Monday, October 24, 2016

New blog

My new blog address is:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Blog

This past week I was diagnosed with early stage Parkinson's, so since I get a lot of comfort from putting things into writing -- and since maybe there are people out there interested in the whole atrial fibrillation/SVT/Pacemaker/Parkinson's story -- I am going to start a new blog.  I will post the blog's address as soon as I get it set up -- hopefully in a few days.

I think everyone knows that my house sold and I hope the new owner is getting as much enjoyment out of it as Marshall and I did.

When I went to see the neurologist this week, I went to the University of Colorado Neurology Department.  It is the same hospital where Marshall was treated so it felt like home.  I took some of his ashes with me and I scattered some ashes at the hospital and then drove over to the hotel where we always stayed and scattered some ashes there.  Now the only place left to scatter the rest of the ashes is West Virginia on his parents' graves and heaven knows when I'll be able to do that.

I went on YouTube today and watched a long video of Linda Ronstadt and her journey with Parkinson's.  Kind of depressing but it verifies that Parkinson's is a very slow moving disease.  At my age, it is highly likely that if the diagnosis of Parkinson's is confirmed, I will probably still die of something else before the Parkinson's would take over.

I have an appointment in January with another neurologist to get a second opinion.  He was highly recommended so he should be worth the wait.

I got a new doggie.  Her name is Mia.  She is giving me a lot of smiles.  Doesn't she have a silly face? And I am forced to go outside several times a day and walk.  That's always a good thing.
A new grief support group started near me so I went to the first meeting last Monday.  It was great so I hope enough people come that they can continue it.  Next meeting is November 14.  I feel like I am progressing, but the grief still floors me sometimes.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Diana Ross and Me

I imagine no one will be looking at this, but I said I would post the picture of Diana Ross and me -- and I really like the picture -- so here it is!

Friday, September 9, 2016

All is well

Evidently I allowed my frustration with everything that's going on in my life to cloud my ability to understand basic conversations, but everything is right on track with the sale of my house.  All is well.

I am going to miss that house and the beauty surrounding that house so much, but it is way past time for me to move on and try to get back into a world without Marshall.

I have said before that I was going to end the blog because the whole purpose of the blog was to keep everyone up to date about Marshall's life and death and now that he's been gone for over a year there's just nothing left to say.

So this is truly the end of the blog.  I have appreciated so much all of the support I've gotten from everyone.  THANK YOU!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Another Day

Made it through another day.  No word from the real estate agent so I am trying very hard to be patient.  I am hoping that "no news is good news."

Mia is coming along nicely.  We are quickly becoming very very attached to each other.  She is adapting nicely but still getting used to these surroundings.  We came upon another dog this afternoon and Mia got kind of aggressive.  I think it's because (1) she was on a leash; and (2) she was protecting me.  That should all fall into place.

And on other news, Tricia has been diagnosed with Grave's Disease.  She is still getting tests done and is working with her doctors to treat this as medication-free as possible.   And today is her birthday!  What a birthday...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Trip to Westcliffe

The trip down to Westcliffe went well. Mia traveled well, no problems. But I don't think she liked having to get used to yet another house. She was kind of nervous.

We scattered Coco's ashes in the same spot where Marlee's ashes were scattered.

Then we had a quiet evening. I went through the house and made sure I had everything I wanted to take and I vacuumed and did a small amount of cleaning. I left a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator for the buyer.

We headed back to Thornton this morning and got home around 1:00. Mia was beside herself to get back home. She ran in the house and literally attacked both cats with kisses And it looked like they felt the same way. It was so cute.

Late this afternoon I got a call from my real estate agent with the news that the sale of my house may have fallen through. Looks like the Buyer wants to back out. I won't discuss the details in this blog but it is very upsetting. However, I should find out for sure tomorrow so I'm trying to stay positive until I know for sure.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Things to do in Thornton

A few weeks ago I got a booklet from the City of Thornton filled with things to do in Thornton for the rest of the year.

Last night I went through the book and found a whole bunch of things that I think I might enjoy trying (beginners' yoga, line dancing, guitar lessons, movies, one-on-one strength training, horseback riding, crafts, festivals, volunteer work, and on and on).  I made my list and today I went out to locate all of the places where these things are taking place (or, in the case of horseback riding, etc., where the group meets) and today I drove around to locate all those places.

A lot of things happen (or start) at the Thornton Senior Center (I don't want to be old enough to go to a senior center, but it is what it is).  Then there's the Art & Culture Center and the Carpenter Recreational Center and the Thornton Community Center.  All of these places except the Community Center were closed today because of the holiday weekend, but at least I now know where they all are.  I actually had the courage to go into the Community Center and ask some questions.  Doing things by myself is a big deal these days.  Found out that the Community Center mostly caters to children so I was able to mark it off my list.

This coming week I'll be in Westcliffe on Tuesday/Wednesday to spend one last night at my house.  Both the buyer and I had to sign an extension agreement so things are a little tentative right now. And I bought the buyer a bottle of champagne to put in the fridge.

When I get back I'll start getting signed up for some of the activities I mentioned.

Mia's potty training is progressing.  Slowly.  According to the trainer, I am going to have to start putting her in her crate and both she and I are going to HATE that.  So it will be to her benefit to figure this out quickly.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Meet Mia!

New addition to my household:
Her name is Mia and she is a mix of many different breeds.  She only weighs about 18 pounds, is about 3-1/2 years old and she is very smart -- knows "sit," "stay," and "down."  Since I got her home on Saturday I've learned that she is a lover of chasing rabbits and when I take her out I have to hold onto the leash VERY tightly because at the sight of a rabbit -- which are aplenty at my house -- she is gone!  And there is a very busy road in front of my house.  I thought I lost her on Sunday but she came back when I started screaming.  She appears to already be devoted to me, which of course was the point of all this.  I have purpose now.  I hope it helps my general mood.

She and the cats are getting along nicely, with just a bit of jockeying for dominance.  With what I've seen so far, I believe Jerry will be top "dog," Mia will be next, and Okie will remain at the bottom of the totem pole.

The closing on my house was set for September 16.  I just heard from the real estate agent that the closing date has been rescheduled indefinitely because the appraiser is backlogged.  I knew it was going too smoothly.  So until we get the appraisal we don't even know if the seller's financing is approved.  UGH!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Report on the weekend

I am going to be a big old show-off in this post.  But what a weekend I had.  I was able to forget totally how depressed I've been.  For those of you who want to listen to me show off, here goes:

First, I don't know much about golf, but the "cottage" I stayed in was right on the golf course:
Friday night was a demonstration by a bird rescue group called Hawk Quest.  It was supposed to be outdoors, but it was raining so we went into a corridor of the golf club.  Each bird had a handler.  Most of the birds that are in this rescue group get there by getting hit by a car or being orphaned.  Some are able to be rehabbed and then released and some can never live in the wild so they live their lives in this rescue facility.  For instance, the bald eagle that they brought was blind in one eye and would not be able to hunt in the wild.  Here are some photos -- this was SO interesting.

The handlers lined up with their birds.

The eagle and his handler:

Me and the eagle:

One of the owls with his handler:

I forget what kind of owl this is, but isn't he different?

The handler is able to do a little maneuver that makes the owl flap his wings:

This is a screech owl -- weighs 4 ounces:

This is a spectacled owl:

After the demonstration of the birds, we had a great dinner in the golf club.

On Saturday I went up to the Bartlits' house around 5PM and after signing in I looked at all the dogs up for adoption.  Came close to adopting one, but most of them were puppies and I am just not ready for a puppy.  But I got to play with them.

The setup for this function is absolutely huge and holds about 500 people.

Then they had a live auction to raise money for the Dumb Friends League (we learned later that they raised over a million dollars -- great news!!)  During the auction someone recognized Larry The Cable Guy in the audience.  So Fred got up and started revving the audience up to get out their checkbooks and he said something like "Git 'R Done -- right, Larry?"  So Larry the Cable Guy, who was in the back of the tent, grabbed the microphone from one of the auctioneers and and said he would donate his voice to the auction.  He said that for the highest bidder he would call that bidder's child and use his "Mater" voice from the movie CARS to wish that child happy birthday.  I couldn't tell what that bidding got up to but I know it was quite large.  Here's Larry the Cable Guy pointing to the audience and telling them to "Git 'R Done and get out the checkbooks."

And here's Larry the Cable Guy with my boss's grandson (sorry for the quality, the lighting wasn't the greatest):

Fred and Jana enjoying the entertainment:

The entertainer was Diana Ross:

After the concert I was given the opportunity to go back stage and meet Ms. Ross and get my picture taken with her.  It was done by a professional photographer and I won't have that photo for a few weeks.  That was so special.  She is a very tiny lady -- I had to look down to talk to her.

So as you can tell, I HAD A STUPENDOUS TIME!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fun weekend

First of all, it appears that my house sale is progressing nicely.  The inspection has been done and they only came up with one item they want me to deal with (getting the septic inspected) and I certainly don't blame them.  So everything is looking good.

I am spending this weekend in a "cottage" on the golf course at the Castle Pines Golf Club.  I don't know how they can call this a cottage, it is bigger than any house I've ever had, but it is so idyllic and calming.

I am attending the annual fundraiser that the Bartlits have for the Denver Dumb Friends League (animal rescue).  This will be my first year attending this without Marshall and it just points out many more things that I counted on him for.  He always did the driving and I never paid any attention, so I had trouble navigating through the golf course to find the check-in for the cottages.  Sheesh....  But I'm here and it is gorgeous as usual.  And I have to start learning to live without Marshall...

Tonight there will be a relatively small dinner at the Golf Club and before dinner there will be a demonstration put on by a group that rescues large birds (Eagles, owls, Hawks, etc.).  For those of you who have seen Marshall's favorite photo of himself with the eagle on his shoulder, that photo was taken at this function several years ago when they featured Eagles.  This year I think is going to focus on owls.

Then tomorrow night is the huge fundraiser with silent auctions and live auctions and then dinner.  The entertainment after dinner will be Diana Ross.  Every year they raise a very large sum of money to help animals, a cause near and dear to my heart.

More later.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back Home

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in Westcliffe walking around the house remembering the 13 years Marshall and I spent there.  We sure enjoyed that house and that wonderfully remote location.  Then I sat on the deck and looked at the magnificent views.

My last days in this house ....

Views to die for -- off the back deck:

Then last night around 1:00AM I heard a bunch of noises outside and I didn't have the nerve to go outside and see what it was.  It's funny that when Marshall was there, even though he couldn't even get out of bed, I felt safe and it didn't bother me at all to go outside to check on a noise.  But all by myself???  Can't do it.  I know the bears are everywhere trying to get fattened up and ready for hibernation, so it was probably a bear.  But I'll never know.  So I turned all the lights on and sat up until I couldn't keep my eyes open any more.  So even though in broad daylight I look around and don't want to leave this beautiful place, when night-time comes I know I can't live here by myself.

This morning I got all packed and ready to leave Westcliffe and head back to Thornton.  A friend of mine came over to help me go through the garage and try to dispose of some of the stuff that's left.  While he was there we had an altercation (yes, another one) with my neighbor.  Another reason to get out of this place.  That guy creeps me out.

So I got home (to Thornton) today around 4:00 and hugged my boys.  Very glad to be here.  The Westcliffe house was inspected yesterday so now I wait to get the results of the inspection.  Wait-wait-wait....  As we all know, just because I have a contract doesn't mean it's all sewed up....

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


When I got back from Ohio I bought a fairly expensive, large and heavy ramp to help me get the motorcycle out of the garage without dragging the low-sitting pipes at the curb.  The ramp arrived and even though it weighs 100 pounds I was able to use a dolly to get the ramp out to the curb and set it in place.  Then I was able to back the motorcycle out of the garage and over the ramp successfully.  I even took it for a very short ride and then was able to get it back into the garage and get the ramp up on the dolly and back in the garage.

I'm not sure this is I something I will want to keep doing but I will give it a year.  Making decisions about that bike will be very very difficult.  I can't even conceive of selling it because it is so very personal to Marshall and his Vietnam service and the unit he was in.  And if I did sell it, how could I be sure that the new owner would respect it the way Marshall intended.  Lots of food for thought.

I have been in Westcliffe all this week handling some of the paperwork for the sale of my house.  And getting the house ready for the inspection.  I spent Monday and Tuesday cleaning all the appliances and making sure they all work (running the washer and dryer and dishwasher, checking the refrigerator, little odds and ends).  Today I left the house early because they didn't want me here for the inspection.  Went to breakfast with friends and then more paperwork at the courthouse and then lunch with friends and then back home.  I'm not sure when I will get the inspector's report.

It is so bittersweet being here at the house Marshall and I loved so much.  I am drinking in all of the magnificent views out here because I won't have access to them much longer.  Funny how you take things for granted until they are going away.  I see Marshall everywhere I turn and I keep having these little crying spells.  Hard to believe in a few short weeks I won't ever see this house again and it's even harder -- still -- to believe Marshall is gone.

Some neighbors stopped by to tell me that a family (mama and 2 babies) of mountain lions are living not too far behind my garage.  The neighbors are holding these mountain lions responsible for the disappearance of quite a few pets lately.  One of the neighbors saw the mama and babies but the others mostly just saw footprints.  I'm sure glad I don't have a dog right now, it would make me a little nervous.  I guess that's why my game camera showed a mountain lion in front of my house -- it's home to them this season.

And I had a little learning experience today.  I brought my iPhone, my iPad and my laptop with me. I was pretty sure they would all be useless back here in the mountains.  Well, it turned out that the 4G is all of a sudden working back here so I was able to use the iPad and iPhone.  My laptop doesn't have 4G so I couldn't get online with it.

However, I played around a little and saw something on the iPad settings called HotSpot.  I had always wondered what that was.  Well, guess what!  I enabled HotSpot on the iPad and was then able to use it as a Wi-Fi connection for the laptop.  Incredible.  I think that's the best little learning experience I have had in a very long time.

Tomorrow I head back up to Denver.  Hopefully whatever the inspection report shows won't require that I turn around and come right back.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The house sold!

My counter proposal was accepted and I have a contract on my house.  Now we just have to get through the inspection phase.  I will probably go down to Westcliffe for a few days next week to clean out the rest of my stuff.

Things are moving along nicely.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Home again

On Saturday morning I headed to Indianapolis and spent the night again at my old high school buddy's (John's) house.  He got out his yearbooks and we spent hours laughing and reminiscing.  So much fun.

On Sunday John and I met my cousin Amy (and her husband Roger) for lunch on Butler Campus.  Amy grew up in the same town John and I did so there was a lot of reminiscing at lunch, too.

Amy and Roger:

 John and me

After lunch, I hit the road heading home.  I was going to stop in St. Louis but changed my mind and decided to keep going towards Colorado.  I made it to Topeka and one of those Kansas tornado-like storms came along so I found a Best Western Hotel and stopped and got a room (it was about midnight).  I got in the room and got ready for bed -- I propped up some pillows and was going to check emails before going to sleep -- and two HUGE bugs crawled across the pillow.  I am scared to death of bugs, especially HUGE ones, so I started screaming and you've never seen anyone gather their things and vacate a room as fast as I did.  The hotel clerk kept saying, "It's just beetles," and I told her the only beetle I wanted in my bed was Paul McCartney!  She did not think that was funny.

So I made it back out to my car and the storm was still raging so I didn't dare try to drive anywhere.  I decided to just sleep in the car.  Ugh.  I decided to check emails and had an email from my real estate agent telling me there's been an offer on my house.  Exciting news.

Monday morning around 6AM I got back on the road heading home.  One of my favorite places to stop is Colby, Kansas because (1) it has a Starbucks; and (2) it has a tropical look:

I got home around 2:30 in the afternoon, hugged my boys and called the real estate agent.  The offer was really low so we sent back a counter-offer and I'm waiting for a response.  And getting a lot of sleep.  Glad to be home.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Kevin's Photos

Kevin just sent me his photos:

Boots at the 50-yard Line:

Marilyn scattering ashes at the McGuire house:

Boots at the corner of where the old high school was.  It's hard to tell, but the initials "NB" are in the rocks (for North Baltimore).  We scattered ashes both in the rocks and in the grass around this area.

One Year Anniversary of Marshall's Death

I wasn't sure how I was going to handle my emotions today but it turned out to actually be a fun day.

Marshall's favorite nephew, Kevin, drove to Ohio from Minnesota with his wife and new baby.  Kevin is a kook so we did a lot of laughing and Kevin spearheaded an afternoon cavalcade to various spots in North Baltimore to scatter ashes.  (As an aside, Kevin has Minnesota plates and I have Colorado plates -- I was half expecting someone to call the police because we were behaving suspiciously...)

I had brought Marshall's well-used motorcycle boots with me and we decided that we would put the boots in every spot where we scattered ashes and photograph them.

First stop was Marshall's sister Audrey's house.  He spent many a day sitting on her deck, so we spread some ashes under the deck.

Second stop was the high school.  The high school is brand new and is not the physical school that Marshall attended so it was basically symbolic.  The school's mascot is a tiger and they have a huge beautiful tiger painted on the road on the entrance to the school.

Then we went to the spot where Marshall's high school used to be -- it is now a car dealership but they still have a small part of the school entry on one corner.
From there we went to the football field.  Marshall had told Kevin that if possible he'd like to have some of his ashes scattered at the 50-yard line.  Well, the football field had a fence around it, so Kevin climbed the fence and I threw the boots over the fence to him and he went out to the 50-yard line and took some pictures of the boots and scattered some ashes.  He took some pictures but he hasn't sent them to me yet.

And our last stop was Louie McGuire's house -- one of Marshall's high school buddies.  The house is empty now, but we went to the back yard and scattered some ashes and took a picture of the boots.

We went back to Audrey's house to regroup and cool down -- it is SOOOO hot and humid here.  We went to the cemetery at 7:30 and had a beautiful ceremony.  Audrey had arranged for the pastor to say a few words and the Honor Guard from the American Legion was there to do a 21-gun salute and play Taps.  It was very very nice and very moving (and still, very hot and humid).  There were about 20 people there and they all helped to scatter the ashes.  I was so hot I was getting close to fainting, so I had to get to the car and get the air conditioner going.  But it was really a beautiful ceremony. Marshall would have loved it.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

I made it to Ohio this afternoon

First of all, it appears that I have found a great pet sitter.  I left on my "pilgrimage" the morning of July 19 and that evening I got a text from her along with photos of my boys.  Really makes me feel okay about leaving them.

I was able to stay alert and awake and drive all the way through to St. Louis and spent the night at the home of one of my close High School friends, Donna.  We had fun reminiscing.
I left there on Wednesday morning and headed to Indianapolis to spend the night with another dear High School friend, Johnny.  Another night of fun reminiscing.
But as I was leaving St. Louis I remembered (don't know why this took me so long) that Marshall and I first met on  May 31, 1987, he was a truck driver and I was making one of my many trips to St. Louis from Chicago.  Marshall and I met at the intersection of I-70 and I-55.  I was heading towards Chicago and he was heading towards Indianapolis.  However, for some reason (he liked to say it was fate) he missed his exit at I-70 and stayed on I-55.  He had a CB radio and so did I.  He started talking to me at that intersection and we were together from that moment on.  I did a bit of crying at that intersection today as I passed by that sentimental spot.
Now I am in my hotel in Findlay, Ohio and I'm going to stay in for the night.  Tomorrow I'll meet up with Marshall's sister, maybe for lunch.  Tomorrow night we will be at the cemetery scattering the ashes.

On the way home, I plan to stop at John's again for a night and I also want to see my cousin Amy and her husband (who live in Indianapolis) so John and I will meet up with them on Sunday for lunch.

I sure miss Marshall.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Scattering of Ashes

Sorry I've been gone so long.  I just couldn't get motivated.

But I am getting ready to go to Ohio to fulfill one of Marshall's wishes -- scattering ashes on a family cemetery plot.

I am leaving on July 19 and driving to Ohio.  Marshall's sister Audrey is putting together a little ceremony with the pastor and whatever of his family members that are able to be there and it will be on July 22 -- the one-year anniversary of his death.  Hard to believe, isn't it?

I am so grateful to Audrey for everything she does to put together these tributes to Marshall.

I've been doing a little research as to what the protocol is for scattering ashes and I've decided that I'm going to separate the ashes into a bunch of little baggies to pass out to everyone who attends so each person can scatter some ashes.  Marshall would really like that.  If there are any left, I will bring them back and scatter them at some point in West Virginia on the graves of his mom, dad and brother.  But, shush, don't tell anyone because it's against the rules of the cemetery (LOL).

My next issue is trying to figure out how to get the motorcycle in and out of my garage.  The custom pipes on the bike sit very low and they drag if I try to pull out of the garage through the "rolled curb" so some sort of ramp is going to be necessary.  I tried something called "curb ramps" and they moved when I tried to navigate the bike over them.  Then I tried other ramps but they buckled when I pulled onto them and I thought my foot was going to get caught.  Then I tried something called "Bridjit Curb Ramps" which are basically big pieces of rubber that lay in the ditch but they didn't work either.

So today I found some ramps online that are VERY expensive but look like they will do the trick.  I talked to the sales rep at length and he did the math with regard to angles and length, etc., and agreed that it would work.  So I ordered it (yikes) and it should get here when I get back from Ohio.  It weighs 100 pounds so my next struggle will be trying to get it from the garage to the end of the drive, but I should be able to do it with a dolly.  Anyway, maybe some day in the very near future I will actually be able to ride the darn thing.

I went to the cardiologist last week and he changed some of the settings.  I was not able to understand exactly what he did -- even after having him explain it three times -- but part of it was he wanted to let my ventricles work on their own without being paced by the pacemaker.  The pacemaker is still pacing the atria.  I've been feeling a little crappy, but he says to give it a month to see if I adapt to it.  I have to admit I like the idea of my heart doing the work on its own.

My eyesight is just unbelievably good.  Dr. Kevin May is the best!!

I've developed tremors and I'm told that it is probably something called Essential Tremors and there is nothing that can be done about it.  If they get worse I will need to see a neurologist.  Will this doctor stuff ever stop?  I feel like I'm being punished for having had 69 years of almost perfect health!!!

That's it for now.  I will post throughout the trip and the scattering of the ashes and then I will probably close the blog down.  It's time.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016


One of the side effects of the laser treatment that I had done to my left eye was floaters. If I understood what the ophthalmologist said, when he zapped that membrane that was blocking my vision, it was broken up into little pieces (floaters) that keep dashing around in my eyesight.  It's like little bugs flying around my face so I am constantly fighting the urge to swat bugs.  I look pretty silly.

Today was my followup with the ophthalmologist and he said that a lot of the floaters should dissipate on their own and I should give it a few weeks.  However, if they don't, he can do more laser stuff.  I would like to get rid of the annoying floaters; however, it is a small price to pay to get that vision back.

My prescription changed quite a bit so I got to order a new pair of glasses today (boy, the price of eyeglasses is outrageous).  Since it is very hard for me to pick out new glasses because I can't see good enough to determine what they look like, the technician kept taking my picture so I could see the choices better.  Here's the final choice -- they should be ready in a week:

And while I was there picking out glasses, guess who walked in for an appointment?  My cardiologist!  I think it's a good sign that I picked a good ophthalmologist if my cardiologist also goes to him, right?

I had a jewelry class on Saturday and it was a lot of fun.  Tomorrow is another class.

Next Wednesday I have to take Okie to the vet for dental work.  I know it is for his own good but I hate taking a pet in knowing they are going to have anesthesia.  But it will be out of the way when Tricia comes next Thursday to stay for a week.  My sister-in-law and niece will be here the 4th of July.  So it will be busy.

I've made arrangements for a road grader to work on my road down in Westcliffe.  That will probably get done in early July.  Hopefully it will help the house sell.

Monday, June 13, 2016

I can see!!

I had the laser treatment on my left eye today and the vision returned to normal instantly.  I am so pleased.  It is great to be able to see again.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Trip to Westcliffe

The trip down here was lovely. I stopped at Pikes Peak Harley to thank them for helping me get Marshall's bike transported.

I got to my house only to find that the telephone and the Internet were both down. I pay $90 a month to CenturyLink to maintain the phone and Internet down here because the area is so remote that I like to be able to have reliable contact with the outside world. But it is almost always not working so I am just throwing $90 a month down the drain.

I drove over to my neighbors' house (Dave and Cathy) and used their phone to call CenturyLink, I got through and then was on hold 37 minutes, and then got cut off. So I give up. I'm going to cancel this service altogether. Why pay $90 a month on the off chance that things will be working.

Now, a reasonable person would think that it isn't the end of the world to not have a landline if you have your cell phone, but AT&T doesn't seem to care about those of us out in the boonies either so my cell service is intermittent and even intermittently it will only work in one small spot in the entire house. And if you call AT&T they flat out tell you that "your area is such a small market, you are on the bottom of the totem pole with regard to service."

On the way down here yesterday, I was getting all nostalgic and wondering how I could have ever left such a beautiful area but by the end of the day it all came back to me. I was going to stay here the entire weekend but I have now decided to go back home after the funeral.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the road to my house that is not maintained by the county but is left to me to maintain, is washing out in one area. No one will ever be interested in buying this house when the road is almost impassable. Well, I shouldn't say "no one," because quite a few people who move to these mountains do so because they want to be "off the grid" but I want to hedge my bets so I went by the office of the road grading company down here and asked them to come out and give me an estimate to work on the road.

And already I am in trouble with a neighbor -- my road borders his property in one small area and he got kind of worked up because he doesn't want the road fixed in the area that touches his property. I tell you, my reasons for moving away from here are coming back to me very clearly. Marshall could deal with all this stuff, but I hate it.

So I will head back to my townhouse with glee!

The funeral was lovely. It was at the Catholic Church and I'm not Catholic so for the most part it was over my head but still lovely. The Knights of Columbs played a part and that was kind of cool, with the fancy outfits, and the swords, etc. The part of the service that was at the cemetery was a tear-jerker. I always get weepy at a military funeral (21-gun salute, the playing of Taps, the folding and presentation of the flag). It was moving.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Marshall and me

I know I said I don't cry hardly at all any more, but I picked up Marshall's Samsung Tablet and opened it and this popped up --

Doctor Visit

You know, I miss the good old days when a doctor was your doctor for life or until you moved.  But these days it seems to be the doctors who bounce around.  You get used to your doctor and all of a sudden, for one reason or another, you need to move on.

When Marshall was diagnosed with prostate cancer we spent a lot of time researching oncologists and we chose Dr. Flaig.  We had to drive for 4 hours (one way!) to see him once a month.  We really liked him and Marshall was doing so well under his care.  But after about a year he started saying, "You really need to start seeing my Nurse Practitioner, Kathryn, because I want her to be familiar with your case in case I can't be here."  Sounded reasonable so we made our appointment with Kathryn.  Well, Kathryn pretty quickly become the only person we saw and it's hard to explain your thought process when you know you are dying, but when we realized we weren't really going to be seeing Dr. Flaig any more (unless we specially requested it), Marshall's mood started deteriorating and his condition started worsening.  He felt betrayed and abandoned and it affected his frame of mind.  It was sad.

Well, today I went to my cardiologist appointment and instead of my doctor, who I just love, I had to see his Physician's Assistant.  I understand that doctors are busy and they need to open up time for new patients, but still...  And on top of that, his nurse, Michael -- who I see every week for my blood work and who I have developed a really good relationship with -- has applied for a job with the government and he may be moving on.  I'll survive but I hate these kinds of changes.

At any rate, I did like the Physician's Assistant.  First we did the regular vital signs and my blood pressure and INR bloodwork was right where it should be.  Then I saw the representative from Medtronic and she "interrogated" (that phrase just cracks me up) my pacemaker. All of the wires are still attached as they should be and I haven't had a single solitary episode of atrial fibrillation.  But the best news with regard to the pacemaker was that with all the little tweaks they made to it the last time I was there, the pacemaker re-set itself and the battery life is now 6.5 years (instead of 1.5).  That was great news.  She then made one tiny little tweak to the pacemaker, which she described as something that would make my heart use its own power a little more instead of being pacemaker-driven 99% of the time (she explained that to me twice but it was beyond me), and she said that little change may give the pacemaker even a longer battery life.

Then we discussed what I can and can't do.  Because my implantation surgeries were problematic, they don't want to release me to regular activities for a while longer.  So for at least another month, no motorcycle riding, no heavy lifting, no over-stretching, no mammograms (boo hoo), no high impact exercises, no unpacking any boxes (will I ever get unpacked?), etc.  I asked about altitude (since I'm going to Westcliffe this weekend and will be at 9,000 feet) and she said that was fine, just drink a lot of water.  So that was a great report!

I've been spending time in the garage polishing Marshall's motorcycle and reminiscing.  That bike was so important to him.  It feels really good to have it here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Mountain Lion

I keep meaning to share this:  About six months before I moved from my house in Westcliffe up here to Thornton, I had set up a game camera in a tree in front of my house.  It's a pretty cool way to see not only what kind of animals congregate in your front yard during the night but also monitors any other activity that may be going on.  For the most part, every time I looked at the activity on the memory card the only animal activity I saw was an occasional deer going by.  Most of the other pictures were of me coming and going, the UPS guy, neighbors who visited, etc.  So when I moved up here I gave the camera to the couple who own the cabin down the road from my house.  I neglected to look at the memory card before giving it to them.

Well, wouldn't you know that would be the one time when something interesting happened.  A mountain lion had wandered by the front of the house.  The pictures aren't the best but you can definitely tell it's a mountain lion.  It's the only animal in our area that we had never seen firsthand (we've seen deer, bears, coyotes, fox, bobcats, antelope, but no mountain lion).  They are usually too skittish.  Anyway, for what it's worth, here's the photo;


So far, my appointment with the cardiologist  is still set for tomorrow -- although he did change it from 3PM to 10:45A.    And I'm beginning to realize that my doctor's expectations from our appointments are quite a bit different from my expectations.  For him, it just means listen to my heart and ask how I'm feeling and answer any of my questions.  To me, I was thinking he would do a pacemaker "interrogation" and then go over the report with me and also do blood work.

I think he plans to do all those things tomorrow, but only because I brought it up.  I asked his nurse if he was going to do an interrogation and the nurse said, "Why?"  I think that sums up our differences right there.  So tomorrow I guess (hope) we are going to do the kind of workup I was expecting and from here on out I will try to approach these appointments with no expectations.  Live life on the edge... (ha)

On another note, this morning I was able to successfully use a stud-finder to find the studs on the kitchen wall and I hung a pegboard pot rack, which is all the more impresive since I am limited on using my left arm!  I also hung some artwork and framed photos.  I think it's time to get a tool belt!!  Of course, when I hung the pegboard I had visions of it coming loose and hitting the floor in the middle of the night and scaring the stuffing out of me.  But at least I am progressing.

As soon as I can find the proper "riser" ramps to use to get the motorcycle out of the garage without dragging the "gatling gun" pipes (the driveway into the garage is short and steep) I ought to be able to venture out for a short ride.

Some people looked at my house Saturday and they acted very interested but I haven't heard anything since so I guess they changed their minds.

Remember the girl (Gina) who helped me through Marshall's illness?  Her dad died last week so I'm heading down to Westcliffe for a few days to go to the funeral.  I will be able to see how my pacemaker does at altitude.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The motorcycle has arrived

Marshall's trike is finally "home."  The doctor says I can't ride just yet because I'm not supposed to stretch out my arm.  Next week I'll find out when I'll be allowed to ride it.