Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Remembrance

I spent most of today watching the funeral of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy was not my favorite Kennedy. His older brother, John, inspired me many years ago to join the Peace Corps. Serving in the Peace Corps in 1967-69 in the Republic of Niger changed my life forever. I was always a bit of a closet liberal, but living in a 3rd world country amidst poverty, poor educational opportunities, lack of health care, lack of the basic necessities of life, made me a 60s liberal forever. The day Bobby was assassinated was the day that I grew up. My youth was over; the hopes I had for a perfect world inspired by the days of Camelot were unrealistic and never to be.

I thought of Teddy as the brother who never quite grew up. While John and Bobby lived during a time when frailties and indiscretions were routinely ignored by the media, Teddy's failures made front-page news. Chappaquidick, drinking, a divorce in a family that abhored divorce, womanizing .... Teddy's foibles inevitably made front-page news. As the years went on, I saw him grow into a talented politician, orator, negotiator, a man who knew that a bill compromised was far better than a bill scrapped. During campaign years or especially tough congressional negotiations, his booming voice rang out over the tv waves. There was no mistaking his voice. This was a Kennedy speaking.

Today, I saw a more human side of Teddy Kennedy. I listened to his family, his friends, his Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle speak about the man. They spoke of his warmth, his loving spirit, his devotion to friends and family, his love of country, his dedication to public service - a dedication shared by all the Kennedys.

I liked Senator Kennedy's politics. I think I also would have liked the man.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You can never take the kid out of the man!

Our 39th anniversary is on Monday, August 24. Many years ago, we started planning surprise trips to celebrate, alternating years. So, this is my year. I planned a getaway to Cambria in Central California - a place we have not been to in many years. Found a great B&B (I'll let you know about it after we've had a chance to critique the place), bought tickets to tour the Hearst Castle, and was genuinely enjoying the secretive planning. Lo and behold, I did not realize that when I checked on to see what the temps were going to be like, Doug could easily see where I had been checking. Tonight he revealed that he'd been sleuthing and knows where we are going! Reminded me of searching through closets and attics in the weeks before Christmas .... he just couldn't stand not knowing where we are headed. Darn.

So, the surprise is ruined, but I will appreciate a little help with the map routing. Mapquest and our lovely GPS gal are taking us different ways. Doug will get to "play maps" (one of his favorite things) and decide the ultimate route. Mapquest has us going north on 5; the GPS basically takes us to Thousand Oaks and north on 101. That's a much prettier drive. My thought was to go up the 5 so we get there in a reasonable amount of time, check into the B&B, and still be able to find a restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. Then we can drive the long route home next Thursday along the coast and maybe even drop in on the kids for a bit.

Although the surprise is ruined, I am sure we will still have a great adventure. Lots of antique stores, walking along the beach, quilt shops (I have my list handy!). My online friends have given me some great tips on shops that just should not be missed. I plan on seeing them all.

My pains are controllable with ibuprofen - thankfully - so whatever is going on in my gut shouldn't hold us back from having a fun time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm already tired of this ......

Okay - so now I have a name attached to this daily pain - gall bladder something or other. But it still hurts like the dickens (is that supposed to be a small "d" or a capital "D"?). Anyway, I am ready for this all to go away. One of the downsides to the Internet and the vastly expanding universe of instant information is that you can "google" any subject or question and get way more information than you really need. So, I made the mistake of googling "gall bladder surgery" and found out that it can be painful and the recovery period can be anywhere from a day or two to weeks to months!


I know I should wait for a definitive diagnosis and course of treatment. But what is done, is done. Ultrasound is tomorrow at 2:30. Doug has set up the coffee to start brewing at 6 a.m. I'll have coffee, juice, and a muffin by 6:30 a.m. Then I'm off food and drink (even H2O) until the test at 2:30 p.m. More later .... once again

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So that's what it is!

My mother was a teacher which was both a blessing and a curse to me and my sister. A blessing because she could always be counted on to help us out with schoolwork; a curse because we couldn't pull the wool over her eyes EVER about school! One of the cardinal rules in our house was that you went to school unless you were barfing up breakfast or running a fever - no excuses! In our house, you ignored small aches and pains and just got on with life. Doctor visits were reserved for major occurrences like broken bones and rashes covering your entire body.

No wonder, then, that I still find it hard to give in to illnesses and pain. For the past month, I have had a pain on the right side of my abdomen which I assumed was some type of muscle pull and would eventually go away. Nope. Did not go away. In fact, it has gotten markedly worse. I finally made a doctor's appointment and off we went this afternoon. Seems I have the classic symptoms of gallstones and/or inflammation of the gall bladder! They drew blood today, and I'm scheduled for an ultrasound on Saturday afternoon. Great timing since we are off on our anniversary trip Monday and won't return until Thursday. Hope my procrastination hasn't blown this whole vacation!

If the diagnosis is confirmed, I will probably need to have the little so-and-so removed surgically. Yuck. I hate the thought of going under anesthesia and being in the hospital. More later, I'm afraid.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Success Times Two - Well, One & A Half!

Finished the Perennial Pant pattern this morning by Kayla Kennington. The pants are not perfect, but I still like them and look forward to wearing them. The waist is a bit loose, and I'm not sure I like the front darts. But they fit and they are wearable! So, I deem them a half success. I think the decorative stitching on the pockets is what makes them a bit unusual. Love this touch. Next time, I'll make the waist smaller, shorten the darts a bit, and perhaps do them in a cropped style with the pockets a bit higher on the leg. Or maybe I'll really get stylish and do some machine embroidery!

My other success this morning was my first sale on Etsy. The tiger fleece panel sold. Now I have to pack it up and send it off to its new owner in Connecticut. I'm sure my shipping charges are too low, but I'm not really in this to make the most bucks. Just for fun and to find new owners for the remaining fabric and clothing from Sri Lanka. Hip, hip hooray! I'm going to try to list one of the wraparound skirts today.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Experiment in Terror

I decided several weeks ago that I wanted to attempt some garment making. I haven't done any sewing for myself in years - maybe decades. Some of my online friends have posted pictures of garments that they've made, and I became envious. I'm pretty tired of shopping these days and finding nothing out there for 60+ gals who don't want to look like frumps! I saw these pants on Have you Tinkled today? and knew that this was the pattern for me. Plus, CJ's made them several times and posted great pictures. Best of all, she claims they are easy peasy!

So I ordered the pattern and anxiously awaited the mail. Being on the cautious side, and rather cheap, I opted for some fabric on the clearance table at JoAnns. The pattern arrived this week. I cut them out yesterday and have been working on them today. I take my time sewing - what's the rush when you're retired? - so I probably won't finish them until tomorrow. But, they are going together easily. I even did some decorative stitching along the pockets (thank you, Bernina)! Will definitely post a picture of the completed project even if they don't fit!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Praise the Lord ..... and pass the peanuts, please!

My life has finally returned to normal. It's been a long six months. Those of you who know me well are aware that I divide the year roughly in half. There are six "normal" months (i.e., when I can watch as much NFL football as I can get away with) and "the other" months (i.e., the off season). Tonight - oh, blessed night - there were THREE pre-season games on TV. Be still my heart ...

Okay, I know, I know. Preseason is not real football. I got to watch a tentative Tony Romo for only a quarter; Jamarcus Russell wasn't quite up to speed. But, hey - football is football! Clashing helmets, referree whistles, dropped passes, catches that had no right to be made by humans ... I felt the joy coming back as only a fan can feel.

Did you happen to catch any film of Tom Brady? Sure doesn't look as though he missed a whole season. Smooth, polished, professional.

I will start the season as I usually do, hoping that the Raiders will be contenders (or at least not be an embarrassment). Maybe this is the year! I love being a sports fan. We are optimists at heart. Our team can be at the top of the mountain. All things are possible. The Lombardi trophy is ours for the taking. The season starts at 0 wins, 0 losses. Go Raiders!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rite of Passage

It was inevitable. I could no longer avoid my doctor's advice that "it's time to have a colonoscopy." I'm a pretty bright individual, and I know that colon cancer is slow-growing and completely curable if caught early in the game. So, how do you catch it early in the game? You have a colonoscopy. Tuesday was THE DAY for me.

The doctor prescribed pills for the prep, but my insurance company would not pay for them and I wasn't about to put out $90+ for the convenience of pills. So, I got to partake of 4 liters of Trilyte - a less than appetizing drink! Monday was liquids only - apple juice, tea, ginger ale, jello - not exactly a gourmet diet. Someone out there needs to write a pre-colonoscopy cookbook of appetizing dishes that stay within the clear liquids diet parameter. You could make millions!

Being a good girl and one who follows orders without question, I stayed with the liquid diet Monday and looked forward to my Trilyte prep starting at 6 p.m. (that's a joke, by the way). One drinks an 8 oz. glass of Trilyte every ten minutes until 2 liters have been consumed. I opted for the lemon and lime flavor and only got it down by holding my nose and chugging it in the shortest time possible. I tried desperately to visualize standing on a beach chugging tequila!

After about an hour, this stuff started to work. So, without going into graphic detail about my anatomy, I stayed within running distance of a bathroom until 11 p.m. that night. Tuesday was a "nothing by mouth" day until 10:30 a.m. when I was treated to the second half of the bottle of Trilyte. Yuck, yuck, yuck, and yuck. Once again, I needed to stay close to the bathroom.

At 2 p.m. we left for the endoscopy center for my test. Nice facility, nice staff. Ushered into a pre-op room with 5 beds. Into a gown. Start an IV, hook up to machines that check BP, heart rate. Ready to go! Into the procedure room. Nurse says, "I'm going to give you something to make you sleepy." Next thing I know, I'm waking up in lots of pain and actually moaning! Me - moaning?? I gave birth twice without any anesthetic at all. And, I'm moaning ... can't be. Nurse tells me to try to expel the gas. I'm trying, but my body just is not cooperating.

They roll me out to the pre/post-op room. Doc says all is well; test is perfectly normal. Doug is there. Nurse says that I'm ready to go home. I don't think I'm ready to go home, but I don't have enough strength to argue plus I'm still a bit out of it. So, off we go onto the freeway to make our way home. Oops - don't make it home without stopping to be sick along the freeway. Maybe I was standing on the beach chugging tequila after all. Hmmmm .....

Once home, I fall into bed and zonk out for several hours. By the time I wake up, I am feeling somewhat normal although not comfortable. So, I've completed this task and can face my doctor with confidence once again that I am taking care of my health as prescribed. I can only hope that, by the time I am due for this procedure again in ten years, medical science has come up with something a bit less difficult!