Today 20Dec2022: Last Working Day 2022

The cough and some of the exhaustion stayed through all of Tuesday. But it was also the last working day in 2022, so I was excited to have some time off. And while it was a setback to put off the colonoscopy, I was thrilled, slightly guilty, that I had some unplanned day to enjoy in the wind-up of 2022.

The morning started at 6:15, with me deciding that I could sleep longer and nearly until 8! So I got going and managed to have coffee (liberal Equal Exchange brand), cinnamon-raisin toast, and a banana for breakfast while enjoying an hour of status meetings. Then, finally, I gleefully put in my out-of-office reply and set it to start at 5PM and go until next year’s first Tuesday.

My last status meeting on a performance issue was canceled as all the engineers and architects were already on paid time off (PTO). Thus, I instead showered and got dressed. After checking, the big project was beginning to slow down, and I was not needed for a few hours; I headed out to see Susie.

I stopped by Safeway and got some flowers. The holiday traffic was thick and slow across Beaverton. I watched the traffic camera flash as folks took the light late. I have recently paid over $300 for a Beaverton Police portrait myself in Air Volvo and was careful not to accidentally run the light.

Aside: I have daydreamed of wearing a Nixon mask, ‘driving’ a homemade cardboard car, and running through the intersection at 4AM or so, getting my photo taken with a ‘f**k you’ as my license plate number on my paper car. But I just don’t have the guts yet, to do it. It would also waste important police resources and so just a dream…But it is the Pacific Northwest with Darth Vader on a unicycle playing bag pipes that shoot fire in Portland, hum.

Returning to the narrative, Lucille was the nursing aide for today, and Susie had decided to rest after lunch instead of being in her recliner in the shared space living room. So I pulled up Susie’s wheelchair, slid the crash pad back under her bed (Susie fell out of bed before and thus always has a crash pad out when alone in the room), and sat with her. Susie was tired–she usually takes two days to recover from a busy day (Sunday was church and the Christmas party).

Susie loved her new flowers. We then called her mother and reached her on the second try. Leta and Susie discussed Leta’s Christmas travel plans, mostly driving, and that the weather there was going to become nasty in Michigan. Here, we expect a snowstorm on Thursday through Friday, just missing a White Christmas. As the schools are out and folks are on holiday, we will miss out on the snowmageddon traffic snarl that is so spectacular here (Susie and I took a three-hour trip to Beaverton and back during the last one).

Susie did nod off during the call–this is a new thing with Susie. I had to make it a short visit as it was still a working day. Also, I did not want to expose Susie to my coughing, both not risking her getting this but also it worries her. I left with a kiss and let Susie sleep some more.

I drove slowly through the holiday traffic and avoided flashing lights. Finally, I was home in the early afternoon. I checked, and so far, the project was ramping down to just a few items that needed to be done, and none of mine. The house was cold, and I had re-programmed the thermostat to run at 66F (19C) on work days, but I was home and set it back up.

I did the dishes and started the dishwasher, which will warm the kitchen. I then started on a dinner/lunch. I fried sliced mushrooms (not crowding them like Julia Childs says) in olive oil. Next, I fried sweat Johnson Company Italian-styled sausage (the locally made version, Olympia Provisions, is too harsh for my taste) in another pan. I heated Paul Newman’s Sockaruni tomato-based sauce in another pan. When the mushrooms started to brown on one side, I carefully flipped each one–well, most of them. I then lowered the heat to just warm and combined the crumbled and browned sausage bits with the mushrooms, which then boiled in the oil (physics says then you decompress, you release heat) and stirred them to not over brown (burn). I added the sauce to the same pan, and it boiled too, and I stirred until it started to combine. I set this on very low heat, but it did boil for a while, and I did stir. I cooled the pan I cooked the sausage in with running water, grabbed another pan to make pasta, and put it on the stove with water and salt. I was out of burners.

The orecchiette pasta is my favorite, and it takes longer to cook than you expect. It is also tricky to test as the little ‘ears’ fill with water and will dump hot water on you if you are not careful when you grab one to try. A few of the ears did stick together, but I liked a bit of chewy pasta, so I dumped it when it tasted cooked. I then combined all the items into the pasta cooking pan. I had a marvelous lunch. I packed the rest as leftovers in the glass wear that Gene and Glenda got me a few months ago.

I did some research on digital music formats. I learned that there is a special MusicXML standard to encode printed music. I looked at what was available in Python, and there were interfaces to read and write to the format. There was even a MIDI conversion to play the music but not display it. Apparently, the rendering was left to purchased packages and a few open packages. Unfortunately, no Python rendering engine could show the music in the traditional paper format. Still thinking about this.

I found it interesting that music can be encoded in XML format. I have considered the XML a near AI-like use as it creates a context for information. What else is intelligence but providing context to the information?

Guides to Music Formats, USA Government

I went back to watching email, text, and Slack channels for work, but the coughing got worse. I took various meds and finally took an anti-coughing prescription. I was soon sleepy and went to read more of the Poppy Wars. I was out at about 4ish and woke again at 7PM!

I got up and started watching the rest of the animated film, The Rise of the Guardians, a holiday movie and one of the first digital animated features. I had cheese and crackers with a bit of shaved ham. The coughing was non-stop.

I tried to rest and find that sleep. The dream before was not pleasant. I was with Susie on a subway, trying to get home for the holidays. Susie got on a train, and the doors closed before I could get on. I discovered I had no ticket and had to find a ticket machine. Then, I could not find a matching train that Susie had taken. I was searching for the ticket machine and Susie’s train. Not a restful sleep! Sleep did not come.

Instead of resting, I grabbed my stamp collection and all the purchases for the last few months. I put the new stamps in their places, filling some cheaper-to-fill locations. I did acquire at an impossibly low price a Scott 1 American stamp as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, I could not find the matching Scott 1 Confederate stamp (beat-up and cheap due to the condition), so that might wait until next Christmas. I did find the new Columbian $5 1892 stamp that I also acquired at an auction at a low price (not cheap, but low compared to the retail $3,750 usual price for mint). It is a proof stamp from the sets supplied to the post office in 1892 (instead of the posters you see now) to show the new stamps. Proofs, like coins, are perfectly printed versions but not valid for use in the mail. I find the proofs are often priced a 1/10 of the original, are in perfect condition, and are rarer than the original. Who would not want that?

Note: I put a link to the Swedish Tiger site for stamps for those who would like to see these stamps. The proof I have is often thinned by sanding, perforated by hand, and then sold as the original–a counterfeit you must watch out for in these insanely expensive USA stamps. The site has an example of one of these.

I went back online and found some still cheap spots not filled, bid on cheap stamps to fill that, and sort of stocking stuffers for myself.

It may not be your thing, but it distracted me from coughing, and adding all these items to my collection album was fun. I still use the now slightly beat-up, USA stamp album Leta bought for me years ago. I also have an antique partial USA Revenue album I bought partially filled (at an excellent price) and have been adding to it for years. I added my old original Harris Album (from so far back I will not want to calculate the age of those pages) for the Confederate and Canal Zone. I thus collect all USA stamps now.

After that, I tried to sleep, but sleep did not come. So I went out to the garage and got my old radio I rebuilt. Unfortunately, the last time I worked on it, something went wrong, and I ran out of time to work on it. That was in 2019. Well, there have been a few years of crazy that I did not plan for (as obviously, neither did world governments have a plan), but I really wanted it to work.

I have removed the high-voltage tubes and the ruined mono-speaker in the radio with new digital components and set an LED display behind the original glass. Now we are running on a fun (and safe) 5V DC, and the components mostly have that regulated down to a stable 3.3 volts. The stereo amplifier can make the speakers loud at 5V. The display works, and the speakers and amplifier work with it, plugging nicely into my Apple. Testing the software and the volume control works which are programmed. Unfortunately, there appears to be a software issue as I checked the simple wiring to the breakout of the radio chip: Si4703. This chip is the base for all those expensive radios you see for sale (most of those high-end radios are an expensive antennae and overpriced analog to digital conversion of the nobs and buttons). The breakout is about $25 at Sparkfun. The mini pro Arduino is $11 and is also a Sparkfun product that runs everything and even could regulate the power (a really cool tiny board smaller than an American quarter). The amplifier is also from Sparkfun, another $11.

I looked at it in detail, waiting for sleep to come. I managed to get tired (finally), went to bed again, and finally slept around 2ish.

It is the twentieth day of Advent, and I thought we should go with the song Wonderful Christmastime.

Thanks for reading. Sorry, this is a bit late, but I slept in and wrote without a time bracket. I wrote until I was done.

Feel free to call or send cards. Susie resides at:

Allegiance Senior Care

Adult Foster Care Home

9925 SW 82nd. Ave.

Portland, Oregon 97223

The house phone number: (503) 246-4116

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s