Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prepping for April

It's time for a pretty picture. Just because I feel like it.

Last Saturday, the Husband and I ran away to the beach for the day. We all need to do that now and then. To forget wearies and woes, figures and foes, as well as everyday routines. When was the last time you did that?

A few weeks ago, I decided to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place in the month of April. Participants blog through the alphabet, Monday through Saturday. This is another Doing 60 thing for me. You're welcome to drop by one day, some days, or all days in April.  To learn more about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, please click here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Prepping for the Pain. Boo!


"What?!" The Husband jumped.

I got him twice already.

"Stop scaring me," he whined in a fake scaredy-cat kid's voice, after he stopped laughing.  "Stop scaring me."

Maybe I will. Maybe I won't.

I'm feeling loosely-goosely right now. Almost floating on air.

It's the ibuprofen speaking.  I took one of them red pills a few minutes before I surprised the Husband the first time. "Boo!" I'd taken 3 of them before going to bed last night. "Boo!"

I'm getting ready for a big OW! later on today. An endometrial biopsy. The doctor said it would hurt a little Hah! I know better. I've had two in the past several years. The second one was the worse and I had self-medicated myself before then. Let's just say two ibuprofen pills doesn't do it for me. The Husband said he could hear me from the waiting room.

Until yesterday, I thought I was a wimp, a weenie, a baby for not having been able to take the pain. Then, I found posts written by bloggers, as well as a couple of forums in which women expressed bloody murder about how horribly painful the endometrial biopsy was for them. There is comfort in numbers sometimes.

One blogger was very graphic--and quite funny--about her experience. Her cervix was out of reach, so her gynecologist told her to cough so it would move into a position that he could grasp it with his cold metal graspers. He had to do two attempts with the doo-hickey that scrapes the lining of the uterus. His first try did not yield enough tissue, which exasperated the blogger, as you can imagine. Before he went in again, the blogger said something about the need for anesthesia. The doctor then mumbled something about he could've applied local anesthesia. Duh!

I don't know if I'd want the local anesthesia because a big fat needle is used. A woman commented in one of the health forums that she elected to have local anesthesia. The big fat needle hurt  as much as the procedure, and then, she wrote, it didn't help numb the pain at all. The  idea of a needle going into the soft tissue down there makes me shudder. I wonder if that's how a guy feels when he gets hit in the balls.

Just so you know, not every woman in the forums I've read had painful biopsy experiences. Some felt mild pain or none at all. I am very happy for them. No, I'm not being sarcastic.

I've been putting off the biopsy for a month, okay, maybe two, in the hope that the bleeding will go away on its own. Doctors recommend that when you have postmenopausal bleeding to go check it out. The literature says that in most cases, it's essentially hormonal imbalance. Then there's the But. But, postmenopausal bleeding may be a symptom of a precancerous condition or cancer itself. In most cases, the literature says, if the endometrial cancer is caught early, it can be easily treated.

So, why did I wait? I had my reasons but I'm not going there.

Seriously: If you're beyond menopause and you begin bleeding, please go get it checked. 

Gynecologists have several methods for checking the cause of postmenopausal bleeding. The endometrial biopsy is one of them. I elect to do it because it can be done in the doctor's office and it's something I can afford as a self-pay patient.

Should your doctor suggest an endometrial biopsy, don't be put off because you read this post or heard other women complain about the pain. I do suggest that you ask your doctor what and how much over-the-counter painkillers you ought to take before you go to your appointment.

The endometrial procedure only takes a few minutes. What's a few minutes of discomfort when you consider the bigger picture, right?  Me. I will pop a few ibuprofen pills 45 minutes or so before my appointment. The husband has said he will come with me. Him being with me always helps. Maybe, I'll stop scaring him. For today, that is.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring! Spring! Spring!

A glorious first day of Spring to you, dear Readers. It's overcast with the hope of more rain, rather than just sprinkles, in my neck of the woods today. Having a nice steady, but gentle on the fruit blossoms, beat of rain would be perfect for right now.

Yesterday, the Mama sowed her bittermelon seeds in a pot. That means the time for the Husband and me to start preparing the Mama's veggie garden plots is very, very near. If the Mama still had her strength and endurance, everything would've been done a few weeks ago. That's okay though. She has been distracted with transplanting different flowers from elsewhere in her back and front yards to the one particular patch of ground that you see in the photo below.

"I want all flowers here," she said."Lots of flowers."

It's gonna look amazing.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Seeing "Hyde Park on Hudson"

Our local movie house offers a Wednesday series of independent films. They are the type of movies that if you live in a small city out in the boondocks you have to schlep over the hills or up the far-away freeway to a large nearby city. Yesterday was the first time the Husband and I took advantage of the series. Unfortunately, it was the theater's last offering. Who knows if, and when, it will offer another series.

The movie was Hyde Park on Hudson, which was about the relationship between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Daisy Suckley, a distant cousin. It was a good-size audience for the late afternoon screening—about 24 and 30—especially when you consider where we live.  We were all  uhem in the grey-haired age group. The Husband and I were probably among the youngest there. I whispered my observation to the Husband.
 "I still think of myself as being in my 20s," he said.
"I do, too. But, we're not."
"I thought we were middle-age."
"We're beyond that now." After all, we did purchase senior citizen tickets.
"Are we elderly?" he asked, as the lights went down.
"Far from it," I said, thinking about the Mama.

Okay, the movie. Neither the Husband nor I had any idea what it was about. We just wanted to see Bill Murray in the role of FDR. He did quite well, thank you. The story of  FDR and Daisy is actually based on Daisy's journals and correspondence that were found after her death. The movie focuses on a particular historical event in 1939: The weekend that the young King George and Queen Elizabeth visited FDR at his private residence. The king had come to seek help from the United States in the eventual war with Nazi Germany.

Some people may think that the movie sounds too serious, kinda stuffy, or boring. Far from it.  For instance: FDR drives up and down the country roads like a mad man. The King stays in a bedroom wallpapered with cartoons of British soldiers in the War of 1812. FDR admits he took up stamp collection because it was a good way to get girls.

Then there is the scene in which the King whines to the President, "They didn't want me as their king." The President replies, "I didn't think they voted for that in England." And, of course, there is the evolution of a quiet spinster lady who doesn't smoke, drink, or drive into a quiet spinster mistress who does do all that. Not to say the spinster and the President's secretary are both okay about being at the President's beck and call whenever he needs a quickie. Oooh, did that last part intrigue you.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Doing 60: Planting Garlic

Garlic cloves all in a row—kinda.
The Mama definitely has something-to-plant radar.

This morning, I decided to plant the garlic cloves that were sprouting on the kitchen counter. I always wanted to grow garlic, just for the heck of it. Hmmm, I may have inherited the "mad horticulturist" genes from the Mama. Anyway, I put the chosen garlic in a yogurt container (which was probably the clue to the Mama that something was about to be planted) and put the container out on the back step. I would plant them after I picked some lemons.

The lemon-picking task quickly created the additional task of pruning the branches that were touching the tops of the apple tree. To the Mama's delight, because that meant she'd have something fun to do in the garden.

As I was walking by the Mama at one point of fetching pruning tools, she had this where-is-that-thing-I-wanted? look on her face. I thought it was the empty basket  for the lemons that I was holding, so I gave that to her and continued down the path to the lemon tree.

"Do you want me to plant the garlic?" she called.

I turned and saw her holding the yogurt container, wondering how did she know there was something to be planted in there. I had asked her earlier how deep should garlic be planted, but I never said I was going to plant some. When I was picking lemons, I was figuring whether to plant the cloves in pots or directly in the ground. And if in the ground, where could I do it without getting into the Mama's planting space.

"I want to plant them, " I said, waiting for her to argue that it would be better for her to do it because I don't know what to do.

But, nope. That didn't happen.

Without a hesitation, she said, "You can plant them in the box where the Filipino onions are." Then, she proceeded to show me how to plant them. Just stick the clove into the dirt, butt end down, and be sure not to cover the top.

Wow. A first. She gave me a bit of her prime growing space, without me whining.

So, after I pruned the lemon branches,  helped the Mama clip them into smaller pieces for the green recycle bin, and put away the ladder and pruning tools, I planted the garlic. Darn fun, it was. Loosen the soil, add compost full of worms from the compost bin, stick the babies into the ground, and sprinkle them with two yogurt cartons full of water.

As I admired my planting job, I realized that I'd committed myself to caring for the garlic babies until later this summer when they would give us fruit.  Gulp.

Yes, this is another Doing 60  for me.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doing 60: Planting Banana Trees

Last week, I planted my first banana trees. That's another Doing 60 for me.

The banana trees are transplants from the Mama's banana grove in another part of the yard. Click here to see where they originally stood. They were the clump on the far left side. 

Usually, I dig out the banana trees and leave them for the Mama to replant. No more. Not that the Mama can't do it. But, why let her have all the fun, right? Besides, I need to increase my strength, if I want to keep up with her come veggie gardening time.

The Mama supervised the job. I lugged them across the yard, one by one. In the photo, the banana trees look like they weigh nothing. Hah!

The Mama marked the spots where she wanted them. And, I dug.  Ping! Rock. Ping! Another rock. Ping! Ping! I enjoyed the challenge of getting the rocks out. It was so much easier than sitting in front of the computer screen and trying to think of a word that would precisely describe what I needed to say in a sentence. Ping!

It was very satisfying to place each plant into its hole and cover the hole back up with dirt. I forgot how much I like to play in the dirt. "Don't put the rocks back in," reminded the Mama now and then. She made sure the banana trees were snugly in the ground, and then made water canals around them.

I feel like naming the banana trees. Pilar, Maisie, Zebby, and uhm, LaLa, perhaps?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A First: Painting in Oils

I got out of bed singing "one toke over the line", but I was not channeling the guys who originally sang it. Rather, I was singing while thinking of the singers who sang it on the Lawrence Welk Show.  Mr. Welk described the song as a "modern spiritual".  Uh-huh. Yep.

With that lively verse going over—and over—in my head, I decided that the agenda today is to put one foot in front of the other.  I speak metaphorically. Perhaps, though, I may just take a step out the door and go around the block. The Husband and I are going on a hike with some friends at the end of the month, so it would be a good idea to be a bit in shape for it. I'm counting the hike as one of my Doing 60 things.

Doing 60?  That's what I've called the challenge that my dear friend Jenn gave me as I approach 60 years old at the end of 2013.  I've already done a few. Just haven't written about any of the them, until now.

Last week, Jenn and several other young old fogey friends drove down to our town and joined the Husband and me in a creative adventure at a local artist's studio. Shannon Grissom, artist and songstress, recently opened her studio to the public once a week for young and old kids to play at being an artist. It was a fun, relaxing afternoon as our party drew, painted, and made collages. A few of us were hesitant at first, but the enthusiastic and encouraging Shannon took the wind out of our unsureness very quickly. (Here's the link about her Creative Escapes. It's something you might consider doing if you're in the area.)

For days, I thought about what I wanted to do. I kept coming back to painting with oils because I've never done it before and always wanted to. But, I also thought that because I had no idea what I would paint nor knew how to use oil paints, I'd be wasting Shannon's paints. Wrong. Shannon assured T (the other young old fogey who felt the same way) and me that would not happen. "The good thing about painting with oils is you don't need a lot." I found myself taking a smear here and a smudge there of paint and applying it with a not-a-care-in-the-world attitude to the canvas.

So, that up there is a photo of my first oil painting. It was all done with palette knives. What a joyful experience! Thanks, Shannon! And, thanks to the young old fogey friends and the Husband for such a fun day!

Don't go yet, dear readers. Here's a treat for you. The link to the Lawrence Welk singers belting out One Toke Over the Line.