greatbear: (gay men like rush too)
I know it's been a while since I posted anything, By request, I am reposting this from Facebook.


This weekend was Jeff's birthday weekend. I was hoping for decent weather among all the things we had planned. The weather did not disappoint, and the weekend, which included Friday afternoon, really couldn't have been better. We made a last-minute decision to go and watch the Orioles play. Unlike other time when we purchased tix beforehand, we took a shot to see what we could find at the ticket booth at the stadium. I splurged a bit and got us club level seating. The O's squeaked in a win at the last possible moment at the bottom of the 9th and everyone went home happy. We got an early start on Saturday, heading off to Home Depot for more garden supplies, bits to make one more grow frame and some other goodies. After a bit of a break, we headed down to Bristow, VA to see Rush on the R40 tour. 40 years! I was there nearly at the beginning too.

Seeing Rush is an experience unlike any other rock band I know of, and that experience begins well before getting close to the venue. Checking into the hotel 4 or so miles from the venue had people in the lobby in Rush clothing and swag. The TGIFriday's where we got our late lunch/early dinner had I would say 3/4 of the clientele going to the show. But, unlike any other fanbase, there were old greybeards like us, young couples, teens, old folks, grandparents, great-grandparents, you name it. A couple at the restaurant had two young boys, the oldest maybe six. They had Rush shirts on. The crowd entering the venue looked more like what you'd see heading into Disney World. My boys put on an amazing show, as always. We stayed overnight rather than taking a bleary-eyed trip home nearly at midnight. It was a good decision, we picked up late night grub at Wendy's to take back to the room. I slept mostly like a rock for a change.

We headed out early, and integrated our trip home with our weekly grocery grab. A cool bonus was getting there early, at the time when the Burtonsville cruise was in full spring. This little local event, held every Sunday in the spring and summer has grown quite a bit. We walked among the varied cars, trucks and rides. Jeff got his first glimpse of the Slingshot three-wheeler and immediately fell in full lust with it. After snapping lots of phone pics on top of the dozens from last night's show, we got our goodies for the week and headed home to a pair of very appreciative pooches. we took it easy for a change, then had steaks on the grill, big baked potatoes, veggies and an ice cream cake I picked up while Jeff was cooking dinner.

This was the most walking and activity I have had since last September, when my spine gave out again and left me immobile for the entire winter. I managed better than I expected, but dealt with a lot of pain due mostly to having to (try to) stand for the entire performance. I've got the walking part down pretty good. I can even do some not-so-light work if I am able to take numerous breaks. But the thing that is death to me still is standing motionless for more than a few minutes. I was nearly delirious from pain after the show, but I was too blown away from the concert to worry too much. Here's where the overnight stay helped a lot as well.

This was a great weekend, one not so full of work for a change, and one that we had deserved for the longest time.
greatbear: (me and mom)
Happy birthday, Mom. Still miss you so much.
greatbear: (me laughing)
I managed to avoid LJ for just over a month. The reasons are simple, really. The posts would have revolved around my continuing spine troubles, the silly projects I enjoy partaking in but no one else could care a whit about, obscure old psychedelic rock music being played on stereo equipment older than a lot of people I know, computer problems and projects, my crushed ego that can't let me sign up for disability, the list goes on. Just looking back on the more "everyday" posts that are not about the rare special occasion or such make me sound like a broken record. So instead of the same old hash rehashed, I've just been keeping quiet. It's what I've done best in my 53 years on this crusty rock.

The coldest part of winter was often warmed up nicely during the holidays, and along with my youthful exuberance in decades gone by, I had some of the best days of my life during otherwise cold, grey days. Nowadays the grey is everywhere, from the skies to my face and to my thoughts. Today was a bit of an exception, as Jeff came home with 54(!) roses ("53 years old, plus one to grow" says he) and a nice card, and he managed, despite working his ass off in the hospital kitchens all day, to come home and make us a nice little dinner of my favorite food (chicken cutlets). The smiles and good feelings kicked aside the bad mojo for a while

Still, I felt undeserving of all that. Despite it all, I just keep feeling both worthless and somehow unappreciated. The latter is less an issue at home, but there is an inverse effect at play that is beginning to rear its head. This afternoon, a strange, odd power surge came down the line and disrupted several things here in strange ways. The heat was shut down, with the Nest thermostat suddenly disagreeing with the heating system, and I couldn't reset either.I mostly threw up my hands and proclaimed there's no heat except for the woodstove. Jeff asked a sensible question, "Can't we just call the heating company?" "You're looking at it" was my answer, and after a while, it dawned on me that I am the heating company, the builder, the mechanic, plumber, IT department, lawn care, carpenter, carpet cleaning service, appliance repair, well installer, A/V tech, works engineering, painter, locksmith, chimney sweep... you name it, and it has been all my doing for the longest time, even before I could legally drive in many cases. As small (and not-so-small) problems and issues begin piling up, I fear I might not be able to handle some of it and might need to rely on expensive outside help. So far, our attempts at doing so have been frustrating at best. My work at making a lot of things near maintenance free in recent years have been thwarted by, you guessed it, my inability to do anything. I feel I am losing this race. I'm close, but falling behind in the last couple years. Time will tell how this all plays out, but I am losing a lot of confidence in myself right now.

Tomorrow I am going for my third session of physical therapy. This therapist seems to be on a right track with my nerve issues, but at the same time I felt like I made some backwards progress. The rather dismal insurance I have requires a 50 dollar co-pay, and aside from that, most of the therapy itself won't be covered either, so this is becoming more and more expensive at the worst possible time. If the therapy actually helps, it will be worth it. If I go through a long-ish round of therapy and it doesn't do the trick, I will have wasted that money, and the next step will be very invasive surgery far more involved (and expensive) than any I had prior. I keep riding the same bad rollercoaster and the only ones benefiting are the doctors. Sorry if I am angry at times, but there you have it. I am used to being taken advantage of throughout my life, and it seems to be everywhere I go. No wonder I never want to leave the house anymore.

Well, there you have it in a nutshell. The reason I haven't been posting, and an example afterward.

So I can leave on a happier note, thanks to all who have wished me a happy birthday today. It's those wishes that made my day happier.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
Today is Jeff's birthday. Together we are over 104 years old. I feel every bit of those years too. To celebrate, I took Jeff to Outback Steakhouse (g'day, crikey, fair dinkum, crocs, you call that a knife and all that stuff). On our way home he got a call out of the blue from a former coworker he was very good friends with. Hearing them catching up and recollecting old times and seeing the smile on his face was a treat. I seriously ate too much, and in the last few days, I've been eating more beef than in a long time.

I had gotten him a new bicycle as a birthday gift, his old one was never fun for him to ride, as the frame size was too small. I took him to a "real" bicycle shop where I had gotten mine and we looked at a few and tried a couple out. He came back from a test drive of the one I picked out after a very short ride and said he loved it. It's a GT "comfort" or "hybrid" bike, essentially the frame, gearing and components of a mountain bike, but with less knobby and overall softer tires. It also has 29" wheels, better able to deal with bumps and other hazards. I got a pannier rack delivered today for it as well, and put that on while Jeff was talking to his dad. Our bikes will be the primary mode of transportation when we head up to PTown in July. I can't walk for any distance at all in my condition, but as has been the case with this back ordeal, I can get around quite well on a bike. Jeff's old ride was not comfortable for him, this time I think we'll truly be set.

I've been offline as far as social media goes while I tend to personal issues as well as computer troubles. the UPS (uninterruptible power supply) that powers my primary computer went bonkers a while back. The malfunction made everything plugged into it go on and off like a car's turn signal. Other than perhaps dropping a computer into sea water or hurling it from a cliff, cycling the power is one of the worst things that you can do to it. Consequently, the hard drives were scrambled, the BIOS corrupted, and a few other minor bits of hardware were hosed. While I had mostly current backups of files, all of my current work, saved web pages, and the like were all unavailable. So I had to stumble around on one of the other PCs for a while as I worked on the beast machine in the studio. It's back, but it has some corrupted registry entries and other annoying problems (Photoshop registration got borked, Windows update doesn't function, some other software is screwed up in odd ways, and the like). A while back I had taken the original main hard drive out and replaced it with a nice, big 1TB SSD. This SSD is what got beat up by the UPS, but it was not physically damaged. The original drive has been hiding safely in the Underground Lab of Mayhem, I can simply make a copy of it again, but only after I get through some stuff. The copy would put the PC back to December of last year, when I did the upgrade. There are more computer stories to tell, but I'll save that for some other time.

Jeff has been busting his ass doing work in the yard, and it shows. The flower beds, rose garden and other areas are looking better than they have in years. I wish I could be more help with that, but the required stopping and bending is just too painful. I managed to do some serious suspension work and other maintenance on Jeff's truck last weekend, a friend came over and basically gophered tools and parts while I did the work. This saved me from having to constantly get up and down. I have to do the same on my old Stratus, but I will wait until after the wedding. It does need rear brakes, so those will most likely get done this weekend, it's only about a 45 minute job. Safety first.

As more aspects of our big wedding day begin to coalesce, the two of us are excited as well as still in a bit of a panic mode. It's less than a month away, and there's still a ton of stuff to get done. This is where I'm glad I'm stuck at home. I just wish I was able to do more. Having my back fail again was the worst thing to happen that I was worrying about, and loading up with narcotics to control the pain has the unfortunate side effect of scrambling my thoughts much like the hard drives in that PC. I lose track of time, forget what day it is, and forget things while I am having conversations. Even writing this entry is a chore, and this is one of the prime reasons for me hiding from the world. I just hope this is not a sign of something more serous. Given my luck of late, it's quite possible. But I refuse to let anything get in the way of our big day.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
Today is Be Kind To Elderly People Day Jeff's birthday! At 51 (like me), his feet are now well planted into the second half of his century. Let's give him a rousing cheer and warm hugs, and hope he makes it all the way through that second half. And that we both do so together. :-)

Happy Birthday, Honey!


(The "Anonymous" replies are from Jeff.)
greatbear: (glasses)
Today I made an old man cry. And it made me happy.

We were up in Pennsyltucky to take the slightly-scorched trailer to a local RV dealer to have an estimate done for repairs to the damage caused by the fire. Since Jeff's father's birfday is coming up and we couldn't be there for the actual day, I presented him with two of the reprinted photos lost in the fire, saying that I didn't buy these, I had to make 'em, 'cause no store carried them. I gave these to him because I had heard him talk about losing them the day of the fire. Poor guy broke down crying, but in a good way.

He's never hugged me like that before either. Best hug I got in a long time. :)

Next thing I did was hitch up the slightly overcooked trailer and we headed down to the RV dealer. Of course, we had to have a look at some of the new and "previously enjoyed" models on the lot. There just might be an upgrade in our future.

From there we took off for the most important task, which was to get Dad a new place to hang his hat. He had settled on a model from a nearby manufactured/modular home company, and he wanted us to give our "approval." While this too was essentially a double-wide similar to what he had before, it was of much higher quality, with solid construction, 6" walls with R19 insulation, above-average fittings and trim, and overall good quality. My only gripe was the interior used a paneling product rather than drywall, leaving the walls with vertical trim strips every 4 feet. The paneling did seem to be sturdy however, and the various prints available looked like good quality wallpapers. There were lots of custom touches included, with a great deal more extras and goodies available. We fussed over colors of siding, trim, roofing, counters, fixtures, etc. We had the place configured all the way down to the window treatments. He'll be getting a new home with a beautiful, wide-open floor plan for the kitchen, dining and living rooms, plus three bedrooms and two full baths. The thick walls and copious insulation on top, bottom and sides will help a lot with energy efficiency, and the interior should be nearly silent even when some of the loud local pickups roar by with their glasspack mufflers and mudbogger tires. Dad's only lament was he was doing all of this without mom's involvement. It was plainly obvious to all of us that she would've been thrilled with everything he had finally settled on. Jeff's sister, brother and sister-in-law were there for their inputs as well, and I think it's gonna be some sharp lookin' digs. The crowning exterior touch will be the end of the house that overlooks the yard and the field across the creek with the grazing buffalo, the entire end will be fitted with high-efficiency, floor-to-ceiling trapezoidal windows. I told dad to take the recommendation from the salesman for the roof prow, an extension to the eaves on that side which will act as a shade during the summer months to keep the sun out of that side of the house, yet let it in during the cooler seasons. This is something similar to what I had designed into La Casa Mayhem 25 years ago, and it does wonders for free heat in the winter. Unfortunately, I don't have the buffalo.

I think Dad is feeling a little more at ease. The burned up debris is gone, the old foundation had been dug out, and there is a nice hole in the ground that will soon have a fresh foundation going in. In fact, if things work out as they are planned so far, he might be moving in sometime in June, if not earlier. And, yes, I will have more framed surprises when there are places to hang them too. I want more hugs.
greatbear: (me and mom)
Happy Birthday, Mom.
greatbear: (arethahat)
Okay, trying to change the course of late winter weather here at Mayhem Acres according to Groundhog Rules literally has it colder with accumulating snow in the front yard, and warmer melting snow in the back. The front yard faces south, making the little microclimate anomaly that much more interesting. Hey, I'm trying. lol

Thanks to everyone who brought me happy birthday wishes. It made my day. It does help the aging process be a bit of fun. I did a lot of sleeping yesterday (and this morning) while letting the painkillers deal with the latest injuries, aches and pains. Today is all about having TV sets on showing everything football related. Not to mention a lot of cool commercials. I can take a break from my somewhat anti-commercial stance while the ad industry actually tries to show their really creative sides, rather than the constant race to the bottom.

Many years ago, a German family down the road a bit were good friends with Mom and I. They were delightfully old-school in a lot of the things they did, as far as dinners, companionship and personal touches. One of the things me and Mom delighted in was the homemade cards they would bring (rather than mail) to us on the special days like Christmas and birthdays, often accompanied by incredible baked goods still warm from the oven. We were saddened when they moved away, but Mom had kept in touch. Those cards would still come to her in the mail. I had missed that sort of personal touch as the years alone moved along. That was until a year, and a day ago. Unbeknownst to him, LJ's delightful [livejournal.com profile] designerotter/Joe has kept that tradition alive, not just for me, but also to those whom are fortunate to have him in their circle of friends. He draws uniquely personal and contextual cards based on the life and interests of his recipients. Not only does this act showcase his incredible talent, more to the point it demonstrates his involving himself in the lives and entries of his LJ friends, something even more meaningful. He makes and posts dozens of whimsical cards each year, and brings smiles and happiness to everyone who sets their eyes on them. Proof positive that even online-only friendships are just as valid as long-term next-door neighbor friendships. Truly an inspiration for me, and, given my difficulty in even making stick figure drawings, a real art form.



How can that not make your day?

Thank you, Joe, and everyone else who sent well wishes. I am humbled.

♥♥♥

*yawn*

Feb. 2nd, 2013 10:50 am
greatbear: (forearms)
No shadow. Y'all owe me one. ;-)
greatbear: (me and mom)
Happy Birthday, Mom.
greatbear: (Default)


So, my self-imposed one month vacation from LJ had a couple days appended to it. Didja miss me? I didn't think so either. ;)

I had several reasons for the hiatus, ranging from escaping drama to the capricious attitude the Russians have adopted regarding the current LJ users and communities. Add in having my everyday PC being wiped out by a virus and dealing with a return of severe back issues and the sinus infection that won't leave, and you have me not wanting to do anything online much less LJ. Even everyday life has been more or less stuck in neutral. I found more comfort and escape doing things around the house and garage, listening to music and watching cool stuff on PBS. Having some decent weather for this time of year helped a lot as well. I still would peruse my friends list and make comments occasionally, though, so I wasn't completely LJ-free. I'm sure I missed a lot. My new PC is still sitting on the floor unused. I am making do with my crappy lappy. I'm not much in a mood to futz with computers.

Something that I can't seem to escape no matter how hard I try also happened today. It was my birthday. The big one. The half century. 5-0, and not the one in Hawaii with either Jack Lord or pocket-sized Scott Caan. The doorbell rang several times today. A delivery of balloons. Then a delivery of an Edible Arrangement. Then flowers. Then the sender of all these goodies comes home early from work bearing lunch from McDonald's. We ate our little lunch, relaxed, I took a couple nice calls wishing me a happy day, then we went off to Romano's Macaroni Grille for dinner in the evening. All in all it was an awesome day, even with the back pain and sneezing. My Jeff is a thoughtful sweetheart, and he's the best birthday present ever.

I have to thank all those on LJ who posted happy birthday wishes. And a special thanks to my newest LJ friend [livejournal.com profile] designerotter, who drew a wonderful birthday card for me, featuring Kodi. It made my day. I think Kodi recognized himself!

Will I become a regular LJ user once again? I'm not sure. I had been surfing LJ at the moment my PC caught the virus. The various photography communities have been taken over by Russian users, and it seemed to be one of the photo hosting sites that might have done the nasty deed. The advertising and tracking scripts used here these days are increasing and I don't trust any of it, so I filter them out as well. There just isn't any inspiration for me to post here with all that crap going on, and I don't feel any sensitive information placed here is any safer that on Facebook. So, I might finally kick the crust off my Dreamwidth account and see if I will have any success at grabbing my entries here and importing them over. All my attempts in the past failed, and I don't see the operators of LJ cooperating in any way to make the process work smoothly. If I do anything, it will be a crosspost from DW to here.

One thing I don't ever want to lose in all of this is the friends I have made here. There've been a few clinkers, but so many of y'all rock my world. You are the gifts that keep giving all year long. :)

By the way, I didn't see my shadow when I scurried out from the Burrow of Mayhem. Y'all should have an early spring. You're welcome. =D
greatbear: (Default)
Today is Kodi's birthday! He's all of 5 years old. He's a good pooch. We got him a cake with candles and everything. For a present, he got a trip to the vet and an update on all his vaccinations. I'd post pictures, but my computer is having none of it for some reason.

Happy Birthday Kodi!
greatbear: (kitten surprise)
Today is Jeff's birthday! Yay! Happy birthday hunnie!

Now we are the same age (48). You can't play the "younger" card until next year. ;o)

84th

Feb. 10th, 2010 05:16 pm
greatbear: (candle)
Today would have been Mom's 84th birthday. I'm trying my best not to be overcome with sadness that she's gone. Being buoyed by good memories, and keeping warm wearing her favorite sweater (it's only a little tight, actually, it was generously hand-knit) helps.

Happy Birthday, Mom.
greatbear: (glasses)
Happy 68th birthday, Dr. Stephen Hawking.

greatbear: (face)
He's playful, he's furry and he's a handful.

IMG_1662IMG_1753


He's Kodi! Aka CrazyDogInsanityPooch. He's three years old today.
greatbear: (candle)
Today would have been Mom's 83rd birthday.

Still hurts. And I will always miss her.
greatbear: (old graybeard)
...And, well, just another year older.

Thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes in all the various ways. You guys are the greatest. It was just another typical day; wake up, go to work, after work head to the garage, after the garage come home to a nice dinner with Jeff, then a quiet evening. Missed out when our good friend Nola stopped by with her Brownies of Absolute Pwnage and a cute card while I was at the garage, but hope to have her visit again soon. Fell asleep watching Comedy Central as I was backing up files.

I suppose it's just another day in the life of a 47 year old man. I guess it could be a lot worse.
greatbear: (candle)
Today would have been Mom's 82nd birthday. I think I miss her more than ever now.
greatbear: (Default)
Time has come for me to utilize my Flickr account, at least before Microsoft gets a hold of it and turns it into a ruinous mess.

So, here are a few shots I popped off from yesterday's festivities.

bday2008-7


And, howbout them Giants, huh? w00t!

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greatbear: (Default)
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