Monday, July 27, 2009

The Vegetable Garden

A little white eggplant; Bing the cat feasting on weeds; a little broccoli; and yeah, that's me holding a giant zucchini and a little eggplant.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Foreign Languages

I was sitting here reading blogs with the doors and windows open and I heard this very loud talking in a foreign language. Pepper the dog was barking and I thought what the hell is this? So I wandered over to the front door, and saw that the guy who lives across the street (I hear he's Russian; he's been living there 5 years and I've been planning on introducing myself for 5 years now) had stopped his car in the drive and went to get his mail, while the radio loudly buzzed out in Russian. I didn't even know you could get Russian radio stations.

It reminded me of my first year of college. I went to college in Toronto. My roommate lived in Ontario but was of Dutch descent, and they spoke Dutch in her home. So she always had the radio tuned to Dutch stations (I guess it's no different than the Russian station this guy was listening to). Every morning we would wake up to her radio alarm, with people speaking in Dutch.

Which reminds me of a party I went to last week. The hosts gave a party for their friend Wanda, also from Holland, who has been living here for many years. Wanda has a best friend, Wilma, who is visiting her for about a month this summer. So it was kind of a "meet Wilma" party. I talked to Wanda and Wilma and asked them how often they see each other. They said one will visit the other every 3-5 years. I asked how they keep in touch between visits and they said some email but they call each other every week. They said they just liked to hear each other's voices. Wanda has been living in the states for about 18 years, I'd guess, and Wilma was her best friend in Holland, and they remain best friends. They seemed to enjoy each other very much. They would be conversing in English and then they would just switch to Dutch, and as I sat there listening, I wondered "do they realize they just switched languages?"

Which reminded me of a French class I took in college. I had taken Spanish all through high school. But since the products in Ontario were labeled in both French and English, I decided I should try French. So what we had was a freshman class of kids who had all taken Spanish in high school. And the first day, the French professor told us there would be no speaking in English. None. So as we struggled along to have conversations, if we didn't know a French word, we automatically used the Spanish word, and we all understood each other cause we had all taken Spanish, and the French teacher spent the year yelling "NO ESPANOL!" The funny thing is that none of us realized we were doing it.

I really marvel at people who speak more than one language.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mary Poppins

David and I subscribe to the Broadway Series of shows that come to Cleveland. The last show in our series was last Friday night - Mary Poppins. I remember when I saw that it was included in the series, I thought ok....well, we'll just sit through it and MAYBE it will be enjoyable. I also knew that many of the season ticketholders would be bringing their children and grandchildren.

We parked and walked the short distance to the theater. Sure enough, there were lots of very young people. Boys and girls all dressed up, for a night of downtown theater. It reminded me of my own youth. My grandmother sang in the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and we used to go downtown to see the "pops" series. I remember being overwhelmed by the fancy facility and all the people united in one place to see a concert.

It also flashed across this brain of mine that often parents or grandparents bring their kids to shows like this, sure that the kids will love it, but the shows are long, and often it is hard to hold the attention of young ones when a show lasts several hours, during which you must sit in your seat.

Well, it was an amazing show. The actors were amazing, as were the special effects. They actually had Mary with her umbrella way up in the air, sailing over all of us! And Bert tap dancing on the ceiling! And the music - well who can not get into Step in Time, Feed the Birds, and of course Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (I have no idea how to spell this)? And, when David auditioned for Fiddler earlier this year, it will always amuse me that he chose Chim Chim Cheree as his audition song. There is great music in this show.

For Good Commenters Out There

Well I had a nice surprise today when I found out I won this award. For being a good commenter! And this from someone who's very easy to read and comment on! I did not know until today that she's only been at this for a few months, but check out Sandy's blog at

I have to say, it's very easy to be a good commenter. You don't have to rack your brains out trying to think of something to say! You just read what someone else wrote and make a comment.

So I will take this time to thank the commenters on my blog, and I feel like we're all so intertwined that we've all checked out each other's blogs anyway, but here we go - to my loyal commenters:

Other than Jeanie at Marmalade Gypsy, who got me into this blogging world, I have never met any of these folks, but I feel like I know them, and I look forward to my evenings when I can sit back, relax and read their blogs. Subjects are all over the place, but they are always interesting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Writer's Block Over Here

Writer's block over here. This tooth thing has made me a little nuts. I'll spare the details, but recovery from this thing is slower than I thought it would be, and I have pain at night so I don't sleep and despite large volumes of caffeine in the morning, I feel like I'm in a fog all the time.

So I'm posting a current picture of Marty's garden. Note the solar lights - very cool - they light up at night (I guess that's what solar lights do).

The veggie garden has turned out to be a disaster. The only veggie growing, besides some lettuce, is zucchini. Some animals have eaten the tomato, bean and pea plants. I have to say, it has not been as much fun working in the garden this year. It's very buggy out there and having all those mosquito bites is yet another reason for me not to sleep.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It Wasn't TMJ

Well, I saw my dentist on Monday, my birthday, to tell him I had TMJ. He x-rayed a tooth just to be sure, said the tooth looked fine, and I told him I'd like muscle relaxers, cause that's how it was treated 10 years ago. I also wanted anti-inflammatories and he told me to take Advil. Then we discussed how much ibuprofen I was taking and he declared it was way too much.

I left his office and went to work. I kept taking more ibuprofen. A co-worker told me I should call him back and tell him I wanted "the good stuff" to relieve the pain. I thought I'd wait for the muscle relaxers to work.

The next few days were a fog. I tried going to work for a few hours on Wednesday and a co-worker offered to get me a McDonalds shake at lunch. YES, I said - THANK YOU. And as I sat at my desk, falling asleep cause the pain was keeping me up all night, I thought once I get that shake, I'll be fine. Well she called and said guess what? McDonalds has no shakes today. I never understood how a place like McDonalds could run out of shakes. That was the final straw for me. I left work, stopped at another McDonalds, got my shake, and went home.

Thursday I woke up with a face that looked like the Elephant Man. I had a 7:30 mammogram scheduled, and I went from there back to the dentist, with no appointment. This is the second time in my life I have done this. Once when I was pregnant, I had horrendous head pain and didn't want to be told I could come in later in the day, so I had walked in as soon as the office opened and said I can't wait for an appointment. So I arrived at the dentist and the friendly receptionist said hello. I said I don't have an appointment, but I know I have a problem. After 3 nights of googling TMJ in the middle of the night, I had spent the previous night googling "abscessed tooth" because I knew that's what I had. The dentist graciously examined me again and said "this isn't TMJ." I said "I know." He said but the x-ray was fine. I said "I know." He handed me 3 antibiotic pills and said "I'm writing you a prescription - fill this right away, and if you don't see improvement by tomorrow, call me and I'll try to get you in to see an oral surgeon." The pain was horrendous. First thing the next day, I couldn't talk because I was so swollen and it was like I had 100 marbles in my mouth. I had my husband call and ask the dentist to get me in to see an oral surgeon. He did.

I went to see an oral surgeon at 12:30. He looked at me and said "I hope I can extract this today." That shocked me; I thought that's why I was there. I asked "why do you say you hope you can do this today?" And he said "because I don't know if I can control the pain." At that point, temporary pain didn't bother me if it would just end the chronic pain. He walked out and I said to his assistant "I am a wuss - can he knock me out?" She said she didn't know. He took more x-rays. I was surprised to learn that an x-ray will not always show an abscess. He said "I am confident this is the bad tooth" (the one the dentist had initially x-rayed, that showed nothing). He gave me a local anesthetic and pulled out the offending tooth. I looked at that little thing and thought I can't believe that little thing can cost me so much money and so much pain.

That was yesterday. I am on vicodin (the good stuff) and an antibiotic that I have to take every 6 hours and I can't lie down within a half hour of taking it. That makes sleep hard. I finished my book club book and caught up on People Magazines. I still look like the elephant man. The pain is less intense. The ultimate irony is that I have lost weight during this ordeal, but I look like I've gained 50 pounds. My formerly double chin is now a quadruple chin.

People have said "you're lucky it wasn't TMJ - that is very hard to treat." I think I am lucky that this is behind me, but I was hoping for a normal face by this point.

I missed almost a week of work. I have watched every episode of Housewives of New Jersey. I have learned I can't stand being out of commission.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 6th - Another Year Older

Well, today is my 52nd birthday. Our plan was to go to Little Italy yesterday to celebrate, but I have been afflicted with something that I believe is TMJ - and which is causing me a lot of pain. I was up at 3 this morning, reading emails and looking for blogs to read. The email part was fun, because this feature on facebook allows people to put my birthday on their calendar, and it is quite amusing to me to receive birthday greetings from old high school friends who I haven't spoken with in many, many years.

As for the blogs, well, it seems most people have taken a blog break, cause there wasn't much new out there!

Years ago, my son Joe declared there were 2 types of older females. A "lady" is a thin, beautiful female, with long hair. A "woman," on the other hand is an overweight female, usually with short hair. He did not hesitate to point out that I am a woman. Now whenever I hear the terms "woman" or "lady" I find myself thinking in terms of his definition. I wonder if I ever get thin in this lifetime and if I ever grow my hair out, if I can qualify as a lady. But being a woman is not all bad. I think of a woman as being more seasoned than a lady; someone who works harder; someone who's been around the block. So today I will define myself as a 52 year old woman.

I have had mixed feelings on the facebook concept for a long time now. At first it was fun, and then I thought ok, I've been there and done that, and there's nothing more to do. Then my friend Sharon convinced me to put my maiden name in there (I argued and said why bother) and I believe she was right in that - more people came out of the woodwork. I will say that most of the people I've "friended" (Sharon, who is in the know, corrected me when I said "befriended" and told me "friended" is the correct term) were not people I was good friends with in high school, but it is fun seeing what they are up to now. It seems most of my fellow Clevelanders have left Cleveland for places south and west.

A few weeks ago, I received a facebook message asking if I'd like to meet for lunch; one of the transplanted ladies (yeah, she's thin with long hair) was going to be in town and wanted to meet for lunch. I hesitated, cause I do work for a living, but then decided I could take the time off, and life is short, and I should do this. So I went. There were 7 of us who got together, and I have to say, it was surprisingly enjoyable. We had little conversations with whoever was next to us, and bigger conversations with the whole table, and I was surprised by how much in common I had with these people. As I looked around, I thought I really wasn't friends with any of them in high school, but it was very easy to talk to them, and it occurred to me that we had more in common than I thought. I think just growing up in the same period, in the same place, gave us that commonality. As an adult, I seldom meet people who I can just fall into an easy conversation with (other than the blogger friends I've made this past year, who are surprisingly open and friendly)!

So, as I wait for my dentist appt in mid-morning, I will hope to be pain free so that I can celebrate yet another year of being a woman.