Thursday, November 29, 2018

I hate cold air

I’ve whined about this before.  My house is heated and cooled by a heat pump.  The last time I complained, last winter, all the wonderful engineering sorts who listen to me whine, were nice and explained how heat pumps work, and more. All very kind, but does not negate the fact the damn things generate cold air.

Not the noticeable wafts of warm, natural gas heated air. “Oh, the furnace just came on!” Or the slightly less warm wafts of propane gas heated air. Or the embracing, engulfing warmth of a wood stove. But, cold air is what I have. My next house will be heated by natural gas. I will not live here forever. I will downsize again, and top of my list: a natural gas furnace!

I am so happy to be back from my self-inflicted time out from my self-imposed therapy of weaving towels to toss to the wind, and to my friends. Last night my friend and neighbor, Cathy, picked two towels from the stack, and then picked chicken soup from the menu that Laura offered. Cathy has a cold verging on the flu. When she left she said she didn’t know which would make her “more better”, the soup or the towels.

When I broke my foot, my femur and my shoulder and was in rehab last July, I was mentally spacy, too.  Or not. Perhaps I was super lucid. I was taken by a picture my friend Deb posted, with Tibetan prayer flags in her back yard. Old flags and new. How like my towels, I thought. I’ve done this before; weave a great stack of towels because I like to, and then sent them near and far, simply because I like the people they are going to.

But, a small problem arises. People want to reciprocate, and send a gift in return. Lovely, but then I must find a place to put it. You’ve seen much of my house. It won’t even hold another cat. I think you are lovely to want to send me something. Send me the prayer from the towel. Here are two that I will pass on.

One blogger friend who already has towels said when there is a large family gathering and so many dishes to wash, there is “scrummage in the towel drawer” among children and friends to have “those” tea towels. That is wonderful. It fills my heart.

Another blogger friend had a small gift selected, but took to heart my plea to send nothing in return. She tucked it in a gift parcel to another country, and now some youngster will spend his childhood with a wallet with a Canadian moose. Laura carried around such a special wallet, until only recently.

These are Deb’s prayer flags that inspired me. See how the very distant ones have grown thin and seer. The prayer may even be transparent now. Send any gift on. Pay it forward. Put extra mittens on your giving tree. Because we still can.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Stubbed my toe on my cane today

I wrote that title yesterday; it was true and it hurt.  It snowed overnight; one of those descending temp affairs that melted the first layer into ice. I was out on Monday, and shame on me, I did not lift my wipers. They were frozen down. My porch and steps were well salted by Laura, but shame on her, she did not refill the shaker can of ice melter. And I had to play cards at one in the afternoon.

I called Donny. It sounded like I got him out of bed (at 9 am?). I told him I did not need the car until noon, and ring the bell when he was done. 

I also had an arm therapy appointment at 4:30, but unless abducted by an alien aircraft, that was fine. Michelle, the therapist, wanted to make it at two or three, and I said that was impossible; I would be playing cards. “You could change that,” she said. “When Pigs Fly,” said I.

She has annoyed me from the outset, calling on a Monday to make the week’s appointments, with the caveat this week of being off two days. We made the Thursday appointment, but I declined the Tuesday appointment during cards. With a tremendous sigh, she offered me 4:30, and I accepted.  

Michelle arrived at 4:50. I told her that would not work. “Well, if you would have cancelled your card game,” said she, and I had an invisible mental explosion. “Put down that one of us missed the appointment,” I said. “See you Thursday.”

Donny got his job done, and I was off to cards in good time. Michelle arrived twenty minutes late for a thirty minute appointment, and expected it to be acceptable, or excusable because I kept my “appointment” to play cards.

All of the above notwithstanding, I have been weaving. (On my time!) I’ve worked my way through maybe two thirds of the color offerings of Mssr. Brassard, Quebec, Canada. When I am done I probably will be to the end of my current warp. I think I’ll search out a new pattern. It has to be towel friendly; it has to get dishes dry! That means it needs about half its threads exposed and half well secured.

Back in my towel snobbery days, I recognized that phenomena in this Shaker towel pattern I simply “found”. I didn’t ‘invent’ it, but I recognized its value, so to speak. 

I am happy to return to the utilitarian value of dish towels. I thumb through patterns stuck up on the internet, and have found a pattern called Rose Garden. It’s overshot. I have not woven overshot since my weaving days, and I retired that in 2003.

Overshot is the process of building a pattern by stacking threads in the same shedd. That, however, is not “weaving”, but how to make a mess. Unless….every row of the same is secured by a row of plain weave between. Genius.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Unconventional choices

The talking orange head’s current tweets intend obfuscating the coming century of deadly climate change. I’m not on a rant about his flaming ideas. I believe we may save ourselves, and it’s up to the grands to remake the world. Interestingly, personal wealth then will count for little, in my opinion.

I was raised by depression era parents who used it up, made it do, wore it out, in order to survive. Caution and conservation were not in the national conscience in the thirties, the forties, even the fifties, when the country’s consumers were being overwhelmed by convenience.

Except for my parents. And my mixed neighborhood of mostly Italian, some Irish, some Black, oh, and Scandinavian, Slovak—you know, hard working factory and lower level management types. It never occurred to me we could move, but I guess it did to my dad. He told me he preferred to be the big fish in a small pond to a small fish in the big pond.

My parents were the center of the neighborhood; the source of advice and help. Dad taught my brothers how to use tools and build. Mom taught us to budget, to manage. In the sixties, when the back to earth, one acre, Mother Earth movement swept the country, my friends were astounded and delighted to find I already knew how to garden and can my produce.

My siblings and I didn’t come into the world full blown environmentalists. It was drilled into us, one aluminum can, one paper plate, one gram of sugar at a time. I could say our mom over did it, but in the great scheme of recycling, she underdid it, no fault of her own. Her fellows-in-arms simply weren’t out there with her, recycling, conserving.

We do have a mom story. She was such a dedicated recycler back in the seventies, when there was a bounty on aluminum cans, she enlisted all six grandchildren. Any trip any where, most any time, involved any grandchild in the car being put out to collect cans, and meeting grandma at the top or the hill or the cross road, dragging a sack of booty. Freeways were not out of bounds.

In the late eighties, when we were moving here, mom still had can collecting in her blood. She convinced my sister to make one last run.  When mom didn’t crest the hill eventually, Jan turned around and went back down. Mom was sitting in a ditch, with a broken ankle, tended by some very judgmental passersby. Mom closed down that career, whether of her own volition or on direct orders from her youngest child I really don’t know.

Dad, and five of six. Recycling cans is still a couple years off.

So, where does this put me, at seventy five and carrying on. When my girls were growing, we were total conservationists. I even drove straight pins into the wall, to mark the upper and lower limits of winter heat. I could not afford more than fifty dollars a month; put on a sweater. Put two on. I still have upper limits on heat and cool, though you cannot drive straight pins into electronic thermostats.

I know the lessons “took” for Beth. I’ve frozen at her house in the winter. She has a stock pot on the back burner. And so forth and so on. Shelly, the younger made her children’s clothing and knit their sweaters, and her work out ranked mine any day of the week.

For my current household, conservation simply is business as usual. In many ways, being already so cheap, finding new conservations is not easy. I’m always open. Here is one I looked into and adopted. The other was pitched to me by a therapist I so admire. It is a WTF are you talking about.

Number one, panty liners. I’m an old lady. Sometimes I laugh or sneeze or cough, or am just caught unaware, and thankful for a panty liner. One night I idly wondered how many I’d put in the land fill, and blushed for shame. A small amount of googling turned up several brands of built in panty liner panties that go in the wash. I bought a couple weeks’ worth. Small victory, but a win, nevertheless.

Number two, the bathroom in the middle of the night. You may recall, it was the reason I fractured my trochanter and spent the final month in rehab. I finally came to grips with the need of a bedside commode, until I exit the after effect of anesthesia.

Motria, one of my favorite therapists, takes great delight in my “water closet.” I can’t bring myself to tell her a water closet actually is the water container on the wall, with a chain. Anyway, Motria said just put a plastic bag in the container, add clumping kitty litter, and voila, a package for the landfill. I declined. “But you put your cat litter in the landfill!”

My cat is a commitment I made and will fulfill. If anyone tells me how to keep his litter out of the landfill, I will do it. But I’m not about to add to the landfill what goes down the toilet.

I’ve doubled my general output with this treatise on conservation. I could go on and on to list what we do. Like Prince Harry, turn off the lights. My grandchildren were addicted to paper towels. They flew daily, like snowflakes. I tried to end it. They were addicted. I decreed, one towel per day. Then open the towel drawer and use the towels that can be reused. Now I see the same paper towel on the counter for a week.

At this point all I put in the trash is paper from the mail and tissues. That last will end as soon as I lay in a new supply of handkerchiefs. And, the damn kitty litter, and food packaging. I confess I have not located bulk fig newtons, and I simply have no idea how to dispose of my cat’s litter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Raining therapy, trees and sparrows

I’ve swept them all under the title of therapists, but in the aftermarket of home health, I am dealing with a program supervisor, a nurse supervisor, a nurse, an occupational therapist and a physical therapist. The people who used to show up in the gym, make assessments and leave now make appointments, ring doorbells (right and wrong doorbells), spend time assessing, make a new appointment and leave. Complex!

The head nurse will sign me off today. She called to say she would be here at nine. As in nine in the morning. I laughed. Generally I am up to cleaning the cat box at nine in the A M. Before breakfast. I don’t function until after breakfast. She picked ten, with authority. But ten is Linda and physical therapy. The nurse settled on noon.

In addition to putting me through the routine, these therapists are tasked with charting, which interests me. How much faster I can walk one hundred feet, for example. The therapy on my left shoulder is most fascinating. More muscles than I realized were repositioned.

My shoulder still does not move to the left, and the therapist will not address that until I see the surgeon next week. She says “too soon”, and that’s it, until the doctor gives his OK. Given all the months I spent with my upper arm firmly against my side, I count myself lucky to throw my shuttle with my forearm.

Laura has a three day holiday. Tomorrow she’s going to her mother’s table via a lift from Bekka. Hamilton is expected.

Between therapists, Laura trimmed her tree. It has an ornament free, cat proof barrier at the bottom. It’s an annual contest between the cat and the tree trimmer. Currently Toby is asleep on my weaving bench, so this year’s stand-off has not commenced.

And, we left the sparrow feeders intact.

Saturday, November 17, 2018


Last night Laura went home with a friend and the two of them went to the school’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Even at 9:30 PM, when she came home, her animated recap of the show meant she found it excellent.

My assignment was to meet her after the show and bring her home. I thought about the trip several times over the day. I had been out the day before, for a month overdue haircut.  By chance my neighbor and I realized we had planned destinations to the same real estate area for the same time, and she said she would take me. “Why didn’t you ask me?!  You’ve only been home a couple of days!!” And so forth and so on, and the company was nice and we stopped for lunch on the way home.

But the weather changed to freezing rain yesterday afternoon. I fretted a lot, and by afternoon called my sister, and she retrieved Laura. I also arranged with the neighbor who mows all summer and shovels all winter to add me to his itinerary. For fifteen dollars he will shovel and salt porch, steps, drive; and clear the car.

My neighbor is satisfied, so this winter I’ll give it a go. I think I also will add a remote starter to my car. I scraped a lot of ice last year. But this winter my nerve has deserted me, and I’ll see if windshield wipers can deal with slushy ice.

Remember that great new warp on my loom last July? In the two or three weeks between the first rehab session and shoulder surgery, I wove up a tube of pumpkin thread and most of a tube of turquoise thread. Then I had my shoulder repaired. The doctor was keen on weaving as therapy, but I effectively brought that to a halt by vaulting over the walker and back into rehab.

I came home from this rehab to three bobbins of turquoise left to weave. At half an hour a bobbin, I can honestly say, I devoted an hour and a half to weaving this week. I wound off a tube named Kiwi to my empty bobbins. It looks like a can of canned peas to me. I like that color.

Gone, too, are days of endless weaving. I am far slower than I ever remember. I'm still good, nice selvages, even beat. Then my arms stop, my hand does not release the shuttle. Done for the day. I compared it to losing nerve, but only for a second. Muscle is more like it. I'd guess those front muscles. Deltoid? I don't know. A lot were shifted.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Don't be hasty

What a difference a day makes! I needed another trip to Ace today, and what a surprise on my trip up the road.

If you peer closely through the trees to the right of the house, a blue car is just visible.

I only got this one picture; it was late afternoon and there was traffic in all directions.

I detoured on the way home, and took a wintery picture of the corkscrew willow on the golf course.

Tomorrow, a haircut, a month overdue. Be still, my heart.

The house, yesterday morning. Not a hasty undertaking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Another Democrat wins another seat. Senate, that is. And additional rambles.

There is no question there was a blue wave, and the good guys prevailed. Trump lost. The Arizona Democrat, Krysten Sinema brings the incoming Senate standing close to even, I believe, though the states still not called can change that, better or worse.

Our president presents more shamefully each day. I feel like he may have alienated so many of us by 2020, he may decide not to run, in an LBJ reenactment. The rest of the world are lobbing back his insults. They could send worse.

My Ohio Senator, Sherrod Brown, is sending up test balloons for a presidential run in 2020. This is not good. He’s marginally less progressive than Bernie Sanders, and ten years younger. He’s a meat and potatoes, working man’s senator, who makes a difference in my mostly red state. I don’t know that we could get a decent replacement while he’s making a presidential run.

Brown has been our senator for two terms, and just won a third. He’s married to Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer prize journalist. She resigned from the Cleveland newspaper, saying being a congressman’s wife was a conflict of interest. She writes occasional editorials. I became a fan after reading the column about being approached by a blackmailer, to buy his photos of Sherrod attending an event with Connie. “Well, we are married,” she told the man.

Yesterday, after entertaining therapy folks all morning, I ventured out on one errand. My driving does not please them. Yesterday the last of them was so late she had to squeeze her visit into a half hour, and I followed her out the door to another appointment. Quite satisfactory.

Today I left early, to complete two errands. I was a bit hesitant; it’s sprinkling, due to be snow. I had to find a decent parking place at the bank, and there it was, right in front. This is in Hudson’s infamous Main Street, head in, diagonal parking. Thank you parking gods. 

The hardware stop was more dicey; still sprinkling and linoleum floors. I know the cane tip slips badly on linoleum when it’s wet. I stood on the walk-off mat until noticed by my local Ace Hardware man, who got what I wanted and gave me his arm to the register. Ace is the Place with the Helpful Hardware Man!

In half an hour I’m leaving to play cards. I’ll spread de-icer on my way out and leave the can there on the drive until I return. Nancy and I were roundly and soundly defeated at the rehab facility two weeks in a row. It’s time to turn the tide.

Coming home from the hardware store, I turned around and went back for this perfect picture of the season. The house is empty, and the squirrel's nest there over the roof line must be, too.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Not my first rodeo

I’ve been to a rehab facility four times. The first was after the stroke in 2010; Akron General has several outpatient rehab facilities available at their stand alone medical units around the city. The rehab portion of the medical center is administered by the very old rehab hospital, Edwin Shaw. My dad was in Shaw for a time, before his “walking pneumonia” was properly diagnosed as histoplasmosis, back in the sixties. I believe Shaw originally was a TB sanitarium.

When I had the bus accident, and wanted very much to be discharged from GW in DC, Shaw was the only hospital I could think of, insisted on and was spirited away to by Beth and Ruth. What lucky selection. Edwin Shaw is the boot camp of rehab hospitals, and I needed to relearn walking and thinking, among the curriculum selections.

The therapy was tough, the discipline was tough, bordering on mean. On my last day I was put in “lock down” for a minor infraction, and ignored for much of the day. I was discharged on verbal orders contradicted by the written orders. My daughter chose to follow the verbal orders, the outcome of which, I lost my job. I was told by the hospital auditor who followed up on my complaint that the doctor had been disciplined. Eye wash. I remain unemployed. This is a most bitter incident of my life.

My third rehab was this summer, for the broken leg, etal. It was at Regina. I’m sure I conveyed in my blogs from the facility my appreciation of the nursing care and the rehab I received. I always compared it to “lock down” that last day at Shaw, and the difference was night and day. The staff was always friendly, even when I had a disagreement. 

I took an informal survey and found the average tenure at Regina was ten years. Every aid was well trained. They Hoyered me into wheel chairs, helped me learn to transfer, pivot, use the walker. All this in addition to the excellent physical therapy that got me up and on my feet.

This time my sister advocated another facility she had interviewed in July. It was closer to home for her, and I selected it.  The very new and modern facility was completely disability incompatible. My complaints went unaddressed until the fourth day, when I called one of the owners with my list of problems. Finally they sent someone to rearrange the room to accomodate the wheel chair. There was nothing to be done about the clashing bathroom and exit doors.

Another complaint was the incorrect and incorrectly administered drugs. I dogged the doctor and nursing staff for much of my stay to get this corrected, and found on returning home with all the left over drugs they ordered, they still were administering generic Synthroid. Years ago my endo and I concluded generic makes me mean, bitter, unhappy. And I was, for the entire month. I could barely open the tablet to pay bills. I could not squeeze out one pleasant word for the blog.

I had one last complaint, my biggest. Call lights were not answered. I could not get up alone, get into the chair and to the bathroom. I could sit on the edge of the bed upwards of forty five minutes, waiting for a trip to the bathroom. I developed a UTI. It was not addressed until the next to last day, when, of course, I would be gone and forgotten.

The aid staff turned over daily. The nurses often were from an agency; the “staff” had quit or called-off.  One time a neighbor cried out for help so piteously I rolled down and said I would go for help. I wheeled to the nurse station, found only a custodian, who scurried off to find an aid to get this bed bound woman to the bathroom.

Of all their shortcomings, I found this the most cruel. Unfriendly, even nasty, oh well. Unresponsive—mean beyond words.

Why did I stay? It’s hard to explain my mental inability to tear myself away from the magnetic evil core. And, the physical therapy was as good as Shaw and as Regina. This staff was “contract”. Their employer was not the nursing facility. They even helped me understand how to complain. One night I waited fifty odd minutes for my bell to be answered. Angelique, the therapist, told me the lights are on timers. She turned in my “aid” to management. I don’t know if anything became of it, except my satisfaction.

During my stay I saw the femur doctor and the shoulder doctor. The shoulder fellow is past pleased with my shoulder, which I could raise past ninety degrees and put my hand to the back of my neck. Putting put old muscles to new tasks. Tough, and satisfying.

When I saw the femur doctor, he confirmed my diagnosis that the slight fracture of my trochanter would get better or worse, and probably better, which it has. Akron General wanted surgery and nailing it together, which I refused.  I told him about my unfortunate choice for rehab, and he said most nursing facilities are like that, these days. “Regina isn’t,” I responded. “You’re the fourth or fifth patient who said that to me,” he replied.

I see I have far exceeded the limit. Well, I am home and happy. Here are some pictures of the first class rehab facility at Altcare.

This is one of four or five rehab gyms in the facility.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Alternative way to spend a month

To recap, I spent a month rehabbing from my broken femur, and came home a week after the school year started, toward the end of August. The cat was happy to be home, and so were Laura and I. Rehab continued at home, and I became darn good with the cane.

I was confident enough to use it in my right hand, to support my still mending right leg. Approved practice is opposite hand to “bad” leg, and if you’ve ever needed to do it, you know the drill. But, I digress. Actually, I did not sacrifice a month to putting my cane in the wrong hand. I was practicing it because I had a goal.

A new shoulder! I consulted with the young shoulder fellow, demonstrated my reasonable ability to be mobile using the cane in my right hand, and we set the date, which I no longer recall. I know it was before September 20th,  the anniversary of breaking my femur. 

And so, I had a reverse shoulder replacement, and came home the next day. It was like magic. Yes, it hurt, but not from arthritis!

I remember I came home on a week day. I remember sleeping a lot. General anesthesia does that to me. A lot of sleeping it off. Waking up and needing a trip to the loo, too. 

In the middle of the night, thumping along the twenty paces to my bathroom, I passed my walker, set aside in my bedroom. I was so sleepy, and tired, I thought how nice it would be to lean on the walker and finish the trip. I hung the cane on my closet doorknob.

My right hand engaged the walker’s grip. My left hand, secure in a body sling, wondered what the hell I was up to. That had not entered my brain, though. I gave my mobility device a push.

Just like a cartoon, I was over the top. I tucked my head, hunched my shoulders and went for the roll. It would have been a perfect landing, except I was too close to the wall, and my right hip took a good smack. I slid down, sat up, considered my options.

Laura was sound asleep and the next day a school day. I scooched along the wall and reached the phone. I called 911 and asked for our local dispatch. I said I needed Valley Fire to pick me up and put me back to bed, after I went to the bathroom. Yes, my front door was unlocked; when I came home from the broken leg, etc., I’ve left it unlocked, just in case I ever would need VFD to pick me up.

I knew one of the EMT’s, who told the other it was OK. If I wanted helped back in bed, so be it.

But the next day my hip hurt. And it hurt worse the next day, and worse the day after.  So, I took the trip to the emergency room…

To be continued, but only one more day. I need to go read some blogs. I’m a month behind there, too.

So much catching up!