Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Just to let everyone know why I haven't been posting, I was re-admitted to the hospital the day after Christmas. I'll update when I'm released.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


The surgery went very well and I was able to leave the hospital by 10:00 am.  Once the anesthetic wore completely off I was in misery, which lasted through the night and into this morning.  During the middle of the night we phoned the doctor on call, and after consultation with another doctor he told me I could take alternating doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone.  The hydro has given me so many side effects, but now I'm ready to taper off and space the doses further apart.  I think I will live.

The agony is because they pump air into the abdomen, and it causes severe pain especially around the rib on the right side as well as in the shoulder.  Once I was able to get up and walking it has gotten measureably better.  It still hurts to breathe deeply and to cough is really painful, but I feel better today although I still haven't eaten anything.  I get nauseated thinking about food.

I think if I had this done 20 years ago it might not have been as hard on me, but at 73 I've had a rough time.  Thaks to everyone who has been thinking of me and wishing me well.  

I ended up not going back to my house as I quickly realized I just couldn't take care of myself.  Jeannie and Ara have been wonderful!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Just waiting

I'm running out of things to think about that don't involve food, since I'm on the liquid diet today.  So far I've had black coffee, cranberry juice, and water - can't say I'm hungry but every time I open the fridge to get the cranberry juice I see food!

I have to leave for the hospital at 5:00 am; Jeannie and Ara are planning to take me and wait during the operation so they can bring me back home.  I'm determined to come straight home and be by myself.  I will take enough meds that I'll probably sleep anyway.  

I did a few test exercises this morning to see what I can and can't do, and I am afraid I will never be able to get up from the floor gracefully - I'll always have to give myself a boost.  But I've accomplished a lot more in the last couple of months than I had hoped for, and I don't think I could be any more ready for surgery, both physically and mentally, and now it's up to my doctor.

I'm not sure when I'll be back online after today.  Checking my email and blogs is such a habit that I might find myself doing it without thinking, but I'm not going to stress over it.  So I'll take this opportunity to wish all of you the best of this holiday season, however you celebrate.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Joe's graduation

The day finally came and Joe is a Respiratory Therapist.  His graduation last night was a joyful occasion for all of us.

Tired of carrying around my big Fuji camera, which I have learned to like after getting used to how it works, I bought myself a cheap little Canon Powershot A1400 with an optical viewfinder.  The pictures I took last night are from the Canon, and I really have a lot to figure out about it - not satisfied with the pictures at all.  Of course there is no printed matter that came with it.

This is my granddaughter, Ara, sporting her new sophisticated haircut.  I love it!

This one is of Steve

And here is my Joey

Nieces Katy and Stephanie:  Katy is here from NY for Christmas.

No occasion is complete without one of Donald's cakes.  I'm sorry I couldn't get a really good shot at it - the top part is a figure in scrubs, the RT, and below that is a pair of "lungs" - all of it cake.  

A couple more shots of Joe:

We went back to their house after the graduation which soon got pretty packed with friends and family.  My brother and his wife, and two of their sons came up from Livermore, and it was certainly good to see them again.

Unfortunately I'm not at the top of my game and didn't get any pictures of my d-i-l Sarah, who made innumerable sacrifices so that Joe could accomplish what he did.  Jeannie and Donald were there, as well as Steve's wife Megan, my sister Amy, and of course, all the little kids.  

I came home before the cake was cut but Donald promised to save me some.  Next up is that Joe has to take the state board exam, and the job interviews.  

I'm debating whether or not to go for one last strenuous workout at the gym.  I think I might do it, and then crash for the rest of the day.  I wish I had an appetite because tomorrow I'll be drinking only black coffee, water, and juice.

A word about spam:  I have been inundated with spam comments, all supposedly for one particular blog entry I made back at the end of September.  Now I just got a spam comment for a recent blog, and I wonder if there will be more to follow.  I tried to see if I could just delete the offending blog entry but there doesn't seem to be an option to do that.  I guess I just put up with it, and I wish I understood the motivation for people to send the spam to begin with.  Do they really think I will click on their link?   Spam, breach of credit card info at Target, mail fraud, etc.  Where does it end, or does it end at all.   It looks like it will continue to be a problem.  I have decided to get cash from the credit union ATM and not use my debit or credit cards unless it is a place I trust.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A resting-up day

I certainly don't have the stamina I once had.  Just a little bit of shopping yesterday and I need a day of rest.

I actually am amazed at how confident and hopeful I am in what the future holds for me, although at the same time I feel as if I'm dropping down a deep, dark hole.  Everything about those feelings is contradictory, but that's the reality of it, and as long as I'm feeling positive it really doesn't matter.

I thought I might be making a big mistake last night when I found and watched a video of laparascopic gallbladder surgery.  Twice I told myself to turn it off, but I watched the whole thing through.  I'm sure I can be so unconcerned because I know that when I get the anesthetic I won't even find myself dreaming - next thing I know I'll wake up and it will be all over with, so I don't really care how they go about it. 

It is really windy today with about 20mph winds.  Together with temps in the 60's makes for a chilly day, but at least it has been sunny.

I'm looking forward to the graduation tomorrow and the party afterwards at Joe & Sarah's house.  I bought myself a 6 pack of Clausthaler's non-alcoholic beer to take, even though I could drink regular beer if I choose to.  Might as well not though.

Something to look forward to is the fact that Saturday will be the shortest day of the year, and from then on the days will lengthen.  That means spring and summer can't be too far off!  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Shopping trip

My youngest son, Joe, graduates this coming Friday, and we got together to get him outfitted in a new suit with all the accessories, which he will need for job interviews.  I know guys probably don't say "accessories", but I mean shirt, tie, shoes, etc.  We shopped at Jos. A. Banks, and I mostly followed the advice of oldest son, Mike, in NY as far as what we bought.  Mike sent a generous offering and we are all chipping in, so it's a good family feeling.

We went to Hoppy's for lunch and I got my fish & chips, as well as had a glass of their brewed-on-premises beer.  It tasted good, especially how it's been since Thanksgiving that I've had an adult beverage.  Now I'm back to teetotaling until surgery and for the time it takes to get off pain meds.

I have been looking through old pictures, and wanted to post the following one in light of my previous entries about smiling for my picture.  My mother always hated to have her picture taken, but she sure is smiling in this one.  Grandchildren perform magic!
And speaking of my mom, this very old picture must have been taken when she was about 18 yrs old.  I hadn't realized how pretty she was.  This must have been taken shortly after she met my dad!

My mom had 8 children, all of whom are still living, and 18 living grandchildren plus two deceased.  I have four children and 8 living grandchildren plus two deceased.  I've always been happy I came from a large family, and that I was able to have four of my own.  In these days the cost would be prohibitive for most people to even consider having a lot of kids, plus the realization that the earth is overpopulated and with limited resources.  Today I am really grateful for family!

I am really tired now and plan to just take it easy for the rest of the day.  Wish I had another glass of beer!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One step forward, two back

I sure took two steps back last night.  Jeannie came by and took me over to the gym closest to where I live, and we had a great workout.  I didn't realize how big the place is and how much it has to offer, and probably would never have gone exploring on my own.  I must have worked out with a vengeance because sometime in the middle of the night I was as sick as a dog!  (Now where does that old expression come from?  I tried to think of an alternative but can't come up with one.  Apologies to all the dogs out there!)  I'm ok now but I didn't get out of bed until close to 9 am.

Ara gets in just before 1 pm today.  She left Philly early this morning and has a change of planes in SLC.  I'm afraid to check the weather in either place, and just hope everything goes smoothly for her.

This is me with two of my granddaughters taken last Sunday.  They always make me smile.  (Click photo to enlarge.)

I love my new eyeglasses but need to go back to Walmart Optical and get them adjusted.  They hurt my head after wearing them for a while.  Even driving near a Walmart parking lot at this time of year is a no-no for me, and hurts my head just thinking about it!

Jeanne and I looked over an album of photos from November 1999 when we made a trip to Ireland.  I had already been there and decided to move there soon, and this was just a fun trip for Jeannie, Ara, and me.  The pictures brought back so many good memories for both of us, and I realized that 14 years from now people won't sit around looking at old photos on their iPhones.  My own opinion is that we lose a lot when we rely on technology to keep our treasured memories.  There is nothing like paging through a photo album in my opinion, or even going through a shoe box of pictures.  I have always been sentimental, and I suppose now I'm turning into a sentimental old fool :-)

We are supposed to have a high of 67 degrees today!  That's really getting up there but it won't last long and then go down about 10 degrees.  This weather see-saws back and forth but that's okay - it's all good.

I think I should get dressed before Noon today, which doesn't give me all that much time!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Be careful what you wish for

All my life I wished for naturally curly hair, and all my life my hair has been straight as a poker.  That is until a few years ago when I started being told by hairdressers that I had "a bend" in my hair.  Where I want it to bend down and under, it bends out and back and it isn't easy to control with my new haircut, but I guess if I had to complain about something, this would be the most laughable!  If I loaded up on styling mousse, hairspray, and dried it with a hairdryer it might be more manageable, but I love the freedom from using all that stuff.  It's also easier when my lifestyle takes me out on the road or trail.

I made another batch of blueberry muffins this morning, and added some chopped walnuts and a shake of cinnamon.  Delicious!  It is nice just being able to grab a couple of muffins along with whatever else I eat for breakfast.

I've watched several of the Ken Burns series on the National Parks, and find them a bit repetitious.  The scenery is breathtaking, and the sound clips from various park superintendents and former Interior Secretary Udall are very interesting, but I find the sections on corporate greed trying to exploit the parks, the drive to exterminate the original inhabitants and their source of food - Indians and bison - abominable, and I just can't stand to watch it.  I love the fact that the President can name National Monuments without congressional approval, and I think of all the wonderful National Monuments I've been to.  I worry that budget cuts will just put more of the running of the parks to contractors, whose first concern is profit.  There are some things you can't measure by profit or loss.  Having worked with National Park rangers and other employees, I find they are truly interested in providing the public with the best possible experience in the Parks.  I have never run into a contractor who gives a damn.

I've been having such difficulty with my kitchen faucet and the water running so slow, as well as taking forever to get hot water.  I took off the bottom part of the fixture thinking it must be terribly clogged, and it was fairly bad, but when I cleaned and screwed it back on it was the same tiny and slow stream of water.  It is aggravating considering I wash dishes by hand.

So I unscrewed the little filter piece and turned the water on hot, and waited to fill the dishpan - to my amazement it was almost instantly hot and the stream of water was normal.  I filled up my Brita pitcher with cold water and had to dump it out - full of grit and a yellowish color.  So I can't leave the part off of the faucet permanently, but will just remove it when I do dishes.  See, Billy Bob, I can fix things too!  (Yeah, I know it isn't a permanent fix, but it's a good redneck fix and will work for me!)

Nothing much

Jeannie called me early this morning asking if I wanted to come over for coffee.  Since I had already made a pot, I just took mine over in a thermos and visited for a while.  I asked her to take a photo of me with the two girls and am waiting for her to email it to me for possible inclusion in the blog.  I'm sure it would be a better picture of me and my haircut when I have my arms around two little girls!  That alone brings a smile to my face.

I came back home after a couple of hours as I was feeling strange.  It's the same thing happening to me that I experience before any big event in my life - beginning a trip was such a time, back in August.  For a week or more before the actual event I start to lose focus and concentration, and just feel like I'm separated from  reality.  I know the upcoming surgery is one reason for it, plus the fact that Ara is arriving on Tuesday and Joe graduates on Friday of next week, and then I'm under the knife a week from tomorrow.  I also have a feeling I'm going to miss Christmas with the family this year.  (If I'm still on vicodin I'm sure I need to be safe at home in bed!)  It's more than I want to deal with in such a short time span, so I withdraw and go inward.

So I've spent most of the day just sitting around, looking at camping and hiking gear on the computer, reading hikers' journals, and trying to keep my mind occupied.  I hope tomorrow is a better day; at least I will try to get to the gym which I always look forward to.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday morning

It's been a good morning so far - I had a leisurely breakfast and coffee, got a shower and loved washing short hair for a change, then went to the Farmer's market.  I took a handful of singles out of my wallet before I left, as I try to have them on hand for the Salvation Army lady, or the like.  I would have spent them had I taken them to the market.  It didn't take me long to make my selections - the first booth is all Certified Organic, and the farm owners grow everything they sell.  I've never been unhappy with anything I purchased from them, and I spent the cash I had brought along - not all that much, really.  It won't do to get a lot of food in unless I can use it in the next week.
(I was going to crop the photo so it just showed the food, but couldn't get it right.  Three of those old Rx bottles are how I divide up my vitamins and supplements into AM, Noon, & PM.  I'm not taking much now because they don't want me taking any supplements, so I'm just left with a few vitamins.  Remember to click on the picture to enlarge it.)
I found a recipe with pictures online for fixing butternut squash.  One is to grate it and fry like hashbrowns.  The picture shows it fried to a beautiful golden brown, and an over easy egg on top.  That makes my appetite jump just to look at that picture.  Another recipe is for rough slicing them as for french fries.  Supposedly they are even better tasting and more nutritious than sweet potato fries.  I bought two butternut squash and printed out two each of the recipes - one for me and one for Donald.  They like sweet potato fries, so I'm hoping they will like the squash.  For me, I'm fixin' the hashbrown version!

I didn't intend to write a blog about food today, but I have to mention the egg muffins.  I had eaten two of them right out of the oven and put the remaining four in the fridge.  This morning I took out two more of them and warmed them in the microwave - delicious as the moment they came out of the oven!  I will be making them again next week, and this time will add a few more veggies - maybe some potatos, carrots, broccoli, whatever I have on hand.  I guess I should make them in the large muffin tin.  Having something like that on hand can really be nice in the morning when you are ravenous.  After I got back from the market I fixed myself a double portion of oatmeal, lots of sugar added because I like my oatmeal with sugar!  I love it when my appetite is working normally, but still can't understand why I look like a stick.  Dang, I'd love to be voluptuous!

It's going to be a gorgeous sunny day with temps hopefully reaching 62.  In the Sacramento sun 62 is warm!  I need to get outdoors, so maybe a walk at Mather Field will be good.

Oh, about the picture of my short hair vs the one in the upper right of my blog, which was cropped from a professionally taken portrait.  (It was taken at a time when all my children and grandkids were together, and was an occasion of joy.)  I mentioned that I took about 20 shots holding the camera out in front of me, and all but one went into the trash.  I can't take a decent photo up that close, and smiling for such a picture makes it look pretty scary.  Maybe during the coming week when we are together for Joe's graduation, I'll get some photos on my camera and possibly be able to crop a decent one of me and my haircut.

I have one more thing to comment about, and that is the news that the US will allow chickens raised in the United States to be shipped to China where they will be processed, and then returned for sale in the U.S.  Does this sound right to anyone out there?  How can it be possible that a profit can be made considering transportation to and from the US to China?  So what else is going on.  It sounds to me like an effort to put damn near every American out of work or into dead-end jobs selling Chinese chicken at Walmart.  Just look at the food safety record for anything from China (baby food, pet food, etc.) and tell me you would buy that crap?  End of rant.

Update:  I just read a further article about the China chicken thing, and it seems we (the U.S.) is doing this because China refuses to buy our beef otherwise.  So will the beef industry subsidize the chicken industry for the transportation costs?  I don't buy beef or chicken that isn't American organically raised, and I hope to hell it hasn't made it's way to Asia and back.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Going in Circles!

I got myself on the road this morning thinking I'd go to Costco; about halfway there I changed my mind and decided I'd try Target (I always spend more than I plan on at Costco), so I started circling over there.  Then I realized that much of what I wanted was in the food department, and I like to shop for groceries at grocery stores, when possible, so I just about completed the circle to drive to Bel Air.  Is that why women have the reputation for changing their minds so often? Nothing like being flexible, is the way I see it.

I filled another RX for post surgery and now I have taken care of all the items on that list.

Jeannie won't be going to the gym this evening as they are having Autumn's birthday party tomorrow - this is the kiddie party, but her actual birthday is on the 18th.  I decided to go to the gym closest to me and at least walk on the treadmill since that is probably one of the few things I'll be able to do for a while after my surgery.

I don't know what it is, but no matter what speed I set it at, I can't walk on one of those things without holding on.  I tried to act nonchalant and hold on with only one hand at a time, and tried to let go a few times and swing my arms, but I get dizzy, disoriented, and am afraid I'll keel over.  Maybe in time it will get better.  I walked most of a mile at 3mph, and a little slower on the warm up and cool down.  I'm really tired now - it's more work than you'd think.  I also walked around and looked at some of the machines - some are familiar, but I feel more comfortable at the other gym.  I'm lucky to have one so close though.

This morning I got around to making Carolyn's egg muffins, which are so good.  I just used sausage, egg, milk, and chopped fresh spinach.  Next time I'll try a few different veggies in it.

Sherry asked about a picture of my haircut.  I didn't take my camera to the hairdresser so I took about 20 "selfies" this morning most of which I immediately sent to the trash.  I think my hair looks much better - fuller and more poufy in reality than on this picture.  I also think I look like 20 miles of bad road, but I'm sorry, it's the best I can do right now. 

While the thermometer only reads 55 right now, it is delightfully warm outside in the sun - a beautiful day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's a good day

I saw my primary doctor this morning and got the EKG.  She also discussed the results of some recent tests, including the chest xray which looks terrific.  She is the 2nd doctor to suggest that I may be kept in the hospital for at least an additional day.  There goes Christmas with the family.  If I get out of the hospital on Christmas Eve, I won't be in any condition to be with my bunch of rowdies the next day.  I'm sure it will hurt to laugh, and I can't keep from laughing when my kids get together.

From there I wasn't far from my hairdresser's salon, but had a little while to kill before that appointment.  I ended up going to Starbucks which is a couple doors away from the hairdresser, and had a cup of coffee (I don't really like Starbucks) and a slab of coffee cake.  While I was eating I witnessed a conversation between 3 or 4 younger people and I swear I didn't understand a word they said!  Gee, I'm getting old!

I love my new haircut.  It's short, so no more hair falling in my face, or on my plate, or in my mouth when I'm eating, or all over my clothes.  I look like me again.

I don't understand what it is about scales - the kind you step on to find your weight.  Last night at the gym it registered 120; this morning at the doctor's office it was 114!  What happened to that 6#?  Usually the doctor's scale weighs me heavier, but in this case I just don't know.

So between appointments I stopped at Costco and bought a huge bottle of protein powder - I've been trying samples of different kinds but decided I need to settle on one and use it.  I also bought a 1/2 gallon of whole milk to mix with it.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to tolerate whole milk after my surgery so I'll just enjoy it while I can.  There may be a number of things that I won't tolerate, but I'll go by trial and error and see what I can eat.

I am feeling in great spirits right now and hope it lasts for a while.  I don't want to wish away precious days, but I will be glad to get this operation behind me, and then deal with the 2nd ERCP.  Then look out bears and mountain lions - I'm coming into your territory, so you'd better take cover!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cooking, reading, and DVD's

The meatloaf I made yesterday turned out very well.  I had a large helping of it for dinner, and a huge meatloaf sandwich for lunch today.  Next I'm going to try the Egg Muffins, but am too full from the sandwich to do it now.

I went to pick up some books I had requested from the library, and a DVD set caught my eye - Ken Burns' "The National Parks--America's Best Idea".  There are 5 dvd's and each one is a couple of hours, so it will take a lot of watching to get through them all.  I'm taking a little break from it now.

As most readers know 16 years ago I attempted to hike the Appalachian Trail from one end to the other in one go, somewhere about 2100 miles total.  I developed bursitis in my hip and had to quit after about 900 miles, and I've never given up on the idea of going back and hiking some more of it.  It's like I left a part of my soul on that trail.

I follow a forum called Whiteblaze.net which covers all topics connected to backpacking, gear, the trail, etc., and yesterday came across a 29 yr old who completed the thru-hike this past year.  I'm reading his blog account of the hike and have come to the conclusion that I don't ever want to go back and try to pick it up.  I would think differently if I was younger, but realize I don't even want to go there now - at least not for any serious distances.

What I do want to do are short trips from 2 days to a week in length, at a moderate pace without worrying about mileage covered.  That said, I will probably continue to get "Springer Fever" every year.  Springer Mtn in Georgia is the southern terminus of the AT and most backpackers get the longing to go there and start hiking in early spring.  In the meantime I will hope to be ready for springtime backpacking in Northern CA and maybe southern Oregon in 2014.

I arranged for an EKG in my doctor's office tomorrow morning, and will be relieved to have all the necessary pre-op tests done.  This morning a report of the ultrasound done when I was recently hospitalized was made available to me, and I think I have underestimated the seriousness of the whole thing.  My gallbladder is certainly worse off than I thought, so maybe I can understand the doctors' hestiancy to just jump right in without weighing the problems they are sure to run into.  I will be glad when the 23rd rolls around and let the chips fall where they may.

Today begins the warming trend to the mid-upper 50's, and then into the 60's.  My oldest son reminded me that December is always a cold month in Sacramento, and then the rains start falling and the temperature rises a bit.  I don't care for extended rainy weather, but I hope we get an adequate amount of rain to halt the drought we've been under.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Putting my energy to use

I didn't want to waste all this energy I seem to have, so after two loads of laundry done I decided to clean.  My house is a complete wreck, with clutter everywhere and dust that shows when the sunbeams shine in.  So what do you think I cleaned?  Under my bed!  Who is going to see the good job I did.  I even moved the bed so I could get all the dust bunnies that were hiding there.

Before my energy started flagging I mixed up the meatloaf and have the tin of 6 large muffin cups in the oven right now.  On my way to meet Jeannie last night for our trip to the gym, I took a small plastic cup and lid and "borrowed" some Worcestershire sauce.  I'm anxious to see how it tastes, but whether it's okay, just good, or terrific, I have my dinner for tonight plus more.  Right now I have to wait until the stuff comes out of the oven before I can take a nap!  Thanks to all who wrote with suggestions. 


Monday, December 9, 2013

Worn out by Noon!

I started early (for me) this morning and got two pre-op tests out of the way, the chest xray and blood draw.  The local clinic doesn't do EKG's so I will probably have to go downtown to my doctor's office for it.

I bought another muffin tin with 6 large cups, much bigger than the one I use for muffins.  I have all the ingredients to make meatloaf as well as the Egg Muffins suggested by Carolyn.  The trouble is that I'm too tired to do it right now.  Maybe after a nap I might feel like it.  I don't know if I will be going to the gym tonight but I hope so.  I can just eat an egg sandwich or fry a hamburger for a protein jolt beforehand.

It is really cold although the sun in shining, still in the 40's.  We'll go up to the 50's for about a week and then into the 60's!  It will feel like a heat wave when that happens.

I took my nap and woke up ravenous, and decided to make the meatloaf.  As always, there is one ingredient I don't have on hand.  This time is is Worcestershire sauce, so I'll make the meatloaf tomorrow after a quick trip to the grocery.  I fixed myself a sandwich to relieve my hunger, and I might go make a dent in the number of muffins left.  I think I have 4 remaining (actually 3 now, since I got one in the middle of this sentence).  I don't know where my appetite is coming from, but I am fairly certain it won't last.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Cold Continues

I was so chilled this morning that I got out my down jacket to wear to Costco.  We got there early and checked out before the big crush.

I only bought a few items, including Benadryl tablets that I was out of, and some organic beef.  I've noticed that eating beef raises my energy level somewhat, and I need all the help I can get.  How to fix it is another matter though - I don't want to make full-size recipes for anything.  I think I will try to find some small loaf pans and maybe make a couple of little meat loaves.  For something so easy I probably make the world's worst meatloaf, and it doesn't matter which recipe I follow or even whether I use a recipe.

I'm enjoying the muffins and having one now for dessert with a cup of Irish tea.  I normally don't like tea but Barry's Irish is about the only kind I can drink.  Six muffins left!

I am so irritated when I read that there will probably be a new federal safety plan aimed at senior drivers.  There is no question that the senior group have a low accident rate, and that is no doubt because we pick and choose the time, routes, speed, etc. that we drive, often with our own safety and that of others in mind.  We don't need a new plan, what we need is enforcement to curb the outrageous speed and driving habits of younger and middle aged people.  When you see cars weaving in and around others on the road, excessive speed, tailgating, quickness to honk the horn, etc., it's not likely to be a senior behind the wheel!  Instead of enforcing the laws already on the books, they want to make it more difficult for the group of superior drivers to stay in their cars.

It's 36F, going to a low around 27 tonight.  I am freezing even wrapped in a warm fleecy throw. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baking on a Saturday morning

I've had my old cookbook sitting out for about a week now, thinking I'd make blueberry muffins (with frozen blueberries).  Today is the day!

I discovered I was out of baking powder and got ready to go to the grocery, when I thought I should just look for a substitute - 2 tsp cream of tartar and 1 tsp baking soda = baking powder, although the taste might be a little different.  You can also use just baking soda but at reduced measure.  I got the batter ready to pour into my 6 section muffin pan.  The recipe says it makes 12 (and I got 15 good sized muffins - 11 of them left.  It took me a lot more time to wait until the pan cooled and get it ready for more batter, but they are all done.  

I'll have to say they are delicious, and the first thing I noticed about them is that they aren't as sweet as store bought muffins or prepared mixes. (I used 2 cups flour + 1/3 cup sugar). It makes you realize how things were in the old days - muffins were never as sweet as cake, but now nearly every prepared product in the stores is loaded heavily with corn syrup and HFCS.  Now I have a stack of dishes, bowls, measuring cups, etc., sitting in the sink to be washed.

As much as I thought I'd like a glass of wine last night I just didn't have the taste for it.  I don't have any beer on hand but don't have a taste for it either.  Lord help me!  I haven't been feeling so well today and didn't feel like going to the gym last night, so I wonder if I'll even make it to the 23rd when my operation is scheduled.  I do have a fairly high tolerance for pain and can never make up my mind if I have reached the point where I should seek help.

The rain was so heavy when I went to bed last night I didn't think I'd be able to sleep.  (I don't think I lasted 5 minutes before I fell asleep).  The rain came with heavy winds - today is sunny but rain, possibly mixed with snow, are predicted.  Not much wind, for which I'm grateful.  I hope all of you in the path of extreme cold, ice storms, etc., are keeping warm and safe.  

Friday, December 6, 2013


Finally things are moving along, and while it's not the ideal time frame I'm grasping at anything!  My gallbladder will be removed on Dec. 23rd.  A lot of things can go wrong because of the stones in the bile duct but I'm going in with nothing but positive thoughts.  Now I have a packet of papers to look over, information to comprehend, and tests to take - blood tests, chest x-ray, and ekg.  I hope I can get a little of my appetite back so I'm in optimum condition.

It is a chilly 44 degrees with a light rain starting to fall, and rain and a bit of snow tomorrow morning.  I've said the heck with being cold and now turn up my heat to about 62 for temporary periods throughout the day, plus using my little electric heater.  A man I met at the gym and I were talking about how we were able to keep our electric bills around $25-30 range.  The gas furnace is what is really expensive though, and I'd rather keep adding more clothes than to face a $200+ gas bill.  Usually my utilities are minimal - mostly tacked on charges for things I don't understand.

I have taken my last antibiotic and I'm thinking of uncorking a bottle of German wine later on.  I don't think a glass would bother me one way or another and would surely enhance my frame of mind.

I have to admit that I like the Dr. who will operate on me, and his explanation for wanting to wait until the other procedure has been completed makes a lot of sense.  He and the other doctor had a "heart to heart" (according to a young intern who saw me the last time I was in) and decided they can't keep jerking me around (my words).  I am so glad I can be positive about the Dr. now as well as my hopes for getting a long-time problem taken care of. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My heart's desire . . .

. . . is contained in this small sack!

. . . and wrapped in this tidy little package secured by a fancy toothpick!

. . . And voila!  Here is my BLT on a croissant.  I thought I would only eat half and save the other half for later, but later followed on sooner without missing a beat.

Now that I've eaten I need to go back out for a few more items.  I wanted that sandwich so bad I just had to come home and eat.  I would feel dumb sitting in a restaurant all alone and taking a picture of food, which is why I had to bring it home quickly.  It was even better than I anticipated!  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No BLT today either

I totally forgot about getting the sandwich at 11 am, which is when I should get there to avoid the crowds as well as assuring they won't have sold out of their wonderful croissants.  That is the best part of the BLT!  Maybe tomorrow if I can keep it straight.

We have beautiful sunny weather today but it is only 46 degrees, and will stay mostly in the 40's for several days.

I have printed out several short hikes up in the gold rush country, but I will probably wait until next week to try them.  I want to wait until I'm through taking all the antibiotics; everything has to be timed throughout the day and I don't want to have it ruin my time outdoors.

I've been asked if I am hesitant to hike alone.  I would rather hike with another person, but that is more for the company it would provide.  I have made up my mind that I refuse to be afraid of anything, including death, axe murderers, aging, being alone in nature, and a lot more.  I still hope to see animals such as bears, wolves, and even mountain lions, but in the distance, please.  Of course I wouldn't mind a wolf being close.  But afraid?  No, I'm not going to have fear.  I've been working on it for several years now and mostly have it mastered, but a good hike alone in the woods and eventually an overnight should give me an idea how I'm doing.

I'm more afraid of not getting my appetite back than anything else, and shriveling up to a scarecrow!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

You have to wonder

Why on some days everything goes right, whereas on others nothing works.

I woke up somewhere around 5 am and then slept fitfully for another hour.  Just decided to get up and have a bit of computer time while waiting to leave for my appointment to get my car serviced.  I had decided that more than anything I wanted a BLT on the world's best croissant for lunch - a long line awaited me when I entered the restaurant, so I went to Target for a while, then back to the restaurant.  I swear the line was the same or longer, so I gave up on the idea.  I think I will go back tomorrow at about 10:30.  I want that BLT!

Needless to say I needed a nice long nap after waking up so early, and now I face a long evening, alone, trying to ignore all the things I should be doing.  I think I'm feeling better, although my energy level is barely above zero and my appetite is about the same.  That BLT would have made me feel so much better.

No hope

I went to the G.I. Clinic this afternoon and the bottom line is that the G.I. doctor doesn't want to remove my gallbladder until the other doctor has done the 2nd ERCP to remove the biliary stent and the remaining stones.  That is scheduled for Jan 14, 2014, so I'm looking at Feb. or March to get this thing taken care of.  I did get an alternative to the Levafloxacin that was causing me trouble.  When I'm finished with the antibiotics I might just go on a short binge!  Probably just beer though.  It's futile because I couldn't drink enough to end up in oblivion.  I don't remember ever once in my life wanting to drink for the effects of it.  Scary! 

I think I'm beginning to see hospital politics, hierarchy of medical staff, and a whole lot of "CYA-ing" going on.  I told the intern who saw me that I just don't care anymore and that I'm going hiking!  She had a small fit but she will get over it.  Do they think I am going to sit in my house until January?  Now to find someplace that isn't too cold to stay in a tent.

I've backpacked in a lot of cold and snowy weather and did ok, but I was 56 at the time - a mere kid!  I dressed plenty warm but the biggest problem was after I ate supper - I always got chilled and the only way to get warm after a meal was to climb in my down sleeping bag.  Of course in a cushy, comfy sleeping bag and being all warm and toasty, I usually fell asleep before the sun went down.  I'm not into that kind of stuff anymore.

I decided to work off some frustrations at the gym - trying the treadmill for the first time.  I couldn't let go of the sides, and every time I tried I felt dizzy.  I was probably the only person walking 1-1/2 mph and holding on for dear life.  I quit at about 1.2 miles.  Then I worked heavily on the legs and arms.  My legs hurt a bit but it feels so good!

I'm going to borrow a couple of packs from my son and load a few items in each - will just hike with them, not backpack, but at least I should get an idea in 3 or 4 miles if I can do it.  I figure I owe myself a big long backcountry trip for having to put up with all this B.S.

Sorry I can't be more positive tonight - I'll be back to a better mood tomorrow! 

Added a little later:  Holy crap, where is the warm weather?  Every place I look up is as cold (or colder) than Sacramento.  Wonder what it is like in Mexico.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Just Chillin'

All I've done today was laundry, 2 loads, which is easy enough except for having to carry it back and forth across the street to the dryer.  It's heavy when it's wet!  I will have another load to do tomorrow if I manage to get the sheets changed on my bed. 

I just looked out and see a gorgeous sunset.  I know you desert folks love your sunsets but I don't think you have anything on me (actually, Sacramento would be a desert if it wasn't irrigated).  The reds and pink streaks are especially beautiful tonight contrasted with strips of a lovely blue sky.  I napped for so long that I nearly missed it!

Dang, I wish I had TV - much as I dislike it and complain, I'm going bonkers with no sound.  Last night I listened to some of the old rock CD's my brother gave me, as well as some Pandora radio.  I'd love to hear the sounds of "All Things Considered" right now.  To make matters worse I have only a few chapters left of the Patrick McManus book I've been reading (Bear in the Attic) and the library is closed on Monday.  I'll have to go buy me a book tomorrow.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cold Westher?

I pulled an Eddie Bauer catalog out of my mailbox this afternoon, and it's nearly the same as looking at an LLBean catalog.  I want some cold weather!  I want to buy flannel lined jeans, warm sweaters, down parkas, fleece lined slippers and boots!  
Current temps in the 60's and next week to be 50's in Sacramento just chills a person to the bone, whereas the real cold can be dealt with by choice of wardrobe, and you can look pretty darn good at the same time!

I got Christmas shopping done for 5 grandchildren today, with 3 more to go.  I also took the parabolic dish heater back to Costco.  I loved that thing but I couldn't plug it into an outlet close enough to my recliner to do me any good.  I may have to find another little Lasko heater one of these days.

I think I'm going to have a real problem with the antibiotics I'm supposed to take, specifically Levofloxacin.  After only one dose I developed on and off pain in an Achilles tendon, shoulder, and a couple of other places.  Another dose later I am not sure if I should call the G.I. Clinic.  Why do these problems come up on a weekend?

Jeannie & Sarah (Joe's wife) are talking about going up to Apple Hill tomorrow to buy Christmas trees, caramel apples, apple pies, cider, etc., but I'm not sure if I want to traipse around in the cold.  I could get out my Eddie Bauer down jacket, but it would be overkill even for the slightly higher elevation at Apple Hill.  I'm bored just sitting at home so maybe I'll try walking a little.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Being superlazy today!

I didn't even get out of bed until 9:30am, and then realized I'd better get the prescriptions filled that were given to me in the hospital - two are antibiotics, and one anti-nausea pill.  I read the info that the pharmacy includes with the meds, and find that one of them can't be taken within two hours of so many kinds of vitamins and minerals, a lot of which I normally take.  I'm going to have to have a clear head in order to stay ahead of this game!

I talked to Jeannie who clarified the events of the past couple of days - including the fact that I was in the ER from about 1:00 or 1:30 am until 4:30 pm.  Most of that time I had already been admitted to the hospital but they just didn't have a bed available!  UCD Med center is a county hospital as well as a trauma center, and gets many patients brought in by chopper from a big part of northern CA.  Jeanne had called Steve and Joe - Steve came to the ER and Joe was actually working clinical at the hospital and was able to stop in to see me for a few minutes off the job.  He joined us after his shift was over and the four of us talked and laughed a lot - I'm sure we made enough noise that the ER personnel didn't keep us any longer than necessary.  When we all got to my room we continued the party for a while, and they left to get something to eat at a nearby restaurant.  

I learned this morning they went to Hoppy's, a local small craft brewery that I love!  I am pretty put out that they went to Hoppy's without me and that is going to be on the list of places they are just going to have to take me to in the near future - when I can enjoy the fish & chips, and the on-site brewed beer as well.  I am fortunate to have had company who kept me entertained during the long wait for a room.  I was so tired, however, I probably contributed very little to the entertainment except as audience, and of course I played "straight man" to their jokes. I am so grateful for my children!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Will it ever be over?

I called Jeannie at about 12:30 am on Wednesday morning and asked her to drive me to the ER.  They wanted to do surgery ASAP but couldn't once they learned I had been taking plavix (blood thinner).  Evidently it is the worst of all the thinners for its danger in surgery - something to do with causing heart failure or similar.  I would need to be off it for 5-7 days prior to surgery.

The intent was to keep me in the hospital until the time of surgery, which would really have been a bummer considering the length of time.  This morning one of the doctors told me they couldn't keep me there as insurance wouldn't pay for my extended stay since my vital signs and blood work were excellent.  So I got out in time to go to Jeannie's for Thanksgiving dinner, but was really tired and didn't stay for long after dinner.  Joe and his girls ended up making the two pumpkin pies for me.  Mmmmmn good".

So the plan is to get the surgery as soon as a slot is available, return for the ERCP in January, and then start making my hiking and camping plans!  I will surely need a few good breaks by then, especially since my Thanksgiving and Christmas are both affected by the health issues this year.

One bright spot in this ordeal was that all the staff I came in contact with were the very best!  Efficient, friendly,  helpful, etc., from the intake section, to housekeeping, to the nursing staff, to the doctors.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving this year!  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One chore accomplished

Joe came by this afternoon with his two girls, and helped me cut, cook and puree the pumpkins for Thanksgiving pies.  As always I have way more pumpkin than I will need for two pies, so some of it will maybe make pumpkin bread or similar, and I might be able to talk Joe into making it.

I showed him the recipe book containing directions for the pies, just in case I can't do it.  I'm feeling worse all the time, but still not bad enough to take any action (or pain meds).  And after doing some research on gallbladder surgery I'm not sure I will feel any better after I have it.  I wish there was another way.  

Just plain lazy!

Today was as lazy a day as I've ever had although I did go to the gym this evening and redeemed myself.  I don't know if it's the weather, if it's just me, or what, but I haven't been at my best lately.  Except, of course, for the gym.  I did a little less than usual tonight, but I think I know when to rev it up and when to slack off.  I'll be so glad when my surgery is scheduled so I can at least make a plan to get back to my life. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

YAY, The Weekend!

I don't know that it matters to me as I usually stay quiet on weekends and out of the way of those who work all week.  This morning I decided I would do a bit of cleaning and had just started on the kitchen floor when I got a call from my primary Doctor's office.  I had requested that she write me an Rx for a mild narcotic that I can keep on hand for "in case".  She know how few of any kind of prescription drugs I take, and wrote me back that I could pick it up at her office.

That was one of the stops on my list after seeing the surgeon yesterday, but the dead battery changed all my plans!  I got a call from the doc's office this morning telling me I could visit their office this weekend and get the Rx - they are open for Urgent Care it seems.

I took the Rx to Costco but like most pharmacies I've come across in CA, they don't keep much of anything on hand.  They told me they would order the drug on Monday and I could pick it up on Wednesday, so I decided to try another pharmacy, which I did, and which filled the Rx in 20 minutes.  

I also visited the grocery and got two small organic "sugar pie" pumpkins, as I've offered to make the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  After cooking a pumpkin years ago and starting from scratch I could never again open a can of pumpkin!  I need to practice on my piecrust to make sure I haven't lost my touch, so I've decided to make a small amount of dough, cut it into pieces which I will butter and add sugar & cinnamon, and bake.  That should give me an idea whether or not I'm getting too old to do this.  And I can always find someone who will eat mediocre pie crust with butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

I taught all my kids to make great pie crust the way my mom taught me, and they are very good at it, except for Mike who had me show his wife, Sandy.  Sandy makes great piecrust and lets 7 yr old Joshua help her, so he's on his way to continuing the family tradition.

Several people mentioned in comments yesterday that I should have called a taxi.  In all the years I've lived in/visited Sacramento I have never seen a taxi.  I'm sure there must be some hanging around the airport and maybe the train station.  But most California cities are sprawled out and you really need a car unless you are on a bus or light rail line for getting to work.

I hated losing my space in the surgeon's queue, but at the time I only wanted to get my car running again.  The whole surgery thing has become a joke, but I'll go along with it and when it is over I don't plan to ever see another specialist again!

I don't know what routine the spammers follow, but the Russians have commented on one particular blog I wrote back in October, sometimes 10 or more a day, and now I'm getting comments on the same post but in Kanji (Japanese).  I just can't imagine the kind of people who do this and what they hope to achieve from it.  I put up with it for the one or two legitimate anonymous comments I get now and then.

I said I was going to work out my frustrations at the gym last night, and I certainly did.  I feel pretty good today, mentally and physically.


Friday, November 22, 2013

There must be a reason

I was really looking forward to seeing the surgeon this morning, because I just know from how I've been feeling that I need surgery soon.  I went out to the car at 9am and the battery was dead - wouldn't even make a sound.  The sign on the dashboard - "VSC" was showing.  How I hate that electronic stuff - I would normally have thought "Oh, my battery is dead".  But looking it up in my user guide I'm told to take my car to a Toyota dealer.

I couldn't take it anywhere so I waited for AAA to send out a tow truck.  It was the battery and the tow driver jump-started it so I could drive the mile over to Jesse's Neighborhood Garage.  They installed a new battery and it looks like I'm good to go now, although I missed an important visit with the surgeon.  It's been reset to December 6, which means that my holidays will truly be messed up.

I had no other choice but to call the lab rescue people and cancel this weekend's date to meet the lab I so wanted to see.  All around it's been a bummer and I can't do a thing to change it.  I just have to keep in mind there is a reason for everything, and just accept what I can't change.

The worst part of it is the discomfort I am going to suffer while waiting who knows how long until surgery.  Thank god I have the gym to work off my frustrations.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Another setback

It's getting to be almost comical - the hassle of just trying to see an adoptable dog.  I was all set to go this morning but received a call from the rescue rep saying it had rained non-stop there for two days straight.  I can believe it as we had some pretty heavy rains here, and it was much worse all around us.  Evidently the kennel is on a concrete pad but there are fields all around it which are soggy and muddy.  So the result is that we will be in touch before Sunday and if things dry up a bit I can arrange to go then.  I'm glad they want me to see the dog outside the kennel itself.  This is an unusual situation to begin with because this rescue organization has a very strict procedure they follow for an adoption and even for viewing a prospective pet.  The only variance from their rules is when they take some of the dogs to the Petsmart or other pet store in the various areas, usually twice a month, and then you can submit your application (and $) and adopt at that time.

I could be really upset at all the delays but I actually welcome them.  I will see the surgeon tomorrow and hope the date will be set for my gallbladder to be removed - I can sort of judge approximately when I can handle a new dog.  It may be that I can't get the dog at all, and I'll be okay with that too.

In the meantime I am trying to get myself in the best possible shape, visiting the gym at least 3x a week.  I'm working at using heavier weights as well, and hope it will make the surgery easier if I'm physically fit to begin with.

I think I'll go to Costco this morning and take an inventory of the doggie supplies I can get there as well as an estimate of cost.  The memory foam top dog bed is going to be a "must" I've decided.  I may even get two, one for the living room and one for the bedroom, since the laminate floors are difficult for old bones to get comfortable on.  I'll have to see if this lab just takes it for granted he will sleep in my bed - my lab, Smoky, slept with me from the beginning.  I could never get the black dog hair out of the comforter and swore I'd never do that with another dog.  Fortunately, Lady didn't even try.

The sun is bright this morning but the forecast is for 61 today, with strong winds.  I can deal with anything except the wind.  Was going to walk a couple of miles at Mather, but may just do the treadmill at the gym.  I've never used one of those except for a couple of times having a stress test.

Thanks to those of you who have commented on your experience with gallbladder surgery.  I hope my recupertion goes well, but I'll just have to wait and see.

Also, several months back a reader recommended the book "The Great Cholesterol Myth".  I immediately put my name on the list for it at the library, and just received it earlier this week.  How interesting - I've already read nearly half of it.  Anyone with "high" cholesterol whose doctor wants to or has put them on statin drugs should read this book.

Just got back from Costco where I bought a parabolic heater.  I haven't as yet been able to get the pilot lit on my furnace, and it's pretty chilly in my house.  I use a small space heater but I have always been impressed when I walk past the Presto Heat Dish Parabolic Electric Heater they usually have on display at Costco.

It's time for my lunch and then I'll try out the heater.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A few corrections

I don't know where my mind was yesterday, but fortunately my daughter let me know that Joe's graduation is on Dec. 20th, and not Nov. 20th.  I would have been sitting at the college this evening wondering where everyone was!  (I had even set out the clothes that I planned to wear to the ceremony.)

As I was opening jewel cases and checking out the CD's, I realized there were 5 cases rather than the 4 I originally counted, and each case has two CD's inside.  That's a lot of music folks!  Fortunately it's all pre-Beatles, as I am probably one of the few people in the world who will admit that I can't stand the Beatles.  But as I said, some of it is just tacky music that has long outlived its cuteness, but a lot of it is really fun music.

Well, there are new developments  on the dog front.  After being told I wouldn't be able to adopt because I don't have a fenced yard I got an email last night from my contact in the Lab Rescue organization saying that the foster will let me see the dog and we can work it out.  Then I got a call from the foster to give me directions to the kennel which is somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the Central Valley of CA.  I'm meeting her tomorrow morning at 10:00 (if I can find it) and I will get to see the big boy!  We discussed fenced yards and she couldn't understand what I would do when the dog had to pee.  I explained that I'll do what I've always done with my dogs and take them out on a leash.  It sure would be nice to be able to just open the door and shoo them out into the yard though.

There is a little grassy area across the street from me, by the laundry building.  I never took Lady there because most of the dogs who visit it are tiny little dogs who love to growl and act ferocious.  Lady just gave them a look that said "What's your problem?" but it got on my nerves so I always took her out on the walking trail.   Maybe the little dogs won't have as much animosity against a lab?  Who knows, but I'll just take him wherever necessary.

I did some research on dog parks in my part of town and the comments are interesting, although contradictory.  "The park is nice but there are kids hanging out in the parking lot dealing drugs".  "The park is nice but the dog owners are a real clique and don't want a newbie coming in."  "The park is nice but god help you if you have a dog that is right in the middle of small and large, because the dog owners in either one will tell you that you don't belong there and can't bring your dog in."  I suppose I will just wait and see if I really get a dog, and then check out the area parks.

I'm still unsure if I should be doing this - life is much simpler without a pet.  But I am alone so much of the time and enjoy the company of a lazy, snoozing dog, especially in the evenings.  Costco carries a beautiful memory foam top doggie bed now, and for an 8 yr old large breed I'm sure he will appreciate it.  I just wish I had found one for both Smoky and Lady.  But I'm probably getting ahead of myself as I haven't even seen the dog yet nor has he had a chance to see me.  And I definitely want the foster to assess his behavioral traits.  The foster did tell me he has separation anxiety and hates the kennel.  It might be problematic with my spending an hour or so at the gym, but I can work it out.

I know several readers have commented on their own laparascopic gallbladder surgery.  Were you young, middle aged, or senior when you had it?  How soon were you able to do much walking - as in walking a pet?  Leaning over to fill doggie dishes, etc.?  I didn't think I would ever have to go through this so I didn't keep the comments in my memory bank - at least where I can pull them out quickly!  I love the comment made by Sherry who said she couldn't remember why she walked into a room, but can remember the words to songs from 50 years ago!  I sure can relate to that.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Minor disappointment

I can't get the black lab I saw online out of my mind and have been corresponding with someone from the lab rescue about seeing him.  She told me he was in a kennel in Galt undergoing treatment for kennel cough, and then would be in a foster home near there.

In no time at all I got a notice of upcoming walks with the Volksmarch club, and lo and behold, there is one this Thursday morning in Galt!  After some correspondence back and forth I was advised to fill out the application form, scan it and send it to the rep, who would check with the foster to see if I could possibly take a look at the dog on Thursday.

I just now heard back that this particular foster doesn't adopt out to anyone without a fenced yard, which leaves me out completely.  She also told me that the kennel treatment should be finished by next week and that the dog will probably be adopted pretty quickly.  I'm so disappointed, but in view of my upcoming medical procedures and surgery it is probably for the best. 

When I was with the family last weekend my brother, Fred, gave me a box containing 4 CD's of the "Ultimate Oldies But Goodies" collection - early rock & roll.  I've said before, there are some old rock & roll songs I like, and some that I abhor.  The good ones I sing along with and seem to remember most, if not all of the words.  So far I've listened to one CD and will probably play the 2nd one this afternoon.

Even though I'm still having some  discomfort I decided to go to the gym with Jeannie last night.  I'm so glad I did as I feel better today.  I took it easy with some of the machines, but did fine with most of them.  I think that what I have been considering as sore abs from exercising were in fact from gallbladder & bile duct trouble.

I got my b&w photos back today, and unfortunately they didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.  I had the film in the camera for too long before I was able to take all 36 shots, and then the roll of exposed film fell on the floor of my car and rolled around under the seats for most of my recent trip.  Not good for the film.  Here is a shot I took at Ara's college graduation - that is my youngest son (Joe) to the left, and granddaughter Autumn on the right.  Joe will graduate tomorrow night here in Sacramento.  It's been a long time coming - he was able to take all the core degree  requirements while waiting to "hit the lottery" to get into the Respiratory Care Program.  He has done very well, and I will be proud to see him graduate.  I'll try to take some pictures with my digital tomorrow evening and can get them posted right away rather than have to wait to complete a roll of film!  (I hope this enlarges properly when clicked.)


Monday, November 18, 2013


I'm back into life here at home now.  Mike called and said he spent the night in Chicago, but didn't get to NY until 1pm this afternoon.  

I received notification by mail while I was gone that the repeat ERCP is scheduled for Jan. 14 at 2:00 pm.  I wish I could have spoken with someone because I certainly would prefer an earlier appointment.  At least this time I will know that I can eat and drink later than the midnight before.  I think the worst was the caffeine headache I was beginning to get by about 2 in the afternoon.  I usually mix some decaf beans with the regular ones, but maybe a week or so before this procedure I'll move to mostly decaf and see if it helps.  The organic decaf I buy doesn't taste like any other I've ever used, but just has a great full-bodied coffee flavor.  I could probably learn to drink it exclusively, but why should I.

I see the gallbladder doctor this coming Friday and sure hope they can speed things up in that regard, as I know I will require more recuperation time.  Yuk, I will be so glad when this is all over with, but on the other hand, I hate to be wishing my life away.  If I'm not going to feel better until next February, do I really want next February to hurry up and get here?

I'm back on the kick of wanting a black lab!  There is a new one listed in the Lab Rescue website that is about 8 yrs old.  (There is a lower adoption fee for a senior dog, 9 yrs and older.)  They don't say what part of CA he is in, although it's Central CA Lab Rescue.  

Central CA covers a large area and I'd like to have some idea of how far away I would have to go even to see and check out the dog.  A nearby town's Petsmart has bi-monthly Sundays featuring 4-6 labs from the rescue organization, but this particular lab isn't listed as available in that location so he is probably a lot further south.  If it's meant to be . . .

After all the sunny 75 degree days, this week will be in the 50's and 60's with heavy rain tomorrow and Wednesday.  I know how badly we need the rain, so I will try not to complain about it.

I just got an email reply about the location of the black lab of interest, and he is not too far from here, but is in one of their kennels right now recovering from a case of kennel cough.  He will then be placed in a foster home.  That sounds promising and would possibly give me some time for my surgery.  I know I can count on one of my kids to help me out with a dog if necessary for a few days, but of course I'd rather be able to bond with and handle a new dog on my own for a while. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend in Livermore, CA

I left with Mike, and Steve and his family on Friday morning for Livermore, CA.  Jeannie and Joe, along with their respective families, would come along later.

The next two pictures are of my 5 brothers, who are:  Steve(4); Rob (the new Deacon who is #5 brother); Fred(2); Phil(3); and Bill(1).  The numbers in parentheses represent their order of birth, after me of course.  I call these pictures ---

Then we added the 3 girls, Amy, Julie and me:

We have not all been together at the same time and place since my dad's funeral in November of 1978, 35 years ago!

Friday afternoon and evening were spent just relaxing and talking, with the ordination following on Saturday.  It was a really beautiful event, and I was so glad to be there.  Rob and his wife, Maria, hosted dinner that evening; the wine flowed and the dinner was great!.

My kids and I were staying in suites at the Marriott Residence Inn, and here are some random shots of us relaxing before checking out this morning.  Mike was supposed to leave in early afternoon with a change of planes in Chicago.  I guess anyone watching football today could see that there were heavy rains in Chicago, and air traffic was completely snarled and delayed.  I haven't heard yet if he was able to get another routing back home to NY.

I rode back to Sacramento with Joe, Sarah and their kids.  I'm so sorry that we all had to part, but I am truthfully not feeling well at all.  I think after reading the report of my ERCP I realize why I am still sore, but I have nothing to take for the pain and discomfort with medical offices being closed on weekends.  I'm not bad off enough to go to the ER.

I have eaten so little this weekend and I can see from the photos I've dropped weight.  The second ERCP is scheduled for Jan. 14, and I have an appointment with the Gallbladder doctor on this coming Friday.  I just wish they would go ahead and schedule that operation very soon and get it over with.  I'm hoping I can enjoy the holidays, although Thanksgiving may be a bust.