Sunday, January 8, 2012

No Resolutions, Just Change

I am not the typical Type A personality. A friend always told me I am over-achiever. I was never sure what that meant. I just went to an online dictionary and read the definition. I think it was supposed to be a compliment. Not sure about that either.

I am also not a resolution maker. I used to be but I was never very good about keeping them, and I just set myself up for failure and disappointment. I know I'm not the only one in that boat. Have you ever been in a gym the first week of the year? It's standing room only for the machines. Check back in February. No problem.

Last year I did commit (not resolve) to use the 15th of each month as Purge Day. While I didn't purge on exactly the 15th, I did get rid of something/clean out a drawer/closet during each month.

Very refreshing. At least until this past week when I wanted something I had tossed 10 days before. But I will keep purging on a regular basis.

What I have committed to for 2012 is to finish things I start. I don't mean the painting I began in 1991 or the quilt I started in 1986. Rather, when I have something in my hand with a destination, I will NOT put it down on the counter half way there when I get distracted by something else. Although as I look around my kitchen counters right now I see two things that need to be put away. Be right back.

Okay I'm back. I put away the couple things I noticed. I also put clean dishes from last night away, took my vitamins, washed a couple more things and got another cup of coffee. I'm not sure if that's a plus or a minus considering I distracted myself from writing my blog about getting distracted.

I guess I'm a work in progress.

Any resolutions for you this year?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hello Again

I'm back. How many times have I said that in a post?

When I was trying to think of a title, I thought Hello Again worked. A couple weeks ago we watched the most recent Kennedy Center annual awards and Neil Diamond was honored. He must be 100 years old. I remember him when I was a kid. He's still a great performer. He's written so many songs that went on to be big hits not only for himself but for other entertainers. I saw Shrek, The Musical last week, too. Know the song "I'm a Believer?" Neil wrote it.

But I digress. So what I have I been doing over the last 10 weeks? Mostly I have been watching Paul suffer through a back injury, subsequent surgery and post-op recovery. Weeks before the surgery, which took place the week of Thanksgiving, he was in agony. I've never seen someone hurt that much. There wasn't much I could do but I tried to be home as much as I could.

The surgery. There have been serious complications which he has been dealing with since. Next week we're getting a second opinion. We'll see what comes of that.

Then there's my work with Adopt-a-Family. That take a tremendous amount of my time and energy from September through December. Most of that work is done now but I'm still spending a few hours a week trying to wrap everything up for another year.

Then there's the usual stuff that we all deal with, especially during the holidays. I can't say I'm sorry it's over for another year. As for the whole year 2011, good riddance, I say. It wasn't a great year for us, and it was a difficult year for many of my family and friends. New Year's Eve I kicked its ass right out. Here's hoping 2012 will be happier, healthier and more prosperous (whatever that means to you) for all of us.

As for the blog, I've thought about it a lot. I've wondered if I would ever get back to it. I've got several posts half written and many more ideas. I guess I'm not ready to wrap it up. Here I am.

Hello again.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Redheads Need Not Apply

Cryos International, one of the world’s largest sperm banks, says they have more sperm from redheads in stock than they have requests for so they have stopped taking donations from redheads. They’ll make an exception if you have brown eyes.

Don’t sperm banks pay for donations? So if you’re a redhead whose been making a living through sperm donation, you just became unemployed. Can you imagine filling out THAT application for unemployment benefits? What if you have those contacts that change your eye color? Could they tell?

Apparently there’s a glut of redheaded sperm in the market. Somehow that sounds disgusting. They say they have 140,000 doses of sperm from redheads in stock. Do they keep them on shelves in a walk-in freezer or what?

The demand for redheads is still high in Ireland but the rest of the world, not so much. Cryos International’s office is located in Denmark. If they are getting most of their donations locally, what do they expect? But they also said they aren’t taking any more Scandinavian donors either unless they have brown eyes.

Worldwide only 4% are redheaded, in the US only 2% of the population are natural redheads The country with the highest percentage is Scotland with 13%. Since the sperm bank is looking for more Black, Asian, Hispanic, Mediterranean and mixed-race donors, maybe they should branch out and open an office somewhere else in the world.

I know what the issue is. Redheaded girls are okay but redheaded boys are not. That’s not my opinion, just my observation. Whenever I see a little redhead, boy or girl, I always tell them “Redheads are special.” It’s not easy being a redhead.

I am a redhead. My mother is a brown-eyed brunette and Dad was a blue-eye blond. So where did my red hair come from? Apparently from my mother’s father although he died before color photos so we don’t know for sure.

No one expected me to be a redhead. The story is when Mom was pregnant there was a family joke that if the baby had red hair, they would drown it. Yeah, I don’t think it’s very funny either. So out I come with a head covered with orange peach fuzz. Whoops!

I never really cared for my hair. I hated my freckles, too. I was six feet tall at 13 years old; which made me a 6’ 13-year-old redhead, which was really not easy. Do you know tall boys are at 13? About 5’3.

I was about 28 years old when I realized that being a 6’ redhead wasn’t such a bad thing. Apparently lots of women, and maybe their men, wish they were redheads. Supposedly 30% of women who dye their hair go red as opposed to 26% blonde and 27% brunette.

But don’t me get going about the names they call redheads. I HATED being called Red. Carrot Top was the worst. The only nickname I didn’t mind was Rusty. Sounds like a stripper. One time my granddaughter Madeleine looked at me and said “Your hair’s not red, Grama, it’s ORANGE.” Out of the mouths of babes.

Redheads are known for having tempers. Redheads don't turn grey, they turn white. We also tend to lose our color later in life than people with other colors. I can attest to that. The white in my hair makes it look blonde, but I refuse to put any permanent color in it. Paul hates it when someone refers to his wife as a blonde. “She’s a redhead!” He likes saying his wife is a 6’ redhead.

I found this website that has all kinds of crazy info about redheads. It also has this quote from a very famous redhead (who wasn’t a natural redhead) which I think is terrific:

"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead."
Lucille Ball

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Live Aid Part 2

I got some interesting comments about my first Live Aid post. "You went to Live Aid?!" I think they meant "I can't believe YOU did something so cool." Everyone said "I watched Live Aid on television!" The unspoken part of the comment was "Right before Mom put me down for my afternoon nap." Just kidding!!

As I mentioned, Joan Baez opened the show with Good morning children of the 80's. This is your Woodstock and it's long overdue. For the record, I am NOT a child of the 80's. I'm a child of the 60's. Or maybe late 60's early 70's.

I was too young to have been at Woodstock in 1969. And I didn't watch it on television because it wasn't ON television. I did, however, have the double album. And I could recite every announcement, every introduction and sing every word to every song. And I had to hide said album from my father who didn't approve of some of the lyrics.

Twenty-nine years old at Live Aid, I think I may have been older than the majority of the crowd. There were performers and bands there I didn't really know or care about but there were plenty I did.

I had a Cream poster in 1967. I am a huge Eric Clapton fan. EC was at Live Aid, one of the highlights of the day for me. I never saw Cream in concert but I've seen EC many times. Believe it or not I remember he did She's Waiting, Layla and White Room that day. Phil Collins played drums.

Then there was Ozzy. Another early favorite of mine when he was with Black Sabbath. I had their first album entitled Black Sabbath. I have a newspaper article with the schedule for Live Aid. Ozzy had the unfortunate timing of the 9:50 a.m. slot. Can you imagine? The Prince of Darkness at 10 a.m. Just doesn't seem right.

Then there was Madonna. Right after the big story broke that she had posed for Playboy and Penthouse. Her name was everywhere in the news, and her career took off after that. When she took the stage that day there was a lot of whistling and cheering from the crowd. Her first comment was "I ain't takin' shit off today."

A few months before their album Live at the Apollo was released Daryl Hall & John Oates (Hall & Oates)and David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick of The Temptations-fame played at Live Aid. I'm a huge fan of Motown, and they put on an awesome show. They played late in the evening but they got the tired, sunburned crowd on our feet singing and dancing. Unfortunately David and Eddie died a few years later.

Then there was Mick Jagger and Tina Turner. During their duet of "It's Only Rock and Roll" Mick took off his shirt. In the video you can see he continues the chorus, and goes to the side of the stage. When he comes back to the stage he's in a new shirt and a different pair of pants. As they continue the song you can see Mick reach over, grab something and rip Tina's leather skirt off. She finishes the song in a leotard. Clearly an early wardrobe malfunction.

I looked over some of the yellowed newspaper articles I collected before and after Live Aid including some critics' reviews. Critical is right. They were tough. Nobody there cared. I was too far back from the stage to really see and watched on giant display screens, early Diamond Vision. The quality was terrible but nobody cared. We were there.

On the way in there were signs everywhere saying cameras were prohibited. I think the ticket said that, too. Bags were searched at the gates. In my backpack I had water, snacks, sunscreen, shorts, t-shirt and my Olympus OM10 35mm. They never said a thing.

The concert sold out. We paid $65 for tickets which said $35 on them. Which is a bargain now and not bad then for so much music. Back in the day I used to go to 2-3 concerts a month, and the price of a ticket was about $5. I went to so many concerts in my teens and 20's it's a wonder I can hear.

There were other Live Aid events in several countries in addition to London and Philadelphia and they were all linked by satellite. It was called a Global Jukebox and one article talked about the "technical wizardry." We saw cables between poles all over the stadium. You'd see remote-controlled cameras run back and forth across the cables filming the crowd. How far we've come.

That was the first time I saw the human wave. There were beach balls bouncing all over the stadium. The temperature got up into the 90's and they used fire hoses to try to cool the crowd down. I don't now how well it worked. Sunstroke and heat exhaustion were the medical issues of the day. There were very few reports of drug overdoses.

After the show news reports quoted security as saying "it was so calm it was scary" and "fewer problems than any sporting event." I remember back then, even at large concerts like Live Aid, people were well behaved. I never saw anyone arrested at shows in the 70's and 80's. Probably because they were all mellow from the pot. I did see lots of flasks, wine skins and bottles confiscated or poured out at the door but that was part of the fun, to see if you could get something in.

That day there were reports of up to 85 women waiting in line for the restroom. The one time I went I waited in line for 30 minutes and then went into the men's rooms. I don't know about now but back then it was pretty common to see women going into the men's room.

But, of course, the show was supposed to raise money to help end hunger in Africa. Supposedly a lot of money was raised. How much of it actually got where it was supposed to go, who knows. But I'm pretty sure most of the people there that day, myself included, were not thinking about anything other than the music and the experience.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Listen to Yourself

Have you ever had a visit with a doctor that just didn't feel right? That happened to me yesterday. Nothing specific but I just didn't feel comfortable. I noticed the office wasn't as clean or organized as I expect, but I didn't think it was enough to make me leave. I wish I had followed my instincts at that time and left. But because I had waited to get the appointment I thought I should stay.

I guess my discomfort showed because towards the end of the appointment the doctor actually asked You just don't want to be here, do you? I said no and told him not to take it personally.

The practice was a specialty that my regular doc referred me to. The guy I saw was actually an associate in the practice of the doctor she suggested. But I couldn't get an appointment as soon as I wanted and since it was the same practice I thought it didn't matter. No need to get into the particulars but I'll tell you I'll only go back for a review of the tests.

If further tests or treatments are suggested, I'll be looking for another referral.

As I often tell others, you are your own best advocate. Educate yourself to the best of your ability, ask questions (that's never a problem for me) but most importantly Follow your gut. If something makes you uncomfortable, don't put yourself in that situation again.

Just sayin'

Monday, September 12, 2011

We Were the World

It's 11 p.m. Friday, July 12, 1985. After working second shift my significant other of the time came to my house, and we climbed into my lime green Pinto and headed south.

We drove through the night and arrived at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium just before 7 a.m. The gates opened soon after when we filed in to show our $35 tickets that we paid $65 for. It's general admission but the crowd is amazingly orderly. No pushing, no shoving just a lot of very excited music lovers.

At nine o'clock Joan Baez came onto the stage and said Good morning children of the 80's. This is your Woodstock and it's long overdue. The place went nuts.

That's how The Live Aid concert for African famine relief began in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985. There was another concert going on at the same time in Wembley Stadium in London, England and both venues were telecast worldwide.

I remember hearing that there was only one arrest at JFK in a crowd of more than 100,000. Now parents brawl at their kids' little league games.

Once inside we had to decide what side of the stadium would be best. Forget the field. There's no seating and will be shoulder to shoulder all day. There would also never be any shade.

I'm a redhead which means the sun and I are not friends. It can burn me like toast. I needed shade for at least part of the day. I was prepared with water in a plastic Tupperware jug (no little bottles of water back then), sunscreen, light clothes, food and my white fedora. I was very cool in my fedora which I still have.

There was a point about mid-afternoon when the sun began to get to me, and I was getting dizzy. I remember he said We can leave. To which I replied No way, I'll go inside, throw up and come back before we'll leave. It didn't quite come to that.

The one time I did go to the bathroom it took me 30 minutes, and I missed a whole act. I vowed not to need to do that again. Stopped drinking water, stopped bathroom breaks.

Can you see me there in the section on the right about half-way up? Maybe not.

The 16-hour, all-day and much-of-the-night concert featured some of the biggest names in rock music, including Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Madonna, Bob Dylan, and Paul McCartney some in Philly, some in London. Phil Collins actually played both sides of the Atlantic. He played in London then got on the Concorde and came to play for us.

Between the two stadiums there were nearly 175,000 people and another 1.5 billion viewed it on TV. The event, organized by Bob Geldorf of The Boomtown Rats raised over $100 million. The phone lines worldwide were repeatedly jammed by people calling to donate during the concert.

The show lasted in Philly until 11:30 p.m. when more than 100,000 people walked, stumbled and dragged themselves, once again in very orderly fashion, out to the parking lot and into a two-hour traffic jam. We drove north a couple hours and found a hotel off the highway where after more than 40 hours without sleep we collapsed and slept for 12 hours. Those were the days.

Here's part of the line up in Philadelphia:

Duran Duran, The Hooters, Bob Dylan, Four Tops, Patti Labelle, Hall & Oates, Billy Ocean, Ozzy Osbourne, Run DMC, Rick Springfield, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Judas Priest, Bryan Adams, The Beach Boys, George Thoroughgood & The Destroyers, Bo Didley, Simple Minds, The Pretenders, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Madonna, Neil Young, Tom Petty, The Cars, Kenny Loggins, and too many others to name. Some are gone (some really gone) and some are still rocking.

In anticipation of the event I started collecting magazines and then newspaper clipping afterwards. Everything I could find I put into an album along with photos I took that day.

Here's some my memorabilia including my ticket, concert program, fan, and the magazines and newspaper articles.

And now I've decided it needs to go. I'm putting it up for auction on eBay. Let's hope someone else is as notalgic for those days as I am.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Purple Suede Jacket

When Paul and I began dating in the early 80's I had been divorced for a couple years. I managed to keep the house in the divorce. Of course, the mortgage came with it. Although it was a very satisfying feeling to own my own home, financially it was a struggle. I used to say my money ran out before the month did.

There was a little boutique back then where I liked to window shop. One day there was a purple suede jacket that I just had to have. It was definitely not in the budget but I bought it anyway. Before taking off the tags I showed it to Paul.

The next time we went out he asked where my purple suede jacket was. I told him I had decided to return it. He asked why and I said I had changed my mind. When he pushed for a better reason I sheepishly said I found out I needed two new tires for my car, and I couldn't afford both. His immediate response was Let me buy it for you. So I kept the purple suede jacket and over the years nearly wore it out.

Eventually it went out of style, or at least out of MY style, but I never gave it away. It's still in a garment bag at the back of a closet. I checked this morning. At first I couldn't find it and I got a funny feeling in my stomach and thought I couldn't have. A little more searching and there it was.

This morning while talking about purging some clothes, Paul said we have entirely too many jackets and coats and need to give some to charity. I agreed but thought But not my purple suede jacket.

One day, hopefully far into the future, when the grandkids are cleaning out our house they will come upon a purple suede jacket and I'm sure they will wonder Did Grandma really wear this? Yup, I sure did.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Next Time I'll Get It Right

I have been in the airport and clapped when spontaneous applause broke out when a group of soldiers in uniform came through the gate.

I was part of the screaming, clapping throng of family and friends in the hangar at Quonset Point Naval Air Station when my cousin Nelson came home four years ago from his second tour in Iraq. A National Guardsman since he was 18, Nel was 54 years old at the end of that tour. I still get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I think of that day.

I know about the Thank a Soldier Gratitude Campaign. So why did I hesitate to show my sign of gratitude to the man in uniform I saw getting his groceries in the market yesterday? I thought about it. I was uncomfortable. I thought he might not be aware of the gesture. Pretty lame excuses.

Please take a moment and watch this video.

Next time I'll get it right. I promise.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Good Night and Goodbye Irene

Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit us last week. Even so with high winds and rain, more than half the population of the state lost power, some for more than a week.

We were without power for three days. The 25# of ice in blocks I froze in preparation wasn't enough to keep our refrigerator cold long enough to avoid losing most of what was in it. It was no great loss.

The deck looked like a whole tree had been shredded. We had two trees come down in the yard and a fence was blown down. We were lucky. The picture above is a tree in one neighbor's yard that fell and landed on another neighbor's house.

There is no public water in our area so we have a private well. The water is pumped from the well into the house. No power, no pump, no water. And no flushing toilets. You can flush by pouring a bucket of water into the tank but you have to have that water available, too.

We were fairly well prepared. Paul had filled a container with a few gallons of drinkable water, and I had bought three gallons of bottled water. We filled up two other containers which probably held a total of ten gallons to flush toilets with and wash with.

It is amazing how little water we used. We did the usual washing and brushing of teeth. Paul heated water to take a half cold bath/shower a couple times. I went to my mother's once for a hot shower. She had running, hot water.

We managed to cook a few meals. First on the camp stove in the garage while the storm was going and then on the gas grill later. I used regular dishes and heated water to wash them.

When the lights came on after three days we had only used part of the utility water and were no where near using all the potable water. We were stunned by how little water we had used.

Even though we think we are fairly conservative and try not to waste water, it was amazing how little we managed to exist on. I guess we should try a little harder.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Trips Down Memory Lane

I know few of you are from Rhode Island but I thought I'd share (read steal) this post from the company blog. It included me and a note about my purchase of a Les Paul guitar for $150 back in 1972 when I was 16.

It was a fun post and I was glad to be included. Take a read.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Meet My Friend Sophie

My first apartment was on the third floor of a beautiful Victorian house that had been converted to apartments in the 50's. Our apartment was in what had been the servants' quarters. With 1,500 sf of living space, 9' ceilings and huge rooms, it was a mansion compared to the little house I grew up in with a bedroom that measured 6x10. I loved my apartment.

Harry and Sophie were an older couple who lived on the first floor. Harry worked in New York City. Every Monday morning Sophie drove him to the train in Providence and then picked him up on Thursday.

Sophie was alone a lot. And so was I. I was 19 when we first moved there. If I was having a bad day or just needed an ear, I would knock on her door with some made-up question, and she always seemed to know that I needed someone to talk to. She would invite me in for a cup of tea, and we would sit and talk for hours. She was so wise, and I loved spending time with her.

Their apartment was full of odds and ends of furniture. Sophie refinished many of the chairs and tables herself. But what I remember most was her needlepoint. She had pillows everywhere and had recovered chairs and sofas with her needlepoint.

Her apartment was so cool. It was the main living area when the house had been lived in by a single family. It had huge rooms, 11' foot ceilings, massive windows and a marble fireplace. It was what I envisioned apartments in New York City must look like. Sophie had such style.

Fast forward 30 years. Last week someone who also knew Harry and Sophie back then mentioned her name. He had seen it on his cousin Judy's schedule. Judy is a hairdresser and colors Sophie's hair. What are the odds?

I've thought about Sophie over the years and took this as a sign I needed to call her. I found her telephone number and called. "Sophie?" "Yes" "This is Sandy from Prospect Street." "Who?" "Sandy from the third floor on Prospect Street." "Sandy?! I can't believe it!"

Sophie is 95 years old.

Yesterday we had our first visit in nearly 30 years. We spent the afternoon sitting on her sofa surrounded by so many of the pillows I remember. Although there are many, many more now. The sofa is a different one but there were chairs, pictures, paintings, drawings and a piano that I remember. And Sophie still has the style, wit and sense of humor I remember 36 years ago when we first met.

She wears hearing aids and can't do her needlework any longer because of arthritic hands. She's a little frail in body but her spirit and mind are just as strong as ever. We had a wonderful visit. She couldn't believe the things I remembered about our days as neighbors, and I couldn't believe how little she had changed. We laughed and reminisced about Prospect Street. And we shared sad stories and a few tears.

The afternoon flew by, and I didn't want to leave. When I finally had to go, we promised each other that we would visit again soon. As we stood at the door and hugged she looked into my face and was still saying "I can't believe it, I can't believe you called." And I said "Sophie, once you're in my heart, you're always in my heart." I'm so glad I called her and can't wait to see her again. Maybe I'll just knock on her door with some made-up question.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's Usually Nice to be Nice

Recently one of the bloggers I follow wrote about meeting some new people in Ottawa while there on business and how well they got along.

She said that she meets nice people everywhere she goes and said part of that is because she talks to everyone.

That sounds like me. Although no one ever believes me, I was very shy until my late 20’s. It’s amazing what reservoirs within yourself a divorce forces you to tap into. Today I'll start a conversation with just about anyone anywhere.

In my business (real estate) I meet new people all the time. I used to do a lot of relocation work. Not so much lately since people seem to be leaving Rhode Island rather than arriving. Often the realtor is the first person someone new to the area meets. I’ve had relo clients in my car for 4-5 hours at a time. I’ve always said I can make the smallest talk you’ve ever heard.

And because I’m often the first person they meet, I’m also the first impression of what folks here are like. We New Englanders seem to have a reputation for being cold, stand-offish and not welcoming to newcomers. I’ve never quite understood that because I just think we are the warmest and fuzziest people on earth. But I’ve heard it often enough to know that's the word on the street.

At some point in the day I usually mention that I was born and raised here. Often I hear “Gee, you don’t sound like you’re from Rhode Island.” My answer to that is “Thank you, thank you.” I have worked for years on neutralizing my RI accent for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it can sound downright dumb.

My favorite comment heard from a relo client was a woman who said “You’re not at all what I expected. You’re really nice.” She said it like she had just tasted Japanese puffer fish and found she liked it. I really didn’t know what to say after thank you. I just smiled.

What I wanted to say was “glad I could dispel that myth for you, lady. Now get out of my car and go home.” But I would have said it with a smile.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Paul

Today is Paul's birthday. I wrote a post on his birthday two years ago. It's one of my favorites so I thought I'd repost it today. It says everything that's still in my heart. So here it is.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So Paul runs into this couple we know from a restaurant we all like to go to. They chat for a bit and then Bentley asks Paul what he thinks his best attribute is. Paul thinks about it and says his moustache. Paul has a great handlebar moustache that lots of people, men and women, comment on.

Bentley says "No, your wife!" Gonna have to buy that man a drink the next time we see them at Joe's.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I got up really early this morning all set to sit for a couple hours to read some of my favorite blogs that I have neglected for a long, long time.

I was off to a good start until Google Reader began to throw me out every time I attempted to post a comment

If I had more time and more technical knowledge I would move right over to WordPress but I don't and I don't so I'm stuck here for now.

I really miss some of you and certainly can catch up on my reading but I know I like comments to let me know who has visited so I hate to not leave a message. Oh well, I tried. I'll try again later but for now, I'm off to work.

Have a great day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sleeping is Such a Waste of Time

I haven't used an alarm clock in at least 15 years. Unless I am getting on an early plane. Then I set three clocks and still wake up every hour. I probably should just stay up.

It's not that I have any real trouble sleeping. But I usually wake up about 5:30 a.m. Then my brain starts to run, and I lay there thinking about things I could be doing, lots of things I'd like to be doing. Sometimes I'll stay there and try to go back to sleep but most of the time I get up. It's my favorite time of the day. If the weather is right, I'll sit on the deck with my coffee and the dogs. Or I'll read.

Even as a teenager I don't remember sleeping late. Lots of nights when I wake up, I'll turn on my light and read for a little while until I feel sleepy again. Those mornings when I let myself go back to sleep and then wake up after 7:00 a.m., my first thought is What a waste of time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

The whole month of June and the first week of July have disappeared since I last posted. Paul even mentioned last week that I haven't posted in a long time. Nice to know he checks occasionally. I suppose the five of you who visit have moved on.

So where have I been? I’ve had a few ideas but nothing very interesting to say and I'm tired on whining. But the only way to really explain my absence is to whine a little.

The last few months have not been much fun. Let's see, in March I broke my wrist. After seven weeks in a brace it's healed but I still have an area that hurts, so I'm going back to have it checked. Who knows what that is?

Also in March Paul was diagnosed with a herniated disc, L4-L5. It was probably caused by a heel stomp on a frozen beaver dam last winter. Damned dam. The ground and dam weren't frozen the last time he stomped on it to break it up, so who knew?

I picture the beavers watching from across the swamp doubled up with laughter at the stupid human laying on the ground in pain after NOT destroying their dam. Yes, I know it sounds like there's a story in there. There is but for another time. Maybe that will keep you coming back.

So the orthopedic doctor said surgery was an option but there were other treatments to try before going that route. One option was steroid injections which helped ease the pain but didn't do enough to avoid surgery. So we lost a couple months there.

The surgeon needed an approval from the GP who ordered a stress test which fortunately, or unfortunately, showed two blockages. This past Wednesday, after a heart catheterization, a stent was implanted in one artery and the other was opened with angioplasty.

And I know, people say...."Oh, a stent. That's no big deal." Anytime someone is sticking a pointy thing in my heart, it’s a whopping big deal. Paul had a stent implanted in 2000 after a heart attack so he knew what to expect but this time it was more complicated. Not only because he's eleven years older, but also because he laid on the table in the operating room for nearly 4 hours waiting for the second doctor.

It went well and that’s behind him but there's still the issue of the back surgery which now can't be done for at least eight weeks. In the meantime, more damage is being done to the nerve which the doctor said is being 'crushed.' Usually you hear of nerves being 'pinched.' I'd rather be pinched than crushed. This sounds to me like it's a bit more severe.

Hopefully the next couple months will go quickly. And maybe then I won't have anything to whine about. Nah, I'll probably find something else.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Where is My Mind? I Know I Packed It

Paul and I just returned from our annual week on "The Beach" in North Carolina. For those of you NOT in the know, that's the Outer Banks or OBX. One day during the week we visited Edenton, a little town inland. When Paul asked a store owner where she lives she said 'on the beach.' Beach? What beach is near here? She meant the Outer Banks, about 90 minutes away. So now we just call it "the beach." As in, "We just got back from a week on 'the beach' in North Carolina."

I love road trips. I hate road trips. I love them because I can bring EVERYTHING. I hate them because I can bring EVERTHING. And I do. That used to mean clothes, shoes, and my lotions and potions. Now it means that plus the electronic stuff. The picture above is the inventory of the equipment I brought. That would be:

One laptop

One iPad

One iPhone

Four cameras

One PDA (I just keep it around for the old memos and numbers I haven't transferred yet. Or as a friend said "Because I like to carry a lot of shit around."

Plus all the cords, mice, thumb drives, card readers and I don't know what else.

As for clothes, I pack one suitcase but as Paul begins to load the 4-Runner, I keep tossing things in. Hey, there's room. Why not fill it?

Paul's motto always was pack light, carry money. Somehow I've just never learned how to do that. I'd rather just bring everything. And I do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Six O'Clock. Do You Know Where Your Pets Are?

I was sitting here a couple hours ago and suddenly Rosey and Lucy ran for the slider like they wanted to kill something. There was a beautiful Husky standing on the deck looking into the kitchen.

I went out through the garage and called him off the deck and out of their sight. He romped over to me in the yard. I checked; no tags, just a training collar. I tried to shoo him out of the yard but he just wanted to play.

I've never seen him before. We live on a country road, and the houses are a little ways apart. I know all the families nearby and have never seen this dog. Paul thought he had seen him in the area but didn't know where he belonged.

I reluctantly tried to chase him out of the yard, Lucy and Rosey were still having fits in the house, but he just kept coming back to me. Finally he wandered off to the house next door where he tried to get in the door. I heard loud voices trying to shoo him away.

It seemed like he was lost and trying to find a house to get into. If I didn't have two dogs who don't share I would have brought him in while we tried to find his owner but that wasn't going to happen. Lucy the Jack Russell Terror wanted to rip his throat out. Rosey thought he was a little too friendly if you know what I mean.

Finally he wandered off. Paul called and left a message for the town dog officer. We made a couple calls to neighbors further down the road but no one knew him.

I don't see him out in the yard or around the road, and now I'm wishing he would come back. We'd keep him in the garage at least over night but now he's gone, and I'm going to worry wondering what happened to him.

A dog can wander off. That can happen to anyone. But why would you not have tags on him so that someone could find who he belongs to?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Aha! Moment

I can be a bit messy. There! I've said it.

Right now you can barely see the dining room table because of all my 'stuff.' But I have to give credit where it's due in saying that Paul really doesn't gripe about my messiness too often even though he's pretty organized. His brother David was here doing some carpentry work a few years ago. He needed a certain grit sandpaper and over the telephone Paul was able to tell David exactly where the sandpaper was in the green cabinet in the garage where he kept it in increasing order of grit. He's that kind of organized, in some ways.

So Paul doesn't complain often about my clutter but he has always been on my case about drawers and kitchen cabinets left open. He has bitched at me enough over the years that I make a concerted effort not to leave them open. Especially after he walked into a kitchen cabinet door I had left open and snapped it right off, not at the hinges either. Fortunately David was here and repaired it.

However, Paul is not without some organized messiness of his own. We have a wooden bowl on the island in the kitchen which is supposed to be a fruit bowl. Right now in addition to an apple there is also a deposit slip, rebate coupon for wine, several envelopes and a note about a landscaper. We actually had some bananas go bad in there last week because we couldn't see them under the papers.

This I will not take the blame for although I know he will say some of the stuff in there is mine. I wouldn't do that if he didn't start it. There is always a pile of keys, cell phone, pen, glasses and notes which do not belong to me beside the fruit bowl. Somehow some of it often migrates into the bowl.

It has come to my attention recently that leaving drawers and doors open is beyond my control.

We were watching some cop show last week and when the detectives came into the apartment of a missing person, one of them commented on the condition of the place because it looked like it had been ransacked. The other cop's response was "unless a girlfriend or wife was here." When the first cop seemed puzzled the other guy said "you know how it is, women leave drawers and doors open thinking they are coming back to it, and they don't."

Aha! You see, I can't help it, I'm wired that way.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Two Years of Scribbling

On April 9, 2009 I wrote my first post here at It's a Jungle Out There. As of today I have published 273 posts. That sounds like an incredible amount of words.

When I began I really didn't have a clue what would be or could be involved with writing a blog.

I made a pledge to myself never to write about politics or religion which I've been true to. I have written about happy times and sad times. I've written silly posts. I've used it as a place to vent, and I've often used it as a way to says thanks.

Occasionally it begins to feel like a job, and that's when I take a break. So far I've always come back.

It seems I write well enough to make people laugh a little and cry a little. I have a few regular readers, and I appreciate their loyalty.

Many followers have come and gone, too, so maybe I've bored a few. I love to hear from people through comments but in the long run, this is for me. I have a gadget that shows me how many people visit on any given day and where they came from. I can tell from locations that a few friends and family are checking in.

At the beginning of last year I found a site where you can have your blog made into a book. I did and I love it. I had another made with my 2010 posts and plan to do it every year. I think of it as a yearbook and a great way to look back. And I don't have to worry about losing my blog to some computer glitch. Here's what they look like.

Occasionally I pick one up and browse. I did that recently and found some posts I had forgotten. I thought I'd republish some of my favorites. It was difficult to narrow it down to these few but here they are.

The first one is about my friends Chet and Nellie and our search for their horse farm. Recently Nellie was considering buying another horse. The people she was buying from wanted references. She sent them a link to this post.

This one about Colonel James Kasler is one that most touches my heart. I did try to find Colonel Kasler to share this with him. I found some people who know him who I think forwarded a link on to him. I never heard from him but I hope he read it.

This is about a lecture given by Elie Wiesel. For me hearing this man speak was a chance of a lifetime. Very powerful and very important.

And this one about Ben is a happy post. I write lots about our dogs, Rosey and Lucy, but this one is about a golden retriever that I helped find a home for.

If you are a regular follower, thanks for stopping by; if you're not, I hope you enjoy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Things That Go Bump in the Night

One of the bloggers who I read regularly wrote recently about watching the movie Black Swan and then going to bed. I haven't seen the movie, and probably won't, but I've heard it's pretty creepy. I don't care for scary movies much. I prefer to be entertained not scared.

Debby told about hearing weird noises in the house after going to bed that night. Her husband apparently sent her downstairs to find out what it was. He probably didn't hear it and figured she could ruin her night's sleep rather than his. She said the noise lasted for 20 minutes and she never found out what it was.

Regarding things that go bump in the night, Paul is just about deaf in his left ear. I learned that on our first date when we sat at the bar in a noisy restaurant waiting for our table. As we chatted I had the feeling he couldn't hear me but didn't find out for sure until later.

It's the result of shooting without ear protection. Usually when you are right-handed when you shoot a shot gun or a rifle, you use your right eye to sight on the target and you tuck your right ear into your shoulder. Your left ear is exposed to the percussion of the gun. Sounds like I know what I'm talking about. Living with a shooter/hunter for 25 years you learn these things.

He told me by the time you realize you've damaged your ear, you're saying a lot of "Huh? What?" and it's too late. So I learned early that if I want him to hear me, I should be on his right side. If I want to mumble things about him, I should be on his left.

So what ear do you think he puts to the pillow at night? The good one. Consequently he hears just about nothing. I, on the other hand, wake up when a mouse farts in the attic.

And we do have mice in the attic. And they dance above my head at night. I think they are doing the rumba.

Paul did wake up one night to find me standing on the bed pounding my fist on the wall above the bed trying to scare the mice away. I don't think they ran away. I think they just held still until I laid back down. Then they started again.

We don't have a small house. Why do they feel they have to dance in the corner of the attic above my side of the bed? Why can't they dance over the spare bedroom?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Want To Play Barbies?

Recently someone donated a Barbie doll to us at Adopt-a-Family. We buy and give away dozens of Barbies every year so what makes this one remarkable?

She's a 1964 dark brunette swirl ponytail Barbie doll that appears never to have been out of her box. I took her out, certainly not to play with her, but to take pictures. I've got her for auction on eBay with a reserve price of several hundred dollars.

Crazy you say? Not necessarily. Recently a 1963 vintage Barbie sold for $601.99. I'm hopeful our doll will sell for nearly that much.

See the label on the end of the box? It says Sears, Roebuck and Company and shows a price of $2.19. With inflation that would be $15.79 in 2011 dollars.

If you're interested, check her out here. Or maybe you're heading to your closet to dig out your own dolls from your childhood. When this auction is over I know I am.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's the Buzz?

Sunday on my FaceBook (yes, I reactivated my account but am spending very little time there) I posted:

The girls are here! All 12,000 of them. They arrived yesterday from Georgia, and we picked them up today. We moved them into their new house this afternoon and hopefully they will start decorating IMMEDIATELY. Honey for everyone for Christmas!

We've been talking about starting an apiary for a long time. It's a fascinating culture. I did a little beekeeping many, many years ago but was only a helper so my experience handling the bees was limited. But I do remember lots of information about apiculture and the equipment. This spring we looked into it and decided it was time.

We took a class offered by the local beekeepers' association. We met some local beekeepers and got some recommendations of vendors of equipment and bees. We bought some hives and frames, known as woodenware, and placed our order for 3 pounds of bees. Yes, you buy them by the pound. Most of the package bees bought in this area come from Georgia.

Paul painted the hive bodies, found a spot in the orchard and got the equipment out there. We picked the bees up Saturday, and I put them in the hive that afternoon. I felt really comfortable working with them. I wore a full suit, no sense in getting stung plus the more comfortable you are when handling them the better results you'll have with them.

The colony arrives with a mated queen. She's in a separate little cage with the bees and you have to put her into the hive in that little cage. She is usually able to get out in about 24 hours. We can't open the hive until they've had 3 days to get settled and the queen hopefully begins laying eggs.

One more day and I can look to see how they are doing! Here are some photos. I'll update more as things begin to happen.

Getting the equipment ready.

Paul brought the hives out to the orchard and picked the spot.

All ready! Just need bees.

This is what 3# of bees looks like.

That's me putting them into the hive.

Come on in.

So far, so good!

Monday, May 2, 2011

What an Eerie Feeling

When I have trouble going back to sleep in the night I do what I call "read myself to sleep." There's always a book by my bed and right now it's Craig Mullaney's The Unforgiving Minute subtitled A Soldier's Education. Written in the first person, the book follows Mullaney, a West Point graduate, Rhodes scholar, Airborne Ranger and U. S. Army Captain, to his service in Afghanistan after 9/11.

An often brutal but very interesting book, it's a subject I wouldn't generally read but I'm glad I did. It might be a book we should all read to learn some of what our soldiers go through to prepare for service. But this isn't a book review.

This morning about 5 a.m., once again I couldn't get back to sleep. I flipped my reading light on and picked up The Unforgiving Minute. Not really a book that should put me to sleep, I figured I'd give it a try.

The point I had reached in the book was pivotal in Mullaney's career. The infantry platoon he was leading in Afghanistan was caught in a firefight with al-Queda fighters, and for the first time one of his soldiers was killed.

The incident occurred at an area called Losano Ridge which is about 2,000 feet from the Pakistani border. At the time the soldiers determined that some of the incoming attack originated in Pakistan. It was estimated that more than sixty al-Queda and Taliban fighters were killed.

I managed to go back to sleep for a couple hours. When I got up this morning the national news was reporting that Osama bin-Laden had been killed in an area of Afghanistan on the Pakistani border.

What a strange coincidence.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hello, My Name Is........

When I got married for the first time 36 years ago I thought it would be cool to hyphenate my maiden and married names. That lasted about 6 months, the name not the marriage, that lasted a little longer.

Since each name had three syllables and eight letters, it became cumbersome fast, so I opted to just go with the married name. I was 19, and wanted everyone to know I was married so I was fine with that.

I have known a few women who hyphenated their names. It seems less common now as more women opt to just keep their maiden names which makes more sense to me. Even those who use both names give their children their husband's surname rather than the hyphenated combination. I always wondered about that.

I finally saw what I worried about in the wedding announcements in Sunday's paper. Yvonne Hines-Bruce married Carl McCarthy and is now Yvonne Hines-Bruce McCarthy. I don't think that's going to fit on too many magazine subscription forms.

And what happens when their daughter, Jennifer Hines-Bruce McCarthy marries Joseph Jones-Smith Parker? Does she become Jennfer Hines-Bruce McCarthy Jones-Smith Parker? The kid's not going to be able to remember her name until she's 18. And imagine the monogram on the towels.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sad News

Here is a link to a post I wrote in July of 2009 about my friend Joe, aka Santa. When I wrote that post we didn't expect to see Joe again since his doctors had given him only months to live.

But Joe did things his way. He was back to volunteer that December with us when his 'boys', members of his motorcycle club, brought him in his motorized wheelchair to volunteer a few hours one night. Joe sat at a table and checked gifts out as the families picked them up. He called out the family numbers loud and strong, but at the end of the evening he was exhausted.

Last fall I got a call from Joe saying he planned to make an appearance during Distribution Week in December and would help as much as he could. Tuesday of that week in the middle of all the craziness of getting Christmas gifts to more than 2,000 needy kids I got a call on my cell from Joe. I found a quiet corner to sit and talk.

We had never talked often but I noticed a big difference in his voice. He was worn down and tired. He told me he was all done and couldn't fight any longer. He was calling in hospice.

We talked for a while, and for the first time he told me what brought him to help us originally. When his daughter was going through some tough times years earlier, she applied to Adopt-a-Family and we provided gifts for her two children. Things eventually improved for her and her kids, now grown and on their own, but she never forgot about us and neither did he.

At the end of our chat he said his daughter was coming to cover the time he had volunteered to work. I said it wasn't necessary but he said she wanted to and would be there.

I'll keep my last few words to Joe to myself. After we hung up I went into the bathroom and cried.

His daughter Kelley came by that evening and helped us. It was my first time meeting her and we talked about her dad and she confirmed the story he had told me. At the end of the evening I hugged her and asked her to keep us informed.

That was last December. We didn't hear anything from the family until yesterday afternoon when Frank, one of Joe's 'boys' from the bike club, called to tell me Santa had passed away that morning. Incredibly he had kept going two years longer than the doctors said he would.

As I said to Frank, he did it his way. As a group the Adopt-a-Family Board of Directors will be going to the services to pay our respects to our friend "Santa." And as I promised Joe, Paul and I will be riding in the memorial ride that will be held in his honor. It's the least I can do for such a loyal friend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Should Know Better

Last night as we were heading upstairs to bed I happened to think that we haven't tested nor accidentally set off the smoke alarms in the house in a very long time.

I walked over and pushed the test button on the one in the upstairs hallway. I could see a red light inside but the alarm didn't go off. Our house is new enough so that the alarms are hardwired which means if one sounds, they all do. It didn't go off and none of the others did either.

I went back downstairs and pressed the test button on that one; nothing. We have been living in a house without smoke alarms!

As a real estate agent it's partly my job to have a property being conveyed to a new owner inspected prior to the sale by the city or town fire marshal. At the closing we have to have a certificate saying the house has been inspected within the last 60 days and the alarms (both smoke and carbon monoxide) are no older than ten years, working and properly placed . No certificate, no closing. It's state law.

And here we are, living in a house, for who knows how long, without functioning alarms. Our house is nearly 30 years old. So the detectors should have been changed long ago but since they had been working (I thought) I wasn't concerned.

I send post cards twice a year to clients reminding them to change their clocks because of daylight savings time AND to change the batteries in their smoke detectors. Talk about not following your own advice.

Shame on me, shame on us, mainly because I know better and because we have been living in a house WITHOUT smoke alarms. That's scary.

Have you checked your detectors lately?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Isn't That Special

I have been trying to decide whether to purchase an iPad. A couple months ago I posted a comment on Facebook asking "Who has an iPad. Why? What do you use it for? Do you like it?" I got such a variety of answers they didn't really help.

This week I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy one. At nearly $1,000 for the 3G model, it's an investment. But I've debated it for so long it's not an impulsive purchase. Yesterday I went online and ordered it.

I just got an email telling me that my iPad was shipped.....from China. I guess I shouldn't be surprised but can't we find something made in America? Not an iPad, I guess.

I bought a pair of flip-flops a couple years ago that were made in Connecticut. When I saw that I just HAD to buy them. I try to find things to buy with the Made in America tag. It's nearly impossible. Even though the quality of American-made products has declined (if you can find one) I'd still rather buy something made right here in the good ol' US of A.

If anyone has one to recommend, let me know.

NOTE: My friend Anita mentioned a television show that talked about products still Made in the USA. I googled it and found this site.

Friday, April 15, 2011

There's a Blog For That

You really can find a blog about anything and everything. I haven't heard the stats recently but not that long ago I read that there are 50 million blogs out there. I guess that explains why I only have 11 readers.

Last summer the day before we left for our cruise on the Danube River I purchased a new piece of jewelry. I knew it should be insured but I didn't have time to get it on our home owner's policy, and I was really worried about going away without insurance. When the jeweler gave me the appraisal I needed to insure it I mentioned that I didn't have time. He gave me a brochure from the Jewelers' Mutual Insurance Co. and said you can get a policy in one day.

Sure enough I called them, faxed the appraisal, gave them a credit card (of course) and received a policy that day. The surprising part was that they were considerably cheaper than my homeowners insurance.

Anywho, I got an email today from Jewelers' Mutual with a link to their blog. Today's post is about what to do if a piece of jewelry goes down the drain. An additional suggestion I've heard is to put a piece of nylon stocking or cheesecloth over the vac hose so that it doesn't actually go into the vac but even if it does, it's a lot easier to retrieve it that way than taking the plumbing apart, assuming it's still in the trap.

Better yet, take it off before getting into the shower.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Calgon, Take Me Away

Reading about a blogger friend's trip to Turks and Caicos and looking at another friend's pictures from Jamaica and her daughter's destination wedding has me longing for a visit to Playa del Carmen, the Mexican Riviera. Not to mention this terrible winter that seems to be over.

My father died suddenly in November 2000 and Paul's father died the following January. To say that it was a difficult few months is an understatement. By the time February arrived we were exhausted, emotionally and physically. Beach vacations have never been a big draw for us. I'm a redhead so the sun is NOT my friend. The sun is not a problem for Paul with his Mediterranean heritage but he doesn't hold still very well and sitting on a beach has never interested him.

But that winter/spring we needed a vacation somewhere warm and mindless. I called our travel agent and said "Find us a place to go. It has to be warm. I want a pool and a beach. I want to be able to walk to the beach from my room. I don't want to take a a taxi, bus or donkey to get there, and I want to be able to walk back to my room if I want to use my own bathroom. The only decision I want to make is whether I want red wine or white wine with lunch. And I want top-shelf booze at the bars. I don't want to be drinking Jose's Vodka."

Bless her heart, Donna sent us to the all-inclusive Riu Palace in Playa del Carmen in Mexico, one of the best all-inclusive resorts in the area. It was paradise. There were palm trees close to the water so I could be in the shade and my easy-tanning husband could be in the sun.

Each morning I got up and sat on our balcony overlooking the beautiful resort and read. We would go to breakfast and head to the beach where I would read. After lunch and a little more time at the beach, I'd head back to our suite, get in the tub and read. It was wonderful.

Since our vacations typically include some sight-seeing, we took a day trip to Chichen Itza, a Mayan archaeological site. The day we visited coincidentally was the spring equinox which is one of two days in the year when the sun causes triangles to form on the main stairway of El Castillo pyramid. The sun creates a shadow that appears to be the body of a 120 foot long snake that creeps downwards until it joins a huge serpent's head at the bottom of the stairway. It's a day of pilgrimage for many locals, and we were lucky to be there on that particular day.

We went back to the resort every winter for a few years but it's probably six year since the last visit. So Julie's and Kathy's photos of beautiful beaches and sunshine have me thinking back to these wonderful vacations. Where's the telephone? I need to make a call to the travel agent.

In the meantime, here are some photos I stole from the resort's website. Even though this is basically advertising, this is really what it looks like. You can see why I want to get back there. Now.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Too Late, Baby

I remember when online shopping became available. I jumped on that right away. I love sitting in my sweats at 10 p.m. with a cup of tea or glass of wine ordering clothes, gifts, whatever. Although the wine can be a bad thing because it probably loosens the purse strings.

Because of my broken arm, last week I ordered our groceries through an online delivery service a local grocery chain offers. They deliver everything to your door. They charge $10 but I'm happy to give someone ten bucks to do my shopping, bring it to my door and put it on my kitchen island. I'd probably give them another ten bucks to put the stuff away. I think it actually saves me money because I stick to a list, no impulse buying.

I didn't get into online banking until a few years after the shopping but I pay all the bills I can online. I don't write 100 checks a year. However, I do check our accounts online several times a week to make sure nothing funny is going on. And we do business with a credit union that I know monitors members' credit card activity closely, and I have faith they would spot something before it got too far. But I know, things can happen and there are risks.

Before he got used to it, Paul would see me whip out my credit card to place an online order and ask "do you really think that's safe?" My answer was "it's all over, dear. The info is already out there." And I would remind him that when they swipe his credit card at a restaurant, the info is transferred by modem over the Internet.

A few minutes ago I called the local Toyota dealership to schedule an appointment to fix a recall. No, not the stuck accelerator. I never thought that was anything other than operator error. This has to do with a master cylinder brake thingy.

The young lady in the service department asked when I wanted to bring the car in. I said Friday at 3 p.m. Fine, we'll see you then. Wait. She hadn't asked my name. Half expecting the answer, I asked "Do you know who I am?" "Yes, I see your caller ID and I looked you up in the computer. You're all set, Mrs. S."

See what I mean? It's all over, it's out there.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I've Had Better Weeks

You're familiar with Veni, Vidi, Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered.

Last week: I woke, I walked, I stumbled, I fell, I broke.

Sometime in the night when I got up for a trip to the bathroom, it became a trip to the floor, or the foot board of the bed, I'm not sure. I remember thinking my wrist hurt but when I got up I shook my hand and thought, nothing broken.

I went back to bed. After a few minutes I realized how much it hurt so I got up, took some ibuprofen and found an icepack. In the morning the first thing I said to Paul was "I broke my arm." He never heard me fall, and he thought I was overreacting.

Which reminds me of the time I fell skiing many, many years ago. As I sat on the slope I said "I broke my collarbone." "How do you know?" "Believe me I know." It was more than fractured, it was shattered but that's another post.

I don't think he believed me about my arm this time either, but I had a feeling. A very painful feeling. Paul went to work, I went to the walk in clinic. They took an ex-ray. The doctor said he didn't see any fractures and sent me away. Thirty minutes later I got a panicked call from the doctor telling me they had a radiologist look at the films who said I had a fracture. Come back immediately. He put a splint on it and told me to call an orthopedic specialist.

My biggest fear was a six-week cast which would have made life very difficult. As in "keep your cast out of the water," which would probably mean no showers. Monday afternoon, after a very painful weekend, I saw the ortho doc. Another set of ex-rays, and he confirmed I had a fracture of the radius.

Three of them separately poked and prodded my arm and wrist and kept asking "does this hurt?" Initially it didn't but when they were done it did, everywhere. When the doctor finally told me he thought I would be okay with the splint, no cast, I nearly kissed him on the lips.

Keep it on all the time but take it off to bathe. Just be careful he said, don't fall on it again. No kidding? I have to go back in two weeks for an ex-ray but in the meantime I'm being careful. It still hurts but it's better.

The week just kept getting better. Monday, after a few weeks of back pain and trips to the chiropractor who finally said he needed an MRI, Paul had to resort to walking with a cane. Of course we couldn't get a regular appointment for the MRI soon enough so on Tuesday I took him to the Emergency Room where an MRI showed a herniated disc between L4 and L5.

I've never seen him in so much pain or take so many heavy-duty drugs to control it. Yesterday he saw an orthopedic surgeon (not the one I saw on Monday) who confirmed the disc problem. Hopefully the recommended treatment will avoid surgery. Time will tell.

Between my big, black brace/splint on my arm and Paul's limp, or cane, we look like the walking wounded. Like I said, I've had better weeks.

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