Monday, November 30, 2009

Unnecessary freak-out

I was so worried about going to work today.  A combination of the length of time passed since I'd last been present and concern over whether I'd have the stamina to make it.  So worried, in fact, that I created more mental lists and possible worst case scenarios than slept. 

Did I worry for good reason?  Nope.  Turned out either my work isn't as strenuous as I had myself convinced or all that couch rest paid off.

And so, I find myself thankful for all the care and understanding I've received over this long recuperation.  I'm also thankful for antibiotics and x-rays, even if they come at a cost, they're worth it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Remotely necessary

N, Jonathon, Fran and I were in the living room watching Gladiator last night, when I heard "the noise".  (Well, to be honest, Jonathon was catching some z's and watching the movie through his eyelids, but back to the noise.)  I was pretty sure it was a glass tipping over in Jonathon's vicinity.  My fear was what was in that glass.  When I looked down I was simultaneously relieved it was water and anxious that the spillage occurred right smack dab on top of the one and only remote control that works the comcast box.  
Fran and I immediately began electronic CBPR (circuit board).  We removed the batteries and swung it around in turns, to (hopefully) remove as much water as possible.  Then we left it upside down, checking it periodically to see if it was operative.  It would work and then do weird things on it's own.  So we'd have to turn it to the movie and then bury it under a pillow to keep it from going through random channels.  As the evening went on it's behavior became more erratic and then finally ceased altogether.
Before heading to bed, I put the remote in a baggie with a moisture reducing packet that came with my hearing aides.  By morning it was still exhibiting spotty and inappropriate behavior.  Jonathon and I had come to the same idea (with different ingredients) at the same time.  He was thinking we should bury it in a bag of rice and I wanted to put the remote in a bag of coarse salt.  He voiced concern over the salt getting into the electronics, "how about we put it in a sock??", I suggested.  He gave me a 'you're silly' smile and went back to Fran in the living room.
Several hours later I removed the remote from the salt and sock, replaced the batteries and gave it a test run.  Yahoo!  All is right with the world!  Once again we can use it and complain "all these channels and still nothing to watch!".  :>)


Jonathon, N and Lise went shopping Saturday morning to see if they could find any deals too good to pass up.  I didn't hear too many details about their experience, except the crowds weren't bad.  The rest of the day we all vegged out in the living room watching assorted movies, food channel shows and ending with The Gladiator. 

But the high point had to be N and Jonathon's dinner collaboration--spaghetti with meat (spicy Italian sausage) sauce and amazing bread.  Mmmm!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Low Acid Diet for Bone Health

Thanks to the Google news aggregate, I happened across this article in The New York Times while moseying around the internet yesterday. 
It's the first bit of research that makes sense to me into why osteoporosis is relatively rare in Asian countries and prevalent in America.  Over the years scientists decided it had to do with the amount of rice or soy in Asian diets.  Now it looks like it has more to do with American's skewed beliefs about portions and which side of the food pyramid is the most important. 
Now I'd love to see restaurants respond--before anyone applies pressure.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A day on the couch

Okay, I didn't spend the entire day on the couch.  I did work (what I consider to be) an important chore into the morning--changing the sheets.  The house is deteriorating into a cluttered place that needs a good weekend's worth of attention.  But for now I feel like my first priority is to rest and get better.  I feel Monday creeping up on me and I'm hoping I can handle an entire day at work. 
At least I found things to do while resting;  edited video from Thanksgiving Day, listened to many misc. stories on NPR, slept off and on and watched movies with Fran.

Thanksgiving 09

Complete with the Miller family tradition of listening to Alice's Restaurant on the drive north.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Then reality hit

That's what I hit after I spent several hours out and about with Lise today.  Of course, I feel like a dummy.  I should know better.
Now .  .  . how to make the 2 dishes I've promised to bring?  Yup, it's you Norm.  I mess up and come crawling to you for help.   Sorry
Thanks to a second wind and Fran the dishes are well on their way.  :>)

While visions of good plans danced in her head

I think I'll hit the grocery store first--while there's still a parking space left and then drive out to Eola Winery to buy several bottles of their Pacific Blanc.  Not only is it a great buy, but it appeals to the tastes of nearly all the wine drinkers in the family.  (I can handle sweet a few times a year)  Plus it goes well with turkey. 
When your family is as big as ours, deals are important.  :>)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finding Recipes

How many years has it been?  Seems like a very long time since I've relied on finding a recipe in a recipe book.  Hasn't stopped me from collecting or using them (when the mood strikes), however.

This morning, I looked through the pile of printed out (previously used) recipes, the 3 different files I might have saved the recipe to and then (doh!) it finally occurs to me to check in one of my "Best Recipe" books.  Yup!  There it was!  The master recipe for candied sweet potatoes.  Phew!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A new fashion statement for the future?

As the radiologist led me to the x-ray room in the urgent care clinic, he thanked me for wearing a face mask.
"You're welcome!  I didn't want to "gift" my germs to everyone.", I replied.
He turned and smiled, "Did you see that cartoon, too?  Isn't that cute??  And yet . . . yeah."

I don't know how many people have seen that public service message of the cartoon man whistling through his workplace (he's obviously sick) happily handing out presents (germs) to all of his co-workers (I tried googling it without success--hard to pick the right search terms.), but it made me start thinking about having my own reusable face mask to have on hand.  Seems like that would be a good way to model responsible behavior for the wee folk--have the sniffles? wear your face mask!
My first thought was to find a pattern and make my own.
I came across an online bulletin board where nurses were talking about the very same thing.  Someone commented on the board about all of the criteria a homemade mask would have to meet--fit, layers, type of material, etc.  And then they left a link to this face mask business.  Fourteen dollars seems a little high, but if you can use them repeatedly maybe it's worth it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Limbo-land or a day at the urgent care clinic

I had made a tentative-for-sure decision to go to the urgent care clinic the evening before, but after last night there was no doubt.  I don't lend much credence to dreams and their relation to real life.  Although, I do believe they are a way for the brain to chew on things while we sleep.  (ooo! scary mental image!) I had a few "fighting for my life" dreams in the wee hours this morning.  I had hold of the steering wheel and I navigated well, but it was definitely life threatening.  When I woke up, the bed was soaked.  I crawled into the guest bed and within a half hour IT was soaked, too.  I decided it was time to throw in the towel and take a shower.  I took my temp a few hours later and it was finally in the normal range!!  Yipee!
And so I messed around on the computer and listened to the radio until Norm crawled out of bed.  (Hopefully, he was able to grab a few quality hours after noisy me left.)  After breakfast, we headed north to take a spot in the queue at the clinic.  They let us do most of our waiting in the exam room where I could lay down with a pillow and Norm found a way to rest his head and close his eyes.  The doctor came, asked questions, listened with his stethoscope and ordered an x-ray.  The x-ray found "a significant spot of pneumonia".  Next they shot me in the hip with some antibiotic to give me a head start on healing.  Yay for healing!  Yay for getting better!
Not only had it changed from morning to afternoon by the time Norm and I were finished at the urgent care clinic, but the rain had become blue sky.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sleep, sweet sleep!

All through this nasty flu, I've been thankful for being able to sleep.  It's not perfect sleep, of course.  My nights include a fair number of coughing fits and fevered sweats (even a week later).

Near the beginning, I finally removed myself to the guest bedroom for 2 nights.  N wasn't happy.  He claims he can sleep through whatever I can dish out, but whenever I coughed, he stirred and with the major muscle pain I was dealing with--when the bed moved it was excruciating. 

It's certainly a mystery to me how he's able to sleep though coughing, tossing and turning.  Although, the noise from his sleep machine may block other noise out for him.  Me?  I wake up at the slightest sound in the house.  Which is why I began to wear earplugs a several years ago. 

It started out as an experiment.  At work, a group of us were talking about sleep and when I mentioned how often I had to get up during the night, someone suggested I may have a problem.  What?  Maybe a small bladder, but I was positive I didn't have sleep apnea.  I'm not sure if it was something I read or heard on the radio, but I decided to give earplugs a try.  For the first time in years I slept ALL the way through the night.  I was shocked.  I could still hear enough to know when things were going on around me, but all the little noises were muffled.   It took me awhile to find the earplugs I liked the best (Mack's Moldable Silicone Earplugs), but I've been wearing them ever since.

Sweet dreams to all of you!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The last tantrum

{I want to take a morning nap, but I thought the blog would help take my mind off this sharp little pain under my right shoulder blade that's just developed.  My rational side says, "it's probably from holding your arm a little wonky.".  My hysterical side says, "it's your lungs, damn it!  Call the advice nurse!"  And so I changed position and picked up the laptop.}

I'll admit it.  I used to be a champion tantrum thrower when I was small.  And boy oh boy did I get results (or so I was told by the family witnesses)!  How else is the youngest  of 5 supposed to get help or attention?  All those busy people bustling around the house; calling friends, having friends over, sewing, cooking, listening to 45's, primping that big hair, going square dancing. It's a big list and I felt like I was way at the bottom.  Isn't that what children usually think?

When I couldn't take it any longer, when I'd had it up to all of my 42" (just a guess), I ran to the junction of where hallway, living room and dining room met and threw myself (in a dramatic fashion) onto the floor and began to kick and scream like I had a chance at an Oscar.  The occupants grew still, looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and sighed (also a guess).  Either sister Susie or Karen would pick me up and try to console me and then see if they could solve this (epic) issue.

Then . . . one horrible day  (that I DO remember) . . . before either sister could scoop me up,  I heard my mother in a quiet tone, "Don't touch her, don't talk to her, walk away and find something to do.".
"But she won't stop crying.  She'll make herself sick."
"No she won't."
Mother was right.  That was my last tantrum.

How about that!  My back feels better.  Guess I can postpone my I-hate-being-sick tantrum.
Oops!  There it is  bleh

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And now for a little sarcasm

Top Reasons Why It's Actually Good to Get Sick

1.  You'll have a smaller impact on the environment.  (I mean, think about it, you probably won't be driving much or running appliances, right?)
2.  You've always looked marvelous in your robe and isn't it wonderful to wear something so comfortable and forgiving?
3.  Getting sick is like an extra vacation.  You can catch-up on your reading and television shows.
4.  People at both work and home will soon discover how amazing you are with all that you do everyday.
5.  You'll save money on dining, gas and entertainment.  (No, this is not the time to think about the cost of your drugs. Besides, aren't they tax deductible?)
6.  You finally get to catch up on all that sleep you feel like you never get enough of.  Take those drugs, snuggle down under the covers and sleep like a bear.
7. Oh!  Don't forget about all those pounds you'll shed.  So what if it's something you wouldn't wish on even an enemy.  Weight off is a good thing!
8.  Enjoy those sleepless moments in the wee hours of the night (maybe you'll be testing your ribs by coughing.  One never knows with viruses.) by crafting your experiences into tales to tell co-workers, as well as family during the upcoming holidays.  It'll warm their hearts.

Okay, that's it!  Can't think of anymore--can you?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Scarlet Flu mask?

Did I like being asked to wear a mask at the doctor's office today?  I didn't mind.  I want to keep this bug from spreading, too.  (Although, one could ask why I even went into work on Friday at all.)  Do I enjoy wearing a mask?  No, does anyone like their warm moist breathe being trapped on their face?
I can remember when Lise was a student at UO, remarking on the Asian students wearing masks when they were sick.  She wondered why they were so considerate.  Good question!  This is something we all need to start making a habit.
I was sure my bug started a ways back, but the doctor said I probably had more than one.  When I mentioned that it felt like I hit a wall on Friday, her eyes lit up, "that's exactly how h1n1 starts--hard and fast."  She asked a few more questions, swabbed my nose, "this may be uncomfortable.".  Yup, I think uncomfortable fits about right.  She told me I'd be hearing the results soon, but in the meantime she was going to start me on Tamiflu, "it cuts the duration in half and you've only just begun.".
Now I have this urge to curl up on the couch with a blanket, Hope and a bottle of Whiskey.  Isn't that a cure all??

Thursday, November 12, 2009

High School wipe out

During a conversation last Monday, someone mentioned how their insightful mother rescued them from a less than satisfying high school experience by keeping her home and schooling her--mother's a teacher.  Someone in the group piped up and asked her if she had felt like she was outside looking in.  When she said yes, that person exclaimed, "me too!"  I've never thought much about how I felt during those years, at least until that moment. 
I loved the academic/competitive side of school until I reached 6th or 7th grade.  Who knows what happened to change my attitude or experience, but looking back it seems like I hit a wall.  Maybe it had to do with my immaturity, as I was enrolled in kindergarten at the age of 4.  I understand the effects from starting school too early can have consequences later on due to the social part of middle and high school life.
Was it all bad?  I doubt it.  I must have had some good times, but that's not what I remember now.  Now I wonder how I managed to graduate and why people from those years are looking me up on Facebook.  Really?  Seriously?  Why?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I repeat--YES, I'm a cider drinker!

When N and I took a trip to Vancouver Island a few years back, we were fortunate enough to have stumbled upon Merridale Cidery.  We tasted 5 out of their 12 ciders and purchased bottles of our 3 favorites.  During our visit the two of us began talking to a local at their tasting bar and learned that there's a rich cider world in Canada. 
Later, my curiosity about why a young U.S. had nearly abandoned their European cider heritage, took me all over Google.  I read several theories, but no one I read is exactly sure about what happened.  Although, the theory about the fledgling beer industry successfully pushing for laws to make life tough for their cider competitors makes a lot of sense. 
It was during that same Google search I found Wandering Aengus' website.  N and I have been in love ever since.  :>)  I recently learned that the number of U.S. cideries is increasing by the year.  Good news that!  I'm looking forward to next year when I plan on heading north to one of the cider festivals.  Meanwhile, I'll try and keep up on what's new in the cider world at Old Time Cider.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

tis the season for wine tasting

Wine tasting seems like more of a summer or spring activity to me--probably because of how many wineries have views and decks and such.  But we're fast approaching one of the busiest winery visiting times of the year as the end of November slips closer. (here's a great link to help with planning your winery tastings.)
N and I usually stay clear of the crowds, but I see that Wandering Aengus will be open November 21 and 22 for tasting and (of course) purchasing.  We've noticed how it's getting tougher to find their ciders in the Salem area, so I'm sure we'll spring for a case that weekend.  Or maybe more, since it makes a good gift, too.

By the way . . . have you signed up for Friday's Wine Walk??

Monday, November 9, 2009

Saturday Night in Newport

“24 Hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not."–H.L. Mencken”

We chose to eat at Rogue's, Brewers On the Bay, Saturday after the Duck and Beaver games were over.  N and I have talked about eating here for a couple of years, but until Saturday had only made it to a pizza stop at their Bay Blvd. location.  Our trips to the beach are usually of the "there and back in a day" variety, making a relaxing visit to a public house out of the question for those of us who are prone to nap after a beer. 
We walked up the metal ramp, through a narrow silo, following the sign that beckoned us ahead.  We followed the wet, roped, cement path and heeded the caution signs near the ramps and puddles.  Soon we arrived in a rustic area stocked with bottles and bottles (big and regular) of their beer varieties, hats, shirts, etc.  We located the stairway that went to the dining and tasting rooms.
N said that I breezed by the sign directing us to bay view dining, as I lead him into the bar.  Didn't even notice!  Just as we considered backtracking, the bartender held out an on the house Mogul Madness sample.  Mmmmm!  He suggested we fill out the paper form for a sample tray--how to choose 4 from that list?!
I jotted down:  Juniper Pale Ale; Smoke Ale; Dry Hopped Red; Imperial Stout.  My favorites of the 4 were the Juniper Ale and the Dry Hopped Red.  The other 2 didn't even come close,and I should've known better than to try the smoke ale.
Both of us decided we had to try their "famous" fish and chips with Idaho fries.  The fish was delicious with the addition to dill to the beer batter, (but why not more cole slaw??) and the fries were crispy and hot.    After we finished eating, N ordered a pint of the Wet Hop Ale and I ordered a glass of Dry Hopped Red.  The bartender kept us entertained with banter and gave a wee suggestion that perhaps we'll see a pub house on the Independence hop farm on 3590 Wigrich Rd.some day.  I did notice they have tours at the farm--Mon. thru Fri., 7 AM-6PM.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just the 2 (3) of us

Photo by Jim Layman
I don't know who's enjoying this weekend more, N and I or Hope.  She's stretched out on the bed, next to both of us, watching the world outside our 3rd floor window while I play on the laptop and N watches the Duck game. 
We arrived in Newport around 6:30 last night.  The weather was relatively calm as we took Hope for her first walk and later when we went to Nana's Irish Pub in the Nye Beach area (which N and I both agreed is worth 4 out of 4 stars).

After breakfast, we went for a long drive and  stopped to enjoy some roadside views along the way.  The most impressive?  Boiler Bay!  Wow!  What a show!  We were soaked from both the spray from the breakers and the rain.  We drove around the bay and then along the Siletz River.  The weather raged almost the entire time--downpours, hail and thunder and lightning.
Once we returned to Newport, the weather was calm again.  NOAA says the calm is temporary, but, hey, we didn't come here for the weather.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Car music flashback

When Lise and Fran were small, we spent a fair number of hours in our car, driving to and fro to visit family from Tillamook, Roseburg, and then Salem.  Our constant companions on those car trips were our Raffi cassette tapes.
N and I could probably still predict, with at least 90% accuracy, what song follows another on his first 4 albums.   I'm not sure we would've given up adult music to any other artist.  Raffi has a gentle, soothing quality that can calm any age.
Once in awhile, while involved in an adult conversation about "what are you listening to", I would go on and on about how much I loved Raffi.  "Have you heard "The Gorilla Song"?", I'd gush to concerned friends.  I'm still sad we never made it to one of his concerts (sigh).
And today there are times when I'll burst into a Raffi song out on the playground or on the way to the bus and sometimes one of the small people will join me.  I guess he's still playing in cars today.  Good news!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'd like you to meet my friends--the red wigglers

I love the excitement the short folk have for the worm box and the worms--reminds me yearly why I do science every week.   :>)
I read Wiggling Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer for the first time.  In the past, we've read Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser.  I love the illustrations in Wendy's book (by Steve Jenkins) and the detail about wormlets, what worms eat and how, but I may revisit Linda Glaser's book next year.  It's better geared to our age level and allows for more time to do our science journals.
After reading I opened up the worm box to "introduce my friends" to the students.  I showed the decaying apple, banana peels, garlic clove shell (worms ate the insides) and the leaves intermixed with the coir and worm castings.  Only a few yucks and "why do worms eat garbage?", most couldn't wait until they could hold one.  Some years only half will hold a red wiggler, but yesterday only 3 out of 40 said no.  
After holding the worms and talking about how they move, we washed our hands and returned for a gummy worm treat.  BUT first we stretched and relaxed the gummy worm to show how real worms travel.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Flag traditions from my youth

As I was leaving work yesterday, I noticed our afternoon custodian draping both the school's national and state flags around his neck as he finished adjusting the cable and pulley.  I flashed back to the daily flag ceremonies in my small town elementary school.  It's very possible I have the details wrong, but here's what I remember to the best of my knowledge: 

Each week a different classroom (grades 1-6) would have the responsibility of raising and lowering the flag.  It was a privilege to be one of the two students chosen to perform the unfolding, attaching and raising each morning--as well as the lowering and folding at the end of the school day.  I can remember being in classrooms where the entire class attended the ritual and others where only the chosen students were in attendance.
Today with all of the demands placed on a student's school day, taking that much time for a ceremony that teaches respect for a national symbol seems difficult to justify and yet worthwhile all the same. Maybe once a month?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The time it was a'changing

I just don't get it--even when we "gain" an hour in Autumn, our internal clock is knocked out of whack.  Years ago I read that there's an increase in automobile accidents and heart attacks when the clocks are changed.  It has to affect productivity as well (except for you Amy).
After a couple of minutes googling this morning I did find some articles on the Spring time change, but not Autumn (1, 2).
Part of me wishes we'd stop daylight savings time and part of me understands why we do it, but I would like to see a review about whether it's worth the slight increase in accidents to continue.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The art of holding our breath

N and I kicked off our weekend with the pub crawl and then woke up (no, not early!) Saturday ready to get to work. N drove to his office to try and catch up after a week of meetings and heading out of town. I did chores and then took Fran out to the last Saturday Market, Keizer dog park and then to Reader's Guide. Saturday Market was the easiest with the wheel chair and Reader's Guide entrance was the worst.
Oh how I miss their old location and book selection!!
On Sunday, Lise and I ran errands while N tackled the leaves and worked on his PVC green house. I can't wait to see how it works this winter. Oh and I (thankfully) was reminded about this week's worm science lesson.
I was sure I had stocked the worm box with enough food since I last tended them. BUT I'm pretty sure the lack of food is why they left. Very sad! After gleaning a handful of worms from our compost pile and compost container, I discovered they hadn't gone far. I moved the worm box to begin cleaning off the exterior and found leaf debris that was full of red wigglers! Yay!
Another week closer to Fran's surgery date. Yeah, we know. It may not be the answer.