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Concerned Citizen and a Serial Entrepreneur wrapped in a progressive democratic soul longing for us all to get along.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010 Pay it forward!!!

It's the last day of the year 2010; the very last day of the decade and we've just begun...

It's a day of reminiscence and a day of resolutions.  
A day of thanks and a day of wishes for the future.  
A day of forgiveness and a day of hope.  
A day of regret and a day to begin anew.  
A day of joy and a day of peace.  
A day that will only happen once in our lifetimes.  

Carpe diem!!!

Our lives are intertwined.  When we act, that action ultimately causes an effect which affects others which transcends through the world we live in.  Think of it as a ripple in the ocean which causes a wave which reaches around the world.

We are all essentially good people.  We embrace the Golden Rule:  

"Do Unto Others as You Would Have Others Do Unto You"

This new year think about "Paying it Forward".  Do something nice for the next person in line.  Pay a toll for the next car in line.  Pay a compliment to a homeless person.  It doesn't have to be big gestures... just think about it each day and we WILL change the world.

                CARPE DIEM and then, PAY IT FORWARD!!!!

                                   HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blue Shield Strikes Again

Next stop:  Congress

We need to contact our legislators and apprise them that this is not acceptable!  I will do that immediately.  Will you?

Here's the letter I sent to Senators Feinstein, Boxer and Congressman Farr:

We need your help.  I just awoke in the middle of the night with the realization that our Blue Shield insurance premiums have just increased by 21.25% since Oct. 2010.  Our newest increase will hit Mar. 1st, 2011  which translates to a 21.25% increase in 5 months.  Last year we suffered a 40% premium increase.  Who can possibly justify these increases?  Yes, we still have insurance but at what cost?  We have insurance for a reason.  We buy insurance to ensure against catastrophic illness.  Well guess what?  That time is now!!!

My husband is fighting for his life.  We are self employed.  I am a Realtor and my husband is a General Contractor who is no longer able to work.  Tracy was diagnosed on Oct. 15, 2010 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in addition to his Chronic Leukocytic Lymphoma.  He is undergoing treatment at Stanford.  Thank God we are still insured but at what cost?!!!

How do we working people survive?  I am sole caregiver, chief bottle washer and a Realtor.  This has been the toughest year of my life.  Where do we turn for help?  What is the alternative? The Health Care Reform Bill was decimated.   We can turn to a government sponsored high risk pool BUT only if we have been uninsured for 6 months.  My husband won't be alive without treatment in 6 months.  What happened to no more than 14% annual increases?  Where do we turn?

Please don't send me a form letter response.  I have been a very active Democrat all of my life.  I have worked very hard in the election cycles and am an elected member of the Democratic Central Committee of Santa Cruz County.  I am also an elected Director of the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors.  I need real help as do most Americans in this economy.  We need your help.  Please advise.

We are gonna make it but I believe I was put in this position to fight for all those people who don't know how to fight for what's right in the light of so much adversity.  Please tell me what I should be doing to shed light and focus on health care reform.  This needs to be focussed on along with the millionaires need for tax breaks.  I will speak publicly, testify in front of Congress and do anything that will bring pressure to bear.  

Now it's your turn!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday & Wednesday, December 28th & 29th

What a difference a day makes....24 little hours...keeps running through my head.  In one day how many conversations, quips, jokes, double entendres, sarcastic remarks, truths, exaggerations and white lies do you think we trade in?   As I look back at Tuesday and Wednesday, I wonder what it all means... yet it's the fabric of our lives.  Every interaction, no matter how small or how deep... every email, voicemail, banter or heart to heart is how we interact with the world around us and what gets through gives it meaning.  You know the saying "we are what we eat"?  Well, we are what we say and do too and the last couple of days have been building.  Tracy is becoming Tracy... he drove yesterday for the first time in months...he has his sense of humor... that quick wit responding to what he hears and sees...he's had a few hard nights but he awakes with a renewed sense of who he is and he's all in... he's ready, willing and able...

Yesterday we both did our respective things.  I went to my office meeting and worked & T fixed my listing sign on the Westside and took Riley to the dog park.  OMG!!! He is back!! After, we met up at home and cuddled.  Today was another day at Stanford, my weekly listing visit and all our other errands all the way home... Neupogen shot, dinner and a movie and time to dream... to sleep and renew and refresh...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today is Monday, December 27th

Tracy is still losing weight!!  He's down to 228 lbs.!1  So he was actually losing body weight cause he hadn't been able to retain any nutrition at all for the 3 weeks he was gaining all that water weight...  He's eating very healthy foods now and gradually testing his ability to tolerate different things.  He adds new items in gradually to see his reaction to it.  He's going to try his beloved cream cheese on toast tomorrow... just once to see if he can manage it.  We'll see...  T is also testing himself.  He says he feels capable of driving so, he's gonna try that tomorrow too.  Wow!  He'll take Riley along in his blue bomber and change out my listing sign on the Westside since the weather did a number on it.  He wants to do it!

Life brings new challenges and opportunities all the time.  As Mom would say,  "When someone knocks on the door, answer it!"  So, today was very interesting.  Each time the phone rang, the call was another new slant on things.  Three different ways of looking at three different deals emerged today.  Each one presented as a new slant on how to successfully work out the challenges.  Building on the existing position to flesh out a winner is always the key to finding the solution.  Patience has been the key to Real Estate this year.   So, we'll see in the next few days how it all pans out.

I took the opportunity to hang out at home today.  I enjoyed working and then, unwinding with a book.  Dave Pascal turned me on to David Rosenfelt and now I'm reading every one of his books... can't seem to put them down.. he's funny and sarcastically amusing in an adorably East coast way of spinning a tale about a lawyer, his sidekick dog, his love life and always an interesting case of who done it... then, more calls and some crocheting... all the while feeding from our trough of wonderful food choices... Carla's tasty Italian wedding soup was a highlight and Lila stopped by with a gorgeous filet mignon (tomorrow's dinner) and a goody bag of items to keep me healthy; Airborne, pink grapefruit hand cleaner, L'Occitane shea butter & soap and of course dark chocolate.

Then, while enjoying a pizza, the ultimate football challenge, the Saints vs the Falcons, a rivalry worth watching as Drew Brees finally triumphed over Atlanta!! Yahoo!  On to the mounting of Dale Culhuly exhibits as I got carried away crocheting T's beret...until it looked remarkably like with the addition of a few Rastafarian braids he could play a steel drum in a Reggae band so, ultimately, I ripped most of it out and changed gears.  I picked up on a gift scarf that I'd started and worked on it until it was time for bed.

A diverse and quite interesting day as my honey evolves...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today is Sunday, December 26th

Today was all about rest and recharging our batteries...  time to catch up on three days worth of 2 daily newspapers;  the Sentinel & the Mercury News. The comics are better in the Mercury but the Sentinel carries our local news...so sometimes they stack up and I can't stand to just chuck them...guess I'm afraid I might miss something... of course that's my attitude about life in general... I just don't want to miss a thing.  

So, on this stunningly gorgeous Rio Del Mar day... we set up our slug stations (crocheting, iPhone and remote controlled non-stop football) and watched the abysmal 49er loss and the Giants fall from grace....while taking food breaks....mountains of left overs to share.   When the third game was cancelled due to weather, T, Riley & I strolled the neighborhood and enjoyed the last remnants of sun. Back to a few Netflix movies, shared shower (T is down to 230 lbs.) and a good book... what a great day and a wonderful way to finish off a jam packed holiday weekend!!!  

Christmas comes but once a year

Rain battered the coast and the hearty soldiered on, after all it wasn't snowing... 
Christmas, a time for gathering family and friends and rewarding ourselves with sweets and treats.  We awoke to the sound of pelting rain and were slow to leave the cozy warmth of our nest.  Riley was content nuzzling between us, neglecting his new buddy for awhile.  Family calls and one more round of chocolate making before we ventured to the Whitnick's for dinner and merry making.

Dinner was a joyous, raucous symphony of family, gathering to eat and play with each other once again... what a treat... to see our loved ones two days in a row?!  The food was delicious and the tale telling was provocative... a certain someone should send the barbie and be done with it!  Ah what a wonderful tribe we are!  Di & Mike, Carla, Lea & Hayley, Tim and Deb & Gar all spinning snippets of memories and even some of the political snafus of yore...  laughing and teasing our way to dessert.   meanwhile the poor cell reception caused havoc with Johnny's call and texted photos but ultimately forcing us all to shut off our phones and be present...  The photos would be a source of joy later on... 

Holiday cards are such a wonderful tradition... a chance to update all you know on what you've been up to for the previous year.  Next year, ours will be a color photo of us in fantastic hip garb from some mysterious magical place and our grins will be ear to ear... seriously tho', I love receiving those glossy photos and sometimes even personalized notes, remarking on how the kids have grown and how wonderful everyone looks ... I just never seem to get it together to actually reproduce a photo with a card in time to send it before the holiday... love seeing them tho' and they're always a joy, cause for a moment to reflect on just how blessed we truly are...  

Thank you my Lord for family, friends, luck, love and health and the ability to share...

                  GOD BLESS US EVERYONE!!!! 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas one and all!!!!

Christmas Eve brought the McAnelli's, the Whitnick's, the JayLou's and the Reed's together for an evening of family fun and frolic...  after hours of chocolate making (replenishing the dark chocolate supply for production to begin) we loaded up our sleigh (the hybrid model) and swooshed through hill and dale to merry old but verrry chichi Saratoga town. 

The Reed's happy hamlet was warm and inviting and exceedingly jolly cause old Saint Nick had already been under their tree...  all those fandangle gadgets intrigue us golden oldies and it only took 3 brilliant men to figure out how to play a CD... but they did it and Saint Nick would be proud...listening to the blues rather than the headbanger tunes of yore, settling in to enjoy sweet fresh dungeness crab, avocado embellished salad treats and crusty French bread and a few good reds...we shared many tales and gales of laughter would be heard and the family was once more.... 

unwrapping the foil we found many toys and this special one for Riley from Jayne...  Thank you our friends, our family & Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Today is Thursday, December 23rd

So many blessings in oh so many ways...  Many times today, I fought back tears of joy...the day started out like any other day.  Oatmeal, toast, coffee & juice, retrieval of the papers and removal of a bag or two of Riley's presents from our neighbors lawns.  Glaring difference? Tracy was there... acknowledging the gorgeous sunshine, pointing out where Riley had hidden his deposit, reveling in the ordinary, quite real details of our lives.

Before I'd drifted off to sleep last night, I'd emailed Janell, the Archangel of the Madeiros team, about the absence of Neupogen arriving at our door.  First order of business this morning, Janell started wrangling with Caremark, the prescription mail order and ultimately Blue Shield.  Caremark called me to verify the details of a Friday delivery.  I just wasn't convinced it was going to be this Friday.  Tracy needed to keep on schedule with his Neupogen shots and he'd used up his supply.  So, Janell and I were in agreement.  We both didn't trust that Friday delivery was a real possibility.  So, 19 emails later... Janell went from requesting authorization for 2 injections, today, 12/23 & Saturday, 12/25.... to Insurance not authorizing out-patient injections while processing a self-administration prescription! ... to canceling the entire order for self-administration Neupogen in order to start auth process for T to go to Stanford every mon/wed/fri - - to getting Caremark to allow an over-ride either:  1) two doses of Neopogen that we could pick up at Walgreens for self administration or 2) administration of Neupogen for two doses in the out-patient ITA (Infusion treatment area).  Last ditch option: ITA would require us to sign a PAFR (don't know or care what the acronym stands for but bottom line:  we would be financially responsible if insurance were to deny payment).  AI YI YI!!!! IT'S SO WRONG!!!  THIS IS PRECISELY WHY WE HAVE INSURANCE !!!  I made the decision that we would NOT sign for financial responsibility since the implications for future would screw us permanently and the cost was $1330 for 2 shots!!!  Lamenting why Caremark delayed delivery in the first place...all the time mumbling my mantra, "we need health care reform now!!!!" Janell at long last prevailed with "Override to pick up all 10 at the Cancer Center Walgreens!" sweet music to our battered ears... Playing poker is no way to start any morning...but quite a fight to get the juices rolling...I wrote a card of thanks and attached a box of sweets and set off to thank Janell, our angel of mercy, hopefully, in person, while T was at the Stanford ITA . Janell happened by...we hugged and lamented the sorry state of our insurance obstacles and struggles and rejoiced at Janell's imminent holiday retreat at the lake... she certainly deserved a vacation!!  second thought so do I !!!!  

Greatest of news!!  Tracy has lost a total of 30 lbs of water weight in the last week and a half and his white cell count is 8.7!!!!!  Normal is a range of 4-11...  T is no longer my Pillsbury Doughboy.  Boy, wouldn't I like to drop weight that quickly?!!!  T must continue to push proteins, watch his surroundings and get centered, strong and healthy so, in 3 weeks the next round of treatment can begin and won't batter the hell out of him.

So, while we were working through the BS debacle... the listing agent rang... fishing around to see if we could come to an agreement.  I love this part of any deal... the art of putting the pieces together, completing the puzzle and fulfilling someone's dream...I referenced a home that had just closed which drove home the sanity of our offer and emailed the proof.  We'll see... one never knows until the ink is dry on the agreement but it sure is fun!  We also got the paperwork off to the bank on my S'vale listing and we're still waiting on Janet's deal; a response would be nice on Barry's pursuit of the elusive Prunedale cutie... so much of real estate is patience and unrelenting chase...  

After a stop at Michael's for a beret pattern for my honey and more yarn... we cruised home... to meet vivacious Lila with a glass of red and a love story or two at long last... she was bringing dinner (steak, Glaum eggs, yams, oranges, chips & guacamole) and it was a wonderful finish to another eventful day in our lives....

 I am so thankful for our family, friends, meaningful work, our home, Riley and most of all... Tracy is truly on the road to recovery... T is becoming.... he's alive ...

Our lives are shaped by finding our way through life's lessons... it's all about the journey, baby!!!  Carpe diem...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today is Wednesday, December 22nd

Oh man when you're hot...ride it for all it's worth!!!  T only had one sweat last night and he lost 30 lbs. that's right! 30 lbs.!!! YAH!!! 

So, my man & I went our separate ways after French toast & bacon brunch.  I was off to the office to pick up the bank's Addendum and to check up on the other deals that were cooking... several hours and non stop talking...off to our Scotts Valley office to meet the Buyer's Agent for my Sunnyvale listing to exchange paperwork.  What a fabulous office and sooo welcoming.. and a chance to visit with my bud, Lorraine before the holiday break.  Back to drop off the paperwork and finally, home to see my honey...

Lo and behold!!  Tracy had started the soup and he was waiting on me... guess who was on the Wii today?  T did the obstacle course, marching and strength training AND he took down our sign on my 118 Granada listing across the street AND he returned Billy's glass pie dish to Evelyn's along with our profuse thanks for an awesome lemon meringue pie!!!  T was a busy guy today!!!  He's back, and he seems sooo much happier... a smile that melts my heart... 

Keep that white light coming please...IT'S WORKING!!!!!

Tuesday, December 21st

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..da ta da da da... keeps running through my head...Our home has become a warm and cozy refuge with lots of fun Christmas things to look at...there's the stuffed polar bears of all sizes and persuasions on the hearth waiting for a misguided Santa to try and come down our chimney insert to visit and fill our teddy bear stockings...Luxurious creamy white & gold Santa stands all aglow on the bar amongst truffles and sweet mint chocolates and our tree, alight all day now, decorated with many diverse glass ornaments from our collective past... and for awhile, each passing of our happy hound Riley's long whipping tail would annihilate a large glass bulb hanging at the bottom of the tree... Solution:  move the very large ornaments up higher and fasten them on tighter AND  keep the dustpan and broom handy.... after all, the centerpiece carries many back up bulbs...

So, Tracy had had intense night sweats, 5 or 6... he lost count and was pretty worn out on Tues. morning... I marshaled the forces and made breakfast... tried to get him to eat a banana along with his oatmeal but he wasn't having it.... he settled in with the paper and I cruised to my office meeting a little tardy but in time to hear an unsolicited report from a pillar of our real estate family speak from his heart about our brokerage and our profession.  Inspired and energized, I ran to the Mall for a gift for my T (T says he has an excuse this year, I say his fingers aren't broken) before heading to the office.  I had lots on my mind and was able to carve out some time with Robert Bailey, my broker, (a new Blog follower) to discuss them...  I had mentioned the idea of retiring to T and he'd said, "Please, don't!"  he couldn't handle my full time attention and it would drive me crazy not to do what I love....so, lots of ideas tossed around about branding and training and our profession in general and while we were jawing, one of my favorite clients emailed to see if the house he'd made several offers on was still available.... so, we sent another Addendum reiterating the last offer, timing is everything... another offer had come in... we'll see if that one sticks...  Lots of back and forth on my listings and still waiting on an offer for the Corralitos haven...  

The sun had set and Lila was bringing over a dungeness crab & some veggies & bread and since I'd skipped lunch, I was ready for claw snapping and a full glass of red...  T & I showered and watched Zeva and Good Wife while I wrote out some more holiday cards... at long last ...  the soft sounds of rain relaxed our minds and we welcomed sleep...

T & Riley, the Bed Hog

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Catching up Sat, Sun and it's now Monday, Dec. 20th

AI YI YI!!!  What a jam packed weekend!!!  I'm trying to catch up.  Saturday started out with Tracy's lymphatic drainage massage by Sonja and some enlightening layman info on Tracy's maladies... a reminder to put his pressure stockings on and back to Rio Del Mar... stopped at CVS for T's meds and once again, Blue Shield is playing games.  They want Bruno to justify why he's prescribed Neupogen.  So, once again I emailed Janell and asked for her capable help.  She'll get on it on Mon. 

I held my last open house of the year at 118 Granada Dr.  Even in that horrible weather,  I had a constant stream of viewings.  Afterwards, I toured a gorgeous Seascape condo, so I could work up a comparative marketing analysis for a new client going through a divorce.  Then a visit with my dear friend, Fran and a stop at Pat & John's holiday party.... home to cook dinner for T & I and on to bed... totally done in... 

Sunday, I slept in and then, as T put it... I learned Chinese Mongolese... I attempted to intuitively learn how to set up our new portable bedside phones and finally, gave up and read the manual.  An hour later, I made my way to the kitchen and made French toast & bacon for brunch.  Many phone calls later,  I went to Lila's holiday party with the intent to stay a few minutes which turned into hours, chatting and catching up with my friends.... home and I roasted a chicken with lemon & garlic, leeks, zucchini, onions & red potatoes in our clay pot ... collapsed into bed... Tracy is starting to look pretty good.. he's back down to 235 lbs.!!!  the stockings are helping his agility and his ability to walk!!! Amen, I say!!

Monday, I had all good intentions... Tracy made scrambled eggs & bacon for us... he's stopped taking lasix and he seems sooo much better.  I'm excited to say he's almost back to being Tracy... sense of humor has arrived!!!

I worked most of the day at home... checking in on Tracy and completing lots of work stuff.. and then, the call to Blue Shield... much hold & talk time later, we resolved some more EOB's, BUT only after I faxed ANOTHER authorization signed by Tracy allowing me to do what I have continually done for years...managed our health care.  It's just more BS!!!  Then, the call from our angel, Janell... she figured out how to get Tracy the Neupogen... they ordered it by mail and it will be delivered to our home... go figure!!!  So, I finished up most of my work by about 6:30 and Tracy had heated up the organic soup our neighbor, Debi had brought over and we sat down to dinner.  Dessert was lemon meringue pie by Billy...mmmmmm!!!  Then, caught up on the paper and shower with T, lathered up his almost back to shapely legs and put on his pressure stockings once more...he's sleeping and I'm finally at long last, calling it a night... it's 12:37 AM... all is well here in Rio Del Mar....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Today is Friday, December 17th

Tracy corrected our contracted name yesterday.  It should read McAnelli!!!  Makes much more sense!  More later... I'm gonna try to go back to sleep... so much for that...

I awoke to a cry for help from Gini.  Her LA friend, Anne, a first time home buyer, had been represented by a less than stellar agent who also represented the seller, the bank.  This duplicitous agency would be her downfall.  Dual agency is very difficult to perform well.  Seasoned agents have a hard time with it. Her agent DID NOT perform his fiduciary responsibility for Anne, the buyer.  The agency created for representation of Anne was a sham.  This deal was a nightmare. Escrow had closed on Dec. 1st.  Anne was being raked over the coals by her inexperienced bungling agent & the despondent, crazy former owner who'd lost his home and now wouldn't vacate the premises or take any of his numerous cars and crap with him.  Anne had been warned by the police not to anger this guy because he could destroy the house while he still had the keys.  Anne had finally enlisted the help of a family friend attorney, who didn't practice real estate law so, she wanted any ethics, agency info I could send.  After firmly stating that Anne needed an experienced real estate attorney, I sent Gini all the rules & regs from the National & Ca. Assoc. of Realtors websites while eating breakfast.  There is so much wrong with this deal that I'm compelled to stay in the loop from the sidelines...stay tuned.

While Tracy read the paper peacefully, I raced to have my hair styled by the unflappable, Michael.  I only wish my hair could look this good when I do it, course that would require my actually doing something with it other than washing it.  Oh well, I just don't have the hair gene thing. So after being fussed and flattered, I swung home to pick up my hero, T, and we started slogging our way to Stanford.  In the interim, I'd received the counter offer from the bank for my S'vale listing, a request for a marketing analysis on a Seascape condo on Sat. and checked on the incoming offer on the Corralitos listing.  The rain was pelting our chariot and the roads became slick parking lots but we made it.. only 15 min. late.  

As we waited for an available chair in the lab/infusion area, I put together the Counter Offer and emailed it, the wonders of technology...

Tracy's white cell count = 2.7, better but not as high as we hoped.  Bruno was pleased but cautious.  Instead of pouncing onto the next stage of chemo, Bruno wants to see that Tracy is stronger so, weekly labs until the 7th. Then the decision will be made to start that next dose of hell.  We're relieved.

As we traveled back over the hill, I marveled at our cruising in heavy rain & traffic without a hitch until the cursed Hiway 1... screeching to a halt or accelerating to 5 mph all the way home to our beloved Rio Del Mar.  Stopping briefly for T to give himself a Neupogen shot, cuddle Riley and then, on to Tom & Jan's for a holiday gathering of old friends. When T became tired, we retired... ahhhh this day is done.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today is Thursday, December 16th

An entire day at home... what a luxury!!!  Writing in bed until mid-morning while T snoozed.  Tracy had had a terrible night and I had slept through it, so, to assuage the guilt; I kept checking on him, buzzing around making him comfortable.  Joe's Special (my fave with sirloin, spinach,onion & eggs) for brunch and then, stripped the bed, started laundry and started working.  I made some headway on contacting clients and T seemed to rally a little... He's stretched so tight every thing hurts but we managed to get an apt. Sat. morning with Sonja for a lymphatic drainage massage .... yay!!  and drumroll please? T has lost 15 lbs.!!!

So, later on T went downstairs and moved the Christmas tree by the bar so, it was more visible and festive... just like he used to do all the time.  I can't tell you how many times I've come home in the past to find all the furniture in any given room moved around... it's fun, interesting and it keeps things fresh...(course sometimes it makes things hard to find).... We had talked about the fact that you really couldn't see the tree from outside the house and T listened and acted on it. It was so endearing. What a guy!  More importantly, he was moving around and acting like Tracy!!!  Moving through the pain, that's my guy!

Dinner was salmon & yams (thanks Pat for the yams & chicken & soup & tuna) and as we sat, we enjoyed the Christmas music and all the cheer...after all it only comes once a year.  

We retired upstairs and I wrote out Christmas cards while Tracy stamped them until it was time to shower, make the bed and call it a night... the John Stewart show was one of the best I've seen.  911 responders are so very ill and dying and have been denied health coverage while the wretched Republicans are filibustering to avoid passage of the bill to rectify the situation. Watch it if you dare!!! What a way to end the day.... simply shameful!!! and to all a good night...

Wednesday, December 15th

It's somebody special's birthday somewhere very soon... Johnny's is on the 19th and Tery's (Tracy just reminded me) is on the 16th so, after French toast & coffee I'm off to Rite Aid to get cards & Gatorade & the post office to mail them.  Boy, was I surprised to see no one in line during lunch time (have we all converted to email???)... so, I stopped to get stamps for the Holiday cards that I'm hoping I'll get around to writing & sending before the holiday.... my intention was to complete as many tasks on my to do list as possible.... the heart was willing... all day in my home office in between checking on Tracy and trying to make him comfortable... he's fighting something... many night sweats have rendered him an exhausted puppy... I checked off many of my tasks... Cathy Sy had suggested a lymphatic drainage massage for Tracy so, I checked in with Janell, Bruno's assistant to ask if it was advisable and when I received the OK, I pursued it.  Now we're just waiting for the masseuse to fit T in.  Anything that will help...

I'm going to try to check in with all of my clients before the end of the year.  I'd love to hear how they're doing and what they've been up to...  don't know how much I can fit in but it's an ongoing task that I've set for myself.  I'd love to see each and every one of them but I know that's going to be impossible by the end of the year.... so, it will be fun for many weeks to come... it's the great part of my business and my life... keeping in touch with the many folks that have actually become part of my network of friends through the process of buying or selling their homes.  It's amazing and wonderful and heartening and fun....

Keep that white light surrounding Tracy... he needs it... I want to see him smile...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14th

I'm lying in bed with my laptop and Tracy and Riley are snuggled in beside me.  Last night before I went to sleep, I made a list of all the tasks I had to accomplish today, Wed. before the day was done.  I like crossing things off the list as I finish each and every task... very satisfying.  First item:  I was asked to answer 6 questions about my profession for inclusion on an upcoming article in the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors newsletter.  By answering those questions, I crystalized what my role and my view of the role of the Association is for the community:

1.  I took the Real Estate test in Oct. and started with the Bailey's training in Nov. 2003 and received my license on Jan. 31, 2004.  So, as I see it; I'm starting my 7th year in this wonderful crazy business. (my first full time year in the biz was 2005, because I continued consulting to Yahoo in 2004).   I never have a simple answer...
2.  The top priority for SCCAR in my view is to provide the framework for our profession.  Education, Ethics and Community Leadership are what we stand for.
3.  My favorite Santa Cruz County destination is Hidden Beach.  It's a wonderful stroll from my home and I don't get there often enough.  Another gem is Kuumbwaa Jazz Society.
4.  My advice to new agents is the golden rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Become educated in your trade and practice ethically.
5.  My favorite application/gadget is my iPhone.  I love the fact that I can access everything I need from anywhere in the palm of my hand.  Next tool to acquire:  next generation iPad.
6.  The best part of my job is knowing I've helped someone.  I have supreme satisfaction in finding solutions for the puzzle... and life is a puzzle with not just one solution... I live it and love it!!!

So, Tuesday was a very fun day!  I made scrambled eggs and toast for T, filled my to go cup with decaf and almost left on time for my office meeting.  In the rain, you can almost always count on Hiway 1 being a parking lot and I was not disappointed.  So, a bit late but welcomed to a spirited meeting and then, off to tour a new listing with our gang, Vicki, Lorraine, Marilyn & I and we made plans to rendezvous at Cafe Cruz for our own celebration at 1:00.  I rushed off to Costco for staples  (forgot the gatorade) and then, a badly needed body correction by my low impact chiropractor, Cathy Sy... Oh man, is she great!!!  It's amazing how good it feels to be totally adjusted without bone jarring or cracking!!  Lunch was a reverie of relaxing camaraderie with the gals that we all needed and enjoyed thoroughly... 

Home to my hubby & Riley and finally, an evening with just the two of us as we live  the puzzle of our lives...  all is well...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday, December 13th

I was up verrrrry early this morning...I lay in bed playing solitaire on my iPhone for awhile; thoughts wandering over the coming day and things to accomplish.  I finally got out of bed cause I thought trying to sleep anymore was futile; & staring at the screen in the dark was straining my eyes.  So, into my office to check email and the Writer's Almanac and call my bro, Johnny & Shar.... & at last, I was tired enough to doze again.... & Jogger Judy came to run Riley on the beach... that lucky hound dog... breakfast & setting T up for the day... couple of calls about my new listing and to set up an apt to view the Corralitos hilltop haven and catch up on business.  

Next, a ridiculous waste of time calling Blue Shield.  We'd received lots of BS EOB's (Blue Shield Explanation of Benefits) over the weekend.  BS fits perfectly.  Out of maybe 15 pages of EOB's,  there were 3 that stood out.  All 3 were from the same day, our Anniversary, Nov. 24th (I'm not likely to forget that day) when we spent about 8 hours at Stanford.  The funny or actually pathetic thing was only one of the services, the office visit, was allowed and paid.  The other two outpatient services, lab and X-ray were disapproved because "Patient's coverage was not in effect at the time this service was provided".  Now that is totally illogical and I had to laugh when I related it to the service rep.  Of course, he didn't think it was funny.... and promptly put me on terminal hold.  The answer:  our premium payment hit that day (early I might add) and apparently, that stopped our coverage????  So, instead of our advance payment insuring the fact that there would not be any lapse in coverage; it resulted in the exact opposite.  Go figure!!!  It just enforces my view of our perilous state of health coverage... it's all BS!!!  When I spend hours sifting through the paperwork and then, correcting their mistakes and I get to pay dearly for the privilege... I call that BS.  We need real health care reform and we need it now!  Not in 2014.

So, after setting Tracy up with his Neupogen shot, protein drink and meds;  I was off to a certification class on the new HAFA program (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) which is in it's infancy and subject to change as it evolves....BUT a much better way to deal with an impending short sale or loan modification.  I was very glad I spent the time and I look forward to helping folks wade through the system.  

I was so glad to see T downstairs when I returned home.  Allen took Riley for a walk and then, joined us for a glass of wine and we caught up... then, I made dinner and at long last, I finished trimming the tree.  This morning I realized that I'd done a fabulous job on the front & one side of the tree but had sort of neglected the other side and the back.  So, before I could put the boxes away and finish filling the Goodwill box, I had to finish the tree...  It's done and so am I...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday, December 12th

So, what do you do on an absolutely beautiful day at the coast??  Watch the niners beat the crap out of the Seahawks!!!!  and love every moment...  So, as I was about to serve up the scrambled eggs, bacon & toast, Deanna & Gary called and asked if we were gonna watch the game... whaddayathink?  We were getting ready and T was jonesin' for a big juicy burger at half time so, Dee offered to stop & get a pound of sirloin for my honey & buns & chips & avocados.  With hand wash & masks at the front door, we greeted Dee, Gary & Jayne and all was well at the Macanelli's....T had his medium rare burger (done just right by yours truly) & the rest of us ate turkey burgers, only after we consumed the guacamole that Dee so expertly made.  We cheered the niners on to eviscerate Seattle as Riley, the wonder dog, constantly on the lookout for a tug mate, continuously drooled while staring at those juicy burgers... hoping against hope for a dropped morsel or a volunteer.  We were surrounded by piles of Christmas decorations yet no one seemed to mind....  and T, trying to get comfortable, moved the ottoman and found my specs ... where they were still in one piece... thank God!
Tracy, Deanna & Gary

T & A
The Macanelli's

Afterward, Gary assisted Tracy by replacing his audio speakers in the music room and then, it was time for T to rest.  Gary & Deanna left... Jayne had left before the end of the game and T relaxed. 

 I finally attacked the tree and the trimmings with the determination to finish or have to wade through all those boxes again tomorrow.... oh no... not again.  So with Dallas vs the Eagles ( I don't know who I detest more, I guess Dallas wins) & then, 60 Minutes in the background.. I finally trimmed the tree.  Only broke one of my favorite ornaments..oh well...  I promised Tracy I would pare down since we no longer trim a 9' tree; so I now have a box of ornaments and Christmas cheer to share with Goodwill.  

My T is relaxed and ready for a shower and bed... the Macanelli's are home for the holidays...

Saturday, December 11th

What a beautiful day on the coast!!!  We slowly ambled out of bed with nothing more pressing than breakfast on our minds.  French toast, bacon, juice and coffee coming right up...push the proteins, a major breakfast is very important for my honey.  I burned the first batch of bacon so, riley got a special treat... can't remember when was the last time I made bacon... but the second batch almost passed the taste test... I'll get it.. that and timing are my trials.  Anyway, T relaxed and we read the paper and somehow I lost my eyeglasses... I only need them for distance so, most of the time they're on the top of my head... well, I must have put them down...somewhere... good news, they have to be in the house... bad news, I have to put my contacts on in order to find them... I probably threw them in the recycle or the trash... that's one way to get a new pair...

So, I had a yearning for Christmas decorations.  I went out to the garage and climbed up on a series of stools and then, onto a cabinet in order to reach the boxes in the rafters that my 6'4" husband could normally reach with nary a blink.  Unfortunately,  I just couldn't reach them all. My arms aren't long enough either... my entire life I've always wanted to be at least 5'5" so, I've worn very high heels... I recall buying spike heels when I first started dating T;  just so, I wouldn't have to break my neck in order to kiss him....  loved the way my legs looked in heels... so, I digress... anyway, my honey followed me out to the garage & finally T climbed up (as I shook in my boots) on the same series of stools and cabinet and we got most of the boxes down, without incident.  Then for the very last few boxes and bags, I enlisted my very tall 6'7"? neighbor, Peter... no problem for him... Ok now what do we do... here comes Linda & Jim.. ahhh the organized Linda assembled the tree as T turned on the Christmas carols and I put out Gouda, Brie & crackers and I attempted to sort out years and years of collected tree trimmings... OMG!  Overwhelmed by the enormity of sifting through the many styles and shapes and memory jogging pieces.. I did what most Italians do.. put the pizza in the oven and broke out the wine... tomorrow is another day....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10th

Friday was another day of work commitments so, Tracy would be on his own until early afternoon.  I made an oatmeal, coffee & juice breakfast tray and T ate in bed.  Getting up and down, walking is tough for my man since his swelling has not significantly reduced...his legs and feet are stretched to the max. So, I asked Linda to pick up his pre-ordered protein drinks from CVS since T was now out and I left my honey in bed with Riley.

I attended my last monthly Board meeting of the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors.  It was scheduled in conflict with my brokers award meeting for the second year in a row.  Don't know why but there it is... I made a choice to attend the Board meeting this year since I went to the award meeting last year.  I hope these two entities can do a better job of scheduling next year!!!  Somebody should be able to budge...  It was a long and informative meeting.  Committee chairs made their presentations of their accomplishments and suggestions for the new year.  An interesting meeting and the President's last and he extended a gracious offer for all of us to join him for lunch at the Crow's Nest.  I rushed back to the Seacliff Inn but the only people who were left were the Baileys.  So, I missed the entire thing.  Oh well... let's see there are 31 days in the month of December.  Hopefully, this scheduling conflict won't happen again next year!

So, I stopped to see Tracy before I went for lunch.  He was having a hard time getting around... his swelling seems to be a little bit better in his feet but it's still painful for him to walk.  Nevertheless, he's ambulating.... er waddling....

Off to the Crow's Nest and lunch with the Board.  Lots of small talk and getting to know the folks on a personal level.... very nice luncheon and as I said my good byes; I realized how interesting this past year has been.  Lots of twists and turns and hopefully, lots more to come.  I had wanted to chair or co-chair the Grievance Committee but who knows whether I would have been able to handle anything else?  Tracy is my number one priority for the foreseeable future.   Life presents all kinds of challenges and opportunities... we make the choices...  I love what I do and I'm getting better at prioritizing...

When I returned home,  Tracy was watching "The Girl Who Played with Fire" (Netflix instant watch on TV) and I sat down and watched the rest of the movie with him.  I'd already seen it but man, it was good.  We did our thing... we watch a movie and pick apart the inconsistencies or unreal bits... but over all it was very good  and followed the book extremely well.  Time for a protein dinner of pork chops and yams and another early night.  Shared shower and rubbing cream into T's lower legs, ankles and piggies and we drift off to sleep.

Please keep T in your prayers... he seems to be putting on weight which is understandable in a way and oh so frustrating.  He's eating a simple protein rich diet.  His body has to learn to process it again. His albumin (protein) levels have to increase so, that his body processes the food, fuels his tank and hence, stops retaining the liquids...  it's only been a few days and we're impatient for the necessary change...  it took weeks to get him to this point... patience is a virtue we both must learn to embrace...  love to you all and patience...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today is Thursday, December 9th

It's weird how quickly the time has been flying... I awoke this morning next to Riley, fighting my way to Tracy... this hound dog is a real bed hog who likes the middle.  T looked and sounded more comfortable this morning, altho' he changed his shirt once last night and I massaged away a cramp in his hand.  

Today was to be a new day of positive thinking and forward looking ideas... T made breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon.  I had toast, coffee & clean up duty.  He's back!!!  T would be on his own for most of the day, because I had work commitments that would take me over the hill again ( thank goodness, I was able to hitch a ride with Marilyn) and upon our return, I showed 2 homes in Prunedale.   I came home to a smiling T... he was content.  No change in his weight but his beret was at a rakish angle.  My honey made a pasta dish and we sat and ate dinner together and talked about our respective days.  Shower and bed early...I'm soooo glad my man is home!!!!

Catching up Tuesday & Wednesday, December 7th & 8th

It's early and this roller coaster is unrelenting.  When I got to the hospital on Tues., I realized I didn't have much fight left.  We paged Dr. Reiss and I said "You've got lots of splainin' to do.  Less than 24 hours later and you're discharging him?"  He proceeded to reiterate all the things I know in my heart.  Tracy needs to be home, where he can heal.  The danger to his well being is too great in the hospital.. too many virulent bacteria even in his bubble.  He needs to rest and walk, eat well and push proteins.  So, I accepted the decision and took a break... I went shoe shopping, retail therapy.  When I returned, I ran into the social worker and repeated our story, with the addition that it was going to be 7:00PM by the time he was discharged and we had to return in the morning...Did that make sense?  Drive for an hour and a half home and then, repeat it on the return, when he's so ill?  Well, I lost that battle and it's a good thing.  Tracy came home and we're glad.  He needed to be in his place.  Just showering in the hospital is an ordeal.  We showered together after protecting his PICC line and went to sleep, cuddling with Riley, the happy hound dog.

Wed., another day at Stanford.  We saw Bruno.  He insists it's dietary indiscretion and explained that T has to be stronger in order to continue his treatment.  T is still in remission!  YAY!!!  We must get him back in fighting mode so, the second phase can begin. So, we continued on to my new listing so, I could complete my weekly report; a stop at Costco for staples (protein) and gas, CVS for his meds and finally,  at long lost... home.  Tracy was glad to be here.   A long day of sitting, not great for his swelling. We rested for awhile, argued a bit over stupid little things, ate dinner and after I entered all the listing data in the MLS, we went to bed.  We needed to regroup, talk about our fears and our accomplishments and "get on the positive train", T's phrase.

Thursday is a new day!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Catching up Monday & Tuesday, December 6th & 7th

OMG!! I've been on a roller coaster and it's making me ill... Yesterday, after threatening law suit to the Case Manager to keep Tracy in the hospital;  we had the Fellow paged.  He came in and I fired off "We need your help.  Tracy's white cell count is 1.1, so he's neutrapenic. He has the diarrhea under control only because he's still on lomotil not because anyone's figured out what's caused it.  He's short of breath; he's retaining so much water, he looks 9 months pregnant & his legs are 3x normal size & he still has pneumonia!!! He has tremendous pain walking and /or just bending over to put on his slippers.  So, please help us to understand why you've placed discharge orders for Tracy ?!!!  ARE YOU NUTS?!!!!"

I have to admit I got his attention.... He laughed and then, began to explain but I interrupted and said we don't understand... "are you putting him out to pasture? Have you given up?  I love this man and I'd love to have him home but not until he's well or at least able to manage on his own. I was admitted to law school and decided not to go.  I'm smart and able to figure things out BUT I'm not a doctor or a nurse.  I'm not a full time care giver.  I am a Realtor and I need to work.  It keeps me sane and keeps us afloat.  You just can't do this!!!"  Well we talked and he relented and thanked me for being Tracy's advocate.   I was totally exhausted.  I curled up in Tracy's arms and fell asleep.  Secure and feeling like we accomplished something.  I decided to drive home cause my body couldn't handle another night on the cot.  I stopped at my book club's Christmas gathering on the way home to gather hugs and enjoy a brief respite.  

I slept 10 hours straight last night and awoke to Tracy's slightly stronger voice explaining that he was being discharged today.  WTF?!!!!!   I'm on my way to Stanford... we'll see

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Today is Sunday, December 5th

As I lie in my much too large bed and listen to the rain hitting the skylight;  I realize what it means to be home... to be truly comfortable and at ease in our space, surrounded by our things, replete with memories and cuddled by our Riley...  I know it's hard for T to be away but he is where he needs to be right now and Stanford needs to keep him this time... I will fight to keep him there until they figure this thing out.  He can't come home until he's better.  Blue Shield do you hear me?!!!  I'll start using everything and everyone I know to accomplish getting what T' needs.

When I arrived home yesterday, I stripped off my clothes, threw everything (T's boxers from the hospital and his pj's) into the washing machine and took a nap.  I kept the laundry going and tried to field some calls.  My wonderful neighbors have been taking care of Riley... walking him and keeping him company...  He even runs every Mon.  @7:30AM with Jogger Judy... thank you one and all!!  

Last night I had dinner with my wonderful friends/neighbors .. I had tried to back out cause I craved a bath and bed but I'm so glad that they prevailed.  They insisted that I could even walk across the street in my pajamas.... course I did wear my slippers...mmm dungeness crab, pasta with pesto sauce and salad... all my favorites and recounting wonderful memories and home in bed asleep very early...  I slept a whole night... uninterrupted cuddling with Riley.

Tracy sounds stronger this morning.  They gave him an appetite stimulant and he ate his dinner.  He says he only had a few hand cramps last night and they used heat packs to help. He's 120 kilos this morning... He's disgusted.  He's not losing any water weight or swelling yet... l want to prick him and let the water drain out.... but we know there's a more scientific way to deal with it... I just hope they do it soon!!!  I'll be heading over to see T later today after the niner game.... keep T in your prayers please....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Today is Saturday, December 4th

It's 5:00 AM,  21 years ago today, daddy passed away.  I remember it as a blessing at the time for him to transition but very hard for all of us to say good bye.  May he rest in peace with mom and Cenz.

Thursday night was very hard, neither one of us slept but a few hours.  Friday began early with T finally getting control over the diarrhea.  He ate breakfast and started drinking protein drinks and blue gatorade and he seems to be coming back.  He actually has some color.  T has pneumonia & his white cell count is 1.4.  He was told his bone marrow biopsy would be done @2:30 so, after a lite liquid lunch and some persuasion; we strolled to the atrium to hear "Vission Latina" a Cuban salsa 4 some, bongos, stand up bass, piano & flute... they were hot!!!   Two gals from the audience began dancing smooth salsa moves along with a hula hoop!  Turns out one is a Zumba instructor and the other teaches hula hoop...fantastic!!!  They made me want to get up and dance and actually got a few people to join them...

I've never seen a hula hoop used so sensuously....Tracy and I totally enjoyed it... that's what life is...music, dance and celebration!!

The dreaded bone marrow biopsy time was now and I left the scene, rather than faint.  I was too exhausted to leave so, dinner... Carla joined me in the cafeteria and soon after... we'd sleep.  Well, T has had spasms of pain, leg and hand cramps since late this afternoon.... biopsy?  electrolyte imbalance? who knows but we've been up half the night massaging away the cramps, applying heat packs.... I'm gonna have to go home to get some rest after doctor rounds this morning.... love and peace

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Today is Thursday, December 2nd

It's hard to be in our home without T.  Riley & I keep banging around this big old house looking and listening for our man... he's everywhere and nowhere and our bed is just too damn big... I just keep missing my big old bear... so, I finally rallied & called him.  Dried my eyes and Riley and I made it downstairs.  I tended to the things I had to, called our wonderful tenants and told them I'd swing by for the rent.  Gassed up,  library,  dropped a bunch of stuff at the office, Watsonville for the rents, bank and coasted up to see my T man.

Tracy is huge BUT the word is he doesn't have MRSA, CDiff or any other nasty bug so far. They didn't aspirate the fluid from his lung today but he's had an EKG, an Echocardiogram and every other test known to man... He's on a potassium, sucrose IV and a Levaquin (antibiotic) IV.  The poor thing has been poked and prodded non-stop; but we're convinced they're gonna find the answer.  They're also talking about another bone marrow test.  The nurses were soo surprised and saddened to see him return but they're fighting over who gets to care for him...... I scrubbed his back and washed his feet and then, rubbed cream into his piggies... Meanwhile we listen to music as the day ebbs to a close. ...someday soon, he's coming home and then we'll forget all this...  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today is Wednesday, December 1st

OK so, here we are again at Stanford... we're becoming hospital experts and so far, Stanford wins hands down!!!  

Tracy became ill before I came home last night (was he trying to tell me something?) just once but once is enough!  He ate dinner slowly and just rested for hours...still having to run for the throne every couple hours, even though he's taking lomitil.  He looked pretty ill last night and he looked really poorly this morning... enough so, that it brought me to tears... I can't stand seeing him so ill.  His stomach is so distended; he looks like he's 8 months pregnant.  He had a hard time putting on his socks, never mind his shoes...he wore his slippers er boats instead.  I don't think we can handle much more of this... and now relief.  Bruno agrees.  I was ready to plead.  T will be readmitted as soon as they can find him a bed.  T is so oxygen deprived, he's hypoxic (I just relocated the dictionary application to my dock with my T's guidance for easier use.  I wasn't quite sure of the spelling, until I looked it up; but old spelling bee champ had it right.. hee hee).  

T has had a hard day.  Each time he's walked (downstairs at home to the garage, from the car to the Cancer Center, from the clinic to the cafeteria) he's become progressively weaker.  I finally asked the angel masquerading as the Concierge for a wheel chair for my honey.  She was so sensitive and so caring and she knows where everything in the hospital or surroundings is... what a great gal!!  I'd like to get to know her...

So, here we sit in the Peterson lounge around the corner from his new room.  He'll be back where they will figure it out!  He's fighting something and no one has been able to figure it out so far.  Thank God, we trust that these learned souls will.  All the tests for those nasty bacteria turned out negative.   His white cell count is back down to 1.4 and that means he's neutrapenic again.... he has no immune resistence so, he's back to wearing his mask and he's breathing very heavily.  The only way to figure this out is to have him in a controlled environment where he will have care around the clock.  His life is in their hands and oh, what talented hands they are... keep your prayers and white light coming, please.  We both cherish all those shoulders that we lean on ..... I'm about talked out.  I'll be heading home in awhile....his room is ready for him...

Today is Tuesday, November 30th

I had every intention of going to my office meeting and then, I felt an overwhelming wave of exhaustion... I crawled back into bed and decided I needed rest more than a meeting.  Tracy was definitely out of sorts... he just can't seem to hold anything down and it's very discouraging for both of us.  

So, we both got up and I made some oatmeal and tea for the T man and coffee for me and I began to check email.  Lots of stuff going on...Janet & Mike's deal had been countered and I had to gather information for them so, they could make an intelligent counter offer.  I started the ball rolling and then, proceeded to get Tracy settled.  Then, off to the office to deal with the massive amount of paper in an intelligent fashion...or at least I hoped to...  The 1031 had closed & I had to make sure the file was complete and take care of the rest of my current clients.  So, multiple phone calls and hours later... I was burned to a crisp... home to my honey and the turkey soup I had rustled up the night before. T seemed to tolerate it for awhile but he was very weak and still running to the throne.  

I spent the evening putting together my Broker's Pricing Option (BPO) on my new Sunnyvale Bank Owned listing so, I could keep my commitment..  the only piece left is uploading the photos.   Shower and bed with T and blessed sleep for the weary....