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Friday, September 28, 2018

Escapism



I liked walking with a cane far better when I did it for style, not for support! My idle observation for the day.

I spent two days disconsolate. Lethargic. For shame. I watched Dr. Ford’s cross examination. Such grace and courage. Most every woman watching could mentally applaud. They broke for lunch and so did I. I never went back. Sneak peeks were adequate to tell me to back off. Today I sort of squatted down and poked the campfire ashes and knew it was not good.

Yesterday I looked and left. I don’t understand why no Republican senator questioned Dr. Ford. Actually, the whole layout of the hearing was stupid. No woman would have organized such a cowardly charade. Whatever. The men were in charge.

Brett Kavanaugh was not a pretty picture. For me, he was not a credible witness. He cried. He yelled. He tried to pin the failure of the rest of his life on the “accusations”.  One fact I did not hear mentioned, however, though I wasn’t around much.

Ashley Kavanaugh’s head was turned toward her husband, but her body turned away, leaving me to wonder how many of those tantrums and tirades she was subjected to at home. Because, Brett did not launch into his first melt down for the television. He’s had a lot of practice.

I went to breakfast with a friend. We agreed not to mention yesterday, and we didn’t. I came home to therapists, drilling me on what I have learned from them, and being signed off. Laura came home, and we left to try a new restaurant for dinner. Far too early. A new sports bar. New to us. I saw the end of the Cardinal/Cubs game, and some Ryder Cup. Laura watched field hockey, and was not impressed with the level of play.

I am so obsessed with the terrible potential for this nomination, I subscribed to something on my phone for instant headlines and news. Smart News, it’s called. I must turn it off at night; it delivers smart news with klaxon sound whenever it deems it has occurred.  It sounded on the restaurant table tonight, and the FBI has been given one week to launch another investigation of the charges against Brett Kavanaugh. A reprieve.

All those Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee seem to a man, corrupted by Trump’s politics.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Things are looking up

"Well, look at you!" were the whippersnapper's words on entering the exam room, new x-rays in hand. "I would have told you to be done with the walker, and I see you are!"

I told him that only was since yesterday, and my knee is in a whole lot of pain from walking. He examined the back of each knee, pronounced the problem to be tissue that was injured in the twisting fall, that needs to resume its normal size.

But, in the meantime, he had a brace...


This brace is wonderful. I did two errands on the way home! I cleaned off my desk. I ate two more cookies. I did not click my heels together.


The break is healing enough for me to see. It begins above those five long pins and goes down to the joint. Four weeks ago I could not see any progress.

For Susan Kane, I carded him. He's a home town boy; grew up in Akron, Ohio. He went to school in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He's "early forties". He spends most weekends hiking the National Park, with his wife and son, who's a couple of years old and more fun now that he can walk.

This time next week I see the shoulder doctor, and we can work out the suspended shoulder details.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

If there's a problem, there must be a solution

All night long, I was not warm enough, in spite of my extra blanket foresight. Obviously, time to get the goose from the back of the closet. I do need Laura to help in extricating it, and she isn't home right now.

We did our mite of cleaning this morning, and she went off on another "emergency". Kay decided she wanted to keep chickens. All my years at that house, chickens never crossed my mind. Tom and I seriously discussed a miniature pig once, but chickens, never. And, Janice nixed the pig.

Kay called me over the week. What do I know about keeping chickens? Actually more than she, it turns out. I know one should investigate the requirements first. But, Kay had a bathroom of peepers and no clue. Laura went to walk Kay one drive way down the road and introduce her to Laurie, who keeps chickens.



Look what I found in the kitchen! Also a batch of chocolate chip, which I don't care for. Those have a little backstory, too, though not as pressing as chicks in the bathroom. Laura's ASL teacher was rummaging in her backpack, and in the process consigned a package of chocolate chips to the trash. "Expired", she explained. Laura left with them, and will treat ASL to cookies on Monday. 

Luxuriating this morning in that half-light before sunrise, I made a mental note to take care of the comforter before bedtime came round again.  In problem solving mode, I also resolved to spend the day not aggravating my shoulder. I would do that by abandoning the walker for the cane.

There is a problem with that. The cane is held opposite the "bad" limb, and moves with it, and makes contact with the ground together with the bad limb, to support it. However, my "terminal osteoarthritis" shoulder has left the building. It's through holding up my broken leg. So, after breakfast I consigned the walker to the corner and set about learning to walk with the cane in my right hand.



There was an immediate advantage apparent. When the therapist taught me to use the walker, my stride had to be stand on the good leg and move the bad and the walker forward. Move the good leg even with the bad. Repeat. I confess I was striding with the walker as soon as the therapist left. I am terrified to do that with the cane. Falling seems imminent and on top of that, my knee hyperextends.
Son.of.a.gun. So, the good leg goes no further than the bad.

My shoulder hurts only the normal amount, having supported nothing heavier than a cup of coffee and a couple of cookies, all day. The knee is pretty good too; only a couple of snaps today. Now my concern is facing the young doctor's demand tomorrow, "Who released you to walk on a cane!?"

Friday, September 21, 2018

A long, hard week

I'm still sorting events. It only recently sunk in how little time has elapsed since the previous accident in Washington, DC. That was March, 2017, a mere eighteen months.  I'm not dealing well with the pain this time. The new broken bones don't hurt, but the shoulder that was to be repaired is about unbearable.

An osteo doctor appointment scheduled for today was cancelled, and rescheduled for Monday. If my shoulder doing so much support work with the walker didn't hurt so badly, no matter. But it hurts like hell, which compounds getting to the bathroom in the middle(s) of the night. I intended that young fellow solve all my problems today, and now I'm put off to Monday.

It's good we did so much gardening last weekend; summer has degenerated into cold, driving rain the last several days.




I felt awful; I couldn't go to the bus stop for Laura. By the time the walker and I could have made it to the car, the poor kid took her shoes off and ran. I just sat in the living room and watched it rain.

And I stayed home and wove. There were no cards; half the card players were out of the country. Next week, watch out!

I took off blue and yellow towels and started pumpkin. The blue towels are finished and folded, tonight.





And some more thread came, so there are a lot of good colors on the shelf.



The cat and I are close to blows. I came around the corner and his ears signaled, "I'm not eating leaves.






And whose teeth marks are those, Mr. Cat?

And in conclusion, at the end of the week, my broken bones are not painful. Maybe a little, yesterday night, after a long march on the walker. The corridors of medical buildings are miles long. I walked several.

But, my still unrepaired shoulder, and my hyperextending knee are hard to endure. I hope my young whippersnapper has solutions.



Monday, September 17, 2018

We believed her, then and now



Anita Hill was not the first woman we heard speaking openly of sexual pressure and abuse from a supervisor.  She probably was the most prominent and important woman to put her job on the line, to tell an important truth. But the supervisor to watch out for was common knowledge among all the working women of most any establishment, from the factory floor to the offices with windows.

We all recognized her words, and thought and said, “Tell it, Anita!” The disappointment at the confirmation of her misogynist “superior”, Clarence Thomas, to the Supreme Court of this country was our gut wrenching reminder that little had changed, except a brave woman had stepped forward. 

Thank you, Anita, for helping the trickle turn to a brook, a river, the loud thunder of #metoo.

The current administration has unprecedented opportunity to load the Supreme Court with lifetime appointments of men who believe only white men have rights. Brett Kavanaugh has a dodgy past and a proven present of antipathy to tolerance. We need an in depth look at his stands on abortion, guns, climate.

And from the not so distant past of Mr. Kavanaugh’s high school days, a fellow student is brave enough to tell the congressional committee considering Kavanaugh’s appointment, “this man sexually assaulted me!”

The congress should stop at this point and consider the accusation carefully and closely. I don’t know what will become of it, but it must be aired. The man’s inflammatory remarks on matters that concern women must be examined. Birth control as “abortion inducing drugs” must be examined.

I believe Anita Hill. I believe Christine Blasey. I believe their testimony should disqualify the candidate, then and now.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"Technically, it's not my garden, you know!"

Yesterday we sat at a medium sized restaurant with an experienced League of Women Voters registrar, and in our two hour shift signed up one change of address. No matter; it was good conversation with all the patrons, and great fun hearing Laura proclaim she will be old enough to vote in 2020.

The registrar said it was not an ideal location, but one new member owns the restaurant and they decided to try. Everyone said they were registered to vote; many said they had registered since Parkland! The registrar said they were having extraordinary success at finding new voters at the many colleges around us. In addition to the U of Akron, we have too many technical colleges to name.

When we came home, my neighbor texted me she had turned on the news and voter registration is up 333%. It makes no difference there is no reference for such an unbelievable number; it just seems right.

Laura and I spent the last two mornings working in the garden. I wanted to thin the southern end, move some to fill in the northern end and send the excess up the street to find a home in "the ditch".
I say "we" in the royal way. I believe I've planted nothing and pulled fewer than a dozen weeds.







When Laura came in, she announced she was done weeding, had spread mulch and put weed killer down the edge of the road (Epson salts, Dawn detergent, distilled white vinegar). Technically, she says, it's not her garden.



One of my therapists is mystified by the ballerina. "What is it for? Does it catch something?"
It's for joy. In the morning it catches sunshine.


Mr. Stone there says, "Technically it's not my garden, either, but I keep the water moving along."




After a morning in the garden yesterday, and an afternoon with people, we both were tired. We had cantelope and wheat rolls for supper, and admired a new vase of flowers.


Now I'm off to weave and Laura will go hiking with Kamaria.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

Still on the walker, with occasional forays via my cane. That is fun, but I forget how hard and tiring it is to use the cane, especially using the wrong arm for support and bla, bla, bla.

The cane is so easy though to do things like just step outside and not have to  get the walker over the sill. Last night was trash night, and I sat on the porch and kept Laura company. She introduced me to a friend, Tod. I've heard of his current residence under one of the trash bins over this summer, but yesterday was our first introduction.


Today Tom and Jan came around in the morning, for Tom to take a look at a couple of loose assemblies on the loom. There was a stripped out screw I knew of and a sheared screw I knew of. He found a couple more loose screws. Then we went to lunch. Toby retreated to the back of my bedroom, behind closed doors. Jake was so sorry he wouldn't come out.


Jan helped me rearrange the furniture again in the loom room. Amazing how many times furniture can be moved to make it perfect. We left the odds and ends, like putting plugs back, for Laura, after school.


And finally, tomorrow Laura and Cathy, our next door neighbor, and I are going to the sports bar up the road to register new voters.

Cathy and I went to an introductory program during the week, conducted by two local members of the League of Women Voters for Cathy, myself and a third volunteer, a young woman establishing herself as an activist. When I signed up, I only checked one box: register voters. By the time the two nice members had worked through tomorrow's registering voters job, I was through with the very hard chair, thanked the women and Cathy and I left.

There was one ah ha moment. Laura and I have often commented this little sports bar is either packed or empty. Our shift is one to three thirty tomorrow afternoon. I remarked to our two mentors it probably would be very empty. "Oh no!" from Elizabeth, the young woman who joined us. "College basketball!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I can’t imagine…



My BFF and her husband and two cats upped sticks going on three years ago, and moved to a string of South Carolina that is a bridge or two out in the ocean. They simply were sick and tired of winter. And yes, they did do some research into hurricanes, and there hadn’t been a “big one” for a long time.

Laura and I visited Carol and Frank last summer. Lovely home, beautiful island. A crocodile sauntered along the footpath around the lake.  It was a lovely day, and I sat on the deck and wrote a post. 

We did all the touristy things; a carriage ride around Charleston, a visit to America’s only tea plantation, a stop to see the four hundred year old Angel Oak in South Carolina. An old Gullah woman was weaving sea grass baskets, and we have two of them to hold Laura’s burgeoning shell collection.

We all know The Storm of a Lifetime is bearing down on the Carolina's. I called Carol on Tuesday, because I worry like that.  I asked where they were headed.  This will be their third evacuation in two years, and the previous two were back to Ohio. I’m happy for an extra visit. She texted she would let me know. No time to talk.

Carol and Frank have retired to South Carolina, but they are travelling people. Friends and family to visit from coast to coast. They left a Michigan vacation early to get home in time to batten down and evacuate. Fortunately, their two cats vacation cheerfully in the back third of their Chrysler. 

But, off the top of my head, they still had a freezer of food in their garage, plus another car, plus all that outdoor furniture and whatever else natives know to take care of ahead of a storm. And, they aren’t natives.

I cannot visualize Frank screwing sheets of plywood over doors and windows.

To all our friends on the east coast, stay safe.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Eight weeks


                   
By the time I reached the rehab hospital, less than a week after I broke my way down the right side of my skeleton, I was mentally leaping ahead in rehab, planning on reaching discharge. As I said so often, “This isn’t my first rodeo!”, and indeed it isn’t. This is the third time I’ve had to re-learn how to walk.

How easy those last two times were! When I had the stroke, no one told me how fortunate I could still stand and shuffle down the corridor, held upright by the therapist with the gait belt.  When I had the brain injury in D.C., no one mentioned how fortunate I could still stand and transfer to a wheel chair to get to the therapy room.

On the other hand, no one said “Too bad you can’t stand and we need the Hoyer lift to get you out of bed.  Instead, I learned slide transfer, and then to stand and transfer to the wheel chair with the walker. My goal was to be home before Laura started school. She actually was in day five when I came home.

The therapists did not want to discharge me, and the basic reason was the five steps into my house. “I could rent a ramp!” I told them, but it would be too steep. 

On a Friday afternoon I sat and ordered everything the therapists said I would need to be discharged: a wheel chair, a walker, a tub transfer seat, a toilet riser. In retrospect, the wheel chair was the waste of money. I’d warned Laura, and she had everything assembled and in place when I came home the next Wednesday.

I told the therapists on Monday, I would be leaving on Wednesday. I cut through the chorus of “The steps!”, and rolled the chair to the next room, where the steps were in the corner.  Before I arrived, Sharon was blocking the steps.  I quietly said to move, I was going up the effing steps.

Let me tell you, whispered, that word resonates through hall after hall of a Catholic institution. I felt therapists and dear old nuns and Father Tom come through the doors to watch me. I went up, and down, no walker. I came home on Wednesday, two weeks ago. A nurse evaluated me and the therapy supervisors, too, the first week.

I’d already been for a doctor appointment, and to lunch with friends. So, when the physical therapy supervisor was here I explained I had thought it through, and knew how to drive my car. For all the medical people out there, I have 60% weight bearing on my broken leg, so I merely concluded if I were looking at a 100% weight bearing braking situation, it would be my left foot on the brake.

The supervisor said since I intended to do it, I might as well demonstrate it, and I did, Including stowing the walker in the passenger seat by heaving it over. 

So, it was eight weeks last Friday. Two weeks until my ten week appointment with my orthopedist, marking the theoretical ‘healed’ date. And, I can no more give up my walker than I could fly, though I can drive my car.

“Strength and balance! Strength and balance!” I tell my home therapists, and faithfully do their exercises. It’s not that I have neither; it’s that I cannot walk without support to stand and balance. 

It’s getting mighty old. I have one more week with the home therapists, then, I think, transfer to a clinic setting, and my friend the parallel bars, for strength and balance. Without the walker. My cane will be a pleasant change.


It's not snowing on the other side of the white, white windows. It's pouring rain, day number two.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Like a meringue



My husband thought me a bad cook, and I was. My mother taught me.

Once I thought I would make a meringue. Maybe cookies. Maybe a topping. As decent as his mother made. Just be slow and careful.

All those egg whites! Slide, slide, slide them down the stainless steel bowl from the little bowl. No contaminants. Including that fleck of cotton lint from the kitchen towel, probably. Don’t scrape up anything from the counter and send it flying!

Don’t consider the week. Or the sick child you just got up to comfort. Think about the picnic today and go back to sleep, to the patter of rain out the window. Interesting picnic, in the rain. What if meringue weeps? Is that OK? I think it’s a failure if it does.

What else goes in? What happened to the Republican Party? What happened this week? How can a Supreme Court justice nominee suborn perjury, and only two of the committee call him out? Can they make the rest understand?

But, a supreme court justice is about as important as the president! Wait. Is the lodestar stealing the papers? Of course not! But he doesn’t really support Roe v. Wade, either. We’ve known that all along. Someone chose the name on purpose. Who is third in line?

Is cream of tartar before or after sugar? What about almond extract? Those Tartars were some warriors! Something about almonds is poisonous. What is it?

Too many faces in the bowl. Every meringue turns into a face. Stop making fat faces. Get up. Make the bed. Get in the shower.  

 Image result for faces from meringue



                     

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Do you remember?



I wanted more than butter on my toast this morning, and asked little Miss Mental Inventory of Everything if we still had that jar of jelly. Yes, we had it, but it might be too old, as she opened the refrigerator door and extracted the jar of jam.

“September, 2018,” she read. “That’s on the edge!” She headed for the wastebasket.

“Stop! Don’t do that! Give it to me! Sugar is a preservative! It’s probably good forever!” I said, straight down my sixty extra years’ experience. Some day one of her three page trig or chemistry equations will make that crystal clear to her, I’m sure. In the meantime…

“You know refined sugar isn’t good for you, and will kill you!” from the lips of Little Miss Remembers Everything (she wants to remember). I’ve taught her well, but not enough, that’s for sure.

When I was a child and we made “preserves” of most every fruit that came into the kitchen in a peck basket, sometimes when we popped the Ball lid on a new pint of raspberry jam, there was a layer of grey fuzz. “Scrape it off!” mom said, and so we did.

Mom “indulged” herself with white sugar. She may not have known her forebears preserved in honey. Then there was salt. Nothing in our house was preserved in salt, except sauerkraut, but salt was the preservative that carried the population east to west.

Preserving the summer’s bounty was the fall objective of my family. My dad’s homily that we had to decipher was, “We eat what we can and what we can’t, we can.”  Commas are important, and before we knew of the comma in that statement, we were stumped little folks.

We preserved so much fruit in hot water bath, including tomatoes. Later, when my brother divorced and mom added three boys to her dinner table, my brother expanded his garden and mom used a pressure cooker canner to cope with the produce.  And how I remember the magnificent Queen Ann cherries from the tree in his back yard. We climbed to the roof of his garage and picked them.

Did you have Depression Era parents, who had the fall routine of food preservation? Although we did almost no food preservation at the old house, mom had hundreds of quart Mason jars stored on shelves under the back deck. An auctioneer sold them all when we moved. Apparently the art endures.

Folks keep saying the season is changing. For the heat, it’s hard to tell. Laura found this important harbinger on the screen door today. Do you remember canning in the fall?


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Creative activities

I mentioned the toilet seat riser that my old seat did not fit. Well, the bolts did not fit. After school we went to Ace. and bought a new seat, which Laura set about installing. Shortly I heard her leave the house. The new seat needed modified. I wonder if the old seat was modifiable?


Toby supervises, sporting this inimitable pose, The Hang.


Installation! Perfect job. Comfortable seat, finally.


And look at that! A self closing lid, just like the seat relegated to the shed because we didn't want to modify it.


For tomorrow, postcards to write to voters. We only have fifty and probably will need more. Also, there is a clay exhibition at the local community college. I'd like to take it in.