Friday, January 13, 2017

Bitty Bits of Blather (Volume 17)

In case you are wondering, I decided to number these little strolls through my mind. That way I know how many of them there actually are. 

Thank goodness, the Christmas decorations are all put away. Actually they were all put away a week ago. We had company for dinner on Sunday and I didn't want them coming in and seeing that we were still Ho Ho Hoeing at our house. Doesn't it always seem like it takes twice as long to take those things down as it does to put up? And ALWAYS, after you have put everything away and the boxes are all stashed back on their shelves in the basement, you look up and see something that you missed. Last year that was the string of "peppermint candy" lights that I had over the sliding door in the back. It wasn't so much that I missed them when taking everything down (they are hard to miss as they go across the whole top of the door), it was just that I left them there...for 12 months. Sort of my ode to West Virginia. And you want to know something.......

Not a single person who came into the house for that entire 12 months said a thing about the fact that we had greenery and Christmas peppermint candy lights still up in the kitchen.

This year it is a nativity scene that I put up on top of a piece of furniture and missed when taking everything down. I may just leave it. We will see.

Oh my gosh the RAIN! It rained for two days this week and I had to drive through standing water in places where I have never seen standing water before.

But I am not going to actually complain about the rain because it could have been snow. And that would have been A LOT of snow. I will take the rain any day.

Saturday is the first wedding on 2017. It is January and I already have 6 weddings to coordinate between now and August. This one is good sized, if you count 8 bridesmaids, a maid of honor and two flower girls. Yowza. AND the groom will be in uniform. They are the cutest thing. But of course I actually say that about all of my couples, even the ones who don't speak English and wear a sparkly pink dress. I say it because it is true. I don't think I have ever seen a less than radiant bride, even the one that got stung by the bee 30 minutes before the ceremony.

Always make sure that if the bride is allergic to bees that the photographer doesn't take her out into the field on a warm August afternoon. And if they do, just make sure that you have Benadryl handy.

I'm just sayin'

It is all in a days work.

I am cleaning out my iTunes library. There is music in there that I have never listened to and frankly have no idea where it came from.

Has someone been downloading random songs into my iTunes library whilst I have been asleep.

I just wanted to use the word whilst.

I mean, there are random songs from artists that I have never heard of and after listening to the songs....I am not going to listen to them again. If I didn't buy the music, and believe me I am sure that I didn't, then I don't feel any obligation to keep it in iTunes, clogging up my very carefully archived music. And I do mean carefully. HHBL just shakes his head. He is evidently not as anal obsessive careful with how his library is organized. I mean, doesn't everyone make sure that artists are correctly reflected - Last Name, First Name. 

Unless of course it is a band. I mean you wouldn't list ELP as Palmer, Emerson Lake would you? 

My cousin sent me the best thing (well really her mom, Carol, sent it to me.) Linnea and I had lunch a while back and she mentioned that she had been listening to oral histories recorded by her grandparents. Her grandmother and grandfather, my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Kenneth, many years ago sat down in front of a tape recorder and recorded 94 "episodes" of their life. That is a bit over 94 HOURS of history. Margaret and Kenneth were as cool as cool could be. Margaret was my Grandmother Amsler's oldest sister. They graduated from Wheaton College. They were missionaries for 10 years in Siam (before it was Thailand), she was an author, he was at one time the US State department's go to man on Thailand (he had traveled the length and breadth of the country). The stories that they would tell. And their house in DC. Oh, it had the one thing that I have never had in any house that I have lived in and something that I have always wanted.

A second back staircase.

But I digress. Linnea mentioned to her mom Carol that I was interested in the recordings. Carol graciously sent me a jump drive with 12g of recordings on it. I have the "Landon Chronicles" all loaded into iTunes. Now to find 94 hours to listen to all of them.  

So, I am experimenting with Bullet Journaling. Don't know what that is? I have been intrigued for quite some time with this and it actually fits well with how I like to do things as far as lists are concerned.

If you go onto YouTube or Pinterest you will be overwhelmed with all the artistic and fancy bullet journals. I have looked at just about all of those YouTube videos, believe me. I sat down and spent an entire day just immersing my self in the world of the bullet journal before I made the decision.

So far.....I am completely obsessed. I have given myself a year with this, it fits perfectly with my swing back to "analog" on my to do lists. A bullet journal really is just one giant to do list and brain dump all rolled into one.

I will give you a run down at the end of the year to let you know if I am going to be continuing with it.  

I can tell you that my Bullet Journal is in no way an artistic thing of beauty. That is the thing that would be very discouraging about watching those YouTube videos and looking at all the different, and frankly outrageously gorgeous "spreads" that you will find on Pinterest. 

I am not that person and I had to tell myself, when I embarked on this journey, that it was OK not to have stylized hand writing and all the "stuff" and there is a lot of it.

Mine is simple and functional and I like it that way. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It Wasn't Just The River That Was Flowing

Before I actually get into what I wanted to tell you let me say that the pneumonia has been conquered for the most part. The cough is still there but not nearly as often. The energy level is about 80% and my appetite is back, more's the pity.

Now on to the memories.

One of my big goals for 2017 is to get all of the things scanned. I may not make it as there are a lot of things. But I am making a dent and today I scanned some letters. I like to read the letters before I scan them and it was when I was reading this particular letter that I was flooded (pun intended as you will see) with memories.

I want you to take a look at the picture below. It is two snippets from a letter that Mimi wrote to her parents, Grandma and Grandpa Pringle, in May of 1974. I had to do some date figuring because the letter didn't have a year on it but since I know it was written in May of my 8th grade year, 1974 is what I came up with. 

Take a good look at the picture and read the second part of the letter closely.
She wrote that there was "much woe" from having to come back three days early from our week long "outdoor education" 8th grade trip. Ummmmmmm, I am not sure who she talked to that she got the impression of woe at being back......

But it wasn't me.

I still VIVIDLY remember that trip. Every single aspect of that horrible, horrible trip.

Did I tell you that the 1.5 days that we were at that awful camp were horrible beyond measure? I wanted to make sure that you knew that was horrible.

And I am going to tell you why it was horrible in all it's horrible detail. But just to warn you, I will be talking about like teenage girly angsty things....and periods.

Yes, I said PERIODS. Aunt Flo. Mother Nature's revenge. 


I was not what you would call an adventurous teenager. I didn't like things out of my comfort zone, and my comfort zone consisted of a book, a comfy chair and headphones on my head so no one bothered me. If you threw is a big bowl of black olives you might not even see me for days. I was shy. I was so very, very insecure. I had body issues out the wazoo. I was a mess. My best friend was sunny and vivacious and had straight blonde hair. She could TALK TO BOYS without stuttering. Oh I wanted to be Nancy in the worst possible way. But I was not. The thought of going on a week long trip with the rest of my 8th grade class, most of whom I would be too shy to talk to, was agony. But there was no way to get out of it. We all had to go. So we went.

I remember arriving at the camp...and it was raining. The anticipation of outdoor activities in monsoon like weather does not a happy teenage girl make. The boys went to their side of the camp, which was over the bridge that spanned the gently flowing stream (more on that later.) We girls went to our cabins, which happened to be on the same side of the camp as the dining hall, which I remember thinking was at least one good thing. I did like my food. I don't remember who I was "rooming" with but I don't think it was Nancy or Julie or Jodi. Any of those girls would have calmed my anxiety a bit as they were my "peeps" before the word meant anything other that the noise that a chick makes. I just remember sitting on my bunk, all squishy from having to run through the rain and wishing to be home. But I pushed on cuz I don't think they would have let me drive the bus home on my own, even if I had known how to get home.

Tuesday morning dawned...and it was raining, and I don't mean just a gentle sprinkle. I mean rain like you should see Noah going by any second. Torrential rain. Which we had to run through to do things like, go to the bathroom and take a shower. Not that ANY of us were going to take a shower with any of our 8th grade friends. Are you NUTS! That would mean that we would actually have to disrobe. Not happening. I didn't even bring any soap. Hygiene is overrated.

And it was about the time right after breakfast, when we were all soaked and squishy and muddy and wondering what the heck we were going to do, that I realized......

Other parts of me were squishy that should have been squishy. I had started my period. And I hadn't brought any "supplies" with me.

You might be asking yourself why I hadn't prepared for this thing that happens with great regularity. If you are asking this then you have never been a teenage girl. I had a hard time remembering to take a shower on a daily basis let alone count out my cycle, mark it on a calendar and then make a notation as to when it was likely to come around again and assault me. You might also be saying to yourself, "Well, you could have just asked your friends or the teachers if they had any supplies." And again I say that you have never been a teenage girl, especially a shy one. I wouldn't have been able to even get the word "tampon" or "pad" out of my mouth when standing in front of someone in authority. Gads!

But, the one thing I could do was improvise. 

1. I would change my underwear.

2. A fairly decent "pad" can be made from toilet paper. The only problem with that is that it doesn't want to stay in place as you walk. You have to walk with little mincey steps and grip that sucker with your lady parts or it slides out of place. Also, you have to change it fairly frequently.

3. I would wear my very dark blue overalls for the entire 5 days. "Accidents" would be less noticeable I was hoping.

4. I would feign death before getting up on a horse. Enough said.

And the rains continued to fall. And fall. And fall. And as the rains continued to fall, that gentle little creek between our side of the camp and the boys side of the camp was not so little any longer. 

Tuesday night came and went, damp in many places, and Wednesday morning arrived....and it was still raining. Can I say that the one good thing about all of the torrential rain is that we had to do inside things. No horseback riding ensued. No hiking in the woods. A small glimmer of goodness.

But it soon became apparent that things were not going to be even moderately good for long. Aunt Flo was in high gear. And the river kept rising. I remember standing on the girls side of the camp along with all the others of the female persuasion, gripping my improvised pad with my lady parts, and watching as the now raging river slowly demolished the bridge between the two sides of the camp. Hmmmm, that isn't good.

And that put paid to the "Outdoor Education" week. If I remember correctly, the boys had to actually pack up their stuff and hike out of the woods to a road where they were picked up.

I packed up my stuff, made a new lady pad to celebrate going home early, and got on the bus. If it wouldn't have caused too much talk, I would have kissed the ground in the Edison Jr. High School parking lot when we got back.

And you can bet that after that little fun time I ALWAYS had supplies with me.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pneumonia Diaries: Day Three

Otherwise known as: Maybe I shouldn't have gone to the office today.

Really, there wasn't much of a choice on that one. I can work from home a great deal of the time. Have computer, will work. But there are some duties that can only be done while in the office. Bills like to get paid. Checks cannot be cut at home is all that I am saying. So, HHBL and I went to the office this morning.

And now I am home and back on the couch. Baby steps to health Deb, baby steps.

Pneumonia, you are a beeyotch! And Sir Super Wicked Cough, I hate you.

I did have a bit better night's sleep last night. And by that I mean that I didn't have to get up and sleep in the chair, although I thought about it a time or two. Sustained slumber was not achieved. I was propped up on pillows like a Victorian heroine just to see if that would help a bit. I did not like it. I am very particular about how my pillows are positioned and fluffed when I am sleeping. Ask HHBL and he will tell you. This sleeping on multiple pillows is not great for optimal sleep for me, and I am not entirely sure that it helped the cough all that much.

Am I whining? I don't care.

So I will most likely spend most of the day tomorrow on the couch as all of the Christmas decorations laugh at me. I wonder if I just covered everything with sheets and left them til next year would anyone notice?

So, in the immortal words of Bob Wiley from What About Bob?, perhaps one of the funniest movies that I have ever seen, "I'm baby stepping! I'm doing the work!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pneumonia Diaries: Day Two

Otherwise known as the night I slept in the recliner.

First off, I have to say that I think that I am making progress on the getting better front. Thank goodness for good drugs. But I can only say that in the last couple of hours. I am still running a low grade fever, day 7 in the feverliciousness of my life, but it is in the low 99's so there is some progress.

The cough may actually be a bit better. Or it may just be that I am not trying to sleep. Who knows. I choose to think that it is getting better thankyouverymuch. And right after I wrote those fateful words I got up and moved around a bit, slowly walking down to get the mail, and that triggered a monumental coughing fit where I ignominiously peed my pants a bit.

Just keeping it real.

Now if I could just get a good night's sleep then we might actually see some good progress. I haven't had a solid night's sleep in 7 days, cooresponding exactly to the arrival of Mr. High Fever and his cousin Sir Super Wicked Cough. Somehow coughing during the day is an inconvenience but not life altering. But when you have a coughing jag at night it takes on an entirely different meaning in life. Supine is not the best bodily position for the coughing up of a lung. And my brain is so tired at the moment that I actually had to look up the word "supine" just to make sure that I had used it correctly.

Last night was a very bad night. I will start off by saying that I slept as one who is dead from 9p-12a. Don't remember a thing. Don't remember HHBL coming to bed. Nada. But sometime after midnight I got up to answer nature's call and all heck broke lose.

I got back into bed and hacked a bit and then hacked a bit more and about that time it occurred to me that maybe I should just get up and try to sleep in one of the recliners, upright rather than thrashing around in bed trying not to wake HHBL.

And then the mother of all coughing fits came to visit. Holy mother and all the saints in heaven! I actually got a bit scared because after it was all done and I couldn't catch my breath. Fun times. So I ended up in the recliner, covered by various blankets that could be removed or added as my temperature went up and down, trying to sleep. It was not a pleasant night. 

So I am hoping that the antibiotics have kicked in enough today that I don't have to sleep doze in the recliner tonight.

But I am not holding my breath.

Literally, I am not holding my breath. I am short of breath already and need all of it that I can keep.

Monday, January 2, 2017

And the Diagnosis Is.....

So, do you remember me telling you that I hadn't been feeling all that well. And that I had run a temperature on Wednesday of 103F, which for an adult is more than a bit high.

Well, High Fever didn't go away. He didn't go away and actually he asked his brother, Super Wicked Cough, to come and hang out along with their cousins, No Energy and No Appetite. It has been a fun few days. I went to bed on New Year's Eve at....9:30p, that is how bad I felt and how badly Ohio State was losing. HHBL watched the rest of the game, a movie and the ball drop all by himself.

The cough has really been the worst part. It is relentless, especially at night after I get up to use the bathroom. I am 56 after all and it is a rare occurrence to sleep through the night. But 30 minutes of coughing after getting up does not a good night's sleep make.

And then there is High Fever's sister, Miss Shortness of Breath--or as I like to call her, the SOB--that showed up yesterday. Fun times. I took a 1/2 mile walk in the afternoon and thought I might have actually killed myself in the process. So finally I knew it was time to see someone. Which meant that rather than bother my doctor, I went to the CVS Minute Clinic this morning to see the nurse practitioner. She took my history, listened to my lungs, took my temperature, looked me in the eye and said......

Pneumonia. Upper lobe, right lung.

Oh goody goody gumdrops.

Actually, it wasn't as much of a surprise as you might think. I suspected as much so it was sort of comforting to know that I was right, even as I was trying to cough up a lung and had to put my head down because I was dizzy. 

So, two prescriptions and several over the counter medications later I am home, putting my feet up and still trying not to cough up a lung.

2017 this is NOT the way to start out our relationship.