Tags: reading-out-loud

hair

Special Day Off (!!!) -- New Hair Brush

First off, I managed to break my hair brush. I've had it forever and a day -- I can't even recall when I bought it. It was a Conair Tourmaline Ceramic brush. I got one like it, but slightly different. Then I got another Conair brush that's a Tourmaline Ionic with a Gelgrip. I like both, but still feel bad about my original hair brush! Hahaha. I don't know, I guess we get used to the brush that we use.

I also had a second hair brush in the house after breaking the Conair, but it was a Goody. Frankly, it's just not as good a brand.

My fun new buy is a Conair comb "Detangles" that is 'ideal for wet hair' -- but also seems to go through dry hair like a hot knife through butter! It's actually considered a 'shower comb.' I've never even heard of that before! You can use it to 'evenly distribute conditioner through hair.' Seriously??? I can't wait to give it a try.

It's amazing the trouble they go to with hair brushes, by the way: Tourmaline, a gemstone that naturally releases negative ions, is crushed into a fine powder and infused into the nylon bristles and ceramic barrels of Conair Tourmaline Ceramic brushes. The ions tighten the cuticle layer and seal in natural oils, reducing static electricity, leaving hair shiny and silky. Ceramic coating, a powder layered over the metal base of the brush, evenly distributes and holds heat longer, so hair dries faster. (Using a blow-dryer increases the natural benefits of tourmaline ionic and ceramic.)

Marilyn took today off work to make up for us working on Saturday. I slept in really late! But she got up really early, poor thing.

Anyway, we decided to go to the beach on Sauvie Island (our third time this summer). We stopped at Safeway in St. Johns. I wanted to get a cheese sandwich to take along. So we went to the deli.

Unfortunately the woman in the deli was quite rude. Marilyn was so upset she had to walk away. Anyway, all the sandwiches listed had meat -- and (as I said) I just wanted cheese.

An aside: Marilyn and I decided to observe Meat Free Week which runs September 24-30 (connected to Meat Free Monday which we've been observing all year long). That means we're avoiding meat in our food for this week.

Since my encephalitis, I don't always click that well. Yes, there was a chart -- but initially I didn't even know if she would make a meatless sandwich. It was a rather nasty situation.

Marilyn made it clear that we will NEVER be going to that deli again to get food. She was so unhappy with how I was treated.

She told me first thing that the cost of the sandwich would be the same as any with meat. I told her right off that price didn't matter, I just wanted a cheese sandwich.

She takes two pieces of white bread and puts a thin (very thin) layer of avocado on one piece. Then she puts ONE THIN SLICE of cheese on the bread. One! Marilyn is freaking out a bit by this point. Asking if I can get more cheese. The woman is saying each slice of cheese will be an extra fifty cents. I'm saying I don't care about the price (where have we heard that before???). Finally she adds more cheese.

Next I ask about olives -- they don't have black olives. But they have an olive spread, so I ask for that. She was going to give me some pepperoncini, but was out -- I say never mind. I want no lettuce. I got tomato and that was all. She seemed shocked, but eventually was pleasant with me after several nasty behaviors. And she ended up charging me $2.99 (well UNDER the price of the meat sandwiches), because she said I put 'so little' on my choice. Well, there you go!

But Marilyn was still upset as we left. And it certainly wasn't worth upsetting her!!!

It's like the Starbucks we go to (the drive through) that's on Lombard and closer to our home (than the one in St. Johns). There is a man who works there who is lovely! Such a pleasant person. And there's a woman who works there who clearly hates her job and is ALWAYS unpleasant, no matter what. It nearly keeps us away from that Starbucks (which we like so much) because, again, who should have to put up with people who make you feel bad?

It's only a sandwich. Or a cup of coffee. But if the server is nice you feel much better when you depart.

Then later in the day we got drinks from McDonalds. And we were remarking on how the people who work there always seem to be in good moods. They are always nice. They make you feel good during the few minutes you interact with them.

Marilyn and I try hard in the course of our work to make other people feel good. Hopefully we succeed most of the time. Nobody is nice all the time and everybody has bad days. But if you hate your job, it's probably time to move on and find a job you can like...

It was a BEAUTIFUL day -- blue skies and sunshine. We had our lovely blanket that June and Jim gave Marilyn for her birthday several years ago. It's weatherproof on the bottom and blue and white stripes and comfortable on the top. It folds up and has a strap for carrying and we LOVE it. And we had our sand buckets (I wanted to get more sand for one of my 'projects'). And a bag of snacks. And our bag with blankets we use as pillows and a towel we have for if we go in the water. And our Beatles bags with this and that.

Marilyn was reading out loud from the book "Clapton: The Autobiography" -- the story of the amazing Eric Clapton. What a WONDERFUL book! Both of us were struck by how well written this book is! It reads like a delightful novel.

Needless to say, this book has wonderful reviews from wonderful sources such as the Houston Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, the Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, the Boston Herald, the New York Times, USA Today and many more.

One review called him 'the guitarist extraordinaire' -- and that's certainly true to both Marilyn and me!

Anyway, I look forward to hearing more, hopefully soon. I can't wait!

Marilyn is typing away on a fanfic beside me as I blog on my computer in my home office. I really haven't done that much this year. I've been so sick and it's been so painful to sit up in this chair. No, it's not better, if you're asking. But I felt like giving it a try, anyway...

The Big Valley is on in the background (we have TVs all over our house, as most of you know). I was just commented on how good the acting was on that show (both the regulars and the guest stars). It has always been a favorite, but I think we appreciate it even more now. Just think of how many times we've seen each episode after all these years! It originally aired 1965 through 1969.

You know, I watch a combination of old and new TV. And I suppose it's a sign of age that I like to watch older TV shows. But it's now much easier to do so! There are so many channels on cable that allow us to see these series.

What I think I'll do is try sharing just one show at a time and discuss WHY I each one. I guess we'll say
my mention of "The Big Valley" is a start. We loved the Barkley family (still do!) and the actors who portrayed them. And we knew so many others who did, too. We were always delighted when we heard references to the series over the years. There were 112 episodes during the four seasons it was on TV (Season One: 1965-66, Season Two: 1966-67, Season Three: 1967-68, Season Four: 1968-69). I recall that we got really crazy about the show after it was officially off the air. We were watching it in the early 70's. It went to channel 12 locally, which was always a sort of 'extra' channel that ran a lot of reruns (we loved that!). There were some historical aspects that they got wrong that always bothered us, but for the most part they tried hard, considering the limitations of television budgets (something I didn't understand as much when I was younger -- which made me judge shows more harshly than I do now). Barbara Stanwyck must have been incredibly strong! She forced the people making the show to take her character Victoria and constantly make her stronger and stronger as the series progressed. Think of this, by the way: the character Heath was NEVER listed as 'Heath Barkley' in the credits -- because he was the bastard son of Thomas (Tom) Barkley! Yet Victoria comes to treat him just like one of her own children -- and he starts calling her Mother. There was still stigma then about being illegitimate, which is hard to believe now, I know. The series had incredible guest stars (see the full list by following the above link), which included: Katharine Ross, Ron Howard, Dennis Hopper, Martin Landau, John Carradine, Milton Berle, Maurice Eveans, Paul Fix, Tige Andrews, Robert Goulet, Michael Burns and many, many more! (So many it's impossible to list them all...) There were some really good stories that we've enjoyed enough to watch over and over, obviously.

We're heading to bed soon, so I should end. Aside from the fact that this is another huge (and pretty much boring) entry! Hahaha.

Colin attacked Johnnie this morning, I'm sorry to report. I guess there's no sign that they'll get along any time soon. But I still hope. Ultimately, Johnnie seemed content in my bedroom and if he has to be shut in all the time so be it. My bedroom is pretty big, really. There are two windows and I always make sure he can look out into the back yard. (I keep the blinds higher during the day and lower at night.) He has my bed with a comfortable (very soft) blanket on top. He has a huge pile of pillows he loves. He was his commode across the room -- the really nice one we got him! He has his own food and water bowls that I try to keep constantly filled. He has his toys on the bed and floor and some tissue paper if he wants to lie on that. He was other places to hide or play, including my big closet. We try to give him time each day to roam around the upstairs while we lock the other cats downstairs. The upstairs was originally the entire house, by the way, before previous owners added the downstairs family room and Marilyn's bedroom and huge walk-in closet. In other words, it's like having the run of an entire house, really.

Well, off to bed! Sleep well, friends...
suffer

Tough Times: Marilyn Deals With the Aftermath of Her Colonoscopy

As I mentioned in my blog entry yesterday, Marilyn was IN PAIN during her procedure. She verbally indicated that she was suffering, but apparently they did nothing to alleviate her pain. Honestly, this shocks me more than I can express. I've never heard of ANYONE having pain during a colonoscopy before this. Anyway, I just did some online research and found MANY, MANY people who had the same terrible experience she did! I feel the documentation about having a colonoscopy -- and that it's PAINLESS -- is a blatant LIE. Knowing what I now know, I'm not sure I'll ever want to have the test again. Nor do I blame Marilyn for saying she'll be reluctant in the future...

And they can't do ANYTHING during the test to change this? Apparently the ONLY option would be to stop the test (I read several times that people had been suffering so bad that they had to quit the test part way through).

Anyway, when I went back to see her after the test, she was quite 'gray' and looked exactly like she'd had a bad experience. I made a point of not saying anything about to her until much, much later on... But it scared me, I must admit!

As for last night, she was in HORRIBLE PAIN all night long. There was no blood, fortunately. We both assumed that the pain was caused by the air they put inside, which gives you gas-like pain. (Or maybe actually causes gas. Not sure which.) Anyway, she couldn't even lie down for most of the night. It was difficult keeping her covered and warm enough. I felt just terrible for her. And there wasn't anything I could do to HELP her. I did rub her back a little, though.

I read out loud to her for hours, trying to distract her from her suffering. Near morning I kept getting blurry vision and reading things wrong -- and dropping off to sleep sitting up. I finally gave up, but fortunately she was asleep by then. So I left her and went to bed. (Recently I've hated leaving her alone at night when she doesn't feel well, so I spend a lot of nights sleeping in my chair near her sofa, so I can be close. Or if not all night, part of the night sleeping there, anyway...)

Needless to say, she wasn't able to go to work today. I had felt in advance that she should take Friday off, but I'm sorry it was because she was so damn miserable!!! I don't know if this pain can be related to how the procedure went, but she honestly seems to have suffered much, much worse than I did (and I had both the upper and lower done on the same day when mine was done -- and today sister Sue told me she thought the upper was a far more painful test to get done).

Anyway, I did get a bunch of sleep before I got up again. Then I arranged with sister Sue to drive me down to the office. I checked with Christine, and my diabetic supplies that I've been arranging all week long did get delivered today. It was so nice of Sue to take me down to get these...

Carol (at the festival office) said to tell Marilyn everybody was thinking about her. And not to worry, as the meetings had been pushed back into next week (including the meeting for naming the official rose for next year).

Sue and I stopped at Freddies on the way home and I got more paper towels (we go through a ton with how often I'm always washing my hands for testing and my contacts and so on). And Sue needed to pick up supplies, too. Plus we wanted to get Marilyn Starbucks, so we did it there.

I did get my WORK done for the office, by the way. This time of year there are things I need to do -- and they are things that no one else CAN do. So I do make an effort to get in and do what needs to be done. (Just sayin'...)

The rest of the day was pretty QUIET. I got back into my jammies and just spent time lying around, for the most part. We watched a lot of TV and played on our iPads. And read.

We both LOVE Friday nights, and watching "Star Trek" for hours (Classic Trek). It's great fun for us!

The book I've been reading out loud is "The Boston Strangler" by Gerold Frank (the Kindle version). It's been fascinating, so far. (Marilyn read the book years back, but I never have...)

We ate cornbread around dinner time. Then had bacon and tomato sandwiches later on. And finally popcorn as a late treat. I'm so glad Marilyn was able to eat tonight!!! I have no idea if she'll feel up to do ANYTHING this weekend. We'd planned to go to a favorite bazaar tomorrow, but I'm seriously NOT counting on it. In fact, I suspect it would be best if she RESTED the entire weekend.

All these many, many weeks of her being so sick -- and all the testing that's been done, including the colonoscopy -- have taken a toll on Marilyn. I just want her to get as much rest as she can and to start feeling better. I'd be so very glad if she could finally start to be WELL again. I feel that nobody can live the way she's done since June, without being able to freely eat and drink! I've been so afraid she would get dizzy sometime while driving in traffic...

Anyway, I continue to PRAY VERY HARD for her improvement. She makes light of it all, of course. But she certainly did not make light of the pain she felt during that colonoscopy -- a sure sign of just how bad it must have been. Everyone has been very supportive, which is a tremendous help. We're both very, very grateful for our circle of friends (which includes all of you!!!).

Well, I'm sitting here looking at one of my brand new insulin syringes, feeling -- I have to admit -- rather fearful. It's certainly a change from using the pen (which seems WONDERFUL by comparison, I admit). I plan to start googling for instructions on using these tomorrow online. Thank God for the internet! And I truly mean that. Unlike the pen, there's NO written instructions included with these needles...

I'll manage, of course. Tons and tons of people do it all the time. (sigh) I'm not planning on being a big baby about it. But right now it's daunting, in spite of my best intentions. Hahaha. That takes me back to memories of my Mom! I recall long ago that she said to us she NEVER wanted to be in a position to have to use a needle to inject herself. That was YEARS before she was discovered to be diabetic, and had to do exactly that for the rest of her life. It was a terrible fear for her, but she got over it -- and I will, too. I think I'm actually far LESS fearful than she was. For me, it's not about the pain (whatever), as much as it is about facing something totally new, that seems more complicated than using a pen (which is pre-loaded). I've used needles on others (our cat Harry and on Mom, too), but never on myself. Yet. Part of me is tempted to QUIT the pen NOW, and move directly to the syringes. Partly because this current pen is a totally different insulin than I'll be on once I finish with it. I'll go BACK to the original insulin I was using. And there is a difference between insulins, after all...

Well, I'm blathering now -- sorry about that! You really do NOT need to hear all the crap running around in my head about this. The next thing you know I'll just be used to it, and that will be that. I DO still notice stomach pain about half an hour after injecting the insulin, though. I can't wait for that side effect to stop. Plus I keep having spleen pain again, which really hurts. There's no treatment for the spleen, so I just have to live with it.

And after all, who has a life with no pain? Hahaha. It is what it is, after all.

Well, I need to check on Marilyn and head to bed, I think. Or maybe read to her some more, if she's still awake...

Sleep well, dear friends -- and have good dreams! I hope you are all in the best of health...
beauty cats

Saturday: Starlight Parade Day

Marilyn and I actually got home by 12:30 a.m. tonight! (woo hoo)

It's currently close to 2:00 a.m.

Today started at 9:00 at the office, heading to the park for Special Needs Day. We've been doing this for several years now. From 9:00 to 11:00 in the morning on one day, CityFair is only open to special needs children and their families. The park is QUIET -- no music is playing and there are no other loud noises. Nothing that might be upsetting to a special needs child.

They can visit Walk on the Wild Side and see the animals, go to the Kids Zone and do activities and play bingo -- and just stroll around and see the sights.

I really enjoyed interacting with the kids and their families. I had some children so engaged that they were following me around. Hahaha. And one little girl just adopted me! She kept having me pick her up and carry her. She was ADORABLE. And she would take me by the hand and lead me around to see things with her. Two other children (both boys) were also showing me things. So cute!

Then I went to the Kids Zone to the Reading Corner and read "Green Eggs and Ham" out loud for a group of children and parents. Very fun!

After that we went back to the office, then to get Starbucks. Then back to work again.

I was dealing with an IT issue (surprise) that I just couldn't resolve. I wanted to give Carol access to be able to send email as Info@ -- but it wouldn't work! I set this sort of thing up every so often, so I was quite surprised that it denied me access. I still don't know WHY.

Around 1:30-2:00 in the afternoon Marilyn and I took off.

We did end up home eventually, and had a half hour 'nap' before going back down to the office again.

Marilyn was working away on the Grand Floral Parade script much of the day and night!!! She did a TON of work on it.

We went down to the park and got shaved ice -- it was miserably HOT outside (in the high 90's). We checked things out and finally went back to the office.

We spend Starlight Parade in the office. We actually watch the parade on TV (and I follow along reading the script). Marilyn remains available in case of an incident that requires police action -- she's the one who would talk to them on behalf of the festival. She also helps communicate with TV if necessary (the formation area is quite a distance from television).

There was a special show on the festival that aired at 8:30 p.m. Then the parade came on at 9:00. The way it works is that the parade starts at 8:30 (right after the Starlight Run), but it takes half and hour for it to reach television -- and by that time it's dark so you can see the illumination elements!

Sheila and Tanya were in and out and came in Marilyn's office several times to see bits of the parade. Then at one point Jodi (who is a clown and used to work for the festival) was there, and joined us.

Other people were in and out all night long, too...

All the time Marilyn was working away on the script. She was able to send it off to the woman who does the television version of the script before we went to the After-Party tonight, amazingly enough! (It's only missing a few things...)

Eventually the parade ended (right at 11:00), then we headed over to the Starlight After-Party and were there for some time.

Finally we headed home.

Fitbit Update: Because of my swollen feet (ankles and legs), I've been avoiding walking whenever possible. So I haven't been getting many steps recently. But I got 12,500+ steps today! I was surprised to see that. Marilyn had some 9,000 steps (not sure of the exact amount). Not sure how I got more steps than her, another surprise to me.

Marilyn thinks my feet are another version of my joint flareups. Maybe so. If I had any Naproxen, I'd take it for sure to see if it helped. Aside from helping with pain, it's an anti-inflammatory as well... She's probably right. She usually is!!!

Time for bed. It was a long day!

And a very hot day! We are so blessed (and thankful, believe me) to have air conditioning in this terrible heat.
rose-pink

Point One Run -- Rosie Lunch at Red Robin

This morning was the Point One Run -- which the festival billed as The World’s Shortest Half Marathon!

Adeena, Marilyn and I were all going as Rosie the Riveter, using the outfits we wore last summer when we went to the Rosie Rally in California. (Nancy -- our fourth Rosie -- is in Montana and was unable to join us.)

The Point One Run came from the fact that this year we broke from our previous Half Marathon producers, but still planned to have our annual event (and produce it in-house). The City of Portland wouldn't give us the necessary permits to do this, claiming it was a 'new' event (really???). So we decided to make lemonade from our lemons and create an event that could be held INSIDE CityFair (we already have full access to the park there for the run of the festival).

Most of the Staff signed up to 'run' -- and the public ate it up with a spoon! We actually sold out.

Anyway, it was GREAT FUN! A total 'fun run' event, with mini-medals (really nice ones!), our own tee-shirt and many goodies at the finish line: Chocolate milk, donuts, bottled water and a concert. Plus every participant got free tickets to give to friends for admission to CityFair and there was a beer coupon on our bibs (race numbers), for those old enough to drink.

We were a hit with our Rosie outfits -- I can't even say how many people came up to me and asked to take a photo with me. Hahaha.

After the race was over, Adeena took Marilyn and me to lunch at Red Robin in our Rosie gear. One of the employees was so excited he asked to get his photo taken with us -- then told us how thrilled his wife was to see the photos (and that she wanted to meet us!).

We all love Red Robin so that was a very special treat! I had a bottomless root beer float, and the girls both had alcoholic drinks.

We went back to the office so Marilyn and Adeena could go down to hear Angel and Mayor Harry (David) read at the reading corner in CityFair today. (I was having my same issue from yesterday, so I didn't go along -- good thing!)

Finally Marilyn and I headed for home, making a stop at the grocery store to pick up cat food and a few other items.

We played a little Zuma, then I headed directly to bed. I don't know if Marilyn got ANY sleep, but at least she was lying around resting, watching TV and messing with her iPad.

When I woke up, we watched the 2015 movie "Remember," Starring Christopher Plummer, with Henry Czerny playing his son. I'm surprised that critics didn't care for the end of the film -- I felt it was excellent, personally. I could easily sit through the movie a second time and might even do so (if I have time -- we rented it). As everybody knows, we love Henry Czerny (and have for years and years). So we'll pretty much watch anything he appears in. Christopher Plummer is AMAZING in this role (and we've loved him a long time, too -- since "Sound of Music").

The story opens in a New York nursing home. Elderly Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Max meets dementia patient Zev Guttman (he recognizes him from their days at the camp). After Zev's wife Ruth dies, Max sends Zev on a mission to track down a Nazi. Zev is very forgetful, so he uses a letter from Max to get from place to place, looking for the Nazi who killed their families in the camp.

Marilyn and I highly recommend this movie if you're looking for something interesting to watch. A mystery that smacks of real life.

We had homemade popcorn tonight...

I'm off to bed any minute, but first, a photo share!!!

[click to see the full size versions]

p1r-pic1
Check my bicep, folks! Hahaha.

p1r-pic2
Marilyn and I are celebrating with a tiny bottle of champagne!

p1r-pic3
Marilyn and Adeena are on either side of me -- enjoying the champagne!

Carol took that last photo (Adeena did the other ones). Carol had been eating one of those packages of tiny donuts and set it down to take the picture -- and somebody stole her donuts!!! Seriously? Hahaha.

(Adeena got some wonderful photos of the event. They're HERE.)

Good night friends, and sleep well!
TMI - v1

Warning: Too Much Information Entry

Be WARNED: This is a TMI (too much information) entry.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Because of lifelong issues with my bowels, I have frequent constipation. Yes, nobody wants to hear about THAT. Hahaha. I get it. But today was all tied up with what I refer to as a 'pooping day.'

When I haven't pooped in a couple of days, then I'll end up having a day when that's about all I do. And when I happen to be at work, it can be very inconvenient. And that's how it was today, I'm afraid.

But I did go to the office with Marilyn and I did get to hear Frank (our president) reading four books in the Reading Corner down at CityFair! He was WONDERFUL!!! The kids just loved him.

And Marilyn, Christine and I all got corn dogs (pronto pups) for lunch -- our first carnival food of the season. Hahaha.

I got some work done at the office, too.

We started our day going out to CANCEL the Planet Fitness membership, which went fine (as far as we know now, anyway).

Bad News: The low tire light came on while we were doing this. So we found a Les Schwab out there (way across town) and had it checked. We could SEE the nail in the tire! The guy was nice, but told us he couldn't fix it. He said we should go in to the dealership to get a new tire, as they'd be more likely to have the matching tire. Then he filled the tire with air.

So now Marilyn has to get the car in -- and (obviously) we're in the middle of the festival. So that's not at all convenient. (Aside from the cost involved in replacing the tire.)

I guess it's always something. We refuse to let it get us down. But I can't seem to stop worrying about it, though...

We went directly to work after that. And we checked in and got our packets for the Point One Run tomorrow! We're really excited about that.

Marilyn very kindly took me home so I'd be comfortable. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. But I also spent time lying down with my feet up for the swelling.

I did talk to sister Sue at one point. We hadn't spoken recently, so that was nice.

I have some issues to deal with about FTPing. Your IP address can change (unless you pay for it to be static). And apparently that's happened here at home. (sigh) So I'll need to send the new one to Atmosera so they can get me back to being able to FTP to the website from here. Annoying right now, but again, stuff happens...

Marilyn's feet and hands were terribly swollen when she finally got home late tonight (after the Sir Mix concert that I missed). He's a great performer (we had him last year, too). Anyway, Jeff insisted Marilyn and Adeena get their pictures with him. Very cool!

Time to head to bed. Tomorrow is another big day.
dvd-player

Movies: "Clouds of Sils Maria" and "Pride" -- We Recommend Both

Marilyn has a terrible cough, poor thing, but I do think she's getting a little better (thankfully!). We'll see how she's doing in the morning...

As for me, my day started by going to my clinic to get labs. It was supposed to be both blood work and a urine sample, but I was dry and will have to take in the other sample next week (so dehydrated!!!). At least she had NO TROUBLE getting the blood (NONE!!!) -- so I guess I wasn't that dehydrated, after all. (smile)

Sue picked my up well before 9:00 (my appointment was at 9:30). But the woman in front of me was having a TERRIBLE time giving blood, so it took AGES for her to finish up...

After that, Sue and I went to Starbucks in St. Johns and Sue bought for the three of us (we took a London Fog home to Marilyn). Very nice of her!!! In fact, it was very sweet of Sue to take me today, period.

Marilyn and I spent a lot of time lying around today. We both dozed. I read and she watched TV.

I've been re-reading "The Cardinal Sins," by Andrew Greeley -- one of my favorite EVER authors. (Last week I also re-read "The Stand," by Stephen King -- another of my favorite authors.) But last night I started reading "Blanche on the Lam (Blanche White series Book 1)," by Barbara Neely. The book was originally published in 1992, but was just recently re-released. I'm really enjoying it and hope to read more of the series (I'm only about half-way through the book so far).

Marilyn and I watched the movie "Clouds of Sils Maria," a 2014 art film featuring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart. Really worth seeing. And we watched Showtime's Pride," which is a film about a group of gay activists who work to support the miners of a Welsh village during their strike back in the summer of 1984. (Inspired by a true story.) We LOVED it -- so be sure to watch if you get the chance.

We do love watching movies on TV when we're not feeling well, so that was nice today.

And I did read out loud from our cat book, too (a couple of chapters). We both like that.

The weather here is NASTY. Cold and RAINY! And it's both rainy AND windy tonight! (ugh) It's a perfect day to be inside.

We actually had pot pies for dinner (Marilyn had chicken and I had beef). And we had some cut up melon (honey dew and cantaloupe) and Jello, too.

I'm still not 100%. The damn antibiotic always messes me up. I have to admit that even so, I'm glad I took it! I have no lingering, deep cough. And I avoided laryngitis. So that's a good thing! I just hate the digestive issues. I've had a tummy ache all day long. (sigh)

I think that covers our Saturday...
coffee please

Just Keep Yawning! Hahaha.

It's heading toward midnight. I had a short nap after dinner and just woke up around 20 minutes ago. And I can't seem to stop yawning! Oh my.

I did get up around 9:00 a.m. this morning and did my blood and so on. We didn't turn the heat down very far last night, considering all the woes of the frozen pipes. Hahaha. But it was cold enough to need to be turned back up. So I did that and went right back to bed! And didn't get up again for hours. But remember, we didn't go to bed until around 5:00 a.m.

For the record, I DID go outside at one point today and took off the cover so I could test the outdoor spigot and be sure it was still working just fine. I can't believe what a great sound it was to hear water hitting the inside of the plastic bucket! Hahaha.

I put out more seed for the critters and pulled the ice off the top of the water dishes and refilled them.

While outside I chatted with a young mother who had her big dog and two children out for a walk. She was nervous, because drivers seemed to be moving too fast -- and were losing control! They'd suddenly be going sideways, and she worried that they could jump the curb! I don't blame her for that. The sidewalk in front of our house wasn't shoveled -- no kidding! It wasn't like I was going to risk falling to clean it off. The tiny girl was in one of those snowsuits little kids wear and looked like a pink puffy cookie or something! Hahaha. The older girl was also bundled up -- they both looked darling. Poor Mom! She had to take that dog for a walk, and couldn't leave the kids home alone while doing it. I really felt for her, while chatting with her. (I did convince her to head back home, at least...)

I also chatted with Barbara and John while outside. They were out walking somewhere. It seemed like the choice people were making today, in order to avoid driving.

Trying to think WHAT else I actually did today, aside from watching TV and playing with my iPad...

I phoned sister Sue to check with her. Her son Larry fixed her front door, which has been messed up for some time now. That's a good deal! He came over with Mady, Levi and Abby (wife Tammy stayed home). Wayne (now deceased) had tried to fix the door a couple of times, but failed. It's really a pain when your door won't close properly!

And I spoke very briefly to friend and neighbor June -- she was leaving to go to the doctor. Husband Jim had already been out in the morning for an appointment, so I guess they weren't too worried about driving. But I was praying hard for them, even so! It was just a nasty day to be outside, that's for sure. (I didn't hear back from her, so I have no clue how that appointment went...)

I finally forced myself to color my hair. Gosh, it's a pain doing it.

I never realized in the past how LUCKY I was to be coloring my hair before it changed so much. I'm pretty sure the changes aren't just about aging. Actually, I think it's more about medical/health conditions -- plus the damn medications I have to take! I just remember how different my skin and hair were after I went on diabetes medication for the first time. My skin was crepe-y and awful and my hair was falling out by the handful. Thankfully those things have improved a TON. But there's something that goes on with the actual texture of my hair!

Anyway, it's odd how hard it is to wash the coloring out of my hair now. That never used to be true. Maybe it's partly due to how hair color has changed (it has) in recent years. But I just rinse and rinse and rinse -- and then I actually have to shampoo to get it all out! Weird. If you don't color your hair, trust me that you can't leave the extra color on the hair.

But when I got done today, it was nice how silky the texture felt! I just kept running my hands through my hair. (smile) I was trying hard to focus on a root application -- which is more difficult than it sounds. I wanted to avoid the length of the hair, because otherwise it gets too dark on top. It looks pretty decent, I guess. Hair color just doesn't absorb like it used to. And I keep blaming it on my white hair -- but now I think it's more about meds.

Medicines DO go into the hair shaft, after all! I'd forgotten that. Anyway, I'm not sure WHY, but it makes me feel better to think that my issues with coloring my hair are about the medicines and supplements I take. I know I've always been pretty decent at putting hair color on my hair, but it's been far more difficult in the past five to ten years...

One of my New Year's Resolutions for this year is to try and keep the kitchen more cleaned up and picked up. I just like the entire house much more when things are nicer (who doesn't?). It's harder to do than I would think, actually. We're often tired out, so it's an easy thing to be lazy about putting things away and picking up and cleaning up. We'll see how I do with this goal!

I want to get back to getting rid of things around here and organizing more. I've been pleased with how that's gone the last couple of years, so I want to continue in 2016. It's so easy to feel buried with stuff. Hahaha. Yeah, yeah, I'm not a real hoarder. But I still feel I'm a boarderline hoarder. My tendency is to KEEP things -- even if I haven't used them in years. Even if I don't know how I'm going to use them. Often for sentimental reasons!

For example: If I go somewhere and have a good time, I might want some souvenir of that event. And it could be something like the plastic sword or paper umbrella that's in a drink! That's just an example, but I seriously keep a ton of things like that...

And if something is tied to someone I love, it's much harder. Especially if that person has died. This is one of the reasons I love Christmas and all the decorations so much! Tons of them are very, very sentimental for me. They're old, but not valuable, per se. I just love them because they've been around since Mom and Dad got married, or belonged to Grandma Elsie, or we've had them since we were kids.

Speaking of, I have all these things Marilyn made as a little girl. Mom was great about keeping these things. I need to take photos and share, because they're GOOD! (smile) Mom would be delighted that I didn't just turn around and toss them out.

Well, we're back to WORK tomorrow. Vacation is over. And I have a new person to train. Heck, I have a new person starting who doesn't have a user Profile yet -- and once it's created, I need to set it up on her computer! Lots of work.

The weather is still a HUGE MESS here. It moderated some today, but it hasn't cleared away. And it's due to re-freeze tonight! Plus we're supposed to get more freezing rain tonight. But we already know Portland Public Schools are opening two hours late tomorrow (meaning we're due to work by 10:00). I'm pretty concerned about what it will be like getting there. (sigh)

Marilyn isn't worried. But I was outside many, many times last night -- and I know how crappy it was trying to walk on the ice. I hope driving isn't that bad. Plus we do have to walk on it once we get to the office...

I don't think I mentioned that Donn took a fall in China and broke his wrist! (He was riding a bike at the time.) Denise told me. She had to take in the equipment he got ready for me -- another task I have waiting for me at work! I need to set up those computers.

I hope Donn's doing okay. I should text him and see what's what. I mean, Jeff got pretty messed up when he broke his wrist...

Oh! And I did read out loud a little today. Love doing that. Not that much, but a little.

I guess it's bedtime soon, anyway. Good night all!
frightful weather

Winter Weather COMING!!! (Oh, NO!)

I'm just fighting a constant fever right now. I might need to see my nurse practitioner at some point, I guess. This is decidedly a flare-up -- but it hasn't shown up in any one joint as terrible pain, yet. That's a good thing, I guess. But there are twinges of pain in my right ankle, left big toe, right wrist and right hip. (sigh) So I'm waiting and watching for any full-fledged joint flare-up. So far, it's not happening...

But I feel crummy. I seemed a bit better today, but not great. Marilyn decided we wouldn't head down to the beach today. And we'd talked about maybe going down tomorrow and staying overnight, then coming back on Monday (we work on Tuesday). But the weather is supposed to be NASTY tomorrow! We're certainly NOT going to be driving in either snow or (shudder) freezing rain -- and we're slated for both according to the weather reports. I guess we'll see.

We did dash out to get a lottery ticket and Starbucks earlier. Then after we heard the report about tomorrow, we went to the store to pick up a few items late tonight -- just in case.

I phoned June and Jim and unfortunately woke them up! They'd gone to bed. But Marilyn and I were worried they might need something from the store, so we wanted to check, just in case.

We finished our Lilian Jackson Braun's 'The Cat Who' book that I've been reading out loud ("The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern"). And we've started a NEW one. Well, it's very OLD, but it's been so long since we read these (a couple of decades, at least) that I don't even remember what happened. So it's like reading them for the very first time. The fun is the characters (including the two cats!) and the settings. And she's a very good writer, too. Marilyn didn't want to go back to the very first book, which was before Yum-Yum joined the family. So we're now reading the third book, "The Cat Who Turned On and Off" (which was written back in 1968). Once we get past the first three books, we'll reach the novels written during the 1980's.

Marilyn and I baked a few cookies today. Nothing much, but it was fun, anyway.

And we made the Ro*Tel Queso Dip that they're always advertising on TV lately. People eat the dip and then CRASH through fences and fountains and so on, it's so good. To tell you the truth, it IS pretty darn good! We only did half of the ingredients they suggest (and we did Velveeta's microwave version, rather than Ro*Tel's stovetop version) yesterday, and didn't finish it. So we heated up the leftover dip tonight and had it with taco chips. So good!

This brings us to Velveeta. Marilyn, Sue and I were raised on this product. Mom used it to make TONS of foods. She almost never used actual cheese! We used Velveeta for toasted cheese sandwiches and to add to any number of recipes. The first time Marilyn and I had real cheese rather than Velveeta, we honestly did NOT care for it! Hahaha.

That reminds me. Mom also made a packaged pizza for us growing up. It was made by Chef Boyardee and came as a 'pizza kit' that Mom would 'create.' We ate it into our teenage years, seriously. I enjoyed reading THIS ARTICLE about it -- yes, they still make it! (There were others who grew up with this pizza, too. Hahaha.) It did NOT use real cheese, so the first time our Aunt Dorothy took Marilyn and me out for a real pizza, we were freaked out by the 'strings' of messy cheese!!! We thought it was nasty. Hahaha.

In recent decades we haven't even had Velveeta in the house. But growing up it was ALWAYS in the house! How could you LIVE without it??? We're cheese people, so we always have Tillamook cheese around now. But you know what? Velveeta sure makes a yummy dip! I'd honestly forgotten how tasty it is.

We had another fire tonight (a small one, but we had both a pressed log and a small stick of firewood). Nice on a cold night -- and tonight is very cold!

This was another day of TV watching and playing on our iPads.

And that was our Saturday! Sleep well, friends.
happy new year baby, baby happy new year

First Day of 2016: Charlie is Sick (sigh)

Yeah, I spent the first day of the New Year not feeling at all well. I was feverish and nauseous and lying around much of the day. For most of the day all I could stand to eat was baby dill pickles...

In spite of not feeling well, I spent around 45 minutes (or so) outside 'fixing' the tarp in the back yard. Good God was it COLD out there! I had on two layers of pants, my warm fuzzy 'boot' slippers Marilyn bought me some time back, a heavy shirt, a heavy coat, a warm scarf, gloves and earmuffs. The earmuffs fell off almost immediately (sigh). And the gloves didn't seem to do much toward keeping my hands warm (they were hurting they were so cold!!!). But my FEET AND ANKLES were very, very warm! And wearing two layers on my legs really works for keeping my knees warm. (I don't need any more flare-ups with my knees, ankles or toes, that's for sure! Or my hips, for that matter...)

The WIND has been pretty high here -- and was BAD today! So the tarp had come loose on top, and ripped up the tent pegs all over the place, too! What a job getting it all back where it belonged, as the wind tried to whip it out of my clutches while I worked. Crazy.

Then I had to find a few things to 'weigh' it down. The one thing is apparently an old counter top from our kitchen! I found it in the garage, but don't recall having ever seen it before. Hahaha. We have cheap counters. I wonder where this small one had been in the kitchen??? It had been buried under our lounge chair cushion -- but we took that to the Goodwill yesterday.

I totally FORGOT to mention taking some things to the Goodwill yesterday. That's another tradition for us. We always try to make one last trip on the final day of the year (if we're here in Portland and not at the beach house). The lounge cushion was nearly new -- in wonderful condition! We gave the rest of the set that went on the chairs to Candy. We still have the umbrella (really nice), but Candy doesn't want it. We would have taken it to the Goodwill, too, but it's really big. I can't recall how we ever got the thing home here in the first place!

I might keep it. I've used these before to make 'shelters' for birds and animals when we end up with snow and/or freezing rain... That seems like a crazy reason to have it taking up space, though! (Don't hoard, Charlie!!!)

Later in the day I gathered the recycling -- today is garbage and recycling day (not REAL garbage day, though). I just got done a bit ago taking out all the garbage and the recycling and composting. Plus cleaning the cat boxes and taking that out. Gosh, was it COLD OUTSIDE tonight!!! Yikes.

I also did end up fixing dinner for Marilyn and meal -- the only real meal we ate all day. I cooked ham, white and golden hominy and green beans (Italian cut), which we ate with cottage cheese and sweet tea (we use Stevia to sweeten it). Really a lovely meal! We both had two helpings (we were hungry by then!).

And I threw a decorative log in the fireplace (rather than make a real fire). Those little pressed logs don't burn like a wood fire, but that's okay.

Anyway, I was proud that even though I was pretty MISERABLE on and off today, I was still able to get some things done around the house...

I did take a long nap at one point. I'd been reading out loud and was just too sleepy to keep going. We're pretty close to finishing the cat book we're reading, too. And I kept falling asleep sitting up. But during part of the day I was just lying around feeling lousy, while Marilyn snoozed on the sofa and I watch HGTV. They were playing a bunch of Tiny House shows. One of these, Tiny Luxury, features TinyHeirloom.Com -- a Portland, Oregon-based company that makes luxury Tiny Homes! I saw two episodes of that show today and really enjoyed it.

Obviously we did NOT drive down to the beach house today. (sigh) The best laid plans, I guess...

Sister Sue was NOT able to have the New Year's Eve party for her cribbage club last night. I can't believe the people running the office wouldn't have TOLD HER they were closing early so she could get the key. Sue had to call up everybody and cancel the party! And everybody had cooked or bought food, as it was a potluck. Sue's hoping they can freeze their food and just do it next week, instead. But what a pain!!! I'm sure everybody was disappointed... (But it was NOT Sue's fault! She's not a mind reader, after all!)

I sent a Happy New Year text to our friend Sue in Oklahoma last night -- and she texted us back. It's so odd to have her so far away...

Damn ants!!! They're in my bathroom like CRAZY right now! I finally did my damn pills (a task I really HATE doing) today. It takes AGES, because I take so many pills -- some at night and some in the morning. And I use a pill case that has AM and PM compartments. But the stupid thing does NOT seal air tight. And I haven't been able to find one that does. So I left it on the bathroom counter (BAD idea), and later found ants inside it! I can't just toss out the pills, so I have to go compartment by compartment and dump the pills on paper towels and see if there are ants inside. Ugh, ugh, UGH!!!

In one case an ant was ON my vitamin C -- which is large and fruit-flavored. I have plenty of those, so I took it out and set it on the counter, with the ant on it. I got rid of several ants and moved the 'cleaned out' pill case to a safe (non-ant-infested) spot. I know better than to ever leave it on the counter!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, I came back in the bathroom later and found five ants clustered in the spot where the vitamin C pill had been sitting! Not sure where they're suddenly coming from. But I'm guessing they like the taste of those fruity pills! Hahaha.

The ant war is back on!!! (sigh)

On that note, good night all!
under the weather

Under the Weather...

Both Marilyn and I are just 'under the weather' -- not terribly sick or anything. But not feeling all that great, either. The nice thing? We can just REST as much as we want to. This was another day when neither one of us got out of our jammies all day long! Oh well.

I did run over to June's house (yes, in my jammies) to take her a tin of cookies -- and PooPurr's Christmas sock. It was so cute watching her play with her toys!!! (Don't worry, I had a coat over my clothes. So I didn't 'scare the neighbors' too bad! Hahaha.

What did we do today? Damn good question! What DID we do?

I remember sleeping in (yet again). I remember reading out loud from the current cat book. Then I got sleepy and went to lie down.

We DID 'catch up' with a huge pile of "Jeopardy" episodes -- we were miles behind! We're not entirely caught up, yet, but we watched a lot of them.

Marilyn decided we weren't leaving for the beach today (obviously -- or I'd be writing this from the beach house right now). In fact, she said we'd go down on New Year's Day at this point. Which is fine by me. (In other words, we're not leaving tomorrow, either.)

We've watched a little bit of "The Walking Dead" Marathon, but not all that much.

Can't think what I might be forgetting, so I guess that's it for today.