Well, we are set to go on Monday. The various little house problems have been put to rest for a while. Now the big decision is what camera gear to bring, but actually it doesn't matter much, as my favorite travel choices are all about the same. Either the X100 or the XE1+18mm or 27mm setups will do just fine, with the smallest bag I have (I hate carrying a camera around until the moment that I actually need to make the picture).
One last minute surprise was a flat tire - piece of metal in the sidewall of a tire that is only 6 months old. Had to scrap the tire! Jees. Not to mention that the last time I had to change a flat tire out on the road was in 1971. I guess I was due, huh.
The cat was in my rocker tonight, so I ate dinner at the dining room table !! (this happens 2 or 3 times a year), and flipped through the latest magazine and there he was. The real Dave. The perfect blend of Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant and Sean Connery. Perfect.
Weather Forecast for Florence, Italy
Clouds and rainy. Good for pictures. ( I siliconed my shoes and windbreaker hoodie. )
Weather be damned, I'm ready.
We Are Back, Safe and Sound and Tired (and Broke)
Flights home were delayed and switched round, but here we are.
Full report after a day or so to decompress.
The major, MAJOR suprise of this trip was that Catherine met us at Heathrow airport and spent the whole vacation with us in Italy. An absolutely wonderful surprise
I had not realized it, but Chris was blogging the trip from her laptop all week, and she is way way ahead of me on this. Love her writing style too. Here is her travelblog: ChrisBlog
The Big Surprise at Heathrow Airport (London)
Okay, I'm done now. I added a page link labeled "Italy2015" to my vacation history: Italy 2015 . . . . and let's move on now.
I thought they were honey bees !
Few weeks back I discovered these guys made a nest up in the siding on the house. Thought they were honey bees, because I kept bumping the siding, they'd come out, buzz my head but never a sting.
Back from vacation, these guys are migrating into the house, and, hey .... they are yellowjacket wasps. I always thought these were very viscious, but I'm not seeing that. They apparently are wandering in through floorboards and they immediately go to a window and try to get out. Now that I notice, am finding dead ones (they never made it out and don't know their way back to the nest, from inside.)
So .... I've been spraying extremely toxic "Sevin" up the outside siding while I am killing whichever ones get in the house (my favorite method is the shop vac.)
Still haven't been stung !
Thinking about cochlear implants yesterday (I am going for a consultation next week), I had a great idea. All the technology exists, and is already in various consumer products to do what I am proposing.
My idea is to incorporate a language translator (speech-to-speech) as selectable option in the implant electronics. Or as an add-on in-your-pocket box. No reading involved. What goes into the microphone is, say, Italian; what goes into your brain is English.
Now that I am rolling on this . . . . even for the "hearies" (people who can hear) this would be a good travel companion. Actually this would make a fabulous "app" for your i-whatever device. Again, this is not speech-to-text or text-to-speech .... it is speech-to-speech.
Some smart people should get to work on this.
The day after that cochlear consultation, I go for a prostate biopsy, but I don't have any innovative product ideas on that topic.
Our living room window, viewed today from the coffee table, felt like the opening curtain at a theater.
The Dutch Masters
The Boston MFA has a new exhibit of The Dutch Masters' paintings, and I went there today (the 2nd day opened to the public) along with, apparently, every other retired person in Massachusetts.
I love those 17th century Dutch painters, as much as I love the 19th century French Impressionists. But I have to rate this exhibit as "good", and let it go at that.
I ended up wandering through some old familiar rooms, and there is this wild glass bottle / vase piece that plays with mirrors and polished glass. Mesmerizing how people end up staring into it. It is hard to photograph well.
Lexie By the Fire
(You could go to jail for being this pretty.)
Destined to be an autumn classic ....!!
143 beats / minute
That was my resting pulse rate this morning, lying on the table with the nice lady reading the cardio-whatevermachine.
That (and my 144/100 blood pressure) sent me upstairs to the cardiologist who went on and on about Atrial Fibrillation (which is what they decided I have). This is a reasonably common problem of people my age. But it's not to laugh off.
He actually said that "the top half of my heart" was beating at twice that rate - nearly 300 BPM !! The typed-up record of the visit says my pulse is "irregularly irregular".
Well ..... as of tonight I am on blood thinner and heart rate supressant pills; the warning messages on the boxes are enough to scare your blood pressure up higher, but I guess we have to do it.
Had to cancel my biopsy for next Friday (blood thinners mean that your cuts and bruise and incisions don't clot). Instead, I go back to the cardiologist for a re-check.
I am wondering now if "Dave's Journal" will devolve into "Dave's Weekly Medical Problem". Let's stay off that path, okay.