How to Kill Your Kid

Snappy title.  Not a murder mystery.  Consider it a medical mystery. One you may find important in your life.

Meet “Katie.”  She looks fine when you meet her. Underneath that big smile and wise-cracking exterior beats a heart with too many nerve centers so it can beat a syncopated rhythm or start going lickety-split in, well, a heartbeat. And then there’s the problem with the valves. She needs a valve job sometime in the near future. Because of these problems she has other problems – like excruciating headaches.  But there is no label saying, “I’m fragile” anywhere to be seen.

When you shake her hand you might think she’s being ladylike, but the reality is that her weak grip is a manifestation of the peripheral neuropathy that’s slowly eating away at her arms, legs, hands, and feet.  She can exercise morning, noon and night, but will never gain muscle mass.  She will however, be sore and exhausted. If you watch her hands you may see her fingers tremble.  She’s not nervous, that’s the neuropathy.

She watches her kids play, but rarely  joins them. She can’t run. She can break an ankle by tripping over a tree root or stepping down off a curb the wrong way.  In fact, she broke an ankle the first time when she was in grade school.  The last time it was so bad she had three surgeries to fix it.  It is still not fixed.  But you probably don’t notice it because she walks without complaint, although slowly. She always wears pretty flip-flops – because her feet don’t fit in shoes because of the deformation that still needs to be surgically fixed. But you are unlikely to be staring at her feet while you ae paying attention to her laugh and smile.

Katie is sick – a lot.  She’ll be out and around with a massive migraine to take her kids to sports and you won’t know. But we do. That’s the problem. To the family, Katie being sick is normal. To Katie being sick is normal. Life revolves around heart palpitations, headaches, surgeries. walkers, crutches, visits to the doctor, blood draws, CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, and visits to the hospital.

If someone else had seen Katie turning bright red all over they might have thought it was something other than having the heating pad on too high. There were signs – a hard time breathing. (Was it the asthma? Get an inhaler.  Is that better?) Hot and sweaty and red – but it went away – and then came back.  (Cold? Flu? Actually, neither.) Take a good look, because a tidal wave of misery can be coming.

Finally, Katie, who is sick of doctors and hospitals, went to the hospital. Thank God she did. There a miracle happened. An ER doctor didn’t brush her off as a chronically ill complainer. He had a hunch why she was sick. He had her transferred to a state of the art medical center where they realized that Katie was close to death.

No one has answers for how Katie got both bacteria and fungus in her blood. Was it from one of her surgeries?  There have been several recently.  Was it from the cellulitis she got from a flu shot?  The cellulitus from the foot surgery?  From the Port? (the port had to be removed). After a CT scan found the tumor in her upper spine and she started losing body function there was a surgery to remove it, but it couldn’t be removed. So they took out spinal bone instead to stop spinal cord compression.

They might never have gotten that far if Katie died from the effects of the infections in her blood. The list of complications from that is long and scary. The surgical risks were scary too. Life for Katie is a roller coaster high point to a screaming low after another.That’s why people who are used to seeing someone with chronic illness can miss things. And those missed things can be fatal.

The lesson I learned was that if a symptom in anyone else would concern me – the next stop is the hospital where they can draw blood, do MRIs on the spot, CT scans, and x-rays. Over the years it became too easy to see all problems as a chronic illness problem rather than a life-endangering acute crisis issue. See your primary care for routine medical care.

A lot of my readers have chronic illness. It is easy to feel like that super-low you’ve been facing for a few days is just another crappy day. Then again, it might be something like Katie is facing.  Want to take the chance?

I told Katie that the next time I see something that would scare me in anyone else I am taking her to the hospital – period.

I’m HoH – almost deaf – but I can see. I knew she was sick and I knew the symptoms were out of the norm.

I want you to look at yourself in the mirror – especially if you have chronic illness – and ask yourself if this is different from what is usually going on. Then look at your loved ones with health problems and resolve that if they were anyone else and you had the power to get them medical care – that you do whatever is necessary to get them that care.

Katie’s saga continues.  We’re fortunate it does, although it is a painful continuation.

Take care of yourselves. Don’t brush off pain in the chest and difficulty breathing even if you think it is the “same-old, same-old” whatever it is that gives you grief. If you start having strange symptoms like turning red all over and dripping sweat for no reason at all – get medical care, for goodness sake!

Be well. Stay well.


As most of my gentlereaders know I was seriously injured in an accident about a month ago – resulting in a badly broken shoulder and surgery – as well as other consequences we won’t go into now.  From the first time I saw the surgeon – three weeks after surgery – I was trying to get permission to drive (didn’t get it) and work out (didn’t get that either).

I recently had the good fortune to get permission to drive on any day I am not wearing a sling or taking anything stronger than Tylenol.  Need I say that the sling is gone as are the stronger painkillers?  I am still not allowed to “work out.”

This morning, on a lonely road in New Hampshire, I was riding along (alone) in my automobile when I started feeling rhythmic bumps and thumps that seemed to be emanating from the front of the car. Not really being able to hear what the noise was associated with it I pulled off the road and spent some time examining the tires to make sure I had not picked up a bolt or other large object.  Nope.  Back in the car, the bumps and thumps continued.  By this time I’m feeling unnerved.  Is it a wheel bearing? Master cylinder? Loose strut? Shock? I’m driving very slowly in case the car breaks down.  Finally, I turned the car onto a different road and suddenly it is fine.  Clearly, I was experiencing pavement problems.  I’ve never had that happen for miles on end.

It got me to wondering. If I could hear the sounds associated with different problems, would I have recognized it was not a tire, not a bearing, not a strut?  I mean, mechanics ask me what sound the car is making if I bring it in for service and mostly all I can describe is the feeling I get when I’m driving it. How do I know what it sounds like? The first time I ever really heard the motor I thought it was going to fall out of the car or something.

Later today my daughter, her husband, and son decided to go for a hike.  I said, “Me too!” and my daughter inquired as to whether I was permitted to walk.  “Yes!”  I had permission to walk – the right half of my upper half may be broken, but the other bits and bobs are working as well as they did before.

I put on my cross-trainers (good for anything from aerobics to weight training – certainly good for hiking, right?), got out my walking poles with the nice pointy tips on them and we piled into the car to head to the hiking trails.  The kids learned something new – there is a calorie free/carb free version of Powerade Zero to be had at the store.  And I got to walk. (Big cheesy grin)

We went to Willard Brook State Forest and started out on the Friends Trail, then veered off on a Yellow trail.  I’d guess we walked about a mile or more before we headed back.  The trail was sometimes broad and flat, sometimes rather steep and narrow, filled with standing water, rocks, and even a couple of fallen trees.  I never slipped, tripped or stumbled even once and never needed to depend on the walking poles. I’m very sure footed except on extremely slick surfaces – where almost anyone will have a problem – or if I am tangled up by wires or ropes.

I had a blast. My grandson and I often outpaced the grownups (I guess this means I am not a grownup).  I could have gone twice as far, but I suppose it is good to start slowly. My only gripe is that it costs $5 to park and who can pay THAT every day?  I’d like to go back, but I need to find a way to get in without paying that amount of money.

I saw movement by the trail and pointed out a tiny brown toad – probably not the size of a quarter – to my grandson and daughter.  I’m good at seeing things. Hearing? Meh.

All the time we were there I kept hearing rushing water, like a waterfall.  Finally I asked my son-in-law where the rushing water was.  He told me it was the wind in the leaves of the trees.  There was wind overhead but not much near the ground – more is the pity, as there were lots of gnats. Again I wondered what the difference is between the rushing of wind through the leaves of the trees and a distant waterfall.  I guess I will never know.

Often I hear a sound and guess at what it could be. Sometimes I’m right.  Sometimes I’m wrong.  Environmental noises are sometimes really tough.  I visited my friend, Domi, yesterday and I kept hearing little noises that sounded like the bubbling mud pots of Yellowstone as I remember them. It was her dishwasher.

My Arm Hurts

I suppose it comes as no surprise since it was less than a month ago that I fell down a flight of stairs, dislocating my shoulder and breaking the humerus into several pieces just below the ball that fits into the shoulder.  Among other joys, my tendons are no longer anchored and snap around like kite string. On a good day my upper arm hurts and on a less than good day it hurts a great deal. Today is one of those ice-pick in the shoulder days.  I need to find the Tylenol.  I refuse to take more opiates.  There are worse things than being in pain.

I realize I am fortunate to be alive, not to have broken my neck, and a host of other terrible options that never materialized.  I have a roof over my head and food in my mouth at my daughter’s home.  She did not have to take me in.  I am blessed that she did.

Now that my arm is no longer swathed to my chest I reflexively try to sign.  Mind you, I don’t have anyone to sign with.  I am live with generally soft-spoken hearing people who don’t sign and are unlikely to start anytime soon.  My daughter used to know how to sign, but doesn’t like signing.  I signed the Serenity Prayer for my OT today, just to have someone to talk with – she doesn’t sign.  I taught her the sign for “God.”

I’ve stopped trying to participate in conversations I can’t understand since I am tired of hearing “never mind.”  I’ve been considering using paper and pen.  I do have to ask for things.  I do not always get what I ask for – they are all busy people with busy lives.  They to their best for me.  I cannot ask for more.

I’ve learned how to do the dishes with one hand – using my right hand to hold a soapy sponge.  No one asked me to.  I want to help earn my keep.  I  found out I can’t scrub pots and pans.  No, there is no dishwasher.

I know eventually I will heal, and also realize ASL is a 3D language and I’m not sure how to do it anymore.  Sometimes the slightest motion sets the tendons and ligaments rolling around the inside of my arm and I stop in mid movement.  Today the Occupational Therapist finally felt them and winced, asking, “Does it hurt?”  I’m not sure “hurt” is the right word.

My daughter is marrying tomorrow and I was invited to practice.  I now know I will understand nothing spoken there.  My FM system is not with me and my good hearing aid does not work anyway.  I  thought about it and decided I will be quiet, attentive, and ask for nothing.  It is her day, not mine.

I am tired.  I took a shower and the attempt to wash my hair was challenging. My arm hurts.  And perhaps also my heart… just a little bit.


Grandma got run over by a reindeer

Thanks to Byakko for the “Can’t hear you!” graphic.

Is there a category for noise trauma?  There is PTSD as a result of war, natural disaster, and other sorts of trauma – why not noise?

I went to a large suburban mall which shall remain nameless to meet my daughter’s family at a Rainforest Restaurant.  Being an avid photoblogger, I got there early to find a few photo ops.  Bad decision.

While I’ve heard that many malls were almost empty on the 24th, this one was packed. Christmas music was blasting over the loudspeakers. People were shouting over the loudspeakers in every known language of the world and put me in mind of the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. The vendors in the middle of the hallways were hawking their wares.

Suddenly I realized I could not understand anything at all – not one word. The entire sound sound picture had just turned to mud. Sometimes I ducked into stores that seemingly were playing their own Christmas music at high volume as well. I fiddled with my hearing aid – it has a few settings. Considered taking it out.  Shrugged and kept going.  It ended up being a surreal experience.  So much noise. So little ability to comprehend anything.

Thanks to Misspoetik for her ASL graphic

At one point I was walking down a hall when a young female vendor literally jumped in front of me – startling the bejesus out of me – and began yammering in my general direction while shoving something at me.  At this point, something snapped and I started signing at her – not in a particularly nice “tone of voice” – about my being deaf and not wanting to hear from her unless she could sign. I plead temporary insanity since I then shoved past her and stalked off.

I did stop and buy two loaves of bread from a very nice vendor who worked with me, stepping up close when I asked, speaking clearly and distinctly when I told him I could not hear, and very gently helping me sort out what I wanted.  It was the highlight of my experience. Yes, I realize going out on the 24th was insane, but I wanted to see the grandkids.

The Rainforest Restaurant (Cafe?) is a cacophony of sounds from the elephants to the hooting primates to the faux thunderstorms and god knows what else. The elephants made small children scream and cry, so apparently I’m not the only one disturbed by the noise. Before the meal was ordered I was popping Tylenol like candy and finally took out my hearing aid. I couldn’t understand much of what was being said, but at least it was at a much lower volume. I got to visit with my daughter and oldest granddaughter – sort of. The younger kids were an hour late and the little guy was out of sorts and almost asleep by the time we decamped.  By the time I got home I was so exhausted that I went to bed at 7:30 p.m.

I honestly do not understand how “hearies” do it.  Aieee! I very much miss having a hearie with me who can understand it all.

Post Sandy Reflections

Today is a departure from our more or less regular comments on my journey through life as a HoH Boomer.

For the past two days I’ve been pretty much sleeping through Sandy the Frankenstorm.  Why sleeping?
Because I could track the pressure put out by Sandy through the changes in my headache – one variation was an invisible super-sized wrestler trying to yank my cranium in half and the other extreme was the gnome inside said cranium hammering a 10 penny nail from the inside trying to get out. It wasn’t until today that the pounding has become a less insistent pulsing. There are still storms around, but none with the incredible low pressures of Sandy. Sandy on 10/30/2012 headed south on 495——>

Around where I live power outages reigned, but we did have water and compared to the Halloween storm of last year – this one was warm so the temperatures are doable. Apparently, though, Sandy took down a high tension power pole about a mile from the office building where I rent space – sort of between it and where I live … so zowie… it took out both.

And we are LUCKY!  Incredibly lucky.  No flooding. No trees crushing people to death. No major catastrophes. My daughter and her middle daughter saw a power line catch on fire today, but they were not harmed by it. In fact, I’m at my daughter’s now, camping on the couch since she has all the amenities.

We are truly blessed. Everyone is alive and well.  We have been mildly inconvenienced, but that is all. I got to spend time with the most precious children in the world (IMO) and I know that all the people I cherish most are blessed with a roof over their heads, food in their mouths, warm beds, and love. We may fuss at each other, but we’re so very fortunate to have what we’ve got – from the poorest church mouse among us to the wealthiest city mouse we’re okay.

We are fortunate to have a government that responds quickly with FEMA for badly damaged areas when we could be like Haiti or other areas were we have no help, no hope, nothing but our own two hands. We have much to be thankful for – even with the damage and the sad loss of life. It could have been much worse.  So thank you, Higher Power (universal for everyone) for your blessings.

Tonight I sleep with a hearing aid in so I can hear my iphone alarm and I’m lucky to have both the hearing aid and the phone.  G’night all.  Be well and be blessed.

Maybe I am just a wee bit less energetic

I normally think I am up for just about anything. I go to the gym, walk the dog, work at starting a law business, run thither and yon. So taking the grandkids to visit Mom at Mass General Hospital was a walk in the park, right? (I hear parents laughing quietly up their sleeves.)

So, I grab the car and drive about an hour away to where the kids are. Run to the school to pick up the art project, realize the kids have to take the bus because the art project takes up too much room in my car. Stop by the local donut shop and get myself what amounts to a Caf-Pow and a dozen very large donut holes – three kids/four donut holes, right? (Stop laughing, parental people.)

Meet the eldest one at the house, get the project in, spill coffee on my car hood as I’m cleaning it out for the little ones. Get the booster seat, organize toileting, gathering drinks (after all, I have those 12 large donut holes) and then load the highschooler, gradeschooler and kindergartner into the car and head to Boston on Route 2 guided by the GPS. Did I mention, I don’t usually take Route 2?

Remember my math? 12 donut holes – 3 kids. When the teenager gets the donut bag back from the peanut gallery there are no donut holes. The gradeschooler ate 9. So I’m scouting around for a donut shop or something – fast food of some kind – to feed the starving teen (who is not pleased). Can’t find a blooming thing. Run into traffic jams. Bumper to bumper stuff. Isn’t everyone supposed to be heading OUT of Boston for the weekend? Two hours later we make it to Fresh Pond Mall, by which time the little guy is sitting in lemonade and all the kids want food. Stop at a Dunkin and get milk, bagels and another donut for the little guy. Why a donut for him? Because I’m too worn out to tell him no.

Finally make it to the hospital. By this time I’ve been on the road for 3 and a half hours since I left my office. The kids are bored, need to use the bathroom again and about this time I find out the teenager had a study date – has to do projects and her finals are next week. So she’s peeved at having to go. Meanwhile, the gradeschooler is supposed to be at a sleepover that we’re not going to make in time. I feel so used…

So we make a mad dash to Mom’s room and spend a little over an hour at which point I dash the kids to the car, and take off for their home. It’s been a long day, so of course, the tired kids in the back seat start biting, punching and yukking like the Three Stooges – alternately swinging between mayhem and hysteria. It is a darn good thing I am half deaf or I’d be entirely deafened by the noise level. Periodically the teenager and I attempt to restore order in the back seat. I ponder putting the big kid back there and the gradeschooler in front, but she’s not big enough for the front seat yet. We hear the sounds of ripping, which is the kindergartener turning his homework and projects into confetti. (Sounds of grandmother beating head on steering wheel.)

We actually make pretty good time to Woburn as I am NOT taking Rt. 2 again, where we stop at Wendy’s for dinner (this is not a low-cal day for me, it seems) and then cut through the back roads to Rt. 3 and off we go as fast as I can manage without getting a ticket. Meanwhile, the little kids have turned into little hooligans and are totally out of control. The teenager threatens to make them walk home. I think of the fact their father considered taking them to Montreal and realized he would not have one black hair left on his head if he did – or maybe any hair at all!

Drop the oldest off for her study date – sort of late, but she stays up late on the weekends. I take the little ones home. Dad is looking sort of fried. I know the feeling. He’s been shopping for Father’s day for his Dad and getting things for the kids as well. I tell him the kindergartener reeks of lemonade and spilled milk and offer to take the gradeschooler to her sleepover. First he says, no, no, you’ve done enough, it’s so late…then he realizes he is overwhelmed too. I take the gradeschooler so he can take care of the kindergartner.

On the way home I recognize that I still have the booster seat and the kindergardener’s toys. Small problem – ignore. Get to my abode about 9 hours after I left my office. Drag in and stagger over to the couch where I am greeted by the dog who desperately needs his own toileting. Take dog out, come back in, collapse.

Okay, I admit it – I can no longer keep up with three kids who are on overdrive on a Friday afternoon just days from the end of the school year. They need someone younger – much younger – with better hearing and more stamina. Holy moly. Beatles song about being 64… fade to black.

A Love Story

I love my Mom. Until recently I don’t think I realized how truly blessed I am to have had her in my life.

On a women’s forum the question came up as to whether we wanted to be like our mother or not and how successful we’d been in that goal. I responded that if I were half the woman my Mom was that I’d be a remarkable human being. Over the next couple weeks others posted their observations about their mothers poor decision-making, angry personalities or other decided failings.

Laughter:  So many times Mom and I laughed until we cried, the tears of laughter streaming down our faces like rivers of joy. Sometimes we had to hang on each other or risk falling down and rolling around on the floor. I can’t think of one other person in my life I’ve shared that sort of laughter with. I guess she took that particular form of joy along with her when she left.

Renaissance Woman:  Mom sewed clothes, tailored, founded and ran her own business, did her own bookkeeping, handled all the production schedules, did all the record keeping and ordering, did the production work and the delivery and did it looking like a classy Western businesswoman. She cooked, cleaned, organized the house, raised a garden the size of a small Eastern state – canning and freezing food – and sending me door to door to give away all the food we overproduced and couldn’t eat.  Mom played the piano, taught me the joys of the Polish musical genius, Frederic Chopin, and accompanied me when I was studying voice. If it wasn’t for her I might never have beaten dyslexia. She found ways to help me before there was any treatment for something she didn’t know I had. She was amazing in what she could do. I am still astounded by her capacity for being able to do seemingly everything she turned her hand and mind to.

Gifts:  Mom was warm, loving, positive, genuinely caring, kind, compassionate, the kind of person who invested in making the lives of others better. She gave of herself in so many ways to so many people. She taught me it is not the words we say, but the acts we perform that make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others. She practically fed another family who were having hard times. Mom was truly humble; she never sought any recognition for all her good works – which were legion.  She is the reason I ended up in social work – helping others one life at a time.

I’m sure that there were times she must have shaken her head over me, but she never made me feel as if I was a screw-up.  She had endless patience with me – and as an ADD/ADHD, dyslexic hard-of-hearing kid with dyscalculia I bet I was a handful.

Mom did tell me once I was the hardest kid to raise because I watched my older sister and brother and in trying not to make the same mistakes I made all new ones she didn’t anticipate.

I think this illustrates her point: I remember one night I picked up a bottle of Strawberry wine that was on the counter. My sister-in-law’s mom had made it for them.  I peered at it because it looked like tomatoes “working” (spoiling) to me.  Just then the top blew off (thank heavens the bottle didn’t explode!) and shot rotting strawberry wine all over.  I was trying to get it over the sink while it geysered – slipping and sliding as the rotten wine spurted through my fingers.  It was like trying to hold warm, shaken soda in a bottle.  I’m not sure I managed to get much down the drain because it was everywhere on Mom’s bone-white kitchen walls and ceiling – and me.  It was running down my hair, dripping in my eyes, and I reeked of rotten wine. I tried to get it cleaned up as best I could and stripped off most of my soaked and stinking clothing.  Then I had to wake Mom up because it was such a disaster.  She opened her eyes and groaned, “Oh, my God, you’re drunk.” It took the better part of the rest of the night to clean the kitchen. We found rotten strawberry drops for months.  It is like confetti – confetti lives on in shag carpets forever.  We could not clean the stain off the walls. I had to primer them – twice – and repaint them. My clothes never did come clean and I smelled like rotten strawberries for a couple of days even after repeated scrubbings. That’s what she meant, I think, by the kind of things I got into.  And no, I was not drunk.  I was sober as a judge.

I can’t remember one time she lost her temper with me. There must have been at least once, but I don’t remember it – or maybe she really was the Saint I remember her to be.

And I can’t remember ever being really upset with her except the time she ran over my foot with the car. It was the only time I ever remember yelling at her.  Of course, I was hopping around holding my bruised foot at the time. I did apologize later.  She didn’t mean to run over my foot, after all.  And we both learned something from it – like the fact I needed to get out of the way when she pulled out of the driveway.

If there is an after world – something none of us will be able to ascertain for sure until we are dead – hers is the first face I want to see, the first arms I want to fall into, and I want to laugh until the tears run down our faces and we have to hold each other for eternity to keep from falling down and rolling around on the floor in helpless laughter.  Later, I’d like to meet her father, but I want to spend the first few eons with her.

Mom… Miss ya.  Mean it.  You’re my hero.  You always have been. You always will be.  I have done my best to model my life on yours; avoiding the few potholes you fell into during your life journey.  Our lives might not have been able to be more different if I tried, but I’ve always put my actions first and words second. I hope you approve. I could not, in any reality, wish for a better mother than you.  It is a love story – I love you  now and forever.  If there is one thing I have learned it is that love never dies.

An adventure into body art

Something that really doesn’t require hearing, just intention and the willingness to allow yourself to be punctured a zillion times with a needle bearing ink.  It felt like a very tiny scalpel making tiny cuts.  I do wish I’d turned off my hearing aid since the hum of the machine was sort of like having a very large insect buzzing in my head.  But once the artist started working moving wasn’t an option.

The tattoo was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter.  I’ve had folks tell me to make sure I really want this because I’ll have it “forever.”  I responded that “forever” from my age is not nearly as long as “forever” from the aspect of a younger person.

I did not grimace or comment even though the session was pretty uncomfortable. And it was done in stages as it was shaded.  The sore spots got sorer with each application – deep purple, lighter purple, and white.  Take a lesson from that if you’re considering taking the plunge. Consider lettering – all one color – no shading.

The artist did an excellent job.  It will take a bit of getting used to that I now have a permanent  purple bracelet on my right wrist, but as with all changes with my body (the scars, ear piercings, hearing aids, sagging skin, wrinkles, etc.) soon it will be the most normal thing in the world.

I’d found a “bracelet” associated with Irish Brehons and then lost track of the website – which was really quite annoying.  Look as I might, I never duplicated the search.  I considered the word “Serenity”, but settled on Celtic knotwork across my right wrist as a”bracelet” of sorts.  I suppose it should have been green, but I don’t care for that much green.  I like purple – purple fingernails, dresses, scarves, blouses, even a purple shawl, so there you have it!

I don’t have a good photo of it.  It’s darned difficult to take a photo of your wrist with your other hand using an iPhone. I know.  I tried.  And the photos taken at the tattoo place really don’t do it justice.

I wonder how many boomers out there have taken the plunge into body art (outside of pierced ears).

Banana meatloaf

Yea, verily, I say unto you than in the land of Idaho there was a housewife of German extraction who made the best German food.  We are talking dumpings so light they had to be held down lest they drift off.  (Yes, I still have the recipe.)  However, her husband did not care for German food so she toiled day and night learning American cuisine with some remarkable results.  We shall, for the nonce, pass by the over-cooked soggy spaghetti made with cream of tomato soup (shudder). This trip down memory lane is more along the line of the (for the time) weird.

Said Germanic extraction housewife loved getting recipes from ladies’ magazines.  Lady’s Home Journal.  Redbook.  You know the drill.  And there came a day when she proudly presented: Banana meatloaf.

At the best of times meatloaf has always given me an Alka-Seltzer moment.  I had the same relationship with any meat mixed with bread or breadcrumbs until I had stomach surgery.  It wasn’t that it tasted bad, simply that I was really good friends with Tums, Mylanta, and old plop-plop fizz-fizz until it passed through my miserable stomach (thanks for the lousy stomach, Dad.)   So I was ready to endure the pain on a more or less weekly basis – that is, until the meatloaf with the banana down the middle with mustard glaze on top.  

The crazy thing is that there is now an actual recipe for something akin to it, merely involving mashed banana meatloaf.  But in days of yore the husband decided to eat out with friends that night and the daughter of the household begged off saying she was not hungry.

It was not until years later that I realized the recipe likely called for plantain – of which we probably had none in rural Idaho. What I do remember is said housewife doggedly eating her way through an entire meatloaf one week so as not to have it go to waste.  It was really doomed from the beginning since a sweet mustard sauce (gag) added just one more layer of shudder to the concoction – at least for the teenage daughter in the family.

Odd what we remember.  If she were alive I wonder if it would even be a blip on her radar screen?  Or if it would rank right up there with the time my brother threw a handful of dried hot peppers in the chicken soup, fishing them out before we noticed, and it was so hot that he was the only one who could eat it.  In fact, our intrepid cook thought the soup had rat poison added to it. I think my brother had a gallon of soup to eat and that time the cook and the little kid went out to eat.

Just how many hours are there….

Days blur by.  The morning “shake my bed until I get up” alarm starts it off and shortly thereafter a steady flow of caffine, people, computers, meetings, and program reading fill all the nooks and crannies of my life. Add to that a healthy dose of family involvement and the old gal starts slacking off on her blog.  When sleep and doing laundry become your favorite “hobbies” there is a message in there to SLOW DOWN! 

AA has it right. HALT!   Never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  Since getting to ASL class is proving to be extremely hard (I may have to take it again in the fall) I started attending a local open AA meeting with interpreters. Good thing AAers are inclusive. And to me a meeting is a meeting and the steps are the steps.

Achievements of note during my hiatus include teaching my youngest granddaughter to cast on knitting, how to establish the first two rows and the joys of ripping and restarting in order to achieve the desired look. My grandson has proven to be a spectacular pizza orderer and came up with pepperoni, bacon, and pineapple, with red sauce, which I can recommend to anyone who can imbibe in pork products.  There is nothing to report on the eldest since she and her turtle shell backpack are in Alaska learning the ins and outs of snow boarding with her Alaska Dad. Hopefully she will come back without a cast on some appendage.  I must text her to pick me up a Fur Rondy pin or T-shirt.

I found out that not just dogs get parvo. Who knew?  There is a human (non-lethal) parvovirus called Fifth Disease and when adults get it, it can be quite the problem.  I thought my daughter had shingles, and perhaps she’d have been better off if she had.  Instead, she developed  the parvovirus mimic of severe rheumatoid arthritis and is now taking enormous horse pill akin to Celebrex on steroids.  The doctors say it will be a few weeks.  The web says it can be months.  I hope the doctors are right.  (Note to Higher Power – please turn this virus away from me, if possible!  I can’t take anti-inflammatory drugs.)

And so it goes.  The new hearing aid is wonderful!  I’ve been told by the ENT that with it I have near normal hearing in that one ear.  We disagree over bi-cross aids.  Been there. Done that.  Not interested in trying them again.  I love my iCom, just wish it would keep a charge longer. I don’t watch TV so the TV link is not on my horizon.

Spring seems to have arrived without the advent of a snowy winter.  We’ve had an “open winter” which means there will probably be drought conditions this summer.  Hopefully we will get enough rain to offset that, but one never knows.