Log in

No account? Create an account
Charlie's Strange and Happy World
...one page at a time
I slept VERY LATE. That was lovely! I had a bunch of great dreams. I think some were directly inspired from seeing "The Greatest Showman" last night. (smile) So full of color and joy.

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

So she headed to the park to run, instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All this is aside from work, of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lazy Saturday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was CHILLED all day long. Not sure why!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Busy damn day, all in all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Again: THANKS for asking. It was a good and a valid question. And not the first time someone has wondered about what I feel on the subject...)
Marilyn and I were at work by 9:00, then went to Starbucks with the new hire and several others (our traditional for the first day of all new staff).

After that we had Staff Meeting. Updates and discussion of the Golden Globes. As a special events organization, we discuss we recent events. We were talking about the logistics of the various women wearing black to this event and their focus for talking points...

We have our Communications Team meeting after that, but I skipped it to be able to start training. Normally I won't stay for the full Staff Meeting on a training day. It was past 11:00 before Sophia and I got started, anyway.

We trained until nearly 1:00, then I gave her a lunch break.

Marilyn was headed for her daily walk (the ONLY break she takes), so I joined her. We walked and talked for around half an hour on the waterfront.

Then Jessica and I walked to the Turkey Place (and back) to get some lunch.

After that I ate part of a sandwich and went back to training Sophia. This went very well -- she's a smart woman. I was impressed.

We finally finished in the afternoon and I went upstairs to my desk to work until time to leave for Court Orientation. We were departing between 4:30 and 5:00 -- it's a bear getting around during rush hour traffic.

We got to the hospital where it's held and helped with setup, then walked out for more Starbucks. It was an UPHILL climb and we were joking and laughing.

Then was the orientation for the girls. It's lengthy.

When it finally ended we headed home. It was around 8:00. We were home by around 8:30.

We ate peanut butter when we got home...

Sue phoned, and Marilyn reminded her about the doctor appointment in the morning.

We did a few things, then went down for a nap. Marilyn woke me to get ready for bed later.

And that was our day!

Except that BOTH of us got well over 10,000 steps during the day walking!!! Without needing to do the treadmill. (woo hoo)

It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep, so I'm adding this blog entry. I have swollen feet (no idea why) and they're painful. Oh!!! Forgot to mention setting up a doctor appointment for me. It's for next Monday, at 10:30. Staff has Monday off, thankfully.

I have red splotches all over both forearms and yesterday these were bleeding on one arm. They look awful. I've been nauseous and having dizzy spells. So we want it checked out.

That's my day! More tomorrow.

(Just discovered this DID NOT POST last night. Damn. Posting it now...)
I really let myself down during the end of 2017 -- and now for the beginning of 2018. For the most part, I'm VERY PROUD of everything I've been doing (or not doing), but I'm very disappointed I didn't keep up my daily blogging!

I was bad about it in 2012 (the year we got the beach house), and have regretted it terribly since then. So if you had told me earlier in the year I'd just let blogging go, I would have thought you were crazy!

I'm back. I mean it. I'm going to 'get back' (Beatles reference) now and stick with it!

I took Christmas down last week -- except for our tree, that is. I'd originally planned to take the tree down on Little Christmas (Three Kings Day), which has been a life-long habit. But over the weekend I decided to wait until Monday (I wasn't planning to be in the office today), which is what I did.

I had to MOTIVATE MYSELF, as it's not an easy job. The tree is HEAVY to lift. And awkward to move around. Then it's hard to box it up. Once it's been unpacked and set up, it's hard to ever 'compact' it enough to go back in the box properly. It actually went very smoothly today, though. Then I had to drag the heavy (very) box out to the garage. I mopped the wet/dirty floor with an old towel so I wouldn't drag the box in that muck. Anyway, it's done (woo hoo).

HEARTBREAKING for poor Colin, who wishes the tree could always be there.

I might still try going back and filling in days I missed. In the meantime,here's a short version...

Marilyn and I had a nice holiday season. Socially busy, but we still got time to relax and rest, which was good.

I've been nearly vegetarian for many weeks now. No, not vegan -- I'm still eating cheese. I'm still eating packaged rye bread. And crackers. And a small amount of egg. But no meat (with only a few exceptions). And Marilyn and I totally observe Meat Free Monday each week. (Thank you, Sir Paul, for your inspiration.)

I'm eating LESS, period. I'm hungry more, which is actually a good thing. I've lost some weight, but mostly I didn't gain during December.

New York was AWESOME!!!!!!! Amazing! And this from someone who hates flying because of the discomfort. (No, I don't fear flying at all.)

Marilyn is back to work and having long, difficult days. January is (always) the start of our season, which runs through the month of June. I trained Rich last Tuesday and will be training a new person tomorrow. I'll be working on the website Wednesday...

I just finished reading "Once There Was a Way: What if The Beatles Stayed Together? -- a novel that suggests: Imagine another reality -- it's easy if you try. What if John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey had taken a sad song and made it better, continuing to play as The Beatles? Written by Bryce Zabel, who is a Hollywood writer/producer who's created five primetime TV series, written produced feature films, worked as a CNN correspondent and served as the CEO of the Television Academy (that gives out the Emmys). He's a winner of the Writers Guild screenwriting award for his miniseries work.

And I thought it was WONDERFUL, personally. In fact, finishing the book motivated this blog entry. I have to say I admire Bryce's concept of an alternate history story. Who hasn't said 'what if' abot the Beatles???

The story was well-researched and believable -- a very enjoyable read. And it made me cry.

But Marilyn and I are more wrapped up in the Beatles right now than ever before in our lives. The Beatles make us HAPPY. The Beatles keep us SANE. The Beatles are apparently exactly what we need right now in our lives. It's great fun sharing this with each other.

NYC was part of that, by the way. Just an aside...

I need to see my nurse practitioner. I have SOMETHING going on that's worrying us. These weird splotches on both my arms are strange -- and really bad right now. My face also seems ridiculously bloated and round -- especially as I'm not really heavy right now...

Marilyn is tired and sleeping on the sofa...

I have been writing, even if I haven't been blogging. A goal, writing more.

More soon.

I hope all is well, guys! Love you and miss you.
sister sue
Work today.

First thing I contacted PGE to get the details of our missing bill. For some reason it seems like the PGE (power) bill frequently goes missing. But it was very simple to phone and get an automated line that told me the current amount (Marilyn pays online, but needed to know how much).

My personal goal today was wrapped up in our new Barracuda SPAM blocker and getting the final kinks out for our office. There were several questions, so I ended up talking to the Barracuda support line.

First I had to get authorized by Kris (who was the only one on our account). I made the point to the support people that Kris works for me and not the other way around... hahaha...

After that they phoned again to now officially assist me. But I didn't have an online account, so Kris was going to need to do that, too. I did get a lot of information about the account, however. They're impressively helpful in my opinion!!! And I don't say that sort of thing easily, believe me.

After I have an account and am an admin, then I can set up accounts for every person in our office. After that I'll teach them how to log in via web browser and they can white list and black list as necessary.

Actually, we're all pretty impressed by Barracuda so far. It seems to work really well and to be a real time-saver.

It was POURING DOWN RAIN this morning and into the afternoon. Filthy weather! But Marilyn and I went out to Chinese anyway.

The office was having Chipotle, which Jeff had gone out to get and bring back. Marilyn and I joined the staff for some chips and brought our veggie burritos home for later. Then we walked to the restaurant in the rain! It was like trying to cross rivers at some points. Ugh. But I loved my meal and ate it ALL (which I rarely do). I'd barely eaten yesterday, so I was really hungry today.

I had LOW BLOOD SUGAR at around 5:30 in the morning. It was 69 and probably due to not eating enough yesterday...

We stopped and got Starbucks on the way back to the office. We're in love with the Holiday Flat White right now.

We went back to our work, planning to leave by 4:00, as we needed to stop home for food and be at Sue's house by 5:30 -- and the traffic to her house is horrible. Always, but especially during the holidays!

We had a bunch of stuff we'd gotten at Costco that we took over for Sue to serve. Candy was there when we arrived and we helped her set it up. There were lots of snack foods and cookies, all nice.

I had phoned June before leaving. She was waiting for Jim to get home from going to the doctor! He'd left for a 2:00 appointment and wasn't home yet, so she was worried. I told her I'd check with her later and then we departed. It was obvious they couldn't go with him not home... (I'd wanted to encourage them to arrive early if they were going, as it's hard for her to walk and there wasn't much parking right near the house.)

We got to meet a bunch of Sue's cribbage friends that we've never met before, like Martha and Katy. Sue hadn't decorated a jot for Christmas, nor did she have on any Christmas music. So we just talked and waited for the ships to come.

We couldn't see much when they did get there, as they were on the opposite side of the river. The map had shown them on both sides, but that didn't end up being the case.

Finally past 8:00 Marilyn and I departed and came home...

She's doing her hair now, and then I think we'll head to bed. It's past midnight now.

Chubby wanted a lot of attention while we were there. The poor thing seems to be having a lot of trouble breathing now. He's getting older and is obese. But he's still such a good boy. (When he's not clawing and biting, anyway. Hahaha.) I was trying to find out in my blog when they actually moved Chubby inside, but I couldn't, darn it. I'm the one who talked them into it, anyway...

Time to wrap up for today. Such a busy week!!!

Sweet dreams!
Marilyn and I had PLANNED to run errands and things (including shopping) today, but we were both not feeling all that well, to be honest. Still fighting our colds. Interestingly enough, these have never been HORRIBLE colds (in spite of all the running around we did in New York City in the cold -- or everything we've done here at home since). But we're both stuffed up and fatigued, more than anything else. So we took it very, very easy today. Watching TV and sleeping on and off. And playing some Zuma and messing with our iPads. That was our Marilyn Monday (and we're getting to the last of those!).

It was a gray day anyway, so I don't think we missed anything by not going out. We did NOT decorate our tree, but oh well. The HOUSE is decorated -- both living room and family room. And we have some if not all of our outdoor decorations up, too. So it's okay. Some years we've let the tree go with nothing but the lights, so that would be okay if it came down to it...

We're heading to bed shortly, as WE HAVE WORK TOMORROW. And aside from work, we're going to sister Sue's house to watch the Christmas Ships (she usually has people over every year).

She called to talk to me about coming tonight and has also asked June and Jim to come. I know she invites some of her cribbage friends, too. But she told me Larry and his family will NOT be there. I hope June and Jim do come. It's been years and years since we've gone (I can't even remember the last time!). But she does have a perfect spot to watch the ships.

I need to share news about Larry that's important, but I think I'll do so in a PRIVATE 'friends only' post, as it's complicated. Anyway, this news is probably impacting them not coming tomorrow. But they're coming over later in the week, so I guess it doesn't matter.

Marilyn and I were LOVING watching My Fair Lady (the movie) on TV -- and singing along with every single song. We know the entire thing by heart.

Interesting Note: When we were kids we could learn MUSICALS easily the first time we heard them!!! We'd go away singing all the songs and doing the harmonies from the get-go. I don't know how we did it, but it's true.

Anyway, it's a pleasure to revisit musicals we know so well and love to sing! Obviously we're not that sick if we're both able to sing...

Steven (at work) is bringing the kids in tomorrow to see us. He always tries to have them visit the two of us as we enjoy it so much! And Marilyn has promised me Chinese food for lunch (!!!), which I love.

But we'll need to leave early and on time to be at Sue's when we need to be!

Well, off to bed so we can get sleep before facing our busy day and night.

I do plan to go back and fill in as many days as possible for this month. I'd feel awful if I didn't record all the joy we had in NYC, for example.

My, I can't believe this year is almost over! We had some highs and many lows, but it has ended really well for the two of us.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays!!! I love you all.
Marilyn and I started the day going over to see sister Sue -- to do her pills. But she still had ONE WEEK left -- meaning she's been lying about doing them. Oh well. I also packed up a bunch of food to give her to eat...

For the record, it's nearly 3:00 a.m. Now...

The rest of the day was spent getting ready for our NYC trip! We kept having to run here and there on errands. Back and forth to the store, downtown to the post office to mail a bill and so on. We even went to the festival office. (I won't mention needing to WORK both yesterday and today. Marilyn put an immediate stop to THAT, I can tell you!)

We both did laundry and packed our new suitcases. I gathered all the recycling and garbage which are waiting outside to go to the curb... And I cleaned the cat boxes and the cat water bucket. And set up food in four spots in the house (two up and two down), with loads of spare food. So all is ready, in other words. (June and Jim are kindly going to take care of our garbage for us.)

We ate some soup for a late dinner with saltine crackers. We haven't been eating all that much lately. We also had Starbucks today.

I organized my clothes a bit during all this -- what was staying home and what was going.

I FORGOT to change the light bulbs overhead in my bedroom! Annoying. But the lamp by the dresser and the lamp on the dresser are fine, so oh well... I need to be sure and tell Adeena. I also forgot to ask her about bringing in our mail! There's always something!

She'll tend the cats, making sure they have food and water. And scooping out their boxes. We'll leave the heat on for them so they'll be warm. Right now they're both lying sleeping together on the bed. But they clearly know we're leaving, and aren't happy...

Marilyn and I have both showered and washed our hair. I'm in my clothes for departing. I think Marilyn is half dressed. We're 'resting' a bit before departing. We need to leave around 4:00 a.m. for the airport.

We're both very excited! I can't ever remember being this RELAXED about the prospect of getting on a plane. I don't really care for flying, but am so thrilled to be going this time around!

I got NUMEROUS birthday greetings yesterday -- very nice! And I was included in John Erickson's Daily Drip, too -- which was very special! Marilyn did a wonderful BIRTHDAY Facebook post, as did several others. (I loved my PAUL McCARTNEY birthday cake from our neighbor Estelle!!!) All really lovely.

On that note, we'll be LEAVING very soon.

Stay warm and happy and have sweet dreams, dear friends!
Marilyn and I drove to Vintage Revival in Ridgefield, Washington today to see our dear friend Adeena (who works there). And we managed to buy several nice things in the shop, too. (smile)

After we stopped for coffee before heading back home.

Adeena came over after that so we could chat through her taking care of our cats while we're in New York on vacation. Colin genuinely loves her, which is hard for him with most people other than us. And of course Henry does, too.

Then we three went out for dinner and a chance to catch up as we hadn't talked at all recently! We went to the Kennedy School for dinner -- yummy!

It was really lovely to see her! We've all missed one another so much.

Heading to bed soon. More tomorrow!

Sweet dreams and stay warm, dear friends!
green star
Marilyn went to work early. I had been planning to go in, but fell back asleep. So when she was departing, I was awake, but NOT ready to go...

I spent my morning on IT -- related to the SPAM blocker we now have. It's Barracuda (one of the most famous ones), but there are still things that need to be ironed out.

Marilyn had NUMEROUS meetings today, so she and I didn't really get a chance to talk until she was home tonight (well past 8:00 p.m.).

Sister Sue and I did speak, but only briefly. I had tried to reach her in the afternoon, but she was asleep. She had called me in the morning, but I was on the various IT phone calls...

It was a COLD and miserable day -- but didn't really rain until night time, thankfully!

At one point during the day I was feeding not only my beloved crows, but also a flock of seagulls!!! Very entertaining, by the way!

I did get a little bit of laundry done and a load of dishes. And I worked in my bedroom, which has been a disaster. But in spite of hours in there, the clothes still need a bunch more work. (sigh)

Candy came by in the evening for her casserole that I made her...

Between cleaning and IT, I read a bunch of Beatles fanfic online. Marilyn and I really want to get back to writing fanfic again. I read one story that was very emotional and actually made me cry. I guess that's the sign of an effective story! Hahaha. There's certainly a lot to read...

Marilyn is napping as I type this -- she's exhausted (little wonder!). She also came home and did the treadmill! She's amazing.

It's close to 2:00 a.m. right now...

Oh! I got an email back from TechSoup so I could finally (!!!) do what Carol had asked me about last week while we were on vacation.

Speaking of vacation, we're now officially on for another week -- which will include my birthday (Monday) and our trip to New York City.

Can't think what else. I wanted a nap earlier but Henry wouldn't let me be! Then I had a bug on me. Yuck. That woke me right up again... (sigh)

My psoriasis is acting up right now. Not unusual for cold weather, but annoying, even so.

We ate frozen burritos for dinner, which was fine.

We might just rest tomorrow. We're both tired. I guess we'll see how that goes. We do need to go out and pick up prescriptions, though.

(Edited to Add: Congratulations to Paul and Daniel on their big day!)

Sweet dreams!
it management gotta
I spent the morning on the on-going INSURANCE issue. I'm pretty sure I didn't explain this well last time around. I'm CURRENTLY on the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). This covers 100% of both my medications and medical supplies (test strips and syringes, for example) -- no, that does not include the huge list of supplements I take, but all prescription meds.

To get the SAME amount of coverage after 65, I need to be on a combination of both Medicare and Medicaid. I found out about this via OHP. Otherwise Marilyn would suddenly be paying for a ton of things other than just my supplements!

I saw the woman in the Aging Services department (over on MLK) on Monday. She told me to sign up for Social Security/Medicare and then get the paperwork back to them.

It was suggested I do that online. But they apparently go through Equifax and do a credit check before allowing you to set up your online account for Social Security. And they have the WRONG INFORMATION for me! I'm now locked out of setting it up unless I go to the Social Security office. They have me down as having a house/mortgage, having bought a car recently (I don't even drive) and having a recent new store credit card (um, no). The whole thing with Equifax is AUTOMATED. There is absolutely no way to get a person to talk to! So how does one clear up a false report???????

Aside from hours on the phone about this (and online, too), I spent hours of my afternoon on the switch to the NEW service for blocking SPAM that we were getting in place. I'm the only person at the festival who has the ability to authorize this with our Domain host, Atmosera. Kris was doing the work and Jeremiah from Atmosera was helping him, after I did the authorization. Then I'm in the middle connecting the two for ages...

And that means email is down for the office, which is hard for us no matter when it happens!!! We use email all year round for our business -- and have a number of deadlines happening right now. (sigh)

Aside from that, I did the recycling and gathered the composting (garbage day -- not real). And made a casserole for my niece Candy that I promised her.

I can't think what else right now...

I just cleaned the cat boxes and got everything down to the curb for the morning. It's nearly 2:00 a.m. now.

Marilyn wants me to go to work tomorrow, so I need to brush my teeth, take my pills and head off to bed, pronto!

More stuff is popping into my head from today, but there's no time to share! Maybe tomorrow...

Sweet dreams!
Briefly, today is the anniversary of George Harrison's death. While it can seem sad, he was actually very ready to move on to his 'next adventure,' and seemed to have a strong belief in a life after death. He passed in November of 2001 -- it's hard to believe it was that long ago. He was only 58. It seems very young to me as I approach 65 next week!

Today was a really wonderful day for the festival! We appeared before City Council at City Hall for two different matters. But we really had our ducks in a row! Wonderful speakers and everyone who did speak did a great job! Many great things were said about our organization after this by the members of the council. It couldn't have gone better.

The weather even cooperated with us. It was a dry day, so no fighting the rain as we walked to and from City Hall (woo hoo). We were in uniform, but I did wear my new coat to work today! It's quite warm -- I haven't had a nice warm coat in years.

I did walk out for lunch while Marilyn was in a two-hour meeting! I got my green beans and white rice again, which I love. Altogether I got more than 8,000 steps today! Unfortunately I was having leg cramps tonight, but they finally passed. I probably didn't have enough water today...

Marilyn and I went out in the afternoon down to Washington street to the jeweler there so she could get the batteries in her two watches replaced. Such nice people!

I got some website work done. And contacted TechSoup about the info that Carol needs (hopefully I'll hear back soon!). Tomorrow Kris will do the work on the Server for email SPAM. And I talked to Donn about coming in to do a project for me -- he's planning on Saturday. Lots of IT, in other words.

There was an evening meeting about the Auction than also ran quite long. (No, I wasn't in it, but Marilyn was.)

We left the office past 7:00, so it was a long day.

Marilyn and I are making a trip to New York City next week! It's Marilyn surprise for my 65th birthday -- isn't that nice? We're staying in a very nice hotel near Central Park -- and our flights both ways are non-stop, if you can believe that! We can't wait to see the tree!!!

We still need to get new luggage and know what we want. They now make stuff so light weight that you can lift it with a finger! Amazing. That means more weight spent on actual clothes, rather than the luggage.

We're only there a few days, but I bet we cram a lot in! We're good at that. Hahaha.

I also did more work on my Medicare/Medicaid stuff today. Not as easy as I had hoped. I guess we'll see how that goes!

Well, time for bed -- I'm tired tonight. I didn't sleep that well last night, for whatever reason.

Sweet dreams, all!
Marilyn and I had a WONDERFUL vacation day!

I'm going to avoid details -- and a photo share -- for now, as I'm really TIRED at the moment and heading directly to bed. I have a hair appointment in the morning...

But we did get over to Sue and Candy's (and Marilyn gave Candy a check for Thanksgiving dinner so they'll be able to celebrate with no problem). And we did Sue's pills (well, Marilyn did!!!) for the next two weeks.

We also had Starbucks, went to the Charthouse for lunch (I'd never been there before!) and shopped at several stores. Oh, and dropped by the office, too. And Marilyn went to her massage therapy tonight while I cooked a vegetarian casserole, took out the garbage, watered the plants, set a clock I'd never gotten to (way up high), washed the bed linens and changed the beds, clean the cat boxes and fixed a couple behind-times calendars. I think that's it...

I have some great photos to share -- including some of June and Jim's NEW CAT (!!!) Simba that I got to meet last night.

Yes, we stayed meatless today (Sir Paul)!!! The Charthouse is known for fish and seafood, so we both had salads with neither! But a decadent dessert. (grin)

And that's Monday.

Oh. And Sunday we really did nothing. Stayed in our jammies all day long (except for when I dashed over to see June and Jim, meet the cat and find her 'missing' health documents).

We're enjoying our vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweet dreams, dear friends.
Marilyn and I actually got up early and headed out to a bazaar that had been recommended to us over in Washington state. We didn't buy much, but enjoyed looking. We ran into our friend Jodi while there.

We stopped at McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse for lunch. We both ate vegetarian choices, which were quite good! It was a fabulous lunch and good start to our vacation.

Then we dropped by the office briefly, where we saw and chatted with Jeff.

After that we headed to inner SE Portland to Don's genealogy class. Finding parking was a bear. But we both enjoyed hearing him.

Finally we stopped for popcorn on the way home. And we got here in time for our usual METV shows on Saturday night.

Here are some photos...

[click on photo to see full size]

Roasted brussels sprouts appetizer - yummy!

Moroccan coffee!

I had hemp sliders with a walnut compote - delicious!

My dessert was bread pudding (which I love) in whiskey sauce!

Firepit outside.

Beautiful surroundings.




At Don's class.

Another class participant.

Don with Marilyn.

We had a fire tonight at home. The cats and me.

Blazing fire!

And the dying fire.

A lovely and busy day.

Sweet dreams, friends!
Today was our annual Toy Drive at the office. It's an opportunity to gather toys for children in need, and to get publicity for the festival. Aside from our staff, many volunteers turn out for the event. During the morning News show, we're featured numerous times on cut-ins. It starts very early (5:00) and runs through morning drive-time (9:00).

Marilyn had a VERY BUSY DAY totally aside from this event, with numerous meetings. She doesn't get much chance to be involved directly with the Toy Drive. But I always sing with the choir (Don always seems to put me in the front/center), which I enjoy very much. And I interact with most people there.

Court members appeared with Leslie (our past president who manages the court), the Prime Minister of the Royal Rosarians (Adam) and his wife (Lauren) were there, along with several other Rosarians. Angel (our Clown Prince mascot and Mrs. Santa were there -- Santa couldn't appear as Gary is still laid up from his recent surgery -- but he and Carla were both there. And Carla spoke and told how we need warehouse space to build floats. And many, many toys are dropped off.

Steven made pancakes, and we had cookies and fruit and juice and coffee for participants.

I took a few photos to share...

[click photo to see larger version]

TV crew setting up to shoot

Adam (in the cape) with Royal Rosarians and news anchor

Lauren and me

Me with my buddy Rich

Lots of goodies

Lots of toys!


Fake snow on our rose bushes

Outdoor decos

More toys!

And even more toys!

Adam, Angel and Mrs. Santa

I got to sing several times, and friends contacted me that they'd seen me on TV. Fun.

Many messages were sent out to the public. Leslie, Jeff, Carol, Angel and Carla all spoke. Adam was a very good sport being there and in shots.

We had toy drop-offs all day long.

It was WONDERFUL having Rich back today, running the media event.

Marilyn did her many meetings. I attended the meeting on Sanctioned Events (as did Rich and several others). Marilyn did a great job running that meeting (as always). Jessica had a lot to offer. Even Jeff came. Carol was out of the office for another meeting and couldn't be there. It was quite an intense and involved meeting.

After that Marilyn went to her hairdresser. I met with several people dropping off toys. Then I finally went to get lunch for Marilyn and me. I actually had low blood sugar, even though I'd had two pancakes for breakfast (and coffee from Starbucks).

Many people left later in the day, and Marilyn closed the office early. But as we were getting ready to go on vacation, we were there until seven.

After our lunch and eating other foods, we ended up not having dinner. I had string beans and white rice for lunch, and Marilyn had their fried rice with beef, chicken and shrimp.

Marilyn is now sleeping soundly on the sofa. I'm blogging on my iPad. I had a good nap this evening after being up sick almost all night last night. (That made for a long day, as I was tired in the late afternoon/evening.)

Busy, long day, anyway. Very successful! And now we're on vacation. With tons to do this coming week.

We already have two events tomorrow!!!

I'm very ready for bed tonight! But feeling SO MUCH BETTER than the last several days tonight, thank God. All that pain is over. Maybe I'm finally over the bug!

Sleep well, friends.
under the weather
I managed to talk to Donn about work for some time, in spite of not really feeling up to it. He doesn't seem to get 'I don't feel well and can't talk about that now,' so whatever...

Still feeling lousy. Still have stomach pain. Oh well.

I chatted with sister Sue a couple of times. She's excited about her upcoming cribbage trip (after Thanksgiving at the Mill). And briefly to my friend June.

And though I took it easy most of the day, I also managed to cook dinner.

Right now I need to go outside for the recycling and composting. Ugh. It's pouring down rain out there and VERY COLD. But that's how it is.

And to clean the cat boxes.

Then we're heading right to bed!

We have a very early morning tomorrow -- Toy Drive day!!!

Good night! Stay warm and sleep well.
Marilyn left very early. I didn't wake until 7:30, but then got up and went to turn on the furnace -- it was very cold in the house. I ended up lying on top of Marilyn's made up bed, putting one of those amazing, soft and warm blankets over me. Both cats came to hang out with me.

I listened to the answering machine and got the info for the LifeWatch guy -- called him and resolved the situation with sister Sue. They wouldn't refund the $140, but also won't turn her account over to Collections, so all is well that ends well. It could have cost more and been a bigger mess. I gave Candy the return address for the equipment -- she came home today and sent it back. Marilyn is still angry, as they DID have a record of her conversation with them telling them to cancel the whole thing. Sue apparently talked to them way back in January -- but she can't recall when the package arrived...

Candy said Sue has given her the checkbook, which is good.

As for the rest of my day:

I picked up the kitchen, put away dishes and did another load. I was trying to get out a lightbulb and ended up spending ages cleaning the hall closet. I have another big box of things for the Goodwill. And some rather nice decorative pillows. I also cleaned out more of the downstairs fridge.

Sue called many times. Marilyn considers that a good sign that she's better and more normal -- lonely and bored and wanting company. I tried to be friendly and kind for each call -- even when I had to get up off the floor or climb down from a stool inside the closet. Hahaha.

I also did the garbage around the house and the recycling. A good start for tomorrow.

Finally, I brought out Thanksgiving decorations for the family room and living room and put those out.

Actually, I got a lot done, especially considering I didn't feel all that well. Marilyn thinks I have gastroenteritis. I've been feverish, having bad stomach pains (and other gastro issues -- ugh), been nauseous and had a raging headache. All signs of gastroenteritis. I was blaming my IBS-c -- but she thinks I have a little bug. She reminded me that she felt genuinely SICK yesterday, so...

I barely ate today, and went I got those awful stomach cramps didn't want to eat more...

The weather today was filthy. Terrible rain, wind and very chilly. It looks like we had another branch come down from the tree...

Marilyn had lunch with Marcia and Gail today. And her usual very busy day. She didn't get home until around 7:00.

We went to Rieaid to pick up meds after Marilyn got off work. Then briefly to Freddies to pick up a few things. (Forgot molasses cookies, though. We haven't had them in ages now.) And I got Activia yogurt for my IBS-c...

We just watched "Help!" again tonight. Makes us very cheerful. Marilyn did fall asleep, though. Little wonder.

I hope I get better tomorrow. Friday is the festival Toy Drive -- and it's all hands on deck. Besides, I'd hate to miss it.

Long entry.

That's it for today, I think...

Sweet dreams!
Jesus wept
Marilyn and I just watched a show on HBO about Rolling Stone -- which ended with the death of John Lennon. Which of course made us both start weeping and weeping. I can't even type about it right now. Just too brutal.

Marilyn stayed home today, not feeling at all well. Her IBS-d flare up was awful and made her miserable. I was still feeling the effects of my IBS-c flare up from yesterday. We both feel it's very unfair when we're making so many efforts to eat well and get more rest! But it's absolutely something about this time of year, whether it's allergies or something else.

We barely ate all day, as neither of us felt much like it.

We did both shower and wash our hair so we could take the OLD Christmas tree down to the office. I've been saving it since we got the new one, as Christine had asked for it to be the 'new' tree for the festival. There had been some talk that we had a good one, but Wanda phoned today and told me she did, indeed, want it. It has one 'bad' branch that is easy to tie up (we did it for years). But the main thing is it looks very real and has the lights already on it, making it much easier to use. So I managed to pack it (two big boxes) into the car and we drove it down. Fortunately it wasn't raining!!!

We need to get to the pharmacy to pick up meds. But we didn't feel like going out today.

We watched "Help!" again today. Such a fun film.

Marilyn missed her hair appointment, but her hair does look great, so... But she wants to get it done soon. And wants me to get mine done, too.

I have no idea what the heck is going on with my computer! I'm typing this, and there's a damn delay! I get that I type pretty fast when I touch type, but still...

Sweet dreams!