March 31st, 2022
Well here we are, on the last day of March, which means that tomorrow is the first day of April and for lots of folks, the first day of Tornado Season. From reading the news I'm sure you have heard of the very desctructive tornado's that already happened near New Orleans. Their actual hurricane season technically begins in April so that particular tornado jumped the gun a bit.
Tornadoes are terrifying and very destructive and there's nothing we can do to stop them or even really accurately predict them. The best meteorologists can do is say that conditions are such that tornadoes are likely within a certain area. And then we, puny humans, have to make the best decisions that we can. Funny how powerless we can be. Humans! The top of the "food chain" and Mother Nature bests us over and over again.
As is my way, I thought it might be interesting to read up on tornadoes a bit. And I learnd a lot of things! For one, oddly, most of the collective information I found was between 10 and 20 years old. I'm sure that information is still being gathererd, I just didn't find the site with the most current info. And now that we know the info about I am about to spew here is a bit dusty and musty here we go.
First of all I wondered if there are any states that see zero tornadoes and, well, I found some conflicting info on that. One site said that Alaska has seen no tornadoes at all ever. Another site said that there have been four. Four! May as well be zero. So along that line very similarly is Rhode Island with only 20 in recorded weather history. Such a low number that some sites say zero. I was actually surprised about Rhode Island. It's so close to other states that I know have seen tornado activity I wonder why their number is so low? Maybe it's so small that tornadoes over look it?
On the low side also is Hawaii with 40 confirmed since 1950. But even lower is Vermont with only 1 recorded and New Hampshire registers an average of one a year. So if you are tornado phobic, I guess Vermont and New Hampshire would be the perfect places for you to live!
On the other end of the scale, Texas who is reknowned for doing things big, is the state with the most tornadoes. Of course it's a doggone big state so I suppose that has something to do with it, but between 1950 and 2011 a whopping 8,007 funnels have touched ground in the Lone Star State. Holy Cats!
Since it's a neighbor to Texas, it would be no surprising to learn that Oklahoma sees about 60 tornadoes a year, But Kansas and Florida both see more with Kansas clocking in close to 100 and Florida around 66. A lot of the tornadoes in Florida are spin off's from Hurricanes which we also see a lot of. But then, we have more land meeting water than most other states too, so I suppose that makes sense.
I thought it was interesting that tornadoes have been reported on every contient in the world EXCEPT Antartica. I guess the tornado cannot survive in the cold. The united states has more tornadoes than any country in the world, but also the US is bigger than most other countries so that must be taken into account. BUT the United States also sees stronger and more violent tornadoes than any other country. It's the perfect conditions created by the warm water currents of the gulf meeting the cold rocky mountain air that stir things up.
Here are a few other interesting tidbits that I learned about tornadoes: most tornadoes happen in the afternoon or evening between 4 and 9 pm., they most often occur in spring and summer, tornadoes can occur over water but then they are referred to as water spouts, and they are quirky and follow no particular path, hopping, skipping and jumping to one spot to another before disappearing entirely and couple of other words for tornado are Twister and Cyclone.
In it's typical unpredictable fashion, there was actually a tornado touchdown in Sarasota a couple of weeks ago. There was a little bit of structure damage and a tree that came down so I suppose it wasn't too bad. A surprise, but not as bad as it might have been.
Here's my feeling on it. There is very little in this world that we can actually control. Be smart, be prepared, have a plan but I, for one, cannot (and will not) live in a state of perpetual fear. Enjoy the good days and then hunker down and protect yourself (and your loved ones) as best you can when the bad days happen. This too shall pass.
Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Cyclones, Oh My!
March 30th, 2022
I hear the collective groaning from my audience..."oh gawd, she's going to talk about books again!" heh. You know me so well. But it's not books, plural, but book, singular. One specific book. This one. Carnegie Treasures Cookbook. It's unlike any other cookbook I've ever seen and I have seen aplenty.
And now before I tell you anymore, I have to back up just a wee bit.
Perhaps you remember, about six months ago I was all aflutter about the book sale at my local library? In case you do not, the way it worked was, anyone interested showed up between the specific hours listed on the sale day with $5 in hand. For that measly five bucks the customer was given a good sized shopping bag (red and resuable yay!) and then was allowed to prowl the library book store and the tables in the lobby filling the bag to the tippity top. It was a VERY well attended event. The library staff was continually restocking shelves and restacking piles on the lobby tables because the books were gone in the blink of an eye.
There were so very many people, in fact, that "shopping" for books took a stout heart and the ability to take an elbow. Nobody was injuring anyone else on purpose, just there was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement combined with very little space. I think we all came away with a few bruises.
Well, the event was apparantly, quite a success because here we are a mere six months later and already there has been a second library sale. It happened to be on a Saturday that was only a week after my surgery. I was torn. On the one hand, I love the idea of having an entire new bag of previously unread books - especially since I was still operating in a healing slo-mo kind of state but my stamina was very low and I was concerned about flying knees and elbows. Protect the Surgerical Area! Tim and I discussed it and we decided that IF we still wanted to go, we would go toward the end of the day. That way there would probably be fewer people.
It was a great plan. We arrived about an hour before it ended and we were about the only people there. Hurrah! We handed over our fiver, received our bag and hit the stacks. Except, the one thing I didn't think of, by the end of the day, there weren't very many books left. It was slim pickin's I tell ya. Dang. Oh well, then it shouldn't take very long to go through it, was my thought.
Tim carried the bag and we both perused and occasionally added a book. Ultimately we came away with about 2 dozen book. Not bad for 5 dollars! The Carnegie Book was a last minute addition. Tim spied it and while neither of us had ever even heard of it before it was a 'what the heck" kind of decision. Why not. We didn't even look inside. Just the word, "cookbook" on the cover was enough.
As it turns out, I am absolutely charmed by this book. I think "Unique" is the perfect descriptor. Published in 1984 and weighing in at a hefty full pound, even though it's missing it's paper cover and valued at around $60 bucks (I checked on Amazon), this book is indeed, a treasure.
First of all, the recipes are presented as part of a fixed menu. That's different. And very specifically, event menu's. Awesome! Here is an example:
Everything is there, the salad, the entree, the sides, the dessert and even the drink selection!
I chose this one at random. There were picnic menu's, fourth of July menu's and harvest time as events. There are regional menu's like the above but also Asian, Scottish and Middle Eastern. I noted Holiday menus as well as seasonal ideas. Brilliant idea!
Each menu comes with a descriptor, much like the waitstaff in a fine restaurant provides. I can almost hear them saying it:
They very kindly provide a photograph of the presentation of the meal which reminds me of my Jr High School Home EC teacher who always said that a meal must be a feast for the eye as well as the stomach. This is an enticing feast indeed (although to be fair if it were served in my house I can guarantee that it would NOT look like this):
All of this is followed by the recipes for each of the items on the menu (except the drinks of course). The recipes are clear, concise and easy to follow. Perfect!
And then, drum roll please, the absolutely coolest part of the entire book, artwork. What?? Yuppers. Serving as aa prelude to each menu is a photo of a beautiful and famous piece of art! For this particular one, we have a Georgia O'Keefe piece:
But as I flipped through I saw John Singer Sargeant, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassat and more. A Feast! Especially for an art lover such as myself.
Now I am going to be brutally honest. While I am positive that I am capable of making most, or perhaps even all, of the recipes in this book, the liklihood that I will make very many of them is fairly low. These are kind of high falutin' recipes. My palate is just not that sophisticated. Beets are fine. 'Beets in Caraway Cream', not so much. Chicken we like. 'Supremes of Chicken with Fresh Figs in Gin' does not not like something I will be serving. "Salmon Mouse" just sounds wrong to me. 'Bavarian Trout Soup?' ? (I'm trying to not gag at the thought)
However, 'Scandinavia Apple Cake'? That sounds yummy! And while 'Beef Braciola' sounds ambitious, it also could be a hit. 'Chilled Avocado soup' and 'Golden Potato Casserole' both sounds very possible. There are some recipes in there even for someone as picky and plebian as me.
You know what? Even if I never made a single recipe from this book, I'd still be glad that I had it on my shelf. Even if it's just for the eccentric nature of it. I am enjoying strolling through and will again and again for years to come.
Buying books at the library sale so far has been a crapshoot. It's like buying a "mystery box". You pay the money without having any idea what's in the box hoping it's at least worth what you paid. I think between both events, I have only kept a couple of the books. But then, I only keep the really good stuff. It's possible that a book is an enjoyable read and still not be a book I will keep. This particular haul was not as good (so far) as the first. I've only delved a half dozen books deep and thus far, none of them have been worth keeping. Two went into the GoodWill box within just a few pages! But this book, this one is a keeper. Totally worth the $5 investment.
March 29th, 2022
Woohoo! This past Sunday was the Car Show in Venice. I love this event. With the exception of the past two years (pandemic, what ya gonna do?) the Antique Automobile Club has been having this event here since 1987 which is 30 something years. Don't make me do the math. I think this will have been our 3rd time attending.
It's an easy walk over from our house to show and it takes up a lot of space. I'm told that more than 250 cars were entered and 70 awards were given. Wow! It's always very well attended and this year even more than usual. But since it's an outside event, it doesn't feel quite so crowded as it otherwise night.
Now I will be honest, I don't know a V-8 from a Slant 6 and I don't even know what those terms mean. It's just words I've heard bandied about from car people. And I never really considered myself a "car person". Except for this show. I love the older cars. They had such style, such panache. I'm all about the little details and they have details for days:
I honestly never know what specific detail is going to be the thing that catches my attention. It might the the hood ornaments and/or fancy radiator cap. I do love those. I'm sorry that they are a thing of the past because the just are the bees knees:
Sometimes it's that front of the car. That grill, those lights, the colours, it's the whole package. And you know what they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I'm impressed:
It could be something as crazy as the steering wheel or the dashboard. Yeah, I know. I'm a little bit strange. (little bit?)
Maybe it's the tires? Why would a tire appeal to me? I don't know. I do not question my instincts I just follow them:
I could be a particularly snazzy paint job. Seriously, it could!
Is it the fins? Is it really? Am I that shallow?
Perhaps it's the trunk. And I finally learned why they call a trunk, a trunk. It was so obvious! And so literal!
Occasionally the thing that catches my eye and therefore my camera's eye are the little additions. The things that the owner adds just for fun:
Now and again, I have to admit, it's just the entire dang car. There are some that just appeal to me more than others, as a whole. Tim had a few favourites too:
I guess I got my fill of cartoon cars and super fun details and car talk. I'm good for while. But I am already looking forward to next year's car show.
March 25th, 2022
After a gloomy and rainy yesterday, today is looking promising. It's much cooler and far less humid this morning. I am seeing patches of blue and bits of sunshine here and there. I have no appointments on my calendar, windows open all over the house, 3/4 of the coffee cake I made on Wednesday still remain uneaten, I have a remarkably short gotta-do list, a stack of unread books and the weekend before me. Life is good.
It doesn't take much to make me happy. Not to be too "Walden Pond" about it, but for me, there is a beauty and a truth in simplicity that is unapparelled. There is nothing wrong with a grand event or a resplendent moment but I can appreciate it best from afar. Those sorts of things are so far outside my comfort zone that it's kind of unimaginable to me. Some people shine in the spotlight, it's where they belong. They love the stage with all eyes on them and we love seeing them there. But me? Nope. Not even close. I am happiest when my life is uncomplicated and relatively quiet with no drama but a lot of laughter.
So whether you are center stage, in the audience or just walking past the theatre, I hope this weekend, you are in the place that makes you happiest.
Hugs all 'round.
March 24th, 2022
A very quick post today just to celebrate spring. And you know what that means, right? We have jumped into the deep end of the floweredy time of year! Oh my gosh, everywhere you look is like being in a botanical garden!
Bougainvillea, hibiscus, bird of paradise oh yeah, all of the flowers one might associate with being tropical are fully involved. And then there's all the other things that I don't even know what are, but I love every dang petal of them. And although the photo above (which of part of my courtyard looking out) there the same shade flowers, I can only assure you that just about every colour of the rainbow is involved.
Of course that also makes this the sneezy time of year, but that's ok. I have lots of tissues. I'm a little sneezy, a little sleepy and therefore a little dopey (3 of the 7 dwarves!) but it's a small price to pay. I only have a few photos to share but enough to give you the general idea of what we get to enjoy on a daily basis,
Many of these pictures are from our own yard, but a few I took elsewhere. Doesn't matter. Pretty is pretty and we have an abundance of that. There was a ladybug on the mailbox yesterday when I went to bring in the post. I'm seeing more and more butterflies and bees. Every day something new bursts into bloom which kind of makes my heart burst into song.
All this and the beach too. Happy Spring Time!
March 23rd, 2022
Obviously, Joy and I haven't quite gotten back to our photo safari's yet and actually right this minute, she's out of town anyway. So I haven't had the opportunity to share with you the results of any of our hiking/photographing adventures.
So to fill that gap, I am offering up today the "Not a Photo Safari" and "Not a Hike" photo exhibition. Not long ago, Tim and I stopped by the Rookery just to see what was happening there. The what-ery, I hear you wondering? As it so happens, here in Venice (but off island) , tucked in behind the County Building and behind an RV park is an area dedicated to protecting local wildlife and educating visitors about said wildlife; in particular, birds. There is an official Audubon Welcome Center and a couple of lovely big ponds that have islands in the centers.
The ponds are surrounding by native, natural flora, which not only add to the beautiful environment but clearly are making big points with our feathered friends because they flock to the rookery. Flock, get it! What an awful pun. I should apologize, but I won't.
The rookery has recently undergone a lot of improvements so the bird population will only increase. And that is a good thing. The good folks at Aububon have even built special bat houses to help keep the insect population at bay. I have never seen it, but I have been told that if you arrive at dusk you can see the swarm (Is swarm the right word? I just checked. The correct word is colony) of bats emerging from their houses en masse and watch them flapping and flying out into the night in search of dinner. It sounds like quite an impressive sight but, I'm not sure if the awesomeness of having such a unique experience is fully outweighed by the ick factor. I'm sorry. I have no grievances with bats. I love that they eat bugs and I support their right to existence, but I'm also a little icked out by them.
Meanwhile, here are a few of the locals that we did get to view, and it's not all birds either:
The actual ponds and the fountain (and an alligator that I did not get a photo of) on the grounds bears noting as well:
We also headed up to the National Cemetery to 'visit' my dad. It may sound strange to you, but it is such a beautiful place, that when we have the time we also make it a point to just stroll the property. We were delighted and surprised to see all of the birdie visitors that were there. Oh and one tortoise:
It was a big day for birds!
So there you have it, the Not a Photo Safari. I'm sure that soon enough Joy and I will be back out there trekking through the underbrush, wandering off trail, getting lost and taking some photos of interesting and beautiful things!
March 22nd, 2022
This is what our beaches look like right now most of the time. Wall to wall people. I totally get why. The weather is gorgeous and well, it's the beach! Who doesn't love going to the beach? Especially when it's still very wintery where you live and you are on vacation, right? So quite honestly, even though it's just a few blocks away, while I often find myself driving or walking by the beach, right now, I'm not spending much time actually on the beach. Just too crowded for my taste. I will wait until it's either stormy, rainy, cloudy or too hot and humid for most folks. Those are my beach days. That's when I have the place pretty much to myself. I like that.
However, in the first week after my surgery when I not only wasn't allowed to do much, I didn't really feel like doing much either, but still I was starting to get cabin fever, we drove by the beach quite often. And when we could actually find a parking place (tricky this time of year which why it's awesome to live here so we can just walk over!) we made it a point to spend time at the jetty.
You know how being by the ocean is so very peaceful? I find that it's also very healing. Whether your injuries are inside or out, being by the water sometimes is just exactly what the doctor didn't prescribe (but should have)!!
It's always a beautiful place where you can watch the boats and the seabirds and there is that expansive feeling that comes with being able to see the horizon, that place where the water and the sky meet. We relished the tangy fragrance of the sea and listened to the water splash and then, suddenly, saw a dolphin breach. Now instead of just relaxing and breathing it all in, we were more alert.
Oh look, there's another, and another, and unbelievably, Another!
It was dolphin day! It's not at all unusual to see dolphins frolicking in our waters but on this day there weren't little groups or two or three. Nope, there were dozens. That's dozens with an "s" on the end. Oh my goodness! It was awesome! They seemed to be everywhere. Every time we thought we had seen them all, other's would pop up. It was a Dolphin Extravaganza!
It's hard to get a good dolphin picture. I never know where they are going to pop up next. And I never know what sort of shot to prepare for: is it going to be a slow and gentle breach or are they going to do that sillyfun twisting jump up into the air? Is there one? Two? More? I was surprised that we got as many photos as we did.
We sat and watched them for a very long time. And in fact, the dolphins were still having a grand old time when I pooped out and was ready to go back home. But what an exhilarating day!
We never know what we are going to find on a visit to the jetty. It's not like dolphins are on the clock. Some days we see none. On this particular day........so many! It was awesome and it was
exactly what I needed.
Just a few days later, we went over again, for the same reason, just finding a place to be that was outside of our four walls for a little bit. It was a completely different kind of ocean that day. It was grey and windy and wet so there were no dolphins. But on the other hand, there were some great waves:
Once again, exhilarating! The sound, the smell, the sight, the feel makes it a full sensory performance. It was also a lot less crowded. Not as many people are drawn to the water during a storm like we are and that is just fine with us!
It was just another wonderful and healing visit to the jetty. It is absolutely my kind of place.
They say that laughter is the best medicine and I won't argue the point. Laughter is pretty dang awesome, but a visit to the sea must come in at a close second. I know it made me feel better :)
March 21st, 2022
ok so this is me, this morning. In fact, just about 5 minutes ago. Do you see the weird thing my hair is doing? Ok, maybe it's not weird, but it's different. It's sort of flipping up on the ends. Sort of. It doesn't appear to be a full commitment to the hair flip, just a nod at it. My hair has been turning out this way for a little more than a week now. This little flippity thing.
And that's all fine and good. It's one of the many ways that people intentionally style their hair. It's just not the way that my hair normally looks. And the oddest thing is that I did the exact same thing to my hair this morning that I do every single doggone morning. I was going to say that I "style" my hair the same way every day, but we all already know that I have no style and I am never comfortable with an untruth.
It's how I dry my hair every day, I guess that is truth enough. I do not have the talent, the patience or the interest in putting a lot of effort into the way I look every day. I don't honestly "style" my hair, I just dry it and move along.
I do not mean to suggest that I'm slovenly. I am not. I'm showered, my clothes are clean, ironed and are appropriate for the occasion. But I dry my hair the exact same way every single day. In whatever room it ends up happening in (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen...I don't care) I stand, blow dryer in hand and bend over at the waist so that, essentially, I'm hanging upside down. With one hand I aim a hot blower dryer, full bore, at my poor, unsuspecting, innocent hair and with my other hand I fluff. Eventually my hair is dry, or dry enough, and I stand upright and my hair falls into whatever place it chooses.
What this used to mean is that most of my hair turned under on the ends. The style, so I have learned, is called a bob. Not sure which bob it's named after but there it is. I've been wearing my hair in some version of a "bob" for at least five years. Generally it looks like this:
See how MOST of my hair turns under? Ok to be fair, there was always that one rebellious piece on the right side that, regardless of what I do, how many barrel brushes I employed or efforts I put in, turned up instead of under. But MOST of my hair turned under.
Now after all these years, now, suddenly it ALL decides to flip up? That's kind of crazy. Why would my hair now, suddenly on it's own, decide to do something different? I swear I am "styling" my hair exactly the same way I have done it lo these many years.
Why didn't my hair feel like flipping up back when I was in middle high school when it was all the rage? All the girls I knew slept on rollers (some of them VERY uncomfortable) and employed many cans of hair spray, dippity do and various kinds of combs, "ratted" and tortured their hair into compliance so that they could wear the perfect, Sandra Dee, hair flip.
Most of the girls I knew back in those days had hair something like this:
Not me. My hair never looked like that. Never once. Not ever. And even now, while my hair has suddenly taken the notion to flip up on the ends all the way around instead of under, it's far from perfect. Also, I'm not sporting that volume at the crown that the girl in this photo (and most of my middle and high school year peers) did.
It's not that I mind, really. It's just different. A person becomes accustomed to certain things. It's like, when I make biscuits. As long as I put all the right ingredients together, they always turn out the exact same way. I don't even think about it anymore. I just know that my biscuits will come the exact way that they always do. In the same sort of fashion, since I "style" my hair the same way every day without really thinking about it, the assumption is that my hair will turn out the exact same way. And lately, it does not.
Just some thing new, different and absolutely unintended. Another in along line of surprises. No big deal, I'll roll with it. It's what I do.
March 18th, 2022
Well howdy do everybody. It's been a little bit since I've posted. Hope everybody is happy and healthy and doing fine :) If you've wondered where I've been and what I've been up to, well, I'll tell you about it.
Actually I wasn't going to talk about it at all. It feels like it's kind of private. But then it dawned on me that perhaps my little tale could be of use to someone else and so I changed my mind. And here we go, down the rabbit hole.
The image at the top of the page is probably recognizable to all of you. If not, it's the Caduceus, the symbol of Physicians. Actually it began as a symbol of alchemy and and pharmacy (such as it was) in Medieval Europe and was adapted to represent Medicine in, roughly, the 1600's. And it seemed an appropriate picture for this post because my absence here has been sort of a medical leave.
Perhaps because most of my working history has been in and around at least peripherally medical arenas, I have always been a very compliant patient. If I'm told to do - or not do - something specifically that is precisely what I do - or don't do. For instance, when the antibiotic instructions are to take all of the medication as ordered until finished even if I feel better first, then that is exactly what I do. I understand WHY that instruction is given. I know that it's in my best interest to do what my doctor has told me. They aren't making this stuff up.
I go to the dentist twice a year for check ups & cleanings and all annual medical appointments are attended, annually. 99.9 % of the time I leave those appointments with a clean bill of health and the comfortable knowledge that I'm good for another year. Of course, the older we get, the more annual appointments there seem to be. And as an added attraction, many of these appointments come with add-ons; blood work and various scans that also must be done. None of them are fun, but none of them are horrible either. And I am well aware that the doctor ordered it for a dang good reason. So I do it and it's done and then I move on.
Which is the way I showed up for my annual Mammogram this year. January 5th, starting the year off right, I went to my local radiology office for my scheduled mammogram. I've been doing this for a long time, once every year like clockwork, so I know the drill. I show up, I get squished in the big machines and then, eventually, later I get a call or a note saying that I'm good to go until next year. I had no reason to believe that this year would be any different. Until it was.
The very next day I got a call from the radiologist telling me that my mammogram was not normal and that I needed to discuss it with my GYN. They strongly recommended that I return for something called a Diagnostic Mammogram. Ok that's different. Before I could call my lovely GYN, her office called me. They had also received the report and completely agreed. She wrote the order and the following week I showed up at the same radiology office for a second go-round. It was different. It was interesting. Most interesting was that as soon as the new scan was done, instead of me leaving immediately afterward, they had me wait while the radiologist on staff checked the result. His suggestion was that I consult with a breast surgeon. He had seen something on the scan that was "concerning'.
I called my GYN once again and was given the names of several surgeons that they recommended. Because I trust my doctor, I immediately called both surgeons. One returned my call very quickly. I made an appointment and was instructed to bring a CD of the results. Not just a written report. Ok I can do that. Back to the radiologist I went to make that request. They produced it for me within about 15 minutes. Coolio. With CD and written report in hand, off I went a few weeks later to meet my new surgeon, Dr. Kennar.
Obviously, I read written report and saw the words: "suspicious calcifications". I didn't care for either of those words quite honestly, but I didn't want to get too wound up. So I did what I always do, I did some research. And frankly, it's quite fascinating. I can get kind of nerdy -geeky academic about stuff and this was one of those times. I was interested to hear what my new surgeon had to say.
I liked her immediately. And one of the things I really liked was that she showed me the scans. The area in question looked like a constellation. Seriously, that is exactly what it appeared to be on the screen. A collection of stars against a night sky. It was honestly, kind of pretty. Except that it shouldn't be there at all. So in discussion with Dr. K the decision was made to just remove the entirety of the constellation. It doesn't belong there. Shouldn't be there. Don't need it. Don't want it. Get it the heck out. So I was scheduled for surgery. Fine.
Do you know how much other crap you have to go through to have a surgery? It's insane. I had to make an appointment with my GP for a Medical Clearance, get a chest x-ray (never had one of those before), a bunch of blood tests and an EKG (also a new experience). Dang! More appointments. So I spent a lot of time on the phone setting these things up and the more time actually having these things done and then March 8th, bright and early, Tim and I showed up at Doctor's Hospital (and I cannot say enough good things about everyone there) for what I was told was an Excision Biopsy.
It was done just as a Day Surgery so while we showed up at 8:45 as instructed, we were back home by 3:00. At least I think so, I was pretty foggy so I'm not absolutely certain of the time. I can honestly say that while I was uncomfortable, I was certainly not in tremendous pain. Two days later at my post op appointment with the surgeon Dr. K declared that everything looked good but the biopsy result report had not yet arrived. So we returned 3 days later to get what turned out to be a partial report. The biopsy revealed, and I'm quoting this directly, "ductal Carcinoma in situ, high nuclear grade."
Well the word carcinoma is never a word you want to hear but if you have to hear it, better to hear it about something that is no longer inside your body, right? My surgeon recommended yet more testing to be sure there is no more icky stuff lurking quietly anywhere inside me and I agreed with that whole heartedly.
And that brings you up to date. I'm slowly healing and waiting on my appointments for each of the additional tests the surgeon recommended and (mostly) doing what I'm told to do and (mostly) not doing what I'm told to not do. It's possible that more surgery or more treatment may be necessary . It's equally possible that there are no other problems and nothing more needs to be done. Whatever the results reveal and Dr. K suggests, I will, more than likely, agree with.
The point here is simple. Do your annual testing. Make your annual appointments. Take proper care of yourself. No more magical thinking. I'm sure all of you do as you should, but there are some people who just don't bother. Their thought is either "If something was wrong I'd know it" (not at all true - I didn't have a clue) or "If something is wrong, I don't want to know about it" (which doesn't change the fact that something is wrong) or - my personal favourite - "I was fine until I went to the doctor, it's his (or her) fault" (what??????)
Get tested. Do it. Make the appointments right now.
Hugs all 'round.
March 04th, 2022
Yesterday was Photo Safari Day as you can plainly see! It was impromptu. Not planned ahead which is unusual for us. Joy texted me around 10 or so and asked if I was busy. I was cleaning house and doing laundry so of course I said, nope, not busy at all. Hah! So she swung down to pick me up and we headed to Felt's Audubon Preserve. So naturally this will be known as the Audubon Hike.
As soon as we arrived, we headed straight away to the Bird Blind. There are guaranteed bird photos there as long as you are patient and quiet. Part of the blind is outside and part of it is inside. We took advantage of both. The outside part looks like this:
The birds looked like this. Get ready, there's lot's of 'em:
After awhile, we stepped back and just hiked the preserve taking photos of other things as they appealed to us. There are lots of different parts of this preserve. It's not a huge place, only about 28 acres, but there are a surprising number of environments even so. Here's a sample:
Saw a few other creatures which is always a treat. We knew that we would see birds, but we did not anticipate all of the rest. To be fair another one is still a bird but one that wasn't in the blind.
There were a few flowers, though not a lot:
And this must be the point where I post my favourites, the randos. I only have a few for you today.
Thanks for coming along for the Audubon Hike. Hope you enjoyed it. We sure did.
This will be my last post for a bit. I'm taking a little time off, at least a week, maybe a wee bit more. So while I'm gone, everybody be safe, have fun and I will meet you all again right here in a week or so.
Hugs all 'round!
March 03rd, 2022
Spring has sprung here! YAYAY! More and more things are blooming very day, trees are leafing out, shrubs are filling in and bird song fills the air. Ahh Spring ;) A time of rebirth, renewal and new beginnings. I love it!
Spring is famous for so many things: warmer temperatures, the greening up, lots of rain, flowers once again blooming, pollen (achoo!) and baby everythings. We have been seeing so many more birds than throughout the winter. I mean we always have birds but in the past few weeks there has absolutely been an upswing. Birds on the lawn, birds in the trees, birds in parking lots! They are everywhere!
I don't know if you can tell...but the picture at the top of the page is a photo of a birds nest that has been built in one of the rather large bougainvillea's in front of our house. I'm not absolutely certain what sort of bird constructed it but I think it was a Mockingbird. I've been seeing quite a lot of a certain Mockingbird in that shrub and on the courtyard wall right next to the shrub, singing it's little heart out :)
The lawn guys recently trimmed the shrubs back hard in preparation for the spring growth which is the only reason I noticed the nest at all. And once it leafs out anew and the blooms fill it up, it will once again be invisible. The only way I will be aware is the presence of the adult birds and if I listen closely once the eggs hatch, maybe I'll hear the babies peeping.
I don't know if you recall but last year we hosted a woodpecker family that chose to build their nestin a dead palm tree in our courtyard that Tim had every intention of cutting down until they showed up. It was so much fun to watch them build the nest and then eventually see their baby's little head showing up in the doorway.
They've been visiting again, same tree.
But I think that was just a nostalgic visit not a plan to move back in because I also see them going back and forth across our front yard swooping from the large oak in one neighbors yard to the huge jacaranda tree in the yard of the neighbors on our other side. We may just be the stop in between. Or perhaps they are treating our tree as if it were their patio?
There are always squirrels around too. They are such clowns! They chase each other up and down the trees and do death defying stunts on the telephone wires over head. I know that they are rodents and can be destructive but they are adorable too and therefore forgiven.
So I reckon, in short, I'm enjoying all parts of a beautiful spring and I am going to keep an eye on that nest in the bougainvillea. Or at least as best as I can. I am looking forward to whatever other surprise nature has in store for us this season!
March 01st, 2022
Well I am tickled to bits. I have some new kicks. Sneakers. Tennis Shoes. Trainers. Whatever you choose to call them. I have new pair. Woohoo! I did not specifically look for a pair of black shoes with pink trim, although they are cute in an old school, rock-a-billy kind of way. Nope. What I wanted was a pair of sneakers that fit properly, were comfortable and didn't cost a fortune. This was the pair that fit the bill. Out of the entire store, this was the one. The ONE. Wow.
It's always a surprise to me what colour shoes I come home with because quite honestly, the colour is the very last thing on the list of requirements. (though I will say that in general I try to stay away from all white shoes mostly because they get dirty so fast). First on the list is support. My feet are nearly flat which means I do need to have a specific amount of arch support. Not so much that me feet feel like there is a giant boulder in my shoe, but just enough to hold things together.
Then I need sufficient toe room. My second toe is, oddly, a teensy bit longer than my big toe so I need to make sure my toes are not crunched up. BUT the back of the shoe must be snug enough to kind of hug the heel. I just hate it when my heel constantly is slipping out of my shoe. Also that can cause blisters which is a bad thing.
Then too, I prefer a tie up sneaker rather than a slip-on shoe most of the time. I am kind of between sizes in width. Not narrow enough for a strictly "narrow" constructed shoe but too narrow to stay put properly in a regular width slip-on shoe. I do not want to be in a situation where I am accidentally stepping out (or falling out) of my shoes!
And actually, now that I think about it, I'm kind of between sizes in length as well. In most shoes I fall between a 7 1/2 and an 8. So I'm always on the lookout for a shoe that is either a small 8 or a large 7 1/2. It's tricky. And the only way to find it is to try the shoe on. I cannot buy shoes on line.
And why do I specifically seek out less expensive shoes (which is relative because they just get higher and higher priced every year)? Well it's because I do walk. A lot. Miles. MILES! Which means if I buy a pair of shoes they aren't going to last very long. Regardless of the cost, they simply don't last. The shoes that these new ones are replacing for example, look absolutely fine from the top. Of course they look fine. They aren't but about six months old! They should look fine!
The bottoms, however, are a different story. It's a bad story, an ugly tale. I have literally walked the tread OFF the heels of my old shoes. They are like bald tires now. Here they are for comparison's sake. New shoes on the left, old ones on the right.
Yikes! I have to clarify. When I say, less expensive, I don't mean the buck 98 knock off one might buy furtively at a yard sale. Not at all. I also don't mean the loss leader special on the table at the front of the dollar store. No. Just no. I mean a good brand, a solid respectable, quality shoes that doesn't cost the earth. And these days that means, can I please find a shoe under a hundred bucks, please!
So the old shoes have now been relegated to yard shoe status. That is, shoes that I don't care about at all, I could get them paint spattered, grass stained, muddy and stiff with salt water and it no longer matters. The new shoes have already been christened with a nice long walk yesterday and it was lovely to arrive home with feet that weren't bruised and sore.
There were a lot of shoes at the store. And entire wall of sneakers as a matter of fact. Every colour of the rainbow was represented. There were fun prints and crazy styles and also the more anticipated solid colours available. Some sneakers were taller, some lower to the ground, some were to be laced up and other's just pulled on. There were prices that made my eyebrows twitch and prices that made me sweat and prices that were reasonable (at least by today's standards). Shoes for narrow feet, shoes for wide feet, shoes for orthopedic needs and shoes for silly fun. There were options is what I'm saying. And I tried a lot of them.
The good part is that I can tell very quickly if it's a no-go or not. My feets iz particular and cannot be fooled. So it's try, try, try followed by nope, nope, nope. Poor Tim is bringing me options after option to try and then returning the ones I've rejected over and again. We nearly gave up and walked away thinking oh well, we can try again another day. It has happened before.
And then a miracle happened and Tim found the black & pink shoes that we ended up buying. The fit is absolutely perfect. Perhaps the colour is a little dark for summer but by then, I may have walked the tread off of this pair and will be back in the shoe store, once again, seeking the goldilocks of sneakers and hoping to, once again, get sneaker lucky!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.