Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ah, music!

Since my Amazon Echo (Alexa) entered my life, there's no limit to the music I can listen to: I'm discovering singers who were dead before I was born and digging up singers I heard on the pop charts in the '50's.  It's so easy!  Of course I have Alexa's little portable clone now, so when I go to the bedroom for the night, so does she.  Sometimes I ask her to shuffle my "white noise" playlist, which is a mix of thunderstorms, rain, and ocean waves, to put me to sleep.

Night before last, for some reason, Nat King Cole came to mind.  I remembered his relaxing songs and soft voice and told Alexa, Jr.,  "Shuffle Nat King Cole".  Wow.  Nat's voice was as magical and sleep-inducing as the white noise.  I always tell my slave to stop playing in one hour; that way the noise doesn't bother Cliff when he comes to bed.

Testerday I remembered that there was another black singer who was popular around that same time as Nat King Cole, but his name escaped me.

I was still trying to recall that person today.  A while ago, I asked Cliff if he remembered another black singer from the same era as Nat King Cole.  He suggested Harry Belafonte, who came much later.  As we discussed this, I realized all I had to do was come to the computer, do a search for "O, Holy Night", and see the guy's name, because he does my very favorite rendition of that song.  Wouldn't you know, before I could type in the name of the song, I remembered his name:  Johnny Mathis!

Cliff couldn't recall much about him, so I told Alexa to play Johnny Mathis for him and the golden tones of "Chances Are" came floating across the living room.  I was surprised to learn that Johnny is still living.  I guess that's not so surprising, though; he's nine years older than I, which makes him 81; isn't it strange how a person my age tends to forget she's old?  

Guess who will be singing me to sleep tonight?


Alexa and her offspring have replaced other forms of music in my house to such an extent that the fabulous Bose I bought six years ago sits idly, gathering dust.  But that's about to change!  We listened to a book on CD on our last road trip and never finished it, so we're wondering how it ends.  Plus, there's another such book in the car we haven't even started.  I moved the Bose in the living room this morning and we are going to spend parts of our days listening to books.  I realize a talking book doesn't really do justice to a Bose, but it's just so much easier to say, "Alexa, shuffle Gene Watson"  instead of digging through a bunch of CD's looking for what I want to hear.  Not to mention that Alexa can play thousands of songs I never personally owned.  So the Bose is now relegated to reading books to us, like a kindergarten teacher.  

How the mighty have fallen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

No, I'm not disabled. I just hurt if I walk a lot.

After sitting through a lot of our day at the swap meet in Minnesota playing games on the iPad, I decided maybe I should think about getting a mobility scooter.  After reading about two hundred reviews on Amazon and seeing many questions answered, I took the plunge and ordered one.  

It's actually described as an indoor-use scooter, but according to opinions of people who loved the thing, lots of them use it outdoors under certain circumstances.  It doesn't do bumps too well, can't go up extremely steep hills, and doesn't like wet grass.  This may mean I can't use it at tractor shows, at least not at all of them.  Time will tell.  I told Cliff I would rather spend $600 and risk having to re-sell it at perhaps half the price on Craigslist than to spend over $2,500 for one that is rated for outside and find out I wouldn't use it.  This may be an expensive experiment, but it isn't a budget-breaking one.  There are people on Craigslist looking for used scooters, so I'm sure I can recoup some of my expense if I need to.  At the very least, I will end up with some idea of whether I should expend five times the money and get an outdoor one.  

Cliff and I do lots of museums, and my knees get really sore, really fast these days.  I have a rough time at the zoo, also.  Of course, the zoo has scooters to rent, if that were the only place I wanted to go.  I have gotten to the point, lately, of not wanting to do anything that requires a lot of walking simply because of the pain.  I don't like being so limited.  

Some time back I got the idea that Medicare would cover the cost of a scooter, but upon doing research, I learned that a doctor has to submit a form saying you need one for use inside your home.  Well, I don't.  I'm sure there are doctors who would lie for you, but I don't like to do things that way.  Here's what I found on the Medicare website:

 – You have a health condition that causes significant difficulty moving around in your home. – You’re unable to do activities of daily living (like bathing, dressing, getting in or out of a bed or chair, or using the bathroom), even with the help of a cane, crutch, or walker. – You’re able to safely operate and get on and off the wheelchair or scooter, or have someone with you who’s always available to help you safely use the device. – Your doctor who’s treating you for the condition that requires a wheelchair or scooter and your supplier are both enrolled in Medicare. – The equipment must be usable within your home (for example, it’s not too big to fit through doorways in your home or blocked by floor surfaces or things in its path.)

Anyway, I'm going to try it.  We'll see how it goes.  If it doesn't work for me, it won't be the first dollars I flushed down the drain.  

Speaking of experiments, I am very thankful that I've invested in a stationary bike that lets me exercise!  When Cliff and I got back on a weight-loss program in December, we each lost fifteen pounds or so and then hit a platform.  We were eating the same number of calories but no longer losing.  Once I started hopping on the bike for 45 minutes or so daily, I began slowly shedding weight.  Burning calories makes the difference.