Monday Messes

  1. Well, the stories circulating the net about me are true: I changed my underwear. Like many, I started as a tighty whitey in the sixties. Bikini briefs burst on the scene and I went over to those in my early twenties. Eventually, I found my way to boxers in my late twenties, and rested on that preference for several decades. In fact, I’d not bought underwear since the end of the last century. My boxer collection fit. They worked. They were wearing thin, become more like see through lingerie. I reacted, whatever. Mom used to warn me about having clean underwear without holes in them when I was a youth, in the event of an accident. We’ve all heard about that trope, haven’t we? I was rebelling agin’ it. If people could wear jeans with holes cut in them as a fashion statement, I could wear underwear with holes in them.
  2. The new undies are boxer briefs. They have a little sack for my sack. It’s a sack sack. They’re also made of stretchy cotton. They cradle my butt and hold it up. Sexy, yes? Well, we’ll see about that, but they are comfy. Now I must go out with the old.
  3. Thinking with out with the old, I looked up something on the net yesterday. Algorithms behind searches and advertising thought that I should be reminded that Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones starred in The Fugtitive in 1993. That’s a good marker for change. I was in the military at what became my final duty assignment at Onizuka in California. A few families decided to go to the ‘Drive-in Movies’ because the last one in the San Jose-Mountain View-Santa Clara-etc. area was closing in a few weeks. We bought pizzas and watched The Fugitive. It was my final drive-in movie experience.
  4. I loved going to the drive-in movies with my family as a child. Mom did it right. Made fudge. A big roaster of salted, buttered popcorn. Iced lemonade to drink. We took pillows and blankets. Arriving early for a good spot was a must. That meant getting there before dusks. The movies began at dusk. To kill the time until then, we spent time on a playground up in the front by the big screen. Then darkness fell. The speaker was attached to the window. Commercials played. Cartoons followed. Then the movies.
  5. Although, one year, at the drive-in, I was on the see-saw (or teeter totter) as a young one (five?). Dad was supervising us. He was holding me up while helping my sister off on the other end. I decided to get off. Just as the see-saw came down. Landed on my ankles. Didn’t break them but did serious damage. I was restricted to bed rest for weeks.
  6. Painting yesterday required me to empty the home entertainment center. To move it and paint the wall behind it. Although infrequently used, I’m loaded with CD. Hundreds. The CD player has space for 200. Bought that thing waaayyy back in Germany in 1990. Amazing it still works as designed. My wife wondered if I could part with some CDs. I declined. I’m saving them for the apocalypse. I’ll crank up a generator and my music. Meanwhile, I was listening to classic rock through Alexa as I painted, because the stereo was dismantled to move the entertainment center.
  7. The bee tree is humming today! Don’t know what kind of tree it is but it’s tall and fragrant. Bees love it. Early last week, I walked past it. Hearing silence, seeing no bees brought on a touch of weary depression. Then, two days later, I noticed bees had arrived and were singing as they worked. Today they had a huge chorus going. I can sit in the office and watch them flying to and from the tree and around the branches. Go, bees!
  8. We’ve been trying (again) to simplify. (I know, I should start with the CDs (or old underwear), but I’m not.) We usually buy used books and then sell them to book stores. If we can’t do that, we give them to Goodwill and/or swap them at tiny libraries. But circumstances (COVID-19) has prevented us from selling or donating books. We have boxes and books full of hardbacks, trade backs, paperbacks. Seeking a new way, we looked at selling them back to book stores online. We’re fans of Powell’s City of Books, so we started with them. Twenty books were selected that met their condition guidelines. I put the ISBNs in; eleven books were selected. We printed out the UPS label. Packed up the box. Took it to UPS. Powell’s received it the next day. That was over two weeks ago. Silence since then. We’re disappointed. We’re talking about trying other places.
  9. It’s wildfire season again here in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Heat is rising, the drought is spreading and deepening. Vegetation is going brown. Ashand Firewise Program urges homeowners, land owners, and businesses to clean up their area. It’s an ‘or-else’ situation. They will fine you. Cut your weeds and grass to less than four inches because otherwise, it’s fire fuel. Clean up your dead leaves, or it’s fire fuel. Ditto, fallen branches. Yet, walking home along a main road in Ashland, the city’s property is covered with leaves and the debris that they urge us to clean up, or-else. Another case as do as I say, not as I do.
  10. I’ve made a resolution for 2022: don’t go to the emergency room. Been to the ER three years running. 2019 was for an enlarged prostate/blocked urethra. 2020 saw me break two bones in my left arm. 2021 had me in being treated for a kidney stone. That’s enough, okay?

The New Clothing Dream

A friend and I were staying with a gay couple. I seemed to be in my early twenties. The couple lived in a city apartment a few floors up. A big city, the place was busy and noisy. I was there to get rid of my old clothing, and then I was taking a trip to get new clothing. We were flying out for that purpose the next day. Meanwhile, my buddy wanted us to go out on the town before leaving. Parallel to this, our hosts were throwing a party (unrelated to our visit). They’d also received a new table and were putting it together.

As I’d chosen to get rid of my old clothes except what I was wearing and what I was traveling in the next day, I decided to find something to wear from the clothes I was getting rid of to wear out on the town. It should be something festive. I found an old pale yellow shirt with a red parrot embroidered on the left chest, a shirt I haven’t owned in over thirty years.

I paused while dressing to watch them trying to put the new table together. It wasn’t going well. They thought parts were missing and were calling the manufacturer for help. I thought that I would be doing it differently, as they seemed disorganized, but I believed part of the issue was that they already had too many people involved, so I remained uninvolved.

My friend was urging me to hurry up. It was night, and the night was calling him. He was wearing jeans and a maroon puffy jacket. I was only in a shirt. “Is it cold out? Do I need a jacket?” Without awaiting an answer, I went into my old clothes for a jacket. I pulled it on, but then decided it was too heavy and replaced with a lighter jacket, an old black “Members Only” jacket I used to have. I then worried, maybe I should change shirts because the parrot was no longer seen. But I left it at that. He and I scampered down the steps and into the brightly-lit night to have fun.

Friday’s Theme Music

Sunshine crept through the valley at 5:34 AM, illuminating crags and ravines, dips and hills, shadows growing in its wake. Summer, the area whispered. Not yet, the area replied.

Today is Friday, June 18, 2021. Our area temperatures will flirt with the nineties until the world’s rotation pulls sunset to us at 8:50 PM. The cooling will commence, bottoming in the mid-fifties. The planet will continue its rotation and we’ll do it all okay.

Well, the planet and sun will do its routines, as will the moon and clouds, winds and tides, waters, lands, and animals. Humans will go, “Oh, wait, what day is this? Have I paid this bill? It’s so-and-so’s birthday. Did you see the news? How ’bout that funny new video. Did you hear what Allen Carson Letterman Leno Arsenio Stewart Conan said about Kennedy Johnson Nixon Ford Carter Reagan Bush Clinton Dubya Obama Trump Biden last night?” Outrage, mocking, and laughing will ensue. First kisses will take place. First steps. More deaths. More births. Billionaires and millionaires will line their pockets and others will starve and die, homeless.

And we’ll click. Smile for the phone. Stream some entertainment. Edge along memories and dance with hope.

Think I’ll listen to “Against the Wind” by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band from 1980. “Seems like yesterday, but it was long ago.” Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask when needed. Get the vax. Here’s the music.

Thursday’s Theme Music

Sunshine kicked the day open at 5:36 AM. Birds immediately entered talking and singing mode, testing new sounds. Cats continued as cats do. People variously leaped up to embrace the day, sighed and forced themselves out of bed, or whispered, “Just a little more sleep, please. Just a little more.” Those are a few of the ways the day’s beginning was addressed. It depended.

Planning was already underway to finish the day. Sunset would be at 8:42 PM. Many people find it easier to finish the day than to start it. For those struggling to get it going, caffeine often helps. Many imbibe it in tea or coffee. Some drink sodas. Adding sugar to the start up process enhances it for more than a few. It also can cause problems. People find that they’d consumed caffeine and sugar to get started. Now, at day’s end, they can’t stop.

Between those minutes when sunrise and sunset were declared, the day lurked. Many northern hemisphere areas have discovered that summer has arrived. Ways to beat the heat are conjured, just as ways to beat the cold were manifested back in the cold, dark months.

Today’s music choice is “Let It Rain” by Eric Clapton and Bonnie Bramlett, a song that came out on Clapton’s debut album to begin his solo career in 1972. Motivated by my preferences and needs, I’m thinking, let it rain, to the universe because my area would swallow fresh rain like a thirsty Steelers fan takes down a beer. After a couple days of high heat, we’d sinking into low heat. Highs are dropping from above 100 F or the upper nineties to the upper eighties. Leaves are turning brown and drying out. Hence my call, “Let it rain.”

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as required, and get the vax. Masks are less and less required here. It’s a slow transformation. We’re like critters poking out heads out. Looking around, we tentatively remove masks. Eye others. Are they still wearing their mask? They vaccinated? The air is sniffed. Seems okay. We’ll see. We’ll see.

Here’s the music. Please enjoy. Cheers.

Time to Paint

The blinds needed to be removed.

This was a requirement to paint around the frames. Somehow in the madness of life, I’ve decided that I need to paint the living and dining rooms. Together, they are, ‘The Great Room’.

Point of order: my wife hectored me into doing it. “These rooms are too dark. We need a lighter color.”

Me: “Huh-huh, you’re right.”

“When can you do it?”

“Wait, what?”

Life sometimes needs a rewind function.

Into the garage! To the tools! My tools are not greatly organized. Shelves hold several power tools and their requirements, along with a large toolbox. It’s augmented by a small thing with a work surface and four drawers. One drawer has lost its front. (I’m going to fix it sometime.) The top drawers are well organized with screws, anchors, glues, nails, sandpiper. The bottom two drawers are stuffed full of whatever I can get in there. I avoid opening them, except to retrieve tape and edger/trimmer string. My tape variety is impressive.

The screws holding the mounting brackets have a Philips-head X on it. They would not budge despite my grunting. “Get a screwdriver with more torque,” I muttered to myself. I already had the biggest. I would use the drill on it, but there’s not enough clearance. Bummer.

Sighing in frustration, I hit the ratchet wrenches. For some reason, I’ve acquired three complete sets. No, there’s more. At least two sets are metric. I bought them because I lived in Germany and Japan. Metric was used there, and I owned foreign cars – BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, Audi, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, Toyopet. Plus, at least one set was priced at a dollar at a garage sale. Who can resist tools at a garage sale? They’re like books. You gotta look and see what might fill that imaginary hole in your library or toolbox.

The sockets are semi-disorganized. Most are in their proper places but the smallest sockets always go strolling. I go through them, looking for the 1/4 inch, along with the proper adapter to go from big to small. With all those socket kits, I have a multitude of options for changing spark plugs. Every manufacturer had a different size of socket required. Some had several. I also have a number of tools for setting the gaps on plugs and rotors, and wires for cleaning them.

Which reminded me of computers. Back in the office closet lives a set of shelves. On it resides office requirements like Wite-out, file folders, label maker, pens for the next century (if they don’t dry up), paper for the printer, ink for the same, assorted docks for laptops I no longer use, another printer I no longer use, cables for laptops and printers… You get it, right?

Disk drives also live on these shelves. Floppy 5.25 inch. Hard floppy 3.5 inch. Zip drives. CDs. All are ready to be formatted and written. I have not formatted anything in over a decade, maybe longer. I used to format things several times a week, back in, um, the last century. Strange that something that once was so common is now rare.

Not really. We were riding horses and trolleys more back in the last century, too. I only rode horses a few times for entertainment. Never mounted one to go to the store, or to visit the neighbors.

I don’t change my car’s oil any longer, either, although I have the wrenches for that, too, and the big wrench to remove an oil pan nut. I have baskets of computer and electronic gear. Ribbon wires, chipsets, an old power supply, old fan, along with a huge variety of RCA cords and adapters. There’s an extra monitor, too, and a VHS head cleaner for the VHS deck that I no longer use. I also own bearing grease, quart jugs of motor oil, and car cleaning supplies, like polishes and waxes.

Sometime, someone needs to go in there and clean all this stuff out. Not me, not today.

Time for me to paint.

Monday’s Theme Music

Spring sunshine again bathes the valley this AM, with the sun beaming in at 5:48 AM and expecting to hang around until 8:27 PM. Today is Monday, May 17, 2021. Happy Syttende Mai! We’re helping Norwegians celebrate the 1814 day when Norway’s constitution was signed. Weather for Syttende Mai in Ashland expects to peak at 85 degrees F again today. It cools at night but rain would be nice, you know?

Today’s music is inspired by food. I know it’s not fashionable to complain about having food to eat, but I’m weary of our recurring menu. Yeah, I know it’s first world blues. Though nutritious and I’m grateful to have food, it’s gotten stale. This is amplified by the tedium of routines. I want other food in other places, feel me? Sure, you do. Thinking about this conundrum — I have food but I’m weary of the entrees — I began singing, “Day after day.” That triggered Bad Finger to rise from my mental recesses to sing along to their 1971 hit, “Day After Day”.

Maskwise, I’ve chosen to continue wearing the mask as I’ve been doing. Frankly, there’s a percentage of population who didn’t want to wear a mask, don’t want to be vaccinated, don’t believe that COVID-19 is an issue, and don’t care if others get it or die from it. That’s what I take from their actions and behavior, at least. I have no doubt that these people will lie and say they’ve been vaccinated and not wear a mask, and give more life to the virus. As I’m vaccinated, my primary concerns arise around breakthrough cases or being an unwitting carrier spreading it to others. I’ll give it ten days to see if we have a new spike, and if vaccinations continue at the same pace in the meanwhile.

My resolution about masking for now firmed this morning. The spouse was on her Zoom exercise class. This was prior to the actual class, when people were joining and chatting. One woman admitted to being embarrassed. Her adult son said he’s not getting vaccinated. His reason: he doesn’t like people telling him what to do.

So, stay positive, test negative, figure out what to do about a mask, and get vaccinated, for crying out loud. What an interesting expression that last is, you know?

Here’s the music. Ciao.

The Sentencing Dream

I dreamed I’d been caught doing something wrong. Although I can’t recall details, it wasn’t major, like killing anyone, but constituted a significant failure on my part. A short trial found me guilty. Punishment was forthcoming.

I sulked, alone, although surrounded by others, none that I knew of as family nor friend. Returning to where I was staying, I discovered everything being rearranged. My room had been changed, which infuriated me. The whole place was dimly light, very dark, full of shadows. Seeking the common area where I thought I’d read and watch television, really, do anything to distract myself, I found a man there re-arranging everything. “Part of a big project,” he explained. I wanted to know more about this big project. Everything familiar was gone. The books and television had been removed, as had the chairs. The windows were covered, along with every exit except one door. Maroons and dark blues dominated. There was an old carnival funhouse feel to the room.

My exasperation leaped. “What’s going on? What’s the point of all of this?” The guy working on it, snide, young, smug, white, and bald, refused to explain anything, acting as though it was all above me. I had little grounds to do anything because I’d lost my authority as I awaited sentencing.

This drove me to attempt to leave the room. Extricating myself wasn’t as easy as it should have been, as others were coming through the door. Taking initiative, I found a panel which resembled a stylized red and white question mark. I was able to swivel it up and to the left, then leveraged myself out through the small opening.

Although I was outside my shared quarters, I was still in a building; it was buildings in a building. I was wondering when my sentence was going to come down. Maybe the delay was good news. Maybe it was bad. I walked around, spotting some familiar faces, including the judge who’d sentenced me. A few years older than me, he’d been boss and casual friend. Seeing me, he smiled and waved, but the turned away. Others, though, who’d been cool, were suddenly friendly. I’d been feeling like a pariah, I realized, but now they seemed to be letting me back in.

It was giving me hope. The dream ended on that note.

Wednesday Wuthering

  1. On day five of the three-day green smoothie fast. Yesterday, besides three green smoothies, I enjoyed a few celery sticks, four prunes, a boiled egg, a cup of cubed watermelon, eight raw almonds and a handful of raw walnuts. I feel great, so why not continue? Sure, I was constantly mildly hungry throughout the day. And yes, my stomach talks to me in squeals, growls, and grunts all day, too.
  2. Okay, I cheated and ate a protein bar in the mid-afternoon.
  3. Well, the credit card ordeal might be over. Brief recap: was given new cards after reporting fraud on the previous cards. New cards received and activated. Wife wasn’t given chance to set her PIN. We tested: her old PIN didn’t work. Neither did my new one work on her card. Calls were made. A new PIN was set to her. We tested it. Nope. So, I commenced to pursue a fix. After spending over an hour on the phone with three different credit union reps, calling the numbers they specified, etc., I was turned over to a person in the credit card payment division. She listened to the tale. “You’ve been calling the wrong number.” I’d been calling the number the reps had given me. She gave another number. I called it. PIN changed, at least telephonically. We won’t be certain until we use it.
  4. Makes me wonder, though, you know? Why did it take so long for that number to emerge? Why is there a different number? Customer service and focus continues to die a slow death.
  5. Ah, technologically. I have a telemedicine call tomorrow. Video with a new family nurse practitioner. Annual event, to renew my meds for BHP and hypertension. Did the hardware check yesterday. Couldn’t connect to the video. Whaaat? The webcam worked last year. Went through all settings for hardware, software, security, privacy, etc. All was as should be. Even said that website had been given permission to use the camera. So…?
  6. Searched the web for advice and ideas. Microsoft, Kaspersky, HP. Talked to Chatbots for support. Uninstalled, reinstalled, updated drivers, rebooted machine several times, installed new webcam software, checked the device manager, registry, and so on. After three hours, the hardware check claims it works but I get nothing. Tested it on Zoom. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing, except exasperation and frustration. Tested it this morning, just in case. No change.
  7. Forums are a joke in this regard. Many people reporting the same issue. No solutions found that work. Hell, most solutions were the previously-tried solutions. Ditto, the search engines on every browser and search site tried. They all regurgitate the same results. Remember GIGO? Garbage in, garbage out. Yep.
  8. Screw it, is my final position. I can use the iPad, which would be tres small. My wife generously offered me her iPad. That might be the way I go.
  9. Dad is out of the hospital. He was in at least two weeks, but don’t have greater details. He’d told me, don’t call, I’ll call you in a few days. That was weeks ago. He finally called yesterday. Has issues with fluid in legs. Turn bright red, swell, blister, etc., Medicos finally concluded, yep, heart weakening, kidney issues contributing. Wasn’t surprised, as he’s had COPD for decades. Some pulmonary issues were bound to reveal themselves. He’s in great spirits, mind remains sharp. That’s a tale I hear with many, many friends, though. I see the signs, and know where he’s going. Not unexpected, as that’s where we all go. Primary questions are about how long he’s in this declining state, how much pain and suffering he endures, and what his wife and family will experience during this watch.
  10. Dad and I are both retired military. Twenty-year vets. We receive pensions and healthcare. He retired about twenty-five years before I joined. That makes all the difference. He’s not paying anything for care. Tricare covers everything for him. Then launched into a “no wonder this country is going broke” stand. My Tricare is good, but I have co-pays. Dad does not. I have monthly premiums. Dad does not. I pay a small amount for prescriptions; Dad doesn’t. He also lives in San Antonio. A large military and retired presence there helps him. I live in rural southern Oregon. Time, age, location: that sums up the changes, right? Oh, yeah, and people are living longer, healthcare is constantly evolving, and it all costs. For example, he now has five people coming in each day to help him with different functions, from PT and leg exercises to bathing. He is married, and his wife is there, but I know how hard it is for a spouse to be a care-giver. She’s but a few years younger than him and has her own issues.
  11. Dissatisfied with offerings from U.S. television, we now watch a lot of foreign stuff. Mostly European. Dramas and comedies don’t work well, but thrillers, mysteries, and procedurals do. We try American offerings. We find them shallow, formulaic, and simplistic. Pretty people with fake issues to enhance tension dominate. Cry us another, you know? Right now, we’re watching Swedish, German, French, Italian, and British offerings. Don’t have anything coming out of Canada that entices me, which is a surprise. Same with the Aussies. But this might be the streaming gap, you know?
  12. Watching foreign television shows, we’re often entices by the settings. The procedurals often take place on the coast, an island, or a lake. They’re beautiful, intriguing places. I told my wife that we should set up tours to these places. That would cost a mint, and it’s impossible during the pandemic. If I had to chose one, I’d go to the Stockholm archipelago where “The Sandhamm Murders” is set.
  13. Okay, have my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

The Jeopardy Dream

It started with Jeopardy. Alex Trebek was there. I was a contestant. The categories were all about me, like childhood injuries, places I’d lived, the names of former teachers and bosses, cars I’d owned. No other contestants were on the stage. I instead played against the people at home. Anyone could immediately buzz in, get recognized, and give the answer. They had to beat my buzzer, though.

I knew the answers. Easily winning, I was having a fun time. Then, reality: some part of me wondered, “Isn’t Alex Trebek dead? Why is he in my dream?” That blew it apart.

I went on to another dream. Back in the military, we were relocating from one place to another. The new place was in the middle of a building. It had desks and consoles but no walls. Everyone kept saying, “This isn’t secure.” I kept replying, “We have no choice. We didn’t make this decision. It was thrust on us.”

The move went along in starts and stumbles, with me and other command post personnel physically relocating things. At one point, someone ran in to inform us that a security incident was taking place. The security police were trying to reach us but no one was responding.

I dashed over to the new command post location. The security police hotline was ringing. I shouted out, “Who is on duty,” while hurrying to the phone. Miguel appeared, rushing to the phone and calling, “Oh, shit, I am.”

After he answered the phone, the dream moved to another phase. Not only had my work location changed, but so had my clothing and transportation. Myron was there to show me how to ride a bike. “It’s different, but you’ll catch on, don’t worry.” I wasn’t worried. Lots was happening, though, as I had to collect my clothes, find my place, take a shower, and then dress, and then ride away. The process of doing this was unwieldy and riddled with interruptions. I kept my focus, though I often had to stop to deal with something else.

Taking a shower had its own problems as the shower door wouldn’t stay closed, leaving me exposed to others’ prying eyes. After a bit of that, I shrugged it off: let them look. I’d picked out a light, short-sleeved blue-green shirt to wear. After I showered I found I had a shirt on, a polo style, light green. After a moment of thinking, I said, “Wait a minute, this isn’t what I selected.” I stumbled around, looking for the right shirt among my belongings. Finding it after a short search, I changed shirts.

The dream ended.

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