Log in

No account? Create an account
Charlie's Strange and Happy World
...one page at a time
Marilyn put in a bad night. She's been feeling under the weather recently and seemed to be running a fever. She was bad enough to stay home, which is certainly rare for her.

I put in a rough night, too. I'm not sure why, but the last couple of nights my postherpetic neuralgia has been very painful and hot to the touch. I've been sitting up with ice packs, so I haven't been sleeping well.

With Marilyn home, I ended up canceling Mikki (our housekeeper) for today. (She's going to come Thursday, instead.)

I had my hair appointment at noon. So I grabbed Uber and headed over. I didn't care for my driver, which only rarely happens. I ended up giving him four stars and a lower tip, which I almost never do. I know five stars is very important to drivers. My ranking is equally important to me (5.00⭐️). But he still got chocolate from me anyway.

He did a poor job of dropping me off, by the way. The street in front of Kathy's (my hairdresser) is narrow. He didn't pull over, so he blocked the street, and dropped me off in front of another house. As he drove off this car he'd been blocking opened their window and cursed me out, loudly. 'Fuck you!' she screamed repeatedly. And so on, as I headed back to Kathy's. Unpleasant.

I waited while Kathy finished up with her current client. She has a lovely deck in back, so it was nice there. I was still early -- I always go early to be sure Uber gets me places on time.

I told Kathy all about putting down Colin and Henry. She was so supportive in advance that she was one of the people who encouraged us to use the 'in our home' service.

Interesting aside: Late last night (around 10:00) I went out to get the mail and there was a card. The return address was our vet! It was sent by our most recent vet (Jennifer), who took care of Henry the last time I was in. It was a sympathy card for both boys. A lovely gesture, but how did she know?

Well, when you do the online sign up for the in-home service, it does ask about your current vet. I'm guessing they contacted them, as we didn't. We've had many people give us cards and send us messages about the cats. (I have the cards up on the mantle in the living room.) And one friend -- Amy -- did a donation to the Humane Society on behalf of Colin and Henry (from her and her family) for both Marilyn and me. That's where we got BOTH cats as kittens.


I kept crossing my legs during my haircut. Kathy had to keep reminding me to uncross. I was just in so much pain. She got me a blanket to lean on.

Glad to get my cut. And because I was early, Kathy was kind enough to drive me home!

Marilyn has been checking my back all day. We both wonder why it's such terrible pain right now... I'm not sure what Marilyn is thinking, but maybe that I can get shingles again, which is possible. She's watching for a rash. Who knows?

Today is Mitch's birthday. This was the main reason I wanted to blog today. Mitch appeared in my journal many, many times. He was Marilyn's and my best friend, really starting after high school (even though we'd known him from much younger).

Mitch died suddenly (very unexpectedly) in 2012, right before his 56th birthday. We said we'd try to always celebrate the day. That wasn't easy today, but we did order food via Uber Food for dinner. (Who knew we could get Hawaiian food so easily, without even leaving the house? Yummy.)

Marilyn made a point of mentioning that I messed up my dates in previous entries. He was not born in 1955, but in 1956, as he was a year younger than her. I think I'll go back and change it (if I can force myself to get around to it). I used to be great at blogging, by not since my illness, I'm afraid.

I think Mitch knew how much we loved him.

Well, he's been gone seven years. That's a lot of years without my tennis doubles partner...

More again SOON, I hope.
good cats
Today we contacted Loving Hands In Home Pet Euthanasia. They come to your home to put down a pet (or in our case, pets).

I originally had a lengthy post explaining everything, but forgot I'd been working on it and ended up losing it. Oh well.

Colin was 13 -- my age in cat years. Henry was 12 -- Marilyn's age in cat years. Ironic, isn't it?

We both took it much harder than we'd expected to. Very hard. It was terribly sad.

Marilyn said it was the hardest thing she's ever done, by the way.

You spend more than a decade with a beloved pet and it's a shock to see them pass in front of your eyes. They were our family. Now they're gone.

We let Johnnie out of my bedroom for the first time since my cat bite back in May. He was even brave enough to come downstairs for a few minutes. It's difficult for him, as his long and curvy nails stick to the carpet downstairs, making it nearly impossible for him to move around.

We tried clipping his nails and the normally calm Johnnie growled at us!

Tomorrow is our first official day of vacation. Today was a 'Marilyn Monday,' so thankfully it didn't count. We didn't want vacation to start with putting down our cats...

I'm dead tired and we're off to bed. It was a traumatic day -- but I needed to blog the end, just as I had blogged the beginning for both cats, years ago!

They were WONDERFUL pets. I can't go into detail or I'll start crying again. (I didn't ever blame Colin for biting me so bad.)

It was time. We may have even waited longer than we should have. More about that another day.

Happy thoughts of Colin and Henry. I know we'll see them again someday.
Marilyn has been under the weather for some time now. Enough to miss work, which I'm sure everyone reading knows is not her at all. Fortunately she's going in to have a check-up, which has lowered my worrying quite a bit.

I know much of it c9mes from exhaustion. This was a very difficult year for her at work.

I went to my dentist at noon and had a start of my work done. It's an excellent start. I'm so happy. I can't wait for more.

I took Uber home. I was trying to reach cousin Linda to give her some cash, but was unable to. I totally forgot that until now. We'll have to try another time.

When I arrived home we had to leave directly for our 'Cynthia's Portland Uke Squad' gathering this afternoon. We were expecting to be late, but were right on time. There's always setting up and tuning and sorting music.

Connie runs a tight ship. Marilyn and I both love her to pieces. The music this week was quite challenging. Or I should say this month, I guess.

We both are tired after. It requires a lot of concentration, aside from the actual playing -- and the singing. And I hadn't really prepared for this set of music, to be honest.

This is probably way over my head, but I gave it a go, anyway. I even tried the fingerpicking. Marilyn is quite good at it.

We bought a ukulele strap for June -- very pretty!

Tomorrow I hope to go to the luthier and get some work done, including getting buttons put on June's ukulele.

I dropped by to see June and get her ukulele for tomorrow. I need to get my newest ukulele re-strung. I've read online that it's common that people do that as this particular ukulele isn't well strung out of the box. It's so beautiful I really don't mind! It's just a beauty.

I didn't mention I had low blood sugar again this morning, a surprise.

My chronic pain is maddening right now. On Monday during my MRI, Ammon (the tech) was kind enough to give me a very soft pillow to put under my back. Mary (my dentist) found a pillow today, too, for the same reason.

I want to get back to acupuncture soon...

Talked to sister Sue today. She was pretty clear. But focused on our recent visit. She kept saying how much Larry (her son) had enjoyed it. (Over and over again.) She frequently will do this. She's seeking something to talk about...
charlie 2012 beige
I've been a really good rider for Uber. This isn't just my personal opinion -- I've worked hard at it. When I was first riding I always tipped on the APP and I gave them a cash tip, too. I've almost always given my driver some kind of treat (usually candy) when I get in the car.

I'm always there when they arrive and never make them wait, even if it means standing outside in the rain or heat. I tip generously on the App. I have always given five stars except once (the driver was aggressive about discussing politics and actually made me uncomfortable, so I only gave him three stars).

During the festival I gave drivers pins and ride bracelets.

I've always tried to be friendly, even the time the driver took me WAY out of my way at night (shudder). I had to direct him to get him where I was headed. His excuse was that he lives in Vancouver. Okay, then! (But he's the driver, guys, not me!)

By the way, I've enjoyed riding Uber, and have had some really lovely drivers. It's been something of a miracle for me, getting me where I need to go.

Yesterday I felt rather insulted when my driver to my doctor kept asking me if I was retired, then why wasn't I retired. Do I look that old? But I remained friendly. Then when it was time to go from the doctor to Freddie's to drop off my prescription, I was dropped THREE different times! I was getting rather alarmed about how I was going to get there. And time was passing. I wanted to start the process of getting my pills.

I finally got a ride, so all was cool. Until last night when I got an email with a subject that read: You will not be charged for your canceled trip.


It also said a 'temporary hold' was placed on my account. I guess it was a good thing Marilyn picked me up!

I did finally find a way to contact Uber. I haven't heard back. I'm pretty burned, considering.

But I'll attempt to be as serene as I was at the pharmacy...
so long farewell
Marilyn and I attended the memorial of Barry Carlson today. It was very important for us to be there, not only on a personal level, but because we wanted to represent the festival.

Marilyn spoke, and announced that his entire family would have a new award named after them! When she finished the entire room burst into spontaneous applause.

Later she kept bringing up things she wished she had said. (She never uses written notes for these. Frankly, she doesn't need them!) Every time I just reminded her: They applauded you. It's far from the first time she's had applause at a memorial. She's always a popular speaker.

She remembers to be uplifting, she speaks from the heart, she keeps to the point and doesn't ramble, she includes light moments that make people laugh and she keeps her words brief without being too brief.

She's a professional speaker, so I suppose that's part of it. But I think she just has a knack for public speaking that others lack (including many professionals).

I honestly didn't have to twist her arm at all to get her to speak. She wanted to do it! And we're both glad she did. And it was important to announce that new award in a place where it would be special to the audience hearing it.

After that we did some shopping and came home. We've been watching a lot of TV, surprise.

We thinking we'll have some late night popcorn! (woo hoo) As we discussed: We're on vacation and can eat and drink whenever we want, stay up late if we want and sleep in late if we want. Sounds like a plan!
Tonight we saw Dhani Harrison in concert (George Harrison's son) at the Moda Center. Very, very exciting! Oh yeah, Jeff Lynne and Jeff Lynne's ELO were there, too. Actually, Dhani opened, but we were mainly there to see him, as I'm sure you've guessed!

We were pleased when Dhani played his ukulele in light of our current obsession with our own ukuleles. I can't help wondering if it was one of George's ukuleles, as he had an extensive collection to leave to his son. We were also pleased when Dhani sang with Jeff.

The margaritas weren't nearly as good -- in fact not even in the ball park -- at Moda Center. But we did each get a shot with them.

We had amazing seats with a great view of the stage!

It's a lot of fun going to a couple of concerts -- and to see Beatles' sons! It's been ages since we've been to concerts aside from those at the festival...
June 28, 2019 (Friday) 11:59 pm - Beatles Cover Band. Skipped It.
beatles1, beatles
Marilyn got word there was a Beatles Cover Band playing tonight. But we were worn out from last night and needed to rest up for our Saturday night concert. So we skipped it.

Frankly, we were talking it over and are amazed by how many Beatles Cover Bands exist! It's really a wonderful thing.
beach rain
I Uber-ed into the office before 4:00 and ended up having a nice chat with Rich. We were talking over his year and how he'd ended up feeling about it.

Then Marilyn and I went to the zoo (their summer concert series) to see Sean Ono Lennon and bassist Les Claypool -- The Claypool Lennon Delirium -- and managed to have a great time in spite of the rain. It never stopped rained the entire time. (By the way, we had Cadillac Margaritas there -- the best margaritas ever!)

We went home totally soaked through, but had a blast! Sean's music was great, plus we think we would love that venue on a warm, sunny day.

Hopefully we can save Marilyn's favorite leather jacket! Yikes.

(We were so glad we didn't let the weather keep us from going!)
charlie 2012 beige
"Nowhere Boy" is playing and Marilyn is sleeping. I have leg cramps right now, ironically enough. (It's been Marilyn who has been really suffering from them recently, poor thing.) I got 8,879 steps today, which I'm honestly not used to these days. I guess I need to get into better shape for the festival. But with my continued PHN, it's difficult.

I trained new 'girl' Alicia today, who told me she either just turned 60 or was about to turn 60 -- and I called her a 'baby.' I am still not used to actually being 66. I guess I still feel like I'm in my 20's or maybe 30's. Believe me -- if you're still under 50 -- you struggle to accept aging...

We did make several jokes about our age group, Lynn, Alicia and me. As I said to Marilyn tonight, we three had our own little cliche going on -- much like the young girls have (unfortunately) had this year. Of course, our cliche was a joke, and absolutely not intended to hurt anyone.

I was very impressed with Alicia and felt training went quite well.

Originally I was having Donn sit in, as he'd like to learn more about how I train new personnel. But suddenly he remembered he was missing an appointment, and he had to rush off. It was interesting that both Donn and Jeff had to have their eyes dilated today!

I was at the office until past 5:00, anyway. Donn took me shopping after, so I got cases of water and the paper towels I forgot yesterday. And I picked up my prescription.

Then I went to the bank and got forty dollars worth of ones. Both Marilyn and I needed them...

Hector was here working more on the yard when I got home. He did amazing work yesterday.

Marilyn got home by 8:00 tonight! She's been working so late recently that it was great to have her home that 'early.'

I fixed mac and cheese and meatballs for dinner. It was quite good. Then we watched "Jeopardy." Like everybody, we're crazy about champion James Holzhauer! We love seeing him win.

By the way, I'm quite annoyed by this crap that implies that his wins are bad for the show. It's such nonsense.

Well, time for bed. I'm going to get acupuncture again tomorrow. I'm sticking with it.

I need to get some festival work done tomorrow, as well.

And I'd love to see June! It's been hard getting together lately...

Marilyn and I continue play our ukuleles every night. We both love them and are quite serious about playing. We never miss a day.

More on my usual Adobe rant. Basically it always comes back to the same thing -- unless you inherited a ton of money, or won the lottery (or you were born rich), you cannot afford this app for your iPad. No, I do not have $13 dollars a month to spend on an app to manipulate PDFs -- are you kidding me??? Do the people at Adobe have to pay bills and EAT, or not?

I'd love to compare their app to Readdle's PDF Expert, but it's not going to happen. I won't even consider their free trial, because unless I am suddenly struck rich, I'll never be able to afford the app. I guess I want to know, who can? There must be people purchasing Adobe products, so who are they? Do they own diamond mines, or oil wells, or what?

Every office and every home lusts for Adobe items, I suppose. But let's be real, please...

I spend a lot of time trying not to hate companies like Adobe. And failing.

There are alternatives. Oh! And if you're not using Readdle's Documents -- which is free, Adobe -- then you're missing out on one of the most amazing Apps around! I organize everything with it.

Hey, Adobe? I hope I didn't scare you mentioning the word 'free'... Haha.

Just a mini-rant, really. I know I'll be back again, because Adobe is so easy to rant about.
If you have 'doctor' somewhere associated with your name (or nurse practitioner, with a masters degree hooked on), then maybe you know enough to advise me about arthritis. Though I still tend to believe you really learn about many conditions by experiencing them.

Last night as I was playing my ukulele, I became aware that certain finger joints aren't able to bend to make certain chords. Let me be perfectly clear: this isn't a matter of 'practice makes perfect,' in spite of what several non-doctor 'experts' repeatedly suggested. I would never wish arthritis on anyone, but it's tempting when an 'expert' tells me -- someone who has had arthritis since I was thirty -- that I simply need more practice to get my fingers to bend.

Oh? Has that been my problem all these years? If I'd just do things that forced my lazy fingers to bend, all would be fine!

While rubbing my large arthritis bumps and examining the joints that refuse to bend under any amount of pressure, I beg to differ with that conclusion. I need to mention (again) that I've had arthritis since I was thirty years old, so this isn't merely a case of an age-induced condition. And I've always continued to 'work my fingers' as much as possible for tasks requiring delicate and/or firm manipulation. (Do I need to mention that I've never 'given up' on my joints in spite of what was long ago deemed a genetic condition? I can be remarkably stubborn, as I imagine readers of this blog are already aware.)

Why do I picture some young man with long, supple fingers that can bend easily in any direction, offering his 'expert' knowledge? (Sorry, my male friends -- so many of whom, like Frank, are remarkably sympathetic and understanding! But many men are not like that -- while most women are by nature that way...)

I was frustrated last night. I just want to play the ukulele perfectly! I want to make every chord and fingerpick and do it all. It was shocking to discover I was not cleanly making some of the most basic chords! There's nothing like fingerpicking to make that apparent.

I won't give up. But I also don't expect miracles. I'm aware that even acupuncture is unlikely to make a joint that is locked in a given direction/position to suddenly work normally. I suppose there's an outside chance that surgery could help, by attempting to remove the growths that interfere with movement, or change the unnatural shape of the finger and the given joint. One has to wonder what such elective surgery would involve and cost...

Realistically, these are the hands and fingers I have. I'm not complaining, as many people have worse. I just wany to be able to continue my graphic arts work, type this blog and do other writing and -- of course! -- play the ukulele.

Well, my expert online 'friends' have assured me I'll absolutely be able to do any chord shape with practice. Actually, I have that wrong. With ENOUGH practice.

Did you know that practicing hard enough will magically improve my arthritis? (So says these experts...)

Well, I think I've ranted enough for one morning. These (jerks? idiots? creeps?) will never see his anyway. They've already told one more man how it should work. Hell, maybe he's off playing like Jake Shimabukuro!

I don't think I need to say that people with broken fingers -- or missing fingers (like my friend Donn, my late Grandpa Ed and many others) -- won't magically improve with practice, either.

Whoops! I fell asleep again and nearly dropped my iPad. Time for a bit more sleep, I suppose. Or I could practice my uke -- and see if it really is all about effort and repetition. I'm always the positive and optimistic type, so who knows?

Plus, I really want to play! Have I made that clear? I love playing!

Fell asleep again. More soon, my friends!
Happy Easter, everyone!

Marilyn and I took care of some errands yesterday, including picking up prescriptions and nabbing some quick items like cat food. Then we got out manicures. She did periwinkle (blue) and I did wild thistle (a sort of pale lavender). We're still dealing with the LEFT HAND short nails, RIGHT HAND longer thing. This time I had my guy (yes, I had a young man, which happens rarely) do a really thin layer of acrylic on my left hand, and normal on my right. Last time I skipped acrylic on the left, but my nails were thin and fragile, so I think this will work better...

Because we didn't go to the office yesterday, we knew we'd need to today. We ended up there until 10:30, which was 7+ hours total. We both could have probably worked later, frankly, but we decided to head home. All we had eaten at that point was an egg bite from Starbucks with our coffee.

We came home and I put on some Campbell's Old Fashioned Tomato Rice Soup, then we each made a sandwich -- she had skinny meat on toast, and I had baloney on rye (which I love).

Henry was sick in my family room chair. I had to fix the mess and wash any blankets affected. And scoop out their boxes.

I hadn't played any ukulele all day. And my manicurist mucked up my callouses! We don't want to lose all the work put in over several weeks (in my case -- longer for Marilyn).

I can barely keep my eyes open.

My back hurts, but little wonder. First, riding in the car can end up painful.

Yikes! I just drifted off and dropped my iPad.

Second, sitting up in a straight back chair for hours is killer baby -- well, not in a good way...

You can barre the E major chord. Just barre the fourth fret! Talk about truly killer! (Ina good way.) This new instructor was charming (with a poor singing voice, but who cares).

He also barres D when he plays it. Both chords sound great to me!

Must nap, at least. I'm lying in my chair close by Marilyn, with no blankets over me. (Henry threw up on two of them at the same time...

I started a sentence, fell asleep and forgot what I was typing. So that's it for today, anyway

Ukuleles RULES!

Sleep well, friends!
hug tree, charlie hug tree
It's actually Thursday, April 18 at 3:00-ish in the morning. I'm wide awake. This is my entry for Tuesday, April 16...

What a crazy day at work! IT issues up the wazoo. Donn, Kris and I were all working on an issue with Alicia's Profile and computer (she starts next week). Plus I had to speak again at Staff meeting (sigh).

My message was to be sure and log off your computer, and make sure you close all your programs first. Simple, right?

With a reminder about the message from last week to manage email. Never gonna happen with many of them...

I'm sleepy and drifting a bit, suddenly. Damn! I want to finish this entry...

Donn drove me to my acupuncture appointment. The clinic isn't that far away from our office (but certainly not walking distance).

This was my first-ever experience with acupuncture. I couldn't believe how many more questions I was asked, considering the in-depth questionnaire I filled out!

Finally I was on the table, with needles being inserted. I couldn't see all of them placed, but one went into my head, one in my ear, one in my wrist, another in the tip of my nose and one in my foot.

Then I relaxed, almost immediately sleeping! She came back and had me stay longer. I slept more. Then I deprted -- Donn picked me up and took me shopping at Freddie's, then finally home.

I'm so eager to see the effects of acupuncture. It has the ability to cure me, or so I've read. Western medicine has no cure, for the record. It goes away, or not. Seriously?

But it can take several appointments. And the results don't display immediately.

Postherpetic neuralgia is so terribly painful, I'm just glad to be doing something really positive.

And that's it for this post.....
many waterfalls
Okay, so first off, I'm bugged by all this 'new normal' stuff. You hear it way too much. I hardly want to consider applying it to my own life.

I think I've managed to remain very positive this past year, considering I'm now officially one year into dealing with constant, unrelenting pain (chronic pain). I never forget that I'm lucky to be alive (thanks to Marilyn).

I love my sister and her companionship, I love my family and friends, I love my cats, I love my home and I love my work. I'm grateful my brain damage was so minimal. I'm happy I have skills that are useful and that I'm continuing to learn new things, like playing the ukulele. I have a good life. I know that.

I know it's wrong of me to dwell on my chronic pain. There are so many others suffering so much worse than I do. And I'm so blessed. Plus I have so many things I enjoy and spend time on every day: The Beatles, music, reading, walking (and other exercise), watching TV, using my iPad, napping, calling and chatting with people, texting with people, writing, editing and on and on.

I guess I was really hopeful my postherpetic neuralgia would finally go away. I don't ask to be pain free. I've had pains of one kind or another most of my life. But no pain has been like this. I hardly ever try describing it. Bottom line: it's bad.

I'm not looking for sympathy, honestly. I don't expect others to understand, either. I really hope that most of my circle of friends will either never know this pain, or if currently in pain will have their pain go away. I guess I wish that none of us would have to deal with pain each and every day.

I don't want a new normal.

But I suppose I accept it, regardless. Today I accept that this pain may be with me forever. I am not going to cry. I refuse to feel sorry for myself. This is hard.

I just read a very enlightening article about chronic pain that said our medicines aren't working -- and they don't have a solution for chronic pain. They think that four out of ten women have chronic pain. (Yeah, it's mainly women who deal with it.) I'm certainly not alone. So why do I feel so abnormal compared to others? Anyway, that article basically suggests ways to cope with your new normal.

Me? I want to throw my head back and howl and then scream 'no' as loud as I can.

I'm supposed to let go of my old goals and discover new ones. In other words, give up, because you're never going to be physically capable of the things you used to do. Or the dreams you used to have.

I'm warned not to 'overdo.' So naturally I want to run up and down the stairs (and actually have recently at the office). I want to lift and carry heavy things -- I used to be so strong! If nothing else, I want to give myself the illusion that I'm BETTER. That I'll continue getting even better still. I know it's a lie, but I guess I want to keep pretending.

The fantasy is more appealing than reality.

I guess I'm getting pretty good at acting. But I wonder if my main audience is me! What I know for sure is that the pain is not at all better. I started to say I'll try anything to get rid of the pain, but that's not true. I take the pain cocktail I've been given -- the exact dose. I don't add any other pills. I do add some alcohol and cannabis from time to time. But really not that often.

The world doesn't revolve around me. I know that. Actually I'm trying hard to be kinder to others. I call my sister Sue nearly every day. Sometimes more than once. I try to text with my friend Shari daily. And call or see my friend June. Okay, I'd do that anyway, of course. But I want to be nice when I do it. And not forget it. Plus I try to be kind to strangers, too. And I even feel a responsibility to be kind to those I work with. I guess I have ended up like some kind of 'mother' at work, even though I used to fight that so hard.

Whatever else I've learned this past year, it has nothing to do with my age! Yeah, it's more common 'at my age.' However, it's starting to happen to 30-somethings, too. And chronic pain is rampant at all ages. So we can't blame my inclining years. Ugh. You can't stop aging (unless you die), so you just have to decide how you will age. I want to age a gracefully. Sounds good, right.

Nice! I'm having a psychedelic moment. Behind my gray and white keyboard, I'm seeing psychedelic colors. Very faint, but it's there. I've been having more moments like this again lately -- definitely one of the better things related to this experience. I'll hold on to it if I can. Sometime I'll try and explain what it's really like, aside from these colors. I wonder if I can? My mind feels expanded!

Finally (God, I'm sorry this is so long), I hope to try acupuncture before I give up on a solution to my pain. I think I have too much HOPE for acupuncture, really. I'm almost holding back, afraid for it to fail. What else is there? Well, I've tried everything else, really.

My new normal is waving at me from that hill over there. The Fool is standing beside it. I'll join them soon, I suppose.

I do want to create a blog. Not sure if it should be about shingles, postherpetic neuralgia, or chronic pain. But I feel like I have information to share.

Time to think about lying down. I'm really tripping now...
go me!
Actually, it's 1:48 a.m. and I'm currently sitting up trying to fight off my severe nausea. I drank some apple cider vinegar with water, and took one of my anti-nausea pills (the trick is keeping it all down, of course). I was sick enough that I couldn't stand hearing the TV even down low. I couldn't stand reading (and can only barely stand writing this).

I've taken my midnight pain meds, and all my nighttime meds -- and I don't want to throw these up. Especially the pain meds, which can't be replaced. Blah.

I was a tad off today (no, I'm not sure why, or barely how). But hungry at dinner time. Marilyn and I ate leftovers, and I honestly don't think these were bad. I just think my tummy wasn't having it. And I did try napping on a full stomach (my own fault).

All of this aside, I'm especially proud of how Marilyn is holding up under all the pressure at work. She insisted on a meeting to handle a sticky situation, and came up with an extraordinarily humane resolution. She's amazing, as I always say. She looks out for everyone, even when others would suggest against it. I wish she had the time to write a book (or a blog) about managing people, because I feel she does an excellent job (and always has). She genuinely cares about people, yet while looking out for them, she also manages to care for our organization! It's a tough balancing act, that's for sure. (Especially when she's faced with loking out for me -- and trying to also take care of herself, from time to time...)

She rarely takes abreak, needing to get so much done in a day. She came home at 8:00, we ate and watched some taped Jeopardy shows. Then played our ukuleles and finally slept. She's sleeping now.

And she'll get up early again, as she did today, and start it all over again. Yes, amazing.

As for my delightful IT moment today (and these are certainly few and far between!!!), I had a nasty situation yesterday. In the middle of training, Mary tells me her name isn't spelled correctly. I'm sure this sounds like a small thing, but I was dismayed. I've only had it happen four or five times in the past (for one reason or another), but it has ALWAYS meant starting over from scratch.

The process is:
I go on the Server and use the new name to create a Profile (user) name. It takes time to propagate (sometimes days). Then Donn can set up this Profile on a computer (each Profile is individual to a given machine, by the way -- if there's some reason to change computers, you start the Profile from scratch). This process as I want it done takes two or more hours to achieve. Finally, I'm ready to begin training my new Staff person on her pre-prepared machine.

We're still using the now-obsolete SBS Server hardware/software, which works fine -- for the most part. But one of the annoying features has always been that you cannot change a name, once you've entered it. That includes when a woman marries and wuld prefer using her married name. (This has been an issue more than once, believe me.)

I had to stop training to address it. I went directly to my supervisor to discuss it. Marilyn and I determined there was no way to start from scratch -- we'd stick with the wrong name if necessary. But I also decided to try fixing it! This was a ridiculous and stubborn attitude. And probably a waste of time on an already busy day.

I admit to being slightly off kilter, but I think I dealt okay. I got the change made, but it didn't appear to be working. Then I got Mary trained. So far, so good.

Today when I remembered to check (I was having another busy day working from my home office), I was bowled over to see Mary's name had actually propagated! It worked!

So I immediately went in and changed Christie's name -- I hope to surprise her! (A married Staff member.)

I tried to phone Mary and tell her. Did phone Lynn and tell her. But nobody else can really understand. I've been struggling with this for more than a decade. I was 'told' many times it absolutely could not be done! (Sometimes directly, other times during research via the internet. Emphatic results!) I wanted confetti and balloons, but that didn't happen. So I'll reward myself here in my blog.

Go, me!

Marilyn just woke and we chatted about my success. Of course she said 'Go, You!' (she's always there to give EVERYONE kudos and support), even though I said she didn't need to. She's so lovely and I'm so lucky.

As for me, I need to share with my Team -- and not because I expect praise. They need to know it can be done. And now I've shared it here...

Of course, if did our Usernames differently, it wouldn't be possible. I must credit Kent, or whomever determined we would do the smart thing and use first-name-last-initial. Perfect! (I've always thought that.) The original name-and-initial cannot be changed. It's the display name which can be changed.

Hopefully there won't be any fallout from the changes, but I can't see a reason for it. Still, you never know with Microsoft!

Time for bed, as it's very late.

Sweet dreams, friends.
Happy Birthday, Marilyn!

Happy Birthday, Marilyn !

Yes, it's shocking, I know (!!!), but Marilyn turned 64 today! (Wow. That means I'm even older! Yikes.) We didn't end up having a blow out birthday party, but we did spend some time playing Beatles music on our ukuleles, so it's all good! (smile)

And we also didn't go to the beach house, where the TV (cable) isn't working, we weren't sure about internet/wifi and they were having yet another wind storm (the past two years they had wind storms while we were there!). It's a long drive and we could be resting or playing our ukes, so we honestly didn't mind.

We did have a birthday meal out with June and Jim. And went back to Elmer's to eat on Saturday, too. We had popcorn (homemade -- our fave) and cake and other snacks. And went to Fultano's on Sunday.

I managed to buy her not one, but TWO different Beatles magazines that are currently out -- what kind of timing is that?

We love our ukuleles and love playing them. We're obsessed. It was one of the best parts of her bday weekend!

Finally, I wish all my friends lived close by where I could nag them into getting ukes so they could play with us! We'd have a great time!

I hope you had a great birthday, Marilyn -- and will have many, many more! (I love you.)
I have PILES of things I should have blogged about.

Marilyn went to emergency in an ambulance from her office -- very scary as they were checking her for stroke! (It wasn't a stroke, thank God.)

I went to my doctor for my monthly pain meds. While there my right eye did it's new 'thing' -- which is to sharply drag downward so the eyelid covers my eye (and I can't see out of it). I was just telling my doctor about it when it happened. You should have seen the look on her face! Anyway, it seems I need surgery to correct it, so now it's in that black hole of getting a referral and getting insurance to cover it...

I just got bursa injections in BOTH hips yesterday. I might do my left knee, too, if it keeps acting up. She used to tell me she didn't do knees, but she had a class and is now good to go. So I'll see how it is in two weeks... Meanwhile, NEVER look at the needle when getting this done. They're HUGE. No kidding. Really long. I've had these several times, but good grief! Anyway, as always, I need to try and rest for a few days...

My latest item up for ranting is Fitbit. Using our very first Fitbit was such a joy. Both Marilyn and I were so motivated by them. But today's email made me furious. I got locked out of my account for logging in from an 'unusual location' -- by which I guess they mean either my iPhone or iPad. What??? Fitbit actually forces you to log in on a computer if you want to see your full account, which is about as backward as I can imagine.

In the email there was a big black bar which read: We've locked your account. Please reset your password now.

Are you kidding me? I wanted to contact them and ask how I can tell my account that I own several devices and will never just remember which is my official Fitbit device. I mean, how would I do that? "Um, Charlie, you should only log in from your home computer and your iPhone." Well, that makes sense, but the second I'm on my iPad and opening my email, guess what's going to happen... Yikes!

I did a back and forth with a level one inexperienced support texting person via the website. So, can I suggest a good typing course? If your job is to type back and forth with people, you need to do so in a far more speedy fashion! I can type about 200 words in the time it takes him/her to type ten. It's ridiculous. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting there waiting and waiting. I start out upset and it gets worse and worse.

Then the main thing this support person keeps pressing is for me to change my password! In the email it explains HOW to do this. So I'm also offended that this is necessary. Anyway, I feel ready to dump my damn Fitbit and just use some phone App instead.

Of course, we own a Fitbit scale, but it quit syncing forever ago, anyway. (I have to manually enter the information, which I never do, of course.)

Fitbit is too big for its britches. (By the way, I LOVE the background on that expression, which comes originally from Davy Crockett and was '...but when a man gets too big for his breeches...' -- delightful!) Many of their products aren't even displayed at their site anymore, including mine!

I don't recall if I ever blogged about the cyst I ended up with on my chest. It was in the exact location where my previous Fitbit would hang (I wore it on a chain around my neck -- it dangled between 'the girls'). I got a HUGE cyst there. My doctor had to use a scalpel to open it and then squeeze it extremely hard to empty the really nasty contents (no, it wasn't at all like a boil -- it was very hard). That thing is just finally going away months later. (sigh)

I've told many women not to put their cell phones in their bras. (I guess a lot of them do.) There's been proof it causes cancer. But who knew the Fitbit could cause medical issues? Marilyn always wants them off before bed so we don't accidentally get them near our brains! Haha.

So much for my Fitbit rant. I haven't decided if I'm giving them the boot yet. It's difficult!

I started to type 'on a happy note' -- but I don't want to bury it on this page. I'll wait!

Just talked to Donn. Symantec is messed up. He logs in and can't see our computers or anything. He's an Admin, so it makes no sense! He's resolving it as I type this (I hope).

We had (forever) a back line to our office. It's used to manage our phone system. But in this process of moving to our new provider for internet, it's been messed up. What a pain! I've personally used it forever. I frequently phone someone directly that way, rather than call through our receptionist (I know many of the extensions by heart). Try as we might, we can't seem to get the line back again! What gives???

Marilyn has this saying now: Things never get better, they always get worse. Sadly, it seems to be true...

I refuse to end on a sad note, though! Marily's birthday is April 7. We're planning a trip to the beach house. Our neighbor Janet is cat sitting for us! Isn't that wonderful??? She didn't mind the third cat or anything (and even insisted she'd do their cat boxes!).

More soon! I promise!
charlie 2012 beige
Today (Wednesday) ended up being a Snow Day for us. No, I am not kidding. It's nearly March, but we were home from work due to snow! Unheard of in Portland, Oegon. I realize it probably happens all the time in other parts of the country and the world, but it simply doesn't happen here.

I went back to sleep (if not to bed) after we'd been up checking it all out early in the morning. I had a lovely rest.

It was very cold, though we really had little snow. The concern for Portland Public Schools was ice, however. Fine by me...

Marilyn ended up doing plenty of work anyway, mostly via text messages. Later on I did work on my upstairs computer on the website. I set the page (CountyFest) to go Live at 7:30 this morning.

A good chunk of the day was spent on playing our ukuleles. I'm working on several things right now:
How to hold my ukulele (exactly how high and what direction)
Learning new chords (I should be including which ones!)
Chord transitions (especially with e minor)
How to make certain difficult chords (especially b minor right now)

We're learning "Shallow" (beautiful) and continuing with "Edelweiss," which we've loved since childhood. Ukulele Mike gave us an exercise for our left hand that is for strengthening the fingers. Very hard.

I talked to June, never wasable to reach sister Sue, texted with Shari and Adeena (I'll see her tomorrow -- and finally give her the gift I've had forever). Speaking of, I still have Mark's Christmas gift. He's been terribly ill and in and out of emergency!!! Both Marilyn and I are really worried about him.

I'm actually writing this at slightly past six in the morning. I guess the pain woke me, as I take pain meds at 6:00 every single morning. I beat the alarm today.

Right now the house is very quiet...

The annual Board Meeting is Thursday night. Adeena is picking me up!

It's now past nine! Why didn't this post?
I was starting an entry here and lost my train of thought. I really couldn't get it back. It's beyond difficult to express how I feel when this happens. I'm just shaking right now, wondering if it's going to continue to get worse... Moving on...

I suppose I brought it on myself, really. Spending ages on crap like I'm about to reveal it's too much for my poor brain these days. (Thanks, encephalitis!)

My long (sorry about that) sad story began in a simple fashion. I was using the ukulele tutorial (the lovely Bernadette) that Marilyn discovered. It had a QR code (one of the little black boxes) that you can scan to go to a webpage.

Bernadette recommended getting a reader App and using her QR code. Simple, right?

So I go to the App store and do a search. Easy. The first thing that comes up is Adobe Reader. I do the update and hit Open. I proceed to using a Google account to do this -- I'm still not sure why that was even an option! It wants my password (of course). But it also asks for my birthday. This annoyed me, so I quite deliberately put in the wrong date. And got locked out! No second chances (what about those times Where I've been confused and accidentally hit the wrong thing?).

I tried everything I could think of, believe me. And I'm pretty damn clever about all this. Bragging, but it's true. Finally I break down and call support. Get this: they get so many calls that they offer to phone you back when it's 'your turn' to speak. It was a two hour wait, so it made sense. Even so, I was surprised when the phone rang later on (not really two hours later).

The barely-English-speaking gentleman tried to help me, but language was a barrier, I'm afraid. And I'm very open-minded about this. Finally I invented a phone call I had to take to let him down gently.

Somewhere in the online world my Google account is still blocked. But nor for Google use, thank God! And I did finally get in to my Adobe account, as well. I can't get over reasoning it out on my own! I had to reach a different login page, then be sure to use the Adobe login, as opposed to the various social media logins -- which had been made to stand out.

I generally avoid using any social media account for accessing another account, but in this case I honestly didn't see the other option! Why do that to users? If I can't see it, I must assume many also cannot.

I'm still bothered by my own actions. I should have readily filled in my birthday. I'm not bothered by my age and don't care who knows it. I'm not sure what made me snap like that and enter a really stupid age! I did this to myself, as I admit. But I'm still stunned that I'd get locked out like that! We're talking about Adobe Reader! Not the National Archives! Their policy was there several times 'explaining' why, but I couldn't bring myself to read it.

I've had a long negative relationship with Adobe. From personal use, but even worse dealing with them in the work place. They drive me crazy regularly. I can't tell you how many computer crashes are caused merely by Adobe trying to update. And they wonder why we hate updating their software? Catch a clue!

So my lengthy rant about Adobe is done. For today, anyway. If I ranted every time Adobe annoyed me, that's pretty much all I'd ever write about! Ha!

I'm now resting my brain (sigh) before heading to my ukulele to play.

I hope all of you reading this never need to use Adobe Reader for ANYTHING. There are alternatives! For a QR Code scanner, I found QuickMark (assuming you have an iPad). But if any of you have other suggestions, I'd love to hear them! The biggest problem appears to be Apps that are 'free' -- but pop up annoying ads! (I'd much rather pay than deal with ads, personally.)

Have a great day! (Or lovely dreams, if it's bedtime there!)
charlie 2012 beige
Marilyn nd I went Jessica to see "Bohemian Rhapsody" tonight -- and we all LOVED it! We sang along, and cried and cheered. Just wonderful and moving. I'm so glad we went.

Before that Marilyn and I went over to June's house with our ukuleles and the three of us practiced playing. Really a good start, and loads of fun! Our best song was "Edelweiss" (from "The Sound of Music"). We were working on "Mack the Knife" and several other songs. (I honestly can't remember the other numbers right now.)

Both Marilyn and I slept in late. We ere tired after a long week (specially Marilyn!).

Thursday I was at the office. I took in treats for the staff for Valentine's Day -- which included the annual mini-balloons I get at the DollarTree. You have to smack it with your fist to activate it. Then they last for quite a long time -- sometimes until after the festival (which is months).

I found a previous entry that I never posted! Haha. I think I'll include it anyway...

This is from sometime in January:

I just came from visiting with Gladys and Bruce (way down the street). I took them their holiday popcorn, which they were both glad to get. Gladys said that Bruce loves popcorn! We ended up having an hour visit. Maybe my longest one so far, but I didn't time seeing Barbara just across the street (she might have been longer). I saw Barbara yesterday.

I also went to see John (who is in quite the frightening neck brace after his accident and surgery). He says he's doing okay. I bet he's doing okay the way I'm doing okay. I could see that in his eyes! I only spent around 15 minutes there, but it was nice to chat. I haven't really talked to him since his accident.

I think Marilyn was unsure how these popcorn gifts go over, but I've really had people be enthusiastic. And I'm not talking about that 'being nice' kind of response. She should be proud of her involvement and how much our neighbor friends appreciate the gesture (and the popcorn! Ha!).

I was getting ready to head to Gladys' house and discovered my damn Fitbit was dead!!! That's a long walk and I wanted the steps!!!

And so ends that piece of blog from January.

I really do want to get back to blogging -- which I keep typing, I know. But it's true. I just can't seem to wrap my head around it since my brain issue last April...

It's the same thing with reading. I've lost interest terribly.

I'm giving myself plenty of time to get back to it.

Well, it's 12:30-ish, so I'll end for now. More about our ukuleles soon.

Love you all and wishing you well!