Sunday, September 29, 2013

thinking about fall and making plans

This is my last morning routine task. I have sat in front of my light therapy box, I have had my coffee, I have checked in on several blogs, and I have played with Woodrow. It's a good day.

Regis and I are thinking about fall. This morning, I am going to pile some yard and garden waste on the curb for the city to pick up this week. Saturday, Ella is coming over to help me put out some Halloween decorations as I have three huge tubs. This will have to be done with Woodrow in mind as he thinks everything in the house is his. I want to get my knitting out and exchange my summer clothes for my fall attire. It could be too early for winter coats yet, but you never know.

Speaking of Woodrow, it is almost a relief when he takes a nap. He's like a small, furry two-year old.

I'm having a dreaded medical procedure tomorrow which means no food today and only clear liquids. The only good thing about this is the mild sedation. I'll spare you the ugly details.

I'm pretty sure this is what Woodrow will be doing some day. He's been getting on the table which we highly discourage but he seems unphased. I was distracted for a while, searching google for solutions to cats on tables. Now I have run out of time. Have to get dressed and do the yard work. See ya...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

how woodrow sleeps

Woodrow has two speeds. Zero or 100 mph with vertical leaps and half gainers. He is sound asleep in all these pictures. I love that he sleeps half hanging out of the window of his cat condo with his paws on the porch. He has been a delight.

It's still dark at almost seven o'clock. I am going to in to use my light therapy box for a while. It's about 70 degrees now but the temperature is supposed to drop all day with a chance of showers. Ella and I would like to walk in the Oktoberfest parade. With braids. Ha!

I started my gratitude habit the first day of September and I am happy to say I did it every day. I wrote down three-five things each day for which I am grateful. It did make me more aware of moments in my life to be appreciated.

It's raining...good.

Friday, September 27, 2013

breathing deeply

On October 1st, Regis and I start paying for our own medical insurance which costs a butt load of money. We're drawing funds from some annuity things we have and we thought it was all finalized. Last week, it dawned on us we needed to make sure that the deposit came before the withdrawal or there would be mighty overdraft fees. I have spent a good part of the day trying to make sure that's all good. Found out the annuity folks took out taxes which makes us short another butt load of money. A wonderful person who does financial stuff for a job (I'd rather pluck chickens.) is helping fix it. What a nightmare.

I have been awake since 3 am when Woodrow decided to play on my head. He is slumbering soundly now in his cat tree. I tried to take a nap but was agitated by the insurance fiasco so no nap for me. I should get a stick and poke him once in a while just to get even.

Regis helped me peel, slice, and freeze three bags of apples for pie and fill the dehydrator with eight trays of apples. I've made two big pans of applesauce and three pies so we have made good use of this year's bumper crop of apples on Bill's tree.

Ella and Woodrow playing hide and seek.


It's been a hell of a week. In addition to the two days I subbed in a special ed classroom at the high school, I was trying to climb out of a two-week black hole into which I had stepped. This could be a collection of random thoughts and pictures. I'll try real hard to tie it together but no promises.

This is my newly purchased light therapy lamp. The last few years, I've noticed some mood issues in the short days of winter. Like, I could bite the ass out of a live chicken some days. I drape myself in strings of Christmas lights but, while pleasant, they didn't seem to be very effective. My behavioral health (yuck yuck mental health) therapist suggested I try this. I sit in front of it for 20 minutes in the morning, drinking my coffee and reading. I like to think of it as the sunny shores of the office.

The bathrooms at the high school have stalls with doors, not unusual, but the locks have this label on which made me laugh out loud. Hiny Hiders. I kept forgetting to ask if anyone else was amused by this but it sure tickled me.

Regis has always loved the expression living in a van down by the river. He got this hilarious card from our friend, Bob, this week. Here's the story:
Originates from the SNL skit featuring Chris Farley as Matt Foley, motivational speaker.
"You kids are probably saying to yourself, "Now, I'm gonna go out, and I'm gonna get the world by the tail and wrap it around and put it in my pocket!" Well, I'm here to tell you that you're probably gonna find out, as you go out there, that you're not gonna amount to jack squat!" You're gonna end up eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river!" 

If you've never seen this clip, go to you tube and check it out. Hilarious and crazy!

I got these beautiful sunny flowers this week from my mom. Just the ray of sunshine and hope I needed. And they came from Mary's Flowers...where fun and flowers meet!

This chicken is symbolic of Woodrow's growing adventuresome spirit. The chicken, with dangling legs, was perched on a high shelf and Woodrow made his way up there to investigate. Didn't take long for the chicken to crash to floor and Woodrow to do a two foot vertical leap.

Woodrow is a people loving kitten for which I am grateful. He comes to sit on my desk when I'm at the computer. He sleeps at my feet when I'm in the living room. He always comes to investigate if we go to another room. I really hoped he wouldn't be a skittish cat who hid under the bed. That would be like having a hermit crab for a pet.

Even though my google calendar sent me an email telling me that I have no events scheduled for today, I do have things to do. My garden needs to be tended, I have a bucket full of apples to peel and freeze, and there are papers to organize. Oh, and that insurance task.

Speaking of technology. When I worked last, subs were called on the phone at all times of the day and night. Now there is an online program that schedules subs...and an app. If my phone buzzes, there could be a job available and I only have to click the link to accept. Then it puts it on your calendar. What the...

I've been digging through my books. Funny how sometimes a book will drift to the back of the shelf and be forgotten for a while. Then something triggers a memory and I have to search for it. Yesterday, it was a quote by John O'Donohue that captured my attention as I sat in the media center. Then I realized I had heard him on the radio once, and had one of his books. It took a while but I found it.
It is far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather the idea of will.
Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their life into proper shape.
The intellect identifies the goal of the program, and the will accordingly forces the life into that shape.
This way of approaching the sacredness of one’s own presence is externalist and violent. 
It brings you falsely outside yourself, and you can spend years lost in the wilderness of your own mechanical, spiritual programs.

John O’Donahue
From Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Since Woodrow woke me up at 3 am...I am tired but I know if I go back to bed for a while, the rest of the day will be slothful so I'm going to muscle through it. Maybe if I get my list done, I can take a siesta this afternoon.

Moving on into the day. It will be a good one...I'm feeling peaceful and strong.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

early morning wake-up call from the kitten

Woodrow started playing around my head about 4 am this morning. I finally got up and made coffee, then looked at the app for substitute teaching. There was a special ed job available in a classroom where I know the teacher. I looked at it ten times, my finger hovering over the accept button, and finally...I pushed it. So, there's my day.

My plan was to go back to sleep for a couple hours. I could regret this about 2 o'clock when my biological rhythms go askew.

i/.oo  Woodrow just walked across my keyboard and typed that. He is so smart.

Regis picked another tub of apples for me yesterday. I think I'll freeze some of them for apple pies for the holidays. Maybe more apple sauce, too.

We saw a dead raccoon on the highway the other day. My goofy brain jumped to Cancun, then honeymoon which I thought would be a good poem if I had more marbles. Haha!

I better get ready to go to school.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

i think i stepped into a black hole but now I'm back

I have been meaning to post these pictures for days. As the subject line says, there are black holes waiting to suck you in and spin you around. Once in a while, one gets me.

The html gods are screwing with me today. I can't any of my blogs or posts to format right and now I am going to quit trying. 

I made three apple pies in the last week using apples from a neighbor's tree.

I think I'll make this short this morning and just try to get back to speed tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

wednesday...full agenda

I'm going to substitute at the school where I taught for more than thirty years today. I have a full agenda to make up for the last two days of waddlesome slothfullness.

When Regis picks me up at 3, we'll race over for my eye appointment and he'll leave me there while he goes to another appointment. When I'm done, I'll go to a local establishment and order some take-out wings for our dinner since we won't be home until 5:30.

I guess that doesn't look like such a full agenda, once I write it down. That works for lots of things. Think you have a lot of gripes? Make a list. If it doesn't have "no food" and "no running water" got nothing to gripe about maybe.

If I had the gumption, I'd walk to work. Today...not much.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013 agenda items

Woodrow slept until 5 this morning and I was as grateful for that as I used to be when my babies slept through the night. He slept a lot yesterday, too, and just as with a baby, I could not bring myself to wake him. Doesn't really work anyway. Today, he has been riding around in the pocket of my vest. He isn't really fond of it but I tell him to pretend he's at the carnival.

I looked at my list of things to do this morning and told Regis that sometimes I write things on the list that I have already done just so I can cross them off. He said he does that, too, and just this morning he wrote "graduate high school" so he could cross that off. Funny.

I've been lingering over this post almost all day now. Not many words for a whole day's work, but as my list shows, I have been busy. I have made maybe four phone calls and answered several more. As I have had a complete aversion to making or answering the phone in the last nine months, I'd say this shows some mental health progress, too.

Tomorrow will be my first day as a substitute teacher. I have not darkened the door of a school since the day I left, June 30 of 2011. My neural network (ah, that again) shut down that day and it took me more than two years of intensive therapy and much wine to get it rebooted. Haha!

It feels like late October outside. I was thinking about walking down to the PO and the farmer's market but I wonder what kind of outwear to dig out of the closet. If I walk, I have to drag my rigged-up old lady shopping cart which is actually a luggage cart with a yellow crate zip-tied on it. I want to buy some pickles, peppers, and maybe a melon.

Later. I did walk and it was cold. Very autumnal...60 degrees, brisk wind, misty rain. I stopped at the bank, the PO, and the farmer's market. Just like I said I would. 

Monday, September 16, 2013


I have been writing a daily gratitude list this month. These are some of the things I am grateful for in September.
  1. I’m grateful that I have a husband who is so affectionate, so caring, so supportive. He has been a wonderful gift in my life. And he makes me laugh.
  2. I’m grateful that I have a mostly positive outlook on life. I always think things could be worse so I should be happy for what is.
  3. I’m grateful that writing is part of my life. It has saved me in many situations. It’s the way I think, the way I process, the way I resolve.
  4. I’m grateful that I found Mary to help me with hypnosis and EMDR.
  5. I'm grateful for all these changes that have brought me to this point in my life.
  6. I had a medical appointment this morning and I am very grateful to have access to such wonderful care and such world-class physicians and nurses. Everyone has been wonderful to me through my cancer diagnosis and treatment. I always felt safely tucked in their loving arms.
  7. I'm grateful for my little house with the big trees in front, the shady patio, and the hosta garden full of yard art. I love feeling so close to nature even in the middle of town.
  8. I'm grateful for the music in my life. Every day I turn on World Cafe and listen to great music and interviews with musicians. This weekend, we're looking forward to the Rock Bend Folk music from around the country for two days!
  9. I'm grateful for my open windows and the sounds of summer: cicadas, birds at the feeder, the neighbor's lawn mower, a laughing baby, my dog barking.
  10. Today, Wednesday, I am grateful for the morning silence that allows me time to think and reflect on how lucky I am. Our windows are open, the breeze is cool and autumn-like, and the dog is napping on the couch.
  11. I'm also grateful for my love of books. I can't imagine my life without reading and so many books have become like well-loved friends. I have some favorite authors...Louise Erdrich, Bill Holm, Jim Harrison, Howard Norman, Kent Haruff. Not long ago, I was reading a book and read a stunning passage. I clutched the book to my chest and gasped. What a pass on beautiful words like that.
  12. I'm grateful for flavors and for the rich and wonderful variety of foods we have available. Our farmer's market is bountiful this time of year, sweet corn, melons, tomatoes, and many other things are available on street corners, and grocery stores are filled to over-flowing. Last night we grilled stuffed peppers...hatch and poblano peppers with spicy mango/jalapeno sausage and provolone cheese. A feast for the senses.
  13. Last Tuesday, I had a cataract repaired and the procedure took twenty minutes. I'm grateful for medical technology and skilled doctors that make that possible. It's miraculous.
  14. I'm grateful for our good friends, Tom and Betty. They invite our whole family into their home and pool, let our giant dog lope around their yard, and allow our grandchildren to invade their pool. They have been good friends for many years and we've been through a lot of life changes together.
  15. I'm grateful to my surgeon, Dr. Deaconson, who has saved me several times. When I had a bad experience with an imaging center, he got me into the Mayo system immediately, called the head of radiology to do my needle-guided biopsy, and postponed his vacation to do my surgery. He is a compassionate man who takes care of his patients needs first...always.
  16. I live on the southern plains of Minnesota. I'm grateful for the beauty here. I love the miles and miles of farm fields, the rolling hills, the river valleys. Bill Holm calls it horizontal grandeur in his essay by that name. I don't need mountains or oceans...I love the flat land.
  17. I'm grateful for our big, goofy dog, Gus. I wasn't sure I wanted a dog but my husband did so we found a dog. Gus is a golden doodle and he has the sweetest disposition of any dog I have known. He sleeps on our bed with his paws in the air, he licks us in the face to wake us up, he lays on my husband's lap to be combed in the morning. He is a wonderful pet.
  18. Today, I am grateful for a good night's sleep. It doesn't happen every night but it feels so good to wake up at 7 and feel well-rested.
  19. I am also grateful for clean water that comes out of the taps on demand. Some places in the world, they have to carry water or have no access at all. We are very fortunate
  20. Yesterday I was very annoyed with the department of education in Minnesota because they told me it would take 6 weeks to process my substitute teaching license. I had to work with my annoyance and decided to be grateful that I live in a state where educators are licensed. The department of ed is struggling like many state agencies with fewer employees and fewer resources so the lady who was abrupt with me was probably being as kind as she could be at that moment. (How's that for turning a grumpy moment into gratitude?)
  21. I'm grateful for mornings. I love sitting here listening to our favorite radio show, drinking good coffee, and watching the birds in our garden. Such a gentle way to start the day.
  22. I'm grateful for wonderful writers. Before I went to sleep last night, I read several essays on Longform. Incredible stories and lyrical writing.
  23. I was grateful to hear the thunder and rain during the night. It's been very dry here and I worry about my garden going into winter short of water.
  24. I'm grateful to have a beautiful shade garden in the front of my house, with a big patio where we spend much time in the summer. It's mostly low-maintenance plants, hostas and lilies, but it's very serene. I like garden art so it's full of small frogs, turtles, an angel or two, and a big metal chicken.
  25. I'm grateful that I can go for long walks and breathe deeply. I walked to the food coop last night and enjoyed it very much. I walk an easy pace (No speed walking for me!) and try to notice, with my senses, all the small miracles...acorns, children riding bikes, smell of onions coming from a restaurant. Five years ago, I could barely make it around the block.
  26. I'm grateful for my sense of taste. Yesterday, I had fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with basil and balsamic dressing. I had an omelet for breakfast with hot grilled peppers and mangoes. For dinner, my husband made ribs on the grill, seasoned with cayenne pepper, paprika, celery salt, cumin and black pepper. Fresh yellow watermelon from the farmer's market for dessert.
  27. I am grateful for my sense of touch. I love my soft, burgundy blanket on the bed. I love to hold the smooth rocks on my serenity table. When I shop for clothes, the feel of the fabric is important to me. Color...then feel. I like the feel of my slippers on my feet. They're lined with sherling and I wiggle my toes when I wear them just to feel it. I touch my jewelry...hold my necklace charms in my hand, examine the bracelet on my wrist, rub my fingers over my earrings.
  28. I'm grateful for my sense of smell. I have herbs in pots on the patio and always rub my hands over them...basil, thyme, oregano, mint...and then cup my hands over my nose to inhale the scent. I like to chop onions and garlic by hand and like to smell it later. (Some people use lemon juice to get rid of the smell...imagine!) I like to keep scented soaps in my dresser drawers. The smell of food is an important part of the pleasure of eating.
  29. I'm grateful for my sense of sight. I believe we eat with our eyes first so how my table looks is important. I like to use pretty table linens, colorful dishes, interesting serving dishes. Not that we do it at EVERY meal, but I like to do it...and not just when we have company! I love to gaze at my garden. Every time we leave the house, I say, "Isn't my garden pretty?" My husband laughs and says yes it is.
  30. I'm grateful for my slow and mindful walks. I try to notice all my senses and will bend over to sniff a flower or stop to look at the leaves on a tree. Yesterday I notices that the acorns on the oak tress had popped out their little seeds, leaving the wooly cap.
  31. I'm grateful for today and another opportunity to start over on some of my habits.
  32. Last weekend, we went to the Rock Bend Folk Festival. We heard a local band I have loved for forty years. We sat in the warm sunshine and saw so many old friends. I think I gathered dozens of hugs. I'm grateful to live in a place that values music and community.
  33. I'm grateful, again, for my senses because the music festival was a feast for all of them. Delicious smell of barbecue, colorful costumes on the Heart of the Beast puppets (giant puppets), hugs from friends, great music, and a meal of smoked gouda and habanero pickles with chilled wine.
  34. I'm making a grocery list and instead of thinking of it as a chore, I'm feeling grateful that we have the money to buy such good things to eat and that I have access to such a variety of good and healthy things to eat.
  35. I am grateful for all the good habits I already have. I eat healthy food, I read voraciously, I write daily, I take care of my health, I treasure my family and friends. Two steps forward and one back is still progress as long as I keep going in the right direction.

sunday evening...whoops monday morning

The weekend went so fast. Wedding rehearsal Friday night, Wedding Saturday afternoon... and a kitten that wakes me up at 3 am. I didn't have the most productive days.

The setting for the wedding was beautiful and Regis looked so handsome. He does a beautiful ceremony and is so distinguished and serious. We beat the rain by about two minutes. The bridal party felt a few sprinkles but the groom said that is a sign of good luck.

I found these photos and this artist on Facebook. I love the idea of using the moon in all these shots. I had never heard of Steve McCurry but apparently he is an iconic (sort of like epic) photojournalist. Check out his work. Amazing...and iconic.

Artist: Steve McCurry

Last week when I walked out to the dog park, I crossed the bridge over the Minnesota River. In the middle, I was gripped by some fear and had to reach out to hold the railings. I wanted to look into the water but couldn't make myself do it. I drive over that bridge all the time but I can't remember when I last walked over it. I felt like a high wire walker.

It's a new experience for me, having a kitten. He acts like a crazy thing sometimes, running and spinning and chasing his tail. The he decides he is tired and you cannot keep him awake. He crawls into his little bed on the shelf and snoozes for hours. Our biggest issue is that he likes to wake up very 3 am. I figure it will be better when he's older and can prowl around the house by himself in the middle of the night.  Now, it's like having a furry infant. A furry infant that can run and climb.

It's not all bad, waking up this early. I used to do it all the time and find I'm a little more productive when I get up and do all my sitting before sunrise. I'm a good sitter.

After a winter and spring of reading mysteries and crime obsessively, I am skipping around to lots of different things. I read a book called Things I Like About America: Personal Narratives, that I really liked a lot. I'm also reading a book of short stories that I don't like so much. I always feel like I miss the point of short stories. I get to the end and think...What?

Regis better wake up or he is going to miss this delicious Guatemalan coffee. Of course, if I drink the whole pot, I'll be clinging to the drapes by my claws like Woodrow. He doesn't really climb the drapes but it's a good picture, right?

We tried to watch a movie that everyone said was so funny. Rotten tomatoes gave it about a 90, which is a great score. Somehow, we missed the point. Regis gets annoyed with me because I only like movies with believable story lines. I'm not a fan of science fiction, dystopia, apocalypse, horror...or anything resembling those. I like a little more reality in my stories. Not too much reality, though, like war or murder. I have a fairly narrow band of things I will read and watch, as you can see.

Between the two of us, we have four medical appointments this week. WTF. I expect things to get better once I turn 61, dammit. Enough of this shit. One day this month, we have to figure out which on of us will have the least sedation and should be able to drive the other one. Good grief.

My goal this month is to write a list every morning of 3-5 things for which I am grateful. I've done it now every day and it's not hard. I like things like that. Writing letters to the editor used to be a thing I enjoyed because I had to revise my writing to fit below a certain word count. It was like a puzzle. Now, I don't have many opinions so I don't write those so often. Haha!

I do have opinions but I think what I discovered is that they don't really make a difference so I should save my energy. 

Woodrow is down for his morning nap at 4:45 am. I've had two cups of coffee so I won't be going back to sleep for a while. 

My point, getting back to it, about my complaints about medical appointments is that I am trying to find positive in what appears to be negative. So, I am grateful to have access to this wonderful care and to have insurance so we don't have to worry about medical bills.

I turn on KMSU when I am awake this early and I'm developing a taste for the jazz show that's on at that time. I said a few weeks ago, that I had a rube's taste for jazz...none. But this is a gentle way to start the day and the host has a nice voice.

Time to move on into the day. Remember to put have fun on your list of things to do.

Friday, September 13, 2013

catching up

Last week, I made a list of nine things I wanted to get done. By the end of this week, I have done two of them. So why do I feel like I've been so busy? I guess I lost a day to eye surgery, then part of the next morning to a follow-up appointment. Sigh. Here's the week in pictures:

I walked downtown the other day and then walked out to the dog park to meet Regis and Gus. I look like a crazy old bag lady.

Yesterday, we adopted this little kitten from the pound in St. Peter. They, and the place where we bought all the supplies gave us lots of cautionary advice about introducing the kitten and Gus. Gus watches over Woodrow like a mama and licks his face every chance he gets. Woodrow is not the least bit afraid of Gus.

Since my eye surgery, my eyes are very light-sensitive. The clinic gave me these very flattering sunglasses. Polarized, no less. Regis took this lovely photo of me as I came home from an errand this morning, then sent it to me with the subject line: Bug eyes is home. Haha!

We had a stuffed pepper extravaganza this week one night. We ate a few that night, a few the next night, and vacuum sealed the rest for January when we'll be craving the taste of hot peppers.

This is Woodrow asleep on my lap. He woke Regis up at 4 this morning by pouncing on his head. He has been sleeping almost all day so we could be in for some action tonight, too. I went down to the vet's office today and bought him a few more toys and a tiny harness and leash. 

This is the google car that drives down streets and takes pictures for street view

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

report from the OR and other musings

This is a photo taken by my sweet husband after I came back from surgery for my cataract. I know it's a horrible picture but I have lost all modesty about good and bad pictures of me in medical situations. It is what it is. And I yam what I yam, as Popeye used to say.

I haven't been able to see well enough out of either eye today to write or read much. Maybe my right eye is lonely because my left eye is messed up or maybe there is a more scientific reason. Whatever. I was also half kicked from the Versed which is nice in that it lets you sleep away an afternoon and not nice in that you are not the least bit tired when night comes. I guess if a guy had some self-control and would stay awake even when sleepy, it wouldn't be such a problem. Well, that guy is not me.

When the nurse asked me if I had any problems with mild sedation, I said, "No, I actually like a little mild sedation." I would hate to see what they write in my chart.

When I went to my pre-op physical last week, my doctor decided that I needed a colonoscopy due to the kind of polyp I had last time. Lovely. When you get over 60, there is not an orifice on your body they don't want to examine up close and often. Well, the procedure wasn't even scheduled yet and I had a message from the pharmacy that my prescription (in a gallon jug) was ready. And yesterday, in the midst of preparing for cataract surgery, I had to go to "colonoscopy education". WTF. I told the nurse doing the educating that I would be lucky if I didn't put the GoLightly in my eyes and the eye drops up my ass. (I used this joke in an email to Karen and it got a good cyber-laugh so I had to use it again.)

Maybe after September 30th, I'll be done with medical procedures for a while. I came home very grumpy from the colonoscopy education. Very grumpy. Truth be told, there is not much to be educated about...and you know this if you have had one.

After surgery, they slapped this big ass metal fly-eye patch on my eyes. It has holes, purportedly for aeration, but it makes it impossible to see. You keep trying to focus your messed up eye through the tiny holes but end up just keeping the eye closed. I thought about making a little gauze curtain but didn't have the gumption.

I really don't mind medical procedures. Everyone is so nice and they give you those great drugs to make you sleep. The nurses were pretty funny today...the anesthesiologist, not so much. I guess it's a good thing he is serious about his job. The food wasn't great, though. I asked about breakfast and they brought me a cup of coffee and a package of Ritz crackers. That ain't breakfast in my world, sister.

I didn't really like going into the operating room fully awake. In the past I have always been on my way to the nether regions before being carted down the back hallways. I get kind of goofy and announce, "Traffic jam!" if we meet up with another cart in the hall. Not always such a good idea.

There are lots of very intimidating big machines, bright lights, and shiny surfaces. I would rather be asleep for that part. At one point, I asked if I they had given me the sedative yet and the doctor said, "Give her a little more". I had a lot of comments to make and they were probably tired of me running at the mouth.

There are always strange folks in the waiting rooms of surgery centers. Today's weird dude was a middle aged guy with a red mohawk. In a loud and strident voice, he was telling his medical history, including the many times he almost died, to a woman who looked like if she had half a chance, she would strangle him by the neck. Had I not been called back by the nurse, I certainly would have assisted her. Who, in a waiting room, needs to be subjected to that kind of shit? We all have our own worries, pal.

Ah, well. It's a slice of life.

I was asked by a friend of mine to be on a "committee". I generally loathe committees because they have too many meetings that accomplish too little. This one sounds interesting so I'll call her and inquire about meeting length and such. My dad always said a meeting that lasts more than an hour is a waste of time and I tend to agree.

Today I received my lifetime substitute teaching license from the department of education which means, not only can I sub up until the day I croak (not more than fifteen days in the same classroom) but that my mental health is good enough that it will allow me to enter a school without a complete neural network breakdown. I am looking at this, especially the last part, as a good thing.

This has really been an uplifting blog post. Cataract surgery, colonoscopy, committees, and substitute teaching. My life has been more fun that this, honestly.

Regis made stuffed mushrooms on the grill tonight. Giant portabello mushrooms with Andouille sausage and cheese. We had talked about it yesterday but I couldn't summon the mental energy to participate in any way except eating them. I said my mind was muddled and it was.

They lectured me today about resting, not drinking alcohol, and not doing anything risky. I told Regis I was going to come home, jump on my unicycle, and ride down to the bars for a couple beers. Hahaha! I don't even have a unicycle and I wasn't awake long enough to do this, but it was a funny thought, eh? I wish I had said it to the nurse who was lecturing me in that serious voice, but sometimes I am a slow processor. Now I'm awake at midnight having a gin and tonic...two out of three isn't bad. Hey, is the math right on that?

I don't know about your colonoscopy education but my nurse gave me a big brochure that said to not eat whole wheat bread, fruits, or vegetables for seven days prior to the procedure. What? What are you supposed to eat? She said in response, "Well, I ate that. I ate that." Hell. I am a rule follower (most of the time) and so now I am confused. I might have to call someone and see what the real deal is. Do they think I'll eat pork chops and shrimp for seven days?

I'm on a roll here. Bear with me.

For a person who hadn't had surgery since a tonsillectomy at the age of five, I am cruising on a record breaking year. I have had so many procedures in so many places this year I can't remember where I had what. I expect to live to be a very old lady so this better be the end of it.

Writing and revising are two of my favorite things. I write a few paragraphs, read them over, add a sentence, change some words, make one sentence where I had two previously. It's like my love of diagramming sentences. I should start a club....or a committee.

I have confessed here before that I like to play Candy Crush but I won't pay money or link it to Facebook. So, I am stuck playing Level 35 into eternity. Mostly I don't care but I can see a day coming, maybe next week, when it will get tiresome. I do wonder how people get to Level 137. Seriously. That requires some investiture of time and capital...or at least public disclosure.

I have some weird color refractions (?) in my right eye. Is that a post-surgical thing? It's like movies you see of  LSD trips. I remember seeing weird colors during surgery so I am trying not to be concerned...and I see the doctor tomorrow. I don't want them to take my real eye out with an ice cream scoop and replace it with a marble.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

a feast for the senses

This is the weekend of the 23rd Rock Bend Folk Festival in St. Peter. I've been to many of them...sometimes it's 40 degrees and sometimes it's 95 degrees. Although I am not a fan of extreme heat, I think it's more fun when it's hot. People are up and about more instead of being hunkered down in blankets.

There are so many colorful characters, those performing and those attending. You can see Jack Sparrow and his lady friend were wandering the grounds yesterday. 

Lone Star, our favorite barbecue place in town, was one of the vendors. The delicious smell of barbecue wafted over the grounds. We had to share a half-rack. Nothing like licking barbecue spice off your fingers on a summer day.

This giant puppet from Heart of the Beast wandered the grounds, too. There were two of them and they scared the crap out of some adults I know so these children are very brave.

I thought about asking this dude to trade hats with me but Regis didn't think he'd go for it. One of my favorite parts of the festival is all the interesting folk who come out, dressed in their regalia. It's like they get up in the morning and think what the hell, I'm going to a music festival, I'll wear that insane hat.

We always buy a couple buttons and a couple raffle tickets. Yesterday, the ticket I bought for Regis was one of the first drawn for a prize. We won this lovely pottery jug. All in all, a splendid day at the park.

On to the week. It will be a busy one with my eye surgery on Tuesday and a follow-up appointment the next day. Regis will go buy groceries in the morning and I better get going on the list.

Friday, September 06, 2013

moment of zen

I joined an on-line forum for reflection and change. It's very interesting...many of the people are from other countries. I have set some goals, check in each day about my habits, and get encouragement from others about how I'm doing. It's fun because you know how verbose I can be. It's another outlet for my blabbiness.

I had a couple of epiphanies this week. One was about my baby books (I had two!) and one was about a folder of papers I have kept since my nephew died. How do these things roll around in your head for years and then pop into your consciousness in a different form? Mary says a guy's unconscious is always processing life experiences.

I read through my (quite extensive) folder of writing, too. Some of that shit isn't too bad for an amateur. Maybe I'll try to get it in better shape and organized. I have one piece that an instructor suggested making into a children's book. I think that might be beyond my conceptual capabilities.

I also started a genealogy project after years of saying I had no interest. I have tons of information about my mom's side of the family but had very little about my dad's side. I wasn't even sure of the names of his grandparents. Armed with three pictures of some ancestors with names on the back and approximate dates, I marched into one of the internet sites that specializes in that sort of thing. It's miraculous.

I found not only names and dates going back to the 1700's but documents supporting the facts. I looked at draft cards, census records, lists of passengers on ships. Some of these folks came across the ocean on ships when they were small children. How much courage would that take?

One of the earliest relatives I found was married four times and produced a shit load of off-spring. One of the issues in sorting that all out is that back in the day, sometimes people had one baby who died and then they gave the same name to a later child. I'm going to print his tree today and see if I can make sense of it.

Happy Friday! Making crab cakes and cucumber salad for dinner tonight. Going to Rock Bend tomorrow. Should be a great weekend.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

cruising into fall

Regis and I have kind of a summer to autumn transition ennui. We're not unhappy, just a little lethargic. It takes more energy to start up the grill, prepare food to cook outside, do yard chores, water patio plants. 

Yeah, we must be getting mentally ready for meatloaf and cold weather. Ready to put the garden to bed, ready to sweep down the spider webs for the year, ready to trade out the lawn mower for the snow blower.

I'm ready for cooler weather...maybe not snow...but cooler weather. I hate hot weather clothes. I like sweaters and scarves and fall colors.

We're listening to KMSU this morning. It's the birthday of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. Happy birthday, Ledge!

If you haven't heard of him: The Legendary Stardust Cowboy is an outsider performer who is considered one of the pioneers of the genre that came to be known as psychobilly in the 1960s. While sometimes considered a novelty artist, he regards himself a serious performer.

You can check him out on youtube. Paralyzed is my favorite song...and next is My Underwear Froze to the Clothesline. We always send him a birthday card and a Christmas card because he loves fan mail.

I didn't post a youtube video because this might not be your thing. We used to hear his songs on KMSU and when he came to town, I insisted we go just to see who else would be there. I could not imagine. Interesting that now we have developed a taste for it and always turn the radio up when they play one of his songs. He's a hoot.

I told myself I would get up and gt moving by 9 o'clock so I better think about moving on. I think I will go for a walk and stop at the coop for a few groceries. Our big trip is Monday but there are a few things I want to get before the weekend.

See ya. Later.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

forces in the universe and a couple rants

Yesterday I slept until 7 am. This morning, I woke up at 4 am to find Regis in the living room drinking tea. He's been awake since 2:30. What gives? My funny doctor, Ruth, not the sex Doctor Ruth, said she thought there were forces in the universe that keep people awake sometimes. I'll go with that.

We're much more likely to see this part of the day than the other end. After 8 o'clock, it's lights out at our house.

I went to see my regular doctor (as opposed to my irregular doctor) yesterday for my annual physical and for my pre-op physical for cataract surgery. I think I'm straight now on when what is due although she is checking on one test I would rather forgo. You can guess. She is a great doctor...we tell stories and laugh and groan and carry on together. I love it when you can hug a doctor at the end of your visit.

I'm working on gratitude this month and it's been interesting. I thought I had a good handle on being grateful but it's nice to sit quietly a couple times a day and think about what I am grateful for. One thing is being able, most times, to not end my sentences with prepositions. Old habits die hard.

So, on the flip side of gratitude, here are my recent rants:

  • I was looking at an ad for a "big box" pharmacy. I bet was on page ten before I got to anything resembling pharmacy-like products. There were clothes, fans, school supplies, several pages of food items, frozen and otherwise.
  • My least favorite man mall store is now selling food. Oh, great. The hardware type stuff a guy would usually go in there for (dragged behind a team of wild horses) now must take up about two aisles while the rest of the store is filled with shit you don't need but might buy anyway just because you're over-stimulated.
  • My favorite grocery store does sell some miscellaneous items non-food related items but the thing that irks me most there is the random placement of things... like licorice in the paper product section. I'm going to take pictures of that weirdness next time I go there.
  • I think the purpose is distraction and marketing. Oh, here I have toilet paper on my list. Licorice! Yeah, I'll take some of that!
  • Coupons. Especially coupons with a whole back side full of exclusions. I could go on a big rant on this subject alone. I went into a women's clothing store once with a coupon for 20% off an item that was not on sale. The saleswoman told me that everything in the store was on sale and she suggested I come back when the sale was over. WTF.

  • I haven't gotten the email telling me that I have no agenda items today so I must have a couple things to do. One is the eye doc appointment. Then I want to spend some time on doing some research on my dad's side of the family. Mom's family has a couple ambitious members who have produced books full of information on that side but my dad's family has sort of dwindled in numbers and in story.

    If I have any ambition left, I want to organize a couple book shelves. They're starting to over-flow and need to be winnowed. It will be a full day.

    Tuesday, September 03, 2013

    living gently today

    I started the day by drinking coffee and watching the giant panda cam at the Smithsonian National Zoo. Mama panda and baby are sleeping, all curled up together. Very sweet.

    I forgot to post the link to the google page for the Labor Day photo collection. Sometimes it's hard to watch the tiny slideshow on my blog. At the top of the picassa page, you can choose slideshow and it makes them BIG so you can really see the details on our old and saggy selves as well as the happy faces of the all the kids. Here's some of each:

    Elliot and Zoey won the Best Giggler awards at the party. 

    Facebook is full to the brim of first day of school photos this morning. It's nice to see the excitement of that first clothes, new backpacks, big smiles, loads of enthusiasm for learning. Now, let the education system suck that out of you until you are nothing but a dry husk at the end of your senior year. Wahahahaha! I don't mean that but I couldn't resist the urge to be sarcastic. Oh, yeah...this is probably not living gently.

    I signed up for a program called Sea Change. I think I'll like it. It's about habit step at a time in a mindful way. A gentle way.

    I have a pre-op physical today for my cataract surgery next week. Did you know they stick a small probe in your eye and vaporize the old lens, then suck out the pieces? They they fold up the new lens and stick it back in your eye where it unfolds. Amazing stuff. I wonder how they discover they can do this?

    Monday, September 02, 2013

    Happy Labor Day 2013!

    We like to have a party to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of autumn and Labor Day. This year, Betty and Tom graciously offered to host the party at their home. The weather has been so hot and we thought it would be nice to enjoy their pool. Turned out to be more autumn-like than hot and blazing but the sun came out long enough in the afternoon that we could get in the pool. It was a blast.