Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Present

After buying new living room furniture this fall, we sort of agreed to not buy each other Christmas presents, but I actually kind of got a late Christmas gift from That Man. 

I was getting dressed yesterday morning and making exasperated noises at the ceiling fan lights in the bedroom.  Now, please note that I have told him over and over that the sockets for the light bulbs in that fan are going bad (one doesn’t work at all, one makes the light flicker), plus one bulb just blew the night before.  So, out of 4 60-watt bulbs, one was working, and one was fitfully flickering on and off.  I was making the aforementioned noises, and That Man asked what was wrong.

I pointed at each dark bulb in turn and said, “That socket doesn’t work at all, that bulb is burned out, and that socket only works sometimes.”

“Would you like me to get some LED bulbs for it?”

“Well, that won’t do any good if the sockets are bad.”  (Snark.  Snark.)

When I got home last night and turned on the bedroom light, I was nearly BLINDED!  My word!  All four bulbs blazed forth in all their LED glory!  He had gone out and replaced all four bulb sockets, upgrading from Bakelite to porcelain, and replaced two of the bulbs with pricey LEDs.  WHOA.  The bedroom has stadium lights now.  I can SEE in there.  I hadn’t realized just how dark it was until it was fixed.

Now THAT’S my favorite Christmas present!!! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Secret of Happiness

"...the true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life..."
          - William Morris

My Great-aunt Ruth.  That's who I thought of when I read this quote.  I want to be like her when I grow up!

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm So TIRED of Hospitals!

I've had my fill of hospitals this year.  That Man's mother spent some time in one off and on before she passed.  That Man himself found himself undergoing open heart surgery for a birth defect (a bicuspid valve that should have been tricuspid).  My mom made a few trips to the hospital and then passed.  I went (outupatient) during the week of Thanksgiving for the infamous festive colonoscopy, and a mammogram on Black Friday.

I thought it was late enough in the year that I would finally be safe.

Uh, no.

My dad has lymphoma - a non-Hodgkins type.  He has blood tests every three to six months, and when the numbers get to a certain level, it's time for a round of chemo.

This is one of those times.  Friday, Dad went to the IU Medical Center for the first of four weekly infusions.  I got a call in the middle of the afternoon. He needed me to take him home after I got off work - he'd had a reaction to the medicine.

And what a reaction!

When I got there (after frantically calling friends to see who might be available to help me shuttle his car back to his apartment), he was pale, his speech was slurred, his blood pressure was way down, his temperature was way up, and he was so weak he couldn't sit up well.  Frightening!

Long story short, they gave him two units of blood, and suddenly he decided that lying down was uncomfortable, he wanted the Fox News channel turned on, and started ordering me around.

We left the hospital aroun 12:30 a.m., with me following him home.  HE DROVE HIMSELF HOME.  What the heck?  I didn't get home until after 2:00 a.m., and I hit the sack around 2:40 a.m.

Yes, he's mega-tired (but he's ALWAYS like that after a round of chemo!), but he's up and out and going and doing.  I was barely functional on Saturday, and there's nothing (physically!) wrong with me besides sleep deprivation.

Sunday, he drove himself to church and sang in a men's chorus Christmas concert.  I skipped church, did a miniscule amount of Christmas shopping, and watched the wretched Indianapolis Colts football game at Baltimore.  I did a little laundry, too, but that consisted of throwing some clothes in the washer or dryer, and heading back to the couch to watch the game.  Dad did better than I did!

Only three more infusions to go!

Here's a link to some information about his specific type of lymphoma:

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Emergency Tree

Our Christmas tree is up! Sort of.

We hauled the tree out of the attic and got ready to set it up, then discovered that about half of the pre-lit tree wasn't any more.

I REALLY like the tree, so I decided to remove all the lights and keep the tree - just use conventional strings of lights like we used to do in the dark ages of the 1990s.

So I sat down and began stripping the tree of its lights. I unwound and untangled the wires and the wire branches and fake needles made lots of little cuts all over my hands.  It looked like I'd been in a cat fight - with REAL cats - and I'd lost.

After two solid hours of this, I had removed all the lights from the bottom third of the tree. Hmmm... This is going to take longer than I had hoped.

I decided that was enough of that for one evening - I had to go to work in the morning! I took the whole tree (in pieces), put it in the laundry room, and shut the door to control the cats' curiosity. Steve came home and wondered whether the tree had met an untimely death.  I assured him that it was still viable, but undergoing renovations.

I was feeling the pressure of my self-imposed decorating deadline. I needed a tree and didn't know when I'd be able to have THAT tree ready.

I let it simmer in the back of my brain for a couple of days, and voilá! Inspiration! I had a four-foot pre-lit tree in the attic! If we put it on a small table in front of a window, it looks like a full-sized tree from the street.

So, I sent The Boy up to the attic to bring down The Emergency Tree. We set it up in about fifteen minutes and I immediately felt lighter - less stressed.

I can still mess with the other tree, but I don't have to get it done in any specific timeframe. The house looks fine, I can enjoy the holidays, and when it's time to pack everything up, it will be FAST.

Thank you, Emergency Tree!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thanksgiving Lessons Learned - WARNING: May be TMI

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year - the first time in about 5 years, what with Mom in an extended care facility and not being able/willing to go out anywhere.

We'd had Thanksgiving dinner at our house for several years, and I have a notebook of schedules and lists telling me exactly what to do when for the entire week preceding the event, so I was ready, right?


As I indicated in my previous post, I added a new festive touch to the week by scheduling a full colonoscopy on that Monday. That was okay, right? That's my scheduled Monday off.  No big deal - just my doctor celebrating the fact that I turned 55 in September. Oh, goodie.

So Sunday, I had to "prep" for Monday. That means you eat NOTHING all day, and take these nasty pills, then later start drinking this nasty concoction - a half gallon of it! UGH. And I couldn't GO anywhere. Well, except the bathroom. FUN. So, the first day of Turkey Day activities came and went with nothing accomplished except my personal cleanout.

I got through all that, and The Great Day arrives. O. M. G. They knock you out! Then you get to sleep it off after you get home. Then you eat like a crazy person because you haven't eaten anything for about 40 hours. So another day down the drain with nothing accomplished.

I worked both Tuesday and Wednesday, so I only had the evenings to clean up the house (oh my - how did it get that way???) and make the food that didn't have to be made on Thanksgiving itself. I was getting worried!

But Thanksgiving came, and I pulled it off. The food was good, the house looked fine, the company was great, and everyone had a good time. But I learned my lesson, and I learned it well enought to print in big letters across the week of Thanksgiving in next year's calendar - NO MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS THIS WEEK!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's That Time of the Year - UGH

Fall is, is many ways, my favorite time of the year.  The summer humidity is gone, the trees get those amazing colors, and there's my birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving to look forward to.


This is ALSO the season when I do all those annual medical things.  UGH.  And the older I get, the more of them there are!

It used to be that I'd go to the doctor, get my checkup "down under," get my birth control prescription, and that was that.

Now it seems that every 5 or 10 years, there's something new added to the mix.

First it was steroidal nasal spray for a new dust allergy.  Then mammograms, flu shots, and the latest indignity, the festive colonoscopy.  I have to spend the entire day before making sure the system is completely clear and empty.  There is, of course, only one way to do that, and that involves, among other things, eating no solid food and staying close to the bathroom. 

I can't even go to the appointment privately.  Oh, no, that would be too dignified.  I have to have someone there with me because they'll knock me out and someone (either That Man or The Boy) has to drive me home.  Once I'm home, I'm supposed to "take it easy" the rest of the day (translation:  I won't be worth a hill of beans and will probably sleep until time for bed, at which time I will be wide awake and ready to party, so to speak).

And of course, I made the mistake of scheduling this fabulous family activity the week of Thanksgiving, the day I'm supposed to bake pies and put the turkey into a cooler to thaw.  What was I thinking???

And, to top off the week, I'll be spending Black Friday at the hospital once again, getting a mammogram.  At least that takes less than an hour and I can drive myself home.

I guess I should be thankful that we are able to monitor our health so closely.  Maybe that will be part of our grace for Thanksgiving dinner - thank God for regular health checkups!


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Hardest Part...

"The best part of a run? The birds chirping, the awesome air, and the fact that a lot of people are still sleeping. The worst? The first couple of steps. Just getting the creaks out." - Summer Sanders, Olympic gold medalist in swimming

Girl, you said a mouthful.

Friday, I lay in bed and thought about it. "Look, you. You need to get outside and Just Do It. Oh, you sound like a Nike ad. Ugh. The bed is so nice and the cats don't want to be disturbed. So you're going to let three eight- to twelve-pound cats be your boss? Just get up and get dressed and go outside."

So, I forced myself to get up and step out the door.

"AAAAAAAUUUUUUGH!!!! It's COLD! But, hey, look at the moon! Just past full. Is that cool or what?"

Thus starts another run.

And the funny part about it is that it was a FANTASTIC run. It felt easy and just flowed - like I could keep going all day. No aches, no pains, no jarring. Just smooth, easy motion. Good grief! Why can't every run feel like that?

Well, maybe the good run was my reward for winning the battle with the snooze button. Hmmm...

Now I wish I'd won this morning.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to the Treadmill

I am officially a wimp.  The weather has gotten to me.  We're in the middle of a nasty, misty, drizzly spell, and I REALLY don't like to go out in it.

Oh, how bad can it be you ask.  Well, the morning temperatures this week have hovered at around 50 degrees.  Not a bad temperature for running - in fact, just about perfect.  As long as it's DRY. And no wind.  Hmmmmmm...

I did run Tuesday.  Fifty degrees.  Dry.  But a headwind.  Both directions!  How can that possible BE???  But it was.

My hands were cold.  My ears were cold.  I never felt quite loose and warmed up.

And now I have a cold.  UGH.

But at least I had enough sense yesterday to NOT run outside.  It was 50 degrees and windy again, and drizzly  Perfect weather for hypothermia!.  So I went back inside and rode the stationary bicycle.

This morning was a weather rerun of yesterday, plus a little sore throat thrown in for good measure.  So I made ugly faces out the window and got on the treadmill.  Oh, how I hate the thought of the treadmill!  But you know, once I'm on it (with the TV turned on, of course!) it's not so bad.

Isn't that the way it is with most things you're dreading?  The thought of doing them is much worse than doing them.  Some day I might actually believe that!

I Might Be a Real Runner!

I had an odd experience Friday night.  I was driving home after seeing "The Help" with a friend (BIG recommendation!) and suddenly thought how I'd like to go for a run when I got home.

It was 10:30 at night.  I'd already run four miles early that morning.  It hadn't gone very well, either.

Yet, there I was, thinking what a great time for a run.


I really enjoy Jeff Foxworthy and his "you might be a redneck" humor, so here's my take on it:

If you write the date in your new shoes so you know when to replace them, you might be a runner.
If you number your socks so you know that both in the pair will wear the same, you might be a runner.
If you plan your schedule around races and training runs, you might be a runner.
If you have Body Glide stashed in three or more places in your house, you might be a runner.
If you like the smell of Body Glide, you might be a runner.
If you watch the New York Marathon on television, you might be a runner.
If you know the IT band isn't a music group, you might be a runner.
If you stretch your Achilles tendons while you're on an escalator, you might be a runner.
If you know what Badwater is, you might be a runner.
If you know what Leadville is, you might be a runner.
If you think about running late at night after already running earlier in the day...

Well, you get the idea.

Here's a place you can go to see some more of "You Might Be a Runner If..."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Why It's Only Temporary

Because, after all, everything IS temporary; everything changes.  And the whole point is I'm working on relearning who the real me is.

Yes, it's a blog like so many blogs - a chronicle of a midlife search to rediscover the me I've forgotten while Being a Mom for what seems like forever.

I hope my ramblings touch a familiar chord.