I stayed up too late last night hosting a Public Night at the Observatory. Could have used more sleep. Sunday dawned cool and beautiful. It was a good day for a hike so we decided to head down to Brandywine Falls and the Gorge Trail there, a beautiful place inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, northeast from Peninsula.
I shot a good number of photos and was disappointed with a great many of them. They look pretty good at smaller size but enlargements show focus problems. It looks like my fancy Canon 17-40mm, f/4, L-series lens may suffer from a deficiency I read about in reviews of that product.
The lens is too expensive to let this flaw go uncorrected so now I'll need to figure out just what to do. Maybe first some more testing.
We had a very pleasant hike, it was just challenging enough (1.1 miles, says the GPS, with one very steep climb near the end), and a nice evening at home — the film Trekkies 2 is recommended! Back to work tomorrow.
We're holding our breath waiting to see what will happen at our fine institution when state funding details become established and known. Painful cuts are expected.
The trees will grow, the waters flow, the stars will shine, and life will go on. Goodnight!
Out and about today I stopped by a McDonald's restaurant. Besides refreshment I wanted to see if I could purchase a promotional "bobblehead" Happy Meal toy, this one depicting Albert Einstein. I thought it would be fun to have one in each of my office spaces. Asking at the counter, "do you have the Einstein bobblehead toy?" I was met with blank stares. "It's the Happy Meal toy from that Night at the Museum movie… you know!" More blank faces from teen- and twenty-somethings. The counter folk stepped over to the box holding available toys and offered up choices between a mechanical dinosaur skeleton and a "space chimp." I politely declined and ordered my Coke and soft-serve ice cream — the fixings for an improvised float. Thing is, this isn't the first time or place I've had this experience whilst seeking the Einstein bobblehead. Admittedly it's been a long time since I was a kid. When I was a kid (and the Earth was young) Albert Einstein was the iconic genius. Everyone, even the Three Stooges, knew who Einstein was (yeah, a one-name personage) and that he stood for extraordinary intelligence. That despite the fact that hardly anyone knew what he was really getting at with that E=mc2 thingie. The equation itself became an icon for deep thought. Even today, in physics and astronomy, Albert Einstein stands tall and the shadows of his towering ideas cast forward waiting for science to catch up. But the "kids" at McDonald's don't know who he is, even when he's reduced to a toy figure in a movie. I'll bet if it was a Paris Hilton toy they'd know who it was. I think I'll curl up in a dark corner and weap.
Ugh! It's been an uncomfortable few days. My cold symptoms kept shifting (in typical fashion) ranging from the sore throat at the beginning, coughing and sneezing yesterday, to a fever and headache today. Misery during a week of velvety blue skies by day and clear comfortable nights. The view out the windows is of perfection –those aforementioned blue skies set off by a foreground of lush green trees– but I've stayed indoors. Besides the beauty of the days, I missed a golden opportunity to do some stargazing last night. Friends set up telescopes 10 minutes from my place of work and on a night when I was scheduled to be there til sunset! In fact, I left work early last night and called in sick today which, for me, is extremely rare. I figure with all the virus fears people have these days, my co-workers were happy I stayed away! I'm also glad I stayed home because it was not a good day for me.
I kept the TV off for most of the day, preferring to keep the top of my head from popping off by sitting in the subdued light of a quiet room. I did get to see half of a film I recorded from Sundance Channel: How to Cook Your Life; She Who Must Be Obeyed had taken the day off by pre-arrangement, and wanted to watch something. She became involved with the film as did I. I'd seen a bit of it the other night and was intrigued enough to want to see more. The documentary centers on Edward Espe Brown, a chef and buddhist priest, but it's really about our relationship with food. It was the segment on breadmaking that captivated me in the preview and, as it happens, it was bread that started Brown on his life's journey. Interesting to me is the prevalence of people involved in spiritual practice and breadmaking. I hope to see the balance of the film tonight. As a baker myself, will likely order Brown's classic, The Tassajara Bread Book.
My symptoms seem to be moderating. I'm feeling a bit peaked right now but then, I haven't eaten all day. Tomorrow's a scheduled day off for me so I'm hoping I can complete my recovery in time for the weekend.
I don't know what else we may do today or if it will be birthday-related but it's been a good one so far!
And just what did you think those flags and fireworks were for if not my birthday?
I took off Saturday's work to make an appointment at the doctor's office — I needed to get my now-infected bite looked after. It was a half-hour wait after my on-time arrival when I finally was seen and explained my situation to the nurse-practitioner on duty. (Normally it would tick me off to wait that long but I was just happy to get in.) By then my right index finger and part of my palm were tender and swollen with reddening skin all around the bites. As expected she prescribed a tetanus shot and a week-long course of oral antibiotics to help knock down the infection. The nurses and the nurse-practitioner that tended me were all very good though the practitioner asked "is the cat still alive?" Yes, she is, and though I didn't punish Missy, she got no reward "fancy food" after the incident! By the time I left the office it was about 2 PM so I didn't bother to go back to work (the office was about an hours' drive). It was kind of fun having unexpected time off but it felt like hooky. The evening was spent watching TV movies –so much Christmas holiday programming already– and Sweetie decided we would watch Christmas With the Kranks on DVD — more Christmas programming! The Kranks movie was very good. It had been long enough that I'd forgotten much of the detail. When bed time came, oh-oh! the tetanus injection site on my right arm was sore! Sleeping on my side was very uncomfortable … I'd forgotten what immunizations feel like! Nevertheless, I slept well and awoke this morning with the redness and swelling fading from my hand. My arm, however, still feels like I'd gotten punched there good. Ouch!
We had a nice Thanksgiving visit with family in Northwestern Ohio. Mom is doing well; she's even looking at replacing her landline telephone with a cellular phone to reduce the cost and call her children daily to "check in." We also visited my my sister and her family. A tour of my nephew's recently-purchased fixer-upper house was included. The house needs plenty of work everywhere you look. He had already hired a new roof installed on the 900-square-foot place. Now there's painting, flooring, wiring, plumbing, and all the other "ings" needed to make the place livable. It'll be a great place for a young bachelor… a little house on a big lot with a view of the Maumee River! Really grand. Near the road, on his property, is an ancient inn — the main structure was apparently built in about 1900. The roof is completely shot but the walls are ceramic block. Restoration will mean huge amounts of labor but it could be worth it. He'd like to use it as a sort of club for his friends and himself. I could see it being renovated into a guest house and rented out. Either way, the residence takes precedence and the bank dictates it must be in livable/salable condition within six months. Once completed I believe he'll see a big return on his investment some day. In the mean time it will be a great place to live.
Friday morning Missy was in a grouchy mood. Instead of simply yowling in protest over having me stuff a tablet into her mouth she hissed and aggressively bit my hand! She had never bitten me so hard before; I could feel one of her lower teeth hooked beneath the skin of my right palm, at the base of my index finger. One of her upper teeth penetrated, though not so deeply, the back of my hand. I didn't punish her. I did get the pill into her. The wound has become infected as I feared it would. (Cat bites usually do get infected.) Today (Saturday) she took her medicine without trouble and I've got an appointment to get my hand looked after. It will probably involve antibiotics and a tetanus booster injection. She's still a "good ol' cat" but this was reminder she's also a sharp-toothed force to be reckoned with!
Sweetie and I did a couple of errands Friday morning (after the bite). Then we headed to the observatory where we installed plastic sheeting over the office windows on the inside. I'm hoping the sheets will help the room heater keep the office above freezing this winter. Good timing on the effort… it got down to 28 degrees (F) or so last night! We headed home via state route instead of freeway and had a very nice afternoon. I made dinner –baked spaghetti– and we later watched a DVD of the comedy movie Knocked Up. It's a sex comedy and tells the story of the maturation (over nine months) of a very immature guy as the woman he got pregnant deals with her situation. Very funny with a good base story but for adult audiences only due to adult situations, nudity, and loads and loads of foul language.
Saturday was dark and rainy as was Saturday night. Our scheduled observatory open night, of course, was canceled due to opaque skies. The good thing was the decision was easy; no partly-cloudy skies to tease us! I hope nobody showed up… my predecessor in the job used to open for visitors even if the telescope couldn't be used due to weather. Not me! So we stayed home and watched a film I never heard of —Noel— picked up at Target for cheap. Turns out it was a fair movie: not predictable except that it contained at least one "Christmas miracle." It boasts a strong cast including, uncredited, Robin Williams whose character gets his Christmas wish. Well, I won't tell you what his wish is >>no spoilers here<< but it's probably not what you think.
The weather was better on Sunday. She ran the oven's cleaning cycle and cleaned the racks in the morning. Then we went out for a Taco Bell lunch and a little shopping excursion to Medina just to get out of the house. We made a quick stop at Petiti's Garden Center which is now all decked out for Christmas. The real reason for the stop was to pick up gravel to ballast the base for a Christmas tree idea She came up with. More on that project and a photo or two later!
After a stop at Medina's Target for cat litter and to stock up on bottled beverages (Vitamin Water), we stopped in at an intriguing new place: Good Taste Wine and Food Shop. Wonderful food smells greeted us as we entered the modern building. We were greeted warmly by staff and wandered around the place: part kitchen shop, part cooking school, and part restaurant. Not much for non-carnivores, nonetheless a pleasant visit.
It turned out Medina was having their annual holiday kick-off on their Public Square: their Candlelight Walk weekend. It was late afternoon when we visited but there were horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides and stores were open that usually are not open on Sundays. The square and it's old buildings are charming and beautiful. Nearby big box stores have hurt the little guys in noticeable ways but, every now and again, some uniqueness shows up. The business mix regularly changes and we miss a couple of shops we came to treasure there. We did stop by the (genuine) "army surplus" store (where I picked up a pair of woolen glove liners), a home decor shop, and a hobby store. As we were packing into the car to head home I saw a beautiful scene: a church steeple rising from behind colorful autumn trees. I grabbed my camera and got a few shots from the courthouse parking lot. Off to home where I cooked up a nice pot of bean and spinach soup, enjoyed with crusty sourdough bread. The weekend started off rainy but ended nice.