Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lettuce Lake Park

This evening, we went to Lettuce Lake Park (a nearby County Park), and we walked the one point two mile circuit. Toward the end, we walked out on the boardwalk, and it was very cool. Earlier, the drought was so bad that the Hillsborough River was so low, due to a lack of rainfall. But recently, we've had some rain fall pretty consistently. The level of the river was impressive. There was water under most of the boardwalk path. The flow of the river was impressive.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fisher Premium Whole Cashews

Hmm, I like cashews. I guess they are moderately more expensive than peanuts, and not as readily available to find with flavored coatings, as possibly pecans, or some other nuts are. But I think that cashews are really quite filling. These cashews were $11.99 at Sweetbay Supermarket, but on a per pound basis that's about $6.00. These cashews were among the more expensive of the group, but they are pretty good. I guess I could try to do some value comparisons for the future's sake, but I like the screw on top.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

The deal is in the buy

Many years ago, my father befriended a pawn shop owner. My father talks with many people easily. My father asked the Pawn Shop guy how he could know what so much stuff is valued at. The Pawn Shop guy responded "the deal is in the buy." You can always pay too much for something, and give away your profit, but if the price agreed upon is sufficiently low, then there shouldn't be much difficulty selling the piece to others.

This can be applied to real estate, or other money lending schemes.

Goats on the Roof

Goats on the roof. A really cool place selling little bits of stuff. A road side attraction.
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Rhododendrons, at a cemetary on the way south leaving Highlands. My wife thought it was funny that the Highlandsers referred to these as Rhoadies. She got to think about the roadies who assist bands with the set up and take down of music gear for concerts.
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Florida National Cemetary

Yes, even more grave stones. This is a small part of the cemetary. My Father and Mother will probably eventually be buried here. Maybe Interred here would be better. I think that they may be cremated and have their ashes placed under a stone, or something similar.

I am not certain what the process is.
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Florida National Cemetary

More Grave Stones.
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Florida National Cemetary

Hmm, these are some gravestones at the Florida National Cemetary.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

From the VA website

The President’s vision for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is to transform VA into a 21st Century organization that is Veteran–centric, results–driven, and forward–looking. The Department’s resource request for 2010 is nearly $113 billion–up $15.1 billion, or 15 percent, from the 2009 enacted budget. This is the largest one–year percentage increase for VA requested by a President in over 30 years. VA’s budget request for 2010 provides the resources critical to achieving the President’s vision – Read more about it here!
This was touched upon by the speaker today at the meeting. Tampa probably gets a small sliver of that amount, but in any event, we are making efforts to improve the care of our nation's wounded warriors. We are actively providing care (and rehabilitation) to some of the OIF/OEF woundeds.

Working at the VA Hospital

I like working at the VA Hospital in Tampa.

We had a presentation by some guy from the VISN, and he mentioned how the new Secretary, Erik Shinseki (sp?), was changing things as far as how central office is organized, and there would probably be other changes. The guy stressed that no eligable veteran would be denied care for which he was entitled to, through service to our country.

Operation Enduring (Iraqi) Freedom [OEF/OIF], our current conflicts that we are presently involved with, are causing some stresses in soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, or coast guardsmen. The VA exists to help these veterans, and others who have previously served.

The VA of today is better. There is more money being appropriated to care for, and treat veterans. The money also goes to fund Veterans Benefits Administration, as well as the Veterans Health Administration, along with the National Cemetary Administration. VBA and VHA take up sizable chunks of the money. Of that, some is geared toward salaries of the people who work at those agencies' offices, most probably goes to pay for the Benefits and Healthcare that has been earned by the veterans.


OK, I've previously said that this is probably not a good thing. I guess it's one of the downsides about having ubiquitous technology. People get addicted to their blackberries or whichever digital devices. I guess I'm a cheapskate at heart. I don't have a mobile device for texting. I do like using the computer, but I don't drive, and I don't try to play on the internet while I'm travelling, or whatever.

Some of this is an appreciation for what $50 is like.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Digitizing Healthcare

Wow, this series is pretty interesting. I was alerted to the article because it contained the phrase "VA Hospital" which generated a google alert for me. I didn't realize that Kaiser Permanente was almost a closed system. It is good that as healthcare improves, there might be some incentives to adopt technological advances.

Depending on how involved the government wants to get in the health insurance business, saving money could be a positive motivation.

Of course, with most things political, it could be a matter of time before the pendulum swings in the other direction.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

H1N1 Flu

The muck gets deeper.
The second guessing might start to begin. I thought I saw on Drudge where Japan is starting to see cases of the Flu.
Maybe I saw on Fareed Zakaria GPS where they were congratulating Mexico for acting so swiftly, to try to limit the exposure of the Flu. "Muchas Gracias" they said. Indeed!

An assistant city school principal died Sunday night from complications of swine flu in the city's first fatality from the deadly disease.
Assistant principal Mitchell Wiener of Intermediate School 238 in Queens died Sunday night at Flushing Hospital, a spokesman said.Read more: "Assistant principal Mitchell Wiener dies from complications of swine flu" -

some art on the walls of my office

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fan flower (?)

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cool plant, neat leaves

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cool plant, neat leaves

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Ajuga (sp?)

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Plants in our yard today

We went to TreeMart, a local specialty landscaping supply place. We arguably shouldn't have gotten as many plants as we did, paying the prices we paid, but we did end up getting 18 plants for somewhere near $103. We got 4 sets of 3 plants and one set of 6 plants. 3 Dwarf Papyrus trees were $7.95 each, but the Papyrus look cool. At least right now, they look cool.

We have been getting rain in the evenings, so this is good. Tonight, we also got some rain. It probably didn't rain as much tonight, but hey, we won't complain.

The plants called Whirling Butterflies were similar to the plants we saw at the Count extension office, and we liked them when they were there. Contrary to the name, these flowers seem to be more favored by bees, than butterflies.

Papyrus, cool tops, huh?

cool leaves on this plant, nice flowers, cool leaves.

Justice isn't really done by this camera in this picture, at this time. I think it might have had to do with the white balance issue.

Seemingly minor blows to the head...

Seemingly minor blows to the head...

I'm a survivor of a pretty significant major blow to the head that resulted from my impact with a car as a teen, on a bike. Fortunately, I did recover. It took a long time, and recovery was a lengthy process, but we all need to be appreciative of small miracles.

By Danielle Dellorto
CNN Medical Producer

(CNN) -- A blow to the head that at first seems minor and does not result in immediate pain or other symptoms can in fact turn out to be a life-threatening brain injury, experts tell CNN.

Immediate treatment is essential after a brain injury because damage caused by swelling is often irreversible.

Immediate treatment is essential after a brain injury because damage caused by swelling is often irreversible.

It's very common for someone who's had a fall or been in a car accident to appear perfectly lucid just after the impact but then to suddenly, rapidly deteriorate, Dr. Carmelo Graffagnino, director of Duke University Medical Center's Neurosciences Critical Care Unit, told CNN.

Actress Natasha Richardson was talking and joking after she fell Monday during a beginner ski lesson, according to officials at the Canadian resort where she was staying. But soon after she returned to her room she complained of head pain and was taken to a nearby hospital, then to a larger medical center in Montreal. She was flown by private jet Tuesday to a New York hospital, where she was reportedly in critical condition. Her family has not commented publicly on her condition.

"A patient can appear so deceivingly normal at first," said Graffagnino, director of Duke University Medical Center's Neurosciences Critical Care Unit. "But they actually have a brain bleed and as the pressure builds up, they'll experience classic symptoms of a traumatic brain injury."

Such injuries are known as epidural hemorrhage. Blood gets trapped between the skull and the hard layer of skin between the bone and brain, known as the dura mater. As the blood flows from the ruptured artery, the fluid builds and punctures the dura.

Patients are often unaware they've fractured their skull. In these cases, the fracture generally occurs just above the ear, in the temporal bone. "There is an artery that runs above the skull and can get torn and begin to bleed above the lining of the brain." Graffagnino says.

"At that point all the pressure is pushed on the brain, causing it to swell but there is often no room for it to move inside the skull cavity. And as the pressure continues, it reduces blood flow to the brain and a patient would begin to feel the symptoms."

The condition is commonly referred to as "talk and die" syndrome among neuroscience physicians and surgeons, because the patient can decline so rapidly.

Graffagnino says the initial fall or injury doesn't have to be hard at all. The delay in symptoms can range from five minutes to three hours after the accident.

If an individual isn't medically evaluated after a car accident, sports injury, or just a slip in the driveway, recognizing the signs brain injury early is critical. Nausea, severe headache, glossy eyes, sudden sleepiness, are all common symptoms. Getting to a hospital within the first few hours is critical to prevent permanent brain damage, experts say. An emergency room team can quickly determine the severity of your injury. An emergency craniotomy -- opening of the skull -- surgery is often needed to stop the bleeding and control brain swelling.

Immediate treatment is essential after a brain injury because the initial damage caused by swelling often is irreversible.

"One of the things we teach to trauma teams, is if a group of people are in a car crash and someone dies, we have to assume everyone else has serious injuries--even if they look good, and say they feel totally fine," Graffagnino said.

Certain medications can increase a person's risk for hemorrhages, especially for the elderly. Doctors say even a small bump on the head can be dangerous for patients taking blood thinners, among other prescription drugs.

"Talk and die" syndrome also can result from a subdural bleed, which develops between the brain and the dura. These bleeds can "squish the brain," Graffagnino said, and cause injury at a slower rate. A person can often feel normal for several days before feeling any symptoms.

"You don't have to see external injury to have injury to the brain," said Dr Philip Stieg, chair of neurosurgery at NYP/Weill Cornell. To evaluate a person's response after a minor trauma, Stieg recommends checking the size of their pupils and asking questions such as the patient's name and what year it is. In the hours following, Stieg recommends monitoring the person's cognitive skills and to "bring them in to get a CAT scan" if there is a change in behavior.

The brain also can be bruised after an accident, leaving patients with no symptoms or signs of a bleed at first glance. But the nerves surrounding the bruise can begin to stretch, causing what is known as an axonal injury. "The brain is like Jell-O. Imagine if you dropped a bowl of Jell-O on the floor and it looks intact at first but when you examine it really close, you can see it has teeny tiny cracks all in it," Graffagnino said. "Well the brain can have these tiny cracks that don't show up on initial CAT scan but will develop into problems down the line."

Once surgeons stop a brain bleed, the next step is to monitor brain activity and check for permanent damage. A patient typically spends up to a month in a neuro-ICU. Patients who survive often spend the next several years in physical and cognitive therapy to regain function, according to experts.

"The most important thing to do to lower your risk is to wear a helmet when you can, and don't brush off an injury because you feel 'fine' at first," Graffagnino said. "The thing that's going to save a life is for friends and relatives to recognize the first glimmer of a symptom. The quicker we can stop the bleed, the better."

Maynard's Bait Shop

It's nice that I have a mother who is enthusiastic about the internet. I kind of doubt that many fishermen in Minnesota will be using the internet to look for places to procure their bait. It was helpful that the local station in Albert Lea, Minnesota did a news story wherein they mentioned the bait shop.

Having bait is important.

Summary from DC

Life is funny. We had a good day today. We left Connecticut at 2am and got on the road by 2:30. It was cool. We got through New York by 5 or so. We stayed at an older hotel called the Americana in Arlington. I think we'll need to check out this morning. The room was changed, after I tried opening the door, and I inadvertently removed the core of the lock. The wireless signal here isn't good, so I'll need to compose this off line and send it later.

New Jersey has the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Turnpike. I think that tourism in New Jersey is probably adversely affected by having the Tolls.

We took the George Washington Bridge upper level both times through New York City. It was pretty good. There wasn't much traffic on the interstate in the early morning.

When we were going up there , we went the express way through the city, and there weren't a lot of people going in that direction at the time. The local route was much busier. I guess that the local route had opportunities to get off, at least on the Jersey side of things. Maybe there were towns outside of the city that are served by the Interstate.

I hope that we'll be able to find a room in the morning. I think that the bad signs should indicate that we should move on. Fran, my wife, may complain if we aren't able to find a different place to stay near Washington DC. I think we probably should be able to find something, it is a big city.

We saw lots of cherry blossoms today. We walked around the mall. We had lunch in the Reagan International Trade Center food court.

It was way too much food. We took most of it back to the hotel room with us. After walking around DC for it seemed like two hours or so, we hopped back on board the metro, and took it back to the Crystal City stop on the blue line.

The FDR memorial was neat. There were lots of good sayings attributed to him.

Earlier this trip, we did Gettysburg, and I got a T-shirt with a saying attributed by Lincoln, and I'm pretty sure that Barack Obama had quoted it about bring the people the right facts and beer.

I liked the Gettysburg Foundation's way of trying to support the memory of the battlefield. I liked their little logo.

When we were up near New London staying with Fran's Step-Mother, we did a self guided walking tour of the Coast Guard Academy's grounds. That was pretty neat.

After walking a bit though, Fran realized that she left her ID in the car, and she wanted to get it, and move the car closer, but then we realized just how small the campus actually is, and we were off campus before we could make a correction.

We saw the Coast Guard ship the eagle, but it had been deployed to Norfolk, Virginia recently, but we didn't know about it, so we went down near the ship, and it was pretty neat. We spoke with a guy who was in the Coast Guard Auxillary. He's a retired pilot, so it's kind of cool I guess.

While we were up there, we also drove around the General Dynamics campus where they had signage saying that photography of defense stuff is prohibited. We saw the Uconn Avery point campus. It was pretty cool. I took some photos there.

The DC metro is pretty neat. I think we might not be able to utilize much of the metro cards that we've bought, but I guess it's just as well. If we end up eating some expenses, it's for the good of the places we've visited.

Well, we took Route 3 to Route 17 to Interstate 64, and we stopped by the house on Chesapeake Avenue. We then proceeded to Virginia Beach. Right now, I am enjoying the hotel network.

I thought it was interesting that New Jersey had people at the Gas Stations pumping gas. I guess that keeps the line moving at the station.
Marty S., Mar 31, 2009, 9:58pm EDT

The trip was fun, I enjoyed it. It kind of sucked that the low price hotel room had old lock which broke. That was one of the reasons that I decided that we needed to leave. Maybe we could've stayed around Bethesda at a Days Inn, we passed it, but Fran was in the wrong lane of traffic and I wasn't too vocal about my desire to stay. We had a fun time in Virginia Beach. But I like Florida's beach scene much better. I prefer the weather of Florida.
Marty S., Apr 14, 2009, 8:51pm EDT

DC and tourists and traffic

Man, being in DC as a tourist was pretty neat. I guess it was too bad that we chose to leave the area. I suppose that we could have stayed at a diferent hotel. But there were lots of tourists in town for the cherry blossom festival.

Being that I don't drive, I am happy to be up here with my wife. We took the scenic route down to Virginia Beach.

I guess it was 6 or so hours just trying to get out of the DC traffic. We hit a couple of those traffic circles, and made more than one complete circle inside them.

We did stop at a place in Northern Virginia where a tourist information lady was, and we got a great map of Virginia. We did a slow drive through the countryside down toward the Hampton Roads Newport News area.

We got some pictures of some seagulls by the Monitor-Merrimack parking area. The seagulls were very cool, as was the wind off of the water. We got a few pictures of the house where I used to live.

DC was a cool place to visit. We didn't stay long enough to take full advantage of the money that we contributed to the metro system, but sometimes, you chalk up experiences as lessons learned.

I liked the state map of Virginia that we got. It was a very good map.

An old house

We used to live at this house. Of course, when we lived there, it was before the white pickett fence was put up. Maybe we had azalea bushes out front. I'm not sure, I was just a little kid, I'm pretty sure between ages 8 and 10, I seem to recall.

One of the coolest things about this particular location was that it overlooked the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The Naval ships were always distant, but it was neat to watch ships come in and out.

I suppose that there are other ships which go further south to the other ports in the tidewater area of Virginia. I think there's a Newport News Shipyard, and possibly a Suffolk facility as well.

I liked the little overlook of a park that was the Monitor-Merrimack Overlook Park. (I like that those two ships fought during the civil war. The Monitor was an early low profile ship from the union side, while the Merrimack was a confederate ship built up with iron on it's sides.)

The whole notion of the Civil War was a troubling time, but we've moved past that time for the most part. We are a stronger nation because of our acceptance of differences.

On the road again...

Well, tonight, we went to the IKEA store in Tampa, it was nice, but we got some frozen swedish meatballs, and we didn't get the cream sauce. We'll need to pick some up for the future. I thought the Swedish meatballs were pretty good. We got some small purchases at the store. Tomorrow, we'll go visit my mother-in-law.

It's kind of sad that my own mother flew up to Minnesota because my Aunt Cathy died recently from what I gathered. Maybe it was an accidental overdose, but it doesn't matter. The point is that she's no longer with us, and my Mom flew up to Minnesota. The Funeral will probably be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But mom will ride down with some other family from Minnesota.

I wasn't that close to Aunt Cathy, but we did visit once.

The reason for the title was I was looking through the pictures of the recent trip, and I was inspired.

New York City from the I-95 through pass.

Hershey Chocolate World


Falling Waters, West Virginia

North Carolina Highway Views

I liked the mountain views. The mountains are pretty, but I'm happy enough living in Florida, the weather is nice.

Falling Waters is a town that might have been built for the Federal Government to have training facilities. At least, that was how it was described to me by someone who had taken some Information Security training there. The town didn't have much going on, supposedly. I think this view was from I-81 which went through most of the western route up Virginia, before crossing into West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Marty S., May 8, 2009, 11:17pm EDT


My husband is in Minnesota for a funeral also....

We stop at the Ikea here just for the Swedish meatballs and son LOVES them.
Janet "Jax" B., May 9, 2009, 12:22am EDT

You've got some really nice photos here. I love shopping at Ikea. We have to drive over two hours to visit one, however.
Kimberly Ripley, May 9, 2009, 12:30am EDT

Sorry about your Aunt.
I love shopping at Ikea~

Going to Ikea is like going to an adventure park:)
j - Frugal Mom - r., May 9, 2009, 9:00am EDT

I live right down the road from Falling Waters,,, there are government training facilities there.. It was just a small quiet town, which is now being built up like everywhere around this area is... but its still rural in away... not much factories but now Wal Mart is also, there... so it is growing...
vickey w, May 9, 2009, 5:52pm EDT

Nice pictures Marty... I like how you did your photo essays...
vickey w, May 9, 2009, 5:53pm EDT

An old house was a story about living at the house as a child that overlooked the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. It was very cool as I remembered, and we did a drive by the house when we were on our way back from our trip to Connecticut.
Marty S., May 9, 2009, 6:29pm EDT

Leaving Virginia Beach, doing Kitty Hawk--Nags Head (#281474977645034) that was a cool part of the journey.
Virgina Beach--Naval Aviation (#281474977644119) as a civilian... Wow.
DC, Tourists and Traffic (#281474977643375) particularly traffic.
Virginia Beach and NAS Oceana (#281474977643135) It's kind of nifty.
Recent trip (#281474977643059)
Marty S., May 9, 2009, 6:47pm EDT

Is there any other purpose for the town of Falling Waters? Or is it JUST for Federal Training? I guess if it now has a wal-mart, it must be moving up in the congestion index. I saw the sign on I-81. Woo Woo! Of course, I also saw the Antietem Battle Monument sign on the trip when we were on I-81. We stopped at Gettysburg. (#281474977634048)
Then there was the travel from Tampa to Highlands (#281474977633307) at the start of the trip.

It was very cool, and thank you for enjoying the highlights of the trip.
Marty S., May 9, 2009, 7:00pm EDT