Sunday, March 1, 2009

February 22 - 28, 2009

Sunday I hosted Scanfest with a new platform. It had its kinks, but I think it will work out pretty well.

Missy had a bad headache and wasn't feeling well most of the week. She only attended school on Monday. I finally got her in to the doctor, who said she had one of the worst sinus headaches he'd seen in a while. She got on antibiotics and is feeling better, finally.

Monday I came home from work to find Norm home with some bad news. General Dynamix-Itronix is shutting down the plant in about 60 days to outsource overseas. It is a hard blow to take, but we have survived three other layoffs in the past 14 years. I know we can survive this.

Tuesday was the beginning of my six-week course, Intermediate Online Genealogy. This is only the second time I've taught this course, and I was amazed at how much I had to update on my syllabus and presentation. The amount of online military resources has magnified greatly in the past year!

On Wednesday, I attended a three-hour course after work on Trauma Training. This was the second of two parts, the first which I attended a month ago. This course taught us what tramau is, how to recognize the signs that students may be undergoing traumatic events in their lives, how trauma interferes with the learning/memorization/retention processes in the brain, and how to refer students to the necessary resources when needed. The presenter is a counselor for our school district, who has an amazing list of national credentials. She was a very dynamic and charismatic speaker and we were all very much engaged in her presentation.

After two evenings away from home, I spent a lot of time on Thursday evening just doing some necessary housework. It felt good to get my house back, so to speak! By Friday, I was just crashed and ready for the weekend!

Saturday, I got together with three other co-workers and we stayed overnight at a hotel downtown, where one of the gals had won a free room. We enjoyed the hot tub, going out to several places, and coming back to our room for refreshments and Apples to Apples (a great game that I highly recommend). It was

February 15 - 21, 2009

My parents dropped by Sunday evening after spending the day in town for a train show (my dad collects, repairs, and sells Marx toy trains and other Marx toys). We had an enjoyable visit with them.

Monday was Presidents Day, so the kids and I did not have school, although Norm had to work. I love three-day weekends, because there's enough time to rest up, get needed work done around the house/yard/home office AND have some time to plan.

The work week was kind of a rough one, however. The former husband of an acquaintance of mine passed away unexpectedly at his home the previous Saturday and one of my other co-workers was the one who found him and called the police. It put a damper on the whole week, as they were planning the funeral. Then, to top it off, the deceased man's mother passed away Wednesday. In the midst of it all, we tried to celebrate the birthday of the teacher I assist on Thursday with a mini-potluck lunch, but we had a lot of interruptions that kind of took away what little festivity we were feeling.

A physical therapist who is a colleague of the one I'm seeing came to assess the dynamics of my workplace. The tables and chairs of the room are all a good 25 - 30 years old (terrible ergodynamics). He suggested that I purchase a slanted foot rest which will help support me, since my feet don't touch the floor completely when I sit in adult-sized chairs. He also said I should use a gel wrist guard for any computer keyboard I use.

Saturday, I made two presentations for my genealogical society's computer class at the local library's computer lab. The topic was "Using Mailing Lists to Find Your Ancestors." I always enjoy doing these, because of the collaborative effect that it has among the attendees and the presenter.

February 8 - 14, 2009

On Monday, I went to see my surgeon about the shoulder pain and loss of range of motion I've been experiencing. He examined me and told me I did not have frozen shoulder, which was a relief, and that he agreed with my physical therapist that I should have the ergodynamics of my work place evaluated to see if they were the cause. He also prescribed a week's worth of steroids. I was a little hesitant to use them, because one of the side effects is weight gain, but they did the trick by bringing down the inflammation and relieving the pain. I had another physical therapy appointment on Wednesday, and got my shoulder taped again, which also helped tremendously.

On Friday, I met with the rest of the members of the Washington State Genealogical Society's state conference committee. Our local society, the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, is hosting the state conference in September, and my responsibilities on the committee include finding vendors for the conference.

Saturday, Valentine's Day, Norm and I went to see "New Girl in Town." It was a cute chick-flick movie that we both enjoyed; however, Renee Zellweger did not look so great. I believe she is younger than I am, and although her body is in great shape, her face looked quite aged. I normally don't remark on actors' appearances, but it was so markedly different from the way I remember her from previous movies. We went to the matinee showing, then went to a candy store in the mall. Norm's niece and nephew-in-law had gotten us a gift certificate to that store for Christmas, and we hadn't used it yet. So we picked up some chocolates and red hots for all four of us to enjoy. That evening, we watched "Fireproof" on DVD at home.

February 1 - 7, 2009

I went to physical therapy on Monday, still in terrible pain. Nancy, my PT, was very worried about me and my shoulder and how I've regressed since I've returned to work. She suggested that I see my surgeon and theorized that perhaps the ergodynamics of my classroom were causing me to have so many problems. I was told to stay off the computer as much as possible. I saw her again on Thursday, and she taped my shoulder, which really helped stabilize it.

Monday was also the start of the new semester, which was hard to believe. Tuesday night was Groovy Shoes, a long-standing annual basketball and spirit competition between the two high schools that my teens attend. My daughter's school won the boys' and the girls' basketball games, but my son's school won the spirit competition, which is what really counts!

I taught the last Basic Online Genealogy class at the Spokane County Library District, and invited my students to take my Intermediate course through the Community Colleges of Spokane's Community Ed program.

Saturday was the February general meeting of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. Rose Kraus of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture spoke on how to research the history of your house, a topic near and dear to me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

January 25 - 31, 2009

Well, my shoulder feels a tad bit bigger, so I'm going to try to start catching up on my posts, bit by bit.

On Sunday the 25th, Norm and I went out to dinner at the Onion with a couple from his work. I had met them at the annual barbecue they host at their home in the summer for many of the crew on Norm's shift. I had the Hula burger, which was pretty good, but not fabulous. We enjoyed our time with R and C and just getting out of the house to relax. Earlier in the day, I had hosted Scanfest and finished scanning my great-grandfather's funeral book and started on my grandmother's yearbook.

In the middle of the week, we got a notification from our credit union that my debit card would have to be canceled. Seems like a Visa processing center in New Jersey had a security breach and my card number was at risk for possibly being used for fraudulent purposes. So I had to either use Norm's debit card (our checking account was unaffected) or one of my credit cards for bills and shopping until I received the new one they mailed to me.

The kids had eye exams for the first time in years on Wednesday. When they were little, our insurance covered eye exams, but we changed providers over time and weren't covered. Later, when Norm was hired at Itronix, we added vision insurance for him and me since we were in need of reading glasses, but not the kids as they seemed to be doing OK. We decided a few months ago to add the kids to our vision when Missy started complaining of headaches and eye fatigue. Matt's vision was 20/20, but Missy did need some corrective lenses. I really like the frames she picked out.

I had been running short on sleep all week and it was obvious when I went to teach my third Online Beginning Genealogy class Thursday evening and discovered I had forgotten to bring my flash drive with my PowerPoint presentation, "Clues in the Census," on it! At least I had reviewed it the evening before, so it was fresh in my mind. I was able to wing it by simply going to the genealogy websites that had census data and talking about the various highlights of each decade's census.

Saturday was the best and worst day all rolled into one. It was the best because I got to see my brother and my paternal aunt, neither of whom I'd seen in a year. The awful wintry weather across Washington State had prevented my brother, who lives on Whidbey Island, from visiting during Christmas. My aunt is a nurse with a traveling nurses agency and she has been working in the San Francisco area. Both this year and last year she came at the end of January to stay with my other aunt who lives in Spokane Valley and to get together with all the extended family in the area at a restaurant. My parents came down, as well as my sister and her boys, and her biological daughter with her adoptive family. We celebrated the January birthdays of my visiting aunt, my niece, and my son Matt. I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do, and none of them were posed very well, but here are a few shots:

My mom and my sister

My dad and his sisters

My siblings and I

As usual, someone snapped the camera while I was talking.I'm sure some family member will now wisecrack about how it is impossible to photograph me when I am not talking!

And now the "worst day" part: Saturday night was the worst night I had, painwise, since my shoulder problems started eight months ago. While it wasn't the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life (that's a three-way-tie between ear infections, a tooth nerve dying, and childbirth), it was constant pain at a fairly intense level and I was so exhausted and frustrated that my shoulder has only gotten worse since I returned to work earlier in the month. I took a painkiller for the first time in about six weeks, which took nearly two hours to kick in. Fortunately, it did not make me itch (someone told me later this may be an allergic reaction), but I did get horribly nauseous, had insomnia, and swelled up (another symptom of an allergic reaction?). The next day I was simply exhausted, even though I slept til 1 PM (after finally falling asleep at 3 AM). This was not a great way to end the week.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Taking a Break

I'm taking a self-imposed break from blogging for one week. My shoulder has been getting progressively worse since I started work a month ago, in both the intensity and duration of pain as well as the involuntary movements and muscle spasms I'm experiencing--identical to what was occurring in the weeks before surgery. Last night was the worst night, painwise, I've had in the eight months since all this started and I can't continue blogging, working, driving, doing paperwork, and keeping house without risking injury or worse. Something has to give for a bit, and I'm hoping a break from blogging will relieve the symptoms some.

I'll still be online, as I can read other blogs and my e-mails and publish my comments. It's just keyboarding that is stressing my left shoulder and arm, and while it's possible to type with just one hand, it's too frustrating for me to go that slow.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 18 - 24, 2009


On Sunday, Norm and I went to the theater and saw Gran Torino with Clint Eastwood. What a great story of redemption. There are so many similar elements to John Wayne's last movie, The Shootist. I highly recommend it!

Monday, the kids and I didn't have any school because of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, of course, although Norm had to work. The furnace repairman showed up and cleaned the flame sensor to the tune of $100! In the course of trying to figure out what the problem was last weekend, Norm had cleaned out some of it, which improved the situation. Oh, well! At least now we know what to do in the future, and we're enjoying having warm, consistent air flow again.

Missy's boyfriend's mom had knee surgery a week ago Friday and Monday I brought over my famous Spicy Potato Soup along with some sour cream and potato chips. It was a definite hit!

I had four students at my Beginning Online Genealogy class at the Spokane County Library Thursday evening. It was nice to have a few more. I also discovered that I can get a county library card for free, and I was able to pick up They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins by Loretto Dennis Szucs. I want to see if I can enhance the Immigration and Naturalization lesson in my Intermediate Online Genealogy class I'll be teaching beginning in February.

Matt and I had our yearly dental exams on Friday, with clean reports except for a soft spot on one of Matt's teeth. It's not yet a cavity, so he has to be sure to keep on brushing and also rinse twice a day with fluoride. We wondered as we drove home if dentists and dental assistants ever tell their patients, "You're brushing too much. You need to cut back." Ha!

Missy went to Winter Camp with her church youth group up at Chewelah Peak Learning Center. Sounds like she had a lot of fun as usual and got quite a bit of scrapbooking done. She's really been enjoying learning how to do scrapbooking for her senior culminating project.

My shoulder has really been giving me grief for about 10 days. I had seen my physical therapist mid-week last week, and she had suggested cutting way back on my exercises, which I did. In fact, I didn't do anything except some light stretches each day, plus I started wearing my sling to work. I was getting to the point where I was really worried that not only had I plateaued, but perhaps had regressed. It was very frustrating and the pain and stiffness were starting to get to me. Finally, this morning, I woke up and was able to do not only my stretches but all my exercises in the shower with the warm water cascading over my shoulder and upper back. I am encouraged and looking forward to going back to therapy tomorrow.

Did you know that Goodwill has its own auction website, similar to eBay? Looks like some great stuff here! I discovered this through one of the genealogy blogs that I read. I've been eyeing the teapots up for bid, because I think I want to get a few more. My aunt gave me two strawberry decorated ones years ago, to match my kitchen decor. One, the smaller one above left, is a two-cup teapot and I've been using it a lot lately for tea for both Norm and myself. Our favorites are usually the Stash brand, both black and decaf. I am looking for a good, quick, easy teapot cozy crochet pattern for free online, but haven't run across anything I like so far...believe me, I've looked! I might have to just make up my own.

Speaking of crocheting, I haven't added anything this week to the afghan I'm making for Missy because I was too sore this week. We'll see what next week brings!

Our yucky stagnant air will hopefully be going soon. The hoarfrost on fences and trees is just beautiful, but the gray skies and gray and brown frozen berms of snow everywhere are not. Just to the west of us, in Lincoln County, the hoarfrost (fog that freezes in feathery patterns of heavy frost) has brought down power lines all over the county and with them the poles, both wooden and metal, that hold them. School has been out for a few days in those districts and the local power companies' crews have been working 18 hours a day to get the lines back up and the power turned on for the thousands of unfortuante families in the area.

And that's a wrap!

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 11 - 17, 2009


The big news of the week is that my sister got hired as a nurse at an area hospital! I'm so excited for her! We've celebrated all the milestones: getting her LPN degree, passing her LPN state board exams, graduating from college with her RN degree, passing her RN state board exams, and now this!

I worked a full 30-hour week this past week for the first time since the week of November 2 - 8 (I worked a four-day/24-hour week the next week, but had surgery that Friday). Boy, was I tired! And sore! When I went to see my physical therapist, she was really worried about my muscle pain and told me to back way off my exercises. I have done so, and while there's still stiffness, it isn't so bad. It does make me worry that it will take a lot longer to recover than I originally thought. The shoulder doesn't hurt; it's the muscle that comes diagonally across my upper back from my spine across my shoulder blade to the shoulder.

Thursday night was the first evening of a four-week Beginning Online Genealogy class I'm teaching at the Spokane County Regional Library. I had only two people show up; the weather is keeping them away, I'm sure, because the library did a great job of advertising. Oh, well! Maybe more will come next week, and I'm just as committed to the two that came as to a class of 20.

We have had furnace problems on and off for several months, and Friday morning I woke up to a freezing cold house. Fortunately, we all have electric blankets, so we slept well, but getting up and dressed in the cold was no fun. I called a repairman, but unless I wanted to pay an arm and a leg and another arm, I had to wait until Monday. Norm did some cleaning of the electronics board and found a loose wire and fixed it, which improved the situation some. It'll run and run and run, shut off for a few minutes and run and run again. Or it will not come on at all. Sometimes it brings heat, and sometimes it just blows air.

I started crocheting an afghan for Missy at her request. It's a zigzag pattern with black and shades of purple from very dark to very light, giving it that Amish quilt look of bright colors against black. The pattern is from a Seven-Day Afghan book my aunt gave me for Christmas some years back. The original color scheme called for shades of rose and white, but I like this one better (Missy picked out the colors herself).

I decided I wanted to keep track of the books I'm reading again this year, although I didn't do a very good job last year. Right now I'm reading three: A Week in Winter by Marcia Willett (I'm so happy to discover another British novelist!); Discovering the History of Your House and Neighborhood by Betsey J. Green; and Heritage from Heroes by Dorothy Rochon Powers, written about the famous and interesting people buried in Spokane's cemeteries. The last two books are for genealogy; the Green book is for a project I want to do later this year on my main genealogy blog and the Powers book is to educate myself so that I can do a good job on the Graveyard Rabbit blog I've recently started.

Matt was ill with that same nasty cold and cough I had, and missed school two days last week. Seems he is having a hard time, health-wise, getting back into the swing of things at school. Hopefully next week, he'll attend all week. My cold is better, though I still have an occasional cough.

We've had fog all week, gray overcast clouds and chill temps. It's supposed to be sunnier next week. I'm getting awfully tired of gray skies, gray snow, gray ice, and gray fog. I need some light!

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 1 - 10, 2009

January by Jo's Blinkie Obsession

Part of my New Year's resolutions was to blog more frequently at this site. I planned to do this Sunday afternoon, but this weekend, I succumbed to a pretty nasty cold that I've had for a week. I'd done a lot of blogging on my genealogy blog, AnceStories, on Saturday, and Sunday my kids clamored to use the computers; Missy needed the laptop for a school project and Matt wanted to play some Runescape on the desktop as he had not been on at all on Saturday, having a friend over to hang out with. Between feeling exhausted and the computers not being available, I had to delay my writing for a day.

New Year's Day we finally got together with my brother-in-law's family to do "Christmas." Between the awful weather, family members' work schedules, and his visiting daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters being very sick with bronchitis, we kept having to change our get together date. As it turns out, we never got to see Norm's niece and her family before they had to return to Illinois. Hopefully, they'll be back in the spring. Anyway, we had a nice dinner at my brother-in-law's, then opened our gifts from each other. Everyone seemed to enjoy the calendars I'd created, and one gift we received and especially liked was a printed book of my brother-in-law's photography.

Saturday the 3rd, I attended the annual luncheon of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, held at the Spokane Club. After being served our delicious meal (my choice was cedar planked king salmon with a fruit sauce, wild rice, and steamed broccoli in cheddar, along with a teapot of Earl Grey tea), we listened to a fascinating presentation by Ian Chambers, Professor of History, University of Idaho on "Pirates of the Caribbean: Why Pirates Matter to History." Despite the weather, there was a pretty good turnout, and I'm sure no one was disappointed in either the food or the presentation!

This last week was an odd one. We were supposed to return to school on January 5th, but the weather and many unshoveled sidewalks made dangerous conditions for children walking to school. Instead, we started on Tuesday, but many parents were up in arms, as the snow (75+ inches) had begun to melt, and roofs of commercial and residential buildings all over the county had been collapsing; 60-something, at last count. School closed again Wednesday and Thursday, and reopened Friday.

I saw my surgeon for my post-op exam on Tuesday, which was about five minutes long. I'll see his assistant in March. All is going well, which was confirmed by my latest session with my physical therapist, who continues to be pleased with my progress. Each week, I'm given new range-of-motion exercises, and now I'm doing resistance moves to improve strength. I'm supposed to progress to resistance bands and maybe half-pound weights next.

Over the weekend, as I said, I got bogged down with this cold. It just made me feel exhausted every time I exerted myself in the least way. I was worried I would have to take a sick day off work today, but I woke up feeling all right. Matt now has a bad cough, so I'll give him some cough syrup before bed.

Speaking of Matt, he had his 15th birthday on Thursday. His favorite gift, he says, was getting the day off of school. I felt bad, because we didn't really have anything special planned for him; Norm had to work and the roads were not that great, so I wasn't comfortable taking Matt out to do things. He wasn't giving me any ideas; said he didn't want a big fuss, plus I know he doesn't like cake. I felt better when he called me after school on Friday and asked if a friend could spend the night. Of course, I agreed, and since I was out getting grocery-shopping right after work, I picked up his favorite chips and dip and some soda, Scrubs (2nd season) on DVD, and a couple of pizzas from Little Caesar's to kind of make a "party" of it for him and his friend.

Saturday, we heard some sad news. Ann Hoke, a former co-worker of Norm's that had worked with him at Telect and Logan, had passed away on Friday. She had requested that Norm be a pallbearer. Her daughter-in-law called us to let us know about it all. She had been ill for years, so it wasn't a shock, but still, Norm was fairly upset. The upside of it was, he connected by phone with a couple of former co-workers that he hadn't seen in years. We still haven't heard when (or if) the funeral will be.

That's a wrap up of the first week and a half of 2009!