Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Most people I know hate going to the dentist. Roy and I are no exception, but we both do it when we have to and can pay some of the hefty costs, because we’d like to have teeth as opposed to lose them all. However, we’ve not had good luck with our dentist since we moved up to Placerville in the Sierra foothills from Pleasanton in the San Francisco area.

Now, we’re fortunate in that we have dental insurance so our costs are generally fairly low, except for certain issues we both have with our own particular health that cause some of the copays to sometimes be a bit high. That’s ok. We generally will budget it in and work it out, because, like I say, we’d rather have teeth than the alternative.

Here’s a new one for us, particularly with the current medical insurance and health care climate the way it is. I had to cancel a dentist appointment the other day because of a conflict in my schedule. I had moved it previously … once when I was out of town at the last minute and once when our truck transmission went out and I couldn’t pay for the cleaning copay (~$430 for a “deep cleaning”). Anyway, I had to cancel again, this time due to a time and date conflict. I was going to reschedule as soon as I knew my calendar as I had the money budgeted in, but they pre-empted that and essentially “fired me” as a patient, because I “don’t respect their time”. LOL … ok … I contacted them a week and a half in advance to let them know so that they had plenty of time to schedule someone else. I suppose their dental business must be *BOOMING* right now … or not.

Anyway, they sent me a letter in the mail. They couldn’t even tell me when I cancelled this appointment … and they told my dental insurance carrier without my knowledge to change me “immediately” … because I don’t “respect them” … so the carrier DID change me … without contacting me, may I add … to a new provider … IN PLEASANTON, CA. Uhhhh … no … that won’t work. That is approximately 150 miles away from where I currently live. So I put in an online change request for a new provider in Placerville … and was advised that it won’t be effective until MARCH. Uhhhhh … no … wrong again, Slick. What am I supposed to do if there’s an emergency *NOW* … particularly since *I* am not the one that made the incorrect change in providers and I was not contacted directly about this? Expecting me to go 150 miles away to an area I do not live is completely unacceptable, don’t you think?

Like I’ve said before, Hollywood can’t make this stuff up.

This is laughable … and pathetic … all at the same time.

Only Roy and I can be “fired” by the dentist.


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“You messed up.  You read the paper.  You accidentally watched the news.  You inadvertently find yourself in the vicinity of the blues.  Bust your ass to get the good life!  You make a habit out of overtime.  When the big report card comes, your priorities are way outta line.  You need to go to ‘Summerzcool’, get to the beach, or at least in the pool.  Time to go to ‘Summerzcool’!  Remember what is and what is not cool.  Time out for bad behavior!  Time off!  You’ve been under the gun!  High time somebody told you it’s time to let those puppies run!  Wassup with this recession?  I refuse to participate.  The answer to your burnin’ question is dancing on your tailgate.  It’s time to go to ‘Summerzcool’.  Remember what is and is not cool.  Oh, ‘Summerzcool’!  There is a time and a place to act like a fool at ‘Summerzcool’.  Get your ass to the beach or at least to a pool!  At ‘Summerzcool’, know when to keep and to break all the rules.  Beer 101!  Sex 102!  Tune it in!  Turn it out!  That’s what I’m talkin’ about!  It’s time to go to ‘Summerzcool’.  The courses are easy, and there are no rules at ‘Summerzcool’.  Remember what is and is not cool!  You need to stay in ‘Summerzcool’.  This is the time and place to act like a fool.  Oh, ‘Summerzcool’!  Just know when to keep and to break all the rules.”  Jimmy Buffett




We have decided that ‘Summerzcool’ is occurring on the Grand Princess from San Francisco to Honolulu to Kauai to Hilo to Maui to Ensenada and back to San Francisco.  We’re off … as of today.  Maybe we’ll check in through their internet package … and maybe we won’t … but we’re SURE AS HELL gonna enjoy “Summerzcool” more than we ever enjoyed “Summer School” as kids.











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Easter Sunday is a very holy day for Christians around the world.  It’s also a day of feasting in celebration of the Resurrection.  We’ve eaten way more than our share of a hearty Easter dinner … and of course, candy and colored eggs, as we have shared in blog-posts prior to Easter.

While I have made it my goal to maintain my health and be in relatively good shape for someone that will be 60 years old in a little more than a year, I still enjoy my food.


At least with food, you can usually guarantee that you’ll like your choices.

In any event, we will be going on vacation (on a cruise, to be exact) in a little less than a month (not that I’m counting down the days or anything … but we’re leaving precisely 23 days from today).  Cruises are known for their opulent and overly abundant food choices.  I’m quite sure that Princess Cruises will not disappoint in this respect.  Therefore, I can pretty much guarantee that I will be indulging while gone.

That’s ok, though, as I’ve at least worked hard to get into shape over the past year, and I can work just as hard after I return from the cruise to take care of any “overage” that I cause myself to gain.  Besides …


I mean … I wouldn’t want to be TOO outrageously attractive on this cruise to Hawaii out of San Francisco, CA (and back).





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Sometimes you’ve got to take the heat,

If you’re gonna walk down on the mean street.

Take the heat, and you see it through,

Cuz sometimes it comes down to –

Do what you gotta do!

Sometimes it goes right down to the wire,

And you might have to walk through the fire.

Walk on, boy, all the way through.

Sometimes it just comes down to –

Do what you gotta do!

Well, there’s people that’ll tell ya it’s just no use,

And there’s people that’ll tell ya that you’re gonna lose,

People that’ll tell ya anything you’re gonna listen to.

Do what you gotta do!

Someday, they’re going to call your name.

They’ll come lookin’ for someone to blame.

What’s your name, boy?

Hey, you just tell the truth,

Cuz they can’t take the truth from you.

So do what you gotta do!

Well, they’ll call you a hero or a traitor,

But you’ll find out that sooner or later

Nobody in this world is gonna do it for you.

Do what you gotta do!

Well, there ain’t nobody in this world that’s gonna do it for you.

Do what you gotta do!

                                                                                    Garth Brooks

My son, Keegan, was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  CF is caused by a defective gene which causes the body to produce abnormally thick and sticky fluid, called mucus.  This mucus builds up in the breathing passages of the lungs and in the pancreas, the organ that helps to break down and absorb food.  This collection of sticky mucus results in life-threatening lung infections and serious digestion problems.  The disease may also affect the sweat glands and a man’s reproductive system.

Millions of Americans carry the defective CF gene but do not have any symptoms.  That’s because a person with CF must inherit two defective CF genes — one from each parent.  An estimated 1 in 29 Caucasian Americans have the CF gene.  The disease is the most common, deadly, inherited disorder affecting Caucasians in the United States.  It’s more common among those of Northern or Central European descent.  As I’ve stated before, my ancestral line is mainly Irish and German.  My ex-husband’s is Irish, German, and Scandinavian.

Most children with CF are diagnosed by age 2.  A small number, however, are not diagnosed until age 18 or older.  These patients usually have a milder form of the disease.  Keegan was diagnosed by the time he was 2 months old.  I’ll discuss that at another time … on the anniversary of his diagnosis.

My CF definition here is in conjunction with my comments of a few weeks back when I discussed his Leap Day birthday and how he felt he had 2 birthdays on those years when there was no Leap Day.  I continued on with the train of thought by stating that really he has 3 birthdays and that I would discuss that at another time.  Guess what?  Now is that time!  Surprise!

Keegan fought for life throughout his entire existence.  He had that “never give up” attitude and that “do what you gotta do” philosophy that my father raised me to have and that I raised my children to have, where you “do what you gotta do” in the face of any challenge.

Therefore, when Keegan was told at the age of 12 that he had only 50% lung capacity and that he might need to get a lung transplant to be able to continue life, he never thought twice about it.  He chose to go for it.  I of course wanted him to have that transplant, but I never pushed it one way or the other.  It’s a very, very, VERY difficult row to hoe, and it would be his battle with my help, so it was his choice.  He chose to go for it.

At the time, we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He was therefore scheduled for tests with the world-renowned transplant team at Stanford University Hospital.  Lung transplants at the time were not that common in adults, let alone children, but they agreed to meet with him and me, although they gave us no guarantees.  They only picked the most likely and most motivated candidates.  They turned down more hopefuls than they accepted and the wait for child-sized organs was longer than adult.

Keegan and I were interviewed (as were his father and his siblings) at the age of 12.  They liked his attitude and his medical support network.  They accepted him!  We were ecstatic, but it was contingent on many medical tests.

He went through testing … and we were given the news that he was TOO SICK from his CF to obtain a transplant.  They didn’t think that (1) he’d make it to transplant or (2) he’d survive the transplant surgery.  We were devastated, but we asked if there were alternatives.  We were told that the only alternatives were to try another lesser transplant program to see if they’d accept us and/or to try to improve his health.

They were more encouraging to try another program.  Now, we were agreeable to that and would have taken him anywhere he needed to go in the world for whatever treatment he needed, but we knew Stanford’s reputation so we asked what their suggestions would be to improve his health.

We were told that we wouldn’t have the stamina or will-power to do what needed to be done.

Sometimes it comes down to … do what you gotta do …

“Yeah?  Try us.”

It’s hard work.

“We don’t care.  TELL US WHAT TO DO.”

You won’t want to.

TELL US!!!!!!!!!!!!”

By that time, both Keegan and I were shouting.

So they outlined it out.  We brought home their recommendations, started sending inquiries to other programs, and got to work on improving his health.

I’ll cut the story shorter here and say … a year later, Keegan was put on the transplant list for a double lung transplant … at the age of 13½ … younger than almost any other … through Stanford University Hospital; Palo Alto, CA … by the late Dr. James Theodore, one of the very original pioneers of heart-lung transplantation.

Sometimes it goes right down to the wire,

And you might have to walk through the fire.

Walk on, boy, all the way through.

Sometimes it just comes down to –

Do what you gotta do!

Well, there’s people that’ll tell ya it’s just no use,

And there’s people that’ll tell ya that you’re gonna lose,

People that’ll tell ya anything you’re gonna listen to.

Do what you gotta do!

Now, the wait was long:  2½ years to be exact.  He nearly died several times.  He could no longer attend school and was being home-schooled by me and some teachers that the school district set up.  Some of his friends would visit.  Some of them were so afraid of his illness that they no longer contacted him.  He and I became almost inseparable because I was his main caregiver.  We’d find things to keep his spirits up.  He did his school work.  He was goofy and colored his hair with the seasons to keep his spirits up (orange at Halloween, red & blue on the 4th of July, red & green at Christmas; and a bright green on St Patrick’s Day).  He was called one time for transplant near Halloween, but the lungs were disqualified due to damage and he was sent home.  We were devastated.  However, March 19 … tomorrow … is Keegan’s “other” birthday … his “Transplant Birthday” … made possible by a caring wonderful donor family (who we’ve met and who was able to meet Keegan also) who donated the organs of their beloved daughter who died at the age of 20.

This is a bittersweet anniversary/birthday.  I mourn the loss of their beloved Brandy.  I rejoice in the fact that they had the generosity to provide the gift of life to a very sick 16-year-old boy who probably wouldn’t have lived another month when he received that ultimate gift.  We are still in contact with his donor family all these years later.

Suffice it to say, for now at least, that on March 18th, 2000, the day after St Patrick’s Day, on an unseasonably nice Saturday afternoon at approximately 3:15 pm, Stanford Hospital called my cell phone, one that I myself had splurged on and purchased when Keegan was put on the transplant list, because, at the time, the only thing available for the hospital to provide us was a pager if they couldn’t contact us.  Cell phone technology hadn’t become as widespread as it is now.  For me, it’s like the times I went into labor with my children before birth.  It was like going into labor the day before the birth.  It was exciting and terrifying at the same time.  I knew that he could die from CF or the transplant at any time, but we were willing to fight to get the life he craved.

But you’ll find out that sooner or later

Nobody in this world is gonna do it for you.

Do what you gotta do!

He never skipped a beat.  He took a fast shower so he’d be “clean” for the doctors.  He packed up his school books and homework, so he’d “have something to do in the hospital after surgery” and so he “wouldn’t get behind his classmates” (he always knew it would be fine).  He walked out the door sporting lime green hair from St Patrick’s Day and a green Hawaiian shirt and jeans.

Stanford Hospital doctors, nurses, and staff will never forget the transplant patient with the bright green hair.


I wish I’d had the foresight to take his picture when we’d left for his transplant, but I didn’t.

I was a bit unnerved by it all, to say the least.

Here’s the best I can do with a picture taken just a few weeks earlier.

His hair had been dyed blue for his birthday.

Those that understand CF will know and see how very sick this boy was at the time.

They’ll also see that fighter’s spirit shining in his eyes.

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… maybe they didn’t *win* …

… but they SURE as hell tried …


(just kidding on the above picture)


They’re still winners in my opinion.


Kappy … you worked your heart out …




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Jill has been a 49er fan since forever and was working in downtown San Francisco when Joe Montana led them to their *first* Super Bowl win.  She’d even gone to a few of the home games that year and had seen it live & in person.  So obviously … she’s a bit partial to them.  She just wishes it weren’t so darn expensive to go to a game now.  Seeing them play … seeing Colin Kaepernick play … seeing a game live … would be awesome … but the cost is just simply too outrageous.

So anyway … I digress.

Roy may have originally been a Patriots fan, but he lives in Northern California now.  It’s either the Raiders (booooo) or the Niners (the good guys).  He is a 9er fan (and knows that is in his best interest anyway).

So … with that … here is Jill’s opinion of anyone that thinks ANY work around the house will have been done this weekend.


So … don’t bug me … and if you’re in my house and expect something to be cleaned …




shoes off

There ya go …









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I write about a lot of things … sometimes about my background … sometimes about food … sometimes about my weight loss … sometimes about the ridiculous political situation in our country right now … or anything else that comes to mind.  Most blogs are focused to one particular topic from what I can tell.  Ours is focused on the ups-and-downs of our lives, which can be a lot of different things.

So today is to put in some good news.  I’ll start however with some of the ridiculous that has befallen Roy and me over the past many years.  Like I said previously, we met online and have known each other for quite some time.  We’ve been married for slightly over 5 years … on 11.23.07.  My daughter and my oldest son were, respectively, Maid of Honor and Best Man.  It was a fairly small and relaxed wedding done in our home the day after Thanksgiving in 2007.  We had a party and I did the food myself by ordering from delis and making some and having friends and family help.  It was wonderful.

In December of 2007, Roy bought into the house that I owned and was already paying a mortgage on, making it so we owned it together.  Just before Christmas, he was in a multi-car pile-up on I-680 in the SF Bay Area, and his car was totaled.  Thankfully, *he* was ok, and that’s all that mattered to me.  Right after New Year’s Day of 2008, we bought a used 4-wheel drive Chevy Tahoe that was in wonderful condition.  We were both working full-time and had decent income.  I won’t say “good jobs”, because in our minds, jobs are unstable and not secure, which is why we have always had other streams of income with our various private businesses.  In April of 2008, we went on a 15-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale, FL through the Panama Canal that ended in San Francisco, CA for our honeymoon, stopping in Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and 3 places in Mexico.  It was marvelous to put it mildly.

Then the wheels fell off the bus.

In June 2008, I was laid off from my job.  I had difficulty finding a full-time job so I was working part-time jobs on commission only.  We lost our health insurance and Roy had to have necessary surgery.  His job picked it up for us (thankfully) and he was able to continue on it and receive his surgery.  He was off work from August through September on Disability.  He returned to work on September 29, 2008.  On September 30, 2008, he was let go.  (There’s a lot more to that story, but it’s not necessary.  Suffice it to say we had to fight for him to receive unemployment insurance, but we won because we were right.)

They stopped his health insurance effective September 30 … with no warning … so when I went into the doctor for a scheduled appointment on October 1, I was refused service.  Now … don’t take me wrong … I am in *NO WAY* for Obummercare.  I would rather get my own health care at my own choice with insurance that I choose or do not choose.  Government, in my opinion, should not be forcing this down my throat.  However, when we are PAYING for insurance, I think that we should at least be provided warning of impending cancellation, particularly when the COBRA payments are high and neither of us is working.

Anyway, the company I was working part time (retail) for offered a very minimal insurance coverage, which I thankfully took, as it covered at least something partially.  They also offered Roy a part time low wage job.  While we needed much more than that, it certainly was better than nothing while we searched for something else.

… and we searched … and searched … and searched … and searched … and searched … and SEARCHED …

While we are building our own private businesses, government intervention and legislation makes it very difficult to build it the way we want, so it’s slower than we have wanted.  Thus, in the meantime, we needed to have a “job” that paid us a wage to be able to pay mortgages and every other thing that costs money in our society.

… and we searched … and searched … and searched … and searched … and searched … and SEARCHED …

The United States economy was tanking big time so people were being laid off by the millions and few were hiring.  Companies were going out of business.  However, finally, I got a break … and in April of 2009, I was offered and accepted a job working for the State of California Employment Development Department in their Unemployment Insurance Division.  It wasn’t a great or high-paying position but it gave me a wage, medical insurance for us both that would start in June, and something steady.

… and Roy continued to search … and search … and search … and search … and search … and SEARCH …

Then in May … just before the end of the month … while I still had the *VERY* limited health insurance … I got deathly ill and had to go into the hospital for emergency surgery.  I was assured by the hospital that it was truly an emergency but that they would work with us to pay it off a little at a time since the minimal insurance we had wouldn’t pay much of the bill.  I was in for 5 days.  My new insurance kicked in the day after I was released.  Marvelous.

… and Roy continued to search … and search … and search … and search … and search … and SEARCH …

In June of 2009, someone from that car accident Roy had been in in 2007 decided that we looked like good targets because we had a house so they chose to sue us.  We had to fight that.

… and Roy continued to search … and search … and search … and search … and search … and SEARCH …

Now … the job that I had secured was very understanding about my time off as well as about my second surgery in November 2009 … and I finished my training and I did well in what I did and I worked diligently.  However, the hospital ignored all attempts made by us to work with them and started harassing us for payment and referring it to collections and not taking our calls.  On July 5, 2010 (very nicely the day after Independence Day and the day before Roy’s birthday), they served us with a lawsuit for approximately $20,000.  At that time, we were looking to sell our house (one that I had lived in for 30 years and raised my children in), since I wasn’t making enough money to cover the mortgage, and we were using my IRA to make payments and help us survive.  We wanted to move from the over-priced SF Bay Area and find something easier to pay for and find a better job for me and more opportunity for Roy.  I was doing numerous job searches.

I won’t now go into all the gory details … but it was a general mess for quite some time … with unscrupulous realtors and contractors that cheated us and others … with a bank that we had to fight to get to cooperate with us … with a car accident lawsuit … with a health insurance lawsuit … and with numerous lawyers helping us.  The details aren’t important at this time.  What is important is … we got out from under the house mortgage; we got out from under the lawsuits (winning on them both); we got out of the Bay Area; and I was transferred/promoted to the EDD in Sacramento.  There’s more, but it doesn’t really matter.  We won.  That’s all *we* cared about.  Roy left his very minimal part time job to move with me and to focus on our two private businesses, and we moved to Placerville (love it love it LOVE it up there) so that I could start working at the Central Offices in the State Capitol, 2 blocks from the Capitol Building. 

That in itself was more complicated than apparent on the surface but I’ll just put out this much.  I was told on a Thursday night that I was to start working in Sacramento on the following Wednesday when I still lived in the Bay Area.  I stayed with my sweet, wonderful, college-age daughter for a few days after driving the first day to Sacramento from my home in the Bay Area, leaving at 3AM in a driving wind & rain storm.  She was awesome in bailing me out of a jam until we could find somewhere to stay until we got a place to live.  (There aren’t many college girls that would allow or want their mother to stay on their couch for a few days.  She’s an awesome human being and I love her dearly.)

There are a lot of things that I have left out of this just to shorten this story.  The story has been one comedy of errors after another.  I say comedy because I might as well laugh.  Otherwise, I’d sit in the corner and cry all day long.  We just know that *WE* are ok … and that life goes on … and that we won.

So since that time … I moved for higher pay … and was promoted again … and received a pay raise (I will say … when I work … I am a HARD worker … and at least they rewarded that) … but the economy for hiring still was terrible, and the government jobs were few and far between as their economy was just as bad if not worse.  So Roy worked our businesses … and continued to look.  However, the economy has been hard on businesses … and his private mobile DJ business has suffered big time, because when the economy is bad, people will not have parties or pay for music services.  Then … in the midst of it all … the IRS found a huge mistake we’d made in our taxes the year we were trying to move and sell the house and fight lawsuits and everything else … and they hit us with a large amount due.  We worked that out and have carried on. 

So in any event we have struggled but made it work.  At least we got the house sold and the lawsuits, etc, handled and the bills paid.  Sometimes we needed help from my dwindling IRA that also wasn’t earning much interest due to the bad economy … but we have made it work, which is all that really matters.  We have met great friends and we have made awesome political contacts and we love where we are (as long as the current federal government fools don’t mess it up too). 


Life goes on.  What can I say?  You make the best of what you have and carry on.  What more can you do?

… so Roy continued to search … and search … and search … and search … and search … and SEARCH …

… and I had started looking for another promotion or a better job myself … yet again … to try to supplement the massive Taxmageddon that is coming from the idiot in the White House in 2013 …

So … at the beginning of December … Roy was called back about a job he applied to in March of this year.  We’d nearly forgotten about it.  Last Friday, December 14, 2012, he was interviewed.  They called and offered him a job on Tuesday, December 18, 2012.  He starts after the 1st of the year, in January 2013.

Then today … my last day of work before I take a Christmas “vacation break” until after Christmas, I received more good news.  A promotion that I have worked for and asked for and applied for and wanted … came through effective today.

Our house may not have all the funds it wants right now … but we are definitely “Christmassing it” already.  We choose to look for the good in things.  We hope you do too.

Joy to the world …


and JOY TO *US* …


Always look for and work toward the good.  It is well worth it, no matter what is going on in life.


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