Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Moment's Peace

 Everyone will be talking about the debates today.  I wanted you to have something soothing to look at instead.  I'm sure I'll have thoughts to share tomorrow.  But if you are as agitated over the fact that That Man is President of the United States as I imagine I will be after allowing him into my home for more than 30 seconds at a time, then this is for you.

Enjoy the beauty of my desert:

Feel better?  I hope so.  Give yourself a pat on the back for excellent self-care.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

She Did It Again.

Brenda Starr led a Zoom Editorial Board Endorsement Call on Monday with Senator Martha McSally.

For those of you who are taken aback, surprised that our stealth Senator actually showed up and faced constituents, rest assured that I was too. She's declined the last invitation.

There were at least 3 screens full of constituents; I was one of the few with live video.  I planned to submit a question and I wanted her to see my face as it was read.

I asked her to explain why Universal Background Checks are not a good idea.  It took about 15 seconds before I began to melt down.

Eyebrows up as she advocated for merging the various background check lists which exist throughout the bureaucracy, creating a National Watch List. 

She voted against exactly such a measure in February, 2017. Such a list would have precluded the legal purchase of a firearm by my shooter.February, 2017.  

Rep. McSally  despite sitting in the seat of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; despite representing this community, which ached along with those of us who were shot; despite the fact that the measure did not need her vote to pass, threw her support behind her Republican leaders and slapped her district in the face.  And now she has the gall to lie about it.

At a certain point I had to bite my lower lip to stop my face from acting like a petulant 2 year old, but the more she blathered on, the more my face lost control. 

She can't keep her facts straight.  She doesn't act on what she says.  She doesn't represent the vast majority of voters who wouldn't mind knowing that all the relevant agencies had weighed in before granting a license to own and operate a machine designed to kill.  

The United States Army didn't think the January 8th shooter was fit to carry a weapon.  

No one told our local retailer.  

We live with the results.   We don't have to live with Martha McSally. I really hope someone took a screen shot when Brenda Starr cut to the chase and asked: So, to be clear, you are opposed to Universal Background Checks, and our Participation Trophy Senator said, smiling brightly, Yes!

I was too busy trying not to cry on local video.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Good People

Look at the wonderfulness that is the Tucson Quilters Guild:
Katherine the Stitch Wizard made a few dozen for Prince Elementary School earlier in the Pandemic.  When she heard that we needed 600 of them (have you ever known a little kid not to lose something?) she didn't quail.  She got to work.
There are 100 in each bag.

Sitting at home, stewing in my own juices, unable to get out and do, I seethe with frustration.  Then friends of friends step up and make my day and I realize that who I am and who I know doesn't stop at my front door.  I'm on my couch, at my desk, but the tendrils I sent out into the world have brought joy and beauty to those I try to serve.  

Reading the teachers' comments on Facebook, where the Guild showcased these photos, warmed the cockles of my heart.  If I can't be there in person (per my doctor and my children's orders) those who I've touched are reaching out and doing the touching.

Life is good.

Friday, September 25, 2020

What's Going On

I can't turn on the news.  I know it's a distraction technique, but the fact that he says he won't leave the White House has put me over the edge.

It was the headline in our normally locally focused hometown newspaper.  I couldn't escape it, even over oatmeal and banana.  I couldn't get to the comics and Ask Amy fast enough.

It seems to me that early voting on paper ballots is the safest way to avoid Russian tampering with the results.  I think that's why Trump is repeating the lies about fraud and deception - the Russians are at a disadvantage if there is a paper trail.  

But it doesn't really matter what he says, because there are only two sets of Americans listening right now - those who love him and those who hate him.  Those who have made up their minds and don't care about the minutiae have tuned out entirely... I have friends who fall in that space.  

So his mad ravings serve to fuel the fires of distrust and hate on his side, and to stoke the burning souls of those of us who possess a conscience.

The fact that there are no laws under which the Attorney General could charge the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor ..... the fact that the RNC is working with state legislatures to replace duly elected electors with those favorable to Trump.... the fact that 200,000+ Americans have perished and we still don't have a plan.....

Like I said, I can't turn on the news.  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Library is Now an Adventure

I have three library books on my counter right now - T. Jefferson Parker, Lynda LaPlante, and Marcia Muller.  Yes, I like my mysteries and my (gentle) thrillers and I do favor certain authors.... and I think I may have read one of these books before.....but there's no convenient way to check.

Going to the library is a different experience these days.  There's no browsing the stacks, reading the fly leaf to see if the story seems familiar.  Their website has stored my Borrowing History, but it's 987 books long (990 counting today's additions) and unsearchable.  

I tried scrolling through; I got to the second page and gave up.  I was spending a lot of time remembering the plots, the twists, the language, the characters. It was fun, but it wasn't getting the job done.

When all the books I wanted were available, I got in The UV and followed my next door neighbor to the corner, where she turned right and so did I.... and then we changed lanes and turned and drove up the hill in the left lane, going an assertive but not aggressive 5 miles over the limit, neither of us losing speed as the ground rose before us.  Then she turned into the DMV/Sheriff/Library driveway and followed it around to the library's parking lot.

She dropped off her daughter to collect their bounty as I parked.  She rolled down her window as I walked by and waved.  From a safe distance, we agreed that it had been fun to drive over together.  It was the most social experience either of us had had all day, and we sighed the Pandemic sigh, I pulled up my mask, and walked on.

There were librarians toting books to tables and cars.  There were families waiting for Mystery Bundles in their favorite genres.  There was social distancing and masking and everyone was wary of everyone else.

I drove home with my treasures, made a late lunch, and wondered if reading a library book while eating a sandwich with my hands was a smart thing to do, turning the pages without washing my hands between bites.  

Reading was never this difficult.

I decided that if I didn't lick my fingers I'd be safe. 

I'd call the CDC and ask, but........

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sports Are Back - A Snippet

He's totally absorbed.  Starting with the Tour de France early in the morning, through the talking heads who finally have something to talk about, to basketball and football all evening and through most of the night.  

I've read novels.  I've written Get Out The Vote postcards.  I've crocheted a gigantic round afghan, along with several dozen baby hats.  I've spent too much time playing Candy Crush Saga.  I've written letters instead of emails.  

I'm next to him on Douglas, without my hearing aids.  My mind is elsewhere, except when his hand reaches out for mine, or his sharp inhale begs for my attention.  

I'm with him and I'm without him.  

Before Pandemica, I'd have spent the days with friends, doing the things TBG doesn't do.  During Pandemica,  my options are more limited.

I'm really glad that TBG can go to his happy places with just a flick of the remote. Really, I am.  Any return to even a semblance of normal life is welcome.  

But, I miss him.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Happy Anniversary

Eight years ago, we were all together.   

G'ma and Auntie M, uncles from Maryland and Colorado. Most of the girl cousins.  Play group and high school, Marin and Bloomington, people who might never have met were sharing stories long into the night.

All the stories had the same theme - these are two of the nicest people we've ever known. They are sometimes silly and sometimes ornery but mostly they lead with love, killing with kindness as they move through the world, making it a better place for everyone they touch.

I can look out at the backyard and see it clearly, as if the chairs and the people were still there. I see Big Bob and TBG sharing hopes and dreams over cigars.  I see SIR's sister accepting kudos for bringing you together and I hear G'ma asking where she was.... and surmising that it must be a wedding because there was a bride.

Yes, she knew you, Little Cuter.  She knew the most important thing about the two of you - that you are surrounded by love, a love that is open and boundless and judgment free.  There's always room for a hug, for a smile, for kindness, for inclusion.  

It was the loveliest wedding we ever threw.  You two are my favorite married children. 

Happy Anniversary!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We've lost too many this year, although I seem to say that more frequently as the years go on. 

I"ve spent the weekend trying not to cry.  I refuse to allow thoughts of this Senate replacing her to creep into my grief.  They don't deserve a place at this table.  

In keeping with the tradition of bringing sweets to the mourners, a reminder of happy times past and those to come, I'm sharing a sweet memory from two years ago:

As she grows up, FlapJilly's reading more grown up books.  I Dissent. the picture book biography of RBG, is part of her permanent night time roster.  We've talked about strength and power and being in charge, whether you are a superhero or a Supreme Court Justice.  She knows that she can grow up and be one, too.

That's the background to the joy Little Cuter felt when, on an adventure to Barnes and Opal last Saturday, her daughter took off, flying across the store.  She caught up with her at an end cap.  

Look, Mama, Look!  It's ROOF!!

How lucky is my granddaughter, and all the other granddaughters in the world, to have had Roof to admire, to inspire,  to love.

May her memory be a blessing...... not only in remembrance, but in living as she would, fighting the good fights, carrying on with determination and a smile in the face of unfathomable obstacles.

Rest in power, Madame Justice.

Friday, September 18, 2020


Yes, my generic for Crestor statin will still be covered by my insurance in 2021..

No, it will no longer be a Tier 1 (read $0 co-pay) drug.  It will now cost $10 a month.

No one seems to know why, not Rose at WellCare, not Amy at the doctor's office, not TBG watching sports talking heads.  

TBG did remind me that we can afford $120 a year to keep me healthy; we both took a moment to recognize the privilege.  

But I am a frugal sort, and the notion of spending money when it isn't necessary bothers me.  Yet I remember how long it took to get my cholesterol under control, and I'm reluctant to change ships when this one is sailing along quite nicely, thank you very much.

I feel as though the universe is conspiring against me.  

In an effort to take control of the situation, I am changing prescriptions to a similar generic (this one for Lipitor) and will have blood work drawn on December 2nd.  

I'll let the facts decide for me, not the insurance company.  If the faux Lipitor doesn't work, I'll go back to what did work and smile at the universe.  Some things are just not worth getting in a tizzy over.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Rage Against the Machine

Turns out, I'm depressed.  And that makes me happy.

I spent the morning with my soon-to-be-leaving-for-Cali doctor, the woman who was supposed to usher me into old age.  I started with her PA, who weighed me and escorted me to the exam room where she took my blood pressure.

I fully expected it to be very high.  It always goes up a little in the doctor's office.

It was 128/78.

A little bit high, but nothing to worry about.  I laughed and wondered if I should just go right home.

When the doctor walked through the door, I opened my arms for a virtual hug; she promised that she felt the love as she asked me how I was doing. 

I told her that I was trying hard not to cry.  That I'd been trying hard since March.  That I hadn't hugged my grandkids since January and that no one thought it was a good idea for us to travel to see one another, or risk infecting one another.  We talked about extended families and Covid exposure and young families with kids.  We talked about the doctors who would take over my care, and I settled on the only one who sent a "thank you for trusting your patients to me" email in response to her referrals.  

Then we moved on to my blood pressure.  We took it with my machine on my left arm - 140/90.  We took it with my arm on the table instead of in my lap.  It was higher.  We tried it on my right arm; higher still.

She decided it was the machine.  The office device is the gold standard.  My device should go on a shelf in my bathroom, never to bother me again.

It was reminiscent of G'ma and her advice when there was an unfamiliar noise in the car:  turn up the radio.   Still hear it?  Turn it up louder.

And yet there she was, telling me Don't take your blood pressure.

She suggested upping the dosage of my Sertraline, the anti-depressant I've been taking, at the same dosage, since I was 50.  It unfurls the knot n my chest, the one that has been sitting there like a lump of clay for a long time.... certainly through the pandemic.....the one that my friendly physician decided was causing my constant headaches and my angst.  

My blood pressure is fine.  The machine says so.  I'm depressed, and that's to be expected.  The doctor and I agree.  These are troublous times and I am troubled.  Meditation and its lowering effect on my bp is a good thing to continue, but we're going to tweak the dosage just a touch, for just a while.

I'm to hand on to my smaller pills; they will come in handy when I try to go back to a lower dose once the world returns to normal.  For now, I'm to jump up to the next level, and prepare to feel a whole lot better.

I left with a big smile on my face. I don't have another condition.  I don't have to add another pill to my container.  I don't have to consider a whole new set of worries.  My body is fine. My mind is a mess.

I'm depressed, and that's good news.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Six years before the start of Pandemica, I began to experiment with meditation.  I was surprised by the power it had, for the longer-than-just-sitting-there effect it had, for the fact that I could calm not only my mental but my physical being.

And then I stopped.  The teacher moved closer but at a less convenient time.  Life got in the way.  I gave it up.

And now I'm faced with adding one more medication to my pillbox; I see the doctor as you drink your coffee, or think about lunch..  With that in mind, I asked Dr. Google for help and she sent me to Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 Day Meditation course.... which, unfortunately for me, has ended.

Plunging further into the interwebs, I discovered that there are many ways to access the verbiage.  I don't know if the original course had video, but my eyes were closed so it wouldn't have mattered at all.  I clicked on the first one and settled back into my chair.

It was familiar and strange.  It was impossible and soothing and frustrating and peaceful.  The whole notion of letting thoughts float across your mind without judgement or notice, the letting go, the breathing helps a lot but it's a practice, not an event.

By the time he rang the gentle bell, my shoulders were comfortably out of my ears, my soul was lying comfortably in my self, and my blood pressure was down 12 points.

I'm bringing that piece of data with me to the consultation. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


There are two, or maybe four, hurricanes bearing down on the United States right now.  There have been so many hurricanes this year that I can't keep up, and I'm not the only one.  They are running out of names... and there are still two more months to go before the season ends.

The west coast is on fire, and the smoke is causing beautiful sunsets in Washington, D.C.

Big Cuter can't open his windows or go outside.  Without air conditioning (remember Mark Twain's coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco?), with the temperatures unusually high, he's sleeping with ice packs and fans.  

Our President is holding indoor, un-masked, un-distanced rallies, even as Bob Woodward's tapes show that he knows Covid is both airborne and a lot more dangerous than the usual flu.

And then, as the facts on the ground were explained to him, once again, in one and two syllable words, the President of the United States smirked the way a spoiled brat 14 year old might smirk when he knows the headmaster can't expel him because his Daddy's name is on the Administration Building, and he enjoyed that smirk for a good long time before coming out with this pearl of wisdom: science doesn't know.

Well of course science doesn't know... that's the whole point of science.  But science does know some things, and if you don't want to believe in science then take a look at the skies in the west and the hurricanes in the east and tell me we're not experiencing an unusual set of circumstances.  

Science doesn't know.  So says the very stable genius who, I fear, may well be re-elected in November.

Am I having a moment?  Are the narrowing polls still comfortably Biden tilting?  I'd have to watch the news to find out, and the news is making my blood pressure cause for concern.  I asked the doctor if I could wait until November 4th when, if Biden won, I was sure my numbers would return to their usual 120/80.  

Nope.  I'm going in on Wednesday morning, bringing my home monitoring device for a calibration check. 

Donald Trump may not think science knows, but I trust the science behind my machine, and my doctor's education, and the science that says if I wear a mask and everyone in the office wears a mask and I'm not there for any longer than I have to be, I should be just fine..... or as fine as I can be with that man in the White House, denigrating science in front of scientists.... and any schoolchildren who might be listening.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Humiliation in Service of Sloth

 I have no oomph. I have no thoughts.  I owe you a post, though.

Therefore, I submit the following, humiliating myself in service of my unwillingness to think. 

Have a wonderful week, denizens.  Try not to think.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Happy BIrthday, Christina-Taylor

You'd be 19 today.  

No doubt you'd be taller than I am.  

No doubt you'd be doing my little errands because taking care of others was embedded in your soul.  

You'd be excited to vote in your first Presidential Election.  I see you registering 1st time voters who become incapable of refusing your entreaties, because you are still a force of nature.

I see you treasuring FlapJilly and Giblet as your own little faux niece and nephew, because, in your life,  there were never too many people to love.

I ran across a picture of you standing, arms akimbo, staring me down for some long-forgotten reason, at the Reid Park Zoo, on the group tour when you charmed the entire Cornell Club of Southern Arizona with your questions and your enthusiasm.  I laughed through the tears that appeared out of nowhere.  You were a presence, kiddo, an honest to God presence.

I carry you with me, in my heart, every day.  You encourage me and annoy me and laugh at me and you're never far when I need you.  I miss you every day.

(and, it's 9/11, which, for me, somehow, takes second place)

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The News

Big Cuter (and others) are pissed at Bob Woodward for keeping the information DJT revealed a secret until his book was published, but I don't think that would have made a difference.  Those who love him will continue to look at the bright side, those of us on the other side are not surprised.

But hearing it in his own voice...... I screamed at the tv, and I haven't done that in a looooong time.  

Of course, I haven't let DJT's voice into my house for a long time, either.  

Is anyone surprised at Woodward's revelations?  I would like to meet that person.  It seems to me that today, as in every day since I can remember, the news is preaching to the choir.

I'm so tired of my silo.

I want us all to get on the same page - this can be conquered if we are smart.

I have to believe that.  I'll go mad if I let my mind wander to the wilderness of pandemic forever, Trump reelected, schools and teams and mah jongg games on permanent hiatus after a brief flurry of openings followed quickly by Covid-closings. 

It's simple science.  It hasn't changed since the 14th century.  I don't understand why it is so controversial....  and then I scroll through Facebook and find someone asking if anyone knows anyone who died from HIV/AIDS or COVID and going on to declare that it's all made up by the lamestream media.

There are real humans who believe that hospitals are receiving thousands of extra dollars per Covid patient and so the numbers are vastly inflated...... while they ignore the refrigerated trucks serving as temporary morgues outside the coroners' office.  

I'm so angry right now.  It's not a helpful anger.  It's not a useful feeling. It's wormed its way into the corners of my brain and even typing to you isn't clearing it out.  

I'm listening to a webinar from Cornell on voter suppression.  That's not helping, either.

I'm going to get back on the phone with my son.  I'm going to stop listening to the news.  I'm going to make a yummy dinner from the limited number of supplies in the kitchen.  I'm going to crochet something soft and pretty.  And I'm going to eat an ice cream sundae, with Haagen Dazs and roasted walnuts and bananas and the remains of the last sorry looking peach in the fruit drawer.\

I hope that helps.  

I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Snippets From Another Day in Pandemica

I'm reading Viet Thanh Nguyen's  The Sympathizer as an e-book.... or at least I'm trying to read it.  Unfortunately, I forgot to plug in the iPad overnight and there wasn't enough juice in its innards to turn on.  

I could have read it on Lenore the Lenovo, but it seemed like too much trouble.  It's been that kind of a week.


CVS sent me an alert that my prescription was ready and waiting.  Michael's finally had soft pink yarn in stock, thus fulfilling one of FlapJilly's requirements for a winter hat.  My hard cover copy of the latest in James Lee Burke's saga of drink, drama, crime, and passion was ready to be returned from whence it came - the library. 

I had a full fledged adventure awaiting me.


The yarn was texting me to come and pick it up almost before it texted that the order had been received.  I watched a masked mom and two little ones marching into the store as my masked delivery person placed the bag through the open window behind me.  

I think she said something to me, but in my haste to put on my brand new mask I had to sacrifice my hearing aids.  The intersection between ears, assistive devices, and mask elastic is an under-reported consequence of living in Pandemica.


The pharmacist and I laughed when I paused before recalling my birthdate.  It was a novel question.  I haven't experienced a novel question in a long time; it took me a nano-second to get my brain in position to answer her. 

Accepting my delight over intersecting with another human being, she told me that I could come back and visit anytime.


I paused in the parking lot and called ahead to order lunch. 

No, I didn't want to come in and pick it up, I wanted him to bring it out to my car........just as they have been doing since the beginning of Pandemica.... and yes, he returned after a brief pause, in fact he would be delighted to bring it out to me, having just learned a new policy at his new job.


I stopped at the library, only to find that my usual stop-here-for-15-seconds-while-I-drop-this-through-the-slot space was now clearly marked NO PARKING OR STANDING.  I found a spot, locked The Uv, and approached the return slot.  

I knew that I should not offer the book to the librarian at the outdoor table; santization procedures precluded that tiny bit of human contact.  Once dropped through the slot, the book would remain untouched for three days before being recirculated.  

My problem was the line - three masked patrons, socially distant but definitely in line, a line which stretched between me and the return slot.  There was no way to approach the box while remaining socially distant.  I examined the situation from all angles and then plunged ahead.

I'm sorry, excuse me, I don't know the etiquette for this came babbling out of my mouth as the line morphed into an amoeba to accommodate my intrusion.  The woman last in line eye-smiled as she followed me, at a socially appropriate distance, to do the same thing. 

She said that she didn't know what to do, either.

Emily Post didn't tell us about this we agreed as we left.  


Arriving at Grumpy's, I left the money under the windshield wipers and called Del, who came right out and made the exchange.  When he got to the door, I popped out and picked up the bag, thanked him vociferously while complimenting his mask, and promised to see him next week.  


It was an exhilarating experience.  I didn't have to get out of my car.  I was safely separated from everyone I encountered.  I enjoyed every moment.  I was present, mindful, noticing and paying attention to the details in a way that I don't think I did before Pandemica.

As the pharmacist and I mused, sharing a moment, there are some good things that are coming out of this time.  

I'm going to hold onto that thought tonight.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

I'm Off the Hook

The yard guys arrived early this morning, Monday morning, Labor Day 2020.

I apologized for the fact that they were working on Labor Day.

"Labor Day?  Doesn't that mean that we should be working?"

He was genuinely confused. Smiling, he went on.

"We're glad to be working. Does that make it any better, if we're glad to be here?"

Yes, it did.

Did they always think of Labor Day as the end of summer and nothing more?  Are they glad to be employed when their friends are worrying about making rent?  Were they reacting to the distress on my face and in my voice?

It doesn't matter.  We were glad to see one another, and that's all that mattered in Pandemic '01.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Aches and Pains Explained

 I noticed it in  Pilates on Tuesday morning.  I didn't do anything unusual, but all of a sudden certain movements were quite unpleasant. 

The tendon or ligament or nerve that goes over the top of my hip bone was inflamed.  Swollen, warm to the touch, ouchy when compressed.  Sitting up straight became an imperative.  Slouching produced a sharp, hot pain.

Yes, pain.  I adhere to the mantra given to me by a marvelous PT in Chicago as I started out on this journey:  Assess the threat value of the sensation.  Akin to adopting a Mindfulness outlook, I notice and appreciate and investigate the feeling.  I don't automatically jump to pain.

This was pain.  I took 2 Advil and 1 Bayer and lay on my belly.  I rolled over.  I sat up.  Nothing worked.  I reviewed my activities, such as they were, trying to figure out when I'd done such damage to myself.  I could recall no injury, no incident, no moment of trauma.

I hate when that happens.  I like to know the what's and the why's when it comes to my physical being.  Pain of unknown origin is scary, and I don't need any more scariness in my life these days.

I took to the pool to stretch it out, to let the buoyancy cosset my body and my soul, to try and find some relief.  TBG came with me, and he watched as I pushed off to start swimming laps.

I got about 5 feet into the glide when I stood up, smiling, only to face his look of concern.  Why had I stopped?  Because I figured out what I did to cause my discomfort. I had just felt every part of what was hurting me, and I knew why.

Earlier in the week, TBG suggested that I crouch and push off the side of the pool to start my lap.  Bending my hip fold has been difficult since I was perforated; there's a lot of scar tissue gumming up the works.  But I tried it and surprised myself and found that as the laps went by I was able to get tighter and tighter, my thighs closer to my belly, my heels touching my butt.  

Pushing off through my heels uses all the muscles in and around that butt, that formerly empty sack of flesh, now developing muscles.  Apparently, these are muscles that have been underutilized and thus gone dormant during my recovery.  I am abashed to have ignored them so meaningfully.  

Using all my glutes will enable me to walk without limping.  I know this.  In my defense, it's hard to engage muscles when the nerves surrounding them have been severed and the muscles themselves have been obliterated by bullets.  It's hard to make the mind body connection when doing so is negatively reinforced by unpleasant sensations.  No matter how I look at it, those glutes have been underutilized for a decade.

Perhaps they were tickled when I did squats in the gym, but I was always afraid to go deeper, to push my limits, scared of I don't know what but there it was.  The explosive upward thrust that makes the power of the squat so effective was another thing that the shooter took from me.... or so I told myself.

But in the pool, all was well. I could scootch back against the wall and shoot myself across the water.  Nothing hurt, after 20 or 30 laps.  Everything was loosened up and working together, like a well oiled machine.

That PT gave me another verse to live by:  Motion is Lotion.  Getting the synovial fluid flowing helps lubricate the joints and the pieces that surround them.  It's the getting started that's hard, because in the beginning my parts scrape and pull and press against one another in the most annoying manner.  Once they are greased, I'm pain free.

There's a lesson there, one that I am going to take to heart right now.  This post is over, without any more conclusions drawn or lessons learned.  I'm going to swim.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Bring on 2020

I caught the cleaning bug after everyone else had moved on to hobbies.  I spent the first month of Pandemic '01 reading 23 books on my tablet, then I moved on to exercise and gardening.  By the time cleaning cropped up, the house was more than ready for attention.

I started with a battery powered rotary brush (with 3 interchangeable heads) to work on the grit and grime in the shower.  I went through a variety of iterations of mopping devices for the tile floors before I came up with a suitable solution (the perfect solution would be for me to feel comfortable having cleaners in the house once again) and secured the necessary accoutrements.  

I perfected the proper combination of agents which make my kitchen counters shiny and bright.  

Little Cuter found and ordered us the perfect light vacuum that works on tile and carpet and whose battery lasts as long as I do - about 15 minutes.  It's lovely to have an appliance that's exactly as vigorous as I am; it tells me to sit down and take a break when we're both exhausted.  

I've tried to do one project and finish it, a novel concept for me. 

Tackling the library, I cleared off the big leather lounge chair, moved boxes to the garage, and unplugged devices which haven't been operational since 2015.  I created a little reading nook with a table lamp we haven't used since Big Cuter went off to college.  I velcroed the surge protector to the windowsill and installed the cord clips Little Cuter put in my Xmas stocking a while ago.

I was on a roll.  Basking in the joy of a clean and organized workspace, I moved on to the other area which was overrun with debris - the laundry room.

No one has been able to come up with a way to make the space more user friendly.  Many have made suggestions, all of which end up with major construction.  I never cared enough to undertake that project, although I made some minor adjustments along the way.  

I bought a square shelf at the Container Store and settled it over the sink.  No longer did my keys disappear into the abyss (one of the issues is poor lighting), lodging themselves in the stopper, hiding beneath whatever fell in when I dumped my purse into the (now covered) sink.  

In the long run, that just made a flatter surface on which to pile things I couldn't quite get rid of, or deal with, or hold in my hand any more.  As I worked my way across the counter, I found a 2019 Christmas present SIR mistakenly sent to my house instead of to FlapJilly's nanny's abode.  I found a dozen or so Bed Bath and Beyond coupons (they don't expire, and arrive with alarming regularity, and I can't throw them out) and newspaper pages filled with touristy ideas which are no longer operating to appeal to visitors who are no longer visiting.

There were a lot of vases, some clothes to be donated and some to be discarded, and then there were last year's holiday cards.  I think I put them aside so TBG could read them before I sent the picture parts on to St Jude's Ranch and recycled the rest.  

But there they were and everything else was put away so I brought them out to Douglas and flipped through them as TBG watched basketball.  I smiled at my friends' words and grandchildren and vacations.  I skipped the long letters, having read them in real time.  And then, at the very end, came this, on the back of warm wishes from FAMBB:

I laughed for a very long time.  A very very very long time.  There may have been a few tears mixed in, but mostly I was laughing.   

Then I wrote her an email explaining the circumstances of my discovery and asked if I could use it and she wrote back right away and it was as if 51 years hadn't passed at all.  

She explained that there  were a lot of good reasons for her to look forward to 2020..... until there weren't any more. 

Bring on 2020........ it's good for a laugh, for an opportunity to reconnect, for a bit of respite from the sameness.  

25 weeks and counting since life was anything like normal.  

Sure..... Bring on 2020..... 

The snort/sigh/sound I am making can best be described as rueful.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

September - Random Thoughts

The major heat seems to have left us for a while; there's an ease to the air we breathe when the temperatures are in the 90's and not triple digits for days on end.  Even Not-Kathy had to agree that 97 is remarkably better than 107.


Mr. Packrat came today, and left an assessment of the situation for our consideration: an aerial view of the property, with numbered areas of concern.  Some are within the courtyard, some outside the pony wall, and some further out toward the edges of our domain.  

Deciding which ones to remove and destroy is presenting a quasi-moral dilemma for me; these are living beings, whose ancestors were here before me and will be here long after I'm gone.  Who am I to decide who shall live and who shall die?  

It didn't take long to come up with an answer - I live here and these things are not healthy to have around and so those in immediate proximity to the home and the outdoor spaces we frequent will have to go.  Those further out can live their lives in peace.... at least for now.


Tucson is on a migratory path of a number of tiny species.  

An LYT just alit on the crepe myrtle outside my window, and is listening to me type as it pecks at the goodies within the seed pods.  

The pods are shaped like the bells on the tips of Santa's elves shoes.  They must be very tasty; my bird is back on the smaller bush, snacking away.


Oh.... an LYT?  Little Yellow Thing.  

It's an all purpose answer to any nature question at all.  

For example:  What's that flower?  LBT (blue)  


And that gets me thinking about hiking and how the pine needles felt under my feet when Miss Nancy and I hiked Deer Valley in Marin.  This is the time of year when the trails are at their finest, the transitional weeks with a little bit of this and a little bit of that everywhere you turn.  

I'm going to work on my endurance and try to take myself out into the natural world more often.... at higher elevations.... where the temperatures are in the 70's ..... because, after all, even though it's a dry heat, ninety degrees is still ninety degrees.


It's cool enough to swim at noon these days.  A few weeks ago the top of my head hurt if I paused too long between laps.  

TBG and I have made an outing out of our pool time; we admire the scenery, smell the fresh air, and sing along to the oldies as we go up and back, six or eight or sometimes no strokes at all, just a strong push off the edge and a gentle glide to the other side, working on lung capacity and feeling the stillness, watching the shadows on the bottom, sensing the cooler air as our arms dip in and out of the water.

Most of my aches and pains disappear after a few minutes of stretching out and being buoyant; I leave when I'm a total prune, and not before.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

My Doctor

I have the most wonderful gerontologist.  She listens, she comforts, she snarks when needed.  She gets me, laughing about my normal behavior/incipient insanity, teasing me about Dr. Google's mistaken 

On my way to make oatmeal this morning, I opened a piece of snail mail from her practice, assuming it was a reminder to get a flu shot or some other mundane but necessary task.


She's leaving at the end of the year, moving back to California where most of her extended family lives.  Covid informed her decision.

Devastated doesn't come close to describing how I feel. 

I never did get the oatmeal.  

I sat down at the table.  I read the letter a few times.  Respected Patient, it began.  I sighed; I always felt respected, by the front office staff and the medical professionals behind the doors.  The letter says that no one in the practice is accepting new patients at this time; I'm losing the lobby experience, too.

This is making me sad.

The letter listed 4 physicians who are accepting patients.  I went to Lenore the Lenovo to check them out.  There wasn't much.  (The difficulty in finding anything out about a physician is fodder for another post.)

All I had were the basic details.  Starting with gender, I eliminated the man.  Moving on to proximity to my house, I sat on hold for there are 6 calls ahead of you before explaining my situation to the receptionist.  Certainly, they'd be delighted to sign me up, but she wanted me to know that the doctor was going on maternity leave in November.

I'm not signing on to someone else who's leaving.  I thanked her and moved on.

Between the DO and the MD, both women, the MD marginally closer, I went for the medical doctor.  She can see me in December for a new patient visit.  I asked for a telemed visit; after all, I haven't been inside anyplace since March 12th.  Nope, she likes first visits to be in person.  I sighed and made an appointment for December 11th.

JannyLou and Lady Jane have concierge doctors, an extra level of service that TBG and I really don't need.  Scarlet has a variety of doctors, but none of them is primarily a gerontologist. Since I've chosen to believe that my next major crisis will be Old Age; I want someone who's well-versed in Geriatrica, as my friend Marilyn Heins calls the land I'm entering as time goes by.

I really didn't want to have to do this.  My physician had promised to see me through to the end.  

She's allowed to have a life of her own.   I just don't like it impinging on mine.