Sunday, April 11, 2021

Mendocino, Mondocino, Where Life's Such a Groove

Well, kids. I get my second Pfizer shot against Covid this Friday. Two weeks later I should be pretty much fully protected against this deadly, stupid virus. The scary thing it does, besides killing you, is leave all of these other awful problems after it's gone. My daughter works with a 16 year old girl who will have heart problems for the rest of her life after stupid Covid, and my daughter's boyfriend, who has always had some anxiety, now has paralyzing anxiety where he can barely leave the house, after Covid. It's some bad shit.

So, as you can guess, I'm extremely excited about getting my second shot. At this point I'm about 80% protected against the disease, and that gives me some peace of mind. After I get the second shot, like my youngest daughter said, "I'm not going to be an A-hole". I'm still going to mask up, and socially distance, and not hang out indoors with a bunch of people I don't live with, until they find out for certain that I can't pass the disease off to other people, or there is finally some herd immunity.

What I do feel comfortable doing, is going on a trip this Summer. Yea! We've decided to go to Northern California. I get to take John to see all of the places, and then some where I lived and worked, and played in the mid-1980's.

I'm taking John to San Francisco for a couple of days first. We'll be staying in Twin Peaks, which isn't too far from Noe Valley where I lived and worked, and the Mission where I lived. We'll spend some time in that area, and then we'll do Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39, and walk up to Chinatown to eat one day, then do North Beach, and the Golden Gate Bridge area another day. I REALLY want to ride my bike over the Golden Gate Bridge one of those days.

Next we'll stay one day at Piedmont. One of the friends we're going with has a sister who has a house there and a house in Mendocino. We're meeting our friends in Piedmont, hanging out on the East Bay for about a day, and then going to Inverness and playing in Point Reyes. We went to Point Reyes once when I was in 7th grade and we were visiting our Uncle Terry. I thought it was so cool, and have wanted to go back and spend more time there ever since. We're bringing mountain and road bikes, and we plan on hiking, riding, kayaking, and eating lots of cheese. What more could a girl want?,

On my birthday, we will be driving up to Mendocino. I want to stop in Petaluma on my way up. It's where my grandma's family lived, and there is a street there called Coady Court because my grandpa built all of the houses there. We will also go to the Washoe House ( it's a restaurant/bar/live music venue now, but when my great great grandpa built it in the 1800's, it was a Pony Express stop. I think it would be fitting for us to go there on my birthday - a good way to follow my roots.

 In Mendocino, we'll be staying at our friend's sister's other house, right on the beach. I lived in Northern Mendocino County, but I didn't know how to drive or have a car, so I never got to explore Southern Mendocino County. I'm excited to go to Glass Beach, and hike and mountain bike, and kayak some more. This time in the heart of the Redwoods.

The last part of our trip will be spent in Humboldt County, in the college town of Arcata, not far from Eureka. On the way there, we will stop in Leggett, where I used to live (

So, here's hoping enough people are smart enough to get vaccinated, so we can get herd immunity, and that there aren't any crazy Covid variants that can fight against the vaccine, and we can all go back to doing the things we love, like travel and eat inside in restaurants, and go see live music. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Look Out Honey, 'Cause I'm Using Technology, Ain't Got Time to Make No Apology

Holy cow! I never write, I never call. What the hell is wrong with me? Let me count the ways...

I have been so bad about writing in this here blog. First off, I bought the above puzzle, and I am one of those ADHD people who has about twenty tabs open in my head and I can never concentrate on any one thing...Until I obsess over one thing, oh, say, like a bird puzzle, and then I can't do anything else. Except for work, I did very little else but this puzzle for almost a week. I had a few white pieces left when Gus jumped up on the table, put a piece in his mouth and snuck over to his little corner. At first, I thought he was just going to play with it, but damn if he didn't eat the thing. What a bizarre little kitten. How could a puzzle piece even taste good to him? Since John cleans the litter boxes, I wasn't able to see if Gus made a jigsaw shaped poop the next day. Weirdo.

 The next excuse I have for not writing is, you guessed it, A week long migraine. I even had to take a sick day with it. I really hope these things calm down when I finally get into menopause.

This past week has been so lovely. We were able to ride bikes and I got to play in the garden, and all of that outdoor heavenliness has REALLY taken away from my writing.

Now that I've gotten all of the excuses out of the way, I hope to get back into writing on a more regular basis. I hope you are all able to play outside more as it gets warm out...And get vaccinated.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Try to Stay Healthy, Physical Fitness, Don't Want to Catch No Disease

 I have two health related things to discuss today.

First, I had my breast ultrasound on Tuesday, and I got the results back today. I got the all-clear. Yea! It will be 5 years since my lumpectomy in August, and I'm very happy that I haven't had any issues with my breasts since...Except those associated with the changes from perimenopause. Sigh.

The second is that, according to Iowa regulations, I am now eligible for a Covid vaccination. You just have to have a BMI of 25 or higher, and you can get one here. I've never been so excited to be overweight in my life. Double sigh.

Since there is no place that has the vaccine around here, I have a friend who told me about this thing on Twitter that notifies you what places have the vaccine, as soon as it's announced. A lot of the places are far away from me, and I can't justify driving 5 hours out and 5 hours back to NW Iowa just to get the vaccine. 

Since I don't have Twitter, this friend texted me a bunch of sites right as they were posted. Most of them were pretty far away, but there was a Hy-Vee in Ottumwa, which is just an hour and a half away from me. I went to the website and chose this Saturday, in the middle of the day for my appointment. Then it gave me a couple of pages of general information it wanted from me. After I filled it all out, it told me there were no longer vaccines available at their site. Crap! Of course, if you want a different time, it doesn't save the information you added. You just have to answer those two pages of questions all over again. Double crap! My friend told me that the trick was to get really fast at answering those questions, and to choose the latest date they offer. I still haven't gotten lucky with it, but I'll keep trying.

Word on the street, is that Iowa is getting 200,000 more doses in the next couple of weeks. Also, they are going to open up the vaccine for anyone who wants it on April 9th. It sounds like I might get REALLY good at answering a questionnaire over and over again...

Here's hoping an easy vaccine acquisition to all of you in the next couple of months. I know I can't wait for mine. Yea science!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Guys With Nametags Walking Down the Aisles, Rows of Garden Hoses That Go On For Miles and Miles

 So, the cats weren't super happy with me taking over their sunny window with my seedlings. Archie would jump into the pots and smoosh the soil with his very heavy body. Gus was pulling up the seedlings. I'm assuming, since it's Gus, that he wanted to eat them.

We decided the plants needed some protection, so on Saturday I headed to Ace Hardware to get some chicken wire. If you've ever been to an Iowa hardware store, you know the best time to go is during the day, during the week. That's when guys with names like Orville, and Floyd work. They are generally retired and this job is their social life, and they have probably used every tool in that store and know where everything is. You can even say you need a "thingy" to do a certain task, and they will know exactly what you're talking about and take you right to it. Sure, you might get an eye-roll out of it, but that's a small price to pay for efficient service.

On Saturday, Orville and Floyd are off and are replaced by people with names like, Logan, Ashlynn, and Braden. People with those names are just there because their parents made them get a job, and when you ask them how much anything is, they have to pull out a book, and look for a VERY long time and then tell you, "I asked them the price, and they never gave it to me, and I can't find it in this stupid book, and I don't even really want to BE here anyway." So, then you tell them that it's okay. You'll just get it at another store, and they thank you. 

When I was at the hardware store looking for the chicken wire, and not seeing one person who might be able to help me, I laughed to myself about how when I was a younger, punk rock looking chick, a salesperson would run up to me the minute I entered a store and very pointedly ask me if they could help me, as a reminder that they had their eye on me. Now, I'm apparently so old, and dowdy and non-threatening, that I could probably grab things off the shelves and stuff them down my shirt without even a how-do-you-do from the employees. 

Anyway, I grabbed my chicken wire, and a bag of peat moss, and had to go to Hy-Vee to get the fire wood,, since "Ashlynn" was too traumatized to do a price check for me. That's okay. I needed groceries anyway.

 On a less old-lady-cranky-pants note, we were able to successfully protect our seedlings from the cats. It isn't pretty, but it will only be another month or two, and then the cats can have their sunny South facing window back. I will also remember to head to the hardware store on a weekend from now on.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Just Move On Up, Toward Your Destination. Though You May Find, From Time to Time, Complication

Salud! to spring. Last weekend and most of this week has been wonderful. It was up to seventy degrees for a few days. We made the best of it on Saturday and went on a fun social ride with our friends. We rode about 28 miles, and stopped in the town of Hills to enjoy their beer garden. It has probably been a year and a half since I've been there.

When we got back to town, we headed to Shakespeare's for dinner. The snow finally melted off of their patio, so we could eat outside and best of all, they have their Lent menu up, which means tons of different seafood options. It's my favorite time of the year to eat at Sheaksepeare's.

Sunday was still pretty warm, but super windy. John and I just did a 25 mile ride. I was exhausted from working out way more than twice what I have been  during my Winter of migraines, and the wind was a bit much for me. So, we rode home and I got to work on planning this year's garden.

Even though my garden looked like the photo above last Sunday, most of that snow is finally gone almost a week later, and I'm going to try and plant some early season stuff like beets and lettuce and sugar snap peas this weekend. Yea!

I also finally got my seedlings planted. I decided to plant some kale this year, which turned into too much kale, so I'll be looking for people to take some of those seedlings. I planted two different kinds of tomatoes this year - Brandywine, and Beefsteak. We'll see how it all goes, and if Gus can learn to leave the seedlings alone. He already walked on some of the containers. I just hope he doesn't decide to eat them.

I was able to eat lunch and then work outside on the porch a couple of afternoons this week. It was heavenly. Since hardly anyone has come into the office, we were told we could work from home full time again. We're not sure when they'll have us all back into the office again. I'm assuming once we all have the chance to get vaccinated. I'm hoping that can be soon for me. So many people I know have had at least their first vaccination now. My mother-in-law "got" to shop for herself at an actual grocery store on Thursday. She loved having that freedom. Last January, who knew we'd think grocery shopping was some big freedom. I know I'm going to appreciate the hell out of it when I get vaccinated and can finally eat inside at a restaurant and go on a trip. Yea!

 Gus is going crazy now that he can go outside whenever he wants to, and the stupid humans finally made it warm out there for him. He got to do his favorite thing on Tuesday night, which is sit on his dad's lap out on the porch while we enjoyed our beverages.

I'm trying not to be too hopeful, because you never know what can happen, but right now it's warming up, and people are getting vaccinated, and life is getting closer to how it was. Is it possible that we may actually be able to take a deep breath, and exhale? Man, I hope so.

Friday, March 05, 2021

A Celebration, Mr Blue Sly's up There Waitin', And Today is the Day We've Waited for

Well, kids. this is historical (for me) (maybe), but I haven't had a migraine, and I've only taken Advil once in nine days. I can't even remember the last time that happened. My body, in particular, my kidneys feel so much better. I have no idea how long this will last, but I intend to appreciate the hell out of it, and see what I can get done while it does.

This weekend is supposed to be even warmer than last weekend. I'm hoping to ride outside as much as possible. Last Saturday was so nice, I almost forgot how great it was to ride outside. Our toes got a little cold, but it was totally worth it for a forty mile ride outside to North Liberty and back.
Without the migraine, I also got another Saturday project done. I've been trying at least once a week to clean and organize the hell out of one room in the house. Last Saturday I chose the dormer room. As you recall, when I first bought this house, the dormer room had ugly brown carpet, but that was okay, since Stinky lived up there and she was a slob, and that ugly brown carpet was just going to have used Snapple bottles stuck to it anyway. After she finally got her own place, I did an overhaul of the space. I pulled up said ugly brown carpet, and found old wide plank board underneath. They had the lumber yard name stamped on them and were pretty rough. I just sanded them down and painted them a light French Gray, and then we used John's old mid century chairs and his army chest, and some of his mom's family's lovely antiques and put a few futons up there in case people came to visit, and we had our eclectic, funky studio/reading room/kitten sanctuary. Of course, now that Stinky lives in Des Moines, but comes back here on weekends to work in the O. R., she's using the room again. So far, now that she's older, we haven't had to worry about the Snapple bottles...At least, so far.
I know I whined about how much weight I've gained during Covid/Perimenopause, so now that it's getting warmer and I'm faced with how pasty and fat I'm getting, I'm trying to be better about eating better and exercising more. Last Saturday for lunch, we had some left over quinoa enchilada bake, so I heated it up, split the one large helping into two, added some spinach salad from the night before and topped it with avocado, fresh jalapenos, and black olives, and we had pineapple chunks for dessert It was really good, and the portions were smaller, and it almost kept me from getting too hungry during our 40 mile bike ride.

Since it got up to 48 degrees, we decided to ride the Lone Tree Loop. It is a 40 mile, mostly flat bike ride that goes from Iowa City, through the country, and then through Lone Tree (where John's dad's family is from), and back to Iowa City. I love that ride, especially when I'm heavier and not happy to pull all this extra weight up hills. 

When we got back to town, we were going to try to go to Shakespeare's to eat and have a beer. We won't eat inside because we're old and don't want to catch the Covid. They hadn't cleared the snow off of their beer garden. We tried Big Grove next and they were ridiculously packed.

We decided to get some beer and fire wood, and order pizza from The Wedge. It turned out to be way better than going to a beer garden to eat, and so much cheaper.

As you all know, I lllllooooovvvve a fire.

 We ended the evening watching the Snow Moon rise over the trees as the fire died out. We packed a lot into that one day. I'm hoping tomorrow is even half as much fun.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Let the Morning Time Drop All Its Petals on Me

Hey! Guess what? It's finally warm out again. Tuesday was almost 50 degrees, and since it was close to 50 below zero with the windchill just about a week ago, it feels like Spring...Hell, it feels like Summer.

I took a vacation day on Tuesday to bask in the warmth. I tried to go for a run, but I am fat, and I think I may have lost all of my muscle tone over the last few months. So, I mostly went for a walk. At one point, I was coming to this bridge on the bike path and I saw a bike leaned against it, and a woman lying on top of it. I asked her if she was okay.

"Yeah. I'm just out of shape," she said. Boy, do I get that. I almost asked her if she could move over, so I could lie down next to her.

The one thing I have been able to do this Winter, is Cross Country Ski. We almost never get a chance to ski that much in Iowa, and it has saved me during the pandemic. It's a nice, safe, socially distanced thing we can do with our friends. I love to play outside, and there are so many beautiful groomed trails for skiing around the Iowa City area.


Since we don't feel comfortable eating or drinking inside with our friends right now, we were thrilled to find out that Big Grove Brewery will light their fire pits, and we can hang out with our friends outside. The lowest temperature that we'll subject ourselves to, is about 20 degrees. 

 It feels great to have a safe, social life during the Winter. It keeps us from feeling so cooped-up and about ready to go all "Shining" on people.

I hope you all are getting a warm-up, and are staying safe and finding ways to be social during all of this. I also hope you don't have anyone in your houses saying, "Heeeeeere's Johnny!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Working 9 to 5, What a Way to Make a living, Barely Gettin' By, It's All Taking and No Giving

Well, kids, it's been a minute. I guess this is the first time I've written this month. Bad, Churlita. There are so many things to blame it on: migraines, bone chilling cold, Winter doldrums, migraines, migraines, oh, and migraines.

Anyway, did I mention it was cold out, and I've been having tons of migraines? Yes, I believe I have mentioned that.

Okay. So, I worked in the office last week. I only have to go in on Tuesdays and Thursdays every third week.I was a little nervous because there have been a couple of cases of that aggressive strain of Covid reported in our town. It turns out that I had nothing at all to worry about. I had exactly one person come into the office each day I worked. I'm sure the -35 degree windchill wasn't exactly luring people out of their houses and into our office. 

The hardest part about coming back to work, was that when I got there, both my mouse and my fan were missing from my desk. Our big boss got a new assistant right before the pandemic, and I don't think she quite understands how it works in our office. First of all, she took said items, and then put them in her office and locked the door to it. Lucky for me, I had a master key, so that I could go in there and retrieve them. Most people are working from home now, and mouses (mice?) are hard to come by, and it's not like the the university equips us with fans. The fan I have was originally passed down from a woman named Juanita who retired in the early 2000's. She gave it to my other former co-worker, Juli, who handed it down to me when she retired in 2018. I had to work here 17 years before I inherited that. There is seniority, blood, sweat, and tears involved with acquiring that fan. Outsiders just don't understand. Now I might have to go watch "Office Space" before I go back to work in the building again, so I'm reminded that someone gets my working life.

This has been like the third, or seventy-fifth week in a row of arctic temperatures in Iowa. They say we might actually get up to 30 degrees by next weekend, but that sounds like some kind of crazy, made-up, fairy tale to me right now.

I know I always say this, but I suppose it's good that the weather gets shitty and we can't go out to play  sometimes, or I wouldn't get anything done around the house. This weekend, I worked in the laundry/mud room. We have tons of shelves in there, which is great for storage, but it's also too easy to just keep throwing crap up there and forgetting about it. Last Saturday, I just took everything down from each shelf, and cleaned all of the shelves, threw away a ton of stuff, and then actually organized things. We had about three different bottles of bleach, because they were spread around and we'd think we were out, and buy a new one.We'll see how long it stays all neat and tidy, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

 I will leave you all to go snuggle my kitten, and keep him away from my tea...The little bastard. I hope you all survive this Arctic blast at the ass-end of Winter, and that visions of Mardi Gras dance in your head tonight.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Johnny's in the Basement, Mixing up the Medicine, I'm on the Pavement, Thinking About the Government

Coadster tested positive for Covid on Friday. She's lucky because she's young and her blood type is O-, and at one time they were saying that made people's chances better than, oh, say, my blood type of A+.

She said she's mostly had a horrible headache, really sore shoulders, and a sore throat. Of course, even if she recovers, there's still a chance of her getting blood clots, having an enlarged heart, and having lung problems afterward. It sucks.

Because, as most of you know, food is love in my world, I spent yesterday morning, running to a few different stores to stock her and her boyfriend (who also tested positive for Covid) up on groceries. They will have to quarantine for a couple of weeks, which means she can't work. She works at a restaurant, where she has to wait on people who are eating and drinking and not wearing masks, which is, I'm sure, how she got it.

I had to drive about 45 minutest to get to her house to drop off her goods, and there was a big Winter storm heading our way. I was very lucky and made it home just as it started raining. At this time, Coadster is doing better than her first few days of having Covid. I hope she doesn't experience any other complications, and that her boyfriend makes it through okay too.

 What I don't understand about all of this Covid stuff, is why people want to make it all worse. These bizarre conspiracy theorists, who want to say it's a hoax, or it's not a big deal, and that being considerate and wearing a mask is somehow against their free-dumb. Then, those same weird anti-vaxxers go and disrupt a place that is giving out vaccines and shuts it down for a while. What happened to personal freedom? Oh, I guess it's only THEIR freedom that matters, and not anyone else's? Or maybe it isn't about freedom at all (especially since they never cared about the no shirt, no shoes, no service rules). Maybe it's all just about forcing their political agendas down everyone else's throats.

The pharmacist who ruined all of those vaccines, said he thought the vaccine wasn't safe for people, and he was just trying to help them. Ummmmmm, no one has died from the vaccine, but as of now, 439,000 people in the U.S. have died of the disease itself. And to those bizarre people who think that the vaccine will put a chip in them, so that Bill Gates can track them. Let's try using some logic. Can you imagine how expensive that would be? Bill Gates isn't a bajillionaire by blowing his money on stuopid shit. Wouldn't it be cheaper and smarter of him to make American citizens feel like they need computers and smart phones, and they would pay Bill Gates for devices that would allow him to track them? Duh. So, if any of these anti-vaxxers are worried about being tracked by an imaginary chip in a virus, but own computers and smart phones, and aren't worried about being tracked by those, all I can say to you is, DERRRRRRRRR.

The good news, is that if people can pull their heads out of their asses and get the vaccine, and the federal and state governments can make it available, we could reach 75% of people vaccinated, and hit herd immunity by later in the Summer. Can you imagine going to eat INDOORS at a restaurant? Going to see live music again? Hugging your older family members again? Being able to travel safely? Who wouldn't do everything in their power to make that happen again? I don't get it.

Anyway, I hope we can all be smart enough, and actually stop with the conspiracy theories, and fact check, and try harder to understand science, so we all work together to make our lives better. Please.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

I'm So Tired, And I Wish I Was the Moon Tonight


Well, kids. If I've been a little distant lately, it's because I seem to have had a two and a half month long migraine and it makes me super D-U-M. 

I have had a migraine-free day in there once or twice, but lately, it's just either migraine after migraine, or maybe it's one steady migraine that waxes and wanes, while I whine. Either way, I am so over it. 

In an attempt to be more positive, the snow and the full moon have been a really pretty combination lately...Except when I'm at work and every type of crazy person calls me, influenced by that same full moon,  and doesn't ever want to get off the phone with me. It could be worse, I could still be working in OB/Gyn and have to deal with those people in person, where they can see me, and I CAN'T dramatically pretend to pop my eyeballs out with spoons while they speak and flip them off through the phone. There's always a bright side to things, if you look hard enough.

Welcome to the nerdy part of this blog post. I have a thing for classic literature. Sure, I'll read almost anything, but in the Winter months, I love to sit down with a good classic novel and read about how attractive people were back then, depending on how many thousands of pounds they inherited. This month, it was "David Copperfield". I really loved it.

I come by nerdiness honestly. I was raised on "Masterpiece Theatre". Well, imagine how excited I was when I found out that HBOMAX has a bunch of BBC available. This past week, I watched the 1995 mini-series of "Pride and Prejudice". I have to say, Colin Firth makes the best Darcy in any adaptation, in both this mini-series AND "Bridget Jones's Diary". Meow!

I just started watching the 2006 mini-series of "Jane Eyre". It is dark as fu*k, so I can't devour it like I did "Pride and Prejudice", but it is still intriguing so far. Maggie Smith's son makes for a good Rochester too.

 Since we're on the subject of incredible leading men, it was our fourth wedding anniversary today. We didn't really do much for it. Even if there wasn't a pandemic, John had to go to the store for his mom after work, and I, you guessed it, had another migraine. Grrrrr. We did order a pizza and watch a few episodes of "The Sopranos", and some anniversaries are just going to be like that. Being the homebody I am, that's probably just as good a way as any to celebrate our anniversary for me. I'm hanging out with my best friend, watching New Jersey mobsters behaving badly, and feeling pretty damn good about myself in comparison.

So, I hope the full moon isn't making your lives hell, and you are able to appreciate its beauty. I also hope that you got to sit on your couch and eat pizza with your best friend, whether that be your husband, your friend from high school, your cat, or hell, even your vibr*tor, and watch a show that makes you feel better about yourself. Getting this close to the ass-end of Winter, what else can you ask for?

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Oh, Yeah, Yeah, At Last, The Skies Above are Blue

 Okay. Today was finally a hopeful day. I wasn't able to watch the inauguration, but it sounds like I missed something great. There is so much to say about today. I'm excited to get the seditious, divisive, person out of there, and now we have so much work to do to try and fix everything he messed up, but most importantly, to be vigilant that we never have anyone like him or worse get that much power in our country again.

I am hopeful, but I am not naive. No one is perfect, and every president makes mistakes. Hopefully, now, though, our new president won't think only of himself and his friends like 45, but of what's best for ALL of the citizens of this country. Let's also hope that that whole culture of believing in lies, and not wanting to fact check anything that didn't align with your conspiracy theories goes out the window too. I'm excited to see science and facts make a comeback...Oh, and to have a leader who speaks in full sentences! 

As always, here's wishing the best for our country.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Kid, You Better Look Around, How Long You Think That You Can Run That Body Down?

So, I was going to try and write every day this week, but then I did this really stupid thing. I started reading "David Copperfield", and now it's hard for me to do anything else. It's so damn good.

I am on the precipice of a three day weekend. Monday is Martin Luther King JR Day, and it's the last holiday I get off before Memorial Day in May. Sigh.

Last year I decided I was going to try and start painting the laundry room. I had already painted the door a nice light gray color on Saturday, and I was going to start painting the walls a bright white on Monday. They were a dingy, dirty, off-white color that looked like depression would, if it were a color. I washed the hell out of the one section of wall, and started painting. I felt fine at first, but then I started getting a headache and I was really exhausted. I took migraine meds, hoping that would do it, but they didn't do anything at all for me, so I figured it wasn't a migraine.

I also was losing my appetite. I thought maybe if I got some ice cream that would make me want to eat, but that didn't even sound good - which is when I was sure I was coming down with something serious. It's not unusual at all for me to get sick toward the end of January. We get a lot of international students coming into our office with their official documents a week or two before classes start up again, so I get exposed to a lot of different germs. I wasn't at all surprised that I was sick. It was just how weird/bad I felt.

At first it was mostly just a headache and exhaustion. At one point while I was trying to paint, I had to sit on the ground and then use both hands to hold the brush. Don't worry. I finally stopped at that point. Even I'M not that stubborn. 

Then by the time John came home from work, I told him to go out and get whatever he wanted for dinner, because I was too sick to eat. I figured I'd lie on the couch and just rest. Then I got these weird body aches. I was literally writhing around on the couch. I almost couldn't stand to be in my own skin. I got sick to my stomach a few times, and was finally able to sleep. I slept a LOT.

Whatever the bad juju was, it lasted about a week. I lost about 7 pounds, and even for however many months after that, I had very little appetite. It was so unlike me. There were a couple of different kinds of flu going around back then, and it was too early for me to have caught Covid, so who knows what I had. I guess the good thing about Covid for me this year, is that when we go back to the office in the next couple of weeks, we'll be a lot more careful. We have plexi-glass between us and the students, and we're all wearing masks. I'm hoping those kinds of precautions will keep me from getting the flu or even a cold. I guess there are a few benefits of Covid...

The "funny" thing is, I never finished painting the laundry room. I also feel like I can't try it this long weekend without tempting fate. I guess any excuse not to do it, works for me. If it keeps snowing like they say it might, I want to cross-country ski as much as possible this weekend. Since I'll have extra time on Monday, I told John I'd try to make eggplant parmesan for dinner that night. That is, of course, if I don't come down with anything.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Blue, Here is a Shell For You, Inside You'll Hear a Sigh

 Since I'm trying to write more, and there's a pandemic, so there isn't much to write about but our political situation, and our political situation hurts my stomach, I thought I'd do a post where I play with words. I did look at writing prompts and some of them were pretty bizarre. Here is one example: 

"Write about two people who own rival bakeries, but fall in love during their town's holiday festival."

Don't at least 5 different Hallmark Christmas movies have that same premise? Anyway, I thought I'd make it a little simpler?/more simple? and just use a word that conjures thoughts or memories, or Hallmark Christmas movie premises.

Today's word is BLUE:

- When I was a girl, I was more partial to wearing red or pink colors. My sister and I are about 2.5 years apart in age, and people used to want to treat us like twins and buy us the same dresses or shirts (smock tops, if we were lucky), but in different colors. I used to whine because my sister always got the cute colors, and I always seemed to get things in boring colors like navy blue or brown...And there was so much navy and brown in the 70's.

-I never got into Joni Mitchell when I was younger. At first, it was that I fancied myself a little too punk for that hippie music.  Then after I moved to California and became more open to some of that hippie music, I had a roommate who fell in love with a guy named Scott while she was studying to be a Chinese medical doctor, and she played "Court and Spark" over and over and over, and in particular, "Help Me". As one can imagine, I still don't think I'm ready to hear anything from that album. When John and I moved in together, he had Joni Mitchell's "Blue", and I just fell in love with it. Older me finally got smart.

-Coming from my family, I have been very lucky not have inherited the clinical depression issues that many of the other members have. I made up for it in migraines, but that's a different issue (apparently, none of us gets away without something fun). I did used to get blue from time to time in my twenties, and thirties, however. It was usually situational. I had that problem with abusive people from the age of 10 - 37, and that can really bring a girl down. Other times it was hormonal. Moving outside has always helped to clear the blues for me. I spent almost every day during the Summer of 1984 walking for hours and hours, trying to purge myself of all of the negativity during my time with my aunt and uncle. I would walk down a street and take it to its end, then I'd find another street, and take that to its end. Sometimes it would lead me out on dirt roads in the country. With my horrible sense of direction, it's a wonder I never got lost.

-When Coadster was in kindergarten she told her classmates that her favorite color was blue. All of the girls in her class got together to shame her and tell her that blue was a boy's color and she couldn't be a girl and like it. I was shocked that shit was still going on in the late 90's.

 So, that was BLUE for me today. What shade are you?

Monday, January 11, 2021

I Got Chills. They're Multiplyin'

Well, let me tell you. I got my second Shingles vaccine on Friday after work and the rest of the weekend was pretty rough. I know it would be 5,000 times worse, if I were to actually get Shingles, and I tried to be smart and get it on Friday evening, so I'd have the whole weekend to recover. Man, did I need that.

 Lucky for me, Verizon gave us a free six month trial of the new Discovery Plus Network. I'm not sure if you all know this about me, but I'm obsessed with HGTV. So, the new channel with all kinds of episodes of "My Lottery Dream Home", and another show called, "Restored" that I'm addicted to are on there. Talk about your cheesy escapist TV. The other thing they have on there is the Dodo channel. which meant, that I could watch episode after episode of 5 minute shows where animals are going to their forever homes with humans who love them after horrible experiences prior to the show. Yeah. One was even about a 36 pound cat who's original human had Alzheimer's and kept forgetting that she had already fed him. If that had been Archie, he probably would have been 50 lbs.

Anyway, I did a lot of resting. I kind of felt like I was on a really bad drug that made me super dizzy and spacey and tired, and also, I had the chills for a few hours on Saturday night. Try to imagine a combination of having chills, and THEN having a hot flash. My poor body must have been so confused. I appears that growing old will never be boring.

I hope you all had weekends that didn't include side effects from the Shingles vaccine...Or much worse, having actual Shingles.

Saturday, January 09, 2021

I Read a Lot, I Can't Put it Down. While Others Are Painting the Town, You'll Find Me in a World of Fantasy

Well, I decided not to do the group of end of the year posts I normally do, because 2020 was extra, and I just didn't have the energy for it. I will do a very honed down books I read in 2020 post now, though. Besides Gus, reading books was one of the best ways to distract myself from the craziness of the year.

I only read 71 books of my 75 book goal. The first time in many years that I didn't meet my goal. I had to let a lot of things go the last 12 months.

So, here's my very limited list:

Best Classic novel I read in 2020: It's a tie between Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" as a classic novel that I reread and Wlkie Collins' "Lady in White", which I had never read before. If you ever want to read a great classic novel, check out "The Woman in White"

The best non-fiction book I read this year: "Becoming" by Michelle Obama. I was in desperate need of hope this year, and this book gave me some of that. I loved how open and honest she was about herself, her marriage, and her life.

The best Graphic novel I read this year was my reread of Alan Moore's "The Watchmen". I haven't read it since 1989/90.

The best thriller/scary book I read in 2020, was Blake Crouch's "Dark Matter".


The most disappointing book I read was, "Inland" by tea Obrecht. I love Westerns and I loved her book, "The Tiger's Wife", but this book took sooooo long to get going, and she had so much to work with. Sigh.

The best Young Adult novel I read was, "Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi. Talk about a fantastic adventure.

The best children's book I read was "Kidnapped", by Robert Louis Stevenson. I am always going to pick the best adventure story.

The best detective novel I read was, "The Magpie Murders" by David Horowitz.


 The best book by a former Iowa Citian was, Chris Offutts', "Country Dark". I give him that honor even though his son did bring a plunger as a gift to Stinky's 13th birthday party and gave all the kids stomach hickeys with it, so you know the book was good.

The best fantasy/ short story collection was Kelly Link's "Get in Trouble"

I read a lot of series' books this year, and this is my list of those:

 The best memoir series was the Maya Angelou autobiographies. They were so interesting and she was involved in so many  different movements during her time.

The best escapist series: The "Crazy Rich Asians" series by Kevin Kwan. Boy howdee, did I need escapism this year.

The best dystopian series'ish books I read were Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" books. I couldn't really read much dystopian fiction until you-know-who got voted out, and it wasn't quite as close to our actual lives.

Okay. That's it for the books I read in 2020. Let's hope this year has even more and better reading experiences for all of us.


Thursday, January 07, 2021

Crooked Politicians With Nefarious Schemes, Charlatans and Crooked Cops

Holy cow, Kids, but it's been a week. A bunch of crazed, treasonous t-Rumpers tried to take over Congress, but luckily they were stopped, and the democratic process was  finally allowed to happen and we have a new president now. Thank jeebus! It will be nice to have an actual leader again. Someone who cares about the country instead of their own interests, and even with a stutter, can speak in complete sentences. Maybe t-Rump will go to Russia where he can find the kind of government he really wants.

 On a non-political note, I think my tooth may actually be fixed. Fingers crossed. I have been in a lot of pain since my crown, and since it happened right before the holidays, they couldn't work me in until yesterday. The dentist shaved my tooth down, which was pretty excruciating, but it feels way better now than it did when I was too long in the tooth, both now literally and always figuratively. Here's hoping for pain free teeth in the weeks to come.

On a more positive note, John just got his first Covid vaccine, which makes the two people who ever enter my house both vaccinated. So, until I go back to work in a few weeks, I should be fairly safe?

On a what the hell note, I think I'm going to get my second shingles vaccine tomorrow. If they have it. I have no idea how I'll feel this weekend, but no matter what, it sounds like it's going to be way better than actually having shingles.

On a hopeful note, I'm just thinking positive thoughts for things to get better and better for all of us.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

So This is the New Year, and I Have No Resolutions, For Self Assigned Penance, For Problems With Easy Solutions

Well, you know Christmas is over when the wise men start passing out. Now, it's New Year's Day already and I haven't written here in way too long. If I made resolutions, I would resolve to write in here a hell of a lot more. Since I don't, I will just have to try really hard to write more.

In my defense, I've been having terrible migraines for the last couple of weeks, and it makes it so hard to string a sentence together. Sigh.

We did a good job sending 2020 off last night. A friend of ours invited us over to a Christmas tree burning bonfire in her backyard. Then we came home and made a cheese and veggie and nut board, and some shrimp cocktail. John and I laughed about growing up in the 70's and back then shrimp cocktail was considered so fancy. We also played Scrabble and watched "The Thin Man" You have to love William Powell and Myrna Loy.

I started put this morning with, you guessed it, a bad migraine. I was intent on making French toast and cheesy eggs, but I almost cut the tip of my finger off slicing bread with the sharp, new, bread knife I bought John for his birthday. I've been taking a lot of Advil for my migraines lately and it's a blood thinner, so it took almost an hour to get my finger to stop bleeding.

I decided to take my Zomig, which are the heavy duty meds, and then rested for a while before we tried to cross-country ski. It snowed about 4 inches here today, and I was weak from my meds, so we only went out for an hour. It was still nice to get outside and play.

 So, now we begin a new year, with all the hope and trepidation that brings. Stinky is going to get her first Covid vaccine on Monday, and John is supposed to get his in the next couple of weeks. I have a feeling I might be last in line to get mine. It would be so nice for as many people as possible to be able to get the vaccine in the next couple of months. How great would it be to eat inside at a restaurant, or go on a trip, or cough because you have allergies without everyone giving you the stink eye? 

Anyway, I hope the best for all of you in the coming year. I hope for a smooth transition of power later this month, I hope the virus gets managed better, I hope people work on becoming kinder and more empathetic, and I hope my cats stay weird and amusing, because that helps me deal with my migraines. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Happy Holidays to You

Man, I had a bad week last week. The lens popped out of my reading glasses, and since I just got them about two months ago, I took them back to the eye glass place to see if they could fix them. While the woman was fixing them, she apparently broke the frames. So, then she had to order a warranty pair and I guess that will take a few weeks for me to get them. Now I'm back to wearing my old reading glasses and I'm doing a lot of squinting trying to read stuff at work. Pretty.

Then on Thursday I went into the dentist to get a crown. I really hate going to the dentist, because I have to pay someone money to hurt me. This time, I guess the dentist got confused and drilled the wrong tooth. So, he had to fix that mistake before he could even start on the right tooth. I will give him credit. He told me he made a mistake and apologized and all that jazz. My mouth was just even more sore than it usually is after having a crown. Like I said to someone else, at least he wasn't trying to amputate my leg.

So, because not just last week, but this whole year has kind of been a shit show, I've been making a big point to celebrate this holiday season. I've seen those people on Facebook who want to pretend that there is some imaginary war on Christmas and it just cracks me up. Listen, people, there are about 14 different holidays occurring this time of year, and after the way things are going, why wouldn't you want to celebrate every one of them? Seriously, I might have to sacrifice a goat or eat pig's blood or even worse, make crafts, or whatever other way anyone celebrates, but I am all up for partying anyway anyone wants to party. So, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Goat Sacrificing Day (?), and most of all, Happy New Year!

Anyway, what my point started being, before it became a rant (as my points so often do), is that I've been going nuts celebrating the holidays this year. I got a real Christmas tree for the first time in years, John and I listened to a Charlie Brown Christmas while we wrapped presents last weekend, and I painted my own Christmas cards.

The only drag about making your own Christmas cards is that it takes a lot of time, so I only made 8 this year to send to immediate family. Then everyone else seemed to be getting in the spirit of the holidays, and we're getting tons of cards from friends and family, and the last couple of days people have been leaving gifts at our front door. We got nice, big coffee/tea mugs, a tea towel that says, "My cat would make a better president" (ha ha), and homemade baked goods, and candy. It's all so sweet and unexpected. I just feel bad that I can't reciprocate. I will make some Christmas hummus and drop some off at people's houses on Christmas Eve, but that's about all I can do, what with working, and not being able to run to different stores because of the pandemic.


Tomorrow is my  is my last day to work before I get a lovely four day Christmas weekend. I can't wait. I still have to bake and decorate sugar cookies on Christmas Eve (and make the Christmas hummus, of course), but other than that, my long weekend will consist of eating food and drinking grog, and watching movies and playing outside and enjoying the season. I hope you all are able to celebrate at LEAST 14 different holidays before the end of the year too.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Follow Me in Merry Measure. While I Tell of Yule-tide Treasure

Hey, kids! We finally got some snow this weekend. It's been such a warm December so far. I'm not complaining, but it would be lovely to have a white Christmas, and I do love playing in the snow when it isn't too damn cold.

As you all probably know by now, I am an outdoorsy girl (old lady). Playing outside makes me happy and clears my foggy brain.

So, when John suggested we go for a snow hike in our local woodsy park, I was all for it. We had one of those heavy, wet snows that sticks to everything and makes the whole world seem frosted.

We wandered all around the park and saw so many sweet puppies running around like the happiest of fiends.

We also walked past the sledding hill, that I used to take my girls to when they were younger. Back then, I'd pile them up on a sled and pull them to the park. 

It was great to see so many families out playing in the snow. It felt like we were in a movie, or we had walked into a Norman Rockwell painting or something. I really do love that festive holiday shit.

I still wanted to get a run in. I love snow running almost as much as I love snow hiking. So, John and I headed to the car and went home, where I changed out of my snowy clothes into some clothes that were about to get snowy.

 Running on snow is at least twice the work-out running without the snow is, but I really love it. There's something about being out there, when almost no one else is running. I wear those old running shoes that John put screws on the bottom of to keep me from slipping and sliding.

When I was almost home, on the bike path behind our house, I saw this bench where someone had written I Heart U in the snow. It made me so happy. I love when people try to spread that love around...Especially right now when so many people are feeling isolated, and have people close to them dying from this pandemic. 'Tis the season to be empathetic and spread good cheer. Let's all do our equivalent of telling people we love them in the snow on benches this year.