Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Time Off Is Good

This is unprecedented in my adult life: a 5-day holiday weekend! We just returned this afternoon from visiting my family in south-western NH. We stayed at my Mom's house for two nights after driving down in heavy rain and dense fog to avoid a possible change-over to freezing rain the following morning. Last night there indeed was freezing rain which changed over to snow both in NH and here at home. But by the time we travelled the roads were clear and there was a bright enough sun out that we were wishing for sunglasses!

We had a great family dinner at my brother's house with all of my brothers and sisters present as well as many of their children. It was good to catch up on what is happening in everyone's lives.

My Mom is very pleased after I mounted the "Indoor / Outdoor/Minimum / Maximum Temperature" thermometer that our family gave her for Christmas. She frequently asks those around what the high and low temperatures were and this way it will be easy for her get that information.

We will be glad to be back in our own beds this evening though, after sleeping on Mom's sofa for two nights to be close to the bathroom as well as having our own shower.

After getting home I spent just over 1 hour napping and just under 1 hour clearing the driveway. Dishes are done, the finances have been dealt with, my lunch made for tomorrow morning and I am fondly thinking of going to bed early tonight.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Cactus

Just days before Christmas and my Christmas cactus is in full bloom.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Snow, Sun, Music and Flowers

Friday it snowed - officially 8" between 8 AM & 4 PM. I went to work and ran into snow over half way there but it was very light. I figured I could get over half a day in before it increased to the point of danger and with nearly 5 extra hours work already for the week I would not feel bad heading home early. I emailed the nurses to bring in any files whenever they had time - in the morning, as I was not going to be there at 1 PM, the usual time for them to bring them in to me. I got a file reviewed and written up except for 2 1/2 hours of video surveillance yet to review, met with all the nurses and was headed home by shortly after 12:30 PM.

The wipers iced up repeatedly despite the defroster being set to 82 degrees. I made two stops (getting off the interstate, pausing at a stop sign each time to clear the wipers and then getting back on) before getting home but arrived safely.

I ate, napped for 1 1/2 hours and then got up and cleared 3 yards. The snowblower (2005 Ariens 1332 - 13 HP, 32" wide) started the first time I turned it over and ran well. I hadn't checked it since I serviced it late last spring. This fall after putting the battery back in it, there has been no time to "test" it before actually needing it. Thankfully, it was there and running well when it was needed.

Yesterday and today have been gorgeous sunny days with no clouds in the sky today. A walk is definitely in order to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Yesterday it didn't happen. It was our turn for helping to host the fellowship dinner after church. A combination of too little water for 5 hours, a bit of stress and a bit too little sleep was the right mix for a tension headaches. It yielded to the persuasion of another nap after a couple of generic Advil tablets and a large glass or two of water.

Addendum: We did go out and walk today for nearly an hour!

Yesterday was music day. Jean and I headed off very early for Sabbath School so that I could practice with a small clarinet group: myself, Allison and an older church member who plays in the academy's community band with us. We were all there but the other woman hadn't realized this was the week. I hadn't communicated with her about it last week and so she wasn't ready. Allison and I with some modifications performed it as a duet and by reports, despite us each making one minor mistake, went quite well. Cheryl, we did the same one that you and I did at the Surrey Filipino church - 192 O Shepherd Divine. Allison played the soprano line and I played the tenor line the first time through the verse and the alto line the second time but played the alto line for the duet portion each time.

Last night was Pine Tree Academy's Christmas concert. They celebrated with elementary and academy choirs (who both did very well), the academy handbell choir, and the band which was augmented with the community band members that could come and play as well. Two clarinet players, including myself, joined in. I had never played the music until last night. There was a rehearsal scheduled at 6:15 PM and the performance at 7 PM. The academy choir did not finish practice until 6:40 PM. We "cherry picked" hot spots in each of the 4 numbers. My first time start to finish on all of them was the performance. I made one minor mistake in the first three pieces including two from White Christmas. The last piece was Sleigh Ride. I estimate that I played about 1/3 of that piece, though that may be an optimistic estimate. I didn't make mistakes to speak of, I just wasn't able to play without any significant practice.

The program was well done with Norman Rockwell painting "tableaus" changing every couple of songs and a narration accompanying. The elementary children were done up in somewhat "old English" garb and did a nice little parade around the auditorium before performing. I expect that Jean will post some photos on Our Flickr Account sometime today from the ones that she took.

My Christmas cactus is blooming! It has done very well this year, unlike last year when I had nearly killed it. I started watering and feeding it daily on Thanksgiving so it has a couple of blossoms fully open and many what are budded up and about ready to pop open.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Laptop Update


I came home from work to find that DHL had delivered the hard drive 2 business days after it shipped! I had gotten "free shipping 3-5 days ground" and it came 2nd Day Air! Most likely because it hadn't shipped for 2 weeks after I ordered it.

Opening the box revealed that the hard drive came already installed into the Dell bracket for installation with an extra security screw to hold the assembly in place. I swapped the hard drives in a matter of less than 5 minutes. That was so easy I set my sights on installing Windows XP that evening. And so it worked out. I got Windows installed followed by the device drivers and then the first round of Windows updates - not including SP-2 - and installed Norton Antivirus 2005 getting a bonus 4+ months of coverage in the process, which partially makes up for getting gypped out of two Symantec rebates this fall. Adding in ICQ 2003a and ZoneAlarm rounded out my night.


I skipped band being too tired (Jean snored repeatedly in the night and I woke up at 4:30 AM to visit the WC and never got fully back to sleep again) to concentrate on music so I did dishes while starting the SP-2 download and installation. I installed Office XP 2003 and downloaded 45 MB of security updates for Office. In addition I installed:
1. Photo Album 3 (Jasc)
2. Adobe Acrobat Reader 7
3. WinZip 8
4. SpyBot 1.4
5. RegCleaner
6. Roxio Easy CD Creator
7. Microsoft Media Player 10
8. Zondervan NIV Bible
10. Google Toolbar

After scanning the whole hard drive with NAV 2005 I think that we are back to where we were, or very nearly so, before the hard drive died. This post is being made from the laptop as I sit on the sofa with my feet up - once again!

The hard drive is a 38 GB drive that has about 9 GB filled thus far leaving us about 29 GB free. That should be plenty for the way that we use the computer. The faster speed on the hard drive seems noticable to me - though I may simply be optimistic. Any way I look at it, it's very good to have it back online again for $89 and my time reinstalling. That's not a bad bargain as laptop repairs go.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

No Posts & Ramblings

Sniffling Sickie: The reason there have been no posts this past week is that I have been sick with a cold. I have managed to carry out my work schedule but I left just about everything else to be done today. Nothing serious - just enough to drag the energy out of me. I'm starting to rebound since last night.

Musical Moment: The reed trimmer that I returned to Muscian's Friend (they sent an Eb reed trimmer when I ordered a Bb reed trimmer) has been received by the company and credited. The correct reed trimmer is...back ordered with no word on estimated delivery date.

BTW, the new clarinet continues to work well. I am playing it up to half an hour at a time without problems. The ring on the bell is slightly loose and will need to be tightened eventually. Time doesn't permit right now and there is no danger of losing it. Two concerts coming up: the Community Band on 12/20 and the Academy Band 12/10.

Computer Talk: The memory that I bought for Beth's computer to bring it up to 1 GB like her siblings' computers has not yet been exchanged by OEMPCWORLD.com. I ordered exactly the right product and it didn't work. They suggested trying to flash the BIOS but it already had the latest BIOS. They suggested that it was a 'memory density' issue and allowed that they would need to replace the memory.

Of interest is that Dell delayed the shipment of the replacement laptop hard drive until 2 weeks after it was ordered. It should arrive in a week or so.

Bittersweet Sabbath

Esther Norzow, the beloved wife of one of my physician friends died last Friday night after the beginning of the Sabbath that she loved.

Yesterday we attended the memorial service which lasted 1 2/2 hours. The church was filled to over capacity - chairs were placed in the aisles, doubtless in violation of fire codes.

This is particularly sad in that she and her husband have been raising three of their grandchildren.

Her sparkle, joy and infectious laugh will be missed deeply.