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Charlie's Strange and Happy World
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doctor stethoscope, stethoscope
The day has finally (almost) arrived. I've been in the process of having this surgery for some time now. Specifically, it's Blepharoplasty (BLEF-uh-roe-plas-tee), a type of surgery that repairs droopy eyelids and involves removing excess skin, muscle and fat. The nurse (I think she was an anesthesiologist) who phoned me this morning said my doctor had quite a reputation, then told me she does very good work.

On the way to this surgery I've had quite a few tests, and a Botox treatment (injections all the way around both eyes). The Botox already removed the constant jerking of muscles that were pulling down my eyelids so that I could barely squint - and opened both eyes better than I've experienced in years.

My friend (and neighbor) June has had this surgery and said there's no pain. I find that a bit hard to believe, but it sounds like good news to me!

My surgery just changed from being there at 11:00, to being there at 9:45. (Not sure why it bothers me not to be on the hour, but I guess it makes it more difficult to figure exactly when what will happen. Oh well.

I'll miss yet another acupuncture appointment tomorrow (I missed last Thursday, as well). I could have tried going in on Friday, but I prefer seeing Sheridan (and she doesn't work on Fridays). I scheduled Moxi (Moxibustion) for next Tuesday. That will be my third treatment (I had my second yesterday).

Moxi is fascinating for me! Since April 2018 and my chronic pain, I haven't been able to stand heat on or near the injury. (Yeah, I tend to call my postherpetic neuralgia an injury, as my nerves were injured by shingles.) Anyway, heat has even made me scream in pain On occasion (embarrassing, but true). I've been on cold showers year round. But Moxi is a different kind of heat. So soothing! I used to love hot baths and hot showers, but this beats both.

I'm going to do the garbage and recycling today, as who knows how I'll feel tomorrow (my normal day for doing it).

I'm in the middle of coloring my hair right now. That replaces simply showering and washing my hair before tomorrow. Can you imagine that they have to tell you to shower before surgery? Clean! Oh well...

Marilyn and I recently got hung up on the History Channel's series "The Curse of Oak Island" -- an amazing true treasure hunt! The new season just started last night (very exciting).

You can read more about Oak Island ;HERE. Very interesting stuff!

I think the series is mostly intended for men, but anyone who likes a good mystery will enjoy it, I think.

And that's it for now!

Honest, I still plan to blog more again. Here's hoping this entry finds you well and happy! More soon (fingers crossed).
work-beatles
What a long and exciting (and exhausting) day we had!

Marilyn had been wanting to drive up the Gorge the entire weekend, but we hadn't managed it. So she decided we'd dumb getting pedicures and just head right up as soon as we did a few quick errands.

We'd planned to get up earlier, but we ended up staying up to play our ukuleles, which we both view as being extremely important, and time well spent. I love my personal improvement with learning new chords, strumming ang making chord transitions. I'm far from good -- and miles from Marilyn -- but much better for me, anyway.

It's hard right now, as some days all we want to do is sit and play.

It was and bright, beautiful day, with blue skies, and a lovely drive. We didn't need GPS until we got into The Dalles. The store is called Yesterday & Today Music, and the owner is known as Beatles Mark (Mark Thomas).

His store is remarkable! Beautifully kept, totally tidy and organized, we were amazed when he kept saying the place was 'torn apart' and how sorry he was we weren't seeing it on a better day.

With a store that is named for a Beatles album, you can guess the record store features loads of Beatles albums, plus other goodies. It's decorated with huge yellow submarines and lots of Beatles posters everywhere.

His prices are excellent, and we bought several things. But the joy of being there was meeting Mark for the first time, and having a lengthy discussion about our favorite subject -- and his -- The Beatles! As you can guess, when you get three people together who sincerely love The Beatles, it was a lively and happy conversation!

We were sorry not to be able to visit longer, but we were on a very tight schedule, as we had tickets to attend the Stu Fuchs ukulele event in Milwaukie that required us to be on site by 6:30.

So we headed back home and got here just in time to eat, gather our materials and head out.

Dinner is worth mentioning, as we had the third of three pizzas we'd had in the freezer for some time. I originally heard about them on TV (can't recall where, off hand), but found them locally one day. I'm lucky in that I accidentally bought the better brand of a few that are available! It's the RealGood brand, with cauliflower crust. I know it probably sounds gross, but we found it DELICIOUS! For someone who recently had my doctor tell me that I couldn't use a vegetarian diet because it had "too many carbs," (and I quote), it's nice to note that these pizzas have 17 grams of protein to 9 grams of carbs. The slices are pleasantly filling, by the way. They beat delivery pizza hands down -- no, I'm not kidding!

We were out of salad (we've been eating a salad with every dinner recently), so we had it with cottage cheese (we're big fans).

We each had a three-ring binder notebook I'd prepared on Friday that contained the music for the event inside heavy-duty plastic sheets. We also had our music stands (ours fold up for traveling) and our ukuleles and tuners -- good to go!

What we didn't have was our tickets! Marilyn located the proper email, forwarded it to me, showed me how to find the proper link and then I printed them out, and we were off.

Traffic was good and we made good time, with no trouble finding the venue. Easy parking was a plus.

There was a good turnout. Getting there by 6:30 as requested gave us time to set up and also buy a few things (including t-shirts, a song book and some buttons), to be prepared for the 7:00 start.

The first part of the program was a workshop, using Stu's Ukulele Zen method. We focused on two songs. The second part was a concert of his music. Stu is a classically trained musician.

Then we headed back home where we unpacked the car and ate some more pizza. Again, imagine a basically guilt-free pizza in your life! I can't get over a grain free crust.

Apparently RealGood started out with a crust made of chicken (!!!), but now includes the veggie options. I think there are a total of three kinds, but the funny part is we don't really like the veggie pie -- we had to pick off the onions and peppers before cooking. So that leaves the Margherita and Cheese -- which are both yummy!

We splurged by splitting a beer while watching "Life of Brian," which neither of us had ever seen before. George Harrison not only supported the film (he remortgaged his house to finance the Monty Python movie to the tune of five million dollars), but he made a short appearance, too. Let's be frank: this is British humor, and it doesn't translate all that well for American viewers -- or at least for us. (Yes, I've known many people who loved it.) It's probably more difficult that we can't always understand what's being said.

The subject matter didn't bother us. I personally didn't care if it was a slam on Christianity or not. Humor is an acceptable way to make us evaluate our values, after all. And if something can't stand up to a little humorous jabbing, well...

Rich is back to work starting tomorrow!

Wednesday I go back to my eye doctor. I can't remember: Did I mention my recent treatment with Botox? Anyway, I had injections all the way around both eyes. And I won't pretend it wasn't painful, but oh well! Hardly the worst pain I experience regularly. The headache I had afterwards sucked, but when I mentioned it to my clinician, she cleared it right up with acupuncture! The best news was it worked to stop the 'tic' I'd been having, with the intense jerking down of my eyelid. I could barely see out of the right eye, and it was only slightly better for the left. Now my eyes are open and I'm seeing so clearly it's amazing for me!

Not sure if we go to surgery next for certain or not, but should learn more this week.

Friday we attend a performance by Angel. We often go to see and support his efforts.

And I'm back to Cupping tomorrow with acupuncture, plus more acupuncture on Thursday.

Missed seeing our luthier Miles last week -- maybe this week. I need a low G stringing for my Breedlove ukulele (Grayson), and we want buttons for a few ukuleles that still don't have them. I don't care what some people say/think, I like straps on my ukuleles! It makes them easy to hold and control while playing. (And, yes, I've heard the 'purist' argument against straps. I still feel it's a matter of preference, and not a statement of dedication to the art of the music!)

No new news about Shari's beloved cat Tink, who was let out Thursday by one of her caregivers. We did go out to Oregon City to personally hunt for Tink. And Marilyn offered a $50 reward for Tink's return. I keep praying and we remain hopeful!

Enough already! Here's hoping my blog entry finds you engaged, happy and very healthy! (And ideally pain-free, or close!) Sweet dreams!
work-beatles
Yesterday Marilyn vacuumed my bedroom (this included using a brush on my rug to pull up Johnnie's fur). She's been asking if she could do it for ages, and I finally gave in. I'm glad I let her, as it's lovely having a cleaner room.

Today is the first day of autumn. Time just flies!

Marilyn's cleaning in my bedroom is related to finally moving Johnnie's cat box to the laundry room, where we've always kept cat boxes in the past. His was in my bedroom because he lived there for the past year. He appears to have adjusted to the change just fine -- he's such a smart cat!

No cat box means a ton less mess in my room. That's going to be nice.

Later on we decided to put up more hangers for our ukuleles and guitars. These are currently in the family room, but we want some in the living room, too. It's nice to just be able to hang them up, knowing they'll be safe. And it's wonderful seeing them on our walls.

Today we ran ERRANDS all day. Really exhausting. But we accomplished a lot. Marilyn got Pendleton whiskey for her baked beans (her secret ingredient -- I suppose I'm not supposed to share).

We wentto numerous stores shopping. We went to Michael's to get our latest Beatles item re-framed. It's fairly amazing, but will be quite outstanding once the nee frame is done in two weeks.

And we bought a frame four r another project.

Marilyn got some new pants at Ross. We picked several items there, but the pants were the essential item.

We went to Freddie's and Walgreen's and Walmart. I guess the only local store we missed was Safeway.

It was a great deal of errand running and loads of steps -- if only I hadn't left my Fitbit home!

Speaking of, my second wrist band arrived today. It's blact mesh with a magnetic clasp. It's a bit difficult to put on, but I'll get used it.

Johnnie is overdo for getting his nails clipped. Actually, he looks like he has something wrong in his mouth, so tomorrow I'm calling him in for the vet.

They should clip him there if I can get him in quickly enough. I wonder what's the problem? And hope and pray it's simple to fix.

So tired I conked out in my bedroom. Later Marilyn had to come upstairs and fetch me to see Sir Paul on Stephen Colbert (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert). He was wo, as he always is. I'm glad she came to get me.

We both played our ukuleles while watching. I suspect she'd already been playing. Anyway, we need to play every day, and we take that quite seriously. Besides, we enjoy it! I feel like I made a breakthrough recently with my strumming and my transitions. That feels good.

I can barely keep my eyes open to finish this. It's currently 3:30 in the morning. Again, we did a lot of walking and carrying heavy items.

I love how wonderful it looks as I'm walking down the stairs into our family room. That back wall where ukuleles and her guitar all hang is impressive. It makes me very happy to view it.

We didn't get to adding the hangers in the living room -- hopefully soon!

Again, I love the way they look, hanging on the wall like art.

Sweet dreams, friends. I know I'll have them...
beatles-young
Marilyn sent me the following text yesterday: We need to talk about contaminated flour. That was based on THIS alert. We had just purchased a small bag of Gold Metal flour at the store.

It was only the five pound bags, and we got a two pound bag. So anyway, we're fine. But I can't blame her for her concern. Recalls are scary.

I worked at the office today. I was training Katie, who was returning to our staff. This is a trial period, but I'm hopeful she'll end up permanent. She did really well during her training. I was pleased.

Marilyn had said I could leave, but she had nominating tonight after work, so I stayed to greet the candidates, as I always do (four of them this time).

We got home around 9:00 p.m., so it was a long day.

Jessica and I were comparing notes on medications, etc. -- and specifically on hair loss. Very annoying for both of us.

Acupuncture tomorrow morning and seeing my doctor in the afternoon.

I downloaded a book about Frances Perkins today and started reading it. I'm really enjoying it. She was an amazing woman from the beginning of her life!

I've also been reading a book from Anna Castle's 'The Professor & Mrs. Moriarty Mysteries.' I think it's the second book in the series. Really enjoyable, I have to say! I hope it continues in this vein.

Goodnight, all!
charlie 2012 beige
Got the message that I needed to validate my LiveJournal email -- and that it hadn't been working for a week. WTF?

I just received an LJ email yesterday!!! So what gives?

Anyway, sent the validation request, got it immediately and did my thing. We shall see what we shall see.
rain sidewalk
Senator Elizabeth Warren was impressive tonight, too. I'm trying not to be political (as I've said before), but these two women have touched me. I loved her story about Francis Perkins.

Loving seeing HGTV's A Very Brady Renovation -- and tonight the remaining Brady cast (the six kids, anyway) are being interviewed, and they are very entertaining. Restoring that house -- actually making the real house resemble the sets we all knew -- is brilliant! Marilyn and I are watching (we're taping and then watching). They said six (maybe ten) million people are watching with us.

Filthy weather today, really filthy. Pouring rain, that I was out in, mind you. I'm not ready for winter. What happened to autumn? In fact, this is Portland! What happened to the end of summer???

Cupping this morning hurt like a bitch -- and she left me for 15 minutes, rather than the usual 10! Yikes. Then acupuncture. I was stunned when my damn noon alarm went off -- I expected to be done well before then.

I left in a hurry, got to the lobby where I donned my socks and shoes. Went to phone Marilyn and discovered I still had two needles in my right ear. Reached over and there were two in my left ear! I had to laugh. It wasn't Sheridan's fault, as I practically dashed out. Anyway, I nearly left without paying! Haha. Got a gigantic bottle of my herbals, then departed.

I went from there to Freddies to shop. Got the items I'd forgotten. Ironically, noe I need to go back again, as I have two prescriptions ready for pickup.

I spent some time working on June's project, but need to go to her place again. What I sent myself was missing the cover! I'm so stumped.

But I was too worn out to do much of anything. Cupping plus acupuncture is exhausting. I really need to rest after that...

Marilyn and I both fell asleep while trying to watch TV tonight. We're just hanging on right now. Her IBS-d has been acting up and she's pretty miserable. (My IBS-c isn't the best, either -- enough said.) What's odd is how absolutely healthy we're eating these days. Salads all the time, and many vegetarian foods...

My new -- old -- Fitbit is awesome! I bought a brand new Fitbit, then decided to see if I could get a new brand for my old one. I got a stunning gold leather one. I love it! Now Marilyn is using my new one. She's getting used to it, so we'll see how it works out.

I just walked out in the backyard in my nightclothes during a downpour to check our tarp. We'd be screwed if it came down! I got soaked, but all is well. I need to really check it out during daylight when it's dry...

Still playing away on our ukuleles. We love them and love playing.

Goodnight!
September 16, 2019 (Monday) 11:59 pm - Visiting Sister Sue -- My Shower is Fixed!
sister sue
I'm not getting political (I try to publicly avoid it), but I'm impressed by Senator Kamala Harris. I like hearing her talk about the climate. It gives me hope knowing there are politicians out there who give a damn about making changes.

And that's as political as I plan to get tonight!

Productive day. I visited with sister Sue while Marilyn got her nails done. (I did that last week.)

Sue is worse than I often realize. Just sitting with her makes me sympathetic toward her daily struggles. There are still many flashes of the 'real' Sue. For example, she was correctly answering game show questions that even I failed to know. As I watched/listened as she answered, I could understand why she enjoys those shows. It was a chance to know. To be herself for those moments while she engaged with the TV. (No she didn't know everything -- it's not about that... I'm probably not expressing this well.)

Thank God for TV. For many of us it was a baby sitter, and a way to learn and also a means to be entertained. And this is moreso I think as we become seniors -- and especially for those of us with mental issues. Anyway, Sue is still with us, even when we let ourselves forget.

But I do better understand how Mikki doesn't know Sue -- nor can she, really. I'm doubtful she ever sits with Sue and hears her answering things even I don't know. Yeah, the next minute she'll be talking back to commercials. And during commercials we would try and just chat, but that was hard. She's also not there, I guess.

And she's remarkably difficult about being bathroomed, which is necessary. She's pretty much forgotten how to go by herself and not have a mess. And she ends up not going at all, just soiling her diaper. I know everyone is frustrated by her anger and bad behaviors, but I can only imagine how hard it is when you forget how to get up and use the bathroom properly. I'm sorry for Candy and Mikki, but I'm sorry for Sue, too.

Changing subjects again! Why the hell can't they make an EASY remote for cable??? Maybe especially designed for those who struggle with using remotes. You know, people like Sue need TV so bad! But she's constantly mucking up the whole thing, and then is unable to view for hours until someone comes to fix it. I can't tell you how many times I'm just trying to help her change the channel over the phone, but it's impossible.

Today I made the mistake of putting the TV on mute to speak with Candy (just arriving home). Sue took the remote back and started hitting buttons. Yikes. I couldn't fix it (the remote was different from ours), so Candy had to. You know, if I can't fix it, how could Sue? Frustrating.

Good news! I took a shower today for the first time since Mikki and I (mostly Mikki!) fixed my bathtub. She had broken the seal when cleaning (yeah, it was very black in there... sigh...), and we'd ended up with flooding in Marilyn's closet! Yikes.

This hadn't happened in years. We thought it was because of Marilyn's shower, but discovered it was mine. Mikki cleaned away the old caulk. Then we got Flex Shot and used that (it's supposed to last 30 years). We gave it over 48 hours to dry. Today was the test.

We had no flooding! Both Marilyn and I showered. It was great to be showering in my own bathroom again. (I had stopped as soon as we had reasoned out what was what.) And now its not black! It's very white and clean. I love it.

Shopping went smoothly, in spite of not having my list. (I forgot two things, but one hadn't been on my list, anyway! Haha.) We got piles of salad, now that we've found one I can eat without being sick afterwards. We literally went for years having salad for part of our dinner. I'd get sick all the time, but it's not all that easy to pin down. It took us ages... When we did, we began avoiding salad (obviously). It was a relief not to constantly throw up my meal nearly every day.

I love salad, and I missed it. But it was annoying having people constantly trying to nearly 'force' me to eat it. (I get that I'm fat, but salad was not the easy answer, guys.) Anyway, I'm so glad to have it back in my life. Now we're constantly eating it! But only that one kind!!!

Marilyn and I love our ukuleles and love playing them every day. She had really needed her nails done, as her strumming finger was messed up. It's extremely difficult to get it across that we want these nail strong, short on the left hand and longer on the right. Why is that? We explain and explain it, over and over. Geez. We can't be the only string-instrument players that get their nails done, can we?

Speaking of nails, I need to get Johnnie's done again. He's sticking to the carpet again, though thankfully not as bad as before.

Marilyn had to remind me that this is the time of year I have really bad seasonal allergies. How could I forget a thing like that? Yesterday I thought I was fighting a cold (and losing), today I feel much better. Marilyn pointed out that it could have been allergies... (Duh, Charlie!)

I think that's it for today, friends. Sorry, I rambled again today. But at least I wrote! I hope all of you are healthy and happy!
busy-bee
I can't figure out why I'm struggling so hard to get back to my blogging. You all know I love blogging, and writing in general. I used to blog every day, after all (regardless of how boring the content might be).

Before.

Before April of 2018. Before my severe shingles. Before I had encephalitis. Before Postherpetic Neuralgia and chronic pain.

Marilyn tells me often that she never goes a day without praising me to someone for my patience and my ability to stay positive and upbeat. What a wonderful thing for her to say to others!

I won't pretend it's been easy staving off depression. Sometimes I wish I could simply have one day without this pain. One day where I could think clearly without straining. A day where I could walk normally again.

This week I was at the office, welcoming Jessica back to work after her medical leave. We were happy to see each other, as we're more than co-workers: we're friends. Believe me, no matter how hard things are for me, I never forget how hard it is for others. I'm rather proud that I've never lost sight of the bigger picture. I'm one person, and many, many others are suffering. It's all around us. But it still sucks to fall way behind when our group walks out for Starbucks...

This was a very busy week.

I Uber-ed all over on Tuesday! Rode with Marilyn to work, took Uber to my acupuncture session. Headed home. Gathered my shopping bags and took Uber to Freddies (our normal one - Peninsula). Back home to quickly unpack the frozen food. Then grabbed the same Uber over to the other Freddies (Interstate) for additional shopping. I made spaghetti for dinner.

I was dismayed to miss Cupping on Tuesday, as I had plans for Thursday with Adeena and wanted to have the quickest possible appointment. I'm certain I set for Tuesday Cupping (I always want it on Tuesday), so somebody dropped the ball. But regardless, I was unwilling to miss it entirely.

My Cupping and acupuncture are serious stuff to me. During the time I've been sick (ever since April 2018), I've done a tremendous amount of research. Basically Western medicine has struggled to find some treatment for PHN (postherpetic neuralgia). They've tried a lot of things - including surgery! - unsuccessfully, I'm afraid.

So I'm heavily medicated for pain (I'm still in pain, but I'm functional with these meds). I take pain meds every six hours (6:00 a.m. | noon | 6:00 p.m. | midnight), with an alarm to remind me. I don't know what I'd do without "Strawberry Fields" playing to remind me. At least it's The Beatles, right? And one of my favorite songs. Otherwise it could really get annoying over months and months... Yes, I agree it would be good to get off opiods. But at this point I can't do it. Yes, I've tried. Repeatedly. But I'm thankful to be functional. Most people have no idea I'm in pain or on meds. I can still do my work for the festival, work on computers, use my iPad and iPhone (constantly!) and carry on conversations that make sense -- well, with some issues.

I'm the first to admit that my Encephalitis gave me some minor brain damage. I'm also the first to be thankful that Marilyn realized I had it and forced the emergency room doctors to check for it. Most people don't survive it, so I'm grateful to be alive. Grateful every single day. I might struggle to find words sometimes (especially when I'm fatigued), but who doesn't? Actually, this past week one very kind Uber driver was gently filling in words for me as we chatted! I'd told him my basic issues, and he should be doing therapy, I think! A lovely guy. But I find the world is full of lovely people. (With a few exceptions.)

As I type this I discover I can't put everything into chronological in my head. But I'll share what pops in...

My friend June has been working on a directory project for her church. Her struggle was to find a new way to make a smaller booklet, rather than large pages. She asked for my help. I reminded her that I'm no wiz with Word, but I'd give it a go. If you know me at all, you know I'll always try to reason out the steps, then share how it's done. The teacher in me will train until I die, I suspect! We made remarkable headway -- I hope to try and wrap it up this weekend. [September 6 was June's birthday. Marilyn took the four of us to dinner to celebrate (June, Jim, Marilyn and me). Jim had turkey, but we three girls enjoyed chicken fried steaks. (It's sort of a group joke how often we all order that!) June turned 86!]

I went to Walmart on Wednesday to buy supplements. Things are cheaper there, thankfully. Even so, it was around $100 to get everything! Ridiculous! But I hadn't had some of them for months, so it was time to go there, finally. Too bad none of these are covered by insurance, considering the doctor prescribes them!

Adeena's plans changed on Thursday, so we didn't get together -- yet again. It's something of a joke that we always make plans, but never end up following through. I guess it's a sign of how positive I am that I always believe we will see each other. But I understand how busy she is. I'm always hopeful things will improve in her life. She's frequently in my thoughts (and prayers). Adeena is a lovely young woman.

Speaking of lovely people, I think the world of Mikki, our new housekeeper. Marilyn decided I simply wasn't up to cleaning. She was very, very kind (gentle) with me, knowing I felt bad I couldn't manage this work. Marilyn told me she needed my energy in other places. Isn't that a wonderful thing to say? So I agreed and have tried not to suddenly start cleaning (I usually manage that, if not always).

Mikki cares for our sister Sue. Sue’s dementia continues to get worse, though she still has good days. Mikki also cleans for Candy while there. This gave Marilyn the idea of hiring her for our house! This is a pretty new arrangement. We've been struggling to find a day that works for both us and her. Currently we're trying Fridays. Mikki and I had a huge task in front of us: Continuing to remove the old grout in my bathtub, then replace this with Flexshot (the much improved newer product). The great thing is all the visiting we do. We chat and share and are really getting to know each other while working. Plus Mikki updates me on things at my sister's house with both Sue and Candy. (Which is how I know about Sue’s continuing failure with her dementia.)

We called ourselves 'crazy,' and laughed very hard as we worked. (Well, she did most all of the work, but I was there to help where I could.) And talking helped the project along. We ended up with a highly improved tub that looked whiter and cleaner. More importantly, it should be well-sealed now. We need some serious hours of drying, but I look forward to the eventual test!

Mikki is a woman who has faced it all and stayed positive. I can't begin to express how she has impressed both Marilyn and me. She's so strong! She's the single mother of two daughters. Her teen still resides with her, and home is no bowl of cherries for Mikki. It's not easy taking care of people and housecleaning all day, then coming home to a house that also needs work. She'd appreciate having her daughter step up and help out. When she does do things, like doing the dishes, Mikki will end up with only partly clean dishes in the dishwasher that her daughter puts into the cupboard!

Marilyn and I also hate that Mikki can't really take a vacation. Her recent 'vacation' was driving back for her (beloved) brother's memorial. (It was so hard for her losing him, as they were very close. And she has no men in her life she can depend on.) I was happy to hear she was taking the weekend off. Imagine the need to work all the time to be able to cover your rent and pay your bills, with a car that may or may not get you where you need to go. She's a tough one!

Mikki and I can be ourselves together and share anything, and do. We laugh and laugh. Sometimes we do bash men a bit (sorry, guys, but it's true!). You boys know you earn that from time to time. And some women have had it harder than others when it comes to trusting and leaning on men.

No, not me, I admit. I always seem to have some man helping me out. Good friends! I'm surrounded by them. Again, Mikki is a lovely person. I'm glad to know her.

Thursday's Cupping hurt like a bitch (I don't mean to offend, but that's really the best way to express it). Interesting note: Sheridan had told me the bruises you get with Cupping would grow fainter over time, which has proved to be true. But this week I was really playing tricks on myself to hang in there. No, I never even considered ringing the bell. I'm still me, guys, and I grit my teeth and endure.

This is the longest blog ever! Even from me, the person who is the famed long-winded (and boring) blogger!

Can't leave out going to the Clown Corps Awards Dinner, however. Many clowns (not in character or makeup), many family members and many pizzas -- plus many awards. Marilyn was presented with a jellybean gumball machine with a plaque, as the person who began this popular program. We all got jellybeans, plus baseball caps! Nice.

If you've stumbled across my blog and are looking for more information about PHN, I am very well-read on the subject. I'm glad to 'discuss' it in greater detail, or talk more about the medications and Eastern treatments. I also have a wonderful paper that discuses it that I even carry around in case someone wants to reads it. I was delighted to discover it after months of research efforts.

I'm know I'm not the only one dealing with PHN. I'd love to help people who are out there not knowing what to do.

Marilyn and I ate dinner at 10:00 again yesterday, as she worked extremely late (again). She was so tired after an extremely busy week. She's so hard working.

We made it to the weekend! Unfortunately Marilyn is having asthma today (no idea why). She's really suffering. I'm happy to say she's asleep right now. She needs the rest, anyway.

The anniversary of Abbey Road is fast approaching. Couldn't end a blog without mentioning The Beatles! I could do an equally long blog just about them, you know. Oh, and no mention here about ukuleles! Soon, I promise.

And so ends one of my longest blogs ever. (grin) Happy weekend, dear friends.
bday
Marilyn put in a bad night. She's been feeling under the weather recently and seemed to be running a fever. She was bad enough to stay home, which is certainly rare for her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway...

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think Mitch knew how much we loved him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want to get back to acupuncture soon...

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

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

During the festival I gave drivers pins and ride bracelets.

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

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

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

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

WTF.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodnight.
anti-whatever
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.
ouch-word
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!
pink-dogwood
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!