Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

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.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My 73rd!

Here are some photos taken at Straw Hat Pizza this evening.

My babies and me!

I had a great time and a great meal, to say nothing about how wonderful the beer tasted.  But loving family and friendship are the best!

I am a proud and happy mother, and just wish their dad could be here with us - he always loved his pizza, beer, a good time, and surrounded by family!

What is it about birthdays

Last year I was recovering from pneumonia, and this year I'm not feeling so well either.  In the next couple of months I have the gallbladder surgery and another ERCP, plus dental work that desperately needs to be done.  The only thing I can do to counteract all the gloom is to start planning a camping trip!

Mike gets in at about 1:00 this afternoon, and I think it's all set for pizza and beer tonight at Straw Hat.  I don't know how much of either I will be able to have, but I'll give it the good old birthday try.

Tomorrow Mike, Steve and I will drive down to Livermore, CA where we will be over the weekend.  All my siblings will be there - the first time we've all been together for quite a few years.  I'm looking forward to taking lots of pictures.

The occasion is that Rob, my youngest brother, is being ordained a permanent deacon of the Catholic church.   It will be good to see everyone again, and especially since it will be a happy occasion rather than the other kind.  My daughter and her family will be driving down on Saturday afternoon, and I think Joe is going to try to get there as well.  Joe is in his final weeks of school and probably needs a short break from the studies.

I got a call yesterday that my roll of b&w film is developed and ready to be picked up, so I got dressed this morning for the drive over when I realized I took an oxycodone tablet at about 7 a.m.  The medicine doesn't make me feel woozy or the slightest bit light headed, but I don't dare drive for a while.  I'll just get the film next Monday.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am getting so sick and tired of always being asked to sign in with my username and password.  Of course I ALWAYS get the response that the password is incorrect, so I end up having to reset it with a new password, knowing that in a week or two at most I'll have to do it all over again.  I've made a list of future passwords that I can use.  

I just read a blog and made a comment, but couldn't publish the comment until I came up with the correct password.  I wonder if any of the 10 or so anonymous comments I receive every day on my blog ever get asked for their password.  The comments so far have all been to the same post and I was wondering if I could just remove the post, but I couldn't find anything to tell me how to do that.  The commenters would just pick another post to leave their garbage.  Some of the comments are just a group of words that have no meaning or relation to one another, and some are a little on the obscene side.  I don't read them but get a glance when I'm marking them as spam.  Google sure doesn't protect me from this annoyance while they are constantly badgering me to prove that I'm me.

I'm going to go lie down for a while as I want to be feeling as good as possible this evening. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I've spent the day resting after being awake off and on all night.  Joe came by to visit me this morning, and Jeannie stopped by on her way to work.  Mike called from New York.

Mike is flying to California tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to celebrating my birthday with all my children.  I had said I wanted to go to Straw Hat Pizza for pizza and beer, but right now neither pizza nor beer sounds very good to me.  I haven't eaten anything but a banana this morning, and will have some of the soup Donald made for my dinner.  I just have no appetite today but I sure am thirsty for water.

I haven't been on the computer much today and will try to catch up on blogs in a few days.  I am not concentrating very well right now.

I have had a lot of discomfort and think maybe they probed a little more than usual, leaving me with a very sore stomach.  I have been hoarding a couple of oxycodone tablets and broke down and took one this afternoon.  It really took the edge off my discomfort.

The sun is shining brightly on the dust in my living room.  It doesn't bother me enough to do anything about it right now.  I've had the front door open most of the day and it sure has taken the chill off the house.


If you don't want to read the account of my ERCP procedure, please just skip this entry.

I was in bed at 8 pm this evening, and now at 1:30 a.m. I'm awake.  I felt pretty crappy for a while but the discomfort is finally easing up.

What a zoo I ran into at the hospital today.  I had to be there at Noon for 1pm surgery, but I was taken in to the OR over an hour late.  I was, in fact, scheduled behind two others, but they were both being real jerks so the anesthesia guys decided to take me first.  The guy on my right really wore out the "f" word in just a few minutes, calling the nurses "f'ing liars" among other things.  A woman on my left was looking for pain killers and tried to match her stories up with the hoped for outcome.  Me, I just took it all in but was really glad to get out of there.  I can't believe how the attendants maintained their cool with these negative people.

The anesthetic was exactly what I'd hoped for - instant and complete, and when everything was over I woke up immediately.  They pump up the stomach with air and I've had terrible cramps - I'm up this time of the morning drinking a little ginger ale in hopes I can burp some of it away.

They got about 4 stones and had to put in a stent so that the rest of them can dislodge for when I have to repeat this ordeal.  I think the stent can only be in there for 3 months, so it will be no later than February or maybe the beginning of March.  In the meantime I have to have my gallbladder removed so that the stones don't keep forming.  Ironically I don't worry about that operation, but for the ERCP the general anesthetic is the only way for me to go.

Jeannie was marvelous - stayed with me the whole time except when I was in the OR.  I know I'm getting old because the surgeon came in and took her to the rear of the room to explain everything to her, and not to me.  I was very happy with that as I didn't really want to know the details anyway.

We went by her house on the way home from the hospital, and Donald cooked me some simple soup that was pretty amazing and tasty.

So now I think I will go back to bed and snuggle into my down comforter.  I really wish I didn't have to go through this same thing again in a few months, but I am just going to go with the flow.  And I hope to God I never act like either of the people who were in pre-op.  I'm sure my mom and dad would show up to set me straight!  

Monday, November 11, 2013

New eyeglasses

My new glasses came in today, 3 days earlier than promised, and I drove over to Walmart to pick them up.  A few adjustments and I was out of there.  You know how it is when you get a new prescription and glasses - it takes a little while to get used to the difference.  By the time I drove the mile or so home I was already feeling good about them.  The one thing I'm not crazy about is that although the lenses darken in the sun, my view doesn't look any darker.  I think I still prefer my Serengeti sunglasses, which are fine for most times when the sun is very bright.

I haven't tried reading a book yet to see if the reading part of the lens is better.  I just finished two of Patrick McManus' mystery novels and they are in my car ready to go back to the library, where I have a few more books on order.

I've done a little cleaning today but not much.  I guess I'm not planning to expire tomorrow - in fact, although I'm leery about the whole thing I'm looking forward to getting the damn procedure over and done with.  Never again!

I will try to post an update on Wednesday if I can.  Otherwise, y'all take care and I'll be back when I'm back.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My trip in retrospect

I was going to do a whole long post recapping my recent cross country trip, but most of you followed it anyway.  Of course I loved visiting with all the people - family, old friends, and new friends.  But I will narrow this down to places.

In looking back I realize I can't put anything in order of preference.  I loved so many places and aspects of the trip, but three stand out in my mind.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Unit.  For some reason I just fell in love with this place and if I ever get back there I will stay for a while.  Being able to get so close to so many buffalo made such an impression on me.  What incredible animals they are!

Tamarac Wildlife Refuge.  I have never been to a wildlife refuge, so Tamarac was my first visit and turned out to be really special.  It was the visit to Tamarac when Judy Bell and I went to Itasca State Park (Minnesota) and I put my feet into the headwaters of the Mississippi.  It was at Tamarac that I saw both an eagle's nest and an osprey's nest, and learned how to tell the difference.

Philadelphia, PA.  I loved this city, which makes it pretty  special to me since I don't normally like large cities (New York City is an exception - I love NYC! and always have).  But while Philly is a large city it has a small town, home town feel to it - extremely friendly and welcoming.  I am so glad I decided to spend a couple of days there.

So these are the three surprises.  I have spent much time in the southern Appalachians and knew I would appreciate going back to the Shenandoah, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Smoky Mountains, and they didn't let me down.  But I wanted to recognize the new-to-me places that made my heart soar.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ah, Joy!

My maps arrived and I can't wait to study them more closely.  Today I just got my bearings; they are really big maps and I wanted to determine where some of the hikes and camp sites are that I'm interested in.  The maps have a plastic coating which will keep them in good shape, I hope.  I was surprised that ordering directly from the Forest Service was much cheaper than commercial online places.  I think the two maps I received cost me less overall than if I had ordered only one of them from Amazon.

Joe came by this morning and after we talked for a while he got on the roof and wrapped my swamp cooler.  Now at least I won't worry about rain blowing in from that source, and I wish the leaks in the roof were as easily fixed.  Joe brought his youngest daughter, Keira, the recent birthday girl.  She sure is a talker but after a while asked if she could watch TV.  Sorry honey, grandma doesn't get tv!

I've really been going through bandwidth on the MiFi this month.  With two weeks left I have used 4-1/2 GB of my allowance.  I knew I couldn't get through the next two weeks so rather than worry about it going over I switched to 10GB for an extra $30.  I plan to switch back at the end of the billing period, but I think they bill a month in advance, and I hope they adjust it so that I'm only paying for what I use.  I may continue with the extra for another month and watch some YouTube videos that I've been holding off on.  I like Neil Degrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist, and I have several of his videos that are an hour or so in length that I've been saving.

I found an ad for Frontier.net that offers a pretty good monthly rate, no contract, for unlimited internet.  There are two plans, with different download and upload speeds, and I have no idea what I currently have or need.  Sometimes the MiFi is super fast, and sometimes it is really really slow.  Frontier.nets plans are both cheaper than what I pay Verizon for the MiFi, but it would only be available at my home location.  I'll have to think about it.

I have to get my things together to leave for the gym in a few minutes.  Mon., Wed., and Friday I go with Jeannie, but haven't been by myself all week.  I did walk a couple of days though.  I'm wearing a new pair of exercise pants, no doubt designed for yoga, that have absolutely no tummy control.  I don't know which sticks out more, my butt or my belly.  It's going to take intensive yoga to get rid of the stomach, I'm thinking.

A very nice gentleman called me from the hospital today to remind me that since I'm having anesthesia I need to be there a whole hour beforehand on Tuesday.  I told him just thinking about the whole thing made me sick, but he assured me that by the time anything gets started I will be completely out! 

You may remember that about a year ago I mentioned a book by Patrick F. McManus who writes articles for Field & Stream magazine.  McManus has written a large number of books on outdoors pursuits, and he also authors a mystery novel series featuring a sheriff in a back woods Idaho community.  I just finished the first of the series today, and it is so funny in parts I couldn't stop laughing.  Being a mystery there is some suspense, but no terror.  I got the first two of the series from the library and will now have to order the next two.  McManus is an excellent writer and humorist, and I recommend him, especially for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.  I am not sure if he still writes for F&S magazine - I find it uncomfortable to stand in front of the men's magazine section in stores - like I don't belong there - although I'm sure a lot of women like hunting and fishing as well as the guys.

Gotta run now - later. 



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Quick post

It will be just a quick post tonight, unless I start off on a tangent!  I'll try to refrain.

I took a roll of b&w film to the camera store to have it developed.  You can't have b&w developed anywhere these days it seems, other than a specialty store.  There are 36 photos on the roll and it is going to cost me around $30, plus a CD would be another $8.  I figured I can use the scanner if I want to have a digital copy.  (I did check online and the cost would run pretty close to the camera shop price.  I'd rather deal with a human in a local camera shop and get the photos back sooner.)

I currently have another roll of 36 in the camera, and when that is finished I will go exclusively to color, as Costco develops color film.  I love using the film cameras with developing being the only problem.  I think my photo composition is much better with an old style camera and a viewfinder.  I know I'm in the minority on that point, and I'm not trying to make any converts to my preferences.

I did a short walk at Mather Field this afternoon, but my legs let me know they wanted to rest after the workout at the gym last night.  

My youngest son is coming over in the next couple of days and will cover my swamp cooler with a tarp.  I need to check to make sure there is enough rope to tie it.  I hope we don't get an unexpected heat wave!

I look for my forest service maps to arrive in the mail tomorrow - I will try to dream of planning a trip with them as I fall asleep tonight!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Photos from the past

I got a roll of film developed today at Costco and asked for the disc to be included.  Judie Ashford was right in that I should ignore the software on the disc and just look for the Pictures folder.  I've never been able to open up one of those discs on my Mac, but I was able to do it this time.

I think these were taken at a little city park in Kalispell, Montana when I was there a year ago trying to get into Glacier NP in June with Carolyn.  (Carolyn, let me know if these are not from that park!)  Please click to enlarge.

Taken at Glacier National Park:

And of course, one of my all-time favorites, T. Roosevelt N.P.:

This was somewhere in the midwest - notice how comparatively flat it is.  It could have been at the bug-ridden park in Michigan.  I probably jumped into the tent after I took this photo and didn't come out again until packing up to leave the next morning!

Here are several photos I took on my walk last week, through old Sutter's Fort and in McKinley Park:

And finally, the kids came by on Halloween, and the last two pics were taken at Mather Field Sports Complex.  One is at the gate of the soccer complex - a field on either side of the gate; the other is looking in the direction of the huge skateboard ramps and I had hoped to catch a skater reaching the top of the ramp, but I don't think I did.

The roll had 36 pictures on it and spanned quite some time, so I'm sure the quality isn't what it might have been if I had used it right away.  From now on I am going to try to only buy 12 exposure rolls, but it's difficult enough to find film these days.  I have a roll of black & white to be developed but Costco can't do it because the film doesn't have "C-41" printed anywhere on it.  Whatever that means. 

I should have left Costco with the pictures but I decided to take a quick walk through the store - I came out with a cart full of snack items!  Never shop for food when you are hungry.  Did someone tell me that?

I'm going to the gym tonight and probably wouldn't have much trouble talking Jeannie into going to a sports bar afterwards, but she will probably have the girls with her.  Donald jacked up his knee - the one with recent surgery.  He goes for an MRI, I think tomorrow.  I jokingly said to him that we would have to coordinate our surgeries so that Jeannie can get us there and back!  I didn't realize then that he might actually have to have another operation, but I sure hope not.

And I hope my medical stuff doesn't keep me out of the gym for long.  I can see real progress.  You ladies "of a certain age" know how if you hold an arm up in the air it gets all saggy and wrinkly?  Well now mine don't do that - maybe just a teensy bit, but it won't be for long.  I just love to look in the mirror and flex my arm muscles (sort of like a teen-aged boy who has just begun to lift weights).  What's the old saying, "Pride goeth before the fall".  I'd better try to not be beaming with pride, but I've worked hard for it and will continue. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another beautiful day

It's a good thing I ventured outdoors today because the inside of my house is like a fridge, whereas it is really nice out in the sun.

I started the day by doing two loads of laundry and was going to just say the heck with it and dry it all in the dryer, but decided to hang everything on the line.  I can't pass up the free sun dryer!

I felt too good to stay indoors so I walked about a mile at the Mather Field Sports Complex.  This time I walked a 15 minute mile and should have continued, but it was lunch time and I was hungry.  The bottoms of my heels hurt when I walk much, and I don't know if there is anything that can be done for that - maybe an especially cushy pair of shoes?  I just bought Superfeet insoles for my shoes and they are a little better, but still not without some pain.

I tried a couple of the sports bars last night after leaving the gym - one was so hard I couldn't even take a bite off it.  I don't know the thinking behind making something so brittle, and the other side of the coin is the fact that so many sports bars are extremely chewy, and certainly not good for teeth.  I tried another brand of sports bar, apple-cinnamon flavored, but it was a bit chewier than I like.  I'm not going to waste any more money on them and will just come home after exercising and try to eat something high in protein.  An egg sandwich always fits the bill.

I reach Nirvana when I start reading either of the two books I bought at REI yesterday.  Both books describe hikes and backpacking trips in the Trinity Alps and Trinity Wilderness.  I ordered two maps from the NFS which I believe will be shipped from their map department in Missouri.  

I think November would be late for an overnight trip, but fine for day hikes in the lower elevations.  Hopefully I can pick a decent couple of days in December, stay at an area motel, and do several short hikes.  I need to get used to walking with a pack, even if only a lightweight one, so that I can eventually carry a tent and the items I'd need for an overnight.  I'd like to get a new backpacking tent - I love my old one but the sides are a little saggy, giving me less space.  To think I shared that tent with a 65# black lab as well as both of our packs, and there was plenty of room.  I guess, like I am, the tent is plumb wore out!

I am almost resigned to having the ERCP procedure which is scheduled for next Tuesday.  I got my Advanced Directive properly signed and witnessed, and now I need to clean my house.  I would absolutely die if something happened to me and anyone saw all the dust and disorder!  I don't care much for the surgeon and wish I had asked for a different one when they were scheduling this back in June.

I'm hungry for dinner already and it's only 4:00.  I guess my appetite is still on daylight savings time!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Everything is looking up!

The visit to the eye surgeon went so well that I'm on top of the world right now.  He said my transplants look great, retinas are great, and no sign of macular degeneration to speak of - just the normal lead-up to what I will be dealing with in a few years.

I told him I only had one more year on my driver's license and didn't think I would be able to renew it.  He said, "You will, you will."   I was there for a good while having to undergo several types of exams plus the exams for new glasses.

I went from there directly to the Walmart near my house which is where I always get my eyeglass prescriptions filled.  As much as I dislike Walmart in general, their Optical section is superior.  Luckily I asked about the size of the lens - if it mattered when it came to my vision.  The tech told me the distance and intermediate vision is the same on all the lenses, but a larger lens gives way more room for reading.  I selected the frames I can live with, and also ordered the lenses with the automatic darkening capability in sunlight.  I was able to get them in a copper tone rather than grey, and I'm happy about that.  I have always preferred the copper sunglass lenses as they seem to brighten everything up.

So I am a happy camper right now.  After the eye appointment I headed straight over to REI and bought two books on hiking in the Trinity Alps and vicinity (northern CA).  They didn't have the map I wanted so I will probably just order it from the Forest Service.  I didn't want to have to wait for it to be mailed, but I will read the books in the meantime.

I also bought one each of 5 different energy bars for after working out.  If I can find one I like I will probably get a box of them.  Since I have no pain anywhere or in any muscle, I plan to join Jeannie and Donald at the gym this evening for a good workout!

It has been so windy the past two days that I don't want to spend any time outdoors.  I had thought about walking along the parkway over by CalExpo, near the doctor's office, but didn't want to deal with the wind today.  The sun certainly is bright though, and the world looks good from where I am. 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Slow Sunday

It was slow to begin with because I didn't change the clocks back one hour last night, and got out of bed at 8 am (by the clock).  I had a good night's sleep and it was luxurious to know I had so much time to just take it easy.  I had a birthday party to go to at 1:00 - my granddaughter, Keira, is 4 today.

The big surprise was when Steve arrived and said they had a surprise in the car.  I knew immediately what it was!  Meet Daisy:

The first two pictures are kind of hazy because of the sun, and the third one is more clear but Daisy was too far from the bounce house to get completely in the picture.  I couldn't get her to stay still long enough to pose for a picture, although that will happen when she settles down.  (Click on a picture to see it enlarged.)

Daisy was adopted through Central CA Lab Rescues, and is 2 years old.  What a sweet temperament, but she will find toys and food wherever she can reach.  The tail would hit me just below the knee everytime she went by me - it never stops wagging.

I'm not totally convinced I need a dog though, and after pretty much thought in the past few weeks I've just about decided I don't want to give up my freedom.  Maybe I will, but I don't think so.

In reading my post from yesterday I can't believe I'm still yakking about getting TV service.  If I get it I will gradually work my way up to where I'm watching way more than I want to.  A big reason is being alone most of the time, and it's a way of hearing voices.  I really don't want to go back to that, and it's ironic that when I have the opportunity to watch, at the gym or wherever, I can't stand to watch it.

On another old topic, the spam comments are starting to increase.  Blogger puts them in the spam folder right away, but I get them in email form and have to mark them as spam, and then periodically delete them.  It is just annoying me no end to deal with it because each one I get is a reminder of what jerks there are, while I believe in the basic goodness of most people.

I see my eye surgeon tomorrow and that is always a positive experience, even though I doubt there will be much he can do for my deteriorating eyesight.  There is something so positive about the man and you have to feel good just being in the room with him, like he exudes great vibes.  I would love to have that quality.

After that will be a trip to REI and I hope I don't spend too much, and maybe I'll take my walking shoes along for a little exercise before coming back home.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The pedometer is still a mystery to me.  Evidently I have to open the little case and set the time - what do I wear a watch for, or carry a cell phone for that matter.  Do I need 3 timekeeping devices?  Never could set the time, so I just attached the meter to my waistband and drove over to Mather Field for a walk of about 40 minutes, probably 2 miles.  The display was still showing zero, so I give up on it!  Even if I could get it working properly I wouldn't be able to decipher the read-out - digital just doesn't appear in my field of vision very well.  

I went with Jeannie & Donald last night and had a fairly good work out.  At least I had some sore muscles this morning, but I walked them out!

Back in the spring I obtained an "Advanced Care" packet and finally filled it out, but have never signed it because most of the people I know to ask as witnesses to my signature are ineligible because of being family.  I think I need to move on finding a couple of witnesses so there won't be any questions if I should decide to go under the knife!

I'm re-thinking whether or not to get TV service and to combine it with internet, mostly because I want an internet connection with no bandwidth limits.  I just studied the current offers for AT&T U-Verse, and I could get a package containing the few TV stations I like, but I'm not sure about which internet plan to bundle with it.  I would normally just go with the cheapest one which is for email and surfing the web.  Since I have the old style TV I'm not sure if I should get the newer kind, although  I don't care for the vertically stretched out screen, and don't give two hoots if I see anything in HD or plain old vanilla.  The only disadvantage to using my old TV that I can see is that I can't fast forward through commercials, although I got pretty good at hitting the Mute button.  Trouble is I would forget to turn the sound back on.  I really only miss watching a few shows.  AT&T wants a 1-year contract, and I'm still against signing anything for a year.

The afternoon sun is coming through the front sliding doors, its rays seem to find every dust mote in my living room and hallway.  There are plenty to find even though I dust mop just about every day.

It's that time again when we mess around with changing the clocks.  I think enough people are sick and tired of it, and any monetary savings are questionable, so I think we should bombard our representatives and senators with demands that they do away with this dumb idea.  Or were they the ones who gave it to us in the first place - maybe we need to bombard some other institution.  I always feel like if it doesn't work then Congress had something to do with it.  I won't have any problem sleeping an hour later in the morning, although having said that I'll probably be wide awake at 6:00 am!

I am grateful to be in a better mood today than I was yesterday.  As much as I hurt all over I am sure the physical workout is doing me some good. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's always something

I have recovered from the walk yesterday, especially after taking an Advil this morning and one this afternoon.  I'm going to the gym with Jeannie and Donald, but I will go easy on myself.  

I had thought the matter was settled as far as I'm concerned, but I got a call from the dept of anesthesia at UCD Med Center today.  I still haven't cancelled the procedure scheduled for Nov. 12, but was waiting to see how I felt for the next couple of days and then cancel it Monday.  Now I'm unsure.

That will be 2 days before my birthday and I hate to feel like crap on my birthday.  Last year I was recovering from pneumonia, and I thought I've had a relatively good year since then.  

What if they get in there and find the gallstones are all gone.  Surely they have a place to go because I've had gallbladder problems for years off and on, and I'd be full up by now otherwise.  Another big worry is that they won't find any gallstones so they will go looking around and find something else.  I don't want to know about anything else, to tell the truth.  What a dilemma and a worry just about the time when I've accepted getting older and having to change certain things in my life, but if I can't live life on my own terms, then I'm not sure I want to live it at all.  I'm talking about being bedridden here, not minor issues.

So much for that - gotta get ready to go to the gym where I can work out my frustrations.  I will just have to go with the flow.

My pedometer finally arrived in the mail, and like everything else they are more complicated and harder to figure out.  I've used them in the past and they just count your steps.  A little math problem dealing with the length of your stride, and remembering the number of feet in a mile.  How could anything be easier?  Now I will have to set the mode.  Can I just set it on "walk" - what else could I use a pedometer for?  I belong back in the 20th century!  (I guess I'm just totally frustrated right now.  Some physical activity is just what I need.)