Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28 - 31, 2013 - AZ

What a surprise this morning when the BT Cruiser pulled up in front of my house and I got an incredibly nice hug from my BFF, Pat, and Roger too. Louie just walked off in the other direction.  I was expecting me pretty soon but thought I would get a phone call first.  The personal touch was much, much better.

I had my follow-up appointment with the Cardiologist this afternoon and that was another surprise.  First, the stress test showed that my heart is pumping blood as it should, but my heart function is 55% (the average for a woman my age is between 50 and 75%).  The monitor showed that my average heart rate was 70 (that is good) - no concerns about the low heart rate that was found at my annual checkup.  The echo cardiogram showed that my heart walls have damage, possibly because of a previous heart attack that I was totally unaware of.  Well maybe not - is this what was going on in the middle of the night when I called 911 while visiting Bob in KC?  That is when the Bundle Branch Block drew attention.  Who knows???

The plan is to have no treatment for the time being unless I start to have any symptoms like chest pressure, shortness of breath, fainting, etc.  If I do have symptoms, then I need to have an angiogram that would check my arteries for blockages.  So, I am relieved but not real happy with the heart function number that I was given.  I am still fairly active and plan to try to continue that - he said there should be no problem doing anything that I am accustomed to do.

Pat and Roger joined me for dinner and we had another great visit.  Rog made me the best Old Fashioned that I've had since leaving Wisconsin.

Tuesday, October 29.  That Old Fashioned really helped me to have a good night's sleep - I didn't even start to stir until almost 7:00 this morning.

The windshield installers were to show up by noon and weren't here.  Then I looked at my phone and realized that the ringer was off (since my doctor appointment yesterday) and I had missed several calls from them and they went on to another job.  Darn.  No problem, as they came to my house when they finished that job and I now have another new windshield.

Wednesday, October 30.  It is a chilly morning, only in the upper 50s.  I had to grab a sweater and some socks to keep me warm this morning.

Frisco and I went to see Allan and Sharon this morning.  The dogs seemed happy to see each other and they had fun chasing and playing.  And I got to see the paintings that they completed over the summer and are currently working on.  I just love visiting them, as it is like going to a gallery and also getting a feel for what the landscapes in different parts of the country are like.  Best of all is the great conversation that we always have together, not to mention a yummy lunch too.

Friday, October 31.  Happy Halloween to all!  Not much happening in my world for this least favorite holiday of mine; no decorations, no costumes, and no trick or treaters coming to the house.  It was fun seeing photos of my niece and nephew's kids, though.  And here is one of my trick or treating Lion.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 21 - 27, 2013 - AZ

Monday, October 21.  This is the week of tests that will determine if my low heart rate is a concern.  Today, I had a nuclear stress test.  The reason that I didn't have a normal stress test on a treadmill is that the left bundle branch block that my heart has could cause a false negative result.  My test consisted of an injection off some creapy radioactive stuff, an 11-minute scan for images, another injection and a normal paced walk on a treadmill, followed by an 8-minute scan.  It was pretty painless, although the injections caused my veins to expand, which also caused a very strange sensation - like very little activity was causing extreme exhaustion.

I didn't accomplish much the rest of the day, other than print some photos and frame a couple of collages of Charlotte.  Last year, I made one of her first year, so I decided to do the same thing every year.  Now, I will have to start one for the twins.

I also had to drop off photos of the house to my insurance company because of a switch in companies (and an increase in price too).  It is a much better policy with more coverage - but I'm paying a lot more for it too.

Tuesday, October 22.  This morning, I got wired with a Halter Monitor - a small electrical box that is clipped to my waist, with 5 electrodes stuck to my chest.  No biggie, just awkward.  It didn't stop me from shopping.

My shopping mission for today was to find a shower adapter for my utility sink to use for bathing Frisco.  I use it now but a handheld shower would make it so much easier.  After trips to several pet stores and a hardware store, I was unable to find what I wanted.  Good old Amazon came through for me.

Arlene joined me for dinner tonight - I had lots of Navy Bean Soup to share.  She just returned from a 4-week cruise to Alaska and then down to the Panama Canal.  It sounds like a wonderful trip, although she said it was a little bit long.

Wednesday, October 23.  The halter monitor came off this morning and that was followed by an echo cardiogram - another painless procedure.  And now I wait until Monday afternoon to hear the verdict - I'm a little anxious based on what I have read on the internet, but I'm trying to be patient and hear what the doctor has to say.  The good thing is that I am not having any symptoms.

I got to see the twins on Facetime again today.  They were asleep on the sofa - both of their arms held identically.  They had a 2-week checkup today and are both doing well and gaining weight.

I met my friend, Karen, for dinner tonight at a Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico in Phoenix.  We had a really nice visit over $12 (little did we know) Prickly Pear Margaritas but we were both dissatisfied with the intensity of heat of our entrees.  I had Carne Adovada (smoked pork roast) that was so hot that it took away the flavor.  And I like HOT.  Not only that, it kept coming back to me throughout the night - was it liquid smoke or natural smoke flavor?  I don't think we will be going back to that place.

Saturday, October 26.  The last few days have been very social for me.  On Thursday afternoon, several women from Brentwood went to see the movie Enough Said with James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  I thought it was a fun and quite entertaining chick flick about middle age dating and relationships.  After the movie, we all went to Old Chicago for lunch and had a great time. 

I made a batch of Mini Pumpkin Pie Croissants to take to TGIF on Friday night.  It was held at Sue's patio and she arranged for some Karaoke entertainment for the evening.  I wasn't too impressed with the entertainer's choice of music (I would have liked to hear more upbeat tunes to dance to) but we all had a nice time.  I think our Brentwood Boys (Bruce, Dan, and Jim) did the best job of singing but then they are used to singing together.  The parties here are lots of fun.

I wasn't feeling  the greatest this morning - rather sluggish - I wonder why?  Could it be the last cocktail that I couldn't live without? 

Kathy called this morning to invite me to join her and Chuck for dinner tonight.  Now, Chuck is one great cook with lots of experience, as he ran a restaurant in Washington for many years.  He has the knack for putting seasonings together that are always yummy.  We had pork chops (a mountain of them), mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and asparagus with bacon.  Talk about yummy stuff - and naturally, a bit too much of it.

I sure haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately.  And then - there's another party tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 14 - 20, 2013 - AZ

Tuesday, October 15.  I had a great Skype conversation with Ben this morning and got to see Charlotte and the twins who were both sleeping together on the sofa.  Ben told me that it had been a rough week for them (3 trips to see doctors since getting home from the hospital last Wednesday) but he felt that they finally reached a turning point as far as getting the twins to nurse or to drink from a bottle.  Camille hasn't been a problem but Norah needed lots of coaxing.  They didn't seem interested, only wanting to sleep, and Mom and Dad were concerned that they weren't getting the nutrition they needed.  The lactation specialist that they saw on Sunday told them to not worry about the amount of food they were getting but to let them stop when they were ready to stop - they would only take what they wanted.  They will catch on and become hungry.  They are gaining weight and doing well.

Yesterday, I changed out my bedroom drapes, hemmed the new ones.  I just got tired of the dark and gloomy bedding and drapes that I had.  Today I made pillow shams that matched the drapes and I also went shopping for a new duvet cover.  I have looked online and at several stores and just couldn't find what I was looking for.  So I headed for the mall this afternoon and walked into JC Penney's home store.  Boy, did I find a deal there - on the sale rack were 2 duvet sets and I could have gone with either color - they were marked down from $110 to $14.99.  It was an easy decision to make and I was out of there and back home in no time at all.

Connie and I have gone for bike rides after dinner the last 2 nights.  Its a great time to ride and we've ridden a couple of miles each night.  It feels good.

Thursday, October 17.  Sinus pressure are the words that describe how I have felt today.  It all started right after I woke up this morning and I leaned forward to brush my teeth.  My nose and head just ached.  I'm hoping that the antibiotics that I started on Monday will help it get better.  The symptoms improved though the day, but I never did get to feeling good.

Friday, October 18.  Today will be a better day, at least it is starting out better.  Yes, the antibiotics must be starting to work.  I was able to tolerate 3 hours with the dental hygienist - complete exam and cleaning at Carrington College.  I'm convinced that this is the way to go - first of all, it's free, but these folks are thorough, have the latest technology, and are under the supervision of professionals.  And they need volunteers. I am 100% satisfied and will go back.

I got new photos and an update from Ben today.  Things are improving with the twins - they are learning to eat and are gaining weight - much to the relief of Mom and Dad.  

Sunday, October 20.  I spent yesterday with Nan and Dale and we went to several estate sales and garage sales in the Chandler area.  No big finds for any of us, although had the prices on a couple of pieces been more reasonable, I may have considered a purchase.  Regardless, it was nice to hang out with them.  We had a nice lunch at Pita Jungle.  

This morning, Connie, me and Frisco headed to Usery Mountain State Park and hiked the Cat's Peak trail.  It was a beautiful morning and the 2+ mile hike was very enjoyable.  We had gorgeous view of the Superstition Mountains to the east and some smaller ranges that could be seen throughout the hike.  Very few critters were spotted along the way, although we did have to yield to some horseback riders - Frisco was not very nice to them at all - barking and yapping the whole time they were passing by.

Jan called this afternoon to see if I wanted to join her as she was giving Connie a lesson in painting with acrylics.  I decided to join them, but I don't think I will be pursuing that art form.  My painting might have passed for that of a 3rd grader - although a 3rd grader might be a lot better than me.  It was fun just hanging out together, though.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7 - 13, 2013

Monday, October 7.

5:15 am - Jill is at the hospital and in labor.
6:14 am - Camille Rose (Baby A) is born, weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces.
6:15 am - Norah Lou (Baby B) is born, weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces.
6:53 am - Grandma freaks out when she sees the photo - uncontrollable emotional outburst.

It happened quickly.   Labor started around 4:00 am and they called the hospital and were told the hospital was full, they would have to go to another.  How stressful is that when you are having twins and this has been a high risk pregnancy?  They were on their way to another hospital when they heard that they could get into their hospital, so they headed straight to an operating room on arrival.  Less than an hour later, the twins were born.  Mom and babies are doing well.  I am an emotional wreck.

I had my cardiology appointment today to follow-up on the low heart rate.  The doctor is not concerned that I have a low heart rate and because I don't have any of the telltale symptoms of heart disease, he feels that I am in general good health.  BUT... my heart has a Left Bundle Branch Block (has to do with the electrical impulses of the heart) that was first detected in 2006 that has not been a concern in the past.  Since my heart rate has decreased over the past 3 years (59, 54, then 45 at my last checkup), I will have a Nuclear Stress Test on 10/21, wear a monitor for 24 hours starting on 10/22, have an echo-cardiogram (last done in 2011) on 10/23, and a follow-up on 10/28.  He also agreed that I do NOT need to be taking cholesterol medication, although my bad cholesterol is slightly high - I need to do a better job of eating the right stuff and get plenty of exercise.

Wednesday, October 9.  I got the carport hosed down and the windows all washed yesterday.  Everything smells so much better after the last year of dust accumulation is washed away.  Then today...high winds and an "almost" dust storm.  It was pretty miserable when I took Frisco for his late afternoon walk and my patio is full of leaves and palm fronds.

Ben called this morning, the first we have talked since Monday.  I learned that everyone is doing fine and the babies are getting a little better about nursing - it is going to take some coaxing as they are tired and sleepy.  They were happy to be going home this afternoon.  Here is proud Daddy getting his workout.

Best of all, I learned that they are both carrying the middle names of their grandmothers - Camille Rose and Norah Lou.  I know it was a difficult decision on their parts - at least it seemed that they were struggling with their selection of middle names.  I am honored, to say the least.

It took me a long time to realize that my name was chosen because of someone that meant so much to my mother - her niece, Francis Rose.  They were only 3 years apart and they grew up together and became best of friends.  Before that, I kind of resented the fact that people teased me by calling me Rosie Posie, Rosie the Riveter, a rose is a rose is a..., things like that.  The unfortunate thing is that I never learned from my mother her reasons for choosing the name that she did.  And I agree - Fran is a wonderful person who has always set a good example for me and I grew up respecting her.  She also is my godmother.

 I spent the day making Zuppa Toscano for several of my friends who joined me for dinner tonight.  Along with that came the necessary cleaning and preparation for visitors.  It feels good to be cooking for more than just myself.  Connie brought Caprese salad, Jan brought garlic bread, Carmen brought pumpkin cookies and ice cream, and Kathy brought wine.  It was a very nice time and it feels good to share a meal with friends..

Thursday, October 10.  It was 63 degrees when I woke up this morning and it is strange to wake up to cloudy skies around here.  The cloudy and windy day we had yesterday has carried over but the winds have decreased.  That wreaks havoc on my sinuses that have never really cleared up after the infection I had last month in SF.  Rinse, rinse, rinse.

Saturday, October 12.  I awoke this morning to NO INTERNET - and had to do house cleaning instead of surfing.  I can only relate this to the change that I made to my Cox services that are effective today.  A technician showed up at my house this morning to deliver a cable box and install it.  On Thursday, I called to decrease the internet service that I had since it was way more than what I could ever use and I learned that they were offering a bundle that included Cable TV for the same price for a year.  Now, I just have to remember to call them a year from now to negotiate for another package.

Yesterday, I went to a few garage sales in  the morning with Connie and then spent a few hours cleaning the front and patio sides of my house.  Yea - the windows are all clean too!  This really does reduce the dusty feel and smell to everything.  This morning, I got the insides of the windows cleaned.

I went to Dirtwater Springs for dinner with Chris and Norm last night.  Norm and I ordered Old Fashioneds and had a toast to Mike.  Unfortunately, they were not like the old fashioneds I know - I wouldn't order one again.  Guess I have to wait for Hoovey to mix me up a good one when he gets here.

Sunday, October 13.  It has been a long, sad 8 months since Mike passed away.  There isn't a day that I don't look at his photo and wish that he were still here.  Love you Mike!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 1 - 6, 2013 - AZ

Thursday, October 3.  This week has been full of appointments for annual checkups starting with mammogram, chest xray, and bone density tests on Tuesday and then it was Frisco's turn on Wednesday.  It will be a while before I hear the results of these tests but I heard back from my doctor on the tests that she ran last week and all is looking good for me.  Frisco is in great health - I do have to work harder on keeping his teeth clean and cutting his nails shorter (she advised using a coarse nail file and doing it every week).

I worked on pulling a couple of panels away from the wall so the plumbers could get access to the pipes that run  to the showers.  I was successful without doing any damage that can't be covered up with some filler and paint.

I have come up with a solution for someone to keep Frisco when I go back to San Francisco next month to help out with the Charlotte and the twins.  Pat and Roger have agreed to stay at my house while I am gone - I think this will be a win-win for all of us - they can have more room to spread out (instead of their motorhome) and Frisco will be comfortable at his own home and with folks that he knows too.  Thanks friends!  It looks like I will be gone from November 4 - December 13.

ELS (the company that owns our community) offers a bus to various events if there are more than 5 people signed up to go to the event.  Last night I went with 8 other folks from here to see the ASU Symphony Orchestra at the Gammage Auditorium in Tempe.  The theater is beautiful and we had perfect seats.  The show was delightful, as it was conducted by Timothy Russell who has been the Professor of Music at ASU for 21 years.  They played pieces from Brahms and Tchaikovsky.  What a great evening!

 Friday, October 4.  Happy Birthday to my sweet brother Bob.  We had a great phone conversation this morning - its always so nice to chat with him.

The plumbers, Larry, Tim and Tim's 15-year old son Brandon (the apprentice's apprentice) showed up at 7:00 this morning and got right to work.  Larry showed me one of the 1/2" cold water pipes that was removed  and it was so corroded on the inside that you couldn't see any light through it.  It is amazing that any water was able to flow through at all.  I was having second thoughts about spending the money on this project but after seeing those plugged up pipes - there was no question that this is going to make a big difference.  It is now mid-afternoon and they are making great progress - all of the pipes under the house are in position and the kitchen and bathroom sinks are done.

I have water! And plenty if of it.  My shower before bed was just so enjoyable.  And here we thought ithe problem was because of low pressure coming into the community - not.  It is comforting to know that I shouldn't have any plumbing issues as long as I'm in this house.  GOOD NIGHT!

Saturday, October 5.  Connie informed me of a very nice estate sale down the street from us, so I met her at 7:00 this morning and we headed off.  Yes, I bought some books, some beautiful unopened Christmas wrapping paper, and later this afternoon when they marked down the prices, a table for my grill for $5.  It was another sad story - the lady recently lost almost all of her eyesight, waking up one day with no vision in one eye and she is very quickly losing her vision in the other eye - meaning she will need assistance and will be unable to live independently any more.  

I was quite surprised this afternoon when I grabbed the mail from the mailbox and there were 2 checks in it totaling about $80 - both from ATT Mobility, the result of a class action to refund incorrect or excess service charges.  What a pleasant surprise!

I worked on putting paneling back up where it had to be taken down for access to the pipes - one panel in my computer/guest room and the other in a closet.  Needless to say, it was a pain in the neck but I got them back - now I have to plug holes and touch up the boo boos with paint.

Allan and Sharon invited me to join them this evening, so after I made them dinner, we headed off to the Tempe Center for the Arts where we saw an exhibit of the International Guild of Realism  We met and had a chat with Marsha Chandler and her painting was titled Candy Kaleidoscope.  She had a very strong accent (from Geogia) and  told us that she loves working with silver and glass because of the many reflections and she likes to really challenge herself.  A very friendly and talkative gal.  Many of the artists had traveling from far away and there were also many local artists including a fellow pastel artist and friend of theirs, Karen Budan.  Her painting didn't earn a reward but was sold.  Unfortunately, she has learned that she under priced and she could have gotten 3 times the amount - had she known.  Still, it was very exciting for her to have sold a piece at this international show.  A very enjoyable evening with friends - it has been a week with 2 cultural events for me - very nice!

Sunday, September 6.  I got busy patching up holes and touching up paint on the panel that was removed for access to the bathtub plumbing.  While doing that, I got sidetracked several times and installed a new towel bar in one of the bathrooms, watered plants outside, had a conversation with Pat, put air in my bike tires, and later on a Skype with Ben and his family.  Tomorrow is the big day and Jill learned that both babies are in the right position - lets hope that they stay that way.  I just can't wait to see pictures, learn their names and be satisfied that they are healthy little girls and they and Mom are doing well.  Our lives will never be the same!