A Little Bit of Everything

January 31, 2016

I haven’t written in at least a week because all I would have done is whinge about how uncomfortable I was – I promised no whingeing.  I am not sure what happened or what triggered it, only that I am glad to feel more my regular self.  I saw Dr. Cheryl Monday for my adjustment, then had a nap in the afternoon – when I woke up I was so stiff and sore I could barely move.  I was much better the next day and went to see Kat for PT – another afternoon and evening being most uncomfortable.  Wednesday I just rested all day and a little  reluctant to have a nap.  I still have some left shoulder issues – it’s the one that wasn’t hurt in the accident.

I have also not had Methotrexate for at least 2 weeks because when I refilled it, they wanted $141 for it – usually it is around $12 or $14.  If I had to pay with no insurance, it would be $550.  So I checked with Humana and they have kicked it from Tier 2 to Tier 3 – it’s a generic so I don’t know what their  reasoning is.  Plus they were bought out by a bigger company, so this may be the beginning of rude shocks.  I have to see if there is something on their list similar to Methotrexate as well as check my other prescriptions.  My Prednizone went from $5 to $14 – also a generic.

It has also brought up a fear I have been pushing down and this situation has made me  face it more than I have.  I am afraid without Methotrexate, I will be a basket case – it is what keeps me being comfortable.  It has become a belief because I keep finding evidence that supports my fear.  So I have to ask myself is this true or is it a false truth that I have strengthened over the years.  Which then makes me ask, is RA true or have I created a brief around it that I have it and will always have it.  The doctors all say there is no cure, that is it lifelong – but is it?  It gives pause for a lot of thought.  No more RA would be such a relief and a blessing.

We had a birthday lunch for Charlotte on Friday in Lynnwood.  Mine will be in June – my “Queen’s Birthday” to spread it around the year a little more.  I wasn’t sure how driving up would be because they have Mercer Street  along 99 under construction for the tunnel – that’s a whole story in itself.  I didn’t know how much traffic or just what was blocked, so I took the Viaduct and got off at Seneca, then went up University to I-5.  There was traffic but I made it to the restaurant right about on time.  We had a great time and it was a relaxing time of catching up and just enjoying being together.  Eddie had decided the day before to come home early Friday, so he was home before I was – I didn’t hurry or cut short lunch.

On the way home I came the usual way – I-5 to 85th and over to 99 and then down through the Viaduct – they had 2 lanes open going South and there was hardly any traffic.  Maybe every one decided to avoid the construction – though it was 2:30 when I came and not quite traffic time.  Anyway, it all worked out fine and I had no traffic coming home.  Eddie is going up for the conference a week from Monday, he was curious to know what he would find.  Chances are, they may change the whole configuration by then.  He will go up very early and stay a couple of nights during the conference.  He is quite happy not to be driving up there every day.

The tunnel is 2 years behind schedule – Bertha had to be repaired but it took forever to figure out how to get her up to the surface to do it.  Now she is repaired but as they started digging, they have some sink holes, so everything is suspended.  Well, DUH – what do you expect when you tunnel through filled in bay?  There’s no telling what is there and I doubt it is all that stable.  When they ever finish it, I am not going to use it for 2 reasons – they will be charging an arm and a leg to go through.  But the major reason is that I am claustrophobic and I don’t trust it, nor do I want to be in it if anything happens.

The moles continue  to make mounds and when Eddie scrapes them down, there are all kinds of pebbles and stones with it.  So not only is our “golf course lawn” full of weeds, moss, grass and mounds, it also is filled with rocks.  Not going to help Jorge’s lawn mower when he comes in the spring.  The soil isn’t all that great, so when we are able to put in a new lawn, it has to have completely new soil.  The big question “How to discourage moles from burrowing and making mounds in the new lawn?”  It will be a day or two before we can do that.

Both my sisters survived the snow and kept their electricity – that is no mean feat.  They sent pictures:

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Nashville – It’s going to take some time for Candy to dig out her car.

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This is 8″ – snow always is gorgeous when the sun comes out

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NewJersey Shore – Ellen sent this one during the storm

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She went out walking as soon as she could – still needs some shoveling.

News From The Homestead

January 24, 2016

I wanted to give an update on things happening around home.  A couple of changes to the look of the house – John Van Zanten came by in December to give us the view back, though I notice each year there isn’t that big a change as there once was.  Yes, we can cut the trees and branches on the bank – also improves the Allen’s view – but the people who live below and across the street aren’t trimming their trees.  So not as much view as we once had.  I am certainly not complaining because the view is still spectacular and the Olympics are looking particularly gorgeous with snow on the upper level.  At one point, even the foothills were snow-covered.

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As you see, still some trees in front of the view

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Snow on the Olympics means lots of rain for us  – also means we don’t see them too often.  It’s such a treat when the sun shines and they are out in all their glory.  I never tire of seeing them, or watching the traffic on the Sound.  There has been a large ferry going up and down the Sound – we think it is a new one that is being test hopped.  Wonder where it will be based.

Speaking of mountains, we don’t see the big snow cone very much – it seems to stay behind the clouds much of the time.  Sometimes we see an outline – maybe I am just not out and about when the old man comes out in glory.   Eddie doesn’t see Mt. Baker any more since he doesn’t go up north any more.  He is quite happy where he is, though the commute to Bellevue has it’s own spanners in the works.

John also cut some other things for me – the rhodos, camellia and lilac on the east side of the house were getting much too big for the space.  The lilac was dead in the core, the rhodos weren’t very healthy, so it was a good idea to cut them down.  The camellia was very healthy, but is was much too big for the flowerbed.  No point in giving the four-legged creatures easy access to the roof and possible the attic.  The house looks a bit bare now, I need to find things that don’t go higher than the window sill.  Wonder what Mom and Dad would think about the changes.

 

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The dark lilac is the only thing left – still in good shape.

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It’s beginning to look more the way it did in the beginning, except the trim was brown.

Along the sidewalk by the porch were two camellias, I had them cut down too.  They are gorgeous when they bloom but are also very messy – they drop blossoms on the sidewalk and if we don’t rake them every time we turn around, they get slippery.  There is also a large patch of moss right there, not sure the sun penetrates through the leaves enough to prevent it from forming.

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I don’t know if it is voles, moles or gophers making mounds in the yard – we seem to have quite a crop.  They are getting to be huge – when there were three in one small space, it looked as though Mom and Dad were showing junior how to do it – a huge mound, one not quite so big and then a small one.  Junior has certainly gotten the hang of it, now they are all over the front yard.  Delores isn’t over with her rake and mole repellent – now Eddie goes out and pounds the mounds down.  The rain has not been conducive for him to do anything lately – hasn’t stopped the moles.

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Down the hill from the porch

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North end of the yard

The whole lawn looks like this.  Well, it’s not a golf course lawn.

Now I find little divet along the sidewalk to the garage – not sure what makes those little holes.  At least golfers fix their diets before they leave the hole.  Nature is amazing and certainly puzzles me a lot of the time.

Good Heavens, there is sun right now.  We haven’t seen a lot of it and it is supposed to be nice tomorrow.  I heard from my sisters – one in Nashville, one on the Jersey shore.  They both had lots of snow but didn’t lose electricity.  They sent pictures and it reminds me all too much of our adventures in snow while living in the Eastern half of the country.  One thing, the roads are usually plowed quite well – just have to dig out one’s drive after the plow goes by.  The snow is gorgeous and when the sun shines, it is magical and pristine.

P. S.  I finally got my photos to show up in iPhoto and there were a couple from Toronto  when we were in Niagara Falls.

Christmas 2015 – Part 3

January 22, 2016

I didn’t expect this to go into Part 3.  I also had to find pictures on the web for Niagara Falls because I wasn’t able to take any myself.  I just found a picture of the Patriarch of the Orthodox Armenian church – as opposed to the Catholic one.  Armenians are either Orthodox or Catholic.

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This is him after his investiture in Jerusalem

If I remember correctly, we were  on the main street of Niagara Falls and then we turned to go down the hill to the falls.  You can see the falls on the U.S. side straight ahead.

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If you remember the picture of the road along side the falls, there are sidewalks and a road – no stopping or parking on the road.  Both road and sidewalk were full of people and all around were park like areas.  At Christmas time they put up all kinds of light displays – I saw these on the web:

Every where we went, there were lighted displays all around.  They were not just Christmas themed, it was all kinds.  This only happens at Christmas and Raouf wanted us to see the light displays on the falls themselves.  It must not have been dark enough because we could see the falls quite well.  So we missed that but since I was so fascinated by the falls, I don’t feel I missed much.  Not sure I would ever be tired of looking at the falls.  I was amazed at how many people were out – maybe they didn’t think it was all that cold.

We needed to stop for gas and I think it was St. Catherine that we stopped.  Raouf as a cross hanging from his rear view mirror and the fellow at the next pump came over and warned him it was a very muslim town – that he could get beaten up if any of the muslims saw his cross.  We got gas and left, so there was no trouble.  It seems there are enclaves of groups all over the area. It was interesting when Sonia would say where we were at the moment was a particular group’s area.  Then again, Canada never advertised itself as a melting pot.

We sat up until midnight or so – that seemed to be how it went.  Sleep in around  8 or 9, go to bed late.  Very opposite of our usual routine.  Even now, I am still readjusting to home.  There was always things to talk about, we watched a couple of movies, and we enjoyed talking with Brahim and Jiries when they were around.

The night before we left, friends of Sonia came over for a visit.  She went to the German nuns school with Clovadis; not sure if Sonia also knew her husband or not.  We had a lovely time with them and of course the food came out – nuts first, then individual plates of fruit, then the cheesecake.  It happens any time we go to family or friends.

Tuesday Raouf went to buy “Jerusalem bagels” baked fresh and somewhat like kiake in Jerusalem.  It is bigger than the ones in Jerusalem but oh so good.  We also had one to take home with us – Eddie babysat it all the way home.

We had to get up very early Wednesday for our flight.  We were due to stop in Houston and then board a 737 for Seattle.  Eddie had arranged first class tickets with his miles – unfortunately Embraer first class isn’t all that much better than coach.  Neither of us slept well Tuesday night so it wasn’t all that difficult to get up around 4.  We checked our bags and a wheelchair was arranged for me – traveling is a lot harder than it used to be and especially since I have been out of breath so easily since the bronchitis.  However, going through security and customs is a lot easier and so is going to the gate.

Eddie had arranged for 1st class, though a small plane doesn’t quite have the same comfort and a regular plane.  However, it worked out quite well and we made it to Houston on time.  It was either stop in Chicago or Houston and both Eddie and I aren’t that enamored of Chicago.  We arrived only to find out flight was cancelled.  I figured that was the end of first class.  Seems all the rain and storms around the country have made travel much more difficult – even the pilots and flight attendants were having trouble making flights.  So they booked us as standby on another flight – miles away.  They have trams in Houston, so we were in one terminal and had to go to another one on the tram.  When we went to the concourse, we used the passenger cart to get to the gate – I did anyway, Eddie preferred to walk.

We had 3 or 4 hours to wait – as standby, there was no telling if we would actually get on the flight.  A while later they announced a new flight had been put on and all on standby were on that one.  Of course it was over the next concourse – thank goodness for the passenger cart!  So we were on the flight but it was delayed – the flight attendants hadn’t arrived yet.  When they came, we had to wait for the pilot to arrive, his flight was due in shortly.  Needless to say, we didn’t leave on time.

Since I figured first class was not an option, I had quite a surprise when we went on board – we had the real deal all the way!!

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The seats were really plush and comfortable, lots of leg room

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If you want, they also recline all the way to sleep.

This was a first for me – I wonder if I would have appreciated more if I had felt better.  Anyway, it was the best part of the flight home.  By the time we came home – once again we had a private car to take us home.  We were both very glad to be home at last.  We both slept quite well – we had started out 3 hours earlier.  that was our trip to Toronto for Christmas.

Update – Christmas 2015

January 12, 2016

I was reminded that my last post had no pictures – unlike the previous one.  So instead of going back to a post you have already read, I will put pictures here with some titles so it makes sense.

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This is Uncle John and  his niece Rose.

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Not the  best picture of Raouf’s brother and Uncle John’s wife Bernadette.

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This is the dining room – it was loaded for dinner and dessert also was full.

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Raouf near the front door.  No picture of Rose’s daughter, I was talking with her and didn’t have my camera.

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This is the main street of Niagara Falls.  To the left as you go down further are the hotels.

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I always wondered how both the U.S. and Canada could each have Niagara Falls – this is how it is done.

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Canadian side

There is a road all the way along the falls and the river, so you can drive but parking is practically nonexistent.  There is a side walk all along the edge so you can see everything.  You can see the American side and the platform they built so people could really see the falls.  A bit more to the left is the bridge to the U.S. side.

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The hotels are on top of the hill and overlook the falls -that’s why they advertise what spectacular views you have from your hotel room.

The next part is a continuation – so I have already put some of the photos in now instead of in the next part.

Christmas 2015 Part 2

January 10, 2016

I think I left off at Boxing Day – the day after Christmas.  It is a holiday but shops were open.  The next day – Sunday – we were invited over for lunch at Raouf’s younger brother’s house in Niagara Falls.    We had gone to his uncle’s house and so Niagara Falls was beyond that in the same direction.  I coughed all the way over, during the visit and on the way back – though it was getting better.  Eddie by this time had come down with a bad cold, though he kept saying he had caught some of my stuff.  It was cloudy and a bit raw, think goodness it wasn’t raining.

Road’s brother lives in a subdivision outside the town of Niagara Falls that has some quite nice houses.  apparently there are some not so nice areas – not that surprising.  We arrived and we were greeted by his brother, his wife Rose, their son and two daughters.  I think there is an older son, but I am not sure.  We had a tour of the house, I didn’t go up or downstairs and it turns out I didn’t miss much downstairs.  That is his smoking room and bar – Eddie was hit with cigarette smoke  about 5 steps down.  He showed off his bar with all the liquor – he’s quite proud of it.  I had some lemonade to drink while he brought out Johnny Walker in a silver time – supposed to be really cool.  Raouf drank some but doesn’t really like it because it has an aftertaste.

Uncle John and his wife Bernadette came, so it was fun to see them again.  We sat down to lunch with a turkey, a plate with stuffed grape leaves, stuffed zucchini and ribs.  There was also a plate of mashed potatoes, (wish I could remember what else) .  The turkey was cooked with a special recipe, marinated in some thing and then cooked.  It was served in the roasting pan and he just tore it all apart.  I had some white meat and it tasted good,  couple of grape leaves, a ground meat dish, not sure what else – boy, has my brain gone to mush suddenly!  I haven’t been eating that much, I am full very quickly.  I was just finishing my plate while others had 2 or 3 helpings.

Back to the living room for more conversation and this time I was sitting next to Uncle John again and we had a lovely conversation.  I really enjoy him, I haven’t really had an opportunity ti get to know Bernadette.  Uncle John talked about the Patriarch from Armenia who had come to visit Toronto.  I am not sure what title Uncle John has, he is a minister and preaches.  Anyway, the first meeting the priests of the churches in Toronto were there – Uncle John was surprised to find himself in their company.  The Patriarch talked about  the churches in Jerusalem need restoration and said they need $900,000 – he was there to raise the money.

As he said there, Uncle John heard the Holy Spirit tell him to go talk to the Patriarch because the Holy spirit had a message for him.  Uncle John was very skeptical – how could he go up to the Patriarch?  It was as if the Holy Spirit first tapped him on the shoulder, a bit later it was a punch in the arm and finally a dope slap.  So Uncle John told the Holy Spirit “I will talk to him but only if he comes over to me.”  He was amazed when the Patriarch walked down the aisle shaking hands with all the robed priests, then looked over at Uncle John.  The Patriarch  told him he knows he has a message for him – you could call it a double dope slap.  So they stood together a little apart and Uncle John told him that Holy spirit wanted him to know that he had wasted his time and the priests time talking about the physical church in Jerusalem when he needs to talk about the spiritual church in the future.

Uncle John wasn’t sure how he would take the message – the Patriarch was fine with it.  So when he went to address the group again, he told them he had wasted their time about the physical church, that it is the spiritual and future church they need to focus on.  He got a round of applause and then someone stood up and told the Patriarch he had a check for him – $9 million.  Uncle John talked about it in wonder, that the Holy Spirit chose him to speak to the Patriarch and arranged for him to come to Uncle John.

By that time, I needed a pit stop, so I asked Rose if she had a powder room.  It was a big relief, I had been coughing and things were a bit damp.  After that, I went back towards the kitchen and saw the older daughter there and we talked a bit.  She is a very mature young woman, though I think she is still in high school.  She knows what she wants to do in life – a cardiac surgeon – and studies hard to do well in school.  I really enjoyed talking to her, then suddenly it was time to go.  I hope to see her again some time.

We were going to go to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side – I have only seen the falls from 37,000 feet – not all that spectacular.  Raoul wanted us to see near dusk because they put lights on the falls during Christmas.  We drove a couple of exits down and drove along the main street – full of tall hotels.  It turns out, the falls are down below th hill where the main street is – all the hotel advertise you can see the falls from your hotel room.  As we went down the hill, we saw the U.S. side straight across – took me a couple of seconds to realize it was the falls.  You can see the platform they have built out so people can see the falls.

I found pictures on Google to illustrate but I can’t find them.  Also, I need to do a Part 3 – too much of a motormouth on paper as well as in person.

 

Christmas 2015

January 4, 2016

I was amazed yesterday I had the energy to write a post – it hasn’t been that way for quite a while.  This bronchitis has taken all my energy and most of my breath.  It doesn’t take much for me to be winded – I walked up the sidewalk from the garage yesterday and I was out of breath.  However, I seem to be doing a lot better than I was.  I’m starting to feel more my regular self.  It would have been much nicer to be feeling this well in Toronto, but when I think of how I felt when the doc gave me antibiotics and when I went to Canada, there was quite a difference then.

I wasn’t sure I would be  able to pack for the trip. but I did.  We had to be up about 3:30 in the morning to catch our 8 a.m. fight – I wasn’t sleeping all that well, so it wasn’t that difficult to be awake and get dressed.  Just before Shuttle Express came, there was a call from them to say they had upgraded us to a town car – no charge.  So it was just us.  It was a  SUV and Eddie had to push my tush to get up – no problem getting out, I just slid to the ground.    While we were waiting at the gate, Santa and his elf came by.  The kids loved it and then he came to us.  He asked if Eddie had been good and I told him he had been very, very good.  He said I was buttering him up, that I wanted something bug from him – a new kitchen.   I told Santa I already have a new kitchen and new car – that  threw him for a bit.  We had a picture taken with him and he went on to his next conquest.

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We had a direct flight and everything went well, except I was coughing all the time.  Raouf and Sonia were there to meet us and we drove back to their house.  We spent a lot of the visit talking and being together – they are so much fun.  A lot of time I don’t really know what is going on because it is in Arabic, but it is great for Eddie not only to practice it, but to talk with people who know Jerusalem, the family and the things about it.  He doesn’t have to explain himself because they know what he means.  There was also a lot of English, so it worked out fine.

The next day was Christmas Eve and there is a family dinner that night after we watch the service from Bethlehem.  It has been the 6 of us the past 2 years – Eddie and me, Sonia and Raouf and the two boys.  This year Juries and Brahim both have girlfriends and so they were invited.  Juries’ girlfriend is Serbian Jew and Brahim’s is Vietnamese.   We all had a great time at dinner, they decided to try a new place.  It was great, though I appreciated the simple menu section – everything else seemed to have so much food.  I hate to leave food on my plate when it tastes lovely, but I have limited capacity and don’t like to feel stuffed and uncomfortable.

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Christmas gifts were opened when we came home – we usually send ours and I take gift bags but I never got out to buy more.  Fortunately there were bags from last year, so it worked out fine.  We got in the habit of going to bed late and getting up late in the morning.  I slept well some nights, some not so restful.  Eddie either caught some of my stuff or developed his own cold – he and I were a real pair.  He seemed to be stuffed up most of the time, plus coughing and blowing his nose.

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Christmas Day we relaxed, then late in the afternoon we went to Raouf’s uncle’s house.  We had gone there last year and met a lot of his family.  This year was no exception, though one of his brothers wasn’t there.  His wife has MS and she was in a scooter last year.  Now she can’t walk and everything is difficult for her.  Brahim and Juries came in the other car and spent the time downstairs in another apt with the younger group.  John’s daughter was married in the summer, so they had the videotape of the wedding running.  It was quite interesting and because Victor is Portuguese, they arranged to have the Portuguese club come and dance.  Meanwhile, everyone is talking, mostly in Arabic, some English.  Last year I sat by John and we had a lovely time.

Road’s brother in Jerusalem was taken to the hospital – he has diabetes and continues to smoke, drink and not take care of himself.  Fortunately he recovered and was due to go home in a couple of days.  I was glad when we went home because I was tired, but so glad we went.

December 26th is boxing Day, so we went to 2 Middle Eastern stores to buy things. They took us to one we hadn’t been to before – Yikes, you should have seen the traffic in the parking lot!  We found a place fairly near and went in, though it seemed there were only a few things they buy there.  then we went to the one went to last year – now that is an Armenian grocery.  It has a welcoming feel whereas the other is like an impersonal supermarket.  It is so mush fun to look at all they have – this year we didn’t buy anything to take home.

Looks as if this will go into Part 2.

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

January 2, 2016

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In some ways, it is hard to realize it is the beginning of a brand new year.  I choose to see it as a wonderful year filled with love, joy, laughter and hope.  I am looking forward to all the gifts and blessings it has for me – some may be uncomfortable, yet there for a purpose. There is no way to know just what will come along, only to see each thing or event as an adventure and challenge.  Easy to say when I am looking it from the 2nd of January, it may be a different perspective in the middle of what is happening.  Since I am a work in progress, all will be a learning experience.

2015 certainly had its share of learning experiences, I hope I met the challenge and learned from each experience.  Some times it felt as if it was just one more thing in a long line of things, I wondered how I would make it through.  I did make it through – I am still here and I kept telling myself “It’s not going to last forever”.  Even when it seemed as if it would never end.

The first six months were about grieving for Mom, wondering how it was showing up for me.  I found a 6 week grief support group and found it intense at times – but I came out the other end better.  At least I think I did.  It is still a mystery in some ways how I grieve for Mom, I can talk about her at times and be fine, then other times it bring tears to my eyes.  I wonder if it is an ongoing process and to always landmarks to tell me I have reached a certain stage.  Because of her dementia, I have been able to see the childhood programs that were instilled in me and it is up to me to decide which are true and which are not.

I was able to do the two things  she wanted – I scattered her and Dad’s combined ashes over the Sound from a ferry and also had a Celebration of Life Open House for her.   As a result, I have been able to let go of the emotional attachment to my parents things and give them a good home.  It has meant Eddie and I could paint the living room and bring up our furniture from the basement – to make it truly our home.  We cleaned out a lot of things  – much still to do – and are making plans for the other rooms and also the basement.

It is now time for Eddie and me to live our own lives, whatever and wherever that is.

This last six months seems to have been much more medical than I ever thought it would be.  When the young man rearranged my car, I remember thinking “This is a changing event”.  I was surprised I was not angry – my arm was broken in 2 places and I had to be at home for 8 weeks until it healed.  I am still in the process of physical therapy and chiropractic to help me get back to what I was.  As that was happening, I broke a tooth and ended up having a crown – the dentist said he had been keeping an eye on that tooth for 10 years, so he wasn’t surprised it broke.  Probably the hardest part of that was when he put in the aesthetic – the needle went into my jaw and it hurt like hell – I was crying like a baby.  Then for 2 weeks my jaw was painful and I had trouble eating.

Then it was to the dermatologist to take biopsies of the two places on my face.  Plus she got trigger happy with the nitrogen when freezing other places.  Took a while to heal from that – then on to the MOHS surgeon because it is basel cell skin cancer.  After a consultation he sent me to the plastic surgeon – I let it go too long and so  there is  a lot to correct.  It seemed my weeks were filled with doctor apps, physical therapy and chiropractic apps for twice a week.  I was trying to get some orders done and out for clients as well.

All along I was fighting with the orthopedic surgeon’s office about billing and getting my money back – this is through my auto insurance and they refused to understand – they just kept saying they don’t bill third-party.  I talked to Dave about it and now I have an attorney helping me – he has a paralegal who is doing all the billing and working with the insurance company – I still have $288 the surgeon’s office hasn’t reimbursed me.  He wants to do a reverse shoulder replacement and I am not happy about that.  Plus my primary care doc and rheumatologist don’t want me to do it because I am at a much higher risk.  Eddie is against the surgery –  I see so many difficulties with it and I don’t really want to go back to hurting, healing and all the other stuff again.  I am going to get a second opinion before I make a final decision.

I was getting ready for our trip to Toronto for  Christmas and ended up with bronchitis.  It wasn’t the extra dose of a med that had me coughing, I am still coughing but doing a lot better.  I coughed my way through 2 Christmas parties, wasn’t able to go to the 10th anniversary of the Future of Flight – it was more important for Eddie to go – and coughed my way through Christmas.

Even so, we had a great Christmas, even saw Niagara Falls from the Canadian side – it was amazing!  Roauf’s brother lives there and they invited us for lunch.  We went to his uncle’s one night and then same them at the brother’s house. We went to their Catholic church for Christmas day service, friends came to visit and there was a family dinner on Christmas Eve – this time the two boys were allowed to bring their girlfriends.  We did a lot of talking and enjoying each other’s company – it felt so good to relax and enjoy ourselves, not thinking about anything here.  Sonia cooked wonderful meals and we ate well.

Truly an interesting year and no doubt I will see the gifts in the uncomfortable parts later.  That is something I have learned, the gifts of a situation or event aren’t always apparent or obvious at the time; sometimes it takes distance and time for them to show up.

I wish you all a wonderful 2016 filled with love joy and laughter.

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New Experiences

December 7, 2015

One of the interesting parts about being married to Eddie is the difference places, people and things he has shown me.  Two weeks ago we finally went to the Armenian church in Redmond.  We had planned to go at the end of July but the Wednesday before was my car accident.  So not only did we have to miss church, we also missed a Seafair reception we had been invited.  For some reason we weren’t supposed to go to those events that weekend.  Wonder if I will ever find out the why?

They built the church in Redmond because that area has the most Armenians, maybe one day there will be enough in this area for a church.  It was a crisp, frosty morning but the sun was up clear.  We left about 9 – the service started at 10:30 but we weren’t sure how long it would take and how hard the directions.  We took 405 and on a Sunday morning it was practically empty – not something that happens often.  As we came to 124th exit, we realized we had gone through the first toll area – $.75 worth.  There are no toll booths on the upper part of 405, they send you a bill in the mail.  That’s what happened when I went on the 520 bridge.

We found the church with no problem – we were almost the first to arrive.  We saw people walking toward the back of the building, not quite sure what to do.  People began arriving and finally around 10:15 Eddie decided to  get out and we would say hello to someone.  I could tell the church was new because it has very little landscaping – the building was probably more important.  It is a pretty church – why didn’t I take pictures at the time?  It is a creamy color and an interesting shape.   (I found pictures on Google but they won’t down load!)

We went down towards the ramp and I knew the man coming up was the priest.  The Armenian priests in Jerusalem wear all black robes with a pointed hood – like the Klu Klux Klan without masks.  This one didn’t have the hood, so they may do things differently.  We met a family who also was new, she is Armenian and married an Englishman.  They were there with their daughter and granddaughter. Later we met a family from Syria – Christians are in such a difficult position in the Middle East.

It was fascinating to find this church is made up of  mostly Armenian from Nagorno Karabac – a small island of Armenians in side Azerbaijan.  They mostly speak Russian because it was part of the Soviet Union for a long time.  The Armenians have fought the Azerbaijanis for Nagorno Karabac for ages – they want it to be Armenia and the Azerbaijanis want to keep part of them.  To complicate matters, there is a small island of Azerbaijanis in the middle of Armenia.

The priest explained the red book has the service in phonetic Armenian and in English on the opposite page.  The blue books have phonetic Armenian on one side and opposite is in Russian.  There is eastern Armenian and western Armenian while service is in classical Armenian.  The sermon is in Russian and the deacon translates it into English.  Most of the people speak eastern Armenian because they grew up under the Russians.   Now, is that crystal clear?

We went into the church – it is a warm, creamy color with windows up above.  It was interesting to see how the sun moved from the beginning to the end of the service.  We sat behind the family and there was hardly anyone in the pews; later they were slowly filled.  Most of the service was standing, I sat when I got tired and that seemed to be fine.  I followed along, but it was a little confusing after a while.   They have a small choir – that Sunday there were only three –  one played a portable organ or piano.   There wasn’t a solo piece for the choir, they sang in response to what the priest read.  He had changed into a white long robe and a white cape with a miter on his head.  It looked similar to the onion domes on the Kremlin.

There are 2 levels to the altar – one level on the floor and another like a stage.  If they started the service on the floor level, you go to page 5; page 11 if they start on the upper part.  Along with the priest were 5 deacons, each with a particular job.  One had a staff with a round ornate metal circle that he would shake at certain times and  sounded a bit like cymbals – quiet ones.  Another deacon went around the church at certain times with incense. At one point they had people go up for communion – we didn’t because we weren’t sure of the drill.

I will admit to being tired by the time we left at 1.  It was definitely a new experience for me and I’m glad we went.  It is a bit far, so I am not sure Eddie is willing to  go again.  I took him a little on the back roads so we didn’t get stuck with a toll again.  It was good to come home, I wasn’t able to have a nap.

 

Another Medical Week

November 30, 2015

It looks as if I have several busy medical weeks ahead.  Tuesday and Thursday I see Kat for physical therapy; Monday and Friday I see Cheryl for chiropractic adjustment; a few doctors’ appointments – how did it all come at the same time?

This coming week I will see my Rheumatologist and do my infusion as well as see the orthopedic doctor.  I will also see my dentist to have my permanent crown put in.  WOW! My mouth is still sore from seating a week and a half ago, plus all the little sores in my mouth and tongue that made eating even more difficult.  I have had to eat on my left side so as not to mess up my temporary.

The more I find out about this reverse shoulder replacement, the less I like it.  First off, no meds for 2 months – that will not be a picnic.  Then to find out the surgery is difficult and the recovery in therapy is very hard – plus there is no guarantee it will work perfectly because shoulders are tricky.  Michael, who is head of therapy at Stafford had his shoulder done my surgeon – he wasn’t thrilled with his bedside manner but he was recommended by people Michael trusts.  I am going to have a second opinion after my therapy is done, I want to be as informed as I can before making the decision.  Kat has been encouraging about how much range of motion I may be able to have – she is pleased with the progress and I may have more range than before the accident.  Plus the combination of Kat and Cheryl is definitely working to my benefit.

Enough about me.  We have had a lot of rain the past few days – it is pouring at times.  We woke up about 2 a.m. this morning to find we didn’t have electricity.  It came back on about 3 or so, so glad it did.  Now all the clocks are messed up and my computer restarted itself.  Oh my gosh, I just checked the window here in office and I can see sunshine through the shade.  I wonder if it is taking a day off before starting in again.  We have seen some snow on the Olympics – when they actually come out.

I checked out the Weather Channel and it shows flooding for the usual rivers and more rain for the week.  There is a lot to be said for living on a hill, don’t need wells as much as those near the rivers.  I noticed the pool next to the shopping center down the hill is fill – may even overflow with enough rain.

Eddie has been pounding down the vole holes – yes, they have come back.  Really makes a mess on our golf course lawn.  I suppose I could say they are aerating the lawn, but the holes are too big and only in certain places.  Oh, that reminds me, I found a couple of cats for my cat garden – Eddie thinks I am nuts but I enjoy them.

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Unfortunately it is hard to see the white cat – it looks like a curious kitten.  I put it facing the garage so it looks as if he/she is waving to anyone coming up the walk.  The calico is around the stump bit nearer the porch.  They both spoke to me at different times and I couldn’t resist.  They didn’t cost much, so I am not out much.  They give me a lot of pleasure as I go up and down the sidewalk.

A week or two later

I still have all medical weeks as of now.  I did have my permanent crown put in – he didn’t have to numb my jaw at all, it slipped in quite well.  Since then I have had a more comfortable mouth, though the crown is sensitive not only to cold, but really sensitive to hot.  I am wondering if it will take time for my jaw to settle down and truly accept the new crown as part of the group.

Last week I saw the MOHS surgeon for the basel cell cancers on my face.  He is sending me to a plastic surgeon to work on it after he cuts out the cancer.  I need to make an appointment and go see him, then he and the MOHS surgeon can decide whether they will do both at once or 6 – 8 weeks apart.  this won’t happen until January – that’s fine with me, I need a rest from medicine.

Last week I only had one  pt visit because of Thanksgiving; I saw Cheryl Monday and Wednesday.  I have been doing pretty well.  The week before that, Kat really gave a workout stretching my shoulder – I was really uncomfortable for several days.  I know it is necessary, nevertheless, it makes sleeping a bit more uncomfortable.  I have to say, I am glad to be sleeping much better – I seem to need a nap as well as going to bed at 9 at night.  I wonder if I am finally resting at last.  So far, I feel I could sleep forever and still not be rested and refreshed.  I am working on doing some walking as many days as I can – I know that helps build energy.

We have been having sun and frost the past few days – it is so lovely to see the Olympics with snow.  The days are clear and sunny, the sky very blue.  Reminds me of Fall days in Connecticut.  We are about to go into rain again for a bit.  Which reminds me, I need to talk to John Van Zanten about trimming so we can have our view back.  I can’t quite decide about cutting down the two camellias by the sidewalk.  they are gorgeous when they bloom but make such a mess.  Plus they block out the sun so we have moss on the sidewalk.

Decisions, decisions!

Another Mile Marker

November 29, 2015

Sometime this month is when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I don’t quite think of it as an anniversary, last year I used Mile Post 44.  I found a couple of things to use this year, as soon as iPhoto shows them, I can put them in the post.  Sometimes it takes a day or 3 for them to be visible – sometimes I feel defeated by technology, other times it works well for me.  So, I have decided to go with the flow and do this post a little later.

I never did find the sign posts in iPhoto, so I just did them again, only this time in Pictures – it might be easier to find them.

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That worked so much easier – I will try it  on other photos and see how it works.

Now that I have been through all the  balderdash, it’s time to get to the meat of this post.   I haven’t really found any term for this yearly milestone that completely describes it.  I have admit to being amazed it has been 45 years since the diagnosis, seems such a long time.  I realize there has been quite a history with it, so much I can’t remember all of it.  That may be a good thing.  There are the experiences I written about in this blog; there are the volumes I have of my journal for quite a few years and my medical history.  It is harder to remember my medical history when I see a new doc and they want to know everything.  I realize now I would have been smart to copy the records I took with me each time I moved – I’d have a better history than my  memories.

As the years have gone by, I realize my questions have changed – sometimes 180.  In the beginning it was “Why me?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”; “If this is payback for a past life, I better have had one hell of a good time!”.  Because doctors are taught about drugs and surgery in med school, that is all they know.  I have had my share of drugs, 7 years looking for a drug to work, some that did nothing, others that help a little and some that really did help – for a time.  Let’s call it what it is – a victim mentality.  I was an innocent victim sideswiped by RA for no reason.  It has brought anger, resentment and hurt and I kept asking “Why?”.

I started asking “How?” after a  while – “How do I get rid of this crap?”.   I just wanted it to go away and leave me alone forever – enough already!  I have been in that negative territory for a long time, I couldn’t see any benefit to having RA, just all the pain and disadvantage.  I heard and read about “Embracing it”  which seemed counterintuitive to me, accepting it and loving it.

When I moved back to Seattle, I began to hear and read about other ways to see and think about RA.  Maybe I was so ready to fight my way out of the negativity.  When I started this blog, I started with the premise there is a gift in RA.  I wasn’t sure how that was possible but I was willing to entertain the idea.  I had to look at it and me from a different perspective.  I have found that is a difficult maneuver for me – maybe because I spent so many decades in the negative.  For the past few years my questions have changed – I will admit to having “Why” moments now and again.  Now I am concentrating on the gifts of RA.  As a matter of fact, I wrote a post about it in March 2011.  I went back to read it and found I had not really done such a good job in defining the gifts as I thought.

What I have noticed is my questions – they are different.  One is “What need is being met with RA?”.  I was reminded the other week about this – we create attitudes, ways of being, etc. to meet a need in that moment.  It works for a while but not in the long-term.  However, the program is still running because we forgot about it, yet it isn’t working any more.  I realized there is another question, “What do I believe about myself and RA?”.

Some other questions come to mind. “What will it take to create new positive and empowering thought patterns?”.  “What else is possible?”.  ‘What needs to happen to make the changes?”.  “What am I holding on to that no longer serves me?”.  “What does the Universe want me know?”.  “How much is my energy and how much is other people’s energy?”.  “What is the Universe doing for me, rather than to me?”.  “In what ways can I use my knowledge and experience to be of use and service to others?”.  “What can I learn from others, especially the ones that bug me the most?”.

So my questions have changed over the past few years.  I know some people have all the answers, I’m still working on the questions.  I know I will have more questions for the rest of my life, I want to be sure they are the questions that matter and help me create a positive, loving and empowering attitude and life.

As everyone else is, I am a work in progress.

 


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