Sunday, September 28, 2008

October Approaching…

It’s been a while since I’ve updated anything here. I know the “experts” caution not to draw attention to lack of updates, but perhaps the “experts” have a more serene lifestyle than I seem to the last couple of years. I won’t bore you with the details, but just suffice it to say between my job and being run ragged attending to the needs of elderly relatives, I have little time or energy for much else. It has been that way for the last two and a half years, and I don’t see it getting much better anytime soon.

I did get some good news last month when I went to see my eye surgeon, Dr. Dyer. Last time I saw him, he was a little concerned about a ‘wrinkle’ that had formed on my retina, where it had been repaired last year after the complete separation. He used a gadget to measure the swelling, and said if it continued to swell, I might have to have another vitrectomy.

At the last appointment, another measurement was taken, and it seems to be gradually improving. Dr. Dyer said that for now, at least, another surgery was not needed. I have another appointment with him in January to see how it’s progressing.

I finally got my eyeglass prescriptions filled – the ones I’ve had since May! I opted to do away from the bifocals, and got two pair of glasses – one for normal use such as driving, and a pair for reading, working on the computer, drawing, and other close-up work. I have Eyemed, so I got a pretty decent deal on two pair! Sears has a special where you get the second pair for 30% off when you buy the first pair. Eyemed picks up 80% of the first pair, so like I said – a pretty good deal!

I August, I shot a small wedding for 400 bucks, which I added to what I’d been saving up for a new laptop. I finally picked one up at Sam’s Club a few weeks ago. It’s an HP Pavilion with a 17-inch display, WiFi, a DVD/CD Rom burner, 500 gigs of HD space, 4 gigs of memory, and Vista Home Premium. It even has a built-in camera so I can make nonsensical video entries. I’ll post one when I don’t look/feel like I’ve been run over by a train.

I do have a nice laptop from my job, but of course, it still belongs to them, and they don’t want me installing a lot of non-work-related software on it – like Photoshop. It has a Sprint PCS card, but not WiFi. With my new laptop, I can install what I want, and connect from any of a myriad of hotspots. When we go on vacation, it will be great as most well-known hotel/motel chains now offer WiFi as part of the room package.

I’ve also purchased a new Wacom Intuos3 table for the main computer, and have installed the old Intuos2 on the new laptop.

The weekends lately have been a bit chaotic – nothing new there. My dad is going to be moving to The Fountains, a retirement community here in Independence. He is auctioning off the house and most of the contents therein. He’s just not able to handle the house any longer. It’s kind of sad, but he’s just been lost since his wife Margaret passed away in March. He has several friends from church that live there, and I understand they also have a genealogy group there. I’m hoping he can get interested in his research again. They also provide two healthy, well-balanced meals a day, so hopefully he’ll start eating a little better. And he can come and go as he pleases. He can still drive, so he’s free to go about his business whenever he wants. They’ve just opened a fantastic new genealogy research library not far from the Fountains; and it’s not far from the Lair, either. I’m hoping this winter he and I can get together there and do a little research.

This weekend was pretty typical. Saturday we drove in to Jo’s mom’s place and spent most of the day helping her clean out her shed. We pulled out all the lawn equipment – a riding lawn mower, a walk-behind mower, gas cans, bags of lawn chemicals, hoses, garden tools, boxes of stuff, lawn waste receptacles, and so on. She swept out every nook and cranny of the shed, then I sprayed bug spray into every corner, which upset quite a few spiders and crickets. Then we started hauling all the previously mentioned items back in. Now, I love my mother-in-law; she’s a great lady, and an awesome cook. But she’s also one of the most fastidious people I’ve ever met. She had to sweep out the shed once more after every item was hauled back in. You could eat off the floor!

Then Sunday, I was supposed to go over to my dad’s place, and help get his computers ready for the move Wednesday. But we got another one of those medical crisis phone calls Saturday night. Jo’s brother Bill had been having some problems with numbness in his arm. Then when it started affecting his lips, he thought maybe a stroke was coming on, so they went to a clinic. The doctor there told him he had a tumor on his brain, and he needed to go to the hospital. Well, that would scare the crap out of anyone, so he and his wife headed to the Olathe hospital. And of course when we got that phone call Saturday night, it was rather upsetting.

I called my dad and told him what was happening. I figured on spending a great deal of Sunday stuck in a waiting room at the hospital. Of course, he understood completely.

Happily, by the time Sunday rolled around, there was better news. Bill’s doctor looked at all the MRIs, CAT scans, and other tests and said the ‘tumor’ did not look malignant, but he wanted the neurologist to look things over. The neurologist looked over the tests, and agreed. It appeared to be a calcification, and not a tumor. It had probably been there most of his life, and just now was having some effects. They will be doing more tests, just to make sure, but for now, he’s out of the hospital, and feeling just fine.

At any rate, this is pretty much what our life has been like lately. Hopefully this will provide somewhat of an explanation as to why my web presence has been a bit stagnant of late. I’m hoping things will calm down a bit soon. Of course, every time I say (type) that, all hell breaks loose.

We will be taking a bit of a break in October again this year. Hopefully it won’t end with a detached retina like last year! We’re planning a visit to Mountain Home, Arkansas, and our old favorite standby, Eureka Springs! I’ll be removing the ‘Vacation, 2007’ Album, and replacing it with ‘Vacation 2008’ soon. I’ll be posting photos of our adventures. With all the rain we’ve had this year, I’m hoping there will be some nice fall colors. The Arkansas websites are predicting the colors will peak right about October 20th this year. Perfect! I just hope the rain doesn’t follow us all week like last year!

For the near future, I’m looking at some rather drastic changes for Rod’s Lair this fall and winter. I’ve been using a little shareware application called WebEdit for all my HTML since the late 90s. It’s a nice little bit of software, and has a lot of neat features. When I tried to install it on the Vista laptop, it choked, and said it was incompatible with Vista – which didn’t surprise me much. I’ve found another HTML editor called HTML-Kit, and I’m quite impressed with it. It’s an ‘open source’ application, which means there are thousands of people all working on continuously improving it. It has lots of features, and plug-ins, and more are added on a continuing basis. I will probably be using it more and more as I update and upgrade Rod’s Lair. I’ve not used CSS, but I plan on using it quite a bit in the future.

There will be some other new features added to Rod’s Lair, but it’s too soon to go into much detail yet. I have a few things to learn about, and of course, it all depends on how much time I have to devote to it in between all the crises and upheavals. Hopefully there will be less of the latter, and more of the former!


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Time For A Change

It's September, already, and it's time for a change.

For the past several months; years, really, I have been pretty well kept busy and exhausted between work and attending to elderly parents that have lost thier mates within the last two years or so. It has been pretty much a full-time job, and I have had little time for things like updating my website or this blog.

It's time for a change.

The elderly relatives are settling down a bit. I know it's been sad and lonely for them both, but time seems to be healing a little bit, although I know the pain and feeling of loss will never fully heal. But I think in both cases, they are getting better, and I am beginning to have a little more time to myself. You can click the title above for the full article, or click "September 2008" on your left (if you are on my website).

This blog is integrated into my website. You can click on the "Rod's Lair Latest News Section" link on the right if you are not on my website, and view it in that context.

Jo and I are looking forward to our October vacation next month. Hopefully, it will be a little less rainy than last year, although with all the moisture we've had this year, it remains to be seen. With all the rain, maybe we'll have some nice fall color this year.

Look for new content on the website soon!