A Travellerspoint blog

Status of Blog - DOA?

Seems the family has moved to Facebook, as no one is really using this anymore

I still have a lot of interesting trips (mostly much more local!!!) - so may add more travel blogs time permitting. Obviously I'm a couple of years behind right now - not doing things, just writing about them...

I'm also having problems editing video's - once I stopped using my regular digital camera and moved up to an MPEG4 video camera, my laptop just doesn't have the horsepower to do the rendering necessary. So will try to upgrade computers eventually and can then start uploading video's again...

So anyway, the family blog idea seems to be dead. So far, I'm not crazy about FB, but will do my best. The kids seem to like it...

Posted by jl98584 18:27 Comments (0)

Thanksgiving at our place this year

a small gathering as Jeanette and Mom did not feel well

rain

Vivian and I had thanksgiving at our place this year. The day before Jeanette called to say she was ill and couldn't come, so Nick brought Mike's wife, Tiara up with him. Mike got to the condo a couple minutes before Nick, Amanda and Tiara came in, then Mike's other Mom, Ann came and finally our friend Tommie. We had a lovely dinner, minus the pumpkin pies Mom was going to bring. Actually, Melody had used the pumpkin pie filling Mom had gotten for pie the week before to feed the mobs of us at Jeanette's.

Vivian baked a beef briskett 24 hours, adding an apple butter glaze during the last part of the baking process. It was tender and tasty. She also cooked a turkey breast and two drumsticks for the traditionalists amongst us. Que did an experiment that turned out well, baked squash with quince. In addition, I cooked my usual twice baked potatoes and green beans with mushrooms and onions. Nick and Ann both brought apple pies and Michael (via Ann) brought the rolls, white, whole grain and the ever popular Hawaiian ones.

We all ate too much, took home a lot of leftovers and talked and talked. Later in the evening, some of us played the games Munchkins and Scategories. Tommie left to go home to her kitties and the rest of us went to bed for a good night's sleep.

Posted by drque 18:56 Archived in USA Tagged events Comments (0)

Mom's Stroke Recovery (5/4/09)

Everyone's grandma, Phylis, suffered a mild stroke on Nov 12th and is now learning what it's like to recover from a serious medical setback.

rain 47 °F

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Update - Mom has moved to Long Beach, CA
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I just realized what a terrible job I've been doing keeping up on the blog since finishing the RV Trip! So sorry. Anyway, Mom was feeling so down after her stroke there just didn't seem to be any way to cheer her up. It was cold and rainy one day and she refused to get out of bed, so I asked her if she'd rather move to LA where my brother Charlie had recently moved (Long beach actually). She was practically up and packing befoe we had a chance to discuss it! So a few days later I drove her down in the RV. She seems to be quite settled in, when I called her today she had just gotten out of the pool! So hope the sunshine helps cheer her up some, the beach probably doesn't hurt much either...

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As strokes go, this one wasn't too bad. She has some blurred vision, speach, and is weak, but none of the serious difficulties one often hears about with strokes. Still, it's a blow to one's confidence and independence (can't drive with the vision thing).

She had an occupational therapy and physical therapy assessement last Tuesday and did rather well overall. The occupational therapist says only one or two more appointments, mostly working on her vision and sense of touch. The physical therapist suggests 5 to 8 weeks, mostly to improve her leg strength and balance, after which she should be better off then before the stroke.

Art, Melody, Que, Vivian, Nick and Amenda, Michael Brown and Tiara all came by last weekend and helped build a walkway to the neighbors driveway and remodel her bathroom, making it easier to get in and out of the tub. She wanted very much to stay in her own apartment downstairs, but some of the doctors and nurses were concerned about the stairs. Since the neighbors garage is on the lower level, their driveway goes right down about level with her apartment, so there was only about 9 feet of lawn to traverse for her to be able to walk to the car (neighbor gave us permission to use the driveway), now replaced with a nice walkway. Since then, the physical therapist has OK'd her use of the stairs (even suggested it might help with her leg strength), but it will be nice to have the walkway for when she doesn't feel like using the stairs.

I suspect it's going to be very hard for her to not be able to drive. We'll just take it one day at a time and see where it takes us. Life takes it's turns and bumps and we just have to adjust.

You might find the following web booklet of interest. I have printed it out and will be using it as a resource here at home, along with some other research.

http://www.stroke.org/site/DocServer/hope_full.pdf?docID=921

One of the symptoms Mom complains about is that she occasionally has difficulty saying what she wants. This turns out to be a very common side affect of strokes and is a condition called "Aphasia", although her case is relatively mild. This also turns out to be one area where treatment can be quite successful! Mom's occupational therapist (OT) is considering recommending a speach therapist, but in the meantime the MayoClinic web site has information specifically to help family assist with Aphasia recovery.

When you are with Mom or communicating with her, please consider the following suggestions from Mayo Clinic:

- Simplify your sentences and slow down your pace.
- Allow the person time to talk.
- Don't finish sentences or correct errors.
- Keep conversations focused on one topic at a time.
- Reduce distracting noise in the environment.
- Keep paper and pencils or pens readily available.
- Write a key word or short sentence to help explain something.
- Help the person with aphasia create a book of words, pictures or photos to assist with conversation.
- Use drawings or gestures when you aren't understood.
- Involve the person with aphasia in conversations as much as possible.
- Check for comprehension or summarize what you've discussed

Mom may not need the paper, pencils and booklets as much as her case is so mild, but most of these suggestions wouldn't hurt us whether or not one's communications skills are impaired!

Posted by jl98584 21.11.2008 10:44 Tagged events Comments (0)

BACK TO KOREA

Our Trip So Far

Bob is teaching this fall semester at Sahmyook University, the current name of the small school we came to exactly 50 years ago. He's teaching 2 theology courses in the seminary. He's here Aug. 24-Dec. 24. I decided to come for a few weeks, not needing a visa for that, and not wanting to leave the house and yard and various tasks at home that long. I'm using his laptop, but tedious SquirrelMail for e-mail, and we don't have a lot of time to just sit and use the computer, but I'll now try to send you a report.

Bob is enjoying very much being back in Korea. He's always felt the years spent here were the best in his life and career, and he always feels deeply appreciated and respected here.

I had worried about getting here, as my sciatica got much worse after driving to TN and back in May for James's graduation (though I wanted to be there and would do it again). Three days before leaving, a friend who is a pain specialist, took me in and gave me an epidural steroid injection. The pain left, the moment he removed the needle. I was so happy, but then it came back as a result of the travel. When I left from South Beth, my checked suitacse was 62 pounds, and they said I'd need to remove 12 pounds and put them in my tote bag, or pay $50. I put 12 pounds of books and magazines into my tote bag, but also had my somewhat heavy camera bag to carry. And on a United flight one walks from one end of one O'Hare terminal to the other end of another. Then sitting on the flight and carrying it off in LAX didn't help, but Lyndon met me at baggage claim and took the suitcase. Again when we flew to Seoul, it was a long spell of sitting. I've continued to have some pain, though not quite as bad as before, and most days Celebrex and Tylenol will ease it.

Lyndon was in L.A. for a final concert weekend with the Phil, and the church member housing him in Glendale graciously took me in too. Lyndon and I tooled around southern CA the next day, doing a bunch of errands and eating in a nice Mexican restaurant. The next day we went to church in Glendale, and he had to get back to the orchestra, but I went with friends who ate at another Mexican restaurant, hoping to give him a nice farewell, but he couldn't join them. One of them then drove me to the home of friends from childhood, whose daughter from the Sacto area was visiting, and we had a great visit till Lyndon picked me up. That evening I went to a Phil concert in Disney Hall, the first I'd attend one there, and it was great--also L's last weekend there.

With more errands, and an afternoon concert for Lyndon, Sunday went quickly, and that evening our hostess and I met Lyndon at Disney and attended a wonderful concert by the L.A. Master Chorale, which friends on their board had told us about and urged us to attend. They insisted we meet them during intermission in the elite Founders Room, where a greeter had to find a coat for Lyndon before he could be admitted! It was fun, with some juice and nuts and cookies, and visiting with a few friends.

Monday Lyndon and I flew to SF and then on to Korea, where Bob and a driver met us. Beth and the girls had arrived from Wellington a few hours earlier and braved the subway out to the college. They stayed in a guestroom there 2 nights, and we did things together, and then they moved to a downtown hotel when the rest of the orchestra arrived. We still joined them there on Friday and all went to the Korean Folk Village, sort of a theme park to show what Korean life was like in the past--actually, how it was when we lived here, but no more. They came out here by subway for services the next day, and Lyndon played for the foreigners' SS here. Lyndon had to get back downtown, but the rest of us ate with some other guests from America and some school leaders (former students of ours) in the VIP room of the cafeteria. That evening Bob and I attended the Phil concert, with Sarah Chang, as soloist, in the Sejong Performing Arts Center downtown, after all 5 of us meeting Lyndon there and eating at a nearby Italian restaurant. On Sunday we joined them and some Korean friends who immigrated to Glendale years ago (and whose daughter, a former student of Lyndon's is subbing on violin on this Phil tour. They treated us to a wonderful buffet breakfast, with everything imaginable, at the hotel. The kids and the orchestra left Monday morning for Japan, then Singapore, then Hong Kong; and when the tour ends, his resignation is effective Nov. 1, after 17 years with them, and they fly back to NZ.

Bob and I have an apartment on campus, with all new appliances, though instructions are in Korean, and we haven't used the rice cooker, or the stove much (no pans or can opener), and the front-loading washer across the hall is hard to figure out. We've missed a few times, but have figured out how to get cold water and gentle spin, but it also dries, and one setting seems to end with damp clothes not dried (though we have a rack in the apartment), and the next one up seems to leave them quite hot and wrinkled. We generally eat dinner in the cafeteria, where we get a fair variety besides the brown rice with beans in it and the white rice. Breakfasts and suppers are easy in our room, with fruit, toast, dry cereal, and soymilk. The latter is very good, made at the SDA food factory. Dry cereal is available from a Costco not far away and from a HomePlus (another big warehouse store but with single items). These things were all unavailable, as was any bread we didn't make ourselves, 40-50 years ago. Now we can buy just about anything here.

It also has become the most wired country--Internet access, wireless, almost anywhere; cell phones, more per capita than any other country, just about everyone on the subway wearing ear buds. Growth is unbelievable. Our house and the neighbors' have been replaced by big apartment buildings for foreign faculty. Many large buildings are on campus. The gym has an Olympic pool, a bowling alley (which Rilla and Lynn enjoyed and introduced us to), a huge gym floor, exercise equipment of all kinds in several rooms, a pingpong room, and much more. The student center has a cafe, bookstore, etc. The Horticulture building has a greenhouse and more. They are now building the largest building, their third science building. A huge ad building was built since our last visit 4 years ago

Where only missionaries had cars before, now parking space is a problem, as many students and most faculty members have cars. The road from town to the entrance was a one-lane dirt road that washed out every summer in the rainy season; now it is a 6-lane highway, filled with traffic. The road used to take us past rice paddies and thatch-roofed houses into Seoul; now it is surrounded by high-rise apartments and businesses of all kinds. Bob has visited a number of the churches he helped found, with students; they then built small cement-block buildings about the size of Jeanette's living room; now some of those are on their 4th building since then, and are in huge churches with a sanctuary, large fellowship hall and kitchen, rooms for young people, and more. We actually don't get our bearings anywhere because we can't find any familiar landmarks. There was no subway when we were here, but now 7 lines crisscross Seoul and extend out from there quite a way. Ten buses owned by the university shuttle people continuously from campus to the stations just a few miles away, or public buses run also. One magnetic card works for all public transportation, swiping it when entering and exiting, and renewing it as needed at ticket offices (or by machine if we could figure them out).

When we came, the college was a 2-year ministerial training school with about 150 students. It is now a university with several majors, graduate degrees, even doctorates, and almost 6,000 students.

Monday we took the subway out of Seoul to another city where the food factory is. It has grown tremendously, too--begun as a small dairy here on campus, but now a large factory producing 300,000 liters of soymilk a day, plus other fake meat products. After the tour they gave us a nice gift bag of various flavors of soymilk--regular, high-calcium, tropical, strawberry, chocolate, sesame, black bean, etc. All are packaged in little boxes with attached straws, like juice boxes in the States.

We've spent some days just walking around downtown, taking pictures of the high-rise buildings and other interesting spots. (I think most days here I've walked 5-8 miles or so.) We've tried some of the restaurants--many available now, with various ethnic ones too. And there are the ubiquitous chains: Macdonald's, Burger King, KFC, Baskin-Robbins, Coldstone Creamery, and more.

One day last week 3 former students took us and a Korean couple visiting from the States (former students also) to Soeraksang NP in the northeast. I'd always wanted to see it, and Bob was there just once with students many years ago. It is beautiful, with rugged peaks, fall colors, etc. We hiked about 6 miles, I figured, up and down trails. We took a cable car up one high peak. We ate at a very nice park restaurant with a vegetarian buffet. On the way home we stopped for supper about an hour from campus, again with a buffet with a lot of vegetarian food. The men brought a breakfast that we ate in the car after they picked us up at 6:30. Driving was about 3 hours each way. These fellows rented an SUV, paid the gas, arranged for a driver, paid the entrance fees and cable-car tickets, paid for the meals. I'm sure it was all costly.

Last night a retired minister, who studied in the Philippines the year we were there, with his wife took us to dinner. The night before, a pastor who studied under Bob at AU for his doctorate, with his wife took us to another restaurant, and gave us a dress shirt and a silk scarf before we ate; they will also pick us up tomorrow for Bob to preach at their church, and we'll be fed there too. Others have done the same. We actually don't have many suppers in our room.

Last Sabbath we attended an interesting report on conditions in N. Korea.

Today a South African teacher of English here, who has been very friendly and helpful, went downtown with me. She'd taken me last week to a tailor she could recommend as fitting people well (I've had some bad experiences), so I ordered a black cashmere coat and a red alpaca/wool jacket. I went for a fitting today and will pick them up on Monday. She went to have him adjust a coat he'd made her 4 years ago, before she lost quite a bit of weight. Then we shopped for a few gift souvenirs and such, and we ended up at HomePlus, where we got a few food items and I bought a nice washable-wool sweater for about $15 (turtleneck, ribbed knitting, long-sleeved, very soft).

I will be leaving for home next Tuesday. I almost wish I'd planned to stay another week, as there is much more I'd like to see and do. A neighbor wrote that he'd gone into our house and watered the plants and inspected bathrooms and all, and all is fine, no leaks or anything.

Well, that may be more of a report than you wanted to wade through. But it really just scratches the surface.

Love,

M.

Posted by msj 23:43 Comments (1)

Stowe, Vermont

yes, it was very beautiful this year.

rain 51 °F

So there was a conference that I wanted to attend in Stowe, Vermont. Neither Vivian nor I had ever been to Vermont so we decided to go. The conference was held at the Inn at the Mountain about 6 miles uphill from the Village of Stowe. Everyone was saying that the leaves in the Stowe area were more colorful than they had been for several years. The trees in Burlington where we stayed the first night were about as colorful as the trees here in Seattle, a few just turning. We took the scenic route to Stowe, around Mt Mannering, the highest mountain in Vermont at about 4400 feet high. (Don't laugh, it did snow at the top Friday.) After leaving Jeffersonville where we had lunch at an odd little cafe where the French toast was on sour dough raisin bread and very good, but the Maple French toast was on baguettes sliced so thick they had to be deep fried, (I had the plain French on the recommendation of the waitress. She said the corned beef hash was from a can! Not to worry, we didn't have that either.) we drove toward Stowe. We did take a side road where there were some lovely trees and an enticing path which I followed for a little ways. We found some horses in a pasture by the road and stopped to take pix, of course. As we approached the pass, we entered a magical area with bare craggy black cliffs above and huge boulders laying all around under the trees. It's an area called Smuggler's Notch and in among the piles of stones if a hollow in the rocks where old time smugglers hid their booty from the revenuers.

We finally made it to the Inn at the Mountain, 5 hours from the time we left Burlington. We were still on Seattle time and we forgot to set the alarm clock the first night. Fortunately I had checked into the conference after we checked into the Inn so I didn't need to do it the next day. Although breakfast opened at 7 it lasted till 9 so I was able to eat before settling down at the session. It was a great conference. A couple of my old classmates were speakers and it was good to see them as they both moved East as soon as they graduated and I rarely get to see them. Some of us were talking afterwards one night and a Doc from Puerto Rico asked me when I was going to talk. At first I asked him when he would as he seems pretty knowlegable, but then I realised I did have a topic and actually told the guy who puts the conference on that I wanted to talk about cholesterol, the myths and the reality. He said it sounded great so I need to get an outline into the WTS people soonish. Oh boy!

The Saturday after the conference, we drove north to withi9n a mile of the Canadian border and turned left, toward Lake Champlain. We drove south through the islands in the north of the lake, eating lunch at the only place we could find food, a very nice deli called Hero's welcome on the south end of North hero Island, of course. We ate on a deck overlooking the water with a nice view of Vermont, including the "mountains". We made it back to Burlington by 3:30 Sat afternoon, tried to go out to dinner later, only to be told it was "parents weekend" and all the restaurants had at least a 45 minute wait. there wasn't even room to sit and eat at the bars! We ended up eating at Henry's diner, a small place with good diner food and way overworked wait staff because of the crowd that couldn't find anywhere else to go. We got up at 4 am sunday morning for our 6:30 am flight, flew 6 hours total and crashed when we got back. now its more or less back to as normal as we ever are...

Posted by drque 06.10.2008 19:05 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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