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.

Whoa!

Mar. 3rd, 2013 08:42 am
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
I'm not sure I can account for all of the time since the last post.

A good bit of it was consumed by just dealing with winter and work, daily routine for me without many breaks or distractions. I don't particularly enjoy that, but it's a horse thing, ya know?

Small things have happened along the way. Max (our latest rescue dog, eleven year old bearded collie) has finally figured out the dog door. He learned to go out on his own a while ago, but never would come back in unless invited or someone held the door open for him. Now he comes back in on his own most of the time. He's good about not doing anything in the house, and we worried about leaving him here for too long unable to get out. Then we worried that he'd freeze outside when he was able to go out but wouldn't come back in unaided. At least that concern is pretty much resolved.

Red, the big lab/golden mix that we rescued a couple of years ago, has developed an autoimmune problem that makes his nose blister and peel. It seems most likely to be pemphigus, which is a nuisance thing for most dogs that have it, but not life threatening. However, it could be lupus which is much more serious. Now awaiting lab results on a biopsy that is supposed to determine which it is and what treatment might be likely to help. During the biopsy they found a large tumor on his tongue and removed that too. Now he's on "soft diet" for two weeks, though his appetite is good and he doesn't appear to be in much discomfort. (Could be the pain meds he's getting, though.)

Weather has been bizarre here. Winter didn't really set in until January, which is very late for us. Fortunate in a way, since we had the two family funerals and attending excursions in November and December. And after last summer's drought, not so good, since we need rain or snow badly. The snow finally came in February, with a vengeance. about 18 inches (official at O'Hare but more like 23 inches by our measurement here) in three big snowfalls. Not done yet, either, as they are predicting another storm for Tuesday-Wednesday of this week with possibly 7 to 8 inches of accumulation. No snow days from work for me, alas. Gary's university did shut down in the last snow, but only as he was leaving for the day anyway.

Gary and his brothers put their mom's house on the market in January thinking that it would probably not attract bidders until spring. Wrong. They had three cash offers in the first week, and the third was for the full asking price. This is a tiny two bedroom brick house on a very narrow lot in Chicago, and not in a particularly trendy neighborhood either so we were surprised. Of course it means they have a big high pressured hurry to clean the house and garage out before the closing which is now only a week away. Since the whole family are "savers," the place was stuffed to the gills and going through all of it is traumatic. I know he'd like to bring a lot more back here, but even he realizes that we have space limitations. Two sewing machines, furniture for two households, and memorabilia reaching back three generations. Plus he's attending two graduate courses with the requisite work to do. I'm trying not to intervene in the triage and decision making. His brothers are picking up their share of the load, fortunately, and I feel it should be their family decision.

He keeps bringing back items that I made and gave to his mom as gifts, which is heart-breaking but sweet as well, and we'll find new homes for them if we can't use them here. Some of these things go back almost 30 years to when I first met him and his family, and I hadn't thought about them for a long time. I have two or three small boxes of similar things from my own mother and older brother, and I've never looked through them from the time the executor of my brother's estate handed them to me. Consequently, I can't complain about his stress and indecision on all this stuff. I was lucky that I didn't have such a huge bulk to sort through. The executor and my younger brother took care of that (it was in Texas.)

I still have a stack of holiday cards and notes that really deserve a reply, since we sent out nothing this year at all. I keep promising myself I'll get to them soon.

So here we are, waiting for a hint of spring. This morning's temperature of 4°F didn't help. I've been neglecting my writing and weaving for months, just doing the chores and trying to stay warm. I've done more reading, and am pushing myself to bake more bread and practice my music more. Additional posts with some of that news soon.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
The sound issues in Xubuntu were due to corrupted files. I restored data files by using smbclient, which apparently caused buffer overruns of some sort. When I used smbmount and cp -a then the files restored correctly.

At work I made the big switch, retiring my old GX280 and putting the new Optiplex 380 on my desk, with Xubuntu installed as the primary OS. So far everything seems to work.

And, after three years of hunting, I've finally obtained a graphics card for the Alpha that is compatible with both Linux and OpenVMS. I've tried four others that were supposed to work but did not. The S3 Trio 64 is supposed to work, but is so old that the X drivers in Linux no longer work. They still exist but somewhere along the way the code has been mangled. It works fine in OpenVMS. The Matrox Millennium (two versions) worked very well in Linux but not at all in OpenVMS. A late hybrid ELSA card sold by Compaq might work in some systems, but not in the old PWS I have at home. I finally got an ELSA Gloria Synergy 8MB card off EBay for a reasonable price ($18 + shipping) and it does indeed work in both environments. Haven't tried in Windows NT yet, but should work there as well.

My brother is in Rolling Meadows teaching a management seminar this week, and we were able to have dinner with him. Last saw him a year ago when he was here teaching the same class. That was nice.

As a consequence of all this distraction, did not do any fursuit work, but must start tomorrow.
altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Beautiful clear day. Tidied house a bit (a lot, actually) before my brother arrived. Gary went back to Neal's to work on his computer again. Still not usable. They've restored it five times, and something went wrong each time (different each time) mostly due to the really poor quality backup software Gary had been using. It seems quite erratic.

They think they have it solved now, I guess. But each iteration takes hours to run.

Brother Larry arrived. We went over to the Wild West place in Union because he wanted steak. Much entertaining conversation about his doctoral program, which he has completed now and received his degree. It was good to see him.

I actually got some spinning done today. Gary has classes tomorrow afternoon, so I hope to get some work done then. I also got some reading done, halfway through Phil Geusz's First Book of Lapism and loving it. A religion whose followers have themselves transformed into bunnies? Why not? It's delightful and, as always for Phil, very well written with excellent characters.

Must go to sleep now, it's been a long day.
altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Beautiful clear day. Tidied house a bit (a lot, actually) before my brother arrived. Gary went back to Neal's to work on his computer again. Still not usable. They've restored it five times, and something went wrong each time (different each time) mostly due to the really poor quality backup software Gary had been using. It seems quite erratic.

They think they have it solved now, I guess. But each iteration takes hours to run.

Brother Larry arrived. We went over to the Wild West place in Union because he wanted steak. Much entertaining conversation about his doctoral program, which he has completed now and received his degree. It was good to see him.

I actually got some spinning done today. Gary has classes tomorrow afternoon, so I hope to get some work done then. I also got some reading done, halfway through Phil Geusz's First Book of Lapism and loving it. A religion whose followers have themselves transformed into bunnies? Why not? It's delightful and, as always for Phil, very well written with excellent characters.

Must go to sleep now, it's been a long day.
altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
Long and draggy but no really bad problems this time. Wayne's surgery went without incident, I guess, so it's a matter of waiting to see if it actually helps. He had a heart attack last winter and they tried stents but it wasn't enough so they ended up doing triple bypass surgery. (He's younger than either of us, eeek.) This time they gave him an electronic implanted defibrillator if I understand it correctly. I hope he's got good insurance.

So Gary's mom is here for the night. He went and brought her to the hospital from Chicago, and will take her back tomorrow. No problem with that, we get along fine.

Several boxes of new books arrived at work, so I had plenty to do. About half of it is leftover for tomorrow and probably Friday since tomorrow is only a half day for me.

Oh, and the lace scarf from the colored poonies is now started. Soon there will be enough to photograph.

Typing with a cat on my lap, which isn't easy because she won't sit still. She was asleep on my chair and I made her move so I could sit down, but it didn't work. She just got right back up here.

Soooo...

Dec. 28th, 2006 08:18 pm
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
The holidays (and 2006) are finally winding down. Busy decluttering and dusting because my mate's mom is coming for New Year's weekend, as she has done every year since Y2K when he was sure the lights would go out and leave her alone in her house in Chicago. Not that I mind, she's an easy guest to have. I do feel some obligation to make the house look a little less "bachelor-like", even though she's not nearly as bad about that as my own mother would have been. My Mom wouldn't have said a word about dust or clutter, but would have insisted on grabbing the vacuum and duster and doing it FOR us. That I couldn't tolerate and we'd have had a "discussion." Gary's Mom isn't as particular about housekeeping, and she loves the animals so she takes the rest of it in stride even when she sits down and two dogs and a cat immediately try to climb into her lap. She carries a photo of our dogs around and shows it to people, telling them that they are her "grand-dogs" which, I guess, gets her a few weird looks.

Anyway, Gary is going to make his famous spaghetti and meatballs on Saturday. I'll probably roast the turkey the city gave me for Christmas on Monday. We'll send home leftovers with his mom so she isn't living on frozen dinners for the next few days at least.

Hopefully tomorrow will be quiet at work, and then another four days off. I could get to like this too much, but alas, no more holidays now for quite a while.

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