Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Fine Couple of Days, Pulled Back Muscle Aside

Friday whizzed by. I researched and wrote posts, did a bit of organizing, and was hurrying toward the living room when a muscle in my lower back decided to act up.

I suppose it's from the moderately heavy lifting I did on Tuesday, delayed a bit.

I bent over, to stretch the muscle: which I think kept the discomfort from getting worse. It meant that I spent several minutes appreciating the floor: but that's okay; it's a rather nice-looking floor.

Time, stretching, a bit of light exercise, and tonic water seem to be helping. I'm still walking quite carefully, though.

My son got most of the yard mowed today: it was a beautiful, bright blue May day here. I grilled burgers for lunch, with #1 daughter and her rabbit for company. Giol likes dandelion blossoms, which I don't mind one bit: he's a sort of low-tech weeder.

My wife and #3 daughter found a rummage sale with several boxes of sheet music today. I'm told they went through the collection carefully, and got a few choice pieces.

I did more research and writing today, watched two videos with #1 daughter, read Garfield and sang with my son, and that brings me up to the present.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hummingbird Feeder, Unexpected Service Call, and Transitions

Yesterday's big evening drove it out of my mind, but I also cleaned and re-filled the hummingbird feeder yesterday. I bend the hook that attaches it to the shepherds-crook-shaped holder outside, so I only spilled a drop or so while putting it back outside.

A technician from our cable/telephone/internet provider came. It took a while to figure out why he was here. Catherine realized the visit probably happened because of a call my son made earlier. He pushed a lot of buttons, she explained, and resolved some sort of internet connection problem. The technician got an 'aha!' look on his face, when he learned that my son was thirteen.

#2 daughter and my son-in-law-to-be loaded furniture and one of my mother's china sets into a rental trailer this morning. Some of what we hauled down from the homestead is going back. If we'd known at the time that those two would be moving in after they got married this September, we could have left it there. But, memory only works in one direction.

I'm told that giving furniture a 250+ mile round trip was a good idea, in a way: my son-in-law-to-be will feel more as if it's 'his' place, and not someone else's home that he's borrowing.

The two of them - and his dog, Sprocket - headed out for the Red River Valley a little after mid-afternoon.

My wife, #3 daughter and my son are at Soo Bahk Do class tonight. I decided to stay home - I've got a few tasks to wrap up, and I'm feeling very tired. A good night's sleep will help, I suspect.

#1 daughter is, I understand, in St. Cloud at the moment, attending what may be the last training session for her Cutco sales job. As I've written before, we'll see how this job works out. Either way, it's good experience.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Shaggy Dog and Music

Tonight, just after supper, #2 daughter, my son-in-law-to-be, and his 2 1/2-year-old shaggy dog arrived. They'd already been up to the Red River Valley to see my father.

The dog, Sprocket, is big, shaggy, and very friendly. And, considering how long he'd been cooped up in a relatively small car, very well-behaved.

He greeted each of us enthusiastically. Which was a little overwhelming, since he weighs around 85 pounds. #3 daughter and my son took a little longer that my wife and I did, warming up to and getting friendly with Sprocket: but they came around.

After visiting for a while, I drove my wife and #3 daughter up to Camphill Village, north of town, for a recital. My wife had a solo ("Syncopated Clock"), and the two of them did a duet (something from "The King and I"). About a dozen music students showed what they'd learned on violin or piano. That made this evening a great deal more fun than yesterday's.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Rabbit at School, and Cleaning Up After Horses

My wife and #3 daughter cut their hair over the weekend: an annual event, preparing for summer's heat.

#1 daughter took her rabbit, Giol, to my son's class after lunch today. He'd called, earlier, to make sure she remembered. It went pretty well, although Giol was a little rattled. #1 daughter tells me that he tried to flee, when some children tried to pet him. Then about 30 kids, despite the teacher's pleas, started after him.

Giol was a nervous rabbit after that. He recovered, though.

#1 daughter tells me that she got a plug in for the humane society, responsible pet ownership, and her still-being-written comic: so I'd say the event was worthwhile.

And, #1 daughter made another sale today. Good news. She's been averaging about 1 a day lately: we'll see how this goes.

My wife's current 'crop' of sprouts is just about ready to eat. They're tasty and - so I'm told - nutritious: well worth the trouble of cleaning out the trays after each 'harvest.'

After supper today, #3 daughter, my son, my wife, and I went to the fairgrounds. The Soo Bahk Do class was raising funds by shoveling manure out of stalls, after a horse show. I spent a few minutes, opening one of the doors for ventilation and looking for a light switch, but spent most of an hour and a quarter shoveling.

That was good exercise.

And now, after the family's prayed and my son and I have read Garfield, it's time to call it a day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

My son tells me that he took wires from a broken headset, and made a cord-and-plug arrangement that lets him attach subwoofers to anything that has a headphone jack. He got the subwoofers from a defunct stereo. I'm not entirely clear on which device that is. Or was.

He's quite pleased with his accomplishment. He started the project yesterday: then, his goal was to reconfigure his alarm clock to get him up more effectively.

I grilled burgers for lunch today: one extra, since #3 daughter's 'twin cousin' has been visiting us. I haven't seen much of those two: they're generally up in my daughter's room, or otherwise out of sight, doing and talking about whatever they do and talk about.

At 12:20 this afternoon, I saw my first hummingbird of the season. The feeder's nectar level had been going down faster than evaporation would account for, so I figured the creatures must be back, but this is the first one I've seen.

They're attractive - and fast - little creatures. This one was a bit green on the back, and may have had a bit of red at the throat. I didn't get that much of a look at it, actually. As I said, they're fast.

My wife, #3 daughter, and son, spent most of the afternoon at my father-in-law's place, visiting him and some others of the extended family. #1 daughter and I stayed here. She had some work to wrap up, and so did I.

We also spent a few hours trying to find suitable software for my webcam. I think we both enjoyed the time: and now we know of several software packages that are not suitable. Which is progress, in its own way.

By now, supper has been eaten, #1 daughter's rabbit is having time in the house with us, and my wife's practicing "Syncopated Clock" on the keyboard. We watched a Remington Steele episode on a newly-discovered channel: the show is still quite viewable, after about two decades.

Finally, over the weekend my son found - and became interested in - model rocket kits. One of which was left over from my late-high-school interest in the hobby. I think he and #1 daughter will be building them, with me serving as a technical adviser. That should be fun.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend, 2009

It's a bit past the halfway point of Memorial Day weekend now. The sun has set, twilight's faded into night, and I'm wrapping things up for the day.

#1 daughter's here for the weekend - with her rabbit, Giol. She's been here most of the week, off an on, using this household as a sort of base for a sales job she's trying out for the summer. So far, it involves more travel than she'd anticipated. Still, I think she's found another useful skill. She's quite good, I think, at giving demonstrations.

She's selling CUTCO products: someone in town bought another piece, adding to a fifty-year-old set. (And yes: I know that some people are convinced that CUTCO is a scam. Sales isn't for everybody, and I'll leave it at that.)

#3 daughter, my wife and son and I went to Soo Bahk Do class this evening. That was a distinctly strenuous two and a half hours. Among other things, we practiced hyungs (a set of prescribed movements - it's actually a bit like dance). What was different this time was that at one point we broke boards as part of the hyungs.

The boards were reusable plastic. They come in a variety of strengths, simulating pine boards of different thicknesses. My son was pleased when he broke his board. So was I.

I've broken boards before, but this was the first time I'd tried this sort of thing. I was a bit surprised: I managed to break a simulated inch-and-a-quarter board, several times. Granted, it was an much-used practice board, and probably is easier to break now.

On the way home, I saw neighbors sitting around an outdoor grill. The sun had set by then, although it was still twilight. The flames in the grill were clearly visible, but the family were silhouettes. Quite a nice scene.

I grilled burgers for lunch yesterday and today: and am looking forward to doing the same tomorrow.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Father's Life: Another Milestone Passed

I got a not-unexpected phone call this morning, from the person with hospice who sees my father.

He's decided that he should stop taking medications that may prolong his life. After a thorough discussion with a nurse, the two of them settled on a set of medications that will help him be comfortable.

The interstitial lung disease is making it increasingly hard for his lungs to get oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. (May 8, 2008) A year ago, he could talk for maybe half an hour. Now, he's doing well to get a sentence out before having to rest.

He does want people to sit with him - which I understand is happening. I'd be there myself, but it's over 160 miles up there, and I have responsibilities here, too.

He remembers our visit from the weekend, although he told the person from hospice that he was 'not very good company.' I disagree, but that's my point of view.

I'm told that he's said he's ready to die. And, smiles when talking about heaven. He also told a nurse that he'd had a visit from his mother twice and his older sister once - didn't see them, but felt their presence. The person from hospice says she's encountered this sort of thing often enough to convince her that it happens. I'm inclined to agree.

My father's still eating and drinking a bit, which is a sort of reassurance.

He's still eating and drinking a little bit. Odds are that his death is not imminent. I'll get a call when that changes.

I'm not at all happy about this situation: but it is a part of life. My wife, who's gone through this with her mother, asked me if I felt 'disconnected' today. I took soundings, and: yes, I did feel 'disconnected.' As if I wasn't quite keeping up with my body, or my surroundings.

This is going to be an interesting time.
More, about being Catholic and end-of-life issues, at:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back From Visiting my Dad

I'm back from visiting my father, up in North Dakota. I had a good excuse: it was his birthday. We had two talks, I collected information my wife needed, and I got back after an uneventful - and fuel-efficient - drive.

The new-to-us van has a gizmo that shows average miles-per-gallon. I don't know how accurate it is, but the numbers let me see whether I'm getting better, or worse, than our 'typical' fuel consumption. Handy.

My son greeted me at the door when I got home, I hung out with my wife, #3 daughter, my son, and Giol, #1 daughter's rabbit, for a while, and then started catching up on some work that had accumulated during the day.

We've now said prayers, I've read "Garfield" with my son and sung our customary song, and I see that it's about time to turn in.

It's been a good day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday: The Family Mother's Day Get-Together and Hummingbirds

My wife, #3 daughter, and son are on their way to a Mother's Day get-together with family. I'm here, getting some work done: and getting over a minor but annoying bug of some sort. #1 daughter is up in Alex, getting a major cleaning job done in her apartment. There's some sort of inspection coming up.

Yesterday my wife and #3 daughter went to some rummage sales. #3 daughter came back with a new-to-her outfit: total cost more than a dollar: but not by much. The (shell, I think it's called) cost 25¢. The big-ticket item in that wardrobe assemblage was the shoes: I'm told they were a little over a dollar.

I see by the calendar - and the temperatures - that it's time for me to wash out the hummingbird feeder and get it set up. The post is still up from last year: it's a metal rod shaped roughly like a shepherd's crook. I may take as much time looking up the proper sugar/water ratio as I do washing the feeder out.

Which is my que to get back to work.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Night: It's Been a Good Day

We watched "Night at the Museum" this evening - my son borrowed the DVD from the library. It's the second time around for my wife and me - and I think #3 daughter, too - but the first viewing for him. He thought it was great, and I agree. It's a fun movie. javascript:void(0)

Apart from that, I'm still writing blog posts: and getting a local Knights of Columbus bulletin out 11 times a year. And, I'm still re-learning the first parts of Soo Bahk Do.

My son's been feeling better - I think spring allergies bother him.

And, at this moment, my wife's talking with #2 daughter on the phone. She's still down in Louisiana - but will be coming up in the near future. Exactly when, I don't know. I'm expecting to see my son-in-law-to-be in the area in a couple weeks.

My son and I read Garfield, sang the song we sing, and that's as good a place to stop writing as any.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Morning: Retrospective on My Son's Field Trip

My son went with his class to the Minnesota State Capitol yesterday. We were expecting him back around 6 or 6:30, but he arrived around 8:00. I'd told my wife and #3 daughter that they might as well go to Soo Bahk Do - that was around 7:30 - so I had the treat of having some one-on-one time with him as he talked about the trip.

They toured the capitol building, including part of the roof. My son was quite impressed by the statues at the front of the building. And, at how long the stairs leading up there were.

The Minnesota historical museum was on the itinerary too. What my son rated as #1 there was a tornado simulation: a room that gives occupants an impression of what the worst Minnesota tornado would be like, for someone inside. The simulation includes a tree falling. Sounds impressive.

And, the Ramsey House - 1st governor's mansion. Peter says that he'd been leaning on a wall when the guide said 'no leaning on the walls' - he bounced off the wall, then: and someone laughed. He thinks it was his teacher. Those two get along famously.

I'm glad he had a good time with the trip: I remember my 6th grade field trip to the capitol. There wasn't a tornado simulator that time: but the capitol building part of the trip seems to be the about the same as when I had that experience.

The rest of yesterday, in fact most of the week, was fairly routine. Except for a promising job possibility for me. There's a company that needs someone with marketing and business-to-business telephone sales experience. Which is right up my alley.
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