Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Odometers... you used to be able to see them all the time as they clicked over a mile at a time, waiting for those milestones of your car's life, 40,000 then 50,000 and on. My more recent cars have reached the 100,000 point and beyond.. the 1984 Dodge Omni died at 84,000, my 1979 Triumph Spitfire had to be retired for a practical car when I joined the workforce. Since then, my 1990 Nissan Maxima was traded in at 205,000 miles for the 1999 Nissan Maxima I currently drive.

Well, yesterday while driving, for some reason I decided to switch over the display from the trip odometer (which is always on, showing me how I am doing on this particular tank of gas) to the overall display. It had just passed 180,000 miles... I missed it by probably a few minutes... oh well. Thinking back I realized that I was still married when I got this car... two years later I was separated, a few years after that divorced.. and now here I am at 8 years of owning this car. It has taken me to the Outer Banks, Rehoboth, and Ocean City on vacations, faithfully delivered me to work and back - day in and day out, escorted me on dates, tolerated the dust and debris of numerous horse farms. It only complained once.. when I stuck its nose into the back of an SUV one day, but that was soon rectified by my insurance company.

Some fellows get very attached to their cars, very protective. Maybe if I had a $60,000+ vehicle, I might?.. but then what would I drive to the horse farm? Am I attached to my current car? Well, it has been a good car... very few problems for all those miles. So to mark this mileage landmark... I washed it... something else that doesn't happen very often!

Now I just need to get the footprints back on the windshield, the bits of straw on the floor, and a pair of riding boots in the back seat, so all feels normal again. :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Doesn't seem like nearly a week since I posted last. I was in the dad routine... having my daughter with me this past week. Had to do some emergency shopping for jeans on Monday, since she seems to have shot up again. I really don't want her all grown up yet.. but it sure will be nice to be able to buy her clothes that will last a while!

Wednesday was my girlfriend's surgery to set the breaks in her lower leg. Was at the hospital with her parents to offer whatever support I could. She was in at 7:30 am and out at 2:30 pm, to go home to recuperate. I have to say I don't agree with this modern philosophy of medical care. She should have had at least a night in the hospital with the pain medicine on demand. Instead she had to suffer through it at home. She has her mother staying with her, who compliments her motherly nuturing with her past nursing skills, but it was still a long period of unrelenting pain. She is doing better the last few days, sleeping longer and finding the right combinations of medicines that keep her comfortable.

I got a chance to visit on Friday and Saturday, doing a few honey-do's, cooking a few meals, trying to play Florence Nightingale (OK that is tough for a guy). :-) I am hoping to be able to do more in the coming weeks.

Today my daughter was with me to go to our annual local horse event, the Columbia Classic Grand Prix. We sat in the heat and watched horses that I will never be able to afford, jump over fences higher than I ever want to think of my daughter jumping. I overheard a mother near me saying that if her daughter ever did this, she would probably have a heart attack on the spot. Only had one bad spill.. a fellow was launched off his horse into a fence, when his mount refused at the last second (he was fine)... sometime's I wonder how many people come to watch the horses "crash".. like in NASCAR? ;-) We saw a lot of people we know from the various horse farms and summer camps, as expected.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It was a very eventful weekend. First of all, thanks to all my Changing Focus friends who came out to the Art Gallery mixer on Friday night.. it was a great success and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Saturday I was up early to help with a photo assignment... my girlfriend was going to photograph the start of a sailing race on the bay and we were in a power boat, chasing down catamarans that were moving along quite quickly. The weather was a little chilly with the strong breezes and overcast sky, but we were having a good time until a series of unfortunate events collaborated to send her crashing onto the floor of the boat. She landed badly and broke her leg near the ankle in three places (as we would learn later). She was in a tremendous amount of pain and had to endure a bouncing boat ride back to shore to meet the ambulance crew, get some pain medicine, and then be transported to the hospital. She is home now... on Percocet and still in a lot of pain, awaiting the scheduling of surgery later this week to set the fractures and begin the healing process.

Sunday was my daughter's first horse show with her own horse. The last one was about 6 years ago at a different farm with a cute but unpredictable pony. She knows her horse very well now, and they did great. Two second place, two third place and three fourth place ribbons will now decorate her room. She really wanted to win an event, but was aware of the things she did wrong, and she, as well as her mom, stepdad, myself, various grandparents were all happy with the results. The next show is in October, and she is looking forward to that next chance to prove her and her horse's abilities.

So there were some very good times this weekend, but the injury tempered that and made me remember how quickly things can change. My girlfriend has a lot of people ready to help and praying for her quick recovery... I am one of them. :-)

Monday, September 10, 2007

"Popcorn workers' lung" Have you ever heard of it? I remember something about some fatalities at a popcorn plant some years ago.. but then I read this:

Exposure to synthetic butter in food production and flavoring plants has been linked to hundreds of cases of workers whose lungs have been damaged or destroyed. Diacetyl is found naturally in milk, cheese, butter and other products.

Heated diacetyl becomes a vapor and, when inhaled over a long period of time, seems to lead the small airways in the lungs to become swollen and scarred. Sufferers can breathe in deeply, but they have difficulty exhaling. The severe form of the disease is called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn workers’ lung,” which can be fatal.

Now I am a huge fan of microwave popcorn, it was the reason microwaves were invented I think, and it is a staple in my daughter's "diet". So should I be concerned? Reading further I find that the fellow the article is about is 53 years old, was eating popcorn at least twice a day for more than 10 years, and had a habit of inhaling the vapors from the bag when it came out of the microwave....which seems to be the worst thing to do. His doctor told him to stop eating popcorn and he lost 50 lbs and can breathe better now.

So for now, I guess my daughter and I can keep eating popcorn...in moderation.. but perhaps we should stop huffing the buttery vapors from the bag? (Article from NY Times)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I have seen some strange things in the road in my life. Watched a huge rear axle come off the truck trailer next to me on the way to work one morning. Have seen a sad variety of animals who fell victim to the hazards of crossing the highway. Was in an hour backup on 270 for what seemed to be a boot in the road. But today, driving my daughter through the countryside to a new tack store, I happened across a new addition to the highway decor. It was, as best as I could tell on my two passes by it.. a black bra. There were no other clothing items near it, no homes in the vicinity... just a bra in the middle of the road, in the middle of nowhere. Made me start to wonder how it got there... anyone care to fabricate a scenario where this could happen? Being a guy, I am not completely familiar with this item of clothing, but I am quite sure they don't fly out the car window without a bit of effort. :-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Was just filling out the school picture form for my daughter.. it's picture day tomorrow. What package to choose? Do I really need 283 wallet size photos? With her name on them? Maybe 4 8x10's?... I think that would bother her to have 8x10 portraits all over the house. I usually split them with her mom, but there is always something weird, like 3 4x5's, so then have to figure out who gets the extra one. Should she be retouched or as is? I think she looks pretty as is. Then the one that really confuses me.. why is it more expensive to have one background over another? The environmental background is the cheapest.. are they trying to get us to have all our kids photos taken in the trees to raise global awareness? Does anyone get the new laser background?

I settled on package number 3, on the traditional background - retouched (just in case she is having a bad hair day). Now if she just looks awake in the photo, that would be great!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I am watching SNL, it's a rerun, but I recall when this show first started. I was in college in 1978 when John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Dan Akroyd, and others were on this show. We had all the great sketches, Coneheads, Two wild and crazy guys (when Steve Martin would host), the Bass-o-Matic, Swill, Samurai whatever, and many more. Our college lives revolved around it, we would go out early on Saturdays, to be back to watch the show by 11:30. There would be a packed house in the TV lounge, laughing uncontrollably. Have not had that experience with SNL in a long time. Cannot even imagine a TV show these days that I would plan my evening around... of course with DVR's that is not really an issue. What are some of your favorite sketches from the early SNL days?