Friday, June 30, 2006

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Experiment 2

While the two men looked through the window of the park ranger's office, Sarah Lee Poole worked on her wagon. It would not only be her display backdrop it would be her home for the three day event. Even if they saw her working, they would assume that Sarah was a man. Most of the people who met her even socially thought that she was either a sissy or a dyke.

Sarah Lee was neither, but she probably could whip half the guys she knew. No she wasn't all that big 5'9", she weighed a respectable 170 pounds, she wasn't strong, and she didn't have a black belt in anything except her one good black dress. What she did have was ten years of street cop experience. She had worked the gang squads in her town as well as the major crimes division's swat team. Sarah Lee was the poster girl for female cops everywhere. She was every bit the better man at most things she tried.

Most things included her dad's business, she could have walked off the force and become a well-paid professional photographer anytime she wanted. Instead she had stayed a cop and found her own creative niche. Sarah Lee loved to shoot old civil war reproduction photographs. When she could swing a few days off, she would load her authentic civil war photographer's wagon onto the small trailer behind her old beat up Toyota land rover. The rover was famous for it's adaptability. Sarah Lee's rover had a small block Chevy V8 under the beat up hood. It was necessary for hauling the trailer with her wagon perched on top.

Since Sarah wasn't an official re enactor, she had to set up her wagon with the vender. She still managed to spend all her evenings, with the old wooden camera on a tripod bye her side while sitting around a cook fire in front of some tent. Sleeping in a tent wasn't for her but sleeping in the back of the wagon was only slightly better. Her father had insisted that she do it as authentically as possible. A blanket roll on the hard wooden floor was the required way to go. It did offer a little more security, which eased her cop's mind a little. Sarah loved her father and would never knowingly disappoint him.

She finally had the wagon set in place and tied down. She looked up to the ranger station far above the meadow where the encampment was set up. She didn't see the two men, and most likely they hadn't really noticed her. Sarah was thinking that they should have found a way to disguise the newer stone building so that it fit the period. Hard to imagine yourself in the 1860s with a view of the park rangers parking lot. Her Rover and trailer would be hidden behind a grove of trees half a mile away.

"Hey there Sarah, I got those cards. Wife and I had a grand old time writing our friends notes and sticking our pictures in them. Most of them weren't sure if they were my grandfather or me. Great fun girl, don't you stop doing that I want me some more from this battle."

"You still got my card?" She would have called him by name but she had no idea who he was.

"Yeah, I'll be looking for this set up there."

"Well give me at least a week."

"Can do girl, and you have yourself some fun to. Me and the wife will be by for a new portrait tomorrow or Sunday." He took about a dozen steps then turned back. "Why don't you come over to the camp tonight. We are gonna' have a dance, you might get yourself a beau,"

"I'll come over but the beau things is more likely after they get liquored up or desperate." Both Sarah Lee and the soldier laughed.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

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This is a little experiment in short fiction writing. In conjunction with the Mysteryscribe, I will write a small section of a story and post it here. he will read it, write the next section - email it to me for posting. We want to see if it's possible to achieve a good short story this way. So, here it goes.

John had grown to hate the sound of that piece o crap K-Mart alarm clock. He had overslept again. Berg had a lot of trouble sleeping lately. It was after ten already and he was supposed to be there to set up at noon. John Sandberg looked at himself in the mirror he was neither pleased nor displeased with what he saw. He didn’t give a shit really - it just wasn’t his nature.

When his friends saw John, they saw somewhat of an enigma the former Army Ranger Captain. Sure he still looked fit with his shorter than regulation cut and muscled 6 foot 2 frame but they knew of the booze and the toll it would eventually take.

Most of those who served with Capt Sandberg thought of him as a true hero. These were the men who had put their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan just as he had. Others who didn’t have this shared knowledge saw a ruthless barbarian or worse. Yes, John had a reputation for getting answers from the enemy and fast.

It was when that reputation came to light, thanks to some scum of a liberal TV reporter that John’s life began to unravel. There were both official and unofficial inquires into his conduct. Some politicos back home who desperately wanted his head mounted on the walls of their campaign offices The Army saw it in a different light. They would not give up a man with two silver stars and a fist full of purple hearts. The President himself was the one to hang that Medal of Honor around Lt. John Sandberg’s neck as the nation watched on TV.

John could kick himself for being late. Peter Welch, a fellow Army ranger had joined and moved up in the National Park Service. He had called John with an offer of a paying job. The Park Service wanted some photographs to put in a brochure about its Civil War Reenactment Series it was holding at various battlefield sites. This one was just outside Atlanta at Kennesaw Mountain.

You’re late Berg.

Sorry Peter, had a rough night but, who the hell is that! Did you go out and hire someone else to do the job?

Peter had used John’s old nickname – Berg and it didn’t have anything to do with last name.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

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Missing in Minnesota

Foggy Sunset

Photographed 6/06

Missing Sue once again, I find it hard to sleep. Sue was supposed to return from Minnesota early Thursday afternoon but Delta Airlines, With their slogan " We don't give a damn and it shows" screwed her and about 70 other passengers over. She had a flight out at 3 o'clock that got delayed due to weather. Delta informed everyone it would depart at 8 pm.

The 5 and 7 o'clock flights for Atlanta left on time. Come 8 o'clock they were all told the flight had now been canceled and the next flight would at 10:30 Friday morning. Thanks, Delta for making everyone wait at the airport for nothing! They gave no food or lodging vouchers, you were left on your own. The agent did tell Sue he had booked on the 10:30 flight. He just forgot to tell her it was with another airline.

She showed up to catch the flight and they couldn't find her name. Finally some looked and saw she was booked on Northwest (at the other end of the airport). Sue hustled down there but guess what - not in their computer either. It seems the Delta agent forgot to transfer the information. Of course this flight is overbooked but Sue's high flight miles pay off and she gets a seat. The Northwest people are very friendly and helpful. (and Delta wonders why they're struggling)

She finally gets home about 3 pm and I get to see her about 5:30 after I get out of dialysis. We eat dinner and she is worn out so we go to sleep.

Sue is up early this morning to pack for her trip for Orlando. She leaves the house at 11 o'clock. She has been home for 19 hours (about 10 of those asleep and two showering and packing for this trip). Wow, isn't travel fun!

So, I'm missing her and she's missing me and Miss Kitty. Hopefully she'll be back late Tuesday evening but She had to fly Delta again, so who knows!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

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Fantasy Flight

We all have dreams and hopes, I have mine and you have yours. Do we ever achieve our dreams, perhaps in degrees we all do at one time or another. Right now my dream is to be healthy and grow old together with Susan, my wife. I believe through much effort and God's will this is possible.

To all of you who have read my blog, I thank you for your comments, messages of hope and encouragement - they have helped to sustain me through difficult times. My wish is that I could give to you what you have given me - HOPE. For this I cannot say thank you enough. We consider you all our dear friends.

Thank you,
Mark & Sue

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

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Rose IV

Photographed 6/06

While it has taken me several days to fully digest what happened this past weekend, I have come to the same conclusion many of you pointed out in various ways. That is, hope remains as long as you have a breath left in your body.

I therefore have no choice but to move forward and put this major disappointment behind me. Although I find a lifetime of dialysis repulsive to my spirit, I know others suffer this fate and continue on. If this is what my fate is then I must do the same and make the best of what I have

There will always be hope that things will improve and I just have to keep that in mind because if I don't, all is lost and there would be no point in going on.

I photographed this rose yesterday and while doing so realized that the world is full of beauty I have yet to see. Sometimes it's a simple thing such as this flower. Other times it's more complicated for us to comprehend in today's world. Such as God's love for each of us. I want to see all of this beauty and share it with others especially my wife and partner, Sue.

I want to thank all of you, my friends, who have sent me encouragement to stay strong and not give up. To look for hope and pray for guidance.

My heart felt thanks to all,

Saturday, June 17, 2006

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Bloom of Hope

Photographed 4/06

About 12:30 am Saturday I got the "The Call". I wasn't ready for it even though I've been waiting for it for over a year, I still thought I had another year and a half to go. There was much excitement here and a lot of rushing around to get ready. I was on my way to receive my new transplanted kidney at Emory University Hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at just before 2 am and checked in at the 9 E nurse's station where they sent me to another floor due to a lack of bed space on that floor.

In my new room I went through all the routine - tons of questions, blood work and exams. My God, it's really happening - I'm going to get a part of my normal life back. I know there are still risks, all kinds of them, there listed on the consent forms I have to sign. The very first one listed and in bold type is death followed by a long list of unpleasant things.

I'm not really concerned by this. It's a standard thing here to list every possible thing that could happen to cover the liability issue. Its a risky operation and they don't want to be sued if anything goes wrong.

At 6 am the surgeon's assistant comes in - more questions and an exam - things are moving along. He tells us the donor organs are being=eing harvested at this time and will be tested to make sure every thing is clean and clear. Meanwhile they have put me on an IV insulin drip to control my blood sugar during the operation. I'm ready to go.

finally the surgeon comes in to see me. More questions, poking and probing. While he is here my sugar goes low (remember the insulin drip) Now he's worried. He leaves to review old test from my first evaluation almost two years ago.

About an hour later he returns and informs me that due to my still recovering from all the trauma I suffered earlier and my vascular condition the operation would be much longer than the normal 2 to 3 hours - possible as long as 6 to 8 hours and I might no longer be transplantable, They would like a new evaluation before going any further.

NO LONGER TRANSPLANTABLE - The words are numbing to us. Sue starts to cry. I feel empty. I can;t imagine to be on a life on dialysis until I die. He says there may still be some hope although small. That's why they want more test.

We're home now. Great hope dashed. Plans for the future changed forever. I don't really know how I feel now. I need more time and a vacation from this life.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

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What A Weekend - So Far

Tufted Titmouse

Photographed 6/06

This little guy has the same hair style I had this morning,

On Friday I was so looking forward to this weekend. I had finally gotten over the vaccine thing and was feeling pretty good. I left early for my dialysis treatment in hopes of getting home a little sooner so I could get dinner started. Little did I know a string of mishaps and disappointments was about to befall me.

Less than a quarter of a mile from the center a nother driver turned left right in front of me causind an accident. Not the way to start my weekend. Luckily no one was injured. Just about $ 5,000 of damage to my Pathfinder. I had to sit out in the sun for over an hour waiting for the police to come and fill out the reports.(temps in the 90's)
Tufted Titmouse II

Photographed 6/06

I am now late for my dialysis. I'm not going to get out early to fix dinner, as a matter of fact Sue will be home before me. The other driver got two citations. The only solace I got from this whole experience - he was driving a Jag.

After leaving the clinic a little past 7 pm and getting home it was time to call my insurance company for the phone hassel (45 minutes) and his company's call still awaits me. (called today - only 35 minutes). I still have to go get the estimate for the repairs and then take it back when they can do the job. I've got to line up a rental too for the days mine will be in the shop.

After eating dinner, I check the phone messages and find out my Monday doctor's appointment has been cancled (been trying for a month to see him - this is my kidney doctor). They knew I was at dialysis even if I was home on time, it would be too late to get back to them. Oh, he has an office at the clinic.

Originally I was excited because I was getting ready for an arts & craft show next weekend. It ras gojng to be my first attempt to see if I could sell any of my photography. I went today to the state park where the show was to be and found out it was a terrible site. It was down a dusty dirt road with no parking and very uneven ground, not a place for a person with artifical legs to be. So, still looking for a place. A little disappointing but, it gives me more time to prepare - I was rushing a bit to make this one.
Tufted Titmouse III

Photographed 6/06

Sue is here this week so I'm happy. She'll be gone for a a several days next Saturday and again the Monday after that.

Sorry to be so long winded tonight.

Regards to all,

Sunday, June 04, 2006

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What's Good for You Isn't Always True

Backyard Friend

Photographed 6/06

It's a curious thing when things don't go as they should. We spent all day Friday in the emergency room at St. Joseph's because I had a sever reaction to a hepatitis-B vaccine. It was supposed to be good for me but,alas good plans gone awry and yet another trip to the hospital.

I'm OK now after some medication to counter the effects. I missed my dialysis on Friday and had to make it up at 6:30 Saturday morning. Friday caused fear - I had all the symptoms of a Heart attack - fever, nausea, tight chest and shortness of breath.

Thank you all who sent notes of well wishes.

Friday, June 02, 2006

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I'm writing this post while waiting foe Sue to take me to the emergency room. I don't feel well and am having trouble getting a deep breath.Thanks to all for reading my post. Hopefully I shall return before long.