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Charlie's Strange and Happy World
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I was actually at the festival office today because Marilyn and I were expecting our friend Shari to come by. We've been trying to figure this out for weeks now (before Christmas). We have gifts and cards for both her birthday and Christmas to give her. It's quite a bit, so I did say I didn't think she could get it all home on the bus...

But by the time I finally reached her in the afternoon, it was too late for her to come out. Marilyn had to leave the office by 3:30 today for her dental appointment (and of course I went with her). Anyway, we're going to try again this Thursday.

It was a BUSY day at work, anyway. I had a bunch of stuff to tackle. And Donn was there and we have a lot of joint IT work to get done, as well.

I did get to go to Starbucks with Rich (and buy for him), so that was nice. Marilyn wasn't feeling well in the morning, so she didn't go along.

Donn didn't get to the office until WE WERE ALREADY IN STAFF MEETING (that is frankly not a good thing!), I'm afraid. Staff Meetings will move upstairs soon according to Jeff, as we're pretty packed into the downstairs conference room.

The notetaking/presentation laptop had gone 'missing' today (!!!) and I was pretty burned about it. I'm responsible for all this equipment, so I don't appreciate it when someone moves it without letting me know. Anyway, it was 'found' again and Marilyn is going to have it stored in her office from now on.

Happy moment: I kept telling Donn we had already set up a Profile on a computer for Sue B. LAST YEAR when she worked for us. But he hadn't found it and Marilyn was convinced I didn't do it from things Sue had said. And Donn had no record of doing it. I think that's because I actually set up her Profile last year (and I rarely do these anymore, Donn usually does them now). Anyway, I suddenly noticed one of the PHONES was set up for her (!!!), so I had Donn check that computer and sure enough! There was her Profile! Profiles can take from and hour to two hours to do, so this is a real time (and money) saver...

No, I didn't get together with either Steven or Jessica P. about various web-related items. But as I told Steven in the afternoon, it's early yet and I think we'll know more in around a week from now.

But I was disappointed not to be able to do the Clown-related stuff with Angel as planned. Oh well.

I'm drinking 'Herb Guru' right now (very thirsty!). It's pretty nasty tasting, but is supposed to be 'good for you' (if you know what I mean!). It came from the office and I wanted something cold to drink. I think I'm not really that desperate as I taste it, however! Hahaha.

I got 11,000+ steps today! Most of that was without the treadmill. I only had to do around 10 minutes on the treadmill to finish off my 10,000 -- then just walked to get the rest. I often get a lot of steps on work days.

I did go to Starbucks with Rich and then took a walk with Marilyn -- she's very dedicated to her walking and running right now! Marilyn did the treadmill and also got around 11,000 steps.

We dashed to Fred Meyer tonight to get pop (we were out) and I also got my new Fitbit. It's an Alta wristband one. I'm not sure I actually like it that much, to tell you the truth. I guess we'll see. What I wasn't happy about tonight was it NOT tracking my actual steps as I took them. And it would track steps and display them and them SUBTRACT steps. What the HELL is that about????????

I guess we'll see how it goes. It was ridiculously expensive compared to buying the Zip, even on sale (Freddies had a sale on them). Oh well.

I already have more than a 1,000 steps for Wednesday, anyway, as Marilyn was on the treadmill past midnight, so I just kept walking back and forth, too.

She's playing Zuma now while I'm typing this up.

David at FISH resolved one of my festival website issues that I just couldn't figure out. Turns out it's something he can touch but I can't, so that's fine...

I felt bad for Marilyn needing to go to the dentist. She had two cavities in the same tooth! She was in pain tonight, anyway.

We picked up Taco Time on the way home -- there's one near the dentist -- and had that for dinner. Yummy!

Then we both ended up having a nap before going shopping. We barely made it to the store!

Jessica M. was out today. She's having some medical issues that we both relate to. I hope things improve for her soon, poor thing...

Jim (June's husband) has a birthday soon.

Marilyn is taking Friday off work (she has to work all day Saturday). I have my appointment with the hemetologist on Friday in the morning. Again, the reason I'm supposedly seeing a blood specialist is that I have too much lead in my blood. I have to wonder if it's also about my pancreas, but I don't really know, to be honest. I guess we'll see how it goes on Friday.

I still need to tackle the huge pile of paperwork which of course I didn't get done over the weekend. (sigh)

Well, off to bed soon. It's nearly 2:00 a.m. Naturally when we're exercising late it's hard to get to bed earlier...

I think all my steps speak for how much better I felt today. A big deal considering I started out the day around 5:00 a.m. with LOW BLOOD SUGAR yet again! We were making jokes about it. 'What if I hadn't had raspberries before bed last night? Would I have died in my sleep?' I guess that doesn't sound that funny, but seriously! I eat berries before bed and still have low blood sugar in the early morning!!!

I bring that back up without spiking by eating some DARK chocolate, which works great. We need to try that thing they suggest now about eating dark chocolate before working out -- supposedly it's good for you, too.

Sweet dreams, friends!
I didn't feel sick or anything, but I just felt a bit 'off' (if that makes sense. I guess you could say I've had better days...

I did get a bunch of festival website work done, anyway. But some issues came up that I can fix, so I did contact Brit and David about it. Brit wrote back, but she isn't quite following what I'm referencing. I might need to phone her tomorrow...

I'm in the office on Tuesday. Shari is supposed to come by. And Donn is coming in to work. Marilyn told me Staff people are excited I'm coming to the office, which is nice. It's lovely to be that wel liked by co-workers.

I promised Rich we'd go to Starbucks.

Marilyn and I really didn't have dinner to speak of tonight. She fixed this cauliflower and mashed potatoes thing she'd picked up and it was delicious! Very low calories. We need to get more. Frozen and heats in the microwave, so easy to prepare.

We also ate a bit of cheese and crackers...

I did my pills today. And discovered I was out of Lisinopril -- my high blood pressure medicine. The pharmacy said I had no prescription. So I called my clinic who confirmed I had no prescription. WTF? I've been on it for years. No mention was made of taking me off. And my blood pressue was high during my last visit. I said if Leslie wanted me off the pills, of course !'d stop. And left it at that.

Nobody called me back.

This evening I got a text that my pills had been refilled. Geez.

I colored my hair today, which needed it.

I was working on another project in both Word 2007 on the computer, then in the WPS App on my iPad. It was complicated, but good practice for me. I don't use Word that much. Actually, I probably use WPS more than Word.

True Grit is coming on. (smile) God, we love that movie.

Marilyn was home by 5:00 tonight -- unheard of. She's been tired with her working out.

Talked briefly to sister Sue today.

We had raspberries before bed. Nice.

My blood sugar is quite good today.

Time for bed.
The goal for the weekend? Rest and more rest. But to continue healthy eating (which we've now done for months) and to continue our goal to get to bed earlier and get more sleep. Sometimes that ends up more about sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday than it does about getting to bed earlier on the night before. Haha.

We're still seeing the effects of adding more and more exercise. That means feeling tired as our bodies adjust to the additional workouts. All normal and all good. We're cutting ourselves a lot of slack as we work on getting in better shape, physically.

Marilyn is averaging something like 18,000 steps a day right now -- astonishing!!! She's not only walking, but running. She goes for walks during the day and then does the treadmill at night. She's inspirational.

My hip was bothering me today, I'm afraid. I was kind of hoping I wouldn't need another bursal injection this soon, but it's often what keeps me walking, it seems. The pain is not as bad as usual, though. I have to guess that's about diet and other factors, as I'm generally in constant pain. Interesting!

I can't remember what I'm averaging right now, but it's in excess of my 'goal' of 4,000 steps a day, anyway.

Friday night Marilyn and I actually went to a spur-of-the-moment movie, "Call Me By Your Name," which was really enjoyable. I highly recommend it! Pretty remarkable for a film with subtitles...

We took walks on both Saturday and on Sunday. Saturday on Sauvie Island and today at the Twin Tunnels path.

Mostly we took it easy and got a lot of sleep, though...

I got hair color and will color tomorrow as I'm growing white roots. It makes me look weirdly 'bald' because of the light-colored roots! Very unattractive, anyway...

I'm using the same medium brown shade as last time, rather than one of my darker and redder shades. We'll see how that goes, anyway.

We see Shari on Tuesday. I have Donn coming in that day to work -- and obviously I'll be there! Haha.

Marilyn just did the treadmill forever while we watched "How the Beatles Changed the World" on Netflix (1 hour and 49 minutes long). It was very entertaining. Then she washed and is now drying her hair so we can head to bed...

I highly recommend this Beatles show, too, by the way. Very well done and very interesting!

I need to take my nighttime pills (I'm late!) and head that way very soon...

I really can't seem to get back in the habit of blogging! I'm disappointed in myself. I know I've got a lot going on, but I've tried to never let that stand in my way in the past. Oh well.

I have my appointment with the specialist on Friday. I hope that goes well...

Sweet dreams, friends and family!
It's 2:00 a.m.

I just finished up the damn garbage and recycling (real garbage week). I should have finished long before this. I had a decent start earlier today...

Marilyn and I had naps after dinner. We were very tired from our exercise for last night. So she failed to get her 10,000 steps and I failed to get 6,000 steps. We just didn't wake up in time!


Yesterday (January 31) was sister Sue's 75th birthday. It's nearly impossible for us to see her on a weekday. I did phone her early in the morning and sang to her. But then NOBODY could reach her all day long by phone! It turns out her son Larry took her out to his house for the day and to stay overnight. It would have been nice if he could have sent me a lousy text message to tell me. But hell no.

Her daughter Candy and granddaughter Nicole took her out to dinner the night before her birthday. Candy left the morning of her birthday for a vacation in California with a friend, asking if Marilyn and I could 'look in on' her Mom. I explained we'd been there both days over the weekend, but weekdays are hard (everybody knows how we work, so it really doesn't need explaining).

I did speak to Sue today who was very confused. She hadn't received her phone messages from either June or Marilyn that I know were left for her yesterday. She said Larry and family had had 'dinner' for her birthday and that was it. Seriously?

We have gifts which we'll give her on the weekend... (sigh)

And I'm reading updates on Facebook of Candy's good time in Cali. I don't begrudge her. We got our trip back in December in NYC (not mentioning that we rarely ever even get to our beach house in Seaside, but I don't begrudge anyone else a good time or time away). I'm glad for her -- just sad for Sue.

But Sue is a problem as she won't cooperate with anyone. Not sure she can even if she wanted to...

Meanwhile Marilyn and I have our own health issues to deal with, including her IBS-d. I'm a week away from seeing the blood specialist. (sigh)

I did set up to see our friend Shari next week on Tuesday. We've been trying to do that since before Christmas and now it's February...

We're still trying hard to eat better and exercise more and get all our work done -- there's a ton of it.

Real life is where we have trouble. We both have 2018 goals, but not enough time to hit all of them.

Time for bed.
Hey, Charlie??? What the HELL is the matter with you? Why can't you get back to blogging every day! You'll be very sorry you didn't... Well, I'm annoyed with myself, I must admit. But it's one of those 'something has to give' things. I can't get over how much there is to DO every single day.

Well, it's my attempt to play catch up, anyway!

Marilyn had Court orientation first thing in the morning.

Then we ran some errands, but didn't do our manicures -- we just couldn't get ourselves to go.

One of the things we did was to drop by Sue's house briefly.

Then Marilyn and I took a ride to Kelly Point Park and took a walk there. (We're trying to get a lot of walking in right now.)

We were up late to see the Men's Finals for the Australian Open Tennis Championship of 2018. But we didn't even manage to stay awake for the end of the match as it ran so long into the night! Roger did win, and we were pulling for him.

We got up in time to go do our manicures. We both went VERY SHORT this time around. We both want to be able to work on learning the guitar and there's no way to make chords with long nails! Not even as long as we normally have, which really aren't that long. I think it would be safe to say my nails are actually short right now. And neither one of us cared much about the color, either. Hahaha.

After getting our nails done we stopped to see Sue and take her to get Starbucks. But we were in a hurry as we needed to get home and change into our uniforms for the funeral we were attending. We wanted to be there early as we knew it would be a big turn out. It was downtown, so we needed to get parking, as well (not easy downtown). And walk to the event.

It was held at the Portland Art Museum in the ballroom, and was packed with people. This event was for the amazing Vera Katz. Vera Katz (August 3, 1933 – December 11, 2017) was an American Democratic politician here in the state of Oregon. She was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, and later became the 49th mayor of Portland. She was elected to the Oregon House in 1972, and served as mayor from 1993 to 2005.

I have a photo of Vera with me here in my home office. Marilyn knew Vera quite well and did a lot of work with her when Vera was our Mayor. (Marilyn was invited to her retirement party, which was a big deal at the time. Marilyn took Jeff as her 'date' so he would be able to attend...) You can read more about Vera HERE.

After that we picked up Sue and went for a short ride up the Gorge (Columbia River Gorge). We stopped in Cascade Locks and had a bite to home before heading back and dropping off Sue.

Marilyn and I considered going to a movie on Sunday but were just too tired, so decided to skip it. There are several movies we'd like to see, but we haven't been up for it much recently.

This is ridiculous, but I don't remember yesterday that well. I was doing things around the house and messing with the festival website.

The main thing I recall is Marilyn on the treadmill running and me walking back and forth downstairs in the family room to get my steps. I was struggling with my damn Zip Fitbit which appears to be broken! The way these are made if you have to take the battery in and out (and they just eat batteries), then the little panel that opens and closes ends up cracking!

I did finally get 5,000 steps, anyway...

Oh! Marilyn brought home veggie burritos from Chipotle for dinner. That was nice!

Marilyn had to go to the dentist and came directly home after.

Marilyn has been waking up every morning at 5:01 a.m. Just an aside...

I spent time on the festival website again. And trying to work with Barracuda (our SPAM blocker), which I still don't understand all that well. (sigh)

I went out and once again fixed the umbrella for the critters by the tree. While I was there Carl dropped by and chatted with me. He's a black neighbor who would really like to start doing some yard work for me. He also mentioned today that he paints houses, so you never can tell...

I made it clear I don't want to fire Hector. But if Hector decides he can't keep going with the yardwork, I'll need somebody new. I also might want him to finish up the job Hector started on the tree (and never finished). Depending on how high Carl's bid is, of course. He's supposed to come by on Friday.

We ate leftovers from the Chipotle order for dinner tonight. We frequently eat leftovers now, as we rarely ever finish a meal. I had leftover Bong food for lunch (I stretched that meal into four different meals, actually!).

When Marilyn got up early this morning it woke me and I checked my blood sugar, which was low again. So I had some dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is actually good for you -- and I've gotten so I don't care for milk chocolate anymore -- who would have ever thought that would happen??? I just eat enough to bring me back up again without spiking, anyway. Lows happen for me when I eat very little and also exercise. But I'd rather be low than high...

Loving my new insulin pen, by the way! What a change from syringes with those miserable big needles that always hurt.

I tried to call June today, but missed her. I hope I can see her tomorrow...

We just each had a bowl of raspberries before bed. They weren't the best -- rather green and sour. Oh well. We don't eat many sweet things anymore, so we enjoy this treat quite a bit. (We don't eat that much period, if you want to know the truth.)

Speaking of, my weight was down a pound today. That makes me happy!

Marilyn had massage therapy tonight with Amanda in Donald, Oregon (that's a LONG drive). I did the treadmill while she was gone. I was listening to chords on my phone (using a speaker) and watching the movie "A Hard Day's Night" (the sound off) on TV. I got 6,000 steps today!

I got my paperwork for my upcoming appointment. It's tons of pages! I looked it over today and it's daunting. But I did force myself to go and type up my entire list of prescriptions and supplements -- and Marilyn was kind enough to print it out for me! So that was a step in the right direction, anyway. I wonder why they have to make all of this so hard to do? (sigh)

Well, we're heading to bed shortly. Believe it or not, it's not midnight yet!!! Maybe we'll make it to bed early tonight -- at least, early for us!

Sweet dreams, guys!
tennis ball
Just for the record, after much phoning back and forth -- I was very aggressive about all this -- I finally got my insulin in a pen and began using it. Plus I have an appointment with the specialist, too (again, I ended up phoning them). That appointment isn't until February 9, so as Marilyn put it, they must not think I'm dying or anything. Haha.

It's actually past 2:00 a.m. Right now -- we're up watching the Women's Finals for the Australian Open Tennis Championship right now. It's a set each for Halep and Wozniacki, both really outstanding players. Both are close to the same age and hit the ball really hard. It's been an impressive match, which is always nice for the Finals.

I spoke a couple of times with our friend Shari today -- very nice chatting with her. And I spoke several times with sister Sue, who has been really depressed recently. She called before this match, but not since then, so I don't know if she's still awake and watching...

We like talking to her during the match, so I'm sorry she hasn't phoned again. We can't call her as we might wake Candy...

I don't mean to dwell on it, but it's certainly nice having the pen for my insulin injections! So much less painful! It's wonderful that insurance covers it. The pen is ridiculously expensive. At one point we were going to try and pay out-of-pocket for it, but it was hundreds of dollars a month (!!!).

Marilyn did the treadmill again tonight, but didn't get her 10,000 steps. She does have a lot of steps for Saturday, however! I got 6,000 steps today, I'm happy to say.

I did the sheets (bed linen) today. And cleaned the cat boxes.

We have work and errands tomorrow. And a funeral on Sunday. It might not be a miserable pouring down weekend. The weather lately is nasty, cold and very wet.

Sweet dreams, my friends!
I had a FRUSTRATING day from the perspective of my medical concerns. I spent ages on the phone this morning! Back and forth about getting my referral to the specialist and then back and forth about my insulin pen. Thankfully the pharmacist mentioned I had a covered prescription for the pen, but they had neglected to send a prescription for the needles (!!!) to go with the pen! Geez, I could have ended up there with no way to actually inject the stuff. WTF????????

Marilyn had suggested I get the medical manager Nancy in the mix -- she phoned me back in November. What a brilliant idea! Anyway, she ended up a big help.

I thought I'd hear from the hematologist today, but didn't. I hope I hear tomorrow...

Went to Starbucks this morning with several people. I had low blood sugar early today (84) and was still pretty low when I finally got up (101). So I got food as well as coffee, just to be safe! I always get a bunch of steps at work, so I need to be careful.

I had lunch at the Turkey Place with Kris -- I ate an all-veggie sandwich (half, actually).

After that Kris and I had a lengthy meeting about Barracuda, which I think (fingers crossed) I understand better now. We shall see!!!

Then in the afternoon I had a website meeting with Rich, Kate and Calisa -- basically a start in the correct direction (I hope!).

I need to chat with Adeena about her role. I've kept her on the Website Team, as she has some skills. But not sure if she has the time for this or not...

Marilyn had severe IBS-d today! Miserable, actually. I felt really bad for her. It's hard enough to do the work without the health issues.

She's inpressed with Lisa (her new seasonal assistant), which I'm glad to hear. I have really positive feelings about both Lisa and Sophia.

I ate a peanut butter bun for dinner. Sometimes peanut butter doesn't sit well with me. We've been eating a lot of it with no issues, so I thought I'd be okay. But I had HELLISH stomach and back pains all evening and night tonight. I'm still not over them now.

The good news is that the bloody spots all over both arms have nearly entirely disappeared -- at least for now. I'll take whatever good news I can, of course!

Marilyn got 11,000 steps today! She just did the treadmill -- and was bleeding after that. I think from all the IBS issues plus the rubbing of running and walking on the treadmill. Poor thing!

I was just shy of 6,000 steps today! If I had looked before midnight I'd have tried to get those steps (less than 200). That burns me! Hahaha.

I never had time to phone sister Sue today, so hopefully I'll do that tomorrow. I usually check in with her daily, but it's hard when we're really busy and then tired.

Time to head to bed (it's nearly 1:30 a.m.).

I LOVE the new Burger King ad is trying to teach customers about net neutrality (using Whoppers to criticize the recent repeal of regulations that proponents said ensured equal access to the Internet). It's really brilliant! I have the link somewhere, but am too tired and lazy to hunt for it. Maybe tomorrow!

Why is there no 'pain' mood? They should have fixed the moods years ago... (sigh)

Sweet dreams!
I just got off the treadmill after walking for around 35-40 minutes. And then I got terribly nauseous and dizzy and frustrated and started to cry, half in anger (to tell the truth). Geez. No matter how hard I try to be more healthy, my own body is fighting me every step of the way.

Waah, waah. Poor me. What a 'Little Bitch' I am... Ignore that, please!

Okay, moving on now! It's 12:30 a.m. and I need to wash my hair so we can head to bed! Long day tomorrow. I'm meeting with Kris at the office for one thing.

I also really need to meet with Kate and Calisa about the website. And contact David at FISH about another website issue. (sigh)

My Fitbit appears to be broken. I can't believe I need yet another Fitbit!!! The way these are made, the cover tends to crack -- which is what happened to my last one. Seriously??? I was so burned I was going to miss steps coming upstairs to replace the battery. These things eat batteries, by the way. It's ridiculous! I love Fitbit, but certainly think they could make them better!

I did get my 4,000 steps for today -- plus 1,000 toward tomorrow. So that's good. Marilyn got 18,000 today!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I left a message for setting up my referral appointment today, but didn't hear back. Tomorrow I'll need to phone again and leave a different contact number and keep my fingers crossed, I guess.

I was very upset with Latoya, Leslie's assistant, today. She implied I was shouting at her. I would never do that! I hadn't even raised my voice. I can't understand where she was getting that. But, yes, I was disagreeing with her, I admit. You can disagree without raising your voice, though.

I leave a message for her to call me. I've told the front desk the entire message, but still want to tell her. It's that TWICE they have sent the wrong prescription for insulin to my pharmacy. I have two insulins. I don't use the second one. I certainly do use the first one. I'd like to get the first insulin in a pen -- and with my new insurance I'm pretty sure it's going to be covered. But they keep sending the second one to the pharmacy. It is covered, so that sounds like the first one will be, too.

So instead of sending the wrong prescription, please send the correct one. That's the crux of the matter.

When she finally phones me she doesn't want to do this. I ask if it's too much trouble and she basically says yes. She wants me to phone my prescription coverage provider and find out if it's covered or not. So after she has me terribly upset I agree to do that.

I call them. They check and say yes, it is covered. But they tell me I must get my health provider to send in a prescription. Wait. Is there an echo in here???

I call the front desk back and relay the message, telling the woman there is no way I'm going to speak to Latoya again after being upset by her. Yeah, there's no customer service anymore. And, sure, it didn't hurt me to make the call. But it's not my job -- it's Latoya's job. What the hell.

Anyway, assuming she ever does that, I should get my insulin in a pen finally -- which is wonderful!!! It will be so much less painful than injecting with a vial and syringe. I guess I'll find out soon whether she'll get it there for me or not...

I had to also replace the batteries on our Aria scale (it's a Fitbit-tied scale) today. I really like the scale and the fact it's tied to our device. Very nice!

The weather here is pouring nasty rain and cold, too. Just filthy weather! Ugh. And there's no end in sight. I only went out a couple of times all day and hated every second of it.

Took out garbage today and picked up around the house. Wrote some fiction (around 1,500 words, I think). I can knock off a thousand words easily, really, and love doing it...

Marilyn got home at a reasonable hour but very tired. Me, too (surprise). I'm constantly fatigued, but there are apparently a couple of decent reasons for it! Haha. We both had naps and lost track of time and she missed her massage therapy!

The bad thing: we hadn't taken our ballots in yet! And we missed the deadline. And our yes vote was badly needed. (sigh)

We are voters in this house! We rarely ever miss a vote...

Time to dash and do my hair. Sweet dreams, friends.
Monday. Marilyn felt poorly and stayed home. We BOTH slept a bunch today.

We did go to try and pick up my insulin, though. Leslie repeated the same wrong insulin. WTF?

We got some butternut squash at Costco around Christmas -- it's frozen. We hadn't tried it until tonight. It's really pretty good.

We're watching the Australian Open Tennis, but not fanatically. Often Marilyn is up all night and gets no sleep, but not so this year.

We picked up a TON of supplements that we needed (well, I needed). Vitamin D, Vitamin B 12 and on and on and on. Piles of bottles. Geez.

And we're about to have raspberries before bed. We both used to hate them and now love them. Go figure!

I've been having stomach pain on and off today -- it could be worse, I suppose.

Tomorrow I need to try setting up my appointment with the specialist.

It's been cold and rainy today -- really filthy weather. Yuck.
Marilyn and I tried to take it a bit easy this weekend -- never a simple thing for us!

We had issues at the office we had to deal with (sigh) and problems with sister Sue. I wish Sue could somehow get along to some degree with Candy, seeing as they've been living together for decades now. And Sue DOES need to use her oxygen and CPAP, take her damn pills and get exercise! She's been eating way too much, drinking too many fluids and lying around too much. The pills thing is maddening, considering I call her constantly to try and help.

She was in massive tears on more than one occasion when I spoke to her. I'm sympathetic, but she's not trying hard enough. And I can't blame Candy for getting worn out with her...

Apparently Sue did go to a cribbage tournament this weekend which made her happy, anyway... But expecting us to come there when I told her we COULD NOT DO SO this weekend is asking a lot. (sigh)

Saturday, January 20:
Marilyn and I attended the funeral for our friend Swede. Besides being a long-time member of the Royal Rosarians (which was how we knew him), he was also in the Elks and was a Mason. This is, interestingly enough, the first Masonic funeral Marilyn and I have ever attended. Fascinating, anyway!

We sat with Connie and Marcia at the funeral.

We stopped by the festival office afterwards and found that a window in Marilyn's office had been broken!!! These are huge windows (the building has a lot of glass), by the way. We got immediately concerned that someone could kick in the window and access her office and the entire building. So we were dealing with this for some time. Trying to figure out who to get to help us! Jeff was not initially much help. We took several items away with us to protect them (the crown, scepter and Marilyn's scepter).

We ran some errands and called it good...

Sunday, January 21:
We slept in today. We've been working out and have had a lot going on in January and we're TIRED. So sleeping is a good deal.

We needed to go to the office and see what (if anything) had been done about the window. Happily it got boarded up!!! I wonder when they'll replace it? It's far from lovely right now.

We did go to Starbucks and had brunch out (we were starving). And a long nap once we got home.

We decided to see a movie on the spur of the moment. We went to "Phantom Thread" which had excellent acting and an amazing setting, but was a VERY STRANGE movie, even so. It has 91% at Rotten Tomatoes -- which is unheard of! But seriously, it's an odd film. I'm not sure I'd recommend it to others. It was not what we'd been expecting.

No, we did not go shopping for supplements tonight as planned. We were too tired. We need to go, though.

Time for bed as it's 1:00 a.m. now. Marilyn has NO MEETINGS tomorrow! I hope that makes for a better day for her. Last week was brutal and she's pretty unhappy with her job right now...

An aside: I'm a bit burned I got nothing from my nurse practitioner Leslie on Saturday in the mail. I'm waiting to get that referral, for one thing -- but also the printed explanation of my labs, seeing as I wasn't even able to take notes when she phoned. Geez. I guess I'll have to call and get on this on Monday. Annoying.

Sweet dreams, friends.
I mentioned that my nurse practitioner (Leslie) phoned yesterday while Marilyn and I were 'out and about' during Sue's hair appointment. She insisted on going through ALL the damn lab numbers. Marilyn said after that we had made an appointment ESPECIALLY to discuss my current situation, and we didn't want to get into the rest of it.

I think she was trying to give me 'good news' before bad news -- it's ALL good news when you're dying to know what's going on! Just give me NEWS, can you?

I wish I'd been somewhere I could have made notes, but oh well. Cholesterol was HIGHER. Are you f-ing KIDDING ME?????? I've been almost totally vegetarian for months now! Certainly eating the best of my life. But the 'good' cholesterol was better. And my triglycerides were better. My A1C was 7.5, which is also better. Not perfect by any means, but better. I figured it had to be, as I'm pretty low much of the day when I test, and often very low, as well. And now I refuse to immediately pull it back up and spike, even if that strategy makes me miserable for hours...

She told me something weird about my blood being 'thick' (what???). Then dropped a bombshell that I have very high LEAD in my blood. She's referring me to a hematologist -- she mentioned three times not to 'freak out' because this would also be an oncologist. Apparently the two go hand in hand. She must have thought I'd jump to the conclusion that I had cancer. Me? I just want that referral to a specialist!

Finally, she said one of my pancreatic enzymes was normal. Then seemed forced to admit that another enzyme WAS high. She didn't say WHAT she wants to do about my pancreas, but 'Doctor Mur' (Marilyn) has scored again! I can't begin to list how often Marilyn does medical research and finds the correct prognosis! Those spots on my arms? Even with the pancreas issues Leslie was trying to say there was a different cause. They are what clued Marilyn in...

I've had pancreatic symptoms since around 2002. That's more than 15 years. Pancreatic problems can cause diabetes, which happened between then and now.

But if you look up high lead, it can cause many of the same issues as pancreatitis. WTF?

One article said that 40% of all people had toxic levels of lead. 40%??????? Are you kidding me? The only reason she found this was because she did such a wide range of blood tests. Clearly they don't normally check for lead.

How do you get it, I asked. She suggested my work place or the pipes in our house. Marilyn and I drink bottled water, and even make coffee with bottled water, so I find that unlikely, unless you can absorb it during showers or when washing in a sink.

However, when chatting about it with Kathy (my hairdresser doing Sue's hair), she mentioned sanding paint in her house. I did a TON of that in our last house. Tons and tons. It was a 1920's house. I never thought to wear a mask for the dust. But I can't really discover how long lead stays in the body. It can end up in organs and your bones. But it seems so random and wild. We made many jokes about licking window sill paint. Brother.

A reduced diet can be bad for people dealing with lead. Geez. Vitamin C helps, as does calcium (I've been eating far less cheese lately). And I'm low on iron and anemic, too. Really? Iron also helps with lead...

I have no clue what to think about all this. Just give me the referral, please!

Meanwhile, Marilyn had an awful day at work. Lately she's been hating her job. That sucks. All this extra work because of Jeff's new position with IFEA is ridiculous. She has more work than any one person can handle without adding to her workload. It's not fair.

Sister Sue is not cooperating with us about her health. She's not taking her pills which are essential to save her life. But at least her hair looks great! (smile) Kathy had been nervous at one point, but the color is perfect! And we love her cut.

I chatted with Sue several times today, anyway.

And I was doing work from here at home. Kris and I are going to meet next Wednesday about Barracuda, thank God! I really need this resolved.

Leftovers for dinner. We love Bong food. For me, that's noodles, rice and veggies.

Marilyn did the treadmill while I walked from the family room into Marilyn's bedroom and back again -- over and over. Marilyn is on a real mission and doing great. I've had a tough week with the pain and dizziness.

Sister Sue called tonight crying. I just can't go into it now. Maybe tomorrow. What a mess.

We have a funeral tomorrow...

Time to head to bed, anyway.

Don't worry -- Marilyn and I always manage to stay positive!

Sweet dreams, all!
I had an awful night last night. I went to wash my hair and got terribly dizzy in the shower. After that I dried my hair and headed down to bed. But I got to feeling worse when I tried to lie down. So then I went in the family room planning to rest sitting up -- but the TV was driving me nuts. Marilyn was asleep on the sofa in the family room watching Australian Open Tennis.

I went upstairs to my bedroom and piled up pillows so I could rest sitting up. This wasn't very comfortable because I was so miserable with dizziness and nausea. I had left Marilyn a note telling her I was sick in case she woke up worried about me.

Eventually I fell asleep and then Marilyn came and checked in on me. I was somewhat better by then, thankfully. But I figure I was awake more than half the night. (And in pain and feeling horribly sick.)

The question was whether or not I'd be able to go to work today.

Happily I did that and was able to walk to Starbucks (as we always do for a new person). And then train Lisa, who I really love. A very sweet woman who also seems smart and quick to learn. We were done with her training by 12:30 p.m.

THIS IS SO ANNOYING!!! For whatever reason, my computer is doing the 'stalling' thing it does! I type and it takes it ages to catch up to me. I've no idea why that happens when it does. But I'm in a hurry, so this is even more frustrating. (sigh)

I'll skip everything else from work. I was just glad to be there and things went well. The website was down and when I contacted Jeremiah at Atmosera he had it back up in around five minutes! Impressive. We were under a server attack, I'm sorry to say...

Marilyn had meetings all day long. We took off for one near home. She dropped me here and then when she was done we went to get sister Sue for her hair appointment. This time I had her going to Kathy, my hair dresser.

While Sue was at her appointment, Marilyn and I went shopping for a few items I needed (kitty litter, etc.). And we picked up food for dinner at Bong.

Sue's hair turned out PERFECT! The right shade of red and a lovely cut! Great job, Kathy!!!

I just did the garbage and recycling (real garbage week). And Marilyn is washing and doing her hair. She wore her hair up today (really nice!) and wore her new dress which looked fab.

Now it's past 1:00 a.m. and we're heading to bed any minute...

My nurse practitioner (Leslie) called while we were out with results from my labs. Too much to cover tonight. I'll share tomorrow (what we know now, anyway).

Sweet dreams, friends!
I'm better tonight, thank God. The pain earlier today was awful. At one point I was going to lie down, it was so bad. But then Donn pgoned about the Profile he was doing for me, and he was having issues, so I moved to the computer and never looked back...

On the positive side, my blood sugar was EXCELLENT today. Barely eating will do that. Seriously, when I'm in pain it often screws up my count, as pain can drive a person to be high. Not today.

I was 100 this morning. I had a peanut butter bun for breakfast, plus a pot of coffee. Much later in the day I dropped to 88 and felt slightly crappy, but I ate a plate of leftover Bong (noodles and veggies and fried rice with no meat or egg). There wasn't much, but it was enough. Marilyn came home and had a peanut butter bun for dinner, so I did, too.

I got a bunch of festival website work done today. And I finally managed to explain the Outlook distribution group to Donn. Good thing I get it. I have the steps for creating a Public Folder all written carefully out, and then adding Distribution Lists, too. And how to maintain these, and rename them if necessary. I reasoned all of that out for myself. I'd share with Donn, but if he finds simply making sure a User has access hard, then this stuff would be way too much. I'm fine managing it...

Last week I had to remind Rich how to maintain his own Public Folders he uses for PR. He seems to get it pretty well, actually.

I'd already set up Lisa's phone last week, thankfully. Sometimes I forget to do that, as it's specific to the phone system and not a computer setup item, per se. But our phones ARE tied to our computers (VOIP - voice over IP), so that's not entirely true. And nobody else is able to do this, so... At one point I was going to teach both Christine (now gone) and Donn how it was done. Oh well.

I did some research on things today. I was going to write, but didn't quite get there.

I did do dishes and took out the garbage, anyway. Yesterday I cleaned out a drawer in the office. I'd been looking for heavy duty tape for my outdoor project, and just jumped in. I got rid of MORE THAN HALF the contents! I'm pretty proud, as it goes against my normal tendencies so much.

Today I also dusted around my computer desk.

I did talk to the office several times. Marilyn was really busy, so we didn't talk much.

I'd love to reason out this stomach pain. Considering I'm barely eating, especially.

Our CABLE was out tonight! We pay way too much to ever have issues! We're also unhappy with our WiFi. Damn.

NASTY weather today!!!!! Pouring rain. Marilyn got soaked. She had a long, late day.

Well, I train Lisa (Marilyn's new seasonal assistant) tomorrow. So I need to wash my hair and head to bed very soon...

Sweet dreams!
So part of whatever-the-hell-is-going-on-with-me-now is that I have stomach pain and back pain. I THINK the stomach pain comes first and radiates into my back. But frankly, I'm not that sure. It's very low in my body, anyway. But this evening and night the stomach pain is MURDER. (ugh)

TMI: I'm constipated as I frequently am. I discussed this (yet again) with Leslie and said I didn't find that fiber was much help. She agreed saying some people were just 'slow' -- and Marilyn immediately agreed, as my gastro doctor was very clear about that with me.

I'm eating VERY LITTLE right now. And when my stomach hurts I really don't WANT anything to eat. (duh)

Today I had a small 'hunk' of a burrito. And some saltine crackers. I've had several cups of coffee. Oh! I had a small slice of bread. The neighbor brought over fresh baked bread for our belated Christmas gift and I had a slice (it's a very small loaf). And that's all I've had to eat. Unfortunately eating very little does not encourage my bowel to do its thing...

Marilyn wasn't feeling too hot this morning and stayed home. We both slept late.

Marilyn later went in to work for a meeting she had. She left around 3:30 and got home around 8:00.

While she was gone I went outside and worked on the 'feeding station' I have near the garage for the crows and other critters. I've had that up some time now and the wind never bothered it until recently! Now the frame which is light-weight metal got bent. I used duct tape and some pieces of wood to reinforce it. It's standing again, but I have no clue for how long... Marilyn saw it and didn't sound hopeful. Hahaha.

I talked to both sister Sue and my friend June tonight. I hadn't spoken to them and wanted to check in. I enjoy hearing the sound of a voice that I care about...

Loving "The Greatest Showman" soundtrack! Wonderful music.

Marilyn is LOVING her new iPhone! It's set up and working great now. Tonight we were trying to get the Jamoji speaker (looks like the poop emoji) to sync and having a pain -- but we reasoned it out, finally. That little speaker works great, by the way!

Marilyn was doing the treadmill and wanted the music. We were singing along part of the time! Great, great music.

My blood sugar today was AMAZING all day long! The highest it was ended up being 135 (!!!) AFTER EATING (unheard of!). But I was mostly in the 114 range all day long.

Not eating is great for diabetes, it seems. Hahaha. Well, as long as I don't get a LOW, that is!

I guess that's about it for today. We need to head to bed soon. We've been trying to go to bed before midnight, but it's hard.

I hope I hear results soon. I'd at least like to know why I'm having this pain. (sigh)

Sweet dreams!
sleeping-john, john-sleeping
Marilyn and I went to my doctor appointment today. Basically Leslie decided to do labs. If those come back negative, she's going to send me to a specialist.

She was very nice today -- especially positive about my weight loss, which made me happy.

After that Marilyn and I drove and got Starbucks, then went to Chipotle to get VEGGIE BURRITOS for lunch/dinner. We really do love these, so that was a nice treat!!!

Other than that, we spent a bunch of time SLEEPING. And watching some of the Australian Open Tennis tournament, too -- but mostly we slept during it. (grin)

We both realize we need to cut ourselves some slack about being tired right now. When you're really kicking up your exercise routine, you are tired for the first several weeks. And we're also getting back into our festival season, so...

Actually, it's 11:00 p.m. and we're heading to bed! Shocking, right? Hahaha. I don't know how others do it. We have such a tough time getting in bed before midnight.

Sweet dreams, everybody!!!
I slept VERY LATE. That was lovely! I had a bunch of great dreams. I think some were directly inspired from seeing "The Greatest Showman" last night. (smile) So full of color and joy.

Marilyn was gone when I got up, so I did my blood and insulin and set up my pills. Then she came back. She'd wanted to use the track at Roosevelt to run, but it was very busy there.

So she headed to the park to run, instead.

I headed over after I got dressed and we ended up walking there together. I had Sirius radio playing on my phone while we walked and chatted. We were listening to the Beatles, surprise. (I got more than 6,000 steps today.)

When she changed we took a bunch of stuff to the Goodwill (woo hoo) and also picked up prescriptions at the pharmacy (we both had some to get).

After that we took a ride and ended up at Starbucks near Gresham where we like to go. There's an Old Navy near by so we also shopped there.

Then we finally came back home again and were resting and watching the Australian Open Tennis on TV (it started today).

Tomorrow I go to see my nurse practitioner. I don't know if we'll get any answers or not. But maybe we three can start investigating what's currently wrong with me...

I need to check in with Kris about Barracuda (the spam blockers) and Donn to see if he's over the flu. I need him to profile Lisa -- Marilyn's seasonal assistant for 2018 -- this week. Then I'm set to train her on Thursday.

We ate leftovers today from Bong (no meat for me).

It's interesting how good we're being -- and how natural it feels. We've cut back our food intake a great deal. We're drinking a lot of fluids. We're getting more sleep. We're exercising EVERY SINGLE DAY.

We play nearly NO GAMES now. We haven't touched SimCity BuildIt in months, by the way. We still play good old Zuma, though -- nice for eye-hand coordination and mental planning for the patterns.

All this is aside from work, of course.

I've also been reading more again and writing regularly.

Not a bad start to the year. We just need to keep it up!

Marilyn is IMPRESSIVE with her running. She had been doing so well last year until her fall and knee injury. That knee still gives her pain, by the way. Awful. And she really had a fear of falling for some time after that fall...

I Facetimed Rich to tell him to simply go ahead and do whatever they needed to in order to get Merlin's lessons working on my laptop. He's wanted to get together, but I figured I wouldn't know how it needed to be set up anyway, so... She can take it to class and get help, he said, so it's all good.

It's a shame that a doctor appointment will mess up tomorrow. But at least we have the day off! That's nice.

The weather today was lovely! Actually clear and sunny with blue skies. Very mild. Heavy east wind out by Old Navy, though -- and chilly there! We're expecting rain the rest of the week.

Marilyn is right now running on the treadmill. She is dedicated!!!

Heading to bed soon (it's just past midnight here).

Sweet dreams, friends!!!
star, gold star
Marilyn and I went with sister Sue to see "The Greatest Showman," the 2017 American historical period drama MUSCICAL film directed by Michael Gracey and starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya.

The film is inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum's creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus and the lives of star attractions.

I was crying during the entire movie! It's incredibly moving. The musical numbers were WONDERFUL. Hugh Jackman was astonishing, as was Zac Efron. But the entire cast was just so damn good. Sue and I didn't know the songs, but were still singing along -- it was just compelling. So magical!

I walked out calling it the best movie I've ever seen. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's really good. If you haven't seen it, you need to!

Marilyn said that the critics were pretty split. But the public loves it. Many of our friends have seen it more than once. We certainly will, too.

Our auditorium was PACKED with people, which we never see anymore. We were late and trouble finding seats. At the end of the movie everybody clapped. Yeah, again, it's that good.

Lazy Saturday.

I got my hair cut by Kathy this morning. Marilyn is reading a manuscript of a book for a friend so she can give him an endorsement, so she read on that while waiting for me.

We got Starbucks and came home. We both had LONG NAPS, being tired from our busy week.

But I was glad we were able to go out to a movie, as it's been ages. Sue enjoyed it, too. We three all had popcorn, which was our dinner.

We started working on Marilyn's brand new iPhone tonight. It's a lot of work changing cell phones. There's more to go, so it should be done by tomorrow sometime.

It's a 7 plus (like mine). Lovely black (it was her only option).

Time for bed!
I worked from my HOME OFFICE today -- as I often do. Sometimes that goes better than other times, I have to say.

Before I go further, Marilyn got 18,000 (!!!) steps today! And has 80,000 for her seven-day total! That's just wonderful, in my book. I was pleased to get some steps just walking around the house. I always try to walk for work phone calls, for example -- and was doing that on the several occasions I spoke to sister Sue, too. But I got on the treadmill just before midnight and got 5,000 steps for today, which made me happy.

Unfortunately my left foot swelled up (???) right after that and the bones on the top of the foot disappeared. Yikes. It's quite tight and painful, too. Thankfully the right foot is fine, though. This is something about whatever the hell is going on with me, so I'm just riding it out for now...

We're really on a roll with walking, both of us, so I feel good about that. We did a TON of walking in NYC in December and are trying to keep it up now. Marilyn is taking a walk every day at work, even in foul weather...

Anyway, she left EARLY for the office, taking along my laptop that I got ready yesterday for my friend Rich to borrow. Actually, his wife Merlin is borrowing it. She's taking classes online and needs a Microsoft-based computer -- and they use Macs at home.

I got started early gathering garbage and taking it out. And continuing to put stuff back from yesterday. I also wrote just shy of 1,000 words on a short story. I've been writing about every other day (aside from blogging). Marilyn and I actually have a book we want to write together. Well, it's HER book, but I'm probably going to help write it. I love writing, so it's delightful to be back at it.

Of course, we both do a lot of writing for work, too -- but this is different. I enjoy all forms of writing, but there's nothing quite like writing fiction.

I did a bunch of festival website work today. Tying up some loose ends, for one thing. But also one of those I-am-a-genuis (hahaha) things, too. With the current website it's more complicated to do certain things. I had 'removed' a page WITHOUT actually taking it down. I got it easily out of the main navigation, but subnavigation is VERY, VERY COMPLICATED. So I was struggling with that. But today I reasoned it out (as Rich put it, 'all by yourself!'). There's such SATISFACTION in figuring out something difficult without needing to ask someone to help you...

My Website Meeting with FISH went well -- when it finally happened, that is! It was supposed to be at 2:30, but Brit couldn't locate David at that point. I don't remember what time they finally phoned me. It was a matter of clearly communicating what I was going for, mostly. I knew from the get-go it shouldn't be a difficult fix on their end (David confirmed it's not), but it will make a HUGE CHANGE on my end for website maintenance!!! I'm pretty excited about it.

They put it in the queue for early next week, anyway. Now I need to do some other website things, but I feel pretty good at this point.

Then next big job is TRAINING other people in the office how to help me out with this work. Currently I am the only one who can work on the website -- shades of the 'old days' that we were supposedly moving away from! Hahaha. As I told Brit, the only reason there's any pressure to make the changes right away is that I don't want to teach anyone anything until we're using the new method!

Our friend Steve (from the Clown Corps) phoned me today. He's a lovely, friendly and very positive man that I really enjoy talking to. He actually called just to tell me that Billy Joel was going to be doing a special program on Sirius Radio about the Beatles!!! I had no idea Steve even knew that I was a fan, but he told me, "I know that you're a big fan of the Beatles, so I immediately thought about you." How kind of him to contact me and let me know!

He also reminded me about an event he's having in March that he very much wants Marilyn and I to attend. I talked to her about it and we both think we want to try and be there. It's hard this time of year if it's not festival-related, but we'll see what we can do...

I was CHILLED all day long. Not sure why!

My friend June (and Jim) gave me a thermometer for my birthday, knowing I didn't have one. I was trying it yesterday and my temperature was really low. It was better today, but still lower than normal. I wonder what that's about? Maybe that's why I feel chilled...

Bong for dinner! (woo hoo) I like my noodles and veggies (sans any meat), plus fried rice (sans any egg). So yummy! I ate little else all day. Marilyn is doing her fasting routine right now -- partly because she's in a flareup and needs to avoid eating except at home.

I was 88 this morning (blood count), which usually would be low for me. But it seemed fine and I didn't have any ill effects. So I think I'm getting lower and getting used to being there. I guess we'll see when I finally get my current A1C (which I'm overdue to have).

I did play the Beatles Channel much of the afternoon and evening, anyway. I love it when Billy Joel -- a Beatles 'super fan' -- talks about their work. It's going on all weekend, which should be great fun!

Can't think what else to share. It feels like I'm forgetting things, it's been so busy. We're supposed to have nice weather this weekend, then rain all next week.

Hope you're all doing well!
Marilyn has been having trouble with a slow draining bathtub in her downstairs bathroom. Mine was only slightly better. And frequently we have issues with the laundry room sink where the washer dumps. So I got an appointment for today between noon and 3:00 with Mr. Rooter.

I'm not sure why they call this 'rooting' -- usually inside the house it's about things that go down the drain, and that's mostly HAIR. As Marilyn and I both have long hair and have had this done before, we knew what to expect...

We've been using Mr. Rooter for years, so I naturally went back to them. The change in COST was a bit of a surprise (read SHOCK) when options were quoted to me! This is obviously why they do not post their prices anywhere you can check them. The process is a 'free' estimate -- if you agree they do the work immediately. The first drain is the 'expensive' one with each successive drain costing a bit less. Not much!

And the ONLY option that made sense to us was the so-called 'cheap' one, which was $600 (!!!) for the three drains! Don't forget, they have a six day guarantee. I was so stunned I had to phone Marilyn before agreeing. Hahaha. Yikes. This used to be something like $75 a drain. I guess it's been awhile since we had to have it done...

This morning aside from my festival work, I spent time preparing the three areas -- I've been through this rodeo before, after all. It doesn't pay to leave ANYTHING right around where the work takes place, as this is a messy process. And I ended up picking up in general around the house before deciding I did NOT need to clean for the drain guy. Hahaha.

He was a nice kid (very young, but strong). Short hair, but he told me he used to have long, long hair back in his pot smoking days. Hahaha. He was very hard working, but said it was only four years ago he lazed about not working. Ah, youth. His mind is decidedly in a different place now, however.

The process is also VERY NOISY. I don't know exactly what machinery he uses, but it plugs in and is hard to hear.

I was 'going about my own work' (at his suggestion) and doing a business-related phone call. I had to close doors to hear. Yikes.

He was here for HOURS doing these drains! And was pleased to show me first how slow they were and later how fast they were. Proud of his work.

He was much more careful than others I've had in here, putting down drop cloths and so on. But it's STILL messy, even so! So after that I had to put everything back to normal and do my own cleaning up. Glad to have THAT out of the way. It usually lasts for years. I can't recall the last time it was done here...

OKAY! Just looked it up and we last had it done in 2015. Um, that bothers me. I mean, at these prices. Hahaha.

Marilyn and I ate leftovers for dinner from Bong (the restaurant right up the street from here). We were both hungry after no food during the day.

We've been getting steps every day again. Marilyn is just under 10,000 steps a day for the week. I'm averaging around 5,500 steps a day (but that's not what I'm getting every day). I did get over 5,000 steps today by doing the treadmill. Marilyn has even been doing some running on the treadmill. She also has been getting out daily to go for a walk as her one break during the work day.

Marilyn took sister Sue to the doctor yesterday. More about that later. Let's just say she's frustrated. We both are. I spoke to her several times today. She told me she had weighed and was 180. Marilyn says that's IMPOSSIBLE as she was nearly 200 pounds at the doctor and even allowing for clothing that's too far down too fast. I just want her to take her damn pills and weigh herself, then write it all down as agreed...

I've also been weighing daily -- the first time in my life, really. We used to only weigh once a week on a given day (way back when). We have a very fancy scale tied to our Fitbits now that tells weight and body fat percentage.

Well, headed for bed as it's past midnight. I just took out the recycling as it's garbage night. I also did the cat boxes today and cleaned out the cat water.

Busy damn day, all in all!

I get my hair cut on Saturday and see the doctor on Monday!

I hope life is treating you all well, dear friends (and family).
beatles1, beatles
I recently mentioned:
But Marilyn and I are more wrapped up in the Beatles right now than ever before in our lives. The Beatles make us HAPPY. The Beatles keep us SANE. The Beatles are apparently exactly what we need right now in our lives. It's great fun sharing this with each other.

I was asked in return:
How to they keep you happy and sane? How are they in your lives right now? Just seems odd since half of them are gone if you consider Ringo as part of the group.

I'm delighted to explain in greater detail -- THANKS for asking!

Let's approach this first from the musical perspective. Marilyn and I -- two of the happiest people I know, by the way -- have always believed music can be utilized to enhance mood. We've dealt with many friends and family who were depressed, and frequently suggested music as a potential therapy. For us, the music of the Beatles brings positivity and joy. On May 18, 2017, SiriusXM Radio began playing the Beatles on a special 24/7 channel. We have a subscription to Sirius and that channel is pretty much the only one we listen to when in our car (and we spend a lot of time in the car). But we also can listen to Sirius on our devices, and do. (Aside from Sirius Radio, we own much the Beatles music digitally on our devices, as well.)

I can't tell anyone else what to think about the music of the Beatles, but Marilyn and I appear to be in a large international group of fans and listeners who believe this is some of the best music in the world. It's fascinating to hear musical experts explaining exactly why this is true -- though we two have our own opinions about that!

Again, I can't speak for others, but do people REALLY only listen to the music of those currently living? As a fan of George Frideric Handel (especially the 1741 oratorio the "Messiah") and Frederic Chopin (especially his nocturnes which consist of 21 pieces for solo piano written between 1827 and 1846) -- among many, many other classical composers (and works) -- I find that difficult to believe. You might not place the Beatles in this category, but me? I do. If you're a Rock and Roll fan, the genius of the Beatles is incredible. Little wonder Sir Paul McCartney was knighted in 1997, and Ringo Starr will be knighted this year (recently announced). Of course, the Beatles are about more than their music -- though their music alone would be worthy of great admiration. We're constantly playing their two movies:
"A Hard Day's Night" AND "Help!"

I won't bother going into reviews, even though people also wax poetic about these films. I'll just say seeing them gives me joy (not just pleasure), and leave it at that.

Having discovered the countless Instagram accounts for the Beatles, it's frankly astonishing how many images are out there! We both look at these daily, and STILL see tons of 'new' ones we've never seen before. I wonder how many there are? I wonder if it's even possible to view every single one?

Because we've always believed in fandom and been part of one (since childhood), there's also a countless amount of fanfic available to read -- including plenty of high quality work (and I'm a picky reader, as we all know). Speaking of reading, there are countless BOOKS, too. An unbelievable amount, really.

Then there's all the video (we use YouTube for this mostly, but there are many sources). Recently as we're learning the guitar, I've been viewing specific videos regarding the Beatles and the guitar, as many consider their guitar playing (and composing) unparalleled. They used techniques that are frequently copied today.

Aside from what the Beatles accomplished as a group in the 60’s, each of these men went on to do some wonderful things. John Lennon's activism -- especially in the cause for worldwide peace -- is still inspiring today. Do you still eat meat? Listen to Sir Paul's countless videos and very gentle statements about why you might reconsider doing so. He has my attention -- and I always swore I would never change my mind on the subject. These men fought for equal rights for people of color when it was extremely unpopular to do so, by the way. (And they wouldn't play in a concert to a racially segregated arena.) That might not sound like much now, but back then it was okay to ignore the situation, especially when the bottom line was involved. The list of charities and causes helped by all four men is huge -- and we have to remember John was killed in 1980. (And George passed in 2001.)

While I will always admire how they cared (and care) about these things too numerous to even list, I still go back to how they make me FEEL. Sharing about them during the day with Marilyn frequently makes me smile, and sometimes makes me laugh out loud. I guess for me the Beatles are a mood elevator. Hearing their music -- and especially singing along to it -- makes me happy, pure and simple. Recently we took our sister Sue (who is probably bipolar) for a long ride in the car. We were listening to the Beatles, and she began to SING ALONG with the songs! We had both believed she wasn't a fan, and didn't really know their music. Clearly we were wrong. (There's a ten year gap between Sue and me in age -- more for Marilyn.) Sue was as joyful that day as I've EVER seen her, and I think I must give a healthy chunk of credit to the Fab Four.

It shouldn't take this many words to explain all this, granted. Some experiences are beyond words, anyway. It's gratifying to be able to feel this level of passion about the Beatles decades after they first appeared to the world. It's downright FUN to walk around wearing my Beatles tees and buttons. I'm proud to be known as a fan. I get approached about it right now in public -- always in positive ways. This feels a little bit like sticking up for them, by the way -- not that they need it! But Marilyn and I learned very early in life about doing just that: sticking up for the things (and people) that we cared about -- and even loved.

As for us, we remain some of the happiest people you'll ever know into our 60's (with more years to come). And we're passionate about many subjects. We find life is better when you live it in a positive way. Yeah (yeah, yeah), we're practical people, too. And as you all know, we work very hard. But hanging in there is about staying grounded. Right now I credit the Beatles with being a major focus in my life -- and helping me to be better in so many ways.

Two are gone (are they really gone?) and two remain. But even when these two are also gone, we'll never stop having the Beatles. How lucky are we? I wish everyone could have something like this to enjoy. They are both nostalgic and comforting and brand new, all at the same time. I'm smiling just typing this.

Stop me now! I can seriously keep sharing (things keep springing to mind), maybe forever. I'll save more for other posts. And thanks for sticking with me through this long entry. Or if you didn't, ignore the above and just go put on a Beatles song and listen to it -- and sing along. That's what I plan to do right now!

(Again: THANKS for asking. It was a good and a valid question. And not the first time someone has wondered about what I feel on the subject...)