He googled "L5 fusion recovery" and found a site/BBS with posts from people with his same surgey and with recoveries that lasted weeks or months and who suffered from pain that he doesn't have.
He now reminds himself how much worse it could be.
Still, it will be a long, slow recovery.
It has been ungodly hot and humid here.
88˚ in the house.
Those of you who live where hot and humid summers are the norm and are thinking "Wimp!", imagine that you had 4 - 6 weeks in the winter where the warmest it got was -10˚F.
That is a rough equivalent of what this summer has been for us Northern types.
Happily, the bedroom is air-conditioned.
Sadly, the drain holes on the window air conditioner were plugged.
I have used a handheld wet vac on the floor next to Smokey's bed twice.
Unplugged the drain holes yesterday.
Set up two fans to dry out the carpet.
Keeping fingers crossed.
A miracle occurred sometime while I was sleeping last night.
When I came out of the bedroom this morning, the house was comfortable.
A mere 80˚.
I opened the window in the bedroom and pulled back the curtains.
Smokey said the sunlight and fresh air were a boost to his spirits.
He generally prefers our bedroom to be more of a cave -- dark and cool.
Even dark and cool can get boring.
Bald eagle just flew over the yard.
Life could be a lot worse.
Blogger note: I wrote this yesterday afternoon but just as I tried to preview and publish it, my mouse stopped working. For the umpteenth -- well, third -- time in as many days. Did you know that without a mouse you cannot do ANYTHING? I tried to publish it from my iPad, but hitting "Publish" there did nothing. (Why not, Typepad? When are you going to put out a mobile blogging app, huh?) My googling for solutions came to naught. Then I mentioned my problem in a comment on Erika's blog, and BINGO! she sent me a link to a troubleshooting page, from whence I fixed the problem! Her google-fu is clearly superior to mine. Thanks again, Erika!)
I would like to add Google Analytics to this blog because I am a geek and a nerd and I like statistics. And because someone else whose blog I read -- sorry, no longer remember who it was -- mentioned that she uses Google Analytics and I want to be cool like her.
So I signed up and found the instructions and copied the code that has to be added to the blog... and got totally stumped. The TypePad Knowledge Base says to copy the UA number of my Google Analytics account onto my Blog Settings > Stats page, but I cannot find a Stats page. I copied it into the appropriately labeled box on the Settings > Add-Ons page, but that hasn't produced any stats.
Do any of youse guys with a TypePad blog use Google Analytics? Can you tell me in non-technical words of one syllable how to add it to mine?
"This song is dedicated to all of the Maytag Neptune Front Loaders and explains a common failure on these machines and offers a solution. The failure is the door latch wax motor, part # 12002535, which will fail on all Neptunes that shipped with them. Once you have this failure your Neptune will not enter the high speed spin and your clothes will be soaking wet after wash cycle completes. For more Maytag Neptune information see http://www.neptunehelp.com."
From what Smokey and I can figure, the wax motor is the thing that locks the door on the washer when it goes into its high-speed spin cycle. If it does not function properly to lock the door, the washer will not spin. We think that the wax melts, allowing the door to lock; when the spin cycle is done, the wax cools, rehardens, and unlocks the door. Whoever designed this li'l hummer had clearly never heard of the KISS principle. ("Keep It Simple, Stupid!")
I would like to say here that every one of those photos of the inner workings of the washer look veeerrrry familiar to me. Whenever Smokey had to remove and/or replace a part, I had to hold the door or the control panel or something. He could look at those photos right now and name every single wire, switch, and microswitch.
The washer was free to us (had belonged to my mother-in-law, who washed no more than one or two loads a week in it for four years), so disregard that $900 price tag. To date we have spent perhaps $50 on repair kits/parts and about that at the laundromat. Still a lot cheaper than a new washer :)
For the record, no, the washer is not fully functional yet in spite of any number of attempts to make it so. We still have high hopes, though -- there are lots of helpful instructions and remedies out there on the internet, plus one guy even emailed Smokey a long list of trouble-shooting steps. Eventually we will get the right combination and part and the phase of the moon will be right and the incantations will finally take effect and Voila! My washer will work again!
The scroll wheel on my wireless mouse stopped working months ago. Eventually I decided it was time to replace the mouse, but right about then Apple announced its new trackpad, and I decided to try one of those instead. My plan was to buy one in Minneapolis when we went there to pick up Andrew at the airport. I'd see if I liked it, and if not, I could return it.
So we stopped at Best Buy on the way to the airport.
Out of stock.
The clerk told me they had received two.
Think about that. Two.
He also said he thought that the Apple store in the Mall of America -- which I had hoped to avoid because it would take far more time to get in and out of the megamall -- was even less likely to have them in stock. Apparently BB has more pull with Apple because they sell more stuff.
Think about that, too.
So I gave up and ordered one directly from Apple.
The verdict: I like it just fine, maybe not quite as much as a really good mouse with eleventy-seven buttons, but just fine. It cost about the same as a mouse like that and takes up slightly less space on the desk than the mouse pad (and it matches my keyboard, although it is not comfortable to line them up with each other like the Apple ads show them) so I'll keep it.
I just signed up for online data backup for my computer (already have a external hard drive that backs up automatically every hour or so).
...and if I ever knit lace I will use a life line. That is all.
* * * * *
I lied. That is not all.
Last night I had the delightful experience of joining four other local fiber crafters (3 knitters, 1 crocheter) for a couple hours of fibery fun, chatting, and a scrumptious chocolate dessert. I may have [finally] found my knitting group :) Thanks, Julie, for the invite!
* * * * *
I found this in the readme.txt file that came with the online backup software.
"Mozy may protect you from a zombie invasion in a post-apocalyptic environment."
Matthew wants you to admire his no-longer-new shoes...
...and his new cell phone.
This 19-yo has the same PDA/phone that my accounting firm furnishes to the partners, while his father and I stumble along with our prepaid Tracfones. Huh.
* * * * *
My Mac keyboard went wacky on me last week. It was working fine when I used it in the morning; when I came home that evening a wide swath of keys from the "m" over to the arrow keys and up to the 9 and 0 keys had stopped working. Futz. We dug around here and found an old Dell keyboard; it had sticky keys that needed to be struck HARD to make them work, but it was functional. When Matthew came up for the weekend he sold me his own Mac keyboard for half price. It is tressweet.
What's so special about that? you ask. Looks just like a keyboard, you say.
Check this out:
Like I said. Tres sweet.
* * * * *
I took Matthew out for lunch yesterday. We went to one of my favorite places, a restaurant overlooking the mill pond in a nearby village.
The Thirsty Otter, it is called; recent new ownership changed the name from The Fox Den. By any name it is really just a small-town bar that added a kitchen and much later added an outdoor deck and even later an outdoor bar. The food is nothing special -- decent burgers, etc. -- but I love that we can eat outside without reservations nor waiting in line nor paying a premium price for the food.
This group was just finishing when we arrived.
The Red Hat Society is alive and well in Polk County. The chapter that meets a bit farther north styles itself the Rowdy Red Hat Mamas.
I am not sure exactly how rowdy they get...
...what with the canes and the need for a strong arm to lean on and all, but I am absolutely sure they have a lot of fun.
* * * * *
A package came in the mail on Friday. From #1 son via Amazon. For my birthday.
He had told me that not everyone might consider it a gift, but that he did and he was pretty sure that I would. (I think the Amazon personnel left something out of the gift card message -- it does not quite, uh, you know.)
It was a book. By Thomas Pynchon. I tried to read one of his books 35 years ago and it was tooooooo hard.
I am touched by his faith in my intellect.
* * * * *
Matthew has a complaint about his Blackberry keypad.
The characters on the lower half of each key are the one that type without any extra effort; in order to type the character on the upper half of the key you have to hit shift or some other key first. So it would make sense to put the more commonly used characters on the lower half of the keys, right? Please direct your attention to the keys in the right half of the third row. Who uses the dollar sign more than the comma or period? Matthew's theory is that the Blackberry is the phone of choice for drug dealers.
* * * * *
Smokey's best friend from high school is visiting for two weeks. Here they are chuckling over their h.s. yearbook.
John (Yick-Chung) is way smart, a Ph.D. in physics who worked on the Star Wars program. Now he is retired. Last week the two of them went camping north of Grand Marais on the North Shore of Lake Superior. They cooked on the Coleman stove and ate pizza at Sven & Ole's and sat quietly looking at the harbor. We are giving John lessons in how to enjoy life. We are really, really good at that.
For all the glory that is spring in the north woods, there are some less than delightful bits.
I think this guy must have spent his winter burrowed deep into the duff on the floor of the woods. Now he is on our deck railing getting a tan. I let him be; no critter, no matter how capable of giving me a nasty ouch, deserves to be swatted after surviving the winter. Unless it is a mosquito; then all bets are off.
Other less than savory aspects of spring are the wood and deer ticks.
Lower left, something called a star tick, which we do not have here. Middle, an adult female deer tick -- those are the ones that transmit Lyme disease. Upper right, adult wood tick, aka dog tick. I found this photo online and stole it because I couldn't find the ones I took last spring of the eight wood ticks I pulled off Hannibal The Fearless Who Fancies Himself To Be An Outdoor Cat.
Like many things in nature, the tick population varies from year to year. Last year we were inundated with ticks. Boo! Hiss! This year, they are almost non-existent. Yay! I think I have found fewer than half a dozen so far this year, which is, I think, a record low for this date.
Despite that, for the past couple days I have felt them crawling on me everywhere. I have not found a single one for over a week, however, so I attribute this annoyance to an over-active tactile sense.
There are the ubiquitous mosquitoes, vector of the West Nile virus:
Don't worry, we shooed that one away before it bit my boy.
There are other less-than-wonderful aspects of warmer weather. Follow the link if you want to see an over-40 woman wearing a too-young-for-her, way-too-short garment while doing her exercise walk. She was doing laps around the block Saturday while we were stuck for a couple hours with what turned out to be a broken timing belt on the Aveo. I probably shouldn't be snarky; she was, after all, very trim and was doing a good thing. She had just made an unfortunate wardrobe choice.
To remove that last image from your eyeballs, here is a sign on the wall of the diner where we had a very tasty brunch that day, right before we discovered that the car wouldn't start.
I had to pay for my coffee, darn. No gossip to trade.
* * * * *
Thanks to everyone who chimed in with advice on yesterday's post about the Summer Chevron sweater. There is a l-o-n-g thread over in Ravelry (special thanks to those of you who told me to check there) that details all the trials and tribulations of that pattern. Apparently it has a wacky row gauge that no one can achieve, and the deep V neck tends to become a wide V when worn. I am still undecided about whether to attempt it with my bamboo yarn, but now I know where to go for more help. Thanks, guys! You are the best!
* * * * *
As much as I love having #1 son home for a couple months, it has been driving me absolutely NUTS that his computer seems to hog our DSL connection. I have forbade him from using BitTorrent -- or downloading anything -- between the hours of 8 am and 1 pm, which is my preferred internet time. But even though he has been completely cooperative about our agreement, sometimes my connection gets so slow it is impossible to do anything. Every single page gets the "Cannot find www.xyz.com. Please check your spelling..." message.
Today I got so frustrated that while he was out for his daily run and clearly not using his computer, I went downstairs to his bedroom to see what was open on his Mac Pro. I discovered that the problem seems to be that Skype, even when just sitting there with a chat window open but not being used, continues to hog our internet connection. I closed Skype, came back upstairs, and walla! my internet connection was fine. Hurrah! Too bad we didn't figure this out a month ago; he leaves to go back to NY a week from Sunday, and I had been counting the days.
* CYE (CYF, CYM, CYB)--check your email (Facebook, Myspace, blog)
And a few just for iPhone owners:
* SPLETS -- send pics later; Edge too slow
* CSVUI -- can't send video, using iPhone
* BPWMI -- boss playing with my iPhone
* SIK -- sorry, iPhone keyboard
* OOM -- out of messages (for iPhone users who haven't upgraded their AT&T "200 messages a month" plan)
Finally, it occurred to me: Why should the convenience of online
shorthand be the province of teenagers and twentysomethings? There
ought to be a list that we, their parents and employers, can use, too.
And now there is:
I upgraded the memory in my Mac Mini from 256MB to 1GB. Now I can listen to iTunes while prepping a blog post in Firefox and uploading the photos to iPhoto and editing them in ImageWell. I could do it before, but I spent an inordinate amount of time gazing at the little spinning rainbow hamsters-are-pedaling-as-fast-as-they-can icon. The upgrade to Firefox 2 seems to have been the straw that broke the hamsters' backs.
If anyone wants a used but perfectly functional 184-pin DIMM thingy, let me know. I'd be happy to mail it to you gratis.
From what I can tell on the net, the same memory modules are used with Mac Mini G4 / 1.25 / 1.42 / 1.5 GHz processors, plus others. Modules like this one go for 99¢ to $9.99 US on eBay, so it's not like I giving away anything really valuable.
* * * * *
Today's Funny Foto.
"Mmmmm! This disguise is so good they'll never guess who ate that steak that was defrosting on the counter."
One of the posts at the Yahoo Dulaan group mentioned that www.smileysyarns.com was having a sale, so I surfed on over and scored myself some yarn.
All told, a little over $100 and I'm set for some charity knitting. On the outside of the box:
At left, 2 balls of Lion Brand Watercolors, an ack-wool blend destined for a fluffy-but-warm Dulaan scarf or two.
On top, 12 skeins of Bernat Lana worsted, 100% merino wool. I've already made 2 Dulaan hats from this. Although the label says merino, it doesn't feel as soft as merino, more like ordinary wool. I've been wanting to have a whack of worsted-weight wool for when I feel like knocking out a hat or attempting some mittens. Now I'm set for a while.
At the right, 3 50-gram skeins of Filatura Lanarota Puno, 100% alpaca, worsted weight, destined for the Red Scarf Project.
Inside the box, from left:
6 balls of Cervinia Londra, a wool/alpaca/ acrylic chunky weight. I'm hoping to get one Dulaan hat from each 86-yd. ball; if not, I'll have to combine some of them. The colors all look good together so that shouldn't be difficult.
8 skeins of Lite-Lopi worsted; 5 blue, 2 natural, 1 gray, for a Dulaan sweater, pattern TBD.
8 skeins of Panda Woolbale (yeah, I'd never heard of it either) 100% Australian wool worsted. I bought it intending to make Dulaan socks of it, but after seeing the pictures of the barefoot children in Ryan's blog I'm thinking felted clogs instead. I bought the Fiber Trends pattern to make a Christmas present, knowing that I would probably use that pattern again and again.
* * * * *
My sweetie recently bought me a delightful new/used camera, a Fuji FinePix S5100.
(I can't show a picture of my actual camera because obviously I would
have to take it with the old cheapo Kodak, whose batteries are, as
always, dead. That thing ate batteries like there was no tomorrow. So
here a couple pictures from the web.)
I'm loving this camera. It has all the usual digital camera bells and whistles, plus a 10X optical zoom (take that, Kodak! I spit on your 3X optical zoom!), what seems to me to be a very good "recovery time" between shots, and makes the most endearing electronically amplified click when I snap the shutter. It's totally autofocus if I want that, which I do, but also allows for several other methods that I haven't explored yet. Plus it has a macro setting, ditto. And videos with sound, ditto. And other stuff I don't even know that I don't know.
What I need to do is dedicate some time to learn the features and read the manual and experiment. I've done a little of that but not nearly enough. Time is always in short supply. Anybody got a day stretcher I could borrow?
Besides learning about the new camera, I have been acclimating myself in the Mac world after 20+ years as a PC person. The same sweetie that gave me the camera got me a Mac Mini to replace my 5-year-old Dell because he knew that was what I really wanted. But the bootleg PhotoShop I was using was obviously for Windows and there was no way I would fork over the hundred$ it would cost for a real Mac version, plus I never used 90% of the features of the program. So I have been learning about iPhoto. I was having trouble shrinking the photo files to a manageable size; unlike PhotoShop, iPhoto -- or at least the version I have -- doesn't have that handy "Save for web" feature that automatically does whatever it needs to in order for the photo file to be around 300k. You may have noticed that the photos I've posted in the past couple weeks download v-e-r-y slowly. Sorry about that. I had downloaded a 30-day trial version of PhotoShop for Mac, but I never found the magic "Save for web" button in it.
Since that 30-day trial version expired, though, I searched the web and found a Mac freeware program called Imagewell that seems to do the trick. It's not as one-click as PhotoShop was, but overall it seems to work quite well. There's an upgrade version for sale, but I am resisting even seeing how much it costs. Freeware = good.
Edited to add: I just checked the Imagewell site to get the URL for the link and discovered the upgrade costs all of $9.95. So I did it. Primo me.
As little as 10 years ago I was the computer guru around our house. My husband, while a genius at electronics and fixing things in general, had never taken much interest in the inner workings of computers, either hardware or software. If a power supply or a fan needed to be replaced he was the go-to guy around here; if the task were installing a second HD or updating software, I was in charge.
Boy, have things changed. Smokey is a lot more fluent with the hardware now – his desktop computer currently lies open on the floor behind me, awaiting the new motherboard he ordered for it (the old one apparently got fried during an electrical storm, despite the surge protector/odds against it happening/yadda yadda). But the big change, one that everyone with a teenager has probably seen, is that #2 son is now the go-to guy for pretty much everything electronic except the actual electronics, and he’s not exactly behind the curve on those, either.
Should I download the latest version of iTunes? Ask Matthew.
I can’t make this frickin’ [fill in the blank] work! Ask Matthew.
How do I start a blog? Ask Matthew.
So yesterday I was trying to figure out how to use Bloglines when the boy came home from work. (Sound and light guy at a nearby professional theater, natch.) I asked him something about BL and amazingly he didn’t know anything about them. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I had downloaded the latest version of Opera and updated to IE 7.0, both of which offer built-in feeds. He also recommended that I ditch IE and switch to using Opera, saying he really likes their latest version.
Now, I had finally gotten Bloglines to work and was well into subscribing to my favorite blogs when he entered the scene. After his advice and downloading both browsers, I stopped messing with Bloglines and started using the automatic feed feature of Opera. Have any of you used it? Because I have some issues.
1. Once I subscribe to a blog, I can’t figure out how to Unsubscribe to it. I had the same problem with Bloglines. Ha! I just figured it out: Feeds | Manage feeds | (select a feed) | Delete. Boy, that was a tough one, huh?
2. Opera doesn’t seem to be able to handle comments on Blogger. Twice today I have tried to comment on a blog post, and both times – after typing the whole damned comment and clicking either “Preview” or “Submit” – I got a little screen saying Blogger couldn’t find the blog I was looking for. After the second time, I opened said blog in IE, wrote the comment (I had ctrl-A’d and ctrl-C’d my comment so I wouldn’t lose it altogether; aren’t I the clever one?), and previewed/posted it with no problem. I guess I will have to subscribe to Blogger feeds in IE and the rest in Opera. Not exactly zipless, but oh, well. Remind me why this is better than Bloglines, please.
3. In Bloglines, when I begin the process to subscribe to a new blog, it lets me preview the different feeds (RSS1, RSS2, atom, whatever). I like that feature because it seems that some feed formats will show the photos and some will not. This preview feature is not present in Opera, as far as I can tell. Remind me again why this is better than Bloglines, please.
4. Lest you think I am trashing Opera, I am not. I like the feeling of NOT using a Microsoft product. It also has a nifty feature that puts an icon at the far right in the address bar whenever I am viewing a site that offers a feed. Click that icon to start the subscription process. Nifty, like I said.
5. IE 7.0 has a nice clean, streamlined toolbar setup at the top of the screen, but I haven’t used it enough yet to make an informed judgment. (My first impression was that it was so streamlined as to be completely useless, but I may be wrong.) I may never use it enough to make that judgment, though, because the &$%*$ browser insists on telling me EVERY SINGLE TIME I OPEN IT
(that’s the screen it opens with) and ON EVERY FRICKIN’ SCREEN THEREAFTER that “Your current security setting put your computer at risk. Click here to change your security settings.” Dammit, I LIKE MY SECURITY SETTINGS! If I wanted to change them I will do so in my own sweet time. There seems to be absolutely no way to turn off this cursed warning. Could it be that the Microsoft behemoth has decided that the way to correct the security flaws that seem to be inherent in every stinkin’ program they write in certain programs is to hound the user until they are sick up and fed change the security settings to whatever it is that MicroGodKingEmperorOfTheUniverseSoft has decided they should be?
7. The so-called “information bar” that appears between the toolbars and the actual website screen has always annoyed me. In IE 6.0 I got rid of it easily and never missed it. In IE 7.0, they say in the so-called “Help” section, “Can I turn off the Information bar? Yes, you can, but we don't recommend it. If you do want to turn it off, you have to turn it off for each type of message.” Do they tell you how? Only to turn it off for pop-up blocking. Nothing about the security warning thing, so it is always there, annoying me at every screen.
8. And another thing I just discovered. In IE 6.0, Typepad offered the choice of viewing a post in progress either as text with the uploaded images or as html. In Opera all I get is the html version. That may be turn out to be a good thing; it certainly forces me to learn their version of more html. Can anyone tell me how to make the print larger in the final post? There was a drop-down list in the no-longer-available view of the editing screen, but no such animal in the html-only screen. (Or I may have found the answer myself. I wrote the post in Word and saved it there in a .txt file. From what I have now read in the Typepad Knowledge Base, if I had saved it in .rtf format, I would see the editing window I was used to. I'll try that next time. Live and learn.)
I had originally been planning a post in which I asked for help in getting things onto my sidebar in Typepad, but I seem to have spent all my energy and time in venting. Sheesh.