All the critters

We’ve been watching a pair of sandhill cranes for a couple hours. They’ve nibbled the grass, and dived for grubs. At one point the larger one became quite noisy, but for the most point, they were just providing interesting scenery.

And a while ago, some kind of a critter move through the grass between two ponds at opposite end of our building. At that distance, and in the grass, we were’t sure what it was. Maybe a very large turtle… but as it moved (quite swiftly) we realized it was too long and narrow to be a turtle. It was a small ‘gator. I got my camera out but by the time I got to the pond, he’d disappeared.

A little later, I looked back toward the pond he’d left, and realized there was about a five food mama ‘gator on the bank.

The sun’s glare was so bright that I couldn’t see the gator as I took the photo. I just pointed the camera and clicked. Not the sharpest, but you can tell it was definitely an alligator.

The sandhills have left. Don’t think they’d want to mess with mama.

Between the sandhills, the many white and black water birds, the occasional hawks, and all the other wild life, there’s lots to view. It’s all fascinating.

Comments off

John’s health

I wish I could report that he’s doing better but he’s continuing to get a little worse all the time.

I’m doing what I can for him. My hope is to keep his quality of life up and enjoy our together time!

Comments off

It’s working

The hard drive I mentioned in my last post arrived. It was easy to set up and it now does a back up of the whole hard drive twice a day. Restoring would mean reloading ALL the files in one sweep, not individual files. “All” would mean a huge re-load. (That would be great if I lost everything, but sometimes you just want to see the previous version of a single file.)

Since the drive is so large, I am also saving copies of each of the files individual and dating those archive versions. That way, if I want just one file, I can restore it.

So I’m all set. I have all the files including photos. I save the individual files at least once a week, and the whole drive twice a day.

It is $75 well spent. I sleep better.

Comments off

Restoring all my data

Today I’m expecting the delivery of a new 2TB external Seagate hard drive. Back on August 22, I wrote a post that said I was getting a Western Digital 1TB HD and would be backing up my Lenovo computer before I sent it in for repair. Well, that small WD (Western Digital) HD didn’t work. Instead I backed up everything to the wireless Black Armor 2TB HD I’ve used for years. Since I didn’t trust the Black Armor, I also created a slew of thumb drives to get a second backup I could piece together but I didn’t have enough space to copy everything.

When I got my Lenovo computer back, the Black Armor hard drive wasn’t accessible using the Windows 10 version that was re-installed. Thank heavens I had those thumb drives. I’ve limped along but kept trying to think of a way I could get into the old Black Armor. Many of my photos and a lot of extra files were only on that HD.

But a couple days ago, I discovered that my old Viao computer, which we’d left here over the summer, can access the old Black Armor hard drive. I can copy the back ups I made of my computer before it was sent in for repair. All the files are there. (YEAH!)

All I need is a way to transfer the files and photos to my Lenovo computer. That’s where the 2TB Seagate HD drive comes in. I’ll copy from the Black Armor to the new Seagate, and then I’ll move the new Seagate USB HD to the Lenovo. Voilà I should be able to have all the files, including all my photos, on my Lenovo.

Of course I’ll keep an updated backups of the whole Lenovo computer. I’ll ditch the Black Armor. It’ll be wonderful to have an easy way and reliable way to keep backups of everything. No more dozens of small thumb drives. No more inaccessible Black Armor. The new Seagate should be reliable and fast, and with 2TB of space, I should be able to use it for all backups.

Comments off

Thanksgiving was nice

Our friends have been doing a lot together but we’ve passed on a lot of the activities. Actually I love being home with John so it hasn’t been a hardship at all. We have enough on our calendar. I have no desire to be constantly on the go.

We went to Shelly and Richard Brook’s for Thanksgiving. They’ve hosted this event for several years but this year it was much smaller than normally. There were only eight of us.

Dinner was really good. Tonight we’re going to have the left-over turkey Shelly sent home with us. It was really good! We had contributed a large dish of from-scratch dressing. It really turned out much better than we could have hoped.

It was a fun evening.

Comments off

Living Donor

Yesterday I suggested something to John that I think surprised him.

John needs a lung transplant. At 78 he’s considered too old for the procedure. It’s reported that younger recipients do better and therefore the older patients aren’t considered.

My suggestion: if I’m compatible I’d donate one of my lungs to him.

After reading up on the topic, I found that in order for a living donor to donate, there need to be two donors who are matches. Each would contribute half a lobe.

So let’s say I could do it and one of John’s siblings or children would contribute. His survival would still be risky and according to statistics 40% of those with transplants die within the first two years. (Note: It’s also a risk to the donor.)

Looks like I just need to take good care of him because I’m sure he’ll survive longer than two years with the lung function he has left.

Comments off

The election’s over and Trump is our president-elect

Yesterday I did a blog post covering our time here in Florida since arriving October 15th. (It’s below.)

You will notice that I skipped the election results.

As I said on Facebook, “I’m sad and frightened. Our landscape with a ‘wall’ will obstruct the view I had of freedom.)

I can’t see someone with Trump’s personality in charge of our country. Hopefully he’ll surprise me.

John was for Trump (or more accurately, he didn’t want Hillary). I was a Clinton supporter (but actually I didn’t like her but didn’t want Trump under any circumstance.)

We were gentle with each other. We both had reservations after the outcome was announced.

I’m very fearful. Trump’s finger on the button alarms me.

I don’t look at the election as a victory for Trump. I think of it as a loss for the nation.

I was in a massive funk Wednesday. But it didn’t take long to realize that I can’t give in to the emotions I felt immediately after the election. John’s health is too fragile and being “down” would hurt him. John needs to live in the presence of an upbeat attitude and I will do the best I can to be supportive and show hope. Negativity is not going to help anything and it would definitely impact my husband’s health.

I’m still disappointed, but I’m avoiding critiques of the situation we find ourselves in. I’m concentrating on helping John and making our lives as great as possible.

Comments off

November in Kings Point

We’re enjoying our leisure time here in Kings Point. Not that we have had a lot of leisure. John’s been going to doctors since he arrived which is helping him have a better understanding of his health condition.

October 26th he had an appointment with his primary care physician who basically said that he’s doing as good as he can expect. He’ll see John again in March or April.

November 2nd, he went to a new pulmonologist at the University of South Florida. He assessed John’s situation and put him on another medicine which is intended to keep his lungs from deteriorating. It may have side effects so we’re holding our breaths.

Wednesday of this week, on the 9th, went to Brandon to meet with his cardiologist. The best part of the past month medically was that he was told that he probably no longer suffers from congestive heart failure so he is now off a couple of his medications. One was lowering his blood pressure to dangerous levels, so he will probably feel more secure when standing up and walking. The low blood pressure was causing him dizziness.

Wednesday he also went to University of South Florida in Tampa for a chest CT scan.

Since June, John had been trying to get a portable oxygen concentrator from his oxygen provider (Lincare). I can’t begin to tell you how much time we spent calling Lincare, evaluating different units on line, and talking with sales people on the phone.

A couple weeks ago Lincare finally delivered a portable concentrator but it was heavy and bulky. After all that waiting, he returned it. That unit wouldn’t work for him. It wasn’t sensitive enough. If he breathed through his mouth, no oxygen was generated.

He had been checking on a unit made by Inogen. He ended up buying one (with our money). It was an expensive purchase but has a 30-day return policy with a “rental” provision. We’ll probably rent it for a month and return it so he can get most of his $$ back. Hopefully he’ll eventually get a similar unit from Lincare (same low weight and other provisions under a different model name. (If Lincare supplies it, Medicare will pay for it.)

The portable concentrator frees him to do a lot more than he can do when hauling heavy, bulky tanks. The concentrator does require batteries that last only about 2 1/2 hours each but he has three of them so he could get by on them for 7 1/2 hours. (With the car battery charger, he can charge while driving.)

The oxygen generator wasn’t the only big item we needed to spend money on this month. When we got down here our golf cart wouldn’t charge. We finally worked with the cart repair places and got it charging but we could see that the batteries weren’t really up-to-snuff, so we shopped for another golf cart. We ended up buying a custom Club Car with a large (fast) engine, a rear seat, fancy side curtains, and all the bells and whistles we felt we’d like.

We took delivery Tuesday. There are a few items that still need to be finished or replaced: side curtains aren’t done (so they put a temporary top with sides on it), seats are the wrong style (we ordered shaped seats, and got regular bench seats) and the pin-stripe/decorating guy hasn’t done the fancy stuff yet to make it even prettier. It has a red body with black trim, black with gray and red strip seats and the side curtains will also be black with gray and red stripes. The top is black. On the cherry red, the black and gold pin stripes, will look great when it all comes together.

On Monday, before we got the new cart, we were driving our old one to town and a lady in her golf cart turned into us. We were totally innocent so she paid for all damages. Since our tie-rod was broken, the cart had to be hauled to the place where we were getting our new one. The old one had $300 damage. I’m sure it’s been fixed and someone is enjoying it. Thank heavens the new one was on order so we could get it quickly.

Let’s see, what fun stuff has happened since we’ve been down here?

We attended the Michigan Club Welcome Back Party and a Baby Boomers Halloween Party. We went to an Oldies but Goodies Dance with a great band, Lattitude. November 4th, I went with about 20 girlfriends to a 75th birthday luncheon for friend, Judy Reintsema.

Three times, we’ve attended country couples hour on Thursdays before Rockin Rendezvous at the clubhouse.

So that’s a review of our past 27 days here in paradise.

Comments off

On the ball…

I’m posting again after an extended absence. I hope I haven’t lost all my “followers.” I know Terre likes to follow my posts and I’ll soon be seeing her. I have to get “on the ball.”

Despite his need for constant oxygen, John even danced a few steps tonight at the “pre-Rockin Rondezvous hour” which is lead by Bill and Donna Markland. Tomorrow night we’ll try again at the Baby Boomers party and Sunday night hopefully we can try more at Oldies but Goodies party. If we can make little progress each evening, it will encourage us. We need to practice a little so it’s not so foreign. We’d forgotten everything we knew when we started out tonight, but it was just coming back when John ran out of breath and we had to stop. We’ll practice a little and be ready for the opportunities which will come up tomorrow night (Friday) and at the Oldies But Goodies party (Sunday).

Comments off

We’re in Paradise!

We arrived in Florida on October 15th so we’ve been here a little over a week. Not much has happened. We’ve passed on a couple of get-togethers so John could recover from our trip down here.

Actually come to think of it, we have accomplished quite a bit. We unpacked our truck and put it in storage, cleaned up the place, John went to a sportsman’s club meeting, and we went to the pre-Rockin Rendezvous get-together last Thursday. We’ve gone to two “Sit and Get Fit” exercise classes. John’s been to his primary care doctor, we met with our financial advisor, I’ve been to my eye doctor, and after shopping for several days we ordered a new custom golf cart (which should be ready early next week). We’ve rearranged our great room and tried to get organized. Tonight we went to a great Michigan Club Welcome Back Wine and Cheese party.

That’s not bad for eleven days.

What I have realized is that we have a real support system here. Folks care about us.

Today while shopping at “Nearly New (resale shop)” I mentioned to a couple caring sales people (who I’ve come to know), that John’s fragile health has really been a challenge for both of us. These ladies have been through situations with their husbands that are similar to John’s. Their advice a insight was welcome. So many folks down here understand what we’re facing. ou’re not going through it alone. They have already faced the fears and challenges and they show me that we can also do it.

I’m glad to be here.

Comments off

Summer’s Over

We’re about to head back to Florida and I can tell that John’s concerned about making the trip south. He isn’t nearly as strong as previous years. Hopefully it won’t be too hard on him. Yesterday he ran out of steam packing. I was trying to help by bringing stuff to go in the backseat, but I work too fast which rushes him and he ends up worse off than if I’d let him do it. I’m trying to learn to slow down and/or back off.

We still have a few days. Sunday we’ll take a break to have a dinner with the Skaryd siblings. Wednesday I have to go to the dentist to have a cap/crown installed. Should only need to be gone about an hour and a half. The rest of the time, we’ll be finishing up around here and hit the road Thursday as early as possible.

Comments off

Relieved…

I was awake most of the night worrying that maybe I’m pushing John too hard to go to Florida. I know I am anxious to get to our southern home and I feared that he’s agreed to our departure date because he is tired of arguing about it. John deserves to enjoy every minute of his life and I felt guilty thinking that maybe I’m stealing good memories from him.

But today he said to a stranger, “I’m realizing I’m better off in Florida and probably can’t handle the cold weather here.”

And I am realizing that we need to have our wonderful group of close friends which we’re lacking here. In our circle, I can think of lots of folks who would willingly help us, if we needed help. There are guy friends like Mike B., Bob B., John B., Ron, Dave, Bob W., Bill, Richard, Stephen and more. If we need help, they’ll be there for us.

John is aware of my concerns and I am sure that we’ve in agreement that Florida will allow us to enjoy the next seven months.

He’s even realizing that this house is too much work for us. Maybe, by next year, we can consider selling it. It’ll take some remodeling first but we have to start somewhere.

Comments off

The Back Nine

I FIRST STARTED READING THIS & WAS READING FAST UNTIL I REACHED THE THIRD SENTENCE. I STOPPED AND STARTED OVER READING SLOWER AND THINKING ABOUT EVERY WORD. IT IS VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING. MAKES YOU STOP AND THINK.
READ SLOWLY!

AND THEN IT IS WINTER

You know … time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is… the back nine of my life and it catches me by surprise…How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go?

I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that I was only on the first hole and the back nine was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is…my friends are retired and getting grey…they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me…but, I see the great change….Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant…but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d become.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will… I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so…now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though I’m on the back nine, and I’m not sure how long it will last…this I know, that when it’s over on this earth…it’s over. A new adventure will begin! Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done…things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

So, if you’re not on the back nine yet…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the back nine or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life….so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember…and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

“Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one. LIVE IT WELL! ENJOY TODAY! DO SOMETHING FUN! BE HAPPY ! HAVE A GREAT DAY Remember “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

LASTLY, CONSIDER THIS:
~Going out is good.. Coming home is better!
~You forget names…. But it’s OK because some people forgot they even knew you!!!
~You realize you’re never going to be really good at anything like golf.
~The things you used to care to do, you aren’t as interested in anymore, but you really don’t care that you aren’t as interested.
~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV ‘ON’ than in bed. It’s called “pre-sleep”.
~You miss the days when everything worked with just an “ON” and “OFF” switch..
~You tend to use more 4 letter words … “what?”…”when?”… ???
~You notice everything they sell in stores is “sleeveless”?!!!
~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.
~Everybody whispers.
~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet…. 2 of which you will never wear.

~~~But Old is good in some things: Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!

Stay well, “OLD FRIEND!” Send this on to other “Old Friends!” and let them laugh in AGREEMENT!!! It’s Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.

TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU’VE EVER BEEN; YET THE YOUNGEST YOU’LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS

” Do Not Regret Growing Older.
It is a Privilege Denied to Many. ”

Note: This message was sent to me by Bob Hubbach, wonderful musician and artist.

Comments off

Peace of Mind

Understandably I worry about John’s health. I am always concerned about keeping him well, and it doesn’t help that I depend on his good health when we’re away from home. Last month, when he woke up and was so ill, I wondered what I’d have done if that had happened when we were on the road to Florida. What if we were 700 miles from family and friends?

Ok, so I’m a worrier.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve heard of problems friends have had. As an example, Pat Hesselgrave’s husband died in the U.P. after pulling their RV up there. She (like me) couldn’t drive it back, so they had to depend on someone to go up there and get it.

In a month we plan to head to Florida. With John’s health it could become too much for him and we’d get stuck in Georgia, or Tennessee. Since I’m scared to death of driving the truck, what would we do? Or what if something had happened to him in Evart. How would I have gotten the trailer back?

A solution arrived the other day from the Moose club. We could pay $129 annually and have insurance so if something happened, we’d have a way to get us and our vehicle back home. The insurance would fly us back and send a driver to get our vehicle, or we could have someone go get it and the plan would pay them up to $1,000 a day. I immediately subscribed us before we went to the U.P. Thankfully we didn’t need it, but we are now prepared. Here’s the plan: Moose Assistance+.

In a similar attempt to avoid worry, a few years ago I signed up for “Simplisafe,” which is a reasonably priced monitored security service. When we’re in Florida, I sleep much better knowing that is someone broke into our Michigan home, we and the police would be notified.

Peace of Mind is important. The above two examples provide us with that comfort. Thank heavens we can afford these protections.

Comments off

Dealing with illness

I’m no expert, but I am dealing with John’s illness the best I can. People forget that as a spouse, his health affects me too. He’s not in it alone. We are a team. He’s fighting a valiant fight, but I’m trying to be supportive in every way.

And the same (but in a lesser way) goes for friends supporting friends. I’ve been receiving the Facebook posts from a close (music) friend who went through surgery this week for bladder problems. Sadly this morning he said to his Facebook friends, “Got the biopsy results back this morning. They are not good. Have to wait until Thursday to find out next steps. Not looking forward to the future at this point.” And then later in the discussion he added, “I’m scared as hell,” and “I hope I can stay composed when Jean (his wife) gets up. She was up late last night and and is under stress already.”

My heart goes out to him. He’s a sweet, caring guy who is always there for all of us. Now he needs our prayers and support.

His wife, Jean leans on him, and right now they need each other.

Being either spouse is rough. I hope he realizes that it’s not weakness to show his fear. I am sure his spirit and faith will take him through this problem but it’s going to be a tough fight.

When he apologized for burdening all of us, many of us spoke up. It’s not a burden. He impacts our lives too. We need to help with our prayers and our words of support. Isolation from others would negatively affect him.

Comments off

Back home on Lake Cecil

We returned to the Lower Peninsula yesterday, but not before we stopped at U.P. Realty and started the “listing” procedure to sell our place on Lake Michigan.

The broker wasn’t very encouraging and said that places like ours aren’t moving, so we probably are stuck with it for a while, but you never know.

We realize the place is just too much work for us. John gave in and we hired a guy to finish up the tree which had come down on the roof. We also paid him to cut down about a dozen more; most because we feared they could come down on the trailer.

Comments off

We’re at our place in the U.P.

Arrived here Thursday (today’s Saturday) and for John it’s just been work, work, work.

He had to get the water working which took all of the time after we arrived Thursday.

Toilet is leaking. Mouse poop all over the kitchen. Place smells awfully musty. Dirty. All the window screens in the living room area have developed holes. (Apparently even metal window screens have a life-span and it must be about 50 years because that’s how old this trailer is.) And there’s a huge tree on the roof of the trailer.

Thursday I did a lot of the “unloading” (while he worked on getting us water) and Friday I continued to clean and get stuff settled in while he concentrated on the tree problem. Unfortunately my foot didn’t appreciate it. Today I’ve been ordered (by John) to get off my feet. My foot is really swollen and even more discolored than it was Thursday when I took this picture.

So I’m stuck on the couch. I have learned that sitting with my foot on the floor makes it worse, so it’s up here on the couch with me.

Yesterday John was successful cutting through the trunk end of the tree, about half way up. He says the more he does, the better he feels. Unfortunately his lung problem is really severe. Even using constant oxygen, he can only work for short bouts before he has to take a break. He uses the chainsaw and cuts off a few branches, then rests. It’s slow, but he is making progress. He’s hoping that once he gets the extra branches off, the upper half will “slide off” the metal roof. Once it’s on the ground, he’s probably going to hire the guy to cut it up and stack it before we come back next year.

He’s finally acknowledging that we need to sell the place. It’s just too much work.

Yesterday I walked down to the water and it’s much better than it’s been in years! Another winter of snow, and we may have a nice beach back.

Comments off

Getting Closer

We leave for our Florida condo, October 14th. Of course our actual arrival depends on weather, traffic, etc., and this year we’ll also be challenged by John’s health. He may not be able to drive as long as in the past so we may not be able to get there in two days. Our plan, at this point, is to stop Friday night south of Knoxville, TN, in Sweetwater, TN. But, if we need to stop sooner, we’ll stop. In fact, today I was investigating motels in the London, KY, area, which is about 140 miles sooner (more northerly). We will play it by ear. We won’t arrive until nearly 7:00 pm so if we go to Sweetwater, so maybe London will be our first stop. We’ll see.

Comments off

My bucket list

Tuesday, after I got my computer back from Lenovo (it was under warranty when it started acting up), I worked several days to re-load Windows 10. (During the repair, my system had been reverted to Windows 8.1). I had to set up all of the programs (like Excel, MusicTime, my printer, etc.), and copy my files to the appropriate directory. It was a chore I didn’t enjoy and took several days (thank heavens John wasn’t here because he’d have run out of patience just watching.)

I’d just finished when I realized the computer still isn’t working right so I’ll probably be sending it back again.

This time I am wiser. I studied and found out that I could create a re-install of Windows 10 on a large volume usb thumb drive which will boot up and allow a seamless re-installation. The way I did it before took getting a re-verification of first Windows 8.1 and then I had to cheat to get an upgrade to Windows 10. It was a long process.

Today I also bought a 1 TB usb hard drive ($50 on eBay) which I’ll use to backup/reinstall the personal files I’ve created.

Yes, I already have a 2 TB external hard drive but it’s not usb and it’s difficult to connect and have my computer recognize. When I have a wireless system, the 2 TB hard drive works nicely, but not here in Michigan.

I’ve tried unsuccessfully to create a total image backup, but it always fails. I have decided that with the good Windows 10 backup, I am better off just copying the files I need to keep.

Yes, I’ll still need to install programs, but I can do that as I need them: Lotus, MS Streets and Trips, Microsoft Office programs, Word Perfect, and Ipswitch (FTP program) and Coffee Cup html editor.

You soon realize you can never have too many back-ups.

Believe me, figuring out this whole back-up procedure has been a learning experience. For instance, even after I managed to put Windows 10 on the usb drive, I had to learn how to boot to the usb drive so Windows 10 could be installed to my computer.

Sadly little problems take a while to solve. Example: I was trying to find the answer to “after I make a usb that has Windows 10 on it, how can I make it bootable. (If you upgraded to Windows 10 from 7, 8 or 8.5, and you have to do a factory reinstall, it’ll go back to the original Windows version.) I succeeded getting a complete version of my Windows 10 on my usb. Great! Now I had to find out how to have my computer see it and use it instead of the original 8.5 version. I figured that I needed to make my usb bootable so I could get it to start with Windows 10. I tried the instructions I found for creating a bootable usb several times. They were complex and didn’t work.

The simple answer was, your usb doesn’t have to be bootable. You can just ask your computer to use your usb drive first, instead of your “c” drive. It works by having the usb in the usb port and holding down F12 while you press the “on” button.

If anyone is wondering how to achieve a complete back-up (hopefully before they need it), I may be able to help. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I think I’m prepared.

You’d need to buy at least a 16gb usb thumb drive and it’s best if you buy a usb hard drive big enough to hold all of your files. (Keep those separate since you can’t add to the Windows 10 thumb drive once it’s created but the hard drive can be kept current.) Personally I like to have at least two of the file back ups (dated). I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve referenced an “older” version of a file.

Maybe I should create a tutorial on my website, complete with these suggestions.

Ok, that’s one thing for my bucket list. I won’t expect to get paid, but I’d enjoy sharing.

Is there more on my bucket list?

Yup!

The nationally known “Folk Harp Journal,” has ask that I explain the harplist (an email list which I have moderated for about 20 years). They would like an history/explanation/and invitation for harp folks. It’s a chore that is waiting for my attention.

And of course there are personal challenges: playing the harp, playing the marimbula, sewing more, crocheting more ornaments for our Christmas tree, tatting again, cleaning the house, and purging our Michigan place.

How come these items are still on my bucket list?

Comments off

I haven’t been able to post

John had a health problem this week which resulted in six days of hospitalization.

Sunday morning, when I woke up, he was in severe pain. I took him to St. Mary’s E.R. where he was admitted.

It was the third time since we returned to Michigan in May that he was hospitalized. This time he had pancreatitis/gall bladder problems.

Apparently this problem also caused the pain that caused his hospitalization in July but it wasn’t diagnosed because it happened immediately after his colonoscopy. The doctors thought the pain was because of trapped air from the colon procedure. That was wrong and I tried to point out that John felt fine after the colonoscopy. We’d had a nice dinner and the pain started about eight hours later. The doctor basically told me I wasn’t a doctor, so I shut up.

Fortunately this time he had a doctor who felt there was a link between the painful episodes. She ordered a enzyme blood test which showed proved his pain claims were, if anything understated. Normal enzyme numbers are 125-150 and John’s numbers were off the chart (over 4,000). After a MRI they decided that the gallbladder caused the pancreatic problems. He had laproscopy gallbladder removal surgery Tuesday.

I brought him home this afternoon (Friday) and he’s resting comfortably.

So now you can see why I haven’t posted for several days.

While he was hospitalized, I got my computer back from Lenovo. It is running beautifully without the problem I encountered before the repair. (The lid had to be replaced because the wiring in the hinge was causing the screen images to “break up”.)

Getting the computer back meant I had a lot of restoring to do. I had backed everything up, but it took a lot of time to have Windows recognize my computer, to upgrade Windows 8.1 back to Windows 10, and then to install all the programs and files. It was probably

My computer is purring.

I hope John continues to improve. We’re concerned because they pumped him full of fluids (since he couldn’t eat or drink) and all that fluid is causing him breathing problems.

Comments off

Feeling lost — No computer!!

My Lenovo computer was shipped off yesterday for “under warranty” repair. It should be back in a couple weeks. I’ll survive using my Galaxy smartphone and John’s tablet.

I got tired of having the screen go all wonkers on me so I’d have to reboot. I am sure it’s a bad connection in the hinge. No reason why the hard drive will need to be touched but I’ll bet everything will need to be reinstalled. We’ll see.

Comments off

Great plans but reality happened

We planned to remodel our house this year. With John’s health problems, it didn’t happen.

We were going to head north this week. We’ve postponed our trip until the 22nd of August (in a little less than three weeks).

We plan to have a garage sale this fall to rid ourselves of lots of junk. At this point, it sounds like way too much work for John (and me). It may happen. We’ll get back from the U.P. on the 26th and the sale would be the 10th of September so we’d have about two weeks. We’ll see.

Comments off

John’s in the hospital again

Thursday John had a colonoscopy. (He had five polyps removed and instructions that he needs to see the doctor in about 10 days when the results from the biopsy are known). He felt pretty good after the procedure so we fixed a dinner and he relaxed at home that evening (Thursday).

At about 4:00 yesterday (Friday) morning he got incredibly sick. He vomited and was in severe pain. We referred to the discharge instructions from the colonoscopy. It said if these symptoms developed and we couldn’t reach the doctor, we should head to the emergency room. We tried calling the doctor without success and I said, “I’m taking you to the outpatient ER.”

When we got there, they felt he was very possibly having or heading to a heart attack. He was transported to the main campus by ambulance and eventually had a cardiac cath. Thankfully he had no heart problems but they kept him overnight. It was a long day. I got home about 6:00 pm.

The doctors were still doing some final evaluation when he called me a short while ago. Hopefully he can come home today. I’ll wait until he calls.

===

About 3:00 he called. I went after him. He’s home! Yeah!!

Comments off

Still hot here.

We head to Florida, October 14th. Depending on weather, and traffic conditions, etc. we’ll probably reach our destination the evening of the 15th.

As we exit I-75, we’ll stop and pick up a pizza from South Shore Pizza which is just a couple miles from our condo. With pizza in hand we’ll continue to 2604 Newcomb Court and enjoy the pizza with a beer or two in our Florida home while waiting for the A/C to cool our place. Unloading the vehicle isn’t really necessary that night, but we’ll probably bring a few things inside.

We have a week before our hectic appointment schedule will kick in. Lots of time to settle in and take in pool visits and exercise classes.

Comments off

Still trying

I’ve lost only three lousy pounds since I started in late June. I should have lost at least a pound a week but with my hand operation, the festival we just attended, and the extreme hot weather, my ability to shake off pounds with outdoors exercise is limited. I haven’t given up. I know I need to try even harder: less wine, more exercise, fewer muchies.

Comments off

Hot..Hot..Hot!

Mountainsmith trekking polesWe’ve been staying inside where we keep the A/C temp set at 76-77 degrees. Outside it’s high 90’s and HUMID. Major yuck!

No plans to spent time outside until it is more comfortable.

After watching my friend Linda with her trekking poles, I bought a pair to assist me walking. I plan to take increasingly longer walks around our lake but for now, I’m making a circle inside the house. It takes a while to get the rhythm of the stride and I’m improving but it’s still not second nature. Maybe, by the time it cools down, I can trekk correctly.

Comments off

Facebook ads

I hate the scare tactic “sponsored” ads that frequently show up on the right side of my Facebook page. In an attempt to get your attention, the headlines make it look like they’re posting a newsworthy DEATH NOTICE. This morning the first of these ads I saw contained headlines that Jane Fonda is gone with reference to medical examiner. Right under it was an identical ad saying Jamie Lee Curtis is gone. Since only a few words are shown, they hint at the loss of a famous personality but you must click and read on. This morning I checked. Both actresses are still with us. If you are drawn in and continue to read the article, you’ll find it’s an ADVERTISEMENT. I think it’s despicable that these ads scare tactic ads are allowed. They cause unnecessary sad emotions. Ignore them.

Comments off

Heading back to Florida….

Summer’s going fast! During the remainder of July, we have a family dinner and John has a colonoscopy scheduled next Thursday. (Not fun.) Not much else.

During August, we have a 60th class reunion (John’s), we hope to get to the U.P. for three to five days, there’ll be a Skaryd family reunion, and a wedding (John’s sister’s granddaughter).

In September, we will have our first-Wednesday-of-the-month senior potluck and a family dinner, but little else to anticipate. In fact, I’ll have the “fun” (HA!) of writing the three checks to pay Michigan property taxes by mid-September. Near the end of that month, we will start packing the truck so we don’t have to rush when we leave on October 14th.

I’ll be glad to get back to Florida where we constantly have fun stuff on our calendar. When we arrive on October 15th, there’ll be only 15 days remaining in that month. During those two weeks, we have an Elvis Party, Michigan Club Welcome Back Party, an Oldies But Goodies dance, a Baby Boomers tribute to the Beatles evening, doctor and eye appointments, twice a week exercise classes, and if we feel like it, dips in the pool. In addition we’ll be cleaning our Florida condo and settling in. Busy! Busy! Busy! And that’s not including a probable Halloween celebration.

Comments off

We’re back in our Michigan home

The festival was really fun, but it’s good to be home. We are more comfortable here.

John wants to go to the Upper Peninsula before we head to Florida but I’d prefer to skip it this year unless we’re arranging for a real estate agent to sell it.

Comments off

It’ll all be a memory

Tomorrow we’ll head home from our ODPC Funfest (the largest hammered dulcimer event in the world).

I must admit that we’ve had less “fun” than in the past. We have turned in earlier, and haven’t made much music. But visiting with friends has been great and I’m really glad we came. I think it did us both a lot of good to get out.

John’s looking healthier all the time. He runs out of steam faster than in the past, so we are less active. Hopefully now that the pneumonia is totally gone, he will get stronger. He may never get off oxygen, but living with it is better than the alternative!

Comments off

Northwest to Evart, MI

We figured that, since I’m now “retired” and no longer in charge of workshops for this huge dulcimer festival, it would be easy packing. We wouldn’t need all the stuff required in my role as “hostess.” Somehow it didn’t work out that way. We are stuck with the mentality that we need to have everything “just in case.”

And of course, I wanted to be sure that our friend, Linda, would have everything she might need.

We ended up packing only our 10×10 foot Easy-Up and won’t plan to erect our huge 20×20 foot Workshop Leader Rest Area canopy, but since the big one stayed at the fairgrounds, it really didn’t change what we had to bring. We did leave at home many of our folding chairs since we no longer need to accommodate dozens of folks (but I can count a half dozen plus a two-person lounge chair). And we only packed in one five gallon water jug since it’s doubtful that we’ll be able to access ice as easily as we could with the Workshop Chairman golf cart.

We didn’t bring the multitude of workshop programs nor the box of batteries we used in the portable amps and mics.

We had figured we wouldn’t get started until about noon but we left at about 11:00.

Linda’s having brunch with her son in Brighton. She should to Evart by about 3:00. She’s leaving Wednesday so wants a couple days to visit with her music friends.

Comments off

We’re going to try it…

Neither John nor I are in prime physical condition. I’m unable to lift much and John gets winded really easily. He was evaluated by his pulmonologist and his pneumonia is nearly gone, but cardiac problem and his IPF has limited him.

And then there’s my wrist which is much better but still limited. I got the stitches out yesterday, but was warned against heavy work. It looks pretty good, but the scars are very visible.

We really want to go to Evart (our huge dulcimer festival). We’ll try, but we know the whole get-ready, get-there, set up the campsite, enjoy it, and pack up for home and return program is beyond what we’re currently capable of. We have struggled when we were well. I don’t know how it’ll work, but we’re planning to go. We’re trying to pare back. We just can’t go with dozens of chairs and all the lifting and toting that involves. But we want to be there having fun. It’s a hard balance to reach.

Our friend, Linda Conklin, is coming tomorrow to help us pack the RV. We have a lot already done, but John still needs to install the 5th wheel in the back of the truck bed and hook it up to the RV. He needs to load in his scooter.

I truly love Linda. She knows how to help. We will enjoy her visit. She’ll also join us at Evart, and then fly back to Florida. We won’t see her this fall/winter in Florida because she (and Wayne) will be heading to Mexico in September and won’t be back in the states until April.

I have almost all of the clothes I’ll need out in the trailer. We’re leaving Sunday.

It’ll work. I’m confident. But we couldn’t do it without Linda. We truly appreciate her!

It’s tough to be handicapped. I have to admit we are no longer physically able to do it all but with the help of our friend, Linda, we want to try.

Comments off

Counting

Today, July 6th, 2016, we have been in Michigan 57 days, after our nearly seven months at our condo in Florida. In eight days the ODPC Funfest starts. In 101 days, we’ll be heading back to our Florida paradise. In 307 days, we’ll be back in Michigan in May 2017.

I love keeping track of lists, count downs, etc. I know it’s a weird obsession.

I don’t care that the date we’ll get back to Florida is October 15. To me it’s more fun to know that it’s 101 days.

Comments off

Missing our Florida Friends

This is the first time in since 2011 that we haven’t headed to either the Cooper’s or the Brooks’ homes for a great 4th of July party.

Richard and Shelly Brooks sold

on Cedar Island Lake and are now full-timers in our Florida community. There will be no further parties at this location for this big crazy bunch of fun-loving Michigan/Florida folks.

We miss the fun time we shared with that great group.

Comments off

Disappointed

I got a call from my surgeon’s office the day before yesterday. The appointment to remove my stitches was rescheduled from the 5th to the 6th. I was disappointed with the delay.

While talking with Dr. Taha’s assistant, I told her I have been going without the big elastic bandage a great deal of the time. She told me I need to keep the pressure wrap on to protect from infection. (I am sure it’s healing nicely, but I have been doing as I was told.) I liked being able to use my finger and was certain that with that exercise, I would lose less strength but I’m obedient.

The wrap causes my arm to itch but I’ll admit that, after it’s on for a while, it does feel better and more “protected.”

I hope I don’t have to go back to physical or occupational therapy, but somehow I won’t be surprised if it’s suggested.

Comments off

Using it more

I washed my hair today! Yup, I used my left hand and got it clean. After it was nearly dry, I used a flat iron and a curling iron and it looks fine! I can’t believe I did it by myself this soon after surgery.

I’ve taken the big bandage off my wrist and I’m using just a light-weight black wrist wrap with a velcro closure. I ordered a better one which should be here Wednesday from Amazon. The stitches won’t be out until next TUESDAY!

John is doing better too. He still gets winded, but he’s learning how much he can do.

Comments off

Both of us are doing better

Four days since my surgery to have the plates and screws taken out of my wrist. I’m feeling good about my recovery.

I’m limited because I can’t lift anything (Dr.’s orders). My 12 oz. Kindle with its cover is too heavy to pick up comfortably. Every cup of coffee goes in my left hand. And pouring my glass of wine must be done as a lefty.
At this point, my wrist doesn’t bend (mostly because of the bulky wrap) so eating is a challenge (I can put my food in my ear easier than in my mouth)

But, here’s the good part, I really think that when I get the 16 stitches out, the wrap off, and permission to lift a moderate amount weight with my right hand, I’ll be better than I was before the surgery.

It might be my imagination, but I haven’t experienced the dull almost constant “pain” I had before. I also don’t have quite as much numbness, and my finger flexibility has improved.

I’m looking forward to being able to wash my hands without aching. The plates caused my hand to respond to the cold or heat with such sensitivity that it always hurt to put my hands in water. I couldn’t go in the heated South Club Pool in our Florida community. The water wasn’t warm enough to avoid the pain which it caused.

I’m sure it’ll all be closer to normal.. At least I hope it will.

And, yes, John’s getting stronger daily. All the signs point to slow recovery from the pneumonia. His strength is increasing but he still has pulmonary fibrosis which isn’t going to get better. If he’s just watching TV he often removes his oxygen, but any walking or exertion requires that he have it on. He’s been out of the hospital for a little over three weeks. In three more weeks, I’m sure he’ll have made even more progress. He’s my hero!

Comments off

Getting Serious

I’m serious about losing some weight. John is disappointed in me, and I’m disappointed in myself. I’m heavier that I was a year ago. In fact I weigh as much as I weighed at my heaviest in 2002.

2002 was when I was 60. With determination, I lost 20 pounds between March and June. It took effort and following the Weight Watchers Points Plan (although I never actually joined WW). I used a journal and wrote down everything I ate. It worked!

Here it is 2016. I’m now 74 and I’ve regained the 20 I lost previously. It’s harder to get rid of it it this time. My body is in worse shape. I have a belly that I never had before so clothing fits differently. I’ve lost at least half an inch of height so I look fatter.

I am determined to do something about it. I joined an smart phone app program called “Lose It.” I believe it will help. I’ll have the support of a community of folks with similar goals. I’ve already “friended” two ladies.

I have also ordered a Jawbone UP Move activity tracker. It will work with Lose It to keep me moving and motivated. My goal is to lose 16-21 pounds before we head back to Florida in October. I figure that means I must lose a little over a pound a week. Since starting with Lose It Tuesday, I’ve shed 1.5 pounds. Gotta keep it up!!

Comments off

Comparing

I can’t help but compare our time here in Michigan to winters in Florida. Here are some of the differences:

It is hotter (most of the time) in Florida especially during the summer months.
It’s greener here. The lush Michigan foliage amazes me.
At this time of the year (June), it rains more in Florida.
With the exception of squirrels, we have more small furry critters here like rabbits and chipmunks.
More close friends in Florida.
Relatives in Michigan.
More chores to do here in Michigan.
More activities and fun in Florida.
Our house is nicer/bigger here but needs more work and is harder to keep clean.
Here in Michigan, “going shopping” is a big event. While in Florida we go to town nearly daily (by golf cart).
The Saginaw area is really shabby.
Both places have lovely views.
I spend more time outside in Florida.
More potholes in Saginaw.
Politics are lousy in both states.
On average, groceries are cheaper in Michigan.
Since we never have company in Michigan, it’s easy to let housework slide.
In Florida, I need to keep everything polished and ready for company because folks frequently drop in.

Comments off

Appreciate cool and rainy weather

With John’s health so fragile I would love to have him take time to recover but not my John. He wants to catch up and get the lawn mowed and things looking good.

Thank heavens it has been cool and it rained a great deal yesterday and all day today. He was forced to take it easy.

He even admitted that he needed the rest.

Comments off

Our plans

We had some great plans for this summer. We were going to do some major remodeling of our kitchen and master bathroom but we haven’t started yet because of our preoccupation with John’s health.

We thought we’d go to the U.P. in June to get a tree off the top of our hide-away place west of Manistique and down the Garden Peninsula, but it hasn’t happened yet.

We planned (and still hope) to go to the ODPC Funfest in July.

John was looking forward to working in the yard, but he hasn’t been able to keep up with the lawn.

I’ve been trying to purge some of our junk, but it’s a slow process. I took some to the Salvation Army donation site, but a lot of the stuff we want to get rid of should be sold. Today I listed my lap harp on a couple sites, and I plan to list more later this week. I haven’t begun to scratch the surface.

Comments off

John’s on a tether (a restrictive leash)

John recovered from pneumonia but with pulmonary fibrosis, he’s still not well. He’s now on oxygen all the time. He uses a pre-filled tank when away from home or outside and an oxygen generator inside. When he’s in the house the generator allows him to breathe comfortably. He has the sorta noisy generator in a corner of the great room. The tubing is 50 feet long. That means he can go most anyplace in the house. Both first floor bathrooms, our bedroom, the kitchen, dining room and great room are available to him. He can even make it out to the garage. Not hard to find him… I just follow the clear tube from the generator to him.

He got the oxygen last Tuesday evening after he was released from the hospital. Wednesday we went shopping and we picked up some newly prescribed prescriptions.

Shopping was an experience. At Krogers, he loaded the tank into a shopping cart which he walked behind. It was further than he should have tried walking but he made it. In Meijers, he used their handicapped mobility cart. It worked much better. I did the excursions to get stuff, while he stuck to the main aisles around the store. He was less tired than he had been at Krogers but he probably over-did it. He rested up Thursday.

Last night (Friday), we went out to our long-anticipated walleye dinner at the Moose club. We parked in the handicapped area and he made it into the Moose without oxygen. It was a nice evening. He did remarkably well. I did a little shopping afterward while he waited in the car.

We have to plan ahead and bring enough tanks (a full tank lasts about five hours) or he must try breathing without the supplemental oxygen. It’s a constant challenge.

He won’t give up yard work or cooking. He’s careful to avoid open flames around his oxygen, but he can bake and microwave and he can shut off the oxygen while he cooks on our gas range.

Yard work is his idea. We argue about the wisdom of him riding on his rider. Although he wears a mask-type respirator, we can easily afford to have the work done, but he’s insistent that he wants to do it. I can’t convince him, even with a quoted price of $35 which is half of what I expected.

I’m trying to do more for him than before but he’s proud and stubborn. I do a lot of the leg work (getting him a drink of water, etc.) He says he can’t just sit around, but at 78, he should learn that on your butt is not a bad place to be, especially if it helps to make you healthier.

Comments off

John’s coming home!

John was hospitalized over the Memorial Day holiday. Hopefully he’ll be released this afternoon. He’ll be coming home but he’ll need to continue using oxygen but at least I have him at home.

Comments off

John’s condition

John’s comfortable but not well. He’s on oxygen 24/7 and antibiotics to get him over the lung infection (double pneumonia). This morning he had an adverse reaction to the antibiotic. (I am also sensitive to antibiotics so I know that you can use one for a few days and then – wham! you get a reaction.) They tried again this afternoon but it started again so now they’ll try to find one he can tolerate. He won’t be released until Tuesday, June 2nd. He’ll have been there a week.

Comments off

Yesterday.. what a day

We started out the day by going to my wrist surgeon. I will have the plates removed, but he made me feel that it’s “my choice.” He doesn’t realize how uncomfortable my wrist is.

We left there and about 2:30 we went to the St. Mary’s outpatient emergency room. He hasn’t been feeling well and his pulmonologist had suggested that he go to the E.R. for a chest x-ray and ct scan.

At the E. R. he was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia (aka double pneumonia) and possibly congestive heart failure (which means fluid around the heart). Although he wasn’t happy about it, they said he needed to be admitted to St. Mary’s Medical Center. I hung around the emergency facility until 7:00 pm but finally headed home. The ambulance finally transported him to the hospital and he was admitted to his room about 8:30. I sure hope he doesn’t have to stay long.

He called me this morning and said he’s feeling a little better.

Comments off

Obsessed with John’s condition

I notice the only thing I’ve talked about lately is John’s health. That’s all I think about.

I’m sure he’s tired of hearing me ask, “How are you feeling?” I bug him about it all the time. Patiently he replies, but maybe it’s to shut me up.

His energy is non-existent and it rubs off on me. While watching TV, he sleeps. I don’t feel like doing anything. (I justify my laziness by saying to myself, “I were to bustle around, he’d feel compelled to try to do more.”)

Comments off

Maybe it’s the flu

John’s been feeling so rotten that we’ve begun to wonder if maybe he has a bug. Afterall even with pulmonary fibrosis, he can still catch the flu.

Comments off

Times they are a-changing

John hasn’t been doing very well. He’s been sick, short of breath and miserable.

Yesterday, he stopped taking Esbriet, which is the pricey medicine prescribed for his idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in January. It comes with many side-effects. He felt he couldn’t cope with the constant nausea and the absence of taste sensors which mean nothing tasted good. After losing nearly 20 pounds, he felt it was time to take a break from the poisoning of his body by this potent medicine.

(I should note that a majority of those taking Esbriet quit due to the side effects. His doctors said 75% or more of their patients had quit taking it.)

He had an appointment with his Saginaw pulmonologist Monday. She recognized that he’s gone down-hill. She said normally the best you can hope for staying comparatively well (even with treatment) lasts five or six years. John’s nearly to seven years!

She is having him tested to see if his lung problem may have reached a point where he isn’t getting sufficient oxygen as he sleeps. If that’s the case, his heart could be affected. She feels the arrhythmia he’s been diagnosed with could be an indication that he’s developing this problem. The fix is to have him wear an oxygen nose mask when he sleeps (like those diagnosed with sleep apnea use). He won’t use it all the time, but at night, it might help him.

He and his physician talked over his need for a handicapped parking placard. There are times when he truly can’t walk the distances required. His doctor filled out all the paperwork and today we got him a handicap permit at the Secretary of State office.

This afternoon was a good example of his need for that privilege. We went shopping, but he could only make it to the door, and he just couldn’t go further. He’d run out of oxygen. I ran around the store while he guarded our shopping cart near the door. He was exhausted.

But looking ahead, we were also worried about our Evart festival and what would happen if we ended up with a distant campsite. He’d just be stuck at our RV. And when we’re headed back to Florida next fall, we were concerned that we’d have a similar problem to last year. Our motel room had close-by parking places but they were all handicapped. John couldn’t have handled the luggage from the non-handicapped spots. The motel management understood his situation and said, “Don’t worry about it, we’ll vouch for you and explain there were no other sites, if you have a problem.” Now he can legally occupy the closer spots.

Today we stopped at a half dozen places after he had the placard, but he never used it. He won’t abuse the privilege but he’ll have it, if needed.

Comments off

Adjusting to Michigan

John’s been totally worn-out since getting home. For the first time, he actually said “maybe” when I suggested flying back to Florida in October instead of driving. We have a guy (Larry’s Ride) who could pick us up at Tampa International for $35. Problem would be the stuff we’re able to bring with us including: wine that John’s making, favorite clothes, musical instruments (banjo, uke, hammered dulcimer, marimbula and autoharp), air purifier, and food. I keep trying to leave more and not drag it back and forth, but some items are needed both places.

Before we left last fall, I had in mind that I’d leave clothes in Florida, but by the time I started packing to head north, I’d forgotten what we had here. Therefore I brought most of my popular items back with us. Now I’m finding lots of stuff I can wear this summer so I could have left more in the south. I just have to do more list making this fall.

I’m trying to get organized and clean this place but there’s still lots more to be done around here.

Later:

We had planned to go to the Moose Club for all-you-can-eat walleye tonight. But John had a rough day and didn’t feel like spending an evening away from home. We ran to the closest supermarket for coffee and something for a meal but we were only gone about a half hour. At home we made a huge pot of chili and had it for dinner. Hopefully tomorrow he’ll feel better. Today is Friday. We have dinner plans with his siblings Sunday at 1:00 and Monday he sees his pulmonologist. I hate seeing him so uncomfortable. His nausea came back and his oxygen levels are scary low. He’s weak and has lost more weight (which he can’t afford to lose). I just hope he bounces back. I think he needs to start finding help. He can’t maintain the yard alone, and I am not much help. (I’ll be having surgery on my hand probably this month.)

Comments off

We made it back to Michigan this afternoon

We left our Florida condo Sunday, stayed overnight in Marietta, Georgia, and last night in Miamisburg, Ohio. Made it home about 2:30. The trip was fairly uneventful. A few traffic jams slowed us down, but we managed to survive them. We got home in time to the drag stuff from our truck inside, but it will take a few days to get everything back where it belongs.

Now that we’re at our Thomas Township home, I have to ask: how can a house get really yucky dirty with no one here for seven months? There are dead petals all over the hot tub room where we store the geraniums for re-planting, there are lots of dead flies/bugs around the house, the toilets were disgusting and the dust is unbelievable. The stuff we brought back with us is piled up on most level surfaces. I want to know: how could anyone leave a house in October looking like this?!! Housekeeping isn’t my thing, but this is beyond my understanding. I’m so ashamed but too tired to do anything about it.

Comments off

I’ve been neglectful of this blog

Sorry to anyone who like to follow this blog and have found that I’ve been lazy (or preoccupied). I will try to do better.

We have been busy packing for our trip back to Michigan. We leave Sunday, the 8th. We always hang around for the big Kentucky Derby party hosted by the Michigan Club. This year that event is May 7th.

This past month has been VERY busy! We have attended several parties including a “birthday party” for four girlfriends who will have birthdays after the snowbirds have left for the summer. We also attended an appreciation dinner by the Michigan Club, a dinner/dance for Baby Boomers members, a Front Porch Pickers picnic, a farewell party at the home of friends, an evening with another couple, and a birthday lunch for a super nice lady friend. We went to a 40th anniversary party for best friends the Conklins, a couple dances (including one featuring the Dukes) and even spent an afternoon helping a friend with her computer and smartphone. With that lengthy list, you can understand why I haven’t been doing as much blog posting.

And we’ve been packing. Packing involves moving the lanai furniture into the garage (stowing the fabric cushions in plastic bags). Thank heavens John finished that chore on Tuesday before we got nearly 4″ of rain. The lanai and everything on it was soaked.

Of course I have scheduled the vacation changes which take time. I have scheduled shut off our Brighthouse cable service which includes our wi-fi for Monday after we’ve left. I’ve contacted our newspapers, the post office, and our credit card company.

I also spent a full afternoon making sure my smart phone would work as a hot spot.

Last year we used Charter wi-fi and TV in our Michigan home, but this year I’m trying a cheaper solution. I have established a wi-fi ($30 monthly) hotspot through my smart phone. We’ll get our TV through our digital roof-top antenna so we’ll get all local channels but maybe nothing like HGTV and History which we enjoy here in Florida. Hopefully some of our Brighthouse channels will still be available to us via my smartphone myBrighthouse service. Doing it this way will give us connection to the outside world when we’re on our way home, at our place in the upper peninsula and also when we go to Evart.

Last year we paid for a month of Charter that we couldn’t use (because we weren’t home). This way we’ll be able to take it with us where ever we are and at a savings of about a hundred a month.

The hot spot will extend to my computer and John’s tablet. That way John will be able to access the stock market and major news stations. We’ll all be happy!

The only requirement for making my phone into a hot spot was keeping my “unlimited Verizon usage” and paying the $30 monthly. It has cost me a bit more but hopefully it’ll pay off.

My to-do list is still huge. Lots of the stuff I have to do is “last minute” but I think it’s all doable.

Comments off

My health

I’m so consumed by John’s health problems, that I rarely think about mine, but this week I made an effort and had my first mammogram in many years and I also had ultrasound on a lump on my neck. Hopefully both tests will show that everything’s fine. (I haven’t heard back yet, but both techs sounded like I have nothing to worry about.)

I also had my eyes checked this week and that was a bit scary because I know my both mother and my aunt were blind when they died. I was worried about glauchoma but I show no signs of it. Whew! But I know I have the starting of macular degeneration (which I was diagnosed with last year), but I was pleased that it hasn’t progressed at all.

So I am apparently quite healthy, and I just need to worry about John.

========

I got the results back and I’m healthy. Nothing negative to report at all. The neck swelling is apparently fluid and the mammogram showed nothing irregular. I have my fall tests scheduled with my primary care physician when we return, and an appointment with my wrist surgeon in Michigan, but I guess for a 74-year-old lady, I have no health major concerns.

Comments off

Catching you up

Let’s see… What’s happened lately?

John has been suffering from side effects from his new medication which has caused nausea. Not fun.

We had a visit from Mary Lou and Hugh Battley this week. They are Michigan friends who attend our big Evart festival. They were staying in the Orlando area. On Tuesday they stayed overnight with the Conklins, and Wednesday they came here for a brunch. In addition to the Conklins, Cindy & Mike Baker also joined us for the brunch. It was sort of an Evart reunion. They even made music.

I worried for about a month about our license tabs. Two of our three mandatory license renewals came quickly (they expired on John’s birthday, March 1st), but the GMC truck’s didn’t show up and we will drive it back to Michigan. Finally I contacted the Michigan Secretary of State’s office and the tab was re-sent. And yes, you guessed it, the first one finally arrived and two days later, the second one came. We’re doubly set.

We haven’t gone to the pool much. John’s concerned about “catching something” and swimming pools are a prime spot for picking up germs. I know that if I catch a bug, he’ll end up with it so it just isn’t worth the risk. After spring breakers have headed back north, we may try the Nantucket pool, which doesn’t have as many children.

During April, we have several fun activities to look forward to: a dance with a great band April 1st (Rocky and the Rollers). John’ll be in the mixed chorus concert a week from tomorrow (the 4th). The Michigan Club will give all workers a great appreciation dinner April 8th. We are invited a cookout/potluck at the home of fun friends on the 9th; the 10th there’s an Elvis street party. The 17th we’ll attend a dance and dinner (free) for Baby Boomer members. And on April 23rd, our friends the Conklins are going to host a 40th anniversary party.

The number of activities in April is down a bit from earlier months, but we’ll be out and about.

We’ll also have doctor appointments galore. John has several and I have one with my GP and one with my eye doctor.

Forty-two days from today we leave for Michigan (May 8th).

I love being in Florida, but I’ll be ready to head back. Just hope the snow storms have stopped by the time we drive back, and the rock slide damaged highway is repaired near the Tennessee/Kentucky border.

Comments off

birthdays and brew

We celebrated John’s 78th birthday yesterday by first going to one of his doctor appointments in Tampa. After that, we went to Busch Gardens where we saw a great Chubby Checker performance at 1:30. We left Busch Gardens and enjoyed a nice late lunch at Sweet Tomatoes. At home we had margueritas and birthday cake. Not very exciting but l am sure he enjoyed it.

Comments off

Time is Running Out

142 days ago (as of today, February 28th), we arrived in Florida (October 10th, 2015).

It was warm and lovely during the months of October, November, and December. But January and February we had cool weather but spring’s now right around the corner. Two weeks from today clocks spring ahead when daylight savings plan goes into effect. The temperatures are now warming and hopefully we’ll be in the mid-70’s this week.

In 70 days we’ll be packed up and on the road north. In fact 70 nights from tonight, hopefully we’ll be just north of Atlanta.

I love it here in Florida, but with the cool weather it’s felt like I’ve been robbed of some of the fun stuff we enjoy.

We’ve attended some enjoyable parties. On January 23rd, there was the very nice Michigan Club SnoBall and since then, several other fun evenings. We attended a wine and cheese party put on by the H.O.A. We had a good time at a couple caribbean themed dances, and last week I was chairman of the Michigan Club’s annual pizza party which was a tremendous success.

Sadly John’s best friend, George, died last week. We knew it was going to happen, and George called him two days before he passed. They’d said their good-byes. Still heart-breaking.

John’s health continues to deteriorate. He’s now on a new medication which may help. We’re praying.

Comments off

The price of health..??!!

Yesterday were told today that the medicine my husband’s just been prescribed might cost (are you sitting down and ready for this?) $8,000 to $9,000 per MONTH. Thankfully we do have Medicare approval which will cut the price by 2/3’s (still leaving $3,000 per month). Also we have insurance and maybe some other help. Even with this huge price tag there’s definitely no assurance that it’ll help at all. Worth a try and they do give us a free month, but our Michigan doctor (pulmonologist) said most folks don’t benefit.

Can you imagine buying anything else that expensive with no “give you your money back” if it doesn’t work guarantee? There has to be a way that folks aren’t taken advantage of by the pharmaceutical companies for drugs with minimal efficacy.

Comments off

Weather’s Lousy but Doesn’t Pay to Complain

As I had figured, my superbowl “pool” numbers didn’t pay off. At least I personally know the winner of the $500 (final) prize so I am sure the money went to someone who can use it. (And maybe I can guilt them into a beer on their tab.)

Because of the cool weather, we’ve been stuck inside but, not wanting to give up on the idea of being in the south in pleasant weather, we rode in our golf cart to a 9:00 a.m. Home Owners’ Association meeting today. Wasn’t at all cold because we have the sides down, and in fact we were too warm when we were headed home in the sun.

Tomorrow it’ll be colder (high in the 50’s instead of the 60’s) and we want to go to our 10:30 exercise class using our cart. At 2:00, John has a cardiologist appointment and at 5:00 we’re invited to a Fat Tuesday party. We’ll probably go in our golf cart to all. It’s just so much easier.

But Wednesday, Jon has an appointment in Tampa and for that we’ll go by vehicle.

I truly think we could get along better without our car than our golf cart. We use our golf cart every day (several times a day), and the car maybe once every week or two.

Comments off

Super Bowl Sunday

I’m in a Super Bowl (gambling) pool for tonight. My numbers are 2 for Broncos and 6 for the Panthers. Hopefully my numbers will match the last digit of a quarterly score, or better yet, the final score. In other words, a score could be 22 (or 12) for the Broncos and 6 (or 16) for the Panthers and I’d win (either as a quarterly or final score).

I just went to a website that shows the odds for each number combination. Based on the past 49 Super Bowls my numbers have NEVER come up at the end of any quarter!! NEVER EVER! I’ll pray my numbers will win, but I’m not very optimistic because I’m sure there are others He would correctly deem more worthy.

Here’s where you can find the best and worse Super Bowl pool numbers: Super Bowl Odds Probabilities.

Comments off

Nice stretch

We’ve had several days of beautiful weather. Today it was 84 and about the same yesterday and 70’s tomorrow. Unfortunately it’s not going to last and we’ll have a high of only about 60 the day after tomorrow.

We attended the lovely Michigan Club SnoBall last weekend. It was beautiful, as usual and the food was very good. We even enjoyed the dance music, which we’d feared would be inappropriate for a such a fancy event but was darned good.

Now I need to start working on the Michigan Club Pizza Party. I’m chairman but I have a very helpful committee so it shouldn’t be too bad. John will be working on the beer dispensing equipment. I’m sure it’ll work out ok.

Comments off

A different kind of cold

Most of my life I spent my winters in Michigan where I’ve experienced lots of frigid temperatures. I remember once when it got down to -32. There was also an occasion when the fuel in the car “froze.”

There is something about Florida cold that is more penetrating. You can look out at lovely sunshine, but when it’s only the 50’s, it’s dern chilly!

This week the temps plummeted. Last night and the night before, it went down into the 40’s. Burrrr!

At least we haven’t had frost but the heat has been on and I threw another blanket on the bed.

I noticed this morning one of the “walkers” had on snowboots, a heavy jacket, and one of those Yooper Stormy Kromer hats.

The news suggests bringing in your pets and cold shelters have been opened for the homeless.

But the hearty tourists are determined to enjoy the “warmer” weather so they can be seen in tee shirts, shorts, and flip flops.

too true

Comments off

They came and we’re satisfied

Our new chairs and table. We may enjoy lunch here, but probably won’t eat dinner at the table until later in the season. (When we have dinner at this time of the year, it’s so dark out that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the view.)

Perfect!

Comments off

Upset with Choxi.com

In early December I made a purchase (for myself) from Choxi for an undergarment that didn’t fit at all (despite the fact that I’d checked and used the measurements suggested for the item.) It wasn’t cheap ($29) so when it didn’t fit, I contacted the company and set it back. As a result, after it was returned, I had $29 credit for other purchases.

I shopped the site and found a RCA 7″ tablet for John. With the credit ($29), I only had to pay an additional $12, or $41 total.

The tablet came but it was a disappointment because it wouldn’t charge. I thought it was just the charger cable, so I bought another charger on eBay, but it didn’t work any better. It was obvious that the tablet was the problem.

I contacted Choxi on December 21 and talked over the problem. I was given a choice: return the tablet and have a replacement shipped or I could get a $41 refund. I opted for the refund. I made sure, I had the amount to be refunded in writing:

The confirmation email I received included this statement: “Once processing is complete, a refund will be issued for the amount of $41.00.”

Today I saw the refund amount in my Visa credit card on-line statement. It was for $12. I wasn’t happy. I called Choxi and explained the whole situation and that I have in my possession an email which stated the refund would be for $41.

After a loooong conversation, I got the customer rep to agree to credit the $29 back to my credit card. At first he said, “But it’s a credit on your Choxi account and you can spend it.”

I said, “I’ve purchased two items from Choxi and I’ve returned both of them. Why would I want a $29 credit with your company?”

I’ll hope the $29 eventually gets into my Visa account. I’ll post that happens.

=======

Didn’t take long. The full $41 has now been credited to our credit card. Thanks Choxi.

Comments off

Shopping on line

In Michigan, we enjoy eating in front of our great room window facing the lake. We sit there long after the meal has finished just chatting – often for hours.

Here in Florida we eat at the bar, which is convenient, but it doesn’t give us a view of anything but the TV set.

Today I shopped for a small table and two chairs to go in front of our slider windows which overlook the golf course and pond. The set will be small enough that we’ll be able to see past it and it won’t obstruct our view. I shopped for THREE hours but I think we’ll like what I picked out.

Here is a photo I put together of the two purchases (two chairs, although my photo shows only one, and the table with a totally transparent pillar). I’m not sure I got the sizes correct, but close.

Comments off

My Resolutions for 2016

Sadly my main resolution (self-promise), like the one millions of others make, is to lose weight. I say “sadly” because I’ve made the same promise for years and years. Never works!!

I mentioned my desire to slim down to my physician who discouraged me by saying that I am where I should be. Regardless, I would feel better if I could lose about 15 pounds of belly-fat.

I know the basic “how-to-do-it.” I just need to eat less and exercise more. I need to cut-back to a maximum of one glass of wine with dinner, not two or more; and at parties, consume less and no munchies.

I will be happy if I lose 3/4 to 1 pound a week. If I can do that, by the time we get back to Michigan, I should be down to my goal.

I won’t eat many sweets (’cause I don’t enjoy them anyway), and fewer chips. I’ll try to eat more salads.

And now that the temperature is lower, I will try to walk more. I will attempt to meet a goal of 8,000 to 10,000 steps daily. I’m not going to talk about it, just do it! I will weigh myself at least once a day in the a.m. and keep a ledger at least weekly. If I don’t see a four pound loss by the first of February, I will go back to writing down every bite I eat. I won’t be upset if every day I don’t stick to my goals, but if I can work toward ultimate goal, I should be successful.

And I’ll try to remember to take my vitamins and eat more hot peppers (’cause they help with digestive problems).

This I vow!!!!

Comments off

‘Twas the Day After Christmas

We wore ourselves getting ready for our Christmas Eve party and our big Christmas turkey dinner so today is a “day of rest.” Sure feels good to have nothing pressing.

Tomorrow the Conklins are coming over and we’ll play a little music. We could have done it today, but we needed more time to “recover.”

Today is Saturday, I had only two glasses of wine at our party (Thursday) and one yesterday with dinner but I have felt “hung over.” At least today my headache’s better. My daughter said it’s a “let-down” response. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact couldn’t sleep for a couple nights before the party and was too wound up the night after it. (Therefore I was probably only averaging only about an hour or two of sleep each night.) Last night I crashed for nearly SEVEN hours. Much better!

We’re enjoying left-overs. At noon today, John had made some yummy turkey noodle/vegetable soup with homemade noodles and lots of carrots and potatoes. Tonight it’s ham sandwiches with ham left-over from Christmas Eve.

It’s been really hot here. Today it was mid-80’s which was a record-beating repeat of every day this past week. We’re watching a football game from Texas where they’re having a blizzard. Seems really strange. I heard it’s been cool and windy in Michigan and many lost power because of the wind. Our power up north was out one night last week for about 30 minutes. I frequently check the status of our security system (which monitors motion, door-entry, power, heat, and water) and everything’s fine.

Comments off

Fly Invasion

Several days ago, John decided to clean our oven with the self-cleaner. Unfortunately the process creates an ugly smell so we opened all the windows and doors, hoping it would all air out and continue to smell fresh.

Since coming to Florida in about 2002, we’ve bragged that, except for an occasional Florida crawly bug (which are controlled by our regular insecticide service), we have no insects. Ants, yes, and occasionally a cockroach but mosquitoes and flies have been non-existent. We removed our screens and we’ve left windows and doors wide open. It’s been wonderful!

But somehow the smell of the oven being cleaned attracted flies. Not just one or two appeared.. there were dozens and dozens and dozens. We swatted for a couple hours and eliminated them. Sometimes we could get three with one hit! It was awful.

So we hauled out the sliding door screens from the garage and installed them. Can’t help but feel that the flies are temporary but they are a nuisance and we can’t live with them as plentiful as they’ve been.

It’s now been a few days and they aren’t as many as they were a few days ago, but we definitely feel we need the screens. How could one oven cleaning change the balance of things? We want to go back to no flies.. even if it means a dirty oven.

Comments off

Lovely ride

Tonight the two of us took an after dark golf cart ride around Kings Point. It was a beautiful evening (about 75 degrees) so no jacket was necessary. We were enveloped in the wonderful warmth of the Florida atmosphere.

Christmas lights were plentiful and lovely. It was nice to see the holiday festive creations in our lovely community.

Our court (Newcomb) was as nicely decorated as any area we visited.

Comments off

Tonight was the Nantucket V Christmas Party

We live in a great neighborhood in Kings Point: Nantucket V.

Tonight I re-discovered that this blog is “followed” by one of my favorite “neighbors.”

She has read this boring site for years and years. I’m honored. Somehow I feel I should live up to her respect for what I write. Unfortunately I do this rather haphazardly. I write when I feel like it or when some update seems to be necessary.

I’m going to try to add more frequently to my blog but it’ll probably have to wait until we get past Christmas. Until then, I’m going to be really busy. We’re hosting a big crowd Christmas Eve and we have parties galore.

But I vow that I’ll try to write more frequently. I love writing. It’s just that I’m always short of time.

Comments off

Lazy Days

Right now I’m vegging. I felt rotten most of the day, so I stayed in. It was some digestive thing that knocked me off-center, but I’m back to normal now…. and vegging. Life is good!

We’ve gone to a couple of parties lately. Shelly and Richard included us in their Thanksgiving party, we attended a Rocking Through the Ages dance Sunday evening, and last night John sang in the Kings Point Mixed Chorus Christmas Concert last night followed by the “after-glow” party. It was all very nice but I didn’t feel up to par last night and feeling uncomfortable continued all day today. I think it’s passed now. Thank heavens!

We will be busy this next week. Sunday is the largest of our Christmas Party gatherings, the Baby Boomers Christmas Party.

Unfortunately we’ve had a problem with our USPS mailbox lately. The lock is broken/stuck and won’t be replaced until Friday. In the meanwhile, we can’t get any mail nor packages delivered via USPS. I hope it’s soon fixed because John’s cellphone should be coming as well as a bathroom rug for our newly renovated bathroom. We’re also expecting a wall art piece which you can see here but it should arrive tomorrow via UPS.

image

I think the art piece (photo above) will compliment our great room.

Our guest bathroom looks great with the new vessel sink, granite, rubbed bronze faucet, and new vanity lights. It’s lovely. The kitchen still needs the backsplash to be complete, but the granite, the faucet, and the undermounted sink have made it much nicer.

image

Our place is shaping up and we sure don’t want to start over in another place. This one serves us nicely!

Comments off

Granite Installation

Our granite counters were installed yesterday in the kitchen and guest bath. Looks good but there’s lots to be completed. Love the new faucets. The vessel sink in the bath and under-mounted kitchen sink are both nicer than I imagined. (Prettiest vessel sink I’ve ever seen!)

With no water hooked up in the kitchen or bath, it was a pain to rinse the dishes in the master bathroom, but it was only for one day. Tonight John got the kitchen drain and water working!

Our new guest bath mirror arrived, but before we can hang it, we need to patch screw holes and paint behind where the old one was located. The different lights may require wall repair. Since the light fixture won’t arrive until Tuesday, there’s only so much we can do. It’ll be great when it’s finished but we aren’t there yet.

When these things are complete, we still need to do the tile back-splash in the kitchen. That may wait until after Christmas. We’ll see.

Comments off

Not Thursday the 12th, but finally we have Granite

The granite workers arrived this a.m. at 8:45 and finished the job about 1:00 p.m. The job was a week later than we’d thought but they were fast and efficient.

We have new granite counters in the kitchen and guest bathroom. It looks very nice. We didn’t pay for super large pieces of granite, so we have three seams, but it is still very nice. We’re pleased with the results. Much nicer than the white formica.

The installers put the granite in, but the plumbing is up to us. John has said he can do it, but it has turned into a bigger job than he thought. The kitchen sink has to have the “drain” lowered because the undermounted sink takes up space below the sink area which means the drain starts closer to the floor. John will have to revise the PVC piping.

In the bathroom, it’s the opposite situation. The vessel sink sits on the counter so the water lines and drain have to go higher.

The vessel sink is the prettiest I’ve ever seen.

The new rubbed bronze oval mirror will arrive tomorrow and the four contemporary rubbed bronze lights about next Tuesday.

It’ll all look grand when it’s finished, but it will take a lot of effort. I’d like to have John call in a plumber. It would be a small job for a professional with the proper tools, but for John, it’ll be a several day challenge.

Hopefully I can post photos in about a week (or maybe two). As long as it’s ready for the Christmas Eve crowd, I’ll be satisfied.

Comments off

Our kitchen and bath enhancements to be installed Thursday!

It’ll be nice to have our kitchen and guest bath done! After that’s finished, I’d like to concentrate on the “office area” so we can have extra storage added.

To get it right, I’d be happy to pull out the cabinets John installed and start over, but maybe we can work around them. The desk that is currently there is a joke because it will never be used as a desk. It just has a pile of stuff on it. The only flat surface we need is a place to put my printer and set the router and modem for our wi-fi. What we need is a big pantry and closet space for the vacuums, mops, etc.

===========

Thursday came and went. No granite yet and no set date for the install.

We cleared Thursday and Friday of this week but those days have passed. Next week we are busy ALL WEEK until Friday.

When they finally call us, we’ll have to tell them Friday (the 20th) has to be the day. We can’t miss Elvis party (Monday); doctor appointments and Michigan Club party (Tuesday); ticket buying, Pickers Meeting, Sportsmen’s Club Meeting (Wednesday); and RV annual Storage Club meeting (Thursday). The following week is clearer, but we would like to get it done!

Seems like this business figures we can just “be there.” That’s not how it works.

Comments off

An exercise in “buying”

Yesterday we invited a sales person into our home to give us a quote on granite for our kitchen. His prices are awesome and he knew all about granite. Therefore we have signed a contract with his company but…. and here’s the big but….

we went through hell!!

This sales guy was a “talker.” When he finished his sales pitch we knew all about his family, his history, his interests, his assets, his holdings, his marriage, but he never once asked anything about us..

He wasn’t interested in us and we are interesting folks. He never found out we are musicians. We have homes in central Michigan and in the U.P. and we came to Florida because of my mother. My cousin was Stephen Foster. We have four children between us and we’ve been married for 30 years.

Once, when he said, “I don’t know what you did for a living,” so I said that John was a pilot and air traffic controller and I worked for a hospital, so I at least get that much in, but he didn’t follow up on anything. He didn’t care.

We could have yacked about our history as long as he did .. maybe longer, and we may have wanted to, but we weren’t given a chance.

Today (day two) he took off on a lecture about the internet and the risks thereof, so I finally broke in and said, “I have at least 10 websites, I have been the webmaster for a major hospital, I know all about the risks, I understand the internet…” but still he didn’t pause and continued as if we needed to be educated. Believe me, I know more than he does!!

Two hours later he finally left.. We had hardly gotten a word in sideways and we were exhausted and John hasn’t recover all day.

No matter how good the job turns out, I feel we’ll have some bad feelings. Why can’t some people learn to be quiet. Listening is a skill.

His price, product, and knowledge sold us so he didn’t have to do much. We didn’t need to hear about his uncle’s and his father’s successes, his finding a rare/valuable painting, his wonderful abilities, etc.

It would have been nice if he’d taken a breath and sounded interested in us. If he’d said, “Tell me something about the two of you.” The truth is, he didn’t care about us, his clients, his purchasers. All he wanted to do was to sell himself.

I asked if others would take over the process now that he’s sold us on the granite installation and he said yes, so we went ahead with the deal. Hopefully our involvement with this individual will end now that the contract has been sold.

We’re still worn out!

Comments off

Palmetto Boat Trip – October 25th

We took a boat trip down the Manatee River leaving from Palmetto, FL, on Sunday, October 25th, with a big bunch of our Kings Point friends.

The capacity of the boat was 44. We had about 42. It was a tight fit and seating had to be found for the last ten to arrive. But things went along smoothly until a loud alarm sounded 3/4’s of the way through the cruise and the engines died unexpectedly. But we were never at risk. We could have been towed back to the starting point. The captain got little frantic. Finally he got one of the two engines running and we limped back.

Being subjected to something totally spontaneous and unexpected made it more fun!

image

We had wine so we were ok!!

After the boat trip, we all enjoyed dinner at a Mexican Restaurant. The day was fun and memorable!

Comments off

Exercise

Today we went to the “Sit and Get Fit” exercise class. We’ve vowed to attend regularly (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Felt good after an hour workout. No, it’s not a strenuous class, but enough to make you feel you have worked lots of lazy muscles.

Tomorrow and/or Saturday I hope to get to the pool, and Sunday we have a sightseeing boat trip planned up the Manatee River from Palmetto. There’ll be about 16 of us going and then we’ll all go out for dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant. Sounds like fun!

Comments off

Not 100% but who is?

I feel lots better.

Last night we went to a party (Michigan Club Wine and Cheese Party), and today attended a Nantucket V Home Owners Association meeting.

The weather has been a little over-cast today with a few light showers, but right now the bright sunshine is almost blinding.

Comments off

8 days here and still ailin’

Seems that I take a couple steps toward “feeling better” but then the next day, I go back a step or two. Can’t seem to really improve that much. My cough is still deep and nasty, and I run out of steam even walking across the room.

Comments off

It keeps hanging on

We’ve been here for six days and I’ve been miserable with this lousy cold most of the time. I’ve stayed inside and away from folks so I won’t spread my bug to our Florida friends.

We’ve settled in. The stuff we brought with us has been put away. We like the looks of the new deck chairs on the lanai. The whole place is very comfortable. Only clean-up chore left to be done is washing the windows. John power washed the patio and lanai which left lots of ugly water-spots on our huge 9′ sliding doors, and other windows.

Because I’ve been coughing so much and have had a constantly running nose, I haven’t made it to the pool. Tomorrow, maybe?

Actually tomorrow I’m hoping to go to nearly new (resale shop), and to Walmart. We’ll see if we can fit the pool in.

We’ve been considering buying a bigger place. We had a few to check out, but we really love this place, especially the view, and doubt that any place could measure up. It would be nice to have more space, but we’re getting by.

We need to look at adding more storage in the “office” area. It would be a simple fix and lots cheaper than a new condo. John has told me to measure everything and draw up some plans so he can “see” my ideas. I’m sure that with the details worked out, he’d be glad to either do it or find someone who will. The next step is in my court.

Comments off

Spoke too soon

My cold still has me knocked out! I feel rotten. Yesterday it seemed I was nearly back to normal, but last night I slept poorly. Every two hours I was forced to get up to try to get my coughing under control. I’m tired and not well….

Comments off

We made it!

Our trip south was exhausting.

The traffic was horrid. Friday we ran into a blinding rain storm as we went through Knoxville and couldn’t see a thing. (I was so scared and held the handle on my side of the car so tightly that my right hand is still sore.) Saturday, more rain storms through the mountains. Just south of Atlanta, we hit a construction area that stopped traffic. It took about 90 minutes to go 5 miles. We made it to South Shore Pizza to pick up our carryout pizza at 7:15. That was more than an hour behind the arrival I’d figured out when I did the schedule, but we were finally home.

By the next day, we’d discovered a few condo problems. There was a leak behind the master bath toilet, the garbage disposal leaked, and on the patio and in the garage (by the door) there were swarms of ants.

Most everything has been resolved: the disposal was covered by a Kings Point insurance policy (KPW) we pay extra for (a new one was installed at no charge), the toilet was just a fitting that needed to be tightened, and tomorrow morning the bug guy will come and spray for ants and any other critters that may have taken residence in our place.

Unfortunately Friday and Saturday I felt truly yucky and was major sick when I woke up on Sunday. For several days, John hadn’t been feeling really good and part of his problem was a coughing bug. I started coughing too with lots of chest crud. It has hit me hard. We missed the Oldies but Goodies Dance Club dance Sunday night and I slept sitting up most of Sunday night since I coughed non-stop when I would lay down. Yesterday I hid out in the condo, hopping not to give it to anyone else. Today I’m much better. I’m not very energetic, but my cough is much better. I’m actually thinking that, if I continue improving, I’ll go to the pool tomorrow.

We went shopping this morning (by golf cart) and this afternoon I unpacked hanging up my clothes and taking inventory of my wardrobe. We’ll attend a bunch of parties and events over the next six and a half months. Sure glad I’m feeling better!

Comments off

Driving South

When we take off to make our nearly 1,300 mile journey, we both have a purpose: John is behind the wheel while I watch the GPS and keep him advised of directions.

I used to read (a lot) while he would drive, but now I take my role much more seriously. I am the navigator. He is the pilot. We watch with extreme vigilance and I realize I can’t be totally absorbed by reading an unimportant story book. I realize it’s much less stressful for him if I’m his extra eyes. Believe me we are both alert to road problems. I don’t ever relax nor does he. Hopefully we will make it safely. We’re a driving “team.”

When we get to our destination (hopefully without a hitch), it’s because we both fulfill our roles. I don’t get to read my good books, but we know we had four full-time eyes watching the road.

Comments off

Out Houses

I saw a facebook posting about outhouses. The person who was commenting seemed to be afraid of them.

We have one at our northern hide-a-way that is so primitive that few would venture in, but I’ll bet it’s actually less germ laden than most any place because it’s virtually unused.

Being from “primitive” Michigan, and an “old-timer,” I’ve used many grungy outhouses. Believe me, a clean one is definitely better than a dirty inhouse!! Yes, they sometimes have an odor, but so what?! That never hurt anyone and if the seat is comfortable, you can feel you are in the lap of luxury.

Comments off

Aging

I guess I’m getting old. I don’t feel old (well, sometimes), but according to statistics I am.

There are indications..

When you are asked to select the year of your birth from a list, and you find yourself running out of numbers before you get to yours. It’s also bad when they provide ranges such as: 1-5, 6-10, 11-18, and you’re in the highest category in the “66 or over”

But there are other indications.. I’m not as sure-footed. It’s harder to bring names to mind. I run out of “steam” faster. I have more aches and pains. My friends all have grey or no hair. Our nights end earlier (9:00 p.m. at the latest). I have had cateracts removed (but not a hip(s) or a knee(s)).

My once lovely figure now sags and bags. I don’t have a pretty perky butt any more, and my waist is almost non-existent. I don’t like to drive after dark.

Comments off

About to Head South!

Cool weather has hit Michigan (40’s tonight).

Only week and a half until we’re in Florida.

There are so many last-minute things to do. We haven’t started packing the truck, but a lot is on the dining room table (in the staging area) ready to take it out. It’s loaded!

I feel I’m as ready to head south as I can be at this point, but there’s a lot I need to accomplish. I need to carry the stuff from the dining room to the truck, read through (and follow through) the list of things to do. The house still needs to be cleaned before we can “lock the door” behind us.

There are little things (like changing my ship to address on eBay and Paypal). I need to contact my Visa credit card and the local police so they’ll know we’ve left for the winter.

I’ve about finished packing clothes. There is lots of laundry to be done. And more.

But I look ahead and in less than two weeks we’ll be in the sunny south. Hopefully we’ll have arrived on Saturday, gone to an Oldies but Goodies Dance on Sunday (with Flash Back), John will have gone to a Monday chorus and we’ll have picked up our badges. On Tuesday, I’ll have attended an exercise class or two, and we’ll feel comfortable in our Sun City Center, Kings Point, residence. We’ll go to Karaoke on Tuesday evening. And I want to spend a lot of time lounging at the pool after walking to it.

Sounds hectic, but I love the pace.

Comments off

Fall nAllergies

It’s that time of the year! Every fall, from late August until the first heavy frost, I suffer from ragweed allergy. I try to stay inside, but it seeps in.

Today it’s especially bad.

I found this map on line.

That’s another reason I love heading to Florida. There is NO ragweed in our part Florida.

Comments off

Entertainment

I subscribed to the Entertainment discount coupons on September 7th at http://entertainment.com.

They offer a $.99 one-month trial and that is perfect for us since, when the month is up, I can cancel. Renewal is almost $5 monthly. Since there are very few Florida Entertainment deals close to our community, renewing for the second month wouldn’t make sense.

Tuesday, the 15th, we tried for the first time to use a discount coupon for a nice dinner but it didn’t work. We wanted to celebrate our 30th anniversary but I was unable to print the coupon. The instructions said you could print a coupon OR use your phone, show it to your server, and you’d get the discount. As it turned out, despite what it said on their website, the waitress said they only accept printed coupons. She suggested putting our phone on a scanner and printing it out that way. We left the restaurant and ate elsewhere. The next day (the 16th) I tried following the servers suggestion, but come to find out, that meant we could only use the coupon that one day and we couldn’t get back that soon. (The printed coupons are normally good for two weeks. I didn’t know that the phone-type coupons expired that day and wouldn’t even be available on the 17th.)

I sent a complaint email to Entertainment’s customer service. Today I got an response saying that that my account had been “re-set” so the coupon could be used. This time, I was successful printing out the paper coupon and next Tuesday we’ll go back to the Rustic Inn and we’ll enjoy our delayed steak dinner. Hope it’s worth all this trouble.

In the meanwhile, I looked ahead to our time in Florida. The only coupon I found that we could use in our area is a pizza coupon on for South Shore Pizza and Subs on College Avenue (aka SR-674). It’s only about two miles from the entrance to our gated community (Kings Point). The coupon is for 50% off the regular price and their pizzas are excellent. Our tradition is to grab a pizza before we go to our condo as we get down there. South Shore is conveniently located for that evening.

Our current $.99 Entertainment membership will expire on October 7. But I thought of a solution. Our current subscription is in John’s name with our Michigan address, skaryds@dulcimers.com, and our 989 phone number.

Before we leave for Florida, I will subscribe under Sharon Skaryd using our Florida address, my gmail or Brighthouse email and our Florida 813 phone number. It’ll cost me $.99 for a month as a new member. With that membership, we’ll get half off the South Shore Pizza price. I will need take time to print it out before we finish packing (since I take the inkjet cartridges with us).

We can pick up the pizza and then head to our condo in Kings Point, Sun City Center. It’ll be just as close as stopping at Hungry Howie’s where we usually pick up our first evening meal to enjoy at the condo. Pizza from South Shore is better but usually more pricy! Hungry Howie’s a bargain at $6, but I just figured it out and the regular price for a large pepperoni from South Shore would be $10.99 plus tax. With half off the $10.99, we’ll pay approximately $5.50.) Sounds good!

We’ll just need to remember to exit at the Ruskin exit to the west, instead of the next exit which is toward Sun City Center to the east. And hopefully we left a couple beers in the ‘fridge.

Perfect!

Comments off

After the Fall…

Since I fell and badly broke my wrist on July 11th, 2014, my life has changed and things are totally different. The 5 1/2 hour surgery when two plates and 16 screws were inserted left me with a hand that doesn’t work like it should. It’s numb and hot and cold sensitive with little flexibility.

Yes, I get by, but even little jobs like peeling and removing the apple cores causes discomfort. (I tried to help John peel apples but my whole hand’s been sore since I did that little chore for about a half hour.)

I doubt if I’ll ever feel I can move and use it normally as I did before I fell.

As a result of this change in my life, things continue to change:

I’ve gained more weight because I’m less active.
I find walking and dancing more difficult because I’m fearful of falling again.
I’m less energetic because I’m not moving around as much (one breeds the other).
It’s an effort to do any housework, so it doesn’t get done.
Because I’m chubby, I feel old and unattractive.
My clothes don’t look good on me.

Oh, well… It could be worse. We can afford the best of care.

I still have my wonderful husband beside me and our life is pretty easy.

When we get to Florida, I’m sure I’ll be more active. I vow to go to exercise classes and walk more. I’ll feel younger.

Four years ago I wrote a blog post about feeling younger when in Florida. http://sharons-blog.com/?p=6659

At that time, I said, “Something about the Southern climate and attitude changes us. (snip) I’ll bet if a test could be done, we’d each de-age by 20 years. I can’t help but wonder if we stayed in the south all year if our age-regression would take us back to childhood.” I feel that way more and more. I can’t wait to be a kid again.

Comments off

55th Reunion

Tonight we’ll attend my Midland High School Class of 1960 reunion. It’ll be the 55th! Not overly anxious but it might be fun/interesting. I’ll report on the event later.

—————–

It was an ok night. Not great, but I’m glad we went.

A big reason for going to a reunion is to compare yourself with others. I felt we measured up. My guy was the best looking, and even John said I rated very high among the ladies.

It was nice seeing Sue Lloyd, Carole and Jim DeLong, Pat Sycle, Cindy Dehn, and other “old” friends.

There was no meal, just munchies but enough to fill us up. Drinks were on the high priced side. (Steep for an American Legion which is usually very reasonable.)

Comments off

My on-line business selling dulcimers

In October 2004, I started selling hammered dulcimers.

My friend, Rick Thum and awesome instrument builder, had encouraged me. I’d decided to try selling on line and established http://dulcimers.biz. My sales were never huge, and in fact I didn’t sell any at all in 2014 (eight in 2013). Starting this summer, things seemed to be picking up. I have sold four in the past few months.

Wednesday, I called Jim Newman, owner of Jake’s Cabin Dulcimers. Jake’s builds the smaller instruments Rick Thum used to sell: Meadowlarks, Wrens, and Travelers. I was placing an order with him. During that call, he informed me that he is giving up his business. Unless he is able to sell the rights to those instruments, there will no longer be a Jake’s Cabin Dulcimers.

I’m not changing anything on my website at this point. I am suggesting that buyers check with Chris Foss (Songbird Dulcimers). I admire and respect Chris. His instruments are an excellent quality. I also recommend Lost Valley Dulcimers formerly built by Linda Foley and Curt Sanders and now built by Jerry Cyr.

I’ll also continue to give information to those who are just getting started.

Maybe I’ll find another builder with instruments I can distribute. I’ve thought about calling and talking with Chris or Jerry, but I figure there’s time and I want lots of free time to play in Florida. I don’t want to be tied to my computer revising site pages.

Comments off

Lots of plans (from now until end of October)

We’ve been making plans for the next couple of months.

We’ll only be in Michigan for about three more weeks but here’s what’s lined up:
My 55th class reunion is this Saturday.
While in Michigan, John has plans for doctor and optical appointments and we both have dental cleanings scheduled.
We will probably try to go to the grand opening of the Evergreen Tavern on September 25th and/or 26th for a pig roast.
We’re still owed a dinner for our 30th anniversary.
October 3rd or 4th we’ll visit Audra, John’s daughter.
October 6th we have a Skaryd family dinner planned in Owosso.
October 7th a senior luncheon.
And on Sundays at the Evergreen from 4-8, Tuesdays at the Back Forty from 6-9, and Thursdays at the Evergreen from 6-9, we can attend country dances. We may not go to all but they are available and fun.

Then we’ll head to Florida on October 9th and arrive on the 10th.

On October 11th we have an Oldies but Goodies dance, a Michigan Club welcome back wine and cheese party on the 20th, a bar-be-q and potluck on the 29th, a Baby Boomers Halloween Party on the 31st.

In October, we have dermatologist, pulmonologist, optical, and physical appointments.

If we feel like it, we can go to exercise, chorus and dance classes, Tuesday karaokes, Thursday Rockin’ Rendezvous, and several meetings including John’s Wednesday “pickers” gathering. We have pool parties and pool relaxation. There’s a Kings Point garage sale on the 23rd and 24th.

And that only takes us through the end of October. We have lots more in November and December, but looking two months out is sufficient for this update.

Busy busy busy. Love it but I’m already tired thinking about all the stuff we have on our agenda.

Comments off

Started packing

Previously I’d vowed I’d wait until a week before we leave to start packing. Last year I started too early and by the time we were ready to leave, I forgotten what I’d packed. I couldn’t remember if or where it was stashed. I ended up unpacking and repacking, so I promised myself I’d wait until “last minute.” Sadly I’m too impatient. Nothing’s in the truck, so it’s not technically “packed,” but I went through my closet and moved everything I’ll be taking together. I can see how much that’ll be. I can easily add to the grouping, if I discover items I’ve missed. Everything is still accessible.

I also went through the two flat bins I use for capris and slacks. I have twice as many pair as I need for Florida so I’ve decided I’ll leave quite a few pair in Michigan. I tried them on and picked out a bunch to leave behind. At this point I am able to fit those capris, slacks, and shorts that I’ll take in one bin. I’ll use the other bin for tops. Dresses and items I don’t want wrinkled will be dealt with differently.

Lingerie, bathing suits, and jackets will all go in a plastic garbage bag with other items (maybe hair care, medicines and office supplies). And my jewelry, and perfume will go in my carry-in bag. My shoes are all packed now in a heavy clear plastic bag.

This year it seems there are more than the usual number of extras: wine, musical instruments, air purifier, vacuum cleaner, deck chairs, and power washer but we’ll manage somehow.

I’m gathering a pile of stuff in the dining room: Tax records, extra bottles of instant coffee, and other things from my packing list are in that staging area. More will be added over the next three weeks. I want to be packed by about October 1st. John will be packing all the pails of wine and the perishable food that we’ll take from our refrigerator.

Since I have several lists to check against, I feel I’m sorta organized.

Comments off

Computer wouldn’t let me in

One of those hair-pulling days.

I have a good size USB drive I use for back-up and it is messed up. When I try to use it, an error comes up saying it is write protected even though it isn’t. I decided to work on it and see if I could reformat it.

I tried countless on-line suggestions but none worked. I stumbled on one which sounded do-able — to let my computer format it in “Safe Mode.” All of the extras would be shut off and the formatting might work.

I started up the computer in “safe mode” but my computer has a four digit number for a password and when I tried to get in, my pin number didn’t work. I couldn’t get any further.

I called Lenovo’s customer service. Come to find out the password is a Windows function so I’d have to work with Microsoft. I was given a Windows/Microsoft site to reset my password, but I figured out on my own that if I needed to use the Microsoft password, maybe that would solve the problem.

Yes!!! My original Microsoft/Windows password worked. Once I got in, I shut off safe mode, gave up the idea of formatting the usb thumb drive, and bought another from eBay.

But before I got to that point, I read the user guide. It was scary. It said that if I’d forgotten my password, there was no help for me. Either an authorized service center would try to fix it or I’d need a new mother board. Both would be at my cost. I hadn’t forgotten my pw but who would believe me? When I got it to work, I felt much better. Whew!

Comments off

Today’s our day!

Today, September 10th, is our 30th wedding anniversary. Sadly neither of us felt up to par today.

To celebrate, the plan had been to go to a steakhouse (Rustic Inn in St. Charles) and then dancing at a nearby establishment (The Evergreen on Swan Creek Road). But both of us felt yucky all day (an intestinal thing) and we finally admitted it to each other.

We decided to postpone our celebration to another time within the next week. Hopefully then a nice (extravagant) meal will be enjoyed. So our dinner tonight was a cheap bottle of wine and a frozen chicken kiev on rice while watching the ripples on the lake outside our great room window. I’m not complaining and I sure felt better staying home and not trying to go out. Hopefully we’ll enjoy a fancy restaurant meal in a few days.

Comments off

Our 30th Anniversary

Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating a milestone. September 10th is our 30th wedding anniversary!

Yup, 30 years ago we were married.

It was a very small ceremony at a nearby church. The minister was our friend, Dick McCool, chaplin at St. Mary’s, who passed away several years ago. You can read about him here: sharon’s blog post about Dick (Chaplin Richard) McCool. He was a very close friend and he always said we were his best “success story.” It was special to have such a brave, inspirational person officiate. He was amazing.

The witnesses to our wedding were my parents, John’s parents and his two children. When the ceremony was over we headed to my (our) house on Hemmeter where we had cake, coffee, and munchies. Nothing fancy. It was appropriately low-key.

The next morning, John and I headed out on our honeymoon to Toronto. We almost missed the train, but it was all fun. We were only gone part of a week.. a lovely experience.

No big hype, but whatever we did stuck. We’ve held onto those vows for 30 years, and plan to continue together for the rest of our lives.

As John says, it’s getting a little late to start over and by no means do either of us desire a “re-start.”

Comments off

Wine Making

John’s making pear wine in the kitchen and our house smells like a cheap bar. I swear if I take a deep breath, I’ll be over the legal limit. (And the fermentation is just starting. It’ll get worse.)

Did I mention sticky floors? I use my swiffer floor scrubber many, many, many times each day but the floors can still stop me in my tracks. I love his wine, but the time when it’s being prepared is a challenge. Come and rescue me if you don’t hear from me. I’m probably stuck to the kitchen floor.

We’ll be hauling the wine to Florida with us. Last year we used five gallon carboys and one cracked down the seam while in route. Every time we stopped, I commented that I could smell wine. By the time we got to our condo, we’d lost half from that container. They could have followed our trail all the way from Michigan down I-75. This year John’s doing it differently. He’ll put the wine in five gallon covered “pails” which are less apt to crack. There are other advantages of pails over carboys: they are lower and flat on top so some stuff can ride on them and they are stackable to bring them back to Michigan.

It looks like it’s going to be tough cramming everything in. We thought that on this trip back, we’d be traveling light, but the load keeps growing. The wine might crowd out the deck chairs I really want to bring for our lanai. I’m so hoping for four of them but I may have to settle for two, if we can even fit them in.

Comments off

I succeeded!!

Yesterday when I discovered that the “Email Me” link on the right side in the “Menu” area of this page no longer functioned, I got busy and I found a fix for it.

I will have to add the same fix to several other pages where I thought folks could send emails to me. Hope this works. Please try it out. Just say hi.

And thanks!!

Comments off

Who is reading this stuff?

I’ve been posting more lately.

Maybe that has something to do with why http://sharons-blog.com has been getting more hits.

I just checked and, Webilizer (the tracking system used by Bluehost, my company) shows 12 months of data at a time.

Since September, 2015, only has four days, it’s really not a complete count for this month. Yet the 12 months October 2014-September 2015 has recorded 1,272,786 hits for http://sharons-blog.com. During the same period, dulcimers.com, which is my main site, has recorded 1,554,477. Doesn’t seem possible!

Who is listening to the ramblings of this 73-year-old lady, Sharon Skaryd? Just who are you? Sometimes I wish I allowed comments, but I found many years ago that there are too many abusers when comments are permitted. Language, sex toy promotions, etc. all would have to be deleted and I just don’t have the patience to deal with perversion.

Note: Because of this post, I tried the email link on the right side of the page (in the menu area). It isn’t working. Times have changed and the method previously used has been eliminated so I need to revise it. I will also have to change the coding on several pages. I will try to do it this next week. I do hope folks know I would welcome any emails sent to me at sharon@sharons-blog.com or to skards@dulcimers.com.

Yo..hoo….. who’s out there?

Comments off

Five Weeks

Five weeks from today (on Friday, October 9th), we take off for Florida. We’ll leave as early as possible and arrive 640 miles later at the Quality Inn in Sweetwater, Tennessee, at about 6:30 p.m.

The next morning (Saturday, the 10th), we’ll be up early, enjoy a breakfast provided by the motel, and hit the highway by 8:00. Our arrival (after several potty stops and lunch break), will get us to our condo at 5:54 p.m. Obviously the times may vary a little but I figure everything out pretty closely and unless there are major traffic problems, we should get there pretty much on schedule. We want to arrive before dark. Sunset occurs at 7:05 that night. By arriving before 6:00, we should be able to eat, then unload while it’s light.

Eat? Yes, we wait until we get to the condo to enjoy dinner. We’ll stop at Hungry Howies in Sun City Center and pick up a large pepperoni carry-out pizza which we’ll have ordered 10-minutes before Exit 240A. The plan is to take our still hot pizza to the condo, rush inside, pop open a couple of beers and enjoy meal #1 at 2604 Newcomb Court.

Then the unloading will start. There are always a few things that need to come in, and that’s why we will appreciate the hour (or more) before darkness. We won’t be able to totally settle-in, but it really isn’t necessary because so much is still at the condo from spring when we left. The bed will be ready for us, cable and internet started. We’ll bring in the perishables and do the rest the next day.

When we get up the next morning (Sunday), the Tampa Tribune should be on the drive. We’ll spend most of the day getting everything out of the truck.

Sounds like I have everything figured out but John’s wine may create problems. He’s making more and more which takes up a lot of space. We want to take back four stacking deck chairs with fluffy cushions. Might be a tight fit. (Especially since we have a few other big items to take back: our musical instruments, air purifier, power washer, and Shark vacuum plus our clothes, shoes, and food.)

Maybe Sunday we’ll have time to go to the pool, but probably not. (I’ll want to wash my hair and freshen up because at 6:30 Sunday evening, we’ll be at the Oldies But Goodies dance at the Community Hall in Sun City Center. Our favorite band, Flash Back, will be playing for our dancing pleasure.

Betcha after a glass or two of wine, and some trips around the dance floor, we’ll be ready for bed Sunday night (October 11th).

Comments off

Rain in Michigan – but nothing like Florida

We’ve had several days of rain here in Michigan. (None today but cloudy, over-cast, and increasingly humid.)

Nevertheless we can’t complain because Florida folks in the vicinity of our condo have been hit with almost non-stop showers and rain storms for the past month. As if that’s not enough, that area is now being hit by the remnants of Erika, the tropical storm. It dissolved before hitting Florida, but it’ll be sending rain into Tampa/Sun City Center. There’s a flood watch for that area.

We never need to worry about a storm surge coming from Tampa Bay because we’re far enough inland to avoid that concern. But outside our condo there’s a low spot, and it’s common for us to get water on our lanai. Doubtful that it’ll ever come into our condo, but it does make for a mess that needs to be cleaned up when we get there. Oh, well…

Comments off

Fish or no fish

I’ve been trying to lose weight without success. Especially when I’m in bed and can’t sleep, I think about my resolve to get in shape. It always sounds so easy in those wee hours. I figure when I get up, I’ll jump on the exercise bike or go for a long walk. I’ll consume practically no calories. I’ll be good.

Then morning comes and all my good intentions disappear.

Last night was such a sleepless night. As I tried to turn off my mind, I vowed to lose at least five pounds before we head back to Florida (in the next 43 days.) I was going to avoid high calorie meals. But then morning came and I realized that today is Friday and we want to go to the Moose for one of their wonderful, all-you-can-eat fish dinners. We always enjoy beer with that meal.

I argued with myself. Should we go for fish? We’ve planned it all week. We’ll be really sorry when we’re in Florida because we can’t find any fish equal to walleye served at the Moose in Michigan.

We finally decided to go and I’ll just restrict my consumption the rest of the day.

So right now I’m hungry. I am planning to eat that one huge meal so I have to wait. No munchies. And maybe I better go jump on the bike.

Comments off

Everything’s working

My computer and printer are working perfectly.

So glad I didn’t follow the suggestion of the Microsoft rep who thought the only solution to my problems would be to reinstall Windows 10 as a new installation, which would have eliminated all the programs and files except those Microsoft includes when it does the Windows 10 install. It would have taken me at least a week to reinstall all my “purchased” programs, set them up, and then add the previously created files for each of those programs. (In fact I’m afraid I may not have the disks for all of them.)

Today I used what I’ve learned over the past few days and connected with my external 2TB hard drive wirelessly. I’ve had the drive for several years, but this is the first time I’ve been able to back up to it without halting all other work on my computer. I was successful setting it up using the Charter router (the same one which connects to the internet). The external hard-drive acts like a drive on my computer. I can copy to it easily and I’m amazed at the speed. I backed-up all of my computer files today and it only took about an hour. I can remember when the same process took a couple days.

I still don’t have my Lexmark printer working wirelessly, but that’s ok. I can tote my laptop to the dining room (where the printer is located), connect to my USB port, and print easily. When I get to Florida, I’ll try harder to get the printer to work without any connections, but even if I could get it to work here/now, I’ll have to re-do it in Florida, so I might as well wait. As it is, I will have to re-do the connection to the 2TB hard drive, but now that I know how it works, I think I can do it quite easily. Hopefully I can use the same process to get the Florida Brighthouse connection to work.

Comments off

Saved $79

About eight or nine days ago, I upgraded to the latest, greatest Windows program: Windows 10.

About a week later, I realized my newly installed Windows 10 program had created some problems with my five or six year old Lexmark printer. I tried for a couple days (unsuccessfully) to fix things. Finally, today I called Lexmark.

As the customer service rep checked files and settings using a program that allowed him to go into my computer, I watched. I saw a problem which I assumed he saw too but he didn’t even try to repair anything. At that point he told me he would fix my printer but it would cost me $119 for a year’s service (up to three problems calls) or $79 to just get it working today. $79 was too much! The printer is old. I can buy a new one for less than that. But after I turned down his offer, I went back and found the problem I’d noticed as he was going through my computer. I fixed those problems and guess what, it’s working! Whew! Saved $79!

I won’t say how much time I wasted over the past few days. The problem occurred when I tried to reinstall the Lexmark program. The program stalled and said that remnants of the old program remained. I kept trying everything I could think of to delete all the Lexmark files, drivers, and references so I could do a clean install with a 64-bit version of the install program. I ended up going into reg edit, which is a touchy program that allows the editing of the program registry (where all of the installed programs are listed.) It was risky, but I’d tried everything. I thought I’d found all of the references to Lexmark, but when the representative was scanning the directories, I saw the representative had discovered one more place where there was reference to Lexmark and that’s what I deleted.

Hope it doesn’t mess up again.

Comments off

We’re getting closer

Today I worked to figure out what 2015 papers we need to take with us to Florida so we’ll be prepared to do our income tax in April. It’s always difficult. We don’t want to take too much, but if we forget something, it can be a problem. We’ve had friends who had to fly back to Michigan from Florida because they forgot something they couldn’t do without. That’s an expensive error!

It has gotten much easier over the years because I can access almost everything on line or on my computer. If I’m lacking, I can usually find what I need without the paper copy.

But when we came back from the Upper Peninsula this past Friday, we realized we had forgotten several things. They’ll be there when we get back up north, and we can replace them, nevertheless it’s annoying. Thankfully nothing we forgot is critical, but forgetting even our bug spray, raisins, and baking powder, shakes my confidence. I need to be even more aware when I’m packing for Florida. No room for forgotten items.

Comments off

Too Hot

We went to a Skaryd family reunion in Bannister at the ZCBJ Hall. Unfortunately it was horribly HOT and although there were fans, they just seemed to accent the hot air.

We left at about 1:30. Stopped at the Evergreen Tavern where we sat with some of our friends. Nice seeing them (especially Wilma and Ron) but we didn’t stay long. The heat had just drained us.

Back home. Our place with A/C was perfect! We watched a baseball game and a golf match while I installed a Windows 10 upgrade to my computer. After exploring the new program a little, I read a little while John snoozed. It was what we needed to relax.

Comments off

Purging

Today we worked to get some little-used items cleaned-up for sale: an 1980’s Atari console with eight games, an electronic knitting machine with advanced features, a 55-gallon fish tank, and two nearly 30-year-old bikes (with roomy seats and old-style handlebars). All of these items have been ignored for many years and they are dirty! It take a lot of elbow grease to polish them up.

Comments off

We’re back in the Lower Peninsula (at home)

Our stay was pleasant although the last full day (Thursday) was waaaay too hot! On Wednesday, I was bit by some nasty flies that left scary red welts on my arm so I was avoiding the “outdoors.” Our old trailer has very small windows and therefore little ventilation. It was nearly 90 in the shade on the deck and about the same inside with no air movement. A fan helped, but it was oppressive.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were predicted to be even hotter!! We packed up Friday a.m. and left for home. We made it by mid-afternoon.

It felt so good to get into air conditioning.

I’d also missed cable TV and wi-fi.

We still haven’t totally unpacked, but we’re working on it.

Comments off

Today we’re 60 days from fun

I’m enjoying our peaceful get-away in the U.P. There’s lots of time to just take it easy. I’ve read a couple of books, drank a bit of wine and vegged!

Yesterday we went into Manistique and hit a few re-sale shops. (No purchases but lots of looking.) We also enjoyed a beer at a folksy tavern and a great burger at a drive-inn called Clyde’s (which was awarded “best burger in the U.P.”)

The 60 days until fun refers to our arrival at our condo in Florida on October 10th. SIXTY DAYS! I’m ready.

Comments off

Watching the critters

Yesterday afternoon we watched a small spotted fawn feed on grass about 40 feet from our deck. We sat quietly for 15-20 minutes and observed him. Eventually he wandered off but came back later. We also saw an adult deer.

But when it comes to creepy, crawy, this a.m. I spotted a wood tick on John’s neck (but got him off before he dug in) and John killed what he thinks was a recluse spider. The mosquitoes aren’t quite as plentiful as some years but the other bugs are bad even in limited numbers.

Comments off

We made it to the U.P.

Tried unsuccessfully to beat a rainshowever to our place but we were a little damp when we arrived.

John had to clear a couple of downed trees in order to get in the driveway.

Hauling everything inside was a chore but somehow we managed and even slept in our new bed last night.

Comments off

We head north tomorrow (early)

Guess we’re finally ready to take off tomorrow morning for our place in the Upper Peninsula. Originally we thought we’d leave on Wednesday, but it became apparent that we’d have to rush, so we postponed our departure. The advantage of being “retired” is that you can alter your plans.

It’s definitely harder to go to the Upper Peninsula than it is to go to Florida. When heading north, we have to bring all of our food, all of our bedding, linens, lawn mower, weed whackers, chain saws, musical instruments, a compressor to blow out the water lines for the winter, and more.

When we go to Florida, we bring a cooler with perishable food items we haven’t used up before leaving. There are also some of our favorite clothing items and shoes, but most of our Florida clothes stay there. We tote a few things back and forth like our musical instruments, our power washer, a few deck chairs we aren’t using here, and a few computer items (like my back-up drive). But most everything else stays-put in Florida from season to season. It’s much easier. (The deck chairs will be a challenge, but if we can’t fit them in, we won’t bring them, or we’ll bring two instead of the four we plan to relocate. They’ll just look much better than the 40-year old ones we inherited from my parents.)

Fitting everything in the truck this trip has been especially difficult. We wanted to replace the bed that’s up there. I went on line and purchased two extra long twin mattresses which we will use together as one. We’ll cover the twins with a king-size mattress pad to make a king-size bed. The mattresses are memory foam and right now they are compressed for shipping. The two boxes they were shipped in are good size but easier to manage than a king-size mattress would be.

We are using the “foundation” which was under our mattress (here in Michigan). We no longer needed the foundation because we’d purchased an frame that’s elevated, giving us some extra storage room under the bed.

When we didn’t sell the foundations on Craig’s List, we decided to keep them and use them up north.

We had to figure a way to pack to the two foundations, which were just a tad too long to fit in the bed of our pick-up truck. It took John almost a full day of trial and error until he could get the foundations, new mattresses, lawn mower, compressor, our food for a week (including all staples), crammed in. He ended up elevating the end of the foundations and tying them down. Once he did that, the rest fit into place.

We haven’t been to our place on Lake Michigan since 2013. Last year therapy on my broken wrist required that we stick close to home. (It’s nearly 700 miles round-trip so not the kind of a jaunt you do for only a day or two.) We always make lists saying what we left there, but what it boils down to is that we have to bring all the staples: coffee, sugar, flour, and everything else for meals.

There are stores in the U.P. so we will manage, but we hope we’ll have all of the necessary stuff.

We take off at 8:00 tomorrow. I won’t have internet except for my smart phone, provided we have cell signal.

Comments off

Isn’t it lovely

Here’s a photo that is used on our Florida Community Kings Point’s website. Love it. I can imagine I’m in the upper left corner under the green awning because that’s my “usual” shady spot.

I can walk to the pool without hurrying in less than five minutes. It’s about 1,100 steps on my pedometer.

Comments off

How much time until….??

Each of the counters below has an expiration date. The first one ends on Oct. 10, 2015, the second Dec. 24, 2015, the third May 10, 2016 and lastly July 14, 2016. (If strange characters appear instead of the “count down” number, hit refresh. Sometimes it takes three refreshes.)

until October 10, 2015, when we get to our condo in Florida. (We’ll leave our Michigan home on the 9th.)

=============

until our Christmas Eve party.

=============

until our return back in Michigan (May 10, 2016) at the end of our Florida winter.

=============

until the ODPC Funfest starts on July 14, 2016.

=============

Comments off

Prices, Produce, and Green Grass

I started to make a list about stuff I prefer in the North (or conversely in the South). The list balances out with neither Michigan nor Florida being a clear favorite.

Some of the items I listed are better in the North because they’re “in season” during Michigan’s summer months. Examples: Michigan-grown raspberries, muskmelons, apples, cherries, and Michigan corn-on-the-cob. Or Michigan’s flowers which don’t grow well in Florida: tulips, lilies, lilacs, peonies, red buds trees, apple blossoms, roses. But other items are better in the South.

Shopping in the two areas can be distinctly different. Some store chains are available to us only while we’re in Michigan while others only while in Florida. (Not that the stores I mention aren’t located in other states, but for this discussion, we’re comparing what is available to us in the Saginaw (Thomas Township) area in the North or in Sun City Center in the South.)

Here are some of our regional chain stores with their specialties. You can buy Publix yogurt or get a wonderful Publix sirloin steak or shop for tropical-weather styles in Bealls in Florida; while Michigan has Meijers, Menards, and Jack’s Produce and Meats. In fact, when we head South in October, I’ll bring with us some items we buy in Michigan at our local Saginaw Aldi’s stores: caesar dressing, paper products, and jalapeno flavored kettle chips. (Note: By next year, hopefully they’ll have completed an Aldi’s in Sun City Center, but we understand it’s a long way from being open. Also SCC’s Aldi’s may not carry everything we find in our Saginaw stores. Example our favorite caesar dressing wasn’t available when we stopped at a Florida Aldi’s a few years ago.)

In Florida, there are Sweet Tomatoes restaurants for a good lunch, and we obviously love Busch Gardens for a day of shows and animals. We also enjoy Little Harbor for a romantic water-side setting. But there’s no place in Florida that comes close to the Saginaw Moose lodge for cheap super Friday night all-you-can-eat walleye or perch dinners, nor is there any place in Florida like Farmers Home Tavern for a great reasonably priced burger.

I am partial to Florida clothing styles: Chicos name-brand, shorts for men, Bealls, and beachy colors.

The color white is always perfect in Florida, but white is a no-no from Labor Day to Memorial Day in Michigan. Black always seems to be ok in Michigan, but looks totally wrong in Florida, even mid-winter, unless it’s really cold!

Florida features superior re-sale shops. (Let’s face it, a lot of stylish older folks die in Florida. Their survivors usually donate the stuff in their closets and cupboards to resale/fund raising sales.) Michigan has resale locations are filled with poor quality junk!

Regional styles extend beyond closets and food choices to exterior home styles and furnishings. Stucco is popular and attractive Florida but would look out of place in Michigan. I like our charcoal leather couch and loveseat in Michigan, but in Florida, I’d consider them way too dark and bulky. Tile is great in Florida, but in Michigan I prefer our solid cherry wood floors.

I love the lush vegetation we have in Michigan. Maple trees are glorious. Our grass texture is soft and wonderful in Michigan, while broader, stiffer, more heat resistant grass blades are common in Florida. Palms and colorful bougainvillea are lovely in the South, but the cool shade of maple, birch, or Michigan oak trees is unequaled. In the fall, the reds and golds of Michigan trees are blindingly brilliant.

For scenery, it’s a toss-up. Michigan has the Mighty Mac Bridge linking the upper and lower peninsulas, but Florida has the Sunshine Skyway Bridge crossing Tampa Bay. Michigan has the shorelines of Lake Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Superior but Florida has the Atlantic, the Pacific and Tampa Bay. Can’t come much closer to a draw than that.

Looking up, the skies are prettier in Florida. Big puffy clouds seem more “close-up” probably because we’re close to Tampa Bay and the “pull” of the ocean plays a part. And I’ve never seen sunsets with clouds that echo the colors like I see in Florida.

And then there’s produce. Don’t get me started on strawberries. Folks who say that Michigan strawberries are better than Florida’s probably haven’t had a freshly picked Florida strawberry in the past dozen years (the varieties of strawberries have changed and no longer are the Florida berries white inside and hard. Florida’s are huge, juicy and unbelievably tasty. Michigan’s are smaller and not as sweet.

But the reverse is true about Michigan and Florida raspberries. The only raspberries we’ve seen in Florida are not locally grown, but in Michigan we can go to the garden in June and early July and gather sweet luscious berries.

We can pick Michigan McIntosh or spy apples off the trees in September, and grapes from our vineyard. Nothing better.

Tomatoes are also better (sweeter) in Michigan.

Corn-on-the-cob used to be much better in Michigan, but like strawberries, the new varieties have leveled the field.

Understandably the climate of Florida produces lovely orchids and pineapples which can grow outside and I’ll never get used to what I considered “house plants” growing outside. (I’m referring to gardenia plants, split leaf philodendrons and variegated schefflera.)

My mother used to plan her trips to Michigan around the availability of Michigan produce. If possible, she wanted to take back a bushel or two of Michigan apples and she spent her entire visit consuming an excess of corn-on-the-cob and muskmelons. She also took rolls of Viva paper towels and claimed that there was a distinct difference between north and south paper products.

The size of boxed wine is different in Florida than in Michigan. In Florida, you’re lucky to get a 3-liter box of wine while in Michigan the standard box is 5-liters. (And yes, in Michigan, the price for the 5-liter box is about the same as the 3-liter box in Florida.)

Allergies are different in Michigan and Florida. I sneeze a lot more in Michigan, because I have Michigan ragweed intolerance but John finds the Florida oak trees produce a pollen that kicks in his allergy symptoms.

The availability of good doctors in Florida is better than in Michigan. Probably we find that to be true because in our Florida community the physicians are geared toward a senior community. (In Michigan we found it impossible to “get in” to a new primary care physician. In our Michigan community, although we tried repeatedly, we couldn’t find ANY doctors taking new patients. In Florida, we easily found a great primary care doctor and the dermatologists are much more accessible there.)

Without the freeze and thaw of a Michigan winter, the roads are in better shape in Florida.

We love that many residents who reside in Sun City Center (Kings Point) create a “blended community” in our part of Florida. This situation is a result of folks who spend winters in the sunny South from the states in the northeast and Canada as well as Michigan. We get to Florida and happily congregate in our community. All parts of our great country come together! But the extra thing that makes this situation great is that we’re all at the same stage of our life. We’re all retirees. We’re all comfortable enough to have a Florida home and we’re all open to new friendships. It’s a great place to be.

But just as perfect is the quiet of our lake in Michigan or our place in the Upper Peninsula, make our summers lovely.

Isn’t it nice that we have six months in each Florida and in Michigan?!!! We definitely enjoy the best “peninsulas” in the nation!

Comments off

Love a bargain!

I’m a coffee drinker. I drink two huge (14 oz) mugs of coffee (black) every morning. I’ve always loved hazelnut coffee but unless I get the flavored ground coffee, I not satisfied with the taste. And the extra cost for ground hazelnut puts it way over my price-point. I’ve tried the liquid hazelnut syrups but they always taste fake and way too sweet. But recently I discovered Folgers Flavors™.

Unfortunately they aren’t cheap. Best local price is $3.79 plus tax for a tiny 1.62 oz bottle. They are about twice that on Amazon.

I was finally successful finding a great deal at http://smucker.com. Yes, I had to buy four bottles (my choice of flavor so I got four hazelnut) and I had to agree to a scheduled delivery plan, but by doing it that way, I got free shipping and a 10% discount. My total price for the four bottles was $10.80 ($2.70 per bottle), delivered, with no tax!! I placed the order yesterday. It was delivered this a.m.

I have my shipment schedule set up for a four bottle order every three months, but that may not be frequent enough. Fortunately it’s easy to change the order schedule and the “ship to” address is also changeable. Since the orders are filled so fast, if I find I’m low, I can speed up the delivery. When I open the first bottle, I’ll mark it with the date so I’ll have a better idea of how long a bottle lasts. (It doesn’t take much to flavor my big mug perfectly.)

Sure love this stuff.

Comments off

Hot Spell

It’s been HOT here in Michigan (yesterday 92 and at least 90 for several days before).

In our Florida paradise, it’s currently 84 and it was only in the high 70’s yesterday afternoon. After today, the forecast is for temperatures in the low 80s for at least a week.

Folks who think Michiganders suffer from perpetual frost even in summer months don’t realize that we often have excessively high heat and humidity. It’s often hotter here than in the sunny south and our humidity is often equal or higher than Sun City Center’s.

Next week we will probably head to our place in the Upper Peninsula and that almost guarantees it’ll cool down. Forecast is for high 60’s-low 70’s.

We rarely get it right.

Comments off

Life in Limbo

We had so many plans before we came back to Michigan.

We were going to enlarge and replace our greatroom window and renovate our kitchen. Nothing has happened.

We had several window company estimators come to our house, but in the end, we couldn’t agree on what we wanted, and the designs that we preferred didn’t seem to be possible.

John wanted a bow or bay window which I felt would create a problem using the table we prefer for our meals in front of the window. I wanted a window nearly to the floor, but John couldn’t see any advantage.

So we changed our focus to the kitchen. We invited a contractor to give us an estimate and help with our plans, but he kept waiting for us to say what we wanted and we were waiting for him to give us his vision of what would work. He fell short in being helpful as a visionary. We need someone who can point us in the right direction. Yes, we have ideas which we expressed, but he never offered any suggestions at all. (Not helpful.)

A second contractor sounded interested and wasn’t available for a few days but he supposed to call us before coming one of three days but we never heard from him. We haven’t found anyone else to help with ideas.

The summer’s nearly over and nothing has happened.

In a week or two, we’ll go up north and get rid of the bed foundations which are stored in the hot tub room. I’m hoping when they’re cleared out and that room doesn’t look so crowded, we can at least get the first and second floors of our place in order. It doesn’t look too bad right now but it could be better. I’d also like to get serious about purging, especially on the second floor since that’s a do-able job.

Comments off

Too Relaxed

Life’s great. So relaxed with nothing stressful going on nor even on the horizon.

I’m ready to get back to Florida but the next two months will fly by. No point wishing my life away.

Finally feeling better. I think I was just exhausted. The stress of the festival took a tole.

Comments off

Half a Bubble Off

My husband will refer to being “half a bubble off” which indicates he isn’t “up to par.” (Those who have used a bubble level will know what half a bubble off would mean.) Today I’m half.. or maybe three-quarters of a bubble off. Just don’t feel good. Lost sleep last night and the night before. For a couple days, I’ve felt queasy and I’ve had a digestive problem. Not fun. Thankfully we don’t have anything pressing to attend. John hasn’t felt peachy either so we’re glad to have some down-time. I’m sure I’ll soon feel better.

Maybe a nap would help.

Comments off

Home from Evart (tired!)

We’ve been back home from the huge, wonderful, ODPC (Original Dulcimer Players Club) Funfest since Sunday. It’s Wednesday and we’re still tired. In fact we’re both more tired today than Monday or Tuesday. Can’t understand that but we’re definitely pooped. We went dancing last night but didn’t stay as long as usual. Guess it’s wise to listen to our bodies. It takes longer to recover than when we were younger but I fear that if we don’t listen and take time to recover, we could easily get sick.

The festival was great!

imageIt was my 20th (and last) year as Workshop Chairman. I was honored numerous times with a plaque from the ODPC for being “Outstanding Volunteer” and a gift (a sculpture for a garden). There were also lots of personal notes. One of the thank-you letters was from my good (young) friend Gracie. I will cherish it forever. There was even a reception (complete with a large sheet cake), and we were Grand Marshals of the parade.

The pictures are from the reception.

imageThe statue could go outside, but for now it’s on the floor near our front door and it looks perfect.

We are gradually emptying our trailer of stuff that we won’t need until next year. No rush. Eventually we’ll get everything done. Feels great to know that we can take our time. There’s no deadline to meet.

Sure I have a couple chores to complete: a huge pile of laundry, thank you notes to write, a report of my expenses, and clothes to put away, but we have no up-coming appointments so we can do it at a snail’s pace.

Comments off

At the ODPCFunfest

Lots of wonderful music and nice folks. Weather has changed every day. We’ve had warm, cold, windy and wet. Perfect temps right now.

Comments off

Soon we’ll be headed to the ODPC Funfest

We head to Evart, MI, Thursday, for the Original Dulcimer Players Club’s Funfest. The world’s largest hammered dulcimer gathering.

In two days we’ll be there. I can’t understand why I’m not more eager. Every year I’ve excitedly anticipated our big festival which is always the most fun of our year. Maybe it’s because now we have so many truly rewarding adventures in Florida that they’ve stolen some of the luster. Or maybe it’s because we haven’t been playing as much music (but I still love the genre that’s played there.) Or maybe it’s because this is my last year as workshop chairman so maybe I’m already disassociating myself from the event. Or it could be because last year I fell on the 9th of July at the festival and broke my wrist so the 2014 festival wasn’t really fun and now it may represent something else to me.

All I know is that I’m getting ready (and so is John) but neither of us are all that anxious. We’ll see lots of great people and many of our close friends, so I’m sure we’ll have a great time.

I just wish I was more excited.

Comments off

Richard and Shelly Brooks Home is for sale

http://tours.mixedmediaco.com/2128#.VZckr2EPCTY.facebook

Video of their listing.

It’s AWESOME!!

Comments off

And here is the Brooks’ house

We stayed at Richard and Shelly’s place in 2013 and 2014. (Cooper’s this year and in 2011 and 2012.) The Brooks have their place up for sale.

image

Comments off

Visit to Coopers

Here are some photos of Cooper’s lovely home where we spent last weekend:

image
image
image

Comments off

I once felt….

I used to feel I was way ahead of the curve when it came to being tech savvy and up-to-date on trends but lately I’m realizing how behind I am. Sure I can do lots on line and with my computer but here’s proof that I’m waaaay behind:

I don’t Tweet!

I don’t text much (only occasionally).

I never Skype.

I don’t have an Instagram account.

I don’t do Facetime.

I don’t own any Apple products nor have I ever.

I don’t own a tablet.

I don’t own a selfie stick (although admittedly I’ve taken selfies).

So I admit I haven’t stayed current but I guess that’s acceptable. Afterall, I’m 73.

I am ahead of the previous generation but that’s not saying much. Heck my mom wouldn’t even get a cell phone and definitely didn’t approve of on-line-banking.

Comments off

Fixing

John is firm about not selling our house. He won’t even consider it. I am realizing that’s not going to change, at least not in the foreseeable future. Therefore I’m pushing us to do some upgrades to the kitchen, the master bathroom, and the floors in the 1/2 bath and utility room. We may end up spending $30,000 but in the long run, when the house is sold (and someday it will happen), it’ll need to be done.

Today we had a contractor come and look over the kitchen. Right now we’re leaning toward opening the kitchen by getting rid of the bar, and we’ll have 42″ cabinets installed. The extra height will give us more storage, plus we’d move the refrigerator and the old refrigerator space will enlarge the pantry. In the end, it’ll be open with granite countertops, quality floor, pendant lights and nicer cabinets.

We’re thinking it over and our next step is to visit the cabinet store. (Don’t know if we’ll get to do that until after we’re back from the festival because we leave next Thursday.)

Comments off

Visit with friends

Every year for the past five, we’ve spend a summer weekend at the homes of the Brooks and Coopers (aka Shelly & Richard and Caroline & Stephen) at White Lake, MI. The two couples host a bunch of us who live in our Florida community during the winter months (Kings Point) but are from Michigan. Both couples are excellent hosts. For sleeping, they divide our big group between the two lovely homes. We were there this past weekend but the weather was lousy. Saturday it was about 63 with rain!

We were housed at Cooper’s in their guest room. (Lovely!)

Although the weather didn’t cooperate enough for us to enjoy fireworks, we had a great time! Evidently we ate WAY too much, though, since Stephen and Caroline had a Zumba instructor come to their house Sunday morning to try and get us back into shape. What a riot!

It was all fun! I learned a couple new card games, got a little exercise and saw people I truly enjoy.

I recall years when we opened our house to a crowd. It was always so much work to get ready for a reward which was way too brief. I would assume that those two couples feel the same.

This was the last year we’ll have the gathering because Richard and Shelly are selling their place and the crowd is too large for one place. But we have loved every time they’ve hosted us and we are truly grateful!

Comments off

I’ll never remember

We signed up for basic Charter Cable TV in May when we returned from Florida. Charter Cable isn’t as all-inclusive as our Brighthouse service in Florida, but it gives us an acceptable number of channels and provides me with hi-speed internet. Previously for TV, we used a digital roof-top antenna and, since our bedroom set is older, for it, we needed to also use a digital converter.

Our current plan provides us with one Charter Cable box which is hooked up to our flat-screen living room TV. In our bedroom, we still use the old, rooftop digital antenna with the old set to watch the news before we shut it off for the night.

Here’s the problem: To turn on our Michigan L.R. TV, we need to use TWO remotes, one for the cable box and one for the TV. (The TV remote switches the picture from a tiny image up in the left corner on a menu screen to full-screen). (This problem has to do with the set being older, even though it’s digital.)

For now, in the bedroom, again we need two remotes: one for the digital converter and one for the TV set. After Evart, we will bring in the flatscreen TV from the trailer, which will eliminate the need for a converter. (Note: We did do this.)

In the living room, not only do we have to deal with two remotes, but the cable channels are numbered totally different than the “through the air” channels we get in the bedroom. Example: air channel 5 (CBS) is cable channel 7, air channel 25 (NBC) is cable 4, air channel 12 (ABC) is cable 11 and air channel 66 (FOX) is cable 8. So confusing!! And a couple times the cable’s gone out so we’ve gone reverted to “air.” What a mess.

Ok, so I assume we can handle that. We have learned our favorite channels and we’re able to switch back and forth from the living room to the bedroom. We’re figuring it out. Sometimes we make mistakes, and it’s taken a while to get into the swing, but we’re managing.

Now here’s the next catch:

We’ll be leaving Michigan in October (less than four months from now). When we get to Florida, we again will have a whole different setup. In Florida, we have a newer Samsung 3D 65″ Florida Smart TV. Brighthouse Cable provides us with a totally different selection of channels to memorize. At least, it is easier in Florida because at least the living room and the bedroom incoming signals match each other (and 10 is 10 on both sets and Brighthouse sticks pretty close to the original numbering of channels), although we get several hundred fewer channels in the bedroom. (Up to channel 95, it’s the same.) The living room remotes, when correctly set-up can allow the use of only one. Same is true of the bedroom.

We are getting to the point where memorizing all these TV channels isn’t easy. And learning all the various remotes is tough. I can count four (or five remotes) in Michigan and two (or three) in Florida. That’s a mind-full.

Eventually that may become another reason to give up our Michigan home.

I save instructions for us to use in the two areas (in May-Oct. and in Oct.-May). I spell out which remotes to use and how to start them up. Guess I’m getting old, but at least I’m still sharp enough to realize I need to write down the “how to” so I can get things to work quickly and without a lot of effort.

Comments off

Books galore

I have always enjoyed reading and there’s never a time when I don’t have a book that has me hooked.

A few years ago I realized that holding a paperback (or hard cover) for hours would cramp my hand. I switched to a Kindle and the problem was solved.

I belong to BookBub and get lots of free books from Amazon. I currently have a “Kindle library” of unread digital books that numbers in the hundreds or maybe thousands.

This week, as I’ve been purging our house, I have found many stashes of my books. They’re stuck all over. I could take them to my favorite book store, Maxie’s, where I’d get credit toward more books but I don’t need more so the Salvation Army resale store has and will benefit.

I know I’m so far behind that I’ll never catch up, but every day when I check the free books on Amazon, I find another one or two that I can’t resist.

At least my Kindle is feeding my addiction and my library doesn’t take up physical space.

Comments off

Memories from fabric

I decided to clean out the guest room closet where I for years I have stored clothes I no longer wear. I haven’t even opened the closet door for quite a while so I’m safe getting rid of almost everything. As I went through them, I found myself recalling when I bought or wore each one. Some I still like (but most are several sizes too small). There were huge shoulder pads, a lot of denim (including a denim bustier), ankle length dresses, and tailored business suits. Some of them are 20-30 years! All are in excellent condition.

I am purging so most everything was unceremoniously loaded into bags for the Salvation Army’s resale shop. So far I’ve filled three huge trash bags and there’s a pile that wouldn’t fit.

When I took a break, I went on ebay and I did a search using “1980’s dress.” I was surprised that dresses similar to mine are actually commanding a fairly high price. I don’t want to mess with selling, packing, shipping, so what I’m not throwing away, I’ll just unload at the resale place. A few decent coats will go into our “to be sold at out September garage sale” pile.

Wile looking through the eBay postings, I spotted a top on that reminded me of one of my items I had planned to get rid of. Mine is a hand-crocheted lined skirt which comes to mid-calf and a matching off-the-shoulder lined top. (The top can be worn separately.)

I retrieved it and tried it on, and it is dern cute and it fits! I’m not donating it!! It’s going with me back to Florida to wear to one of our many dances.

There are only a few items I won’t get rid of: my wedding dress, several hand-made German-style drindls from my years living in Frankenmuth, and some historic style dresses for reenactor-type performances. Most everything else is going.

When I finish the guest room closet, I have two rolling closets in the basement to go through. I’ll feel so much better when it’s done. Then I can tackle the loft closet and the basement. So much clutter! It’s time to get rid of most of it. When it’s all cleaned out, maybe John will more favorably consider selling this place. As it is, he says selling would mean cleaning out, and that’s a difficult thought to face.

Comments off

Migration

It seems that more and more of the “snow birds” we know are selling their homes and moving permanently to Kings Point, our gated community in Florida. In our circle of friends, we see it happening a lot! The pattern seems to be fairly consistent. Folks have a place they love in our Florida community but their ties to the north remain solid for a few years. When fully retired, going back and forth and maintaining a northern residence eventually loses it’s luster. After a few years, the idea of the “easy life” in KP becomes attractive enough that the northern place is sold and Florida residency becomes year-round. This season, we know of four KP friends (couples) who have their up-north places sold or for sale, with the intention to move full-time to Florida. Some will continue to go back and forth but they’ll be staying in the north for a shorter time and without the responsibilities of home ownership in another state.

In our group, Val sold her place on a lake in Michigan a couple weeks ago. Judy & Bob and Shelly & Richard have their places up for sale. Pennye & Bill and Cindy & Fred have either sold or are selling their northern residences and moving full-time to Florida.

Last year, Sharon & Dave made the move, and I believe, Sherry & Bob are now Florida residents.

And there are some who are seriously contemplating a move (Caroline & Stephen).

Eventually we’ll be in the list, but not this year (nor next.)

Comments off

It’s not all past tense!

On my website, dulcimers.com, there’s a link in the main top menu under “Mainsite” that will take you to our biography (called “About Us”.)

Although this informational page covering our life was started about twenty years ago, I try to update it frequently. Today when I re-read it, I realize that almost everything was “past tense,” so I added this:

After reading the above summary of “The Skaryds’ Life,” it sounded like everything is “past tense.” Not so! Yes, we’ve had a busy 30 years as man and wife and we’re in our 70’s, but we’re far from done. When in Michigan, we go dancing every Tuesday (or more often, if we can find a country band), John is always occupied with the exterior upkeep of the house and I’m trying to keep up with the inside. And I love my computer where I do a lot of shopping, surfing and web design. We belong to the local Moose Club, a local senior group, and enjoy getting together with family and friends.

Some stuff is more difficult for both of us. Last summer I broke my right wrist and it hasn’t worked correctly since then and John’s lung problem has taken a lot from him. But we’re both anticipating our return to Florida in October. In our southern community, we’ll be working with the Michigan Club on parties and activities, we belong to the Oldies but Goodies Dance Club, the Kings Point Baby Boomers, and we take dance lessons every week. We also dance every Thursday, John plays banjo Wednesdays with the “Pickers” group, and I try to walk to the pool when we aren’t in other activities. We hope to do more performing with Kings Strings. And we totally enjoy a fun group of lively friends so we’re always going to parties or other social events.

I guess I’d like to elaborate. Yes, we’ve passed through several phases in our life.

We both worked; we both retired. Starting in 1992, were totally involved in the music world and ran a busy performing club (Saginaw Subterranean Strings Hammered Dulcimer Club). John ran the Midland Dulcimer Festival, but because of his lung problem, in 2009 he to give that role up. I was Workshop Chairman at the ODPC Funfest beginning in 1996 but after 20 years, I’ve retired from that position.

I deserve to “enjoy” rather than work full time.

If the truth is known, I gave up the Workshop Chairman role because it cut into our fun time. I want us to be able do more together. John has patiently watched me organize the huge workshop program but it takes me a great deal of my time starting in January and then becoming really intense from April-July. Maybe we can go camping. Maybe we can make it to the U.P. more. Maybe we can dance more.

Life is great!

Comments off

Taking it Easy

Since visiting my physical therapist last week I’ve decided to relax a little. Life is short. She recognized that my wrist is bothered by strenuous work and suggested hiring a cleaning service.

It’s true; there is a lot that I could do around here, but it’s time we found someone else to help out. I want to hire a cleaning person. John doesn’t approve. In the meanwhile, I do some stuff each day, but when my wrist starts feeling uncomfortable, I stop. There’s no reason to work too hard. No one is going to see it, no one stops by. This house is for our enjoyment. Keeping it shouldn’t represent just work.

Comments off

Didn’t take long

The ODPC only took a couple days to replace me. At least now I know I’ve finished that responsibility. 20 years was enough. I’m done.

I was amazed at the out-pouring of appreciation from friends on Facebook after I made the announcement:

I said: Yes, I retired. After 20 years, this week I told Kathy Rayman that I’d like her to find someone else to take over the ODPC Workshop Chairman duties and the preparation of the workshop program. After doing it for 20 years, it seems appropriate that someone else assume my role. Sue Crandle has stepped forward. Thank you, Sue. I’m sure she’ll do a great job. Of course I still need to complete this year’s program.

Shelly Zipper Moss Brooks Congratulations. A well deserved retirement. Now u can stay in Florida longer.

Sharon Skaryd No – not in Florida. Now I’ll be able to help John more around here. This place is too big for one healthy guy to keep it up, and John’s not in the best health. He needs more of my assistance. The ODPC job has always filled most of May, much of June, and into July. That left him doing all the house and up-keep stuff. I am so relieved!! He deserves more from me.

Peg Earl After all your hard work and dedication you deserve time for you and John. You’ve done a wonderful job!

Chuck Boody The impact you and John have made on The dulcimer world in general and Evart in particular is huge! “Thank you (both)” is insufficient, but the best I can manage.

Caroline Cooper Thank goodness. A well deserved retirement

Sharon Skaryd I was there through ODPC Presidents Wes Linenkugel, Don Fitzpatrick, Gail Schwandt, and now Kathy Rayman. I’ve seen every type of management style and what works and what doesn’t. We love the festival. (Obviously!)

Lou Miller Hibbard Thank you , Sharon. You have done an outstanding job.

Gwyn Besner Thank you for your years of service. It has been an amazing job1 Well done!

Lee Anne Whitman Thanks to you from me, too, Sharon! We appreciate you so much!

Jim Coon What a wonder job you have done.

George Jeanette Wilkins Congratulations Sharon. You did a wonderful job.

Judi Emery Morningstar Thank you for all your hard work. You did an amazing job. Now I hope you don’t think you’re just gonna stay in Florida & not attend the festival. I’m sure Sue will have a lot of questions for some time to come. Planning over 200 workshops isn’t all that easy for us mortals.

Pat Snover Tait Congrats on a fabulous run. Great organization. Thanks for being “Mom” for 20 years. Time to relax. Well deserved retirement.

Todd N Pam Bowman Thank you Sharon! You have done a great job from the start – always very organized and consistent – thank you for all of the many hours of planning that helps/helped make the Evart Funfest a great time smile emoticon

Lynn Gehringer Thank you for all you have done for a long time before I discovered the ODPC. It is time for you to spend as much time as you can doing what you choose.

Bruce Evans As previously stated, “Thank you,” doesn’t even come close. But Thank you for taking me in as a workshop leader and for all you have done for all of us.

Jeff Allen Thank you Sharon from the bottom of my heart for all you have done to make the Funfest what it is. For the countless hours of work putting workshops together you have done a marvelous job. Enjoy your time now!! smile emoticon

Gail Robinson Schwandt Good for you, Sharon! You did a terriffffic job. I remember standing in our church asking you if you might like to be more involved with the ODPC and be the workshop chairman. So many years have passed and you elevated the programs to a remarkable level. Kudos. Your dedication and love for the club and fest never waivered. I think Sue has big shoes to fill but I also believe she will do a wonderful job, she’s a great choice. All things move on, now you can enjoy your spring and early summer months without the pressure. Enjoy your well earned rest.

Mary Lou Battley Our congratulations for a job well done and way beyond the call of duty! Thank you for all the hours you have spent organizing a bunch of cats. You have added sooo much to the Evart Funfest.

I’m truly moved by their appreciation. I certainly didn’t do it for the recognition, but it’s nice to see that I left these folks I admire with a good impression.

Comments off

I want to be replaced!

I have just completed the biggest part of the huge ODPC workshop project that I’ve done for 20 years. It’s not finished, but I can see the end. I still need to format the 10 pages of class descriptions and compress the index to one-page (it’s about five pages now).

Today I told the president of the ODPC that I’d like to retire as soon as she can find someone. 20 years is long enough.

I found this year to be especially difficult because my hand didn’t like the excessive stress of typing for hours. Another problem: I found it hard to concentrate for longer than about an hour without a break. (I remember when I typed it all over a two day period, non-stop!! But now I find that kind of concentration almost impossible.)

I did tell the president of the ODPC that we wouldn’t mind continuing to host the workshop canopy and the Wednesday night reception. We’d watch over the copy machine, keep the goodie table clean with full water/ice containers be there to direct folks, to find workshop leaders when there’s a need. That would be enough.

Admittedly I’m tired.

Comments off

Reorganizing

We spent yesterday re-doing our bedroom. We have had too much stuff in that room (especially big furniture pieces) and it was time for a change.

The biggest problem in the room is/was the bed or at least the structure supporting it. About 10 years ago, we bought a huge “system” with a “bridge” as sort of a headboard with storage space and mirrors across the width of it. It stuck out about 12″ from the wall (maybe more). There are oak “towers” on each side which consists of drawers and cabinets. The whole thing, with our king-size mattress makes a huge unit. It fills the room. Not only is this the headboard tower structure large but the bed sits on a solid mattress foundation which is like an inner-spring mattress and goes to the floor. You can’t even put a pair of shoes under the bed.

It was time for a change.

We broke the bed down, moved the towers (which are like tall bookcases with cabinets on top and a three drawers on the bottom) to the hot tub room. Then we moved two small nightstands that had been retired and stored several years ago back beside the bed.

We moved out the mattress foundation and purchased a mattress frame which is elevated so stuff can go under it. We gained a lot of space. We still need a flat headboard.

To take my shorts and capris back and forth to Florida, I use two low (about 7″ deep) plastic bins that are long and wide enough to lay my capris flat. (I can fit about 25-30 pair in one bin.) When in Florida, they go under our music room futon bed. Here in Michigan the bins were in the way. Now they can go under the bed. I can also store a zippered plastic bag of shoes which is ready to go back to our southern home. John’s doing the same thing under his side. I’ve ordered a tailored bed skirt to conceal things we store there.

Now the bedroom feels more spacious and by the marks in the carpet, it’s easy to see that we’ve gained almost two additional feet of “open space” at the foot of the bed. The hot tub room is becoming an annex to our bedroom with 2 big pieces of exercise equipment, John’s dulcimer, and those two “towers” which abut each other nicely and serve as tall chests with drawers and cabinets. Eventually we’ll probably take out the hot tub (which is almost flush with the floor and hangs down into the basement).

Next week we have an appointment with a window installer to see about having some remodeling done in the great room. We’re hoping to replace the big window with an even bigger view-enhancing one.

I do love our house here. It’s much more impressive than our Florida condo. The view is lovely and it’s nearly twice as big.

Comments off

Country Dancing

John and I love to dance. Line dances are ok, but country couples dancing is even more fun. We do it a lot in Florida, especially with our friends (and teachers) Donna and Bill Markland.

We miss our Florida environment. We usually can dance at least a couple times a week when we’re in Florida. Our Michigan community doesn’t offer the same opportunities, but the situation in our area has improved.

About 20 miles down the road (M-52), there’s a bar called Back Forty and every Tuesday, from 6:00-9:00 they have a good country band and an older (like us) crowd. Yeah!!!

Also our Saginaw Moose Club has weekly dances. They are scheduled to start at 7:00 but the dancing doesn’t really get going for about an hour. We’ll probably pick and choose between the bands that play there. The band from “Back Forty” (“Dixie Highway Band”) will be playing at the Moose twice this month. We’ll try to go to those two evenings. (This Friday is one of their appearances.)

John’s endurance is very limited. We can only make it around the floor a few times per dance, but it’s still fun. Looking forward to dancing over the summer.

Comments off

Working hard

I’m trying hard to get the workshop program ready for the Original Dulcimer Players Club dulcimer festival. It’s a huge job but today I discovered that, with Windows 8.1 (which is what’s on my new computer purchased in December), I can split the screen and work on both sides. It makes copying text from the place where the leaders submitted their suggested classes to the printed copy much easier. I no longer have to print and retype everything.

I’m tired of working on this project, but with this new, streamlined method, I’ll bet I can have all of the program done by next weekend.

Hope so!!

Comments off

Florida stay wasn’t great

Usually I brag about how wonderful our time in Florida is (or was) but this year wasn’t as grand as previous years. I spent so much time in October and November trying to get my broken hand to work right. I went to hand therapy two times a week and seemed my non-functioning hand really restricted me. (Dancing was uncomfortable, and I felt awkward.) Christmas Eve we hosted our regular party, but my preparation seemed incomplete. I didn’t clean the place as thoroughly as I wanted and felt sort of uncomfortable about it. I missed a big party because I was ill on New Year’s Eve and for a few days afterward. John caught my bug a few days afterward. When I felt better, I started more therapy. Time seemed to fly by but we missed out on a lot. In late March we both caught bad colds that hung on too long and left us feeling weak and worn out.

Finally I felt better, but the whole cold thing left John’s lungs much worse. It frightens me.

We enjoyed a whirlwind of farewell activities, parties and dances. They were great fun. We did miss a birthday party when John didn’t feel up to going. But all in all the month of April lived up to our expectations but we were near the end of our stay and it was time to leave.

On May 2nd, we went to the Michigan Club Kentucky Derby party and May 3rd, left for Michigan.

Our trip back was uneventful. Traffic wasn’t too bad and we had no problems. We got home yesterday (May 5th).

The house was dirty and messy. Usually I make sure things look good before we leave, but I hadn’t been able to do much because of my wrist.

Now I’m trying to get the dulcimer club’s workshops organized. It’s a huge job and I was still receiving class submissions from leaders yesterday, although the cut-off was a month ago. I really have to settle down and focus just on it. If I lock myself away for the next week, I should be able to have the schedule created. It’ll take another week to do the “program.”

It’s tough when I see all the work around here that needs to be done and John is pushing himself too hard while it looks like I’m loafing. It’s hard for him to think of computer time and “real work.”

Comments off

A couple off days

Thought we were both getting better but Saturday John had a relapse. He was totally under-the-weather Saturday. Sunday he improved and today he’s much better!! So glad! We have only until Sunday, May 3rd, before we leave for Michigan. There’ll be a lot of packing and final prep-ing. Actually, we could throw the stuff in the truck and be ready to go in a couple hours. Glad we don’t have to do it all at once and since we’re going to have a couple rainy days, it won’t be hard to stay inside and finish everything.

Comments off

Feeling good – But John’s still not up to par

We’ve had a busy week. A fish dinner at the Moose Friday, a dinner party Saturday, a birthday party and dance Sunday. We were looking forward to another fun night tonight. But unfortunately we missed the birthday party for two of our favorite friends (Shelly and Caroline). This afternoon I came home from a dental appointment and John was in bed. He hadn’t been feeling good, but it got worse as the day went by (stomach upset). He was still willing to go, but for once he listened to me and we stayed home. We had potato soup instead of great “Sunset Grille” food, but it’s best that we stayed home. (Sunset Grill at Little Harbor is our favorite place to go because of the view of sunsets on Tampa Bay but was raining so we’d have been inside anyway.) We hope to see Shelly and Caroline Wednesday night at the Lattitude dance and maybe we can go to Sunset Grill Friday or Saturday of this week. Should be prettier weather.

(At least one of us feels back to normal. The hacky cough still bothers me, but I feel fine!)

Comments off

It’s been too long

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting to my blog. I love writing and I’ve missed this outlet, but we’ve been “under the weather.”

The last time I wrote was March 18th. Today it’s April 18th. I need to catch up. I have no real excuse. A bad cold bug hit me about the first of April. It seemed to hang around mainly in the form of fatigue and lethargy. John got it too about a week after mine started so we both coughed and blew.

By Easter, April 5th, I wasn’t 100% but joined our friends Linda and Wayne Conklin for a nice dinner. John’s spring chorus was very nice on April 8th followed by a fun “after-glow party.” April 9th we attended a dinner at Cypress Creek organized by our Maine friends. More than thirty folks attended. We went to the Michigan Club’s appreciation dinner on the 10th. It was a lovely meal with lots of wine! The 12th our friends, Linda Ringenback and Marilyn Enge, hosted a farewell potluck in the North Club gazebo for about 60 good friends. Fun time! Wednesday, the 15th, we attended a Nantucket V Association luncheon.

Although we were going to these events, we were dragging. Our energy level was so low that we only participated in the events we felt we couldn’t miss and cut them all short so we could conserve our strength. We tried to stay in whenever possible and just veg.

Yesterday I finally felt good enough to go to the pool while John played volleyball and last night the two of us went to Ruskin for a fish dinner.

Tonight the Baby Boomers had a members only evening which included dinner and dancing. We were with friends the Brooks, Enges, Coopers, Ringenbacks, and us. Really fun. What a great group and I can honestly say I felt good!

So now that I’ve caught up on what’s been happening, tomorrow I can write some thoughts and fun stuff. I would like to get to the pool tomorrow morning. It’ll be hot (nearly 90) so the pool sounds delightful. I’ve only been at the pool twice this month! With only two weeks to go, I want to take advantage of our remaining days.

Comments off

John’s still not up to par but better…

We’ve been taking things easy as John regains his strength from his cold. It’s taken a while. I can see a gradual improvement, but he still gets really winded after any vigorous/or semi vigorous activity. I’m doing fine. Feeling better than I have for months.

Last night we attended the Michigan Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Party and had a really good time. Lots of good food, beer, and great friends. It was one of the best parties we’ve attended this year and/or last.

The weather has been perfect (low 80’s). I’ve been spending lots of my afternoons enjoying the outdoors on our back patio. At this time of the year, all the grandkids are here visiting and spending time at the pool. Therefore, the pool is unbelieveably over-crowded. We bought a couple of luxury lounges last week so I’ve been staying home where I don’t have to fight for a lounge and shade. I can enjoy a good book, linger in the shade, and have a nice bathroom or drink of water when wanted.

We have a couple community festivals coming up Friday and Saturday and a carribean party Sunday. We’ll have a good time.

Life is good!!

Comments off

My first post in a couple weeks!

John had that bad cold and it hung on and sapped his strength. We hosted the Michigan Club pizza party on February 23rd which left both of us exhausted and the next day I had the cold bug. Mine wasn’t as bad as John’s so I bounced back within about five days. John is still not 100% and here it is a month since he first got sick. Therefore we’ve been doing very little. We’ve been trying to feel better. I feel great. Hopefully John’s strength will return.

Last Friday we graduated from our physical therapy sessions. John has absorbed all the help they can give him and I think my balance is better. Any further sessions were unnecessary. In fact we got so we felt that the staff didn’t know how to handle folks who are as healthy as we are.

Last week we celebrated our birthdays. John’s was last Sunday (a week ago today). Mine was Wednesday. On Sunday we went to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s. Wednesday after I’d enjoyed several hours at the pool, we went to our dance class and then to Ruskin’s Elks Club for spaghetti and dancing. We were home by about 8:00. Thursday we went to Busch Gardens. The featured entertainers were Exile and Juice Newton. Good show. On our way home, we stopped in Brandon at Sweet Tomatoes to enjoy their wonderful salad buffet.

Our group, Kings Strings, has been practicing for a performance next Wednesday the 11th for the Shriner’s St. Patrick’s Day luncheon. We have a practice Tuesday, and I’m sure it’ll go fine.

Yesterday, we got a call from a Michigan friend, Gwyn. She’s stopping in tomorrow afternoon and will overnight here tomorrow. She’s welcome to stay longer, if she wishes, but we will have to practice from 1:00-3:00 Tuesday and we’ll be gone for our performance from about 10:00-2:30 Wednesday. We’ll see how it goes.

Today I cleaned the guest/music room in preparation for her. It’s ready. Tomorrow morning I have an eye doctor appointment. I should be home in time to wash my hair with more than enough time left-over to finish the living room, bathroom, and kitchen while John’s at his chorus practice. She should get here about 4:00 (about when John gets home). Gwyn is a very talented and ambitious lady. It’ll be nice have a chance to visit.

Comments off

John’s been sick with a cold, but this week he’s out and about!!

For the past couple of weeks, John’s had a bad cold so we haven’t done much. (I was afraid I was also germy so I avoided folks too.)

Valentines Day he was improved enough to go to a COA (Condo Owners Association) wine and cheese party, and last night to a Baby Boomer Club dance. John had skipped volley ball, physical therapy, chorus, and had just vegged (which is what you should do when you’re sick.) He went to volley ball and chorus today so he’s pretty much back to his normal self.

Good thing he recovered when he did because not only did we have tickets for the two parties this past weekend but Wednesday during the day, he’ll be scurrying to Front Porch Pickers and Sportsman’s Club, and in the evening to a Pickleball dinner party. Then on Thursday we go to Tampa Bay Downs (horse race track) with the Sportsman’s Club which includes a lovely luncheon. Friday we have tickets to the evening “Kings Point lip sync show.” It all sounds like fun fun fun.

We also have to squeeze in our two times a week physical therapy sessions and I’m getting my hair cut Wednesday.

Life’s great!!!

Comments off

We are at the half-way point

101 days since we arrived on October 12th and 101 days until we leave on May 3rd. Yup, we’re half-way through our 2014-15 visit to our Florida home.

I love it here. I don’t have to be doing stuff all the time but there’s always something to do. Today John played volley ball in the morning and headed to the Front Porch Pickers in the afternoon. I stayed home and enjoyed the sun from our back patio and then entertained three girl friends who dropped in unexpectedly.

It’s actually a fairly quiet week because our dance classes and Rockin Rendezvous are both cancelled this week. So what are our plans: Busch Gardens tomorrow (Thursday), John’s PT Friday morning with Disco Fever night Friday at the clubhouse. Then Saturday, we’re going to a Laff-a-Lot brunch in the morning, and if the weather’s ok, we’ll join the Pickers for a Hobo Camp at the railroad museum in the evening. Yup, it’s definitely a lull in our usually busy schedule!

Comments off

Sand Hill Cranes vs. the Red Fox

Last night John and I witnessed something unusual. Two sand hill cranes flew in and landed between our condo and the pond. As I was preparing to take their photo, I noticed a red fox just a few feet from them.

At one point the fox was between the cranes trying to find a way to escape.

My photo isn’t very good, but you can see the sand hills chasing the fox away. He hightailed it to the other side of the pond.

image

Tonight it happened again. I saw the swift red fox running across the golf course fairway behind our condo. And right behind the fox there were the two sand hill cranes in hot pursuit. Didn’t have time to get the camera out but I think from now on, I’ll be ready at sunset.

Comments off

There are advantages of having snowbirds

While having my my hair done the other day, I mentioned to my beautician that I was sure their business really notice the influx of snowbirds at this time of the year. She said, “Yes, it is lots busier but we don’t complain. If it wasn’t for the revenue the snowbirds bring in, half the businesses in Sun City Center would fold.”

I recall that my mother, a full-timer here in Sun City Center for many years, didn’t appreciate the crowds that flocked from the north to her bit of paradise during the winter months. She complained about the lines and the traffic. She wished all those northerners would stay away. Restaurants were busier, parking was harder. She resented their winter intrusion.

I look at things differently.

I don’t apologize for being here part of the year. I’m sure we help the economy.

Yes, we’re snowbirds. We’re residents only seven months of the year. We’re not full-time residents. We come down here in October and head back north in May. But we pay just as much in property taxes. (In fact we pay more than many fulltimers because we don’t qualify for homesteading.) We pay just as much in HOA (home owners association) fees. We pay just as much in insurance and other services as we would if this was our only residence.

But, although we pay for a full year, we don’t use the facilities full-time. Even our water usage which is included in our HOA fees is lower. Since we are here about six months, if annualized, we pay twice as much for the privilege of living in this lovely community.

Businesses come to town to sell to us, parking lots are enlarged to accommodate the winter influx. And all of those who stay the whole year, benefit from the time we spend here. You have the luxury of more parking places, businesses and restaurants that you wouldn’t have if the population was always at summer-time levels.

I love it here in Sun City Center. Someday I hope I’ll be here full time. I am already a voting, Florida resident.

Full-timers don’t realize it, but they benefit from us.

I’m sure that if the snowbirds were all here 365 days a year, the cost of living would have to rise to accommodate the wear and tear on the facilities that we use only half as much as full-time residents do.

We help our community maintain the luxurious way of life at the reasonable prices which we all enjoy.

Comments off

The last couple of weeks

We entertained about 20 friends Christmas Eve. Preparation was exhausting but it was a low-key fun evening filled with wonderful personalities and definitely worth the effort.

Christmas Day we enjoyed a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and lazed around. The 27th we were at the pool most of the day. The next day (the 28th) I started feeling really rotten. By December 29th I was totally miserable; running a temp with severe abdominal pains. The 30th, John took me to the doctor. I was hoping to get a flu-inhibitor like Tamiflu but my doctor’s swab-test said it wasn’t the flu but instead a bacterial infection. I was prescribed antibiotics.

New Years Eve (the 31st), we had tickets ($38 each) to a dinner-dance at the North Clubhouse and invitations to Richard and Shelly’s warm-up-for-the-evening house party. I tried to get ready, but realized that I just couldn’t go. I was much too weak and sick. John went to the clubhouse for dinner (which he didn’t enjoy). He was home by 11:00 to see the New Year in with me.

New Year’s Day we watched Michigan State win an exciting football game and lounged around. I was still not moving around much and felt lousy.

Today is the 2nd of January. I’m still not 100% but feeling much better. I haven’t been able to eat much so I’ve dropped a few pounds. Even with the weight loss, it’s not a way I would recommend to bring in the new year.

Comments off

Christmas Gift

With my new computer have come lots of challenges.

I always have the installation disks for the programs I use. They go back and forth from Michigan to Florida and even camping, so I thought I was prepared for a computer replacement. But one program, Streets and Trips (my GPS program which I use to pre-schedule our trips), would not install. I called Microsoft two times, without success. Although I had the disk, I didn’t have the correct Product Key so I was out of luck.

One of my concerns was that I have been the moderator/owner of the Yahoogroup, StreetsandTrips, since 2008. Without the program, how could I successful answer questions members might pose to the list? True, fewer folks now use S&T because many folks have turned to free-standing GPS units or smart phones instead of using a computer based program. In fact Microsoft no longer up-dates the program. I just wanted to stick with my 2010 version. I wanted to be able to access S&T files which included addresses for friends, relatives, and our favorite “stops” between Michigan and Florida.

I went to the list and explained my plight. The most helpful member of the list has always been Larry. He offered to give me the program! Wouldn’t even take shipping costs.

When the program came, it was still sealed. On the product box were a lot of signatures. After I’d appropriately thanked him, he wrote back and said, “BTW – those signatures on the box are from the team members at Microsoft that created the software. My name is above the MS logo. I loved working on the product and really enjoyed helping others out whenever I could. It was my pleasure to give it to you.”

Makes the program even more special!

What a nice guy!

Comments off

Difficult evening

Friday night (December 12th) we went to party at the home of good friends. The crowd was a little older than we are, but we’d attended their party last year and we were sure it would be a lovely evening and we had looked forward to it.

The first part of the evening lived up to our expectations with great hosts, friendly folks, lots of food and drink. John and I were in the living area with five others where the conversation was lively and filled with smiles and laughter. The oldest couple, Fran and Kline (92 and 96), told many lovely stories. They were delightful. We’d met them last year and she said she liked sitting by me because I told good jokes. They’d been married 57 years. (The husband had been a trumpet player and traveled with the Benny Goodman Band.)

Suddenly Fran slumped into unconsciousness. Her husband tried to revive her, but when it was determined that she was having serious problems and a faint pulse, John and another guest with CPR training started resuscitation. The emergency squad and other rescuers were summoned and heroic effort was tried. John, the other guest, and the paramedics worked on her for probably close to an hour. It didn’t look good as they took her away in the ambulance.

A short while later Cline called to say she hadn’t made it. We all felt that it was an honor to be part of her last wonderful evening. She’d been among friends, enjoying herself.

It was a sad evening.

Comments off

The past couple of weeks

Thanksgiving was great.

Last week we attended an Oldies But Goodies dance and a karaoke evening. Friday, December 5th, I joined nine “girl” friends on a shopping and dinner trip to Sarasota. There was an Elvis street party Saturday. The past few days, we’ve been resting up for another round of holiday parties this weekend. It’s fun to be busy but at this time of the year, it’s over-whelming.

Comments off

Thanksgiving

This afternoon we’ll head to Richard and Shelly’s to celebrate the holiday with good friends.

I certainly shouldn’t complain about my life, but this year has had some difficulties:

John’s health hasn’t been great. I have witnessed some deterioration to his lungs, but we should consider ourselves fortunate that he’s able to be as active as he is. It’s his determination and drive. Amazing! We found a new home for Charlie, our cockatiel, because after tests, it was found that John has a sensitive to cockatiel dander. Hopefully not having our bird will at least halt further loss of his abilty to breath.

So things have been difficult and “interrupted.”

Then, to cap it off, both my smart phone and my laptop decided to die of old-age.

New ones are ordered, but I know how much work it is to set up a new computer and smart phone. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Comments off

Charlie has a new home … We’re sad :(

imageSorry to say that we no longer have Charlie, our cockatiel. He’s traveled everywhere we’ve gone and been part of our life for 20 years but yesterday, after running a blood test, John’s doctor confirmed that John cannot be around him. He is probably a big part of the reason John has lung problems. Reluctantly we put an advertisement on the Kings Point Sportsman’s Club Marketplace website and a lady immediately contacted us. She just left with Charlie. She appears to be a very caring individual who loves birds (especially cockatiels). Charlie will get lots of attention and hopefully enjoy many years with her. Seems really empty here without our talkative bird but she said we can visit him anytime.

Charlie’s new owner is almost too good to be true: former nurse, took in three mentally challenged children, a grandmother who teaches at her church, lives alone and currently has no pets but has had cockatiels and they are her favorite. She’s a farm girl from Michigan who now lives in Sun City Center (outside our gated community) year-round. Her daughter wanted her to have a pet to keep her company and suggested a dog, but she said she’s more a bird person.

John may not see an “improvement” but not being around Charlie may help stop the deterioration of his lungs. Not something you’ll be able to pinpoint. Sad that his two pulmonologists (in Florida and in Michigan) never asked if we had a bird. It was only because John tried to get in a clinical trial in Sarasota and the Sarasota doctor asked if by chance John was around a bird(s) that the link was discovered. Wish we’d known when he was diagnosed in 2009. He’d probably have less permanent damage.

Comments off

Progress Report on My Right Wrist

I’ve talked about my wrist a lot because it’s controlled my life since I fell on July 11th, 2014.

My surgery was on July 21st (after the ODPC Funfest had ended because the surgeon said it wouldn’t matter if I waited a few more days.) I was in the operating room for over 4 1/2 hours!

On August 5th, the bandages were removed. It wasn’t pretty, as you can see on the left.

I started hand therapy on that day and until October 8th, I worked with Trisha, at St. Mary’s Spine Center three times a week. We left for Florida on October 11th. I started working with Amber at Cora Rehab on October 15th.

Tomorrow (November 7th) I will end my wrist rehab. I’ll need to continue my exercises on my own. I’ve assembled a variety of tools: stretchy rubber bands, putty to work with, a 6″ ball to squeeze and manipulate, foam pieces to offer resistance, a 26″ exercise ball to lie on for push ups from the floor and two 2-lb. weights to help my wrist gain strength.

Don’t know if anyone is interested, but below are the x-rays taken October 1st, before I saw my surgeon. Dr. Taha, the last time. You can see the two plates and the 16 screws. (Actually we were charged for 24 screws, so I’m not sure how many there are.)

I’ll be so relieved not to have to attend hand therapy. My therapists have been very nice but at this point I want to concentrate less on my wrist and more on living my life to the fullest. I definitely can’t forget to keep working on my flexibility, but I will get a lot of exercise from what I do in my day-to-day life.

Comments off

Real Music Line-Up

The 2015 Busch Gardens Real Music Series line-up is now available. This is of special interest for those of us who have season passes.

Real Music 2015 Lineup:
Monday – Friday with performances at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.

Cornell Gunter’s Coasters January 5-9
The Grass Roots January 12-16
Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone January 19-23
The Diamonds January 26-30
Fernando Varela February 2-6
The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Terry Myers Salute to Benny Goodman February 9-13
Ricky Nelson Remembered Featuring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson February 16-20
Shirley Jones February 23-27
Exile & Juice Newton March 2-6

Real Music Concert Series is FREE with park admission or season passes, but tickets are required. Pick up your free tickets at the Stanleyville Theater for all performances or at the front gate for the 11:30 a.m. concert.

Personally, one of the acts I’m looking forward to is the last show with Juice Newton and Exile. I saw Juice many years ago when her big hit, “Break it to Me Gently,” was popular.

There’s another on the list that I was “unfamiliar” with: Fernando Varela. Looking into his background, I found that he was one of the vocalists who did an awesome job on America’s Got Talent with the trio, Forte. He also performs with his wife, Susan. Hopefully he’ll have her with him as he did in January:


Comments off

Just crossed the Ohio River on our way South

We’re about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. We’re going to stop soon at a rest area so that’ll eat up our extra time. After the rest area, we’ll head non-stop to some place near Knoxville, TN to get fuel. Sweetwater. TN, just south of Knoxville is where we’ll over-night tonight. Dinner at the exit before we get to the motel.

Sunday – October 12

We made it to the condo at about 6:30 p.m. Except for a water heater which will need to be replaced, everything was fine when we arrived.

Comments off

Leaving Saturday

This afternoon we decided to leave a day later than we had planned. (Instead of Friday we’ll take off Saturday a.m.) It didn’t take that much. I changed the dates of our cars that we insure or put in storage and I changed our motel reservation. We won’t get our mail here in Saginaw tomorrow and we’ll be paying for a day of cable and wi-fi that we can’t use, but that’s about it. My only concern are some orders I thought I’d timed fairly well but now will arrive well before us.

I have always used “count down scripts” and now they’re all out-of-step. Oh, well, once we’re in Florida, they’ll run out anyway.

Comments off

Might leave Saturday instead of Friday

We got word this afternoon that the Oldies But Goodies dance in Sun City Center on October 12th has been cancelled. With no reason to get there by Saturday night, we may postpone our departure to Saturday and arrive Sunday evening. John would appreciate the change. We can switch our Quality Inn room… no problem. Only thing is that, once we are ready, we’d both rather be on the road. So tomorrow we’ll pack like we’re leaving Friday and see how it goes. If we feel we’re pushing it, we’ll leave Saturday. (Friday night we can enjoy a last night of Moose Club all-you-can-eat walleye.) I’m guessing that it’s a 75% chance we’ll wait an extra day.

Comments off

Too much too early again

Packing is difficult. I know what needs to go in the truck, but I don’t want John to have to do it all during the last day. Unfortunately some of the stuff which needs to be packed will be used between now and our departure. What to do?

Clothes are especially difficult. I’ve had to look at the weather and decide what I’ll wear each day. The items that I’ll wear “outside the house” will probably be nicer and they’ll need to be taken with us to Florida. The stuff I’ll wear around the house will be casual and left behind.

But there are also items like the ink cartridges in my printer. (I take the partial ones and leave the printer behind because I have a similar printer in Florida.) There’s the atomic wall clock which we take because we only have one; the router which I use (I had a second one but it has quit working); cell phone charging cables; computers; cell phones.

I hope to pack a majority of the stuff by tomorrow and the left-overs will go in a “last minute to be packed in the truck” plastic bag.

Comments off

Prepping for our trip south

We’re in count-down mode. I’m packing and crossing items off my lengthy list.

Yesterday I saw Dr. Taha, my surgeon. He’d requested a CT and an x-ray and his feeling is that I’m doing ok. Therefore I got the go-ahead to head to Florida on October 10th.

It looks like I may have to settle for about 50-60% of the wrist and hand flexibility I had before the accident, but it could be worse. I’ll have a hand therapist in Florida and hope to continue improving. At this point, at least he isn’t talking about another surgery! I’m so glad we can head south! (BTW John doesn’t accept the 50-60% and thinks I/we will do better.)

I’d hoped for some time off before starting with the new hand therapist, but today, when I spoke to the scheduler at the Sun City rehab center, she talked me into coming in the Wednesday after we arrive. Oh, well…. no rest. I guess I’m already in the habit so might as well keep it up.

Comments off

Nice Visit

Thursday evening and Friday morning Audra, John’s daughter and her guy, Dave, visited us on their way to Mackinaw Island. We enjoyed a really nice visit with them!

John fixed a Thursday evening meal featuring shoyu chicken on rice (with a little extra sesame oil), corn on the cob, a tasty cucumber and tomato salad, hot bread, and freshly baked apple pie. Everything was excellent.

Morning breakfast was coffee, John’s famous waffles, scrambled eggs, ham, and juices.

They left about 9:30 a.m.

You couldn’t ask for better house guests. They are welcome anytime — hopefully soon.

Comments off

Isn’t this the cutest?

I just bought this swimsuit on eBay. Isn’t it cute?

I can’t wait for pool time at the south club in Kings Point, Sun City Center, FL.

September 24, 2014:
It finally arrived and it’s cuter than the photo. So glad I bought it!!

Comments off

Halloween Party

We have lots of plans for activities in our retirement community after we arrive on October 11th. I just sent my $20 check to a good friend in Kings Point to buy our tickets for the Baby Boomers Halloween Party. In October, we’ll have exercise classes, club meetings, chorus practice, doctors’ appointments, and even the community garage sale plus these parties:

October 12th – Oldies but Goodies dance.
October 19th – Surprise birthday party at the North Club.
October 23rd – Michigan Club Welcome Back party.

Yes, there’ll also be Karaoke on Tuesdays and Rock’n Rendezvous on Thursdays.

And that’s just the first three weeks we’re in Florida!!!

No wonder I’m anxious to get back to Sun City Center (aka Paradise).

Comments off

Accomplishments!

This week I’ve seen major improvements with my wrist. Here are some of the things I can now do that would have been difficult or impossible a couple of weeks ago:

I can brush my teeth with vigor, wash my hair in the shower, cut my own food with a knife and get it to my mouth (not in my left ear). I have driven a couple times, I’ve cut and polished my toenails. I’ve opened some tight bottle caps. I’ve poured a glass of wine from a large, full wine bottle. I’ve ironed a pair of slacks.

I still hope to make more progress but I’m feeling much better about life in general. I probably won’t ever be 100% but I hope to make it back to a level where I can do most of the stuff I enjoyed before the accident. I’m especially anxious to be able to go dancing. When we get to Florida, I want to be able to resume our full schedule of fun activities and enjoy life to the fullest.

I’m hopeful.

Comments off

Boring summer

I was determined to shed a few pounds this summer, have fun, stay tanned, and go kayaking. We were supposed to spend a week at our place in the Upper Peninsula and maybe enjoy a few side trips.

Nothing worked out as planned.

Prior to July, I was busy working on the workshops for the Original Dulcimer Players Funfest. It took all of my time but I anticipated that I’d have the rest of the summer for relaxation. Then on July 11, I broke my wrist and that ended all of our plans. I’ve done nothing but try to recover. I have very little “get up and go.” My energy is used up exercising my now deformed hand/arm/wrist and going to physical therapy.

But when it comes right down to it, I really don’t have anything to gripe about. I need to get my wrist back in shape. The only way it’ll happen is with work. John is the one who should be complaining. He’s stuck helping me and he hasn’t been able to have any fun either.

Now I’m anxious to get to Florida. It seems like that will be an opportunity to start enjoying life again.

Hopefully our fun lifestyle will resume. We can have go dancing, head to the pool, and we can get together with friends.

Yes, I may have to continue with physical therapy, but hopefully there’ll be time for lots of relaxation and we’ll live “the good life.”

Comments off

Two Mothers

Someone posted this poem on Facebook and it really hit home for me.

My “first” mother was never very demonstrative with her affection. I don’t ever remember an “I love you” from her, but Mother Two said “I love you whenever I saw her. Folks who felt sorry for me because I was caring for a mother with alzheimers didn’t understand that during that time, she gave me more of herself and we were actually closer. (Maybe because she truly needed me.)

My mother “two” liked riding on our golf cart to get a milk shake than parking in the shade enjoying what we called a “picnic.” She was in awe of flowers and colorful birds. We shared some sweet times!

Surprisingly I miss Mother two more than one. Those years were a “gift”.

Comments off

Saw Dr. Taha (my surgeon) again

Yesterday was time for my monthly appointment with my surgeon.

I’m more impressed by him all the time! He’s very approachable. I even like the fact that he comes into the exam room (where I’m sitting on one of the “extra” chairs) and sits on the exam table while talking to me. It shows he’s relaxed and in no hurry. He doesn’t make you feel intimidated! He’s easy to understand and very direct.

He looked over my hand/wrist and was actually pleased. I think my physical therapist, Trisha, had prepared him for my limitations and he seemed to have thought I’d be even worse than I am.

Although I can’t quote his words exactly he said things like, “If this was as far as you were going to progress, I would be disappointed. I’ll check with Trisha and see how she feels but as long as you’re progressing like you are, I’m not concerned.”

He even referred to the time when we’ll get back from Florida (in eight months) and said, “Even when you get back, it may not be the end of your improvement.”

After we went to Dr. Taha’s I had my hour with Trisha. She worked me! I was exhausted. I think she felt that since Dr. Taha had put his faith in her, she had to make sure my progress would warrant it.

Dr. Taha did say that I may never get back all of the use and flexibility that I once had. I can live with that. I just want to be able to do things independently. John’s been cutting my food and I haven’t driven yet. I have a hard time lifting anything even moderately heavy. I can’t open a pickle jar. I can’t carry items down the stairs. But little by little I can see improvements.

Comments off

Occupying my Life

This whole dern broken wrist thing is totally controlling my life. Not only do I spend three days a week in physical therapy but I constantly exercise and now have a new hot wax bath to use several times a day so my wrist will be flexible and able to move better.

It takes 15-20 minutes just to get ready for bed and it’s difficult to sleep with my new, heavy exoskeleton-type device on my arm. It often really hurts as my arm is forced into a position that it doesn’t like. (Last night I was awake at least two hours when I should have been sleeping.)

No activity is possible without thinking about my wrist.

It took a few seconds to break it and now I’m spending months recovering.

Comments off

Not Complaining

Bedtime has gotten complicated, because of my wrist. Here is the “arm/hand stuff” I “wear to bed”:

Silicone strips which are placed on my three scars.
An elasticized glove that goes on my injured hand (to reduce swelling).
A fingerless sleeve for over the glove (again to keep the swelling to a minimum).

AND here’s the big one.. Yesterday when I went to my physical therapy session, I was fitted with a wrist orthopedic device which, while I sleep, forces my wrist to bend further than I can do it on my own. It weighs about two pounds and reminds me of the below robotic-exoskeleton.

I’m glad we sleep in a king-sized bed because I could do serious damage if I whacked John with my “robotic” arm.

I found this sci-fi example of a robotic-exoskeleton. I’m sure mine was made by the same company as the one in the sci-fi photo.

Robotic-Exoskeleton

Comments off

Slow improvement

I can see some minor improvement to my wrist. Nothing major and I know I must keep working.

I found a video on “You Tube” which showed a young man with a similar wrist break. He documented his struggle to recovery.

‘You-tube’ broken wrist video.

It took him 2 1/2 years! My therapist says she thinks I’ll do much better. We are aiming for my complete recovery.

Today Trisha (my therapist) said she thinks I’ll do better without my splint. What a relief to be rid of it! I may be able to use a high tech one which will force my wrist to be able to tip backward as I sleep since that’s a flexibility I totally lack.

Comments off

Worse/Slower than Anticipated

I’ve been struggling every day to make progress with my physical therapy. So far I’ve had five PT sessions… each progressively more intense.

I’ve usually been a star pupil in any class I’ve attended and thought my progress this time would be equally simple but my age is working against me.

I struggle. My wrist seems to be locked in a rigid position. Although I try everything to make it more flexible, it’s not working. My fingers are loosening up but my wrist is a disappointment to Trisha (my therapist) and to me.

I see improvement with my fingers. Maybe it’s unreasonable to think that I’ll regain flexibility in a week.

Comments off

Progress

Spent yesterday morning in the hospital and in afternoon I was in physical therapy from 2-4. It’s going to be a long haul. The doctor said, “You had a BAD break! two plates, 16 screws, and 20 stitches!!! I’ll be in PT three times a week (an hour daily) until we leave for Florida in October. I now have a “removable splint” so I can shower! Absolutely no lifting with my right hand but I can type and do “light” things. The internal plates are huge. I like my PT therapist but I know I have a huge uphill climb. Since I have practically no range of motion I have a long way to go. My fingers and wrist flexibility is non-existent. The worst part of the day was having the stitches removed. One was buried and I admit I cried and begged her to stop. Today I’ll be back in PT at 10 am.

Comments off

It takes two … (hands)

I have new understanding for those who have only one hand. Some things are especially difficult with only my left hand. (I’m right handed.)
Here are some of the efforts I’ve found most challenging:

zipping zippers and buttoning buttons on tight-fitting pants
tooth brushing
using scissors
putting on deodorant under left arm
cutting anything on my plate
hanging up a big neck top on a hanger
opening any bottles but especially those with child-proof caps
curling my hair with a curling iron
putting on eye make-up
using a pepper grinder
going down (or up stairs) with a right hand rail (especially since I’m shaky with poor balance due to no inner ear)
doing even a partial mani/pedi (toenails and/or fingernails)
sweeping with a broom
opening a yogurt container
getting the yogurt out of a 6 oz. container

Some things are getting easier in part because I’m cheating and using my right more than I should.

The only solution I’ve found is having a sweet, helpful husband. Thank you, John!!

Comments off

Surgery and Post Surgery

It’s been HELL! The first few days were hard to bear. I suffered.

After the first week the pain has been much less. I’m very limited in what I have been able to do but August 5th I see the surgeon again. Hopefully he will let me start doing more. I miss being able to shower. I have a tough time eating and brushing my teeth. Sleep is tough.

My hair has looked awful (John helped me wash it twice) but I need help styling it.

I’ll be sooo glad when I’m back to normal. I wouldn’t even complain about housework, if I could do it!!

Comments off

What a Lousy Week

We look forward from year to year to the Original Dulcimer Players Club Funfest. It’s the highlight of our summer. Friends, food, a wonderful music make it a perfect event and since I’ve been in charge of workshops for 19 years, it’s very rewarding.

But this week, which started Wednesday, July 9th, soon went downhill. We discovered a slew of blown fuses in our trailer. When the electrical problems were resolved it was too late for a shower. A sponge-bath had to do.

I left my 2011 Droid Charge Android smartphone charging over night Wednesday, and when I woke up Thursday the screen was totally white and blank. Nothing would start it up. I’ve been aware it was dying and even though it gradually came back to a screen which was readable, I realized it had to be replaced so I headed to eBay.

I weighed my options: should I buy another Droid Charge or go with a more up-to-date model?

The price difference was huge so I bought a brand new (never used at all) Droid for $83.88 with shipping (would have been close to $500 for a new model). I ordered it on July 10th and by the 12th I had it.

But my cellphone problems weren’t the worst problem I had to deal with. Friday morning (July 11th) I tripped while taking a step backward in front of our trailer door. It happened fast but apparently I put my right hand down to break my fall and avoid landing on the metal steps. Instead I badly broke my right wrist. I went first to a small clinic. They directed me to the E.R. at the Reed City Hospital. Yup, it was broken — both wrist bones in my right wrist and there’s a fragment broken off and floating around. The PA said it will need surgery. (I did it good!)

By the time we got back to the campsite the physician’s office was closed. We had to wait until Monday to call the surgeon but conversations with two physician friends assured me that the surgery could be done up to 10 days from the accident with no adverse results.

I reached Dr. Taha’s scheduler Monday the 14th. He’s located in Saginaw (Kochville Township). First available appointment was 2:00 Wednesday the 16th. When I met him, I was pleased with his attitude. A young doctor, easy to understand and follow.

He was sure I’d like get it over so suggested that I have it Thursday, the 17th. I’d stay over-night and be able to head back to the fairgrounds Friday afternoon. I’d be out-of-it for several days. I explained that this is an important week for us and had hoped for a Monday surgery. He agreed and assured me it wouldn’t matter with the out-come so it’ll be Monday the 21st.

We returned to the festival Wednesday at 6:00 in time for the reception I host each year. There were jams under the canopy each night. We weren’t as lively as usual but had a decent time and the music was great.

Last night we went to the stage show. It was totally impressive.

A crew of workers showed up this morning and helped us pack up the rest area. We got home a little after 2:00. We’re exhausted.

The surgery is scheduled for 8:00 am but we must be at St. Mary’s by 5:30. We’ll leave home at 5:00 so must be up by 4:30!!

I’ll be glad to be able to use my right hand again.

Comments off

Warnings for Senior Citizens

Here are some warnings for my senior friends.. These are things we’ve recently experienced first-hand.

John just got a call on his cellphone. (His number is in a Florida area code which is known to have a high percent of senior citizens). The voice was very foreign sounding. He said our “Windows” program needed work and he’d like to fix it by connecting his server to our computer so he could repair our Windows (the computer program, not the windows in our home). This was obviously a scam to get into our computer and hijack what’s on the computer. And maybe he would have even asked for credit card numbers as an extra bonus. (The call never got that far along.)

If you have a computer problem and you deal with your computer’s manufacturer, they will sometimes have a technician access what’s on your computer to fix a problem. And I understand the “Geek Squad” from Best Buy sometimes uses this method to get things working. But don’t ever believe someone who calls you and tells you there is something wrong with your computer if you haven’t instigated the request. There’s no way they’d know if you have a computer problem. You’ll have lots more problems if you let them into your computer.

There are other ways seniors are targeted. It’s obvious the perpetrators think we’re easy to fool.

Example: Every couple of weeks we have a company call and say they will provide a free emergency monitoring service at no cost to us. (What they will do is turn it into Medicare.) But why? If you need the service… fine. But you should talk with your physician, not some sales person who approaches you in a random phone call. In fact, we’ve had them call and say the equipment has already been ordered and they’re ready to deliver it. All they need is to have us sign the form and they’ll deliver the order.

Be aware that someone will pay!!! That sort of scam contributes to the sky high costs of healthcare.
Lik

Comments off

Changing the classified ad site

I provide a free classified ad service to the music community at http://dulcimers.biz/classifieds for those who want to sell their used instruments. It was kinda pricey to get it set up but I felt good doing it for musicians. I make it very clear that ads for non-musical items will not be allowed. (I approve each ad before it goes “public.”)

It’s been an easy procedure for sellers. They would register so they had a password (which would be sent to their email). With that password, they could get into the submission area where they could submit their ad. It was a quick procedure and I didn’t get involved until their ad was ready to be approved. Unlike most other classified ad services, I don’t charge any fee for this service.

This morning I was surprised to find 70-100 ads waiting for approval. They were all for male baldness remedies, weight loss, male enhancement, skin beautification products, etc. Obviously I won’t “approve” those ads so no one but me could see them. (Only I was bothered.) I would delete a dozen but more would appear. Going in and getting rid of those submissions takes time. I felt used!! And the same advertiser could keep going back and doing it again. I don’t think they even bothered to see if their ad was visible.

I’ve been trying to find a way to automatically stop these junk ads so I won’t have to keep returning to the site. I finally decided that I’ll now require that folks who haven’t advertised before must submit an email to me telling we what they’ll be selling. No longer will they be able to self-register. I’ll need to register them prior to them being able to go to the “create an ad area.” (Yes, it’s an extra job for me but generally only two or three people a week submit ads which is better than 70 returns to the website.) I’ll still need to approve their ads once they submit them but I don’t mind if they are legitimately interested in selling musical instruments.

And if someone who is registered posts a non-music item, I’ll delete their whole registration. That way, they’ll have to have me re-register them before they’ll be able to post an another ad.

So if you have previously used the classified ad area to sell instruments. You can use your old password and it won’t be any different for you. If you’re new to the site, just send me the email address you want to use (and a user name). I’ll register you, and you can submit your ad.

Comments off

Great friends!

This past weekend we got together with a group of Florida friends (who have condos in our Florida paradise community, Kings Point). This group also lives at least part time in Michigan.

On Friday, we gathered at the homes of Caroline & Stephen Cooper and Richard & Shelly Brooks in White Lake, Michigan. The Coopers and Brooks have lovely homes on Cedar Island Lake. We gather annually around the Fourth of July. This was our fourth year!

We arrived on Friday about 1:00. (Fireworks were scheduled earlier than usual.) First stop was Cooper’s for really great lunch. We had lots of liquid refreshments, went swimming/floating/soaking, lounging, sun bathing, and playing games. It was all fun. Oh, and we talked and talked and talked!!

The crowd consisted of Sharon & Dave, Sherry, Diana, Deb, Cindy & Mike, Valerie, Caroline & Stephen, Richard & Shelly, Linda (who came from Florida for the weekend) and John & me. Fifteen friends who were a perfect fit. Considerate, reliable, caring, fun folks!

That first evening (Friday), we convened at the Brooks’ house for dinner, a pontoon ride, and then the remarkable fireworks. After the fireworks finished, we were too. We crashed and slept like logs.

Saturday, our breakfast at the Coopers was excellent. More all-day relaxing. Not as much sun, but lovely temperatures.

The guys did some kayaking. We relaxed and played games. By late afternoon we’d ordered restaurant prepared broasted chicken added to left overs from Friday. An evening boat ride was fun for all of us who remained. We finished off the night with a campfire and ‘smores.

Sunday morning we had breakfast prepared by Shelly and Cindy. We headed home soon after eating and after lots of hugs and affectionate good-byes. We are now back at our Michigan home. We’re pooped but wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Thanks, Caroline & Stephen and Shelly & Richard. Love you all!! And Linda, thanks for making the trip. It was even more fun with you with us.

Comments off

Cute!

Officer approaches driver’s side of car:

Officer: Ma’am what’s in the bottle?

Driver: Just some water.

Officer: Ma’am that’s wine…

Driver: Jesus did it again!!!

Comments off

eBay purchase

I love to wear floaty or dramatic items. I just bought a cute top on eBay that’ll hide my figure flaws. It was a tad more expensive that I usually spend but I’m sure I’ll enjoy wearing it. We will be headed to White Lake this weekend to spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday with friends. Maybe I’ll bring this as a “fireworks watching” top with white capris or maybe I’ll save it. I definitely will have it for Evart, our big dulcimer festival in a couple of weeks. And I’m always looking for stuff to wear to Florida parties. This top will be a great addition.

Comments off

I highly recommend

A friend mentioned that she’d found an excellent spray for stainless appliances. Since we have a brand new LG stainless refrigerator, a heavily spotted stainless dishwasher, a stainless range, and matching microwave, we really need something that works. So I took note of her suggestion.

John found it at Sam’s Club for about $6 for TWO 15-ounce cans. We tried it and it’s even better than she’d said. I heartily recommend it!

It’s called SprayWay Stainless Cleaner/Polish.

One of the cans is already in our “take-to-Florida” staging area since we have a very visible stainless Samsung Refrigerator down there and want to get a range and dishwasher in stainless. I love how they look, but hate fingerprints and smudges.

Comments off

My walk wasn’t fun!

This morning, while it was sunny, I thought I’d take a nice walk around our little lake. It’s about 1 1/2 miles around it in a lovely residential area.

The neighborhood consists of about 80 homes on both sides of a street that circles Lake Cecil. We’re on the lake side with about 150 feet of lake frontage.

I started out at a brisk pace. It was pleasant and quiet except for the occasional lawn mower or weed wacker. But a little past the halfway point I developed a back spasm. It was excruciating. I kept thinking “It’s not much further. Just keep going.”

So I did. Step by step I made progress. Yes, I could have called John and I seriously considered it. But, with numerous stops to stretch and flex I finally made it. I barely dragged myself up our driveway and crouched almost in tears until I could navigate the step into the house. It reallllllly hurt!

After I’d had a chance to sit comfortably, I was fine. The spasm ended and I’m now completely comfortable but it’s not something I want to repeat soon.

You can see a picture I took from directly across the lake from our house. It’s hard to see our place because of the trees, but we’re right in the middle with a spruce marking the edges of our property. The roof is a reddish brown which really blends with the surroundings.

Can’t complain about our view either in Michigan or in Florida. Guess we’re spoiled.

Comments off

When we head back to Florida

Yesterday I booked the motel in Sweetwater, TN, for our return trip to Florida. I know it’s early but I always try to book asap because prices sometimes raise. If they drop, I can always change my reservation, if they go up, we get the price we secured when we booked it.

When I mentioned ro John that I’d locked in a room, I could tell he wasn’t pleased. He loves it here and I sometimes feel he goes along with our Florida time just to keep me happy.

This morning I mentioned to him that I realized he didn’t sound eager and I don’t like to feel that I’m pushing him to do something he doesn’t enjoy.

He fessed up. He said he doesn’t mind our time in Florida, it’s the preparation and packing that he detests. Maybe there’s a way I can make it easier for him. If we can eliminate some of the stuff we drag back and forth, it’ll help. And if I pull together stuff beforehand, it won’t seem like there’s so much to do before leaving. I already have a box where I’m putting stuff we will take with us. The pile will gradually grow but if it’s already in a bin or a box, it will simplify the October work.

I must admit that this summer I’m personally having a better time in Michigan than I have in the past years. We’ve discovered music on Tuesday nights at the Evergreen (a night spot not far from here.) It’s always pleasantly crowded with folks our age. We’ve gotten to know a nice couple and look forward to setting with them and dancing to the music of the Dixie Highway Band. (Our friends always save a spot for us.) Because of a commitment for a family gathering on the 8th of July, we’ll miss that week, and then we’ll be gone the following Tuesday because we’ll be at the Evart dulcimer festival. Therefore we’ll miss TWO Tuesday’s at the Evergreen. At least we can tell Ron and Wilma (our new friends) that they shouldn’t expect us those weeks. (Hope they won’t give our seats away.)

We might also miss a week toward the end of August when we visit our place in the U.P. (Come to think of it, we can leave on Wednesday and come back on Monday so we don’t miss an opportunity to go dancing.)

When we return to Florida, we’ll plan to be back for an Oldies but Goodies dance on Sunday, October 12th. And we’ll make it in time for the Michigan Club Welcome Back Party.

For the 2014-15 season, we have lots of fun Michigan Club events to anticipate:

OCTOBER 23 Welcome Back Party
NOVEMBER 18 Organizational Meeting
DECEMBER 18 Christmas Party
JANUARY 17 SnoBall Dinner Dance
FEBRUARY 23 Pizza Party
MARCH 17 St. Patrick’s Dinner Dance
APRIL 9 Appreciation Dinner
MAY 2 Kentucky Derby Party

Life is good and we really know how to live it!

Comments off

Stuff that’s here that I wish was there

We bought a new stainless French door LG refrigerator last month. We were replacing a fairly new GE Profile ‘fridge which we hated because it was poorly built, was noisy when it ran, and it didn’t have front door ice and water.

The stainless French door one we have in Florida is a Samsung and it’s almost as nice as our new LG, so I’m happy both places. The Florida Samsung may be a little larger, but we got one for here what would fit in the space we have.

There are other appliances I wish we could take back and forth with us.

The GE stainless Profile dishwasher we have here is really quiet and cleans dishes perfectly. The one in Florida needs to be replaced. It’s noisy and doesn’t match our refrigerator nor microwave. I wish I could clone the one here. It even has a dispenser for detergent so it uses just the right amount. And the dish racks are very user-friendly.

Our GE gas range here has two ovens. Really super! We don’t have access to gas in Florida so I can’t fairly compare the two, but I do wish we had a newer stainless fronted range in Florida instead if the black glass top one we have there. (Glass top would be fine, but a self-cleaning oven would be a great improvement over whaat we use there.)

In 2011 our 40-year-old washer and drier died here in Michigan. We replaced it with a Whirlpool HE washer and a drier with a drop down door. If you drop a clean item, it’s usually when you’re loading or unloading the drier. Our machine’s drop down door catches those items so they never hit the floor. It’s fast and signals when the load is dry. It weighs the clothes and adds just the right amount of water.

The 2011 washer we bought for here in Michigan is a top-load High Energy low water machine. It is great! I heard too many negative comments from friends who had purchased front-load machines about moldy smell problems and even saw a special on how to leave your washer door open and clean the gasket or you’ll have mold problems (and I’m allergic to mold). This top load is easier than bending over, uses low water and cleans flawlessly. Can’t imagine a washer I’d like better AND it was lots less expensive than the front-loads we looked at.

If we have to replace our Florida washer and drier (and it may happen because it’s an old set), I’d duplicate our Michigan pair. I would’t even have to go shopping. I’d just contact an appliance store and ask for the Whirlpool model we have.

We have the advantage of having two chances to get it right.

Comments off

My Father’s Day thought

I was just thinking about my dad, Curtis Layman, who died in 1985.

He was a Design Engineer at Dow Chemical, and, he was instrumental creating the process by which Saran Wrap was made. He held patents for some of the Saran Wrap design elements. (He even went to Japan as a problem solver when Dow was preparing to open a Saran manufacturing facility there.) He was obviously a very intelligent man but he had only gone through the EIGHTH grade. As an adult, he never stopped learning, read constantly, and was always taking adult education college classes.

1960 was the last year the state of Michigan allowed adults to be tested for a high school diploma (not a GED). He took a long series of tests and was successful earning his high school diploma. He graduated from Midland High School a few months before I did.

Comments off

I am nearly ready

I'm the workshop chairman (a role I've filled for 19 years). I'll have the workshop program finalized and ready for the printer within the next few days. Actually I have the program completed now, but I'm waiting to see if I can include the Youth Workshop Schedule on the backside. If I don't have the Youth Schedule by Saturday, I'll finish up the program without it. It should work ok either way. It's always a gigantic chore but for some dumb reason, I like the challenge. I keep thinking that maybe at 72, my mind won't be able to cope with the organizational responsibilities that go along with the scheduling of 220+ hours of classes over three days but I feel that I've done a good job this year, so I don't need to apologize yet.

Comments off

Hot water left, Cold water right… Right?

When we’re in Florida, we never drink water directly from the faucet. The pipes are all above ground and run through the garage area and attic so they can get very warm. It’s definitely too warm to drink (sometimes almost HOT), so we get drinking water out of the chilled water on the front of the refrigerator.

Here in Michigan, water is quite cool from the faucet and in fact, if you turn on the cold and let it run, it gets really icy (since water lines run deep underground.)

When I want to wash my hands and I’m in Florida, it works well to turn it to the cold side. The water comes out warm. Perfect! But if we do the same thing here in Michigan, the cold water is dern chilly and just gets colder as it runs.

No problem, you say. When hand washing, just turn on the cold water in Florida and the warm when in Michigan. Unfortunately that’s one of those things you “do without thinking.” We’ve been home for over a month and I still haven’t learned. By October, when we head back, I’ll probably finally have drilled it into my head. But guess what? By the we’ll be back in Florida, I’ll need to re-train my brain (hopefully before we go back north).

It’s those “do it without thinking” things that drive me crazy. Here in Michigan, the garage door opener is controlled from a button near the rear view mirror. In Florida it from an opener in the console area. The waste paper under the sink is on the right here and the left in Florida. The TV channels are, of course all switched but I often try to use the numbers from Florida even though we’re here in Michigan.

Toilet paper is to the left in Florida, the right here. (When I get up in the dark, I often reach for it on the wrong side.) Light switches seem to be in the wrong locations no matter where I am.

We do sleep on the same side of the bed in relation to the headboard. I’m on the right (when looking from the foot to the head of the bed), John’s on the left. But when we first get back (to Florida or to Michigan), I find myself lost when I first get out of bed.

I’m guess I’m hard to re-train.

Comments off

He said I had no aptitude

In the early days of computers (the early 1980’s), I took a class on computer skills.

It was a snap for me (and in fact the instructor seemed to know less than I had learned on my own). I’ll admit, I probably didn’t stay very attentive because I was way past that level. Near the end of the class, the instructor told me (in front of the class) that I may as well leave. He said, “I’m now going to go into more advanced stuff and since you have absolutely no aptitude for computers you don’t need to waste your time.”

I wonder what he’d think if he realized I developed the first website for the hospital where I worked (the second hospital website in Michigan), and computers were the foundation for my job the rest of my working career.

With no formal training/education, I wrote programs to schedule the nursing staff, implemented and installed the hardware for a scheduling program so there was coordinated between outpatient and inpatient surgical suites. The hospital considered me the “most knowledgeable” when it came to computers, so I became the hospital “strategic planner,” a role where I used advanced programs to determine the future of the hospital and the major purchases of equipment and services.

After retirement, I continued to develop and maintained dozens of my own websites (and even do it professionally).

How different my life would have been if I’d accepted his proclamation that I’d never be able to use computers.

We all need to exceed the limitations others set for us.

Comments off

Finally!

When John and I arrived in Michigan a month ago, we were both really sick. We were really out-of-it for several weeks and only recently could I say I really feel well. (I’m back to normal now after nearly five weeks of sickness and John’s doing better too.)

As soon as I felt up to it, I started organizing the hundreds of workshops which had been submitted for the ODPC Funfest, where I’ve been workshop chairman for nearly 20 years! (This is my 19th year as chairman and there was one year when I was the apprentice.)

Workshops have grown to a huge program. This year is typical of the last ten years or more under my direction. We’ll have classes going at the festival from 9-5 Thursday, Friday and Saturday in nine areas. The classes are instructed by some of the world’s best musicians. None are paid. It’s a labor of love. You can see the grids as they’ll be offered at the festival here: http://dulcimers.com/workshops/threedailygrids2014.pdf

My excellent proof-reader works with me to make sure that the multi-page program is accurate.

But right now, I’m feeling I have it sorta under control. Yes, I still need to format the pages and get them to the printer on June 23rd, but I’m nearly there.

So today I did something I haven’t done since we got back to Michigan, I dusted the dining room. I organized some rooms, and made it look a little less cluttered. I still have a long-way to go, but I see a light (thought faint) at the end of the tunnel.

Comments off

Keeping your tooth brush clean

Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona is also know as Dr. Germs. Over the last three decades, he’s written some 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals on infection and disinfection.

Dr. Gerba has also studied germ counts in the house, and by doing so, discovered the right way to flush the toilet. You should flush with the lid down.

If you flush with the lid up, a polluted plume of bacteria and water vapor erupts out of the flushing toilet bowl. The polluted water particles float for a few hours around your bathroom before they all land. If your sink is anywhere near your toilet, chances are some of these particles will land on your tooth brush.

In addition to the simple solution of putting the toilet lid down, I found another way to protect your toothbrush.

Dollar Tree sells four plastic tooth brush covers for $1. They call them “travel covers” but we use them all the time. Each of the four is a different color (identifying the brush as “yours”). Not only does it keep splashes off your brush, but also dust and other undesirable air-borne particles. It has ventilation holes so the brush will dry. And, unlike the old toothbrush covers which covered the whole brush including the handle, these plastic covers (hinged in such a way that the brush is enclosed without the possibility of losing the “lid.”)

I bought the package of four and gave one to John who didn’t see the need, but I notice he’s now using it all the time.

Another nice feature of these covers is that, when you travel, your brush can be packed without contamination or getting stuff in your travel bag wet after you’ve used your brush.

Comments off

Mesmerized by Water

Today I sat at our great room window staring out. The constant movement of the lake surface is so enticing. I have the same feeling in Florida, but our Florida condo isn’t as close to the water edge as it it here. Down there the birds and wild life make it entertaining. I can watch their activity by the hour. Here it’s the ripples and waves.

Our Michigan lake is tiny (26 acres), and there are no boats (except quiet canoes, kayaks, sail or paddle boats.)

Today a group of residents worked on clearing, mowing, and cleaning up the island directly across from us. I’m sure the many geese that make the island their home, were disturbed, but geese are awful pests!

Our view here faces south so we never enjoy sunsets nor sunrises, but I do love the water ripples.

In Florida, I miss those ripples, but the active birds (and occasional ‘gator) give me lots to watch and especially in October-December, the sunsets are unbelievable!

Comments off

Two Steps Closer

My ultimate plan is to be able to head to Florida without packing more than the clothes and shoes we have enjoyed wearing, my electronics (computer stuff and cameras) and a few miscellaneous items, plus our Charlie bird. (One year I tried leaving all of my clothing in Florida but had nothing to wear over the summer so now I bring back about half of my Florida wardrobe to take care of my summer needs when added to the stuff I leave in Michigan.)

The stuff we drag back and forth more than fills our vehicle so I want to pare the list down. This winter I found another printer and today we got a kitchen scale: two things we don’t need to share between locations. It’ll take some thought and preparation I hope to get to my plan/goal.

At this time, it’s hard to leave behind everything in Michigan or Florida, but I predict that within the next five years, it’ll be easier. Here are my predictions:

We currently drag a box and a file box of paper items back and forth. We need to be able to do our income taxes so those items seem necessary. But I have a feeling scanning items or using on line access will eliminate that need. I’m going to watch very closely when we do our taxes for 2014 because I don’t think I used anything in 2013 that I couldn’t research on line.

I bring my computer and my back-up drive. I am sure that eventually I will use “the cloud” rather than a physical drive. I think a computer “shell” will be fairly cheap and having two wouldn’t be out of the question. Or if that doesn’t happen, at least I won’t need a back-up drive.

I am already starting to think in terms of scanning papers I feel I must have with me. (I bring a shoe box with all of the programs I use and the restore information as papers, but maybe at some point, I will use only programs that can be backed up to “the cloud” and the papers will be scanned.)

Musical instruments? Over the summer, I’m going to try to use my “back-up” autoharp more. If I find I can use it, I’ll take my “good one” to Florida and leave it there. John could get used to one of our “other dulcimers.” If he did that, he wouldn’t need to drag a dulcimer back and forth. I haven’t solved the banjo, ukulele nor saxophone problem, but we’ll see.

Little by little I hope to accomplish my ultimate goal.

Comments off

New Refrigerator!

As I mentioned May 7th, our refrigerator had died when we returned from Florida. It smelled awful and we decided it wasn’t worth being repaired. Thursday and Friday we shopped. Found a near perfect LG French door with water in the door, and all the bells and whistles. (It’s stainless to match our other kitchen appliances.)

It was delivered yesterday. Nice not to have to go to the basement refrigerator for stuff. And I missed having easy access to ice and cold water!

I feel like I’m sorta catching up on the jobs I need to do. I finished the website design I needed to update. The workshop schedule is done to the point that I’m asking the leaders to look it over.

Yesterday and today I cleaned and did laundry. I’m feeling better.

Still a lot undone, but life is good!

Comments off

Get Off My Butt

Our life in Florida is total relaxation. Occasionally I’ll scrub a floor or dust, but for the most part, the place is really easy to take care of.

The house here in Saginaw is large, older, and much more cluttered. We need to de-clutter and get rid of 3/4’s of the stuff. The basement is a no-man’s land and the second floor has way to much stuff, especially on the balcony. My closets are a mess and the hot tub room has become a place to put stuff until we can find another place to hide it.

We had all winter to build my good intentions but now that I’m here, I have lots demanding my time.

The two biggest projects calling to me are the ODPC workshops which I MUST get organized and I need to get Dee Dee Tibbit’s website updated.

John keeps saying I need to get off my butt, but he doesn’t realize that those two projects require that I be on my backside.

I plan to do what I can and let the rest go. Don’t have a choice. It’s not worth fretting over!

Comments off

Michigan’s winter of 2013-14 was tough on old folks

We belong to but aren’t active members of Moose Lodge 82 in Saginaw.

Over the years we’ve stopped in almost weekly to enjoy their wonderful fish dinners – the very best we’ve found any place.

Since we’ve been members for more than 20 years, we’ve met a few folks. Roger Day, a long-time member, had been a friend since the 1980’s. We knew him and his wife, Joyce, better than any other Moose members. Joyce passed away about eight years ago. We always looked forward to seeing Roger and visiting with him. He was a fixture at the Lodge. Before we left last October, I even asked Roger to dance with me. He was a lonely teddy bear.

We met another couple last spring: Sim Clark, and his girlfriend, Eleanor. Last August, we were invited to Sim’s 90th birthday bash. They loved to dance and could out-last any couple on the dance floor. Sweet people.

We had dinner at the lodge tonight. Sadly we found out that our friend, Roger, had died in March, 2014. Eleanor had died suddenly in December, 2013. They were older than us by nearly a generation, but we still felt that they were friends and part of our Michigan life.

It’s very apparent that Michigan’s winter was hard on old folks.

I’m sad. We will feel the loss whenever we go to the Moose.

Comments off

Stinky

When I opened the door to our Michigan house I was hit with an unpleasant smell. John, with his cold, couldn’t smell it, but I thought we had a dead mouse somewhere.

We started setting in. Except for a few dead flies and lots of dust, but place looked fine.

Then we opened the refrigerator. The smell hit me! Neither the refrigerator nor freezer was cooling. It was 65 degrees in both the fridge and the freezer, and had been that way for heaven only knows how long. Everything had to be tossed out. It wasn’t over-full but there was stuff including some frozen meat. And the smell was awful!

It wasn’t an old ugly refrigerator. It was a stainless GE French door that we bought about seven years ago but I guess units aren’t constructed to last even that long.

We tossed three big pails full of rotten smelly food then closed it up so we didn’t have to smell more and went to work moving back in.

Thank heavens we have an old side-by-side refrigerator in the basement. It hadn’t been used for several years, but after cleaning it up and giving it time to cool, it works fine. (We’d gotten rid of it when we replaced it with the GE stainless French door.) We probably won’t bother to have our kitchen refrigerator repaired. Instead we will get a new, top-of-the-line stainless French door, but until then, we’ll use the one in the basement and feel good that we don’t have to rush to buy a replacement.

Comments off

We Left Florida Sunday (5/4/14)

Our last event of the 2013-14 season in Kings Point, FL, was a nice Kentucky Derby party (on Saturday). It was fun to see friends and wish them well until we’re together again.

A few of our best friends missed the party because they were sick. John and I weren’t well, but we managed and had a decent time.

Sunday morning we left Florida at about 8:30 a.m. for our nearly 1,300 mile trip back home to Michigan.

The Sunday ride was fairly uneventful.

The love bugs weren’t as bad as last year. We did run into a swarm of them south of the Florida/Georgia border but they didn’t block our view as they’d done in 2013.

It was actually a pretty drive in the southern part of Georgia. Along the I-75 right-of-way, the beautiful, colorful wildflowers were truly awesome!

Only traffic problems Sunday occurred when going through Atlanta because the Braves had a home game which created extra traffic as we passed by the stadium. With both of us suffering from colds, we were not feeling very peppy and it was hard to tolerate the extra pressure of the heavy traffic.

Our evening stop was in Marietta, GA, at the Quality Inn. It was a perfect motel stop. The desk worker was very friendly, we got a nice, large room. They even gave us a fruit basket when we registered. Dinner was just a Subway chicken teriyaki sandwich eaten in our room but it was plenty and with a half can of beer, we enjoyed relaxing. The shower had a lot of pressure so we both loved it. Slept well. Our morning breakfast was excellent; complete with a selection of fruit, sweet rolls, hot or cold cereals, biscuits and gravy, fresh-made waffles (baked while you waited), scrambled eggs, sausage, yogurt, coffee, and juices. Everything was tasty and we left feeling more than satisfied.

Monday we were nearly creamed when a car in the center lane of three lanes, decided to move left into our lane when we were right beside him. That other driver never looked. We were parallel to him when he pulled over. Thank heavens the shoulder was wide and smooth so John was able to avoid being struck. We were shook! The two vehicles were inches apart. (In fact, I expected to hear the impact.) John really saved us!

Monday afternoon’s traffic was bad going through Cincinnati, but some years it’s been even worse. We were in stop and go traffic for about 20 miles.

Quality Inn was our stop Monday night in Miamisburg. We’ve stayed there several times and always enjoyed. This time nothing seemed to go right. The room was tiny, we’d ordered two queens but ended up with a king-size bed, not enough pillows, no clock, the single chair looked like it had been barfed on, the bed was rock-hard. John asked to be moved. We ended up with a much nicer room. Even the new room was not without problems. The remote didn’t work with the TV but we got by using the controls on the TV itself.

By bedtime, we were both grumpy. The pizza we got for dinner helped, but we were both worn out!

Breakfast was ok. Not great! (No eggs nor sausage so, except for the yogurt, we didn’t have any protein at all.) From Miamisburg, we drove almost straight through.

We’re now in Michigan. It’s early afternoon. We still have about 100 miles to go, but we should get to our house early enough to be able to unload what is necessary before it’s dark.

While riding, I have been staying in touch with friends who are still in Florida. Guess it’s been nice temps, but the love bugs are out in force. Can’t say I miss the critters.

We’ll have a quiet summer. At least this year we have few a activities on our calendar and our favorite dance band will be playing on Tuesday nights.

For the next month, I’m going to be busy getting the ODPC workshops scheduled. That’ll keep me really busy.

Hope our place is ok when we get home. It’s been seven months and no one has checked on it for us. At least with out new security system, we’re fairly certain no one entered.

Comments off

Unlimited text, talk and internet

Please please be cautious before falling for the Walmart sales pitch that the “Straight Talk” cell phone plan is unlimited and will provide you with all the access you need. You may find it will work for you, but before you buy into it, become very familiar with T-Mobile in your area. (T-Mobile’s ability to provide acceptable service varies from area to area.)

T-Mobile leases excess service from providers that have towers (especially Verizon). In our areas of Florida or Michigan, T-Mobile has no towers of their own. Unfortunately, in our area with Verizon being increasingly popular, there is nothing left-over for T-Mobile customers.

I don’t subscribe to Straight Talk, so how do I know there is a problem?

The Simplisafe system we use for our home security uses T-Mobile for their wireless connection. We had problems because calls wouldn’t go out from our base unit to the monitoring center. After talking with Simplisafe at length, they admitted that T-Mobile can’t provide appropriate service. Simplisafe is now providing the ability to use Verizon direct (replacing T-Mobile). As a result, it’s working much better.

I also questioned a Walmark employee who admitted that “unlimited” isn’t doesn’t accurately describe Straight Talk. It’s unlimited in that T-Mobile won’t cut you off, but Verizon doesn’t give T-Mobile customers the type of service they provide to their directly subscribed Verizon customers. When the system is busy Verizon slows down the T-Mobile users to a snail’s pace. It can take 15 minutes to get connected only to find you can’t load websites, nor email messages.

There may be some areas of the country where the arrangement works for the Straight Talk customers, but check it out carefully. It may work some of the time, but not all. Yes, it’s a low cost service. If you can live with part-time connections, and you want to risk it, at least you’ve been warned.

Comments off

Why a May cold?

In May, 2012, I had a horrid cold that started while we were heading back to Michigan and continued until the end of June. I finally went to the doctor and it was determined I had pneumonia.

Yesterday we attended a fun pool party with our friends hosted by the Enge’s. We had a great time, but I was a little under the weather and by today, it was truly obvious that I have a cold. It hasn’t knocked me out completely, but I’m stuffy with a cough (constant tickle). I hate feeling yucky.

I need to finish packing. Friday and yesterday made a big dent in the organization of the stuff that needs to be hauled back. As usual, I’m taking back more than I had planned. At this point, I know what needs to be done and I’m ready. I could leave in a couple hours. I’ll still do a load or two of laundry and some surface cleaning. I’ll re-scan all the closets and dressers just in case I’ve left something important behind, but the packing lists and to-do’s are getting shorter.

Today it was nearly 90, so I decided to stay inside. With my stuffy nose, the extra humidity wouldn’t help me feel better.

Surprisingly, after a good dinner, and a couple glasses of John’s wine, I’m feeling MUCH better. John says we could sell his wine as a cure for the commmon cold, but sadly there’s little left.

Comments off

« Previous entries
Click here to go to the Skaryd's Biography and a link for emailing.