Another Turn of the Page: Back to Sanity, Back to Books

“Loyalty to country ALWAYS.

Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
Mark Twain

A book for every state.

A book for every state.

It’s been a pretty tough week and I still can’t watch the news or open the newspaper but as I promised at the end of my last post, we are going back to the books. The November gathering was just this past Thursday so I’ve got two months of titles. October will be the main entry and I’ll give you a brief summary of the November titles at the end. Yes, another two-fer. What can I say? The Cubs, politics, working the Big Book Sale at my local library, plus still doing all that physical therapy on my knee just put the blog posts way down on the priority list. Well except for the ones I had to write to clear my head.  My quote this month is from Mark Twain. I felt it very appropriate for where I am right now and then I found the book map. Sorry about the tiny states, that is as clear as I could make it. However this link will take you to the source page and a list. A book in every state. There is fiction, nonfiction and children’s. Books will bring us together.

Here’s our October.

sept1. The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska’s Arctic Wilderness by James Campbell (2004) 320 pages. James Campbell, Heimo’s cousin, writes an amazing account of the family’s nomadic life in the harsh Arctic wilderness.

2. Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole (2013) 290 pages. Elspeth, a published poet, receives a fan letter one day in 1912 that leads to correspondences with a young man that spans World War I and World War II.

3. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (2011) 359 pages. Christine, a middle-aged woman wakes up every morning with no memory of her life, she has a rare amnesia; every night she falls asleep and forgets everything. The husband she doesn’t know when she awakes helps her through the day, but what if he can’t be trusted?

4. Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert (2016) 320 pages. When MJ’s husband starts spending more time at the casino than with her, she decides something needs to be done. That something is taking up gambling herself. But soon she gets pretty good and is the one spending more time at the poker table.

5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985) 311 pages. Atwood’s terrifying dystopian novel where pollution and man-created viruses, have caused fertility rates to be so low that the few fertile women (the Handmaids) are now communal property. They are moved from house to house to be inseminated by men of power under the watchful eye of their wives. A future where women can only be the Wives, domestics (the Marthas), sexual toys (the Jezebels), female prison guards (the Aunts), wombs (the Handmaids), or, if they are unsuited for any of these roles, Unwomen who are sent off to the Colonies where they harvest cotton if they are lucky or clean out radioactive waste if they aren’t.

6.Gray Mountain by John Grisham (2014) 368 pages. Not one of Grisham’s best. His heroine, a young Manhattan lawyer, takes on the dangerous world of coal mining in Appalachia.

7.14th Deadly Sin (Women’s Murder Club #14) by James Patterson (2015) 384 pages. The return of SFPD Homicide Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends that call themselves the Women’s Murder Club. If you follow this series, you’ll want to read it. Otherwise it is best to start at the beginning with 1st to Die.

8. The Last One by Alexandra Oliva (2016) 304 pages. It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens in the real world but the contestants are made to believe it is all part of the game.

9. The One Man by Andrew Gross (2016) 416 pages. America is in a race with Germany to develop the atomic bomb. However the Allied effort is lagging behind in their so-called Manhattan Project. The one man who has the necessary knowledge to complete this task is a Polish physicist, Alfred Mendl. The only problem, he has to be rescued from Auschwitz first.

10. A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (2004) 442 pages. A moving story of Italian resistance during WWII, including the incredibly brave efforts of Italian Catholics to save Jewish refugees.

11. A Famine of Horses (Sir Robert Carey mystery #1) by P.F. Chisholm (1994) 268 pages. The first in a series of historical mysteries based on Sir Robert Carey, a real life character who was a courtier in Queen Elizabeth I’s court. Set along the English/Scottish Borderlands in 1592.

12. Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1) by Janet Evanovich (2016) 336 pages. The first in a new series of thrillers by Evanovich complete with her quirky sense of humor and unique characters.

 And now a quick recap of November:

Nonfiction: Indians of the far West (1891), The Erie Canal, an artist and sequel to The Final Frontiersman.

Nonfiction: Indians of the far West (1891), The Erie Canal, an artist and sequel to The Final Frontiersman.

Mysteries & Thrillers: Talking sheep, Walt Longmire, Survival when all electricity is gone, Adventure, Buried treasure

Mysteries & Thrillers: Talking sheep look for missing shepherd, Walt Longmire, Survival when all electricity is gone, and Buried treasure

Novels: From the author of "A Man called Ove", a Romantic comedy drama, and Characters in a small college town

Novels: From the author of “A Man called Ove”, a Romantic comedy drama, and Characters in a small college town

One more Thing before I Go

Me, yesterday.

Me, yesterday.

Me, on the right, today.

Me, on the right, today.

Well as I sit here sipping my camomile tea, knitting a few rows on a warm winter shawl and then reading a some lines from Emily Dickinson, I’ve had time to reflect on some of the things I wrote yesterday. I am not going to make any excuses, it was how I felt less than 24 hours from the presidential election. Some of the comments I received said I was wrong to call people who have a different opinion racists, bigots, misogynists…etc. That’s all it is? A difference of opinion?  I was accused of stereotyping the Trump supporters and I was the hateful bigoted one.  I call them labels but that’s beside the point. What I said was “the bigots, the racists, the misogynists, the haters, the fools, the naive, the idiots, had won the night.” I didn’t say all of the people who voted for Trump fall into those categories. And they don’t. But all the people who voted for Trump voted with those people. And it doesn’t change my opinion when I hear some really bad rhetoric coming straight out of the mouth of the candidate. For example,some people voted for him because they are pro-life, and I respect that, but then I hear The Donald say, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Such respect for life. Thus my confusion. Thus my prejudice. Thus my stereotyping.

Time has helped lessen my shock and depression. Some excellent essays by Garrison Keillor and Michael Moore and Annie Lamott have helped me see Trump’s ascendency and final achievement in a new light. And before you scoff at these authors, take a look. Moore was actually saying before the election that Trump will win and why (point #4).  And it is all very logical. After my other post my sister called, my cousin extended a voice of reason and my mother pretty much worried about me. My cousin said this reminded him of Jesse Ventura, a wrestler, who became the governor of Minnesota in 1999. Why did he win? Because people were mad and weren’t going to take it anymore.  So I get it. You stuck it to us. Shocked our smug little faces. Huzzah! You’re not all idiots, many of you have just  “had it” with government and many have really good, honest reasons for voting the way you did. But he was your candidate. All 59,535,522* of you. When he does good stuff, take the credit, tell the rest of us, “I told you so.” But when he screws up, and he will, don’t cry about it. You get what you pay for. Now the other 59,755,284* of us ( yes, Hillary won the popular vote), admit, reluctantly, that he will be our president but he ain’t the boss. This is our America, our country. And we will be watching because we love our country as much as you do. We feel the rights of all need to be protected. Yep, the black, the white, the gay, the straight, the weak, the poor, the rich, the liberal, the conservative, the Muslim, the Christian, the Jew and even the bigot. We are going to call him on every “f*ck up”. ( Oh don’t be a prude I put in an asterisk ). I think some Republicans in Congress will be watching closely too, just a hunch.

So next time I say something you don’t agree with, explain your side of the issue. Me and my other 59,755,283 liberals will be waiting. We are the ones who have all our closets clean and all of our leaves raked. Gee, this camomile tea has really soothed my nerves. Does anyone have any tea cakes or crumpets to go with it?

Next post: No more politics, back to books.

*CNN, as of Nov. 10, 2016

The Morning After

mourning-buntingI went to bed last night depressed. It was only 10:30pm and as I watched my state of Wisconsin go down like the Titanic I knew what the outcome of the presidential election was going to be. So I tossed and turned and once in a while my heart said, “maybe, you’re wrong.”  But my brain knew the absolute truth. The bigots, the racists, the misogynists, the haters, the fools, the naive, the idiots, had won the night.

So I woke up in a very sad mood. I checked my iPad quickly to see the result and it seemed worse than I imagined. As I made my way down to the breakfast table I decided I could not bear to watch acceptance speeches and endless analysis. I already was at my wit’s end after almost 2 years of political ads and primaries and anonymous phone calls and debates. So most of my morning was spent on a very low key. A cup of yogurt, a few pieces in the jigsaw puzzle. Once I took a shower and got dressed I did what I usually do when I am anxious or depressed, I clean. I tidy up. Kitchen floor, check! Bathroom, check. Vacuuming, check!


“Buck up, kiddo, tomorrow’s going to be another day.” – a little known Master Yoda quote

As I worked my mood started to change to fear. Fear of those who think this victory will give them freedom to bully, discriminate, assault and abuse anyone they don’t agree with or don’t like the color of. Because that was what some of this election was about. It wasn’t only those who were getting a raw deal on their health care or haven’t had a decent job in years who voted. I can accept those complaints. But those who think hate is now the acceptable status quo are the ones I fear. That voting for The Donald now gives them that right. However, the wise Jedi Master Yoda once said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” No, I didn’t want to go there. That just makes me like them.

I am sure my social conscience will rise up again and I will get involved in some way. But I am weary. I became an Independent Deputy in January and have been registering people to vote at libraries, high schools and local colleges in my area. I have been answering questions about voting, I have been encouraging people to vote, I’ve been putting signs in my yard….I am tired of it all. So, for now I am going underground, to decompress. I need to read and knit and work on my art. I need to concentrate on my physical therapy and get this new knee running like …a knee. It is going to take a bit to shake off the yuk that I feel from this election and Donald Trump. I also plan on avoiding as much of the inaugural hoopla as possible. Watching him and his family party just seems wrong. Getting away would be nice and Canada always seemed a possibility but I think it is closed right now. So I will be staying put, and damn! after four years of this new administration I’ll have the cleanest house around.

I am a bitter(s) man: Preamble

I am bitter over the loss of Bitter Lemon.

bittersYears ago I used to be able to buy Schweppes Bitter Lemon.  It was sold in most stores alongside the mixers like Tonic Water or Club Soda, but a lot of people drank it straight as a less sweet, decidedly bitter adult lemonade.   For some obscure reason Schweppes no longer makes or distributes their Bitter Lemon in the U.S.  Apparently it is available in the U.K. and some other markets but not here except as an imported item.

I bemoan the loss of Schweppes Bitter Lemon.  It was a refreshing, pleasantly tart (but not diet) summer beverage.

At some point it occurred to me that I might be able to “hack” an ersatz bitter lemon.  Most carbonated drinks are mostly carbonated water – seltzer or club soda.  The basis for the Schweppes Bitter Lemon is, in fact, tonic water which contains quinine where the bitter component comes from.  The lemon flavor comes from lemon, of course, which contributes tartness.  I like the bitter edge of Bitter Lemon and would welcome a little more (like I said, I’m a bitter man)  So why not add some real bitters, like Angostura – that’s its announced role.  So the juice of a fresh lemon, a half-dozen good shakes of bitters, some ice and top it up with tonic water (yes, Schweppes).  No chance of displacing the original but a pretty easy and quite refreshing hack for a bitter man

bitters_orangNote:  After making this the first time I was a bit disappointed with the color the bitters gave the drink.  But then I remembered that I had once bought a bottle of Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters.  It’s in the citrus family and all but colorless so in subsequent iterations I used Orange Bitters instead.




You Will Hate Me Now

“but you will thank me later.”  So said my physical therapist after bringing tears to my eyes at our last session. Getting a knee replacement isn’t just an operation, a short stay in the hospital and then painkillers and rest at home. No, it is a LOT of work. A lot of painful work.

rackOnce I was out of the hospital, I spent a week at a rehab center ( I regaled you on their menu choices if you recall ). While there I also had physical therapy (PT) twice a day, every day for 45 minutes each. It consisted of learning how to walk with a walker, then a cane. It was a lot of mobility exercises and it was also how to put on your socks and empty the washing machine while your knee said, “uh no, that hurts!!” It was a good kickstart. But it was just a taste of the ordeal awaiting me.

When I got home I was scheduled for outpatient PT twice a week and with the “luck of the draw” I was paired with Kelly, a young, no-nonsense woman who is determined to get me to bend my knee normally and also get it to straighten out, no bends, when I stand. I like her, she doesn’t coddle me. While I am grimacing as I try to make the stationery bicycle wheel turn we talk about what we did on the weekend and admire each other’s choice in footwear. But don’t be fooled she has no qualms about bringing tears to my eyes.

This is the issue. I need to get to “0” but I am at -5, meaning it bends up, doesn’t lie straight as in this picture. Now on the bottom bend I am at 116 which is pretty good but we are shooting for 120 at the very least.

ai26-tinypic-com_2mdksutTo get to either of these numbers a lot of pushing down of the kneecap or pulling back of my heel takes place. And man, it hurts. There are a lot of bruised, tight muscles in there, sore nerves and of course, metal parts. I am also fighting scar tissue. I have to keep everything moving before it tightens up.

That’s where Kelly comes in. She cracks the whip and says ten more reps, or eight more minutes on the rack and five more revolutions on the bike. On my own there would be one more rep and three on the bike and forget the rack. She is the one who pushes down firmly on my kneecap to force it into a more straight position while I whimper. She can unerringly find every sore and stinging muscle as she probes with her fingers. Yep, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.*

So right now, I hate her, or rather what she is making me do, but I know when I reach that “0” and can walk downstairs normally, I will thank her and be grateful she didn’t have a real whip.

*Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Another Turn of the Page: Turn Off the TV and Read

“I find television very educating.
Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
Groucho Marx

tvI like television. I do not remember not ever having a television unlike my husband who did not have one in his early childhood. I am a great lover of fiction so drama, science fiction, medical and legal thrillers, etc. are what I watch. I do enjoy sports as well, particularly football. But in the US, the political season has taken all the joy out of my television watching. Every commercial break has some Super PAC commentator telling me something despicable about everyone running for office. How did these people get elected in the first place? The commercials make it sound like they all should be in prison. My mute button is starting to wear out. And of course tonight is the next “debate”. It will pre-empt two of my favorite shows, Madam Secretary and Elementary. Thank the TV Gods, the Green Bay Packers will be playing opposite the Trump/Hillary smack down.

Now I usually have a book handy even when I have the TV on, just to fill up the time when there is a break in the action to sell me something. But lately I have been forgetting to turn the sound back on. The book is so much better. I am also a night owl who watches a lot of late night TV but frequently I just go curl up in bed with a book. Much more calming for my brain. I’m sure I’ll go back to my normal TV habits after the election, I just hope I won’t have to be familiarizing myself with Canadian television. If you are also looking for a diversion, here are the books my group read last month.sept-copy1. Boar Island by Nevada Barr (2016) 374 pages. Anna Pigeon #19. Anna, a National Park Service Ranger, has to deal with cyber-bullying and stalking. Very little about the park so not one of the best in this series.

2. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (2015) 179 pages. Addie is a widow seeking companionship. She makes an intriguing proposal to her neighbor, a widower named Louis. She asks him to come over to her place and share her bed. It is just to talk and fall asleep together and break the loneliness.

3. We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (1997) 454 pages. This book is about a large family, the Mulvaneys, living all happily until something terrible happens to the sole daughter. This book is basically about this event and the aftermath.

4. Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T.J. Stiles (2015)
608 pages. All anyone knows about Custer is the fight at Little Bighorn, this biography covers his time in the Civil War, his time trying to make a fortune on Wall Street, his marriage and many other areas.

5. Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain’s Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour by Richard Zacks ( 2016) 464 pages. A rich and lively account of how Mark Twain’s late-life adventures abroad helped him recover from financial disaster and family tragedy.

6. The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe (2016) 379 pages. A historical novel based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first black student to attend Vassar, who successfully passed as white.

7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2011) 352 pages. The author starts with a compelling idea–taking vintage photographs with unusual subjects–and using them to weave a supernatural story of children who possess unusual abilities. A very strange and fantastic read.

8. Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Constantine Croke (2014) 368 pages. The remarkable story of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s largest land animals transformed him from a carefree young man into the charismatic war hero known as Elephant Bill.

9. Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan (2014) 474 pages. Historical fiction featuring Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife, Fanny.

10. Proof Positive by Phillip Margolin (2006) 320 pages. A legal thriller about the way CSI evidence can be misused by a killer to serve his own twisted sense of justice.

11. Iceberg by Clive Cussler (1974) 340 pages. An early Dirk Pitt (#2). Frozen inside a million-ton mass of ice-the charred remains of a long missing luxury yacht, vanished en route to a secret White House rendezvous. The only clue to the ship’s priceless-and missing-cargo: nine ornately carved rings and the horribly burned bodies of its crew. -Goodreads

12. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs (2008) 336 pages. Augusta Simpson is turning 50, has two 20-something daughters, and her own cooking show which is experiencing a ratings slump. The story revolves around her need to heal from tragedy and develop better relationships with her children. Not up to the author’s usual standards.

13. Casualties by Elizabeth Marro (2015) 288 pages. The Casualties tells the story of the people living on a little street in Edinburgh, in the final weeks before an apocalyptic event which only a few of them will survive.

Institutional Food #2 – The Rehab Facility

So I was discharged from the hospital at 11:00 am and got to the Rehab Facility around 11:30. Got checked in and installed in my room by 12:30 pm. I know someone asked me if I had eaten and something was brought to me but that is lost in the mists. Probably because dinner that evening was very memorable, a Pizza Burger.

Now before I go any farther I have to explain the meal situation at this place. It is an  Assisted Living and Rehabilitation Facility. That means there are short-timers in rehab, like me, and there are long-timers or people who actually live here. We are separated into two wings but we can intermingle. I could have gone over to the other side for Bingo and a Packer Party on Sunday but I passed. Long-timers are mostly elderly seniors (Hey! who you looking at?) and as a group they mostly want their noon meal to be the main meal (what I call dinner) and their evening meal light ( what I would call lunch). They outnumber us so that’s how the meals are served. This will all make sense later.

Now, the Pizza Burger. As in the hospital you get a little menu ticket. On it are usually two choices for a main and then a bunch of sides. You can circle everything if you want. I think one of the choices that night was fish so I went with the Pizza Burger, on my Certified Nursing Assistant’s (CNA) recommendation. Later, I had to remind myself that I really didn’t know anything about their taste in food so recommendations were a crap shoot.

Pizza Burger

Pizza Burger

My dinner included a very soft bun, a beef patty covered in Marinara sauce and a few bits of cheese, a bag of chips and yellow jello w/ cool whip top. But that’s not all that made this a PIZZA burger. When I bit into it, surprise! it was stuffed with mozzarella. The cole slaw was good.

After getting pancake/sausage bites one morning for breakfast, I decided to stick with cereal, raisin bran, because I needed to stay ‘regular’. However this place is the same as the hospital, that is, make sure you ask for everything. If you don’t circle milk, you’ll eat your cereal dry. And the raisins are usually dumped in a pile in the middle. So I would break up the clump and get some milk and it was a good breakfast.

Sausage/pancake bites are soggy pancakes around breakfast sausage with some syrup for dip. A three year old would love them.

Sausage/pancake bites are soggy pancakes around breakfast sausage with some syrup for dip. A three-year old would love them.

Remember my explanation of lunch vs dinner servings? This is what I mean.

Meatloaf, Turkey and Swedish Meatballs

Meatloaf, Turkey and Swedish Meatballs

These were usually pretty good but whoa, that’s a lot of food for lunch. Each had a dessert and beverage as well. Veggies could have been crisper but I don’t think they were from a can. Then there was dinner.

Billed as chicken salad (left) and potpie on a bisquit (right)

Billed as chicken salad (left) and potpie on a biscuit (right)

On the menu it said chicken salad on tomato slices. I love chicken salad but an ice cream scoop of salad on one little tomato slice was pretty disappointing. Potpie on a biscuit was also a controlled serving. More like chicken a la king. It was fine but I wanted more! And come on folks! It was September. Our garden and our local Farmer’s Market still had really good tomatoes coming in. So did the grocery stores. Where are the people at this facility forced to shop? Here’s what I mean. One night a BLT was on the menu. Well can anyone resist a bacon sandwich, with a red ripe tomato and crispy lettuce on toasted bread? Sorry. This just didn’t come close.bbllttFortunately when I got home my Sweetie made me a BLT worthy of the name.

Finally, did you recall that tossed salad I praised in my hospital food post? When I saw tossed salad on my Rehab menu I thought oh yes! that will make up for any sins of limp bread, pink tomatoes or fruit cocktail. However, one tossed salad is not like another.

1. Actually different items to toss 2. iceberg lettuce.

1. Actually different items to toss (hospital) 2. Iceberg lettuce (rehab)

Oh well. I don’t mean to diss the food service at rehab too badly. The food came pretty promptly, I had choices and except for a few missteps, it was all edible, sometimes pretty tasty. However the whole time I was there I kept clicking my heels and repeating, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

Institutional Food #1 – The Hospital

We talk a lot about food on this blog. Food we make ourselves, wonderful restaurant food whether it be from a high-end place and a basic roadside diner. We have written about meals friends have served us. We have talked about the sources of the food we cook with, like the Farmers Market, online shops or just out of our own garden. But I don’t think we have ever addressed institutional food. You know, the high school cafeteria, the college food service or the hospital experience.

Since my knee replacement surgery two weeks ago I have been subjected to hospital creations and then the meals at a rehab facility. Whose is better, let’s start at the beginning, the hospital. My first dinner after surgery was predictably unexciting. I was coming off of anesthesia and my meal ticket said ‘soft diet.’ My tray appeared at 5pm with vanilla ice cream, an Ensure shake, a banana, milk, juice, tea and a bowl of cream of wheat. I was hungry but not really in an eating mood. I drank some tea, had some juice and then bravely took a spoonful of Cream of Wheat, bleh! It tasted as bad as it looked. So I cut up the banana and added it to the bowl with two packets of sugar…two more packets of sugar later and it still was pretty bleh. So I ate the ice cream.

Cream of Wheat

Cream of Wheat

Everyday you are in the hospital they give you a little menu sheet where you choose your upcoming meals. For the day after surgery breakfast I stayed away from Cream of Wheat and went for scrambled eggs. Also orange juice and oatmeal.

Scrambled eggs?

Scrambled eggs?

When I lifted the lid from my plate I thought I was looking at chunks of butter. The eggs, all naked w/o benefit of salt, pepper, onion, cheese or green pepper, didn’t taste bad but they looked fake. They were obviously poured into a pan, then cooked or baked , and then cut into chunks and served. A very weird-looking scramble. I also had oatmeal that morning which was more palatable than the CoW but it also needed sugar and milk, which if you don’t circle on the sheet, you do not receive. This is the same if I had ordered dry cereal.

However after these meals the food at the hospital definitely improved. Turkey and gravy and a roll with green beans was pretty good. Especially the green beans. They were fresh green beans, not canned or frozen, and not cooked to the consistency of soft paste. I was shocked! I gobbled them up and sent my congratulations to the kitchen. Positive reinforcement is a good thing.

Beans with a crunch!

Beans with a crunch!

Encouraged I chose the roast beef, sweet potatoes, broccoli and tossed salad for my next evening meal. Oh, they finally took me off “soft diet”. Yes, I had done my bodily duty and my system was functioning again.roast-beefLooks pretty normal, right? Well except for the strange rectangles the meat was cut into. From the picture, my husband thought I had meatloaf but it was indeed roast beef. broccoli was good, the sweets weren’t bad but look at that tossed salad? Spring mix, tomatoes, even a cucumber slice! The kitchen was scoring big points with me. Oh, keep that salad in mind, it is going to look even better when I get to my next culinary adventure.

To top it off that’s chocolate pudding with whipped cream for dessert. I was starting to like hospital food more and more. However, all good things must come to an end. Friday, September 23, I was transferred to the Rehab Facility. First meal of the evening, a pizza burger.


I Had a Little Adventure

Hello there. I’ve been off having a bit of an adventure. Well if you can call knee replacement surgery an adventure. But after numerous cortisone shots, repair of torn meniscus six years ago, more injections ( this time some stuff made from cock’s combs that helped lubricate all those bone-on-bone moments ) and finally bone spurs that did me in, I had to have the whole darn thing replaced. It was the last resort.

Here’s my leg, the afternoon of September 20th, almost two weeks ago.

About three hours after surgery

About three hours after surgery

I was propped up on a machine I called the sled (I guess it looked like a one-legged toboggan to me) which was slowly pumping my leg , moving it up and down. My feet had little pumps on them, keeping the blood movin’ and the big blue thing is an ice pack. The tube on the far end is attached to an ice chest on the floor. Icy water is flowing through that tube and into that honeycomb pattern. It is very effective. I have spared you all of the wrapping and ace bandages and staples and ripe red plum bruising and I promise you won’t see any further down the line.

I am home now with my crutch, my walker and my exercise plan. But three nights in the hospital and eight nights at a rehab facility have certainly provided the fuel for a few more posts. Food, definitely, will be at the top of the list.

So as I continue to heal, stay tuned for reports from the field. A few from my fun time away and a few from my homecoming. Hey, If you can’t complain and laugh about a situation you don’t have any business going into it in the first place. See you soon.

Big Everything

We recently had a fabulous week in Montana, specifically Glacier National Park. Everything is big out there. Big sky, Big mountains, Big bears!

montanaOn Sunday morning Sept 4, as we were getting ready for our shuttle ride to the airport to come home, Curt complained that his throat was scratchy. He did a little salt gargling but I think resigned himself to the fact that he was probably getting a cold. Well we have since found out that Montana also has Big Germs that produce really Big Colds! By the time we landed in Wisconsin his nose was stuffy and Monday morning the coughing started. It is now a week later and the coughing has not let up, nor the sneezing, nor the blowing, well everything that goes with a cold but multiplied 5 times. Seems like 10 times.

For the first few days I made jokes about Man Colds being worse than Woman Colds, and for the most part that is true.

The Man Cold Vs The Mom Cold

But as this continued without a break I felt bad about joking, he was really miserable and so was I, so I finally got him to go to a doctor yesterday. Was it pneumonia? Well no, it’s is just a whopping big virus so no antibiotics for him. No, no, no! So we wait it out.

Now in this household, he does almost all of the food prep. I know, I am really lucky. I am the cleaner upper. But now I am doing all of the cooking and the cleaning! Okay big deal, you say, that’s how most of the world works. Now I am not looking for a shoulder to cry on, but I am just out of practice and I think I am coming to the end of my repertoire of meals. We are getting very close to the grill cheese sandwich and tomato soup dinner. Yes, soup out of a can, whereas Curt would be roasting and seeding and pureeing tomatoes from the garden and making a fresh soup. He would buy the cheese but probably bake the bread.

Now under normal circumstances, this would be fine but add to this mix my scheduled knee replacement surgery for next Tuesday. I have to maintain a household while also avoiding getting near Curt and any of his germs. And work on getting the house prepped for me, the gimp, who will be going into recovery mode. So can I get a bit of a shoulder to whimper on? Huh?