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Eleventh Retirement Anniversary

eleven-red-rocks.pngThe last year seems to have gone by in a whirlwind despite the social and biological plagues of 2020. Since our Retirement Post Last Year, we have been busy with our everyday routines accompanied by some occasional deviations from the norm. We find things to keep us busy, I guess, as most retirees do, and that seems to make the time pass quickly.

Because of the overblown COVID-19 pandemic (or should I say DEM panic?), we have postponed any excursions in the RV to next spring and/or fall. We had planed a couple of trips for 2020, but stuff happened.

IMAGE: Numeral Eleven textured by the red rock gravel around our house where many people would have a lawn. We have to pull weeds once in a while, but no mowing in retirement!

During the past year, on two occasions, we have entertained overnight visitors in our home. The first visit was from a couple that we have known since the early 1960’s. They stayed a couple of nights with us and had a reunion dinner at our place with another couple who, like us, relocated to Arizona from Kalifornistan. The second visitor, also an old friend and former workplace associate, stayed with us a couple of nights in August while on his way from Colorado Springs back home to the Los Angeles area. Those were both nice visits that we enjoyed immensely.

October is going to be an eventful month. I have my second cataract surgery scheduled mid-month with pre- and post-surgery visits with the ophthalmologist plus visit scheduled with the proctologist for an exam and to schedule the next colonoscopy. I also have some more dermatology work to be done sometime in October. I also plan on seeing the orthopedic surgeon next week regarding knees, shoulders and hips. There’s nothing drastically wrong with those (I hope) but I have a recommendation from the family doctor to go to the ortho for x-rays and follow-ups.

So, here we go into our twelfth year of retirement. We’re praying that the widespread insanity diminishes enough for us to get back to normal and maybe hit the road to relieve our wanderlust.

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Arms Collection - Addition and Mods

Two weeks ago, we added a new AR style firearm to our inventory. We now have two of these. Our local arms dealership is going out of business due to poor health of the proprietor and we got the latest AR at a 10 percent discount from their posted price. We also acquired some spare 30 round magazines for 5.56×45 and a couple of other accessories.

Now that the smoke has settled from the acquisitions, we decided to upgrade our stock hand guards to a quad rail system. The units we bought are Leapers UTG PRO AR-15 MTU001 Drop-in Carbine-Length Quad Rail System. Our main motivation for this is to be able to install forward vertical grip handles on the rifles as well as addition of illuminators or other goodies on the rails.

I installed the first Quad Rail on the new rifle this afternoon. It went quite well as I followed the instructions from their You-Tube Video. I then installed the vertical grip on the lower rail of the new unit. Before and after images below. Click on either image to enlarge.

Before After

I tried to install the second Quad Rail on our older AR and had a problem with it. I think it may be due to a slight misalignment of the barrel nut (looks like a gear with teeth). If you watch the video, they mention that an “armorer’s wrench” may be necessary to correct the misalignment. Well, we ain’t got one of those and they are too $$ for a one-time use. I am going to go to the shop where we bought the gun and see if they can fix the problem. I’ll mosey on over to the shop tomorrow and see if they can help.

Meanwhile, the new rifle looks sorta cool with the rails and the vertical grip. We’ll get to the range soon and see how it feels with the grip.

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Fifteenth Blogiversary

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It’s time for the annual milestone to mark yet another year of blogging on CB&D. Our statistics for the past year show that we have posted about 52 times, or, on average, once a week. That’s nowhere near the “old days” when we made 300 or so posts yearly, but it’s not to bad (in our opinion).

Just because we’ve gone sort of silent on posting does not mean that we’re out of blogging in the reading sense. We have an RSS feed reader browser extension with some 27 blogs that we read daily (or as often as they post) several of which post many times a day. We think that we’re getting the news we need through them.

In the coming year, we will probably be doing just about the same as this past year, noting when there are special events or personal activity, not the least of which we hope will be travelling in our motorhome to new and interesting places as well as some old favorites. That may resume in springtime assuming this COVID-19 crap goes dormant and there are no riots where we’re going.

Lest we forget, today marks The Autumnal Equinox, a.k.a. “first day of fall.” Here in AZ we are still having what we call “second spring” with cactus flowers and our Pride of Barbados shrubs in bloom. We see bees, hummingbirds and butterflies regularly and will probably continue to have them well into winter months. What will disappear from our skies are the ubiquitous Turkey Buzzards who will soon be headed to Mexico for the winter. Happy Fall, everyone!

Thanks for keeping us on the blogrolls. Let us know if we’re not reciprocating.

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Tales of the Caduceus

caduceus.pngThe purpose of this post is not to elicit sympathy, but rather to share some of my recent healthcare-related experiences. There are several things going on with the old meat-frame, none of which, at this point in time, are too serious or life-threatening.

Eight years ago, I found out that I had a malignant neoplasm in the bladder which was transurethrally resected and my most recent checkup showed no signs of recurrence. There were some complications that needed correction after the initial surgery, but those are in the past save for some minor atrophy of my right kidney.

I’m seeing a nephrologist for the kidney function which is now diagnosed at stage 2 (of 5 stages) failure, but no special procedures indicated at this point. No dialysis is required at this time and probably never if I follow the prescribed diet and medications.

I’m scheduled for cataract surgery on the left eye next Monday. Prior to that, the hospital wants me to be tested for COVID-19. That test is scheduled for Friday. The surgery, I’m told by others that have had the procedure, is quick and painless and generally a big success.

I have been going to several dermatologists over the past 30 years, or so. I have a good one here in town who I see regularly. I’ve lost count of the minor excisions of skin cancers and other lesions on my epidermis. Squamous, Basal Cell, Common Warts and Nevi have been victims to his various cutting implements. Some of them just get frozen with several dabs of liquid nitrogen. I’m sure there will be more in the future.

It’s been five years since my last colonoscopy, so I’m due. It would be a longer interval except the proctologist removed several polyps last time, so I’m a bigger risk to have more. I have yet to set up the session, although anytime prior to December 2020 would probably be OK.

Last month, I had my 77th Birthday. Just prior to that, I had chest pressure (can’t really say pain) but went to the ER anyway. They did a chest X-ray, an EKG and blood work and found nothing out of sorts. As a follow-up, I got a CT scan of the upper torso. The radiologist found nothing to address the pressure I had, but did notice some small irregularities in my lungs. I have an appointment with a pulmonologist to further examine the radiology. I assume they will tell me my options once they have looked at the the scans. The local radiologist who wrote the report recommended another CT scan in six months to see if anything changed.

After the chest pressure incident, the family doctor ordered an Echocardiogram. The results of that test were quite normal.

I may update this post over the next couple of days when we figure out what’s to be done next with regard to the lungs. I may also update with a report on the cataract surgery.

UPDATE: OK here’s the first addition to this post - I visited the Pulmonologist (lung specialist) today who reviewed the suspicious CT scans and pronounced them “no big deal.” He wants to test me for Valley Fever (a common ailment in the southwestern US) but other than that he says to come back in a year to see if the little nodules in my lungs are doing anything like growing. Praise God!

UPDATE 2: It’s been over a couple of weeks since the cataract lens replacement in my left eye. I’m happy to say that it went well and the new lens is functioning perfectly. I am still using eye drops per the ophthalmologist’s direction for another week. The second surgery is scheduled for mid-October. There are complications in the right eye that I will post about later. Thank God again for a good outcome!

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Cabela is Twelve Today

Cabela is Twelve TodayToday, our elder dog, Cabela, is approximately twelve years old. I say that since when we adopted her from the Humane Society here in town, she was estimated to be about two years old but her actual birth date was unknown. That was ten years ago this month at the time we were having our Arizona house built.

Cabela is probably a pure bred miniature pinscher “blue” but we have no history on her other than she was found near the rodeo grounds up in Constellation Park here in Wickenburg. We figure she was cropped and bobbed by her original owners who managed to let her run off somehow. I pity their loss. At the same time, we feel fortunate to have this little dog despite her high-strung personality and a tendency to bark at most everything. She truly must think she’s ten feet tall and bullet proof.

At twelve, Cabela shows few signs of growing old. She is quite active, can still jump and run at full speed and when on a leash can drag “The Daddy” along to where she wants to go. Despite being headstrong, she can be a nice companion here at home and still sleeps on the bed with us, sometime stealing the covers. She is quite the character and we love her.

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Completing Another Trip Around the Sun

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The Gothic Script above is the translation of Seventy-Seven (literally seven and seventy) as I recall from my high school (der Hochschule) German Classes. I took two years of “Die Deutche Sprache” as my language credit towards graduation. I made the graphic posted above for the occasion of my turning 77 this month.

“Ich habe zwei jahre in der Hochschule die Deutche Sprache gelernt” which, I’ve been told is grammatically correct for “I have learned two years of the German language in high school.” Truth be told and in 20-20 hindsight, I would have been better off taking Spanish in school, given the places I lived and the fact that Español is primarily the language spoken by most illegal invaders of America these days.

As for the birthday, I am happy to say that whatever ailments I may have or had seem to be in remission and we can cope with those minor things that generally prevail with age. I thank GOD for His blessings. We may make it to octogenarian temporal territory after all.

On another topic, last evening I witnessed the apparition of the comet NEOWISE, currently visible above the western horizon after sundown. I resolved the fuzzy coma and a fair amount of the gaseous tail using a pair of 10x Image Stabilizing Canon Binoculars. Unlike Comet HALE-BOPP of 1997, this comet was difficult to see, even with the optical aid. NEOWISE is not as bright as HB97 and not easily seen with the naked eye. Despite the relative dimness, many amateur and professional astrophotographers are getting some great imagery and posting the pictures online.

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Tropical Weather Activity

Tropical Storm CristinaAs we enter mid-July, the tropics are busily producing waves of disturbances and low pressure systems both in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Pictured is Tropical Storm Cristina in the Eastern Pacific currently moving westward and away from Mexico. We also have Tropical Storm Fay which is currently dumping moisture on the Northeastern US and Canada.

Image: T.S. Cristina (courtesy NOAA and GOES West). Click on the image to enlarge.

While Fay is drenching areas of New Jersey, Delaware, New York and beyond, Cristina poses no weather threat to land areas although it could still develop into hurricane force and dangerous to shipping in the 15° to 25° N latitudes in the Eastern Pacific. The storm is drifting westward at a rate of about fifteen knots.

The only effect Cristina is having on us here in the middle of Arizona is a few high clouds. We have summertime temperatures here for sure with forecast highs in the 110-117° F. range for the weekend. We almost wish the storm would make a hard right turn and bring us some monsoon weather, but I guess monsoons will be coming sooner or later without the help of T.S. Cristina.

In other news, we have been doing genealogy research here and have been discovering some interesting things about our ancestors. We now know that we had several ancestors who were in the military for the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812 and the Civil War (on both sides of it). We already knew about our grandparents and parents involvement in WW1 and WW2.

We also submitted a DNA sample and found out our roots from a general ethnic standpoint. The results dispelled a family rumor that we had Native American ancestors, which proved not to be the case. We have DNA in common with English, Irish, Scottish, German, Dutch and Swedish ancestors with a possibility of some other European lineage thrown in the mix.

The DNA result also proved that I’m related to other family members who also submitted samples: a nephew (my brother’s son) and a granddaughter (my daughter’s daughter). The DNA also shows we’re linked to other users of the service, most of whom we don’t know nor care much about (fourth to eighth cousins twice removed?). Some of those are sort of interesting in understanding the family tree, but we don’t especially want to dig any far distant relatives out of the woodwork at this point.

We are still sorting out facts and hints in the family tree (from a pedigree point of view) and are halfway through our third great grandparents level (of which there are 32 potential ancestors). I will post something further on this if I discover an ancestor built the Brooklyn Bridge or something of similar magnitude.

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