linaewen: (Packer Rodgers)
Hugs to those of you who have inquired about how I was faring as a result of the recent blizzard here in the Midwest.  <3

I think we had something like 20 inches dumped on us in our part of Chicago.  We closed the Center in advance of the storm, and are still closed today for the benefit of our volunteers who will have a difficult time getting up here -- and it's unlikely any South Asians will dare to venture out (if they can even open their doors for the drifts).  Folks from countries where snow is a novelty only seen in the mountains are not adventurous at this time of year -- and I don't blame them.  ;-)  I don't expect we'll see too many ladies wanting to learn English for awhile, even when we open again!

We enjoyed the blizzard (because we like snow) and relished the thunder snow (don't get to have that too often, even in Wisconsin).  And we appreciated being able to serve as the go-to people for dealing with Center-related issues that came up because of the snow, since we live only a block away and can get there on foot no matter how high the drifts happen to be,.  ;-)  Even with the place closed, we can still get over there and get caught up on some of the work that needs doing that doesn't involve opening it up to the public -- if we want to.

But those snow drifts I mentioned are still a barrier in other ways, and are contributing to our current frustration and irritation.  We have at least 3 feet of snow (that's aside from the drifted snow) on the street where we live -- not to mention all the other side streets in the vicinity -- and more in the alleys due to the wind, and even if we dug our car out, we wouldn't be able to drive anywhere.  We have heard that they will be plowing the side streets for a change (they normally never do, you just drive on top of the snow until it gets flattened), but when that will happen is anybody's guess.  We have a shovel, and we know how to use it, but I'm not sure we are up to shoveling a path several city blocks long...

The frustration is that we have plans to leave town on the weekend for a 5 day vacation from the work here.  (We're just coming off of a long bit of being indispensable due to staffing shortages, and another time like that is approaching when we'll pretty much be in charge and won't be able to get away until next month.)  But will we be able to get our car out and to a main street that will take us to the interstate by Saturday evening?  Who knows?  And if we get out, will we have a place to come back to when we return?

The DS up in Wisconsin fared pretty well -- he was plowed out by the city by 8 am on Wednesday and once he used the snow blower on the driveway, he was able to get to work on time.  Everyone knows that McDonald's doesn't close during blizzards, since that's when everyone decides they need to get out and buy burgers, so he had to get to work.  ;-)  He also kept a dentist appointment and was able to drive around without too much trouble, though he did have a wee fender bender that thankfully no one even cared about, it was so tiny.  They know how to do blizzards in Wisconsin!

I just heard on the news that they have begun plowing the side streets, so here's hoping they get to ours in the near future, so we can escape to Wisconsin in time to be on Cheesehead soil for the watching of the Super Bowl, the intended "kick off" of our vacation week!  \o/

Speaking of which, Go Pack Go!  ;-)

Watch this space for more snow and Packer-related updates, as well as some major catching up on my part (as I notice that the last time I posted here was in November....)
linaewen: (Star Trek Yay by stargater)
I'm back in Chicago after an extended time in Wisconsin, doing all kinds of things -- though my main reason for being there was my 35th high school class reunion.  It was a two-evening event, and we had a blast!  It was great seeing all my classmates, and we had a lovely time catching up.  Most of my closest growing-up-together friends were there, and we talked until we were blue in the face.  It was just a really good time.  :-)

Of course, I stayed up too late too many nights in a row and came down with a cold, but that's the way it goes!  So I have a rumbly cough now and a bit of a buzzy head.  But it's actually a relief in a way to have a real cough instead of that annoying one I have had for the past 6 months.  That one, btw, is dormant at the moment, due to taking another round of prednisone.  Nice to have some relief from that for now!  I'm going to the doctor for a physical soon, and we'll be sure to talk about the future of that situation.

Aside from the reunion, I got to spend time with other family and friends, and hang out in my old haunts a bit.  And I spent time with my DS for a day or two before coming back to Chicago.  DH was stuck down here the whole time by himself,  but he kept busy and was fine.

My Dear Husband is currently thinking hard about whether he should be going to Pakistan or not to help with getting relief efforts organized, particularly in the area where we used to live, which was pretty hard hit.  People with organizations that are collecting funds for aid are keen to have him help with that, as they need a rep like him who knows the people and the Pakistani staff who are doing the work now, and can assess the damage first hand and decide how funds should be distributed.  If he decides to do it, he'll probably need to go next month sometime.  It would only be a short term thing, but it's a significant decision!  Prayers and good thoughts on his behalf would be welcome!

It's time for breakfast, so I guess I better get a move on my day.  Have a good one, my dears!
linaewen: (Shikamaru Mendokusai)
Time for an update!  Think I'll use bullet form, as it's more concise.
  • I am royally sick of coughing.  As far as I can tell, the only time I've been cough free this year is when I'm taking prednisone.  I might resort to that one more time before I see my doc next month, since I have a refill and since the coughing is getting to be pretty much unbearable.  I thought it was improving there for awhile, but either I was mistaken or the cough changed its mind and came back with friends.
  •  
  • The latest update from Pakistan is that those friends of ours who have lost their homes are going to be moving in to the housing on the compound where we used to live.  So our empty house will be useful again, yay!  Seems like there is more rain coming up north, and that will swell the river again and the whole mess could start all over.  :-(  I'm praying otherwise!
  •  
  • I just got back from a trip to New Jersey for a conference that was a nice break and a good time of visiting people we don't see often -- it would have been more relaxing if I could have coughed less throughout!
  •  
  • I am getting organized to go to Wisconsin for a week, partly to touch base with my dad and my son, but also to attend my 35th class reunion.  I'm really looking forward to that, it will be fun!  I had a great time at the last one, and I don't expect it to be any different this time around.  I'm looking forward to see friends I haven't seen for years, as well as the ones that I see every time I visit my home town.
  •  
  • The deadline for the Finish-a-thon I am taking part in, trying to get some more chapters written on Lords of Gondor, is coming up on Friday.  I am afraid I'm not going to make it, though I will go down trying.  I committed to 8,000 words, and I have only produced 2,000 so far -- though there is at least one chapter brewing that should be ready this week and which will up the count a bit.  Hopefully I'll have some time to work on this goal AND have the concentration it takes to actually stick to it to try to make it happen.  Concentration is rather lacking these days.  ;-)
Well, I have to get organized to go supervise some English students.  Hopefully there will be enough teachers available today that I won't have to teach.  I"m allergic to teaching these days, since it makes me cough.  ;-)
linaewen: (Packer Rodgers)
I was so worn out from the block party last week that I decided to give myself a whole week in Wisconsin instead of just a flying whirlwind of a trip like usual.  I had scheduled my annual physical for Monday, and anticipated having to get some of the required lab work done over the course of the week, anyway, so that was a good excuse!  So here I am, enjoying cool weather, yard work, time with my son, and not too many responsibilities -- except to get my lab work done and do a bit of housework, and of course, catching all the Packer preseason football I can while I'm in range of television stations that broadcast the games!  :-D


I had my physical on Monday, and it went very well.  I really like my doctor.  It was a bit "haphazard" in the way we conducted things, but that's the way he is, and it really is kind of "family-like" -- if you know what I mean!  Even so, we got everything discussed that I wanted to.

I'm having blood work done, no results on that yet.  Didn't get my cholesterol checked, as I had it done a few years ago, and my doctor says it's truly the best good cholesterol number he's ever seen.  According to him, with cholesterol like that, I'll never have a heart attack.  ;-)

My BP is up a bit, enough that he doesn't like it, but doesn't want to do anything about it yet as it may be a fluke.  So I have to monitor it for awhile, and really work at losing weight, which will probably fix anything that needs fixing.  My weight is up, which I already knew -- I'm really trying to be good at sticking to WeightWatchers now.  DH is also unhappy with his weight -- even though he hardly needs to be, but he knows how he feels -- so we are going to work together to have set mealtimes and try to eat less often on Pakistani time (ie, evening meal at 8 or 9 pm!).  Of course, we both need more exercise, which is something that has been very hard for me lately, due to my injuries.

The word on my leg which I did something to in June (doing yard work!) is that the doc says it is healing, though it could take a whole year for it to stop feeling uncomfortable.  I'm actually comfortable with it as it is, because it is a lot better, and I know how to be careful and when to use a brace on my knee so that's not going to slow me down any longer.  The bruised knee from falling at the block party is almost back to normal now so that is good.

The doc took an xray of my foot that has been hurting so much (probably from one of those falls I had this month, sigh!) and there is nothing to be seen that is wrong with it, so that is comforting.  He said it is probably a soft tissue injury, and he gave me a brace to wear on it when I am going to be on my feet.  It's just a simple lightweight thing with elastic straps and velcro that fits on like a shoe, but boy, does it help!  I really can walk around without pain for a long time wearing that brace!  And it doesn't cut off my circulation or make my leg swell, if I don't wear it too tight.  I'm very pleased.

I have to go tomorrow to get a mammogram (fun, eh?) and a bone density scan.  I had one of those ages ago, and the doc thought it was time for another.  I'll be interested in seeing what it turns up, since there's osteoperosis in the family, and I really don't want to have to deal with that -- so knowing what is happening will be good.

I got word from my brother about a health situation with my dad that is somewhat concerning.  He's had a lot of trouble with skin cancer in his later years (probably due to work he did as a young man when he was getting a master's degree in plant pathology and was using radioactive stuff and arsenic in his research, of all things).  Particularly troublesome have been his ears -- he's had parts of them trimmed thoroughly to remove skin cancer growths.  The newest development is that  he has a spot that is squamous cell cancer, I believe they call it -- which requires radiation treatment.  My brother took him in today to get fitted for some kind of a mold/mask and to have a set-up/test run, but they ended up going ahead and giving him the first treatment.  He'll have 16 more, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for about the next six weeks.

I talked to my brother tonight (with my dad calling out jokes in the background), and he sounded really good with it, so that's very cool!  My brother being calm about something like this is a miracle itself, he's usually pretty stressed out about everything and then some.  Even so, I'm sure it's going to get old fast for him to take off work to drive my dad to Dubuque (IA) three days a week.  Fortunately his job is very flexible that way -- and it's not that far, about 40 minutes drive from where they live -- but it's still a pain.  I plan to help when I can, by visiting and doing some of the driving and caring for Dad -- especially making sure he eats right during his treatment!  Dad is really very healthy right now, for his age (84), so that's a plus!  Though they did say he could do with some fattening up...

Anyway, that's my news!

In parting, I shall leave you with this fascinating observation I have recently made -- the cicadas in Wisconsin are very quiet and sedate, while the cicadas in Chicago are very loud and strident.  I wonder if they are two different varieties?  This calls for some research!  :-D

linaewen: (Tigger Writing)
We had a lovely 10 day visit up to Wisconsin that included the Mother's Day weekend.  We worked hard, though!  We had the interesting situation of being without running water in our house for a number of days, as the DH was reworking the water pipes in preparation placing a new furnace and finishing the basement so DS can have a bigger room for himself.  But it was kind of fun to be dipping water out of buckets and heating it on the stove -- it brought back fond memories of life in Pakistan.  We had to do that plenty often in the summers when the city ran out of water because it hadn't rained enough.  At least this time we didn't have to haul it from a spring -- we just collected as much as we could in as many containers as we could scrape together, and it was enough.

The visit to my dad over Mother's Day was excellent.  He is doing well, in all ways.  We visited my mom, too -- and it was lovely day to be in the cemetery, placing flowers.

We are back in Chicago now, and the weather is finally beginning to be springlike, instead of threatening to go back to winter.  Looks like we might even have summer this week, for a change.  I imagine we'll be wishing for that cool breeze to return before long, but for now, the warm one is very pleasant.  I really like being able to have the windows open!  We get such a lovely breeze through our apartment that it's as good as being outside.

So after a good year of really not being very inclined to write, no matter how much I tried, my Muse has returned with a vengeance.  The other day I took out an old thing I had worked on a couple of years ago, and decided I wanted to finish it.  I had actually finished it when I first wrote it up way back when, but I decided I wanted to redo the last two chapters -- and it took me years to get around to that!

It's Boromir, of course!  I see it as a bit of a companion piece to Lords of Gondor, but it also can stand on its own, I think.  I am posting it chapter by chapter in other places, but here it is all together:

A Blade for the Battle )

~*~*~*~

Thanks for reading!  Hopefully, this isn't the extent of my Muse prodding.  I'd like to see progress on some of my other stalled tales as well.  It's quite embarrassing to look and see what the date was when I last update on some of those stories...  ;-)

linaewen: (Sunflower by JunoMagic)
Ah, I love the weather in the Midwest, it's never the same two days in a row.  ;-)

Yesterday was rainy and grey and rather depressing-looking -- except that it was 55 degrees and sooo warm, it was hard not to think of spring.  Today, it's barely 20 degrees, and it feels like less than that with the wind -- but the sun is shining so brightly and the sky is so blue, I just have to get out and go for a walk today!!

It was like that over the weekend, also, though we had a few days of sun and warm together.  It rained a lot, too, and that means flooding in our area of Wisconsin.  I was up there visiting my various family members, and got to see some lovely stretches of flooded fields and riverbanks as I drove to and fro.  I am thankful our house up there is on a ridge and not near the river!  Flooding is a real problem along that river, though -- the internet weather report has daily severe weather alerts for flooding rather than snow or thunderstorms!

It's always good to go up to Wisconsin to visit my DS, and this time I got over to where my dad lives and visited him, too -- which usually encompasses seeing the rest of my family, since they all live in the area.  So it was a nice, nice weekend.  It's also good to be back down in Chicago with the DH.  It's really a blessing to be able to go to and fro so often and to be happy wherever I end up!

One of my main jobs down here in Chicago is to teach English to South Asian immigrants.  I'm not really trained in ESL, though I seem to be able to manage to do all right, at least when it's one on one.  It's a little more tricky in a classroom situation.  I am going to an ESL seminar next month to learn a few tricks, and I am seriously considering taking some classes somewhere and getting some kind of certificate in the subject.  Hope it's not too late for this old dog to learn some new tricks.  ;-)
linaewen: (Bear Sad by wizzicons)
We are having quite a time here in Wisconsin.  The rain and storms just won't quit!  After the weekend, I think it is supposed to let up and the sun will come out for awhile, but we have to get through the weekend first.

The city I live in is on the Rock River, which is bracing for what they call a hundred year flood this weekend.  That means they haven't had flooding like this in a century.  It doesn't impact us personally as far as our own home is concerned, because we are well above the flood plain -- we aren't even having any trouble in our basement.  But there are numerous bridges that link one side of town to the other and they could be impacted -- my DS drives across the river daily to get to his job at McDonalds and the public library is located right on the river and is likely in some danger at this point.

The county where my dad and brother live was one of Wisconsin's hardest hit areas yesterday.  Their city is surrounded by a ring of small towns that are now under water and have damage from possible tornadoes, and many of the roads are blocked due to flooding.  It was even worse further to the north, where entire towns have been evacuated, many fields of new crops are destroyed, and the Interstate is closed due to flooding and damage.  My dad is fine, thankfully, and they don't have any extra water in the basement that I know of -- the city is on higher ground than the surrounding villages.

http://www.madison.com/tct/news//291309

A typical conversation around Wisconsin has one person commenting on how much it has rained recently, and the other person agreeing, but then invariably commenting, "But we sure do need it!"

I think it's safe to say there won't be too many folks around here thinking we need more rain at this point!  ;-)

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