$corching $ummer $olstice

Travails With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off and On and Off The Road Again — $corching $ummer $olstice

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2022 Summer Solstice — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Hazel needs her dreadlocks trimmed.

Living Spaces

All the chatter around me about Tiny Houses evokes this comment: The Cat Drag'd Inn is 210 square feet of living area not counting the bridge. I prob'ly have another 50 sf of storage in a small camper trailer and perhaps another 50 sf of stuff and things laying about in the yard. Not counting TinyTruck which can carry some of that stuff whenever we might get on the road again.

This edition of the Travails of Oso con Migo is dedicated to Trees.   Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April.

I think that I shall never seeTree on the wall at
              my Chiropractor
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
                                                       Trees Joyce Kilmer 

Saturday March 26

Business as usual here today. High yesterday was the first 90+ of the coming Simmer. Too hot too soon. Already I am missing being at Pie Town.

March 29th.

You know you're getting old when...Steven! Excellent catch. I am remiss in not making that connexion on my own. But this past week my brain is quite addled between pain and pain meds; I am having a problem thinking let alone writing. Fortunately the GPS knows which way to carry the TinyTruck from stop light to exit ramp. Would have got me to the doctor on time but for yet another flat tyre. This one was a surprise at construction-zone speed limit where the rumble-strip didn't go away and TinyTruck veered to the verge. Tilted about 20 degrees down into drainage. Too much for my scissor jack. Too much for my state of mind. I called AAA and waited. Called my PCP to cancel, to beg for a later appointment, to arrange a virtual visit. Between the rock and the hard place the next appointment is a fortnight into next month. So I want to the tyre shop instead of the doctor. All that was yesterday. Today I have managed to borrow some opiates from a stash remaining from McMurdo. Off to the MRI place shortly.

The operator technician had ear plugs for me and ear muffs of a sort that blocked at least 100 of the DBs and held my head tight in the "pillow" frame. The noise was still loud but not any worse than some of the music that Mike plays in his electric Fiat. (I've told him he'd get better mileage from a full charge if he turned the volume way down.) They must have done five or six scans, different noises-tempos-rumbles and I was once admonished to lay still, to keep my leg still.


MRI out of the way. Now, what about the results. And then treatment?

April up next, ...but I'm sleeping in. Owie still hurts. Long deep report of MRI evaluation, lots of big words. A few of them I recognise...

 1.  L5-S1 right-sided extruded disc fragment displacing the S1 nerve root sufficient to account for the patient's pain.
 2.  Degenerative changes at the levels with canal, foraminal and lateral recess stenosis detailed above with greatest severity at L3-L4.

Now, what's to be done about all that? Only the doctor knows. And I'll bet the doctor is only guessing.
This is me and I approve this photo.
Does not feel good in any case.

April 3rd 1941 to 2022iv3

Made the trip to 81  So what’s next? "This is me and I approve this photo."

Prandial Prescriptions

Preprandial: Gabapentin, 0500, before or after morning toilet. Various vitamins including several dietary supplements not available from processed foodstuffs follow breky. Sext-Lunch-Gabapentin and midday nap. Vespers and a postprandial snack of Gabapentin round out the day. From time to time pain meds of various chemical composition may be utilised as necessary throughout the day. Compline concludes my day with an offering of Finasteride at bed time.

Happy Sadly Susan’s Birthday.

Susan was fifth of eight. After four boys there had to be four girls. Yin & Yang? Even Steven!

A Week Into April—Temperature Hits 99f

Tree Book ShelfI'm learning about options for treatment and opinions of doctors. So many factors besides opinion. Cost and time are two factors that doctors seem not to consider. On the spectrum of Do Nothing to Most Invasive & Expensive:

Do nothing means no drugs even. Sciatic pain has been known to go away after a while. Ernest Shackleton had Sciatica on his way to the South Pole; perhaps the cold helped alleviate the symptoms. The last time I dealt with Sciatica that was the outcome.

I can stay on Gabapentin (three pills a day) for a long while (as long as the state pays (239$ for a 90 day supply) and eventually the problem may go away like last time. But there are undesirable side effects and just maybe the problem will not go away. On more or less equal but very different terms (and I have yet to get all the answers and costs and times) there are Cortisone Injections or Physical Therapy.

The former--favoured by the MD at his Pain Clinic--is monthly, at least to start with; might take three months before any results are known. The cortisone relieves the swelling that is pinching the sciatic nerve. But according to the MRI Report (L5-S1 right-sided extruded disc fragment displacing the S1 nerve root sufficient to account for the patient's pain) there degenerative changes to the vertebra and perhaps arthritis. Is cortisone going to fix that disc fragment? The latter, PT, is favoured by my Primary Care Physician. That likewise may not fix the fragment and maybe could make the situation worse. I need to learn more about PT.

And then either way there is the cost. I don't know yet what that is. At the far end of the spectrum is surgery to remove that fragment. So I still have a goodly supply of Gabapentin and Ibuprofen and even a small assortment of oxymotrin-something-or-other, some of them dating back to my second Winter at McMurdo.

7 April, Scaling Up

Off to a late start today. Actually I've been up since oh-dark-45 but was immediately sidetracked by my lying body scale. Some folks call this appliance a "bathroom" scale but I keep mine in the galley. If I wrote "Kitchen Scale" you'd prob'ly get the wrong idea. My scale tells me I'm up to 154 which is five pounds heavier than I'm supposed to be. One of the indicated side effects of the Gabapentin is weight gain and now I am seeing that is so. I'd go for total fasting but there are so many yummy leftovers in the fridge which would be wasted I just cannot bring my Self to that drastic course of action. And smaller portions won't do either cos then the leftovers would exceed their half-life. Not good. I can't bare to waist food nor can I bear to waste food. The neighbour’s dog(s) may be of some help in this case.

Spring Equinox Letter Printed

Tree NegativeI’ve not told you about my having to replace the HP 5660 that has been faithfully cranking out these letters since 2017. Let me count the pages: 5 years. 4 letters/year. 25 copies. Typically 6-8 pages/letter. But then the count gets complicated. The pages are often printed double sided and two to a sheet. So an eight page letter is on two sheets of paper each printed on both sides. I’ll count on the high side to make up for all the other numerous print jobs. So. The 2022 Spring Equinox letter: 8 pages double sided is 4 sheets times 25 copies. That really counts as 200 printed sheets. Then, four letters /year = 800, times five years = 4000 printed sheets. And in the earlier period of this correspondence, when I was travelling more, I sometimes wrote more than four letters a year. You might say this correspondence with a cohort of pen friends is a sort of hobby. Sometimes I look at the project as my personal effort to keep the Post Office in business. I do all this in Memory of Ben Franklin.

Anyhow, back to the printer. A fortnight ago, just as the printer was cranking out the last page of my music library catalogue, the printer stopped with a paper jam. But there was no paper jammed in the printer. A ghost error? All the trouble shooting steps came to naught. Dead printer. And I have quite an investment in ink cartridges, printer drivers, menus, routines, physical arrangements of wiring and space and where-all-the-buttons are, and the last thing I wanted was to have to learn all that over again for a new printer. There is something to be said for being in a rut. I wanted another of the same make and model that would simply drop into place and pick up where the old one left off. So I spent a day researching. Needless to say my HP 5660 was obsolete, out of production, no doubt replaced by something with more bells and whistles before the warranty expired. And the recommended new replacement used different ink cartridges too. What can you expect? American Throw-Away-Society at best.

Another day searching for a functional used replacement of the same make and model. Fortunately there are other like-minded folk out there in NeverNever Land who fix-refurbish-rebuild things such as printers so I found the replacement of my dreams in a shop back east. My original HP5660 cost 100$ in 2017. Refurbished replacement 146$ in 2022. By way of comparison Regular Gas was $2.41in 2017 and today: $4.60...

But the saga does not end with delivery. The printer didn’t simply drop in and work. I’ll spare you the agony of installation. After all was said, done, and reprogrammed, after three hours with a robochat and another hour on the phone with a Human, the printer prints, the ink subscription is transferred, and I am basically content. Thank you HP; I take back at least half the swears and profanities sent in your direction.

April 11th Roadside CleanupTired Tyer Tomb

Amazing how much trouble some people will go to just to leave their trash by the side of the road for someone else to clean up when with only a little more effort they could do the right thing and properly dispose of their refuse at the Transfer Station and save the rest of us all this work and bitching.

Happy Big Wind Day 12th April 1934

What Big Wind...  In response to my blowing the message all over the lists Trish wrote:
> The wind has been blowing here in Florida also but maybe not as strong as there.
> On the brighter side it's a good time to fly a kite.   — Trish
Darn! Thanks for the reminder about kites Trish. I'm afraid I've turned into a grownup and forgot all about kites. Damn! And to think I once told my Sister-Son: “What happens to kids who stop climbing trees? They become grown-ups. I'm not sure which comes first, the becoming or the not climbing, but that's one of the major signs. That and not flying a kite. Never grow up. Grown-ups have forgotten. You have no choice but to age, and maturing is a nice thing to do, but never grow up; growing up is hazardous to your health.” This morning of course is calm and I am off to the food bank. No time for kites and no wind anyhow. Some consolation.

Easter Dinner Plans

I have a special N95 mask to wear with a slit for eating. We're planning on a brisket smoked by one person, a slaw by someone else... I'll make my famous pickle pie (did I already mention that...) and we’ll eat in the hot tub so there'll be no need for napkins or laundry after.

Easter Dinner After Math?Easter Bunny

The hot tub drain got clogged so we turned up the temperature. The slop will cook down to soup consistency and with the addition of celery salt and oregano will eventually make a passable leftover for the next few days. 2+2=5?

Easter Bunny Escapes

My first thought was: I’ve been watching too many Alice In Wonderland movies. Or maybe I’ve slipped down the rabbit hole my Self. Here was this White (mostly) Rabbit dining on a Mesquite bush.

Feast Day of Saint George

Roasted Dragon Loin for the entrée. Other fixings to go with and nice black grapes for dessert.

PT Has A New Meaning

How much is that stick bug in the window?The initials used to be for Pie Town. These days Physical Therapy. Or even worse: Physical Therarist. My day was tough. Took me three tries to write that word: tough; the spellchecker on my pen is not up to snuff. Or snuffing too much. An hour with the PT slave driver left me with aches I didn't know I could have. I guess that takes my mind off the one I do have. Then I came home and hauled trash to the tip and brush to the burn pile. Phew! Time for a nap.

May the Forth Be With You!

MikeMachine failed normal boot, again. Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc! didn't work... Wrong keyboard. Tried again. Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc! Got the boot menu. That worked ok.  Is this method of getting started to be another new normal?

1234 12 12 1234 12 12 1234 1234 1 (?)

What was than sound?

WNGD 22v07

Started out with a quick jaunt to the mailbox to post the May B’day cards. Then a couple hours pruning invasive branches from a mesquite forest. My rule is I want to be able to walk a certain path without suffering bloody claw marks on my arms nor the loss of my sun bonnet. There are also a couple of palm trees which must needs be kept back from obstructing the drive with their scratchy fronds which are worse than barb wire when it comes to applying pin striping to The Cat Drag’d Inn. Once all the pruning was accomplished the resulting brush had to be hauled to the burn pile. I do better with WNGD than I do with WNBR.Lune Eclipsed by Paul

The Ides of May

Did you watch the Eclipse of La Luna last night. I was looking at the moon with one eye and the ISS with the other when they crossed paths and I fell over.

Goodyear Blimp Flyby

Just when I was outside looking for a cloud to flesh out the 18 o'clock weather observation the GoodyEar Blimp coasted along above i10.

May 23 Another Passing

Jim writes that his father passed away last week. Jim Senior was a Sailor with experience on Coast Guard icebreakers in Antarctic waters. After he retired from that he moved his family to Chula Vista and did a second career as Keeper of The Bears at the San Diego Zoo. That was one of the places I went on one of the Cross Country Tours from Tr 50, maybe about 1973.

Towel Day

Towel Day FlagThe towel rack on my back reminds me to remind you that today is Towel Day. Bring your towel to work with you! Wear your towel shopping. Show your towel there is more to life than drying hands.

The End of May

Monthly laundry—wash-dry-putaway; get the bus organised to move to the garage and look for an oil leak—clean the windscreen, dust the instruments, put away the sugar bowl and tie down the spice rack; trim a few trees back from the driveway—mesquite tree thorns really scratch the paint; take a nap; fix something if the parts arrive; put towbar on TinyTruck... Not least of all that is ordering the list on account of the outside temperature. The hottest part of the day is no time to be outside. I'm already tired just thinking about all that. I believe I will start with the nap.

The First of Must

Jeopardy clew: This thing is about as useful as pressing one for English when you call tech support. What is a...? 102 days with no precipitation. Why do doors on houses open inward and on businesses open outwards?
Injection Pump Parts
At Allan’s Tonopah Garage out near the airport (AZ85) overnight looking for oil leak. Found glycol leak instead. Rear Main Seal looks good. We'll check again this morning when the motor is cold.

The storey with the bus has a good outcome. Allan, the garage person, is a miracle worker. Not a rear seal problem. For better or worse... A fuel leak from somewhere under the intake manifold, in the vicinity of the fuel injector pump, washing down the rear of the motor to drip from the flywheel housing. Interesting that the leak begins about five minutes after the motor is started and is rather prolific for a while but then stops when/after the engine is hot. The drama was high but the cost was nil. Whilst I was busy studying a recurring glycol leak and an ongoing air leak Allan quickly determined that the rear seal oil leak was really a fuel leak from somewhere on top of the motor. "Shut it OFF NOW!" he bellowed from below the flywheel.
Injector Pump Top
Under the right conditions, with a mirror on a long extension, one could see fuel oozing from around this 7/16 bolt head. The fuel injector pump sits below and forward of the intake manifold in a well between the two sides of the 3208 motor. Time and a half later after removing all manner of gunk and dirt from between the injector pump and the turbo, we found a certain bolt missing-lacking-bereft of a sealing washer and O-ring. How many years has this 3208 been leaking fuel? Perhaps a half a cup at every cold-start? There we found a bolt--7/16 head, with fuel leaking from under the head. A half turn tightening didn't stop the leak so we removed the bolt and added a copper washer. That seems to have fixed the leak. Sounds easy but took about six hours. We had to dismount the alternator and the belts to be able to reach in under the air cleaner-yada-yada-yada...
Injector Pump Detail
My hands were always too dirty to take pictures then so these photos are from later. One picture shows the tiny cavern into which one squoze a hand and wrench to get down behind the injector pump under the intake manifold to the bolt, the lower/smaller one, as seen in the other picture. The bolt is about 4" long, 3/16-28 with a 7/16 head; item #21 in the Injector Pump Parts Diagramme. The parts/service manual shows the washer and O-ring but neither were present. Allan found a copper washer that fit the need and made a good seal. "Rear Main Seal Oil Leak" fixed without having to dismount the 600# tranny.

Snake in the grass220602 - Snake in the Grass - What grass?

Thursday, just as the temperature climbed above 95f, the shore power went off. Professional Electricians were replacing a distribution panel in the big house; forecast an hour or so of downtime. Things being as they are with professionals the one hour became two. My APU was busy supporting two A/C units for six hours by the time shore power was restored. Any other time of year the solar would have been sufficient but not when both A/Cs are Trees by
                Joe DoodleBoyneeded to fend off triple digit temperatures. About mid-point in this exercise a rattlesnake slithered up alongside the big orange extension cord. Whilst Patrick kept an eye on the snake I ran to fetch my snake stick and a bucket. We got the snake into the bucket and relocated the slithery serpent out back by the water hole where critters of a better size for snakey diet are to be found.

42? May 25th Reprise

The real meaning of life is to plant trees anyhow;
Even when you don't expect to sit under their shade.
                  —Nelson Henderson

And The Question Is: What is a rain gauge?

Please excuse any redundancies; there is an echo in my editor.

Bike Birch Boy Book Butterfly

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.Tedder by the sea

Love, ajo

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2022, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.