Monthly Archives: February 2014

My Kind of Meds!

They say things come in threes so I was happy to be finished with my three ailments this past year and ready to start on a fresh year thankfully well and happy. Now I can really get down to business with this retirement thing, I thought. Thanks to some really good doctors and the good wishes and prayers of my family and friends, I ridded myself of some unnecessary parts, cleared out the racetracks for my blood to course through and I felt fit and ready to go.  I joined a painting group, I joined the retired teachers association, I volunteered to benefit Alzheimer’s patients, I took writing classes, I started an Etsy Shop, I started a blog, this one, for goodness sakes! I was on my way!

Then Sunday morning, I ate my breakfast—same as usual, egg, yogurt, blueberries, coffee—and there it was. A great big hen egg lump under my jaw. It felt like my tonsil on the right side had somehow twisted downward and gotten tangled between my tongue and my jawbone. Uh-oh, maybe that doctor was right. The one back when I was 27 and had just had my first child. I got tonsillitis that winter. My little boy was about 6 months old and you moms know as well as I do that the mother of a 6 month old boy does not have time to be sick. She barely has time to go to the doctor, but I did in hopes of getting well quicker with some kind of miracle mama-tonsil-medicine.

That doctor took one look at my tonsils and said, “You have got to have these out. They look awful. You are going to die of a heart attack before you are 35 if you don’t get them out right now.” That is what he said.

“I don’t have time to have surgery! I have a 6 month old baby boy!”

I thought I had made myself clear and I went home to heal on my own with whatever drugs he prescribed at the time. I don’t remember what they were, but I also don’t recall them being miracle mama-tonsil-drugs either. Well, apparently I hadn’t made myself clear at all because a couple of days later the hospital called to get me registered for surgery. He had scheduled it without my permission!

I said,  “I am not having a tonsillectomy! I didn’t agree to this! I will get another opinion!”

So, another trip to another doctor proved me right, or at least until last Sunday I thought so. That doctor looked at my ugly but healed tonsils and said, “Who told you that? Wait til I see him at the next association meeting! Unless you have constant tonsillitis I don’t think you need to worry about having surgery.”

I went home smugly reassured that I had won that battle and that first doctor who apparently just needed a new boat or car would have to get it bought by some other mother than me. And all these years, which you probably know are way beyond the death sentence of 35, I have kept the ugly tonsils. Doctors have looked in my mouth and tried not to laugh at them but none of them have offered to remove them. I admit that one look in there and they probably think it would just be too much work and not worth the going rate which I guess must be up to a boat AND a car nowadays.

However, Sunday morning I was thinking I shouldn’t have been so smug after all. Pride goeth before a fall my mother always said. You notice when mothers are trying to get your attention they use the King James version of the English language, don’t you!?! At least mine did. I was thinking in King James and that always scares me. It is like having your mother speak to you in your head right straight from heaven where you know for sure she is sitting with John, Peter, Mary, your daddy, your grandma, and maybe even THOSE HIGHER UP.

“I screwed up this time, “ I thought, “That tonsil is going to get me yet.” It was Sunday so I couldn’t call the doctor until the next day. “Maybe it will go away.”

I drank plenty of hot tea with lemon and honey. I drank chicken soup. Between meals, it didn’t hurt like a sore throat or tonsillitis and it would shrink from a hen’s egg to a blue jay’s. But not a robin’s or a humming bird’s for sure. Next time I ate again, back up to hen egg again.

Monday was my painting day. I got up at 5 a.m. in order to get ready to go (it’s a long way and I’m a slow morning person), thinking my hen egg was gone and my throat wasn’t hurting. But as soon as breakfast was over, it was back bigger than ever. I figured it was a double yolk jumbo egg now. I couldn’t go and expose all of my artist friends to a deadly disease that might kill them for sure since every one of us is way over 35. I settled in and waited til my ENT opened to give him a call. I figured he’d cancel all his appointments and see me that morning so I had my shower and was dressed and ready to go, but no. Imagine my surprise when the sweet little lady at the reception desk said the next available appointment would be Tuesday at 1:30. I was lucky to get that one because it was a cancellation. I took it and hoped I wouldn’t die before then but if I did, I’d already had almost 32 extra years past my due date so I really shouldn’t complain.

Tuesday came and like with most doctors’ visits, I was feeling much better by the time I went.

“It’s like taking your car to the mechanic,” my husband said. “It never rattles or whines when it gets there and they think you are wasting their time, but they charge you anyway.”

Still I went because I wasn’t sure if I was contagious and I didn’t know whether to go to my writing class that night. The ages of those people vary greatly from high schoolers to retirees like me, but still it isn’t nice to expose any of your friends to death.

The doctor took one look in my mouth and said, “No, you’re not contagious. Your saliva gland is blocked. You’ve got a stone. You know, like a kidney stone.”

Who knew you could have a kidney stone of the saliva gland! I sure didn’t. Well, of course it wasn’t a kidney stone, but something like it that formed out of calcium or something and took up residence in my submandibular duct and backed up the creek so the water couldn’t flow. Like a tiny dam that patiently waits and creates a great lake! This one was under my jaw!

The doctor felt around and determined I had passed the stone already and that was why I was feeling better. What he prescribed then was the best prescription I have ever had in my entire life. “Keep it moist,” he said, “Suck on something,” he pause and thought for a second, “like lemon drops.”

Candy! My doctor prescribed candy! The only thing better would have been chocolate fudge, but I wasn’t arguing. 


Gray Hair and Health Food

Snow Day Health Food Writing Assignment

You’ve been snowed in for several days and are running out of food (you made it to the supermarket too late; milk, eggs, bread, and other traditional snow-jam staples were gone from the shelves). Write about what you create based on what is in your fridge and/or pantry.

 There are some things you could defend a logical debate about that if people were open minded, they would agree to readily instead of making a big fight about them. For example, gray hair. Many people, okay most people, say that gray hair is a sign of old age. People, especially women but more and more men, dye their hair immediately at the sign of the first white hair that pops up on their heads. Some even take a proactive approach and dye their hair before the first white hair reveals itself so they won’t even know if and when they ever get one. Thus they never grow old in their minds because there is no sign of it—never mind that their children grow up, go off to college, graduate, marry and produce young of their own whom these people refuse let call them Grandma. Instead it is Mama Jane or Grumpy Joe. Never Grandma or Grandmother or even Nana. Nor Grandpa, Granddaddy or Gramps.

These people are wrong on so many levels. First of all there is nothing wrong with being called these traditional grandparent names. For goodness sakes, you’ve lived long enough to deserve them! You’ve earned them. Embrace them! But on another level, I maintain that gray hair is a sign of youth. I found my first gray hair at the tender age of 16. Now if you are 16, you think you are a grown up, but if you are 67, you know that 16 is closer to embryo than adult. Sorry, all the teenagers that I know and love, but this is true. And therefore, based on that philosophy, I believe that gray hair is without a doubt a youthful sign and should in no way be looked down upon by our youth-crazed society.

In fact, I once taught a kindergarten class in which was a little girl who backed up my theory. This enlightened child was asked how she liked her new teacher (me). She answered, “Oh, she’s vewy nice and she puts pwetty spwinkles in her hair!” Now, if these many white hairs in my hair were thought of as something I would add in order to enhance my beauty, then certainly I wouldn’t have done so to make myself look older, right?!

By now you are wondering what my gray hair has to do with food scrounged together because of the snow.  Well, I also have a defensible belief when it comes to health food. Some of you would say that cookies are junk food–fattening, unhealthy, perhaps even disease-causing trash. Some of you might say we’d be better off to fast if there was no milk or eggs or bread at the grocery because of the panic-driven run on the markets due to impending ice/snow/sleet. I did have a hard time at the grocery on Monday. There were absolutely no bananas at Publix and I had to make a second stop at Kroger in order to find some. (I bought two bunches because who knows when we’ll be able to get back out on the roads again or when the banana man will be able to get a load around interstate 285, up Georgia 400, and out state HWY 20 to the closest store to my house.) You’ve got to have bananas, I thought, for your potassium, else your legs will cramp. I think all the vitamins and minerals and nutrients should have an immediate bad effect should you not eat them just to remind you, like bananas and leg cramps, that you need to eat healthy. Everyone would be a lot healthier if every time she/he forgot to eat her/his carrots there was a temporary blindness. Or if you neglected your greens or salads, you blood forgot to clot and it started seeping out of your toes. I guess nature just missed those reactions when constructing our genes or maybe we are just beginning to evolve and we started with bananas and potassium.

I am not sure about that, but nonetheless, I do think if you make cookies right (remember the point I was about to make), they can be health food. Also, I propose that snow days call for creative drastic health food measures. And if ice and sleet are added to the weather forecast, I say get out all your healthiest ingredients and BAKE…fast, before the power goes off.

Soooo—That is exactly what I did today. I made oatmeal cookies. Oatmeal in itself is defensibly a healthy ingredient. But when you make them with whole wheat flour, Land o’ Lakes Butter/olive oil, Whey-Low sugar (a sweetener made of fructose and lactose that doesn’t raise your blood sugar and that was invented by a doctor for his wife who is diabetic), eggs (protein!), walnuts (protein again!), pumpkin seeds (guess what—even more protein!), raisins and cranberries (vitamins galore), and dark chocolate chips (God’s gift to the human race in order to sooth the soul)…….Well, when you make them this way, there is no way they are not HEALTH FOOD! And you’ve cleaned out your cupboard.

I rest my case. Happy Healthy Snow Days everyone!Health Food

Could This thing Be Worth Something?

Snow Homework: Junk Drawer  assignment #2

You are going through your Junk Drawer to find an item to use for your Creative Writing Class assignment, when you come across something that you don’t recognize.

I wouldn’t have even seen it if I didn’t have to dig so far back into the junk drawer searching for a 2-cent stamp. I ran out of forever stamps. I have used forever stamps, well… forever! Sorry! But so long that I wasn’t even sure what the going rate for mailing a letter is right now so I had to look it up.  $.49 up from $.46 as of January 26, 2014, according to the official Post Office website I found. Huh! Even a 2-cent stamp wouldn’t work with this $.37 Isamu Noguchi sculpture stamp I found. I thought I’d bought 2-cent stamps one time for something. If I did I’d need 6 of them to mail this letter to the IRS telling them how I didn’t make any money writing my blog this year and I figured they somehow owe me money for entertaining the masses at no charge. I didn’t want that letter to be late. Those government people are so picky about being on time with stuff like taxes.

I kept digging deeper and deeper into the long skinny drawer for those stamps. Waste not, want not, I remembered my mother saying, and besides I’d promised the Pope (in an earlier post on my entertaining blog, though he isn’t really my Pope officially since I am not Catholic, but I like him so I want to honor my promise) not to waste food and though stamps are not officially food, I could buy food with money I didn’t have to spend on more stamps. It made sense, see, if you think about it. Anyway, I was digging back so far into the drawer that I found it. I doubt I had been that far back since my baby was a baby. Your babies are always your babies, you know, and my baby is a sweetheart. She’s 36 now so you can see, it has been some time since I last reached this spot. It was almost like going back in time. Or searching an unexplored cave only to discover caveman art. It was like an archeological dig. I found stuff I thought I’d lost or taken to Good Will or that got stolen when our house was robbed. Did I turn that in on the insurance claim? I hope not because that would be dishonest and I am sure my Pope wouldn’t approve of that!

Well, too late to figure that one out. Moving on in my search for those six 2-cent stamps which, by the way, I never found and had to use two of my Noguchi stamps that I usually only save for special letters to friends that I know love art, there it was! So small, I almost overlooked it this time. I would have if it hadn’t pricked me. No, don’t worry, I’m fine, it was just a little prick and I put Neosporin on the prick right away so I doubt there is any infection, that stuff is really good.

Oh, the prick? It came from the point. Apparently one end of the thing was stuck between the back board of the drawer and the bottom of the drawer. This thing was long and rusty, like it hadn’t been used in forever. Maybe longer than forever stamps had been invented. It was thin and sharp, remarkably sharp, as proven by my pricked finger. I got some pliers and tugged at it. It was stuck really tightly but I finally jerked it out. On the back end, the long round stick widened a little and, I guess because it was protected by the boards, it was remarkably free of rust. The back where it widened was open a little bit. Just about the thickness of a hair or a thread and then it was closed shut again. A long, thin, sharp pointed silver metal stick of some sort with a tiny hole in  one end! It must have been some ancient tool. I wonder! What could it have been used for? Who would have used it? How long ago?

I wrapped this implement tightly with saran wrap and tucked it in a ziplock bag. As soon as the snow is gone, I am taking it over to the college to see if I can get some of those archeologists to take a look at it. It may be worth a million dollars. Maybe I’ll be able to loan some money to the IRS after all!





ImageJunk Drawer Story:

Writing Assignment: Find something in your junk drawer and write about it.

My junk drawer is not as junky as it once was. I guess it was the weather. Or maybe because I wasn’t allowed to lift heavy stuff for a while (eliminating 25 lbs of clay in the pottery studio). I don’t know exactly why I cleaned out my junk drawer. Maybe I was looking for something in particular. My rule of life–cleaning department: If you can’t find something, start cleaning.

I must have cleaned because there is room in my junk drawer. No, you can’t see the bottom, but there are probably 2 inches of space to pile stuff before the drawer won’t close anymore. I call that clean…at least for a junk drawer because by definition it is not supposed to be neat.

So when my writing instructor, Beth Hermes, gave us this assignment, I was a little concerned. Maybe I wouldn’t find anything worth writing about in this pristine container.

I should have remembered another of my rules of living—worrying department–don’t worry about something until it actually occurs. Ninety nine point nine percent of the time it won’t actually happen and you have wasted your precious worrying time on something that didn’t happen when you could have been focusing on something real because there is always something to worry about.

Indeed, as soon as I looked in my junk drawer, there it was—something worth writing about—a rusty crescent moon finial from an old iron fence. Not a fence I had owned or lived near or stolen from. No. Some stranger’s fence that someone else had owned, lived near or stolen from. I bought it at Roswell Antiques Market. Yes, I know, I could have made up a better story, but that’s the ugly boring truth.

I bought it and many others just like it to make Christmas gifts for my volunteer parents when I taught Primary School Art. Heaven knows what I made out of them. This is a left-over one. Heaven is probably still wondering what in the world those poor parents did with them. They aren’t just rusty, though. I gilded them with silver and gold. I tied glittery ribbons around them. I thought they were beautiful. I loved the contrast of the shiny glitter with the weathered iron. I confess—I really love rust, so how could these sweet moms not love it, too?

Well, here I am, years later with this remnant of my past that I couldn’t throw away in the frenzy of a cleaning attack and it has come to my rescue again, I thought. Perhaps even more successfully than it did those many years ago. So I got on the internet to figure out whether it was a waxing moon finial or a waning moon finial. Right away my googling rewarded me with this website:

Who knew there is so much to know about the moon!?! I mean, we have only been there a few times and there are surely a lot more craters to explore, right?  But, for goodness sakes, I was fascinated. I will leave you with this website to explore as you wish, but I just want to point out my favorite. Down there near the very bottom of the list of links.

Yes, that one. The Werewolf Diet. And to think I discovered it in my junk drawer.  It just goes to show there is a diet for everyone! 

Spider in the Shower

So What Would You Do?

 So theoretically speaking you are in the shower that you know was safe yesterday and you see through your misty lashes what probably is a spider and you think it’s a granddaddy longlegs but you don’t know for sure because your glasses are on the counter too far away to reach, but you know it’s not a scorpion or a snake or a wasp or a stranger with a knife but it keeps climbing up the tiles and slipping back down into the water and the water keeps edging towards it, but you don’t want to kill it because granddaddys can’t hurt you and it’s probably a granddaddy, but you can’t tell for sure because your glasses…….

 And nobody is home to rescue either you or the spider which is probably harmless and even maybe helpful…maybe…..

But you’re already soaking wet and you need to close your eyes if you’re going to shampoo your hair and then the spider slips down deeper and somehow manages to reach the shower curtain and starts climbing into the folds….

And you’re not afraid of spiders…especially not harmless grandaddys and this probably is a grandaddy mostly hidden in the folds….

But your hair isn’t washed and your shower isn’t taken and the spider’s probably going to stay there maybe at the other end of the shower hidden silently in the folds, waiting patiently for you to finish so he can reclaim the bathroom to snare his next victim……


Next time Julia and Meryl get together…..

I have broken one of my own rules for living again this weekend.  I should know better.

My rule, in case I haven’t already told you, is this:

Only go to movies that make you feel better when you’re leaving than you feel when you’re going in.

It’s a good rule. As long as I live by it, I do okay. But on very rare occasions, there are movies that I can’t stop myself from seeing even though I know good and well they go against my movie rule. Just like when I eat mac and cheese, or pizza, or homemade chocolate fudge straight out of the pan before it even has time to cool. I know better, but I go ahead and do it anyway.

I can always rationalize. I say this macaroni is whole wheat, or cheese has protein and calcium. I say to myself dark chocolate is good for you, they’ve done studies to prove it. Have some more!

This time I said to myself and to my husband, this may be the only time we ever get to see Julia Roberts and Meryl Steep together in a movie and it’s got to be good. He agreed. He also agrees about mac and cheese and chocolate fudge, so you can see how reliable his judgment can be sometimes.

Well, on his behalf, August, Osage County was a really good movie. And it may be the only time ever we are able to see these two outstanding actresses performing together. We were right about that. But we both knew going into the theater that we weren’t going to be happier leaving.


Unless we looked at it from a philosophical point of view, that is. The family in this movie made everybody’s families look like the Brady Bunch. No matter who your mother was or how quirky she seemed when you were growing up, she is Carol Brady, or even better, June Cleaver, after you watch Meryl Streep as Violet Weston. Your children are angels, your in-laws are the salt of the earth, and your husbands are knights-in-shining-armor.  Even Aunt Harriet and Uncle Clevis are sane, decent people no matter what they’ve done in the past.

In retrospect, I’m glad I went to this movie. Every actor in it gave a stellar performance. It really may be the only time I see these two women together doing what they do better than anybody I’ve ever seen. But if they ever get together again, I really hope it’s a comedy.