Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hannah cuts back

Hannah has been listening to too much NPR.  She is concerned about the economy.  I think that she has heard about higher gas prices and (horrors!!) food prices.

She has decided to help us out but cutting back -- not on treats though! Instead, she is refusing her pills. I know that this is just her labra-effort to save money but really, the Tramadol isn't that expensive -- and urking up the Zubrin was simply not helpful. She is even refusing her Fig Newton -- lick, chew, and spit out because a pill touched it.

Some have suggested wrapping Hannah's medications in cheese or adding a side of wet dog food to entice her to be a bit less picky about her food. The pills are already served either in (Tramadol) or on (Zubrin) a Fig Newton covered with local honey. Miss Brown Dog licks the local honey off the Fig Newton, places said Newton in her mouth, determines that there is a pill inside and spits out the nearly intact Newton and pills.

The Zubrin is on top of the Newton and covered with honey. Sort of like a sundae -- dry dog food, stuffed Fig Newton, Zubrin, a dollop of local sourwood honey. Unfortunately, this morning Zubrin went in but a white blob came back out about 15 minutes later.

Right now, I am thinking of backing off the Tramadol. That is the last thing that was added. The Brown One is smart. Maybe the Tramodol is bothering her tummy?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Biking with the Band

This weekend was really busy, rides and cooking and lots of stuff. Good busy but still busy.

Biking with the Band on Saturday was was good. It was my first MS150 training ride of the year. This is the first time that they had it in May. Before it was in August and that was good until the Jimmy V Ride for Research started on the same weekend. I like the route even though it's closer to 68 than 62 (which freaks some people out since 100k is 62 miles). Who ever was in charge of the weather this year needs to be drafted into that role again next year! It was great fantastic terrific weather -- sunny, temperature in the low 70s. I'm not sure that we could have asked for more!

Oh, in case you are wondering, it's called Biking with the Band fund raiser for the Middle Creek High School band. We had marching band music as we pulled out to start the ride. As a former band member and current cyclist, how could I pass this up?

After the ride on Saturday morning, I visited my grandmother, went to Costco and got Hannah's prescription refilled and got some supplies for my cooking experiment, put together a gazillion meals, and watched 27 Dresses. In an effort to get ahead of the game on weeknights that I have training rides, I decided to try to do some freezer recipes from Saving Dinner. We'll see how that goes. This involved the shopping, preparation and packaging.

On Sunday I went on my regular group ride and finished the gazillion dinners. Oh, and I had blueberry pancakes for dinner. YUM.

While I was busy with this, DH was in the western part of the state in a whitewater kayaking clinic near Bryson City. He spent some time at Fontana Lake on Saturday morning and kayaked on the Nantahala River both days. Overall, I think that it was a fun and tiring weekend for him!

DH relayed one story that was entertaining. On Sunday, one of the people in his group wanted to try a new kayak. The group loaded up the boats, went to the rental place to pick up the other boat, unloaded the already loaded boats to fit the additional one on, and went off to the put in point. After a few miles, what should appear on the road in from of them but a bright yellow kayak that had come flying off the top of the car. DH's bright yellow kayak. Someone said, "Nice boof!" The kayak, which was unharmed since it had skidded along the roadway on it's bottom, was reloaded and tied more securely.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stuff for the new Mac in the house

DH's iMac arrived yesterday. That got me thinking about some of the programs that I really like on my Mac.
  • Thunderbird and Firefox with the plugin. I've also been using TwitterFox but DH has not been converted to Twitter just yet. Greasemonkey plugins are good too.
  • BusySync which I am now using to synchronize iCal with Google Calendar.
  • Flip4Mac which allows Windows Media files to play on your Mac via QuickTime
  • Lingon, basically a cron job scheduler. A GUI to launchd to be a bit more technical.
  • AdiumX, an instant messaging client that integrates most IM protocols (yes, even Lotus Sametime).
  • Parallels or VMWare Fusion, both allow you to run Windows on your Mac if you need to.
  • MissingSync if you still love your Palm
Those are the big ones that come to mind. I'm sure that I've missed many utilities.

What Macintosh programs do you use?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More Outer Banks photos

As always, our trip to the Outer Banks produced a plethora of photos.

The excitement for NC 12. NC 12 is the road that runs along the Outer Banks. The island is so narrow that there is room for only one road along a good part of the area. In fact, is is not unusual to see the ocean on one side and the sound on the other side. On Saturday, I biked NC 12 from Rodanthe to just south of Avon and then biked back. This photo was taken on the way back.

Above, Emma (front) and Hannah (back) play in the ocean near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Below is a photo of me with Hannah and Emma. (I like the picture despite the fact that comments have been made about the party hat coming out of Emma's head. What can I say? (1) Emma is a party girl and (2) I was not the photographer!)

Above, Emma running on the beach and generally looking happy. Below, Emma and Hannah with the lighthouse behind them.

Sunset over the Pamlico Sound near Rodanthe, NC.

Grandma gets a move on

At the beginning of the month, my mother hosted a Family Meeting in which The Siblings all visited with Grandma to help determine where she will live once she is discharged from The Oaks where she has participated in a rehab program to help her recover from a broken hip. Nothing was determined at the meeting. The four siblings came up with a 2-2 tie. Two were in favor of independent living and two in favor of assisted living.

My parents kept on coming back to the two Sunrise Senior communities in Raleigh. My uncle in Atlanta offered that Grandma could move there. His mother-in-law is currently at Sunrise at Ivey Ridge near his home. After thinking about it for several days and getting input from The Oaks that assisted living is really where Grandma belongs, Grandma has decided to move to Atlanta. I think that her feeling is at least she will know someone there. Never mind the fact that the two grandmas have only met a very few times! Grandma has reservations for a studio unit which is similar to an Embassy Suites in terms of layout.

Since making the decision to relocate to Atlanta, Grandma has been kind of cranky. I'm sure that it's partly nerves. One example of said crankiness was on Mother's Day. The Oaks hosted a Mother's Tea and my mom joined Grandma there. There were flowers everywhere and all of the mothers got a corsage. Grandma like the corsage! Then they had some games like who has the most children, who has the most grandchildren and so on. Grandma had the third most grandchildren (seven) and she won a prize -- a gift basket of lotions from The Body Shop. She turned to my mother and grumbled, "What's and Old Lady going to to with these lotions?"


Grandma has lived in Raleigh for about sixteen years. Moving Day is Monday, May 19. It will be quite a change for all of us when she moves.


What a change.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Outer Banks vacation

For the past several years we have spent a weekend in May "camping" in Rodanthe on the North Carolina Outer Banks with Hannah and Emma. We walk on the beach and play with the girls and eat seafood. We visit Outer Barks and generally relax and recharge.

Last Friday we drove to Manteo and had lunch at a the Full Moon Cafe. We ate outside and the waitress brought a bowl of water for the girls. Unfortunately, a brief downpour occurred while I was trying to eat my salad with one hand (the other hand occupied by dog leashes). The umbrella was large enough that we were only moderately wet.

Above: Emma at Full Moon Cafe

Above: Hannah with the Sir Walter Raleigh roses in Manteo

After a brief walk around Manteo, we headed to Coquina Beach near the Bodie Island Lighthouse where the girls had their first beach outing of the year. The retrieving was cut short but some lightning. We were able to get to the car before the heaviest rain started to fall.

Above: DH with Hannah and Emma

Above: Hannah, after some fun in the water

Above: Emma looks happy after a run on the beach

From there, we headed south to Rodanthe and our campground. We played on the beach for a while there and then DH suggested that Lone Cedar would be a good place to have dinner so we were off toward Nags Head again.

Above, DH at Lone Cedar

Above: Hatchlings near Lone Cedar in the Roanoke Sound

On Saturday I rode my bike for a few hours and made it to just south of Avon before turning to come back. While I was riding, DH did some kayak surfing. After a picnic lunch under the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and walk on the beach there, we went to Outer Barks with the girls.

We went to Awful Arthur's for dinner -- the food is good, the service indifferent. We've learned to eat at the bar.

On Sunday, the weather was cooler. I rode but needed arm warmers. This time I went north through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to the Bonner Bridge and then turned to head back. While I was riding, DH and the girls played in the ocean for a bit and packed up. We then headed up to Corrolla for a picnic and then went home. It rained during the ride home so our timing was pretty good.

I really love going to the Outer Banks with DH and the girls. We always have a relaxing time. What fun!

I'll post photos from Saturday and Sunday in the days to come.

Tour de Cure Fundraiser

As many you already know, I've training for the Tour de Cure to be held on June 7 and 8. In less that on month, I will be joining many other cyclists riding from Cary to Oxford and back, a total of 150 miles, to help raise money to end the devastating effects of diabetes. This month, I completed a 100 mile ride and I plan to complete a metric century this weekend as part of this training effort.

This fund raiser is very important to me because I have several friends that have been diagnosed with diabetes.

If you would like to make to make a donation to the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure fund-raising event, you can make a donation online by clicking this link. If you want to do even more to help, please consider joining me in this great event. Our efforts will help set the pace in the fight against diabetes.

Thank you again for your support!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My first 100 mile bike ride

Today I completed my first 100 mile ride. I participated in the Raven Rock Ramble. Last year, I rode the 100 kilometer route but this year, I went The Distance -- 105.39 miles. For a short section just before the 70 mile rest stop, my bike and I were not friends. After that stop, though, we made up.

I rode with six other riders -- Larry, Sandra M., Chris, Fred, Tom and Doug. We frequently ride together on Saturday and Sunday shop rides. It was funny because none of I realized that Chris only does Sunday rides with us and Doug typically does Saturday rides with us and that they had never ridden together before.

Below is a photo taken after 91 miles for riding. The top photo was taken before the ride. The side photo was taken at the first rest stop.

The route was nice, although there was a section where we saw "a whole lotta nothing" and Doug complained that he wanted his iPod to make it more interesting.

The route:

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Siblings: A family meeting

My mother essentially called a family meeting to discuss the Grandma situation. They are on the fence about assisted living versus independent living. My aunt -- Mom's sister -- came in from overseas and my two uncles planned trips here at the same time. They are all visiting Grandma today and they are going to try to reach a consensus as to where she should live.

The situation is that Grandma is high functioning for an assisted living place and maybe a little low functioning for an independent living setup. Assisted living is considerably more expensive and on good days she would be fine in an independent living situation. The main independent living facility that is under consideration provides three meals a day and weekly housekeeping.

If Grandma lived in an independent living facility and her health deteriorated even slightly, she would have to be put on a waiting list for an assisted living place and the she would have to move again. There are no good options in the area that allow people to transition from independent living to assisted living to a nursing home while remaining in the same community or complex. Since these moves are can be it traumatic -- especially for elderly people -- no one wants to make the mistake of placing Grandma where she will have to be moved within a few months.

Then there is the money side of things. At some point in the next few years Grandma will run out of money and The Siblings are discussing that as well.