2012 Mike & Gigi Firth Notes

2012-01-03 Rev. 2012-01-29 and as below

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January May July December
January 29 - Very mild winter, five inches of rain last weekend, lots of cold up north, including Ely, MN where Betty is. I am heading into a time when a number of tensions may be resolved with my first annual physical with my new primary care physician, Dr. Christopher Foster. The endocrinologist, Dr. Hollander, and the Lyme disease guy, are both pivoting treatment decisions around tests added to what Foster wants to do.  I created a bit of a fright when an odd ripple or chord appeared in my vision while driving Sunday in mid month - like looking through a flow of water down glass on the left side of my left eye. I went back to the retina people I had seen and they did a field test over a wider area on Tuesday following and found nothing, so charged it to a leaking blood vessel.  I had sort of a repeat yesterday in bath.
Gigi is doing well, keeping very busy with her Braille proofreading, taking full advantage of included long distance and unlimited minutes to have her readers in San Antonio and even temporarily in Washington state.  She has arguments with her Macintosh computer and iPhone but likes VoiceOver and the fact she can turn in complaints and get responses from the company.  She did a presentation on accommodation products for the Mac, etc., at the Apple Corps of Dallas in January.  Both of our name tags say we have been members for a very long time, since I was an early officer and she was Secretary in the early 80's, but there was a huge hole when we weren't around after getting off the Apple II. 2012-01-29
May 30 Well, so much for optimistic monthly or even quarterly reports. We have been keeping busy but mostly doing the same thing.  There has been a lot of attention to health both with our friend Pete Lostreter who has ALS that has gotten pretty bad and my mix of Lyme and maybe other things that resulted in my primary care doctor resigning as my doctor rather than coordinate between specialists.  He made a half-hearted recommendation of the Mayo clinic with his recommended referral being "pick up the phone and call."  My Lyme doctor, Moayad, concurs on the miscellany so I am doing the six week long process of telling Mayo what I would like and seeing if they will accept me.  Major local centers here won't touch Lyme.
July 29 It has not been a comfortable summer personally although it has gotten better in the last month, but that as the summer high pressure as settled in with day-after-day of 101-105F.   That follows on a monster hail storm on 6/13 that narrowly sliced across Dallas and our neighborhood (and a second went just west of the first) and did a couple of hundred million dollars damage - taking out roofs, skylights, and auto glass. See my storm images here. We got an insurance check for $7K+ with a further $2K+ (depreciation) to be added on completion of the job.  I did the roof the last time, 1995, stripping 5 layers of roof, but I can barely get on the roof now. No shortage of roofer names - signs all over the neighborhood plus fliers on door and phone calls, even people knocking on door saying "we're working in the area."
The mention above of the Mayo clinic resulted in an application for appointment and a turn down, so part of summer has been forming up on new general physician and others. Adding to emotional tension was the uncertainty of causes and how to define care, if any.  Non-medical tension came from the vehicle I drive, owned by Jim Dawkins a federal co-worker of Gigi's back when, which came down sick just as state inspection was looming and besides the expense, not directly mine, the potential added expense of a catalytic converter that signaled it was okay but not strongly enough to reset the inspection monitor.  Several things resolved over a few days, fortunately. A pair of letters off to old contacts too long ignored, resulted in a nice lengthy reply from Lindsay Brown Zobenica.
The almost national drought is complicated for me by my grey water distribution system, which got written up in the Morning News, having decided to burn out its motor, literally smoking, just as the dryness got its worst. Rebuilding it in several ways, including overflow control and better screening on pump.
The personal problems have diminished somewhat with hooking up with a new GP doctor and formulating plans to pick at various health problems, some of which now seem due to tension and have vanished.  After more than a year's break, I am returning to swimming at least weekly to the community swim of Baylor Rehab, which is cheaper or more reliable than the monthly memberships and daily fees of the local Y's or the limited days of city pools. Nearest one - fairly big - is open 2 days a week.
December 6 - As we wind down to the end of the year, there have been a number of changes and most things have just kept going on the same.  I have become involved in two different but related writer's groups, Stone Soup and Sloshed, which meet alternate weeks. Stone Soup distributes electronic copies of  manuscripts, up to 3 per meeting, to participants who read each one in advance and then discuss among themselves with the author present but not included until the very end when a response to reactions is called for. Sloshed is a number of members in common and meets in weeks when SS does not and involves up to two hours of speed writing on a topic announced ahead of time, then the author reads the material and a brief discussion follows each reading, which is optional, not forced.  There are nine or ten people in each group.  While SS meets in a very quiet nice living room setting association with Lucky Dog used bookstore, Sloshed meets in a back room of a wine and beer bar with a wood burning domed pizza oven out front.

Gigi keeps driving forward with her Braille proofreading business, suffering the vicissitudes of small businesses with only a few clients who may decide to slack off or drop out at any time, but picking up more clients doesn't work either as all bog down.  Fortunately, she has connections with several of the top suppliers of Braille translation.

Since my last entry, there have been two losses that were expected but still regretted.  My step-mother, Virginia Neilson Firth-Mears died in Florida in early August at the age of 94 after a brief hospitalization following a heart attack .She had moved from Victoria BC to Naples FL last year along with her daughter, Sandy and son-in-law.   And Pete Lohstreter died in mid-August after a long decline with increasing problems from ALS. His service was hugely attended by many friends from years in the Garland School District and then at Hockaday School plus the years of community service extending back to JC's.

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