Thursday, July 30, 2015

Special Thursday

We didn't have anything on the calendar today, so we did something special.

We went to the Hunter Museum of American Art, and saw this summer's special exhibit, Monet and the American Impressionists.  It's a super exhibit.  I hope anyone who can possibly get here to come see it.  It'll be here until midSeptember.

After we left, we went to La Altena (our favorite Mexican place) for lunch.

It was a great way to spend a hot summer day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pretty normal

I did my swim class and coffee this morning, and we went to visit Renna in a rehab facility. She had back surgery several months ago, and developed an infection. It's really been awful for her. She's hoping to be able to go home by mid August.

I have an appointment next week with a spine surgeon, and called another to see if maybe I could get an earlier appointment with another surgeon. After lots of questions and history-taking from the PA at the second office, I was offered an appointment in late August. We'll be gone then, so I took an appointment on 2 September. I'll probably cancel it, but will keep it on the books, in case I think I need a second opinion.

The weather-guesser is saying that a “cold front” is coming through. He says it’ll still be hot, but will be cooler overnight, with considerably less humidity. That’d be a refreshing change.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ten Things Tuesday

1. Only one grocery store today.

2. I forgot only a couple of things.

3. My massage was great, as usual.

4. I tried to make an appointment with another surgeon for an earlier appointment. They’re to call me back.

5. John went to a class for first-time-Android users and says he learned some things.

6. He went back to the dentist to get some adjustment to his implanted tooth.

7. Pop-up thundershowers in the area, but only a few drops of rain at our house.

8. Tina brought carry-out from Formosa for us and Missy.

9. Always great to spend time with the girls.

10. Petty Officer Randall Smith was laid to rest at our National Cemetery today, the last burial of the five servicemen killed here on 16 July. RIP

Monday, July 27, 2015

If it ain't roaches.....

If it ain’t roaches, it’s piss-ants!

It’s an old Wheeler family expression, but WAY too true!

Bobby has been doing fairly well. Margaret got to go to the beach. Then Bobby fell and broke his femur, requiring surgery and rehab.

John’s got the good news that his lung cancer is in remission. The same day he fell down in the driveway and sprained his ankle.

Jean has had some major changes in her life.

My left shoulder (the one with the reverse prosthesis) is doing fairly well. The right “shoulder” problem is another matter. When the doc walks back in the treatment room, looks at your cervical spine x-rays, and says, “Oooh! I figured it was bad, but not this bad.”, it is NOT good news. Two of the vertebrae are already fused and somewhat twisted, another is subluxed (slipped) over its neighbor, and the next words out of his mouth are “surgery”, and “Do you have a spine doctor?” Well, shit!

He told me not to see a chiropracter, but that it was okay to go to the massage therapist (thank heavens!). And the dear man did prescribe me a cortisone dose-pack for some immediate pain relief. So I came home, got on the phone, and now have an appointment with a spine surgeon next week.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Stealing

I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly Meme

Stolen from: Gabs survey

1. Have you ever had a pen pal?
I think I did, but it was a zillion years ago.
2. What’s your favorite breed of dog?
Mutt, rescue dog, yours
3. Can money buy happiness?
It’s what they say - money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can buy you a way to be unhappy.
4. Do you listen to music when you’re down?
I like to listen to music anytime.
5.What is one thing you spend way too much money on?
Probably yarn, but not really that much.
6.Can you honestly say you’re okay right now?
Not too bad - could definitely be worse.
7.What was the last thing you spent money on?
Coffee at Panera
8.Is your current hair color mostly your natural hair color?
It’s all my own grey
9.Who have you texted in the last 24 hours?
Jean, Tina, Renna, Missy
10.Were you in a good mood last night?
Sure - I’m in a good mood most of the time.
11.Do you have a reason to smile right now?
It’s been a pretty good day
12. How often do you hold back what you want to say?
Probably not often enough
13. Do you think that in the end, everything will fall into place?
Things don’t always work out like they’re supposed to, but I guess they do most of the time.
14.Are you currently looking forward to anything?
Near term - massage next week; next month, Canadian Rockies
15.Do you have any TV shows on DVD?
Northern Exposure, Sports Night, probably some others.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday miscellany

It was another quiet day.

We were sitting on the porch this afternoon, when I noticed a bluebird fluttering around the bluebird house.  This is not the time for them to start a family, so I started watching.  Over the course of about 15 minutes, there were 3-4 bluebirds flying around the house.  They were looking in the hole, sitting on the top or on nearby perches.  Sometimes two of them were looking in the hole.  Who knows what was going on.  Tina suggested that perhaps that a "new couple" had gotten a "real estate agent" to show them around the neighborhood.  Love that as an explanation.

Matt had been at home, helping Margaret and Bobby.  He stopped here on his way back home, bringing a "care package" from Margaret.  There were grapes, bags of shelled field peas (frozen), okra, two kinds of squash, and dozens of tomatoes!  We took Matt to out to dinner, and enjoyed getting a chance to talk to him, finding out what he was up to, getting an update on next year's wedding plans, etc.

I finished off the day with a couple of tomatoes for dessert! 

Friday, July 24, 2015


Marine Sgt. Carson Holmquist
Naval Logistic Specialist Randall Miller
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan
Marine Lance Cpl. Squire "Skip" Wells
Marine Staff Sgt. David Wyatt

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Thought for Today

There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art, science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science, art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous. -Raymond Thornton Chandler, writer (23 Jul 1888-1959)
From:  A Word A Day

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tough Wednseday

I’ve had a tough time trying to write the last few days. Nothing much has been going on with us personally.

The horror that engulfed Chattanooga last Thursday has pretty much consumed all news and all conversations. The mourning for the fallen is ongoing and the pain will last and last. But life goes on.

Two of the funerals will be here, the first on Friday. Both burials will be in the National Cemetery here in Chattanooga. Marine Staff Sgt. David Wyatt and Naval Logistic Specialist Randall Miller had put down roots in our community and their loved ones wanted them to be here. Sgt. Wyatt’s service will be limited to family and military personnel, but they have asked that people wishing to pay their respects line the streets between the church and the Cemetery. I can guarantee you the route will be solidly lined for the just under 10 mile route.

We’re glad we live in this proud and caring community.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday haiku

Hot, humid, hazy.
It’s July, so nothing new.
Cards lousy at bridge.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Steamy Sunday

We did a little cleaning up on the deck before it got too hot. The painters had to move everything to get to the side of the house. We got rid of a bunch of stuff. We also got some stuff "neatened" up so the cleaning lady could get at the underneath area when she comes tomorrow. John will probably come to the Y with me in the morning. He doesn't want to be here when "she" comes, but the area where he walks is still blocked off for the crime scene investigation.

That's so horrible to have to say and deal with. Today, we just heard about another serviceman who was wounded and has now been released from the hospital. Turns out the Reserve Center was full of Marines just back from maneuvers. They haven't released nearly all of this story yet.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hard times

Our city is still reeling from yesterday’s horror. So many questions and so few answers. We can only honor the Marines and hold fast to their grieving families. And we can try to start the healing process for all of us.
Did you read about the visit to the White House this morning by the oldest living veteran? She’s a 110-year-old woman who enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1943 at age 38, and drove a jeep for the Army. She was to be given a special t-shirt to wear. Her granddaughter said: "It was supposed to be a short sleeve shirt. But we decided to give her a blouse, she's going to have her arms covered up because she says she doesn't have 'Michelle Obama arms' so she cannot go in there short sleeves on, she said that's not happening." You have to love this feisty old broad!
Something amazing happened last night. I slept straight through the night. Not even one potty break or wake-up because of pain. I realize that “normal” people do this all the time, but I can’t remember the last time it happened to me.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Our hearts are broken!

The first I saw of today's horror was an alert on FaceBook from the Chattanooga Times Free Press that there had been a shooting at the River Park. 

I didn’t turn on the TV or know anything else until FJ called me from Nashville about 1 p.m. to ask what was happening here. Then I turned on the TV.

The shootings were at two locations - a recruiting office on and a Marine/Naval Reserve Center. One of these locations is about five miles from us - just across the Tennessee River. It's where John goes to walk on the River Walk. There were four Marines killed, plus the shooter. There were no fatalities at the first site. The second one is on a major street, about a mile from the main police station. This is why the police response was so fast. One police officer and two others were wounded, one critically.

As information emerged over the day, we found out that the shooter grew up in Chattanooga and lived with his family in this general area - a nice neighborhood where several of our friends live.

This is certainly not anything we'd expect anywhere, much less in our quiet city, or literally in our neighborhood. Of course, there's been nothing else on our local stations all day.

To quote our governor, “Chattanooga is a great city, with a broken heart.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday happenings

I had my mani/pedi this morning. I had such wild nails for the beach time (turquoise and pink, with palm trees and seagulls), but I was tired of looking at them. Back to the usual almost-natural-with-a-sparkly-layer.

When I got hom
e, the painters had started with the pressure washing. John stayed home to get them started. They'll be back tomorrow to start painting.

His ankle must be pretty bad, because he's really letting me "treat" him today. He's spent most of the day in the chair with the foot elevated and with an ice pack. Plus he's taken some pain meds. Also, I found a support boot that I used when I had foot surgery. That's been a great help when he has to walk - and he's been using a cane. There's been some swelling, but not too bad.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The best news ever!

John had his CT scan this morning. And he is officially IN REMISSION!!! No oncology appointments for 3 months. We had been getting increasingly antsy over the results - as you might expect. So, WOW, what a relief!

But, as we all know, Mother Nature has her way of keeping us humble, and She thumbed her nose at John. As he was going to bring the car up the driveway, he rolled his ankle and fell. Other than a skinned knee and some scrapes, the worst problem is a bruised hip and a severely sprained ankle.

The poor baby has really been limping around, but has kept it iced and elevated and has even taken some pain medicine.

The painters are coming to start on the outside of the house in the morning, so he has to be at home anyway. More rest and ice.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Another week

Update: Bobby has been having good PT sessions and has been moved to a skilled care facility in Sewanee. He’s doing well from the broken leg, it seems, but I don’t think this changes his long-term prognosis.

We bit the bullet and picked out new recliners yesterday. They should be delivered in early September. It was relatively painless, and only took about an hour. Then we went to Bonefish Grille. John got what he always does - the Mussels Josephine - an appetizer, but a huge bowl of steamed mussels. I had grilled tuna. I love it, but don't get it every time. Yum!

I found a special book over the weekend. A terrific old book, The Cowboy and the Cossack, by Claire Huffaker, has been reissured as an e-book. I pounced on it, and John’s already reading it. (Kate and Jean, take notice.)

Bridge today was great, at least for me. I had some terrific cards. And, if I do say so myself, bid and played them quite well. It was the kind of day that keeps us playing this silly game.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Stealing

I Want To Be Famous Meme

Stolen from: Surveysurveysurvey

1. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
Not really.
2. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Not on a social call.
3. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

I try not to look for “perfection” - just take it as it comes.
4. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

Only in the car, to myself. Or maybe singing Happy Birthday to a friend.
5. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

Since I’m nearly 80, I’d definitely want the both of a 30-year-old. I’d hate to have to learn all that stuff again.
6. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

Nothing I think about.
7. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

My family, my friends, and the travels we’ve been able to do.
8. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I would have liked to have been closer to my sister.
9. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

To take better care of myself.
10. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

I don’t think I’d like to know the future.
11. What does friendship mean to you?

It’s very important.
12. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

A major part
13. When did you last laugh?

I laugh a lot, but can’t remember the last time specifically.
14. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Some of each now.
15. Seen anything weird lately?

Only when I look in the mirror.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Margaret texted that the PT folks worked Bobby very hard.  He'll probably be in the hospital through the weekend and then be moved to a skilled care facility in a nearby town.
Marion came to coffee for the first time since her total knee replacement 8 weeks ago.  She's walking pretty well.
We went to see Renna in the hospital after coffee.  She's doing well, but will be there for a while longer.  She's in pretty good spirits.
We had the terrible cards at duplicate today, and didn't play that well, either.  I guess this is pay-back for coming in first last time.
I think we're both getting pretty antsy about John's appointment next week and his first post-treatment scan.  This will let us know if he's now in remission.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Thursday Thirteen

1. Bobby is now in a regular room, getting blood products and PT.

2. His surgery involved plate and screw fixation of the femur fracture.

3. The seven (!) tree trimmers came on time this morning.

4. They finished in less than 45 minutes and cleaned up everything!

5. We had a great lunch at Sticky Fingers with Diane and Harry.

6. I got a short nap.

7. John got a long nap.

8. Tina came by for a little while.

9. Our friend, Renna, is still in the hospital fighting a severe infection.

10. The World Champion US Women’s Soccer Team will be playing an exhibition match in Chattanooga.

11. Tickets were sold out in two hours. Scalping in Chattanooga?

12. Hooray for the South Carolina Legislature for voting to remove the Confederate battle flag from their state capital grounds.

13. It’s summer - hot, hazy, humid, temperatures in the mid90s, chance of late afternoon thunderstorms.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Update plus miscellaneous stuff

Bobby had his first PT session today. She said he stood up twice, but didn't make it to the chair. They’re keeping in the ICU again tonight. His blood pressure is too low and his “blood is thin”. They’re giving him blood/blood products. She’s staying with him - in a recliner chair.
After coffee this morning, I did grocery stores again. I could only do Walmart yesterday because of the pain in my knee. I went to Publix for one specific thing, but got some Rainier cherries (a once-a-year splurge) and some peaches, too. Then I went to Aldi for some basics from there. And my knee went "out" in each store. So I guess it's any grocery store that bothers my knee - not just Walmart. I'll do what John wants and start riding a cart in stores that have them. Plus wear the knee brace and maybe carry a cane.
I love Canadians!  Click here for a story that really tickled my funny bone.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Good thoughts, please.

Margaret's Bobby fell this morning and broke his leg, just below the hip.  They got him right to the  hospital, and he had pinning surgery this evening.  He did well and is in ICU for the night.  Updates when we have some.

Monday, July 06, 2015


First day back on the way to routines.  I saw the rheumatologist this morning - they did a blood draw for a sed rate to test for polymyalgia rheumatic.  Plus he increased the muscle relaxants.  Bridge went well - I even got pretty good cards (not so much for John).  And we went to 5 Guys and Fries for dinner.

The oncology office postponed John's appointments until next Tuesday - the doc is out of town this week.  So now we have to wait a few more days to find out if he's in remission.  Oh, well....

Sunday, July 05, 2015

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press of 5 July 2016:

Educator and social justice advocate Franklin McCallie delivered the following remarks to about 100 Chattanooga residents who gathered to honor the nine Americans who were slain in a Charleston S.C., church on June 12, 2015.
Dr. McCallie begins “We gather tonight, first and foremost, to remember and grieve nine American citizens who were slain … because they were black.”

I won’t quote the whole speech here, but will copy a few sections. You can click here to read the entire talk (not too long).

Dr. McCallie describes himself as “…a 75-year old, white, Southern-speaking man. I was born and raised in Chattanooga at a time when we were - and still are - refighting the Civil War. During my first 20 years, I held a strong allegiance to the Confederate flag, to Robert E. Lee and to Stonewall Jackson. "

John was particularly taken with this passage from McCallie’s remarks: “When Muslim terrorists murder innocent people, the vast majority of Americans - liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, tea party - all cry out: ‘Why don’t the moderate, peace loving Muslims handle their own?’
    "But when white American terrorists murder black Americans, some in those same political groups shout: ‘That wasn’t racism! That was a deranged mind!’ Certainly it’s a deranged mind. Deranged first with a culture that injects white people with mind-corroding views against black citizens!
    "Right-thinking, white Americans must step up to challenge a system that keeps black people poor, that closes the door to good education and to jobs, and that sends disproportionate numbers of black men to prison. And ‘nice,’ even well-intentioned, white people who do nothing to help fix this problem help to sustain this racist culture.”


I encourage you to read the whole piece - it’s well worth a few minutes.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July! Amid all the family, food, and fun, be sure to remember what this day celebrates.

We got home a couple of hours ago, after a great, quiet week at the beach - with our family, friends, food, and fun. I had hoped that the drive today would be easier - on the holiday itself. And that was indeed the case. It took us just over 7.5 hours (which included a stop for lunch). Plus we had no rain. When we got home, I turned on our local weather and it showed heavy rain storms all along I-65 through Alabama - just the way we drove home. So we obviously missed bad stuff.

Most of the stuff is unpacked and put away. I'll do the laundry tomorrow, as usual, and we'll maybe get back to what we laughingly call normal.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

From the Mobile Press-Register

I'm going to copy and paste this article by Clete Wetli from today's Mobile Press-Register.  But you can click here and read it on the newspaper's web site.  It's definitely worth reading.
In the aftermath of Charleston, McKinney, and the Baltimore riots, America is finally realizing the true damage caused by far right religious conservatives and the Republican Party who have spent decades fueling and manipulating the hatred of angry white men.
They are angry they lost the "War of Northern Aggression". They are angry that some people get help from the government. They are angry that 'Mericuh has a black President. They are angry that people have sex for recreation instead of procreation. They are angry that gays are ruining their third marriage. Heck, they are angry that lawn darts were recalled and that women think they should be paid the same as men... in the army! 
The angry white men are just outraged that poor people may be getting government subsidized cheese and, now, the internet... those cheddar-eating lazy bums and their Obama-phones! (Well, except for the fact that government subsidized cell phones were spawned during the Reagan Administration... it's still Obama's fault!)
They are so angry that Obama just got to say the "n-word" publicly and they can't. They are angry that they have to be politically correct and angry that they don't really know what that means. They are angry that they just can't fly their confederate flags without having to explain it to a bunch of college educated lefties who don't know squat about heritage or that "Gone With The Wind" was actually a documentary.
They are angry when they have to talk about global warming when it just snowed last January.
All this anger started bubbling into a boil as a reaction to the counterculture of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll that began in the 1960's and 1970's. By the 1980's, conservatives were sure that America was doomed to moral bankruptcy and that it could only be saved by channeling the political energy of angry white men.
Thus, the myth of "the welfare queen". Thus, the myth of rampant government waste, fraud, and abuse. Thus, the myth that the government is coming for your guns.
Perhaps, the biggest myth of all is that American Exceptionalism is somehow guaranteed by prayer in schools or giving tax breaks to "job creators" on Wall Street, rather than creating a level economic playing field that facilitates upward financial mobility.
Yet, the angry white men are finally reaping what they have sown. Even in Alabama, Governor Bentley has begun to realize that the state needs federal dollars to survive. Bentley has even figured out that the people of Alabama need healthcare, but he hasn't quite figured out how to expand Medicaid and blame Obama simultaneously.
The angry white men are realizing that their beloved Republican Party is dying off and that there is a pronounced insanity in screaming, "Get your government hands off my Medicare!" Yes, the angry white men are even starting to consider whether having guns in church and at the ball park is really such a great idea after all.
Perhaps, South Carolina Senator and Presidential long-shot contender, Lindsey Graham said it best for the Republicans when he opined, ""The demographics race we're losing badly, we're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."
Good. The rest of America is getting tired of dealing with angry white men and their obsession with racism and class division. It's long past time to elevate the debate about our nation's problems above the very low bar that seems to be set by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter.
It'll be a wonderful day in America when the last angry white guy cries, "I've fallen and I can't get up."

About the writerClete Wetli is a liberal, political activist and works as the Executive Director for First Stop, Inc. His opinions are solely his own and not representative of First Stop, Inc. or the Madison County Democratic Party. He can be reached at