Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dikinetic Existence is Killing Me

My life exists in two basic forms. One is the common sitting position with a keyboard in front of me, staring at a screen. The second is running around doing something that is akin to exercise, such as basketball or golf (admittedly golf is less a sport than a way to walk around or drive a cart around while drinking beer, but stick with me on this). When exercising I feel good and there are few problems. When sitting there seem to be little aches and pains that creep into my joints and various muscles. My right hip has been sore for about 10 years, ever since I figured out how to kick that damn red ball 60 yards for the dog to chase (throwing out my hip in the process). Now my left forearm is sore from golfing. After a lifetime of not using my left arm for anything more important than balancing the active right side of my body, it turns on me when I need it most. Rotten appendage. Ungrateful, that's what it is!

I should point out that chasing the ball has not turned out all that well for the dog, either. Riccia is now almost 13 years old, and her right hip joint is worse than mine. She can hardly walk. She hasn't swum for several years, and even just getting around in the house is a challenge. She used to run like the wind and never stopped. Now she can't get up. When she goes outside to pee we have to help her get back into the house by lifting her hind end up the 2 short stairs. I am just glad there is not a quick brown fox around.

Interestingly, bicycling makes my hip feel better. OK, it hurts at the start for the first 3-4 miles, but soon the pain subsides and I can ride fine and I feel good at the end of the ride and all the next day. The limited motion apparently releases the needed endorphins, which work better than any oral medication I've found (and I have not looked much at all - I don't like taking pills).

On another front, we are now starting to actively look for another large black cat to adopt. I stopped by the Snohomish County adoption society yesterday and they had two, but neither was the perfect one. One was kind of scraggly-looking, and the other was a Siamese-cross sort of cat with blue eyes. I liked this one better, he was 16 pounds and built like a brick, and very friendly. I think he would be the kind of cat that will talk with you, once he settled into his home situation. However, we are looking to add this cat sometime in October, not in August, as we still have some traveling to do this fall. I'll keep my eyes open and see what we can find.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Idaho, Georgia, and Rain in Washington

The trip to kellogg was as good as expected. It was sunny and wrm during the day, and cool at night. We rode bicycles, hiked in the mountains, toured the mines of Kellogg, golfed, and generally had the fun we planned to have. It was a great vacation and only dissapointed in that it didn't last longer.

We stopped off in Spokane to visit Mark and Anne on our way over. Mark's healing leg was looking a bit stiff but he is now able to hobble around on it. The casts were off and the wound was in plain evidence. It didn't look at all bad, I thought, and I am hopeful he is able to get back on the golf course ASAP. Mark made me a wonderful gift of his old driver, a true Loaf Of Bread On a Stick, which I made good use of in Kellogg and since. Apparently he didn't get rid of all the bad shots it held inside itself, but I am exercising these demons as often as possible. When I hit it straight the ball really flies, and I thank him again for this wonderful gift (or is it a loan?). Anway,I hope to show him how I have mastered it soon.

One bad thing happened on our vacation. No, I'm not talking about Shannon's multiple crashes on her mountain bike while descending Silver Mountain on narrow mountain trails at high speed. No, Iim not talking about Judy's harrowing adventures on the recumbent bicycle on the Tour de Couer d'Alene's Trail's many miles of open air riding and Moose Viewing. I'm talking about my catching a cold. Yuk. I didn't let it slow me down, but now that the manditory 2 weeks of suffering are over, I'm glad to report that I feel better.

Actually, Judy has really taken to the recumbent and is going great on it. She has mastered the "Getting Started" procedure, and goes straight and fast on the straight parts of the trail. She doesn't like tight turns, and up hills she is definitely slow, but she is getting used to the ride, and likes it. Click here to see a video of our bicycling trip.

We returned home on Saturday, late, and I took the midnight flight on Sunday to Atlanta. Inursed my cold through the week until it finally has cleared up, just in time for a rainy and cool day here today, the first one in a month! I guess Summer is Over for Washington!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August already? I'm ready for a Vacation!

Is it August already? What happened to July? With the traveling I did and the yukky weather keeping me inside on the weekends, I guess I didn't notice that summer is supposed to be here. I've not been avery good correspondent, that's for sure.

I spent a week in Atlanta again, and my time there is going by very quickly these days. I am working with a guy we just hired, Jeff, and he and I have lots to do to get the mobile chipper product line going. I've been trying to put out the 'fires" in the field before I hand it over to Jeff, and one of the fires just doesn't seem to want to go out. It is difficult when you need the support of the BRUKS office in Sweden, and EVERYONE in Sweden is on HOLIDAY all of the month of July, and most of August. It sure crushes motivation on this side of the Atlantic, I can tell you, and customers are not understanding when you tell them you will have an answer in 3-4 weeks! I hate this part of the year for that reason.

Last week I shot through Oregon with Jeff, showing him some of our installations and visiting a mobile chipper down near Roseburg. We had a very nice visit, and the weather was good for most of the trip. We capped it off with a golf outing on Thursday afternoon, and we discovered that we are about even in golf scores (although I believe that he is actually much better and is just rusty).

This week I am working from home, chasing down a couple of projects that are about to become orders. Both are in Oregon, and both are biomass for energy projects. Good work fo rus, but things are hopping all over and the demands on engineering and project management in other corners of this company are mounting. We don't turn away work, but the lead times are beginning to stretch out for drawings. It looks good for me, however, as my commission check is not dependent on the engineering department doing their thing in a timely manner. The customer can get pissed and I have to deal with that, but the check cashes just the same...

Next week we are off to our summer vacation, and we are going to Kellogg, ID for a week of bicycling and fun in the sun. We stayed in this little white house last year, and loved it. Shannon and Clint will be with Judy and I for the week, and my cousin and her family will be with us on Sunday night. The weahter there is always sunny, and the temps are in the 90's. We can't wait to get sun burned and sweaty. There is a rails-to-trails ride along the Couer d'Alene River and Lake C d'A where we will ride. On the southern end of the lake there is a town called Harrison where they have great ice cream stores, and riding to Harrison for a triple scoop cone sounds like a great idea. Or maybe a milkshake. Or both! If you ride there on a bicycle you can eat ice cream guilt free and not gain weight, right?

My heart is breaking for my friends in Spokane. They are dealing with a triple scoop of bad luck! Mark broke his leg in March, and is only now healing past the cast stage. Anne broke her arm this past weekend. And now they have to move to Olympia for Mark's work! Cripes! at least they will be closer to us in Olympia (90 miles away) than in Spokane (260 miles away). Maybe our healing powers will help Anne get better, and I know of some pretty good golf courses down that way that will help Mark find his swing groove again. I can hope, anyway.

If you have given up checking this blog due to inactivity I certainly understand. I had intended to make this a more frequent stop for me as I hit airport after airport, or in recent times, hotel after hotel along I-5, but I have been remiss. Kick my butt, metaphorically, by sending a courteously worded response to this blog and let me know how you feel abandoned. It will help motivate me in the future...