Monday, March 19, 2012

A Little LOL...

I have documented my hearing struggles several times on this blog.  K, on the other hand, doesn't have any (much) hearing loss.  This is quite surprising, considering his father wore a hearing aid and the noisy places K has worked over the years.  One thing he has been SO good about, is using hearing protection--something that he is FANATICAL about.  Even when he mows the lawn or uses the snow blower, he will wear ear plugs.  I never felt the need for ear plugs and I'm sure that is part of my problem.  However, despite K's good hearing, we DO have many conversations like this:

(click on the image to read the entire thing)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

And Then My Brain Went For A Walk...

I'm not sure how many people's minds work like mine, but I think mine is rather unique--even if it isn't.  (I like to think of myself as special--it helps my low self esteem.  ;))  Most of the time when I have a quiet moment, my brain will go off on its own and lead me to places I wouldn't dream of going by myself.  I kind of have a game of 'six degrees of separation' going on all of the time and it is quite interesting.  Most of the time when I'm in the shower, my mind takes a break--that is why I'll get out of the shower and not remember whether I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair or not.  And that will lead me to get back IN the shower and re-rinse, just to be sure.  But I digress...

The other night, I was thinking about how most people have a favorite movie, favorite song, favorite actor, etc, etc.  I tried coming up with ONE favorite to fit each category and it just didn't happen.  I tend to have a lot of 'favorites.'  There are a number of movies I will watch over and over again, but not one of them is my absolute 'favorite.'  I could tell you my top 10*--or any random number--movies that I love, but couldn't narrow it down to just one.  So this got my brain to working and I came up with a DIFFERENT way of telling you all of some of my favorites.  So, here goes:

--The first movie I remember sobbing about until I was sick is:

        Brian's Song

I know this was a made-for-TV movie, but it is categorized as a movie, nonetheless.  While other movies have made me cry, this one just did me in--and it continued to make me sob every time I saw it for the next several years.  I watched it again a few years ago and it didn't have the same emotional edge that it had years ago, but it WAS a good crying-time movie.

--The first movie to make me LITERALLY jump when I watched it:

This was the first of the Alien movies with Sigourney Weaver and by far the best of the lot.  While Psycho was OMG! frightening--and kept me from showering while alone in the house for YEARS (I STILL have a hard time showering when I'm alone)--Aliens just made me jump right out of my seat.

--The movie that made me fall in love with Al Pacino was:

He was so drop-dead gorgeous in this movie!  I had already seen him in 'Panic in Needle Park,' but this movie was why I have the biggest crush on him.

--The first movie I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants AND that I quoted for weeks after:

To this day, I'm not sure I ever laughed as hard at another movie.  And I still haven't found another one with  as many funny quotes as this one had.

And that concludes my very short list.  My brain had to stop its wandering because I was done with my shower--AND I remembered to rinse the conditioner out, so I didn't need to reenter.  This brings a couple of questions for you:  Do you have a favorite movie, or several?  Does your mind take off and invite you along for the ride?  And are you ever afraid your mind WON'T come back when it's done walking around?  ;D

*The movies I will watch over and over again:
Slap Shot
Mystery, Alaska
Jeremiah Johnson
Blues Brothers
Animal House
Arsenic and Old Lace
Secondhand Lions
Anatomy of a Murder
Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House

And that is only a partial list.  ;D

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Love and Forgiveness

In 1970, the movie 'Love Story' came out and it brought to the world one of the most famous taglines ever:  "Love means never having to say you're sorry."  In our minds, that was one of the most profound and wonderful things that we had ever heard.  Considering we were probably sobbing so hard that our brains were muddled or we were on an acid trip and EVERYTHING seemed wonderful, I can forgive everyone for thinking this.  However, through the years I have come to realize that the statement is just so much bullshit--sounds good and means absolutely nothing.  (Kind of like politicians...)

Let's look at this a little further.  Forgiveness is pretty much part of the foundation of civilization.  We do something wrong--big OR small--and we are expected to feel remorse and ask for forgiveness from the person/people we wronged.  We see this in our courts and we see this on television and we read this in print.  Entire crime/law shows are written just so we can see the criminal allocute in court--and the criminal usually gets a lighter sentence for confessing, feeling remorse, and saying "I'm sorry."  How often have we seen politicians or celebrities take to the airwaves and apologize for saying or doing something the rest of the world sees as wrong?  And then the person usually goes off and continues with his/her career as if s/he did nothing wrong whatsoever--and we allow it because of the "I'm sorry."  (The Chris Brown 'incident/s' come to mind, however, I'm not 100% sure he ever used the words "I'm sorry.")

How often have we been wronged personally?  When our child lashes out at the age of three and slaps us, we INSIST on an apology and a promise to never hit again.  How many more divorces would there be if a spouse never apologized for wrong behavior?  Anything from leaving the wet towels in the middle of the bathroom floor to an affair can be rectified by a heartfelt "I'm sorry and will never do it again."  So, where does the statement "Love means never having to say your sorry." fit into anyone's concept of a loving relationship?

Therapists tell us--and clergy people, as well--that we CAN move forward if someone doesn't apologize for wronging us--we just need to forgive and move on.  This is something I have tried to do with The Family, and while I haven't been able to as of yet, I'm working on it.  To forgive a person's bad behavior when s/he doesn't think s/he did anything wrong takes a very strong person.  (I haven't become that strong, yet.)  We always like to have our feelings validated, that we were hurt in some way--and when the person doing the hurting doesn't see this, it minimalizes our feelings and shows just how little the wrongful person feels for us.  Causing hurt and pain to another person DEMANDS an apology and when that doesn't happen, how can a relationship continue in a loving way?  Instead of "Love means never having to say you're sorry" it should read "Love is saying you're sorry--and MEANING it."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Favorite Recipe

Everyone has a favorite food that MUST be prepared for the holidays.  Whenever we serve ham, this is something that I have to make to go with it--and I believe there would be a total rebellion if I ever forgot.  This was my m-i-l's recipe and I have--without guilt--appropriated it as my own.

(you can 1/2 this recipe and it works out just fine)

1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 can tomato soup (I ALWAYS use Campbell's)
1 cup mustard
6 egg yolks

Cook--stirring with a wire whisk--until thickened, using a double boiler.  When cooked thoroughly, remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup butter.  Store in covered container in refrigerator.  Serve warm or cold.

Many people don't know what to do with this sauce when they first see it--and a lot will never make it without tasting it first.  To explain this the best I can is that this is a sort of sweet-and-sour type of sauce.  As I said, we use it as a topping for ham, but many people use it other ways.  This can be used in sandwiches--ham or otherwise--and as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers, for example.  I will dip pretzels in this sauce, also.  There is an unlimited amount of ways this sauce can be used--try it and see if you like it as much as we do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another Step Toward Old Age

I believe everyone gets a little hard of hearing as they age.  Just as the rest of the body doesn't stand up to time, neither do the ears/eardrums.  And things go south rather quickly when there was a problem to begin with, as it is with me.  Until about seven years or so, I never knew that I had a hearing problem that quite possibly has been with me since I was young.  While I passed all of my hearing tests in elementary school, I never had a hearing test again until seven years ago, so I have no idea how long things have been going bad.  A genetic problem+aging=needing to look for a solution.

Yesterday I went for an appointment with the ear specialist and the first thing that was done was the hearing test.  And things are just a bit worse than they were seven years ago.  And both the doctor and audiologist say it is time for me to get help.  Now comes my search for the proper hearing aid/s.

I've done some research and am completely confused--there are a lot of different hearing aids out there.  And they are EXPENSIVE!  I don't think I will be able to get ONE for less than $1500!  Yikes.  And, of course, insurance companies don't pick up even part of the tab for these things.  >:-(  But, if the need is there, we will do what has to be done.  And I think I really need to get one/two of these gadgets.

One good thing about needing an aid these days is that they are VERY different from what my great-grandmother had to use.  Her hearing aid was about the size of a cigarette pack--she had pockets sewed into her undershirts so the aid could be placed there--and the earphone was attached by a cord.  There was no disguising this thing, even if you had long hair.  Today, hearing aids are pretty invisible--even the ones that sit outside of the ear.  While I would want one that sits in the ear canal completely, I probably would be best served by the type that sits on the top of the ear, with the main part behind the ear and a small wire going to the ear canal.  But, until I see a hearing aid specialist, I won't know what I'll end up with.  {sigh}

If it isn't apparent, I'm not looking forward to this and have been putting it off far too long.  (I was told it was my decision seven years ago as to whether or not I wanted to try aids.)  While I would LOVE to be able to hear well, I just don't want to get aids.  For someone who is completely NOT vain, the thought of wearing something that SCREAMS that I'm getting older just kills me.  This is so unlike me and I'm trying to get a grip--but I'm not succeeding.  I have varicose veins, I wear reading glasses, I have wrinkles, I'm very overweight, and I groan when I move my joints, yet hearing aids are what are going to make me feel old and depressed.  An attitude adjustment is definitely in my future.  And being able to hear well WILL prevent things like this from happening:


****I do realize that I sound ridiculous, terrible, and ungrateful.  I know there are people who would be so happy to have my problem and I should be thankful that my problems are not worse than they are.  I apologize for my bad attitude and WILL get over this.  Bear with me, please.****

Sunday, March 11, 2012

And Furthermore...

To give a little perspective on the last post:

The town I grew up in had 960 people.  The town K grew up in had less.  Our graduating class had less than 50 kids.  Our ENTIRE high school--grades 6-12--had LESS kids than The Youngest's graduating class.  The biggest town closest to us--8 miles down the road--had less than 10,000 people in it.  So, as you can see, a city with almost 25,000 people was/is big time for us.  ;)

I almost freaked out when we went to see Eric Clapton because the Xcel Center--where the concert was--held at least 25,000.  The entire population of our city could have fit in the place and still there would have been seats left empty.  Is it a wonder I get a little panic attack whenever we go to REAL cities?  ;)

Living In A Small Town--Otherwise Known As 'The Police Log'

I've mentioned the we live in a small city--population somewhere in the 20,000-25,000 range.  This is the most populous city in the UP, but still, as far as most people are concerned, this is a small town.  For anyone familiar with my on-going 'police log' posts, you can tell just by the subject matter that we are nowhere close to big city-type problems here.  And as I've said before, I'm very okay with that.  However, the problems we DO have make for some amusing reading.  These are some police logs that I collected over the past few weeks:

--2:00 AM, Subject reported footprints leading to his front porch, along with missing white plastic chair;  footprints followed, no chair observed at suspected residence.
I'm certain this HAS to be a little old man with too much time on his hands.

--1:19 PM, Suspicious items found in woods;  nothing suspicious, small animal remains.
MORE people/person with too much time on their hands.

--4:12 PM, Men reported lying on ice and in a rubber boat;  OK, ice rescue training.
This completely perplexes me.  We have a Coast Guard station here and we ALWAYS witness rescue training.  Again, some people have too much time on their hands...

--8:07 PM, Complaint of drug use; no one would answer the door.

--10:44 PM, Deceased black and white cat placed into freezer at Department of Public Works.
I'm assuming they are waiting for it to be claimed by the owner/s?

--1:04 PM, Snow left on bike path from sled dog races.

--3:42 PM, Suspicious subject behind the counter at a closed business;  all OK, worker installing countertops.
The joys of living in a small town where everyone pokes their noses into everyone's business.  ;)

And the best was saved for last:

--9:40 PM, Possible breaking and entering in progress;  noise heard was borrowed alarm clock.
Do I even NEED to comment?  :D

Friday, March 09, 2012

At Least I Thought It Was Interesting...

Quite an interesting article here.

The first time I heard/read of hair receivers ^ and human hair jewelry was when I was much, much younger.  I'm sure they were referenced in some Victorian-set novel that I read.  I found the whole thing rather fascinating, probably because I--like anyone else my age (males included)--had very long hair at the time.  It has been years since this subject crept into my mind, but with the interwebs at our fingertips, strange and intriguing subjects are always just a click away.  And for some reason, this subject came to me a couple of weeks ago.

Hair receivers were a common item on a woman's dressing table during the Victorian era.  Most women never cut their hair at the time and hair was considered a woman's crowning glory.  Also, women were taught to brush their hair 100 strokes every evening, so there was quite a bit of hair floating around.  All of this led to hair receivers--a place for a woman to put the hair she removed from her brush.  The hair was then gathered up to make 'poufs' (rats) for hairstyles, stuffing for pillows, or jewelry.  By the Roaring Twenties, this fad had pretty much played itself out--most likely because women were bobbing their hair and there wasn't product to use anymore.

The most interesting part of all of this 'saving of the hair,' is the hair jewelry.  Human hair watch fobs, necklaces, bracelets, brooches were all commonplace.  (Hair also was used in 'mourning jewelry'--a way to remember a loved one who passed and keep a part of him/her with you always.)  Today there are collections in museums showing some of the work that was done with hair in the past--such as here.  (There are quite a few articles to read, should one be interested.  As usual, do a Google search.  ;))

Human hair necklace that is part of the collection at the Minnesota Historical Society.

For some reason or other, human hair jewelry creeps me out.  I understand and have no problem with human hair wigs, but the thought of wearing jewelry made out of someone's hair just doesn't seem right.  While some the examples I've seen are quite lovely, I don't want any--even anything made from my OWN hair would give me the willies.  And, of course, there are people trying to bring back the craft--again, search Google.  OR you can go here to see what is happening in the world of hair jewelry today.  I did find the prices that people were selling their hair for quite amazing--hundreds of dollars, as a matter of fact.  However, when/if I cut my almost waist-length hair again, I believe I will just donate it to Locks of Love or something of that nature.  I most definitely don't need to be selling my hair for profit just so someone can wear it on their wrist.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Wow, it has been a while since I last posted.  Even though not that much interesting stuff has happened, I will still do an update.

The last time I posted, I was prepping for a colonoscopy.  Last Monday morning, I went in and had the procedure done and it went very well.  After having to go through the prep, the thing I worried about most was having the IV inserted, but the nurse who did it was WONDERFUL and I barely felt the needle go in.  I knew NOTHING after about 30 seconds of the Demerol and Versed* being put into the IV--unfortunately, I didn't know too much for the next couple days, either.  Demerol leaves me with a terrible drug hangover--it always has.  So, I slept through Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday.  Actually, I didn't feel 'like myself' again until this past weekend.  But, I got the results and everything was fine--with the exception of finding one polyp and I continue to have my 'Preparation H' issues.  Because the polyp was the type that doesn't become cancerous, I won't need to go back again for another 10 years.  YAY!  I left the hospital with a handful of papers, one of which had three pictures that were taken during the procedure:  one of the very top of my colon, one of my polyp, and one of my other 'issue.'  Now I have more inappropriate pics for a bathroom gallery, should I decide to do one.  ;)


So, for whatever reason, last week was my time to have medical procedures done.  On Wednesday, I went and had my mammograms.  As far as medical tests are concerned, mammograms are one of the easiest to go through.  I have always been pretty lucky with the techs who have done my mammograms, as they have caused me very little discomfort.  I know some women have a difficult time, but it has always been rather straight forward for me.  And things are even faster and easier than they ever were with the new digital imaging equipment that our hospital now has--I was in and out within 30 minutes.  You can't ask for any better than that.


I don't know how many people pay much attention to the weather in other parts of the country from where they live.  But if you HAD heard about us last week, you would have found out that winter paid a visit--pretty much for the first time all season.  The last weekend of February found us getting hit by tons of wet, heavy snow and then last Wednesday we got another dump-on.  In total, we got somewhere in the neighborhood of two feet of snow in a few days.  While some areas did experience power outages, things went pretty well here in the UP.  Of course, school was called off for most of the peninsula for most of last week and some of the days it seemed like the entire UP was closed for the duration.  But as much as it wanted to be winter still, the calendar just doesn't support it--the last couple of days have had very spring-like temps and a good amount of the snow has melted already.  This, of course, has brought new problems: lots and lots of running and standing water.  K had to put the dehumidifier going in the basement because of how wet it is.  Oh, joy.


Of course, just as the temperatures are heating up, K had to get sick.  Yesterday he started feeling pretty lousy and it seemed as if he was getting a sinus infection.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to see the doctor until today and I think the delay in medical attention let this get hold of him and he's much worse than he would need to be.  BUT, I'm very thankful that the doctor gave him antibiotics, despite the CDC saying they do nothing for sinus infections.  I really am having a very hard time with this ruling by the CDC.  Is there anyone who has ever had a sinus infection that HASN'T gotten better, quickly, as soon as they are put on antibiotics?  Before I started on allergy meds, I would get at least two sinus infections a year.  Whether I went to see the doctor after two days or a week--sometimes I tried to fight it off by myself--I was much, much better within 24 hours of starting on meds.  I'm not understanding this, at all and this is definitely something I will have to get straight with my doctor.  Or I will just have to not get another sinus infection for the rest of my life.  ;)


Other than the temperatures, I'm seeing other signs of spring coming.  These days, a lot of my time is spent watching a grey squirrel build a nest.  Well, I can't actually see the nest itself because it is in the topmost branches of our neighbor's tall fir tree, but I watch the critter gathering nesting materials.  Just before the snow came, I saw the squirrel running through our backyard while carrying a newspaper-sized piece of  newsprint.  Even though I saw it with my own eyes, I'm still not sure how the squirrel managed to get that paper up the tree.  And a couple of days later, it did the exact same thing with MORE newsprint.  I can't imagine where the paper was coming from.  I also saw it bring a few mouthfuls of dead leaves up the tree.  Today I watched as the squirrel ran around our yard 'fluffing' the dried, dead grass in several places.  It then went back to each spot and stuffed its mouth full of the grass and went up the tree.  At the rate this nest is being built and the amount of material going into it, the thing will be as big as an eagle's nest before we know it!  One thing I'm betting on, though, with all this building going on is that I WILL get to see baby squirrels this year.  That might prove quite interesting.  

I also got to see my first chipmunk of the season today--a sight that DID NOT make me happy.  I wonder if the squirrels might drive away the chipmunks?  Not my luck, though.


We received very big news here in this area a couple of days ago.  Our hospital here in town--which is a regional medical facility--is being purchased by Duke Lifepoint Healthcare.  Not only is this supposed to improve healthcare, but they are talking of adding 64 new doctors in the next five years. They are also proposing to construct a new state-of-the-art outpatient surgical center and other improvements to the hospital.  While the thoughts of many new jobs being created by this acquisition is much welcome, the biggest change to this city will be the hospital going from a non-profit, non-tax paying status to a for-profit, tax paying entity.  The boost to the tax base of our city will be phenomenal.  And I certainly hope and pray that this comes to fruition.


*While the Demerol/Versed combo for sedation works wonders, if you ever need sedation like this, ask for Propofol instead.  From what I understand, you are back into the land of the living within 30 minutes of the procedure being finished.  I believe the reason Propofol isn't quite as widely used as the cocktail I had is because Propofol has to be administered by an anesthesiologist, whereas the cocktail can be given by an RN.  Also, I guess there is a shortage of Propofol right now because it is the drug of choice if there IS a choice.