Donna Returns

We had been told she would be discharged about 10 AM so planned the day for that. I HAD to drive the Escape since there is no way she could get in the Montero, it being so high. She has trouble when she is feeling good! I had put the Escape on “deadline” due to the right front wheel bearing going out. I declared it an emergency and hoped for the best.

And I wanted to take Lily but she isn’t allowed to ride in the Escape. So I put the back seat down and spread an old bedspread out. And off we went up the river around 9. Traffic was light and the construction was shorter so there weren’t long delays. Lily wasn’t as comfortable as in the Montero but she managed.

I parked her so the sun didn’t shine in the rear and went in to see if Donna was ready.

She wasn’t ready but she definitely looked better! And was upright! Turns out they had told her they wanted to keep her until late afternoon but she got indignant with them since the doctor had told her earlier and I was on the way. So he approved her leaving when I got there. They forget the word “Regional” in their hospital name! Lol.

They had just begun to process her out so Lily and I went to run some errands. First stop was to get her a leash since I didn’t put hers with my stuff and left without it. It was a nice, long purple one. The girl checking us out suggested it was Spartan purple, one of the Salida school colors. I didn’t tell her it was Pirate purple, one of the Cotopaxi colors! I never did learn the other Salida color but one graphic was in purple and black; Cotopaxi’s, which adjoins Salida district to the east, is purple and white. Our site doesn’t state the colors but pictures of the football team have them.

Anyway, she didn’t need to potty after all that. But she seemed in distress, licking her lips and drooling. Her problem was obvious when we got to Burger King! She was gobbling the burger I got for her as I tore it apart, burning my fingers!

I ran another errand to my medical supply store for both the oxygen Donna needed and a new CPAP mask harness for me. Then Donna called saying they changed their minds about the oxygen and I went back to tell them to forget both! I joked with Mandy that if she quit breathing, I should smack her; Mandy looked a bit shocked. I remember when she came there, all subdued and uncommunicative. Now I wonder if I hit a nerve.

I went back to the hospital for Donna but when I went in to get her, she was eating “lunch”: hot tea and broth. She wasn’t excited. This is a picture of one of the two patient halls. It is a small hospital, 22 beds.

I went out to wait with Lily. She was nervous about this huge machine tearing up the sidewalk outside the Cafe.

There is lots of remodeling going on at this hospital.

Finally she called that she was on the way. I drove over to the entrance to wait. When Lily saw Donna being rolled out, she went wild and ended up in the front seat. The nurse was very patient and took Lily’s leash and then put her back in the back, lifting her rear end to do so. Donna slowly got in while Lily licked her!

As we drove home, her pain medication wore off and the bumps on our street and driveway elicited a series of “Uh”s. But she managed to walk in the house herself. And went right to bed!

I am proud of her for getting this over with. I know how much she hates doctors and hospitals. And the wheel bearing got worse, enough Donna even noticed!

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Local Color

Our Falls up here not spectacular since we are too dry for aspens. So I was surprised to see a flash of reds and yellows through the trees while taking the trash up. The next time I left, I went a different route to see the tree.

Donna and I had both forgotten about this tree our neighbors across the “street” had planted near their horse barn. They do a lot of barter in their sign business and this was part of a settlement.

Striking!

More Prison, uh, School Construction

I got some more pictures of the Salida Prison School construction. I mentioned to the waitress at Wallbangers which is diagonally across the corner from this project how it looks like a prison! She laughed and agreed!

But there ARE some windows.

On the east side. This is taken from the Wallbangers parking lot, SE of the school. You can see they are setting the steel roof trusses.

This is from the opposite side on the NW. No windows here, either! I hope this is a gym they are building. I absolutely can’t tell from the plans on the school website.

I can’t tell north from south. And there is another “concept” drawing entirely different. And the architect “explained” that, yeah, the plans had changed since the earlier one is a ”
bubble drawing”! But for sure they are gonna spend $23,700,000 to replace the high school. With something.

OK. Digging through the picture pages, I learned these two buildings are the Gym and auditorium.

Kindle Anomaly

Well, really an Amazon anomaly. I went to look at a recommended author and got excited when I found one of her books on sale for $6!

Except the $6 was for the “bargain price paperback”! The Kindle edition was $9.99! sigh. When they are cleaning out the overstock, Kindle users don’t get a deal.

I didn’t buy the book since I wasn’t that interested in a Civil War steampunk novel.

Me and Ned Beatty

A friend sent me this picture of Ned and her BF said I looked like him!

I will let you be the judge but neither I nor Donna think so.

ATF: Medical Marijuana Patients Cannot Buy Guns

I guess Donna will have buy our armaments.

From High Times.

A new federal policy bars medical marijuana patients from purchasing firearms and ammunition. Last week the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a memo to federally licensed firearms dealers confirming that it is illegal for medical pot patients to buy guns.

Superweeds

Here in Colorado this isn’t as big an issue as in warmer, wetter climes.

The original article.

“Superweeds” are plaguing high-tech Monsanto crops in southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, return to conventional crops or even abandon their farms.

The whole thing has to do with GM seeds of Roundup resistant crops. But the pigweed (Amaranth palmeri) has evolved to resist Roundup weed killer along with some other weeds. Interestingly, it is edible with flour being made from the seeds (available at Whole Foods) and the leaves make good greens.

It is kinda plain. I have seen some growing in Canon City, along ditches.

The perfect weed

Had Monsanto wanted to design a deadlier weed, they probably could not have done better. Resistant pigweed is the most feared superweed, alongside horseweed, ragweed and waterhemp.

“Palmer pigweed is the one pest you don’t want, it is so dominating,” says Culpepper. Pigweed can produce 10,000 seeds at a time, is drought-resistant, and has very diverse genetics. It can grow to three metres high and easily smother young cotton plants.

Today, farmers are struggling to find an effective herbicide they can safely use over cotton plants.

According to the UK-based Soil Association, which campaigns for and certifies organic food, Monsanto was well aware of the risk of superweeds as early as 2001 and took out a patent on mixtures of glyphosate and herbicide targeting glyphosate-resistant weeds.

“The patent will enable the company to profit from a problem that its products had created in the first place,” says a 2002 Soil Association report.

The Conclusion

In the face of the weed explosion in cotton and soybean crops, some farmers are even considering moving back to non-GM seeds. “It’s good for us to go back, people have overdone the Roundup seeds,” Alan Rowland, a soybean seed producer based in Dudley, Missouri, told FRANCE 24. He used to sell 80% Monsanto “Roundup Ready” soybeans and now has gone back to traditional crops, in a market overwhelmingly dominated by Monsanto.

According to a number of agricultural specialists, farmers are considering moving back to conventional crops. But it’s all down to economics, they say. GM crops are becoming expensive, growers say.

Donna’s Surgery

This is a day which changed Donna. She no longer has a pesky gall bladder! This adventure began when we left the house at high noon. The time it takes to get to the hospital is about one hour and 15 minutes. She had to be there at 1:30. But as she pointed out, they aren’t gonna start without her! Lol.

We were doing good until we got near Wellsville, 7 miles from Salida. Highway construction! Flagman, etc. And a line of waiting vehicles.

We each took a picture, me of the line; she of the place! This vehicle in front of us went roaring by a mile or so earlier. 😉 I figured he was working up to a heart attack since he was in such a hurry! We sat here about 20 minutes.

There are many worse places to sit and wait! The sounds of the river soothed us and the mountains were nice to watch. On the left is part of the mine there; the mill has big piles of white stuff. Dunno what it is.

Finally our escort dumptruck arrived to lead us to the promised land. At 30 MPH! The construction turned out to be over a mile of highway resurfacing. Then we went on to the hospital where things got more efficient. Except they had lost her lab results so they had to be redone!

This is my lovely wife in pre-op. Lots of questions and pokes here! One that doesn’t show is on her upper left arm where they did an allergy test for the antibiotic they will use. She passed!

She had TWO anesthesiologists.

This is Scott, the doctor anesthesiologist. His hair got like this when he had chemotherapy. I didn’t get a picture of his shoes and so regret it! The laces and other parts were all different colors! Made me think of clown shoes!

This was Scott’s assistant, a trainee. He was very professional and made Donna feel comfortable which was the main thing! I figured between the two of them, she was in good hands!

He injected the anesthesia into her IV tube and away they went. I went to lunch! This being Salida, I was not surprised when I had to stop for a deer on my way to Wallbangers where I had a great mushroom and swiss cheese burger!

I got back to the hospital and took a place in the now almost empty waiting area about 3:30. In case she came out early. All that did was give me 30 more minutes to text and read! Lol. I finally had to go to the restroom at 4:30 and naturally, that was when her surgeon, Doctor Menart came out! (I took a picture of him in scrubs with my phone camera but forgot to save it! These things should save by default.)

He told me the operation “went well”; I was hoping this was exuberance for him and it was something beyond just successful. Anyway he gave me an outline of when she would be discharged (tomorrow) and when he was gonna remove the drain (before she leaves if it is not needed). I asked for details on how he removed the organ (I was envisioning chopping it up and vacuuming it out!) and he explained it was small and flexible so it comes out intact.

I went on up to her room to wait; he said she would only be in recovery for 30 minutes. She got to her room at 5:30! Her room number is 2516. As I went to the elevator (I am old with achy joints, OK? Lol.), I asked at the desk if that was on the 25th floor (It is a two story building.) One of the receptionists laughed but the other was less amused and told me it was but the floors are numbered downward! I replied that I was impressed with their basement. It turns out the “2” was the floor and the “5” is kinda the hall number. They also number the rooms different: up one side and down the other. Creative numbering.

Again I got to do some reading but the view out her window was great.

The little lake is a drainage pond from the property with ducks and reeds like a permanent pond but with less landscaping! From her bed, this is what she could see.

Still nice with the Sawatch Mountains in the background, the helipad windsock, and the historic Smeltertown mill stack.

She eventually came in, about 30 minutes later than projected. She didn’t recover as fast as normal. And was still very groggy.

She looked awful, frankly. Poor baby! And was barely cognizant. The staff had not removed the room’s bed so the nurse’s moving her from recovery had to move it. This way she did not have to be transferred between beds.

The nurse on the left is a recovery nurse while the other one is a ward nurse. It turns out she sits just outside her room monitoring her and another patient. I have not seen this setup since my Dad was in ICU! She is pale and barely responsive from the anesthetic. All she would say is “Thirsty”. But didn’t want ice. When my flash went off, she thought it was lightening and jumped!

This is Kate who, as she said, was her nurse for 8 more minutes! She deliberately turned her back. I had harassed her earlier when I came up face to face with her in the hall while she was standing there. I said she looked lost. When she said she had forgotten what she was doing, I said she was too young for that!

When she asked Donna if she could get her something, she got the “water” answer. Then I, naturally, butted in. When Kate suggested ice, I told her she had already refused that. So she ended up giving her some tap water.

I stayed until 6:30 then drove home. It was dark and Lily was feeling insecure. What an adventure.

Fall is Here

On our way to Salida today, I could see the aspens had turned in the mountains. We don’t notice them from below except when they put on their colors (mostly yellows).

This was taken in Coaldale, CO looking to the south west into the northernmost Sangres. The altitudes for the color is about 10,000′ up. It is hard to tell in the small picture (click the picture for a large one) but the color is along the flanks of the middle mountains which are Sangre “foothills”.

Mushrooms!

I was amazed to see mushrooms coming up in our yard! We haven’t had significant rain since the 15th when we got a half inch. It has been so dry so long, I figured the mycellia had died. Obviously not!

The ones in the front yard were not in any kind of shade. There was another one a few feet beyond this pair.

The ones in the back were under the bird feeder tree in the needle and seed hull litter.

The one in the foreground was kicked over by me yesterday figuring out what the “bumps” on the ground were!

Air America Veterans

And they are veterans even though they weren’t officially “there”. Just like I wasn’t!

From an article in Asia Times.

The United States Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) has again refused to recommend paying federal retirement benefits to the surviving employees of Air America, despite overwhelming evidence the legendary secret airline was created, controlled and funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during 25 years of service in Indochina.

In a long-delayed report to the US Congress in late July, the DNI said granting retirement benefits and civil service status would “undermine national security proprietaries, creating a costly precedent for granting such benefits to other proprietary employees and would not stand legal or public scrutiny”.

These men agreed to this dangerous job thinking they would be accruing retirement benefits. Many are dying with no pension plan now. This is just plain wrong.

Time is a luxury the aging Air America claimants don’t have. In the seven years their unpaid lawyers worked to get the DNI’s attention, 15 of the 34 survivors who flew with the airline for two decades or more died, as did more than 70 of the 466 crewmen with five to 20 years experience.

More than 240 pilots and crew members were killed during the lifetime of Air America and its predecessor, Civil Air Transport (CAT), between 1950 and 1975. Most of them perished as a result of hostile fire during the so-called secret war in Laos, where their existence was never officially acknowledged.

Paradoxically, however, the DNI and CIA argue that Air America can’t be legally called a government entity because it did not conform as such to Section 9102 of the Civil Code. The reason is that its existence was classified top secret and remained so long after the end of the Vietnam War.

Some “secret”. I learned that Air America was a “CIA front company” my first month as a door gunner. All the GIs knew it. Their planes flew everywhere, ferrying supplies and people around Viet Nam. It wasn’t exactly like the movie but there were similarities.

This is appalling to treat these men this way.

Our Cats’ Trauma

During our trip to see Jeff, the cats were left here “alone”. Normally they just sleep when the humans and dog are gone. But it was dark when we got back. I had left the front porch light and one interior light on.

But when we got home we couldn’t find Kimi! Eventually Donna found her: on the roof! She reluctantly came down. I thought maybe she was looking for birds roosting or something.

But Saturday both cats acted strangely. Extremely cautious. And needing reassurance from all of us. Well, Kimi from Lily; if Stubbs gets friendly with Lily, the dog freaks! During the night Lily barked a LOT! Something had come around and terrorized the cats, is my assumption. But left no indication of what was here nor was anything disturbed.

At least it didn’t get in the house!

The joy of fat sex — Book Review

This issue came to my attention from an interview with the author, Hanna Blank.

Kirstie Alley inspired a tabloid-frenzy this week with her explanation for why she decided to dramatically lose 100 pounds: “I didn’t want to have fat sex.”

What is it, exactly, about the idea of fat sex that so frightens Alley and inspires such media rubbernecking? And how is fat sex different from any other kind of sex? Who better to answer these questions than Hanne Blank, whose book “Big Big Love: A Sex and Relationships Guide for People of Size (and Those Who Love Them)” just so happened to hit shelves this week. I spoke with Blank, editor of the fat-loving anthology “Zaftig: Well Rounded Erotica,” about everything from sexual myths about the plus-sized to the erotic perks of fatness to bizarre fetishes like “feederism.”

I cringe from use of the word “fat” but I am finding larger women (Men don’t care!) are reclaiming the word for their own use. Unfortunately some skinny women think they are fat!

I have always liked the way Blank thinks because I agree! Big IS beautiful! And sexy!

More Muffins

This is entirely a “told you so” post. But both the hotel and the DoJ have refuted the inanity of the accusation.

The Justice Department says their Inspector General’s conclusion that they paid $16 per muffin at a legal conference in 2009 is, pardon the pun, half baked.

“Under a complete accounting of the services provided for the Executive Office for Immigration Review conference, it is clear that the muffins did not cost $16,” DOJ spokeswoman Gina Talamona said in a statement.

“The abbreviated banquet checks did not reflect all of the food and services provided,” Talamona said in an email to reporters. “The package consisted of food, beverages, staff services and function space, including a 450-seat ballroom and more than a dozen workshop and breakout rooms each of the five days of the conference.”

TPM

Those alleged $16 muffins everyone is up in arms about? Turns out they came with fruit and drinks.

Pete Yost of the Associated Press reports that Hilton Worldwide, which manages the Capital Hilton where the 2009 legal conference mentioned in the Justice Department’s Inspector General report took place, says the breakfast “included fresh fruit, coffee, juice, muffins, tax and gratuity, for an inclusive price of $16 per person.”

“Dining receipts are often abbreviated and do not reflect the full pre-contracted menu and service provided, as is the case with recent media reports of breakfast items approved for some government meetings,” Hilton’s statement said.

TPM

A Visit with my Son in Colorado Springs

He lives about 75 miles away but, due to our roads up here, it takes an hour and a half to get there. Or two hours if Donna drives. Which she did going. She does not like to drive CO115 between Penrose and Colorado Springs because it is crowded with traffic and winding but went through Pueblo West then over to I25 at the Speedway north of Pueblo by way of Purcell Blvd.

The distance from Penrose to Pueblo adds about 20 miles to the trip. Lily went with us and mostly enjoyed the trip but was not happy with being a “second class citizen” at Jeff’s house! His cats got to (read: have to) stay in the house and she had to stay in the front yard!

Anyway, we had a nice visit to see his new house. And he kicked my ass at backgammon!

Jeff is at center. Lol. And I got half of Donna! I am still learning the quirks of my new phone’s camera! The trees at top are the lower branches of two huge Blue Spruces!

We made him a housewarming gift: a pot of Aloe Vera. We bought a pot for them and divided this monster plant.

This plant is over 15 years old and did need dividing! LOl. I had decided to do the surgery on the front porch using a door mat for catching the flying dirt. I chose a steak knife for a scalpel!

But most of the work was done with my fingers untangling roots while keeping the poor thing immersed in water. By the time I finished, I had a pot with 5 plants in it!

It looks kinda straggly and I don’t think he was that impressed!

We had a secondary mission: getting a stock of yakitori sauce from the House of Yakitori. They had closed the restaurant where we had gotten it before so I called around and we went for dinner and sauce. We bought four of these interesting bottles.

They don’t stock these but filled them while we ate.

It was a very good trip but we were three tired, old beings by the time we got home!

Pumpkins and Gourds!

I did my Ombudsman thing Thursday which happened to be the day they harvested the resident’s garden at Hildebrand. What a haul!

One thing I found out is, I don’t know pumpkins! In this pile are two varieties referred to as big and little! Lol. The large one in the foreground is a “big one” and also has smooth skin; the little yellow ones are immature large ones. I don’t know how many of these are gonna get eaten but I am sure the residents will get their pumpkin craving filled!

I was amazed by the variety of gourds! Dawn told me they planted a seed variety pack and some from her own garden.

Much of this will be used for Fall decorations in the Home, including the many sheaves of corn stalks.

“$16 Muffins”

I expect those prices at my local pot store but doubt these had secret ingredients! Well, there is a “secret ingredient”: malice. This is a deliberate — or ignorant — distortion of the reality.

Department of Justice’s $16 muffins is now a symbol of waste. Even if it isn’t.

Were those just really good cookies? Is the government really throwing around our money just like that? Not at all, reports Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. As anyone who has ever booked a conference knows, the “food costs” are seldom the actual cost of the item itself, but also the cost of set up, break down, gratuity, taxes, utensils and other various necessities that go along with the food being served. As Drum says, “I’m surprised DOJ even got that much of a breakdown. Far more commonly, your event person negotiates what kind of refreshments you’ll get, and the invoice ends up looking something like this: Refreshment table (bev/morn/aft) — 5 days………………..$39,500.”

But the toxic politics in our nation makes mountains out of . . . nothing.

My Day in the Judicial System

I was tapped by Fremont County for jury duty. Donna has enjoyed this several times and each time, her call has been cancelled. Not mine. I had an 8:15 appointment with legal destiny.

And Donna was up to see me off! That was a shock! She never is up before 9! I had to leave before 7:30 to make it.

I actually got there early but not simply. We had a shower during the night then it got cold. So I found a sheet of ice on my windows!! It didn’t wanna scrape off! Between the defroster and the scraper (They never really go into storage in Colorado!), I got enough clear glass to creep out to the county road. While starting the Montero*, I saw the fuel light ON! So my priorities in town changed: breakfast could wait; fuel first!

I was amazed there was NO traffic on Copper Gulch Road. I figured I would driving in with the working people. I guess they start even earlier up here!

The first station entering Canon City from the west is Hank’s Auto Plaza. And while I was there I had a cinnamon roll and coffee for breakfast. Then on to the Justice Building on the other end of town.

I entered the security check with my cell and Kindle. Those were allowed but food and drink are not. I was the first in the jury room but not by much! Eventually there were about 30 of us. We turned in our little questionnaires (which turned out to be a waste of time since each prospective juror had to answer the exact same questions again!). The jury commissioner entered the data in the computer while we watched a video extolling the virtues of jury trials and what the process is for becoming a juror. And what knights in shining armor prosecutors are. We all saw how well that worked in Georgia. Yeah, I have some bias on that subject!

Finally we got to move into the actual courtroom to sit on hard wooden pews. Another juror commented it was like being in church! The judge came in and we began. Or tried to; they had to go roust the lawyers out of wherever they were hiding! Then we were sworn in en masse. Then 6 of the pool were excused for various reasons; one for not living in the county.

The clerk of the court called the first 6 names; this was a misdemeanor so the jury was smaller. They each went through an interrogation by the judge about being biased then each introduced themselves off a series of questions on a board. It got much less interesting when he turned the jurors over to the judges. It was a telephone harassment case and the prosecutor delved into domestic violence issues. The defense lawyer harped on “innocent until proven guilty” and how could a charged person could be prejudged by just being there. This confounded the jurors and they stammered their explanations. He also stressed that not taking the stand is a constitutional right and should not be taken as a sign of guilt.

This went on a while. Then the challenges began. I was surprised how many jurors were tossed by premptory challenges (that means the lawyers didn’t have to state a reason). Each side takes turns challenging and a challenged juror gets excused. Then the judge calls the next name on the random list and he and the lawyers interrogate them. One of the replacement jurors was so unpopular, he barely finished his intro and questions before he was gone!

Eventually the two lawyers accepted six good people, including the Canon City financial super, to serve. There were six challenged jurors. Yet three of the original jurors remained! There were a dozen of us left and we all got excused, gratefully. It was 11 AM. I began my errand list.

I was glad I wasn’t on that jury; the trial was likely to go into today. I won’t get called again.

_________
*We are using the Montero because the Escape is deadlined until I get the right front wheel bearing replaced next month.

Auroras from the ISS

From SpaceWeather.com, a great video of auroras from above!

http://spaceweather.com/swpod2011/22sep11/media.mp4?PHPSESSID=qukvsdltr7stnu471c53f9fem6

New Juvie Prison

Donna and I went to Salida and behind the Pancake Patio Place is a construction project. From the lack of windows, it looks like a prison.

Oh, wait! This is new addition to the High School!

Personally, I liked the tall crane being used for the roof panels.

It has become a landmark along US50.