What’s coming to Burlington, Iowa without a fish fry? Tom Stimpson (my grandmother’s nephew) got himself a new electric fryer, so of course we tried it out. There’s not much of a sense of scale here, however, so there is a LOT of food currently around the house. I think we’ll be eating fried catfish for a few days… Let me tell you though, the fried sweet potatoe wedges are superb!
Tom’s son Clinton came over with Crystal (his girlfriend/fiance – I’m not sure which) and their two year old daughter Neveah. She was a cutie, although shy around Ben, Karen and myself. Louise’s whole family is just sort of a half-generation of time off from Lela’s – Tom is older, but not really old enough that we ever called him Uncle, and Clinton is younger, but not young enough that we ever called him a nephew. Ah well. It’s about the only part of my extended family that still calls me “Joey” too. Not sure how on earth that happened.
Lela’s continuing to do better – eating more, getting rest, and moving about more each day. Its really positive. She’s napping now, but I’m really encouraged by the fact that she ate more today than any day we’ve been here previously.
Looks like we might head up to “the farm” on Monday with Tom and Clinton. I’m not sure where to pinpoint it with Google maps, but I think it’s in this area. Those dark green fingers are all wooded land on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. The farm fields all to the east of there (over to the river) are the old flood plains, although levees keep all that floodwater back (nice and bottled up for lower on the river) these days. My grandfather was a staunch opponent of the whole levee system for years, and I still keep some of that with me. It has made fields and land more arable, but it seems like a generally short sighted goal, and I generally think you can never control a river like the Mississippi completely. She’s just too darn large and wild. Shoot – I just think back to “Lake Missouri” and the floods of 1993 to prove my point.
We’ve been watching the Denver vs San Diego football game today too. Ben’s rooting for Denver (duh, he lives there) and it’s been a pretty reasonable game.
I hope you all have a great New Year!
I little bit of skapeti is planned for dinner tonight (yeah, John – that’s normally Spaghetti – but I spelled it wrong intentionally). Karen’s in the kitchen cooking up a sauce from scratch that smells like it’s going to be terrific. I did some chopping of the onions and garlic, and am currently engaged in a hollering match around the concept : “There’s no such thing as too much garlic.” Like I said, it ought to be really tasty.
I’m using my grandmother’s PC to get connected and do some work remotely. VPN connections established, software all loaded, connections made… but the killer is the font settings. Somewhere she’s enabled components of IE into a large font mode that’s outside of the themes. It’s making using IE a tad difficult. The end result is that I’ll have a pile of things to uninstall before I leave – heh.
Meanwhile, we’re chasing my grandmother all over the house. We dragged her out to the dining room for breakfast this morning, and then chased her into the living room to watch TV for a while. I took a nap (i.e. went back to bed) for a short bit, and completely missed picking up Ben from the airport. Fortunately, he’s not shy about calling – so we ran and got him immediately. It’s also a good thing Burlington isn’t too big – he didn’t have to wait long for us to get across town.
Karen and I flew into Burlington, Iowa today – not a bad flight at all really. We had to get up at a rather unholy hour, but the trip was smooth (bounce through St. Louis with a few hour layover) and uneventful. Unfortunately for us, the majority of the US was covered with clouds today, so there wasn’t really much to see. Karen sometimes gets great photos from the plane. While breaking beneath the clouds on the decent into Burlington, we did get a lovely view of the Mississippi river. Its currently awash in ice flows that have largely broken up. We found out on the ground that the river had been heavily iced up here this winter after a really cold snap earlier this month. And aside from the clouds, today has actually been the nicest Burlington has seen in a while. No snow, rain, nasty cold, etc.
My grandmother (Lela) is doing well – she was sitting up and watching TV in the living room when we arrived. Yesterday she was so tired she didn’t really make it much out of bed. The docs have her on medication to keep her blood pressure really low, but the combination of that and having spent nearly a week in ICU at Iowa City have left her really weak. We had some takeout chinese (from Great Wall) for dinner, and chatted with her sister Louise and their friend Ed.
Tomorrow we plan to chase her around the house some – the doctors want us to get her up and moving around, walking as much as she can. A nurse is going to be stopping by tomorrow morning to check up on things too.
I spent some of this Christmas holiday (and break from work) playing Halo 2 on Legendary mode. Actually, I played it co-op in legendary mode with Dan, my Co-op player of thanksgivings and christmas’. I gotta tell you – that’s darn hard! We spent an hour with the game mostly handing us back our guts.
Heh – so then we dropped down to normal and moved way forward and finally finished the co-op game we started way-back-when (something like two years ago I think). When we watched the final screens roll past, we were sort of stunned and couldn’t figure out that we’d just finished the game. It also happened to be 6:30am and we’d been playing since 10pm – so I suppose it is completely legitimate that we were both pretty stunned.
We’ve been scooting around and taking on levels at “heroic” since that finish, which has also been pretty good. It is sort of annoying that “Legendary” difficulty makes you both stay alive or reset to the last save point. Of course we use that to our advantage in the lower levels.
I was getting pretty good at accuracy pitching the grenades, but my sniping has gone way down. Dan was definitely the better sniper this time around. The most amusing point was when Dan accused me of driving terribly while he was firing a gun on the back of the jeep – only to realize that an NPC was driving and I was running along behind trying to catch up to them when they left me! (we got our butts kicked there too – never let computer controlled AI drive the jeep…)
Nope, not snow. Chaos flurries. With my self-imposed electronic divorce, I didn’t hear that my grandmother was admitted to cardiac intesive care on December 22nd. As of today, she’s back home, but the prognosis isn’t very good. I’m going to talk to the doctor and get the full details, but there’s been some sort of terrible anueryism (spelling may be off there) that has split on her aorta, and she’s not a candidate for surgery. I don’t have anything formal on the prognosis, so I’m just playing it by ear right now.
I had a ton of voice mail messages on the cell phone when it got back in range and recharged. Only one was from work – boy, do I feel like a heel for not having been in touch (electronically) like I usually am.
I’ll post more when I have more detail.
Aside from my little “Merry Christmas” note, I’m ending my self-imposed “unplugged”/computer exile for the holidays. It’s always a good thing to do I think – just disconnect thoroughly from everything for a little while. No cell phone, no email… I even avoided reading the RSS feeds. But now I’m back, albeit quietly.
For whatever reason, I woke up with a killer headache at 4am that hasn’t stopped dancing on my brain – so I’m actually heading back to sleep for a while after another round of advil.
Merry Christmas to you all.
That’s what’s available at Ipanema Brazilian Grill. Down where Wolfgang Puck’s used to be – we headed there for lunch today. It was sort of a special day – had some very unexpected news that deemed that it was time to take someone to lunch. So off we went. I’d been avoiding the place because my coworkers typically come back from there stuffed and useless. And yep – I came back from there stuffed and nearly useless.
So tonight, dinner is mushroom soup and a roll. And it seems like a lot – I’m still full.
But oh my – are those meats good! I especially liked the garlic steak – just amazing.
I don’t normally say much about these, but I was really impressed with Jeffrey Nelson’s Wireless Grapher Widget. He’s done a wonderful job of the widget, and it works beautifully, taking advantage of all the things you would sort of expect an expose widget could. Buried in the core, he had a wireless graphing bundle that looks like it’s in Objective-C – it polls the data would be my guess.
Great job Jeffrey!
Hrm. That’s a bummer –
del.icio.us is down for emergency maintenance. we’ll be back as soon possible.
Hope they’re back soon, and that everything is “OK”