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Charlie's Strange and Happy World
...one page at a time
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!
stormy beach
Marilyn worked another long day. (She had a difficult day, from all accounts.) She was kind enough to pick up my pills for me after work.

I did quite a bit of IT, plus website work, for the festival today. I talked to Donn for ages, and to Kris for ages, too.

I also cleaned the large cupboard directly below where we keep the salt and pepper (and Marilyn's pills). And in the pantry cupboard, too. Apparently molasses spilled there -- what a mess!

I need to phone my hematologist tomorrow. I have those marks on my right arm again. Marilyn and I are wondering if they're related to the need for another iron infusion...

Marilyn got sick after dinner tonight. She's been fighting a bug and feeling a tad under the weather lately. (I actually felt poorly, too, but hopefully it's nothing. I did throw up on one of my favorite Beatle shirts. Yuck!)

We're having quite a storm tonight! Rain and cold -- plus wind! The wind is really rattling the house. Terrible.

Marilyn is asleep on the family room sofa (her cozy spot). I'm in my family room chair, watching TV while I type. ("Hart to Hart" is on.)

Marilyn and I did watch some Australian Open tennis.

(It's actually 3:30 or so in the morning.)

I'm thinking about giving us a jolt of heat. It's really cold in here...

(I'm trying not to worry about Marilyn...)
Today was my monthly visit to my doctor (nurse practitioner -- primary care provider), Leslie. (I didn't actually blog on Monday. So now I need to backdate this, so I have a record of this. I need to know when I see her each month, and I forgot to add it to my monthly Google calendar. It won't let me go backwards and add something!)

After seeing Leslie Marilyn and I dropped off my prescription, then drove down to the beach house.

Marilyn did quite a bit of cleaning up while we were there. And we both packed up a bunch of things to bring back to the Portland house.

We both were feeling sick coming home. French fries saved our lives, and I'm not kidding. (If you've never eaten something salty when you felt nauseous you'll have a difficult time understanding...)

My blood pressure was even lower than last time, and my weight was down, too.

I hope all of you are STAYING HEALTHY.

(By the way, happy dreams, all.)
We took a day off today. Marilyn really needed the rest, but I guess I did, too. I didn't sleep well last night, so I ended up sleeping in until noon! I slept downstairs, because I was worried about Marilyn. But I have to wonder if I would have awakened if she needed me...

We did get a bunch of rest and sleep, anyway, throughout the day.

This evening we tried DoorDash for the first time. We ordered from Red Robin through them and got our order with no problems. Very convenient when you really don't feel like going out.

Some people complain about the fees, but they seem reasonable to us. They have to make money to stay in business!

"Dracula's Daughter" was on Svengoolie. That's a good movie. It was actually the sequel to "Dracula."

As for the Australian Open...Tsitsipas beat Federer. What a disappointment. Ashleigh Barty beat Maria Sharapova (we've always been Maria fans, but weren't really pulling against the Australian girl). Rafa Nadal beat Tomas Berdych in three straight sets. (We're big Nadal fans.) Simona Halep took out Venus Williams, and will now face Serena.

Sister Sue called today, back from her visit to see her son Larry and his family.

I was texting with both Shari and June...

Johnny seems better today. Maybe he was dealing with a fur ball. They really make him miserable.

We both really need manicures and pedicures. We hope to do that tomorrow.

Sweet dreams, all.
busy caesar, busy
For the record, it's currently 2:46 a.m. -- night for Friday in my mind, but actually Saturday -- very early. I just watched an episode of "Hart to Hart" with Johnnie (our cat) upstairs. Marilyn, Colin (Kitty) and Henry (Tudor cat) were all downstairs watching tennis. I started watching while making popcorn for a late snack. If you're surprised I would eat so late, I'd mention my many recent low blood sugars...

Thursday, 17 January:
I had meant to post a second entry, but never got it. Just a few random details that come to mind.

I was pleased that I got the garbage and recycling done really early in the day. Nice to do it when it's light out.

Scooped out and added to the catboxes. Still really liking the new litter!

Jokes abound about the 'crazy cat lady' (thanks to plumber John). That should give us fodder for some time.

Marilyn called me around 7:00 p.m. -- she was really too busy to talk to me during the work day. She said she tought she could finish in an hour. She called back at 8:30 p.m. She was home by around 9:00. She works harder than anyone I know... Anyway, she got the PowerPoint done for Friday's early morning meeting.

We ate sautéed veggies for dinner. Really delicious!

Friday, 18 January:
I'm probably forgot things for Thursday. I'm very tired and become much more forgetful when I'm tired.

I spent some time in the morning with Johnnie, who was sick. (sigh) He didn't even want to eat, he felt so bad. He threw up, and wouldn't come out in the house. He just wanted to lie and rest or sleep.

I worked with Angel on the Clown page on the website. Because of email issues (the Exchange is a mess!) this took hours. It's frustrating having Kris out sick, poor guy. I really wanted to phone him...

After that, I borrowed Marilyn's ukulele so I could try it out. I was practicing my strumming. I'm supposed to get my ukulele this weekend. I'm very excited!

Finally got myself to color my hair. I've been using Schwarzkopf for some time. But this is my first time using Ultime Hair Color. I really think I like it. It seemed to cover my extreme white roots, anyway. My hair is also shiny and healthy looking, and feels great to the touch!

Since my Postherpetic Neuralgia, showering alone is really difficult. And coloring my hair is more so. It's tiring and painful. But I think I did a good job (and pushed through).

After that I did eat a couple eggs. I've been trying to eat regularly to help dealing with my blood sugar. I'm monitoring it constantly.

Then I vacuumed the stairs and family room. I was planning to vacuum, but couldn't decide after doing my hair. But I decided I'd at least give it a go!

While resting, I phoned June. She had a bit of an iPad mess, so I went over there. We two worked out a few things together, then I headed back home.

I had stupidly put dishes to wash. I need to do it early in the day, as Marilyn is really allergic to the smell of the dishwashing liquid, which stinks up half the house. I had a window open and the range filter running to no avail.

Marilyn was supposed to come home early, so I dashed down to vacuum her bedroom and walk-in closet. She came home while I was finishing up.

I made chili for dinner.

I guess that's all to share. I'm dead beat, but wide awake. Listening to Marilyn sleep, as I've been worried about her recently.

I can't decide if I should sleep here (not as comfortable as a bed), or go sleep in my bedroom with Johnnie. I'm not as worried tonight about him, as he seems better now (coming out of his room, and eating). But I remain worried about Marilyn... (sigh) I think I'll go check on Johnnie and then come back...

Goodnight, friends.
My new plumber -- discovered via my electricians -- called me a crazy cat lady this morning. He never saw a single cat, as I had Johnnie in my bedroom, and Colin and Henry in Marilyn's bedroom. I mentioned to him that the doors were shut to keep our cats away from his work. Later on he told me I reminded him of his ex-wife, with my cows in the kitchen and all my cats -- like she had. He said she was a crazy cat lady, like me (!!!). To be clear, I like ROTH, the new company I found when wanting to get our electrical work done. As they also do plumbing, I was pleased to give them a try.

John was actually pleasant to work with. Somehow we got to talking about health. If we're talking ill health, he wins. Poor guy. He'd lost his plumbing job with another company and was between jobs -- with no insurance. He had pains, but thought it might be indigestion. Then food poisoning. 12 hours later his mother forced him to go to the emergency room. He had Pancreatitis! With no insurance he was in a pickle. He was saved by COBRA insurance, ending up paying $3,000 rather than $32,000. (I'm not being judgemental, but he's overweight, which probably is part of the problem. I should know, after all!)

I was amused during the summary. He tells me part of our issue with free flow in the sink are the drains we use. He suggests the usual pop-up stopper version. I tell him I personally removed them from both sinks. Our main issue with our sinks blocking up is hair -- as we both have long hair. He admits the pop-up type won't keep hair out of the pipes, but my change to the drain insert will. It was a relatively simple and inexpensive fix to our problem. Yes, we have to pull these out and empty them, which can be gross, but whatever. (I did it for my bathtub, too.) These don't catch all hair, but enough...

So when he's leaving, our total cost for today was only $129. (There's more to come.) They charge $89 to come out, but that's wrapped into your actual work. I had him check about our $89 charge from last time and he said we should have had that subtracted from the full job. As he said, $89 is $89. So he was going to mention it at the office.

Finally, he tells me the price to install new faucets if we go out and buy the hardware. It's something like $529 for both, but he'll do it for $500. If he has to get the hardware, it was more than a thousand dollars for both. Are you kidding me? Not a chance...

The best part of this is having drains that are cleaned and working well. Plus I cleaned up under the sink in both bathrooms. In mine I got rid of a bunch of stuff (a lot, honestly) -- threw some away, bagged some for the Goodwill. Then I rearranged under the sink, and on my counter. (Yes, I tried to put Marilyn's things back as I found them.)

The plumbing is fixed and the house is cleaner and more organized. All good.

After John departed I went to check on Johnnie, who was fine. Then down to see Henry, who was fine, too. Colin wasn't in his usual hidey-hole in Marilyn's walk-in closet. Maybe he could hear the work too clearly there through the wall. He was in her other corner where she keeps her boots, crammed in. I comforted him.

He didn't seem as freaked out as usual, really. But I got him to come upstairs with me, and gave him some attention before moving on to my next task (busy day).

Marilyn was funny, making jokes about John losing his job by insulting customers. Haha. Seriously, he was a nice guy, for the most part.

More later!
I'm tired. In fact, I fell asleep and just woke (it's after 2:00 a.m.). We were supposed to have popcorn at 10:30, but I slept through it...

I wanted to actually share some photos in this entry, but my upload failed, yet again. Frustrating. (sigh) So much for that idea.

Watching Australian Open tennis. Some impressive play!

Worked at least half the day on Festival things. A lot of website, including the official charity for 2019. I did a mock page, based on the Press Release Rich and I are to load tomorrow night. (Odd time to go Live.) Plus the short version of their description from Twitter. Them made a header banner that can stay until they give me the genuine article. Odd that they gave us Social Media info which required going to each site and searching! I did taht to locate the actual URLs, which I then shared around. Who wants to run to Facebook and hunt for the actual page? Or the same for Twitter and Instagram? No idea what they were thinking...

Rafa's playing now...

I had additional work, including setting up the Community Calendar so events can fill out an application to apply to appear there. That went well. Rich has been waiting on me, so it was about time I got to it!

I also got a bunch done at home.

I found our decorative wreath from the beach. We've had it home for ages to fix it. It fell down at our beach house and broke. But today I noticed it hanging in the garage and decided I wanted it on the inside of our front door. It's made of AMAZING driftwood that's been carefully nailed together. The colors are incredible. The part that 'broke' was this inner circle or sea shells, and it was just a couple that fell off. (The wreath was accidentally hung wrong, and it came crashing down at some point. The shells are glued on, so they can come loose.)

I pulled off a bunch off glue with a needle nose plier, discovering that once that was done you don't actually mind the few missing shells. It's really about the wood, in my mind. And it's perfect on our front door!

[Click on photo to view full size image.]



We have some green and blue elements in our room (obviously all our green doors), so this works nicely, I think. Anyway, I felt it was a good use of my time.

I also (finally!!!) took down the Christmas lights.


I hung these on our Critter Cafe this year (Marilyn's idea). They turned out cute. June (our friend and neighbor) was heartbroken when I turned them off last week. It's been so cold here I was reluctant to risk being outside to do the work, because of my long-lasting cold, having been warned repeatedly about how it could get worse.

Check this out! I wenck and added these photos! Got to share them after all.

Anyway, little wonder I was worn out, with both mental tasks, plus physical ones! A full and busy day...

Poor sister Sue! I warned her yesterday that I was working today. Yet she called me repeatedly today. I had to keep putting her off, being tied up. I'll try and phone her tomorrow...

I'm usually very good about it, calling her every day, and usually several times a day. I understand she's lonely, poor thing. (Even though she can't really remember what's said...)

We had chili for dinner, which we both love! Great when it's cold.

It's now after 3:00 a.m. Marilyn has been tired. We were going to get to bed early tonight. But the tennis really does beckon!

I've found it's easier all the time to balance spending time with the three cats. I still want to try to get them used to each other, but have been too busy to care much. I take turns letting Johnnie and Colin upstairs. Henry can't manage the stairs much these days, so doesn't mind staying down. (However, when he 'knocks' at the door to come up, I put Johnnie in his bedroom and let Henry up, of course!) I think Colin and Johnnie mostly accept this, so it's fine. I enjoy having both keep me company while I'm working. It's interesting that Johnnie is such a loud talker that people think he's Henry over the phone! Haha.

June's TMJ is much better. But now she has a cold, poor thing.

Our friend Shari went for blood work last week and has an appointment Thursday about her kidney function.

Thursday I have the plumber coming. Tomorrow I need to clean out under the sinks...

I have more website work tomorrow. And I need to phone Kris about some IT matters...

I tried a (dumb) test today. My alarm didn't go off at noon. So at 1:00 p.m. I realized I hadn't taken my pain meds. I wasn't feeling that bad, so I thought I'd try waiting and see if I was getting better. (This isn't the first time I've tried this.) And by 2:30 I was dying. So I quickly took my pills. I just keep thinking (and hoping) that I'll suddenly feel normal again. I guess that's how all people with chronic pain feel... All these many months later (since last April), I jus can't believe I'm in this pain, and not improving.

Marilyn said tonight she thinks I'm better. Maybe. Or maybe I just cope better. Today I noticed I was walking bad again when late on my meds. I've been so proud about how normal I seem walking now. I suppose that's mostly an illusion... Haha.

Well, I need to go to bed. Take care, my dear family and friends! Watch out for ill health. And have sweet dreams!
It was a pleasant AND productive weekend.

Marilyn and I attended the first Court Orientation on Saturday. Marilyn had the lovely project of striving to get the PowerPoint done before the end of the week, because really she doesn't have enough work to do without adding that on. Anyway, she needed to be there to make sure everything (including her PowerPoint) ran well. Having been to many of these in the past, I thought this was an improvement.

Marilyn has been experiencing a flare up of her IBS-d as part of her illness. She stayed home Monday and Tuesday, but worked very hard the rest of the week, including an 11-hour day on Wednesday with no break. I don't know how she made it through the week.

We did have hot meals (!!!) during the week. This included cleaning out the freezer upstairs.

Amusing note: We had items from 2017 up there that had gone bad. I think this mostly due to my being ill in 2018. I wasn't up to much cooking, norcleaning for muchof the year.

Have I mentioned that we just changed kitty litter recently??? Marilyn was very allergic to the previous brand (I was bothered by it, too). So we needed to try something else. And we found Arm and Hammer Naturals Clumping Litter with corn fibers. This is by far the best litter we've ever used, bar none. Very light weight. Extremely pleasant fragrance. It genuinely does control odors beyond any expectations. Our main issue was finding it! When we did locate it, it wasn't in enough quantity! So Marilyn went online and found it via Amazon Prime. She even got a subscription.

We ended up with four large bags, delivered in two large boxes! We're both interested to see how it works out lasting over the month, and whether or not we'll need to supplement it or not...

Again, what a difference in the smell in the house!

Years ago a close friend remarked on the fact that she could never tell we owned cats, based on any odor in the house. We've been fortunate to have the cat boxes locaated in our laundy room, which is downstairs off the family room. That means most the house really isn't impacted. However, when those two boxes are dirty, we can notice the smell in the family room. Plus we can smell it at the top of our stairs, for whatever reason (odd area for it). And Marilyn will notice it in her dresing room, off her bedroom -- which isn't odd, considering they share a wall, and the boxes are right against that wall. But no worries with this new litter! Right now I'm in my chir, just outside the laundry room -- and that means I caan frequently smell the odor there. Right now all I can smell is this pleasant odor of the litter fragrance (even though they both need scooping). Perfect.

This is especially nice, considering I now have a box in my bedroom, with keeping Johnnie there since we moved him in the house. Sometimes when my door was open you could smell odor (meaning bad odors). But now if you smell anything, it's the pleasant smell of the litter!

We owe this positive change entirely to Marilyn, who picked out the new brand. The last one was clumping and like sand -- and it got EVERYWHERE! Ugh. And gobs stuck to the paws of the poor cats. Even if this does stick, it's just not as nasty as previous brands.

Getting it via Amazon Prime reduces the price, plus trying to constantly locate it. Marilyn researched the price compared to other services, such as Chewy.com -- Prime was cheaper. But it's not cheap, by any means. Of course, since we changed to clumping, none of those brands are cheap. Marilyn was asking me how some elderly woman on a low fixed income could afford it. I answered that she would be getting the old-fashioned variety, and the cheapest kind out there -- which is what we did for many, many years!

But we both hated having that litter all over the house! Hard pieces and sharp edges to step on, or find in the bed. A real pain. I'm glad we can afford this better brand. And I love the smell! Plus the cats seem good with it. No issues there at all.

We picked up prescriptions, which I really needed to do. And got very bad news -- our local Riteaid is CLOSING very soon!!! We both really like that store. And love the pharmacists and their assistants. We'll miss them. Thankfully it won't be faar to go for our medications, which are being moved to Walgreens, just down Lombard. Odd that we've received no notification about the change, considering it's such a big one!

We gave Hector a belated cash gift for Christmas, adding the sum to his check for work this past week. Plus we gave him a bottle of wine and some nice chocolates.

I did not get our neighbor Christmas gifts out, as planned, but I think it's for the best. I didn't want to risk getting sicker with my cold. So many people are getting pneumonia and ending up in the hospital.

We both had to sit at the computers in our office and do work for the festival. Marilyn was writing out a detailed description of the Orientation and what needed changing. I was tweaking the website changes from Friday that Steven and I worked on. Then revamping the detailed step by step instructions for the 'How To' site -- in this case it's very much for me (!!!), but also there potentially for others to learn from. My original goal with writing up instructions for the CityFair pages was to 'simplify' what we do. Well, as much as that's possible, anyway...

I still want to see June and have her try 'Ocean,' one of the many downloads I've bought from Potentials Unlimited. Have I mentioned them before? I highly recommend their Subliminal Persuasion Guided Meditation MP3s (and other versions -- Marilyn and I used to buy their cassette tapes, and still have some). I genuinely think it could help her. She has really bad TMJ, which Marilyn has also had forever.

I force Marilyn to listen to 'Ocean' when she's 'snapping' in her sleep. She'll bring her teeth together so hard it seems like she could break them! The sound is terrifying. She bites the hell out of her poor mouth!

The download does seem to help, and really helps her sleep (a total side effect). It helps me sleep, for that matter! In this case, we're using the Relaxation 'tape' (which is how I tend to reference them, even now). But there are so many to choose from.

We went grocery shopping. We were out of Kleenex (after having our colds), bottled water (big and small), cat food, etc. And low on bread, eggs, and several other things. That was good of her, as she probably wasn't really up to shopping.

We watched TV, too, including more Jeopardy (we're almost caught up). And The Australian Open has started.

Can't think what else we got done...

It's nearly morning, actually. I'm sitting up because I woke and couldn't sleep. That doesn't happen very often anymore, by the way. I sleep quite well most of the time, I'm happy to report.

I need to color my hair. I never got to that last week.

Hope all is well with my family and friends, and that you're all healthy! I always wish you all the best.

Well, for some reason this didn't post!!! It's now HOURS later! I wonder what went wrong? Technology. Gotta love it.
Marilyn was feeling better, so she went back to work today -- quite early, actually. I got up just before she headed up, and stayed up after that. I had intended to go back to bed, but you know how it goes...

I took down the Christmas tree several days ago, but I hadn't gotten to the rest of the decorations. I had started taking things down in the living room, ut I only got part way done.

Then I got sick, and didn't feel like tackling things. Marilyn was home sick Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, so I didn't want to do the rest. It all goes under the stairs to store, accessed via the laundry room, right off the family room. When Marilyn was sleeping on the family room sofa, I really didn't want to risk bothering her.

But much of the time we were doing what we do when the two of us are sick and home together: watching a bunch of TV. We'll frequently watch a bunch of movies, and this time was the same! Here's a partial list of what we saw:

The 2014 movie "Cut Bank" was really excellent -- I'd highly recommend it.

We enjoyed the 2009 film "
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Marilyn was feeling better, so she went back to work today -- quite early, actually. I got up just before she headed up, and stayed up after that. I had intended to go back to bed, but you know how it goes...

I took down the Christmas tree several days ago, but I hadn't gotten to the rest of the decorations. I had started taking things down in the living room, ut I only got part way done.

Then I got sick, and didn't feel like tackling things. Marilyn was home sick Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, so I didn't want to do the rest. It all goes under the stairs to store, accessed via the laundry room, right off the family room. When Marilyn was sleeping on the family room sofa, I really didn't want to risk bothering her.

But much of the time we were doing what we do when the two of us are sick and home together: watching a bunch of TV. We'll frequently watch a bunch of movies, and this time was the same! Here's a partial list of what we saw:

The 2014 movie "<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cut_Bank_(film)" target="_blank">Cut Bank</a>" was really excellent -- I'd highly recommend it.

We enjoyed the 2009 film "<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Brown_(film) target="_blank">Harry Brown</a>, a vigilante movie. For whatever reason, Marilyn and I both like vigilante flicks. Again, I'd recommend this movie.

Marilyn had really wanted to see the 2017 film "<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_River_(film) target="_blank">Wind River,</a>" that was very moving. Another recommendation.

The 2015 movie "<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotlight_(film) target="_blank">Spotlight</a>" was fascinating. An expose movie regarding the Catholic church. Highly recommended.

It was very hard watching the 2018 movie "<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beautiful_Boy_(2018_film) target="_blank">Beautiful Boy</a>," which deals with drug addiction. But, again, I highly recommend it.

Finally, the 2017 movie "<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shape_of_Water target="_blank">The Shape of Water</a>," that received 13 nominations at the 90th Academy Awards (the most of any film in the 2018 race), was amazing. Be sure to catch it!

Marilyn and I were way behind on episodes of "Jeopardy," so we watched loads of these, too.

I forgot to mention the 2011 movie "<a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beaver_(film) target="_blank">The Beaver</a>." I saw ver little of it, and I don't think Marilyn saw it all. But it looked really interesting to me. A film about mental health.

I'm probably forgetting other movies, but those were the main ones.

Well, going back to today, I took down, packed up and stored away all of the Christmas decorations in the family room this morning. I was being careful and taking it slow, not wanting to get worse or have a relapse. I had Johnnie out after that, as Colin was downstairs sleeping.

I watched a bunch of HGTV while working.

I had a late breakfast of eggs in toast, using my new little fry pan that Marilyn bought me for my birthday.

I did a load of dishes around noon. And did some cleaning and organizing in the laundry room.

I was tired, and thought I might wait until tomorrow to finish up, but later in the afternoon I decided to finish in the living room.

I've been paring back our Christmas decorations for the past three years (at this house and the beach house), with the goal of having less to deal with. I was happy to get the tree ornaments into one box -- for the first time in my life, mind you! (Yes, it's a big box, but it's still one box!) I got many items carefully packed up for taking to the Goodwill. It was interesting that I had one box less for both the family room and the living room. Under the stairs I have so much less stored than ever before. It's pretty amazing. I feel proud of myself.

Marilyn put in an 11 hour day with no break. (And after being out sick, too.) Poor thing, I needed kitty litter and a few other items,so she picked me up and we went to Safeway.

I did text with my friends June and Shari today. And talked to sister Sue twice. Marilyn was so busy we weren't even able to chat all day long. She had something like six meetings today!

I've turned off the outdoor lights that are on the Critter Cafe. But I need to get out and take them down. But it was filthy weather today -- raining and really cold! I certainly wasn't going to go out there with my cold.

My cough might linger, but I really do feel better.

I need to take down the front door wreath, porch light(currently red!), swag and indoor wreath.

That was pretty much my day!

Sweet dreams, my friends -- and stay healthy!!!