Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow Day!

This is what we woke to, yesterday. They say Bloomington (IN) received 12.5 inches of snow and for one of the few times in the history of forever, Indiana University was closed. I had a lovely day! I cleaned house, did laundry, ironing, cleaned the kitchen, warmed chili from the night before for lunch, made pizza and berry crisp for dinner, took a nap, read my book, (Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner) took a shower and shaved my legs, shoveled the drive with Doug and played with my puprs. Not especially in that order.

This is the view out our back patio door near the deck.
This is our Rose of Sharon bush.

A Rose of Sharon bud holding snow.

This is a light, shaped like a bell, normally covered in ivy in the summer months. Here, wearing a gown of snow.

Chelsea had a blast. She bobbed up and down like a rabbit. She tunneled through snow and stuck her snow in to sniff and investigate.

My swing. Care to join me?

Bird bath. It is peaked like this because there is a statue of a frog prince in the center.

Lovely day for a picnic.

View of the pines through the living room window.

View from the window in my keeping room.

Berry cobbler. I had a bag of frozen blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. I tossed with sugar and cornstarch and then made a topping. It was delicious. I had the last of it this morning for breakfast, topped with vanilla yogurt.

"Healthy" version of pizza. I greased the pan with olive oil, used a roll out crust from a can- used jar pizza sauce, ground fresh Parmesan over that. Then I topped with shredded chicken which I had boiled in broth. Then I added black olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and pimento and topped with mozzarella. When Doug came home he said "what is the occasion?" I said "I just wanted you to see what it would be like if you had a stay-at-home wife."
It was a lovely stay-at-home day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't use that tone with me!

Last night I went to pick up my medicine. I thought it was called in last Friday, but had been unable to get there. First, I told the woman that I had a script to pick up. We went through the whole name, date of birth routine. Then she asked what I was picking up. I said "I don't know - it is a steroid," and told her the doctor's name. (The script I was picking up was the only one under his name.) "EN-TO-CORT," she told me as if I were a toddler. "The name of your medicine is ENTOCORT. And that was filled LAST FRIDAY." I just looked at her and thought "o.k., whatever." I was under the impression that sometimes, places didn't fill the prescriptions until the buyer arrived to pick them up.
Then I asked her what other meds she had on file for me because I'm out of something at home.
"Just about everything." she said.
I said "well, I usually do mail prescriptions, so I didn't know what you had on file for me."
Then I asked for that medication by name and she told me she didn't have it.
She had a name badge with a long row of gold hearts across the top of it. I thought to myself, surely those are for years of service and not that you have an actual heart or that you've been rewarded for excellent customer service.

There is another place in town that carries scrap booking supplies and sometimes I go there to buy card making supplies. The woman behind the register just stares at the register as if it has a television screen on it. She doesn't smile, never makes small talk, just seems as if she is a zombie. I would rather drive to Papertrix in Nashville to see my friends Cindy and Wayne than buy from the zombie-woman.

With all of the problems with the economy, I would think people would be running to meet consumers with open arms. Because I am still stimulating the economy, I am going to be careful as to where I spend my dollars! So if you aren't friendly or if you are down-right hateful to me, I don't think I'll be back. It would be too bad if things got so bad that you lost your job over it. You see, I do believe one person can make a difference. Especially when that one person is ME.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I risked life and limb to take this photograph.

Thank God for the zoom feature on my camera. Doug says this is "redneck humor." Frankly, it frightens me. I was on edge when I took this photo, but my desire to share this with you was greater than my fear. But, don't you think these folks mean business?

Yup. They live on our road. These are our neighbors, bein' neighborly.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Finally, a diagnosis!

After many tests and procedures, all of which were inconclusive, I received the call yesterday from my surgeon's office. I have microscopic colitis. They will treat with a one to two month regimen of Entocort. I will be very happy to be well...but hope the meds don't make me get "puffy." But, because I've been sick now for awhile, I've dropped ten pounds and the loose skin on my face flaps in the wind, so I suppose I could handle a little puffiness.
I'm tired of being tired and tired of being sick. If anyone has any diet suggestions (or otherwise), I would welcome them. I already know that I cannot eat greasy foods. I made two of my homemade deep dish pizzas with sausage and pepperoni on Christmas Eve and was too sick to take a bite. I also know that I can't eat spicy stuff. Tory from Dr. B's office also said to stay away from acidic foods- which I hadn't thought of.
Duggles returns from Mexico this evening and he is taking me out to eat, my choice. Four hundred restaurants in Bloomington and I don't know where I want to go! What a dilemma to be in! It is fifty-two degrees here this afternoon and all I want to do is wash my car - but the lines were endless at lunch time. Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More of my homemade cards.

I've had a few requests from folks asking me to post some more of my homemade cards. I made around sixty Christmas cards and didn't photograph a single one of them! And, I might add, I mailed out my cards after Christmas. I had made most of them before Christmas, just didn't get around to the mailing out part.

This is a card that I made for my friend Carol - because she loves cowboys and cowgirls. The quote says "there is a wild little woman in each of us." Amen, sista!

Valentine's Day cards...

and, a birthday card. Doug has been gone since last Sunday and on Sunday afternoon and evening and most of Monday, I sat and made cards and bookmarks. I had so much fun! Just me, myself and I!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

If you are a nurse, please listen to your patient.

I went in for the endoscopy and colonoscopy last Friday. First, they have you hop into one of those ridiculous gowns. I asked the nurse "why do I keep trying to cover up my bottom when it is going to be revealed to the whole world?"
Then there were lots of questions for me to answer, followed by getting my i.v. started. The nurse first went for my left arm. I said "do you have to do it in the left?" she said "we prefer it, if possible." I said "usually, they go for my right." So, she switches to the right arm. She begins to poke around. I said "I've been a blood donor since age nineteen. They usually go in right here," -pointing to the hollow of my elbow. She said "I don't think I like that vein - I like this one." So, she puts the needle into a vein that no one ever goes for. Immediately, I'm in pain. She stands back "how does that feel?" Me: "Um, it feels as if it is on fire." She continues to poke. "well, it does look as if it is beginning to swell..." She takes it out and calls for another nurse to bring in one of her "special" needles. I don't know if this is code for "I screwed up, come in here and fix this," or what. The next nurse comes in, puts the needle in where the needle normally goes in, no problem. The first nurse left me a little gift to remember her by. "Peggy, (?) I forgive you." But the next time your patient tries to help you out, you might listen.
The i.v. had Benadryl in it. I was already sleepy and tired from not eating for days and for all of the preparation I'd been through. But, it was very important to me that I meet the doctor who was going to perform the procedures. So, I struggled to stay awake. They wheeled me into the surgery room (and yes, Dave, there were tubes hanging everywhere)(really). I had initially asked the admitting nurse if she had read the Dave Barry piece and asked if it was indeed 17,000 feet of tubing. She assured me that for my endoscopy, it was only two feet of tubing and for my colonoscopy, only five feet of tubing. I suppose this was supposed to make me feel better. Finally, the doctor arrived and shook my left hand (as I was hooked to the i.v. with my right arm). I said to him, "please take care of me as I am the only one I have." He said "I assure you, you are as precious to us as you are to yourself." Then they proceeded to begin the endoscopy. I felt panic rising from within "wait, I was told I would be out during the procedure..." "Oh, you will be, but we'll coach you through it..." My mind was reeling "I HATE THIS!" I did NOT want to be nurse asked me to open my mouth for her to spray a numbing agent in the back of my throat to prevent gagging. The second nurse held the beginning of the tubing towards me and said something like "now, just open up..."
The next thing I knew, Doug was standing beside my bed, a nurse is patting my hand and asking me to wake up. I said "it is all over?" wondering what Doug was doing in the surgery room.
They had already taken me back to recovery and I didn't even know it. I just wanted to snuggle down and sleep, but that nurse was kicking me out. My head was spinning and I just felt like I was going to pitch forward. Doug helped me to get my clothes on and a couple of nurses walked me out to the van. I kicked back the seat and slept. Then, Doug walked me in, I kicked off my tennis shoes and crawled into bed. At some point, my son called me, messing with me in my confused state. He told me later that I got all of his questions correct, that it just took me a long time. Then another friend called around 6 or 6:30 and I was ready to get up.
Doug was wonderful to me. I was very happy to see him standing there when the nurse roused me.
Thank you for all of your good wishes. We are waiting for colon biopsy results. No polyps, no ulcers. Just a big ol' bruise from nurse Peggy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

17,000 feet of tubing!

Tomorrow is the big day!
Not only the day that they are going to stick 17,000 feet of tubing up my behind, they are also sticking tubing (scopes) down my throat and into my stomach. I don't know which upsets me more.
My nurse practicioner thought she was hilarious when she explained to me "we'll use different scopes."
Thanks, Sue.

I picked up my box of moviprep at the pharmacy at Kroger last night. The pharmacy tech told me how "lucky" I was that they still had it left. She assured me that they have been going through them in record numbers. This is supposed to comfort me?

So, last night I drank the "pleasantly lemon flavored" bottle of stuff that is the start of the expedition. I think the bottle should have been labeled "pleasantly lemon flavored gag medicine." Ugh. The official name of the stuff is "magnesium citrate." Maybe a better name would be "magnesium spit-trate." They did give me a pill for nausea (vistaril), but I still felt nauseated.

Today, thus far, I've had a cup of tea, a cup of apple juice, a cup of white grape juice, four cups of water and all of the gummy bears I could stomach. You can't have anything red or orange, so all of the red and orange gummy bears are still in the bag in my desk, waiting to be consumed on another day.

You feel so hungry and you are so concerned that you might have an accident that you really don't feel like eating, anyway. I'm at work. I would be embarressed if I were home, alone, and had an accident. Never mind with my co-workers.

Tonight is my MoviPrep night and then I get to get up at 5:30 and have another "go" at it. My double-procedure is at ten a.m. I've heard once it is over, you get the best sleep of your life. Believe you me, you are exhausted from going to the bathroom 17 million times.

This Dave Berry column on colonoscopy makes me laugh out loud.
Am I scared? Yes.
But, you might as well laugh.

Dave Barry's Colonoscopy
By Dave Barry
McClatchy Newspapers

OK. You turned 50.
You know you're supposed to get a colonoscopy. But you haven't.
Here are your reasons:
1. You've been busy.
2. You don't have a history of cancer in your family.
3. You haven't noticed any problems.
4. You don't want a doctor to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your behind.

Let's examine these reasons one at a time.
No, wait, let's not.
Because you and I both know that the only real reason is No. 4.
This is natural. The idea of having another human, even a medical human, becoming deeply involved in what is technically known as your "behindular zone" gives you the creeping willies. I know this because I am like you, except worse. I yield to nobody in the field of being a pathetic weenie medical coward. I become faint and nauseous during even very minor medical procedures, such as making an appointment by phone. It's much worse when I come into physical contact with the medical profession. More than one doctor's office has a dent in the floor caused by my forehead striking it seconds after I got a shot.

In 1997, when I turned 50, everybody told me I should get a colonoscopy. I agreed that I definitely should, but not right away. By following this policy, I reached age 55 without having had a colonoscopy. Then I did something so pathetic and embarrassing that I am frankly ashamed to tell you about it.What happened was, a giant 40-foot replica of a human colon came to Miami Beach. Really. It's an educational exhibit called the Colossal Colon, and it was on a nationwide tour to promote awareness of colorectal cancer. The idea is, you crawl through the Colossal Colon, and you encounter various educational items in there, such as polyps, cancer, and hemorrhoids the size of regulation volleyballs, and you go, "Whoa, I better find out if I contain any of these things," and you get a colonoscopy. If you are as a professional humor writer, and there is a giant colon within a 200-mile radius, you are legally obligated to go see it. So I went to Miami Beach and crawled through the Colossal Colon. I wrote a column about it, making tasteless colon jokes. But I also urged everyone to get a colonoscopy. I even, when I merged from the Colossal Colon, signed a pledge stating that I would get one.But I didn't get one. I was a fraud, a hypocrite, a liar. I was practically a member of Congress.

Five more years passed. I turned 60, and I still hadn't gotten a colonoscopy. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from my brother Sam, who is 10 years younger than I am, but more mature. The e-mail was addressed to me and my middle brother, Phil. It said:"Dear Brothers,"I went in for a routine colonoscopy and got the dreaded diagnosis: Cancer. We're told it's early and that there is a good prognosis that they can get it all out, so, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that. And of course they told me to tell my siblings to get screened. I imagine you both have."
Um. Well. First I called Sam. He was hopeful, but scared. We talked for a while, and when we hung up, I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, "HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!"

I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called "MoviPrep," which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America's enemies. I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, "a loose watery bowel movement may result." This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything.

And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, "What if I spurt on Andy?" How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough. At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the hell the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked. Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was "Dancing Queen" by Abba. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, "Dancing Queen" has to be the least appropriate. "You want me to turn it up?" said Andy, from somewhere behind me. "Ha ha," I said.

And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like. I have no idea.Really. I slept through it. One moment, Abba was shrieking "Dancing Queen! Feel the beat from the tambourine ..." .. and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ. But my point is this: In addition to being a pathetic medical weenie, I was a complete moron. For more than a decade I avoided getting a procedure that was, essentially nothing. There was no pain and, except for the MoviPrep, no discomfort. I was risking my life for nothing.If my brother Sam had been as stupid as I was - if, when he turned 50, he had ignored all the medical advice and avoided getting screened - he still would have had cancer. He just wouldn't have known. And by the time he did know - by the time he felt symptoms, his situation would have been much, much more serious. But because he was a grown-up, the doctors caught the cancer early, and they operated and took it out. Sam is now recovering and eating what he describes as "really, really boring food." His prognosis is good, and everybody is optimistic, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that.Which brings us to you, Mr. or Mrs. or Miss or Ms. Over-50-and- Hasn't-Had- a-Colonoscopy. Here's the deal: You either have colorectal cancer, or you don't. If you do, a colonoscopy will enable doctors to find it and do something about it. And if you don't have cancer, believe me, it's very reassuring to know you don't. There is no sane reason for you not to have it done. I am so eager for you to do this that I am going to induce you with an Exclusive Limited Time Offer. If you, after reading this, get a colonoscopy, let me know by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Dave Barry Colonoscopy Inducement, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. I will send you back a certificate, signed by me and suitable for framing if you don't mind framing a cheesy certificate, stating that you are a grown-up who got a colonoscopy. Accompanying this certificate will be a square of limited-edition custom-printed toilet paper with an image of Miss Paris Hilton on it. You may frame this also, or use it in whatever other way you deem fit. But even if you don't want this inducement, please get a colonoscopy. If I can do it, you can do it. Don't put it off. Just do it.Be sure to stress that you want the non-Abba version.

Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him c/o The Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Time to take down the tree?

During December, I neglected myself by skipping my hair appointment in order to save money. Therefore, two weeks into January, I have dark roots, sparkles of "silver" and fuzzy ends. Woe is me.
However, I had this strange desire to get my toenails painted "Christmas red," with a tree on my big toe nail. It was wonderful. I went in on one of those days that my tail was draggin' and I enjoyed it to the hilt.
I'm still walking around with a Christmas tree on my big toenail and my tree is still up at home. *sigh,*
Maybe I can get a heart painted on my toe nail next time. Now, there is an idea!
p.s. My big toe is bent at that awkward angle because in the second grade, while taking swim lessons at the YMCA, I hit my big toe on the bottom of the pool (I was a very exhuberent begginner who later in life grew in skill well enought to become a lifeguard). My instructor pounded on it, as I sat on the side with tears in my eyes, holding my foot and told me "oh, you are o.k."
"No, dumb head, it was broken" and here is the proof to this day. I was a swim lesson drop-out that year as I had to stay in bed with my foot up on a pillow until it became comfortable enough to walk on.

Monday, January 12, 2009


We met in band. She played clarinet, I played flute and marched piccolo. She was in the "icing on the cake" crowd, while I was just "cake." Despite societal implications that cake and icing shouldn't be stirred together in the same bowl, we did. When we were seventeen, we started hanging out and became friends. And now, that has been thirty-three years ago. Despite where she lived, we would get together. And now, I'm the one who lives in a different place, so she came to see the house and visit for New Year's eve. She brought her beautiful daughter, Isabelle, who refers to us as "Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Duck." I hope Isabelle always calls Doug, "Duck."
She is one of the least judgemental people I've ever known. She just loves me for who I am and I love her back. She is fiercely loyal and takes my side whether I am in the right or not. She is an excellent listener and tells you honestly what she thinks. I always emulated her behaviors because she is so beautiful and lady-like. She was the one who taught me to wear Estee Lauder and "good" nail polish. Oh, she also was the one who taught me how to smoke. It was in the family station wagon, while driving around Baker Park. We were both in one another's first weddings. My daughter is named for her.
The shirt was my request. I sent her a link to it and told her how it would be a good Christmas gift for Cheryl as she has an affinity for dragonflies. She bought two, as is often our custom when gifting to one another. Doug shot this photo - I think he thought it would be funny. I love it. Just like girlfriends in the sixth grade - here we are in our matching clothing.
I never get enough of her. Our visits are always too short as are our phone conversations. If we can't talk for long she will say "this was a good snippet."

I love you L.P.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Just like the wicked witch

This is my pumpkin experiment. In the fall, I had this pumpkin and a pot of mums sitting near the entry to the drive. I left it and this is what happened. I'm hoping we'll have a pumpkin patch. Doug said that pumpkins won't grow on asphalt and my reply was "and why not? Weeds do!"
Just like the wicked witch...can't you hear this little pumpkin crying "I'm melting?"

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Day at Lake Monroe

We decided to start out our walking program on New Year's day at Lake Monroe. We don't normally see seagulls there, but there were plenty for Chelsea to bark at.

Running for a stick.

If she had a tail, she'd be "pointing." She saw me. I love it when she does it, but I haven't decided if she is right or left pawed, because she seems to alternate. Mindy, does Gingerbean do this? Kate, does B.B. do this?
Chelsea was six months old on 12/30. She is up to 15 pounds and will be spayed this Friday- 1/9.

So fun to frolic in the sand on New Year's day. I don't think Chelsea was feeling any "after affects" from the night before.

Icy at the edge of the shore.

Gray skies. Typical January Indiana weather. We have gray skies from October through March. Fortunately, I love it. I love "gray days!"

I hope your New Year got off to an "ICE" start!

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