Friday, February 26, 2010

Dog Tired



Shana snapped Duke this morning after a walk around Como Lake. It sort of captures how I feel after this busy week.

M is burning the candle at both ends as she practices with the cast of La boheme. It feels weird that I have no idea what she is doing, and how it will turn out. Unlike school plays and community theater, the Minnesota Opera does not need a lot of assistance from parent-volunteers. They pay people to make costumes and paint sets. Dress rehearsal is next Friday and Shana and I will be there. The "Opening Night" is Saturday, March 6. As I've probably said before, they divide the kids into two groups so they only perform 1/2 the shows.

The Dude wrapped up speed skating which was fine with everyone. His interest in the sport has waned after two years. Thanks to the Olympics, he is now obsessed with snow-boarding and down-hill skiing - two sports he has not tried - yet.

Work for me is crazy busy. Up to this point, I've never much sympathized with Dilbert and his ilk. Somehow I've avoided lots of meetings. It seems that up to now, my projects required few meetings and when we did meet, we generally needed to meet and actually got stuff done.

Now I'm often in meetings all day. With Agile Development we are always running off to some "stand-up" or another - it's all about the process - and the process is about meetings. We are constantly Pre-Planning and Planning for the next Iteration. If not planning we are holding "Retros" where we talk about what we did. It seems there is seldom any time to actually do the work we planned.

Like I said, I've avoided most of this until now - and it's coming down on me with a vengance.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ice - Damn!

Shana - always vigilant - heard some dripping last night. She discovered it was coming from the furnace air intake. We removed the vent and could see water dripping down between the walls.

Damn - the ice dam on our roof was causing water to back up under our shingles and now it was dripping down inside the house.

Who would have thought that a contractor could come out today - less than 24 hours - and remove the ice dam on the roof that was causing the water to back up? And this is apparently one of the worst years for ice dams in these parts.

Interesting report from the workers - Worst dam they'd seen so far this winter!!! Don't know why that makes me feel good - probably because I don't like spending money to fix a problem that is not serious. Well, it is/was.

Oh - in addition to the damn ice dams did I mention that Duke had just pooped in the front hall - Diarrhea from eating chicken "stuff" earlier in the day.

Duke was temporarily "lost" yesterday afternoon. Turns out he was just hoovering up around the neighbors' chicken coop. He isn't so much interested in the chickens as what gets kicked outside the coop.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back on the Trail Again



I walked outside today over the lunch hour. It marked the second time since my injury that I've used the walking path at work. The first time the injury was still fresh, and the walk was no fun. Today was better - maybe because the sun was shining so bright - though I just popped some Ibuprofen because the back is a little sore.

The path was a little slippery in spots but I used my new little-old-lady shuffle to navigate those patches.

Pizza Gods

Duke has been trying my nerves lately. Maybe that's why I enjoyed this post. It helped me remember why I (still) like dogs.

Exploiting the animal openness to magical beliefs, I once converted a dog to a belief in the Pizza God.

I don’t feed dogs at the table. It trains them to beg. But once upon a time I had a beagle-lab mix and a tiny kitchen. The dining table was about four feet from the dog dish. One fine pizza night, I found myself with a pizza bone — the crust — in my hand, and the devil on my shoulder.

I waited until the dog wasn’t looking, and tossed that bone high, high, so that it came down from the ceiling into his bowl. Dogs do seem to understand trajectories, so I made an effort to disguise the origin of that arc.

Read on,


Hannah Holmes is an author who I heard on MPR last summer. I’ve been following her blog since. (See my earlier Freedom Lawn post.)

Monday, February 08, 2010

OK That was Anti-Climatic

The much awaited visit to the Orthopedic Doc was almost a let-down. After two weeks of a sore, stiff back – limited movement, trouble sleeping, and so on – I expected to walk out of there with a cool brace or something. Instead, we will take the do nothing approach.

The effected vertebrae are held in place by the rib cage so I won’t need to brace them. While viewing the MRI pics, he offered an odd compliment. He said my spine and neck looked good “for my age”. Thanks!

Then, probably just to point out how boring my life actually is – he told me that I was forbidden to engage in contact sports, skiing, snowmobiling, and the like for the next 6 to 8 weeks. I should also take it easy and avoid lifting heavy objects. Jeez, that sounds like my life before the injury!

Alas - no restrictions on "stand-up" meetings.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Non-Back News –or News Not About Me

M is having a great week. It’s “tech” week for her school play, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – the musical put on by the 6, 7, and 8 graders at her school. “Tech” week involves dress rehearsals, working on lighting, etc – anything necessary to accomplish before opening night this Friday. M is really looking forward to her lead role as Mrs. Frisby. Shana and I will celebrate by purchasing a new “video” camera. Any suggestions welcome.

M also received a call-back for the small solo part in the Minnesota Opera’s production of La bohéme. Don’t recall if I’ve blogged about this before – but the kids from the Ragazzi choir of Project Opera will be appearing in La bohéme at the Ordway. They will make up a chorus of kids in one scene. There are a few measures sung as a solo, and M was one of 4 girls called back – we all have our fingers crossed.

Back Update - Again

The bad news is that it’s snowing again. The good news is that Shana won’t let me shovel.

My doctor called again last night. Pessimists might say that it’s never a good sign when your doctor calls you at home on a Saturday night. Me, I’m an optimist, and I’ll just chalk it up to her incredible commitment to her patients.

She had the MRI results from Wednesday. The radiologist had confirmed the compression fracture at T4, and actually reported that T3 showed signs of a fracture as well, though good old T4 took the brunt of it. It also appears that I have some bone swelling in that area.

The MRI showed some abnormalities with my cerebral spinal fluid – I have an excess, or its pressure was higher or something. This is caused by an anachroid cyst located in the lower back of my head. The thinking is that I’ve had this cyst all my life – probably since fetus-hood. It hasn’t caused trouble thus far so it’s assumed to be quite benign. As Wikipedia says, they can be relatively asymptomatic or present with insidious symptoms. Still – cyst and brain in the same sentence – even the same paragraph makes one stop and take notice. Apparently, it’s just one of many things that show up in MRIs – surprise! My doctor is recommended doing nothing. That seems reasonable.

The back is sore today – well not really sore – just tired. I’ve been going to bed early – just exhausted. Last night I fell asleep while the Dude was reading to ME!

Tomorrow morning I meet with the orthopedic doctor – more updates to follow.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Happy New Year and Back Update

File this post under “Things you do when ½ the company is off at the annual sales meeting and you are left behind nursing your broken back.”

You know the New Year is really underway when you finally get around to setting up an archive folder for 2010 and no longer stash emails into last year’s archive.

Back Update:

For a change of pace, I started the day yesterday lying down. Yes, I missed 2 “Stand-Ups” while enjoying a relaxing 60 minutes in the MRI machine. I truly believe that if they asked me one more time, “Are you claustrophobic?” I would have developed a new syndrome: Sudden Onset Claustrophobia. Enough already!

Fun takeaway – I have the films with me as I get to deliver them to the Orthopedic Doc on Monday. I spent some time last night trying to make sense out of the images. One thing I do know – I have a spine and it’s connected to my skull. Another thing, there are some funny white marks at T4 – where I’ve already been told I have a compression fracture. There are a few other white marks near the top and bottom of my Thoracic spine – but I might be seeing things.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Should Have Done This Instead



I bet she doesn't have a compression fracture at T4.

HT: MPR NewsCut Blog.

FYI - Blogging from Saturn in White Bear Lake while they investigate the blinking engine light and the the incredible lack of power in my car. Barely made it over 50 MPH on highway - and almost stalling at every corner.