Saturday, August 19, 2017

My Sweet Boy Turned 14 on Thursday

Donald Trump* is an idiot. A racist idiot. If his words of this past week didn't convince you of that then I'm not sure there's anything he can do to dissuade you from your misplaced belief in him. If, when faced with questions about Trump's* stability and his fitness to serve as president you turn to the propagandists of right-wing media to quell your fears, what good have you done toward really understanding the danger he presents to us all. If you find yourself accepting of the idea that it's okay for Trump's* campaign to have been in collusion with Russia to subvert our election process or if you find yourself equating the Nazis who marched in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia with those who rose up to stop them, your mind has been corrupted and it's more important than ever that you take a step back and come to terms with that.

The assertion that anything other than Fox News or other far right media outlets friendly to Trump* are "fake news" is disturbing to hear, especially coming from Trump's* mouth. There's a willful ignorance that comes with tuning into Fox and other similar voices to shape one's opinion. People have to know that, and yet many continue to. I worry for the direction of our country.

My sweet boy turned 14 on Thursday. Toby doesn't see or hear so well anymore but his happy feet dance the floor when I'm preparing his food in the morning, and he still loves to go out walking. He's such a love and such an important part of my life. 

We're still waiting on a newly paved Jalisco Terrace but they continue to tear out large sections of road and replace them with a different consistency of dirt due to a softness in the soil as one of the workers explained to me. It didn't help that we've received 5" (13cm) of rain this past week. It was a muddy, rutted mess out there for a few days but the end of the project is in sight. To give you a better idea of what we're still dealing with you can more easily see it in my most recent ride video I put together -- especially the last 30 seconds or so.

Our main-floor remodel is nearing completion. Tim was here this week to install the glass tile backsplash. It looks very nice. Keith will be here early next week to put the finishing touches on his work which will allow for others to come in and wrap up their parts of the project.

I spent much of yesterday cleaning the leaded windows that go in the front room. I made them back in 1995 and I've never taken them down for cleaning in all that time. I had them in a safe place in the basement for the past two months but now it's time to get them back in place. And they are. I do like the way the colors pop even more now with the white woodwork to set them off.

We'll be leaving tomorrow morning for Lincoln, Nebraska where we'll be positioned to observe the solar eclipse on Monday. Lincoln puts us in the area of totality and should give us a good shot at driving to wherever it appears we'll need to be to minimize the chances for clouds obscuring our view. I'm getting excited about this especially after watching the video below and the description of totality the speaker gives. I plan to have my video camera rolling for the half hour before and after the eclipse to capture a time-lapse from wherever we are. I don't plan to be trying to capture many photos of the event -- others will do that. I think it's more important to just stand back in awe and wonder while taking it all in.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

An Unwelcome Appearance

I went to Mall of America last week to do some laps on a rainy afternoon. There's a new yarn art display on the north end that's quite cool to see. Walking laps gave me a chance to try out the Garmin foot pod Tammy got me that more accurately keeps track of my indoor distance when I can't get a GPS signal. It worked well.

My Cluster Headaches made a return 3 weeks ago after having left me alone for the past 30 months. That's the longest reprieve I've had from them since they first began to afflict me when I was a senior in high school. I wrote several entries for my blog during my last phase of the headaches but I've been reluctant to publish those writings. They're a little too personal (even for me) in places. I do intend to publish them all at some point. Here's the first of those entries written in January, 2015. I was at a very dark place then, trying to remain hopeful that the headaches would cease any day but faced with the reality that that wasn't happening.

I went from months of daily and nightly beatings from cluster headaches to the near loss of my left leg due to blood clots and then Sudden Sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear. All the while my mother was living out her last months and the difficulties that presented. That period of my life was easily my most trying ever as I did my best to put one foot in front of the other and press on.

The storms would eventually clear and I was able to resume my normal life again. When the headaches are gone I don't typically think about them, or want to think about them but they're never far from my thinking when I get to the point where they're due to make an appearance again. And now they have. I'm not much for social interaction when I'm dealing with them but I do plan to be at the Redeye Open -- a golf tournament next week for retired controllers. It promises to be a fun time!

Tammy and I have been working overtime trying to get our home put back together. We're making good progress. Tim comes tomorrow to do our tile work for us in our kitchen. That should make quite a change in the look as well. Chairs for the kitchen island are on order from Peter's Billards and a small table and chairs are on order from Schneiderman's. Neither will be here for more than another month but in a summer that's flashed by as this one has, another month is nothing.

Time to hit the driving range and see if my swing is still where I left it two weeks ago. I've got a tournament to get ready for.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I'm Going to Finally Learn How to Cook!

We're once again able to park both of our cars together in our garage for the first time in nearly 2 months. Our main-floor remodel is wrapping up and we're pleased with how it's turned out. There's still more to be done but our home is livable once again and for that we're grateful. A guy can only hang out in his garage for so long.

And I'm going to finally learn how to cook!

I promised Tammy that when we got our kitchen put back together I'd make an effort to learn something more about preparing a meal than how to make a sandwich or using a microwave as my main source of heat. She wants us both to take a cooking class. I think that's a great idea.

Keith and Jason came by yesterday morning to install a final section of cabinets in what used to be our front room. Maybe it's still our front room; I'm just not sure anymore. It's such a different look than what we're used to and we're both liking the change -- a lot. It was the open floor-plan concept that first attracted me to our home's design when I had it built in 1992. Our new layout opens it up even more.

We couldn't be happier with the cabinets Keith and his crew have assembled for us. There's so much thought that goes into something such as this and I can't begin to pretend that I can appreciate it all, from the design to the construction and all of the unforeseen things that pop up along the way. We're so impressed!

Steve was here most of the morning and afternoon yesterday installing our pendant lamps over the island in the kitchen and over our dining table. He's been such a godsend to us. Karen was here to lend her eyes and expertise in getting the pendants hung correctly. They're quite cool!

Road construction in the neighborhood continues to move along at a steady pace. They had a huge milling machine on wheels chewing up the old asphalt while both grinding and recycling it into a soft loam that they spent the better part of two days grooming for the first layer of asphalt, which I think they may be doing tomorrow. The cost of $3000 per homeowner seems like a very fair deal to me considering how large of a project this is.

I'll be back in the glassblowing studio at Foci tomorrow for the first time in way too many months. I'll be working with Steve. He's such a talented glassblower and I feel blessed to be able to share some bench time with him. Hopefully, I'll not disappoint him with my limited abilities and we can team up regularly in the weeks and months ahead. I'd like that.