Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Lot Happens in My Little Town

I just posted on my other blog about the wonderful shoreline visits last weekend in our canoe. 

This weekend I have been out and about at meetings, something that is a bit of a stretch for me with my cough. I struggled but I continued! 

During this time, I met a world-famous orchid breeder who lives in my state but handles millions of orchids in a venue in Central America.  She lives on 40 acres and has her own laboratory.

I met an elder ecologist who talked about all the data he had taken on his little part of a larger river over the last decade or so which clearly showed water rising and temperature changes in a very dramatic and terrible way over each year. 

An old high school friend of my husband sailed down from Connecticut with his wife on his "yacht" and took us out to dinner. He is (was) a nationally well-known heart surgeon who developed a unique procedure to save lives and make himself a fortune.  He and his wife were very friendly and you would never know this about them.  This was a nice reunion for my hubby. 

Me? I felt somewhat small in all this prestigious company being just a retired librarian/educator with no national or international profile. But I did enjoy all the conversation! Now, please go ride a canoe with me on my other blog.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

When You Need to Just Stretch

At our age my husband and I realize that life has many twists and turns. He has received a probable medical diagnosis that we sadly anticipated.  We will shoulder on until the specialist appointment which can only happen a month from now confirms our path ahead.  My medical diagnosis for the idiopathic cough is still that and my specialist appointment with another doctor is in early December!  Don't you love the American health care system?  My cough is retreating as the medicine I am taking is increasing in dose.  I HATE pharmaceuticals...but I accept their necessity and ignore the side effects.

Anyway, we both said "screw it" and loaded the canoe onto the big car, and headed to the Eastern shore for four days of meditative walking and canoeing.  We are so lucky to still be agile.  The weather was super cooperative and even a little too warm in the sunny afternoons.  So we stretched our muscles.

We crossed the big bridge and saw barges full of stuff we have ordered sitting in the center of the water highway waiting for a pilot or a go-ahead.  Your order will arrive a little late today.  There were plenty of recreational boaters zipping along as well.

We crossed several small bridges in our exploration.  Bridges that have recognition in this low land part of the world and are so important to those that live here.

What we were looking for were peace and no agenda.  What a lovely time.  What perfect cooperation from Mother Nature. What a great distraction.

This is the land of hard-working people.  People who have rarely found change a good thing.  They want to be left alone.  They rise early in the mornings to work the water or tend to their small crops or get ready for church.  The water is rising but they do not believe in climate change.  Their savior was Trump and they are angry he was not re-elected even though he gave them nothing the last four years.

And plunked right in the middle of this wild country is a more liberal treasure of history.  It is a beautiful small museum with lots of interesting facts about this marvelous leader who single-handedly saved over 70 individuals from a treacherous life.  We did not follow the path of the "Underground Railroad"  by automobile but did explore this museum slowly and with interest.

My next post I will take you on a canoe trip to where the wild things are.

Monday, September 06, 2021


As most of my readers know, my chronic cough returned after only a 5-week respite. I did enjoy sleeping through the night and feeling free to go anywhere and talk to anyone. New meds may be reducing the cough, but since this started back in January 2020 and I have been on a multi-pack of various meds I am not keeping my hopes too high regarding this new regimen.  Well enough of that!

Fall is here.  I saw it coming in the angle of the morning light and then the day after Ida passed (and thankfully missed us) the weather turned to cool and dryer mornings.  Mid-day can get quite warm, but it sure feels like autumn.

The delicate skirts of Ida.

Above is our Verbena (Black Haw) with the flowers all gone and seed for the birds beginning to ripen. Soon they will turn dark bluish and the leaves will be the color of wine.

I have reached the age where I think often of the passage of time, my connections with others, my growing irrelevance, and how hard I have to work to stay healthy.  While my husband's allergy to mammal meat is on the wane, we still eat mostly fish and fowl.  We have tons of vegetables from the garden and fruit is readily (if not cheaply) available in the store.  Hubby has been told to cut back on sweets (originally by me) but now by the blood data.  I love dessert but can get by with a small piece after meals.  Hubby thinks that pies should be cut into quarters!

Salmon with mustard sauce on arugula.

Kaffir lime leaves from our tree for soups.  We even took a large bag to the local Thai restaurant.

A few kaffir limes from the tree after pruning.  Perfect for our seafood.

So many tomatoes that I now broil them! (Sorry for the blur.)

I also try to keep up a small bit of exercise with free weights and my elliptical work, about three times a week.  I should up it, but it is sooooo boring.

I do miss making a contribution to something or other.  While I do some volunteer work with master gardeners, it is on my own at home, and due to both COVID and my cough, I have little contact with others.  I see my grandkids and my children maybe once every other month.  Their lives are super busy, as they should be.  I might like to work with elementary school children, once everyone is vaccinated...if I am still living then!

My next post will be a perspective on being the recipient of a clean house, rather than cleaning it myself.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Hearing Hornets

I was just settling in for an afternoon nap when there was a war of hornets filling the air.  It was not real hornets, of course, but the activity of my neighbor Martha Stewart.  I have written before about this woman who moved in next door.  I call her Martha Stewart because she had a gardening show on television, she owns a huge farm, she has lots of money.  She is a lovely lady and has the stature and face of Jane Fonda or Diane Rehm.  She has the presence of a woman who knows she owns the room but realizes kindness gets more done.  She also has enough power in this small county to get around most environmental regulations.  She is continually cutting trees so that her view of the water is unimpeded and the view from the road shows off her Southern-style mansion.

There are two types of people on the water.  Those that try to avoid damaging nature as much as possible and those that believe they can mold nature to mankind's desires.  She is the second.

If you look closely (click on the photo) you can see the man on the left of the photo hanging from safety ropes and the man on the far right is in the bucket.  They have stripped the trees of all their lower branches, which I understand is legal so that she can finally have a view from her million-dollar house.  We do get some great sunsets and now she can see them without having to go down to her dock like I do.  I just cannot help but think this is hard on the trees.  They lose a third of their food-making machines.

The chain saws buzz and buzz and buzz and give me a headache!  It is like a battle of the hornets.  I will get some interesting sun angles against those naked trees for photography on the lighter side as I look from my deck I am thinking.

Above is our house.  We can see the water from our deck, but it is through some natural bare areas that we had when we bought the house and we do keep them clear so that we can watch the boat during stormy weather and so that we have a clear path to our dock.  We pile rocks to keep the waves from destroying the natural grasses rather than drop a wall of rock along the shore as many do.  Do I sound a little snooty?  Sorry, but I am old and am set in my ways.

If trees fall into the river we are required by law to leave them there unless they present a navigation issue.  She does not own a boat and is also removing a fallen tree on the opposite side of her dock.  This means habitat loss for our fish and shellfish.  But it is so hard for people to see the big picture.

I think you deserve a sunset picture or two after all my ranting.  (The buzzing has stopped!!!)

Hope you have a healthy week without COVID, fires, storms or flooding.

Thursday, August 05, 2021


I have been thinking about Blogging.  Thinking...thinking...thinking. I have been away for over a month and missed the lives of those I love to read about.  And I have had issues that I felt were interesting and important to blog about: family, climate, flu, old age.  But each time I wanted to start my writing something interrupted me making it so much easier to procrastinate for a few more days.

Also, after the fifth regimen of new medicine, I have failed to stop the cough that interrupts my life about 10 times a day and three times each night.  I have not reached true depression, but I am discouraged and short of temper.  Who knows,  all these new medicines may be causing mood swings.  I had a 6-7 week reprieve and thought it was all over and I was so happy...until.

My family visits have increased a little now that most are vaccinated.  The only one that we continue to protect is the 10-year-old who cannot get the vaccine yet.  I am so praying they find it safe for him by fall.  He had a light version of Covid last winter so he does have some resistance.

Lets us talk about food.  We are into blue crab season and that makes life a little more fun.  We are into fresh tomato season and that means that something fresh is always in a salad or soup.  We went with my son and his wife to pick blackberries and peaches last weekend.  (Peaches are my favorite fruit.)  East Coast peaches cannot compete with Colorado peaches but I still love both.  We could only stay a short while before the skies opened in torrential rain.  We got soaked.  My tennis shoes sloshed and my clothes stuck to my back and sides.  We ate lunch outside in a small restaurant.  The AC inside would have frozen us into a nasty cold.

Hubby and son picking blackberries.  The red-winged blackbirds sang to us with their trill whistle all afternoon.

Store refrigerator biscuits and sweetened blackberries with butter and cinnamon were our quick dessert that evening.

 And these were the peaches leftover after we ate our fill.  I washed, blanched, removed skins and after a quick dip in lemon water, they went into freezer bags for another day.

Well enough catch-up because I have to read some blogs and start dinner!  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Taking Sides

I have slowly been drawn into various gardening, native plant, and insect groups on Facebook. Some of them are run by Native Nazis, but most are monitored by people who just want to spread environmental knowledge.

One woman had started a native planting under her mailbox.  She was proud of the plants coming up even though it was sparse.  While she was gone one day, her neighbor mowed the area and mowed all the plants down!  She went to him and was pretty angry and so was he.

My first reaction was that this was just a kind gesture by the neighbor and that he accidentally mowed down what he thought were weeds while doing a neighborly gesture.  I suggested that she try and calm the waters (you don't want a war with someone next door) and tell him about the virtues of natives and offer to help him plant some.  If he was still angry, then avoid him.

Everyone else on the list said that he was an idiot, deserved what she did, and even some said she should call the police for trespassing.  ( I am sure the police have plenty to do with 50 gun deaths alone in the U.S. over the 4th of July weekend.)

A few were wise in telling her to put around some boulders for a border edging or a small fence and also a sign telling people what they were.

I guess my question to my readers is am I a pansy?  Was my advice wrong?  Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Dagnabbit! It wasn't a Rabbit!

My prior post was done without too much enthusiasm. Exhausted from the trip and proud of myself for actually taking it during the "wane" of the pandemic.  YES...that must have been a kangaroo and not a rabbit, and I am thankful for discerning readers.  It was hot and I was tired and when I visited the flower show website I was sad to see that while we visited most of the campus, we missed a bunch of stuff!  Oh well.

Still wearing masks here, although most of the stores now have signs that say if you are vaccinated, the mask-wearing is optional.  I wear them much of the time, but this heat does make me less careful.  Also WHO said even vaccinated people should wear masks and distance with the new DELTA variant running rampant across the globe.  I am reading "The Premonition, a Pandemic Story" by Michael Lewis.  It certainly tells the story of how hard researchers work and how stupid the government bureaucratic process is.  Brought back memories of incidents that I encountered when working as a Fed.  Of course,  my work did not impact lives to any extent.  Our Center for Disease Control is sadly crippled.

My cough has returned...ever so slightly.  I have been monitoring it for a week and going back on the proton pump inhibitor (which sounds like a mechanical device, right?).  I will email my specialist who is an hour's drive away and see what is going on and what we do from here.

I finally contracted with a cleaning service this week.  I helped my mother clean her house starting at 10-years-old and except for the 2 years in Indonesia where I had a maid, cook, and night watchman, I have been the cleaner of my various abodes for decades.  I am just tired of vacuuming, mopping, and dusting an almost 3,000 square foot house, and I have let great corners get covered in spider webs and dust.  It is a VERY expensive service and the lady said that I could change my bi-weekly schedule to a monthly schedule down the road if I felt it was overkill with just two old folks living in the house.  I will also have to adjust to having a stranger poke through my nooks and crannies, although they did say they try to send the same person each time.  

My garden is blooming in all its glory just before the oven days start.  I will post photos on my other blog.  

Grandkids arrived for just a few hours on Sunday squeezing in their precious limited free time to visit us!  I am so blest!  Hope your weekend is cool, comfortable, and full of love.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Giant Bunny!

The day is lovely. Waters are calm and weather is actually very cool for mid-June in the mid-Atlantic. I am not a big boating person, but hubby is and so for this week I said we should take the boat out and spend the day on the water. He seemed thrilled. He had only been out a few times weeks ago and on his own. Well, I packed two small coolers with cold chicken, crackers and cheese, fresh fruit and carrot sticks and cold drinks. We made two trips to the dock to bring everything down. Then when Hubby tried to start the boat, the batteries were dead. He has a small solar panel attached to the batteries since we only use the boat about 8 times a year. Well the wires seem to have been loose and now Hubby is down at the dock trying to see if he can get a charge going and then run the boat in place and maybe we can go out tomorrow. I am hoping this calm spring-like weather holds! 

So now photos of the more unique items at the Philadelphia Flower Show for those who asked.
Above can you see the hummingbird on the left?
Above a hammock made of succulents. This one had me intrigued and I was wondering if I could do something similar. Would I have to protect it during the winter?
A ten-foot bunny!! Close-ups below. All of it is made from plants and botanical material.
Thanks for stopping by on this beautiful summer morning!

Friday, June 11, 2021

It Wasn't Bad Karma, Just Bad Luck

This past week we took three days off from our routines and decided to head away to the Philadelphia Flower Show.  I had not gone for almost a decade and decided it would be a nice change to face the crowds as COVID is waning in our area.  They usually have the event inside the Convention Center.  Due to COVID they scheduled it outside in FDR Park and issued timed-entry tickets.

Our entry was for 2:00 PM and since we live three hours away and planned on spending two overnights we thought leaving at 8:30 in the morning would give us plenty of time for checking into the hotel and then "UBERring" out to the park.

I was using our car's Garmin map tool.  I soon discovered this was NOT a good thing because as we left the visitor center off the highway for our mid-trip break after almost 2 hours,  we encountered LOTS of traffic moving slowly and soon coming to a complete stop.  I switched to the WAZE APP on my phone and saw that there were two areas ahead with accidents.  We sat in our car nestled between huge trucks and vans and little hybrids for two and a half hours!  I have a hybrid car, so not a great loss of fuel or increase in pollution. Had I been on WAZE before I might have avoided the mess as WAZE lets you know of highway incidents ahead of the encounter as well as so much other stuff.

We finally exited an area as we crawled forward and went miles east then miles north then doubling back miles west to finally make it to downtown Philadelphia.

We proceeded to check in but our challenges were not over.  We had to keep up deep breathing and calming exercises as the hotel had trouble with our credit card.  We had to change credit cards but finally made it to our room!

The hotel was right downtown near the convention center, but the Flower Show was out of town due to COVID.  I called an UBER.  I waited...and waited.. until finally one showed up and asked us to meet at some point TWO BLOCKS away!  I said no and he canceled.  A second UBER was a little better.  We jumped into the car and told him where we wanted to go and he said he thought the Flower Show had been canceled!  He said he would take us to the entry and low and behold they had been canceled due to the dangerous afternoon weather!

Thus we UBERed back to the hotel and by then we were only an hour or so from dinner so made reservations at one of the many Chinese restaurants in the city.  The next UBUR driver had to drop us off a half block away due to street work.  I used my phone in the steady rain dropping on a blurry screen; we walked past the restaurant TWICE before we asked someone where it was.  The restaurant sign was one of those super modern fonts and very difficult to read unless you were directly in front and looked up!  (I am sure someone has captured the old folks arguing and walking back and forth while staring at their phone screens.)

The dinner was delicious and we actually were able to get an UBER back to the hotel.  I called the Flower Show Service that evening and they said we could come in any time and any day throughout the week before the show closed!  Our pre-paid lunch was also still available.   Things were looking up. 

The next day, at least the weather was somewhat kinder.  We failed to get an UBER again and instead called a CAB that was friendly and efficient and dropped us off exactly at the Flower Show entrance.  The day was hot, 92F, but no rain.  The event was somewhat interesting and a bit crowded because those that had booked the day before came this day.  Maybe I will share photos.  Maybe I have become a bit jaded about these events.

As the day came to an end, I tried once again to get an UBER back to our hotel in the late afternoon.  The UBER pick-up suggestion could not be found by our eyes and when we asked a local they explained that the name given was an OLD name for the corner and the new name was the metro name.  I texted the UBER back and told him we would be at the bus stop on that corner.  We waited and waited.  Then when he arrived we were so busy looking down the street that we did not see him pull in.  FINALLY, we connected!  What a nightmare!  All of our UBER drivers were polite and useful if somewhat less knowledgeable about the city than we were --- see below)

Since it was pouring rain as we reached the hotel we decided to eat dinner in the restaurant connected to the hotel.  Hubby thought it would be a mediocre venue, but it was delicious food.  I like whiskeys and bourbons and they had a huge selection of pre-dinner cocktails.  Only three tables out of at least 20 were filled and so it was also quiet with excellent service.  The other two tables that had customers had middle-aged men in nice suits eating with sexily dressed women who were clearly younger. Their meet-ups were certainly a date as the behavior of the women was very flirtatious.  (OK maybe it wasn't a date, maybe it was something else since one of the women had her dress slit up to her crotch and was wearing only a band of some stretchy fabric around her top.)  I get to cities only rarely these days and I am not going to evaluate a restaurant on its customers, but on its service, food and beverages.  After the trip we had, I was working on being mellow.

We still enjoyed ourselves talking to our waiter who was from Belarus.  He had lived an interesting life and his immigration to the U.S. was also interesting. He had been a protestor against the government and was forced to leave.  So sad. For those of you who, like me, have trouble keeping up, "Belarus is the thirteenth-largest and the twentieth-most populous country in Europe."  Go to this link for a clue how it has changed (‘It’s All Ruined’: Young Woman Caught Up in Belarus Clampdown - The New York Times (

Our trip was somewhat of an international tour as we took time to get to know all the people we encountered.  Note below:

Uber Drivers:
Nigerian,  Baptist preacher
Pakistani man 

Cab Driver:
Mexico. 7th-day Adventist who came via his church

Man from Belarus
Lady from Egypt

We purchased some nice green tea at the Flower Show:
The saleslady was from Taiwan and her husband from France!

The U. S. is becoming so much of a melting pot these days.

I guess my advice is to always stay as mellow as possible unless it is life or death.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Computer Memory

I capture all the gems 

With just a click 
On the box - ‘download’. 
These crystal baubles then 
Order themselves in a line 
With mathematical precision
In some dark place. 
I will probably never 
Stumble upon again,
Hidden in some Delphic language, 
In some password-protected room. 
And their value 
Is only when I, not another, 
Bring them back to light.
But only if I blunder onto them 
Before I, myself, have been placed 
In some dark sectioned place 
Where there is no clicking 
And silence reigns.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Familiar Visitor

It was one of those odd early mornings about 3:30 AM.. yes, early! I woke up to go to the bathroom and then felt too rested to fall back asleep and headed to the living room to read a light silly romance that had been a break from my usual historical or biographical or environmental books.   I was near the end and perhaps could finish before sunrise.

 A light caught my eye through the French doors, and at first, I thought it was some new ugly spotlight from a neighbor's dock across the way.  Some of my neighbors are so fearful and perhaps a bit superstitious since they seem to think the light will chase away anything nefarious from their empty weekend getaways.  Yet, as I focused more carefully,  I  saw the glow was high in the trees and not a light but a soft vanilla moon smiling down at me.  A perfect spring night and sailing slowly across the Western sky with the black silhouette of new green leaves gently dancing in the front at the edges.  It was a celestial prom night, perhaps.

I felt that I had been blessed with such a lovely gift.  It was as if an old friend was smiling at me from a distance reassuring me that everything was in its place 'once again and for a while ' where it was supposed to be, pushing away my usual misgivings.  The shining circle seemed to gently grow as it moved closer to the horizon.  

I would have missed the light show if I had stayed in bed.  

I stepped outside, barefoot and camera in hand, without a tripod and impatient to try to capture the moment.  A bird was singing a single intermittent note as if to call forth the sun.   No mosquitoes, but the very tiny biting flies would soon find my warm breath, so a stolen photo would have to suffice.  The second photo below was on a calmer night with a steadier hand and was much earlier in the month when the moon was just an infant.

Of course, the news told me later that this full moon was the Flower moon and would be eclipsed for those on the West Coast in just a few hours.  But no dance show for me.  My orbed friend was too shy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Keeping Up

For those of my readers who are lucky enough to have healthy and happy children, I wish to caution that keeping up with them gets harder each year. 

I am in my mid-70s and my daughter's family of pre-teens and teenagers is very much into physical activity. My daughter planned a "glamping" trip over the weekend as a Mother's Day event. The trip included sleeping in fancy Teepees that had electricity and indoor plumbing and spending the day doing things like kayak/canoeing, bicycle riding, and rope climbing. I participated in the first two but have outgrown ziplining and tree climbing! (In retrospect I think the trip was to keep the rest of her family happy while pretending it was a Mother's Day event. Also, it was her Mother's Day of course.) We all are vaccinated or in the case of my daughter's family recovered from COVID and they are soon to get their shots.  Most of it was outdoors and masking was only when they were in groups of others.

My son and his wife joined us as well, but even they had trouble keeping up.

Below a montage of memories from the event and wishing those of you who have children, a belated Happy Mother's Day and perhaps, one that was very simple where they just took you out to dinner.

Friday, May 07, 2021

I Write the Best Posts at Night

Just as I drift (attempt to drift) off to sleep, I can write the very best posts for this blog. I come up with wonderful subjects that can lend themselves to concise or elaborate text. Ideas that are meaningful and compelling. Subjects that are interesting or intriguing or just friendly and familiar.  When I wake up in the morning my ideas have all pixelated into the disjointed fog just like those photos that are enlarged all out of proportion to their original digital information.

Since my fifteen-month illness disappeared faster than this spring's tulips, I have felt more creative and energetic.  But I find these are just feelings and not something that is manifested into concrete production and activity.  I am back working on my free weights and my running on the elliptical, but there are many days that I can find excuses to put this off until the following day.  Excuses like the exercise clothes I have really should be washed, I must wait to digest my recent meal (which becomes an excuse to wait until just before the next meal), or finally, I have to clean out the inbox of my emails.  

My creativity is there for this blog, but when strained through the clean light of morning,  it also comes out flat and must be put off until after the news, after the gardening, after cooking.  Excuses.

Most of my readers are my age...old.  Their lives do not stand still as they move forward with the challenges of aging.  I go to their blogs and find I have missed a crisis or two or even three!  I feel guilty for sitting on my thumbs when the real world is still turning.

Perhaps I should write about the new fellow that has moved in quite comfortably under the deck.

Yet, I do believe that the real world is once again getting back to order and people are once again moving at a quicker pace.  There is a large group of people in my country who are on a hate fest and who will not be happy until they 'win' whatever it is they think they are pursuing.  But the larger group of people just want normal and courteous discourse and freedom to love the nature of the world once again.  I think they would even be willing to read a boring blog or two to inject normalcy back into their lives.

I will write soon about the goose saga.  With encouraging and discouraging photos, because us old ladies have not much else in our lives but birds.

My coffee is now cold, so I am off to read your blogs and hopefully to comment!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Is That a Light I see?

"Kontorovich told me. “Patients had been told symptoms were in their head or purely due to anxiety.” Her patients epitomize the kind whom the medical system frequently fails—by contesting the reality of their illness, sending them from specialist to specialist, loading them up with drugs without getting to the root cause."

The above was taken from a long article in The Atlantic about long-haul patients who have had COVID.  The patients vary in that many may have had a few days of illness while others were hospitalized and they are also varied in their normal health and exercise routines prior to COVID.  They got well and then they got heart and breathing and oxygen symptoms days, weeks, or months later.

My search for a cause and end to the coughing also sent me on that endless experimental trial of medicines of all types.  Side-effects were sometimes scary.  The medical community wants clear results and they get lazy or impatient when the things they have successfully tried for years fail to work on a patient.  They wonder if you are just one of those old ladies who wants attention.  "According to experts, the prevalence of hypochondria ranges from 4 percent to 7 percent in the general population, affecting both men and women equally."  So I guess if you fail to find a solution for 4 out of every 100 hundred patients, you must assume they are psychologically ill or very lonely.

My most recent doctor diagnosed Silent Gerd.  She put me on a 'proton pump inhibitor' pill which inhibits my stomach from producing acid.  She added a cough suppressant pill that I took three times a day.  After a week of this pharmaceutical diet, I documented on paper that my cough continued intensively 12 to 15 times during the day, interrupting my cooking, gardening, movie watching.  It followed with runny sinuses and never being far from a box of tissues.  I would get attacks three to four times at night waking me.  The acid reducer gave me severe diarrhea and the doctor allowed me to cut it in half and told me to go off the cough suppressant since it was not working.

After a week of exhaustion, I decided I was going to take Sominex (an over-the-counter sleep aid) and try to sleep through the night.  The first night I took it I slept like a log!  Waking not once.  The next day I had NO coughing all day.  I continued the medication but also took one Sominex for several nights after that and the coughing totally disappeared!  Sudden onset of normality?  I have stopped the Sominex and find I am sleeping reasonably well and not waking with coughing spells at all.  I go through the day and have regained better breathing (I sometimes had shortness of breath) .  My doctor will assume it is her prescriptions...but such a sudden switch after about 5 or 6 days of taking the medicine makes me wonder.  Shouldn't there have been tapering off?

And like every other hypochondriac, after reading the Atlantic article I wonder if I had contracted COVID?  I never have been tested for it.  

All I know is that I am returning to normal and looking forward to a family weekend with my children and grandchildren in two week.  Everyone here in the state (with a brain) is being vaccinated and our infection rates are dropping dramatically.  I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Singing on a Train....Wait for it.

I  have been busy and not busy.  I have been here and there.  Blogging has not been something that called to me or fulfilled me.  

My two-shot  vaccine regimen has been completed and I have been able to  hug my grandchildren, something that is unmeasurable in its pleasure.   All five of them caught Covid in their bubble while being social, but it was only a few days long  and they survived the worst.  

I was able to visit my oldest grandson on his 16th birthday.  He is a  handsome, tall and a thin nerdy boy with so much hair there must be birds who crave to nest on his head.  I hugged and ran my hands over his thin and boney shoulders and down his strong but lean back,  Then I hugged my granddaughter who is built like a draft horse and could lift the back of a car.  She has a strong and lovely body and will fight weight gain in  her  mid-life years, but her cheer activities have kept her healthy.  She was sharp and lacked patience as a child, but has evolved into a loving person as a 13-year-old.  My youngest, a boy at 10, is still evolving,  but his hug was free and honest.  He will  be the handsome  and  popular young man  in  college and will probably date the prom Queen who will break his heart and make him stronger to face life's twists and turns.

I have still failed to conquer my chronic cough which has made me hopeful and then depressed with each new attempt at treatment.  My allergist finally sent me for a C-Scan which he said revealed an infection in the lining of the sinus cavities under my eyes. He sent me to a well-respected ENT surgeon in the city.  I was nervous to meet with her, not for the illness, but because I had  to get there on time!  My husband and I Ubered after spending the night at my daughter's.  The ENT surgeon was nice and kind and told me her 'friend" my allergist was wrong after looking at my scans.  She ran another camera down my nose and into my throat (after an anesthetic spray) and said she saw swelling at the part of my throat where I swallow.  NO surprise to me as I  have a coughing/gagging spell every 1 to 2 hours day and night!  She diagnosed what she called  "silent acid reflux".  I was eager to accept this as I had feared surgery of some unnatural order.

I am  now on another set of drugs and waiting to see if  this will help.  But I am  afraid of the diet restrictions on the list she gave me.  It seems all I can eat is oatmeal and meat....!  This dance will be  difficult and I do not believe I will be successful!

Spring is here in all its full glory.  Warmer weather interrupted by rains is ahead.  I have planted my annual seedlings.

My son and his wife visited last week now that we have our shots.  They have not caught Covid nor have any vaccines.  They are now registered and since our state is wide-open I am hoping for a perfect family gathering the first of May.  I love all of my family and feel blessed for that.

It has been a difficult year and I wish all of you the strength that it takes to get through it.  You are all precious souls and need to be here for the rest of  us!

For some wonderful German mind engineering go to the link below"

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A Reset On Our Value System?

Empty streets and quiet cities...

The text below was taken from a New York Times Opinion Column written by Frank Bruni on how we are preparing ourselves for the future without the pandemic.

"...They wish, as any sane person does, that the pandemic had never happened. They hate what it did to this country, to this world, and to many aspects of their own lives and the lives of loved ones.

But its brutal winnowing of their social obligations and commitments beyond the home? They actually didn’t mind this, at least not so much. Their movements had grown hectic and their schedules overstuffed.

The way in which shuttered schools, canceled extracurricular activities, and closed offices compelled them and their children to spend more time together? There was stress in this, often proportional to a home’s square footage, but there was also intimacy. They liked how many nights everyone ate dinner together.

The halt to commuting? That was all upside and, along with the cessation of business travel, it produced a revelation: In-person meetings and the logistics that went into them weren’t as necessary as everyone thought. There were cheaper and easier alternatives."

I know the above is true with the attitudes of my two adult children and their families.  Americans live a rushed and career-oriented life.  We are often amazed that Europeans do not care so much about their jobs and are not afraid to take long vacations.  Maybe this pandemic will reset our Puritan work ethic problem!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Guinea Pigs Are We ALL?

This is a health post, and if you are not into that after this horrendous year, I will understand and you can move on.

I think with medical care some of us think Doctors are marvelous geniuses and inciteful and caring.  Afterall, we have seem them risking their lives for the past year saving lives in a pandemic.

Yet, our local physicians which run a private office within small practices are pretty much normal people, some with exceptional skills and others counting down  the days until they can retire, with most of them in a  mediocre middle.  Within a rural community this is even more so.

I have written about this dibilitating cough that I started to get over a year ago.  It is the kind of dry cough that cannot be muffled and sometimes ends with a gag or at other times a raging sneezing fit and other times weeping eyes.  Because I am home 99% of the time, I have not had to leave a room or face embarassment.  It  would occur even in the evenings when I was sleeping.  Some nights I was awakened every two hours.  It has been a year since I have had more than 4 hours of continued sleep.  My primary sent me to an ENT who had me x-rayed as well as sent a camera through my nasel passage and down my throat.  Since she found nothing, she sent me to an allergist.  I had already spent over a month tracking what I ate and what I breathed, etc. purchasing a $200 room filter and last spring even leaving my house for a trip for a number of days to see if it was the house and nothing changed in each instance.  I have no fever and no loss of appetite.

The allergist ran those two dozen skin test pricks on my inside arm and said I was  allergic to a number of  things including polllens, but nothing severely.  ( I know that I am severly allergic to cat dander!)

He then started me on a nerve medication, something you give to someone who is under stress and needs tranquilzing.  No side effects after a month and also no reduction in coughing 8-10 times daily and then through the night.  We changed to a second nerve medication and he said that coughs can be VERY hard to find the cause.  A month of the second nerve medication and no side effeccts  and no reduction in cough.  I had to be taken off it gradually as it did  make me dizzy and I had a waking dream the day after! He then tried a third medication which did not reduce the cough but the warned side effect of anxiety and temper did kick in and I told him after two weeks, I was no longer taking it as I was getting murderous!  We are a fragile chemical factory!

At my most reent visit  (four months after my initial visit) he  prescribed a blood test (I was too tired to ask what he was looking for although I did ask if it  could  be a fungus) and also a CT Scan.  He called  last week and said they did find an infection in the top two sinus cavities by my eyes!  I then was put on a 10 day course  of antibiotics  and a 5 day course of a steroid.  I immediately called to explain that I was  getting my second  Covid Moderna shot in two days and wondered about the wisdom of being on a steriod ... my understanding that it suppressed the immune reaction.  He agreed I should only take the antibiotic.  I was thinking that ALL doctors should have COVID in the back of their mind with every patient when they are prescribing these days as many patients do not research their meds!

Anyway, I am on my 4th day of the antibiotic and the cough has been cut by about 30% and  usually is not so intense.  But the cough has not gone away.  I got no  reaction to  my second Covid  shot except for a sore arm muscle and what seems to be two days of fatigue.  I have taken advantage of this being a test tube to try to nap each day and rest generally by doing nothing this whole weekend as I have not felt super energetic.  I MUST do some exercise on Monday.  Tonight is take-out unhealthy pizza.

Anyway, I am so tired of being a guinea pig in this process and exhausted as it has been a whole year of this cough.  I have my fingers crossed and the doctor recommends taking the sterioids in about 9 days.  Wish me luck!  As someone who had fought food poisoning while living overseas and  dengue fever while overseas on a tropical island...under mediocre medical care, I was unprepared for this.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Changing Seasons and Seeing Things in a New Light

The longer daylight and the angle of the sun have awakened the hormones in my birds. I saw an American Cardinal couple kissing the other day! Right out in the open! Right on my deck! Ah, young love. 

The longer daylight and the angle of the sun have also awakened dismay in me. I see all the dribbles and spots on my kitchen cupboards under the morning sun's spotlight. I see the dust bunnies and gunk on the kitchen lighting. 

My kitchen has a small island with a range. Since I have a high ceiling I did not want a huge ceiling vent fan coming down. It would be enormous to clean as well as allowing a draft of cold air to seep through in the winters down that long vent. Therefore, I had installed a counter pop-up fan behind the range. I can never use the fan on high. It is not as efficient and it draws the heat away, so affects cooking, but the filters can go in the dishwasher and there is less to clean.

But the "fancy" lighting fixture that was installed above is a bit of a nightmare to clean. I actually think it was for pool table lighting!  Since I have a bit of a wrought iron theme going in the living area, I selected it.  I have been putting off cleaning for quite some time and this year tried to remove the three lamp hoods and glass shades and pop them in the dishwasher.  I could not actually reach all the curled iron above which was covered in grease.  I got two of the fixtures down using my kitchen ladder and patience.  The last one would not come off.  The ceramic threads were misaligned.  I called in my tall friend. (You may remember the fellow who helped with the Osprey nest.)  HE could NOT get the glass shade off either!

Thus he used his height and good eyes and long arms and cleaned the shades as well as the iron decoration with a rag and some Mr. Clean.  It now sparkles.  He also helped me re-assemble the parts that I had put through the dishwasher.

I now have to go to the hardware and get a finish polisher to shine the two black hoods.  Easy enough! It hangs about an inch off-center, but I will have to live with that.  Now I have to wash all the cupboards!