My Holiday Trip to Oklahoma (Pics are on Facebook)

December 21st

I left Ontario around 1 am and flew into Dallas into a cold morning around 5 am.  Maria and Alex picked me up from the airport.  We went over to our hotel hoping we could check in early and rest and relax for a few hours before hitting the museum.  They valeted the car and let us check into the hotel.  We had a large suite with a sitting area separated from the bedroom area by ¼ wall.  We discovered my scooter had been delivered early, so after breakfast and relaxing for a few hours we headed over to the Perot Museum.  It was about two blocks from our hotel.

Perot Science Museum- This museum is a wonderful place to explore. I think another day would have seen it all.  They had a special exhibit called Journey into Space.  This exhibit had all kinds of things about traveling into space and the possibility of going to Mars.  There was a mock up of the space station that you could stand in and it revolved around you like it does the astronauts in space.  It was quite the experience watching it go around you while you stood still.  Maria and I took the glass enclosed escalator to the fourth floor.  Mr fear of heights took another beating doing it.  Once you ar eont he escalator there is no turning back so you have to go all the way up on it.  They have an area you can stand in the overlook the downtown area.  It is glassed in and it scared the heck out of me. I held onto a pillar and Maria’s hand to get out of the enclosed area on top.  This museum is a place to explore over and over again.

We then went to lunch at a place called Meso Maya.  Advertises as local real Mexican food.  It was different,  It tasted pretty good.  We ate and returned to our hotel to rest and relax.  Pizza was for dinner.  The ratfinks I travel with ordered a pizza with zucchini on it.  I hate zucchini.  I also surprised Maria when I shut up and ate it anyway. Those who do not pay for it, do not complain about it.  Then we tried to sleep and my sciatica woke up at 1 am and kept me up off and on all night. I think it was the flight that made my hip mad.

 

December 22nd

The Dallas World Aquarium was next on our places to visit while in Dallas.  The Aquarium was less than a block from the hotel.  This aquarium is a mix of zoo animals and aquarium.  They take you to the top of the aquarium building and you slowly walk a path down to the bottom of it.  The top is rainforest and ponds throughout it. As you walk through you see birds and animals up close.  We stopped to see the otters get fed in their pond enclosure. At the bottom are the aquariums filled with fish from all over the world.  There is shark tunnel you can walk through and sit to watch the fish.  There is a black jaguar in an exhibit.  He is gorgeous.  He was sitting next to the glass so people could see him up close. This aquarium is worth the money to go see.

We left Dallas and headed out to find lunch.  Lunch was a Sushi place that has revolving belts to bring you the food and you get to choose what you want.  I had my first hand roll of crab and shrimp.  Delicious.

Then it was on the road to Norman, Oklahoma.  I was thankful throughout the entire week for Maria and Alex’s cars having heated seats.  It was cold while I was there.  My thin California blood said Brrrrto their weather.  They dropped me off at my hotel- La Quinta Inn and Suites in Norman, OK.  This a nice place to stay.

I had a handicapped bathroom and it looked like something out of a sci fi scene.  I had two complaints. One is why is the handicapped room at the end of the hallway away from the elevator.  I was in room 328 almost at the end of the hallway.  Second, is the shower does not have enough power to it.  I like to have a shower that power washes me.  But then most hotels do not power wash guests in the shower.   The room was nice with a dresser and desk.  We moved the desk from sticking out in the room so I would not run into it like Maria did.  Then Maria brought over all the boxes of stuff I shipped to her for gifts and separated them into piles for families.  It took up a good part of the desk.  Then it was off to the restaurant- Jason’s Deli- for a dinner meal of a taco salad for me.  We walked over in snow flurries.  So the beginning of my time in Oklahoma had snow coming down.

 

December 23rd

Shopping/Dialysis day/ Ollie Time

Maria joined me for breakfast and we started the day by going to Big Lots for wrapping supplies and a dialysis blanket for me.  Then to Walgreens for a heating pad and something to help relieve the hip and leg pain I was having.  I put on a hot/cold pack and it helped so I could walk around not in so much pain.  Tylenol and Aleve helped relieve the pain, too.   Then I went off to dialysis and had my run with the usual blood pressure, however these people listened to me and were able to take fluid off me.  They were quite nice and on time.  Maria picked me up from dialysis and we went to Shelly’s house to see Rhona, Shelly and Ollie.  Ollie is a month old and is a cute bucket boy.  He is still learning about his feet and arms and is adorable.  I have been declared his another grandma: Granny.  I was grannyfied.  LOL.  Then we returned to Jason’s Deli for some dinner and I had Muffalotta sandwich.  An interesting conglomeration of olive mix and turkey.  It needed bacon and some sort of sauce with it.  I used Maria’s salad dressing to help it along.   We walked back to La Quinta and wrapped presents in the wrapping stuff we had bought earlier.

I was then off to relax and sleep.  The heating pad saw much use at night to help with pain.

 

24th Kaylee’s brunch/ Movie/ Shelly’s Ollie time

Maria picked me up and we went over to her Little Sister Kaylee’s house to do Christmas with her family.  We played Star Wars Monopoly, Space Race and Uno while we were there.

We left her house, went o pick up Alex and headed to the Warren theater to see the new Star Wars movie- The Last Jedi.  I had smothered tater tots and a diet dr pepper as my snack in the theater.  This place is pretty cool. We were up in the balcony and they will feed you there all kinds of food off their menu.  We spoiled our dinner that is for sure.  The movie was good.  I want to see it again to pick up parts I may have missed.  Off to see Rhonda and have tacos for dinner after the movie.  We did not eat much so she had tons of leftovers.  Next time she said to bring appetites.  I think we have to.

I sat with Ollie a little more and took a few pics.  Then back to my hotel and rest and relax for the evening.

 

 

December 25th Rhonda’s for Christmas

We went over to Rhonda Martin’s house for Christmas celebration.  Her daughter Jennifer and two adult girls and her younger son came over with their children, so a full house around the table, when we ate dinner.  Presents were passed out to everyone.  It was a good time.  Rhonda had ham, turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing and yams with marshmallows, plus what ever else was there.  We ate ourselves into a food coma.  Alex brought a Christmas log cake he had made for dessert.  Yummy sweet dessert.

 

December 26th Dialysis Day

Maria took me to a donut shop to meet her friends.  Monster donuts, they are not kidding about it. Not one of us finished their donuts. Then we went to the Noble Natural History Museum with her friend and her kids.  We had a good time with them looking at everything in the museum. The two children were good and had fun looking at things.  They also had fun pushing me around in a wheelchair.

Then we went to lunch at Carls Jr, my usual lunch place before dialysis.  Then to dialysis where I think they forgot I was coming.  I was on the machine about an hour late and was late coming off the machine.  They did not check in with me about my strange blood pressure either and I came off the machine heavy in fluid. I just took it and left.  They will not be seeing me for awhile so why growl at things they will not be able to help.

 

 

December 27th  Science Museum

Maria met me for breakfast at my hotel. It was 22* outside. Cold even for the Oklahomans. We went to the store the get picnic supplies for our lunch and head out to the Oklahoma Science Museum.  This museum is a child centered museum with all kinds of experiments and activities for the kids to do.  We set the kids loose with us and wandered the museum.  I used a wheelchair and was pushed around.  A few areas of the museum is hard to push through due to is being like grassy turf.  There is a treehouse for the kids to climb, theater area, things for them to put together and do, science experiments, a Segway area, a show about explosive and a planetarium; as well as game areas and etc.  We ate our lunch picnic in the museum table area with the girls.  Everyone shared what they brought and it was a pretty good meal for picnic supplies from little Walmart.  Thank you Maria  We did the explosives show and the Planetarium show.  I was falling asleep during the Planetarium due to lack of sleep because of my hip pain.

Maria took me to her house and I took a short nap on her chair and relaxed. We had fun playing with her dog Pi/ The other mom and girls popped in with pizza and we had dinner and dessert. After the girls and their Mom left, Maria took me back to my hotel.  I slowly gathered things together to pack in the morning.

 

December 28th  Pack it up, mail package, eye appts and airport.

I was up early at 5 am. I slowly packed my stuff up into a big suitcase and my carry on.  I took a shower at 7am so I was clean to go.  I finished packing and met Maria on my hotel floor ready to go with all my bags.  We then got out into the snow flurries.  Yes, as I am leaving it is snowing in Oklahoma.

We went shoe shopping at Brown’s and I picked up new Vionic tennis shoes.  Then we went to Best Buy and looked at laptop computers for me.  I ended up buying an HP pavilion x360.  I am so mad at Apple products I am no longer buying them.  Silly things made it difficult for my Apple laptop and Pixel 2 phone to sink google.  Silly people.  Best Buy was weird because we had to go hunt up someone to help us in the computer department. Usually customers are chum for them.

 

We went to wait for Alex to get home from work.  We played with the dog for awhile and Maria helped me set up the new computer.  We headed out to lunch at Red Robin’s.  Good food and great sauces were had by all.

This trip I tried a few sips of alcoholic drinks to see if I liked them.  At the restaurant Maria had a pretty strong Mojito I had a taste of. Something with Vodka in it the kids had in Dallas.  Then a few sips of beer with them at a few restaurants.  I do not do my own glass of whatever due to the meds I am on.  The stuff I tasted was pretty good.

Alex and Maria has eye appointment, so they dropped me back at their apartment and I relaxed and rested before my flight home.  Maria dropped me off airport around 6pm and I made my flight back to California via Dallas to Ontario on time.

 

My time with Maria and Alex is always fun.  Thank you very much.

2017-Holiday Letter from Katherine and Victor Soto

Holidays 2017- Happiness is wished to everyone for this season and for the New Year.

I find it hard to believe another year has slipped by and here we are back into December at the end of the year. We have had many things to look back and reflect on this year.

The biggest change has been being grandparents to a very busy toddler now.  Violet will be two years old in February 2018.  She is a happy little girl.  She hangs out willingly with just about anyone.  We have babysat her at least once while the kids have gone out for a concert and dinner.  It has been fun to see the changes in her month by month.  She seems to learn something new every time we see her.  I like being a Grandma and Victor enjoys playing Grandpa with her.  We have lots of pictures and a few videos of them together.  Precious memories.

We had our bathroom tub worked on in May. Funny how simple things will expand into major projects.  The tub faucet was dripping water and here in SO CA every drop counts.  We ended up with half a wall torn out, tiles taken out, a new tub faucet, and new shower head, with a wall redo to finish it off. I am sure our handyman liked to see the money he earned.

We made a big mistake this year and went from ATT U-verse to DirectV as our TV provider.  Nothing was installed properly and we had to have repairman out several times.  I was furious by the time we got reasonable service from them.  I am leaving them as soon as the two-year contract is up.  I much preferred ATT to the mess we have now.  I do NOT recommend them at all.

Of course there were regular medical office visits for both of us as ongoing issues continue to be ongoing. . Victor has modeled for a few classes working on prosthetic development with Loma Linda University.  I tease him to leave those clothes on, when he goes to model.  They pay the models a little gas money and the students get to work with real life patients.  He likes doing it.

I am still on dialysis for six hours three days a week. I am still am an admin for <ihatedialysis.com> an online forums and Facebook group of everything related to kidney disease.  It keeps me busy and out of trouble most days.  I took my annual trip to Las Vegas in October for the tenth annual reunion of <ihatedialysis.com.>  We had nine people at the dinner this year and enjoyed seeing the sites in Las Vegas.  This year it was Señor Frog’s Drag Show, Chippendales, and Menopause the Musical as our girls’ nights out.  A friend of mine and I also ate lunch at the Top of the World Restaurant in the Stratosphere. I am afraid of heights so to sit at a table right next to the windows was amazingly frightening for me for several minutes.  I calmed down and we had a superb lunch.  I love adventuring around Las Vegas with my crazy friends.  I also have a new blog: <lifenotonthelist.com>  It has glimpses into my life as a forever dialysis patient, and my worldviews.  I am posting some of my poetry and some of my thoughts from over the years.

I bought a brand new Toyota Corolla iM in Barcelona Metallica Red/Four door Hatchback with safety stuff galore. I traded in the 2012 two door Yaris for a four-door car due to needing room for the granddaughter when she visits us in the next years. It is a sporty looking Corolla.

We still have our crazy dog and cat.  We have been down to two pets for a few years now. I bought a new loveseat for my office area and they have taken it over.  I knew it would happen.

I have plans to be in Oklahoma for Christmas this year.  We will celebrate early here with family, especially the grand child and her parents, with plans to be at the Mills Family party on the 17th.

The saddest part of the year was when Aunt Nita, my Godmother, made her transition to spirit.  I was honored to share scripture at her service. It was great to see family from far away.  I miss her, but know she is carried in hearts all over the world.

So as 2017 comes to its end, I will turn 55, and the year will turn to 2018.  May the New Year bring you blessings from the Universe and bring you enough.

Katherine and Victor Soto

Rialto, CA

My December Birthday Celebrations

My birthday is on December 31st, so I tend to celebrate all month long.

Birthday #1

Thanks to my sister who took me to the Living Desert and pushed me around in an adult stroller.  I walked bits and pieces of it, too.  I even offered to push her up a few hills. My pictures are on Facebook.

We also went to Red Robin and I used my Red Robin Royalty Rewards for my meal. They give the birthday person an entire meal free. They pretty much let you order whatever you want on the birthday meal, so I ordered up two chicken breasts and extra bacon to a guacamole burger (no burger).  Then we had dessert and they brought me a birthday Sunday.  They have a new dessert-truffle dark chocolate bar thing with raspberry dipping sauce.  Holy cow!  Those were good!  I took most of them home and shared with Victor.  (It was a nice midnight or so snack.)  The meal was delicious and talking to my sister is always a good time.

December 7th

So the CSUSB Alumni Association sent me a birthday card with a cloth glasses holder in it. Funny thing I had to pay postage due on my free gift with the post office, so my free birthday card and gift from CSUSB cost me 2.02. I called them and thanked them for letting me pay for my own damn present. #CSUSB Alumni

December 16th

My Mom gave me  a bright red blanket for my birthday to use a a dialysis blanket.  May be a little light for use there but I can use it in my office.

 

December 30

Danielle and Dave came today and took me out to Miyagi’s for all you can eat sushi for my birthday.  I got to see Violet. She is so smart and growing every day.  What a grandchild I have.  They also brought me a microwave heater pack for my neck and back.  I love those things.  Victor and Marilyn came to lunch also.  It was a good time.

December 31- My Birthday

I had dialysis on my birthday from 11:15am to 5:15pm. I brought the celebration there with cupcakes to share with everyone.  We took in 48 cupcakes and brought a dozen home.

Victor took me to a birthday dinner at Black Angus where we ate ourselves into a stupor on their feast for two people.  Victor also brought me two new small boxes for a gift.  One box has electronics in it, the other is sitting in the collection.  He also gave me two cards and one had a check in it.  He finds the best butt cards for me.

My friend Marilyn gave me a large box for my collection and it had chocolate goodies in it.

Happy Birthday!  55 and still alive!

 

 

A Life time of Surgeries

Maybe you all wondered about the background I have in medical issues.  Here is some of it.

1966- YB Plasti Surgery on bladder neck Ureters replanted into bladder to prevent reflux into kidneys. Unsuccessful

1972 YB Plasti Surgery again. Unsuccessful

1972 Strabismus surgery- eyes

1973 Strabismus surgery-eyes

1974 Urostomy surgery

1978 Tonsillectomy

1985 Cesarean- Daughter born

1987 Cesarean- daughter born

1999-2017 Multiple graft and fistula surgeries for dialysis. I have lost track of these procedures.

2006 Parathyroidectomy

2013 Intestinal perforation with ileostomy

2014- Ileostomy reversal surgery

Thanksgiving 2017

A few boring posts about regular life get on here, too.

Thanksgiving 2017 was a few hours spent eating with family and friends at my sisters’ and Mom’s house here in Rialto.  My sister Anita is quite a cook and made delicious ham and side dishes for us to eat.  My other sister had the job of clean up in the kitchen.  We chatted and ate, then watched the new Jeff Dunham Netflix video.  Pretty funny.  Then onward home.

We party hardly, I think.

32nd Wedding Anniversary Dinner

Today, November 19, 2017, is our 32nd wedding anniversary.  We celebrated by getting dressed up and going out for a romantic dinner just the two of us.

We went to Black Angus in San Bernardino. The appetizer was artichoke dip with chips. Victor had baby back ribs.  I had the pork chop.  We shared a dessert of white chocolate cheesecake.  Iced teas all around to drink.

The happy couple!  We were taking serious pics for fun tonight.

I never thought I would find someone who I would fall in love with and could live with for such a long time.  It seems some days like it has been forever and other days it is like just a few days together.

Here is love poem I wrote for him.

He loves me beautiful
I look in the mirror
What do I see?
I see me
A middle-aged woman.
Blonde, blue eyed.
Scars running up and down
And all around.
In my eyes the beauty is gone.
There is a woman left standing
There in that mirror.
A strong, tough woman.
But when I am in his arms
He loves me beautiful.
He kisses the scars
And the places that have been hurt.
He makes me believe
Once again
I am beautiful.
He sees inside me
Past my hurts.
He reaches past the defenses.
He sees me through love’s eyes.
He loves me beautiful.

 

Thoughts

I wrote this piece on Facebook last year.

It seems we live in a connected world, instant messaging, computer screens on our dining tables, computers in our phones, we can call anyone anywhere and take a video while we do it. Seems that while we have become more connected we have allowed ourselves to become less connected with one another. We talk and communicate to the technology, not to one another. We see opportunity to take one another to task for behavior that has been around a long, long time and has still not been corrected. We argue to make our own points and rarely listen to one another’s real words and meanings. The meanness and bad attitudes we see, get videos daily and then are posted to social media for over half the world to read. Things go viral whether they really deserve our time to read and see or not. I think young children get along until they reach the age where they are exposed to our world through their parents’ attitudes and the social media. More and more we are allowing social media to speak our loud mouths. Discrimination has been around a long, long time. We are all immigrants through relatives way back in America. As each set of immigrants made its ways to the US it too was discriminated against. Even back to the Mayflower and Colonial times,people were sent to the colonies to get rid of trouble makers. Well here we are many years later still dealing with trouble makers of our own. When we learn to speak with our hearts and think with our minds before saying or doing anything, then we shall become smarter, kinder and more creative beings.

Life is Killing Me- A Poem

Life is Killing Me
Dialysis is not killing me.
ESRD is trying to kill me.
Neither is going to get me yet.
Life is killing me.

I hope to die one day gracefully.
However I don’t think it is going to happen.
I will probably go out in a blaze of glory.
All rushed and pushed to my destiny.
Twenty minutes late because someone wanted something
And I had to stop and answer the question or request.

Yes, Life is slowly killing me.
They say the average life expectancy of a woman is 85.
The life expectancy of a man is 80.
I don’t know why women outlive men.
Maybe it has to do with hormones or paybacks.
Maybe it gives the women some time to themselves
After having man around for so many years.
I know I will want some silence from the nightly snoring one day.

Yes, life is killing me quickly.
Diet has become a number one killer now.
People over drink, over eat, and overindulge in everything.
Just look at me.
Food is supposed to be our friend, but everywhere you look it is portrayed as the ultimate enemy.
Some foods are bad, some foods are good.
They change the titles on them every day if not every hour.
It is a struggle to maintain your sanity in this world, much less maintain your weight.

Yes, life is killing me!
Stress is a cause of many, many maladies in the human body.
People stress other people out.
Work stresses people out.
It leaves one drained at the end of each day.
There are bosses and especially those coworkers
That know everything
And they assure you that you don’t know anything.
Stress kills.

However, life is killing me!
I see some happiness.
I see some sadness.
I see children growing and learning.
I see adults still growing and learning.
I see joy.
I see sorrow.
I see empathy and sympathy.

I see that life is slowly killing me.
But then
What the hell!
If the spectre of death is going to ride shotgun
With me.
I am going to give him one hell of a ride.
We will show up at the pearly gates and he will say:
Holy cow! Here she is!

Yes, life is killing me.
But then what isn’t?

Copyright K. Soto April 8, 2008

Fire

This was written several years ago after my husband had been in an accident at work and ended up with an amputation of his left leg.

Fire
I don’t really have an inspiring speech tonight to give to you all.
I hope what I am going to tell you tonight will have a positive effect on you.
Maybe it will even get you thinking.
My topic tonight is fire.

Margaret Wise in Soulforge said: You choose voluntarily to go into the fire. The blaze might well destroy you. But if you survive, every blow of the hammer will serve to shape your being. Every drop of water wrung from you will temper and strengthen your soul.

I absolutely agree with what she says
My soul feels like is has been on fire for the last two weeks.
Two weeks ago my husband was injured in a work related accident. It has been a time of fire for us. I have watched as a perfectly healthy man has had to adapt to being handicapped all of a sudden. He has had to learn new skills and relearn how to do old skills. Just watching him get up to go to the bathroom was a painful experience.
I have had to learn new things too.
How to not help when it looks like help is needed but it is not wanted.
How to stand back and let him struggle.
I had to rethink my thinking.
Our lives are going to be different.
We have walked into fire, not by choice, but through life’s circumstances.
Every blow of this hammer has forged us into a stronger relationship.
We both know that we have to survive for each other.
We lean on each other for support in our personal times of fire.
Sometimes we even dance within the flames together.