Last day of the month

I had started out November intending to add a blog post every day. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Nothing catastrophic occurred; I just didn’t make the time to write every day. But here it is the end of the month, so I decided to add one more post to round the month out.

I’m getting used to my “new normal” with my eye condition. Basically that means that every day is different, and I just roll with it. Last week I went to the local ophthalmologist for a pressure check and it was very good. I have an appointment with San Francisco doc in the middle of the December, so I was told I don’t have to go back for a while. Since that visit, I’m not sure what the pressure in my eye is currently, but my vision is not very good at all.

There isn’t necessarily a clear cut relationship between those two things since most of my visual problems are based on corneal edema (swelling) caused by the I.C.E. syndrome, so there’s not much that can be done. I add another drop to my regime that may reduce the swelling a bit and make my vision less messed up…or maybe not. These days, it’s mostly been “not.”

The real bummer is that it affects my ability to read. I currently can’t focus well with the right eye, which makes it a challenge to read anything from the library. It’s pretty easy to get a particular book I may want to read in print format from the library, but the selection of e-books isn’t very good. I’d really prefer e-books now because I can blow up the type enough that’s somewhat possible to focus on it through the blurriness. With print I have to mainly use my left eye, which is getting more fatigued than normal.

I’ve also found that I can see pretty well if I keep my area of focus in my right eye towards the inner corner. It just requires me to sort of tilt or hold my head a certain way.

Despite all of this I’m staying positive. I still love my new life and am very happy about my move. I spent Thanksgiving with new friends, and it would have been a perfect weekend if not for buying and eating a bad burrito at the farmers market on Saturday, leading to me spending the balance of the long weekend recovering from food poisoning. So it goes.

Amazing travel karma

I’ve been traveling for business this week and have an experience that didn’t start out well. I missed my outbound flight and had to reconcile myself to the repercussions, but it has turned out to be an overall outstanding experience.

First, the hotel apparently decided that due to my crappy travel day getting to my destination I deserved some extra special accommodations. My room is a corner unit that is practically a suite, and features a marble floored foyer and enough room to choreograph a dance routine. I don’t know why I rate this special place, unless they took pity on me.

But the really sweet and amazing thing is my upgraded return flight. Because of my change of itinerary I had to get rebooked on my flight home. Although I have no special status, for whatever reason United has decided to put me in First Class for my return flight to San Francisco.

I didn’t believe it when I looked at my travel app today and prepared to check in for my return flight, but I was showing as being seated in row 2. Yes, **Row 2!!** I checked in as soon as allowed, because I’m still sort of thinking this is a glitch and they would toss me back to the rear of the plane once they realize their error. But now that I have that confirmed check in, how can they take it away from me? (Yeah, I really don’t want to know about the terms and conditions fine print that probably allows them to declare “Oh, what a silly oversight on our part! You really are in row 36B! Yes, that row all the way at the back where you can’t recline and are next to the stinky toilets. Enjoy your free cup of Sprite!”)

What a glorious gift from the universe it will be if I get to kick back on this four-hour flight with free dinner and cocktails. 😀

Right down the middle

I was asked recently if I had ever taken the classic Myers-Briggs test and knew my personality type. I’ve actually taken the test twice. I dug through the file where I have that information stored to pull this out.

My Myers-Briggs test score

My Myers-Briggs test score.

I score highly towards Feeling in the decision-making functions, am most definitely more Introverted than Extroverted, and have a definite preference towards Perception. But when it comes to the perceiving functions, I have no strong preference at all.

Below I’ve pulled a quote directly from the Wikipedia article to explain a bit more about that S/N axis where I can’t seem to nail down a preference.

Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They describe how new information is understood and interpreted. People who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible, and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust hunches, which seem to come “out of nowhere”. They prefer to look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is less dependent upon the senses, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. For them, the meaning is in the underlying theory and principles which are manifested in the data.

Both times I’ve taken the test I’ve gotten these same results. The most recent time I took it was in 2004, so maybe I should try to take it again and see if the results have changed in the past 10 years.

Most recent lesson

After today, I think I’m giving up on the surface transportation to San Francisco International Airport. I left my house at 5:30 AM to get to the transportation terminal where I caught a privately operated bus that runs from Napa to SFO.

As soon as I got on the bus, I knew I was doomed. The driver announced that the trip would take extra long since there was an accident near the Bay Bridge. As we creeped along I-80 through the East Bay, we ran into another accident and further delays. Much later, when we passed a sign saying it was 9 minutes to SFO and I knew my flight was finished boarding in 10 minutes I conceded defeat and called the corporate travel service.

I ended up on a completely different airline on a flight that left 5 hours later and got me to my destination (Atlanta) at 10 PM local time. I missed the welcome reception for my business meeting, but I made it for the real meetings that start tomorrow, at least.

I truly hope that I don’t get into problems when I submit my expenses because today’s travel fiasco cost an extra $700 in change fees and for a one-way ticket on a nearly full flight.

At least SFO is a great airport to hang out in. There is free wifi, lots of great places to eat and drink, and they even have a yoga room. (No, I didn’t use it since I was wearing business attire.) Everyone I encountered was very nice and even the 4+ hour flight in a middle seat wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had problems getting to the airport on time on the bus. It seems I’m always a fender bender away from missing my flight, and feeling very stressed about it. Next time I fly out of SFO, I’m going to try driving only part way to the BART station and then getting on the train. At least I would avoid the really heavy traffic areas that start near Pinole and continue into San Francisco.

Now to go sink into my (hopefully) comfy bed and get a few hours of sleep.

Mom update

It’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned anything about my mother, so I thought i’d do an update post. It’s taken several months to work through all her doctors to get a handle on her full health status, but now we think we have most everything figured out.

We already knew mom has diabetes and asthma. As we got her meds organized, it became obvious she also has high blood pressure and high cholesterol. She’s on a lot of meds, including two different types of injectible insulin, an oral med for diabetes, an oral med for asthma, and a maintenance inhaler. Just keeping them all organized and filled is a chore. I looked into mail order prescription services, but her insurance didn’t cover the one that really intrigued me (, and mom said she prefers to get her meds from the pharmacy anyway.

Sister and I were worried about mom’s inability to take her diabetes medications regularly, and her primary care doc thought that had a lot to do with her forgetfulness. Finding a way to get her to take her meds properly was imperative for us.

We also recognized that mom was stuck at home with only her two little dogs for company. Her days consisted of getting up and fixing breakfast for her and stepfather, then spending the time after he left for work mostly watching TV and dozing in a chair. She would do some light housework and usually get dinner ready during that time, but she wasn’t getting any real physical or mental stimulation. She was also skipping or missing meals, which wasn’t good for her blood sugar. Mom lives in a rural area and there are no close neighbors for her to interact with, either.

After a bit of research into senior services and activities in her area we found that there was a day program at a private senior living facility within 30 minutes of her home. We also discovered that the township would pick her up and drop her off there for a small fee.

It took quite a bit of negotiation to get mom to agree to visit the place and try the activities. We had to get a lot of forms completed with health details and doctor permissions for activities, too. We finally managed to get her going to the day program in July. She goes two to three times a week and is loving it. There are chair exercise classes, games, puzzles, and cooking classes. The staff make sure she takes her insulin shot and she gets lunch and a snack, so her blood sugar is now more under control.

Stepfather covers the cost of the transportation, and sister and I split the cost of the day program since they can’t afford it. Each month it costs me between $250 and $350, and I can make that fit in my budget. Every week when I talk to her she tells me how much she enjoys going there and thanks me for paying for it.

Tomorrow sister is taking mom to the neurologist to discuss the results of mom’s most recent EEG. The first visit to this doc resulted in a diagnosis of dementia and a prescription that mom had to stop after a few days because it made her sick. We’re not sure what this visit will bring, but hopefully there will be something else she can try for the dementia symptoms.

The last few times I’ve talked to my mom she has mentioned that she would love to come out to visit me. I’m considering that progress.

The distance I’ve had from her has helped me feel less stressed about my mom, but I recognize that sister has taken on a lot of the burden of taking her to doctors and organized her health care. I had a pretty transparent dream about this a few weeks ago, in fact. In my dream, I was living in a beautiful suite of rooms in a big house. I left my suite to go find my sister since I knew she was living in this big house with me. When I found her room it was small, cramped, and dingy. It really didn’t take too much thought to realize that even subconsciously I know sister has the more rotten deal here. :-/

Rounding out the weekend

I had too much “weekending” yesterday to squeeze in a post. That means I’ve already missed two days of blogging in November. Ah well, as I noted earlier I’m not shooting for perfection.

There’s a hiking/exercising/social group in Napa that I joined at the beginning of this year as a way to stay active and meet people. Hikes are scheduled every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and on some weekends. I try to go every Thursday night and fit in the occasional weekend hikes when possible. (Now that we’re lacking a lot of daylight, the Tuesday and Thursday “hikes” are really more like neighborhood walks, but they are done in very hilly areas of town where we get more of a work out.)

The past few weekends there have been hikes scheduled every Sunday and I’ve been trying to make sure I get out and go on them. This makes for early Sunday mornings, since we shoot for finishing up our 3 hours of hiking no later than noon. Then we usually go out for brunch, so I often don’t get home until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I take a shower, put my feet up for a bit and/or take a nap, then get back out again on a short walk with the dog. By the time I’m done resting, it’s usually time to prep dinner and clean up a bit. Since I’m usually getting to bed by 9 PM these days, that doesn’t leave much time to do anything on Sunday evenings, so it’s no surprise I missed my writing time yesterday.

All this hiking/walking is helping me get in better shape, though. 🙂

Part of my plan to lose a few more pounds and stay in shape involves drinking much, much less alcohol. I had gotten to the point that I was drinking something — wine, beer, or a cocktail — every night of the week. That’s a lot of empty calories. Last night I stuck with hot tea and water. While I did have a martini on Friday night (I had gone out with another Meetup group to see Spectre that night, so it seemed appropriate!), I had no other alcohol all weekend long. I guess that goes contrary to what most people think of as weekend fun, but I’m feeling just fine about keeping the “partying” down on the weekend.

Because I didn’t want to make time to go to the grocery store, I had to put last night’s dinner together with what I had on hand. So the menu was this soup and a fresh salad made from turnips and carrots. (I love being able to search for recipes using ingredients I have on hand!) Some homemade garlic bread rounded out the meal.

There must be something going on in my head, though, because I had a dream last night that woke me up around 2 or 3 AM because I was crying. From the dream I recall seeing people I’ve met and interacted with here in Napa, but it was in an odd setting. We were on an airplane, yet people were up and about and moving around a lot as if it was some other form of transportation, like a train or a ship. Seating was more casual than on a plane, and looked more like what you see in a crowded airport gate (minus the carry on luggage). Some person was having a medical emergency and I had to deal with it. I needed some item or thing to do that, and made my way through all the people to get to the place where this thing (I can’t even recall what it was now) I needed to help the person was kept. It was slow going with all the people up and about in the “airplane cabin,” and me having to jostle my way through them, and then back again to where the ill person was located. When I finally got back, the ill person was laying across a row of seats, cradled in the arms of a man I know from my hiking group. [BTW, this is not a guy who is in any way a romantic interest because he’s gay.] “It’s too late,” he said, and I knew the person had died. I started crying. I had tried so hard to get through the obstacles so I could help this ill person, and I had failed. I woke up sobbing and crying.

While I was able to fall asleep again fairly quickly, I know I’m going to be processing through this dream for a while. It may just be a mishmash of stuff I’ve taken in over the past several months and mean nothing. Or it may mean something after all. I’m often slow to figure out what’s going on in my head and this is no exception.

Vallejo Open Studios

Today evolved organically into a fun outing with a man I know from one of my Meetup groups. I saw him at a group outing last night and he happened to mention this coffee roaster in Vallejo that has tastings every Saturday. I decided to drive down there today to check out the coffee and to also visit the farmers market. (Sadly, Napa’s farmers market closed for the season, but the ones in Calistoga and Vallejo are open year ’round, so I’m trying to get a feel for what they offer.)

At the coffee roaster, I ran into my friend from the Meetup (yes, that was definitely another reason I went to Vallejo today) where we talked as I sampled coffees. Coincidentally it is Open Studios weekend in Vallejo, and another person we were talking with suggested I visit some of the places that were open. My Meetup friend offered to show me around, so I took him up on the offer.

We visited some places in the gentrifying downtown of Vallejo, Coal Shed Studios on Mare Island, and the farmers market. Along the way we also stopped so i could get some lunch and a beer, and we shared our stories about how we ended up in the Bay Area. We had a good time and swapped numbers at the end of the day so we can connect easier next time we want to get together.

I snapped a few photos at one of the last studios we visited, Steampunk Studios. There were some fantastic floats and large works being created there.

Steampunk truck rear

Tricked out steampunk truck rear

Tricked out steampunk truck side

Side of tricked out steampunk truck

Steampunk octopus float

Steampunk octopus float

Steampunk float

Steampunk float

Steampunk truck front

Front of tricked out steampunk truck