Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Oh, yeah, another hot day

I have been mostly inert today.

I woke up early but did not exercise. I intended to work this morning (from home) but that didn't happen either.

I spent two hours at the clinic doing my annual physical. Everything looks good and I'm scheduled for a bunch of tests. Ack.

I like my doctor (nurse practitioner) a lot but some of those people in medical facilities are cranky.

I worked this afternoon which was fine. I made a trip to the farmer's market for more homemade jam, hot peppers, and smoked Italian sausage. I love the farmer's market.

I finished the last Will Thomas book. They are very entertaining which is what I seek lately. My brain is not coping well with the high literary arts. Not like it ever did.

This time of day, I lose interest in making dinner. A sorry state of affairs since this is when some people like to eat it. Too bad.

Our neighbors are moving. Very sad day. We will miss them. I should have made a casserole but mostly I just avoided it.

Regis is taking a nap. Lucky guy. I wish I could sleep during the day. Can't.

Ah, well. Off to the patio.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

making a plan for the day

Beautiful morning. We slept with the window open and it was so pleasant to hear the birds this morning. I think they all high-tailed it to the north when it was so hot. Smart birds.

We're drinking coffee and making a plan for the day. So far, the weekend has been quiet. But it's early, right? We need to make a trip to the farmer's market and the grocery store this morning. Gus is badly in need  of a trip to the dog park and Regis has to pick up some meds. How is that for productivity?

The rest of the day will be more leisurely. I think we'll be able to pay a call on our friends, Tom and Betty. We've hardly laid eyes on Betty for months but we do see Tom regularly at Patrick's. In fact, we had a beer together yesterday.

Ella may come for a sleepover since the weather is cooler and we can use the blow-up bed on the porch. We've been talking about this all summer. Last time she was here we made a list on sticky notes of what she should bring and what we would do. A lot of it was food-related with marshmallows being near the top of the list, I believe.

Reading books on the porch with the windows open was another must-do item. Ella has always liked to read books in bed, a wonderful trait in a little kid.

If all of this is going to happen, I better get off my perch and get started. Happy Saturday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

there's a rainbow somewhere this evening

And not just because of the rain. Two of our friends who have been diagnosed with different forms of cancer had oncology appointments this week and received good news. No chemo. Things seem clear. No need to come back. Wonderful to celebrate this kind of news.

Regis has had good appointments this week, too, although he got a little cranky this afternoon when they made him go from the 2nd floor back to the 1st floor to check in, which involves the same thing he has done countless times in the last two weeks. Same checklist, same insurance card, same questions.

We're thinking how weird it is that with so many different medical facilities in our area, that many of them do not share electronic records. Someone tried to explain it to me today but I waved my hand and suggested they make a spreadsheet or a Venn diagram. It's crazy.

In the past week, he has updated his medication list three times. The person asking always puts it in a computer but the next person doesn't have access to the information so we do it all again. Don't try to explain it to me....it's like how airplanes fly and why birds legs don't freeze off in the winter. Inexplicable.

I am floored again (re-floored) at the things people discuss loudly in waiting rooms. I have learned to bring a book or Kindle and to make every attempt to be absorbed in it or somebody will try to engage me in a conversation about their prostate.

At the clinic today, I spotted this InstyMed machine. You put your prescription in (somewhere) and it blasts out your medication. What the hell and how do it know? (Reference to the old joke about the thermos.) I was stunned and amazed but Regis shrugged and said they are everywhere. How did I miss this modern marvel?

Here's what the InstyMeds website says: The InstyMeds dispenser combines the safety and security of an ATM with the simplicity of a soda machine! State-of-the-art InstyMeds technology ensures safe and secure medication dispensing directly to patients at the point-of-care.

I watched the video on the website but I still don't get how it works. Inexplicable, I guess.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

morning rain

We woke to rain and thunder early this morning. I intended to go exercise but decided it was more pleasant to stay in bed reading, dozing, and listening to the rolling thunder. I don't regret that decision a bit. I can go later.

We've had about 3/4 of an inch of rain. Much needed rain. The humidity yesterday was oppressive and we're hoping that this weather front kicked some of that along the way.

Regis continues to recover well but has difficulty sitting in hard chairs. The back of his thigh gets sore and we've theorized that it's muscles and tendons stretching and accommodating the new knee. That, the extreme heat, and the dog combine to keep us home and inside most days. It's like cabin fever in the summer but it will pass.

This time of year, I get tired of watering plants outside. Well, actually, I never really like it. Most of my plants are of the Darwin variety...survival of the fittest. I have watered my patio plants this year and they look better than ever. Who knew.

My frame of mind is improving to the point where I see things that need to be done around the house and yard. Not to the point where I always want to take care of them, but at least I am aware. We have quite a crop of volunteer trees that have sprung up in the last year. It makes you wonder how long it would take for your yard to revert to forest if you stopped mowing the grass for any length of time.

My back porch is badly in need of a cleaning. I knew yesterday when I was digging through cardboard boxes, blankets, dog toys, and rugs... and a couple of toys tumbled off the shelf and to the floor. I just looked at them and thought, yes, I should clean this up. Anybody interested in sharing a dumpster?

Monday, July 23, 2012

driving with miss wilma

Since Regis had his knee replaced, I have been doing the driving. I never drive so I wondered if I was getting on his nerves as I am notoriously a slower, more cautious driver than he is. Yesterday he made a comment about driving like Wilma Flintstone. I tried to find a picture of Wilma driving and there were none to be found. Only Betty or Fred.

I worked out with Rachel this morning and she kicked my ass. I was sweating, my arms were shaking, and I almost konked myself with a ten-pound kettle bell. Who invented these devices of torture?

She said Jason is building a set of monkey bars. I inquired as to the reason and Rachel said so people can do pull-ups. I always got an F in pull-ups on fitness tests. I also always got an F in the softball throw. I have unpleasant memories of those physical endeavors. Oh, and the rope climb. Seems like in my day, PE was not really physical education but a place for those already talented to show off their skills. I never got better at anything. Who cares now, right?

My glasses fog up every time I leave the house or the car. This weather pattern can just move on because it almost makes me miss winter. Even the birds are hunkered down.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

getting my stuff in the right slots

I woke up early but didn't get out of bed until 8. I started reading John Irving's new book, In One Person, and really like it. As in his other books, many interesting characters. It makes me want to read again, all his other books that are among my all-time favorites: The World According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Cider House Rules.

I did all my household chores. Well, most of them. Picked up stuff, cleaned out the refrigerator, did the dishes, took out the trash and recycling. I have a pile of paperwork in the office to sort through and deal with by we're on the right track.

The leaves are drifting off our birch tree like it's autumn already. I'm sure it's the stress of the hot summer and  the fact that it's almost August. Almost August. How can that be?

I forgot to tell this funny story. When Regis had his surgery, they sutured the inside stuff but stapled the outside skin together. It looked gruesome. Like Frankenstein. I knew yesterday they were going to remove the staples so when the nurse said she was going to get the crimper, I said I would step into the hall.

I made myself busy with the models of ankles and hips on a shelf, then heard Regis holler. I moved further down the hall. When I went back in he was laughing and said it didn't hurt at all...he just did it to get a rise out of me The nurse, all business, didn't think it was funny.

I found pictures on google images of knee surgery staples but I am going to do everyone who reads my blog a favor and not publish them. Like I said, gruesome.

Regis bought Gus this treat ball. You put treats in the bottom and he has to roll it until they drop into the other half, and then roll it some more until the roll out the hole. He knows enough to push it around the living room and he knows enough to scout the path looking for droppage. We get such a kick out of him.

Reading the paper this morning. Shooting and a goat man in Utah. I have to go back to being news-avoidant. It's a crazy world and I don't want to know about most of it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

regis sees the doc, gets a good report, and we laugh about condoms

Regis saw his surgeon this afternoon, who proclaimed him a rock star. In ten days, he has made progress made by most patients in 4-5 weeks. He can straighten his leg and walk with a cane, in fact, he can walk without a cane. He bypassed the crutches entirely and barely used the walker once he was home. He's worked hard at it and I knew he would.

Dr. Swanson will see him again in four weeks to talk about the other knee. We'd like to get that done before winter.

You can look this up and I only write about it because it's the weird kind of news story that we love. At the Olympic Village, 150,000 condoms will be distributed free to the athletes. Regis read somewhere that each athlete would get 15 free condoms for the 17-day event. That's a lot of....activity. Never mind that these people are competing in things like high hurdles and 400 meter dash (Is that a thing?) which for most people would be enough physical exertion for two weeks.

I went into Men R Nerds by myself today to get a handle for our patio door which broke the other day. Ah, yes. Not a simple task. None of their patio door handles would fit our door so I said never mind I would screw a block of wood to each side and call it good.

There was a fancy four-wheeler thing outside Men R Nerds with a log splitter attached behind it. I don't know what this contraption costs but it seems like an indicator of conspicuous consumption. It might make more sense to just have...a furnace.

We stopped for a bite to eat and watched part of the Tour de France on the television. I might have to do some research on this. There were many things going on there that I have no interest in, one of which is the race itself, even if I did have the gumption and the skill to do it. I could tip over. Lots of bad things could happen.

There were people who looked like they climbed onto a platform thing and it lifted them, by way of a crane, into the air to watch. I would also not partake of this. Are people crazy?

Sometimes it confounds me, the many ways in which I am dumb about sports. I have heard of this for years and never had the curiosity to find out anything about it. I thought it was a little one-day bike race.

All in all, a good day. On to the weekend.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

cooking when it's 100 degrees sucks, kind of

It's been too hot to do much cooking but a guy has to eat so once in a while I suck it up and just do it. Sunday, I baked a giant chicken and a meatloaf. We've been eating that cold since then.

Today, I started dealing with the accumulating vegetables from our CSA. I sliced up three pounds of cucumbers to make pickles tomorrow. I sauteed onion, red pepper, and a boat load of leafy greens. And I made my favorite summer recipe, Summer Garden Gratin.

It's layers of zucchini and patty pan squash, caramelized onion, and tomatoes. Some fresh thyme, olive oil, and garlic gets drizzled on some of the layers. There is a layer of Panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and oil on the top.

Before the crumb layer...

After the crumb layer...

It's a putzy recipe to make because you have to layer all the vegetables on paper towels and sprinkle them with salt to get rid of the moisture. I've made vegetable gratins without this step and they end up like soup. It's a wonderful recipe and worth all the trouble.

Of course, I wouldn't bother with those nasty red grocery store tomatoes. Might as well eat styrofoam.

It's too hot today to even enjoy the evening shade.

Friday, July 13, 2012

end o' the week

We made it through the week in fine shape. Regis is home, moving about quite well, I survived my bout of independence, and we're all settled in again. I think Regis is tired of my hovering. The more I see he is able to do for himself, the less I'll hover. I hope.

For the most part, he is a good patient and just does what he has to do to go home. He is not a complainer or a whiner. He puts his head down and gets it done.

I spent the day washing sheets, mattress pad, blankets so he has a somewhat sterile bed to climb into at the end of the day.

I went to the pharmacy here in town, always stressful...today was no exception. More than one customer seems to send them into a tizzy. Today, everyone had a problem.

It's a good thing Regis has not much of an appetite because I have not much of a desire to cook.  I can subsist on whatever I can scavenge. I'll eat chicken wings for breakfast or scrambled eggs for dinner. It doesn't matter too much. I took a chicken out of the freezer but it's about the size of a small turkey so I'm not sure what to do with it.

I finished the book I started reading the day of the surgery, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was compelling reading. I'm also reading Bill Bryson's At Home: A Short History of Private Life  which is very good non-fiction but not compelling. I can take non-fiction in small doses.

Hospitals are interesting places. Little microcosms of the wider world. All sorts of people, many of them loud. That was my biggest gripe. Also the food there is horrific. Wouldn't you think a hospital would serve real food and not some industrial version of food? Poor sick people. At least I could get in my car and go somewhere else.

Our boys came over last night and assembled and installed the bathroom safety things I bought at Men-R-Nerds. Bless their hearts. I probably could have done it but I barely know a screwdriver from a pliers. I once assembled a bicycle (and a dining room set) with a table knife and a wooden clog. I figure the less you know about those kinds of things, the less you are expected to do. I never was one to want to know about changing the oil in my car. Once you know, you have to do it.

I've gotten so accustomed to Regis squiring me around that when I had to drive myself from place to place yesterday, I was exhausted. My husband treats me like a queen and I love it.

Well, on to the weekend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

brand new knee

Regis got his new knee yesterday! The surgery took about an hour, he was in his room by 4, in a chair by 6, and walking by 11. I think that is amazing. I stayed until I knew he was safe and they were taking good care of him, then I picked Gus up and we came home. My friend, Emily, came over to share some dinner and a glass of wine. It was nice to have company after that long day.

The surgeon said he had worn that knee down to nothing. It wasn't even straight anymore.

I had several texts from Regis through the night as they woke him up to check vitals and move him around. He said he watched the All Star game...pretty good for guy who spent the day on morphine, oxycontin, percocet, and versed. He was up, bathed, and dressed by 6 am, which is a much faster pace than I am on this morning.

It's a huge relief to have it over.

I just realized that it's a good thing I shut down the comments for a while. I'd be getting drug offers from all over the world.

Gus is lost without Regis. When we got home yesterday, he went into every room looking for him. Last night, he kept getting up to wander into the living room, thinking Regis would be there, I suppose. He went swimming twice yesterday and I thought he would be too tired to move. Not so.

Hospitals are very stimulating places. Everybody is bustling about and very loud. People in waiting areas or elevators seem unable to have quiet conversations. One woman had a loud cell conversation about her medical issues in the packed elevator. I was glad when Regis got into a room and I didn't have to hang with the crowds anymore.

I'll go back to visit and participate in his rehab this afternoon. It was so good to see him looking so alert and well. Such a relief to have it over.

Monday, July 09, 2012

viagra and nude celebrities

I'm making it more difficult to comment on my blog because I'm getting too many spam messages about buying nude celebrity photos and viagra. You just have to prove you are a person and not a robot. Sigh.

Friday, July 06, 2012

loss of gumption

I found this picture in a text message this morning. Not sure when it was taken but I thought it was too good to pass up. I get so many pictures that I get mixed up about what's where!

I don't buy anything fat-free or low-fat anymore. Better to be concerned about chemicals than a little fat. That stuff tastes like crap anyway so why bother. A friend of mine at work told me she found an alfredo sauce with no fat and no calories. I asked her what the hell it was but I knew...a chemical shit storm.

I'm trying to get my butt to work this morning. We'll see how that goes. I have not been too motivated to do anything this week. Cook...nope. Exercise...nope. Clean...nope. Read and sleep. That's about it. The weather guys say it will cool off some tonight. I hope they're right. This entropy is killing me. Hahaha!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

celebrating independence day

We had a wonderful 4th of July even though it was hot. Bob and Reg set up a canopy so we had shade, at least those of us who didn't venture down to the curb to collect tootsie rolls. Regis is the camera man in our family and he wisely stayed home in the cool AC. I only took a few with my phone.

Alex, Elliot, and Ella each had an umbrella chair. I think it helped but by mid-parade, they had lost interest in candy, too. Elliot came back to sit with me in the shade where I had ice, iced wash cloths, and cold water.

This is Jesus. Nice of him to come to St. Peter for the 4th of July. There was also a float with a Presbyterian minister spraying water on the crowd. I told Emily to step back or she'd be baptized. Interesting that we can have all these religious floats in our parade but no politicians.

Tiffany trying to get a tan. That's my girl!

Alex makes a run for it.

I stayed right here in the shade. There was a reasonable breeze so it was manageable. Hot but manageable. I highly recommend the frozen washcloths. I don't know I got that brainstorm but it was a good one.

There are going to be things to be irritated by when you get this many people together. There was a group of loud adults by me that were loud and demanding. They grabbed a while pizza from a Domino's kid who was handing out samples. I think the parade protocol is that if someone offers you something, or throws it in front of you, it's ok to take it. But grown-ups demanding tootsie rolls and pizza? Nasty. All in all, it is a good time.

Blankets and tarps line the street for days before the parade.

Regis has a nephew who lives in Texas. Here's what he wrote on Facebook:
We have a parade every year in April called "Buccaneer Days" which celebrates the area's "discovery" and habitation by brigands and pirates in the 16th century. An odd thing to celebrate, in my view. I have fastidiously avoided the parade and all of its tentacles since moving here. People camp out for days along the parade route to "save their spots." They used to be able to mark their spots with tape or chalk. But then people started shooting each other in disputes over spots. This year there were armed robberies and drunken late night disputes among the "spot savers" so that practice will likely go by the wayside as well. What is wrong with people these days? The sociopaths seem to be either running for office or simply running amok.

This is Reg at 7 am yesterday morning. Bob sent the picture and I exclaimed, "Are they going to make him sit there all morning?" No, they didn't. They got set up, then left for a while until it was closer to parade time. We appreciated the shade!

We have been trying to sit outside for a while each evening. I have finally resorted to my mom and dad's old pre-air conditioning trick. I fill a large tub with cold water from the hose and swish my feet in it. It's amazing how it cools you off. Try it.

My sweet husband turns 60 today. He made a face when I said it but I told him time marches on so turning 60 is better than not turning 60. Happy birthday, Regis!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

man, it's a hot one

I love this version of Smooth.

Man it´s a hot one
Like seven inches from the midday sun

Tiffany is determined to go to the parade so I'm packing up the wagon with hats and sunscreen, a cooler with ice bags, frozen washcloths, and cold drinks. Reggie has a tent and blankets laid out by the community center so we'll have shade, but... Regis is going to drop us off as close to the appointed site as possible and we have an exit strategy if we need it. I feel like we're going to the damn desert on a mission.

Last night I watched The Last Waltz again. The Last Waltz was a concert by the rock group The Band, held on November 25, 1976.The Last Waltz was advertised as The Band's "farewell concert appearance" and the concert saw The Band joined by more than a dozen special guests, including Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Charles and Neil Young.  Here's the summary from IMDB. 
Thanksgiving, 1976, San Francisco's Winterland: the Band performs its last concert after 16 years on the road. Some numbers they do alone, some songs include guest artists from Ronnie Hawkins (their first boss, when they were the Hawks) to Bob Dylan (their last, when as his backup and as a solo group, they came into their own). Scorsese's camera explores the interactions onstage in the making of music. Offstage, he interviews the Band's five members, focusing on the nature of life on the road. The friendships, the harmonies, the hijinks, and the wear and tear add up to a last waltz. 
Great film.

Out into the inferno.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

beastly hot

I wandered down town this morning (in my air conditioned car) to stop at River Rock and Ace Hardware. I bought a little chair for Elliot and a bag of charcoal. Good to get home to the cool.

Regis and I are heading to Mankato this afternoon. He has his stress test at the hospital and I am getting a hair cut and maybe making a stop at my favorite consignment store.

If we have time, we'll have a late lunch when he's done. Gus will be at the Paw.

Tom brought us their covered swing to borrow for Regis' recovery from knee surgery. It looks like this...without the lake. It's too hot and I'm too lazy to walk out to the patio to take my own picture.

Even in this heat, we like to sit on the patio every day. It's tolerable when there is a breeze, as there was last evening. Regis has a cold beer and a cigar and I have a glass of white wine on ice. It's lovely.

The dog days of summer. I'm trying to remember this for January. Sensory memory, right?

I have a book to recommend. It's called Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

Here's a clip of the review on Amazon:
The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.
And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.
What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow. Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.
 Tomorrow, we're celebrating Independence Day. Regis is foregoing the parade with his knees and the heat. Tiffany and I will join the other off-spring in the usual spot. Bob and Emily are having a gathering and we'll go there for a while. Tiffany is determined to have cheese curds at the park so if we can stand it, we'll make that foray. That will be about enough for me.

The next day is Regis' 60th birthday! We're going to celebrate in a minimal fashion, for us, by cooking a big ass steak on the grill, making a big salad, and sitting on the patio. Hey, it sounds like most of our days! I bought him a new bottle of Angel for Men which I think smells like sugar cookies. Remember the movie Michael? Cookies...aphrodisiac. Hahaha!

Happy and safe Independence Day if I don't get back here tomorrow!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

sunday afternoon

Regis and I are galavanting around town this afternoon. We're headed out to the winery for the first meeting of the Wine Circle. Aha, but I am not sure drinking wine in this heat is advisable.

Elliot was here for a short time this morning while his mama worked. He helped me water the plants on the patio and we sat in Tom's swing for a while. It was too blasted hot to sit there for long.

Regis took Gus to the dog park early. Too hot to be out in the blistering sun...even for a dog.

It's Patrick's 24th birthday so we may have to stop down to say howdy.

It's my mom's birthday, too! Happy birthday, Mom!