...the Elevated Record

Blog from the Hill

August

Happy August Last! 

August was scheduled to go out with a BANG! in the form of Hurricane Ida. According to the fear-mongering weather guessers on our local TV Station (WLOS, or as one of them calls it, Double-Yellow-S), while Ida wasn't going to run right over the top of us like Fred did, we could still get hurricane strength gusts and several inches of rain! We ended up with gusts of about 50kts and almost an inch of rain in Asheville. I'd call it less-than-a-pop by the end of the day.

At the start of the day, though, we drove to the Allergy clinic so Becky could get her shots. From there, we drove to Suzanne's house for lunch (Split-Pea Soup Extraordinaire) and Mah Jongg, also a bit extraordinary. I won the first game with a hand I had only attempted playing recently, a PUNG hand (I never play pung hands), requiring pungs of three different numbers (one in each of the suits), and a pung of North Winds and a pair of 5-Bamboo! Rather than let the game go to the wall (end with no winner), I was asked what I needed, and that tile was discarded next. The second hand, though, was spectacular in my eyes. I drew, initially: 20210831MahJongg

and in playing the remainder of the hand, I had pungs (3-of-a-kind) of South, West, Green, and Red Dragons, and a pair of East Winds, another pung hand, one I had never played before. After that, I "promised" that I would not win again, "probably". It was a kind of definite maybe on my part, but at least I didn't win again. Becky won the third game and Suzanne the fourth.

Monday Morning Bible Study was the last time we'll attend in person. It had been a Zoom meeting during most of the Great Separation, and when the Bishop gave us his blessing to return to the church building, we started "Hybrid" sessions, with some online and some in the Church Library. That doesn't work well, at all, and today some of the online attendees dropped out because they couldn't hear and we couldn't see them to know they were trying to ask questions or contribute to the discussion. So until further notice, we will be Zooming the Bible Studies again. 

After church, we decided to try out a new food truck in town, Bear Smokehouse. I bought two Brisket Combos with slaw and fries on the side. The brisket was the best part of the meal, though I enjoyed the slaw. I used it as extra lubricant to the brisket and fries so that I could swallow them more easily. It took me a while, having to chew each bite considerably longer than I would normally have done, then taking a bite of slaw and adding that to the mix before swallowing. It worked pretty well. 

Since I had sent in the Invoice for the website maintenance, the treasurer (who will be writing the check) emailed me with a few other items that she would like to have changed. It took about half an hour to make those corrections, so there's no need to change the bill. I appreciate the difference in appearance it made to the pages.

I forgot to mention, yesterday, that the Singers Masks I had ordered early in the week and were supposed to arrive then, didn't. So this morning at church, we once again had the joy of singing in masks that were so flimsy they plastered themselves against our noses and mouths each time we took a singer's breath, and yet were too substantial to allow the moisture of our exhalations escape. We had hoped to have the Singers Masks because today was the Bishop's Visitation, and we wanted to sing - and breathe - our best for the occasion. Nevertheless, we sang and "brothe" well enough by cheating with our masks. Becky, whose mask had two ear loops, hooked a finger into the bottom of her mask to hold it away from her face as much as possible, and I, wearing a mask with a single strap around the back of my head, lowered the strap so that it went under my ears and allowed the bottom of the mask to loosen up while still appearing to be correctly applied. 

When we got home from church, the mail delivery van stopped and delivered a package from Amazon. It contained our Singers Masks, as if to say "Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo!" It also contained a power strip that will likely prevent my electrocution. Before, I would plug in my laptop computer before switching it on, then unplug it after switching it off. Each time I plugged it in, though, I could see sparks flying from each prong of the plug. The new power strip has on-off switches for each socket. Now, instead of putting my fingers in jeopardy, it is already plugged in and all I have to do is flip the switch and turn the beast on.

The temperature was just 70 when I started to mow the lawn. This time, I got finished with the entire front lawn before I took a water break and rest period. Then I cut as much of the back yard as I thought I could, knowing that I was short of fuel. I got stopped before the gasoline was finished, so all's well that ends. 

After a shower and suitable resting-up period, we ate lunch, after which I bought some groceries. 

By the time I got back from that trip, I had several emails about the website that I had "finished up" yesterday, so I wasn't nearly as finished as I thought I was. I spent half again as much time modifying a second page on the site (I usually only need to change one page each year). When that was done, I typed up an Invoice to charge for my labors.

Early this afternoon, we had a call from Suzanne with an invite to enjoy some home-grown tomatoes which had only a day or so of life left in them. They were, delicious, of course. Since we were there and had my Mah Jongg chest with us, naturally we played a few hands. The first one, after the setting up of the walls and drawing our tiles, I lacked one tile of completing the hand. He had nearly exhausted the second of the three walls to draw from when Suzanne discarded the one tile I was waiting for from the the start. The second hand had to be redealt because Becky's hand had too many tiles in it, then my hand somehow became lacking of two tiles, and even Suzanne's hand lacked some tiles. We turned our tiles in and started the hand over. Yeah, I won that one, too. The third hand, under threat of bodily harm, I managed to lose - mostly because I chose a hand I had never played, never even heard of, and which had a very strange construct. Suzanne won it. We decided to leave it there.

Since Orkin had sprayed and dusted for wasps/yellow jackets (whatever, stingy things), Suzanne had not been using the Dinette for anything. That is, of course, where we ate and played MJ today. She reacted both internally and externally to the insecticide that is not supposed to have any affect on humans. I've often suspected she wasn't one of us, but now this! <jk, of course>

When we returned home, about 4:30PM, I first found that we had no Internet. When I picked up the phone to call in the failure to Spectrum, I found that we had no house phone. We also had no television. All three things were "provided" by Spectrum, so I reported the failure and learned that there was an area-wide outage near our home. At least our Spectrum-provided Cell Phone Service was still active. All service was restored by 6:20PM.

I've just finished Revision 5 of a website update. Wow! It's been just over a year since the last one, and I had to relearn the procedure all over again, again. This time I also had to modify the Template. I didn't recall having done it last year, but I must have, because last year's dates were in the Banner. It would have been easier if I had actually saved the Banner from last year, but I was able to pick the graphic from the screen with a ScreenShot and work from there. Life would be so much easier if I hadn't known so much and forgotten it so easily. But what's life without a few challenges, anyway?

 

With another eight-hour sleep behind me - very rare for me to sleep past six hours - I was up and dressed with nowhere to go until 9:45. That's when we left to visit the allergists for Becky's shots, then Starbucks for our coffee, followed by the carwash. The carwash didn't take the bird dukie off the fuel door, so I'll have to tend to that myself, I guess. Later in the day, I drove to the grocery stores, but not until I went back in the house to get Becky's key to Yoda. Apparently 18 months is a bit of a drain on the key's battery. After the first store, where I would buy some things that our main store does not carry, I dropped in at Batteries + to get fresh batteries put into our YodaKeys, since I didn't want hers to quit, also. Then after shopping for our future meals and some extras, I returned to the car just as the thunder started to the northwest of the store. I drove home in a very sparse rain, while I'm sure it was raining to beat the band nearer the Tennessee line.

We had a restful day, today, up until Choir Practice this evening. Since next Sunday is the Bishop's Visitation, we wanted to put some polish on the two anthems we will be singing, and we practiced the psalm that we will be chanting, since we have four new choir members who have never sung our Music Director's setting of plainsong that we have used in the past and will be using Sunday. Then we had some new music to read through, none of which was technically difficult and will be easily learned. 

I got some information from my brother Lloyd. 1807 & Friends will be having a season afterall, starting on September 20th, so I will have only a few days to get their website updated and published. Normally it doesn't take more than a few days, but there are many changes to make this year, with deletions (always want to be very careful about deletions). Still, I ought to have it on line by September 1st, at least in a form we can tweak and polish.

This morning, as Becky drove herself to her appointment at Allergy Partners, I waited another 45 minutes and drove myself to my appointment with the Urologist. They did the usual serum studies, urine and blood, prostate exam and review of my medical history and present day wellbeing, then pronounced me hale and hearty with a return visit one year from now (actually August 31, 2022). 

After Becky returned from her appointment, having received only one of the two injections she was scheduled to get, she received a call from the Allergy clinic to say that they have just received the serum. At her next appointment she will receive both Trees and Grass treatments. 

I made the decision not to attempt to rehabilitate my 11-y-o HP computer for use as a desktop Kubuntu one. Instead, I will run with the Windows computer (Lenovo) in the office and the Kubuntu ones (Asus and Toshiba) in the living room. I will have to investigate the possibility of installing Kubuntu into the Lenovo computer as a dual-boot installation so that I can have both Windows and Kubuntu available in the office. 

Happy LunaVersary! 

It's that special time of month again, our monthly celebration of our marriage. 

We started out the day with me trying my best to boot my oldest computer, the 11-y-o HP one, from a DVD and then from a USB Memory stick. It didn't work, and in the end I had to leave the computer running the installation while Becky and I went to the Bible Study at church. Fr. Mike led the study in fine style, and we had a great discussion of the Beatitudes. 

When the Bible Study was done, we went to TGI Fridays for a Million Dollar Cobb Salad each, and brought most of the Grilled Chicken home with us, because one of those salads is far too much for either one of us to eat (I tried, of course). 

When we got home again, I went again to the computer, found that it was not, in fact, booted up with Kubuntu. In fact, it was not, in fact, booted up with anything. In fact, it can no longer be booted up with any OS! When I learned that the computer is 11 years old, I decided against taking it to Geek Squad for investigation, because it would cost more than it is worth to repair it. The best thing I can do at this point is to remove the relatively new disc drive (2-Terabytes) for use elsewhere, and junk the rest.

Becky stayed home from church today. She was feeling off when she got up, so I went in alone. It was a reversal of last week in that Mother Milly officiated the Liturgy and Fr. Mike delivered the sermon. Oddly enough, though she has twice voiced a preference to be called Mother Milly, most of the congregation calls her Reverend Milly. She did admit, though, the second time she suggested "Mother" that it might sound a bit strange having both a Mother and Father as priests. 

This afternoon, Becky and I slept through the Addams Family, at least in part. We had to catch up on some sleep that we didn't get overnight. At least that excuse can apply to Becky, because I did get seven hours sleep. 

This evening I'm having an Adventure. I had booted up both the desktop computers (Linux and Windows ones) to listen to some music while I worked on a few puzzels. When I shut the windows computer down, the music stopped playing on the Linux computer. It will not reboot!. Well, it is an old computer. It was Becky's computer that was replaced about 4 or 5 years ago, and though the hard drive had been evaluated as having exceeded 90% of its life, I set it up with Ubuntu and used it as my desktop Linux computer. About a year later the hard drive did fail, so I bought a new one, reloaded Ubuntu, and kept on using it. I'll take it in to the Greek Squad tomorrow to see what can be done for it, and if nothing can, then perhaps it would be time to abandon Windows altogether and load Kubuntu (my present Favorite Linux distro) into it. That will mean, of course, I might have to learn to create my own Joomla! templates, because the template creator program I've been using is Windows Only.

I arose at 7:30, showered, then looked up the hours of operation for my new barber. It said 9-1:30 on Saturdays. I got there at 10. The shop was closed. That makes the second time I've driven to that shop and it turned out to be closed. So far I have gotten one haircut there. It was a good haircut, and I've made an effort to remember the barber's name so I could request her each time. So much for good intentions. I guess my 5th-grade teacher was right when she said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. 

In order to drown my sorrows, I stopped at Starbucks on the way home from the non-barber shop and brought two lattes home with me. The rest of the day has been a waste, um, I mean restful.

Today I received a file from the State Consumer Protection office. Attached to the email were two forms, one just to explain the process that the office will go through to investigate my complaint against Lazyboy, and the other to be filled out by me in as much detail as I can remember. I'm sure I will have to redo the second form because some of the times I remembered did not agree with my calendar entries. Still, it will be a step in the right direction. Sure enough, though, filling out the form reawakened all the anger of the situation, and I'll have to do some serious meditation to get my blood pressure to go back to its proper numbers again. Tomorrow I'll redo the form and get it into the mail.

I had an early appointment with the chiropractor this morning. I was supposed to get there at 8:45, but I was there at 8:30. Normally, I would have been there 10 minutes earlier, but the traffic from home to the east end of the crosstown I-240 (five miles) took longer than anyone expected. Apparently, everyone was on the same roads as me, and we crawled along at half the speed limits. Nonetheless, when I got there, I waited only five minutes to get into the treatment room and less than five before the Doctor got around to me. I left his office five minutes after my appointment time and got home in time to take Becky for her allergy shots. 

On the way home, naturally, we had to stop at Starbucks for our conciliatory cup of coffee, which we enjoyed while watching the morning news (which we always record so we can watch it when we're good and ready). After lunch, I drove to the grocery store. After shopping at two different stores and finding all but half of the things on my list, I drove home in the driving rain. Three-tenths of a mile from my exit, traffic on the Interstate slowed to 20 MPH. I finally got to the exit and left the highway about the same time as the rain lessened to reasonable amounts. Yeah, it was only 1.7 inches of rainfall, but it fell in less than 10 minutes.

Another Rope Yarn Sunday. Rather than launch right into laundry this morning, though, I did more recovery on my laptop computers (Asus and Toshiba). I was able to restore the documents and music files into Kubuntu that I had backed up from Asus running MX-Linux. I didn't have any data on the Toshiba when it ran MX-Linux, so there was nothing to go back into Kubuntu. I also made a full backup of my HP Desktop running MX-Linux so that when I get a wild hair up my nose I can load Kubuntu into it and recover my data into that new OS. 

Becky went to Asheville Imaging for her annual mammogram, and I opted to remain at home to finish my work on the Asus. When she returned home, I started the laundry, so it did get done today, after all.

I visited the chiropractor this morning and complained of a noisy neck. He did some deep-tissue massage to loosen the muscles in my neck and shoulders, then he corrected the misalignment at the base of my neck. It still makes noise, but not the same as the last time. Nevertheless, I'm going to visit again Thursday, and that should be the end of the corrective manipulations to recover from the fall over a week ago, now. 

At the same time, Becky went to the Allergy Partners for her bi-weekly shots. Like last time, though, there was only one shot. Last week they ran out of the serum for her second shot and it has not been replenished yet. I'm hoping that, with just one shot to contend with for a week, her body will respond more readily to it and maybe gain some ground before the second one comes back to muddy the waters again.

Today was a day of rest, but I took very little rest. I started by carting the trash and recycling to the curb, then I came inside and fired up my Windows computer for my morning "Are-you-Awake?" games. Turns out I was awake enough to finish them with a perfect score for the day. Then I started to work on my recently-transitioned laptop. I transitioned it from MX-Linux to Kubuntu, as I've likely said a few times already, and so far I haven't found out how to do some of the things I knew how to do in MX. The good news is that I found out how to do one of the things that has been eluding me. I found out how to create a Persistent Live USB stick, so no matter whose computer I'm sitting at, I can boot up into Kubuntu-on-a-Stick and do emergency surgery on a website, if needs be.

This morning was our installation of Fr. Mike as Priest Associate at Grace Church. He's young and unused to officiating at a service, but I imagine that he will learn our ways rather quickly.

I was having trouble with MX-Linux. Oh, it worked quite well, but three times, when one of the members of the WNCLUG (Linux Users Group) posted "How To" tutorials, they didn't work for me. He was gracious and did some research to find out how it had to be done in MX-Linux and led me through the modified procedure. In order to save me that same frustration and him that same duplicity of efforts, I have changed my OS again.

When I started with Linux, I had installed Ubuntu. Not only was it fun to learn to use Linux, but it was a fun name to speak. Ubuntu 20.04 worked well, but I wanted something more, so I investigated Kubuntu. It's the same as Ubuntu with the exception of the Desktop Environment. While Ubuntu uses Xfce, Kubuntu uses Kde with a Plasma display. Yeah, I know this means as little to you as it does to me, but that's all I know about it, so I have to share my half-vast knowledge with you.

Early to bed and early to rise? Yeah, I went to bed at 1:00 AM and was up at 7:30. I'm paying the price for it at this time (9:48 PM), [YAWN]. I did doze a bit during our matinee, not so much because I was that drowsy, but because it was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets which we had seen just last week. Ordinarily, we give it six months between showings, but last week, when we got up to HP and the Order of the Phoenix, the DVD would pause, then skip ahead as though it hadn't paused, several times. It was likely imitating us taking naps during the movie, though we weren't. I reasoned, rightly so I think, that we had finally worn out at least one of the discs. In order to rectify the situation, I bought a set of the eight Harry Potter movies on BluRay discs. Now instead of having a 6" stack of DVDs, we have a 1.25" box of BluRays. Naturally, when the BluRays arrived yesterday, we had to start the series over again. It wasn't the best idea we've had this year, but it is what it is.

Friday the Thirteenth came on a Friday this month!

We had three deliveries today. The Post Office delivered two bags of coffee from the Mystic Monks - Butterscotch Cream - and some spices from Savourly Spice (Georgia Peach Seasoning and Honey Powder). Then later in the afternoon, we received the replacement Harry Potter movies - BluRay discs, this time. 

In the meantime, I've been busy getting Ubuntu set up on my Asus laptop and the Toshiba Netbook. It's has taken a while because Ubuntu works differently from MX-Linux. It has taken me a while to remember how to do the easy things. I've gotten it pretty well whipped into shape.

We had another wonderful lunch at Suzanne's. She prepared Calabrese Salad, Stuffed Portabello Caps with Chicken, Guacamole as only she can prepare, and Dark Chocolate Toffee Coffee (from the Mystic Monks). As we ate, we beat each other in Mah Jongg. By now you realize that food is pretty much secondary to Mah Jongg. We get together to play as much MJ as possible before someone develops severe Butt-Bumps and opts for a softer seat. The food is just to take our minds off the ensuing posterior discomfort for a little while longer. I forgot how many hands we played today, but we did each win at least one hand. 

Becky and I have completely worn out our DVDs of the Harry Potter movies. We were watching #5, The Order of the Phoenix, when suddenly the movie stopped playing. I ordered a complete set of BluRay discs of the same movies determined not to even try to watch the last three movies until we receive the new discs. They were projected to arrive today. Of course, Amazon has dropped the ball on that delivery. They said they were sorry that the delivery is late. "Most late orders arrive in a day." Yeah? Which day? They said I can expect to receive the order from August 13 - 19!

We had our monthly visit with the chiropractor this morning, and he found some new misalignments in my mid-back and neck. I'm pretty sore, now, but I'm sure to feel much better in a few days.

This evening, we ate dinner with Jim and Carol Reuter at Rye Knot. It was their first experience there, and while it isn't the quietest restaurant we've eaten in, they do have outdoor seating that we may well opt for in the future. Jim is rather soft-spoken, and my ears don't respond well at the pitch he uses for speech, anyway, which makes a conversation more difficult for me in less than quiet surroundings. Still, we enjoyed the meal immensely.

I met my new dentist today. She is Dr. Bridge (appropriately named, of course). Like all the dentists at MAHEC, she's straight out of Dental School and is serving her Residence. She is quite thorough, not just in examining, but having also read my record so she didn't have to remark about everything that had already been found. She did say that there is one tooth we need to keep an eye on, that they've been watching for four years, now. Other than that, I'm all polished up and in good oral/dental health. 

The Men of the Church met this evening for socialization, dinner, and a business meeting. We didn't decide much tonight other than where to meet next month. One of these months, I'm going to have to be on the dinner-prep team, though I keep begging off under the guise of not wanting to poison anyone. I guess if they want fried cheese, mini-sausages, gluten-free toast and store-bought cole slaw, then I'm up for the challenge.

I had thought I would have nothing to record, today, but just a few minutes I was offended by one of my more favorite facebook pages, High Church Coyote (Episcopal Humor). Someone posted that Double-Stuff Oreos should be called Regular Oreos, and the regular Oreos should be called Diet Oreos. A second person commented on that post that there are Oreo Thins. Then I posted that Oreo Thins should be called Wafers. HCC removed my post explaining that it went against their [code of ethics, or something]. So what? Wafers is not a perjorative, obsene or inflamatory word, is it?

I've left the group so I don't somehow offend them again.

In church this morning, we celebrated the first anniversary of our new Rector. She came to us during the Great Separation, preached to a very empty building with her services being broadcast on YouTube (they still are) with the barest of help: an organist, a Lector, an Intercessor, and a Verger, not to mention the technician(s) to broadcast the service. As the restrictions eased and the Bishop started allowing 10s of attendees in masks, then half-capacity in masks, then full capacity in masks, that's when the choir came back together in masks. It isn't easy to sing in a mask, so we were elated when the mask restriction was lifted. Of course, many of the congregation still wear the mask, erring on the side of caution. Now we are thinking that the mask mandate that goes into effect tomorrow will have us, once again, singing through mufflers, as it were.

We had another invitation to Suzanne's today, and this time we did play Mah Jongg. We graciously allowed her to win the first hand (mostly because we couldn't prevent it), then I won the second, and Suzanne won the third. Then she had to transition to a softer chair. Today we only killed half a dozen wasps.

Other than a trip to the grocery store again, neither of us did anything noteworthy today.

Becky drove herself to her Allergy Shots this morning so I could stay home and do the laundry that I didn't get done yesterday as I should have. Then in the afternoon, I visited the chiropractor again, after which I went to Target to get some non-lotion Puffs tissues, one of the few places in town where they are available for some reason. From there, I went to Okie Dokie Smokehouse for some pulled pork for supper. There was enough in one meal to have fed us, so that gave us a second meal from the same purchase.

Still a bit sore from Saturday's fall, I visited the Chiropractor today. He identified more subluxations reaching upward on my spine, and they took a good bit of pressure to get them ironed out. I left his office feeling much better, with orders to return the next day. When I got back, we went to Suzanne's for lunch and a coincidental wasp-swatting session during which we bagged a dozen of them. Suzanne is deathly allergic to bitie-stingy venoms of all kinds, so naturally was the ring-leader of our attack. She has no idea how they're getting into her house, though she has searched for a hole in the wall or an interior nest. We did not play Mah Jongg today, which may be more actual NEWS than when we do play.

Lazy-Boy has done it again. For the second time, I received a call from them to say that the request for repairs has been declined. In their unimaginable "wisdom", they have decided that the damage was caused "in-home", that is to say by me, and therefore I must pay for any repairs from this time onward. I am at my limit with them, and will be seeking legal recourse to 1) have the loveseat repaired or replaced as necessary, or refund the full purchase price, and 2) compensate me for the mental anguish I have suffered from their refusal to repair or replace as necessary as their salesman promised they would before I ever bought the furniture, and 3) compensate me for further aggravating my lumbar scoliosis by letting me sit on a broken chair. 

First thing this morning I paid a visit to my chiropractor. He examined my spine and said it was misaligned (which I knew), and that I needed a few sessions to get it back into some kind of more proper shape. Then Becky and I went to Starbucks, then to Bible Study. We spent the rest of the day at home trying to catch up with reading. I took it as a post-traumatic rest day.

Happy August Fools Day! 

Today marks the first anniversary of our new Rector's installation at Grace Church and her return from vacation. In two weeks we will install our new Priest Associate. Another two weeks after that, Bishop José will visit Grace to make their installations official and to Confirm any new members. 

After yesterday's fall in the garage, I've been pretty sore. The bruise on my thumb was immediately obvious, but the pain disappeared very quickly as the thumb became numb. The distal joint is still free and it doesn't hurt to move it. What wasn't visible until today were the bruises on the palm of that same (right) hand and wrist, nor the bruises on the heel of my left hand and palm. My left elbow has stiffened up during the day, as has that shoulder. My lumbar spine is also very sore as is my left knee. I guess at age 74 I can't expect to come away from a fall without some bruising. 

On the plus side, my neck is unaffected and I didn't bump my head, so even the concrete floor is unbroken. Additionally, I spent a lot of time learning how to generate QR codes in my Linux computers. So while others are buying QR codes from various sources, I can make my own. There are still some things to learn about them, but I've made two of them successfully.