Sunday, August 20, 2017

Back in Time

 I feel as if we have stepped back in time.  This tombstone was one I captured in July -- long before our nation became embroiled in the current political and social woes my country is now facing.  This soldier from Wayne County, NY died at the Battle of Charleston in 1864.  He was 25 years and ten months of age.

Lately, I've found myself drawn into political conversations I don't want to be a part of.  I don't want to argue or belabor over my opinions -- which I won't change.  I believe that symbols of oppression that were intended to intimidate are wrong.  Even if some people see them as historic or symbols of times past.  Those whom I've tried to avoid conflict with in the past couple of weeks want me to concede environmentalists have gone too far.  I can't debate that, as I am grateful for those who banned DDT -- the pesticide responsible for the near extinction of our National Bird, the Bald Eagle -- the bird I now see regularly, that I was able to get a picture of this morning.  Twenty years ago, there wasn't one to be found on Lake Ontario.  Now I see them regularly.  It is a spectacular sight that never fails to make me feel awe.

As a female in technology, I am shocked that today's women are afraid to meet in a closed room with a male alone.  Our Vice President refuses to do so.  There was a time when I had no female co-workers.  There were many tough situations that I had to face that were discriminatory.  "How does it feel to take bread out of a union baby's mouth."  "How could your husband let you do a man's job."  When I did have other females in my work group, I was asked on one job site "Do the other girls in your group have big ones like you?"

Seeing race issues come back up again, seeing the environment marginalized, seeing woman putting up with crap in the bro-corporate culture makes me sick.  I have been told I should be ashamed to be a feminist.  But I feel I have no choice but to identify as such.  I am a humanist at heart -- and I feel to be one, you must have the human race's best interest at heart.

I have been  bad about posting lately and I usually stay away from talking politics, but there comes a point where there is a need to stand with your beliefs.  I was raised in a Jewish community.  I played sports as a result of Title IX.  I started my career at a time where sexual harassment was a regular part of a woman's work experience.  Over the years, I've been proud of my accomplishments -- and that I could make progress without harming others.  Lately I feel like I am in a time warp and that the ground gained has somehow been lost when I've not been paying attention.

I know I have mostly female readers.  Do you feel the way I do?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Sky is Always Blue Somewhere!

There are days you long for a blue sky but all you can get is a brief glimpse.  Some days, clouds are white and fluffy, and on others they are thick and dark.  Luckily for me, most of my days are a mix.  I wish they were all bright blue sky days but they never seem to work out that way.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

Everything is right in my world again.  We are back at camp as a family every other weekend. I can swim with my dog.  So far (knock on wood), the dog hasn't had any skin flare-ups.  Granted, we have had a wet and somewhat mild summer, but I finally feel like I am part of the season.

Monday, August 7, 2017

I Am Not a Pot Head

OK, contemporaries of mine, who recognizes the significance of this flower pot?  It is intentionally shown upside-down, because that is part of the reference point.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

My New Summer Drink

There are days when I am just too lazy to make iced tea.  It's also not uncommon for me to struggle with how to come up with ways to use the unpredictable contents of our farm-share box.  Often I am looking for a drink with dinner that is refreshing and caffeine-free.  My go-to alternative and new favorite summer drink is cucumber water.  It seems we always have a cuc or two on hand and there's a pot of fresh mint outside my back door.  Lemons are my summer cooking staple so I always add some fresh-squeezed lemon juice.  I don't dump in slices because we don't drink a whole batch in one sitting and the slices make the drink go bitter.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Getting Out

Now this is my idea of getting out.  If only I could soar a hundred feet above Lake Ontario like this vulture. It was neat to get the picture, though.  The weather wasn't great -- and sometimes we see more bird activity as a result.  The span of this predator's wings are as wide as I am tall.  Ugly though he or she may be, the essential function of keeping the earth clear of carrion (dead things) makes them pretty important ecologically.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Farm to Table

 We pick up our farm share on Wednesdays, and then I have to get busy!  Tonight's dinner was picked today (except for the fish).  Our small box this week contained:

2 pints of raspberries
2 heads of kohlrabi
1 bundle of carrots
1 bundle of beets
1 cucumber
1 quart beans
1 quart peas
zucchini and summer squash
1 bundle of kale

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Trailer Windows

After having removed the blinds and valances, then installed white roller shades, I wanted to create some sort of valance and also create a way to darken the area further at night.  Many years ago, I had sewn panels to mount over the blinds at night using velcro.  Since they were already the right size, I adapted them by sewing rings on the top and hooking them onto cup hooks mounted underneath the cabinets.  I can roll them up and secure them with ribbons, which can easily be untied at night.  Not gorgeous, but functional.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dog Recovered

 Our dog seems to be fully healed.  We finally got her groomed and were shocked by how much weight she lost during her recovery.  Some of it is muscle mass which we know she will regain.  After I uploaded this picture, I was shocked at how trim she is.  That's probably one of the things that helped her bounce back so well.  She is walking without any sort of limp or hitch in her giddy-up -- something that we find astounding given how much she limped before and the drastic surgery she had.  Happily, she is swimming again too.  We have started slowly, going every other day.  After this week, she'll be OK to go every day.  I can't wait until I am strong enough to go in with her.

We went to camp this weekend and it was my first trip up with TBG and the dog. It was so swell to be there together.  I hadn't been up at all in June.  It's easy to forget how much we like having our lakefront spot -- until we get back.  Teddy loves rolling in the grass and chewing sticks -- something she doesn't get to do that much at home since we have a slate patio.

Everything is right in my world when I can go to my camp, swim with my dog and spend time with my fella!

Monday, July 10, 2017


I have started making my own jam and now I never want to buy it at the store again.  The first time, it was because we had a surplus of strawberries from our farm share.  Now they are done with strawberries, so I picked up two bags frozen, plus one bag of blueberries.  They are organic and were something like $2.50 each at Aldi.  So far I have made three batches and learned that you want to use fruit pectin, not gelatin.  So those are the main ingredients, in addition to sugar and a few flavorings.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Responsible Refrigerator

Cleaning the refrigerator is one of my least favorite domestic chores.  With no plans for the holiday and being behind in domestic responsibilities due to my recuperation, I decided I just needed to buck it up and get the job done.  For two people, we sure do keep a lot of food in the fridge!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Oh Poo!!!

I have taken my "Make it at Home" philosophy to new lows, it would seem.  I've started making my own scratch version of "Poo Pourri," the stuff you spray in your toilet water to prevent odor that results from "dropping a deuce."  The for-sale stuff is not cheap and I can vouch that it works.  At camp, we actually spray it after we flush to help keep the smell from the black tank in check.  At home, it is used pre-poo.  Well, I use it more than TBG, which is something I've got to work on!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

On-Line Shopping

We are always hearing and reading how Amazon is killing brick and mortar retail and I feel for small businesses and for those in retail who are having a hard time finding work.  The thing is, anyone who is looking for something that isn't mainstream, or who doesn't have a lot of time, really doesn't have much choice in the matter.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Playing Favorites

Today is TBGs birthday.  Gifting him should be a challenge since I am in a tough spot from a time perspective.  I am back at work but once I get home, I need to rest, ice, do PT and am generally just wrung out.  Luckily, he is low maintenance and just hitting him with his favorites works out just fine.  He's one of those "I don't want anything" sort of people who is still easy to shop for because he likes what he likes.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dollar Store Find


This invalid finally made it out of the house!  This morning I treated my sister to breakfast because she came by last week and cleaned our downstairs for me.  I am walking slowly and figured I'd press my luck and try one side trip, which I chose based on my current state of bargain hunting withdrawal. My pick was Dollar Tree.  Their pepper stir-fry frozen veggie bag is a staple of quick and easy dinners at our house.  Along the way, I hoped to find a large gift bag to use for Father's Day -- which was shopped for in advance.  Alas, all of the big bags were for baby showers.  Of course, I still did my usual sweep of their health and beauty aids -- where I tend to score the best bargains.

This week, they had Sebastian Volupt hair conditioner.  There were only five bottles left on the shelf and no shampoo to be found. I scooped them all up.  If there had been 20, I would have bought them all.  The 250ml cost, on average, $17 bucks.  To get them for a buck a piece is a real deal.

Anyone who has a Dollar Tree nearby may want to check to see if there is any to be had.  Not only is it a steal, it's a good product.  And for me, it was swell to make my first recovery expedition such a success!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Small Victory

I can't claim total victory yet, but I have made it through two weeks of my knee replacement recovery.  My blogging has had to take a back-seat to resting, icing and exercising.  I can now sit in a chair and put in some desk time.  At first I was stunned by the pain and lack of mobility.  Now I am mostly uncomfortable but making progress each day -- as long as I don't give it a rest or slack-off.  TBG has been keeping me fed and drives me to PT, helps me with exercises and keeps my morale up.  This has been a very difficult process. I consider it a victory that after two weeks I am bending my knee beyond 90 degrees.  I'm told that is a good thing!

The staples were removed this morning and that has been a relief.  I am now down to steri-strips which aren't painful (staples pinch!).  I do my PT exercises once per day and go out for short walks three or four times per day.  I have met many men on my block who have had this surgery and they offer me encouragement too.  Today I did not have to use my cane at all and was able to go on a three block walk by myself.  I've also been managing to use both legs on the stairs -- with ample support.  Not just the "up with the good, down with the bad" method I was using at first.

I had hoped to only miss two weeks of work then do a week at part-time,  but that was based on a smaller incision on the side of my knee that is common for a partial replacement.  My ortho went in from the front so I have the incision and underlying wiring to deal with -- basically the same as if I'd done a full.  I'm feeling badly about that and am pushing for progress.  My plan is to be back at work on 6/26, just short of four weeks.

Hopefully, my life will get more interesting once I can expand beyond my house and the few blocks around it, and I'll have better material to post about!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

My Turn

I would have to say that Friday night was one of the most painful periods of my existence, as it was my first night home after my knee replacement.  A few other injuries/post-op adventures have been as bad.  But I have a flair for the dramatic and it was my fault for pushing to get home from the hospital too soon.  They would have kept me another night, but I wanted to go home.  Little did I know that the nerve block I had been enjoying blocked so much pain.  But I survived!
Now everyone in our house has a scar on their left knee!  Of the three of us, I would say I was the biggest sissy of the family.  Teddy was up and walking the day after her knee surgery. Tommy had two done at once.  I had my partial done on Thursday and I am just now getting around on my own a little bit at a time with a cane.

The surgery was a little more involved than I thought it would be.  Rather than go in through the side, my orthopedist cut me right down the front, the way it is done for a full replacement.  He explained that sometimes he ends up doing a full once he gets in, and that to adapt a side cut to a front one makes a huge scar, so  he always goes down the front.

I learned a few things afterwards. First, I am knocked-knee so I have to work on that.  Secondly, I have really small bones and am lucky that the smallest size implant made fit me.  My necrosis wasn't actually all that bad.  No one would or could explain to me why necrosis in the side of my knee was causing so much pain in the middle.  That was the worst part.  The middle of my knee hurt almost constantly.  It turns out I had been walking around on a fracture that neither the x-ray nor MRI picked up.  So, that part of the femur is gone too.

My goal was to be back to work in two weeks and I hope I can do that.  I start PT on Tuesday.  I do plan to work part time for a few weeks.  At this point, I am in bed a lot, but spending time sitting up, doing light walking and moving around.  I can say that it is not easy and this is not something I ever want to do again!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dog Update

The dog is doing absurdly well after her major orthopedic surgery.  At four weeks, she's walking almost normally and we've let her have access to the couch.  By the guidelines we were given, this is a no-no.  But then, she should also just now be putting full weight on the leg -- which she has done from the start.  Ignoring all time-lines of recovery, she has gained full range of motion, can raise up on her hind legs and pulls like an ox when we take her on walks.   As for walking, she gets eight blocks two to three times per day, and we can increase that.

The PT guides mentioned getting her to walk in circles and figure-8's around week 6, and she's been doing all sorts of maneuvering -- backing up, sitting, standing, hunting for toys, that the exercise is basically futile.  She just moves around like normal -- minus the sad limp she used to have.  In fact, she is doing so well that I am scared that we did something wrong and will get in trouble for not moderating her movement more.  We are not letting her upstairs, just the few steps in and out of the house. So there are still restrictions.

She goes back for an x-ray on June 7th.  They don't want her to swim until 14 weeks out -- but I don't know if we can wait that long.  She is going crazy from the lack of activity and not seeing people that she is bonkers on our walks and we have to watch her in the yard because she decides to start tearing around in circles.  I just hope I have an easy time like this after my knee surgery!

There is still strength to recover and we are working on getting her to place the leg normally.  When it was weak, she held it away from her body for more stability.  We are working on getting her to place her weight evenly.  But all in all, I consider the surgery a success.  There is a big bill to pay for it this month, but once that is behind us, all I want to think about is the future.

She and I did stay home for the long weekend because there are too many temptations at camp and the car ride would be a problem too (she likes to stand the entire way).  Hopefully we can all go together on the 4th of July.  But for now, we are doing fine at home.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

How Does My Garden Grow?

It is a sad fact that the only reason I have a garden, is because my husband plants it.  We decide on things together, I tell him what to do, and he does the work.  I am really that lazy.  The design of our yard is based on a plan that I drew up and our handyman/landscaper implemented.  Tommy helped with a lot of that labor too.  Since I am frugal, a lot of time is spent splitting perennials and planting things that spread out.  It would probably be easier on him if I just let him put in all new annuals each year.  But that gets to be too pricey for my cheap tastes.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Second-Hand Therapy

Cool shoes have mostly  been stricken from my wardrobe in the past year.  But I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, so I decided to partake in some shoe therapy to ease my mind.  I have a rough couple of weeks ahead of me -- I can no longer take NSAIDs or supplements and am having a lot more knee pain.  What better way for a girl to gird herself for her suffering than to concentrate on what is in store once it's over?