Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Lung Doctor and Etc.

I saw the pulmonologist yesterdy.  I like him, I would go back there.  Actually I will be seeing him once a year.  His judgement on the CT scan was "the CT doesn't look bad."  There are two linear scars, they're small.  His theory is they're from when I had pneumonia.  There are also two or three "tree in bud" scars (I think they're scars) but they're tiny.  Everything is tiny. There are a few tiny nodules, just for good measure.  A vast swath of my lungs are clear.  So, he wants to scan once a year and see if anything is changing.

What, you wonder, is a tree in bud, in this context.  It's a small scar that looks like a tree branch with buds on it.  

There are no lung consolidations.  So, I'm not dying immediately.

We were up and out early this morning to ride, before it got hot.  We're in the 90's now.  This is a pano that google made for me.  The concrete sides of the flood control channel that feeds the Santa Cruz river have fallen off the bank.  They did not use any rebar in it, and rain has undermined the whole shebang. 

 
 It was a nice morning.  Later in the ride there was some cloud cover which was nice.  I'm always amazed at how fast it gets hot.


Today we made heat shields for the front door.  It's a single layer of metal, like a screen door, with a glass top section.  It faces west and admits a lot of heat when the sun is setting, so this will make things better.  It's bubble wrap with aluminum foil on both sides.  The RV was full of Reflectix on the sunny side windows.


This is what's holding it on to the bottom of the door.  We bought a package of  rare earth metal magnets.  Unfortunately, I can't get them apart. I got two separated off, but the other groups of three defy any attempts to pull them apart.  More larger magnets were ordered from Amazon, they came with spacers between them.  It's amazing how strong the little ones are.  After separating one from the stack, I let the remaining ones get too close to the one on the table, and it leaped up to join its brothers, catching part of my finger in between them, and drawing blood.  Now we are very careful to not let them get close to each other.


We had planned to replace the microwave in the fall, it's really old, the display is virtually unreadable.  However, I think the freezer in the shed has become a higher priority.  The seals are shot, and it does this.


So, the departure effort has begun.  We're still on the fence about the house we like.  The interior is perfect, there is enough space for all of our stuff; but there's very little mountain view, and there is the ham radio antenna next door.  That antenna will never leave until the current owners die.  I haven't seen them so I don't know how old they are.  It's been on the market for 80 days, so maybe they'll accept less money.  Ack, what to do, what to do.

That's it, that's all I've got.


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Scenery and Handy People


Today was an early hike.  Could have left a little earlier!  It's not actually that hot, we're just no longer acclimated.  The skies were really clear, which is weird given how windy it was yesterday.  Here is some desert beauty.  The desert is still eerily green.





The ocotillos are having a banner year.  Rain has made them plump and luscious.


Happy brittle bushes.



Today we got rid of the dead TV.  A different handy man from Thumbtack came out and did it.  Took him about 15 minutes.  He does many things, so we can call him next fall.  Part of the shed floor is showing a lot of water damage, he says no problem to cut it out and put new.  For the unhandy, such as ourselves, a good handy man is a treasure beyond rubies. 

Before - the great wall of television screens.


After. 

Today was the second day of the Stormy Daniels trial, otherwise known as election interference.  It's not about hush money, it's him tampering with people's perception of him to win the presidency.  Apparently he doesn't find it all that interesting, because he keeps falling asleep.


We should start calling him Sleepy Don.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Health Care and Ukraine

It's warming up.   We're up and out earlier than we really like, but it's getting warm.  We had interesting clouds this morning.  We rode north with a tail wind, and suffered coming back in to the wind.  Leaving early was good.


We've started packing for the return to Spokane.  I'm sort of dreading it.  Somehow all the dentists in Spokane have decided to run monopolistic and predatory practices.  You can't just make an appointment for a cleaning, you have to have an entire lifestyle review; X-rays you don't need, CAT scans you don't want, evaluation of airway and breathing and a comprehensive health evaluation.  Oh yes, and there is a bite analysis, not that people our age would do anything to change our bite.  All of this costs mucho dinero.  Dental practices in Spokane are just the pits.  I only have to go twice a year, so I go in Tucson, but Jim needs more frequent cleaning.  I'm also dreading the yearly physical with the Physician's Assistant, she who doesn't review blood test results, and whose staff is unable to correctly call in prescriptions.  Then there is the substandard dermatology care, which is a big deal for Jim due to his pale British skin.  None of them use enough liquid nitrogen to burn the nasty skin things away.  ENT care is a joke, they book out a year in advance.  I can't have this!  If my ear infects itself, it must be treated ASAP.   Due to these issues, we're thinking about moving back to Tucson.  Yes, I know, global climate change, hotter weather, water, nut bag politicians and all of the negatives.  However, it worries me how terrible medical and dental care is in Eastern Washington.  There is a medical school here, which, I think, elevates the caliber of care due to teaching staff in the area.

We've been looking hard, it's not going well.  Part of this is self inflicted, we want to be in the neighborhood we used to be in.  Plus we want three bedrooms so we have space for the weight equipment, the rowing machine and the spin bike.  Most of the neighborhood is two bedrooms.  There is a house we like, a lot, but this is next door.


See the antenna on the right, closest to the house.  That extends to a height of 25-30 feet.  He's not supposed to do that during hours of daylight, but on the day of an open house he had it up.  No one really looked at the house, just the antenna.  It's a HAM radio antenna.  It's not going anywhere, the HOA approved it thinking it was an FCC protected antenna, but it is not.  They should not have approved it, but the former HOA president was something of an ass hat, and they did.  It's impacting the current owner's ability to sell.  I feel bad for them, they were there first and then the ugly house was built next door with the huge RV garage, and now this.  We're hoping they'll accept less money than we are willing to offer due to this impediment. 

Ukraine is losing the war with Russia, and it's our fault.  If the US had shipped mass armaments at the start, instead of dribbling out equipment, they wouldn't be in this position.  Last night the US shot down Iranian missiles heading for Israel, but we're not providing the same assistance to Ukraine.  I'm infuriated.  Speaker Johnson will not bring the bill forward to allocate help for Ukraine because the Orange Disaster is telling him not to.  This is what they're taking up tomorrow.

This is not satire, it's a real thing.

I saw this on Facebook.  It's funny.  This may be how the locals in Tucson feel right about now.


So this is some of what is occupying my brain these days.


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Flying Monkeys and Foliage

The 162nd Air National Guard Fight Wing is flying today.  At the beginning, you can barely make out the F16 in the lower part of the screen, then I lost him.  We're on their flight path for departures and arrivals.


Today, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the 1864 law that was put in place before AZ was even a state could be enforced now that Roe is over turned.  That would be the law that contains exactly one exception, health of the mother.  Previously, abortion in AZ was legal until 15 weeks.  That's a stupid law as well, but less stupid than the old law.  It's now a felony punishable by two to five years in prison for anyone who performs or helps a woman obtain one.  I really hate these people.  Abortion will most likely be on the ballot in November, there is an organization whose name I forgot who has collected 500,000 signatures to make it so.  Politicians in AZ remind me of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.

Recent losses for the Orange Menace:  Judge Cannon (stolen documents case) ruled that witnesses names won't be published.  The  $175M bond to hold off asset seizures is not accepted, it contains language that the bond won't pay anything.  Did they think no one would notice?  The Stormy Daniels trial appears to be going forward on the 15th, despite his best efforts to delay.  Stormy is a criminal case, he has to be there in person four days a week.  Surely, he'll lose something, sometime.

Yesterday was the eclipse.  It was sort of a non-event here.  The sun darkened slightly, but not a lot.  Our neighbor had glasses, so we went out and looked briefly.  Then I came in and read about all the fake glasses there are on the market, and wondered if we'd wake up with burned retinas.  That's the last one for my lifetime. 

Then we set out for a ride into a vigorous head wind.  It was out of the north.  The wind here has an uncanny ability to switch directions in the afternoon, so head wind going out does not guarantee tail wind coming back.  We did not dawdle on the ride, having to fight the wind in both directions would have been bad.  Here is the back of Jim's head at Christopher Columbus park.  There were nice clouds.


The mallows are just lovely this year.  They're huge, they're everywhere.

Today Jim washed the bikes, I dried the bikes and then he lubricated the bikes.  At present I am waiting for a handy person I found on Thumbtack, a handy man website.  Thus far he has been a total flake, not returning calls, and etc.  He is now one hour late.  I guess the old TV (which is dead) will continue hanging on the wall, and the new one will continue sitting on a console table a little longer.  We have no idea how to de-install or install a wall mounted television, so a new handy man will have to be found.  I know, first world problems.  I was really hoping to get this done before departure.
Update to post:  The handy person never showed up, never called.  Nothing.

Really, I do not have much of anything to say.  OK, here is some desert beauty from two days ago.



Saturday, April 6, 2024

Wind and Cranes

Yesterday was every bit as bad as had been forecast.  We went to Costco, Home Depot and Target, and by the time we got home I felt very beaten up by the wind.  It was a cold front moving through, today it's much cooler.  Temperatures will start going up again, 90's are just around the corner.

This morning I was awakened by Mike who was coming to flush the hot water heater.  He arrived at 7:40.  We were sleeping!  Anyway, that was money well spent.  The thing was full of crud, calcium and who knows what.  He spent quite some time with a shop vac pulling crud off the bottom.  This is not at all like flushing a 40 gallon water heater, we know how to do that. This was way worse. Behold the heating element.  After taking a shower tonight, I believe that water is hotter, and the tank certainly recovered faster than before.


Since the sinking of Key Bridge in Maryland, there has been much written about US salvage capabilities.  Apparently we are way behind the curve in crane capacity.  Our maritime capability in general is not so good.  Actually, Croatia is building more ships than the US is. I read that the bulk of the defense budget goes to the Army, which in thinking about it is not so good if we're called upon to defend Taiwan from China.  Anyway, someone put up this picture of a real crane.  It's lifting a submarine.  It looks like a Permit class boat, weighing in at 4,300 tons.  We don't have anything with that ability to lift.  The crane working on the Key Bridge has the ability to lift 1,000 tons.

I found a bunch of you all in spam comments.  What the heck Blogger?  Steve and Ellen and other regular commenters were embargoed.  Steve, to answer your question, Scary Larry is an anonymous blogger who lives somewhere in Arizona.  He's a liberal guy with no use for republicans.


That's it!  That's all I've got.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Being Outside

We appear to have turned the corner on the seasons.   We were out in Tucson Mountain Park before noon today, and it was already warm.  At 3:00 in the afternoon it's 86F (30C).  The days of the leisurely 1:00 departures may be coming to an end soon.  This is what's on tap for tomorrow.  April is windy as a rule.

I think we're not riding tomorrow.

Jim had an interesting letter yesterday.  Medicare cancelled his card and issued a new one with a new number.  Apparently 2023 was a bad year for Medicare fraud.  On Jim's behalf, the bad guys billed Medicare for $2,900 worth of catheters for home use in 3Q23.  It's not a lot of money, but multiply that by thousands of fraudulent claims that are submitted and it adds up to about $31B (yes that's billion) a year.

We rode yesterday.  A new building for retail on first floor and apartments up is going in.  It's down there by the Mercado San Augustin.  This man was up in the air, and sounded like he was agitated about something.  I'm in awe of the fact that he is even up there.  I'm assuming there is a safety harness in place and the camera couldn't see it.



Today we hiked - it was good, it was warm!  The desert remains eerily green.  Look center photo, there's a coyote moseying across the street.  They don't run, they mosey.



There is an amazing amount of Brittle Bush in bloom.


The republican party continues to flush itself down the toilet. I think I lack the energy to list all the ways it is doing this.  Ok, here's one.  Play this video.  This is MAGA Maine state representative Laurel Libby asking what the Nazis did that was so bad and what did they do that was so illegal and how did they infringe on anyone’s rights.  Unbelievable.  Don't get me started on the recent spate of white male republicans claiming that birth control turns women in to sluts, and etc.  These people are truly evil.

That's it then!

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Happy National Tater Day

Happy Easter to all of you who participate.   Also being acknowledged today are International Transgender Day of Visibility, Crayola Crayon Day, Eiffel Tower Day, National Farm Workers Day, and National Tater Day.  With the exception of Easter, all of these days will occur on March 31, each and every year.  The republicans are having a cow over today's acknowledgement of Trans Day of Visibility and are portraying President Biden as the anti-Christ for doing it.  Speaker of the House is actively lying about it.

One of the neighbors brings treats to the street.  Today she brought a cute little arrangement of Easter candy.  Previously she delivered for Valentine's day.


The weather has been unfortunate.  Friday we rode the bikes, it was very windy.  Coming back into the wind was making me whimper.  I was also afraid it was going to suck the contact lens out of my right eye.  Fortunately, it did not do that.  Yesterday was even more windy.  So, we hiked.  It was not a long hike due to the increasing force of the wind and our desire to not be on any ridge lines.  

Here is an ocotillo that is blooming.


And here is more desert loveliness.


Today the wind is up again, and it is raining.  It will rain all day.  It will rain all day tomorrow.  We're going to check the weather tomorrow and see if perhaps it will be nice further south.  We could go to Tubac, which is an artsy-fartsy tourist trap.  At least one would be out of the house.

This is a tweet from Laurence Tribe, eminent Constitutional lawyer. 


Every day it appears that the entire legal system is stacked in favor of the orange menace.  It's somewhat depressing.  I should probably read more science fiction and less politics.

Friday, March 29, 2024

First Blooming Cactus

This is in the RV park, we haven't seen any blooming out in the desert.  Look at this color, it's really bright.


That's it!  I gave you a flower.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Bike and Hike

Hola!  How are things where you are?  We're good.  Yesterday we had a frisky wind out of the north, but we decided to ride anyway.  It is so painful to recover from losing fitness, we try not to let that happen.  We rode from Christopher Columbus north to see what's shaking with the sewer pipe project.  The entrance to the nice park (Silverbell Crossing) is still blockaded due to the heavy equipment in the area.  Fortunately there is another park with restrooms not much farther north.  The sewer project continues.

Note the pile of dirt sitting on the concrete.  The concrete is a water diversion channel.  When monsoon is strong, there is a lot of water flowing, quickly.  After the Rillito flooded back in the 1980s, Tucson got serious about controlling flood waters.  They've dug up the diversion channel to make the trench for the sewer pipe.  Eventually, they'll have to put the concrete back where it came from.

Today we hiked a loop we did back in 2018.  It's a nice loop, there is some up/down but there is not gruesome descending like the last loop we did.  It was cloudy, which was good for our skin, but not so good for photos.




This is a Globe Mallow.  They're pretty and grow everywhere.


This morning was veeeery stressful.  Jim was on Facebook, and his cursor rolled against something.  Suddenly a voice was saying that someone was using Jim's IP address to steal money/data/whatever, and Jim's laptop was frozen to stop the transaction.  The voice then starting telling us to call the phone number on the screen to talk to Microsoft security.  It was a really well done hack.  If this ever happens to you, turn off your laptop/pc with the power button.  That's the only thing that will be working on your computer, everything else was frozen.  After the hardware is off, let it sit for a bit, like a minute.  Don't call the phone number, they're going to scam you using social engineering.  Once you power up, the hack will be gone, and no further action is required on your part.  I hate these people.  Obviously they're smart enough to write stuff like this, so why don't they use their talents for good?

I'm tired, so I think I will stop now.  There are many disturbing articles to link to, but I'm just going to give it a rest.


Sunday, March 24, 2024

Rockets, Boosters, Bad Politicians, and a Bridge

March 18, Falcon 9 launched out of Vandenberg to hurl yet more satellites in to low earth orbit.  I think there are somewhere around 5,500 satellites beaming internet to all corners of the earth, with more to come.  I read a bunch of RVers on Facebook, Starlink has really been a game changer for people who work on the road.  There were pictures all over the internet of the rocket.  This one came from the monthly "newspaper" the RV park puts out.  I'm sorry we missed that, it's pretty cool.  If you go to space.com, and click on Launches and Spacecraft at the top of the page, you can see what's launching and from where.


Today was Covid booster day.  We both got a second monovalent X.B.B.  It's the same one as last time, and is allegedly somewhat effective against the current mutation.  Work on better vaccines and treatments for acute Covid and Long Covid appears to be stopped, what with the collapse of Public Health in this country.
Update 3/27/2024:  Last night our arms started hurting about 8:00 pm.  Both of us had a fair amount of heat at the injection site.  I had the headache that ate Tokyo, which I am attributing to the vaccine.  We're better today.  All in all, not a significant reaction.

Judge Merchan, currently presiding over the Stormy Daniels case, has issued a gag order for the orange menace.  Orange threatened his daughter, who works for a firm that supports Democratic interests.  How stupid can you be to threaten your judge's child?  The Judge and his family are all being harassed because of this man who just can not stop talking.  I think the Stormy Daniels trial starts April 15 - mark your calendars.  There is more on CNN.

In other news, Kari Lake has asked for a default judgement in the Stephen Richer case.  Kari has been saying many things about the Maricopa County recorder which are not true.  Discovery was about to start, and Kari blinked, she has effectively pleaded guilty.  There is more on this subject, here.  The Arizona GOP is selling its headquarters in Phoenix, after all of these bull shit law suits they've filed and lost, they're out of money.  So, I hope Kari gets a huge, crippling penalty.

Before the weather tanked, there was hiking.  Here is Jim, slogging up the StairMaster section of the trail.  Those are Brittle Bushes foreground.

This is a trail we see on the loop route we do, that we have not taken.  Currently, our fitness level will not support any off-piste excursions, so we still do not know where it goes.


A Mariposa Lily.

By now you are probably aware that Key Bridge was hit by a freighter that had lost power, and could not control forward motion.  This is bad, seven people went in to the water, they were on the bridge deck fixing pot holes.  Traffic which is always abysmal back there, will now be worse.  There is a good youtube on the subject if you are interested, which can be found here.  Or you can read about it here.  Baltimore's harbor will lose business to Norfolk, Charleston & Savannah ports. The economic fallout will be massive.


 So, that's it, that's all I've got.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Lev Parnas and Me

Lev Parnas testified for eight hours yesterday, in front of the Oversight Committee.  They are the ones who are attempting to find any trace of high crimes and misdemeanors with which to impeach President Biden.  They got nothin!  After that session, the width and breadth of the corruption of the republicans and Putin has been revealed. 

Here is part of what Mr. Parnas said, "From shortly after my arrest on October 9, 2019, to now, I have been trying to share the irrefutable truth with you: The American people have been lied to by Trump, Giuliani, & various cohorts of individuals in govt and media positions."
Parnas goes on to say: "Pete Sessions, then Congressman Devin Nunes, Senator Ron Johnson and many others understood they were pushing a false narrative. The same goes for John Solomon, Sean Hannity and media personnel, particularly at Fox News."  Pete Sessions, who is on the Oversight Committee was called out as well, for being involved in the attempt to manufacture evidence of corruption in the Biden family.  Yesterday Representative Lynch (D-MA) said the following, "When you review the entire record of evidence of these hearings going back over a year, you've actually provided more evidence to impeach Donald Trump for a third time than you have in so much as laying a glove on Joe Biden."

So, it's out now, it's part of the Congressional Record, and it probably won't make a bit of difference.  Neither the WAPO or NYT have covered the hearings.  This is just journalistic malpractice.

At one point, Rep. Moskowitz (who James Comer refers to as a smurf) offered to make the motion to impeach and Comer could second it.  What's truly worth seeing is Jamie Raskin's face.  It's a short clip, you should play it.  There is a 60 second clip of Moskowitz badgering Tony Bobulinski about why Comer hasn't called a vote.


The Hill has an article with video in it.  It's a concise version of the testimony.  I'm going to  link to another clip of Mr. Parnas testifying.  This is a good one.  The whole thing was on CSPAN if you have access to it.  The transcript of what Mr. Parnas said is here.

The weather has been good this week.  Unfortunately, we have had appointments everyday that precluded riding.  One of the worst things about being old is that the systems start breaking down. 

Tuesday was interesting, I have the left ear from hell.  Two ear drums have been grafted in over the years, and both grafts failed, so the ear drum is currently perforated.  Tuesday I saw a new to me ENT and learned that my ear canal has collapsed, probably as a result of the last surgeon enlarging the ear canal so he could better visualize the surgical site.  I was told that stents are available to hold the canal open, which I may do next winter; it would improve my hearing.  Unlike the first ENT I was referred to down here, he did not think anything needs to be done immediately.  Do nothing are my favorite words from a medical person. 

Here is the lovely view of the Catalinas from the roof of the parking structure.

The previous Saturday was a cardiac CT scan.  I'm old, I have no idea what's happening in my heart, the cardiac scan looks for calcium deposits, which are a marker for how much soft plaque is in there.  Soft plaque ruptures generally cause heart attacks.  It' not perfect measure, but it is non-invasive.  My risk for CV disease is below the 50th percentile for my age and gender group. However, the scan also revealed spots on the lungs.  A follow on chest CT showed various areas of consolidation, it's like bits of hard sponge amongst the soft sponge that should be your lungs.  This is not good, how not good remains to be seen.  I'm now waiting for a referral to a pulmonologist, and this one is really giving me the willies.   

These were taken on a day when the weather was trying to decide to rain or not.


Other than this, I have nothing much to say.  Ok, this is funny.  If you don't follow football, that's Taylor Swift's boyfriend, who was yelling at the coach during the Super Bowl.