lwisman

Executive Management
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About lwisman

  • Rank
    Vice President and Director of Inforrmation Resources
  • Birthday 11/28/1950

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  • Stroke Anniversary (first stroke)
    03-06-1997
  • Facebook URL
    http://www.strokenetwork.org/staff/linwisman/intro.htm
  • Interests
    Caring for my cat, cooking, writing, and gardening.
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  • First Name
    Lin
  • State
    Illinois
  • Country
    United States

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  1. Angela Berg Marshall

    From the album Member Stories

    As they struggle through their recovery, there are very few stroke survivors who don’t have chance to work with specialized health care professionals such as occupational therapists, speech therapists, balance therapists and, of course, physical therapists. These very special health care providers come to our aid when we need it most, after a stroke has knocked us down and robbed us of normal functioning. Many of us, literally, cannot move forward in our recovery without them. But what happens when a member of this critical medical team has their own stroke? Angela Berg Marshall is a Physical Therapist who experienced the unthinkable at a very unthinkable age (24 years old), but who persevered and recovered her life, as well as her professional status as a therapist. Angela’s story begins when she was a child. As Angela was growing up, she was totally unaware that she had a ticking time bomb in the left side of her brain: a massive AVM (arteriovenous malformation / huge tangle of blood vessels), had formed there when she was still in her mother’s womb. On February 15, 2001, that tangle of blood vessels ruptured and Angela experienced a hemorrhagic stroke, which left her with partial paralysis and impaired functioning on the right side of her body, as well as compromised balance. At the time of her event, Angela had been a physical therapist for only a handful of years. She was a wide-eyed, eager 24-year-old who was dedicated to helping others; she says that she took particular pride in helping stroke survivors to reach their recovery goals. Ironically, she now had to lean on the shoulders of other dedicated therapy professionals to achieve her own stroke recovery milestones. Immediately after her stroke, Angela was admitted to Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, Iowa, and spent a total of eight weeks there. This included time in the intensive care unit, as well as time spent on physical, occupational and speech therapies. She had to relearn to do the most ordinary things, such as dressing and feeding herself, and other activities of daily living that one takes for granted. She also had to relearn to walk properly with the assistance of a brace for her right ankle and foot. Once she was discharged from the hospital, Angela continued her recovery as an outpatient for an additional two months of speech therapy, plus another two years of physical and occupational therapy, until she relocated from Iowa to Indiana. During that time, and for two more years beyond that, Angela was on hiatus from her PT career. She used this opportunity to not only continue her post-stroke recovery, but to reassess what she wanted to do next with her life. Ultimately, she decided that she still had a lot to offer people as a Physical Therapist, so she set her mind to it, worked long and hard, and finally re-passed her PT licensure exam in 2005. Because of her massive stroke, Angela now functions as a “disabled therapist”, which means that she has to utilize her entire body to accomplish the same tasks that an “able-bodied” Physical Therapist can easily do. Angela continues to wear the brace for support and stability of her right ankle/foot and she has no functional use of her right hand. At the time of her stroke, Angela says that using her left side to do everything was not only a physical but a psychological challenge, as well. As a highly-trained Physical Therapist, she was used to helping others overcome their own post-stroke limitations, but now she could see first hand just how defeating it could be trying to do things with (essentially) one hand tied behind your back. This has provided Angela with an unexpected benefit, by helping her to better see things from her patients’ perspective. Now sixteen years out from her stroke, some lingering memory deficits and limited right arm function are more likely to challenge her psychologically. Other than walking her dog every day, Angela says she doesn’t do any special exercises or activities. And, even though she did at one time, she no longer has a chance to network regularly with other stroke survivors (although, during her time at the Genesis Medical outpatient facility in Iowa, she organized a stroke resource center with a Social Worker there). Angela doesn’t feel that her stroke has changed her very much; she says she continues to be a positive and outgoing person. However, she also feels that some her pre-stroke “quirks” are much more heightened now. Angela says that she is more impulsive during conversations, which can lead others to feel she isn't fully "listening" or that she is speaking (or acting) without thinking. According to Angela, re-passing the Physical Therapist licensure exam has been her greatest achievement since her stroke. She says that the majority of her patients are touched by her story, and as a result, are more open to working with her since she’s been on both sides of the therapy world. With this in mind, she feels that her stroke has been a blessing in disguise. And, although Angela is a bit far along in her post-stroke journey and recovery, she now has someone to share her victories with: about two and a half years ago, Angela finally found love and got married. She wants to remind other stroke survivors that there is no "cure" for post-stroke residuals, and that stroke recovery actually takes a life time. But, she also says that no matter how extensive or how mild the stroke, there’s still something you can always be positive about: you!! Anyone who wishes to contact Angela Berg Marshall can do so via the Stroke Network. Her user ID is: angb.
  2. Angie Szymanski

    From the album Member Stories

    It’s the most ordinary of things that sometimes turn out to be the most extraordinary of circumstances. Angie Szymanski found that out on October 4th, 2003. Angie was a young, 36-year-old kindergarten teacher with a young adult’s typically busy schedule, but her world was about to change dramatically, in the most unexpected place. She was simply going about her business, getting ready for her day by taking a shower, when midway through, she had an ischemic stroke on the left side of her brain. Angie’s family found her incapacitated, and called for help. The responding emergency medical technicians attempted to stabilize her as she was rushed to Ocala Regional Medical Center, in Ocala, Florida. There, they administered TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) to Angie to dissolve the clot that was blocking a main artery. Doctors told Angie’s husband, “Ski”, that she had a 50/50 chance to survive at this point. But, Angie bucked the odds. The clot was resolved, and after spending one week in Ocala Regional, she was transferred to Univ. of Florida Health Shands Hospital, in Gainesville, Florida, to continue her acute care hospitalization for another four days. However, her initial recovery came at a cost. Angie now had expressive aphasia, a paralyzed right arm and a right-sided foot drop. She had to use a wheelchair because her balance was severely impaired, and she was too weak to walk. So, Angie entered UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital in Gainesville to begin six grueling weeks of physical, occupational, speech and balance therapies to recover what physical capacities that she could. When she left Shands Rehab as an in-patient, Angie continued out-patient therapy there, and at another facility, Town and Country Physical Therapy, in Ocala, Florida, for an additional one and one half years. She also attended Geril Therapy (a rehab facility) in Ocala, for training and therapy using the Bioness® Saebo device. When she was ready, Angie returned to Shands Rehab Hospital for two weeks of drivers training, to regain her driving privileges, and to learn how to drive a modified van with a steering wheel knob and special foot pedal. All in all, it took her nearly two years to recover to where she is today. Angie says that in the first few months post-stroke, she experienced depression, and was psychologically crushed at having to give up both her teaching position (identity / purpose) and her driver’s license (mobility / freedom). She felt somewhat helpless that her whole life had changed, literally, overnight. But, Angie has a deep, abiding faith in God, who sustained her throughout her darkest post-stroke times and continues to give her comfort and strength every day, particularly when she feels down or overwhelmed. Angie also says that her husband, “Ski”, is her “rock”; he has stuck with her throughout all the stroke turmoil and its aftermath. As a result of her stroke, Angie had to retire from teaching kindergarten, so she concentrated on raising her two children (both of whom are now grown up): Alyssa, who is now married, and Josiah, a former Marine, who is now a student at University of South Florida, in Tampa. In fact, Angie feels that her greatest post-stroke achievement has been to see her kids grow up and become capable young adults, which has brought her much joy. There are other post-stroke accomplishments that Angie values: regaining her driving rights, and being able to drive a modified van; being able to pack away her wheelchair (although she still walks with a limp); and being able to talk, despite still having aphasia. And, in addition to regaining certain physical functions, Angie’s outlook has also changed over time. She now sees herself as a survivor, not as a victim. As such, she goes to the University of Florida twice a year to work with PT and OT therapists-in-training, and becomes a “guinea pig" for their students, giving them the opportunity to practice on a real stroke survivor. She says that this also gives her the opportunity to tell her story which, she says, is “a cool thing!” Angie used to have more networking opportunities when she belonged to a stroke survivor’s group in Ocala, however, the group disbanded. She still “networks” informally with former group members whenever she sees them around town. And, she likes to educate people about stroke whenever she can, such as when she travels or even when she’s just out and about. She tries to put these new contacts on her Facebook page, so that she can keep them up to date. In an unusual twist of fate, a few months back, Angie found herself helping out with another stroke survivor, her 59-year-old uncle, who had a stroke event near the end of 2016. She helped drive her parents where they needed to be, as her uncle recovered in the hospital, and was subsequently discharged to her parent’s care. Her uncle’s circumstances gave her new insight into what her immediate family experienced when she had her own stroke. Nowadays, Angie enjoys traveling with her husband, and is looking forward to becoming a grandmother in the future. She continues to manage her stroke residuals by doing special shoulder subluxation exercises, and exercises to offset her right-arm spasticity. Angie has some parting advice and “food-for-thought” for other stroke survivors: Stroke recovery is hard work, the hardest that you will ever do, but… Don't give up hope; keep plugging away! Try to surround yourself with good friends or support people. Believe that God let you survive to give hope to other people. Volunteer for something that you are good at; focus less on yourself. Angie Szymanski can be reached via the Stroke Network. Her user ID is: angies
  3. Sorry for your loss. It is difficult when a much loved pet dies. Take care.
  4. Thanks for sharing Sue.
  5. This and That

    It is been a while since I have blogged. Since I last blogged my sister went on a 10 day retreat to Colorado. Jade the cat and I enjoyed ourselves. The bad news was that just before Marge left I baked a ham, put a lot of slices in the freezer, and made ham and beans. The ham and beans were really good, but Marge left town. After getting really tired of ham and beans I froze a large cottage cheese container (three pound container.) She is enjoying them now! Keys. About a month ago the keys for the shed in the backyard went missing. We looked everywhere. Had just about decided to find someone to cut the lock. The other key, which had been missing, is the second key to my car. Again, every pants and jacket pocket was checked. Then one day I was cleaning out my pouch and found the car key. It had migrated to the very bottom. I have been in the pouch countless times, but never all the way to the bottom. Hmm…an idea worth checking out for the shed key. A friend is currently in the process of making us a replacement for the kitchen table cover – the current one is waterproof and is elasticized – they no longer sell them big enough. Anyway, when Pat came to get the old one (with hole) for a pattern there was stuff on the table. Sure enough the keys had fallen into an empty flower pot under the table. Just dig deep…. While Marge was gone I decided to put my 2017 village sticker on my car – deadline was April 30. I counted the stickers already there –six— and decided there really was not room for anymore. So I backed the car out of the garage so I had better light and went out with goo gone, razor blade, paper towels and vinegar water (to get rid of the goo gone). After a lot of elbow grease I removed three old stickers. Decided the other three could come off next year. After cleaning up with the vinegar water I put the 2017 sticker on. While I was out Sara, who lives directly across the street from us, came over to check on me. If you ever want to know what is happening in our neighborhood,, just ask Sara! Speaking of neighbors the four kids who just moved in next door were all out in the backyard playing late one afternoon this week. Jade the cat lay on her perch in the window and watched them for the longest time. Thursday I was up at 6 am to finish getting stuff together before cleaning lady, who was scheduled to come at 8. No it was not all cleaning, LOL. Anyway the person who runs the cleaning service called at 7:15 to say the cleaning lady would not be at our house until 11:30. Then at 10:15 the hair dresser called because we had 10 and 10:30 appts to have our hair cut. She said if we could get there by 10:30 she could still do both of them. We were there at 10:29. So it was a crazy day. But, the house is clean! Friday morning I woke up and immediately noticed pain in my left little finger. It was swollen, but obviously the problem was under the nail. No way to get to it. I washed it well and put on antibiotic cream. It was not helping. Figured the antibiotic cream was tainted. Saturday morning the finger no longer throbbed, but there was still pain when it was bumped. So at 8:05 I was backing out of the driveway to drive to Walgreens (about a mile from us.) Bought new cream. Within 30 minutes after putting it on I could tell the difference. Now there is only slight pain when it is bumped. Still some swelling and redness. But, looks like it is on the way to healing. My third bread machine (in twenty years) has died. Of course it died while I was making bread. This first happened a few weeks ago. I gave the machine a good cleaning and it started working again. Then it happened again this morning. Anyway I have not actually used a bread machine for baking the bread for years. I only use the dough setting and then bake in the oven. I think it both tastes and looks better. I took the ingredients from the bread machine pan and used the dough hook on my stand mixer. The bread is ok, but not near as nice as with the machine doing the kneading and heat control. Then I got on the internet and learned a lot about using a dough hook. So I think I will experiment a bit. I have thought for years a bread machine was more than I needed, but have not seen a good alternative. We shall see. Sun is shining today. Temps are only in the 50s. But after days of rain this is a nice change.
  6. Making your own is a great idea. I make our granola. That way I know what is going into the mixture. I found three recipes online and started experimenting. Within three tries I had a formula that works well for us. Good luck!
  7. Mike Purdy

    From the album Member Stories

    If there’s anything that Mike Purdy loves it’s his vintage Mustang. He loves driving it around and showing it off. So, it’s no wonder that after his devastating stroke in 2008 that he wanted to get down to business and regain the ability to drive it once again. For thirty years, Mike was a DJ on many different radio stations in, and around, the Seattle, Washington, area. He loved his job and the excitement that it brought to his life. But all of that changed in July, 2008. The first sign of trouble was when Mike, who was home alone, suddenly lost the sight in his left eye. Alarmed, he drove himself to the emergency room of his local hospital, but when he got there, he was misdiagnosed and sent back home. After he got back to his house, he decided to work out on his treadmill. However, after walking for a bit, his stroke fully kicked in and fifty eight year old Mike collapsed and lay helpless on the floor for hours. When his daughter finally came home, she found Mike incapacitated and called 911. Mike was rushed to Swedish Hospital’s Cherry Hill Campus, in Seattle, Washington. He remained in the intensive care unit for three days, and then he was transferred to their rehab unit for physical, occupational and speech therapy. After a stint of in-patient rehab, Mike continued his therapies as an outpatient at Valley Medical Center in Renton, WA. Once the dust settled post-rehab, Mike was still left with right-sided paralysis, aphasia and blindness in his left eye. (One unusual sidebar: Mike says that although he’s been paralyzed on the right for the past eight years, a bit of movement seems to be returning to that side. He’s not sure where this will ultimately go.) But, his residuals didn’t slow him down. Mike worked really hard to regain his driving ability. As testimony to his motivation, he was finally able to get behind the wheel again in 2011 and he never looked back. Not surprisingly, Mike’s current life is an interesting mix of activities that keep him very busy. He takes his vintage Mustang to a couple of car shows each year, which is a heck of a lot of fun and brings him much satisfaction. Mike’s best placement to date: he entered his car in a show, back in 2010, and won an award for best '86-'87 Mustang. Granted, Mike’s was the only entry in that category, but, hey, he won! Mike also maintains his own website at 9.spot.club. To see his website and to learn more about him, click on the following link: http://www.9spot.club/untitled-c1bsu Mike says that building and maintaining the site has been very rewarding, and that he’ll be happy to provide anyone with starter tips, if they’re interested in building one of their own. In addition to his website and his vintage car, Mike spends his time working on a variety of other projects. He collects records, and converts songs to an electronic format so that they can be stored on mini disks. He says he also likes to help his friends out whenever he can. Right now, he’s working with several friends’ computers archiving photographs onto CD’s. And, Mike participates regularly in a special activity that has changed his whole outlook: meditation. He says that as he gets better at it, he feels better. And apparently it’s enabled Mike to see things in a different light. He’s much more appreciative of what he’s regained since his stroke. He says that he knows he could be in a wheelchair, so he’s thankful that he can still walk and drive. As his perspective has changed, Mike has come to realize something else: while a stroke can be devastating, you have the chance to get better and better. Many other illnesses and conditions don’t provide that opportunity. He’s also become more aware of how important it is to thank one’s caregivers and wants to remind survivors to be grateful for any help that they receive. Mike no longer works as a DJ, but he says that not being employed isn’t all that bad. Though he does get a little bored from time to time, it’s minimal. Socializing takes a little of the sting out of not being able to work regularly. Among other things, Mike goes to breakfast once a week with his long-time friend, Gary, and afterwards they play cards. He also attends meetings once a month at a Young Stroke Survivors Support Group in Seattle. Mike has the next act in his life all figured out. He wrote two screenplays that are his main focus now. The first one is finished, and is posted on-line. The second one needs to be completed. As such, Mike is looking for a writer to assist him in this enterprise. Anyone who wants to work with Mike on the screenplay, or anyone who wishes to otherwise network with Mike, can reach him via the Stroke Network. His user ID is 9spot.
  8. Linda Agerbak

    From the album Member Stories

    Up until she retired, Linda Agerbak had a fascinating, adventurous career that most people would envy. For over thirty five years, Linda lived and worked abroad in many exciting and diverse places: the United Kingdom, West Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, France and Lebanon. Among other things, she was a journalist, taught English classes and conflict resolution, worked at Oxford University Press, did research on conflict at an international aid agency and set up a mediation service in Wales. And, she did all these things while raising three children. However, after thirty five-plus years of traveling the world, she was ready for a change. She returned to live in the US, got a certificate in Ornamental Horticulture and began work as a landscape gardener in California. She was able to concentrate on another role as well, that of grandmother to her seven grandchildren. In July, 2013, Linda was visiting Boston to help her daughter with her new baby boy. Little did she know that, while there, her life would change forever. At that time, Boston was in the midst of a heat wave. Linda says she must have become dehydrated after taking the baby for his morning walk, because she began to pant. To cool off, she took a shower then lay down to rest. By the next morning, Linda felt a bit improved, so she decided to chat with her daughter on the front porch. They were in the middle of talking when, all of a sudden, Linda couldn’t speak. Luckily, her son was there so that he could rush Linda to Mt. Auburn Hospital, an acute care facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Within thirty minutes, she was under the care of a neurologist, who determined that she had an ischemic stroke on the right side of her brain. Her left side was now paralyzed and she couldn’t speak properly. Linda’s recovery and rehabilitation period was fairly lengthy. She stayed at Mt. Auburn for one week, until she was stable. She began two and one half years of rehabilitation that included four weeks at New England Rehab Hospital, in Woburn, Mass., a month at Meadowgreen Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in nearby Waltham, four weeks of at-home therapy, using visiting therapists, and, finally, two years of therapy as an out-patient, back at New England Rehab Hospital. During that time, she received standard physical, occupational, balance and speech therapies. But, she also had Botox® injections, and used a Saebo Stretch® and a Saebo Reach®, plus ValuTrode® Neuro-stimulation electrodes, all on her left hand, and all of which had minimal effect. From a psychological standpoint, for the first months after her event, it was hard for Linda to see that her stroke was more than just a “bump in the road.” In the end, she finally accepted that this was a permanent, life-changing event. But her “new normal” doesn’t come without a hitch. She says that on the inside, she feels “whole.” But, because her fingers remain paralyzed on her left hand, she still has speech difficulties and she walks with a pronounced limp, Linda feels that people view her as a “cripple.” She’s finally able to get around without a wheelchair, and she’s able to walk around the house without a cane, but these mobility successes haven’t diminished her feeling that people continue to perceive her as “damaged.” Linda says that her stroke made her see other things differently. Since she feels she could die at any moment, she’s become very aware of unfinished business, so she made a special effort to make peace with her difficult older sister, which provided her with a sense of closure. But, it isn’t all bad. Linda knows that her “positives” outweigh her “negatives.” She says she’s grateful to be alive, and to be able to think and feel. She can’t begin to emphasize enough how her family, friends and therapists contributed to her getting her life back. In particular, her husband of fifty-one years, along with her three children, provided ongoing help and encouragement to get Linda back on her feet. She also credits her friends and members of her Quaker Meeting group with aiding in her recovery. It’s been three years since her stroke, and now, Linda fills her days with activities that enhance the quality of her life. She takes courses at her local Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, paints with watercolors, and helps out at her Quaker Meeting. She keeps physically active by going to the gym three times a week, and takes a walk on the other days. Gardening still plays a part in Linda’s life: she tends two window box planters. She’s convinced that physical labor and vocational skills, such as gardening and carpentry, are an essential part of life, and that even a simple window box can help one stay connected to the earth. And, like many stroke survivors, Linda has an on-going post-stroke goal. Hers is to be able to swing her arms when she walks. She still has to move her arms intentionally, but would like this process to become automatic. Three years out from her stroke, Linda has had adequate time to digest what happened to her, and to refine her philosophy on life and the recovery process. She points out that the brain is very “plastic”, so the sky’s the limit in stroke recovery. She advises stroke survivors to keep moving, to not be too proud to accept help and to learn from others, and to stay connected to the important people in their lives. Last of all, she suggests that survivors read the book “After a Stroke: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier,” by Cleo Hutton, which she feels provided her with many useful strategies. Linda would like to network with other stroke survivors. Anyone who wishes to contact her can do so via the Stroke Network. Her userid is: lagerbak Editor’s Note: Read The Stroke Network review of 300 Tips
  9. lwisman

  10. Happy Anniversary

    Monday (March 6) was the 20th anniversary of my brainstem cerebral hemorrhage. It is sometimes hard to believe it was 20 years ago. I am 66, so it is a significant part of my life. I have come a really long ways since 1997. Like many, there were no stroke risk factors in my history. The doctors did some testing, but finally declared the reason for the hemorrhage was not known. That was reassuring and scary at the same time. It is my understanding that if you have a brainstem stroke the chances of dying within a month are 90%. Needless to same I am very glad I beat the odds. I am sure I beat the odds partly because I am a very stubborn person! I also was willing to put in the many hours of therapy. Over the years I have also done a fair amount of research and tried various alternatives to promote healing. There is no panacea, but almost anything has helped. When I saw my doctor at the end of February she suggested therapy because I have problems with falling. When I first had my stroke I had no balance. It has increased, but I walk with a rollator. I sometimes walk inside my house (where everyone including the cat knows not to run into me, walk under my feet, etc.) But, I use the rollator 99% of the time. For the first time in 19 years I am back in therapy. I have completed four of ten sessions. Mostly the therapist is out to strengthen my legs and hips. I am still tired from my last session 24 hours ago! She had me walking on a treadmill yesterday. I did not think I would ever get on a treadmill again, not sure if my feet could keep up. It went very slow and I had a therapy belt around me so the therapist (who was also within arm’s reach of the off button) could help. It went ok. The house next door to us in sold after being on the market for two weeks. My sister saw Dan the old owner this morning at Costco. I read the average in the Chicago market right now is 84 days. So they were very lucky. They did have house totally repainted and new carpeting laid. So it is ready to move into. He said the family has four kids. It is not that big of a house! Last Saturday a gentleman knocked on our door saying he was talking to the neighbors because they were considering making an offer on the house next door. He wanted to know about flooding. I explained that because it has been wetter than usual the last few years the water table has risen. The only time we had a flood was when our sump pump died. We now have a backup sump pump that (so they say) sounds an alarm when it goes on. It has not turned itself on in four years. Another house on our block sold after being on the market for months. They have had lots of repair trucks and a garbage bin in the driveway for over a month. The people living there before were an older couple, who lived there when we moved in in 1999. I suspect it had been a while since improvements were made. There are people on our block who have lived her 30+ years. We had part of our privacy (one wall) replaced this week. A section had blown down. They now make privacy fences with metal posts covered in wood. That way they do not rot. A few years ago our neighbors on that side (not the house which just sold) had a party and people were leaning against our fence. Not a good thing. I wish these folk would move! Next Friday is St Patrick’s Day. My sister insists we have corn beef and cabbage. As far as I know we have no Irish ancestry. I did suggest that we wait until next week to actually buy the corn beef. Friday is our usual grocery shopping day. I talked with an old friend this week. When we lived in the same city we always went out for lunch on International Women’s Day. I thought that was a good excuse to call her. She was living with her sister-in-law and niece, but both died last year. So it is a sad time for her. She was in Concord NH. She has now moved to Portland, Maine where both of her children live. We have eaten most of our Girl Scout cookies. I know you can now buy and have them sent to servicemen overseas. But, they are a tradition and even though I would not eat them often if they were always available, they are a nice treat. We are having strange weather. We have not had an accumulating snow since Dec 17 which is very odd. We had had a few days with flakes, including yesterday. Temps have been from 20 – 70 in the last month. The daffodils are up. Hopefully it will not get too cold for them. But, daffodils are hardy and they are closed to the house. Hope all is going well with you. Spring in almost here (in the northern hemisphere!)
  11. I am glad you and Sarah enjoyed yourselves. I have not visited Pearl Harbor, but my parents did years ago. My Mother's brother was MIA during the Korean War and his name is on the memorial. Good to know you arrived home safely. My sister and I went to Australia in 2005. Yes, it is a long ways. We visited a number of friends and had a good time. I lived in Brussels for 10 years and made that trip many times. It is more difficult going to Europe from US than to Australia. The time difference is SO different from Australia that jet lag was not as bad. Who knew?
  12. Have you checked with the cruise line. If they know about his deficients they may be able to help. Eg, is there such a thing as a handicapped accessible room on a cruise ship? Are there elevators which make everything accessible? Think through how you have had to adapt your home. Places you visit -- how are they handicap accessible? Figure out a few key questions before calling. Remember, handicap accessible for one person does not work for another.
  13. I find both phone and in person difficult, although the phone is more problematic. On the phone you have no visual clues. My other problem with both is that my brain does not process information as quickly as it did pre stroke. I prefer communication via email. That way my brain is focused on email. (With a phone call it often takes my brain several seconds -- or minutes? to focus on the conversation.) I also have time to think through my response. Phone and in person has improved over time. Probably a good idea to practice on both..
  14. Let it Snow!!

    The first snow of the season came on Sunday December 4. When I left home at 8:30 am there was no snow. When I came out of the building at 10:30 my car was covered with snow. Of course, the snow removal tool was not in the car. So I used my hand (in glove) to wipe the snow off the back window. The wind shield wipers and hot air vents finished the snow removal job. There is still some on the ground almost a week later. The temperature has dropped to the teens. We are supposed to have more snow this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. By Monday we are supposed to have received a total of ten inches over the weekend. Then the temps continue the teens with wind chill in the single digits. Time to stay home. This cold weather will apparently stick around for the next two weeks or so. Bummer. One bit of good news is that we have hired a snow removal service. In past years my sister (76) and our neighbor across the street (83) have removed the snow. He died this summer. Neither should have removing snow for several years. On Monday evening I went to a meeting. When I came home Marge was in the living room where she could see the front door. She said Jade the cat was sitting on the couch. When Jade heard the garage door open she jumped down heading to the front door. Smarter than the average cat. I finished ordering Christmas gifts this week. Isn’t internet shopping great? No crowds! On Tuesday we picked out and had our tree delivered. We discovered a couple of years ago that there is a store not far from us who will not only deliver but bring the tree inside and set it up in the tree stand. This is a whole lot cheaper than therapy if one got hurt. Plus it is a whole lot easier! You do have to take it down, but that is easier than putting up. Marge really likes the smell of a real tree. On Wednesday we decorated the tree and put up other decorations. I dropped one of the gadgets for hanging a Christmas stocking. Glued it back together. So far, so good. Sorted through the cat toy box to see what needs help. I threw out one fuzzy mouse which had lost its tail. Several toys went into the washer of Thursday. They faired ok. Replenished catnip in the toys. I discovered that I had placed several toys in the catnip. Jade was happy to have some toys saturated with catnip. I used to raise catnip outside in the summer. A few years ago a stray cat got into it and made a mess. Decided I would just buy catnip as needed. Jade does not actually go “crazy” over catnip. She is drawn to it, however. It actually calms her. Strange. On Thursday I made brownies. I was asked to make three dozen cookies for a funeral at my church on Saturday. We had cookies left from Thanksgiving (2 dozen) so I froze them. Added the brownies to the cookies. Next week I make cookies for the church again. Every year we package homemade cookies and sell boxes. They are very popular. Some people give as gifts. Others are just glad they do not have to make cookies! Usually we make about $700 which goes to missions. I will have to admit that I bought a box years ago. The problem is that I am a snob (LOL). If you are going to eat cookies I think you should use quality ingredients – like real butter and good quality chocolate. We decided that we were not interested in eating them – rather get the calories another way. Put the cookies out for the animals. The opossum particularly seemed to enjoy. On Friday my sister left at 7:30 am to take her car in to the shop. A red light (I don’t remember which one) came on so she called and they said to bring it in. She stopped on the way home and delivered my cookies to the church. She noted that the preschool kids were showing up so the place was quite busy. Friday morning the snow (which the weather folk said would come on Saturday) began. Very light small flakes. The snow last week was huge flakes. So it goes. Marge went to the grocery store. It is now 3:30 on Saturday and no snow yet. It is supposed to start some time this afternoon. Hope everyone is having a good Holiday season. Take care!!
  15. Happy Birthday lwisman!