Saturday, August 28, 2010
Yesterday I looked up ďgoat headsĒ on the internet because when I got home I found two of them stuck to the sole of my right shoe. For any easterners who have never heard of goat heads, they are a nasty seed with sharp, strong thorns that stick out in either two or three directions. They surprised me in Yakima when I first encountered them by causing a flat tire on my bicycle. I was a sheltered Ohio and Indiana guy who had been to Barcelona, Naples, Genoa, Berne, Paris, and all over the US many times on business, and even as far south as Mazatlan in an RV, but the only natural world observation that I recall was to think that the weeds in Barcelona look a lot like the weeds in Indianapolis.
Goat heads are a pest that certainly matches sand burrs for irritation. They are much stronger, and will puncture your shoe and stick you from the outside. Prior to yesterday I had assumed that they were a western problem. One of my oldest daughterís fiancťes (before they had premarital counseling and she called it off) was a bug man for the agricultural station in Yakima. He had never seen a lightning bug, and was astounded when he came to visit us in Indianapolis. I have been told that there are no flying insects in Hawaii, which I still feel hard to believe. So I assumed that we were safe here from goat heads, but when I looked them up in Wikipedia the article said they were annuals in the north, perennials in the south, and they were found in the southeast US. They are a world wide problem, found on every continent except Antarctica, because they prefer warm weather. One thing that gives me a little hope is that they are broad leaf plants, so weed killers will help control them (while also killing the weedelia I planted). Iím not sure if we have any goat head weeds in our yard, but I know I have seen them flowering somewhere locally. One good thing is that tall cover, St. Augustine grass was mentioned specifically, helps to control them.
I remember fondly bluegrass, and worrying only about dandelions and plantains. If you didnít want a pristine lawn, you could still run around barefoot without worrying. Here the seeds of some plants in your yard can be a real irritation. I couldnít believe a builder who told me the way to get a lawn was to soak the lot in roundup, wait until everything was dead (a couple of months) then sod the whole thing. Iím finally beginning to believe him.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday I bought 600 Jimmy Dean breakfast sausages and stored them in the Kiwanis freezer. Thursday I had the empty propane bottle filled and put it back in storage at Nelsonís. I also was in leeway last night at TOPS, and had a nearly perfect day for the Spark nutrition measurements. Today I bought Tylenol and groceries for the BW. I got everything on her list and some more, so we can keep eating for a while.
Tomorrow we will go to Fairway Pizza for lunch with the TOPS crowd Ė a friendship lunch that everyone is invited to attend because itís not a real TOPS function. Then later I will pre-stage two five gallon containers of water at the ďYĒ, where the triathlon will be on Sunday. We have to set up in a parking lot and bring everything necessary to cook pancakes and sausage and serve pancake breakfasts to 300 or so kids and grownups. We just canít move it all now with the second grill on the trailer, so I move the water and some other utensils in and cover everything just before they lock the gates overnight. That makes it easier to set up Sunday morning.
Sunday I get to Nelsonís by 6:30 to load things, along with my new check list to be sure we load everything. I couldnít find the clipboard and checklist we have been using, so I printed a new one. I also reduced the font from 12 point to 11 to make room, and added the chafing dish and some other new stuff we use now. With luck the races will be over in good time. Then we pack up, and I help Burnham push the trailer back up into his back yard. Then Iíll come home with a lot of stuff that has to be washed. I think I got it all back to Nelsonís by 4:00 the last time we did this which makes it a pretty long day, but I took time out for lunch and ran a load of the smaller stuff through the dishwasher, so itís not all work.
I also found out that Iím going to be the treasurer of our combined club for one more year, but maybe John P. will take over next year (2012). If not I might resign because I donít like to stay in one job for more than four years, and nothing will make me be president.
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.
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