Friday, November 16, 2012

"Traded the van for it, straight up...."

"We can get 70 miles a gallon on this hog!"
1. Our new minibike.  Dorine and I recently went to the cabin for a short (two-night) stay with Heidi and Kiley and their families.  (Dion did the dirty work for us in installing new upper-window blinds in the living room.)  While in Pagosa Springs, we decided to buy a minibike (see photo) at the Alco store.  It didn't run well from the start, but it did work well enough that we were able to ride it up and down the road.  We probably will only ever use the minibike in Colorado, but we'll need to have it worked on to get the clutch working properly.

2. Ankle sprains.  The last time I had a bad ankle sprain was in the early part of 1997, when I turned my left ankle after falling off a boulder that I was trying to climb in the Sandia foothills.  (I did tweak an ankle slightly on the last day of the backpacking trek we did at Philmont Scout Ranch in 2004, but my reflexes saved me that time from greater injury.)  I recently realized that the intervening fifteen-plus years has been the longest period of my life in which I haven't had a sprained ankle, as I was fourteen when I had my first bad sprain -- and playing basketball and volleyball would cause me to keep having them periodically, until I gave up team sports entirely at about the same time I developed an interest in rock-climbing.

3. Treadmills.  Our gym, Planet Fitness on Eubank Blvd., recently expanded and acquired a set of new treadmills.  I thought I'd experiment and try running on one of them; I knew I couldn't go very fast, so I did thirty minutes at 5.5 mph, or roughly 11:00/mile pace.  To my surprise, I tolerated it pretty well, despite not really having run for the last two-and-a-half years, and now I've done the treadmill the last five times I've gone to the gym.  The new machines are larger, have better cushioning, and even have hookups that allow the user to control his iPod on the treadmill console.  I don't know how long my body will hold out, but I'm excited about being able to run for the time being.  I'll never get back up to 8:30/mile or 9:00/mile pace again, but I would like to be able to finish three miles in thirty minutes -- we'll see.  I can't say I love running, but I do love being able to do it, however slowly.

4. Atrial fibrillation.  I'm taking a med called Flecainide twice a day for my atrial (heart) fibrillation, which seems to control it quite well.  I can't say what the prescription medications I'm taking now are doing to me, especially in combination, but I'm sure taking a lot of things at this point: Sertraline, Flomax (which I'll stop when I run out of the current supply), Flecainide, and my sleep meds (Temazepam and Zolpidem Tartrate), which I take on alternate nights.  These meds make me feel "weird" -- not sick or depressed, but very aware of all their side-effects.

5. My new job.  I recently changed jobs again, and now I work in the business office of the Geoscience, Climate, and Consequences Effects center (6900) at Sandia National Labs.  It's been a relief to be out of the ECIS SMU business office, as I much prefer to be "on the line."  It's pretty ironic, however, that a "climate change" skeptic like me is now supporting the climate scientists in the company.  Perhaps they'll win me over to the idea (a) that global warming is happening, (b) that the carbon output from human beings is causing it, (c) that draconian measures are necessary to reverse it, and (d) that the measures they propose will actually affect it.  For now, however, I still find it difficult not to believe that money, power, and ideology are driving, and thus corrupting, climate science.

6. More buns in the oven.  We've found out that our daughters Kristy (about to turn 34) and Kiley (age 20) are pregnant with our tenth and eleventh grandchildren.  It was a surprise to us that either was expecting, as we thought Kristy, already the mother of five, was done having children, and that Kiley would wait at least another year to start having children; however, we're happy for both of them.  (Kristy and her husband Chris recently bought a house -- in another ward, unfortunately -- and Kiley's husband Sam has been accepted to medical school at UNM for next fall.)  The fact that Kristy, our oldest, will have her last baby, and that Kiley, our youngest, will have her first baby -- and within a couple of weeks of each other next spring -- makes me feel like a circle of sorts is being closed.  I wish I could feel optimistic about the world our grandchildren will inherit from the navel-gazing, self-absorbed Baby Boomers who've essentially done all they can do to leave it an economic and moral wasteland for future generations.

7. Darren's upcoming wedding.  Darren and his fiancee Cait Brobst will be married on December 18 in the Albuquerque Temple.  I can't help but feel bad for Cait's parents, who, not being Mormons, won't be able to attend the sealing and thus probably won't even bother coming to Albuquerque.  Darren will be the last of our kids to be married, and he seems very happy with Cait; he's working on his master's degree in EE, and Cait is still doing her undergrad with plans to become a physician's assistant.  December is a lousy time of year to be married, as Dorine and I can attest, but of course college students typically have to get hitched between semesters of school.