Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 waiting on 2017

It has been a dreary, rainy day. The sun hasn't made an appearance, even for a few minutes.

I have wandered in and out of the living room, glancing occasionally at LSU playing their bowl game against Washington. It hasn't held my attention. The husband lays stretched out on the sofa, iPad clasped between his hands, an occasional eye on the game.

I hurriedly showered and dressed this morning as I have for the past two weeks. My 81 yr. old neighbor lives a few blocks away with her son. She has had major surgery and is very weak and refuses to take her medicines. Her son has no experience with caring for a sick person so I make a trip to their home every morning and evening. I encourage fluids, food and insist on her taking  her medications. Her short term memory is now but a memory but not to her. She can recall events from her past but finishing a sentence is a chore for her. I spend some time every trip educating  her son on his mother's illness. He still doesn't quite comprehend how ill she is. I caution him against leaving her alone in the house. He thinks if he is sleeping in his bedroom, immediate supervision is not needed.

Today she attempted to climb upon a chair to do some dusting of a shelf that hangs on the wall above  the dining table. I exchanged looks with him after noticing the chair out of place against that wall. Tomorrow morning I will have another conversation with him regarding her safety.

Before visiting this evening, I made some chicken salad and chicken soup. She is very frail and has no appetite. I try to bring her something that might entice her to eat. We are up to a half a sandwich in the morning and now in the evening. A BOOST drink is offered with her meals and in between. I asked her son to offer her food every two hours and to not expect her to eat a normal serving.

This afternoon the storm that was predicted had arrived. Amid the firecrackers and fireworks, the rain slashed through the afternoon, leaving lightning and sporadic rolls of thunder. The sky's percussion section was in session.

Racing from my carport to the car, the fat rain drops pelted my shoulders. A few blocks later and I was at my neighbor's house administering to her needs, returning home in a continuing downpour.

More football, a plate of cheese and a glass of champagne, the husband and I  each claimed a sofa and our wine to wait  for midnight. I think we will make it to midnight tonight to welcome in the new year.  2017, you are almost here. I have many reasons to be apprehensive about the coming year. I'm going to wait it out, hope for the best and tolerate what is to be.
Happy New we go!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Lazy, That's Me! December 23, 2016

Though I rolled out of bed at 0500 hrs. and stood half asleep watching the coffee drip down into the pot, stealing a cup half way though it's cycle, I thought about stretching out on the sofa and going back to sleep.
Instead, I gathered up all the ingredients and the baking pans and started making the bread pudding. I'll gift it to neighbors and to Carrie's best friend's mom.

Hours later Carrie is out of bed and breakfast has to be served. Two scrambled eggs with cheese and a hash brown patty needs only a luncheon plate. Carrie eschews the bacon and toast. She doesn't like much to eat early in the day.

I know there is something I should be doing for Christmas preparation as usually I'm stressed out with all the things needing to be done. Maybe it's because we are grilling out. Steaks, baked potatoes, salads and a pot of Gumbo with rice, and potato salad for those "extras' that might appear. Christmas Day will be with temperatures in the 70's. No rain is forecast so the meal may be served on the patio. Why not? Most of the people here prefer to be outdoors. I'll set up the extra table and move chairs to the outside. There is a big screen TV hanging from the ceiling where the ballgame will be watched. We can't halt ball games, even for Christmas.

Carrie is packed and ready to visit her father. She will be gone until Sunday afternoon when she will rejoin us for the celebration.

I was apparently too lazy to finish that post yesterday or I just didn't have much to say. I've been out of bed since 3AM. I've cleaned two bathrooms,  put fresh sheets on Carrie's bed and cleaned out the fridge. The husband is in the shower and off to the market later to get the makings for Civeche (sp) and some Margarita mix. We will spend this afternoon on the patio with friends. It's going to be in the high 70's today and tomorrow and we are grilling for Christmas.

I'm trying to roust a friend from her bed but so far not much success. She is a shopper and I'm not so I like to take her along to keep me in the stores but once I've purchased what I need, I'm ready to get out.

Well here it is Christmas Day. Oh, Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday, take your pick.
I hesitated to post this as I couldn't find a path that usually unfolds to me as the my fingers start tapping out words on the keyboard. It's as much a surprise to me as it is to you because I seldom know what will happen or where it takes me  while on the keyboard.

I was perusing pictures around the web. This may not be what this post was intending to share, but I want to just make one point and then I'll publish this troublesome post that has been without direction.

When I die and you know I will. You will too. It's just part of living but we all know that don't we?
Please don't share a photo of me on death's door. I've seen people publish pictures of loved ones that were gaunt, emaciated,  hollow eyed and hairless. I've known some of these people and they had pride in themselves. They were usually well groomed and dressed neatly. They may or may not have been handsome but well groomed they were.
 I'm one of those people. Not always of course but I roll out of bed and into the shower after starting a pot of coffee. The first thing that needs attention after brushing my teeth is my eyebrows. It's just amazing what a great pair of eyebrows will do for your face. My eyebrows have disappeared to light barely able to be noticed thin arcs that used to frame my eyes. Somedays I have dramatic eyebrows, a pencil used not to draw a line but to draw hairs. Hair stroke after hair stroke lends realism.  Eyebrow pencil applied, I move to some eyeliner and a swatch of bright lipstick completes my regime. Hey, I never said I spent hours getting ready did I?  I spend just a very little time but I feel much better afterwards. For special occasions I might apply foundation and blush but that's not a daily thing. I usually do this FIRST thing in the morning and should I have to leave the house in a hurry, I'm presentable.

Next, the hair. My limp hair has finally been tamed. The chemo has changed the texture. The lack of estrogen has taken care of it's thickness. Around the crown it has thinned. Finally after three years I've started using 'product' in it. Got To Be Glued has to be the best thing that Walmart sells. It's a gel that allows a bare, bare amount to be used or the hair will be concrete. Add some Got To Be Glued Hair Spray and I have the look of thick hair that is full,  no longer a limp mass on my head.

Use one of those pictures please. And should I last another 20 yrs, then an updated picture will be fine. Make sure my hair is done and I don't look like a cadaver. If I do, then use an older photo that resembles me and not a corpse.

 A picture was posted recently of Cha Cha Gabor. You remember her, right? The Hungarian blonde beauty that made the rounds in the 60's and 70's; hair was always coifed, she was elegant. That picture shown at her demise was one of hair that splayed out from her hair in a halo of gauzy dried mess. I realize she was ill but I find it difficult to believe she couldn't have had some care and attention to her appearance. Baring that, maybe a camera shouldn't have been used to record her until her appearance was attended to. I thnk she would have been appalled.

A little lipstick goes a long way to making a gal look presentable.

I'm done here. My post found a purpose. I'm leaving it in your hands to make sure these wishes are fulfilled. It's time for my shower, hair and makeup. I'm running late.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Brrr Baby! It's Cold Outside and Dr. Molly

And it's a bit chilly inside too! I can't complain because, you see, I complain about the hot summers here so if I mention how cold it is, I have to listen to the husband remind me of the anticipation I embrace when our winter arrives.

I don't mind the cold in the least little bit but the wind we have had with this cold front slices right through the jeans and sweaters I wear when outdoors. Though it's in the 30's now I still shun a winter coat. I dislike being 'bundled up'.

Molly. The name is very fitting. Molly barely looks old enough to have graduated high school. She stands about 5'5". A trim young woman, wears a dress, a pair of black flats and a long white bright lab jacket. A black stethoscope circles her neck Long light caramel colored hair hangs in soft curls past her shoulders. Huge, bright brown eyes, thickly lashed, brows naturally arched, her face is that classic example of symmetry that causes cameras to deliver beautiful renditions to print. Molly is my oncologist. My previous oncologist moved to a little town close by and I had to make a choice of following her or of selecting a new one at the same clinic I visit. Molly is the niece of my previous doctor. I like Molly. Molly also sings like a nightingale or so I'm told. Molly has never sang for me during an exam but she is a member of a band of local doctors here in town. Word is, she has a beautiful voice and I hope one day to hear her sing.

I just did my six month CT scan and the results came in last week so I visited with Dr. Molly. I hesitate to use her last name for privacy reasons so hereafter she will be referred to as "Dr. Molly".

The CT scan to detect cancer return was negative  and as I expelled a held breath of anticipation of bad news barely seconds later  in her soft voice, my oncologist then mentioned a "node" on my thyroid!
Of course I asked about the chance of it being a metz from the breast or colon and she said that would be very very unusual. I now have a Ultrasound scheduled for December 29th. Oh the fun never stops. It's been a whole 4 months since a surgeon has cut on me so I suppose I'm due (said sarcastically).

I'm not fretting over this. I'll face whatever comes without any other choice but getting through the next step. I'm not saying I won't be going through the same steps of grieving should it be news of surgery but I refuse to start  before that Ultrasound on the 29th of December.

Today is the last day of school before the Christmas break. Carrie's Christmas pageant was yesterday and her family made it there to watch it. Carrie was in the choir, dressed in an elf's hat, a green jagged felt collar around her neck, over a red shirt that everyone was required to wear. A kakhi pair of shorts  completed her ensemble. Large  red spots painted on her cheeks, she stood on the back row and sang and pantomimed the routine they have been working on for the past week.

She spent the night at her home. No math homework, no ELA, no science. Hurray! I'm on break too.

I like spending time with Carrie but occasionally it's very nice to know I can laze around and not have anyone placing requests for food or drink.
I still have a little shopping to do but it's only for one person. I'll slip back into a pair of jeans and a comfy sweatshirt and I'll put a pep in my step as I move out of the car to the stores. I find the weather "bracing". My husband thinks it sucks but he was born and raised in the desert Southwest. He revels in the heat.
I'm done. Finito. Cio...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016, Day 17, Month of Christmas and The Countdown is ON!

Yes folks, another year has rolled around to that jolliest of holidays. It's a festival of lights and carols. I used to be so excited. I was 10 yrs. old and lived far out in the country with the 'family of nine'. The tree would be cut from a scraggly selection on our farmland. We made paper chains, colored with crayons and strung popcorn for the tree.  When I look back at a few pictures that are still around and see that tree, I smile because I thought it was so beautiful. I think you can wrap strands of lights around a toilet and it will be a beautiful sight to behold when all the lights in the room  are dimmed down leaving those bright white, cherry red and tree green lights adorning that repurposed toilet. Mind you, this was never done but you get my drift on the tree that sat proudly in the corner of the living room in our shabby but very clean  farm house.
The upstairs of this farmhouse had one long room that ran end to end of the house. Down the center of this long room hung a rope and from that rope sheets were used to divide the room. A metal stovepipe grew from the floor and exited the ceiling in the middle of the room. Four little boys slept on one end of that room while three little girls maintained the other side. We all three slept on our sides and when one turned to the opposite side, everyone got nudged in the side which meant it was time for them to turn too.  The beds were piled high with thick homemade quilts. The weight of the fabric promised a warm night of sleep and on a really cold night, we slept in sweatshirts and pants. We could hear the wind as it battered the house and from the small leaky window  we could watch as the snow would swirl and pile up on the tin roof that covered the front porch and extended from that window.
Going to bed with wet hair in the winter would usually guarantee frozen wet hair in the morning.

The excitement from the children, my siblings, was crackling in the air. It was not what the tree held beneath it, but the oranges and apples and nuts we would find in our stockings. It was one toy for each. I especially remember the three dolls, all exact in their perfection, sitting side by side under the tree waiting for me and my sisters to find them. Our names were written on one arm of the soft rubber. I had my dollie for years and years. In later years she lived in my grandmother's basement. I'm sure she was there after the grandparents passed and the house was empties.

Sometimes all those seven children could collect pennies found, a dime here or a nickel there and save a dollar during the year for a gift for our mother.

Then our own children came along and we lived through their excitement and as the years passed and the commercialization of Christmas overwhelmed and  guilted parents and shoppers into the mall frenzy of shopping, the excitement of Christmas was pushed aside and replaced by stress.

I'm the one that usually groans and complains that 'it's that time of year again and I'm just not into it".
I put up a tree and the tree is perfect in shape, no gaping holes. It  ends in a peak where the small angel dressed in white brocade with her neck wrap matching her dress sits and surveys the room.

I heard a man explain why he liked this time of year. A time of renewal, a time for family to gather, the festive feeling and everyone following family traditions. I'm smiling more at people and issuing cheery greetings to everyone. Carrie and I baked together then packaged up the bread pudding and the fudge into pretty holiday containers and delivered them to her teachers on Friday. She was so excited to be "giving".  The groans and complaining have vanished. It usually does and I'm colluding with Carrie on making "Firecrackers" for her second grade teacher that we both love. She will be here today to help with 'giving more.'
Her mother usually goes through her toys and makes donations but as Carrie has grown older, her toys are now tech type stuff. Gone are the stuffed animals and the dolls, replaced by special pens and pencils and art paper for drawing so her donation pile is skimpy.

I'm not stressing this season. The economy here is a sad thing with people moving away to find jobs. I'm sure the shopping lists have been shorn down to a minimum. I hope so. I've shopped for the grandchildren and a few others on my list and those gifts have required more thought. This isn't a lavish affair; mine usually aren't but I've limited the amount of spending as the unemployment  here has continued to deepen and people are still trying to recover from the flood in August. Many people will be grateful to just get back into their houses that had to be gutted.

It's Sunday and I'm excited. Carrie will do her Christmas shopping today. The traffic will be horrible The crowds will be horrible. but we are not in a hurry. I get my shopping done early so I enjoy getting out in the crowds knowing that everyone is intent on one goal,;  getting theirs  done.

Yesterday it was 80 degrees. Foul weather was forecasted and as I cracked open the door this morning, I was greeted with a chilly blast of cold air. The  streets are wet and gusts of wind are picking up the maple leafs from the lawn and twirling them into the air to send  them down the street. Maybe we won't have to rake again.
It's shower time and time to dress in some warm clothes. I'm excited about the cold weather. I can wear jeans, a sweater and a neck scarf and pretend as though snow will be falling which I know is not going to happen.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays...take your pick. I'm gone for the day!

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5th...Rainy and Cold

August 13 of this year, a major rain storm struck the Gulf Coast. During the night and early morning the rain pummeled the Bayou State. Lafayette and the surrounding area, along with Baton Rouge and the surrounding towns went 'under water". Some houses were just that, totally underwater. Other homes had three feet of water. Enough water got into these homes to warrant a total stripping of floors, cabinets and walls. Black mold spores were creeping up the walls within days of the flood. The houses, even with a mear three inches of water were uninhabitable.

Most people didn't realize the water was in their homes until their feet hit the floor in the early morning hours and cold, foul water lapped around their ankles.

Clothing, rugs, furniture, flooring, walls and doors littered the sides of the streets. Beautiful stainless steel appliances, stove, fridge and washer and dryers were grouped in front of the houses. Beautiful armoirs, and wooden bedrooms, dressers and night stands decorated the fronts of lawns. I felt huge sadness as I drove through subdivision after subdivision and noted the carnage.

December 4th, yesterday, and another rain started. The coolies need cleaned out of debris from that last flood and now they are filling up and overflowing once again. The victims of the last flood watch and worry that their newly cleaned houses will face yet more water.

My daughter lost two cars in that August flooding The car she drives now is the one I was driving. Finding her a used car that we could trust was not an option. She took my car and I bought a later model low mileage one of the same make and model. Last night she called and she bought that car back to my driveway to spend the night. I give her a lift home with a promise to return the next day with it. We are taking no chances on losing another  car to the high waters.

The rain continues to fall. It's not a large downpour but it's steady and relentless.  Hopefully the coolies will have time to drain.

Those that flooded in August are spending sleepless nights watching and waiting. I don't know if I could continue to live in my house had it flooded. Every big rain  storm afterwards would have  me spending sleepless nights waiting and watching.

The temperatures along with the rain are also steadily falling. I'm wrapped up in a blanket watching a movie on Netflix. It's just one of those days where a movie and a blanket is the best option I have. Add to that a cup of hot chocolate and I'm a happy homebound, warm and dry woman!