Archive forSeptember, 2011

Great App Discovery

Today I found an app for my Droid which allows me to use my cellphone as a “wifi hot spot.” With unlimited data transferral available through my Droid, this will be a real godsend. I was budgeting my 5GB monthly allowance, which meant I had .172GB of data transferral per day. I found I could easily use two or three times that amount but I couldn’t justify paying more. The Droid was at least unlimited. I tried and used the droid all I could but sometimes the laptop was easier than the tiny droid screen. Now I can relax and be productive without budgeting.

Tonight we enjoyed our last walleye fish dinner at the Moose until Spring. Our old friend, Roger, came by to sa(Joyce) were active members in the old Moose Lodge on Hamilton Street. She’s since passed, but Roger is always there with a joke and a smile. It felt good that he cared enough to make it a point to come tonight to send us on our trek southward.

This afternoon it turned really cold. I’ve cranked up the heat to take the chill off the house. (It’s 43 but the wind and dampness make it feel like it’s 30.)

I’m ready to head South where it’s warm!

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Five days and counting….

Today I cleaned house. I hate to leave a dirty house behind so I vacuumed, dusted, and did bathroom floors. I still have more to do, but I’m on-track. (The windows will wait until Spring.)

I have finished my “packing.” I have filled two bins with my clothes plus a third bin of “stuff” which includes a slew of batteries, a mail scale, a new weather “station,” back-up hard drive, hats, etc. In the “staging area” I’ve accumulated several smaller shoebox-size boxes (computer programs in one, make-up and medicines in another, and one of camera cables and camera instructional manuals), a plastic file-box, a couple reams of paper, a box of card stock and sheets of labels, a box of tax records, and a bag of recorded cds, one of microphones (etc.), a bag of shoes, and a bag with beach towels. I’m hoping it’ll all fit in the truck. If possible, I also want to bring a box of Christmas glass ornaments, a bag containing a wreath, and a few more holiday items. John has a bin of clothes, and a few zippered clothing bags (but he left most of his stuff in Florida).

I’m sure the mounds of stuff I have ready to go will more than fill the back-end truck box, and I may have to leave some stuff behind. We’ll see.

I want to get busy fitting it all in but we need to wait until we know we can leave the truck outside without affecting what we’ve packed.

We’ll take off in 5 days, 13 hours, and 30 minutes!

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Two days to go…. Actually a week, but…

John just informed me that I’re two days too early to start packing the truck for Florida.

I’m ready! I’ve brought two plastic bins to the area by the door so they’ll soon be packed, but I understand that I’m pushing things.

John needs to finish cleaning out the truck and he really doesn’t want to acknowledge that we’re that close to leaving. So this weekend we’ll officially start packing. I am READY!!!

Guys do things at a different pace. Or maybe it’s just “me.”

I’m a planner. I’ve explained that for 23 years I was, by my profession, an “official hospital planner.” Now that I’ve retired I find myself still tending toward planning but John plods along. I make lists and get ready. John takes off and counts on me to cover his butt.

But somehow we are compatible.

Love that guy!!

I will adjust to his “lack of planning” but I will also be his backup with print-outs and readily prepared agendas of what we need to expect on our trek south.

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Wow! What a great Saturday!!

Yesterday was a long but enjoyable day. We attended the ODPC meetings in Lansing starting at 10:00 a.m. It’s always fun to share time with good music friends.

We sat in on three meetings and a lunch. The fun music time was just starting with lots of wonderful friends playing, but we headed south to Ann Arbor to visit Audra and Dave, John’s (really nice) daughter. It was a totally enjoyable visit. Audra cooked up a meal that was amazing. Everything looked, smelled, and tasted magnificant. (Her culinary abilities sure show she’s John’s child.)

We left her place at about 8:30 so we’d have time to stop at Trader Joe’s on the way home. We really didn’t leave ourselves much time but we got some “Two Buck Chuck,” Charles Shaw wine.

We were tired and the trip home, through never-ending construction zones, was extra exhausting. John kept reminding me that he was close to falling asleep, so I continually chatted with him until we were home. It tired both of us.

We’d been gone since 8:00 a.m.

The many years of having Willow, our little dog, at home waiting for us, has left a not-to-be-erased feeling of uneasiness when we’re away from the house all day. There’s always that feeling that she’s waiting.

The ghost of Willow still haunts us.

Of course, last night, when we got home about 10:45, the house was empty. It still felt good to be there, but the realization that there’s nothing waiting at home is kind of disappointing.

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How old am I?

Depends on the time of the year. Right now most days I’m in my early-60’s (although my driver’s license would say I’m nearly 70). But when we get to Florida (in about two weeks), my outlook will change. If you ask me this same question in December, I’ll probably say without hesitating that I feel about 50-55 and getting younger every day.

Something about the Southern climate and attitude changes us.

John hates to admit it but, when we’re in Florida, I see the years slip off him too. There’s a lift to his step, and a brighter twinkle in his eye.

I’ll bet if a test could be done, we’d each de-age by 20 years. I can’t help but wonder if we stayed in the south all year if our age-regression would take us back to childhood.

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John’s Siding Project

North End – Just finished

North end of the house - new siding

Above is the newly finished north end of our Saginaw house.

old siding

The old siding was in rough shape! This is the same side as in the top photo.

Here’s the front side

Two more before and after’s: You can see the before and now the lovely cedar shake (vinyl). The color of the new stuff blends with the old and it doesn’t stand out that it’s not finished.

The way it looked last year.

The way it looks now.

On the top photo, it looks sort of dark in the center of the wall. That’s where the stain was fading and needed to be redone. This is a forever fix.

When the project was started.

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My Colored/UnColored Closet

In Michigan, my closet is filled with BLACK. Sure I wear some color as an accent, but generally I find myself bathed in BLACK.

Example: Today I’m wearing black slacks, black sandals, a sleeveless black tank top covered with a long-sleeved Chico’s black buttoned cardigan with red/orange flowers with green leaves on a black background.

In a little over two weeks we’ll be in Florida. My color scheme and clothing when we’re in the south is totally different. Most of the time I wear really bright stuff. My shorts are shorter and more fitted and they are nearly always white or light. My tops are bright! (Grandma didn’t know what she was talking about when she told me, “A lady never wears white after Labor Day.” In Florida, I wear white all winter!!) In Florida, clothing tends to be sexier. This year I’ll be SEVENTY but I love dressing young. In Florida, I find that attire is lots more lively and fun. It’s ME, my STYLE!!

The whole mind-set of Florida is fun. Color enhances the mood.

(Note: A couple years ago, I was in a restaurant in Ruskin, FL, and three or four couples came in. The only thing I could think was that it was obvious they were from the North. The women were all dressed in black or very dark attire and everything looked bleak and cloistered. I commented and everyone in our party agreed. They stood out because they didn’t portray the Florida image of light colors and fun.)

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Winding down in Michigan

John has been working every day on the installation of vinyl siding on our house. He’s progressed to the “peak” (about 30′ up). It scares me every time I look out. (If he doesn’t finish it today; he’ll complete it tomorrow.) Once the north side is done, his plan is to postpone any more siding work until next spring (the lake side and south side still remain to be completed but they’re only one-story high so, by comparison, it’ll be a snap.) The one side toward the lake will be vertical siding, to accent the cedar shakes. That should make it a lot easier with less waste. What’s finished really looks nice, but it’s been so much work for him. I’ll post photos.

He is saying he also wants to cut down two dead poplar trees before we leave for Florida, but I’d like to see that job wait until next year.

Our 5th wheel trailer is winterized, the sprinkler system blown out, and our truck is nearly ready to take off. The lawn needs to be mowed at least one more time. Last minute apples picked. There are grapes to be harvested. We’ll probably bring along some juice to make into wine when we’re down south. Looks like our lawn guy will have to do the leaves because they haven’t even started to fall.

But everything is wrapping up.

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Verizon goes 4G in Saginaw

I now have 4G access both in Michigan and in Florida. My connection speed, even at 3G, was outstanding. But I do have a problem. I’m restricted to 5GB of digital download a month. Seems that at the faster speed, I use even more bytes yet previously I was restricted to 2MB per month (with Speednet) and I never had a problem (ok, so maybe once or twice I went over for less than 1 gb per month, but now I’d doing twice that volume!!). I’ve stopped visiting my favorite game site ( because I can’t “afford” the digital usage. Why is it taking so many bytes to do what I have done for over a year?


Note September 25: I have found that the 4G area is very limited. Yes, I receive 4G, but a mile from here, there’s only 3G.

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Chilly Time for Wonderful Chile!

This morning it was time to get up, but it was dern chilly in the bedroom. I pulled up the quilt and nestled down for a few minutes additional warmth. My nose was cold! Yup, we’re in Michigan and it’s late September. There’s definitely a nip in the air.

The leaves have subtly changed and will soon blend into reds, yellows and oranges before they fall to the lawn.

Since it’ll only get into the high 50’s today, we’re talking about having a fire in the fireplace.

We’re leaving for Florida in three weeks. Since the leaves are still fiercely clinging to the trees, it’s doubtful that we’ll be able to get them off the yard before we leave. Hopefully we can hire our yard guy, Steve, to finish up the job.

This evening we had a big pot of from scratch chile! That’s the best meal on a cool day and it really hit the spot. Wonderful chile made with lots of fresh picked tomatoes, from the garden green peppers, kidney beans (yes! chile must have beans), onions, spices and ground chuck. Served it with club crackers. Yummy!!!

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John’s health

Lots of folks know that John was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2009. IPF is a very serious lung disease. (To be very clear, the available information would say that such a diagnosis is generally a death sentence with, at most, a three to five year life expectancy!)

But John’s doctor in Saginaw is really, really optimistic. She has proven to us that her treatment plan can produce positive results and she has statistics to prove that her, non-standard treatment of early stage pulmonary fibrosis, works. (Notice I said “early stage” because John went to the doctor as soon as he noticed a change in his lung capacity and kept working with doctors until he was diagnosed with a lung biopsy about six months later.)

Here’s what the University of Michigan said about Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis but they aren’t dealing with my husband nor his determination.

So we work with with his Saginaw doctor, and he continues to do very well on her prescribed treatment of Prednisone and Imuran.

Admittedly her treatment plan isn’t recognized as acceptible by most pulmonologists who study Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, but since it works for John, even his Florida doctor says, “Although I would never have prescribed that treatment, it’s working, so continue following your Saginaw doctor’s suggestions.” (And he added, “You’re lucky you went to her first because I would have told you there is NO treatment but she has one for you which seems to be successful so continue it!”)

So John’s health problem is holding it’s own. He’s physically doing more hard work than he should. He’s definitely not at 100% but he is much better than he was two years ago so we are grateful.

We’re indebted to his Saginaw pulmonologist, Dr. Indura.

She’s really kept him ticking.

Our Florida doctor (who is highly recognized as one of the best in his field) feels that John’s amazing progress means that he must not have pulmonary fibrosis, although when his biopsy was review by the Mayo Clinic they confirmed his diagnosis. Whatever has happened to John shows that prayer and good medicine works. And John receives both.

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Where Were You on 9/11/2001?

Surviving 9-11Everyone can tell you precisely what they were doing when our nation’s innocence was destroyed by terrorists who used planes to toppled the World Trade Center, hit the Pentagon, and caused a fourth plane to crash into a field in Pennsylvania.

Where were you?

I was working for St. Mary’s Medical Center and had left my office at about 8:20 a.m. to attend a meeting at Bay Medical Center. I was listening to the radio as I drove. Regular programming was interrupted with an announcement that a “small plane” had hit one of the twin towers in the heart of New York City. It was assumed it must have been a small private plane, but a short while later, the other tower was hit by a second passenger plane, and the horror of the situation became apparent.

I was with a half dozen of our area’s hospital administrators. We were on a committee to run a lithotripsy service in our area. (In addition to Bay Medical and St. Mary’s, Mid-Michigan Medical Center, McClaren, West Branch, and a couple other hospitals were represented. About six of us attended the meeting.) I was the only one who didn’t hold the title of President or Vice President of his facility.

When I walked into the meeting room at Bay Medical, several others were already watching the unfolding story on television. All eyes were riveted to the news as it developed. The dramatic photos showed the damage to the buildings. Terrorism was apparently the cause.

We attempted to conduct the meeting, but it was impossible. The TV was behind me. The sound was turned down. All of the sudden there was a gasp from those on the opposite side of the table. The second tower to be hit had collapsed. Shortly thereafter the other tower came down. It was devastating.

We were silent as we listened to the reports.

The meeting concluded prematurely and I headed back to my office. The rest of the day was spent huddled around the TV set in the conference room at St. Mary’s. No one worked. There was little conversation. We were stunned.

It was an unforgetable day. Our nation’s innocence had abruptly ended.

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Tonight’s Anniversary Celebration

Well, we had a very nice dinner. We went to the Rustic Inn in St. Charles. The food was excellent! The ambiance was different: lots of huge stuffed animals including a couple bears, elk, deer, birds, etc. It was a nice evening. Thanks, John!!

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Our Anniversary Tomorrow

Tomorrow is our 26th wedding anniversary. We don’t normally make a big deal out of birthdays or anniversaries but last year was our 25th and although we tried to make it special, it was very disappointing. We had hoped to go out for wonderful dinner and thought we’d found a nice dining room, but it ended up being an expensive crowded, noisy meal that nothing noteworthy. “Review” of last year’s anniversary dinner.

Maybe tomorrow night we can find a place which will make our 26th special.

Anything will be better than last year’s “celebration.” John mentioned a really good burger from our favorite burger spot would be fun so Farmer’s Home Tavern might be our destination. Or maybe a steak at Outback. We’ll see. It has to be better than last year’s lousy experience. Come to think of it a Farmer’s Home Tavern burger, fries, and a pitcher of beer might be the best “gift” for John.

We don’t get ESPN and he really wants to watch the football game. We could view it from Farmer’s Home. Boy, would that ever win me points as a good, understanding wife.

We’ll see.

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27 Days to Go

Last night I reminded John that we’ll be leaving Michigan in four weeks. He looked stunned. Although we plan and prepare for the trip south well in advance, to know that it’s approaching at an unbelievably quick pace, surprises us. He hasn’t changed his mind, but I think he’s shocked that it’s approaching so fast.

I’ve set some personal goals for our six months in the south:

  • Decide once and for all if we want to buy a bigger condo
    (which means that if we decide to stay put, we’ll want to do some minor upgrades).
  • Include a physical fitness routine in my day.
  • Take advantage of the various clubs and lessons.
  • Become more involved with the church we attend.
  • Purge our condo of anything I don’t use or wear. (Don’t let unused/old stuff become a huge problem as it is in Michigan)
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    30 days and packing

    I mentioned to my Facebook friends that we have made a decision about when we’ll leave for Florida.

    I explained that John has been very unhappy about leaving September 28th. He was talking about how he’d like to stay up north through the fall. Finally I realized that dragging him south would make him miserable and we’d end up having a lousy time. So instead I suggested that we change our plans and leave on October 5th.

    Now John is happy. He gained a week which to him was a victory.

    A couple of my gal friends have given that post a thumbs up. I’m sure they see that us wives often make our men feel good about small gains to win the fight.

    suitcaseWe give up concessions so we get what we ultimately want.

    I want to get to Florida. John’s balking. I would like to leave asap. John would like to delay for months.

    By saying, “Ok, let’s we leave on October 5th, instead of September 28th” he’s happy. He gained a week. I gained a contented guy who is smiling because he got his way.

    Sure I could have fought him on the date, but seven days isn’t that important and now we’re off dead-center. We’re leaving on the 5th, and he’ll be happy when he gets down there. I’m happy that we have resolved it.

    Besides, I have a feeling I need eye surgery and my appointment with the surgeon is October 11th. I want to get it over early in October so I’ll be all healed by Christmas time.

    At least now we have resolved our departure plans and I can get things packed. Yeah!!!!!

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    Decision: Our Trip Will Be Delayed One Week

    calendarOur plans are now complete. We have decided that we might as well wait to leave for Florida until October 5th. We’ll arrive on October the 7th. Yes, we’ll miss one Baby Boomer party and a farmers’ market, but I have a feeling that this concession will make John much happier, and therefore there’s no doubt that it’s what we should do. He’ll be miserable if I drag him down there reluctantly. If we delay our leave date, I’m sure he’ll be happier about the trip because he’ll know his feelings are being considered.

    John would like to wait to make up our minds. He doesn’t understand that, for me, it’s a very uncomfortable feeling when things aren’t decided. I need to start my mental “count-down.” It’s 31 days until October 5th, and 24 days if we leave on September 28th. The week’s difference won’t matter in the overall scheme of things. We’ll still have lots of time to have fun. I do want to get down there before the 9th. (We have a party on the 9th and I have an appointment with an eye surgeon on the 11th.)

    In this case, moving our departure a week later will make my man happier. It’s a great trade-off.

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    Getting Ready

    I’m not sure when we’re leaving for Florida. At the earliest, we’ll leave September the 28th and arrive at our Florida condo the 1st of October. But it’s possible that we’ll leave a week later. Either way, I’m starting to get ready now.

    My staging area is the dining room. I’m collecting items I fear could forget like a new crocheted beach hat, our tax records, a bag of cds, a couple reams of paper for printing, the CDs for computer programs which are installed on my laptop, and lots more stuff. Everything I don’t want to leave behind goes to the dining room. Also clothes are hung together in a special area in my closet. I have a detailed/refined packing list which I review frequently, but there are always those “extras” that may not be on the list. I’m doing my best to be sure that when we’re to leave, things will be packed. It’s just too far and we’re gone too long to forget critical items.

    We have lots of exciting occasions waiting for us in Florida. Everything from a couple of pizza parties, dances, wine and cheese parties, sunsets, friends and fun! Can’t wait.

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