Wednesday, September 26, 2007


About a week ago now one of our neighbors endowed us with a gift of this very sizeable zucchini. This monster had to be about four feet long and weighed almost as much as me. The first question that came out of me was, where the blazes are we going to put that thing! Second I asked the wife, why? Why did you even say yes, I swear I don’t know what she was thinking of. So for two days ‘it’ resided on the end of the dining room table. (I’m sure if it was plotting to take over the whole house.) believe me it can be quite intimidating trying to eat a meal with that thing giving you the once over.
I know you can carve a pumpkin, I guess we could carve the zucchini, that would get rid of half of it at least.
The wife likes those things, can’t you tell I have no time for them. ~ Zucchini always reminds me of a cucumber that went rampant with the hormone pills!

On day four Elizabeth decided that she would have some of that monster fried, I declined, though I admit it did smell pretty decent when she cooked it.

So the monster now, somewhat subdued and smaller in length, graduated to the kitchen counter not that we have a lot of space to start with. Of course the cut end was covered, but even that didn’t stop it from discoloring slightly. Out came the knife and some more bit the dust, unfortunately, now the size would at a squeeze, fit into the fridge! ~ Oh no not that I said to the missus, it’ll contaminate the rest of the food. ~ She gives me one of those patented over the spectacles looks, the ones that say’s you’re crazy! I smile, for this is my way of teasing her about the monster.


Have you ever had a period of time when things don’t just feel the way they should? The last few days have been that way for me, and I’m dammed if I can put a specific label on it. The problem I am sure is that I have COPD.
For the benefit of those folks who aren’t familiar with COPD let alone what it means or entails, I can try and explain a little. To try and keep things as short as I can, COPD is a respiratory disease and the only visible signs are, if someone is really SOB (short of breath). A favorite saying is, ”Sick Lungs don’t show”.
A person can get COPD in various forms as well as various ways. If you have smoked cigarettes/tobacco for any appreciable length of time you can end up with emphysema that is one form. Being asthmatic or suffering bronchitis at any level is another form. In fact if you suffer anything at all that interferes with your breathing, chances are you have COPD. A spirometry test will determine how badly you are effected.
The problem is that once you have the disease then you become prone to anything that goes round, by way of germs/bugs. This is because with COPD your immune system is compromised, therefore you can get whatever is going around if you‘re not careful.

So getting back to my being under the weather for a few days. It did not mean I was ill or sick again, it just meant I was under siege by whatever is afloat, for even the very weather itself can do it. If it is hot/damp/humid then that makes the air very heavy & hard to breathe. The cold can do the same thing too, for then it freezes your lungs and once again you are out of action.

Today was supposed to be rehab drop in, I didn’t make it because of the above difficulties. Instead then, we decided to try and go in the a/c truck to the a/c mall and pick up some needed med supplies.

On the way to town there was ample evidence that fall is upon us, with all of the changing leaves. This then brought to mind our visits to the park and the declining number of days left. We had hoped to get to the park again today, but the weather put paid to that idea. Still there we were driving along and thinking. I could almost see the park from where we were, so tantalizingly close and yet, so far off limits for today at least.
At the mall we took care of a number of things, and at least I got some walking in, which is good for me. We did get one real steal today at the ‘Cole’s bookstore‘, ‘Windows Vista for Dummies” book was on sale at 30% off , not bad when you can get a book like that for under $20. So now if the computer starts acting up, I can at least, whack it with the dummy book!

We also ended up at the food court and the tasty ‘Frisco Fries’ need I say more! I keep telling myself that the extra couple of lbs I have put on recently, is simply because winter is coming and I need the insulation, yeah, that’s what I thought too, that works if you’re a bear.

Guess I have to do a workout when we get home.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Loose Ends and Friends

I can’t believe that September is almost over, where ever did the time go? I have been thinking recently that I had mentioned certain things in previous blogs and then left them dangling. Just lately I seem to have been so busy with online friends and ongoing business. Loose ends and friends, it’s time to tie a few knots and clear the decks for more stuff.

You will remember a little while back, that we ran into some transmission trouble with the truck and this, after we had, had a front end brake job done.

With the transmission if you remember where we left off, I was holding my breath that the problem wasn’t a serious expensive job. The o/d light was flashing and that could be indicative of anything from a hamburger to a steak. The good news turned out to be that it just needed the bands adjusting and they replaced a ‘Shift Kit’ for it appeared that it was skipping 3rd gear. The cost for that was sufficient, but certainly better than a new Tranny.

Some very good advice I received along the way with this saga was: Never take your tranny to a franchise dealer, for it is assumed that you could get set up etc. etc. The advice is to always pick a small non franchise dealer, you will fare a lot better, it certainly paid off for me at least.

For an encore to the transmission I was endowed with the plague of ‘Vista’ on my new computer.
There was of course the initial problem of no email service, which was resolved after much harassment of a number of people, ranging from Hewlett Packard, Internet explorer types and even the giant, Microsoft itself. So after much gnashing of teeth and resetting of half the hard drive, it seemed. “We Got Mail” since then the only problems we get with email is, sometimes they are just so slow to go anywhere, and other times they just go into orbit never to be seen again by man nor beast!

I have read and heard a number of times about that most elusive word, (usually found in divorce courts) Incompatibility, a week ago I ran into that monster full tilt.

We use a digital camera like most folks do and for us we run the Kodak easy-share program. Easy? Ha! Not when you hang out with Vista. It downright refused to accept the disc that came with the camera. I was almost ready to need a gasket job of my own! So off I went with my newly working email to get in touch with Kodak. After much detailed conflabation, we achieved success with another download. However I celebrated too soon at the newly installed Kodak program. As always when you get an upgrade, they always seem to mess something up that used to work oh so well with XP. With XP I used to be able to email out my pictures in varying sizes, which works great for the things I like to do with them. Not any more! What a botchup!

Between the differing ‘My Document’ files set up with Vista compared to XP, the Kodak too has to bring in its own set of file mis-management and manipulation as well. Trying to get the two to work efficiently together is so far, still out to lunch.

I am determined to get the better of these two adversary’s, by hook or by crook. To that end I got the Vista Dummy book from the library, I realize now though I will be better off to buy my own book, I cannot resolve all the challenges of Vista in just a 3 week span. At the present I have the 'Windows Vista book for seniors', which gives you more visual oriented explanations, until I get to the store. The battle continues.

October 21 is supposed to be closing day at the park we go to so much. We are going to miss that place tremendously over the winter months, but we will be ready with the ‘Bit firmly between the teeth’ come opening day in April 08. My thanks to all the volunteers that make Willow Park the haven that it is.

The final loose end my friends belongs to all of you, the friends and people who daily come along and visit my blog with such regularity, wondering no doubt or I hope, what did he do today!
Without the people to come and read/look/post, there would not be a lot of incentive at times to try and write anything. I don’t have a set piece that I do when I write here, but I do try to provide a little variety in an effort to keep things interesting and at times provide a chuckle or two. So to all of you out there a big, big thank you for all your support, interest and comments keep coming back ya hear!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Waning Days of Summer

We were at the park again yesterday, the weather had picked up and it was warm enough to venture over and see if there were any more turtles sunning themselves.

It had occurred to us that although we have taken many pictures at Willow Park this summer, we didn’t have any of the two of us together. Yesterday we rectified that omission by shooting a healthy number of photographs.

Elizabeth and I will not torture you with a whole bunch of poses, but we will share a couple of the ones we like with you. Incidentally as it turned out no turtles showed up for us this time.

We hadn't eaten yet so I was getting hungry, still a walk to go though.

Honest we were just holding hands!

A seat at the picnic table after lunch.

Well fed and resting.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Willow Park

Yesterday we went to the park. In the morning I was feeling very restless. I know that this came from checking my post for Tuesday.
The post simply read “Fateful Times” a poem that I wrote a number of years ago. Last Tuesday was the 6th anniversary of the infamous 9-11. ~

Yesterday we went to the park, yet thoughts were weighing heavy on my mind. Physically I was not having a very good start to the day, but I still had to get out and enjoy a little of what is left of the summer season.

From previous posts you have noted our enjoyment of this little piece of heaven, this corner of the ‘Garden of Eden’, ~ this ‘Willow Park‘.
It was an overcast day to begin with the temp’s hovering around 68f.
As I drove along the highway, I was having my doubts about whether this was a good decision to have made, ~ I drove anyway.

It was a similar morning six years ago that was preying on my mind. On that day many people left the house to go to work, or their daily business, just like any other day. Too many of them never came back home.
So many people died that morning and they never even knew it was coming, let alone how. Such a horrific scene, such a deep scar on the face of humanity.

Yesterday we drove to the park, and were thankful to be able to do so. We enjoyed the simple pleasures of the wonders of nature, clouds overhead with the odd burst of sunshine. Finally between sun bursts, a turtle sunning on a log in the pond along with three baby turtles on smaller logs, you can see a baby in the top righthand corner. We were beginning to wonder if there were indeed any turtles around. But yesterday was Painted turtle day and the bull frogs were conspicuous in their absence.

Like us the turtles time is coming to a close here at the park, as they are known to hibernate beneath the mud in the pond for the winter. ~ Amazingly, these turtles can survive without oxygen up to five months at 37.4f ~

Yesterday Ted wasn’t home playing his classical music, so everything seemed extremely quiet around the park. The geese flying overhead were the only sounds, other than the music of the rippling stream as the water hurried itself over the rocks and slipped away into the distance.

I reminded myself that there are not too many days left before the park will be closing up for this season. I still had to get photo’s though when the leaves turned, for they would complete the picturesque scenes of this place we have grown to love so much. I counted the days that there are left to come here and uttered my thanks that we should be so privileged.

My mind was active as we drove home from our September day at the park. ~

I thought of another September day, six years ago. ~


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fateful times.

With that steely glint, in his eye at dawn
Sword in scabbard- always ready for play
Death paused to ponder this day’s end.
Another Battle, but what the prey?

Beneath gray clouds, of smoke and ash,
Twin Towers aflame, in angry wrath
Slowly at first, then with increasing speed.
Totter then Tumble, into mounds of death.

Shock and fear, then angers rise
Mounting sorrow, the World around.

Armies fight and soldiers die,
Faces blackened, soot and grime,
Oil fires burn, on the desert plain
The fallen lay, in foreign climes.

Beneath the night time, crescent glow
You snatch a breath, while feeling sad
One wonders just, what will come next.
In a crazy, spinning World - Gone mad.

Eric Valentine ©

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pandora’s box

This saying is fast getting to be a habit, but this last week sure was a Pandora’s box of events.

To start, the weather certainly played its part being so hot and humid. The humidity + temp at times reached temperatures of 40c which is warm in any language. On a sad note there was the passing away of the guy upstairs.

On the bright side though we were able to get to the park twice during the week, Monday and Saturday. Stolen visits between hot spells.

On Monday at the park we had the privilege of running into a gentleman who with others, helps run and look after the park, his name is Brian. We had a very entertaining conversation about the park and learned of some of the more intricate behind the scene concerns. Things that one would not normally think to be related with a place like this. A very interesting man.

The real bonus though is that we are always able to come away with a few more pictures, memories of a glorious days visit. (clickable thumbnails.)

I guess fall is on its way. A sugar maple on the turn.

Such a nice contrast in colors.

What can I say COPDer's!

One of the many trails that one can take.

Not exactly the 'Bridge on the River Kwai' but hey, this is a great place all the same.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Oh Dear

We are up quite early this morning, things seem so quiet after all the turmoil and dare we say excitement of Wednesday. The sky is overcast with a slight early morning mist hanging in the air. The birds are just as chirpy as ever though, just a reminder to us that summer is far from over, well at least not just yet. To go outside the building today, one wouldn’t suspect or detect a thing out of place from the norm. The episode of the guy upstairs is over, and finished as far as we the bystanders are concerned at least, although special service crews are still working with the aftermath. ~ Life goes on.

Today we are up and at it for different reasons, I give a slight grimace when I say that, for at this point in time I don’t know what the end of this day may bring.

For a short while now our ‘Baby’ the wife’s ‘pet’ has been acting just a little strange of late. So today’s the day we had to take her in and get things checked out, hoping of course not to hear the worst.

The ‘baby/pet in this family is of course not a child or an animal but our truck!

At this point you may smile, I had you thinking there for a while at least didn’t I? As I was saying the truck has been acting a little rough for at last a week so Dave, that’s our mechanic took her in to give her the once over. I’m biting my tongue for I’m obviously hoping the news isn’t so expensive, at least not this time around, she was ready for an oil change anyway.

Turns out so far, they did the oil and lube, and we had to have a brake job on the front end $250. As far as the original clunk noise/ hard shift, well we still have that and so tomorrow it’s off to the transmission shop on a wing and a prayer !

Don’t even want to think about the possibilities with that one tonight. Yelp!