Saturday, October 20, 2018

Life on Mount Norway....... good.

I love the orangey-red colors on my maple tree that lives just outside the laundry room door.

This little guy spun a perfect web in one of my hydrangea bushes. While I'm not a spider fan, still I admire his craftsmanship. So I resisted my impulse to scream and squash him.

John thinks that it's funny that I invite Lulu to have breakfast with me at the kitchen island every morning. Of course, Lulu thinks it's just what she deserves and about time, too.  Since we moved out to the country, I have yet to put her on a leash when we go on walks.

I love seeing morning clouds below me. 


We hear the darndest things up here on our mountain. I think sound carries extremely well especially from the river valley below us. There is a moto-cross race track for off road motorbikes waaaaaayyyyyy across the valley on the next ridge of mountain foothills north of us. It's miles and miles and miles away. We bought our place knowing it was there and that when races were scheduled, we'd probably hear something from there. And we do -- but it sounds like a distant buzz of angry bees, not motorcycles. Which is fine by me.

Yesterday, from somewhere west, back in the forest, first I heard the unmistakable gobble gobble of a turkey. Repeatedly. Then, the excited yapping of a puppy. And then some guy yelling what seemed to be a dog's name in frustration.....I'm thinking that there was some kind of interesting story in that sequence of events. Grin.

Some of my favorite neighbors live in a pasture about a mile down the road from our house.

I can hear their moos every day. I love it -- makes me feel like a kid again when we had Black Angus beef cattle on Dad's farm. I laughed when I first saw them and told John what a naughty species of cattle this had been for Dad. It seemed we were always having to chase them back to where they belonged since they were able to escape their pasture at will. And sure enough, a few weeks ago, John and I came down the road and were met with the sight of a frisky little black guy standing dead center in the road. Exactly where he shouldn't be. Looking back at his buddies in the pasture with what I swear was a "nanner nanner" expression on his face.

John let the farmer know of his escape but he didn't seem too concerned. I'll bet it happens all of the time.

So much excitement around here. Turkeys and Angus and motorcycles, oh my..

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Team-Based Autoimmune Care in Pittsburgh

Check this out from Medscape Nurses: one stop autoimmune care in Pittsburgh. What a great concept! You can read the complete article here. (Sometimes sites like these require you to create a free password protected account to gain access.)

Closing the Care Gap in Autoimmune Disease

Miriam E. Tucker
A new, first-in-kind center in Pittsburgh is addressing a major gap in medicine: the complex needs of patients with one or more autoimmune conditions, who typically see numerous specialists in an uncoordinated fashion and often remain undiagnosed and untreated for years.
The new $30 million Highmark/Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Autoimmunity Institute offers a distinct alternative by providing comprehensive multispecialty care in a one-stop setting, and also by conducting research into diagnostics, treatments, and care delivery.
The institute comprises four "centers of excellence" for the treatment of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease. But the facility's many specialists—including those from rheumatology, allergy/clinical immunology, pulmonary, dermatology, gastroenterology, nephrology, endocrinology, and cardiology—all work together to address the needs of patients with a wide variety of common, not-so-common, and sometimes unlabeled autoimmune conditions.
It's the design of the future, in my mind. It's getting doctors out of their offices. We consult with each other...
"What we're doing is unique. You will not find this kind of institute that has this kind of multidisciplinary, comprehensive approach to patient care along with research," says rheumatologist Susan Manzi, MD, MPH, chair, AHN Medicine Institute and director of the Lupus Center of Excellence.
Housed at Pittsburgh's West Penn Hospital, the Autoimmunity Institute fills about 48,000 square feet, including clinical, laboratory, and administrative space. There are 16 exam rooms surrounded by a large corridor, dubbed the "huddle hall," where the specialists, along with nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, and other staff, meet to discuss management of individual patients. There are no private offices with shut doors.
"It's the design of the future, in my mind. It's getting doctors out of their offices. We consult with each other...Doctors don't typically do it because it's not convenient. We've made it convenient," Manzi says.
"It's designed as a new model of team-based care," says Autoimmunity Institute chair Joseph M. Ahearn, MD, who is also chief scientific officer for Allegheny Singer Research Institute at AHN and professor of medicine at Temple University's Pittsburgh branch.....continue reading here

Saturday, October 6, 2018

A New Buddy

After we moved out into the country, John and I purchased a garden tractor and trailer. I've named her Daisy and wake up every day looking for a good excuse to drive her around. What a hoot.

Isn't she gorgeous?

Sometimes I let John drive her around, but mostly she's MINE.

Look at Lulu. She loves when Daisy and I are on the move. Lulu runs circles around us as we zip along. Poor puppy is exhausted by the time I'm done mowing the lawn but it's a happy-dog tired.

I was trying to figure out why I get such a charge out of my tractor, and I think one of the reasons is that when I fire her up and take off, I feel kind of invincible. And powerful. Daisy lets me do stuff that I would never ever consider doing without her. So there's the lawn mowing thing, sure. But with two and a half acres to take care of, there's always other things to do. Like hauling downed branches and pulled weeds over to the burn pit. And transporting our garbage and recycling containers waaaaayyyyy out to the designated spot on our road. She has power steering so maneuvering her doesn't take much of my energy and can turn on a dime.

We actually own five acres but only half of it is kind of flat. The other two and a half acres drops vertically down the mountain so we just let it do it's own nature thing. John keeps threatening to strap a climbing harness on and head down to the bottom of our property but I think that may not be such a good idea. I think that sitting on our deck with binoculars is a safer option, don't you?

Hm. Wonder how long it would take for Daisy and I to motor over to Terese's house?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Icing My Buns

As is my routine, I get the bursae in both hip joints injected every three months, and today was the day. Which meant putting my big old butt in bed with ice packs tucked in around the injection sites. I stay this way for much of the day in order to give my crabby inflamed trochanteric bursae a chance to settle down and behave themselves.

So while I'm cooling my jets, I cruise around Netflix to find a show upon which I can binge watch. My latest eye glueing series is the Great British Baking show, and for the most part I enjoy every minute watching amateur bakers commit the same kitchen blunders that I am so very capable of.

Well, except for the time that one lady stole another contestant's custard right out of the refrigerator. Can't say that I remember ever purloining someone else's patisserie staple.

More importantly, there's this ......... extremely annoying ...... thing in the show's opening sequence which I just have a really hard time with. Watch:

Did you see that?? Did you see that this baker's hand placed all of the raspberries on the top of that gorgeous chocolate cake EXCEPT FOR THE LAST ONE?  That hole where THE LAST RASPBERRY SHOULD HAVE GONE keeps me up at night.

What? You've never noticed that?


What has been seen can never be unseen.

You're welcome.

Monday, September 10, 2018

One Happy Camper

Check out this picture. See the lady with the huge goofy grin?

Hey. No judgments. Although I'll admit that characterizing my face as goofy is a major understatement. She's smiling so hard that her cheeks are screaming in pain for several reasons:

First: She's holding her most adorbs grandbaby (also her only) on her lap.

Second: While snuggling said precious bebeh she's looking at this amazing view and is able to say that she now lives there. 

Third: All the things that she hoped for in this Reasonably Well post back in May 2017 have materialized. Woot! A family with two little boys have purchased and moved into our old home, we found and purchased a home on property, and have MOVED IN. Granted, even though all of the financial and legal paperwork (whew!) is signed and safely tucked away in John's filing cabinet, and as far as the state and county are concerned we do indeed have a new address; in spite of all that we are still living up to our ears in moving boxes. But I don't care. It's super easy for me to look blissfully past those boxes since I have a drop dead gorgeous view of the Cascade mountains past the cardboard and strapping tape mountains. 

Most importantly, our new house is a master on the main ranch with a daylight basement. Everything that I need is on the main floor and I have only to maneuver two steps when getting myself from my car into the house. Pretty spiff, I think. Also much safer. John says that if I even come close to taking a tumble on those steps that he will build a ramp. I really want to avoid breaking any more of these old bones. 

Speaking of my history of falling, did I ever share with y'all my experience of tumbling down a full flight of stairs in our old house onto a hardwood floor last Christmas? No? Actually it was an impressive show of clumsiness that still makes me stupidly proud: as I was bouncing and flopping on my way down, I marvelled that I could MAKE A FORTY FIVE DEGREE TURN MID FALL at the staircase landing which allowed me to continue flailing my arms and legs all the way down to the bottom of the stairs. 

Not to brag or anything, but very few people possess the ability to make that maneuver. I take pride in that. What can I say? It's a gift.

Fourth: I am making progress in learning about and reducing the tremors in my upper body that have plagued me for the last few years. I haven't shared much about this struggle with y'all; one reason (among many) being that the tremors in my hands had become severe enough to make typing on my laptop next to impossible. Which made posting to Reasonably Well very difficult. 

Hunt and peck typing with one finger makes it really hard to keep a blog going. Eating soup with a spoon? Forget about it. And don't even get me started on tweezing eyebrows. Ow.

My sense of humor and patience had completely evaporated and writing about it all here on the blog just seemed to remind me how much I was struggling. I am certain that denial factored heavily into my reluctance to document it all. So I didn't. 

But working with a young smarty-pants neurologist and after several months of medication reductions, adjustments, and additions, I can happily say that it's a "two-hands-all-fingers-on-the-keys" typing experience today. Which is not to say that my neuropathies and tremors and restless leg syndrome have been cured; not by a long shot. But having legible handwriting and steadier hands goes a long long way in brightening my state of mind. I'm hoping that my balance issues will improve as well; however Smarty-Pants Neurologist isn't promising anything yet, and I'm learning to live with that uncertainty. I'll take any improvement no matter how small. 

How could living here not help facilitate calm and renewal?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Something New

My friend Karen and her family visited me last weekend, and as usual it was great fun. While she was here, she asked me when I was planning to write another post because she was tired of seeing a picture of my broken arm every time she visited Reasonably Well. And as usual, this was a good observation.

So here I am and I'll make sure to add several pictures to this post. All of which provide something far more enjoyable to look at than that annoying cast. Here's one of my favorites:

 Doesn't Marcus look as though he's thinking, "Graaaaammmmmmaaaaaaa! Enough kisses already!"

These were taken on the weekend after my cutie patootie grandson Marcus was born. I love being a grandma.

Here are some of the last pictures that y'all will see of our yellow house. We accepted an offer on our home from a young family with two little girls this week. It makes my heart smile to think that this home will have teensy kiddos living here.

I wonder what Lulu and her Santa Lambchops will think about our new house? We are moving to a home that checks all of the boxes on our wish list. It has a master bedroom on the main floor which means that the likelihood of me tumbling down stairs will decrease considerably. Hopefully. It is situated on five acres, half of which are douglas fir trees and at 1100 feet elevation, has a great view of the mountains.

I find myself becoming aware that I simply cannot tolerate noise as well as I used to. I feel an acute discomfort when I am in a noisy environment. It is blissfully quiet at our new place. If all goes as expected, we will move in to our new digs mid-August.

Moving should be an interesting experience. I'll keep y'all posted.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I've been busy lately.

Imagine this beauty attached to me right about at the shoulder.

So the good news is that I have my stitches out, my black eye is finally beginning to fade and my broken arm is sporting a new and improved splint that has velcro so that I can take it off to shower!

What's that? I haven't shared this latest catastrophe with y'all? Sorry. My bad. Guess I should start at the beginning, then.

Like a lot of people with autoimmune disease, my balance isn't great. So about two and a half weeks ago, my crummy balance led me down an outdoor set of concrete stairs face first. Wasn't pretty or pleasant. I ended up with a gash over my eyebrow, an impressive black eye, a broken arm, and couple of broken ribs.

This has made me crabby.

It has also made me rather odiferous too. Ever try to bathe one handed? Especially when that hand is the non-dominant one?

Luckily, it will all heal. As a matter of fact, I now can take my arm out of the splint and have begun doing very limited range of motion exercises. I can almost camouflage my black eye with makeup, and the scar over my eye should heal well. The ribs will take longer to heal than my arm, but the feeling as though I have been hit by a tank has passed. Whew.

 My fatigue in response to my injuries has been overwhelming, and I'm not surprised. It must be the demand for healing has sapped me of much of my energy.

But enough about me. How have y'all been?


Comment away to your heart's desire, people. I have finally figured how to successfully publish your observations, questions, and pithy responses. So keep 'em coming. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018


So I've been having problems with my blogging platform, Blogger. It has made publishing the comments from y'all impossible. The issue may be in my laptop, or in the mysterious workings of Google and Blogger, who knows? In the meantime, I think it may be a good idea to hold off on writing any comments until I get this figured out. If you have sent in a comment that was not published, I'm sorry about that. But I'm on it.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

It's a Balancing Act

Happy February! Hope y'all had a great January.

I was sitting here this morning, feeling grumpy. It seemed to me that my life since Christmas had been pretty boring.

It didn't help that I had yet to have my first cup of coffee.

After about half of a steaming mugful I realized that as usual I was letting my bratty inner child unleash her crabby-pants attitude. As I sipped my coffee, I reflected on the past month. I had to grudgingly admit that BICJ did indeed have a few valid reasons for her crankiness: I had developed some vasculitis in my feet and legs, needed three weeks to recoup my energy after going whole hog for the holidays, and had to endure not one but TWO UTIs in the past six weeks. Then needed to have the bursa in both hips injected with steroids for a very very chronic battle with trochanteric bursitis.

I get these injections routinely and over the past year have developed a two day long post injection reaction that involves alternating between feeling hot and sweaty, and having chattering teeth chills. Dr. Young Guy has assured me that while these side effects may be uncomfortable, they aren't dangerous unless I spike a fever during these episodes. I get up to five months total relief of hip pain after the injections and so have decided that two days of sweat and shake episodes are worth enduring if I can count on being pain-free after.

After mulling this over, I decided that I needed another cup of coffee or I would lose my tenuous control over BICJ and the results wouldn't be pretty.

Properly reinforced by another large swig from my wonderful goat mug from Glacier National Park and after another recollection, it became clear that BICJ and I were focusing far too much on the negatives from the past month or so. Because those weeks were chock full of amazing positives as well:

A delightful weekend in the Cascades to celebrate Son's birthday.

Lulu got a new outfit for the occasion.

Then there's the fact that my kitchen project is all finished...

.......and the basement is well on its way to a transformation from one big storage pile to a brand spankin' new family/bath/storage area.

But best of all, I've seen a glimpse of spring!

See that one brave little camellia blossom?

I'm excited about my upcoming Mumsy/daughters weekend. I'm going to hop on a train and let my girlies ferry me around, one stop being the Swan Lake ballet.

Golly. Isn't life grand?