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gratitude

This category contains 40 posts

Refinding Music And Tech

I’ve always been behind the times in both music and technology to deliver said music.  Especially since I got married in my late twenties and had a family and a job, with all the requisite trials and tribulations therein.

I had (and still have) vinyl, went to cassettes, then CDs.  I bought an MP3 player in the early 2000s.  But never had the money to fill it.

Life.  It’s both a cereal and a board game.  And my listening to music got somehow waylaid.  😦

But, I’m here alone in my rented room, doing my morning routine with the blog.  And something was missing.

I tried Pandora for a while, but it never hooked me.

J. told me recently about Spotify.  So, I thought I’d give it a try.  On both my PC and my new cell phone!  (NOW with earbuds that actually fit!)

Maybe I’ve missed ‘my’ music too much, but now I’m immersed in it via Spotify.  Free, with a few commercials every so often.  Or, one can pay.

Of course, I’ve no funds.

So, FREE it is!

Currently, I’ve been vacillating between Dave Brubeck, Gordon Lightfoot, and the Person of Interest soundtrack.

Yeah, I’m eclectic!

😛

(FTC – Spotify gave me nothing save the free music they give everyone!  go away!)

 

“The New Phone(book’s) Here!”

Remember?  From Steve Martin’s “The Jerk”?

Well this isn’t about that.  Or how I used to collect telephone books (when I was a PI).  (I’ve already written about that!)

How to be a PI (Lesson 4) pre-1986

Thankfully, my life isn’t ALL Sturm und Drang…

Today, is IS about the new CELLULAR TELEPHONES.  😛

S8 vs S7

My roomie has me on her cellular account, and loves new technology.  Fortunately (for us), the company with whom she contracts allows us to change or upgrade our phones up to three times a year!  At no additional cost!

Conspicuous consumerism and largess?

YES!

(Frankly, if I were living alone, I’d still have a flip phone, and be paying through-the-nose for service!)

The other day she decided she wanted to upgrade, and asked if I wanted to, as well.  (It had been well over a year…)

Duh.

To be fair, I was perfectly happy with my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (although, I rarely used the note part, many times I cannot read my own writing!)  But I’m certain it was clogged with unneeded and damaging apps, slowing performance, affecting memory and battery life.

At least that’s how I rationalized my decision!

So, off we went to the store…

About an hour and a half later, we left, each with a new Samsung Galaxy S8+ phone!  Of course, not unlike buying firearms, there was an additional charge for the ‘+’ part, as well as the new protective covers!  (J gets hers largely for style; mine so I won’t drop the slick S.O.B.!)  These new phones are never the same dimensions as the old – smart marketing on their part.

Thankfully, it wasn’t much.  We don’t have much.

How great is modern technology?  In a span of less than 20 minutes, the rep placed our old phones adjacent to the new, activated a procedure, and transferred all our telephone contacts, applications, photos, privacy settings etc. to the new phones!

Of course, there’s always tweaking.  Like changing the personalized ring and notification tones.  (J’s ringtone on my phone is the Looney Tunes theme.  Don’t tell her…  😛 )

Now if I can just learn all the new features before she wants another upgrade.

Sigh.

Truly, another First World problem!

(FTC – Samsung and the phone company give us nothing.  We pay (monthly) for everything!  Get your own phone!)

How DOES One Pay It Forward?

When one is broke?

I have been so fortunate in this life.  Not in the money/riches sense, but in the helpful friends and family sense.

These most recent trials involving my roommate’s surgery (and subsequent loss of income), coupled with my own health issues (heart, rash, suspected clot) AND repair of the shower leaking through the ceiling (with an insurance deductible, and the insurance company promising they would pay for a hotel room – they didn’t(!)  They said the hotel wouldn’t take it (!?)

I’ve a Sister stepped up without my even asking, with the deductible.  That was eaten by the plumber and the hotel.  And other friends have come forward to make certain I would have a positive bank balance(!)

The insurance company said, as the hotel refused their method of payment, that we could subtract the hotel charges from the deductible.  Making today’s visit from the adjuster forty-one dollars and change!

We actually have that.

Will wonders never cease?

But, back to the question.  I’ve been told by my generous friends that there is no balance sheet, and, when I am able, to pay it forward.

I’m on permanent disability, and have no savings left, nor credit!  Exactly HOW am I supposed to pay it forward?

And, I have some other payments due shortly with which my friends traditionally assist.

(As an aside, I certainly do not feel worthy of such help, or friends.  How they made such determinations is beyond me.)

To all of you (and you know who you are) I have undying gratitude and thanks for all the help you have given me over the years.

I just don’t know why I deserve such help, or how to pay it forward?

Perspective

If you’ve not noticed, I’ve been doing a lot of whining recently.  (And how could you NOT?)

Health issues, money issues, issues with insurance, maintenance and repair of the residence, yatta, yatta, yatta…

Sometimes it’s all on which I focus.

I’m human.

But, recent events have come to pass involving others, which puts things in perspective.

My friend and former boss, John, with whom I recently re-connected on FB, has had it rough.  When I knew him back in college, he had it ‘all’.  Former Marine, married to a beautiful woman, a nice house.  I had none of these things.  During the subsequent years, he lost his marriage, his home, his livelihood.

Sometime in the interim, he rejoined the Service, the second time the Navy!

After his discharge he lived on the streets for eleven years!

He is now on VA-related disability, and helps homeless vets with his own funds when he is able (!)

Sadly, he is battling a slow leukemia.  And just found out that his heart is failing, AND, he has lung cancer!!!

In another part of the Republic, Brigid’s father may be on his way out.  He is a WWII AAC veteran, and still lives in Brigid’s childhood home.  He recently contracted pneumonia, often deadly for older folks.  His next birthday he will be 97.  If he makes it.

Here are two fine men.  They have served their country.  Raised decent and proper children.  One of whom is a dear friend.

And here I am whining.

I am currently in an undisclosed location (paid for by J’s homeowner’s insurance).  A hotel, enabling us to get a hot shower and stay out of the repair zone while the insurance adjuster, contractors, plumbers, et al  fight it out for repair of the one bath in the house with a shower.  Because of a ceiling leak.

I worry about the minutiae.  Having to use part of the deductible funds to ‘secure the room’, for example.

But, while I am ill, it doesn’t appear lethal.

Perspective, I’m tellin’ ya!

Be grateful for that which you have.

I’m still learning this lesson…

Don’t Do Anything Rash! (The Adventure Continues…)

SO…

I go to see my primary doctor yesterday afternoon.  She confirms ‘yes’, I DO have a rash of undetermined origin, now permeating most of my body.  My edema in my right calf is of significant size, and has NOT diminished when horizontal.

She prescribes a synthetic corticosteroid to deal with the rash.  She is MORE concerned about the edema.

She sends me to a diagnostic center for an ultrasound of the leg.  (I must drive myself, as J. is still recovering from her shoulder surgery and cannot drive.)

It’s either this, or she admits me to the hospital.  She’s concerned I might have a blood clot(!)

So, it’s back from central Phoenix to Chandler (nearer to where I live) for the imaging.  It’s approaching 1700, but they are waiting for me. (My doc has pull!)

I wore sandals I don’t usually wear, so she could get a better look at my legs and feet (wrestling with socks and ‘Ed’ the really big shoe can be difficult when swollen.  The sandals are uncomfortable and make driving difficult.

And I cannot afford to Uber.

J. is with me for moral support and to listen to my cursing.

Finally, we find the place and I get the ultrasound.  NO CLOTS!  😛  They contact my doc, who prescribes a broad spectrum antibiotic and schedules me to return Friday @ 1300 for follow-up.  She does this all herself and makes certain she speaks with me about diet to accompany the antibiotic.  Initially, I missed her call (loud surroundings) and she called back and left a message.  Then she kept calling until she could speak with me personally.

I have a great physician!

The Good News is I picked up the meds.  The Bad News is neither is recommended for evening use.  So, another night of calamine lotion looms.

I think I received three hours of sleep.  J. has another physical therapy appointment this afternoon.  AND I TOOK MY FIRST PREDNISONE THIS MORNING!  😛

C’mon work!

Time will tell.  It’s been about two hours, and I feel slightly less itchy.  (Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking?)

I will keep everyone advised.  (No Clots – Hooray!)  😛

“I’ve Fallen, And I Can’t Get Up!”™

… and I’m not even an old Jewish woman! 

(My blogpost title is marked as a trademark, as the phrase is now legally linked with Life Alert™, the ad where I stole the phrase.)

(Yeah, yeah, political correctness – watch the original ad!)

One of my jobs is to retrieve the mail. We share one of those communal mailboxes about 100 steps from our front door. (I miss having a house with a mail chute built – in! But I digress.)

So last night I go out to retrieve the mail. Undoubtedly ads, solicitations, bills and perhaps collection notices, all for our enjoyment.

I noticed there was a significant breeze, cool, but not cold.

And no one else was outside to enjoy it. 

On my return trip, I did exactly that. I tripped. I suspect ‘Ed Sullivan’ (the really big shoe)* caught on one of those dividers they place in concrete sidewalks.

And down I went, pitching forward, my eyeglasses flying forward.

The ‘good news’ is I reverted to old karate training (from a Bruce Tegner book?) Instead of putting my arms out straight (ensuring a break or sprain), I placed them as if going down in a push-up – to absorb some of the shock. (Having a fused right hip, I am unable to bend all my joints and roll.)

I hit the sidewalk, felt some pain in my palms, and left ribs.

(Ok, so I didn’t do it perfectly. It’s only been 50 years or so.)

I rolled on my left side and began inventory. Hands, wrists, arms, no apparent sprains or breaks. Pain in my ribs, just below my left chest. It hurt a little when I breathe.   Palms hurt, but not any abrasions.  Glasses unscratched and unbent!

Now for the fun part. For a few years now, getting up off a flat surface has been challenging. To say the least. If I have foot stools, or something low and stable I can pull myself up on, incrementally, I’m golden.

If things are just flat, not so much.  (not being able to bend like normal folks, and having less body strength in my arms and left leg)

And, while I did yell aloud upon impact (a kiai?), no one came outside to investigate. It was 1940 hours, and dark.

What to do, what to do? 

I considered, for about two seconds, crawling across the sidewalk, to a narrow grassy area to the colored gravel adjacent to the townhouse stucco wall. There, using the wall (I reasoned) I could get a purchase and pull myself up!

Crawling, especially across gravel with sore ribs didn’t have much appeal to me, which is why I only thought about it for a couple seconds.

I know! I’Il call J., my roommate! She had said she was going to join me downstairs shortly.

Of course, sometimes she goes back to her nap, and turns off her phone! (911?)

I called, and she answered. She is recovering from shoulder surgery – there is no way she can pull me up…

I explained to her what had happened, and asked her to bring the aluminum patio chair out to me, that it might work for me to get myself up.

No dice! It was to high for me to get enough leverage. I suggested she knock on neighbor’s doors, until she found some help. Failing that, it was 911 for sure!

I think it was on her third try. Neighbors we didn’t know (and how sad is that?), a nice young man who was active in martial arts and sports medicine (a Twilight Zone moment, to be sure!) came, assessed me before touching me, then lifted me to my feet as if it were no big deal(!)  He walked J. and I to our door, not letting go until he was certain I was ambulatory.  He asked where all the blood was from – I didn’t know there had been any!  He said I should get ‘checked out’ (as if I were in my eighties and broke my hip).  I thanked him profusely.

Turns out I led with my chin**.  A couple of abrasions that wouldn’t stop bleeding until I shaved off the kung-fu beard! (A disappointment for J.)  I may have to grow it back. We’ll see.

Blood? What blood?

The never-ending bleed

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I have had broken ribs a couple of times. These are only bruised. I take pain meds for ongoing conditions, anyway. No biggie.  Unless I cough, sneeze, reach for something, bend – you get the idea!

Getting old ain’t for sissies, no siree!

 

*Ed Sullivan was a variety showman on TV from the late 40’s ’til the early 70’s.  He used to say, “We have a really big show – pronouncing it as shoe.  Youngsters, ask your parents!  I wear a built up shoe on my right leg – hence the clever nickname.

**Faces are VERY vascular (they can bleed a lot).

Please Keep A Good Thought…

…or pray, if that’s what you do.

Judy, my roommate, dear friend, and exgf, goes in for shoulder surgery this morning @ 0800.  She is having a badly torn rotator cuff repaired.  It seems 30+ years of doing hair has taken it’s toll!

Thanks to everyone’s generosity, she has a number of things to make her recovery a little less painful.  The lift chair, which is normally my domain in the living room, needed it’s controller replaced.  Having use of one arm means she now needs it, at least temporarily.  The surgeon wants her to sleep in it.  And an ice jacket, which is placed over the shoulder with circulating ice water, will hopefully lessen her pain.

We would not have been able to afford either of these things without your kind help.

Thank you again!

Well, off to the hospital!

PS – Judy was very moved by your comments and emails, and thanks you!

PPS – She made it through the surgery quite well (we have pictures!).  A prognosis is for a complete recovery!

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming! 

We’re told Life is a series of events. Which we are told to frame as ‘challenges’.

And sometimes I frame these events negatively.  Because I’m neurotic.

About six weeks ago, our laundry dryer went tango uniform. And we have been air drying, and to get our laundry dried.  Difficult in a 1200 sq. ft. townhouse full of stuff and animals!  Alternately going to a fluff-and-fold place.   When we could afford it.

Frankly, it’s been a P. I. T. A.!   And, as most of you know, we live ‘paycheck to paycheck’.

And don’t have funds for replacement or even repair. So we have to live with what we get.

And sometimes, that sucks! (NO, this is NOT a bleg!)

But, sometimes fate, and friends, intervene.

I was sharing our predicament with a dear friend, and she suddenly remembered they had an ‘extra’ dryer on their back patio! And asked me if I wanted theirs.

We were (of course) floored and extremely grateful.

Saturday, Kevin (my friend’s husband who happens to be an engineer) not only delivered but installed the dryer!

And it didn’t work.  😦

Fortunately, being an engineer, he diagnosed the problem (the door switch failed), ran to the appliance parts store, obtained the replacement, installed it, and got the dryer running!

I am humbled and thankful to believe I have such wonderful people as Tomi and Kevin in my life.

And now our clothes are not crunchy when dried!   🙂

Kenmore!

Many Thanks, Tomi and Kevin!

It’s The Beginning Of That Time Again…

…Actually, the beginning was last Halloween.

Yeah, I know, I can be a bit maudlin.

Time marches on, things change, people pass away.

It’s one thing when it’s an aged relative – that’s unpleasant, but expected.

But when it’s a child or a dear friend in their prime.

THAT’S when it gets me.

Recent Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas aside, now it gets more personal.

For the next six weeks, or so.

Today is Ground Hog Day.  I hear tell he saw his shadow – six more weeks of winter.  Perfect!

Yesterday was, by my recollection, Ground Hog Eve.  Marked on my calendar to remember a dear friend.

MARK BELL

As previously recounted in these pages, Mark passed in 2012 a from a sudden, unanticipated heart attack.  We had gone shooting together the previous Sunday.  His passing happened on Ground Hog Eve.

I have had many friends over the years.  Mark was one of the best, the most kind, giving, and funny.  A USN veteran.

His definition of guffaw remains at the top of this page in his honor.

I love you and miss you, my dear friend.

Mark Bell, R.I.P.

 

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

My most sincere and deepest thanks for the responses to my bleg posted below!

Not just the practical, but the prayers and good thoughts, as well.

One of the things about the Internet that never ceases to amaze me, is with all the political and religious divisiveness that one sees on the computer screen, when difficulties occur, people step up!

We now have enough funding to obtain a replacement controller for the lift chair, as well as some other needed items, like the shoulder cooling vest my roommate will need following her surgery.

She and I are both overwhelmed, and very grateful!

thank-you

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…