What Next?

We're safely home again. It's time to get back in the swing of things here, but right now I have so many things I need/want to do, I'm having trouble deciding what to do next. There's stuff like:

* making calendars,
* catching up on my various blogs,
* catching up on laundry and ironing,
* cleaning out & rearranging my office,
* deal with a couple of crates of apples,
* catching up on emails I got while traveling,
* getting the house ready for some company,
* learning the latest software and getting back to work, and
* uploading several memory sticks of pictures to my computer & sorting through them.

That's just off the top of my head. I know there are more things. It's just choosing what in the world to do first, and then, what's next?

I also need to think about some repairs. I still need to get my newer camera sent in and repaired. I still need to get my desktop computer fixed so I can hear sound. I used to be able to use the laptop for sound, but if it's coming off the internet - like little movies of Ellie at YouTube - I can't watch them right now cause now my laptop needs fixed, too. It won't go to any URL that doesn't have an https instead of just http in front. I've tried researching how to fix it, but so far haven't found the right answer to the problem. Nothing I try works.

That means now I have no sound on any computer. The light is fading in and out on the laptop computer display screen also. This is not good. I already had it replaced once. I backed up files from the laptop last night just in case....

So like I said, "What next?" I probably don't want to know. But I need to get busy and figure out what to DO next, and hope there aren't any more repairs in the "what next?" files for a while!

Our Last Night (for now) in West Virginia

We've had a busy time the last few days. Since I'm on a phone line that is about as slow as it can get (no, not even 56 whatever it is), this will be short.

Last Friday we drove to Huntington, WV.

Saturday we went on the train trip.

Sunday we drove up to Washington, WV, to Maria & Scott & Caleb's house. Dad drove down and met us there. We had lunch there, ate supper at Golden Corral, then went on up to Dad's house to stay the night.

Monday we (Jess, Dad & I) drove to Buckhannon, WV, and went to The Wildlife Center. It was cold, but a beautiful sunny day.

It's a good thing we went yesterday, cause when we got up this morning in Buckhannon, it was SNOWING. Yes, snow!

We went to a glass blowing artisan's shop, then headed for home. Jess was driving in some pretty heavy snow at times!

Tomorrow we leave WV and head towards home.

If you've emailed me and haven't heard from me.... hang on, I'll answer later when I have a good connection again!

Taking The Weight Off My Shoulders


I spent a big part of yesterday finding the information I needed and filling out the disability paperwork.

That one sentence was so quick to write, but the actual doing took quite some time. However, the important thing is that I got it done. Jess took the form to the post office today and mailed it off.

So there’s one weight off my shoulders, figuratively speaking anyway. I've done all I can do; it's out of my hands now.


I needed to go to Walmart this morning to pick up a few things for our trip. On the way there I was having a conversation with God along the lines of, “I really need a haircut but I don’t have a lot of time since I’m getting stuff ready to go on this trip to West Virginia. And not all beauticians are familiar with the guidelines for cutting hair for ‘Locks of Love’. But there’s a new salon in Walmart, so if there’s no waiting and if they know what to do, I’ll get my hair cut.”

Now, I try not to make it a practice to “put out the fleece”. I know some people who think it’s a really spiritual thing to do, like it makes you a better Christian, but I can’t agree with that interpretation. Let’s face it, when Gideon put out the fleece, not once, but twice, it wasn’t because he was such a great spiritual leader and so well in tune with God.

No, it was more like he was NOT in tune with God. He was afraid to do what the Lord told him to do, so twice he asked God for a sign to prove God really wanted him to do that particular thing. So to my way of thinking, putting out the fleece isn’t a sign of being highly spiritual.

But as usual, I digress. The point here is the particular requirements I had in mind to get my hair cut and what happened when I got to Walmart.

I went in the salon, and the beautician was just finishing up with someone.
She walked over to me and asked, “What can I do for you today?”
“Do you know how to cut hair for “Locks of Love’?”
“Yes,” says she.
“Then that’s what we’re doing today,” says me.

So there was no wait, and there was someone there that knew what to do. In fact, turns out she knew exactly what to do…. how long to cut the hair, how to band it and bag it. That it must be dry when cut and so on and so forth. She even had a measuring tape handy.

She put a rubber band around my hair, braided it, then cut it. When she made the last snip that dropped the whole braid, my head suddenly felt a lot lighter. There was another weight off my shoulders, literally.

Several times during the process she asked, “Are you okay?” cause she knew it’s a drastic change to whack about 12-inches off your hair. And then she’d say, “You know you’re doing it for a good cause.”

Well, as Paul Harvey would say, “Here’s the rest of the story.” There’s a good reason she’d feel it was for a good cause and that she knew about Locks of Love. She’s a cancer survivor. She lost all her hair during treatment. When it grew back it was a different color and texture. Her eyebrows never did grow back. She no doubt understands the need far better than I do, even if today it was my hair getting chopped off.

But I must admit, it does takes some getting used to having my hair so short. I feel kind of naked, and I can’t twist my hair up on top of my head like I did before. All of a sudden it’s barely shoulder length and hard to get up out of the way.

Still, I’ve decided every time I’d tempted to whine about my short hair, I’m going to remind myself that someday, some little girl who is going through the worst time of her young life will be wearing a hairpiece made with my hair cause she lost all hers.

Makes my troubles seem pretty small.

This Too Shall Pass

Sure, there are times when you have some pretty major, heavy-duty stuff going on in life. But other times it’s just little things that dim your joy and it’s not always the severity of the problem that dictates how much it affects you. It just seems that some days we’re better able to handle stress than others. At least that’s how it is with me. Maybe other people are made of sterner stuff.

I read a devotional recently entitled, “This too shall pass.” And before that, a friend having problems with skin cancer told me that “This too shall pass” is her favorite verse. And even before that, there’s Jess, who seems to excel at standing fast, and letting the problems of life flow around him, hanging on to that same “This too shall pass” attitude.

I’m afraid I’m not so good at it. Of course, days when the pain levels are down and I feel more energetic, I’m generally better able to handle the stress. But other days, even though the sun may be shining and things aren’t that bad, well, I’m still sad.

Like today.

It’s little things. Like ordering tickets for the New River train ride clear back in April, so we could get just what we wanted in October. And what did we want? To ride in a domed car, because you’re higher up, and can see so much better with the dome instead of just a window to peer through. They didn’t have any domed cars when we ordered our tickets, but I figured if they got one, they’d let us know like they did before.

I figured wrong. Yeah, I know, as usual.

Turns out they got not one, not two, but THREE domed cars and never bothered to call us. People who bought their tickets later get to ride the domed cars. Essentially, we were penalized because we bought our tickets early to make sure we… ha, ha…. Got what we wanted.

Okay, not the end of the world. Aggravating. but (after I finished crying) move on. It’s not going to matter that much because my cameras aren’t working well anyway. The newer one is totally unusable and needs sent off to be fixed. At first all I can find were places like Sony that charge a flat $175 or so for repairs. When I finally found some place cheaper, it was too late to send it off and get it back before we left. So I haven’t bothered. That seems to be my prevailing mantra these days, “Why bother?”

My older camera has trouble locking in the focus. Most pictures are blurry. I delete 75-80% of the pictures I take lately, so like I said, I probably won’t worry much about taking pictures on this trip.

Then yesterday we were without internet service all day. At first it was a problem with the provider. But later when I checked they’d fixed their glitch, and tech support helped me pinpoint the problem on my end. The router died, which means I had to buy a new one. Another expense.

Our refrigerator is slowly dying. I’ve been looking at new ones that at least have some of the same features, but it’s not cheap. I’d love to have a new upright energy-saver freezer too. Also not cheap. But rummaging around in our old chest freezer is very difficult for me, so I don’t make much use of it.

I’ve been working on changing out our wardrobes from warm weather stuff to cold weather stuff. I don’t suppose most guys have a clue how much work that is. Just one day they open the closet or dresser drawers, and look! There’s a whole different set of clothes.

But women know you have to take the old clothes, sort them, and make sure they’re clean before you put them away. Our clothes go in bins in the basement. That means running up and down steps. Sometimes I have trouble walking on level floors, so steps can be a real trial.

And of course, next season’s clothes have to come OUT of the bins first, and somehow, they still smell kind of musty, so they need washed too. And laundry isn’t easy for me. All that pulling heavy wet clothes up out of the washing machine, or bending down to get stuff out of a dryer, and then worst of all, folding or ironing things. Those movements really aggravate the thoracic neuralgia.

Then after conceding I couldn’t win the 90DC, I’ve hardly looked at blogs this last week. The house needs attention in the worst way. I’m trying to get stuff ready for a trip. The electric buckets for water outside need hooked up. I still need to fill out the disability paperwork. I need to make some motel reservations for the second part of this trip. There are always on-going chores. What do I do first? Why bother?

And this morning the nurse from the orthopedic clinic called to let us know she finally mailed the packet of information about knee replacement surgery to Jess. She asked if I had any questions. Now that you mention it…. I had quite a few.

Over the last few days and while talking with her it’s been slowly sinking in that while Jess may be the one having surgery, I’m not off the hook. This is going to affect me a great deal also. Just driving back and forth will be difficult. It’s not likely Jonathan’s work schedule will work out so I can ride back and forth with him. Then I’ll be home nurse for a while. One knee surgery is a major deal. He's having two. It's going to take Jess a while to recuperate.

And I already can’t keep up with stuff that needs done.

Well, I’m sure there are people with a lot worse problems than mine. So why bother? No worries. This too shall pass. Rah, rah, siss-boom-bah. Yeah, right.

I’m still sad.

Dental Dilemmas

Jess had to go to the dentist this past Thursday. He lost a piece of filling out of a lower tooth and needed it repaired. Dilemma #1, it was one of the teeth his lower partial anchors to.

The dentist decided the tooth needed a crown to make it sturdier, so it was a much more extensive fix than Jess anticipated. After a lot of numbing and drilling, the dentist put a temporary crown on the tooth, but Dilemma #2, he informed Jess he needed to keep his lower partial and Jess doesn’t get it back until Tuesday.

In the meantime, he’s left to gum his food as best he can. It’s hard to chew when all your bottom molars are missing.

He doesn’t have an appointment to get the permanent crown for the tooth until after we get back from West Virginia. Dilemma #3, the opening for the appointment was October 30th, on a Thursday. We won’t have a lot of excess time on our trip!

Jess has the biggest share of dilemmas with the dentist, but I’m not left out of the dental dilemma drama. I had to reschedule my last appointment twice already. It's presently supposed to be December 10th, which is now just a couple of days after Jess has his knee surgery. Will he still be in the hospital? Or will that be the day I need to take him home? Or maybe he will already be home and needing my help those first few days especially? I’m thinking I probably should reschedule this appointment. The dentist’s receptionist is not going to believe I’m doing it yet again.

Oh, and Jonathan wasn’t left out of the dental dilemmas either. He had planned to get all his cavities repaired after the first of the year, when work hours will slow down and appointments easier to schedule, but it seems there are cavities in both teeth on either side of the one that just got a root canal. When he goes back for the permanent crown, the dentist said he needs to fix those cavities first, because it will be hard to get to them after the crown is in place. So he’ll have to get a couple fixed now, then wait for the rest.

Sure seems to be a lot of dental dilemma drama around here lately.

The Need for Knees

Jess has been having more and more difficulty with his knees. The more he walks, the more they hurt. Stairs are a real pain, literally.

Yesterday he went to the Ortho Clinic. It's been over 2 years since he last went to have them check his knees. They tried a cortisone shot in his right knee last time, with a "that's all we can do until you're ready to replace it" kind of deal.

He's ready to replace it.

Not only is his right knee in need of replacing, however, his left knee has also given out. It causes him even more pain sometimes than his right knee.

He's ready to replace it, too.

The doctor took x-rays and agreed, time for knee replacements. Both of them. At once.

He's scheduled for surgery to replace both knees December 8th. In the meantime, they're sending him a packet of information, and November 17th he goes for bloodwork, and to a class on having knee replacements.

That date is kind of ironic, as I've been scheduled for months to go have blookwork the same day, plus a couple of pre-cancerous spots burned off, and a mammogram. We're going to give the medical establishment lots of business that day. Guess we can car pool to the doctors, ha!

They could have done the surgery sooner, but we're going to WV in a little over a week to visit my dad and family, then The Canadian Contingent is coming to visit November 11-16th, and then over Thanksgiving we're headed to Florida to visit with the Sanfords and Randy (the thankfully not-so-Phantom-son these days).

By December the pilgrimages of visiting our far flung families will be done, so he can have surgery with time to rest and recuperate and then get busy with getting his new knees functioning properly.

As you might imagine, he's a little anxious about all this. It doesn't help he watched them do knee replacement surgery on The Learning Channel and has a graphic idea of what they'll be doing while he's out. And surgery at any time is always nervewracking anyway.

So he and his knees need your prayers and good thoughts!

I Concede

Yes, I Concede ...

And there ought to be a whole lot more politicians do that. Frankly, I’m sick beyond puking at their continual political character assassinations. No one seems to be exempt from either making attacks or being attacked. There are back-to-back commercials for opposing politicians, and both are intent on throwing dirt at his or her opponent. Excuse me, but if that’s the best you can manage for a campaign, what does it say about YOUR character?

Frankly, it is my humble belief that it should become politically correct to NOT be able to say one thing about your opponent unless you’re face to face in a debate, and to instead concentrate on presenting to the people what it is YOU plan to accomplish if elected. I’d say it should be law, but people get all freaked out about that First Amendment thing.

It brings to mind the line, “First, we kill all the lawyers.” Let’s change that to, “First, we kill all the political spin doctors.” After all, the politicians are pretty much spouting what the advisors in the background tell them to, and those ads are most especially spin doctor created.

But I digress. I’m the one conceding here. And for today, this is what I concede in no particular order of importance:

· I concede defeat. There is NO way I can make up for lost time and get everything done and start pulling in enough money to win the 90DC. I only have about 3 weeks left, and I’m not even up to the minimum income yet, let alone bringing in enough to win, which would be about 10 times as much. I’ve got too much coming up, what with in the next few weeks first a trip, then company, then another trip, to be able to do nothing but work on the computer. I'm not quitting mind you; I just concede I can't win the contest.

· I further concede part of it is my own fault. Although there were a lot of interfering circumstances, some things I goofed on. I get sidetracked easily. I didn’t follow the plan totally step-by-step, trying to fit in as much as I could and catch up. Also, I like to write too much. I realized after spending the last two days on writing posts for the next couple of weeks for ONE blog, I have a problem. I got ahead of myself and started working on the second part of my three-part agenda for an income. I need to back-track and do any steps I left out for this first part, instead of worrying about getting as much done as possible to fit into 90 days. (If you didn't follow all that, just stick with the highlighted part. :-) )

· I concede I need to cut my hair. It’s almost waist-length. Time to whack off about 12-inches or so.

· I concede to paranoia when it comes to the Social Security administration. Every two years I have to fill out forms telling them why they should continue to make my disability payments. It’s time again, and it’s totally nerve-wracking. I think of it as cruel and unusual punishment. After spending two years going through the process to get disability in the first place, now I have prove to them AGAIN why I need it. If they don’t like the answers on this form, they can ask for a full medical review again. And of course, they can deny your claim and make you start totally over again in the form of the appeals process. It wouldn’t be a total disaster to lose the income -- it’s not much since I wasn’t in the workforce that long. But the insurance is another matter.

· I concede to being fed up with people too lazy to think for themselves. Politics, religion, science, whatever it is, how about doing a little independent thinking folks??? For instance, don’t pass that email along just because it supports your particular political or religious agenda until you’ve checked to make sure the facts are straight. A quick look at some of the hoax and urban legends sites on line will usually let you know if the email is fact or fiction. Passing along a story that isn’t true doesn’t help a cause, it hurts it.

And along those same lines, how about the school board or whoever okays the purchases of textbooks taking a look at what’s IN those books once in a while? I was reading through a history textbook yesterday, and talk about revisionist history! This one was slanted to the left, with stuff reported as facts that make liberals look good, and downplaying any conservative contributions.

Well, excuse me, but how about some history books that report the FACTS? Not the conservative view, not the liberal view, but a history book that just reports factual events. No opinions, no deliberate deleting of facts you don’t like, just history as it happened. If your political viewpoint can’t stand up to a historical review, maybe it’s time to change it anyway instead of cramming it down the throats of our young people!

There’s a whole bunch more I could say about that sort of thing, and how we seem to have become too small-minded to allow for any “facts” other than the ones we cherish, whether they happen to be true or not. We need to think for ourselves, and more importantly at this point, we need to be teaching our children to think for themselves!

And that’s all I’m conceding for today.

The Way To A Sussern Mama's Heart

This morning I got an email from Chrystie. It wasn't a very long email, but by the time I finished reading it, I was crying.

Here's the key part:

"When I went to get Ellie up this morning, the first thing she said was, "Mommy, me see Sussern Mama!" It kinda took me by surprise, cuz I couldn't think of having any conversations about you last night... I asked Ellie, "Did you have a dream about Southern Grandma?" She nodded and said, "Yes!" And then ALL morning, she kept talking about going to see you!"

Isn't that just the sweetest!?!!

Of course, it warms my heart that she remembers and thinks about her Sussern Mama, but it also makes me sad because I can't be close by to see her day-to-day growing up. Pictures and little videos are great, but it's obviously just not the same as being there.

I'd like to say it doesn't make a huge difference if they're in Texas or Canada, but that wouldn't quite be true. It was a whole lot easier (and cheaper!) to hop on a plane in Huntsville and fly two hours to get to the Dallas airport. Now it takes at least one, and usually two connections to get to Canada, plus the biggest part of the day depending on the length of the layovers. And a passport of course!

However, it's a whole lot better for them to be close by family. In Texas they were pretty much on their own, but in Canada Chrystie has a whole passel of family. That's a good thing, especially when you have a child with special needs. And supposedly, more of their health care is paid for there than it would be here.

My head knows all this. But sometimes my heart is still sad.

Rainy Days And Sleepless Nights

Yesterday we had a little rain. Today we had more. Yesterday the rain didn’t bother me. Last night was a different story with little sleep, and today was pretty much a total write-off.

Oh, I guess it wasn’t a total washout. I finished up a few bits of work here and there, and spent an hour for the second evening in a row on with a bunch of other people learning more about the “Green Button” project. The initial version was released to the membership, and now they’re working out the glitches. I will confess I haven’t done much with the new software yet, knowing it would have bugs – new software always does -- and being swamped with other stuff to do. But it's been illuminating to follow along and see what's being done, and hear what's in the works for the future.

Though not into the Green Button software yet, I have been using the first module that was put out a few weeks ago, called Article Marketing Automation. It is totally sweet. If the rest of this project lives up to this module, this will be quite a deal. And speaking of deals! Members get grandfathered into the new system at the old membership price. When it’s ready for the public, new members will be paying twice as much (or more!).

At any rate, I’m still plugging away getting stuff going, though days like today put me more behind.

Jess had software problems of his own today, and couldn’t get AGTEK to do what it was supposed to. Guess he’ll have to be calling tech support tomorrow to see if they can tell him what the problem is.

Well, the rain is gone, so maybe I can get some sleep tonight. Guess I'll go clean the kitchen, put some oatmeal in the slow cooker, then give it a try.

Let There Be Light!

I mentioned in the previous post that Jonathan put up some new solar lights along the sidewalk. I went out to the mailbox while he was working on it, and took this picture on the way back - got to sneak pictures in, because he's worse than I am about having his picture taken!

The soil was so rock hard beside the sidewalk, he had to soak it with water before he could pound the stakes into the ground for the new lights.

We need to check the old lights now, and see which ones are still good, but just need new batteries. Even rechargeable batteries die after a while, and that's all these have in them.

There's always something needing done!

People Update

This morning is snail mail morning, and before I get letters ready to go out, I thought I'd stop in here and do a quick update.

First there's Jesse:

His knees are giving him fits, and he moves closer and closer to having surgery. He was thinking about having them both done at once, but isn't sure that a) the doctors will do it, and b) he really wants to go through the misery of having both knees replaced at once.

Work wise, he got some more jobs in this week, so he's keeping busy now. Hopefully, that will continue. I figure if he's going to drive down there every day, he might as well have something to do that will make money! That way he doesn't have to employ all those "time users."

He's teaching a class at church on Wednesday night. I know he's a good teacher, so I have no doubt that it's going well.

Then there's Jonathan:

His health nemesis lately has been his teeth. He had one root canal done, then went back to the dentist to start the other cavity repairs, only to end up having a second root canal. Worse, they ended up having to give him so many shots to numb his jaw that he had pain in it for several days. The dentist said it was because they'd irritated the ligaments holding the tooth on the "micro level". Anyway, he's got the temporary cap on it now, and goes back in a week or so to get the permanent crown.

Then he'll get to all the other cavity repairs, of which there are many. He's going to have a whopping bill there at the dentist, but luckily for him they have payment plans!

Work wise, he's still plugging away at Toys R Us. The "season" officially started this week, so anyone hired now is considered temporary help (read NO benefits), but it doesn't get brutally busy until the day after Thanksgiving.

He's also working on a new blog, Wargamer Haven. I did the set-up for it, and I'm doing the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and some other things, and he's doing the writing. It's part of my course work. Yes, it's fair to use something he's writing. After all, most of this is based on using PLR articles which someone else wrote. We're just supposed to do a little rewriting of them.

He had a few comp days he had to use up by the end of September or lose them, so had a couple of long weekends. He did some special projects for me like putting new solar lights up by the steps, and we cleared all the painting stuff out of the living room and put it in the basement. The bathroom is close to being officially done. There's some touch-up painting that needs done, and I need to buy a new clock and some rugs. Oh, and I need a picture or something for one bare wall.

And then there's me:

Let's not go there on the health stuff. I'm having a hard time of it today. I have a sinking feeling my fibromyalgia isn't going to like the cold weather, and to add injury to insult, my supposedly healed finger HURTS. Okay, 'nuff said.

My work is going. Not as fast as I'd like, but it's going. I'm learning lots, and have lots more to learn. I have several more courses waiting for me to go through once I finish the 90DC. I'm especially looking forward to the next one. I think it's going to be more applicable to what I want to do than any I've taken so far. It's a case of continuing continuing education. There's always more to learn. I hope my brain can hold it all!

I looked at the calendar today and realized that our trip to WV is only 3 weeks from Saturday. Then Jess sent me an email and reminded me that THIS weekend is the Fiddler's Convention in Athens which we have attended almost every year since we've been dating, then married.

And then in November Richard, Chrystie & Ellie are coming to visit, and then we get to go down to Florida and visit with the Sanfords and Randy, and we're soooooo looking forward to all of this! Truly! We haven't seen much of our far flung family lately, so it's definitely time for visits.

Like everyone else, life is busy! Sometimes, in fact right now, ALL of the time, it's TOO busy! I can't complain of being bored I guess.