Bloom Time

(click for large views)
Montmorency Cherry with Bee

White blossoms of Montmorency (pie) Cherry with Bee
Montmorency (pie) Cherry with Bee

Forsythea and cherries
Apple Tree
Apple tree
Tulips & Cherries
Tulips and cherries
Golden Currant
Golden Currant
Saturday, May 3

We finally finished the blog, and John never went to town. I spent much of the day sorting stacks of newspaper, magazines, and office paper. I made progress, but not as much as desired. We had a late, but good, dinner: chicken thighs with veggies atop including Shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, carrots, red paper, green beans, broccoli, and onions. I’ve been taking my blood pressure since Tuesday, in anticipation of the visit to the cardiologist. He always wants feedback for the week prior to coming to see him. I don’t know if it is meaningful, but to me it is, that I calculated the average of my 13 readings to be 110/59 with a 61 heart rate. [John says, the Dr. wasn’t interested in the average. He focused on the high and the low readings. Much to Nancy’s dismay.] {Nancy here- that wasn’t my expectation. I didn’t like that he picked the first one (high 133) when it was when I was struggling to put on the sleeve. All the rest were much lower, down to 101, when the sleeve was set by John. The average was for the readers of the blog, because I think it is more realistic.}
I heard from Jeri Conklin that she was going to run both dogs tomorrow in a Hunt Test in hopes of getting their second “leg.” That will be awesome if it happens. I didn’t do any music today. I did sort out some books to put into packages to mail. Things such as a thesis for one of my former students, a book I borrowed from another colleague, found an article written by another friend, and I will see if she wants a copy of the periodical. Otherwise, they just get recycled with the magazines. The good non-academic stuff gets to the free table at the Senior Center or the donation shelves at the City Library — things such as Audubon, Scientific American, Natural History, National Geographic, and a multitude of things from our past that are pretty to look at.

Sunday, May 4

I heard good news from Jeri Conklin that both dogs, our Daisy and her Dice, got their second legs for the Junior Hunter test. I wonder when the next hunt test is? (Found out in CA not until fall because of the heat.) Jeri is off to Reno to take Daisy’s mom, Ginny, to Paul Doiron for breaking to wing and shot (that means staying steady after the point and watching the bird fly away, without chasing. In addition, a dog must honor another dog on point, and “stand to flush,” if a bird flies up ahead of them. At 1:12 it just started pouring rain! Yet, nothing is showing on the base reflectivity radar. However, the forecast is for 30% chance of rain. No kidding. Glad we weren’t down in the pasture as we were this morning. John took the dogs out and I joined them to walk and take some photos. Got some cool ones of apple, cherry (with a bee), and plum blossoms, Oregon grape, tulips, and horses. Rain stopped as soon as it started, and it is 1:25.
John left for town, and I stayed to clean and sort. Today I am vacuuming stacks first so I don’t inhale so much dust. It really bothered me yesterday. John went to town, got home, and pulled out some frozen ice cream to soften, and we just put it on a piece of the chocolate cake he brought home. I am happy to take a break from vacuuming dusty things that go back to 2011 in stacks that happened and just have been piled higher and deeper around the house (yes, many stacks and boxes in other rooms go back much longer). Most of the stuff is throwaway (recycle). Hardly anything is worth keeping or giving away. I have uncovered various paperbacks, dusted them, and will take with magazines to the give-away table at the senior center. Just found two wheat pennies and put them away. Also uncovered some purple pants way too big for me, folded in a bag. I probably had them separated to give to a friend, but they got buried before delivery. Now will do that.

Monday, May 5

Magazine subscriptions are a challenge. We have not renewed several subscriptions, but some of the providers have an aggravating marketing scheme. The worst is out of Norfolk, VA (Publisher’s Marketing Bureau), where our Discover magazine is the cheapest. However, they call every year with the ploy “our prices are rising, and we want to have you renew at the lower rate.” Upon questioning, I found they do not have in their system the actual ending date, and so, one has to check the address label. Some printers have moved to plastic wrap to prevent damage when mailing, so now the labels are put on the plastic cover that is removed and tossed. That’s another requirement need for keeping good records. Also, they will not adjust past records and requests. For over a year we have not renewed the Smithsonian magazine through them, (because of their higher price), but they keep bugging us about it. Our Discover magazine goes through 2016 and we have decided by then we will just cancel and no longer deal at all with that company. The place we have gotten it for years is from a professional (student teacher service) who now have changed their name to College Subscription Service, where Smithsonian is $12.00.
On to more phone calls: I spent almost an hour with IRS over a 1040 return which was submitted Jointly, but I was being tagged and sought for not submitting it singly in my name, which we haven’t done for 45 years!! (and never under Nancy B. Hultquist). I must call back June 16, 2014 to see if it has been located in their system. Thankfully, I have a post card returned to me from the IRS in Fresno, with the date they received it by mail. That should lower my blood pressure reading for today. While I waited on the phone for her to check re-cords (after I waited forever for her to help me– getting tired of the same classical music re-peating the same tune, not one of my favorites), I entered my blood pressure information and heart rate into a computer table. I have to report to my doctor tomorrow. I’m almost done, but will add today’s and print it. I did, and had John proof it. He had been very helpful since last week helping wrap the sleeve around my bare left arm. It was difficult for me to do it alone (and raised my BP trying).
More phone calls again, associated with bills– first with RCI (Pend O’Reille Shores) and it won’t get resolved until tomorrow or later this week (fixed it Wednesday). The accountant is not there on Mondays.

Tuesday, May 6

Must go to Yakima to see my Cardiologist, visit the Subaru dealer with questions about my Subaru’s Bluetooth connection to John’s cell phone, the rear seat adjustment, and while in town visit Costco (gas & groceries). We added a late lunch because we didn’t finish with the first two stops until 3:00!
The doctor’s visit was discouraging in a way, because he said my lung function test did not show good results this year (it has to be done annually because of the A-Fib medication I’m on, called Amiodarone). I requested a retake evaluation, because I almost cancelled that test in March, being at the tail end of 5-6 week coughing condition. That re-do will be back in Yakima, rather than here in Ellensburg. In addition, he wants me to have a CT scan to search for fibrous tissue (the way I understand it). The same “damage” shows on smoker’s lungs. I have never smoked. Then he started talking about another desire to put me on the substitute drug for Amiodarone, but it takes FOUR days in the hospital to adjust the dosage to the person under careful scrutiny and its possible side effects are wicked too. The upcoming tests will occur Tuesday, May 20. They scheduled both the same day, when the CT scan could occur. It is first at 9:30 a.m., followed at 11:00 by the Pulmonary Function Test. The scan occurs at Valley Imaging.
If that wasn’t enough, he wants to further investigate cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), also called biventricular pacing. My current implant has 2 wires and the other uses 3. [John has a note below.] That’s against my wishes because a side effect is puncturing the heart, requiring emergency surgery, with death a possibility. The up side is that it would lengthen my life and make me “feel better.” I do not feel bad now. However, thinking about all this is disturbing. He also requested I take a Sleep test (to be sure I don’t have sleep apnea). We don’t know what he saw in the studies that made him think it was a possibility, and we asked, but he still wants the evaluation. That requires OVERNIGHT to be hooked up to all the machines, and is also in Yakima.
John adds: During a heart attack, the flow of oxygen-rich blood to some of the heart muscle is interrupted and it dies. The scar tissue that replaces the muscle can disturb both the heart’s mechanical action (filling and emptying the chambers) and electrical signaling (which paces the heartbeat). Some of the problem is also associated with a heart that does not have the standard shape because of many years of working with valves that have not been closing properly – Nancy’s Mitral valve, for example. Electrical signals have to pass through the damaged muscle and non-standard distances and do not exactly match the timing of signals going elsewhere to other heart chambers. The first link here calls that ventricular dyssynchrony.
Harvard health link
Cleveland Clinic link

Anytime surgeons work on the human body they have to consider the benefits and the chance of problems occurring, even death. If you have had or seen the printout of an ECG (also EKG; the K from Greek kardia) you probably are not aware of all that it tells the cardiologist. Here is a site that gets to some of it nice illustrations; except there seems to be a missing arrow in one diagram.

Wednesday, May 7

Morning started with bill paying and arranging more bill paying situations; seems like 90% of my time. MedicAlert was one–a strange one. They mailed a notice saying my account was cancelled for lack of renewal. Well, I knew I had renewed it for 3 years in Feb (at a special reduced winter special rate, saving $7/yr for the next 3). I called and finally (when unable to get a phone response), got on the Chat-On-Line to question the “mistake.” Finally, some time later one of their chat reps figured out I had renewed but the person who renewed it posted to the wrong number. Phew. Now that’s fixed. Luckily, I was able to capture both sides of our conversation and save in my bill record history. MedicAlert is one of my most important medical assistance methods. It gives access to my complete medical records database that is noted on my MedicAlert bracelet with my medical allergies and my heart implants information, plus emergency contact numbers and those of all my doctors. I wear the bracelet 24/7, even into the shower.
I went to the Food Bank for music but looking like a bag-lady because I was carrying a luggage cart to give away to a patron there. (Actually, John rewrote that incorrectly. I went outside afterwards and handed it to her from my car, in the folded position). It was an extra I had picked up at a yard sale. I kept my two heaviest big-wheeled ones. I probably only need one, but one I bought new for $47, and the other I got at a yard sale long ago for $3.00. I used to drag it behind me with all my books and papers for classes, so I didn’t have to carry a heavy satchel or wear a backpack. (Hence, the bag lady applies here. ) I also used them both to carry equipment to conferences within the state when I was the Treasurer of the Association of WA Geographers.
We had a nice play date today at the Food Bank, and even had one couple up dancing two times on Waltz Across Texas (first at the back of the room, and then they moved up front where we are). It brought a round of applause from the audience, as did several of our songs today. That’s always nice for us to know we are appreciated. After our 1/2 hour of playing, we were treated to lunch: spaghetti casserole, nice Caesar salad, some veggies, and pineapple upside down cake for dessert. From there I went to Grocery Outlet hoping to find less expensive cat food (to no avail-still none was on the shelves). Then on down by my bank for some cash, and then to Les Schwab to have my tire pressure checked. Ever since it turned 7000 miles, I have had a warning light flash when starting the car, stating to check my tires. They were all 32 psi as they were supposed to be. The technician said I didn’t need to worry unless the light came on and stayed on. On then to SAIL exercise class, where I took in a couple of things to share. One was a very large tablecloth with frills on the edge, like a bedspread skirt, but large as a pool table. It was purple with flowers. I showed it to my class of 20 members, and told them I would give it freely. The first one I saw raise her hand, is an older woman I have known for 4 years since I started attending the class. Another she would love to use it and give it a good home. I also took a special book with household hints and cooking / measurement tips, to the young woman who has been our assistant this whole school year from the AmeriCorps program. She is leaving the end of July. Boy, we are all going to miss her very much. Recently, after our leader became ill, she has been leading our SAIL exercise class, she’s involved with special cooking for lunches there, and participates on trips for those who take bus trips around our state.
I came home by way of my friend who cuts my hair (since 1988). While there, I got a tour of their new (used) motor home at an incredible price, and helped push their restored 1943 (my age) military jeep off their trailer. They took it to Wenatchee for the Apple Blossom Special Parade and it quit working about half way through. I came on home and found a huge surprise John had for me. He had taken the very heavy LA-Z-BOY chair out of the back of our pickup, and stepped it down using stacks of pallets and 2” thick planks. It would have been an interesting sight to see. It was sitting in “my corner” of the den when I arrived. So cool. Now it is all hooked up and working wonderfully. What a treat. The major problem is its odor. I put a blanket with close weave over it, to mask some of the smell, but we will give it a treatment soon, when we buy some Febreeze type of odor killer.

Thursday, May 8

I had to finalize Down in the Valley and run copies for people (still missed a couple of notes for those who play notes) — chords are okay, and most of our people are playing chords only. I have a couple more changes for our clarinet player, but most of hers I ran last night (then I realized some of the corrections were not made to her copies, plus I forgot to change keys to one two sharps higher on two of hers. (There are 4 changes I need to make to the file to convert for her; doing only 3 is not a charm.) It rained today so John went along with me and went to the store while I was playing. He got all sorts of stuff on sale that we needed, plus getting some Glade instead of Febreeze for deodorizing my chair. The savings was $5.00. It should work just fine, and we only need to do the one chair. Turnout was high on guitars (5), a banjo, clarinet, viola, and me. We did all right, except on Down by the Old Mill Stream. We murdered that one, so I was intending to leave it out the rest of our play times through the end of June. Now, it’s still raining, and I’m sitting down, figuring I shall correct the music while it is still in the front of my memory.

Friday, May 9

Day home, full of chores: clean dishes and the boxes around my newly installed chair. This morning I threw in a few more music corrections. I took time this morning responding to two academic items (at CWU). So much for being retired.
John went out gathering garbage to take to the dump in the back of the old pickup where the old broken recliner is. Also, he’s waiting to talk to our neighbor about digging a hole for our oldest horse that is declining. We thought 3 days ago she wouldn’t make it through the night. Instead, she is back to walking around and eating again. She is our oldest horse and we have 2 old Brittanys, both showing age issues.
Working between several projects, some academic, some medical, some musical, some cleaning, and more sorting, tossing, bill paying, and others. I also must make time for my consulting work for the Dept of Labor. I received all the questionnaires and goodies and a phone call today from the agency who contacted me to do the evaluation (already discussed in an earlier blog). John left for the dump with a load (that cost him $20 to depart with). Today, I enhanced one of the music changes started last night. We were having problems with the timing on the song, “Down by the Old Mill Stream,” which I fixed, but the notes are too high for the 4 singers, so I changed the key from G to D. I’m sure that will work. I also sent 9 job announcements to the Google Group, NW Geography Jobs, list I manage. We are up to 632 members, with additions each week. Three of the geography profs at CWU attach my instructions and description of the list, to their syllabi. Also, many members around the US recommend friends or contacts to the list. One last week was an interesting lead, given to a job applicant during his visit to the agency for an interview for a part-time position (City of Seattle). Then tonight we had a late dinner after I had a good long talk with my friend whose wife has dementia and is in the nursing home. She’ll never be able to return home, and he is having a tough time going back home alone (after being with her for 69 years). They’re in their 80s. Growing old is no fun.

Saturday, May 10

While updating the blog, I realized I had stored the revised song from yesterday’s key change, but failed to create the different key for our clarinet player. I just changed that before I forgot. After this is posted, I still must go back and send all the changed music (in .pdf files) to the group. That should take us through the end of June, and I don’t have to worry about July/August because we will just do our July 4th playlist, which includes patriotic songs along with good old American songs.
John has gone out to exercise the dogs in another windy (35 mph gusts), but sunny morning, with temperatures up to 54 after in the forties all night. He’s back in and fixed a brunch, sausage with mushroom cheese omelet, fried potatoes, and fruit cocktail. He’d appreciate it for the wind to decrease. It has slightly during the last 2 hours. I will stay to work on the pictures to add to this blog, many of which I took last week, and only need to consider one today. Our most recent flowering plant of the week is the Western Serviceberry; the link has 3 photos, click right arrow under the picture to change them, and double click on the picture to enlarge each. They look nice by the smell is to be avoided. Along the edge of our pasture they look like this:
(click for large view)
White blossoms of Serviceberry against green leaves at the edge of our pasture.
Closeup of white Serviceberry blossoms
Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Oh, Happy Mother’s Day