Problems: 610

There are so many problems in my life right now that not only am I unable to keep track of them I can’t keep on top or ahead of them. Problems, problems everywhere and not a drop to drink. See? I can’t even find humour now. Well when a $3 box of cereal costs $7 and 5 lbs. of potatoes is $6 and … well that’s just part of it.

Even Duncan dog has problems.

For the sake of your sanity if not mine, let’s just look at one problem: my Nikon P610. It’s still my main ‘go to’ camera, but it is going. Lately the zoom has begun stopping/starting instead of running smoothly. One day the whole thing locked up with no response from any control, including turning it off. I had to remove the battery to ‘reboot’ it. It has become unreliable. Regrettably it is also irreplaceable.

Camera says this shot is 3 stops overexposed.
Camera says this shot is correct.

Yes I realize that is a snow scene and thus needs more exposure (I’ve only been doing this 50+ years so don’t mind me). It’s just that in addition to needing every shot tweaked on contrast it has now begun to habitually underexpose everything, regardless of reflectivity.

Nice effect but not what I was shooting.

I have other cameras, but none of them can do what the Nikon could. Namely this:

The moon in its tower.

So there’s that to contend with, alongside worsening eyesight. I know: I’ve been told to go see the doctor but I already know the results of such a visit because he told me the last time; there’s nothing can be done.

At least the dog got out.

All things considered, I hardly notice the toe I broke last week. Yes, really. Trying to walk on this nightmare of ice that is renewed daily … well see what trouble Duncan got himself into? Yeah, like that.

Something good happening for a change would be nice. About as likely as a chocolate tea kettle, but nice.

Briefly, then

The End

The last of my e-Bay purchases arrived. Disappointment abounds.

They were two lenses meant to augment my photographic arsenal. The one is an absolutely excellent Super Albinar 28mm Canon FD, which does not fit my Canon FD adapter (which does not have the infinity focusing lens in it, but that’s another issue). The lens is flawless, I just can’t use it. Like much of my equipment now, thanks to one thing or another. Anyway I won’t be ponying up any more money for a different adapter. Anyone want to buy a lens?

Make that two lenses, because the other was another 28-70mm Super Albinar in Pentax K mount. Almost Pentax K mount. I don’t know what’s wrong but it doesn’t exactly fit. Besides which it doesn’t exactly work: the zoom is stiff and limited and it won’t go down to macro mode. The diaphragm is sluggish too. I didn’t pay much and wasn’t expecting much, but it could have gone better.

Crop from full size image taken with the second Albinar lens. It shows promise, but …

A lot of things could have gone better lately, but they didn’t and aren’t going to. For example after e-Bay dropped me like a hot potato with no explanation or recourse I found a camera shop that said it was willing to buy used equipment. Fine, since mostly I want to sell off those things I either don’t or can no longer use. Give me an estimate on one item, I said: the very expensive Panasonic Lumix ZS60.

$40 they said.

Goodbye, I said.

I realise they have to make a profit, but that’s absurd. Looking at their used offerings I can see the problem: they’re asking more for a second-hand Canon T7 than I can buy a new one for.

So I don’t see me getting rid of superfluous equipment, which means I won’t be buying any more supplemental equipment – never mind the e-Bay disaster.

Oh and they love to rub salt in the wounds; they continue to send me e-mails about items I was watching and/or bidding on up until they sell. This allowed me to see that I could indeed have gotten another lens I wanted (from a seller I’ve done business with before but who has only e-Bay as an outlet) and a Pentax K200D which I don’t really need but would be a step up from the battered K100D I have. Also there is not much chance of getting a Nikon lens to try that adapter with. Nor could I splurge on a Sigma Foveon sensor camera, which I considered doing.

In other words all my photographic master plans are shot to hell.

Thanks, e-Bay. You suck like a Hoover. I hope you go bankrupt from paying taxes. Seriously. You should be sued, indicted, and left to rot. That terminal policy is the absolute worst (and illegal) crap I have ever seen on any website anywhere since the start of the World Wide Web.

But all is not that cheerful otherwise either. I have huge amounts of work to get done with a shrinking amount of time to do it in. Every little joy I’ve had in life has been removed, and I even have to drive two hours to get necessary medication because they don’t/won’t stock it in town and ordering it in costs even more than the drive.

Anybody want to buy some cameras or lenses? I’m not sure I’ll have a use for any of it now. My vision is permanently blurred, and my inspiration has evaporated. A (working) new piece of equipment might have lifted my spirits, but no. Not even that am I allowed.

Addendum: WordPress no longer functions on my secure browser either. They’ve changed something, and the only way I can get it to work at all is by using an unsecure browser. You know what I mean; the kind that wants you to give away all your info right down to your shoe size.

That can get stuffed too. No reason to take photos, and no reasonable way to share them. What is the point?

It’s been a bad week

Let’s cut to the chase, as the saying goes. The result of my latest eye exam amounted to “there’s nothing more we can do” and “watch out for it getting worse”. About what I expected, really.

Things did get worse, but they were different things. E-Bay canceled my account with no explanation given. A few minutes searching turned up the fact that this happens more often than it should, and that there is no recourse. Well fine. Another small pleasure taken from me without reason. I hope they understand that shutting down accounts of buyers and sellers is not a good business plan for a web site that relies on buyers and sellers. But I doubt they do. (It is especially frustrating as there were a couple of things I was trying to buy and I had finally managed to get one of my items listed for sale.) On the whole it’s about as bad as every other site on the Internet: causing grief for legitimate users while utterly failing to stop abusers. Even WordPress keeps tossing up “unsupported browser” messages.

I have been systematically removing all my Facebook posts, because it is a failure of a website too. If you can’t use the site, why have an account? PayPal will be going under the axe as well, since I only ever used it for e-Bay and now PP has added an “inactive account fee” (as of November 20).

At this point I have no pleasures in my life, only work and the pain that goes with it. It’s wood harvesting time, you see. Yeah, I know.

So today’s pictures are … failures. Some images to give you a taste of what normally comes out of the cameras these days. Can’t have people thinking I’m still turning out good shots all the time, because I’m not.

This is what I see: everything blurred at any distance all the time.
Barely spotted song sparrow in the bush – and it’s out of focus.
How I get tricked: camera said “in focus”. Except that was the little pine tree which I could not even see as I tried to fix on the broken poplar behind it.
There are spots. I could not see them looking through the camera; they only show up on the computer. They had to be on the lens as they don’t appear after cleaning it. Besides the Nikon shouldn’t get spots on its sensor.
See the duck? No? It’s in there, flying away because it can react faster than me & my camera.
This is an eagle. You’ll have to take my word for it because once again …

That’s the way it’s going now: mostly failures because I can’t see what I’m doing. About the only time I can get a good shot now is in bright daylight, and then it has to be a large, stationary object. At that I may need several frames to get one decent.

Needless to say I am not happy. I can’t even continue my revised Master Plan to make my photography a bit easier for me. Thanks, e-Bay you load of incompetent bastards.

There’s no joy left.

Oh noes

Welp, it happened: I got slammed with the WordPress Inoperable Version Dumb To The Nth. Fortunately I had this ‘backdoor’ link saved. This when I’m about to pick up my new addition to the tool box today. If this work-around their idiocy fails, that’s it. I do not care to suffer the slings and arrow of outrageous stupidity, nor fools gladly. Or even at all.

For today, then, this “Ditchumentary”: some images I took to document the flooding at the neighbours’ caused by run-off from the hill behind them where illegal logging was done. I doubt they’ll be able to do anything about it.

Looking West towards the flood.
Right in front.
Further West, showing overflow on to the road.

So many things going wrong here these days. Still no chance of vaccine and the case numbers are rising like crazy because people won’t follow the rules. I did a survey for the hospital visit and it was obviously designed to prove the results they wanted in four areas, three of which had nothing to do with the visit. Have not heard about future consultation, so I guess I just wait until the next emergency.

I’d better go get that package today as I’m feeling pretty nasty and depressed.

No good photos

It’s warmed up: we’re no longer in the polar death grip.

I split some wood: necessary but wearing.

Canceled Thursday’s dentist appointment: between feeling generally awful and the increased COVID risk, not worth it.

Snowing today: I’ll have to clear the driveway again before going anywhere.

Everything on hold: war is long periods of boredom between short periods of excitement.

Nothing good to take pictures of: took pictures anyway.

Icicles one.
Icicles two, colour.
Icicles two, monochrome.
Fine details.
Sagging door. (You have to look and think.)
Ice ghost.

All pictures taken with the reluctant Nikon P610. I don’t like any of them.

I had a lot more to say, but have decided against saying it.

Zur hölle mit alles.

Another Medical Monday

Warning: this post is not about photography per se and touches on some unpleasant topics, specifically anxiety and depression. Probably best not to read it.

How do you fail a medical exam? You don’t, usually. You get results which tell you what’s wrong. I get results which tell me what’s not wrong. I’ve got a long list of what isn’t ailing me, with no diagnosis of what is. That’s failing the exam. Or the exam failing you. Whichever.

It’s a good thing I’m not going out much these days because the morning cough would scare passers-by into thinking I’m contaminated with COVID. It’s really just that the lung muscles need some encouragement to get going because they are muscles and whatever it is that afflicts me affects all the muscles, including the heart. Recently I nearly choked to death in the night because certain muscles decided to misbehave. Or there’s the joyous ‘rebound effect’ of taking the muscle relaxant so that I won’t have that problem, which is the equivalent of a severe hangover for which there is no cure. The day after that I got to wake up with arms and legs in contraction which makes them tired and sore before I get out of bed. I have to lie there and rest before getting up. I then went through a morning of being weak in the limbs and torso with my face hurting. Try telling your doctor that your face hurts and see what reaction you get.

Only you can’t see a doctor right now because of the pandemic. It is really complicated here and they are relying heavily on phone-in and on-line service to assist patients. A lot of people are suffering more as a result, and there’s no way to determine if the COVID situation would be worse if they weren’t. Our daily new cases here have gone up 100X in the past few weeks: everyone is in trouble. The USA with its moronic leadership has the highest infection and death rate in the world, so at least we’re not them. I digress.

Okay, let’s try the non-interactive medical service and see what it comes up with.

According to results I’m suffering from Anxiety and Depression.

Well, duh.

I’ve got plenty to be anxious and depressed about. But they’ve put the cart before the horse: assuming my physical symptoms are a manifestation of the psychological state instead of the other way around. Let me tell you, when you’re old and infirm with no chance of getting better and the world keeps dumping merde at your doorstep it is unlikely you will be calm and cheerful. It triggers a vicious cycle, then, where the induced mental state aggravates the physical symptoms. How then to break the cycle?

A paradox! A paradox! A most ingenious paradox!

The medical profession likes to prescribe pills. Well there is no such thing as a “happy pill” no matter what they say. Altering your mental state chemically so that your mind is unaware of or unconcerned with the problems at hand is not a solution. It is a sure-fire avenue to addiction, though. (Note this is not the same as replacing a known deficiency in neuro-transmitter chemicals.)

Let me take a moment to explain that anxiety and depression are not illnesses in and of themselves. They are normal feelings under certain conditions. Anticipating a visit to the dentist is bound to cause anxiety in anyone (if it doesn’t, that is another problem). When your pet dies you should feel depressed (again, if you don’t that’s a problem). The actual illnesses are anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Either can be defined as an abnormal level of reaction to circumstances (as in causing an inability to cope with anything, not just the situation at hand) or reaction to imagined circumstances that are unlikely to occur (like worrying about the world being hit by a meteor).

So when your normal day amounts to “consciousness = pain” and routine actions require major expenditure of energy and effort it is normal to feel anxious about having to do anything and depressed about the situation in general. That’s the paradox: the physical problems can be caused by the mental state, or vice-versa. In this era of pop-psychiatry where reality is a matter of opinion and scientific facts don’t count, there is a tendency to ignore the physical in favour of the mental. (Another paradox is the popular trend of normalizing mental illness while at the same time ignoring certain behaviours that are such illness; only certain kinds of mental illness are okay to have. Similar to the hypocrisy of social behaviour patterns. Boy could I start some major arguments with this. I feel smug in knowing that those arguments would prove my point and the arguers against would never notice this fact.)

Okay, I’m wandering again. Where was I?

Oh yes: suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune.

So here I am with the unknown disease flaring up at a time when so many other things are going wrong, from the weather (4″ of snow this Saturday morning and -12°C) to unexpected expenses (CRD being incompetent) to whatever little pleasures I might still be able to indulge in being taken away. Removal of any one of these factors would do more towards relieving the negative mental state than any chemical compound ever could. Better weather, a financial windfall, some opportunity to photograph, any disruption to this steady stream of unpleasant eroding of my state of mind would help. This is unlikely to happen, thus I am stuck in a pattern of reciting the mantra of “get through the day” every day. I don’t even want to think long-term, as the projections for that can only be worse.

All these things have been wearing me down. The physical and the mental. Things like having to get the wood in and the cabin closed up, neither of which has been completed. Things like the sudden awful turn in the weather, which interfered with the first two items as well as photography. Things like the government suddenly coming after me demanding money and creating hassles I do not need. Even minor things like the changes to certain on-line sites which make them more of a pain to use rather than a pleasant distraction from other things. Never mind things like not being able to advance on wishful plans such as acquiring new equipment – or even purchasing a favourite chocolate bar. I do not create problems for myself (unlike some people I know). I don’t have to; there are plenty of people willing to create problems for me either through direct and deliberate action or simple disregard for the existence of others. Hell even our recent local election went against my wishes, although I doubt it will make any actual difference to me specifically. Lots of little, annoying, and completely unnecessary events which grate away the calm and collected demeanor. All that is left at this point is a facade of that, and I’m not sure how long it will withstand the onslaught.

Some people might not take this seriously, because there are dashes of humour in this otherwise bleak diatribe. It is an absolute truth that even in our darkest moments we still see light, although it is likely the headlamp of an oncoming train, which tends to detract (or distract) from the seriousness of the situation. Often the person most likely to commit suicide is not the habitually morose one but the seemingly stable one whose problems are kept locked inside until they overwhelm. (Oddly enough statistics show that the suicide rate has gone down during this pandemic, which is a situation probably worthy of greater study.)

Therein another paradox. The world is full of them.

It’s full of something, anyway.

Addendum: cleared the driveway of 6″ snow. Snowblower wouldn’t start because I didn’t get to service it yet this year (we usually do not have so much snow so early). When I did get it done my hands were burning numb with the effects of cold and gripping the handles. See what I mean? Every day tasks are becoming insurmountable. It doesn’t help having animals, which must be looked after every day even when you don’t feel up to getting out of bed.

My wife is not immune to the effects either. She canceled her hair appointment because, once again, she was worried about going out. The pandemic has inflicted on her a case of agoraphobia which she tries to deny, but caves in to almost every time. We are too old to have so many problems dumped on us like this. Can not cope with it all.

For comic relief: Amazon’s idea of a big sale. Yes, 99 cents off something that costs $600!

On Billionaire Politicians

I’m not going to name any names here; you know who you are. And to that I think I can say with 100% certainty you are not reading this. Even if you did, it wouldn’t matter. Anyway this is more to enlighten others watching the gong show that politics has become all over the world.

Exactly how much you are worth and by what means it is measured is irrelevant. You have a lot of money. The amounts most of us can’t even fathom well enough to dream about. And for some reason you wish to spend it running for office. Especially, but not limited to, the office of President of the United States of America.

Why?

One would hope it was because you have a sincere desire to make things better for your fellow citizens. No doubt that is the reason espoused to the public. Maybe you’ve even convinced yourself it is true. But a critical analysis of facts shows that is a lie, and in all likelihood you know it. Really you want that office to feed your own ego; to win against a fellow wealthy competitor. It’s all one big board game to you people, and the pawns are just there to be slaughtered as needed in order to advance your goal of winning.

For one thing, despite the delusion to the contrary held by some of the holders of that esteemed office, the President doesn’t wield that much power. Within the confines of the Constitution, everything he does is kept in check by the Congress and the Supreme Court. The most autonomy he has is with Executive Orders, and they apply only to existing legal structure; they are not decrees from an absolute ruler. They can in fact be overturned by the Supreme Court. It has happened. Real changes are voted on by Congress and signed into law by the President, and still subject to constitutional review by the Supreme Court if a challenge is made. No law is made by the President alone, so he can neither take credit nor blame for such alterations to the legal structure.

This assumes that the government follows the Constitution. If any branch ignores it and the other branches do not act to correct it then that venerable document is in abeyance. If Americans still had to pass civics exams they would know that their basis of all law has been abused many times over the years, and it seems with increasing regularity and seriousness of offence. Some people in office treat their branch as a personal kingdom, and rule it with power that the Constitution does not grant them.

If all you billionaires want is a chance to sit in on this Machiavellian game of liar’s poker then that just proves my point that the government is no longer functioning as it should. The truth is you have more power to affect change from outside office than from within. What would a truly benevolent billionaire do?

Well he wouldn’t donate the occasional truckload of money to some momentarily popular cause to get his name in the news again and try to massage his ego and appease his conscience over the obscene quantity of his wealth. He would do something real, something effective, something lasting. He would stop being a billionaire, in fact.

Look, it is not logistically possible for anyone to earn a billion dollars. It would require you to work all your life at an average wage of $10,000 an hour. No one has that kind of skill set. It isn’t humanly possible to be worth that much. The only ways to acquire that amount of money are either criminal, unethical, or morally wrong. Accept that. Admit it. Move on to being a better person.

In fact I can show you how to have a decent life on a fraction of what you spend now. It’s all a matter of adjusting your priorities and realizing that having lots of stuff isn’t making you happy. Money tied up in wealth is taken away from the economy, and every $1 million you have in your bank puts one family out on the street. The reality is you’re not happy, and you are making others miserable. Somewhere in your subconscious you know this, and the guilt of it is part of what makes you unhappy.

So what should you do? Just give it away? No, because free money causes indolence. Anything not earned has no value. The purpose of charity is to overcome need, not to supplant ethics. But there are things you can do that will help.

Fund the Team. If the stated goal of your political campaign is to take the seat from the opposition, then understand that one office alone does not rule. You can contribute to campaigns all over, helping to unseat not just one incumbent but dozens. Instead of just you as president, you can help put your party in power. After all, you aver that its position on issues is the right one that will help all of society, don’t you? If not, fund a party that will. The whole point of any society is to look after all its members, not just an elite few. Otherwise you don’t really have a society, just a gang taking advantage of all the other people.

Refinance the Programs. As a member of the opposition, you should take the view that budget cuts made by the current administration are wrong as it takes spending priority away from what you feel is needed. You have billions. You can set up trust funds to provide income to keep these devastated departments going despite the lack of government dollars flowing in. One billion dollars can reasonably provide $50,000,000 per year income, and that can save a lot of lives.

Start new Initiatives. You can see what’s wrong, develop private programs to correct it. You can get a lot of help from wealthy celebrities who seem to have plenty of time and money to devote to complaining about social problems but do little to make any real advancement. Again this is because they too do not want to give up their lifestyle of excess. It is a paradox that not only do the extremely poor never miss what they haven’t got, but so the ultra-rich do not fathom how much they have – and can’t imagine being without it. You don’t think so? A recent survey showed a majority of people would rather do without food than Internet access. Think about that. Society’s priorities are terribly skewed, and it affects all income levels.

Sue the Bastards. I mentioned the tendency for Constitutional law to be ignored by those whose purposes it does not suit. Ultimately such illegality has to be challenged in court, and that is expensive. How difficult would it be to hire some young lawyers looking to make a difference to do the research on each violation and present the cases? And if it turns out the Supreme Court is politically corrupted then the evidence can be presented to the public. Elected and appointed officials need the occasional reminder that there are three ways they can lose their jobs, and the third one is the least pleasant.

I know this whole article is nothing more than catharsis for myself as it will be seen by few, ignored by all, and never ever noticed by those who need to have it shoved in their faces repeatedly until they learn the lesson. But then I’m having trouble shaking this latest downside cycle I’m in, and the venting may help. Not you or anyone else, just me. For your sake I’m stopping now before I go into extensive details and start getting really snarky about specific people.

Snowy days and Mondays

Today is a bad day.

When you wake from a pleasant dream to pain everywhere, that’s bad. The pain is daily anyway, but the pleasant dream isn’t and so throws it into stark contrast from mere unconsciousness.

I’d like to revisit that dream; the place it was, the people there, the things I saw. But that would mean dying because that was obviously what it was about. I know enough psychology to understand that. So the effect of the wakening to pain was amplified again.

We’d like to believe in an afterlife, because we all think we deserve heaven and some kind of reward after putting up with the trials and tribulations of life. We know there are bad people who seem to get away with endless crimes and they deserve eternal punishment. We may disagree on who is who at this, as well as what constitutes crime, punishment, and reward, but we agree on the principal. It’s just a way of admitting life sucks like a Hoover most of the time and we’re powerless to change it. The idea that when you die the chemical accident that is you simply ends removes all sense of balance and makes being alive even more depressing.

I would like to go back to that dream. To see that gold typewriter in its case, the cameras on display, the radios … the things of my life in fact. The people of it too, as the two principal characters were my parents. Oh my sister and her family visited briefly, but my brothers had already left. Yes I know what it means; it’s obvious even if you haven’t studied psychology.

I’m not having a good time just now, and it’s snowing today to boot. I will have to go and do more work to clear that snow later today. There’s no sign of Spring arriving, no expectation of better photo shoots (I’m sick of the harsh light and snow), and even though it comes with the prospect of more work it also brings the possibility of enjoyment.

Oh who are we kidding? No it doesn’t. The valleys get deeper and the mountains get higher and either becomes a struggle to achieve. The important thing now is to stop myself from buying something just to relieve the depression. Tomorrow I can go and do my errands and that will help; being trapped at home for three days with nothing but chores and work to attend to aggravates the ‘cabin fever’ (double meaning there).

For now, we have a silly dog eating snow:

DSCF1101
Duncan snacking on snow

Skip this post

One plainchant whinge coming up.

I shall try to recount the events of the past few days as they relate to my health, but frankly my memory is full of holes these days.

My assistant having left last soggy Sunday, it is left up to me to do things like bring in wood. It was raining the first half of the week so nothing was happening then. Still had the ‘standard’ symptoms, and then things got a little odd.

Thinking the nightmares might be related to one type of pain killer I switched to another – and got new problems. Here it was Thursday (I think) and I was feeling pretty sick suddenly; numbness in my lips, shivering, face and eye pain … just really terrible without the usual signs of having a cold. Not having any assistance from the medical profession at hand (really they haven’t done anything for this for nine years now) all I could think of was that my nervous system is affected by constant bombardment of pain killers as well as a constant bombardment of pain. If this makes no sense remember it’s the thinking of someone who is frankly a little unstable due to the symptoms. Or something.

I also noticed when taking pictures in the dark that I’m unstable on my feet at ground level now. I don’t hold still and it seems like the world swims around me at times. Daylight is different; somehow the visual cues cut in and my lack of balance is compensated for. I should try standing still with my eyes shut and see if I fall over.

Anyway, pretty obviously something is wrong, has been for years, and is getting worse. I don’t know how often I’ve recounted that to doctors but all I get for feedback at best is agreement on symptoms.

So Friday events transpire that I must go out to the cabin and get the remaining logs sliced and brought in before the weekend rain. Oh, also a couple of tables someone wants. I hook up the trailer and go to do it.

Oh boy. It isn’t that much wood (about 1/2 a cord) but it takes forever. Cut, rest, load, rest, cut, rest, load, rest … over and over. It takes 2,987 days. Okay, about three hours really. And I’m amazed it’s only that.

Started with unloading the wheelbarrow that was left full of dirt and blocking the back door. Now full of water too, which means it weighs a lot and needs tipping out and then dumping. This so I can get inside and take the legs off the two tables and load them into the Xterra. That takes longer than it should. Then I get on with the wood.

Well I did it and brought it home and the person who wanted the tables … only wanted the one. Thanks. I needed that extra work. Came over right away and got it, but really it could have waited until the next day when I was able to stand up again. There went Friday; too tired to eat, too painful to sleep.

Saturday rain held off while I unloaded the wood. Hoorah! It took three goes with a lot of increasingly longer rest periods between rounds. And that ended that day.

Now, to understand this you need a frame of reference. Last fall when I was harvesting wood I’d go out and load up the trailer with rounds (slicing logs already brought in from the forest previously) and bring it home and then unload it. All in one day. No problem. Now it takes me two days to do the same and there’s a lot more resting between efforts and a lot worse results afterward.

Sunday. Feeling sick. Missed sleep again in the night. Had to take extra antacid pill. Naprosyn didn’t do much for the pain, but then neither did the 10mg cyclobenzaprine I took Friday. Slept in even later than before. Pain in the joints and of course the legs which won’t go away no matter what I try. This makes me think the leg pain isn’t muscular or even neural. But what do I know?

I know I’ve got to be able to get up early enough Tuesday to go to the dentist. I know I’ve got to go back to the forest several more times and haul in a lot more logs and slice them up and bring the rounds home and stack them.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this.

And as for next year …

Morose on Monday

The past few days have not been easy. Starting about Thursday I had a relapse of whatever this still undiagnosed problem of mine is. Of late it has manifested itself as pain in the legs and feet, which isn’t helpful for walking. Nor is it the limit. All the other symptoms still persist, and on that Thursday I had the return of “no strength” when my wife asked me to lift a pot off the stove and I couldn’t budge it with both arms. Just the week prior I picked up half of a riding mower and shoved it out of my way. Since the pot incident my strength has somewhat returned.

I went out shopping Friday. Three hours of leaning on a cart and thinking I wasn’t going to make it. The stores helped by not having most of what I was after (sold out on the second day of the sale?) so that sped things up. Upon my return I discovered the entire three hour trip had been only one hour. Not a good sign.

Saturday was the crash. It started out normal, but I was feeling quite tired so I decided to lay down and rest for a bit. Just to see if I’d feel any more energetic or less painful afterward. What I got was more sleep, albeit without moving which added to the pain and didn’t add to the energy. I dragged through the rest of the day doing nothing. Managed to walk the dogs around at night and take some pictures of the sky. Not really a big accomplishment when you consider that on each of these days I had originally planned to go harvest wood. Not sure how that’s going to happen now.

This is the worst relapse I’ve had in a very long time. Going back to a doctor is the normal procedure, but considering they (all eight of them) have been no help in either diagnosis or treatment in the past eight years I don’t think anything is going to suddenly turn around there. They’ll stick one of those all-purpose labels on it, like “fibromyalgia” – a disorder which has no definitive test, symptoms, or treatment and doesn’t help at all in planning the future.

I’ve got to know what to expect. It so bad right now I’m contemplating things like walking aids and wheelchairs, either of which would severely alter my lifestyle. For some people, perhaps most, “I just can’t do that any more” probably isn’t that much of a problem. For me it’s a living death sentence because it interferes with the care of not only myself, but my wife as well – and our zoo of three cats and two dogs.

At this time the photography is not enough of a distraction, as I am having difficulty even going ’round the yard to take pictures. Or getting up off the couch sometimes.