Monday, August 31, 2009

My long day ...

... proved to be oh so frustrating.
I headed out for my physiotherapy.
Sometimes, some of the needles hurt.
Today, lots of them hurt, especially in my legs.
But I made it. And I lived to talk about it, as the saying goes.
When I finished my session, I headed off to take my car to the dealer to have the GPS/radio system replaced (under warranty -- I just bought the car in May of this year). As I was checking it in, I was told that there were three minor "recall" matters that would also be fixed while it was there. Nice touch, I thought.
My little chickadee was gracious enough to hang out with her mom again while I was "wheel-less" but she was wheel-less too so we walked across the street from the dealer to go to the mall for lunch.
We went to Kelsey's -- big mistake! Kelsey's used to be a somewhat regular haunt of ours. But the last time I was there, I remember not liking what I had. I thought it was just a fluke. Guess not. Because today's food was barely worth eating! Luckily we had decided to share a sandwich so the damage was minimal. Strike Kelsey's off future lunch destinations.
Anyway, once my car was reportedly ready, we walked back to the dealer (let me just go on record that the distance being walked was significant).
Yeh, my car wasn't ready.
The GPS system was for some reason starting every calcalution from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Newsflash. I was in Ottawa!
So back it went to try to figure out why it picked up the proper co-ordinates for the parking lot in which we were sitting, but when trying to calculate the navigation instruction to take me home, it was starting out in St. John's NL!!!!! That might have proven to be a rather lenghty trip home!
Eventually, I'm told once again that it's fixed.
So we test it.
Seems to be OK.
So I go home.
I sit in my laneway to reprogram the sucker.
I'll see what it does if I ask it to take me back to my little chickadee's place.
Apparently, it can't calculate the route.
Oh dear.
Well, I'll program her three telephone numbers.
At least then I'll be able to tell it to phone her while I'm driving.
Guess again.
Got the numbers programmed alright.
System even indicated that there were three numbers stored against her name.
But when I told it to call my little chickadee at home, it said there was no number.
That was why the system was being replaced in the first place.
We're heading off for a three-day mini holiday on what will be the first real road trip for my new car, with the first true chance to test the GPS system.
I think I'll take along my window-mounted Garmin GPS just in case. I know that works.
In Other News:
My boys were up 10-0 in the 4th inning.
Their lead is down to only two runs in the 6th inning.
Give them long enough they'll throw the game away!

Oh, the price one pays ...

I'm rested this morning.
But I am oh so sore ...
My hips are screaming!
That's the price I pay for all that extra exertion yesterday.
And today, I have to go into Ottawa for a physio session (let's hope that whips me into shape) before taking my car to the dealer to have the GPS/radio replaced (future blog topic).
I've taken my extra Cesamet this morning so that should help.
So off we go for a long day.
I'll let you know how I fare.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm absolutely exhausticated ...

... as we say in this house.
John got home half way through that sorry excuse for a ball game. But he had forgotten to bring home a very special gift so he wanted to go back and get it. I watched the game but John slept through a good chunk of it (he may as well have; it's not like there was anything much worth watching). We lost 7-0 -- it wasn't a ballgame, it was a mop-up. And Doc was on the mound! My boys have given up, I tell you.
When the game finished, we had something to eat (we don't always worry too much about "meals" per se around here). Then we jumped in the truck and went right back to the gun club so he could pick up the trout that's been in the freezer for a week.
Once we got home from there we were finally able to address the storage area.
And now I am truly and thoroughly exhausticated.
Don't misunderstand me.
The storage area isn't yet fully restored to its rightful state. I will finish that when we return from our mini-trip on Thursday.
But the entrance to my home is now back to almost normal. And a whole lot of stuff has been thrown out.
There is an impressive amount of room in that storage area now!
Good thing too.
Cuz I have all sorts of things that can be stored back there.
Now that I have the space.
Not tonight though.
Cuz I'm exhausticated.

Storage Area Progress

It's getting there.
But I have to pace myself, remember.
So I have to stop and rest often.
By 9:00am this morning, I had already:
  • prepared breakfast for my hungry husband;
  • refilled the suet feeder so the hungry woodpeckers (and various other birds) could have their breakfast;
  • refilled the hummingbird feeder so they could have their breakfast;
  • brewed up another batch of hummingbird food (4 parts water to 1 part sugar). I keep a batch in a juice container in the refrigerator because I can't let those feeders go dry until all my friends have left for the season, usually by the end of September.
My daughter continues to be amazed at the transformation that has happened to me since I moved "out to the boonies," as she calls it. When I lived in the city, I knew a bird was a bird. (I may have recognized a robin by sight and perhaps a blue jay. But the only reason I would have known a blue jay was because they look just like the bird that my boys wore on their baseball jerseys!)
Quite often when we're on the telephone, if I happen to be in the kitchen, I will exclaim something about some bird or other (our feeders are all outside our kitchen window). Which causes her to say, "Who are you and what have you done with my mother?"
I now not only recognize several birds by sight, I also know a lot of their calls. But the hummingbird is a personal favourite.
I remember when John first brought me out here. We were sitting on the porch and he had left to refill our drinks. I was taking in the quiet and just soaking up the solitude (which is something that I dearly love). I heard what I thought was a bumble bee; albeit a very large bumble bee, I thought. I looked up and saw that it was a hummingbird. I couldn't believe it! But that moment started my love affair with the little guys.
How can anyone not delight in watching these little creatures when they put on a show like this?
My boys start playing ball at 1:30pm today and Doc is on the mound again. That's a perfect time to take a real good break from the hard labour of restoring the storage area. It has to wait til John gets home anyway before we can finish so ...

Restore Order (Almost) Day

I plan to restore order to the storage area today.
That will take a lot out of me but I will pace myself, I promise.
I have only taken my "normal" dose of Cesamet this morning, not my "out-and-about" dose.
That might prove to be a mistake.
I took the extra dose yesterday because we were in Ottawa for my little chickadee's birthday. (And once again, Cesamet came through like a trooper!)
And I have to take the extra dose tomorrow because I will be in Ottawa for the better part of the day.
Then I have to take the extra dose for each of the next two days while we are in "travel status."
If I were to take it today as well, that would make five consecutive days of the higher dose; surpassing the four days that I took it when we went to Toronto. And I don't know yet if the set-back that I suffered following that trip was a "come-down" effect from that higher dose. Not sure I want to test the theory just yet.
But today is restore order to the storage area day. So restore order I will!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthday Update

We had a birthday party for my little chickadee today.
Went to Montana's Restaurant -- we've been there in the past and been pleased with it but I sure wouldn't rush back there again. The service was excellent but the food was not very impressive.
That doesn't matter though.
Because we had a good time.
We arrived at the restaurant at about 1:10pm (OK, we were a tad late picking up the birthday girl).
My daughter and I have had a "birthday ritual," if you will, from the time she was a very young child. Every year, on August 29th, I would ask her, "Do you know what I was doing on this date xx years ago?" The answer, of course, was, "Having a baby -- me!" Then I would grab her and hug her and tell her how much I love her.
As she progressed through the years, the giggles became smiles and the smiles became grimaces and the grimaces became groans and the groans became ... well, you get the idea.

The photo above was taken as near to 1:16pm as we could manage. My beautiful boy is trying to get away from me, probably because he thinks the game is silly. I was asking him, "Do you know what I was doing 34 years ago today?" And of course, he knew the answer because, he tells me, his mom asks him the same question every year on HIS birthday. Imagine that!

I wonder where she ever got that from?

It's my baby's birthday!

My daughter entered the world at 1:16pm on this date back in 1975, and what a terrific addition to this world she has proven to be.
She has grown into a marvelous young woman of whom I am extremely proud.
She is a terrific daughter and a truly fabulous mother.
But most of all, my daughter has become a wonderful friend.
We live an hour's drive away from each other, so we spend great lengths of time on the telephone, laughing and carrying on about anything and everything.
We exchange e-mails fast and furiously; sometimes we play around on MSN but then we just pick up our telephones and communicate in the more comfortable way for us.
We will actually send an e-mail or leave a voice mail to let each other know if we won't be available for our nightly telephone chat!
If my offspring hasn't heard from me in -- oh, about a half day or so -- I'll receive an e-mail that starts with, "You don't call, you don't write ..." which just cracks me up!
Nobody can get me laughing the way my daughter can.
My daughter is the kind of person who anyone would be honoured to count among their friends.
I'm glad she's mine!
Happy Birthday, my little chickadee!
"Love you up to the sky and back again"

Friday, August 28, 2009


Update on the home front.
John tells me the back storage area is ready to be put back together again! I'll do that on Sunday - woohoo!!!!
I got the laundry done.
We went to the grocery store.
I did rest (just didn't sleep).
My ballgame starts in 15 minutes.
With any luck, I'll see first pitch.
All is good with the world in the Fowler household.
In Other News:
My hip is hurting like a throbbing tooth-ache. Just like the old days. I guess if I am going to be leaving this house for any reason at all, I have to take that extra capsule of Cesamet. I'm just not ready yet to be doing the amount of walking involved in these over-sized grocery stores!

Another "not so great" day

Woke up tired this morning.
I don't like waking up tired.
I prefer to wake up ready to face the day -- the way I've become accustomed to waking since I started taking Cesamet. The way I used to wake up "in my youth."
You know -- "up and at 'em Adam Ant."
That's the me that I used to be and that's the me that Cesamet was returning me to.
But not today, unfortunately.
Today would appear to be a "fibro" day.
Not quite a fibro flare-up per se, but certainly a fibromysomething.
So I will have to take another R&R day today in spite of having had a good one yesterday.
And I had such big plans for today.
Gonna have go real slow, and pace myself.
  • Have already emptied the dishwasher; that nearly used up all the energy I had.
  • Finally called John up for breakfast (completely forgot; I thought we'd HAD breakfast). Poor baby could barely make it up the stairs for weakness by the time I got 'round tuit!
  • We need to start working on that back storage area.
  • Was going to go to the grocery store; guess it can wait another day.
  • Have a load of laundry that just has to be done; surely I can manage that much.
  • All I really want to do is go back to bed.

I know absolutely that I can manage that last one. I'll grab a book, curl up, and with any luck, I'll be asleep before I get to chapter two.

In Other News:
Jaycee Lee Dugard has been returned to her mother after being kidnapped in 1991. She had been successfully hidden away in a suburban backyard for 18 years! While in captivity, her kidnapper impregnated her and she had two daugthters, the first when she was only 14 years old. Those children were also hidden in the backyard. What kind of suburban neighbourhood never heard a baby cry, never heard a child have a tantrum, never heard children playing, laughing, running, fighting, arguing? What kind of hell have those children lived? Imagine the adjustments that are ahead for that (child)mother and her two daughters. Godspeed to all of them!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The leak is fixed ...

No more water except where water should be.
And that's a good thing.
As to the status of my "clean and ordered" home?
  • Before I can restore the "vestibule" of my home for lack of a better term to describe the entrance to my home) to its normal state of disrepair, I first have to return the contents of the storage area to their rightful place.
  • Before I can return the contents of the storage area to their rightful place, we have decided to put in additional shelving back there.
  • New project; new supplies needed; new delay.
  • So, the vestibule of my home will remain extra cluttered for just a little while longer, one might say.
  • And that's NOT such a good thing.
As to the bathroom itself?
  • The leak is fixed, as is evidenced by the absence of water except where water should be.
  • So the tiles can be replaced and regrouted yada yada yada.
  • And the the bathtub could also be recaulked.
  • And then that wait could begin to let it all dry sufficiently yada yada yada.
  • Except the old tiles have been soaking to remove the old drywall ...
  • And the old drywall just won't come off.
  • More delay ...
  • But at least in the interim, we can shower by taping a garbage bag over the gaping hole ...
  • And that IS a good thing.
Our current schedule is such that we won't be home Saturday; John is never home on Sundays (at least almost never); I am in Ottawa on Monday next week; we are not home on Tuesday next week; John is not usually home on Wednesday afternoons. So that takes us to Thursday of next week before progress MIGHT be made on any of these fronts.
One saving gracing in this mix was a call last night from our cleaning lady asking if her normally scheduled visit for next Wednesday could be delayed to next Saturday. Perfect! She would just be climbing over stuff if she comes on Wednesday anyway. There's a chance something might be moved by Saturday if we put the push on around here.
Might I point out that, in the midst of these now-necessary projects that must be done ASAP (Keep in mind that it is September as of Tuesday next week):
  • We are in Ottawa on September 9th and 14th for appointments.
  • John leaves for a hunting holiday on September 21st (my coveted "time alone").
  • He returns from said holiday on September 27th.
  • On October 1st, we leave for Halifax, returning on the 6th (We're going to a wedding and I still haven't figured out what I'm wearing!)
  • October is bird hunting month.
  • November is deer hunting.
  • We all know what December is.

My, my, my. I can see it all now.

Isn't it funny how solutions to potential problems can just jump out at you when you lay them out a certain way?

There it is. Staring me in the face.
Whatever isn't completed prior to September 21st when John leaves for his hunting holiday will all be done by the time he arrives home on September 27th.
So, so, simple.
My fingers know how to do the walking.
And THAT's a good thing!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Breaking News ....

News Flash ...
Just in case you haven't heard
MJ (Michael Jackson for the uninitiated) died of a lethal dose of propofol (aka diprivan.)
No! Are you kidding me?
Did you hear the list of drugs that he was given BEFORE the anaesthetic was administered?
I guess the man is no longer with us!
You or I would be gone too if we took that much stuff and THEN allowed someone to pump diprivan into our veins. (MJ apparently routinely allowed the drug to be pumped into him. BUT by the time it was actually administered that morning, was he in any cognitive state to truly give consent?)
Heck, I'd probably be gone BEFORE the anaesthetic was given if I took what he had reportedly been given over the course of that night!
Where the heck did that doctor get his licence?
Amazing what someone will do for $150,000US a month!
I wonder if, now, in retrospect, that doctor still thinks it was all worth it?

Oh the joys ...

I love this life, don't you?
It's such a joy to have to constantly be confronted with challenges to overcome.
You know what I would like?
For just one week, maybe?
Sweet nothing ...
No challenges.
I'm tired.
I can't take on anymore.
The plumbers have arrived to assess the situation.
They had to take out some tiles behind the plumbing in the bathtub.
Voila! Cracked cold water pipe right there!
So now they are drilling and cutting and trying to figure out how they are going to replace 20 year old pipes without doing too much more damage.
Then of course, the tiles will have to be replaced and regrouted.
And I remember when we renovated the bathroom and put in that bathtub (my glorious jet massage tub!) I had to wait 24 hours or some such thing for the grouting to dry before I could you use the tub (and that's AFTER the grouting finally gets done.)
Sure is a good thing I showered and washed my hair and got beautiful this morning before all this business started cuz it might be awhile before I can have a shower in my home again!
In the meantime, the contents of the storage area that had been moved to the laundry room ... have now been moved to the hallway.
So the entrance to this house looks like a cyclone hit it.
Oh dear ....
I need calm, cleanliness, and order in my life, really I do.
I think I'm running away for a while ...
But, the silver lining of this one?
Now, John will HAVE to get round to recaulking that bathtub. That's been on the "honey do" list for quite some time.
In Other News:
My boys lost the game again last night -- was almost like Doc threw it away. With the Jays sitting 20+ games out of contention for the post season, he may as well save his arm for a team that might be interested in his ability. Last night may have been a demonstration of just how much control he has!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Cloud Darkens ...

... and the silver lining isn't so silver after all.
This will become a rather expensive venture, I fear.
The mysterious water turned out NOT to be from condensation.
There would appear to be a leak somewhere in the cold water pipe that runs between the tub and the basement -- wunnerful, just freaking wunnerful!
The plumber will be here late tomorrow afternoon.
In the meantime, John has addressed the issue and we don't have to bail water ....

Lanark County Special

About this "Cloud" that follows me?

Does anyone know how to call off the cloud?
Cuz I've had just about enough of its presence in my life!
As you know, we were having a family BBQ at our home yesterday. You will recall that back in mid-June I posted about my step-son having "eloped" with his lovely bride -- who just happens to be a year older than I? The BBQ was actually an excuse to welcome the new members of our ever-expanding blended family.
We toasted the happy couple with champagne/orange juice before having "brats on the barbie" with salads and corn on the cob. Then of course there were three desserts to choose from along with coffee.
John and I got to meet our new "grandson" and his wife and children (our "great grandsons.") This "grandson" is the same age as my daughter; the great grandsons are three and one -- and they are some cuties!!!!!! The baby sat and cuddled with me for some great length of time (which of course I just lapped up!) The three year old was a little more cautious; he took his time warming up to us but once he came around ....
As the afternoon wore on, the three-year-old walked up to me and said, "I like you." Which of course, just melted my heart. So I lowered myself to his level, gave him a hug and told him I liked him too. And then I said, "Thank you very much." To which he replied, "You're welcome!" as he sauntered away. My daughter heard him saying, "Thank you for giving me dinner," as he was walking around the house. She has no idea to whom the courtesy was being addressed. Cutest little thing ever.
I was delighted that our resident pileated woodpeckers came in to feed at our suet feeder. He and his mom are daily visitors and it's always fun when they come in when we have guests. On this occasion, only the son actually came in but his mom was in a tree just a little way off, watching him. (John actually caught these photos last week.) It's remarkable that her son is actually larger than she is!

Anyway, a good time was had by all and everyone went home very well fed (even the woodpeckers!)
The cloud, you ask?
Well, on Saturday, I needed to get into the back storage room for something. OK, I decided to pull something out of the storage area; a task that very well could have waited until today. Anyway, in pulling that item out of the storage area, I discovered water -- of course it shouldn't have been there!
Now, this was at about 4:00pm on Saturday you realize.
We have a houseful of people arriving by 10:00am on Sunday you realize.
And we've got water in the basement coming from an unknown source!
I do know that the water was not there prior to our Toronto trip when last I had this item out of the storage area. So whatever is leaking has only been leaking since August 6th!
Guess what we did?
We removed everything from the storage area to the adjoining laundry room and we closed the door. Off limits. Sorry. We'll deal with the problem on Monday.
So today, the day I'm supposed to be on R&R to recover from yesterday's BBQ, I'm pulling everything out of both rooms so John could get up at the spot to find the source of the leak (I wanted to control the ensuing chaos that will prevail until the job is completed.)
Didn't take long to find the cause. Condensation on the cold water pipe! Would you believe it?
The humidity has been such that, in spite of having two -- count them, two -- dehumidifiers going full time, our cold water pipe is still dripping like a leaky faucet! When the house was built back in 1976 John didn't know about ABS water pipes (no condensation) so he put in all copper pipes (some have since been replaced as we've "updated" some installations around here.)
John tells me that this phenomena has happened only once before in all the years since he built the house (obviously, prior to 1995 when I arrived on the scene.) In any case, it's being fixed now so it won't happen again.
Now some clouds do have silver linings, you realize.
Having had to undergo this exercise, that part of the storage room is now nice and clean! And we found stuff we can "dispense with" and other stuff we can repackage and perhaps protect a little better. So my cleaning and organizing bug will be happy.
And we've been wanting to pull out the dryer and clean out back there and check its exhaust pipe ...
But I'd better pace myself or I'll be in big do do again ...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Exciting News on this Front!

Hey, I forgot to mention ....
I guess in my disappointment with the Blue Jays' game last night, I kind of forgot that the thrust of this blog is my fibro life.
So I really should report on that.
And today, I woke without pain! Yippeeeee!!!!
Yesterday was not a good day. I was in lots of pain and dragging my legs around took a lot out of me. So if I stopped, I fell asleep.
John had left at about 6:45pm to go to a rabble-rousing meeting that I really wish I could have attended, but I just wasn't up to it. But while I was watching the ball game, I fell fast asleep. I woke at about 8:20pm and looked at my watch. I figured that it was Thursday morning and that I had come out at some point during the night (when I have lots of pain, I often end up on the couch so that I stay on my back) and that John had not yet got up for the day. The TV was in commercial so I didn't have the ballgame to help orient me. It took me way too long to figure out that it was still Wednesday night, and not Thursday morning. It was weird!
John and I had a good chuckle when he got home and I told him how disoriented I had been an hour earlier. I did then manage to stay awake to the end of the game.
When I woke at 3:00am this morning, I was truly concerned. I haven't wakened during the night for quite some time.
I've had several days of increased pain, and now I'm going to start waking up during the night again? And both times I "napped" yesterday, when I woke I was in what I call my "rigor mortis" state -- another very painful phenomena I've not experienced in quite some time. Yikes!
But lo and behold, I guess that was just a fluke or something not worth worrying about yet.
Because when I woke for the day today, I have no pain!
I'm back to the way it's supposed to be wherein Cesamet gains a supremely successful rating.
So fibro flare-up or my-body-trying-to-become-dependent-on-a-higher-dose-of-Cesamet or whatever was going on for the past several days -- bye bye.
Watch out. Bonnie's back!
In Other News:
The other day (while I was still in the midst of my fibro fog or whatever was going on) Celine Dion announced that she is pregnant again -- congratulations to the family!
BUT ... May 2010 is nine months away.
Did they just make the baby the day before yesterday?
I realize she is not "getting pregnant the traditional way" but should one not confirm success of implantation?
Used to be a person would wait 'til at least the end of the first trimester before announcing the impending addition to a family.
My how times have changed ... Maybe Celine's way of doing it is the way to go; you find out right now that you're pregnant and that it's a successful one? Nah, no way! It'll never catch on!

I think "My Boys" have given up!

The Toronto Blue Jays lost again last night.
And Roy "Doc" Halladay was on the mound.
One run.
That's all the boys could muster for him.
It's like the spark has gone.
None of them seems to care any more.
Not Doc -- it's like he's just putting in time now until the chips fall where they may. His last few outings haven't quite been up to snuff. And when he's not on the mound, he looks like his mind is everywhere but there. He wants to be on a team that will deliver him that coveted World Series ring. Let's hope that the Jays' inability to support his brilliant performances don't hurt how other teams assess his stats, because his stats definitely don't do him justice.
Not Cito Gaston -- that poor man is sitting on the bench looking like he doesn't know where to turn next. I'm thinking he must be cursing the fact that he's not a quitting kind of man cuz if he could run, I'm bettin' he would! Why not? Rogers sold him a bill of goods when they lured him back to manage the team. Now they've got him there, they're not giving him any kind of support to do the job he was hired to do. In fact, it seems they're doing everything they can to make sure he fails at the job they hired him to do. Sometimes I just feel like reaching into the television screen and giving Cito a great big old hug and telling him it's OK, one day it will all be over and he can go back to living in Toronto in obscurity again. And f*&k Rogers for doing to him and our beloved Blue Jays what they did! Bad Rogers! Bad, bad Rogers!!
And certainly not the rest of the team -- how can the players possibly care? The owners clearly don't care. That lack of interest has now impacted on management. So overall team performance falters.
Last night's game was like watching a horrid version of the bad news bears.
The domino effect is huge when bad decisions are made.
And I'm afraid Rogers Incorporated (or whatever the actual name of the Blue Jays ownership is) has managed the Blue Jays into ruination.
This current series is with the Boston Red Sox -- a series that usually fills the Rogers Centre because so many people come up from Boston for those games. Yet there is barely half a stadium full of people at these games!
The Blue Jays fan base in Toronto is obviously gone!
And frankly, after what we witnessed on our visit for the Back2Back Reunion weekend, there is nothing especially stimulating being done to encourage visiting fans to return.
Perhaps Rogers' acquisition of the Toronto Blue Jays was the beginning of the end of major league baseball in Canada. The Blue Jays managed to run the Montreal Expos out of Canada. Maybe the owners' agenda is to run baseball out of Canada! That could explain why there are so many instances when the Rogers Sports Network -- home of the Toronto Blue Jays -- will air poker competitions rather than the Blue Jays game. Yeh, Rogers has definitely got baseball as a priority!
In Other News:
The Lockerbie bomber, al-Megrahi, has been released from prison.
So he can go home to die in the comfort of his family.
How compassionate of the Scottish justice system.
Too bad the same compassion was not afforded to the victims of PanAm Flight 103.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Enough Already!

It looks like this heat is finally breaking -- and not a minute too soon.
Did I mention that the night before this heat wave started our ceiling fan broke?
You heard about Murphy's Law; the one that was written to justify my existence?
Well, it still applies!
We've had to move the floor fan around with us in the living/dining room area according to what we're doing.
Sleeping hasn't been a problem for me, fortunately, because we have a fan blowing right on us. Frankly, I'm thinking the Cesamet is helping in that department because I'm not waking up once I go to sleep (now that's a treat and half let me tell you!)
But I have been dragging bottom like a wet dishrag for the past several days and I can't bear it anymore. This heat just does me in. But I feel like if I don't start moving soon, I won't be able to move when I try to.
Got up this morning and the nausea is back; and my right hip is sore to the heavens. And my legs just don't want to co-operate today. They feel like lead weights.
I just don't get it.
Why am I not bouncing back?
Is it heat exhaustion?
Or is it a fibro flare-up?
Perhaps it's a bit of both, the one having been brought on by the other.
Perhaps this heat wave is such that nothing can prevent the fibro flare up that would ensue.
Perhaps I just expect too much.
But having just extolled the virtues of Cesamet so highly, it's really difficult for me to understand why I'm now experiencing so much discomfort.
I'm toying with a theory that I will have to discuss with my pharmacist when I pick up my prescription refills later today.
I wonder if my body is trying to tell me that it wants a higher dosage of Cesamet than it is getting.
While I was in Toronto, I was taking more Cesamet than I'm taking when I'm sitting at home. On days that I make trips into Ottawa, I take a higher dose of Cesamet. I wonder if my body wants to be getting that higher dose every day -- not just on days when I'm "on the go."
If that's what's happening, we will have a problem because my "on the go" dose is the highest dose my doctor will allow me to take. So if I take the maximum dose every day, what will I do when I need extra oomph for my "on the go" days? And what will I do when we make that Halifax trip? I will definitely need huge guns for that excursion!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When you can't think of anything else to do ...

... you can always respond to Revenue Canada's audit notice.
John is being audited.
For his 2008 medical expense claim. I guess this was the year for RevCan to spot check on medical expenses.
You see, I have phenomenally high medical costs; John has next to none.
So for income tax purposes, we combine our expenses and claim them against the lower income earner in the family (John has no shame -- he loves to tell people about his "rich wife.") Hence, John gets audited, rather than I.
And naturally, because we net-file and never actually send them anything anymore, it was to be expected that we would eventually raise a red flag.
My medical expenses for 2008 totalled over $18,000 -- but we only claimed our out-of-pocket costs of $8,000 (don't ever let anyone tell you that insurance doesn't pay!)
The bureaucrats who take forever to respond to a query from a taxpayer gave him a mere 30 days to provide the documentation that would prove our right to claim such a high expense. Which, really, shouldn't be too onerous a task because had we filed the "old way" we would have had to have all the documentation ready to mail by the end of April 2008! And I did.
But now I had to copy it all!
And that takes forever.
The file containing over $18,000 worth of receipts (prescription, massage, physiotherapy) is huge and contains a lot of receipts! And then there's all the insurance statements.
Because for Revenue Canada, it doesn't matter that we only claimed a portion of all those expenses. We have to prove the expense, prove the reimbursement, prove the fact that we paid the insurance company (duh, don't you think if they gave us $10,000 we must have paid the premiums?)
It seems to me if I have receipts that total more than double the amount I'm claiming, shouldn't that be sufficient for the purpose?
Oh well, the job's done now.
A full two weeks ahead of schedule.
Wonder if that will score any points?
In Other News:
After not eating anything and laying low all day yesterday, I slept very well again last night. Woke feeling quite rested again this morning. My right hip was still quite sore again though -- not sure what's up with that. I've been wearing the TENs machine all day today to try to get ahead of the pain. I don't know if I just got too far behind (what with all the abuses I heaped on myself without providing proper catch-up days in between.)
At least this morning I was able to eat breakfast and I even drank coffee, something I couldn't do yesterday (you know I'm not well if I can't have coffee in the morning!)
I do think the heat is taking a toll on me though -- I've never managed very well in these conditions.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another setback?

Or just a little hiccup perhaps.
Got up this morning after what can only be described as a truly restful sleep.
Started moving about as one does to start one's day.
Oooooooh not a good idea.
Right hip doesn't like that.
Nope, have to go real easy today.
Then my stomach decides it wants to do flip-flops.
What the heck is going on?
Only thing I can figure is sitting out in that heat all afternoon yesterday (yes, I accompanied John to the BBQ in Arnprior) was just too much for my constitution.
When I was a child, much younger than I am now, family camping trips and picnics were always ruined because Bonnie got sick. Bonnie always got heat stroke. Bonnie couldn't be in the sun. Bonnie couldn't be in the heat. Bonnie just couldn't ...
I guess Bonnie still can't ...
So I cancelled my physio appointment -- there was no way I could face that commute into Ottawa today.
That makes today an R&R day by default.
And that's OK -- it's good for the soul.
In Other News:
The BBQ in Arnprior yesterday proved a perfect setting to try out my new ears. And they worked like a charm! Just like they're supposed to! Filtered out the background noise and as long as I was positioned in front of the people who were talking, I could hear them just fine. Next test: noisy restaurant!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

OK so we've had a bit of a setback ...

Not much, and nothing serious mind you. But a setback nevertheless.
You see, I did too much too soon.
And now, as the saying goes, I am paying the piper.
Actually, I've been paying the piper since Thursday night but I guess I was in denial.
I woke this morning having to face reality.
And having to analyse exactly what got me to this point.
Because we know, absolutely, that the "new meds" (hereinafter to be referred to by their proper name -- Cesamet) are working.
Well, here's how I see the situation:
  • I went on a four-day trip to Toronto, which trip involved lots of walking and much stair climbing (stairs at the Rogers Centre on Saturday and Sunday; stairs at our host's home);
  • While I had the day at home on Tuesday for R&R, I also had things to do around the house in the way of unpacking and laundry etc, which kind of involved movement;
  • I went into Ottawa for a physio session on Wednesday and hung out with my daughter (that means we went shopping, which involved lots of walking) and I stayed there overnight, which means stairs to climb;
  • The plan was to have Friday for a much needed R&R day. But as I reported here earlier, my audiologist called late Thursday afternoon which precipitated another trip into Ottawa -- I did that yesterday morning;
  • Today, I am able to sit around, do nothing, and veg -- a real, true, R&R day.
Now, all in all, that might not sound like too onerous a schedule for most people. But for someone with fibromyalgia, it is too much. I need to have an R&R day interspersed with an active day -- one for one. The Toronto weekend was really pushing the envelope without having several R&R days available on the heels of the trip.
Of course, I -- by my nature -- have to aggravate the situation.
As you know, I have a stairlift in my home. It was very hard on my psyche to accept that I needed one because I felt that it was yet another indication that I was losing my independence (the cane having been the first marker.) We invested in this darling back in 2004 when I absolutely could not get up the stairs in our home. It was truly a godsend. And my grandson thought it was the coolest thing ever!

The only complaint I have ever had about the stairlift is it is sooooooooooo slow. Anyone who knows me knows that I am always in a hurry. Doesn't matter what for -- I just need to do it now and do it fast! So this stairlift is a real crimp in my style! If we could put a turbo-jet engine in it perhaps I wouldn't object quite so much.
Anyway, I've come a long way baby! You see, it's 2009 and because I'm feeling so much better than I used to, I can now "do" the stairs once in a while. BUT, there's this little quirk in my personality and I guess I tend to push my luck. And now, as we're about to leave the house, if I suddenly remember that I've forgotten something (which you just know that I have) I simply run upstairs and get it (after all, that chair is waaay too slow for my liking!)
I really shouldn't be doing that.
But I do.

Because I can.

But I shouldn't.

I especially should NOT be going up and down the stairs without the stairlift when I'm supposed to be recovering from four days of travel mode.

So now I'm paying the piper.

And I'm sitting here with icepacks on my groin and heat on my back.

I have today to rest and relax and do nothing.

Tomorrow we have a BBQ to attend in Arnprior -- John is hoping he doesn't have to go without me but my jury is still out. It will depend entirely on how my body is feeling tomorrow morning.

And Monday, it's right back to the physiotherapist to see if she can get me back on track (that means a commute into Ottawa.)

Then I'll take the rest of the week as R&R time to make up for all the abuse that I've heaped on my body over the past ten days or so.

I have to.

I need to get back to "whirling dirvish" status.

We're having a family BBQ here a week tomorrow.

So I have to be recovered by then.

So I can start all over again.

And I'll try to take from this experience and apply what I've learned to our October Halifax trip. We will be gone from Thursday to Tuesday for that trip; and we're traveling by plane. Quite the different challenges will present themselves!

Friday, August 14, 2009

My New Meds

Remember how I've been extolling the virtues of my new meds? Remember how I've declared them an unequivocal success? Well, they are absolutely a clear winner! Let me clarify a few points about my treatment plan:
  • I take Lyrica to control the symptoms of fibromyalgia and it does a masterful job of helping with the generalized pain of fibro. It falls down on the chronic fatigue end of things; I find that I still experience "completely out of gas from doing nothing" days.
  • In addition to fibromyalgia, I also have bursitis in both hips (at least that is the diagnosis of exclusion that all the specialists have agreed to settle upon.) The right hip has been affected for some 30 years; the left hip only joined the parade about six years ago.
  • I practice numerous pain management techniques to help control my pain while at home, including: home use of a TENs machine; home use of an ACUPEN; back rolls on every chair that I use in my home; egg foam insert on my mattress (which is already bought-to-order specific for my hip problems); frequent treatments in my jet-massage tub; a stair lift helps me up and down the stairs. I may be forgetting some things; there are so many things I just do automatically now to "avoid" the pain I know will otherwise follow.
  • On top of all the home remedies I use, I also have bi-weekly massage therapy sessions as well as weekly visits to my physiotherapist. My physiotherapy sessions are actually neck-to-ankle acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture is one of the modalities used at my physiotherapist's office for pain management (TENs application; ultrasound; interferential therapy; heat/ice packs are some of the other modalities used). These photos were taken several years ago when we first started treatment. We'll update the photos with more current ones showing the top to bottom coverage that I now endure. Once all the needles are inserted, I lay there for up to a half hour. Good napping opportunity!

  • Anyway, in addition to all of the above, we had to find some big guns to address the bursitis in my hips. For quite some time I had been using codeine in various forms (Tylenol #3, Codeine Contin) but I was taking it in such a quantity that it was wreaking havoc with my bowel. So we had to find a replacement.
  • We tried Oxycontin. No can do. I was supposed to take the stuff every twelve hours. It gave marginal pain relief for about six to eight hours. Then my body started telling me that it wanted more of that stuff. I wasn't on it three weeks when my body decided it was addicted! Every six hours it was demanding the stuff. Sweats - chills - dizziness - severe nausea - not a pretty sight. I refused to give in but I did run a test. At the 20 hour mark, I took a pill. Everything stopped. Sweats stopped. Chills stopped. Nausea stopped. I felt great. However, six hours later .... my body wanted more again. So that was it. I took me off that poison cold turkey (much to my doctor's chagrin) and took absolutely nothing for the ten days it took for the withdrawal symptoms to stop. It was nasty let me tell you!
  • When I returned the unused bottle of Oxycontin to the pharmacy, that was when my pharmacist suggested a safer alternative, used very successfully by many fibro sufferers. The rheumatologist had recently suggested the same drug; my doctor and I had discussed that very drug as a possibility when he had prescribed the Oxycontin. So when next I saw my doctor, I raised the topic of this other medication.
  • As I have discussed on this blog, I have been using these new meds since late June and I could not be more pleased with the results. One of the more interesting phenomena I experienced was during a visit to my dentist's office. Normally, it is quite painful for me to have my teeth cleaned -- I have extremely sensitive teeth. But when I visited the dentist shortly after starting on these new meds, one of my first comments was, "Hey, it didn't hurt. That stuff must really work!"

So, you can well imagine how surprised I was to open the Ottawa Citizen this morning and read the following article: National. Marijuana makes pain worse: study

You should read it. I don't know who participated in that study. Cuz it surely wasn't me! The "new meds" I'm taking? Cesamet. Check it out. It's active ingredient? Yup. Marijuana!

They've found a way to extract the medicinal, pain relieving properties of the plant, and put it in pill form. No munchies; no hallucinations; no funny business. My doctor told me that when it first became available in Canada, all the junkies came running in looking for it. But when they found out it "didn't work" they decided they didn't want it it any more. It does not give you a high. It just stops the pain. I said to the doctor, "That's better than a high isn't it?

In other news:

I had to drive into Ottawa again today (this should have been an R&R day and Lord knows I needed it to be!) Late yesterday afternoon, my audiologist called to say that my new hearing aids had arrived and she had them ready for me to pick up. Could I see her at 10:00am the next morning? You bet I could! I really wanted my "new ears" because I was tired of not being able to hear properly.
So now I have ears that work. Ears that I paid for. Ears that, when I'm in a restaurant or other super noisy environment, I should be able to notice that the background noise will be filtered out and the conversation will be "filtered in" so that I can hear my companion speaking to me! Can't wait to test them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bonnie's Birthday Continues

Yesterday was my physiotherapy day in Ottawa and I also had an appointment scheduled for a hair cut. My hairdresser works from her home and only has evening appointments so I always take advantage of those opportunities to stay overnight at my daughter's place (get to see my beautiful boy.)
As it turns out, my daughter is still on vacation so we had the opportunity to hang out -- which for us means shopping. John always shudders when I come home from such outings; no telling what goodies I might come home with!
From the time my grandson could talk (which was very young) we have involved him in the discussion as to what we should have for dinner "when grandma visits." As happens with children, tacos quickly became the only choice because "grandma likes tacos." Then a while back, it was established that grandma might like KFC sometimes (which happens to be a favourite in that household.) Now, there are only two choices when grandma is coming for an overnighter: KFC or tacos, each of which is equally exciting for my grandson.
Last week, I guess he was thinking it was high time he had some KFC because he asks his Mom, "When is Grandma coming again?"
"I don't know, " said his Mom. "Why don't you call her when we get home, and ask her."
As soon as he got in the door, he grabbed the phone to call me.
We chit chatted and exchanged pleasantries (he's in training to be a man so he tends to answer what's asked; but he doesn't offer much.) Eventually he remembered why he was calling me (or his Mom prompted him) and he asked when I was coming there again. He was quite excited when I told him I was sleeping over on the day he got back from his camping holiday. So he let his Mom know which day I would be there and we kept talking until I let him "off the hook" and suggested he give the phone to his Mom.
He thinks that we don't know what he's up to when he does these things but his Mom and I are on to him. I pretend that he's been missing me and that's why he wants me to visit; and his Mom whispers into the phone to me, "KFC." And later when his Mom asks him what he thinks we should have for dinner, he suggests KFC -- because Grandma's coming!
So, we had KFC for dinner last night, after which they brought out a cake and sang a song to me:

I had help blowing out the candles, but we got them all on the first try!

Before heading home this morning, I took my car to the dealer for its first oil change. They also had to take a look at the navigation system -- it doesn't work the way it's supposed to. A new one has been ordered and they will let me know when it arrives so I will have to go back and have that taken care of. Will be nice to have a reliable (and, hopefully, updated) GPS system.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bonnie's "Back2Back" Birthday

So, in my humble opinion, neither the Rogers Centre nor the Blue Jays organization was much interested in promoting Joe Carter's Back2Back Reunion weekend (aka Bonnie's Birthday Bash). In fact, I don't think the Blue Jays even care that there is a history worth celebrating. They certainly weren't much concerned about ensuring that fans participated in a "Reunion" weekend or that every fan who attended went home with a memento of the event.
Here is why I can make such statements.
  • We made the trip from Almonte to Toronto to attend the Back2Back Reunion weekend
  • Bob, our host in Toronto, bought a nose-bleed ticket to Friday night's game (published attendance 30,795) so he could try to get Joe Carter's autograph for me. He received the fan hand-out (souvenir Back2Back hand towel). We did not go to the game.

  • We attended the game on Saturday, August 8th (published attendance 28,613) -- players were seated at autograph tables (with huge line-ups) positioned outside the stadium; no evidence of programs for sale; no "party" atmosphere; not aware of any fan hand-out
  • We attended the game on Sunday, August 9th (published attendance 27,464) -- no evidence of player presence other than Tom Henke throwing out first pitch; fan hand-out (Tom Henke figurine) to first 10,000 fans (we did not get one)
  • We came home having attended two of the Reunion weekend games and we have photos to prove we were there -- but we were unable to buy a souvenir program and we personally did not receive a single promotional hand-out (but see my August 9th post to read about the surprise birthday gift I received from Blue Jays management).

Have you ever attended a sporting event and been unable to buy a program as you enter the stadium? Wasn't bad enough that we couldn't buy a program as we entered, but we couldn't buy a program once we entered either. Nope. We actually had to ask where we could find programs. "At the souvenir stand." Of course! Huh? Since when do you go to the souvenir stand to buy a program? Well, that's what we were told! Yup! Except, when we got to the souvenir stand, we were greeted with, "Sorry, we sold out on Friday night." Can you believe it?

We're talking a commemorative issue program, marking the 2009 Back2Back Reunion Weekend, celebrating the Toronto Blue Jays' 1992/93 World Series championships.

Joe Carter worked very hard to put this weekend together and I think that the Blue Jays organization had a responsibility to ensure that every fan who attended any one of the games should have left the ballpark with something more than the memory.

Let's do the math here. The total published attendance for the three days was 86,872 people. Apparently, there were fewer than 30,000 programs printed for this series because they sold out on Friday night. I highly doubt that each and every fan who went to the game bought a program! If your ballpark holds 50,000 people, and you're planning a 3-day weekend commemorating a special time in your history, you should have predicted that you would need more than 30,000 programs for the weekend. And programs should have been available for sale at each of the games over the weekend -- not only at the first night's game.

At Friday night's game, the fan hand-out was a commemorative hand towel. Bob was able to get one because he bought a nose-bleed ticket so he could get in the line-up to try to get Joe Carter's autograph on my jersey (he wasn't successful in that effort, unfortunately.) Bob, being the sweetheart that he is, gave the towel to me since this was my "birthday bash" weekend. Every fan who walked through the gates that weekend should have received one of those towels -- not just those who attended on Friday. There were only 86,872 people attended the entire weekend. It would not exactly have broken the bank to supply that give-away to everyone!

At Saturday's game, to my knowledge, there was no fan hand-out at all. Alumni players were positioned at signing tables in groups of four outside certain gates to provide autographs to the hoards of fans. So here we had people lined up to the ying-yang waiting to get signatures and they didn't necessarily have to have a ticket for the game. So fans who paid for tickets may or may not have been lucky enough to get the autograph(s) they wanted. Buskers were everywhere. But once we entered the gate, there was absolutely NO celebratory atmosphere about the park. It was simply another Blue Jays ball game; just a day at the ball park.

Sunday's game was even lower key. This time, there was nothing going on outside the gates. This was the day we tried to find a program. Unbelievable! The fan hand-out for this game was a Tom Henke figurine -- to the first 10,000 fans only! Now why, on such a weekend, would the organization limit the hand-out to such a low number? When I asked about the lack of programs, I was told, "Yes, sometimes on a Yankess or Red Sox series we often run out too." My point is, this wasn't just a weekend series. This was a series that was also marking a very special time in the Blue Jays history. Apparently, the Blue Jays organization didn't see it that way.

I truly believe that, as the crowds exited the Rogers Centre on Sunday following Roy Halladay's 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, we should have been dancing to the tune of Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" -- because that is what this weekend represented, a lament to what Blue Jays baseball used to be. I'm sorry Joe, but Toronto evidently doesn't give a damn!

In other news:

These new meds continue to do their thing. I am tired and sore today and I'm using this day as an R&R day, although I do have "catch up" stuff to do after being away for four days. All in all, I feel remarkably well considering that I was away and the amount of activity I undertook over the course of that time. In the past, I (a) would not have been able to participate and (b) would have been in absolute agony for several days afterwards.

John and I both enjoyed the weekend tremendously and I know that a large part of that enjoyment factor comes from the level of my involvement in the weekend. Usually, when we go to Toronto, Bob and John go off and do their thing while I stay back and wait for them because I can't do all that walking. But this time, I was able to go to back2back ball games (that would never have happened before!) and I lived to talk about it!

This past weekend was a real test of the new meds. And they truly passed. Four consecutive days of demanding physical activity -- and I'm fine! Wait 'til I tell my physiotherapist this one!

Monday, August 10, 2009

We made it home safely!

And would you believe that after a hugely successful weekend that both of us enjoyed tremendoulsy we almost missed our train home!
That's right. We came within minutes of missing that sucker!
How could such a disaster occur, you ask?
BECAUSE I, DUFUS THAT I AM, FAILED TO CHECK OUR DEPARTURE TIME, that's how. I went about my business confident in the knowledge that our train left at precisely 10:00am.
We left Bob's home at the appropriate time to arrive at the station accordingly. No point arriving sooner -- trains can't leave early!
So, we get to the station, with lots of time to spare as it turned out and we are told that the train is ten minutes late. OK.
As we leave the counter to make our way to the gate, we hear the announcement telling us our train is fifteen minutes late. OK.
We arrive on the platform and, thinking we have up to a half hour to kill (based on our early arrival plus a fifteen minute delay), I look for somewhere to sit and wait. Well, my butt is no sooner on a bench when a train rolls in. John asks the attendant which train it is and finds out that it is the Ottawa train.
So we board.
And it leaves immediately!
We are some confused! What the heck is happening? Trains are not supposed to leave early!
Then I think to check our tickets.
Oh look! Our train was due to leave at 9:50am -- which is precisely the time it was when the train pulled out of the station (not sure why the reports of ten and fifteen minute delays).
So, had we not arrived early for that train, we would have surely missed it. And then we would have had to pay the difference in fare to change our booking -- which would have been a total and complete bummer to an otherwise fabulous weekend!
In other news:
Following a three-day holiday, which included two four-hour train rides, other than being very tired, I am pleased to report that I have no pain! This is absolutely amazing -- this past weekend has been a true test of these new meds which have now officially passed with flying colours. I'm thinking everyone should be on this stuff!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What a day this has been!

Wow, where do I start?
We went to the ballpark today and I must say that both John and Bob are very good at keeping poker faces!
Our butts weren't in our seats five minutes when a young lady was standing in the aisle looking for Bob Scott. Of course, as soon as she asked for Bob Scott, the gig was up. I knew immediately that they had cooked up something!
She was a Blue Jay official and she was carrying a bag which she handed to me, but she seemed to know that photos were going to be taken.
As I was attempting to open the card that accompanied the package that was handed to me, Jennifer (I later learned the young lady's name from Bob) insisted that I bee-line for the box -- "that's the exciting part," she explained.
Bob was grinning from ear to ear.

John was trying to position himself to ensure he could capture proper pictures.
The story is:
Way back when I first bought the tickets for this venture, John and Bob hatched the plan to try to figure out a way to secure Joe Carter's autograph on something for me. Bob was tasked with the job of pulling it off -- he does, after all, live in Toronto, which is the home of the Blue Jays.
It would seem that after months of being harassed by one Bob Scott, the Blue Jays organization finally broke down and, failing in their ability (or willingness) to assist with the project, they eventually agreed to give me a "memento" of my weekend in Toronto. But they wanted Bob to pick it up at the courtesy desk and give it to me.
Bob would have none of that. If they would not co-operate in securing an autograph for me, the very least they could do is personally present whatever to me on the day of my birthday.
So, it was eventually organized that someone would deliver a gift to me at me seat, during the game on the day of my birthday.
Turns out we almost had a disaster though. There was a mix up in communication and an attempt was made to deliver my birthday gift to whoever was sitting in those seats at Friday night's game! Fortunately, whoever it was in those seats on Friday night didn't pretend to be Bob Scott when approached -- or Bob and John would have been the ones to have been surprised on Sunday.
Anyway, the Blue Jays management presented me with a Joe Carter 29 figurine as well as a very nice birthday "card" -- a handwritten greeting thanking me for spending my day with them (which I think was a rather nice touch).
I was quite upset though when, while I was trying to put the figurine back in the box, Joe fell and his right hand broke off. We searched the immediate area but could not find it anywhere. Later, I suggested to both John and Bob that perhaps the loss of Joe's right hand was symbolic: This past weekend very much marked the end of the "glory days" for the 1992/93 World Series boys (more on that topic in a later post).
It's time for Joe to "put his glove away" -- just as his "glove hand" was left somewhere at the Rogers Centre earlier today (notice, that not only is his right hand missing, but his left fingertips are chipped too!)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Didn't Get It!

Well, I still don't have Joe's autograph on my jersey. But it's not for lack of trying.
Bob took it with him last night -- turns out he had bought a $9.00 ticket to the 500 level seats just so he could try to get Joe's autograph for me -- isn't he a sweetheart of the highest order?
The original plan was for him to take our vintage Jays hat and have Joe sign that for me -- but once John bought me the jersey -- it was a no-brainer that it would have to be the jersey that he would take! But alas -- it was not to be. He said there were thousands of people lined up (and he was nowhere near the front of the line) -- with a mere 45 -minute window for everyone to get their signatures, he didn't stand a chance. But it was beyond noble of him to attempt it!
Anyway, off we went to today's game and it was one heck of an exciting game!
Before we went inside at Gate 12, we had to pass the table where Ed Sprague, David Cone, Tom Henke, and Dave Stewart were signing autographs. The line-up was incredible!

By the second inning of the game, the couple sitting immediately to the left of Bob had become engaged to be married and our entire section was joining in the celebration. The gentleman sitting behind them even bought the happy couple drinks with which to properly mark the occasion.
Brett Cecil pitched a marvelous game until he was injured and had to leave the game. Then Brian Tallett came in and was masterful for another five innings. We went into extra innings and won the game in dramatic fashion with a walk-off double that scored the winning run.
The place erupted! The man sitting in front of us jumped up; I jumped up; he turned around; we high-fived. It was fantastic! We had quite a little family-like gathering going on in our little corner of the world.
So I guess John and Bob were right. The boys were waiting 'til I got here so they could see me wearing my jersey! Yeh, that's it!
But the absolute best piece of news I have to report is: I have just spent a day walking a great distance, and sitting a very long time, and I'm happy to report that, while I am tired, I have no pain! Those pain meds are some good stuff!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Finally - Departure Day!

We made it!
We didn't sleep in; we found a great restaurant that served a fabulous breakfast on the way to the train station. The train left on time and arrived in Toronto within five minutes of our scheduled ETA -- not a bad start to the day.
And I am some impressed with these new meds let me tell you. An hour's car drive to the train station, followed by a four hour train ride. It wasn't until the final hour of the trip that my leg started to bother me. That is some good stuff!
Now, here we are, in Toronto, I've rested for an hour and I have no pain! I am quite ready to enjoy the Back2Back Reunion weekend. And I gotta find Joe Carter so he can sign my jersey!
Obviously that's not going to happen today since we only got here at 1:00pm and we came directly to Bob's place and got caught up on news and yada yada yada. Now Bob has abandoned us for the evening -- seems his son got him tickets for some soccer superstar event that is happening here tonight (Ronaldo who?)
Joe Carter is signing autographs in Section 513 prior to tonight's game but we're not going. We'll watch tonight's game from here -- Bob has left us one of his fabulous home-made pizzas to have for dinner since we're on our own. There's wine and beer and whiskey -- all the amenities of home. He even baked and put up an assortment of pies for us to choose from for dessert -- that Bob is such a forward-thinking host. So we are here, without transportation, for the rest of the evening (well, OK, we could jump in a cab and compulsively attend tonight's game but I'm too cheap for that).
Tomorrow, Joe is apparently signing autographs at noon at the Dufferin Mall, which is more than a few blocks away from the Rogers Centre. The game starts at 1:00pm so I'm not too sure how that would work! And love Joe as I do, I just cannot imagine showing up at the Dufferin Mall at 6:00am to get in the line-up that I'm sure is going to be there waiting for his scheduled noon arrival! The players were supposed to be holding a signing spree prior to the game ON THE GROUNDS. Guess Joe isn't part of that melee. I had already figured I didn't want to be caught up in that zoo so I guess there's no point in changing my mind on that score if Joe won't even be there!
Anyway, it's already been a long day and we're still a couple of hours away from first pitch on tonight's game. Sure hope my boys can pull a win out tonight!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


... and hopefully, we won't sleep in tomorrow. We have to be out of here by 7:00am to get to where we're leaving our car. From there my girlfriend will drive us to the train station and it's off to TO ... for the Back2Back Reunion weekend.
Again last night, my "wearing of the jersey" wasn't very successful against the Yankees. John says the Jays are waiting for the weekend when I'm right there wearing the jersey. Sure hope they do win the games we're at (just for the record, I have not attended very many live Jays games where we were on the winning end -- apparently my presence in the stands has a jinxing effect). Maybe the addition of the jersey will make the difference?
I'll spend today getting ready, of course.
Have to make sure I don't forget anything.
Like my Carter hat.
And my Carter Jersey.
OK, I'll take other clothes and stuff too.
John is in charge of packing his own stuff (including his baseball glove).
Four years ago, we were also on a train for my birthday, but on the west coast.
That year, my job required that I be in Castlegar for an event so we made a holiday of it and flew to Calgary to "start our trip."
We took the train from Calgary to Kamloops, through the Rockies. It was spectacular! We were guests of the Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours - - what an awesome experience (thank you again Peter, your generosity has not been forgotten).
We happened to be enjoying this experience on the very day of my "25th" birthday too! After lunch, the crew gave me an autographed souvenir book of the railtour (the owner had already signed it), and they served birthday cake to everyone on our car (which all the other riders really enjoyed!) In Kamloops that evening, when we arrived at the dinner theatre (included with the tour), the staff were waiting for us ("Are you the Fowlers?"). We were escorted to a table that had been reserved for us at the front of the room so that we would have an unobstructed view of the production. We were treated like royalty all day!
After spending the night as guests of the Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours at a Kamloops hotel, we reluctantly had to split from the tour (it would continue to Vancouver). We rented a car and drove to Castlegar to meet my work commitments. For our return trip, we drove to Calgary and flew home from there. In all my work years, that was without a doubt the most incredible trip I've ever "had" to take!
But, I've certainly had a few memorable birthdays over the years:
  • In 1975, I spent the night in the hospital trying to have a baby (false alarm). My daughter was born 20 days later but I still think that qualifies as a fairly special birthday present.
  • In 1994, I took me to Toronto to see the Blue Jays for my birthday (to catch Joe Carter's balls!) The infamous strike -- the one that ended what would have surely been the Expos' run for the World Series -- started the next day! Some birthday present that was!
  • In 1995, I met John the day before my birthday. I figure that was a not-bad birthday present that year!
  • In 1996, I landed my "dream job" one month after my birthday. Following three years of unemployment, that was a fabulous birthday present that year!
  • In 2005, I spent the day of my birthday on the Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tour (for free -- a spectacular birthday present)
  • In 2009, I will be in the stands of the Rogers Centre at the Back2Back Reunion weekend ...
... And yet, I WILL STILL BE just 29 ...
In other news:
Welcome home to Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two American journalists who were held captive in North Korea for four months. It's been painful watching their ordeal and we're glad to see them back home with their families.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Two More Sleeps ...

... almost time to go ... that Back2Back Reunion is getting closer and closer.
Unfortunately, my "wearing of the jersey" didn't quite work last night for my boys. Doc tried but he just wasn't up to snuff last night -- he pitched the complete game but lost it 5-3 (and this time, it was his loss). The boys tried real hard to get the win for him but they just couldn't deliver those runs!
I did eventually find the location of that new massage therapist yesterday. I actually called my regular therapist and asked "where the *&*&* is that place anyway?" Once she gave me the exact description of "they just look like a string of homes, I guess" I had no problem recognizing the precise place!
So I did have my massage and all was right with the world.
Until I left the grocery store to head home.
And the skies opened.
And the thunder rolled and roared.
And the lightening lit up the sky for miles (kilometres?) around.
Drivers were pulling off the road everywhere because visibility was down to about nil.
But I trudged on -- I just wanted to get home!
And I did -- safe and sound.
But all tensed up again!
So much for the relaxing massage!
Anyway, today should be another R&R day but I have decided to go into Ottawa to deliver my hearing aids so the replacements can be made.
The last time John had an appointment, you will recall, the audiologist also took moulds of my ears so that new hearing aids could be made for me that would give me what I paid for -- two microphones. Bi-directional hearing comes in especially handy in noisy environments (ie restaurants, our porch when it rains, baseball games).
Because of various scheduling considerations, we had worked out a timeline wherein I would drop off these aids on a day of my choosing (anytime on or after August 5th) so they could be sent to the lab for the replacement aids to be made. I would get my new hearing aids and would have my follow-up check up visit in September, prior to her departure for maternity leave. We have decided that continuity of audiologist is important to our optimal care.
That was all well and good. Except the timeline we had developed had me taking the hearing aids in after our Toronto trip -- some time AFTER August 10th -- which would have meant I would not get my new hearing aids until probably, around August 20th.
But I got to thinking that there might not be much mileage in my having these hearing aids in Toronto anyway -- they don't work in noisy environments and we are going to be in VERY noisy places all weekend.
So, since the audiologist is back from her vacation today, I'm going to take my hearing aids in to her today, this being August 5th. They will leave by courier tomorrow morning.
John already has an appointment to see her on Friday, August 14th -- with any luck, my new hearing aids will be back by then and I can be fitted for them at the same appointment.
I have a "back-up" hearing aid that I can wear in my right ear which will afford me some hearing assistance in the interim (it is the old, single hearing aid that I wore prior to requiring aids in both ears). It's not great, but it's better than nothing and I'm going to have to resort to using that solution at some point in any event. May as well get it over with!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Three More Sleeps ...

... until the Back2Back Reunion weekend in Toronto.
I'm taking it easy today - resting up after a couple of busy days and before a few very hectic days.
Today, I have an appointment with a "back-up" massage therapist. Did I tell you the story of how my regular massage therapist took herself out of commission? She surprised her Mom with a visit for Mothers' Day, and while helping to clean up around the outside, she fell off the sidewalk and broke her ankle. So she's been unable to work for a while -- but that wasn't immediately known.
So I kept waiting ...
And hoping ...
And waiting ...
And three weeks turned into five ...
And five weeks turned into two months ...
And two months has been extended ...
So now, because my physiotherapist is also away this week ...
I had to take drastic measures and break down and find a back-up massage therapist.
The replacement massage therapist happens to be my regular massage therapist's massage therapist (doesn't everyone need one?) Except I can't find the office.
I have the address.
I plugged it into my GPS and tried a trial run on Sunday since I was in Carleton Place anyway.
I went right there.
My GPS took me into the parking lot of a Price Chopper store. There was a small Home Hardware store on the other side of the parking lot. My invalid massage therapist has told me that her massage therapist is "right behind the Price Chopper" -- so I know I was in the right vicinity.
Call me stupid, but I couldn't find anything that looked even remotely like the "Optimal Health and Wellness Centre" that is pictured on their website ...
The location that my GPS took me to ... matches exactly the description of where my massage therapist told me this place is.
So where the heck is it? I could really use a massage but the stress of trying to find the place might undo any benefit the visit might otherwise provide!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Four More Sleeps ...

... til the Back2Back Reunion and I'VE GOT THE JERSEY so I'm good to go.

Yes, John gave me my birthday present a full week early (OK , I picked it up my ownself and I brought it home and I put it on and I showed it to him and I gave him a big kiss and told him thank you and that I LOVE it and then I asked him to take my picture)

Had a most interesting lunch with my daughter yesterday.
Turns out she was under the impression that John had paid FIVE times more than he had for this jersey -- hence her reaction to the gift.
You see, I am hearing challenged. When we were discussing the matter, she had asked, "How much did it cost, $250.00?" but I had heard, "How much did it cost, $50.00?"
And the discussion had gone from there, with my replying, "No, more than that," and her asking questions, increasing the amount by asking, "twice? three time? FOUR TIMES that?" with her voice rising with each increase in price, until she was almost screeching when I finally said, "well, yeh, with taxes." Of course, I thought she had started at a much lower dollar value than she had.
By the time we met yesterday, she was ready to have me committed for paying $1,000.00 for a baseball jersey! And frankly, I can't blame her. Had I actually done that!
Once we sorted out the confusion, we had a good chuckle! She has now given me her blessing to enjoy my birthday gift in good health, claiming that I actually got John a pretty good deal!
She telephoned me a few hours later to ask if I had told John about the amusing confusion over the price and I told her that John said she should have known better than to have even entertained the thought that we would pay that much for such an indulgence. Her response? "Not when it comes to my mother and Joe Carter!"
During the 1992/93 World series runs, I wore my Jays sweatshirt and hat for every game because I was convinced that if I didn't, they could not win that game. So, as of last night, I am wearing the Jersey and my Carter 29 hat (a 1994 birthday gift from my daughter!) while I watch each game.
And obviously it's going to work -- right out of the starting gate, my boys scored five runs in the first inning yesterday! They went on to win the game 7 to 2. And all because I was wearing my Carter Jersey!
Anyway, I'm all set to celebrate my 29th on Sunday, but I still haven't figured out how to explain that name ....
In other news:
Woke up this morning to the welcome news that Karlheinz Schreiber has finally been extradited to Germany -- it's about bloody time! I would have liked to have been there last night to wave farewell as his flight left Canada. Good riddance!