Monday, September 8, 2014

Local News, Sept. 8

Dear George,
It’s been quieter than normal around our household recently.  Katja flew to Sacramento last week for her nephew Tyler’s wedding.  She, her sister Ami, her brother David, and her sister-in-law Susan drove down to L.A. for the big event.  The wedding, Katja reports, was a great success.  Katja has never been to Southern California, so it’s been an exciting adventure.  I chose to stick around here with our aging sheepdogs.  Mike and Duffy have never been in a kennel, and, given that they need extra attention at their creaky ages, boarding them at this point in their lives seemed out of the question.   It’s actually enjoyable being home on my own.  It’s quiet and relaxing, the dogs are faithful companions, and I get to set the air conditioning wherever I want. 

Dog space

You’d think that with only one human in residence there would be excessive room in our kingsize bed.  The dogs, however, have taken it as an opportunity to enlarge their dominion.  There’s always been an unspoken rule in our house that the dogs get whatever spaces on the bed that they like.  Since they claim the entire lower half each night, it means that I lie sideways at the top.  That works out all right.  The dogs get about nine hours of sound sleep a night.  I get at least six.  

The new Moroccan restaurant

The exciting addition to our neighborhood business district is the new Moroccan  restaurant.  We’ve had five Indian restaurants on our street for years, and, when one of them closed, the Moroccan Restaurant opened in its place.  Katja and I visited it on its second day, and we liked it a lot.  The service wasn’t perfect.  Katja’s Bastilla dish arrived on time, but they entirely forgot my order until I went up and reminded them.  The waiter was better the next time around, and I’ve been there a couple more times since.  It’s definitely my favorite.  

Buying a share in the co-op

Our local IGA shut down three years ago, and our neighborhood business district has lacked a grocery store ever since.  There’s been a serious move afoot to establish a co-op grocery store, and residents have been invited to buy ownership shares for $200.  They’ve now reached about 700 members, though they need to raise $4 million to make the co-op actually happen.  I’ve been besieged almost every day by e-mail to buy a share, but I’ve put it off to get a better sense of whether the venture has a hope of succeeding.  Recently I got an e-invite from an acquaintance who was holding a house party to promote the co-op.  I didn’t recognize any of the invitee’s names.  I promptly walked down the street and purchased my $200 share.  This suggests an effective strategy for fund-raising with introverts.  Invite them to a house party with strangers, and they will pay practically anything to get out of it.  

Checking our breath for liquor

Katja and I were coming back from a Thursday night outing via one of Cincinnati major north-south streets when we ran into a sobriety checkpoint staffed by around a dozen sheriff’s deputies and police officers.  One of them stuck his head right into our window to smell my breath, asked me a couple of routine questions, then waved us through.  My initial reaction was relief at not being caught drinking and driving.  Later I got more indignant about the police stopping me and thousands of other drivers indiscriminately with no probable cause to check us out for criminal violations.  My understanding from a quick Google search is that about 1.5% of motorists wind up being arrested at such mass traffic stops. I guess our checkpoints in Ohio are fairer than New York’s stop and frisk procedures since the police here stop a lot of white people and not just black and Hispanic males.  Nonetheless, they treat a lot of people as potential criminal suspects with no justification.

(Un-)controlling my blood sugar

On my last annual physical exam all my lab tests turned out normal except for my blood sugar.  That’s been running above normal for a few years.  The doctor gave me a self-testing monitor and a batch of test strips which I use every morning.  If anything, my readings have been steadily creeping upwards.  I saw in a tabloid at the grocery store that Jennifer Aniston had lost ten pounds in ten days, and I decided that I could reduce my blood sugar if I were to lose five pounds in eight days.  I went on a strict diet of water, salad, and red wine as soon as Katja left town.  After six days I’ve lost one pound.  My blood sugar is higher than it was a week ago.   I’m still confident I have complete control over my own body.  Unfortunately, my inner organs don’t seem to be listening.  Perhaps the next step is to cut down on the water and the salad.    

Duffy’s pee

Like myself, the dogs’ recent lab tests were mostly good, though one of Duffy’s liver enzymes was running high.  They did another blood test, and it was still high, so the vet ordered a urine test to check for the possibility of liver disease.  I gathered a sample of Duffy’s urine in a plastic cup on our morning outing the other day.  That turned out to be easy to do, and Duffy never noticed this intrusion on his privacy.  Now we’re awaiting the results.  I guess at Duffy’s and my age we can’t expect everything to be perfect.    

Sculpture garden

I bought a tall and handsome plastic rabbit at a neighborhood yard sale last year, and I was thrilled to find his identical twin along with a short pudgy rabbit at a Dayton thrift shop this summer.  My vision is to create a sculpture garden in our rear patio.  I wasn’t sure that Katja would be as taken with the new rabbits as I am, so I kept them hidden behind the porch for a few weeks.  When I did bring them out and tell her about my plans for a sculpture garden, she was less than enthusiastic.  I hid the rabbits temporarily, but now I’ve brought them out again during Katja’s absence.  I’ve never been to Disneyland, but I think it might look like this. 

School starting soon

Just before Katja left we registered for OLLI courses (for people over age 50) at the university.  I was wary of being back in a classroom when I started OLLI last year, but then I discovered it was more pleasant to be a student than to be an anxious teacher.  We are both signed up in the autumn quarter for “Poetry Writing Workshop” among other things.  We’re sort of apprehensive about it, but perhaps a few poetic rhapsodies will show up on this blog.


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