Saturday, July 24, 2010

John's Hernia Is Fixed

A while back, John shared his thoughts on his upcoming surgical procedure, designed to keep his internal fragments, bits, and snippets from hideously leaking out through his belly button.

Yesterday was The Day. We got up at 6 AM (yes, 6 comes in a PM and an AM!), I had coffee and a breakfast bar while John grumpily fasted. We drove the 60-some miles to the hospital in Tucson, and got there in plenty of time for his 8:30 appointment.

He registered, received a handful of paper work, and eventually was called into the pre-op room (or, as I like to call it, the "Staging Cubicle Where Everyone Who Walks By Can See You Naked"). When he was prepped -- wristbanded, gowned (with that oh-so-cute back closure), and semi-drugged -- they let me go back to see him once more before he was whisked into surgery:

After a few minutes they kicked me out, and I spent the next few hours reading in the waiting room, sharing it with a woman madly crocheting a border on a huge piece of flannel, an aging ex-hippie guy with a long, gray ponytail and a spider web tattoo covering his elbow, and a woman with a new iPad who kept trying to show her companion, who was enrapt but unbelieving that you didn't have to do anything -- not even press a button -- to change the orientation of the text when you turned the iPad sideways. Fun times.

John's doctor talked to me after the surgery and told me everything had gone well, and the nurses would let me know when John was out of post-op. After another couple hours he was ready for visitors, so I left my little group of oddly fascinating fellow-waiters, and found him groggy and thirsty, IV-drips still in place, waiting for the final tests and paperwork before discharge.

After all the technicalities had been performed, I got him home where he and his pain meds became best buddies for the evening. Today, as I type, he is napping, which he has been doing on and off for most of the day. They told him he would be hurting today, and he is. But each day will get better, and pretty soon all that will be left from his ordeal are seven tiny scars forming a large circle around his belly button, no longer a potential exit strategy for his internal fragments, bits and snippets.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lightning And Rainbow

Tonight's thunderstorm hit around sunset. We had a full rainbow that faded fast -- but, just as it was ending, this lightning strike happened:

Rainbow and Lightning Over Kartchner Caverns

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Desert Thunderstorm

Today the thunderstorms hit at sundown. Lightning, thunder, and high winds swept across the desert, leaving cooler temperatures, a few blinking clocks on appliances, and some rare puddles of water.

So, of course, I had to run out in it to get some storm photos!

Lightning Over the San Pedro Valley

Storm Clouds Gather Over the Whetstone Mountains

Lightning Over the Whetstone Mountains

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Help! My guts are falling out!!

So I have this little bulge above my belly button. I ignore it. It gets bigger. Go to doc. Doc says hernia. Go to surgeon. Lift shirt. Hernia. Show up week from Friday in Tucson. Get fixed. Be in pain for 7-10 days. Be better. Gonna use this for all it's worth. Gonna moan and groan and ask for ice cream and comfort food and lots of booze! Don't like pain medicine. Booze is better! Almost looking forward to this!!!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Four Girls -- Not So Fast!

We have four parakeets, all girls. At least that's what we thought...

Adult parakeets are sexually dimorphic, the differences between the looks of the males and females, only by the color of the cere -- that body part above their beak where their nostrils sit. Boys are blue (how convenient!), girls are not-- their color can vary but is often tanish or brown. The cere, an ambiguous pale color at birth, will settle into its final color when the keet reaches maturity, somewhere around 8-12 months.

When we increased our keet-load from two to four late in 2009, we got two more girls (assured by the pet store), so we would avoid the confusion that we felt sure would erupt in a co-ed cage. Now, as they are approaching maturity, we find that the cere of Newfie, our blue keet, has turned from pale to bright blue. Looks like she might be Our Little Man!

We have read that the cere can turn blue and then closer to 1 year turn another color (or vice versa), so it is not certain that we have a transexual keet (transexual at least from our point of view, as "she" probably knew the status of "her" genitals all along). We'll have to wait and see. But you can be sure we are watching her "sister" and store-mate, Baja, very carefully!

Newfie Last December

Newfie Now

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Desert Rain

We have had no measurable rain here since it snowed on April 1st. The monsoon season officially arrived at the end of June, and now we are getting thunderclouds building over the Huachuca Mountains, to the south, on most afternoons.

Black clouds roll in, some getting caught on the closer Whetstone Mountains, and some slipping easily over the top. The clouds have finally started to bring rain, and the desert really does have an identifiable smell after a cloudburst. Not surprisingly, I suppose, it smells like dust and dryness, with a bit of oldness and heat mixed in. Not at all unpleasant, but something I have never smelled before.

Huachuca means "thunder." Bring it on.

Monday, July 05, 2010

4th of July at Kartchner Caverns

John and I both worked at the Caverns in the morning on the 4th. On our final tour, we met a wonderful family vacationing from Puerto Villarta. If you are reading this, we both hope we will see you "down the road"!

In the evening, our neighbor, Bob, joined us at our picnic table as we watched the fireworks in Tombstone and Sierra Vista, about 20 miles away. We listened to a local radio station that was broadcasting patriotic music, and watched Scorpius and Sagittarius rise over the desert.

As an experiment, I tried zooming in during the fireworks. This is the result -- makes the town look a lot bigger, doesn't it?

Happy 4th of July to one and all.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

How Did He Ever Make It Out of Junior High?

Location: Tubac, NM

The Tubac Presidio was a Spanish military garrison established in 1752 that housed both soldiers and their families. While the town of Tubac is now an artsy-fartsy colony with cute knicknack shops and cafes with entrances guarded by metallic gauchos, the garrison is a state park where recreated buildings and original excavations can be seen.

As we wandered through the old garrison, we found the recreated one-room school house, complete with a pot-bellied stove, student ink well desks, a piano on the stage, and a fake teacher and student:

John, feeling a sense of connection to his one-room school house roots, immediately took on the role of the attentive student, ever ready to be a good example for the other student and absorb whatever knowledge the teacher was willing to impart:

But "Bad John" was still lurking just under the surface. Don't let that innocent Iowa farm boy exterior fool you! John, John, John. How DID you ever make it out of Junior High?