Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting For The Wind

Went for a morning walk with Hiker and then I went out and put everything that I could from the patio into the garage and what could not go into the garage, I put in the far back corner of the patio. They say the wind storm is supposed to start hitting us around 9:00 tonight and last through Friday sometime. I'm hoping it's not going to be as bad as they are predicting because I worry about wind damage to the house, like losing the roof. I sure am glad I have my lawyer. I took her the paperwork the community sent to me when I asked to have Ben's name taken off of my land lease and a copy of my current lease. She said that the paperwork they sent is NOT the paperwork that would do what we asked them to do, in fact she said that if I filled that paperwork out and signed it and sent it to them, it would cancel my land lease and since they did not send me a new one to sign, she told me to just ignore the paperwork and leave Ben's name on the lease. She said since my name is already on the lease, it should not matter if his name is on it or not. She said if the community's main office calls me again about it, to tell them that she advised me to just leave the lease as is and if they have a problem with that, for me to tell them to have their "legal department" call her. She said they probably don't even have a legal department. Took Hiker on a second short walk this afternoon. It's still not windy, just a little breezy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Grief Group and Lunch With A Friend

Stayed up a little later last night than I have been lately. Wanted to watch “The Closer” and “Rizzoli & Isles”. Because of it, I was sleepy all day. Hiker didn't wake me up until almost 7:00 am so I don't know if she was sleepy too or if she decided to let me sleep in a little (LOL). I took her for a short 1 mile walk this morning because I had to get back, make my breakfast and get ready to go to my grief group over at the senior center. My friend DeDee was meeting me there today and then we went to lunch after our group session. Hiker was not happy about going out to the garage to stay while I was gone. She seems to “know” when I'm trying to put her out there because I'm going away for a few hours and I have to trick her into going out by giving her some doggie treats. Most of the time she will just follow me out, but when she “senses” that I'm going somewhere and leaving her, she just sits back and stares at me. I was gone for 4 1/2 hours and she as so excited to see me when I got home. She jumped all over me and kissed me. Had a full house at group today but as I said, I was very sleepy and was having trouble holding my eyes open. Once DeDee and I got to the pizza parlor, I was OK though. It was nice to see DeDee. She had surgery a few weeks ago and I had not seen her for quite awhile. It was mostly cloudy here all day. Maybe that made me sleepy too. I got a couple of documents from Kaiser in the mail today stating “This Is Not A Bill” and I saw an amount of $2000 that they paid to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, so I'm hoping that everything is not taken care of with Ben's hospital bills. I was snacking on an orange and Hiker was eyeing the orange. I went online to see if I could give her oranges and it said most fruits (except grapes and raisins) are OK for dogs, so I gave her a couple of wedges and she loved it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Day, Another Post

Why is it that Sunday evenings feel so lonely for me? Didn't cry last evening, but felt so sad. I took another “baby step” before I went to bed. The plastic bag with Ben's clothes from the hospital was still on the floor where I left it the night he went into the hospital back in February. I finally picked it up and took his clothes out of it. Some days I wake up in the morning and think "I can do this. I can face this world alone". But other days I wake up and think I can't. And then there are the days I wake up and think "OK, I'm done with the grieving. It's time for it to stop and go away" as if I'm in control (LOL). I just wish everything could go back to the way it used to be, but we all know that will never happen because Ben is gone forever. Hiker and I went for our morning walk. Today the weather in the morning was not as pretty as yesterday. Today was a bit cloudy. Didn't have any plans for today, so decided to go out this morning and trim my rose bushes. Took Hiker out with me and tied her up so she could not run free, but gave her enough rope that she could roam around the yard. I don't trust her loose out in the front yard but I do let her run loose in the back yard. I keep thinking I should start going through things and toss whatever I can. I could start in one room and finish it all up and then go to the next room, but I just cannot get into the mood to do it. There are all kinds of papers and junk that I could get rid of, but I hate to get rid of anything that was Ben's or his and mine together. I would feel like I was tossing him away. I wish I could get myself to start cleaning up around here. Maybe when the new year gets here, I'll feel more like doing it. Got another free $10 gift card from Kohl's in the mail today. That's about my 10th one this year. Took Hiker out for another shorter walk this afternoon. I got a phone call from my brother Ron and while I was talking to him, Hiker was jumping all over me, chewing on my foot and barking at herself in the mirror. She really needed to burn off some energy. Sometimes she won't calm down until I take her for a walk.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snapshot Sunday

Well the “prescription” my friend “Dr.” Linda gave me to help stop my heartburn seemed to work better than anything else I had tired yesterday. She told me to mix vinegar and water and drink it, so I did and it seemed to help. Once again, she has come to my rescue. My Internet went down around 4:30 pm yesterday and I was feeling so isolated for some reason. It was down for over 30 minutes. Had a 20 minute crying attack while I could not get on my computer. Think it was because I had not felt very good all day and I missed Ben not being here to take care of me. Sometimes I feel like I just don't care about anything anymore and that makes me sad. But then I look at Hiker and know that I need to be strong for her because she needs me to take care of her. When I was crying, she was licking me and barking at me. I slept better last night, but this morning when I woke up, I felt very weak and had a few body aches from the episode. I guess the body aches could be from shampooing the carpet though. I took Hiker down to the park for a few minutes this morning and wished that I felt better today because it was a beautiful morning and would have been a great morning to take her for a hike in the mountains. I could tell that Hiker knew I didn't feel well because she stayed by my side and kept kissing my hand. I started feeling better, and I could not stand to be inside when it was so nice outside, so I put Hiker in the 4Runner and headed up to Vasquez Rocks County Park. I had never taken her there and she loved it. She lives for being out in nature and exploring everything. She was born for it. I normally do a load of laundry on sheets and towels, but I didn't feel like doing it this morning, but after Hiker and I got home from Vasquez Rocks I decided to at least wash my towels. Since it's just me in the bed now, I guess there is really no need to wash the sheets every week.
Here is the link to my photos if I didn't already send it to you:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Little Sick On Saturday

Didn't sleep well last night. I have a severe case of heartburn which I have not had in a long time. Had to sit up in bed most of the night and try to sleep that way. Don't know what I ate that caused it. I used to get heartburn a lot years ago. Took Hiker for a short 1 mile walk this morning because I wanted to get home and pay some bills and then shampoo the living room portion of my carpet. I almost didn't do it because the heartburn was making me feel kind of sick but I went and bought some Mylanta and came back home and did the carpet. Found out that I felt better working than I did just sitting around doing nothing. Had lunch and watched some movies on Hallmark Channel. Took Hiker for another 1 mile walk this afternoon, so I got some exercise in today. I've had several suggestions about how to “cure” my heartburn. I just tried Linda's suggestion of drinking a mixture of vinegar and water. Hope it helps. I think Hiker knew that I did not feel very well all day as she never let me out of her sight and she sat with me every time I sat down. I could not believe all of the hair she has left in the carpet. I vacuumed before I shampooed but there was still tons of hair. I thought with her short hair that she would not shed that much. I keep telling her she should be bald by now (LOL). Maybe I need a heavy duty vacuum. Noticed when Hiker and I went for our second walk that one of the new neighbor's 3 doors down was putting up outside Christmas lights. This is the weekend Ben and I would have been doing that.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Day With Some Of Ben's Family

Hiker loved her Thanksgiving turkey last night. She inhaled it all in about 10 seconds and then was begging for more, but I did not give her more because if I fed her the way she wants to be fed, she'd be the world fattest dog. I don't think I'll ever do another turkey for just me and Hiker. It's just too much trouble. Has to cook all day and then I have to clean everything up. I didn't mind doing it when Ben was here because he would help me with everything. He was so sweet about things like that. I had taken a sedative to help me get through the day yesterday and it made me so sleepy last night (along with the tryptophan from the turkey) that Hiker and I went to bed before 8:00 pm. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Took Hiker on her usual 1.5 mile walk this morning then had breakfast and put a load of laundry into the washer. Was planning on going to Sam's Club to pick up a few things I need, but then my gardener showed up at my door. Last week I had asked him about trimming the shade tree in my back yard when he had time. I worry every time we have a big wind storm that a big branch will break or that the entire tree might blow over into the house. He was wondering if he could trim it today. Only took him about an hour and 15 minutes trim the tree. I was getting ready to head over to Sam's Club when my phone rang. It was Ben's sister Donna. She and her husband and daughter were here in Santa Clarita from Las Vegas visiting their son and his family for Thanksgiving. She said they wanted to come over to see me and I was so happy to have them come. Had not seen them since Ben's memorial in July. I had some things of Ben's that I wanted to give to Donna that I knew would mean a lot more for her to have than for me to keep them. Things from their childhood. While we were at lunch, Donna and Beth (her daughter) told me something very interesting. Most of you probably remember the other day I posted about a strange thing that happened to me where I thought I heard Ben's voice call out “Hey You” to me while I was in my computer room and that I almost answered his call. Well Donna and Beth told me that they had a really strange experience about Ben. When growing up, Ben, his brother Lanny and sister Donna used to refer to each other with numbers in the order they were born. Lanny was “1”, Ben was “2” and Donna was “3”. When they all married, we, the in-laws became “ 1 1/2”, “2 1/2” and “3 1/2”. Only they and us in-laws knew about the numbers. Beth has an app on her phone that is supposed to detect “ghosts” if they are in the room. Kind of like the things you see on the TV shows about ghost hunters. Donna had never seen how it worked, so Beth was showing her. It has a meter that supposedly searches the room for any ghost activity. There is no way you can type text or record into the app. If there is an spirit in the room, text will show up on the screen and the app will say the word at the same time. The meter started searching and suddenly, the word “BEN” came up on the screen and the phone spoke the word “BEN” at the same time indicating that there was a spirit in the room named Ben. Donna and Beth were both shocked and didn't know how to react. Donna said “Ben, are you here?” and then the number “3” showed up on the screen and the phone said “3”. Donna felt that it was Ben and that he made the phone say “3” so that she knew for sure that it was really him. Not even Beth knew about Ben calling Donna “3” as a nickname. Donna told her husband Rich about it and he was even amazed. He said that if it had just spelled and said “BEN”, he would wonder about it, but then when it spelled and said “3”, that convinced him that there was something to it. Donna was hesitant about telling me this at first, but I told her I was so glad she did because I actually lost my faith after Ben died. I gave up on God and I gave up on Heaven and a life after death. After the experience I had and now what Donna and Beth told me, I may be able to get my faith back again. Maybe we are crazy, but I feel that it really was Ben trying to tell us that he is OK.

Me, Donna, Beth & Rich

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Made It Through Thanksgiving

Well it's my first Thanksgiving without Ben. Got up just before 7:00 am and put my turkey breast in my crock pot then got dressed and took Hiker for a 1.5 mile walk. I cried for the entire walk thinking about Ben not being here. I told myself to try to think if I had anything to be thankful for this year. I thought of a few things. First I'm so thankful for Hiker. I do not know what I would do without her. I am thankful for my brothers, my nieces and nephews, and for my friend Linda. Plus my girlfriends from work and my online friends. And I am really thankful that Ben never had to watch me die and go through the pain and anguish of losing me. He never had to feel the grief and the loneliness. Those are the things I am thankful for today. I put Hiker in the car around 8:30 and went to get my Lotto Tickets and then over to the post office to mail my car insurance out. Found out that besides the “Twilight Zone” Marathon that there was also a “Bones” Marathon, so I was going back and forth between the two all day. Decided to run over to the grocery store and pick up a few pieces of fresh fruit and some ice cream. Went to Ralphs. It actually was not very crowded for being Thanksgiving. I took Hiker with me. She is getting to really be a good girl riding in the car now. One of my online friends suggested the other day that I bundle up in Ben's zippered sweat shirt, you know the one that I said I finally hung up in the closet that had been on the back of the chair since the last time he placed it there? Well it is chilly in the house today, so I am wearing that sweat shirt right now. It's kind of having Ben's arms wrapped around me. Hiker wants to eat even though I keep telling her she has another hour or so to wait until the turkey is done. So far, I have made it through this day with only one crying session I'd say that's pretty good. I will admit that I have felt the loneliness and the emptiness of not having Ben here, but actually, he's always here in this house watching over me

Hiker & Me - Thanksgiving 2011 - taken with my laptop webcam

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beautiful Fall Day In SoCal

Finally some good news (I think). I still had not heard from anyone at Kaiser about my dispute about the $2000 bill I kept getting from the other hospital for when Ben was in their ICU the first 2 weeks. I called Kaiser again just before 5:00 pm yesterday afternoon and the woman I have been dealing with still was not at work so I asked to speak to someone else. A really nice woman came on the line and said she could help me. She found a letter that was supposedly mailed to me on November 17th (which I never got), telling me that Kaiser had decided, after reviewing my complaint, that I was not liable for the $2000 bill from the other hospital and that they will pay it. She ended up emailing me a PDF of the letter for my records and for my attorney. That is such a load of my mind. Keith is going to have to fight with Hiker for the ottoman bed. While I was watching TV last night before I went to bed, I noticed she was not in the living room. Went looking for her and she was asleep on the ottoman. Got up this morning, made breakfast and then headed over to Wal-Mart to grab some things I had run out of. Wanted to get there early before the last-minute Thanksgiving shoppers invaded the store. Came home and put that stuff away and I called the Kaiser Pharmacy to see what their hours were as I had ordered my blood pressure meds online the other day. Got a recording saying they were closed for the holiday. I thought “that cannot be right”, so I put Hiker in the car and headed over to the Kaiser building. The Pharmacy was open and there was only a couple of other people there. They are usually crowded. Got my meds then on the way home, stopped at the Southfork Trail to take Hiker for a 2 mile walk. She had been lying in the back seat looking so sad because she had not gone for her morning walk, so when I got her out of the car and said the word “walk”, she got all excited. She was so happy and she just “strutted” along the trail. Well it's a good thing I called Kaiser again yesterday and asked for someone else to help be because the woman I was originally dealing with STILL never called me back and I STILL did not get the letter in the snail mail that they emailed to me yesterday. We have cluster mail boxes here and our mail carrier is very bad about putting mail in the wrong boxes. I always try to make sure if I get a neighbor's mail that I take it to them, but I'm thinking someone on the street got my letter and just tossed it in the trash. They mailed it to me on November 17 and it should not take 6 days to get to me. At most it might have taken 2 to 3 days. Just took Hiker for another short 1 mile walk. When we got home I took her out in the back yard and played ball with her for awhile and she finally got tired and laid down on the lawn.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Ottoman Bed

Hiker is having a fit because I have not taken her out for her morning walk. I am waiting to hear from the furniture store about when they will be delivering the ottoman bed I bought yesterday. I probably won't be able to go to my grief group this morning either. Hiker is so eager that she is running all over the house with her “blue toy” in her mouth, shaking her head and barking. I keep telling Hiker that as soon as I know when they are coming or right after they get here, that I will take her for a walk. Then she takes off running around again. Yesterday Linda and I were talking about what I might do with Ben's stripped polo shirts. Originally I was going to give them to charity, but then I had so many friends suggest making a quilt with them. I have no idea how to make a quilt , but Linda does, but instead, she suggested that we make a throw pillow for the sofa with his shirts instead of a quilt. She said that way I can hug it anytime I feel like it, which sounded like a great idea to me. She is going to be with her family for the holidays, but she said after she gets back, she will help me to make the “memory pillow”. It was cold when we got up this morning...around 30° and there was ice all over everyone's roofs. Got my master bathroom cleaned while I was waiting to hear from the furniture store. I still had not heard from the furniture store by 10:30 so I called them and they told me that my delivery was scheduled between 11:30 and 1:30, so I took Hiker out for a very short walk. But she was totally satisfied because she was able to get out and roam around a little. I promised her that I'd take her for a longer walk later today. The guys delivered the ottoman bed around 12:45. I had to find a throw to put on it right away as Hiker immediately got up on it to look out the window and I do not want her to tear the faux leather with her sharp claws. Linda came by because she wanted to see the ottoman bed now that it is in my office. She took a video of me displaying how it opens and closes. Since Linda is leaving for Arizona tomorrow to be with her family for Thanksgiving, she stayed and visited for awhile and we took Hiker for a 2 mile walk this afternoon.

Here is a video on how the bed works

Monday, November 21, 2011

So Much To Do...Will It Ever Be All Done?

Every since I had that strange experience when I thought I heard Ben call “Hey You” from the other room the other night, I have not seen or heard the commercial or whatever the “Hey You” was from. I'm beginning to wonder if I imagined the entire thing because the more I think about it, what kind of commercial would someone say “Hey You”? Turned on “California's Gold” on public TV last night and wouldn't you know that Huell Howser went to “The Trees Of Mystery” which was one of the places that Ben and I always visited when we'd go up to our favorite part of California. I had to change the station because seeing one of our favorite places on TV was making me feel so sad. I took Hiker out for her morning walk a little after 7:00 am. We did 1 1/2 miles then came home and I made breakfast. Linda came by at 9:30, we put Hiker in the garage with her crate and we went looking for a bed chair. We first went to Easy Life Furniture but they only had full and queen size sleepers, so we headed down to Consumer Furniture. The did not have the chair beds but they had this really cool ottoman bed. Linda nor I either one had ever heard of this type of folding bed, but it was really cool. The original price on it was $589 but it was on holiday sale for $389. The woman who was showing it to us told me that she would let me have it for $350 and that they normally charge $100 for delivery but that she would only charge me $50 for delivery and that she would not charge me any sales tax. I told her I had a few more places to look so Linda and I head over to the mall and checked out the chair beds at JC Penney. They were $899 and Linda and I got to talking about how the chair would block my entire bay window whereas the ottoman would not block anything, plus no one ever really goes into my “office” to sit in a big chair and chill. The ottoman suited my needs more than a chair bed. We headed back to Consumer's and I bought the ottoman bed and they will delivery it sometime tomorrow, which means I won't be able to go to my grief group, but that's OK. Linda and I went to a new Mexican cafe here in town for lunch. The food was OK but I've had better. There were a lot of people there having lunch though. I still had not heard anything back from Kaiser about their review of November 9th on the bill I keep receiving from Henry Mayo Hospital for when Ben was in their ICU. I had called the woman who is handling my case with Kaiser a couple of times but had not heard back from her, so I called her number again and once again, I got her voice mail, so I left her another message and this time, I also called their main complaint office and left a voice message there. While Linda and I were out, I got a message on my answering machine from another woman at Kaiser. She wanted me to know that they got my voice message and she said the woman handling my case was off from work today, but that she will make certain that the woman will call me tomorrow. I also finally got some paperwork from the main office of the community where I live about taking Ben off of my land lease and transferring it over to my name only, but I'm going to have to get with my attorney to work on it because it all looks very confusing to me. I emailed my attorney's office to get an appointment with them asap which won't be until next week. Took Hiker for a second 1 1/2 mile walk this afternoon. That dog just loves to walk. She is now all curled up on the sofa next to me sleeping.

Here are a couple of photos of the ottoman bed

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hiker's Big Day

Hiker has been waking me up around 4:30 am every morning and I keep thinking that she needs to go potty. So we do the routine of me getting up, going to the sliding door, unlocking everything and opening the door, only to have her sit there and stare at me like “what”? Then she turns around, heads back for the bedroom, jumps up on the bed and goes to sleep. What the heck is that all about? Because of this, I've been going to bed a lot earlier and going to sleep very quickly. Took her for a 1 mile walk this morning. I had heard on the morning news that it was raining hard over in Oxnard and Ventura and that it was headed this way, so I figured we'd better get a quick walk in before it got here. It started raining around 11:15. I took a baby step today. The afternoon before Ben went into the hospital for his emergency surgery, he was wearing his zip up Adidas sweat shirt. He wore it all the time. He had taken it off and laid it across the back of his easy chair and when we headed for the hospital, he did not pick it up to put it on so there it stayed. I had not moved that sweat shirt since that day (Feb. 28, 2011). Several times I would put my hand on it or I'd bend down to smell it, but it stayed there all that time. This morning I decided it was time to hang it back in the entry closet. Don't know how long it will stay there until I decide to give it to charity or whatever, but I felt it was time. Today was Hiker's "graduation" from her training classes, at which in my opinion, she failed. Actually they don't really give you much for the money, just tell you the basics and then we are supposed to come home and work with the dog. But when the dog is as stubborn and independent as Hiker, you don't get very far with the lessons. Hiker is not stupid. She knows how to do things and she knows when she has done something bad, but she just does not want to do what I tell her to most of the time. Probably my fault that I'm not more forceful with her, but then she gets scared and cowers like I'm going to hit her and when she get scared, she also pees. Anyway, each dog at the graduation had to do a certain “final exam”. We were given the task by the trainer. We didn't know what it was going to be. Hiker had to “sit and stay” for 30 seconds. I thought “oh no....she doesn't do this one all that well”, but she passed with flying colors! Sure surprised me. The trainer was trying to “pressure” all of us into signing up for the Intermediate Training Class which starts December 10th. She kept telling us that we got $10 off the total price, but all of us told her we'd have to let her know. I don't intend on signing her up for another class because I don't feel it's worth the money. If I ever really wanted to get her totally trained, I think I'd hire a professional trainer to do it for me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Carpets & Crying

For some reason I was extremely sleepy last night. Hiker and I went to bed around 8:30 pm. She woke me up around 4:30 am to go outside and pee. Got up around 7:00 and it was very cloudy and gray outside. Looked like it could rain at any moment, so I put her leash on her and headed out for a short walk and hurried back in case the rain started. She doesn't care if her walks are short or long, just as long as she gets out for awhile. I was “attacked” by a crying jag while out walking this morning. Good thing I was not on the main trail where other people could see me because this was a “sobbing” one. Came back home and made breakfast and then got to work. Since I am going to try to get the chair bed soon, I wanted to shampoo the carpet in the computer room where the chair will be. Also shampooed the carpet in the hallway and the dining area. I used to shampoo the carpet in the entire house years ago but decided this time, I'll do it a few rooms and areas at a time. No need to hurry anymore. Hiker didn't know what to think of the shampooer. She already does not like the vacuum. Well, I guess I was wrong about saying that I didn't think I was crying as much anymore for Ben because I had a huge “melt down” today. Poor Hiker didn't know what to think, she was all over me trying to get me to play with her. I do know though that these major crying jags do not come as often as they once did. I had to yell at Hiker for digging again. I don't hit her. She has pretty much finally gotten the idea about going potty outside, but I'm still having trouble with her digging. I have tried burying some of her poop in the holes she digs and that detours her from those old holes, but then she starts new holes. I've looked online of things to do to try to get her to stop digging, but none of them seem to be working. She does not dig to bury things, she digs to look for worms to eat. Took Hiker out for a second walk this afternoon and we did 1.5 miles. She and I went out in the yard when we got back and I chased her around for awhile. I like to try to get her worn out so she will sleep through the night. Ben thinking about trying to make a lemon/butter sauce for some baked tilapia tonight for dinner. I've been looking at some recipes online for the sauce.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It Was A Cloudy A Cold Afternoon.....

Got up around the normal time this morning, fed Hiker put her out for potty and then put a load of laundry into the washer. Hiker wanted to go for a walk right away, but I made her wait until after I put the laundry into the dryer. I drove us over to Central Park in Saugus, CA and we did a 1.8 mile walk around the park. There is a dog park there, so there are always a lot of dogs. I won't let her play in the dog park because I'm afraid to let her off leash except in her own backyard. I had one guy ask me if she had some Doberman in her because he said her head and face looked like a Doberman. Came back home and made a quick trip to the bank to cash a check and get a little cash. Almost had some tears while I was out walking, but was actually able to restrain them. I've noticed that sometimes I now just get a little moisture in my eyes instead of actually crying. I still do get hit now and then with one of those sobbing attacks, but they are fewer and farther between now. I put together a meatloaf to cook for dinner tonight. Ben used to love my meatloaf and I have not made one since he went into the hospital last February. I have just not been able to bring myself to make one until now, plus it's been so long since I've been hungry enough or “sane” enough to actually plan any “real” meals. I'm hoping that one of these days I'll be able to plan weekly meals every Sunday like Ben and I used to do so that I will always know what I'm going to have for dinner. It started getting cloudy and breezy around noon. They are saying that we might get some more rain this weekend and they are saying we may get rain on Thanksgiving Day. My gardener came a day early to mow the lawn. He said he was off from his regular job so he thought he'd get some of the yards done today before the rain comes. I spoke with him about thinning out my shade tree in the backyard. It's getting really thick and I'm afraid a big wind might blow it over. Then I talked with Linda on the phone. She was over at Wal-Mart looking for a new computer router and was asking my advice on which one to get.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Weather Was Beautiful Today

A strange thing happened last night. When Ben was alive and if I was in one room and he was in another and he wanted to tell me something, he would say "Hey You". Well I was in my computer room around 6:45 last night. The TV in the living room was on and a commercial came on and on the commercial a man's voice said "Hey You". It sounded just like Ben's voice and I almost said "What" in reply. Caught myself just before I spoke out. Gave me a very strange feeling. I had never seen or heard that commercial before. Hiker and I were both exhausted from our vigorous hike yesterday so we went to bed around 9:00 pm. She woke me up at 4:30 am to go potty. Hate getting up that early to let her out, but at least she is no letting me know she has to go outside. We went back to sleep after she came back in. Got up around 6:45 and fed Hiker and then made my breakfast. I needed to head over to Wal-Mart for some groceries. Took Hiker with me in her crate in the back of the 4Runner. While at Wal-Mart, I had to do everything I could to hold my tears back because of the Christmas music they were playing in the store. Plus seeing all of the holiday displays and foods. I was able to keep any tears from flowing, but I rushed through the store so I could get out of there asap. I used to love to go to Wal-Mart and other stores at Christmas time to see all of the decorations. Now I hate it. I did decide to buy a boneless turkey breast to cook in the crock pot for me and Hiker for Thanksgiving. I had not planned on doing anything for Thanksgiving dinner, but saw the turkeys and thought it would give me and Hiker several meals. I took Hiker for a 1.7 mile walk after we got home and then after our walk she wanted me to come out into the yard and play ball with her. Trouble is, when she “plays” ball, it means she wants me to chase her around the yard and try to the get ball away from her. I do not know where she gets all of her energy. Took her for another 1 mile walk in the dry riverbed this afternoon. She was in a very cuddly mood all day. Kept wanting me to play with her. Finally settled down on the sofa next to me and went to sleep.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We Went On A Wonderful Hike Today

Hiker woke me up around 4:30 am acting like she wanted to go outside, but when I went to the door, she didn't want to go out, so I made her go back to bed. She kept wanting to play, but I finally got her to settle down and go back to sleep for awhile. We got up around 6:30 and got ready for the hike we were going on today with our friend Linda. Linda got here around 8:00 and we headed over to Altadena, CA to a place called Eaton Canyon. We had never hiked there before so we were looking forward to it. The traffic on the freeway was crazy this morning. It usually is not backed up on the 210, but it was today. We got over to Eaton Canyon and Linda went into the Nature Center to get a trail map while I waited outside with Hiker. We started off on the trail and there were a lot of people there today. There was even a group of hiking seniors. We were told that the waterfall we wanted to hike to was about 1 1/2 miles into the canyon. The first mile of the trail was wide open and went through a few oak groves. We missed the turn off to the waterfall at first, but then went back and found it. The trail narrowed and headed under a bridge and then up into a canyon alongside a fast running creek, which we had to cross several times. Hiker got her belly very wet, but I could tell she was loving it. When we reached the 40 foot waterfall, we were very tired, but the vigorous hike was well worth it as the falls were beautiful. We rested awhile and then headed back downstream and back out onto the wide trail and to the parking lot. We headed home, but stopped in La Crescenta at a Subway Sandwich Shop for lunch. Hiker was stretched out in the back seat of Linda's car, sound asleep. The hike had worn her out. When we got home, I immediately got into the shower with Hiker and cleaned all of the mud off her. She doesn't care too much for showers, but she love it once she gets out and gets dried off with the towel. I don't think I'd ever seen her as happy as she was out on that trail this morning. She was really enjoying herself. I certainly gave her the perfect name. She is not stretched out, sound asleep on the sofa next to me. She should sleep good tonight. My body is starting to ache, so I'm pretty pooped too. LOL.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is There Still Such A Thing As Good Customer Service?

Hiker woke me up around 5:30 am wanting to play this morning. I thought she wanted to go potty, but she never went to the door. She did however run down to the room where Keith sleeps when he visits to look for him, but naturally, he was not there. Hiker was upset because I did not take her for a walk this morning. I never take her for an early morning walk on the day I have to go to my grief group at the senior center. I don't want to get all sweaty before I go over there. Hiker is not going to like the fact that I am going to leave her in the garage again this morning while I'm away. It was all cloudy and gloomy when we got up. We are having “strange” weather for SoCal. We are usually pretty sunny this time of year. We've already had more rain so far this year than we usually have this time of year. Before I left for my group I called the guy at the bank as he asked me to do to remind him to order my new checks. I got his voice mail, so I left a message. When I got home, there was no message from him so I tried to call him again and finally got him and at first he did not remember who I was. When I explained to him why I was calling, he remembered and told me he'd look into it and call me back in a few minutes. He never called me back. Great customer service. I had lunch and then had to run over to the market to get some milk and when I got back, I took Hiker for a short 1 mile walk. When we got back home, I worked with her on her “come” training. She did really well in the backyard, but then when I called her to come into the house, she ignored me. She only does it when SHE wants to do it. She is so stubborn.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Busy Monday

Hiker slept good again last night. I guess running her around until she is “pooped” is what does it (LOL). She woke me up around 6:00 am wanting her breakfast though, but that's better than at 5:00 like she was doing. It was a busy day. After I made breakfast for myself and my brother Keith, he and I went over to the Social Security Office so I could apply for my SS benefits after my 62nd birthday in January and also I changed my direct deposit information for Ben's SS that I am receiving now and for when I start receiving my benefits next year. We were gone for about 1 1/2 hours which wasn't too bad I guess considering that we got there just before 9:00 am when they open and there were about 5 people in front of me. Of course I won't start getting mine until March but at least it is all taken care of now. When we got home, we took Hiker for a 2 mile walk. We had to leave her in the garage while we were at SS and had promised her we'd walk her once we got home so we did. I had to do some emails about my direct deposits and bank account changes with my investment adviser and with my attorney, then Keith and I went over to Sam's Club and had lunch and then did a little shopping. I got Keith a complimentary “family” members card on my account since Ben does not need a card anymore. Temperatures got up into the low 70's today and it was really nice outside. Keith left to go home around 1:15 pm and as soon as he left, I felt lonely even though I have Hiker with me. I'm still waiting to hear back from the main office of my community about taking Ben's name off of my land lease and putting it in my name only and I'm also still waiting to hear back from Kaiser about their decision on whether or not they are going to pay the $2000 to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital that I keep getting billed for. I have received 3 statements from Henry Mayo so far and I'm afraid if something isn't done soon that they will send it to collections. Kaiser had told me they would contact Henry Mayo and tell them that they were reviewing this bill however, I do NOT trust Kaiser for much of anything anymore. I called both Kaiser and Henry Mayo Hospital today and once again got voice mail for both of them and had to leave a message. I received a call back from Henry Mayo and they said Kaiser had NOT contacted them to tell them that they are reviewing this bill, that figures. But Henry Mayo also told me they have sent me 2 statements when in reality I have received 3 from them, but the woman who called insisted they had ONLY sent out 2. She told me all that she can do is to put a note on the bill saying that I called and told her that Kaiser is reviewing this bill but that she cannot put a hold on it. Hopefully, I'll hear from Kaiser soon so I know what their review results were.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hike, Class and Then Relax

Keith was supposed to stay until Tuesday afternoon, but he has to go home Monday because they are doing “Scrooge” at his church for Christmas and he is playing Bob Cratchit so he has to rehearse Monday evening. After Hiker woke me up to give her her breakfast around 6:30 am, we waited for Keith to get up and the 3 of use went for a hike at O'Melveny Park at Bee Canyon in Granada Hills. I had never hiked this area before so it was new to us. It was about 47° when we left the house, but it was a beautiful morning out and about. After we got home we had some waffles for breakfast and then went over to Smart & Final to pick up a few things I needed. We also sat out on the patio with Hiker for awhile. We played ball with her but she is reluctant to give up the ball so we can throw it. She wants us to chase her and that wears these two “old” folks out. Took Hiker to her class at PetSmart today. I was not very proud of her today because she would not do anything she was told. Usually she is the dog that catches on the fastest in class but today, she was just terrible. She would not listen to me, she kept hiding between my feet and hiding behind the seats in the room. Don't know if it's because she got tired from her hike this morning or if it was because we got her all crazy because we had been playing ball with her in the backyard before we went, but whatever it was, she “failed” today's class as far as I'm concerned. Next week is her “graduation” and then they are wanting us to sign up for the “Intermediate Training Class” but I do not have another $99 to spend on another class for her when she hasn't even learned what she was supposed to learn in the Beginner's Class. I guess I need to work with her more at home and be more aggressive with her. Thinking about heading over to the Social Security Office tomorrow morning. I have to change from getting Ben's SS to getting my SS in January, so I should start the process now plus I need to change my direct deposit account number with them before my next check comes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gray Sky Saturday

Woke up around 1:30 am to the sound of pouring rain and then Hiker decided she needed to go out into it and go potty. But at least I'm glad that she is now letting me know when she needs to go outside. After she came back in, she did not want to settle down. She kept wanting me to feed her or play with her. I finally got her to settle down for a little while, but she was back at it around 6:30 am. The rain had stopped so I finally got up, fed her and took her for a short 1 mile walk. Keith showed up at my door a little before 11:00 am. We went over to my bank to have Ben's name removed from my 2 joint accounts with him and let me tell you, it is not an easy process anymore. I remember when my dad died, I took my mom to her bank and they just took him off the accounts and put everything in her name with me as a secondary on the accounts, but now they have to delete the accounts and set up all new accounts. I did have to leave my joint checking account with him open until I can get my direct deposits changed to the new account plus they have to order some new checks for me at the bank. Then we went to lunch and Weinerschnitzel and then over to Sam's Club so I could get Keith a complimentary member's card on my account. We also stopped by Ashley Furniture to look at the chair and a half twin beds but they only have one right now that they are selling and it was $800.00. I've seen them cheaper elsewhere. We took Hiker for another walk. This time we did 2 miles. Hopefully it made her tired and she will sleep through the night. Just put a ham and some scalloped potatoes in the oven for dinner.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Mostly Gloomy Day But At Least I Got A Good Deal At Kohl's

I hope that I'm not saying this too soon but I think that Hiker is finally catching on to asking to go outside to go potty. Last night she barked at the sliding door and I let her out and she peed and this morning she woke me up and went to the sliding door and I let her out and she went pee and poop. I had a strange dream last night. I don't remember any of it, but I remember it being really weird and I woke up feeling weird. I must say that one thing having Hiker has really helped me with is my sleep. I no longer go to bed around 10:00 pm and not going to sleep until around 2:00 am. I now fall asleep on the sofa around 9:30 or so and go to bed, go right to sleep and don't wake up until Hiker wakes me up around 6:00 am. Went over to Kohl's and got a long-sleeved, ribbed t-shirt with my free $10 gift card. The shirt was on sale for $13.99 so it cost me just under $5 with tax. I was cloudy all day. Looked like it could rain at anytime. They say we might get some rain tonight but not as much as they thought was coming. Took Hiker on her second walk and it was sunny at first but then got gloomy. I am really looking forward to Keith coming up from Orange, CA for a few days. He'll be here tomorrow morning sometime. It will be nice to have someone here to have conversation with.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Week-end Is Near

I was waiting for my handyman (Daniel) to show up yesterday afternoon after he got off work from his regular job. I thought maybe he had forgotten that I asked him to come by when I ran into him the other day, but he and one of his guys showed up around 4:30 pm. The sun was already going down and I needed him to go up on the roof to check around my chimney. I have not used my fireplace in a long time, but I've noticed that when it rains that I hear a dripping sound on the fire box so I figured there must be a leak around the pipe chimney. Sure enough, he said there was some cracks around the flashing and some of the shingles had come loose, so he used roof cement to fix the cracks and to glue the shingles down. Thank goodness Ben and I found him about 2 years ago. He is really good and very honest. I asked him to walk around the roof and let me know how long he thought the roof would last me since it is about 20 years old. He said that he thought I probably have another 5 to 7 years on it. I trust him, so I believe him. Thank goodness he didn't say I needed a new roof soon. Maybe I can start putting some money away now and in 5 to 7 years, I'll have enough to get a new roof. I can have the crew here in our community do it. They won't charge as much as a regular roofing company. I also asked him about a broken lock on my dining room window and about that broke handle on my shower door. He said he'll get the parts and come back and fix them for me. This morning while out with Hiker for her walk, I felt that huge empty feeling in my chest where my heart used to be. That gnawing ache that hits you no matter where you are or who you are with. The one that makes you feel so empty and so lonely and causes the memories and tears to come. Then it sneaks away and hides, waiting to attack you again when least expected. Those of you who have lost your spouse know exactly what I am talking about. Went to Sam's Club and spent $112. Grocery prices keep going up. I did by some big items though. I still stock up on things like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. even though Ben is no longer here. It's cheaper for me to buy that kind of stuff in bulk because it does not go bad and it keeps me from having to go shopping more often. Around noon, it started getting very cloudy. They are saying we have a chance of rain this weekend. That will make my brother Keith happy because he loves stormy weather and he will be visit me for a few days starting Saturday. I sold my bicycle to a very nice Japanese lady today through Craig's List. She told me her husband just turned 65 and she was not able to afford a nice gift for him but saw my ad for the bicycle and she said it looked nice in the photo. Her husband still works and lives 2 miles from home so she wanted to give him the bicycle to ride to work. She said he needs the exercise. I'm glad it went to someone who will use it because I have not used it in over a year. I also threw in a bicycle helmet that I had at no extra cost because she was so thrilled about the bike and she was so nice. I called my dear friend Mary Lou Voils who lives in Virginia this afternoon. She said that it is very cold and rainy back there. It was good to talk to her. She and I have been friends for over 40 years and we never get to see each other since she moved to the east coast.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I Did Today

Much warmer this morning when I took Hiker for her morning walk. It was 50° instead of 30° like yesterday. The reason it was warmer is because we had some light Santa Ana Winds blowing. While walking home from the park this morning something made me very sad. There was a woman, probably in her 70's, in her night gown wandering around the park calling her dog's name (Sophie). The woman was crying and told me that she lives in my community and the gardeners came yesterday and left the gate open. The woman didn't know that so when she let Sophie out to potty this morning, Sophie took off. Someone had told the woman that they thought they saw Sophie in the park near the dry river bed, so the woman was down there looking for her little dog. I almost started crying with her. I know that I would be sick if that happened to Hiker. We called the dogs name but she never showed up. I just hope the coyotes don't get her. The woman said that Sophie is smaller than Hiker. Today is Ben's brother's birthday. Happy Birthday Lanny. Was busy all morning re-arranging the computer room/small bedroom so that I can get the chair bed soon. I need to start going though closets and drawers and eventually go through the garage and get everything clean and organized. Also think I got my 10-speed bicycle sold on Craig's List. I have a lady coming over tomorrow afternoon to look at it. I have not used it in over a year so I've decided to just get rid of it. Got up to about 70° today but didn't really feel that warm because it was pretty windy most of the day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another

30° here this morning when Hiker woke me up. She still is not used to the change in time because she keeps waking me up between 5:30 and 6:00 to feed her. I don't feed her until between 6:30 and 7:00, but her belly doesn't understand the time change. I didn't take her out right away for her walk because of the cold weather, so I made myself some Farina hot cereal and took her out after we both had our breakfast. Went less than a mile this morning because I had to get home and get ready to go to my grief group. Hiker was really excited to see me when I got home from group. Since I sold Ben's beer kegerator, I changed some stuff around. His kegerator sat in a nook next to the fireplace. Normally there would be shelves in that nook. Luckily we had put the shelves in the entry closet so I could put a couple of them back into the nook. I also moved my little refrigerator into the nook under the shelves. I keeps soft drinks in this little refrigerator. Now I'm going to move a few things around in the computer room/second bedroom so that I can buy the chair and a half that makes out into a bed for that room. Received a call about my land lease today that I hope does not cause me any problem. I get the feeling that the people who work at the main office that handles the lease of the land my manufactured home sits on are not too smart when it comes to the fact that California is a “community property” state. I don't think they understand the laws of “community property”.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Someone Got A Bath Today

It was really cold again when we got out of bed this morning. A couple of weeks ago I had added a blanket on my bed since I figured the hot weather was over. I was still cold. Guess it's because I don't have the warmth of Ben's body anymore. I put another blanket on Sunday and now I'm nice and toasty. I needed to go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart this morning so I didn't take Hiker out for her walk at 7:15 like she is used to. I took her in her crate in the back of the 4Runner with me to Wal-Mart. Figured she'd like that better than staying in her crate in the garage. When we got home, she was going crazy wanting to go for her walk, so after putting away the groceries, I had to take her out. We did 2 miles this morning. So today I gave Hiker her first bath. It was “interesting”. I bought a hand-held shower head to attached to my walk-in shower. Hiker did not enjoy her bath much, but she was pretty cooperative during most of it. She did get away from me a couple of times when I was trying to dry her off. She's all fluffy and soft now. I gave her some treats right after the bath and praised her to let her know she was good to let me bathe her. I think I ended up as soaked as her. I keep telling her how pretty she looks. Took her for another short walk this afternoon. She sure loves it when I take her out for her walks. I have never seen a dog that loves to go walking as much as she does. Saw my handy man while Hiker and I were out walking. I asked him to come by the house one day after he gets off work. I noticed that I hear water dripping on the fire box in my fireplace when it rains hard. I asked him if there could be a leak around the chimney and he said yes, so he is going to check it out. I'm also going to show him my shower door where the handle broke a few weeks ago and see if he can do something about it for me. I “Mickey Moused” it, but maybe he can fix it better. His uncle is my gardener. I need to ask his uncle how much he would charge me to thin out the tree in my backyard. I don't want it blowing over when we have our high winds. Ben never took care of these kinds of things but at least he would talk to people and get things done. Now I have to do that.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rainy Sunday

I woke up around 4:30 am to the sound of rain. Hiker jumped up on the bed and crawled under the covers so I guess she was cold. Her “belly clock” did not change with the regular clocks as we “fell back” to “standard time”. She wanted to get up at 6:00 am and have her breakfast because her belly was telling her it was 7:00. I finally got up at 6:30 and fed her. I hope her belly gets with the “real” time soon. She went out into the rain and pottied after she ate, then wanted me to take her for a walk. I told her “no walk” because I didn't want to go out into the rain and since she does not use her walks to go potty, there is really no need for the walk except for the fact that she just loves to walk. The sun came out around 9:30 so as I had promised Hiker, I took her out for a very short walk. Everything was so wet. Since she is not very “tall” her paw splash water and mud up onto her belly so when we got home, her bottom side was soaked. I sold Ben's beer kegerator today. The spot where it had sat for 18 years looks so empty now. Ben loved his beer. He had a kegerator 28 years of the 31 years we were married. I sold it to the son-in-law of our friends Karren and Wally. I never drank beer, so I was glad to sell it to someone I knew and who I knew would take care of it and enjoy it as much as Ben did. I shed a few tears about selling it. I'm thinking about start to move some furniture around in other rooms. I want to get one of those chair and a half chairs that makes out into a bed for my computer room, which is actually my second bedroom. I had thought about getting a futon for that room, but the chair will take up less room than a futon would. Hiker now thinks she has a new spot to play where Ben's kegerator was. Took Hiker to her #4 training class. Today we teaching them to come to us. This was the one I've been waiting for. The trainer told us that we should only work with them on this one about 3 times a week and only for about 5 or 10 minutes because the dogs will get bored and ignore us after that. There is only one more training class left to teach them “shake” and “high five”. The week after than they have graduation. It is already getting dark here but then it is cloudy so that makes it worse. I'm feeling lonely for Ben. Just had 3 loud claps of thunder and it started hailing really hard for about 15 minutes. It's all over the ground and all over the roofs of the houses in my neighborhood. Hiker was going crazy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Photo of My Android Cruz Tablet/Reader

This is the Android Cruz Tablet/Reader I bought today.

New "Toy" Saturday

It was 32° this morning when Hiker got me out of bed to take her for her morning walk. When it's that cold, I only do a mile with her because my fingers and toes start going numb (LOL). I went back over to Big Lots to check if they got any more of those tablet PCs in and they did! I got there about 5 minutes before they opened. There was already 2 couples in front of me at the door, then about 15 more people came up behind me. When they opened the door, they told us that if we were there to buy a tablet to get in line at the register in the order we were waiting at the door, so I was #3. I got the tablet and have it pretty much set up now. It is an Android Velocity Cruz Reader. I can download books to it like a Kindle and I can surf the web and check email too. I will bet that they sold out of them by the time I got home with all of those people there. Hiker is getting used to the gardener coming on Saturdays now. She still barks at him a little, but not like she did the first time. After I had lunch, I took her down to the park and she and I walked around the dry riverbed a little. She saw a snowy egret standing in the riverbed and she sat down and just watched it. It finally took off and she watched it fly away. She is so curious about everything when I take her out. When we got back home, I did some of the “homework” with her for her class. She will do it until she gets bored and then I just have to give up because she gets stubborn and won't work anymore. I have to remember to change my clocks before I go to bed. Ben was always so good about reminding me to do that twice a year. Also changed the batteries in my smoke detectors.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Used To Like Rainy Days. I Don't Anymore.

I had a short dream about Ben last night. He was not very clear in the dream. It seems we were at a mall somewhere and a bunch of protestors came marching and into the mall. Ben said we'd better get out of there so we headed for the parking lot. He went ahead of me, which was strange because I always walked faster than him. By the time I got to where the car was supposed to be parked, he and the car were gone and I was standing there all alone, then I woke up. I'm thinking his "going ahead of me" and the fact that he left me alone in the parking lot represented his dying before me and me being left alone. That is the first time I've dreamed about him since about a week after he died and he's been gone almost 5 months now. We had a rain super cell go though here between 4:00 am and 6:00 am this morning. It was pouring off and on during those 2 hours and Hiker didn't know what to think. She got under the covers next to me. By 7:00 it had stopped, so I took Hiker for a short 1 mile walk. When we got home, her belly and feet were sopping wet but she loved me drying her off with the towel. I went over to Big Lots because they were supposed to have a 7” tablet PC on sale. Today was supposed to be the first day on sale for their Big Lots Club Members and tomorrow is the day they are supposed to be on sale for the rest of the public. Well I got there as soon as they opened this morning and they told me they were all sold out already. I think the employees buy them up before they even put them out for anyone else. Hiker wanted to go for another walk in the afternoon, but it started raining again and was getting cold. I even had to turn my heater on. Went out onto the patio with Hiker this afternoon. The sun was peeking out from behind the clouds. Thoughts of Ben flashed through my mind and I cried for about 10 minutes. When I do that, I feel so empty and so helpless. I still cannot believe that Ben is really gone.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More Memories Flood My Mind

It seems that memories of Ben are flooding back into my mind a lot more lately. I'm guessing it is because the holidays are coming. Not that Ben and I really did the “traditional” things for the holidays, but at least we spent them together. Thanksgiving was usually just having a boneless turkey roast in the crock pot with some scalloped potatoes. Christmas, we would string lights outside, put up an artificial tree inside, hang a couple of stockings and I'd take a photo of the two of us and make homemade cards to send out. Ben and I stopped doing the gift thing years ago as we bought everything we wanted or needed throughout the year. I'd make fudge and other goodies for Ben as he loved his sweets. There were a few years that we had a “tradition” of going up to Ferndale, CA (our favorite place) at Christmas. Lately I've noticed that while I'm out walking Hiker, a memory of our vacations to Ferndale will pop into my mind and the tears will start to flow. It also seems that I will remember something Ben said or did, like this morning, I turned on the overhead light in the bedroom. I thought “gee the room looks a little dim”, but then it got brighter. I have the compact fluorescent bulbs in there and I remember how Ben had once commented on the fact that when you first turn them on, they are dim but then the brighten up after a minute or so. Again the tears filled my eyes. About a month ago, I thought I was doing much better and not crying as much. I would go 2 or 3 days without a tear, but now it seems that every day, something makes me cry. Hiker sure does not let me sleep in at all. She always wakes me up around 6:00 am but I won't get up and feed her until 7:00 and then we go for our morning walk. This morning it was only 38° when we went out. They are saying we might get some rain tonight. I put the winter cover over my A/C unit after we got back home. I don't think I'll need to use it anymore this year. Got my renewals for my homeowner's insurance and my earthquake insurance today. Thank goodness Ben and I changed to a different company last December for our insurance. We originally had All State and we were paying a fortune for our insurance. We talked to our agent and he found out that All State had been charging us for a “regular” house instead of a manufacture home, so he switched us to a company that ONLY covers manufactured homes and cut out premiums almost in half. Took Hiker for another walk. This time we only did a mile. Think I'll have a Marie Calendar Chicken Pot Pie for dinner. It's starting to get windy again.

Below is a photo of Ben on Main Street in Ferndale, CA on one of our Christmas trips there.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good Day With Good Friends

The Santa Ana Winds howled all night and Hiker did not know what to think of them. She kept hearing it and she'd look all around trying to figure out where the noise was coming from. She woke me up around 3:30 am, so I put her out to go potty, but she was afraid of the wind, so I guess she has never known wind like that before. She peed on the carpet again this morning. Don't know if it was because she was upset by the wind or because she knew that I was going to put her out in the garage while I went to lunch with Ben's buddy Ed and my friend Linda. Ed got her just before 11:00 am and Linda got here a little after that. We went to Round Table Pizza and had their lunch buffet and talked about Ben and several other subjects. Came back to my house and Ed and Linda took some photos of Hiker. The wind never seemed to stop today. I don't know how many times I had to go out a put my trash cans upright. Today was trash day and I had them out by the curb. Hiker was very popular today, not only did Ed come to meet her for the first time, my friends Judy and Elaine came by late this afternoon to meet her too. Judy brought Hiker a rubber bone. Thank you “Aunt Judy”. After Judy and Elaine left, I took Hiker out for another short walk because she needed to burn off some energy.

Hiker Gone Wild

Hiker & Blue Toy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Tuesday...Another Grief Group Meeting

I sure wish the damn tears would stop already. Last evening I just kept crying and Hiker had no idea what to do for me. I feel like I'm getting dehydrated from all of the tears. I seem to be crying more in the past week or two than I have in the past month. I also wish that Hiker would stop peeing on the carpet. She had two accidents yesterday. One of them may have been because she was so upset about the trick or treaters. I do not give out candy anymore, but she was going crazy last night because of all of the noise outside. I went to my grief support group this morning. All of the regulars were there. When I got home, Hiker was excited to see me because she had been in the garage alone for 3 hours. Took her for an afternoon walk since I didn't taker her out for very long this morning. When I got her home, I took her collar off for awhile because I noticed that she scratches around the collar a lot. I'm guessing that having it around her neck all of the time could be irritating. I've been reading up on Hiker's breed and I found that “Australian Cattle Dog” is a generic. She is more known as a “Queensland Heeler” and that her breed is a mixture of cattle dog and dingo. Dingoes are free-roaming wild dogs in Australia. Her breed is known to be very intelligent and very independent. They form a strong attachment with their owners and can be protective of them and their possessions, which is good for me.