Memory Lane

My birthday was on Tuesday–yes, the Fourth of July ūüôā ¬†It’s pretty cool. ¬†This year I entered my 8th decade–70 years old! ¬†I’m too young to be 70, but here it is anyway.

My sister is a couple of years older, and we share a lot of the same memories. So today I got a box  in the mail, a birthday gift from Sandy.

Imagine my delight upon opening the box and finding a whole bunch of old-fashioned penny candy!

pennycandy

Now come along with me while we go to the store.  We lived in a big apartment building on West 15th street in Minneapolis.  It was between 1952 and1955.  There was quite a crowd of us kids, ranging from kindergarten through maybe fifth grade or so.  We played on the steps of our building. We slid down the metal handrails. We roller skated the old-fashioned way, with skates that clamped onto our sneakers and were tightened with a skate key.

 

We dug in the dirt along the side of our building and created towns with little cars and mud buildings. ¬†We went across the street to Loring Park and played on the swings and other playground equipment. ¬†Sometimes we got to splash around in the shallow pool ¬†that wasn’t much more than knee deep. Or we went a block away to the school yard and played on the equipment there. We were outdoors all day unless it was raining too hard. In the winter we built snow forts and had snowball fights.

Every now and then we would be given the largesse of a couple of pennies, or maybe even a nickel. Our next destination would be the little store in the basement of the building next to ours.  It was a wonderful place, and the owner welcomed little kids who had five cents to spend in their sweaty little hands.

stevan-dohanos-penny-candy-september-23-1944

He never rushed us as we made our choices. ¬†You could get a lot of penny candy for five cents. ¬†Dots. Licorice. Jaw breakers. Wax lips, teeth, and mustaches. ¬†Little wax bottles with colored sugar water in them. ¬†Lick’M Aide. Candy cigarettes. ¬†Root beer barrels. Red Hots. ¬†More, so much more.

If it was a hot summer day, we’d get a Popsicle instead. Yes, for only five cents. ¬†Nothing felt so good or tasted any better than the fruity flavors of the Popsicles as they trickled down your throat. Our hands would be sticky, but who cared? ¬†We were already sweaty and dirty anyway ūüôā

So when I opened my box today, along with all that wonderful candy  I saw a host of childhood memories as well.   I heard the skate wheels racing across the bump on the sidewalks; I heard the shouts and laughter as we splashed in the pool, or played tag, or hide and go seek.  All those sounds, along with the smells of a hot city street in the summer,  took me right back to 515 West 15th Street in Minneapolis.

I don’t know if the apartment building is still there. ¬†I searched, but couldn’t find the exact place. ¬†Things change, people change, life changes. I’m thankful for the memories of an era when little kids could still run free outside all day, and were safe and innocent. It was a good time to be a kid.

Thanks for the candy, Sandy. ¬†And thanks for the memories you knew you’d stir up.

 

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Neglect

I’m sorry I’m neglecting the Bible study on Isaiah. ¬†I’m in too much pain, and on too much medication, to be able to think straight. ¬†I have an appointment Wednesday¬†with my pain doctor–the one who told me no more shots until January. ¬†I have no idea what he’ll have to offer me, but I’m very willing, at this point, to have the surgery he mentioned before. And now, some help from the lighter side of life:

'Hah! ? you think you've got lower back pain?' Chiropractic concerns

0afd06b1e79e14c7a9861bbaf7c8869c         Getting older is . . . making noises whenever you bend down or get back up.'Uh,uh,uh, you weren't lifting with your legs were you?!'

See? ¬†You can laugh even when it hurts ūüôā

Featured

Sunday Morning Coffee: Update

Well, here I am on my ¬†fourth day of pain pills and muscle relaxers. ¬†Apparently they’re working at night. ¬†I’m sleeping well. But the daytime presents a host of challenges. Walking huts, sitting hurts, and lets not even talk about bending over.

However, my daughter’s birthday gift this year was to take me to Reading to hear Jeanne Robertson.

This shouldn’t be a problem, right? ¬†A friend went with us, and If I couldn’t drive to Deb’s then she could. But the driving was no problem. And Deb drove to Reading. We parked in a parking garage, and that’s where the trouble started. We had to walk from there to the venue.

I have an excellent cane, and both my daughter and our friend know my situation. We walked very slowly, and got there wit no trouble.  When it was over, my friend  Deb went back for the car and picked me up. An usher was even kind enough to bring me a chair while I waited.

I took my meds and crawled into bed. It wasn’t until somewhere around 3:3 a.m. that I knew I was in a lot of trouble. And I’ve been in trouble ever since. No let-up until or unless I go to bed, and I wake up right on time for my next dose.

So, you might ask, was it worth it? ¬†Was it worth risking all this pain just to hear some commediene you can watch on You Tube?”

Oh, you betcha ūüôā ¬†Its the same as the difference between watching a sports even on TV or having tickets to see it live.

Reprieve

I just got a call from ¬†the secretary of our practice. ¬†My eight-client day has been reduced to a seven-client day, and I don’t have to be there until 11. ¬†Nice. I’m all ready to go, but now I have an hour to catch up on some computer work.

This is my first day back to work after a two-week time off that was no vacation, believe me. ¬†Pain is my constant companion these days. ¬†The shots I got Thursday have helped a bit, but I can feel the pain building back up. ¬†I don’t get the second round of shots until the 21st, which right now seems like a very long time to wait.

Yesterday, I heard a radio ¬†interview of a soldier who was caught by an IED in Iraq. ¬†He lost a leg, and I think maybe a hand as well. ¬†He thought he was going to die, and was urging the medics to care for his men who, he felt, had a better chance to live. ¬†He said he really didn’t feel pain in those minutes following the explosion. He felt that his adrenaline and the shock factor worked together to keep his mind clear, and he was able to communicate with his men as well as the medics. ¬†It was an amazing story. ¬†Of course, the pain did settle in after a while, but his story continues to be one of victory, not whining.

Many years ago, probably 35 or more, my husband had a work accident that cost him the end of his pinky from the top knuckle. He, too, experienced the shock that buffered the pain for about half an hour. Back then, he wouldn’t take any more medication that he absolutely needed in order to be able to go back to work the next day. ¬†He continues to bear pain without saying much, but he’s older now and he doesn’t bounce back as quickly. The foot he injured nearly four years ago continues to hurt, 24/7. ¬†He doesn’t give in, though. ¬†He has to stop to rest, which is very hard for him to do, but he stays busy in spite of that pain as well as chronic back pain.

My mom had the same kind of pain in her back that I do. ¬†The difference was that she never, to my knowledge, got the pain treatment that I’m getting. ¬†She hurt all the time as her joints crumbled, pinched her nerves, and made her miserable. There were other things that caused her pain as well. ¬†Sometimes she’d mention it; more often, as she neared death and focused all ¬†her energy just on staying alive. ¬†She thought she should “do more for you girls,” meaning my sister and me. ¬†We were 65 and 67 at the time. ¬†I told her I thought we’d be okay ūüôā

Pain is not a pleasant companion. ¬†You can, however, use it as a stumbling stone or ¬†a starting block. ¬†We’ve all known people who, burdened with chronic pain, let the whole world know all day every day how much they suffer. ¬†We also know people who are cheerful in their pain, and don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about what they can’t fix. ¬†I’d rather be around that person, wouldn’t you?

In fact, I’d rather BE that person. ¬†The problems in my back are not going to heal themselves. ¬†I’m very thankful for the shots, but I’m also aware that at some point the shots aren’t going to work as well and I may have to consider some other treatment. ¬†I could whine and cry and make everyone around me miserable, or I could–as a friend of mine who has cancer does–respond to “How are you?” ¬†with “Better!”

I have a cyber-friend who has ALS. ¬†I haven’t seen anything from him in some time, and I’m wondering if the disease has finally taken him to heaven. ¬†What I will always remember about him is his positive approach to his life with the disease. As it progressed and he became more and more helpless, he never cried to his readers. ¬†He rejoiced over getting a computer that enabled him to continue blogging even when he could no longer type or speak.

I hope he’s whole, now.

I never used to give pain a lot of thought. ¬†I’ve been healthy all my life, with very few physical problems. ¬†Knee replacement, both knees, was my first really major surgical experience, and that was 11 years ago, and my knees are doing great. I’m thankful to have had the energy I needed to rear four kids, teach, and be busy in church ministries. At this stage of my life, at almost 69 years old, I can still do most of what I need to do. ¬†I just have to accept that things are different, and that’s okay.

Well. ¬†This is kind of unusual for me, a ramble, I guess. ¬†I think I’m done now ūüôā

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/street/

Volcano!

So I decided to mix up a DIY recipe for an all-purpose cleaner.  Simple ingredients:  cleaning vinegar, water, and a little baking soda mixed with  water.

What I forgot was that was the same kind of recipe we used to make volcanoes for science projects.

Everything went great until I poured the water/baking soda mixture into the  vinegar I had already poured into my spray bottle.

erupting-volcano-project

All OVER the place, including all over me! ¬†What a mess. ¬†I’m glad I hadn’t put in my aromatic essential oils yet. ¬†But at least my kitchen floor is clean ūüôā

The second try was more successful.  Mixed my ingredients more slowly, waiting for the soda to dissolve before adding it to the vinegar. Slowly.  In the sink.

 

Fat Like Me

No, this is not a true confession.  It is not a whine.  Call it a movie review and some introspection.  It is, though, my third post in one day on this blog, which is something of a record.

I just watched the movie To Be¬†Fat like Me on You Tube. ¬†It stars Kaley Cuocco before ¬†her present TV fame. It was made, I believe, in 2007. ¬†It tells the story of two high school girls who enter a documentary contest to earn money, in Kaley/Allie’s case, for college.

Allie is your basic popular ,thin, pretty, athletic blonde, not so good in academics. ¬†Her friend is a brainiac. ¬†Allie gets the idea to do a documentary to prove that fat girls can be just as popular as thin ones. ¬†It’s all about personality, she says to her chunky younger brother.

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That’s all I’m going to tell you. ¬†Look it up on You Tube, if you haven’t already seen it. ¬†It’s worth watching. ¬†(Have to add here that when I was searching for the picture, I came across a really bad review of this movie. Some critic or group of critics thinks it’s one of the fifty most ridiculous movies of all time. I don’t know. ¬†I don’t watch many movies).

It spoke to me because I’ve been fat most of my adult life. ¬†I wasn’t a fat kid in school, but I wasn’t thin, either. ¬†For a little while, during college, I managed to reach my lowest weight of between 110 and 115, just about right for my height and frame. After the babies started coming, though, ¬†I never saw those numbers again.

The steady weight gain has brought me now, at age 68, face to face with diabetes, insulin resistance, possible heart conditions, and all the other awful things that come with Syndrome X. ¬†And I’m working on it. ¬†I’ve lost nearly 17 pounds since the first part of October. ¬†I’m swimming for exercise. ¬†I’ve never been an athlete, and I don’t enjoy sweating. ¬†Swimming is perfect for me.

It’s the emotional side of being grossly overweight that resonated with me in this movie. ¬†Did you know that medically speaking, if you are 20% or more over your ideal weight, you are considered morbidly obese? ¬†Yeah. That’s a real downer. Morbid obesity. ¬†I’d never even heard the phrase before I saw it on my dad’s death certificate. ¬†He was only 70 when he died.

People who have never been fat and never had to work to stay slender really are blessed.  I hope they realize how blessed they are.

Now look, I’m not doing the pity me thing here. ¬†I did this to myself, and no one knows it any better than I do. ¬†Honestly, though, there were a lot of things I didn’t understand about my own body, metabolism, and so on. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned in the past three months is that even when I thought I was “eating healthy,” I was taking in way too many carbs. ¬†Now that I’ve learned how to monitor that, I’m avoiding just about every low-calorie “diet” meal in the freezer section. ¬†For me, it’s the carbs that have made me fat. Love me my carbs: ¬†Chocolate, pancakes, bread, donuts, chocolate, ice cream, pastry, potatoes, chocolate . . . .

I’m still eating some of those things, but not as much and not nearly as often. ¬†I’ve even managed to lose 3/4 of a pound over Christmas! ¬†That’s pretty amazing for me.

But back to the emotional issues. ¬†One character in the movie, Ramona, shares some pretty amazing insights with Allie. One of the things she said, loosely paraphrased, is that when you’re fat you don’t own your body. ¬†Everyone else does. ¬†People think your obesity gives them the right to moo at you, call you “Tank,” look at you in disgust, tell you that you need to lose weight, even refuse to wait on you in a clothing store that “doesn’t carry your size.” And you’re supposed to hang your head in shame, because you’re such a cow. You deserve to be humiliated. If you weren’t such a pig, you wouldn’t be treated the way you are. ¬†It’s your own fault.

So. ¬†I’m thinking about all this, about my own experience being the fattest one in the room most of the time. ¬†People haven’t been unkind to me right to my face. ¬†I don’t know what they say behind my back, and I don’t worry about that. ¬†I do know how I feel, though, because fatness is not cool at any age, for many reasons. ¬†I hate being fat. I’ve made jokes about it, blamed the gene pool (lots of overweight in my gene pool) and generally gotten along pretty well. ¬†But inside, I hate it. I truly, truly hate it.

Watching the movie has renewed my determination to keep tracking those carbs, to keep increasing the laps in the pool. ¬†Not for anyone else’s benefit, but for my own health, my desire to live long enough to see my grands grow up and have families, my energy to be productive and useful as long as possible.

So call this my New Year’s Rant, instead of a resolution. I just needed to put it down in black and white before I forget about it.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/write-here-write-now/

Mom’s Birthday

May 16. ¬†My mom’s birthday. ¬†She’d be 90 today. She died three years ago this coming July. ¬†I still miss her. ¬†I still find myself thinking,”I need to call Mom” ¬†just because it’s the weekend, and I tried to be faithful to call her every weekend. ¬†Always, after she picked up the phone, someone would come into her room and she’d say, “It’s my Pennsylvania daughter!” as if it were the most wonderful thing that had happened all day ūüôā

I do miss her, but I’m not maudlin about it. ¬†We had her for 87 years, and the last year or so was so difficult. She had a lot of lower back pain. She also tended to develop UTI’s, as many seniors do when they are no longer very mobile. UTI’s, in an elderly person, can¬†be really awful. Symptoms of dementia are exacerbated, and the physical illness is truly awful until the antibiotic takes hold. ¬†There’s no way I’d want her to still be going through all that.

The last time she was here to visit was 10 years ago.  She was here for her 80th birthday, and for the announcement of two pregnancies in the family.  There was nothing she enjoyed any more than knowing a new baby was on the way.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that cycle of life lately, as my own aches and pains, so similar to hers, begin to settle in. Life is short, seen from this end of the line.

My¬†grandmother died when Mom was only 22 or so. ¬†She got typhus, if I remember correctly, and died way too soon. Mom idolzed her own mother, and missed her all down through the years. ¬†I wish I rememberd her, but I was very young, only a baby. For many years, I had a gift she gave me when i was born–a little stuffed lamb that I kept on my bed with my other stuffed animals. I’m sad that I don’t know what happened to that lamb. Probably got lost in the midst of many moves. But still, there are connections. ¬†I have a quilt that was made by a great-aunt. There are recipes that my mom passed down to me that came from her own mother’s recipe file. I even hear myself using the same antiquated expression my mom sometimes used, like being “tickled pink” over something or the other. Other connections? ¬†I’m short, built just like her. ¬†I have her brown eyes and a gap between my two front teeth. She took great pride and pleasure from her kids and grandkids, and so do I.

We both love the Lord. ¬†She’s with Him now, and I don’t wish her back. ¬†I’ll see her again, at the great family reunion in heaven.

I was blessed to have a godly mother.

Prime Minister of the ‘Net

All the world‚Äôs countries have decided that the Internet itself needs a government. Your country asks you to run for Prime Minister of the ‚ÄėNet ‚ÄĒ do you accept? If so, what will your platform be?

**********************

As your first Prime Minister of the ‘Net, I make you these promises:

Pornography will be harshly dealt with. ¬†It contributes to unspeakable horrors including sex trafficking and child abuse. ¬†It will be stopped whenever and wherever it is found on the ‘Net.

No one company will ever have control of the internet. ¬†Nor will the government take over control of the ‘Net. It will be open and available to everyone. This policy, of course, makes it harder to control porn, but we must not shut down ¬†freedom of speech on the internet. And no, I do not find freedom of speech and shutting down porn to be ¬†contradictory. ¬†We all know that for every one porn site we shut down, ten more will pop up. Like cockroaches.

And I can’t think of anything else.

I got interrupted when I was writing this. Phone call informing me that I was late for an appointment that I had thought was at 11.  No, it was a 9.  Rush, rush. Out the door to go get my first injection for the pain in my lower back. Also was informed that I need to get ANOTHER MRI   NOOOOOOOoooooooo!! because there seems to be a third herniation right where the lumbar meets the thoracic spine.  Rats.  Ratsratsrats.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/new-internet-order/

MRI

Did you ever have one? ¬†It’s quite an experience. ¬†I hope I don’t have to do it again any time soon.

I am not petite. ¬†Well, in height I am, standing less than 5′ tall these days. About as wide as I am tall. ¬†Fit all that chunkiness into a space that allows nowhere for your arms to go; that seems to get closer to your face as they slide you in; that barely lets you blink without leaving streaks¬†of mascara on the upper surface. Then DON’TMOVEDON’TCHANGETHEPOSSITIONOFYOUR HIPS ORBACK!! ¬†Oh, and put the earplugs in before the tech slides you into the coffin, because it’s pretty noisy in there.

“OOoooookay. ¬†Now, it will be about half an hour. Are you ok in there, Mrs. Kreger?”

What do you mean, am I okay? ¬†You just slid me into a teeny tiny little tunnel and I can’t move and I can’t scratch my nose which of course is immediately starting to itch. ¬†I used the restroom before you put me in this itty bitty place, but, you know, fear and everything. . . .half an hour, huh? Riiiiiight!!

Yes, I’m fine.”

“Okay, this first one will take about a minute and a half. Don’t move.”

I couldn’t if I wanted to!”

“Okay.”

“Bdoink bdoink,bdoink,bdoink,bdoink. . . . ”

“Are you ok in there?”

Of course I’m not okay, you crazy nut! ¬†There are aliens making metallic noises in my ears! ¬†I can’t move, I can’t breathe, I can’t scratch! Good grief!

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“Good. ¬†There will be about seven more sessions, and the longest one will be seven minutes long. After that you’ll have only three more. ¬†You have the alarm ball in your hand, so if you get in trouble just squeeze it and we’ll get you right out. Ok?”

Seven more?? ¬†AAGGGGHHH!! I can’t stand it, I really can’t! ¬†I need to move something! ¬†Please, just let me move something!

“Okay, I’m ready.”

The aliens came back, only this time they had reinforcements.  There were clicks and stutters and boinks and ratatats and the courting songs of whales, with a jackhammer thrown in every now and then for counterpoint.

I deep-breathed. ¬†I ¬†closed my eyes and concentrated on praying for other people, my family, the state of my lumbar, the state of the Union. ¬†As each test was completed, the disembodied voice in my ear would say, “You’re doing great! ¬†Only five more. . .three more. . .we’re almost done.”

The seven-minute one was actually a full 24 hours, I’m sure of it.¬†

“That’s it! ¬†You’re done, and I don’t have to repeat anything because you did so well. ¬†I’m sliding you out now.”

Wait! What?? REPEAT??  You actually have to do some of that all over again with some people?  What, are they NUTS??

“There you go, Mrs. Kreger. ¬†Good job. I’ll just stand here until you’re sure you’re not dizzy or anything. Sometimes people are a little unsteady when they come out of there.”

A little unsteady. Yeah, I’ll bet. ¬†That’s the equivalent of something you’d see on Star Trek as an instrument of torture or brainwashing. ¬†Makes you a little unsteady, you betcha!

“No, I’m ok, thanks. ¬†Just point me in the right direction to the great outdoors. ¬†I’m just a tad disoriented.”

“Ok, well, your doctor will let you know if he needs any more films. You have a good day!”

My doct–he’ll–MORE?? ¬†Are you KIDDING ME?? No way, no way in the world are you getting me back in that thing. It would take seven men and a boy and some knockout drops. No WAY!

“Okay, well, thanks. ¬†I’ll just be on my way then.”

And I don’t want to see you or this room or that machine EVER AGAIN for as long as I live.¬†