Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Val and I wish everyone a very prosperous, peaceful and Happy New Year.
After years of not going out, Val and I will be out for a bit at a somewhat swanky shindig (more about it later) due to Val being a very talented photographer and donating one of her photos to the benefit silent auction there.
See you guys in the new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Leave a Freaking Message

Someone or some entity has called us several times in the last three days from Biddeford, Maine, but has not left any message.
I know this much because our account with Vonage lists numbers that have tried to contact us, plus in most cases the name of the caller and from where he or she called. This time, it showed the number from which the calls came (the same) and the place, but no name of a person or company.
It appears that this may be an automated caller, because you would think that someone would get the point that the time the calls are being made is bad for us and that possibly a message could be left. But I won't rule out the possibility that the caller is a flaming douchenozzle moron.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Missed Appointment

Due to yesterday's weather and traffic conditions, I missed my chiropractor's appointment with Dr. Steve Niemiec, and I am not happy about that.
Despite leaving work downtown in what should have been enough time, it took me about 35-40 minutes to just get the three miles to my house on Buffalo's West Side, so I knew that I would never get to the Amherst office in time. Again, too many people seem to have forgotten how to drive in the snow, and even more seem to have forgotten that Delaware Avenue is a four-lane road, two lanes each way, in Buffalo.
When I got home and dashed through the snow, I tried to call and/or e-mail the chiropractor's office, but it turns out that we had a cable outage of sorts (it later turns out that it just needed rebooting, which I was too frazzled to check), and because our telephone service is through Vonage, I could neither call nor e-mail.
So, I went about walking Walker Evans, who had a great time leaping and bounding through the snow, and then shoveled our walk and driveway, with some assistance from neighbior Jim Whitford. Everything was cleared out in time for Val to get home from work, and my back was feeling pretty good then and continues to feel good now.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Return to Close to Normal

The Christmas/holiday weekend ended way too fast and soon, and while I'd love to take a day off, certain reasons preclude that and I will be joining most of you kind readers in returning to work today.
The Christmas functions hosted by Val and my families went very well, with plenty of family, talk, food, gifts and fun, as did the annual house party hosted by Marty Boratin and Susan Tanner. Val and I even, hold your breath, hit an after-Christmas sale at Kohl's, but we had very specific reasons that had to be addressed that day, and we also did some birthday shopping for our nephew, Jack Dossinger. Walker Evans was happy because he got a can of dog food for his Christmas dinner instead of dry food.
I have family connections to several holiday birthdays; besides Jack, my niece Kristina Keenan and my sister-in-law, Janet Hosey, also have birthdays between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dang, One More Stop

As I went to bed at about 12:30 a.m. (yes, I'm keeping up with the earlier bed time), a thought hit me that didn't exactly make me too happy about my schedule today.
I will be getting to work at 8 a.m., and I assumed I would be working a normal day and leave at 4 p.m. Well, the thought that occurred to me this morning was that I forgot to buy rolls for the dinner at my family gathering at my mother's house later today/tonight.
Yes, I can just leave a bit early (by taking comp time) and stopping at Wegmans on the way home, and there is a PriceRite grocery store a couple of blocks away from our house, so I will be able to stop, but damn, I did not want to do any shopping on Christmas Eve. Oh, and believe you me, if there is any way possible, I will be avoiding the maze hell of PriceRite today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I've Been Searching So Long

We are just about done with all of our preparations for the holidays, with just a couple more gifts to wrap, and here is the problem.
As I continued wrapping last night, I took my usual mental inventory of the gifts I had to wrap. I had all of Val's gifts accounted for and was checking the rest, so I asked Val about her side of the family to see if it coincided with my tally.
Well, one gift was missing, and so far, after checking and virtually tearing apart Val's car, my closet and the area I was storing all of the gifts in, that one gift remains missing. I will work on our bedroom later today; it shouldn't be in there, and that room is a, um, challenge for various reasons, but I do have to find it.
Both Val and I know exactly what gift it is, but that hasn't helped our search so far.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Argh, One Last Thing (Or Two)

I started wrapping holiday gifts last night, and I discovered only then that we ran out of gift tags last year and I will have to stop and get some tomorrow.
Fortunately, I have bought all of my gifts this years except for one edible one, and besides the tags, we only have to get Walker Evans to PetSmart for his yearly spa visit/grooming and to get some food items for Christmas Eve and Christmas.
So I was able to start wrapping gifts last night, being those whose identity I would recognize by size, shape, etc., through wrapping paper.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Feeling Better

Thanks to starting to take better care of myself and the very able treatment of Dr. Steve Niemiec, my chiropractor, my back is feeling a lot better and I am heading back to work this morning.
Much of what I am doing different may not be too different or earth shattering (going to bed earlier, stretching more, doing things more carefully), but despite Val trying to get me to be this way for years, I wasn't listening too well until this recent back injury.
I am trying hard to make sure I keep up this healthier living.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Glad I See My Chiropractor Today

Indeed, I will be going to the chiropractor later today, but so far this morning, my back has decided not to cooperate as it should, leaving me grumpy and in some pain.
Hopefully, this will go away very soon so I can go to work today.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Back, Due to My Back

Sorry for the absence from blogging yesterday; my back was in pretty bad shape when I woke up yesterday, so I stayed home from work and visited the chiropractor and x-ray facility.
Without going into too much detail, I went to Dr. Steve Niemiec at Balanced Living Wellness Chiropractic in Amherst; Steve is a freind of Val and I first through his partner, Tim Moran, and as well as being friendly, he was professional, informative and handled things in an excellent manner.
It turns out that the problems I am having apparently aren't so much from the latest fall I had December 1, but due to deterioration from a previous compress fracture on a vertebrae I never knew I had suffered and still do not know how it happened. The deterioration is due to arthritis, something that runs in my family on my mother Sheila's side (the side I most resemble).
We are figuring out what I need to due to make this situation better and keep it better, and I am already taking certain steps, hoping to not repeat this fun again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Back: Good This Morning, With Help

My back is feeling pretty good this morning, so far the best it has felt since I fell and hurt it two weeks ago.
I have been getting all sorts of hints, tips and suggestions over what to do about it, and some have been followed and seem to be doing some good. Others may have to wait, if things get worse.
One of the most interesting and effective suggestions came from an old Buffalo State College/WBNY friend and DJ, Andre Frazier, who suggested I take Doan's Pills, based on some back situation he had.
While I had to laugh at first at the suggestions, since I didn't know that Doan's Pills were still made, I bought some extra strength (although that may be the regular Doan's) and started using them Sunday night. I have noticed a definite difference in flexibility and a serious lower amount of pain in my back when taking the Doan's. Some friends still laugh when I mention Doan's Pills; I just know they work.
I also used a bit of ice (ice packs), but I am now using heat as in a Chinese balm my wife Val has used, as well as some Tiger Balm, and both seem to be helping, as well as loosening things in my back. Some yoga stretching is also helping things.
I may start to look less like I should be playing shuffleboard soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good Weekend, Sportswise

As the title states, as sports goes, this past weekend was a rather good one.
The Buffalo Sabres won both of their games, defeating Chicago and the New York Rangers, and have the opportunity to make it a team hat trick if they can defeat Montreal, who they play at the Bell Centre tonight. Also, the Buffalo Bills won their fifth game of the season by knocking off Kansas City, 16-10, with a pretty good defensive game to make up for a poor offensive game.
And to top things off, after beating ranked teams Maryland and Duke and being upset by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in overtime, the University of Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball team beat Marquette, 72-63, Saturday. Hopefully, Wisconsin won't fall out of the Top 25 after finally getting to number 23.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not Much New, Shovel Wise

Like most of the Buffalo itself, we got about 6-7 inches of snow here on the West Side, so I only had about 3 inches of snow to shovel when I got home from work last night.
This was made even more acceptable with the fact that our two-doors-down neighbor, Larry, used his "new" snowplow (liberated from his parents) to plow his driveway and sidewalk and most of those of his four neighbors. I only had to widen one or two points and finish the part of the driveway inside the fence for Val, and truly thank him.
The second part of the snow was relatively normal weight and texture wise, a bit wet because not being so deep, the ground was able to heat it a bit. We've heard wind blowing since last night, but no new snow and the roads seem pretty good round here.
I hope that the Southtowns, which are now getting the brunt of the snow, can dig out and people drive safe; at least the ski slope operators and skiers are enjoying this.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Average Shovel Report

In today's Shovel Report, the overnight snowfall was kind of average for an overhyped, ever-changing snow storm or "event," 3-4 inches of more granular snow than usual here on Buffalo's West Side.
Getting out there at 6 a.m., I was alone for the most part, except for a contractor plowing out a couple of driveways, one National Grid pickup truck driving by and one other person shoveling their porch and walkway. And there was one woman walking her black Labrador; she nodded at the dog as she passed me and laughed, "to her, it's a winter wonderland out here."
I wish I didn't have to shovel so early, but like most people, Val and I have to get to work this morning. I have no doubt that there will be more snow and drifting today, but on the other hand, I doubt this will be anyting near the October Surprise.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Back a Bit Better

I broke down and tried some cold/ice pack on my back last night; while I only had time to try it once, it did seem to reduce the swelling in my back.
Obviously, my back is not 100 percent better yet, but the reduced swelling led to less pain and increased flexibility before the pair returned, so I will try more ice pack sessions today. A lot of people say do more heat or alternate it, but as a chiropractor friend said on Facebook, every person is different and every pain/injury shuld be individually diagnosed and treated.
The heat certainly can feel better, and warm showers are great, but I don't have the time in the morning and I'm sure Val does not want me to use up all of the hot water during my morning shower, so I will have to find another way. Of course, I can't seem to find the heating pad we have; it is either buried somewhere in the house or finally gave up after years of service.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Head? Meet Wall

My aggravation level has risen to an impressive height this morning; my driver's side front door will not close.
I tried tools and hot water, even though I don't believe the door or locking mechanism is frozen; I was able to open the door from inside and lock and unlock the door from outside using my key. All of the doors I tried open and close otherwise, and the engine and everything else started and worked, but I can't imagine driving to work with one hand holding the door open, and worse, leaving my car in a public pay parking garage with an open front door.
I have called AAA and they will be here soon(ish), and I hate this happening on a work day, especially one as important as today.

Song in My Head

Sometimes, I get a song in my head that won't leave; Val gets this situation/condition frequently, and unfortunately for her, often it is a really hideous song.
Since last night, I have had a song in my head constantly, and while it is a really good song, I realize that there are reasons beyond it being a good song that I have it upstairs. The song is "Sidewalks of the City," by Lucinda Williams, off her amazing and I think fair to say legendary "Sweet Old World" CD.
Hopefully, I won't have to delve too far into that song and its meaning.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Remember the Fallen

Val and I join millions in stopping to honor the thousands of U.S. military personnel who were killed 68 years ago during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, launching the U.S. into World War II.
Germany declared war on the U.S. shortly after the Japanese attack, which sent the world into the most deadly war known to man. Let us never repeat this.

Back to Work

While my back is not 100 percent better yet, it is feeling better than Friday, so I am heading back to work today. This is part of our busy season, so while I'd like to take one more day off, it won't be happening.
I do appreciate all of the concern, good wishes and recommendations friends have made here and on Facebook, but I haven't had the chance to try anything yet; this weekend, especially Sunday, became much busier than I expected it would be. But I will try ice tonight, and then maybe a little bit of heat.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Too Much Pressure

The pressure is causing too much ouch to my back and side this morning, so I am off of work and home today; sleeping doesn't seem to come too easily in this state, so I will try to do things that take little effort but are restful.
Apparently, that seems to center most of my activity, now that my car has been moved into the driveway and Val has gone to work, to the computer and the telelvsion. Oh, and breakfast.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


I am pondering a few things this lovely, bright, dry morning:
1)Why was a Buffalo Police Department patrol car parked across the street from us for more than an hour last night? No BPD members live on our block (the closest is an Immigration/Homeland Security officer) and I never saw the patrol car's lights flashing.
2)Why did the NFL and NHL not at least try to coordinate things so the Buffalo Bills did not play a home game in Toronto on the exact same night the Buffalo Sabres played the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal, as in tonight? Are Buffalo fans really that inconsequential?
3)Is there any way that the University of Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball team can not be ranked in the Top 25 after defeating Duke last night, 73-69? Wisconsin is now 4-1 overall.
4)Is there any way I can hope harder that Val will get over this bug she has and feel better?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Pain is Receding

About 24 hours later, I am feeling at least a bit better after, in honor of the first measurable snowfall of the season, I went legs akimbo and fell on our stairs.
Val and I were leaving for work, and she was just ahead of me, so I wanted to be next to her on the stairs in case she needed any help. Of course, it was my right leg that hit the first stair and went almost above my head; as I went to catch myself, my hand slipped off the right porch rail and I slammed my back and side into it, finally resting on my left butt cheek on the stairs.
I knew it would hurt, and it did right away and hurt pretty bad as I tried to walk it off while still going to my car to get it started. The pain subsided a bit, enough to hold the gate while Val drove out of the driveway and then to drive myself to work.
But it hurt and got more painful as the day progressed, and stiffened after a while. The pain would not occur if I was walking in an exact straight line without looking to either side or down, but standing up, sitting down and turning too much hurt a lot. I eventually got into a better groove over what movements and how sudden or gradual they were would hurt, and how much, and the pain steadied.
I forgot to apply some heat last night, but the ibuprofen helped to the point where I napped on the couch for a while before going to bed.
Things seem a bit less painful and more flexible this morning, so I'm hoping the improvement continues.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Don't Cue the Carols Yet

Yes, we can see the first substantial snow fall of the Buffalo/Western New York winter season outside, just waiting to be shoveled and driven through this morning.
Of course, the timing is interesting; first in the Buffalo News, and then elsewhere, the local media has had stories centered on "where is the snow?" and how late in the season the first measurable snow fall has/will come around here. I think they have their answer now.
Thi means two basic things; as some other people have noted, it means that we will be able to see this morning how many people forgot how to drive when it snows, so speeds will be probably 25-50 percent lower on most roads. It also means that Jenn is probably doing her proverbial Snoopy dance over the snow.