Friday, September 23, 2022

A Thoughtful Accomodation

I had my mammogram this week.  The protocol includes foregoing lotions, creams, sprays, and goo of any kinds on the day of the procedure.  

I showered right before the appointment.  Muscle memory took my hand to the CeraVe before my brain kicked in.  I didn't open the drawer with the deodorant.

I drove over, changed into a shirt length gown with the opening in the front, and walked down the hall for some squishing.  

The technician was delightful, the experience completely pleasant, and I smiled my way back to the small dressing room where I put my used gown in the basket near the shelves and I saw this:
No smelly patients leave their establishment, that's for sure.

It was truly a thoughtful accomodation.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

A First

For the first time in my life,  I will not be receiving a print copy of the local newspaper.  I'm joining those of you who read The Burrow and The New York Times on-line with your morning refreshments.  

No longer will I unfold newsprint with my orange juice.  Nevermore will the Opinion Page accompany my oatmeal.  I cancelled my subscription to the print edition of The Arizona Daily Star.

Owned by Lee Enterprises, The Star still has editorial cartoons, unlike many other papers.  It runs a full page of Letters to the Editor.  Their Solutions Journalism long form projects really do contribute to making Tucson a better place.  I can access all of that very comfortably on-line.

The comics are another story entirely.

Used to be, there were two full pages of comics and puzzles at the back of the Tucson & Region section.  I'd get there after reading the local news and the opinions and staying up to date on the UofA in the sports pages.  The last of my oatmeal and glass of milk went very well with the lives of fictional characters drawn by artists I've followed for decades.  

All of that was taken away this week.  The comics now occupy one quarter of one page.  They are fewer and, infuriatingly and foolishly, they are smaller.  I mean really smaller.   I have to squint to read them.  This is not conducive to a calm digestion.  

And it costs $85 each month. 

And so, reluctantly and with great regret, I called Subscription Services and changed to digital access only.  

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  I miss my old life already.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Creatures in the Garden

I spent the morning at Prince, on the playground and in the garden.  I tied shoes.  I pulled weeds.  I counted 3-2-1 and never got to GO for races across the concrete.  I pulled carrots that demonstrated their root vegetable-ness by sprouting roots from the carrot itself.  

Strangely, I encountered no wildlife in the garden itself.  I had to step out onto the grassy area to be confronted with the first creatures.  
To me, they looked like small berries.... like the small berries on the Solanum americanum I'd pulled out five minutes before.... a plant that self-seeded in Grandma's Garden.... a plant whose little berries give little kids tummy aches if ingested and therefore has no place in a school garden.  

But the girls insisted they were little lady bugs and in no danger of being eaten.  They spent some time showing me the wings and the dots and by the time they were finished I was convinced.

There was a crowd of kids waiting for my attention.  I have a lizard, a baby lizard said the person with these impossibly tiny hands.  
  
And, in fact, there was a tiny lizard at the top of the heart in her hand.
It was fascinating to all of us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

lower case letters

I'll resist the urge to go all E. E. Cummings in this post, despite the content screaming for it.  You can thank me later.

I spent the morning with magnetic lower case letters and rotating groups of kindergarteners.  The teacher divided them by ability; what we did with the tiles varied accordingly.  Not that I was given instructions.  Use your imagination was all the direction the teacher felt I needed.  

It's nice to be trusted.

The first group had no trouble with anything except the b and the d.  I told them that I had the same problem in school, too, until I realized that the b carried his belly in front.  We had some fun tracing b's on ourselves - starting with the stick at our heads down to our big bellies - while I considered all the parts of the b and the d, marveling that kids who barely understand that the letters in a word or a sentence have specific, meaningful places are able to remember which letter goes which way.  

The next groups needed a little more help.  We went more slowly, concentrating on the individual letters before sounding out c-a-t.  

Not c-a-f.  

Nope, even though the t and the f look pretty much the same if one of them is upside down. Put the j in the mix and only the dot saves the day.  The fact that the i has a dot, too, is just unfair.

And don't get us started on the u and the n.  I finally realized that the vowels were pink and the consonants were yellow, but up until then I was as flummoxed as they were.  

By the time the last group arrived, we were all a little tired.  One scholar has no English, one's gaze was focused somewhere beyond the drawn window shades, and two were eager if unable.  We matched the tiles to their counterparts on the magnetic board, taking special delight in the beautiful g.

Cleaning up was easy and efficient.  They went to run around at recess before returning to work on math.  I drove home and took a nap.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Little Women, Part 2

I found my copy of Little Women, repaired by Sister at some point in her childhood.

The pages are brittle and almost orange with age.  The print is very small.
But the illustrations are as powerful as ever.   I was struck, once again, by one of the reasons I loved Jo March.  It wasn't only her attic hideaway or her independence or her literary aspirations.  It was something more tangible.

See for yourself.  Here's Jo March:
And here am I, sometime in elementary school.
Obviously, it was meant to be.


Friday, September 16, 2022

Impossible To Be Sad

With my bus number pinned to my left shoulder and my name and classroom on the fish hanging from my neck, I waited for the bus on my first day of school.

The scholars at Prince Elementary School have lanyards with the same information.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I spent the morning in another kindergarten classroom, this one with fewer students in attendance.  The range of abilities is tremendous.  One girl writes her name and copies the sight words (I, the, see, my, am) flawlessly.  One boy switches the pencil from hand to hand, neither side feeling just right.  Tracing the letters was a challenge; recreating them on his own just wasn't happening this morning.  Nope, not at all.   But there were the requisite number of unidentifiable squiggles vaguely representing the letters in the appropriate space on his paper, so that was a win.

Instead of a star with the smelly marker from the teacher, today the scholars received a silly sticker from Grandma Suzi.  Proud doesn't even begin to describe their faces.

And today they got to choose their own sticker - a rare and very special treat.  Why?  Because I was a little bit blue this morning and they put a giant smile on my face, just by being.  

Why did you say thank you to us when you were leaving?

Because you fill my heart and my head and my soul with love.

It's impossible to be sad when you are surrounded by 5 year olds.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

$7,000.00 A WEEK FOR LIFE

I found the labels and stickers and placed them in the appropriate spots.  

I made sure my 10-DIGIT PERSONAL I.D. NUMBER was visible through the window on the back of the envelope.

I stamped it and spent a moment contemplating all the good I could do with $7K a week.  

Publishers Clearing House can come to my house any time now, carrying balloons and waving that oversized check as the cameras record the moment for posterity.  

Do you think they call before they come?  I want to be sure to be here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Jewish Penicillin

As the High Holidays approach, the local Chabad's Jewish Calendar and my parents appear.  I'm in the backyard, bickering with my siblings as Daddooooo takes family pictures - stills and movies - under the pin oak tree. I'm in the kitchen as G'ma takes the navy Kosher cookbook off the shelf over her sink, opening to the same stained pages as always.
I am certain that the Revere Ware pot is 72 years old;  G'ma and Daddooooo received the set as a wedding present in 1952.  I'm almost positive that the Tupperware with the white lid also began life in their kitchen, as did my lifelong love of the matzoh ball.  

I like them all the ways G'ma made them, the fluffy ones and the dense ones, the ones she served at Seders and the ones I could cajole her into serving me for lunch just because.  Consistency was never her strong suit, but I didn't care.  I, the pickiest eater in a family of picky eaters, was delighted with every iteration.  

That is fortunate, because I, too, have a consistency problem with the consistency of my matzoh balls.  TBG claims not to notice anything beyond the Yum Quotient, which is very high.  I notice every difference and consume each of them - the Manischewitz and the Streits; the boiled quickly and the frozen; the golf balls and the baseballs - with reckless abandon.

The liquid itself deserves its own post.  Suffice it to say that its role is to enhance the matzoh balls, rather than take center stage.

Jewish Penicillin - it cures physical aches and pains, and soothes the soul.

As I typed that I remembered the series saying the same thing.  I can see G'ma smiling, with love, at my hubris.  

I told you they were with me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Remembering How To Garden

1. Securely fasten hair.  Do not think that crab claw clip will stay in place when branches brush against it. 

2. Have a pop-up straw instead of a screw off top water bottle.  Pushing the button on the side is much cleaner than turning the cap and watching the little dirt particles fall off your glove into the container.

3.  Wear those gloves.  There's a reason you bought them.  There's a reason Little Cuter sent them.

4.  Long sleeves and long pants are crucial.  Yes, it's 80-something-degrees at 7:30 in the morning and it's only going to get hotter but those prickers are just as sharp whether it's cool or hot outside.  

5. You have a kneeling pad.  In fact, you have two.  Use them.  The gravel ground cover/mulch does not feel good on bare skin.  It is really hard to kneel on, too.  

6.  Bring all the tools you think you'll need with you.  It's easier to put away that which you haven't used than it is to get up from the ground and retrieve the missing items.

7.  Don't put too much on your plate.  Bring everything for one type of activity.  Don't assume that fertilizing and pruning and planting will all happen at the same time.

8.  Step back and look before you begin.  Step back and admire when you're finished

9.  Do most of the pruning and weeding before the yard guys come.  Let them pick it up and cart it away.  Save your energy for the fun stuff.  

Monday, September 12, 2022

Doctor's Orders

Friday:  Annual Medicare Wellness Check Up with my Primary Care Physician (PCP).

I, concerned about the test results the law insists the lab send to me before they are sent to the doctor, wondered if my blood pressure and cholesterol were going to send me to the morgue before the new year.  

She, a trained medical professional, explained every single test result that frightened me.  She was able to reassure me that High did not equate to immediate death.  The numbers were trending in the right direction; my medications were working..... except for that bad cholesterol number.

I admitted to going on a hard boiled egg/omelet/egg salad/hollandaise/bearnaise/creamy dressing spree during the spring and the summer.  The eggs, she said, were just fine.  But, did I put mayonnaise in my egg salad?

Of course. (followed by eye rolling and laughing)

Well, maybe you could think about cutting back on that.

I pouted, shrugged my shoulders, and we moved on.

Sunday:  Dr. K and Not-Kathy come over for breakfast and the 10 o'clock football game.

I make Queen T's drenched in butter, double decker French toast, with mascarpone oozing out of the center.  

Dinner includes potato salad with, yes, mayo as the binding agent.  

I'm trying to be a good patient.  I'm just not trying very hard.