Thursday, December 30, 2010

I got my new camper top yesterday and they didn’t give me the discount I expected but they still took off $90. It’s great to be done with that monster I had on the truck and now I have to get the new camper top ready for the new curtains which Rose Tailors is making for me. They won’t be done until Tuesday so I have plenty of time, and tomorrow should be a good day to work on putting in the Velcro patches. I may also put in the cargo nets, but it is much lower than the old top so I won’t be putting in the kayak paddle holder of the ladder support.
I had a nice walk with Rob after working out on the bike at home for twenty minutes, and I started the new blood pressure medication and hopefully that will reduce the problems with my arms and hands.
I had a lesson with Justin Craig today and we sounded okay. Having a couple more days to work on my licks will certainly help. I also picked up some Bose speakers for my computer, since the old ones were broken and the Bose ones weren’t that much more.
I had a response on Match and we have e-mailed back and forth but I haven’t heard back from her about getting together (which she expressed interest in) so I am not sure what is going on there.
I did some work on my syllabi this morning and I am almost done with everything although I may try and change Brave New World for another Alice Munro book of short stories. Like 1984 or Animal Farm, Brave New World does offer an interesting historical perspective on how the future was seen to be, so it might work okay.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It took a couple of hours to get off the boat on Monday morning, mainly because I was on the bottom passenger deck and our deck came last. But I waited in my room for most of the time, so it wasn’t too awful. I guess the biggest turnoff of the cruise was all the wasted food. I saw so many finished plates with large amounts of food on them. I think people should eat what they take, unless it really tastes bad, and the food was fairly good.
I was able to check the weather before I got off the ship and since it had snowed around 5 inches in Virginia the night before—and it was going to be very cold there all day--I figured I would drive to Charlotte and spend the night, then head back to the hollow so I could plow the road before it melted and froze on Tuesday night.
I stopped for a long bike ride outside of Columbia and it was pretty cold but I wanted to keep up my good exercise routine. When I got to Charlotte I practiced and then took a nap before I headed into town. It was very cold so I decided to eat near the truck, at the Rock Bottom Brewery. It was inexpensive and decent and warm, which was all I wanted. After dinner I felt more like challenging the elements so I put on my face mask and toboggan and walked up to the ice skating ring, which had a number of people but certainly wasn’t crowded. On the way back my only goal was to get back into my warm truck and soon enough I had the engine running and the heat on. Back in the room I sorted out all of the stuff from the cruise and then practiced for another 20 minutes since I may be performing at India Garden on Saturday and I wanted to be ready.
The drive up from Charlotte seemed endless, but eventually I got to my office, did a couple of things, and then drove to the hollow. Fortunately, the snow was only about four inches, and I easily drove up to the house. Everything was fine in the house but the solar was down to 49% and I had to immediately put the generator on. Once that was going I got the tractor out and I scraped past the hay barn and down the steep hill and then back with no trouble. I just hope I don’t get more than 5 inches or I am going to have to hire Mike to clear any heavy snowfall. The work Ronnie did on the road really helped and I think I am a little better at operating the tractor. Working during the day and after a storm also makes things a lot easier. After that work, I practiced a full 45 minutes and did 20 minutes of hard biking and some weights. I had to start emptying the truck to get ready for the new camper top tomorrow and that went well.
Now it is time to head in for supplies and the watch the first half of the Philly game.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 was the first day of my cruise, which was scheduled to leave at 4:00 with my arrival at the Union Pier supposed to be at around 12:30. When I awoke I was nervous, about getting there on time and just all the unknown aspects of cruising. I didn’t want to leave early so I went for a walk on the beach, and then took a quick nap, then I showered and packed my stuff up. I left the room at 11:00 and once I got to the truck I spent 40 minutes sorting things out. I got so nervous that I had to take a Maalox tablet to calm my stomach. I did not consult my camping list or I wouldn’t have forgotten my tevas or my sunscreen, but I did not and I have no doubt I left something else I need in the truck, but that is a minor concern.
On the drive to the pier I called Kelly and she told me that she did not get the job at the University of Maryland, and her mother was already on her about getting another job, sending her an extensive, bullet pointed e-mail. Kellly said that Alfredo was going to write to her mom and I hope that will help. I told her that—considering her six months of severance—she should take a month off before she even begins to think about work.
When I got to the pier I had no idea what to expect but it was extremely well coordinated, from first checking in, paying for parking, dropping off my two bags, and then parking. There were people to guide you every step of the way and my nerves calmed quickly.
After I parked I took the shuttle to the ship and after having my backpack examined and x-rayed, I had to check in again and then board the ship. The rooms weren’t ready but they furnished us with a varied and tasty lunch, and after that I walked around the pool or Lido deck and above that for a number of laps.
It was almost 4 when they mustered us to 5 stations in case we had to evacuate, and showed us how to use the lifejackets. Shortly thereafter the book began to move from the pier and after going backwards for a while, we started forward and the cruise was officially underway.
I went to my cabin and settled in and then went back on deck to watch the sun go down to the left of Charleston, and see the shoreline disappear. I got a nap in and did some more walking and some TV watching and then went to dinner around 8:30. The waitress tried to slip me a 4 dollar bottle of water but I confronted her about it and her boss came over and apologized and said they wouldn’t charge me for the water. It was slightly unpleasant but I stood my ground and I made it clear everything should be transparent.
I walked around a little more and then I caught some of the welcoming show in the crowded universe lounge at 10:30, which was a little tacky, but perfect if you had been drinking.

The second day of my cruise was decent, although being with someone would have been much better. I woke early and saw the sun coming up, but a bank of clouds prevented it from rising from the horizon. I began my walks (I must have done five miles today) and then I went to visit the medical clinic because the continuing problem with my arms and wrists and hands has me genuinely worried, particularly whether the blood pressure meds are causing the problem and if there could be permanent damage. The doctor assured me that there would be no long term damage and thought I should stay on the medicine unless things got worse. She did think I should talk to Rob when I return. I loved the name of the clinic, the “Fantasy Medical Clinic” and I had some fun with the nurses with the name. Feeling much better, I did work on the computer, organizing my files, and working a little on my new poem. A noise started in my room (sounds like it comes from inside the outer wall) but the crew could do nothing about it. I will probably have to wear ear plugs tonight. I then went to the gym and rode the stationary bike for almost thirty minutes and then did some weights (using a pair of eight pounders). After lunch I took a nap and then went walking and met a choreographer, Nia, and her sister who was a field biologist. Nia was interesting and kind of cute but I don’t think I am capable of much so I just chatted with her. I watched some TV and then did some more walking and took a few pictures of the setting sun, not particularly exciting. I then caught the first half hour of the show, which was okay but none of the singers had much of a voice although they were all competent. After that I had dinner (lobster tail and tiger shrimp with Caesar salad and veggies, followed by one scoop of chocolate ice cream) which was adequate but uninspired.

I got up early on Friday, excited by the prospect of seeing a new place, in this case Nassau. I was ready to go at seven but passengers couldn’t disembark until a little after seven thirty. It was a long walk just to get off the pier (five ships eventually came in) and then I began walking around Bay street and some of the side streets. I was hoping to find and open store to buy sunscreen and flip flops, but nothing except coffee shops opened till eight, when a food store opened and I got some sun screen. Nassau was quaint, with some brightly colored wall art, but this section seemed touristy. I went back to the boat to wait for the nine o’clock starting time for my sail and snorkel trip and that went off a few minutes later. It was another long walk to the catamaran, and it was a little tricky to get on and move around, particularly on the floor which was a woven rubbery material. I sat next to a woman and her son, and quickly found out that she had lost her husband nine months ago (in March) in Afghanistan. I talked to her about writing her story (a story about her husband will appear in Reader’s Digest and an article mentioning him appeared in the Atlantic), and offered to take a look at it if she came up with something. I helped her and her son get ready for the snorkeling since they had never done it, and then it was time to jump in. I got down the latter okay, put on my fins and off I went. The reef looked dark and in pretty bad shape but there were some fish below so it was pleasant enough. I went back to the ladder to see how she and her son were doing and they seemed to be waiting till everyone else started. Finally she come down the ladder and when she got to the water she panicked and had to retreat up the ladder. Her son came down and I helped him in the water but he was pretty uncomfortable, although I did get him to put his head under a couple of times. After I got him back to the ladder, I wasn’t sure if I should go up and try to get his mother into the water, so I swam around a bit and then went back up the ladder. She decided to try again and I offered to help her so I went down without my gear, jumped in, and calmed here down enough to get her into the water for a few minutes. I held her arm and spoke gently to her the whole time and she did put her face under a couple of times. She lost her fin on the way back to the ladder and one of the crew members had to retrieve it. After she got back on board, she huddled up under my gore-tex jacket and stayed that way, looking down at the water, with her son huddled under a large towel. It was rather pathetic.
Once we returned to dock, I decided to stay in town and walk around and I spent more time on Bay Street and had lunch at Conch Frittes after failed to find the recommended Fish Fry. Conch Frittes was pretty bland. The conch fritters had almost no conch in them, and the sweet potato had been cut in half and wasn’t cooked very well. The snapper in a bag was okay (actually two small fish) but very bony so I had to be careful. It was expensive and not very good but the very nice waitress assured me that it was native food. I was now pretty tired so I struggled back to the ship and dropped off into a deep nap which I woke up from at around six, just as the ship was leaving. I was still very tired so I lay in bed, drifting off and watching a little TV, and finally got up enough energy to get up around eight thirty for dinner. I thought I might go to the fitness room or at least walk around after dinner, but I was done for and after watching TV for a few minutes, dropped off and slept from perhaps ten until after six. I was slightly worried that I had picked something up (or that my synthroid was old) but I feel better this morning, and I intend to go into Port Lucaya later this morning to see the market and perhaps go swimming on the local beach.
I must say that everything is geared toward mega shopping and shore excursions and banal entertainment and enormous eating possibilities, and though one could spend a lot of time walking on board and working out, that is not a high priority. If my hands and arms were better, this trip would have been more fun, but I am glad I am doing it, especially since I am not sure I will be physically able to do another one. I have almost made my mind up to return home quickly when the cruise finishes because I want to try to figure out what I can do to help my hands and arms, if anything.

I did take a private taxi to Port Lucaya but it was worth the comfort of Aniska, the driver, going slow. We chatted amicably about the island and its 51,000 inhabitants, the various industries (tourism being prominent, but some oil and manufacturing along with a little agriculture), and the various hurricanes.
When Aniska dropped me off at the Radisson at Port Lucaya, I walked to the public beach and immediately went swimming. I was the only one actually immersed in the chilly water and with my goggles I was able to see the sea grass but no fish. The ocean was very calm and that was the highlight of Port Lucaya. Since I have several degrees in non-shopping, the famed market at Port Lucaya held little appeal for me, but the setting was attractive particularly by the water.
Aniska picked me up two hours after she left me off and that was plenty of time, as she had suggested.
Back on the ship, I walked some, chatted with Nia’s sister and her mother, and for a few minutes, Nia, and then went to the fitness room to work out. I avoided anything which hurt my wrists, but I did manage to do some weights and a few of the machines.
Back in my room, I was lucky to see that the Heat were playing the Lakers at 6 and I watched that while I worked on my syllabi. The Heat were very good, particularly defensively, and won convincingly.
After that it was dinner time and I thought tonight’s meal (with a ahi tuna and salmon appetizer and a turkey and stuffing main course followed by the melting chocolate cake) was better than average. One of the hostesses chatted with me for a bit, and I wished her well in her attempt to get off the cruise ship and into a restaurant.
When I got back I was tired and went to sleep until 5 in the morning, and dawn found me writing.
I still have a day left but I am clearly not a great fit for a cruise, especially with the problem with my arms and hands. If that had not been such a concern, and if I were with someone, I could have had a much better time. I remembered my second trip to the Blackwater river in British Columbia, where my ex and I fished for two days and my knee caused me a lot of trouble, and several times I screamed out when I twisted it the wrong way in getting back into the raft. Still, I fished hard and had a pretty good time. If my hands problem remains, I am just going to have to get used to the constant minor pain and the limiting stiffness. Otherwise life will become very dreary indeed. I also thought of my father and how difficult things became for him around sixty. I certainly have his genes although my knee problem owes itself to an injury in my late twenties.

My final day on the cruise was at first slightly boring, although I did some work on my long poem. Things started getting interesting when the weather started getting bad, with gale force winds and ten to twelve foot seas. A lot of people got sick but I remained untouched, although I avoided coffee in the evening just to be sure. I walked around the Verandah deck three different times and I really enjoyed the power of the wind and the rolling sea. I worked out in the gym, riding the bike for twenty minutes (and I can see that I have to ride harder at home to really get my heart going), doing some weights and using a few of the machines for my arms. I am getting the tone back in my arms and shoulders, but my hands still hurt, although perhaps a little less. I watched some football and a couple of movies since the shows didn’t appeal to me at all. I did go to the casino and lost ten dollars in ten minutes at slots.
Monday morning, my last morning found me up at 5:00 and after a cup of coffee I decided to get my stuff ready. I had already missed the opportunity for the crew to carry my bags but I can do that myself. At breakfast, I spoke with a few people who thought the cruise wasn’t very good, especially how cold it was the last day and a half. It was cold in my room and I wore my sweater to bed. The couple I sat next to thought the food was mediocre (which I had to agree with) and that this ship had been quarantined once and that some of the Katrina refugees had used the ship. I thought the overall experience was decent, and it did prove that I could handle some rough seas. We will be docking in less than an hour and I am ready for the cruise to end.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday turned out to be more pleasant. My arms felt better and I was able to do a little yoga and some light weights after a walk on the beach.
I went to have lunch with my Aunt Theresa and that was okay. I then went for a long bike ride and though my hands hurt, the pain was bearable.
I had agreed to dinner with my cousin Joyce and her husband Marv and I was dreading it, but it was quite cordial, the conversation lively and going on till after ten. Marv mentioned that blood pressure medication could be what is causing my arm and shoulder problems, so that was good news. I will have to talk to Rob about it and see if a different medication might help.
This morning I went for a beach walk, and that tired me out even though it was only a couple of miles.
I am now washing my clothes for tomorrow’s cruise and then I will head into Charleston for a walk and hopefully dinner at the Peninsula Grill.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I got off early, deciding that I wanted to take a hike in the Congaree National Park. That turned out to be an excellent idea, and I walked about 3 miles, mainly on the boardwalk and a little off it by Weston Lake. I heard plenty of pileated woodpeckers and saw a couple of deer. After finishing I was exhausted so I napped and after a quick lunch headed off to Charleston, only a little more than a hundred miles away. Everyone was driving eighty so my seventy seemed rather pedestrian.
I called my aunt Theresa and she was delighted that I agreed to come over tomorrow for lunch but already I can see that my visit is going to be longer than I like.
When I got to Wild Dunes, I went for a bike ride after watching some of the Eagles/Giants game and seeing the Eagles fall far behind. I rode all over, but about halfway through, I partially lost the vision in my right eye, or rather it was like a positive, and most of the shapes were in blue. I was pretty scared and thought I might be having a stroke, but after five minutes, my eye cleared and I continued riding for another twenty minutes. Boy is my body betraying me.
I got back to my room and to my surprise the Eagles were only a touchdown behind and driving. Mike Vick made a couple of fine runs and then threw for a touchdown pass to tie things up. The Giants got the ball back and the Eagles forced them to punt and the punt went straight to their best return guy, DeSean Jackson, and he raced in for a touchdown with no time left. An improbable victory to say the least.
I was going to go out and take a walk but I felt too tired and a little down so I just stayed in and watched the Jets play Pittsburgh and that had an exciting ending also with Pittsburgh just missing winning the game.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I paid for my golf outing last night as my shoulders and arms were in a lot of pain. I didn’t sleep very well, but I took another naproxen and that allowed me to drift off. Long nights are never good for staying composed and with the pain some loneliness set in. I missed my ex quite a bit but I know she has moved on and with all my health concerns I am not sure I even want to meet anyone else. As I told my friend Kelly a few days ago, I was feeling “old, lonely and vulnerable” and I guess that just about sums things up. My partner had ample justification for leaving me, but that logic doesn’t help very much.
Today I woke up and after finishing my grading and posting the grades, I decided to try to ride my bike before the rain came down. I went over to the park near Trade Street and though it was pretty cold and my hands hurt, the weather held and I rode about five miles. Then I walked around to the new Mint Museum and had lunch at Halcyon, located in the Mint. The food was very good and watching the snow fall for a few minutes had a certain urban beauty to it. I decided to e-mail my ex a birthday greeting which seemed the polite thing to do.
I walked back to the Discovery Place and went to see the 1:30 Imax showing of “The Alps” and I am extremely glad I am not a mountain climber. The photography was spectacular and at a few points I almost had to grab on to my chair.
After a nap I drove to the mall near Pineville and the traffic was intense but since I was in no hurry, I waited patiently and finally got into the mall after about 20 minutes. I decided to have dinner at Red Lobster before the crowds came and had a nice meal, and watched NC lose to Texas in a really close game. After that I practiced and then went for a long walk in the mall, finishing with a small cup of coffee at Barnes and Noble and the purchase of The Count of Monte Cristo. This is a book my friend Gloria has been recommending for years and it will be perfect for the cruise.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I am feeling much more upbeat. I got through the 5 inches of snow by staying at Rob’s and then spending hours shoveling snow for the neighbors—augmented with Wayne’s snow blower. Then Rob and I walked to the post office on University Boulevard and stopped at the Starbucks. We took the bus back most of the way, but it was still an adventure.
Today I drove out to my hollow and my truck made it easily up to the house and then I was able to scrape the snow off the road with the tractor by angling the blade. It did take me two passes but the blade did a fine job. My thermostat wasn’t working again but I left it on a little higher (at 60 it seems to stick) and sprayed it with compressed air in case dust is a factor. I left the water trickling in both sinks and there is really nothing that would be harmed if it froze. Mike is going to come check every 3 or 4 days so that makes me even more comfortable.
I am still not done grading, since the snow caused my Thursday final to be canceled. But the electronic final is working well and I should have all those grades done by tomorrow. Grades don’t have to be in until Monday at 5 so I have an extra day if I need it.
My blood pressure is stabilized and my wrists feel better and most importantly the colonoscopy was fine, and Rob thinks I may be able to go two years before the next one.
On the way down to Charlotte I stopped in Mooreville and got in nine holes of golf. My swing was not great at first but by the third hole I was hitting okay even though my four week layoff certainly showed in my short game and putting.
I spoke with my aunt Marie and she asked me to visit Theresa and I agreed. She has been very good to me and it isn’t that much of a request.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

These new problems with blood pressure and arthritis are disconcerting. I have spent over a year in my hollow (five years is my goal) with a bad knee. Now I am having increasing problems using my hands and the blood pressure situation is troubling. Does this mean I might have to move out sooner than I would like, and sooner than the economy will let me get a reasonable price? I have always said that if I died tomorrow, I would have no regrets. I had a good long term relationship with my ex partner; I have written many articles and books; I have become a competent jazz musician; I have traveled to many, many places; I have flyfished and kayaked numerous rivers; I have lived in my hollow for over 15 years. How many people can hope for such a rewarding life? I really do feel so grateful for everything I have been given. I am a little sad that this new stuff has hit me just now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It is 14 degrees out and Rob and I are going to go for a walk at 9:30pm. I will probably seize up and die but if I survive it should be something to write about.
I went out this morning for about five minutes to feed the trout and regretted every second. I can’t wait to get down to warmer weather. My ice cube trays froze up very quickly, so I guess the cold offers some slight advantage.
My dinner with Gyorgyi last night was a lot of fun, and I should see her again on Friday to help her move some furniture.
I was going to stay at a Comfort Inn down in Charleston but I decided to check out Wild Dunes and they had a pretty good deal for a room at the hotel, $104 a night, which was 20 more than the Comfort I was going to stay in. I will stay at Wild Dunes three nights, go on my cruise and then stay three more nights when I return from the voyage.
I gave my first final today and I will grade that tomorrow night while I am getting ready for my colonoscopy on Wednesday. I am not worried too much about the procedure and I think the results will be fine.
I was able to clean up my office some, getting rid of extra copies of magazines I have published in, taking out some old income tax and professional expense files, and sorting out my miscellaneous pile. Very productive.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today is turning out to be a waiting game. I would like to go up to Roanoke and perhaps have dinner with Gyorgyi, but the hourly weather report says that it will be freezing at 7, just when I would start driving home. It probably makes more sense to simply go home after I do my errands, so I am unsure what to do. I do have new tires on and it is only 1:30 so I am not sure if I should drive up there now, and see how things progress. I like walking around Roanoke, so that might be the option.
I did 20 minutes of bike riding and I went swimming at the RU pool so I hope that will help my weight and my blood pressure.
My grading has gone very well and I have about an hour’s worth left to do.
The oranges I bought from Maddie are excellent and I think I am going to juice some so I can use up a lot of them.
My friends seem to have so much going on, real problems with real anxiety, and outside of my pretty minor health stuff, I am doing quite well.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I went swimming yesterday and I rode my stationary bike pretty hard so I hope that will help me lose some weight and get my blood pressure down. I want to try to get off the blood pressure medication and today (the third day on it) my afternoon pressure was 137/67, much improved.
Today I rode hard on the bike again and I went for a walk up to the orchard. I vacuumed the house and cleaned out my instruction manuals. I also think I have the Quipp jump start device figured out (I can’t find the manual), but even though I installed the cables on the generator (I was so lucky that the generator is already set up for electric start), I am not going to try it out unless it is an absolute necessity, meaning that I can’t start the generator with the pull cord. I did charge the batteries for six hours, and they were low, both the first and second below the red. With bad weather coming in tonight and expected to last for 3 days, today was the day to get them charged. I also got one stack of movie questions graded and tonight I will start on the second batch.
Our performance last night was quite good, even though the audience reaction was non-existent. I practiced hard today and I should be able to do the Christmas songs next Friday.
I talked with Kelly today and she appreciated my gifts, for her, Alfredo and Lucia, and she has a third job interview on Wednesday. If she doesn’t get the job, then she would be paid for six months without having to do anything. However, at the end of that, she wouldn’t have a job, which could be real scary these days.
I am really looking forward to my trip to Charleston and my cruise. I am ready for some golf and some warmer weather.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A scary night. I got home around 10 and the temperature in the house was 48, so obviously the heater or the thermostat wasn’t working. I moved the thermostat to 70 and the heater instantly went on so I knew that I would have heat, at least in a few hours. I sat there watching TV bundled up and eventually lit the stove and two of the top burners. I thought the CO2 detector might go off but with the stove fan on low, I was fine. When I went to bed around 12, the heat was in the mid 60s.
The next problem was that my wrists were hurting more and more and by the time I tried to go to sleep, my right wrist was very painful. I couldn’t find a comfortable position for it so I kept waking up and a couple of times it hurt so much tears came to my eyes. I got up and I realized that I couldn’t start the generator even if I wanted to, but thankfully I had charged up the batteries the day before and there will be sun for a few days. Add to this my continuing high blood pressure and living in the hollow seemed a lot more difficult than I wanted.
When 8:30 came I drove down to the pasture and called Rob’s office and they told me to come in at 9:30. After waiting a little while, I got to see Rob and he told me that the wrist problem was from one of my yoga postures and that the inflammation was because I stopped the Alleve to try to lower my blood pressure. He told me to go back on a stronger dose of Alleve and he gave me a prescription for a blood pressure medication, saying that this would help prevent a stroke, which both my parents suffered, though in their 80s.
I am tired but I feel much better knowing what is going on and I may take a walk with Rob tonight.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The first snow, of perhaps five inches, came yesterday and it wasn’t much of a problem. I did scrape the road with the tractor around 5:00pm but the snow stopped shortly thereafter and I didn’t have to go back out. I had taken a hike to the orchard earlier and it was very pleasant to watch the snow fall and to feel the silence that a snow storm always brings.
My solar is working very well. I charged it and equalized it and last night it stayed at 100% and even this morning it was 100%. The battery was at 50.3 and I assume when I return home it will be below 100%.
I did a lot of straightening up in the house yesterday, and when I return today (after my walk with Rob and some shopping), I will do some more. Even with my regular culling, I still have lots of stuff I don’t need.
On my way in today the road was slippery and I saw four cars that had slid off. That’s what I want to get home by 3, and also to watch Tiger and see if he can win the Chevron Challenge.
I have to grade one more paper and then I am ready for tomorrow.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A good day grading and practicing in the morning and then driving up to Roanoke for a break. I donated my old sax to Valley Repair and they can use it for parts. I walked around downtown Roanoke for a half hour and then had a nice grilled tuna lunch at Awful Arthur’s. Then it was back home and since it had warmed up I decided to do some tasks.
I pruned the fruit trees so that I won’t get smacked around on the lawn tractor, then I took the plug out of the pvc pipe so the pipes won’t break when it gets real cold. I started charging the batteries and by late afternoon I had them to 100% (although I didn’t check what they really were with the hydrometer so I may be a little surprised in the morning). I also changed the oil in the generator so it should be fine till spring. I started to equalize the batteries but I will have to continue that tomorrow. I also went and cleaned up the Sisson road a little, a few bottles and cans.
My refrigerator experiment is working okay, but the temperature stays in the mid 50s—even when I fill the ice bucket--so that may be too warm. Fortunately, I will plug it in again in late February.
The peas, spinach, and lettuce seemed to have survived the freeze so I watered them and we’ll see.
I checked the 500 gallon propane tank and it still reads 87% so that is great.
I emailed another woman on but she didn’t respond so I guess I will keep trying.
I have set up my Vancouver trip (both Amtrak and Hertz), and I went with the 16 days out west adventure. That will give me more time to wander and also to see some of Plutonic’s projects if they will let me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It is getting very cold and I was pretty chilled on my hike this morning. The solar is getting a bit low but it should be sunny the next three days so it should build back up. I think I am going to stop working on the greenhouse until late February. When I got back from Thanksgiving the lettuce and spinach and peas had frozen and it seems a good time to end things for the winter. My icebox is working well and tonight I will freeze up five more trays of ice. The temperature inside the refrigerator is about 50, slightly warmer as the ice melts. I will plug the refrigerator back in in late February. I have ketchup, mustard, mayo, yoghurt, organic salad, half and half, and some shredded cheese stored and we will see how they last. My classes are almost over and that feels very good. This weekend will be rough with final papers in the Environmental Lit class and portfolios in the poetry class.