Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dan reading his Kindle

What do the following words bring to mind: Great Expectations, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers, A Tale of Two Cities? If you answered novels by Charles Dickens, you are correct. Yesterday I downloaded these novels to my Kindle along with every other novel by Charles Dickens which he published during his life. Even The Mystery of Edwin Drood, his unfinished novel, is among the fifty-one works which I downloaded.

Instead of the typical minute to a minute and a half, this download took five mintues or more. The charge for this download was just one dollar.

Tonight I downloaded a book (free) by George Eliot, "Scenes from Clerical Life." What to read next?

Nick and his family came over tonight. They left last Sunday and went to Branson. They arrived in Branson (via Springfield) Sunday afternoon and left Thursday. They stopped by to see my parents before coming back to Sand Springs.

I had another productive piano duet practice session this morning with Gail. We will be playing at Movie Night on Saturday. Our selection will be "Wade in the Water."

I went out to Lake Keystone today to collect the receipts and get the registration set up for 2010. Afterwards, we did our grocery shopping.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today's activities

I went to my dentist today. The hygenist, Kelly, did a lot of probing and poking in my mouth. The dentist said that I have two fillings which are leaking. They are old fillings (silver), and over time they do not hold up well. I have to go back in about a month so that the fillings can be replaced. Also, the dentist said I have a tooth which needs to be crowned.

Today was the first time I went anywhere in five days. It was below freezing, and I did not know if the car would start up right away; but it did. After my visit to the dentist, I took some books back to the library amd picked up one waiting for me. Next I went to the Case Community Center, the TCC Fitness Center being closed until after the beginning of the new year. The Case Community Center is the community center for Sand Springs. The TCC Fitness Center is a nicer facility than the Case. The Case is open to everyone, but the TCC center requires users to pay a fee to use. There were a couple dozen adolescents on the basketball court playing a noisy game of basketball, and there were a half dozen walkers on the elevated walking track around the court. I walked three miles.

On the way back home, I stopped at Braum's for a gallon of milk. Coming back to my car, the '96 Saturn, some boys in another car said a woman in another car had backed into my car. I looked at the front of my car where they said the impact took place and noticed the plate holder was cracked and pieces of it were missing. The lady was most apologetic and offered to make it right. Then I recognized her. I said "I know you." She said, "Yes, you do." It was Linda from the walking club. I told her to forget about the damage to the plastic plate holder. I was glad I had driven the '96 Saturn instead of the '08 Saturn.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cabin fever sets in

Tomorrow morning I go to the dentist for a six-month cleaning. It will give me a break from being cooped up in the house. Today is day number five since I have left the property, not that I have wanted to go anywhere especially. Today I stood on the porch for a while and watched the birds and cars go by. I'm down to the last story in the Sherlock Holmes collection I have been reading. I will take up Mark Twain next.

If it does not snow tomorrow, Gail and I plan to practice piano duets Wednesday morning. However, the forecast calls for snow, so we may be delayed once again.

I have finished my database of piano duet music. I have 45 books of piano duets and some 380 songs in my collection. I have even more pieces because I did not count the single sheets.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Sherlock Holmes

Since we are "snowed in," we worked on developing the art of lounging today. The only thing I did that could remotely be called work was taking the trash cart out to the curb. Our trash is picked up once a week on Monday. I cleared the gate of snow just enough to squeeze the cart through and then wheeled it to the curb. For our meals, we ate leftovers out of the refrigerator.

Normally, Gail comes over on Monday morning for duet practice. I gave her a call and we decided to delay our practice this week until Wednesday. By then, I hope the ice will be off the roadways. I had planned to attend a memorial service in Tulsa for Bill F., but due to the weather, I did not go.

I spent the day reading (more Sherlock Holmes stories) and playing piano. I also listened to some CDs and read the newspaper online.

It was not a very exciting day, but it was a day without stress. I'm getting this lounging down.

No church service today

We got a call from a member of the Methodist church yesterday saying that there would be no service today. Also, I noticed on the TV that there is no service at Restoration today. So we stayed in today. I went out and got the Sand Springs newspaper from the driveway a few moments ago. There was a long listing of churches scrolling across the bottom of the TV screen which called off services for today on account of the snow.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

'Twas the day after Christmas

Today is the day after Christmas. We received a heavy snow on Christmas Eve and have been inside the house ever since then. I walked to the mailbox and brought in the mail. Other than that brief sojourn, I have been inside.

I have been developing the art of lounging for the last two days. I have been playing the piano, working on my database of sheet music, reading, surfing the net, and staying inside. I have an appointment to see my dentist next Tuesday morning. That may be the next time I get out. One good thing about being retired is that your requirements to be at a certain place at a certain time is greatly reduced.

Today I fixed lunch. I pealed three potatoes and boiled a chicken breast, added some noodles, and called it lunch.

In the afternoon I read a Sherlock Holmes mystery on my Kindle: "The Man With the Twisted Lip." Yesterday, I downloaded another free book: The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain.

Tonight we watched a movie I had checked out from the library: Rain Man. Part of the movie was shot in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

I suspect it will be a few days before we get a significant amount of melting, being we are so early in the winter. The forecast indicates highs in the 30s the next few days.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Record snowfall hits OKC

Today was a big snow day in Oklahoma. OKC got, at last count, over 14 inches of snow. All interstate highways are now closed. I hope my friends from Tecumseh got to Springfield before this weather turned everything white. Several weather records were broken this day.

We had planned to go to Nick's tonight and open presents, but with the sleet and snow and cold, we decided to stay in. So the two of us had Christmas together and opened our presents here. After we opened our gifts, I went to the kitchen table and assembled a jigsaw puzzle from my cousin Vicki in Houston. Vicki, you are so good.

Three people were killed tonight in a car accident in Sand Springs. The accident happened at the intersection of Highway 97 and Highway 51, just on the south side of the bridge over the Arkansas River. A man, his wife, and a child were the victims. One moment they were fine; in the next instant, they were dead. This is the night before Christmas, and with people still out shopping, there have been many accidents this evening. I am glad I don't have to be out tonight.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve

Tomorrow will be our last chance to do Christmas shopping. We went out today and shopped for both groceries and gifts.

This evening I read a short story on my Kindle written by Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. It is a story I read decades ago: "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League." It is from the collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This book is just one of several hundred, maybe thousands, which are free to download on the Kindle. Most of the free books are older books, such as the Sherlock Holmes books. A lot of classics of English and American literature are available to download at no charge. The books come in to your Kindle by an electronic signal. It takes about a minute or a minute and a half to download a book.

Also this evening, I worked on building my database of piano duet sheet music. At this time I am working on just the sheet music in collections in books. I have entered song titles and composers for 30 books now (some 230 titles). I have 14 more books to enter into the database. I also have several single pieces, which I may later add to the database.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tonight I want to write about a source for sheet music which I use. I like to shop at Saied's in Tulsa. They have the best selection of sheet music locally. However, they don't have everything. Whenever I can't find sheet music I am looking for at Saied's, I like to shop online at They have about everything.

They have a low shipping charge of just $2.99 on most shipments. Also, when your shipment arrives, so does a coupon for $1.50 off your next purchase.

So, if you have never shopped at, go there and have a look.

As for my health, I am doing better now. I hope to be back to 100% soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

There is a web site called I have visited this site frequently. If you teach English, you might like to get familiar with this site.

It is an English vocabulary-building site. A word appears on the screen and four choices are available to choose from. The object is to select the correct synonym among the four. If you would like to hear the word pronounced, click on the speaker icon and hear the word pronounced. If you guess wrongly, the word will reappear after a few choices. The greater your success, the more difficult the words become.

Somehow, playing this vocabulary quiz is supposed to provide grains of rice to hungry people. I don't understand, but that is what the web site claims.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sickness cancels plans

Tonight I had planned to go to Randy's for our annual HumanLight Celebration, but when I got up this morning I could tell I did not feel right. I made three phone calls (Gail, Randy, and Barbara) to inform them I would not be going to the Celebration. Instead of reaching Gail, I got her voice mail. I spoke with Randy and told him I would not be there. Barbara was out, but I spoke with her daughter.

Throughout the day, I napped on and off. When I got up in the morning, I felt as if it were time to go back to bed. And after being up just a couple of hours, I would go back to bed for a while. So I was up and down all day today. I have been inside the house all day. J made a trip to Braum's for a gallon of OJ. Gail returned my phone call and said we might do a performance for HAT later on.

Yesterday, I went to TCC to walk. I made my goal of a mile a day for this year. I'm at 369 miles for the year. How many miles did you log this year? Depending upon the weather, I may yet do another volkswalk or two before the year's end. Volkswalking is a popular sport in Oklahoma. In other parts of the nation it is almost unheard of.

I sent off my index yesterday. I heard back from the editor I was working with. She said the editors of the volume were pleased with the revisions I made. I should be getting a check for this work shortly. The index was 14 pages long.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Revisions complete

Tonight I finished making revisions to my index. Tomorrow I will send it off, and then I should have time to do other things, such as get ready for the party at Randy's house on Saturday. I will be playing piano. We have a little group we call Secular Singers, who put on a small show for the group. Last year we had about 25 people at Randy's house. Secular Singers is made up of four, sometimes five, people.

I also would like to go walking. If the weather is good, I would like to do a volkswalk. If the weather is not great, then I will go to TCC and walk there.

I had an appointment with Dr. Shirk, my audiologist at noon today. I told her about a couple of problems with my hearing aids. She made some adjustments which helped. Specifically, when I play piano, the sound I get from the aids has a rattle to it. It sounds somewhat better now, but when the volume increases, I hear the rattle. She seemed impressed with the piano I have and with the fact that I play duets on a regular basis.

Yesterday was the day of our monthly luncheon at White River Fish Market. Besdies the two of us, there was Dave and Marilyn. So the four of us had a meal together.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A message from Bob H.

Bob sent me a message to pass along to others in our group. The link to it is below:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Bell Choir Concert

I did not post anything last night, so I have some catching up to do. The week began with my piano partner, Gail, coming over. She had to take her dog by the vet and was a few mintues late arriving. Her dog had an abscessed tooth. The vet gave her some medicine for the dog.

That evening, J and I went to a bell choir concert at St. Paul's Methodist Church in Tulsa. We heard the Tulsa Festival Ringers in the sanctuary of the old church. There were 16 bell ringers who gave a concert lasting about an hour. By observing the bell ringers, I learned that there are various ways to ring bells. The normal way is to pick up the bell by the handle and give it a short wave. I also saw ringers striking the bell on the table in front of them. Mallets were used to ring the bells sometimes. After bells were rung, sometimes they were waved behind the ringers. Sometimes they were immediately muted by pressing them into the ringer's shirt. The ringers also had bells that looked a lot like a short piece of tubing used to support traffic signs - metal that is about an inch square and about a foot and a half long, with a clanker on the end to create the sound. Clanker may not be the right word; maybe striker would be a better word.

The bells were in different sizes. The short small bells make the higher pitches, while the larger bells create the deeper tones. It was a cold night, and we hastened home after the concert.

Before the concert, I received an e-mail from a client I index for. If was feedback from my latest indexing job. The editors of the collection of essays had a few changes they would like to have made to the index. Actually, they had a lot of changes. I started revising the index once I got home last night. I got up early this morning and continued working on the revisions, breaking in the afternoon in order to go to my optomitrist for my annual checkup. She said everything looks good.

I returned home and resumed revising the index, omiting some entries, adding others. It's a good thing I have the book on disk as a PDF file. That makes searching for a word quick and easy. I am in the M's now. I will try to finish by tomorrow evening, but that may be a little optimistic. After a few hours of doing this kind of work, I have to stop. The fatigue builds up rather quickly. Your mind goes numb.

I never did tell you about the lady at All Souls who rebuked me for taking pictures of the gathering for Greg Epstein, who spoke at the church. I took a couple of flash pictures and moments later a lady approached me wanting to know if i had permission to take pictures and what I was planning to do with the pictures. She said that she might lose her job if the pictures were published. While I was sympathetic with her situation, I wondered if she had thought out the situation she was in. She comes to hear a person speak on "Good Without God," and then is surprized to see someone there taking pictures. I was just the first person to take pictures. Kenny was there with his camera, and I think two other people were taking pictures.

As it turns out, I used only one picture on my blog, and it was taken from the rear of the congregation and shows the congregants from the rear. I have no idea what became of the other photographers pictures. I though at the time (ironically) "What a profile in courage," but I did not say anything. I did hear that there were some people from ORU there. Epstein did speak at ORU while in Tulsa. She might have been from ORU. I guess I will never know. I later looked at the pictures and saw one woman holding a book over her face. I think that was her.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Daily events (WARNING: Contains spoilers)

Today I went to Church of the Restoration. This was Bill's last day to attend CoR, as he will be moving back to New England later this week. Cleon announced that he has set up a web site for CoR. The URL is I haven't yet taken a look at the site but plan to do so as soon as I get this blog posting up. Cleon was today's lay leader. There were seven or eight in attendance this morning.. Next Sunday's service will be a singing of Christmas carols, but I will have to miss that service. Jan wants me to attend her church next week.

After church, I drove to Woodland Hills Mall to do some Christmas shopping. The first thing i did upon arriving was to get something to eat. There are several choices in the food court. I decided to eat at a place called "Big Easy Cajun." I got the Bourbon chicken with brown beans and rice. There were a lot of folks out shopping this afternoon. The dining area at the food court was crowded.

After eating, I went to Dillard's and bought a cologne set called "Beautiful" for J. The price was the same as it had been at Stage earlier this week. Stage had sold out of the product when I checked on it there last Friday.

I went downstairs and bought a calendar for Nick. It is the kind of calendar where you tear off a page each day. The theme of this calendar is origami. When a day has passed, you tear off the day and fold it into something according to the instructions on the page. I had both gifts wrapped. It was free at Dillard's, but to get Nick's gift wrapped, I had to pay two dollars.

I passed by something interesting on the way out of the mall. A merchant was selling toy helicopters which actually flew (price $20 to $50). You control the toys with a remote control device. I would have bought one for Luke, but it looked like it could get him into trouble at his house. I could just see him flying the toy into people. He already has a bad habit of throwing things. A remote controlled helicopter would be too much of a temptation for him.

This evening, I went to the Methodist church for a musical program. Various choirs sang (including Ayla). The Dobbs and Matt performed as a brass quartet. The bell choir (with about a dozen ringers) performed two selections. I took my camera and snapped a few pictures.

When we got home, I took a couple of pictures of the homemade Christmas tree i mentioned last posting. I was going to post one, but J said no. She fears theives would be enticed to break into our house and steal the ornaments.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our tree is up

Today we put up a Christmas tree. We have two trees and alternate between the two. One is a plastic tree in three sections which when assembled make one tree. The other tree is made from dowels. The trunk if made of a dowel about an inch and a quarter thick. It is this tree we erected this morning.

We had to get the stand out of the attic to hold the tree in place. The tree is made of five dowels. The inch and a quarter one for the trunk. Four other dowels about a quarter of an inch thick run through the trunk at various heights. It is homemade.

Each Christmas we buy a dated Hallmark ornament to add to our collection. It takes a while to unpack each ornament from its box and hang it on the tree. After Christmas, we will have the task of putting each ornament back in its box and packing it all away. The ornament we bought for this year is of a white horse on a wheeled base. A bear is riding on the back of horse. We now have 33 or 34 ornaments. We have bought one each Christmas since we have been married. I will try to take a picture of the tree tomorrow and post it tomorrow night. We have run out of space for ornaments. We had to place a few around the tree at the base. Since we are needing more space on the tree to hang ornaments, I will make another tree before next Christmas. I will buy a longer dowel for the trunk and add an additional quarter-inch dowel for another branch.

Ayla is spending the night with us tonight. She will go with J to church in the morning. I will go to my church in the morning, and afterwards I may do some shopping for Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Book Signing

This morning after getting up (we slept late), we headed over to Barnes and Noble Bookstore on 71st Street for a book signing held by Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain for Harvard University. Greg has written a book titled Good Without God and is on a book tour promoting his book by speaking to sympathetic audiences. He spoke last night at All Souls Unitarian Church.

The book signing was held from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM today. Here is a picture I had taken with the author.

This evening J and I went to Border's Bookstore for the monthly meeting of the poetry group. Tonight we read and talked about poems written by Thomas Hardy and two minor English poets. Next month, we will read and discuss selected poems by Tennyson.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

U. N. Declaration of Human Rights Anniversary

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since 1948 was the year of my birth, that would make this year the 61st year the declaration has been in effect.

I was glad to hear Rick Warren come out and condemn the bill which would make homosexuality a capital crime in Uganda. My friend, Galen, from California send me a link to a YouTube message in which Warren condemns the proposed law and urges his fellow Christians in that country to oppose the bill. You can view the video here:

Today I took the '96 Saturn to the repair shop. The coolant light was flashing. I had added coolant to the reservoir, but the light kept flashing. We decided to take it in and put the system under pressure to see where the leak was originating. I also had a brake light that was out, which I did not know about until I was driving the car to the shop and J (following me in the other car) noticed the tail light being out.

A couple hours later the man from the shop called and told me the repair would be covered by a repair warranty from back in February when I had the radiator replaced. Once the car was fixed, the man at the shop called and said my car was ready. We went in and discovered there was no charge. They even replaced the tail light for free.

Tonight we went to All Souls Unitarian Church to hear Greg Epstein, the Humanist chaplain from Harvard, speak on the topic "Good Without God." There were a couple of hundred people there to hear Epstein speak. The visit was sponsored by the Tulsa Coalition of Reason, the Humanist Association of Tulsa, and the Interfaith Alliance.

I took my camera and shot a few pictures. Here is one:

This is not my best photo work, but it will give you an idea of the size of the crowd (I would estimate about 200). Some of the sanctuary is not visible in the photo.

The event was originally to be held in Emerson Hall, the fellowship hall for the church, but was moved to the main sanctuary to accommodate the large turnout.

A woman I had never met came up to me and rebuked me for taking photos. I will write about this incident tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas shopping

Today we went Christmas shopping. We shopped at three stores in Sand Springs and one store in Sapulpa. We bought items today for my cousin Vicki who lives in Houston. I won't say what we bought, since Vicki sometimes reads this blog. Tonight my spouse wrapped the things she bought and I wrapped the things I bought, and J packaged them up in a box, ready to mail.

While we were out, we ate at Lin Cuisine, a Chinese restaurant. The music was so loud in the restaurant that I had to remove my hearing aids. Our last stop was in Sapulpa where we visited the Dollar Tree. Vicki and I have a tradition of getting each other ten items from the dollar store for Christmas.

Today a winter storm passed just to the north of us. It is supposed to get very cold tonight and not warm up a lot tomorrow. Winter has arrived. We finally got around to putting the storm door glass in the front door tonight.

Tonight I printed some poems which we will be reading this Friday evening at the poetry gathering at Border's.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Geraldine Brooks at Tulsa Central Library

Recent events

I had another good practice session with Gail this morning. We had our first run through of "Give Thanks" -- a piece we are considering playing at the local Methodist church sometime in the future. We also played a couple of Christmas pieces we will be playing at Randy's later on this month.

Afterwards, we went to Dr. Shirk's office to get my hearing aids. Hearing aids have really gone high tech. In addition to getting the hearing aids, I got a device you wear around your neck (about an inch and a half square and a half inch thick) which you use for listening to an MP3. The signal is sent directly to the hearing aids. The aids even have a remote control. When I figure all this out, I may have more to say about it.

One thing I did yesterday is go to a program at the library where the Distinguished Author Award for 2009 was given to Geraldine Brooks. I took a few pictures and may post one here.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Good without God video

Click the link below to view a video on being good without God.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Among friends

This picture was taken tonight at Movie Night at the Bradleys. Those in the picture are (going clockwise from my wife) Jan, myself, Gail Storey, Dawn Bradley, Randy Bradley, Bea McCartney,Barbara Frey, Shane McCurdy, Marilyn Clarke, Herb Van Fleet. We sat around and talked for a while and then Gail and I played "Yankee Doodle Variations." We moved to the Bradleys' movie viewing room and watched Labyrinth.

Prior to Movie Night the Secular Singers held a rehearsal using Randy's piano.

Barbara's son-in-law, Clinton, took this picture.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I opt out of flu shot

I have spent most of this day indexing. We went up to TCC's Fitness Center this morning and walked three miles. While there we saw the Tulsa County Health Department setting up to give flu shots.

On the way home we stopped at Subway and got a 5$ footlong, Black Forest ham. We took it home and ate it.

In the afternoon, Mrs. Nerren went back to TCC and got the flu shot. The shot was for the H1N1 flu. I did get a seasonal flu shot about two months ago.

It's time to go to bed and get some rest and continue indexing in the morning.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Flu shot?

This morning I spoke with the managing editor at DO and told her I plan to send the index file next Monday. She said that would be fine. She sent me a list put together by the editors of the volume of terms they thought might be included in the index. She said to use it as I see fit. The index is now 11 pages long.

I have not had the time to do much with my new Kindle. I have not yet downloaded any books. I thought I might wait until the index is finished before doing that.

I saw Dr. Rapacki today. I asked when it would be OK to get a shot for the H1N1 virus. He said anytime, but warned me about studies which show that people who get consecutive flu shots (such as one shot five years in a row) have a higher susceptability of developing Alzheimer's disease. I have already had one flu shot this year - the seasonal flu shot. Should I get a shot for the H1N1, or just take my chances?

This evening while Nick was at choir practice, we had Luke and Ayla. We drove them around looking at Christmas house decorations for the hour he was away.

Appointment change

Yesterday, we went to Dr. Rapacki's office at 11:00. When we got there we learned that my appointment had been changed to the next day at 10:40. No one had called us to let us know. We went back home.

Work on the index is going slower than I had planned. Galen, I have received your questions, but it may be next week before I can respond to them. I had hoped to have the index finished by Friday, but it loooks now like it will be Monday before it is ready to send.