Flying Lessons

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Yesterday, while I was out, I was still in my car, when I saw a bunch of teenagers (what is the collective noun for teenagers anyway?) walk by, looking at something on the ground. I looked in the same direction, and saw a baby bird, all grey and fluffy, hopping  around on the ground. Another bird, black and shiny, flew down next to the baby bird, and flew off again. I noticed the black bird had a mouth full of stuff, and assumed that the kids had scared off the parent bird from feeding her baby.

Then the kids wandered off, and I saw the parent bird flying back down to the baby bird, perch there a moment, then fly up into the tree. She did that several times in a row, and I realized that what I probably was watching wasn’t actually feeding, but a flying lesson of sorts. “You fly up into this tree, squirt, and you can get this food.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t see the baby bird fly up into the tree. It hopped around a bit (the bird, not the tree), and flew across a corner of the parking lot, getting about a foot from the ground, but not up into the tree. It seemed more interested in looking around than in the food the parent was holding.

Kids today. Can’t teach them anything.

Life update, of sorts

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It’s been a few weeks since I wrote in the blog. I’ll blame NaPoWriMo (after all, that’s easier than blaming myself. 😉 ). Next year, I’ll probably start writing for that in January. Which probably defeats the whole purpose, but might stop me from burning out so quickly.

Updates for various things:

As far as I know, they’ve finished replacing the water mains on our road, and in our neighborhood. We had a water leak in the old main for about a week in the worst part of winter, which had the water running down our ditch, and digging it out into cracks, canyons, and gorges, after the workers had shaped it nicely. But they did reshape it again after they finally switched the water to the new main, and didn’t need to have it flowing through the old pipes any more.

We also found that the salt they were putting on the roads (to take care of the ice caused by the water leak) hurt my dog’s feet. He’d go through that area limping, then be fine once we got above that, to where there was no longer ice. I don’t know if it was really salt, or salt mixed with something.

With the water switched over, they’ve switched hydrants, the old hydrants rather than the new ones having the white plate fastened under the nozzle, to show they’re not working.

I expect they’ll go through sometime in the next few months, and pull out the old hydrants.

What with shaping the ditches those several times, and spraying them with the green grass-seed spray each time, grass in the effected area is growing thick. Places which always were too rocky to grow much, even weeds, are now covered with a thick layer of grass. We’ll see how long it lasts, if it’ll still be grassy after a long hot Missouri summer.

For some reason, several times the past few weeks, the contractors who put in the pipes have been driving a tank truck, labeled “Non-Potable Water”, up and down the streets, spraying water up and down them, all over the streets, and the grass, where they’d been working. We have no idea why.

I’m guessing that they’ve been pulling the water for the trucks out of the regular water system, but that by labeling them “Non-Potable”, they don’t have to clean the tanks as often (either that, or there’s some sort of additive they need for what they’re doing). But I don’t really know.

Over the last couple of months, there’s been a pot-hole growing right where the pipe leaked last winter. Fancy that. It isn’t that large around (yet, though the asphalt is still cracking), but it is at least a couple feet deep, below the road surface.

I’m going to try to get writing my blog again more frequently, at least a couple of times a week. I have a few poems ready, or nearly ready, to get out there again (refugees from NaPoWriMo), and lots of book reviews I need to get to. I don’t think I’ll need to talk about the water main replacements again (unless something big happens).

I have fallen behind

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I’ve not been posting like I’ve been wanting to. This is all my own fault, of course. I’d finally gotten to the point where my An & Mattan story was finally coming together, and I put all my effort into that, instead of coming to write this.

I have several books that I want to review (before their plots vanish from my mind), I’m behind at least two poems (since it’s Friday, and I still haven’t written one for Sunday).

I could probably write a blog on our trip to the Zoo on Tuesday, and how it was crowded, but we didn’t see signs of the fights and gunshots that apparently were the big news. We did see police cars as we were driving out, though. Lots and lots of police cars. Probably more we didn’t see.

I’ve done a little editing to the An & Mattan story, but I’m not going to put the edits up on my blog. (I did at least make sure the version up has been spell-checked, though).

At the moment, I’m finally getting around to editing another book I wrote more than 25 years ago, and have seriously been meaning to get in and edit for the past six months.

I’ve already started writing the next book. I had been planning on doing a story far back in time in the same universe, but Mattan conned me into doing a sequel, saying it’s really part of the same story I just finished. Riiight.

Next week I shall endeavour to write something every day, and get things caught up a little. My husband has managed to put a blog post up every day, in spite of his long work hours and taking classes where he has to research and write papers. I’m sure I can do the same.

The State of the Blog Address

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The past couple of weeks I have been working really hard on getting my An & Mattan story typed up. The last few days I’ve managed to get  about 3000 words typed up per day. I have about 5000 words left to go, so that means two more days of typing, more or less. Possibly less if I can really get working on it.

Today I was typing something that was written close to when I started working on this story, but toward the end of the time-line. Turns out, I didn’t need that epilogue as much as I thought I did, I have a lot of the information (but not all of it) already written in that section. It also was obviously written before An started telling Mattan why she has trouble being happy, so it was news to him. I downgraded that somewhat. It also brought out several things that I had intended to say, but hadn’t gotten around to yet. So, keep that in mind for the revisions.

I’m not posting today’s typing yet. I didn’t realize until I posted last night’s entry that I’d somehow missed spell-checking a good portion of what I had already typed, so it was rather messy.

But anyway, since I’ve been doing that, I haven’t been writing blog posts like I intended to, and my poetry writing has fallen behind. I’m probably not going to catch that up this week, but I’m hoping I can next week.

Wild Winter Weather

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We’ve had more than our share of weather this past week.

Last Tuesday, there was a major winter storm predicted. Last Monday evening, they decided to go ahead and cancel school, even though the weather was fine, and the roads were clear at that point. Jonathan’s work told everyone to either prepare to work from home, or be ready to stay the night if they did come in. He decided to work from home.

Tuesday morning, we got up, and things looked fine. I was beginning to wonder if perhaps we’d missed the storm, though it was still early. By the time I was ready to walk the dog, though, the first flakes were beginning to fall. By the time we got back, the snow was falling furiously.

It was difficult to tell how much snow was falling, since the wind kept blowing things into drifts. And it was cold enough out, that the snow remained a fine powder, not clumping at all. It came down steadily all day, and into the night. Our neighbor cleared out the driveway twice with his snow-blower, and we kept our walkway swept, but by the next morning, no one could tell. I think, though, we got about a foot of snow out of that storm. Maybe.

They called off school again Tuesday night, for Wednesday. That made sense, since everyone was trying to dig out. Jonathan again worked from home, the kids swept the walks again, and shoveled the driveway. Since it was no longer snowing, that lasted longer. That afternoon, things had cleared up enough, the road had been plowed even, that I felt secure enough to go out and do some writing. I had a little trouble on some of the roads, but was fine most of the way.

Thursday, they also called off schools. I wasn’t entirely sure why. But Jonathan had a doctor’s appointment that morning, so I took him in to it, so I could drive him to work afterwards. While we were there, the nurses and receptionists kept talking about all the traffic jams, and accidents there were on the roads, and how far everything was backed up. Not just one of the highways, but all of them in the area were really backed up. Hearing that, it suddenly made a lot more sense for the schools not to be in session.

After the doctor’s appointment, we got on the highway to take Jonathan to work. The traffic on the highway wasn’t stopped, but it also stayed between 10-15 mph. So it took about half an hour to do that five minute stretch of road between the doctor’s office, and Jonathan’s work downtown.

Going back home, I decided it’d be better to chance it going over Broadway Bridge, than taking the highway. I could see that Broadway Bridge was backed up, but only the bridge, not back down-town, unlike the highway, which had been backed up as far as we could see it.

I got on the bridge, and saw that there’d been an accident (I don’t know how long before, the police cars were there), right before the overhead supports on the bridge began. It looked like a car on each side of the median had crashed into each other. I don’t know how, when neither one had jumped the median. But after that, the road was entirely clear. On our side. Going  the other way, the traffic was backed up past Briarcliff. But not all the way to Vivian.

Friday, school started two hours late, but otherwise, back to normal.

We had a flurry Sunday afternoon, but we maybe got an inch out of it. Hardly noticeable, on top of the 12 we already had. The roads were still clear by the end of it.

So, Monday, work and school like normal again.

Water Main Replacement Update

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Since Rocky is currently on “restricted activity”, we aren’t taking as long of walks as we were before, so we’re seeing less of the digging and pipe placement as we were before the Christmas break.

However, everything I do see makes me think it won’t be long before they do switch over the pipes.

Several times I’ve driven by someplace where the old and new hydrants are near to each other, and have seen them connected to each other with a fire hose. I’ve also seen water pouring out of various hydrants as workers stood around and watched. Other times, I saw water pouring out of a small wooden box. Both make me think that they’ve been doing pressure tests or leak tests on the new pipes. The new hydrants no longer have the white plate under the side nozzle, which I assumed was meant for any fire fighters to know it wasn’t a working hydrant. Which makes me hope the hydrants are actually working now.

Also, they’ve been digging up spots on the streets where they’ve previously laid the pipe. I’m guessing that they’re doing the final connections, and getting rid of the PVC pipes that they were using as markers (the ones that were still there, and hadn’t been knocked down or otherwise gotten rid of).

Recently I figured out that the construction equipment and pipes I saw in a fenced vacant lot near us was related to the water main replacement. I should have figured it out earlier, of course, but I hardly looked at it when we drove or walked by. It wasn’t until I realized that the six-foot orange pipes I saw lying horizontally had black caps at one end that I knew I was looking at fire hydrants, and then made sense of the rest of it.

If they are going through and connecting the houses to the pipes, then they probably will reach our street today or tomorrow.

I’ll let you know.

Busy Week

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Well, it’s been an eventful week.

The hot water pipe in the crawlspace broke on Friday (ironically, just before the extreme cold spell hit), leaving us without water for most of the day. Fortunately, it was the same spot that broke a few years ago, which my husband had fixed with a “Sharkbite” connector. Actually, it was the seal on the connector which failed, so all he had to do was replace it with another Sharkbite. Easy enough, once we all figured it out, but we were without water most of the day.

Monday, Jonathan went in to the bone doctor, with his MRI results, and ended up getting his cast taken off one hand (and given a brace instead), and then they replaced the brace on the other hand with a cast.

Then the kids were off school again on Monday, and a couple of hours delayed on Tuesday, because of the “Polar Vortex” extreme cold.

Tuesday, I took Rocky out for his long walk, the first time I’d taken him out since the kids got off of school. Being a dog, he found the half hour walk in the cold and snow invigorating rather than tiring, so once we got home,  I was encouraging him to run around the house a bit to tire himself out. He got so excited he jumped up on the couch (a big no-no), and suddenly yelped, and went to hide in the basement for a while.

I kept an eye on him all day. He was mostly acting fine, but that evening, while my son was using Rocky as a pillow, and playing with his feet, he yelped and got away. Wednesday morning he mostly enjoyed the walk, though twice he laid down in the snow and licked his feet. I was assuming he got snow packed between his toes (always uncomfortable), but when we got home, I noticed he didn’t need to be chased around the house like usual, just went to sleep on his own. So, I took him to the vet, and left him there until he could be looked at.

The vet thought that maybe he broke his wrist (just like my husband!), so she wanted to X-ray him (ever notice how expensive things seem to show up and be necessary just when you’re trying to save money?). They didn’t see any breaks on the X-ray, so we’re treating him with restricted activity, and pain pills.

He doesn’t do well with restricted activities. He’s got too much bounce in him. Hopefully, he’ll be better in a couple of weeks, though. Not like the time shortly after we got him when he got a bad cut in his toe-pad that took months to heal.

Hopefully, next week will be closer to normal, and I can get back into my normal blogging routine.

Dentist Visit

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A few weeks back, the whole family went to the dentist for our check-ups. When it was my turn, the dentist praised me for how well my teeth looked. Then I mentioned that one of my teeth was bothering me, so he decided to go ahead and X-ray both sides of my mouth. Not only did he see the big cavity that was bothering me, but several other ones on the other side of my mouth.

He went ahead and filled the one that was giving me trouble, then I was to come back when it was convenient to get the others filled.

So, then, this week we went back (my daughter also needed a tooth filled). He picked at my teeth for a little bit, gave me the deadening shot, then picked at them for a bit more. Apparently, my teeth felt too solid for the amount of decay the X-ray showed, so he X-rayed them again.

This time, the X-ray showed the teeth with little to no decay. He puzzled over that for a bit, then took another X-ray, which showed the same thing.

He decided at the moment to just let things go, and keep an eye on those teeth, maybe X-ray them more often than he normally would have.

“I never thought an X-ray could lie to me,” he said, “But that’s apparently what happened.”

He wasn’t sure if the first X-ray was taken at a slightly odd angle that would cast odd shadows on the teeth, or if perhaps (since decay doesn’t take place at a constant rate) the cavities might have stopped decaying for a bit, then partially re-mineralized.

So, the good news was that I didn’t need my teeth drilled (this time). The bad news was that I got my mouth numbed up for no real reason.

Taking the dog biking

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On the weekends, my husband tends to go bike riding with the dog. That’s what we call it. He rides his bicycle, and Rocky runs along beside him.

The dog really likes this. He doesn’t get much opportunity to run during the rest of the week. I take him on long walks, from which I come back tired, and he comes back energized, but I don’t run for him. But every time we come across a bicycle while we’re walking (which isn’t really that often), Rocky gets excited.

Jonathan and the dog had a few tumbles on the bike when they started, but once Rocky figured out some basic rules for biking, those incidents went way down.

But these past couple of weeks, they’ve been getting them again.

First, a couple of weeks ago, something decided to cross the road right behind them. Jonathan has no idea what it was, he just heard the leaves rustle. Why it didn’t just continue to hide until they were both further away, we have no idea. But whatever it was, Rocky decided it had to be chased, and went back after it, while Jonathan and the bike kept going forward. Rocky was fine, but Jonathan got some scrapes and bruises, and pulled his wrist.

By the next weekend, Jonathan had basically recovered, so he tried going out with the dog again. This time, Rocky took off running after something while Jonathan had the leash looped between his fingers on the other hand (not the one he had hurt the week before), and it pulled his fingers apart painfully.

Now the back of Jonathan’s hand is swollen, while the palm is bruised purple. He’s wearing a support on that hand, and the other wrist, until the bruising goes down.

I’ve suggested that they don’t do the bicycle thing again until spring.

Writing Update

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I’ve fallen behind on my blog posting again.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about. I’ve wanted to talk about the trip to the dentist last week (where the dentist complimented me on how well my teeth looked, until he took an X-ray), on the massed choir event on Sunday (which wasn’t as massed as it was in past years), and several other things I’m not remembering at the moment.

I like getting my blog posts written one day, and posting them at about 10 the next. But it hasn’t been happening this past week or so.

My poetry (such as it is), I’m a bit ahead on. I’ve got one written for Thanksgiving, a couple Christmas ones for Advent, and some others I’ve scheduled to post later. I still wish for the skill of the Sherman brothers, Sondheim, or even Dr Seuss, though. The older I get, the more I appreciate Dr Seuss.

My story is coming along well, though it isn’t the story I was trying to write over the summer. My characters rebelled on me, they all want to tell stories that happen at other times in their lives, not what happened when I was trying to write about. The event is still there, though, and an important event not only in their lives, but that world’s history. Maybe my characters will let me get back to it someday.

I still have the problem though, that I’d really rather write comedy, and all the stories they’re telling me are tragedy. I try to tell them that, though, and they just laugh at me. Maybe they think *my* life is comedy enough.