Thursday, March 28, 2019

What Tam Said

Even if it is a bad guy and not a family member, pet, or drunk neighbor, ensconcing oneself in a safe position, dialing 911, and loudly announcing that you have a gun and have called the cops is likely to save money for carpet cleaning bills and legal fees.    
Tam pretty much states my plan.  I have a loaded gun next to the sofa downstairs.  My plan if I ever hear anything that sounds like an unwanted visitor breaking in is to grab the gun, release the safety, and... not try to go upstairs.  Out the door and a phone call to the police would be the plan.  Upstairs, same thing.  Grab the gun, quietly close and lock the bedroom door, put the bed between myself and the door, and call 911.  With the last part not so quiet.  Bangety is great fun in the controlled environment of the range, and I've made the decision that I will go bangety if I ever really have to,  but I'd rather not go bangety unless absolutely forced into it.  And I don't want to be having to move myself and the cats into a hotel room in the middle of the night because there's a nasty mess in the hallway.

I do have the advantage of security cameras around the house that constantly feed to my phone.  I don't have to go check out a noise:  I just pull the feed up.  Given that I live in the woods, there's lots of noise around my house, even in the winter. Raccoons and opossums are nightly visitors because I have food out for the ferals.  After so many years, I can tell which one is out there just by how much noise they make: the opossum is much quieter in its explorations than the raccoon is.  I hear movement and a bit of dish rattling but not the rambunctious thumping and bumping the raccoon makes.

Funny thing is that the largest of my visitors is the one I've never heard.  I haven't seen any sign of him yet this year, but last year he explored my decks and porch several times.  And pooped on my steps, wrecked the metal crook the bird feeder hangs from, and got into the garbage the one night I forgot and left the bin out.  That was the only way I knew he'd been by until I checked the security video.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

So, If I Understand This Correctly...

...a hate crime was committed against Jussie Smollett by two Nigerian-Americans...

...and the Chicago Chief of Police...

...and because Smollett was innocent he paid $10,000 and did community service before it went to trial so all is good now? 

Yep, the American legal system is convoluted.  Or maybe it's just the Chicago legal system.  

Monday, March 18, 2019

Little Things

There's bigger things, of course.  Like being able to spend hours every day doing Spring yard work.  A couple months ago I barely had strength enough to get up a flight of stairs.

But sometimes it's the little things.

So many cans have pull-tab lids:  tuna fish, cat food, canned beans.  The seltzer water I drink.  For a while I couldn't open them without sliding a knife into the tab and using it to lever the tab and lid up.   That peculiar thing neuropathy made my fingers both too sore and too numb to pull  up on the tab. Yesterday I realized that I was opening pull-tab cans without needing "help" for the first time in 3 months.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Three Out Of Four Completed

Surgery - Done
6 rounds of chemo - Done
6 weeks of daily radiation in Winchester - Done
Maintenance chemo (side effect free) every 3 weeks - In progress

Feeling much better than I did a few weeks ago.  The main problem left by the chemo is neuropathy - a weird combination of pain and numbness - in my hands and feet.  And my big toes hurt.

Yeah, that's ugly.  Sorry.  I'll be seeing a podiatrist regularly for a while.

I have a dandy "sunburn" from the radiation.  But it's not like I haven't had a bad sunburn before.  My last treatment was Monday - the itching and tenderness is already abating.   I never did have any other side effect from the treatment.  Compared to chemo, radiation was a breeze.

Despite the weather's best efforts, I walk for 45 minutes to an hour most days.  I need to start working on upper body and hand strength, though:  my forearms are visibly thinner than when this started, and I can barely rack the slide on my Kahr.  Cold wet stuff needs to stop falling out of the sky so I can tackle the yard.  A rake would do me more good than any gym can.

My taste buds are back - I'm eating anything that can't get away from me.  It took a bit after I got back in January to get out of the anemia and get my potassium up to where it should be, but all the numbers are normal now.  I guess as things heal the need for a lot of nutrients will no longer be a good excuse for "I want some of that.  And that. Yummy!  And, oh yes, THAT." 

And I have hair.  Well, sort of.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Gules, Three Lions Passant Gaurdant, Or

Even though I have some knowledge of the language of heraldry, I always want to ask "Or what?"  Gules = red. Three lions, easy enough, but passant means not rearing and gaurdant means looking towards you rather than forward.  Or = the lions are gold in color.

Since I have to wear a hat - 'cause bald in Winter = COLD! -  I figured I might as well have some fun with it.  I've been sticking pins that represent my ancestry on my favorite one.

Left to right would be my clan badge, the US flag of course, the thistle of Scotland, and the harp of Ireland.  My latest arrived in the mail today.

Yes, it's part of the arms of England.  But specifically it's the arms of the House of Plantagenet.  I'm a descendant of  Henry III Plantagenet, King of England.  Born 1207, died 1272.  I have, last I checked, about 26 million cousins world wide.   I'm having a brain fart right now:  I can't remember whether my line is from Edward I or his sister Margaret of Scotland.  I need to dig The Big Book out of storage and check.

The pin isn't quite right:  the rest of the blazon is "armed and langued azure", which means the claws and tongue should be blue.  But it's a small pin so that's forgiven.  And I can never remember that part anyway.

I need two more pins for the majority of the rest of my heritage:  Switzerland and the Alsace-Lorraine.  Switzerland is easy:

But I ran into a problem when searching the Alsace-Lorraine:

Oh, great.  Mostly French but right up against Germany, so they share search key words.  And the Alsace-Lorraine didn't even exist as an entity when that branch of my family came to America.  They arrived in Philadelphia in the 1740s:  the territory was created in 1871 when it was ceded to Germany after the Franco-German War.  So a little digging online, since I remembered that I'd seen a family tree following the line in question.  We're from the Duchy of Lorraine part.  That I can find, but the pin's a bit big.

And turns out the Swiss line is the Canton of Bern.  Bet I can find a pin for that.  Somewhere.

I  would also like to find one for my Felton line, since that's the branch I'm heavily involved in.

Gules, two lions passant ermine, crowned or.  Oddly, I've found dog tags but not a pin.  But somebody has to make them.  I just haven't found the website.

Running across the pins carrying a swastika reminded me of an irony concerning a symbol now viewed in a good chunk of the world as representing evil:  the swastika is a good luck symbol that has been around for thousands of years, and is still viewed as meaning good fortune in several eastern religions.   The word itself is from ancient Sanskrit, and in our time people would probably be surprised at its meaning:  "well-being."

3,200 year old swastika necklace from northern Iran

Greek helmet from 350-325 BCE Herculaneum, Greece
As the gammadion cross, it was widely used as a Christian symbol:

From a 4th century Byzantine church excavated in Northern Israel
Effigy of Bishop William Eddington (died 1366) at Winchester Cathedral
Which would be why visitors are probably surprised to see swastikas in the floor tiling of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling, WV.  The cathedral was built in 1926, and I wonder if their presence caused the renovation committee heartburn when they hit the floor restoration point in their planning a few years ago.

The pre-Nazi years of the 20th century saw a swastika boom that appears to have been driven by fascination with Heinrich Schliemann's discovery of the symbol at Troy and his theories concerning it.  Everybody and his brother appropriated the design.

And then, for just a very few years, the swastika was appropriated for something so evil, so opposite what it has meant for thousands of years that I wouldn't consider wearing anything carrying it even if no one else could see it.

To quote the narrator of a trivia moment on a radio station I stream:  "Weird, huh?"