Worth The Trouble

RDP Monday Prompt: LABOR

Middle English labo(u)r, from Old French labour (noun), labourer (verb), both from Latin labor ‘toil, trouble.’

This word really hasn’t changed much, either in spelling or in meaning, Hard work. Toil.  Expending a lot of energy to get the job done.  Sometimes pain is involved.

The job I’ve had for nearly 50 years, if done well, is quite labor-intensive.  Keeping house is not easy work.  It can be boring, and I’ve never truly enjoyed the cleaning part of housekeeping. It’s just something that has to be done unless you don’t mind living in a lot of dirt.

The very first thing that came to mind, though, when I saw this prompt, was the labor of childbirth.  Four times for me, all normal births, nothing that made it to the medical journals and no gruesome stories to share at a baby shower for a first- time mom.  Why do women do that?  Go into graphic detail about the time they almost died giving birth to their fifth, sixth, or seventh child?  WHY?  This poor young woman anticipating her first baby goes home piled with gifts and horror stories.  Makes my tired ache.

I’d rather laugh.  And who knows?  Laughter may bring on the contractions that signal  that you’re about to lose your freedom 🙂  Here are two cartoons that made me smile this morning:

Image result for woman in labor cartoons

Image result for woman in labor cartoons

Never spend time with your skinny friend when you’re nine months along.  You’re going to want to bop her a good one.

I can think of other captions for this one, too. Like  “Ooooh,  my stomach is SOOOoooo poochy!”  Or “I sure hope you don’t get stretch marks.  Your stomach is REALLY big, isn’t it?”




Then there’s the sympathetic husband.  Sorry, guys, but NO, you cannot relate to our pain. At all. Don’t go there.  We will make you suffer if you try to take our minds off our own misery in order to feel sorry for you. What this guy needs is a bonk on the noggin with a bedpan.

I need to say here that my husband was a wise man.  He never tried this kind of stupidity on me.  He did let me get a death grip on his hand several times, and he encouraged me. He never fainted or experienced nausea. He was exactly the kind of husband you want in this situation.  He’s not the kind of guy who compares a hangnail to labor and childbirth.

The best thing about childbirth labor is that you have a wonderful new baby at the end of it.  In my experience, you really do forget the pain.  I mean, I remember that it hurt, and that there were a few moments during which I wanted to just stop it, but I don’t remember the exact feeling or sensation. Anyway, it was a long time ago and it doesn’t matter now.

The best result is that I now have nine wonderful grandchildren that I DIDN’T have to labor for.  So it was way more than worth it 🙂

RDP: Labor





An Old-Fashioned Word


Ragtag Prompt #32 – Keen


This is really kind of an old-fashioned word.  Back in the 1920’s and ’30’s it was used by kids to give a stamp of approval to whatever they like a lot. It was considered a slang word back then, and was keenly disapproved of by the parental generation.  Lots of things were changing in American culture, as well as in the rest of the world. Some of the changes were keen, others not so much 🙂

One usage of the word stems back to the Irish caoinim, meaning I wail.  One would keen over the loss of a loved one; a fussing baby or teething toddler keened over his misery.

Mostly, though, when I think of keen I think of someone of a very sharp intelligence, and also a sharp wit. I love to be around people who have a keen sense of humor. Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

As with so many other English words, there are multiple meanings and uses of keen. No wonder English is difficult to learn.  Difficult, but certainly not impossible.

An Old-Fashioned Word


Always Hope


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Today this word takes me right to my own self.  I never thought much about how it would be to be physically broken at this stage of my life.  Never thought it would be such an effort just to go up and down a flight of stairs, or take a short walk, or climb up on a bed.  Getting in and out of a car can be a challenge.  Partly, it’s my height.  Or, rather, lack thereof.  I’m used to having to climb up on stools and ladders to reach stuff. It continues to be slightly annoying, but it’s nothing new.

But the weakness, the slowness, the uncooperative muscles?  I wasn’t expecting that.  Not yet. Most of it is due to the back problems that started  about three years ago.  If you’ve never had serious back issues, be thankful.  And please don’t think that those who suffer are just faking it, for goodness’ sake, or using it as an excuse to get out of work. While I know there are those who do that sort of thing, most of us would LOVE to be able to put in a full day’s work without the accompanying pain and debility.


Image result for back pain is real

I took a lot for granted before all this mess started. Bending to pick up a baby, to make a bed, to clean a toilet or tub, to scrub a floor–never thought about it.  I had the strength and energy I needed, and I guess I just expected it would always be there.  Sure, you slow down a bit as the years go by, but I truly didn’t think that at nearly 71 I would be in this condition.  Maybe by 85 or 90.  Not yet.

But, lest I leave you on that gloomy note, I have NOT given up or given in. There is a lot that can be done to restore strength I lost while I really couldn’t move much at all. Working on it.  Hoping to improve. There’s always hope.




PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

He stood gazing across the land that unrolled to the far mountains.  His long black hair, secured by the band around his head, blew in the gentle breeze that tugged and pulled at him.  He inhaled slowly, savoring the scents that rose from the ground, the underbrush, the trees.

In his mind, he replayed the stories of his ancestors as they lived and died in this same land. So much joy, so much pain, so much lying, so much death.

A single tear tracked his lined cheek.

Time to go home. Back to the reservation.

(I hope you won’t mind if I leave Zing and Zang waiting in the sidelines now and then. This picture  was so evocative, partly because of a book I’m reading, that the story insisted on being written.  Zing and Zang, with Zinnia, will return when the photo prompt doesn’t take my heart and mind in a totally different direction.)

DRG Stimulation


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Another prompt that is appropriate for the day.

Terry is nervous.  He’s having a procedure done today to install a little gadget that is designed to help him control his pain using a remote control. Wires will extend from the device, placed near his spine, to his foot that was so badly injured four years ago. His pain has been chronic and disabling.

Image result for chronic pain

I have very high hopes that this will work. He, however, read all about the side effects. One of those is the remote possibility of his becoming a paraplegic.

I told him he’s not allowed.

Terry has a gift for seeing the worst possible outcome  being set aside specifically for his own use. I told him to stop it.

He wasn’t impressed.

So, am I a little nervous?  Well, of course I am. Any time they start fiddling around with the spinal column, there is endless possibility of disaster. For me, though, the other option–doing nothing–is just as bad. The pain saps his energy, and he needs to rest several times in the course of a day. This is  SO not who he has always been. The injury has aged him, affecting his whole body. He has terrible restless leg syndrome, for instance,  which of course robs him of sleep.

The procedure is called Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation.  You can read about it here if you’re interested.  And please say a prayer for Terry and the doctors. He checks in at noon.


P.S. We just got a call from the doctor’s office:  Procedure postponed until Monday. Dr. has a family emergency.

Tommy and the Bees


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(Based on a real event)

Tommy tramped through the woods, enjoying the cool shade. He loved the woods. He would have been perfectly content to pitch his one-man pup tent and stay out all week long, but his mom would have worried. He didn’t understand that.  He felt much safer out in the woods than he did on the streets at home. Not that his town was dangerous. Not at all. He just liked the woods better.

He could tell by some of the tracks he saw that there had been deer moving through. Also, he knew  there was partridge all over. His dog was constantly going on point, but Tommy wasn’t hunting today. He was just soaking in the smells, the breeze, the scents that filled his nose with wonderful things.

What he DIDN’T notice in time was the mud-colored hive on one of the  old trees.Nor did he notice the number of bees that were buzzing in and out of the hive. He didn’t realize he was in any danger until the bees swarmed him, stinging  on every exposed bit of skin.


He’d been told to run for water if something like this happened, but there was no water anywhere nearby. He tried standing perfectly still, hoping the bees would go away.  Didn’t work.  Bees on the warpath didn’t just buzz off!

So Tommy did the only thing he could think of.  He hit the muddy ground, rolling like a log going downhill, squishing the bees under his body. He slapped at his face, head and neck. Finally, the attack stopped and he could lie still.

He hurt.  Doggone bees!  He had some water in a canteen, so he poured most of it over the stings he could see, then over his head and face. Calling his dog, he turned back toward home. He figured it was about 15 minutes if he could keep up a steady pace.

When he could see his house, he started hollering. His mom and grandmother both came to the back door, not spotting him right away. When they did, they went into fast action. Grandma ran a tub of cold water, and Mom got his clothes off of him and helped him into the tub.  She poured baking soda into the water. She asked Grandma to call the doctor, since she didn’t want to leave Tommy alone.

Tommy itched like fire for a few days, but other than that he suffered no ill effects. In fact, when he walked into his first-grade classroom, he was the hero of the day.  The other boys thought all his stings were pretty cool, and the girls  all said, “Ew! EW! Get away!”

It was a perfect day.

Sought Out


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exquisite (adj.) Look up exquisite at Dictionary.comearly 15c., “carefully selected,” from Latin exquisitus “choice,” literally “carefully sought out,” from past participle stem of exquirere “search out thoroughly,” from ex- “out” (see ex-) + quaerere “to seek” (see query (v.)).

Originally in English of any thing (good or bad, torture and diseases as well as art) brought to a highly wrought condition, sometimes shading into disapproval. The main modern meaning, “of consummate and delightful excellence” is first attested 1579, in Lyly’s “Euphues.” Related: Exquisitely; exquisiteness. The noun meaning “a dandy, fop” is from 1819. Bailey’s Dictionary (1727) has exquisitous “not natural, but procured by art.”

Here’s another word that most of us  know how to use. The development of the word, however, was a little surprising to me. From “carefully selected or sought out” to “any thing brought to a highly wrought condition,” including pain. Exquisite pain?  I think I’ll pass on that, thanks.

There was a time when an exquisite (noun) was a fop, or dandy.


These were men who spent hours and hours on their wigs, makeup, outfits and jewels. It was a rather sneery term, actually. To be called an Exquisite didn’t exactly mean you were a manly man.

These days, we think of lovely things, works of art, as being exquisite. We also give a nod to women who just seem to have the innate ability to look perfect all the time as having exquisite taste.

We also enjoy an exquisitely prepared meal, or even  just a cup of unusually good coffee. That’s what I’m doing right now. Enjoying exquisite coffee at my leisure.

No church for me this morning. I’m not quite ready for that after having had a small surgery last week. It’s been a bit harder than I expected, more painful and more side effects.  I’m worn out and not willing to have to keep up appearances for a couple of hours. And no one wants to hear an organ recital 🙂

I’m sure that by next Sunday I’ll be restored to exquisite good health.


A Little Whine, With or Without Cheese


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Here’s a conundrum for you:  Think of a person who is born from a gene pool that produces mostly overweight people as they reach their adult years.  This is true not only in the immediate family, but in the entire range of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Line them up and you have Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee repeated over and and over again.

Now make this person very short. Compounds the problem, because the shorter a person is, the less room there is for any extra weight.

Now, most of the folks in this extended family managed to stay within a normal weight range until their adult years, when lifestyles changed because of careers, pregnancies, and some health issues. A very small number of adults have managed to avoid the generational curse. Apparently their metabolism came from those who married into the family, not those who were born into it.

Now, take all these people to the doctor because they are developing heart disease, Type II Diabetes, high cholesterol–all the Syndrome X symptoms. The doctors who treat all these folks tell them, “You MUST lose weight!”

So they all start dieting.  Of course, most of them have been dieting off and on for years, which only increases their weight.  Yoyo dieting, they call it.  And most of them grew up when a good meal looked like this:

Image result for plates of pot roast, mashed potato dinner with pie on the side

Image result for pie and ice cream

Looks delicious, right?  But our poor gene-pool-impaired folks can’t have it any more.  Instead, they must eat this:

Image result for huge bowl of salad

Which is delicious as well, but frankly, one of these poor fat people has eaten yea, verily, mountains of salad, and still she is fat.  Huh. And besides, it’s just not pot roast, you know?

And there’s the conundrum. Forsake all the foods you love and eat nothing but clean, healthy stuff that is indeed tasty, but somewhat boring.  Oh dear.  I just envisioned a veritable flood of well-meant healthy, clean recipes coming my way.

Don’t.  I have books, pages, reams of them. They all boil down to pretty much the same thing. Fish or poultry seasoned nicely, veggies, salads, and fruit for dessert.  I know the drill.

There’s just one more thing to throw into the mix.  Make one of these thin-deprived people inactive for several months due to some very unpleasant back pain. Keep her on a diet  like I just described, but she can’t walk; she can’t swim for now; she can only rest.

Guess what?  She’s going to gain weight.  Yes, she is too!  Because her body likes being fat, no matter what her brain tells her, and now that she’s prohibited from moving, the fat cells are rejoicing and partying, and they’re gaining weight on lettuce!

Even my cardiologist sympathizes with me. He told me to just not worry about it for now.

Ominous words, “For now.”

Okay, I’m done.  Felt good to whine a little bit.


Just Go Away!


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Have you ever wished you could disappear?  Just vanish into thin air!  I remember, as a child, sometimes wishing I had the ability to be invisible so people would just leave me alone.

These days, I’m finding that time is doing a vanishing act.  Thinking back over these last 2+ months, with another one plus a couple of weeks to go before I can go back to work, it amazes me how the days just seem to roll right into each other.

Some people probably think I have vanished!  Sadly, I’m much too–ummm—well, I take up too much space to vanish that easily 🙂

I’m seeing my primary doctor today to talk about the immediate future, updating her on the coming surgery, catching up on the dread A1C and a few other tests I need to have done before the surgery takes place.

As we grow older, Terry and I, we both comment on how our primary social life seems to be with our doctors.  That’s a sad fact of life for some aged elders. Not everyone, but it’s true for us. Terry, by the way, is preparing the way for a treatment for his foot pain that we’re both very hopeful about.  Good news, please.

If pain would vanish, that would be nice!  Not that you never want to feel pain, because that’s dangerous.  But if it could just kind of give you a nudge to let you know something is wrong and then just–POOF!  vanish?  Yes, that would be nice.

I’m rambling.  Maybe I should stop.


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 🙂