Less Pain Day

Thank god for drugs.

Not gonna lie, yesterday was unpleasant. But I’m happy to say that by this afternoon the discomfort is just that, a nagging minor ache, and biting down on the affected tooth (accidentally, I assure you, still eating everything on the other side, very carefully) is sore and a reminder to not do that, not an invitation to passing out. I even got to eat a normal dinner, my first real food in about five or six days other than scrambled eggs, broth, bananas, or cottage cheese.

Tomorrow the plan is to start cutting back drastically on the pain meds. I appreciate what they do, but I’m a firm believer in paying attention to the “as needed” warning.

The pleasant surprise of the day was this batch of bright red flowers around the mailbox. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before.

(This, of course, guarantees that there are at least two posts here, probably about this time of year, where I said the exact same thing and posted extremely similar pictures. I’m consistant, if nothing else.)

Whatever they are, they’re lovely! Some kind of roses, maybe, but not like the ones over by the driveway? Time for a little research.

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Filed under Flowers, Health, Photography

Pain Day

The good news is that a referral from the dentist (because no one can figure out the discomfort I’ve been having in my teeth for the past ten months) to a endodontist has hopefully found the problem.

The bad news is that I’m now the proud owner of a root canal that I had ZERO expectations of when I got out of bed this morning. And what I thought would be an hour (maybe two) for an exam turned into an all day ordeal of drilling, probing, cleaning, refilling, and waiting for hours to get prescriptions filled.

The post-surgery, at-home instructions say, “It is normal to have some soreness after a root canal. This can vary in severity from very mild to substantial…” Just out of curiosity, define “substantial,” because this really and truly hurts like hell.

“Happy Monday!” my ass!

And to top it all off, before the ordeal started the endodontist promised me that if I was good and didn’t cry I would get a sucker and a sticker. I was. I didn’t. But it was all a lie, there was no sucker, there was no sticker. To add insult to injury, I had to pay a $158.80 co-pay. I get that life isn’t always fair, but that’s freakin’ ridiculous!

The good news is that Tuesday has got to be better than this, right?

I’m a tad zonked on the meds, trying to avoid doing anything to aggrevate the pain, like, say, breathing¬†or blinking or having my hair grow, so here’s a random picture to hold all y’all over until I’m a bit more on this plane of existance. (BTW, I’ve been taught that “all y’all” is the proper form of a address for a group of four or more. I’m assuming that at least four of you are going to read this.)

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Yesterday’s Storm & Today’s Birds

First of all, I was astonished to see in this morning’s news that last night’s thunderstorms that moved from the Antelope Valley into Pasadena caused a major disruption to the Cruel World Festival going on at the Rose Bowl. Cruel World features artists from the punk and alternative days of the 70’s and 80’s, the sort of music you can hear on SiriusXM Channel 33. The sort of music you hear me listening to ALL DAY LONG.

The Pasadena Fire Department ordered the show cut off in the middle of Iggy Pop’s segment, and headliner Siouxsie Sioux’s segment got cancelled altogether. It was her first (and only!) North American appearance in something like 15 years.

Today was the second day of the Festival and they got some more rain, but no reports of lighting and apparently the show went on.

Weird weather!

Meanwhile, out in the back yard, I was trying to get a bit of down time to do some reading. A group of mockingbirds (at least three, maybe as many as four or five) had other ideas. They were flitting in and out of the big tree and it was unclear if they were fighting, mating, building nests, or all of the above, but they were definitely LOUD!



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Filed under Birds, Video, Weather

Spring Thunderstorm On The Horizon

I was seeing the warnings from the local National Weather Service office on their Twitter account. Nothing near us (yet) but there were some big cells of convective activity (i.e., thunderstorms) popping up over the Antelope Valley and moving down toward Pasadena.

It was just a couple of minutes after sunset here, but those big thunderheads might be still above the horizon and lit up…

A quick walk down the “back side” of the hill showed that to be true!

I guess if you like seeing some active weather like I do, the Antelope Valley and upper desert were the places to be today! As Maxwell Smart used to say, “Missed it by that much!” (Where “that” is defined as 150-200 miles in this case.)

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Filed under Photography, Sunsets, Weather

Fine Feathered Friends – May 19th

Another new arrival has been heard around the neighborhood, but not yet seen.

I was going out to get the trash cans from the curb when this pair decided to land on the wires out front. Of course they did! They knew that if I was coming to retrieve the trash bins then I wasn’t going to have my camera with me! But after they had their laugh, and I abandoned the trash bins to go back in the house to get the camera, they were gracious enough to stay where they were until I got back.

Lesser goldfinches!

Gorgeous! That yellow color stands out, especially against a cloudless blue sky.

He may have been turning his back on the paparazzi (i.e., ME) in protest, but it let me have a good picture of his back markings.

This guy was all puffed up, showing a layer of black feathers under the yellow on the chest.

So far I haven’t seen any of them feeding at the seed that gets put out in the back yard. Maybe they’re picky? Maybe they look down on the vegan birds?


Filed under Birds, Critters, Photography

Iceplant Flowers 1-2-3

The iceplant is in bloom. As always, they’re spectacular.

How many there are depends on your perspective.

And how close you are.

And how zoomed in you are.

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Filed under Flowers, Photography

Squirrel Dude

At times we’ve had as many as three or four squirrels running about the yard at any given stretch of time, but we’ve been back down to one for some time.

I suspect we have the hawks to blame (or thank) for that.

This guy’s been around long enough that he’s slowly but surely getting less nervous and figety when I walk outside. By which I mean that he doesn’t instantly bolt for the tree when I first step out the door, and if he does run as I’m getting something out of the fridge or whatever, he usually goes only halfway to the tree, not up it.

Sort of like how a runner on first is supposed to go halfway to second on a popup to the outfield, so he can still get back to first if it’s caught but can easily advance to second and maybe take third if it’s dropped?

At one point a few weeks ago I walked out back and sat down in the sun with crackers. When I frisbeed one onto the lawn towards him he didn’t bolt, but explored the cracker and then ate it. He then quite clearly wanted more. I kept luring him closer with food, and while he wouldn’t quite come close enough to take the cracker from my hand (yet!), he did get within a couple of feet.

I don’t think I really want to train him to trust humans THAT much or to beg for food. The neighbors and the next occupants of this house might not be as enthused about it as I am about that trick.

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Filed under Critters, Photography

Fine Feathered Friends – May 16th

We’ve had a new bird in the neighborhood. I’ve heard them, and I had seen glimpses of them across the street in the neighbors’ yard, but they hadn’t visited our yard yet.

Until this week.

Similar body shape & tail to a mockingbird, but probably a third or more bigger.

Plus that gorgeous coloration, as opposed to the mockingbird’s shades of grey and black.

The first time I saw him he was doing a carrier landing right into a flock of house finches, scattering them, and taking first pick of all of the seed.

They’re also quite loud.

He also was quite bold, coming right up to the porch to get the untouched seed there.

Welcome to the yard, scrub jay!

Remember, there’s plenty to go around, let the little guys have some too.



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Filed under Birds, Critters, Photography

Random Old Photos – May 15th

From a 2000 airshow at Point Mugu.

The resolution on my early digital point-and-shoot camera was small. So were my kids.

This was a few years before I joined the CAF myself, but a lot of the warbirds look familiar.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

Fifty Years Ago Today

I was in Florida. And it turns out I wrote a pretty decent account of that trip ten years ago today.

So read this!

The tl;dr version – I was 17, somehow got permission to take time off school, made it from a small town in Vermont to Florida, and saw the last Saturn V launch when Skylab launched on May 14, 1973.

It was quite the adventure. You know how they say you learn to make good decisions by living through the bad decisions you make? That trip was FULL of bad decisions, and decisions made out of ignorance. But it was spectacular, definitely changed my life.

Apollo Command-Service Module (CSM) training simulator, seen on the Kennedy Space Center tour a day or two before the launch.

The Saturn IB up on stilts to use the Saturn V launch pad, with the Apollo capsule that would take the Skylab I crew up. It was supposed to launch the next day, but due to the damage the Skylab took on launch it took eleven days of desperate work to figure out how to save the mission and prepare for the rescue. The Skylab I crew launched on May 25th, but I was back in high school in Vermont by that time.

The final Saturn V, with the Skylab spacecraft on top.

In some ways for me, the most simple but amazing fact is that in 50 years I’ve never been back to KSC to see the new museums, the space shuttle Atlantis, or a launch. I’ve been to five NASA Socials (see that “search” box?), I’ve finally seen a launch out of Vandenberg, I’ve been to the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, to the associated Udvar-Hazy museum at Dulles, to a ton of air shows, flown in P-51 Mustangs and a B-25 and a B-29 and done aerobatics in an SNJ and a bunch of other planes with the CAF, and even got my own pilot’s license (gotta get current and get flying again, but that’s a different rant)… But I’ve never been back to KSC.

It can’t be that hard to see a launch these days, SpaceX is launching about once a week or more, ULA has the Vulcan coming online soon and they’re still launching the last of the Atlas missions, Blue Origin is getting ready to go orbital soon.

Gotta fix that. Soon.

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Filed under Paul, Photography, Space, Travel