Saturday, April 30, 2016


Finally I have the electric connected and I am on the grid. Bryan’s assistant Sylvan came out got the work started at about 11 and by 3 everything was done. It is not exactly the way it was explained to me but I will be able to sell power back to AEP and I will be able to finally equalize the batteries as well as possible. And the price was half of what was mentioned earlier. It is a relief and now I shouldn’t have to use the generator much (thereby spending less on gas and polluting less in the hollow at least). I am done teaching and I have one exam next week so things are pretty easy. I got the curtains put up in the camper top and I drilled holes for the cotter pins that will lock the back while I sleep. I also fixed the two by four by the gate, emptied the compost and cut the grass and used the trimmer. I drove up to Salem and ordered a decent electric piano and that should come in next week I hope. Until then no playing. The cheap one I bought from Target was unplayable so I returned it. I called Andrew about visiting on the 13th but haven’t heard from him yet. I am planning to get together with Tina and Alana and I will call Nick to see if I can meet him. It is going to be a quick trip but it should be okay.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

the semester is almost over

My final day of class is tomorrow and then one week of finals (actually only one real final on Tuesday) and I am done. I was pretty burnt out the last three weeks but I am feeling pretty good right now. Had dinner with Gyorgyi this evening at the new Lebanese restaurant near Our Daily Bread and it was okay, but nothing great. We did have a fun conversation and I recommended some places around Lake Superior for her travels in June. I am very happy that Cathy Gallo sounds so much better. I talked to her yesterday for the first time in weeks and she didn’t cough once. My knee operation is set for the 16th and I think I have almost everything in place to take care of it. I hope I can get out of Heritage Hall in less than two weeks but we’ll see. I am a little nervous but I really need to do it. I will be seeing Claire Hall on Friday and that will be nice to catch up. Mike Young said he would be getting to my gutters soon and I hope that is true. I still haven’t heard back from Bryan Walsh so I am not so sure he will get the electricity connected until after I get home following the operation. My summer trip plan is up in the air though talking with Gyorgyi made me think of Lake Superior again. I will be leaving for New York on the 8th (assuming I go kayaking with my kayak friend) and I will be getting back Saturday or Sunday just before the operation. I will be eating lettuce from my greenhouse perhaps tomorrow and broccoli and peas soon. I have been doing regular hikes to the orchard and I am back to being very comfortable about my walks.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

health concerns

I got my bloodtest results so I can get the knee replacement on the 16th and there were two problems. The first, increasing my synthroid by 25 milligrams, is easy enough (that may be part of why I have been very tired for the last few months). But the second, the return of my anemia, is more problematic. Kelly, the nurse at Rob’s, told me that I could still get the knee replacement but when I saw Rob in the evening to put up a mirror for him in exchange for a home cooked meal, he was not as sure. He is having more tests done on the blood I had given and he said he may need more for additional tests. He also mentioned an endoscopy but I told him not right now. He said there were a number of possibilities and that if it is a serious problem the operation shouldn’t take place for now. That would be bad since my knee is getting noticeably worse (although I have found that if I am more moderate in my exercising, the next day is not as bad). I didn’t sleep well last night and I haven’t heard anything from Rob so I don’t have any new information. I had told Rosemary that I would be having the operation after talking to Kelly but I had to call her back in the morning after visiting with Rob to update her. I was pretty upset this morning. I am planning to go kayaking with my kayak friend on Sunday and I hope my knee is okay. I am also planning to do the dunk tank on Saturday afternoon and I hope that doesn’t hurt my knee. I finally got my bike rack fixed so now my tailgate opens fully with the bike on. The curtains for the camper should be done on Monday and my last concern, connecting the electricity, is still on hold and Bryan hasn’t called me back after I called him twice to give him various dates that I will be available. The third seeding of lettuce has come up very nicely and the peas and broccoli are doing very well. I should be eating some of the first lettuce this week. I heard a scarlet tanager this morning and that is always a memorable moment in my hollow experience. I have done a good bit of trimming along my road and some up the side road. I have been able to give some of my poetry students the grades they would accept so that will make the weekend a lot easier. I also was able to do that with the 321 final papers and that will cut down my work even more. With my health concerns, I really just want to get through. I have had several dreams about Tracy but there is nothing to do about things with her. She doesn’t want to be friends even though I would enjoy seeing her and doing things with her.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

two weeks of classes left

I had a good week teaching and yesterday turned out to be a delightful day. I woke up and my bad knee was really bad (perhaps from the fishing and two bike rides the day before). I could hardly walk and I wondered if I was going to have read problems. I put on the brace and played some piano and then ventured out a bit and I walked really slowly doing a few things outside. I knew I couldn’t play golf or perhaps even ride my bike so I decided to head out and wander. I wasn’t sure of where to go but when I got to route 42 I decided to head out along sinking creek which I haven’t done in quite a while. It brought back memories of Tracy and I looking for places on 42, especially the one on the stream that we almost bought. I turned up 658 and it was fun to see the Black Diamond property again (it doesn’t look like they have built a lot of houses there) but there were a couple new houses and lots as I approached Johns creek. I then turned toward Craig Springs and when I got to 636 I decided to follow Dick’s creek road instead. It was a pretty road and I eventually got to the Craig Springs Christian camp and turned around. When I got back to 636 I followed that up across the mountain and down to Waitesville then down to White Rocks campground and then followed the North Fork of Stony until I got to the parking lot I usually bike from and stopped and tried biking and my knee was okay so I rode for 35 minutes. I wasn’t going to fish but I found a spot where I could cast from the road (so no problem with access) and I fished for about 25 minutes and though I didn’t catch anything, it was a lot of fun. Then I drove into to Bburg for dinner at Indian Gardens and then a walk on the Tech campus. I had a good fishing week on the North Fork of the Roanoke near my cabin, catching 4 fish one morning and then 1 more a couple days later. One bass and the rest were trout. I reseeded the lettuce again but today I ate a couple leaves from the largest plant. I probably have 10 plants but I am hoping the third seeding will take. The broccoli plants are doing well although one didn’t make it. The peas are doing well and I should have plenty. I have been doing morning walks and have seen many of the normal spring flowers: first coltsfoot, then Trilliums, chickweed, spring beauties, purple violets, ground ivy, redbuds. The Louisiana waterthrush is back, and I have heard field sparrows, Carolina chickadees, pine warblers and I think the worm eating warbler. I cut the grass once and since the water flow in the ditch returned I am certainly not going to cut the grass on the hill or fill in the ditch. I did a lot of trimming along the main road today as I walked very carefully down the road. I want to get ahead so when I get the surgery things won’t be too bad when I return. I cut up some patches for the shed in the orchard and the grass I planted near the greenhouse is doing very well. My office is almost done and I am sure I can finish up in less than a day. The Coleman contest worked out reasonably well and the reading is on Tuesday at 7. I still wish I could get more entries. I did some more financial planning and if I work an extra year (from 66 to 67) I will clear about 1500 more a year. The question is do I do it for that little. If I don’t I only have 3 semesters left. It is tricky because I don’t know what I can sell the hollow for. If I could get 250K for it, then three semesters is reasonable. I would be able to pay Tracy the 20% I promised her, pay off my equity line, and still have a few thousand left over. Much less than 250K and it will be tight. I think Cathy Gallo is getting a little better but I am worried about her.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A real scare with my new camper top

I have been back since Wednesday and it was a bit of a rush when I returned from Denver. I taught my poetry class at 5 and collected a pile of rewrites (I have about 8 left for tomorrow). Thursday I gave part one of the final (the movie question on American Hustle) and collected the final paper topics from the 321 class. Friday was an intense day. I went to play golf at the meadows and then I headed up to get my new camper top on. I rode my bike at Anchor Sales for 45 minutes and watched some of the Masters and when it was done I drove off without my bike and had to come back from 3 miles away. When I got home I got pretty freaked because it would be almost impossible to get in the back without a lot of effort. I thought I might even have to buy the 23 to 30 inch top (mine is the 20 to 25 inch) and that could mean another 1500 dollars. I put my mind to work and struggled with the problem and later in a flash I realized that all I had to do was have the welder rebuild the bike rack so the tailgate would completely open and things would be fine. That was a great, great relief and shouldn’t cost me much more than 100 dollars. I went into town for dinner and then rode my bike for a second time, this time for another 45 minutes. I played my music and I needed a good fast ride. On Saturday, I got up pretty early but there was snow on the ground so I waited and commented on the endless poems before heading up to clear out things around the solar panels. A number of big trees had blown down, blocking the path up, but I got around them and cut lot of bushes and small trees and I think the panels will be clear through most of the summer. I had my pistol with me in my pack but I wasn’t too worried. The rabid bobcat should be dead by now and I don’t want to fear walking in my hollow. After a nap (and whenever I do anything these days, I seem to need a nap; I will be getting my blood test around the 18th so then I will know if my blood level is down or if something else is wrong). I did some more poems, then went and cut the grass for the first time this year and that went well. One surprise when I got home was that the water in the ditch had stopped flowing. I am not going to backfill it yet so cutting the grass was easier since I didn’t have to do the hill by the greenhouse. After I finished and rested again, I measured the curtains in the truck and moved the bike holder back so the back window can open without hitting the bike. I practiced some piano and did my weights and yoga and then showered and went into town for dinner.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

on the way back from Denver

Sunday was another beautiful day and after doing my yoga I headed off to ride my bike and then back for a nap before taking a cab to the Musuem of Nature and Science. The film on Robots was fascinating and scientists are really making remarkable progress with them. The rest of the museum was very decent and some of the dioramas were terrific. I also liked the history of chocolate exhibit. I took the bus back and the ride was fine, then got off and walked over to the Capitol Building and back along 16th Street. I had dinner at an Italian place at Larimer Square and it was exceptional, almost like the best New York pizza. I didn’t sleep well so I decided to cancel my tee time at City Park golf and instead did my yoga and The train left a few minutes late so I had to follow the championship game online but not live. It seemed like a great game and I hope to watch the ending at least on Youtube.

Monday, April 4, 2016

rabid bobcat and my paper in Denver

At least I have some real excitement to report. On Monday morning, I was considering doing me usual hike down to the orchard. I am not sure why but for whatever reason I decided against it and went down to the river to fish for an hour. No luck but it was fun and I returned home, did some practicing, some weights and yoga, and then got ready for class and left. When I got down to the pasture, the fellows fishing stopped me and were very excited. Mike Young, who was delivering stone for my road, had come up with a load and had his truck attacked by a rabid bobcat. He said it was clawing and biting at the wheels and that it chased the truck a fair distance. Mike is a big tough guy but he was scared. This was certainly upsetting and I was so glad I didn’t go for a hike in the morning since I easily could have run into the bobcat. That night when I returned to the hollow, I had made up my mind that if a tree had fallen on my road, I was not going to stop and cut it up with the battery chain saw I keep in the truck. Instead, I was going to back up and go to a motel. When I got to the road it was passable so I drove up to my steps, got all my stuff together for one trip, scanned the surroundings with a flashlight, and then moved as quickly as I could into the house. The next morning I drove down to the pasture (after starting up the generator after it was light) and called Mike and he was kind enough to show me how to shoot my shotgun (which I had never shot) and go over shooting my pistol (which I shot when he sold it to me). I did feel better having used both guns and I left the shotgun in my car on my way to Radford just in case I saw something when I was leaving the hollow or when I was returning that night. On Wednesday morning I had to do some things outside and I was very careful, looking all around before I got off my steps. I loaded the truck, attached the soaker hose so the greenhouse should be fine while I am gone and then left, no bobcats in sight. I called Gabes to tell him what was up and then texted him that I would put him and Julian up in the Hampton Inn in Blacksburg since Francesca was worried. When I got to Clifton Forge, I talked to the Police Chief and he faxed my new loan document and showed me where to park while I was gone. I rode my bike around the railroad museum and over by the Amtrak parking and got in over an hour. The train was right on time (4:15) and it was comfortable enough and I had a new chat during dinner with a realtor who knew VT and Radford. When we got to Chicago, we were about 15 minutes late but I still thought I could get a bike ride in and I hopped in a cab and in 10 minutes I was at navy pier where I was disappointed to find that the bike rental places hadn’t opened for the season yet. There were the city bike stands and fortunately one of the employees was there to guide me through and rent a bike, which I drove with my backpack on and holding my walking stick parallel to the wheels across the handlebar. Awkward at first but at least I was riding and I went along the lake for a good 45 minutes before returning the bike to a different stand, which three young men helped me get it secured and with the green light on. Now I should be able to use the city bike in New York and maybe on this trip to Denver. I walked back to the Amtrak station, stopping for a healthy spinach goat cheese salad, and then a few minutes after I got back to the first class lounge, train 5 was called and we loaded up. That meant that I should get to Denver on time so there will be no problem giving my paper on Saturday morning. The trip to Denver was uneventful although my room was pretty cold Thursday night (the room attendant had turned off the floor heat because on room was much too hot). We were on time getting in and now I had to get to the Grand Hyatt. No cabs were available so I asked a fellow if I could walk to it and he said yes. It was cold but I didn’t mind it at first since I needed to walk but after 5 or 6 blocks I wished I had done something else. If I had used some common sense I should have walked down to 16th Street and taken the free bus but it didn’t occur to me since I really didn’t know how far away the hotel was. I asked another fellow and he said it was only a few more blocks so I walked on, pretty cold and getting pretty tired. I could not wait to check in and get a long nap but when I finally arrived, my room wasn’t ready so I registered for the conference and then briefly dozed in a comfortable chair in the main lobby until my room was ready, about 10:30. I was scared I was going to get sick but I did not and after I got up it was time to try to bike. I walked down Welton and fortunately ran into a B-cycle stand where I was quickly able to rent a bike and in a few minutes I was on the Cherry Creek trail heading toward Confluence Park. There was another B-cycle stand at the REI Store at the park so I rode up to the Broncos Stadium and then back to return the bike (you had 30 minutes to check it back in or you were charged 5 dollars more) and then check it back out. I rode for at least an hour and a half and it had warmed up to almost 50 so that was very pleasant. I ended up back at the stand on Welton then walked to Marlowe’s and had a terrific Ani Tuna Salad then went back to the room. In the evening I returned to Marlowe’s for a buffalo meat loaf entrĂ©e then off to see Zootopia, which had gotten great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I could see why. What a wonderfully made film. I got up at around 6, showered and headed down to the conference. I had a cup of coffee and a egg and cheese sandwich from Starbucks and then it was up to the my panel. It was typical academia, but I got through it even though my paper was last. I gave it well and had a few questions after so I made a good impression. Later I spoke with Crystal and her husband (who was a sheriff’s deputy) and he agreed with many of my beliefs about how women should protect themselves by being careful with alcohol and by paying a lot of attention to their surroundings. We talked about political correctness being too much these days and that the Title IX stuff was often making people into victims. I had read about a number of cases where the accused person was not able to question his accuser, which is a basic constitutional right. I think this will be changed back to a more reasonable process in time. It was time for more bike riding and during the rest of the day (you pay 10 dollars for 24 hours access) I rode almost 3 hours. I didn’t have my bike pants or a helmet (I rode pretty slowly and very carefully). It was time to watch the NCAA final four but both games were decided very early and though I think the Villanova/North Carolina game could be a good one, I should be on the train when it begins.