31 May 2006

The Aerodynamic Brick

We had a little discussion about rotors in the comments to my post, "When Bad Things Happen", concerning the fatal helicopter crash near Blythe, California.

Let me take a stab at explaining what MAY have happened in that accident to cause that aircraft to crash. (Ya gotta visualize with me now!)

When you fly a helicopter, you are not flying the whole helicopter. You control the rotor, and the rest of the helicopter comes along for the ride because it is supported by the Main Rotor.

The subject helicopter had a Semi-Rigid rotor system. I've discussed the fact that many helicopters have this type rotor........the Huey, JetRanger, LongRanger, Bell 47, Hiller, Robinson......most, if not all, helicopters with two rotor blades have this type rotor system. It is simple, relatively inexpensive, and takes up little space when parked in a hangar.
But it MUST be flown within a certain envelope!

Imagine I have a pail filled with water.
To the handle on the pail, I attach a 4' length of rope. If I lift the rope, I pick up the pail. If I move the rope, the pail hesitates momentarily due to inertia, then follows along. If I stop the movement of the rope, the pail will actually continue to move because of inertia, and will finally settle beneath my hand, holding the rope.

You can compare my hand to the point where the rotor attaches to the helicopter at the Main Rotor Mast. The helicopter itself can be compared to the pail of water.

Now, find yourself a ladder, and, still hanging on to the rope/pail of water, climb 3' up the ladder. Now quickly move your hand downward, and while there is slack in your rope, move your hand left, right, then back to center before the descending, (weightless), pail takes the slack out of the rope. Obviously, under these conditions you did not have control of the pail......there was no direct connection between your hand and the pail while there was slack in the rope.

The same is true with Semi-rigid rotor systems on helicopters. You are in complete control so long as the helicopter is suspended beneath the rotor. But if allow the helicopter to get into a regime where it is near-weightless, you are courting disaster.

Helicopters are complex, wonderful machines. Many parts move and turn on them. When something moves or turns, there is a corresponding and opposite reaction to that action.

Remember that thing at the rear of all the above mentioned helicopters?
That little rotor on the back? Even when the helicopter is weightless, it is still working. When the helicopter is weightless, or near-weightless, the tail rotor has very little mass to contend with, so it becomes super effective. Because it is moving air from one side of the machine to another, it can induce a roll in the helicopter.
The pilot normally stops unwanted movement around the "roll" axis by moving the Main Rotor in the opposite direction by applying opposite cyclic stick.

But here is where he is in danger:
This roll is not being caused by the Main Rotor, and cannot be stopped by moving the rotor in the opposite direction. This movement is being caused by the tail rotor thrust acting on a helicopter that weighs very little in this scenario.

There is a finite amount of space between the Main Rotor and the Main Rotor mast. Most of these machines have what is called a "droop stop" or "static stop" that is a reinforced part of the Main Rotor hub that bumps the rotor mast while the rotor is turning slowly or stopped. Most of us have seen a Huey or JetRanger at rest on the ground, rotor untied, slight breeze turning the rotor into a "teeter-totter". This is normal. This slight bumping causes no damage.

But the rotor system is not designed for that "static stop" to make contact with the mast at normal rotor operating speeds.

Remember the pail beneath my hand?
Under normal circumstances, the rotor moves, and the helicopter follows along. The distance between the static stop and the main rotor mast is never compromised.
In a near weightless condition, the helicopter fuselage (pail), will not follow along beneath the Main Rotor attachment (my hand). So the rotor can use up all the space between it and the mast......and the static stop can make contact with the rotor mast with tremendous force. This force can sever the main rotor mast, causing the main rotor to depart the machine.
When the main rotor departs, it can (and has), cut off the tail cone, or cut the cockpit in half.

Instructors have been aware of this phenomenon for almost 40 years.
It's one of the things we teach our students to avoid.

That's why it was such a puzzle to me that a pilot with the amount of experience this gentleman had would crash and die under conditions that he should have been able to control.

I'll keep an eye on the investigation and let you know how it progresses.

30 May 2006

Google This!

I started Googling a long time ago.....
of course, "a long time ago" in computer language could mean yesterday.

But literally, I think it was 6 or 7 years ago, I gave up Netscape and switched to Google as my search engine.

No more!

If you are a Google user, you know how clever they are with their logo....
Valentine's day, the two "O's" in Google were changed to hearts.

Other holidays, the logo was modified to bring attention to the fact that the day was special....
Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday was celebrated, with Sherlock Holmes incorporated into the logo, peering through a magnifying glass.

But Memorial day? One of the 5 designated Federal Holidays?
The day set aside to honor the heroes that died so that Google can conduct business in a free and unfettered fashion?
Nada. Zip. Goose Egg!
No special logo for our fallen troops.

News that Google was a major contributor to George Soros' organization "Moveon.org" caused me considerable discomfort.........
but Google is so efficient, inertia was difficult to overcome.
Ignoring our dead heroes on Memorial Day is a deal killer.

Agree with my concerns about Google?
Then do what I just did.....
Go to:


and make it your search engine.
Or, alternatively, use Yahoo.com, or Netscape.com......

anything but Google.

We've got to quit putting money into the pockets of people and organizations that would love to make our country the "U.S.S.A.", "The United Soviet States of America."

28 May 2006


While I was in Roswell, N.M., Mrs. O.P.D. said something that surprised me:
It's against the law to plant a Mulberry tree in Roswell.

That's right.
It has something to do with pollen and allergies.

It set me to thinking about the laws we pass and the rules we make.
Let me tell you one of my favorite stories......

"American Caesar" by William Manchester,
is a Biography of General Douglas MacArthur.
In it, Manchester relates this anecdote about the General:

After Japan signed the surrender documents ending WWII,
Gen. MacArthur became Governor of the country.
One of his aides came to him saying, "General, the Japanese men are up in arms! G.I.'s are dating the Japanese women, and the Japanese men cannot compete with them.
Don't you think we should establish a regulation forbidding soldiers from dating the Japanese women?"

The General's answer?

"Why, General? Don't you think it's a good idea?"

"I don't want to establish a regulation that our men will ignore. If the men get accustomed to ignoring that regulation, it will make them scofflaws.......and make it easier to ignore other, more important regulations. Besides, it would be unenforceable!"

It was like I had been hit in the face with a 2X4!
That is wisdom, folks!

All these little towns that have passed laws forbidding people from using their cell phones while driving.......how will they enforce them, particularly at night when they cannot even SEE people breaking the law?

And if I want to plant a Mulberry tree in my back yard in Roswell, N.M.,
well..........catch me if you can!!
(It was already there?!!)

25 May 2006

When Bad Things Happen........

He was 64.

His passenger was a member of his extended family.
In an article for the local newspaper, his daughter called him "The Best Pilot".

This is why ferrying a helicopter East from California comes with a certain amount of stress.

This pilot apparently had 7500 hours in his logbook.......1200 of those were in the type aircraft mentioned in the report.
It's a puzzle why this would happen to an experienced pilot, flying an aircraft in which he should have been very comfortable.

23 May 2006

23 May 66


I wish I had saved the notice.
I can't even remember the exact wording now. It was something to the effect that "your Uncle Sam sends you greetings and invites you to come on down and join the Army!"

Times bein' what they were, I knew it was coming.
Too proud to run to Canada,
too healthy to fail the physical,
too poor to go to college,
too smart to rush into marriage.
It was inevitable.

The notice had arrived about two months before, giving me plenty of time to notify my employer of my impending change of employment.
It was nice to have the two months to try to soak up as much "status quo" as possible.

But 23 May 66 dawned bright and clear, and I woke up knowing that my life would be changed drastically, and permanently.

Ya gotta remember.......
all this was colored through the lens of the fact that there was a rumbling in the distance.......
a place we were hearing about in the news more and more.....
Viet Nam.
Talk of Viet Nam, and the draft notice in my hand, gave life a sharp edge.

I was 19 and scared to death.
Events were about to be set in motion that would change my life more dramatically than I could imagine.

I look around me at friends and loved ones that took a different route than I was forced into.....
those that went to college or got married, and see their different outlook on life.....
Not altogether wrong.......but certainly different.
The course I took eventually resulted in bullets striking my aircraft more than a few times.
There is something about looking at a hole in your windshield,
realizing the projectile missed your face by about six inches, that will focus things in your life more than you might imagine........
There are people in the world that won't listen to reason, no matter how hard you try.
They will kill you.
They will rape your wife.
They will molest or mutilate your children.
They will kill thousands.......millions.......or more.
Nothing matters but the attainment of their goal.

Someone has to step into the breach and stop them from succeeding.
I thank God that in these "all volunteer military" days, we still have brave women and men willing to take on that task.

I was confused in 1966.
As a nation, we are still confused about whether we should have gone to Viet Nam in the first place, and what should have happened once we were committed there.

Do you have any idea how many people died because of our disastrous withdrawal from Viet Nam?
No, you don't. Because there is NO WAY to know.

How many people got into tiny, bathtub sized boats and committed their lives to the sea in scant hope of making it to a U.S. Navy ship, just over the horizon, rather than be subjected to the coming tyranny?
How many of them failed in that effort?
It shames me to think about it.
And then there is the story of our betrayal of the Montagnards.....
I can't even go there.

There is a book here, if I could just organize my thoughts.
One day I may try to write it.

And it will all start with a date 40 years ago today.....

23 May 66.

20 May 2006

Dateline: Roswell, N.M.

I'm safely in Roswell. Tonight I accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Ole Prairie Dog to a Mexican Restaurant, where we had a great meal cooked by real Mexican folks.

Some thoughts on today's flight, 7.7 hours flight time:

1. It was 104 degrees when I landed at Blythe, CA. last night. It was 91 degrees at 7 A.M.. I don't care what the humidity is, when it's 104 degrees, it's damned uncomfortable.

2. Somewhere over Quartzite, AZ. I spotted a white bird in my path that appeared to be hovering at 1,000 feet above the ground. I was curious......birds don't normally hover in that realm. When I got closer, I found it was a plastic grocery bag....I think that's the highest I've ever seen one carried by the currents.

3. Why is it Saguaro Cactuses only grow in Arizona? The ground on the California side looks exactly the same, but almost immediately upon crossing the Colorado river you start seeing these magnificent 30 foot tall cacti.
What's the difference between California and Arizona?

4. Mountains are beautiful. The desert is interesting. I was raised in the Midwest. I don't want to live here. Ole Prairie Dog would live nowhere else.

5. Traveling by helicopter has to be just about the neatest way to see the country. At 500 feet above the ground, I can still see the interstate signs telling me I'm 90 miles from Phoenix, and I know I'll be there in less than an hour! Today I saw wild pigs, deer, and jackrabbits. Ya can't see that from a Boeing 737!

6. Gasoline in Blythe was $2.96 per gallon. I hear in some towns in California, it's $3.15. Be glad you don't live there.

7. I refueled the helicopter at 11 A.M. local time at Casa Grande, Arizona. Walking back to the machine after paying for the fuel, I looked up and saw the moon! This is definitely a first for me.
Is this something else that's normal for the desert?

8. Avgas at Cutter Aviation at El Paso cost me $5.17 including taxes. I had to buy 20 gallons. Zowie!

It's been a great trip so far......
I had a 10-20 knot tailwind all day today.....Thank you Lord!
We are planning a trip to the UFO museum here in Roswell tomorrow.
(And yes, I believe in UFO's, so I'm really looking forward to it!)

So......stay tuned folks!

19 May 2006

The Real Magic Carpet

It's amazing.

I awoke this morning in the Midwest.
At 1 P.M. I was laying my hands on a brand new helicopter in Torrance, California. I had hoped to spend the night in Tucson, Arizona, but reality got in the way of that plan. More on that in a sec.

I'm still amazed at the technology that can take us from one city and plop us in another, 2000+ miles away, in less than five hours! Think about it:
Our forebears crossed the same country I just flew over in Wagons......at all of 2 miles per hour!
If it rained, they got wet. If it snowed, they were in huge trouble. Instead, I ate my peanuts and drank my diet soda......then took a nap. I stayed warm and dry. How would "the 49-ers" react if they could know how easily we travel?

Back to "the best laid plans".......
I'm hoping to spend tomorrow night in Roswell, New Mexico with "Ole Prairie Dog".
I had hoped to make it to Tucson tonight so the travel day tomorrow wouldn't be so brutal.

But when I checked the engine oil on my preflight on this new helicopter, the oil dipstick, (a self-locking threaded apparatus on this machine), was cross-threaded.
"No Sweat!" says the delivery guy, and promptly brings out the mechanic to remedy the problem. Great!

But when he puts in the new filler tube, it too is boogered up. Drat!
He had to cannibalize a filler tube off another aircraft to get me on my way, and by the time the work was done, I was already two hours behind schedule.

Fifteen minutes out of Blythe, my eyes were getting bleary from fatigue.
I landed at 5:30 P.M. local time, and the gas jockey had already bugged out! His phone number posted on the wall......would have cost half the amount my motel room cost, just to get him to return to the airport.

Lots and lots of accidents happen because a pilot's reach exceeds his grasp...
Something pilots call "get-home-itis". It has caused a lot of bent, expensive metal, and many, many fatalities. I am VERY aware of it.

The gas guy bein' gone was the straw that broke the camels back. I called the motel courtesy car, and here I am, in air-conditioned comfort, while the outside temperature is still right at 100 degrees.

I'll be up bright and early in the A.M., and, after a great night's rest and a full breakfast, try to make up some lost time.

So, O.P.D., you may see me later than you wanted tomorrow night, but at least you'll be looking at someone with a body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit!

More later, folks. I got some sleepin' to do! (Sorry for the disjointed post.....remember, I AM DOG-TIRED!)

14 May 2006

Got a Recipe?

Spring comes to Chateau Greybeard.......
the nights begin to be almost, not quite, warm.
One of the first true signs of Spring is when the Night Peepers begin to call to one another.
The temperature might still be cool, but their ardor is obvious......
they sing joyfully to one another for several hours after the Sun goes down.

About the 1st of May, the Bullfrogs announce their presence.
I know you've heard their love song........
Every second or so.........a deep, vibrant, honk.

There are four or more around the pond this Spring.
One will start the chorus, then the others join in by returning the challenge (and stake out their claim to a piece of Real Estate?)
It's a gorgeous sound.......Call, response, response, response........honk, honk, honk, honk!

Remember the scene in "Happy Days" where the night sounds keep Fonzie awake until he goes to the window and shouts and shuts all the critters up? At the time I saw that piece, I thought how stupid he was. The sounds of the night are a huge source of pleasure for me.

We have several Barred Owls in our neighborhood that frequently ask, "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for y'aaaaaaaallllllll?"
They sometimes call from the tree immediately outside our bedroom window, and believe me, that'll get your attention at 3 A.M.!
But even that brings a smile to our faces.....God's wonderful diversity.

This morning, after sharing our favorite "Breakfast Pizza" with Big Bubba, as I slowed to pull into the drive, a 3' tall Great Blue Heron was stalking the North bank of our pond......
(hunting my beloved Bullfrogs?)
Herons are also magnificent creatures.......it's wonderful to watch them ply their trade.......SOOOOOOO ssssssllllllooooooowww in their stalking movement, it's impossible to watch them and not marvel at their technique.

But my Bullfrogs!

I'm reminded of the "Last act of defiance" posters!
Seen them?
I tried to find the one I wanted to show you, but could only find the poster showing the mouse giving the "single finger salute" to the owl on final approach, talons extended.
The one I'm thinking of shows a Heron swallowing a Bullfrog, but the Bullfrog's arms are stretched around the Heron's neck, attempting to strangle it.......
Never give up!

I love the sound of our Bullfrogs at night and don't want to lose them.
Do ya think I maybe need to even the score?
Anyone have a recipe for Great Blue Heron?
(Probably tough, but I bet it tastes like Chicken!)

This is the image I was lookin' for!

11 May 2006

Trip #17

Next Friday I'll be headed back to California to ferry home another helicopter.
This time, it will be an R22......the smaller of the two helicopters I bring back East.
This will be my 17th trip back from L.A..

I thought it might be fun to see if any of you have ideas about things to see along the route.
Take a look at a map......
I'll be taking off from Torrance, California, then following I-10 Eastbound past Banning and Palm Springs/Palm Desert to Blythe......Then across the Colorado river to Phoenix, then South to Tucson. Continuing on I-10 all the way to El Paso.
From El Paso, I can go pretty much any way I want......North and East, toward Tulsa, Oklahoma.

If you can suggest anything along that route that might be interesting to see, I'll consider flying by and using my new digital camera to get a picture to share with you.

So folks, your mission, (should you decide to accept), is to get out your maps and use your imagination.
I'll get my nose in the instruction manual for the camera, and maybe we can work as a team to do something neat! You guide me, and I'll go take a look, and record what I see, then report to you.

I look forward to your comments.

09 May 2006

Sympathy For the Devil

I'm not happy with George Bush.
He spends money like Ted Kennedy.
The U.S. deficit is out of control, and no remedies appear forthcoming.

I admit to voting for Bush twice,
and, knowing what I know now,
given the choices we had in '04,
I'd vote for him again!

Let me bounce some names off ya.....

The Dixie Chicks,
Sean Penn,
Tim Robbins,
Susan Sarandon,
George Clooney,

Flashback to my war.......Viet Nam in 1968-'69.
A Vietnamese General by the name of Vo Nguyen Giap wrote in his memoirs that the North Vietnamese were ready to surrender to U.S. and South Vietnamese forces until they began to receive aid and comfort from the likes of John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and Walter Cronkite.
When those celebrities comments about the war turned negative, leaders in North Viet Nam decided to watch public opinion in America.
And we know what happened, don't we?
A war we were winning.......
had it in our pocket if we had just had the discipline to finish it,
slipped from our grasp.

How many Americans were killed between the '68 Tet offensive and the withdrawal of our troops in 1973?
I don't know the answer to that question, but I personally knew a few of those guys,
and I know the answer would make me sick to my stomach.

I call your attention to those cowards that won't appear on videotape without wearing a tribal scarf across their faces........do they scare you?
They're afraid to show their faces for a reason!

News reports are now saying that captured internal memos indicate Al Qaeda is in a panic and desperate.....
They know they are getting their posteriors handed to them.
The locals are tired of the bombs going off in the streets........
Residents realize the cause of their problems does not originate with coalition forces.

If I had a son or daughter in Iraq risking his/her life so that some ditzy blonde singer could stand on a stage in Great Britain and use her freedom of speech to say stupid things about our President, I'd be pretty furious.
I'm just one voice, and a small one at that. All I can do is make my thoughts known on my piddly little blog.

But I can also keep my Dollars in my pocket.
No purchase of Dixie Chicks music for me......
No George Clooney movies either.
(Actually, they're so bad I have no desire......)

There has to be a price to pay for aiding and abetting the enemy.
Zarqawi, Zawahiri, and Bin Laden are finely tuned to our Mainstream Media......
every word spoken against our effort in Iraq is EXACTLY equivalent to the words JFK Lite and Jane Fonda provided to encourage our enemy in Viet Nam.

We have to be Marathoners, folks, not Sprinters......
There are 58,000 names carved in a black gash in Washington, D.C........
I would hope that at least we can say their deaths taught us a lesson;
"Don't throw in the towel when you have knocked your opponent down and the referree has reached the count of 9!"
Support your troops by supporting our leaders.

And.........vote with your bucks!
I think I'll see if my son can download "Earl Had to Die" free, off the internet......
That song cracks me up!

Interesting details HERE!

07 May 2006

Grass! (The Kind You Mow.)

In previous posts I've mentioned our property......
We live in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath log home on 2 1/2 acres with lots of trees.
A five acre pond adjoins our property at the rear.
It really is a lovely place......people passing in cars frequently slow, point, and come to a stop to admire the view.

We bought and moved into this home on Halloween of 1992.

Spring of '93 arrived wet........
Remember the floods of '93?
I can safely vouch for the fact that grass absolutely loves rain and 92 degree temperatures!

When the grass started threatening I realized I had overlooked something:
Our previous property was about 1/2 acre,
and I mowed that with a 21 inch push mower.
That mower wasn't gonna make a dent in this big lot with the rain coming down and grass growing like a nightmare.

I've been mowing grass for a Spinster neighbor for many years.
She owned a 38" riding mower.
She came up with this proposal: Mow her lawn for free and I could use her mower to mow our property all summer.

I was glad for the offer.....I didn't have much choice.
I had used up most of my "liquid" assets putting a down payment on the house and buying new furniture and carpeting.

Mowing this property with her mower took 5 hours!
That's a long, long time to drone along on a riding mower, circling every tree two or three times to keep from having to come back with a trimmer.
Pretty quickly I realized I was wearing her mower out. There are many trees with exposed roots on our property that were bending the mower deck on her mower. More and more nickel and dime things would break on it, and I began to be fearful something big would explode....then I'd feel obligated to buy her a new mower, and I'd have nothing to show for it.

At the end of mowing season I discussed the problem with Sara Jean:
We needed a new mower, and we needed something much bigger than a 38" garden tractor.

I started comparison shopping.
Pretty quickly I settled on the idea of spending "dinero largo" on something that would do a good job and would take the punishment this big yard could dish out.

I ended up buying a Grasshopper Commercial Mower.
I paid more for this machine than I have paid for many cars I have purchased.
But it mows the lawn and does a great job at 7.5 miles per hour......it turned a dreaded five hour task into a relatively enjoyable 2 hour experience......I love driving the thing.......I call it my "lunar lander".

We're now in our 13th season mowing with this machine. It has had a few glitches in that time, but the things that have broken have been readily replaced at a reasonable price.

It reinforced a lesson I learned some time back.......if you can afford it, go 1st class.
"Getting by" saves you money up front, but can cost you in more ways than you might imagine later.
Going 1st class with the Grasshopper has saved me time and money over 13 years, and it is still going strong!

04 May 2006

Stanley Hiller, 1924-2006

The ugly thing you see on the right is a Hiller helicopter.
When I got my Civilian Flight Instructor Certificate, it's the first machine I used to train students. They're relatively big, noisy, obviously ugly, and built like tanks.... heavy.
A great trainer.

Mr. Hiller is gone.........
ThirdWaveDave forwarded me the New York Times Obituary....
(they couldn't even get that right.....said this machine was used in the TV series MASH. That was a Bell 47, which I also have a bunch of time in!)

Thanks for thinking of me Dave!

I have a soft spot for this old bird........I've flown this machine in it's "B", "C", and "D" versions, and probably have 500 hours in the various iterations. It was terribly underpowered, but was forgiving in it's flight characteristics. It was slow, slow, slow........when the wind was blowing 20 knots on your nose, it was obvious that cars and trucks on roads beneath you were making better time to their destinations.

Stanley Hiller was born in 1924. When he was 8 years old, he invented a toy car with an engine that would propel it to 60 miles per hour, and sold a bunch of 'em.......made $100,000 on them in one year. Do the math with me: 1924 plus 8 years equals 1932.
$100K in the heart of the depression made 8 year old Stanley the envy of 99% of the U.S. population!

He was brilliant. It's hard to tell looking at the above picture, but his control system for the helicopter was unique: The Pilot's control inputs actually flew a set of paddles located 90 degrees ahead of the rotors. This control system negated the effects of gyroscopic precession and gave the Hiller it's slow, forgiving control quality.

Hiller, along with Arthur Young of Bell Helicopter, made the helicopter industry of today possible.
Igor Sikorsky invented the first practical helicopter, but Bell and Hiller made them dependable and (somewhat) affordable.

Thank you Mr. Hiller.
Rest in Peace.

03 May 2006

Juan Valdez, Drug Pusher

Coffee and caffeine......
Good for you/Bad for you.
You don't have to look far to find statistics backing up whichever position you take on this issue.

Like many, our home coffee maker has a timer. Our first gentle nudge toward wakefulness is the initial gurgle of near-boiling water being spritzed over fresh ground coffee downstairs in the kitchen.

My Old Man drank tons of it. He'd brew a pot in the morning, drink two cups before leaving for work, then put the rest of the pot in a quart thermos. The thermos would be empty by Noon, so he'd order a cup or two with lunch at one of his favorite restaurants, then ask them to refill the thermos as he paid for his meal. That quart would be gone by the time he got home, so he'd brew yet another pot to share with Mom during and after supper. I don't know how he did it..........he still slept like a baby.

I once attended an Army school where they had a "coffee club".
For $10 a week you could drink all the coffee you wanted during breaks between classes.
I joined.
I found that 8 cups in 8 hours made my hands shake like a palsy victim and kept me tossing and turning most of the night.
I guess I'm not my Father's son.

I like my coffee strong and black. I've found I can drink two cups in the morning before going to bed with little adverse effect.
I drink a cup when I wake in the afternoon, then grab another as I go out the door to work. I'll normally drink another cup or two sometime during the evening if it's available in whatever E.R. we get dispatched to.
Six cups, spread out over an 18 hour period, seems to be my comfort level.

I've found that if I skip my morning cuppa prior to hitting the sack,
I wake with a slight headache that will only go away about two or so hours after I've had a cup of Juan Valdez's magic potion.

One more thing..........
I like Arabica, and I brew it myself.
I'm too doggone cheap to pay $4.00 or more per cup to satisfy my drug habit!

01 May 2006


Just got back from 9 days of vacation.
I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

We drive the better part of twelve hours to get to our destination. Driving that distance takes a physical and mental toll.
We've learned to stop often and stretch our legs.....grab a bite to eat every four hours or so. Still, I can't go to sleep right away upon arriving, and I feel the effects of the drive for a couple days.

While on vacation, you want to "suck the last ounce of enjoyment" out of every day. There's stress involved there too........places to go, people to meet, stuff to see.
More driving.
Sure, all of this is enjoyable, but you're still tired when the day is done.

We had a High School reunion to attend on our way home, so we detoured from our normal route to head to my old stomping grounds and meet with my classmates. We had an absolutely wonderful time, but I have to admit I found myself in tears more than once during this meeting, so there's emotional stress involved there too.

Back home last night after almost 2,000 miles crossed in the 9 days. Many experiences and memories to recall.....most of them wonderful. I'm due to start my shift back at work tonight. Getting back into my normal routine will be less stressful than the "re-creation" I have experienced during the last week+.

Back to the normal routine..........but it will take a day or two to get back to "normal".