who's gonna drive you home, tonight

I wanted to take the time (again) to write about my little one's progress. Since relocating four months ago we made several changes to improve and correct a few things. The first was in changing the diet, and the second was getting some much needed exercise. The third was a bit more complicated and very time consuming to fix. Bridgette had developed anxiety attacks on car rides when we moved to Texas (a little over three years ago). I was unable to determine the cause despite my best efforts and was worried that not knowing this would hinder my efforts to fix it. For whatever reasons it didn't and we were able to overcome. I did a bit of internet research and decided the best course of action was to employ a couple of different tactics.

Are you writing about me again?

In no particular order ...

We're not completely done and will be doing this for a while longer yet, but we're not seeing "the shakes" happen at the start of a ride now. I should mention on this last trip there were no shakes, thundershirt, or benadryl needed which was HUGE. She handled the trip like a boss even though she occasionally needed some minor reinforcement.

Hold. Me. Please.

Along with B, my hand and arm also fell asleep

On the last leg of the trip Bridgette did something unprecedented. She got up, left shotgun, crawled into the seat behind me, and glared at me for some inexplicable reason.

No, no don't take a pic, you're a dick dad!

Progress made!


in the name of my father's left chinese foot

I got the chance to do something on this trip that I don't get to do very often. Something nice for my father. I don't mean to give you the wrong idea either because it's not like I never do stuff like this for the man, I do. It's just that he's a hard read and so agreeable that you can never tell what he really likes until it's sometimes after the fact. This particular time I gave him my TV and even better knew he was excited about it before it was even set it up for him. Here's some more back story. His old TV was a 61" Sony rear projection set and we've been trying to get him to upgrade/ditch it for the last four years. He's absolutely refused to let it go despite how much it's quality has slipped. He was even still refusing to let it go until the day I left. Because of this mom waited until the day I arrived to buy the new stand for it. It took me about a day before I could get to putting the stand together and set up the new set but his reaction was worth it. Dad now gets to watch all his Chinese soap operas in digital HD quality. He's worked his ass off to give this family the best he could provide so I'm glad I could give him something back now that he's (sort of) retired.

Enjoy it dad, you deserve it

Getting to do this was a little bit of a mixed bag for me since it now left me without a TV. My original plan was that I'd see how long I could do without after returning. I lasted two days without. I don't and haven't connected to any sort of subscription service or antenna'd TV in over six years. I'm really selective about what I watch and only ever use it a few ways now. I watch DVD's, Netflix, digital recordings, and play Xbox on it. I bought my old TV, a Samsung 42" DLP HDTV, about seven years ago on sale for about $1400. Yesterday I bought another Samsung 32" LED HDTV for $279. Now it's my turn to be giddy.

Supernatural, my latest vice
Before I gave in and treated myself yesterday, I went our for a routine hike. Not so much. About halfway through the hike I had a little accident. Not only did I jam a toe pretty badly, but I also managed to twist my left foot. I was still able to walk but not without a great deal of pain and difficulty. The good news is that this morning it hurt a lot less and I was able to walk without as much pain. I'd say I'm at about 75% mobility with it at this point. 

Freaking owie!
You can make out the heavily brusied toe in the picture, but most of my foot is swollen too. I'm normally a pretty fast healer so I'm hoping the swelling will be gone tomorrow so I won't have to miss out on my weekday workouts. Wish me luck!


all good things

Traffic, how I loathe thee!
Despite the traffic I still made it home safely two nights ago. The pace of my weekly life resumed the second I set foot in the door and is the main reason why I wrote this now instead of then. Even though I had a lot less stuff, I couldn't escape the unloading and unpacking that always follows a trip. Again, emphasis on the creamy goodness of much less stuff. Our time in Slab City and two days of road travel left the beagle and I a touch on the dusty side so a bath was in order for us. By the time we settled in I learned the roommate was also too tired to cook, so we settled for Indian take out. Food coma, and then Wednesday came to a close for us.

The drive home always gives me a chance to catch my breath and reflect on the trip. There was quite a lot that happened on this trip. As a result of this there will be more posts to follow about each of things I found most important.

I also went back and updated some of the posts over these last two weeks with the corresponding pictures I meant to upload but didn't get a chance to. Like I said, a lot happened on this trip.


a little slab city hospitality

Spent a relaxing day visiting Robin & Marty. We had a great dinner, lots of fun convo while getting caught up, and visits from the locals about the drama of the day. Yes, it permeates even this picture perfect community of off grid living bliss. Basically it all falls under the kind of things that happen to those who don't avoid the typical garden variety ... mentally challanged types. I don't really know what happened since I kind of tuned out at "did you hear what happened to ... ???" The temps here have been great and it's a lot less crowded than last year this time. Robi says a lot of the hippies who are usually here went to Guatemala to die since they thought that was ground zero of the Mayan prophecy. All I know is there's a lot less people noise and more open desert to enjoy. Good times! It's a little past noon now and about time for us to resume our trek back to Austin.

Bridgette sneaking in an afternoon nap

Camp Tumbleweeds (pending new nickname for Robi).

Inside the great room/tent of camp.


mega sunday sunday sunday debt update

It just occured to me that it's been a while since my last update so here's where I'm at. I've had a few additional expenses pop up since starting the final leg last October, but I'm still on track to make the pay off this coming March. January's payment hasn't been made and isn't reflected in the total below. Also, February is a bonus check month where I hope to double the payment then. Barring no surprises the total below will be about $3k less in five weeks time.

Total Debt $4868


mini health update

It turns out that I have a cousin who ran into the same health issue I have. Only his numbers weren't anywhere near as high as mine were, and he was far more diligent about getting them back to normal than I was. One of the things he did was to buy one of those test kits to monitor his numbers. While I was out here he was kind enough to loan it along with a triglyceride test strip (he was out of the cholesterol one) which I used this morning. Six weeks ago they came in at 7650.

Today my triglycerides are at 228. My blood pressure is @ 120/72 with a resting heart rate of 63 BPM.

For anyone interested here's what I've done to keep up while on vacation. Last week Friday and Saturday I was traveling, but managed to get an hour long workout from loading/unloading the trailer. On Sunday we (sissy and my niece joined me) hiked three miles, then on Monday & Tuesday I walked two (easy) miles with mom, and then hiked about five miles on Wednesday w/sissy & mom. I didn't get a formal workout on Thursday or Friday, but played with the nephew for a few hours both days. I'm going hiking again today and even though sissy feels she's only good for three, I'm gonna see if I can get five out of her again.

Nephie convinced mom six miles was better

My workout schedule at home hasn't changed and is as follows. I workout one hour a day Monday thru Friday. I do thirty hard minutes on the elliptical to where I'm breaking a heavy sweat, and then another twentyfive at an easy pace on the treadmill (at a speed of 3.5 usually). This equates to about four miles per day and 300 calories burned. On the weekends I hike an average of about four miles a day with the beagle, and assume that I'm burning somewhere close to the same amount in calories.

The diet is still the same. Each day I consume a half cup of oatmeal in the mornings, a full meal (healthy of course), and a salad. I also take a total each day (half at breakfast and half at dinner) 2 grams of fish oil, and 2.4 grams of red yeast rice extract w/60 MG's of CoQ-10.

I think it's safe to say now that my numbers are and will be completely normal when I retest at the doctors next month.


visit family, do stuff

I've, quite possibly, done more in the almost three days I've been here than the week prior to my arrival. In no order I've unloaded a trailer, returned it, gone hiking, walked, cooked dinner for five, fixed bathroom a fan, built an entertainment center, bought new cables for it, connected said entertainment center together, cleaned the parents backyard, got the nephew a Captain America frisbee shield (he LOVES it), played with nephew for several hours, measured a bay window (eight feet above ground) for curtains, setup a bed for myself, and put the beagle's cousin on a diet. Thankfully I've only a few scant things left that I need to do leaving me just the fun stuff.

The niece!
The sissy!
The nephie!
Why is there always more work to do in our vacation life than the normal one?


the beagle has landed

After almost two days and fourteenhundred uneventful miles later, we arrived safe and sound yesterday around four pm local time. I unloaded the trailer in record time only to learn that the place where I turned it in  at would be open for at least three hours longer last night. The only possible complaints I had about this trip is the now raw and runny nose I got from sleeping in a cold truck Friday night. First world problems, something I can happily deal and live with!

Saturday morning in New Mexico
The beagle exploded out of the truck as she ran then jumped all over (in this order) my mother, father, and cousin Oreo. The emotional rave lasted about ten minutes before finally settling into respectable yet composed tail wag. Cousin Oreo led B inside where the the girls shared a meal and some water. Almost the entire scene was repeated about 2 hours later when my sister and nephew arrived.

Aftermath of the emotional rave
Every single time!


almost ready

This week hasn't been or felt near as busy as I was expecting it to be. I think it's because most of the real work takes place tomorrow. I'm loading roughly five moving sized boxes, a bed frame, three guitar cases, a (rather large) desktop PC, and a wide screen TV into a tiny uhaul trailer. Tonight I'll be repacking and emptying my bedroom closet of some of those items in preparation for tomorrow. The drinks, food, and snacks (for the both of us) are ready. The route has been plotted, and weather looks to be clear all the way through.


on a clear day

Outside of a few minor annoyances, this week has been a nice and productive one for me. It was just what I needed to get back into my work routine after working from home over the holidays. I've also been doing some minor planning and preparation for an upcoming trip. I'm hauling stuff to be stored and/or distributed among family and friends. It's always a great thing when I get to break away and see them, but more so this time for a few other reasons. The friend's whose wedding I was in (last July) are expecting (twins) whom I won't get to meet on this trip, but I'm still excited for them. My nephew is now old and active enough to handle a hike which we'll be going on together. I am, as always, looking forward to logging some time on the road as well.

This is kind of a late second hand xmas where I get to play Santa. I'm giving dad my HDTV and tea kettle, mom gets my all clad set and a roomba vaccum so she doesn't have to clean up after dad any longer, and my friend/father to be gets my old computer. The rest are just a few boxes of sentimental stuff which my folks will be keeping safe for me. This grants me liberty from concerns about being anchored to anything other than family. All I'll have then is mostly what I'll need to live.

It's taken me about three months but I've managed to finally break the beagle of her fear of car trips. I think all the trips to Petsmart and weekend hikes have finally broken her of the trembles. She's now back to calmly sitting and quizzically watching me as I drive and speak to her. Another concern which we've both been freed from.

The freedom of mind from this happening is good stuff! See what I did there?