Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do people have a life?

I don't mean for this question to be a Big Question. I am asking if the huge numbers of people who chat away like monkeys on the Durham Friends site all day have a life other than reminiscing over their high school days in Durham, NH? I just shut off the account on which these annoying emails come in to my iPad. In about 2 hours this afternoon 53 new emails popped up, all on the subject of old restaurants in and around the Durham area from the 1960's and 1970's. BORING! And ANNOYING! This isn't memory lane, this is dementia.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wow. What a day for things going on. Family things. Work things. Men's Retreat this past weekend at Fort Worden. Durham Friends emails that pile up at a terrific rate. There is just so much going on that it is hard to find the time to blog.

I have been taking a statin drug for cholesterol control since about last October. My new Doc suggested that a low dose would be good idea. I had my first blood test since starting it today, and the LDL level was cut in half. So, now I can live forever, yee ha!

I've been on the road the past two weeks. First I visited Eugene for a conference. Then I spent a week in the south for a week, touring with customers to mills in Florida and Alabama. I put on 1,000 miles on the rental car in 2.5 days. I traversed the length of Alabama, from Florida to Tennessee, and then back to Atlanta. Surprisingly, I really liked the hill country of northern Alabama, and discovered parts I did not know existed. I didn't stop to talk to anybody, however, and the musical refrain from Deliverance kept running through my head...

I got home late on Thursday night, and on Friday I traveled to Port Townsend and Fort Worden to take part in the Evergreen UU Men's Retreat. I did this last year, and I sort of liked it. This year it was better, and with 19 men sitting in the circle we didn't lack for interaction or topics. It was a really good group, and we did fun things like Exstatic Dance, Yoga, Meditation, and Howlling Like Wolves Inside the Bunkers at the Fort! All were very cool activities.

Sorry for being short, but it is now dinner time and Judy is pressing me to get off the blog.


Friday, March 18, 2011

What a week

688 miles on the Prius this week. I traveled to Eugene OR to attend a conference Tuesday through Thursday. The conference was held in the Eugene Hilton, which I know sounds very nice, but from my perspective is a bit boring. I stayed there last April at another conference, and I used to schedule my own conferences there in the early 2000's. In fact, I had a WesTAG conference at this same hotel September 12-14, 2001. Does the date ring a bell? What a disaster! Nobody who flew could come, and we lost our shirts on that one.

And rain!! Terrible. It was nice as I drove home yesterday, with some sun in the late afternoon.

I did get a chance to visit with my mother, and took her to dinner on Wednesday night. She seems to be doing as well as can be expected. She looks good. The short term memory bit is still a challenge. She can't remember things from moment to moment, but has a good memory for things long ago. We ended the evening by joining a sing-along led by one a son of one of the other residents of the facility, and it was very nice. It was good to see people who are in many ways almost comatose, but when songs of the 1920's and 30's were being sung, could at least lip-sync, if not actually sing along. The mind is a strange place for memories.

Tonight is BQ, and the topic is Arete. Excellence in life, excellence in living, and excellence in personal perspective. To what extent do we all strive to achieve Arete?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Salix 4/1/08 - 3/14/11

Dear Salix didn't last long. His last week was spent sleeping on his beloved Love Fleece on our bed and hanging around with us. He was in good spirits, purred when I held him, and liked to be picked up and snuggled. He seemed to eat OK, and didn't develop any bad bathroom habits. Still, you could see he was in decline, and he finally slipped away this morning. He was with us in bed last night, but was in the bathroom when I got up this morning. He and I snuggled a bit on the floor. He was wobbly when he walked. His eyes were glassy a bit. He clearly was fading. I said goodbye to him, and maybe that helped the transition. We ended up taking him to the Vet Clinic and they administered the final medication.

Judy, Marilyn and I buried him in the courtyard in the rain, next to Doux Chat, our wonderful Burman cat who was with us until his age of about 22 years, and Rufous the Bunny, who lived about 6.5 years. We are developing a regular Pet Cemetery.

Sleep well, old friend.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Salix and a Virus

The news about Salix is not good. I took him in for an evaluation and the diagnosis is that he has Feline virus. This is a non-treatable condition that affects all the internal organs. Salix was quite yellow in his skin color, indicating possible kidney failure among his many possible problems. He weighs 8 pounds, down from the 13 pounds of last year when I brought him home. His attitude is good, and he is lovey, purrs, and sleeps with us at night. He still likes me, and is always wanting to be picked up and held. They said he was dehydrated, but he drinks a lot and eats well. They didn't have any sort of timeframe for him, so we can only hope for the best. He had the virus when I adopted him, so it is not necessarily a fast-moving disease.

It is not likely that Calla will get the virus from Salix, as it requires that they fight and share some sort of fluid transfer to make this happen. In a year this has not happened, so I think it unlikely. Calla certainly does not suffer from a "failure to thrive" condition.

So, we are all a bit sad about this. Salix seems OK with it, and he is just the same. If his condition takes a turn for the worse we will certainly step in and make his last days as comfortable as possible. Until then, he is as happy and friendly as ever.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A call to action

I follow several blogs, including YOURS! I scan them for news of interest, to see how you are doing on a day to day basis, and to catch glimpses of your life. Even those of you who live close by still seem a bit far away to visit at times, and have your own lives to live. You may post a few lines on FB from time to time, or many times daily, but I find that these are often links to things you have found on the internet, or momentary thoughts that quickly fly by. I find them a good way to know you are out there, but not great at feeling the mettle of the day.

Reviewing a food blog from the midwest (it could be the Phacter, or others) I find that some blog correspondents have not accessed their page in over a month. And have not added any photos of the Grand-PUPPY. What's up with that? I want to see pictures of snow, and the puppy. I want to see pictures of the new phone, and the puppy. Get the picture?

Speaking of pets, I'm worried about Salix. He is getting skinnier and skinnier. He seems to eat OK, and he gets around without pain, but there is something definitely not right about him, somehow. He should be gaining weight, not losing it. I will take him in this week for a check up and hopefully something obvious and easily dealt with can be diagnosed. He still sleeps with us, and loves the Love Fleece blanket we have on the bed. We leave a bit of it exposed from beneath the covering duvet, and he always goes directly there and kneads his claws into it. Thankfully the fleece is thicker than his claws are long!

Riccia is not doing well. Her back hips are really giving her trouble. She can't run anymore, and chasing the ball even in slow motion often leads to her falling down. The back right leg just won't carry her weight anymore. She lays around all day, and only gets up for scheduled events like food and cookies. She talks at dinner, and is a pest for an evening cookie, so she still has a good spirit.

Calla and Mandy are doing fine. Nothing to report there, unless you want to hear about how much Calla loves Judy, and how she jumps into Judy's lap, purrs like a freight train, and kneads into Judy's chest. Sheesh. What a love cat!

The weather is good toady and I think Juruf and I will try and get out on the recumbent this afternoon. I'll post pictures if anything happens.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A note about work

The company I work for is an engineering company. It does not actuallly make anything. We design stuff, sell it, adn then get others to actually make it. This is actually a viable business plan, and mostly it works well. It tends to have a problem only when the volume of things we sell is greater than the ability of the "project execution group" to actually get the stuff done. I think we have hit that point.

We have forecast $26 million in sales in 2011. That sounds like a lot, but let me put things into perspective. In January we sold 5 projects totalling $11 million. This week we have received commitments from 2 different projects that amount to $8 million. I have a project in Nova Scotia where we had a sort of kick-off meeting this week that will become a project in April that is worth $6.2 million. Help me out... This adds up to $25.2 million already, and we are still in the 1st quarter of the year. I personally have more projects that I think we will book, that might add another $17 million before summer. And the boys in Atlanta have their own projects at a similar level. We are hiring engineers in the Atlanta office, and 2 start on Monday. I don't think this is enough.

Can I take off the rest of the year?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Snow and Clams

Is the clock speeding up? why does everything seem to happen so fast anymore? My phone starts ringing at 7:00 am, and I'm checking emails starting at 6:00. Now it is going on 6:00 pm and I'm still checking emails, doing my blogging, and thinking about the several things I had planned to do today but was not able to get to. Sheesh!

The extended Birthday this past weekend was good. Marilyn celebrated her BD on Saturday, and I did mine on Sunday and Monday. The kids came over on Saturday night. Fred's was the locale for the beer and dinner gathering last night. Many good friends came to celebrate the day with us.

It snowed all day on Saturday making the roads icy, and there was trouble on the hills around us at about 8:00 when folks were heading home. Judy shoveled the snow at our house, as always, but I have to note that she is grumbling a bit about it. Apparently even her endless patience for snow and show shoveling has an end. I saw it snowing today, but when the temperature is in the mid-30's it doesn't stick. La Nina apparently has full control of our winter weather this year, and we are all suffering from it.

I have been semi-invited to participate in a razor clam digging outing this spring. For those who are not familiar with razor clams, they are 4-7" long, live in the sand flats of places called Long Beach and Moclips, and have the life strategy of digging rapidly straight down when you walk near them. To catch them you use a "clam gun". Yes, it is called a gun. It is actually a pipe with a cap and handle on one end, and a small hole in the cap. You plunge it into the sand over the spout that indicates the clam's position, put your finger over the hole, and pull as hard as you can to haul up the sand column inside the pipe (and hopefully the clam is inside!). What I have not yet mentioned is that you have to do this at low tide, and low tide does not care one twit when it might happen. Clamming at night is common. And in a cold wind, with rain. And did I mention it is wet everywhere? Anyway, once you have enough anti-freeze inside you, it really doesn't matter. The clams are very good fried in a beer batter, but they are a bit rubbery. I think it is an acquired taste. I have acquired it, though.