Thursday, August 26, 2010
After the dogs had been out, I left the house at 6:00 this morning. The moon was pretty full but not bright because it was shining through a high, thin cloud. The sky had thin patchy clouds, and the only lights were from the moon and stars and people's houses, or from the occasional car on the major streets. By the time I turned the last corner to come home it was just after 7:00. The sun wasn't up, but the clouds in the northeast looked as if they were on fire, and the ones to the south were white, or at least very light gray. I wished for a camera in my pocket, and thought about taking a picture, but I realized that you can't take a picture of the sky. It's like trying to take a picture of a redwood, or a sequoia, or a Sitka spruce.
We went up Kings Canyon to Sequoia National Park, to see the big trees. You could see them from miles away but I didnít realize that Ė it looked like a bunch of trees spread over the landscape with brush underneath. When we finally got to the top, the brush turned out to be other, normal sized trees that were only 100 or 150 feet tall. When we stopped to see the tallest redwood, it was the same way. I tried to take a picture that would show the impression, but all you can get is a picture of the treesí knees, or looking up the trunk, or part of the middle with a lot of other trees getting in the way. Out on the Olympic peninsula, somewhere in a state or national park, I ran into my first Sitka spruce. Somehow, the Spruce Goose never made me think of what the tree must be like, but a 500 year old Sitka is a lot like a 1000 year old redwood. Itís HUGE. Somewhere we have a picture of me and the BW standing in front of this enormous trunk, but you still donít get the real feel of the tree.
Thereís a lot of this world that you have to experience for yourself, and no picture can really substitute.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I kept my pacemaker lab appointment today, and after more than four years the battery is at a charge of at least half. The top is operating about half the time, and the bottom chamber almost never fires. When I didn't take the atenolol, the top almost never fired, but I was convinced that it's a good idea for me to take the medicine, which slows your heartbeat. I am not convinced that it needs to be speeded up to 55 beats a minute again, but I can't do anything about that.
Then I saw Dr. Sola, the cardiologist, whose nurse ran an EKG and, with the pacemaker report and my answers, decided I'm fine until next March, when it will be time for my yearly stress test again. I got the instructions on how to taper down the atenolol, and how long to fast before the test. I did get it scheduled for 8 AM, but it's about a two hour procedure and fairly uncomfortable, holding your arms in one position without moving for 15 minutes twice.
I don't know what would happen if I refused to do the test, but it's not a real killer so I trust Dr. Sola.
Also, I finished "The Snake Stone" which was a mystery set in Istanbul in 1836, and I missed a really good clue to the mystery. Since it was before all the CSI stuff, it can be like the old "whodunit" books where you can pick out the villain if you're smart. I wasn't smart enough.
The new book is a high tech thing that makes me weak when I think of trying to write something like it. You would need to do a lot of digging to have enough information to write a realistic story. I'm not that ambitious.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Today was not a blue ribbon day Ė more like a no ribbon day. At the Kiwanis meeting this morning I cracked and had a mushroom and Swiss omelet, made with egg-beaters, with home-fries and toast for breakfast. That was a bad start to the day, but by supper time I was up to 1500 calories. Then the BW wanted a waffle from Tiffanyís, and I had a Ruben and potato salad for supper, which added another 850 calories and put me over my limit, which I almost never do. I also never do it with beef, full fat cheese, butter, etc. So I was over on calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Most days Iím not over on anything, and under quite a few things. The biggest irony is that I was completely full with half the Ruben and no potato salad, but I kept eating anyway.
That goes back to the time before and during WWII, when there were ration stamps and no seconds. Before the war there wasnít enough money to buy seconds, and during the war money wasnít the problem, so if it was on your plate you ate it. Period. Somehow I have never gotten over than despite all the advice for tons of years. Bill, the guy who thinks Iím his savior, was telling me how he has learned to eat in restaurants Ė how he orders with the direction that half of his meal should be delivered in a take-home box, and then takes it home to his sons, who are happy to help him. I just mostly stay out of restaurants. That is TOPS advice, and I have heard it a lot more times and a lot longer than Bill, but it just doesnít get past my old programming. Iím not willing to do anything any more. Staying away is the best I can do.
The BW took the dogs to the vet today, and it cost $719 dollars. When she tried to use the debit card it wouldnít work because there is a daily limit of $650 on it. I suspect thatís to protect the bank because we have a lot more money in there than that. I warned her about the limit but she forgot. It still wouldnít work because she had stopped at Walgreen's and bought a bunch of other stuff. If she had given them $200 it would have worked, I think. Iíll check with the bank tomorrow to find out. Anyhow, she gave them $100 cash and then came home and called in the Discover card number.
And I only walked two and a half miles today because my legs didnít want to work again. I suspect the lovastatin. It was a great day too Ė overcast, and only 80 degrees at 4:30 in the afternoon. My shirt was still dry when I got home. I need to see if I can find a treadmill that will fit in place of the Airdyne.
Thatís enough complaining for now. This is just not a good day for me.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I had a nice walk this morning, not pushing it, and took a few pictures of the landscapes as I wandered along. I went to the post office and checked for mail, but the Kiwanis didnít get any, and mostly just zoned out. I see people walking, running, and even riding bikes with ear buds, and I wonder what theyíre listening to. When we would go for long bike rides it took some attention to track the Dan Henries so we wouldnít get lost, but we always had maps in case we did, and I would just think about lots of random things Ė maybe sort of like meditating. I do the same thing while Iím walking Ė it doesnít take much attention to stay upright and keep going, and I think of lots of topics for a blog. The only problem is that I donít have anything to make notes on, so when I sit down here Iím not a bit better off.
It is a little like waiting for an airplane too. I have spent at least hundreds and maybe thousands of hours waiting in terminals for aircraft that are late or in need of service. I would just settle back and zone out.
But when I rode the Airdyne, I would turn on my TV, put a DVD in the player, and watch a movie for an hour while I cranked out 18 miles and 450 calories. I wore headphones and closed the door so the BW didnít complain. I think the difference is that you canít get lost or miss a turn on a stationary bike. If my left knee hadnít gotten so bad, and my heels hadnít healed up I would still probably be on the bike. I was ready to buy a new car with an automatic transmission until I started walking again. I donít know why I donít carry a radio or something to listen to while I walk Ė I guess Iím just lazy.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
When I took the dogs out this morning I felt these little drops falling on my head - it was sort of raining, but not really very hard, and not hard enough to make the patio look wet - just a few little spots on it. The paper said 70 per cent chance of rain today, and for several more days until it dropped to 60 and 50 per cent next Saturday. It was overcast and looked as if the rain was coming, but it didn't.
At 7:35 I decided that it had stopped, and this was probably as good a chance as I would get, so I started cutting the grass. For Eleni and anyone else who think that's rude to the neighbors, I use an electric lawn mower, electric edger, and electric weed eaters. I use a 50 foot AWG-12 extension cord followed by a 100 foot AWG-14 extension cord, and with two GFI outlets, one on either side of the house, I can reach anywhere I want on our lot. I do have a second 50 foot and a 15 foot AWG-12 cord, but pulling that much copper around is unnecessary - everything works fine.
The lawn mower sounds like a fan if I'm on concrete, and over grass it's really quiet. If the grass is heavy it's even quieter because the motor slows down a little - no speed control. I don't think anyone is bothered because it is quiet, I didn't see anyone out moving while I was mowing, edging, or blowing, and at this time of year everyone has all the windows and doors closed anyhow. Besides that, we live in the country (Pinellas County) but I do always try to be a good neighbor.
In spite of the 70 per cent chance of rain, it hasn't rained enough to notice, and the day has been overcast and drab except for a few short moments sometime between 7:35 and 9:55, when I was done. Also, almost all that time was spent in the back yard, with a six foot privacy fence around the noise.
Other than that, I have been cooking and reading a book, "The Snake Stone" by Jason Goodwin. It's set in Istanbul in the1830's, at the end of the Ottoman Empire, with a lot of threads from the Byzantine Empire. It reminds me that the Turks were a lot like the US - they took in anyone and everyone and absorbed them all. It's an interesting mystery. Jason studied Byzantine history at Cambridge, wrote "Lord of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire" and other non-fiction, and has branched out into fiction. He is using his background knowledge to write something like a novel I once read about Pompeii and it's end. I'm not sure if he is officially a historian, but he reminds me of Black John Culver, at Case, teaching Western Civilization when he hit the Romans. He throws in almost too much detail for a civilian. It's a truly interesting and educational book.
Other than that, it's just been a gray day.
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