It's official - my laptop has been rescued from the brink of annihilation. Back home again where it belongs, it is humming along quite nicely, with a nice, bright screen again. It’s also picked up speed, as I had a little more memory installed while they were working on it.

The problem was a bad inverter. The part cost $99; the labor cost $99. It wasn’t exactly a cheap fix, but it was cheaper than any of the local estimates, with parts alone costing $250-$500, and labor $25 for every 15 minutes.

In case you ever have a problem with your laptop and are unable to fix it yourself, I highly recommend Laptop Rescue. To give you a feel for how long it takes from sick to well computer, here’s the timeline:

Monday, August 20th: The light goes out on the monitor.
Tuesday, August 21st: Contacted Laptop Rescue; special shipping box ordered.
Thursday, August 23rd: The box arrived and I packed up the laptop.
Friday, August 24th: UPS picked up the box for shipment to Laptop Rescue.
Tuesday, August 28th: Got an email saying they’d received my laptop in the morning, and by late afternoon another email asking me to call about options for fixing it.
Wednesday, August 29th: Talked to rep about repairs needed and price, gave the okay for fixing it – they started working on it as we spoke, and mailed it back the same day.
Friday, August 31: Computer delivered back to my door.

In other words, 10 days from the time I contacted Laptop Rescue about repairs until I had the laptop back in my possession. It would have been only 7 days if I had packaged the computer myself and sent it, instead of waiting on the special shipping box to arrive from Maryland.

However, the box was well cushioned with special foam, made to fit a laptop and prevent any damage during transit, and came with shipping insurance. It was delivered to my door with a shipping label inside, so once I packed up the computer, I could have UPS pick up the package right at my door instead of having to drive to one of their shipping locations. It made shipping safe and easy, but if you’re in a hurry, you could save time by packaging and shipping the computer yourself.

Would I do the same thing if I had to do it all over again?

Ask me again in a year or two. If this computer is still chugging away, then yes, it was well worth the cost. If it dies within the next few months, ouch, it was a bad gamble and a waste of money. Then the cost of repairs, $18 shipping each way, and extra money I paid because I was in a time crunch and opted for the higher priced, guaranteed quicker turn-around time, would have been a nice chunk towards the cost of a new laptop.

But for now I’m quite happy to have my laptop back and in working order. It is soooooo much nicer to be able to sit on the couch and shift around as needed to change the point of contact and pain, than being stuck in a chair in front of the desktop computer.

Thank you Laptop Rescue!

Doctor, Doctor!

Most of the time after I’ve been to the doctor, I say to myself, “Why did I bother?” I’ve usually got a pretty good idea what the diagnosis is before I go, but I can’t do my own medical tests to be certain, and I can’t prescribe pharmaceuticals. So sometimes there’s not much choice; I have to go to the doctor.

After waiting a long time in the well-named WAITING ROOM, I went to an examining room and waited some more, then saw the doctor, then waited some more for the nurse to come and do an EKG, then waited some more for the doctor to look at the EKG and come back in to give me the diagnosis.

Thankfully, the EKG was normal. (See, sometimes I’m normal!)

That left my original self-diagnosis of costal chondritis. The doctor decided to prescribe some medication to help the chest wall pain and inflammation. When I got out of the office and looked at the prescription, I just laughed.

Seriously, it was a joke.

The doctor prescribed Naprosyn 500mg, 1 tablet twice daily. Naprosyn is Naproxin is Aleve. The only difference is that Aleve only has 220mg per tablet.

Here’s the thing -- I already chunk down 3 Aleve at a time on a regular basis. Unless my math skills totally fail me, that’s 660mg, which is more than the 500mg tablet the doctor prescribed. So if that much Aleve isn’t relieving the pain, why bother with the prescribed Naprosyn?

My answer is… I’m not.

If I’d went to the doctor with the idea of getting pain relief, it would have been a total waste of time, effort and money. However, I’ve been that route so many times, I didn’t delude myself thinking there was any chance of that. No, my goal was to make sure there wasn’t any heart problem.

So, mission accomplished, and that’s about as good as it gets.

Updates, lots of updates!

There are so many things going on here it’s hard to keep up!! You know – life happening!

On the COMPUTER front…
I got the special shipping box for the laptop last Thursday, and mailed it out the next day. Laptop Rescue is located in Maryland, so hopefully they’ve got the package by now, and I’ll be hearing something from them soon on the “repairability” of my ailing laptop – is it fixable, or do we total it like a wrecked car???

On the HEALTH front…
I’ve got an appointment with my doctor this Thursday to check out what’s going on with the chest pain. I don’t think it’s anything serious, but it's a different kind of pain than I'm used to, and you know how it is when you have pain in the left side of your chest – got to be sure it’s not a heart problem!

On the TRAVELING front….
Alaska bound in September: Great American Tours sent me my cruise confirmation paperwork, along with a big navy blue tote bag with bright gold straps. And guess what? Their name is emblazoned across the side of the bag. Big surprise, huh?

Then I got a box from the Group Leader in West Virginia, and she sent me a second tote bag! Guess I can balance it out and carry one on each side.

My plane reservations are made so I arrive in Seattle on Saturday, and I have a motel reservation for Saturday night. I have Sunday morning to check out the Space Needle & Sci-Fi Museum, but need to be on board ship by 3pm. I’ll probably be ready to call it quits by then anyway!

The only thing left is to check out transportation between places in Seattle.

Dad and I are booked for two shore excursions on this trip. One is in Juneau, a "Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest." The other is in Skagway, a ride on a train up to "White Pass Summit." I hope I can keep up on this trip and the pain levels stay low for a change!

Smoky Mountains bound in October: We have reservations the second week in October in Pigeon Forge. Jonathan is tagging along on this trip. I’m not sure what all we’ll see while we’re there, but the area is geared to tourists, so there’s no shortage of stuff to do.

I took this picture on our trip to the Smoky Mountains last year.

Canadians inbound October/November: Richard, Chrystie & Ellie are coming to visit for a few days. They’re arriving on Halloween so we have plans to take Ellie trick-or-treating. We have a plethora of costumes I’ve been collecting for months to have for our little calendar girl’s modeling sessions, so we figure we could take turns taking her, change costumes between turns, and who’s gonna know she went round to the same houses half a dozen times??? Oh okay, so maybe once will be enough…

The above picture of our little angel is from last year's modeling sessions. I can't wait to see what cute pictures we get this year!

Florida bound in November: We’re headed for Sanford, a town near Orlando, Florida. No, we’re not going to Disney World, it’s King Family time for Thanksgiving. We’re going to visit the Sanford clan (Jess’s daughter Debra & her family). Jess’s oldest son, Randy (aka The Phantom Son – long story), is also coming down for a visit, so it ought to be a great family time.

Jess with the Sanfords at Emily's graduation earlier this year.

And December?? So far there are no plans for traveling, and I rather hope it stays that way. I think we’ll be ready for a rest by then!

There you have it – we're certainly staying busy in our part of the world!

Life’s happening!!!

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week Coming Up Soon!

If you have a chronic illness, you really should check out Rest Ministries. They have a lot of great resources you don't want to miss.

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week information is one of them. Here's a bit of information about this important week!

Do you live with an invisible illness?

You aren't alone. National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 11-17, 2006 gives you a chance to feel "normal."

The statistics about illness are staggering:
+ Nearly 1 in 2 Americans has a chronic condition
+ 96% of illness is invisible. 60% of the ill are ages 18-60
+ The divorce rate is over 75% for the chronically ill
+ 70% of suicides have uncontrollable physical pain as a factor

Sponsored by HopeKeepers Magazine, This week's theme is ---
"My illness is invisible but my hope shines through!"

It's a designated time in which people who live with chronic illness, those that love them, and organizations are encouraged to educate the general public, churches, healthcare professionals and government officials about the impact of living with a chronic illness that is not visually apparent. Join us for this grassroots campaign to help spread the word that those with illness may look great, but are hurting and need compassion.

A Change in Pain

We’ve had some much needed rain here, and for that I’m grateful. What I do NOT like is the pain that always accompanies the rain.

Having chronic pain from thoracic neuralgia, plus fibromyalgia, I’m accustomed to having various types of pain. However, when it’s “rain pain”, it’s usually a generalized ache, a kind of blah getting-the-flu kind of feeling, with really achy bones & muscles.

Last night was different.

The pain was in the left side of my chest, instead of the usual right side, and it was intense. For a while there, I was afraid I was having a heart attack. I came [this] close to asking someone to take me to the Emergency Room.

But the pain was worse when ribs were pressed, and upon taking deep breaths and various other clues that led me to believe the problem is intercostal chondritis. I had a bad episode many years ago. It can also be a sort of “side effect” with fibromyalgia. The cause is apparently unknown (so what’s new?).

What I do know is I really don’t need a new kind of pain.

I miss my laptop computer...

Yesterday I was sitting on the couch in the living room, communing with the parrot and doing some work on my laptop. Just business as usual, until all of a sudden the screen dimmed, then a couple of minutes later, went totally dark.

I’m not an expert, but I figured that was bad. VERY bad.

I tried rebooting the computer a couple of times, and could see by peering really closely at the screen that the graphics were coming up and the computer itself was working, but I could barely see anything, and what I could see didn’t include the cursor.


I use my laptop a LOT. It’s much easier for me to sit on the couch and find a comfortable spot than to sit in an office chair and work at the desktop computer. I use the PC when I’m working with heavy-duty programs like Photoshop, or otherwise fiddling with graphics files and websites. But for writing, game playing, surfing the web/shopping, and email, give me a laptop and that extra comfort!

My first move on the road to repairs was to contact my free technical support, a.k.a. Oldest Son. He was not exactly encouraging. Fixing a laptop is not a do-it-yourself venture for the faint of heart, and especially not for the non-technically oriented. The latter definitely ruled me out.

That meant the next move was to find someone who could repair it. In case you’ve never tried getting a laptop repaired, let me clue you in… it’s easier said than done. And most certainly not cheap!

I called a local repair shop and was told repairing a laptop monitor is expensive, might run upwards to $500, and if it was his computer he’d just junk it and buy a new one.

Fine. Who’s gonna pay for the new one?

Then I checked the on-line Yellow Pages for anyone in the bigger cities nearby that might work on laptop computers. There isn’t a multitude of repair shops willing to work on laptops. I was informed that performing laptop repairs is different than working on a desktop computer, and takes special knowledge, tools and parts.

I sent off a couple of emails to places advertised that actually work on laptops. One was called Fast-teks and has a local franchise. The other one, Laptop Rescue, requires the laptop be sent to them.

I got an email in a short time from the latter, telling me what they thought might be the problem, and how much the flat labor fee is for working on LCD’s, and how much the parts were likely to be.

The franchise place didn’t send emails until the next morning, one from corporate, and one shortly thereafter from the local guy. I called him and talked with him a while. He was very nice, but the bottom line was $100 minimum for just looking at the computer so he could tell me what’s wrong. If it can be fixed within the first hour, fine, no extra charge. If not, it’s $25 for every additional 15 minutes of labor. He, too, talked about $250-$500 for replacement parts. He, too, said if it were his laptop, he’d ditch it, buy a new one, and spend the $100 to have them recover the data from the old computer and put on the new one.

That left Laptop Rescue. (Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!)

Those flat fees for labor sounded pretty good, but what if it’s not fixable? How much then? Turns out if they can’t fix it, you pay about $30 for them to look at it. If they do the repairs, it’s no charge.

But how to get it there? I haven’t got much time! Every step of the way it seemed like I needed to choose the more expensive options to make sure the computer would get back in time for me to take on the trip to Alaska.

At present I’m waiting for UPS to deliver a special shipping box and get the computer sent. Once it gets there, they can figure out the problem and give me an estimate for repair. Then I wait to get it back, fixed or unfixed.

All this takes time and money, and with this trip to Alaska, I’m running short on both. In the meantime, any and all computer work has to be done sitting at the desk. Bummer.

I miss my laptop.

Truth in Advertising

Okay, let’s just start right off by saying "Truth in Advertising" is an oxymoron, like saying that’s an accurate estimate, a genuine imitation, or a routine emergency. But do you ever get fed up with some of the advertisements you see on tv? My current pet peeve is drug commercials.

Yes, we have the “Just say no!” campaign, warning kids against drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Then we have commercial after commercial for legal prescription and over-the-counter remedies to cure everything from acne, being overweight, restless legs, headaches, upset stomachs, and of course, that little blue pill and it’s clones to spice up a male’s night life.

What a mixed message! We are a nation of drug addicts, looking for a pill for every ill. I’m not saying there aren’t legitimate reasons to take medications. If there is pill that will cure a real problem, like taking antibiotics for infections, insulin for diabetics, heart medication, meds for chronic pain… sure, that’s the thing to do, take your medicine!

But I wonder if we don’t take it a little too far, catering to pharmaceutical companies desire to make big profits. Do we really need to take a pill for every problem, no matter how minor? And how many new conditions have you heard about only because the drug companies are advertising a new medication for it?

For instance, my current favorite is “Restless Legs Syndrome.” As it turns out, I actually have this problem. It never occurred to me to seek treatment for it. In fact, for many years I just thought it was something everyone dealt with. I was amazed to find out that wasn’t the case.

Now there are advertisements for 2 or 3 different medications to treat it. So you have problems with your legs aching, feeling like you just have to move them, and strange sensations like tingling or creepy crawlies, and the answer is to take a pill. Now, if the medication had absolutely NO side effects, that would be one thing.

But how many medications have you heard of that have NO side effects, ever?

In the ads for RLS meds, they describe all the bad stuff associated with this problem, tell you all the wonderful things this medicine will do for you, and then… then they start rattling off some of the possible side effects.

And there are some doozies! The most common side effects are nausea, headache, and tiredness. Bad enough, but this medicine may also cause you to fall asleep without any warning, even "while doing normal daily activities such as driving." Or you may feel dizzy, sweaty or nauseated upon standing up. If all that isn’t sufficient, it can cause hallucinations - seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or tasting something that does not actually exist. Interesting!

Then there’s my all time favorite they mention in some commercials: “If you feel increased gambling or sexual urges, tell your doctor.” It turns out there have been reported problems with gambling, compulsive eating, and increased sex drive when taking this type of drugs.

Are you kidding? A pill with a side effect of turning you into a gambler!??? I can see it now, I take this medicine to relieve Restless Legs Syndrome, and end up spending all my time and money a few miles down the road at the lottery stores!

Seriously, medications and I don’t get along. If there is some side effect listed to occur 1% of the time, well guess who will have it? Yes indeed, if there’s some way out there reaction to a medication, I’m sure to experience it.

So thanks, but no thanks. It might work for others, but I believe I’ll pass on medications for Restless Legs Syndrome, no matter how great the advertisments say they are.

Cause the truth is, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

Couch Elevators

I have a little tilt-top desk for my laptop computer in the living room. It’s handy when I don’t feel like sitting at the desktop, since I can kind of lounge back a little and lean on my left side, instead of bearing any weight on the right side where it hurts.

The only trouble with this set-up was the height of the couch. It was way too low, with the bottom brushing the floor. Getting up from the couch took a lot of effort. In fact, a crane would have been useful.

To help the situation, some months back I got the bright idea to buy some risers to put under the couch legs. This particular set was adjustable from 3 – 5”. They sat beside the couch for months. Why? Well, there are end tables to each side of the couch, a love seat on one end, and a bird cage on the other. In other words, moving the couch to put those risers under the back legs was a major undertaking.

Yesterday I was a little crazier than usual and decided it was time to elevate the couch. I moved the little stuff off and away from it, and called up reinforcements for the heavy lifting. Jonathan scooted the end tables out of the way and we got the couch moved forward, away from the wall.

Have you ever moved a piece of furniture that has been in the same place for years? And that is too low to the floor to allow any sweeping underneath it? And further, one where a parrot has decided to build a nest between the back of the furniture and the wall?

Baby perched on the back of the couch.

If not, then think a mixture of dust bunnies, shredded paper, fuzzed up carpet and feathers. Add a few old plastic “icicles’ from Christmas’s past, a few stray pens and barrettes, and other odd items making a magical, mysterious… mess.

First I used a broom to sweep up larger pieces. Then we used a vacuum to get the rest. Once the carpet was again visible in all places, we checked out the risers and adjusted them to the highest level. The labels said they could support 300 pounds. Hmmm, is that each one, or altogether? (Hint - the answer is altogether!)

The inner protrusions that held the top half of the riser in place didn’t look very sturdy. Jonathan and I kind of looked at each other and said, “We’d better test this.” I had dire visions of my favorite little bird doing her explorer thing under the couch when it suddenly collapsed and squished said bird. Not a pretty image.

After adjusting each riser to the highest level, we put one under each couch leg. Test time!

We sat.

For a few seconds all was well, then WHUMP! The couch was tilting at a crazy angle and two risers had collapsed so that the couch frame was resting on top of them.

Now what? Can’t leave the couch with legs at two different levels, so only one thing to do – collapse the other two risers.

I instructed Jonathan to bounce up and down the length of the couch, walk on it, whatever it takes, but break down those other two risers!

He complied, proclaiming it was great fun, and “How often does your mom tell you to break the furniture?” It wasn’t long before all the risers were even again, with the couch frame resting solidly on top of them.

No more danger of collapsing couches – just one elevated couch, ready for sitting high and spry.

The Eyes Have It!

This morning I made a long overdue trip to see an eye doctor. Thinking about taking lots of pictures while in Alaska, and needing to actually SEE what I’m doing, was the kick in the seat of the pants that prompted this.

I wasn’t too thrilled with the last optometrist I visited, but this guy seemed most impressive. He had a great office staff, a good personality, and seemed to know his stuff. On top of all that, he has a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn AND a degree from the University of Alabama.

You’d have to be from this area to appreciate that, but Auburn and the University of Alabama are old rivals and college football is practically a religion to some people around here. I teased the doctor he was prepared for whoever came in, with a foot in both camps. He could yell “War Eagle” or “Roll Tide”, depending on the visitor’s allegiance.

For myself, I was more intrigued with some of the scientific posters he had and got caught checking one out behind the door when the doc came in and addressed an empty chair. Sorry Doc! Just being curious as usual. (Remember that, I’m NOT nosy, I’m just CURIOUS!)

After the various examinations, we discussed the best option for new eyewear. He did a glaucoma screening, which was a-o-k. What was NOT okay was the cataract growing in my right eye. What!?? It seems I haven’t noticed it because it’s off to one side, out of my line of vision as it were.

These days they not only tell you about a problem, they SHOW it to you. He set up a little camera behind the equipment I was looking in, and up popped my eyeball on a tv screen. (Figuratively speaking of course.) Sure enough, I could see the cloudy, jagged looking section he was talking about.

The bad news is it’s there, and no doubt in a few years it will be big enough to occlude my vision and I’ll need surgery to have it removed. The doctor informed me the silver lining to this particular cloud in my vision is that when I have the surgery done, they can replace the lens with one that will correct the sight in that eye.

The other eye doesn’t show any sign of a cataract, but he said this sort of problem usually happens in pairs, and probably somewhere down the road one will appear in my other eye. Well, isn’t that just a real day brightener? At least it’s fixable when it becomes necessary.

I never dreamed I’d go to the eye doctor today and find out I have a cataract in one eye, and will most likely have one in the other eye some day.

The eyes have it all right -- but I wish they didn’t!

Working out the details...

I got a call from a lady at Grand American Tours today. She had been in touch with the cruise line and got a quote for me to fly out to Seattle a day earlier. It costs extra because they have to pay extra. The cruise line blocks out a lot of seats on disembarkation dates, so they get a better deal. Deviate from the pattern and you can expect to pay more.

However, it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it might be, and about half the price of flights I could find on my own. I booked it. The extra cost is worth the extra peace of mind. Not to mention it gives me the chance to see the Space Needle and the world’s only Science Fiction Museum. Eat your heart out Sci-Fi Fans!

Once I’d agreed to their deal and we finished our conversation, I got online to check out motels. I’d looked at several previously and knew what ones had the best rates located in the area I needed. There was a nonsmoking room available in a motel not far from the Space Needle. I made a reservation.

I have a cruise booked, flights booked, motel booked… the details are coming together! Whoo whoo!

Too bad I can't reserve some energy and pain-free days.


I'm a little later getting this entry made than I'd intended, but alas! Most of the pictures I wanted to use had to be scanned before I could use them!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

31 years ago I was in the hospital in Philippi, West Virginia. I wasn’t in the best of shape, after having an emergency C-section and then developing some kind of reaction and running a fever. I didn’t feel good, but I felt GREAT! That contradiction, of course, was because although physically I didn’t feel well, emotionally I was on the proverbial Cloud 9, because I’d just given birth to my first son. At 9 pounds, he had a healthy start!

By the time Richard was a year old, we were living in Waterloo, Iowa. His Grandparents Boggs came to visit, and Grandma took this picture of Richard with the cake Mom (me of course!) made:
By the time Richard was 3 ½ and Jonathan was born, we’d lived in 3 different states.

This was taken in February 1980, soon after Jonathan was born, in Clarks Summit, PA.

Unfortunately, right after Jonathan turned a year old, Richard got sick. VERY sick. He was in the hospital for almost a month. We went from not knowing if he’d live, to thinking he’d have to have a lung removed, to not knowing how “normal” he’d be when recovered, to having a healthy 5 ½ year old. Praise God for that!

We moved to Ohio and then back to West Virginia, built a house in Eureka, and during the “Golden Years” as the kids called it, Richard attended Belmont Elementary School (the same school I went to as a kid), and was in Boy Scouts.

He did well all through school, with good grades and good friends. By the time he graduated we’d moved from Eureka, WV, to Wheeling, WV, and on to the Cleveland, Ohio, area, and then way down to Huntsville, AL. He graduated from high school in 1995.

Then, like many young people, he took a while to find himself. About the same time as he got on track, he also found someone else…
Here's a picture of Richard, Chrystie and Jonathan taken the first time Chrystie came to visit us here at the farm.

It wasn’t long before we were welcoming Chrystie into the family and attending a wedding in Canada!

The newlyweds lived in the Huntsville area for a while, but then Richard got a great job offer and they moved cross country to Dallas, Texas.

The next big event in Richard’s life was becoming a father March 15, 2005, when Ellise Florence K-B was born. She was premature and stayed in the hospital a long time. That's where the picture to the left was taken.

Richard also found out that becoming a father meant he got lots more visits from his and Chrystie’s parents!

Here’s the clan in January 2006 when we went for a visit.

A couple of months after that picture was taken, Richard and Chrystie took a heavy blow with the news that Ellie has Cerebral Palsy. It was a huge shock, of course, but they both continued being such great parents, and doing a fantastic job with the increased amount of care Ellie needs. She has lots of therapy, and much of it they have to do at home.

As you can see below from a picture taken while we were all in Minneapolis in May, Richard and Ellie have lots of fun together.

He’s a great dad, husband and son. I’m proud of all he’s achieved, and more importantly, of the kind of person he’s grown into.


Nothing's ever simple...

Maybe I'll get to go to Seattle a day early and maybe I won't.

I called the tour company myself today. This is still one of the "go-betweens", but a little closer go-between than the Group Leader in West Virginia. When I talked to her last week, she said I could call and give the tour company a definite answer in a week or two about leaving early.

What she failed to mention was the fact it would cost me EXTRA to go early. I don't know if she just forgot, or nobody told her that, or what the deal was, but the cruise line definitely charges extra for flying on a different day than they have scheduled.

The big question, of course, is -
The answer is - I don't know yet.

The lady at the tour company is supposed to email the cruise lines and ask. She said they usually get back to her within 24 hours, but considering this is Friday, it would probably be Monday before she has an answer.

I can only hope and pray it's not too expensive, because I sure would feel better if I had a little extra time in case of fouled-up connecting flights.

And I really, really want to see the Space Needle & Science Fiction Museum!

Of heat, camera lenses and a parrot…

Today it’s just too hot, but every once in a while, I still had to go outside.

For instance, I needed to walk to the mailbox this morning. On the way out the door, I slipped on a pair of plastic clogs and grabbed my camera. I just acquired a “new-to-me” wide angle lens I wanted to check out. I bought it used from a reputable dealer online. It looks like new, but cost less than half the original price. I hope to use it a lot on the trip to Alaska.

Anyway, I figured I'd shoot a couple of test pictures along the way to the mailbox. I like to multitask whenever possible, ha! The first picture of our pond was taken with the “regular” lens on the camera. Note the white chair to the right on the bank (you can just barely see it, about 2/3rds the way down from the top).

I used that chair as a reference point, keeping it to the right, then took the same picture with a wide angle lens. Here’s the result:

Cool, those wide angle lenses really do make a difference. Look how much more I got in the second picture taken from exactly the same place as the first!

But the heat! While standing there taking the picture, my clogs got so hot they were actually burning my feet. The thermometer we have in the shade says 98 degrees F. Yep, it’s just WAY TOO HOT today!

After I put the mail in the box and came back inside to the blessed air conditioning (which hasn't stopped running since it kicked on this morning), a certain little bird popped her head up from behind the couch where she was playing…

She’s kind of like a “birdie periscope”, checking out who is going by. Once she sees who it is, she generally goes back down behind the couch to play some more.

Never a dull moment!

It’s a typical Monday…

Or, "Can I have some cheese to go with these whines?"

I started the day behind. For instance, usually I get the weeks humor mailings started over the weekend, setting up a template for each day and filling in some of the data. Instead, I had to spend time clearing space on my hard drive as it was full up again. Since I can only sit so long at the desktop computer, I didn’t have enough time to work on the humor mailings. That meant I had to do it today, and it took a big part of the morning to get the 5 templates set up for the week, and finish today’s humor mailing and send it out.

The humor stuff takes up a lot of time, and ever now and then I think of ending it, especially after someone complains it’s not up to their standards. My all time favorite was the message sent via my husband that I “needed to raise the bar.” Hello? This is a FREE mailing, you subscribe when you want to, and you can also UNsubscribe at any time if you don’t like it. But I persist as there are also those kind enough to say they look forward to it, plus I use printed copies in letters to my military penpals, veterans, and Chemo buddies.

Since I spent so much of the morning on the computer, it was late before I got outside to do needed chores. And very, very HOT.

First I needed to clean the egg mess off the sidewalk where some critter broke open some old eggs. That wasn’t so bad, with just picking up the big pieces, and spraying the rest off. Then I had a complaint about the smell on the front porch. Okay, Peepers has been out there a while, and time to move her cage and sweep up all the extra food she scratched out of her bowl, scrape the poop off the concrete, scrub it with soap, and spray the area off.

By then I was already tired, but I needed to make sure the animals had plenty of water to drink in this heat, so I headed out back. First thing I did was open the door to the peafowl’s pen and punched a little hole in my finger with a stray wire. I managed to get all the buckets and pools filled with water, and sprayed out the troughs, and so what if some had several drops of blood in them?

I’d saved watering my rose garden until last figuring it would be easy. Wrong! There was a hose pulled out into the yard, but it fell several feet short of the rose bed. There was no way I could stand there and hold my arm up long enough to water all those plants, so I went searching for another hose to add to the end.

I found one looped around a fence post, but it was quite long, and I got tired of threading it through the space between the woven fence and the barbed wire. I tried to pry the fastener holding the barbed wire loose without success. I finally went for a set of pliers to help get the barbed wire out of the way and get the hose out. The heat was getting to me, and I’d had enough!

Once I got the hose hooked up and the water turned on I discovered I’d done all that work for nothing, because there was a big tear in the hose I hadn’t noticed. Okay, I’ve got to find yet another hose. I remembered we used one some time back in the goats pen, so went looking. That took considerable tugging as the grass had grown up and around it.

FINALLY I got the hoses connected and got the roses watered, the birdbath refilled, and the hummingbird feeder washed out, plus filled the pool in the sheep’s lot. Before I quit, I went in and got fresh hummingbird food and put in the feeder.

By the time I finished all that I was very, very hot, and very, very tired. I figured the best way to cool off was to take a shower, but knew it was going to hurt. When the pain levels are up, my skin also gets hypersensitive on my right side from backbone to breastbone, making it rather “ouchy” when the water beats on it.

The 'Monday mishaps' weren’t done with me yet, as when I flushed the commode the chain came off the workings and I had to take the top off and bend over to dig around in the water and find it and get it connected again.

By that time, I’d had it, I quit, that’s it for today, I can’t take it no more! Good thing I already had supper in the crock pot!

Energy Management

I really haven’t worked much today. In fact, I’ve goofed off more than I worked. Jonathan and I went to a movie this afternoon, something I do maybe once a year. We had a double treat, and met Jess at Red Lobster for dinner afterwards. I didn’t drive, I sat in more comfortable than usual seat for a movie theater, I got to sit in a booth instead of a hard seat at the restaurant, and I enjoyed both the movie and dinner.

So why am I so tired after doing such fun stuff?

I guess I didn’t have enough spoons available today. If you haven’t read “The Spoon Theory”, then I’ll rephrase that by saying I didn’t have enough energy. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t distinguish between work stuff and fun stuff. It also doesn’t seem to distinguish much between physical and mental and emotional drains on energy.

Almost always the demand for energy exceeds the supply. Worse, the supply is erratic. I never know from day to day just how much energy I’ll have available. It’s hard to know how to manage your energy when you don’t know how much energy you’ve got to manage. Add the fluctuation of pain levels and how that affects my energy, and it’s a daily gamble how much energy I’ll have each day.

Energy, energy, energy! I need more energy!

This kind of day with the perpetual “worn out” feeling is when I really start worrying about the trip to Alaska.

What am I thinking????
How am I going to manage for NINE days?
How am I going to do it all for myself AND help my dad when he needs it?

I sure hope I have a winning streak on the trip north –
HIGH levels of energy, and LOW levels of pain.