...the Elevated Record

Blog from the Hill


November 30, 20/20

Happy St. Andrew Day!

Happy November Last!

Today I had to do more "work" on my MX Linux desktop computer. When we found we could transmit no sound yesterday at Coffee Hour, I was afraid that my new Web Cam had gone bad already, The first thing I did was plug it into Becky's Windows computer, and it worked wonderfully well, so we attended Monday Morning Bible Study from that corner of the office. Then I removed it from her computer, plugged it into mine again, hoping Plug-n-Play would correct the problem. It did NOT! So I tested it on a different app (Cheese), and sure enough there was no sound, so it wasn't Zoom's fault, nor the camera's. So I started looking at the audio volume control app, found that there was "nothing connected" designated for the microphone. As Adam Savage (of Mythbusters) would say, "Well, THERE's your problem!" Oddly enough, there was a selection that said Web Cam, so I selected it, then I turned the volume up from 2/3 to full, and now I have to speak in a conversational tone of voice so as not to overdrive the amplifiers!

With that problem solved, we practiced Salamu Maria for the rest of the morning so I could sing it at Compline, went to the store, napped - you know, a full day.

When it was a few minutes til 8PM, I initiated Facebook Live Video on the Church's account, then waited for the top of the hour, greeted the attendees and introduced the hymn Salamu Maria. Would you like to hear it? After the hymn, of course, you can keep listening to my mother's poem, Tonight, Ring Quietly, as well as the rest of Compline if you're so inclined. As I explained in the video, I've never sung it correctly all the way through. It must have something to do with not actually knowing the language or being 100% able to read it right.

 November 29, 20/20

First Sunday in Advent!

The church service this morning was a little disappointing in that the video wasn't a video, but a photograph. We looked at the outside of the building while everything that went on inside the building was done well, as usual.

When it came time for the Virtual Coffee Hour was frustrating on two levels. First, I couldn't start Zoom! It took me a while to realize I had loaded my Operating System, but I hadn't reloaded the Zoom software. I tried several times to load it, then gave up and googled "How to load Zoom in Linux" and was steered in the right direction immediately. a minute later, I was on line with the meeting. Then I couldn't be heard by the other participants. I had to resort to the Chat feature to ask a question about the podcast they were discussing. It took three tries to get the correct information, and then when I tried to load the podcast into my "PodCatcher", it wasn't findable. Maybe next week will be better.

November 28, 20/20

Early this morning, Becky and I were invited back to Suzanne's for Brunch or Lunch, so we decided on 11AM. She had baked a wonderful fritata (with leftover turkey, of course), with Tater Tots, pickles and olives on the side. It was tremendously delicious and pleasantly filling. Then we played Mah Jongg (Becky won the first hand, Suzanne the second, then I won the next three, just because I didn't win any the last time we played - payback, you know). During our games we had more of the Vanilla Gluten-Free Cake that Brian had baked, topped with blueberries and whipped cream <drool!>. After some conversation in more comfortable chairs, we returned to the gaming table for one last hand of MJ, which Suzanne won. What a fun mid-day get-together!

November 27, 20/20

Today has been a very relaxing day, recovering from yesterday's feast, physically as well as psychologically. It started at half past one this morning when I awoke with a painfully full bowel. I visited the appropriate facility and after some mild straining, achieved a sudden relief, washed up and returned to bed. Ten minutes before two, I repeated that visit, and again returned to bed having gotten some relief. Another 15 minutes later, I returned again, stayed seated for about 20 minutes of active voiding. That time, though, when I returned to bed, I went to sleep - and remained there! Ok, probably TMI (too much Information, but not Three Mile Island). It was, though, the high point of my day. After that, I have been snoozing off and on. 

November 26, 20/20

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

We visited Suzanne, Brian, Greg and Elizabeth today, having been invited to share their Thanksgiving Day meal. Brian cooked Turkey Breast, Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Cassarole, Dressing and Smasked Potatoes, and Elizabeth brought Creamy Spinach & Cheese and some mashed Sweet Potatoe & Carrot dish. We drank Mimosas and/or Mead and/or Cider, and I think we were all stuffed like Christmas Turkeys (or something like that). The food was delicious, and we didn't even get into a shouting match about anything!

When we got home, though, I got a text from Suzanne to say that she was in Facebook Jail [again] because she had communicated a bad joke in response to someone else's bad joke, and immediately she was suspended. She asked that I post a message on Facebook to make her excuses to her friends, and after I did that I texted her back to say I had done it and that I haven't been banned from Facebook for associating with a known Facebook Criminal, yet. (words to that effect). then, over the next 75 minutes, she and I exchanged some very strange texts, like her texting her thanks to me five times in a minute in five identical texts (I think her phone stuttered), then I tried to text something to her and my phone wouldn't send the text. Then after I restarted my phone for the first time in a month, I had five voice mails to answer, the oldest of which was from November 7th. I deleted the first one, which was nothing but guitar music, two were from Melinda wondering why we weren't answering her calls (our house phone was fritzed out because of some atmospheric abnormality - like a thunder storm or something). One call was from the HVAC Service company and the last from my CPAP supplier. I called the HVAC people, left a message, and I didn't need to respond to the CPAP people.

Then I got a larger message thanking me for posting Suzanne's apologies, which I answered with "Ok", and she hadn't remembered sending me anything for me to respond to. It turns out that the message I responded to, which was time-stamped one minute before my response, had been sent 40 minutes earlier!

'Tronics! Huh!! What are they good for??? Absolutely nothing!!!!

November 25, 20/20

Becky got her allergy shots this morning, after which I filled the gas tank for the first time this month (milestone - I actually went over 30 days on a tank of gasoline). Then we drove to Mission Pharmacy to get some antiacids for Becky, and followed that up with a trip to Whole Foods for some Cornish Game Hens ($2.99 per pound on Wednesdays).

When we returned home, I found a call on the answering machine from Suzanne in which she asked us to call her back, but she might already have gone back to bed. I called her, and sure enough, she had returned to her bed, so I left a message and hung up. a few minutes later, Brian, her brother, returned my call and invited us to join him for a small (by his standards, which are quite high) Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. We accepted.

November 24, 20/20

After suffering all day with a monitor screen that kept blanking randomly while I was using it for some apps, but not others, I decided my installation of MX Linux must have been somehow corrupted. So I made a backup of the system and reinstalled the OS. Then I started trying to use various apps that I have icons for, and reloading those apps when they "...failed to load...". Finally I switched off and started reading.

November 23, 20/20

Happy Lunaversary!

This evening, Becky and I read Compline on Facebook Live Video again, using our new webcam for the first time in that way. It went well. One of the attendees left a comment, "You guys sound great. It would be better if you were singing!" So next Monday (the first Monday in Advent), we'll open with a hymn. Hymn 98 in the Lead Me Guide Me hymnal is Salamu Maria, Hail Mary - in Swahili. Since I was subject to Mom's learning and practicing of Swahili, I heard what it sounded like, and ever a very few of the words (like Sasa - "right now!"). As a result, I was able to put my limited knowledge to the words printed in that hymn, and we're going to regale those "attending" with out rendition.

After the hymn is sung and done, then, we'll read a poem from Mom's chapbook, Christmas Poems and Others, which have to do with Advent. I will read one poem from that collection each Monday, then, and even into Christmas. I remember when Mom would practice reading her poems for presentation at various Poet meetings she attended, so I have a pretty good idea how they should go. I might get a little theatrical in my readings, of course, and see if I can bring them to life a bit.

November 22, 20/20

This is the last Sunday after Pentecost, so Buckle Up! Next Sunday - Advent!

After church, this morning, during which we had a guest preacher who delivered a very interesting if not quite long sermon, we attended the Virtual Coffee Hour. Three other people were there, which was a typical showing whenever the sermon was overly long. Some people had Tee-Times to meet, others just didn't want just anyone doing it their way in their favorite booth at Burger King (Just joking - almost nobody dines indoors, these days). A New fellow, David, who had just moved back to Asheville after retiring from Akron OH. The five of us had quite a good time, all of us being musicians and three of us being visual artists.

I thought I was having a problem with my external backup drive on the desktop computer, so I disconnected it, tried it on my laptop and found that it was working. Then I found that my backup software had been changed or damaged somehow during the last update to my desktop computer, so I reloaded that software, and the problem went away!

November 21, 20/20

Today I finished updating http://1807friends.org/ - the website for 1807 & Friends. It will list the programs they have already scheduled, and links to them so you can log in and enjoy them, if you haven't already done so. I'm bragging a little bit, so don't let that dissuade you from following the link(s).

That's about all I've done, today. I hope to be more productive in the future.

November 20, 20/20

Well, I think I've finished rebuilding the 1807 & Friends website to reflect their concert schedule for the 40th season. It was only the front page that had to be changed, so they're getting off easy, pricewise. I've done a few updates throughout the year, which were so minor that I would have felt rediculous sending invoices for 10 minutes work each time, and since they were not collecting any income, I donated my time. This time, though, I've spent a few hours trying to get things changed around, especially when my Windows computer wouldn't boot up, leaving me to try to figure out how to change the template for one of the changes. I finally figured it out, and would have found out earlier if I had bothered to clear the cache in my browser. The change had been made, but wouldn't show up because of the cached graphic not allowing the new one to show. [Aaarg!]

November 19, 20/20

Another Becky-got-shots day, after which we and the other Compline Lay Leaders had a Zoom meeting with our Rector to discuss how we liked leading Compline each time, how many people "attended" and whether we felt it was a good ministry to our Parish, and so forth. The five of us present concluded that we enjoyed our lay ministry, and if only a few logged in while we were broadcasting, we had data that supported the average of 28 people visited and likely joined in the reading and prayers, and not just our own Parishioners, but from other parishes in the Diocese and elsewhere. I have heard from members of other parishes in our area, who have commented on the videos.

A few days ago, I had ordered a replacement WebCam. The one I had been using proved itself to be unworthy of the name, so now it's rubbish! The new camera arrived this afternoon, and I have it connected, mounted atop my monitor, and I have tested it on my facebook account (where even the rubbish one had worked) as well as on the Church's business facebook account (where the old one did NOT want to work). You might know that the only time I really used the webcam was to record Compline, and that's where the old one refused to work. I had to use my ASUS Laptop computer, which is quite old, and gave a yellowish tint to the video and not very much volume to the sound. When I tested the new camera on the Church's facebook, both the video and audio were stellar!

Here's the bad news, though. Lloyd has asked for changes to his website which require me to change the template. Ordinarily it would be no trouble, but the program I had been using to generate templates runs on Windows-Only. When I tried to start up the Windows computer, the one of my four computers still running Windows and the only one with that program installed, it would not start. Windows have gone belly-up! Now I have to try to figure out how to modify the template by hacking the code. I probably can do it, but it won't be easy.

November 18, 20/20

This morning, Becky visited the chiropractor to make up for the treatment she missed last week. On the way to Fairview (about a 15-minute drive from home), I had turned the seat warmers on (the outside air temperature was about 35 degrees F.), and in about 10 minnutes, Becky reached over and turned the seats off. I switched tthem back on, explaining that the heat would loosen the soft tissues and make the adjustment go much more easily. When she came out after the adjustment, she said it had been the easiest adjustment ever! <Grin>

We tried to go to the bank to arrange for automatic payments of our Tithe to the church. What I hadn't foreseen was that the bank lobby was open by appointment only, and we hadn't known to make one.

Naturally, we had to soothe our disappointment by stopping for coffee at Starbucks. One of them was free, and this was double-stars day, and since we bought before 11AM, I was given extra stars from a special promotion that started yesterday. I should have enough stars for another free cuppa fairly quickly.

November 17, 20/20

This morning, as I was driving Becky to her allergy shots appointment, we saw a "man" standing where the sidewalk would have been had there been a sidewalk there, pacing back and forth in front of the park bench that had a political sign stuck between the slats of the seat, and waving a huge tRump sign. I wanted to give him a thumbs down, or something, but since we were going to be parking the car 200 feet away from where he was "visually ranting", I thought I'd rather not jeopardize the car. I'm reminded of Charlie Brown, standing on the pitcher's mound in a downpour, crying out to the departing teams, "It's just a shower!" I'm sorry. I didn't mean to malign Charlie Brown.

I learned a new use for the word Kubuki, today. Jake Tapper was on "A Late Show with Steven Colbert" and said something about the current atmosphere of kubuki, and I didn't understand what the current political atmosphere had to do with Kubuki. When I looked up Kubuki, I learned it is three Japanese words meaning Song-Dance-skill. While the jury is still out on the skill aspect, as far as today's PA, yeah, it's pretty much a Song and Dance.

By the way, who knew that Bread and Butter Pickles taste so good with bread and butter? While I've found that I'm quite fond of the pickles, I hadn't even thought of putting them together with their namesakes until just a few days ago. Wow!

November 16, 20/20

I received an email, today, from Microsoft, to tell me that the contents of my OneDrive account will be deleted. The account itself will remain, but everything I have stored in there will go away. The thing is that, of the seven files I had stored there, none of them was of any concern to me. In fact, I had thought that by ignoring the account for two years, as I have done, I might encourage them to delete the account - but NO! They don't want ME to go away, just my discarded trash. I logged into my account, then, and deleted everything. Oddly enough, I had transferred all of the more essential files from OneDrive to a USB Memory Stick two years ago, and left the account effectively fallow. I labeled that USB stick, "OneDrive", just so I'd know.

We didn't end up doing anything noteworthy, today, other than a little grocery shopping, so other than the fantastic news above, I have nothing to report.

November 15, 20/20

Happy Ides of November!

This morning at Church, we heard the results of Monday's Bible study discussion of the Parable of the Talents. I was thrilled with the way Mother Milly interwove the creation of a neighborhood Community Center with the scriptures, seamlessly weaving the stories together to both expound on the Word and give a viable example. The longer she serves our parish, the more I find her sermons both fascinating and instructive.

As evening set in, and I started to prepare a pizza for our supper, i noticed a brilliant sunset in the sky. I was too distracted with the preparations to stop and take a photo of it. I was pleased, though, when I saw that one of the priests I know posted his photo of the same sunset. It looked the same from his home as it had from ours.

November 14, 20/20

We got a haircut this morning. The shop opened at 9AM, so I tried to "check-in" with their phone app then, but learned they weren't taking check-ins until 9:05. After I finally checked in at 9:05, Becky tried to check in by phone, because she doesn't yet have the app on her phone. Oh, but they are no longer taking check-ins by phone, so she took pot luck. When we actually got there, we were the only customers in the shop, so we really needn't have bothered to check-in at all.

This afternoon I received a postcard from Metropolitan Sewerage saying that they will be cleaning the sewers "in your neighborhood" during September and October. There were two problems: 1) the maps available on their website showed the north-of-downtown area, the south-east corner of the city and some other location I could not identify; and 2) the postcard came on the 14th of November! Thanks for the warning to keep my toilet lids closed during the cleaning dates!

November 13, 20/20

Happy Friday the 13th!

I am not triskedekaphobic in the least, and have many happy memories associated with that number. And now I have another memory. I visited the urinologist, today, to see what can be done, again, for my aging prostate. After squirting some lydacaine into my urethra, and letting that settle in, the nurse left the room and the doctor came in - no, the doctor's name was NOT Jason. After remarking that the nurse was being sparing with the lydacaine, he inserted the scope probe. It was my second time to have experienced it, and the first time was painless. Not so this time! I felt it scraping and burning all the way. Maybe the nurse's frugality with the numbing sauce wasn't to my advantage, and maybe my age had something to do with it. Whatever.

After the exam was over, the doctor said that I was actually in pretty good condition, prostatically speaking. The gland in question was small, and not as tall as most, blocked only at the base, and would require minimal treatment to get it to open up as it should. His scheduler will call me on Monday, he said, to schedule the procedure, Rezum, which will be steam injections into the gland to basically kill the inflexible parts of it and, thereby, open the tube. He said that by the time the catheter is removed I should be an "Evenflo" baby again, and after a month I should be back to normal, discomfort-wise, and off whatever drugs he might prescribe.

November 12, 20/20

Becky got more shots this morning from the Allergy Partners clinic. Afterwards, we bought a ToGo lunch at Early Girl Eatery. It wasn't what we wanted, because they no longer have Meatloaf on the menue. We had to make do with Fish & Chips. We won't make that mistake again, because the fish was overcooked and dry, and the potatoes were overcooked and were crunchy, and they even tasted off. But the meal cost $17 (for only one serving). It was definitely not up to the standards we had come to appreciate from them.

We got an email from our Rector, today, to set up a meeting of the Compline Readers (or as I call us, Complineurs). She wants to discuss the needs of the Parish and "where we will go from here". I'm wondering if we might be disbanded or maybe given different directions. I know that there haven't been a great many attendees, so anything is possible.

November 11, 20/20

Happy Veterans Day!

Well, I'm a happy Veteran, mostly because I didn't see my Naval service as a sacrifice, but rather like a very long adventure. There were times, of course, when I grew weary of the adventure, but fortunately the weariness would be relieved by a transfer to a new ship or duty station. Then the adventure would start anew.

While I drove to Fairview to visit the Chiropractor, Becky drove her Saturn to Carolina Internal Medicine for a bone density scan and her annual physical examination. Our Primary Care Physician recommended to her, as he had to me, that we get the new Shingles vaccination. It's a two-part treatment, so after today's injection, we will need to go in 2-to-6 months later for the second. The way my arm feels today, it may take two months for the "discomfort" to go away. While I'm not overly disabled by pain, and I'm sure I can endure this one, of course I would rather forego it. I can compare it to some injections I received in the past, like a tetanus shot, or maybe the Bi-Cillin shot I received in boot camp (the one that nearly paralized my right hip for a week). Needless to say at this late time in this paragraph, we got the first of the two shots this afternoon. Becky took the shot better than I did, I think, but now she's complaining that her right arm hurts (she had the shot in her left arm). She suspects that either I'm pushing the shot-pain in my right arm, to hers - or maybe it's because of the bone scan.


November 10, 20/20

Becky got her shots this morning, but when we got to the Allergy Partners parking lot, there was a woman standing at the entrance to the parking lot next door to it. She had an electronic megaphone and was doing her best to deter people from entering the Planned Parenting business, calling it an abortion clinic, and spouting scripture as loudly as she could, basically damning anyone who entered the lot for any reason. When becky came back out of the allergy clinic, the woman next door was still spouting loudly, so Becky started singing, "Dominic had a Doll Wired to the Radiator of his Zoom-Doom Ice-Coal-Wood Truck". It didn't take long for the protester next door to cease her vitriol and leave. We don't know it her "Sermon" was over, or if she just didn't want to compete. 

November 09, 20/20

In our Bible Study this morning, we heard all about the parable of the talents. I think the thing that impressed me the most about the discussion is that One Talent was a unit of money equivalent to 20 years wages for a slave in those days. While I've been told I have a talent, I'm guessing that my servitude in the US Navy for 20 years might add up to a little more than a slave in those days might have been paid (at least I hope so, because I'm still collecting it).

All seriousness asside, though, I thought I had fixed my desktop computers' Facebook Live woes, because I had done some recording on my facebook account (that I had designated as to be posted ONLY TO ME), and they all came our exactly as I had intended (Intelligible, that is). They have also all been deleted, because while the equipment did well, I did terribly.  Then, when it came time to do the evening's Compline, I got onto the church's Business Facebook account, did what I had thought was a stellar reading of the Order of Compline, then learned that the resulting sound made a shed full of turkeys sound intelligible! Actually, it sounded like chipmunks, so it, too, has been deleted. I guess it's back to the laptop with its bad video quality.

November 08, 20/20

The sermon we heard this morning, all about sharing our oil - or not - with those too foolish to bring their own, brought a new light to it for me. "Go get your own," the wise bridesmaids said, and when the foolish ones did just that, they weren't allowed inside for the banquet. Well! But Mother Milly equated oil with faith, and where we can not, exactly give faith to those who have none or not enough, neither can we give our faith away. We each have to acquire our own faith. A pastor I knew, many years ago, said we should be "Packed up and Prayed up, ready for the journey."

November 07, 20/20

Becky and I were pleased to be asked to join Suzanne for an experimental lunch of Irish Sodabread (with blueberries) and Egg & Onion Pie (without crust). The sodabread, while not traditional due to having to substitute ingredients for some that were missing in her kitchen, and to graciously accommodate Becky's and my dietary needs, but the result was delicious. The pie, without a crust, was technically a fritata, she said, but we all found it fabulously delicious!

I heard someone exclaim, "My Gracious!" on the television, the other day, and I thought, "Migratious," as in prone to migrate (a.k.a. migratory). Then I wondered if I had just coined a word. Tonight, I looked it up on the computer, and learned that the Urban Dictionary defines it as the movement of an old person's hairline from its youthful beginnings to the base of the skull above the back of the neck. "My gracious," I thought, "my hairline is migratious!" Then I learned that it was the name of a newsletter back in the 1950s! What a disappointment it was to find that it's been in use for at least 70 years!

To make up for that disappointment, though, Becky and I watched the Biden/Harris Acceptance Speeches on the television. We were struck by the number of clearly emotional faces in the audience during VPElect Harris' speech, as well as the heartlifting responses in both her and the PresElect's speeches. I am not easily moved by political speeches, and in fact I normally avoid politics, but I experienced the joy I saw in the audience's faces and by the hope projected by the speakers, tonight.

November 06, 20/20

I've just heard from family, today, that Pennsylvania turned blue! We're all very thankful. Now, just maybe, the rest of the country can breathe again.

November 05, 20/20

Becky got her shots this morning, as scheduled. As we waited the obligatory 30 minutes in the car against the unlikely onset of anaphylactic shock, I received a text from Suzanne to say that today is National Donut day. Well, one text led to another, as is often the case, and when our time was done, we drove to the grocery store, where I bought not, only gluten free donuts, but also some Krispy Kreme ones for those who don't necessarily want or need the anti-glutenous ones. Then, as asked in one of the aforementioned follow-on texts, we stopped at the pharmacy to pick up Suzanne's prescription for her.

When we got to her house, Wyatt (my favorite living blonde kitty) decided I was taking far too long before offering him cuddles and skritches and spoke to me somewhat harshly to get me to hurry over to him and do my due dilligence by him! He misses me terribly when I'm not there, you know.

The donuts were, of course, delicious, as was the coffee (Duncan Donuts' blend), and we sat around and talked for a while, then were offered some barbecued pulled pork, rice and pickles, which were deliciouser, then we called it a day and came back home.

November 04, 20/20

I had an early morning appointment (7:45) with my primary care physician, today. He noticed that I weigh the least he has ever seen me (204 on his scale clothed, 200 on ours unclothed), and he still wants me to lose 20 more pounds to correct my blood pressure and maybe be able to go without medications. Today's BP was 117/72, so it's well controlled by the drugs. My lungs are clear, my feet can still feel stimuli, even through the socks (thin ones, today), and he had no huge complaints about my condition. Oddly enough, neither do I. I guess I'll live until I die.

November 03, 20/20

Election Day!

As reported before, we voted a couple days after the polls opened. There's no reason to mention who we voted for, because it should not affect anyone but the candidates, and with my luck, it may not even affect them.

Becky got her shots this morning, after which we went to Starbucks and got a cup of coffee each, then came home and celebrated the day quietly, in our own way.

November 02, 20/20

'Twas the night before th'election, with joy at a dirth,
For we're waiting for a meteor to soon strike the earth!
Not big, it is said, like a 'fridger in size,
And 'twill smash into pieces 'for our own very eyes.
Though some of the pieces might rain down on us,
We needn't be panicked, or whimper, or cuss.
Those pieces, the scientists were quick to blurt,
Will become quite small, and so they won't even hurt.

...or so says Neil deGrasse Tyson.

November 01, 20/20

Happy November Fools Day!

Happy All Souls Day!

This morning, at church, there was a father/daughter baptism. The daughter was very excited to be baptized that she could not stay still. During the Rite of Baptism, when the Priest asked, "Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?" the daughter gave a fist-pump into the air and shouted, "YES!!!" Well, sometimes the pomp and decorum yields to youthful enthusiasm!

At the Virtual Coffee Hour, though, there were only three couples present. We didn't stay around for long, because one couple had an early afternoon tee-time, and when they departed to play golf, the second couple also left, since we would have been the only computer still on that Zoom session, and since they were the host computer, the session logged off with them.

Of course we set our clocks back an hour last night before going to bed, but that didn't stop the power from failing at 5:34 this afternoon. I immediately called the power company, laughingly called Progress, and reported the failure. They promised that we would have power restored by 9PM. We had just started preparing our evening meal, of course, so I promised to hold my breath until the power returned. We snoze (past tense of snooze, isn't it?), we read (past tense of read, I've heard) our kindles, and then, four minutes before 9PM, the power came back on! Then, naturally, I ran around setting all the clocks forward to reflect the actual time.