Monday, December 9, 2013

Spilled Coffee, Reality, and a Wind Chill Advisory

Musing after spilling coffee on my lap, this thought crossed my mind: I didn't design reality; my job is accepting reality as it is, and making small modifications.

My son and I are about where we should be in recovering from appendicitis and an unpleasant infection. More good news: over a week has not passed with no medical emergencies in the family.

Today's wind chill advisory was extended to 6:00 p.m. - probably not by popular demand. It got almost up to zero Fahrenheit today, which made this winter scene much easier to enjoy from inside my house:

Half-past noon. October 20, 2013.

Vaguely-related posts:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Back from the Hospital

I picked my son up at the hospital after Mass this morning. He won't be doing any heavy lifting for a while, and it hurts to laugh: but other than that, he's doing okay.

Appendicitis isn't what it used to be, for which I'm grateful. I remember the 'good old days' too well to want them back. The surgical procedure went smoothly, and involved three remarkably small incisions.

My son and #3 daughter are playing a board game in the other room. Yesterday evening they were talking, using his laptop, my daughter's computer, and Skype. I love living in the Information Age.

I wouldn't mind having no more major surprises before Christmas.

More-or-less-related posts:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Appendicitis and All That

I'll say this about our family. We don't have boring lives.

My wife and #3 daughter took my son to the hospital this morning. A CT scan and other tests gave us good news and bad news: his appendix had gone rogue, which is bad news; but dealing with diseased appendixes - appendices? - is a fairly routine matter these days, which is good news.

By about 3:00 p.m., I'd been with him for long enough to sign a form or two, chat a bit, and see what prepping for an unexpected surgical procedure was like - as a spectator, not the patient.

The surgery went well, he was in the recovery room for roughly three quarters of an hour, and remarkably coherent after that. That's from my point of view. He and I discussed how frustrating it is to know what you want to say, and feel the wrong words start forming. I think that's the gist of some of the reported experience.

Going through this, he's got the advantage of youth and basically good health. It's also the first time he's had any major surgery done, so he's on a rather steep learning curve.

When I got home, somewhere around 5:30, #3 daughter and he started texting each other. It's not quite like being there: but even so is a good way to communicate.

He'll be home when he's ready: which will be - - - when he's ready. Maybe tomorrow. Then again, maybe not.

Slightly-related posts:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Good News, Bad News, and an Antibiotic-Resistant Infection

It's one of those cases where the good news is also the bad news. The hospital's lab identified the critters on my left leg as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

The bad news is that this is one of those new 'resistant' strains of staph, that are fairly immune to old-school antibiotics.

The good news is that this isn't the 'good old days,' and MRSA and a particular sort of new antibiotic don't get along: at all.

I'm taking the 'correct' sort of antibiotic, and following other steps to deal with this infection.

Related posts:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

First Snowfall

Snowfall 8:59 a.m. October 20, 2013.

Snowfall 9:15 a.m. October 20, 2013.

It's very slightly heavier now, compared to a quarter-hour ago: but it's still "light snow." It's also the first snowfall of the season, here in Sauk Centre, anyway.

The pictures are reduced-size frames from the webcam looking our my north window.

Related posts:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Malware: Threat, and Opportunity for Relaxation

A routine sweep of my computer last night found two probably-related instances of malware on my computer. The software that found them asked if I wanted them removed. I gave it the go-ahead, of course.

After re-starting my computer, I had a more robust anti-malware application sweep the computer again.

This gave me much more free time than I expected today: or wanted.

Five hours later, I've eaten, washed dishes, started reading something #3 daughter wrote, listened to music, and chatted with my son about the malware situation.

The good news is that the second-to-the-last sweep only uncovered four instances of malware: which weren't there after the last one.

The 'it's not a problem, it's an opportunity' news is that I have five fewer hours to get tomorrow morning's post done.

That's okay. I've got my notes from yesterday: and now I know what I'll be doing for the rest of the day. And, probably, evening.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Furnace is Fixed: a Day Early

'The furnace guy' had a break in his schedule, we had already received the needed parts, and so he came today: a day early.

Our furnace is now safe to operate, which makes me a happy camper.

A warmer one, too.

Related post:

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Furnace Broke: But It Could Be Worse

It's a gray, damp, chilly, drizzling day.

My cold, or whatever has been ailing me, isn't doing well at all: but I'm feeling much better. I suppose someone could work up an ethical concern over massive casualties in the rhinovirus population, but I won't bother.

Oddly enough, I can't remember any protests as smallpox was heartlessly driven to extinction: and that's another topic.

I've been getting some work done, more of which won't happen if I keep writing this post.

We've had someone look at the furnace/heating system. Good news: the situation showed up in our yearly maintenance check of machinery that keeps the house warm during winter. Not-so-good news: there isn't just one malfunction. A whole mess of parts either aren't working, or aren't working properly. Sort-of-good news: we found out before the serious heating season started; and the parts can be replaced. More precisely, the parts can be replaced: once they arrive. There's a fair-sized order being, I hope, processed correctly.

Meanwhile, our main heating system is offline, and the household is setting up space heaters to keep conditions inside somewhat comfortable.

One of the benefits of higher energy costs, compared to what householders paid in my youth, is that it's been decades since the start of heating season was punctuated by news reports of exploding houses. In some sorts of stories, it would have been a funny situation. The reality wasn't amusing. Folks whose furnaces failed catastrophically didn't always survive.

Considering some of the alternatives, spending money on this year's repairs doesn't seem like such a bad thing, after all.

Vaguely-related posts:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fogbound Streets of my Mind

It's a grim, gray, gloomy day. Drizzling rain from a faceless sky sizzles on sodden streets as school busses slink past.

Inside, time passes. I sit at my desk, chasing fleeting thoughts through the fogbound streets of my mind.

Their footsteps patter away in the mist.

And I still have a cold.

Related post:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I Got What I Asked For

"It could be worse," as the old Minnesota saying goes.

A few days ago I expressed the wish that my body make up its mind: either be sick, or not feel slightly 'off.'

I got what I asked for. The next day I had a sincere cough, a wholeheartedly stuffed nose, headache from coughing so much: the whole package.

This morning, my wife told me I wasn't going to church. I had no problem with the idea. I've been spending the day being quite: aside from the semi-regular cough.

Outside we've got a beautiful picture-postcard early autumn day: bright sunshine; blue sky; just enough cirrus cloud to make it interesting.

About 4:50 this afternoon. September 29, 2013.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Calculus and the Mind's Eye

My wife and #3 daughter are teaching/tutoring kids from another home schooling family this afternoon. One of the subjects is arithmetic, a useful skill but not one of my favorite academic disciplines.

Arithmetic isn't quite the same as mathematics, and that's almost another topic. My wife is the math whiz of the family: no surprise, since she's also the one with a degree in computer science. I'm more like my father: much to the frustration of school teachers and administrators who looked at my aptitude test scores, which showed considerable mathematical ability; and my report cards, which definitely didn't.

I think part of the explanation is how our brains 'do the math.'

My father told me about a test he took in calculus class. One of the test's questions described two cylinders which intersected. Students were supposed to pick the intersection's volume from a list of numbers, showing the calculations they used to arrive at that number.

While everyone else started using calculus to determine how much volume the cylinders shared, my father imagined what the cylinders looked like, looked at the cubage where they went through each other, and checked off that number: which was one of the possible values shown on the test.

Then he set about writing down what he hoped was the set of equations that would give that answer.

When the test came back, he'd gotten that problem wrong.

He was the only one in the class to get the right result for the intersection's volume: but his written math wasn't even close to being correct.

I'm the same way. My mind's eye has excellent vision, but I never passed calculus class.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Prescription SNAFU Resolved: For Now

Good news. The local pharmacy called, late yesterday afternoon. Authorization for my methylphenidate came in the mail. I picked it up in the evening, and started taking it again this morning.

This is one of those medications where the effect is obvious: to me, anyway. I'm looking forward to having much less trouble 'fighting the machinery' when I think. :)

Related posts:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Prescription SNAFU: September

I used the last of my methylphenidate prescription earlier this week. I had verbal assurance from the local pharmacy a week ago that a fax requesting authorization for the refill had been sent. There's no mail delivery on Labor Day, so I had hoped that perhaps the 'it's okay' piece of paper might arrive Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon came and went, so I hoped that it might be in Wednesday's mail.

It wasn't.

I understand the social and legal circumstances behind this situation. Methylphenidate can be misused, so although I need it to function adequately - a piece of paper has to be sent from St. Cloud, Minnesota, to Sauk Centre each time I need to renew this prescription.

After learning that the local pharmacy's new automated prescription processing system deletes this particular prescription after I enter it in the 'correct' way, I have spoken to one of the folks there when renewing the prescription. It's a bit more work, but at least this way there's a better chance that the request will get processed.

A few minutes ago I called the office in St. Cloud that may or may not have received the fax, and may or may not have processed it: forgetting that they don't take calls after 11:00 a.m. on Friday.

Oh, well: maybe the authorization will arrive in today's mail. Or tomorrow's. Then again, maybe not.

This is frustrating.

Related posts:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First License

My son passed the driving test, and has his first driver's license. Or will, once all the paperwork is done.

He drove me to Alexandria this morning, where he took the test. We had a good talk going and returning: and reason for celebration on the way back. The 'celebration' consisted of his driving to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office on Sauk Centre's north side, filling out a form, and paying for his license.

This is a milestone in his life: and mine. Now all the kids have their licenses.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Roller Blading in the Living Room

"Can I roller blade in the living room?"

I've had interesting conversations with our kids, but that was a new one to me. We have two more kids than usual under the roof just now. Their older siblings and parents are installing cabinets in Minnesota's Twin Cities area. They're an active lot, so I had the impression that there were four of them last night, and that's another topic.

The roller blade and living room question came up this morning. After discussing the matter with our visitor and my son, we decided that the living room was a bit small for that activity, and that the driveway and sidewalks offered a superior venue. Not that we used quite those terms, of course.

It's nice, having new experiences like that.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

'I'm Not Doing This for my Health'

I haven't heard someone say "I'm not doing this for my health" for a long time: even by my standards.

That phrase used to mean "I'm not doing this because I want to or enjoy it."

I started walking on Monday of this week. "I'm not doing this for my health:" although technically that's just about the only reason I go outside and sweat.

I skipped yesterday. Between driving to St. Cloud in the morning for a medical follow-up, and spending an hour at the Adoration chapel here in Sauk Centre, there wasn't much left of the day: and I had deadlines to meet.

Apart from that, though, I've been doing a half-hour each day. I've found that I cover six blocks in that time, so taking a timepiece along isn't necessary.

I met Ryan, of Ryan's Bike and Board shop, on today's walk. He's a young man who does something with bicycles, skateboards, and longboards. The latter was new to me.

Ryan told me that a longboard is like a skateboad: but longer, wider, with different wheels, and used more for travel than for stunts.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shoulder Frustration

Getting into a chair earlier this week, I put weight on my arms while lowering myself: a routine process that I've done tens of thousands of times over the decades.

This time I heard a sort of 'sitting-on-an-egg-carton' sound in my right shoulder, accompanied by a complicated set of signals from the neurons in that zone. The nerve endings were mostly saying 'OUCH!!!'

Since then, I've had to be very careful about rotating the right shoulder in certain directions: mostly front and up. It's a nuisance, but manageable.

The cause of this frustration is obvious. I'd forgotten that using the mouse while resting my right elbow on my desk's shelf is convenient at the moment: and a very bad idea in the long run.

There's a moral there, but never mind.

I'm keeping the shelf retracted, learning to use my left arm for some procedures, and trying to remember that exercise is important. Based on previous experience, I should have normal function back in the right shoulder in a week or three.

This situation, needing trifocals and task glasses to see properly, and noticeably less tolerance for late night work, are all reminders that I'm not a 40-year-old kid any more. On the other hand, this sure beats the alternative.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fuzzy Photo, and Strawberries

We've wanted central air conditioning in our house for decades, but it wasn't until this year that we could afford it. (May 17, 2013)

That happy event was followed by a remarkably cold stretch of time in May and June. July feels more like summer, though.

I keep my cameras at my desk, which now has a nearly-constant stream of chilled air from a floor register. It's a welcome change of pace from my usual summer experience: when blinking works up a sweat.

When I went outside Sunday afternoon, the smaller and older camera fogged up. I noticed it first on the camera's preview screen. Wiping that off didn't improve the preview's quality by much. The lens was fogged, too.

On the 'up' side, I had a very nice vignette effect for several minutes.

Condensation on the lens: frustration, or opportunity. I decided on "opportunity." July 7, 2013.

Interlude With Strawberries

My wife and #2 daughter spent this morning at the Gwost family's Tutti Fruitti Market Farm near Sauk Centre. They've got a family restaurant and bakery out there, too: but my household goes for the produce.

Folks can pay for access to the land, picking their own produce from the field, or buy 'pre-picked' seasonal fruits and vegetables at the stand. My wife and #2 daughter brought home two buckets of strawberries - and made a little money by turning part of what they harvested over to the Gwost family.

Buckets of strawberries. July 8,2013.

My wife cut up the strawberries this afternoon, and has them in a food dryer. Strawberries are on her 'can't eat' list, but #1 daughter and I will have a treat on occasion for quite a while now.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Another Week: Rummage Sale; Hit Paraders; and Prescription Glitches

I put off picking up my new pants in Alexandria until #1 daughter had packed stuff for a rummage sale. I went up yesterday, helped her get boxes and a chair in the van, and talked for a while. I also picked up the pants.

Earlier that day I'd been to the clinic to get very cold nitrogen sprayed on a troublesome wart. It's been around for years - decades - and started peeling off earlier this week. That got my attention, so instead of just trying over-the-counter wart removers again, I went to the family doctor.

Turns out, warts are complicated little critters. Among other things, our immune system is 'blind' to them. Part of what the cold nitrogen does is let my immune system know there's a problem in that area. I plan to study up on warts: maybe this weekend.

I recovered a Peter, Paul, and Mary songbook from the rummage sale items: and found a booklet of sheet music, "20 All-Time Hit Paraders." It's from the mid-60's, but so am I: so for me these still are "hit paraders."

I left requests for prescription refills in a local pharmacy's newish automated system yesterday, then spoke with someone at the pharmacy to verify that the refill requests had arrived. This time the person told me that the prescription that routinely gets lost - wasn't in the system.

That didn't surprise me. Then she told me that ever since they started using the new system, quite a few months back, refill/new prescription requests for narcotics simply disappeared after customers entered them.

This was news to me, since there was nothing in the beeps and recorded messages telling me - and nobody had mentioned this known glitch to me. Annoying and frustrating as that is, I'm glad she let me in on the (secret?). Now I know that I have to call the pharmacy, talk to a human, and ask for the refill/new prescrip. that way.

As Cobra Bubbles said in "Lilo and Stitch," I think, "knowledge is power: and I like power."

A few minutes ago I spoke with someone at the doctor's office that's supposed to handle refills for that particular prescription. I learned something new there, too. Most of the office closes at noon on Fridays: a fairly common procedure. Someone may call me back, or the message I left will get lost in the shuffle, or maybe something else will happen.

I'll know more after mid-afternoon. I hope.

That didn't take long. Someone called back from the clinic around 11:10: the prescription request arrived, is being processed, and is in the mail. I'm hoping that this refill will be SNAFU-free: and will be more certain when I actually have the stuff.

Related posts:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Remembering Giol

Giol, #1 daughter's pet rabbit, died this week.

My wife came in Tuesday evening, worried, and told me that Giol was lying on his side and not breathing. She wanted me to make a closer inspection, and I can't say I blame her for doing so. We all liked that little furball.

He was in his pen, lying on the grass, on his right side, eye open, and definitely not breathing. His death probably came some time during the afternoon or early evening: and was, from all indications, quite peaceful.

My daughter had found him, years ago, at a animal clinic/pound in Alexandria. He was one of a number of rabbits recovered from a botched breeding operation, and was nervous: even for a rabbit. I gather that he had not been treated well by the humans or his fellow-rabbits.

#1 daughter thought he was cute: nothing unusual there. There are very few critters she doesn't think are cute. She named him Giol, and took him home with her. Giol was something in the neighborhood of a lop rabbit, with ears drooping and a lovely fur coat. A grayish fuzzy patch on the back of his neck gave him 'character,' and was a legacy of his less-than-happy experiences at the breeding operation.

Giol calmed down rather quickly, under the circumstances, and lived at various times with #1 daughter, in our house, and in a portable rabbit run we built for him. My daughter was moving back to Sauk Centre, having found a place where she could keep pets. We liked the little fellow, but several members of the household are very sensitive to pet dander: which made life a bit more complicated.

I wish that Giol could have lived long enough for #1 daughter to take him back to live with her. But he had a long (for a rabbit) and rather good life. At least, I hope so. We made a point of moving his rabbit run periodically, giving him several square yards of fresh grass to supplement his rabbit kibble. Then there were the occasional apple cores and other treats. He was particularly fond of mint.

I picked up #1 daughter around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, driving her back to Sauk Centre. We picked up a styrofoam cooler and several pounds of ice on the way, which we used to preserve Giol's body until the next day. #1 daughter and I stayed up rather late, distracting ourselves by watching a few episodes of an anime series we like.

By early Wednesday afternoon, #1 daughter had picked a spot under some lilacs in the back yard and dug a rabbit-size grave. It had been Giol's favorite spot on those occasions when she had him out of the rabbit run. She and I laid him there, still looking as I'd seem him Tuesday evening. She set an apple core by his head, and plans to plant mint there.

Sentimental man that I am, I'm weeping while writing this. I miss that little fuzzball.

These photos, taken a few years ago, are from earlier posts.
(September 28, 2009)

Giol, #1 daughter's rabbit, under the back stoop: his new favorite place outside.

Giol has this "cute" thing down cold.

As #1 daughter observed: from this angle, Giol looks like a fuzzy eggplant. With ears.

Caught in the act! The infamous "chips" incident.

(June 23, 2009)
My wife came up with an excellent idea for keeping Giol out of the way.

Simplicity itself: Place laundry basket on floor; place rabbit in laundry basket. Result: instant rabbit playpen.

Then, the rabbit realizes how easy it will be to jump out.

Putting another laundry basket, upside down, on top of the first worked quite well: until Giol learned that he could push the top one off. #1 daughter eventually used duct tape to fasten the top on.

(April 10, 2008)

#1 daughter brought her rabbit, Giol, along with her. That was a treat, for me anyway. Our son likes the rabbit too. Giol likes to nap behind the couch, and under the chair I use in the living room. It's a bit of a treat, feeling his whiskers when he sniffs my feet.

Related posts:

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Rabbit This Time

I drove to Alexandria, about 20 miles down the road, to get a pair of pants this morning. More accurately, to select two pairs. The legs will be cut to length in about a week. I'm not particularly wardrobe-conscious, but needed to replace a seriously worn pair.

On the way, on Interstate 94, I saw work in progress on the new power line. A crew was stringing something, using a helicopter. Unhappily, I couldn't get a photo.

This afternoon I took #1 daughter's rabbit to the vet here in Sauk Centre, to check out a lump in his nose. Apparently he's been bumping it into something: with results like what I'd experience if I tried opening doors with my forehead.

The rabbit took his trip pretty well. On the other hand, he had his nose pointed toward the door of his carrier on the way out. On the way back, his backside was pointed toward me. I don't think I was on his 'favorite people' list just then. ;)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

An Even More Eventful Week: For Me, That Is

The good news is that there's nothing seriously wrong. The bad news is that a blood vessel in my right hand burst today.

I noticed a lump on the back of my right hand around noon, maybe a quarter-inch tall, a little less than an inch wide, and a bit over an inch long. It didn't hurt, but I was pretty sure that it hadn't been there earlier.

There wasn't any trouble moving my fingers, and it wasn't particularly sore: but when something shows up that fast, I take notice. Particularly since it seemed to be coming out on the palm side of my hand, just a little.

My wife took a look at it after her nap, and said I should get it looked at. That had been my impulse, but have learned the value of getting a second opinion: particularly hers.

A doctor at the local clinic could squeeze me in at 2:00 p.m., and about a half-hour and an x-ray later I learned that I'd burst a blood vessel near the surface of that hand. It's one of those things that happens, and not cause for concern. I may have a funny-colored hand for a month, but the body is pretty good at cleaning up after a 'spill' like that.

Now, I have some catching up to do. There's a post due tomorrow morning that won't write itself.

Related post:

An Eventful Week: For Me

This week's been eventful, in a way. The weather got warm enough, finally, for our new-last-month central air system to start sending cool air through the vents, and I saw two hummingbirds at the feeder yesterday.

Even better, there's blue sky and sunshine outside again today. That's been a rarity so far this alleged summer.

The other 'big deal' was my taking a member of the family down to St. Cloud yesterday afternoon for oral surgery. Good news, it's gone well; bad news, I missed my hour at the Eucharistic adoration chapel down the street; good news, I made a call that started the ball rolling on getting a replacement for me on that shift.

So far, it's been a good week.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Another Week: Photos and Fuzzy Eyes

My wife gave my hair an arguably-overdue trim yesterday, we had sunlight for a few minutes this weekend, and my eyes still feel fuzzy. There's something extra in the air that doesn't play well with eyes, noses, and - in my case - throat.

Happily, #1 daughter got photos of last Sunday's Corpus Christi procession. (Sauk Centre Journal Blog (June 9, 2013))

None of that's particularly astounding, astonishing, or amazing. But it's some of what happened this week.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Prescription Processing Problem: Another Month, Another SNAFU

Good news: After spending more than two hours on a round trip to St. Cloud, Minnesota, I got the signature needed and have my medication.

Bad news: Filling that particular prescription got bungled, again.

The 'Vexed' part of this post appeared on my Google Plus account this afternoon. (June 4, 2013)


A frustrating situation. A medication that I need is 'controlled,' so the pharmacy isn't allowed to fill the prescription until the day after I run out.

The situation would be acceptable, but quite often the request for a refill gets lost in a bureaucratic system. I'm inclined to believe everyone I speak with: the pharmacist who sends the request, the office staff who don't ever see the request: everyone.

However, I am left without a needed medication.

It happened again this month, so I am off to a city that's about an hour's drive from here, to personally carry the signed paperwork back to the local pharmacy.

My sincere hope is that the paperwork actually gets signed and processed today.

If I sound vexed: you're quite perceptive.

'Protected' from a Prescription

The medication is a controlled substance: Methylphenidate. It's a sort of generic Ritalin, can be habit forming, and certainly shouldn't be misused. I understand why some reasonable precautions need to be taken when distributing the drug.

However, losing the authorization form on a regular basis seems to go somewhat beyond 'reasonable precautions.'

I keep taking methylphenidate because I need it to keep my brain working properly: and because I am an irascible old coot who is too stubborn to let a routine bureaucratic SNAFU get in the way of my health.

Not everyone who needs medications is like me, though. I've wondered how many cases where someone 'stopped taking his meds' and died as a result are cases like mine: where the poor soul got tired of monitoring a 'routine' process.

Related posts:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Popping a Lens: Twice

I've been short-changing myself on sleep this week: far from a good idea.

That might be part of the reason that I dropped my 'task' glasses today. Twice. Actually, the first time I brushed against them, tried to stop them from falling by pushing on them with my arm: at which point the right lens popped out and bounced - - - elsewhere.

I tried to get the lens back in, using tools we have on hand: without success. A few minutes at the eye doctor's fixed the situation, though.

An hour or so later, I managed to slide the glasses off some papers and onto the floor. This time the left lens popped off. Back to the shop, where I learned that these frames don't play well with the lenses. Not with my prescription. The solution is for me to be really careful about flexing the frames.

That, I can do.

#1 daughter and I made a trip down to Cold Spring, near St. Cloud, to drop off a state-government-agency-related document. That was fun: nice weather, no road construction to speak of, and about two hours to talk. That was between the two 'fix the glasses' jaunts.

My son had questions about high-definition programming through our cable provider: and wound up saving the household a tidy sum in reduced rates. In the process I gave the provider authorization to talk with him about technical issues: he's the best techie in the family.

Now, I need to get some sleep.

Related post:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Living in Central Minnesota with Central Air

We got central air conditioning installed late last week. My wife set it to keep temperatures inside at 74 degrees Fahrenheit or less. That's a little warmish: but we like seasonal variations, and it's fun to wear summer clothing in summer.

Then came storms, and highs in the 50s. A few minutes ago the heating part of the system kicked in.

I like living in Minnesota: the weather isn't boring.

Related post:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Creative:" I Like That

This is one of the nicest things I've been told:
"[I'm a] Catholic convert too, [a] retired teacher following you on Twitter. You have [an] interesting, positive, creative lifestyle. God bless you."
The original was in 'Tweeteese' - or 'Textlish?' I omitted out the person's name, out of privacy concerns. But - thanks!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Summer: And Strong Thunderstorms

Just a quick note: this morning, about 1:50 a.m. and 2:15 a.m., thunderstorms went through town. I haven't noticed any damage here, aside from a scattering of twigs and leaves on the ground. I stayed up for the event, since the warning mentioned half-dollar-size hail. Hail we got: half-dollar-size, not so much. Can't say I'm disappointed.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Central Air: After Only Three Decades!

When I got back from seeing a demonstration of Universal Robots's UR-5 in Fargo yesterday, the house was cooler than I expected. As of Thursday afternoon, we have central air: something my wife has been waiting for since we moved in, about three decades back. Me, too.

Roof repairs are done, and we're still looking forward to wrapping up some long-awaited maintenance and replacement. It's nice to be able to get this done.

Related post:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meditation and Power Tools

I put in an hour at the St. Faustina Meditation Chapel earlier this afternoon. Meditation hasn't been one of my strong suits, probably never will be, and that's another topic. (A Catholic Citizen in America (May 3, 2013))

When I got home again, the sounds from power tools were added to the rattling, pounding, and scraping I've been hearing overhead. We're getting some (long-overdue) work done on part of the house.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the symphony for circular saws and hammers doesn't help my concentration: and I've got a 24 hours less that I'd planned for, to get Fridays post finished.

Make that "posts." There's one I'd forgotten about.

Other than that, the week's been fairly uneventful: except for the reason I'm coming up a day short, and that's yet another topic.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Good News: I've Got a Fever

As good news goes, it does get better than this. I'm running a slight fever.

It's not enough to warrant concern. I'd have to be a huge hypochondriac to be worried about it.

On the other hand, it explains rather neatly why I feel the way I do: fuzzy.

I've finished the dishes, done ever 'urgent' task, and now plan to relax: a lot.

Related (?) posts:

Monday: Finally, I Can - Relax?

If you follow me on Google+, 'never mind.' I posted most of this on G+ a little earlier today. (May 6, 2031)

Last week wasn't hectic for me, but not dull either. I was catching up on sleep lost to a 'need it fifteen minutes ago' task when my wife reminded me that we were going out of state for the weekend.

No problem: I wrap up Friday and Sunday's posts, schedule them to show up at the right time, and drive to North Dakota. While there, I enjoy time with #2 daughter and daughter-in-law, and start catching up on the previous weekend's sleep: plus what I'd borrowed for the current weekend.

Surprisingly, the cold I'd been dodging didn't catch up with me until today. It must have gotten winded in the process, because it's a puny thing.

For most folks with 9-to-5 jobs, Monday is when they trudge back to the cubicle for another five days of toil. For me, it's the day when I get to relax: except for a Knights of Columbus bulletin that I would have been finishing on the weekend, if I'd been in Minnesota; and the next set of posts; and - - - at least my life's not boring.

Not-completely-unrelated posts:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Glasses: For Me, a Big Deal

I picked up new glasses this afternoon. The prescription is basically the same, and this time I hadn't broken a frame.

The new pair are 'task glasses,' helping me focus at about the distance covered by the center part of my trifocals. I finally got tired of only being able to see about a third of my computer screen in focus without moving my head. Convenience aside, I'm pretty sure that my recent run-in with joints and nerves was caused partly by the awkward poses I had to maintain to see the screen.

I've been using the new ones for about five hours now. It's a huge improvement.

Vaguely-related posts:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Looking Like Santa

It's almost 1:00 a.m. and I'm finally done for the day. Or nearly so.

On Saturday, April 27, I was at a Knights of Columbus fundraiser near the entrance of Coborn's. We were collecting money for Special Olympics, Camphill Village, and similar outfits.

At one point, a boy came by with his (mother?). He looked at me across the table, smiling mischievously, pointed at me and said "you look like Santa." That was a day-brightener.

#2 daughter and Son-in-Law stopped by a little before 10:00 p.m., on their way to the Twin Cities. He showed me a document he wanted proofed and revised as necessary: which I had done a bit before midnight.

Reading, proofing, editing, and revising several hundred words isn't the sort of thing that lulls me to sleep, so I wasn't exactly listless at the end of the process.

Dishes were waiting, anyway, so I had something constructive to do while unwinding.

Now, though, I really should get to sleep.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Back Home

I'm very glad to be home.

Spiral Light Candle needed my signature - made in person - on Wednesday, so I drove up to Hillsboro, North Dakota, Tuesday afternoon. The drive went well, I had a good time getting together with #2 daughter and son-in-law; and spent Wednesday, Thursday, plus part of Friday, doing a little database updating. I'm not done, and plan to continue as soon as I get back on speaking terms with three digits of my left hand.

The drive back was an anticlimax. Road reports promised packed and blowing snow plus slippery spots on I94 from exit 119 to Sauk Centre. Instead, all I got was perfectly clear road and blue sky. Oh, well: it's safer that way.

Next week I hope to go back to a chiropractor and get several joints and nerves sorted out. I've been through this sort of thing before, and recognize that recovery is a process that's not necessarily swift. There's also an eye exam, which will address another issue: and that's another topic.

Related posts:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New-to-Me Keyboard

The bad news is that my left fingers and thumb are still giving me fits at intervals. The good news is that so far I've been able to manage the situation by paying very close attention to my posture, and taking painkillers before I sleep. I don't like using painkillers, or other pharmaceuticals: but I'm not stupid, either. Sometimes using available technology is better than the alternatives.

Speaking of technology, yesterday I had my son help me swap out my computer's keyboard for an 'ergonomic' one my father had. My son had pointed out that he had the old keyboard in storage: as part of his repair shop's stock.

The new-to-me keyboard is one of those 'bent' ones where a standard QWERTY board is split into two angled parts. I've used it before, but not often.

I learned to type on old manual typewriters, and need to slow down a little when the keys aren't quit in the expected places. On the other hand, my fingers are getting used to the new positions: and this learning process is a lot easier than developing a system for typing with my right hand only.

I'd been considered one-hand typing last week. It's very frustrating when I get only a handful of sentences out before having to de-stress my left hand and arm.

Aside from that, it's a beautiful day: bright sun and several degrees above freezing.

Related posts:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Living in 'The Future:' and Loving It

I was born in the Truman administration, and grew up reading about 'the future.'

It's not quite what we expected. Weather control research stopped after a 1972 experiment went horribly wrong. LEDs are pretty close to Hugo Gernsback's cold light, but only a few folks have taken vacations in space.

And some things caught nearly everyone by surprise:

(from NASA/Carla Cioffi, used w/o permission)
"An Orthodox priest blesses the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad on March 27, 2013 in Kazakhstan. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for March 29 and will send Expedition 35 Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov, and Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Russia on a five and a half-month mission aboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi" (March 27, 2013)

Although 'the future' isn't quite 'as advertised,' I like living here.

Vaguely-related posts:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Springtime in Minnesota

The view through my webcam, reduced to fit this blog's format.
April 2, 2013, 9:10 a.m.

Tuesday morning: There's still about a foot of snow around the bird bath, and I probably won't have the hummingbird feeder out for another month. The snowman in our neighbor's yard, across the street, has melted down to a small pile, and their yard has turned a hopeful shade of brownish tan with a vague suggestion of green.

It's springtime in Minnesota.

The fingers of my left hand don't complain overly much when I type: as long as I sit very straight, and don't use them for very long. It's been over a week since that's been an issue. Adjusting my posture is helping, along with exercises involving my shoulder blades.

The issue isn't going away entirely, however, and I may have to see a chiropractor about sorting out some of my joints. I've already had surgical modifications made, to deal with carpal tunnel issues.

I'm not complaining, though. As we say here in Minnesota, 'it could be worse.'

And, in my case, has been.

Related posts:

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Morning

Snow across the street is mostly gone, at least in the south-facing yard. Just outside the window, it's still almost as deep as after the last snow: which wasn't all that long ago.

My left wrist, hand, and fingers are still giving me fits: but not as constantly as several days ago. Adjusting my posture, and a sort of complicated shoulder-shrugging, is helping. So will an ergonomic keyboard my son pulled out of storage.

That image is from my webcam, taken a few minutes ago and shrunk slightly to fit this blog's format.

Two other 'Easter' posts, in other blogs:

Friday, March 15, 2013

School's Out All Day

We got a call early this morning, from the automated Sauk Centre schools system. The message said something about freezing rain: and that school was closed today. All day.

I'm impressed. It takes very serious weather to get a two-hour delay: closed for the day is quite unusual.

I see that Interstate 94 was closed from Alexandria to Fergus Falls. That's west of us: more like west by northwest, actually. Part of the Interstate is open again, but I'm glad that travel isn't in my plans today:
An updated report on Minnesota driving conditions boils down to "difficult:"

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tooth Extraction Aftermath: Not 'as Advertised.'

So far, getting my upper left premolar removed has been quite anticlimactic. Preparations and take-home literature led me to expect pain, bleeding, and swelling: and so far there's been precious little.

One of my kids helpfully observed that pain hit the day after the procedure, when he got his teeth straightened: so I suppose there is still hope.

On the other hand, I don't actually need to experience pain this week.

A bit more seriously, the process went very smoothly. And I'm already noticing a lack of an unpleasant taste. The tooth in question had developed an infection around the root - no big deal by itself, but not something I wanted to ignore.

Happily, all I needed was a local anesthetic. Catherine drove me home, anyway. When I pointed out that I didn't really need a 'designated driver' for the trip back from St. Cloud, she said something like "yeah, right," and kept walking toward the driver's side of the van.

Having a break from driving was nice. I could let my attention wander, and enjoy the passing landscape without worrying anyone.
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