Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So long, 2014...


Don't let the door hit you on the way out...

Well, another year's on its way into history. It was a year where most everyone seemed to get rainbows, while I just got rain. (Seriously. I saw the pictures all over the news sites. I only saw maybe three rainbows all year long, and one tried to wreck my car.) Yes, I acknowledge there were good spots now and again, but the bad, irritating, and downright frustrating ones tip the scales in review. In the end, I'm pretty much where I started, I suppose, and given the rate of inflation change remains too expensive for my budget.

But at least I'm not on fire, I suppose. (Positive thinking sometimes requires lowering one's standards of happiness... and even then there's plenty for the universe to gnaw off.)

(Pictures: Eagle nest from Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo and Xmas ornaments honoring my grandfather, alongside an instrument he made me many years ago.)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Time Slips Away

As expected, September kinda sucked - mostly due to my grandfather falling ill and winding up in the hospital again.

But October decided to top it.

Today was the burial.

What can I really say about him? Words seem inadequate. This was a man who never saw a problem he couldn't invent a way to fix. This was a man who raised four kids after losing his wife, and never gave up or walked away or hid in a bottle or a job. This was a man who served his country proudly. This was a man who taught himself how to make jewelry and build musical instruments in his retirement. This was a man who, when told he couldn't make a particular instrument a particular way, deliberately set out to do it - and succeeded. This was a man who danced well into his 80's. This was a man who had had numerous brushes with death before, when the doctors wrote him off... and came back. This was a man who endured congestive heart failure, dementia, and numerous other ailments - and still managed to hold on long enough to die on his own terms, in his own bed and not in the hospital.

Rest in peace at last, Grandpa.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last Gasp of Summer

Today's the last day of August, widely - if not officially - considered the end of summer. I can feel fall in the shadows outside, yet another reminder that time is slipping past and the end of the year will soon be staring me in the face, demanding to know what I'd done with it.

After a fairly lazy start, it seems that August also decided to be The Month In Which Everything Happens. Two shirt logo runs, a trip to the dentist to replace a "temporary" tooth filler that had lasted since third grade, a new roof (just before the rains started), not to mention multiple outings to the nearby lake, drives to view the "super moon," a jaunt to the zoo, and a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park to visit a thousand-odd-year-old tree in the Grove of the Patriarchs.

The cars also decided to make this an exciting month. My sister's car has an issue with the radiator tank, and the Taurus's turn signal lever needs replacing (it still works, but it won't auto-cancel, and once in a while it'll jam on me.)

It's been rather exhausting, really, but today August is finally over. Things are bound to slow down in September, right?


(Photos: Old lion statue at Woodland Park Zoo; Tree at Mount Rainier National Park; Rufous hummingbird from the back yard)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Let's Get (a) Physical!

Just another quick I'm-not-dead post...

The summer's been reasonably uneventful, except I finally went in for an actual physical today. Between that and new glasses, I can almost pretend I'm a responsible adult.

I also finally figured out (more or less) that tripod of mine; turns out it's a bit directional. But it cooperated enough for a decent shot of the supermoon. Well, decent by my standards, anyway...

Guess that about does it. I'll leave with one of my better moon shots. (Yes, that does mean I'm technically mooning you. I may pretend I'm a responsible adult, but that doesn't mean I am one...)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Interlude with Butterfly

Because it's halfway through June, and I'm killing time.

The Taurus eventually came home after a two-week stay in the shop. Technically, I should've been entitled to a federal rebate for having a catalytic converter failure before 80K miles, but they weaseled out of it on a technicality (which apparently hinged on me not knowing it was the catalytic converter failing when I took it in to the shop, and therefore not following the preferred repair chain of command.)

I also completed my annual run at Copyright Infringement Hell with a camp logo, despite them being late to contact me. (I did a logo for a second camp, too, but haven't heard back from them yet.)

The rest of my life is more or less the same as it has been for far too long. Unfortunately, change is expensive... at least, the kind of change one wants, as opposed to the kind Life likes to throw at you when it's bored and wants a few laughs.

At least the butterflies have been pretty this year.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

At Least It's Not The Transmission...

Last week, my car started making a Noise. Not just the average noise, as one might expect from a seven-year-old vehicle. This was a Noise: loud, disturbing, and impossible to rationalize away. It's over 60,000 miles, so it was probably due for something bad... even though I just had it in for another Noise not so long ago. Given the mileage and that the Noise came with a drop in overall power, I figured maybe the transmission had decided to give up the ghost.

The shop called. Turns out it isn't the transmission. It's the catalytic converter.

At least they found the problem.

Every time I get a little extra money stored up, I swear...

Friday, May 09, 2014

Enough With The Rain, Already!

I am well aware of the fact that I live in the Pacific Northwest, not one of the drier regions of the nation. I am also well aware that it is spring - a traditionally wet season in a wet area.

But, seriously, enough with the freakin' rain, already!

We haven't even gotten any decent rainbows out of the thing... or decent storms. All around us are rainbows galore - I see the pictures on the news sites. But we just get the gray and the wet... especially when I'm off work. Or trying to drive. I'm honestly surprised there wasn't an accident on the freeway today when a hail squall hit. It was just like driving through a car wash - wave after wave of solid water battering every inch of the car. Then a couple miles later it was blue skies. And, no, no danged rainbow to make up it, either. At least, not one I was allowed to witness.

There's a theme emerging in 2014 that I don't much care for.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Interlude with Raindrops

It's been a soggy spring so far. Soggy and unproductive. But I figured I'd stop by just to prove I still exist, to myself if nobody else.

I've been falling behind on everything lately - reading, writing, workshed projects, and more. And I still need to figure out Facebook, which seems every bit as confusing and elusive as real-life socializing to my feeble little brain. I choose to blame the weather for my lack of progress, on the theory that if I rely on something it'll fail me; if I keep using rainfall as my excuse, sooner or later we'll get nice weather so I have to do something. (Hey, it's worth a shot...)

In the meantime, at least the rain can be good for photo ops now and again. Even if it's too soggy to do anything else.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Duck Weather

This week was my take-time-off-so-HR-doesn't-yell-at-me vacation. So, naturally, the weather's been scuzzy. The ducks are happy, but us bipeds without waterproof feathers are less enthused.

I managed to get out to a couple of parks, at least. And a rainbow tried to wreck my car. But that's another story...

Speaking of the car, I got it down to the shop for its tune-up, hoping against hope that they could track down that odd noise. I really should be more careful what I hope for; the noise is going to cost me a fair chunk of change to fix. Though at least the problem was found in the shop, and not on the side of the freeway while my car smolders in ruins.

At this rate, I'm wondering if I'd be better off skipping my every-three-year eye exam.

In other non-noteworthy news, I finally wound up with a Facebook page. It's a longish story connected to a Nook game and a purchase that has been neither refunded nor implemented after a week of tech support tag. Frankly, I don't know what to do with the thing, as I really don't have much to say (as this blog amply proves), but I suppose it's something I should figure out if/when I ever have stories to promote.

I suppose I ought to find something more productive to do. Until next post, here's another duck picture, in direct contradiction to the oft-repeated adage that water simply rolls off their backs.

(In the interest of full disclosure, just after I snapped this, a quack - er, quick - shake dislodged it. But the camera doesn't lie - it was there!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Interlude with Crow and Coot

The second round of medication apparently did the trick. I have some lingering ear and sinus stuff going on, but it's the kind of stuff I'm used to, not whatever the heck that bug was.

And I bit the bullet and made an appointment for a doctor visit in May, in the hopes that, by getting in to see a primary care physician, I won't have need of her services.

Now I just need to get my car tuned up and my eye appointment for new glasses, and I'll be good to go for a while.

(Oh, despite the ongoing soggy weather, I finally got a chance to try out my Xmas camera today, down at the nearby state park. I'm still learning the thing, but so far I'm happy with it.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Health Care vs Head Crud, Round 2

So, I finished up the antibiotics this morning, but all was not well.

My throat and tonsils were no longer sore, so that much was accomplished, but I still had chills and occasional night sweats. I also had sinus and ear pressure and intermittent headaches, and I just plain didn't feel right. Overall, I still felt better than I did 10 days ago, but the bug wasn't gone yet. I want it to be gone.

On the theory that, if I needed more antibiotics, I shouldn't wait too long, I called my primary care provider to see if I could arrange an appointment. However, since I hadn't had a chance to visit yet for an initial visit, I was told I couldn't see her - or anyone in the clinic. When was the earliest new-patient-visit appointment available? Some time in May.

I was transferred to a nurse practitioner, who informed me that I might be able to get in on Friday. This is Tuesday. I need to be able to sleep between now and then, which isn't easy when I wake up with headaches and night sweats as often as not.

Thus thwarted, I headed back down to the walk-in clinic - the one that said it accepted my Medicaid. This time, I was informed that they may not accept it, and I might be billed for anything that happened.

What changed in ten days?

In any event, I was kind of stuck. I didn't want to drive miles out of my way, and I'd already been seen here for this problem. Hoping that my tax refund would cover it, I stayed.

On the plus side, it doesn't seem to be an infection, at least not a sinus infection, anymore. On the minus side... he really didn't quite know what it could be, though he suggested a possible allergy issue or tension headaches from stress or eyestrain. (Which is possible, I suppose, but doesn't quite explain the chills and sweats.)

I left with two new medicines to try and a referral to an ENT if this doesn't work.

Fingers crossed, second time's the charm here. If not, I'll have to call ahead to make sure my health care plan is accepted.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Germ That Wouldn't Go

In January, shortly after my last blog post, I woke up with a nasty bug. Sore throat, headache, chills, sweats, no energy... A flu of some sort had been circulating at work, so I guess it followed me home.

About a week later, I was feeling somewhat better, but still had throat and sinus issues, and I'd wake up with a headache far more often than not.

Two weeks later, and improvement was marginal.

Three weeks, and I still felt off.

Finally, I decided I'd had enough. Time to try out this newfangled health care system. This morning, I called the hotline on the card, to find out if I'd be covered for going to a walk-in clinic. (I did successfully transfer to a closer primary care physician, but apparently they aren't open weekends.) I wound up talking to a nurse, who agreed that I ought to go in to get looked at after this long... but apparently the closest "approved" walk-in clinic on the plan was many miles away.

There was a clinic right in town that I knew was open on weekends. Just for the heck of it, I gave them a call and asked if they took my plan. No problem, they said, come on down.

So much for the all-knowing hotline...

Anyway, long story short, I have some shiny new antibiotics to throw at the lingering bug, and the doctor suggested a few other things to try as well. And so far, my magic little coverage card has worked precisely as advertized, even where I wasn't sure it would be accepted.

I can't speak for everyone, but by and large the system seems to be working for me. (And somewhere, I'm sure, a Republican is likely weeping.)

Oh, incidentally, I did get a chance to play with my new 50x-zoom camera a couple weeks back. I also got to play with my new tripod... which I still need to get used to. The following photo is the result. (Probably would've been clearer if I hadn't been trying to wrestle a tripod into submission in the dark on a frosty porch.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Interlude with Sunrise

Just checkin' in to kill time before I have to start dinner.

 A quick run-down of the first month of 2014 (so far):

- My car is probably headed for another breakdown. There's an intermittent warbly-whistly noise, not unlike those old-fashioned bird whistles (the ones you put water in and blow through), but thus far I cannot predict or replicate it reliably enough to convince the shop that it exists. No, I don't know that this is a harbinger of trouble, but I've driven junkers too long to write off a strange new noise as "just" a strange new noise.

- On a related note, I discovered that whoever designed Tauruses must have been a contortionist; there is no way a human being can replace a tail light on that thing without physically climbing into the trunk to reach the necessary bolts. Three or four arms also seem to be a requirement.

- I got all my info for the new health care plan, but I'm going to have to change my assigned provider to someone closer to home; I don't consider 15 miles in our traffic to be "local." (I'm still hoping to avoid actually using it for anything but avoiding a tax penalty; even with coverage, I can't afford to be ill.)

- I'm taking a break from my longer writing projects to work on short stories, on the likely-flawed assumption that, being shorter, I can write more of them faster and thus learn what the heck I'm doing more quickly; with luck, I'll have something to show for it by the end of the month.

- Absolutely nothing else worth noting has occurred, which I suppose is a good thing given how 2013 went. I am slightly miffed by the weather, though, which insists on being foggy and cruddy whenever I have days off and beautiful when I have to work. The above sunrise, for instance, was photographed in the parking lot of a post office this morning as I was driving in for overtime. (I'm especially ticked because I got a nice new camera for Xmas - a Sony with a 50X zoom that, amazingly, also seems to take pretty good macros - and I want to try the thing out on something other than the back yard.)

I suppose that's enough procrastination for now.