Sunday, August 31, 2008

8/31 Our life in Quincy

is good. We're planning a family picnic today at Jan and Tim's. We're going to swim in the afternoon (including Gus) and then eat. It will be so much fun because we always have fun when we're together.

Yet, I received two emails from national Red Cross asking for me to go to the Gulf Coast to help with disaster mental health. Do I want to go? Hell, yes. Can I go? No, damn it.

My job is still too new to allow me to be gone for two to three weeks. I would go without pay (like I did with Katrina/Rita/Wilma in 2005), but it's the newness which makes it impossible. Plus I'm still down three staff and we're all doing extra duty.

Yeah, my back is an issue too. Can't really see me living in a shelter at the moment (unless I absolutely had to).

But I can't get the people out of my mind. Although the news is focusing on New Orleans, I know the same thing is happening in Mississippi. My friends are staffing shelters, even though there's a mandatory evacuation. They'll be there until the end. And they'll be working up to 20 hours a day.

Yeah, I'll definitely have fun today--but the Mississippi Gulf Coast won't be far from my thoughts.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

8/30 Kick Ass Blog

My friend Nancie nominated me for a Kick Ass Blog award. So here it is:

Kick Ass Blogger Award

And I have to nominate five others. I nominate my brother Joe, my niece Kelly, my niece Beth, my brother Jeff, my nephew Adam, my nephew Eric, my niece Jenna, my daughter Beata, and my son Rob. Think that's enough? I nominated more than five because I didn't want to leave any family members out. And I can guarantee none of them will post it.

I love them anyway.

Friday, August 29, 2008

8/29 Three years

Three years ago today Katrina hit. And people are still trying to rebuild their lives.

Now Gustav is on the way. Let's keep the Gulf Coast residents in our prayers.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

8/28 Busy

Time is just flying by. The class at QU went well again last night. And work is extremely busy, but I love it. Just wish I felt better. Next Tuesday will go to St. Louis to the neurosurgeon. Hope to hear something that will help.

Gotta run. Gussie needs me.

Okay, I'm back. Talked to Genia in Biloxi. She's in charge of the Harrison County evacuation shelter. And the coast has a mandatory evacuation coming up tomorrow or the next day. Sure wish I could be there helping. They are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. They don't need a repeat of 2005.

We do have our own drama and adrenaline-producing stuff going on in my current job too. Guess that's why I like it so much.

Monday, August 25, 2008

8/25 Why?

Saturday and Sunday I felt absolutely remarkable. No pain at all except for three or four intense attacks that lasted only minutes each. Same this morning. But after lunch everything started again.

I don't know what I did wrong, if anything. But it is sure depressing. Maybe it's because I felt so good that I didn't use my walking stick. Perhaps I overdid it. Who knows.

Or maybe it's because I forgot to sacrifice a chicken.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

8/24 Happy Sunday

With one major, but mercifully brief, exception, I've felt good all day. This has been the best day ever as far as back pain goes. So this is what normal feels like. For five months I've forgotten. Am so very grateful for this good day. Am hopeful for many more.

Gus and I swam with Jan and her neighbors today. Gussie is very friendly to everyone, so he's welcome in the lake.

Now I'm starving, so better cook some dinner. Love to all.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

8/23 Good news to share

I'm feeling much better. Don't think the pain will ever go away unless we can deal with the cause of it. But I'm able to walk a mile (with Gus), and the pain is manageable.

So I'm very pleased with the results of the epidural. Since I'd been complaining for five months, thought I'd share the good news.

And 28 years ago today I married John. I can't believe it was that long ago. Wow. Next week it will be 41 years since I married Phil. Amazing how time flies.

And now I'm really pissed. Right after I wrote I good I felt the stabbing pains began again. They are bad and will last from several minutes to a few hours. The good news is that they don't happen as often and in between them I feel pretty darn good.

Gussie and I are off to Starbucks for coffee. Love to all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

8/22 Weekend, yeah!

I'm really looking forward to the weekend, and spending more time with Gus.

Today I attended a workshop on Autism and it was really good. I also hired the second of five people that I need. So all in all a good day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

8/21 QU

My first evening teaching at QU went really well. I loved the small class size, and the classroom itself. It's called a "smart room." I open it with a computerized key fob. It's programmed just for me. The front of the room is full of built-in equipment that is state of the art. I loved it.

Looking forward to next week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

8/20 Gus--before and after

The after pic isn't good because I could only get his face. Wouldn't stand still--until my phone's battery went dead, and then he was a cutie. But you can still see how short his hair was cut. He looks adorable.

BEFORE


AFTER


I'll take one later of his body which will really show his "shorn-ness."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

8/19 YUCK!

I just hate that I fell yesterday. Makes me so mad that I have to use the damn walking stick(s). But at least they'll stop me from falling again. My back does remind me that I fell--guess that's what made me mad; I thought the epidural was working, and then splat! Ah well, what can you do.... No big deal in the scheme of things.

Tomorrow night I teach my first class at QU. I'm excited and nervous. Dear Cindy is letting Gus out for me tomorrow after work.

Oh, and Jan rescued me today. Someone set an appointment for me to interview someone at noon, and I had another one at 1 PM. Had to pick Gus up at the groomer's by 1 PM, and Jan was able to do it over her lunch hour. I absolutely hated to ask her but was so stuck. She's an angel.

Spoke to Rob for about an hour tonight. How wonderful is that! I love it when my kids and I both have time at the same time to talk.

Okay, back to preparing for my class. Love to all and prayers for those who need them.

Monday, August 18, 2008

8/18 Pride goeth before a fall. Splat!

Just this morning I finally started feeling pretty darn good. Then at noon I lost my balance and fell. So yeah, I'm really mad.

Came home at 2:30 and put on the heating pad. But before I did that, I stopped to buy my own walking sticks so I can return the doctor's. They're really expensive, but they will be worth it if I can prevent another fall.

But damn....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

8/17 Good walks

Gus and I just returned from our second walk of the day. This morning we walked a mile and this evening we walked 2/3 of a mile, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. And he always makes friends along the way. I'm so glad he loves people (and dogs too).

Now it's back to work on the curriculum for the class that starts Wednesday evening.

8/17 My beautiful Polmark d-i-l

I call my daughter-in-law, Beata, a Polmark because she grew up in Poland and lived in Denmark as a young adult. But right now, she's really worried about her homeland. Read this:

Russia: Poland risks attack because of US missiles - Yahoo! News

Friday, August 15, 2008

8/15 Hallelujah!

The epidural hurt a lot more than the first one, but the doc was funny and fun. He put in a lot more medicine (steroids included). Jane and Jan were there the whole time and the doc said that if it hurt too bad it was Jane's fault.

Afterward Jane and Jan took me to lunch which was sweet of them. Then before taking me home we went to John and Paulette's new house and we got a grand tour. John and Matt were working hard and the place is looking great.

Right now I'm feeling a little "weird," but there's not much pain. Tomorrow I should be able to have my normal routine. I have high hopes that this epidural is going to work. I'm very lucky and very blessed.

Thanks, Jane and Jan, for being there for me today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

8/14 Something good

I went to orientation tonight for adjunct faculty at QU. I'm pretty excited about teaching there.

But the wonderful news is that I get free use of the gym and athletic facilities, meaning I have use of an Olympic size pool one block from my house. How cool is that!

Tomorrow morning I go to Blessing Hosp (at 14th) to do a consult on a young patient, and then to work for a few hours. I'll leave at noon to go home to prepare for the epidural.

It's going to work this time. Yes it is.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

8/13 Surrounded by saints

Jan stopped by at lunch and took care of Gus. Cindy picked him up after lunch. When I got home at 8 PM Joe and Cindy brought Gus home and also gave me a huge salad and a huge brownie. As I said, I'm surrounded by saints.

And St. Jane is doing taxi duty for my epidural on Friday, although Jan said she may go too.

Here's the non-saintly part. They're going to go to lunch while I'm having my spine stuck with a needle the size of Cleveland. Ah well...

8/13 Off to Mattoon

Have to go to Mattoon today to get trained as a trainer for a certain test we administer when we're doing our crisis screenings. It'll be a long drive about 7 hours total for a three hour training. However the only other one is in Chicago, and that would take even longer. So Jan is letting Gus out over lunchtime and Cindy is letting him out after work.

I'm very lucky to have sisters who love dogs (and me). Thanks, Cindy and Jan. I love you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

8/11 Good news and bad news

The good news is my second epidural is Friday. The bad news is that I need it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

8/10 Bye bye, Charlie

They picked him up a while ago and Charlie (now Harley) is well on his way to Springfield. Although I did my share of crying and will miss the little critter, this is the right thing to do; and I know he'll be in a great home.

Andrew and Sarah are a sweet couple. And Barb, Andrew's mother, is a dog fanatic like me and she will give them any help they need with him. In fact, Harley will live with Barb and Bill for the first week and a half or two weeks while Andrew and Sarah prepare for their first house. Right now they're in an apartment and can't have dogs.

Can't wait to get pictures from Harley in his new home.

I think Gussie will miss him more than I will.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

8/9 Goodbye Charlie

I brought Charlie and Gus to our family reunion and several different families were interested in adopting him. Even though I didn't bring him there for that reason, it did seem like the right thing to do. It will mean I'll only have to lean over half as many times as I do now. I'm trying to do whatever I can to feel better.

I'm going to miss Charlie tremendously. His personality is so beautiful and his face adorable. But having Gus and Bozie will be sufficient.

Charlie is now Harley and will live with Andrew and Sarah a little north of Springfield, IL. They're getting married next year. Sarah fell in love with Charlie immediately and Andrew soon followed suit. Who wouldn't love the little sweetie? :) They changed his name because Andrew's boss's name is Charlie. But it sounds the same, so the puppy won't be confused.

They'll pick him up tomorrow as they head out of town. So I have tonight with him. And yes, I'll cry. Can't help it--that's who I am.

The family reunion was so much fun, and the dogs were very popular. They're exhausted and passed out immediately after we got home.

Friday, August 08, 2008

8/8 Happy birthday to Jane

Of course Joe has blogged Jane's birthday, but I wanted to acknowledge it too. She's born in 54 and is 54 today. Also today is 8/8/08--what a special day.

Can't wait for all of us to spend time together tomorrow. Love you sis.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

8/7 Pasta sauce

Tonight I had pasta with a sauce made from tomatoes from Joe and Cindy's garden, green pepper from Jan's garden, and onion from HyVee Market. Yay. And yum.

Saturday is the Kuhlman family reunion, and I'm really look forward to it. My family is hosting it this year and I'm going to orchestrate some very special Olympic games--the kind you can play from a chair. I'll report about them afterward.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

8/5 A really down day

Don't know why, but I didn't have one pain free moment today. It was rough. All I wanted to do was go home and lay down, but I couldn't. Pain influenced every action, and I found it difficult to even think.

Sure hope tomorrow is better...

Monday, August 04, 2008

8/4 I love my kids

The housekeeper came today during lunch to give me an estimate, and it's really reasonable.

So I called Rob and Jill and told them the price and said we'd split it three ways which is what I thought we decided. Jill just emailed me to say they'd talked and they are splitting the cost so that I'll have no worries.

Amazing kiddos. They grew up great, despite everything I did to screw them up.

I love you so much, Jill and Rob (and your spouses too for agreeing to this).

Sunday, August 03, 2008

8/3 Fun and more fun

Gus, Charlie, and I swam with Jan, Kris, Brian, and Rocky today. It was relaxing and wonderful.

My brother Joe blogged a bunch of pictures from my birthday and they cracked me up. The pictures were taken by my great-nephew Blake. He's five years old. (I think I got his age right.)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

8/2 Yes, Joe, it IS all about me

Today turned out better than I could have even hoped. Jan picked me up for Mass and afterward we went to Gem City for dinner. There were sixteen family members there and I couldn't stop smiling. Thanks, Jan, for buying my dinner. And also for the fresh vegetables from your garden.

And thanks to Kris and Jan for making my cake. OMIGOD it was so tasty. I would have loved to have more but John ate it all.

Kris and Brian gave me a lovely bouquet of flowers in such a cute vase. Hard to describe, but they were ceramic frog boots. If you want to see the vase, stop by anytime.

Cindy and Joe gave me a frog votive candle holder and a cute vegetarian cookbook.

Jordan, my godson, gave me a new swimming suit. How did you ever guess my size, Jordan? :)

And Blake and Ty made me beautiful birthday cards---Blake drew a picture of Gus on his.

Everything was just perfect. My children called me, and Rob/Beata sent a package that hasn't arrived yet, so I still have someting to look forward to.

After dinner nearly everyone came over to my house to visit for a while. We drank beer and played with the puppies. Then we watched Wipeout and I Survived a Japanese Game Show--two of my new favorite silly shows.

Matt and Joe put my new license plates on, which I really appreciate.

Sorry if there were gifts I forgot to mention. I'll have to look through things in the morning to make sure.

Thanks to everyone for making my 61st birthday memorable. Hope some of you can join us at Jan's tomorrow for swimming. Love you all.

8/2 Another year

Can't believe I'm 61. I'm officially as old as dirt. But it feels good.

Thanks to all the family members who called and wrote. I'm very lucky to be in such a family. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at dinner. Love, Jer

Editing to say thanks to Cindy for surprising me and my refrigerator with tomatoes, corn, and potato salad. It will be perfect tomorrow. Love you.

Friday, August 01, 2008

8/1 Nothing much

Called Jane a little while ago. They were in Rockford, driving back to Quincy. I'm sure they'll be happy to be home.

Lots to do this weekend. I have to prepare for the class I'm going to teach in a few weeks. Plus tomorrow I have to celebrate. Ha.

Editing at 9:30 PM to say that Pete just called and they'll be home in a little while. Everyone is doing well and they had lots of fun.