Tuesday, September 29, 2015


September has not been a good to me, health wise.  At the beginning of the month I had a hernia repaired, then had to go back to the doctor's office several weeks later to have some stitches removed that should have dissolved on their own.  Then over the weekend I developed the mother of all colds, and I've spent the past few days constantly blowing my nose, sneezing, and coughing.

I've had enough viruses to know this one will eventually pass, but in the meantime I've been trying to treat myself well so it goes away sooner rather than later.  When Hubby Tony and I went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner I treated myself to chicken soup (and added extra salsa for more sinus clearing).  I've swigged endless cups of hot tea with honey and lemon, used my neti pot on a regular basis, and elevated my head with an extra pillow at night.

I wondered, though, what remedies I was forgetting that might be helpful. Instead of using my friend Google to come up with the answer I threw the question out to the members of an online community I belong to.  Most of what I got was pretty standard-- take a steamy shower to clear the sinuses, use Vicks Vapo-Rub, take doses of Nyquil, Dayquil, or one of several other cough syrups, and drink  hot buttered rum (which, as the poster suggested, also has the advantage of making you not care you had a cold). 

Then there were a couple more offbeat suggestions.  One was to drink Gatorade (to replace electrolytes lost from blowing your nose), and the other was to indulge in medical marijuana.  Guess which of those I'd be more inclined to try?

Five years ago today: Clean As Mud

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Time To Take It Easy

This afternoon is perfectly cool, and a slight breeze gently rustling the leaves outside. It's a good day to relax. 

The ducks I saw at the park think so...

and the cats agree...

Who am I to argue?

Five years ago today: King Garlic

Friday, September 25, 2015

Snag A Suture

It's now been three weeks since I had a hernia repaired.  The recovery process has been slow but steady.  Fourteen days after the surgery I went back to the surgeon's office so he could look at the healing process.  He declared it was good and sent me on my way, telling me not to lift heavy things for several more weeks.  However, several days later a red spot that looked like a zit appeared at one end of the 2-inch long incision.  It grew larger and more painful, and I felt like my healing was taking a giant step backward.  I called the surgeon's office and they were able to fit me in that day.

When I was settled in the examining room the nurse practitioner took a look at the area. My incision had been closed with glue and sutures that were to dissolve on their own.  One of the sutures hadn't broken down properly, and was stuck underneath the red area.  She took a pair of forceps and removed the top layer of skin, then dug around until she found the tiny piece of filament that was causing the problem and pulled it out.  As she was cleaning up her supplies she told me that if another filament started causing a problem I could just get a tweezers and pull it out myself.

Yeah, right. The process was really painful.  I'm not into inflicting self-pain.

However, after dinner I felt something prickly right below the original spot.  When I looked at the area in bright light I could see a piece of a suture sticking up about an eighth of an inch above my skin.  I got a pair of tweezers, affixed them to the filament, said a prayer, and pulled.  I was thrilled when the small piece came out without too much effort or pain.

It's been more than 24 hours without any issues, so I hope the problem is solved.  I guess if it isn't I'll know what to do.

Five years ago today: Autumn

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Purse Fix

Can you see anything out of the ordinary with my purse?

This is one of my small collection of Vera Bradley bags, a nice-sized saddlebag style with a flap that has a magnetic closure. The pattern is actually a replacement for my original purchase, which I used for several months before the magnet in the flap became detached and started floating around.  When that happened I called the company and they sent me a replacement.

 Sadly, the replacement bag had the same problem. I was constantly fishing around the flap for the piece so I could drag it back to where it should be to keep the purse secured.  I liked the purse, but figured that if even if I got a second replacement it would do the same thing, so I decided to see if I could do anything to fix the problem.

Can you see the fix?

I just happened to have the right color thread in my stash, so I used a zipper foot and sewed around one of the quilted diamonds, effectively trapping the magnet in place.  The back side of the flap, which isn't quilted, now has the shape sewn into it, too.  I figure that very few people will see that part, though, and it's a small price to pay for being able to keep using the purse.

Five years ago today: Social Media

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Song For The First Day Of Autumn

Sing with me...

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love,
Remember how we knew love was here to stay

Now December found the love that we shared in September.
Only blue talk and love,
Remember the true love we share today

Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Five years ago today: Heroic

Monday, September 21, 2015

Peanutize Me

Somehow I'd managed to miss the announcement that there's going to be a new Peanuts movie coming to theaters in November.  That changed today, when a friend of mine shared a cute webpage where you can make a Peanuts character

My result
Making the character was fun.  The page gives you a lot of choices: boy or girl, skin tone, hair style and color, eyes, glasses if you want, mouth style, clothes (top, bottom, shoes), watch or not, and--last but not least--the background.  When I was done I could download the result or share it on selected social media.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Off Key Symphony

Last night Hubby Tony and I learned that an acquaintance of ours was celebrating her 60th birthday today. She said the only thing she wanted, present-wise, was for people to sing Happy Birthday to her either in person or on the phone.  Tony and I both told her we didn't have good singing voices.  She said it didn't matter; she enjoyed hearing everyone, and in her experience the joy went both ways, because everyone smiles when they sing the song

So after dinner tonight I got out my phone and prepared to make the call.  Son Donald was in the room, so we enlisted him in our informal chorus.  I dialed the number, turned on the speakerphone, and waited.  When she answered we announced ourselves and launched into our off-key rendition of the song.  

She seemed genuinely happy to have heard from us. We wished her a happy day and hung up. This had to be one of the easiest birthday presents ever.

Five years ago today: Artistic

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Several weeks ago I received an email that basically said....you don't know me, but here's some information.  Would you post it on your blog?

Because I get messages like this all the time, my first thought was to send it straight to the trash, but this one was different.  For one thing, it referenced specific details about my writing, so the person had obviously taken the time to check out my blog.  The message was nicely composed, used good grammar, and everything was spelled properly.  I decided to click the link in the email that sent me to an information page for Heather Von St.James.  What a story!  I was glad I did.

Heather describes herself as the 'Self proclaimed “Poster child for hope after mesothelioma” for those suffering from asbestos disease'.  In 2005, at the age of 36 and only three months after giving birth to her daughter, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma (a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos). In her case it was through secondhand exposure from her dad, who worked with the material. She was given 15 months to live. Obviously, she's beaten the odds, and wants to spread the word.

She asked me to help with her quest, so I'm letting you know that September 26th is Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  Did you know (I didn't) that:
  • Once someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma they have an average of 10 months to live.
  • One in three mesothelioma patients are veterans (because so much asbestos was used in military applications)
  • There's a latency period of 25-50 years between exposure to asbestos and developing the symptoms mesothelioma. 
  • Asbestos use is not a thing of the past-it's banned in 60 countries but not the U.S. or Canada.  
  • Previously-installed asbestos insulation is still in more than 700,000 buildings.
Note-the only compensation I received from this sponsored post was good karma from spreading important information.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You Know You're Drinking Too Much Coffee When . . .

  • You ski uphill.
  • You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
  • You lick your coffeepot clean.
  • You can type sixty words per minute . . . with your feet.
  • You can jump-start your car without cables.
  • You don't need a hammer to pound nails.
  • You speed walk in your sleep.
  • Instant coffee takes too long.
  • You're the employee of the month at the local coffeehouse and you don't even work there.
  • You can thread a sewing machine while it's running.
  • You help your dog chase its tail.
  • You're so jittery that people use your hands to blend their margaritas.

Five years ago today: Book Of Memories

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Very Verbose

About this time last year I chaired a workshop for an organization I belong to.  According to the workshop's guidelines, after the weekend was over I was supposed to hand the materials on to the next chair.  However, even though I had been trying to solicit someone for months, no one had stepped up.  I sat on my hands until early December, when I let the group's head know if  she could find someone who would commit to being co-chair in 2015 and taking over in 2016 I'd consider being in charge again.   Later that month a person appeared, and the planning wheels were set in motion for the workshop, which took place this weekend.

Last  year the group's head acted as the emcee.  This year I volunteered to handle it (something I've never done before).  The job ended up being less stressful than I'd made it out to be in my mind, but there was one one small part that could have gone better.  One of the sessions on Saturday morning featured a panel of three speakers.  Each person was supposed to talk between ten and fifteen minutes.  One of the panelists, though, wasn't keeping good track of the time.  I tried getting their attention from the back of the room, but it didn't work.  Another committee member joined me, and we dramatically waved our phones around and pointed to our wrists where a watch would be.  Nothing.  Finally the other person grabbed a paper plate and wrote '2 minutes' on it, then held the plate up as they walked by the speaker podium.

Fortunately the speaker was a good sport about it and quickly wrapped things up. 

Five years ago today: PSR

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Heat Begone!

Summer heat has way overstayed its welcome in my area.  For several days the weather gurus have been promising a cold front coming our way that will swoop through and cool things off.  That front, though, is taking its good sweet time.  First it was supposed to be here on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday.  Then today.

Yesterday after dinner, in anticipation of nice overnight temperatures, we turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house.  Based on the hourly forecast it looked like there would be several hours today that would be stuffy, but then rain would be coming in mid-afternoon to cool things off.

Once again the forecast wasn't exactly what happened.  Fortunately, the temperatures never made it up to last week's sweltering mid-90s, but the predicted 84 turned into an actual 88 and there was enough humidity in the air that everything in the house felt sticky.  Now I notice the rain isn't predicted to show up until the middle of the night. 

The good news (at least at this minute) is that it's supposed to be cooler tomorrow and even nicer over the weekend.   We may really be able to say goodbye to the hot weather.

Five years ago today: Silly Song Survey

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cast A Cat

This afternoon I was sitting in the kitchen when I heard the unmistakable sound of a cat getting sick.  I got there in time to see Jackson the Cat hunched over on the carpet just outside the kitchen area getting ready to produce a hairball.

Both cats tend to throw up on the carpet even though there's a more easily cleanable hard surface just a step or two away. I get that throwing up is unpleasant and they'd rather have a comfortable surface when they're getting sick. However, I get tired of scrubbing stains off the carpet time and time again. If I hear the heaving sounds in time I'll try to guide the cat to the tiled kitchen or wooden foyer. When I did that today, though, Jackson moved the opposite direction farther into the family room.

Instead of being concerned about Jackson's health and comfort, all I could think of is that I just spent big bucks to have the carpet cleaned a week ago. We're doing some entertaining next weekend and I want the carpets to stay clean and hairball-stain free.  Instinctively I picked Jackson up and gently lofted him two feet away to the foyer, where he quickly did his business.

After he got done I remembered that for the next few weeks I'm not supposed to lift anything heavy as I recover from my hernia repair surgery. At his vet visit last month Jackson weighed in at 10.5 pounds, within the weight limit in my instructions, so my cat tossing shouldn't lead to any problems  Thank goodness. 

My toss was nothing like this one:

Brides Throwing Cats--kitty was Photoshopped in
Five years ago today: Hair, Hair, Hair, Hair, Hair, Hair, Hair

Monday, September 7, 2015

Repairing And Healing

I've been fortunate to live a healthy life so far.  Other than three C-Sections in the '80s, I've managed to completely avoid hospitals.  That changed last Thursday when I had a hernia repaired.

About a month ago I noticed a lump in my lower abdomen right underneath the C-Section scar. I went to my primary care doctor, who said it was probably a hernia and referred me to a surgeon. The surgeon took one look, confirmed the diagnosis (an inguinal hernia, which happens when the muscles in the groin area tear and allow the lining of the abdominal cavity to protrude), and had me talk to the scheduling department.  Before I left the office I had an appointment for surgery two weeks later.

On Hernia Repair Day I was at the hospital at 6:00 AM and out by lunchtime.  This was my first time to have general anesthesia; I don't remember a thing between the time they gave me some 'relaxation' medicine on the way to the operating room and the time I woke up in the recovery room. The doctor sent me home with a prescription for pain medicine, but I don't like taking strong drugs and for the most part I've been able to rely on over-the-counter stuff.

Hubby Tony's pampered me and taken care of things around the house, but I'm not a very good patient.  It's hard for me to do nothing.   Even using a computer was difficult.  It hurt to sit at the desktop too long, and my laptop hit me right at the incision.  After the first day I found that if I take things really slow I can do activities that don't require lifting or bending.  My body tells me when I'm doing too much!

My instructions said that everyone's healing is different, and I might not feel 100% improved for six weeks.   I really hope they're wrong and I'm ahead of the curve on that.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Please Leave It On!

If you've been around here for a while you've read about my experiences making and running slides on electronic bulletin boards at my church.  Each week the three monitors (one in the church vestibule and two in the parish center) gets an updated slide show highlighting things that are going on.  Some of the monitors are more visible than others, so I make sure the graphics rotate around to all of them so each activity gets the same amount of publicity.

There's one problem, though.  Someone keeps turning the monitors in the parish center off.   Last week, after a member of a group complained that their advertising isn't effective if no one can see it, I got permission to add instructions about leaving things turned on. I hand-wrote my message on a yellow post-it note, then taped the note to the remote.  The paper wrapped around the entire back side, but it must not have been obvious enough; the next time I was up there the monitor was turned off again.

Today I printed out the information and taped it to the front of the remote.  It's now more obvious, but much smaller.  Do you think people will see and pay attention to it?

Five years ago: Happy Labor Day

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Mindless Meme For A Friday

Got this from a friend.

The directions were simple-"-Go to Google Images and search your first name and 'meme', then post the first picture you see."

Five years ago today: I Want To Ride My Bicycle

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Playing The Shopping Game‏

Hubby Tony and I are on the planning committee for a Couple's Retreat that takes place in early October.  One of our responsibilities is to put together 'treat' bags for each room. The retreat center has facilities for a maximum of 20 couples, and our budget is adequate if we shop carefully. The bags will contain fruit, single-serving size treats from Costco, travel games, and pencils and small notebooks.  I've gotten prices for all of them, but so far we've only bought a few of the items.  It's been a fun challenge.

The first purchase was the bags themselves.  A craft store that I drive by on my way home from the gym has weekly coupons that are good for 40% off one item. I needed two packages of bags, so I printed off two coupons and popped in there two different days for my single item.

Last week I found small spiral-bound notebooks in the clearance section of a big box office store.  Even though they didn't have enough for all the retreat attendees I bought all that they had, hoping another store in the chain would be able to provide the rest.  I was out of luck; the company website revealed that none of the area stores had the notebooks in stock.

The next step was doing more online research to find an alternate notebook source.  I was excited to find out that a local dollar store sold notebooks in four-packs (which would actually bring my cost down to half of my original purchase price.)  That night I stopped by the store on the way home and bought 10 packages without looking at them carefully.  When I got home and took a closer look I discovered most of the notebooks had feminine-looking printed covers.  Not exactly perfect for an event where half the attendees were male.

This past weekend I was leafing through the newspaper Walgreens ad and noticed there was a sale on nicer looking, solid-cover pocket sized notebooks for even less than I'd paid at the dollar store.  You could only buy six at a time, but that wasn't a problem.  There are five Walgreens within three miles of my house.

Think we have enough Walgreens stores in the area?

On Sunday, when I made a produce run I passed right by the first Walgreens and stopped in to made my first purchase.  After I got my produce, I drove a half mile out of the way and popped into the second Walgreens.  I circled back towards home to take advantage of a third store.  Later that night on the way to the dollar store to return their notebooks Tony and I passed a fourth Walgreens, where we went in and separately purchased the maximum amount.  The last thing we did was to wind our way through a couple of subdivisions to reach yet another Walgreens, where we repeated the process.

At the end of the day we had all the notebooks I needed (plus a couple spares).  time to move on to the next shopping adventure!

Five years ago today: Grassy

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

No Thank You! I Mean It.

This morning I had a mall-store market research evaluation to complete. Because it's late-summer hot and sticky outside, I chose to go to the mall early to do some walking and cross exercise off my list of things to do.  Besides, I hadn't been to this mall in several months and doing laps gave me a chance to see what was new.

What was new (besides the storefronts filled with new fall clothes) was a few store changes.   The store that used to offer soft-serve ice cream is turning into a cookie store. There were almost double the number of kiosks, including one that will buy your unwanted gift cards and one that does henna tattoos right out in the open.  I also noticed there are now two locations that sell overpriced Dead Sea mineral skin care products instead of one. Unfortunately, both of those kiosks employ the same pushy salespeople who call out to get your attention from 20 feet away.  

I used to stop and see what they had to offer but after being accosted too many times I can smile, shake my head, and say no without even breaking my stride. Today I zoomed past an overzealous employee who stepped out into the walkway to hold out a sample to me.  As I passed her she was still screeching, "Excuse me!  I have a question for you."

I didn't even feel guilty.

Five years ago today: I'm Covered