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Archive for January 7th, 2018

I have spent a lot of time on Facebook.  I would say it even became an addiction.  One of the things that enabled my addiction was my iPad.  Not only did I spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling through crap on that social media platform, I also discovered  that it was possible to spend  literally hours playing inane games.  In the process I also managed to gain 20 pounds, probably because I became so sedentary in the pursuit of these activities.

I have been flamed far too many times, and been sucked into being not very nice myself. I am tired of that game.  I have enough to deal with without people telling me how awful I am, especially when I am NOT.  I don’t have to participate, although it seems like Facebook has become ubiquitous and it is almost impossible to communicate and connect without it.   It is so damned EASY.  But I deactivated that account, and hopefully some of my friends will find me here.  If not, I suppose they weren’t really friends at all.  It isn’t like I didn’t tell them I was moving to my blog.

I am still working on the game addiction.  It helps that I have removed them all from my iPad, but of course it is quite easy to reload the ones I am most addicted to.   Or just play them on Jim’s iPad.  However, slowly but surely the need for that dopamine fix is getting dealt with.  And right now I have no games loaded, and don’t feel a real need to put them back on.  So.

So, now I will give a short update on the major events of my/our lives.

For me, the most salient one was the loss of all the cartilage in my right hip.  The resulting pain was crippling, to the point I could not even maintain my garden and could barely manage to do massage.   I had a total hip replacement on June 8 this year, and the result is miraculous.  I have scar tissue, of course, but it doesn’t bother me particularly.  The change in state was amazing.  I can garden, walk, do massage again.  Hallelujah.  It occupied my life totally for about two months, though.  The loss of massage income during that time was sobering.  We made it through, though.

Another very important event which I talked about on Facebook but not here was the discovery that Jim had a very active and invasive prostate cancer.  A complete removal of the prostate was indicated and performed in July of 2016.   Several lymph nodes were taken as well, and were found to have cancerous cells.   Following recovery from the surgery, the indicators showed that not all the cancer had been removed.  So he underwent 5 weeks of radiation this last March.   The indicators went to zero for a few months, but have now started to rise again.  We are waiting for them to be high enough that it might be possible to image the tumors and find where they are.  Until then, we just wait for the cancer to grow.

The surgery for Jim had pretty horrific side effects.   The removal of the prostate was done carelessly enough to destroy nerve function in the area.   The surgeon pointed out that he was more interested in getting all the cancer than preserving nerves, but the resulting complete lack of sexual function has changed our lives forever.   He is also incontinent while his pelvic floor becomes strong.  The radiation really set that healing back, plus he got radiation colitis for a while and had really bad diarrhea.  Fortunately that has abated, and the incontinence is slowly getting better.

Let’s pass over the treatment with Lupron, which shut down all his testosterone for about a year.   I’ll just say he discovered just exactly why I was such a bitch while I was going through menopause and having all those hot flashes.   Fortunately, both of us seem to have finished up with that activity, thank God.

No wonder I was depressed and needed dopamine from an external source.

Meanwhile, our son developed severe pain in his back, injured by wearing body armor while he was stationed in Iraq for two tours and Afghanistan for one.   He came home with PTSD too, which has improved significantly.  He did get a medical discharge from the Army because of his back.  And his feet.  I guess carrying 80 to 100 pounds of gear constantly is bad for them.

He and his wife are presently working on their educations.   She is one semester away from a masters in Library Science, and he is pursuing a Business Administration degree.  We bought a house in 2016 that is on the next street over.   They moved there and rent it from us while their town house in Georgia is being rented out.  It is very convenient to have that beautiful little family so close by.   Not only do we get to see our grandchildren on a regular basis, we exchange care with them.  For example, when we travel they look after our house and pets.  And when they want to go to a convention or have a date, we look after their house and our grandkids.

Life is pretty good despite the travails.   We have been traveling.   We went to Europe again, spent a week in Lisbon and made an Atlantic crossing to come home.  We also did a couple of short Caribbean cruises, one took us partway through the Panama Canal.  In September of 2016 we took a two week raft trip from one end of the Grand Canyon to the other.   Later on I will do a post that includes some photos from that.  It was AMAZING.

So that is it in a nutshell.   We are looking forward to the next year, hoping that all will be well.  I am thinking of retiring from massage in the next few years, much to the dismay of my clients.   We’ll see.

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I know that a lot of people no longer go on road trips.  Finding a good place to eat, playing hotel roulette, needing a non-existent bathroom, astronomical gas prices, unannounced road construction resulting in miles long traffic tie-ups and other hazards of the road have put a lot of people off.  On the other hand, going through security and being trapped in an airport by weather, power outages, exploding air conditioners, or bombs going off can make air travel very tedious indeed.

I have experienced train, bus, car, air and cruise travel in my life.  They all have their bonuses and banes.  I am not going into that here.  I just want to report on a few visions I have seen along the way.

Out in New Mexico there are a pair of billboards on the opposite sides of I-40 that amused me greatly.  One reads “Cline’s Corner — World Famous.”  The other proclaims “Flying C Ranch — World Famous-er.”

Once I serendipitously got a picture of a bluebird perched on a fence that was on Pajarito Rd. in Pajarito Village.  Pajarito means “little bird” in Spanish.  This amused me for some reason.

A few years ago I was on a road trip with my sister and we decided to make a side trip off the not so main highway on the strength of an entry in the book we were enjoying “Roadside Geology of New Mexico.”  We wanted to see the interesting formation mentiomed up close and personal.  Our map indicated a country lane that might be passable would deliver us back to the highway.  We decided that if it became too exciting we could always turn around before we broke an axle and retrace our route back to pavement.  As it turned out the road was fine and we wound up following hand painted signs saying “Pottery Ahead” to a place where an amazing artist threw and glazed amazing pots.  I still enjoy the little bowl I bought from Ivy Heymann.  This never would have happened if we had stuck to the Interstates.

My favorite sights are the hand made signs.  Caught a really good one on this trip out in Northeast Texas in the Caddo National Grasslands.  It was posted on a large locked gate and read:  PRAYER IS A GREAT WAY TO MEET GOD.  TRESPASSING WORKS TOO

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