Monday, April 13, 2009

What I Did On My Easter Vacation

Dear family & friends,

Somewhat in my teacher mode, I decided to report on: What I did on my Easter Vacation

Our Easter was cool, somewhat cloudy, and full of new experiences for Dick and Patti.

Full of appreciation for the beauty and serenity of our life here, this early morning we jumped into our car and shot off for a new and unplanned adventure, in a near-by very small town.

That town would be Rainier, Oregon just up I-5 and over the Columbia River via the Lewis and Clark (fairly new) bridge where we started with breakfast in a real live "bar" that had boasted a sign, "Family Breakfast," which fact we fell for. However, very few people were eating, but a few more were enjoying the Las Vegas type slot machines with pictures and arrows and "no banana" in terms of making money. But wait! It was all worth it: we got a Happy Birthday phone call from brother Pete whom we shocked with the news that we were in a bar!

The other best part, was discovering the unusual "buggy" outside the bar making one wonder which local in that bar owned and had "decorated" such a "delight.

Later, just looking around and across the freeway, we discovered what looked like huge wood carvings. We abruptly turned off the freeway and found the right little road to drive into the Wood Carving place where we met "Robert" who proudly showed us his album of all types of carvings many of which had won awards. We especially fell in love with Robert's constant companion, Danny the Chocolate Lab, as well as with Robert's life-like carvings of dogs, which brings us to the reason for mentioning all this! As silly as this may sound, Dick and I actually started talking about having a Sibling-Sapling Totem Pole carved. Now, don't faint; it's just a thought. Bob's prices are very reasonable due to the fact that Washington is full of huge cedar trees so he gets them at low prices. The carvings would be caricatures of the siblings and saplings, the latter being, of course, the sibs mates.

Oh, well, just a thought. Feel free to reply in any sense. After all, Life is short. Yes?
At any rate our "exciting" Easter dinner planned, using the Woods b-day gift (wonderful, beautiful, just perfect cooking tool) was a hit! We bought fresh Oregon salmon, simply added greens/tomato salad and specially sliced, then baked the potato slices with chopped onions on top.

So there you are. It's the little things in life that we cherish.

Finally, there was also a worrisome Easter event. Dick had a call from his Heart Doctor's Nurse with info about Dick's needing another heart catheterization to ablate extra heart beats (equals less blood being pumped into his body) that have kept him so weak and tired. That surgery is planned for mid May; we'll keep you posted. Dick has full confidence in his cardiologist who did an earlier ablation (burning of the heart) for him.

So, it is not too late to say, HAPPY EASTER each and every one. Life is good.

patti with dick

Friday, April 3, 2009

Medford Adventure

“Oh, to be fifty again!” That ode heard often from the grinning face of our dad, never left me. When fifty years hit me, I rejoiced; my friends wondered why.

Now, at seventy-something, I have still been wondering where “old age” is/was/or shall be. “Wake up!” I heard myself say recently. “Dick Blide, (husband of great looking legs) is going to be eighty next year and our Dad died in his early eighties. E-Gad.”

And so that is why Dick and I took off this week to see what “old age” really is and what we “should” do about it. Dick has been stressing over and over his need to slow down and plan for the future, health-wise. I have politely listened; but didn’t hear.

However, it is true. Dick, in the last decade, has earned that concern, especially considering “going down hill” as he says, regarding his vision, his heart, and his nervous system. All of this leading to his open heart surgery for valve repair (two of the four valves), a pace-maker surgically placed in his chest (I have coyly called it his third boob), the lessening of balance in his feet and strength resulting in the need of Retuxin, a med inserted by needle over a period of several “sittings” to stop the progression of neuropathy (nerve damage), and maybe the scariest of all, “wet” macular degeneration, or blindness in his left eye (except for his peripheral vision) with shots needed monthly now with efforts to save his right eye from loss of vision. Dick Blide has always been energetic with running marathons (9 of them), climbing and skiing down mountains, and enjoying the outdoors, generally, with gusto. I finally faced reality and am now wanting to do anything to make life easier for both of us, but mainly, being honest to myself regarding the health of this good man and wonderful husband. Off we went this last week to Medford Oregon, seeming to us both to be the best of the several places we have visited, heard about, or read about: Rogue Valley Manor.

We were met by Cindy Hail of Marketing, with whom we had gone through most of what there was to see and do, back in January. With this huge Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) we just couldn’t remember it all and were invited to stay for a few days in one of their cottages. We did pay $65.00/day which included all three meals of unbelievable gourmet dining (three dining areas to pick from). Cindy gave us the keys to an adorable one bedroom cottage within walking distance to everything.

All amenities were there including a completely appointed kitchen, clothes washer and drier, huge TV, king-size bed, sitting room, etc. Even the views from the back deck were wonderful. Cottages are sized up to about 1,800 sq. ft.

Residents stay in a choice of three lovely places: in addition to The Cottages, is The Manor where the “needy” residents stay for medical assistance available, as well as the doctor on the premises in the clinic right next door.

Next is the The Plaza, with different sized condos, as well as, lovely accommodations in the unusual attached dining area (on left of picture below).

We had lots of free time and enjoyed the outdoors. First, we traipsed the treed and flowered Bear Creek path that stretches for miles just below the Manor.

The best of the best, however, was twelve miles to the south in Ashland, where we enjoyed the 93 acre Lithia Park, beautifully landscaped for walking, jogging and enjoying nature at its best, as well as housing the lovely building (below) built for the famous Shakespeare Festival occurring in Ashland in the Spring to Fall months.

Finally, were the kind evening hosts, both sets of whom picked us up in their cars and transported us (about ½ mile) to dinner. From them we learned many positive reasons for coming here, especially after hearing about their lists of possible retirement places they had visited that did not match up to The Rogue Valley Manor.

Here we see the unbelievable Lisa (center), who plays five instruments and heads up (as volunteer) the planning of all musical events for the Manor. Her friend, “August,” a civil engineer (ret.) volunteers to help residents with their income tax needs. Hmmmm. Maybe I’ll be a swimming teacher volunteer!

A final thought before we leave Cindy, here, in thinking back regarding this interesting “adventure for the future.” There are some helpful and special “perks” that accompany the joining of this beautiful and caring place when one retires to this active and cheerful adventure.

Other stuff that we really like:
- Rogue Valley is non-profit
- Three meals/day including some snack areas are available to all as noted
- House cleaning services automatic every third week, including windows!
- All grounds taken care of including plantings, mowing, “cutting back,” all buildings and common areas.
- All work out facilities (swim pool, gym equipment, pool volley-ball,
bridge club, book club, wood-working club, Wii gaming club, sewing club,
music club, “pool shooting,” motorized sail boat races, art club, etc.) are free except for a small fee for golf.
The pool (20 yards long) is open 7 days/ week 24 hours/day.
- Scheduled bus service to shopping areas, churches, downtown Medford, nearby medical facilities and other destinations are available at no cost. Continuous on-grounds bus service available daily.
- Health and medical services available; some fees as noted.
- And finally, the sun shines in Medford 75% of the time --- yea.