Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The boy is back in town

The wierd things you do when you're missing someone. You keep expecting to just open up the door and there they are. I did this several times yesterday, upstairs and down. Vicki and I even wandered the neighborhood at dusk calling for him. No dice.

About 9:00pm, I was sitting downstairs at the computer, and I was about to head back upstairs when I thought "ah, I'll just look outside the back door again".... there he was, looking up, as surprised to see me as I was to see him. "Holy sh*t!", he seemed to be saying with his eyes, "I can't believe I found the right place!"

"Get in here, Bart", I told him. Stupid cat. Oh well. I picked him up. He commenced frantic purring and kneading and sniffing. Hey, he smelled fresh. He appears no worse for wear. Some vegetation stuck here and there in his fur. As I was going upstairs, Vicki said "Did Bart knock on the back door?" She had no way of knowing outright that I was currently carrying him up the stairs. "Basically", I said.

Didn't mention the Anutt purging trip. We went. Loie still has trouble letting go of things. I understand. They're often perfectly good and useful things. Many of them sentimental. I have some of the same tendencies myself, on a much smaller scale. On the other hand, memories are in our heads, not in the things, and really, there's only so much room in our lives for stuff. If we really need it later, we can obtain it again. She hasn't found that balance between what I need now in this phase of my life vs what my past has been, and what my dreams are. And she's so close to it she's probably the only one who can't see it -- at least not easily. Don't know how much of the Dawna Walters book she read. I know she talks a lot about these things in there.

But, she did pretty good for Loie -- it was a start. Momentum is everything in this game, so we hope she keeps going -- it gets easier if you keep it up -- and then go for a second iterative pass with a new attitude -- after you've tasted the freedom that purging can give you. Space -- the big "nothing", has much more value than people give it.

Well, we have this weekend to do a little organizing at our place... there are rumors of a neighborhood garage sale, too.... then next Wednesday we leave for Indiana and the graduation/mother's day/mother's birthday thing. Then another two weeks after that, it's Tetonsville!

It's extremely windy today. Ok, yes, there's that, but I'm also a weather buff. I love wind. There are other things it brings out the fluid grace in as well.

I'm off...


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

He's a little runaway

Bart flew the coop. Often, when we get home and we're unloading the car, he'll come out on the front stoop and even on the driveway and roll around in the dirt, grab some leaves to eat, etc... and he'll either go back in on his own or we'll shoo him in when we're done.

Well... it occurred to us this morning that we didn't see him at all last night. Then it occurred to me that the last time I positively saw him he was rolling in the dirt on the driveway right after we got home Sunday evening..... Meaning.... there's a good chance he got locked outside. We went around the house (inside and out) and did not find him.

We both went home at noon and looked. Vicki went up the street and called for him. I printed up little cards with a couple of pictures of him.... "Have you seen this cat in the Huntridge/Bluegrass Neighborhood?...." ... gave them our names and number. I put them on about 60 doors and went back to work. Of course, he couldn't've run off before I spent $42 on him at the vet.

Three people said they'd seen a large grey tabby this morning winding his way up the private drive on Huntridge. He'd been an indoor cat for almost 10 years now. And he's declawed. Anyway, hopefully somebody'll spot him. I filled out a missing animal report at the humane society... but I honestly don't expect him to show up there.

Going out for Kevarino's birthday dinner tonight --- we had to wait until after Vicki's tonsils healed up sufficiently. She can eat most stuff that isn't spicy or acidic now.

I also tested out the TCON-17 Teleconverter with my Olympus C720. Works great, dispite Olympus' claims to the contrary. So... I'll be able to get long shots of wildlife in Wyoming... Whoohooo!


Friday, April 23, 2004

Lookin' for a rainbow....

It's been a dark couple of weeks, with Vicki's sore throat and all. Plus, a couple of nights ago, I noticed we didn't see Bart all evening. Yesterday morning I found him laying in an odd place for a cat, in an odd orientation to the room. You get to know things about what's normal for a cat to do after a few years. We've had ours for almost 10 years.

He wasn't moving, and wasn't real responsive. Last night Vicki said he was acting real listless and even staggered a bit when he tried to hop up on the couch -- kinda like low blood sugar.... or diabetes (might as well be low blood sugar because they can't use any of it).

But, he hasn't lost weight, he's not camping out by the water, his litter box clumps are normal. All the same, he was still pretty listless this morning, so I decided to go ahead and spend the $42 to take him to the vet. I was going to test his blood sugar myself, but I couldn't find a vein easy to get to. He's got thick, dark hair, unlike Theo. Besides, I don't think I would've believed the measurement had I taken one-- it was 67 at the vet. 80 is about as low as they ought to go, normally. But he checked out ok in about every other way. A little dehydrated, they said. So, I figure he just caught a bug and isn't feeling very good, so he hasn't been eating or drinking a lot. We'll see how he is in a few days. He seems a little better today already. Fed him some high calorie food to see if he'd perk up. He did some. Still, he went and hid under the couch downstairs when I got him home -- a sign that he's still not feeling good.

Frankly, I'm tired of cats, but I don't have it in me to just do them in because I'm tired of them. After all, I did take them on. I like them ok. They seem to trust me. It doesn't seem right for me to betray that trust and intentionally put them down. If they were doing something destructive other than being a little messy, it'd be different. With Theo's diabetes, they are pretty expensive to keep. They probably cost us the price of a decent vacation every year. If Bart turned out to be diabetic, too, I think that would probably have been the end of both of them. Can't afford that.

Dr. Templar said that Vicki's throat should improve dramatically over the next few days, and shouldn't be hurting by Monday. She says it is getting better. Dr. Misra said she looked at my knee MRI and doesn't see anything major, but she's going to discuss it with her musculo-skeletal expert today and give me a call on a plan of action. It's been almost 8 weeks now since the injury, and it's still not healed.

Sent the Crystal Optics Teleconverter (2x) back to Digital Foto Club... it had the same problem as the one I'd ordered a year ago. Just incompatible, basically. Can't put the whole frame in focus. I ordered an Olympus TCON-17 (1.7x) that I'd tried out. It definitely exaggerates the chromatic aberration and blooming in my digital camera, but as long as I don't take challenging shots with it (high contrast with a lot of bright white light) it should be ok. I talked to a guy on the bird forum and he's very happy with his C740 and the TCON-17. Mine's a C720... not quite as much zoom as his.

Dr. Misra just called. Basically, the musculo-skeletal expert said don't jump or run or do any high impact activities on it for the next 6 weeks. She gave him my history and everything. Bicycling and walking are fine. So.... that's that. Like I said, it IS getting better, finally. Slowly, but it's improving.

We got some literature from the B&B in Jackson .... we'll be there in 1 month. Another mountain fix for me. It's like a revival. I was talking to Ryan about that. I think I want to bag at least one peak a year for a while. I have the vacation time to do it. He said he might just save up vacation and go with me next year. He wants to bag one where we have to hike and camp out one night to make it to the top. Sounds fun. That could be Long's Peak. We'll see.

Going to Anutt tomorrow for Mike's birthday and to help Lois purge.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Material possessions are the road to hell

Ha. Easy for me to say. Of course I'm talking about people who have more material possessions than I have.

It's a line from a Firefall song that I'd all but forgotten about. I knew I liked enough Firefall to fill a good hour of music, but since I haven't listened to cassette tapes in a long time (I once put them all on a tape) and all my Firefall is on vinyl and the songs are spread across about 5 records. Well, my recent vinyl MP3 ripping included those Firefall songs and I've been listening to them today.

I would have missed "Old Wing Mouth" (actually a Jimmy Webb song that they covered) -- I only remembered the line "he came to do good; he did well" and I saw it on the lyric sheet while I was ripping the ones I remembered I liked. When I saw that line I remembered I needed to include that one. They were an excellent band -- underrated, I'm sure. From polished pop (You are the Woman, Just Remember I Love You, Strange Way) to some pretty Stephen Stills-esque stuff like Clouds Across the Sun, Just Think, Sweet and Sour, Old Wing Mouth. Good schtuff!

Actually, it's the attachment to material possessions that get us in to trouble. It leads to hoarding and then to greed -- and it's my belief that money is not the root of all evil... greed is. Greed for stuff, greed for attention, power, whatever.

Finished up the front porch tonight. Looks much better. I could be happier with how the trim worked out, but everybody seems to think it looks great. The artist is always most critical of his own work. Still.... don't like the inside corners.

I played like crap today in my guitar lesson. My forearm muscles and thumb muscles were very fatigued. I haven't been playing as much as I used to -- I HAVE been busy. But it could be a combination of this weekend's work and the weight-lifting. If I don't wear the wrist straps especially when bench pressing the tendons in my wrist get irritated, making my fingers stiff and sore. Need to watch that.

Still no word from Dr. Misra on my knee. It IS improving, slowly. But it needs to be healed by May 22! (for those of you not paying attention that's Teton Day!)

Brian's G-gag-u-a-tion is coming up fast. We'll be in Indiana in a couple of weeks. Mother's day... Mom's birthday. Still not done with Kevin's birthday... his other present was delayed in shipping. But we'll go out to dinner next week when Vicki's throat feels better.

I have to send my Crystal Optics doubler lens back that just came in the mail.... it's just not compatible with the Olympus C720.... not sure what the deal is but I think their models that have high zoom factors (like mine is an 8x) is really a 4x with a built-in doubler. The second doubler just doesn't work with it. Oh well. Mountains require panoramic shots anyway. It's just that you don't want to get TOO close to that bear!

Well, das all for now, folks. Yeah. Like all three of you who read this.


Monday, April 19, 2004

Long Hard Ride

Vicki's still recovering. Slowly getting a little better each day. It's still pretty bad, though.

I imagine by this weekend she'll be able to eat semi-normally. Could be a month before all of the swelling and tenderness goes down.

Had our work picnic last Friday. Ok, Kimmie says "no, it's the spring cookout. The picnic's in the fall!" Anyway, the Tuesday Lunch Bunch, of which moi am a member, brought our instruments over and played a little Bluegrass, a little of Wayne's honky-tonk, and some Eagles and other stuff at the picnic. Kinda fun.

Friday evening was beautiful. Sat out with the neighbors and we eventually had a small neighborhood fish-fry. Daryl does the best fish-fry on the planet. Kristie had bought some hush puppies and Deb made coleslaw. Vicki even felt good enough to come sit with us for a while.

Saturday I went out to look at what it would take to tile our very rectangular, very flat front stoop. By the time I bought the tools and everything it would've been $125. Not terrible, but not this month...

The outdoor carpet that was there was probably the original installation at the 19-year-old house. It was worn badly, and even getting some holes. I decided that I needed to do something this weekend before it gets too hot. When I gave Vicki the options, she said she wanted a step out there anyway. It was about a 10" step up. Pretty difficult for smaller and more chronologically advanced folks. Well, that'd make the tiling job much more complicated and expensive, so I went and got some new outdoor carpet... looks kind of like jute dyed dark green. And yesterday I tore the old off, cut notches and built a step, so now it's 2 5-inch steps instead of 1 10 inch step. Didn't get the trim on yet. I was too tired last evening to continue -- and besides, I couldn't quite figure out how to do it. It's more complicated with the corners and the riser.

Something Vicki said later then clicked with what the guy at Lowe's said and I know what to do now. It's actually pretty easy.

Didn't get any gardening started this weekend. I wanted to get the hydroponic watercress going outside and the "ranure" (Leith euphemism) blended with the garden soil.

Oh, I need to call Parker Lawn Service and pass Dorothy's complaint along to them. They're not blowing the grass off of her sidewalk and porch like they do everywhere else.

Also moved my turntable downstairs and hooked it up to the computer to rip some vinyl to MP3 for my Rio Riot. Including Marshall Tucker Band's Long Hard Ride -- Works pretty well.

Still need to find out about my MRI from Dr. Misra, too. Knee still has problems.


Thursday, April 15, 2004

She hasn't got time for the pain

Well, on the MRI I had a choice between 6:30am or 2:30pm. I figured 6:30 would get it out of the way and possibly get it over to my doctor that day so she can make her decision faster. Plus I have my guitar lesson this afternoon at 1:00.... and it only takes 15 minutes to get anywhere in Columbia. 10 minutes at 6:00 am ;-)

The MRI took longer than the one on my head last year. This time I had to lay still for about 30 minutes. The lady doing it wasn't much fun. I guess it was too early for her. No cracking a smile on her. But she was at least courteous and professional, so no complaints.

As for Vicki, her throat still hurts bad this morning -- she thinks maybe the codiene might give her headaches, but she doesn't care. She said "Oh, I'm taking it, trust me!" It's so sore the amoxycillin hurts.

I brought her warm tea and an ice pack for her head, and she took all of her drugs. By the time I got the trash out she was asleep so I didn't bother to say goodbye and just left for work quietly.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Fire on the mountain, lightning in the air

Went home to check on Vicki at noon on Monday and she met me at the door saying she needed to go to the emergency room. I had just missed her call when I left work. She said I probably wouldn't be able to understand it anyway as she was gagging on blood.

She harked up a big blood clot and was bleeding down her throat. It was pretty scary there for a bit until we had it all checked out. It was quite a bit of deep red stuff, and that was just what came out her mouth. We weren't sure how much was going down her throat.

We got there, and it clotted back up by the time they got her checked in and actually looked at her throat. They threatened to put her under and re-cauterize. I was hoping that wouldn't be necessary. Turns out it wasn't. But I was in various places with her at the hospital and even had to run home to get some of her meds and bring them in. They kept her overnight to watch her. Today her throat hurts a lot -- they said it would in 5-7 days when the scabs came off. Today is day 6. Right on schedule.

Now she can't go back to work until Monday at the earliest.

Yesterday I had my own doctor appointment to have my knee checked out. I have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow (6:15 am -- YAWN!) to see if I need surgery or physical therapy. I'm hoping physical therapy. This is for the injury from the ladder fall back on Feb 28. I've been treating it right... lots of ibuprofen, ice packs, and even a little knee brace. It's not any better than it was a week after the accident.

So, will report back what the doctor orders. Hopefully I'll hear from her by the end of friday.

Forecast is for a beautiful weekend!

I'm off!


Thursday, April 08, 2004

No song title today... my throat hurts - (my feet stink, and I...)

Well, Vicki got her tonsils out today. I've been dreading it knowing what kind of pain it involves -- even though ultimately it should get her morning sore throats down, and maybe help her sleep better and reduce her headaches. I even had a sympathetic sore throat this morning for her and it's continued throughout the day.

She came through very well as usual. Her throat is sore and swollen, but she's talking about just doing Tylenol when she comes home tomorrow. She can talk fine, which kind of surprised me. But they say to expect a lot of soreness for 5 or so days, and lingering soreness for about two weeks from today. She's a trouper, she is. She's chipper, joking around, and taking it all in stride. Typical Vicki. It's what everyone loves about her.

Last weekday I stained the deck -- the water seal I used last year after the power-wash and new wood was added looked all nice and even at first. But the first rain showed the old wood right away -- and every subsequent rain. Over the last year, even when it was dry it was pretty obvious that there was old wood and new wood. So I powerwashed it again and used a cedar stain on it, and it looks pretty good. Also looks a lot better protected. You can still tell the old and new wood, but it's a lot harder, and it has more to do with texture than color.

I left Vicki for a few hours this afternoon, had a beer with Ryan, made dinner, gave Theo his shot, and went back and hung out with her for a couple of more hours this evening until they kicked the visitors out. Taking tomorrow off, to, to "hover" over Vicki and make sure she's comfortable -- and then we'll have the weekend.

And now... to bed.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Give me a ticket for an aeroplane

We're booked.

We're goin' to Jackson, WY in late May. The Tetons. Yellowstone. Whitewater. Mountains. High Plains. Auurrr-auurr-AURRRH-auuur-AAAUUURRR!

Do ya THINK I'm psyched? I mean... well look at this guy's site. How could anyone not be?

Staying in a nice bed & breakfast, and we'll be sharing the trip with Sam and Connie, who've been there before. The feet will hike. The shutters will click. The air will be breathed. We'll talk to God and listen to the casual reply....

Did I mention I'm psyched?

Listening to some Robert Johnson blues today after hearing Clapton's latest. Found Robert Johnson's Complete Recordings on Rhapsody. A man, an acoustic guitar, and the blues. It don't get much more simple than that.

I'm contemplating packing the backpacker along to Wyoming... and just how to do that. You used to be able to carry them on, but post 9-11 I'll probably have to check it -- which means I'll need to build a beefier case for it if I wanna bring it. And you know I do.

Vicki's tonsilectomy is next week. I am so not looking forward to that. I have an over-developed sense of empathy, and you never want to see a loved one go through pain -- I'm taking thursday and friday off to hover over her and take care of her. They're going to give her narcs... but still....

Kev was over last night for a burger and to show off his new "Super Remote"... does IR/RF and relaying. He was using it to control our TV & sattelite. I wanted to see if we could program the cat. Make him go to the litterbox, etc. ;-) I'm tempted to get a flat-panel 15" to replace the ugly box in the bedroom. If you're going to have a TV in the bedroom, it should be as inconspicuous as possible. But I'd need some sort of relay remote so I don't have to mount the sattelite receiever on the wall. U-G-L-Y. But it's still $400... and I have other things to spend that on. Still, you start and end each day in your bedroom and it should look nice.

Well, gotta get going....