Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas gone, Playing catch-up at work, Nargles

Cousin Don and Aaron, who moves too fast for "sport" mode.
Aaron, at Grandma's Christmas Eve.

A REALLY old Santa

The Granddaughters:

Zoe, Athena & Winter, with our daughter Tiffany, Mom of two.

Christmas is done & gone. It was a good time. Good family times.

Portland has indeed gotten more snow in the last two weeks than has ever been recorded on the ground at once before. EVER.

Thankfully, it has warmed up to the mid forties (Fahrenheit) the last few days, so that snow is pretty much just a memory now.

Uncle had to go back to the hospital Sunday, just as we were getting ready to eat another dinner. a Really unsettling combination of high blood pressure, very high heart rate, erratic heart beat, etc.

They think they've got him back to what passes for normal for his system.

He should be coming back home tomorrow.

Disturbing, but unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence for him over the last couple of years. The Hospital stays are getting way too frequent. I've lost track of how many and when over the last year or two.

Most of the rest of this week will be boat head jobs(sanitation systems) and broken fresh water systems (from the cold, not adequately prepared for by some).

The plumbing/sanitation work actually pays a lot better than the less technical, less nasty work I do on the outside of boats. There's a good reason for that. They don't build these systems to be worked on. When I get into them, I am generally in very confined spaces, with very nasty stuff, that really wants to get as intimate with me as possible. Again with the "Perversity of the inanimate" as Amelia would say. I could have provided any number of detailed photo illustrations. I doubt that's really necessary or appropriate here now. Just take my word for it.

Aside from the higher pay scale, the major gratification for doing marine sanitation is in how people react when the system that wasn't working, that they knew nothing about and didn't want to get into anyhow, is once again doing it's job(usually better than it did before it broke-how I roll :-) People who might have a reputation for being less than gracious to their own employees can be downright Lavishly effusive with their praise and gratitude for the guy who fixes their boat head. Especially if it's say, the second day out on a week long cruise, fifty miles down river from home, with the wife and teenage daughter - and both heads quit working.

How did we get from cute kids on Christmas eve to mental images of stinky non-functional boat sanitation systems?...

I guess the tie-in is that it's all part of the widely diverse patterns of my everyday life.

And still sometimes it gets to be ...just more of the same. What's the phrase - "Loonnnng stretches of real boredom, punctuated by brief periods of absolute panic" I suspect that probably says a lot more about my mindset than about my circumstances..."I suspect nargles." (luna Lovegood, from HARRY POTTER and The PRISONER of AZCABAN).

Fine then, consider this my not well laid out or well organized...or even particularly lucid version of a Sleeping with Bread Monday.

I think you can figure out the parts I'm happy about and not ....

Have a Happy and SAFE New Year's Eve.
more later.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stuff & Nonsense(probably)

German glass, older than dirt(which didn't exist, as a word until sometime in the 1940s)
The "Indian" Angel ornament, from our first Christmas together.

Our Christmas tree Angel. Pretty old, though young enough for electric lights, from Ginny's life before me.

This is Aaron, snow angel-ing at the beginning of this, the biggest snow storm in Portland, Oregon since 1968. Um, that's 40 years for you math majors.

It's been interesting and challenging.

This kind of thing used to be a common occurrence for me in my Wichita, Kansas days. (HI Todd & Amy!)

Not so much here in the "Rose City", city of bridges, city of the ever present, nine months of the year rain.
Cleaning snow off of my lovely wife's little Ford.

Yesterday, when there was only about half a foot of snow, round two or three, after all the previous week's snow had melted.

Yesterday's depth of snow on the Subaru's windshield. a mere 7 or 8 inches.

Today's snow on the Subaru, more like a foot or so of drift. We actually only got ....well, almost a foot here in this part of town, over some ice, over the prior snow, over some ice.

The airport here has been canceling flights like the great CATACLYSM cancelled the flights of pterodactyls...
OK, maybe not with that finality.
Many people stranded at PDX.
They are saying quite a few of them won't get flights out now until after Christmas. I very much feel for them. I was once stranded by an erstwhile charter for three days in Seattle. It was January, 1976. I was 17. Some very nice retired Pacific Lutheran University Profs came and rescued me and put me up till the next Charter came to take me to Hong Kong. 'nother story.
When I go outside, to smoke(haven't quite quit yet) I always find myself looking to the sky. I've been looking to the sky, it seems, all my life. The sky here is not as big, as expansive, as the sky back home in Kansas. They Call Wyoming "Big Sky Country". I've been there. It's got nothing on Kansas for BIG skies.
Still, when I look to the sky, especially at night, where ever I am, I am always reminded of how huge the world is, still, even in this info-age without borders, compared to me....and how tiny the world is, compared to the immensities of the universe. (I sometimes go to Science/Astronomy sites just to remind me how un-fathomably huge the universe is).

I've been holed up in a two bedroom apartment for three days with my wife and our 4 year old, who is literally bouncing off the walls. It's actually been not too bad for me. Ginny has been down with migraine/nausea/low grade fever for a couple of those. She got back up to help assemble and decorate our artificial tree(economic, not aesthetic decision). Bless her holiday heart.
This season of the year I am always reminded, as I'm sure many are, of so many Christmases past. Fifty of them, on down through the years, some better than others. But...All with that more sweet than bitter feeling of belonging, of wanting the best for friends and family, of generally love and good will - at least on my part, and I prefer to think in the hearts of most.
I wish not for the Norman Rockwell fantasy Christmases so well ingrained in the hopes and expectations of our naive youths, but for the sense of belonging and of hope that comes with the Meaning of Christmas. I not much of a preacher. But, thanks God, for this and everything.
Thus endeth the nostalgic, possibly sappy ramblings of a middle aged Guy.
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

worried about the humming bird

I'm worried about the humming bird.

A sudden cold snap turned it 20 degrees F with a 25 m.p.h. wind - wind chill about 5.

The humming bird's sugar water keeps freezing up.

I know they have to eat about every fifteen minutes or so, especially when it's sub-freezing.

I realize that for many of you, this is just normal December weather. For Portland, it's not.

We got about three inches of snow and frigid temp/wind chill and you'd think the world had totally ended. I grew up in Kansas, where this is normal December weather, and I hated it as much as any of the born and bred Portlanders. It's supposed to stay this way all week, with more snow Wednesday and Thursday. We have hills here. People slide all over them.

Did you know that you only use chains on the front tires of a Subaru Outback, and not at all if you have the P225-60-R-16 tires(which I have). So what are we supposed to do when the highway dept calls for mandatory chains or studded tires? Stay home? Well, that would be nice, if one could afford to take snow days off.

One from the Ironic file - A semi tractor/trailer carrying road de-icer juice slid on freeway and overturned spilling deicer all over the road. It shut down the road all day....and the winter god's laughed.....

Thanks God, My Aunt & Uncle had in-the-house work for me to do today.....just getting over major sinus infection, I don't need to be out in this crappy weather any more than absolutely gotta.

9 days till Christmas. Am I ready? Oh hell NO! Not even close. As long as I get the ittle-bittys taken care of, I'll be Okay. .. and the Missus, but she knows the situation.......

Like I think Barrack may have said "It's the economy, Dumb-ass!" Ok, he didn't really, but I bet he's thought it about a bu-zillion times lately.

Got a warm home & bed. Been staying well fed. my dog wears Keds, never ever trust Feds.....

Okay, that last couple of parts was just for fun....I don't have a dog.

The economy is so sad/bad/mad that Powell's Books have requested that their employees voluntarily cut back on their hours so they won't have to lay anyone off for Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Life in the goofy lane.

There are pros and cons to Aaron's being in early school now.
pro: He's picking up new things from new teacher & kid influences.
Con: He's picking up new things from new kid influences.
Last evening I got a call from his older brother, I think on behalf of his older sister (who has two daughters, one just four months Aaron's junior, the other two & one half. It's seems there was some reference made to "putting a baby in someone's belly". Granted, I had a fever at the time the call came in, but my reaction was kind of like "OH great, and so it begins". I admit. I've been taking the coward's way out today and waiting for AAron's mom to come back from migraine land to deal with it.
Today I went to the doctor's - again. Now I've got a sinus infection. oh great. It's kinda hard to do my job when bending over is a very bad thing as to face pain. And still there's the fever.

Picked up Aaron this eve. Told him about the doctors and getting a couple of different shots(ok, 3) to which he loudly proclaimed "OH-MY-GOD!" "Don't say OH-MY-GOD!, son, say OH My Gosh". "ok" We drove around a little while in the neighborhood, delaying getting back out in the main rush hour traffic, and looking at Christmas lights.

Dad- "GOSH".

AAron- "OH-MY GOSH!'"
42 times in roughly a half hour.

ok, maybe it was only 4o times.
Christmas gifting is going to be very lean this year.
I'm sure that's the same for many, just doesn't make the parental "wish I could do more" any easier.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Aaron & Dad & Fevervision

Aaron & I have both been home with colds, and he with an ear infection, for the last two or three days. We've both been going in & out of fevers.

Fevered perception is an odd enough shift in & of itself. You know, that somewhat detached, not quite there, twilight Zone feel to things. Kind of like some kind of tripping, perhaps.

Add caring for a four year old under the influence of antibiotics, cough medicine and Tylenol to that and you truly have an adventure of sorts.

For the most part, it's been as OK as could be expected. Hey, he's finally learned to blow his nose, if not well, at least with enthusiasm.

We've watched about a bu-zillion hours of Cartoon Network. Some of their programing has gotten truly strange - or maybe it's the fever. not sure. No, Total Drama Island is odd, though better, I think than the "reality" shows it lampoons.

Still haven't decided if he and I will make the trip across town to Grandma's for the Turkey-fest tomorrow. OH, who am I kidding....we'll most likely be there, for better or really not. Everyone there who is going to get this has already had it I think, so that consideration is kinda moot.

The photo is a from the Willamette River view of the Burnside bridge, in Portland - with Fever-vision added.

If you haven't ever been, go to this http://www.homeonthefringe.com/portland/index.html

It's John & Kirsten's Views of Oregon flash show.

They are of this http://homeonthefringe.blogspot.com/ blog, have Fringelements.com banner design, and have done a really truly fine job on the Oregon slide show. I have no idea if they're from here or where. Imagine my surprise when I was browsing through their photos in their blog page and was suddenly in the middle of a powerhouse show of my home area. Very cool.

And Kristen writes some major posts, though I haven't seen anything for a while.

My daughter Amelia will be doing Thanksgiving with her Husband's family, so I won't get to see her tomorrow. I'm kinda bummed about that, but it's OK. i guess. if I have to. I'm sure I'll get to see her again soon. I will also not be with my folks & brother back in Kansas, or my brother & sister-in-law in Seattle. I will be missing them as well.

Otherwise, the work I have missed doing this week will be waiting, if not patiently, when I get back to it. Life will go on. The fever will pass. Perception will get back to what passes for normal with me.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

more later

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Favorite Book Store..IN THE WHOLE WORLD!

Okay, here is the deal .
This entire post will be pretty much nothing but a shameless plug.

Powell's Books, a Portland Oregon landmark, is THE BEST DAMN BOOKSTORE IN THE WORLD - PERIOD. http://www.powells.com/partner/33558

I don't say that because I'm now a web partner of theirs. I'm a web partner of theirs because I'm really very proud of them.
I take my daughter shopping there as the rare Father & Daughter treat when I have some spare money & want to make her Really Really Happy. (Could there be anything cuter than a highly intelligent, articulate, and studious 27 year old woman/daughter reduced to a giggling 5 year old in the middle of a huge bookstore?)

Powell's Books is the world's largest independent book store.
The original store in downtown Portland, Oregon, takes up an entire city block, four stories tall, of books and related shopping space (and I think perhaps a couple more floors of warehouse space). It has it's own parking garage, and of course, It's own cafe/coffee shop. The Coffee shop is also an independent, not a Starbucks - though Starbucks, another Pacific North West bred company is fine too.
The clerks at Powell's may have poly-chromatic hairdos (or tats), multiple piercings in more places than you really want to know about, and funny clothes (by whatever standard you might apply) - or not. They WILL be courteous and helpful and will absolutely know their stuff.

Powell's sells new and used books. TOGETHER.
What this means is that when you find the book your looking for, or one you just happened on to, you will find not only pristine new copies, but also any used copies they have - right side by side.

Like many book stores now, they have multiple computer terminals for customer use throughout the store, dedicated to their inventory and or web site.
If you do a search for a book the system will give you not only the price and location of the new copies, but also individual listings of any and all used copies and the prices thereof (Which will be in the same location as the new copies). And those used prices will often vary according to a number of factors - hard or soft cover, condition, Or perhaps a signed edition (not at all unusual as many authors appear and sign at Powell's). You may very well have a range of price options for any given book to fit your budget and desires.

They will also buy your used books - on line, if you like.

They have a marvelous Rare & Collectible section.
This part of the store is like a whole separate little enclosed old world book store within the store. It is generally presided over by a somewhat aged, bearded & reading glasses wearing fellow who will be... you guessed it - Courteous & Helpful & who ABSOLUTELY knows his stuff.

I once found about a 100 year old copy of a really wonderful book on Japanese art there, for $5 - IN THE REGULAR ART SECTION. It didn't even rate being in their Rare & Collectible shop.

One of the grown Powell Children has been quoted as saying that when the "old Man" first said he had this great idea to shelve new and used books together, the then young man thought it was crazy and would be the downfall of the store. Happily, just the opposite has proven to be true. That format has been Wildly popular with Powell's customers. For all I know, other bookstores may have followed suit by now, but I'm not sure as I don't often go anywhere else.
Check out their web site's pages of essays and blogs, some of which will be by author guest blogger/essayists.

If you like cats, cat's stories - as told to persons having opposable thumbs, or book store cats (every good book store should have at LEAST one), then please check out the page(s) about Fup, Store Cat (see water color image, top of posting) http://www.powells.com/fup/228.html
As you may have figured out by now, Powell's is pretty much it's own not so little literary world.
Their bumper sticker is the only one I allow on my car. Incidentally mine depicts Mt Hood, the local dormant volcano & tallest peak of the Oregon Cascade range, the most climbed and most deadly mountain in the U.S. Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood was where the Jack Nicholson version of THE SHINING was mostly filmed. Oregon trivia for the day.....
Happy Sunday
John Ross

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A servicetech & family medical day

sweetgum & two japanese maple leaves in full fall redness.

Wednessday morning I woke up about 4:30 am. I spent over nine hours on the phone to Comcast & Netgear & going between two computers on opposite ends of the house trying to get my Aunt & Uncle's new computer and old computer to be ok, get on the internet & talk to each other via wireless network.

Meanwhile, My uncle was at the hospital having scary and unpleasant medical stuff done to his throat to hopefully help with a long term ongoing medical problem of serious nature.

I got dropped off the phone twice - or was it three times?

I got wrong intsructions two or three times.

My Uncle and Aunt got home, with more antibiotics or similar to combat another infection, he obviously in major pain and she pretty concerned.

I finally was given a web address to download new soft ware for the Netgear wireless adapter card - did so, installed it on the computer only to have it refuse to install the adapter. gave up about 8pm.

Came the twenty five miles home, somewhat stuporously(is that a word?), missed my exit by about 3 or 4 miles, finally arriving about 9.

AAron, 4 was back home from Grandma's having had a bad cold all day. he was out like a light.

About 10pm he woke up - hungry, ate a hot dog and some potatoes, drank seven up and proceeded to bounce off the walls, somewhat less rapidly than usual, until I finally got him back down about 1am.

Ginny, having worked from 7 till 4 with the remnants of a two day migrane, had gone to bed about 11pm.

I am very tired.

Sorry not to be any more entertaining or enlightening.

Tomorrow back at the computer thang.

the end.

more latter.

p.s. I don't care what the time stamp on this says. it's not 12 something a.m. It's 1:42 a.m. Thursday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Hi everyone,

My name is John and it's been 11 days since my last post.......

Fall is setting in for sure here in the Pacific North West, which means rain, rain and more rain. Really, I don't mind the rain so much....except some times.

Trying to get my computer back in some semblance of functional after the big hard drive melt down and subsequent re-hard driving. It's an ongoing process. aol 5.0 is REALLY DUMB.

Ginny found more cds containing pictures, but still anything from this year is pretty much gone.

Nothing ....... I've got a lot of nothing worth writing about in my brain.

Friday, October 31, 2008

THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED(ok not really)

Aaron & I at the zoo, in a land rover..nothing to do with post.

Last evening, about a quarter after six, I was having a very frustrating time at the work shop. things just not working. Unproductive time on a set-price job = lost $ for company. Not good.

Then My Lovely wife, called me. "Honey," she opened, "Did you get upset with the computer this morning?" Um, what do you mean?" "I - just wondered if it really pissed you off or something?" "Um, what DO you NEED, hun? what's up?" More terse than I intended, already having a bad Day, here..... "Well, Did you maybe push buttons a little hard? It's REALLY DEAD..."

I Swear. I JUST turned it off, which I relayed.

bottom line - It's says it requires re-formatting the hard drive(which may or may not work-it already had bad sectors).

Hundreds of photos will be lost. Yes I know what back ups are. the last time I tried to copy to disc, it wasn't going for it. And don't even get me started on recording music to c.d.s.


We are not in a position to just go out and replace it.

Thank God, biz files are all on memory stick.

Right now I'm writing this at my Aunt's house on her computer.

I sort of knew how much the computer had become an integral part of our lives.

But, NO, I didn't really.....

Feeling Very vulnerable here.

That's just absurd. I went years with no t.v. NO problem. ok, need the cell phone for biz, understandable. but the Computer!?!

OH well, welcome to life in the twenty-first Century, in this "the Best of All Possible worlds"(Voltaire-CANDIDE)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

wearing my brother's uncle's shirt

The above photos: Part of why I like the Pacific Northwest - Blooming Rose & Color changing oak - Same Yard - Same Day.

This is a re posting of my most popular post - ever. Interesting, because I think I've had better. Anyone out there, what do you think?

I'm sitting here wearing a shirt that belonged to my brother, and before that to My Uncle Henry, now Deceased. Whenever I wear this shirt I think of them both.
My Oldest brother, a good guy, talented guy, Very unusual - don't see him near often enough. I remember him driving me in his '47 Chevy sedan, back seat like a sofa, living room's worth of space to the front seat.
Taught me my 1st guitar cords, showed me Hong Kong on Chinese New years.
Uncle Henry, died decades ago and I never did see him all that often. Nor were we especially close. But, for several years in the mid to late sixties, as I recall, I would go spend a couple of weeks during summer with him and my Aunt Bea(yes really, Aunt Bea) in Arkansas. Ok, I grew up in Kansas. Even so, Sixties Arkansas was kind of odd, though I knew that less then than now.

Doesn't matter. What matters is the feeling I get when I wear Uncle Henry's shirt. I remember him, Not very tall, in western cut khakis, cowboy hat & big old cigar, driving me around the small town of Mountain Home, in his Ford pickup, where it seemed from people's reactions that he was King. He was a good guy. kind of guy never had a harsh word for anyone. I once saw him riding his quarter horse next to Aunt Bea on hers. They both were sitting full Silver concho'd Parade saddle in a Rodeo Opening. Very happy & proud. Easy going as always.

I have a chambray work shirt of my Dad's. When I wear it I think of him, at home back in Kansas. Dad's older now than when he wore that shirt to fix railroad electrical stuff, or fix our barn, or sit at dusk on the old rock table listening to the crickets and watching the fire flies. He taught me about tools, and fishing, and being nice to animals while in shirts like that(him not the animals). I also don't see my Dad nearly often enough. 2,000 miles is very far, made farther by the limitations of personal economics.

I have a polo shirt that belonged to my other brother. Like wise, wearing it invokes memories of him. from that last time I saw him, back to when he taught me to walk train rails, carefully balancing along the top edge of the rail road track rails that wound around two sides of my Grandpa's farm. I think I was about seven then. It was summer, hot in Missouri, hound dogs & cotton mouths....hillside caves, crawdads in a minnow bucket in the well house, the smell of the old barn......I don't see that brother nearly often enough either.
Wearing someone else's shirt, someone you have looked up to, tends to cause one, to try to behave different. Interesting, that.
Okay, I don't own any shirts of my Mom's that would be just creepy.
but then, I don't need a shirt to remind me of Mom(even though I forgot her birthday until four days later this year - D'oh!) ...and I don't see her often enough either...Ya gettin' a common thread here?
I have had many shirts, bought at great prices, from a bunch of different thrift stores. I have no idea who owned them. I sometimes wonder......

Friday, October 24, 2008


One for the education and edification of all you and your kiddies, though I suspect that many of you probably saw at least an earlier version of this before. It's called Power's of Ten - slide show starts out 10 million light years from earth and zooms in to an oak leaf, and then into that to the sub atomic level.

It will leave science-fan kids(like me) awe struck.

NO, really, it'll be fun, I promise.

Ok, I thought it was fun.

The site is called "MOLECULAR EXPRESSIONS: SCIENCE, OPTICS AND YOU" lots of educational resources for moms, dads, teachers or auto- didactic youngsters.

I'm really tired.

Doctor tomorrow. I.B.S. STUFF.

Dropped my cell phone in a parking lot, day before yesterday. it got run over before i realized & went back for it(oddly enough, only the functionality of the view screen was damaged) got new(rebuilt) one in the mail today.

Yesterday, dropped my favorite belt mount F.M radio in the river.(I know mp3 is now, I like the human connection of live radio when I don't see or talk to people all day some days)

No personal electronics lost today. YiPee!!!
The images above are NOT part of the powers of 10 slide show.
As usual, they're just there because I like 'em.
Ok, I obviously have nothing of any real consequence left to say, & no dependably, non fatigue affected cells to say it with. "WARNING COGNIZANT POINT OF DIMINISHING RETURNS EXCEEDED. PULL OVER TO NEAREST REST STOP IMMEDIATELY - - YA GOOF!"
Um, yeah..........
more later

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just Impressions

This morning, driving North West on Marine Drive, next to the Columbia River, between the Sea Scout Base and the Airport.......Uncharacteristically warm & sunny for October in Portland.

Kayaker going up the glass-flat river, I imagine with near silence - too far away to hear anyhow.

Black Cormorant sitting on the same snag as always, just ten yards off the near bank, wings held out and still, drying in the sun.

Red Tailed Hawk Crosses my path, maybe twenty feet off the ground, from left to right.

Why is it almost always left to right?

Looking then inland, across the Airport security fence, I see a Great Blue Heron, standing unperturbed as planes taking off and landing make an almost unbroken line of avionic commotion.

It's still close enough to the river to be HIS territory as far as he's concerned (which isn't far).

A mile down the road, passing between the Yacht club on one side and Country Club on the other, I come up to either a very new construction flager, or just the friendliest ever.
She's actually mouthing "thank you", grinning and waving to each slowly passing car that goes by - and there are dozens of us, at this moment.

Another twenty miles down the road, through St. Johns & over it's name sake bridge, my favorite in the area for it's 1920-ish cathedral window styled suspension towers....

North on Highway 30, "St. Helen's Road" out to Scappoose to do a little Gel Coat repair on a Silverton, then a pretty rugged six and a half hour wash and wipe on a fifty three Seline.

Couple of photos taken off the stern of the fifty-three, named "China Moon".

Little green "pocket cruiser", all of maybe sixteen feet or so in length - I like it.

Some Fella rowing his wooden boat up the Multnomah Channel, just at dusk, with Mt. St. Helen's through the trees in the background.

Just another day on the river.........not a bad life.

lattes & rainy days: You know you're from the Pacific Northwest if ...

I remembered seeing a thing about us Pacific North-Westers a while back. When I googled it, I got this blog spot blog. It may be that you have to live here to get it. I find it amussing.

lattes & rainy days: You know you're from the Pacific Northwest if ...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nothing profound, or even attempted profound here today. Just stuff.

We have early mail in voting in Oregon. Got my mail in ballot yesterday. All filled in, off to the mail today. I'm out of it. Just waiting for the rest of the country to catch up now.

Dentist yesterday. Had an Odd dark patch in left lower jaw bone. Finally, after much consultation, they decided it's "probably nothing". We will do more x-rays in six months or a year, barring any swelling or pain. Also calcification spots in flesh near same area - also "wait & see"

Heavy I.B.S. action lately. Big no fun. Going to the Dr. Friday to see if we can adjust meds or what. I know I GOTTA quit smoking.

I know it's past Sleeping With bread Monday, but I'm grateful for family, that I have paying work to do, that there is such a thing as music, that I have a decent roof over my head and that life is basically good.

the end.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Power in the Sound - two

Think of this as song lyrics not yet set to music:

The Power in the Sound(2)

It don’t matter -
Your political affiliation
Sexual preference
Dietary inclination

If it’s Hip Hop, Be-bop, Country, Classical or Rock

You know there’s Something Sometimes there,
Nobody can mock

It can Sho-nuff set You Free
If even for a moment,
Show you the face of God
Maybe even a lost Love

It’s the Power in the Sound
Lift you up to Above

Power in the Sound



Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Power in the Sound (an emotional thing)

In my Dad's old barn
(abstract association to post-at best)

I'm an emotional kinda guy (not always a good thing for one who has Irritable Bowel Syndrome - highly reactive to stress).

I find myself often profoundly effected by such simple things as a sight: like the wind or sun on the surface of the river; my wife - sitting at the computer in her bath robe, drinking coffee(being all comfortable and domestic); those "fingers of God" sun rays - coming down through the clouds.....that Rembrandt Ciaro-Scuro(sp?) side light/contrast that hits the trees and landscape, just before sunset on a sunny day.....Or, a sound.

More specifically the sound(s) of music. I'm probably the only guy I know who has been brought to tears(not lately) by ZZ TOP'S Two Thousand Blues(or the only guy who would admit to it).
The constant loud ringing from the Tinnitus probably doesn't help my auditory emotional stability.... but still....
Case in point: What is now the first song on my Play list on this blog - Sarah Mclachlan's Witness, from her 1997 release SURFACING. OK, it's not brought me to tears, but then, perhaps being a little more emotionally stable than once was, I just don't cry anymore - OK, the occasional single tear at a sad movie.
Witness is a prime example of THE POWER IN THE SOUND.

It's not just the hauntingly beautiful- heavily overdriven, yet delicately fretted guitar solos, or the generally strong instrumental arrangement, though both are contributing factors. It's also Sarah's strikingly, human experience saturated lyrics:
"Is Misery made beautiful, right before our eyes? "
"Will Mercy be revealed, or blind us where we stand?"
"Will we burn - in - Heaven, like we do - down - here?"
"Will a change come - while we're waiting?"
"Everyone is waiting"

There are a number of, for me, emotionally charged songs on my play list. Another one, also combining strong lyrics and instrumentals, would be Crowded House's Fingers of Love.
I guess this would be one instance when I'm glad I'm an emotional guy, because I think it allows me the ability to feel the rush from these kinds of things(really, hairs on the back of the neck time, here).
Maybe, just maybe, it makes all the general weirdness of strong emotions on a near constant basis worth while(even combined with an apparently wonky high metabolism and unstable digestive system). Yeah, I think it does.
I know the play list can make a slow computer(like mine) even more annoying while playing, but If you're not familiar with the tune(s) or just want to hear them again, it might be worth your while. like I said - number one on the play list. And there are other pretty cool tunes on there, if your is taste runs anything near to mine(when was the last time you heard Rhapsody in Blue?)
Perversity of the inanimate moment - tried like, six times to adjust the spacing -entering line spaces on this piece and the preview is just not showing any reaction - any hints out there?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

what is a lutheran

I don't usually do this, but this time I'm going to reprint some one else's words. This is from Mr. Keillor and I hope I'm not in trouble. I can join in the making the fun of the Lutherans - I are one.


I have made fun of Lutherans for years - who wouldn't, if you lived in
Minnesota? But I have also sung with Lutherans and that is one of the
Main joys of life, along with hot baths and fresh sweet corn.

We make fun of Lutherans for their blandness, their excessive calm,
Their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed and also for their
Secret fondness for macaroni and cheese. But nobody sings like them. If
You ask an audience in New York City, a relatively Lutheranless place,
To sing along on the chorus of Michael Row the Boat Ashore, they will
Look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their
Underwear. But if you do this among Lutherans they'll smile and row that
Boat ashore and up on the beach! And down the road! Lutherans are bred
From childhood to sing in four-part harmony. It's a talent that comes
From sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and
Hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that
person's rib cage. It's natural for Lutherans to sing in harmony. We're
Too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you're
Singing in the key of C and you slide into the A7th and D7th chords, all
Two hundred of you, it's an emotionally fulfilling moment.

I once sang the bass line of Children of the Heavenly Father in a room
With about three thousand Lutherans in it; and when we finished, we all
Had tears in our eyes, partly from the promise that God will not forsake
Us, partly from the proximity of all those lovely voices. By our joining
In harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other. I do
Believe this: People, these Lutherans, who love to sing in four-part
Harmony are the sort of people you could call up when you're in deep
Distress. If you're dying, they'll comfort you. If you're lonely,
They'll talk to you. And if you're hungry, they'll give you tuna salad!

The following list was compiled by a 20th century Lutheran who,
Observing other Lutherans, wrote down exactly what he saw or heard:

1. Lutherans believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to
pray out loud.

2. Lutherans like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a
Hymn with more than four stanzas.

3. Lutherans believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even
If they don't notify them that they are there.

4. Lutherans usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is
Their way of suffering for their sins.

5. Lutherans believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially
During their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.

6. Lutherans feel that applauding for their children's choirs would make
The kids too proud and conceited.

7. Lutherans think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle
While passing the peace.

8. Lutherans drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.

9. Some Lutherans still believe that an ELCA bride and an LCMS groom
Make for a mixed marriage.

10. Lutherans feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own
Wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.

11. Lutherans are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.

12. Lutherans think that Garrison Keillor stories are totally factual.

13. Lutherans still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the
Season and think that peas in a tuna noodle casserole adds too much

14. Lutherans believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never
Take themselves too seriously.

And finally, you know when you're a Lutheran when: It's 100 degrees,
With 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the service.

You hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as
You can!

Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee.

The communion cabinet is open to all, but the coffee cabinet is locked
Up tight.

All your relatives graduated from a school named Concordia.

When you watch a "Star Wars" movie and they say, May the Force be with
You, you respond, "and also with you".

You actually understand those folks from Lake Wobegon, MN.

And lastly, it takes ten minutes to say good-bye

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

rock stack productions

I come from a family mad about hats....no wait,that's another post.

I come from a family prone to stacking rocks. Not to any purpose other than just to stack rocks. It's not worth any money(hmm, maybe it SHOULD be....or not). It gains us nothing tangible to the world at large. It's just fun. like stomping in a puddle...only someone else can come along, some time later, and see what you did.....maybe understand what you meant....even if you're not sure what you meant

Usualy, about five. round river rocks seem to be our favorite. less than five is too easy. more than five is just showing off(and maybe a little obsessive).

Boy scouts used to stack rocks, or so the handbook said, to mark our trails. We never went anywhere we needed to mark the trail. We were all there together, and it was hard to get lost very far at Camp Wilderness in Kansas. Indians did that too. The hand book said so. I kinda think maybe they KNEW where the trail was. It was okay for the Boy Scout manual to call us/them Indians then. Or Native Americans as we're called now, even we "mixed bloods"..and yeah "Indians" is just too confusing - Indians like New Mexico or New Delhi?)

I believe my brother Michael probably first incited me to stack rocks, though I'm pretty sure our oldest brother, G. has also indulged in a bit of rock stacking of his own over the years. I would not be surprised to find out that my Mom or Dad or maybe one of my Grand Dads had stacked a few for no good reason either.

Michael, he seems to always have been stacking rocks, at home, in public or out in the middle of nowhere. by the river. next to a tree. water seems to increase our urge to stack. I think it's like the urge for him to fish. Michael is always ready to fish at the drop of hat, or the flip of a single fin above the water surface. The Main family fisherman. No big Bass Masters aspirations or big deal buddy drinking trip weekends...just....fishing. out there in the woods, or pasture, or hills, down by the lake, the river, the creek...just him and the fish...and the rocks to be stacked and left for someone or no one...either way is fine.

It's something kinda primal. it touches the artistic, the architectural, the spiritual, the communicative. It says to whomever finds it "I was here. I came, I felt, I stacked - and I left it for you" Occasionally, I find a stack someone else has left. It always brings a smile to my face, "gotcha, I see you. I understand."

I once googled stacked rocks. I was surprised how much I came up with.

One report from Northern California was about some hikers, way up in the Sierras who found what appeared to be recent stacks, which they seemed to think must have been done by Sasquatch because "what human would do this way out here so far from anything" Um, My brother & I absolutely would. Sasquatch...maybe. Barnes....definitely.

So, if you're out in the woods, next to the creek, or walking down town, at the edge of the park, and you happen to look over and see five rocks stacked up for no apparent reason, think of us. we're out there. We stack rocks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Pumpkin patch

Mt Hood Rail Road Great Pumpkin Express.......big fun for all the kiddies. It was very good with/for Aaron. About a fifty mile drive up the Beautiful Columbia River Gorge to Hood River, Oregon. Bas-xactly where they created both windsurfing and kite-boarding. BIG RIVER-BIG WINDS. lots of River GORGE(it deserves all caps). Small tourist/river recreation/ orchard and vineyard town. Old train. kid pumpkin patch excursion on Sunday afternoon. about an hour train ride each way to and from the pumpkin patch/pasture. They had a little three piece band playing everything from Old McDonald to Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and Neil Young covers, a small hay ride around the pasture, little Hay maze(it was great-Arron could see over it-no freaking out), "bouncy house"-avoided like the plague, and he didn't mind, and all the other stuff you'd expect. Aaron behaved just fine, even totally wound up - we just kinda let him go. As usual, things seemed to go better for him when he wasn't trying to interact with other kids, though he did have a great time running around the pumpkin patch and throwing hay at/with the other boys about his same age.

Hood River is one of those charming, heavy on the Artist/craftsman populace little shopping/gallery/micro brew-winery places where I would love to live - IF I could figure out how to make a living without having to commute sixty miles into Portland(the Gorge frequently gets snowed or iced in during winter)

.....and that was our Sunday - the end.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

what's important

There is a lot of stuff going on in the world around us all right now. BIG STUFF. important stuff. Or is it just URGENT STUFF? One of the differentiations I think we all seem to miss sometimes.....the difference between URGENT and IMPORTANT.

Not to be too light about THE WAR, or THE ECONOMY or HEALTH CARE or, or or..........

But, in reading the blogs of these wonderfully lucid and articulate writers I follow(I hope you know who you are), I find none of those things often mentioned. Not hardly even in passing. These things are BIG. These things are IMPORTANT. But - They're not what matters MOST. Obviously, what matters most to us is our FAMILIES. Politics, Wars, Economies, etc., these things change history. But family IS our history. IS our future, our past and our present.

The election in the U.S. will happen. it will or will not change the course of many things. The economy, likewise will do it's thing. Money will be tight(I'm used to that, though it's tighter lately-ho hum). The War, which ever one you're following or not, will progress. We pray for all those directly in Wars path.

Again, What is Most important to all us is our families.

I find in that something so human, so universal(and not just of humans).

Watch people of different cultures with their small children and I think you will see that we all love our kids most, no matter who we are, where we're from, what our socioeconomic place or ethnographic. Or, watch animals with their babies....it's the same.

It does a heart good.

I thank you for the insights into your lives, and those of your wonderful families.

....and I'm still reeling over Beck's lines about her grandmother, the part about her grandmother's father, coming across the snow to meet his child - on the other side.
Is that not the epitome of what we all hope for in the end?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Yes, a big fat Homer Simpson "DOH!!!" I was mistaken. About having always bought Aaron's Haloween costumes(bad sentax, I know). Last year Ginny and his Grandma Doris spent an afternoon making him a beautiful ghost costume-which he LOVED. a lot! Which I will try to find the phot files of.

The forgotten school in service week

Above: Aaron gets out two puzzles. mixes up the pieces. builds one puzzle. builds the other on top of the first.

Aaron's early special ed school is closed down for "in service" this week. Naturally, like a dork, I forgot that yesterday before dropping him off at the sitter's. Now he's convinced that it's "school closed down now" .......like, forever. NO amount of discussion will convince him otherwise. He's kinda bummed about it. Obviously he'll learn that its open next week. This sunday we will go on the Mount Hood Railway's Pumpkin Patch Express. His first train ride. Hay Maze(hmmm, not sure how he'll react to that. it'll be ok, it'll be ok, it'll be ok) Pumpkin Patch(also his first) He'll be wearing his new spiderman costume(which he doesn't yet know about, but has expressed a wanting of)

I or her mother almost always made my daughter's costumes(she's 27 now, she can bloody well make her own;-). partially out of creative intent, partially out of fianancial necessity. I kind of fell guilty about just going out and buying Aarons. Hmmm - fell, not feel guilty - Fruedian slip? We always have bought his. It's not that we have so much more money than Amelia's mother & i did, just less time. He's always enjoyed them. That makes it ok, right? right? not a bad daddy, not a bad daddy....not.....Whew, get a GRIP man! "it's not like yee pee'd in the wee laddie's cherrios ye knoo!" Sorry, too much Terry Pratchet Wee Free Men.......or maybe coffee.........

Going for my six month dental check up at the huge local medical university complex this afternoon (locally it's called Pill-Hill)....no dental insurance and they're really cheap-and good.

Working on reproducing the lost "Schedual-C" from last year's taxes for the City business tax people....Yes, I'm THAT late getting my "I only made this much last year so I get a pass on paying any local biz tax" papers in.

I had it. Of course I had it. I HAD to have had it to file Fed & state taxes(done on time-really)....Just don't know where it got to. filing is not one of my good things.

Re-read Madeline L'Engle's THE WIND IN THE DOOR. Fine Good vs Evil, do what you gotta do, "there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in all your philosophies, Horatio" kinda thing. Yeah, I know it's a "Young Readers" book. Ya wanna make somthin' of it, pork pie?......Pork pie? Where the heck did THAT come from? "never mind"-done in classic Gilda Radner/Emily Lattella character voice.

This doing late tax papers thing must getting to me....no, honest, I'm not like this usually.....oh, ok, so maybe I am.

I've edited the blogs I read gadget to not include the title of most recent posts. It's somehow not keeping up with the timing of the actual new posts.
Check out the latest in my favorite group of entertaining, touching, mostly women bloggers - it's the Killing Flies with a Ukelale one from Queens land, Australia. While it's starting to snow on Beck(frog & toad-still friends) in Canada, they're hating "naughty geckos on my windows" there. good/entertaining stuff, i think.
Maybe I just like Australians...ever since those fine conversationalist/beer buying fellows I met back at Ned Kelley's Last Stand, across the street from the Pennensula Hotel, in Hong Kong, in 1976....'nother story.............

more later

Sunday, September 21, 2008

this and that

Arron, hard at coloring, and about to get a hair cut.
Amelia, at some girl-shin-dig, before she got her hair cut

Sunday morning. I actually took yesterday off. two whole days of not working - WOO-HOO! slept most of yesterday, after having worked pretty much straight for a couple of weeks. Just finished a couple of bright work(varnish) refinishing jobs on a 47 foot and a fifty three foot yacht. and then there was the rush coast guard boat fiberglass and gel coat job( about which nothing went right or easily from the word go)

Ah, the joys of self employment, in this the best of all possible worlds.

I've been updating my library thing and music play list this a.m. Intuitive search engines - my butt. I don't need a list of 342, 645 songs that contain 100,000 or so entries of the same song. I want one listing of each and every song by the artist. this is the 21st century...and WHERE'S MY FLYING CAR?! Computers - a blessing and a curse. That for which my linguistically advanced daughter coined the phrase "the perversity of the inanimate".

This afternoon My son and I will go get our hairs cut. Always an adventure. At four, it still takes three people to hold him down and cut his hair, but at least now he's not screaming the whole time(OR DIDN'T THE LAST TIME)

We are still in the evaluation process of the whole Is he high functioning autistic spectrum disordered, and if so(which seems likely) how to best deal with that for him.

a good Autism resource link: http://www.autismspeaks.org/

Tomorrow, My parents will celebrate their fifty-first wedding anniversary back in Kansas. Quite a milestone, which all of us in the family will be thankful for with them, if even at great distance.

more later.......

Monday, September 15, 2008

the coast gaurd boat

I work on boats. Currently I'm deep in the throws of "The Coast Guard wants their boat by when?!" Doing repairs to fiberglass and gel coat on a twenty foot Zodiac owned and operated by the local Coast Guard. Yesterday, Sunday(which I try not to work on) I spent a very frustrating nine hours straight sanding and filling fiberglass and sanding and masking and spraying gel coat on the boat. I am very tired. It's the price I guess for those days when my work doesn't have to be completed by any particular day or time. Even then, fast is an issue.

I'm not good at fast. I used to be fast, but that was literally decades ago. At fifty years of age, I'm just not fast any more, and especially not at the more finesse type aspects of boat repair and maintenance. Our society tends to demand fast. "time is money" NO, Time is Time. Money is money. I long for and hope for a personal future in which fast is not as much of an issue as it is now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

another dad, another story

Reading Blogs about Moms & kids, and Dads and kids. Is it a meme, or just a universal theme? Different lives, in different locales, across the country, around the world(at least the English speaking/writing world - I remain, despite a couple semesters of college Spanish, woefully uni-lingual). What follows is just part of the continuing saga of one dad, one child.

My son, now four, and always small for his age, was recently seen by a very nice, very professional and yet warmly reassuring couple of child development people from the local school district. One a child psychologist, the other a speech pathologist.

After talking with my wife and I and our boy A. for a couple of hours the verdict was in: "Yes our child has speech/language development issues, as well as some social skills issues, that plainly and definitely qualify him the local early development special ed program". This came as a great relief to us. That may seem odd. We have known for some time that he has these issues. It took our state funded child medical providers a couple of years to come to the conclusion that, yes this child has some issues that need to be addressed.

What we somewhat knew, in the backs of our minds, but were less prepared to hear was that he shows a number of "red flag" traits our new specialists relate to high-functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Our son is very bright, but has problems knowing how to relate or deal with others in social groups. He absolutely will look you in the eye, and has a sense of humor, and initiates warm contact sort of stuff, and, and, and ...doesn't seem at all like what t.v. and movies portray as the severely affected Autistic stereotype.

But,....He does, sometimes, get kind of compulsive obsessive about stuff. He lines up toy cars by type and color. He freaks out if his banana or granola bar gets broken. he's a wizard a jig-saw puzzles, and builds fairly remarkable stuff out of Lego's and tinker toys, he sees spatial relationships and puts together things you never thought would go together in ways that make perfect sense when you see what he's done with them.....he...... he ........Lord...save my child. It will all be OK, but, you know, as a parent we tend to want our children to be all those things that we think will ensure and enable them to deal and survive and thrive out there in the "real" world as they grow up, and later after we're no longer able to shelter and take care of them. Hearing the A word in relation to one's small child is kind of like going to the doctor and hearing the C word. Ultimately deal able with (usually) but causing that momentary catch in the chest - the shift into crisis/survival/protection mode-which of course will give way to more reasonable, more calm well considered thought patterns, realizing it's not quite the end of the world we first felt down deep that it might be.

He is excited about going to school tomorow. The little yellow school bus will pick him up at the sitter's a couple of mornings a week, to a local elementary school, for his early special ed classes/sessions and drop him back off after. After this school year they will re-evaluate him to see where he's at then. Ginny has taken him to the school and introduced him to whoever was around, shown him the place and space, and generally let him getcomfortable with it. It will be OK.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mathematic co-inky-dinks

1977, somewhere just outside of Coffeyville, Kansas, Driving down a dirt road in a 1969 Volkswagon beatle. It was February 22nd(2/22) I watched the odometer roll over 222 miles. I looked at my watch - the time was 2:22.

2008, somewhere in Portland, Oregon, driving down a street in a 2000 Subaru Outback. the display on my stereo said the station was 92.5. I watched the trip meter come up to 92.5 miles. the clock on my dash said 9:25.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Smokey Passed On(the death of our house cat)

Our cat, a grey Himalayan named smokey passed away in the wee hours of the night last night. He was a good cat, probably the mellowest, most passive cat in the world. He put up with rowdy toddlers and cranky adults with equal aplomb. My wife, Ginny couldn't sleep and went down and laid on the sofa with Smokey about midnight. About one she came and got me. She said that he kind of coughed about once and went limp. Ginny took him to Dove-Lewis Pet emergency, while I stayed home with our sleeping four year old son. Although his heart was still beating when I put him in the car, I could tell he was probably done. We think his heart was the issue. I've had a lot of pets throughout my life. I'm used to them dieing by now. Still, I will miss him. He was a sweet, if sometimes cat-loony little guy. Now we get to explain to a four year old about pets and death and how it's all o.k., even though he won't think so now. I'm one of those who hope that after we pass we'll meet up with not only human loved ones, but animal loved ones as well. So, Goodbye for now Smokey, and see you on the other side.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The company I keep

I work along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers around Portland, Oregon.
So, the other day I was down at one of the local marinas washing a boat. As I was leaving, the Great Blue Heron that had been hanging around close by all day let me get within about ten feet to take a couple of photos

I was reminded of a quote attributed to the famous burlesque queen Gipsy Rose Lee (back in the 1930's or 40s) - "You will always be known by the company you keep". I sometimes keep company with Great Blue Herons.

Great Blue Herons are smarter than geese. They have to be, they don't reproduce in as great of numbers. In the spring, down on the river, one will often see whole strings of very vulnerable baby geese swimming along in a line behind the parents(much like a river predator's buffet line) There are big fish, ospreys and the occasional eagle around. Many baby geese disappear before they get big enough to fend for themselves. Conversely, I have never seen any baby herons. I know there are some because there are always herons around the river - but you never see the young. They're not out & about being exposed to whatever dangers beset baby geese. That's why I think Heron's are smarter than geese.

More later,

John Ross

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Half century & counting

Just had my 5oth birthday recently. Was surprised by a reasonably(for me) large turnout at a truly surprising surprise party. Although I'm not normally one who enjoys such surprises, this was o.k. Better than OK, it was a good day all around. As you might suspect, there has been much stock taking of my life around and since that day. I'm now 50. I don't own a house. I have no medical insurance. I have virtually no retirement setup. It's o.k. I will continue to strive for some degree of financial success a/o security, while bearing in mind that such things are, at best, tenuous things. It's more important to me to strive for spiritual, emotional and material balance in my life. In most things, I find balance to be the key. I know this to be true, as much as I know anything to be true. That doesn't make the achievement of balance any simpler or easier a thing to accomplish.

My life is o.k. I have family who love me and who are not intolerably crazy(most of the time). I have reasonably OK work to do that I believe I do reasonably well. I have sufficient, if not the desired housing. I have my own car to go where/when I want or need. I live in a beautiful city(as cities go) in a beautiful part of the country(pacific north west). I am in generally good health(for my age and otherwise). My kids are all in good health, as are their kids.

Rambling and babbling here, but it's how I process. or is it progress?

Politicians continue to vie and lie(I trust none of them), gas prices, groceries and most other necessities continue to rise, entropy increases, and yet, life goes on and life is basically good. Balance will be achieved, come, as they say, Hell or High Water.

Love this life, and Onward, through the fog.

more later.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A world without silence

Standing out on the patio, smoking a cigarette, listening to the urban night. It was pretty quiet for the city, but there was the ever attendant Ring. The Ring, always with me, is usually perceived as a combination of two or more slightly different high pitched tones. Sometimes it will take a sudden dip or climb in volume and all other sound will be temporarily muted - kind of like when you stick your head under water.
It's been with me as long as I can remember. At one point, years ago, I was commenting to my daughter that I wondered what caused that ringing sound I heard when there was otherwise silence. Her response was " No, Daddy, silence means NO sound. No one else hears ringing then, and if you do, you need to get your ears checked." I was kind of amazed. I just assumed that everyone heard the ring, since it seemed to have been with me always.
It's gotten louder over the years. It is now as loud as or louder than most conversations. I have learned that it apparently causes me to be unable to hear other sounds that occur in close to the same high pitched frequency. Otherwise, I notice that some very high frequencies cause me pain sometimes. The ringing of a hammer on an anvil comes to mind.

I have since learned that The Ring has a name. It's called tinnitus. It's caused by damage to the little hair-like vibration sensors in the inner ear, usually caused by exposure to extreme volume. It's pretty much incurable. The damage that I incurred to cause it may have come from too many too loud rock concerts, or the time I spent working in a newspaper press room (large printing presses are VERY loud, even with ear plugs). However, those things happened during or after my teen years, when I remember already hearing The Ring.
I suspect it more likely happened when I was about five or so. An accidental shot from a thirty-ought-six rifle came through the bathroom wall and bounced off lower end of the cast iron bath tub I was in, facing the shot wall. The ringing of the rifle shot tub was simply amazing. It was very loud. Picture being inside a bell that size when it was struck by a bullet. My grandparents and parents all came rushing in after the shot,
I 'm sure fearing the worst. If the bullet had come through the wall a few inches higher, it probably would have struck me full in the chest. I was in the faucet end of the tub, facing the other end, which is where the bullet bounced off of the lower curve of the tub.

They say that some people who have this condition are driven nearly crazy by it. I try to think of it as a reminder of how chancy life is, and how good it is to be alive. The photo is me at about the age I think the Ring occurred (or was born into my life, as I sometimes think of it).

For more information on The Ring, what Dr.s call tinnitus see http://www.hear-it.org/