Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Random Thoughts and A Few Questions

  • This would be a good year  NOT to have fireworks!
  • Some people say they can't eat as much when it's hot; not a problem for me.
  • I don't like the look of dogs with clothes on.  They should be naked.
  • Summer menus should include at least one serving of marshmallows in some form or another.
  • It takes at least the first five minutes of any family gathering to figure out who's fighting with whom.
  • It takes another five  minutes to figure out if I should get involved.
  • I can still hear my mother's recitation of her "Life Rules" even though she's been gone for nine years
  • The young clerk at the airport book store has never heard of housewife porn.
  • LeBron James really  is the King of Basketball.
  • Why do recipe magazines at the store cost $10.00?
  • Ask your doctor how his day is going.  You might get some interesting answers.
  • Don't ask him what he thinks about the Confederate flag.  You might not like his answer and that could affect your level of confidence in him.
  • My friend Ed thanks every veteran for his or her service.  Try it even if you were hands down against the war in Vietnam. You don't have to be in favor of war to appreciate military service.
  • Stop saying "Me and her."  Reference to yourself should come last, e.g., "Pat, Mary, and I." It's not just a matter of standard usage, it's just good manners. 
  • Why can't I understand the plot of this year's "True Detective?"  
  • I read in the paper that taking statins can affect memory.  So THAT'S it.
  • What's the deal with tattoos and why were they only popular with soldiers and sailors in time past?
  • It's July 1.  The days are getting shorter and Harper Lee's new book will be out soon. 
  • Use a fingernail to emboss an X on a mosquito bite and then put spit on it.
  • Memorize a hot summer day with all your senses so you can recall it next January.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Pharmacy Game

Let me tell you how to play The Pharmacy Game, an adult board game that may soon be available at a Rite Aid near you.  You already know something about how to play. All you need are four players, a game board, tokens for moving around the board and two stacks of  special cards and a die.

The four players are you and three close friends. Make sure your fellow gamers are people you can trust with your medical needs.  It's also to your advantage if you are a senior citizen player because you are the one who navigates the medical world with the most ease. Be careful, though, not to get too bogged down in the swapping of doctor stories or you won't finish the game.

The board looks something like a monopoly board and if you're at all clever, you can create your own.  The tokens are thumb-sized prescription bottles in different colors. The two stacks of cards are the Dr. Best pile and the Pharmacist's pile. Place these in the middle of the board.  The object is to be the first person to get your prescription filled. You do this by placing all the tokens on the "Feeling Sick" starting square.  Roll the die to see who's first, then proceed from square by square by rolling the die. Whoever is the first to land on the square labelled "Drive-Up Window" where your prescription is filled is the winner.

But it's not as simple as it sounds.  There are obstacles that will impede your progress.  The squares can present different challenges as well as a few advantages.  For example, you might land on a square that says, "It's Friday and the Pharmacy is closed.  Lose a turn." Or you might be instructed to take a card from the Dr. Best pile that says something like, "Dr. Best's medical assistant needs to talk to you about your prescription. Lose a turn while you wait for her to call back."  You might be lucky enough to land on the square that says, "Your prescription cost of $1200 for 30 days of pills will be picked up by your insurance company and is ready now. Move ahead two spaces."  One you'll want to miss is the one that reads, "We must receive authorization from your insurance company before we can refill this prescription. Go back three spaces."  And, of course, there's the ever dreaded, "We are still waiting for confirmation from Dr. Best although Dr. Better's office called in the prescription. Go back five spaces." This is probably the worst Pharmacist card of all because it means you are going to have to negotiate between the two doctors with some extra calls to the Pharmacy thrown in. You can escape this fate only after rolling a six.  Thank goodness there's only one square like this.  But you for sure would love to land on "The Pharmacy is having a sale on Vitamin E today. It's BOGO and jump ahead three squares."

See?  You do know how to play this game.  Sometimes you play it a lot as my sister and I have both been doing for last few months.  The trouble with this game is that there aren't enough advantage cards or squares. If you create your own board, you might want to add more fun cards to increase your chances of winning. But don't hope for many breaks in the real world of Walgreen's.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Needle Here and There and Dr. Crackback

I've been dealing with back pain ever since I awkwardly hoisted my one year old granddaughter out of the big girl bath tub. That was almost 13 years ago.  Since then the back pain has worsened, eyesight and hearing are beginning to dim, I can't really straighten out my right arm and my left foot cramps up when I walk even a very short distance.  I could tell lots more about the alarming changes in my aging body ; for instance, certain areas of my skin have taken on odd colored markings in various neutral shades and so on but I'll leave these details to your own future imagination.  I'll just give you a little hint:  The act of sitting down on the toilet will some day be nothing you will ever again take for granted.

It was fairly easy to deal with the back pain for many years.  A little while on the heating pad and maybe a Tylenol or two and I would be good to go.  That is no longer the case.  And you  might recall that I got up every morning at 5:00 am and quick-walked two miles before school if I wasn't at the pool swimming laps for 30 minutes.  Those activities are in the distant past.

Now I am in the middle of what I'm choosing to call "functional exercising" which means I move around in ways that will keep me simply mobile for the longest possible time left to me.  I go to my personal trainer once a week, work out on my own once a week and attend a flex class every Saturday morning.  Now that my heart has been tuned up again, I'm gradually incorporating some cardio work back into my routine.

In the last year, I have visited my general practitioner, a neurologist, a podiatrist and a physical therapist.  I have chosen to work on my back pain and foot cramping but have experienced little to no relief.  So I decided to try alternative medicine. I've also proclaimed April and May to be months of  alternative wellness.  April was devoted to the chiropractor. I had several sessions and have had my back manipulated many times.  One of those times I was able to cruise the mall right after the appointment with no foot cramping or back pain.  The rest of the time I figured out how really smart Dr. Brad is and grew familiar with his patient table that can SNAP my pelvis back into alignment.  I also downed a whole bottle of his special elixir of fish oil.  

This week I received my first treatment of acupuncture and had the second of two sessions with my hypnotherapist.  I had the needles stuck into lots of places on the left side of my body and a few on the right side.  I reclined peacefully for an hour in a darkened room listening to white noise while the needles did their thing.  I felt an occasional warm swirl of some kind of energy here and there in the approximate places of the needles. I left refreshed and I can just say " reactivated" as I left what I can only describe as a place from my past somewhere in the 1960's.

Hypnotherapy caused mild yet positive shocks to my thinking skills.  I uncovered and verbalized some surprises from my past, was "under" for 40 minutes, and brought home a CD of my session so that I can go to my happy place any time I want to.  I know it all sounds pretty iffy, but I have to say that I am getting some benefit from these centuries old ways of caring for the body. When I get weirded out by anything in these treatments, I just let myself be amused and try to keep an open mind.  May will consist of more acupuncture and at least two visits to my massage therapist.  Go ahead and be skeptical, I'm only just saying. (And I will continue to try to get that last phrase out of my vocabulary since we have no way of knowing what it really means.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Looking For Hayes

A few weeks ago I did a fast read of one of those high interest beach books that features a hero with the somewhat odd name of Hayes.  He zoomed into the foreground of my life picture in a very special way because  I decided to look for him.  I didn't even begin to imagine how challenging this little project would be.

Hayes is 6' 4" tall, weighs 225 pounds, has chestnut colored hair that falls just to the nape of his neck, and has unusually intense blue eyes. He's in his late 30's, maybe early 40's. He wears tight jeans, hiking boots and a flannel shirt with a heavy ski jacket because the setting is winter snow.  He's muscled, coordinated, and agile.  He's clever, funny, sympathetic, and treats women with twinkly eyed charm. He can cook, shoot firearms, chop wood in minutes, change sheets, and tend wounded guests.  He can make accurate judgments about other people with a quick read of body language.  He jumps higher, hits harder, runs faster and looks better than most male contestants in any kind of sporting event. You get the idea. Oh, yeah-he really likes to read. All the walls of his cabin are lined with full bookshelves.

I looked for him at the grocery store. The men there were all older or younger and were dressed like they just rolled off the couch to quickly replenish the beer supply during halftime. I looked all the way to Gresham and back while transporting grandgirls from one place of fun spring break activity to another.  He didn't drive any of the trucks I saw or work in any of the garden centers I passed.  Home Depot!  Of course, he'd be there for sure I thought as I trailed behind my husband who was  looking for some sort of special electrical equipment.  Some of the guys here were hard to see because they looked out from faces coated with paint spray or sawdust.  Hayes would never do that.  He'd use a handkerchief from his own pocket to clean off his face and slap the sawdust off his jeans before he entered the store.

I was really hoping I'd find him Friday morning when we regularly meet our friends for breakfast.  Nope.  He must not care to eat in a loud, kid-filled egg and pancake house smelling of hot syrup and bacon.  His breakfast is probably lean and healthy and he puts it together in his sleek bachelor kitchen.  Maybe I'd spot him at the riverside bistro where we went for dinner that night.  I looked everywhere.  There were some possible candidates but they were all really too old to fit the bill and besides, they were sitting at the bar trying to make small talk with the bored servers who just wanted to get on with the night and meet their boyfriends later.

Let me tell you, I grew more and more determined to find this man.  But  a few more scouting forays caused me to give up figuring I'd have to go to southern California or maybe Manhattan to find this particular guy.  I concluded that such a male exists only within the exciting pages of a mystery romance or lives somewhere close to where people regularly get their bodies and faces recreated by their plastic surgeons. He's for sure not anywhere in  my world unless he's in the ski lodge at Timberline, maybe?  A cattle ranch in Central Oregon?  A helicopter pilot at the Coast? Owner of a large and successful business downtown?  You tell  me and I'll go find him.


Friday, March 6, 2015

B to D: Making Sure Your Cups Are the Right Size

My longtime friend Andrea is one of those women who can do magical things with scissors, fabric and a sewing machine. She has her own dress form which she adjusts according to need and recently completed a gorgeous quilt with an Hawaiian theme which she made out of old sundresses, her husband's shorts and even an old swimsuit.  She's that talented.   Last week she spent a few days in her own kind of  heaven in Puyallup WA where she attended a stitch and sew expo.  Not only did she browse through many hundreds of vendors' booths stunned by all the exotic sewing notions she suddenly found she needed to have, but she took some classes as well. She shared some of what she learned with our other longtime friend JoAnn and me at her house over tea and chocolate dipped fruit earlier this week.

The most unusual class she described for us was "Bra Making."  Yes. You can make your own bras. After all, according to her teacher, most American women are wearing the wrong bra size and don't even know it although constant tugging and strap shuffling should give us a clue.  Apparently, European women figured this out a long time ago and take their band and cup measurements way, way beyond even the 42 D level. A proper fit is the key and a knowledgeable fitter will make sure every bit of "tissue" (that's the term they use rather than "breast") is cinched and maneuvered into its rightful place thus producing a never before level of comfort. For your own personal amazement, take a special trip to Nordstrom or some other ridiculously expensive store and have yourself fitted.  Don't cheat and go to Target or Fred Meyer because the girl who works in that department is over there temporarily from Paint and Electronics and has only worked there for a week anyway.  Besides, you will be tempted to buy the "Barely There" pullover bra which is on sale and even has a coupon to go with it. No,no, no.  No pullovers; don't buy anything without an under wire even if your nose touches the wall before your chest does.

The fitter at Nordstom knows all the tricks, as I found out during my recent visit. My tissue has all been relegated to proper placement although the cost compares to all  the other bra expenditure of my entire  lifetime.  Andrea's teacher says I should feel much better about my body image and "should never again struggle with those pokey bras that are all day bothersome." Just to be safe, I kept the sleek handled shopping bag and the discreet receipt just in case I can't get used to this new, compacted feeling in my chest area.  Andrea is seriously considering buying the bra pattern. I bet she does.      

Monday, February 2, 2015

Thumbing Pages

I have always liked to read magazines.  I've subscribed to The New Yorker for over 45 years and find something to think about in each weekly issue if only to laugh at the cartoons.  Sometimes the lead articles are too obscure to have any meaning for me.  They must be intended for smart readers who live on the East Coast.  This last week, just for example, there was an article about Jeb Bush that I've been over twice in a mostly futile attempt to figure out how he represents his interest in education and what that might have to do with his candidacy for President.

Good Housekeeping has intrigued me since I was young.  I used to read it for its recipes and the yellow pages toward the end of each issue that used to contain good hints and advice about what to buy or wear or do about seasonal illnesses. I always enjoyed the book condensations at the end.  That magazine is very different now.  The recipes are still there but they're too trendy for me.  I liked the old ones that highlighted comfort food prepared in easy, new ways that the whole family might enjoy.  I'd be laughed out of the kitchen if I served "parsnip chips" or "baked pepper jack quinoa skillet." The sections called "YOUR LOOK" and "YOUR BODY" don't work for me in any way at all. In years past,there weren't sections so blatantly presented to pique the interest of the self-absorbed; articles about appearance were more inclined to offer suggestions about looking clean, fresh and well put together. And never mind a magazine called Self.  Good grief.

I've tried to enjoy the Oprah magazine called simply O since its inception, but I'm always put off right away by the cover that features Oprah herself in glamorous, expensive clothes wrapped around an air-brushed photo-shopped body that relieves her of the extra roundness that she really has.  And there's too much self promotion that even includes highlighting the activities of her best friend, Gail,who wouldn't be in the celebrity circle at all if it weren't for her famous friend.  In between all the ads for skin care, hair products, and what will be featured in the next issue, you can study some of Oprah's favorite things to buy (and then market to others) that include jewelry pieces or jaunty tee shirts or maybe nifty gift ideas that are so exorbitantly priced that I wonder how many readers actually choose them to give.  Sandwiched in between these subtle advertisements are the serious articles that address our fears, cares and other ego problems that the modern woman must be struggling with on a moment to moment basis.  Everything is presented in colorful, intricate graphics that are mostly just difficult to understand in terms of how they relate to the subject. But don't get me wrong; if Oprah were to run for President, I might seriously consider voting for her.

My guess is that magazines are fighting a desperate and losing battle against the digital age.  Why read a magazine when you can consult an app or view Pinterest about your female concerns? But if they disappear all together, what will we look at in the dentist's office besides the aquarium?  Actually, I recommend studying the fish and their small but real environment.  A small connection to nature is probably a better way to wait than reading magazines that feature articles about the advantages of this neck cream over that one.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Points South

Our travel plans for 2015 are firming up.  Our special friend Sarah is getting married May 31 in Clarksville, Tennessee so we'll head there to help her celebrate and also spend a bit of time in Nashville.  All I know about Nashville is the airport and that it is a country music mecca.  I also know that Pat's best work friend lives there so he wants to meet up with him.  So what would be the best way for me to spend some time on my own in Nashville since I know almost nothing about it?

Then we'll head south to New Orleans with a night's stopover in Meridian.  We could make the trip in a day's time but we both get bored, restless and cranky after three or four hours in the car.  We can only chat, listen to music or work crossword puzzles only so long before we start taking verbal pot shots at the tedium of the drive which escalates into bashing life in general.  Not a healthy situation so we'll rest a night in Meridian.  I don't know one single solitary thing about Meridian except that I  once read a book of the same title.  It had something to do with civil rights in the 60's, I think. If you know of something not to be missed in Meridian, Alabama, let us know.

We should arrive in New Orleans in the early afternoon.  There are many, many things we want to do and see in this famous city.  We'll have to decide within the next few months so we can cut down our list. We'll be there for four or five days and want to eat the best local food, see the most interesting architecture, and otherwise soak up the local southern hospitality and culture in an orderly and time saving manner.  I want to take a steamboat ride on the Mississippi and for sure see Magazine Street, the French Quarter and hear some jazz.  I don't like the heat so how should I prepare myself for that?And what are  must-sees and -dos for New Orleans, Readers?

We're still thinking about a fall trip along with our usual week at Black Butte and a couple of weekends here and there.  I wouldn't mind another bus tour.  The one we took in New England was fabulous.  Maybe it's time to see something in the middle of the country?