Allergic to November

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It’s one of those dull and dreary overcast snowy days and I’m sitting inside my house sneezing my face off.  Would you not think all the airborne allergens would be frozen solid by November?  We have a constantly running air purifier on our furnace and I have another small one right beside me supposedly sucking the impurities out of my breathing space. Maybe I’m allergic to my choice of tissues.  Wouldn’t that be funny?  Whatever.  I’ve given up trying to figure it out and will eventually get tired of my sniffling and watering eyes and take a 24 hour relief allergy pill.  The strange thing is, tomorrow I may be perfectly fine with no symptoms at all. It’s a perfect day to stay inside where it’s warm so that’s my current plan. I am working on a drawing which is all about perspective and vanishing points and proportions and who knows how many other “p” words.  If pain in the ass comes up, you will never see it. This morning W got the stitches removed from his right hand where he had a procedure done to straighten out his ring and pinky fingers.  He has to wear a splint to keep them straight and will be going to some kind of hand rehab place starting next week.  My sister recently had carpal tunnel surgery on her right hand and is still in recovery mode.  Last night I started knitting a cotton dish cloth (you are officially old when you think this is an interesting way to spend your time) and my right hand went all tingly and numb so I stopped.  Taking frequent breaks helps.  This doesn’t happen when I draw.  Yet.   I cannot imagine what my mood would be like if my right hand suddenly ceased to function normally. Well, the problem is, I CAN imagine it and it’s not pretty.  So let’s all be grateful for the use of whichever hand we use the most to get through our day!  If you don’t type with a pencil between your teeth or paint with your feet, you are one of the lucky ones. Okay, I’m taking a pill now.  Because my nose is going all tingly and numb.  Along with my brain.  Hey, it’s a day and it’s a post   My work here is done. nano

Things You Can Say About Soup

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Yesterday was my two-week follow-up to learn the pathology results from my day surgery lumpectomy.  What can I say?  I’m just a mysteriously lumpy person.  Yet another young doctor poked and prodded my neck and jaw and performed my third ever exploratory scope up the nose and down the throat.  This one without any freezing.  I’d like to say I’m getting used to this procedure and that it hardly bothers me, but that would be a big fat lie.  My eyes tear and my nose runs for the rest of the day afterwards.  This handsome young doctor (yes, I’m not so ancient that I don’t notice and appreciate such things) wanted to give me a clean bill of health because this more thorough lymph node biopsy showed the same thing as the needle biopsy did.  Nothing more than inflammation.  From an infection.  But of what, and from where?  The ENT surgeon is still curious to figure it out and wants more pathology tests done.  He also wants me to take Prednisone for five days. And come back to see him in a month.

The wait in the office was over an hour, during which time we watched, on an overhead waiting room TV,  the latest updates on the situation in Ottawa from Wednesday.  Social media and news coverage seems to be centered on information about fallen soldier Nathan Cirillo and the heroic actions of Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, with very little about the perpetrator of this cowardly crime.  And that is as it should be.

I am happy to be alive and to once again be declared cancer free.  I never know how stressed I really am about something until it’s over and I suddenly feel lighter and able to breathe great refreshing deep breaths again.  A lone gunman in the nation’s capital will forever be associated with this little moment in my life.

After my appointment, W decided to look up a former co-worker from back in his government days who now works at the University Hospital doing bookings.  I met her once at a long ago Christmas party which I barely remember being dragged to, so she and I didn’t have a lot to talk about.  I mostly listened to her and W catch up on what happened to every person they ever knew.  She decided to give us a little tour of the Edmonton Oilers Ambulatory Clinic at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.  At the U of A hospital everything is connected to everything else.  I just wanted to go home and make soup.

Because this is exactly the kind of brilliant and exciting anti-social personality I have been nurturing these days.  I just want to stay at home, read books and blogs, watch movies and sneak Halloween candy from the cupboard.  All of this activity gives me so many topics to blog about (stop – you can’t see the computer screen when your eyes are rolling like that) I just can’t seem to make myself focus on any one thing.  Until – SOUP.  And the things that can be said about it.  In list form.  Why not.

1.  The process involved in making home-made soup is very therapeutic.  At the dinner table a much-loved uncle used to say, with the passing of every dish – “here, have some of this, it’s good for what ails you”.  Well the making of soup can be curative and good for what ails you.  If you have no clue what I’m talking about, make some and find out for yourself.

2.  Butternut Squash will make soup orange.  I don’t like the taste of squash on its own, so I mixed in all of the following things – white onion, the last of the cabbage, a parsnip, one small white turnip, lots of celery, a zucchini, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, some red and green pepper, a can of chick peas.  All of this was added to vegetable broth, a couple of packages of chicken broth powder, vegetable seasoning, fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  So no ordinary salt and pepper in this house.  There could have been more things than this added, I can’t remember.  I put a yam back in the fridge because the pot was full.  Maybe I threw in a carrot.

3.  When everything is happily boiling away and you turn the heat down to simmer, the house fills with the best aroma ever.  Assuming you like the smell of stuff cooking.

4.  Creamed soups are more yummy than the ones in which you are able to pick out all the vegetables you don’t like.  I don’t like adding flour or cornstarch, so I don’t.  My little hand mixer turns this concoction into a smooth and creamy hot mess delight.  I throw in some butter, because the body absorbs vitamins from vegetables better when there’s fat involved.  Never mind how good it makes things taste.

5.  A piping hot bowl of orange soup on a windy fall day restores your faith in whatever you’ve lost conviction and confidence in.  It’s good for whatever needs rejuvenating.  It promises you that everything will once again be all right.  It’s damned near magical.

And now I’m hungry.

Holy Thursday Walk in the Park

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It used to be extremely important to me, knowing what day of the week I was waking up in.  Now I don’t care; as long as I keep waking up, it’s all good.  And I didn’t suddenly say to myself today “Holy, it’s Thursday!”  in case you were wondering about that title.  This is the origin of my version of Holy Thursday , an old joke from my working days (which ended two weeks ago.)    I noticed there are bloggers out there doing throw-back Thursdays so this is my version of joining in, doing a ping-back to myself.  Weird but fun.  Or maybe fun because it’s weird.

Our poor old tree in the backyard is looking rather bare these days, but on my walk I saw lots of leaves still hanging on, waiting for the next strong north wind to send them flying.  It’s still beautiful weather for us in the middle of October (we often have snow here by Halloween) and on these walks I’m learning to appreciate the benefits of being near-sighted.  Even half dead hedges look good close up.

And then there’s this.

holy thursday 002Yes, it’s a picture of an almost empty 3.78 litre jug of apple juice.  My pre-op instructions advised me to drink three cups of apple juice the night before surgery and 2 cups of it three hours prior to my scheduled surgery time.  So I sent W out to pick up some apple juice.  If I had done a litre to cup calculation I could have let him know that one litre (4.2268 cups) was close enough.  He did pick up a one litre carton, and this jug as insurance I guess.  So if I needed to go for about six more surgeries, we were all set.  We’ve made a good dent in it, in a little over a week, drinking a cup or so each for 8 breakfasts.  I used the last of it in my smoothie this morning and retired the jug to the recycle bin.  My fridge looks empty.

In other ground breaking news (obviously I don’t know the meaning of that phrase) last night I watched the last episode available on Netflix of The 4400.  I’ve started a new book called “The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon.  I am in la-la land and loving it.

Hope you’re having a great Thursday too.

Really

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Our gigantic tree dropping its leaves in at least four backyards.

Several things yesterday got me saying “really?” or even “REALLY??”  It was really that kind of day.

  • We got stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital.  There is construction going on all over this city and we are running out of alternate routes.  Everyone says it will be nice when it’s done, but construction is like housework and will never be done.
  • The nurse at admitting asked me if I hadn’t already checked in because she had me marked off on her list.  Nope, just got here.  So off she went to find my impersonator.
  • Flipping through a home decor magazine I came across instructions for kitchen art. Paint some utensils white, hot glue them (artistically arranged) to a red board, put them in a frame and hang them up. On the same page there was an ad for glass cocktail wands.  So much classier than swivel sticks.  I guess.
  • The many people around me were comparing their various wait times and how far behind things were when a nurse called me to say my doctor was running ahead of schedule.  Do I know how to pick a surgeon or what?
  • Hospital garments confuse the hell out of me.  What goes frontwards and what goes backwards with a gazillion dome fasteners and ties and elastic papery things for gawd knows what.  By the time I got it all figured out we were probably back on schedule.
  • I lost count of how many people with clip boards and check sheets asked me the same questions over and over.  I think they were all planning to meet up in the O.R. later and compare notes.
  • One minute the anesthesiologist was starting my  I.V.  and the next minute it was two or three hours later and I was somewhere else.  This is what time travel must feel like.
  • On a scale of one to ten, one being discomfort and ten being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, how would you rate your pain?  I don’t know.  I hate math.  I had different levels of pain in different places – neck, throat, back, head.  I didn’t want to sound like a wimp or a whiner so I said it was a four.  Wrong answer!  No extra pain meds for you.  Next time they asked I upped it to five.  Still not high enough.  Sigh.
  • After i was declared sane enough to leave, W wheeled me down to the main entrance and left me sitting in front of the hospital directory sign while he went to get the car.  No one asked me for directions.
  • It’s impossible to keep your head still in a moving vehicle even if you hang on to it with both hands.  I suffered a thousand mini whiplashes on the drive home because we kept braking for pedestrians and red lights.  Yes I am being overly dramatic.  I believe most post op patients are.

The pain med prescription bottle says one or two tablets every four hours as needed and they gave me 30 of them.  They are supposed to cause drowsiness but I managed to have a restless night anyway.  I am supposed to leave the steri-strips in place for seven days.  They told me not to have a shower for two days.  REALLY??  That rule is already broken because our shower is hand-held and I kept my neck dry.  Fewer people will die as a result.

Now once again we wait for answers.  Follow up is in two weeks.  By then I should look less like a bus ran over my face.  Another drama queen statement.  Sorry.  I’m drowsy.  Not quite as exhausted as this topic, but close enough.

Hello First Monday in October

Ha! Just showing you I figured out what day it is.

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Watercolor inspired by a Pinterest pin, so not exactly original. Okay, not original at all, but it is my painting and my photo. Let’s just call it “bird with killer eyelashes” and file it under P for practice.

This morning I looked at my calendar, located Monday, and marvelled that it was already the 8th of October.  Except that it’s not.  Time stands still when you neglect to flip your calendar.  Yep, STILL stuck on September.

So that’s been rectified.  Yay me.  We’ve had guests this past week, including this lovely lady.  october 004She’s not that spooky in real life.

On the weekend we removed a very old hide-a-bed from our spare room and replaced it with a queen Ikea bed.  It was either that or risk inflicting back problems and insomnia on everyone concerned.  I suppose we could have opted for something more expensive and comfortable (although even a straw mattress on the floor would probably have been an improvement) but this way no one will be tempted to over stay their welcome, right?   Come to think of it, my cooking might have that problem covered already.

Also this morning, on the 6th, not the 8th, I donned my  long neglected running shoes (which I had to rummage around in the closet to find) and went for a walk.  No one is more surprised by this than me.  It’s a gorgeous fall day!  Sunny and windy and warm.

october 019october 008I saw a lot of trees.  But not one of those painted birds.  A chickadee flew right past my head into a spruce tree and refused to come out and strike a pose for me.  Nevertheless,  the wind and the sun and the fresh air and sunshine blew the cobwebs out of my blogging brain and this mish-mash of a post is the result.

It includes everything but the kitchen sink and a recipe.  I’ll fix the recipe part of that by giving you a list of smoothie ingredients:

  • blueberries
  • fennel
  • cucumber
  • spinach
  • kale
  • apple
  • lemon
  • banana
  • avocado
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • coconut water

Yes, I drank that, and yes, I am still alive.  It tasted great, even with the cucumber, which normally I find remarkably yech and try to avoid,  but mixed up with all the other stuff it’s barely discernible.  The only good cucumber is a pickled one.  (Pickles in a smoothie??  Huh.  Maybe not.)

And on that note, adieu for today.  Tomorrow I might be more focused, but I’m not making any promises.

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I call this “Dead Grass and New Growth in the Autumn Sunshine Along a White Picket Fence”. Anything can be art as long as you give it a long enough name.

 

Let the Bells Ring Out and the Banners Fly

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It’s October! The start of candle burning season!

 

My job is done. The latest paying one, anyway. I’m inventing new jobs for myself by the dozen, although not working very hard at any of them so far. I feel as if I have all the time in the world. That’s probably foolish in the long run but at the moment it just feels good.  How I imagine it would feel to go through a portal to another dimension where fantasy and reality have traded places.  Although maybe slightly less weird.

Yesterday, on my first official day as a retired person, I got all my pre-op tests and reports and preparations done. Lab work, diagnostic imaging, papers, forms, faxes….now I wait for a phone call with a date and time for my day surgery, which they hope to schedule in the next two to three weeks.  I also had my doctor refer me for a hearing test.  She says it often takes up to eight months to get in.  Good thing I can read lips.

All the activity yesterday was more exhausting than showing up for work, since I added in some other running around too, being out and about anyway. What a luxury to know I could just come home and nap if the mood hit me.

There was a minimal amount of fanfare surrounding my leaving work.  I am thankful for that. Well, if you want to know the truth, I practically begged them not to do anything. I hate a fuss. I worked up to the last minute of my schedule, gathered up my stuff and left like it was any other day. Except for hauling away a couple of gifts – a beautiful flower arrangement (artificial because I kill things) and a desk top easel (because apparently I have talked about nothing else besides painting for the last two months). I’d say both of those things are perfect.

Already I’m having trouble remembering what day it is.  So I think I may need a calendar with a schedule on it.  Or I may just sit around on the couch watching Netflix for the rest of my life.

That’s not the only possibility.  I might also sketch and draw and experiment with water-color pencil crayons and consider all the possibilities of mixed media and get lost on Pinterest and never write another thing…..

Nope.  Going to make up a schedule.  The only stipulation will be that I am not allowed to get upset if I can’t stick to it.  It’s not like anyone will notice unless I’m foolish enough to share it.  So,  yeah.  I’ll get right on it.  You’ll know I’m done when you notice some semblance of organization and routine around here.  Not to mention pictures that make sense.

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Of Bogs and Baers

Cat with a backwards "c", a bog and a baer.  Not for sale.  Sorry.

Cat with a backwards “c”, a bog and a baer. Not for sale. Sorry.

Some art work is priceless.  Found these in my filing cabinet under Recipes.  Yes, that’s how I file.  I believe the artist is Kenzie and I’m guessing at about age four. The arrows are a nice touch.  But I’m a little freaked out by the claws on that baer.