Category Archives: December 2013

Umbrella Man

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Umbrella Man

For all the dreamers…

It’s Raining Ice

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A good friend of mine recently moved to the Atlanta area and is experiencing a rare ice storm. She tells me that it’s raining ice and she’s amazed. She’s also trying to move her family to a new house. Something tells me she’s not happy.  The South has been hit with some really terrible weather – something we hardy Northerners endure and discuss over coffee year after year. I haven’t worn regular shoes for nearly three months now and suspect they are gathering cobwebs under my bed. Instead, I don my huge heavy boots every day and have given up any hopes of being fashionable – not that I ever have been.

As a kid, weather like we’ve had lately seemed to be a common occurrence.  Gathering snow drifts gave us all hope that school would be closed. We eagerly listened to the local radio station for such good news – and once we knew we were free for the day, our plans were set. It was a time without video games, computers and reality TV. Rather, it was a world full of the great outdoors. Snow castles, snow men, snow tunnels and glorious sledding!  Some of us had mothers who didn’t work outside the house, but for those that did, there were grandmothers, aunts and willing neighbors to keep kids in line when Mother Nature set us free.  Bundled up, often in our older siblings hand me downs, we’d set out for our winter adventures with the zeal and expectations of the hardiest polar explorer.  It was if some great force knew we needed a break, and we embraced it with abandon.  It was an unexpected holiday – designed just for children.

I still watch for school closings, and carefully watch the names that crawl across the bottom of the TV screen.  Seeing my town on the list still gives me a lift – and gives me a reason to linger a little longer over the newspaper.  A little bit of holiday perhaps?

Retired, I don’t have to brave the effects of what’s been called the Polar Vortex.  My hat and gloves off to the postal service, police department, city, county and state workers and our brave and hardy business owners. But special thanks to the bus drivers, teachers and school personnel who keep our schools open.  A snow day is tough for many families. The list of available grandparents, aunts and neighbors is small these days. Kids can’t stay home alone any longer. Many don’t have warm coats and boots, or a parent to take them sledding.  It’s a new world.  I fear that winter is no longer designed for children.

Attached is another of my gesso, messo canvas creations. I call it “Celebrate You”  Celebrate You

Valentine duo

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20140129_211446I wanted some kind of Valentine decoration to replace my worn out Christmas wreath. I found the wreath and flowers at Michaels’s and with a little luck and some fishing line, I had some fun. Hope it stays together. The card is one I made the othe day. I love the craft cardstock.

Moses, I can explain…

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Today I broke number ten of the BIG ten –  Ten Commandments, that is.  The one that says “Do Not Covet.”  With any luck, I can use the excuse that the original intent would make such behavior specific to my neighbor’s house, his wife, his servants, his ox or his donkey.  Now anyone who knows me will agree that I really like my neighbors, but not to the point of wanting to kidnap them, and have yet to worry about their livestock, which consists mostly of dogs and a few squirrels.  But I did covet today.

I was watching one of those inane afternoon talk shows where everyone is so darn cute and happy.  You know what I’m talking about – where the audience is full of nicely dressed women with shoulder length hair, who, at regular intervals, applaud madly, hoping that they will each go home with a car, a Kelly Clarkson CD or a freezer full of gluten free squid.  I was cycling away at one of my infrequent attempts at healthier living, just beginning to feel a tinge of cute and happy and there they were.  Martha Stewart’s legs.  I hardly noticed her hair, which has improved some since her bangs have moved to the right of her forehead or the lovely silken tunic with the soft neckline pleats (well, maybe a bit more than hardly) that graced her thinner looking frame.  But her legs!  I would kill for those legs (and there goes another commandment).  Long and lovely, ending in a pair of those fifty-five inch heels, they carried her so gracefully across the stage.

Martha’s okay.  Well, probably more than okay.  I suppose a net worth of $638 million puts you right up there in the big piggy bank league.  But she’s earned it and proved she can make a comeback.  I like a lot of her stuff and used to follow her television shows and read her magazines faithfully.  However, she lost a lot of appeal for me when she spent one entire TV segment demonstrating how to make chocolate cabbage leaves – using real cabbage and a giant vat of melted chocolate.  I simply could not get my head wrapped around that.  It was frightening.  Her jail term didn’t bother me (I think she got crosswise with the false witnessing thing back then), but I can’t look at a head of cabbage anymore without feeling some sort of perverted shiver down my spine.

And I can explain about the-covet-the-legs-thing.  I’m what you’d call “good peasant stock” – not really short, but not tall.  Wide based and sturdy, I’m more like a small Ford, or an older model Samsonite carry on.  My mother and sisters, all tall, sinewy creatures resembled those wafer thin drawings you see on dress patterns.  They could wear belts, shirtwaist dresses and anything pleated or shirred (I, on the other hand, was relegated to dark Bermudas and vertical stripes only).  And they had legs.  Real legs.  The kind that inspired Capri pants and lace up sandals.  The kind Martha has.   And today I wanted them.  Badly.  Moses would not be happy.

For the time being, I’ll have to deal with my coveting.  If I promise not to taunt anything lacking a four chambered stomach in the neighbor’s yard or torment their cleaning lady I hope the big guy/girl upstairs will let me off the hook.  Or at least give Martha some bunions…

2013 – out with a bang and a very fancy ice bag

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I spent most of today at the hospital in the same day surgery suite. Not for me this time, thankfully. But for my Sweetheart who had some shoulder renovations done. Although not quite bionic in nature, the pins, screws and patches that replace what’s been worn away should get him back to near perfect by the time the golf course opens in the spring.

Entering the building in the darkness this morning, it hit me. I miss it.  Even though it’s been over 20 years, I always get a small pang in my chest akin to homesickness whenever I walk down a hospital hallway. Waxing nostalgic for the days when I wore white (yes, even a cap now and then) and bustled about with needles, medicine, bed pans and pillows, I remember the good old days – when healthcare was fun (and I was thinner).  And, the pillows. Lots of them. Usually larger than the pillow case we had to stuff them into and located on the highest shelf in the cabinet.  We used them to situate, separate, seat and soothe body types and parts of all sizes and shapes. Ice bags were filled by hand, leaked often and moved about in the bed like hamsters.  But somehow, it worked.

“Back in the day” patients stayed for several days – sometimes for weeks. Not like today when you are discharged as you emerge from anesthesia. Many of those long ago bed-bound, tethered down by ice bags (and sand bags when necessary) became part of a special family to those of us who bustled.  I still remember many of them. Fondly.

Thinking of the tall, lanky surgeon today, I recall that the doctors didn’t seem quite as young as they do now, but were still handsome and always to be obeyed.  Back then, patients were allowed to smoke, as long as they sat in a chair, and the nurses smoked in the bathroom next to the nurses’ station.  Perhaps the habit was what kept our patient census high and kept us employed.   Today, it’s hard to know whether the nice person in colorful scrubs is a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a physician’s assistant or a nurse’s aide – and only the respiratory therapists smoke.  But I don’t mind, as there seems to be a certain camaraderie in the halls now. And I like it.  I like the colorful uniforms and they way we are made to feel at home. And they still bustle. They really bustle.  The airlines would do well to pay attention.  I also know that I could never go back to nursing.  The technology, fast pace and ever increasing paperwork would make it a good day job for me; meaning I’d last about a day.

Back to Sweetheart. He is doing well. He’s wearing his fancy electric, velcroed, state of the art ice bag and I’ve got him all settled in with pillows (of course) and his TV remote.  Obviously, going home within hours of a surgery would never have happened in the old days. Today, even being recliner-bound will be short lived as physical therapy begins in a couple of days.  So we start the new year in the recovery mode. Not such a bad thing.  He might keep me busy with the pillows, but at least he’s still handsome.

Happy New Year. May it be healthy and full of all good things.