Monday, February 28, 2011

Foot Beds

Today's topic will be feet, specifically my feet. As you no doubt recall from previous posts, I have the feet from the 7th circle of Hell. My right foot has no fat pads due to two surgeries for Morton's neuroma. My left foot has some sort of metatarsalgia (which is a fancy word for my foot hurts and we don't know why). They both pronate to a frightening degree. I have 5 pairs of orthotics made by podiatrists and none of them are working for me. They all hurt some part of my foot. It's interesting how each pair hurts a different part of my foot. So, walking long distances has been impossible for me as of late. This is very distressing seeing as how we just spent a small fortune on airfare to Germany. Since I have squandered my 2011 insurance allotment on yet another unsuccessful pair of orthotics from what has to be the worst podiatrist in Tucson (there is no money back at the doctor's office), I decided to try custom Superfeet. If they don't work, you can return them. Retail! Gotta love it.
Sunday, since it was freezing cold, we went to Summit Hut where they make the custom Superfeet. I sat in the tall chair and Lee attached the vacuum hose to my shin, and then strapped the unmolded foot bed to my foot.

Then he flipped the switch and the vacuum was applied while he held the footbed up to my foot in a neutral position.

There is the vacuum being drawn on my foot.

They're actually better than anything I have that cost hundreds of dollars. I ordered metatarsal pads from Amazon for my left foot. After scooting it around on the underside of my left foot bed for a couple of days, I think I've got it positioned so that my metatarsal heads are separated and it's not killing the small bones in my feet. I'm beginning to think that my best bet is to MacGyver my own orthotics in the future. YouTube has a lot of information on how to place met pads and etc.
The other thing I got from Amazon are these.

Because I have the bony spiteful hateful feet, bicycling hurts my metatarsals due to pressure. These aren't that great for walking, but I wore them mountain biking today, and they really cut down on the discomfort of pressing on the pedals. So, that was good. I have a success!

Today was better, windy but much warmer. Since it's been so cold at night, we're ripping right through the propane running the furnace. This is where we buy propane these days.

We were making a U turn in a park after leaving the library. I caught movement in a wash, couldn't see what exactly was moving, and realized it was javalinas. There were several of them, they've incredibly difficult to see. Look almost dead center in the photo, and there are two of them there.

Here is a better picture from the web. It's the first time we've seen them in Tucson. They're all over McDowell Park in Phoenix.

It's supposed to by 80 by Wednesday. 80!!!!! I am finally rid of the plague, and happy we are about that. Now if I could just get my shoe insert paradigm solidified, life would be perfect. Life is good as it is, but could be improved by the ability to walk more than a quarter of a mile.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Change in the Climate

After riding today, we dropped Jim's mountain bike off at ABE so the new brakes could be bled.
Is this a cool bike, or what? It's specialized for sand. It's not as heavy as you would think. It's a fully rigid frame, but there's a lot of virtual suspension in those tires with all of that air. One could probably put studs on it for snow.

Spenser was in the shop today as well, being as adorable as he always is.

Still playing with the new camera. This is still life with avocados and yams.

This is the rotten weather coming in from the GPNW. Tomorrow is supposed to be windy and gruesome. Sunday will be cold and possibly rainy. Rain! At least it will settle down the sand at Fantasy Island.

Don & Jamie from Manitoba left today for three weeks. They'll be having an excellent adventure at the other end of the planet. We'll miss them, but look forward to hearing about the trip. Jim and I need to go into serious trip planning mode fairly soon.
Other than that, I have nothing much to report.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Today it was announced that The Boeing Company got the tanker contract. Yea! It's been an 11 year saga, but it's finally over. You can read all about it on the New York Times. It was actually on the front page of the online version for a little while. We are very pleased for the current employees of TBC.

I'm continuing to learn to use the camera.
This was taken with the telephoto and cropped. It should be enough zoom. If you can't tell, it's part of a palm tree.

This was also taken with the telephoto in the RV. That's my African violet. If you look in the lower left at the leaf that is foreground, you can see how dusty it is. It's hard to get the dust off of the leaves, they're hairy.

Fortunately the camera has a couple of automatic settings, there is program and "intelligent auto" (not to be confused with cameras for dummies). I suspect those will be used quite often. I think I'm keeping it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Arizona Politics

Living in Arizona in the winter causes me to just stand by and be amazed. Twenty percent of Arizona's citizens rely on Medicaid for health care. Think about that. Twenty percent. Pull 5 people out of the grocery store, one of them relies on Medicaid. I think that's a staggering number. Arizona has no real industry, no real means of generating jobs. Besides hospitals and universities, the biggest payroll is Raytheon and the federal government. The big employers have been gone for decades. Jan Brewer, the governor, wants to do away with Medicaid. It's too big of a burden on the state budget. She's already done away with organ transplants, two people on the Medicaid transplant wait list are dead. In a month or two, 280,000 people will be dropped from Medicaid. Soon, she'll do away with everyone else.

It's rumored that one of the state senators, Russel Pearce, would like for Arizona to secede from the Union. Let's think about that. The last state in the lower 48 to join the union wants to leave. The current state government is run by such a group of nutbags, that if I were the President, I'd be saying Vaya con Dios, and oh by the way, we're taking the Davis-Monthan payroll to another state.
Some times I look at America and I just wonder what the hell happened to us.
Ok, end rant. Perhaps I should stop watching the news.

Riding and the Camera Got Here

Greetings Earthlings! My case of the plague is much improved. My GI tract has made it known, however, that 20 days of antibiotics are enough and I should stop now.
Monday Jamie and I rode up the west side of Gates Pass while the men were out having their own group hammer-fest. Our ride was enjoyable, the men's ride, not so much. See the diagonal mid photo? That's the steep part of the climb. It was cold! We started out at 42 degrees, and we kept all of our layers on for most of the ride.

Tuesday we were actually up earlyish to go ride in the dirt. But no, an early departure was not to be. Jim had to remove a big thorn from his tire. Look at it, it's down by Jim's thumb. Marvel at the size of that thing! Eventually we got a new tube installed, the front brake re-adjusted, and were off.

This is the killer cactus that knocked my foot off the pedal, causing it to get hit and bruised. If you missed the photos, they're here. Look at it, leaning into the trail, being all malevolent and evil. I'm not the first person to run in to it, it's a sad cactus.

The new camera arrived Monday. There will be much reading of the manual. It's complicated. I took this with the new camera tonight, it was sort of a boring sunset, but there you go.

We're supposed to have a cold, windy, wet weekend; courtesy of the storm currently in the GPNW. We would really like them to keep their weather to themselves.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fantasy Island YouTube

Need to while away some hours? YouTube is so good for that. I found this video of Fantasy Island while looking for something else. We've ridden a lot of these trails, although I will say that I have not, nor do I plan to, ride under that culvert. That looks like a good way to get hurt!

The weather was snotty again today, tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Paint in Tucson

Today's theme is paint. Thursday we were out at the east side Summit Hut looking for shoes. It's next to an antique mall with flying bison on the roof. They painted them for Valentine's day. The bison change their coats with the season.

Southwest Ambulance is the local transport company. Most of their trucks are the standard white with writing on them. This truck is entirely different; having a camo background with a more military flair.

Those of us in Tucson would appreciate it if the GPNW would quit sending us their weather! Today we're under a high wind advisory, and the temperature is supposed to drop precipitously. We were enjoying our high pressure system, thank you very much!
So, we're pretty much indoors today, there's too much dust and Valley Fever spores in the air.

Later in the day.......
See how dark it is on the horizon? That's dust. The truck is just coated in it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another Good Day in Tucson

Yesterday Jim and I rode south with Don & Jamie. The route goes through an impressive section of copper mine tailings. There were many very large trucks moving rocks and rubble from one place to another. We're pretty sure the mining is over, so why they're shifting rubble is a mystery to us.

This multicolored "mountain" is actually mine tailings.

Later in the day, Jim and I walked for 40 minutes as part of breaking in my new orthotics. The jury is still out on whether or not my feet are going to adapt to the new really high arch supports. They hurt!
This is a really cool RV from the 80's. It must be stored inside when not in use because it's still really shiny, like when it was new.

An interesting cactus in the park. He appears to have escaped the effects of the recent cold. Many of the cactus look like they're going to die, and many of the palm trees aren't looking so good, either.

Later, we went back over to Don & Jamie's. They have a hummingbird feeder on their back window. This is an Anna's hummingbird. Pretty cool, eh?

Clouds have moved in, hopefully the humidity will come up a little. The dew point has been in single digits for a week. It's tough on the skin.

Yesterday was a good day. Nothing earth shattering, but very nice with a cooperative climate and good friends.

Today's activity will be to acquire a new SD card reader. We bought an Acer netbook at Costco to take to Germany so we can book hotels, offload pictures and maybe even blog a little. It's not seeing the SD card reader. I did live chat with Acer India, downloaded and installed chip set drivers, and it still will not see the card reader. Talked to my friend Kim, who told me to get a new reader, the old ones often will not work with the larger capacity cards. So, that's today's mission. My new camera should arrive Monday, hopefully I'm going to love it a lot.
Is the Acer cute or what?

So, we are moving into equipment acquisition and learning to use it mode. Good luck with this!

Update to post: A new card reader has fixed the problem with the Acer not seeing the SD card. Apparently our old card reader is obsolete. Who knew?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Continuing Plague in the Desert

It's been a long week - oh wait, it's only Monday. Oh wait, I'm retired, I can't complain about my weeks. Well, yes, yes I can.
The plague continues. Last night I kept myself awake with a nose whistle. How lame is that? My sinuses are full of goo, breathing is difficult and noisy. We're entering week three of this, it's tiresome.
Jim and I rode with friends Sunday, and it was good. We went up Gates Pass (east side) and I stayed in my middle chain ring up until the 3 killer hills. That was a good ride for me.
Today was just pitiful. We were going out to Fantasy Island to ride, we got there and I was just overwhelmed at the thought of putting on my shoes. When a person is too tired to put on their shoes, a person should not be riding. So, home we went.
We're shopping for a new camera to take to Germany this spring. Who has heard of the new camera format, the micro four thirds camera? They have a good size sensor in them, not as big as an APS-C, but biggish, and they have interchangeable lenses. On the downside, those lenses are not inexpensive. But they're lighter than a DSLR. But they're actually more expensive than a DSLR at Costco. But they're lighter. But they're expensive. But they're lighter than a DSLR, and certain people who shall remain nameless (Jim!) won't sign on to carry the DSLR for me. Augh! What to do, what to do. I ordered up a Panasonic Lumix DCM-G2 today, but I'm pretty sure it's going back. Too much money.
We can hear the coyotes howling in the distance. I love that sound.
So, other than the fact than I can not clear my sinuses, things are good here in the desert. It hit 80 degrees today. Woot!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Cow Sightings at FI

Today we did a short easy ride out at Fantasy Island. We didn't go yesterday because it was too dang windy. At one point Jim stopped to see if he'd run over a cholla pup. I looked over to my left and there was another cow. It's amazing how much they blend into the environment.

When we left, we headed north on Houghton, which is the eastern border of Fantasy Island. A temporary cow chute has been installed on that side of the park. There were 5 more cows loitering over there. Two things really puzzle us. Where do they get water? And when it's time to leave, how do they find the cows? There's a fair amount of real estate out there. Wonder if we'll see cowboys at some point.

I'm still fairly tired, riding today was slow, but at least I'm out of the Lazy Boy. My butt is getting tired from all the sitting in the chair.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Frozen Cactus

This is sad. Last week the night time temperatures were in the high teens. All over Tucson we are seeing this. This is an old prickly pear cactus. When it got so cold they froze, and the heavier arms broke off. Along the freeway there's a long row of them with bits on the ground. It's sad, it'll take years for them to regrow.

So, I'm feeling better, still coughing, but better. I think tomorrow Jim and I may try a flat, slow, 10 mile ride out at Fantasy Island. If I don't get some exercise soon, there's going to be trouble.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stupid Movies

Aaaarrrrrggghhhhhh. Day 8 of the plague. I've been reduced to watching Dinotopia on SyFy. This is setting new standards for terrible movies. This is the mayor of Waterfall City in Dinotopia. It's so baaaaad. I just love the hat. Maybe I'll be able to leave the house soon.

Jim's out riding. I am not. I grow weary of this.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Sink Faucet

What's wrong with this picture? This was Monday night, when Jim broke the sprayer end of the faucet off while doing the dishes. It startled him, and he yelped (actually he screamed like a girl, but it irritates him when I say that), scaring me to death. Anyway, water just went everywhere.

So, Tuesday morning we got up with the intention of replacing the faucet. Faucets have an extension that goes through the counter top, a threaded doo-dah comes up from the bottom and cinches the faucet down to the counter top. Unless you own a Keystone product, a manufacturer known for always using the cheapest components available to man, it shouldn't be a big deal to remove the threaded doo-dah and replace the faucet. No way was that thing coming undone. So, I called Ken of Cameron's Reliable and asked him to come over and unscrew the doo-dah for us. HAH! Double HAH HAH HAH!

There is a word for when two pieces of metal weld themselves together over time. I used to know it, but it's gone now. Suffice it to say, we were well and truly welded. Ken got out a diamond coated cutting wheel to attempt removal from under the sink. Ken was unsuccessful in cutting from the bottom. Unfortunately he did slice through the sink.

So, removal technique two was to bring the Sawzall in to cut the faucet off the Corian top. The big piece went relatively easily.

Then the diamond cutting wheel was used to cut the circular piece off the Corian top. That involved wedging paint scrapers underneath so the cutting wheel didn't cut into the counter top.

It was a long morning. After Ken finished up, we drove down to a plumbing supply store for a new faucet. It was a beautiful day.

Here is the new beautiful and expensive faucet. Hopefully it will not weld itself together.

Ken called later, Keystone will not sell him a replacement sink. No, they want to sell him the entire corner section of counter top with sink attached, they want $1100 for this. I can't stand it. These people just drive me crazy with their lack of quality control and stupid policies.

Today is day 7 of the plague. I went into UPH yesterday because my sinuses were starting to hurt, and I don't want to risk another sinus infection backing up into my ears. I got antibiotics, and today I feel marginally better. I'm losing my voice, however. I sort of sound like Dame Edna.

Tonight it's supposed to go back down to 18 degrees again. Tomorrow should start a warming trend, can't happen too soon for moi.

Update: Jim says the doo-dah is a lock ring.