Category Archives: Life

PhotoDynamic Therapy and Me

I am not much of an athlete but I try and stay active and get outside every day even during the work week, even when it is cold, I try and spend some time getting some fresh air..


I also have fair skin and having that and being in the sun is not the best thing. I like to go hiking, bicycling, geocaching, trailrunning, all sorts of stuff. 


I wear a 110 SPF sun screen every single day of the year and always wear a hat. Still I am on  a first name basis with my Dermatologist, (I call her Dr. D). I go there at least twice a year and get my pre-cancerous cells blasted with liquid nitrogen. She has had to scrape a few off and one time I had to have some “chemo cream” on my forehead. That was a sight I tell you!!


So a few months ago I was in her exam room and she was blasting away and then said we needed to talk. She suggested that since I had so many pre-cancerous lesions she suggested Photodynamic Therapy. What happens is that spread a cream with a medicine that is preferentially absorbed by the bad cells. That takes about an hour. (I call it the marinating phase.) And then they expose my face to a strong light source that reacts with the medicine and kills the bad cells. (I call that the cooking phase.) So this week I had it done. 

Alan - before pdt
Post Marinade and Cooking phase

The marinating phase went off without a hitch. The technician cleans your face really good, finished off by a rinse with alcohol, and then spreads the cream on  your face and then I waited for an hour. And then I put some goggles on and stuck my face inside the light device and she turned it on and wow, was it bright, and hot. The reaction with the skin starts right away and the lights also make it heat hot and it was getting a little intolerable and then she gave me a fan to hold and direct upward and that got rid of the heat generated by the light and the stinging from the chemical got better in a few minutes.

Pro Tip 1: If you go through this, I highly recommend a small fan you can hold in your hand. It made all the difference in the world to me.

This baking phase only lasted 16 minutes and it passed fairly quickly. Then the tech shut off the light and wiped my face off with cold water which felt pretty darned good. She had an outstanding suggestion for any post treatment burning and tingling. 

Pro Tip 2: Get some Aloe Vera gel and put it in the refrigerator! That was her outstanding suggestion and it worked. I love aloe vera gel anyway but when you put it on your burning skin and it is refrigerated,it stopped the burning cold.

So for 40 hours afterward I have to stay out of the sun, and away from windows and even strong lights. In about a month I will go back to see Dr. V for an evaluation and I am told and I read that often a second round is necessary so maybe I’ll get marinated and cooked again. 

I am extremely thankful for therapies like this that prevent malignant cancers and I am also still amazed at health care in this country where if you are employed and have insurance, or if you are on medicare, life is good, and if you don’t have insurance, well your goose is cooked.

Want to know more? Check out this article for some good information and you can type “Photodynamic Therapy” in your favorite search engine to find out even more.

In the meantime, I will be switching even more from baseball style caps to wide brim styles. Anybody know of a wide brim bicycle helmet? I can run with a wide brim hat, that is no problem. I will also be seeing Dr. V at least twice a year for the rest of my life. 

Pro Tip 3: If you are having skin problems go see a dermatologist. One that is a lot younger than you. You don’t need them retiring just when you need them the most.

Online Life – Closer to Home


The photos in this post have nothing to do with the subject. I like breaking things up a little bit.

You know I really enjoy the internet. I love facebook, even the political posts. I adore Instagram. I live on Instagram. I have my own account (@yogiab) and I post on two other accounts administered by the Tulsa RiverParks Authority (@riverparks and @turkeymountain). I have a twitter account (@alanbbates) and linked in and so on. Of course I have this blog and I administer the Skywatch Friday photo meme and I just love it all. Maybe too much. I have looked at it as a addition to instead of replacement of a social life. Of course I don’t really have a social life so I may be just fooling myself.


Things though are changing with the internet. We have a President who loves to tweet without too much thought about what he says. He just types it out and lets it fly. We have the new gizmos like Amazon Electra devices that are always on and can supposedly help you out with all sorts of things. I wonder just where things are going. It seems that blogs are getting phased out by twitter and Instagram. I get a lot more people “liking” my Instagram posts than read my blog posts. (I do love it when people read my blog posts and love it even more when they comment on them.)


The internet has intruded on my life (or maybe its the other way around) in new ways this week. I have had a bad hay fever bout the last week and a half and over the years I have figured out how to handle them but this time it progressed to a sinus infection. Okay, still no big deal and then suddenly on Wednesday it got into my ears. Time to go see a doctor. Well guess what, my doctor is on vacation this week and I was told to call the next morning, first thing to see if I could be “squeezed” in sometime the next day. Hmmm that didn’t sound good. I hate urgent care places. My employer sponsors a clinic but it was getting late in the day. So I tried our insurance company’s online providers.


They gave me the choice of two of them so I picked “Amwell” and it took about two hours as somebody somewhere was having technical issues but when I finally hooked up with the company doctor it went fairly well. She was very nice and unhurried and asked a bunch of questions that gave me confidence that she knew what she was doing. So she ended up writing me a prescription that she emailed to my pharmacy. All of that only cost me a $5 copay.


The next thing is that I needed a small job done. The privacy fence between us our and neighbor is wobbly. I got with my neighbor and I was talking to him about maybe we could reset the fence posts and all that and he looked at me and said “Alan, I am not really into manual labor any more.” Which was great news to me because I am not either. I set my share of fence posts 45 years ago working for free for my Dad on pasture in Arizona and then later, getting paid, as a summer roustabout for Mobil Oil in the Permian Basin. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work digging down to the concrete and then breaking it out and resetting the post if the post were good or putting a new post in if the old one were rotten.


My neighbor got laid off and found another job out of state and has a contract on his house and is hip deep in projects he needs done before he can close so I told him that I would find somebody to do the job. Do you know how hard that is now? Used to be everybody knew somebody who could do odd jobs at a fair price. I lived in a town north of Houston and I needed my house painted. Somebody told me to call this guy. The guy turned out to be an undocumented (cuz I don’t like calling people illegal) and he said he would do it for $400 plus the cost of the paint. I asked him how long it would take him and he said one day. So I said okay. Turned out he was an Assembly of God preacher and he and a bunch of guys from his church painted the exterior of my house in one day and did a great job.


So where are these guys? I looked at the online services such as Angie’s list and was a little leary and when I checked further I got really leary. They charge the handyman a stiff price for the “lead” whether I hire the dude or not. So they are not really into estimates. They want hired to do the job and I don’t blame them. I wanted an estimate though since I was representing both me and my neighbor and I don’t mind paying for somebody’s labor. I just want to know what I am getting into. So I found a guy and he came out and made all the right noises and is going to get back with me and so we will see.

This online world is going to go on whether I like it or not and I can tell you that I have been around long enough to know that fighting change is futile. I am not a gung hoe embrace change kind of guy but I am a “choose how you deal with it” kind of guy. It just seems like we are losing the personal touch now days. The glue that binds us together. Things are so contentious and snarky and in your face.

So I’ll go along with these changes but I am going to do my best to make them on my terms and maintain my humanity and concern for others.

Alrighty, I’ll get off my soap box for now.

That Time of Year


We fell back yesterday, which is fine for a Sunday. Today was a long day at work and when I left it was dark and rainy. It makes me want to hibernate until Spring. So now I will go to work in the dark and leave.

I’ll have to go back to running in the dark for my Wednesday night runs.


And I doubt that I’ll go run the night trail runs on Turkey Mountain any longer. I feel too much. When I fell i didn’t just stumble and fall I mean I pancaked. I probably set off seisometers.


Speaking of seisometers. We had an earthquake here in Oklahoma. It was very near Cushing which is a big oil hub in North America. It is where the international benchmark “West Texas Intermediate” is set.  Not a good place for an earthquake.


Many people in Oklahoma, whether in the industry or not, are not happy with our Governor, (who once called earthquakes “Freedom Shakes”) and her merry band of idiots.

Oh well,


The Debate


I don’t know about you but the debate gave me a headache.  The Dallas Cowboys won Sunday night though. I’m glad I didn’t join any of the drinking games associated with the debate. I feel that I wasted my time watching it.

My Big Day!

Tulsa County Courthouse

We had a little legal matter to attend to Thursday at our courthouse, me, the wife, and the kid. Nobody is in trouble, not in the slightest, just one of those things we had to do. So we all showed up and met our attorney who briefed on what was going to happen. So when the time came we went into the courtroom and raised our hands for the oath,  and talked with the judge about this that and the other. She asked questions and we answered them and then we signed some stuff and she signed some stuff and we left. We were feeling really good about the whole thing.

Tulsa County Courthouse

And then we followed our attorney down to the second floor to the clerks office and all the things we signed and the judge signed were copied and stamped and initialed and examined and talked about and discussed. And then we moved away from the counter to another counter and our attorney was explaining this and that and when this and that needed to happen and what we had to do for this form and for that form and we were like okay,

#sheriff #office #tulsa #oklahoma #courthouse

And while all this was going on one of the clerks working there came up and and whispered very quietly in my ear, “Sir, your pants are blown out in the back.”  And then she walked off.

Uh okay, so I stood there and listed to the lawyer finish up her spiel, and then we all three walked back through the courthouse, down to the street, and two blocks back to the parking garage. I was feeling the breeze the whole time if you know what I mean.


Labyrinths, etc


I was out and about and decided to go find a geocache at a local church. Right close to the cache was a Labyrinth and some instructions on how to use it. A labyrinth is not like a maze in that there are no choices to make or puzzles to solve. You follow the maze to the middle and then go back the way you came. It is presented as an aid to prayer. I’m okay with that. I googled Christianity and Labyrinths and boy talk about controversy. 


In New Orleans I went briefly into the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, King of France. It is quite the building and the sanctuary is spectacular.


Geocaching in north Tulsa I come across another church. Lots more humble but they are trying just as hard, if not harder.

I am fascinated by the creativeness of people and the differences between people and how in spite of the differences their are so many things that bind us together.

The Homeless Guy said “Not Everybody Can Carry That Look Off”


Wednesday night I was at my liquor store downtown waiting in line to buy some craft beer as a reward for the run I was about to do. The guy ahead of me in line had a bottle of vodka in one hand and a ten dollar bill in the other. He was a homeless guy that I have seen in and around downtown for years. He turned to me and said, “You know you look just like those guys in the old time photographs. That cap and a sportcoat and khaki slacks. You know not everybody can carry that look off but you can.” So I said thank you very much. He asked, “So what kind of cap is that?” and I said that it was called flat cap and a friend from Uruguay got it for me and I love it because it was pretty darn warm.”

So he said “Really” and asked to look at it and so I handed it to him and he said, “No wonder it is warm, it is wool felt.” And I said, “sure is” and he handed it back to me and turned his attention to the clerk as it was his turn.

In a genial manner he told the clerk “Hey, that woman working here this morning said that I can only buy something once a day from you guys.” The clerk said, “That’s right sir we aren’t allowed to sell to the same person twice in a day.” So my new friend said, “Well you know that makes it kind of hard on me because I go through two of these a day” as he held up the bottle, “and I don’t want to be carrying one around all day. You know what I mean?” The clerk said, “I am sorry about that sir.”

And then the clerk said, “You want this in your backpack sir?” and the my guy said “Sure lets put it in there” and while they are doing that he says, “I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet. My daughter,  I haven’t seen her in 17 years is flying in and said she is going to find me and I don’t know whether I should meet her or just go get drunk. What do you think?” The clerk said “I think you should go meet your daughter.” And I said, “I vote for that plan.”

The guy laughed and said, “Well we’ll see what happens, you guys take care.” And off he went out of the store.

For some strange reason, the guy made me feel good and bad at the same time. I have not met very many people so open, direct, and non-defensive as this guy.

Have you ever had a homeless guy make you feel good about yourself?

Childless Weekend

Leake Park Pond Renoir

Leake Park in Tulsa on a warm sunny Winter Day (up in the 70’s)

The kid has gone with his senior class to Breckenridge, Colorado. We do have proof of life via text messages that he has survived the long bus trip, the snow, and the new surroundings and such. Far cry from when I was a kid where when we left we left and nobody ever thought about calling home or anything. No news was good news.

Heather and I are going places that Logan can’t stand (Bass Pro and Academy) and eating food he won’t eat (sushi) and staying up late without worrying about him but we already miss him and hope that he is having a good time. When we ask him what he is doing we find out that he is “hanging out.” When we ask if he is having a good time we find out “yes.” I’ve taught my son too well I think.

So today, more stuff the kid can’t stand, we are going hiking. What about you? What do you do when the kids are gone? I mean that you can share on a G rated site.  Well, maybe PG.

Friday Night Lights – Oklahoma High School Football & Homecoming

Friday we all loaded up to go watch the Metro Christian Academy vs Poteau High School Football Game. Logan is in the Metro Choir and they were singing the Star Spangled Banner before the game.


The booster club was grilling food for sale. Is talking on the phone while grilling lawful?  _DSC0693

The Zebras were keeping to themselves. Nobody has any love for these guys.


The latest fashions were on display. No joke, the young guys at the office were checking out web pages trying to buy pants similar to these.  _DSC0711

The Choir gathered out on the field to get instructions and warm up. I think here they are playing the game of “Everybody look all different directions.” Or so it seems to me.


The photographer was out doing his thing while I was doing my thing and we got each other.  Metro Cheerleader Collage

The cheerleaders were warming up. A big difference between cheerleaders today and way back about 40 some years ago is the athleticism of the cheerleaders. They were doing front flips and back flips and hoisting each other in the air.  They are athletes themselves.  The cheerleaders way back when were just as pretty but not as athletic. Or you know, maybe they were and just didn’t display it for everybody. These girls were amazing.


Metro’s team got in their big inflatable helmet. I don’t blame them, that is where the cheerleaders were. _DSC0725And then the coin toss and shaking hands and all that. _DSC0728The Metro team captains ran back to the cheerleaders helmet and then the gun sounded and they all ran out. _DSC0720

Poteau is a small town in eastern Oklahoma. I think they suited everybody in town up for the game.


The Choir sang the National Anthem, and a prayer was said. (Don’t worry, totally legal. Metro is a private Christian school and the game was on their property.) As far as I know, nobody from Poteau minded.

_DSC0732And then the game started. It was a good game. Both teams are very good and you could tell they are well coached. _DSC0740The modern game with its spread offense, quick release passing, and no huddles is really exciting but very demanding of the players.

_DSC0750One difference between then and now is the how the plays are transmitted to the players. The plays are signaled in from the sidelines. The three players and coach in the foreground send an elaborate set of signals. And everybody on the team watches. _DSC0748Poteau had a little bit different system involving three posters with colors, symbols, and numbers.

_DSC0753At halftime the Metro band got out on the field. They didn’t get to do much marching. Their function that night was to provide music for the presentation of the homecoming king and queen and attendants. Homecoming CollageThe presentation was pretty cool; they introduced the kids and gave a little bit of information about them including where they went to church, their school activities and such. Their parents accompanied them out on the field and I thought that was a great idea. The parents should receive as much recognition a their children.  I noticed that the mothers of both the boys and the girls were beaming and proud. The dad’s well, I’m sure they were proud to but they just wanted to get it over with. _DSC0765

And then the Pride of Poteau Marching Band came out and gave quite a show. That is another difference between way back when and now. The marching routines are much more complex. The Metro crowd was very appreciative of the show.

So, all in all it was a great evening. I have to confess though. We left after halftime. It was kind of cold there. Poteau ended up winning in double overtime 42-41.


Falling on a rock

Three weeks ago I banged my knee falling on a rock during a Trail Race on Turkey Mountain. I walked and ran about three and a half more miles and of course my knee was pretty sore.  I went to the doctor a few days later and based on his examination and xrays I didn’t have any bad damage. Gave me some Naproxen and told me to stay off of it for a while. Well, things got better and better until Thursday afternoon when my knee quickly went out. It hurt and was stiff. I cancelled my plans to go to Idaho to help my Dad get his house ready for winter and instead went to see a Nurse Practitioner  (cuz you know, the old doctor was not available on such short notice and my regular doctor just left on two weeks vacation.) The NP said that I did too much too soon and to take it easy and see my regular doc when he gets back.  Huh?

#Sculpture #Art #PublicArt #EdmondOklahoma right by a customer's office in downtown Edmond #MyOklahoma

For some reason I love this sculpture in downtown Edmond, Oklahoma

I guess maybe I had been doing too much. I don’t know. My knee felt pretty good so I worked out once (no running). I drove out to western Oklahoma for a company luncheon and then traipsed around downtown Edmond taking photos and visiting customers.

Downtown Tulsa High Rises

I resumed my walks downtown taking pics and posting them on Instagram.

Lafortune Park Geocaching Sky

I even went to a local park and found a geocache. Don’t tell Heather that to get the cache I had to climb up and down a ten foot steel lattice, twice.

Sand Springs Geocaching

I even went out to the suburb of Sand Springs and walked about three miles finding a couple geocaches in the woods. (Don’t tell her about that either.)

So maybe I have been overdoing it. But my knee felt great while I was doing it.

What do you think? Was I overdoing it? Or do I need another doctor?

Hey, my bloody sock cleaned out really nice. I love those Thorlo running socks.