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A Journal

November 11-18,  2019

Living with Parkinson’s

Phyllis & Sam Turner ©2019


For archives go to

ALOHA: Adult Loss of Hearing Association
APDA: American Parkinson Disease Association
BSC: Bristol Stool Chart
CH: Cynthia Holmes, Ph.D. Neurology
CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask (for Sleep Apnea).
DBS: Deep Brain Stimulation (much improved since Michael J. Fox!)
HEH: Happily Ever After!
HOH: Hard of Hearing
HS: Harvey Stanbrough Pro-writer and mentor (
IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (often associated with PD)
LVST: Lee Silverman Voice Technique) has been an effective way to treat the symptoms of impaired voice and swallowing (a PD problem for some) …
MJFF: Michael J. Fox Foundation
NAMASTE: The Spirit within me honors the Spirit within you.
PD: Parkinson’s Disease
PDSG: Parkinson’s Support Group(s)
PMD: PARKINSON & Movement Disorder Alliance
PSP: Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
P.J.: Phyllis – my wife: SWOMBO (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed) A contributor and #1 editor.
PT: Personal trainer Tresha,  including daily in-home exercise assignments for PD
RWA: Romance Writers of America
TAODW: The Art of Dying Well
TCF: The Compassionate Friends (For parents who have experienced the death of a child or sibling.)
WIP: Work in Progress (Awakening) or (32º North) Title undecided. Writing is my vacation!
YISKA: Navajo for Darkness has passed.  (Also the name of a Navajo Border Collie who barks in Navajo!)

Thank You

to all our Veterans!

11.11.2019: Today is special for so many things: Remembering veterans all the way back (for us) through World War II.  Giving thanks to those who gave their lives for our country. Giving thanks to those who have returned. Giving thanks to First Responders, many of whom are veterans.

There was something else.  Oh, yes: The transit of Mercury across the Sun. The next time will be 2032.  Chris did the bulk of the setting up process, and Julie finally found the sun with the little black spot (Mercury) smaller than a pinhead. No pictures this time. (I did get good pictures seven years ago when Venus transited the sun in June of 2012. If I can find it, I’ll include one of those shots.)

And finally, something else: I had the stark awareness that I was doing the correct thing in donating the telescope to the school.  Thanks to Parkinson’s, I can no longer safely lift my 40-pound telescope, let alone make all the necessary adjustments for setting it up. I used to be able to put everything together, including finding the first settings for proper alignment in the dark by just feeling the touch of the bolts and adjusting mechanisms. I had to refer to the manual in broad daylight today.

From the year 2000 to 2010, PJ and I used the binoculars and telescope continuously, teaching beginning astronomy to Pima community campus students. After 2010, Phyllis and I donated our time along with fellow members of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association at monthly star parties at Saguaro National Park East. Prior to 2000, we were using an 8-inch Dobsonian Scope while teaching our classes.

We started teaching beginning astronomy around 1995-96. We were using  9 x 63 binoculars mounted on a tripod. We learned the constellations and  to star hop. Star-hopping is like using a roadmap where you drive from one city to another until you get to your final destination. Instead of cities and towns, we hop from star to star to Constellation to star to constellation.

This was all before the use of cell phones, of course. We told students to buy a book called Touring the Universe with Binoculars and another book called Night Sky. It would help if you purchased a planisphere for reference. Take your binoculars, a red light flashlight, your books, your partner, turn off the porch light, find the darkest place in your yard, lie down, and argue over what you see.

On evenings when we didn’t have the moon’s light pollution, we spent hours finding out what we saw in the sky. That’s how we learned. Years later, with the advent of the iPhone and Android, I was shocked when we were demonstrating at Saguaro National Park West to a group of college students. We had our Dobsonian scope and our green laser pointer looking up, star-hopping at different objects. I noticed that everybody had their heads down looking at their cell phones!

How come they’re not paying attention? I thought they were playing games. I walked over, expecting to growl at them when one student showed me his cell screen and ask, “Is this the Andromeda galaxy?”

Turns out, everyone was using the Night Sky app, which I had never heard of. Changing from planisphere’s to cell phones was comparable to changing from slide rules to pocket calculators. (We still feel comfortable using the cardboard planisphere.)

Shortly after that experience, I traded my Dob for the Celestron Ultima-2000 with its”Go-To” handheld computer. Instead of star-hopping, I could punch in location positions and BZZZZZzzzz; the scope would turn and tilt as if by magic right to the target.  There would be M-44, the Beehive Cluster, or M-31 the Andromeda Galaxy.

One of my favorites was NGC 869 – 884, the Double Cluster in Perseus (5th Magnitude @ 7,000 light-years away.).

In the summer, there is Scorpius with its Jewel Box in the tail. NGC 6231 6,000 light-years away and 24 light-years across.

The winter months feature another of my favorites: The three stars of Orion’s Belt jump out at you midway between Orion’s two brightest stars, Betelgeuse and Rigel, which are two of the brightest stars in the sky. Once you find the Belt stars, you can also locate the Orion Nebula, otherwise known as M42, a stellar nursery where new stars are born.

Sorry if I get carried away. It’s always exciting. Sure, you can find it on your computer, but there’s a thrill of locating it in the sky and viewing it through a telescope.

I forgot to mention the planets. Saturn and Jupiter, to me, are the most spectacular. The Celestron Ultima-2000 8-inch telescope will split the rings of Saturn distinctly. For a real treat, take a trip to the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter.

The 0.81 m (32 inch) Schulman Telescope is a Ritchey-Chrétien reflector built by RC Optical Systems and installed in September 2010. It is operated by the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter and is Arizona’s Largest dedicated public observatory. The Schulman Telescope was designed from inception for remote control over the internet by amateur and professional astrophotographers worldwide and is currently the world’s largest telescope dedicated for this purpose. View Saturn through this scope, and you might think you could land on one of the rings.

There you have it: A few notes about our years absorbed in astronomy.

By the way: In 1996, while attending an afternoon astronomy lecture at Reed Park  (during a break), a teacher friend of mine invited me into her memoir writing class and told me I should join. I took the course, and in 1999, I published my first of many articles in Arizona Highways, thus starting my (our) professional writing careers.          See

11.12.19: 0900-: Quail Run Writers : Sharon: Experienced Waitress Wanted Her daughter made some serious mistakes on her first day as a food server.

Pauletta: About Veterans Day and how it got its name.

Guy (new member – WELCOME!) Paying it Forward: shared a piece about the murder of his son and a gift of chocolate chip cookies. We were moved to tears.

Phyllis: Tidbits short pieces about misspelled words: chicken vs. check-in; erotic vs. erratic.

Flo: Ivory Towers and other trees and how trees were a splendid part of her life.

Bev: Thanksgiving on a Farm, which led to a question: Do white turkeys have dark meat?

Sam: A brief history of PJ’s and Sam’s twenty-year experience teaching Beginning Astronomy through Pima Community College.

11.13.19: 0745: Training with Tresha. Stiff. We didn’t walk much this past week. 1400: Took PJ to Opa’s Best Greek Cuisine on Broadway and Swan. Great food! We watched part of the CMA awards but fell asleep. It’s recorded so we’ll pick it up tomorrow.

11.14.19: 0500: I sorted various Astronomy reference books that we’ll take to Gregory School. I’ll keep the ones  signed by David Levey.

11.15.19: Sent two boxes of books to Gregory School via Julie.  1700: Got to-go meals from Jerry Bob’s for dinner. On the way home, I stopped by Archery and signed up for the next League that starts December 9. I will practice tomorrow after the RWA meeting.

11.16.19: 0930: RWA with 24 members present. Table talk in the morning session. The afternoon session was Karen Bryson (a member of our group).

  • USA TODAY bestselling novelist.
  • Author of over 50 published books(contemporary romance, romantic mystery, and suspense, paranormal/science fiction.
  • Produced playwright
  • Award-winning screenwriter feature script
  • FEATURE SCRIPT MOONSOON SEASON optioned by minor distraction productions.
  • FEATURE SCRIPT THE MUSTARD SEEDS sold to Believe Entertainment.

She presented her experiences of writing Book to Screen and Understanding Hollywood for authors.(I didn’t know anyone understood Hollywood.) An excellent two hours well spent. A couple of her movie scripts were purchased. They may or may not be published in the next 6 to 12 years! If we are older than 30, we can forget trying for television. Films are “easier.” Write a bestseller book and pitch to producers. If your book sells over 100,000 copies, the producers will come to you.

11.17.19: Church, today: Nancy Wilkinson tells about puppets.

1200: Watched Gorillas in the Mist with Sigourney Weaver playing the role of Diane Fosse. It was nominated for five Academy Awards. 1600: Shot 30 arrows @20 yards

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