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Regular October - Grandkids, Health Checks, Art Show

 October 14-19
Written October 20+
Dear Friends,Family and Diary,

This is a regular family diary, nothing too special, just a record of how we are spending our time.  Kind of like uninteresting-for-the-general-public Facebook postings.  But, if I DON'T put anything in here, years later it will be like nothing happened, and that's just not right.
The first item of note was a Sunday visit with Ava, Sam, Gabby and Mamal over in the Bay Area.  Nothing special with them, no birthdays or celebrations, but it was a fun couple of days.  The fun started with art homework coaching for Ava from Gigi.  Ava is definitely getting to be her own person, and drawing seems to be part of that, thus endearing her even more to grandmother Gigi.

From inside fun we moved to outside fun: showing off on the trampoline.  Sam was a little grumpy, but Ava just rolled with it all.  The kids seem to get along, even when they don't.  (Their mom and dad may not agree with that assessment, but it's what grandparents see.)
Properly worn out, the kids went to bed on time or even early, and so, as I recall, did all the grownups.

Monday was a slow start.  Marianne went off for a visit with friend Adrienne and Ava and Sam, of course, went to school.  I hung pictures and a ceiling lamp at home, my contribution to household duties.  Nice to feel useful.
Sports came after school, as they seem to on most days.  Sam went to baseball with his mom and I was dropped off with Ava for her tennis lessons.  No report from Sam's session, but we were very impressed with Ava's tennis progress.

Back at home, there was more tennis practice, not so serious this time.  Gigi had a hole in her racket and, yes, Gabby was playing, and celebrating, barefoot. 
In the end, the whole crew agreed this was a great way to spend the evening!

On Tuesday morning, Marianne and I headed off to Palo Alto for the real purpose for this trip:  her indoctrination into the Project Baseline health study.  I had joined the study a year ago, and she had gotten interested enough to also volunteer.  On Tuesday and Wednesday the Stanford researchers put her through her paces.
I killed time in my normal ways: picture evaluation, diary prep, "Magdalena's Chapters" details and, this time, a visit to Apple's Cupertino headquarters at "1 Infinite Loop."  I looked at the latest gadgets, but didn't buy.  Must be getting old.

We got home late-ish and I don't recall we did much of anything.  It's interesting how short my memory is, if I don't have pictures to remind me.  The Wednesday session at Stanford started early, so Gigi and I were up and out before anyone in the family was stirring. 
After the medical tests, Marianne and I visited Nancy, her former sister-in-law, who lives in Woodside, not far from the Stanford research clinic.  After a short but pleasant catch-up visit, we headed to dinner at Buck's,  Nancy's suggestion, and it was a good mix of casual ambiance and good food.

Thursday also started early. (Gigi had awoken Ava, as requested, just to say goodbye.  Just want that on the record.  It is impossible to wake Sam, early or even on-time.)  Marianne and I needed to make it back to Fresno in time for a doctor appointment before we turned around and came half-way back west for an art show in Los Banos.
For the third time, Marianne was part of the annual Los Banos Library Art Show and Benefit. This is a nice little show, with attendees who seem willing to actually BUY art (abut half the sales proceeds go to the library).  This year, Marianne brought a selection of her wood panels and did successfully sell three!  Two went to buyers from the last show, so she seems to have at least a pair of Patrons, capital "P".
I think my job, in addition to unloading the car, was to spend money.  I tried $20 worth of lottery tickets and came up empty. Then I spent some money for this drawing by "Michael" called "Jumping Giants".  I think we know a young baseball fan who will appreciate it. The artist has wonderful drawing skills that he has started practicing only after his retirement.  (As a more-experienced artist, Marianne suggested the only thing he needs to do is raise his prices - if the quality is there, people value more-expensive offerings.  I bought mine at his original price!)
To make sure we would make little profit from this show, we stayed over.  In the morning, we went to breakfast at Pea Soup Anderson's, a traveler restaurant my father frequented in his business travels 60+ years ago.  Not sure the food was special, but it did seem like eating in an old museum.

Our next diary should be more interesting, or at least less family-centric.  On Sunday we head to Joshua Tree National Park.  Stay tuned, if you wish.

John and Marianne

d181010_90_spencer.jpgMedical post-script#1:  A year ago, we reported on nephew Spencer's leg break and his titanium femur "replacement".  We have also gone with him to a check-up or two, and reported on those.  To anyone who is following all this, we can now report that the pin has been removed and Spencer has his smile back again.  An amazing example of medical technology.

Medical post-script#2:  I have now gotten a few of my test results back from my Project Baseline tests.  The project managers have been reluctant to send results, reportedly because they worry about concern they may cause.  I am now a prime example of that worry.  I received a result that implied calcium deposits were building on my aorta.  I forwarded the results, and my concern, to my GP at Kaiser. 

He reacted calmly enough, but did start a series of consults with a cardiologist.  The heart doctor called for an ECG and a stress test and cholesterol medication.  I refused the medication, because my cholesterol numbers are OK, and started to doubt my Kaiser team. 

A call back to Project Baseline support eventually got me in touch with the Stanford doctor who is in charge of evaluations. She gave me reassurance that I was simply getting old, (I KNEW that.) The amount of calcium buildup I had was an average indication of aging, not the sign of any particular added risk.  The research cardiologists saw no need for anything, other than normal advice for exercise and weight-control.

Lesson learned: Get the researchers to interpret research results, not normal doctors who feel the need to respond with SOMETHING when a patient comes in with a concern.


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