Kite Flying, Yard Work and “to do” List

Sometime last summer (or maybe even the summer before), I got it in my head to fly a kite. There’s something I’ve always loved about it, the idea that something is out there, that high, the wind supporting it and keeping it aloft, even while it’s buffeting it from side to side.

And on the ground, always that fear that the wind is going to fade and the kite will lose its support and drift back down to earth. I don’t worry that much about it going out of control and getting eaten by a tree – that’s just part of the experience. I expect it now.

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But there’s something metaphorical in that thing being up there that’s attractive and engaging. Partially because it’s being supported by something invisible and that’s a certain of magic. It’s the same feeling I get watching drops of oil suspended in water or air bubbles in a bottle of honey. Natural magic.

Something else I like about – about using something natural. It’s just THERE, waiting to be used. We can use it to cool off, we can complain that it’s blowing our papers all over, we can power windmills to grind flour or generate electricity, or we can just ignore it. I could have bought an RC plane or the new drone-ish crafts they’re selling (and I still might! I’m not lecturing or judging, just observing) but instead I went to the dollar store, bought a Donatello plastic kite and went outside on a windy day and let ‘er rip.

Last summer, I looked all around town for kite string. Surprisingly, no luck. It was late in the summer so maybe out of season, but no luck. Lisa and I were up in Mackinaw and dropped in a kite store there and bought a 500 ft. spool. This summer, it got the end of that entire 500 ft. I felt pretty good. I laid back on the grass and just watched it for a while. A long time. I think this must be the feeling people get when they’re fishing and know they’re not going to catch anything. You just enjoy seeing the string going off into infinity.

I’d get a tug on the line every now and then as the wind grabbed the kite and pulled it one way or the other. And since I wasn’t fishing, I didn’t have to do anything but enjoy it.

About the rest of the title: Yard work and “to do” List – May was a big month for me, the M.A. performance, giving the message at the Green Wood service on the 16th, teaching 5 week Improv for Rec and Ed, and the Amy Concert on the 23rd. I have nothing pressing in June so am planning to dedicate it to doing things around here. There’s plenty. We want to paint the house this summer and re-do the front yard. (Years back, we opted to replace the grass with wood chips, rocks, and some plants. It’s now … um … out of control.)

I also need to repair my motor scooter. 2 years ago, the sidecar came off. Something happened with the axle. The guys who put it together are out of business and the guys who sold it to us (Scooterworks in Chicago) were no help the couple of times I called them. So, I’m going to try and fix it myself. I have some helpers – friend of a friend does metal parts work – so the odds are pretty good. Fall back plan? Sell it. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen, I love the ride.

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Daily Thought for Feb 13, 2015 (Fri) – Road Trip to PonyCon 2015!

Wow, it’s been a Hard Day’s Night.

This weekend is Ponycon. A year ago, that didn’t mean much around our house, but things have changed. OK, here’s the story: a few year ago, while on a road trip to Crazy Horse Monument, Lisa and I drove through Riverside Iowa, the future birthplace of Captain James T Kirk (( click me! 20150213e)) a federation captain known for piloting the USS Enterprise. While there, she picked up a copy of Year One  20150213f by Five Year Mission  20150213d . Well, as it turns out, these guys are QUITE good and this is not their only band. They range from a Guns’ n’ Roses cover band 20150213g to the surf-influenced Madeira  20150213h to this one:

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The Shake Ups in Ponyville!!!

When Lisa found out they were playing Ponycon, she bought a ticket then asked if I would be her road-trip backup if none of her friends could go.

“Road trip?” is always answered “yes”, so at about 3p Friday, we climbed into the KIA and hit the road.

Along the way, we went past the old site of the 50 foot Jesus Status (Solid Rock Church on US23 in Ohio).

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I always wanted to post a picture of that. Not that it’s great art, but I admire anything on that scale!

It was a long drive, but beautiful. Really. We’ve been on several of these long trips and this one was magic. Almost no traffic right from Ann Arbor and all the way into Manhattan. Just the road curving along ahead of us, an assortment of different music and stops every few hours at the truck stops for snacks.

We listened to Tom Ashbrook’s interview with David Duchovney, a mediocre 2-CD set of “classic cowboy songs” (75% unknowns and the ones I did know weren’t the recordings that hit the radio), and a whole lot of me listening to the sound track of Season 1 of the X-Files while Lisa watched them on my laptop. (The KIA’s a stick and she can’t drive it, so I had the duty the whole time.)

We hit NYC about 1 a.m. There was construction at the Holland Tunnel but Lisa used GPS and got us to the hotel by 2.

We’re at the Super 8 at Union and 3rd St. (not Ave). It’s actually a very nice a place and I want to write them up on Tripadvisor. I looked at SO many hotels over here that had bad reviews. (Of course, I’m shopping “under $100” so my selection is limited.)

20150213bThe morning was rough – after we were seated WAY in the back, we waited 12 minutes before we got up and left because nobody came by. But we found a great little bagel shop across the street and enjoyed. I dropped her at St. Frances College and headed back to work on my Performance project for Eastern. Good progress all around.

She had a great day, hung out a little with P.J., I taxied over for Indian, then worked at Starbucks the rest of the night. We just got back, I’m finishing this, then a few episodes of X-Files and off to sleep.

Words for the wise today? Road Trip!

Cleveland Clinic Day 1 (Information)

Mon Nov 24, 2008 – 1600
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Today is the first day of our second trip to the Cleveland Clinic. Technically, it’s the second day as we arrived on Sunday at around 10p.m. We left home around 6 and drove straight through except for a half-hour stop along the turnpike for a fast food dinner. We checked into the Ronald McDonald house, room 225. Dad fell asleep almost immediately, but mom and Lisa had a harder time falling asleep.
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We took the shuttle at 7:00 from the hotel to the hospital. The shuttle driver was very helpful, she dropped us off across the street from the entrance to building L which houses the MRI units. Jean filled out some paperwork and at about 8:30, Lisa and I were escorted by Glenn to the changing room. We got into hospital scrubs and waited in the 2nd waiting room. Craig the RT provided some reading material that outline the tests Lisa would be given.
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She was scheduled for an fMRI, a functional MRI. The tests involve putting her into the MRI machine then having her perform a variety of motor and mental tasks while the techs monitor and record the patterns of brain activity. The fMRI consists of four tests:
  • The first is a simple motor task, touching the tips of the fingers to the thumb, one by one, over and over in succession until they have enough information and tell her to stop.
  • The second test consists of ‘rhyming’ tests. A variety of images are projected on to a screen that Lisa will see in a mirror positioned just above her face. She’s to think yes if the words rhyme (“day” and “weigh”) and think no if they don’t (“ballet” and “wallet”). She may also be shows two images, series of vertical and diagonal lies, and press same buttons if they are the same or different.
  • The third test also involves watching projected images. Some will be nonsense characters, in which case she is to just rest. But others will be letters. When a letter is projected, she’s supposed to think of as many words as possible that begin with the projected letter.
  • The fourth and final test (of the four we remember, it seems like there were five, but neither of us can come up with a fifth) was listening to a story. The story would be read in short sections. But sections of it would be read forward and backward alternately. She could rest during the backward sections but was to pay attention during the forward sections. Afterward, she’d be asked a series of questions evidently to test comprehension and/or recall.
They slid her into the machine at 9:05 and tested her until nearly 10:30. Dad stayed in the room for moral support. Craig generously provided earplugs for dad – which didn’t really occur to Dad, though having been around MRI machines before it was no surprise.
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After the tests, we headed back to the main hospital for an 11:00 meeting with Dr. Kotagal. But we had no idea where were supposed to be. This circles back to the last few days before we left. Jean had been on the phone with the Clinic getting things set up. They’d agreed to send out an itinierary via DHL. But it didn’t arrive in time so we came in fairly blind. We knew about the 8:30 and the 11:00 on Monday but the rest of the week was (and still is at 16:45 Monday) hazy. 
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With a couple of phone calls, we found out where we were supposed to be and headed there. After finishing another round of paperwork, we were led into a nurse’s office. Where we did some more paperwork. Then, to an examining room where we talked with Dr. Kotagal. He interviewed us about Lisa’s condition, her history since our visit in 2005, her medications, and a small bit about the upcoming tests. We made a request to postpone the WADA test until we knew for sure Lisa was a candidate for surgery. The test involves numbing each side of the brain separately in order to learn about which areas processspeech, visual, auditory, etc. in anticipation of the surgery. But there doesn’t seem to be a point in doing the test right now until we know if she’s a candidate for surgery at all.
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We got through the discussions with him then headed to Lisa’s room, where’s she’ll be monitored for two or three (or more) days until they can record some seizure activity. We dropped off the several bags of clothes and provisions we brought with us, then headed down to the cafeteria for breakfast/lunch (at 2 p.m.).
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Back to the room, where Lisa was attached to the monitoring device. A set of about 20 electrodes were connected to her head then to a monitoring device. We can watch the lines do their peak-and-valley measurements of brain activity. None of it means much to us, but we can see some differences when watching her chew, laugh, or just relax. Our understanding of the device is that it’ll help locate the starting point of the seizures. One stick point is that they may have to reduce her medications to prompt a seizure. .
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This is scary to us in that her seizures move quickly to status epilepticus. They’re going to monitor her for the rest of the night with her normal doses of medication and talk about lowering the doses tomorrow.
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Lisa got to do some singing earlier tonight. A med student was walking around the ward with a guitar. He was going to sing Happy Birthday to You to the 1-year old in the room next to us. We waved him in and asked for a song. His first suggestion was Brown Eyed Girl, which we jumped on. Afterwards, dad asked Lisa if she wanted to do Wonder Drug. So, we borrowed the guitar and went through it. The nurse in the room and the man from the Child Life program (Tom …) both asked if the song was posted anywhere. Not yet, but… 🙂
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Currently, Lisa’s just finishing dinner and watching Disney channel. Mom’s trying to catch some sleep and dad’s just finishing up these notes. More later.