Monday, December 29, 2008


Slowly but steadily, my cold is fading. Except for lingering congestion, I feel back to normal. Odel has been acting normal (?) for several days, so we are definitely over the hump.

Several of you wondered about the remedy for nightime coughing that was suggested in a reader's comment: slather Vicks VapoRub on the bottom of our feet, pull on a pair of socks, and go to bed. We tried it.

We tried it during the day, and at night. Did it work? No. We still coughed, and we didn't notice any diminishment of frequency or severity. We DID notice that we, the bed, and the bedroom smelled like VapoRub - a smell that says "sick people here". I consider this "treatment" to be an urban myth.

HOWEVER, I know from personal experience that VapoRub can cure some forms of toenail fungus - UGH. Sorry I brought it up, but if you want more information about this, email me directly (click here for our profile and email address) and I will give you the disgusting details.

From our health to our computer's health:

Our computer is an indispensible part of our life. Our far-flung social circle is mostly accessible online. We maintain our blog, and read many others. We take and save dozens of photos every month, an auxilary memory. Our financial information, our budget, our banking... it is all computerized. We handle the Boomer membership roll on the computer. Here in the mobile home, where we don't have a radio, the computer plays the live stream from my favorite local NPR station. For good or ill (and it is some of both), the computer is a part of our family and it's health is VERY important.

I know that not everyone likes the Geek Squad. If you are more computer literate than we are and interested in being your own tech staff, you probably consider the GS to be overpriced and under-trained, and I understand that.

I have had three experiences with the Geek Squad. My first was neutral - they did what I asked, no problems. My second was quite positive. My third, Friday afternoon (the big shopping day after Christmas) was spectacular.

Around 3 pm, when I tried to fire up the computer. Nothing. Nada. Zip. My heart leaped right into my throat. I made three quick phone calls. The first independent computer repair shop was not answering the phone at 3 pm on the day after Christmas. The second independent computer repair shop answered, but our conversation did not engender confidence. The third phone call was to the Geek Squad at the nearby Best Buy. They answered, they had suggestions, and they were open until 10 pm.

As soon as Odel came home with the car, I was off, computer in hand. The Best Buy parking lot was a madhouse. I found a spot, walked in the front door, took a sharp right turn and stepped up to the Geek Squad window. Ten minutes later the computer was fixed - NO CHARGE. That young Geek made my day!

This is what he did. I am reporting it to you because I had never heard of it, Odel had never heard of it, Sydney and Frank (they arrived for a visit shortly after I got home) had never heard of it - and we are all average, reasonably intelligent, laptop computer users.

He took out the battery on the back of the laptop and blew off the connectors with compressed air. He used the compressed air to clean out the battery compartment. He reinstalled the battery. He hit the "on" button, and the blue lights glowed. Fixed! He said it is not unusual for the connections to get a little dust in them over time, breaking the connection. Even if the laptop is plugged in, the power, which is routed through the battery, is unable to get past the interrupted connection.

Fixed, and fixed for free. The Geek Squad may have their shortcomings, but they deserve a RAVE today.

One last health issue... I have a new obsession - the hula hoop. Here I am hooping - oh, wait, that's not me but, since I can't see myself when I am hooping, this is exactly how I look in my mind's eye. Fortunately for the blog, I don't have a more accurate photo. :)

How did this come about? Odel and I are really enjoying the free Drayson Center (LLUMC's fitness center) membership that is available to proton beam patients and their caregivers. We've both noticed an increase in strength and balance in the couple of months we have been using the fitness equipment, and have puzzled over how to incorporate more fitness into our lives when we no longer have access to this equipment.

One day, "hula hoop" popped into my head. We had hula hoops as kids, and I thought of it as a fun way to get some exercise and maybe whittle my middle a little. Of course, I googled "hula hoop" as soon as I got home.

WOW - as with just about everything, there is a whole world of adult "hooping" out there that I knew NOTHING about. This is not the plastic Wham-O hula hoop crowd - these are lithe, athletic, exercisers using BIG, rather heavy hoops.

Well, you know me. I ordered one immediately. It was delivered just before we moved into the mobile home, where I actually have the space to hoop inside, out of the curious gaze of our neighbors. I was able to keep the hoop going immediately, calling on the skills learned in childhood. I've played with it a little bit each day (except the worst days of my cold), and yesterday took it outside, on the grass, into the wonderful warm sunshine and learned some tricks. It seems to be a good workout and, best of all, it is FUN! Lots of laughing and chasing the hoop, with an occasional Zen moment when I get all my body parts and the hoop working together.

Is it the new travel gym? Time will tell.


  1. How fun! I remember hula hooping when we were kids!! Good core workout!
    Glad you're feeling better!

  2. When I was a small child, I remember my Dad would rub Vicks on my upper chest at night when I had a cold. It helped me breath. I've never heard of the foot thing!


  3. Should the hula hoop become too bulky/cumbersome in your rig you might consider indulging in a Wii and the Wii Fit board. It has a virtual hula-hoop and advanced hula-hoop session that had me gasping for breath at the end of a couple minutes. There are yoga, strength exercises,balance games and aerobic workouts that increase in duration/number the more you work out and the Wii Fit program makes exercising seem more like playing. Plus when you are finished exercising, you can play games on it!