Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gray Saturday

There was a marine layer this morning so it was very dark and gray outside. Took hiker for a short 1 mile walk this morning down to Discovery Park. Wanted to get back home and do a load of laundry. I used to love cool, overcast I cannot stand them because they make me feel so blue and lonely. Ben and I used to go way up the coast to northern California. We loved the areas of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. It was always overcast, foggy, cloudy, etc. up there. People used to tell us they could not understand why we went there since it was so “dreary” all of the time, but we loved it because it was such a contrast from where we lived in southern California. Since Ben died, all I want are sunny days because anything else makes me so sad. Sat around all day watching a “Waltons” marathon on the Hallmark Channel. Decided to take Hiker out for another walk in the afternoon. The sun was “trying” to peek out but the wind was blowing and it was still pretty chilly. Never even got up to 60° today.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Kept Busy All Day

Well I have noticed that since I've stopped taking the Red Yeast Rice, my muscle pain has stopped, I am not feeling fatigued and I am not feeling light-headed, so I guess it was causing all of those things. I let my doctor know I had stopped taking it so he suggested I try Cholest-off which I had tried a few years ago but it didn't help lower my cholesterol any. I think it was because I was not taking the suggested dosage. I'm going to give it another try. This morning I went to Wal-Mart and did a little grocery shopping, then came home and mopped my floors and then headed over to Sam's Club to get a few more things there. Wal-Mart and Sam's are next door to each other, but I cannot get into Sam's until 10:00 because of my type of membership and I like going to Wal-Mart before they get crowded, which doesn't take very long. On my way to Sam's Club, I stopped at Eyeglasses Direct to have them make me some new Transition Lenses. I got some glasses last year at Sears with Transition Lenses. The had put some “anti-glare” coating on the lenses and that coating went bad and caused spots on my lenses. Sears is more expensive than Eyeglasses Direct plus Sears takes about 2 weeks and Eyeglasses direct takes about 5 days, so I decided to go there and get new lenses. While at Wal-Mart I kept a promise I had made to Hiker and bought her a new "BIG" ball since the last one I got her "popped". This time I bought her an official Wilson Volleyball so hopefully it will last a lot longer. Some of you may remember that several months ago I was having a problem with rats on my patio and under my manufactured home. They were after the birdseed I had in feeders on my patio. This was before I had Hiker. Anyway, my niece Darrah had told me to get some d-Con rat poison and said it was the best for killing them. She was right. It did get rid of them...for awhile. I remember I could smell where they had died under my house and I didn't see them on the patio anymore. It appears some have still been under my house in the crawl space because I have been putting the d-Con just inside the entrance to the crawl space next to my sump pump on a regular basis and I've noticed that the d-Con tray is empty. There was a lot of rat poop around the empty tray. I also smell decomp coming through my air/heating vents from under the house again. They always seem to die under my computer room for some reason. This time the smell is stronger than normal so I'm thinking maybe the entire nest of them died. I bought a couple of those Air Wick Oil Warmer Plug-ins and they seems to be helping a lot to get rid of the smell. I put more poison in the crawl space again too. Hiker cannot get to it as the crawl space has a heavy wooden cover over it. For some reason my gardener showed up and mowed the lawn today. He usually comes on Saturday. Ben's sister Donna and her husband Rich and daughter Beth are going to be in town from Las Vegas this weekend. Their son Richard and his family live about 4 or 5 miles from me and Donna, Rich and Beth are coming to visit them. Donna said they are going to try to come have lunch with me while they are here. Don't know what day that will be though.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two Hikes In One Day

Got up earlier than normal today because Linda was coming by to pick up me and Hiker to go over to a trail she discovered last week. We drove over to Rocky Peak near Simi Valley and hiked the Hummingbird Trail. Don't know how it got its name because I did not see any hummers nor did I see any flowers that would attract hummers. The trail was very steep in some places. We did almost a 2 mile hike there and then decided since we were so close to Simi Valley and Corriganville Movie Ranch that we'd head over to the ranch and hike around there. Linda had never been there. I had been there a couple of times before. Corriganville Movie Ranch is where they used to film western movies and TV shows back in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. They also filmed old “Tarzan” movies there and TV shows like “Robin Hood”. They have sign posts along the loop trail telling about the different locations around the ranch where they shot the movies and TV shows. There used to be a western town there, but all of the buildings are gone now except for their foundations. I think Linda really enjoyed this place for its history. We did another 2 miles around the ranch and then headed into the city of Simi Valley for lunch at Carl's Jr. Hiker really enjoyed herself. She was climbing the trails and sniffing everything. Started getting a little cloudy and windy outside this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Great Morning Hike With My Doggy

I had originally thought about taking Hiker over to Placerita Canyon this morning for a hike but got to thinking it would be really muddy over there from our latest rain storm because the trail is mostly in the shadows of the canyon walls. So instead we headed over to Towsley Canyon where most of the trail is wide open and right out in the sun. Hiker and I did about 3.55 miles round trip. Hike had to wear her seat belt harness to and from our hike and she still does not like it but she is tolerating it a little more. She did jump out of the car and try to get away from it when I was putting her into it when we were getting ready to head home from Towsley Canyon. Luckily I grabbed her and put her right back into the car. Linda wants Hiker and me to join her on a hike tomorrow morning on the Hummingbird Trail over at Rocky Peak near Simi Valley. She will be here around 7:30 am so I'll have to get Hiker up a little earlier than normal to feed her and get her out to potty. Linda and her boyfriend Manny found this trail last week. I've never hiked it before. Took Hiker out for another short 1 mile walk down to the park this afternoon. That dog sure loves to walk and hike. I don't think she ever gets enough of it. But that's her breeding. They love to be active all of the time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Typical Tuesday

Partly cloudy out this morning when we woke up and in the high 30's. I took Hiker out for a short walk inside my gated community before I left to go to my grief group. I'm gaining weight because I have my appetite back and I need to start watching it. Met DeDee at our Grief Group and after group she and I went to Rattlers for lunch. The restaurant was totally full. I had never seen that many people there before. Does this mean that our economy is getting better? When I got home, Hiker was so excited to see me. I took her for a 1.5 mile walk and she was so happy to be out. Was sunny today and got into the mid 60's.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mostly Cloudy Day

Sometimes it crosses my mind that I am paying all of the bills on my own with no financial assistance from Ben or anyone else and sometimes it really scares me. Also, I don't know what I would do without Hiker. She is the reason I get up in the morning. If I didn't have her, I think I would roll up into a ball and just fade away. I had a major grief attack this morning. I was thinking of the day that one of the Kaiser doctors said right in front of Ben that he may not ever be the same again and that he would be on a ventilator for the rest of his life. I remember Ben started to cry and he looked at me and said “I don't want to die” and I promised him that he was NOT going to die, that he would get well and come home eventually. I feel more guilty about not keeping that promise to him than I do about taking him off of the life-sustaining medications because by the time we stopped the meds, he was already too far gone to come back. Anyway, I had a very hard time this morning...the worst I've had in awhile. It was still very gray and cloudy this morning and drizzling a little, so could not take Hiker out for a morning walk. I stopped taking the Red Yeast Rice as of last Saturday. I was really starting to get back muscle pain and I was feeling fatigued, plus I was having dizzy spells. I've been off of it for 2 solid days now and the muscle pain has resided quite a bit and I don't feel quite as tired. Still a little light headed. My older brother Ron was taking it too and he was having bad muscle pain in his shoulder, so he stopped taking it a couple of days ago also. He said the pain in his shoulder is not as bad now. I emailed my doctor and told him I had stopped taking it and he wrote back suggesting I take COQ10 as it should help stop the muscle pain. I told him I've been taking that supplement for 4 to 5 years as I started taking it back when my other doctor was trying me on all of the statins. The sun popped out partially, so I took Hiker for a 1 mile walk around our gated community. Linda had wanted to go for a walk over at Central Park and I was going to go pick her up and go with her, but she misplaced her car/house keys and would not be able to get back into the house if she locked it up. At least the short walk around here satisfied Hiker.

Hiker catching some afternoon rays:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rain And The Smell Of Pumpkin Bread

It was supposed to be raining when I woke up this morning but it wasn't. In fact, there were not many clouds in the sky. I went and got my lotto tickets and then came home and made some waffles for breakfast. Since they kept insisting that a storm was coming, I decided to get Hiker out for a walk before it started. We got about a mile from home and I felt drizzle, so we turned around and headed back, but wouldn't you know...the sun came out and was out until about 11:00 when it finally started to rain a little. Vacuumed Hiker's hair out of the carpet and then put the sheets and towels in the washer. Decided to get a section of ham out of the freezer and make one of Ben's favorite meals for my dinner tonight...baked ham and cheesy potato casserole. We used to by a 5 lb canned ham, cut it into thirds and freeze the “hunks of ham” and I still do that. I also made some pumpkin bread. Made the house smell really good. Thought it was a good day to use the oven since it did finally start to rain. Rainy days seem to bring up memories of Ben and me together. Today I kept having flashbacks of he and I on one of our vacations to northern California. We loved Humboldt County. The town of Ferndale, the redwood trees. I'm saddened that I will never see those places again because I could not bear to be there without him, he loved the area so much. I know we really need rain badly here in SoCal, but all rain does is make me cry.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Roof Repairs DONE!

Cloudy and gray this morning. I did a load of laundry and then sat back with the TV and my computer to wait to see if my handyman and his crew showed up to do the roof repairs before the next storm rolls in tomorrow morning. Had not heard anything from him by 9:30 am so I gave him a call and he said they would be here between 10:30 and 11:00. They showed up around 10:00. Hiker was afraid of the noises they were making on the roof. She could not figure out what all the commotion was. She tried to find somewhere to “hide” in the house but everywhere she went, the noise was still there. Glad my gardener was able to get here today. Last weekend it was raining so he didn't come and the grass was getting pretty tall. My gardener is the uncle of my handyman. The roof was all finished by around 1:30 pm, so I took Hiker out for a walk right after they left. She had been such a good girl all morning, I thought she deserved to get outside for awhile. Now let's see if the rain really does come.

Here is a photo of the new vents they installed. They replaced 5 of them. These are made of aluminum. The old ones were plastic.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finally Figured It Out

I knew that Hiker would eventually not be afraid of her new ball and she would figure out how to have fun with it.

Happy Friday To All Of You

My handyman did not show up yesterday, I do remember him saying that if he could not get here during the week, maybe he'd come over the weekend, but when we talked about the chance of rain this weekend, he had said he'd try to get here Wednesday or Thursday. Maybe he could not get all of the supplies he needed. He had also told me that I really did not need to be home when they do come because they do not have to come inside the house. I am usually home most of the time though and I will be home this weekend. I am still having some muscle pain and fatigue from the Red Yeast Rice even though I have cut the dosage in half. I wake up all sore and very tired every morning. After breakfast this morning, Hiker and I went over to Wal-Mart for me to do some shopping and when we got home, we went for a walk. Today was so different than yesterday. When we left for our hike yesterday, the sun was out and the sky was bright blue. This morning the sky was all overcast and gray. After our walk, I gave myself a much needed haircut and the finally relaxed and sat back to watch “The Young And The Restless”. I do not know what was wrong with Hiker last night. Usually she will go to bed around 9:00 pm. She goes in and gets up on the bed and goes to sleep, but now and then she will get up and wander into the living room where I'm watching TV and looks at me like she is asking me when I'm coming to bed with her. When I finally go to bed, she will usually lie on Ben's side of the bed and go to sleep and stay there all night. Last night she would not go into the bedroom for some reason. Even when I went to go to bed, she didn't want to go into the room, but I finally convinced her to come in with me. Instead of lying next to me on the bed, she got on the floor in the corner of the room and was cowering. No matter what I tried, she would not get on the bed with me. She kept staring at the bedroom door for some reason. I had trouble going to sleep because I was worried about her. I finally did fall asleep and when I woke up in the morning, she was on the bed next to me sleeping and she acted like her old self after that. The sun finally came out in the late afternoon but it was still very hazy.

Hiker and her new Hedgehog toy

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Day Hike

Got up a little early this morning to get ready for a hike with Linda over in Pico Canyon. It was a perfect morning for a hike and a very pretty spring day. My iPhone app said we did 5.49 miles in 2 hours, but when I mapped it on Google, it was more like 4 miles in 2 hours. After lunch, Hiker and I once again went out and sat on the patio and enjoyed the spring breeze and sunshine. I uploaded my photos from our morning hike while Hiker took a nap. Was 80° by 2:00 PM. Hoping my handy man shows up today to do the roof repairs. He did say he'd be here either Wednesday or Thursday, so he should show up today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Where's Hiker?

After breakfast this morning I took Hiker out for a 1.5 mile walk. We came home and I was out in the backyard with Hiker picking up her poop and watering my flowers. I heard the trash truck out front, so I went to get the empty trash bin and put it back into the garage. I had to open the big door on the garage to get the bin. Hiker is usually pretty good about not going out to the front yard unless I'm out there. I knew she had followed me into the garage because I had seen her standing next to the 4Runner. I went and brought the bin into the garage and I saw Hiker still next to the 4Runner. I turned to unlock the door that goes from the garage into the house. Since we had just gotten back from our walk, the house was still locked. I opened the door and I turned to call Hiker and she was not there. I closed the house door and went to see if she was in the backyard, but she wasn't. I started calling her and she did not come. I ran out to the front yard and looked up and down the street for her and did not see her. I kept calling her name at the top of my lungs and I was so scared. I know the trash trucks scare her and I thought she had gotten frightened by the trash truck down the street and had maybe took off running. She does this thing I call “Turbo Dog” in the house and in the backyard. She runs like the wind until she tires herself out and I was afraid that she had turned on the “Turbo Dog” and run down the street. I kept calling and calling and could not understand why she did not come to me. Then something told me to “check in the house”. I ran back into the house and there she was, sitting in the entry looking at me like “Mom, I'm right here. Why are you running up and down the street yelling out my name”? I felt so relieved. I grabbed her and hugged her so tight. I guess she had sneaked into the house as soon as I had opened the door and I didn't see her slide by me. I was so scared that my heart was pounding. Thank God she had not run away. Hiker and I sat out on my patio for about an hour and a half this afternoon. Weather was really nice. 80° or so. Linda came over this afternoon and we weeded the slope on the north side of my house. Had some really big dandelions growing there. Waiting to see if my handy man comes to work on the roof after he gets off work.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another Beautiful Spring Day

My handy man showed up a little after 5:00 pm yesterday. He looked at my roof and told me that all 5 “electrical” vents on my roof need new flashing. That's what I figured was the problem because I could see where the shingles around them are coming up. He said that the original flashing was made of plastic and the sun dries it out and it cracks, then the shingles come loose and the rain gets under the shingles and leaks through the cracks. He said the new flashing is made of metal and will work much better. He also said he noticed a few loose shingles on other parts of the roof that he will replace. He once again told me that I should have at least 5 more years on the entire roof. He checked it all out again and he said that the roof is actually in pretty good condition. He said he'll get the supplies tomorrow after work and then try to do the repairs either Wednesday or Thursday after he gets off work. I think he quoted me a pretty good price. Ben always felt he was reasonable with his prices. Headed over to the Senior Center this morning for my grief support group and then out to lunch with my friend DeDee. Only one other lady joined us for lunch today, but we still had a very nice time. We always end up talking about our husbands. We had a new man in group today. The first hour of our group is for general “emotional support” and the second hour is for “grief support”. We assume he was there for the emotional support as his wife was driving along I5 last Sunday afternoon, had a stroke and ended up in a ditch off the freeway. She is in the hospital and is basically a vegetable. He is struggling with what to do about unplugging her. So much of what he was saying brought back memories of when Ben was in the hospital and I started to cry. I've been doing more crying lately and as I said yesterday, I think it has to do with the fact that Ben's and my wedding anniversary is coming up April 5th. When I got home, Hiker was waiting for her afternoon walk, so I took her out for a short one, but as usual, she was totally satisfied just to go out for a little while. She is such a good girl. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Is Here

I have decided to cut back on my dosage of Red Yeast Rice. When my doctor told me to start taking it, he had told me to take 2400mg per day (1200mg twice daily). I didn't start at that because I wanted to see if it gave me the muscle pain and fatigue like it did when I tried it years ago. I started out at 1200mg per day (600mg twice daily) and did that for 2 weeks because it usually took about 2 weeks before I knew if it was going to give me problems or not. When I didn't have the bad symptoms, I doubled the dose to what the doctor suggested. After about 3 weeks of 2400mg per day, I noticed that I was getting lightheaded which is a side effect plus I started noticing some light muscle pain, but I thought it would go away. Now after 5 weeks of 2400mg per day, I am having severe muscle pain and fatigue so I am cutting back to just 1200mg per day to see if that helps. Hopefully it will still help keep my cholesterol number down some. I'm thinking now that the RYR is what has been causing the pain in my back muscles the past week or so. Hiker's intelligence just keeps amazing me. Last night when I went to put her toys in the container, I noticed that her little black and white whale was missing. I asked her where it was and I started looking around the house for it. She too started wandering around looking for it, so I continued to ask her where the whale was. After about 5 minutes of looking, she went into my bedroom, got up on my bed and looked down between the bed and the nightstand (with her butt in the air) and then looked at me. I went to look and sure enough, there was the whale tucked back in the corner between the bed and nightstand. Had a busy morning. After breakfast I cleaned the master bathroom, vacuumed Hiker's hair out of the carpet and then took Hiker for a 1.5 mile walk. It was chilly out during our walk, about 40° or so. I really like my Dyson Ball Vacuum cleaner. It really picks up a lot of dirt and hair and it is so easy to maneuver. Still have not heard anything from the community office as to whether or not they have come up with a compromise with Time Warner about our Internet connection, so I am assuming that means they have not and that I will be looking for a new provider in a few weeks. I would think that if they were close or had come up with an agreement, we would have heard something by now. I'm afraid I'll have to go with AT&T and their DSL because I doubt my landlord will let any other company use his cable system if he won't let TW use it, so U-Verse is out. I'm trying to find out if Verizon has a DSL because I'd prefer doing business with them, but I need a DSL that does NOT require a live phone jack because I no longer have live phone jacks. I don't think the Verizon MiFi Hotspot is a good idea because it would not give me enough usage for an entire month. It's not really fair that the landlord is taking away our right to decide who we want for our provider, but it is his underground cable system. I just realized today that 2 weeks from this Thursday (April 5) would have been Ben's and my 32nd wedding anniversary. I remember last year Ben was in ICU and was unconscious the entire time I spent with him on our anniversary :'-(

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cold And Cloudy Sunday

It rained a little more last night but woke up to a sunny morning. There was a dusting of the snow on the mountain tops surrounding our valley. Took Hiker for a short 1 mile walk. Didn't want to be out long in case my handy man comes by today about the roof. I called him to see when he'd be coming for sure and he said he cannot get here until tomorrow afternoon when he gets off work. The sun went “in and out” all day long. A few times it looked like it was going to pour and then others, it looked like it was going to clear up. Watched a few movies on TV and worked one of my jigsaw puzzles. Took Hiker out for another 1 mile walk in the afternoon. At least she was happy she got to go walking twice today, even though they were short walks. As I've mentioned...I have been starting to clean and go through things in the house. I did the garage first and then moved on to my computer room. I just finished the computer room this morning and now I will move on to the hall closet just outside of my front bathroom. I'm taking my time, so it will be awhile before I am finished with the entire house. Back in 2006 right after I retired, I did a thorough cleaning for the garage and house and I did it all in about 2 weeks. This time I'm going slower to make sure I don't toss anything of Ben's that I really want to keep. Got an email from my older brother Ron who lives in Paradise, CA. He said it was snowing really hard there.

Here is Hiker in her jacket this morning. I think she is finally getting used to it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rain, Rain & More Rain

Woke up to wind and rain. We have not had a good rain all season, so we really needed this. Hiker didn't like it though because it meant she had to stay inside the house except to go out for potty breaks. Had a grief attack last night. I think they are starting to come more often again because I'm have memories of this time last year when I was running back and forth between home and the hospital and certain discussions with doctors and memories of Ben being so helpless keep coming back to me. The rain started coming down harder after breakfast. I went to put my load of laundry into the washing machine and I kept thinking I heard water dripping. Sure enough, I went into the kitchen and discovered the roof is leaking and there is water dripping in from one of my fluorescent light fixtures. I ran and got a bucket and called my handy man Daniel, who lives and works here in my community. He knows just about everything there is to know about how to repair/work on these manufactured homes. He told me that he will try to get over here as soon as the rain stops which may not be until tomorrow or Monday. He fixed a leak that was near my chimney last year and it seems OK now as I don't see or hear it leaking near the fireplace. I know the leak didn't start until the wind and rain got harder. The drip is right over where I prepare my meals and when I was fixing breakfast, it was not dripping. I had to put a sponge in the bottom of the bucket because the drip, drip, drip of the water was driving me crazy. This was the kind of thing I have been dreading since Ben passed away because if Daniel feels I may be needing a new roof, I have to make the decision all on my own. Watched movies all day...”The Color Purple”, “Twister” and “Phenomenon”, some of my favorite oldies. I think “Twister” was the last movie Ben and I ever saw in a theater together. It was either that or “Outbreak”. We gave up on going to theaters years ago because there were not that many movies we were interested in seeing plus they charged way too much and we preferred renting movies in the comfort of our own home. Hiker is so smart! Every now and then I count her toys to make sure she has not misplaced any. She knows the “names” of all of them. I noticed her little “fuzzy bone” was not in the living room so I started looking for it and asking Hiker “where is your fuzzy bone”? Hiker ran into the computer room, jumped down between the ottoman bed and the window and grabbed the fuzzy bone. She knew exactly where it was and what I was talking about.

Friday, March 16, 2012

But Hiker....You HAVE To Get Used To It

Was dark and gray all day here. The rain storm is supposed to his us sometime tomorrow (Saturday). Got up, had breakfast and then took Hiker on a 1 mile walk around the neighborhood. We then headed up to PetSmart so I could buy her a car seat belt harness because there have been two times she has been thrown onto the floor due to someone cutting me off and me braking. She does NOT like the harness, but she will have to get used to it as it was not cheap. I got a good one made by Kong. Left PetSmart and headed down to Sam's Club to get gasoline and to pick up some bulk things I needed. Got home and Hiker was acting very “sheepish” and I'm sure it had to do with the harness. I put it back on her to try to get her used to wearing it around the house, plus I took her for a short walk with the harness on. She still does NOT like it, but she will have to get used to it. The clouds here never did burn off. If it rains tomorrow and Sunday like they are saying, I guess Hiker and I will just stay in all day and watch movies.

Photo is of Hiker with the harness. I'm trying to get her used to it so she won't mind wearing it in the car.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fun Day Out With The Girls

Don't remember if I mentioned this before or not, but the therapist who leads our grief group often says that we need to “create” happiness in our lives with things that make us feel good. She suggests that we use things that might trigger happy memories for us. She says we can do this by looking at old photos, listening to music, etc. She suggests that there are certain sounds, smells, tastes, etc. than can take us to our “happy place”. I have found that watching Hiker run back and forth from one end of the house to the other with a toy in her mouth makes me happy. Hearing my wind chimes calms me. I love the sound of the freight trains that go through our valley late at night. When you've lost a spouse, you find that it's the simple things in life that are really important. Went to get my Lottery tickets this morning and took Hiker on a short walk. My back is still feeling like it might go out on me, so I'm trying to be very careful. You would think with all of the walking I do, my back would be pretty strong. Lunch planned today with several of my retired girlfriends. It originally started out that 10 of us were going, then one-by-one things happened and it got down to 5 of us. Lunch actually turned out very well however. Two of the ladies who didn't think they would make it DID make it after all, so there were 6 of us there. Maybe it was just me, but for some reason, the food at Hometown Buffet was not very good today. I usually go back for more food at least once, but I didn't today. When I got home, Hiker was excited to see me. I took her out for another short walk, then she was satisfied and she took an afternoon nap.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another Beautiful Day

Ever since we change time, I have trouble getting up in the morning. Just about the time I get used to it, they will have us change back to standard time. Hiker and I went over to Wal-Mart this morning to get a few groceries and then came back home and went for a walk. I ran into my neighbor who started doing dog grooming after she retired from her job a couple of years ago. I asked her about her credentials and she told me she went to grooming school because one of her dogs would always have seizures when she took her to have her groomed, so she wanted to learn how to do it at home. She charges $10 to $15 less than the place I took Hiker to last week, so I think I might start having her groom Hiker next time. Took Hiker over to Towsley Canyon this afternoon. We didn't really do a hike, we just walked around and enjoyed Mother Nature. We met a young woman there from Switzerland. I would guess she was in her 20's. She told me that she was here in the United States for the first time and that she was here alone. I told her she was very brave to go on such a trip alone. She said she had been to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, San Diego, CA, and stopped in Santa Clarita on her way to Sequoia National Park and then to San Francisco and then she will head home. She said that sometimes it is scary when she doesn't know where she is supposed to go, but that so far, everyone has been very nice and helpful to her. She said the only thing she really did not like is that she gets lonely. She said next time she comes here, she will bring a friend. Was in the mid-70's today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Looked Like Rain This Morning But...

It was very overcast when Hiker and I got out of bed this morning. Did not take Hiker out for a walk before I went to my grief group because it looked like it was going to rain, but while out to lunch with the ladies from the grief group, the sun came out and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon. I'm wondering if we are ever going to get any real rain this year. DeDee and I now have 3 other ladies that join us for lunch after the group and we all just sit and talk about our lives and our late husbands. It's so nice to relate with others who know what we are going through. Two of the ladies, Carol and Linda have been widowed for 24 years. DeDee has been widowed a little over 3 years, Ruth's husband died a month before Ben died, so it has been 10 months for her and it's been 9 months for me. Today we went to a little Mexican grill called “Alamo”. It was very good and very reasonable in price. When I got home, Hiker was jumping all over me as usual. I took her for a short 1 mile walk. Didn't want to go too far because I keep feeling like my back is about to go out on me again. It has been “iffy” since this morning. I didn't do anything to bring it on, but most of the time I don't need to do anything. It just goes out on its own.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Is In The Air

Don't know if it was the time change or what, but I sure had a bad day yesterday. Kept thinking about Ben and I was missing him so much. Still having trouble getting used to the time change today. Woke up around 6:30 am to feed Hiker and let her out to potty, then went back to bed and fell back to sleep. Got up around 7:30 and made breakfast, then drove Hiker and me over to the market to get some things I had run out of. Came home and took Hiker for a 1.5 mile walk and then came home and cleaned my little bathroom. It was overcast when Hiker and I first got up this morning. Most of the day it was partly cloudy but a lot cooler than it has been. They say we may have a chance of rain sometime this week. Actually got up into the low 70's today which surprised me some. I took Hiker out for another walk this afternoon and when I got back, my Internet was down. My modem only had 2 lights on instead of 4 so I had to call Time Warner and have them “tweak” it from their end to get it started again. They told me again that I only have a month and a half before they disconnect us. I may have to go with that Verizon 3G Hotspot device because I really do NOT want to have anything to do with AT&T anymore. I cleaned out the last drawers of the dresser that is in my computer room and shredded more paperwork I didn't need. Now I have to go through the small bookcase in that room and I'll be done with that room and will be able to move on to the next project which will be going through the hall closet.
Here is a photo I took this morning while Hiker and I were out walking. You can tell that spring is in the air.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday's Suck!

Hiker didn't wake me up to go potty this morning. Instead I woke up at 5 minutes to 7:00 am and asked her if she wanted to go out and she did. I fed her and because of the time change...went back to bed. Stayed in bed until almost 8:00. Got up, made breakfast and then Hiker and I went to get the Lottery tickets. I sometimes wonder why I still play it every week, but then I think about when Ben was in the hospital and he would always ask me if I got the Lottery tickets for the week. He just “knew” that someday we'd hit it big. If I won anything now, it would be nice, but it would not be fun like it would be if Ben was here. Took Hiker for her morning walk and then came home and vacuumed her hair out of the carpet. Noticed that “Smokey & The Bandit” was on Encore Action. It was always one of Ben's favorite movies, so I sat and watched it. I was feeling sad this morning while out on my walk with Hiker this morning, I started thinking about how I've changed since Ben died. For one thing, I am much more compassionate. I hate seeing people and animals being mistreated, hurt, sad, etc. I'm sloppier than I used to be. Ben used to always tease me by saying that I knew where everything was in this house. He would ask me where some paperwork was and I could tell him exactly where to find it. Now I cannot find anything anymore. I've been going through drawers and finding things that I have not been able to find since Ben went into the hospital last year. I used to be “neater” than I am now. It used to bother me if the house was dusty. Now it's dusty all the time. If I used to look out my kitchen window and see a weed growing on the slope on the north side of my house, I'd run right out and pull it up. Now there are all kinds of weeds out there and I could care less. I used to be so organized that I had certain days that I did my housework, even though I was retired and could do it anytime I wanted. Now I just do it when I feel like it. We become a different person when we lose our spouse. I thought it was just the time change that was making me feel so low today but while Hiker and I were in the park this afternoon, I started to remember that one year ago today, Ben was in Henry Mayo Hospital and they brought him out of the induced coma they had put him in after his first emergency surgery. I looked at the notes I was keeping back then (Ben's Journal) and here was my posting for that day:

Lynn Toler is staying with me over the weekend. We headed over to the hospital around 11:30 AM to meet Lanny Ben's brother. While all of us were there, they decided to wake Ben up completely and remove the breathing tube and take him off of the ventilator! He opened his eyes and looked at me and I told him I loved him and he actually said "I love you" back to me. I started to cry. Then he said in a very raspy voice "I wanna go home". He was looking all around the room and trying to communicate with me. I kept telling him where he was and why he was there. I'd ask if he understood and he'd say a raspy "yeah". I was so excited I didn't want to come home, but I know he is worn out and he should rest, so Lynn and I left around 5:00 PM to come home. I cannot wait to get back over there tomorrow morning to see him.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Forward

Took Hiker on her morning walk after breakfast. Beautiful morning. Got home and did some laundry. Cannot believe that it is time to change our clocks for Daylight Saving Time”. Since Ben went into the hospital over a year ago, each day has just slipped into the next, and since he passed away, I would not even know what day it is if I did not look at the calendar each morning when I get out of bed. When he was alive and working 3 days a week, I could keep track of the days because of him going to work or not. Did a bunch of laundry today. I have two comforters for my bed...a winter one and a summer one. I always wash them and change them on the weekend that we change our clocks, once for spring and once for fall. Also had an extra blanket on the bed this year because I didn't have Ben to keep me warm, so I washed that so I could put it away too. After lunch, Hiker kept bothering me to take her out for another walk. I guess she knew it was really nice outside. I drove us down to the trail head behind the CVS Pharmacy and we walked a total of 2.01 miles. For some reason, I have noticed that ever since I got those blisters on my feet that when I go walking or hiking now, my feet start to hurt about halfway through the walk/hike. The blisters are healed, but my feet just hurt. Hiker is sometimes afraid of the people riding by on bicycles. She tends to get behind me and sit down and wait until they go by, which is probably a good idea. Came home and saw that my brother Ron had called while we were out, so I called him back and we talked for about 15 or 20 minutes. After that I went around and changed all of my clocks. Ben and I always had a habit of doing it early in the afternoon so we would not forget, so I have continued to do it that way. Having a pizza with a green salad for dinner tonight.

My Iris is blooming. This plant was given to me by my office mates when I retired in 2006.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hiker's First Grooming

I was having a dream last night that I could not find Hiker anywhere. The only thing I can figure is that it is because I was leaving her at the groomer for the very first time today and I was worried about her being there alone and being scared without me nearby. When we got up, we went up to Sam's club to fill the Corolla with gasoline and then headed over to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. I had to get Hiker a new Nylabone. Her last one was down to about half the size it was when I first bought it for her. When we got back from Wal-Mart, we went for a 1.5 mile walk. It was already 70° when we started out at around 9:15 am. Took Hiker to the groomer and she got scared the minute we walked inside the shop. She tried to turn and go back out the door, but when the people who work there came to pet her and talk to her, she seemed OK. But as they took her toward the back of the shop, she kept turning around and looking at me like she was asking “why am I here and where are they taking me?” She looked so sad. I think I was the one who was more nervous about her going. The house seemed so empty without her when I got back home. Now I know how she feels when I leave her home alone to go to my grief group. It took them about an hour and 15 minutes to groom her. The bathed her, dried her, brushed her, trimmed around her “private parts”, cleaned her ears and trimmed her toenails. The put a pretty little scarf on her and gave her a cookie. When I got there to pick her up, they told me that she did really great, which made me very proud of her. They went to get her out of the kennel but she didn't want to come out, so they called me back there and the minute she saw me, she got happy and was ready to come out and go home. They told me that I should bring her in every 6 weeks or so and they will trim her nails for free. They said she should be groomed about every 8 weeks. It cost $30 so I didn't think that was too bad for all they did. Plus I didn't have the hassle of trying to get her into the shower and her peeing all over the place. I won't feel so bad the next time I take her in.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Typical Thursday

I had a grief attack last night when I was getting ready for bed. It snuck up and hit me with no warning. Hiker and I lounged around in bed a little this morning. When we got up, we went and bought our Lottery tickets and then we went for a walk. I started to go through some of the drawers in the dresser in my computer room and threw a few things out (shredded stuff). I'm going to try to do about 1 hour a day going through stuff. There is no hurry. Got a text from Linda asking if Hiker and I would like to hike with her in the hills behind Central Park again so told her I'd pick her up at 1:30 pm. We did a 3 mile hike. It was a little warm out though. I mentioned the other day, when I got my new iPhone I also switched my home phone (land line) from AT&T over to the Verizon Home Phone Connection device. I must say that I sure do like Verizon's customer service more than the AT&T lack of customer service. I emailed a couple of questions to Verizon and they responded the next day and also called me. I called the Verizon customer service and got a live person in less than a minute. AT&T puts you on hold for an hour most of the time when you call them and if you email them, it takes them over 48 hours to email you back.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Perfect Weather Today

Last evening, Hiker and I were sitting on the sofa together. Keith had left to go home yesterday morning after visiting for 5 days and I hugged Hiker and told her it was just her and me again. I am so glad I adopted her. I do not know what I would do without her. I'd be so lonely. When my brother Keith is here visiting, my life feels “almost normal” like it did when Ben was alive. I have someone to have conversation with, someone to run around with, etc. I have fun, I laugh, I enjoy. Then Keith goes home and Hiker and I are here alone again and once again I realize things will never be “normal” again. It was in the high 30's outside when we got up this morning. I decided to try out my new Dyson Ball Vacuum and get Hiker's hair out of the carpet. The Dyson actually weighs 2 more pounds than my Dirt Devil Vacuum but because it maneuvers so much easier than my old vac, it feels lighter. I also think it picked up a lot more of the dog hair out of the carpet. I liked it! Took Hiker out for a 1.5 mile morning walk. There was a chilly wind blowing. I went through my credenza in my computer room today and tossed a lot of papers that I didn't need any more. The drawers were becoming a place to just put things when I didn't know where else to place them. Next I will go through the drawers in the dresser I have in that room. My dad built the dresser so I will never give it up, but I'm sure there are a lot of things in the drawers that I'll be able to toss. After lunch I took Hiker over to Bridgeport Lake/Park and we walked around the lake. Hiker wanted to “herd” the ducks and the geese there. She was doing that “herding stance” that her breed does. They crouch down to where they are almost on their belly but they walk toward the “herd” and they do not take their eyes off of them. It was a nice walk. The temperature was in the high 60's and the sun was warm.

Hiker has her own Facebook page now. If you'd like to “friend” her, here is the link:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back To "Normal"

Keith headed for home today at the same time I headed over to the Senior Center for my Grief Support Group. Group was pretty good. Hiker was happy that I came home early since I didn't go out to lunch after group. My friend DeDee was not there today so I decided to just head home right after the meeting was over. After lunch I decided to take Hiker out for a short walk. It was very cloudy out. We only did a little over a mile, but it satisfied Hiker. I think Keith wore me out with all of the walking and hiking we did while he was here. We were walking a lot more each day than Hiker and I do when we are alone, but we sure enjoyed it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Busy Day With Keith

After breakfast today we headed out for a 2.5 mile walk with Hiker. It was a little overcast when we left. Once we got home, Keith and I headed out to do some errands. Made an appointment for Hiker to get groomed Friday afternoon. She is NOT going to like me when she finds out what I've done. They told me it would take 2 to 3 hours and that since she will be new to them, they will let me stay for awhile to make sure she is not going to freak out. PetSmart told me I definitely could NOT stay with her. I stopped by Goodwill Store #3 here in our valley but they didn't have any pants I liked in my size. Keith and I had lunch at Dinks New York Deli. Always good food there. My new Verizon Home Phone Connection was totally activated this morning. Now I hope I don't continue to get billed from AT&T. Verizon told me that they contacted AT&T to close my account with them. Hope they really did. Was in the mid-80's here today, but tomorrow they are saying we may get a little rain. We are having my version of “Nachos” tonight for dinner. Keith will be heading home tomorrow morning when I head over to my grief group. We are getting ready to head out on our second walk of the day right now.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Is It Summer In SoCal?

Got up around 7:00 am and decided to head over to William S. Hart Park again, this time for a hike. We headed up the Bison Road and over the top of the mountains behind the park, a total of 2.53 mile walk. Hiker loved it. We came home and left Hiker in the house and headed up to Bed, Bath and Beyond. I wanted to check out the Dyson Ball Vacuum. I saw that they had it for $499 but when I got there, found out was on sale for $449, plus I had a 20% off coupon, so I saved a total of $140 on it. I have to take it out of the box in awhile and see how it works. We brought the vacuum back home and checked on Hiker, then we went over to Arby's and had lunch. Came back by home again to love on Hiker a little bit before we headed out again. Keith wanted to go World Market to pick up a bag of free coffee he had gotten for being a member of their coffee club. From there we stopped by two Goodwill stores. With this economy, it seems a lot more people are shopping there. I started checking out the clothes and found two pair of corduroy jeans. I'd been looking for them at the regular retail stores and no one carries them anymore. Got both pair for right around $12. Pretty good deal I thought. Then we came back home and took Hiker for another 1.48 mile walk. We were going to do 2 miles but it was 88° so we turned around and came back home. Saw the first blooming California Poppies and took a photo of them.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Very Busy Day

Keith and I went on a 2 mile walk with Hiker this morning before Stephanie (Keith's oldest daughter) and her two sons (Ethan and Jonny) came. When they got here, we drove up to Vasquez Rocks and hiked some. The boys loved it. Brought Hiker back home and then we went to lunch. After lunch I drove over by Six Flags Magic Mountain so the boys could watch some of the roller coasters from outside the park. Then we drove over to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society Museum and wandered around some. We came back home and for some reason, Hiker started avoiding everyone. She was hiding in the corner of my bedroom. I think it was because she is just not used to being around kids as much as she was today.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lots Of Walking

Had trouble going to sleep last night. Took a sleep aid around midnight. I do that when I get “hyped up”, which I was because of my new “toy” (my iPhone). Keith told me he does the same thing when he gets new “toys”. I mentioned yesterday that besides getting my iPhone that I also got the Verizon home phone device to save some money. I did have AT&T as my home phone provider. It was just a regular “land-line” and it was costing me $40 a month and that included was “local calling”. I had to make a call to my tax man a few weeks ago, so AT&T charged me $1.99 for accessing long distance and then added the “long distance” fees and who knows what else, so it ended up costing me $5 for a 1 minute call to my tax man and I didn't even talk to him as I got his answering machine. Decided I had to do something so went with the Verizon home phone device. It only costs me $19.99 a month and that is unlimited (long distance, voice mail, caller ID, etc.). Was able to keep my old phone number too. Only problem is that you have to wait 2 to 10 days to receive incoming calls because they have to “port” the line over from AT&T. I can make outgoing calls though. I also checked into their Personal Hotspot for the Internet. Decided not to get it yet, but at least found out they do have it. I could get wireless Internet for 5 devices for about $50 a month, which is good to know in case Time Warner and my community do not come to an Internet agreement. What was really nice was that I received a bunch of discounts because I did a “partial bundle” and because I was a retired employee of Lockheed-Martin. Several of you have asked me about the Red Yeast Rice I said I was taking that has helped lower my cholesterol numbers. Several people think it is actually “rice” but it is a soft capsule filled with RYR powder, so it is a herbal supplement. If you Google Red Yeast Rice, you can learn about it. I buy it at either Wal-Mart or Sam's Club because it is cheaper there. My doctor prescribed 1200 mg a day. I take 2 capsules with breakfast and 2 capsules with dinner. Got the Corolla over to the Toyota dealer by 9:00 am and Keith picked me up. They told me it needed the “major service” as it was supposed to have been done at 80,000 miles and I now have 92,000 miles on it. Told them to go ahead and do it. We came home and took Hiker on a 2.21 mile walk then Keith wanted to go to some Thrift shops. Got a call from Toyota saying that my water pump is leaking, so have to replace that. I'm seeing $$$$ again. LOL. Got an email from Verizon telling me that some of the discounts I applied for on my phone, accessories and services would not be honored because they checked and Verizon will give the discounts to current Lockheed-Martin employees, but NOT to retirees. Oh well, I hadn't really expected them anyway when I walked into the store. After we picked up my car from the dealer, we went over to Central Park and hiked into the hills behind the park. Another 1.73 miles.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday With Keith

Got my results back from my Lipid Panel Blood Work and it appears that the Red Yeast Rice is helping lower my bad cholesterol and Triglycerides and raising my good cholesterol. Here are my results from December and from yesterday. I've only been taking the Red Yeast Rice for 6 weeks.

CHOLESTEROL                                               12/23/11 = 282                   02/29/12 = 248                   S/B <200
CHOLESTEROL/HIGH DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN     12/23/11 = 5.3             02/29/12 = 4.5                    S/B <4.3
HDL                                                                 12/23/11 = 53                     02/29/12 = 55                     S/B >40
LDL CALCULATED                                           12/23/11 = 186                   02/29/12 = 158                   S/B <100
TRIGLYCERIDE                                               12/23/11 = 217                   02/29/12 = 173                   S/B <150

I went by the community office to pay me land lease and asked if there was any news yet on the community and Time Warner coming up with an agreement for the Internet. I was told that right now, there still is no agreement. Marcie told me that they hear rumors that they are close, but she didn't know how true the rumor is. Took Hiker out for a 1.5 mile walk this morning. Then headed over to Sam's Club. Needed to get a few things before Keith arrived. Keith called and said there was an overturned car on the freeway, so that delayed his arrival. We went over to the car wash and I had my Corolla washed and waxed while Keith and I had lunch across the street at the Route 66 Grill. Came home to check on Hiker and then went over to the Verizon store and I got my new iPhone. Now I just have to learn how to use it. Also got the Verizon wireless home phone device. I've been paying AT&T $40 a month for my phone service and that does not include long distance, caller ID, voice mail or anything. With the Verizon wireless home phone, I get everything for $19.99 a month. I checked into their personal hotspot for Internet which I might get if I lose my Time Warner cable Internet the end of April. We came home and took Hiker for a 2 mile walk and now we are settling down for the evening.