4/9/18 Chronicles



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  Monday 4/2/18

This has been such a weird week! There's lots of stuff going on. Over the weekend, I finished up the Tylenol with codeine that the doctor gave me for my spine-related pain, and my muscle relaxer pills. I was feeling fine, with no pain. Monday evening, however, after going to bed fairly early, I woke up at 2:00 AM with a lot of pain right at the top of my spine (in the little area I call "the hump"). Nothing really helped stir-fryexcept a nice hot shower. Then I could finally go back to sleep. I've been fine ever since. I don't have much pain, but I still have a lot of weakness in my left arm. It's getting better, though. I was having trouble even pulling up my pants or holding anything in my left hand, but it's stronger now. I'm just trying to do most everything with my right hand instead.

I made a really good stir-fry using leftovers from our Easter dinner! It was delicious.

Last night I stayed up way too late watching "Jesus Christ Superstar" on my DVRNBC's Jesus Christ Superstar from NBC. It was very good, and I enjoyed it. However, I didn't think that John Legend, the star, was the right choice to play Jesus. The role really requires a rock-and-roll type of voice, and he's more of an R&B singer. He couldn't sing the parts in full voice that he needed to, and he sang some of the high notes lower. Also, he's not an actor, and he doesn't have a lot of charisma, IMHO. I know he tried his best, and I'm in the minority on this. He got a lot of rave reviews. Everyone else did a great job; the casting was fantastic otherwise. Although ostensibly Jesus is the lead role, Judas is really the star. He introduces everything, and the story is from his point of view. The actor who play Judas, is a Broadway Star from "Hamilton," so he was fantastic. Alice Cooper as King Herod was hilarious and perfectly cast. I also loved the actor who played Pilate, whom I've seen in many TV shows. It was very well done, and the staging was also really good. It was live, and they called it "in concert," but it did have staging. I recommend it if you haven't seen it. I'm sure you can find it on demand or streaming. I hope to buy the DVD one day. I tried recording it onto DVD, but for some reason, my DVR messed up (or DISH network did), and there were many audio blank spots.

  Tuesday, 4/3/18

It was really hot today, in the 80's. It felt nice for a change.

As usual, I had to write two blog posts this week for classes. And I'm still trying to finish up one from a few weeks ago that requires a lot of links. The one due tomorrow was pretty easy to write.

  Wednesday, 4/4/18

It was cold this morning (in the 30's). Brrrr! It got up to the 60's by the afternoon and was very nice in the sun. We had a big thunderstorm the night before, so that's why the weather changed so drastically.

I'm still enjoying hanging around with the ladies who work at SAU, before my class. We have some very interesting conversations. One of them is a nurse, which is very convenient because we can ask her health-related questions. She's very nice, too.

I completely forgot that we're going to Chicago Friday afternoon! I guess I was thinking that it was next week... Or, really not thinking about it at all. I have a ton of dishes and laundry to do still.

After class today, David took me to my doctor's appointment. She talked to me about my MRI last week. I'm still a little bit in shock from meeting with my doctor. 6 to 7 years ago, when I got the first MRI, I was told that I had two herniated discs in my spine (AKA slipped disc), and that was causing my pain. The doctors recommended surgery for that, but I didn't want surgery. For one thing, they said that they had to operate near the vocal cords, and that might damage them. Being a singer, I didn't want that. Also, surgery is scary, and I wasn't sure whether the insurance would pay for it, or whether it would even work. The pain was not as bad back then, and physical therapy helped me quite a lot. For the most part, I just used Aleve and occasional pain pills. This year it's been much more painful, and I have to keep running to the doctor to get steroid shots in my shoulders (which is not a good idea).

Anyway, this new MRI indicates that I don't have two herniated disks, just one, and it's Foraminal Stenosisnot a big problem. The doctor said that sometimes these things work out themselves over time. My problem now is something called Foraminal Stenosis. The doctor is referring me to a specialist in Texarkana. She thinks that he may be able to treat my problem with some kind of injection before he would go to surgery. So that's better than what I thought before, but I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it.

One weird thing happened. I had brought a large lemonade from Chick-Fil-A with me, and then I left it in the exam room. When I left, I forgot it, and I remembered less than 10 minutes later. I went back, and it was gone. No one knew what happened to it. I am not mistaken -- I definitely had it in there. I'm 100% certain that I had that lemonade in the room with me. Did it sprout legs and walk away? Hmmm...  The only thing I can think of is that someone threw it away, and then they were just too embarrassed to admit it, or didn't want to deal with me getting annoyed at them. Oh, well.

sad-looking dogAfter I got home and walked the dog, I went next door to try to help my neighbor, Mary, with her computer. I had offered her help before, but this was the first time I'd seen the upstairs of her house, where her office is. One of her children set up her computer, so she just had to click on a link to Facebook on the desktop to open Chrome. However, for some reason, Chrome was not working at all. I probably should have figured out a better way to clear her cache or something, but I'm not that familiar with Chrome. Instead, I opted to uninstall Chrome. Unfortunately, she lost her login to Facebook when I did that, and she doesn't know her password. She also doesn't know the password to her e-mail, and she doesn't have a smart phone, so there's no easy way to reset her password. She already had to start a second Facebook account because of having these problems with her first account. The Internet is more concerned with security, I guess, than it is with helping people, especially anyone over 50. Anyway, at least I was able to speed up the running of her computer, and the startup, and I got her a new e-mail address. In the meantime, I've been trying to find a way to fix this with either Facebook or Yahoo, and she's said that she would ask her children if they know her passwords or any of the information she needs to get back in to her accounts. All of this reminded me of living with my mother-in-law, when I was trying to help her learn the computer, but this was much easier because Mary is younger and doesn't have the computer phobia that she had, nor does she have all of the physical and mental problems.

I had another blog post/paper to write for class, but I was not really sure what I wanted to write.new red laptop The professor chooses the topics and gives us a lot of leeway, but sometimes the topic is just not that interesting to me, or I don't know much about it. Then it's hard for me to write about it. Instead, I did a lot of other things that I had to do, such as dishes, laundry, and setting up my new laptop. Last month I got a new small laptop, but it lacked hard drive space. Fortunately, Amazon was willing to give me a full refund, even though I was one day past their expiration date. The old laptop was dark blue, and the new one is bright red. Both were pretty, but I like the color red better. Otherwise, they look exactly alike, but the red one has more hard drive space and was twice the cost. I had to get the blue one ready to mail back, and set up the red one, so I could use it tomorrow at school.

Eventually, I got all of that done, plus writing my blog. I stayed up pretty late writing it. It's hard to quit once I get going. I want to just finish it and forget about it! LOL! Unfortunately, that meant I stayed up until after 4:00 AM. I did not want to do that.

This week I've been trying out the voice recognition program in Windows 10 (also in Windows 8). It works pretty well. I had no idea that this came free with Windows. I doubt most people know. I used to use a program called Dragon Naturally Speaking, and it worked pretty well, but it used up so much memory that it messed up my other programs and eventually would not work for me very well. It was just too slow to use. Also, it pretty much only worked in their text box, or sometimes in Notepad or Word. When I sent them an e-mail about it, they were not very helpful. I was very pleased to learn that Windows has a similar program, but it works much better. The only problem seems to be that it doesn't work well with Firefox (my preferred browser). Not only can't I use it with Firefox, but it causes Firefox to freeze up. I can, however, use it with Word, Notepad, and Chrome. I'm not saying it's always perfect. For one thing, Microsoft does not supply a very long list of commands. For example, sometimes it knows what I mean when I say, "capitalize this word," and other times it literally types out "capitalize word." It capitalizes some words automatically, but others it doesn't. Also, I have no idea how to get it to type a parentheses, an ellipses, or a quotation mark. You can give it some commands, such as "switch to Chrome" or "open Notepad," etc. but I have no idea how to tell it to save my file. Generally it works pretty well, but it can be a little frustrating. It's much easier than typing it all, and it's much better for my back. I have a lot of writing to do, so this helps me of a lot. And it's free! Woo hoo! Oh, another problem is that it doesn't work well with background noises, such as the TV, or someone talking, or the dog making noise with her squeaky toy. ;)

  Thursday, 4/5/18

It was a little bit warmer today, but still not short sleeve weather. Funny because the morning seemed nicer, but the afternoon seemed colder.

I had David set the alarm for 8:00 AM, but of course I did not wake up then. I was very tired. I managed to drag myself out of bed around 8:30. I had enough time, though, to take a shower, eat breakfast, get my stuff together, put the dog out, check the mail, and brush my teeth. I usually like to have 2 hours to do this, in order to let my hair dry, and so that I'm not brushing my teeth right after I eat (cuz that's gross). My driver, Trisha, arrived a bit early, but it was OK. She took me to the Horizon Electronics store, which used to be a Radio Shack. It has a UPS dropoff, so I left my older laptop there to be shipped back. Then she took me to school. She and her family seem very nice. They're from a smaller town near here called Village. It has about 400 people, she said. The name is so silly. It's like calling your store "store." Or calling your daughter "daughter." Couldn't they have come up with a more original name? Ha ha!

I briefly chatted with the nurse in Reynolds before class, to update her about my spine. Either she's very nice, or she's just genuinely interested in medical things. The specialist I'm going to use is named Dr. Smith, so I made a joke about "Lost in Space" and she laughed. She's old enough, like me, to understand that joke! Well, I guess soon everyone will remember the name, since they're coming out with a remake of it on Netflix.

YearbookThey were giving out the yearbook for last year, so I took one. It's not exactly like a high school yearbook... They don't put all of the students' photos in the yearbook. Only the seniors. However, they put all of the faculty and administration in there. So David is in there, as well as many other people whom I recognize. They also have many pictures from events and groups, so I recognize some events we went to, and some students from my classes. There is one picture from an event we went to in October 2016, having to do with breast cancer. It was outside the business building, and everyone lit candles. The picture shows about half are the people that were there, and it's fairly small. David and I are in the picture, but you can't really recognize us, or see us. I know which ones are us, though! ;) event we were atAny way, it's cool to have, and I hope I will be able to get one for my senior year in 2021. I will be graduating, hopefully, in 2020, but the yearbooks come out the next year. But I think I prefer the way high schools do it instead. You get the yearbook at the end of the year, and your friends sign it, and you take it with you. When do seniors receive the yearbook? I have no idea. Do they have to come back to campus, or do they mail it to them? Oh well. It's nice that they give them away for free, at least.

Class was fine... The professor had a bad migraine, so he ended class early. There are thirteen people in there, bit today there were only five of us. My poor voice teacher also has a migraine today (she posted it on Facebook).

I was very tired this afternoon and had a little nap after I got home. The dog was a little too energetic, so I had to tether her in order to take a nap. Otherwise, she would have just kept nibbling on me or the blankets.

Now I have to go back and figure out which other blogs I still have to finish!

One funny thing I noticed about this voice recognition program is that it has access to my contacts on my laptop. The reason I know this is because several times it has put in a name of one of my friends as a suggested word. These are uncommon names, such as M'Liss, Jadie, and Abir. I'm sure I must've given my permission to use my contact names..... Ha ha ha!

I did do my exercise and tried to record. Brandy was in the room and started singing along. It was so cute, I had to make a video.

And then I was trying to record a song, but I kept running into computer difficulties. These were very aggravating and took me hours to fix. :( Basically, I use this program called Total Recorder that lets you record any streaming sound or video on your computer. Sometime in the past 6 months, it stopped working correctly, but I didn't know it was the problem. I thought it was something to do with the sound in my computer. First I thought it might be the headphones, then I thought it might be a Windows thing. I called Dell and they couldn't figure it out. Finally I figured out it was Total Recorder, so I emailed them and they told me how to fix it. I tried that, but it took me reinstalling and uninstalling the program for a long while, and then my computer was being very slow, so I ran some other things to try to speed it up. It was just very exhausting. I finally did get to record a proper backing track for a song I wanted to do, but, man, there was way too much work involved in it.

I stayed up too late, trying to do last minutes things, cleaning, packing, watching TV etc. I hope my DVR isn't too full when I get back. I had a little more laundry to do, and a lot of dishes. Oh, then there is a leak under our kitchen sink. Either it's the sink/garbage disposal, or the dishwasher...I'm not sure. I will have to call a plumber when we get back. What a pain.

  Friday, 4/6/18

The couple that do our lawn and stuff like that came around 9am, so I had to get up a little earlier than usual. We were having them do both the front and back, but I clean front yardhad to leave for school around 11, so they had to stick around until I got back.

Trisha took me to the pharmacy first, so I could pick up some prescriptions.

My class today was very short. I got back earlier than expected. The couple did a very nice job with the yard. David took me home and then picked up Brandy to take her in to the vet's for boarding. She has a kind of lump behind her ear. I hope it's nothing serious!

Shreveport

I spent the rest of the day trying to get ready for our trip. We were supposed to leave around 3:30 and drive to Texarkana for our flight to Dallas. Well, that flight was Plain Dealingcanceled, so David called and said we had to leave right away, about an hour before we were scheduled, so we could drive to Shreveport for a 6:30pm flight instead. Well, we got through part of Louisiana when the text came from the airline that THAT flight had been pushed back, too late for us to make our flight. So we pulled over in a little town called Plain Dealing, LA so that he could phone the airline and get it allbuffet fixed up. The best they could do was a flight out of Shreveport Saturday morning, through Charlotte, that would get us to Chicago Saturday around noon. It wasn't ideal. It meant we had to spend the night in Shreveport, and he had plans Saturday that he can't do now.

He wanted to stay near the airport, but most of the airport motels or hotels were booked up, so we stayed at this our motellittle place called the Moonrider Inn. The reason our flights were all canceled was because of thunderstorms. It was a little rainy in Shreveport, but we had a big storm later on. We took a Lyft over to the casino, Margaritaville and had some fun on the slots. First we went to the buffet, which wasSpider-man slot machine really good. It probably wasn't gluten free. I didn't feel like having someone tell me what was safe and what wasn't, especially since they usually end up being wrong, anyway.... We didn't win big at the casino, but we had fun.

rain during stormLater we took another Lyft back to the motel. The guy had a big truck with four seats. The thunder and lightning were really raging, so it was good to be in a big safe vehicle. I was tired from the long day, so I just went to bed and read a magazine for a while until I was sleepy. David checked out the little airport casino next door, but he didn't stay long. We couldn't make a late night of it because we had to get up early.

  Saturday, 4/7/18

Shreveport airportLong day! We got up at 4 am and got ready to go to the airport. I didn't shower because it was such a dinky little motel and I just didn't feel like it. Yuck. I don't like to shower in bathtubs where I don't trust how clean they are...and the towels in places like that tend to be too small, too.

The Shreveport airport is not too big, but it's not as small as Lubbock or Texarkana. It didn't take too long to get through security. We were in line for the electronic kiosks, and one big woman did sort of cut in front of us, which was annoying.

They had a tiny little fast food place serving breakfast and snacks. We had a quick breakfast before our flight. It was a little plane, and we weren't seated together. We were in the same row, but on opposite sides, with people and the aisle in the middle (we both had window seats). The flight was about 2 hours; I just listened to my iPod the whole time. I tried to nap but couldn't. It was not very comfortable. We landed in Charlotte and got off the plane with the old-fashioned sort of steps, not with a jetway. I hate those steps. Charlotte is a fine airport. We found our terminal (took a long walk to get there) and had lunch at a little place. We only had about a half hour, but they were pretty quick. I just had a burger, no bun. I wanted to find a puzzle book, but Our nice hotel roomnone of the stores had any. That's a first. Usually airport news stores have puzzle books. I like the Variety puzzle books. I go through and just find the few I like.

We had seats together for our flight to Chicago. I was very tired and slept through most of the flight. We checked into our hotel at the Wyndham Chicago Riverfront. It's a very nice hotel. We have a huge room. The Trump hotel is right across the street! (Well, across the river, but it looks like it's across the street) Wow!

We had some drinks and snacks at the bar/restaurant downstairs. They were servingbeets brunch, but I just had a salad that was mostly beets, and marcona almonds and goat cheese. I don't love beets, but it was pretty good.

Us at Bulls gameAfter we settled in, we went to the basketball game at United Center. The Bulls were playing the Nets, and neither team is good this year. We had fun, though. The Bulls lost. They had a lot of fun things going on that keep it entertaining. It was 90's night, so they had some people dressed in 90's outfits and played a lot of 90's music and games. Coolio was the half time show, and he sang two songs. One was his big hit "Gangsta's Paradise." David knew the songGreat pic of an early shot in the game, but I don't think I ever heard it before. I'm not a big rap fan, and I stopped listening to the radio in 1986. Still, it was kinda neat. The 90's seems like 5 minutes ago, in some ways, but it was 25 years ago. Yikes.

I had two gluten free hot dogs at the game. They had gluten free buns, but I didn't have much of those because they're not on my diet. I had a little popcorn as well. It was very cold here today. It was 30 when we landed. After the game, we took a cab back. The cab driver was kind of a jerk. He overcharged us, for one thing. When I got in, I had trouble getting my seat belt to work. The cab drive was very condescending as he tried to help me get it working. He said, "Calm down, Ma'am." I felt like smacking him. No one should ever say "calm down" to someone unless they're actually hysterical or loud or very angry! Because otherwise you will make that person very annoyed. Part of the problem was the seatbelt got stuck, but also, my left hand is not very strong, so I had trouble pushing the belt into the slot. Later, I couldn't find my mitten and it was on the floor. I was just talking to my husband when I said, "I can't find my other glove." We were at a stoplight, so the cab driver turned on the overhead light so we could find it. Now, again, I was not upset, just wanted to find the glove, so we could get out of there as soon as we parked. The cab driver was again condescending and acted like I was freaking out about the glove or something. I'll bet he's not married (or he's divorced). What a jerk. His driving wasn't very good, either. We should have stuck with Lyft. We haven't had ONE bad or annoying Lyft driver so far.

We stopped back at the hotel bar/restaurant around 10. I just had a cheese and meat plate. David ordered something else and it took forever. The people there were very nice, and apologetic. David went to bed pretty quickly once we got up to the room. I wasn't tired, so I stayed up a while to work on my site, to work on my blogs, and to chat with some friends on Facebook.

They do have a pop culture event going on down the street, with some great actors that I love signing autographs, but it's also very expensive, so I probably won't go. It's $50 per person just to get in the door, and then the autographs and photo ops with them are even more. :( I would have loved to have seen Charlie Cox, Brandon Routh, Justin Hartley, Dominic Purcell, Milo Ventiglimia, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, and the rest... Well, maybe next time we're in a big city....

  Sunday, 4/8/17

I stayed up pretty late last night, so I slept in today. David was gone to his conference. I just had some yogurt craisins for breakfast (not very healthy). Later, David came back briefly around 2. I went down to the bar/restaurant and got a burger and chips. It was very salty and the burger was overcooked. Yuk. I should have gotten food delivered instead.

I watched an Adam Sandler rom com on TV and worked on my site. Later, David was due to come back around 5, but he was late, and I was really tired of being in the room. I got dressed up and went down to the bar to wait for him. I had a soda and looked at my phone. It was even colder today than yesterday. We took a Lyft over to this restaurant called Wildfire. It has a whole separate gluten free menu. scallops Unfortunately, I had such a late lunch, that I wasn't that hungry. It has a big menu, though. It's a steak and seafood place. They had many steaks and chops. I had bacon-wrapped scallops for an appetizer, and a chopped salad. The scallops were pretty good, aside from a little grit. I couldn't eat much of the salad. Not only was I pretty full, but I was wearing pants that were way too tight. We had a nice bottle of wine, too. The dinner came with gluten free bread, similar to English muffins. I only had half of one, but it was very good. David and I at karaoke

Then we walked over to an Irish Pub that wasn't too far away called Fado. We've been to their other pubs in Atlanta and a few other places. It was great to go there and warm up! I had a hot chocolate with Bailey's. Then we took a Lyft over to a bar Me, David, Alma and Stevecalled Shaker's on Clark. We know the KJs there, Alma and Steve. Years ago, I was on a karaoke message board on karaoke.com called JOLT. I made friends with many nice people there, and I've met many of them traveling (We're all on a Facebook group now). Alma and Steve are two of them, and we met them before, last time we visited Chicago, back in 04. It was great to see them again! They run a fun little show there. They have one Fridays in another place. Anyway, we had loads of fun, took photos,snowing! and sang a lot, including duets. It was awesome. We only had two hours because David has to get up early, so I crammed as much fun into that time as we could.

We took another Lyft back to our hotel. It was flurrying! They say we will get a few inches here tonight. We stopped at our hotel bar and got one more drink, and I got some water to take back to the room. I'm staying up late again, which is probably a bad idea.

It snowed a bit outside. I took a photo. So pretty...wish I could have seen more.

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