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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Elsa-the-Dog and I have started taking early morning strolls. Because we tend to overfeed her she is slightly round and I think she needs to run. So, every morning Elsa eagerly looks for a stray squirrel or a deer to chase and I let her go! She doesn’t run into the woods to follow the wild critters out of my sight, but she runs like a wild thing down the road and to the edge of our Forest Primeval. Great exercise!

And it should be noted that I always let her out quietly so the critters will be in sight and not scared off first thing in the morning. Elsa gives chase, gets her morning run, and the wild critters seem to enjoy the whole thing too.

But yesterday morning there was an unexpected visitor.

Elsa came face to face with a great big SKUNK!

There was no barking but there was a confrontation. The skunk turned its back and raised its tail and Elsa backed away. Then the skunk tried to waddle off and Elsa followed. It was like she wanted to keep Mr. Skunk for a friend! Maybe the critter thought Elsa was another (albino?) skunk. They were about the same size but Elsa is a mix of browns, blacks, whites and golds.

No amount of screaming, “Elsa – COME!” from my long distance away had any effect on either of them. Elsa moved in, the skunk tried to run, Elsa moved in again, etc.

Crestfallen about what I was facing to remove the skunk scent, I gave up calling and turned back. But here came Elsa. She finally bade farewell to Mr. Skunk and returned to my side – no doubt expecting compliments, cookies and adulation for coming when she was called.

I was terrified of her approach, expecting the onslaught of painful smells. Having dealt with that scent in the past with other dogs, I knew what to expect.

In fact I once did a blog post about clearing the aisles in a Dollar Store when I carried the skunk scent and didn’t realize it.

But there was Elsa at my feet looking guilty – – – WITH NO SCENT!

I knelt down to give her a sniff but smelled nothing but the great outdoors.

A fleeting thought…was this a symptom of Covid? Losing the sense of smell?

Who ever heard of anyone coming face-to-butt with a skunk and not getting sprayed?

Was Mr. Skunk handicapped (missing his scent glands)?

Did Mr. Skunk use up his spray on something else?

You know what I think?

I think Elsa was non-threatening and communicated a message that she only wanted a friend. Or maybe they were both falling in love. After all, we are just coming to Valentine’s Day. She never even barked one bark or growled one growl. And I think Mr. Skunk recognized and honored her overwhelming wish for love. So much for logical explanations and good country stories.

Nevertheless, in future I do plan to send out morning warnings like rattling doorknobs, banging on things and uttering loud cries as we emerge from the house for morning strolls.

Meanwhile I have learned that Skunk mating season does peak around Valentine’s Day.

Male skunks begin stirring and wooing female skunks around the second week of February. Females refusing this courtship will spray in defense. Thankfully, skunk mating season only lasts from mid-February through mid-April!”

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY and A MESSAGE OF LOVE FROM ELSA AND MR. SKUNK!

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Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on CovidPexels.com

Have you noticed there is an in-between method of dealing with the medical world that comes short of Emergency Room visits and even eliminates in-person appointments?

It began for me with BigFoot. Remember him/her? About the time I was really getting plagued by pain and questions, that is when Covid hit.

Being in the Senior Set I was doing everything possible to isolate and that meant biting my nails over meeting MDs in their own offices, clinics or hospitals.

I began cancelling appointments.

Until one doctor suggested Tele-Visits.

We had 3 of those over a few months and in some ways our conversations were even more educating than if we had met in person.

And although I was and am still hesitant to bare my soul to a relative stranger, the comfort of distance is making it easier to loosen my tongue. Those were my first TeleVisits and I found them enjoyable, particularly if I placed the phone on my right ear (the one with more acute hearing).

I went from talking to an orthopedic doctor on the phone to working next with a would-be Health Coach. Ever hear of that?

My Sweet Health Coach needed people to practice on until she could get accredited. The work was all done by phone and computer.

I think it was a Zoom meeting.

Being part of the resistant Senior Set, I have steadfastly resisted understanding anything about Zooming.

Zooming is what my little dog, Elsa does when she is happy. She gets the Zoomies and runs through the house in wild abandon.

Anyway, I worked with my would-be Health Coach (on the phone) and it was probably similar to psychiatric sessions with Sigmund Freud. I never met Sigmund but I imagine he must have been a good listener.

So, I bared my soul and my Coach would nod verbally as if she really understood my problems. Oddly enough the calls helped. Maybe I just needed to talk.

Finally when Covid slowed down a little I made an appointment with a Dietician to see if I could get guidance on healthy eating. The last book I read on nutrition was Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit by Adelle Davis, written in 1954. I still love that book even though whole chapters should be ignored.

But I learned a lot at my first meeting with the nutritionist and made an appointment #2 but then Covid came back and we arranged a TeleVisit.

And once again I am baring my soul over the phone lines and I am sure everything I say and my inner most secrets are even being recorded!

It seems to me the whole world has now fallen into a no-touch medical environment that promotes talking, talking and more talking and the value of touchy feely connections is getting lost (or is already gone missing) in a computer connected society.

I do highly recommend TeleVisits though. It is a place where you can at least bare your soul.

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I live in rural Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the other side too, in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. In other words: Where exactly do I live?

To make matters even more confusing, I live just off a State Road on a private road, but my mail box is located on the State Road about a mile down the private road. The residents of my community pay yearly fees to take care of the private road. But I am told the State Road is maintained by the County, especially when it snows.


Are you confused yet?

We had a fairly big seven inch snow a few weeks ago. The private road was plowed by my community and the State road portion was plowed by the County.

We were all hugely grateful for the combined effort to allow us all to get out in an emergency.

However……….

The County managed to leave huge mounds of compacted snow in front of our mailboxes which are on the State Road – not the private road. At any rate, a bank of four mailboxes was plowed in.

I was with Bill when he tried to pick up our mail by balancing atop the mound, holding onto the car with one arm and the mailbox with the other in a shaky attempt to retrieve the mail. Not good for us over-the-hillers for sure. How the mail lady managed to deliver was a mystery too.

As we were rejoicing about how well things were managed here in times of crisis there appeared a notice in our mailbox entitled United States Postal Service – Approaches to Curbside Mailboxes. And it read:

“Dear Customer, The Postal Service depends on you to meet postal requirements regarding delivery and collection of mail to curbside boxes. Please keep the full approach and exits to your mailbox clear as illustrated in the examples below. Removing trashcans, snow, vehicles, and any other objects from the area allows the carrier to deliver your mail safely and efficiently without exiting the vehicle.”

  • The State owns the road connecting to our private road.
  • There is a bank of mailboxes on the State Road.
  • The County plowed the State Road after a snowstorm.
  • The County blocked access to the mailboxes for Postal Service personnel and its customers.

And the USPS says,

“Dear Customer,

You are responsible.

Clean up this mess.”

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Photo by Shiny Diamond on Pexels.com

About two weeks ago I looked in the un-masked morning mirror and discovered something alien in one of my two used-to-be-perfect nostrils. No pain there. No redness. Just something that looked like and felt like a skin tag.

“Thank goodness for masks,” I said to myself. “At least I have semi exotic hazel colored eyes, and with a mask to hide this nose imperfection I am good to go – if I ever want to go that is.”

On the other hand, maybe the alien thing was really something wildly dangerous? Maybe I should see my PCP (Primary Care Physician). And so I did and so he did refer me to an ENT (Ear, Nose, nd Throat man).

Notice I am writing in modern day initials again? Could this be a sign of regression to an earlier stage of life?

Anyway, I went to the ENT who said not to worry because it wasn’t the big C (Cancer) but that it would require cutting and stitches and he needed more time to dig around and get it all. We made an appointment for about a month later.

Now, to make a long story shorter, I had a next day pre-set appointment with a new, never seen before Dermatologist. Thanks to the Covid virus, I had not visited one of those physicians in over two years.

The new skin guy took a look at my nose (he couldn’t miss it of course) and offered to remove it on the spot (the tag – not the nose) with cauterization instead of stitches. The whole thing took about 10 minutes!

Nose Status Now

With a mask, I remain a mystery woman with hazel eyes.

Without a mask I can boast a perfect nose open to public view and occasional sneezing.

Sometimes life can be transformed in the space of 10 minutes!

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Well, the gang was all here for Thanksgiving in the country and it was a hoot (as they used to say in another of my previous eras). Son, daughter-in-law, 3 grandgirls and one Golden Doodle descended upon this quiet, mostly people-less, oasis of calm and serenity in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Even Elsa-the-dog was in shock and only began to adjust by Day 4.

Thanksgiving day and the day before were a frenzy of cooking. And in spite of my Grand-girl, Jessica’s brilliant pre-holiday spread sheet outlining each of our specially owned menu items, we largely proceeded to cook old favorites in our own unique ways. The results were a delicious (if not elegant) meal. This is not a criticism because there are obviously benefits to using paper plates liked fast cleanup and less chaos in the kitchen.

But I had envisioned setting the table with “good china” for the first time since the advent of Covid and in fact, bought a new cloth that would spotlight the glowing beauty, etc.

I think it was the day after Thanksgiving when we almost all went to the Great Valley Farm and Brewery just to check it out and for something to do. And for no real reason we stayed and stayed in a plastic wrapped bubble laughing and talking and of course sipping the wine and eventually the view, and made friends with a giant pit bull terrier named Ed who was happily visiting there with his own human family. And Ed was truly a gentle loving giant.

Since I had not had a drink in years you might understand why the giggles came on strong. I was also chilled since being housebound and not accustomed to real air. The girls noticed me shiver and proceeded to wrap up Grammy and the giggles got hilariously contagious.

After awhile we moved on down the hill to the Halcyon Days Cider place and sampled all their delicious hard cider varieties which only amplified the giggles. There was more of course…. more food, more games, more talking and laughter.

The gang was all here and now gone. There is an odd empty feeling of quiet.

So we decorated the Christmas tree.

And all the while we were wishing the family and all of you wonderful friends in cyberspace a Christmas laced with great food, grins and giggles.

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Wonder how I can find a place in bed?

Elsa has found ways to worm herself into our little family. And she is winning.

We chose a smaller dog when we were looking to fill the hole left in our lives when we lost Rozie. And that’s what Elsa was – a smaller dog. We figured as we age, we will need a light-weight for us to be able to lift and carry. Ha!

Elsa is verging now on being a heavy-weight who has used her sweetness and big dark eyes for treats and more treats and delicious people food handouts. Yes, I know this is the fault of us humans who fall for canine pleading.

But what about sleeping? What would make a little (fat) dog work on getting into bed between two humans?

Fear.

And witnessing the abject fear demonstrated by Elsa (at any unusual sound emanating from the terrifying forest primeval) prompted us to allow her to join us abed “just this once.”

And now tis a nightly event.

She waits until 3 or 4AM to make sure we are too groggy to say, “NO” and shivers and shakes a bit to convince us she is frightened about something (a bear outside our window or an intruder or thunder or gunshots)? After all, it is hunting season in our neck of the woods in southwestern Virginia.

Alas! We have fallen once again for Elsa’s charms and her well thought out tactics.

The battle is on for bed space.

And there you have it – the ultimate bedtime story.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

My mind is wandering. The chaos of the holidays is especially confusing this year and of course I can blame it all on the pandemic.

Is the Covid-19 pandemic evolving or devolving? Is it now called endemic because the cases are going down? Or is it because the numbers of hospital stays are decreasing? Or is it the number of deaths? Or maybe things are not improving at all.

They say there is a new “variant” emerging that could be faster at spreading than ever and maybe more lethal. Or is it? Boosters might help or might not. Hunkering down again might help or might not. Should I wear a mask all the time or just in public or just among the unvaccinated? Should it be made of cloth or what?

Really I have more important things to think about. Almost my whole family are coming for Thanksgiving. Who will bring what or cook what and how will we all be seated? My mind is wandering.

It is not even Halloween yet but I already have plans for Thanksgiving. Planning is the secret.

  • I will make a big beautiful chocolate bundt cake the day before. That is in case there is a pumpkin shortage. They are predicting shortages you know and pumpkin is one (due to some sort of fungus on the crops… or is it a dearth of trucks for transport?). I do love pumpkin pie but chocolate will take the yearning away if need be. I have all the cake ingredients now so Ready-Get Set-Go!
  • I will also make my own favorite cranberry salad two days ahead to give it time to set and merge. There is a joke in the family about the grand who added 3 cups of sugar to the salad making it inedible. Not this time although she has graciously offered to make it again!
  • But just in case there is a problem or a shortage of cranberries we have two cans of the jellied version – the old fashioned kind we used to get when I was a child.
  • I will also make my own favorite veggies with carrots and turnips the day before.
  • We are stocked up with Stovetop Stuffing.
  • There is nothing like instant mashed potatoes nowadays but I will have a bag of real potatoes on hand just in case.
  • My friend reminded me of the merits in making a marinated salad so forget the green bean casserole.
  • That only leaves the turkey and gravy!

And there you have it. This is what happens when my mind wanders.

Now onto Christmas!

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Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels.com

Yesterday I actually drove to downtown Lexington, Virginia all by myself. I parked in a nicely arranged parking lot with stairs at the end, and went for a walk. And then I climbed up one stair and back down and then two stairs and down and then THREE steps up and down.

Talk about self congratulatory pride! I felt like Rocky!

And then I walked on level ground for about 20 more minutes.

HURRAH!

Big Foot complained a bit but we managed to ignore all that. “I am woman. I am strong. I am invincible!”

Of course walking in a parking lot is not too exciting. There are certainly not many photo ops, but the sun was shining yesterday with a cool little nip in the air, and the traffic was nil, and I took my trusty cane for balance. That little parking lot is now my personal training track!

In the good old days around 1998 the goal was to walk 10,000 steps. But my pedometers don’t work anymore. I suspect it is because the goal is now low low low! What pedometer would be caught displaying 150 steps anyway?

So out with the pedometers.

Now the goal is just some time moving….. any time moving….. just moving.

Today I feel pressure to enter a blog post.

What about all that beneficial walking?

To do or not to do? That is the question.

Walking is more important really.

But blogging is a good excuse not to do what I set out to do yesterday.

I promise I will start walking again tomorrow.

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Photo by Jahoo Clouseau on Pexels.com

I was standing at the kitchen window on a quiet afternoon in Camelot (rural Virginia) when my daily impulse was to do a deliberate scan of the mountain view. Fading light enhanced the Blue Ridge Mountains and then my eyes automatically came around to a serene sight down by the old horse shed in our “back yard”.

I noticed some grazing deer and just beyond them loomed a strange black imposing image.

The image was also grazing but looked out of place since it was a HUGE MONSTROUS BLACK THING! And it was slowly moving in my direction.

I quickly determined it was a big black bull!

Now, if you were to ask me how I knew this was a bull there would be no answer since I have never come face to face with such a creature. It was certainly not your run-o-the-mill cow. And Bill also agreed it had to be a bull.

But what to do about a bull in your back yard!? Fortunately, we know the name of the owner of the pastoral scene across from our hill to her hill. Usually the view is of her smaller sized non-threatening cows. The owner is a very nice young LADY and she answered my call right away. She said she would send out “the boys” to determine how her bull might have escaped.

And sure enough, as the sun began to set and darkness arrived, there came two ATVs carrying the boys. I hollered “Hi!” and they hollered back and I told them where I had last seen the monster. Such excitement for one evening huh?

The next day there was a text from a neighbor who said she had learned there were TWO escaped bulls. One had been found and the other still missing.

Thankfully I have Elsa-the-dog for protection.

Such is the excitement of country life in rural Virginia, especially gazing out your kitchen window.

Well, nothing else really happened after the ATV’s hummed around and all we could see were their headlights. And now we are assuming both bulls are back on their own turf and perhaps dozing from their night out.

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Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

I never expected to be skipping along or roller skating or even running from a potential bear attack after hip replacement surgery. I did hope however

  • to be more mobile
  • to be able to carry laundry from the hamper to the washing machine
  • to get down on the floor to play with Elsa-the-Dog
  • to stand long enough to peel six cucumbers for cucumber salad and not feel exhausted
  • to walk without a limp or a gimp
  • to wear pretty little shoes to accentuate my pretty little feet.
  • And more.

Such is life however, that after a total right hip replacement done July 16th none of those wishes came true.

Oh, the right hip is pain-free! Let me tell you, it is a miracle of modern medicine. I consider it my “good leg” now! Kudos to my cute young surgeon who did an exemplary job.

I LOVE my right hip now. And I LOVE my cute young surgeon even though I wouldn’t recognize him on the street.

The problem though is my LEFT leg! The BigFoot leg. The one that had been causing problems since 2015.

Maybe in the process of preparing for the right hip replacement surgery, I forgot about BigFoot?

And now that the right hip is happy, my brain needed to send out reminders that all is not well on the other side.

At any rate, I am still gimpy.

The family doc said he is thrilled at my progress “considering your age and underlying factors.” Not flattering but probably true.

Why didn’t anyone warn me about the great bowl of perilous problems that arrive uninvited with the onslaught of age?

Ah well. “Such is life,” said my once aging Mom who transferred all her wisdom to me except her secrets for aging with a smile.

I will see my cute young surgeon for the last time this month. I met him once before surgery when we talked for about 20 minutes. Then I saw him through a haze as I was awakening from the operation. The extent of our conversation at that time was him saying, ‘You have a brand new hip.” He had a mask on so I am not sure it was really him.

“HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR SURGEON?” MY FAMILY DOCTOR ONCE ASKED. “I DON’T KNOW”, I SAID. “HOW WOULD I KNOW IN JUST 20 MINUTES?”

The next and last visit (unless I get knee surgery on BigFoot) will be an opportunity for another 20 minute conversation. WilI I then recognize my cute young surgeon on the street? Doubtful.

But the goal now is to walk normally. Bill went out and bought me a full length mirror to lean on a door at the end of a long hall. I can see myself coming if not going and try to correct my gait.

“Practice makes perfect” but Bill says ,”You still walk like a duck!”

Such is life and the miracles of modern medicine.

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