The Road Goes Ever On


This week I put a pair of running shoes on. I haven’t been able to do that since the accident. The left foot has been swollen to at least a couple sizes bigger and all I’ve worn is oversize sandals and slippers. Getting my old shoes on again, even for a few hours, was a significant triumph. Not to mention it’s winter now and I need something on my feet when I go outside. I also need something on my feet when I start exercising.

See, we got our treadmill fixed today. It developed this annoying habit of pausing without warning and then starting up again. This is annoying in that it throws the person walking or running on it into a wall. You don’t want that. So it’s been out of commission for a few months.

Because we are in such a rural area, getting service on something like this is difficult. We did have the foresight to get an extended warranty from Sears when we bought it and this is the second time that has paid off. The repair guys live in a small town in eastern Montana that is a hundred and seventy miles away from here but hey, Sears pays the gas so who cares. They ordered parts after talking to me on the phone and making a guess as to what the problem might be. Then came very long wait for the parts to come in. Yesterday I got a call that they got what they need and someone would be here the next morning. Hallelujah.

When the guy showed up today, he replaced the big switchboard in the guts of the treadmill because that was a lot easier than replacing the motor. And that indeed turned out to be the problem. He tightened the belt which was very loose and we cleaned out what the cats had managed to get stuck inside it. The repair man and I got it maneuvered back into place on its rubber mat and we’re ready to go. Carjo had this dream of moving this beast out of her office and to the downstairs but I think that can wait until this spring. Even with the top portion and legs off, the bottom section weighs about three hundred pounds. Yeah, it can definitely wait until spring.

I have not had much exercise since breaking my ankle. A recent visit to the doctors office confirmed that I have gained a lot of weight in the interim and that’s not good at my age. But I just got on the treadmill and found out that I can achieve a decent pace. So from here on out it’s a little bit every other day until I can get up to doing a couple miles. Maybe by then I can switch to running. Cross your fingers for me.

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Foggy Mental Breakdown

I’m feeling a little groggy today. I had a severe bout of insomnia last night and I don’t think I got a wink until at least four am. My mind just kept racing but it wasn’t behaving in a coherent enough manner for me to actually sit at my computer and try to write.

Part of this is of course my ADHD. Some times my brain just will not rest no matter how tired I am. When I used to be on meds I would hit this crash point at the end of the day and fall asleep. So tonight I will resort to a solid dose of Zzzquil. We’re doing more on that “moving family member to assisted living” project in a few days and I need to be alert and somewhat cognitive for that. Note the use of the word somewhat. I’m always a little foggy. That just goes with the ADHD territory.

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When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth

Led Zeppelin MSG 1973

Found this great photo in an article about Jimmy Page’s new autobiography/photo collection. I still don’t know if I’ll get this book, it’s about fifty bucks and funds are tight right now. They always are this time of year. Now the Zeppelin reissues are another matter. I get those the week of release. The bonus tracks are OK. I’m not much for studio outtakes. But the live album that accompanied LZ I was just raw muscle and grit. No wonder they had such a reputation for destroying headliners when they were starting out.

We won’t see these days again, where music defined a generation. Now the audience is too divided, caught up in different mediums (like games) and social networking or smart phones. The music market is hopelessly fragmented and the news of an album going gold or platinum is a rarity. That used to be a common occurrence.

I’m not trying to get a “get off my lawn” guy about this. To each generation their own. Then again…our music was WAY better because it was all we had and it mattered.

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Caturday is for Sleeping In


This morning the actual temperature is zero with a “feels like” reading of minus fifteen. One of the young cats pleaded to go out. Carjo indulged the idiot and then let him right back in again. Arya is watching sparrows and chickadees from the windows of the man cave. But Sneakers and Jasper prefer to dream of summer days.

Me, I’m going to continue hacking away at this short story and then I’ll watch the Bison game. Tomorrow we get to have winds of thirty to forty mph. Yeah, we’re all staying inside. Have a good weekend.

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Gets a Little Cold on the Foot Pads

P1010186This is Sansa taking some baby steps outside. The three cats most accustomed to going outside are still a bit frustrated by the appearance of January weather in mid-November. They see the sun is shining and hey, it must be nice out. Actual “feels like” temperature at this moment is a frosty one above.

Apparently “Feels Like” is a combination of the heat index and the wind chill indicators. I don’t know if it is more accurate than the old wind chill charts but my brief exposure out there did indeed feel like it was around zero. Zero is cold. It’s not bitter cold, which I figure is about fifteen below or lower. My sister-in-law referred to it in an email as ass-bite cold. I can see the logic in that. An unprotected ass would surely be bitten in such weather.

The image I am using on my PC for my desktop features a young woman standing on the second rail of a corral, somewhere in the front range of the Rockies. There is about a half foot of snow on the ground. For aesthetic purposes, she is not wearing pants. Which proves it’s all about acclimation. What feels cold in November becomes temperate in January. Sansa might come scrambling back in now after five minutes outside but when it’s about zero in January that might mean half an hour outside. A strong woman of the American West might freeze her booty in November but come a January thaw, she might be compelled to bare her buns to the breeze. Just the same, I’ll keep mine inside until at least May.

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Armistice Day, Belated

Grandpa Bloom and Uncle Bill 001

This is a photo of my maternal grandfather, posing in his WWI uniform, next to my uncle who was home on leave from the Navy. I am not sure of the date of this photo, just that it was sometime during WWII.

Grandpa was very proud of his service, which I believe I have noted here before. Downstairs I have part of his old bandolier and a Luger he took as a souvenir. Grandpa was an ambulance driver and I’m not sure if the bandolier saw any action. But he was quite proud of being a veteran even though he felt the experience was so horrible he’d never tell his grandchildren the details. But every time Veteran’s Day rolls around I am reminded that this started with Armistice Day, in celebration of the ceasefire at the end of the first World War. And on that notion, Kurt Vonnegut said it far better than I:

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things. — Breakfast of Champions

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A Light Dusting


This is the view from the back of the house this morning. We’re supposed to get a couple inches of fluff today and I can live with that. A good portion of America is getting caught up in this arctic air and snow is only part of the problem. Actual temperature right now is fourteen degrees. The wind chill has risen to zero. That’s right, risen.

The cats have reluctantly gone into winter mode. Sneakers and Jasper, the two old men, are crashed on the bed in the man cave. Daniel is on the bed downstairs, dreaming of finches writhing under his paws. Arya has commandeered the master bedroom and Sansa is sprawled on Carjo’s office carpet. The dog dreams of pooping in freshly mowed grass.

Today was the first time I’ve put on my old snow boots since breaking my ankle. Getting the left one to accommodate my somewhat swollen foot was a little work. That foot is in pretty rough shape after the adventures this past weekend and forcing it into that boot hurt. But what the hell is a little pain. I got the thing on and got the garbage out. Then I jingled the car keys for Pippin and he was more than happy to brave the cold just to ride in the car. We went downtown and checked the mail. It was so exciting the poor mutt could barely contain himself. I did note that once I parked the car in the garage and let Pip out, he did not dally or wander across the yard and driveway. He just sprinted for the door and danced in dog delirium until I shuffled up and opened the door.

Last night the local weather folks predicted the lows for this weekend would be below zero. If we had ended up moving my mother-in-law one week later it would have been another kind of hell. I’ve moved friends, family, and ourselves in frigid temperatures but I was a younger man those times, with two functioning ankles. As awful as this move was, I think we dodged a substantial bullet. So this weekend we’ll turn up the heat and catch up on all the TV sitting on our DVR, cats and dog arrayed around us. And every now and then I’ll look outside and say, “glad I’m not moving in this.”

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