altivo: From a con badge (studious)
One of the things about getting older is that other people get older too. Most of us notice our friends and relatives aging without quite seeing the same thing happening to ourselves unless serious health issues arise.

While I've been pretty fortunate in that respect, I've now survived the loss of nearly all my older relatives. My family was never all that large, but grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, a number of cousins and an older sibling have all passed away, leaving me the oldest survivor of my immediate family. Oddly, I still don't feel "old" in spite of having retired from daily work and being able to take advantage of the occasional "senior discount."

However, it gets closer to home when personal friends are affected. A good friend for many years now, who attended the same university I did (though we had not yet met) and has been fairly close to my husband and me for as long as we've been together (35 years!) has been seriously ill with histoplasmosis. That's a systemic infection by a parasitic fungus if I understand it correctly. It's typically acquired from bat or bird droppings and not very common. Difficult to diagnose and with complex symptoms, the disease can be life-threatening if untreated. He was not diagnosed early, and eventually reached a state of emergency before getting a correct diagnosis. Fortunately, that came just in time and treatment is succeeding, but he has been hospitalized for many weeks and is only now recovering his ability to walk, eat, and perform the tasks of daily life. He is only a couple of years older than I am, and has always been a very active outdoors individual. This is sobering and a bit frightening.

Meanwhile, husband Gary's younger brother has been hospitalized for over two months due to major heart issues. He has had two major heart attacks in the past, and has become so weak that they put him on the waiting list for a heart transplant. This week he received an LVAD, a heart-assist mechanism, in a six hour surgical procedure. His doctors hope this will keep him going until a replacement heart becomes available. He is five or six years younger than I am.

My own younger brother has had both knees and a hip replaced, and has also had back surgery and major heart issues more than once but seems to be continuing a pretty normal life. Fortunately he is married to a very skilled and wise master nurse who can spot issues early and take appropriate action.

So far I've had no big problems and everything seems to be under control. But I begin to wonder if the proverbial sword of Damocles is up there waiting to fall on me.


Jan. 10th, 2017 05:59 pm
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Last July I finally gave in and went to the doctor to ask for help with my blood pressure, which I knew had been too high for some time. Given that several close relatives eventually died of stroke or aneurysm, this seemed like a wise thing to do. I was relieved to learn that my situation is not unusual, age wise, and in fact responded quickly to some increased daily exercise and a mild generic drug taken daily. My readings have been back to "normal" range since some time in August.

At that time I also committed myself to losing some weight, as I have gradually gained quite a lot over the last few years. My goal was to lose at least 50 pounds over a year's time, and continue to lose slowly after that. I've been lucky in that I found it pretty easy to start dropping pounds just by eliminating between meal snacks and adjusting portion sizes. No great privation has been necessary. Keeping track of everything I eat and actually seeing the calories, fats, sugars, etc. add up each day has been enlightening. I thought I knew what I was eating and the nutritional significance and on the whole I was right, but I had failed to realize how seemingly small things can add up quickly.

In any case, I am so far on track to reach that 50 pound weight loss goal by the one year mark. As of today, I am down 27 pounds from where I started. The difference is perhaps not too obvious in appearances, but in terms of how I feel, how well I sleep, and how much energy I have it is already pretty significant. My sister-in-law, who is a nurse practitioner, advises me that it is much better to lose weight gradually than to go on crash diets to drop a lot of it quickly. I find that pretty reassuring.

Fortunately, we don't indulge in fast food restaurants or packaged convenience foods much. Whenever we do, I am reminded quickly of how dismal these can be for one's health. The amount of sodium in a single fast food meal can easily account for a full day's recommended allotment. Sodium (much of it from salt) has a rapid affect on blood pressure and other health issues, including weight gain due to water retention.


Jan. 21st, 2012 08:59 pm
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Books arrived in the mail: Duncton Wood by William Horwood, and The Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad by Scott Trostel.

Off cold meds for the last two days, but still feel as if I were taking them. Groggy, sleepy, out of it. Fortunately, not driving.

Red appears to agree with me. Aside from eating, he has been snoozing much of the day.


Jan. 16th, 2012 08:32 pm
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Definitely coming down with some virus now. Fever, headache, congested, the usual stuff. Explains weird dreams and congestion last night I guess.

I have Wednesday off work anyway, but must get through tomorrow somehow. Weather for Tuesday looks nasty too, freezing drizzle, falling temperatures, changing to snow and may get all the way down to 0F overnight.

Gary finished his wiring job today and the switch box works. It allows two power controls to share control of four track segments, and reverse the direction individually for any block. Now we can run the inner and outer loops of our experimental layout in opposite directions and at different speeds if desired. Next, to build a reversing loop or wye into the design.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Cleaned and checked, they passed their exam this morning. ;p

Gary drove me to Park Ridge, which is quite close to his mom's house, and dropped me at the dentist. They went shopping while I was at the dentist, then we met back up for lunch. Then we left her off at her preferred supermarket and went to a nearby hobby shop to get glue and paint. Back to pick her up at the store, then help carry in the groceries for her before heading home to the farm.

Got back in time to do barn chores and put the outside critters to bed, then Gary had choir practice. When he got back from that we had leftovers for supper.

And that was a longer day than it sounds.

Three items came in the mail. One was a set of three passenger cars for the railroad. The second was an "RPO" cover, a letter mailed in Springfield, Ohio, in 1950 with the cancellation text "Transfer Clerk RMS Springfield OH." The "RMS" stands for "Railroad Mail Service" and means that the letter was carried and probably sorted by a railroad post office car. At that time and place, the train could only have been a Detroit Toledo & Ironton run, either train 1 or 2. Both were mixed freight and passenger, and carried mail. The locomotives in 1950 were 2-8-2 steam engines, as DT&I was just beginning to experiment with diesels for switching in its larger yards.

The third item was the pressure regulator for the air brush compressor. While I believe I understand how to connect and use this, some sort of instruction sheet would certainly have been appropriate. It has none. It also has female threaded connections for both input and output, which are going to require some brass couplings to adapt it to the compressor. I imagine those are readily available, just have to find them.

The passenger cars are two regular coaches and a combination REA/RPO and coach. Existing photos indicate that these are similar to those used on DT&I mixed trains 1 and 2 during the 40s.
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
We actually do have weather and of course I'm under it, there being no practical way to get on top of it. But also in the more figurative sense. I've been trying for several days to convince myself that I'm allergic to the dust from stacking hay (or at least irritated by it) but now it has been two days since we finished and I'm still sneezing, coughing, and weeping. Must be some kind of virus, I guess, with mild but insistent symptoms. Wish I could take time off work and just stay in bed, but it has to get worse for that to happen.

Cold, gloomy, high winds (now from the opposite direction,) and rain for the next two days as well. Farrier comes tomorrow for the horses' feet, but I'll have to be at work when he's here. Then I can come home and explain to Tess why she can't go outside because it's near freezing rain. Unless maybe I put her blanket on her, which she probably wouldn't like either. Wind chills are supposed to be near freezing, plus cold rain. Not weather I'd want to go out in, for sure, but she'll think she wants it. If I do take her out, she'll change her mind of course.

Thinking about upgrading the OS on my netbook, but pretty sure I don't want to go with Ubuntu (what's on it now) because they are getting as stubborn about making their preferred choices as Apple is. I use Linux to have the freedom of choice in my own paws. So, it looks like a choice between straight Debian and Mint. I've never used Mint before, but their LXDE desktop looks light enough for the netbook and they claim it is too. Downloaded, but haven't burned a CD to try it out yet.

And that's about it. Need to go lie down, maybe for the night. Hope it's just a cold, dunno where I'd have gotten flu this early.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Even though I have a full day of gallery watching ahead of me tomorrow (and then I'll be done until the show closes on the 30th.) This has been a week full of side trips and distractions.

Gary did go to his doctor's office today and saw the nurse practitioner. $100 (cha-ching) and she prescribed an antibiotic. Price of 20 pills: $120 (cha-cha-ching.) Fortunately he did get an AARP discount on the prescription at Walgreen's, so that only cost $22. Finger still swollen and feverish, but he only started the antibiotic this evening.

I finally looked over the result list for the show judging. I had 12 entries (13 actually, but I withheld one from the judge) and received 11 awards. That sounds better than it really is, though, since the competition was thin. In many cases I had the only entries in a category. For instance, I got all three ribbons in cotton spinning, but I was the only one to submit cotton yarns. Total take (the awards are only symbolic, no actual prizes involved) was 4 first place, 4 second, and 3 third.

Got home too late to change water on the flax, will do it in the morning.

Weather is delightful now, probably our last pleasant spell before the winter. Sunny skies, daytime highs around 80F, nighttime lows mid-50s. You folks in EU should watch for the Draconid meteor shower tomorrow evening (peak around 2000-2100 UTC) which may reach a rate as high as 1000 per hour. In spite of our clear skies, the whole thing will be mostly over before dark here. The waxing moon may cause some interference in viewing even if you have an otherwise clear sky, though.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
As I expected, I felt much better this morning. However, after going to work and trying to catch up all day, I didn't feel all that good when I got home. Nonetheless, it's an improvement.

Little Bandit got banded when I got home. Hopefully done effectively this time.

We just saw a very large raccoon in the yard, gleaning missed bits under the bird feeders. Birdseed? Can't a raccoon find better stuff at this time of year?

It's hot. It's steamy. Abnormally so for the time of year. My hair is frizzed so much even I can't believe it. That's some high humidity.

Tomorrow just farm work. Sunday is a guild spinning demo, and the weather doesn't sound too great for an outdoor event. We'll have to see...

Still shaky

Jun. 2nd, 2011 09:24 pm
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
But improving I think. Left the house for the first time in nearly 3 days to get the mail. That's only 50 yards or so up a little hill, but I felt dizzy and winded when I came back in. When Gary got home this afternoon I declined to "band" the little lamb because my hands are too shaky. However, the fever is gone, the headache seems to be gone (thank goodness) and the cough that usually comes with final recovery from a respiratory virus is here. Unfortunately, my chest is still sore and coughing is no fun. I expect to feel quite a bit better by morning, though.

You've probably heard me complaining about our neighbors who let their dogs, chickens, geese, turkeys, and other livestock run loose so it all comes over to our place. Their dogs have been a particular nuisance, marking territory in and around our barns and acting aggressive and territorial toward us and our horses. This afternoon one of their dogs (elderly Skye terrier) was near the bridge at our pasture gate when Gary was exercising Red (on a leash) and acted aggressive toward our dog. He ran up and bit Red's leg, coming away with a mouthful of fur. Gary says Red just looked astonished, no surprise since he weighs at least 10 times what the aggressor does. Gary called the neighbors to complain but as usual got only an answering machine. I don't expect to hear from them. On at least one occasion I know Gary has caught that terrier in a live trap he had set for possums.

I suspect that none of their dogs are licensed or vaccinated. While I don't want to file an official complaint and have them know that we complained (too many opportunities for reprisals) I'm tempted to set that live trap in our arena again, baited with dog treats. I expect we'd catch the terrier again, and I'd just take him over to the county animal shelter and turn him in. About half the time when we see him, he has no collar on and no tags.


Jun. 1st, 2011 09:04 pm
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
Still under the weather, which isn't hard since today's weather was beautiful. Congestion down, fever and headache up. Haven't had this kind of stiffness and muscle tie-up in years I think. Did not go in to work today, may not go tomorrow, though the symptoms do seem to change rapidly so not sure about that.

Couldn't focus on reading or weaving. In fact, I couldn't see the threads at the loom well enough and It was painful to go through the treadle and shuttle movements. Spent a good part of the day sleeping, or trying to. At least I've recovered my voice more or less.

Lacking other things to do, I finally got around to watching the British television series The Darling Buds of May which has been sitting here for weeks. Alex Vance suggested that my writing often shares common elements with that of H. E. Bates, who wrote the books on which that series was based. I've read the first book, now I've seen the series and I have to say the realization into a screenplay was far more effective than what Hollywood normally does to a book. It kept the story line intact, retained much of the humor, and kept things moving along at a good pace. Pacing is essential for that kind of story.

So, after sleeping all day, I'm ready to try to sleep all night as well. Dunno how that will work out.


May. 31st, 2011 09:00 pm
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
Well, I caught Gary's cold or whatever it is. Went to work feeling normal, but by 9:30 started coughing. Came home after clearing my desk because eyes and nose were running so badly I was afraid I would be unable to see to drive.

This thing progresses fast. Cough is declining, but throat swollen and I've lost my voice. Still able to breath more or less normally, very slight fever. Gary is feeling much better today, so that was under 72 hours for him. Hope I can match it.

Was amused today to learn that the first sample text used in the manual/tutorial for MicroEMACS is a description of Fang Rock lighthouse, an old Dr Who episode featuring Tom Baker.

Two busy weekends ahead, gotta get over this thing. Off to bed shortly.
altivo: (rocking horse)
The good news: I seem to be coming out of this cold thing. It's going into a deep cough, which is typically the final stage for a cold when I get one. Head is nearly clear, sore throat gone.

The bad news: I think Gary's coming down with it, despite all my efforts to prevent that.

Made cholent today, a traditional Jewish stew that is baked for hours in a slow oven. You use a tightly closed dish and it develops a wonderful flavor and aroma. The recipe I use is of Hungarian origin, and in a nod to Gary's preferences, I use a smoked turkey sausage in it. Making it just for myself, I'd put in hard winter squash or pumpkin. It has lima beans, barley, tomatoes, onions, garlic, potato, turnips and is seasoned with good Hungarian paprika, equal parts of hot and sweet. I bake it for six to eight hours in a cast iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. The smell is tantalizing for the last several hours of cooking time, enough to make you drool. We had it with fresh spinach salad (yay for spring) and Gary's home baked sunflower-wheat bread. Wine would be good, but since I've been taking cold medication and he's probably about to do the same, we had just tea.

It was sunny today, and the temperature made it up to 51F. Woodpeckers drumming, cardinals singing, and a raccoon making a fuss somewhere just after dusk. We are starting to hear frogs at night, too.
altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Bad news: I still have the cold. Skipped work today, got little done other than trying to sleep (fail) and trying to breathe (obviously I'm still here, but it wasn't pretty.)

Good news: We took Simon to the vet this afternoon. Gary was all doleful about it and sure she would say he couldn't be helped, but I had better expectations and I was right. She checked him over and agreed with my assessment that arthritis is what's giving him the most discomfort right now. That can be treated to some extent, with one of several prescription drugs. So we came home with a two week supply of Rimadyl, and some of another painkiller to use as a temporary bridge, because he has to be off regular aspirin for a week before he can start the Rimadyl. We used Rimadyl with an elderly golden retriever a few years ago and it really did help her for a while. The drug is fairly expensive, about $3 a day, I think, but I can cover it for now and if it works for him I think we can get a paper prescription and use that to order it from a mail order vet supply for a lower price.

Oh, and Simon is getting around quite well today. Still slow and with a limp, but getting up on his own and moving about. I think the cold snap last week probably aggravated his arthritis. I'm afraid he probably won't be with us by the time winter rolls around again, but I want to make him comfortable while I can. He's still waggy and eager for attention, and very eager to eat his food, so I don't think his quality of life is that bad yet.
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
So I went in to work anyway today, because Wednesday is the worst possible day for me to suddenly call in sick. They have to scramble to get someone on my evening shift, and on short notice. Survived it, but it wasn't very pretty I think.

Anyway, home now. Gary's at dog class with Red, should be home in an hour, and I'm going to try to get a nap in before that. Definitely not going in tomorrow, and quite possibly not on Friday either unless things improve dramatically.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Gotta cold. Gotta rest. Don't know where it came from, but it's being nasty just now.


Feb. 24th, 2011 07:00 pm
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
Last night I was sneezy. This morning I was nothing but sneezy until I took some cold medicine. Now the evidence is clear. I've caught a cold for sure. No idea where. No one at work is or has been ill, Gary hasn't had one recently, and he's the usual suspect as he gets it somewhere and then I get it a few days later. This one will remain a mystery.

Another winter storm warning, no idea whether it will really hit or not. Generally the odds on these things would suggest not.

No weaving done today due to inability to sit still without sneezing all the time. I did manage to get in a nap this afternoon while Gary (bless him) did my chores for me. He arrived home from school just in time to do that. Earlier in the day he sent me an e-mail message saying the library at his school had been evacuated for reasons unknown, but he was OK. We still don't know the reason. When I got home from work at 1:30 I thought to turn on my cell phone and it turns out he called that first and left a voice mail before he relocated himself to the student union building and reattached to wi-fi there to send the e-mail. The sirens and alarms in the background of the cell message were quite disturbing. Nothing in the news, on the school web site, or on twitter or facebook, though, so either students are still in the dark about it or it was much less significant than they made it appear. He said automatic fire doors slammed shut all over the place in the building. Bomb scare? Fire alarm? Hard to say.

Good luck to Shuttle Discovery and crew on its last mission, as the US manned space program slowly fades off into the sunset. Good luck to the people of Libya, and may you get control of your government before the US butts in and tries to remake you in its own image, stealing all your oil resources in the process.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
...thud. ZZZzzz...

I'd say it was a slow day at work, but it wasn't exactly. I arrived to find a mountain of new books on my desk waiting to be cataloged. Since I will be out until Monday, I felt I needed to get those taken care of. The other cataloger (part time) usually does the largest amount of catalog work on Fridays, and we'll be closed Friday, so they would have sat around until Monday if I didn't move them out today. The evening was even more dead than Wednesdays have usually been of late, which is really dead. In the last hour, from 7 to 8, three people came in and out.

Gary made pea soup with the ham bone from Christmas, and we had that for dinner once I got home. It was really good, but then I really like pea soup.

One other thing I did while at work was download two netbook-optimized distributions of Linux. My netbook should arrive tomorrow or Friday, and the Xandros Linux the manufacturer puts on is apparently pretty stodgy. Good for beginners, but not very flexible about installing other software and not exactly as fast as it could be. So I got boot images for the latest Ubuntu netbook edition (10.10) and Cruncheee (also Debian-based.) I couldn't think of downloading a Gigabyte of code like that on our home connection, but it went well enough on a quiet night at the library. Burned one to a CD and the other to an SD card. We have a USB CDRW drive, so I should be able to install from that or else write the stuff to a flash drive.

Weather here is warm (above freezing) with drizzle. Supposed to get up to 50F on Friday. I predict floods from snowmelt but only after some more dense fog. It was getting misty driving home, in fact.

I definitely seem to have shingles, but if it doesn't get any worse than it is right now, I'll manage. It's confined to a strip two or three fingers wide on my left side. No real treatment other than to alleviate the symptoms with ibuprofen or acetaminophen and some itch relieving ointment or lotion. Calamine is suggested, and I see the label on the Benadryl says not to use it on chicken pox rash which is, in effect, what shingles is. I guess it will be contagious for a couple of days if/when it blisters and oozes, but so far it doesn't look as if it will go that far. I did warn the boss that I might have to take some sick days if that happens. No point exposing anyone who hasn't already had chicken pox or been vaccinated. At the moment it really doesn't look or feel much worse than a very mild attack of poison ivy or stinging nettle, and much more localized than that probably would be.


Dec. 27th, 2010 08:45 pm
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Had a persistent painful spot on my back for several days. First I thought it was a muscle cramp, now I see a red rash. I'm not usually hypochondriac at all, but I wonder if it's shingles. Eeew! (Yes, I'm in the right age group and did have chicken pox as a child.)

On the bright side, since a paid holiday fell on Saturday, I get an extra day off and was able to schedule it for Thursday. Yay, four day weekend. Actually, that's using an 8 hour credit for what would usually be a 4 hour day for me, but I don't mind since it makes a really long weekend.

It's getting really cold here tonight, single digits again. I guess I should go put a fire in the woodstove now.

We decided that we need a new storage cabinet with latching doors in the kitchen to provide better dog protection, allowing us to crate him less often. Started shopping Menard's and other hardware places for steel storage cabinets, but none fit the space or budget. Looking at Office Depot on-line found a wooden one from Sauder that should do, but has to be ordered and is non-returnable. So I took the manufacturer's number from there and went to the Sauder site, where they say the average retail price is $15 less than what Office Depot wants. OK, so I asked who else might have it. In our area, Menard's and Shopko. Menard's did not have it and their on-line can't tell us differently (not a complete inventory.) Shopko, however, shows two similar items from Sauder that look even better. Plus they are on sale for almost half price at the moment. I see a trip to Shopko in Belvidere in our near future.

Home alone

Jun. 17th, 2010 08:53 pm
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
Gary's in Chicago. In other words, a normal Thursday, more or less. There was once a time when I really enjoyed quiet time by myself. Actually, I still do, but not nearly the way I used to.

Not that I'm all that much alone when I'm surrounded by three horses, eight sheep, two dogs and two cats all of whom demand regular attention. Still, after so many years together, it does always feel somewhat "off" to me when we are separated.

Nonetheless, I got to make a vegetarian dinner with no complaints from anyone. I'm being irresponsible and reading a book instead of doing "responsible" things. I can go to bed early and be up early without hearing commentary on it, too.

Trip to dentist was uneventful. Traffic, as always, was obnoxious, but this time I was prepared for it and had allowed plenty of extra time. Teeth cleaned, examined, nothing problematic found, only a small lecture about cleaning around wisdom teeth (I still have all four.) Not even the customary talk about my blood pressure, since they didn't check it today. Next appointment, December 23. These visits always remind me of the obvious advances in dental prevention over the last century or so. Both my parents had dentures by the time they were 40. Here I am, half again as old, and I still have all my own teeth. Clearly we have come to understand a good deal more about keeping them intact and healthy.

There are many productive things I could be doing, but I'm going to finish that book and then probably sleep.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Cough and a sniffle is about all that's left, thank goodness. As fast as it came, it is departing. Three days.

Spent much of the day at work finding my desk again under the new books and printed cards that had arrived Saturday and Monday. Most of that is cleared away now.

Put Tess' new halter on her this morning. It looks good and has an unexpected benefit. She sometimes pulls away from the halter on the first try, and I had figured it was because once in a while it pulls a short hair or two as it slips over her face. The new one is padded with a slippery nylon lining and it slid on before she even thought about pulling back. If she gets over that little fault, so much the better.

Only six weeks to NaNoWriMo. I need to be "training" for that, but I'm still playing catch up with the fiber stuff for the show next month. Today, though, I'm going to bed early. I think I may get to sleep all night, unlike the last three nights have been.

August 2017



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