Tuesday, January 31, 2017

These Feet Are Made For Walking

My right foot has been staying swollen for several months.  It will not go down no matter what I do.  I have elevated, iced, and worn compression hose.  The foot continues to swell.  Recently the swelling has been so bad I could not bend my toes the full range for walking.  Walking those 7500 plus steps could be really uncomfortable at times.  The toes and top of the foot felt as if they were being burned.  O. u. c. h.  Grit my teeth and continue.

After two nights of fitful sleep because my foot hurt I called a podiatrist.  Luckily I was able to get an appointment for the next day!  The doctor's office is about 2 blocks away so I walked to the appointment.  To my surprise, the sonograms the family doctor ordered to check for clots being the reason for swelling were not last July.  No, they were in July, 2015, before our trip to the upper Midwest and Canada.  At that time without further investigation it was determined to be arthritis related swelling.

Today x-rays showed no arthritis in any of my foot joints.  While the expected deformations that come with aging are present, there is no arthritis.  So why the swelling?  An answer will require more information.  I need to go for an MRI.  Continue icing and anti inflammatory drug of some sort.  A new type of shoe insole has been prescribed.  Time will tell how all this works.  What I know is that these feet are made for walking and that is what I plan to do even when it hurts.

Good news for all the rest of life is my husband is doing PT for the leg issue, a hamstring something going on in his left leg.  Not sure what is happening with his weight as it is increasing though he seems to be having the same amounts of intake.  He is enjoying his ham setup that he has at the desk.  So pleased he is able to enjoy this hobby in the comfort of our little place.

I bet my usual readers thought I was going to talk about some sort of march for something with the title of this post.  I missed the opportunity today as I was at the doctor's office ... Instead a donation was made to help the tornado victims in Georgia.  And a little to the souper bowl food collection at HEB.

Peace out!
Janice

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Happy Post

Ok, enough with the gloom and doom.  President Trump is gonna do what he is gonna do.  I can yammer and it will have little effect till the next elections.  Over done.

Today was an anniversary for me.  One year ago I had my left knee replaced.  If you were visiting me at the time you will recall I went to the doctor on one Monday and the very next Monday, Bam!  It was hurried up as we were leaving for an almost 4 week trip in Europe.  An excellent Doctor Michael Valestro, his assistants, Jeremy and Chris with the rehab groups, my husband and I all worked together to make my rehab a success.  Proper amounts of exercise balanced with icing and rest allowed me to make that trip.

It was a bit of a challenge at times as the swelling was still happening.  Most days we walked around 3,000 to 4,000 steps.  Of course a lot of this was on hilly, winding cobblestone streets.  A real challenge.  There were a couple of 10,000 step days but there would be rest periods.  Shortly after we returned from the trip in late April a cousin came for a visit.  More walking including knocking on the 10,000 steps in a day.

My fitbit zip has been wacky a couple of times and carried over the walking from one day to the next.  Generally speaking I am averaging about 6500 steps as some days I do not walk due to time or pain levels.  For a pre surgery and one year out comparison we had mapped out a mile walk.  It took us a solid 30 to 35 minutes to make the loop.  Last week I did 1 mile on the tread mill in 21 minutes.  Tonight I did 1.5 miles in under 35 minutes.  My total step count for the day was 8651 with about 20 minutes still to go.  Of the 8651 7600 were done without sitting down and only two stops of about 30 seconds each.  No sitting down for a rest.  

The accomplishment of being able to walk a sustained gives a feeling of real accomplishment.  I am just so happy!  So, President Trump do what you are gonna do, Lt. Gov, Dan Patrick, do what you are gonna do.  I am gonna keep walking.

Peace out!
Janice

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why I Walked ...

Sometimes one hears folks, even me, say "I felt called" to do a certain thing.  I was called to do the Woman's march .... by you younger sister.  I had been considering the local Austin, TX, march but would have been hesitant to go it alone.  A sister and twenty something years old nephew made it feel doable.  And it was though.  The sun was out so it was hot.  Standing, waiting for almost 2 hours for one's turn to enter the street is hard for me.  Walking was simple as the entire day was less than the number of steps I am averaging on a daily basis.

Today my feet are swollen and sore.  My head hurts because of all the aching joints starting in the feet all the way to the base of my neck.  This discomfort is nothing compared to the pain and suffering soldiers in the various wars have suffered.  To listen to the stories of uncles and friends that served in different wars is heart wrenching.  One female friend was a nurse in Vietnam.  She still suffers PTSD from seeing the carnage of those boys and men.  My peers living with the ravages of agent orange and napalm.  I walked for the benefit of veterans to be maintained.

Civil warriors such as freedom riders suffered deeply.  As did the suffragettes.  As do police officers and their families who are peacefully performing the duties of working a BLM march in Dallas.  Yes, many of us were thanking the police officers yesterday as they were there to direct traffic.  Protecting the right of assembly.  Helping get ambulances to persons who were overwhelmed by the heat.  Protecting.

I marched to remind the elected officials that there is a sleeping giant.  My job was shipped overseas. So I do not just 'get' the plight of the rust belt, I experienced it on a personal level.  Yes, in 2001 and 2002, I sat at a computer being told to ship digital data for circuit boards to Germany, China and other off shore areas.  I questioned the law of the land to the sales people and even researched at home.  I made them show me documents that the sensitive US materials were not compromising our nation.  I fought for jobs to stay in the country.  The building that housed the company is nothing but a big, giant slab of concrete.  The slabs sit on top of soil and water polluted by toxins from pre-regulation chemical dumps.  Too polluted to be sold without massive cleanup efforts.

Some politicians and businesses say the regulations caused the flight of companies.  IBM wanted to save 2 cents a circuit board ... We lost that contract.  Instead of executives taking a cut in pay, the workers were expected to bear the brunt of the loss.  Days off without pay.  Cuts in salary.  Job eliminations.  I was a supervisor making $44,000 a year.  Working 60 hour weeks.  All supervision positions were eliminated.  We could bump the low man and take a cut in pay.  Or leave.  I left.

Financially not the best for me but positive for my mind.  Five years later one of the last remaining employees was sending the last of the data to China as the facility closed its doors.  So I marched for the workers without jobs because corporations are greedy.  Because fear or overbearing monopolies keep inventors and entrepreneurs from beginning or succeeding.

I marched for a free public education system that serves the needs of the students.  Not to be used as a political football.  An equitable education for all so there is one less barrier for persons looking for jobs or creating jobs.  Cause not every one had a dad to give them a small loan to start a business.  Some folks such as my BIL and my younger sister who have worked hard to build a very successful business need a mentor.  May need a Small Business Loan to begin or move to the next level.  Cause no one is successful in a vacuum.

I marched because of abortion.  I am not a person who could have an abortion.  I wanted children, plural.  By grace, we had one child.  No money to adopt.  I support Roe v Wade because there will be abortions so long as the root cause is not addressed, unwanted pregnancies.  My baby sister was an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.  She is a blessing.  But there was extended family and neighbors to help with the care.  Granny was there for sister to stay with after school during some years.  I was there for care during the evening and summer.  I was 12 and she was 4 when Mom went to work on the swing shift.  So from 4 in the afternoon till Dad would get home at 6 to 8 in the evening I was her sitter.  It was 1/4 mile to the nearest neighbor.  I drove the car and cooked on a propane stove.  We have horror stories and good stories from those years.  That is for another post.

Not every woman has a support group to where she feels raising a child is a choice.  Not all birth control is 100% effective.  Birth control costs money.  So is the answer something to reduce libido in both men and women?  Most research I see being touted is the exact opposite.   I do not know but if we do not come out of the trenches and march together we will never get it figured out in a reasonable manner.  And this should not be a political football, either.  There were Pro Life signs at the march I was at because it is a woman's issue.  Men neither carry nor give birth.

I marched for the LGBTQIA friends and family that enriched in my life.  For the little boys that were 'feminine' or 'different' as toddlers.  For the 'tom girls' that preferred trucks to dolls. It is hard to find words in English to describe "us" that is not gender based. I marched so the embryos as created in the womb are able to live freely.   Why should gender matter as a matter fact?  One is either attracted or not attracted to another whether the attraction be as friendship or otherwise.

I marched because I do not agree with the tactics that are proposed by the Congress and President as the way to make America great again.  I have been a voice since the late 1960's and I will not be quieted now.  First of all, I believe the United States are still the best place for freedom in the world.  I think the US is still Great just not perfect.  I think we were called daily to continue the task given by our forebearers, "... to form a more perfect union ...".  As every person that has or ever will hold the office of the presidency, Donald J. Trump is my President but no my Savior.

The march was peaceful.  Inspirational in knowing I was not alone in fighting against racism, sexism and marginalization.  For health care, children and freedom of speech.  I walked for the disabled that cannot walk.  I walked for the elderly and children dependent on Social Security, Social Security Disability, Medicaid and Medicare.  For the disabled veterans whether the scars be physical and mental or just mental.  For the born and the unborn.  For the victims of gun violence.  For gun responsibility. For people that as a Christian I am called to care for as a result of my experiences in this life.

I invite you to do the same.  We must talk but more importantly we must listen to each other's story.  
To understand the different perspectives and get this figured out together.  There will have to be compromises to accomplish this continuing goal of a more perfect union.

Peace out!
Janice

We are in there some place!

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Mid January

It is the middle of January and the temperatures are back into the 70's.  I should be happy to be getting the 7500 steps done.  But I really just want to watch TV.  The few Christmas decorations that I put out need to be boxed up and stored for next year.  I just do not want to do the stuff.  That is called lazy.  Just plain lazy...

I did notice a tinge of guilt over the stuff piled on the chair.  Not enough to get up and get it put away.  Probably a 20 minute job.  Less time than it takes to write this blog post!  I am about to talk myself into getting it done.  Since sister is coming to spend a couple of nights it would make sense to get the stuff out of the way.  I mean not that many square feet available.

Hubby on the other hand is once more caring for Son's auto.  Seems there had been a knocking under the hood even after the oil change.  The different service center found nothing to be causing the sound.  He does the cars, I do the dust.  The never ending auto upkeep and dust.  Dusting is much less expensive than auto upkeep.  So long as I do not bend improperly

Finished one of the books I received for Christmas.  Written by Robert Wagner and Scott Eyman I heard Wagner's voice as I read it.  "I Loved Her In The Movies" is a recount of Wagner's take on women from the 1920's thru 1980's.  He knew so many of them from being in and around the movies himself.  A good read for dreary days though is seems a little pretentious at times.  You know how Wagner knew and loved or slept with one big name or another.  Similar to the character Wagner played on NCIS.  Still interesting to read about the famous ladies of Hollywood.

The next book hopefully will make this blog more interesting.  "On Writing Well" hopefully will bring a new level of reading for you folks.  I have been lacking in inspiration of late or possibly a lack of direction for the writing.  So for now I shall close and get to reading.  See you in a few days.  Meeting friends from Missouri and us will be dining together.

Peace and best wishes!
Janice

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pilgrimage

While reading the haiku responses to the current month's challenges over at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai one in particular prodded the old brain.  The challenges this month are coming from reading selections from the novel "The Pilgrmage" by Paulo Coelho.   Themes such as rebirth, learning and letting go are just a few of what will be covered during the virtual pilgrimage.  This pilgrimage is the along the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.



Were I 30 years old or even 30 years younger the pilgrimage could be a fun adventure.  Plenty of time for soul searching.  Long enough to develop callouses to replace early blisters.  Certainly experience a different culture as well as history.  The route follows an ancient Roman trade route as well as the connection to St. James.

Elsie Hagley is one of the other folks in the haiku kai.  She is in her 70's and lives in New Zealand.  Now would that not, also, be a great place to visit!  I digress.  Elsie wrote the following in response to living in the moment:

retirement time now
walked the path of work for years
be with the moment
time to return to rebirth
spiritual growth starts today

Elsie Hagley

Those words got my mind to thinking about retirement.  With retirement there comes more free time.  There likewise comes a body that moves a little slower.  That body aches a little more and takes a little longer to heal or even recoup from a trip to the grocery store!  But that does not stop retirees from working to look for new things.  Or just have time to complete things they started 40 years earlier.  Some retirees start entire new careers.  I am content to stay at home and be on call for the kids and grandkids.

Retirement has afforded time to travel at a more leisurely pace.  Personally I began writing a blog, doing some photography and learning about haiku.  Moving to be closer to our son has left me more isolated from people and friends.  That is almost a choice, though, to not start new friendships.  I do have blog friends that I visit virtually most days.  The river cruise in the spring of 2016 will probably be our swan song for 'big trips'.  As noted above if I were younger a pilgrimage through norther Spain could be grand.  Ah, but I am 70, out of shape and out of time for such an adventure.  I shall be pleased just to write haiku about such a pilgrimage.  After all 70 years of life on earth is a pretty long pilgrimage.....

Peace and love,
Janice


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 20

I am watching President Obama's farewell address to the nation.  His hair is so much grayer as every president becomes.  He is challenging us to get off the computer and talk face to face with those who do not agree.  Get busy working to be the change one wants to see could sum up what he is saying.  Looking back over the last 8 years and seeing the positive that can happen.  That is the best of what we call the United States.

There are close friends and family that are sort of throwing up as they listen to the speech.  Folks that detest the President, not just his policies.  Sort of like how I have never liked even one little bit PE Trump from his early days on TV to this moment.  That is okay that we all have different feelings about the same people.  Like them or not they are the leaders.  The ones that are to be prayed for on a daily basis.  To be resisted when necessary and to be encouraged when needed.

This means I will continue to write government officials as I have since the 1960's.  I will express my opinion, hopefully with respect.  I will listen to opinions.  I will not give credence to those Facebook reposts from groups that just want to spread hate and separation.  That means the left as well as the right.  Yes, I am a wild eyed liberal.  That does not mean I do not have a brain.  Not all the left pushes fits my beliefs.  The alt-right beliefs are just too out there for me.  (You know like Michelle Obama is a transgender.)  I will continue to read some of the conservative information that is vetted.

And I will stand shoulder to shoulder with other women outside the Texas Capital building on January 20.  Cause there was a man that hated Obamacare and voted in politicians to dismantle it.  Terror then struck him when he realized ACA and Obamacare are the same thing.....  Obamacare/ACA needs an overhaul so lets work together to make it work for the good of all.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Winter!

It is definitely winter in Central Texas today.  Temperatures hovering below and at the freezing mark.  I know that is nothing like the single digit and minus 0 temperatures of many but with a wind chill of 15 degrees it is cold.  A very cold day to attend a graveside service.  This is the day a friend's ten years old grandson is laid to rest.  The cloud cover adds to the dreariness of the day.  And the chill accentuates the coldness of a grave.

Reading facebook to catch up with family and friends across the world is a good way to distract from the sadness.  Snowfalls of varying amounts give rise to kiddos on sleds.  All bundled up against the cold winds with wide smiles peeking our from the hoods.  One friend has his only grandson and his parents in for the Christmas/Winter break from their home in China.

This grandpa and grandson have built a small cabin in the back yard of Grandpa's home.  The building took a couple of vacation visits to reach its current level of comfort.  It is equipped with bunk beds, electricity, heat and most amenities. The one exception is bathroom facilities.  This morning's post by Grandpa included comments about the chilly walk to bathroom facilities in the nearby garage.  A heated indoor john.  Such luxury!  Grandpa then commented on the path he would use as a kid growing up in the 1940's and 50's.

We in the US can sure forget how short a time it has been since 'modern' conveniences have become the norm.   Such conveniences as running water, electricity, graveled or paved roads and indoor plumbing did not reach into the rural communities till the late 1950's and 1960's.  Hubby and my home built in the 'country' in 1969 had the luxury of 'city' water as a result of federal water programs begun in the mid 1960's.  The water programs were similar to the rural electrification program (REA) of the mid 1930's.  Yes, that first home had 3 indoor commodes....  And a septic tank with lateral lines to process the wastes.  I do enjoy the conveniences of this modern life.  

This post was started in the morning of January 6.  A cold, blustery wintry day.  A day for the burial of a 10 year old child.  The grandson of a high school classmate.  We dressed in our cold weather clothing from living in Missouri and drove the 90 minutes to lend support to our long time friends.  The ceremony was deeply moving with tributes from the Texas Army National Guard and many others whose lives were touched by Rowan.

From the graveside we headed back to Round Rock.  I had an appointment with my 10 year old grandson.  No way would I miss this opportunity to spend time with him.  He wanted to sew on the machine we had given him for Christmas.  And sew he did learning as we went.  Once the simple stuffed bear was completed he was ready to go play Pokemon.  Then his older brother was ready for some sewing lessons.  Finally at almost 11 PM Middle Grandson says, "Grandma, you look tired.  You need to go home and rest.  And would you bring some stuffing and material so we can sew some more?"

Back home I needed to prepare to leave the next morning to head 200 miles in the opposite direction for a classmate's funeral.  First I had to gather a bag of material, some needles, more thread and the stuffing all to be left on the porch of Son's home as we left the next morning.  Cause while I may be in the winter of my life, the future is in these wonderful grandsons in their spring of their life.  The life they still have to enjoy.  And we must live to honor those that have passed from this life.

Peace and love to each of you.
Janice

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Some Days.....

The end of the year tributes to all the famous folks that passed in 2016 left me realizing my age.  I know some folks call 70 the new 60 but it really does not matter.  It is when the icons of your child's childhood start dying that the age hits one.  Prince, George Michael, Carrie Fisher were icons for my son's age while the likes of Pete Fountain, John Glenn and Debbie Reynolds came from my aunts and parents era.  My life was spread across these decades to include David Bowie and Patty Duke era folks.

Death is just part of life or the end of it.  It is one thing when it is the names of stars or people one has seen from afar.  It is another when it is my own aunt that passes.  Even more when it is the 10 year old grandson of a high school classmate.  Those two losses were the last of folks I knew personally that passed in 2016.  Then today came with the first for 2017.

A year ago I reconnected with classmates from my high school graduating class.  There were originally 15 in the class.  About 4 decades ago we lost the first, Donna, in a car accident.  In May, 2007, Sue did not wake up from a night's sleep.  An email came today that now a third has died, Mikel, a man of very few words.

Friday I will go to the graveside service for Rowan, the 10 year old grandson of Judy.  A friend I stood with the day she was married 51 + years ago.  Saturday I will then attend Mikel's funeral service.  Some days are like that.  You stand with friends in their joy and later stand with them in their sadness.  Yes, some days ......

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

Not much time to write as we must head over to Son's home for a bit of a beach party.  Sunglasses will cover the ugly red bleed in my right eye.  It keeps happening.  Yes, I have been to a specialist.  On steroid drops along with multiple wetting drop applications during the day.  Seems the corner of my eye lids have decided to attach to the eyeball.  This causes a pulling effect on the eyeball veins.  Oh, snap!  And another blood red eye.

So if you see me with my glasses off and my eye is red, it is not a new year's hangover.  Just another weird thing going on with my old body!  And another year to look forward to so many great surprises!

Keep up the hope and positive thoughts.  Laugh as much as possible cause there is always something funny to think about in our lives.  Like did you just discover that missing sock as you put on your pants this morning?  Or did that sock just drop out as you were walking into say church?  Or did you belch loudly as you opened your mouth to yawn at that restaurant?  I mean there is always something.  Personally I have walked full speed into screened doors, gone to the wrong wedding, set off alarms at the airports ... with my underwire bras, and the list goes on and on the longer I live.  So I laugh at myself and spread the joy as often as possible.

Go in peace and have some fun today.

Janice