Posted tagged ‘bad back’

“It is a great Nostrum the composition of this Pasty,”Christmas Pye”; it is a most learned Mixture of Neats-tongues, Chickens, Eggs, Sugar, Raisins, Lemon and Orange Peel, various kinds of Spicery, etc.”

December 3, 2017

Today is yesterday without the small breeze. The clouds are white grey. No rain is expected but the air is damp. It will be in the mid-40’s most of the day. I’ll be watching the Patriots play starting at one.

This morning was the same as most mornings. Maddie and Gracie now with full bellies are back to snoozing. I woke up too late to read both newspapers, but that’s okay as I’ll read the rest tonight. I held my breath, as I usually do, when I turned on MSNBC. I’m always afraid of what I might hear and especially afraid about any news from the White House. I’m beginning to think I’m being masochistic. Nothing I read or watch gives me hope, but there is still a piece of me that won’t give up.

I  woke up around 2 because my back was killing me. It was Gracie’s fault. She had moved from the other end of the couch to my end and was leaning against me with her head resting on my legs which were bent to accommodate her. She was so asleep she didn’t stir when I moved her. I stretched my legs and got comfy. My back was none the worse for wear this morning.

My house is cluttered. Boxes and bags of papers and magazines are in the living room until I can move them to the trunk. My clean clothes haven’t yet made it upstairs, but I’m determined to move them today. The vacuum is still leaning against the couch. I’ll use it during commercials then put it back downstairs to gather dust of its own. A few dishes are on the dish towel on the counter and are probably dry so I’ll put them back into the cabinet. I will then be decluttered.

I did watch Hallmark last night though I toyed with watching Krampus, but my good mood countered my dour mood. I watched the vet fall in love with the doctor after they had known each other just a few days, but that’s the magic of Hallmark. I know the movies are schmaltzy, but I don’t care. Those movies drown out politics and help me forget what’s going on so I get to hold on as tightly as possible to Christmas and all the joy it brings, compliments of Hallmark.

I’ve been watching Christmas cooking shows; however, I doubt I’ll make many of the dishes. On The Kitchen they made shaved Brussels sprout salad with pomegranate vinaigrette and pecans. What?

Christmas dinner has never been as traditional as Thanksgiving. My mother alternated roasts like crowned pork roast, crowned beef or honeyed ham. We always had some sort of potato but not usually mashed. My favorite was roasted potatoes. The vegetables included creamed onions so my Dad wouldn’t complain and root vegetables like turnip. The table was always lovely. My mother used her Spode dishes, and her red or green tablecloth and napkins. There was always a centerpiece of flowers. We lingered at the table. I’d usually clear, put the coffee on and start washing pans and such. When I finally sat, I’d grab a cookie or two or maybe even three to eat with my coffee.

I think if you visited any of our houses on Christmas you’d see Christmas dishes, flowers and holiday tablecloths. My mother lives in all of us.

“I’ve just been bitten on the neck by a vampire… mosquito. Does that mean that when the night comes I will rise and be annoying?”

November 5, 2017

Outside is dark, damp and cloudy. A wind blows every now and then and adds to the misery of the day. My heat went on during the night. It must have been really cold as the thermostat is set at 65˚. Before I had pets, I used to keep it set at 62˚ at night, but that’s too cold for Gracie and Maddie. I found that out when I patted them. Their ears and their body fur were cold. That’s why the heat is higher.

Last night, Gracie was panting so much I kept waking up. I did the food, treat, water thing, and she still was panting and moving around. I finally fell asleep around four. When I woke up, Gracie was in the middle of the couch lying right beside me, and my legs were bent to accommodate her. It was another bad back this morning. She, of course, is now sleeping soundly. I am tempted to keep waking her up, but that’s a human response she wouldn’t understand. Besides, she’d just go to her crate and sleep, probably snore too just to drive me crazy.

Even though all the stores are now opened on Sunday just like every other day, I still have a bit of solemnity for the day probably leftover from when I was a kid. I don’t big time shop on Sundays, and I tend to stay close to home. I watch a little TV, usually football, and I often nap. I honor Sunday as a day of rest.

I was browsing through youtube the other night looking for something to watch. I noticed the film choice of Thousand Plane Raid. Seeing that zoomed me right back to Africa but to Niamey, Niger this time, not Ghana. It was Christmas vacation, and I was traveling with a couple of friends. The trip didn’t go as planned, but trips seldom do in Africa. The bus broke down twice. Each time, we had to wait for the driver’s assistant to hitch back to Ougadougou for parts. That put us way behind time so we had to stop for the night at a post office for which the bus carried mail. The night was freezing. It was harmattan time and we were closer to the desert than in Ghana. I had only a piece of cloth to keep me warm, and it didn’t. Anyway, by the time we got to Niamey, I had defrosted. We stayed at the Peace Corps hostel. In those days U.S. embassies showed movies on Saturday nights. We found out where and went to the screening. Yup, it was Thousand Plane Raid. You don’t need to know any more about the movie. The title is the whole plot. That night was the worst. The movie was shown in an open room of sorts with 4 low concrete walls and no screens.  I was eaten alive by mosquitos bigger than my hand. They mimicked the movie and dive bombed in groups to attack me. I think I left before the end of the movie, but I was so woozy from loss of blood my memories just blurred. I only remember the name of the move and the hordes of mosquitos.

“My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.”

October 23, 2017

My back is a bit better. I can walk without holding on to anything. Yesterday was a sit on the couch day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, the back aside. I have to go out today so I hope for the best.

I think I’ve used every adjective perfect to describe our weather of late. Think warm, sunny, deep blue sky and nearly breezeless. My house is again cooler than outside. In here it is sweatshirt weather. Outside is short sleeve weather.

My mother used to make fried dough for supper on Fridays, the no meat day. We’d all hang around the kitchen counter making sure we got our dough turn. My mother’s frying pan held three small or two big pieces of fried dough. She used to buy the dough at the supermarket. I remember it came in a blue and white box. We slathered butter and sprinkle salt on it. Fried dough was one of our favorite suppers.

We ate a lot of hamburger growing up, but my mother was a whiz at cooking hamburger so many different ways we never got tired of eating it. I still love meatloaf and American chop suey. She made spaghetti sauce with ground beef, another fake oriental dish of hamburger with water chestnuts and crispy chow mein on top,. The fall back was always  burgers. I love cheeseburgers.

My food in Ghana didn’t really vary a whole lot. We were lucky to live in the only area of the country which bred beef so we could always buy meat in the market. There was even a meat factory where we could buy some sort of tubular meat masquerading as a hot dog. The meat from the market was always tough. Only old cows were slaughtered. The meat was cooked in a broth like sauce with tomatoes and onions which tenderized the meat. I think we had that most nights though we also ate chicken, free range chickens because the chickens wandered all over the place all day but did came home to roost at night. We mostly ate mashed yams  but also had rice on occasion. Breaking teeth was a PC volunteer problem as the rice always had a few rocks. You needed to spend time cleaning it, but it was easier not to. When volunteers got together, food was always a topic of conversation.

Living alone means I don’t always make dinner. I improvise with whatever is in the fridge. I’m content with cheese and crackers or hummus and pita bread. I’m even happy with cereal. I do have meat in the freezer, heavy on the chicken, but I usually forget to take it out. Last night, though, I took out some Chinese sausage to defrost and I have some rice I can cook. That’s like a gourmet meal for me.

“The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.”

October 22, 2017

My back is pure misery. I grab things so I can move from room to room. I keep wishing for a Star Trek doctor with his medical tricorder to knock at the door and with one button take the pain away. I guess I’ll just have to keep wishing.

We are again blessed with a warm, sunny day. The house is even cooler than outside. The blue sky is striking. I figure I’ll make my way to the deck in a bit to enjoy the day.

When I was a kid, we always carved pumpkins. I loved to pull out what we always called the pumpkin guts. Every year the pumpkins looked the same when we were done. They had triangle eyes and a triangle nose and a wide grin with a few teeth up and down. The pumpkins went on the front steps. We’d put in real candles and light them. The wind was always blowing them out, but we’d keep lighting them. There is something magical about lit pumpkins grinning in the darkness.

We loved being afraid, not actually afraid but afraid of scary stories we knew weren’t real. My dad told great stories. We all know the hook. I swear it is a universal story. Small parts of it change, but the hook is always on the car door.

I remember walking on the sidewalks and seeing my shadow. It looked tall and eerie this time of year. Add the sound of my footsteps, and I’d keep an eye out to make sure I wasn’t being followed. I never was, but my imagination worked overtime. Ghosts flew.

I still love the old black and white horror movies. They were always on this time of year. When Dracula hid his face with his cape, we knew, without seeing it, that he was about to bite some poor victim. Renfield was one of my favorite characters. He’d do his master’s bidding and eat flies to keep up his strength. Bela Lugosi had the best voice. Frankenstein wasn’t as scary as Dracula. The doctor’s creation never really had a chance. One of my favorite scenes is when the villagers carrying torches and pitchforks follow their dogs to where the monster is. I always felt bad for Larry Talbot who turns into the Wolfman. His fate was decided by Bela, the Gypsy. I still love these movies. Lots of blood and slashers do nothing for me.

I am resting my back today, not that I need an excuse to be a sloth.

“I recently went to a new doctor and noticed he was located in something called the Professional Building. I felt better right away. “

March 30, 2017

Today is a New England spring day. The sun is bright, the sky is blue, and it’s in the mid-40’s. The weatherman calls this seasonable. I call it chilly.

Yesterday was a busy day for me. I was out and about early. I had a doctor’s appointment at 9:30 so I slept on the downstairs couch and set an Alexa alarm to wake me up. She did just fine. The doctor has decided my back needs to be looked at again. He used his knee hammer on my right leg five or six times before it reacted with that quick kick. “Something’s wrong with this knee,” was his professional opinion based on years of schooling followed by years of doctoring. I tell him about that knee every year, and every year he schedules tests which show nothing. This year we’ll do another MRI on my back.

When I was a kid, we never had regularly scheduled visits to doctors or dentists. We went only for apparent pain or injury. I remember seeing the doctor a day or two after I fell down the stairs when I was ten. I remember that doctor well. Pain sometimes does that: etches an event into a memory which dims but never disappears. That doctor, the one with no bedside manner, cleaned my chin gash quickly and painfully.

I remember sitting with my mother and then being called into the doctor’s office. It was huge with high ceilings and lots of wood around doors and windows. The office was in the front downstairs room of his house. The doctor was huge with the sort of big belly some old men seem to get. He always wore a vest with suspenders underneath. The desk was wooden and befitting a huge man. He had a skeleton hanging near his desk. That fascinated me. He checked the gash then cleaned it as if he were cleaning tile grout and then put a butterfly bandage on it. He told my mother it needed stitches, but the cut had become infected in the day or two since the fall so he couldn’t close it. I was thrilled. I didn’t care if that cut stayed opened forever. All I cared about was no stitches.

I loved my first dentist. He always used gas so I never felt any pain, but my father made me switch from that painless, expensive, dentist to a really old, cheap, dentist who didn’t even use novocaine. I swear his drill was a pedal model like the old sewing machines. I remember gripping the chair arms so hard I must have left finger impressions. He soured me on dentists for a long time, but I had to have all dental work finished before I went to Peace Corps staging in Philadelphia. I faced my bête noire and was triumphant. At the dental check in Philadelphia,  I was perfect, good to go.

I figure if my back is my only complaint, I can manage. I can still be good to go.

“Sometimes me think, ‘What is Friend?’ Then me say, ‘Friend is someone to share the last cookie with.'”

December 4, 2016

Huzzah! Huzzah! My laundry is clean. The hall is empty of filled laundry bags. It was my only accomplishment of the day, but I consider it a huge one. I did binge watch a Netflix series called Between. I reasoned that sitting with pillows behind my back was a necessity as my back was aching from the trips up and down the stairs. In between changing loads from the washer to the dryer I brought up exactly two Christmas decorations. If anyone asks, I can truthfully say I have started decorating.

My heat is cranking. It is cold, down to the 30’s. It is also a gray day. The bare branches have an eerie look against the sky, sort of a Halloween vibe. There isn’t even a breeze. I have to go out later but I’m not looking forward to it. The warm, cozy house is just so inviting.

Gracie has been in and out all morning. She is restless, and I have no idea why. She does like the cold weather so maybe that’s a reason. She does bark, but when I check, I don’t see anyone or anything. Maybe her barking is what keeps the critters at bay.

My sister and I had our usual Sunday conversation. Today we talked food as both of us were watching the food channel with its Christmas programs. Moe is deciding what she’ll make for Christmas Eve when the whole family comes. Fondue is already on her list. She’ll have two fondue pots, one with oil for meat and one with cheese for breads and vegetables. Onion dip, of course, is a must. My mother always had it so the tradition continues. Moe usually has something Mexican like chili verde or corn tortillas. My brother-in-law usually smokes a roast and some chicken. The roast gets cut into bites and is served with a sauce. I’d want a horseradish sauce. Moe is trying to decide which sweets. Whoopie pies and sugar cookies are a must. She’s thinking maybe peanut butter cookies with a kiss in the middle but that’s as far as she’s gotten.

Part of the fun of Christmas is the cooking and baking. The house usually smells great and I swear everything is delicious.

My favorite time of day is to get up and eat leftovers from dinner, especially spicy food.

July 24, 2016

Last night, the first movie night of the season, got started with appetizers and dinner but then lightning brightened the sky, and it started to rain. We hustled inside with the movie equipment, chair pillows and the food. Even though it didn’t rain for too long the lightning hung around so we were glad to be inside the house. We sat at the dining room table, munched movie candy, and chatted. It was a wonderful evening despite no movie.

I was late in getting up this morning. All the hauling of movie equipment from the cellar and the preparations for dinner caused horrible back pain. I could barely move when I went to bed, but, luckily, right now, there is barely any pain. As I have no plans for today my back should be fine.

Right now it is sunny, 80˚, with 54% humidity. That is far better than it has been; however, I’m staying inside cooled by the AC.

Summer invites laziness, and I am happily lazy. Some days I sit on the deck and read. I don’t even bother to get dressed. I talk to a few people on the phone, and that is the extent of my human contact. I eat random foods instead of a real meal and eat when I’m hungry. Some days it’s cheese and crackers. One day it was caramel popcorn for lunch. I cooked Chinese sausages the other day and ate them for three meals in a row. I don’t get bored with leftovers. I aways think many foods taste better the next day.

The TV is on, and I’m being entertained by a movie called Dinoshark. I figure I don’t need to explain the plot as the title is enough to give it away. It is a low budget film so the effects are cheesy. The dinoshark looks a bit rubbery. Why am I watching? I can’t resist a B movie. Besides, I’m getting ready for next Sunday’s Sharknado 4.

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”

June 7, 2016

So far today is another lovely day. When I got the papers this morning, I could smell the scent of the flowers from my front garden. I had to stop to look and to smell. The air was summer. This afternoon the storm is coming with rain, heavy winds and even the possibility of hail. Right now with sunlight, small breezes and the singing of birds the rain seems improbable.

My microwave just died after a long and useful life. I will replace it today if I can find one I like. The dead one was small. It fit on an old child’s desk in my kitchen. My African cookbooks were on top, and kitchen towels were in the space beneath the top where school books used to be stored. I figure I’ll need my neighbor’s help hauling the old out and the new in. My back doesn’t do heavy.

The flight to Ghana is booked. We’re leaving on September 20th and returning on October 7th. The only glitch is a long layover in New York, five hours, before we leave. We’re hoping that may change by September. If not, we’ll be lounge lizards.

Traveling with my friends will be the best part of this trip. They are funny, amiable and sarcastic, one of my favorite traits. They will be driving from New Hampshire to meet me in Boston. We have a few places already on our to visit list including the new lodge at Mole National Park (http://zainalodge.com). It is expensive, but we figured we deserved it.

We have decided to fly from Accra to Tamale. The land trip is long and tedious, and we’ve done it enough times that we don’t need to do it again. I flew that route a few times when I lived in Ghana. It was a luxury on my monthly pittance. After the lodge, we’ll rent a car and driver to go to Bolga where we hope to stay in a former student’s new house. She is hurrying to finish so we can stay there. All we need is windows and a bathroom that flushes. I hate aiming at a hole. AC would also be nice.

I always knew I’d go back to Ghana. Over the years I said it many times when people asked me. I don’t know what took me so long to get there. Now I’m going to make my third trip in five years. The first time back I remember getting so excited as the flight neared landing. When I got outside the airport so many memories rushed back at me. The air smelled of wood fires and trees and thick bushes. I could hear Twi being spoken and Ga, the local language. The Ghanaians were hustling to make money carrying bags. That too was so familiar. They use to rush us at bus depots and train stations. I felt the heat and the humidity. I started to sweat. Yup, that was Ghana.

 

“The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.”

April 14, 2016

Given the lateness of the hour, you’d think I dawdled the morning away. That is not even close to what happened. The last few days I have been in a funk, a malaise if you will, as my back has been especially bad, especially painful. Yesterday Gracie and I went to the dump. A couple of the bags were so heavy I had to drag them, but they had to go. They had developed dump smell. When I had finished tossing the bags into the big bins, I could barely get back to the car for the pain. I sat down for a while, patted Gracie and bemoaned my fate. After that we had two more errands. When I got home, my back was so bad I took up residence on the couch and stayed there all the rest of the day. I caught up with my DVR’d programs, read through the mountain of catalogues and took a nap. This morning I was so much better, and the best part is the grayness has gone.

I had that weird bout of energy I get, one of those walk around the house and dust with my sweatshirt mornings. I washed all the dog’s dishes and her placemat. I swept the kitchen floor and then changed all the newspapers at Fern’s alternative cat box by the front door. I even made my bed. I feel accomplished.

Today I have to go to the vet’s to pick up Fern and Maddie’s medicine. Maddie’s medicine is for thyroid and Fern’s medicine is for kidneys which, given her age, aren’t functioning as well as they should. The vet figures that’s why Fern has chosen not to use the litter boxes. Fern would have had to take a couple of pills a day. I would have needed to hire a crew to help. When I told the vet how feisty Fern is, she said I could get it in a rub but it was more money, as if I cared. The rub goes on her ear. That’s my only part. The rest is up to Fern.

Today is beautiful, a bit chillier than yesterday but all in all it’s a lovely day. With the change in seasons I have noticed an adjective change. In winter I would have said today is colder than yesterday. Now, in spring, it is chillier.

I guess all in all I’m feeling lucky. After everything it sounds strange I’m sure, but today my back doesn’t hurt for the first time in nearly a week. The Red Sox finally beat the Orioles. My house is clean enough for company should someone drop by to visit. The vet bill this month caused tremors, my hands shook signing my name, but we finally know what’s going on, and Fern will get better.

Things are looking up in my world.

“A wild and crazy weekend involves sitting on the front porch, smoking a cigar, reading a book.”

October 3, 2014

This morning was one of those put a mirror under her nose to see if she is still breathing mornings. I didn’t wake up until ten. My guess is it was all the errands from yesterday, the hauling in of the packages, the loads of wash with the accompanying up and down two flights of stairs and the changing of my bed. My back is no longer fit for days like yesterday. On my dance card today is switching out the screens and storm doors.

The day is dreary. It may even rain again later. I turned on the heat this morning for a short while to get rid of the dampness. The house is cozy now. The animals are in here with me while they take their morning naps. All three are quite comfortable: two are on the couch and one is on the afghan. I should live their lives.

Earlier I sprayed the red spawn. He didn’t hear me coming so he took the full brunt of the spray. He was shocked and immediately leapt, still dripping I suspect, from the deck rail to one tree then another until he alit on the big pine branch and began castigating me. He was chirping and chattering and waving his tail in indignation all the while looking right at me. He has to go. He best be packing his little bag for the move.

When I was a kid, I seldom had plans for the weekends. If the movie was good, I’d head to the matinee. If not, I might ride my bike or roller skate or just walk the tracks. Life was filled with spontaneity. Sunday was church and the family dinner but the rest of the day was mine. Sometimes the weather determined what we did. Rain in the summer was never a deterrent to playing outside, but in the winter it was far too cold to get wet. I always thought winter rain was a waste of water. It should always have been snow.

I don’t make too many weekend plans. I watch the Amazing Race with my friends, one of our traditions, and that’s it. I am back to spontaneity and maybe a bit of inertia. I’m liking my life.