Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Good Day

Wednesday was a very good day and I think progress was made on the noise problem.   I got up around 9 and did the first part of my knee exercises, then decided to head to the Meadows and carefully play golf.  I walked very slowly so as to not pop my knee and that worked pretty well.  I shot a 7 under 100 and I used my driver a bit and hit it pretty well.  I then drove to Walmart and picked up some groceries, then drove home for a nap.  I got up, did my flute playing and the rest of my knee exercises, then met with Meghan and a couple of other people (one was a technician) and they all found the noise to be excessive.  The technician said that they would try to screw down the floor better and that should help and he is going to look into putting some noise proofing up (that is very unlikely).  I then went for a 30 minute bike ride going uphill on one lap and then decided to head out to Walker Creek to fish.  I caught 5 but it is a pretty lone drive, over 50 miles so I will not be doing that trip too often.  I drove home just as dark was settling in and made macaroni and cheese and steamed vegetables.  I did get another thing from Anthem saying I would have to pay 157 dollars on another claim, but that should get me to finish my 1500 dollar deductible.  I am spending a little more than I should be so I am going to have to be more careful for the next few weeks.  I am planning to go out for prayers and songs in about a half hour.   Good day indeed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Another Bad Night Sleeping

Tuesday was not such a great day although I think Hethwood is going to try to solve the noise problem.  I didn’t sleep very well, since the tenants kept making noise until 1 in the morning.  I knocked on the ceiling at 12:20 but that had no result.  I finally got to sleep around 1:30 and then woke up at 3:30 and couldn’t fall asleep for at least an hour.  I woke up at 7 feeling like I really needed more sleep but I couldn’t get back to sleep.  I called Meghan at 9 and reiterated my concerns and then when at least one of the tenants came back I called her and she came over but the tenant had left so I couldn’t let her hear the noise.  She later called and said that she was going to leave an email for the tenants and that she would come over tomorrow at 4:30 to try to see how loud things were.  I decided to go out since the apartment had become uninviting and as I drove in the light rain, I thought today would be a good day to get my bloodwork done.  Val was great as always and after Rob looked at the patch on my face, he recommended having a dermatologist look at it.  One of his staff made an appointment with Dr. Evans for Tuesday at 4:30 and when I called back I found out that they may remove the patch that day or do a biopsy.  It sounds very unpleasant so I will probably take a full valium when I go.  I then had a small lunch at Panda Express and then went to see the new Spider Man movie (which was highly rated) and I enjoyed that and didn’t spend any money since I had a 25 dollar gift card from the Gallos.  After the movie I headed back and got a nap in, then played my flute for 30 minutes, then got ready for RCIA.  That went okay but I was still a bit out of it from lack of sleep.  After we finished, I invited Mary for a walk at the Drill field and we had a nice walk, visiting the war memorial chapel for the first time, then heading back to Hethwood.  I ate a bowl of steamed vegetables and watched some TV before doing my blog.  The upstairs tenants are tolerably noisy but the real test will come at 12:15.  I can only hope for a decent night’s sleep.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Quiet Night at Hethwood

Monday turned out to be a fine day.  The tenants upstairs quieted down around midnight and I was able to sleep until almost 7.  They were a bit noisy but they left around 7 and didn’t return until around 5.  I got up and headed over to pick up the almond croissants at Our Daily Bread, and then headed for Jeff’s.  We smoked a little weed (one poke for me) and then listened to classical music for 45 minutes and it was very intense and rewarding.  Then we sat outside and chatted, then I asked Jeff if he would like to go riding and that was okay with him but before riding I treated him to lunch at Macado’s.  We rode about 5 miles, then talked of getting together soon.  I then drove home for a nap (the tenants hadn’t come back yet) so I had a very deep nap and had to struggle to get up.  I finally got up and did my 30 minutes of flute, then got ready to go to Holy Spirit, which had 16 people show up and Mary Bland led the singing and did a great job.  I gave her some money for the Welcome Dinner and I read the Gospel and did an adequate job.  After the meeting I drove home and ate a salmon burger and started my weights and yoga, and I hope to get to my jazz piano stuff soon.   John called and I left a message for him telling him how well I was doing and I hope we can chat at some point.  I spoke to Meghan at Hethwood and she is going to write a letter to the tenants about the noise and if it continues she will get more involved.   A very good day.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Whole Different Perspective on Hethwood

Sunday changed my whole experience at Stroubles Creek.  I had a very good day on Saturday and went to bed my normal time, a little after 12.  But at about 1:30, I was awakened by a lot of noise from upstairs and I wasn’t sure what was up.  However, after a few minutes of loud, almost stomping noise upstairs, I realized that no one had been living upstairs since I moved in on the 15th.  Whoever it was kept the steady noise up for at least a half hour and it continued somewhat more sporadically until almost 4.  At about 2:00 I called the Hethwood Visitor’s Center and left a message (mentioning my lupus and my chemo), then called the emergency number and talked to Ashley (again mentioning my lupus and chemo).  She told me there was no security to call and she advised me not to go upstairs and talk to the tenants.  Instead she told me to call 911.  Figuring that this was not exactly an emergency, I called the Montgomery county sheriff’s office and eventually talked to an officer who said they would send someone over to talk to the tenants.  However, the noise continued and I called back and the officer said that another officer had come and knocked but the tenants wouldn’t answer so there was nothing they could do (I had asked that the officer talk to me directly but that didn’t happen).  It was incredibly frustrating so I asked the officer to send someone again to knock and to talk with me and it was after 3:30 when two officers appeared (one, K.V. Craver) and they told me that unless they heard noise from outside the apartment, there was nothing they could do (I mentioned my lupus and my chemo and showed them the patches on my arms from the prednisone).  They would not go upstairs and knock and they advised me not to go up and knock.  They thought it better to wait to see what Hethwood would do on Monday.  I finally got to sleep around 4:30, having to get up for my volunteer work at St. Mary’s at 7, but the tenants woke me at 6 with more moving around.   After my volunteer work, I headed back to my apartment around 1:30 and thankfully the tenants were out and I was able to get a nap.  I dread what is going to happen tonight.   I am also having problems with my left side right below my belly.  My belly has grown larger than I like and that usually causes a little discomfort but today’s was pretty intense and I had to take 2 acetaminophens to combat the pain.  I have not eaten much today and I think if I can lose some of the belly, the pain will diminish.  I did go for a 3 lap bike ride (around 25 minutes) and that felt good although at first my belly really hurt.  I also read some Augustine while putting a heating pad on it and that helped a little.   Later I put a hot, wet towel on my knee and that also seemed to help a little (this was advised by Matt at Gardner’s office).  I watched the end of the Northern Trust golf tournament and it went to a playoff hole with Dustin Johnson and Jordan Speith, with Dustin Johnson winning by a stroke.  I emailed Sergeant Craver at the town of Blacksburg Police department just to have an accurate record of what happened last night.    

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Trail's End Road

Saturday was a fine day.  I did the first part of my knee exercises and also worked out my good knee some.  I did my full weights and yoga, played my piano for 25 minutes, and my flute for 30.  Then I decided to head out to Walker Creek and fish and wander.  I caught one small redeye at the White Gate bridge and then drove out to Mechanicsburg and rode down 738 and turned off at Trail’s end road and stopped at a nice spot that was pretty easy to access (the grass was cut right to the bank) and I caught 7 fish (a couple sunfish and the rest redeyes).  I could have easily caught 20 if I moved a bit.  I will return there soon.  I drove back to Blacksburg, took a nap then went for my bike ride of 35 minutes and a little bit of uphill work.  I had decided to go see the MacGregor/Mayweather fight at the Cinebowl but I realized that would put me in close contact with a lot of people so I gave up on the idea.  I drove home took a short walk, which I cut even shorter when my knee started to pop a little.  I will rest it the rest of the night and I may even not go out to pray and sing.  Rob’s mom is doing better and I hope to visit her at some point.  I offered to send flowers but Rob said wait.  I told him about the mark on my face and he is going to look at it when I come in for blood work this week.  I still don’t miss the hollow and I love how easy it is to live here.  I learned that my loss on the sale of the hollow isn’t deductible but some of the closing costs may be.  I haven’t budgeted them in so though it would be nice I will be okay without any extra deductions.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Meeting with Jen

Friday turned out to be an okay day.  I did the first part of my knee exercises, practiced my flute for 30 minutes (my jaw felt a little tender but it doesn’t hurt), then headed over to RU to see Jen.  I recycled all my mixed recycling and my cardboard on the way and then had a good session with Jen.  I showed how some things about the writing in the Bible that I thought were awkward but since she is a literalist I don’t think my lesson had much of an effect.  Hard to tell with her.  I also gave her a 50 dollar gift card to Starbucks.  When I got home I took a long nap, then, after a cup of tea, went for a 30 minute bike ride.  I lay down for a few minutes then got up and played my jazz songs on piano for perhaps 25 minutes and then turned to my blog.  After finishing this entry I will make dinner and I hope to go for a walk. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A four thousand dollar loss

Thursday turned out very well, even if I lost 5 thousand dollars.  I was able to do the first part of my knee exercises, finish putting all my stuff away, then drive over to Food Lion for some supplies.  I drove over to meet Claire Hall at 12:00 at Greens and we had a nice sushi lunch.  We then took a walk on the Tech campus and finished with yogurt from the yogurt place.  I drove home for a nap then got up and played flute for a half hour, then went for a 30 minute bike ride, then later a 30 minute walk.  I came home and made dinner then went out for my prayers and songs at the gazebo.  I still have my weights and yoga to do but I should have plenty of time.  The 5K loss is because of being on sick leave and a thousand dollar bill for my last chemo (I made almost 13K more because of the sick leave so that should reduce my social security by around 4K so that is a real hit).  On the positive side it will reduce my income for this tax year so I should get about a thousand back so it’s really a 4K loss.  I still will have a few thousand left after tax time and that doesn’t include if I get to claim any kind of loss on the sale of the hollow.  I am still not missing the hollow and I am still really enjoying the safety and lack of worry living in Hethwood.  I am sure at some point I will miss the hollow but certainly not right now.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My Knee is Okay

Tuesday was a good day, and I ended up practicing my piano, doing one part of my knee exercises, reading more of The Idiot and Numbers, riding my bike on the flat part of the Huckleberry trail for 25 minutes, then I drove out to Walker Creek and worked hard for one small red eye.  I got back just before dark and did my songs and prayers in the gazebo and did my weights and part of my yoga after that.  I am getting to bed by 12:00 and that seems to be working fine. 

Wednesday was a very good day.  I did part of my knee exercises, did some more straightening up (almost finished), and then got showered and headed to see Matt at Dr. Gardner’s office.   I was pretty scared that I had done some damage to the knee replacement, but the x-rays were fine and Matt checked out the knee and said it was fine also.  He did want me to keep riding less and staying on flat ground and just doing the non-bending knee exercises for now.  He also suggested moist heat to help soothe the knee.    I was real happy when I left.  Then I drove up to Valley Repair and Glen gave me a flute to keep (which I will if I can play it, but I will return it if my TMJ comes back).  I chatted with Glen and Tom for over an hour, mainly about Christian stuff.  It was nice to see them and I met Glen’s wife.  He also said he would invite me for dinner some night and I think that would be fun.  I drove home and took a long nap, then I got up and tried out the flute and I did very well with it.  I hope the TMJ doesn’t come back and I have to give it up.  After that I rode my bike for 30 minutes on the flat part of the Huckleberry Trail and that felt good.  I made dinner of Mac and Cheese and steamed vegetables, then I went out to the Gazebo for my prayers and songs.    I got a form from Anthem saying that over 900 dollars of my last chemo wasn’t covered but I hope that I won’t get billed that much.  Once I cover my deductible for the year, I assume everything will be covered again.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Good Holy Spirit Meeting

Sunday was a rest day, since I didn’t want my knee popping so I did just the first part of the knee exercises and didn’t ride my bike at all.  I did take a walk, very slowly so I didn’t bend my knee (there were a couple of pops but that’s all).  I did two sets of weights and the first part of my yoga so I didn’t have to bend my knee.  Had a nice long chat with Dave.  Also, I found my checkbook so I will take care of that tomorrow.  David Hamilton texted me that he was releasing my security deposit and I texted him back some tips on the hollow.  Then I went out to pray and sing at the gazebo. 

Monday turned out fine.  I called that bank and talked to Sherie and eventually everything was cleared up and I had access to all my money.  I took a short bike ride on the flat part of the bike trail and my knee didn’t pop but I called Gardner’s office and I have an appointment on Wednesday at 1.  I hope I haven’t damaged it enough to require more surgery.  I hope I can just rest it and do some therapy but we’ll see.  I did three sets of weights and three sets of partial yoga and the knee felt okay.  I also went over to the pool for the solar eclipse but they were out of glasses.  When I got back to my apartment two of my neighbors were out and Juan had a pair of eclipse glasses so I got to see some of the eclipse.  The Holy Spirit group went very well with a lot of singing and I felt good to be connected to all the good people there.  After it finished, I had to drive home in the driving rain but fortunately I now live just a few miles away so it wasn’t too bad at all.  I am still feeling very comfortable here and I am not far from having everything put away.  I really have too much stuff and I certainly needed the two bedroom apartment.  I am cutting up the boxes so I can recycle them and I still have the books to put on the shelves but I did one box already.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Settling In

Friday turned out to be a good day.  I did more putting things away and that was helpful.  I did my knee exercises and my weights and yoga, then drove out to give Dougie the battery powered chainsaw and he gave me a check for 250, as agreed.  Then I came back and rode my bike on the Tech campus then came home and ended up going out to the gazebo (about 150 yards away) and doing my prayers and songs (very low).  My left knee is hurting too much and popping some so I think I have to rest it more.  The biggest problem is that I can’t find my checkbook and I looked for it some and still can’t find it.

Saturday was another good day.  I slept okay (I have put a sheet over the window to cut down a lot of the light) and got up around 8:30 and did my knee exercises (and my knee popped a few times and hurt some) then I put together the light I bought for next to the sofa.  I was also able to get my new printer working but no luck on finding my checkbook so I called Union and they put an alert on the account.  I have to go to the bank on Monday even if I find the checkbook.  I still have no check from David Hamilton but I will wait a few more days to give him a chance to send it.  I went out to the Meadows and played very well but my knee popped quite a bit and my knee hurt a lot.  I am going to do my weights and then go do my prayers and songs later, using my portable chair, which is much more comfortable than the gazebo benches and the picnic tables.  Mass was very good and it was nice to Sandy Merrick.  I met a neighbor, Claude Steele and bought 3 raffle tickets from Joseph Mukuni for the Knights of Columbus.  Winner and second place get season tickets to the Tech games.  Overall, I am really comfortable here and amazingly I hardly miss the hollow.  I guess it was just too much for me for too long. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

third day in Hethwood and things are going fine

Tuesday was moving day and the movers were a few minutes late.  What surprised me was the size of the truck, which was there biggest one, not the midsize one I expected.  It took some maneuvers, but we got it up to the back stairs and the three fellows moved very quickly.  They were done in less than two hours and we were at Hethwood around twelve.  Getting my keys was quick and the guys moved the stuff in very quickly.  By 1, everything was in and I had paid them the 365, plus 70 in tips so the final cost was much less than the 1000 I had budgeted for.  I took Claire out to lunch at Greens and we had some of their artisan sushi, which was very good.  We returned and Claire helped me set up some stuff and then I told her she could leave at around three.  I few very comfortable even though I got a message from David that he wanted to meet me at 2 out in the hollow and there was no way that was going to happen.  I texted him back and told him that if he had contacted me earlier I might have been able to adjust my schedule but since he never responded to my earlier text I had no idea what he was up to.  I asked him to send me my security deposit as soon as possible and reminded him that we had agreed that I didn’t have to clean the house because I was so sick (his exact words were that “you have done enough”).  After a nice nap I drove out to White Gate and caught three little red eyes from the bridge and then went for a bike ride at Tech.

Wednesday didn’t go that well.  I had to wait most of the day for Grand to call and tell me when they were going to deliver my couch and they didn’t call until late afternoon, telling me that the salesman had fouled up and that the couch was not going to be delivered today.  I told them they should give me a credit of some sort and they agreed.  My second concern was the installation of the cable and internet and that was supposed to happen between 1 and 3, but the technician didn’t get to my apartment until 4:30 (Comcast agreed to deduct 40 from my first bill), and the installation went okay but unfortunately the fellow at Best Buy had sold me a router instead of a modem so I had to use the Comcast modem temporarily.   However, the technician got things fixed up and I now have cable (with the ability to record) and internet for 118 a month.  After he finished I drove out to Best Buy to  return the router and as I was leaving the store with the modem, the fellow at the door told me I probably needed a modem/router so I called Comcast and they agreed so I had to return the modem and get the modem/router.  I drove to Tech and rode my bike on the road to the Smithfield Plantation and then up to the frat section for 45 minutes.  Then I was driving home when I ran into Mary Gorton and I ended up showing her my apartment and then going over and chatting with her till after 12.  I was really tired when I got back but I ate some chili she gave me and a cheese sandwich and went to bed around 1. 

Thursday was a good day.  I did my weights and yoga, reviewed Barron and read a little more of The Idiot.  I took a bike ride around the area and saw sheep, cows and horses so that was a treat and the views at points were pretty wide open.  My knee was a bit of a problem but I got my 45 minutes in and then I got home, rested a bit, then the couch guys came around 4 and I was able to drive out to go play golf (the par 5 got me again) and then make it to the Reading Group with time to spare.  It was last session on Barron and it was very lively.  Mike and Sue are going to do it again in the fall and I can’t wait.  I’m sure it will be very stimulating.  I also signed up for RCIA and I hope that will be interesting also.    

Monday, August 14, 2017

Last Day in the Hollow

Monday has been going well. I met Claire at the gate at 9 and by 11:30 we were pretty much done.  I had put a good bit of stuff in my truck and I transferred it to Claire’s car when I met her.  We taped and labeled boxes, filled some plastic bags, loaded some more boxes and then had a nice lunch of Macaroni and cheese, peas, Claire’s sweet potatoes and strawberries.  I drove her to the gate at a little after 12 and then switched some more stuff to her car.  When I got home I took a nice nap then slowly got up and did a little more packing and loaded the vacuum cleaner into my truck.  I have plenty of room in my truck.  I drove in and got rid of some garbage, then picked up 5 boxes at the ABC store, then drove over to East Coasters and Ian had time to fix the bike so I left if and went over to Our Daily Bread for a sandwich and coffee.  My bike should be fixed soon and then I will go pick it up, probably take a short nap and then it should almost be time to go to St. Mary’s.  Tomorrow is moving day and I think it will go well.  The movers confirmed that they will be there at 9, and I don’t think it will take more than 2 hours to clear the house.  But the unexpected can happen so I am not going to get upset if things go slowly.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Dinner with the Gallos

Sunday turned out well.  I slept okay, got up around 9 and then began working on getting everything ready for Claire tomorrow.  I made a lot of progress but I need 4 more boxes and Claire is going to bring them.  I did my weights and yoga, my piano playing, rested a couple of times, finished the Barron reading for Thursday, washed the dishes, and got ready to go about 1:45.    I drove over to Dougie’s and left him the trimmer and the logging helmet along with the Kevlar pants.  I will drop off the chainsaw after I leave the hollow on Tuesday.  Then I headed to Grand furniture and bought a new couch for 476 dollars, including removal of my very old love seat.  I was expecting to spend 600 so I saved over a hundred, which right now will help.  Then I took a quick nap, and headed over to Olive Garden to watch some of the PGA championship.  The Gallos got there at about 5:40 and we had a good time, lots of joking and they could tell I felt a lot better.  After dinner I drove to Perry parking garage and rode my bike for 45 minutes going up and down the ramps a number of times.  Then it was time for coffee and dessert at Starbucks and my blog.  Good day.   Still no word from the Hamiltons but I decided to leave all the manuals.  I did also warn them about cleaning the dryer vent to prevent a fire.   Tonight will be my next to last night in the hollow.  I am sure it is the right time to move.  I am really done with maintaining equipment, pruning the road, opening endless gates, and worrying about fallen trees. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Rob's visit

Saturday turned out very well.  I slept until 9, got up and did my knee exercises, and got everything ready for Rob.  I drove down around 11:45 and Rob got there about 20 after 12.  To my surprise, Noah was with him and it was great to see him.  I gave him some of the remaining field guides and he wanted the old TV and I told him it was his.  He thought he might be able to get it to work better.  I wished him good luck.  It only took about an hour to load Rob’s SUV so I was able to send him off and still get a nap before doing my weights and yoga and my piano playing.  I then drove to St. Mary’s for the 5 pm mass and it was comforting, although I am doing very well and not anxious at all.  After Mass I drove to Grand’s but they closed at 6 so I will have to buy my couch tomorrow.  I want to deliver the trimmer to Dougie tomorrow also.  After that I went to Merrimac and rode my bike for 45 minutes, then headed to Macado’s to have a Margie’s Cashew Chicken salad, which was just what I wanted.  I emailed Kate after she emailed and said she was too busy to go kayaking tomorrow, which means I will save 70 dollars, which is fine with me.  I will probably head home shortly but a movie is still a possibility. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday, with only a few more days in the hollow

Friday was a good day, with a hike to the first stump, during which I realized that my hike would be one of my last in the hollow.  I returned and did my knee exercises, got a few things ready for Rob tomorrow, did 2 sets of weights and yoga, showered and shaved and headed off to meet Jen at 1:30.  We had a really good session, talking about Job and original sin.  After that I got a sandwich, then took a nap, and got to work on my blog, editing Lauren’s essay, and doing some email.  After I finish I will drive to tech to ride my bike in the Perry street garage since it is raining.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Another good day

Thursday was another good day although I had a little trouble getting up but when I did I went for a hike to the first stump, then did my sacred songs once, did my knee exercises, read more Exodus, washed the dishes, and did my weights and yoga.  I then lay down for 20 minutes then got ready to go and drove to Collision Plus, where the fellow there put the tailgate piece on in a few minutes and didn’t charge me anything.   I offered a tip but he wouldn’t accept it.  The I drove over to the Meadows and shot 10 under (90 for both balls) and really played well.  I have 5 nine hole rounds left and I should be able to get them in by the time the course closes on August 31th.  I talked to Gloria and she is still not doing so well so I hope she gets better by the time she goes to England to visit Bryana.  I talked to Dave yesterday and we had a long and fruitful conversation, especially about his upcoming talk with Erina.  I did my bike riding after going for a walk with Rob and got home at 10 and cooked dinner. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Good Numbers

Tuesday was another good day, with a walk in the morning, more Exodus and Vibrant Paradoxes and The Idiot, weights and yoga, piano and getting the TV stand emptied and cleaned.  I later drove in to see Dr. Trivedi and the news was pretty good.  My Hemoglobin was 9.0 (about a pint down), creatine 1.2 (almost normal), White Blood Cells 5.7 (which is good) .  The only real concern was the protein in the urine 13 (which is still too high).  If my numbers get better I may not have to go to any more chemo and I don’t have to go back for bloodwork for a month.  Christie gave me the shot to help my blood and it didn’t hurt too much.  After leaving at 5:15 I drove over to the Meadows and played very well (at one point I was 12 under and I finished 6 under and a played both par 5s from the red tees.  Then it was time to ride my bike and head home for prayers and songs. 

Wednesday was okay though the shot made me a little queasy.  I did a shorter walk, then did all my piano work, weights and yoga, dish washing, knee exercises and more Exodus, Barron and The Idiot.  I drove in to get the tail light fixed but Toyota couldn’t put the new piece in until I got it hammered out a bit and I will get that done tomorrow at collision plus.  The whole thing is only going to cost about 260 so that is not that bad.  I then had a barbeque sandwich at Due South and headed to my office to send Kate my commentary and edit Lauren’s revised piece.  I also updated my resume and took a good nap and I will be going bike riding later. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Dopey Driving

Sunday turned out very well.  I had a little trouble sleeping but took a 2.5 mg valium to get back to sleep.  I was able to do my knee exercises, all me weights and yoga, washed the dishes, and took a quick nap before getting ready to go kayaking.   I got there with plenty of time to spare and the trip itself was a lot of fun, especially the last section of rapids.  We had a very good chat and we are hoping to go again soon.  I had some food, left a message for Rob about walking, took a quick nap and I am now at McDonald’s doing my blog.  I had a little swelling in my ankles so I took half a lasix earlier.   I ended up heading over to Rob’s for a walk but since he was tired and so was I we decided to shop for a new TV for me at Best Buy.  I ended up purchasing a 43 inch Toshiba, the modem I need and a printer, all for under 400 dollars.  I then went bike riding for 35 minutes and headed home for dinner and prayers and songs.

Monday gave me a few problems, mainly that I hit a small tree while backing down my driveway and totaled the driver side taillight.   Visions of 500 to 1000 came to me but after I headed to Toyota, the whole fix should be less than 300 so that’s not so bad.   I did my knee exercises and cleaned the 4 bookcases I am going to take with me and I may be able to use a piece of my furniture for a TV stand, which will save at least 150 dollars.  I had a long talk with Kelly and she was very happy that I am doing so much better.  She has had a busy week but seems to be keeping her head above water.  It was good to have a long chat with her.  I will be heading over to Best Buy in a few minutes, then on to Holy Spirit.  I also had a nice chat with Judy and I am really hoping that I can visit Patty and her kids when I go out to Las Vegas.   

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Bit of a Catchup

Wednesday was another good day.  I started out with a hike to the second stump and took some pictures of various places to remember my hollow with.  I did my knee exercises, 3 sets of yoga and weights, all my sacred piano pieces twice, washed the dishes, and reviewed Barron and read a little more of Exodus and God’s long response to Job in the book of Job.  I haven’t gotten a response from David and Laura from my text but I assume they will respond at some point.  I got my blood work done and I am assuming my numbers will be pretty good since I am feeling so good.   I need to decide on a TV soon so I have to spend some time on that.  The Comcast technician is coming on the 16th so I need the TV by then.  I edited Lauren Fritz’s essay and I wrote a letter of rec for Claire Gallo.  I am going to go bike riding later and that should be fun. 

Thursday was another good day.  I woke at about 9 (more nightmares) and got busy pretty quickly.  I played piano, did my weights and yoga, did my knee exercises and read a little more of exodus and the ending of Job and reviewed Barron some.  No word from David and Laura.  My meeting with Kitty Devereaux didn’t go that well.  She was concerned about my lupus (a legitimate concern) but we really didn’t click.  I don’t think her team of Stephen ministers are going to vote to accept me.  No real loss.  I went over to the Meadows but rain killed my round and three double holes so I didn’t lose any of my rounds left.  I then ate a quick meal at Panda Express and took a quick nap before the reading group.  It was another fun meeting and I can’t wait for the final session.  I hope Deacon Mike does another book.   I also had a nice lunch with Claire Hall at Gillies and she is doing well.  After the reading group, I went for a 35 minute ride in the Perry Street garage.

Friday is turning out to be a good day.  I didn’t sleep that well, since I left a light on in the kitchen, but I turned it off and didn’t have to take any valium to go back to sleep.  I awoke at 9, did my knee exercises, then took a hike down into the pasture.  I took a couple breaks on the two stumps but I felt fine throughout the hike.  I lay down for a while, reading more of Exodus and more of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and I am enjoying it pretty much.  I then did three sets of weights and yoga and then headed out to play golf even though it looked like I might get rained out again.  I didn’t and I was 6 under after 7 holes but I played the par 5 as a real par 5 and ended up with a 9 and a 7 and I got a 6 and a 5 on the last hole so I ended up not breaking 100.  I then drove over to McDonald’s for a chicken sandwich and a quick nap and now I am at the Bburg McDonalds and doing my blog before I go bike riding.  I emailed Kitty Devereaux and told her I wasn’t a good fit for the Stephen Ministry.   Still no word from David and Laura but they may have written me at Hethwood so I have to check.

Saturday was a good day. Last night, however, I ended up killing the battery in my truck while I was talking to Dave even though I didn’t have the lights on.  I had to walk up from the pasture to the house at about 9:30 but it wasn’t too bad.   My knee held up okay and I ended up treating myself to spaghetti with clam sauce and some steamed vegetables.  This morning my knee was a little stiff but I hiked down to the truck with the portable charger I had (I put it in my good pack) but I really had no charge in it so I called Mike, then Chris and then Pat called and said he could come over to jump and he did, no problem.  I drove over to the recycling site and got rid of the useless charger then headed home for a well needed nap.  I did my knee exercises, three sets of weights and yoga, washed the dishes and read some more of Exodus and The Idiot.  I headed out around 3:45, talked to the folks at Hethwood about putting things on the walls (just spackle the holes when you leave) and there is a possibility I will be able to get in a few days early, which would might be helpful.  I went to the 5 pm mass and I felt very good and calm, and after it finished I decided to drive out to the bridge on Walker Creek and fish a bit.  It was a lovely drive and I caught a decent red eye and an even larger small mouth bass.   I stopped to get a pizza and ate only about half of it then drove to the Armstrong lot to ride for about 35 minutes.  Then to my office to print out the payroll withholding forms and do my blog.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Productive Tuesday

Tuesday is another good day.  I did a hike all the way to the gate, did my knee exercises, did all my sacred piano pieces, washed the dishes and finished Barron and read more of Exodus.  I then went to play golf and played very well, trying to use up my remaining 3 and ½ round credit which will expire on August 31.  Some of the greens are really deteriorating but it was still a lot of fun and I hit a few hybrids over 140 yards.  I then had a late lunch at Applebees and sent my commentary to the Roanoke paper.  I hope they use it.  I will head out in a bit to go bike riding. 
Here is the text of the commentary:
     Handling a serious illness is always a difficult period.  However, sometimes illness can occur that can lead to unexpected and positive results.  I have lived for over twenty years in Reese Hollow, 140 acres of white and Virginia pines, sugar maples and paw paws, red and white oaks, with the nearest neighbor over a mile away.   But he hollow is sold and I am moving into Blacksburg into an apartment where my neighbors will be less than ten feet away.  Why did I have to leave?  Well, I am 65 and I am being treated for kidney lupus.  I fully hoped to live in the hollow till seventy but my lupus and my age made it impossible.  Since December when I was diagnosed, my beloved hollow has become an overwhelming place to live.    
     Years ago I would hike all over the surrounding Pedlar Hills and up Paris Mountain.  Out west where I traveled almost every summer I have many, many good memories, of hiking the backcountry of Yellowstone, of climbing to the top of Mount Rundle, of backpacking in the Brooks Range.  I have many slides and pictures and I will have to content myself with those, even though I hope to get out West again at some point and at least drive through some of my favorite National Parks and National Forests. 
      To add to the change, I had my knee replaced over a year ago and I don’t think I want to chance wading again.  I still use my spinning gear from the banks of a stream, but wading the streams and rivers I loved, the Ten Sleep, the Poudre, Bear Creek, even closer waters like Wolf and Walker creeks, seems over.     
       If the lupus had any positive effect—and there are few with chemotherapy and prednisone and the other drugs I am on—it is that it helped me to return to Catholicism, the religion I grew up with.  I have confessed my sins, am going to Saturday mass, receive the Eucharist, and have started being active at St. Mary’s.  I think my illness has taught me to be more patient and calmer and since I am still an English Professor at Radford University (I will return to teaching in January) I think it will make me a better teacher.   More importantly, as Robert Barron writes, an illness like mine may “lead some people to despair, bur the spiritually alert person should see them as a particularly powerful way to come to union with God.”  I hope I am becoming this spiritually alert person.
      For most of my life my god had been nature, and I wrote hundreds of articles, poems, book reviews, and books about nature, my work almost always focusing on protecting the natural world.  The idea of a Christian God rarely occurred to me during my time of environmental activism, teaching, traveling and writing.  When I would take a hike in the hollow I prayed to a large white pine tree just off the dirt road and thanked the pine for another night in the hollow and asked for healing for friends who were sick or troubled.  For 50 plus years nature seemed enough of a spiritual comfort. 

     But now, after being diagnosed with kidney lupus in December and having immersed myself in Catholicism, reading authors like Thomas Merton and Barron, I have begun to see the limitations of nature as God.   Bishop Barron writes: “God creates earth, sky, stars and planets, the animals that move upon the earth and the fishes that inhabit the ocean depths.  All of these natural elements were, at one time or another, worshipped as divine.  So even as he celebrates them, the author of Genesis is effectively dethroning them, desacralizing them.  Nature is wonderful indeed, he is telling us; but it is not God.  And the consistent Biblical message is that this Creator God is not like the arbitrary and capricious gods of the ancient world; rather he is reliable, rock-like in his steadfast love, more dedicated to human beings than a mother is to her child.”   I still love nature but I am starting to see the tremendous opportunity I have been given to further a deeper and more lasting faith.