Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Time!

We've got summer time here in all it's glory; even technically now that the solstice is past.  Our Las Vegas weathercasters are talking between 108F (42C) and 113F (45C) for the next 7 days; tonight they are talking a low of 93F (34C).  This is a bit warm even for here!  Still, this is the time for it.

One of the changes we make based on the season is when we walk.  In the winter, mid-afternoon sounds good but these days, the earlier the better.  This a.m. we were out before sunrise.  Walking is the exercise we are best at for sure.  It's been a staple since we moved here in 2008.  Of course there have been pauses; like after my surgery.  We started walking again about a week after I had my surgery.  Then we were doing the short walk which is about a mile (1.6km).  Now we have worked ourselves up to the 'long walk' which is a bit over 2.25 miles(3.6km).  At first the short walk had me resting for an hour or so but now we are pretty much back to normal.  Also last Friday was three weeks since the surgery and the day my doctor anointed as the day I could start driving again.  Wow, was that a relief!  My wife is actually a very good driver and she enjoys driving but laying back in that passenger seat is pretty unusual for me.  I've been susceptible to motion sickness for as long as I can remember so riding with others is something I really avoid.  Making it to Las Vegas for the followup appointment with my doctor is the farthest I've ridden with anyone else for quite some time.  Back on 2004 my knee went out while we were on a trailer trip to the midwest.  My wife got to drive something like 1,400 miles (2,250km) that time! 

We have noticed that this summer seems to be a year for rabbits.  Believe me when I say I know nothing about rabbit populations but here in the valley the population seems to run in cycles.  This is a lots-o-rabbits year.  I think they come around every three or four years but don't really know.  Year before last we could take our walk and see maybe two rabbits; this year we are seeing twenty or thirty plus a few jack rabbits.  I keep telling myself that it's just the year for them.  Maybe later in the summer we'll start seeing coyotes and then the year-of-the-rabbit will come to a rapid end.  What we haven't seen is quail.  No idea why but I don't believe we've seen one all year.

Anyway, that's a summer morning around here.  The other good news is that we are up for the sunrise on the mountains. 
Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Orlando North

Warning:  Another grumpy post!  Stop reading if you aren't up for more gloom.

Just another weekend in Chicago.   "A 5-year-old girl was among forty people shot in Chicago over the weekend, seven of which were fatal."  Racist, hate crimes, drivebys - does it matter?  You are still dead.  I've got to agree that AK-47 type weapons don't belong in civilian life but clearly people are more than willing to kill each other.

I hope it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone but people are not always the way we would like them to be.  They get mad, crazy mad, and do things that another day they would never consider.  They get fascinated by ideas or philosophies and bury themselves in twisted thoughts to the point they lose their common humanity.  They are simply careless and do stupid things.  It's all part of being human.  It isn't pretty but we really are closely related to the other members of the animal kingdom.  We put our minds to it and bring animal violence to a whole new level.   

I personally believe that some of the blame needs to go to all the violence we see on television and in movies.  Maybe I'm totally wrong but if you watch a couple hours of tv it's easy to see five or six people be shot.  If they are 'bad guys' they probably don't get up again.  If they are 'good guys' they are walking around with their arm in a sling by the next day aka the end of the show.  What kind of shit is that?  In the army I had careful instruction in using weapons to kill others.  I was lucky and never had to put that knowledge to work but I have it still. 

Of course, if Orlando hadn't enough trouble this week, there is the story of the 2 year old taken by an alligator in front of his parents!  Talk about something that would blow your mind.  I really feel for those people.  How the hell are they supposed to get through something like that?  We lived just outside Orlando for a few years in the 1980's.  There are LOTS of alligators in Florida.  People don't realize it but there is a gator in practically every body of water.  They were in the 'manufactured' lake by the office, in the natural lake in our sub-division, in the ponds by the side of the freeway.  And they get hungry.  Even I can't blame that on television.

Ok, I'm done.  I'll take a cheerful pill and be back to normal soon.  I promise.  In the mean time, thanks for stopping by and try to have a good one!

Monday, June 13, 2016

I'm not even going to try

There just isn't much you can say about the tragic murders in Orlando of all those people.  When someone is that determined nothing much is going to help.  Cops can't be everywhere watching everyone.  Gun control isn't the answer; they'd just create a bomb.  Teaching love, understanding, even the freedom to be different doesn't seem to have much traction either.  The human mind can go such strange places. 

This post is just going to be a ramble.  Just a warning in case you want to bail now!

Out here in the Nevada desert we are enjoying a slight reprieve from the Excessive Heat Warnings.  It's just hot; not 'don't go out unless you must'.  We still have people doing foolish things.  A woman was cited the other day for leaving her young dog in the car.  She left a window open but it was still over 120F (49C) inside - as measured by the Animal Control officer.  So she is shoping at Goodwill when she gets the ticket; I'm thinking she isn't very well off.  And she gets a $650 ticket for abusing her animal.  How do you think that going to work out?  Animal Control is doing their job but $650?

There was a 'feel good' story on the news a month or so ago where this cop pulls a guy over then notices the guy's kid isn't in a child seat.  Why not?  The guy says he can barely buy food, doesn't have any money left over for a child seat.  The cop could have written him a ticket but instead takes him to Walmart and buys the kid a car seat.  Later he said he couldn't see writing a ticket the guy couldn't afford.  I guess there are people like that in the world as well.

Big plan for today is to take some food stuffs over to the VFW Food Bank.  We try to make it over there every month.  Last month's load was kind of light but we made up for it this time.  We find it difficult buying for a food bank.  Who knows what they need?  We ask but I suppose the needs change daily.  At any rate the answers we get from the folks running it do.  They support some people, both male and female, who are living alone out in the desert; they also support people who have families even extended families.  As a result some of the stuff we buy is single serving, eat from the can.  Some is family size requiring cooking.  What can you do?

Our local Primary Election is tomorrow so my wife and I will be voting.  It really is pretty sad though.  We are both independents, not associated with a political party.  All voters, including us, have two positions to vote for:  a member of the University Board of Regents and a member of the School District Board of Trustees.  Each position has only one person running so, they will both win.  It really motivates a person to go vote!

The Republicans and Democrats have to choose candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives.  In addition, the Republicans have a race for a seat on the County Commission.  Thus, in the fall the ballot will have President, Senator and Representative.  That's it.  No state offices, no local offices at all.  What a farce.  Maybe we are getting the government we deserve. 

So that's all the news that's fit to print today.  Sorry about the random nature of it all.  Thanks for stopping by and have a good one!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Summer's here!

We have had several years in a row where most of the time we stayed under 105F (40+C).  So this year is starting out with a week of mostly over 105F.  Well, besides my neck, this is certainly the reason to stay inside and veg out.  I'd be embaressed to say how much 'crap' tv I've seen in the last two weeks but let's just leave it at 'too much'.  I could read but somehow it makes me fall asleep.  Hmmm, tough life huh.

We had big plans for being out of the area during this time.  My 50th high school reunion was being held back in Iowa at the end of May and we were going to make a big trip of it.  We were going to see friends in Colorado then relatives in Missouri before the reunion.  Then afterwards see friends in Ohio then go up through the Michigan Upper Peninsula.  Finally we were going to sweep down towards the middle of the country and check out the state of Oklahoma; one of the few we haven't visited in our trailer.  The whole trip would have been closer to 6,000 miles than 5,000. (9,600km vs 8,000).  The truck was all tuned up and ready to roll unfortunately, I wasn't.  Well, maybe next year! 

I am sorry to have missed the reunion but I did leave town about as soon as I could after graduating and haven't been back except to visit my parents while they were still alive.  It might have been fun to see how those people I remember as 17 or 18 look now that they are closing in on 70.  I did run across a few of them when we were all in our thirties but that too was quite a while ago.  Guess I'll just have to look at some random group of old folks.  Or maybe I'll just look in the mirror!  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't recognize myself and I can't find a copy of my yearbook photo.  I'll post it if I find it later.  There is a Facebook page that some hardworking person put together.  There are some group photos where I recognize no one.  Maybe missing the fun is something I'll live through.

We do have some thoughts for travel in the fall but we are pretty gun-shy since the summer trip kind of blew up.  If nothing else we'll probably take some short trips over to places in California that are way overdue for a visit:  Napa Valley, Yosemite, San Simeon just to name a few - we have woefully ignored California for way too long.  I should point out that we are wine consumers rather than wine snobs so a visit to Napa wouldn't take more than a couple days!  Driving up Highway 1 is on the list too.  I'm not sure how far we'd go.  We've had a whiff of the redwoods but haven't really spent time there.  We've been on Highway 1 in Oregon as well but that was coming south rather than going north and somehow it feels different.

Well, that's the news from the overheated state of Nevada.  Thanks for stopping by and have a good one!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Life in the bumpy lane

No one expects their time in the world to be entirely smooth and I've just found a bit of a bump:  my incision has what we hope is a slight infection.  We went to the local quack where they demonstrated their unfamiliarity with wound care.  Hmmm, note to self:  if this crap ever happens again go to the hospital ER where they will have some grasp on this kind of thing!  They did give me a prescription for an antibiotic, which seems to be helping.  I also moved up my visit with my surgeon (to later today); we'll see if they can be worse than the locals but I'm hopeful they will do better.  If we are really lucky we might get some idea of what kind of infection this is!

Of course I'm driving my poor wife nuts since 'good patient' isn't really in my DNA.  We vary between me asking for something every 5 minutes and then having to beat her off me to keep her from 'fixing' something.  It's been working for about 35 years but sometimes you wonder how!  I'm sure that when she is ill I do things to drive her crazy as well. 

Speaking of DNA, we did DNA testing on ourselves as a sort of Christmas present that takes 3 months to arrive.  We used 23andMe because it sounded as though you got more information than other services.  I guess you do but lots of the information is in the 'ho hum' category.  I mean they suggest that I am likely to move more during sleep.  Really?  Or I'm likely to have lighter skin and not many freckles.  Bummed is the word.  Here is a quote:  "You have more Neanderthal variants than 85% of 23andMe customers.
However, your Neanderthal ancestry accounts for less than 4% of your overall DNA."   Well, it made my wife laugh but I'm still holding out for some  information of value.  There were reports on rare genetic disorders like Sickle Cell Anemia or Niemann-Pick or Cystic Fibrosis.  I imagine if we were to want children and have concern about some of these diseases the information would be extremely helpful.  For the rest of us, not so much.  Am I glad we did it?  Yes.  I feel that the more information we have about the human race the better we can look towards the future.  But I have to say if money were tight I wouldn't have spent the $400!

My wife is enjoying her new job as driver of the car.  I could do it, of course, but having your neck in a collar does reduce the amount of looking around in traffic a guy can do.  It would be silly to try to drive since it's not necessary.  We are gradually getting used to all the new features.  The car has voice commands for many functions and that leads to interesting and frustrating situations.  For example if you want do get the GPS to take you somewhere there is a very precise order for giving the information and God help you if you give the street name before the number!  Hell, sometimes it takes three times to get to the Navigation panel!

Gotta go get ready for the trip across the 'hump'.  Thanks for stopping by and have a good one.