Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's Just a Name

An oddity in our family is that we had a different last name than everyone else in Dad’s family. I never felt different. It was just normal. It was not until I was adult when I really realized the ramifications of the name change.

Dad wanted to marry mom. Her mother refused to allow her daughter to have a German name. It was a VERY German name. Mom’s brother had been killed in WWII over Germany and his body was never recovered. It destroyed my grandmother.

So, dad said that he didn’t care what his name was, he just wanted to marry mom. My grandmother paid to legally have his name changed in court. He chose is mother’s maiden name. A nice name. A simple last name.

As you might remember, my brother was the only male born in my dad’s family. The family name would stop. Coincidentally, Chip never had children.

My dad was born and named after his father, George. His mother loved the name Dick and called him that as a nickname from birth. When he arrived for his first day at school, the teacher asked for his full name. He said Dick. She replied that Dick was a nickname and that the full name was actually Richard. That is when he became Richard.

Throughout his time serving in the military during the war, he was Richard followed by the German name.

Just before he married mom, he became Richard followed by his new last name.

The day came when he was ready to retire and he went to his appointment at the Social Security office. Imagine trying to explain all the name changes!

Thankfully, what saved the day were the court documents that my grandmother insisted on so many years ago.

There was great controversy in my dad family over his name change. He was written out of several wills of his old wealthy aunts. He, on the other hand, felt it was just a name.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weeding

I always have been able to dig deep and take on a huge task or job and finish it. I don’t get overwhelmed. I just make small goals then suddenly look up to discover the entire task is finished.

I have been lately thinking about how I have this skill and others around me do not. I have concluded that it began during the summers in Illinois.

We spent our lives wandering in the huge state park next to our house, running through the cornfields, biking into town, riding the neighbor’s horses or hanging out on a blanket with a book under a tree in the yard.

We lived on two acres and had over 200 trees on the property. We owned a riding lawn mower but it could not get close enough to the trees so the grass would grow tall around the trunks. Rather unsightly.

We also had a gravel driveway. A long driveway with a turn-around. Mom also had beautiful gardens around the foundation of the house.

During the summer, we would watch “I Love Lucy” at 8:30 then the TV was turned off. We had one chore to complete that day. There were many different chores, some were completed quickly but some more arduous. One job would be to hand cut around all the trees while another was to turn the dirt in the garden beds. But the most hated chore was to weed that long gravel driveway. The three of us would start at the top near the house then worked down towards the street. It would take all morning and included a lot of moaning and groaning.

How we managed it was to keep our heads down to the task at hand. Looking ahead was overwhelming. As we worked our way along, we would look backwards to see how much we had completed and were so pleased with how good it looked.

Finally, when we thought we could not possibly do anymore, we were finished.

The feeling of accomplishment was significant. It felt great. We were proud of our work.

I have used this all my life to do hated tasks only to discover the same wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Put my head down to do the work, check behind to see the progress while still moving forward towards a goal. It was a good life lesson.

It may even be one reason why I am able to live well with a bad diagnosis.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Classics










I have always loved to read. I love to learn something from just reading a book. Fiction or non-fiction. Someone once told me that she didn’t like fiction because it was not a true story and nothing was to be learned from it. That bothered me. I began making a list of fiction that has changed people’s thinking. Here is just a short list: To Kill a Mockingbird, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Sister Carrie, Animal Farm, Catch-22, The Grapes of Wrath, 1984, and one of my favorites, Gone with the Wind. My grandmother bought a first edition, which was in our house forever. It was huge!

One winter when I was about 13 years old, I was ill and was to be in bed for a while. My mom came in with it in her hands and said, “You are old enough to understand this now. You will learn so much about the south and the war. You have the time, I think you will enjoy it.”

And I did. It was my first historical novel. I was totally immersed in the battles. I was in the south. I was starving with Scarlet. It was magnificent. I recovered just as I was finishing the book.

Several times, I tried to re-read it as an adult. I just couldn’t do it. The newness and the innocent eyes of a young teen made it very special and it was just not the same.

A few weeks ago, we were with Melanie – our 13-year old neighbor. As part of her high school English class, she was to choose a classic, read it and write a report. I turned to her and said, “Gone with the Wind. You are old enough to understand it now.” I really love that the schools are encouraging students to read a classic. I wonder what she chose.

When I was younger and living in Illinois, I was not the strongest of kids. Because of the cold and snow, I was assigned to a stairwell at lunch recess during the winters. I was very lonely. I did a lot of daydreaming and a lot of reading. Books were my escape. I so wanted to be an adult in charge of my own life. I was seven-years old and felt childhood was holding me back. I wonder if every child feels that sometime in their youth?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Brahms, Beethoven and Copland



















The first orchestra rehearsal for the next concert was Wednesday night. It was great to see everyone and some new faces. I was so energized while playing that it felt like all the synapses were crackling in my brain. I felt smart, agile, athletic and soulful throughout the rehearsal. I also noticed that the old fingers are once again a bit slower as I worked my way back once again. I noticed that I really needed oxygen to haul my lovely bass in and out of the room.

The line up:

Brahms – Symphony #2 in D major which I have played before. Hellish second movement.

Beethoven – Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano. Piece of cake.

Copland – Outdoor Adventure. I love Copland. It is often so much more difficult to play than what appears on the page at first glance. Ouch. I don't remember ever playing this piece but I won't know for sure until I play it with the orchestra at the next rehearsal.

It was a late night for me. I was tired but my body would not settle. My mind was dancing. I was not able to fall asleep until quite late.

Music truly is the living magic that flows through my body.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sixty Years













My sister Lee turns 60-years old today. Her husband Jeff follows her in four days. She is the older woman by four days!

Her life has gone through big changes this year. She worked for a patent attorney who abused her – took away all her saved sick pay, took away all earned vacation time and reduced her work time to only four days a week thus cutting her salary. He blamed her for everything. She could not please him.

She finally left to work through a temp agency for someone on maternity leave. She loved the company. They loved her. After leaving, she got a lot of job leads and offers of recommendations.

She is a currently entertaining three different job offer. She has a choice. She has to choose.

Her former employer, the lawyer, called to ask for help. They needed her help with the billing. They had also done no other work since she left. Could she come in to do it? She is now helping him do the billing. I guess she wasn’t the problem after all! I think she is much too kind to help him at all but Lee is kinder than I am!

Chip and Betty wanted to do something special for their birthday. We combined our money and sent a gift card for a couple of hundred dollars for a nice dinner out to celebrate their birthdays.

Sixty. It never looked so good!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Water for Elephants






















The Book Club. It was on vacation along with everyone else this summer while we completed our fence project. Now, it is ready to begin again. Our house. Friday evening. A dozen people.

We are going to discuss Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants.” I was my suggestion. For those who have not read the book, it is about a very second-rate circus in the 1920’s written from the viewpoint and memories of a 90+ year old in a convalescent home. Loved the ending.

Michael doesn’t care one way or the other about the book club but he was not happy that we are hosting it. I, of course, have planned a wonderful array of food. Lots of finger foods. Lots of wine. Lots of beer. Lots of water.

The menu:

  • Good potato chips
  • Spicy almonds – homemade and delicious
  • Reduced savory wine sauce over goat cheese on crostini
  • Shrimp Vermicelli pasta – served cold - homemade
  • Olives
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Assortment of cheeses, fruit and crackers
  • Pita with Tzatziki sauce
  • Bruschetta – homemade
  • Mixed Tomato with Balsamic Vinegar and Dill
  • Roasted Red Peppers, Kalamata Olives and Capers
  • Mozzarella, Pesto, Arugula and Parmesan
  • Petit fours
  • Fudge - homemade
  • Good cookies
  • Centerpieces – cotton candy and kettle corn

I think Michael is worried that I will over-do it again. He is probably right. I have promised that I will rest afterwards. Well, except that we are leaving for Las Vegas three days later. I have three days to recover. Vegas.

Viva Las Vegas!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Energy Conservation













Okay. I am exhausted. It is due to the lack of sleep and too much ink on the calendar.
I find I am coughing a lot which usually means that I am doing too much. I will try to pull back as much as I can this week.
This week: Mammogram, Orchestra Rehearsal, Rehab every day and the Book Club here on Friday.
I will need to clean the house, cut the grass, wash the windows, food shop several times and pull it all together for Friday night. We are expecting about a dozen people at 6:30. I am looking forward to it. I will also be happy to fall into bed that night.
Yesterday, the week didn't begin well at all.
The plan: rehab, food shopping in two stores, washing and ironing sheets and tablecloths.
The reality: Natalie, Winnie and Oliver came in the morning then left around 11:00. I ran to the bank then headed to rehab. While driving on the pass, Christien called needing lunch because the movers were there and she couldn't get away. I tossed rehab out the window and headed to a store, met at her house and we had lunch together. I then headed to one store, drove home and put all the groceries away. I then headed to another store here in town, came house and hauled more groceries into the house. I ironed the sheets and tablecloths, washed the wine glasses for Friday night and cleaned the candlesticks. I was totally done. Spent.
After warming up leftovers for dinner, I was in bed asleep by 8:00.
My lists are made for the week. I will try to do a little bit everyday, though some days are busier than others. Tomorrow I am driving to my hospital to visit Cynthia who just had her hip replacement yesterday. Afterwards, I have a lot on my list of things to do.

It is going to be a long week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Regrets Aside

I wrote in a recent blogs that one of my regrets is not seeing my only niece very often. It would be nice to be with her alone. Just the two of us.

It is arranged. Shelley is meeting me early on a Saturday morning towards the end of October for lunch then to a see the new version of West Side Story in the city.

That night, we will be going to share my favorite lamb daube at Chez Papa or driving down the coast for soup. She is a foodie. I have a feeling Michael will also take her to Dynamo Donuts in SF on her way home the next morning.

I also have a feeling that there will not be a moment of silence! We have lots to talk about!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Less than Two Days

That is all we had with him. Less than two days.

Our son.

Life is changing for him. He has made some changes. He has control of his life. We did raise a fearless son. He is not afraid of failing. So different from me. So like his father.

He began the trip from Seattle on Wednesday afternoon and spent the night in Redding. He and his girlfriend – whom we had not met – arrived on Thursday around 5:00.

What is it about the smell of your own child? I am sure it is the same with all mammals. Mother and child. From the beginning of time.

He looked good. He looked happy. He looked relaxed.

I instantly liked Kimberly. She was wonderful. Dark hair, blue eyes, skinny, black hair. But, her eyes were alive and she had great humor. She helped set the table without asking, she removed all the dishes and offered to put everything in the dishwasher. She seemed very low drama and easy going. So lovely to be around. She was a nanny and loves children. Thank you Lord above!

They were here for a concert in SF on Friday sponsored by Levi’s. Taking full advantage of a lovely hotel room, they arrive back to our house on Saturday afternoon. We grabbed a sandwich in town for lunch - on homemade delectable bread. Later, he brought dinner back from our favorite Mexican food joint for the best Mexican food this side of the city. He had tongue tacos!

Very early Sunday morning, Michael drove them to the airport where they will fly off for a much needed vacation to Hawaii for 17 days. Aloha!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Audi, DMV and BBQ

William gave us his car. He bought a new one. The out of state registration is expiring at the end of the month so we needed to quickly register it in our state.

Drama. Lots of drama. DMV appointments. Paperwork and inspections. Smog. Fees. More fees.

I was not looking forward to it.

Michael knew that a friend’s daughter has a certification to perform all of the inspections and complete all the required paperwork for the DMV. He contacted her and we met at her house on Monday afternoon.

I had not seen her since she was eight years old! She is now 43 and has three high school aged boys. We also met her husband who was a great guy. She inspected the car, completed the paper work and accessed the fees for the new registration for the year plus all the other fees for a grand total of –drum roll - $129.00. WOW! The new plates should arrive in the mail within 10 days. Done. Easy. Thank you.

She refused any payment for her services. We had been talking about food then specifically about BBQ. We told them about the great BBQ we had in Texas, Memphis and Alabama. When she would not accept any payment, we told them we would have some Corky’s BBQ shipped to them from Memphis as a thank you.

It arrived Friday. We ordered 2 racks of ribs, a pound of pulled pork, pound of smoked sausage, large order of baked beans, BBQ sauce, some spice rub and a pecan pie.

She e-mailed that they loved it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back to Back























Michael left at dawn on Wednesday to drive my mom back to a Stanford satellite facility near our home. I met them there. We arrived on time for the consult for her back.

They were amazing and we never waited for a moment. We were escorted to and from x-ray. The people were marvelous and I loved being there.

They showed great respect when they spoke with my mom and listened to everything she described to them. I loved them even more for those considerations.

After reviewing the November MRI and the x-rays taken minutes earlier, the doctor announced that he knew the cause her pain. The first thing he said was that she would not die from this or losing any feeling in her arms or legs. She was so relieved.

He said, “You have a broken spine.”

What?!?

Yes, in two places.

He showed us where it appeared at L1 and L2 on the November MRI. Right where she has been complaining about pain. All of mom’s doctors said there was nothing wrong. No one spotted it.

He showed us where they were on the new x-rays and the dramatic difference in the curvature of her spine since November.

Then he said, ”If you want the surgery to repair it, I can do it. I do it all the time to people your age. What you need to consider is it’s a 15-18 hours surgery and there are always complications ranging from a UTI to death. One out of three people develop serious complications such as heart attack or stroke following the surgery. Also, there is a six month recovery period.”

Well, nothing worried mom except the six-month recovery. She said it would drive her crazy.

He then said, “Another option is rehab three days a week for six months. We will then take another x-ray to compare the muscles and see if there is a difference in the level of your pain. The rehab will strengthen the muscles around those vertebrae, offer relief and will allow you to stand longer and straighter. You are bent over from muscle fatigue.”

Bingo.

So, we left with the prescription for rehab near her home, which begins next Thursday. Three days a week. Six months.

That night, she ate a huge dinner and said she felt great knowing the cause of the pain but also knowing that she could do something about it: Exercise! Rehab!

She is so hopeful.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jeep-BMW=Convertible


Michael and I have recently realized that we have not been going on drives after work or early on Sunday morning or just anytime. We have been very house bound. He feels the reason is that we don’t have a convertible anymore. I think he is right.

With Christien moving, she has been selling almost everything. She is in that stage of life where she no longer needs stuff. I totally understand.

She is selling both of her cars. We bought her 1997 Jeep. A photo of the model is above.

Michael will drive her Jeep while I drive the Audi station wagon William gave us a year or so ago. We will sell our 1994 840 BMW. A rare car. We are going to bank that money then save up to buy a two or three year old convertible. The drives are good for our souls. Important.

I giggled when I realized that we were actually planning ahead. We would have not been mentally able to do that just two years ago. We could only live each day and just plan for the next because the future was so unclear.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Losing a Friend but Gaining a Vacation Spot!

Christien is moving. It is good.

I met her when I first worked in the music program in 1994. Her two children played instruments and Christien was an aide for the 5th grade math teacher. They had just moved back into the area from England. She was tall and elegant. We are the same age.

She later became the administrative assistant to my friend Cynthia when she became head of the Middle School. They made a great team. Christien is blessed with a brilliant mind for logistics. She was the grease that made the Middle School run smoothly.

After two other heads, she did not get along with the current one who was threatened by her knowledge and ability to move everything forward without him. She was frustrated not being able to do things in a timely manner, watched it all fall apart needlessly then got the blame.

The head of the school encouraged her to join the development department. They needed someone to organize it all. She was perfect for the job. It also had no stress which was such a difference from her other position. She has been in the new job just over a year.

Her former husband informed her last September that he was not employed and would not be paying her alimony anymore. She depended on this alimony to pay her property taxes, her expenses and bought a house nine years ago based on this income. He has not yet found employment. He still has not paid any alimony. He is a lawyer who is remarried. Alimony, unlike child support, cannot tap the spouse’s income. With her income, there is no reason for him to be employed again.

He is a jerk.

Her children are living in Chicago and North Carolina. Her parents live outside Philadelphia. Why is she still here in California?

This has been in the back of her mind for a couple of years. I have encouraged her to move and her daughter has also encouraged her to mover closer to her. What could be better?

So, our friend from the book club was her real estate agent and they sold her house within the second week of its listing. It has a 30-day closing. She is leaving. Really.

She was waiting to be sure it was sold before she informed the school. The financials came through late last week so she resigned yesterday. She told the school that she needs to be closer to her parents right now. Period. No need for any more information.

She also found a beautiful home in North Carolina and is under contract there - paying cash! What a difference in price from California real estate! When she moves into her new home, her former husband will no longer control her life. She will be able to afford it with or without him. If he ever is employed again and pays her alimony, she will bank that money. She is free of him. She is also mentally free of him for the first time since the divorce. She is finally moving forward. It has been thrilling to watch.

So, I am losing a close friend but we will still phone each other often and we have made plans to visit her next year. We haven’t been to North Carolina yet. Now there is a good reason to go!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dinner In












We were invited to our friend’s house for dinner. These are the dear friends, Lori and Dave, who we recently reconnected with a few months ago. They had been on an Alaskan cruise and we were looking forward to hearing all about the trip.

I brought a simple appetizer of Medjool dates stuffed with Spanish chorizo sausage wrapped in bacon then pan cooked and served hot. How can anything with bacon not be good! It was sweet, spicy and salty. All the important food sensations in one small appetizer!

Lori is a great cook so the spaghetti sauce cooking on the stove most of the day was full of flavor and had a wonderful texture. The salad was a bonus and I even had a piece of bread!

After dinner, their son Joel dropped in and told hilarious stories about his experiences as a doorman at the Ritz. That guy can tell a good story. Dealing with the public is never easy.

Listening to their tales of the cruise, I so wish we could travel. I have such wanderlust. Cruises seems so different than when we traveled on the Sun Viking through the Caribbean in 1978. The food was superb and elegant with assigned seating. Now, it is so much more casual. We just are not casual people. If I were ever to be allowed on a cruise, we would choose a small, adult centered and expensive one. I don’t want casual. I want high quality rooms and food.

But, alas, we will probably never be allowed to cruise. The worry is the ventilation systems, the close proximity of a lot of people and the threat of the Norovirus. Three strikes. We’re out!

FAIL BLOG

Such bad news. I am posting this from an Apple Store. My laptop finally crashed. Maybe it can be fixed but, alas, I think not.

Will be back.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oh No

After I wrote yesterday’s blog, I happened to glance at the calendar. It is crazy full and I worry that it will once again set me backwards. I just do not want to go there.

William is coming for a visit between a concert and a trip to Hawaii. He loves my cooking so I have to make something wonderful. We’re talking Pork Loin Roast – with bones – roasted over red potatoes and served with homemade applesauce. He visits so rarely that I really want him to remember the tastes, smells and conversations of his visit well after he leaves once again. He also is here to check on the progress of the 1966 Mustang convertible he and his dad are working on together. Michael has prepared a surprise. He had an artist paint a “Rat Fink” on the back panel. The photo was taken of his back panel...it's a car thing.

At the same time, Michael’s driving the 100 miles to grab my mom then they will meet me at a doctor’s office just 20 miles from our house. I will take her from there. She has an appointment with a renowned back specialist to advise her on her situation. Later that evening, she wants to go to the orchestra rehearsal with me.

The 16th will find me driving 100 miles to mom’s home then driving the 100 miles back while William hangs with his dad.

The 17th will find me back to the other rehab and William at his concert. Afterwards, he will spend another day with us before he leaves for Hawaii.

The house will be full! Love that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Maybe, Just Maybe

It maybe changing. I suddenly noticed last week that I don’t seem to be pushing myself to do simple tasks anymore. This has been a problem since May. May. The month I totally over-did everything: concert dress rehearsal, investigating independent living places for mom, Mary’s visit and the orchestra concert. Just too much.

I have been pushing myself to make the bed every morning, to get my makeup on and do my hair, to get dressed, to go to rehab, to stay awake past 7:00, to make dinner, to drive anywhere, to leave the house. Adjust and move on. That is the motto. So, that is what I have been doing. I did pull way back on my schedule but still felt no relief.

I was worried that this feeling of exhaustion, helplessness and just not breathing well was going to be the new normal.

But now I think I am beginning to get my energy back.

One foot in front of the other. Baby steps.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shocked

I am really shocked. The house behind us is now for sale, too! The sign went up today and they are asking $669,000. Low. It does need a lot of work including the back yard. The new fence looked great in the MLS listing photos!

They were a really great family. They had two little boys and two old dogs. We rarely heard them and they were so nice when we would run into them in town.

So, here we go into the future. Two new neighbors right next door to us and a third one two houses away. Exciting.

We so hope that wonderful people move in!

In other news: As you may have seen on the network news, there was a neighborhood in flames last night. We were able to see the smoke from our house but were in no way impacted by it. We both have friends who live in that area, have heard from many but are still waiting to hear from one family who lives a little too close to the center of it all. Hope they are fine.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Free at Last












It is coming to an end. The nightmare of living next door to a couple with major alcohol issues is ending.

Piecing all the information together, we have learned that the dad (we always called them the dad and the mom) may be going to jail related to a DUI. He told one neighbor that he is going on a job in Samoa for a year. He told another that they are buying a place on the delta. The last time he was incarcerated, he was in a Sheriff work camp for a DUI yet he told everyone that he was working in Seattle for the year. Funny thing, another neighbor’s brother was in the same work camp. Busted.

The dad pulled into his driveway one evening well over a year ago and continued to talk on a cell phone from his truck. I was watering. He saw me but he continued his loud conversation liberally sprinkled with foul language. He clearly had been drinking. He was talking about their mortgage and that they owed $940,000 on their house as they took the equity out to build their second home, which is paid for.

So, they owe more than the house is worth with no equity, it has a huge mortgage and they may have no income. If what he said is true – he rarely tells the truth or the same lie twice - it will be a short sale as they are asking $875,000. We bet that it will sell for around $800,000.

Roy just told me that they both choose the same realtor and the dad told both of them different stories. Our guess is that the mom will be staying in the second house for the year with her mother, who also lives there. That should be fun.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if they will do any more damage to our property as they leave. I wouldn’t be surprised.

I so hope that a nice family or an older couple buys the house. We will welcome them with open arms!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The End. What Happens After Death


That is the cover of the September issue of Scientific American magazine. Very interesting.

The subjects include why humans will never be able to live forever, an intense article about the process of organ transplants, the famous Body Farm and a time line of how our bodies break down when exposed to the environment after death, the issue of disappearing cultures, the cosmos and question if it could end itself, and finally, then what?

There is a hilarious article on the final page about Deepak Chopra and his claim to have caused the Baja earthquake last April.
Worth reading.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Yard is Finished - Almost!











Photos are of the finished gardens include our little secret garden, the back fence, the sun patio and the side patio.

It really never is totally finished, is it? We still are waiting for the contractor to fix the damage to the patio when the old posts were removed. Also, we are waiting for the new fountain. It will be made of three large rocks drilled out for lighted water to cascade down the face of each rock. Oh my.

But, everything else is finished. Here are some photos. We have replanted with the goal of reducing the amount of trimming and yard work for me. I want to be able to garden as long as possible. The fence is the masterpiece of the garden. It sets the scene.




We planted a lot of Asian style plants but I promised Michael that there would be no pagodas! There is just a subtle suggestion of an Asian garden. We planted three rhododendrons along the back fence, two fortnight lilies between them and azaleas in the front. A new Japanese maple is at one end and a Meyers Lemon at the other end. We also planted two Kangaroo Paws – gold and red at the far end.

On the side patio are large pots of tule and bamboo. Simple.

In the walkway to the secret garden, we transplanted four huge hydrangeas but one did not transplant well. It has been trimmed back and hopefully will come back in the spring. In the little garden, we included a Bird of Paradise, Jade plant, day lilies, azaleas, and an orange Angel’s Trumpet. It should all grow in well with very little maintenance.

Finished! Ah, almost.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Facebook









Hell has frozen over! My mom is on Facebook. She found that she could chat with my sister, my niece Shelley or me while on it. She was intrigued.

We set up the account when she was here for her birthday and I think she already had a dozen friends. I love that she has embraced technology. It may take awhile to figure it all out but she is not afraid.

We were at her house last year, she had AT&T out to fix a problem with her TV service but they pulled the service to the Internet by accident. It was a Sunday. Her comment: “Can you please call them to reconnect it from their end? I can’t be offline another day!”

I loved that. We got her back online.

She now likes to read all the conversations, see all the photos and has become a true Facebook member. I am so proud of her!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Comcast

Goodbye. It has been a long relationship that began in 1975. I do not like to talk with you on the phone. I will not miss you.

There is no HD in our area even though we have had to pay for it each month as part of our bill. The cable reception is awful and it is often not working properly. It is also more expensive with lesser service than any other city because we are in a rural area.

Recently, a notice appeared on each cable stations that now every TV in the house needed a control box. We have four TVs. We have basic service. We don’t want to pay monthly fees for four boxes. Oh, and it was going to cost a lot more for basic service.

We called DirecTV. They were here within two days. No rental charge for the boxes. No charge for the dish. No charge for installation.

It was installed today. The picture is amazing. We feel like we have finally come into the 21st century technology-wise. DVR? Magical! We only have one HD TV so far and we just cannot believe the clarity of the many channels. Turner Movie Classics! Bravo! Speed Channel! We are happy.

Now, we have hundreds of channels but still nothing is on!! HA!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Birthday Fun












Michael is a man who has many friends. Each friend thinks he is Michael’s best friend. In truth, he has a handful of really good friends and a truckload of friends. He is a lucky man. They are all really great people.

Because of this, his birthday is going to be celebrated for the entire month! Everyone wants to be with him, which is not a bad problem to have!

But, he wanted a quiet birthday. Just the two of us.

So, we spent the day together. Alone. Well, except for Don. We called him on our way to Dynamo Donuts for a birthday donut. He met us there and chatted for a couple of hours over apple filled maple covered with bacon sprinkled donuts. Mine was a Caramel de Sel. Amazing. $3.00 each. Small. Worth every dollar.

Afterwards, we headed downtown. After cleaning his closet last month, it was clear the poor man needed new everyday clothing. Off we went to the main H&M store and went crazy. From there we hit Macy’s for more. He is good for a year!

We dropped by one of his most favorite restaurant, Out the Door, which is a smaller version of the very famous and wonderful Slanted Door, for a light lunch. Afterwards, we drove home and spread mulch in the gardens (both wearing masks) for almost three hours! What a workout!

We were still full from lunch so I baked an apple pie for dinner/desert. With a candle, of course.

We sent photos to William throughout the day and talked with him several times. He is in LA, will be in our area in the middle of the month then off to Hawaii for 17 days. Wish we could join him!