Monday, October 30, 2017

Sidetracked By Life

Foggy foggy day at the marsh
We were supposed to be on the road heading south, but yet again the trip got sidetracked. This time it's by my suddenly very crappy health. I don't know why, but I have something that I have diagnosed as GERD via my relentless online sleuthing. This is a true painful burning fist in the chest bummer. Now I wonder about every bit of food I put in mouth. I wonder if I'm eating too much, eating too spicy, eating too acidic, eating too much chocolate (is there such a thing?), drinking too much wine (seriously I drink less than a full glass of wine that I DILUTE!)? I haven't figured out the triggers yet, but I'm definitely working on it. And, on top of that nightmare, I also seem to have picked up a nice little virus when I spent the morning at the hospital waiting for Roger to have his most-excellent colonoscopy. Scratchy throat, persistent cough, lots of sneezing and whining about everything.
Teasel with drops
I spoke with my mom and coughed my way through a conversation about why we weren't coming down, yet again. She said, "Please don't come until you are COMPLETELY better." I said, "Okay, mom." We had a delightful conversation. I asked her if she received the card I sent with the photo of Roger's homemade wooden sun. She said she had. She told me when we do come down she wanted Roger to sign the card as the "artist." We had a good laugh about that. I told her how much we miss her and love her. She said she knew. She said "Our whole family loves each other. We're a bunch of nuts!" We laughed about that too. I love laughing with her. It makes my day, especially when I'm feeling as crappy as I am right now.
Sweet potatoes
I had a different post partially written for today. Then I got sidetracked looking for family photos to post with it. It's about my older brother Marc who I hardly ever write about here. He lives in Virginia on his beautiful 80 acres where he gardens madly, raises cows and chickens, and cooks homegrown organic everything. The thing that inspired me was a photo he sent with a some of the 322 pounds of sweet potatoes he had harvested. It made me think about how he's lived on the east coast 3000 miles away all these past 45 years, and we hardly ever get to see him except for those rare full family gatherings. He's not much of a traveler and neither am I. But there is something about family love that truly spans the distance of time and space. So, expect to see that post in the near future.

Until then, I'm going to watch what I eat and hope for the best. Hey universe, I sure wouldn't mind a break, thank you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Words on a Wednesday

A rose bouquet on a single stem
Roger's colonoscopy went very well. No signs of lesions, cancer, or polyps. We are so relieved. The doctor even said if things stay as they are, Roger won't need another colonoscopy for FIVE YEARS!!! That news is like suddenly being set free. Five years seems so far into the future. He'll be 80 years old and I'll be 70. Tell me that doesn't sound like a million years from now!

So, the fires are out in the wine country, and Roger is well. You know what that means? Yes, a road trip south to see my mom. We'll be heading out sometime this coming weekend, spending a few days in Capitola at the beach house, and then down to the land of too-many-people too-many-cars southern California. At least we won't be there during the brutal heatwave they're experiencing right now. It's even hot here, 80+ degrees. That's CRAZY!
We cleaned up the garden and got it ready for winter. The tomatoes and zucchinis are all gone. We have kale, chard, and lettuce that will over-winter here. Flowers are blooming like wild out in the front yard. It surprises me that so late in October we still have so many dahlias and roses. The Lesser Goldfinches are taking every cosmos seed they can get their little beaks on, and even the hummingbirds are finding feasts out there.

All is good right now... well unless you turn on the news. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

modern medicine

i’m having a medical procedure done soon. in preparation i have to modify my diet a slight bit for a few days. nothing major or difficult, just avoiding certain foods. i also have to drink a weird cocktail of chemicals the day before. sodium sulfate, potassium sulfate, and magnesium sulfate.

i want a picture here but nothing relevant to this post. this is some of our garden heading into winter.

ok, the procedure is a colonoscopy and the chemicals are heavy duty laxatives. i got a coupon from the doctor’s office for up to 30% off whatever price i pay. i checked it out on the internet. anyone can print one.

so we go to the pharmacy, ask for the prescription, and put down the coupon. i am currently without drug insurance due to a hiccup in switching our medicare supplemental policies to a different provider. my 3 month supply of blood pressure meds went from $8 (insured) to $47 (uninsured). i hadn’t really thought ahead about the cost of laxatives. how much could it cost? about one hundred dollars is how much. my widely available coupon did save me 30%.

i wondered how much the ingredients of such super pooper stuff might cost. the package informed me that 6 oz of product contains 17.5 G sodium sulfate, 3.13 G of potassium sulfate, and 1.6G of magnesium sulfate. there are two 6 oz bottles.

after a whole 4 minutes of internet search i found that i could buy medical grade stuff pretty cheaply.

sodium sulfate 500G for $54.50. so 500/17.5 = 28 doses: $54.5/28 = $1.95 per 6 oz bottle.

potassium sulfate 250G for $53.40. so 250/3.13 = 79 doses: $53.40/79 = $0.67 per 6 oz bottle

magnesium sulfate 500G for $73.90. so 500/1.6 = 312: $73.90/312 = $0.24 per 6 oz bottle.

that’s $3.72 of ingredients in 2 6 oz bottles.

i know that presenting that product to me in a sanitary package involves a whole lot more than the ingredients. even so.

why i'm having a colonoscopy 

this will be my third colonoscopy after surgery and chemo. there were polyps but no cancer. i have also had 4 pet scans since surgery and nary a sign of a cancer cell.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Not On The Road

Northern Pintail
I am writing this on Sunday afternoon. We were supposed to be on the road today, heading south to see my mom. We decided to cancel the trip and not drive through the fires that are/were raging.  We'll rethink our plans and probably go later in October. It's a long, long drive. One that starts out in the beautiful, cool, quiet not-very-populated redwood country and winds up 700 miles south in the arid hot overly populated land of 10 million people and even more cars of southern California.
Sunday's sunrise in the clear October morning sky
We did have one day of smoke here from one of the fires (Redwood Valley Complex), enough to darken the sky and turn that crazy sun red again. But mostly we have been spared the bad air days and nightmare that unfolded just a hundred miles south of us. Roger's sister and husband were evacuated for one day and night from a fire burning in the Sierra foothills. We have good friends who live in Sonoma County in the wine country. They posted regularly on Facebook how they were ready to evacuate whenever the call came. Their car was packed with photos, historical documents, clothes, and enough dog food for their three furry companions. Other dear friends waited in their homes, the air barely breathable, the fear palpable. They posted photos of found/lost dogs and even sadder photos of people looking for missing loved ones.  Fire season. There really is such a thing here in California. For some reason I thought it was over. We had already had our bad air days and dark smoky skies in September. October has been beautiful, cool, a bit windy. Ah that wind, it spread the fires everywhere; one spark led to another. Tragedy followed.
Homemade sun
We still make every attempt to balance the insanity of the world with as much beauty as we can find. Roger made this beautiful sun for our fence art project. He used wood scraps from the old deck. I'm trying to figure out how to make a heart and maybe some stars. It's how we try to stay sane.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sunday, October 08, 2017

I Had An Idea

It all started when I photographed the moon rising the day before it was full. It rose in a sky in that still had daylight, and I just loved the way it looked. I posted this photo on Facebook and wrote: In the utter bleakness of these times it seems almost ridiculous to me to run outside with the camera to see if the moon has risen. I wonder why I bother with such predictable lunar cycles, but I can't seem to stop. Then, I see this, and truly I know why.
Seeing this moon rise made me think about what it would look like when it set. It occurred to me that I haven't ever photographed a moonset, and how beautiful it might be to watch as it set into the Pacific. I checked a couple of sun and moon charts for times. The moon was supposed to set around 8:12 am the morning after the full moon. We had discovered that moon rises and set times are not quite as accurate as sunrise and sunsets, so planned to get to the ocean early just in case. It was exciting to think about what it would look like.
I woke Friday morning and photographed the moon in the still dark sky as it headed west to the sea. The sun rose in the clear eastern sky. It all looked perfect. We had our tea and toast and headed out for the short drive to the ocean. That's when I noticed it was hazy out there. The closer we got to the beach, the hazier and foggier it got. I could no longer see the moon anywhere. I had forgotten once again how the ocean has its own climate, and even if it's only two miles away, it will probably look and feel completely different out there. We stood on the shore and laughed how beautiful it still was, but not what we had come to see.

So we headed back home, but stopped at the ancient unused railroad tracks next to the bay to take a look at the low tide. The colors were enough to delight us in every way.

We saw these mounds of seafoam and pretended that they were our first view of icebergs. We loved it.

We're planning on trying to photograph the moon setting in the ocean again next month. Lucky for us, that moon, it's so predictable. And predictably, our hearts can be consoled by its beauty.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Imagine A Post Here...

...that actually conveys how we feel about what happened in Las Vegas. It would tell you the utter sadness we have felt since we saw the crazy, nearly unbelievable headlines. We read the stories, the analysis, the numbers. We read upbeat posts on Facebook that tried to lift our spirits. We stared at the faces of the dead, and tears literally rolled down our cheeks.

Imagine a post here that tells you about my niece who woke up Monday morning and learned that a dear friend had been in Las Vegas at the concert and had been shot in the chest and survived, but had lost friends in the massacre. Or imagine my sister answering her phone in the middle of the night and hearing about a close friend whose daughter had been in the crowd with a friend and had crawled over bloodied bodies to hide under the bleachers.

Imagine a post here that believes all will be okay, that we will awaken and really see the insanity of these times, that good thinking AND GUN CONTROL will finally prevail... Hah!... now that really is an active imagination.


On a true Wordless Wednesday I had been planning to post this.