile, N.C. I was approved to go to High Point to collect the last stuff needed on the truck, and to visit Mom and Sylvia for a few hours prior to picking up a load in Greensboro.

    I parked the rig at Crestwood Suites in High Point and sister Sylvia picked me up. When I saw Mom, lying on her hospital bed at Sylvia's, I knew something was really wrong with Mom. Sylvia, Mom's CNA, and I had a brief conference in the family room, and a few minutes later the EMTs and EMS arrived to transport Mom to High Point Regional Medical Center. After several hours in the Emergency Room, Mom was admitted .... her blood count was "7" (normal is 10 to 14). She received two pints of blood plasma and an antibiotic via IV drip. Yesterday, Mom had an endoscopic exam. The exam did not find the source of Mom's internal bleeding.

    The trucking company gave me a two-day emergency medical leave to stay with Mom until she was stabilized. I had to return to work @ 1545 on the 18th. I picked up a loaded trailer at the trucking company's Concord N.C. terminal; then spent the night at a truck stop near Lexington, N.C.

    I'm currently at a Flying J truck stop near Haw River, N.C. I deliver in Raleigh @ 1300 today (eg: the 19th); then, drive to Reiglewood N.C. for a pick up this evening which delivers in Sturgis Michigan on the 21st.

    Mom will stay in the hospital today, perhaps tomorrow. She now requires EMS transport for doctor visits, etc., and is bedridden ...cannot walk, stand, feed herself, etc. Mom may not have many days, weeks, remaining here on earth. Please keep her in your prayers (eg: Helen Stanfield).

    Take care and thanks!

    August 8, 2008

    On August 6th, I resigned from employment with a trucking company. On August 11th, I begin three days of orientation with another trucking company, followed by more OTR driving. I hope to eventually (3-to-4 months) be assigned to either local driving or dedicated southeast driving assignments.

    I have added content to the Photos section.

    August 3, 2008

    A life of work and education summarized on one page: my resume is in progress.

    August 2, 2008

    If you pray, please pray for me, that I might make the right decision.

    July 29, 2008

    TOOT! TOOT! TOOT! TOOT! (eg: a regal blast of trumpets) ...and... DRDRDRDRDRDRDRDR (eg: drum roll)..! A very special day for me: my birthday!

    And, a sense of melancholy on this day .... as I see Mom slowly slipping away from us.

    July 26, 2008

    This morning I checked into a Crestwood Suites in High Point, N.C., for a four-day "home time" visit with Mom and family. It's been two months since my last home time break, and it feels strange without a windshield in front of me, and without the rumble of the Detroit Diesel engine.

    While on break, I hope to develop/upload a lot of page content, including a few photos I will scan via a new HP model C6240 printer/scanner/copier I purchased earlier this morning. This is a birthday present to myself, and having a copier/fax/printer/scanner on the truck will be great!

    July 20, 2008

    After more than two years without a website, this humble attempt will suffice.

    My current vocation/job does not allow frequent (daily) Internet access, so my updates will be sporadic (as time and access allow).

    I plan to keep this website VERY SIMPLE! . . . just html, gif/jpg/png images, and a few javascripts. Previous versions utilized either asp.net/vb and ms-sql2005-db or ColdFusion/cfml and ms-access-db. I enjoyed the challenges of developing a multi-lingual website utilizing (at the time) the latest-and-greatest software from the Microsoft kingdom.

    Actually, a week ago I tried to reincarnate my previous version; but, I discovered that the server configurations and "installed/governing software base" have changed, that the previous version's xml coding would not work, and that I would need to make tedious and time-consuming upgrades/tweaks. I have neither the time nor an interest in pursuing said upgrades/tweaks. My sincere apologies to native-speaking French, Spanish, German, Russian, Dutch, Korean, Chinese, Greek and Portuguese citizens of planet Earth: I can only manage two languages at present - English and bad English!

    You may anticipate lots of photos of various USA and world locations, and a diverse mix of articles/pages which reflect my varied interests and concerns.

    I humbly ask for your patience and understanding while I (once again) recreate what was, and add a significant amount of new material to this latest (hopefuly, the last) version of, my website.

    July 18, 2008

    ALWAYS!!!!! carry a roll of duct tape with you - camping, OTR driving, international travel....

    During a 34-hour restart at a Flying J truck stop in Resaca, GA, I had a bout of sneezing (6+ sneezes in less than 2 minutes) and damaged/cracked at least one rib bone at the rightside bottom of my rib cage. No ACE bandages available at the truck stop, and I did not want to bother with a hospital emergency room (eg: money, ya know). So.... a bit of experimentation with my trusty roll of duct tape..... and, voila! - an el cheapo and very efficient restraining bandage for my damaged ribs. This morning, the ribs are much better; but, I extended my restart downtime thru today, to make sure the ribs are reasonably healed prior to continuing with load assignments. Believe me! - when the ribs cracked, it was a bit painful and the entire right side of my chest "froze" (eg: a sensation very similar to having a "charlie horse" in leg muscles) for a minute or two. Hopefully, I will not experience this again; especially while driving the rig.

    Yea, I have put on a bit of excess weight around the waist - an almost unavoidable result of driving a truck OTR.

    My email contact is postmaster@jimstanfield.com.

  • This website and all content Copyright 2008 by Jim Stanfield.

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