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Long time posting

Hi all--decided like many to totally abandon Live Journal since the latest Russian directives. Not worth supporting. I'll keep the account up for a while since it's a permanent account and paid for, but going to stop checking it. Hopefully the friends on LJ that I still read will follow, or at least think about cross-posting. I'm now at Dreamwidth as qbear.


Thanks to everyone who came to our pool party yesterday, which was also a surprise birthday party for me!! Everyone was so great, and I hope all had a great time. We had about 70 guests--the largest party I remember us ever throwing. We grilled many sausages, made my mother's baked beans and potato salad, and folks brought so much other food. And the weather was perfect--a nice dry 106 and the pool at 88.

Two in two days

We so rarely go out to the movies anymore. They are so expensive (even with our senior discounts) and we have a great home theater system, so often we just wait for the DVD or Netflix. And we can make our own refreshments, pause for restroom breaks, talk, and replay scenes. But we went out Thursday with our friend Rich to see Star Trek: Beyond in IMAX 3D. It was really good, I thought--incredible action and CGI, but also great character development and interplay. One of the better reboots.

Today we saw the Absolutely Fabulous movie in a regular theater, again with Rich. Steve (rootbeer1) and I have always been big fans of the television series, and the film did not disappoint. Virtually every character was there, with the original actors, plus a huge number of cameos from show business and the fashion world. The spirit of the original was very strongly in force, and there were so many LOL moments. Four thumbs up for both movies.

Tonight, an evening pool party to celebrate our friend Mike's 50th birthday. it's 99 degrees outside right now, and strangely humid. Also, a haboob (desert sandstorm) came through last night, and the sky is still kind of hazy. The pool will feel good, and many friends will be there.

Another new skill

Just got back from my nurse appointment and gave myself my first testosterone injection. Easy peasy. Currently using Androgel, which is applied daily and has risen in cost to $450 a month after insurance. The injected version is once a week, and a 22-week supply is $44. This was a no-brainer, and the needle is so thin you don't feel it at all.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend. And Steve (rootbeer1) is here till Friday, so that's nice.

To do list

This is my list of things to do today (besides work):

● Reschedule eye doctor appointments
● Schedule meeting with financial advisor
● Schedule sleep study
● Schedule bariactric doctor appointment
● Schedule visit with nurse to learn how to inject testosterone shots
● Get garage door opener fixed
● Take out the garbage
● Feed the cat and clean his litter box

My lunch hour will be busy.

Status Report

The neighbors are having a party with a mariachi band. I'm enjoying listening to it as a I lounge on my bed.
In other news, I had a great session with my primary doctor yesterday. My labs were all great, diabetes under control. Two new things-- switching from testosterone gel to injections-- much less expensive and hopefully more effective ‪#‎manopause‬. And albuterol for my occasional asthma symptoms. Also, a new sleep study and an appointment with Dr. Bobby, the premiere bariatric surgeon in Southern California, to discuss options. Want to get the diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis under better control. But otherwise in good health.

I'm determined to post here more. Let's have a Live Journal revival!



For the first time in two years Steve and I are taking an actual vacation. I'm flying up to San Francisco in a couple of hours, and on Wednesday we are flying to Honolulu. Two days on Oahu, then a seven-day cruise around the islands. Neither of us have ever been to Hawaii, and for Steve it's his 50th state.

I'm excited about:

warm ocean to swim in
Kona coffee
going to a luau
spending time with our friends
seeing the southern stars we can't see from California
lots of rest
fabulous seafood
fruity cocktails

Our dear friends Ken and Rich are housesitting and minding Moochie for us. Hopefully all my recent stress will melt away.


Back in the saddle again

Well, that was a short retirement. I just accepted a full-time job offer as software engineer at Wells Fargo. The position was so perfect for me, I just couldn't say no.

lazy sunday

Perfect Palm Springs day--clear blue sky, 90 degrees and 6% humidity. Breakfast with the house guests, then afternoon in the pool. Taking a break, then cocktails, dinner, and more evening pool time.

Productive week. Got the taxes done, the pool pump working, and I have a job interview tomorrow. We shall see...

First world pool problem

For the last couple of months, the pump for our swimming pool has been intermittently malfunctioning. When the timer clicks over, instead of the pump starting up, there is a loud buzzing sound for about 3 seconds, then nothing. A minute later the same thing happens. Sometimes after four or five tries, it catches and the pump starts, but not always. I have to go out and manually turn off the timer to make it stop. It's really loud and I don't want to annoy the neighbors, as well as disturb our own sleep (it usually runs at night).

A few weeks ago I called our pool service and asked them to look at it. They sent a guy over. He flicked the power switch on the timer a few times and said, "Sounds like your pump is bad. You need a new one." Now, we replaced the original pump about three years ago at a cost of $1200, and I would think it should last longer than three years. Or that they would offer to try to repair it. Nope, need a new pump. Oh, by the way, the guy said, I can get you a used one for $400 and install it for you, on my own (wink wink). I said I'd think about it.

After a few weeks of it sort of working most of the time, today it started buzzing about 3:00PM. It wouldn't stop. I manually reset the timer to shut it up, then did what I should have long ago--Googled "pool pump buzz." I got a lot of hits, including this video which exactly describes what's happening:


I turned off the breaker to the pump and removed the capacitor exactly as shown in the video. Went on Amazon and found the same one for $12.50 with free shipping. It will be here in two days. It will take all of 5 minutes to replace.

Assuming this works, and I'm sure it will, I've just saved $1187.50. If it does work, I plan to contact my pool service and let them know I don't appreciate being taken for a ride. I will also contact Lucy's Pools, and thank them for the tip.


Cats are very sensitive to environment and routines, and any changes are a little traumatic. But they soon adapt. I'm like a cat in that way. I have my routines, and tend to resist change, but I adapt pretty well.

Our household employment situation is changing. Steve (rootbeer1) has worked for Virgin America for over six years now, and loves his job and company. As you may have heard, VA is being purchased by Alaska Air and will no longer exist within a few months to a year. There are several options for Steve, but Alaska doesn't offer the scheduling flexibility he has now, so he will either accept whatever severance is offered, or possible transfer down to Palm Springs. He'll lose seniority, but his schedule can be more normal, as we live 10 minutes from the airport. At any rate, we'll survive.

It's still very early yet, but I may be coming out of retirement. It will change my routine, and certainly Steve's and Moochie's, but like all cats, we'll adapt.

Living life

Life rolls on in retirement at a steady pace. Sunday we had Steve's mother over for Easter dinner:


We watched a little TV and brought Mom home. Steve has been stopping by her apartment frequently to help her with her TV and Wii--she keeps getting confused and turns off things she shouldn't, then calls and says it's broken. We have to make up and extremely detailed and simple instruction sheet on how to work these contraptions.

Tomorrow I have a routine checkup with my ophthalmologist. My glaucoma is responding well to the two different eyedrops I'm taking. We have to monitor my optic nerves to make sure they stay healthy, also a concern because of my diabetes. And I have two very small cataracts, which will require surgery in about ten years or so. Eye eye eye!

A day in the life

Yesterday was a busy day. It started, as usual, with Moochie racing into the bedroom, leaping on the bed and frantically crying for food. Not that he doesn't get three meals a day, plus snacks, but it's all part of his routine. We got up, fed the Mooch and performed our own ablutions. Then it was off the Redlands, to see our tax accountant. Our taxes this year are especially complex, due to our lost rent, tenant eviction, house sale, etc. The good news is our CPA used to work for the IRS, so she promises to do all she can to minimize our tax liability, particulary the capital gains tax on the sale of our house.

Then back home for a bit. The pool is still a bit chilly, so we're heating it a little, but it wasn't quite comfortable for a swim, so we napped instead. The off to dinner at a Catalonian/Mediterranean restaurant in Rancho Mirage with our friends Rich and Mike. Steve (rootbeer1) and I both had the artichoke stuffed with garlic shrimp and the house paella. It was OK, but not the best paella I've ever had. The place was pretty, though.

Then off to the theater--the Desert Rose Playhouse, also in RM. It's an LGBT theater troupe, and the play we saw was entitled "Cock." It was a very minimalist production, with no scenery or props, and only four actors. It consisted of a gay couple having trouble with their relationship. One partner meets a woman, who pretty much seduces him, and he becomes very confused about who he is. He can't just define himself as bisexual for various reasons, and it becomes an emotional tug of war between him, his male partner, and his female lover, with the partner's father thrown in to try to mediate. It was rather emotionally draining, with virtually no comic relief, and the lack of scenery or props (in essentially a black box theater in the round) gave no place for the mind to wander. But we all did talk about it for an hour afterwards, so I guess it was provocative.

Watching the news

As is my custom, I am watching the nightly MSNBC news trifecta...Hardball with Chris Matthews, All In with Chris Hayes, and The Rachel Maddow Show. Yeah, I'm a big liberal. The current political race is both horrrifing and fascinating. I can't look away. I always have a cocktail at my side as I watch.
Meanwhile, Moochie is napping, the Roomba is doing the vacuuming, and we have two big pans of eggplant Parmesan ready to go in the oven. Simple comforts.

Back again

It's been almost a year since my last post, but I'm determined to post more and help revive the LJ community I've been a prt of for so many years. Stay tuned for more witty repartee, stunning cat photos, and thrilling travelogues, as well as the excruciating minutiae of our daily lives.

Yes,I'm still here...

I read Live Journal every day, as I have for over a decade, but rarely post, as I must keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and all the others. I figure it must be time for an update.

Retirement is going well--I've been working on household projects, relocating Steve(rootbeer1)'s mom to assisted living here in Palm Springs, renovating our rental property and finding new tenants. I'm also learning a few new languages and software apps (Python, Hadoop, AutoCad) and working on becoming fluent in French, then tackling Spanish. Eventually I want to find some contract work that I can do from home--I'm all set up for telecommuting, and have Windows, Apple, and Linux computers.

Healthwise, I've been managing my type 2 diabetes pretty well with medication, diet and exercise. I'm following a paleo/ketogenic diet, which is working slowly but surely. I also had laser surgery recently for my glaucoma, and hopefully can come off those meds.

Another big event was the arrival of our cat Moochie three weeks ago. He's an adorable rescue brown tabby, very affectionate and intelligent. He's about 6 months old, and last week he got his shots, his microchip, and was neutered. He loves people and is so loving. Steve and I have never had a pet together, and we both grew up with lots of cats and dogs, so we're very happy.
That's all for now--Namaste.


Today has been very productive, and it's not even 2:00 yet. I awoke at 8 and got the oven going to 400 degrees. Cut up 5 pounds of short ribs, drizzled oil, salt and pepper on them, and threw them in the oven to brown for 20 minutes or so. Cut up a big onion, some celery and carrots, and placed them in the crock pot with whole garlic cloves, thyme, and bay leaves. Added the browned meat, a cup of red wine, and beef broth to almost cover. Eight hours later dinner will be ready.

Then on to my phone calls. Since retiring on September 8th, I've been trying to straighten out our health insurance. I opted to continue our coverage under COBRA, as it actually turned out to be cheaper than ACA plans. But although the medical provider was updated as of October 1, our prescription coverage was not. I had nine prescriptions waiting with no reimbursement, which would have cost over $1000/month. So I got on the horn and finally got it resolved. Just got back from Walgreen's and they actually owed me $45 (I had paid full price for one of my BP meds, which I had run out of).

I then called the Palm Springs Refuse Collectors to ask why the bulk pickup I ordered last week didn't happen this morning. Just as I was navigating the robotic phone tree, the truck pulled up and removed the two toilets from the end of our driveway. We arranged them artfully, but I really didn't want them there long-term. We replaced both of them with low-flow models, the kind with push buttons for number one and number two. Hopefully we'll see a difference in our water bill, and we're doing our part to conserve water in this drought condition.

Oh, and I also made homemade butter pecan ice cream, sweetened with stevia. We have a guest tonight for dinner, so we thoughts we'd go all out. The meal is very lo-carb--short ribs with gravy, cauliflower mash, roasted Brussels sprouts, and the ice cream.

Now time for my nap.

Je m'en vais

After 40 years in the workforce, I am officially retired. I plan to do some part-time contract work on projects that interest me, learn new skills, become fluent in French, focus on my health, and spend more time with my family and friends, most especially Steve Freitag (rootbeer1), my most especial husband. Thanks everyone for all your support and well wishes and encouragement. As Rafiki says in the Lion King, "It is time."


Major life changes happening soon---stay tuned.


Beautiful day in the desert today--109 right now at 5 pm. Just got out of the pool and relaxing before making dinner. Tonight, a paleo beef stir-fry on cauliflower rice. Happy Labor Day weekend everybody!


Here's a thought--with marriage equality spreading throughout the nation, conservative religious groups are getting louder about their rights being assailed by the "redefinition" of marriage from their standard of one man-one woman. Since their numbers are shrinking rapidly, and marriage equality will be nationwide before long, perhaps they should come up with a new name for their version. How about one that already exists--Holy Matrimony? (or just Matrimony). That conveys the religious nature of their union, without conflicting with the legal definition of marriage that is being expanded to include same-sex couples. They can also get a legal marriage if they want the government benefits, or not if they want to remain pure to their faith.

Early Birthday

imageSo far got three gifties: two Spirographs and a one-year gym membership.

Life rolls on

Had an appointment with my doctor yesterday to go over my latest labs. My PCP was called away, so I saw one of his associates. Things are going pretty well--A1C is down to 6.9, and BG seems to be under control. But my blood pressure has been running a bit high (I check it most mornings) so we added another BP med. My cholesterol levels are creeping up too, for the first time in my life, so I'm also starting a statin med (Lipitor). I now have graduated to two pill organizers--one for AM, one for PM.

For dinner I made jambalaya and blackened Brussels sprouts. I used brown rice, so the whole thing was pretty good diet-wise. Lots of vegetables.

Welcome back

So now that more and more of my old friends are returning to Live Journal, I thought I'd make a post (after 9 months). I do read LJ almost every day, and I comment, but have been posting far less since Facebook. That's going to change.

Steve and I returned last week from a two-week vacation in the Pacific Northwaet. We visited friends and family in San Francisco, Portland, Salem, Seattle, and Olympia, and made a side trip to Mt. St. Helens.

I have been on a four-week sabbatical from work, returning yesterday. There is change afoot--my company is relocating the rest of its technology workers to Denver and Austin in the next couple of years, stating this fall. Since I telecommute full-time, it shouldn't make a difference for me. But because I could be recalled to the home office at any time, the company has to offer me the option of moving or leaving with a severance package. Guess which one I'll choose?

Medically things have changed a bit. Along with high blood pressure and arthritis, I now have glaucoma and type 2 diabetes. Thanks middle age! Actually, both new conditions are very managable, and I have some great doctors. And my sister-in-law Leslie is a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator, so she has been a great help and comfort.

Family is doing well back East. My grandniece Mandy is starting college in the fall. Hard to believe time has flown so quickly. I now have 11 grandnieces and grandnephews. I do miss seeing them grow up.

Life continues peacefully here in Palm Springs, with many good friends and Steve (rootbeer1), of course.

Biting the apple

I was never a fan of Apple computer products. My profession as a programmer/software engineer always involved Windows PC and servers, and Unix boxes. Apple computers were in my view toylike, catering to the non-technical crowd. But I really resented the arrogant advertising Apple did, implying their products were so much better, hip and cool. Of course, they were way more expensive too.

Then I got my first iPod, as a birthday gift from my husband. It was a 20GB model, and he preloaded it with romantic music. My first Apple. And I loved it. Brought it with me everywhere. Listened to it every day at work. My only complaint was that it wasn't big enough to hold all the music i wanted with me. So I upgraded to a 160GM model, which I still have and use almost every day. It's loaded will virtually all my music, audio books, and a lot of my favorite movies and TV shows. Whenever I travel I can be assured of not being bored.

Ah, the slippery slope. In 2009, after our crappy Motorola Razr phones started to die, we needed to upgrade quickly. We both got iPhones - 3GS. After years of hating my phone and seldom even turning it on, I had a new best friend. It was a computer in my pocket! Last year we upgraded to iPhone 5. Still our constant companions, and tools that make our lives easier to manage, and help us communicate much more with our friends and family. And play Words With Friends.

So now, in the interest of furthering my skills as a software engineer and developer, I have purchased my first actual Apple computer. Since OSX is basically a Unix flavor, I'll be very comfortable with going under the hood. It's a Mac Mini, Intel dual quad-core i7s, 16GB memory, 1TB hard drive. Should be sufficient for now. It arrives tomorrow, will take up very little space on my techno-crowded desktop, and can share the monitor with my existing desktop PC. Objective C, here I come!

Hello again

I haven't posted here in such a long time---too much attention to facebook, I guess. But I do read Live Journal every day, and I'm hoping to post here more frequently.

In the meantime, life goes on. I live and work in Palm Springs full-time, and Steve still commutes back to San Francisco every other week. Loving life in the desert, the slower pace, the sunshine, swimming pools, movie stars. And so many friends, living here or moving here or visiting. Plenty of social life, and time for relaxing and contemplating one's navel.

Ciao for niao...

Weekend Update

So far very relaxing. Actually I took Thursday and Friday off, as I was reaching my max vacation time and needed to use it or lose it. Drove out Thursday to visit our dear friends Reid (animbear) and Richard (redbeardedblond) in San Clemente. Went to Curry House for lunch for the first time---I'm in love with it. Japanese curry, so incredibly delicious. Then to a huge Japanese supermarket, where we got amongst other delights Miso Easy, miso paste you can squirt into a cup of chicken broth for instant miso soup. Back to the house to watch numerous videos on the boys' fabulous 3D TV, then out for burgers, then back and to sleep. Next day, off to the Lego store. I bought an awesome toy that I've been coveting for quite a while---will post pics when it's all assembled. Mongolian BBQ for lunch, then we tearfully parted and drove home, with promises from R&R to visit soon.

Lazy day today, with pool and spa time, beanie weenie for dinner, and a Big Bang Theory marathon. Tomorrow--dinner with our other dear and fabulous friends John and Frank (sunbeam_bears). We are geeks and proud of it!

What's happening?

Not too much----working away here in the desert. The massive platform migration I've been working on for the past two years finally went live a few weeks ago, and was pretty much a resounding success, even though we were faced with staff reductions, budget cuts, reorganization, and a host of other obstacles. On to new challanges!

Today Steve (rootbeer1) returns to Palm Springs for the rest of the month. We commun icate every day of course, but I've missed him terribly. He gets a nice rest, punctuated by finishing up the unpacking and waiting on me hand and foot. The weather has been lovely---in the 90s The pool is about 80 without heat, so I've been jumping in.

Remember me?

I know, I know---it's been a while since I've actually posted, but I read Live Journal every day and comment quite often. I want to start posting more, as lots of old friends are returning to LJ from Facebook or Twitter or other venues. I'm on Facebook too, but it's just not the same, and I miss a lot of posts there because they come and go so quickly.

Things are going well with Steve (rootbeer1) and me. We've officially changed our residence to Palm Springs, and I'm living and working here full time. Steve is still working in San Francisco, but his schedule allows him to work 5 long days, then have 9 days off, so he's down here as much as possible. He's been using some of his time off to coordinate prepping our house for rental. To date we have redone 2 of the 3 bathrooms, painted, made repairs and replaced all the carpeting, as well as cleaned up the landscaping and disposed of all the leftover furniture. We still have a few carloads of stuff in the carage, but that will be gone in time for our new tenants.

We've hired a great property manager. The rental market in SF is extremely tight right now, so we already have several potential tenants in the works, and should be renting within the next few weeks. Then we can recover some of the upgrade costs and do a few projects around the PS house.

We've had lots of houseguests this spring, for vacations, the Coachella music festival, and a couple of overnights by friends passing through. We've been spending time with our friends here too, and look forward to even more quality time. We have several family visits coming up, including my 16-year old grand niece Mandy in August. She will be the first member of my family to visit since we moved to California 15 years ago. Steve's family, on the other hand, are here all the time. His brother David and wife Andrea will be here in the fall, but they live the closest to us (in Tuscon) so we see them the most often.

I've found a great new primary care physician in Palm Springs, looking for an ophthamologist and dentist, am registered to vote here, joined the gym, so pretty much all settled in. Loving the warmth and sunshine and relaxed pace, and the proximity of so many good friends.



The "Places I Slept In 2011" Meme

San Francisco, CA
Palm Springs, CA
Anaheim, CA
Miami Beach, FL
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Melbourne, FL
Orlando, FL
The Ruby Princess, the Caribbean Sea
Orient Beach, St. Martin

Quick year in review

  • Started spending more and more time in Palm Springs.

  • Completed six months of Coumadin therapy following last year's pulmonary embolisms. Clean bill of health.

  • Became an official full-time telecommuter.

  • Had Steve's siblings visit--went to Disneyland for two days.

  • Houseguests too numerous to list. Lots of pool time.

  • Steve and Tim from Wales visit us in SF. G&Ts!!!

  • Decided to move to Palm Springs full-time and rent out San Francisco house.

  • Vacationed in Florida. Saw Steve's dad and his wife, Disney World, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach and the Chumley Bear Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.

  • Reid, Richard and Ray out for Thanksgiving.

  • Steve published his second cookbook, this one an in-house for his employer.

  • Moving van in December for the rest of our furniture.

  • More and more friends moving to PS too. Loving the sunshine and warmth and friendliness.

  • Happy New Year everyone!!!

My New Favorite Photo of my Husband

Quickie Update

I know, it's been a long time. But I read LJ every day and am keeping up with you all, and hope to start posting more like in the olden days.

I've been telecommuting full-time from Palm Springs for the last six months or so, with a few week-long visits back to San Francisco. Steve (rootbeer1) has been working for Virgin America at SFO, but his schedule is flexible enough that we can spend every few weeks together. Now that VA is beginning service to PSP, his commute will be much easier and perhaps he can transfer down here at some point. Eventually we'll both be here full-time, one way or another.

We've had a number of lovely houseguests. We just returned this week from a two-week vacation in Florida. We visited Steve's dad and his wife, went to the Disney World Magic Kingdom, and hung out for a few days at the Coconut Cove guesthouse in Fort Lauderdale (which we very highly recommend), then went on the Chumley's BearCruise on the Ruby Princess, to the East Caribbean. We stopped at Princess Cay, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. We had never been to the Caribbean islands before, and it was lovely, although way more humid than I am used to now. Many old friends were also on the cruise, and we made many new ones. Steve will soon post pictures and the full list of LJers, I'm sure. Came home with a darker tan and a nasty cold.

Back home now...in Palm Springs. I officially changed my residence today, and Steve will in the near future and we continue to move fully down here. We plan to rent out our San Francisco house for the time being, and live and work in the sun. So many of our best friends now either live here or are in the same process of relocation. It seems to go: --visit Palm Springs---visit more often--start going to open houses--buy a vacation home--spend more time at the vacation home---decide "Why don't we just live here all the time?" And here we are. We're the Golden Girls!!

17 / 3 years

Today is the 17th anniversary of Steve (rootbeer1) and I meeting in person for the first time.
Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of our marriage in the State of California.
We were in our 30s when we met. We're now in our 50s.
We have been together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
We have cared for each others' families, for our friends, and for each other.
We have laughed, cried, danced, slept, traveled, exercised, and shared our deepest secrets.
We have cooked, entertained, built households, worked, and grown together.

I never thought I would have such a life.

I love you, Bear.
Baking banana bread..the house smells like heaven. Houseguests coming tomorrow, and rootbeer1 on Sunday. Life is good.


Nothing makes a house smell more like home than a meatloaf and potatoes baking in the oven. That is all.

First Post

This is my first Dreamwidth post, testing cross-posting to LiveJournal.

My husband at work

I'm so proud...honeybadger do care


Makes me very proud to be a native New Yorker.

What's happening

I haven't posted in ever so long, I know. But I read Live Journal faithfully every day, and often comment on your posts and your flickr pics and watch your YouTube embeds. I'm still here!!!

I've been spending a lot of time in Palm Springs. It's relaxing and the sunshine is great, but since Steve (rootbeer1) can't be here as much, I'm missing him a lot. He's coming down next week, then the following week till the end of June, when we'll return to San Francisco together. I've been socializing a bit with our good friends down here. I had dinner with John and Frank (sunbeam_bears) and Curtis (dr_scott) and Paul (excessor) and had a great time. We all seem to be on the same wavelength conversationally, and if I hadn't needed to work the next day I could have stayed way into the night. We laughed, we drank, we ate delicious foods.

Earlier that day (it was this lastTuesday) I ate lunch out on the patio in my rocking chair. I was under the sunshade, but a little corner was in the sun, where my right shin was. I have a really strong base tan, so usually don't worry about sunburn. But later that day I noticed a red spot on my shin, and it really burned as was hot to the touch. I put some aloe gel on it and merrily went off to dinner. That night I applied more gel, took some Advil and went to bed. Next morning it was less painful, but still red.

Thursday morning (yesterday) I woke up, and the whole front of my leg was cherry red. Not too painful unless I touched it, but since sunburn doesn't usually spread, I suspected something else was going on. I quickly showered and drove to the brand new Eisenhower Urgent Care on Sunrise Way. The wonderful nurse practicioner that saw me suspected a bug bite that caused an infection, since I was also running a 100° fever. Because of my DVT/PE episode last year, they also wanted to give me a chest xray and ultrasound my leg. I was very relieved at this, since hypochondriac as I am, I was worried about clots. They performed the chest xray there, a very handsome nurse gave me a shot of antibiotics in my butt, then I drove over to the medical center imaging center for the ultrasound. No clots---vein function perfectly normal. I returned to the clinic--chest xrays normal. Whew! So it's cellulitis, most likely caused by an insect bite. I'm on oral antibiotics and ibuprofen for the inflammation. Should clear up nicely. I just love the Eisenhower staff--they were all so wonderful and informative. And the building is brand new and absolutely gorgeous--not so much on the exterior, but the inside is fabulous. And five minutes away. We're lucky to have great medical facilities here in the desert.

Work has been very interesting. We had a massive reorg and my team is now part of the main corporate technology division. I actually started out there, so it's a full circle for me. But new bosses, new meetings, lots of new stuff, plus the major project I'm working on is really ramping up, so I'm kept very busy.

That's all for now---

Tax Update

We mailed off our income tax forms on Wednesday. After our terrible experience with H&R Block (see previous post on that) we were really pleased with Liberty Tax Service. It took about a week and a half, but they got everything, gave us detailed documentation of how they broke down the community property items, and were professional, courteous, and really nice. And the office has free cookies!! I'm going to post a glowing Yelp review. Considering the complexity of our returns and all the stock transactions I had for last year, the cost of $450 for the two of us seems reasonable. And we're getting a hefty refund!

Time for an update

Things have been rather steady lately. My boss at work left the company around two months ago, but our group has been chugging along as usual. Last week our SVP (my former bosses' boss) announced her resignation. So there will be some changes. I'm in the process of getting approved to telecommute full time, so I hope it doesn't mess that up! Looking forward to going to Palm Springs on Monday and staying for four weeks, working three and taking the last week as vacation to go to Disneyland with Steve's (rootbeer1 )family.

Speaking of Steve, he's flourishing at Virgin America. He got tickets to attend the grand opening of Terminal 2 at SFO, where he'll be relocating next week. We drove down with our friends Dave and Cal and checked it out. No free snacks, but the terminal was nice. They had a few performance stages set up with dancers, choral groups, etc. One group, the International Orange Chorus, was especially nice, performing the kind of pieces I used to sing when I was a member of various academic and community choral groups.

After a while, Dave, Cal and I left Steve to start his work shift and head home. As we were riding the moving sidewalk out of the terminal towards the AirTrain to get back to our car, the Orange Chorus had moved to the passageway and was singing Victoria's O Magnum Mysterium, a piece from the classic early music polyphonic repertoire that I've sung and listened to countless times. As we glided past the chorus, I joined in with my clear tenor. The singers smiled at me, pleased that I appreciated their efforts and knew the piece. It was a special moment.

O Magnum Mysterium, Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)

Tax Fail

After about 20 years of using TurboTax, we are hiring a human tax preparer this year. Because of the increasing complexities of having to file as married in the state of California, but single for the Federal forms, plus buying another property in 2010, and shuffling stocks to effect said purchase, and my state pension beginning---well, it's all too complex for my little brain. And TurboTax admits they aren't supporting same-sex married/domestic-partnered filings, and recommend an outside preparer.

So about a month ago I made an appoinment with H&R Block in the Castro office. The website recommended an agent who had extensive experience with same-sex married/domestic-partnered filings. Our appointment was for this morning (March 25) at 10:00AM. We were in Palm Springs the last two weeks, and I even received a call 2 days ago reminding me of our appointment. We drove back up to San Francisco yesterday to attend the appointment, lugging all our forms and records with us.

This is the review I posted on Yelp after our encounter:

Epic fail.  My husband and I drove 500 miles from our vacation home to make a 10:00AM appointment with Robert McHugh.  Arrived 10 minutes early.  At 10:05 nothing was happening, so we asked the receptionist what the delay was.  She passed a note to Mr. McHugh with no response--he was still with his clients.  At 10:10 I walked over to his cube and interrupted, saying we were on a tight schedule (both of us needed to get back to work).  He just looked up at me, then turned back to his clients.  Five minutes later he dismissed his clients and came over to us.  "Are you domestic partners?" he asked.  "Yes, and we're legally married,"  I replied.  He said "We have a problem."  He escorted us to his cube and said he couldn't take our account--they were swamped and behind and he was overcomitted.  I asked why we weren't notified of this in the two weeks since I made the appointment, and he just shrugged.  In a way I'm glad, because I wouldn't trust someone so disorganized and poor at communication to do my taxes anyway.  I asked if there were any other agents available today.  "Do you own property?" he asked.  I replied yes, we own two homes together.  He said that the only agent that was available wasn't experienced in property issues, so we were out of luck.  No referral to another office. No offer to help us find another agent.  Just an "I don't care, I'm overworked and can't deal" attitude.  I got his manager's name and plan to complain to the branch and to the national firm about the totally piss-poor service we got (or didn't get--they did nothing at all.)

I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon with Liberty Tax Services. Sheesh!!!

Bathing beauties

We heated the pool for the week.


You were born during a New moon

The moon is dark in this phase, because the half that's illuminated by the sun is facing away from Earth.

- what it says about you -

You want to leave an impression on people and make your mark on the world. When you love an idea, you'll work hard for it, sometimes even dropping whatever it is you're doing to go on to the next new great thing that's captured your imagination. The more freedom you have to chose what you're doing, the busier you'll be.

What phase was the moon at on your birthday? Find out at Spacefem.com


We are devastated by the news that our friend Jeff Corich (beg1n) has passed away. Jeff was the definition of sweet. Our hearts are aching.

He was an inspiration to all--valiantly facing his obstacles and overcoming them, the likes of which most of us will never come close to experiencing. And with such grace and love. Our only consolation is that he is finally at peace. Requiescat in pace, buddy. And our deepest condolences to Dave and Phil, the two towers of strength whose love sustained Jeff so profoundly.

Happy 50th Birthday Steve!!!

Happy happy birthday to my wonderful husband rootbeer1!!! Hard to believe he was only 33 when we met. To celebrate, we're having pizza and cake tonight and going on the Chumley cruise in November. Woohoo!!


So I was chatting with a guy online, and expressing how I wished I was in Palm Springs. I told him how we have a place down there now and try to spend as much time as possible there. He responded, "Oh, you have a house here and there. I don't even have one house :-(" I explained that this was our retirement house, and that we'd eventually sell the San Francisco house and relocate. He responded with a WASPish "How nice for you."

This left me a little peeved. I grew up in a working-class family. My father was a meat cutter in a supermarket and my mother worked in a sandpaper factory. We had litte money to support five kids, but we did-- we didn't have a lot, seldom ate out (and then it was McDonalds) and I wore hand-me-downs. My parents always told us, and set the example, that you had to work hard in this life to get anything.

I and my younger brother worked our way through college. I have worked continuously since I was 16. For a 10-month period in my mid-twenties, I was unemployed, but did odd jobs and helped fix up my parents' house until I got a job. I finished my bachelors degree while working full-time.

I've had my share of financial setbacks and consumer debt, but by working hard I've achieved a level of financial security my parents never had, but wished for all their children. I've tried to be wise about saving, investing and giving back and as a result am pretty well positioned for retirement. I'm 55 years old and
ready. I refuse to feel guilty for being successful (on the relatively small scale that I am) because what I've done anyone can do if you work hard and try to give back a little.

It also helps that our needs are fairly simple--a comfortable house, not too big but with room for guests and entertaining, low maintenance, broadband, the occasional dinner out or simple vacation. But I'm content cooking dinner, watching TV and crocheting a new afghan.

Anyway, we do count our blessings every day and are so grateful for our success, our friends and family, and for each other. As a wise teacher once told me, "The Universe wants you to be happy.". Go with the flow, work hard and trust in the power of love and you'll be fine. At least that's what I've learned so far, and it works.

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