Typical things

Saturday, Feb 15

Snowed and sleeted.
A music day for me, with new people joining our group. The photos, taken by a non-camera person were not usable. Bummer. [But not for John who would have to manipulate, save, and fit them into the blog.] Once home, I spent a bunch of time on the blog checking things before posting, but John did all the hard work. For some reason Word Press has started doing weird things with some of our pictures. John’s doing the same way he has for months and they are showing as a truncated thumbnail image. I followed the Buy Nothing Ellensburg site tonight and found a belt case for the new phone. It’s all taken care of and I will pick it up next Wednesday. I will describe in this blog later below, after I get it. It’s made by our neighbor, Don Bacon. He and his sons run a Leather Shop and are the same craftsmen who made John’s horse saddle in 1999.

Sunday, Feb 16

Sent a request for an appointment through the NEXT MD system for John’s leg pain. Been working on things, but haven’t taken enough time off this computer. Recycled more paper from past teaching and got folders for 2014 receipts… through May. John is still hurting. I tossed a bunch of stuff from a filing cabinet and made room for 2013 receipt folders. Moved some legal-size hanging filing folders from guest bedroom cabinet to the living room one. More in another one beside the old computer did serve as a place for Rascal Cat when he was smaller. He had food, water, and a cardboard box top for a bed. He slept right by John’s left elbow. He grew out of that and now sleeps by a front window beside a ragged Jade Plant. He can look out the window and see deer and the feral cats at times. Mostly he just sleeps there so we call it his Jade Plant bed. He will spend time in my lap in my recliner or on our bed. With the nasty weather he seems able to sleep most of the time. In summer he will be outside and we don’t see him much. He must sleep a lot then too but where is a mystery.
After a web search, John has diagnosed what is bothering him – Piriformis syndrome – an uncommon neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the piriformis (pear shaped) muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. [Click photo for a bigger image.]
colored drawing of hip with piriformis muscle and sciatic nerve showing how they are close together at the hip

Pain can be severe and extend down the length of the sciatic nerve. This varies, but for John, it sometimes goes to the top of the ankle; frequently not that far; and sometimes (by moving “just so”) he is only mildly pained. He is doing chores as usual. I just put a big pillow under his butt — on the barstool at the computer – changing the way things relate therein.
Today, I received a nice note from a former student to my happy birthday note to him on FB. I said: Caleb – Happy B.D. Check your email for a special animated card from us. He wrote back: Thanks Nancy you are great and I want to thank you for all the stuff you taught me in college — it has helped me in my career.

Monday, Feb 17 Washington’s Birthday

We had an interesting lunch: Pieces of venison salami, cheese, crackers, orange sections; and John had some Maui sweet onion potato chips, me a few Fritos. I also bit down and thought I’d lost an amalgam part of a filling, but, upon finishing and searching my teeth for a rough spot, I didn’t find any, and in fact, the only one in my mouth of metal is way in the back of my mouth, a stainless-steel crown. Most everything is porcelain or gold. Back to the piece of metal. It is a little larger than the size of this letter, ‘O’, but we’ve zoomed on it so the shape and color are obvious.
small bullet fragment lead-gray color; several sharp points

I looked closer and decided it was a piece of bullet fragment. John agreed and I cleaned off the sausage still sticking to it. Glad I did not bite down hard on it and break one of my teeth.
I contacted our clinic about John’s leg pain. John’s some better, but we have a tentative appt tomorrow. Meanwhile, he’s resting. His computer keyboard quit working today. Luckily we had an extra one on our old computer and it works. We need to take this by the computer shop later for them to verify and see if it is still under warranty (should be from last spring’s purchase).
Message from our family physician, noon today: Ok. Sounds like you have sciatica. This usually gets better with time. 90% of people get better within a month. If you decide to come and see me, we can discuss confirm the diagnosis and recommend some exercises and medication (if needed). Using Tylenol, or Ibuprofen is fine. So the office is half-way to the Cascade Crest and the WA-DOT says: {Interstate 90 is closed eastbound at milepost 34, near North Bend to allow tow trucks access to remove multiple spun out and disabled vehicles. Motorists are required to chain up vehicles at milepost 47, near Denny Creek, before continuing over the summit area of the pass. Estimated reopening time is a couple of hours. An exact time cannot be given, because of the increased snowfall and changing weather conditions that are occurring on the pass at this time. Updates will be provided as they become available.} It went downhill from there. When the pass is closed on this end local traffic can sometimes move, but hundreds of big trucks have nowhere to go but into the small towns. EBRG is the largest and voluntarily entering into the mess is nuts. So, no trip to the doctor in Cle Elum. It would not likely be helpful anyway, and they have enough problems to deal with, including staff that can’t get to the clinic via snow-covered rural roads.

Tuesday, Feb 18

The Snoqualmie Pass was bad all day with on and off closures. They open it and someone in the next batch of vehicles goes sideways into the snow-curb and bounces out again and spins. If no one gets hit that’s good, but the following cars need to stop and maybe can’t get traction when they start again. Worse case is that several cars or trucks get crunched and they have to sort that out while it’s snowing. I’m home though. I think I got two more Irish songs input. This effort was more time intensive than I intended. Tonight I go to Royal Vista nursing home. Only 4 of us were there. We did amazingly well. I was on fiddle and sang every song. We had a guy who played the piano, and a guy who sang, and a woman who sang. That was it. Mostly old church anthems, but a few other cool ones, such as “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I rolled one lady in a wheelchair back to her room. I remember how much trouble it was to operate a wheel chair under my own power, when I was weak, and these places never have enough staff to do such things in a timely fashion.

Wednesday, Feb 19

I picked up two things today — a new (used, free) telephone case for John’s cell phone. The fur (supposedly cow hide) is very soft and the snap (supposedly silver) is cute. Maybe he can keep track of this.
A brown cow hide pouch with red cell phone; silver button snap
The red versus black phone might help too. Also, for me, boots! A gal in Thorp had previously loaned them to me for the January vineyard outing and I had returned them. She recently bought new ones and offered me her old ones. They are not photogenic so I’ll mention something else. I found (amazing! in itself) and shipped my never used YakTrax to Anne Engels in Montana, to deal with the worst ice she has ever experienced there. A pair of boots with strap-on metal chains for walking on ice
She has fallen on the ice, and her crampons are no longer working. After the post office stop I met Evelyn at the Food Bank. We went over songs for our other group for the March/April play list. Then after playing and eating, I went to my exercise class. In the meantime, I called Anne to tell her to look for the package on Saturday. I sent it Priority mail. I hope she doesn’t get hurt on her way down the icy driveway to the mailbox to get it. Came on home and had to turn around to take John back to town with his crashed “new” computer from last spring. It finally stopped working altogether, not just the keyboard. We remember why the other substitute keyboard was not in use. After typing a page or two of text it would take a letter and fill line after line with that letter. No way to stop it except turn the power off. John did so, but it came back up the same way. After a couple of tries the screens would not come on except for a brief show of the motherboard operating system. There is a brief few seconds that is allowed for a key entry to a mode that will let a person try to fix things. That did not work. John is back to the old system until the new one can be fixed – and the shop is about 2 days behind – and the weekend is coming on. I dropped off Brooks Addiction shoes by to my neighbor, so she could see if they help support her feet that are experiencing Plantar Fasciitis.

Thursday, Feb 20

I went to Dry Creek for music. We had a good crowd in the audience and players. Was rather stressful for me from early morning through arriving to no chairs (after calling to remind them we’d be there), and some people showing without music or stand, a resident walking in the back door behind us while we were playing, having to leave her walker outside the door. But, in the end it worked out as one of my players (calmly) told me it would. Then off to the hospital for a blood draw to find it was the expiration day of my standing order for INR. I’m on good terms with the blood-leachers (phlebotomists) so we were able to “get-er-done”– good thing too, ‘cause by late in the day I did not need another issue. Luckily, they could draw today, but on my way home, I requested a renewal of the standing order for a Protime (INR) reading (must be initiated each year – I did not know). I will write that on the calendar and remember to put on our new wall calendar next year. I checked and there is no way in anyone’s system to send a reminder (not at the Dr.’s office requesting it, or at the hospital lab receiving it). If I had gone tomorrow instead, I would have been royally ticked off, because they would have refused me. I missed getting gasoline because I was running late to get home to meet my seldom-at-home neighbor. I have 2 or 3 weeks of her mail and recently fed and watered her cat name Gracie. Now tonight there is a talk in EBRG so we are headed back using the fueled-up 2009 Subaru because fueling in the cold and wind is not part of the plan. We left for town and got there early to get a good parking space (short walk) and front row seats. The talk was on the birds, vegetation, and landscape of Maui. Only some of the birds are are shown at this link. For part of their trip, they drove to over 9,000 feet and then hiked and camped (with large backpacks) for 3 days. They admitted it was dry, cold, and tough going. They do hike frequently but their last big trip was at sea level — along the Cornwall coast of SW England. They stayed in wilderness cabins (3 nights) that you can learn about at this link; scroll down until you see the photo and click on it.

Friday, Feb 21

We were awakened several times during the night as the house shuddered because of the winds, which started gusting at 24 mph at noon and went until today (still blowing at 2:00 p.m.), with only ONE hour around 7:00 p.m. last night without recorded gusts. When the direction is out of Naneum Canyon the sound of a freight train comes to mind – actually the direction was just off that a bit, more from the west, but a few times it was a roar. I just checked the airport records . . . and found that fact above, and I see that most were in the 30 mph range. I just used the figures from our airport (last 24 hours) and calculated the average gusts to be over 34 mph! Just before 4:00 the speed hit 40, and then changed direction and slowed down considerably. Now we have 12 mph sustained winds with gusts sufficiently low they are not reported. Early morning I received two phone calls 1/2 hour apart from 2 different people at our health clinic reporting on yesterday’s reading of the INR [2.9; Good!]. Then interestingly, I received another annual renewal notice by phone this morning for keeping my CWU Credit Union account active. Now that I’m no longer receiving an actual payroll check, I cannot have any money deposited from my small supplemental retirement I receive from CWU twice a month (go figure). This check is a payback from investments long ago in TIAA/CREF that were handled incorrectly, and now for the rest of my life (and perhaps hundreds of others), I will receive a few hundred dollars from CWU. It is automatically deposited in our checking account, so I do not understand why I cannot have a little taken out for my savings account for the required activity. Now, I must verbally renew it each year. [John says: About 1998/99 the state’s universities established a plan to give the instructors/professors a separate individual retirement account (IRA) not part of the WA Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). Instead of a pension from the State, the new plan was a salary-match based on time served and choices made by the employee. Money was contributed directly to mutual fund companies from CWU and the person’s pay. We assume they should have made a lump sum contribution to the new accounts when this program was started based on previous (time served) pay. This payment now appears to be the “make-up” for that glitch in the transition from PERS to the IRA system. Until the first batch of IRA sign-ons have died, someone in the human resources department has to process these payments outside of the automated computer systems.]
We stayed home today, hoping that John’s computer will be fixed and we can go to town to pick it up. No such luck, so John will have to work on our old machine for this blog and anything else he wants to do. He started a crock pot beef stew just before Noon. I am trying to make headway on chores, mainly receipt organization and filing. Tonight before getting the stew in from the garage, he made a bunch of biscuits.

Saturday, Feb 22

Not a lot going on here today.

Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan