Posts Categorized: Patience

I’m Trying to Become a Weather Believer

I know that weather forecasting is an imperfect science and those weather folks are doing the best they can. But, because it is an imperfect science and they are sometimes wrong … really wrong, I’m bad about discounting their advice. For example, I’ve killed trees and lawns by trusting that the expected rain will actually fall. Conversely, I’ve sent perfectly good plants to their early demises by not believing that the temperature will drop below freezing. NOT THIS YEAR!!

Many of the plants on my back patio are new this year, having been purchased to replace those that didn’t make it through the first freeze last year. I’ve tried to be a wise and good plant mother to them, and they all look pretty good. So I’ve been following the weather rather closely. And, according to the weather app on my phone, Thursday night the temperature was supposed to drop to 30. Actually, it’s not supposed to get down to 30 until 6:00 a.m. the next morning, but the high temperature for the day was at 9:00 a.m. (low 40’s), so I bundled myself up and dug out my long cuffed gloves and went out.

Everything else has to stay outside. We have a garage, which can keep the plants from freezing, but there’s not enough light, even if I keep the garage door up.

Several years ago, in our previous yard, I had some upright, white bougainvillea (yeah, I really like bougainvillea). Before a freeze, I went to the nursery to ask about how to protect them. “Put plastic over them?” I asked. “First,” the nurserymen said, “cover them with a sheet. That helps heat stay in. Then, cover that with plastic. Plastic alone can damage the plant.” I did that, but those plants aren’t really meant to be in the ground in Central Texas.

But, I remembered the “sheet, then plastic” advice, and went with that.

Sometimes, I can get away with just moving plants close to the house, because it’s a little warmer there, out of the wind, so I started with that.

Everything’s nestled all snug in their beds. The temps are supposed to be in the low to high 50’s for the next two days, but the overnight temps in the mid to low 30’s. And in a week, the high is supposed to be 70 with a low of 51. I think it’s just the beginning of my winter plant dance.

 

Flowers and grass fade away,
but what our God has said
    will never change.

Isaiah 40:8 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Things like:

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Luke 2:10-14 (New Revised Standard Version)

That Special Grandparent/Grandchild Bond

We went to a family wedding, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We were seated at a table with a couple of my cousins and their husbands. There were also a couple of empty chairs.

A cousin pointed to those chairs and said, “Bill and Karen couldn’t come. Karen’s sick.”

“Oh, no,” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“She kept the grandkids,” she said. “They were sick. And so she got sick.”

“Ah,” I said. “Been there. Done that.” And I explained how, last February, I went to Fort Worth for a couple of days to stay with Peter. The whole family had been sick, but Kevin and April were going back to work. Peter still had a temperature of 99, while meant he could not go back to preschool.

“Sure,” I had said, when they asked if I could come up to stay with Peter. He wasn’t really still sick.

But, he was. I came back to Waco on Friday afternoon. By Sunday morning, I had a bit of a scratchy throat and thought I shouldn’t go to be at church with little children. By Monday, I was truly sick. By Tuesday, I left my bed for quick trips to the bathroom. Otherwise, I was in bed.

My cousin related how she had stayed with her grandkids a while back, and picked up something they had. After she was back at home, she felt like she really needed to go to work, and did. And gave whatever it was to the rest of the office. She said her boss, not happy, said, “Next time? Stay home.”

Ha, ha. We had a good laugh.

The next afternoon, Kevin and April and Peter arrived. They were going to stay until Wednesday afternoon, and we were going to put up the tree and decorate it. And have fun.

Monday, Peter took a nap (unusual) for a couple of hours in the afternoon. That evening, we tried two thermometers to try to determine if he had a fever. We ended up not being sure. And, he didn’t really seem sick. Tuesday afternoon, he took another nap. At one point, he came in and said to Kevin, “I’m cold.” “Then go put your pajamas on,” said Kevin. Peter returned, carrying his pillow. “That’s your pillow,” said Kevin. “I know,” said Peter, putting it down on the floor and lying down on it.

Kevin scooted Peter so that his body was on his pillow and his head on a little square pillow he sometimes brings. Kevin covered him up with the comforter from his bed. And Peter slept another hour and a half. At one point, Peter opened his eyes and said, “I’m done with my nap.” And closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, he was all perky, and we all went to lunch together and they headed back to Fort Worth. On Friday, I felt a little throat-scratchy and head-achey. On Saturday, I was sneezing and blowing my nose. On Sunday, I stayed home from church. By Thursday morning, I felt much better. I had only woken up in the night a couple of times, when I needed to take Tylenol Super-Duper Cold and Flu, and I slept well for the first time in days. By Thursday afternoon, I was back to feeling achey and blowing my nose again.

Tiny kids with mighty germs.

 With all my heart
    I praise the Lord,
    and with all that I am
    I praise his holy name!
With all my heart
    I praise the Lord!
    I will never forget
    how kind he has been.

The Lord forgives our sins,
heals us when we are sick.

Psalm 103: 1-3 (Contemporary English Version)

And once again I am grateful for tissues in a box, and particularly for the Cool Touch Kleneex brand that feel so good on my red, problem nose. I’m glad that I can go to bed and not have to launder, hang out to dry, and iron any linen handkerchiefs.

 

 

To the Grocery Store . . . and Beyond!

Maaaaaaany years ago, when the boys were kids and teens, and we got paid on the first of every month, I found that we ran out of food AND money by about the 28th/29th of the month. To combat that, I started making a month’s worth of menus and the grocery list for the whole month. That took a couple of days. Then, I spent the better part of an entire day grocery shopping. I’d go one place for a whole cart of non-perishables, which I then packed into the trunk. And then I’d go on to another store for a whole cart of cold and frozen stuff. I’d rush home and haul everything into the house, and put things away. And then, it really was nice to know, every day, what I would be preparing, and knowing that everything I needed was there.

I don’t do that any more. First, we get paid every two weeks. Second, I’m way older now and the very idea of shopping that way makes me have to go lie down whenever I think about it.

So, now I’m at some grocery store a couple of times a week, if not more, when I’ve forgotten something or changed my mind.

 

It’s really irritating when folks do this. This guy has parked his cart while he’s searching for something. But, instead of keeping a pathway clear for other shoppers, he’s standing beside his cart so that now, between him and his cart, no one else can move up or down the aisle.

When we were first married, David was in the Air Force. We did our grocery shopping in the commissary on the Air Force base, and occasionally in the nearby Navy base commissary. There was no funny business like this in either of those places. The aisles were one way, and there were people patrolling and making sure that things were going smoothly and efficiently. The center, horizontal rung on each cart was painted red, all the way around. There were “half-cart” lanes, and shoppers learned how to wisely pack their items so that they wouldn’t peep over that red rung, or they’d get gently, but firmly, moved to the full-cart lane. Military precision all the way around.

One food store-related thing that I think I’ve finally learned, the hard way, of course, is the inadvisability of purchasing plants at the grocery store.

I really love Cyclamen. I’ve not had lots of luck with them, but I keep on trying. The pink flowered plant came from a very nice nursery in Fort Worth. The other ones, which had white flowers and red flowers, came from the grocery store. I understand and accept that it might be my fault. But it seems a little suspicious, doesn’t it. And, really, I think I should stick to buying food at a store whose main purpose is getting good, nutritious, wholesome food (well, and the candy bars and chips) to people. And, if I want beautiful, long-living healthy plants, I might should stick with places for whom that is their specialty, the thing for which they are trained.

My new mantra:

Groceries from the grocery store.

Flowers and house plants from the plant store.

 

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good

Genesis 1:11-12 (New International Version)

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Luke 12:27 (New International Version)

Okay, it guess there is a little bit of crossover here. They’re both growing things, and they both nourish, in usually different ways. But I think I’m sticking with my new attitude. Things grown for the nutrition of my body should come from the grocery store. Things  grown for beauty should probably come from the nursery. But, those big, fat, orange pumpkins are pretty attractive. And big red apples. Hmmm. What a conundrum.

What a Week . . . End

Peter has come for a visit the past two weekends. This past weekend was the regular Thursday-Monday visit, but the weekend before, Kevin and a friend had planned a campout (not for little guys, and just as well, the temperature was frigid and the wind fierce), so Peter came for Saturday and Sunday. He and David went out to breakfast, as usual, but, alas, they could not visit the Mayborn Museum, as they usually do. Because the Mayborn is part of the Baylor campus, and on the river side of things, just across from the giant football stadium, and as parking is at a premium on game day, the museum is closed when there’s a football game. They came home from breakfast at loose ends. “What’ll we do now?”

The last time Peter was here, on a Sunday, we went to the library near church, because it’s the only one open on Sundays. We found some friends from church who were using the computer in the children’s part of the library. There were some interesting things to do. So, to the glum men of the house, I suggested that we might try going to the library. Oh, yes! Yes! Yes!

This past week, I picked him up on Thursday after school.

He took a long time to fall asleep Thursday night (all the excitement of a trip to Waco)! David said that at 12:15, Peter came wandering to his office and talked about a dream. “He said he was flying in an airplane,” David said the next day.

“And he fell out and the wind blew him to safety?” I asked. “Yeah!” he said.

But Peter easily went back to bed and fell asleep quickly. And slept until … 4:15, when he appeared at my bedside. “I’m hungry,” he said. “Do you want your Nutella kolache?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said.

We went to the kitchen, and he ate about half of it.  “That’s all I want,” he said. “I’ll eat the rest later.” He told me about the airplane dream and then walked back into the living room and got on his air mattress. And went back to sleep. He woke up again at 8:50 Friday morning, which put us a little bit later for zoo arrival than usual. We typically like to get to the zoo parking lot by 8:45 a.m. (it opens at 9:00), so we can get a good parking place under a little bit of shade, so that the car’s not so hot when we leave. But, now, in November, that’s not really problem.

One of his most favorite things to do at the zoo is to play in this dirt, which is in a little artificial wishing well. He pretends we’re making stew, and we gather leaves and small sticks and pebbles, and he stirs (not much, because the dirt in there is pretty tamped down) and stirs. This time, he ran across a quarter and a penny. “No,” I said, anticipating the question. “You cannot take this money. People put it in here and made a wish. We are not allowed to remove it.” He covered it back up before we left.

When we left the zoo, we stopped at the snack bar for something to eat, and he chose a small bag of Chex Mix. Notice how the bag says “Savory?” Traditional Chex Mix is “Savory.” Peter does not, apparently, like “Savory.”

We went to Wal-Mart for stuff for the rest of our meals. We checked the Chex Mix area, and, it was as I feared. There is no such thing as “Regular” Chex Mix. There is Chocolate Chex Mix and Bold Chex Mix and Honey Nut Chex Mix and Muddie Buddies Chex Mix. Even the Cheddar Chex Mix says “Savory” on it. (And the chocolate/muddie buddie/Honey Nut varieties seemed like a no-go for his folks.)

I suggested that we make our own. We visited the cereal aisle to look for possibilities. We settled on Rice Chex, Rice Krispies, peanuts, Pretzel Goldfish (which we had to get at Target), Cheerios, and I gave in to yogurt raisins. I added cashews to the list, after seeing it in another recipe, but he said no. And, we already had some cheese crackers to add. And that’s it. No spices or flavorings or butter. No baking and stirring every five minutes. Just the ingredients, all stirred up together. We had it for dinner Saturday night.

 

AND, he wanted to make Rice Krispie treats, and we should get some marshmallows. Fortunately, I had already gotten some at Central Market in Fort Worth, before I picked him up. I cannot get the kind I need (vegetarian) at HEB. I haven’t looked at a health food store, but I might could get them there. (And, if you’re confounded by the problem, Peter and April are vegetarians, and regular marshmallows are not vegetarian. Read the label for the solution to that conundrum.) So he went home with a plastic Glad box of snack mix and one with Rice Krispie treats.

Sunday morning–time change, and he was up reasonably early, which made getting to church easy.

Monday morning, he showed up at my bedside at 5:50, which is just about the time that David gets up. He was surprised at how early Peter was awake, but, really, it’s about the time that he would usually get up (at the REAL 6:50!). (I AM NOT ANY KIND OF FAN, AT ALL, OF TIME CHANGE!) David got up, Peter went to play, and I got up and started Peter’s laundry.

I wanted to visit a nursery I like in Arlington before delivering Peter back home. I pulled off 35 a little before I thought I needed to, to put the address into the phone so I could get good directions. We stopped at a gas station for me to do that. Peter needed a restroom, so we went in. Then we walked up and down the aisles, looking for a snack for him that I was willing to purchase. We finally whittled it down to pumpkin seeds.

At the counter, as I was opening my purse for money for the seeds, the clerk looked down at Peter and said, “I like your hair.” He looked up and said, “Thank you.” She looked at me and said, “Can I give him a cookie?” Now really. What was I going to do?!? Say no!? Which was like being rude to a kind person who wanted to give a gift to a child. So I said, “Yes.”

 

 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

Proverbs 31:17 (New International Version)

I may not be quite as vigorous or strong as I used to be, but I can still pick him up. When I really need to. But it’s hard for me to carry him around. However, at the nursery, there were these little carts for people to pull around to put their plants on. With a long handle on the front. And, in my case, a boy sitting among the plants. And, for the most part, uphill. Which might explain why, yesterday before I started walking on the treadmill, I took one of the pain pills I take when I’m feeling extra sore. But we’re talking about my arms here. Right!?!

Autumn Update

The first time I handed out apples for Halloween, was, I think, the year before Jeremy was born. David was taking Kevin around to family and friends, and I was home with the porch light on and apples in a bowl. Most kids seemed happy about the apples, but not one. He knocked on the door and I opened it and held out my bowl of apples. He looked down at it and said, a little angrily, “Apples! I don’t want an apple!”

“Well, that’s all I’ve got,” I said. And he turned around and stalked back down the sidewalk to his dad, who was waiting at the curb.

What did you say to her?!?!” Dad yelped. And I shut the door with a bit of a smile. Halloween is a nice time to learn manners and appropriate behavior.  And I’ve persevered.

This year, I bought four bags of apples for Trick-or-Treaters. I emptied three of the bags into a basket to take to the door. I didn’t count the apples, but it seems like I maybe gave out about one-and-a-half bags worth.

The weather forecast was dreary, but the rain had fallen late in the afternoon, and by time kids came, things were just damp. I think our house might have been the only one on our block with the porch light on.

A group of three or four came early, and then there was quite a lull. But, later, there were several doorbell rings and small groups of children, all ages, and all dressed up.

I’m still a little amazed that most kids think that apples are a cool thing to get for Halloween (and I’m determined to be the lone voice of reason in a sea of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups–which I would eat six of every day, if I was allowed that sort of thing–the Reese’s, not apples).

One little fellow, the smallest of his group, the ‘way smallest of any group, stood solidly by the door as his companions reached, one by one, into the basket for their apples. For every apple they put in their bag, he put another apple in his little plastic pumpkin, saying, rather zombie-like, “Apple! Apple! Apple! ” with every one. I finally stopped him, because I was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get safely down the steps without falling over sideways from the significant weight of his apple-filled pumpkin.

Lots of apples remain, which is not as much fun as an apple basket full of Butterfingers, but better to have around. We may need to make applesauce in Sunday School.

Meanwhile, the fall plant report.

As long as the earth remains,
there will be planting
    and harvest,
    cold and heat;
winter and summer,
    day and night.

Genesis 8:22 (Contemporary English Version)

 

 

And, I suppose, squirrels.

 

We the Jury . . .

I got this jury notice. I don’t even remember when it came, but I was supposed to report last Monday.

The card always says to call their recording after 5:30 on the Friday before report time, to see if we actually have to report. I called. We had to.

My jury duty history has been rather spotty. When Kevin was a toddler, I got a summons, and there’s an exemption if you have a child at home with no one else to care for him. So I circled that one and sent it back. Then we moved to Lubbock for a year. Then we lived in a rental house for a couple of years. Then we moved into the house we bought. So, I’d forgotten about juries. I guess they lost track of me, as my address kept changing, and, I guess, those cards kept getting returned.

Then, once, when neighbors were out of town and we were getting their mail for them, our mail got mixed up with theirs, I completely overlooked a jury notice. When I found it, I was panic-stricken (thinking they might arrest me or something). I called frantically. Turns out, it was one of those days when the prospective jurors actually didn’t have to report.

Then, 1991, I had to go. And I actually got picked to be on the jury. And I actually served, start to finish, for the only time ever. It was a Workman’s Comp case, and, we the jury, did not think the guy was owed any more money.

I did get picked another time. It took so long that they sent us off for lunch before the trial began. When we got back, and were sitting in the jury room, someone, I guess one of the prosecutors, came in and said that, while we were at lunch, the case had been settled. He assured us that our presence had not been for naught. Our being there and having the jury chosen and the case ready to be presented, made whomever was on trial decide that maybe that deal that had been offered wasn’t so bad after all. He said that our willingness to be part of the judicial process helped the case get resolved. And thanks. And our checks would be in the mail. ($7.50, I think.)

Once, I got a summons and showed up for a case that involved a drunk driver. Oh boy, I thought. I am going to fry this guy. But then the lawyers began to talk about being unbiased and listening carefully to all the testimony and making a good and honest decision, and I felt bad and resolved to be a good juror. And then they asked if anyone was a non-drinker, and I raised my hand and that was that.

Then, more recently, I had a summons. They come a few weeks before jurors have to report. I forgot about it. I felt really bad about it. And really anxious about it.

A few months ago, one Monday morning, so few potential jurors showed up that there barely were enough people to handle the week’s court cases. Needless to say, the judge was FURIOUS!! This was after I’d neglected to show up, but, I’m being more careful and attentive now.

So, I showed up. But I wasn’t quite as anxious as I’d been when I first got the thing. For those of you who haven’t kept up with local legal events here, the first Twin Peaks shooting case has begun. The ladies who were sitting on either side of me in the potential juror room, and I, were all grateful that that’s not the case we’d be hearing. (It started a couple of weeks ago. The shooting happened two-and-a-half years ago.)

So, quite a few people who felt they had legitimate exemptions went up and talked to the judge. Most of them got to leave. Then, they called the names of 60 folks, and told them to leave but to return on Tuesday morning. Then, they called the name of 62 more people (including me), and also said to come back on Tuesday.

I went back on Tuesday. And this time, not to the juror room in the Annex building, but right up to the third floor of the courthouse. At 9:00. I didn’t want to be at all late, and I wanted to be sure I could find parking (which isn’t all that hard, after all), so I arrived at about 8:15. But, I brought some work to do. At around 9:15, I got up and walked around a bit. Actually, around and around and around the big open space that looks down on the rotunda. I stopped and talked to a friend I haven’t seen in many years. And talked. And talked. Finally, at 10:15 or so, they opened the doors and called us, by name, to enter the courtroom. They lined us up on the benches, six per row, all going in in the order in which they had called us. That took a few minutes.

Then, the judge said, “We’re sorry we had to keep you out there so long. And we’re sorry that we couldn’t tell you anything. But if we started talking to you about what was going on in here, then it would have undermined the whole process.” There were several cases on the docket, and all of them got resolved with pleas and deals. And we were done.

And again, the judge was sober and serious about the fact that our showing up and our being ready to be part of a jury had made the process work. Cases were resolved.

I looked at my watch and thought, “Hmmm. I can actually get over to West Avenue Elementary School in time for the Reading Club time that I thought I was going to miss.”

Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:

Respect and obey God!
This is what life
    is all about.
God will judge
    everything we do,
even what is done in secret,
    whether good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13, 14 (Contemporary English Version)

I guess if God’s doing the judging, a jury of my peers might not be all that reliable. They might have a bias.

 

 

 

“Come! Come! I Want to Show You the Pictures!”

That’s one of my new favorite sentences. (Along with “Your GFR is 43!“) My retina guy said it to me. (Yes, I have a retina guy. Well, he’s a Retina Specialist, to be completely accurate.)

I’ve been seeing a retina specialist for several years, in addition to my ophthalmologist (the spelling of which I always have to look up). Diabetes causes problems with, well, most parts of one’s body, but the blood vessels of the retina are particularly vulnerable. So, for quite a while, I’ve been going to the retina place, and a few years ago, the doctor said, “I’d like to try an injection to help with this problem.” Now, you might be thinking that he meant a regular ol’ injection, like a flu shot, or something like that. Well, yes, in that a needle is involved. But, really, we’re talking about my retina, so the injection involved is, yes, indeedy, in my eye. (Try to take a deep breath. Don’t freak out. And, really, try not to get diabetes.)

He explained, oh, so carefully, that they numb my eyeball. And then they put in, umm, some round thing, that keeps me from blinking. I guess it’s the same thing that they put in when one has cataract surgery, to keep that eyelid open and that eyeball exposed. Then, he says, “Look way over at the wall,” which exposes the maximum part of eyeball white, while keeping my eye from seeing that big needle approaching. And there’s a little bit of pressure, but really, it’s not painful. The worst part is that sometimes the injection creates temporary, dark floaties in my eye, which, at present, keeps looking like I have a strand of hair in front of my eye. But, it’s actually a little dark thing, floating around inside. It’ll go away. They always do. (Once, one type of injection caused a swarm of tiny gnat-like things that floated around for ages! They didn’t impair my vision, they were just a little annoying. And not painful.)

Anyway, back to the pictures. Each time I go to the retina place (which is monthly, these days) the first thing I do is go and sit down, put my chin in a cup sort of shelf (to hold my head steady) and look at the blue dot shining in front of me in a machine that takes pictures of my retinas. Actually, now that I think about it, the first thing I do is get my eyes dilated, so they can take those pictures. Those pictures, generated on a computer, then get sent down the hall to be looked at and evaluated by the doctor and staff, I presume for them to decide exactly which kind of injection I’ll need. I’ve seen copies of the pictures before. I don’t understand them. I believe what I’m told about them, and I believe that the retina staff does understand them.

Last Monday, I was sitting in the chair, in the examining room, when Dr. Castillo came in. He held out his hands to me and said, “Come. Come. I want to show you the pictures.” He led me out to the hallway, where a couple of other staff were standing, looking at the pictures on the screen. “Look! Look!” he said.

I looked. “I don’t really know what I’m looking for,” I said.

He pointed to the line of pictures on the left. “See. See these big, black spots. That’s what we are trying to shrink. Now, look here.” He pointed to the line of pictures on the right.

I did see. There were black spots, but they were flatter and smaller. Much smaller.

TA-DAH!!

And then I had to go sit back in the chair and get another injection. But, seriously, the bleeding, seeping spots are getting smaller. That’s preserving my eyesight. It’s a win/win.

As I got up to go, I thanked him for working so hard to help my eyes. And he said, “Thank you. Thank you for letting me treat you!”

“Do some patients not let you treat them?” I asked. He sighed and shook his head. “Yes, many.”

I just don’t understand. Okay, injections to your EYE!! It sounds horrible. What’s more horrible? Not being able to read. Not being able to drive. Not being able to understand what’s happening on the television/computer/movie theater screen.

I don’t understand my podiatrist’s patients who won’t wear their orthopedic devices, or do wear shoes that cause blisters which cause abscesses which leads to amputations.

I don’t understand my nephrologist’s patients who won’t stop eating foods that are hard for kidneys to process. Yes, bananas and tomatoes and potatoes and fresh oranges and pears and peaches are yummy (and, nutritious). And salty, crisp potato chips and corn chips are so very delicious. Sausage! Hot Dogs! I could go on and on and on. Not eat those things! HORRIBLE. You know what’s more horrible. Having to go to the dialysis clinic three times a week. Every week. For the rest of your life.

Vision loss and amputation and dialysis may very well be in my future. But I’m going to push that particular future as far away as I can.

and I praise you
    because of
the wonderful way
    you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
    Of this I have no doubt.

Psalm 139:14 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Meanwhile, on the fingernail front:

I also went by the dermatologist’s on Monday, to have the stitches removed.

…By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

Possibly there are folks out there who don’t recognize this partial quote. (The title of this post) It’s Shakespeare, from the play Romeo and Juliet. The longer quote is:
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”

The speaker is Juliet, and she’s unhappy that the young man with whom she’s recently fallen in love is from a family on the outs with her family. Her point being that his last name doesn’t matter; she loves him anyhow, in the way that the scent of a rose is going to smell just as nice, even if we called it, for example, “stench-plant.”

The name “Romeo” has come to mean a lover, a ladies’ man, etc. (you can look it up). I don’t know what Shakespeare meant by it; maybe it was just a common name in those days.

But … moving on. A while back, I kept reading in the newspaper’s television page about the program TURN, the story of George Washington’s spy ring during the Revolutionary War. Like: “Tonight on TURN, the spy ring finds a new ally.” That sort of thing. Finally, during season 4 (the final season), I got interested and discovered that the library had DVDs of the first three seasons. (Yes, I know. We’re archaic. My kids think we’re ridiculous because we don’t have Hulu.) I watched all those videos and then watched the fourth season on the AMC website.

Then I found, also at the library (how old-fashioned am I!), an audiobook edition of the book Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. I’m listening to it. All 13 hours and 19 minutes of it. I’m a little more than halfway through it, but sometimes I have to go back and start a chapter anew. When I’m listening to an audiobook, I’m almost always doing something else, like working in the yard or doing housework, and, at some point, I realize that I’ve been thinking about herbs and not paying attention to patriots, and I have to skip backwards a little bit. And, for this one, a book of Revolutionary War maps would have helped. And a complete list of all the characters. And which side they were on.

Which brings me to Benedict Arnold. The only thing I knew, and pretty much still know, about Benedict Arnold is that he was a traitor during the American Revolution. I think that may be all that most of us know. And some of us probably don’t know that much. But the name means “traitor.” As in: “That which we call Benedict Arnold, by any other name would still be a traitor.” Even knowing more about him and the positive things he did during the Revolutionary War (before he changed his mind about us), he’s still famous/infamous for trying to sell us down the river, almost literally, and would have, if the plot hadn’t been discovered. And the British guy he was working most closely with, John Andre, got captured and hanged. Arnold slipped away and got himself to a British ship and fought with those guys until the end of the war. And then, afterward, in England, tried to stir up things anew! Give it up, Ben!

It’s interesting, at least to me, maybe you, too, that there are names out there, that, when bestowed at birth may just have been names that parents liked, but they’ve come to mean something that no one might have imagined. Like Benedict Arnold. Like Adolph Hitler. Like Benito Mussolini. Like Josef Stalin. Like Caligula.

And there were other names, that have come to mean something that the name-givers (or name-takers) might not have expected. Or, maybe they thought, all the time, that those named would become so significant. Like Mother Teresa. Mohandas Gandhi. Martin Luther. Marie Curie. Johann Sebastian Bach. Alexander Graham Bell. Anne Frank. Francis I.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (New International Version)

A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold. (Contemporary English Version)

Proverbs 22:1

 

I guess “a good reputation” is what scripture means by “a good name.” Our actions, our behavior, and our attitudes, are what make our “names” good.

 

 

It’s Probably a Wart

Goofy looking nail spot. Do not be alarmed by the big lump on the side; that’s just my old lady arthritic joint.

A few weeks ago I noticed a spot on my left index fingernail. I thought I  probably bumped it on something when I was working out in the yard, or doing housework, or playing with Peter, but it didn’t go away. And as the nail grew out, the little spot stayed in place, but the bottom of the nail was looking really strange. So couple of weeks ago I called my doctor to see if I could get in to get it checked out, and they said the doctor’s schedule was full, but I could see her physician’s assistant. Two weeks ago, I went in to make that visit, and the young physician’s assistant looked at my nail and said, “I’ve never seen a skin cancer on a nail before. Well, I’ve seen them in photographs in my textbooks, but I never seen one in real life, so I’m not sure about this. I’d like a doctor to look at it.” When she went to see if she could catch the doctor between patients, she returned looking a little bit alarmed and said, “The doctor is dealing with something way more urgent than what’s going on in here, and I am just sure that she’s going to want you to see a dermatologist, so I’m going to go ahead and make that referral for you. Our office will call you when I get that set up.” And sure enough the very next day, I had a voicemail that said they’d set up an appointment with the dermatologist, and it would be on the 13th at 8:50, but I should be there at 8:15 to do paperwork. So I went on Wednesday to see the dermatologist.

She got out a big, big magnifier and looked intently at my finger for several minutes and said, “The good news is I can tell you this is not a melanoma which is the very worst kind of cancer. It might be a different kind, called Squamous cell carcinoma, or it might be a wart. It looks more like a wart, but I can’t remove it right now because I’ve got patients all day. And we have to numb you up, which takes a while. When can you come in?” “As soon as possible,” I said. “Can you come back this afternoon?” “I certainly can come back this afternoon.” They checked her patient schedule, and said could I come at 3:15 and I said, “Sure.”

The doctor suggested that I take some Tylenol right before I came. That would help, not because the procedure was going to be painful, but afterwards things could be painful as numbing agent wore off. Plus, she would give me a prescription for an additional kind of pain reliever. So I ran some errands, picked up some dinner, and showed back up at 3:15. Despite the fact then I’m in doctor’s offices and stores all the time, I still neglected to bring a jacket or sweater with me. They put me on a couch sort of table, which was very comfortable, with a pillow under my head and my feet elevated. I asked, “Are there blankets here?” and there were. I was quite cozy when the doctor came in and did the first round of numbing with some sharply pointed needles poking here and there around my finger. “Now then,” she said, “we’re going to give you some time to get numb, and I’ll be back,” and she left. I had a very nice little nap.

When she returned, the nurse added a wide arm to the bed to support my own arm, and the doctor said, “Let’s see how numb you are. Can you feel that?” I could feel various pricks as she was putting in more numbing agent. “What about this?” “Yes, I feel that. Yes. Yes. Just a little bit. No. No. No.” Soon, I appeared to be all completely deadened. Knowing that, she went to work. She said, “I’m going to take your nail off, and we’re going to take this wart off.”  She said “I’m digging and digging and digging under here, and I don’t see any evidence of anything else growing under there. I think I’ve got everything.”  Then, “We are going to send that to be biopsied, just so I will know for sure.” She kept on working and explaining, “I’m only lifting up one side of your nail. The other side is attached, and I put your nail back down. I’m going to use a suture to attach your nail back onto your finger. It will look a little strange, but that is going to keep your nail down, in case it gets caught on something. We don’t want it to get torn completely off!” When she was done, she wrapped everything up in lots of gauze and sent me on my way.

All wrapped up and ready to go!

It didn’t take very long, and of course it was painless, as I was wildly numbed up. I had to make another stop at Target for an antibiotic I’m supposed to take. Then back home. I felt fine and did some work and a crossword puzzle or two and found that I could type pretty easily with the bandaged finger. When the numbing seemed to be wearing off, I took one of the pain pills and went to bed. In a couple of hours, I woke up to to the real world. My finger was really, seriously painful. I got up and took another pain pill. I slept on and off until 7:00. I got up and took another pain pill and went back to bed and slept until 11 and got up and had breakfast. It’s still a little uncomfortable. I’m supposed to go back in 10 days for them to take the stitches out. All in all, it hasn’t been that bad. I’d rather know what it is (or isn’t) and deal with it, than ignore it and hope it’s nothing.

 

One of the unexpected bonuses is that I learned how to dictate on the computer, so that my words, pretty much the way I have said them, pop up on the computer. I didn’t know it would do punctuation (but you have to say the punctuation), so I’ve had to go back and do that, and there were some run-on words and things I have to edit. But when you think about all of the typing that would’ve been required to do this with the storage (yes, the computer thought I said “storage” instead of “bandaged”) finger, it’s a wonderful new discovery and skill.

 

Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: “What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?”

Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.”

Mark 2: 15-17 (The Message)

 

I’m grateful to have in my life the people who help me in all the ways I ail.

Fashion-notsta

It’s a miracle that the folks at Target let me purchase clothing any more. The number of things I return far outweighs the things I keep. The challenge is that I prefer to try on clothes in my own bedroom instead of the dressing rooms at Target. More space, better lighting, and the presence of things I already own, like shirts and jackets and skirts and tops, that I want to try on with the new items, to see if they work well together.

I have noticed, in the recent seasons (spring and summer and, coming up, fall), that some dresses I brought home, expecting them to work, have not. There seems to be a trend to long skirted dresses. Not all, but some. And, I like a longer skirt. As a senior adult woman, I like my skirts to at least make it to my knees. And I rather like the ones that hit me mid-shin. I’ve brought home several of the longish dresses, and taken them all back. Here’s the problem:

They’re all too long. Seriously too long. As a senior adult woman, I know that I’m a little bit shorter than I was as a young adult, but I’m still on the tallish side. Then I figured out what the problem was. I’m wearing the wrong shoes.

So, that explains things. I’m sure those long dresses look lovely on those young ladies who are walking around in those tall, tall shoes. I hope they’re saving up their pennies for their podiatrists. Well, when they have to get a podiatrist.

 

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,

Psalm 92:12-14 (New International Version)

 

I’ve had three doctors’ appointments in the past three weeks. And the urgent trip back to the doctor about those pesky, stinging bugs (seriously, I can still see the puncture marks!). I’m only seeing the kidney guys once a year, now, and the podiatrist said, “six months away” for the next appointment, instead of the usual four. At the primary care doctor, she was looking over my lab work and said “creatine (a kidney-related number) is 1.2.” “That’s good, right?” I asked. She looked again, at my GFR, which is my kidney function, which tanked five years ago at 15.7%. “Your GFR is 43%” “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!” So, five years of: no bananas, no tomatoes, no potatoes, no anything-else-that-is-tasty. Apparently it’s working.