who I am

I retired January 30, 2009, a date a few weeks short of 36 years’ employment at the same plant (if multiple owners) , where I was a quality guy. The plant makes hydraulic and industrial hose, and takes pride in its quality workers and quality product. So do I.

I found quickly that retirement was the job I was born to do! I’ve been busy since the first day, and never seem to run out of interests and options to fill the time in productive, interesting ways.

Though my university major was English/Journalism/Advertising Copywriting, I’ve had a long interest in photography and cinematography. I was, in fact, a US Army motion picture photographer in the early 1970s, stationed with the 69th Signal Company (Photo) in Kaiserslautern, then-West Germany. That job took me many places in Europe, lots of places in then-West Germany, and several times to then-West Berlin, my favorite assignment!

I attempted to find employment after my army days in motion picture photography or videography, but ran into the curious problem of being too qualified for jobs in my area.

I also applied for a job at the local paper, thinking a job as a photographer on a small hometown paper would be a foot in the door to a newspaper career. “We’re looking for a photographer/sports writer,” said the managing editor, “We can’t use you exclusively as a photographer.” He ignored my university background: I have written sports stories, too! A few weeks later, the man hired a fellow whose sole job was photography. Ha! Then…within a few weeks, he was writing news and sports articles. I suspect he was paid minimum wage or darn close to it because he left after a short time, that the writing assignments were “in addition to” his job description, a form of serfdom or wage slavery. I note again, I worked almost 36 years in the same place when I did find a job. That’s the kind of loyalty I show a place, and that’s the kind of loyalty the managing editor missed out on.

Oh, did I mention that I started a beard after I got out of the army in December 1972? Apparently that was an issue bigger than any skills I might have as a reporter or photographer. I was even asked by one prospective employer if (he stumbled around the point…) I’d agree to shave the beard if hired! I spared him my notorious rapier wit, that uncivil tongue I reserve for idiots and people who might hire me, and simply told him it was a “hobby beard” till hired, not something that I would defend to the death. Hmm. I might have been a bit sarcastic. I didn’t get that job. Ha!

Here I am in my  uniform while serving as a motion picture photographer in the US Army (December 2, 1969-December 1, 1972).  I was checking the light level with my light meter. That's an Arriflex unblimped 16mm SLR motion picture camera, my pride and joy during my service. It was a fantastic piece of technology in its time, and still represents incredible innovation.

Here I am in my uniform while serving as a motion picture photographer in the US Army (December 2, 1969-December 1, 1972). I was checking the light level with my light meter. That’s an Arriflex unblimped 16mm SLR motion picture camera, my pride and joy during my service. It was a fantastic piece of technology in its time, and still represents incredible innovation.

They were in the process of starting up the hose factory in early 1973 when I was hired to work as a finishing operator baling factory seconds. If I had three eyes, a wretched stench, and a police record all the way to Texas, they would have hired me, labor was so tight in the area then. I assure you none of those attributes applied to me, so they were most pleased to pull me off the street!

I moved from finisher to hydrotester, a person who blows out the mandrel used to form the hole in hoses made on, well, mandrels, which are a braided wire core with an extruded rubber cover over which a tube is extruded to start the process of making hose. Whew! I’ll spare you further detail, though I found the process endlessly fascinating, the basis both for eventually moving into quality and for lasting so long at the factory before I retired. I guarantee, I never once aspired to work in a factory, so I was surprised I stayed so long, too!

I did have one further job before I became a quality inspector, my first quality job: vulcanizer operator. That job was hot, dirty, dangerous, and not a good career path if you dislike any or all of these job characteristics. I might have stayed with the job had the vulcanizer not blown up on me, bathing my chest and side in steam, burning me bad enough to require hospitalization and scaring the bejesus out of everyone in the plant that night! Fortunately, because it did blow, I was amenable to accepting any new job offered me afterwards. I might have stayed with the vulcanizer job otherwise. Because. I don’t know. I’m that way.

I had several positions in quality: inspector, supervisor, process analyst, returned goods guy. Of those, analyzing data was what appealed the most. (At this point, I’ll spare you lots of detail about applying statistical process controls, standard deviations, control charts, etc., though this was the part of working with hose that was, for me, “endlessly fascinating”!)

I was good at what I did, I suppose, though toward the end, I felt I did a lot of work that no one used, perhaps even understood or appreciated. I promised myself at one point that I would retire when I no longer enjoyed what I did, I felt my work contributed nothing to the bottom line, and/or “they” asked me to leave.

The perfect storm came in January 2009. Though I had the option of not retiring early, everything seemed right for it. Without lots of detail, when presented with the option, I gave the company six work days to process me out. (They prefer 90 days, but who benefited by me giving them that consideration?)

I failed to mention one significant issue in the picture before retirement: I have a disease called Wegener’s granulomatosis- now called GPA- that attacks the small and medium-sized blood vessels in the body. A person can die very fast with it if it’s untreated, and 90% of instances where a person doesn’t have treatment, death happens within two years.

I’m in remission, but retiring shortly before my 61st birthday, I risked inadequate insurance and no insurance until I became eligible for Medicare. I did, in fact, go without healthcare insurance from January 2011 till March 2013. When you have a disease that required $220,000+ in medical care to bring into remission the first time…! Let’s just put it this way: I have no connection with the old job now, and have no desire to! I could have died for lack of resources had the disease flared.

Following WG, which struck in December 2003 and took till March 2004 to settle down enough for me to return to work, I suffered a herpes zoster attack (shingles) in October 2007 that was so bad my doctor, who had over 30 years in practice then, characterized it as the “worst case I’ve seen.” Not the thing you want to hear from your doctor. Of course, when the doctor who diagnosed the WG told me what I had, he noted, “…and you’ll be dead in two years.” Ha! I reminded him of that on the third anniversary of being diagnosed.

Are you still reading this? Gad!

Finally, retirement. I hit the ground running. Financially, I managed to do an adequate job of providing for my future needs. No Mercedes Benz in my future, perhaps, but I am doing fine. I volunteer in my community. I write this blog. I make videos that started out as vlogs on the vicissitudes of Wegener’s and Prednisone, the drug from hell that, combined with Cytoxan, helps bring weggies into remission. (I almost wrote “submission: It is a very rough combination, and Prednisone is a drug I hope never to have to experience again.) Now I post lots of cat videos because they are cuter, more entertaining, and fun to share around the world than videos of me pontificating and promulgating. I enjoy editing the cat videos into little stories where possible or into simple vignettes where the material shows cat behavior, if not a complete story.

What do I know about quality, life? Mostly the veracity of this Italian proverb: A thousand probabilities don’t make one fact. I kind of like this one, too: Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything. That one comes by way of Gregg Easterbrook.

I think that covers it. Any questions? Any questions knowing I can become quite verbose? None? OK!

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228 thoughts on “who I am

  1. I wish you well in your endeavor to overcome the lack of purpose usually associated with retirement. Cats have never done it for me–dogs are ‘man’s best friend.’ I too am now retired…
    I just wanted you to know I’m watching your blog and would like a current e-mail address so we can communicate in a less open forum. Please advise…

    Like

    • The fact that is written June 6, 2010, proves, dear old friend, that I don’t follow my blog as closely as I should. People actually reading it seems alien to me. “Why?” I ask myself, “It’s just the random wallowings of some fat, old guy with little to do.” Yeah! Like that!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « Weggieboy's Blog

  3. Hi Doug,

    Long time no speak. A friend on WG forum and I were chatting about you the other day. We still miss youre learned input and sense of humour!!

    Hope you and Louie are keeping well. Drop me a line.

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    • Thank you! While I appreciate the vote of confidence, I felt the forum and I needed to part ways. I can be contacted easily enough by e-mail. Phil has that. Also, if you visit DailyBooth, I am on there as @phainopepla95. Not only would you be able to wallow in my quirky sense of humor there, I post lots of photos, some videos of my cat Louie. I’m doing well, fortunately, and Louie and I has getting along swimmingly! (Which is to say , I believe he finally has me trained to his way to doing this….!) I’ll contact you by your e-mail. (since I see I have that as part of the process of you leaving a message!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Doug,

    So sorry to read about Louie, your grief is tangible. Please accept my condolances. We lost ‘Rocky’ last year. He made 20yrs.
    This is a bit of a double whammy as I bring bad news from the Forum. Jack from Birmingham, UK lost the fight with WG and passed away recently. He was a fountain of knowledge, like yourself, and will be sorely missed.

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  5. Hi, Geoff ~ Yes, Phil told me about Jack. He was an institution, an inspiration, and a fount of experience and information (I agree!) we, well you on the forum, will miss. I’ve missed the contact with him especially.

    He and I had some nice private messages between us over the time I was active on the forum.

    Unlike some, he was respectful of where I differed on opinions from him, and I, the same with Jack. Hey! The forum isn’t the US Congress! Different points of view are necessary to form informed questions to take to one’s doctors.

    That was the part I liked most about the guy: respectful of different points of view, but not afraid to question or challenge (respectfully) the views of others. I know he’d scoff that I prayed for him and his family when I learned of his death, but i also know he would have done it under his breathe because he knew it’s how I approach life and death.

    Some days I cry when I think of Louie, but they are fewer than before. He was a great companion, a sweet cat (they loved him at the veterinarian’s!), a comedian, and a pretty good people trainer. Andy and Dougy, his Persian kitty successors will have less to do to turn me into a proper cat companion than poor Louie.

    If you go to YouTube, I’ve posted videos of the kittens under phainopepla95. On dailybooth, you can see them (and lots of other stuff) under @phainopepla95. I probably will attach some of them to this blog, but I’m having problems adding to it lately. (I had so many visitors over the summer, it became a low priority. I was pretty run down, thanks to WG after effects, that wobbly business and general lack of stamina. I don’t have to tell you what I mean!)

    Geoff, Phil can give you my e-mail if you prefer. I do like to know how people are doing. If I could sign up as a reader, not a contributor, I’d come back. I’ve pretty much told my story. I’ve been in remission for six years, so a lot of my direct experiences are fading.

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    • I missed this comment somehow. Sorry! Especially since I’ve become a big enthusiast for your excellent blog on the Pacific War of WWII. I hope anyone reading this takes the time to click on your name so they can see what all my enthusiasm is about!

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  6. Thank you for finding and following my blog. I hope you find my family letters interesting, entertaining and perhaps, memory inspiring. I look forward to any comment… and any opinion !

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  7. A man with two cats and making videos about them can’t be all that bad.
    I really enjoyed this post.
    Did I say I have five cats and once made a video (using The Good, the Bad and the Ugly soundtrack) about a cat I adopted that was chasing all the others around in the house?
    For six months!
    Until…

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    • Thanks! Not as significant as your blog, I think, but it keeps me out of trouble. Mostly!

      Having mentioned your blog, I hope anyone reading this response clicks on your gravatar and sees for themselves what I mean about your blog! Time well spent, and it is interesting to get the war story with a Canadian viewpoint.

      Not far from my maternal grandparents’ grave there’s a military grave marker of an American who joined your air force in the early days of the war (before the US was officially in it). It always intrigued me because I didn’t know his story till very recently. Why, I wondered, was he buried with an official Canadian military grave marker in a cemetery in Western Nebraska?! Seems he died in an airplane accident in Canada while training. I found that out in a clipping in a two volume scrapbook recently donatyed to a local military museum where volunteer for a few hours on Thursdays.

      Is your video on YouTube? I belong to the tribe that believes there never can be too many cat videos, and that a cat commandeering a box video pretty much is the apex of the “art”! Ha!

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      • The video is not on YouTube because I have not edited it properly. Maybe one day.

        About my blog paying homage to veterans or those who died in WWII, I have several. I have become addicted to blogging. There is so much to tell when you start searching.

        This is the story of an unknown French Canadian Mosquito pilot with RAF 23 Squadron.

        http://no23squadron.wordpress.com/about/

        Today I posted no. 193!

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  8. After looking for my Lagacé relatives in the U.S. I have seen Lagacé spelled so many different ways, but your way was the first!
    Don’t feel sorry or stupid about it.

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  9. Weggieboy – thanks very much for your support to my two blogs. It’s very encouraging to get faithful readers who I don’t know.
    Because I put most of my energy and interest into writing I’m not very good at publicising the blogs. I’ve only been blogging for three months but I do expect more than the two or three visits I get each day.
    Please, do you have any suggestion about increasing them?
    Best wishes from a hot and humid London
    – michael

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    • Frankly, I’m not your best source of suggestions as I don’t get that many hits for as long as I’ve been blogging! One thing I do is visit these two blogs our blog masters at wordpress set up to help people like you and me: http://wordpress.com/#!/read/fresh/ and http://dailypost.wordpress.com/

      I’ve only recently begun checking these out, but they expose you to blogging strategies and other people’s blogs.

      Three months isn’t a long time to blog, but there are people who apparently have a hook that appeals to lots of people, quickly. I’m lost on the magic of self-promotion myself. The same goes for my YouTube footprint, which also is fewer than 200 people, though I see work from people with thousands of followers I feel (frankly, but not impartially!) are less imaginative and competent ‘tubers than I am!

      I can vouch for the readability of your blogs, with excellent use of illustrations for those who might think science is scary. They are rich in content for anyone interested in the topics. They combine some of my interests, making them catnip to my cat-like curiosity: history, art, and science! Here are a couple links to them, in case anyone reading this want’s to see for themselves!

      http://scienceandartblog.com/2013/07/22/crater-creators/

      http://wordpress.com/#!/read/blog/id/53330259/

      Andy is bugging me to pay attention to him, which, given he is a cat and master of this domain, I need attend to! Aw! Now he’s poutng. Not cute. Not cute.

      -Doug

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  10. I am finally stopping by to thank you for subscribing to Contrafactual.com

    I live with four cats, three that claim me and one that claims my son. All are rescued (the cats, not my son). You can see one of them in my Gravitar, that would be Sir Edmund Hillary. Pickles can be seen at my site.

    Concerning Prednisone, my wife has MS and … thanks to the high dose steroids used initially to treat the visual component … Diabetes. I have been on lower doses off and on to treat Reactive Airway Disease (Asthma, yet not Asthma). Yeah, I know about Vitamin P.

    I need to get a camera and post videos too, but my first gen iPad has no camera. My wife’s iPad has a camera, but I can never pry it away from her.

    Anyway, I am following you now too.

    Be seeing you …

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    • You are welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw on your blog, and look forward to more!

      Gad, Prednisone is a curse and blessing. I had to take insulin briefly at first when my Prednisone doage was 85mg. I learned how to inject myself using an orange the hospital provided me. Though it was surprisingly easy to do once one got past the “ick!” factor, I had to block the “ick” factor once I began the procedure or I’d flinch and botch the job.

      Prednisone is like shingles: Once you’ve experienced it, you join a cohort of humanity that only has to say they’ve experience one or both, and no more needs be said. Total understanding! Prednisone and I spent from December 2003 through April 2005 together.

      I posted three videos on YouTube in 2009 on my experience (which included near-psychosis) with Prednisone. They are among the most visited videos I posted, and I am astonished how many ways the drug is used. They even use it on animals to reduce inflammation. I’m trying to imagine a cat, for example, on Prednisone: pretty scary!

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    • I fail at maintaining a healthy level of physical activity, but do pretty well on the emotional and intellectual levels! Retirement wasn’t something I had to work at, fortunately, it was something that suited me from the start. It’s nice not having rigid routines and cranky co-workers, of those who were cranky… – many are and will continue to be post-retirement friends!)

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    • I just came back from your blog, Maggie dear, and believe me: Before I became a cat person in 2009, I was a hardcore dog person, practically from birth!

      I enjoyed learning you are a rescue dog, which says a lot of good things about the people who rescued you. I believe strongly in helping pound cats and dogs have a great life after the trauma of abandonment or loss.

      My first two cats were pound cats. The second two were gifts. Though they are pedigreed Persians, they are “only” pet quality because they aren’t perfect specimens of Persian cathood. They are, however, wonderful parts of my happy retirement!

      But more about you!

      I enjoyed skipping around your blog to get a sense of what it was about, and it became apparent quickly that it is one I wanted to follow. It’s entertaining, and, I think, a good way to deal with the reputation of pitbulls.

      You know Persians got trashed in the movies “Cats and Dogs”, where the villain was one. They actually are sweet-dispositioned, wonderfully friendly cats. One of mine is named after the apostle Andrew, patron saint of Scotland. Dougy is named after me. He’s the chunky one, which means the name fits him a bit better than I like to admit: I’m a bit chunky, too!

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  11. You have quite the story! I hope that things with your health improve. Life throws us all kinds of interesting curves. I suffer from bipolar disorder, so I know what it is like to have to deal with a chronic illness. At least God gave us cats to keep us company!

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    • My health tends to be problematic, but has been reasonably stable (“the new normal”, as we weggies call it) for some time. You are right about cats, though! I was very happy when my doctor gave me the go ahead to adopt a rescue cat (Louie, the ginger tom that died in August 1, 2011). That went well, even though I was much more immo-suppressed at the time than now. That gave me courage to adopt Dougy and Andy after Louie died.

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      • I’m sorry to hear about Louie. It is very painful to loose a cat (or any other pet). It sounds like Dougy and Andy are very lucky to have adopted you! It’s always good for cats to have an owner to know just how much of a blessing cats are.

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    • Thanks! I found you the same way, and could say as much about your “written voice”, too! I just finished the camel post, which established I made a great decision to follow! Your posts look like a lot of fun!

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  12. You have had some life fitting in more than many will ever do. Sorry to hear about your illness buddy. Sucks have stuff wrong with us. But you are an upbeat lad, so fair play to you.
    I sent you a short email Sir

    Shaun

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    • A positive attitude takes care of most of it. Fortunately, I have been in remission from Wegener’s granulomatosis since April or May 2005. (The tests my doctor used to establish that are approximate, so he chose to wait till he had two months in a row till one “iffy” measurement fell into line.) The worst of it was Prednisone, drug from Hell. I put on a lot of weight during, then after 15 months of it, and haven’t had much luck getting it off.

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      • I can share that story re: Medication..
        I have tried 10 at least, no I am on 5 for pain and about 8 to combat the side effects of the 5 for pain..
        Never ending pain in the arse..

        Hope you are getting relief mate…

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  13. Mine is mild enough that I can deal with most of it by “toughing it out” or a couple aspirin. Only occasionally do I wish I had something stronger. I’m one of those people who likes to get off of painkillers as fast as possible, and use them only under the worst of circumstances. To give you and idea how ridiculous that can be: Once I went from when I got up (3 AM) till after supper with an intense headache before it occurred to me I could take some aspirin, which most likely would help. I took the aspirin, and within a quarter hour, I had no pain: I’d suffered all day for something simple aspirin would have fixed up in minutes!

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  14. I’m sort of retired, which means I have plenty of time for more interesting pursuits such as travel. Much more enjoyable and probably more productive.
    As an aside, I see that you have re-grown your hobby beard. Or isn’t it a hobby anymore?

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  15. I used to grow a beard for the heck of it each winter, but a bad bout of shingles on the right side of my head at the end of 2007 turned it into camouflage to minimize a significant scar on my mouth and face caused by that disease. (Don’t feel embarrassed for asking- I don’t worry about my appearance post shingles so much as get tired explaining what’s “wrong” with my lip and what happened to my face. The beard minimizes questions, too.)

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  16. Thank you for “Liking” the post, “My Life In A Hole”. Streets Of Our World, on my photography blog http://www.throughharoldslens.com. On behalf of the Through Harold’s Lens Creative Team, my trusty sidekick Mr. SLR Nikon, his brother Mr. Pen Pal and myself, we truly appreciate your enjoyment. We hope you continue to join us on our journeys.  

    Best Regards,
    Harold

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  17. Good morning weggieboy,
    Thank you for “Liking” the post “Angel In The Sand”. Streets Of Our World. on my photography blog http://throughharoldslens.com/2014/02/18/angel-in-the-sand-streets-of-our-world/

    On behalf of the Through Harold’s Lens Creative Team, my trusty sidekick Mr. SLR Nikon, his brother Mr. Pen Pal and myself, we truly appreciate your enjoyment.

    We hope you continue to join us on our journeys.  

    Best Regards,
    Harold

    Like

  18. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be precisely what
    I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write about here.
    Again, awesome blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks! I’m not certain I see the point of having someone else write content for my blog, though I have (rarely) reblogged other people’s postings. What kind of content do you have in mind?

    Like

    • I don’t know. My familiarity with that sort of thing is very limited. You might try the support feature in WordPress to see if there is anything already posted about this or if their technical crew can help.

      Like

  20. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who
    had been doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I discovered
    it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU
    for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this subject here on your internet site.

    Like

  21. I’ve read a few just right stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how so much effort you put to make such a fantastic informative site.

    Like

    • It varies. SOme days, a photo and a short comment take minutes, and other days, adding a video (from taking it to completion) might represent hours of time. I’d say I probably average 1:30 a day, but that is a guess. Of course, the more you write and post, you develop a style, a general direction you see for the blog. Until I changed to the current theme of two cats and a retiree, I didn’t post as regularly. They give me lots of material and are cute to most people. I’m just there because I’m the one who knows how to type. 😉

      Like

    • Thank you for the thought.! While I am pleased others find something of interest in my ramblings, I don’t collect awards. (Incidentally, I really enjoy your blog and the ever entertaining Roy! He must be a great dog to live with!)

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  22. I’m so glad we’ve found each other here. If you look at my posts (especially my About page), you may see we have some interesting things in common. All the best to you, and I look forward to more readings in the future.

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    • Thanks! I thought the same when I checked out your blog! I like to see what people who follow me do, too. I especially enjoy the photography in yours, and the urban perspective that is fun for someone who’s spent the majority of his life in a smallish (8600 or so) town in Western Nebraska. Though I prefer living in this sort of historic area (Black Hills, frontier forts, Oregon Trail, paleontological sites that yielded fossils you can find in major East Coast natural history museums, and the like), I’ve always enjoyed the energy of cities.

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      • Precisely. I have a few ailments but one similar to yours is vasculitis. Mine is caused by a lifetime of rheumatoid arthritis; hence, I am familiar with your struggle. If you like, you can pop over to my blog and see if you find any helpful info or encouragement. I have been battling these ailments for 40 years now so I have some experience. Yet, if you do not wish too, that is fine too. I know better than most that sometimes, you just need to get away from that which makes your life difficult. Blessings upon you.

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      • Any weggie will tell you that he or she probably has at least one rheumatologist on the team working to bring him or her back to a new normal. I also had a pulmonologist and urologist since my kidneys and lungs were heavily impacted by the disease. The hardest thing for me is a weight gain brought on by the nasty high dosage of Prednisone I was on from December 2003 through April 2005. It gradually decreased to nothing, but it was a factor in how I reacted to life for at least four months. It was so bad I couldn’t even write a letter because I couldn’t focus long enough to write one! I’ve never managed to get the weight back into control. Anyway, I’ll stop by because one always can learn from others, and people with autoimmune diseases do have much in common, though the diseases are classified as different things.

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  23. What lovely kitties….are these your boys? Mom also has a cross to bear and has been on prednisone several times….heck for that matter so has Kali. It would be very difficult to be on prednisone fairly constantly because its so hard on your body…..mom couldn’t sleep when she was on it.

    I am interested in you…..how you are managing and no not from a “pity” point of view but because I believe cats and people can support each other and to talk about a difficulty releases it from our mind and is not as big when its out in the open.

    Keep on trucking,

    (((Shoko)))

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    • Yes, Andy and Dougy are brothers from the same litter, and I was given them after my cat Louie, a ginger tabby, died. As for me, I am managing fine, thank you! I’ve been off Prednisone since April 30, 2005, and have been in remission. Though I have some mobility issues and vulnerability to infections, I basically do just fine.

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  24. Pingback: Post 541: You may want to be seated when I tell you…! | Sonmi's Cloud

    • I find that troubling. While businesses need to make money to stay in business, they also have a social contract with their employees. I’m glad you got severance pay, though. (I call it “guilt money”, but it spends just the same.) I personally have no animosity toward my old place of work, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend them to anyone looking for a job, either.

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      • Well, our company was privately owned, and the people who sold it are not the most sterling human beings in the world. They had opportunities to give long-term employees a bonus, but didn’t. The stories I could tell would be more than this space requires. Ah well!

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      • My company went through six different owners in almost 36 years. Each was a Fortune 500 company, each had merits and negative qualities. The potentially best one fell prey to a Bains Capital-type hostile purchase. The best one was the last one in terms of how they rewarded their employees with a percentage of the profits based on how well we met corporate goals. It was a significant part of one’s compensation most times, with the least payout being the first one given after we were bought out, at 8% of our annual salary. It had no no upper end if we really exceeded expectations. We never got less than before in these payouts, and they came at a time I was working on pumping up my retirement account. It seems like the last one I got was something like 15% of my annual salary. At any rate, for those who invested their payout, it was a good deal. For those who paid off debt with it, it was a good deal. For those who spent it on “stuff” and lived beyond their means, thinking of the payout as something more like a pay raise instead of a variable payout that could also be 0% of one’s annual salary if we failed to meet goals, something possible in the tough, highly competitive market we were in, the program was a conundrum.

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  25. This is the day after Veterans Day. So I went on line to look up some of my old military units and I found your blog. I was also stationed with the 69th for a few months in 1969. I was a mopic photographer. I spent most of my time TDY so I didn’t know to many guys who were stationed with the 69th. I do remember the unit had some interesting enlisted guys. Like the guys whose mother was divorced from a famous author. The guy who filmed the Olympics. The opera singer. Those were the days.

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    • I missed you by a few months, having arrived in Germany in early July 1970. I don’t recall any of those people (though I may have known them but not that well). Patrick Matre and Steve Smith (I think his name was) are two mopic guys who were there when I was . Hal Roe, who was put in motor pool shortly after I arrived, apparently didn’;t cut the grade as a mopic guy, and may not have trained for it anyway. The senior people I can visualize but not pull up names for. The 1st Sgt. was a fellow with the last name of Waller, and he was old army but very fair, I though. There was a Herr Hess who did camera repairs and a really cute brunette German in the archive room named Angelika, who got played by a fellow by the name of Rico. She thought she was going to get married and get to move to America. He never called for her once he left Germany. Let’s see…so much for the gossip from my time! I think the fellow in charge of riding herd on us mopic and still photographers was a Sergeant Harris. There was a still photographer named Purvis White who had a beautiful wife but had a lady friend who was an opera singer in Karlsruhe, I believe it was…! There was a lifer by the name of Hershey who had an alcohol problem. He’d been busted in rank several times, but eventually retired as a Spec. 5. His drink of choice was diesel (strawberry wine). I recall he was a pleasant fellow, but a mess because of the alcohol. I spent a lot of my time on TDY, too, which was fine with me. It is fair to say that mopic photographer was the best, most fun job I ever had!

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  26. Being in QA requires dedication, humour, and a sound knowledge of human nature.
    Photography requires skill and serendipity.
    Cats require—? Hah! Flexibility …

    Good luck! 🙂

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  27. Well, now! I enjoyed your introduction. I’d been wondering where to find more about you and apparently had missed it for a long time. I like your courage and your humor. I’m sure those kitties are probably spoiled rotten.

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  28. Like you, I have retired also after working for 30 yrs. in the Machinist Trade. I worked all three shifts for 8 yrs. until I could not stand changing hours every week. Then just did 2 shifts, until I started working the “grave yard shift” for 15 yrs. Working in the Machinist Trade got the best of my nerves after time and I just could not take it any longer. My nerves were shot! Machining products to customer spec’s in thousands of inch get’s too your head after awhile! I’d had enough. Now, I don’t do it anymore and am much better off.

    Now, being Retired I’m finding I have a lot of time on my hands. When I can I enjoy going “out there” with my Camera and snoop around places of History. History was always my best subject in HS. Why, I have no idea.

    Never have been injured in my job, even though I worked around spinning machinery all the time. I’ve cut my hands once or twice from the sharp carbide cutting tools, and got small burns from the hot steel chips, but not much else.

    My retirement benefit from Polymer and SSC was not bad, but this paying for Health Insurance is getting worse & worse. I’m seeing my Retirement money getting less and less by the increasing price of just about everything else. What I thought was going to be a good idea to Retire, is slowly fading away. Regards ~ Les

    Liked by 1 person

    • I caught myself saying, “Yep! Yep! Yep!” while I read your comment, Les! I think we both liked the work we did, tolerated the BS that came with it, were glad to retire, but a bit nervous about the future because of rising costs.

      I’m glad you did take up photography of historical sites around your area because you are very good at photography and you bring out a very human dimension to history in your text. You are pretty darn good at it, and your blog has become one of my favorites! Your conversational tone makes it less a history lesson (for people who think history is boring!) and more like what I’d expect if I were visiting Pennsylvania and you were showing me the local attractions. It is a talent, and a lot harder to do than most people realize!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe you and my son Tom are of the same mind and that the two of you did your own version of acknowledging blogs. So you are still a part of the community, but in your own way.

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      • Yes, and we’ve tentative plans to do it again some day! It was fun, and it served the purpose of introducing great bloggers to other great bloggers. We got lots of positive feedback for our efforts, too!

        Incidentally, I’ve really enjoyed reading your account of your trip to Germany and Austria, and how your family survived loss of property and country. I am sorry you fell ill in Berlin, though. Nothing worse than to be hospitalized while on a trip, especially one with such a specific mission.

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      • Tom said he is looking forward to a bigger and better version with you this year, so maybe a bit more then tentative. 🙂
        Thank you. Yes being ill was a great setback to my plans. But I was still able to accomplish the important goals of my visit. I’m glad you are enjoying my family stories. I have a number of other stories in the works that I hope to share soon.

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      • I’ll look forward to the continued updates of your blog!

        Tom and I* had a technical glitch we didn’t work out first time – thumbnail photos by each description. As it turned out, that didn’t mess things up. As for “bigger”, I don’t know if I’ve added that many new blogs to my reader or if there are that many more I really think deserve a shout out that I haven’t already mentioned, but it will be fun seeing if we can equal or beat our first effort!

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  29. By the way, I saw my dad’s comments and If you are interested, I would like to do another Weggie awards. I’ve been keeping a rough list of blogs I like. So when it comes time, we won’t be scrambling. What do you think?

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    • I can say the same about your blog! I came across it in a reblog by another blogger, and was charmed, especially by the explanation of the name of your blog! Makes me chuckle just to read or say it! Children do say the most charming things, or can! Anyway, I look forward to reading more in your blog. There’s a lot there to catch up on, and you are livng the sort of life I wish I had the bravery to try, that as an expatriot in a country where a language other than English is spoken.Of course, Mexico is an excellent choice of such a place, given proximity to the USA, our mutual (if not always happy) histories, and the wonderful people living there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much.! Yes, my friend’s daughter and I chuckled a lot about the taco reference.! She’s super adorable 🙂 And yes, living and working in a foreign country can be daunting and humbling (language wise) sometimes. But it was an amazing experience.!! Welcome 🙂

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      • I was stationed in German y for most of my US Army days, and it was fun tuning up my terrible college German! Unfortunately, though, most Germans preferred to speak in English once they realized you were American. I got to use German in two unlikely places – Paris and Greece. It always felt awkward, and the guy in Paris (who was a Greek running a store that sold Greek specialties like retsina and dolmas) always referred to me as “your German friend” when my Parisian friend stopped by to buy goodies. Oops! My German isn’t that good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s the American curse, I think. It’s fair to assume an American needs to hear things in English, but I always hoped I’d be allowed to stumble along in the less familiar language till I got my point somewhat across.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, and those places are where you run into that rare European (in my experience) who isn’t fluent in at least two languages, including English. I suppose you run into similar circumstances in Mexico if you get into remote areas, but I bet the urban Mexicans are more like their European cousins, linguistically speaking, something you probably can comment on since you’ve lived in Mexico several years..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes…it’s true. A lot of the urban Mexicans speak English. Many also speak a third language, usually Italian or French. Even in the not so remote areas, the native Mayans speak Mayan first and then learn Spanish. English becomes their 3rd language. Living in the Riviera Maya, I also learned a few (simple) phrases in Yucateco Mayan.

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      • Well French because a lot of middle to upper class Mexicans go study abroad so French is their chosen language.! As for Italian, there are many Italians who still migrate to Mexico for work to this day. Also, there is an Italian town in Mexico..so lots of history…I actually met an Italian/Mexican girl from this town, Chipilo. Here’s a link…
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipilo

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      • I guess I should have guessed the French connection. The Italian one still seems unusual! It’s sort of like getting used to the idea that there are black Mexicans. I didn’t really think about slaves bring brought to Mexico from Africa, yet it happened.

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  30. Pingback: Wow! You Put Up With Me For A WHOLE Year! | But I Smile Anyway...

  31. Pingback: The Interview: Part II | Anarette

  32. Bist du Deutsche?
    Ich hatte diese Seite nicht lesen.
    Weisst du, ich in Deutschland war, ein Jahr lebte ich da.. es ist lange zeit dass ich keine Deutsch spreche. So vergib mir meine Fehler.
    Grüße
    Ich wünsche Ihnen einen angenehmen Abend

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  33. Hello friend! I’ve been journeying with you for quite a while; but it happened that I had not read all about you. As we close 2015, I thought I should spend more time with you here and so I got to this page. You are a great story teller I must say. Thanks for sharing your story. Each person’s story is a building-block or blocks in other people’s lives and I appreciate that. I thought I was reading carefully but I found at the end that I was not careful enough to take note of your name. I thought of going all over but found many blogs waiting for me since I have pledged to visit as many as I can today. I know you have a joke for me about names. I’ll be glad to have it. I like the joke about the beard and the job. You seem so full of humor and that must be a contributing factor to your spirits. As I leave my comment here at this time of the year, let me say Happy 2016 to you. May many more years be yours and may many blessings come your way in 2016!

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    • Thanks, Sally! Yes, I had a small relapse of my Wegener’s granulomoatosis (an autoimmune vascular disease and the source of the blog name “weggieboy”). The initial bout of WG in 2003-2004 nearly wiped out my kidney function, and this small relapse (the doctors at University Hospital in Denver feel) pretty much finished the job this year. I now am on dialysis three times a week. The time I was off the blogosphere, I was in Scottsbluff, NE in the hospital, Denver at University Hospital, then the next six weeks in Denver and Scottsbluff for therapy to restore me to sufficient strength to allow me to return to my home.

      Though I need a cane or walker for the time being (for for all time?), I am doing well. I’ve been home since the last day of March. The cats have been very excited to have me back, and the first day didn’t let me sleep at all, they spent so much time trying to get my attention.

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      • Wegener’s granulomatosis is for life. It is very likely that however old I am when I die, WG will have had some part in causing it. That seems rather grim but people can live for decades with it (or die within weeks of a flare). I personally don’t dwell on the worst possibilities for a weggie, and enjoy each day as it comes!

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      • A positive attitude, a belief that you should count your blessings each day and give thanks for them in whichever manner you show gratitude – that’s a start. Everything builds on that and it helps you accept your new “normal”, which may be less mobility or more medical procedures or whatever than before your illness.

        Then there is the matter of listening to your doctors or therapists and following their instructions.

        I also am very active in my treatments. I read up on the disease process I’m dealing with, ask questions of my doctors so that I understand what to expect in general so I can set realistic goals for my recovery. I let the docotrs know what I understand about the prognosis and what my goals are so they realize I am actively involved in my recovery, that I am open to their recommendations, that I am goal-oriented.

        I tell therapists at the onset and often during the days of therapy that I don’t want to be coddled, that I intend to get strong as fast as I can because I want to get back home to my kitties, that I will do what they say, even try to exceed their expectations. To that end, I also let them know that I want to know what they expect me to be able to do before they sign off on me going home. If I can focus on a goal, it helps me deal with the challenges of therapy.

        All said, I think the positive attitude coupled with realistic goals is the biggest help.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thank you!!!

        fabulously wise & wonderful, weggieboy 🙂 🙂 🙂

        would love if you’d write as a guest blog post for my blog – my readers could get to know you, & vs versa.

        fits perfectly with purpose of my blog – happiness! story telling! & pets!

        if you’d be so generous – would only need a little reworking of your answer for readers who don’t know your history. prefer, tho flexibe, 300 words or less, plus a pic or so

        if you’d like a more formal outlines, pls email me at ContactDaal@gmail.com

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      • I’ll give it some thought. I have a loaded schedule this week, with medical procedures four days, a solo day at the military museum where I volunteer one day, and little free time for my blog till next week end.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ok – sorry about email malfunction. was thinking today how ‘work around’ is the appropriate term these days, meaning modern aggravations of navigating computer/internet/smartphone

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  34. Mom & I were thrilled to see that you adopted to black Persian kitties! I am one, too! What a big heart you have to take them both in so they could be together, and to give them a forever home! What a great story! We are following your blog! Mew Mew!

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    • Cool! Andy and Dougy are what are called smoke Persians, though they get haircuts (teddy bear cuts) every other month, which means they never get totally typical looking for that variety of Persian kitty. You can pick out some of it, though, in photos where their hair is longer. You look like you might be one, too! Regardless, you are one beautiful kitty! (Of course, I love Persians for their beauty and wonderful dispositions!) Need I mention I’ve subscribed to you, too! You have a delightful blog AND are a black Persian kitty! What’s not to like, eh?!

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  35. Can I have some Q&A with you? No need to answer the questions (not important). If you did, make sure to order them 1-5.
    1. Why did you buy/have Andy and Dougy?
    2. Why did you start a blog?
    3. Is really Andy’s and Dougy’s birthday on 1st of July (My birthday is in July too)?
    4. How old is Andy and Dougy (when I posted this comment)?
    5. Do you like other cats or dogs?
    It’s such an honor to meet you, I really like your blog and your kitties.

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    • 1. The story of how I got Andy and Dougy is covered in this link:
      https://phainopepla95.com/andy-and-dougy-come-home/
      2. I started the blog as a post-retirement activity to help me keep mentally active. It is too easy to become a couch potato!
      3, Yes, July 1, 2011 is their actual birthday. I’m glad I know their actual birthday because I had lots of questions about Freckles and Louie, cats I got at the shelter, their birthdays being the big one. I never knew exactly how old they were.
      4. Six years one month and 18 days + one day for when I posted my answer.
      5. I’ve always been around cats and dogs, and like most of them. I don’t like dogs that bark at me when I’m in my own yard, but that’s more a problem of bad owners than bad dogs.

      Thank you! I’m pleased you are a fan! I feel the same about your blog. It is one of the more interesting ones I follow because I learn interesting things reading it!

      http://danupondrake.wordpress.com/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! Thanks for answering. Andy and Dougy is six years old? My cat is only 1 year and two months old (very young). I love your kitties so much, they’re so adorable, and handsome. I enjoy to see Andy and Dougy everyday! I love your blog and you as well!!

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      • I’m always happy to answer reader comments because it gives me a chance to update new readers on things people who’ve followed this blog for a long time know. When there is an easy way to find the answer, such as a page dedicated to the question of how I came to get the kitty boys, I’m pleased to point it out!

        Liked by 1 person

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