Monday, October 14, 2013

He believes in you

I does not matter if you believe in God, the fact that he believes in you is why you are.
 D.F.S. 10/14/13

Hi Lord, it’s me. We are getting older and things are getting ...bad here.
Gas prices are too high, no jobs, and food and heating costs too high. I
know some have taken you out of our schools, government and even
Christmas, but Lord I'm asking you to come back and re-bless America! We
really need you! There are more of us who want you than those who don't!
Help us to let others know you love them and we pray for a re-kindling of the fire that made this country great. Give us a REVIVAL of people following you, for that is the only way to "change" this country in a positive direction.
Thank You Lord, I Love You. (Author unknown)

I got this as an e-mail and decided to pass it on this way so it can be easily shared.  Some of you might be thinking, "All this God talk is just for the Bible beating Christian fanatics." but God isn't Christian! He/she can't be claimed by any religion as their God only. God is the central anchor of ALL religions. Yes, he is the God of the Catholics and the Protestants but when you pray to God, you are praying to the God of All. He is the God of the Christians and the God of the Jews. He is the God of the Hindus and the God of the Buddhists. Yes, he is also the God of the Muslims.  The spirit has no denomination; it simply is. Life is a journey of the soul and at some time, when the soul has learned the lessons it must, it will return to its source. Only then can we find true peace.D.F.S

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Just getting to know this app

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jumping a sinking ship

Some time back, I thought about changing wireless providers. On Friday evening we did it! We changed over from Sprint to Verizon. The process was simple. We kept our old numbers but got new phones and a new faster service. We even traded in our old phones knowing we would no longer need them. Life is good. . . .

Not so fast. As Paul Harvey would say, "And now, Page Two!" The real story is not quite as simple. When we tried to call each other, we found our calls were still going to Sprint as we found out when our calls were forwarded to Sprint voice mail. WTF! There is a process called porting which converts your new phone to the new number AFTER it removes the old phone from operation. We had not been ported. I called Verizon and found that they had done their part. Sprint was required to relinquish their HOLD on our number. They were behind. It usually takes an hour or so but due to high volume, it was taking up to 24 hours!  I called Sprint. They said, "no problem, just keep using the old phone until the porting completes. Ahh but we traded in our old phones! OUCH! We were "Shit, out of luck".

It's only 24 hours, one day to be disconnected. 24 hours came and went. I called Sprint again. "You are scheduled for porting at 10:30 tonight" (Saturday) she said. We all went to bed unported hoping we would awaken to new, fully operational, phones in the morning. We are now approaching 48 hours and still unported. Another call to Sprint customer Service and after a long hold while the representative probably went out for coffee, we were transferred to the porting department, obviously some place in a non-English speaking country. (They have a whole departmant just to help people get away from their service.) I could not understand much but I could understand 24 hours more wiat. Then she wanted a call back number where I could be reached. "What part of we can't get any calls, do you not understand", I responded with a touch of anger in my voice. To that, she replied, "Thanks you for letting Sprint provide the best possible service, have a nice day."  I couldn't even slam down the phone for fear of shattering my new screen. "It is too late for that!" I retaliated.

So, what is the message here? The message is, "Don't invest in Sprint." If they are so overwhelmed with people wanting to leave their service, business can't be too good. If two hours normal turn around is now 72 hours, there is a problem. Unlimited data is not much of a selling feature if you are puttsing around in 3G speeds when everyone else is running 4G in most metro areas. It would be a little bit like Hurtz offering a battery "Barbie Car" with unlimited mileage for a low price. When unlimited data translates to unlimited pain in the butt, Sprint, you have a problem.

If you know someone contemplating the change from Sprint, encourage them to jump ship now before it sinks but hold onto the old phone until the process is complete!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Last 12 hours

Holy Week is a time to investigate the true depth of your religion. Here is a look at the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus. We have all felt the pain of the last couple years. This adds perspective to your pain. Reading it, and taking it into your soul might give an insight of his last hours on Earth. Fortunately, you have seen the end of the movie. You know about Easter. But to be able to appreciate the spiritual joys of Easter, you must understand the physical price that was paid.

Click on the picture above to see it full screen.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Eagles in winter

Winter around the Sriner household often revolves around the annual quest for the Bald Eagle. This year was no different.
 Click on the above and other pictures to see them full sized! 

January of this year, brought with it a trip to the operating room for Pat. She had to have major shoulder surgery. The surgery was extensive but she has been recuperating very quickly. During her 6 weeks off work, we practiced retirement. The freedom was great! The end of the practice period and the subsequent drop back into reality SUCKED BIG TIME! Although I am already semi-retired, there was no guilt relaxing while we were both home but once Pat had to start punching a time clock, my responsibility gene  started showing its ugly head again. I could not just sit at my computer and work on pictures or study new ways to manipulate them in Photoshop. I started looking at my watch thinking, "I need to do something to justify my time". The trouble is, when your heart just isn't in it, there is a great deal of wondering getting ready to work. It is hard even now to type that nasty four letter word. WORK. I'm not good at goofing off so I certainly won't ever completely retire but the difference is  the "have to" and the guilt. I can still hear my step-dad and his always demeaning manner. "Don't just sit there, be productive." haunts me still. Artistic pursuits that require periods of sitting resonate deep inside as non-productivity! I feel guilty reading or studying or tweaking pictures or writing my blogs.  Having recognized the problem is making it a little easier to pursue my God given artistic endeavors. But I still look around to see if anyone is watching me goof off at the keyboard. During our practice retirement, I felt much less of this distraction. If Pat is wasting time reading a book, I can waste time on my artistic outlets. June can't come too soon for me!

"So", you ask, "What about the eagles?" OK, I'm getting there. For me, my first eagle sighting many years ago was an awakening of my spirit. I don't understand completely why but I am captivated by their majesty. The desire to capture that spirit in pictures really opened me to photography as a compulsive artistic drive. Once I had a soaring American Icon in my viewfinder, I was hooked. But my tools were far exceeded by my desire to get that perfect image. I wanted images that I could share with others so they too could experience the feeling I got capturing the marvelous raptor in my camera. Each year brought a little better camera or lens. My weapon of choice now is a Canon D7 with a 400mm "L" series lens combination. This is about as far as I can go without another mortgage on the house. At this point I would need to go from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands. With retirement just around the corner, that jump will probably never come. Fortunately, at this time in life, I have come to grips with this drive for the biggest toys because no matter what you get there is something just a little bigger, a little better. I am ready to accept that fact and simply do the best I can do to learn how to use the tools I have.

OK, OK, I'm getting there. Eagles are basically fish eaters. Sure they will, on occasion take a duck on the river or a rabbit in the field but they nest and usually hunt on the rivers. As winter starts to swallow up the open water in the north, the eagles will start migrating south for food. Around here, they are found as they migrate along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. They need open water to feed so as the river freezes, they are drawn further south. Along their journey, they will often stop at the Locks and Dams along the river because the water rushing through the gates or turbines won't freeze. This provides them with the open water to fish. For than reason, they will congregate in large numbers at these locations. It is not unusual to see 25 - 30 in a single tree. Sometime even more when the river is nearly all frozen. But in the event of warmer weather, the river is not frozen over as much and they will spread out along the river due to the lower competition. There are probably as many eagles in totality but they are not bunched up. That has been the case the last couple years.

There is one favorite place along the Mississippi that attracts photographers from all over the country. That sweet spot is Lock and Dam #14 in northern Illinois near the Quad Cities. What makes this spot so special that it draws crowds all winter, is the configuration of the river. There is a small bay where stunned fish can often be seen floating on the surface. The eagles find this a perfect hunting grounds and the near-by observation walk has no visual barriers between it, the water and diving eagles. Every eagle photographer has pictures of  an eagle perched in a tree but to catch a shot of the dive and capture of the fish is the true feather in any nature photographer's cap. Many can go for many years without the opportunity to make this capture. L & D #14 seems to give the best opportunity to make the capture. Photographers from across the country will line the walkway with $20,000 camera set-ups.
This is a small weekday crowd.
 Most of these photographers are from out-of-state. You will notice the buckets by several of the shooters. No it is not to store fish they catch. They are full of fish used to bait the eagles. While some will question the integrity of this practice, it is common here. They will use compressed air in a can to bloat the fish and toss it in the river in hopes an eagle will swoop down for a catch. The eagles don't seem to mind the easy pickin' and the photographers are overjoyed with the results. Many of the baiters are professional photographers who offer "eagle safaris" to the participants. I won't pass judgement but I will say it works if the eagles are there.
An adult eagles swoops in for the floating fish

one leg catch

Hold on tightly and we are off

One thing I have learned over the may years I have chased the elusive eagles from site to site, is that they are unpredictable. The population can not only change from day to day but hour by hour.  But it is worth the try and the wait when you are rewarded with the above shots.

As the days begin to lengthen, most of the eagle pairs know it is time to head back north to  get the nest ready for the spring hatch. New eagles will be born in the North Country and when winter spreads the blanket of snow and ice over the region again, the eagles will return to our backyard and I will again be able to spend the winter trying to outguess their location. But next winter, we won't be limited to the all too often cloudy weekends. Next year these same dives will be in sunny locations and the beauty will be multiplied many times as I am able to be seen ever so much more clearly.
Perhaps  by next winter, the above juvenile will have graduated to the adult white head and I will see him in all his splendor.

You can see more of my magnificent eagles at: my Smugmug Gallery Click on the preceding link  to see more. Watch for my next blog and see where else we have been.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 Where is life going?

I start every year with good intentions for the new year and some how  the next thing I know it is December and I am writing another Christmas letter. Last year was no different. The time flies by like tissue in a hurricane. Sometimes it feels like I am riding on the tissue. You might ask, "Didn't you do anything to write about?" The answer to that is, "Oh, we did a lot of traveling, but when we got home, rather than chronicle the adventure, we were either off on another adventure or I was back at work. It was a little like a paratrooper hitting the  ground running. No time to look back. So, why should this year be any different? The answer is that magical word RETIREMENT! My wife retires the end of May. Once she retires, I won't feel like I have to work to remain productive. It is one thing for both of us to take a walk and relax but for me to do the same thing while she was working shouts out "LAZY" to me so I find projects to justify myself. Last year, I took a small house appraised as "possible tear down" and made it one of the best looking houses on the block. It was a lot of work but worth the time and effort and yes it made me feel good about myself. The fact that I was still able to  carry 80 pound bundles of shingles up a ladder, was quite a feat for an old guy of 66.

That was all in the past and the past is behind us. While we can learn from the past, we can't change it so it's time to move on and take on another year. With my new found "free time" I have been writing much more and I find myself driven to continue. Much of the writing has been directed toward FaceBook entries in the many groups I follow. I find myself driven to help younger photographers grow through helpful posts on several photography sites. I use these same windows to display some of my many photographs. Another of my endeavors has been a concerted effort to bring my high school graduating class together through Facebook postings and regular "Gatherings" . With our 50th reunion just over a year away, I will let the Reunion Committee take over much of that effort. I posted my "State of the Class" resignation just a couple days ago. This resignation included the discontinuance of my maintenance on the two class blogs and their website. 

That brings us here and the time is now. Look for a new resurgence on this spot. I will be going back to the original travel logs disbursed with pictures to bring it life.  I will also incorporate my love of photography and my need to teach by sharing my experience. So, future posts will contain some of the information that would have gone on my photography page. So, for the photographers out there, you will see how I got the shots and also links to where you can purchase copies of the photos that inspire you. 

For those who enjoy my humor, I will be incorporating that into all my work because that is the way I roll. I like to go through life with a smile and if I can bring that smile to others, I am forever grateful. What you won't find here is a place to comment. I will retain my FaceBook presence for that purpose. You can find me on FaceBook under DSDigitals.  Here is a direct link . You will find additional pictures there on a regular basis. It is also a great place to leave comments. My personal presence on FaceBook will also continue. That's where you will find my personal/political/philosophical  thoughts. If you are from my high school class, you will also find me on our private shs class of 64 FaceBook page. 

For those of you who have followed me here in the past, you might say, "haven't we heard this before, you promise to write and then don't" I can understand your frustration. The truth is, I have been writing much more than I ever have done before but I spread my thoughts and writing so far and wide that there never seems to be any time for the Em-T-Nest. I am going to change that starting now. 

Join me in this new year of 2013. 
© Dulany Sriner

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Web presence consolidation

I'm practicing retirement this week. With the cold weather, the outside work is all but finished. I still have more leaves around here but NO MORE PAINTING! I'm taking it easy this week as I get ready to start on winter projects.

This morning, I decided to make up some tuna salad for lunch. In my late teens, that was one of my favorites; especially with fresh bread. I used to get that pull-apart loaf you pop in the oven. That was the greatest with tuna salad. But more recently, like the last 30 years, I have not liked it when I made it. It seems all you can find is water packed tuna. That is what Pat gets anyway. It just does not have the flavor of oil packed. I did the best I could with what I had but I am going to make it a point to find oil packed tuna. I googled "oil pack tuna" and apparently it is readily available. I guess I have to go on a quest to find it.

For me, the secret to egg salad, tuna salad, potato salad, etc. is Helman's mayonnaise first blended with the egg yolks before mixing it in. I actually make egg salad first and then just add in tuna. With the 'crappy" water packed tuna, I found I had to add two cans where with the oil packed, I just add one can, oil and all! Add a little salt and relish and you are good to go. I put in some celery seed because the tuna is so bland but I don't like whole celery. I'll serve it for lunch and see how it turned out.

I have been feeling a bit disenchanted with  Facebook recently. I like the idea but I am seeing little "profit motive" changes that I don't like. I think it is going down hill so I am planning to post more here on my blog. It worked before Facebook and I suspect it will work just fine after Facebook. Just sayin'

Over the years, I have vacillated from one social media to another. I have multiple blogs for photography, personal ramblings and this blog that has been about travel. I also have standard websites. I can't maintain them all so I bounce from one to another. I have followers on each media. I am still formulating the best approach but the main theme will be a centralized focus. In the past, I have tried to bundle my thoughts and talents into multiple packages to be rationed out to differing groups according to their likes and degree of awareness. Some enjoyed my photography and advice on taking pictures, some just like to follow along on our journeys through the trip albums here on this blog. Others followed some of my more "New Age"  thoughts including the Bee Lief Stories. There is a rather large group that follows the events of our high school class. Then there are the notorious "tongue-in-cheek" Christmas Letters. These are all ME! I have just presented parts of me to differing groups.

At 66, it is time to quit worrying who likes what part of my personality and just be me! I like to laugh and poke fun at myself and events around me but I am also very deep in my spiritual beliefs. I am Christian but don't see that as a limitation to also believing in much of the Eastern thought. I am a strong believer in reincarnation of the spirit and that we live as both physical and spiritual beings at the same time. I love art in all forms from music to visual art. I think they too have a physical and spiritual factor. I will attempt to share my thoughts with you; not to convert you to my thought but to make you aware of possibilities. We all have our own path to follow and we will often cross those paths with others. WE might walk together for a while or an eternity. We may have an exchange of thought and energy and then be on our own again. In the end, we will find we are actually all one, heading to the same place of awareness.

As I started this posting today, I had no idea where it would lead. If it seems a bit disconnected, I apologize.  Sometimes when I write, that inner spirit comes out. Yes, it is a long way from Tuna Salad to the nature of life; what can I say. I have a few spiritual laws that I have to follow. I have to answer questions as honestly as I can and when spirit wants to communicate through me, I am obligated to pass on the communication. WE are in troubling times and some of the unrest is the awakening of that inner spirit trying to synchronize with the world around us.

I will continue this later, Follow along if you wish.

Love and Light,

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Dam Builders

I got this from a friend by e-mail and had to share. It is too dam funny!

Look at the 2 pictures,  then scroll down. This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond on his property. It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality.
This guy's response is Hilarious, but read The State's letter before you get to the response letter, you won't stop once you start.

State of Pennsylvania's letter to Mr. DeVries:

SUBJECT: DEQ ... File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec 20; Lycoming County
Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity.. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations.. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2010.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action..

We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.

David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.

Here is the actual response sent by Mr. DeVries:

Re: DEQ File
No.. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr.

Your certified letter dated 11/17/09 has been handed to me. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane, Trout Run, Pennsylvania .

A couple of beavers are in the process of constructing and maintaining two wood 'debris' dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials 'debris.'

I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

My first dam question to you is:
(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or
(2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. (Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)

I have several dam concerns. My first dam concern is, aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation -- so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.

The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.

If you want the damed stream 'restored' to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers -- but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2010? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice by then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your dam step! The bears are not careful where they dump!

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

It was 6:30 this morning and I heard that all familiar sound from my cell phone. I got up to check and found a message from Siri. She wanted to tell me my snoring was keeping her awake. Now if you don’t know about Siri, she lives inside your I-phone 4. You can talk to her and ask questions or have her call or text someone for you. She is your own personal assistant right there in your phone. Normally she would not start a call on her own, but I guess if she needed her rest and I was keeping her up, it is understandable. There is only one problem. I don’t have an I-phone. I have an Android phone. I’m wondering if perhaps she was just visiting my phone and decided to spend the night. What is the gestation period for little Andrapples?
Before I could get back to bed and pull the covers up over my head, my phone went off again. This time it was a different ring tone. I got up again to check. This time it was my Android; he figured that since I was up and neither of us was going to get back to sleep, perhaps it would be a good time to start the annual Christmas Letter. I tried to get additional information from my phone about what had just happened, but his screen went blank and he reset himself. I’m guessing he wanted to wipe out his short term memory before he spilled the beans.
So, my friends, here I am. It is 6:45 AM and I am starting to put thoughts on paper. Have you ever wondered who is in control? Is it you or your electronic devices? I used to laugh about getting up to go to the bathroom and checking e-mail before returning to bed. Now, I have my phone reminding me that I should pay a bill or wish someone a happy birthday. I appreciate the help remembering, Lord knows I need it, but whose life is it anyway?
Pat is still working for the Secretary of State but is nearing retirement. Knee surgery is also in her near future. I am still House Doctoring in a semi-retirement mode. My body/mind wanted to retire long ago but my fiscal needs have not allowed it.
So, where should I start? If I followed the norm for social media, I would start with the most recent. I guess I did that with the opening, but for now, I’ll just be old fashioned and start with January. Did you ever wonder why the year starts in January? It’s winter, the days are short, and it’s cold. Why not start with a natural beginning like spring? What if we all started our own personal year on our birthday? Then we could go around saying, “happy New Year” all year. But I digress.  (What’s new?)
January in the Sriner household is the code word for Eagle watch, and we did our share of that this year. We spent many hours at the Havana Nature Center, resting inside while we scoured the skies for the majestic Bald Eagles. As they glided toward our sanctuary, we all headed out like bugs from a burning log. Cameras scanned the skies and shutters clicked in rapid succession. Then it was back in for picture viewing and comparisons. The more the river freezes, the more the eagles congregate around open water at the locks. We have had sightings in Keokuk of trees filled with over 50 eagles. What a sight. At times the branches bend under the weight and it would be easy to reach up and grab a lucky eagle feather. Unfortunately, doing so, might get us a stay with Governor Rod in a limited access federal housing facility.
With my 65th Birthday just around the corner, I had decided that a birthday gathering for all our classmates who would be sharing this Medicare Mayhem would be super cool! The date was set and Pat and I started the planning. What started as a simple “gathering,” somehow swelled into a $5000 class event. By March, we were so stressed out; we needed to get away for a while. Pat and I met up with Kim in New Orleans for a southern shores spring vacation. We traveled all along the coastline camping as we went. We saw the great golden moon rise along the beach in Destin while we were visiting Nancy and Bill Dillen along with a few other classmates; then we drove across Florida to meet up with Karen Waters and Bryan in Jacksonville FL.  It was an awesome trip and we got to see many old friends. Sometimes I wonder how they got so old!
May brought with it a new sprout on the family tree. Emily Seunghee Oh jumped out, hair first into the world. She quickly stole our hearts and continues to dominate the Oh family gatherings. Joshua turned 5 and he is a super big brother to Emily. Steve has a new position with a previous employer ICON. It was an advancement and now he works from home. Krystal is still teaching English at Pleasant Plains HS.
June marked the premier showing of the new TV reality show, “It must be Friday”. The pilot episode aired June 1st  and 14th. It started with me at my Primary Care physician’s office. He is looking into my right eye saying, “This is completely black”. This is followed by a flashback to a recent encounter with my previous optometrist who is saying, “No, you don’t have to worry about cataracts. You are a long way from needing surgery.” At this point we scan forward to the surgeon who would make the final decision regarding my ever-darkening vision. The third scene took us to the surgery pre-op. Draped in the customary hospital garb, I am shown getting the first of many eye drops before surgery. The camera zooms in and goes into a slow motion as the first drop hits my blinking eye. The drop bounces off the eyelashes and makes the first splash on my cheek. As the procedure continues, subsequent drops follow similar paths until there is a raging waterfall down my face and torso only to end up somewhere in that black hole known as the belly button. Then, I watch the walls speed by as I am catapulted down the hall into the operating room. In my semi-conscious mindset, I look up at the surreal picture where the stand of doctors and nurses look like a dense forest of tall trees. The bright sun above looks almost heavenly and I hear a voice from the distance. “I don’t like the looks of this! He isn’t dilated at all!” There was a pause as I drifted deeper into the drug induced bliss. The last thing I remember was a short discussion regarding the wisdom of continuing the procedure. With that the scene ends with the caption, “To be continued.”

The second half of the pilot shows the next day in the doctor’s office, I was asked how I was. I replied, “Fine, except that I can’t see out of my new eye.” One check of the eye pressure explained the problem. The pressure was 49 compared to my normal of around 17. Homeland security classifies this as explosive. One bump and I could blow up the entire clinic. The Doctor looked and said, “I don’t like this!” I told him it was a lot worse from my side. He described the next procedure in medical gobbly gook, but I got the translation. He was going to put a needle in my eye and draw out some fluid before I exploded and took half the city block. That ended the two part pilot. The show has continued the rest of the year with regular Friday appointments trying to fix the screw-up. I have had slits in my eye and excessive inflammation even down inside the eye. Every procedure seems to end in a lot of prolonged pain and irritation. We have been preempted most of this month for seasonal programming, but I will be back on next month with another “two slits and we are done” episode. I’m hoping this will be the last procedure.
After more than 6 months of planning, the SHS 65th Birthday Bash took center stage in mid-July. I was quite proud of the success but very relieved it was over. It started on a Thursday night with pizza at Gabatoni’s and went into full swing Friday morning with a golf outing. I spent the morning in a golf cart following the golfers around trying to police their play. They explained to me that it was OK to use multiple balls on each hole. I also found out that if the foursome agrees, your T-shot can be a “Gimmy”. I didn’t understand all the new rules for friendly tournament play. I did learn how much fun they had.
We finished Friday’s festivities with a casual mixer at the Comedy Club. Saturday started with an early morning behind-the-scenes tour at the Abe Lincoln Presidential Museum. Local ALPM members were able to get everyone in free. This was an unannounced bonus. At noon we migrated over to Cozy Dog for lunch and then out to the Elks Club on the lake for the afternoon and evening. Dinner included prime rib and a dessert cake with the now famous 65th Bash Logo!
The final event was a breakfast at Wanda and Dave Keil’s house Sunday morning. We played an adult version of hide and seek – stalker edition for a while, but with limited hiding spots, it was difficult.
With the Birthday Bash, also known as “Medicare Mayhem”, fresh in our minds, Pat and I decided to take the party to the mountains and had a mini-bash at Rocky Mountain National Park. We were joined by Carl Crouch and Jay and Joyce Kesinger. Kim joined us on this trip too and we had a great relaxing time.

There were several other gatherings for the SHS class of 64, including one for Dianne O’Keefe home from California with her family.
Our Christmas Gathering pictured below was well attended and enjoyed by all.

Somewhere around mid-year, Kim decided she would return to Springfield after graduation in December from SIU Carbondale. She would have her Master’s Degree in Counseling. She planned to move into Gram’s house, next door. The house, having been empty and unheated for 3 years and rented for 3 before that, was in complete disrepair. I made plans to buy the house and get it ready for Kim. This has been a true labor of love; OK, it is also an investment, but I don’t think I would have worked so hard if Kim were not moving in. It got a new roof, new drywalled ceilings, repaired plaster walls along with electrical and plumbing work. To cut costs, I have done all the work. Something about a 65th birthday party and carrying 90 pound bundles of shingles up onto the roof do not go well together. I called it my reality based stress test. Actually, the real stress has been the paperwork needed to complete the title transfer. It is still in limbo. Andrew Friedman, Kim’s boyfriend will be spending part of his holiday break with us. I hope his hand fits a paint roller. He is finishing his Doctorate internship this summer.
Steve and Krystal, not to be outdone, also needed help finishing their basement. Throughout the year between other work projects, I found myself laying ceramic floor tile, installing molding, electrical and plumbing. This is another project not quite complete. But just like Kim’s, it is now at least partially functional as am I!
This brings us to a close of 2011. As I look back, I see two major themes for Pat and me. One was a lot of hard work. The other was a year filled with the rekindling of friendships. In early youth, it is all about ourselves; in school, it is all about our friends. As we mature, it is all about our families; and now as we age and our kids are on their own, we find time to return to the old friends we had. For those who also find themselves in this period of life, enjoy every minute with friends and grandkids, because the next phase takes us back to the beginning. We do have an advantage our parents didn’t have and that is the ability to use the internet to connect with friends thousands of miles away. We can text and tweet, e-mail and skype. We can exchange thoughts with the speed of light through the social networks. It is amazing. So, whether you follow us on Facebook or one of my blogs, stay in touch. The love of family and friends is the only thing that can last throughout eternity. It is our wish that all people realize that we are all headed for the same ultimate destination; only our travel agents are different. To each and every one of you we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever blessing your faith embraces. May your new year be filled with Peace, Joy, good health and prosperity.

Love and Light,
Pat and Dulany

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Letter 2000


Welcome the new millennium!
Merry Christmas 2000
It seems to be that time of year again. Time for the yearly update of Sriner family events for family and friends.
During Easter break this year, we went to Grayton Beach, Florida so we could meet up with Krystal and her boyfriend, Mark. We spent a week on the beach enjoying the Florida weather and sunsets. Ask the family about driving 60 MPH in a 15 MPH zone to get to the beach for the last chance to see the sunset before we all went our separate ways in the morning. We came North and they went back to Orlando. It was a sad parting as usual.

 Is time speeding up, or are Pat and I just getting so old and slow that everything seems to be fast by comparison? We moved Krystal to Florida during the summer of ’99, but it seems like just last summer. Now that I think of it, it was just last summer but we weren’t moving her to Florida; we were moving her back from Florida. Looking back, I am getting frightened. The first time she moved, it was to a first floor dorm room. As years went by, she kept going up. By the fourth year, she was on the fourth floor and it was a walk-up. We got her moved home from college, and it was off to Florida. Before we were completely rested up, it was back to Florida to move her home to Illinois. She could only stand about a month of Thursday night leftovers before she knew she had to get her own place. Guess what? We moved her again! This time it was only four blocks away but it seemed like more because she is upstairs again! She is all settled in her apartment  and her new job teaching 7th grade English at Franklin Middle School but she is already talking about moving again! If I know her, it will be a walk up mountain hideaway. And guess who gets to carry everything up the mountain? She is definitely a moving experience, but we are proud of her independence, even if she is still bringing home her laundry. But not on Thursday night! Leftovers.
  Kim is in her own world either working on her computer or giving someone at school a piece of her mind if not the toe of her shoe! The boys know not to tell any “women belong in the home” jokes around her.
Science Fair project
Last winter, she was awarded an “exceptional” in the school science fair and a first place at the Regional. She moved on to the State Competition in Champaign where she received a second place! We were certainly proud of her. We look forward to a repeat this year!
After a boundary change for the new middle schools, many of the neighborhood kids had to transfer back to their old 6th grade school even though we were within walking distance of Franklin. Fortunately she was in the gifted program which was centralized this year into Franklin. Yes, there are two Miss Sriners at Franklin Middle School! I think they both like having each other around. Kim is doing well with all her classes and she is quickly nearing the end of my math expertise. The gifted program is planning an 8th grade summer trip to Orlando to visit some of the educational sections of the theme parks. We think it is a great opportunity but Kim is rather blasé considering all the time we have spent in Florida over the last two years.
After more than ten years at SIU School of Medicine, Pat has moved on to a secretarial  job with the Secretary of State, Senior and Community Services Department. The general atmosphere at SIU was getting worse all the time and most of the long time employees had left. She hung in there longer than everyone else. She likes her new job but says she doesn’t have enough to do. I guess you just can’t win. I know I like being able to pick her up at 4:30 and not have to wait for 30 minutes while she finishes up something. Only time will tell how it goes. I think it is a stepping-stone to another state job.
I am still inspecting homes, but with the soft real estate market, I have had more time to work on my web site. I love my computer, but I was born just a little too early to get into it at the right time. The kids today graduating in the computer fields have grown up with it. They are the true computer age adepts. I just need to learn to quit tinkering, but that is just my nature. I crash my computer on a regular basis but I am getting better at resurrection. My web site is
Last October we were able to be with my sister, Carol, and her family at the baptism of “Tanner”, Mike and Kathy’s new baby. It was nice to get together with the family. It isn’t until you get older that you realize how important family is. Carol and Tanner below.
That brings us to the present. There have not been too many changes unless you count moving, new jobs, state championships, vacations, and a potential trip to Florida. Just about the same as last year! The biggest and best change has been having the family together again. It is especially joyful at this holiday season. Below, Kim and Krystal decorating cookies on their “snow day.”
I hope this finds you all well. And may the joys of the season carry throughout the coming new year. May good health and prosperity be with you always.
With Love and Light,
The Sriners.
Dulany, Pat, & Kim