Sunday, December 29, 2019

Stumbling Around Windows 10

After running like a well-oiled machine on Windows 7 operating system for years, this blogger is currently stumbling around Windows 10 grabbing onto anything vaguely familiar to steady herself.

We had an "interesting" time yesterday afternoon getting the re-furbished Dell ready for action. My husband helped a lot, but we both had problems, based not on the actual operating system but in finding all the necessary passwords, the product key etc. These were required for just about every move we tried to make. I have my collection of passwords scribbled in a notebook - higgledy-piggledy-wise so that anyone looking would find it hard to discover any particular password. It turned out that I'd made it too difficult for myself in most cases, for seldom used passwords!

The product key for the version of Windows 10 installed on my re-furbished Dell caused a bit of cursing. I eventually found it after pulling out the big box. The magic number had been partially covered up, possibly intentionally to avoid theft. I didn't realise it was partially covered, so much swearing ensued when I was constantly berated, by messages from Microsoft, for not buying a proper version of Windows, and I should get me to the store and flippin' buy a proper one! I eventually realised I'd have to scratch some colour off a part of the product key to find the full 25 digit key. Phew!!

I'm now able to access and send e-mail, access and post on my blog. I've installed a couple of programs needed for dealing with photographs and other images, and am about to install my new version for Win 10 astrology software - very basic, it just enables me to produce natal charts without the maths involved.

Oh flippin' heck! The washing machine has just broken down in mid-cycle, with some horrendous noises when trying to spin the load. I'll have to do some squeezing, then drape a few items around the bathroom and garage until they are just damp enough for the drying machine. TSK!

Below, I was experimenting with the library of images from my old computer, masterfully transferred by Himself. Yes! It works! A few wise words never go amiss.

I shall go stumble around some more now.

Monday, December 23, 2019


I hope to be back soon after Christmas using my new (well, refurbished) computer with Windows 10. Good ol' Windows 7 will not be supported by Microsoft after January 14, boo hiss! If I find difficulty coping with a new-fangled operating system, however, I might be gone for quite some time!

In the meantime:

Friday, December 20, 2019

Winter Solstice, 2019.

As we in the northern hemisphere prepare to welcome Winter Solstice 2019 on 21 December, in the southern hemisphere Summer Solstice will be celebrated. An urge to mark these points in time must be in our DNA. Humans have been doing so for as long as we are able to see into the distant past.

Countless structures around the world served ancient civilisations as natural calendars to mark solstices, equinoxes, and sites of sacred ceremony. The nearest such structure to our Oklahoma home is in New Mexico, the state adjoining Oklahoma's panhandle, to the west.

At the southern entrance to an area known as Chaco Canyon stands 443ft high Fajada Butte.

Here, in 1977, Dr. Anna Sofaer discovered the "Sun Dagger" - a petroglyph thought to have been carved some 1000 years ago by an ancient people who inhabited the area, the Anasazi, ancestors of the modern Pueblo peoples. The ancestral Puebloans were a prehistoric Native American civilization centered around the present-day Four Corners area of the Southwest United States, where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet. The "dagger" is the only known site in the world that marks the extreme positions of both the moon and the sun.

"A large circular spiral and a small spiral are pecked in the cliff behind three large stone slabs. At midday on the summer solstice, the sun shines between the stone slabs and creates a dagger of light that bisects the large spiral. On midday of the winter solstice, two daggers bracket the large spiral. During the spring and the fall equinoxes, a small dagger of light bisects the small spiral. The slabs also cast shadow on the large spiral that marks the moon’s eighteen point six years cycle of its orbit"
(Chaco Culture Brochure).

Friday, December 13, 2019


When I opened this blog in August of 2006 it was as an astrology blog. After several years of astrology blogging I'd exhausted my supply of things to write about, astrology-wise, so opened it up to more general topics.

At Quora, where I've been a member for a couple of years, in a niche section of the site there are a handful of professional astrologers answering questions on the topic, most of which questions come from people who think that astrology begins and ends with Sun signs, as found in newspapers, magazines - even in some books. These professional astrologers, with patience of saints, continue to try to educate the writers of such questions, with little success. I followed their example, for the most part. The astrologers must also fend off the usual denigrating and rude remarks about astrology and astrologers, fired from that unhappy band of astrology sceptics.

Amazingly, I received a "Top Writer" award after my first few month's of Quora input (on astrology and a couple of other topics), but that was in a year when the site owners were trying hard to encourage new writers. Many of us, new to the site, were shocked to receive this "Top" honour, but enjoyed it anyway. I've stepped back from writing on Quora during the past months. The quality of questions, on all topics, nose-dived after website owners began paying for questions. I do still visit the site, but on a read-only basis.

Anyway - back to astrology and in particular, that much maligned by some and loved by others branch of the subject, Sun sign astrology. Here's what I first wrote on the topic here, in 2006, then re-aired it in 2015, with comment from "mike". I fear that mike left planet Earth a month or two after leaving this blog. He suffered from what I believe turned out to be a terminal illness. He left with a remark along the lines of: "See you further down the road." R.I.P.

I'm often puzzled and irritated when reading the critical thoughts of "serious" astrologers about other astrologers who specialise in Sun sign astrology.

What is their problem? Sun sign astrologers play a big part in keeping "serious" astrologers in business. I'd guess that 9 people out of 10 who contribute to the livelihood of "serious" astrologers, through personal consultations, or purchase of their books, are first drawn to the subject via Sun sign columns, or books (such as Linda Goodman's) based on Sun sign astrology. It ill-behooves one to bite the hand that feeds him/her.

Even the worst astrology columns in local newspapers, and there are some really bad ones, serve to keep the concept of astrology alive. Good Sun sign writers such as [the late]Jonathan Cainer and Rob Brezsny, can inspire readers to delve deeper into the subject, whilst offering regular doses of inspiration and wisdom, rather than out and out predictions of the "tall dark stranger" kind.

It is possible, of course, to get into what I call "the Sun sign rut", but anyone sensitive to astrology will soon find a way out of that rut. Those less sensitive will still find plenty to play with among the Sun signs, and this is definitely better than nothing. Knowledge of traits attributed to the 12 zodiac (Sun) signs is helpful when moving deeper into astrology -time is not wasted reading Linda Goodman's books, or any other descriptions of the 12 signs.

The reason Sun sign astrology remains popular, and that people at parties still love to ask "What's your sign", is because there is a golden nugget of truth there. It doesn't shine through as brightly in every person, but it's always there. The Sun sign is an easy handle to grasp, a clue to work with, and let's face it - it's fun!

"Serious" astrologers can take themselves far too seriously. It's obvious that astrology is not yet an exact science, nor anywhere near, and probably never will be. All astrologers are whistling in the dark, to some extent. Make it a friendly, happy tune, please, guys!

I still feel much the same way, though often wrote, in my astrology posts, that "there is no such thing as an Aquarian, a Taurus, a Libra, and so on". Nearest things would be an Aquarian-type, a Taurus-type etc.

"mike" wrote in response to the quoted piece above...

Gotta start somewhere, so Sun-sign astrology is a beneficial launching pad into the wide world of astrology. I read a variety of Sun-sign and-or ascendant forecasts, because I enjoy reading how various astrologers interpret the transits. It's amazing how the same set of transits can be astrologically interpreted. Most all of the Sun-sign astrologers account for the other planets' interactions and interpret those by Sun-sign and-or ascendant, by the houses involved, whether they call is as such or not. The approach lends itself to generalizations, but overall, most astrologers do a decent job, particularly if the reader knows something about their own astrology and can filter for their own interpretation.

With the advent of the internet, delving into one's personal, natal chart is SO and allow any Sun-sign reader to further their knowledge with a quick and easy natal chart computation. In the old days, one would have to find an astrologer to perform the task or learn to do the math themselves. Both of those websites have natal chart interpretations, too. Seems to be an infinite number of astrology-based websites with each having an archive of useful information for the beginner or advanced.

I used to read Cainer and Brezsny, but I find they are too sugary and vague, typically assuming the reader will ALWAYS react with the most positive expression, which most individuals will not. It's always nice to have their positive encouragement, usually in a metaphorical presentation, but too often real life presents itself in less-than-perfect, non-storybook ways. I don't find that these two astrologers to be very helpful, as there isn't much offered...astrology-lite...LOL.

Different strokes for different folks. I prefer a more detailed, realistic over-view of transits, warts, roses, and all. Others want a more palatable, allegorical presentation that always presents the golden path with some amusement thrown-in.

I think that the authors (bloggers) that format by transit offer the better service to the reader, eg "this week's new Moon in Sagittarius", "today's Sun square Jupiter", "the upcoming Mars, Uranus, Pluto T-square". Tends to force the reader away from the spoon-fed, superficial, popularized astrology that we all love to hate.

I responded with:
mike ~ You've given a balanced and realistic view of the situation - many thanks!

I prefer the approach of [astrologers such as] Jonathan [and Oscar]Cainer and Rob Brezsny because there's more than enough doom and gloom elsewhere - reading them is like warming one's hands (or backside) at a welcoming fire on a bone-chilling day. They're not always 100% cheerful, but usually offer food for thought, if not always a wide smile.

I tend, mostly, not to look for "proper" predictions, preferring to wait and see, then match outcomes to planetary movement. Preparing the mind for something that might never happen or might happen in a very different way than expected, isn't good for me - but some might enjoy it, and I realise as much. Mundane stuff is different - in that sphere I'll look ahead and enjoy reading what "proper" astrologers have to say about, for instance, Trump's chances, or how others might fare in the 2016 election, etc.

Dragging myself back from 2006 and 2015 to 2019, I can see astrology reflected in my life currently, quite clearly. Pluto (planet of transformation and even death) at my birth in 1939 was in my 1st house. Pluto reached a point in my 7th house, exactly opposite my Cancer ascendant, very close to natal Mercury in Capricorn, around a couple of years ago. My medical problems, diagnosis and treatment began at that time - exactly! These have continued to develop as Pluto, very slowly, moved along a degree or two, then re-traced its steps through the same area of my natal chart. Pluto is now moving forward again, at last, and by early next year will be out of range of my ascendant and Mercury. Pluto hasn't done its worst and killed me, yet! I hope that I can get through the remainder of Pluto's transit alive but transformed, realising that I'll never be completely free of my current health issues. I am transformed from a healthy and active elderly person to someone hobbling around with a quad cane, unable to do many of the things I used to love to do. Pluto will move on through late Capricorn towards my 6 degree Aquarius Sun, but very, very slowly. At some point between now and Pluto's arrival conjunct my natal Sun around 2027/8 I'll be saying, "Goodbye Planet Earth" - but not quite yet. (I hope!)

Friday, December 06, 2019

Christmas Trimming

At around this time last year I remember thinking to myself, as I sorted out a bit of Christmas decor for the living room, "I wonder if I'll be here to do this again next Christmas?" At that point, most of my current ailments hadn't surfaced, I felt fairly confident that I would see another Christmas, barring accidents. Thinking along the same lines in 2019 I'm not quite as confident. I have had 2 more surgeries, several procedures, and some radiation therapy; early breast cancer has spread to bones - femur and hip, since Christmas 2018. I've made it through 2019 though, and once again here comes Christmas, with me still part of it. Yay!!

I decided I must make an attempt to do some seasonal decor, and made a start this morning. Dang though, I feel knackered! (As we'd say in Yorkshire). I should have asked for assistance from Himself, but I'm an independent cuss. I didn't realise how much walking is entailed, too and fro - garage to utility room to kitchen, to living room. It's part-finished now. I'm having a rest, here at the keyboard.

Our minimalist outdoor seasonal decor will be done tomorrow - with help from Himself. We'll put solar lights on our two young Redbud trees, exchange a Fall wreath with a Christmas one, and stand Santa where he'll catch the breeze and wobble on his springy feet. We don't clamber around putting lights along gutters and window frames as most householders do in these parts. Okies tend to start on Christmas trimming immediately Thanksgiving is over. I like to allow December to find its feet before getting out the red and green stuff, while inadvertently scattering glitter where it ought not to glitz. It's not long since all of last year's wandering sparkly bits eventually disappeared! I bought a robot vacuum cleaner a few months ago and, happily, it seems to have an appetite for sparkles. It has been a big help to me. I can mop and dust, with quad cane at hand, but can't easily push a heavy vacuum cleaner around. I didn't opt for the most expensive robot vac. I chose a mid-priced model called "Roborock" - I can recommend it.

Now...back to the glitter spreading!

Monday, December 02, 2019


Digging around in some storage boxes the other day, I came across the following bits and pieces.

#1 - A card containing Mother Shipton's predictions, something my Grandma kept in her dressing table drawer, passed on to my mother, then via her to me. My 10-year old blog post about Mother Shipton and her prophecies is HERE. These are words of her predictions, as printed on the card.

#2 - A photograph taken at the blacksmith's shop in Gretna Green, part of a coach trip with my mother in the early 1990s, after Dad had died. Gretna Green became famous as the venue of many "shotgun marriages" in the days when stringent English law on marriage caused couples, desperate to tie the knot, to escape to Scotland where marriage laws were much less strict. Gretna Green was the first place over the English/Scottish border, the blacksmith's shop was the first building travellers encountered. The town now makes a pretty penny from tourists! Our trip included a stop at the blacksmith's shop, with opportunity for a fun photograph depicting a runaway marriage. In the photo below the guy seated with the shotgun - playing bride's father, was my late partner (for over 30 years), the lady seated (in the role of bride's mother) is my mother. I am in the crowd - behind and between the top hat of the rather elderly groom and a girl wearing a striped jacket.

A photograph I took on one of our many trips to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. One evening I must have noticed the setting Sun in just the right place for this:

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Another Holiday in the USA, 28 November 2019

I am exceptionally thankful to still be around on planet Earth in 2019, and able to post this greeting to any passing readers in the USA!

Monday, November 18, 2019


The usually peaceful town of Duncan, Oklahoma, where I've lived for 15 years, today has become part of the growing list of places where lack of sufficient gun control has taken its toll. According to reports, 3 people were fatally shot this morning at the Walmart store here.

Senator Chris Murphy, in 2012, wrote important words, quoted in full in my post HERE - including:

"None of this is inevitable. I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate.

"As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets. Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents.

"My heart breaks for Sutherland Springs. Just like it still does for Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Charleston. And Aurora. And Blacksburg. And Newtown. Just like it does every night for Chicago. And New Orleans. And Baltimore. And Bridgeport. The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic. The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something."

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Just a Few Lines...

Just a few decades ago, when what we now refer to as "snail mail" was our main means of written communication, "Just a few lines...." would often begin our pen and paper missives to friends and relatives. Or, perhaps: "Dear... I hope you are well. Just a few lines to let you know...." Not very original but a helpful way to get started, pen in hand.

All of which was simply to say that these are just a few lines to record that my CT scan, last week, turned out better than my darkest doubts had imagined. A nurse, with directions from the oncologist, called me to say that the scan indicated that there have been no negative changes, in the chest, abdomen and pelvic areas, since my last scans. The problem in my left femur, causing pain-when-walking, has remained stable. I'd have liked that to have improved some, but am thankful for small mercies. The radiation oncologist (a different doctor) had indicated to me that, if requested, he would give the left hip/thigh area another shot or two of radiation. I am considering that option, will contact him for his further opinion after he, too, has seen the scan results.

I worried non-stop about those flippin' scan results! Drove myself into a bag of nerves during last weekend. I'm now feeling more relaxed (until the next time). I dread those kinds of waiting times; procedures I can deal with, it's the not knowing that really gets to me.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Stuff Done

The past week has seemed filled with "stuff to do" that was not sufficiently interesting to write about at length: follow-up appointment with radiologist (skin all healed well after radiation treatments in August). Dentist appointment for a filling. Appointment for a CT scan to discover whether any changes have taken place for good or ill during past 6 months. Haven't had result yet. Letters and numerous garbled phone calls about my grant towards cost of Ibrance medication running out. Efforts made to obtain a fresh grant. Finding a way to fax our last tax return in relation to the grant issue. Having faxed it, more garbled phone calls in relation to same. I say "garbled" because most of the time I cannot understand what the person at the other end of the line is saying. They are usually carrying out lists of routine contacts, gabbling their lines at top speed. I thought that it was an accent problem, but no, my husband has the same difficulty. Nobody is taught how to speak on the phone, in a professional way, these days - or if they are, the lessons are soon forgotten!

Then it was Hallowe'en.

We had only two trick or treaters this year, one of whom was my husband's great-granddaughter, Serenity, with her grandparents. It seems that the old-fashioned Hallowe'en customs have, at last, been overtaken by more communal and organised dress-up occasions care of churches, schools or other societies. It was an unusually cold evening here too, which didn't entice young visitors travelling on foot. Here is great-granddaughter Serenity, with husband and I - he got all dressed up for the occasion too. :)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Various Goings On

The weather here in southern Oklahoma is, at last, after days of temperatures in the 80s, acting in more autumnal fashion. Today it's actually cool to cold outside - 49 degrees, windy with a storm in the offing. The trees haven't yet donned their fall colours, after a few more of these cooler nights, it'll happen.

In other news, a routine blood test on 16 October, to discover how the targeted therapy medications are affecting my blood quality, showed that the white cell count was below desired minimum - same for platelets. Oncologist told me to take a second week off the Ibrance capsules - these are routinely taken for 21 days with 7 days off each month. This time I had 14 days off. Blood test yesterday showed figures had bounced back to an acceptable level, so off I go again with the Ibrance. I'm to have a CT scan next week - to check whether much has changed for good or for ill since my last scans around 6 months ago. Not looking forward to that!

The problems I had in obtaining a refill of my pain medication last month happily did not recur this time. Our usual pharmacy has changed their wholesaler. The medications I take for pain-while-walking now come from a different generic manufacturer. I was worried that these might be even less effective than those I've been taking, but, though it's a little early to be sure, I do suspect that these might be a tad more effective.

Further afield, Brexit bumbles on...and on....and on. When, oh when, oh when will it end? The part of it all that affects me personally is the currency exchange rate, it affects my two pensions coming from the UK. The rate has been volatile for a couple or more years, diving down then up, down again etc, depending on what had been Boris Johnson's or Ms May's latest failed attempts at bringing about a deal.

In the USA the season known as "The Holidays" is almost upon us. I'm glad to be here, still, to see it once again! Hallowe'en decor has been showing up for the past few weeks in front yards - ghosties, ghoulies and long leggedy beasties, spider webs and know the drill. We now await the Trick or Treaters on 31st of the month. We had very few last year - disappointing, because it's fun to see the imaginative costumes the kids come up with, and the excitement on the faces of the littlest ones. Perhaps the custom is starting to go out of fashion, for one reason or another - safety, perhaps, and many communal organised Hallowe'en costume events. Next up: Thanksgiving on 28 November, followed by You-Know-What-mas, a month later.

On the knitting front, I'm using a big skein of pink "ombre" tinted yarn to make another, longer scarf. It's something I can pick up and just knit, without need to refer to a pattern. I love seeing the changing shades of pink appear, apropos of which, I noticed that my husband is reading "The Secret Lives of Colour" by Kassia St Clair. I shall read it too, when he's done with it. Back-cover blurb: "From the scarlet women to imperial purple, from the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, from kelly green to acid yellow, the surprising stories of colour run like a bright thread through our history." Several varieties of pink are investigated, for example: Baker-Miller Pink; Mountbatten Pink, Puce, Fuchsia; Shocking Pink, Fluorescent Pink, and Amaranth. Maybe some of those will appear in my scarf.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Dribs and Drabs

I don't have much news right now, so a few links to recent internet items I enjoyed:

As well as loving the sight of a wee bear's antics (Who's been playing on my staircase?") I learned a new word: 'parkour'. For anyone else who is as out of the modern word loop as I am, here's some information about that word:

Here's the article with a video included.

Bear Family Breaks Into Home And Cub Parkours Down The Staircase

A piece from Ian Welsh's blog might be of use to some of us - or even to all of us, in due course when, and if, things suddenly go haywire. (A general link to all of Ian Welsh's blog pages is among assorted links in the sidebar.)


The Sartorialist has been a daily stop on my internet wanderings for many years. Recently the blog's presentation style has changed. Now we can see beaucoup street fashion instead of just one or two pieces of the master photographer's work per day. Commenting is no longer available on the blog page, but probably remains available on other parts of the net, into which I do not venture (Facebook, Instagram and suchlike).

Just a peek at the slippers I had begun knitting at the time of my previous post. They are not particularly stylish, but they are warm and good enough for keeping the tootsies comfortable while watching TV on a winter evening. Decoration will be changed when I can find something better - or try to make a couple of pom-poms to attach.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Two Needles... of the Non-Medical Variety

The photograph is evidence of what I've been doing lately to keep myself occupied, instead of regularly scribbling on the blog. I had been wondering whether I would be able to remember how to knit - even how to cast on the stitches with which to knit! In my younger years I used to knit a lot, sewed too, and embroidered. I left it all behind with the coming of a home computer, back in England. This, of course, opened the door to the internet tempting me with lots of different things to do.

A week or two ago I found a free knitting pattern on the internet for the scarf you see around my neck in the photo. I bought the recommended yarn and knitting needles online.

I had first learned how to knit in junior school, back in Hull, England - at around 6 or 7 years old. We were taught how to knit a cover for a wooden coat hanger. My Mum kept my rather clumsy cherry red effort in use, in her wardrobe, during the rest of her life. Mum was an expert Fair Isle knitter - something she had done in the evenings and nights during the long war years - so many fearful hours in Hull, waiting for the Air Raid siren; waiting more eagerly for the "All Clear!" Eventually Mum was able to add a little finesse to my basic, clunky, knitting ability. I never did reach her level of skill and patience to knit the beautiful intricate patterns of Fair Isle such as she produced. I loved wearing the oft-admired sweaters she knitted for me.

It turns out that knitting, basic knitting at least, is bit like riding a bike - one of those things you never forget how to do. With yarn and needles to hand I cast on X number of stitches with never a thought of "Now - how do I do this?"

The pattern of the scarf in the photo, said to be easy enough for beginners, was called "English Rib", though I've seen similar patterns elsewhere under different names. Hardest thing to remember, for me, was "am I on Row One or Row Two?" (of the simple 2-row pattern). After a couple of errors I got the hang of it. The scarf was finished rather quickly, thanks to thick yarn and fat needles.

I've just begun the piece of knitting I'm holding in the photograph. It is going to develop (I hope) into slippers, from a pattern available, free, in numerous places on the internet. The basic pattern is said to be "decades old", and very easy to do as the slippers are knitted flat. Pattern suggests using two strands at once of a certain type of yarn, something likely to slow me down, along with the choice of slimmer needles, but will produce more sturdy slippers. We shall see. Perhaps there'll be a photo later on, as evenings grow cooler at last, attesting to the viability of flat-knit wool-warm slippers.

A few knit-wise words from other ladies:

“Advice for New Knitters - When choosing a pattern, look for ones that have words such as "simple", "basic", and "easy". If you see the words "intriguing", "challenging", or "intricate", look elsewhere. If you happen across a pattern that says "heirloom", slowly put down the pattern and back away. "Heirloom" is knitting code for "This pattern is so difficult that you would consider death a relief".”
― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.
“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.”
― Elizabeth Zimmerman.

“She was passionate about knitting because it allowed her to reach a state of peacefulness, and she loved to embroider because it let her express her creativity. Both activities were liberating. They allowed her to exist outside of time.”
― Laura Esquivel, Pierced by the Sun.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Grouch, Grumble, Whine....

A frustrating and tiring few days put me in a dark mood this week.

Acquiring a refill of my pain medication - a generic of the brand Norco - is becoming more difficult by the month. I obtained the paper prescription, signed in ink by my temporry oncologist, as required now by law when medications involving opioids are refilled. We took the prescription to the pharmacy we've used for the past 15 years. On being presented with the written prescription the rather unhelpful young lady at the drop-off counter told me "Sorry we can't fill that, we are getting a new wholesaler and we have none in stock. You'll have to go to another pharmacy." "Well", said I, "I could wait for a day or two, I still have a some tablets left. Would you have the medication available in a few days' time?" "No, we don't know when, or if, we'll have them". A bit fishy, that!

We drove to CVS pharmacy just across the road, to be told by a kindly young guy at their drop-off desk. "Sorry, we're all out of those tablets, people coming from the pharmacy across the road have cleaned us out. We might have some by early next week. I'd try Walgreens - not Walmart as they'd likely send you away as you're not a regular customer."

Onward to Walgreens. These pharmacy visits entail a fair amount of walking, and I, the painfully walking wounded one, was not delighted by the fact that pharmacy counters in the large stores are right at the back, farthest away from the entrances - so lots of painful steps for me. Even dosed up with the pain pills, using a quad-cane, walking far is not easy for me.

Walgreens, after checking my identity and Medicare details, seemed willing to fill my prescription. They were very busy - lines forming at the pick-up and drop-of counters all the time. They said to come back to pick up the tablets in around 45 minutes. We returned over an hour later. Medications not yet ready for me, so we decided to wait until the next day to collect - to avoid yet another trail to the back of the store that day. Later on, a phone call from the pharmacist at Walgreens told me that I would need the doctor's further authority for the number of pills required by the prescription. (I'd have thought that the prescription itself was that authority!) The doc had allowed for 8 tablets per day (for a month) instead of 6 per day. New regulations mean that extra authority from the doctor will be required for that amount of tablets. I told the pharmacist that, as I take only 6 tablets per day, could he please just fill the prescription for that amount? He agreed to do this, and changed the number of pills stated on the prescription. So, yet another trip to Walgreens the next day, though with rested legs.
At last, I had the tablets in my hot sticky hands. I say hot and sticky advisedly. It was around 95 degrees in town during these adventures, adding to my annoyance and discomfort.

I had hoped that Walgreens might deal with a different generic manufacturer than the one used by our usual pharmacy. Sadly no, that didn't happen - same generic manufacturer, who shall remain nameless. I am convinced, as are many people online, that the generic of Norco made by this particular manufacturer is not as effective as the brand medication itself, or pills made by several other generic manufacturers. It is thought, by regular users of this medication, that not long after December 2017, when panic erupted over deaths by addiction to opioids in the USA, especially in Oklahoma, the effectiveness of these tablets as pain relief medication took a nosedive. Those who had been taking the medication before and after the opioid crisis suspect that some manufacturers have adjusted make-up of these tablets, possibly by changing additional ingredients used in their manufacture. I suspect (a wild guess on my part) that the way the tablets were being used by addicts for purposes other than pain relief, may have been the reason for change. Addicts crushed the tablets. Perhaps some generic manufacturers added an ingredient to prevent easy crushing which, in turn, could also prevent proper digestion of the pain-relieving ingredients. So those of us who genuinely need pain relief go to the back of the queue, we don't matter!

Pain relief from the pills, for me, is minimal but better than nothing. Morphine at the strengths tried already brings even less relief. I'll be asking the temporary oncologist, next time I see him, if there's something else I could try. I'd buy the brand name Norco tablets, even just to try, if they weren't so ridiculously expensive - in the order of $500 + per month!

Whinge, whinge, grouch and grumble! A wheelchair beckons!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

2020 & All That

I've written next to nothing about the presidential election due in November 2020 - too many other things on my mind, I guess. Early this year, before medical issues for a second time snatched my attention, I did take a look at the natal charts of some likely Democratic contenders, even before they had announced their candidacies. I came to the conclusion that, of those I investigated, most likely to do well according to their natal charts and upcoming planetary transits, were Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker. My posts on the topic from earlier this year can be accessed via the label cloud in the sidebar (scroll way down); just click on "presidential candidates 2020". Many moons have passed since those posts. Elizabeth Warren is, indeed, as I + her natal chart suspected, doing well in the polls - second only to Joe Biden in most of them.

I came to the conclusion, early on, that my own preferred candidate, Bernie Sanders, will not be allowed anywhere near the Democratic nomination by the DNC - nor will my other favourite candidate Tulsi Gabbard. Sad, but true. It has been said that the DNC would rather see another Trump presidency than ever countenance a US President Bernie Sanders. This - THIS - is what is so wrong about politics in the USA, and in the UK these days come to that. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader there is equally vilified by many!

I'd not feel too badly about a president Warren with Booker as her VP, given the rest of the choices available. I shall now make Warren/Booker my prediction! I'd be surprised if Joe Biden can sustain his current lead - I rather hope not - he's just another Republican-lite in my estimation.

Of course, if I haven't shuffled off already by November 2020, I'll be 81 going on 82, and probably fixing to shuffle off before very much longer, so my feelings on this issue are somewhat irrelevant. I'd love to know how it all turns out though, and whether astrology worked well in this particular case.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What to Write About?

Time to write something - but what to write about? Nothing has changed much since my last update, in relation to medical matters. I have found, after brief experimenting, that medical marijuana tincture - a drop under the tongue, does help to increase my appetite and decrease any feelings of nausea - side effect of my two anti-cancer medications. That's a worthwhile finding - I'd like to put back some of the weight I've lost. No more vaping the MM though, until the current findings about vaping in general are clarified as to whether nicotine or THC (part of marijuana) are involved - could even be both, I suppose. Pain-when-walking remains my main bugbear. Pain relief from my pain medication is good for a short time only, once it has kicked in. Sometimes I think the relief is improving, but not consistently, the following day can bring it back seemingly worse than ever at times. The radiation oncologist said, in regard to this, that bones are not consistent. It's something to watch and note. Perhaps the improvements will, as time goes by, last longer and longer - this is what the oncologist suspects, and I can but hope!

News on a wider scale continues, for me, to revolve around the UK's pantomime known as Brexit, and the USA's pantomime known as President Donald Trump.

Brexit news and the current doings of Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson (aka Donald Trump lite), become more unbelievable by the day - even by the hour this week. I didn't believe anything could possibly make Donald Trump appear to be more presidential - but this week's doings in the UK did it for me! It took a lot though. On President Trump, there's a long-running thread at Quora asking:

I read through most of the thread but found most of the jokes a tad lame. Maybe my sense of humour has been lost along with my weight! This joke was the only one that managed to raise as much as a chuckle:

Trump is doing a meet-and-greet at a crowded venue and his security detail is being extra watchful. One of them is a new guy and he’s extra jumpy.

Suddenly, a gunman bursts from the crowd, aiming his weapon at the President. Pandemonium ensues. The rookie bodyguard screams “Mickey Mouse!!!” at the top of his voice and this startles the would be assassin to the point that his aim is off and the shot goes over Trump’s head.

Some bodyguards wrestle the assailant to the ground, while others hustle the President to safety. Disaster averted.

Later, during debriefing, the head of the security detail congratulates the rookie. Without his quick thinking, he tells him, the President might very well be dead.

“But I’m puzzled” he said. “Why on earth would you yell 'Mickey Mouse'?”

“I’m new”, explained the rookie, sheepishly. “I panicked. I meant to yell 'Donald! Duck!!'”