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It was a challenging week or so. I was preparing myself to try out for "Titanic — The Musical" at a theater group here that I don't know anything about, but they were efficient about providing the music for the tryout number and things like that. So here I was, a few days away from that, sitting in the very chair I'm sitting in now, when just like magic, my sacroiliac area went out again. As if a tire had gone flat in a second, without a bang or pop, but suddenly I was in some discomfort, and a brief moment of experimentation revealed that it was worse if I tried to stand up. Using a nearby step stool like a walker frame, I was able to stand almost upright and stagger around partly bent over like an old man.

I called the doctor's office and got an appointment, and the upshot of that was a couple of prescriptions: muscle relaxant, and (just in case) Vicodin. I was also way overdue for some lab work, so after making sure the new pills weren't going to mess that up, I went in and let them take some blood out of my arm, and they gave me a kit for taking some rather disgusting samples at home later on.

In preparation for that, I stopped eating beef and liver. Also lamb, in theory, though I seldom have occasion for it. After the stated three days, I looked at the paperwork again and saw that I was also supposed to not take any inflammatory analgesics for seven days, so I stopped taking my Naproxyn and reset the clock.

When a week had gone by, I was done with the muscle relaxants, and it is indeed easier to stand up and walk around. I didn't try out for the musical, since as far as I could see, all of the parts would have required me to get up and move around. I am getting an e-newsletter now, though, that tells of most (if not all) the local opportunities for shows, and I plan to get out and try more often.

Also, we finally got some real snow. I even shoveled some of it. Sarah's with some friends, sledding down a neighbor's hill. I'm staying here, because the physician's assistant I talked to last time happened to mention that the last time I came in for back pain was following a sledding incident back in March.

I'm playing the piano more lately. I hope the trend lasts. Sometimes I even sound good to myself.

Note: I accidentally hit spell-check. I got a list of suggested changes for Vicodin, including "Decoding," "Nicotene," "Voiding," "Voting," and "Kidding." For Naproxyn, it suggests I say "Pyroxene" instead. Put me down for a double order of STET, please.
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With the successful conclusion of the play, I suddenly had time for overdue activities. Last weekend Cathy said we would rake leaves in the back for an hour or so. Three to four hours later, I finished the job, dispatching all the leaves that were on grass, including many that were drifted near the house and under the trampoline. The last hour or two, it was just me and the blower, plus a rake and a tarp. I had scrounged a small length of slim cord at set strike (it was already in a pile for the trash) and tied it through two grommets of the tarp, and found that by running it through various other holes, I could control the whole back half of the leaf-laden tarp. The city trucks were out as we worked, sucking up leaves, so we worked faster. They came down our street on the other side, then vanished, leaving me able to get all our leaves out. I think the physical therapy I was getting, and the new exercises, are one reason my back doesn't ache more.

I'm bearded, still. After the show, I decided to keep most of my show whiskers. My beard is a lovely, even shade of white, unlike the motley red-and-white it was in 2003. The mustache was still sandy, but I found it too annoying to keep. It soaks up beverages and holds onto them, so I removed it. I didn't take it out completely, though. I removed the middle and kept the Cantinflas bits, still bridged to the side pieces that join with the beard. Vain soul that I am, I smile at myself in the mirror when I see it.

Monday morning I heard a noise outside. Leaf truck! All the leaves are gone.

Sarah and I had dinner nice and early for once, which left a little time before her Chinese class. She used that time to mention that she needed string for a school project. I went into emergency mode, and we hastened to the corner drug store (Actually, there are three drug stores on that corner. I don't know what's wrong with the other corner. It seems to lack ambition.) and I found string and we got to her class on time. Actually, we were ten minutes early, so I drove down the road a little and we looked at lights.

Sign of the season in the yard showed that it would soon snow: wooden posts beside the driveway, placed by the snow plow guy so he doesn't plow the grass.

After class, Pam came over from the theater group to hand off copies of the music for the Christmas caroling this coming Sunday. I had music already for the four songs (not carols) that would also be sung. Good; I can practice for it.

This morning I was the last one up, as usual, but the first one to look out the window. Snow lay round about, though not deep. In some places it was uneven, and I didn't bother to check for crispness. (I'm dreaming of a white crispness.) Sarah tramped around, making footprints as she waited for the bus. She called upon me to walk in her prints and make them bigger. I did so until her tight turning radius made it too hard to follow. She packed some and asked if she could eat some, and I said I'd rather she didn't. I know what's under the stuff. Worse stuff.

She'll be out of school and home around noon. Cathy and I will go in for a 2:00 parent-teacher conference.

Cathy told me yesterday what I'm getting for the upcoming birthday/Christmas season. I asked if I could open it early when it comes. I have not yet received a definitive answer.
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Updated in comments

Yesterday, just about all the snow was gone. Today it's back and still falling with vigor. It prevents me from getting in the car and going to get Cathy from the hospital. She says it's okay to wait. It prevents me from taking Sarah to a birthday party at a bounce house. She says maybe Zach will reschedule it.

Sarah and I had sushi last night on our way home. While I was there I asked if they needed any piano players and explained that I was one. They said they had some but might need others in the future and said I could play a bit, so I played four or five things that I had in my pack and suggested maybe playing for free on some off-peak night so they could hear what kind of stuff I do.

I expect in a little while Sarah will ask me to make cheesy eggs with sausage, as I have already done several times in the last week or so. I think we're down to the last little baggie of smokey links that I divided the last bunch of them into before putting them in the freezer. I'll get more some time, because they've been tasty. I've done my best to make the eggs good and cheesy and not overcooked, with five or so sausages cut up and stirred in (most of the cheese is added at the end, instead of being cooked in) and a couple on the side to be enjoyed by themselves.

I might get dressed and go out and see what kind of damage I can do with a snow shovel soon.
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Woke up this morning, the 26th, to an equivocal little dusting of snow outside. A little later, it started falling again, and now we're watching it pile up. Two to four inches, it said somewhere. Earlier on, the same sources were saying possible rain.

I decided to scramble some eggs with sausage and cheese, but we didn't have the egg power. The grocery store was too far, so instead I phoned a neighbor, who was happy to loan me some, so we had a mid-morning breakfast that Couldn't Be Beat.

The pond, which is not yet frozen to any extent, though there seemed to be some ice near the edge, is hosting some additional waterfowl for the past day or so: four tufted ducks are bobbing around and diving impressive distances under the chilly water. They don't particularly avoid the other ducks, and they don't really hang with them.

Yesterday on the pond, our neighbor on the other side had apparently just gotten a tiny radio-controlled sailboat, and was giving it a go with another person I didn't know. No doubt a brother or brother-in-law. I chatted briefly with them and took some pictures of the little boat gliding around. Another thing I did yesterday was call several relatives for aimless chats. They seem to be doing fine.

I only had one maybe-goal in mind, to pick up an inexpensive tripod for my camera at Target, and I don't mind waiting another day. I'm having a nice day, watching the outside fill up with snow. Happy returns of the day, everybody!
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