Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Hazel needs her dreadlocks
All the chatter around me about Tiny Houses evokes this
comment: The Cat Drag'd Inn is 210 square feet of
living area not counting the bridge. I prob'ly have another
50 sf of storage in a small camper trailer and perhaps
another 50 sf of stuff and things laying about in the yard.
Not counting TinyTruck which can carry some of that stuff
whenever we might get on the road again.
This edition of the Travails of Oso con Migo is dedicated to
Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Saturday March 26
Business as usual here today. High yesterday was the first
90+ of the coming Simmer. Too hot too soon. Already I am
missing being at Pie Town.
Steven! Excellent catch. I am remiss
in not making that connexion on my own. But this past week
my brain is quite addled between pain and pain meds; I am
having a problem thinking let alone writing. Fortunately the
GPS knows which way to carry the TinyTruck from stop light
to exit ramp. Would have got me to the doctor on time but
for yet another flat tyre. This one was a surprise at
construction-zone speed limit where the rumble-strip didn't
go away and TinyTruck veered to the verge. Tilted about 20
degrees down into drainage. Too much for my scissor jack.
Too much for my state of mind. I called AAA and waited.
Called my PCP to cancel, to beg for a later appointment, to
arrange a virtual visit. Between the rock and the hard place
the next appointment is a fortnight into next month.
So I want to the tyre shop instead of the doctor. All that
was yesterday. Today I have managed to borrow some opiates
from a stash remaining from McMurdo. Off to the MRI place
The operator technician had ear plugs for me and ear muffs
of a sort that blocked at least 100 of the DBs and held my
head tight in the "pillow" frame. The noise was still loud
but not any worse than some of the music that Mike plays in
his electric Fiat. (I've told him he'd get better mileage
from a full charge if he turned the volume way down.) They
must have done five or six scans, different
noises-tempos-rumbles and I was once admonished to lay
still, to keep my leg still.
MRI out of the way. Now, what about the results. And then
April up next, ...but I'm sleeping in. Owie still hurts.
Long deep report of MRI evaluation, lots of big words. A few
of them I recognise...
1. L5-S1 right-sided extruded disc fragment
displacing the S1 nerve root sufficient to account for the
2. Degenerative changes at the levels with
canal, foraminal and lateral recess stenosis detailed above
with greatest severity at L3-L4.
Now, what's to be done about all that? Only the doctor
knows. And I'll bet the doctor is only guessing.
Does not feel good in any case.
April 3rd 1941 to 2022iv3
the trip to 81 So what’s next? "This is me and I
approve this photo."
Preprandial: Gabapentin, 0500, before or after morning
toilet. Various vitamins including several dietary
supplements not available from processed foodstuffs follow
breky. Sext-Lunch-Gabapentin and midday nap. Vespers and a
postprandial snack of Gabapentin round out the day. From
time to time pain meds of various chemical composition may
be utilised as necessary throughout the day. Compline
concludes my day with an offering of Finasteride at bed
Happy Sadly Susan’s Birthday.
Susan was fifth of eight. After four boys there had to be
four girls. Yin & Yang? Even Steven!
A Week Into April—Temperature Hits 99f
I'm learning about options for
treatment and opinions of doctors. So many factors besides
opinion. Cost and time are two factors that doctors seem not
to consider. On the spectrum of Do Nothing to Most Invasive
Do nothing means no drugs even. Sciatic pain has been known
to go away after a while. Ernest Shackleton had Sciatica on
his way to the South Pole; perhaps the cold helped alleviate
the symptoms. The last time I dealt with Sciatica that was
I can stay on Gabapentin (three pills a day) for a long
while (as long as the state pays (239$ for a 90 day supply)
and eventually the problem may go away like last time. But
there are undesirable side effects and just maybe the
problem will not go away. On more or less equal but very
different terms (and I have yet to get all the answers and
costs and times) there are Cortisone Injections or Physical
The former--favoured by the MD at his Pain Clinic--is
monthly, at least to start with; might take three months
before any results are known. The cortisone relieves the
swelling that is pinching the sciatic nerve. But according
to the MRI Report (L5-S1 right-sided extruded disc fragment
displacing the S1 nerve root sufficient to account for the
patient's pain) there degenerative changes to the vertebra
and perhaps arthritis. Is cortisone going to fix that disc
fragment? The latter, PT, is favoured by my Primary Care
Physician. That likewise may not fix the fragment and maybe
could make the situation worse. I need to learn more about
And then either way there is the cost. I don't know yet what
that is. At the far end of the spectrum is surgery to remove
that fragment. So I still have a goodly supply of Gabapentin
and Ibuprofen and even a small assortment of
oxymotrin-something-or-other, some of them dating back to my
second Winter at McMurdo.
7 April, Scaling Up
Off to a late start today. Actually I've been up since
oh-dark-45 but was immediately sidetracked by my lying body
scale. Some folks call this appliance a "bathroom" scale but
I keep mine in the galley. If I wrote "Kitchen Scale" you'd
prob'ly get the wrong idea. My scale tells me I'm up to 154
which is five pounds heavier than I'm supposed to be. One of
the indicated side effects of the Gabapentin is weight gain
and now I am seeing that is so. I'd go for total fasting but
there are so many yummy leftovers in the fridge which would
be wasted I just cannot bring my Self to that drastic course
of action. And smaller portions won't do either cos then the
leftovers would exceed their half-life. Not good. I can't
bare to waist food nor can I bear to waste food. The
neighbour’s dog(s) may be of some help in this case.
Spring Equinox Letter Printed
I’ve not told you about my having to replace
the HP 5660 that has been faithfully cranking out these
letters since 2017. Let me count the pages: 5 years. 4
letters/year. 25 copies. Typically 6-8 pages/letter. But
then the count gets complicated. The pages are often printed
double sided and two to a sheet. So an eight page letter is
on two sheets of paper each printed on both sides. I’ll
count on the high side to make up for all the other numerous
print jobs. So. The 2022 Spring Equinox letter: 8 pages
double sided is 4 sheets times 25 copies. That really counts
as 200 printed sheets. Then, four letters /year = 800, times
five years = 4000 printed sheets. And in the earlier period
of this correspondence, when I was travelling more, I
sometimes wrote more than four letters a year. You might say
this correspondence with a cohort of pen friends is a sort
of hobby. Sometimes I look at the project as my personal
effort to keep the Post Office in business. I do all this in
Memory of Ben Franklin.
Anyhow, back to the printer. A fortnight ago, just as the
printer was cranking out the last page of my music library
catalogue, the printer stopped with a paper jam. But there
was no paper jammed in the printer. A ghost error? All the
trouble shooting steps came to naught. Dead printer. And I
have quite an investment in ink cartridges, printer drivers,
menus, routines, physical arrangements of wiring and space
and where-all-the-buttons are, and the last thing I wanted
was to have to learn all that over again for a new printer.
There is something to be said for being in a rut. I wanted
another of the same make and model that would simply drop
into place and pick up where the old one left off. So I
spent a day researching. Needless to say my HP 5660 was
obsolete, out of production, no doubt replaced by something
with more bells and whistles before the warranty expired.
And the recommended new replacement used different ink
cartridges too. What can you expect? American
Throw-Away-Society at best.
Another day searching for a functional used replacement of
the same make and model. Fortunately there are other
like-minded folk out there in NeverNever Land who
fix-refurbish-rebuild things such as printers so I found the
replacement of my dreams in a shop back east. My original
HP5660 cost 100$ in 2017. Refurbished replacement 146$ in
2022. By way of comparison Regular Gas was $2.41in 2017 and
But the saga does not end with delivery. The printer didn’t
simply drop in and work. I’ll spare you the agony of
installation. After all was said, done, and reprogrammed,
after three hours with a robochat and another hour on the
phone with a Human, the printer prints, the ink subscription
is transferred, and I am basically content. Thank you HP; I
take back at least half the swears and profanities sent in
April 11th Roadside Cleanup
Amazing how much trouble some people will go to just to
leave their trash by the side of the road for someone else
to clean up when with only a little more effort they could
do the right thing and properly dispose of their refuse at
the Transfer Station and save the rest of us all this work
Happy Big Wind Day 12th April 1934
Big Wind... In response to my blowing the
message all over the lists Trish wrote:
> The wind has been blowing here in Florida also but
maybe not as strong as there.
> On the brighter side it's a good time to fly a
kite. — Trish
Darn! Thanks for the reminder about kites Trish. I'm afraid
I've turned into a grownup and forgot all about kites. Damn!
And to think I once told my Sister-Son: “What happens to
kids who stop climbing trees? They become grown-ups. I'm not
sure which comes first, the becoming or the not climbing,
but that's one of the major signs. That and not flying a
kite. Never grow up. Grown-ups have forgotten. You have no
choice but to age, and maturing is a nice thing to do, but
never grow up; growing up is hazardous to your health.” This
morning of course is calm and I am off to the food bank. No
time for kites and no wind anyhow. Some consolation.
Easter Dinner Plans
I have a special N95 mask to wear with a slit for eating.
We're planning on a brisket smoked by one person, a slaw by
someone else... I'll make my famous pickle pie (did I
already mention that...) and we’ll eat in the hot tub so
there'll be no need for napkins or laundry after.
Easter Dinner After Math?
The hot tub drain got clogged so we turned up the
temperature. The slop will cook down to soup consistency and
with the addition of celery salt and oregano will eventually
make a passable leftover for the next few days. 2+2=5?
Easter Bunny Escapes
My first thought was: I’ve been watching too many Alice In
Wonderland movies. Or maybe I’ve slipped down the rabbit
hole my Self. Here was this White (mostly) Rabbit dining on
a Mesquite bush.
Feast Day of Saint George
Roasted Dragon Loin for the entrée. Other fixings to go with
and nice black grapes for dessert.
PT Has A New Meaning
The initials used to be for Pie Town. These
days Physical Therapy. Or even worse: Physical Therarist. My
day was tough. Took me three tries to write that word:
tough; the spellchecker on my pen is not up to snuff. Or
snuffing too much. An hour with the PT slave driver left me
with aches I didn't know I could have. I guess that takes my
mind off the one I do have. Then I came home and
hauled trash to the tip and brush to the burn pile. Phew!
Time for a nap.
May the Forth Be With You!
MikeMachine failed normal boot, again.
Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc! didn't work... Wrong keyboard.
Tried again. Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc!Esc! Got the boot menu. That
worked ok. Is this method of getting started to be
another new normal?
1234 12 12 1234 12 12 1234 1234 1 (?)
What was than sound?
Started out with a quick jaunt to the mailbox to post the
May B’day cards. Then a couple hours pruning invasive
branches from a mesquite forest. My rule is I want to be
able to walk a certain path without suffering bloody claw
marks on my arms nor the loss of my sun bonnet. There are
also a couple of palm trees which must needs be kept back
from obstructing the drive with their scratchy fronds which
are worse than barb wire when it comes to applying pin
striping to The Cat Drag’d Inn. Once all the
pruning was accomplished the resulting brush had to be
hauled to the burn pile. I do better with WNGD than I do
The Ides of May
Did you watch the Eclipse of La Luna last night. I was
looking at the moon with one eye and the ISS with the other
when they crossed paths and I fell over.
Goodyear Blimp Flyby
Just when I was outside looking for a cloud to flesh out the
18 o'clock weather observation the GoodyEar
Blimp coasted along above i10.
May 23 Another Passing
Jim writes that his father passed away last week. Jim Senior
was a Sailor with experience on Coast Guard icebreakers in
Antarctic waters. After he retired from that he moved his
family to Chula Vista and did a second career as Keeper of
The Bears at the San Diego Zoo. That was one of the places I
went on one of the Cross Country Tours from Tr 50, maybe
The towel rack on my back
reminds me to remind you that today is Towel Day. Bring your
towel to work with you! Wear your towel shopping. Show your
towel there is more to life than drying hands.
The End of May
Monthly laundry—wash-dry-putaway; get the bus organised to
move to the garage and look for an oil leak—clean the
windscreen, dust the instruments, put away the sugar bowl
and tie down the spice rack; trim a few trees back from the
driveway—mesquite tree thorns really scratch the paint; take
a nap; fix something if the parts arrive; put towbar on
TinyTruck... Not least of all that is ordering the list on
account of the outside temperature. The hottest part of the
day is no time to be outside. I'm already tired just
thinking about all that. I believe I will start with the
The First of Must
Jeopardy clew: This thing is about as useful as pressing one
for English when you call tech support. What is a...? 102
days with no precipitation. Why do doors on houses open
inward and on businesses open outwards?
At Allan’s Tonopah Garage out near the airport (AZ85)
overnight looking for oil leak. Found glycol leak instead.
Rear Main Seal looks good. We'll check again this morning
when the motor is cold.
The storey with the bus has a good outcome. Allan, the
garage person, is a miracle worker. Not a rear seal problem.
For better or worse... A fuel leak from somewhere under the
intake manifold, in the vicinity of the fuel injector pump,
washing down the rear of the motor to drip from the flywheel
housing. Interesting that the leak begins about five minutes
after the motor is started and is rather prolific for a
while but then stops when/after the engine is hot. The drama
was high but the cost was nil. Whilst I was busy studying a
recurring glycol leak and an ongoing air leak Allan quickly
determined that the rear seal oil leak was really a fuel
leak from somewhere on top of the motor. "Shut it OFF NOW!"
he bellowed from below the flywheel.
Under the right conditions, with a mirror on a long
extension, one could see fuel oozing from around this 7/16
bolt head. The fuel injector pump sits below and forward of
the intake manifold in a well between the two sides of the
3208 motor. Time and a half later after removing all manner
of gunk and dirt from between the injector pump and the
turbo, we found a certain bolt missing-lacking-bereft of
a sealing washer and O-ring. How many years has this 3208
been leaking fuel? Perhaps a half a cup at every cold-start?
There we found a bolt--7/16 head, with fuel leaking from
under the head. A half turn tightening didn't stop the leak
so we removed the bolt and added a copper washer. That seems
to have fixed the leak. Sounds easy but took about six
hours. We had to dismount the alternator and the belts to be
able to reach in under the air cleaner-yada-yada-yada...
My hands were always too dirty to take pictures then so
these photos are from later. One picture shows the tiny
cavern into which one squoze a hand and wrench to get down
behind the injector pump under the intake manifold to the
bolt, the lower/smaller one, as seen in the other picture.
The bolt is about 4" long, 3/16-28 with a 7/16 head; item
#21 in the Injector Pump Parts Diagramme. The parts/service
manual shows the washer and O-ring but neither were present.
Allan found a copper washer that fit the need and made a
good seal. "Rear Main Seal Oil Leak" fixed without having to
dismount the 600# tranny.
220602 - Snake in the Grass -
Thursday, just as the temperature climbed above 95f, the
shore power went off. Professional Electricians were
replacing a distribution panel in the big house; forecast an
hour or so of downtime. Things being as they are with
professionals the one hour became two. My APU was busy
supporting two A/C units for six hours by the time shore
power was restored. Any other time of year the solar would
have been sufficient but not when both A/Cs are needed to fend off triple
digit temperatures. About mid-point in this exercise a
rattlesnake slithered up alongside the big orange extension
cord. Whilst Patrick kept an eye on the snake I ran to fetch
my snake stick and a bucket. We got the snake into the
bucket and relocated the slithery serpent out back by the
water hole where critters of a better size for snakey diet
are to be found.
42? May 25th Reprise
The real meaning of life is to plant trees anyhow;
Even when you don't expect to sit under their shade.
And The Question Is: What is a rain gauge?
Please excuse any redundancies; there is an echo in my