Saturday, September 20, 2014

It's getting better...

After a couple of years not going farther than the VA - I am taking my life back, dealing with the issues and venturing out, albeit a bit shaky on the walking part.

Found a fantastic Training and Boarding facility, One Command K9 in Lacey, WA, and was not only able to leave Sadie, Ginger and Tucker there for my first trip - Tucker got some training on-leash while I was gone. Woohoo! He's now much more a gentleman when we walk. Thank you, Joon.

Dove right in to a four day whirlwind vacation with my daughter, Angela, and my youngest granddaughter, Kaila. We really "did" Seattle. Had very nice rooms at the Camlin World Mark and they were reasonably quiet considering all the construction around us.

Hit the Pike Street Market first - an absolute must in Seattle. It's almost against the law to not get cheese curds at Beechers! So we got curds and their mac & cheese - to die for. Also left with hom bau and dim sum, gorgeous bouquets of fresh flowers and a promise to return the next day. We did.

Spent a day at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, WA and had the time of our lives.  Kaila will no doubt become a veterinarian rather than a people doctor as originally planned.  Her love of critters is so amazing. Either way, she'll become a force to be reckoned with when she finishes her higher education.

We then had a glitchy day so extended our stay by another day and did the Seattle Zoo. Missy K was at the height of her element. In so many instances, it was her first time to see so many of the species live and in person. It's a wonderful zoo - as zoos go. But it was also hard to see all of these wonderful creatures confined and on display. Personally, I wanted to send all of them back to their original habitats where they could flourish.

I understand the theory that natural habitats are approximated, they have more than adequate food and fantastic vet care but... they're still confined.  It was sad for me.

Other little side trips along the way made the entire trip perfect.

So twice in a week, I'll be on yet another short trip. My nephew and his wife are moving to Texas. He received an amazing job offer in Austin less than a week ago and within the next few days will have packed, painted, cleaned, sold their condo and be on the road.

Headed to Oregon to see them and my two great nephews for the last time until I move to Texas myself - in about a year. Thank goodness for texting and calls.

Before any of this could happen I had to come to terms with my health issues and the lack of or completely inadequate care provided by the VA. Not only is their care poor, it's even worse if you're a woman veteran.

So I've decided that since I have only this life and this body, I can choose what to do with them. If I don't get moving I'll lose that ability gradually and altogether.  So look out world, I'm setting myself free.  My gait will be unusual to look at, my memory won't be as good as it used to be and my endurance level is going to be taxed to the highest levels.  Beats sitting at home or accepting defeat.

For the first time in years I feel different.  Energized. Planning. Doing. Going. It's wonderful!

It's a good day.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I am tired of keeping quiet.

I was raised by wonderful parents who always did the right thing by everyone. They never met a stranger because after just minutes they became friends.

Daddy served in the US Navy and was involved in the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway; he served as the radioman for Admiral Nimitz. He later worked for what was then called the ATC - Air Traffic Control - until he retired. He was a Purple Heart recipient. It took 60 years before he was actually given his medal.

Mom stayed at home until my younger sister and I were both in school. She worked at a local high school for years and then for the Social Security Administration until she retired.

My sister, a victim of being a "down winder" in eastern Oregon, died twenty five years ago after losing her battle of seven years trying to beat the cancer. 

I have very good reason to doubt the veracity of VA Medical system. 

My daddy turned 91 on 1 Jun three years ago. His health was good enough we were planning a month long vacation to visit relatives and he was excited about seeing his family again. On 2 Jun, he had a botched, simple procedure at the VA Hospital. On 3 Jun he BLED TO DEATH.

I submitted a wrongful death to the VA but it has been denied because it was submitted on the wrong form - the form they provided me.

Now I have the privilege of using the VA medical system. I have the use of treatment, most of the individuals are wonderful caring people but "system" is broken.

The wait time for appointments can seem like forever. Not all "employees" are compassionate or caring. Treatment and medications are you get what you get. Sometimes you get nothing.

Imbalance has plagued me for now over three years. At one point, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I researched potential medical help, meds, treatment and tried to live with the diagnosis.

Not necessary. Three months later I was told that, in fact, I did not have the illness. Probably the only person I know to have MS for only three months. A huge relief in one way but I had to once again attempt to learn what was wrong.

I fall a lot, have broken bones and life as I knew it has ceased to exist. The broken bones in my foot were missed on an xray by a "temp-sub" doctor and although swollen, black and blue and rendering me unable to walk, he told me to go home, keep it elevated and aspirin should help with the pain.  The doc I saw a week later was shocked because the breaks were so obvious; it was too late to simply reset them and surgery would have to wait. I'm waiting. Still.

I continue searching for an answer. 

One potential answer is Ft McClellan, Alabama where I did my basic training in 1977 at age 30. Yes, an old enlistee but it was what I wanted to do with my life.

Ft Mac is, and was then, probably the worst toxic waste dump site in our nation. The sheer number of victims from the waste is astronomical. It was finally closed early 90's but the devastation continues. Pressure on the government for answers is consistently rebuffed and my fellow veterans are dying from their own "undiagnosable illnesses".

No compensation has yet to be discussed by our national leadership because all efforts to bring this to the attention of the American people are rebuffed.

So I suffer, with so many others, from an undiagnosable illness. Some days I don't want to get up. I know it will be more of the same.

Is this feeling sorry for myself? No. 

It's anger and frustration with the broken system. I have lent my voice to any petitions I could locate asking the government to do something to change the way we are treated, joined many groups specific to Ft Mac illnesses and signed their petitions, attempted to bring this to the attention of people who could help if they wanted to and legislation languishes because it's stopped in committees and never reaches Senate nor Congress.

Is an end in sight? Doubtful. If the Ft Mac victims can be stalled long enough, we'll all be dead.

Add us to the number of other veterans who suffer from their service overseas and at home -it's obvious why they don't want to spend the money; it would be too costly to provide for those who have been willing to give our lives to defend our country.

I'll add this....

-Daddy was a Purple Heart recipient who died a wrongful death because of a botched procedure at a VA hospital.

-He was honored just months before his wrongful death by having the Spokane International Air Traffic Control Tower renamed the Ray Daves International Air Traffic Control tower. This is the only tower in the United States to be named for an individual. So done by an act of Congress followed up by a letter from the President of the United States.

-A nationally released book was written about him, chronicling his service, life and career.

Whew, I feel better.  Doubtful anyone will read this because it's long and probably boring. But if there is just one person who makes it to here and will help by any means possible, I've accomplished something.

Support your local veterans. Speak out if you see something not right. Sign that petition. Talk with family, friends and neighbors about how to help the homeless - too many of them are veterans. Keep your eyes open.

Volunteer. Donate. Provide food to your local shelters and food banks. 

Do something - do anything to help.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


This isn't something I'm comfortable with but extraordinary circumstances can change our boundaries in a heartbeat.  For once, this isn't useless or trivial.  It's about my daughter and granddaughter, their picture above in happy times. I'm going to explain the situation and then ask for a donation.

They've been living in my small lake property, taking care of it for me since I moved back to my own home.  During the night, my granddaughter woke up when cold water dripped onto her face.  She got up immediately - which literally saved her life - and ran to her mom's room - my daughter.  Within moments, the water pipe in the ceiling burst and everything above where she'd been sleeping fell!

They got out with the clothes on their backs, their puppy and their purses.  Four inches of water was on the floor, the firemen wouldn't allow them back in for fear of electrocution from the power touching the water.  They have no place to go.  They have nothing left.  They need money for food, a place to live, gas for their vehicles, bills - everything.  And Christmas is just a few days away.  This isn't how any of us saw them spending Christmas.

I've cleaned out my account and sent them what I could but it doesn't come close to being enough for them to live or work or go to school. My granddaughter drives over 20 mi each way to high school.  My daughter was cleaning houses but hasn't been able to do that because of gas costs - temporary housing in a little motel room with two twin beds has them a long distance from work.

Fortunately, they'll have the gifts I got them.  But they're trying to feed, clothe and house themselves and their very senior dog who was rescued from a shelter; no one would take her because she has no teeth left. But they took Baby and she's been wonderful. And their bills keep coming.

So....the few of you who see this post...I'm going to ask you a favor.  Please, if you can donate even maybe just $5 - please do so to help them.  Then SHARE with others.  Perhaps use other sites you have available to encourage others to donate and share.

I'd never made a website before but I learned in a hurry how to do one.  The donation site is and it's through Paypal.  Since all of my donations for animals, people and groups have been done in this manner, I feel it's a safe way to manage it.

This has been a difficult thing to do.  Our family has always been self-sufficient and served others.  So asking someone else for help is foreign and uncomfortable for me.  So I'll ask this - if you are offended by my post I'll understand.  But please don't leave unkind comments.  Just ignore me.

This is the only family I have left and I just want to try to help them.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart.


Friday, November 1, 2013

There's something special and wonderful to wake up every morning and know that four little hearts and sixteen pitter-pattering feet will be staring at me with eyes full of love.  Unless you have your own furkids, you can't imagine what it feels like.  If you have no furkids or just want to save a life, get out today or tomorrow and adopt a critter.  You'll never regret it.

Always, please adopt - don't shop. Over six million animals were killed in US shelters last year alone because no one came to save them.  There's also fostering, transporting, TNR for your neighborhood cats and if you don't feel inclined to the above, please donate to animal shelters, rescue groups or transportation groups. Everyone can save at least one!

Still a "dizzy broad" but working on a diagnosis; what a joy it would be to never fall down or tip over again.  At least I have had no broken bones in a while and that is a real bonus.

Every day - well, almost every day - I try to manage the goals I set for myself. I have to schedule around medical appointments but it works for me.  Every day the kids get fed, I eat, the litter box is emptied (love, love, love my litter robot!), I get rid of at least one box and keep up with the mail.  By setting my goals at an achievable level, anything else I can do becomes a bonus and I love it when that happens. Today was a four box day.  Woohoo!

Pinterest has become a passion for me.  I have a lot of boards dealing with all fazes of critters so I have a method of contributing to the welfare of furkids. I focus much of my time supporting adoptions of dogs and cats to be killed within a day or two, donations and petitions supporting wildlife and dogs and cats in critical condition in desperate need of medical support.

If you've not used pinterest and you love to cook, travel, diy, jewelry, photos, quilting - almost every single thing you can imagine is on some one's board and you have access to everything.  It's an incredible resource at your fingertips. The only potential downside is it can become addictive - I kid you not! Some days I can barely contain myself waiting to see what others have pinned.

In the last week, I made three varieties of dog/cat treats from pinterest recipes. I located several new quilt interpretations I want to use for this fall.  I made several recipes for fabulous food, some diy cleaning solutions, and found good, clean funny things to make me laugh. I have to admit I may have also pinned tons of pix of great animals!

I had a birthday this week and it didn't hurt at all.  I may have lived a certain number of years since I was born but that doesn't mean it's my age.  I certainly do not fall into the category normally associated with my "year number" and if I ever do, I'll just pack it in. I'll never do the grey little curly, short haircut, wear comfortable shoes, corduroy pants, hand-painted sweatshirts and a cozy car coat.  I'll go to my grave in skinny jeans (or whatever the style may be at the time), wonderful age inappropriate tops and probably no coat at all. The great thing is I can laugh about it until....

TIP:  If you're not certain something you have is what you need to keep or will use again, make a box dated with today's date. Toss in things you aren't sure about for around six months.  Then re-date the box, seal it and hide it.* Wait another six months and if you haven't opened it - don't even unseal it, just donate or toss it. So now it's time to redate the next box and start another.  You may be amazed at how quickly the boxes fill up and how little you'll ever give any thought to what you tossed.

*Start another dated box.

If you don't need to wait six months, toss it whenever.

Hug those you love as often as possible - be it two or four legged.  You never know how much longer they'll be around...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

July the Oneth

 I've been taking Tucker to puppy kindergarten and he's learned to sit. Nothing else yet but wow, can he sit.  He is such a brave guy.  Every time there's a commercial on tv and he sees a dog, cat, cow, chicken, pig, toilet tissue bears, frog - whether real or animated - he barks at them for the full 30 seconds and at the end of the commercial THEY GO AWAY! He actually does that for me, I guess to keep me safe from all those strange critters that are in his house on the big black box.  What a guy!

I learned I've been feeding all my critters wrong. I believed that free-feeding was good.  They always have food so they know they don' have to gobble it down all at once, in case there may not be more coming. WRONG. In order to train the pup, I'm to carry baggies full of food with me all day long. When one of them does something correctly, I give them a few morsels of kibble. Aha, positive reinforcement. But when one gets, all four want. It makes no difference to them that someone just sat. Or did a down. Or is being quiet. I want what he/she got and I want it now, too.

It wouldn't be so confusing if Sadie or Gigi weren't always underfoot. Mister K still gets his food up high so the dogs can't get into it but even he is learning that if somebody does almost anything, kibble will hit the floor so he dives in with the rest of them.

It certainly makes vacuuming fun. Carpet everywhere but kitchen and bathrooms. I don't like putting food on the carpet but "if that's where you get the behavior you want, that's where the kibble needs to go immediately".

So my dilemma is do I want a nice clean carpet and a spazzy puppy with no manners or a not so clean carpet and a puppy that still isn't getting the hang of it but might learn someday?  And no, moving out to the garage isn't an option. Although..... concrete sweeps up beautifully. Nah.

I'll give this a few more days - hoping they don't all starve to death if they should misbehave (not my furkids!) and probably go back to free-feeding. I understand the premise of them doing good things to earn their food.  I'm just not sure I completely agree with it.

Summer Puppy / Kitty Treats

Wash 5 lb of potatoes thoroughly.  Using a fork, poke multiple holes all over the potatoes.  Place them in a large stock pot, cover with water, add bouillon cubes to flavor and boil until tender. Remove from heat and drain. Once cooled, cut into bite size pieces appropriate for your furkid's mouth, fill a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer. During hot weather, these frozen treats will almost disappear; they're nice and cold, flavored and you don't have to thaw them.

Once again

Sometimes, good intentions end up being just that...and only that.  My execution of plans is dictated daily by health issues.  I'm proud to be an Army veteran of 13 years; but the VA is the only medical I have.  There are constraints on what services are available, the system is so overwhelmed by the vast numbers of vets that appointments are often unavailable for at least 6 months and the wait can be mentally, as well as physically, devastating.

I had to get a good grip on myself before I felt comfortable enough to return here.

But here I am. I can make so many others feel better just by laughing at what goes on here...

My puppy is now a year old and, from his early, sad beginnings of 21 pounds, he is thriving at 91 pounds.  He's such a love, full of the devil and lots of things he shouldn't be eating.

My memory foam pillow, with the wonderful cooling layer, is now chunks of foam and lots of little sticky blue gobs.  Most of the binding on his quilt is missing so I have to believe it was also eaten since there is not a trace of it anywhere.  Yet.  It could still show up somewhere in the back yard.  Another pair of slippers bit the dust. The couch is almost void of stuffing so that's something I'm excited about.  Once all the stuffing is gone it will come to an end.  I hope.

No idea where he found the ball point pens but my carpet has some lovely blue ink stains in the living room and the hall is decorated with red ink.  Those took a whole lot of time, chemicals and hand scrubbing to eliminate.  This was done after we brushed the teeth that were rather purple with the colors combined.

The excitement never ends.  Pulled into the driveway, pressed the button for the garage door and it opened. Off loaded my things, pressed the button again and, while the door did close, it was so fast I barely saw it.  The rails that held it to the ceiling tore away, the cables snapped from the door, it's crashed and I have yet another project.  Naturally, I don't have the standard 12 ft door.  No, I have the 16 footer that's special order.

To get to the repairs necessary, I have to rearrange everything in the garage.  I had nothing else to do, of course.  It gets 30-45 minutes a day because that's all I can handle physically.  Yes, I'm a certifiable dizzy broad.  Have fractured/broken bones, scars and bruises to prove it.  Two years of tests and still no diagnosis.  It has certainly changed my life. :-(

Also underwent a real adventure having new windows installed.  The primary reason for doing this was to replace skylights (which I discovered they didn't do after I signed the contract).  So one garden window, patio slider and seventeen windows later I'm still "dealing".  After-market locks will be installed to compensate for the windows installed without them. Brilliant solution for the garden window, which is very difficult to open and close, is "just spray it with WD-40 and it'll work fine."  Caulking will be mended in places where it is raised, has air pockets or just didn't seal.  The lifetime, transferable warranty turned out to be a limited period of time and non-transferable. I hope the letter they sent amending the situation will be honored. Had to fight to get these things done and they still have yet to finish.  Buyer beware is taking on a whole new meaning for me.

Still trying to achieve a diminishing household content.  To actually survive, I probably need only one-third of what is here.  But I can't bear to part with so many of the remaining items.  In my next life, I do not want to be sentimental or retain my mom and daddy's philosophy of hanging on to everything because you never know when you may need it.  Children of the depression.  Attitude, passed on.

Today and tomorrow, I will be patient, but persistent, with the VA.  This is no kind of life for anyone.  When the simple task of walking causes injuries, it makes every day a challenge.

I will maintain a positive attitude and laugh often.  Which isn't a problem. I have three dogs and a cat that are all a little wacko.  Their antics and habits are truly laughable.  They make every day worthwhile.

I  will continue to toss, donate, recycle and downsize.  Sooooo much stuff.  And it can't all be good stuff.

I will continue with my plans to move back to Hawaii.  I want this to be my very last winter in the rain, cold and snow.  Makes my bones ache. It's not fun.

I will come back to this blog without feeling diminished in any way.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I cannot wait for the sun to appear. My plan to move back to Hawaii was put on hold for years while I cared for my parents; they have both passed away. Now that I have the opportunity to move, my health is taking away the ability to do so.

Totally perfect blood results with only one exception - Vitamin D dangerously low levels. I live on the wet side of the state and if the sun is shining, we all do the happy dance because it's not the norm here.  So I'm taking this as a sign I'm supposed to move to the sunshine.  My illness will just have to go with me.

It would be nice to have a diagnosis. The VA, while being a fairly decent alternative, is so crowded that appointments are months out and there are few services for women. After my last MRI, I was told I had MS.  I attempted due diligence online to learn what I could about the disease; it wasn't a fun adventure.

About two months later, I had the first available neuro appointment where meds, therapy and details would be provided. Ooops, so sorry no one let you know - it's not really MS. Or at least we don't think so. What they didn't realize was by not letting me know, I "did have MS for two months" and the anguish with it.

As conditions are being ruled out, the symptoms get worse with no diagnoses. Yesterday I learned some illnesses are simply left to languish if the VA doesn't have the ability to perform certain tests that are not cost effective.

I will need to learn to live with it. I will enjoy the rain we so lovingly refer to as liquid sunshine.

So everyday, I hug the furkids and literally bask in their total and complete love and devotion.  What would I do without them?

Tucker is such a good guard dog. So much so I can no longer watch The Dog Whisperer. He's learned if he barks at those big dogs inside the box that has pictures and sound, they go away! He's so brave and protective. And loud. Unfortunately, this is not good behavior to reinforce. So in small doses, I'm using sound interruption to deter the behavior. Not sure how long this will take for him to realize what's really happening and respond positively to it.

I can almost see Sadie and Gigi shaking their heads at him. Mister K just looks at him with a "you've got to be kidding me" look only cats can manage.

Car wax. And the kitchen sink.  Love my Franke triple but it can be a pain to keep it in shining condition. One day while looking for something else, I found my "once a year" car polish. I used it on the stainless steel and let it sit about half an hour. Then buffed it to a great shine.  Depending on how often you have a real mess in the sink, this wonderful shine and water-repelling properties will keep your sink in wonderful condition and only requires a minimal wipe down to keep water spots away. Who knew?