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!

272 thoughts on “who I am

  1. You’ve earned a fascinating life, Doug. I have much enjoyed reading this introductory page and your blog entries. We’re about the same age it appears and have been in the West Germany at nearly the same time. A friend from the University of Cincinnati was stationed in Kaiserslautern, I visited him there. Studied German in Giessen 71 to 73 and was fortunate enough to have a German roommate who did not speak English, was also in Berlin (including East). Upon returning to the US and the tough job market of that day, I also went from job to job to job. My wife died in 1983 and I became a single parent of an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old. Worked as a seasonal tax examiner (1990s), they provided family health insurance year round while I went back to school, taught German for many decades and have translated many many technical documents involving industrial installations, cranes, operating manuals and the like. German grammar is so precise that I am actually able to read it faster than English in some venues. My particular illness of fate is Crohn’s — got that in 1975 when it was still quite rare and was considered to be non-inheritable. So far, it has shown up in my son, grandson, my brother and his son.
    Thanks for this blog, Sir!

    • Thanks for the “review”! As mentioned (I think), my US Army days there were almost like a vacation. Of course, as a US Army motion picture photographer, I didn’t have a job that was the same old stuff day in and out, and some were out of country to places like Greece and Italy. It helped, too, that I had friends in Paris, which gave me a good excuse to visit France as a guest of the friends rather than as a tourist.

      Crohn’s involves more pain and discomfort, I think, than Wegener’s granulomatosis once it’s brought into control. I have it but usually don’t have issues with it. It’s not supposed to be hereditary, too, and I’ve only heard of one instance (anecdotal) where a nephew and an uncle had it. They still don’t know what causes it, though they feel exposure to industrial solvents may be a contender – I was exposed to them where I worked in quality.

      My German, never good, is even worse these days. Congratulations on being a better student! Speaking and understanding more than one language is such a door opener, even at my level of proficiency. I always felt the Germans were amazed that an American even tried to speak it when they often spoke flawless English. “Why let the poor sap struggle when I have things to do. I’ll just speak English and we can get this over with” LOL!

      One of my interests has been how things are made. While in Germany, I had the opportunity to visit Wetzlar for the Leitz factory and München for the Arriflex factory (twice) to see where and how the camera I used in my mopic work was manufactured. I especially enjoyed the Arriflex tour because they knew we used their cameras in our work so we got the royal treatment!

      Once I retired, I bought a PC and decided to explore the world of blogs. My initial posts were aimless and not too interesting, I fear. Then I got two cats! I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences with these fascinating animals, though three are deceased.

      • Hello Doug, very glad that you liked my “review” of your life, times, and the cats who care for us. I have taught German to students from age 5 to 85, it has also allowed me to understand Dutch (and Afrikaans), Swedish and the like. Hey, Pennsylvania Deitsch for that matter. One of my students, a Palestinian originally from Jerusalem, inspired me to learn Arabic. I can speak it at a 5-year-old level now. Google has made language learning far more portable than it was in the early 70s. I search Google for such terms as “Arabisch lernen” and find YouTube videos produced by Arabic native speakers who also learned German as *their* second language — a means to communicate without recourse to English. As you have mentioned, Germans always pick up on English speakers and pretty much do not allow you to toss in a word of German sidewise.
        Wetzlar was only 7 miles away from where I lived, but I never did visit the famous Leitz works, though it was nearly walking distance away.
        My son, Alan, has an uncanny ability to figure out how anything works, including tiny parts in an iPhone. He started working with an old PC-XT (5 1/4 inch floppy disks) and introduced me to Linux. He is also a dedicated cat aficionado, as is my wife Lisa. All of our cats over the years have been rescues and each one had very distinctly different personalities. They are also all buried at various places in our yard, we’ve been in the same house since 1987.
        Good to discover your blog, kind Sir!

        • My lousy German helped on a job to Greece when the Greek army driver and I couldn’t speak each other’s first languages but had German (at a poor level in both our instances!) between us. The same thing happened at a store run by a Greek man in Paris, where I couldn’t handle French, but the German helped. The next time I visited my friends in Paris, he remembered me as “the German”. In Metz and Hunawihr, German once again proved to be the language I was able to use German to communicate with French. Of course, that wasn’t as unlikely because of the history of the area, but I found it interesting that my friends using French got a cooler reaction than me using German. When I visited the Leitz factory, we were handed Leica SLR cameras and sent out to take photos of Wetzlar’s historic center. Saw a fellow who looked interesting. He turned out to be a Turk. Again, our common language was German, so I was able to ask him if he would allow me to take his photo. Imagine how much more I would have been able to accomplish with proficiency in German, where my poor command was so helpful?! Once on the bus in Kaiserslautern, my home base, I witnesses a group of US Army soldiers arguing (in English) with the fellow collecting fees to ride the bus. They apparently we new to the county (based on their low ranks) and unfamiliar with the low rate of exchange given for coins compared with bills or with the difference between the exchange rate used by merchants versus American Express, typical exposure of Americans in Europe. The City of Kaiserslautern’s bus exchange rate for coins and currency actually was very liberal, as courtesy to the American presence there, so arguing about being cheated when they paid in US coins made not sense: The exchange rate for coins or currency was posted above the man’s head, in English! I was embarrassed for them. It didn’t help they were African Americans, too, and the German was of an age that he most likely had served in the Hitler Youth, possibly the kid army in defense of Kaiserslautern (60% wiped out in the American advance into Germany). I could see he was not pleased with the confrontation. I never heard him speak in English, perhaps to assure he didn’t have to deal with this sort of thing in English he easily could have been proficient in, as were so many Germans in military towns. In German, I apologized for my fellow Americans, noting they were just kids and new to the country. His expression softened a bit, when I pointed to the exchange rate sign, noting it was an excellent exchange rate compared with other places. Yeah, being a little ambassador for one’s country while abroad is so important! The US Army didn’t give me any instruction on the cultural differences between Germans and Americans, but I found a book put out by Stars and Stripes in the PX periodicals and books section (“These Strange German Ways” I think it was titled…) that saved me lots of embarrassments in my two and a half years there, and added a lot to the enjoyment to knowing Germans in their land!

          • Cincinnati has a long German immigrant history that began in the 18th Century, the first mayor was also a Ziegler (David). Back in the telephone directory days there were 8 William Zieglers alone in this town. I taught German for 22 years at a local German heritage society. It was my privilege to design a class for tourists and business travelers — “Getting Around in German.” The first hour focussed on a grammar topic, then up to 200 teachers and students gathered in a school cafeteria to mix things up, eat doughnuts, and drink coffee. In the second hour, I redefined the classroom as a city center, bahnhof, restaurant scene… any in situ where the students would take on roles and imagine themselves in Germany somewhere. Quite a unique school that has been around since 1968. The situations you describe with the bus driver serves as an example of the class dynamic. I also took on an alter ego, Dieter, who played the part of a German who knew no English. The students gathered their collective vocabularies to communicate with Dieter — exactly the role you were assigned: The German.
            I have a book published in 1947: An Introduction to Germany for Occupation Families. Perhaps the precursor of the book you describe.
            There was also an Army base in Giessen, we would go there to find items from home. Until the Baader Meinhof bombings we could just walk right onto the base for books and visit the diner.
            We really were both ambassadors, were we not? Half a century ago? Literally. And a genuine privilege.

          • A privilege indeed! I always felt that the reason a fellow with an MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) of “Combat Motion Picture Photographer didn’t end up in Vietnam was the fact I had taken German at the University of Nebraska. Poor German, mind you, but sufficient to get along in stores, restaurants, casual conversations with native speakers, children and dogs. LOL! My happiest conversation was at the Bahnhof in Saarbrücken , I believe it was, where we were waiting for an SNCF locomotive to be replaced with a Deutsche Bundesbahn locomotive. The car designated as the one to Kaiserslautern was facing France. I was struggling with a Der Spiegel magazine (how I helped expand my proficiency, with some success) and woman came up to me and asked “Fährt dieser Zug nach Kaiserslautern?” Amazed I wasn’t the only one concerned about the unlikely destination of a car facing France, I responded, “Ja, hoffentlich!” Even more amazing is the fact I remember this conversation, short and simple and easy – for a poor speaker of the language as it was, almost 5o years later! The magazine featured a birthing chair on the cover, with an article in the magazine about historic ways women gave birth. Interestingly enough, a sidebar to the story, Der Spiegel was founded in 1947 by It was started in 1947 “by John Seymour Chaloner, a British army officer, and Rudolf Augstein, a former Wehrmacht radio operator who was recognised in 2000 by the International Press Institute as one of the fifty World Press Freedom Heroes” according to the Wikipedia article on the magazine. It definitely turned out to be a significant and important piece of journalism. (I get an email featuring major articles in the magazine, in English, now.) When the Bader Meinhof terrorists were making hteir bombing rounds, they stopped in Kaiserslautern to rob a bank and kill a teller, I think it was. The bases in Germany tightened their security. I was stationed in Kleber Kaserne, where they put the people otherwise incapable of managing a simple task on the gate. My company was in a building that required a long hike to get from that building to the clock tower building where I had my room or a short walk out one gate to the main gate as a happier way to go “home”. The gate guards had armed weapons and were very aggressive about letting us through, even though we were soldiers they’d worked with and knew, but the small recognityion of becoming gate guards had inflated their self worth to an alarming degree! We talked about it once we proved we were who they knew we were and were in out rooms: They would shoot us if we tried to ignore their instructions, we concluded!

          • The draft lottery number 255 kept me out of Vietnam and winning an exchange scholarship sent me to West Germany for a year, I stayed another six months to teach ESL classes in the same town. Curious that such a short conversation in Saarbrücken stuck so well, but I have similar moments that stick around for no apparent reason. Somehow they become placemarkers. I met a Canadian from Victoria BC at a youth hostel in Vienna, he had 15 dollars and a return ticket home. He had hitchhiked through North Africa and on along Italy from the tip of the boot. We spent a couple days touristing along in Vienna and I wished him eine gute Reise. Four months later I was walking down a street in Giessen and recognized him, he recognized me. He had been living one city block from the building I inhabted. On his way to the Airport in Amsterdam he met someone who offered him a job in the small (80 000 Einwohner) town of Giessen. He took the job to stay in Germany and we continue to be close friends to this very day. Your mention of “Fährt dieser Zug nach Kaiserslautern?” reminded me that he (Alan by the way, and namesake for my son Alan) would ask prospective car drivers “Wer fahren Sie?” Sounded like a cognate to him 🙂 Spiegel is some pretty challenging reading, start out the same year I started out: 1947. I had not known of its origins. You did indeed have a close call with those armed sentries, I also think that they may very well had shot you guys had you ignored their instructions.

          • Tyhey were pretty impressed with their responsibility, something they hadn’t had till then because the misfits from our company and several others were in a special unit where thy put misfits. Their days were doing kitchen duty, policing the parade ground (picking up cigarette butts, etc.!) and nothing because they
            ‘d shown incompetence at the duties they had but hadn’t shown any specific cause to kick them out of the army.

            I had one of those crossing path incidents, too. One day I decided to take a ride to the Pfälzerwald. I rode just a half block to the corner of Mannheimer Strasse and Donnersbergstrasse and another fellow on
            his 10 speed rode by. “Hi, Bob!” I said. Surprised I knew his name. Turned out he and I had known each other at the University of Nebraska. His German mother worked at the PX, and she and I had a friendly relationship where we traded remembrances of 1950s-1960s American pop culture (she was married to an American career NCO, was a post war bride). “Mabel! Black Label!” “What’ll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer!” (A strange thing for a kid to remember!) Turned out Bob was visiting his mother and father for the summer, and our chance meeting in Kaiserslautern was the first and last fellow UN-L student I ever met anywhere then or since!

          • One of my fellow exchange students (Bill Coppersmith) was from Lincoln, Nebraska — so there is a curious coincidence, I suppose. Not so much a coincidence for our group from Kansas State. I have very fond memories of my two years there — a fellow student hailed from Sheffield England, we lived in a large basement with a southern exposure for $60 a month.
            We also had connections with people who worked on the base — I was a smoker at the time and, of course, could use a non smoker’s carton of cigarettes for $1.30. Fortunately, I gave up that habit in 1976!

          • I shared an off base apartment with two other GIs on Beethovenstraße in Kaiserslautern. It was $90 a month plus PX cigarettes the landlord (in 1971!) used to partially pay handymen who repaired items in her property. We got a bit knocked off the rent for those and any paper waste , which she could use in her stove for heat. I didn’t smoke American cigarettes then but a strong German brand (Roth-Händle) that no one asked for after the first one. Best of all, the word got around among the moochers, ending the hassle. There always were guys in the company who never had cigarettes but smoked a pack a day. LOL! They also borrowed money because they spent it all the first week of the month on bars and b-girls.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roth-H%C3%A4ndle

    • I wasn’t aware they were. I don’t post videos any more – the editing program I used isn’t available any more, and I rarely go on YouTube except for kitty videos for Andy. I may have disabled comments for that reason, though I have not memory of having done that. Anyway, I’ll check it out.

    • There was some issue with that that Google fixed, apparently, on February 24. I was unaware of this till you brought it to my attention. (I don’t see anywhere in settings where you can turn off comments, though I stopped looking once I saw the notice from Google of three issues they fixed, including the comments one. I did see where comments are allowed in three randomly selected videos on my channel.

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    • I didn’t see any of your comments in “spam”, and certainly, not “trash”! I have been known to accidentally send comments to the wrong place, thanks to the location of the buttons that do that and my clumsy fingers, but I know where to locate the accidentally sent comments, and do find and correct the error. Maybe the ones not showing are the ones where you’ve “liked” something but didn’t comment. I see several of those. I may b=need to start opening even those to make sure people see they haven’t been ignored. I do appreciate all comments!

      • It’s still happening. I just realized that my blog had that issue with one of my followers. I have no idea why it happened, but it is no longer an issue. Hopefully the same will happen here.

        • I see your comments now… Are you not seeing your comments after you post them? Perhaps they don’t appear till I comment. Frankly I don’t see a problem now as I do see your comments. Of course, I have no way of knowing how many you’ve made or how many “likes” you’ve clicked other than what shows up on the “Comments”.

          • I think you have hit the nail on the head. You are now responding to my comments, so I was assuming that somehow they are getting to you. That was the important part. Thanks for looking into it. 🙂

          • I'[m pretty sure it was one setting where I changed it to required me to manually approve everything. After I undid the setting, the problem ended! Once again, I appreciate the feedback from you because I was unaware of the problem till you brought it to my attention!

    • I set the comments to approval meant for posting. I’m trying to find where I changed that. In the meantime, I have a bit of a mess. (Some person was commenting on everything with one word: “What?” Spam hadn’t been catching it, which is why I added the approval needed first option. Apparently, those comments I didn’t comment on didn’t make it through. I’m still looking for that spot where I required approval first. Cross your fingers! (p.s.: Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I do appreciate comments, even if it is just a “like” on someone’s comments!)

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  8. Wow!!! That’s a very interesting compilation of your life. Obviously you have endured lots and you’ve come out on top. We’re so glad that you found our blog and we’re so delighted that you like cats. Mom keeps saying we are pretty awesome fur people. Mom also says to tell you that you have a great fighting spirit and you should keep it up. By the way, her college degree is in journalism but she spent most of her career in the airline industry. Now she’s working in the moving industry. Good thing we convinced her to help us with our blog so she can keep writing!
    Stereo purrs……….Hemingway and Steinbeck

    • Thank you, Mahesh! Though you are in New Jersey, I recall, I’ve had a lot of people from India follow in recent weeks. I’ve seen this phenomenon in other areas of the world.
      Now, if I could find someone among the researchers in Antarctica to follow, the kitty boys would be able to claim they are minor international Internet kitty celebrities on all continents!

      I find that amusing: my cats are better known than I!

  9. 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.

    • 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/

      • 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!!

        • 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!

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  12. 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!

    • 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?!

    • No, Trump is an aberration in my mind. One has to try to respect the office if one can’t respect the man. I am hopeful that he will grow into the job. Anyway, I did enjoy your post!

        • 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.

          • 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

          • 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.

          • Thanks! I tried to send you an email but it was rejected. Anyway, if you don’t hear back from me toward the end of the week, it might be a good idea to remind me of your request.

          • 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

    • 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.

        • 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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

        • I don’t get many chances to use German any more, so it’s fun — and a challenge! — to do it from time to time. I am a lazy language student, however, and never became really good in that language.

          • One needs to practice it. I was a terrible student of it at the university, but, once I was in Germany and got to speak with native speakers, it helped a lot in building confidence and competence in the language, if not perfection.

          • Yes, I have had many contacts with Germans and so I could learn it quickly.
            But I also met people who came from Slovenia, France, China, Japan, etc. and also they helped me a lot to learn 🙂
            Bye

          • Yes, of course sometimes they prefer to speak English for the same reason you wish they’d make you converse in their language! LOL! I don’t know how itr is in Germany these days, but in the early 1970s, it was hard finding Germans to speak German with. SOme (like my landlady) didn’t speak English, and that made it helpful to get serious practice in. In some of the smaller villages, too, where Americans were less frequent visitors, it was easier finding people who’d stick with German.I had a time with Viennese, Berliner, and some other German accents, though I like the sound of Austrian-accented German.

  15. Pingback: The Interview: Part II | Anarette

    • On the other hand, we had to help our dogs and cats overcome dog-cat prejudices to just talk with each other. How else can their be peace on earth if we can’t even talk civilly with each other?

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

    • 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.

      • 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 🙂

        • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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..

          • 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.

          • I wouldn’t have guessed French or Italian as second and third languages there, though I’m not surprised Mayan (and other indigenous languages, I’m sure!) figure in the mix.

          • 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

          • 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.

  17. Hello, I left for you a nomination for the Award Very Nice Blog on my :-)https://mtartbox.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/nomina-ricevuta-da-dora-buonfino-del-blog-almeno-tu/Buonanotte 🙂

  18. 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?

  19. Hello, I’ve nominated you for an award. I felt you deserve the recognition. I always enjoy your posts. If you do not accept awards, please do not feel obligated to respond.

          • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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!

  20. 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

    • 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!

  21. 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.

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

    Good luck! 🙂

  23. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

      • 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!

        • 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.

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

  25. 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)))

    • 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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