Archive for2016-05 to 2016-10 – Summer in Michigan

Summer’s Over

We’re about to head back to Florida and I can tell that John’s concerned about making the trip south. He isn’t nearly as strong as previous years. Hopefully it won’t be too hard on him. Yesterday he ran out of steam packing. I was trying to help by bringing stuff to go in the backseat, but I work too fast which rushes him and he ends up worse off than if I’d let him do it. I’m trying to learn to slow down and/or back off.

We still have a few days. Sunday we’ll take a break to have a dinner with the Skaryd siblings. Wednesday I have to go to the dentist to have a cap/crown installed. Should only need to be gone about an hour and a half. The rest of the time, we’ll be finishing up around here and hit the road Thursday as early as possible.

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I was awake most of the night worrying that maybe I’m pushing John too hard to go to Florida. I know I am anxious to get to our southern home and I feared that he’s agreed to our departure date because he is tired of arguing about it. John deserves to enjoy every minute of his life and I felt guilty thinking that maybe I’m stealing good memories from him.

But today he said to a stranger, “I’m realizing I’m better off in Florida and probably can’t handle the cold weather here.”

And I am realizing that we need to have our wonderful group of close friends which we’re lacking here. In our circle, I can think of lots of folks who would willingly help us, if we needed help. There are guy friends like Mike B., Bob B., John B., Ron, Dave, Bob W., Bill, Richard, Stephen and more. If we need help, they’ll be there for us.

John is aware of my concerns and I am sure that we’ve in agreement that Florida will allow us to enjoy the next seven months.

He’s even realizing that this house is too much work for us. Maybe, by next year, we can consider selling it. It’ll take some remodeling first but we have to start somewhere.

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The Back Nine



You know … time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is… the back nine of my life and it catches me by surprise…How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go?

I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that I was only on the first hole and the back nine was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is…my friends are retired and getting grey…they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me…but, I see the great change….Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant…but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d become.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will… I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so…now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though I’m on the back nine, and I’m not sure how long it will last…this I know, that when it’s over on this earth…it’s over. A new adventure will begin! Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done…things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

So, if you’re not on the back nine yet…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the back nine or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life….so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember…and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

“Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one. LIVE IT WELL! ENJOY TODAY! DO SOMETHING FUN! BE HAPPY ! HAVE A GREAT DAY Remember “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

~Going out is good.. Coming home is better!
~You forget names…. But it’s OK because some people forgot they even knew you!!!
~You realize you’re never going to be really good at anything like golf.
~The things you used to care to do, you aren’t as interested in anymore, but you really don’t care that you aren’t as interested.
~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV ‘ON’ than in bed. It’s called “pre-sleep”.
~You miss the days when everything worked with just an “ON” and “OFF” switch..
~You tend to use more 4 letter words … “what?”…”when?”… ???
~You notice everything they sell in stores is “sleeveless”?!!!
~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.
~Everybody whispers.
~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet…. 2 of which you will never wear.

~~~But Old is good in some things: Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!

Stay well, “OLD FRIEND!” Send this on to other “Old Friends!” and let them laugh in AGREEMENT!!! It’s Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.


” Do Not Regret Growing Older.
It is a Privilege Denied to Many. ”

Note: This message was sent to me by Bob Hubbach, wonderful musician and artist.

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Peace of Mind

Understandably I worry about John’s health. I am always concerned about keeping him well, and it doesn’t help that I depend on his good health when we’re away from home. Last month, when he woke up and was so ill, I wondered what I’d have done if that had happened when we were on the road to Florida. What if we were 700 miles from family and friends?

Ok, so I’m a worrier.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve heard of problems friends have had. As an example, Pat Hesselgrave’s husband died in the U.P. after pulling their RV up there. She (like me) couldn’t drive it back, so they had to depend on someone to go up there and get it.

In a month we plan to head to Florida. With John’s health it could become too much for him and we’d get stuck in Georgia, or Tennessee. Since I’m scared to death of driving the truck, what would we do? Or what if something had happened to him in Evart. How would I have gotten the trailer back?

A solution arrived the other day from the Moose club. We could pay $129 annually and have insurance so if something happened, we’d have a way to get us and our vehicle back home. The insurance would fly us back and send a driver to get our vehicle, or we could have someone go get it and the plan would pay them up to $1,000 a day. I immediately subscribed us before we went to the U.P. Thankfully we didn’t need it, but we are now prepared. Here’s the plan: Moose Assistance+.

In a similar attempt to avoid worry, a few years ago I signed up for “Simplisafe,” which is a reasonably priced monitored security service. When we’re in Florida, I sleep much better knowing that is someone broke into our Michigan home, we and the police would be notified.

Peace of Mind is important. The above two examples provide us with that comfort. Thank heavens we can afford these protections.

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Dealing with illness

I’m no expert, but I am dealing with John’s illness the best I can. People forget that as a spouse, his health affects me too. He’s not in it alone. We are a team. He’s fighting a valiant fight, but I’m trying to be supportive in every way.

And the same (but in a lesser way) goes for friends supporting friends. I’ve been receiving the Facebook posts from a close (music) friend who went through surgery this week for bladder problems. Sadly this morning he said to his Facebook friends, “Got the biopsy results back this morning. They are not good. Have to wait until Thursday to find out next steps. Not looking forward to the future at this point.” And then later in the discussion he added, “I’m scared as hell,” and “I hope I can stay composed when Jean (his wife) gets up. She was up late last night and and is under stress already.”

My heart goes out to him. He’s a sweet, caring guy who is always there for all of us. Now he needs our prayers and support.

His wife, Jean leans on him, and right now they need each other.

Being either spouse is rough. I hope he realizes that it’s not weakness to show his fear. I am sure his spirit and faith will take him through this problem but it’s going to be a tough fight.

When he apologized for burdening all of us, many of us spoke up. It’s not a burden. He impacts our lives too. We need to help with our prayers and our words of support. Isolation from others would negatively affect him.

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Back home on Lake Cecil

We returned to the Lower Peninsula yesterday, but not before we stopped at U.P. Realty and started the “listing” procedure to sell our place on Lake Michigan.

The broker wasn’t very encouraging and said that places like ours aren’t moving, so we probably are stuck with it for a while, but you never know.

We realize the place is just too much work for us. John gave in and we hired a guy to finish up the tree which had come down on the roof. We also paid him to cut down about a dozen more; most because we feared they could come down on the trailer.

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We’re at our place in the U.P.

Arrived here Thursday (today’s Saturday) and for John it’s just been work, work, work.

He had to get the water working which took all of the time after we arrived Thursday.

Toilet is leaking. Mouse poop all over the kitchen. Place smells awfully musty. Dirty. All the window screens in the living room area have developed holes. (Apparently even metal window screens have a life-span and it must be about 50 years because that’s how old this trailer is.) And there’s a huge tree on the roof of the trailer.

Thursday I did a lot of the “unloading” (while he worked on getting us water) and Friday I continued to clean and get stuff settled in while he concentrated on the tree problem. Unfortunately my foot didn’t appreciate it. Today I’ve been ordered (by John) to get off my feet. My foot is really swollen and even more discolored than it was Thursday when I took this picture.

So I’m stuck on the couch. I have learned that sitting with my foot on the floor makes it worse, so it’s up here on the couch with me.

Yesterday John was successful cutting through the trunk end of the tree, about half way up. He says the more he does, the better he feels. Unfortunately his lung problem is really severe. Even using constant oxygen, he can only work for short bouts before he has to take a break. He uses the chainsaw and cuts off a few branches, then rests. It’s slow, but he is making progress. He’s hoping that once he gets the extra branches off, the upper half will “slide off” the metal roof. Once it’s on the ground, he’s probably going to hire the guy to cut it up and stack it before we come back next year.

He’s finally acknowledging that we need to sell the place. It’s just too much work.

Yesterday I walked down to the water and it’s much better than it’s been in years! Another winter of snow, and we may have a nice beach back.

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Getting Closer

We leave for our Florida condo, October 14th. Of course our actual arrival depends on weather, traffic, etc., and this year we’ll also be challenged by John’s health. He may not be able to drive as long as in the past so we may not be able to get there in two days. Our plan, at this point, is to stop Friday night south of Knoxville, TN, in Sweetwater, TN. But, if we need to stop sooner, we’ll stop. In fact, today I was investigating motels in the London, KY, area, which is about 140 miles sooner (more northerly). We will play it by ear. We won’t arrive until nearly 7:00 pm so if we go to Sweetwater, so maybe London will be our first stop. We’ll see.

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My bucket list

Tuesday, after I got my computer back from Lenovo (it was under warranty when it started acting up), I worked several days to re-load Windows 10. (During the repair, my system had been reverted to Windows 8.1). I had to set up all of the programs (like Excel, MusicTime, my printer, etc.), and copy my files to the appropriate directory. It was a chore I didn’t enjoy and took several days (thank heavens John wasn’t here because he’d have run out of patience just watching.)

I’d just finished when I realized the computer still isn’t working right so I’ll probably be sending it back again.

This time I am wiser. I studied and found out that I could create a re-install of Windows 10 on a large volume usb thumb drive which will boot up and allow a seamless re-installation. The way I did it before took getting a re-verification of first Windows 8.1 and then I had to cheat to get an upgrade to Windows 10. It was a long process.

Today I also bought a 1 TB usb hard drive ($50 on eBay) which I’ll use to backup/reinstall the personal files I’ve created.

Yes, I already have a 2 TB external hard drive but it’s not usb and it’s difficult to connect and have my computer recognize. When I have a wireless system, the 2 TB hard drive works nicely, but not here in Michigan.

I’ve tried unsuccessfully to create a total image backup, but it always fails. I have decided that with the good Windows 10 backup, I am better off just copying the files I need to keep.

Yes, I’ll still need to install programs, but I can do that as I need them: Lotus, MS Streets and Trips, Microsoft Office programs, Word Perfect, and Ipswitch (FTP program) and Coffee Cup html editor.

You soon realize you can never have too many back-ups.

Believe me, figuring out this whole back-up procedure has been a learning experience. For instance, even after I managed to put Windows 10 on the usb drive, I had to learn how to boot to the usb drive so Windows 10 could be installed to my computer.

Sadly little problems take a while to solve. Example: I was trying to find the answer to “after I make a usb that has Windows 10 on it, how can I make it bootable. (If you upgraded to Windows 10 from 7, 8 or 8.5, and you have to do a factory reinstall, it’ll go back to the original Windows version.) I succeeded getting a complete version of my Windows 10 on my usb. Great! Now I had to find out how to have my computer see it and use it instead of the original 8.5 version. I figured that I needed to make my usb bootable so I could get it to start with Windows 10. I tried the instructions I found for creating a bootable usb several times. They were complex and didn’t work.

The simple answer was, your usb doesn’t have to be bootable. You can just ask your computer to use your usb drive first, instead of your “c” drive. It works by having the usb in the usb port and holding down F12 while you press the “on” button.

If anyone is wondering how to achieve a complete back-up (hopefully before they need it), I may be able to help. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I think I’m prepared.

You’d need to buy at least a 16gb usb thumb drive and it’s best if you buy a usb hard drive big enough to hold all of your files. (Keep those separate since you can’t add to the Windows 10 thumb drive once it’s created but the hard drive can be kept current.) Personally I like to have at least two of the file back ups (dated). I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve referenced an “older” version of a file.

Maybe I should create a tutorial on my website, complete with these suggestions.

Ok, that’s one thing for my bucket list. I won’t expect to get paid, but I’d enjoy sharing.

Is there more on my bucket list?


The nationally known “Folk Harp Journal,” has ask that I explain the harplist (an email list which I have moderated for about 20 years). They would like an history/explanation/and invitation for harp folks. It’s a chore that is waiting for my attention.

And of course there are personal challenges: playing the harp, playing the marimbula, sewing more, crocheting more ornaments for our Christmas tree, tatting again, cleaning the house, and purging our Michigan place.

How come these items are still on my bucket list?

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I haven’t been able to post

John had a health problem this week which resulted in six days of hospitalization.

Sunday morning, when I woke up, he was in severe pain. I took him to St. Mary’s E.R. where he was admitted.

It was the third time since we returned to Michigan in May that he was hospitalized. This time he had pancreatitis/gall bladder problems.

Apparently this problem also caused the pain that caused his hospitalization in July but it wasn’t diagnosed because it happened immediately after his colonoscopy. The doctors thought the pain was because of trapped air from the colon procedure. That was wrong and I tried to point out that John felt fine after the colonoscopy. We’d had a nice dinner and the pain started about eight hours later. The doctor basically told me I wasn’t a doctor, so I shut up.

Fortunately this time he had a doctor who felt there was a link between the painful episodes. She ordered a enzyme blood test which showed proved his pain claims were, if anything understated. Normal enzyme numbers are 125-150 and John’s numbers were off the chart (over 4,000). After a MRI they decided that the gallbladder caused the pancreatic problems. He had laproscopy gallbladder removal surgery Tuesday.

I brought him home this afternoon (Friday) and he’s resting comfortably.

So now you can see why I haven’t posted for several days.

While he was hospitalized, I got my computer back from Lenovo. It is running beautifully without the problem I encountered before the repair. (The lid had to be replaced because the wiring in the hinge was causing the screen images to “break up”.)

Getting the computer back meant I had a lot of restoring to do. I had backed everything up, but it took a lot of time to have Windows recognize my computer, to upgrade Windows 8.1 back to Windows 10, and then to install all the programs and files. It was probably

My computer is purring.

I hope John continues to improve. We’re concerned because they pumped him full of fluids (since he couldn’t eat or drink) and all that fluid is causing him breathing problems.

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Feeling lost — No computer!!

My Lenovo computer was shipped off yesterday for “under warranty” repair. It should be back in a couple weeks. I’ll survive using my Galaxy smartphone and John’s tablet.

I got tired of having the screen go all wonkers on me so I’d have to reboot. I am sure it’s a bad connection in the hinge. No reason why the hard drive will need to be touched but I’ll bet everything will need to be reinstalled. We’ll see.

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Great plans but reality happened

We planned to remodel our house this year. With John’s health problems, it didn’t happen.

We were going to head north this week. We’ve postponed our trip until the 22nd of August (in a little less than three weeks).

We plan to have a garage sale this fall to rid ourselves of lots of junk. At this point, it sounds like way too much work for John (and me). It may happen. We’ll get back from the U.P. on the 26th and the sale would be the 10th of September so we’d have about two weeks. We’ll see.

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John’s in the hospital again

Thursday John had a colonoscopy. (He had five polyps removed and instructions that he needs to see the doctor in about 10 days when the results from the biopsy are known). He felt pretty good after the procedure so we fixed a dinner and he relaxed at home that evening (Thursday).

At about 4:00 yesterday (Friday) morning he got incredibly sick. He vomited and was in severe pain. We referred to the discharge instructions from the colonoscopy. It said if these symptoms developed and we couldn’t reach the doctor, we should head to the emergency room. We tried calling the doctor without success and I said, “I’m taking you to the outpatient ER.”

When we got there, they felt he was very possibly having or heading to a heart attack. He was transported to the main campus by ambulance and eventually had a cardiac cath. Thankfully he had no heart problems but they kept him overnight. It was a long day. I got home about 6:00 pm.

The doctors were still doing some final evaluation when he called me a short while ago. Hopefully he can come home today. I’ll wait until he calls.


About 3:00 he called. I went after him. He’s home! Yeah!!

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Still hot here.

We head to Florida, October 14th. Depending on weather, and traffic conditions, etc. we’ll probably reach our destination the evening of the 15th.

As we exit I-75, we’ll stop and pick up a pizza from South Shore Pizza which is just a couple miles from our condo. With pizza in hand we’ll continue to 2604 Newcomb Court and enjoy the pizza with a beer or two in our Florida home while waiting for the A/C to cool our place. Unloading the vehicle isn’t really necessary that night, but we’ll probably bring a few things inside.

We have a week before our hectic appointment schedule will kick in. Lots of time to settle in and take in pool visits and exercise classes.

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Still trying

I’ve lost only three lousy pounds since I started in late June. I should have lost at least a pound a week but with my hand operation, the festival we just attended, and the extreme hot weather, my ability to shake off pounds with outdoors exercise is limited. I haven’t given up. I know I need to try even harder: less wine, more exercise, fewer muchies.

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Mountainsmith trekking polesWe’ve been staying inside where we keep the A/C temp set at 76-77 degrees. Outside it’s high 90’s and HUMID. Major yuck!

No plans to spent time outside until it is more comfortable.

After watching my friend Linda with her trekking poles, I bought a pair to assist me walking. I plan to take increasingly longer walks around our lake but for now, I’m making a circle inside the house. It takes a while to get the rhythm of the stride and I’m improving but it’s still not second nature. Maybe, by the time it cools down, I can trekk correctly.

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Facebook ads

I hate the scare tactic “sponsored” ads that frequently show up on the right side of my Facebook page. In an attempt to get your attention, the headlines make it look like they’re posting a newsworthy DEATH NOTICE. This morning the first of these ads I saw contained headlines that Jane Fonda is gone with reference to medical examiner. Right under it was an identical ad saying Jamie Lee Curtis is gone. Since only a few words are shown, they hint at the loss of a famous personality but you must click and read on. This morning I checked. Both actresses are still with us. If you are drawn in and continue to read the article, you’ll find it’s an ADVERTISEMENT. I think it’s despicable that these ads scare tactic ads are allowed. They cause unnecessary sad emotions. Ignore them.

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Heading back to Florida….

Summer’s going fast! During the remainder of July, we have a family dinner and John has a colonoscopy scheduled next Thursday. (Not fun.) Not much else.

During August, we have a 60th class reunion (John’s), we hope to get to the U.P. for three to five days, there’ll be a Skaryd family reunion, and a wedding (John’s sister’s granddaughter).

In September, we will have our first-Wednesday-of-the-month senior potluck and a family dinner, but little else to anticipate. In fact, I’ll have the “fun” (HA!) of writing the three checks to pay Michigan property taxes by mid-September. Near the end of that month, we will start packing the truck so we don’t have to rush when we leave on October 14th.

I’ll be glad to get back to Florida where we constantly have fun stuff on our calendar. When we arrive on October 15th, there’ll be only 15 days remaining in that month. During those two weeks, we have an Elvis Party, Michigan Club Welcome Back Party, an Oldies But Goodies dance, a Baby Boomers tribute to the Beatles evening, doctor and eye appointments, twice a week exercise classes, and if we feel like it, dips in the pool. In addition we’ll be cleaning our Florida condo and settling in. Busy! Busy! Busy! And that’s not including a probable Halloween celebration.

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We’re back in our Michigan home

The festival was really fun, but it’s good to be home. We are more comfortable here.

John wants to go to the Upper Peninsula before we head to Florida but I’d prefer to skip it this year unless we’re arranging for a real estate agent to sell it.

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It’ll all be a memory

Tomorrow we’ll head home from our ODPC Funfest (the largest hammered dulcimer event in the world).

I must admit that we’ve had less “fun” than in the past. We have turned in earlier, and haven’t made much music. But visiting with friends has been great and I’m really glad we came. I think it did us both a lot of good to get out.

John’s looking healthier all the time. He runs out of steam faster than in the past, so we are less active. Hopefully now that the pneumonia is totally gone, he will get stronger. He may never get off oxygen, but living with it is better than the alternative!

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Northwest to Evart, MI

We figured that, since I’m now “retired” and no longer in charge of workshops for this huge dulcimer festival, it would be easy packing. We wouldn’t need all the stuff required in my role as “hostess.” Somehow it didn’t work out that way. We are stuck with the mentality that we need to have everything “just in case.”

And of course, I wanted to be sure that our friend, Linda, would have everything she might need.

We ended up packing only our 10×10 foot Easy-Up and won’t plan to erect our huge 20×20 foot Workshop Leader Rest Area canopy, but since the big one stayed at the fairgrounds, it really didn’t change what we had to bring. We did leave at home many of our folding chairs since we no longer need to accommodate dozens of folks (but I can count a half dozen plus a two-person lounge chair). And we only packed in one five gallon water jug since it’s doubtful that we’ll be able to access ice as easily as we could with the Workshop Chairman golf cart.

We didn’t bring the multitude of workshop programs nor the box of batteries we used in the portable amps and mics.

We had figured we wouldn’t get started until about noon but we left at about 11:00.

Linda’s having brunch with her son in Brighton. She should to Evart by about 3:00. She’s leaving Wednesday so wants a couple days to visit with her music friends.

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We’re going to try it…

Neither John nor I are in prime physical condition. I’m unable to lift much and John gets winded really easily. He was evaluated by his pulmonologist and his pneumonia is nearly gone, but cardiac problem and his IPF has limited him.

And then there’s my wrist which is much better but still limited. I got the stitches out yesterday, but was warned against heavy work. It looks pretty good, but the scars are very visible.

We really want to go to Evart (our huge dulcimer festival). We’ll try, but we know the whole get-ready, get-there, set up the campsite, enjoy it, and pack up for home and return program is beyond what we’re currently capable of. We have struggled when we were well. I don’t know how it’ll work, but we’re planning to go. We’re trying to pare back. We just can’t go with dozens of chairs and all the lifting and toting that involves. But we want to be there having fun. It’s a hard balance to reach.

Our friend, Linda Conklin, is coming tomorrow to help us pack the RV. We have a lot already done, but John still needs to install the 5th wheel in the back of the truck bed and hook it up to the RV. He needs to load in his scooter.

I truly love Linda. She knows how to help. We will enjoy her visit. She’ll also join us at Evart, and then fly back to Florida. We won’t see her this fall/winter in Florida because she (and Wayne) will be heading to Mexico in September and won’t be back in the states until April.

I have almost all of the clothes I’ll need out in the trailer. We’re leaving Sunday.

It’ll work. I’m confident. But we couldn’t do it without Linda. We truly appreciate her!

It’s tough to be handicapped. I have to admit we are no longer physically able to do it all but with the help of our friend, Linda, we want to try.

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Today, July 6th, 2016, we have been in Michigan 57 days, after our nearly seven months at our condo in Florida. In eight days the ODPC Funfest starts. In 101 days, we’ll be heading back to our Florida paradise. In 307 days, we’ll be back in Michigan in May 2017.

I love keeping track of lists, count downs, etc. I know it’s a weird obsession.

I don’t care that the date we’ll get back to Florida is October 15. To me it’s more fun to know that it’s 101 days.

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Missing our Florida Friends

This is the first time in since 2011 that we haven’t headed to either the Cooper’s or the Brooks’ homes for a great 4th of July party.

Richard and Shelly Brooks sold

    this beautiful home (click to see)

on Cedar Island Lake and are now full-timers in our Florida community. There will be no further parties at this location for this big crazy bunch of fun-loving Michigan/Florida folks.

We miss the fun time we shared with that great group.

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I got a call from my surgeon’s office the day before yesterday. The appointment to remove my stitches was rescheduled from the 5th to the 6th. I was disappointed with the delay.

While talking with Dr. Taha’s assistant, I told her I have been going without the big elastic bandage a great deal of the time. She told me I need to keep the pressure wrap on to protect from infection. (I am sure it’s healing nicely, but I have been doing as I was told.) I liked being able to use my finger and was certain that with that exercise, I would lose less strength but I’m obedient.

The wrap causes my arm to itch but I’ll admit that, after it’s on for a while, it does feel better and more “protected.”

I hope I don’t have to go back to physical or occupational therapy, but somehow I won’t be surprised if it’s suggested.

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Using it more

I washed my hair today! Yup, I used my left hand and got it clean. After it was nearly dry, I used a flat iron and a curling iron and it looks fine! I can’t believe I did it by myself this soon after surgery.

I’ve taken the big bandage off my wrist and I’m using just a light-weight black wrist wrap with a velcro closure. I ordered a better one which should be here Wednesday from Amazon. The stitches won’t be out until next TUESDAY!

John is doing better too. He still gets winded, but he’s learning how much he can do.

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Both of us are doing better

Four days since my surgery to have the plates and screws taken out of my wrist. I’m feeling good about my recovery.

I’m limited because I can’t lift anything (Dr.’s orders). My 12 oz. Kindle with its cover is too heavy to pick up comfortably. Every cup of coffee goes in my left hand. And pouring my glass of wine must be done as a lefty.
At this point, my wrist doesn’t bend (mostly because of the bulky wrap) so eating is a challenge (I can put my food in my ear easier than in my mouth)

But, here’s the good part, I really think that when I get the 16 stitches out, the wrap off, and permission to lift a moderate amount weight with my right hand, I’ll be better than I was before the surgery.

It might be my imagination, but I haven’t experienced the dull almost constant “pain” I had before. I also don’t have quite as much numbness, and my finger flexibility has improved.

I’m looking forward to being able to wash my hands without aching. The plates caused my hand to respond to the cold or heat with such sensitivity that it always hurt to put my hands in water. I couldn’t go in the heated South Club Pool in our Florida community. The water wasn’t warm enough to avoid the pain which it caused.

I’m sure it’ll all be closer to normal.. At least I hope it will.

And, yes, John’s getting stronger daily. All the signs point to slow recovery from the pneumonia. His strength is increasing but he still has pulmonary fibrosis which isn’t going to get better. If he’s just watching TV he often removes his oxygen, but any walking or exertion requires that he have it on. He’s been out of the hospital for a little over three weeks. In three more weeks, I’m sure he’ll have made even more progress. He’s my hero!

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Getting Serious

I’m serious about losing some weight. John is disappointed in me, and I’m disappointed in myself. I’m heavier that I was a year ago. In fact I weigh as much as I weighed at my heaviest in 2002.

2002 was when I was 60. With determination, I lost 20 pounds between March and June. It took effort and following the Weight Watchers Points Plan (although I never actually joined WW). I used a journal and wrote down everything I ate. It worked!

Here it is 2016. I’m now 74 and I’ve regained the 20 I lost previously. It’s harder to get rid of it it this time. My body is in worse shape. I have a belly that I never had before so clothing fits differently. I’ve lost at least half an inch of height so I look fatter.

I am determined to do something about it. I joined an smart phone app program called “Lose It.” I believe it will help. I’ll have the support of a community of folks with similar goals. I’ve already “friended” two ladies.

I have also ordered a Jawbone UP Move activity tracker. It will work with Lose It to keep me moving and motivated. My goal is to lose 16-21 pounds before we head back to Florida in October. I figure that means I must lose a little over a pound a week. Since starting with Lose It Tuesday, I’ve shed 1.5 pounds. Gotta keep it up!!

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I can’t help but compare our time here in Michigan to winters in Florida. Here are some of the differences:

It is hotter (most of the time) in Florida especially during the summer months.
It’s greener here. The lush Michigan foliage amazes me.
At this time of the year (June), it rains more in Florida.
With the exception of squirrels, we have more small furry critters here like rabbits and chipmunks.
More close friends in Florida.
Relatives in Michigan.
More chores to do here in Michigan.
More activities and fun in Florida.
Our house is nicer/bigger here but needs more work and is harder to keep clean.
Here in Michigan, “going shopping” is a big event. While in Florida we go to town nearly daily (by golf cart).
The Saginaw area is really shabby.
Both places have lovely views.
I spend more time outside in Florida.
More potholes in Saginaw.
Politics are lousy in both states.
On average, groceries are cheaper in Michigan.
Since we never have company in Michigan, it’s easy to let housework slide.
In Florida, I need to keep everything polished and ready for company because folks frequently drop in.

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Appreciate cool and rainy weather

With John’s health so fragile I would love to have him take time to recover but not my John. He wants to catch up and get the lawn mowed and things looking good.

Thank heavens it has been cool and it rained a great deal yesterday and all day today. He was forced to take it easy.

He even admitted that he needed the rest.

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Our plans

We had some great plans for this summer. We were going to do some major remodeling of our kitchen and master bathroom but we haven’t started yet because of our preoccupation with John’s health.

We thought we’d go to the U.P. in June to get a tree off the top of our hide-away place west of Manistique and down the Garden Peninsula, but it hasn’t happened yet.

We planned (and still hope) to go to the ODPC Funfest in July.

John was looking forward to working in the yard, but he hasn’t been able to keep up with the lawn.

I’ve been trying to purge some of our junk, but it’s a slow process. I took some to the Salvation Army donation site, but a lot of the stuff we want to get rid of should be sold. Today I listed my lap harp on a couple sites, and I plan to list more later this week. I haven’t begun to scratch the surface.

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John’s on a tether (a restrictive leash)

John recovered from pneumonia but with pulmonary fibrosis, he’s still not well. He’s now on oxygen all the time. He uses a pre-filled tank when away from home or outside and an oxygen generator inside. When he’s in the house the generator allows him to breathe comfortably. He has the sorta noisy generator in a corner of the great room. The tubing is 50 feet long. That means he can go most anyplace in the house. Both first floor bathrooms, our bedroom, the kitchen, dining room and great room are available to him. He can even make it out to the garage. Not hard to find him… I just follow the clear tube from the generator to him.

He got the oxygen last Tuesday evening after he was released from the hospital. Wednesday we went shopping and we picked up some newly prescribed prescriptions.

Shopping was an experience. At Krogers, he loaded the tank into a shopping cart which he walked behind. It was further than he should have tried walking but he made it. In Meijers, he used their handicapped mobility cart. It worked much better. I did the excursions to get stuff, while he stuck to the main aisles around the store. He was less tired than he had been at Krogers but he probably over-did it. He rested up Thursday.

Last night (Friday), we went out to our long-anticipated walleye dinner at the Moose club. We parked in the handicapped area and he made it into the Moose without oxygen. It was a nice evening. He did remarkably well. I did a little shopping afterward while he waited in the car.

We have to plan ahead and bring enough tanks (a full tank lasts about five hours) or he must try breathing without the supplemental oxygen. It’s a constant challenge.

He won’t give up yard work or cooking. He’s careful to avoid open flames around his oxygen, but he can bake and microwave and he can shut off the oxygen while he cooks on our gas range.

Yard work is his idea. We argue about the wisdom of him riding on his rider. Although he wears a mask-type respirator, we can easily afford to have the work done, but he’s insistent that he wants to do it. I can’t convince him, even with a quoted price of $35 which is half of what I expected.

I’m trying to do more for him than before but he’s proud and stubborn. I do a lot of the leg work (getting him a drink of water, etc.) He says he can’t just sit around, but at 78, he should learn that on your butt is not a bad place to be, especially if it helps to make you healthier.

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John’s coming home!

John was hospitalized over the Memorial Day holiday. Hopefully he’ll be released this afternoon. He’ll be coming home but he’ll need to continue using oxygen but at least I have him at home.

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John’s condition

John’s comfortable but not well. He’s on oxygen 24/7 and antibiotics to get him over the lung infection (double pneumonia). This morning he had an adverse reaction to the antibiotic. (I am also sensitive to antibiotics so I know that you can use one for a few days and then – wham! you get a reaction.) They tried again this afternoon but it started again so now they’ll try to find one he can tolerate. He won’t be released until Tuesday, June 2nd. He’ll have been there a week.

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Yesterday.. what a day

We started out the day by going to my wrist surgeon. I will have the plates removed, but he made me feel that it’s “my choice.” He doesn’t realize how uncomfortable my wrist is.

We left there and about 2:30 we went to the St. Mary’s outpatient emergency room. He hasn’t been feeling well and his pulmonologist had suggested that he go to the E.R. for a chest x-ray and ct scan.

At the E. R. he was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia (aka double pneumonia) and possibly congestive heart failure (which means fluid around the heart). Although he wasn’t happy about it, they said he needed to be admitted to St. Mary’s Medical Center. I hung around the emergency facility until 7:00 pm but finally headed home. The ambulance finally transported him to the hospital and he was admitted to his room about 8:30. I sure hope he doesn’t have to stay long.

He called me this morning and said he’s feeling a little better.

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Obsessed with John’s condition

I notice the only thing I’ve talked about lately is John’s health. That’s all I think about.

I’m sure he’s tired of hearing me ask, “How are you feeling?” I bug him about it all the time. Patiently he replies, but maybe it’s to shut me up.

His energy is non-existent and it rubs off on me. While watching TV, he sleeps. I don’t feel like doing anything. (I justify my laziness by saying to myself, “I were to bustle around, he’d feel compelled to try to do more.”)

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Maybe it’s the flu

John’s been feeling so rotten that we’ve begun to wonder if maybe he has a bug. Afterall even with pulmonary fibrosis, he can still catch the flu.

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Times they are a-changing

John hasn’t been doing very well. He’s been sick, short of breath and miserable.

Yesterday, he stopped taking Esbriet, which is the pricey medicine prescribed for his idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in January. It comes with many side-effects. He felt he couldn’t cope with the constant nausea and the absence of taste sensors which mean nothing tasted good. After losing nearly 20 pounds, he felt it was time to take a break from the poisoning of his body by this potent medicine.

(I should note that a majority of those taking Esbriet quit due to the side effects. His doctors said 75% or more of their patients had quit taking it.)

He had an appointment with his Saginaw pulmonologist Monday. She recognized that he’s gone down-hill. She said normally the best you can hope for staying comparatively well (even with treatment) lasts five or six years. John’s nearly to seven years!

She is having him tested to see if his lung problem may have reached a point where he isn’t getting sufficient oxygen as he sleeps. If that’s the case, his heart could be affected. She feels the arrhythmia he’s been diagnosed with could be an indication that he’s developing this problem. The fix is to have him wear an oxygen nose mask when he sleeps (like those diagnosed with sleep apnea use). He won’t use it all the time, but at night, it might help him.

He and his physician talked over his need for a handicapped parking placard. There are times when he truly can’t walk the distances required. His doctor filled out all the paperwork and today we got him a handicap permit at the Secretary of State office.

This afternoon was a good example of his need for that privilege. We went shopping, but he could only make it to the door, and he just couldn’t go further. He’d run out of oxygen. I ran around the store while he guarded our shopping cart near the door. He was exhausted.

But looking ahead, we were also worried about our Evart festival and what would happen if we ended up with a distant campsite. He’d just be stuck at our RV. And when we’re headed back to Florida next fall, we were concerned that we’d have a similar problem to last year. Our motel room had close-by parking places but they were all handicapped. John couldn’t have handled the luggage from the non-handicapped spots. The motel management understood his situation and said, “Don’t worry about it, we’ll vouch for you and explain there were no other sites, if you have a problem.” Now he can legally occupy the closer spots.

Today we stopped at a half dozen places after he had the placard, but he never used it. He won’t abuse the privilege but he’ll have it, if needed.

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Adjusting to Michigan

John’s been totally worn-out since getting home. For the first time, he actually said “maybe” when I suggested flying back to Florida in October instead of driving. We have a guy (Larry’s Ride) who could pick us up at Tampa International for $35. Problem would be the stuff we’re able to bring with us including: wine that John’s making, favorite clothes, musical instruments (banjo, uke, hammered dulcimer, marimbula and autoharp), air purifier, and food. I keep trying to leave more and not drag it back and forth, but some items are needed both places.

Before we left last fall, I had in mind that I’d leave clothes in Florida, but by the time I started packing to head north, I’d forgotten what we had here. Therefore I brought most of my popular items back with us. Now I’m finding lots of stuff I can wear this summer so I could have left more in the south. I just have to do more list making this fall.

I’m trying to get organized and clean this place but there’s still lots more to be done around here.


We had planned to go to the Moose Club for all-you-can-eat walleye tonight. But John had a rough day and didn’t feel like spending an evening away from home. We ran to the closest supermarket for coffee and something for a meal but we were only gone about a half hour. At home we made a huge pot of chili and had it for dinner. Hopefully tomorrow he’ll feel better. Today is Friday. We have dinner plans with his siblings Sunday at 1:00 and Monday he sees his pulmonologist. I hate seeing him so uncomfortable. His nausea came back and his oxygen levels are scary low. He’s weak and has lost more weight (which he can’t afford to lose). I just hope he bounces back. I think he needs to start finding help. He can’t maintain the yard alone, and I am not much help. (I’ll be having surgery on my hand probably this month.)

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We made it back to Michigan this afternoon

We left our Florida condo Sunday, stayed overnight in Marietta, Georgia, and last night in Miamisburg, Ohio. Made it home about 2:30. The trip was fairly uneventful. A few traffic jams slowed us down, but we managed to survive them. We got home in time to the drag stuff from our truck inside, but it will take a few days to get everything back where it belongs.

Now that we’re at our Thomas Township home, I have to ask: how can a house get really yucky dirty with no one here for seven months? There are dead petals all over the hot tub room where we store the geraniums for re-planting, there are lots of dead flies/bugs around the house, the toilets were disgusting and the dust is unbelievable. The stuff we brought back with us is piled up on most level surfaces. I want to know: how could anyone leave a house in October looking like this?!! Housekeeping isn’t my thing, but this is beyond my understanding. I’m so ashamed but too tired to do anything about it.

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