Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I'm Sick Of Being Sick

Each day I seem to feel worse instead of better. Not sleeping well so that doesn't help, and I'm not hungry but I've been forcing myself to eat because I know I need to. I really feel so bad for Hiker because she wants to go out walking so bad. Last night she was a “wild dog” because she has not been able to burn her energy off. I got brave and got out of bead around 8:30 am, got dressed, put Hiker in the car and drove over to the Kaiser Pharmacy to pick up my B/P prescriptions and then stopped by Wal-Mart on the way home to pick up some cough syrup, aspirin and a decongestant. Felt like crap the entire time I was out. Ran into my friend Sandi Owens coming out of Kaiser. She had been there for her physical therapy. Thought it was very strange...when I got to the pharmacy, there was no one there but me and the pharmacy workers. After I got home, I saw an email from Linda telling me that she could drive me over to the pharmacy while she was out running errands, but by that time, I'd already been there and back. Usually I have to wait in a line. I don't have an appetite, but I've been making myself eat.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Still Under The Weather

Actually felt worse when I woke up this morning than I did when I woke up yesterday morning. Have not slept very well for two nights now because of coughing and stuffy nose. It was 32° this morning when I let Hiker out to go potty. Yesterday Hiker was bouncing off the walls because I could not take her for a walk so I'm sure she will be the same today. I really wish there was some way she could understand. She kept looking at me and barking at me. Mostly just laid around on the sofa all day watching TV and checking the Facebook. Hiker went out into the backyard a few times but she mostly just laid in the sun or on the steps next to the sliding door. She played with her toys for a little while inside too. But I can tell how much she misses going out for her walks. My brother Ron emailed me that he had a “head cold” with the same symptoms I'm having about 2 weeks ago and everyone where he worked had it. He said it took 2 weeks to get totally over it. I sure hope it doesn't take me that long to get well. I took Linda's suggestion and went out on my patio and sat in the sun for awhile. Hiker kept wanting me to play ball with her and I tried, but I was getting warn out and started coughing so had to stop and come back inside. So all I've done all day was watch TV, check my email and Facebook and work my jigsaw puzzle. I doubt I'll go to my grief support group tomorrow. I would not want to infect anyone with whatever it is I have. But I do hope that I'm feeling better so I can at least take Hiker out for a walk tomorrow.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sick Sunday

Woke up not feeling well this morning. When I went to bed last night I noticed I was getting a sore throat then during the night I was having a stuffy nose and had trouble breathing. This morning I still had the sore throat, stuffy nose and also had headache watery eyes and was coughing a little. It felt like a head cold but I have not been around anyone who had a cold. I was with that hiking group, but I didn't come into physical contact with any of them and colds are usually passed through physical contact. I've been wondering if maybe it's an allergic reaction or sinus infection from hiking in the mountains in the wind yesterday. Maybe I inhaled some pollen or something. Hiker knew I was sick. She kept lying next to me with her chin on my leg and looking up at me. Sometimes she whimpers at me too. She just could not understand why I didn't take her out for any walks today and I felt bad about that. It was another beautiful day in the high-70's and I would have loved to have gotten outside with Hiker, but I just did not feel up to it. Watched an old movie on Turner Classic Movies...”The Thrill Of It All” with Doris Day and James Garner. Sometimes it's fun to watch those old movies.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Beautiful Day...Beautiful Hike

Since weekends have always been harder for me than week days, I tried to stay really busy today. Hiker and I went for a 1 mile walk first thing after we got out of bed and then we headed over to the car wash, got the 4Runner washed and stopped by the gas station to fill it up. I noticed that gas went up 8¢ just since Thursday when I filled the Corolla. Came back home and mopped my laundry room, kitchen, small bathroom and entry. Made lunch and started to watch a movie on TV but it was so pretty outside (75°, sunny and windy) that I just didn't want to stay in the house. After the gardener finished mowing, I put Hiker in the car and we headed over to Towsley Canyon and hiked up to The Narrows and back. A total of 3.2 miles. I took some photographs as the afternoon shadows make things look different there than it does in the early morning when we usually go hiking. I think I pooped Hiker out because once we got home, she curled up on the sofa next to me and went to sleep. So it was a pretty nice day.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our First Hike With A Group...Well Sort Of

Linda emailed me that she had heard of a walking/hiking group that met every Friday morning over at William S. Hart Park. She wanted to check them out and go for the hike they were doing in the park. We heard there were 4 dirt trails in the canyons behind the park. I packed up Hiker and picked Linda up around 8:30 and we headed over there. The meet up was supposed to be at 9:00 but several people didn't show up until around 9:15 or later and then instead of starting right off on the hike, they did warm-up stretches which Linda and I never do. Hiker was raring to go and was getting impatient waiting for them to start the hike. We finally headed out for what is known as the Bison Road. We left the park and headed over to Market Street which is where the Senior Center is located. We walked through the Center's parking lot, through a gate and up a dirt trail that climbed up the hill. Linda, Hiker and I usually do more level trails so this one was a little hard on us. Linda was really getting winded so Hiker and I lagged back to stay with her while the rest of the group, which was about 10 or 12 people, sped up the hill. They were probably at least a quarter of a mile ahead of us the entire time, but every now and then they'd yell down to us from where the could see us from a higher level on the trail. Linda and I like to stop and take photographs and this group of people mainly go out for the hike, not to enjoy the scenery as Linda and I do. There were some really nice views from the trail of the Santa Clarita Valley. It was very cloudy while we were out on the trail but not really cold. By the time we got back to the park, we found 3 of the group members sitting at a picnic table waiting to make sure we got there safely. It was a 2 1/2 mile walk and took us just a little over an hour, so we did pretty good. When I got home, I ran a load of laundry, had lunch, watched my soap and then headed over to Food-4-Less to pick up some produce as I had completely ran out of salad fixings. By late afternoon, the wind had come up and had blown away all of the clouds. It was so pretty out that I took Hiker down to the local park for a few minutes. All in all it was a pretty good day.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bad Dream And Where's Hiker?

Had a dream about Ben last night and it was not a good one. The dream seemed to start in the middle. Ben was at some kind of hospital or clinic and they were running tests on him and he had needles in his arms where they were giving him something intravenously. He was being his usual self telling me to get him out of there and take him home and saying that the doctors didn't know what they were doing. I remember a young female doctor came and took me out of the room and told me Ben had a leaky valve or ruptured artery or something like that (the dream as not very clear) and she told me that Ben was not going to live. I kept thinking “oh no, I'm losing him all over again” and “how am I going to tell him?” because in the dream Ben was awake and knew what was going on whereas in real life when they told me he was not going to live, he was in kind of a coma and had no clue what was going on. I remember in the dream I was trying to call Ben's brother Lanny but my cell phone battery was dead. I was feeling so helpless and then Hiker woke me up because she needed to go outside. Needless to say, not a fun way to start my day. I glad she woke me up when she did. Took Hiker out for a 1.5 mile walk and then came back home and waited until 10:00 am when Sam's Club opens so I could go up and buy some things. Cannot believe that January is almost over. Is it just me or does January always seem to be the month of the year that goes by the fastest? Took Hiker with me to Sam's Club and had a little scare when I came back out to the car with my groceries. I put the groceries in the trunk. Usually Hiker will raise up out of the seat and watch me but I didn't see her. Then when I went to unlock the door, I didn't see her in the car and I'm thinking “I didn't leave the windows open enough for her to get out” or I'm also thinking “Oh God, someone reached in through the window, unlocked the door and took her”. When I opened the door, she was on the floor under the steering wheel. Scared the heck out of me and I started hugging her and she licked me. Took Hiker for an afternoon walk because it was so pretty outside. 82° and totally clear. We walked out into the middle of the dry riverbed. Hiker just loves to explore out there. Have a small beef roast stewing in the crock pot for Hiker and me. I need to figure out what I'm going to have with it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Great Lunch Out With The Girls

Today I met with several of my retired from Lockheed girlfriends for lunch at the Sizzler in Palmdale, CA. Linda went with me. I decided to experiment by letting Hiker stay in the house today while I was gone. As usual, Hiker seemed to know this morning that I was going somewhere and leaving her alone. I try to do everything “normal” each morning so she won't suspect, but she is just too damn smart for me. Linda came by around 10:30 am and we headed up to the Jack-In-The-Box parking lot to pick up our friends Lynn Toler and Judy Arbogast, then headed up the freeway to Palmdale. Everyone showed up. There was 10 of us and as usual, we all had a good time. My friend Suzi Blagg, who just retired in December was there and it was so good to see her and catch up. She and I used to be “cubie mates” the last 5 years I was at Lockheed. Also in attendance was Judy Holdt, Gail Plessner, Marce Smith, Kay Limpus, and Jacki Sanderson. Thought I'd mention their names for any Lockheed people who read this email. As I said...I decided to experiment with leaving Hiker alone in the house while I was gone and SUCCESS! She was a very good girl. No accidents and nothing “destroyed”. We were gone for about 3 hours and 15 minutes, so I guess I can start leaving her in the house more now when I have to go place where I cannot take her with me. GOOD GIRL HIKER! After Linda left, I took Hiker down to the park for a short walk. It got up to 80° here today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life Goes On

Cold again this morning when we woke up, but no rain. Took Hiker for a short 1 mile walk. I swear that dog has a calendar and a wrist watch. She somehow knows what day it is. I have my Grief Support Group today and she just seems to know that she will be spending a lot of the day in the garage while I'm at group and out to lunch after with my friend DeDee. At least I have a nice sized rug, blankets, bed and of course water for Hiker out there. I wish I felt like I could trust her enough to stay in the house while I'm gone, but I'm still so afraid that she'll have an accident while I'm gone. Had an emotionally rough morning. I know that I am going through my grieving process as I should be, but I've come to a place in time where once again I'm feeling like I am just going through the motions of living. I try to fill my time with Hiker and my friends, or by doing things around home like watching TV, being on the computer, working jigsaw puzzles, etc. But I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. There were times I felt like that when Ben was alive, but at least I had him and he had a way of bringing me out of that feeling. I know that this is all part of the grieving, but sometimes, it is so hard to accept, especially when I know that this is how the rest of my life will be. A lot of people at the grief group today. Sometimes I think we have better meetings where we have less people. Too many times when there are a lot of people, members will start talking between themselves instead of sharing with the entire group and their conversations disrupt the rest of what's going on. I like it when there is only about 6 or us there actually. DeDee and I had a nice lunch. We always find so much to talk about. When I got home, I took Hiker for another short walk down in the riverbed. She was so happy to see me when I got home.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Rain Came & Went

Was raining when Hiker woke me up this morning around 6:00 am. Had a bunch of dreams again last night, but did not remember any of them this morning. Went to Wal-Mart right after breakfast to pick up a few groceries that I was running out of. While there, I bought Hiker a new chew bone and a new squeaky toy. As soon as we got home I took them out of the bag and gave them to her. She grabbed the squeaky toy (we have named Rainbow) and she started running all over the house with it. We name her toys because she knows which ones are which. Most people do not believe that until I prove it to them by telling her which toy to get out of the pile and she always gets the correct one. Since it was raining, I did not take her for a morning walk but the sun came out in the early afternoon so she and I headed for the park. Luckily I took an umbrella because it started to rain on us and we had to hurry back home. It reminded me of when Ben was alive. He always knew where I was going for my walks. He insisted on knowing because he always worried about me. There were times that I would go out for a walk and he'd tell me “you are going to get rained on” and I'd say, “that's OK, I have an umbrella”, but when the rain would start, he'd jump in the car and come looking for me. I'm so lucky to have been loved like that.

Another New Toy For Hiker

Bought Hiker another new toy while I was over at WalMart this morning. As soon as we got home and I took it out of the bag, she grabbed it and started running all over the house with it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunny Sunday

Was very tired this morning when I woke up. Don't know if it was from cleaning out the closet yesterday or from crying all day yesterday. I went to bed before 9:00 pm last night. Had weird dreams all night long. I don't really remember much about the dreams except that I remember Betty White was in one and Tim Allen was in another one. Don't remember much about the one with Betty White but I remember that in the one with Tim Allen, he kept telling me there was something wrong with my car and he could tell from the sound of the engine. Strange. Went to get my lottery tickets and then drove Hiker over to our Central Park in Saugus for a 1.5 mile walk. They have a dog park there, so there are always a lot of different dogs running around. I don't let Hiker loose in the dog park because I'm afraid she would not come back if I let her off the leash. Talked with a young man who was walking his cattle dog. She was mostly Border Collie. He asked me about Hiker, if she was a cattle dog. We talked for a few minutes about how smart they are. He said his had learned how to get into the locked doggie treat cabinet. The weather was beautiful this afternoon, so I took Hiker out for another 1.5 mile walk. I sure get a lot of exercise with her. She's not your typical dog who stops and sniffs everything. She keeps right up walking with me and very rarely stops.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's Been A Rough Saturday

I've had people tell me that I've really seemed to “improve” the last month or so with my grief. They don't see me at home in the evenings. I don't mention it as much now in my daily journal, but I cry some every single day. I don't have as many grief attacks that make me sob and wail like I did before, though now and then one of those episodes does still hit me. Now it seems that more and more memories are coming back to me and I'll cry for maybe 5 minutes and then I'll go back to whatever I was doing. But those memories and tears seem to come several times a day now and today has been one of those days. Sometimes I'll remember something Ben said or did and it will make me smile or even chuckle a little, but then the tears flow a little too. He was one of a kind, my Ben. Was raining when Hiker and I woke up this morning. Went through everything in the computer room closet. Put a lot of stuff out for Goodwill and tossed some old boxes. You never know how much you are accumulating until you start going through things. I keep running out of room in the trash bins, so I have to stop so I'll have enough room for the regular trash. There was a break in the rain, so I took Hiker down to the park for a few minutes. I knew she wanted to get out for a walk. By noon, the sun was out and it was really bright. Not much of a rainstorm if you ask me. They kept saying we'd get about 1/2” to 1” but I'll bet we didn't get that much. Don't know why today has been such a bad day for me. I had tears this morning some but this afternoon, I've really been having a hard time. I took Hiker for an afternoon walk and the entire 20 minutes we were out I cried. I remembered a day during Ben's last few weeks at the hospital. They had taken him off of the respirator and he was having a lot of trouble breathing. He had made the comment to me that he wished he had more air to breath, but I think Kaiser was hoping if they removed him from the respirator that he'd die and they would no longer have to keep paying for him because by now, they were 100% responsible for paying his hospital bills. Before I went home, I kissed him and gave him a hug and told him that he was my life. He kissed my cheek and whispered “you're my life too” into my ear. I looked into his eyes and told him I loved him and he said “I love you too”. For some reason, this memory came to be today and I have been crying about it almost all day. I was also going through some old bills from last year to shred them. I started thinking that last year at this time, Ben was alive and getting ready to go for his colonoscopy in February. I remember him telling everyone that “the preparation is the worst part”. Oh how I wish that had been the truth in his case. Hiker has been hovering all over me today kissing away my tears.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stayed Busy Today

Took Hiker for her morning walk. It was 35° and clear. Decided to try to get back out to the garage again today to do a little cleaning. Worked out there for about 2 hours and actually put the 4Runner in there today. It barely fits. I didn't realize it was that big, but then I do have a fridge and a upright freezer in my garage that take up room and I have shelving units all around the walls. I only have one more area to clean up out there now and that is the shelving unit next to the door that comes into the house. It is going to be hard for me to go through this unit because it contains a lot of things that were Ben's. His old electric drill, his circular saw, his jig saw, his old tool boxes, etc. I'm not going to get rid of any of them because I may need them once in awhile plus they are very sentimental to me, but I'm still going to have to move them around to go through the other things that are on the shelves. My body is now a little sore from all of the work. My calf muscles were already a little sore this morning when I woke up from the 4-mile hike Linda and I took Hiker on last Wednesday and then from walking around the zoo Thursday with Lynn. But as usual, I took Hiker out for a second walk this afternoon. This time we walked a mile and a half. Figured I'd better take her out as much as I can because if we do get the rain they are predicting this weekend, she won't be able to have her walks.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zoo Photos

If you'd like to see the photos I took at the Los Angeles Zoo today, here is the link to my photo sharing site:

Zoo Photos

A Day At The Zoo

It was 30° here this morning. My hike yesterday must have really tired me out. I went to bed at 9:00 pm last night and didn't wake up all night even to go to the bathroom. I usually wake up to do that at least once during the night. Well, a few nights ago I had a dream about a sheriff with a baby bear and the mother bear swiping the sheriff across the face with its claws. Last night I had a dream that Ben and I were driving down the 210 Freeway and we saw something falling from an airplane then realized it was a body and it slammed onto the freeway right next to us. What is with these strange dreams I am having? What's strange is that the body hitting the pavement was very clear in my dream but Ben was very blurry, like he was there but then he really wasn't. Before Linda showed up this morning for us to go to the Los Angeles Zoo, I found myself thinking I had to call Ben at work to tell him I was leaving to go over there. I had not had that feeling that I needed to call him like that for several months. It made me cry. Got back from the zoo around 2:00 pm. Felt so bad for Hiker because I left her alone in the garage for 5 hours. She was so excited to see me when I let her in. Had a nice time with Linda and Lynn and want to thank Lynn for being such a gracious guide. You can really tell she loves what she does at the zoo and she knows so much about all of the animals.
Lynn, Linda & Me

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Take A Hike!

Was 26° when I let Hiker out to potty this morning around 5:30 am. We stayed in bed until after 7:00 waiting for the house to get warm. Linda sent me a Facebook message last night asking if we could go for a local hike this morning so I didn't take Hiker for a morning walk because Linda got here around 9:00 am and the three of us headed over to Placerita Canyon. It was very cold when we got there. There was frost all over everything. We hiked from the Nature Center parking lot all the way to the Walker Ranch area and back...4 miles in total. It had warmed up by the time we got back to the car. Hike was tired when she got done hiking. She fell asleep in the back sleep and when we got home, she crashed on the sofa all afternoon. Tomorrow Linda and I are heading over to the Los Angeles Zoo to meet our friend Lynn who is a docent there. Lynn wanted to treat Linda to a private Zoo Tour because of how much Linda was there for me when Ben was in the hospital and then again right after he passed away. You know...It's been a little over 7 months since Ben died and I'm still "waiting for him to come home from the hospital". I know he's really gone, but that feeling still remains.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Birthday!

Well today was my 62nd birthday. When I took Hiker out for her 1 mile morning walk, it was only 28°. Saw a couple of homeless people all bundled up under blankets on a bench in the park. I'm guessing they were there all night. Once again I think Hiker knew that I was going to leave her alone in the garage for several hours. She was at my heels all morning. I kept turning around and almost tripping over her. Went to my grief group at the Senior Center this morning and then my friend DeDee and I met our friend Linda at Mimi's Cafe and they treated me to lunch. Had a really nice time. We ordered a dessert to share. It was a triple fudge brownie with vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. Yummy! Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes. Love you all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Good Check-up

Hiker always seems to know when I'm going somewhere that she cannot go with me. She hates being left alone. This morning I had to go to my doctor for my annual checkup and she seemed to know something was up. I took her out for a short 1 mile walk this morning. It was cold and cloudy out. It actually looked more like it could rain today than it looked yesterday when they said we'd get rain but the rain never came. My annual physical went well. Doctor was pleased with everything except my cholesterol but he knows my problem is genetic and that I cannot take the statin drugs to lower it. He made some suggestions of things I can get over-the-counter, but I've tried a couple of them and they do not help me before so I doubt they would help me now . He was OK with me not wanting to do the colonoscopy. He gave me a stool test kit instead. Won't get my PAP results for about 10 days but he said everything seemed OK. I'm due for my mammo before the end of the year, but other than that, I'm done for now. By noon it was still very cloudy and cool outside...only 50°. Took Hiker over to the Southfork Trail this afternoon for a 2 mile walk. Still partly cloudy and cool out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cloudy Day - Feeling A Little Down

When I got up to feed Hiker and let her out to go potty this morning, it was still very dark outside. Must have been cloudy. They kept saying we “might” get some drizzle today but they are also saying that we may actually get a good rain storm this coming Friday and Saturday. We really do need some rain. January is usually out wettest month and we have not had a drop. I've been feeling “depressed” this weekend. I still think it has to do with the fact that I have to go to the doctor Monday morning. I really dread going but cannot get my blood pressure medication renewed until I see him. Today, Ben has been gone for 7 months, that is if you go by dates instead of actual days. Can't believe that's it's been over half a year. But then with the time he was in the hospital, he's been gone from home for 11 months. Took Hiker out for a short walk this morning because I needed to get back and do some laundry, vacuum the carpets and run over to the market. Also ran my dishwasher. That I do only about once a month now since I wash most of my dishes in the sink right after I use them. I learned a couple of good hints from people in my grief support group. The first was to make sure I use both of my bathrooms. After Ben died, I cleaned the bathroom he used the most and then I didn't go in there much. It was only being used if I had visitors, but Ernie at my group told me that he did the same thing with his wife's bathroom after she died. Then he had plumbing problems because he was not flushing the toilet in that room and he had to hire a plumber and it cost a lot to get it fixed. So now I try to use that bathroom equally as I do the master bathroom. The other thing I learned from my friend DeDee, she told me to run my dishwasher. She wasn't running hers and she had problems with it. I guess the lining in it starts to rot if you don't use it and it will start to leak, so I try to run it every now and then too. Spent most of the day working my latest jigsaw puzzle and watching movies on The Hallmark Channel. Never did get any rain. In fact the sun was out most of the time today. Took Hiker out for an afternoon walk. It was cloudy and cool and there was no one else out walking.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lay-back Saturday

Was having a very strange and very short dream just before I woke up this morning. I was dreaming that I was at a shopping center. I heard people saying “did he catch it”? When I went to look there was a sheriff holding a baby bear in the parking lot when suddenly the mother bear came up behind him and swiped him across the head with her claws and then I woke up. What the heck was THAT all about? Hiker and I went for our usual 1.5 mile walk this morning. I ran over to the bank to cash a couple of checks that I got from my online surveys. I don't get a lot of money from them, but it's nice to have a little extra cash now and then. I've been working jigsaw puzzles lately. Got a good deal on some over at Wal-Mart last month. They had a box of 10 puzzles for $15 which I thought was a really good deal since I paid $6 for one puzzle at Toy-R-Us. For some reason, Hiker was very playful all day. I mean she is playful most of the time, but today she was more playful than normal. I'm feeling a little down this weekend. I think it might be because I have my annual checkup with my doctor on Monday morning. I have always hated going to the doctor and since Ben died, it seems like I hate it even more. Was cloudy off and on all day. Hope I feel a little more “alive” tomorrow (Sunday). I need to vacuum the house, which I had planned to do today, but just was not in the mood.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo-Op Day

Why does my bed always feel so good in the morning? Sometimes I almost think I could just lay in it all day (LOL). Hiker and I went for a 1.5 mile walk this morning before breakfast. Was beautiful outside. Linda came by a little after 11:00 am and we (Hiker too) headed up to Agua Dulce to “Bullwinkle’s” which is a specialty shop. They want to sell her totes that she makes from recycle plastic grocery bags in their shop so she took a bunch of totes up there. After she negotiated with them, we went next door to the “Sweetwater Cafe” for lunch. Small town cafe with really good food. We then decided that since we were only a couple of miles from Vasquez Rocks County Park and the fact the it was such a pretty day that we'd go over there and walk around and take some photographs. Hiker loves wandering around up there. She gets so excited that she can get out and explore things. We spent about an hour or so just wandering around. Went into an area where we'd never really photographed before. Had a really nice time. When we do things like that, it really wears Hiker out. She just stretches out in the backseat of the car on the way home and then when I get her into the house, she falls asleep on the sofa. Now I need to watch my soap that I recorded and think about what to make for dinner later.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Relaxing Day

Just did not want to get out of bed this morning. The bed felt so good. Last night I started getting sleeping around 9:00 pm so Hiker and I went to bed and fell right to sleep. Had a couple of strange dreams that I could not remember anything about when I woke up. Had breakfast and then Hiker and I headed over to Wal-Mart to get a few groceries. The store was very empty this morning. After we got back home and I put the groceries away, I took Hiker out for a 2.22 mile walk. I get so bored walking in the same area every day so I drove over to the little parking lot behind the CVS Pharmacy and walked on the paved city trail that runs between Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway. I've noticed that ever since that day that those boys scared Hiker making all of that noise on their skateboards that she is very skittish when we go walking. She is constantly looking behind us and gets very nervous when bicycles go by. She used to never be afraid of the bicycles. Today a woman and a little girl rode by on their bikes and Hiker got so frightened, her bladder let go. I hope she gets over it soon. I had thought about getting back out in the garage and cleaning some more then decided against it because my trash bin and recycle bin are almost full from the stuff I put in them from the other day when I was cleaning. Got a nice comment from an online friend today. She had looked at some of the photos I have of Ben posted at some of my photo sharing sites. She said “Ben smiled with his eyes”. I thought that was such a wonderful comment. He really did smile with his eyes. I always saw so much love in those eyes. It was such a beautiful day out today that Hiker and I went out and wandered around in the dry riverbed for awhile this afternoon. Was about 75°.

Hiker enjoying the view

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Not Much To Report Today

Was about 36° and a little overcast this morning when Hiker and I went out for our walk. Linda was supposed to come today and we were going to work on the memory pillow we are going to make from Ben's shirts and then go to lunch, but Linda texted and said she was not feeling very well. I thought about going out and doing more cleaning in the garage, but just was not in the mood. Maybe tomorrow. Played a little ball with Hiker, watched my soap (Young & Restless) and ate my lunch, then headed over to Sam's Club. Felt like a wasted day today, maybe I'll do better tomorrow.

Don't touch my tennis ball!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Typical Tuesday

Hiker did something funny last night. When I was dating Ben, he opened a new bank account with Crocker Bank. At the time, if you opened a new account, they gave you a stuffed Teddy Bear named “Sunny”. After we got married, Ben stuffed it into a box with some other things and it was out in our garage after we moved here. While I was going through things in the garage yesterday, I came across “Sunny Bear” so I took him into the house and put him on my bed. Hiker had not been into the bedroom all day, but after I had dinner, she wandered down there and all of a sudden she started barking. I went to see what was wrong and she was barking at “Sunny Bear” because she didn't know who or what he was. The hair on the back of her neck was standing up. I remember the first day I brought Hiker home, I had a carved redwood bear on the hearth of the fireplace and she did the same thing with it. Guess she doesn't like bears (LOL). Went to my grief support group this morning. My friend DeDee was there to. Seems that each week we are getting more and more people. We are going to need a bigger room soon if that keeps up. Today we discussed how we all try to have a few good laughs when we are at Group. We are not one of those sad depressing grief groups. We do discuss things about our grief, but we also try to have fun and enjoy each other's company. After Group, DeDee and I drove over to the pizza parlor and met Linda for lunch. I'm starting to get burned out on the pizza buffet. Need to try to find somewhere else to go now and then. When I got home, Hiker jumped all over me with excitement. She just hates being left alone. She was in the garage for 4.5 hours today. I took her right out for a 1 miles walk. I feel bad about leaving her alone, but I do have to go places where it is impossible for me to take her now and then. Got up to almost 80° here today.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Someone Got A Bath Today...I Wonder Who?

After our morning walk, Hiker and I had our breakfast and then I went back out into the garage and started tossing some things and cleaning some things up. So far I have not come across anything else that made me cry. Sometimes it's hard to figure out where to put things on the shelves. I'll probably end up moving some things around again once I've gone through everything. Worked out there for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Started to run out of room in the trash bins so gave up for the day. Decided it was time to give Hiker a bath. She HATES taking a bath, but she got one anyway. She sure is shedding a lot. Was a beautiful day out today. Got up to about 78°. Took Hiker out for an afternoon walk because the weather was so beautiful. We were heading back home when these 3 teenage boys came down the path on skateboards. They were going pretty fast and they went across the bridge that goes over the wash and when they hit a metal plate, it made a really loud noise. Well it scared the heck out of Hiker. She leaped up into the air as if she was jumping out of the way and if she had not been on her leash, I'm sure she would have taken off running and not come back. I'm thinking that maybe when she was a stray, wandering around, that maybe a car almost hit her or something and that stayed in her memory. When she heard that noise, it brought back that memory and scared her. Since we've been home, she has been following me around closer than normal.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Felt Sad Today

I still cannot get over how dark it still is around 7:00 am when I get up each morning, plus the crazy weather everyone is having. Seems where it should be snowing that it's not, where it should be raining, it's not. And SoCal is having 80-90 degree temps in January. I'm really beginning to think my brother Ron is right about the earthquake in Japan last year tilting the Earth's axis enough to mess up everything. I've researched a little bit online about it and they claim that the tilting of the axis can cause an “ice age”, like when the big asteroid hit the Earth and caused the death of the dinosaurs. Maybe the Mayans were right??? Anyway, it was very windy again here in SoCal today. We are under a “red flag warning” which means there is a chance of wild fires because of the dryness. Hiker and I went out for a short walk this morning but it was just too windy to stay out too long. While out walking I was thinking of how much I miss every day “human conversation”. Only someone who lives alone can totally understand this. There are some days I do not speak to another living human. Hiker listens to me, but she cannot answer back. I was also thinking about how I wish I could get back to enjoying shopping like I used to. When Ben was alive, I'd head over to Wal-Mart or Target or Kmart a couple of times a month and just wander all around the store looking at everything. Sometimes I didn't buy anything, but it was fun for me just to go and enjoy an hour or two of “me time” just looking at things. I also used to love to go grocery shopping. I know I've mentioned this before, but Ben and I used to go grocery shopping together and he made it fun for me. When my back was turned, he'd “sneak” something into the grocery cart and when we got to the check out I'd see it and he'd look at me with that cute “little boy” smile of his. Funny how we don't think about these things until we don't have them anymore. Today I sold Ben's and my pool table. Our good friend's son-in-law bought it from me so at least I know they will take care of it and enjoy it. For those of you who told me I should keep Ben's pool cue, you will be happy to know that I decided to keep it. So now I need to clean the garage and rearrange things to I can put the 4Runner in there. I decided after lunch to go out into the garage to start going through some of the stuff and start cleaning it up some. Bad idea. First box I opened I found a ticket for the seaplane that Ben and I flew back from Catalina Island on when we had our very first date on May 11, 1974. I totally lost it and started sobbing, so I had to stop cleaning for a little while. Got myself back together and went back out and started to go through another box. This time I found his report cards from when he was a kid in school and a few other things like his footprints when he was a baby, etc. Once again I broke down, so finally just gave up for now. I'll try again in a day or two. Don't know what's up with Hiker but she sure acts like she needs a lot of fiber. I mentioned that she's always eating leaves and chewing on wood chips from the flower beds, plus I know she ate a couple of my puzzle pieces. Well I had an AARP Bulletin Newspaper sitting on the sofa and caught her tearing it up and eating it. What's up with that?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Just Another Saturday

Could not go to sleep last night. Felt like back right after Ben died and I was having grief induced insomnia. I felt very sleepy but for some reason could not go to sleep. Kept tossing and turning as I could not get comfortable. I tried listening to music, watching TV, but nothing was helping. Finally around 12:30 I got up and took a sleep aid tablet and then I went to sleep. I normally automatically wake up around 5:45 am but Hiker woke me up this morning at 6:30 am because she wanted to be fed and go potty. Took her out for her walk then came home, had breakfast, put a load of laundry in and then went over to Sam's Club. Then I vacuumed and once again, Hiker had shed enough to make a toupee (LOL). I was out in the garage moving some things around because Sunday some friends are coming to buy and take away Ben's and my pool table. Ben and I had not played pool in a few years but before that, we used to play it every weekend. As I was gathering the pool things together, I come across the pool cue that Ben had ever since he was a teenager and I started to cry. We had bought new pool cues about 5 years ago and were using them but when I saw the one that I remember him using years ago, it just made me so sad. I started thinking back about us playing together and remembered how we would “cheat” and how we'd tease each other about how we played. We never went by the real rules of pool...we made up our own and we'd have so much fun. But those days are gone and I won't be playing pool by myself or anyone else, so I decided to sell the table to someone who can enjoy it and I'll be able to put my 4Runner in the garage again. My handyman Daniel came by and put a new handle on my shower door and put a new lock on my dining room window. I'm so glad I found him a couple of years ago. He's really nice and he's really reasonable. Ben was not good at knowing how to fix things. I'm actually better than he was at those kinds of things, and I can fix some things, but it's nice to have someone like Daniel who lives in my community. Got up to the high 70's today and now it's getting a little windy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

No Power Day

The hike yesterday really wore both me and Hiker out. Last night when I was watching TV, she was next to me on the sofa sleeping. Normally she's running around the house with her toys. We went to bed around 8:45 pm and both fell asleep almost immediately. When we got up this morning, I took her for a 1.5 mile walk and then we came back and I made us each a poached egg. Mine on a muffin with ham and cheese, Hiker's just the egg chopped up on a plate. Then I was going to start my laundry but got a call from the security gate telling me that my power was going to be turned off for awhile. Seems that there is a problem with some underground wiring between the houses on my block and they need to turn off the power to work on it. This exact thing happened one morning many years back when my brother Ron was here visiting Ben and me. Ben had gone to work. Ron was asleep on the living room sofa and I was still in my bed when I woke up around 8:00 am, I noticed my alarm clock was not working. Checked around the house and noticed there was no electricity. I called the office to report it and they sent a guy over to check it out and he found out that the house next door didn't have any power either. They had to go into the underground power boxes to work on it and if I remember correctly, my power was off all day that day. Hope that's not the case this time. Before the power went off and I lost my Internet hook up (can't use a modem without power) I had emailed AT&T again. I wanted to make sure that they didn't expect me to continue trying to contact their Customer Relations Center about trying to get that order for the U-Verse installation stopped. They assured me that they were taking care of everything and for me to relax. They don't know me, so they don't know how hard that is for me to do when something like this is on my mind. I was born a worrier and I'll probably be a worrier until the day I die. The electricity was off from around 9:00 am until 2:00 pm so I was not able to get on the Internet during that time. I ran some errands instead. Went to the bank and over to the grocery store, then went and got some lunch a KFC. Got a phone call around 12:00 noon from an AT&T person who confirmed that he had canceled the order for the installation of the U-Verse. Now...I hope that Canyon View Estates and Time Warner will be able to make a permanent deal. If not, I'll have to figure out what I'm going to do.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Beautiful Day For A Hike

Got up early to call AT&T's Customer Relations Center only to find out that they lied to me yesterday telling me that the went by EST instead of PST. There is a Center in Connecticut but also one in California and the California one does not open until 8:00 am PST, so I still was not able to get any satisfaction from them. However, the rant that I posted on AT&T's Facebook page last night may be getting me somewhere. I received an email from them telling me that they are working with the Executive Office to get my U-Verse Order stopped and also to make certain that I keep my regular land line service with them. Right now I'm considering dropping the land line and just using my Verizon Cell Phone. I rarely use the land line phone anymore, but Ben and I always had a land line and it's hard for me to give it up. It's like a “security blanket”. So Hiker and I got up and got ready early to wait for Linda to come and go hiking. We headed out to Pearblossom, CA to the Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area. It was beautiful out at the Punchbowl today and we did the 1 mile loop trail that goes all the way down to the bottom of the canyon and to the creek. We descended 300 ft. to the bottom and had to climb that 300 ft. back to the top. After I got home, first I had a voice mail on my land line asking me to do a survey giving my opinion on the AT&T automated phone system. I gave them the worst marks I could, then I got a phone call from a woman named Lily at the AT&T Executive Office and she told me that they are working on the cancellation of my U-Verse order and that I should have a call from the cancellation center today or tomorrow with more information. She does not know exactly when the order will be canceled but she told me not to worry, that it will be canceled and I will not get charged for it on my next bill. Why is it so easy for them set up a new service, but so damn hard for them to cancel the order? I think they just want to make us so frustrated that we just give up and forget about canceling. Hiker was pooped after her hike, she just plopped down on the floor and stretched out and slept the rest of the afternoon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Decided to start doing some major house cleaning today. By that I mean going through closets, drawers, nooks, etc. and cleaning out old papers, boxes, junk, etc. I did this right after I retired 6 years ago. At that time, I remember Ben insisted I not toss anything until after he looked through everything in case there was something he wanted to keep. Every day when he got home from work, there was a big stack of stuff waiting for him to look through out in the garage. Some of it he had me keep but most of it he told me to toss. This time I won't have him to double-check me. I started cleaning some things up after I got back from a short walk with Hiker. We had a bunch of boxes stacked on a shelf over the hall closet. They were boxes from when we bought computers, printers, speakers, etc. Ben always wanted to keep them because he said if we ever got to move to Ferndale, we'd need them for packing the items that came in them to take with us. I should have tossed them a few years ago because we knew we were never going to get to move up there. Then I started to go through some paperwork, but didn't get very far because I got a call from our community office to tell me they were negotiating with Time Warner about the Internet service and digital phone service that TW said they were dropping. They feel they will have an agreement with TW by the end of the week. Because of what I heard from my neighbor Charlene and my friend Linda about the problems they have with U-Verse and the terrible service they get from AT&T, I decided to call AT&T and cancel the order for them to install this package in my home. I was on the phone waiting for an AT&T representative to pickup for 15 minutes and then when she did, she told me she was not authorized to cancel orders, she could only place orders, so she had to call the department that can cancel it and after she waited for them to pickup for over 20 minutes (while I was also still holding the line) she came back online and told me that they were not picking up so she was going to go to her manager to have her cancel the order. Now I'm waiting for the manager to call me back to confirm that the order has been canceled. The rep gave me her manager's direct phone number and told me that if I do not hear from her by around 5:00 this evening that I should give her a call. What a pain in the ass! That is ridiculous that the reps can place an order but not cancel one. I've called that AT&T manager twice now and kept getting her voice mail so called their Customer Relations Department and after being on hold for an hour, I hung up. Companies just do not run like they used too.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Been Out All Day

Would you believe that we got up to 90° here today? Crazy for winter huh? Took hiker out for a short walk this morning because I had to go down to the community office and pay my land lease plus I had to head over to the Senior Center for my grief group. I spoke with the community manager about the Time Warner situation. She told me that there have been some “WiFi” people here in the community and that “maybe” the owners were going to set up a WiFi for all of us, but I'm not too sure about how secure a community WiFi would be. I'm thinking it would be kind of like when you are in a coffee shop or at a motel using their WiFi. It is NOT a secure hook-up and people can hack into your accounts easier. I'm also hoping that I made the correct decision to go with AT&T U-Verse for their triple bundle because I've had one of my neighbors tell me that she is on the AT&T U-Verse right now and she is not happy with it and is thinking about switching to something else. Oh well, will just have to wait and see. I put Hiker in the garage for while I was at the Senior Center. She was very reluctant to be out there. She was down on her belly with her ears drooping looking so sad. She just does NOT want me to be away from her at all. Her breed is very loyal to their “person” and they are usually a “one-person” dog. The grief group was very good today. A lot of good interaction from everyone again. After group, my friend DeDee and I met our friend Linda at the pizza parlor for lunch. When I got home, Hiker was so excited to see me that she would not leave me alone. I saw that my brother Ron had called and left a message, so I called him. While I was talking to him, Hiker would not stop chewing on me and barking. She wanted to get out for another walk. After I hung up with him, I took her out for a walk in the dry riverbed. My friend Paula sent me the coolest thing in the mail. It's a “Pet Top” for water bottles. She thought it would be a good thing for Hiker when we are out walking/hiking. So sweet of Paula to buy it for Hiker. Thank you my friend. Well, I need to get on Facebook and see what's going on there.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Waiting For The Heating Man

Darn, I'm going to lose the Hallmark Channel when I switch to AT&T U-Verse. That is one of my favorite channels. That's just about all I watched during the month of December. Hiker was driving me crazy this morning because she was wanting to go for a morning walk. I needed to wait until I heard from the heating people about the furnace. Did not hear from them by 9:30 am so I called them back. The guy's wife said he would get here before noon. Kept hoping it was just the thermostat because I noticed last week that it would get down to 70° before the heater would come on even though I have the thermostat set to come on when it gets to 72°. But....it was NOT the thermostat. Joe (the heating guy) said that the switch that starts the motor was not resetting and that it was stuck in the “off” position. He said that this was the ONLY thing he could find wrong and had no idea why it was sticking and not resetting. He got the switch to work, but we both agreed that he should replace the switch just in case. Joe told me that mine is the only one of these furnaces that he has installed, so he is not very familiar with them, but he thinks he found the problem and told me to call him if I still have a problem later on. He also said that the motor seems to run “hot” but he said maybe that is normal for this furnace. Like he told me...”they don't make them like they used too”. Naturally because I just passed the one year mark on getting the furnace, the warranty had expired (isn't that always the way?), so it cost me $95 for the switch and his service call, which I didn't think was that bad really. Took Hiker out for a 1.5 mile afternoon walk so she has finally settled down. While Joe was here, she kept wanting to go see what he was doing but I kept telling her to stay away so she would go over and “hide” under the dining room table. Got up to 83° here today. I didn't watch the Rose Parade. Ben and I never watched it. He would turn it on for the beginning just to watch the B-2 Bomber fly over, but that was it. After that, we usually took off for a long drive somewhere.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

Well last night I had a huge grief attack. I had not had a sobbing/wailing 15 minute cry for quite awhile, but I sure did last night. Guess the fact that the last year of Ben's life was now ending hit me like a ton of bricks. I keep thinking of facing the rest of my life without him. I watched the movie “Apollo 18” on the On Demand Channel last night. It was OK, but very strange, then I watched some of the “Twilight Zone” marathon until around 9:00 or so. Started working my jigsaw puzzle and did that until almost 11:00 before Hiker and I went to bed. Woke up around midnight when I heard people shooting fireworks. First thing I did when I got out of bed this morning was to head over to Wal-Mart and do my grocery shopping. I was going to go Monday morning, but I do not yet know what time the guy is coming to check my furnace. Couldn't go Tuesday either as I have my grief group. Took Hiker out for 2 short walks today as my lower back muscles are still sore, but she's happy just to get out no matter what. When Ben was alive, New Year's Day was just another day to us, but for some reason, today has felt very different to me. I don't really know how to explain the feeling. Well it's been a very lazy day. Been working on a jigsaw puzzle while watching “Murder She Wrote” on TV. I think that Hiker may have eaten one of my puzzle parts last night. I was working on the puzzle and I had all 4 corners on the table. I noticed I had dropped a couple of puzzle parts on the floor. Hiker was lying under the table. I picked up the parts I dropped and now I cannot find one of the corner pieces. Plus Hiker tried to take one of the pieces out of my hand like she was going to eat it. Guess she needed some fiber (LOL). I'm going to have a small steak and a baked potato tonight for dinner. It was one of Ben's favorite meals. I'm not a big steak lover but I'm getting tired of chicken and fish all of the time. As usual it was a beautiful clear sunny day here in SoCal on New Year's Eve. Got up to almost 85°.