Friday, April 29, 2011

Goodbye, April; Welcome May!

We have entered another weekend with one month leaving Saturday and another arriving Sunday.  At least April seems to be heading out on a sunny note, although some chances of showers remain in the forecast.  April in Maine did live up to its reputation of being wet;  April elsewhere in our country became very devestating.  Tornadoes around mostly the southern states wreaked so much havoc that it'll be years before recovery can be complete there.

You may remember a few weeks ago Gator Golden underwent knee surgery.  I would think it's tough being a dog and not understanding what's happening.  But she's been a trouper and tries as hard as a dog can to figure out what we want from her.  As the veterinarian requested, we've kept her under a pretty tight leash to keep her from running and jumping either in the house or outside.  Those tight restrictions have now been eased and one of her two chairs is now open to her.  She now does her outside 'duties' on her own.

Gosh.  I think I've done a terrible thing.  I mentioned this next to last day of the month was a sunny one, but already the milky skies are forming. 

This might be the weekend I finally convert my snowblowing tractor to a lawn mowing one.  Probably won't, but the lawn won't wait much longer. 

Have you noticed the new style headlights and tail lights on new cars?  Many of them are coming through with LED lamps.  They are bright and stylish; but as I followed one the other day, about all I could think about was how much it'll cost to replace them when they burn out.  For the most part, the days of simply changing the bulb, which just about any car owner could do, are getting closer to ending.  In many cars those days are already gone.  I haven't given the new units a close look, but it sure does look like the whole unit, case and all, would have to be replaced.  It just looks like it'll be rather costly.

I remember many, many years ago when I had a car with what were called turn lights.  They came on when the car turned a corner to light the way.  They were supposed to make turning safer, but I don't think they really made much difference.  Of course, as I said, that was many, many years ago.  One of mine expired and I didn't miss it...until I went for an inspection sticker.  Seems any lights on a car at delivery had to work at inspection time.  It took a complete light assembly to replace it and even then was a whole lot more costly than I would ever had anticipated.

Gasoline prices continue to climb and have probably caused many of us, at least Gator Wife and me, to remain close to home this summer.  We have enjoyed summertime travelling, but when gas prices go over the top so do the prices of everything else.  We simply can't afford to travel this year and will miss our annual get-a-way.  We were in the same pickle the last time gas prices were this high.  George Bush was President.  At least he took some action.  Opening up some new drilling caused more panic in the oil producing countries and the prices fell quickly.

Our current President is forming a commission to study the problem.

I've read but have no linkable source for its accuracy so don't know how accurate it is that we have more oil underground in this country than the Arabs have and we could become self-sufficient if we'd only allow drilling.  In this country, however, some people strongly criticizing rich people are becoming rich by getting government subsidies to develop new sources of energy.  Of course those subsidies cause all prices to rise.  And those being critical become even richer themselves.  We don't hear too much about that, though, do we?

I hope you have a very pleasant and happy weekend.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The ending of April continues

It's a Wednesday as April heads to a close.  I've been sitting here for a while thinking of things about which to write this day.  Nothing comes.

I could mention that the doctor read the results to me of a CTScan I had a couple weeks ago.  I wasn't worried about that test because if anything of significance showed up, I would have gotten a call right away.  No call came and my suspicions of a good test were confirmed yesterday.  I still have an aneurysm in my abdomen region, but it hasn't changed in three years.  It's in a 'tricky' place so the doc doesn't want to go after it unless it gets worse.  So that test is over for another year and a day.

I could have mentioned that the scan was the final event in my annual medical events, including the annual physical, the regular testing and reading of my heart which includes an echocardiogram, and electrocardiogram and a 'nuke' test on the treadmill, and a visit to have the ICD checked. 

Except the events aren't over.  All the normal ones have been completed successfully, but that little implanted cardioverter defibrillator in my chest decided it wants more attention.  The test I send to Medtronics via telephone showed some adnormalities so I got a call from the cardio surgeon to get the ICD read again in his office.  After that reading, I was given a choice:  Do nothing, have the device simply shut off, or go to the hospital for some tweaking.  It appears, according to the doc, that there's a problem with the lead (wire) that connects the unit to the heart.

Shutting it off wasn't really an option in my mind.  The device is a combination pacemaker and defibrillator.  I have heart disease so that decision was a no brainer.  The doctor explained that within a few months, I'd be getting false zaps which wouldn't be pleasant if I chose simply to do nothing.  He pointed out that along with my discomfort, I wouldn't know if the zapping were real or false so I'd have to call rescue folk each time.  It wouldn't be long before they'd start getting anxious over the repeated calls.

So, early in May I'll be heading to the hospital to spend a day partly unconscious and partly recuperating to have the lead fixed.  I was given options, but to me that was the only good one.

But who really cares about my medical conditions except me.  Well, perhaps Gator Wife and Gator Daughter.  Therefore, I won't mention all those things.

Remember about a year ago my Fearless Friend took us on a journey of cataract correction?  A year later he needs some tweaking, too.  He's going to have a problem fixed today, but he says it's nothing major.

Edited 4/28:  As you can see by his comment below, FF's cataract surgery was a little over two years ago, not the one I mentioned.  Wow!  Time sure does fly by when one is having a good time.  Thanks, FF, for the correction.  By the way, FF told me in an email that the procedure to correct a problem was fast, easy, and, except for some eye drops, painless.  Apparently it was accomplished via laser was not invasive.  Anyway, he says the improvement in his vision is remarkable.

And that still leaves me sitting here trying to think of something about which to write.  Nothing of import is coming, so I'll just move on to another day.

Oh!  It occurs to me I haven't included a picture of Gator Golden for almost two weeks.  Her recovery from knee surgery is coming along fabulously and she's already almost back to her old self.  I'll work on getting a picture or two in the next few days.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Showery end.

Was it just yesterday when we were mentioning that March was ending?  Seems to me April has just flown by.  It began with stormy weather, and, if the forecasters are correct, it'll end with showers as well.

There is one really good element to the ending of this month.  The wedding of the entire history of mankind will be behind us.  Kate and Willie, oooops! sorry, Will, or is William preferable, will have taken place.  I am so tired of all the hype, which began, I think, two or three years ago.  I honestly don't give a rat's sitdown place about the wedding and the chances of my watching it beginning at four AM Friday morning is about as nil as nil can get.

It might be worth watching, though, just to see the internal drama that the always accurate magazines in the supermarket checkout lanes say is happening.  Gator Wife and I were shopping the other day and I spotted informed us that Kate is pregnant (with a girl, no less, to be named Diana after Will's mother) and the other that told us the couple were headed for a showdown on the eve of the wedding.  And we know, don't we, that those magazines couldn't report that stuff if it weren't true.

I did chuckle Sunday when NBC's Weekend Today Show had a 'man-on-the-street' interview about the wedding.  After all the publicity, very few of those they showed us even knew who the bride and groom were.  When told it was a royal wedding, one poor guy asked if it were the American royalty or royalty from some other country.

I can't help but wonder what's going to happen to the Today Show starting next month.  They won't have the wedding, which has consumed the show for several months, to talk about.  Perhaps Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer have an inkling change might be at hand.  Rumors are rampant that they will not renew their contracts when they expire, Vieira's soon.  Lauer would be missed.  Now you can put about as much stock in the thoughts in this paragraph as people put into those magazine articles in the supermarket checkout aisles.

And this is the week the Maine Legislature reconvenes in Augusta.  They needed a vacation after all the meaty stuff they've accomplished so far.  You know, like making the whoopie pie the state's official treat and the wild blueberry pie the official dessert.  There are two truisms we've learned in the first half of the session.  The Republicans have no clue how to lead and get things accomplished and they've forgotten the only reason they are in control is because the voters wanted change and reform.  On the other hand, perhaps they've learned how to make change by watching President Obama.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I sincerely hope you and your families have a Most Happy Easter.  This is a day for families to gather and reflect on just what life means to you and your religion.

The Gator Clan will be together this day for an annual meal and I hope your families and you will have the same, great enjoyment.

Happy Easter, Everyone!


Oh...the good news...the Red Sox continued their winning ways last night.  And again today...John Lackey had another good outing getting the 7 to 0 win.  Lackey made it all the way to the ninth.  Unfortunately, the Yankees continue to win, but the Sox are now in third place in the AL East standing, but still 3 and a half behind the Yanks.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Patriots' Day Week

Just think of the great country that secretive ride made, all started by someone dumping some tea into the Charles River.  Or was it Boston Harbor.  I guess that's what happens when one gets on in age...forgetting little facts.  I hope we all find outselves again, though, as there seems to be another force, our own elected people, trying to end our greatness.

Speaking of Boston, is it possible the Red Sox have at last found themselves?  After a horrendous season beginning, the Sox have now won three in a row.  Just a smidgeon too early, though, to declare them all the way back.  Afterall, all three of those wins, including today's 9-1 victory, were against one team, Toronto. 

Tuesday AM:  We won't know until tomorrow if the Sox can win another as they travel to the far coast for tonight's game.  And it isn't until ten or so our time so this Old Gator won't see any of it.  The bad part of the news is Lackey is slated to pitch.

Wednesday AM:  Surprise!  Lackey gave up only one run.  Of course the Sox didn't score any.  The bullpen, including recently recalled Okajima (3 runs), gave up more.  At least Lackey did his job for a change. 

Wednesday PM:  Back on the track with a win against Oakland.  Buchholz joined the starters in having a good outing, giving up only one run.  A couple relievers gave up one each, including Papalbon, as the Sox won 5 to 3.

In case you're wondering why all the Sox stuff, it's easy to fill with.  I mentioned last week I was in for a couple of medical appointment weeks and other than the Sox, that would be all I'd have to use.  So, the Sox saga will continue.

Friday AM:  The Sox climb continues, now 5 of last six end with wins.  Last night Buchholz pitched a strong 8 innings but gave up two runs.  The winning run was scored in the eleventh after Bard and Jenks held the 2-2 tie.  Jenks, the pitcher of record in the top of the 11th when the Sox scored two, got the win and Papalbon earned his 4 save in the 4 to 2 win.

Saturday AM:  Six of the last seven now for the Sox after last night's 4-3 win over the LA Angels.  Lester got the win as he made it through six innings.  A couple relievers made the game a little worrysome before Papalbon pitched the ninth for his fifth save.  Good to see Pap apparently back.  And do you realize the Sox are only 3.5 games behind the Yankees for first place?

Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter Sunday.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Slow week

Anyone remember last winter when we were all warned that cheering for any team but the Red Sox would be a total waste of time?  With all the money spent for new acquisitions and trades made, the Sox just might as well have been crowned then rather than waste time on a season.  Hmmmm!  I wonder how all that is working!

Edited Wed Eve:  At last relief.  The rain gods gave the Sox some peace for at least one day.

And again Thursday:  The schedule also keeps them out of the win/loss columns.

Saturday morning:  We like those days off better, I think.  At least they're not another loss.

Saturday evening:  Well, methinks we like the mostly real Red Sox team better.  And did you notice the apparently greater confidence in the pitchers with Veritek behind the plate?  Now we'll have to see what happens Sunday before we can start thinking the Sox are back.

Sunday evening:  Wow!  Two in a row.  Is it time for the old refrain,"Break up the Sox?"


No news

April continues.  I'm going to be busy for a couple of weeks with doctors' appointments, so there won't be much here.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Thunder Storm

Last summer our house was zapped by lightning.  Many of the electronic circuit boards in several pieces of equipment were destroyed and had to be replaced.  Once again, lightning/thunder is in the area.  Therefore, my equipment will be shut down.  There will be no further posts today.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Woe is me!

I wear an implaned ICD, a combination heart pacemaker and defibrillator. It helps to keep me alive. I guess it has gotten a little jealous of all the attention Gator Golden's staples have received during the past three weeks. It wants attention of its own. There's a problem with the lead, the wire that goes from the heart to the device. Surgery is required to correct the situation. Well, at least you didn't have to read about the weather today.

However, my friends are more interested in GG than in my problems, so we'll show you her favorite resting place.  GG had been taught to use a doggy "crate" when she first came home more than seven years ago, but we had bought one that she couldn't grow into.  So after the first two or three months, she had no crate.

When she hurt her knee, one of the first things we needed to do to help her recover was get her a crate where she would have to remain calm and not run or jump around the house.  We bought one and GG very quickly accepted it and now continues to use it as her safe haven.

For the past three weeks, it has been in our living room where GG could see us and know where we were and what we were doing.  Most of the time, the door was open so she could come and go; but when we had to leave for any reason, she was confined.
This morning Gator Wife had to go to work early so after she left, GG wasn't ready to get up just yet; after GW's departure, she just wandered back into the crate for some more sleep. 
Of course, she had to keep one eye on what I was doing.

The crate will find a more permanent home very soon.

I hope you have a super April weekend.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Woe is me!

I wear an implaned ICD, a combination heart pacemaker and defibrillator.  It helps to keep me alive.  I guess it has gotten a little jealous of all the attention Gator Golden's staples have received during the past three weeks.  It wants attention of its own.  There's a problem with the lead, the wire that goes from the heart to the device.  Surgery is required to correct the situation.  Well, at least you didn't have to read about GG's woes or the weather today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Waiting (No more: Edited Wed., 2:30 PM)

The staples have been removed and the vet said the dog is doing extremely well; so well, in fact, she no longer has to be on leash outside the house and can be alone for five to ten minutes to be more active.  GG has already shown how much happier she is. 


Gator Golden waits patiently for Wednesday to come.  That's when she gets the staples removed from her surgically repaired knee.  She still has several more weeks of recuperation, however.
Edited Tuesday PM to add the following picture
"Please make Wednesday come quicker!"

"Oh, I hope FF and Mrs. FF have a safe trip home beginning Wednesday."


Saturday, April 2, 2011

A nice, April weekend

After the huge snow/rain storm that slammed into Maine yesterday, this first weekend in April is turning out to be really beautiful and signifying that warmer, seasonal weather is heading our way.

Officially, Portland got 5.5 inches of new snow yesterday, but the depth was held down considerably by some mixed in rain.  Other places got considerably more snow as the town of Standish, for example, was over ten inches and even more snow fell in other places.

Today, my driveway is black and clear as our temperatures today will take away much of the remaining snow.  The rest of the weekend will be seasonal with temperatures in the 40s and perhaps a 50s reading or two.

Gator Golden continues her improvement from surgery two weeks ago.  Yesterday and even more this morning, the little dog is acting more and more like her old self and our attempts to keep her from running and jumping are getting more challenging.  Outside is easy as she's on leash most of the time, off only so she can do her duties in comfort.

Now using all four legs (it was a hind knee that was surgically repaired) with very little hint of discomfort, she is moving much more quickly around the house and she is begging, I mean trying to put us on a real guilt trip, to be allowed to use her two chairs to see out the window.

On another topic, I was happy last November when Republicans captured both branches of the legislature and the governor's office in the elections.  It's been 40 years since the GOP has had a real chance to show what it can do to make our state a better place.

What they are all proving is very simple.  They have lost all vision of how to lead and reform in those passing years.  Today, it certainly appears that they're doing nothing. 

Well, that's not really fair; they have had one major accomplishment since getting control.  They have adopted the whoopie pie as the state's official treat.  And that says it all about their abilities, at least so far.

Have a great weekend.


Friday, April 1, 2011

It wasn't an April Fools' Day joke!

Friday, April 1st.  And the snows came.  And came.  Nature itself told us this day wouldn't be a joke.
There's an old, very old but usually accurate saying, "Red Skies in the morning, sailors take warning; red skies at night, sailors' delight."  This is what morning looked like yesterday and skies that red tell us we're in for a storm.  Yesterday's dawn didn't lie.

Today, we woke up to snow.  Lots of it. 
Hard to believe that just yesterday, nary a flake of snow could be seen in our yard.
And before it ends later today, we could have six inches or more on the ground.

April 1st, 2011.  This is no joke!

(Edited 6:30 Friday Evening:  Storm pulled out of Greater Portland area shortly after noon, but some rain or snow showers probably will linger through the night.)