Sunday, April 23, 2017

On Black And White And Everything In Between

Dr Oz had an interesting story 4/20.  Oprah's made a movie called "The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks' , here's an article about it.
I like how Oprah talks about how she doesn't have rage in her anymore, and I think she's just about as good a role model as there is.  And I'm not talking about for the black community, but for all of us, regardless of our race.  Really, what is race, anyway?  A great majority of what the culture calls "black people" really have sufficient "white" ancestors that they could go either way. 

I have grandsons whose father is "black".  Clay was a handsome young man, with coffee-with-cream skin and green eyes.  (He had a white grandfather, and who knows how many 'white folks' came into his genealogy prior to that.)  I have to admit I never liked him much, but it wasn't because he was "black".  His mother, Dorothy, was a fine, hard-working woman who loved her children and she accepted my daughter, who, according to Clay, was "the whitest white woman he'd ever known", into their family and loved the children that her son produced with my daughter.  Clay was Dorothy's youngest, and her only son.  I can attest to the fact that a male child being raised with lots of sisters is used to being doted on.  I had three sisters and only one brother.  Hubs has eight sisters.  'Nuff said?  Dorothy already had quite a few grandchildren, So JR and JC were just faces in the crowd.  But they were and are my only grandchildren, and to me, they were and are special.  They were often with Hubs and me for extended periods of time, due to their parents' rocky relationship, and when they were in the 5th grade, we adopted them legally so they could have health insurance through me and so that I could be their advocate when that was needed.  I was candid with these boys because I knew they deserved nothing less.  The oldest, JC, looked like his daddy, he was a beautiful baby and little boy who grew into a handsome young "blackish" man.  He took on the mannerisms of young black men, and I wasn't very happy about that.  JC could've easily passed for white, and I told him that I thought he could decide to be whichever race he wanted to be, and that it would probably be easier if he chose to be white.  JC was offended by this and went around saying that I asked him not to tell people he was black, and this is not what I said nor what I meant.  I was just giving him the facts as I saw them.  So JC wore his blackness like a badge of honor.  He was bullied in the middle-class, almost totally non-black school, and the few times he threatened retaliation, the police were called to the school.  When he got old enough to drive, he was pulled over for one nonsensical and/or fictitious reason or another.  Usually they told him that they wouldn't give him a ticket (which they probably didn't have grounds for, anyway) if he'd allow them to let the drug dogs do a "sweep" of his pick-up.  And he would sit there on the curb and wait for the van containing the dogs to get there, while people drove by and gaped at him.  Then he waited for them to "sweep" his pick-up and find nothing.  To make it seem worthwhile, sometimes the officer that pulled him over would tell him they detected "a faint scent" and said maybe he had had someone in his truck at some point that had some on their person.  They even pulled him over on the night of his high school graduation when he was on his way home to change out of his cap and gown before the class party was to start.  I told JC back then, to call the officer "sir", to act friendly, and by all means, not to try to run away because someone might decide to shoot.  Many years later, when things went bad for Trayvon Martin, Aaron Campbell, Victor Steen, Steven Eugene Washington, Oscar Grant, and others, I felt keenly the anguish of their parents, and I saw the wisdom in giving JC the advice I had given.  Even after he was out of school, and we had moved from Dewey to Bartlesville, which has more experience in interacting with races other than white, a highway patrolman pulled him over because he was "swerving", made him park his truck and told him that, though he detected no alcohol or drugs, JC should "sleep it off", and said he would arrest him if he saw his truck back out on the road.  So JC, not wanting to awaken us, decided to walk home, about a mile along a busy, unlit highway.  Someone saw him in their headlights, pulled over, and offered him a ride.  JC, not knowing the man, accepted the ride, and was brought home safely.  There were so many frightening scenarios for the way that night could've turned out, but God had His hand on JC.  Hubs drove him to where his truck was parked and they were able to bring it home before a tow-truck could be sent to get it, eliminating the risk of towing and impounding charges. 

JR's race never really came up, because he just naturally looked, talked, and acted like a little white boy.  The only clue that he had any genealogy in the black race was that his hair was thick and curly.  Now that he's an adult, I look at him sometimes and think he looks like Hubs.  Other times, I think how much he looks like my dad and/or my dad's brother, uncle Chuck. 

And here's the thing I don't understand.  Why is it so wrong to choose to be white if more than 50% of your heritage IS white?  Here I got this withering look from my neighbor when he told me JC had told him I wanted him to tell people he was white as if he's denying his heritage or trying to be something he isn't.  What the hell difference does it make?  Wasn't JC, in fact, denying his white heritage?  All those French, German, English and maybe a few American Indians that came to him through me and the Welsh and Scottish and English and American Indians that came through Hubs? 

I tell you all this because I want you to know that I know that racism is not dead.  In fact, it is not even wounded.  The racists have just become quieter about it, that's all.  In my generation, we were privately instilled with the racial opinions that our parents had, though many of us were rebellious enough to know that our elders could be, and often were, wrong.  We grew up and tried to raise our own children such that race was not "a thing".  But because we were caught in the middle, when our children started being friends with all races, we silently hoped that they wouldn't choose anyone outside their race to have children with.  We knew our parents and siblings wouldn't willingly accept mixed-race children into the family, and it would complicate things for those children.  I wouldn't be at all surprised to know that it's the same on the other side.  But if you truly raise color-blind children, they don't understand that, and so they write you off as being a racist, too.  I was the only member of my immediate family to end up being the grandmother of bi-racial children, and in my family, that was a scandal they whispered about behind my back.  My parents referred to them using the "N Word", openly, as if it was "funny" or "cute", without even a clue how wrong that was.  Or, in fact, without even caring whether that offended me.  So they drove a wedge between themselves and me, right there.  I loved my grandsons and I was and am proud of them.  Any embarrassment I felt was more about the opinions that my birth family had than it was about the heritage of my grandsons.  The reasons why I was not a fan of their father had to do with the way he treated my daughter, how he wouldn't hold down a steady job, how he was smart-mouthed, spoiled, opportunistic, selfish and entitled, how he already had created several other children that he didn't support, and how he clearly felt that no matter where he was or who he was with, he should get the lions' share of attention.  In short, he rather proudly and defiantly reinforced the stereotypical beliefs about black people that many white people have.  One night he beat our daughter and tried to push her over the railing of their upstairs apartment.  JC was a baby and she was already pregnant with JR.  She sought shelter with a neighbor, called the police and then called me, and Hubs and I took out in the wee hours of the morning, frantic to get to her and JC before he did.  Clay would float in and out of their lives after that, never living up to any of his responsibilities towards his sons, and not even that interested in them until JC was of legal age.  Then he contacted him through FaceBook and they met up a few times.  I think JR got involved through JC.  They were reintroduced to two of Clay's sons by the woman he took up with towards the end of his relationship with JR and JC's mother.  Dorothy had died.  Clay was then in a wheelchair due to the loss of his legs as a result of having diabetes, and then he told JR and JC that he had end-stage cancer.  He died in 2012 at the age of 46.  He never made any apologies for the things that he had done (or not done), just expected to be forgiven and JC and JR pretty much did that.  I felt like it was good for them, not to have anger towards their father, because they did when they were children, JC a lot more than JR, to the point where I felt the need to get counseling for both of them.  So I didn't try to interfere in any way, though I did worry that he would take advantage of them.  He brought a certain measure of sadness into their lives, to get acquainted with their father only to watch him die, but maybe they needed the closure, I don't know.  I hope he told them that he loved them and whether he said it in so many words or not, I think they understood that he did love them, as much as he was able to love anyone, so there was at least that, and I saw it bring a lot of peace to JC that he hadn't had before.  So even though I was alarmed, aggravated and annoyed when he first contacted JC, I came to see that it was a blessing for JC and JR and I was grateful for it.

An old picture of JC and JR.  They were about 15 and 14 here.

This is the thing about anger, hatred, rage:  It eats up the person who harbors it.  And another thing: most of the time, what looks like a bad thing, can turn into a good thing.  Being angry and bitter can get in the way of that. 

Yeah, Oprah has it all figured out.  It's What She Knows For Sure.  It's What I Know For Sure, too.  Heh.

May all your bad things turn into good things.  Hugs   xoxoxo

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Random Thoughts, Varied Topics

I am having trouble bringing up my email server using Explorer unless I choose the html version.  I can't get pictures to load on my blog if I use Firefox, but with it, I can get into the email server just fine.  Sheesh.  I've emailed my ISP.  They replied that they made out a ticket.  That's all I know about that.  My stats report that I am once again getting lots of page views on this blog from Russia.  Sometimes also from France.  I mean in the hundreds when normally I don't get more than 50 views a day, total.  I cannot begin to understand what I might have to say that would receive so much attention from any one country, including my own, so I think it might be bot activity but can't think why it would be worth doing since I'm just an old Redneck woman without any power or influence.  You who regularly come here to read are a special bunch, putting up with rants, banalities, Redneck grammar and punctuation and run-on sentences.  An occasional Redneck sermon.  I don't expect there to be many of you with that kind of patience.  Most people are not interested in knowing my opinion about much of anything.  I don't have anything against Russians, and wow, I was certainly impressed by the French when they dispatched the culprits after the Je Suis Charlie incident.  I have French ancestors and maybe there's some Russian in my German line, not sure.  But I don't personally know anyone who lives in France or Russia.  I do tend to think people are just people, you know?  We get told lots of things about Russians that possibly aren't true, the average citizen just doesn't have any way to know for sure.  And they're in the same boat when they hear stuff about us.  It's sad, really, that whether we're a democracy or not, we're told what to think.  There are lots of ways of making yourself look like someone that you're not in the internet world and so I just don't know what is going on.  Maybe this is happening to lots of bloggers and not just me, which might indicate that the intention is to bring the whole blogging community down, and maybe it's not really coming from the countries that my stats report it does, maybe they're just routing themselves through there.  But it is strange.  My access problems just started in the last couple of days, so I'm not sure the two are connected at all.  I kind of think not.  One day I may have to find some outlet other than blogging.  Everything runs it's course.  Just ask Sears, Wards, and Penney's.

Things are not looking good for the state of Oklahoma, I blame our current governor, I think we had other, more capable people we could've chosen but "we" made poor choices when "we" voted.  Well, I didn't vote for her, but I'm a Democrat in a Republican-majority state. so my vote doesn't count.  More's the pity.  So we're in a "mell of a hess", as my Grammy used to say.  I've heard it said that no one should be allowed to run for public office unless they can pass a mental competency test.  In our governor's case, I think an intelligence test would've been in order.  I'd say voters should have to pass some kind of test, too, so they wouldn't be so taken in by people like this.  This business of voting for anyone, no matter how incompetent, just because they're from a particular party, is just stupid.  We can't fund our schools now, but there's a lot of money being spent in other areas so I just don't understand it.

All these gambling casinos that we have allowed to spring up in our midst were supposed to be a big boon for our schools but that doesn't seem to be happening.  Gambling is a cancer that grows in our community now.  Casinos wouldn't be able to stay in business if people won as often as they want us to think.  I know of several people who brag about how much they've won, and I really want to pull a "Ghost Of Christmas Past" on those people and show them the people who've gone to jail because they cheated vulnerable people out of their money in order to fund their gambling habit.  And/Or messed up their relationships with their gambling addiction.  It ain't pretty.

Not only that, we seem to be hemorrhaging jobs here in our town.  Our long-time major employer, Phillips Petroleum, has had its ups and downs over the last 50 years.  There were rumors about merging with Conoco out of Ponca City for many years before it happened and there were a few stock buy-out scares in the 1980's that I remember.  So now it's doing business as Conoco-Phillips, and most recently has sold its Canadian oil assets which the local newspaper said will require the elimination of 170 jobs here.  As soon as the major employers start cutting back, that has ripple effects throughout the community.  Garfield's restaurant, located in our only shopping mall, has been found to be closed by employees with no explanation given.  In fact, this mall has had many stores leave over the last several years, including the Sears store.  I don't know how many jobs have been lost at the mall.  Sitel, a telephone help desk service that opened up for business here about ten years ago, will be moving out soon.  According to the Bartlesville Development Authority, Sitel provides 325 jobs here.  The loss of more than 500 jobs from just Phillips and Sitel in a town the size of Bartlesville will likely start the ball rolling, there will be less money for people to spend, so this will ripple, not only through retailers and restaurants, but on through non-profits, including churches where, even during good times, it seems there is a constant request for more and more donations to the point where it has become less and less about God and more and more about building and/or buying stuff, or paying for missionary trips when they could probably find people to bless right in their back yards, practically.  I don't understand it.

I have not talked to anyone lately who has lost their job since the election but I suspect they might be somewhat baffled depending on their political views.  The economy was supposed to get better, right?  During my growing-up years, this city was home to Cities Service, which competed with Phillips Petroleum, and also there was Reda Pump that morphed into TRW before the boom was over.  We had Superior Welding, Metal Goods Manufacturing, Applied Automation, H. C. Price Company, and several other employers of more than 50 people.  But they have all gone or been absorbed by other companies.  The city has, in recent years, made deals with businesses to bring jobs into our midst, but it seems like they only stay long enough to fulfill their contract obligations and then they move on to the next city that's willing to make them a deal.  Seems to me to be a kind of a parasitic relationship, and usually these businesses treat their local employees with such disdain and/or have such poor working conditions that after awhile the only people they can employ are those who can't find work anywhere else.  Sitel may be one of those, not sure. 

I have been laid off from jobs twice in my career.  The first was at a stock-brokerage company where I was being sexually harassed by a senior broker who represented a large number of 'old money' clients.  After I told my supervisor, I found out that it was so much easier to get rid of a lowly wire operator than it was to lose their biggest producer, never mind that he was obnoxious and had a habit of fart-bombing people, among other things.  So disgusting.  The second time, it was at a mental health agency where I was last hired and so first to go.  It didn't help that I was intensely disliked by an employee who was the MIL of our office manager.  She was offended when I told her that there were a lot of people on her newsletter distribution list that had been dead for a long time.  She was horrified when I laughed about her opinion about how Harry Potter was introducing devil-worship to children.  She was not my supervisor, or anyone's, for that matter, but she over-supervised me and the receptionist.  She had the office across the hall from me and every time I would get a call from my grandsons' school, she would come to my door and stand there till I would interrupt the call to ask her what she needed.  There was great understanding when her SIL would have to leave work because of some issue with the toddler he and her daughter had adopted from Uganda, however.  And she would go to him with baseless complaints about my work or her fears about what evil things I might do with opportunities that presented themselves to me, and get me 'counseled', which would've been funny except that they weren't laughing.  Sheesh.  Both layoffs came at bad times in my life when I really needed the paycheck and the insurance, but I was nevertheless happy to leave, and eventually better off for it.  And I had a nice giggle when I found out my nemesis got laid off when the Director did, during a shake-up that happened, later on.  And another, well, not quite a giggle, when the Director's admin assistant asked me if there were any openings where I worked (as the admin assistant to the Director there).  I liked her, she was nice to me, but toward the end I began to sense she was "workin' both sides", if you know what I mean.  Karma's a bitch, is all I'm sayin', but sometimes you have to wait for it....  I had good skills and was a hard worker who learned fast and could multi-task.  I never had any trouble finding a job because I liked to learn and try new things.  Generally I was nice to everyone even when they weren't nice to me.  I even designed billboards for awhile till I grew weary of the owner's violent temper tantrums and all the F-words thrown about, though not ever directed at me.  The owner's grandchildren digging around in my desk during the weekend, a young receptionist who was dating one of the men, so insecure that when they hired a single and attractive young women as a sales rep, Pam got her number off her resume, called her and warned her away from taking the job.  I began to suspect that some of the things Pam did that weren't quite kosher got blamed on me, stuff like that is common in small businesses.  She loved to be rude to telephone solicitors and we suddenly lost a big account with a large car dealership, and I wondered if Pam might've mistaken their contact people for someone else when they called.  At least my leaving should've made Pam behave herself, being left with no one to point the finger at except herself.  For a short time I worked at a call center for Wal-Mart and Sam's Clubs.  It handled everything from customer complaints to employee medical claims, and was the most stressful job I ever had, some of it because of the prison-like environment, but mostly because the general public, when things are not going to their liking, will be intensely rude to the person trying to help them.  I had no power to do anything but write up their complaint and transmit it to Arkansas and this was a source of much frustration for most people. 

But what I'm saying here is that sometimes loss of a job is the catalyst to better things, if we are willing to reinvent ourselves.  And we must accept that, in life, the only thing that stays the same is that things change.  You just can't stop change.  Sometimes you have to work low-paying or otherwise less desirable jobs, just to be able to keep the wolf away from the door.  It's difficult to search for a better job while you are working where you are being over-supervised but it can be done, and there are things to be learned while you were there that will make you a better person if you process it in the right way.

So much concern about medical insurance now, but we're attacking it from the wrong direction.  We've allowed Big Chem and other industries to poison our food, water and air and Big Pharma to suck away our wealth and then finish us off with the side-effects, and the sheer numbers of sick and dying Americans has crippled the economy.  Their profits are huge, especially when one considers how their levels of predation upon the people so heavily outweigh the benefit level of whatever they produce.   Insurance companies are in the business for profit and no altruistic reasons whatsoever.  So the sicker our population gets, the more their insurance company must pay out.  So now, in order to make a profit so that their executives can live like kings and queens, they must have young and/or robustly healthy people buying insurance so they can pay for the medical needs of the rest.  People should not be forced to have medical insurance.  At least there are some wellness services for which insurance will pay and I would recommend anyone who is forced to carry health insurance to get fully educated on what wellness benefits they have available to them.  The answer to our problem is not to get sick in the first place.  Medical costs are insanely huge in the USA, one trip to the ER by a person who has no insurance impacts the hospital because many of these people don't have the money to pay that huge bill.  Too little attention is paid to prevention, and when it is, it's in the form of invasive tests that actually can cause problems within the body.  When someone is sick, the symptoms are all that are being treated and not the underlying cause, because no one knows what to do about that and sometimes not even what that is.  The facts are that we have failed as a nation to safeguard the health of our people, and our doctors are being trained to be drug prescribers.  I don't know about you, but I feel betrayed.  Allowing carcinogens into the food chain, the water supply, and the very air we breathe should be a crime against humanity.  The problem is, we don't just fall over dead right after we get a dose of this stuff.  It circulates around in our internals until our cells are damaged and sometimes even our DNA.   *sigh*.

So sorry to bombard you with all this gloom and doom.  Maybe it would be best if I went on to less serious stuff.

Do you ever watch Cook's Corner?  We sometimes do, it airs on Saturday.  We noticed Christopher Kimball is gone from the show.  Turns out there's been some kind of disagreement and he and his wife have split off and he's started a new venture called Milkstreet Magazine.  I've been to the website and, like Cook's Illustrated, there's an annoying pop-up that forces you to create an account before you can view what's on the site.  That just hacks me off, big-time.  Recipes are pervasive things that you can usually find somewhere else without having to jump through so many hoops.  Here's one for Vodka Pie Crust on AllRecipes, for instance:

People bring their magazines to the Wellness Center so every now and then I borrow a few and return them after I've read them.  Here are a few interesting websites I've been to from links shared from some of the magazine articles:

The rat patrol continues.  I lost count at 30.  They are eating my spinach and I've had two plastic knives I was using to bait the traps with peanut butter to disappear.  They run across our patio, and damned near everywhere else.  There's mice in the shed that I'm baiting with D-Con because they are too small to trip the traps.  We went to a benefit breakfast for a local fire department and I had a nice visit with one of the firemen about the conditions we suffer through when local ranchers burn off their fields and pastures.  Apparently the area fire departments have had to start charging ranchers extra to come out and fight the fires they set.  He told me it costs them $500 just to come out prepared to fight a fire.  It's a politically-charged topic since big ranchers have some other profession, such that they may be doctors, attorneys, etc.  Apparently it's going to take direct-result loss of life and homes before this practice can be stopped, and maybe not even then, since it's something they feel is required management of their grazing lands.  *Sigh*.  Something to think about when you buy Oklahoma beef.

The beet seed I have planted is not coming up.  I sowed several rows and I have, like, six plants on the end of one row.  Nothing in any of the other rows.  I went yesterday to the new Atwood's store to buy more seed.  Atwood's no longer carry several different brands of seed.  Now it's all Burpee.  I have not had good experiences ordering things from Burpee and I don't like their seed very much.

The plum tree I bought at Tractor Supply died and there's something coming up from the rootstalk.  I wonder what it will be.  Probably another Santa Rosa (gnashing of teeth).  The Victoria rhubarb I planted (last year?) has gone to seed.  I have read that this will greatly reduce the harvest and might cause the plants to die completely.  I went out to cut off all the seed heads and found that this will involve practically every shoot on the plant, so I just left them alone.  *Sigh*. 

Maybe I will get good seed to start over again but I may not even bother to try.  I should probably just buy rhubarb at the store when it comes available in the spring.  All I use it for is to combine with strawberries to make jam.  Half rhubarb and half berries, follow your favorite strawberry jam recipe.  Delicious.  Mostly on vanilla ice-cream or in a cup of unflavored yogurt.  It looks like I will have gooseberries this year if I net them so the birds cannot strip them off right before they ripen.  Maybe I could use them instead of rhubarb in my recipe.

Dr. Oz has "discovered" cottage cheese.  The "experts" have gone back and forth about cottage cheese for as long as I remember.  During the 1950's and 60's, if you ordered "the diet plate" at a restaurant, you'd get a leaf of lettuce with a scoop of cottage cheese on it and a twisted canned pineapple ring and a sprig of parsley on top of that.  Then they started saying it was too high in fat to be included in anyone's diet, and if you MUST consume it, buy the low-fat or nonfat.  Well, I found the nonfat to be nasty and the low-fat nearly so.  Both had a grainy texture.  That's when I started eating yogurt, even though I can happily eat REAL cottage cheese plain and I can't stand unflavored yogurt unless I've stirred in a spoon of jam.  There for awhile people were saying, "Don't Eat Anything WHITE".  So now, guess what?  Dr. Oz says cottage cheese is every bit as good for you as greek yogurt and they're even selling it blended smooth for eating like you do yogurt.  I was amazed that there were actually people in his audience that had never tasted cottage cheese.  He even says to buy the full fat version because you get a more pure product.  "If that don't beat all, I don't know what does", as Aunt Viv would say.  Sometimes I just wonder if there's not some expert over a warehouse somewhere that keeps track of things people aren't buying.  I can imagine that he/she gets on the phone and tells some advertiser, "You'd better start finding a way to get people to start buying this as it's spoiling on the shelves!!"

I bet Aunt Viv would have enjoyed the sign they had up on the board at the Wellness Center this week:
"How's the diet going?"
"OK, I guess.  I had eggs this morning."
"No.  Cadbury."
But seriously.  You'll have all kinds of people giving you advice as soon as they find out you're trying to lose weight.  Some of it might work for you.  Some of it might get you off-track.  So if what you're doing is working for you, keep doing that.  You'll also have people sticking things you shouldn't eat in your face, telling you it won't hurt to "just have one".  Any alcoholic knows that's not true.

I'm not sure that I'm very happy with my experiment with using annual ryegrass as a green mulch.  I sowed the seed last fall, and it germinated quickly.  Now it has pretty thoroughly taken over the garden and maybe that's a good thing, maybe not. 

I suspect I am creating a wonderful habitat for all those rats.  The roots go quite deep, such that the plants are hard to pull up, and at this point I'm not able to get out there and do that much with the shovel.  Maybe I'll see less bindweed and bermuda grass as a result, and that would be nice.  As I understand it, it's supposed to be left in place till summer, at which time it dies and then can be tilled into the soil when the garden plants that were planted amongst the grass will be finished.  The White Dutch clover that I sowed in the walkways is beginning to bloom now.  The bees love the flowers and I'm thinking this will bring more of them into the garden.  It's impossible to go barefoot out here, anyway, so there is not much danger of getting stung in that way but I've heard that bee venom is wonderful for arthritis.  No, I won't tempt fate.  I'll be careful and respectful of those bees.

That's a good view of Randy and Sherry's new house from the garden.  The geese seem to be awfully confused this spring because they typically hang out in the area where that house is now.  This courting couple is walking down the road between our driveway and Joe's house.  I used my zoom lense because I didn't want to disturb them, and so the background looks a lot closer than it is.  Ah, technology.  Just cool enough to make up for the drawbacks. 

I had planned to try out the experiment of growing petunias amongst squash but I had no luck with seeds.  So I bought a few plants at Atwood's, on "sale" for $1 a pot.  Also bought a hibiscus in a color I don't have and a Lantana.  I have tried to start Lantana with seeds and the seeds just rot.  And it's not a perennial.  Might turn out to me more of a pain to try to have each year than it's worth.  I have heard they tolerate heat and dry conditions. 

We are getting lots of rain these days.  Spring is typically our "monsoon season".  For the past two or three years it has rained until my grapevines and peach tree have come down with Black Spot, and then, Mother Nature being pleased with the whammy that she dealt, it starts drying out and we are in full-blown drought by July.   At least most of the extra tomato plants have been put into the ground.  Hubs has been helping by doing the digging and it has been more like burial than transplanting, but it's the best that can be done this time.  I have not planted beans yet. 

I'm about midway through my first month of physical therapy now.  They have a sign on the wall that says, "Oh, did that hurt?  Good."  There's a whole lot of truth there.  After yesterday's session, I literally needed to crawl out of there except that THAT would have hurt, too.

That's about all I know for the time-being.  Stay well, safe, happy, and be grateful for life's little blessings, and big ones, too, when and if they happen.  Hugs xoxoxo 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Checking In

I start this on Monday, April 10.

It's been awhile since I posted, mostly because of shoulder surgery. The range-of-motion machine, or as I call it, “The Wing Flapper” has taken six hours out of my day, every day, for two weeks since the day after surgery, during which I've had to sit in an uncomfortable chair that tends to cut off the circulation to my legs and has caused my knees to swell to the point where my new knee started screaming at me. So I went to the workout center with Hubs, which I don't normally do during gardening season, just so I can walk around the track and try to get my fluids moving around the way they're supposed to, and that takes another hour out of my day, three times a week.

I've tried various things to make it easier, some have helped, some have not, but the time for the machine has now passed and today I start conventional Physical Rehab three times a week. That will last for a month, perhaps longer if I need it. They can get the doctor to extend the time and if he orders it, my insurance will pay for it. But I want to be done with this and able to get on with my life so I will be making the most of my rehab time. 

When I went for my follow-up appointment I was seen by the doctor's Physician's Assistant, otherwise known as a “P.A.”. I guess this is OK but I'd rather be seen by the doctor, if you know what I mean. She's about the age of my grandsons and she really chewed on me for not wearing my sling all the time and I was kind of offended by that. For one thing, those people that design and make those slings should have to wear them 24/7 for a few days. Velcro tears up my skin. The strap that goes around my neck makes my neck hurt. And there are only two positions in which it's possible to sleep, neither of which is comfortable for very long. Wear the sling two more weeks, she said, then start removing it for short periods to “taper off”. She said too much weight hanging on my shoulder will pull on the repaired areas and might do damage, and that if I should fall, I will instinctively try to catch myself and, without the sling, will undo everything that was done in surgery. But I fail to see the benefit of that, since I have been out in the garden with my sling on, doing limited things with Hubs helping, and every time I bend over, the strap that goes around my waist un-velcroes itself and hangs down to the ground like a loose wrapping on a walking mummy. So how would I be protected in the event of a fall, I wonder? I have been unable to take the drugs they prescribed for me for pain, so I had been taking Ibuprofen, and I was chewed out about that, too, and told to take Tylenol instead. Something about how Ibuprofen has a component that fights swelling and they want me to swell. Go figure. I don't like Ibuprofen. It coats my tongue and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I brush my tongue when I brush my teeth and that helps, but Tylenol feels less effective than the Ibuprofen was. *Sigh*. And yes, I am, in indeed, swelling, in lots of places that would be better off without it. So as you can see, the last two weeks have been a kind of a love-hate situation. I'm grateful for the machine and for pain-killers and for the sling as far as they go. If you know what I mean. 

On other matters: 

I was very grateful that we didn't get a late freeze, and the tomato plants Hubs and I set out a few days before I was to have surgery are still alive. I had decided “if they die, they die”, and had been thinking about just direct-seeding tomatoes if that happened, and maybe I could have tomatoes by fall if the plants didn't die from the heat and dry during July and August. I don't want a year without home-canned tomato juice, as I like mine thin. I add 1/4 tsp of citric acid and 1/2 tsp of salt to each quart jar and that really makes for a flavorful drink. Tomato juice from the store is as thick as tomato sauce, almost, and contains about twice the salt. I had a couple of cans I'd bought on sale one year, so I mixed some half and half with homemade tomato juice. I was really disappointed to find that, after a night in the refrigerator, this mixture thickened up again. There must be something going on there. I didn't start any peppers this year and I'm kind of beginning to wish I had at least started some Jalapeno peppers, as I have been really enjoying my home-canned nacho-style peppers. Hubs doesn't like spicy food so these are perfect to add to my serving, everything from beans to scrambled eggs, to salad, to toned-down mexican-style dishes that I make so Hubs will eat them. So I may start a few seeds soaking and then plant them somewhere in the garden. My pepper plants don't normally start producing till fall, even when I start them early, so I might be wasting my time starting them early. This will be an interesting experiment to that effect. I used to know some “little old ladies” that lived just out on the edge of the town where I grew up, and their father always grew a big garden. He never started anything inside. And so they always made their tomato sauce and ketchup in the fall. 

Last Friday, the phone rang and it was JC on the other end. “Are you OK?” he asked. It turned out a local rancher was burning off his pastures and JC had driven along Bison Road and seen the fire. Well, of course it was a windy day (!~@#%^&*****()++!!) and the fire got as far as behind Bob and Sharry, Joe and Cathy, and Jay and Claire. Sheesh. At least there were people out there managing the fire, which is not something I usually see. But it was sufficient to drive the rats out of their burrows on the prairie and we started seeing the tell-tale signs the following day. I have since trapped, drowned, and had Hubs bury ten rats. There's something in the shed that eats the bait but doesn't trip the trap, so I've put some D-Con pellets in there in a lid, and they're always gone in the morning. I don't like to use the stuff, and I won't put it anywhere out in the open or let a rat get a full belly-load because that's more than is needed to kill it, and is enough to injure or kill a dog or a cat and drop a hawk right out of the sky. It would sure be better if the poison would drop the rat dead right after eating it, rather than wandering around for 3 to 5 days spreading nasty bloody pee everywhere they go. And if they wander out into the open, something can come along, kill it and eat it. Hardly anything will eat a rat that's already dead. Who knows where the end of this will be. The acreage burned wasn't as big as it was the year I took out 178. I hope we'll see the end to this soon. 

My weight loss plan has gone to hell in a handbasket. I'm up about ten pounds. So now that I'm going to be able to be a little more active I've decided to get back into it. Yes, I saw Mama June and how she lost somewhere around 300 pounds and she doesn't look all that tall. So --praise God-- I'm so glad that 210 is ALL I weigh, if you know what I mean. But that is still too heavy for me and now that I'm An Old Chick it's too much for me to be carrying around. I know what has to be done. I'm grateful that I don't have to resort to surgery for this. I'm grateful that all my past years of bad eating habits and unbridled consumption of sugar has not resulted in a metabolic disease that makes weight loss almost impossible. And I feel the need to not push my luck. 

This is now the 12th and I will try to post today. 

I have started Physical Therapy now and it is clear I have a long way to go for full recovery. I had my walk at the workout center first and that felt good. But while I was there I became aware of what terrible physical condition most of the people around me were in. They do physician-ordered cardiac rehab on the east end and I guess what heightened my awareness was that, as I walked by that area, there was a very large man who was giving the staff that were guiding his therapy a very hard time, supposedly in jest, but I, just observing, found myself annoyed by his behavior. And then I got behind a very large woman who was doing a slow, painful walk around the track. It got so every person I looked at, I thought, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” And I just began to feel like I wanted to cry, for the inhumanity of it all. I mean, here I am, weighing in at 210, and I'm feeling blessed. Is that wacked, or not? From there we went on to the rehab center, and it was the same thing there, only worse. We are the victims of The American Lifestyle. Kitchens full of processed and/or sugar- or fat-laden foods. Restaurants that carry on the recreation and/or celebration aspects of high-calorie foods even beyond the lengths that some of our mothers did when we were kids. Food as a reward. Food to make you feel better. Food to show love. Desserts withheld or “going to bed without supper” as punishment. I have heard that American Millenials are in worse health than Americans from any generation before them were at their ages, but look at what they've been fed all their lives. Is it any wonder? At least, when people in my age group were babies, most mothers breast fed. And if we had formula, it was made at home, from water, canned milk and karo syrup, before they were contaminated with fluoride and chlorine, GMO soy and before corn syrup was high fructose. We weren't exposed to vending machine food until we were teenagers and during most of our formative years, our food was not as contaminated as it is now. I've said before, no country has to attack us. Save your money and time, folks. Just stand back and watch us shovel the poisons into our mouths till we overwhelm our livers, then sicken and die in misery and pain. Big Chem and Big Pharma are the terrorists here.  

Well, that's enough. I hope you all have a lovely Easter and please remember The Reason For The Season has nothing to do with a bunny that ? lays colored eggs. Peace, Love, Prosperity, Joy and Safety to each and every one of you. Hugs xoxoxoxo