I woke at three in the morning to answer a call of nature. I'm one of those people who has to have moving air on me at all times when I sleep. So, in a pitch black room I open my eyes and I see a halo of light in front of me. I quickly blink to see if I'm hallucinating, but nope, it's still there.

Because I'm me, I alternately close one eye and then the next. The halo disappears when my right eye is closed. Hmm, says I. What fresh Hell is this? I lay there while my sleep-addled brain turns this problem over.

Finally, I realize that my right eye has the perfect paralax to see past the spinner of the fan and be able to observe the faint spark from the brushes in the fan motor glowing in the dark room.


I'm a fan.
What you did there? I see it.
Getting old sucks. I find myself second guessing _every_ weird sensation no matter how clear the cause is.
And dreading every doctor's appointment.
I probably would - if I was making any. *cough*
That is cool. But yeah, it sucks we're now at that age where our first line of questioning often is "Wait a sec. Am I having a stroke?"
Too true. We're all riding out the clock until it's adult diaper time.

It's October, and Halloween is right around the corner. I haven't painted myself into the corner, but I've had some pretty good Halloween costumes in years past. No easy task for my panoramic physique. I've been assembling elements for this year's costume, but y'all are just gonna have to wait for the big reveal.

My dog, Gna had a tumor removed in March of '18. The biopsy results were that it was an aggressive cancer. And while my vet got narrow margins, with this type of cancer they'd like wide margins. It was located close to her genitals, so there was just no room to get wider margins. This morning I noticed she has another mass in almost the same spot. I'm bringing her in next week for my vet to have a look-see. She's 8-9 as near as we can determine, so it's going to be a judgement call. And there's always a chance that things have gone seriously sideways internally. Today has been really hard, I've been sitting at work torturing myself with what-ifs.

I turned in my submission for my monthly writer's group and I'm really happy with it. I suck at short stories, but this one came in around thirteen pages and just under 4,000 words. The 30,000 foot view is it's a sci-fi/milfic/vampire story that takes a hard left turn into Lovecraftian horror. The writer's group meets on Friday. I'm looking forward at least that far.

That is all, and I think that's enough on my plate for right now.

Poop on dog cancers. I lost my Best Dog Ever to nose cancer last year about this time. I hope Gna's prognosis ends up being a better one.
Thanks, I've lost two of three dogs to cancer. I hope it's not soon to be three of four.
Good luck to you and your girl. You'll do the best you can for her, and she's lucky to have you. xoxo
Karen 10/9
Yup. This.
Thanks to both of you for the kind thoughts.
I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed for Gna.

I really would like to make it to your writer's group one of these years...

Can we read the short after the group has had a shot at it?
Once I get it back from mangling by the writer's group I'll share it out.
For those following along at home, Gna had her second lumpectomy. The mass is going out for a biopsy, but it looked identical to the first. Sort of like Satan's Cauliflower. The first was a malignant cancer of the apocrine gland, a sweat gland. But on a dog they are located in the hair follicle and excrete a fatty oil that gives a dog their doggy odor.

She was stoned out of her gourd for a day and a half, but is back to her normal, pre-cancerous bouncy, happy self. Other than the inflatable horse collar to keep her out of the stitches until the incision heals. Biopsy comes back in two weeks so we'll know more then.

In the mean time the weight of the world is off my shoulders.
>"...is back to her normal, pre-cancerous bouncy, happy self..."

Happy to hear it! Keeping my fingers crossed whenever I don't need them for driving etc. :)
That’s good news! I very glad.

People ruin everything.

totally  would have worn, ironically, a shirt that said, "Save the Planet Eat the Children". But some political fringe case / mental illness sufferer made it go mainstream before I could wear it with a proud smirk.

I guess I'm going to have to go with "Remember, Napalms Sticks To Kids".

If I got my news right, turns out she was a Lyndon LaRouche plant (of all things).

If someone thought a mere white lady saying "Eat the babies" was gonna derail a gal who grew up in NYC, they were dumb. Regardless how anyone feels about AOC--I think she (AOC) came off as pretty concerned and compassionate, but certainly not derailed.

I was amused by the whole thing. :-)

"Save the Planet: Eat the babies" is pretty awesome. 😂
"Save the Planet: Eat the babies" has already been done. It's called "A Modest Proposal", you've probably heard of it ... :)
Jonathan Swift. Of course his proposal was only limited to the Irish. This latest iteration doesn't seem to have that restriction.
Well, now we're all running out of potatoes ...
I'm not going to engage on the climate hysteria front. Mostly because I'm old enough to remember the predictions of massive famine by the 1990's, no summers in London by the 2000s and New York City underwater by 2019.

To her point, there is no resource ill that could not be resolved with less people on the planet. But western society has no comparative sins on that count. We might want to get China and India on board before we start the genocide plan.

After my sister Hope had a harrowing and nearly life-ending medical episode lasting from Christmas to March, she resolved that the whole family should get together.  She elected to hold this at York Beach, Maine.

Now, York Beach is your typical beach town. Lots of overpriced goods, expensive restaurants, family amusements and speed traps. (15 MPH over the limit, $230. I'm not bitter, really.) Other than being located in Maine and the water being hypothermia-inducingly cold, you could plop it down in any state from New Hampshire to Florida and the only way you would be able to tell would be the accent.

This is the coast north of Short Sands. The Union Bluff Hotel has been in business since 1868. Real estate along the Maine coast is just as crazy as anywhere else along the coast.  Every building there probably goes for over a million.

Here's a view of the Atlantic from Short Sands. This actually is east of northeast since short sands is on the north side of Nubble Point, a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic.
Short Sands looking east southeast toward Nubble Point. More million dollar houses.
An attempt to view the sunrise from Long Sands, south of Nubble Point. The back of my sister Ellen's head in the foreground. Our attempt was frustrated by "haze". I don't care what the National Weather Service says, that's fog.
Rats with wings, naval division.
A squadron of naval rats with wings. Short Sands again, looking east northeast at fog.
Ray Conrad 8/13edited
The Union Bluff Hotel and north coast in fog.
IHNJH, IJLS "Nubble."
If you like 'Nubble', the name of the river separating Portsmouth, NH from Kittery, ME is 'Pisquataqua'.
...which just HAS to be said with the Beavis Voice.

Are you threatening me?
I appreciate what you mean re: 'drop it anywhere along the coast' but I've gotta say that I love Maine. In fact, you were only about 1.25 hours from my Grandfather's place.

I mean, where else can you go to find mosquitoes that eat dogs whole? (I'm hoping they - and the horse flies) were less of an issue there on the coast.)

I'm being snarky, but I do love it. The nature of the rocky coast, the pines, and just the general mojo are pretty good in my mind.

Hoping your vacay wasn't exclusively 'haze' and rats with wings! (And sorry to hear about the reason for the get together in the first place.)
With the offshore breeze the blood buzzards weren't too bad until after nightfall. Sitting around the fire pit I got 'et alive. And since New England is having an outbreak of Easter Equine Encephalitis, it's a bit concerning. Horseflies weren't an issue.

The weather was amazing, highs near 80, lows in the high 50s. The day I left thunderstorms rolled in, but hey, that's a concern for the people who stayed.
Easter equine encephalitis

She makes me see

Easter equine encephalitis

She's so good to me
EasterN, oops.
You can take comfort in the fact that all those "million dollar homes" will be worth bupkiss once the oceans rise a little more.
The ones on Nubble Point are about 40 feet above high tide, so, it's gonna take a while.

We look back at the Apollo 11 mission and see a triumph of human will, technology and daring. But at the time there was a chance that it would all end in disaster. Setting aside the prior Apollo 1 deaths of three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Roger White and Ed Chaffee, in a "plugs out test" of the Saturn V rocket and the Apollo Command and Service Modules. There was a single, critical piece of equipment that could not be tested until it was time to use it. Specifically, the Lunar Excursion Module's ascent engine. The LEM descended with a more powerful engine on it's descent stage. But rather that tow all the weight of the descent stage, NASA engineers decided to leave it behind and only ascend to rendezvous with the Command and Service modules with a much lighter ascent stage carrying the astronauts and the moon rock samples.

Of course, Murphy also had to intervene. In the tight confines of the LEM, either Aldrin or Armstrong's life support pack broke off the push button that would activate the ascent engine. Aldrin used a pen nib to push the button and the engine activated, but I can't help but imagine that the atmosphere in the LEM was pretty tense as they approached lunar liftoff.

Tension in the White House was also pretty high. As William Safire wrote this speech for President Nixon to read;


Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dare to send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern time, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

Heavy stuff. A pen nib. I love it.

Did you read that white-knuckle article in Wired about the Apollo 11 error messages of doom? It is a brilliant read. The last paragraph or two was also neat, serving as a who's who of "who went on to do what." (It'll make sense when you read it.)

I did read that article. Only nerds would find it horrifying. Fortunately, I'm a nerd. Imagine the first moon landing nearly borked by user error.
Both you and Jill might be interested in listening to this. It's an audio drama/ audio fiction podcast episode speculating about what it would have been like to be on Apollo 11, had everything gone Tango United.


Just wanted to take a second to report how happy I am that I left Farcebook. Yes, I miss social anouncements. But word of events generally reaches me, given time. And I don't have to waste processing cycles and emotional energy on the latest trauma du jour, real or imagined.

In general, I've been happier not knowing about the minutiae of my peer group's lives.

That is all.

Yes. Yes yes yes yes. I don't miss it at all. It's so nice not knowing about stuff.

It's frustrating that I am forced to keep a personal FB account just so I can administer our Hot Breakfast page, but I administer it via the Pages app so I never have a reason to go to anyplace other than our page.

I read an article in the NY Times this morning how FB is building a new cryptocurrency. Yeah, I want a company with the world's shittiest privacy practices issuing my money. Hard hard pass.
Same. I passively wait to see what happens to FB eventually.
Karen 7/3edited

Spare a thought or raise a glass to absent companions for all of the men who waded ashore or jumped into Normandy 75 years ago. A mere tithe of them are left to tell the stories of that day.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 

At the going down of the sun and in the morning 

We will remember them.

Lawrence Binyon, ​​​​​​​For the Fallen

I just posted about this myself. Feeling big feels today.
It's too immense to wrap your head around. All the deaths and all the years that have passed. These same men and women built the world I grew up in.

So, I had carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand 3/8. Two weeks later, I got the stitches out and my hand looked like a gutted fish. Recuperated for two weeks and then got the same surgery on my right hand on 4/10. Two weeks later, I got the stitches out and my right hand looked like a gutted fish.

In between, my old roommate, Rick Desautels died of a respiratory infection.

We had been pals and roommates for ten years, during our desperate twenties and into our thirties. He had survived two bouts of chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A third roommate, Bernie Lisewski, committed suicide in 2003. We reunited at his memorial service to scatter his ashes. The last time I saw him was in 2004, when I was returning from vacation in Charleston, SC. I stopped in Raleigh and hung out with him for a day. We lost touch after that. In those missing years, he went through another round of chemotherapy. Each successive round took a toll on his heart and lungs. His doctor had recently told him that he had the lungs of an eighty-year old man.

Rick never had a big footprint on the internet. I searched for him from time to time over the years. The only thing I ever found was an arrest record for possession of a weapon of mass destruction. I was only a little surprised and surprisingly proud. (It wasn’t a weapon of mass destruction. It was a training model of an AT-4 rocket propelled grenade.)

In between the time I knew him and his passing he became a staple at a burlesque theater in Raleigh. He would hold down the stage or work the door. He armed the dancers with pepper spray, walked them to their cars, controlled the odd drunk or handsy audience member and generally made himself an invaluable member of the community.

Rick, or as he was known and loved by the burlesque and nerd community in Raleigh, Lord War Bunny, had a massively irreverent sense of humor. He enjoyed tilting at windmills and his lance was humor. Sarcasm was his super power.

His brother Chris described him as a man of intense passion and little ambition. But what Rick cared about most was people. He wanted people to be safe. He might grumble about it, but he’d walk the girls to their cars and make sure they weren’t hassled by the patrons. Even if they’d have to stop for him to catch his breath on the way there. At his memorial the celebrants described how when they entered a new venue for a game, a convention or a performance if they looked around and spotted Lord War Bunny, they knew that was their safe place.

The celebrants at the mundane memorial and the memorial held by the burlesque community for him described how they’d hear that Bunny was in the hospital. And at the next show he’d be standing there next to the stage. His quiet presence reassuring them that everything was okay and nothing was going to go wrong. And it didn’t.

Good job, buddy. You’ve earned your rest. I’ll be along someday. Make sure you save me a seat.

Holy lord. It's the understatement of the year to say that this has been a very rough patch for you. I'm lousy with comforting words, but please know that I love you very much and would be honored to be a sounding board for you... or just to be a friend where you can sit quietly with no obligation to talk.