Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tues, Aug 31, 2010: Two MORE days of my Life.......where???

Hmmmm.....can I remember yesterday morning????? It was just another normal day in the sticknbrick without the 1st Lady being here......quiet! Not that she is a noise maker...don't get me wrong with what I said......but, without any other person inside TheHowserHouse it IS quiet!

I really guess it wasn't quite normal........as I had Michael Goldsmith here for 7:20AM coffee, before he had to leave an hour later for the college campus where he teaches. Soooo, thought I would do something a bit different and I opened up a box and made some Cinnamon Streusel muffins....which turned out pretty good.....not heavy, but light and fluffy. Soft butter and hot coffee to accompany them, along with an hour of non-stop conversation of which the transitions from one topic to another topic were quite erratic and certainly not smooth....haha!!! Not enough time to segue smoothly.....just abrupt jumps!!! But......it was a great hour and an amazing way to begin the day.........with a great friend who was a friend of my son's in Middle and High School, who was a great band member for me in HS, who majored in Mus Ed in college, who was a music instructor in the Columbia, MO public school system, who became my Associate Band Director here in F'town, who took my place when I retired 9 years ago. A list of many associations that we have had together.......

After he left.......I did my normal morning reading of the newspapers which I monitor and enjoy reading. And the day then just flew by.......once I begin reading online......I suddenly become aware that I have been reading for quite some time....and several hours will have passed by. Yep....that is what happened yesterday.....it was after lunchtime before I realized the day had somehow progressed into the afternoon hours!!! WHEW!!! Peace and quiet allows me to do just that.....read without interruptions!!!

Rains came in a huge deluge during the afternoon.....not for very long, but enough that the grass became green once again.....and I could almost hear it growing! The television took up a lot of the evening and then I decided to hit the bed and do some reading.......the book that Julia Child wrote about her life, which has only recently been made into a great movie!!! And....the book is really a good read, even though I have already seen the movie!

This morning.......it WAS normal...no one here again except the sagging hulk of Me!!!! About 10, I happened to be on the patio and I heard some motor running, walked around the house and there was an ambulance, lights flashing brightly, in my neighbor's driveway!!!!! By the time I walked to the front of the house, it was pulling out of the driveway....and off down the street it went.....but, with no sirens!!! Not too much later, I saw Earl's daughter outside....both of his daughters are currently here to assist with the health crisis since last week when Earl and his wife were in that car crash!

Well....he came home from the hospital on Sunday....and has been going down hill quickly since he got back to his home. Not able to get his breath, not able to walk but a couple of steps before he has to rest several minutes and regain his breath......so, off he went to the hospital again. AND......an update from just a few minutes ago.......again, I talked with one of the daughters and she told me he had been sent on to St Louis to Barnes Hospital there. Seems he has a bit of pneumonia and some other factors and issues working against him right now........NOT GOOD!!!! At 84, a car wreck, taking chemo for prostate cancer, stints in his body for heart problems, not getting his breath, pneumonia..........this is NOT sounding very good!!!!

I have to finish up the final stage of that root canal I had some time back by getting the permanent crown on the tooth.....have an appt in the morning with Dr. Jeni at her offices in the Washington-New Haven area at 12:30 tomorrow. Soooo, I think I will run by Barnes Hospital on my way back here tomorrow afternoon to see about him.....IF I can get my truck into the parking garages there!

This afternoon I did go by and visit with Dennis Bess, the president of the Bd. of Education for the school district here....and a local insurance man for Farm Bureau. He and his wife, Joy, are very interested in going to Italy, so I discussed the proposed trip with him and the plans I have for the itinerary. I always enjoy visiting with him.....and I DO miss our Bd of Ed meetings when I served on the Bd as we always got a chance to visit during those times.

Oh yeah......Guess I forgot to mention that yesterday afternoon I spent over an hour on the phone talking with one of the travel "counselors" for the company that I will use for the Italy trip, if I have enough people to make the trip. We discussed my idea of customizing the tour just the way I want to do it.....and he told me that since I have been over there sooooo many times with his company, that certainly is not a problem!! Told me to just work out an itinerary and then get it to him....and he would attempt to put a price tag on it in within a week or two after receiving it!! THAT sounds great!!!! Just anxious to get some figures to work with.....and see if what I want to do for everyone for this trip is feasible and not an outlandish price!!!!

Soooo, for dinner this evening I opened up a box of Zatarain's Dirty Rice, which has all the wonderful hot spices included in the package.......used chicken broth instead of the required amount of water, and then continued to use another can of broth as it simmered away.....I do NOT like dry rice...and this just made it so incredibly juicy and "runny"!!! During the last three minutes of the cooking period, I had prepared some "fresh" shrimp....we had purchased some LARGE fresh shrimp a week ago, quickly froze them.....and then I put about half of them in the Dirty Rice to cook quickly so they didn't become overcooked......OMG. WOW..WOW....WOW....WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt just like I was down in the French Quarter in New Orleans......it was absolutely amazing!!!!!!! And...the good news is that I have about half of this shrimp and spicy rice available for dinner tomorrow night!!!! WOW, but it was soooo damn good!!!!!

And sooooo, this day is about completed!!!!! Tomorrow will be a day away from here......and, as always....the burgler alarms go on the minute I leave town!! But, as I always feel AND say......

LIFE IS JUST ABSOLUTELY GREAT!!!!!!!......And, I sure hope it is for all of you, also!!!!! (If not, do something about it!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The size of the bottle of eye drops that cost $80.00 following my eye surgery, one bottle for each eye!

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Sat/Sun, Aug 28/29, 2010: Almost silence in the sticknbrick.....

Yesterday.......a relaxing morning, especially with the windows open to the natural sounds from the outside. I opened them as soon as I pulled my sagging hulk out of the bed......turned on the coffee maker....and soon the French Roast was ready to accompany the sounds of the many birds having a late breakfast at the feeders, but insisting on telling everyone about what they were munching on at the little trough. We still have many different birds enjoy their meals with us on the edge of the patio.....and we are really chirpy about that, as we expected some of them to not return after the inland hurricane last year.

Shortly after lunch I drove up to Farmington to check on my next door neighbor who was hospitalized after his automobile accident. As I approached his room, his two daughters were just leaving....both live in Oklahoma....and so we chatted in the hallway for a few minutes......about him, of course. We all agree that at his age of 84, he had no business mowing his large yard any more. They had told him that, but he was not happy about their idea, so I informed them that I would re-enforce that idea with him. And....when I pushed him about now mowing his lawn.....and, he mentioned that had seen my temporary "lawn-boy" mowing mine......he agreed!!! I told him I would work out the details and he told me a price he was willing to offer him.....and so...hopefully he will stick by this almost "life-saving" decision of his.

Returning to the sticknbrick later in the afternoon.....I did shop at Penny's for a bit, but didn't find anything that I needed or couldn't live without.....so, not money spent there! The remainder of the afternoon was spent thinking about an idea that has been consuming my thought processes for a couple of days....................

I have been approached twice in the past couple of days about taking a group to Europe in the coming year......and, so I began to mentally sketch out some ideas about doing this. I have taken 11 groups to Europe over the years.....ever since the early 1980's....and each tour was an appetizer tour.....flying over, visiting several countries for about three weeks, and then flying back to the states. The last group I took was in 2001 and it just happened to be the largest group I have taken....38 adults and students! We did have our own charter bus....no other student group was with us.....and it worked beautifully! Sooooooo.......as I have always tried to teach my students: IF YOU DON'T THINK BIG, NOTHING BIG WILL EVER HAPPEN!

And, I have decided to check into taking a group to Italy early next summer for 12-14 days. I want to focus on three cities: Rome, Florence, and Venice and then perhaps a side trip or two out of the cities to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and to Pompeii. LOTS to think about....and I do have to check with the tour company that I used for each tour that I took as to prices, etc......as I have not totally designed an overseas tour like I did with the high school band trips to New York City and to Washington DC, as well as the Black Hills in South Dakota and to Disney World in Florida.

I have discussed this trip possibility on my Facebook page....and have great responses so far, even without any details to discuss! We really need to have each seat in the bus taken....as that will make it a bit cheaper for those making the trip. It will not be "cheap".....nothing is cheap in Europe...ever. We will not be staying in 5 star hotels......as when going to Europe, a hotel is not THEE destination.....it is only a place to sleep and leave our belongings that is clean, convenient, comfortable, and safe with a close proximity to the city centers.

Soooo, today.....has been a continuation of this researching and planning process! I am quite excited about the idea.....but, I have done this before and realize that while everyone gets excited about the idea, not everyone is able to follow through with making this idea become a reality for themselves. I do not want to take any students still in school unless their parents are making the trip........I just do not wish to be the chaperone to young adults who hormones are raging as well as being concerned about abusing the drinking policy that I have always had for the students when traveling in Europe with me(parent's permission had to be given and, parents and child had to sign the permission slips). This can be an incredibly fun and exciting trip.........and I am just salivating at the thought of returning to Italy, my favorite European country!

Sooo, the day is completed. I have invited Michael Goldsmith to join me for an early cup...or two...of coffee in the morning before he has to leave to go to Mineral Area College where he is a music instructor there. Only an hour together........how can we possibly get eveything discussed?????? Impossible!

And, as always......

LIFE IS JUST INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fri, Aug 27, 2010: My Life is two days shorter than when I posted on here last.....

Yep....another two days......and those two days have been lost forever!!! You know.....I used to tell my students that they should consider a day a total loss unless they learned something knew each day!! Well......I kind of think that the past two days have been a total loss for me......because I am pretty damn sure that I didn't learn anything new on either day......or, as far as I know I didn't!

Yesterday???? Suppose I am going to have the use the "Notes" app on my iPhone to take notes about what I am doing, have done, on each day.....as yesterday sort of whizzed by rapidly. I did have lunch with a former student in a rather "new"....perhaps remodeled.....little cafe on the town square.....and....well, crap!!! I DID learn something new.......and that is to think twice before eating there again. I was NOT impressed.....it bills itself as a "seafood" type of place, but it is a remodeled bar/grill, however, the smoke of tens of thousands of cigarettes still lingers, even with the new painted walls and the nice pictures they have hung there......and the bar is still in the same room with only a half wall...waist-high....dividing the dining room from the bar. What is I heard the other day........having a smoking section in a restaurant within the same room as the dining area is like having a corner of a swimming pool as a place to pee in the water! I totally agree!!!! Anyway....the meal I had was below average......a Mexican type of fried enchilada with some type of "seafood"/mystery meat inside and then it was all drowned in a very heavy "sauce" which was more like thick chicken gravy!!!!! UGH........THAT particular item on the menu I will never order again. Another former student was in there....and she had ordered what appeared to be fried oysters.....and they LOOKED good, but I will have to ask her what she thought of them!

The afternoon drifted away quickly....as I was totally weighted down by that "sauce/gravy" which had drowned the main entree....and I could barely get off of the sofa all afternoon. The 1st Lady went to her first of the fall Beta Sigma Phi Sorority meeting with some of her friends....and was gone most of the evening. I enjoyed the tv....watching a combination of HGTV and the Food Channel most of the evening!

OH yes.....our next door neighbors were in a car accident yesterday morning on the way to Cape G for a doctor's appt. He is 84 and his wife is 83.....and they went off of the road and hit two trees and then rolled over, totaling their shiny red Cadillac!! She is in the hospital in Cape with some broken bones....and while he was not injured other than some scratches, he had some speech problems develop late in the afternoon and was then taken by ambulance to Farmington to be checked and watched carefully with tests being run to determine if it was a stroke or not.

Today?????? The 1st Lady left before noon to go sit with Dr. Jeni's three children this evening....and then she will go on to Monroe City on Sunday to spend a couple of days with her mother. Me??? I am here, putting in my eye drops and relaxing. I have finished the expensive bottle(?)....the second one that I have had to put in.....and these tiny little bottles are quite expensive. I took a picture of the size of these drops, but it didn't come out right so I will post it tomorrow.......but, take my word.....the bottle is no larger than the length of my house key!!! You'll see......and.....the drops cost $80 at Walmart!!!! At least my insurance takes care of most of it!!

This evening.....I went out to the Hanner House to visit with them....and to show them the DVD of the Howser Music Fest....the complete version. They were in awe of Duncan Photography's work on this......Travis is just amazing...such an artist!!!!

And sooooo, of the two days....yesterday I DID learn something new.....and today...well, I will consider it a total loss! However.......as always, even with "a total loss"......

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MO U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill speaks at a Town Hall meeting here this morning!



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Wed, Aug 25, 2010: Interesting morning......eye still doing ok!

This morning.....I was up a bit earlier than usual.......and left the house at 8am for the Follis Center.....a room owned by the local funeral home here in F'town where meetings can be held. And......this morning at 9:30, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill was to be there for a Town Hall meeting. "Be there early" was the "word of the week", but that proved to be not necessary, as by the time she arrived at 9:29.....the hall was still not full.

Making some brief statements about things in Washington and across our country, she then opened the floor to questions. All questions had to be written out and then signed by the "asker". However.....she allowed the individuals to have her read the questions, or...they could ask the question....or, they could ask a different question. The questions were good.....concise and to the point. Only a couple at the end of the hour plus session became a bit contentious .....as one person began talking about the deficit and then said something about Missouri seceding from the Union!! Another one was about the Health Care Reform Act.....and she just plainly didn't know her facts....as with her "small business" she thought she would be made to purchase insurance for them......Claire asked her how many employees she had...and she said 2-3!!!! Well, Claire did set her straight on the facts then!

Afterwards, I went up to see Claire.....and as I re-introduced myself.....we had set at a head table back in 'o4 when I was running for the MO House of Representatives......she immediately knew me....she dropped her papers and gave me a HUGE hug......and then she said in the next breath: "OHHH...you are Jay Howser's Dad!!!!.......OMG, I just love Jay!!" "Whose campaign is he doing this year???" "Where is he living?" "Give him a BIG HUG for me, John" She was sooooo excited......to say the least!!!!! We chatted a couple of minutes....until I realized that the other people there were behind me in line, waiting their turn to meet Sen. McCaskill.....so I told her I would contact her when we are in D.C. the next time.....and she said she would try to find time to do lunch with us. THAT I doubt will ever happen.......she is such a busy, busy person!!!! But, it WAS great to see her again and to have a few minutes with her.....

The afternoon was spent.....doing not much of nothing. My eye is fine for the second day in a row......but, I am really limiting myself to doing nothing!!!!!!! Reading on the patio with a cool drink in my hand.......weather was stupendous today!!!! Then I had the cousin of the couple across the street mow my lawn again for me later this afternoon. This time I did get to talk with him.....well, a very limited conversation as he speaks VERY LITTLE English......he being from Mexico. He is up here for a few months to take an English class to learn our language. A great young man!!!!!!! So pleasant, so nice, so polite!!!!! I told him to come over to the house and I would help him with his English whenever we both have a bit of time......

And soooo, a good day.....fun morning.....relaxing afternoon/evening. And....of course, as always.....

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tues PM, Aug 24, 2010: UPDATE ON THIS MORNING'S POST: No problems today......!!

After writing this morning on this aging blog (over five years old), I made up my mind to reach the Dr.....and, after leaving a message at the receptionist, he called me within about 15 minutes. We talked and I told him what had occurred......he said it didn't sound like any infection, but I could come on down to Cape G and he would get me in about 1pm. I told him I would call by 11:30 if I was going to be there.....

However, I really did take it very easy today.......and, no pain, no spots.....just an almost regular day. We did go out for a late lunch here in town.....but, I have been fine all day. I really do dislike the word "bored/boring".....however, I am bordering on using that word to describe today and these past few weeks of inactivity!!!! I do suppose that is what is necessary to continue the good recovery I had been making until this past weekend......sooooo, I will just go back to laying around, doing very little physical activity, and let things heal. OK........that is what I am REALLY hoping will occur.......but, I will just have to take one day at a time...AND, if I should have the pain again.....I will be on my way to Cape G immediately to either get to my opthalomologist or to an ER at one of the good hospitals down there.....no doubt about that!!!

Soooo, not much else occurred.........and, as always......

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010: Hmmm.....some left eye problems....??

The weekend?? Well......Saturday faded away by Sunday morning......a nice day, but we really didn't do anything other than the normal things that we always do around the sticknbrick.

Sunday??? For some reason I began to have some pain in my left eye......off and on....and then sharp needle like pains. Soooo, it really bothered me....and I found myself laying down quite a bit of the time....trying not to do much of anything. I called the Dr. at his home during the morning, but he was "on call" his wife told me, and she gave me his cell phone. She said he was getting ready to have an emergency surgery on someone.......so, I called the number and reached him, he telling me the same thing. I told him what was happening......and he said if it became worse to call him and he would meet me at his office at 3pm.......otherwise, to come in to his office at 8:30 the next morning....Monday.

Well, it didn't go away completely....the pain....but it didn't get any worse. I just laid around most of the day, watching some tv and snoozing off and on(like some OLD, OLD man...ugh!) I developed a headache......unusual thing for me since I have had my teeth fixed this summer!.......and that didn't help, but I didn't call him.

Yesterday....Monday....I drove down to Cape G for the 8:30 appt. I felt FINE!!! Sooo, I went through the varied machine tests, eye dilated, etc., etc. and Dr. Kinder said everything looked fine, but couldn't explain what had happened to me on Sunday, in reference to the sharp pains. I picked up some freshly baked breads at Schnuck's......a great local supermarket chain.....got a cup of coffee.....and was home by 10:15.

Did a bit of cleaning....light....on the patio, and used the weedeater, not heavy, no strain. Late afternoon I grilled some wonderful brats which we love that come from Sam's Club: chicken with asiago cheese and spinach with lots of spices......oh soooo good. The 1st Lady had made a Lemon Meringue pie...she is NOT a pie baker...probably only the 5th pie she has ever made, and I while I was cleaning the kitchen......I began to have more pain in my left eye.....really bad. We called the Hanner's to see if they were ok for some pie.......and, before we left to go out to their home, my eye was still bothering me really a lot. Then I blinked and I saw this dark reddish spot in front of me....and it wouldn't go away. Closed my eyes and could see a bright spot with my eyes closed. This bothered the hell out of me, to say the least......and, I allowed(?) myself to really get a bit paranoid about this unusual thing......became a bit upset to say the least.

We went on out to the Hanner House, but it didn't go away, seemed to fade a bit, though. The pie and conversation and their great coffee was sooooo good.......ALL of those!!!! Dave is healing really quickly, looking better and better!!!! Scars will always be there with him, of course, but he is healing!!!! He goes back into STL today for a Dr.'s appt at the Burn Center of St. John's Mercy Hospital, where he spent those 10 days after the explosion.

My eye got a bit better......the "spot" went away, but I remained on their sofa most of the evening, keeping my head from moving as much as I could. Returned home and just went to bed......rather worried, to say the least!!!! Soooo, I guess I will call my Dr this morning.....he is not a very personable person......THAT I don't like......as it makes it difficult to talk to him when he does not do much in the way of replying to me. Rather odd....because I usually never have any trouble getting someone engaged in a conversation....."teacher techniques", I guess....but they do not work with him!

And soooo, this morning, after a good sleep......I awakened worried. No pain, but....only the concern in my mind.....WHAT the hell happened????? That must have been a spot of blood on the new lens....right???? What the hell is going on?????

Soooo, I will close this for now, drink my morning's French Roast coffee, and wait until about 8:30, or perhaps I will call and leave a message for him to call me. Hmmmmm, wonder if he will do that? HIS concern yesterday morning was not very strong..........

I know that things can/could be worse, but when it involves MY EYE....THAT is bad enough for me! However........in the entire realm of horrible things........this may not be anything, so.....as always.......

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Aug 20, 2010: A really fun evening.....

Yesterday........again, not much happening here in TheHowserHouse. The 1st Lady went out to the Hanner House to assist with changing the dressing on Dave's burned arm and hands. He seems to be doing much better.....just being at home is a PLUS PLUS PLUS!!!!!

Later during the day she joined a local gym here in town as she feels she needs to "get back in shape".......I think her shape is just fine!

I did clean the house, vacuuming, emptying the trash cans, putting some things back away that have laying around for a few days.......and then put the oil and gasoline in the new mower. I started it up.....probably shouldn't have done that as it did entail some pulling to get it going the first time.....but, it runs just fine. Obviously, I didn't take it out of the garage.....THAT I won't do as I am under fairly strong orders to NOT mow a lawn for six weeks after this last surgery.

Around 7:30pm.......Amy Miller Rauls came by, as planned, to discuss her upcoming trip to Europe: London for pleasure and then to Denmark for business(Boeing). We talked, laughed, discussed, laughed, and spent a couple of hours with drinks and visions of travel in our heads!!! She loves to travel just as much as I do........and she has been in many, many places within North America in the last few years, some on business, others as pleasure trips.

She is also taking a trip to Rome and surrounding area in November with her mother. A first overseas trip for her mother....and the second trip to Europe for Amy within only a month. Soooo, we plan to meet again after she returns from England and Denmark......as there is lots to discuss about going to Italy.....probably my favorite country!!!

And......all too soon the evening was over with!!!!!! GREAT time visiting with her!!!!! She has ALWAYS been a favorite person.....former student.....of mine!!! Such a great person with such a great vision for her future!! I am soooo proud to say that she was student of mine!!!

Today, we are going to Cape G. and then to visit with Mike. This will be another HOT day.....whew!!!!! Already a scorcher out there...and it is just mid-morning.....UGH!!!!

And......with lots of positive things happening.......as always,

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dave's Birthday: only ONE candle....did not want to recreate a fire!!!

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Thurs, Aug 19, 2010:.......??????

OK....my mind has been active since last night, when I knew it was time to put a few words on here.....and, just couldn't find those words anywhere. This morning???? Hmmmm........it is still just as difficult to "find those words"........WHY????

Perhaps it is the fact that here in TheHowserHouse, nothing really different has occurred since I wrote 48 hours ago. Have we settled into a boring Life here??? No....I think not as we do keep rather busy with each day, however..........as most of you know from experience there are some days when there is just not much happening that is worth trying to talk about......except just living Life!!!

Tuesday.......???? Can I find anything to relate that is newsworthy??? Not really.........no incredible dinners, no high vistas climbed or driven from which to take a grand photo, no illnesses to report, no new friends, or old friends, were seen.....other then our assistance with the Hanner House and Dave's recovery. We did take dinner out to them on Tuesday evening as Sue was working/teaching all day at the local community college.

Yesterday???? Well, I did have an appointment in Cape G. to have my one week exam from the latest cataract surgery. Everything is going really well.......and I have another appt. for the first Wed. after Labor Day for another exam, at which time I should be able to be tested for new reading glasses.

After the dilated eye came back into focus......and I could see, I went to Sears and purchased a new lawn mower.....one with the larger wheels on the rear as I have wanted since that is the type that our dying lawn mower has. After I returned to F'town, later in the afternoon Michael Goldsmith came over and took it out of the truck for me and put it into the garage. I am certain he probably has a strained back today....hopefully not, but it wouldn't surprise me!!!

Then the 1st Lady made a birthday cake for Dave Hanner and we took it out to them, along with ice cream, strawberries, and a small gift as yesterday was his 67th birthday. He is getting along well.....but sure he is getting tired of being "handicapped" and having to sit in his chair most of the time. The 1st Lady has been assisting with changing the wrappings on his hand and fingers for the past two days....as it is not really a one person job.

After visiting with them for a couple of hours, we returned here to the sticknbrick, watched a bit of TV.....and ended another plain old regular day.

I do want to try to attach a link to a shortened video of the HowserMusicFest that our photographer, Travis Duncan Photography of Jefferson City, MO, made for me....and everyone who wishes one. I have the DVD which is longer and more complete than what he has put online, but if you would like to watch.......please enjoy!!! Travis does absolutely incredible work.....he is definitely an artist with the camera!!!! He did send me a very large photo, matted and ready to frame of a time-lapsed series of pictures he took of me directing.....I will post that if I can get it transferred to here. OOPS...after checking I see that I have already posted that picture!!

http://vimeo.com/14098111

Check it out....OK????

And so.....two more days of my Life has slipped by.....DAMN, but they are going sooooo quickly!!!! How can we stop them from rushing by so rapidly?????? Is it happening to you, also???? Is TIME speeding up??? Why does it seem to do that when you/I reach this age of our lives......the 60's???????????? HELP, HELP.....stop it now!!!!!!

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Roger visiting with the Hilke's

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Steve and Denise from the Eldon/Tuscumbia area

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1st Lady, Rona, and Debbie

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Urban/Wanda Hilke

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Visiting with Urban and Debbie/Ray Langston




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Rona....involved in another "story" during our evening

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Roger and Rona.....they both have never aged!!!!

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Urban and Wanda Hlke

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Rona....a former student of mine, Roger's daughter...whom I had not seen for 30 years!!!!

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Me...(no glasses needed), Roger, and Urban

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Roger/Paul in the middle and Urban/Wanda Hilke on the right

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TUES morning........Aug 17, 2010

Ok.......to continue the "catch-up" series......(makes it sound really gripping, doesn't it?).........

On Saturday, we got out of F'town's massive traffic jams about 10:30AM........and with a lunch stop, we arrived at the home of the 1st Lady's mother about 2:30pm. She knew we were arriving, just not the time. As I have explained in earlier posts, she is not well....and hasn't been for many, many years......a Life-long of series of health issues/problems that have brought her "down" step by step until this wobbly age of 86. She is blind, able to see only out of the sides of her eyes......and oftentimes not even that....the vision comes and goes strangely.

A couple of hours with talking with her.....and then we dashed on up to Quincy, IL to the new Holiday Inn where a surprise birthday dinner party was to take place for our friend who lived in Eldon during the same time that we did. I had his daughter, Rona, in my Flag Corps/Color Guard with the band, as well as in the vocal program there which I taught for two years.

Arriving at the Holiday Inn, we walked into the very nice lobby.....and OMG, sitting there in a wheelchair with a broken leg........was Debbie Langston.....and then her husband walked in....and we were all in hugs and handshakes and more hugs. Friends of ours they "were" all during the time we lived in Eldon......and we had not seen them for 22 years. Losing track of friends in one's Life often occurs as each person's Life goes on and down a different path when you move away from a community. They moved to Jefferson City....and with addresses changing, you seem to just lose people that meant soooo much to you for a time in your Life.

We were still babbling like little children when in walked another couple from our Eldon past who know live in Independence, MO......Wanda and Urban Hlke. Again.....we have not lost track of them, however, we have not remained in touch with them as closely as we should....and it was just sooooo great to see them again.

Sooooo, the six of us went through the bar and into the reserved room for this event.....the 75th birthday party of Roger Bowness......whom once again we have only seen once in the 22 years that we have been away from Eldon. There were probably about 35 or 40 people at this surprise.....and it wasn't long before his daughter, Rona, who graduated from Eldon HS in 1980 walked in.....and soon it was hugs and more hugs just like at the HowserMusicFest a few weeks ago. She and I just never came to a period during the evening each time we found ourselves standing or sitting beside each other. It was SOOOOOOOO wonderful to get to see her again......and, she reminded us that she used to baby sit our children when her parents and we and our other friends would go to the monthly social dance at the Lodge of the Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks......a formal affair with a big band providing the music.....a time in our lives we soooo enjoyed!!!!!

Roger was quite taken back by this surprise group/party for him and as I said above....the talking and the memories and the catching up on lives continued until we left there about 10:30pm. The dinner was very good, the wine flowed profusely and the champagne flowed during the toasts. After the meal.....the non-stop visiting, large and frequent laughter, and the stories flowed just as often as the wine flowed in and out of the glasses!!!! Such great, great fun......and it was sooooo incredible to all be together once again.

Another couple came from Eldon whom we did not know but who had worked for Roger when he owned his auto parts business there in Eldon.....Steve and Denise.....and Denise just happened to be a cousin of a former EHS band member whom I saw for the first time in 28 years at the MusicFest.....the former Angie Jones. Sooooo, for some reason, Denise knew of me..........

As I said, it was wonderful to spend time with these friends.....and, it makes me question why we allow these separations and lost addresses to ever happen???!!!! Different periods happen with our lives.......and this was the 1st Lady's and my Eldon Chapter.......for me, Eldon Chapter II since I did grow up and attend school in Eldon. We PLAN to remain in contact with everyone......can we keep that plan?????? I CERTAINLY hope that we can........we had too much together in Eldon and had just as much fun in Quincy on Saturday night.

Soooo, Langston and Hilke and Bowness and Rona ?? families........this is a challenge for us ALL to do a better job of remaining in contact......OK????????????????

We returned to Monroe City late that night.......and on Sunday, we just sat around in the gorgeous weather....enjoying the patio, reading, and relaxing from such a grand evening Saturday.

Yesterday.......we left mid-morning, stopped at Chesterfield Mall on the west side of STL for a bit of quick shopping, and then on to St. John's Hospital to visit with Dave Hanner. Arriving there, we were told he was going to be released and would be going home later in the afternoon......a GREAT surprise for everyone!!! His burns, his grafts...are all healing much quicker than anyone anticipated, so by 5:30pm we had him loaded into their van, all belongings and tons of medical supplies put into their van......and homeward to F'town we came. Sue and Dave stopped to get prescriptions filled and we came on to TheHowserHouse where we unloaded our car and just kicked back with a drink....or, two....and enjoyed the evening.

And sooooo, you now have the "gripping" story of the weekend filled with fun, laughter, good wine, and great friends both in Quincy and at the hospital in STL!!!! And....my next little journey is to Cape G tomorrow for an appt with my optpometrist....hopefully to get my eyes checked and begin the process of getting the reading glass lenses put into the frames of the glasses I was wearing before all of these past weeks' surgeries and recovery periods began.

The weather has moderated, but will return to the 90's later this week.....ugh!!!!! But....for now, we will take advantage of the cool temps to enjoy the patio....this morning it was only 60 degrees with I began writing this!!!

With such a great Saturday evening.......with the news of Dave's recovery moving right along......how it it be but.......

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday, Aug 16, 2010: Catch-up time.....three days behind!

How to catch up on this blog....when I am really tired tonight???? My best thinking time is in the early morning......sooooo, for those of you who have been waiting for a discussion about the weekend which I had......Monroe City, Quincy, IL, and back through STL today where we assisted getting our friend Dave Hanner from the hospital to their vehicle, after his release from there with his 2nd and many, many 3rd degree burns from the fire about 9 days ago.

Soooo, tune in tomorrow......pictures from the surprise birthday dinner party for our long time friend from Eldon, Roger Bowness which was held in Quincy.....and stories that need to be told!!

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fri, Aug 13, 2010: Two days of seeing with the new eyes!

Yesterday.......we were off to Cape G with the 1st Lady driving....still not allowed to do that just yet....and in the Dr.'s office by 8:15 for my post-op examination......and everything looked just fine, so Dr. Kinder said. Continue to take all of the eye drops, three times each day, until they are empty. I'm still using one of the bottles for the right eye which is not yet empty.

We then went to Panera Bread for a late pastry and coffee.....and then, to the mall as the 1st Lady needed to have her glasses adjusted....they have bothering the hell out of her.....and so, hopefully....this adjustment will make it better for her. We also visited a couple of other stores in the mall....Macy's...and Penny's.....purchasing some clothes that were on sale....heavily discounted!!

She decided to go "down town" where there is a shoe store that sells the same brand of shoes as the type that a rver friend of ours...Jane Brandon.....uses. The 1st Lady saw them on her when we were in Hannibal last month.....loved the shoes...and finally found this place only 50 miles from the sticknbrick. Soooooo......she bought a pair!!!! Found ones that she really liked and sooo, got out of there for a good buy of only about $75 for these sandals!!! And that IS a bargain for Keene shoes!

A quick stop at Schnucks Supermarket.....and several bottles of wine wound up coming home with us. Some great buys in there from their really very good wine dept!!! I was running out of wine....sooo, glad we stopped there.

A quick stop at "My Daddy's Cheesecake" cafe.....and had a great little lunch. Not sure it was any better than where we ate on Wed......McAlister's(sp?) Deli. Believe that was better than the "cheesecake" cafe.

Back home.....by mid-afternoon......and a bit of rest for myself. Still lacking any energy....guess that "happy juice" is still running through some of my internal pipes.....just can't seem to get rid of that sluggish feeling.

Today.......Stayed at home all morning....hot and humid....nothing new there! This afternoon we dashed up to Farmington so I could get my hairs trimmed up. Requested a towel to put over my eyes.....sure didn't want any little hairs drifting into my eyes at this point in time!!!

A quick trip to Walmart to pick up some reading glasses........tired of using my regular glasses and not being able to see clearly to read and work on the laptop. Then we ate a a local Chinese restaurant....one we had not patronized for quite some time. Actually....and, I am not a fan of this type of cuisine.....it was quite good!! Surprise...surprise!!!

Back home tonight....get to drive tomorrow! And, we do have to go up to the 1st Lady's mother's home....with a quick jaunt over to Quincy, IL for a surprise birthday party for long-time friends!!! No more to be said right now.......

And sooo...as always.....

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Same pic from two weeks ago......but, the mark on the forehead above the Ray Charles glasses......same look/different day!!!

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Wed, Aug 11, 2010: SAME weather....but 2nd Eye is healing!!

OK.....yesterday just disappeared into the haze of the heat and humidity!! Same old thing.....heat index of 110-115 with haze, hot sun, unbearable humidity!! Sooo, what's new?????

Well, as of this ".....Moment in Time", I have about recovered from the sleeping juice that I took in my IV's this morning while they sucked out the cataract from my left eye and implanted a new lens. Arrived at the Surgery Center in Cape about 8:50 for a 9:20am appt. Hmmmm, for the first time I had to wait....and wait.....and get hungrier and thirstier and more and more in need of black coffee.....and, finally at 10:30AM, they called my name and off I went into the myriad of small rooms and curtained-off cubicles behind the waiting room. Removing my shoes, my shirt, donning paper sock covers, one of those ass-showing gowns that is wide open in the rear....I had my regular summer shorts on.....and then a gorgeous blue...my color....hair covering "net" was placed on my head. Soon, into the correct cubicle I went......on went the BP cuff, the finger clip like what we use on open bags of potato chips, oxygen tubes into my nose, and a silent and soft little prick into the blood vessel on my right hand to get the IV started. Ahhhhh, the most important thing next was.....the WARM blankets that were laid across my sagging, shaking, shivering hulk of Me! Yep......it was toooooooo freezing cold back there in that sterile space!

After the required check of who I was, my birthday repeated by me, asked why I was there, which eye, etc., etc.....and then on my forehead the required marking over my left eyebrow to be SURE that was the eye that would receive the incision! Then a few minutes later the Dr. came in and initialed right above that mark so HE knew which eye to work on. And then.........oh my.....I began to feel my levitate....yep....that wonderful floating feeling entered my sagging hulk....which to my knowledge didn't seem like it was sagging on the bed any more....but flowing freely just above the mattress!!! Whatever the hell they put in that IV.......it was GREAT stuff!!!!!!

About 20 minutes of free floating.....and then they rolled me out and down the hallway and into this brightly lit room. Oh yeah.......they had already put 8 different drops into my eye....the first one made from jalapeno peppers....must have been as it burned like fire!!!! But......since I still take those little "pee pills" (like Flowmax), they have a way of counter-acting these dilating drops, so they must give me the STRONG, HOT PEPPER drops!!!!! Well....that was enough to get all my liquids moving....as my eye watered like Niagara Falls then.

I couldn't take the bright lights in the operating room.....but, it wasn't 15 seconds before they told me they were changing the IV.....and.....then....I....was......gone...........

15 minutes later I was awakened and I was in a different cubicle.....the recovery area. There was a patch over my left eye.....and before long, the tubes were removed from my limp and very weak body, I was still half-ass floating, but the descent was in progress!! Water through a straw soon entered my parched mouth.....and I took at least two glasses of that cold, refreshing water!!

Before long, the 1st Lady was there....and after about 30 minutes I was sitting up, having her put on my shoes, and then she left to get the car at the discharge door. OK......I needed an arm...and this nurse kept my wobbly legs from collapsing on me.......and then it was into the car. OK....COFFEE.....COFFEE....COFFEE....I yelled in my parched voice!!!!!!

We headed to a Deli for a light lunch....and Becky and Rachel met us to dine with us. Did I really feel like eating lunch?????? Not really, however.....it was good to see them.....don't think I uttered a damn sentence.....I just sort of sat there in my Ray Charles dark glasses and looked off across the table, not seeing much of anything nor hearing too much......just in my dark little world as I still was descending down to this earth from wherever I had been for a couple of hours!

After being there for about an hour and a half......at least that is what the 1st Lady told me.....we got into the car and an hour later we were at the sticknbrick. Wobbling into the house.....I just sat and tried to regain some strength......but, it took all afternoon and into this evening before my weak legs and arms began to cooperate with my wishes!!! Wow.....GOOD stuff!!!

And so.....I am off to bed.....AFTER I get my plastic eye patch installed by tape across my face. I need to take a picture of this great, stylish look of being a 21st century plastic patched pirate!!! The morning will arrive quickly tomorrow as I have to be back in Cape for my 8:30 post-op exam. Obviously, the 1st Lady will have to drive me down and back..........Anxious to see....SEE without the sleeping juice and dilated eye keeping me from seeing what Life is going to look like without glasses. I KNOW I will need reading glasses, but have to wait until my lens adjusts to whatever they hook it up with .........

Not the usual day.........but, it wasn't supposed to be usual! However........as always......

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!! (and, try to get some of those IV floating sleeping juices!!)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Mon, Aug 9, 2010: Yep....it was a HOT one!!!

Nothing to terribly important occurred to me today.......

Went to my 9:30 morning appointment....the "pre-op" where I had my vision in the bionic eye tested......could see the smallest letters thrown up on the screen!!! Then the measurement of the left eye.......checking the size of the lens that will be needed. My eye was then dilated....about a 15 minute procedure....and this was the new eye they dilated......so Dr. Kinder could check to see if everything was OK inside there....and, it was! The entire appt. took over an hour.....whew!!!

When I came out of the bldg......the sun blinded me as I had left my dark glasses....those "Ray Charles" glasses in the truck....and so, with one bad eye and with one new eye that was dilated, I had to almost feel my way across and through the parking lot. OK.....once I got those glasses on, I was able to see, albeit like seeing things while swimming under water. Soooo......

I drove VERY slowly over to Starbucks and got my Grande Cappuccino and sat there for about an hour until I could see a wee bit better. Then I slowly drove the 50 miles back to the sticknbrick......not really a problem seeing by that time. Dropped off the prescription at Walmart for those $80 tiny, tiny bottle of eye drops...ins paid for $30 of that.....and then went back home.

The 1st Lady arrived about 7pm.....after having stopped in STL to visit with Dave Hanner in the hospital...and, with Sue, who is staying in STL this week. He will have surgery......to graft skin onto his arm and both hands....on Thursday.

My surgery reporting time is 11:40AM on Wednesday......much later than the first eye. I did beg to have one cup of coffee...and Dr. agreed but it has to be before 6AM!!!!! THAT will be a long, long wait from then until they start me "floating" above the bed.

Today.....it was 111 degrees with the heat index.....97 regular temperature....and, hotter tomorrow. WHEW.........absolutely HATE this weather!!!!!! Can't do a damn thing outside, it bothers me soooooo much.

OK....enough griping, bitching, complaining!!!! Because, all in all....as always......

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sat/Sun, Aug 7/8, 2010: The return of the HEAT/HUMIDITY!

Let's return to yesterday........I was up and going by 6am.......leaving here at 7:30am to spend the morning and into the afternoon with Mike. We had a great time talking about many topics and discussing some of the in great depth........and, I gave him a full report of the Howser Music Fest.

Returning to the sticknbrick......it was already getting warmer, the sun was shining brightly.....and, of all things......we NEED rain!!!! The grass is becoming a bit brown.....and, the predictions are not for any rain to speak of this week.....just the possibility of showers as the damn heat and humidity rise back into the three digits.......110-115 heat index for the week.

I had two messages on my phone after my visit with Mike......and, I was quick to discover from listening to the those messages that our great friend, David Hanner, had been involved in some type of freak accident......still am NOT certain of the details....but the paint, or whatever he was working with caught fire unexpectedly and just as quickly, his hands and left arm were severely burned!!!!! 2nd and 3rd degree burns.......he was taken to the local F'town hospital, stabilized....and then rushed to STL to the St. John's Hospital Burn Center. I talked briefly with their daughter, Audra, and son, Brian, during the afternoon and early evening as to his condition.......which can be summed up into one word: PAIN!!!!!!!!!! He was put on morphine, but his system could not handle that so other pain meds were administered.

We were all supposed to go to the Madison County Democrat Rally.......a dinner and silent auction which featured the Democratic candidate for Congress.....Tommy Sowers. He was there, I had a brief few minutes to chat with him and then dinner was served. Obviously, I went by myself, but sat with good friends Judge Rob Fulton and his wife, Karen. It was good to talk with them.....and to also see many other people from the area who were attending..........and, it was a really large and enthusiastic crowd there. Sowers is quite well spoken.....and is an exceptional candidate for this office!!!

Today.......I spent some time ouside again before the heat arrived doing some sweeping and cleaning in the garage, ran the vacuum through the house, removed the trash and took it to the street for the trash people in the morning........and then just kicked back and relaxed this afternoon, including a small nap. I fixed a frozen pizza, adding fresh sliced tomatoes, garlic and onion to the already frozen pepperoni and cheese pizza. Turned out great!!!!

This evening.........a television evening.........and a couple of calls to the 1st Lady, who will be returning tomorrow afternoon/evening. Tomorrow......well, I have an 9:30am appointment for pre-opt instructions, eyeball measurement, etc., etc. in preparation for the left eye to have the cataract removed and the new lens implanted on Wednesday. Should have time for a Grande Cappuccino at Starbucks after the appointment......shouldn't I?????

Report on Dave: He is not in as much pain this afternoon......and Sue took a couple of pictures of him in bed with his hands and arm all wrapped up.....waving as best he could to me. She sent them by her iPhone.....a great way to almost be there in the room with him!!!!

And sooooo, the weekend is gone and the week is beginning. Three trips, minimum to Cape G. this week for the eye appointments.....and then who knows from there????? But....even with the restrictions from the surgery that will be placed on my activities......I still realize that.......

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Three days: Wed/Thurs/Fri: But....not much happening.....

Ahhhh,......I am going to combine three days into one post.........with my inactivity, I have not been doing very much, accented by the tremendous heat/humidity which we had been having.....my sagging hulk of Me has been vegitating in the coolness of TheHowserHouse sticknbrick!!!!

I did get the cousin of our neighbor from across the street to mow and take care of the lawn one evening this week. He did a super job, but I think it actually took him/them longer to do than they anticipated as it was dark by the time called it quits.......however, they got it finished and it was a great job.

Yesterday......I had a 10:15AM appt that was made by my eye doctor's staff to see an optometrist in Jackson.....and, after arriving there in time for my scheduled appointment and filling out TONS of paperwork....much more than any other physician's office......I was told it was not supposed to be there, but on into Cape G. at Lenscrafters where I normally get my glasses!!!!

Soooo, on I went to Cape G........where I was told to just be there anytime after 1:30pm. Soooo, I met with him, he checked my right eye's ability to do the chart on the wall.....could see all the letters and identify them correctly.....and then he dilated my right eye. Sooooo, this appointment ended an hour later.....after he did quite a bit of testing, looking, etc.....and said that everything was looking just fine inside my eye as well as the incision was healed pretty good. I then discussed the right eye being done next week......and so, we set another appt. for a week after that surgery.

Medicare paid for this appt. with the optometrist as it is part of the surgery......the checking and testing by him. Sooooo, with dilated eye, I crept back through Cape G.......and out onto the highway where I drove through the blurry countryside, hills and forest......and got home safely, albeit much longer than it usually takes. And for the rest of yesterday, I was still blurry until late evening.

Today......I did a bit of house work, cleaning the "new" (four years old "new") shower walls and floor to remove the soap scum which has building up for a while....and I knew that after next week it would be impossible for a couple of weeks to do it. Tomorrow......I am going to see Mike.....and when I return tomorrow afternoon......I have a ticket for a Democratic dinner with the candidate for US Congress from out district here in southeast MO. I haven't had the opportunity to meet and talk with him, so I am really looking forward to some one on one time with him, if at all possible.

And sooooo, that is the three days since I last wrote. The 1st Lady is gone, having left Tuesday and will not return until sometime on Monday........about the time the heat/humidity wave returns for the week....DAMN!!!!

Yesterday morning, we received word that a good friend of ours had passed away....quite quickly. She became ill a few days before our Cedar Creek Rally in Hannibal three weeks ago.....was hospitalized and diagnosed with Ovarian cancer.....and then as the days went by her body began to give out.....and she passed away at 3am yesterday. Soooooo QUICK!!!! It has been quite a shock to many of us in the Cedar Creek RV Owners Club......it all happened sooooo fast. She lived in Wisconsin and the services will be held there for her.......and, she was only 49 years of age!

But.......even with this shocking news.........here in the sticknbrick......as always......

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

MORE pictures from HowserMusicFest courtesy of TRAVIS DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY of Jefferson City, MO



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