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July 23, 2007 [ More archived home pages here ]

Summer Break 2007


The above picture, Don's Prophecy, is my 200th published digital art image

Today's song is Vincent by Don McLean, released in 1971.

My newest digital image shown above is my last for a while, I think. I need to take a break from creativity for some of this summer. I created a lot this year already. All of it helped me continue to be a better speaker, storyteller, and artist.

A break will allow me to recharge and allow new experiences rinse through me unfettered.

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On Friday and Saturday my cousin Dennis and his wife Donna visited us. They now live in the Seattle, Washington area. We last saw them at our daughter's wedding reception back in July 2000.

Dennis gave me a CD of family photos of my maternal grandparents and great-grandparents. He told me that our Great-grandfather, Benjamin D. Honeyman started the Chicago Painters Union and was its first President back in the 1800's. That's cool!

Dennis and Donna asked us to come up and visit them. We may take them up on that and about that time visit our friends in North Bend, WA. I may also get a chance to do some research while in the Seattle area.

Saturday afternoon, Sherry and I attended the Twin Oaks Toastmasters July Speech Marathon and Summer Party at a member's home in nearby Escondido, CA. We had a great time listening to speeches and then having a chance to talk to each other while we ate great food.

I gave my sixth manual speech towards my AC Silver award by giving the first of five speeches from the advanced, Humorously Speaking manual. Below is the text of that prepared 5 - 7 minute speech, presented in front of the audience without notes.

The Bathroom Sink
At our mother's home during the summer of 1970, I was explaining to my skeptical older brother, how much fun scuba diving is. His skepticism arose because he didn't think putting on weights and jumping into deep water made too much sense.

One night I suggested he try on my scuba equipment and see how easy is it to breathe underwater using the bathroom sink. Filling it up with water, I inserted the scuba device into his mouth and guided him under the faucet, submerging his face.

Apparently, some water leaked into the device and he pushed the purge valve to clear the water, but breathed in at that same moment. Instead of clearing the hose, the water shot down his throat and he started to choke--then panic.

He tried to pull his head up, but the overhanging faucet prevented him. He continued to thrash about trying to free himself until I managed to extract his head from the sink. Tearing off the scuba device from his mouth, he quickly regained his breath.

He said to me. "I must be crazy listening to you! I can just read the headlines now":

"Man drowns in sink with diving gear on!"

That's just one of the many stories I have from the time I started scuba diving in June 1967. My friend, Scott got me hooked on scuba diving when he told me he was doing it. For about $150, I got into that sport with mask, fins, snorkel, tank, air-hose, and backpack.

Scott and I would travel to any place around the Chicago area where there was a reasonable depth of water. Lake Michigan was the closest. Lemont Quarry was another location.

The region underwater is a new world waiting to be explored. I found it fascinating to be 15 to 20 feet below the surface of the water and looking back up to see the sunlight reflecting above the waves. Usually the only noise you hear are the air bubbles from exhalation.

It's best to be trained in this sport. Scott and I became certified scuba divers in the summer of 1968. We had to learn some basic safety and rules about air pressure using Boyle's and Charles Laws'. We learned about removing our gear underwater, surfacing, and then going back down about 30 feet to put it all back on again.

Scott Soti and I last dove together in 1969. He and I didn't see each much of each other after that. He joined the Chicago Police department and became seriously involved with the love of his young life.

In 1970, I introduced my best friend, Bill, to scuba diving. He took to it the same way I had a few years earlier.

Bill and I used to scuba dive frequently up in Wisconsin lakes, near where he had a cabin in the woods. In 1971, we encouraged others to join us in Devil's Lake, Wisconsin and we often went there in a group of about six or seven guys. The water there was clearer than our other choices.

I remember being able to swim in a school of fish or remain neutrally buoyant, suspended about 50 feet below the surface. It was very relaxing.

We always garnered looks of amazement when we stepped out of the water with our scuba equipment on. Young children would ask us questions, adults mostly just looked on.

After an hour or so of diving, we would all return to that wooden cabin. At night we would cook by the fire, drink some beers, and exchange all kinds of stories as the flickering flames reflected off our faces. The last time we did that was back in 1972. Those were great times.

Bill and I use to joke about tricking a fisherman by placing a wax-paper note on his fishing hook and tugging on his line. When the fisherman would bring the hook to the surface he would be able to read the note about Star-Kist only taking the best Tuna.

We would often surface and tell fisherman where the schools of fish were. Sometimes they cared, sometimes not.

After I married, I did less and less scuba diving. Usually I went out alone in the small shallow lake near the cabin we would go to in Wisconsin where we had lived when we first married.

I last scuba dived in August 1984. I sold my scuba equipment in 1988. I still have this mask that is now 40 years old. My daughter will inherit it when the time comes.

I often think of my many scuba diving adventures. I enjoy those special memories of a time in my life when I was much more adventuresome. I was so different then.

I sometimes miss the serenity of peace that exists just below the surface of a lake. I rely on my excellent memory to transport me back there and then, as needed.

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You can get the iPhone in 29 colors.

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This lady has a real fast Internet connection.

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This will be my last Digital Insight for a while. It ties in with this anniversary of the first manned moon landing in July 1969.

Apollo Moon (Image created in July 1999)

I watched the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon in July 1969. As an avid follower of the Space Program, I was fixated in front of the TV as Walter Cronkite moderated the Moon landing sequence.

Thirty years later, Neil Armstrong spoke on the anniversary of that historic trip. I never met Neil Armstrong, but I wish I had. This image is a tribute to that Moon Mission thirty years ago.

Using my own words, I quote a portion from that page's narration:

"In the mid 1980's, my family became charter members to the Cernan Earth and Space Center located on the campus of Triton College, where I was teaching at the time. During the next three years, we met three of the astronauts that walked on the Moon. We will never forget those experiences of talking with them in-person."

Don


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