Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Passage I Hate

There is a verse that's giving me fits right now. I so wish it weren't there. You see, I've got 41 days left in my career and things are getting really stupid and stressful at my school. From no pencil sharpeners to Mexican walkouts to no toilet paper, the working conditions are abysmal.

And I have the sick days to use that would extricate me from this morass. It's a very painless process to inform the dean that I'm gonna be out. It can be done clinically and easily.

But with every fiber of my being screaming for a break, God whispers in my ear through Paul's pen:

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." Eph. 6:5

So, you see, I can't. I'm serving Christ, not just DISD.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


There I am at Bachmann Lake on Friday, awaiting the takeoff of a beautiful 747 (see blog entry below). But as I waited, God sent a little reminder that His creations are pretty good, too. I'm not a duckologist...to me this is just a duck. But as she (has to be a she...too beautiful) swam by, I couldn't resist taking my eyes from the sky and snapping off this shot.

Friday, March 24, 2006

One Man's Toy

The above airplane belongs to the 5th richest man in the world. He's a Saudi prince and this is one of his toys. It has been at Love Field recently because its interior was redone by a company there. Now a lot was done to the exterior as well, but it's the inside that staggers the imagination. Gold and marble to the max. Plasma TV's everywhere, including the restrooms. The bill? A mere $80 million. Eighty million just on the interior. That's more than I make in two years!

I invited a couple of Christian friends to join me on the inside of the plane today. We were unanimous in our assessment: this poor man has issues with his priorities.

Well anyway, the aircraft is off to Paris tonight, then on to Saudi Arabia after some sleep for the crew. I got this shot as it was tucking in the wheels.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March Madness

Point: I was informed Tuesday that it was time to take my annual physical that all bus drivers take. Usually, the way this is handled is that I go over to the bus headquarters and let the staff physician knock it out in 10 minutes. (If you have a pulse, you can drive.) But for reasons known only to Lucifer, this one was farmed out to a local clinic.

I arrived at 4:10. I walked out at 7:00 having not seen a doctor yet. Hungry, mad, exhausted, I was beyond exasperation.

But at least they will let me do it the old-fashioned way tomorrow...allowing me to get a day off from teaching (heh-heh).

Point: How terminally ignorant is the DISD? Get this. We have to buy our own pencil sharpeners. Reason? "They're not in the budget," said the dean of instruction.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

This....is a "winglet".

Have you noticed them before? It's actually called a "blended winglet". They are retrofitted on an aircraft's wingtips and give the appearance of a wing with a curl at the end. I got this picture of one yesterday at the maintenance area for Southwest Airlines. This one had some paint damage and was going to be tidied up before being re-attached. They run a cool $150,000 each.

Some folks think the airlines have put them on because they're cool looking. Nay, nay. This little design change increases speed, takeoff climb, turning ability, and even lowers emissions somehow. But the biggest plus is fuel savings. The 500 737's that are fitted with winglets in the world today save 50 million gallons of fuel each year. If every commercial aircraft had them, the savings would be $1.8 billion a year.

Maybe we can somehow attach 'em to SUV's.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Such Fun...

It's not what you know, it's who you know. Two Decembers ago, I'm sitting alone in a far corner of DFW airport...waiting for random jets to taxi by. A car pulls up behind me and out steps Stan Steadman. Stan is in charge of the 911 dispatchers in Lewisville and a confirmed aviation nut.

All we did for the next hour was talk planes. He was super nice and I got his email address. Later, I wrote him and thanked him for the time well spent. He wrote back, saying he noticed the scripture I used for my email signature. Turns out he is a fantastic Christian. Since then, we have shared prayer requests and gotten to know each other very well.

Fast forward to today. One of Stan's buddies is Jay Oros, a former detective for the Lewisville PD. Last November, Jay was hired by Southwest Airlines to head up security for their corporate offices. Jay had seen some of my photos and wanted to get me "airside" at Love Field. Today, the three of us met at noon and spent an hour and a half around the runways and taxiways there. And that's how I got the above shot.

I think my next blog entry will be about a small chunk of metal that some Southwest jets have that costs a mere $150,000. I know I've got you on the edge of your seat.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

March Musings

1. The seasons are changing. There are trees and bushes that are blooming and their fragrance is a reminder that with nature, as with God, there is renewal.

2. Got a call today from an old teacher friend of mine who retired ten years ago. He and his wife spent their free time RV-ing around the country. Two years ago, he lost her to breast cancer. He admitted he's looking for another wife who shares the thrill of the road. Joy isn't joy unless you can share it with someone.

3. Friday, I get to go "airside" at Love Field. Airside means inside. A friend of a friend is gonna let me have access to the runways and hopefully I can get some cool landing shots. Unfortunately, rain and cold is causing me to cancel a similar experience scheduled for Saturday at DFW. But hey, we need the rain.

4. Carole is so blessed to have recovered from the flu so quickly. I certainly didn't want her to spend her week off in bed.

5. I used to love this time of year for the thrill of severe weather. Used to get all pumped up when a line of storms was approaching. Maybe I'm wiser now. I've seen what hail can do to my house and my pocketbook. I live in an area outside the earshot of tornado sirens. Severe weather is serious business.

5. 53 days left and counting in my career. 6500+ down, 53 to go. Should I be writing a book already on my experiences in a large, urban middle school? Would people believe me when I pull back the curtain on some of the ridiculous stuff I've seen and experienced? Like the time a girl told another girl that her mother's head was shaped like "a Russian bullfrog"?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Carole is Better!

There's this medicine called "Tamiflu". If you've got the flu and can start this drug before 24 hours has elapsed, it'll do wonders.

Carole was the typical flu patient...nauseated, fever-stricken, and achey to the max. We got her on Tamiflu Monday afternoon. She felt some better by Monday evening and quite a bit better by Tuesday. No fever since Monday. She still hurts behind her eyeballs, kind of typical for a flu patient, but is up and about today. She's not well enough to be out running errands, but she's incredibly better than she was Monday morning.

What a crazy name for a medicine...Tamiflu, pronounced "Tammy-flu". Would they name a drug "Ellenmeasles"?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ugh, the Flu

My beautiful wife is the healthiest person I know. She eats right, knows the latest findings on nutrition and medicine, and gets a flu shot every year.

Uh, she's got the flu. Maybe airline travel is to blame. Airplanes are notorious for the air they recirculate through the cabin. We took a short trip to San Antonio Saturday morning, spending less than hour in the cabin. And then back again yesterday evening. By bedtime last night, Carole was sick.

By the middle of the night, she had 101.5 fever. We were blessed to get her in to see a great internist today and she will be taking something called Tamiflu, a drug that is supposed to cut in half the days spent in the grips of influenza.

Poor Carole. She finally gets a free week and this happens. I promise to give her the best care I can. It may not be based on knowledge of medicine, but it'll be borne of great love...and that is the best I can provide at the moment.

Post-script: If you are a sports fan, the above plane is the team plane of the Houston Rockets. Brett and I observed it arriving in San Antonio on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Miracle Workers

I rarely recommend a television show since I rarely get involved in a series. I tend to watch historical and scientific documentaries.

But Monday night, ABC showed a new program called "Miracle Workers". The show's premise is to take hopeless medical cases and turn them over to doctors who use cutting-edge techniques. The first show featured a Houston lady who pretty much had no disks in a portion of her spine. The bone-on-bone that was left pressed on nerves, causing her immense pain.

Also featured was a guy who lost his sight at age 12. He had been given penicillin even though he was fiercely allergic to the drug. The ensuing complications seared his corneas. He was married with three kids, but had never seen his family members.

To make a long story short, both got the desired results. The lady is now pain free. The guy can now see.

I can't wait to see the next show. This is much better than the usual garbage the networks feed us.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

How Much Does God Control?

Lately, I've heard Oprah mention that "there are no coincidences" and "there's no such thing as luck". I think to a Christian, these statements do have some validity.

When something wonderfully fortunate happens in my life, I'm hesitant to attribute it to blind luck. When something terribly unfortunate happens, and I'm the only one suffering, I wonder if it falls in the category of God's discipline.

Now, is God involved to the extent that He's the reason my pencil lead breaks? I think not. To a degree, things in our lives are simply the natural course of affairs.

But I'm convinced God is involved more than we think, particularly if we have asked Him to be. I have no reservations praying about seemingly ultra-mundane things...such as my 4th period class coming in ready to work or good weather for a trip. To me, that acknowledges God's power and His care and His love. And when 4th period DOES come in ready to work, I don't view it as happenstance and I really DO thank God for it.

So, score one for Oprah.