Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kim getting married

People have good years and bad years. As a family, we're enjoying a good year. Two weeks ago, Ashley graduated with her B.S. in Nursing. Ashley is Chris' fiancee. Last Saturday, Kim graduated with her AA degree - a real accomplishment for such a busy person. This Saturday Chris gets his BS in Engineering. August 4th Chris and Ashley get married.

Kim called last night to tell me that Mark, her wonderful boyfriend, proposed to her after the graduation on Saturday. He presented her with a beautiful diamond that he had made specially with lowered prongs and a setting that won't "rip her rubber gloves" - so she can wear it while collecting evidence. She is in her own words, floating between Cloud 9 and a state of shock. They had never really discussed marriage, even after four years so it was a complete surprise to her. Mark's daughter gets married August 1st. Mark has one grandchild and his other daughter is expecting twins so Mark and Kim will have six grand-children between them. That should keep them busy.

So, it's a good year - if only Jim's eye would recover, everything would be good!!

Richard's 70th

We spent from April to May 13th in Singapore and Bali to celebrate Richard's birthday. Singapore does not look like it is suffering from the recession although people we talked with said they were. First and foremost, they were terrified that the swine flu would appear there and discourage tourism. They can't survive that - they absolutely live on tourism.

On our way in, we stayed at the Carlton Hotel which is centrally located. First morning, I left Richard lounging around and went to shop in the stalls around the corner. I ran into a long corridor of people doing demonstrations so I enjoyed watching the chopper/slicer/dicer guy, a demo of a device that saves cooking gas, a fabulous mop (i amost bought one), a great pen that
allows one to make fancy writing and designs. Business seemed to be good and people were buying. After Richard got moving we went to the big shopping center and visited Yes! eyewear with the idea of getting more glasses but prices seemed too high. We went to the food court and had one of the Indian pancakes that we like and admired the Vietnamese Food Stall which we hadn't see before. We ate at a pseudo fast food place in the mall where we had a version of Cereal Shrimp and potstickers. Food was good but we were very tired and jet lagged so went back to the hotel to bed. Next day, in a light rain, we visited the Botanical Gardens for the third time and once again really enjoyed the orchids. When it stopped raining later, we walked to Jumbo Seafood for the "real" Cereal Shrimp - delicious. Up early to catch our Garuda flight to Jakarta and on to Denpasar. Garuda had changed the way they operate these flights and we had to collect our luggage in Jakarta and re-check in for the second flight. Turned out to be good because we bought our visas at the airportand Jakarta is much more efficient and easier than Bali. Once in Denpasar, we caught a cab to Prime Villas which turned out to be lovely.

While in Seminyak we spent one day with Toya and visited furniture manufacturers and his uncles carving place. Designed a few items and Toya has sent us prices. Day two we spent with Ayu who ran us around to a few places..she was sort of helpful but mostly just nice company. Married to an Australian, she is very worldly for a Balinese. A fan of Gordon Brown's cooking - she's lived in many places and is quite sophisticated.

Ate well at Gado Gado for Richard's birthday. We had an oceanside seat and perfect weather. Just great food and even a great wine by the glass - a Hugel Gewurztraminer, something I've never seen served by the glass. Had a rather poor meal at Ku De Ta but the setting was glorious and it was interesting to see how many people were there for the sunset, a tradition. We ate two meals in Kuta at the cafe down from Matahari's and both meals were good and perfect for our mood.

On day four, we moved up to Ubud an dour cab driver had quite a time finding the villa. As it turns out, the Villa Sarna was just a bit closer to Ubud than Villa Uma, where we were married. The room was up a couple of flights of stairs, a bit difficult for me with my dizziness, especially in the rain, especially in the dark. I think the staff, who helped me up the stairs, thought I was drunk!! Our bedroom was a little small and the whole thing a bit of a letdown after Prime Villas but it was OK - the outdoor bale for reading was great. Staff was excellent and the overgrown, jungly grounds were fantastic. We saw some new villas built by the owner of one of the big design companies. Next time, we might stay there for a real splurge.

Ate well twice at Ira Burgis (whose cremation we attended), at Lamat (wonderful meal) and at Mosaic. All very fine eating. We shopped at the market as usual for cheap watches and earrings, always fun. Other than that, we did a lot of resting. Enjoyed breakfast at the villa with a view over the jungle. Banana pancakes were great.

Our ride home was easy - all Northwest flights were just fine; customs was empty and our luggage was out in about 15 minutes. Almost like Singapore!!

Back at home and work

Busy interviewing painters this week. The one we hired did not work out - he tried his best, but he was older and recovering from a stroke. He tried to return to work too soon and we paid the price. The whole house has to be re-painted and we will change the color in the living room to something less yellow. A designer is coming up on Friday to help with color picking...I've just run out of the ability to tell one from the other.

The pool was gutted on Monday in record time. A crew came up and jack hammered it in just a couple of hours. Tomorrow, the 21st they will begin the stone work on the coping and then place the tile. A plumber has been installing heaters, pumps etc. We will have a new pool once they are done.

I had a hearing test this week - a six month check. From what I could see it didn't look like it had changed much by the graphs. The tester told me the left ear was pretty bad but that my right ear was very good. We discussed hearing aids and there isn't anything that helps my kind of hearing loss..most promising is a device that picks up signals on the left and then sends them via a radio signal to the right ear. Eventually the brain learns that the squawky sound coming in is from noise on the left side and processes accordingly. Maybe I'll try it. Now I need to get the blood work so that they can schedule a MRI, probably next week.

Spinning head, dizziness, numbness on left side of face and full ear with pain behind the ear in an arc, wonky head. Those are the current symptoms and they are absolutely typical from what I read about An's of my size. The small ones cause the most symptoms. I'm hoping that some ofthese symptoms subside...apparently they often do.