Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Minor Surgery 07/21/09

My procedure went fine. Doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would, though it is sore. The actual ganglioma/neuroma (whichever it was), was larger and went deeper than anyone expected. I think it measured more than a centimeter across, so I'm happy to be rid of it. I look foreword to, among other things, be able to sink a hand-jam without that thing lighting up like a Christmas tree. I'm back to work tomorrow and shouldn't have too many problems; my job is basically to push meds and chart on the computer. As long as I don't try to transfer patients on/off the cath-lab table I'll be fine. Also, I didn't have to enjoy Dr Tuschka banging on my head this time (see 07/20 entry). He put me down fast and I woke up an hour after arriving in recovery feeling mighty fine.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frazier Peak and Other Locales 07-19-09

Dustin Bell and I headed up to Lockwood Valley in order to test his new Yamaha WR426. We wound up having a pretty good day with some unforeseen setbacks. First, I somehow locked my keys in the truck, a feat a have never previously achieved. So I had to unload Dustin's bike and ride it the mile back to my house so I could get the spare key (I used his bike because mine is so not street-legal).When we got to Lockwood Valley we rode the 16 mile round trip on Grade Valley Road. While crossing a deep and wide creek at high speed I somehow lost one of my radiator fairings. For further insult, my bike started bogging down and dying immediately after starting. It took a while for Dustin to discover the vacuum leak and after a quick fix we headed over to the Yellow Jacket Loop. Sadly, that trail was closed due to the likelihood of dead-fall trees (the area had burned in the Day Fire of '07). What to do?
We got back on Lockwood Valley and rode a few canyons over to the east. Some guys pointed us toward the Frazier Peak Trail, where, on the summit still stands an old Forest Service fire tower. Off we go. Most of this was technical, steep, rocky, rutted, and tough. We climbed numerous steep, loose sections of trail. First gear, throttle, hang on. We were at about 7,200ft when I lost my bike halfway up a 40 degree slope. My rear tire was all over the place on the loose dirt, ruts, tree roots and then I just lost it on a rock and had to do this weird kabuki dance to avoid the bike while sliding downhill. When I got to the bike I saw that the brake lever was tweaked. I'd had enough for one day.So, despite the mechanical malfs, the heat (100) the difficulty, we had really enjoyed ourselves. This was a fantastic day overall. No injuries. New trails. Fix the bike and head back up to that fire tower on Frazier Peak summit. Oh, crap! I gotta fix a few things first. By the way, Dustin's a great rider. Glad I have a friend to ride with.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Matilija Swim, 07-16

Ruth and I both had the day free so we took Zero up to the pools on Matilija Creek. He got to try out his new boots which was initially hilarious (think tap-dancing dog having a seizure) but he caught on real quick and they worked well for him. It was damn hot, 95 degrees, so we took our time going up the canyon. We gave Zero plenty of rest and drink stops.

Just before reaching the "Turtle Pool" and just past the "Great Big F****ing Boulder" we got buzzed by this big boy (see below). He was really cranky and ready to bite. I'm not a fan of rattlesnakes on the trail, especially when they're enormous and hiding under a rock you have to step over. So it's a good thing he buzzed us because who knows what the dog would have done.

Soon we were relaxing in the turquoise waters of the "Turtle Pool" (our name), and Ruth had her floating lounger out. Zero's paws looked great thanks to the boots. We settled into a very nice afternoon. Check out this funny video of Zero crashing Ruth's lounger.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hot, Hot Heat. Canine Casualties.

Yesterday Dave Rivas and I took the kids (Carlo, Ruby, & Zero) down to Tar Creek in 90+ degree weather. By the end of the day we had two casualties: Ruby was bleeding from her paws, and Zero was blasted from the heat. Ruby has had this problem before. Zero, not so much. I guess I need to remember that dogs ride much closer to the ground which means that they get less breeze and more radiated ground heat. Couple that with the canine's inefficient cooling mechanism and I can see why Zero got so messed up. Never the less, by the time we got back to Ventura he seemed to be okay, mostly fatigued. Of unusual note, on the drive up we saw two pairs of healthy looking deer, one pair being mother/fawn.
When we got to the pools, naturally the half way point for a round trip, Ruby just lay there in the shade looking miserable. Zero, on the other hand guzzled water and swam, stood, waded in water with me. It was a gorgeous day for the humans, clear and blue and sunny. Not to hot for us. The water was cool and nice, though it was starting to get the dry season greening as water flow has been diminishing. Still, it was very nice. I got to park on a rock and work on a novel.
The hike out, though all uphill, was no more difficult than usual. Certainly I have hiked it in significantly hotter temps. Zero, however, was panting the whole way. He played this little game where he would get ahead of me and crawl under a bush for it's shade, let me catch up and pass him, and then repeat the process. My "Last Shade 'Til Top" tree has really blossomed into a nice, shady rest stop. It is high up on the way out and usually gets a fair breeze that helps. I had to give Zero a full 15 minutes to get his respiratory rate closer to normal before we finished the final 1.25 miles. Once back at the truck he conked out under the shade of the truck and gobbled down about a 1/2 gallon of H2O. So the lesson is that hikes in 90+ heat is too hot for the dog. Inhumane (I got that and a few other words from Ruth last night). Also I'm going to get him some booties which might help with the ground heat on even warm days. Great day if you're not a dog. Zero got himself 200mgs of Advil and a couple slices of BBQ tri-tip for being a tuffy.
Check out this video of Aqua Zero!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Multiple Things to Share (blog casserole)

After a murderous work week, during which I was sick as a immune deficient dog, I seem to be on the mend. I was able to complete the bathroom paint job, which means the bathroom remodel is officially done! Thank Dog! The results are fantastic and all the 1950's vintage stuff is long gone. New tub, sink, vanity, shower, floor, and all the fixtures. We finally have a nice bathroom! Words cannot describe Ruth's elation. Next weekend we paint and redecorate the spare bedroom. We've ordered a nice hide-a-bed couch, bought a 32" flat screen for that room, and are getting a couple other small pieces of furniture and a rug, also an nice organizer for above the desk where I'm sitting right now. Finishing that job means we move onto the laundry room. Below are before and after pics.

Today I had time to take the motorcycle up Nordoff Ridge Rd. This is a 4wheel drive road that traverses the spine of the coastal mountains from above Ojai all the way to above Santa Paula. On one side is nothing but Ojai and the coast, on the other is the Los Padres Wilderness. This was a spectacular ride, though dusty. I did wash out on a bad turn but no damage done to either me or the bike. Fun ride.