Monday, September 30, 2019

Return of the Sciatica....and NO BOUNDARIES

She had a bout of it a month ago but it went away. This time it came back with a vengeance. It's her right leg so I started chaffuering several days ago.

Yesterday morning it was so bad we went to urgent care where they gave her flexeril and said there really isn't much they can do. By the end of the day she couldn't walk.

After this morning's (cat) visits we spent the afternoon seeing more doctors. As rush-hour began, we hustled her from the out-patient imaging -- which was just closing -- over to the main hospital radiology for x-rays. So far her insurance has covered. Tomorrow she'll see a master Shiatsu practitioner for $75.00.

I've thought the Honda FIT - both the 2008 & the 2015 - the most uncomfortable of cars I've been in. But her brother's best friend bought one so he did too and when he offered to buy Michelle a new car she just naturally got one like his.

Maybe the hardness of the seats, the stiffness of the ride --  16-inch wheels (sooOOoo fashionable!) with short sidewalls --  has nothing to do with it. Most likely it's just the LONG hours of driving from house to house, month after month, year after year (this is her 10th year). At least she didn't have to become a Walmart greeter.

So this was part of why we married. At age 67 if she were single she'd get around $450.00 from Social Security. As my spouse, when I die she'll "inherit" mine...currently a smidge over $1,000.00.

The other day, once again thinking it was time, I asked if she'd retire or at least cut back if she had the income. Her ambivalence inclined me to wait a bit. But now, perhaps this is just the motivation we both need.

7 cat visits today. The last is to nine cats, one of which needs insulin twice a day. The Actress fosters cats for the city and usually cares for them herself. But some unexpected theater rehearsals brought her pleading to Michelle for help. Since rehearsals are in the evening, The Actress administers the morning dose, but the evening one is at 7:15 pm. Michelle is often at other client's all evening and only rarely will have a break of maybe an hour before 7:00 p.m. rolls around. After cleaning the twelve litter pans, changing the water, distributing the food, and cleaning up several piles of barf, two hours have gone by and there's been no play time.

Michelle usually gets home sometime after 9 p.m....just in time to feed her own three cats and eat a bite of supper before bed. This isn't the worst. It is unusual, but there's one with 15+ cats. Usually there are only two, maybe three. But her conscientiousness requires a thorough cleanup and some quality play, so each visit takes a minimum of 40 minutes. I've encouraged her to charge more for special situations like this nine-cat one (her rate is $22.00/visit), but she feels as if she's "helping" ...and as she'd demonstrated many times over our 27 years together, she has a mind of her own.

And guess who's cleaning "the mids" (short for the middens), changing the water, putting out the food for the ferals and doing all he can to help?

Some people have no boundaries.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Schmoozing The Outlaws

When one of Michelle's clients recently died, she adopted her cats, Jesse James and Belle Starr, collectively known as The Outlaws. Both are orange tabbies; Belle, somewhat in the style of those times, is a bit fluffy while Jesse is sleek, trim and quick on the lap. They're litter mates; 19 years old.

Belle in the foreground

Jesse's taken a liking to me.

The leopard is of a kind of paper mache. I found it in a dumpster outside a private zoo somewhere in the wilds of Utah. I gave it as an anniversary gift some years ago.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Aunt Ree Ree

Around the ages of 3 and 4 I got to spend several weeks at Aunt Ree Ree's house in Atlanta, Georgia while my mother traveled to be with my Dad.

In addition to her record player, her foyer had several display cases filled with exotic treasures from her travels. She had things from Hawaii, including a starfish that now hangs above the archway of the hall at Ms. Cook's. The back of her couch sported a colorful serape, a memento of a time in Mexico.

There was a large mimosa in the front yard and its fragrance added to the magic of the summer evenings when she'd light candles and float them on her fish pond.

I'd been told she was a masseuse, but it wasn't until I was in my 30s, after her death, that I learned she'd been a fan-dancer. These photos are among the treasures in my display case that resides in Ms. Cook's living room.

I still remember her pink-painted bathtub embellished with crudely drawn flowers. Wonderfully exotic!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

This Is Not My Beautiful Pavement - Ojito Wilderness

The undercarriage of the Honda FIT is smooth; to facilitate air flow and mileage. But it also provides a modicum of protection from the foliage and, I like to think, lessens the damage to the plants.

2008 Honda FIT

The road had a pretty good hump in the middle that the Russian Thistle and other invasives had made full use of.

It's relatively quiet -- though there IS a shooting place across the valley -- but there's not a lot of flyover and it's a pretty area.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Last Night on Anderson SE

It's been musical houses for the last ten days or so and I'm more than ready to be back outside. The convenience of being able to get to appointments has been nice, but the racket of the refrigerator and the on-demand water heater, the yappie dog across the street, etc., etc., have had me eager to be gone for a while. Still, it's been nice to be able to spend time in the evenings with Ms. Cook.

And this afternoon Herr Christensen of Rolling Steel Tent came by. We had an enjoyable visit and dinner at The Frontier. He heads south on the morrow and I head north. I'll camp in and around the Ojito Wilderness until Phoebe is ready, then off to Utah to meet up with she of the Capri (truck camper).

Monday, September 23, 2019

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Stuck in Albuq

By the Book, the folks who keep Phoebe in top condition, is closed weekends so when I didn't hear from them Friday it meant sometime next week.

As it happens, Double-El came down with a cold and I've been helping by chauffeuring her to her cat-sits, cleaning the mids (short for middens) and entertaining those that were inclined while she doled out the mush, administered meds and attended to the "professional" duties.

I'm paid up where I'm staying through Tuesday night, but am totally FED up with being in town. It's been 9 years since I left Albuquerque and as far as I can tell it hasn't gained an iota of cultural dimension; if anything there're fewer interesting things to do and see.

Come Wednesday if Phoebe's still in the infirmary I'll move into the 2008 Honda FIT (2016 attempt). It's kinda low-slung but has snow tires so is slightly better equipped to handle "off-road" than the 2016. I found a beautiful spot in the Ojito Wilderness on my way down (to Albuq) and am eager to go back. But hopefully Phoebe'll be ready to ride and we won't have to play the switcheroo.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Words of Advice

I met NONEATALL (authoress of some recent comments) online many years ago. Over the years our paths would cross here and there, but it wasn't until two years ago we met in person. And then, given who we both are, we cooked and ate the meal, exchanged a quick (but heartfelt) hug, and parted. Since then we've sat on the curb a couple of times and chatted for maybe 45 minutes, but that's it.

In the blogpost below, the important thing I hope you'll get is that you need to do what has to be done in order to get what you're entitled to. I started working at age 15 and began paying into Social Security a few months later after I was legally eligible. I WANT people who need it to get it. Yes, there are abuses, but most are (IMEO - in my esteemed opinion) due to the politicians turning a blind eye to the system.

Our conversations have provided some of the details of her disabilities. As you read her post, look between the lines and see the ethics and integrity most of us share; it's those characteristics that have gone against her.

I'm posting this in hopes that at least one of you will benefit from reading of her experience. No one should have to endure what she does....and the post doesn't even tell half of it.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Yu Eat - Asian Cuisine, Albuquerque

A find! 

138 Harvard Dr SE (a block south of Central Ave across from the University)

Their Facebook page.

The same folks who have Yu Garden in Taos, they opened Yu Eat in Albuq in July.
Only seven reviews on Facebook as of 9/20/19 all of which give 5 stars. I would too (if I did Facebook).

On the wall outside....

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Dvorak's 9th Symphony - NY Philharmonic 2016

While awaiting Phoebe's repairs I received this interesting article which led to the video below.

And though not the most spectacular, my new  AKG K240 headphones ($73.00 with shipping) are contributing immensely to layover.

Alan Gilbert, conducting.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Awaiting Phoebe's Repairs

Poor Phoebe; by the time we got to ABQ both sides of the cockpit floor were soaked with coolant and she was running hot within minutes of startup, even with the radiator topped off. The heater core had begun leaking a few weeks earlier and it took a while to discover. We're shooting for Friday afternoon to be ready to ride, but, of course, won't know for sure until we're there.

The new heater core was $1,000.00 (installed) and while waiting for it to come in they -- By The Book -- bypassed it and found a leak in the radiator. It wasn't repairable and the dealer wanted $1,500.00 for a new one. Daniel found one for $500.00, but it's gonna take several days to be shipped in.

In the meantime I've been moving from house-to-house as each became available. Charey, my therapist who owns The Source , also manages several properties and fortunately, so far, there's been a vacancy in one or the other. Not only kind, she's also generous and has been letting me rent them for below market price.

On Anderson Street Southeast (SE), the homes are two and three-bedroom bungalows built in the thirties. It's at the periphery of Ridgecrest, the neighborhood that, in the 1940s and '50s, was the toniest of tony. Lovingly cared for, their gleaming wood floors have renovated bathrooms and kitchens that rival four-star hotels.

A duplex.

We have two Honda FITs, this 2015 and a 2008.
Both were gifts from the brother of my lawfully-wedded spouse.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Taking In the Sights - Taos

After a day of rest, feeding, rest and more feeding we were restored.

We started with Taos Gems & Mineral where Titus the Ancient (rescue pug) took extreme umbrage at the Old Dominion delivery driver. To add insult to injury, he had to endure being (lovingly) restrained.

Next came Cici's Coffee. Named for his daughter, they use Taos Roasters coffee which gave the third (count 'em on one hand) most superb Shot-In-The-Dark I've had in all my years of travel. You can juuuuust make out their tri-level, cream-colored shingle through the arch-entrance to the John Dunn House shops.

Then on to Hooked On Books where Sammie the Cat reigns.

and Linda, Sammie's staff, searched through the Womens' section to see if there was anything by Mlle Anand and I found a signed copy of Psychology of the Future by Stanislov Grof.

Thinking the rains might've sprouted some shrooms, we followed the road out of Arroyo Seco to its end. No shrooms, but a lovely walk amongst some large ponderosas (only barely rivaled by my girth).

No trip to the north is complete without seeing The Gorge. We arrived, as usual, just in time.

All photos by M. Cook.

A SPLENDID trip!!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Civilized Life

By Wednesday we'd discovered the balcony and brought some crockery from the dining room; life was becoming civilized.

I always wonder where people race off too; but then I think "Thank god they're gone!" When we eventually make our way out to the lot, we have no trouble finding Snoball, the 2016 Honda FIT,  since she's the only one there.

The morning light through the elms and cottonwoods kept us entranced.

I found some acid. A solid "set und setting" guy, I'm compiling the playlist and toying with ideas about location. The AKG K 240 (Austrian) headphones are 'sposed to arrive inna coupla days.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tuesday in Taos

Tuesday morn, at Michael's, Michelle's fav (Blue corn pancakes!). 

Somewhere on my southbound Moose-Way-Home I'd forgotten to load in my Hush Puppy loafers.(Over two years old, the damn things were too big and I was always curling my toes to keep 'em on. This, of course, caused my feet to hurt. And them being over-sized, I was always sliding around in 'em. But they wouldn't wear out! I was SOOOOO glad to be rid of 'em!)

An essential item of any nomad, they sat outside the door to slip into whenever I had to go out into the night or stroll over to greet folks who've camped too close or confab with the Sheriff who woke me at 2:00 a.m. the other morning near Arnold, Calif to see if Phoebe was stolen -- so we went to the CAV Thrift Store where I found a swell pair of TOM's for $3.00. TOM's is a Certified B corporation, "...a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit."  They have a B Corporation rating of 96.3.

Support for people experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence

We also looked in at the Old Jail where the light, a confirmed pattern enthusiast, prompted Ms. Cook.


I prefer silver, or, at the least, silver plate. It's been a while since we traveled and although we DID remember the phone chargers the Sagebrush Inn in Taos has naught but stainless...and ugly at that.

But Sheldon the cat, came out to bid me Guten Morgen when I took my buffet breakfast to the bar, which, at that hour of the day I had, for a little while at least, to myself.

A review of The Blue Flower by Daniel Myers of Greenville, SC, lifted from Amazon:

I remember when this book was first published and made the cover of the New York Times Book Review under the caption "Romanticism breaks out!" or something of the sort. Romanticism does NOT break out in this book. The very fact that it can be characterized as such shows us just how far we've come from the Romantic era.-All that "breaks out" in this novel is meticulous descriptive writing of the late 18th Century German milieu, in all its mundanities and shoddiness. In other words, the book is ANTI-ROMANTIC. The only Romantic passages are the quotes from Fitzgerald's straw man/main character Novalis and they are always quoted in a context that makes them appear misguided and silly. I'm sure Fitzgerald could have done the same thing with Keats, who grew up as a stable boy. Romantics are easy to comedize, because they take everything seriously. In doing so, they express our greatest longings and highest aspirations as well as the depths of human despair.
I'm too depressed by this book and by the reviewers and critics who have fooled themselves into thinking something deeper is going on here to say anymore. But I'll end with a riposte quoted from Novalis on p.157 (and, of course, made by Fitzgerald to look ridiculous in the context in which she places it): "Courage is more than endurance, it is the power to create your own life in the face of all that man or God can inflict, so that every day and every night is what you imagine it. Courage makes us dreamers, courage makes us poets."
Have the courage not to go along with the fickle sheep of reviewers and critics on this one. Have the courage to see the book for what it is: An old, learned woman's meticulous sneer at the visions that make living on this earth worthwhile.

Some silver, or, at the minimum, silver plate, would help.

Vacation in Taos

We left Monday the 9th around 5:00 p.m. sharp. Somewhere north of Santa Fe I began to suspect I'd missed a turn. Apparently, at some point someone else had too and they'd put in hwy 518 just for such occasions. We arrived right on time at 8:58....or maybe it was 9:58 p.m.  

You know yer inna classy place when the T.P. is embossed.

The Sagebrush Inn was built in 1931. At the behest of guests, a restaurant was added a few years later to save the 8-mile drive into town.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Phoebe to By the Book

Took Phoebe down to By the Book so they could start on her tomorrow, Monday, morning.

I first noticed the temp guage climbing when we were doing some relatively mild four-wheeling. It got me topping off the radiator every day, which, eventually led to realizing the front passenger compartment, covered by the sleeping platform, was wet with antifreeze. Further investigation revealed fluid draining from the main heater vent.

I'd parted with She of the Capri in Utah and wanted to visit Dinosaur National Monument. While there, things seemed to worsen and with a teeth-cleaning appointment in Albuquerque only two weeks away, I headed south.

By the time we pulled into town she was running hot all the time...even with the radiator full. In addition to a new heater core ($1,000.00), she got a new radiator. None of the ones Daniel ordered fir right and after the fourth one he decided they just weren't making them to specs, selected the thickest and modified the brackets. A stickler for original equipment fitment, it went against his grain, but there seemed no other option.

In addition, she got new radiator hoses, a front u-joint on the main drive shaft, new connectors (soldered) on her battery cables and transmission and transaxles topped off.

The biggest issue has been finding/getting parts. I can't commend By the Book enough.

Saturday, September 7, 2019


Although Phoebe is running better than ever, the "stuff" keep's expanding and I'm thinking I may have to find a vehicle with a little more room.

When at Canyon de Chelly the other day we talked to the mechanics there about the Pinzgauers they use for hauling tourists. The director of the tourist program chose them for their durability, availability of parts and ease of repair.  I went searching and found this bizarre video which is so inane I have yet to be able to watch it in its entirety. But purple IS my fav color.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Albuquerque's Finest Culinary Offering

A block west of Morris on Comanche. $3.24 with tax for the maple iced.

Dr. North, Dr. Thompson & PHI

Met with Dr. North about aortic aneurysm etc.

Got new contact lens checked by Dr. Thompson.

Discovered Dr. Anapol and listened to her MP3 about Pelvic-Heart Integration

Monday, September 2, 2019

Arrived Albuquerque Sept 2

Got in Monday evening as requested to give Steve, Michelle's brother, time to leave.

Teeth-cleaning appt at First Choice next day, Sept 3.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Wilhelm Reich - Says it All

This is Herr Reich explaining/expounding on the origins and evolutions of his theories. I found it fascinating that he discerned the nature of the global dysfunction and published this in 1942. I find it astonishing that so little has changed. Although I had no misgivings about my having "bailed" from "the culture,"  I admit that after reading it I now feel smug.