To be insightful means to intuitively grasp things - an "aha!" moment!

About Me

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I am a member of the church of Christ. I have been writing things since I was little. Some have been printed, some posted. I write to teach or encourage; to blow off steam; and for fun! I had my own motorcycle in my 40s; I was a bluegrass music DJ for about 13 years; I've performed some. I am a member of the NRA. In 2003 (age 59), I became high partial legally blind; in 2005, I had to get hearing aids! Franklin Field said: "Poor eyes limit your sight; poor vision limits your deeds". And no kidding, the picture was made April, 2012!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Taxi Time Again

Since finding the taxi drivers' blogs, I'll tell about a particularly interesting fare I had. This would have been between about 1980 give or take a couple years. I was driving a cab the morning of May 9, 1980 at the time the Sunshine Skyway Bridge went down (you can do a search about that) - but I'll save that story for another time. I was reminded of this unusual fare after reading "A Christmas Play on Life" from February of this year on the Taxi Vignettes blog (added this evening to my favorites).

Most of the time, I worked TIA (Tampa International Airport). Most of the fares were locals - some going to and from vacation, business trips, to the Pinellas County beaches, to mouse town (it opened in 1971 - Carl Hiassen is one of my favorite authors - having lived in FL about 30 years, I can relate to some of his hilarious murder mysteries; his novels for children are just as good - as to mouse town, be sure to read his "Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World" ... but I digress!). But this one fare, on a clear weekday, looked like something I wasn't real sure I wanted. He was stocky, not tall, had on a dark suit, had a brief case, and one good size suitcase. I opened the back door of the cab. He got in. I put his suitcase in the trunk. I asked: "Where to?" and he, in clipped English, said: "Sand. Castle. Motel". Oooo-kay.

All I knew about the Sandcastle Motel was that it wasn't in Tampa, so before I drove off, I asked a couple other cabbies. Lotta help THEY were! All they knew was that they thought it was in Pinellas County. I radio'd our dispatcher where I was going - we had to check in if we left the county, probably so someone would know the general area of where to look if we didn't reappear. United Cab was on the same radio frequency as one of the companies in Clearwater, so once we started across the bridge (NOT the Skyway!), I radio'd: "United 27 to Clearwater Cab" - and asked where the Sandcastle Motel was. Their dispatcher told me; I'd probably been by it a lot of times taking people to the beach area.

When we left the county, rather than running the meter, we had flat rates based on roughly the miles to the other area. At the time, the rate from TIA to Clearwater was about $22. Most fares would give us $25.

OK. Got to the Sandcastle Motel, the man got out, I got his suitcase and took it to the front desk. The man asked: "How. much". Knowing that English wasn't his language, I couldn't make him understand. The clerk and I were pretty sure he had a French accent, and the clerk said he had a motel guest from Canada. I wrote down $22, and the man gave me a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR bill, and brushed me off when I tried to motion: "lower, lower". No French speaker showed up, so I left. I went maybe a mile. My conscience wouldn't let me keep the money - hey, a tip is a tip but I didn't want to take advantage of anyone who didn't know our money. So I went back to the motel.

When I walked in, the French-Canadian was at the front desk, talking to the clerk and the man I had taken there. I explained the situation, offered the hundred-dollar bill back to the man, and what I said was then translated to him. This odd man then held out a tightly packed stack of 100's a quarter-inch high, flipped through it, and said: "Merci ..." and something else which, translated back to me, was: "Keep it".

Even though this was not December, when I left, the desk clerk grinned and said, "Merry Christmas?"

I could have quit for 2 or 3 days - but cabbies can't do that because the next 2 or 3 days, you might get nothing but an occasional $5 fare.

Yes, I remember exactly where I was when the Skyway went down. I remember the time I got stiffed on a fare. The couple of times someone accused me of charging too much which I couldn't do because of the meter of course! The time it was raining and my wipers quit and I had a honeymooning couple in the back seat ... Wanna hear those stories? Just ask me!

Oh, by the way, the man who went to the Sandcastle Motel? He was part of the Church of Scientology. I think maybe they owned that motel. Their headquarters were either across the street or close by.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Buses, Burn, 'n' Love

And no, that's not an Elvis song!

But yes, those 3 do tie in together for me.

Thursday from work I had paratransit to take me to the downtown public library for their free BPL@nite. It was to be an acapella quartet called Blast from the Past, doing 50s & 60s music. I got there in plenty of time. The group was setting up and doing sound checks, but was really loud. "Blast" was appropriate. The library atrium has floor-to-ceiling windows and glass-paneled doors, and the floors and walls are also hard, which of course makes the sound worse.

Much as I would like to have stayed, there was no way without getting more of a headache. I went outside and called the paratransit dispatcher, to see if he could get a driver for me way before my scheduled time to go home. He said he'd try. Rather than go back inside, I stayed outside - and though there was some shade, there was nowhere to sit, and the temperature was about 90. With so many buses breaking down, I had to wait about an hour (still earlier than my scheduled time).

I guess it was the heat, but Thursday night, I felt like my insides had spent the night on a roller coaster, so I called in sick Friday. I stayed in bed most of the day and didn't eat until about supper time.

Then yesterday, I got the 10 a.m. inbound fixed route bus, and got off nearest the Boost Mobile store. Shane lives close by and met me at that stop, and we walked back to Boost, only to learn that because I hadn't bought my phone from that store, that I would have to pay $10 for them to help me with a couple of things I couldn't figure out. We left. I'd bought the phone from Wal-Mart.

So ... because the fixed route bus in this area runs only every other hour on Saturday, he and I decided to walk to WM. That was almost 1 mile, with some sidewalks, some paths, and a little bit having to walk in the edge of a busy highway. We both had our white canes, though so many people don't seem to know what they signify.

Little old fat me ... I'm going to brag now! ... made it, even in the heat, and with not too much trouble. Shane is 38 and also overweight, but walks fast. He was kind enough to keep up with my slow pace. At least the sky was overcast and there was some breeze. Still, "hot" is hot!

After eating lunch at McDonald's, having the electronics clerk check my phone, and buying a few groceries, we got to the bus stop about 1:30, planning to get the bus that was to be out-bound at WM at 1:37. There is a shelter as well as 2 or 3 outside benches there. We sat on one of the outside benches, and waited ... and waited ... and waited. The weather was just as hot, the clouds had mostly dissapated, Shane is bald, and I am fair - I know to wear a sun-screen hat, but didn't. (I've bought a few from http://www.sundayafternoons.com/) More about that shortly.

About 2:15, we knew that obviously the bus had broken down. With both of us about to bake from the sun, I tried to call my neighbor. He wasn't home. Shane didn't know anyone he could call except for some people who lived across town. Steve, the preacher, lives next to the church house, which is about a mile away, and a couple of blocks from Shane's house. I called him. Luckily he was home, and was at WM to get us within 5 minutes. That's the "love" part. Thank you, Steve!

Just before we got to my house, we saw the big bus. It was at the stop 1/2 block from my house. Because it was there, and because I know the route schedule, I knew that it had quit about 12 noon. The end of the line is a few blocks away, then it is to be downtown at Central Station at the top of the "odd" hours on Saturday. I stayed on my porch where I could see the bus. About 8 until 3, a bus slowly pulled away from that stop, and at 3:00, I saw a big wrecker tow the broken-down bus. I felt sorry not only for those of us who ride, but especially for the driver, who had to sit there for 3 hours ...

If only our mayors and city council members HAD to ride the bus every single day for a week: to worship, work, the doctor, the grocery, a movie, etc. ... then maybe the BJCTA would get some dedicated funding.

And finally (boy! I'm long-winded lately!) ... about the "burn" part - of course there was the heat Thursday evening but I didn't get burned. But when I got up this morning and started to brush my hair, when the bristles touched my skin, I realized that my forehead had gotten slightly burned. Next time, I'll wear a hat!

TAXI!!!

I just came across 2 blogs by taxi drivers! Well, there were a lot more, but only 2 that I was interested in. One is http://dublintaxi.blogspot.com/ and the other is http://timfasano.typepad.com/ I was interested in the Dublin taxi blog because of an on-line friend who lives in Dublin. Angela has visited the USA and we have a lot of friends and acquaintances in common though she and I have never met. And it turns out that Tim drives for United Cab, for which I worked years ago!

John's posts were a variety of driving - transportation - philosophical things. I like everything that he wrote on June 14 about money, and in that same post, about driving.

Tim's also covered a variety of things, and one he mentioned was the little known but wonderful Little Manatee River State Park. I was driving for United Cab when the Sunshine Skyway Bridge went down. Scary! About 40 people were killed. We cabbies could have been on it but thankfully, none of the United or Yellow Cab drivers were. You can do a search about that disaster.

So ... that has given me an idea for something else to write about.

Friday, June 25, 2010

HONESTY

As promised, here's what happened Friday a week ago. Hang on - it's long. "Shortening" is not an ingredient I use very well.

As with most places, we have snack and drink machines in our breakroom. Ours are serviced by Phil, who was born legally blind. He works through state voc rehab's BEP (Business Enterprise Program). Phil has a driver, though like me, he has some usable sight.

Sometimes the machines don't work correctly, and even though we got a new snack machine about a month ago, it sometimes wouldn't take coins but would take dollar bills and give the snack and correct change. Other times, you'd get your snack but no change. Most recently, after having been worked on yet again, it began giving the snack - and TOO MUCH change! I would put in 3 quarters for a 70 cent snack, and it would return 2 of the quarters - that sort of thing, and I wasn't the only one that happened to.

Recently I was told to get the phone number and call when something went wrong with the machines, so of course I called about this latest. A man came to work on the machine, and I was told: "Come deal with this guy!" Granted, he was odd, but BEP is set up so that people with various handicaps will have a job. The repairman was not blind, though he obviously was disabled in some way.

Two of my co-workers questioned why I had called BEP. I reiterated that one of those who was questioning me had recently told me to call when anything went wrong with the machines, and because it was returning too much change, that was dishonest. I was yelled at and all but cursed out. One told me that if I wanted to be "honest" (imagine a snide tone of voice), that I could give Phil back the too-much-change that I got.

If someone puts in money and DOESN'T get their snack, or their change - or if THEIR paycheck is short, then they fuss, even if it's only a nickel. Of course the money from those machines is Phil's paycheck. It is a double standard. To some, honesty is a flaw!

If I'd had a way home, I would have done so for the rest of that afternoon. I rarely cry, but I was so upset that I got an immediate headache. If the next day had been a work day (rather than Saturday), I would probably have called in sick, because that's how I felt.

That wasn't being stoned or beat - or crucified - still, I felt "persecuted" for being honest.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HONESTY

This is a "teaser" for you! I got fast internet yesterday and am playing on line way too much this evening because of that, so will write only a little bit.

First, my good friend Jim had his second dialysis treatment (is that what they are called?) a day ago. His kidney function went from 5% last Wednesday - to 50% now! Amazing the medical technology we have these days! He has his cell phone with him, and has called me every day, sometimes more than once. He won't be out of the hospital until a dialysis center is found for him. At least he's in a good mood about it! Thanks for your prayers for him.

OK. Honestly, I will write about honesty in a day or so. Friday I was fussed at, almost to the point of being cursed at, for being honest about something.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kidney Failure

I have a few "best friends". Jim King is by far the oldest, as we met in 1959 when I was 15 and he was 18. Our mothers were also best friends. We all met at the Pinson church of Christ, when my family moved to where Mother still lives.

Jim and I each married others, moved out of state (including college, I lived in metro Tampa about 30 years; he lived in Texas, California, etc., and overseas), raised our families, divorced. He moved back here a few years before I did. Almost 2 years ago, after working in telecom for years, he moved to Tampa to work for a man we both know. Surprisingly, he attends the Henderson Boulevard church of Christ there, which is one church I attended a lot.

We still call each other a lot and email each other a lot. We've had our share of arguments, and one friend asked, "Are you SURE you 2 aren't married?" because we get over our spats as if nothing happened, and I don't think there's anything we can't talk about. We've never been romantically involved with each other, but today I realized how much I care for Jim.

He was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital today with only 5% kidney function. After being there for a week, he will be on dialysis 3 times a week. Please add him to your prayers ... and I have given you enough information that you can mail him a card, should you choose to do so. Thank you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

BACK ON LINE!

This is mostly a "just checking in" note, in part to see if it will work! What a phone mess I've had for over 2 weeks! The Public Service Commission will get a letter from me later this week, detailing the problems I've had since Thursday, May 27. I THINK they were all fixed today. This was the 4th repairman who's been to my house. When he left at 3 today, everything seems to be working. But if any of you who have gmail and can get to your account and see the sending and subject of each incoming letter, but cannot open it, and have a little pop-up window that states: "Some Gmail features have failed to load due to an internet connectivity problem", please tell me what to do! I've been unable to find anything in the Gmail help section.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

REVIVAL!

Today started a second, short gospel meeting this year, where I attend worship, what most call a revival. I like both terms: the gospel, the good news of Christ, is preached, and the visiting preacher, hopefully, can revive some of us who at times get in a bit of a rut - not that the regular preacher preaches religious error, but sometimes everyone needs a slightly different voice from the pulpit.

About 2 months ago, Kevin Clark, a local lawyer, preached for us on a Thursday night - Sunday night. We met 3 evenings, many of us ate supper together at a local restaurant before Saturday evening worship, he preached during Sunday morning class time and at the regular time, then a 3:00 singing (we have only congregational vocal music - you can look up the definition "a capella"), and 4:00 preaching.

By having services at 3 & 4 this afternoon, folks from other churches could attend. The singing was so good I wish I could have just sat and listened! But the Bible tells us all to sing, not some of us, and even though the air conditioner at the building was running on less than 50% and it was hot, no one passed out or got up and left. Hopefully the AC units will be fixed tomorrow. The rain helped some this morning, but the sun was out by 3 p.m.!

Our visitor this time is Ralph Walker, a faculty member at Florida College in Temple Terrace (Tampa), Florida, as well as one of the preachers for the Henderson Boulevard church of Christ there. (Both the college and the church have web sites, if you are interested. You can also do a search for Ralph Walker, and find him on several sites.) His theme for the 6 services (three times today, then Monday through Wednesday nights) is prayer. While I knew Kevin, I had never met Ralph. When I lived in Tampa years ago, I attended Henderson Boulevard some, but Ralph was not there at the time.

So far, so good! And "Walker" is appropriate! He's rarely in the pulpit - mostly pacing some in the audience, and using only small index cards which he rarely glances at.

We also will have a Wednesday morning service, though the topic is not prayer, but entitled "Where are we going to eat?" Steve, our regular preacher, and I were laughing at that because usually after that service (most of the year, there is a 10:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday class), someone asks, "Where are we going to eat?" I have an "inside spy" and already know what his sermon will be about!

He did throw in a saying today which I'd never heard, but I like it, and will now pepper some of my conversations with it. It is "Learn to live with your critics. Dogs don't bark at parked cars." I found a little about part of that saying on line. Ralph used it to refer to the fact that people who are doing something good are sometimes "barked at" by critics. He was preaching about Daniel, specifically Daniel 6. I'll let you look it up and see who the "barking dogs" were!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

LITTLE THINGS THAT WORK

James 3 talks about little things. A bit in a big horse's mouth can guide it ... a small part of a person's body, our tongue, can cause either good or bad things ... a little fire can start something big ... a big ship is guided by only a small instrument.

And in my case, a bunch of little teeny tiny ant critters, working together, can stop a whole house air conditioner from working!

But today is beautiful and I'm going to enjoy it!

Philippians 4: 7, 8, 11: "... the peace of God ... shall keep your hearts and minds ... whatever things are true ... honest ... just ... pure ... lovely ... think on these things ... I have learned, in whatever state I am in, to be content".

Friday, June 4, 2010

Learning ...

I learned today ... that ants like to build nests (?) inside air conditioning units, which then corrodes and ruins parts ... and caused my house AC to quit. I came home early today, knowing that the AT&T phone man would be here, then luckily the HVAC man also called, so 2 things are fixed. (All I lack for this evening is to "fix" myself some supper!) Lee brushed off the ants, and I had some Amdro, which he then sprinkled all in and around. He replaced 2 or 3 parts, and I paid him. Groan. Oh the fun of home-ownership.

It stormed today right when I got home, and even with an umbrella, I got wet walking to the front porch! Then the sun came out and yes, it felt like a steam oven! But OH! the cool air inside feels so good! I've got it set on 78 but am going to have to raise it a little. With ceiling fans, I don't need the house to be 78! But just this one day having been missing AC for several days, it sure feels great!

And I don't yet have DSL internet service, but at least the jack by the computer is now working; lights are flashing on the router box for which I paid last week. The repairman said the DSL line should be working by late tonight or before noon tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be spoiled. I'll get rid of Juno dial up (which I've used almost exclusively for years), and after I'm sure everything is working as it should, I'll get rid of my land line and just use a cell phone - maybe get a Magic Jack. I've had Sprint for several years, and really like their plan because nights are 7-to-7.

I've sold 2 crocheted capelets, and will post a picture soon. (One lady hasn't gotten hers yet.) And I'm making a more or less circular afghan that the colors make it look like Christmas candy. I hope I'll find someone to buy it! The yarn costs $35.

And a friend and I are going to Hobby Lobby tomorrow - as if I need more yarn!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

2 weeks

No, I'm still here. My phone line quit sometime during Friday night of last week. Because Mother's went out a few days before mine, I thought maybe it was something in the lines in this area - she lives 2 miles from me. It wasn't - was just a coincidence. With her being 93 and alone a lot, she needs a land line. My sister reported it to repair, but nothing had been done. So last Tuesday, shortly after I got to work, I called the Public Service Commission. Mother's phone was back to working yesterday. Mine was back today. It's a little bit too lengthy to go into here, but there's more to what happened than I'll go into here. Of course I've been having "withdrawals", not being able to get on line!

In addition, a friend called a few days ago and asked if I felt like I was a year older. I told him no, only a day older than the day before. We have a "birthday club" at work that we each put $2 a month. One of the engineers brought in an ice cream cake for me on Tuesday (my birthday was over the weekend). Luckily we have a refrigerator in our office. There's still about 3 pieces left, which some of us will finish off tomorrow.

And my air conditioning here at home has quit! In talking to a handyman friend, he said it sounds like just the freon stuff, and gave me the number of a man who does HVAC. I left that man a message, and hope he calls tomorrow! We've been having rain almost everyday, but the temperature's also been about 90 during the day. In that respect, I'm glad I'm in the COOL office - though a lot of the buses don't have working air conditioning.

And speaking of the buses (I'm catching up!), I get off work at 4:30, and last Friday, my driver didn't get me home until 7:40!

Join me now: groan - complain - whine - fuss - gripe ... !!!

And I've almost got a new poem written. The idea is from Revelation 3:16.

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