Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Lately, sometimes I have difficulty coming up with a blog. Some weeks not much happens in my average life. But I didn't have that trouble this week.

I could start by updating last week's blog about my floundering found on the ground fund. It's technically gone. While my wife and I were up north this past weekend my son decided to do us a favor and take my cannister full of change to one of those Coinstar machines that will count your quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies--albeit for a price--and in exchange give you a slip you can turn in for real currency.

But wait! I had a silver dime and a collectible Michigan quarter in my stash. Scott didn't run that through the Coinstar machine too, did he? The quarter he held out. Whew! But the silver 1952 dime he didn't. In fact, he said there was a dime the machine wouldn't take and kept kicking out. He thinks it was the silver dime. So he threw it away.

What!!?? Didn't he see the dime featured in my blog last week?

"I don't read your blog," he replied.

Think I'll start making my blog required reading in the family.

Then Wendy and I spent last Friday night mingling with fellow beer lovers at Michigan's Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti. Mmmmmmm, peanut butter and chocolate ale. Not as bad as it sounds. The agave peach ale was not my favorite. And the strawberry rhubarb wheat beer? It was just okay.

We've been to this beer festival in the past but what made this one more memorable was not the eccentric flavors but the weather. We had not been there an hour when the skies opened up and it began to pour. There were lots of tents to huddle under, but many folks got wet anyway. But few people left. The beer might be watered down anyway; what's a few more drops.

This past weekend Wendy and I headed to my parents' cabin on Hubbard Lake. While there, I took my father's kayak up Sucker Creek to see how far I could get. It must have rained up there some as the usually lazy creek had some current. And my kayaking skills were a bit rusty.

While navigating an area of deadfalls and low hanging branches, I capsized when the kayak went sideways while I tried to avoid a branch protruding from the water. I wrestled the kayak to the muddy shore, which turned out to be a mere a pile of silt and quickmud (see how it encompasses my foot in the picture).

I should add that I saw nobody else while on the creek, which meanders through a rather remote, swampy area off the lake. With much effort, I drained the water out of the kayak--I think my nephew sold the used craft to my dad because it was too heavy to portage--and continued on my way. Much more carefully, I should add.

By the way, I'm not sure why they call it Sucker Creek, though it is known to be fully populated with blood-sucking leeches. I'm terrified of blood-suckers, to the point that I've avoided rocks, logs and places where they congregate throughout my 50 or so years of childhood, adolescence and adulthood. I never emerged from the water there at Hubbard Lake carrying a leech.

Until this past weekend. Sure enough, I spied one wriggling atop my foot after I walked up the beach to the cabin after rinsing the mud out of the kayak. I calmly told Wendy how to remove it (lighted match). Hmmmm, I said "calmly", didn't I. Well, thankfully for me, Wendy doesn't read my blog either.

In fact, I'll have to postpone that family blog-reading requirement for another week or so.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Found Fund Floundering

My plan to collect enough stray change on the ground to finance my upcoming retirement is not going so well of late.

I put up a picture of my collections to date, mostly found while cycling about the neighborhood and beyond on my Schwinn. Lots of pennies, about two dollars worth. A little over four dollars in quarters and five dollars in dimes. (I think lots of people lose dimes because they're small and make little noise when they hit the ground.) Not even a dollar's worth of nickels.

Altogether I count about twelve dollars. That wouldn't seem so bad but last year I collected about $35 total for the year. With 2010 more than half over, I can't see breaking that record. And note that I haven't found any currency. Last year's scavenging produced a couple dollars and a five-spot in currency.

In fact, if I were in this as a business I'd probably be losing money since I've walked my bike home on more than one occasion with a flat tire. I figure I've bought four new inner tubes and one new tire so far this year, easily costing me more than the money I've collected.

Maybe getting the exercise counts for something. But even that doesn't count enough to show up on my scale.


About my only solace is a few unusual finds. Check out the picture. A colored Michigan quarter? Many people do not even know they exist. That dime was produced in 1952, older than I am. That means it's s-i-l-v-e-r. Not many of those in circulation. Then there's an "Absolute Fun" arcade token.

I collect arcade tokens if I know where they came form. My collection has over 100. I Googled "Absolute Fun" and found out it's the name of a new arcade that just opened up in nearby Dexter. So that's a keeper.

Finally, just this past weekend I picked up that pipe band medal you see. It's "hand forged." Not sure what I could do with that though. Maybe if this band takes accordion players I'll join. I already have the bling!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mid-Summer Night's Blog

Can summer be halfway over already? Seems so by the calendar. I haven't even dabbled in the usual summer activities---no swimming, no hiking, no weekends at the cabin up north, no canoeing. I need to get going.

My wife and I do have tickets to the Ypsilanti summer beer festival in a week. I think that counts for something.

Save the Earth. It's the only planet with beer.

And tonight we did see one of the summer's hit movies, Despicable Me. I thought it clever enough but there was no reason for Wendy to shed a tear or two at the end. It wasn't that kind of movie.

Tomorrow I go to the doctor again as he wants to discuss the results of my lab tests back in May. When I informed my boss of this, I told him maybe the doc wants to congratulate me on how well I'm doing.

"Right, Dave," my supervisor replied, with more than a hint of sarcasm.

Well, I did do fine on my EKG stress test I took a week ago. I took a peek at the results and the report predicted that I had a 96 percent chance of living another five years. Woo-hoo!

I think. Hmmmm, are those good odds? So I have a 1 in 25 chance of not making it five years. Just for fun(?), I Googled odds of 1 in 25. Here's some results I found:

--a Presbyterian's chance of finding and marrying another Presbyterian.
--a person over 70 will have Glaucoma.
--the chances that authorities will remove a child, at least temporarily, from the custody of his/her parents in this county.
--historically, the chances of an astronaut or cosmonaut dying while in space.

Hmmmmph. Still not sure what kind of odds we're talking about. Well, it's not worth worrying about. Everyone should live life like they have a one in twenty five chance, or worse, of not being around in five years.

Today, I took a small step towards making a small mark in the world, even if it is just the internet world. I successfully uploaded a home movie clip to YouTube. I'd publish it here to prove it but I have to be discreet. My family members aren't always happy about my blogging about them. Can you imagine how they'd react if I published home movies here too?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Oh, The Stress (Test)

My doctor was really in "worry-wart" mode during my annual physical this year. He was handing out new prescriptions like they were candy. And it took some convincing to enlighten his nurse that I DID just have a tetanus shot. In fact, it took place last year in this very office. After some digging through my chart, she finally saw the note and agreed.

But I couldn't wriggle free of a commitment to an EKG treadmill stress test for my heart. I did have one seven years ago, but the doctor still had concerns and scheduled me for another.

That happened today. I'm not a big fan of stress EKGs. After my first one, done when I was forty, I nearly fainted. During the last one they found some minor defect in the way my ticker was working. Nothing to worry about then, but now it's seven years later. So I was nervous enough that I purchased a daily pass to my own recreation center yesterday to do my own trial run on their treadmill. I did 20 minutes, worked up a healthy sweat, and suffered no ill effects. Boo-yeah.

Of course, when you're actually at the cardiology center, little things can unnerve you. Like not having the right paperwork with me and hearing threats to cancel the test right then and there. Thankfully, my primary care doctor faxed the paperwork over while we waited. Then the examining nurse found a tic on my leg.

A tic? As in blood-sucking parasite? The nurse snatched him off but how unnerving is that? I wanted to strip naked right there and ask her if there were any more trying to burrow their way into my blood supply, of which I would obviously need every drop right now.

Then I started walking the treadmill. What they do is increase the intensity, both the speed and the incline, every two minutes until you either collapse or quit on your own. Then they stop it immediately and you lie down for a quick chest scan, forcing your heart to operate in kind of a crisis mode.

First two minutes were a walk in the park. The next two minutes were still a walk in the park, only going slightly uphill and quicker. Then the pace picked up, as if you were walking quickly through the park alone at night while hearing strange noises.

Then the nurse mentioned that if I were the competitive type, the last time I did this test I made it over 13 minutes. What?? Whom was I dealing with here? Is she a Jillian wannabe from The Biggest Loser TV program? Was her father a drill sergeant with the Marines? My number one goal here is self-preservation, not beating a stamina milestone recorded when seven years younger.

Now, approaching ten minutes, I felt as if I were jogging lightly up Mount Everest. But my heart rate was still in the 130 beats per minute range. Not that high. When ten minutes kicked in, it felt as if I were doing a moderate jog up Mt. Everest, while carrying a pack animal on my back, his pack included. I did see my heart rate rise to 150 bpm, almost 160.

"I can do 12 minutes, " I proposed. They seemed satisfied with that, even counting me down the last 15 seconds. Cool. Felt like I was on a game show. But then the treadmill abruptly stopped and they put me on the gurney for the heart scan. Whoa, everything started to go white. I tried to sit up but they said, "You're okay" and made me lie down again. Eventually things returned to normal.

Whew, glad that's over. No chest pain, abnormal dizziness or shortness of brreath. I say I passed, never mind the doctor. But then a letter from my primary care doctor awaited me when I arrived home tonight. He wants me to make an appointment with him to go over my latest lab results.