Sunday, February 26, 2012

Everything from Bingo to Obamacare!!

My Facebook Photo
Life continues to be busy and, thankfully, I seem to be slowly recovering my energy.  The first part of last week was taken with getting my oldest kitty feeling better.  He had become very lethargic, seemed to have difficulty eating, and developed a limp in his hind leg.  Then on Sunday morning he had some kind of little "spasm", for lack of a better work, on the bed, after which there was a lot of licking and tongue contortions.  After a few minutes, things settled down.  Later in the day, as I was checking on him, he yawned and revealed a new snaggle-toothed look......he had lost one of his upper canine teeth!!  I immediately went to the bed and, sure enough, there was the broken tooth.  So, on Monday he was off to the vet.  She suggested giving the leg a little time to resolve itself, which is what I expected.  But, the dental problem was a bit more complicated.  He had Feline Resorptive Lesions, which I'd never heard of but is supposed to be very painful (and accounted for his difficulty eating and all the repercussions of that).  Needless to say, this involved dental work - cleaning, remainder of broken tooth removed and a molar removed - and $$$$$$$.  But, he is an absolutely precious kitty and I had to do it for him.  He was in the clinic from 8AM until around 3:30PM.  I was concerned about the anesthesia, but he got along fine.  It took about 3 days for him to be fully become himself again, but he is eating more easily and better, and the limp has gone away, too.  So, all is well at this point.

That was Monday through Wednesday.  On Thursday I had lunch with a friend, whom I hadn't seen in a while, so we had a good catch-up.  On Friday my mother went to Bingo at Indigo Pines.  Once she was settled at the Bingo table, I took my book and found a nice reading spot.  It was there that I encountered the Kissing Bandit!!  He was a 95 year old man who approached and asked if he could kiss me!!  After some insistence, I allowed him to kiss me on the cheek, thinking that would be the end of it, but no!!  Finally I just said, "No, you sit there and I'll sit here!"  He talked about his farm in Kentucky, his wife passing away, his mother dying in childbirth, and his daughter who lives in town but doesn't visit as often as he'd like - a really sweet, sad, heart-wrenching experience (except for the kissing part).  I kept wondering whether, in his earlier life, he was a warm, caring, sensitive man or just a letch......but whichever, there is a sadness about him now.

Bingo went well and she/we met more nice people.  We're meeting with Jennifer on Monday to discuss cost, availability, etc........and I'm hoping it will not be totally prohibitive. Lest things become too easy, she mentioned today that she'd like to check out the assisted living facility in NC!!  At least one part of that is good.....the assisted living part.  IP is independent living and I'm not sure my mother is able to participate as much as she thinks she can/will.  Twice recently we've gone out and had to cut it short because she was not feeling well enough to go on.  It's a fine balance between someplace that will keep her stimulated and interested when she's feeling up to it, but will look after her in those times when she isn't......without being too depressing. Think good thoughts for us.

Then, out of the blue, I received a letter from my doctor saying that she is going to a VIP/concierge/boutique kind of service to the tune of $1500 "membership fee"/year........reducing her practice from around 2000 to 500-600, with a guaranteed base income.  As much as I like her, that isn't anything I would be interested in on any level.....and I'm disappointed that she's taking that route.  When having lunch with my friend, she recommended another female doctor who happens to be right out our back gate.  So on my Thursday walk I stopped by her office and got my name on her new patient list (she will be taking new patients in May).  My neighbor (R) received the same letter from our doctor and called to say that the medical profession is likely to go in that direction because of "Obamacare".  She complained about the price of gas, the tax in the healthcare bill on the sale of homes, and our moral decline as a nation, all of which seems to fall at the feet of President Obama.  You can imagine how that went over! We had discussed the real estate tax associated with the healthcare plan a long time ago, but she assured me that this was something different.  From the best I could gather online, it was the same old, tired scare-tactic email that went around early on.  I forwarded her the links to the info I found and asked her to send any information she might find to verify her information.  Haven't heard from her since.....

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."   --Daniel Patrick Moynihan 

Other than that, I've re-done the finish on my kitchen table top.  Rather than putting a polyurethane finish on it, I sanded the spots that needed it and used Restorit, an oil based product.  I think it needs a second coat, but I'm pleased with the results thus far.  I've also looked high and low for a bathroom carpet (which needs to be long and narrow) - bringing them home and taking them back!!  Finally I went to Home Depot and had a 12 foot wide carpet cut  to the width of the bathroom.  In a stroke of luck, the guy who helped me was a personable, helpful kind of person.  He happened to mentioned that "of course" I knew that it was easier to cut the carpet  from the back  than the front.  Well, I didn't know that, but it turned out to be the single bit of information that made the whole process fast and easy.  I rolled the carpet from the door to the end of the bathroom, folded it over and cut it to shape to the doorway and vanity at the other end.  I had thought of that option as the last resort because I didn't think I could cut it and have it look nice - and I probably could not have had I not run into the right person at the right time.  Many thanks for small blessings!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy.....

Today is a lazy day as the activity of the past week or two has come to roost and we both hit a low.  The only thing I can say is that I'm glad we both hit bottom at the same time so we can (both) enjoy a day of rest.

My cousin Dennis called over the weekend and asked if he, his wife and their two grandkids could stop by on their way to Florida.  Since they are among the few relatives who make an effort to visit, I happily agreed.  We already had plans to visit Indigo Pines, so with those two events scheduled and the preparation involved, it was a pretty full week.

Tuesday was Indigo Pines. We were invited for lunch on Valentine's Day and were seated with three delightful ladies.  They said all the right things - confirming that it was difficult to leave their longtime home (but this lifestyle offered definite advantages), they had lived their lives and their children should be able to live theirs (Amen!), everything wasn't perfect there, but it was darn close (and much of it is what you make of it).......a really great group of ladies.  My mother thoroughly enjoyed it and said it was a shame we hadn't brought the camera since the dining room was so nicely decorate.  We left with carnations, chocolates and a pillow project for my mother!  Even so, it's a huge jump to making that decision to leave her home and move to a community like that.......but I hope it gives her something to think about.  We also spoke to the man about the Aid & Attendance Benefits.  He feels that she should have no problem qualifying but, if she remains at home, the amount will be less and we will have to do the paperwork ourselves.  If she moves to a facility like Indigo Pines, he will assist with the paperwork and the amount is likely to be more since her expenses will be more.  That was pretty much what I expected, but it did get her back to IP again!  She was also invited to play Bingo this afternoon but was wiped out after our company, so we cancelled.....but hope to do something next week.  My plan is to get her there and situated, go do something on my own, and pick her up when it's over so she has some time there without me.  We'll see how that goes.

As an aside, on our first visit to Indigo Pines we were greeted by "Jennifer".  The  minute I saw her, I recognized her but couldn't place her.  I asked her last name and I immediately remembered her from my time at Beth Yam (when she was in high school). She's recently moved back to the area and is on the sales staff at IP.......a very professional and pleasant young lady.

One of many ways to waste time on the computer!!
While we were out on Tuesday, we stopped by Sam's and did grocery shopping.  Wednesday was cooking and cleaning day.  Thursday we finished the cleaning and also had a slight emergency eye appointment for my mother.  She mentioned that she was having a strange sensation in her good eye - little circles (occurring since the night before) that were moving around the edge of her range of vision.  As it turned out, it was a spasm of some kind and no real problem, but I didn't want it to develop into anything over the weekend, etc.  So in the middle of everything, we stopped for the appointment and got home about an hour before Dennis, Carol and the girls arrived.  Dennis had a cold and didn't last long, but Carol brought The Help DVD, which we watched after dinner.  I'd read the book but enjoyed the movie equally.  It was also nice to see Abby and Caroline again.  They are full of energy but very well behaved for kids their age.  A good time was had by all.  They left around 9:30 this morning and we've been on light duty since.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope to update soon, though not a lot to report.  I was just thinking of friends, near and far, and wanted to send warm wishes for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Super Bowl and Beyond

Not a lot happening here, just working around the house to do what needs to be done and keep my mother busy.  I had no plans for Super Bowl Sunday and pretty much share Maxine's enthusiasm for it.  It was only recently that I even knew who was playing!  Anyway, a couple of days beforehand my neighbors invited me to join them and their friends for it.  I figured they were having neighborhood friends over, but that was not the case.  My neighbors are Canadian and are here only part time and, as it turned out, most of those attending were their Canadian friends who are here for extended visits.  I knew it was my kind of group when I arrived, the game was on and everyone was in the kitchen!  The focus did eventually turn to the game, but it was a very convivial group...good company and outstanding food and drink.  Much more fun than watching at my house.

Am I getting old (don't answer that!) or were the Super Bowl commercials disappointing?  As I remember from years past, it seemed that each commercial outdid the last (with my favorites being "heading cats" and "Doctor, he's got money coming out the wazoo!").  There were a few cute ones this year but certainly not enough to maintain interest.  What did surprise me was that I liked the halftime show.  It usually seems such a futile and disappointing 10 minutes, almost like doing a card trick in the dark!  I mostly liked the visual affects of the stage, which seemed to give it a more substantial feel.  Also, Madonna dressed in a way to cover her sinewy muscles AND her disappearance at the end was good.

Who would have thought I could have written two paragraphs about the Super Bowl!?!

About a week ago my mother and I went to a seminar at Indigo Pines (independent living facility) about Aid and Attendance Benefits.  They ran an ad in the paper the previous week and I looked up "Aid and Attendance Benefits" online.  As it turns out, it is to benefit veterans and/or spouses of veterans who served during wartime, as my father did in WWII.  We went to the seminar and will meet with the speaker again next Tuesday to determine whether or not my mother will qualify.  I can't see any reason why she should not, but who knows?

I figured that if the seminar was being held at Indigo Pines, they would give us a pitch, which they did.  It was fine by me and an opportunity for my mother to see something other than the nursing home in NC.  She couldn't get over how nice it was and how pleasant everyone was.  Several times she said, "I'm sure it costs a fortune to live there" and I just tried to remain nonchalant about it . Needless to say, I was getting hopeful when a couple of days later she announced again that she wanted to go home.  So, shot down again.  Anyway, we are going back next week for the follow up and I'm sure they will again make some kind of pitch, especially if they feel she will qualify for the benefits.  So, we shall see how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed.

Like everyone else, I've been amazed and amused by the GOP primaries.  I think it's great that they have become such a rarefied, esoteric group that they can't agree on anyone among their numbers good enough to represent them.  It appeals to my wicked sense of humor that the Religious Right is having to chose between Catholics and Mormons.....or in Newt's case, Baptist, Lutheran and Catholic depending on the wife!  I have nothing against any of them, but I doubt that the RR feels the same way. You have to I'm including a few of my favorite cartoons for your enjoyment.
Hands down favorite........

This was before Santorum made his recent three state sweep, but it's still good.

In keeping with his humorless personality, I had to search for a few Mitt cartoons!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February: Time Marches On

It's hard to believe that we're already into February. One reason may be that it never felt like January. We went through most of the month with mid-60 to mid-70 degree weather.....and it's been fantastic! The photo is of the jasmine that I planted by my mailbox last year. It has been blooming for well over a month, so the flora and fauna may be as confused as we are.....I just hope they are enjoying it as much!   My walks have been glorious and they continue to be my small island of tranquility in the stream of life.                 

Things have been quiet and peaceful here, and I've tried to enjoy it.  Now that we've taken steps toward getting my mother back home, she has settled a bit.....but once in a while she'll say, "I don't know what I'm going to do when I get home."  I just stay quiet and hope that at some point she will realize that her life here is much easier, safer and possibly even more enjoyable than at home on her own.  She seems to be doing very well, having regained her strength.  If she remains here, we can maintain that much more easily than if she goes home.  The pattern has been that she gets sick, worn down and depressed.  She comes here and we try to correct those issues......then she goes home and it happens all over again.  Oh, well.....

We've been busy with first one thing and then another around the house, but nothing exciting enough to report.......but quiet is good!!  Mama kept saying that we needed to get out and rake the leaves, which definitely isn't something that registers on my "must do" scale. But, she enjoys yard work and it certainly wouldn't hurt the yard, so on two afternoons we raked, bagged and disposed of leaves.  It was good for her (didn't hurt me either!) and the yard does look better.

My birthday "celebration", such as it was, continued when I was treated to lunch by two friends on separate occasions.  Janeen invited me to Reilly's for lunch one day and then a few days later Chris invited me to The Cottage.  They are both friends whose company I appreciate and it was lots of fun to catch up.

This past Saturday I went to the first organizational meeting of the county Democrats.  There were only two of us from my precinct......and, even more sadly, there were some precincts that had no one show!  My major motivation for going was the very long shot that I might get to go to the national convention that will be held in Charlotte this year.  I learned at this meeting that there w ill be only 2 delegates and 1 alternate to attend from my district.........and I'm sure the big-wigs will have those slots sewn up.  In any case, I hope to go to the county convention and possibly the state.  It should be interesting and fun, however far I get. Needless to say, we were happy when the primaries moved on to Florida so we could observe the antics from afar, especially since the SC primaries seemed to showcase the worst tendencies of both the candidates and the was embarrassing for the rest of us who live in the state and only seemed to prove that, for some people, the more things change the more they stay the same. In any case, the candidates become more amusing and far out by the day and provided lots of fodder for conversation at our Living Liberally group on Tuesday night.

When I was visiting Jan back in August, a "deal" appeared on Groupon to have 1000 photos scanned for $29.99, which seemed good to me.  Needless to say, I didn't read the fine print and, as it turns out, it really isn't much of a deal if you want them scanned in order (sounds like they're going to shuffle them unless I pay them extra not to!), or have varying size photos, etc.  Anyway, I've been organizing photos to mail......and looking through lots of them.  It's been a real trip down memory first big trip (6 weeks in Europe) in 1982, then China, Thailand (by myself, my first trip after joining Aramco), India, Italy, France, Oman, Dubai, Prague, Turkey and so on.  Many more places than a girl from NC would ever expect to see in a lifetime.  It was wonderful to be reminded of all that I've seen, the people I've met along the way (especially those who became friends), and the experiences I've had.......and how much I enjoyed and appreciated it all. Life is good!