Tuesday, February 20, 2018

An Aversion to Light, Got a Fear of the Ocean. Like Eating Poison, Like Eating Glass.

Archie would rather lie on the recycling instead of the box that John left out for him. Silly cat.
I'm having a bad day, and this time it has nothing to do with the cats. I brought a half of an avocado stuffed with tuna salad for lunch and had some black bean soup as well. I take my lunch in glass containers, since heating food in plastic containers is supposed to be very bad for you. The glass containers are much heavier in my bike bag when I ride to work, but that's because the glass is so thick. I was hoping that meant it would be fairly durable, but today I was proved wrong. The glass container with the avocado slid off the soup container and fell to the carpeted ground and smashed on impact when I was carrying them back to my lair. Strangely enough, the avocado fell on its shell, but there were little pieces of glass sticking to the wrinkled, outside skin. I was starving and the soup wasn't going to be very filling, so after I cleaned the glass off of the carpet, I looked closely and ran my finger along things and decided to risk taking a couple of bites of the top part of the avocado and tuna salad. I know, I know, was it really worth dying for? If you know me and my love of food, you'll understand what my answer to that will be...Yeah, kinda.

While I was eating the soup, one of my co-workers walked by, pointed at my soup and asked, "What's THAT?" I told her it was black bean soup. She said, "Oh, it looked like gravy and I wondered why you'd be eating a bowlful of gravy." I had never thought of doing that before, but I could probably be very happy eating a bowl full of gravy.

When I got back to my desk and told the ladies in my office about my trials during lunch, one of them said, "Eat some cotton balls."


"Yeah. If you've swallowed glass, you're supposed to eat cotton balls so the glass will stick to them," she said.

"Wait. How do you know that?"

"I have no idea," she responded.

Needless to say, I haven't tried eating any cotton balls. I guess it would sop up the imaginary gravy I had for lunch. I'll just have to hope that I didn't accidentally swallow any glass. I suppose I'll find out when I take a drink of water and it flows out of the holes the glass made in me.

Friday, February 16, 2018

And Knowing That You Would Have Wanted it This Way, I Do Believe I'm Feeling Stronger Every Day

Wow. It's Friday already? It's been a busy, but really nice week. I'm finally building back up from being sick for so long. Whew!

Last weekend started out great. I woke up to bagels and cream cheese that John got while I was sleeping, I had half and half for my tea, and I got to read more of "The Count of Monte Cristo". It was the best way to wake up.

I got a run in and then we met some friends to Cross Country ski at Lake MacBride. The snow was pretty slow, but that helps me ski the downhills that I'm normally too scared to ski very well.

I also got a little cocky and tried to ski down what I call butt plow hill - because I usually plow down it on my ass. This time, there were several big roots or branches that made it even harder to ski. Not too surprisingly, I ended up walking sideways down it for a while, then tried to ski it, then fell and couldn't get up (Life Alert) and then finally got up and skied the very last little bit of it while trying not to poop my ski pants, I was so scared.

After a couple of hours of playing in the snow, we headed over to Big Grove and met some friends and my daughters for dinner. I had exactly one beer, ate and had a great talk with my girls and then we headed home. I was exhausted. It was the longest I had worked-out since the beginning of January.

On Sunday we went skiing in the morning and then in the afternoon headed over to John's Aunt's Memorial. I think at first, John's mom was worried she'd get stuck spending too much time with the members of her family she didn't want to talk to, but instead, she got to see a lot of people from her small town who she hadn't seen in years and it ended up being a good thing for her. John's cousin did an amazing job of putting it all together and I think it was a very positive way to celebrate John's Aunt's life.

After the Memorial, I was going to go home and make Eggplant Parmesan for dinner, but I wasn't up for it, so we went to Short's and bothered Coadster at work instead. I ended up making the Eggplant Parmesan on Monday night and it was delicious, even though Heidi was pretty horrified at its lack of fish, chicken, or turkey.

What we haven't done much of this last week, is paint the damn ceiling of our kitchen. Archie is just fine with that. He's been having a blast playing in the plastic tarp we're using to cover stuff while we work.

This week was also Valentine's Day. John went to his mom's house that evening, and my girls came over to see me. We got Coadster's favorite, Happy Joe's taco pizza, and watched Harry Potter, and it was the perfect way to celebrate our Galentine's Day.

We'll see what this weekend brings. The snow is gone, but it should be pretty warm. I know I don't act like it, but I have a 25K part trail run coming up in April and I need to get cracking on training for it. Also, I'm sure I'll feel like painting our kitchen ceiling...Or not.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sometimes It's Hard to be a Woman

I just realized it's 2018 and about 20 years ago, I worked in the OB/Gyn clinic at the University hospital here. At that time, my girls looked like they do in the photo above and Stinky had meningitis. So, because of all of that, I am going to repost a blog I wrote several years ago about what it was like to work in obstetrics and gynecology in the late 1990's:

You may not want to work here if you either hate or love babies. If you hate babies you will be forced to deal with them on a daily basis. Many women who come back for their six week post-partum appointment will bring their spawn and someone has to hold them while their mothers are back in the stir-ups again. That somebody would be you.

If you love babies, your heart will break several times during your shift. You will have to treat pregnant women who have already had their last five children taken away from them and they'll claim that this time will be different. You won't believe them. You may also have to draw blood from women who tell you right off the bat that you won't find a usable vein. "Believe me. If there was one I could get to, I would have already found it and used it up." Since these women have very few teeth in their heads, you may make the assumption that what they're slamming in their veins is crank. Then when you are actually lucky enough to find one, your patients will get all excited and pay very careful attention to it's location so they can rush right home and slam some more.

You may not want to work here if you are a heterosexual male or a homosexual female and you want to stay attracted to women. There are many things you will see, hear and most importantly, smell that could dim your sexual interest. Just as, I am sure, there are several other clinics in the hospital that would have a similar effect on heterosexual women and homosexual men.

You may not want to work here if you have problems dealing with difficult people. On Thursdays you will be assigned to work the menopause clinic in the morning and the PMS clinic in the afternoon. If you choose this position, you might want to start cultivating a healthy after-work alcohol drinking regimen on Thursdays as well.

You may not want to work here if you are afraid of old people. You will see all kinds of women in various forms of undress here. There are certain clinics such as the uro-gyn clinic that is mainly populated by women with incontinence issues and most are over forty. For our own amusement, we prefer to think of this as the Ida/Eunice/Madge clinic, as opposed to the colposcopy clinic (dealing with the treatment of abnormal cells on the cervix generally as the result of exposure to HPV) which is mainly attended by women in their early twenties and therefore called the Ashley/Brittany/Nicole clinic.

You may not want to work here if you have a hard time saying no. Many women think that the root of any or all of their problems is harboring a uterus. They will ask you in several different ways if you will please see to it that their uterus is removed. Doctors are reluctant to perform a hysterectomy for no reason, as the surgery could cause scar tissue and sudden menopausal symptoms that may be much worse than the original complaint. Your job will be to tell these women, no - even if they try to trick you by calling their womb a cooter bug, which has happened, let me assure you.

You may not want to work here if you you have a hard time telling people things they don't want to accept. Many times the horrible pain women are feeling and are sure are fibroids, ectopic pregnancies, or endometriosis, is really just gas. You must be delicate in the delivery of this diagnosis as these same women are going to have to go home and tell their husbands that the tumor they were sure was only going to give them six more months to live, can easily be treated with Metamucil.

Oh yeah, the pay sucks, you don't get breaks and rarely will you get the chance to sit down for five minutes to eat your lunch. Now, when can you start?

Friday, February 09, 2018

Is There Anyone Here Who Doesn't Know? We're Under Fifteen Feet of Pure, White Snow.

Well, I'm finally almost over this stupid flu. The only good thing about it is that I got to read a whole bunch the last month. I just finished the last couple of Harry Potter books. I'm sad I'll never be able to read them again for the first time, but I am so damn happy that I got to read them these last couple of years. I guess, now I'll have to start watching the movies. I'm sure my girls will be up for that.

So, what have I been up to these last couple of weeks? I'm sure you're all dying to find out. The weekend before last I was still too sick to work-out, but that Saturday was almost 50 degrees out, so John and went for a hike in Hickory Hill Park, about a mile from our house. It was just what I needed.

We found a new trail that was made by the Burr Oak Land Trust. I have some info about them, so I hope to get to do some work on the new trails they buy and help them out any way I can. I love the idea.

And the new trail was pretty cool. They had ruins from some old structures and I love seeing those.

We got about 2.5 miles in on the hike before I was absolutely exhausted. My lungs still weren't up to snuff and it was hard to breathe. So, we headed home and John went on a bike ride and I went to the store and then rested at home. We then headed to our friend's RAGBRAI announcement party. It's going to be a central Iowa route, which is what I predicted. It will make it easier for us to ride out to RAGBRAI this year. We won't be clocking 614 miles, and that is fine with me. We also will get home on Friday this year. Which will be more than nice.

Most of this week, I've been building back up. Last weekend, I did a trail run very slowly and it still kicked my arse. I also swam laps and rode for a half an hour on the trainer, very slowly.

We got a really nice snowfall on Monday and we were supposed to have a crazy Winter storm last night, but we only got 1.25 inches here. They're still saying we could get 1-3 inches tonight and I'm all for it. I plan to cross country ski all weekend. Yea!

Heidi, on the other hand is preparing to spend her weekend much like she spends her weekdays, lying slothfully all over the house and demanding all of the petting.

I took the day off on Tuesday. As you can see in the background of this photo, we are STILL working on our kitchen. I finished priming the ceiling on my vacation day, and we're hoping to finish painting it this weekend. Then we can put up our fancy, new ceiling fans and we get to throw away the hideous, white, Kountry Kitchen type ceiling fans with cows painted on the pull strings and I am beyond thrilled at the prospect. It's the little things...We'll work our way down the walls and retile the floor at some point. There's nothing strange about a decade long kitchen renovation, right? Sigh.

So, I am so happy that it's Friday and I'm excited about the weekend. Well, except the part where we deal with annoying, fat, cats, that is...

Monday, February 05, 2018

I Haven't Got Room for the Pain

This will be a quick post. Lucky for you all.

I had my first migraine of the year today. There is a big weather front moving in, so I'm not surprised. What is surprising, though, is that this is the first time since I started taking migraine meds when I was 40, that I've gone almost 5.5 weeks without having to take them. It's not that I haven't had a migraine in that time, but that it hasn't been bad enough that I needed meds. Let's hope this starts some kind of trend in my world.

Friday, January 26, 2018

I Am Tired, I Am Weary. I Could Sleep for a Thousand Years

Well, kids...I got sick, sick, sick...Again. It's been about three weeks with this crap. I got sick originally and took almost an entire week off of work. I was tired and achy for another week, but I thought I was getting over it. Then on Monday, it started up again, and this time it was in my lungs and I was coughing like crazy and I really thought I might have to go to the emergency room for a while there. I just knew that if I did go, I'd have to sit there for hours, when all I really wanted to do was go to sleep.

So, I made a deal with John that I would go back to sleep and if I didn't start feeling even a little better by noon, he'd come home over lunch and take me to the emergency room. He also texted my girls and asked if they could check up on me during the day.

Anyway, the sleeping and taking cold medicine every 6 hours really helped. I started feeling better (read: not deathly ill) by about 3 o'clock that afternoon. I have to say, I have never felt that bad from a cold or respiratory flu before. And because I'm perimenopausal, I got the extra added bonus of getting to play the game of  "Is It a Fever or Is It a Hot Flash" - everyone's a loser!

But now, let's go back to a gentler time, just last weekend, when I thought I was getting better...

Coadster asked me if I'd go to the Iowa City Women's March with her. Hell yes!

The weather was perfect and we went down to the Ped Mall and listened to speakers and then marched with so much support from local businesses and people driving by. It was a great way to start the day and the year and I love being able to practice my First Amendment rights with my daughter. Stinky had to work, but she did make a ton of money from post-rally traffic. We all won on Saturday.

It got warm on Sunday. Sadly, neither John or I were up for any kind of real work-out, but we both wanted to get out and enjoy the day. John suggested that we go for a Winter hike.

We went out to Lake MacBride and hiked trails until we got to the spillway.

It is so beautiful out there. It doesn't even look like Iowa. If you go to the right places, it can be a quick trip out of the normal Iowa landscapes.

We also got to hang-out on the spillway itself.

It was only too late that we were warned of hazards of this treacherous area. For the love of God! KEEP OFF THE SPILLWAY!

Luckily, I got to have that lovely weekend before the plague set-in, and then I made it through that bit of badness. Now, I'm hoping to work on my recovery this weekend. I plan on doing some resting and reading and doting on of cats.

I hope you all are keeping away from the crud and getting out and enjoying the outdoors and using your constitutional rights, and just winning in general.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Let the Jazz Band Make Some Noise, Step Up Ladies and Watch Out Boys

Okayyyy....I should probably write a blog post at some point this week. I'll write about the weekend today and try to get to the last couple of 2017 posts in the next couple of days.

Originally, John and I were going to give ourselves this lovely four day weekend where we would go find some snow and then ski for a few days. Then the girls asked if we would want to go to Madison for New Year's weekend and we decided to just have a staycation instead but we'd try to do fun things around Iowa City. Then I got that bad cold and even that went out the window...Or at least a little bit, anyway.

On Friday it got cold again. I knew I couldn't swim, but I thought it might be a good idea to go to the gym and used the jacuzzi and steam room. I was wrong. The jacuzzi was lovely and I slammed myself into those jets and it was very nice for my achy muscles. The steam room on the other hand? That was bad. I don't know if I still had a little fever or what, but I had to leave very soon after I entered and my body was trying to pass-out all over the place. How unseemly! I managed to get home and I just went to bed...Again. I guess the good thing, was that I started reading the book, "Rebecca" and it was the perfect book to be sick in bed with.

I did look longingly outside throughout the day...

On Friday night, I was feeling a little better, so we met our friends out at Film Scene to take in the movie, "I, Tonya". It was goo, but pretty violent, and Allison Janney definitely deserves an Academy Award for it.

On Saturday, I still wasn't feeling tip-top. John went mountain biking with some friends, but I couldn't go, so I went to the store and got groceries for the week instead, and not a whole hell of a lot else got done before they got done and called me to meet them for pizza at Back Pocket Brewery.

After that, John and I went to Trader Joe's where I decided I needed some flowers to cheer me up a little. They worked!

By Sunday, I was starting to feel a little better. I gave myself a little chance to wake-up slowly and started reading my next book. It was very different than "Rebecca", but just as good.

I finally got a little bit done on Sunday. We filled all of the holes in the ceiling with spackle, but we'll have to wait until this  upcoming weekend to start with the sanding and priming and such. Archie, did try to help supervise, but then he got very sleepy up there on top of the refrigerator. Poor guy.

After we did the work in the kitchen, we decided to swim some laps and then do the jacuzzi and steam room. I had WAY better success this time around, and even felt okay during the swim - my first exercise since being sick.

I took John out for sushi after our work-out. The miso soup and wasabi worked well to clean out my sinuses.

Later in the day, I went with John to Hickory Hill Park and decided to do a trail run. I figured if I wasn't actually up for running, it would be a nice hike in the woods. I needed to get outside and play and it was up in the 20's on Sunday, and that felt so warm in comparison to what it has been around these parts.

Happily, I was able to run the whole 3'ish miles in the woods!

It was so beautiful and snowy and the sun was setting and I met and made some really nice dog friends. I came across many deer. There was one pack (flock? gang?) of deer that didn't even move when they saw me going. I'm sure they figured I was going so slowly, I couldn't possible be any kind of threat to them. Sigh.

Anyway, I got to run and it was just what I needed.

For John's birthday in September, I bought us tickets to The Squirrel Nut Zippers show. John loves the band so much, he even bought their Christmas album.

The show happened on Sunday evening at 7. That's early enough for us, but it makes sense, most of the people in the audience were old people too.

Since I bought the tickets right after they came out, we had excellent seats, in the second row, right by the stage.

The Suirrel Nut Zippers are a New Orleans style jazz band. They play all kinds of different instruments, tell bawdy jokes and they're more like a Vaudeville show than just a musical concert. It's probably the best show I've seen in the last ten years.

At the end of the show, they all parade out while singing and playing music and the audience is supposed to parade out behind them. They kept playing in the lobby and we all had a little dance thing going on there in the lobby of the theater. It was so much fun.

Because the show ended around 9 o'clock and we had a holiday the next day and didn't have to get up and go to work, we met our friends at the Dublin Underground for a beer. it was really nice to see people, some of them I hadn't seen since RAGBRAI. We still made it home before 10:30.

On Monday I thought I'd try to do this FTP test thingy on the bike trainer. It's supposed to measure your power on the bike and it took an hour to do it, and I was pretty weak, so I'll probably have to do it again sometime when I feel stronger, but I was just glad I could ride my bike for an hour, even at a slower pace.

So, our four day staycation didn't quite go as planned, but I got a lot of reading and resting in and was able to get some exercising in here and there. I'm hoping we get to get going on our kitchen project and get that ceiling all done and prettied-up.

Friday, January 12, 2018

It's Never as Good as the First Time

This is my end of 2017 post on Firsts. Like I always say...For me, the key to growing older semi-gracefully'ish and happy is to challenge myself and try new things. I have seen so many people get older and have no idea what to do with themselves. They see all of their best years behind them and give-up. I don't ever want to be like that.  So, I like to have new "firsts' every year. Most of them are wonderful, but a few of them are not. Either way, these first force me to see the world from different angles and deal with the shit as it flies toward me.

My first and best "first" this year was getting married to my very best friend in the dormer room of our house with my daughters and their partners. Both John and I had been married before, but we were both too young to make the best decisions. This time, I did it right. We've already gone through so much together the last 6.5 years and seen each other at or worst, and best. John  has been so supportive of me and has still called me out on my shit whenever I've needed it too. We kept it simple and almost a year later, I wouldn't have done it any other way.

Another first was going to a concert with both of my girls. We've all been to plenty of concerts, but never together. Stinky bought Coadster a ticket to see Hall and Oates and Tears for Fears for her birthday in Des Moines. At the time, Coadster was living was living there. They later invited me and we all got to celebrate Coadster's birthday with her. It was a blast.

Another of my favorite firsts was going an entire year cancer free after my lumpectomy in 2016. I refuse to take any day for granted and that is truly the best way to go through life for me. I also, apparently refuse to act my age.

This next first was not my favorite, but I hope to have figured it out to do better next year. This was the first time I was unable to finish the whole TOMRV ride. Normally, on Sunday we ride to Bettendorf, but this year, it was so insanely windy and hot and my feet were so swollen and painful that I had to end at Goose Lake instead. Next year, I plan on riding in flat pedals and my Keane sandals, I'm hoping having the whole pedal to move my foot around on will help my feet last the whole way next year.

This was also the first year I have ever been able to have a big, sunny, garden of my own. It was so much work, but it gave me much joy and my neighbors seemed to love it as well. Don't worry, (or maybe do?) I am writing an entire blog post about my adventures in gardening.

Another thing about firsts, is that I want to try to go somewhere for the first time every year. I may never be able to afford to go outside of the country, but there are so many places close enough that I can explore. This year, we visited my first new place on my birthday weekend. We went to Decorah and the firsts there included sleeping in a caboose and floating through a river of cows. If you haven't been there and you love to play outside, you should make the trip.

July also marked my first time inside THE WORLD'S LARGEST FRYING PAN, BITCHES! Holy shit. How have I spent 52 years without that experience? It was pretty hot outside on our bikes that day too. I guess now I can say I've gone out of the fire and into the frying pan...

Something that was not that great, but better than it could have been, was that I had a shave biopsy in August that revealed some precancerous cells. Not my favorite experience of 2017, but a very aggressive reminder to cover myself up better. You think I would have taken action before my 52nd birthday, but I have always loved the sun and it has, apparently, kissed me too hard.

In October my baby girl picked out her wedding dress for her Memorial Day nuptials this year. This year was the first time I went wedding dress shopping for my daughter.

On a more creative note, I got to teach people how to dye and paint fabric. I taught myself how when my girls were little. I saw a shop full of beautiful, dyed, cotton, dresses for little girls in Madison. Those clothes were also ridiculously expensive, so I bought some dyes and paints and made them for my daughters for almost nothing. I haven't dyed or painted clothes for years, so I invited people over to eat and play with dyes and paints. It was a good night.

This year was the first time I ever helped build a permanent cyclocross course. It was only the third one in the state of Iowa. Like many of the most amazing things I did this year, it took a hell of a lot of time and energy, but was so worth it.

The last first of 2017 that I'm going to talk about was me taking work-out classes this year. I have never been a structure person, so I'm not big on taking classes. I love to go outside and play. I don't need the pressure of having to be somewhere at a certain time to motivate me to work-out.  BUT and it's a big butt and it can not lie... John found out about a free yoga for cyclists class and it kicked my butt. Now that I'm finally done talking about but(t)s... Reading up on my lovely perimenopause, the lack of estrogen can cause really tight, sore muscles and joints and many of the articles I read recommended yoga, so I may have to keep up with some yoga class here and there.

Since my daughters seem to be more motivated by the structure of a class and Coadster had mentioned that she'd like to take a dance class, I found a free dance work-out class at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City. Turns out, it was a lot of fun. A few weeks later, Stinky found a free work-out called the Reflective Run and put on by Lululemon. After the run we got a free yoga class. A girl, even a girl who isn't one much for structure could get used to all these free work-out classes...