Cold and Wet

This shot made me think of Saul Leiter, although in black and white.

The Girl and I got out early Saturday morning. I wanted to get a bite and this morning I wanted to visit Grandma Hattie’s, a favorite local diner. We also wanted a walk, but neither of us wanted to walk in the rain. I could have because I have good gear. But the Girl does not like to be wet and does not (yet) have a raincoat. So, we made a short walk so she could take care of business and then we hopped into the rig to run a few errands.

Breakfast was nice and she appreciated her purple shag rug (many thanks, Lucinda) under the table. She was warm and dry while I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee. I even set aside half my bacon for her (for later).

Breakfast over, we returned to the rig where I removed her vest and gave her her treat. She loves bacon, almost as much as chicken. She enjoyed the warm seat (I ran the bun warmers) on the way to pick up my mail. While I waited for the UPS Store to open, I noticed the rain on the window and made the capture.

The capture made me think of Saul Leiter, a wonderful artist and photographer whose work I admire. I’ll have to watch the documentary made of him again, once I set up my television.

I was pleased that there was payment for some work in the mail. We then drove over to Best Buy so I could buy a small microwave oven. I miss having an easy way to warm something. I found a solid unit for not much money and picked it up.

We drove home, where the Girl went off to nap away the rainy day. I worked on my unpacking for several hours. I’m clearing the garage of boxes and loading my bookshelves. A number of the books brought a tear to my eye, bringing memories of loved ones now gone. I shared a image with Daughter of one of her favorite childhood books, In the Land of Sniggl-dee-Bloop. I must have read that book a thousand times.

I would happily read it again, another thousand times. The language is fun and the story is interesting. It is a good book. Those times spent with my children remain precious in my memories.

Soon I will work through the bulk of my unpacking. It will then be time to organize my things and look at them once again to determine what I will keep and what will go. There is no reason to hang onto things unless they have utility or significant meaning. Everything else can go to someone who needs them or wants them. I am good with that.

Snowy Rainbow

On walkies, the Girl and I were treated to a gorgeous rainbow over Carson City.

We had snow night before last. I didn’t know how much there was, but there was enough to get the snowplows out — I heard their rumble and grind early in the morning as the crews prepared for the morning commute. I listened while I enjoyed my morning coffee.

When the Girl and I finally got out for walkies, I realized there was only an inch or two. So, there wasn’t all that much. But it set Carson City in white and turned the mountains into that mixture of white snow, dark rock, and brown vegetation that is the desert winter.

As we walked north on Roop Street, the large open lot near the DMV facility provided a wide view of a rainbow. It formed as blowing snow from the Carson Range drifted over the city into the morning sunlight, which set the droplets afire. I paused a few moment before moving on to take in the sight, offer a prayer of gratitude, and make a couple of images. I think that sight made my day.

There were a few icy patches along our way to Governor’s Field, where we walked along the drainage ditch. The ditch is full of cattails and Girl loves to run and sniff, looking for traces of other dogs (pee-mail) or critters.

We turned south on Saliman Road. After we crossed Fairview Drive, I noticed a small appliance store that sells refurbished washer/dryer sets. For $300, I can have my own washer and dryer. There is room in my garage, and hookups, so I think I’ll go buy a set of them once I clear enough of my garage that the shop personnel can get them to their stations. I do not really mind going to the laundromat, but I prefer the freedom that using my own equipment provides, particularly when I have work. It’s two hours from my day spent sitting when I could be productive. I think the cost is justified.

It was good to be back at the apartment, although it had warmed substantially while we walked. I had some work to get done and wanted to work on my house. I did both.

It was a good day.

Remembering Pearl Harbor 2016

The USS Nevada under way. By Public domain photo from history.navy.mil Photo #: 80-G-282709, Public Domain, here.

My bad… I intended to write something about Pearl Harbor Day on the day but was distracted by so many other things nipping at my virtual heels. So I will write a bit and post it ad hoc.

Every year I pause for a few minutes on several anniversaries that are important to me as a citizen of the United States of America. One of those days is 7 December, a day that will live in infamy. On that morning, 75-years ago, men, women, and children rose to a normal Sunday morning expecting the day to be, well, normal.

That assumption changed abruptly.

The USS Nevada was the only battleship that made a run for open sea, but was stopped by harbor command and beached to prevent the Japanese from sinking the ship in the main channel into Pearl Harbor. There is a brief story here.

A USS Nevada Memorial is located on the Carson City Capitol grounds. The Girl and I visit it when we walk that loop. I sometimes pause there to reflect on the sacrifice of those sailors (and others) when we walk. It is a hallowed place.

So, I remember… even when I do not take time to write.

Settling In

It was broken; now it is not.
It was broken; now it is not.

After my last post (seems so long ago) much has happened. Wednesday, Young Son and I moved all the heavy stuff from the storage unit to the apartment. By the time I turned in the truck, I was too done to go back to the unit and prepare to sleep there. So I returned to my hotel room and spent one last night there.

Thursday morning I packed my gear, loaded the rig, and drove over to the apartment. I dropped my gear, got the Girl out for a short walk/play, then returned to assemble a computer and participate in a conference call for one of my projects.

By noon I was able to get started on my place. The bed slats were tired, so I attempted a fix but elected to reject them and build some new ones. But that was too late for the day, so I decided to sleep on the sofa. That old leather sofa sleeps well, as my kids and many friends can attest. The Girl slept on her small bed on the Ottoman.

It was strange to sleep in my own space again. But it is good!

Friday morning I got my invoices out and was going to walk the Girl, but I had a morning webinar (to keep my certifications active) that cramped my time. So I grabbed a bite of breakfast and learned that I do not care for Jack-in-the-Box breakfast burritos. So the Girl played at the park while I nibbled my breakfast. Then the webinar happened and I was able to get back on task.

I built new slats for the foundation, assembled my bed, broke open the boxes labeled “bedding,” and then had a place to sleep. I started work on the kitchen, but made little progress. So that would be the Saturday task.

I was surprised when I started breaking boxes and came across some things Wife bought/gave me. There were some wine glasses we shared. There is a China teapot and Chinese cups for tea. There is a set of whiskey glasses that are fun. These things made me pause for a moment and reflect on Wife, the years we shared, the things, times, and places we shared, and her death. I still miss you, Old Girl!

That’s when I discovered I needed the drawer above. The guide rail was broken and the drawer unstable. The landlord mentioned it when I met her to get a key. I figured they’d get to it, but the lack of a drawer was impeding my progress. So I spent a little time on YouTube, learned how to replace the rail, and drove over to Lowe’s for parts. (I also needed some no-slip drawer/shelf lining and a new lampshade to replace one that died in transit.)

The repair was simple, but I’m unskilled so it took me an hour. But it works now and we’re good to go. When that was done, it was time to quit, go walk the Girl, and figure out some supper.

My best friend dropped by to visit and was ecstatic about my place. I will enjoy entertaining a few people again. I plan to cook for Christmas and have my friend and Young Son over to celebrate the birth of the Christ.

I should finish the kitchen today. The next task will be to tackle my workroom/office. I have a floorplan in mind that will give me good use of space and decent Feng Shui.

But I have to find the pins to my bookshelves! I have a ton of books (literally) and the job will not be complete until I stow my books.

Therefore, once the kitchen is workable (and I have a number of things to make go away), then I’ll start breaking boxes to search for my bookshelf pins.

There are still a few boxes in my last unit to bring over to the house. I might make a run at them today so I can get a sense for what remains to be dealt with.

I should be settled in after a few more days. My place won’t be like I want it (I’ll still have to figure out where wall hangings go and how to organize everything). But I’ll have made the first pass through my things. I’ll have a workable setup. Then I can begin on the next phase, which will be to continue eliminating things I don’t want/need until I get down to my essentials.

I could live with less (and might choose to). We will see…

Going Forward

It appears that someone did not escape…
It appears that someone did not escape…

While on walkies, we often come upon interesting things. The other day when we walked out on the Silver Springs Ranch, we came upon an escapee who did not make it. I suppose the sight of another 12 miles was too much to bear. But, I digress from my original train of thought…

Of all the applications filed, none produced a new engagement. I have no new applications pending and I don’t think I will tender any new ones. At least, I think I will tender any new applications for now.

A rental is available here in Carson City and I can afford it. It will give me a place to live and work while I process my durable goods. I don’t intend to rush the processing of my things, so that will take me a few months. There is project work for me. Money will be thin, but I’ll have enough to pay my bills and feed us.

Months ago I was troubled about leaving the States for Bolivia without dealing with my personal property. Traveling with my dog (the Girl), dental work (that is now done), and the rapid movement was too much for me to process. Therefore, I stopped moving that process forward to deal with the immediate.

The dental work is done and now I am back in maintenance mode. I am working through other regular reviews and should be done with those by the end of the year. I am healthy.

With my wandering (mostly) done, my intention is to be stable for awhile so that I can work through my personal property. I lived without any of those things in storage for more than a year. I now know there is a group of them I want to use. I have a pretty good idea what those things are. I also have a good idea what things I need to maintain my life.

The remainder are in two groups: Things that are unnecessary and can be used by others, and things that are nice to have but are unnecessary. The former group I’ll ferret out and eliminate. The latter group I will process and decide which I will keep, which I will give to my kids (like family pictures), and which will be eliminated. That will take time. God willing, I have time.

This process was my intention at the beginning of 2016. The Bolivia experience, the aftermath from that trip, travel to see loved ones and for interviews, and dental work interrupted my plan. Those occurrences didn’t stop my plan, but they delayed it.

Now I’m healthy. I learned that the probability of finding another full-time engagement seems reduced to the point where I should seriously consider running my own business. I am running my own business — it simply needs a little more development such that I have a few more projects.

So, I’ll move into my apartment, set up a life, and get to work. I have projects to find and execute, photographs to make, guitars that need my attention, my durable goods to deal with, and a dog who loves me.

Off to Denver

We will miss the fall colors as we head east for a week or two. The city is an interesting place, but there is nothing there like the peace we find hiking in the open.
We will miss the fall colors as we head east for a week or two. The city is an interesting place, but there is nothing there like the peace we find hiking in the open.

The Girl and I are nearly done packing for the next trip. I have an interview in Denver and want to see Older Son and DiL. So, we’ll drive to Denver today and tomorrow, sit the interview, and then spend a few days with them. While there I’ll look up a couple of friends as well.

The weather here in western Nevada has been, well, fall-like the last few days. Much water and energy blew over the Carson Range and brought bluster, clouds, and rain. Our outside time has been restricted because the weather has not been very inviting. I miss the sun already.

The Nevada Day celebration was interesting. We walked the line of hot-air balloons as they prepared for the 0800 hours launch. But the ceiling was too low, so they called off the launch and the crews dismantled their aircraft. That was a pity.

The Girl and I returned to the room for a bit then walked back over the Carson Street to see the parade. I met an old colleague there and we caught up as I interacted with his dog. Levi was a sweetheart, a red pibbie with a great personality and full of love. The Girl and Levi got along well.

I was a bit puzzled by the heavy equipment that Carson City has in the Sheriff’s department. Some parts of law enforcement cross the line into para-military, it seems to me. The justification for that is difficult, especially in rural areas and small cities, like Carson. Perhaps there are things that I do not know that necessitate the use of military equipment (including assault rifles). But the irony of the situation was clear to me, as well as my colleague.

After a few minutes, the Girl stood up and put her paws on my chest, looking directly into my eyes. She was ready to leave the noise and energy of the parade area. I acknowledged her request, but we stayed a bit longer.

She asked me twice more to go. My colleague had wandered off to interact with friends, so the Girl and I turned east and returned to our room. Later in the day we walked a bit to take in the sun, which had come out about noon. The sun felt good on my body and the Girl and I really enjoyed our walk.

Sunday was another messy day, regarding the weather. We (or rather I) packed up most of our things and began loading the rig. (The Girl snoozed most of the day.) Just after noon another gob of water and energy blew over the hill and it began to rain. By the time we left to visit Jimmy in Reno it was raining quite hard.

On our way home I noticed snow on the Carson Range. The temperature had dropped with the pulse of weather as well.

I’m looking forward to some road time. It looks like the weather will be good for the next few days, so I’m hopeful we’ll have some time to hike or walk as well.

Then we’ll see what is next.

Recovering

I don't have a deck of cards in my kit. There are times when I don't want electronics; I just want to handle real cards, maybe use them to play a little solitaire. They're also handy when there's no electricity or Internet because Spades or Hearts can be played with others.
I don’t have a deck of cards in my kit. There are times when I don’t want electronics; I just want to handle real cards, maybe use them to play a little solitaire. They’re also handy when there’s no electricity or Internet because Spades or Hearts can be played with others.

Although this posted Saturday morning about 0800, I wrote it Friday night about 1900 so my recollection of the day’s events, timing, and dialogue would not be lost.

It was Friday morning. The Girl and I had walked, not as far or hard as we have been. I felt like I needed a break to give my body time to heal a bit. We’ve been pushing the miles pretty hard, averaging a five-mile walk in the mornings and logging six miles or more every day for the last couple of weeks. We had both had breakfast.

I was just getting ready to start my monthly bookkeeping when my telephone rang. It was the dentist’s office manager. They had an opening and could get me in. “Do you want to come in this morning?” she asked.

It took me about two seconds to think. “Yes! Let’s get this done.”

So, at about 0900 the Girl and I scrambled into the 4Runner and headed south to Gardnerville. As I drove down there, I felt my fear and anxiety rise. I had a feeling this was not going to be an easy process. I was reminded of a favorite passage from the book The Golden Compass in which the girl asks her friend the armored bear “Aren’t you afraid?”

“No,” he replied, “but if I am, I will master my fear.”

I think my fear was more of the unknown nature of the process and not about pain. I knew the anesthetic would be effective in eliminating most, if not all pain. But I knew there would be a lot of pressure on my other teeth and my lips are always pinched between instruments and teeth. It doesn’t hurt badly, but there is a lot of it. (And that reminds me of the aphorism about being “nibbled to death by ducks.”) So, I took some deep breaths and reminded myself I could do this. It would be unpleasant for awhile, but then be over and the healing process would begin.

We got there about 0930 (it takes as long to drive through Minden as it does to drive from Carson City to Minden). I visited with the office manager for a minute and then they took me back to one of the stations. Many instruments were arrayed when I sat down. The assistant brought me a blanket for my legs (I get cold in there).

The dentist came into the room, looked over the images, and said “It’s time to get the healing process started.” He then administered the anesthetic and went on to work on another patient while the anesthetic took effect. He returned in a few minutes to administer the second phase of anesthetic and we talked about the bone graft he proposed. I asked a few questions and elected to have the bone added to the socket to protect the adjacent teeth and provide additional structural strength should I need it sometime in the future.

The process began about 1000, I think. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences I’ve ever had. The tooth was brittle and there were four roots, all of which were “spindly.” I could tell from his energy that it was a difficult extraction. He used a drill to cut up the remaining structure of the tooth (the upper part was already removed), then extracted two roots. The other two required a lot of effort to gain purchase. He had to use the drill again to make catch points for the instruments to get purchase of them.

There was not much pain, but a lot of pulling and pressure to work out the roots without breaking them. They finally were all extracted and a followup image proved the socket was clear. So the technician mixed the demineralized cadaver bone with some liquid so it could be injected into the socket. That process was straightforward and completed quickly.

This was followed by some sutures, which were challenging only because the tooth was so far back in my mouth. He nicked me a couple of times when removing the suture needle. I could have said something, but I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. With the sutures in place, we were basically done. The technician worked up the temporary bridge (to protect the site), singing quietly to herself as she worked.

That was very pleasant. She has no idea how calming that was to me.

During most of the process, I was so deeply into myself that I was only aware of direction, my breathing, and tension in my body. I forced myself to face the anxiety and to relax my body when I felt the fear and tension rise.

Finally, everything was done. I was released to the main office. I received direction on care of my wound, follow up appointments, and a prescription for pain medication. I had a feeling that there would be plenty of aching when the anesthetic dissipated. I paid my (huge) bill and walked out to the 4Runner.

The Girl was ecstatic to see me. She sniffed me all over, but kept coming back to my mouth. She knew I was wounded and wanted to care for me. I got her out to pee and then we drove back to Carson City. We stopped at Walmart to fill my prescription and pick up a couple of things I thought I might want/need. I have salt to make a rinse. I have some Reese’s Cups to reward myself and some protein shakes to provide sustenance until I feel like I can eat again.

We drove the remainder of the way to the hotel. I could feel the pain rising and knew I’d better get my pain medication started. So, we parked and I carried my things to my room. I took a pill and decided to walk across the street to the Black Bear Diner in the casino. I wanted a strawberry shake and some time to let the remaining tension bleed out.

On the way out, I stopped by the front desk to extend my stay another week. The sutures will come out in about ten days. The clerk worked on it a bit, but they were booked solid on the 15th, so she told me “I’ll fix this. Someone will call and cancel — it happens every day.” So the Girl and I walked across Carson Street and into the casino.

A young man greeted us at Black Bear Diner. “How many?”

“One… and a half,” I replied.

“Would you like a booth or a table?”

“Either is fine, so long as she is out of traffic.” We started into the dining room. The manager followed us and caught up.

“When someone has a service dog,” she said to the young man, “let them pick where they want to sit. They know where the best place is for their dog.”

I pointed to a table along a partition wall that was out of traffic, “This will be perfect.”

A beautiful young woman came by shortly after I settled the Girl next to the wall. She was mi mesera and asked how I was doing. I elected to spare her the description of the ordeal [grin] and then ordered a glass of water and a strawberry shake. They make excellent shakes at Black Bear Diner.

The manager dropped by a few minutes later. “Thank you for being patient with us. He’s in training and is learning how to handle customers with service dogs.”

“No worries,” I said. “I have learned to ask for something different if I think the seat is not the best for us. Booths are usually good because she’ll sleep under the table. But tables are fine too so long as we are out of traffic.”

The strawberry shake was very good. The cold felt good in my mouth. I needed the calories (if not the sugar). I elected to take a second pain pill because my mouth was really starting to hurt and I wanted to get ahead of the pain.

As I worked through my shake, the medication began its work. The pain didn’t go away, but was reduced to something tolerable. I decided I didn’t want anything else to eat. I will get some eggs Saturday morning. So I paid my bill and we walked back to the room. I took care of a few things that needed doing before I crashed.

I put on some music. Then I laid on the bed with the Girl. She snuggled close, curled up against my tummy. We both fell asleep.

I woke a bit later, checked the time, and took another pain pill. The hydrocodone works pretty well to both dull the pain and make me rest.

I learned a lot Friday. Or at least I feel like I learned a lot. I knew it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. I was determined to get it done anyway. I didn’t want the infection to worsen and make additional problems. I’ll figure out the money.

Oh, I got a call from my hotel. The figured out a way to keep me in my room for two weeks if I want it. I need at least a week, maybe more. That makes me happy.

The image is unrelated. While at Walmart, I decided to buy a deck of cards. I love the Steampunk motif. I want a deck of cards in my kit. I don’t want to play games on the computer. Sometimes solitaire is a good thing, with real cards. There could come a time when Spades or Hearts might be appropriate as well. And if I’m with a friend, there’s always Gin Rummy.

I really like these cards.

My Favorite Place

On the trail, and on the hunt.
On the trail, and on the hunt.

Last Saturday the Girl and I rose quite early to get out and hike (and geocache) before the heat rose. The story is already told, but a further rumination rose a few minutes ago. I suppose when the Muse calls me, I better answer.

I was scrolling through recent images collected and stored on my computer and came across this capture. It was made after our climb-out and while we were hiking along the ridge of the Prison Hill Range. This is a view of the Girl I see often when we’re out in the sageland. She runs back and forth, doing her favorite thing — hunting. She’s a high-drive dog and will chase rabbits, squirrels, and lizards. I know her well and have learned to manage her drive for the most part. I am still sometimes surprised, bu far less often than I was a few years ago.

This is something that is just part of her. I accept that and watch for those times when it might be a problem. I’m OK with that as well.

So we hike and hunt. It fills a need that she has and a need that I have. We both gain a lot from our time on the trail. In fact, there’s no other place I’d rather be (at this time) that out on the trail with my Girl. I have to watch the heat because she overheats easily. But if the weather is moderate, then we can go for hours.

Our normal morning walk is now five miles. If I push it and keep my pace at about 18 minutes/mile, I keep my metabolic rate up and it pushes her as well. We’re both tired (but maybe not done) when we get back to the rig.

On Saturday, we did a bit more than five miles with terrain. The climb-out challenged my legs and glutes and it was good. The descent challenged my quads and put some pressure on the patellar tendon, which was also good. We were both tired when we got back to the rig, went to breakfast, and returned to our room. That was good. Saturday was a really good day!

This morning we were out early again. It was cold down by the Carson River in Riverview Park. It was cold enough that my legs and hands were cold until the sun rose sufficiently to shine on me. With the cool air, I pushed pretty hard. The Girl had to run a few times to catch up. She’d be distracted by a scent, pause to sniff, and then notice I was 50 yards down the trail, calling and whistling to her to catch up.

And then catch up she would, blasting by me to pick up the next trail or chase a rabbit. We hiked out to the Morgan Mill Road river access. We took a five-minute break there so I could eat a snack and pee. She continued snuffling in the willow brush, then came over to beg some of my snack (no chocolate for her!). I offered a bite of apple, but she declined (with a snort).

After the short break, I donned my pack again and off we went, me jogging part of the way. I carried my walking stick a port-of-arms to practice. No, the stick isn’t a six-pound rifle, but it will do for practice.

We hit the rig before 0800 with just over five miles on the clock. It was time to get back to the room, feed her, and get a shower so I could get to my dentist for a procedure.

She was curled up in the back of the rig when I came out from the dentist’s office. I left with much to think about. The tooth I thought would be crowned will be extracted tomorrow. It’s cracked and cannot be salvaged. The price of the work just went up. I needed to think on this a bit more, consider the options, and make a decision about how to proceed.

We stopped at Wally-World to fill my prescription. I pondered on my decision while we wandered through the store waiting for my prescription to be filled. I bought a strawberry shake (or what passes for a shake) and a cup of coffee from McDs in the Walmart and sat down to enjoy the coffee. I bought a deck of regular playing cards to keep in my kit. I think that sometimes just sitting playing solitaire will be good for me. I like real cards.

After retrieving my meds, we headed for the room. It was good to feel the sun on my body and good to have the Girl curled up in the adjacent seatpan. I fiddled with her ears and stroked her side as we drove.

Yeah, I’d rather be out in the sagelands with my Girl than nearly anywhere else these days. Wife is gone, the kids are grown and independent, I work for myself. The capture of us on the trail together is idyllic, at least to me. Yeah, I challenge my body when we do those hikes. Yeah, I get tired, hot, sweaty. Yeah, I feel the mental game to push the body when it rebels. It’s a different form of training, not as intense as strength training but just as big of a mental game. Yeah, I’m going to get the dental work done (yet another mental game), then recover from it, both physically and mentally.

Then what? I’m not sure right now. I think there is work for me to do. I need to do some of it and replenish my savings account. I’m good with that… and with spending as much time as I can on the trail… with the Girl.

Tahoe Rumi

Last weekend, the Girl, a friend, and I hiked from NV 28 down to Chimney Cove and Secret Cove. This was captured by my friend.
Last weekend, the Girl, a friend, and I hiked from NV 28 down to Chimney Cove and Secret Cove. This was captured by my friend.

Last Sunday (yep, already nearly a week passed), the Girl, a friend, and I drove up to the parking area for a trail that drops from the highway down to Chimney Cove, Secret Cove, and beyond. We hiked down the trail, encountering a few sleepy campers and some not so sleepy early-risers like ourselves.

It was a gorgeous summer morning at Lake Tahoe, just cool enough to make me want a sweatshirt part of the way. When it warmed, I stuffed the sweatshirt into my pack. The Girl didn’t need water (plenty in Lake Tahoe), but I used my hydration bladder a bit to stay hydrated. The loop was about three and a half miles, which is nearly perfect for me.

What a fun hike and a great memory.