Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, January 20, 2014 8:02 AM

Tree Trimming and Tree Planting

On Tuesday I keep getting overloaded with more and more stuff to do at work - some self-imposed in terms of debugging my own work and some from other people. By the afternoon on Tuesday I amalmost feeling hopeless and worthless - I don't know where that came from. But that's how I feel. When I get home the back trees have been trimmed way back by the tree trimmers. Where will the squirrels play now? (They have a home in some nearby tree, I guess.) I get in a good workout with the weights and Person Ti_Ca and I wait for the tree trimmer to come back so that I can pay him. He says he'll be there by 6 pm but after two phone calls he shows up right near 7 pm. We pay the tree trimmer on the way out the door for Thai dinner and Person Ti_Ca is very angry at the tree trimmers - complainign about being late to start, late to come and get paid, and etc. I just listen to the complaints and don't say a word. There is nothing to say to change the situation: I had to deal with the lateness also. Eventually Person Ti_Ca settles down and we have a nice dinner.

Wednesday is a good day as I get to work early and just put my head down and debug things that are going wrong and tediously go through model and simulation details to find inaccuracies. A co-worker calls early in the day asking for help and rather than blowing her off, I spend 30 minutes on the phone with her searching through documents for the help that she needs. Though this derails my own effort, it always feels good to help someone out. Everything looks better by Wednesday at quitting time but it will still be a few more days to see how far along we are. When I get home from work I go for a long, brisk walk and stop in at the grocery store for supplies.

I'm up early on Thursday and get to work to plow through details. Some are still wrong but I tediously work through the details and find where things went wrong. Those get fixed and there is just a bit more to be done. When I get home on Thursday I workout with the weights and hard prune about a third of the roses before I lose the light and my motivation. I always hard prune the roses in January to give them a chance to start the year anew.

On this first week back from Christmas vacation, a full five day workweek, Friday arrives quicker than I expected. I'm at work early and on a mission - I want to finish this model/simulation debugging soon. During the day I finally get at the root cause of the problems and proceed to fix half of the problem before the day runs out. But at least I know that I should fix the remaining problems on Monday and finally be done with this effort. I take my time getting home today and have a good session with the weights - still light weights and high repetitions as I get back into the groove of lifting. Afterwards I prune almost all of the remaining roses with just three rose bushes left to be hard pruned for Saturday. It sure helps to do this effort over a few days rather than doing at at once on Saturday.

Saturday starts with me milling around the house and watering the lawn before going out cycling. Though I wanted to go for a long ride, I just take the mountain bicycle and ride to the end of the ocean trail and back. When I enter the bicycle trail at Wardlow avenue there's another rider on a road bicycle going my speed so we ride together the entire way. When I turn around to go back home he turns back also though he was originally going to go back to Seal Beach. We have a good ride and good conversation. When I get home I run a few errands and then finish hard-pruning the roses and cleaning up the rose beds. For this Saturday afternoon I relax with the football games and later get some reading done before going to sleep.

Sunday starts with me riding north on the Los Angeles river to meet up with Derrick. We turn around and head back to Long Beach pier and then for home. During this ride we run into a lot of the regular riders that we normally see and that we missed during the holidays. When I get home my legs are tired from doing a fair amount of pulling and I relax with the football playoff games. After the games I do some cleaning up of the house and I deal with a $950 offer om ebay for my Ciocc road bicycle. I decide to take the offer since its probably the best that I will do. I'll meet the buyer in person late this week and hand over the Ciocc road bicycle (provided he doesn't think its too beat up) and say goodbye to the bicycle that I have had since December 1985.

Monday and Tuesday are tedious yet productive days at work. I just have to go through the models and simulations detail by detail until it is finished. By Tuesday morning I am able to deliver a draft version to a co-worker so that we can cross-check our work. On Monday night after work I increase the weights a bit but still have a high reperition workout to continue buidling back up towards heavier weights. And on Tuesday I am tired when I get home so I pull out a ladder and a tree saw and start trying to trim the three juniper (or evergeeen) trees in the backyard. It is slow going and at one point I'm standing on the very top step of the ladder when Person Ti_Ca brings me back to my senses and tells me to come down. We decide to go buy a chainsaw near the weekend and use it for the tree trimming. Once these trees are down to a certain size then future trimming will be a lot easier.

On Wednesday and Thursday I mix up my presence at a design review and final progress on the model and simulation. I've turned the results over to a co-worker and we'll see how consistent the various models and simulations are. On both Wednesday and Thursday I get in great sessions with the weights though still with high repetition sets as I climb my way back after the (needed) break from lifting near Christmas.

My Friday off from work starts as it usually does...almost. I intend to ride long today, but I don't sleep well on Thursday night, there's smoke in the air from the Colby fire, and I'm lazy. So I take the mountain bicycle to the end of the ocean trail and return. It's a good ride anyway because I push against a constant and strong headwind the entire way home. I mow and edge the lawn and get in a quick shower. Afterwards I take the lawnmower blade to be sharpened to Mr Tanaka's lawnmower shop and he is still there. Mr Tanaka is an older Japanese (I assume) man and I give him the blade and thank him for still being around and I actually tell him "I love your smile" because he is always smiling. I remember when he had a great and nice dog that would hang out at the shop but the doggie, like Nopey, is long gone. I go to the library and return two books and get one new one about irregular warfare. I then buy a chainsaw and oil and safety glasses at Lowe's, grab lunch for later, stop at the ATM, and buy groceries. When I return home I cannot contain myself so I fill the chainsaw with oil and climb up on the ladder (including the very top step) and top off one of the trees. This chainsaw is very good and sharp and I am careful with it, but I run out of steam and clean up and take another brief shower. For the rest of the afternoon I am putting ice on my right shoulder (as a preventive action), sipping tequila and relaxing because I have been on my feet and on the go the entire day. Later in the day I put out a warm bucket of water and soak my feet in water and rubbing alcohol.

I sleep in a bit on Saturday and water the lawn and relax a bit before going for a bicycle ride. I use the mountain bicycle and go past the end of the ocean trail to the old Long beach yacht club and turn around. I run into a co-worker who I've ridden with before and we have a nice little chat. And then I run into Terry the cyclist (who I've picked up off the ground twice and had been missing since Christmas) and we ride together for a bit. He'd hurt his back nd was forced into retirement and wasn't ready for it so he has been out of touch. But we have a nice ride segment before I head for home. When I get home I get back up on the ladder and swing the chainsaw around to finish trimming the last tree. Actually I will have to go back up on the ladder to get better shapes to each tree, but for now I'll just cut up what I have and get rid of it. Person Ti_Ca and I go have a nice lunch with pizza because I cannot remember the last time that I had a good deep dish pizza. When we return home I start little tasks around the house but have to sit for a while because my stomach is a bit upset (and maybe the pizza wasn't so good). But later I feel better and soak my feet again while reading a book.

On Sunday I am a bit unmotivated to ride, but I get out the door and start north on the Los Angeles river. When I meet up with Derrick he rides with me a bit but turns and goes home because he has promised people that he won't ride long today because of the smoke in the air from the Colby wildifre. There is much less smoke in the air today then on Friday, but it's okay. I tag up with a group of three riders and soon I'm pulling everyone along and then we grab hold of two more riders. Before you know it I'm pulling everyone along at 23 mph or so until we get to the tree at the end of the Los Angeles river. I stop there with two riders and we let the others who have fallen off catch up. The original three are nice people and I hope to become friends with them as I ride back north on the Los Angeles river trail towards home and have a nice conversation with them. After an errand and some small things around the house I sit back and watch the two football conference championship games.

On Monday, Martin Luther King day, I skip work to go plant trees in the park near my house. Recall that my city councilman "twisted my arm" to come out and plant trees with him and the community. When Person Ti_Ca and I show up at the event just across the street there are many people there to volunteer. We sign up and get our name tags and assignements and go dig holes and lift trees into the holes. As soon as a team leader says "We need someone to lift the tree into the hole" I move to the head of the line because, typically, volunteers don't know what to do or what is expected of them. But eventually I should realize that I am an old man and I should leave the heavy lifting to younger people because my shoulder does hurt a bit at the end of the few hours of volunteering. So I certainly put ice on my right shoulder but then I get on my hands and knees to wash the kitchen floor and then ice my right shoulder again. Other than the volunteer work, today is a slow day and I enjoy running a few relaxed errands and cleaning a few things around the house. Is this what retirement will be about (in addition to cycling)? I spend Monday afternoon into evening catching up with people and cleaning the kitchen floor and staying busy.