Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mt. Raymond attempt 3

Today I went on a hike up Mt. Raymond with my brother, Mike. I made the decision to go to Mt. Raymond, since I thought it would not have as much snow on it as it has on one of my previous trips when I didn't make it to the top. And, Mike left it up to me to choose.

Here's a pic of Mike, btw, on the trail:
I should've thought that maybe a little snow had accumulated up top during the previous wet, rainy week down in the valley, but I was unprepared for the amount that had accumulated.

The trail was beautiful, however, if a tad muddy. Here's some of the scenery we saw along the way:

When we got up to the saddle between Gobblers Knob and Mt. Raymond, Mike decided that he'd had enough because of a hip injury that had been plaguing him. He volunteered to wait for me if I wanted to make it the rest of the way up. I wanted to try it and did so. The ridge going up to the top starts out wide, then narrows down, becoming knife-edged near the top. The further up I got, the more snow there was. Another guy and his two teenaged sons were ahead of me on the trail, and were the only ones who had apparently been up there since the snow had fallen. I saw no other tracks. I followed in their footsteps. There were places where my legs sunk through the soft snow all the way up to my hips. Here's one of the foot prints that went down a ways:
I passed one of the youngsters on the trail who was having a hard time as he was wearing shorts. Eventually, I caught the dad and other son. At that point I was .1 miles from the top (as the crow flies), and approximately 200 feet in elevation from the top. It had already taken me an hour and fifteen minutes to get to the point I was at, and it looked like it would take at least another half hour to make those final 200 feet--if I could even make it. The angle significantly steepened, the snow looked quite a bit deeper, and the ridge narrowed a lot. I don't have an actual picture of this final approach, and down below, it didn't look that bad. Here's what it looked like from about 400 feet from the top:
This is actually the third time I've gone up Mt. Raymond and have had to stop short of the top. I will plan my next trip carefully to incorporate all possible scenarios (ha!), and will make it to the top. I'm thinking mid-summer and with someone who is wearing shoes with tread. One of the times I turned back was because my son Ben had worn some shoes that had virtually no tread on the bottom of them. There are some pretty hairy rocky ridges that you absolutely need some gripping power on your feet.

It was actually harder coming down in the mushy snow than it had been going up. Not exertion-wise, but footing-wise. When I made it back to the saddle to meet up with Mike, I snarfed down my sandwich and we prepared to go back down the trail. A guy who was with a "Meet Up" group asked us if we were enjoying ourselves. "Always," I said. "I can't come up here with having a great experience."

And it's true. The trip isn't always making it to the top, but it's the adventures that you have and the people you share them with. In that regard, I wouldn't trade my life for the world.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dream homes...dream lives

One of my dreams is to one day own an old ranch house with a wrap-around porch out in the country somewhere. It would sort of look like this picture from an old Leanin' Tree card:

Yeah, I think it might look exactly like that. Now, the thing is, how to get such a house and the feeling that goes with it. Getting it, and in the right location, would require a bit of cash. Now, I have the capability of earning such cash. All it will take is getting a good novel or two under my belt--novels that take off in the public eye. I'm confidant that I can do that. The question is, do I want it bad enough to do the work it's going to take to get it?

The next question is, how to get the feeling that comes to mind when I look at that Christmas card greeting. That's something that comes from the heart. Something that comes from love. Something that can only come from good friends and family. It depends upon the people that will live in that home. It's only a dream. Something for the future. But like anything else in life, a great home with a great feeling of love doesn't just happen by itself, and the question is, do we want it bad enough that we will do the work it takes to get it?

I will leave your hopes and dreams up to you. As for me, I set out on a great journey years ago. Sometimes life sidetracks us, but that only means that we need to show our mettle by overcoming the sidetracks and still coming through in the end. My journey isn't over until I'm dragged, kicking and screaming into the grave, and even then, I suspect more journeys ahead. Is my goal of owning a vintage ranch house with a wrap-around porch in a small community a good one? Yes, I think so. But better still is the goal of having that feeling of peace and love in my home. It's something we must always work on and is rarely perfect, but in those times when it is, it is magnificent.

Cats and sleep--not a good mix

Just when you think you might get a good night's sleep, there's a thing called a cat that gets in the way.
Did I tell you that cats can be strange, annoying little creatures at times?
So, about 4 am, Scout, who had been outside was meowing outside my bedroom window. Ann had left the room earlier because she had trouble sleeping in the bed, and was watching television in the other room, wide awake, but because her oxygen compressor is rather loud, she didn't hear the cat.
I did though, and woke up to let Scout in. Our bedroom has two entrances, one of them is through the bathroom that is by the back door. So there is one door right by the back door that leads into the bathroom, and another door from the bathroom into our bedroom. The other entrance to our bedroom is from the hallway that leads to the living room. I have learned through sad experience that Scout rarely takes the direct route to our bedroom, through the back bathroom, but instead wanders all the way around through the living room and up the long hallway to reach our bedroom door.
I usually have that door closed because when Ann can't sleep, she leaves the hall light on, and also is generally watching tv or listening to music. However, knowing Scouts habits, I opened that door a crack and got back in bed, knowing that in just a couple of minutes, I'd have to get back up again and shut that door to keep the sound of the tv to a minimum.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, Scout came through that door, leaving it open a few inches. Can you train a cat to close a door behind itself? As I got up to close the door so I could go back to sleep, Scout jumped off the bed and ran out into the hallway.
I got back in bed, still not daring to go back to sleep, knowing that she would be back in moments. She was. This time I warned her not to run out the door again. Instead, she ran out the other door, into the bathroom toward the kitchen. I followed her thinking she must have wanted to go back outside. She didn't. She was dissatisfied with the food in her bowl. A little plastic was showing at the bottom of her food dish, and that is just unacceptable, I guess. Has she ever heard of cleaning her plate? Or bowl in this case? I sometimes want to treat her like a little kid... “clean your plate and then I'll give you more,” I want to say, but know it will be futile.
I gave her another helping, then went back and layed on the bed, knowing that in moments, there would be more instructions from the cat. Done with eating the upgraded food, she wanted to go back out. Finally I could enjoy another hour or two of sleep.
Ten minutes later, there was a meowing outside my bedroom window. Did I tell you cats can be annoying little creatures?

Friday, May 22, 2015

The contradictions of liberalism

I think it's really ironic the way the left treats religion. Here's an example. If someone says that they believe in the death penalty for murder because the Bible tells them that people who murder should be put to death, there is a large segment of the left  that oppose the death penalty who will say things like “stop letting your religion control our lives” or “there's supposed to be separation of church and state” or “you are a religious fanatic”.

On the other hand if someone claims that there should be no capital punishment because God said “Thou shalt not kill” in the Ten Commandments, those same people on the left will support that decision wholeheartedly. There is no complaint about religious fanaticism, or separation of church and state then.

Why the difference?

What about the anti-slavery movement that happened here in America in the 1800s? That was fueled by Christian abolitionists who found Biblical reasons to oppose slavery. Would the left say that because of separation of church and state, that the abolitionist movement should therefore have ceased?

The thing is, it's not about the religion. It's about the values. If my values agree with those on the left, even though I found them in the Bible, they are perfectly fine values. But if my values do not concur with the prevailing views of the left, they are then shot down as religious intrusions into other's lives.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A little John Denver

One of my favorites--from a guy who seemed to find joy in everything. John Denver sings Matthew.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Life is still awesome!

With sputters and starts, this week has gone amazingly better. First of all, it has been great that Ann is home. That is the most important thing.
I also was able to get back to exercising, though with a hitch on the first day back. About 15 minutes into my run, I pulled a muscle in my calf. That was on Tuesday. That night, I started filling the remaining two of my raised beds. I worked for an hour, then a friend showed up and we got all except 1/2 of them full before he had to go home. I needed to quit anyway, as I was beat. I took Wednesday off from exercising to finish filling my raised beds with soil and had that done at about 9 p.m.
Thursday was my day off and it was supposed to begin raining in the afternoon. My goal was to go and buy my plants and get them in before the rain began. I got that done.
I ran again on Friday, with just a twinge of pain in my leg. Saturday, I tried it again and sort of re-injured my leg. I'm thinking I'd better stick to every other day for a while, until I'm sure it's healed.
Either that, or hobble for the next few weeks. At any rate, the last couple of weeks have been an understandable setback from my July 1st deadline of getting down to 185 or lower. I'm still going to try and do it though. Last night I weighed in at just shy of 191, so I've got about six weeks or so to lose six pounds. I think that's possible.
And, it has been a better week. The Lord has blessed us with the rain (we have not had to water our lawn yet this year), and especially with Ann being able to get well enough to come home.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A good week coming

Ann got out of the hospital on Friday, I'm almost done taking antibiotics for my diverticulitis outbreak, and my garden soil pile should be drying out because the parade of storms has finally died down. It's looking like a great week ahead. Ann will be happier and on the mend, I'll be able to get back to exercising and feeling good, and I'll be able to also get my raised beds finished and hopefully planted by the end of the week.

Yeah, it's gonna be a good week.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Titanic day 3?

On Saturday, I was expecting to come home from work, take a nap, change into work clothes, and go out and with a wheelbarrow and shovel, fill up my four raised beds with the soil that had been deposited on my driveway. Instead, Ann told me that she was worried and having a hard time breathing. We decided to go to Instacare to have her checked out.

The physician on staff at Instacare had xrays done and Ann had pneumonia. He sent us to the emergency room. It was reminiscent of the time seven years ago when she caught pneumonia the first time. That time, she'd been sick (diagnosed as bronchitis), her doctor had given her some antibiotics and said, "if you're not better in a week come back in". The week was on Friday and she wasn't better, but we had decided to wait until Monday. It was nearly a fatal mistake. On that Monday back in '08, I knew she was bad and I got her right in to Dr. Olsen. He hooked up an oxygen monitor and when he saw the readings, he got white as a sheet. "At this point," he'd said, "we usually call the paramedics."

She had been rushed to the hospital. Her lungs, were filled with pneumonia to the point where there were only a couple of small slits that were pneumonia-free. She ended up being in the ICU for eight days, went into cardiac arrest a couple of times, had to have her lungs physically scraped out (fully awake, no less), and finally kicked it and left the hospital eleven days later.

Her recovery at home was with a lot of oxygen tanks being dragged around, and it was at the end of this recovery that she contracted rheumatoid arthritis, a disease in which the treatments cause the body's immune system to be severely compromised.

Fast forward to now. We took her in on Saturday night. The lungs weren't nearly as saturated with pneumonia as they'd been seven years previous. But her immune system isn't strong now either. She's currently on seven liters of oxygen and they won't let her come home until she's down to around two.

Saturday night I had told her that I was having some trouble of my own--a bladder infection, I thought. I was having the same symptoms that I'd had a couple of weeks ago when I had self-diagnosed myself as having kidney stones. This time heeding advice, I wanted to get it checked out. On Sunday, I spent the first few hours with Ann, then at two o'clock, I drove to the nearest Instacare to have my supposed bladder infection diagnosed. The doctor said after checking me out that I didn't have a bladder infection and that it was either diverticulitis or appendicitis and that I'd need to go to the ER to get it checked out.

After six hours and a CT Scan, I was diagnosed with diverticulitis and given prescriptions for antibiotics and pain killers. I was relieved to finally be able to go up to Ann's room and see how she was doing.

Meanwhile, Ann had been nine floors above worrying about me. The nurse there tapped into my vital information on the computer. I guess she could get current stats from the monitors I was hooked to below. "Your husband has a heart rate of 52," she said to Ann. "He's one healthy dude."

I felt good about that, when Ann told me, but that's insignificant at the moment. At the moment, all I want is her well and home.