Monday, December 31, 2012

Coming off Coumadin and Ants...Lotsa Ants!


We say goodbye to another retiring controller today. Bill Szydlo is off to greener, more serene pastures. Congratulations, Bill!

Reference my post from yesterday about Mike. There's an update I added tonight at the end of that entry.

From early on, 2012 has been one that has taken me off my intended path and forced me to adapt, but more than anything it's also caused me to at times ponder more seriously my own mortality. Up until January 20th of this year I seldom ever gave much thought to that but now I find myself distracted or haunted by those sort of thoughts more often than I care to admit. Had my experience with bilateral pulmonary embolus been a one-off-over-and-done-with ordeal, that would've been entirely different and I'd have moved on. But I don't know that it was. Chances are good that I'll never suffer an episode like that again but chances were much more in my favor before it ever happened that I'd never go through that experience but I still did so I find little comfort in that sort of reasoning.

What is mostly driving these thoughts I'm having is that I'll be coming off Coumadin in a few weeks and will no longer be under the drug's umbrella of protection. I feel safe from any worries of clotting while I've got the drug inside me but once it's no longer there I'm sensing that I'll feel a vulnerability that will invade too many of my thoughts. I hope it's something I'll overcome in time, sort of the way I was able to resume riding in 2002 after my collision with a dog at 35+ mph the previous summer. It took a while but I finally was able to ride without the ever-present fear that a dog was going to jump out in front of me at any moment.

What's occupying some of my idle time lately is a fun (and addicting) little game on my Droid called Flow Free: Bridges. It starts out easy enough, perhaps too easy but once you get into the higher level boards it becomes a lot more challenging. The one downside is that there's no player interaction; no way to compete against others if that's your thing.

I bought Tammy a Keurig coffee maker for Christmas and to my delight she's really happy with it. Me too. I was never much of a coffee drinker before we met but over the years I've acquired a taste for a decaf-venti-skinny-caramel-latte. But I have to have decaf otherwise I get a pounding headache the next day if I don't ingest more of the stuff and I don't want to be a slave to caffeine. Anyway, this little machine is nice to have around. I bought her an assortment of coffees to try out plus a few for me. I figure it will pay for itself many times over now that we'll be making fewer stops at local coffee shops in the days and months/years ahead. I greeted her the other morning with "welcome to Starbucks! What can I get started for you?" She smiled.

Speaking of Christmas gifts, Rachel surprised me with an ant-farm. She'd told me that she got me something really cool and she was right. They've changed quite a lot in the years since the days when your only choice was an Uncle Milton setup. Rather than using sand, AntWorks uses a transparent gel substance instead. The gel is also the only food and moisture needs the ants require. I figured it would be a few weeks before my ants arrived after I placed my order but I was wrong. They were in our mailbox by Friday. Luckily I was there to retrieve them before the frigid temperature had a chance to freeze them to death. They were pretty much dormant when I spilled them into their new home from the tube they were packed in.

There wasn't much activity for the first several hours but then they got busy and have been actively tunneling their way around their new home in the days since. The life expectancy of these little ladies (they're all females) is between 1 and 3 months. Did you know that male ants and princess ants both have wings and fly away from the nest to mate during flight? The princess ant will then lose her wings and become a queen, starting her own nest while the male dies soon after mating. Figures. I pretty much lifted that bit of info from the pamphlet that came with my kit.

Here's a link to an AntWorks retailer in case you're interested in hosting your own colony.

The photo to the left was taken this morning to show their most recent progress.

You had to know it was coming...without further delay I present to you my hard working ants for your viewing pleasure. Watch this space for continued updates!



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