Tuesday’s Theme Song

I was thinking about change. Part of this came as I watched NFL quarterback Tom Brady and wondered whether his skill sets and strengths are in decline. Part also came as I watched various politicians make statements.

Change comes. Some of the changes forced onto your body by nature and circumstance can’t be resisted. But damn we try. Some of us remember staying up late partying and studying, rushing to work, and then doing it all again. We remember thinking, “I’ll go for a run,” and taking off for three miles, letting the sweat pour out. The blaze of intensity of what we were fades until what we are flickers and sputters.

Gave me a chuckle, pondering those things. I know some who also shrug at being seventy and eighty. You’d never know their true age. Seems like it’s another spin of fates wheel, which way you’ll come out.

From all those morning mental maundering came a song about change and what was, Coldplay’s 2002 wistful tune, “The Scientist”.

Wear a mask, stay positive, and test negative. Cheers

The Waiting

December is upon us as I wait

for spring to begin (it might come late).

Winter is nigh, as I dig in,

waiting for summer to come and begin.

The year is closing as I start this day,

hoping for change, trying to make a play.

December is upon us, and I never knew

the full strength of the sun

in July and June.

Friday Fraternization

  1. My wife was on her coffee clatch Zoom call in the other room. That’s what they call it; I adhere to their will. I could close the door, but I eavesdrop. They mostly talk about books and politics. Those are subjects that I enjoy. So I’m writing, but I’m distracted. Eventually, I put in my ear buds and listen to coffee shop noises.
  2. Bob Hoesch recommended that I try the coffee shop noises recorded on youtube. It’s an uneven experience. While the recording fulfills the coffee shop sounds, I’m lacking visual stimulation, and the smells. My mind likes all of these when I write. They’re not distractions but aids, as long as I’m not personally involved. Odd how the mind works, innit?
  3. My wife raved about the books The Stanger Diaries, Don’t Leave Me, and Squeezed on the call.
  4. The Baltimore Ravens were due to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving. That game was delayed until Sunday due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among the Ravens. They traced the source to a trainer. He’d tested positive but didn’t tell the organization, and didn’t always mask as required. Lackadaisical practices within the organization caused problems with contact tracing as players and staff didn’t wear the tracking devices as required. The episode demonstrates the fragility of the safeguards, and how utterly dependent they are on everyone following the protocols, and the impact when they’re not followed. The Ravens’ season isn’t going as well as they’d hoped (and many expected), and these additional challenges just add to their mounting issues. It all does have a sort of ‘my kingdom for a nail’ ring to it.
  5. This just in: The Ravens-Steelers game has been moved to Tuesday.
  6. We were on a Friendsgiving Zoom with the people we usually do T-day with last night, a two-hour cocktail visit. They’re all intelligent and fun people, and the visit was a welcome interlude from the normal processes and routines.
  7. Tucker enjoys the Zoom calls. Exercise, coffee, whatever, he’s right there, a black and white long-haired feline who pays no attention to the people on the call admiring him. He seems to like the voices.
  8. Opposite of Tucker is Boo, the bedroom pantera, who hides from the voices. He wants no part of all those voices. As it was in the upper twenties and the sun was hiding, I didn’t want him out. I put him in the master suite with all the usual accoutrements. He hid in the corner of the closet, as expected, and stayed there until silence reigned.
  9. Papi (aka Meep, Youngblood, and the Ginger Blade) is the oddest of our cats when it comes to Zoom. He doesn’t like Mary B’s voice. It’s like he owes her money. “Oh, no, there’s Mary! I’m out of here.” As soon as Mary is off the call, he settles down in a comfy place and goes to sleep, even if others are talking.
  10. I’m struggling to keep up with my reading. See, priority-wise, outside of biological needs and relationship obligations with my wife, and cat stuff, writing is my highest priority. It’s a reward for putting in twenty years in the military and then almost another twenty in civilian employment, delaying my writing dream. I figure I owe myself. Outside of writing and the other matters, exercise is a high priority. I like getting twelve miles a day via walking/running.
  11. That keeps me from reading as much as I can. I attempt to read while running in place. That does work but proficiency in both decline and its dissatisfying. Don’t know what I’m going to do to resolve this. I like my reading.
  12. Now, lunch is done. That is, I’ve made it and eaten it. Time to get some coffee and return to writing like crazy, at least one more time. To quote an NFL player, “Stay positive, test negative.” Yeah, and wear masks, okay?

The Christmas Puzzle Is Here

We shopped for a Christmas puzzle last week. One was found and ordered. It arrived yesterday.

It’s one thousand pieces, the count that I prefer. We’ll probably begin it this week. We generally jump out to a quick start, finding ninety percent of the edge (we always seem to miss two or three) and putting it together. Then we rest our minds. Working it slowly develops momentum until it absorbs us. It’s usually me who becomes absorbed. I do most of the puzzle work.

We take so long completing the puzzles that we hope that by starting it before Thanksgiving, we’ll be finished by Christmas.

I’ll be sure to let you know.

Great Recommendation

I complained about my crusty keyboard in a previous post (Key Crust). A friend who is a member in good standing of Brains on Beer, aka The BoBs, read of my plight. Bob Hoesch suggested SYOSIN Dust Cleaning Mud.

Well, it looked interesting. I thanked Bob for the suggestion with the thought that I’d order it sometime. The product looked intriguing. Many things have looked intriguing though; would it work?

Sometime was this week. The product was ordered and arrived yesterday. It’s like glistening, funky blue Jello, at once gross and appealing. I immediately wanted to play with it and tested it. They recommend that electronics be turned off before using it on them, to avoid shorting systems. My computer was on and I didn’t want to turn it off, so I used it on a phone.

All I did was press it against the face a bit, and then roll it around several times.

It worked great. Surprised and impressed, I hunted other objects for tests. More phones were rounded up, along with the remote controls. The stuff worked so damn well, I was forced to turn off my laptop and try it on the crusty keyboard.

Verdict: wow.

Non-toxic and reusable, it’s made of water, ethanol, and guar gum. Its neon blue color began changing with use. I reckon that I have a few months of use in a jar.

And it is fascinating and impressive. My wife had turned off her Apple, so I used it on it, too. Then the printer. Then I walked around the house, trying it on other things. It worked on them all. It wasn’t always perfect, and sometimes required a few minutes of rolling the stuff around the object or pressing it firmer in, but overall, I’m damn pleased. It’s $6.98 that was well spent.

So, thanks for the recommendation, Bob. Keep ’em coming.

A Long Dream

A long dream, but not much happening.

I dream of food often, as often as cars, perhaps. Food was heavily featured in this one.

I was outside on grass but under an enormous pavilion. A celebration was planned. I showed up early to help with setup. It unfolded with lazy grace. First, a group of us put out tables and chairs. People arrived with food. Some are friends, but many are strangers. I tell them where to put their food. It’s a wonderful, relaxed scene.

At last, everyone is there and we’re starting. People wander around tables of food, checking the offerings and asking where they can find specifiic food. There’s a barbecue grill setup. Others are trying to light it but can’t. I show them how to do it. A little later, another friend is trying to light the grill. He’s doing it wrong. I’m about to explain how to light it when he figures it out and lights it. I find a plate of food and a place to sit.

Strange to have such a long, relaxed dream, like a day out of life, where we’re all just having a good time, being together. Perhaps it’s a manifestation by my subconscious of being out and socializing during this pandemic era. Or, maybe my mind is having a small celebration in honor of Joe Biden’s victory, and the changes that means.

Saturday Strings

Haven’t mentioned a few things (skunk, arm, Fitbit) in a while. Being egocentric, I thought I would today.

  1. Oh, the skunk. She (my wife is certain it’s a female) has gained the upper hand on we puny humans. She thumps the board aside (I keep it there so I know she’s coming and going) and does her business.
  2. Last night, however, came turmoil under the house. Thump, thump, at first, rousing me from my television viewing. My wife had retired to bed. The cats were slumbering in preparation for their three A.M. rounds. I was watching “The Expanse” (the UN has just declared war on Mars and the Roci is heading to Io). The thump was singular and distant at first, causing me a “WTF, did-I-really-hear-something” pause. The show was stopped and I listened, counting cats (two were with me) when I did. Yep, the thumps repeated, more numerous and louder. Pushing the cat off my lap (he was listening, too), I leaped up, checked on the third cat (Papi, sleeping in the living room), and traced the sound. Finding its general area, I began thumping around in retaliation.
  3. The thumping underfoot increased in volume and frequency. My wife called, “Are you hearing this, too?” Uh, yeah. The sounds from beneath gravitated toward the front. Grabbing the flashlight, I turned on the front lights and headed outside.
  4. I arrived just in time to see the skunk exit the crawl space and bolt down the sidewalk, down the driveway, and across the street. Its perfume filled the air.
  5. Returning inside, I learned, we’ve been gassed. I reported my findings to my wife. The smell was mostly gone this morning, probably aided when the furnace kicked on and circulated the air. (The garage, though…you can spoon it out like Jello in there.) (Skunk Jello; that’s a thought.) As to what happened…it’s another of nature’s mysteries. I put the board back up this morning.
  6. My broken arm’s recovery continues. Rotation, flexibility, strength, and dexterity improves by day. I can now use ten pound weights to restore my arm and shoulder strength. I try twelves, but my wrist barks with sharp pains, so I cease. It’ll come. Persistence and perseverance. Raising my arm over my head (to put on a shirt, for example) taxes my shoulder. Yeah, working on it.
  7. Can’t do any pushups or chair-dips with my arm/wrist, though. Well, I can do modified pushups, where I’m on my knees. I can plank, and that’s up to three minutes a night.
  8. Meanwhile, Fitbit has congratulated me on hitting my distance goals every day for seventy-eight continuous days. My daily average is twelve miles a day. Although that pleases me, it comes with caveats. I only seriously walk outside three or four days a week, heading up the hills around my house, typically for one to three miles. Most of my daily stuff is derived from running around the house or jogging in place. I have several routes in the house, doing figure eights around the dining and living rooms. I’d like to walk outside more, but darkness comes early, and it’s wet and chilly, and I’m essentially a cream puff. I’ve considered walking in the morning or early afternoon, but that interferes with writing and housework. Priorities, don’t you know.

That’s all that’s fit to print. The cats (Boo, Tucker, and Papi) are all healthy and doing well. Tucker has said no to going outside, which is fine by me. Boo likes to go out in the morning and evening to do his business, but those turns are getting shorter quick. He resorted to the litter box last night. (Um, yea?) Papi, though, is a youngblood, and must roam the night. As its cold, his outside visits are getting shorter, but then, he’s bored, and wants to go out (or have me stay up and play with him, which ain’t gonna happen). Can’t wait till he matures enough to stay inside more.

Hope your life is going well. Take care.

Cheers

The Halloween Puzzle

We finally completed our Halloween puzzle. Yes, it’s late.

We started off strong, finding the edges and putting it together. Then, life intervened. We wanted to work on the puzzle, but we had so many other things drawing our attention. That probably sounds strange during the COVID-19 Lockdown and Social-distancing Era (henceforth called CLASE). I’m a writer, though, and focused on that. Then there was exercising, fall yardwork, and cleaning house. And the NFL football season began. My wife was busy with exercise and dance classes via zoom, reading, socializing, and making us wonderful soups. (She’s making two more this weekend. Can’t wait.)

So other things occupied our time. But I’d go by it and think, “I should be able to get that area done easily enough.” Sure. Right.

There are thirteen cats. I started by hunting for cat pieces. As the cats were by the pumpkin patch — and the pumpkins are bright orange and easily spotting — I started hunting for and selecting those pieces. I would notice house pieces, sky, etc., and set those aside in other piles, mostly so they were out of my way.

Then, you know how it is with a puzzle. One area gets almost finished, but where the heck is that last piece? Meanwhile, as you search for missing last pieces, other things seem to magically come together.

The next thing I knew, the puzzle had sucked me in.

It was a lot of fun, and a good diversion, if that’s what you want.

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