Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Memorial Day

Monday, May 31st, 2021

It’s been some time since I’ve posted anything here. I’m feeling my losses more than usual today. Friday marked six months since Marion died, and, as today is Memorial Day, I’ve also been reminiscing about men I knew who died in service.

Our President* (“Stay cool this weekend, folks.”) and Vice President* (“Enjoy the long weekend.”) have shown what they think of Memorial Day and our military. They don’t care; Obama purged almost 200 flag-rank officers in order to transform our military the way he promised to fundamentally transform our country, and the officer corps has now, to a significant extent, become political commissars. They relieved the CO of the Space Force of his position for speaking out against Marxism and Critical Race Theory.

I usually post a link to the following article on Memorial Day. I’ll do that again, and add an excerpt.

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’


That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.’

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, “All Marines share in your grief.” I had been instructed to say, “On behalf of a grateful nation….” I didn’t think the nation was grateful, so I didn’t say that.

He wrote that about his time doing death notifications during the Vietnam War, but he could have been writing about now.

Goodbye, my love.

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

I’ve not posted anything to this website for over a year. This is because I’ve been taking care of my girlfriend. She was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia (Posterior Cortical Atrophy, or PCA) in August of 2017. Looking back, I can recognize that she had symptoms of it starting two or three years earlier. I did not realize that they were symptoms of anything until we received the diagnosis. A reasonable shorthand description of PCA is, “Alzheimer’s dementia that affects vision as well as memory and cognition.” Her eyesight wasn’t affected; her brain just became incapable of interpreting the data from her eyes. I’m convinced that it also has effects on motor skills such as balance.

In December of 2017, she developed back and leg pain. Nothing that we tried helped, and things kept getting worse to the point she could barely walk. She had no relief until she had back surgery after suffering for a year. The surgeon found a bone spur from a vertebra, which had not shown up on X-rays or MRI scans, pressing on her sciatic nerve. The operation was, to Marion, a miracle cure. She was walking two to three miles a day by the time I took her back for her 30-day post-op evaluation. The surgeon was definitely impressed.

I’ve been living with her for almost two years, because she needed someone with her through the night during her recovery from surgery. In August of 2019, her dementia had progressed to the point that she required 24/7 attention. I have been providing that, which is one of the main reasons I mostly abandoned this site.

Marion and I were together for a long time; the coming New Years Eve would have marked the 25th anniversary of our becoming a couple. Our personalities meshed well together. Over 25 years, I can only remember one significant argument that we had. She was always more active than I was; she gave up hiking in the mountains because my knees wouldn’t handle it, but she got me started in cross-country skiing, which wasn’t so hard on them, and she got me into snorkeling. We rode bicycles and did a lot of walking. For a short woman (she was 5’2″, I’m 6’1″), she walked quickly. I had trouble keeping up with her, and below 11,000 feet, she could walk me into the dirt. My lungs were apparently more efficient than hers once the air was thin enough.

She loved to travel. She went places by herself until we were established as a couple, then we traveled together. We traveled in the US, Canada, England and Scotland, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Europe, Egypt and Jordan, Australia, and New Zealand. We saw the pyramids, Karnak, Abu Simbel, Petra, Hagia Sophia and the Blue mosque, listened to a live performance of Mozart in Vienna, took a helicopter up to a glacier in New Zealand, and so many other wonderful things.

One thing Marion didn’t have to get me into, but she did keep trying to get me to do more of, was ballroom dancing. I’d had an introduction to ballroom dancing my first year at the Naval Academy (part of that whole “officer and a gentleman” thing). I actually met Marion when we were both in the same samba class. I asked her out for coffee, and things grew from there. We took classes together in just about any ballroom dance you can name – waltz, Viennese waltz, foxtrot, tango (both American and Argentine styles), rhumba, cha-cha, quickstep, samba, nightclub two-step, country two-step, paso doble, merengue, and East and West Coast Swing. Possibly some others that I don’t recall. West Coast Swing was one of Marion’s favorite dances, but it was one I resisted learning for several years. Marion hated to leave the dance floor, so I wanted one dance that I could use an excuse to get some rest. Eventually, though, I gave in.

The year that she had the back pain was unfortunate. By the time she’d had the surgery and recovered from it, her dementia had progressed to the point where she had trouble with her balance, and she’d forgotten many of the steps she had known. We ended up with waltz, foxtrot, nightclub two-step, and American tango as what we could do. Then came COVID and the lockdowns, and we couldn’t even do those anymore.

We still walked, though. Last summer, I’d hold her hand and we’d walk a 1.5 mile loop on the paths near our houses, up to three times daily. She couldn’t see much, so I’d describe the weather, any wildlife I saw, and any people nearby as we walked.

As time progressed, her steps became shorter, and the amount we’d walk lessened. Last Friday, we took two walks for 1.5 miles total. By that time, I was no longer holding her hand and walking beside her; I had been walking backwards, holding both of her hands, and pulling to keep her moving for a couple of months.

When we weren’t walking, Marion was listening to classical music or audiobooks. Sometimes, I’d play my ukulele and sing for her. She sang along on the songs she knew, until she couldn’t anymore because she had forgotten the lyrics, or just couldn’t get them out.

Last Friday, around 6 pm, Marion got part of her dinner caught in her throat. I was unable to dislodge it with the Heimlich maneuver, nor could the EMTs when they arrived. We have a fire station just a couple of blocks away, so they were there almost immediately. Her heart stopped in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but they were able to stabilize her in the ER. According to their protocol, Marion would be kept sedated for about 36 hours, possibly more, before they would wake her and evaluate her. Unfortunately, her blood pressure dropped a few hours after she was admitted. I was called to her side sometime between midnight and 1 am Saturday. They told me her blood pressure was 50 over something, and they didn’t expect her to last. When I arrived 20 minutes or so later, her blood pressure was no longer registering at all. I sat with her, holding her hand, reminiscing about our life together, and attempting to sing her favorite folk songs to her. Around 2:30 am, her pulse rate started dropping. It had been steady at 97 since I arrived. It slowly decreased to about 60, then her heart stopped again around 2:45.

She did not respond to CPR that time.

Her funeral service was this afternoon. I’m going to miss her so very much.

Daylight Saving Time funnies

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

Yes, thank you. You’re very helpful.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

cannot-save-pdf

Good, interesting, music

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

I’ve been down for a few days with some sort of digestive system disorder, but Marion had tickets for Thursday’s performance of the Colorado Symphony at the Arvada Center, so we went. The weather was threatening, but never actually rained during the concert, which was nice.

There was music I’d heard before, and music I hadn’t. Two pieces, one of which was Habanera from Carmen, featured a soloist on musical saw. Definitely not what we were expecting, but quite interesting. Scott O’Neil, the conductor, was also very entertaining. He started doing high kicks during the performance of Can-Can, and had some amusing anecdotes about some of the pieces, including the problems with performing certain pieces at educational concerts (“The theme from Peter Gunn? Oh, no, Mr. Neil, we can’t have Peter Gunn performed!”)

The concert was in three sets, with two intermissions. The first two sets were mostly classical music, and the third set had all of the television and movie themes: Peter Gunn, the Pink Panther, Raiders March, and so on. The only way the third set could have been better for me would have been if it included Harlem Nocturne, which was used as the theme for the Mike Hammer TV show.

I haven’t quit blogging …

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

… it’s just that I’m lazy.

I saw that quote somewhere today, although I don’t remember where. It fits, though. Time to clear some tabs. These are pretty much just some of the tabs I have open, and not the links I’ve accumulated over the last month or so.

A contest to win a Martin guitar.

Some free SF. And some more.

Not always safe for work (depending on your workplace), but an interesting site.

A collection of historical software.

Interesting fact: More whites were killed by blacks in 8 years than blacks were lynched during the 84 years in which lynchings occurred. And don’t forget that a lot of whites were lynched then, also.

A marvelous video of one of Woody Allen’s standup stories.

How to opt out of data tracking on your most-used sites.

UsVsTh3m is a British site that has some fun things. Here’s a link to a list of some of their fun posts.

This looks like a cool tool for guitarists.

Need or want a home distillery? Check here.

Fifty hacks that will make your life easier (for certain values of “will” and “easier”).

Want to get into shape? Try the scientific 7-minute workout.

Every time you make a typo

I haven’t spent any time on this site yet, but it looks interesting.

I’m going to have to spend some time here – I can always do with finding improvements in notetaking and productivity.

Ethanol is not something that should be going into fuel.

My state senator has resigned rather than lose her seat to recall. One of my acquaintances/casual friends was involved in the recall, and has some blogging about what happened on his site. Personally, I didn’t see any of these tactics, but I saw a number of protests at the sites of the petition drive, and I don’t doubt that they occurred.

Which are the best- and worst-run states?

How to choose the perfect board game.

Need some ideas for Christmas presents? Check out Dave Barry’s Gift Guide.

If you’ve never seen the classic WKRP turkey drop, it’s something you need to watch.

This cat has it in for someone.

This is an Advent calendar I can appreciate.

What if buying coffee were like buying health insurance under Obamacare?


What happens in Room 101
? Read the linked article, also; Francis is very good.

This is a good quiz on current news. I’ve taken it a few times. This time, the only question I missed was the one about the graph of the Dow.

Looking for quiet

Friday, October 25th, 2013

It’s been a month of busy weekends for me. The first weekend of the month, I went up to Fort Collins to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years. We spent part of Saturday running around the Mini Maker Faire in Loveland. I picked up a PC-duino, and George met an acquaintance at one of the booths who worked with pinball machines, and had even converted one into a display tied to WWNV and its atomic clock.

The next weekend was UkeFest. I missed out on the Thursday night activities, but attended James Hill‘s workshop and concert, workshops with the Ooks of Hazzard and a group from Nebraska called Star Belle (marvelous vocal harmonies), Aldrine Guerrero‘s concert, and played on stage, both with the Denver Ukulele Community group and with the Ooks of Hazzard.

Last weekend was MileHiCon 45. I haven’t attended in a number of years. I had a good time. Among other things, I managed to acquire a couple of passes to a preview showing of Ender’s Game, which I’m looking forward to.

This weekend, I’m looking to do some yard work and cleaning around the house. Probably some cooking and baking, as well. This is what I fixed for dinner last night: chicken breast with a seasoned panko crust, whole-wheat pasta, and a chanterelle mushroom, grape tomato, and shallot sauce.

Dinner

Independence Day

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

I trust everyone is having a good one.

It’s National Procrastination Week

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Well, actually, last week was National Procrastination Week.

Here’s some advice about dealing with procrastination. I’ll have to read it sometime.

You know what I want to see?

Monday, January 18th, 2010

I want to see a parody of one of those Broadview Security commercials. You know the ones … a woman is at home alone or with a small child when someone breaks into the home. The intruder runs away immediately, and the phone rings with the security company calling to see if everything’s ok.

Would you stop to answer the phone in that situation?

I want to see the woman pick the phone up, only to hear, “Hi, Marge? It’s Betty. I just heard that Liz and Barney are getting divorced, and …”

Meanwhile, the camera cuts the to the security company’s office, where we hear a busy signal over the image of a phone operator.