27 November 2021

Ten Topics, Twenty Minutes

 Kevin made me phone my mom on Thanksgiving.  My inner toddler was so pissed but I did it.  He actually said he wasn't going to do something I needed until I did it.  We are a match made in heaven, let me tell you.  I resentfully phoned my mom and hoped on the fourth ring that it was going to the answering machine.  Yes, answering machine. Not voicemail.  

But she answered, sounding flustered but pleasant.  After the introductory pleasantries, she announced that no one was there yet and how nice it was.  Umm, Happy Thanksgiving? She went on to explain how "everyone" got in her way last year and she "might have" said something.  Thanks Covid, that I missed that.

I could tell that she was going to be on a roll so I started to make a list while silently flipping off Kevin, who was in the other room.

The hummingbirds had repeatedly emptied her feeders but now they're not.

The Santa Anna winds are kicking up in Southern California, where my aunt recently moved into assisted living, and she's "allergic" to them.  

This prompted a soliloquy about killing the electricity in California, during the winds despite it being Thanksgiving.  She was pro no-electricity and offered ideas how millions of Californians could handle the holiday.  

Which then lead into logging, as it does.  It took almost a minute for me to understand that she was now talking about property way above her house that had two new houses which can be seen now that the leaves are gone.

Then she wandered off to talking about another new neighborhood in the community.  She mentioned a family member who used to live there that I didn't realize has a SCHOOL named after her.  I scribbled down "Look up 'Ma Rawley" so I can verify what she said.

It's now been about fifteen minutes, tops, so we're making good time I guess.

Because of all the rain and flooding, she told me about the damage that a landslide did not far from her house.  She's told me this before and I read the news, so I kind of mentally wandered off for that part. Until she asked a direct question and I had to scramble to figure out what she just asked.

She asked about our friends in Canada and if they'd been impacted by the flooding in Abbotsford.  It was odd that she remembered all detail that but it was nice that she did.  I explained how they were mostly fine without having to go into great detail.  Because it's a mess up there and there's too much detail to go into with her.

She sequed into Christmas Eve from there.  It sounds like she wants to cancel the "festivities" at her house and just have Christmas Day dinner at my brothers.  The RELIEF that I felt was surprising.  She said she would talk to the boys and let me know.  Now I'm praying to sweet tiny 8 lb. 6 oz. baby jesus that they agree.

Finally, she asked me about getting a flu shot.  I'm allergic to eggs so I can't have one and she asks every year.  Then she shares that she hadn't gotten her Covid booster shot yet because my sister-in-law hasn't scheduled her one.  I counted to five and just let it go. I have enough on my hands with my own family.

Then she sighed and said "It's been twenty minutes and I'm sure you just called to talk for five but that's what you get." then laughs at her own joke. She wished the family Happy Thanksgiving and said "I have to go finish before everyone gets here and I can't do anything."

Call your mother, he said. It's the holidays, he said.  It's what normal people do, he said.  

25 November 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

Smoothies and Snoopy

 Apparently when I receive bad news, I become a pouting teenager.  

I've done the bare minimum both here at home and at work.  I pouted on the couch for a few days.  I splurged on needless purchases.  I've since mostly bounced back but I'm not Full Strength Surely just yet.

One of the joys of having an alphabet brain AND being married to someone with an alphabet brain, is that I can let things slide, house-wise and no one notices.  Working from home makes slacking a little easier. And I can also say that I'm taking a "vision break" and everything is excused. lol.  The pouting was not enough to be worrisome.

The splurging was minimal, as well but not something I'd usually do.  I bought two antique chairs so that I have a set of four chairs for the dining table.  I had plans to buy something used and refurbish them but then found two on the fbook marketplace that I couldn't resist.  It was more than I planned to spend but still not a lot.  Less than what new chairs would have cost.

The seat was hand embroidered by the owner's grandmother

This is perfect for my orange master closet
but it's almost a shame to keep it behind a door.

I went to the big box book store because I needed to do something soothing.  A second-hand store wasn't a choice because Covid is still rampant in the county where it is located.  For the first time ever, I didn't buy a book.  What did I buy?  

Cozy Snoopy blanket & Christmas cards that I don't need

Because Snoopy helps when you're in the dark twisty place.  Prove me wrong.

Update on the Whole Thing: 

I'm working on the smoothies thing.  It's been an experiment for sure.  Kevin, so far, is not a fan.  I've asked Swistle and our friends at the coffee stand for advice. I've increased the amount of salads I've eaten, which isn't terrible but also isn't terribly fun. It's difficult to not add things into the salad for taste that makes it No Longer A Salad though. I made it about a week before I started missing treats but that is to be expected.  I've landed on a during the day system like a charcuterie; with vegetables, crackers, and cheese or peanut butter.

The changes in our eating is a little defeating because we've already made those suggested changes when Kevin got sick.  The challenge now is You can have protein, but not Too Much Protein.  You can have eggs (which I'm allergic to) but not Too Much Eggs.  Rinse and repeat for dairy.  The suggest diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is everything Kevin won't eat.  

The medicine part of it is easy other than taking pills of varying sizes of tiny to huge.  I'm adding some St. Johns Wort into the mix next week.  I've tried it before and didn't enjoy how it made my brain feel all *spangly* but I'll try a little harder this time.

I've ordered another pair of reading glasses, which is ridiculous when it's all going to change in three months but I need another pair.  Which also frustrates me to no end.  I guess all of this will make me extra grateful after the surgeries.  Then I will donate all of my glasses to the Lion's Club for anyone who needs to be able to see the surface of the moon.

Usually I would begin a big project in this kind of situation but I'm kind of out of projects.  My project has been just staying on a schedule.  Lucy insists on that so I understand extra why people suggest having a dog.

That being said, I'm mulling a new color for the mudroom.  I'm leaning toward a Tuscany shade of yellow that I have always liked.  Mulling and action are pretty far apart right now though.


20 November 2021

Weathered the Weather


You may have noticed that the lovely PNW had some record epic rain and flooding.  We are safe and dry and feeling pretty lucky.  The flooding happened all around us but luckily no one we know have been affected by it other than by inconvenience. The last time it rained like this, we helped sandbag the dikes and had family have to evacuate.

Seven inches of rain in three days is way too much.  It was beginning to feel like it was never going to end.  In fact, it's raining again today but not measurably so that's good.  

Live in the PNW they said.  It's beautiful they said.  Three days out of the year, yes.  


12 November 2021

Everything's Fine...

 So, how's it going? you might be wondering.

Well, today I got soaking wet twice.  Once was walkies with Lucy in the rain. I had planned for the rain but the trail was flooded so my sneakers were too.  I had an extra hoodie and was going to change in the truck at the trailhead. But there was a county worker filling puddles with gravel so no peep show for him.  Kevin was horrified "You're wearing a t-shirt underneath, right?"  Umm, no and do you even live with me?   The second time was unloading groceries, the rest of my work office, and all of Lucy's stuff out of the truck while my phone kept notifying me that work needed me.

Yesterday my mother-in-law phoned to let me know that the oil I used in baking my father-in-law's birthday brownies had gone bad.  Actually she said "rancid".  So, that's nice.

It's been non-stop raining and while I don't usually mind it, someone I live with does and has no problem telling me at every opportunity.  He gets a bit of a pass because he works outside but dude, I KNOW IT'S RAINING.  I have windows and skin. The obvious solution is to move but it seems cruel to evict his parents.  (JOKING)  Also, the roof has a small leak.  Lolsigh.

One of my favorite stations on Sirius/XM keeps playing live versions and there are few things that I hate more than live albums/songs.  (super extra first world privilege problem there, I realize)  It just ruins my life in little three-minute increments.

The blender I had to buy - because mine is next door - remains sitting on the counter because I just can't motivate myself to learn how to make a smoothie. Yes, it's not that difficult. Yes, I have all the ingredients. Yes, I am pouting.  Oh, also, I didn't pay attention (surprise!) when I ordered it and it's black. I'm not a fan of black or stainless appliances and everything in the kitchen is white.  It's clearly a symbolism of how things are going.

My engagement ring broke because why not.  I returned to my old/new jeweler in my old work city and he can repair it. Two weeks and $200.  

I know 2021 has been challenging for everyone. In any case, I am not special. I realize that mercury is probably in refrigerator or in gatorade.  (I don't know why that makes me laugh so. Mercury is in Retrograde) It will be better soon. Soonish. Eventually. Probably.

Meanwhile, my work communicates fluently in memes and this is the last one I used, which is really a perfect ending for this post:

05 November 2021

On Becoming A Hippie

This is another one of those posts where I've thought of a few different way to begin.  One way occurred to me just now when I sat down: It's a good thing Lucy broke my nose.

The other one was Kevin and I were talking a few weeks ago while in the office.  He glanced at the bookcase and wondered "What are you going to do with all those books? Just keep them forever?" It's a fair question because more books come in this house than leave.  

I explained that some day I will be old, unable to leave the house, and will have the opportunity to read each them again.  Remarkably, he seemed satisfied, if not a little nostalgic, with that answer.

Then I got a migraine - it's NOT what you're thinking - and it was attributed to Lucy breaking my nose.  Which it was, and then there was something else.  The headache prompted me to call the eye doctor because my eyes have been challenging lately.  I attributed it to working from home and being on the computer way too much.

I have to change eye doctors because mine is retiring.  I'd been thinking about switching anyway and this was just the extra push.  I chose to go to the eye specialist clinic near my work, where my mom also goes.  It feels a little "Take a Number" with patient care but they have state of the art everything.  I don't need them to be my friend.

Two years ago, I had the beginnings of cataracts.  After a consultation, I was told that I had a few years to worry about it but come in if anything changed.  And here we are.

The guy who did all the screenings was pretty cool.  I made a Doctor Who reference and he got it.  He was thorough and good at explaining what all these tests were going to do.  One test took a long time, multiple times, and just seemed like a lot.  I attributed it to it being the eye that is significantly lesser than the other.  It wanders around my head, it has terrible vision, it's basically decoration.

Then the actual specialist came in, did some more testing, looked at the results then did more testing.  He's scribing to the tech in the room and I hear "There's sodfusdofisdflskdfj on the macula."  My ears perked up because that's a thing.  I don't want to hear anything ever about the macula. You'll understand in a minute. He didn't say anything else, finished the test, then began reviewing the results.

Now, because the universe just likes to eff with me, English was his second language.  I would guess he is from somewhere in the Scandinavia area.  He matter-of-factly with a heavy accent begins to explain the results, mentions that the cataracts need addressed and "There is the beginnings of Macular Degeneration."  Matter of fact, almost like I knew it already.  I did not know already.

So, pause.  Macular Degeneration is hereditary and it is rampant among the women on my maternal side.  All of them went blind.  Great grandmother, grandmother, aunts, great aunts. I have been being monitored for years.  

The expectation though is that it strikes in the elder years.  NOT IN MY DOGDAMN FIFTIES.  The doctor even mentioned "Wow, you're Really Young to have this."  I think he meant it as soothing but it wasn't. Also: "Rarely, there is a genetic link and can occur in younger people."

It could be said that I've been waiting for this.  However, I thought I would be in my sixties before having to worry about it.  I had been told "Oh, there will be treatment developments by the time you have to worry about this."  How about No?

Details:  It's like a dirty lens on your glasses but it's on your eye. It affects how the eye communicates with the brain. It is incurable, there is really no treatment, and eventually blindness happens.  But wait, that's not fun enough: the blindness is in the center of your eye.  So you have peripheral vision, until you don't.  AND I have the "good" kind of the disease.  

I made it through the remainder of the appointment, during which because I'm so *lucky* I had to make decisions about the cataract surgery.  This surgery is not a simple one because of my vision so there are variables to be considered.  I will still need to wear glasses for close-up and for the amblyopia.  

It also bears mentioning that the doctor kept referring to it as "Mac Gen" and I felt like I was in a television medical drama.  I get that the name is kind of a mouthful and people tend to abbreviate but ack.  

Now that wasn't fun enough, I had already flipped my brain into combat mode, there was more.  I then had to go with another doctor to schedule the surgery and go through all of the details.  For THIRTY MINUTES, I had to sit and review paperwork and make more decisions, and schedule everything.  And this is just for the cataracts.  This is politely ignoring the other diagnosis.

The cataract surgery happens in two parts, one eye at a time.  Then there is a ton of follow-up visits. Day after surgery, week after surgery, two weeks after surgery, one month after, etc.  I will get new glasses once everything is healed so there will probably/might be a time between surgeries that my vision will be jacked.  Meaning: no driving, etc.  SUPER.  Because this can't possibly go like a normal surgery.

Finally, I was able to leave.  I had been there for two hours.  I sat in the truck, took couple breaths then had a little cry. Because: Fuck.  A minute later, I straightened my shoulders and phoned Kevin.  "How'd it go?" he asked, a little distracted but concerned.

"Not great" I got to tell him.  I heard him power down whatever he was working on to listen.  I explained what happened and he just said "Okay. *deep breath* Okay, we'll just deal with it."  Which is what I would say if the shoe was on the other foot.  

Strangely, when the specialist first told me that I had it, I flashed to the conversation with Kevin about the books.  I better start reading them now, I told myself in that moment.  Then on the drive home I took a few photos of the clouds and that hit me: photography has become one of my favorite things.

Once I got home, I had work to do so I couldn't process or wallow.  I had to just gut through it.  I set all the paperwork aside and just...wait for the pun...avoided eye contact with it.  I visited with a friend later in the day and I don't think I was able to convey the whole thing, I was still in it.

Yesterday I did some research, even though I'm already aware of this disease because of my mother.  The biggest take-away that I had was that becoming a vegetarian can be helpful.  The intake of fruits and vegetables have been proven to help.  So, that's a thing I'll be trying.  There is no capital-M medicine to take for it; but there are vitamins and minerals which are helpful.  I'm actually relieved about that.  

So, I ordered a blender, I made a grocery order, and ordered the vitamins.  Some of which I already take.  I bought a pill organizer today and have it already filled.  Then like a funny little consolation prize from the universe, when I bought the organizer the pharmacist said "It's purple, do you mind?"  I'm all "No, that's one of my favorite colors actually."  It's a little thing but I'll take the metaphorical assist.

Now it's been a few days and I'm starting to bounce.  Every once in a while, like happens in grief, I get sucker punched by the words Mac Gen. I'm trying/not allowing myself to borrow trouble.  I'm not going to think about anything in the future.  I'm just going to think about how I need to learn how to love smoothies.  I'm going to have to become a hippie: vegetarian, exercising, taking vitamins & minerals, being low-key.

Oh, and back to the beginning of this post: without Lucy breaking my nose and causing me headaches, I would have dragged my feet with this appointment.  So, I guess I have to thank Lucy.

01 November 2021

Sing Along Songs Part 2

Still a little headachy so I'm just going to continue this musical journey.

I think I forgot to mention that playlists are so subjective. For me, this is mostly an up-tempo playlist using many of my favorite songs.  Although once I hit a threshold of skipping the song multiple times, I delete it from the list.  Example: Justin Timberlake.  It's just been played SO MUCH everywhere that I'm over it.

I mentioned that I'll get songs from the ticktock and  television.  I use the shazam app then add it to my music app on my phone.  The other resource would be Road Trip Radio on Sirius/XM because it makes these lists seem normal and orderly.  The point being is please, don't think "Oh she's got such eclectic taste."  No, I choose music randomly based on how it makes me feel while being home all day, every day with the radio playing.  If I find myself singing it or worse: dancing, then I add it to the list.

Also, I had the realization that the teenaged me would be horrified at the inclusion of country and dance music and the lack of hair bands on this list. I have realized just how much I like a lot of the New Wave and Punk in the 80's however.

If this isn't enough, I've made a playlist page on the pinterest with the intention of returning and building playlists based from them.  And that's...tsk...adorable.  I will screenshot lists when someone has a favorite song debate/discussion on the twitter.  Someday I'll look at them again.

Meanwhile, play these with the volume up and using earbuds/headphones. I guarantee it will lift your spirts.  Well, unless you hate the song then it won't.

Coldplay- Up & Up

AC/DC - You Shook Me

New Radicals - You Get What You Give

Blondie - Heart of Glass

Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun

Madonna - Music

Train - Bruises 

Big Audio Dynamite - Rush

Imagine Dragons - Follow You  

Kongos - Come With Me Now

Erasure - A Little Respect

The Wild Feathers - Big Sky

Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love

Ellie Golding - Burn -   This one is on the cusp of being deleted

Panic at the Disco - I Write Sins Not Tragedies

Florence & The Machine - Shake It Out

Tom Petty - Don't Come Around Here  One of my theme songs during the divorcing satan era

Heathens - Twenty One Pilots  (upon hearing this the first time, I was all "Is...is that...do I hear a frog?"

Logan Mize - Better Off Gone

Eagles - Seven Bridges Road  The only live song on my list because I hate live recordings. There's a story behind it.

Pearl Jam - Last Kiss

Eric Strickland & the B Sides - I'm Bad for You  (super country & not my taste but I love it so)

Hugh Jackman - The Greatest Show

Red Rider - Lunatic Fringe

And this one will surprise NO ONE:   Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated