Here's a sight not often seen here in the middle of February. The cats have full access to the warm, sunny porch today and have been enjoying every minute of it. Last fall we expected a harsh, cold and snowy winter. Here we are now, on this date, in this month, with the snow almost fully melted with high temperatures hovering at or close to 60ºF and more of the same in the forecast. I'm certainly not going to complain, but it does worry me some. There's plenty of time for it to be winter still before it becomes spring, but this is pretty unusual.
Today, we slept in - well, I slept in. My wife is the more responsible one and keeps a more regular daily schedule. The cats help her with that. They can be pretty obnoxious about wanting their early morning wet food treat to get her out of bed. They don't usually ever, or never, bother me in bed, but they don't seem to hesitate to jump all over her. On weekend nights at home sometimes I tend to stay up too late and drink too much. I still have fun, but things are so different now with the internet, and it's a lot safer fun than I had on weekend nights 15, 20 or even 30 years ago. Is that justification for me now being old, tired and boring? Hmm, maybe, or maybe I just suck at being social now. Next topic.
It's been over four weeks now since I injured myself coming up the stairs on January 18, and my left shoulder quarter is still giving me problems. The pain has calmed recently and defined itself to me more. I'm still having issues with my neck, but I still have a little lump on the outside of my bicep that sends numbness and tingling down my arm and into my hand when I touch it. And the soreness in my rotator cuff has defined itself now, as my doctor originally diagnosed. It is notable to mention that I had a left shoulder problem in the summer of 2015. The PA I saw a couple weeks ago mentioned that was the last time I requested my pain pills. I have a full physical scheduled for this upcoming week so I'll see the doctor again very soon, I'll just have to see what he thinks then.
I turn 50 this year. I've always known, but I'm starting to realize my mortality even more, and the ramifications of getting older. It sucks.
The days are getting longer now and the end of winter is inevitable. We will be warm again! There will be more to life than work and cold and darkness! Soon! Well, relatively soon.
I promise... *Sigh*
Actually the immediate forecast isn't so bad. But I think it's just lulling us into a false sense of security, then - Bam! 20 more inches of snow! We'll see. Mother Nature, I'm keeping an eye on you.
Tonight is Friday, still a reason for at least a small celebration in this household. The Duchesse has been our Friday friend for some time now. She is a pleasure indeed, and one of the luxuries we afford ourselves, my wife and I. Duchesse De Bourgogne
Two and a half weeks ago, on a Wednesday, I was bringing something up from downstairs, maybe laundry - I can't remember, but something requiring both hands. I lost my balance a little bit but steadied myself as I was coming up, but I was off to the left side. I stepped up right into a handrail on my left shoulder. Me, rushing a bit up the stairs and my left upper quarter suddenly and unexpectedly stops dead. Wow, that hurt! But I didn't drop what I was carrying and, after a few moments and curse words, I shook it off and completed my task. I don't think I even thought about it again after that, well, not until the next day.
Before I continue, maybe I should explain how it came to be that there is an odd handrail on the way downstairs. There were no handrails for the first parts of the stairs when we moved in, only the one on the steps downstairs starting where the wall ends at the basement. I added the two short pieces of handrail to cover the first 3 steps down and the first few steps after the corner until the handrail starts at the bottom of the wall. When I bought the piece, 8 feet was the shortest length available so I had a good size piece left over. So, being a tall person and admittedly rather clumsy I had the idea of adding it along the base of the wall, giving me something else to grab that may be more solid than the rail that starts below. It may look a bit odd but I use it often on the way downstairs and I'm glad I installed it as it has helped me greatly in the past.
The next day at work, it was Thursday afternoon, my neck started to get a bit stiff. The following day my neck was still stiff and my shoulder started to ache. I still did not even remember that I hit it at all until later Friday night as it got more and more sore. Over the weekend it affected everything I did and disrupted my sleep, so on Monday I went to work and let them know I intended to get in to the doctor that day. My doctor was off so I saw a Physician Assistant that agreed with my assessment of a rather bruised shoulder. I had full movement and it didn't seem like anything serious happened to the structure of my shoulder, just badly bruised soft tissue internally. She gave me a prescription for painkillers, which is the reason I went in, and sent me on my way. I got through the rest of the week dealing with the pain and taking pain killers as needed. When it got to the weekend I had seen no improvement so I requested more pain killers and received a few more, but not many. I rationed them as best I could but it was not feeling like it had improved at all.
The next week, now this last Wednesday, two weeks after I hit my shoulder, I left work again to go to the doctor. This time I saw my own doctor. My old doctor I had for over twenty years, until he moved up and became a Vice President so I had to find a new primary care physician. This new doctor I have only seen a few times so I have yet to really trust him fully. He looked at my shoulder and determined that it was the rotator cuff that I injured. While he was going over the plan of care I was saying to him that that just didn't seem right with the pain I had. He came over and started poking and prodding my shoulder again and Yowza! He found the spot, all right. He pushed his fingers in to check out my biceps tendon and I almost jumped out of my chair! The diagnosis changed to Biceps Tendinitis. He upped the amount of painkillers he was going to give me and mapped out exercises for me to do. On the way out he had me stop for x-rays, later he sent me a message that they were normal. He also wants me to consider physical therapy but I declined for now.
Last night I also found a lump on the outside of my bicep that is exactly where the base of the wall ends if my shoulder is under the rail, so I must have hit that pretty good, too. In fact, that is the source of most of my pain, though I still have issues in my neck, shoulder and scapula. For now there is nothing I can do but pain management, hot/cold packs, maybe a few exercises and hope it heals sooner than later. If not, well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Sorry to be long-winded. I didn't write this to complain and I'm not asking for your sympathy, but I haven't written anything since it happened so I thought I'd share what I've been dealing with lately. Now for some more painkillers and whiskey...
I found another interesting band while indulging in one of my favorite pastimes, browsing the internet for new music - Darkc3ll. Something initially caught my attention, probably a description of the album and the song titles and, after looking further, I took a leap and got their recent release, 'Haunted Reality.' If I see something interesting the first thing I do is go to YouTube to see and hear it. This time, what I found was a newer metal band that was using a lot of keyboards and effects to create a sound that I rather liked. They go for the "evil" approach to their songs and image, like metal bands have been doing since I was a little kid. It still works and it's still pretty cool when done well. An Australian band, they once had a promoter cancel a show because he took exception to their album cover and theme. Nice one, boys. As it was then, it is now. It's show business, folks.
'Haunted Reality' is a pretty strong album start to finish. I can see why they released Preacher as the first single, but I think there are several songs that are better, like Stitch Your Heart, Stab Me (With Your Crucifix) and Monsters - which is kind of a cute song, actually. There are two videos from the new album so far, one is essentially a tribute for their fans called Raise Your Horns (Army of Darkn3ss) and the aforementioned Preacher.
There's also some video of the band playing live on YouTube - not a lot, but I've watched much of what there is. It is there on the stage that all those effects used on the album need to be played and played along with. Now, I've long accepted that these days some bands play to backing tracks. Nightwish needs to recreate the orchestration, and Pain has always played to tracks to sound like the album (he is a producer, after all). Here, similar to Amaranthe, the guitarist is also the keyboardist so they play to the pre-recorded tracks. But one live video keeps bugging me. I watched a show where only the singer had a microphone, the background vocals were all on tape. Really? At least give them a mic stand and pretend to sing! Not enough to turn me off the band, but I do hate that. Here's a song off an earlier release.
I haven't done this in a while so it seems like it's time to start typing again and see what comes out. Come along, it might be fun.
I'm finally feeling better after a rough start to the new year. I was hit from behind in traffic on the Thursday before. I stayed home the next day due to soreness, but did not go to the doctor and am quite well now. NYE we had a few friends over for food, drinks and games. It was a lot of fun but I felt that I was coming down with something all weekend. On Monday evening it hit me like a ton of bricks and stayed with me all the way through Friday. Just a nasty, snotty man-cold - the worst kind! As I write this I am feeling perfectly healthy for maybe the first time this year.
I drop my car off at the shop for repairs tomorrow morning. At the same time I will get my rental car for the week. That means I'll have to do some make-up time at work. I don't like doing make-up time. I will miss having my car, too. I've never had to have this amount of repairs done to a vehicle and can only hope that when I get it back it's like brand new. Or at least as good as it was before the accident.
Our weather started out by snowing the first few weekends in December. Since then we've had a few spells of bitterly cold weather. Single digits, either above or below zero like our highs and lows have been, is really cold. That said, I think I would rather have the cold than the snow. Snow has to be moved and makes travel more difficult than the cold. Unfortunately, I have no say in the matter. Though the days are now getting longer we have months of both snow and cold yet to maneuver.
We had a whole house humidifier installed last Tuesday. It installs downstairs on the air ducts by the furnace. We had been using a 4 gallon humidifier located generally in the center of the house but it just wasn't cutting it. You're constantly filling it up and the filters are expensive and don't last long when it gets really cold and dry. I think it will be a pretty good investment in the long run. I'm still playing with the settings a bit and it seems to be working well, but when the weather gets this cold and dry it has to run often.
It is still a pretty good thing to be a sports fan in Wisconsin. The football Badgers won a great game in the Cotton Bowl last week. The basketball Badgers enter league play on a roll and have another really good team this year. This afternoon's road game against Purdue will be a tough one, though. And the Packers enter today's playoff game on a 6 game winning streak. It's win or go home time, Packers. I hope they can keep it rolling.
Even though I felt the need to sit and type I guess I don't have a whole lot more to say right now. The holidays are over and we are in the part of winter where we tend to hibernate - we don't go out as much and spend little time outside. Today, I'll be spending the later afternoon watching Packers play the Giants and flipping back and forth to the Badger basketball game. It's not often the games conflict, but they do today.
I may have to rethink this format. I'd like to post these Latest Listening Pleasure posts more often ( the last was in April?!) but eventually it would be most of the same bands every time they release a new album. Thus the LLP Bonus posts, like this one. Although I'm constantly scanning the internet for new bands and new albums that I find appealing I need to really get into the music to write one of these posts. I don't want another one like LLP 7 - Paramore where I really dug the single then later I hear the whole album and absolutely hate it. Now, I've found a newer band that I want to write a LLP post about but first I need to acknowledge two favorites that I've been listening to a lot lately. Both have recent releases and both have already been a featured LLP band. Amaranthe's new album, 'Maximalism,' is much like their last and I am still enjoying their 3-singer sound. The first single, That Song, is a standard rock anthem and I recognized it as such immediately. Still, I found myself singing along and loving it. This album goes deeper than the last with better songs but is still front-loaded like the last CD. Below is the official video, but there is a great, simpler version from a record store appearance here.
Peter Tagtgren's Pain has been a favorite of mine for a long time. His new album, 'Coming Home,' has been eagerly anticipated as his last Pain album was in 2011. Since then he has released a Hypocrisy album and the Lindemann album with Till Lindemann from Rammstein, as well as producing other bands. Now, with his 17 year old son, Sebastian, filling in on drums, he is out touring again. (Till even joined him for a Lindemann song, first time live!) Besides the title track below, just released on New Year's Day, you can find all the other new Pain videos here. Wannabe is a real good one, too.
I was just looking back at the past few NYE posts on here. From my griping about going down to the bar to last year's plans to stay in but canceling the party because my wife was ill. I also noticed that I used to do morning after posts. I'll have to see how I feel about that tomorrow. Tonight we'll be having a few people over for food, drinks and games. It should be fun, but I should probably try to get a nap in before they get here. Again, I'll be the oldest one in the house tonight, I need my rest...
Happy New Year to you all. The ones I read, the ones I love, all my friends and all of you who take the time to read me. Whether you comment or not, I can see you're there. Thank you.
I'm late 40-something, happily married and child-free. My wife and I have a home near downtown Madison, Wisconsin since 2009. I am not on facebook or other social media, only this blog. If you wish to reach out to me you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I check it when I think of it, at least monthly.