News from cousin Pete: Grandma(pa) Fazio's house (36 Strong Place, Brooklyn) is under a major renovation, for maybe the 4th time in the last 30 years. I "was born in this house" (if you don't count the hospital ! ) and lived there until my dad got out of the Army, that same year.
Due to local ordinance, the outside appearance can't (and hasn't) changed much in probably 100 years. But, here's what is going on internally at the moment:
The basement was dug out to add a room down there. The entire foundation was reinforced with steel girders. The house was actually sinking due to a broken sewer pipe that has been leaking for some time.
The wrought iron stair case on the side of the house has been removed.
The bushes on either side of the driveway have been ripped out, and there are now 3 bathrooms throughout the house.
The old garage door look has been reinstated so that you can slide them back and forth.
Come to think of it, here is cousin Pete and Grandma Fazio dancing in that yard (1967) . . .
Yikes! Pete sent me this update. He found a picture of the house dated Dec1958. Note the stamp at bottom right.
Weather was perfect for cleaning up outside, and I did that. Trimmed the bushes down about one foot all around (they have not sprouted leaves yet, but the buds are showing). Cleaned the breezeway of winter garbage and the garage floor of leaves and dirt. Can't rake the grass yet . . . still patches of snow here and there. It was great to be out there again. First time since, when? . . . October !
Ran the generator to keep gas flowing; gotta run it dry and treat the tanked gas, but not just yet, you know.
Digging up bones, I found this picture of mom and her roses. My guess is late 1980's (?).
Then I stumbled upon some pornpix I had stashed away on a CD . . . here's one of them . . .
Obamacare is to Blame
A friend of Deb's parent's got extremely sick and injured while out of state (in Florida). Long long story but she could not travel home, needed serious medical treatment and post-medical recuperation before transporting back here. She is in her late 70's.
Her insurance company is causing all sorts of grief about what they are not going to pay because she was "out of network" or something like that; the expenses are horrendous (private ambulance back to Massachusetts ? ? ). Now, not only is she battling recovery, she is fighting with her insurance company, who no doubt knows the fine print in her policy far far better than she does.
What's the problem here? . . . . Well, some people who were in the room this weekend put the blame on Obamacare. Why? "Because Obamacare takes working people's money and gives it to illegal aliens." (The lady in question here was born in Massachusetts and she and her husband lived and worked all their lives in this country.)
Obamacare is to blame. We'll ignore the fact that Obamacare hasn't even kicked in yet, and has nothing whatever to do with this lady's situation; but it still is to blame for making this lady's life so bad, now that she needs help. "Because it gives your tax dollars to illegal aliens."
There's no doubt in my mind that, as soon as we repeal Obamacare:
The insurance company is going to apologize and pay this lady's medical bills.
Illegal aliens are going to cross back over the borders and go home.
US businesses will shut down their overseas factories and bring jobs back into the USA.
GE will pay US taxes ! !
Gays will become heterosexual and stop confusing us about who they are and what they want.
The GAO will announce that the total US debt has been paid off.
The NRA will work in good faith to get gun sales, ownership, transporting and icensing, under control.
When you think of it that way, Obamacare is killing this country.
This morning, I got an e-mail from L about her 10 year old neighbor girl who is fighting bone cancer. She cannot eat, so they pump whatever she needs for nourishment directly into her through a tube that sticks out of her stomach. Her insurance company (unfortunately, the same company that insures me ! ) refuses to pay for this because they don't pay for "food".
God bless America.
Judith Durham (remember The Seekers ! ?) is still a wonderful singer and, rumor has it, a truly sweet and "classy" lady (not to mention being way too cute !). I love this video.
Not much going on up here. Deb is doing the kitchen work that I skip over during the week; I plan on making bread and chicken as soon as she has the kitchen perfectly spotless. I am preparing old photos (1970 - 1980) for a new page of davesjounal.
Zeke died Aug.28.2001. He was a wonderful, fantastic cat; a true "alpha-male" and he loved people and was the 7th smartest person I ever met.
We got him, as a kitten, at an animal shelter in (I think) 1993. It was one of those scenes from the Hallmark channel on TV. He was the one kitten left of a litter, and alone in a cage. Every time I walked by the cage to look the cats over, Zeke would reach his paw through the bars, meow meow and try to grab me. If I looked at him, he would stick his face right out there and say "You're not going to leave me here, are you?"
At home, he never left me alone. At night, he jumped on the bed, I'd pull the sheet over my head and he would sit on my chest and paw at the sheet until I let him slip under it to sleep with us.
Years later, Zach came along at twice the size and weight of Zeke; but when Zach jumped up on the bed one night, Zeke bashed him in the head and Zach never tried that again (Zach could have eaten Zeke for a snack !).
In 1996 or 7, Zeke was diagnosed with kidney failure (incurable, eventually terminal). The vet said he could come home if we could
"give him his medicine at home". I said
"sure". Then she pulled out the bags of Lactated Ringer's solution, plastic tubing and a box of hyperdermic needles . . . I had to sit down ! . . . .
"What do you expect me to do with those needles?" . . .
"You have to inject this solution into him twice a day every day for the rest of his life. When you stop doing that, he will die. Or, the other option is that we can put him down now."
Well, we gave Zeke his fluids for the next five years; he was much better at it than I was. In the end it was a very very traumatic event for me every day, and it pained me enormously to continue injecting him. I think because I could tell it was over, why make him suffer more.
When the day came, I cried like a baby.
I'm tired, but feeling great that I can be outside working the yard. Help Ernest next store clean up his dad's Christmas ornaments out on the lawn. At least 100 styrofoam figures, strings of lights, branches of pine and hemlock (making it all look realistic as styrofoam scenes can look) . Quite a job. In November, the local boyscout troop and their parents
spend a Saturday putting it all up, and get themselves in the Christmas spirit. Then it gets buried under snow until about now and no one comes to help clean it all up (who wants to think of Christmas when Spring is here !). So I help him. Misery likes company, you know.
And of course there's my own weed patches (that should be my little garden patches), and that's what I've been tending to today. Feels good, but tired now.
Between my new Roku device and the Android tablet, I am in front of a screen 99% of the time, when I am in the house. During the day, it's Android on the porch with the cat; at night it's Roku in the basement with the cat. I love them both. The Android device is incredibly addictive. You can do anything ! ! on these things. Have been doing those memory / mental test games; happily my brain is not as far decayed as I thought it was. (But I question their credibility as they keep telling me "You are doing great! You need to upgrade to a higher level. The upgrade will only cost $$$$. Push click and we'll bill your credit card." )
Over on the right is a creation of fine art made on the android tablet (which is an Asus Nexus 7). MOMA offered me big bucks for it, but as an artist, I feel it needs to be an internet freebie for the world to enjoy.
In a less jazzy key . . .
Need a perfect 1967 Scwhinn Ramshorn Fastback ?
Jim Lockwood restores these classic bikes, and he just sent me this picture of his latest piece. Look at those handlebars !
If I were about 5 decades younger, I'd buy that beauty !
We all hate spam emails, and most everyone has some spam blocker utility for their inboxes. Debbie has just learned that Verizon also has spam filters on her outbox !
People have not been getting her emails for about 2 weeks. When I investigated an hour ago, I saw all her outgoing messages jammed up in her "outbox" and an alert message that these were determined to be spam (they are not !) by Verizon's outgoing mail server. This is very sudden.
Turns out that about a year ago, Verizon started this spam filter on their outgoing server. Caught many many people by surprise, and the issue is getting bigger, not smaller, in terms of people effected. From internet discussions, Verizon "customer service" is a sad joke and most people, after struggling with them for a few weeks, move their email to g-mail or some other service. Verzion has so much on their plate (Fios, TV, internet) they could care less about a few million pissed off email customers.
Anyway . . . the funny part is . . . the notification Debbie gets in her email utility is to send one of your "spam" messages to Verizon customer service. So, I tried that. Six times. And . . . of course . . . my message about Verizon blocking outgoing email was (you guessed it) blocked as spam ! It sits in her computer.
A lot of people would get pissed off about the sh#t that hits the fan with every product and service that you buy. A lot of people get to feel like people out there don't give a sh#t about doing anything right anymore; they clock in their hours, take your money, piss on your shoes and clock out for the evening. A lot of people think the world doesn't work right anymore; that no one actually gives a fart about anything because everyone else expects things to be f#%ked up anyway, so why do your job right and proper.
Not me, though. I am New Dave (since Montepulciano, 2012), and New Dave is ever pleasant and resilient; the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune don't hurt him anymore; the sh#t flying off the fan blades never hits New Dave; he has no more stress wrinkles, his hair is turning a dark brown again, his eyes gleam with vitality, he hums a catchy tune.
"F#¢k it", says New Dave, a Bhuda-like calm passing over him, "who needs email anyway."
This morning at the wildlife sanctuary . . . the leaves are not out yet, but it's warm and the Eastern Bluebirds were out and about.
April.17: Pond is drained, chlorox'd and step-1 cleaned (smelled like the sea shore). Pruned and edited the little garden patch next to it. Moved Irises from here to there - these things multiply like rabbits ! ! Filled the bird feeders; need to make a rigid support for the feeder Sheri made for me last year.
Next step - work up a plan for the pond, now that I gave the fish away.
Last Monday, two guys exploded bombs at the Boston marathon, and the days since then have been filled with tragic news. These days I am trying not to weigh down my journal pages here with philosophy politics religion sociology, so I opted to just be quiet and let the news services do there jobs.
I was glued to the TV last night for a few hours as they covered the final capture of the 2nd suspect. Incredible, absolutely incredible how many law enforcement people and equipment were involved. It was amazing.
Now I am thinking of the bombing victims and their families.
Walking around a local pond, I came across this swan sitting on a nest !. Never thought of it before, but I guess swans do leave the water from time to time !
After a little homework . . . this typical common swan is . . . Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Judy and Peter rent this farm home in Lunenberg, and we were there for dinner last night. That cast iron stove actually works. That (refinished) pine floor is probably 200 years old (has those square nails holding the boards down).
I have been meaning, for years, to post a picture of this lady on my page here. She (I estimate) is in her late 70's, and it is not so remarkable that she jogs (very very slowly !). What is remarkable is that she is out there every day - whatever the weather. Snow piled deep, slush, rain, wind. I have seen her wrapped in a clear plastic pancho running in the rain. She has jogged passed the house in the winter while I am snowblowing 18" off the driveway.
Here she is jogging along about 6AM this morning. Debbie has chatted with her; she took up jogging at the age of 60. Too cool.
The Kentucky Derby Surrenders to the Terrorists
Here's a piece of bad news for you. Terrorists, including the two from last week in Boston, have scored yet another victory in the war against our freedom. To "strengthen security", the Kentucky Derby will not allow cameras with interchangeable lenses (like 90% of the cameras I have ever owned).
It is amazing how much damage we allow terrorists to do to our freedoms. They are extremely shrewd and efficient fighters, I think; they are slowly, but very effectively, disabling our freedoms and they spend very little money on their weapons to accomplish this.
We are slowly, slowly, in baby steps, losing the "war on terror". Actually we are not so much losing the war as we are surrendering. We are afraid inside our own country. Who expected it would come to this, huh ?
For a rock solid 8 hours last night, Dave slept like a baby, and when it came time to rise, he simply fell back to the pillow for another 10 minutes. There he is now, at the keyboard, typing his journal page and drinking coffee. His hair is a mess.
The morning outside (he put the trash and recycling out by the curb a few minutes ago) is just beautiful; as pretty as the early mornings in the Piazza di Poliziano, with the street sweepers brushing the sand and dust from he cobblestones, and the pigeons catching the sun on the rooftops and in the window frames.
He stopped typing now and is looking at the large glass "carboy" of wine that is aging now in the basement. "December", he thinks, "it will be ready to taste in December." But secretly, he worries about it - too many things to go wrong with home winemaking, and this is his first batch, so . . . only time will tell.
He's getting up now - I think his cup is empty - yeh, he's heading for the stairs. It'll be a good day today. He's humming - I think the tune is Neil Young's "After the Goldrush", but I could be wrong.
Mike and I had breakfast today at the Moran Square Diner, in Fitchburg. I did two fried eggs on homemade hash, and gave the cook "thumbs up". Then we went to Charlie's house where I got a very extensive and intense crash course on winemaking. Charlie is extremely well informed on this, and overloaded my brain with his experience. Lots of great stuff for me to absorb. He has (I estimate) a few hundred bottles of his wine stashed away in the cellar, and about every gizmo and gadget that home winemaker could desire.
They (Charlie and Paula) bought a huge 1890's victorian home that they have been restoring since 1997, and have a ways to go before it's finished. I recommended that they issue maps at the door for anyone entering, as, after a few turns, halls, stairs and doorways, you are pretty much lost inside.
Wine in the making must be "racked" (siphoned from carboy to carboy) several times before it is put into the final bottles. This is to clear the wine of micro-particles that make it cloudy. These particles are almost exactly the same density as water, so they do not want to settle to the bottom . . . . except . . . during the few days around the new moon. This is not a joke. The micro-increase in the force of gravity during the phase of the new moon, will help settle the particles. So it's the best time to siphon off the clear wine at the top of the carboy.
Makes me think that my home winemaking enterprise should be labelled
The New Moon Winery.