Got the blog posted, from the old computer in the back room.  The picture thumbnails seemed to work better than last week.  Maybe John’s computer was starting to crash back then, when we had Word Press problems with the photo thumbnails.

Sunday, Feb 23

Snowed a couple inches last night and a wintry mix of mostly rain has been coming down all day.  The pass looks awful.  John fixed a super duper brunch of pancakes with pecans — we added our own strawberries and raspberries.  These accompanied a cheese omelet, and I cooked evil bacon.  I’ve been working on proofing a newsletter for the College of the Sciences at CWU.  I’m combining with tax related chores, and expect to fit in a few minutes on music compilation.  John just looked out the door and said we had 4-5 inches of snow today.  Using a wide push broom, he made paths and uncovered the concrete front and back.  To my car, the path goes over a gravel driveway, and with rain or snowmelt, it gets soft and can get just a bit muddy.  The paths will sun-dry and stay firm.  The house was built in the early 1980s but the drive was used for maybe 10 years prior to that and not properly constructed – meaning gravel was just put over the tire tracks that led in.  We have added some gravel in a few low spots that were soft.  In front of the shed where I park the Forester is a 15-20 foot section that is higher than in the dirt base inside.  John hasn’t wanted to put gravel on the high area without removing the soft dirt there.  Doing so would just direct more rain or snow melt into where the car is parked.  Seems there is a project in need of attention as it gets ever so slightly worse with each wet period.

Monday, Feb 24

It’s snowing again.
Cannot believe the amount of time spent to update my medical information via that keeps all my information in a database to match up with my arm bracelet in case it’s ever needed. I think it’s worth the $34/year for peace of mind, but it is stressful trying to access their system on the web to check the current status of everything. We know a couple of EMTs and they assure us they look for such bracelets. More snow. Pass closed again for avalanche control. Happiness with figuring out how to make .pdf files of the music to send to my group for them to print. Portable Document Format (PDF), with an icon shown here:
A small image of the icon used by Adobe Systems for the PDF

. . . is a file format used to represent documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating system. Using this file format, just about anyone that has a computer will be able to print – and thus saving me the trouble of doing so and then getting the copies to them. Adobe Acrobat Reader is also a free product for download to all computers (even old ones). That’s a huge help but I still have to print for five folks, and for the next two months we have 17 songs on our play list. I think I have all the songs reduced to one page this time around.

Tuesday, Feb 25

The trip of the day is planned around having my Implanted Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) checked out and the data stored therein reviewed. Click this image for a larger version.
Drawing of the heart, blood veins, and ICD show how the leads go
We left early, thinking we might have to detour through Ellensburg for gasoline. No need, so we went straight to Yakima and had extra time. First, we stopped by Yakima Valley Community College, where our friend Suzy keeps the president’s office functioning. We dropped off three reams of white printer paper shared from a case we bought on sale at Costco over a month ago. From there, (I was driving), we drove to the Yakima Heart Center. I checked in for my 11:00 a.m. appointment for routine device check, and only had to wait 5 minutes. Better than 3 months ago when we had a long wait. We had a nice visit with our technician. All my records read electronically from the device through a receiver put on my chest, along with a few other attachments to my lower leg and neck and chest. Nothing was noted. Everything was fine. No news is good news. We were hungry because of skipping breakfast. I guess we each had a cup of coffee but nothing else. Maybe John didn’t even have that, because normally he doesn’t have coffee unless there’s toast. We went right up the road about 6 blocks to a Jack In The Box, where we had some coupons allowing us each a Jumbo Jack hamburger, for John a free monster taco, and a shared senior drink– total, $3.49. The funniest thing was that John was halfway through his taco, and said, there’s no meat in here! I carried it up to the counter and complained. They said, oh, it’s right here at the bottom. I said, no there’s none there, open it up if you like. She said they would fix us another one and bring in to our table. It took quite awhile, but John is not a vegetarian, so we waited. When she returned, I said, don’t you want to take this back and show your cook? Nope, she didn’t. So John ate up the rest of it, and we got a bag to bring home the replacement (which had meat), and he had it with his dinner. From there I drove to Big 5 Sporting Goods store. John stayed in the car while I went inside. I had looked on line and knew the boots I wanted were Itasca Cedar Cold Weather Boots, and the price was $25, less than half as much as others available on line (for the exact same boots) and likely with a shipping fee. I also had a 10% off coupon to apply to any purchase. It was good I looked on the Big 5 Sporting Goods site, because these special offers were not displayed in the store, but were stored in their warehouse, and one had to know the make, style, and the size wanted (and to ask for assistance). It didn’t take the salesperson very long to locate them, I tried them on, and was happy with buying them. The correct price was stored in the cash register, but not written on the box.
Winter boots with rubber bottoms and soles and light leather tops with fur
They are lined with Thinsulate, and have a nice rubber bottom base, with soles that are nice for snow or ice, suede tops, with a “Faux Shearling Collar.” My only complaint is the color is lighter than the picture on the web or on the side of the box. In fact, the side of the box is even darker brown than that above. The boots are more “buff.” The latches for the strings are nice, but the color is different on the ones I bought and they are extremely long and white and black striped, as a barber pole. I will be able to lace them all the way up and then go around the back of the boot and will have enough left to tie a double knot. I just wish I had had them the day (John’s birthday) of the Raclette. They will be nice for next year. Actually, winter is not over yet. Then we went to COSTCO for gasoline (price there per gallon is 12 cents cheaper than in EBRG, plus we get another $ .13/gal off by using our AMEX card). We also loaded up on “cookie things” — flour, sugar, pecans, and more. I was tired from the walking as the store’s electric carts were in use. My cough was a constant bother, too. John was having a real problem walking around as well (because of his Sciatica), and then we got separated. I went around the LARGE store 3 times before finding him. Originally, I had stopped at the main desk to ask about our cash value on our AMEX card. I misunderstood something that arrived in the mail and thought I had to go there to collect. I do, but not until we get a $187 check with our February statement and THAT can only be cashed at Costco. That check is from activity on the AMEX card all over, including Costco and other businesses. In October, we get another significant check from Costco for shopping there. These bonuses come from being on an Executive Membership. So, when we go in March for my cardiologist visit, we’ll get the check mentioned above, cashed then. I think I missed him at his Dahlia flower bulbs stop. Finally, we connected and finished our shopping. I did the driving, and our trip was fine on clear roads. He did all the loading and unloading both places, plus he filled the gas tank.
News of John’s pained leg generated a sympathy card from Cousin Ethel in Pennsylvania where it is painfully cold. Here’s a copy of the cover. Click on it for the full view.
Front of a get well card with old fashioned bike, flowers, and butterflies
What do you think? He thought maybe he would pump air into the tires of his mountain bike and take it for a spin in the snow.

Wednesday, Feb 26

I awoke with sore muscles from coughing. What another crazy day — just when I think the day before cannot be topped. I went to two places before the Food Bank, to drop off a back-up drive for John’s computer (they must reformat his disk and reload the software and use the back-up data from the disk). Then I drove to the north end of campus to a friend to deliver black pepper from Costco for reimbursement. I called and she met me at the bottom of the stairs in the parking lot, saving me a lot of effort and time, and I went on from there to the Food Bank. They encourage Evelyn and me to take some bread from the back room because they have such an overload. There was something I’d never seen, Artisan Partage Bread. John looked it up and found it is a French word for “sharing.” It is circular and ‘parted’ into 6 wedged-shaped pieces. Thus, apparently making it worth $1 more than it otherwise would be. Evelyn and I arrived before 11:30, but they were not ready for letting in those waiting to be served, because they had fixed turkey (from a frozen turkey), and it was not ready to eat at noon, when they normally serve. Apparently, free-food recipients do not want to take home a frozen turkey because it is neither Thanksgiving nor Christmas. The staff decided the turkey had been there long enough – they just decided a day late to take if from the freezer. Oh well! Evelyn and I had agreed to meet early to work through our music for our nursing home group for the next two months, and we did, but the food was still not ready at the time we normally stop playing. We had played and practiced Irish and other songs for an hour, so the servers, cooks, and helpers enjoyed our songs. At 12:35, (with expected wait for serving still at 20 minutes), Evelyn had to leave with her student she tutors to get him lunch elsewhere and back to school by 1:00 at the high school. I carried my stuff to the car, and decided I would wait. They weren’t able to serve until quite late, but I stayed, getting at the end of the line of the regulars. I figured I earned it and it would be less salty than my going by a fast food restaurant. We had turkey, dressing, a spicy wheat berry salad, mixed greens with cut pears salad in a nice dressing, and chocolate pudding for dessert. Other things were on the menu, but off my medically allowed diet (cooked greens & cranberry sauce). By the time I finished, and went by my bank, it was too late to go to exercise class, and I wasn’t feeling much like doing that anyway. I had had enough exercise yesterday! So, I came on home. I started working again on the music changes and rewrites Evelyn and I had decided on today. We decided to limit the My Wild Irish Rose and That’s an Irish Lullaby-Too ra loo ra loo ra” just to the choruses because the verses are too involved. Now that I think about it, I think we might have just played the instrumentals and come in on the chorus. Oh, well, it’s done now, and had to be significantly rewritten.

Thursday, Feb 27

Today — morning was filled with printing and working on music. We did take time for a 32-minute call to John’s sister Peggy, to talk about her snow and cold weather in Ohio. Relatives live in western Pennsylvania, too, and both areas were headed to minus temperatures overnight. I have to time the calls, because we get 120 minutes each month but if we go over we experience an additional cost. The company cannot (or won’t) tell me how many minutes I have used. After grabbing a little tuna fish salad, I took off earlier than usual for the Adult Activity Center (AAC), where I picked up a hat, from the knitting woman’s donation. I had four to pick from. They were different sizes. I decided on the dark purple one because it was the largest. I will wear it tomorrow (supposed to dress in purple) for an Alzheimer’s fundraising event at the AAC. Home to more music work–I’m almost (she says hopefully) done with this for 2 months. Followed by answering phone calls and emails most of which are appreciated. However, last night and again tonight, long distance from Ebsco Teleservices
in Canton, Ohio (likely not true). Unsolicited phone marketing. Telemarketing. I pick up the phone and do not say anything. Wait a bit, and a woman comes on. May I please speak to John? I say nothing. Hello, hello, anyone there? Then hangs up. I have found that may be the best reason for keeping caller ID, but the web and a news article explained there is no way to stop the calls. The “do not call list” still works with legitimate businesses but these scumbags now with the robo-dialers are not honest people. Friday, we received another call while we were gone to town from the same place. No message left. The other phone call of interest was from the technician, where John’s computer has been since Wednesday, last week. They needed to know when the last back up was. I described as best I knew and then checked with John when he got in from the yard chores, and he agreed, so I called in and made the report. The techs think there is a conflict between the operating system, Windows 7 Home Premium, and the hard drive storage set up, referred to as RAID.
This is supposed to provide for data redundancy and performance improvement but the system seems to have missed that memorandum. It is still under warranty and John has a working computer, and the one with the hiccup automatically backed up files every Sunday evening. So life goes on.
This evening we spent time putting together our Crockpot chocolate candy. It cooks on low for 3 hours. The first layer is 2 lbs. of salted dry roasted peanuts. Then 4 oz. of dark sweet chocolate (cooking bar). I can break those and place them. On top of that are chocolate chips. John cut up the almond bark because it was too tough for me to do. Then we checked it at 2 hours, and let it go for one more. John did the stirring at 2 hrs. He set up the muffin paper cup holders on several flat trays, and I filled them. He was very tired from standing a lot today. The pieces cooled overnight. I didn’t count how many we got, and I don’t know if John knows either (50 to 60?). I made them a little smaller than last time, but they still are generous.

Friday, Feb 28

We began with normal chores John does daily, plus we packed a circular Christmas-cookie tin of the candies for me to take by for the computer gurus who are fixing our computer. Scholarship luncheon at Munson Hall (a very, very old dorm) is at noon. Luckily, as an esteemed Emerita Prof., I have a parking sticker for the lots around campus. This Hall is no longer used for students, but for the conference center and for visiting dignitaries to CWU, for job interviews, speeches, or career fairs. We got a tour of a couple of the rooms they rent out. If something is paid for on a department account they get a discount, e.g., $50/ night instead of $68. Usually, twelve of us meet for lunch on the 4th Friday of the month. Today, because of various conflicts, we had only six there. On the menu was Taco Soup (started as chili but did not pass the consistency threshold), served with all sorts of toppings. I had thinly grated cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, and sour cream. For dessert we had a chocolate pudding pie. On to the Alzheimer’s fundraiser at the normal time of our exercise class at the Adult Activity Center. We were asked to dress in purple. That I did, including wearing my new knitted purple hat. Seems “yellow” is for wanting or waiting for the return of troops or others. Pink is for cancer. Purple is for Alzheimer’s. Need a list as I’m losing track. My picture got taken a couple of times today with the hat in my hand with my winning bingo card, or on my head, or on the lady’s head who won the dressed in the most purple award. (I was sitting behind her and passed it to her. Next week’s blog, I will demo the picture of me and/or her too, in the hat. That’s my thank you note to the lady who volunteers knitted items for us. If you look back in this blog, you will see a picture of many of her offerings. The fundraiser was $5.00/card, and put on by the Civic Engagement Group at CWU, and the head of the (Alzheimer’s Association) group in EBRG. They started with a few questions, one of which was, “Do you know the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?” Part of the organization is offering education for community members. Then we had many Bingo games and the prizes were raffle tickets, which we put in different baskets next to our choices. Examples: $20 coupon from Bi*Mart and a purple Alzheimer’s Association tee shirt; $25 from a local restaurant with a purple coffee mug; a free pedicure and manicure from a shop & mug; a cozy purple blanket, and a cute ceramic bird house. I threw most of my tickets into the Bi*Mart baskets, figuring we could both benefit. They provided food (salami, cheese, crackers), purple grapes, purple wrapped chocolate kisses, little square purple chocolates, and some purple Peeps. About halfway through, a cake was presented and served — white and purple and green frosting, white cake, with a chocolate layer filling. I drank water all day and at both stops. On my way home, I stopped at the computer services store, to check on our computer, and handed them the candy. It probably made a difference, because they finished it at the last minute, called at 5:50, and I drove John to town to pick it up. The technician who did most of the work on it usually stays until six, but tonight he waited for us to get there (~6:09). So very nice. Their normal closing time is 5:30 p.m. and they are not open on Saturdays.

Saturday, March 1

Nothing is planned today, except for getting this blog posted. While proofing this final document, (Nancy does the last run-through), we got another one of those telemarketer calls at 10:25 a.m. from the same place mentioned above. I let the machine answer, and as yesterday evening, a message was not left. I guess the next time I will answer and tell them not to call any more or I will report them for harassment. John is still using the old computer because he has not yet vacuumed the space where the other goes. He uncovered the vacuum cleaner yesterday while I was gone. Then decided the filters in the AC/heater air-handler needed cleaned. Two get vacuumed and two have to go in a soapy water bath and the easiest way to do that is in the dishwasher. Only one fits at a time. But, wait! Our water system needs its filters replaced, one in the garage and one on the in-line of the hot water tank. After 4 months of use they are somewhat slowing down the water flow. So, he replaced the filters. Neither are really easy to do and things get wet. To get to the one on top of the hot water tank, the folding door has to be removed. Then, standing on a stool and leaning in over the tank (him with a sore hip), a forceful radial twist is required. He had fun! Once the water was ready, the washer had to run through 2 cycles. Why didn’t he clean the computer space then? During the first one, he was reading news and such in the backroom at that computer. During the second one, he took the dogs for their exercise (thinking we might be going to town for the computer), and when he finished feeding the horses and making a circuit of the pasture – Dan-dog did not return to the house with all the others. Calling didn’t bring him. Possible complication being a new neighbor with a dog. We share a fence line with that property but “can’t get there from here” and had to go around by car. Nice short visit but no Dan. He was waiting for us when we came home.
This morning – March 1 – there is a light snow falling. The weather folks think it will be like this until the middle of the night Mon/Tues when it will warm and change to light rain. Then we have a “chance” or “slight chance” of rain until next Saturday. Mud-brown season.

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