2019 Life Logs, Day 11: Do What You Wanna Do

2019 Life Logs, Day 11: Do What You Wanna Do
Date: Friday, January 11, 2019
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 31, Low 16 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

The Isley Brothers had a hit in 1969 called “It’s Your Thing” and the words went, “It’s your thing, do what you wanna do.” As I literally did very little today, I heard those words in the background. But doing very little was just want I wanted to do, so I did it. I spent an hour working on the impossible 1,000 piece puzzle that I don’t think I will ever be able to complete. I tried doing a little exercise, very carefully watching not to move my knee in just the wrong way. I totally avoided exercising while I was traveling, so I need to get back into it slowly. What I did today worked okay, but still it did aggravate my knee. On Wednesday, the knee surgeon said to keep exercising, so I will add a bit each day. After exercising, I turned on my computer. I get a lot of emails from my ‘foodie experts’ and I hadn’t read any of them since I left for Maine before Christmas. So I caught up on those today and watched a couple of health-related videos. There were two suggestions for the new year, both very easy to do, that I will add to my daily routine. One was to breathe consciously, which really just means to take time breathe deeply every day. The suggestion was to take ten very deep breaths in and out before you get out of bed in the morning. Then get up and hydrate deeply. The suggestion here was to drink a half to a full quart of room temperature water, which can be flavored, as soon as you get up. And if you think of things for which you are grateful while breathing and drinking, you will have the first three of seven suggestions for a healthier year done in the first five minutes of your day. After listening to the health-related videos, I then made chili and vegetable soup. And that was it. I didn’t mention it in yesterday’s log, but I attended an afternoon Technology Tips class yesterday afternoon. The topic was ways to back up your photos and data that you store on your computer and I was reminded that there is a very long list of things that I need to do to get my photos in order. So I will get back to that tomorrow. What I have to do will certainly take more than one day, but if I focus on just that all day tomorrow, I should make good progress.

2019 Life Logs, Day 10: Entertaining Day

2019 Life Logs, Day 10: Entertaining Day
Date: Thursday, January 10, 2019
Weather: Mostly Cloudy with a Few Snow Flurries; High 35, Low 20 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I started my day by attending a Newcomers General Meeting. Today we had guest musicians, not a guest speaker. It was quite entertaining. When I got home, I got a Facebook notification telling me my nephew’s son, Josh, had posted a link. I went to see what it was and it was a link to the Aquifer, The Florida Review Online, publishing another of Josh’s poems. Josh is an instructor at Georgia State University in Atlanta where he is working to get his PhD in English (Creative Writing). He has had many of his works published, but I was especially taken in by this one. When Mark and I lived on a small farm in southern West Virginia in the early 80’s, we raised lambs for meat. When Justin was three, he asked, “Who are we eating for dinner tonight?” When he heard the answer, he didn’t eat meat again until he was an adult and I have never eaten lamb again. You’ll understand my connection when you read Josh’s poem. But if you love lamb, maybe you should skip the read. Congratulations, Josh! I am very proud to have a young poet in the family.

Not loin chops cooked Moroccan style,
palm-sized, presented like gifts
simmering with harrisa-spiked hummus,
nor the shoulder placed atop a small knoll
of onions and peppers, flavor brimming
in each slashed sinew, but the heart,
that muscle which, to me, still seems untouchable
in the hierarchy of organs. In French curry
we ate what once beat in the smooth body
of the lamb, the taste of iron coiled
around our tongues like a rope swing,
the meat perfectly tender to chew
on a dilemma: better to waste nothing
or keep one thing sacred, worshipped
as we do our own ventricles?
And as we swallowed I did not think
of the lamb force-fed with a stomach tube
in a barn in North Georgia, its legs wobbly
on an altar of hay, but a hundred other hearts—
Nefertiti’s pulsing wildly for the sun god Aten,
Napoleon’s stopped briefly at Waterloo,
and those closer, more real—
my mother’s stepped on like an amaryllis
in a field swollen with weeds, my brother’s
heart, desires I’ll never know, humming
like a complex engine, its pistons
clogging with blood, and so forgive me,
little ounce of lamb, for taking
your heart on a piece of jagged
ciabbata, and when I say I forced you down
with water, believe me when I tell you
I took only the slightest pleasure
and that I did not clean my plate.

Joshua Martin is a PhD student in Creative Writing at Georgia State University, where he teaches Composition. He has published work (or has work forthcoming) in Tupelo Quarterly, Salamander, Nashville Review, Raleigh Review, Tar River Poetry, The Cortland Review, Louisiana Literature, and elsewhere.

2019 Life Logs, Day 9: All About the Knee

2019 Life Logs, Day 9: All About the Knee
Date: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 46, Low 22 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I limp around all day, every day, favoring my left knee. I wake up multiple times a night with pain and change from heating pad to ice pack. Today I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to make final decisions about a February 25th knee replacement, so today was all about the knee. I can’t tell you how much I dread having surgery, but at the same time, I can’t wait for it to happen. When I was in college, I had to be hospitalized because I had kidney stones. But there was no surgery involved. Other than that, I have never been a hospital patient. I had both of my children at home and I have always hoped I would never need surgery. But, it is going to happen, and the surgeon assures me I am going to be so happy when I can once again walk without hobbling around. I certainly hope he is correct.

Ollie and Jonah had dental appointments this morning. When I got back from my Hyannis doctor appointment, I delivered some yogurt that I had bought for the Goldstones while in Hyannis. I was surprised to see both Jonah and Ollie at home with Jed. They had also had to drive to Hyannis to the dentist this morning. Both had to have cavities filled and Ollie had a stubborn front tooth pulled. With numb mouths, neither wanted to go back to school, so they were home with Jed who needed to go to work to attend a meeting. So I offered to stay with them. However, Jed had already contacted Heather, so before he left, she arrived at home. So now the boys had momma and Oma. Heather suggested we all go to my house to take down my Christmas tree and I was all in for that. We worked together to get the decorations off the tree and then she got everything stored away in the basement. In doing so, Ollie discovered the hats that Mark and I had bought while in Thailand for Christmas of 2009.

01 Merry Christmas from Judy and Mark in Thailand

He and Heather donned those hats during the ‘undecorating’ bringing back fond memories. When Heather headed home, Ollie and Jonah decided to stay to play in my basement. Later I took them home and that got me an invitation to stay for dinner. So I did, for the second night in a row. I’m liking this!

2019 Life Logs, Day 8: Never in My Lifetime

2019 Life Logs, Day 8: Never in My Lifetime
Date: Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Weather: Overcast and Rainy; High 46, Low 40 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Never in my lifetime did I ever think that I would live to see our democracy challenged by a foreign nation or by our own President. But I am seeming both of those things happening now. And never in my lifetime, that I have lived as a ‘liberated woman’, did I ever think that more than two years after Mark died that I would still be struggling to get a car title in my name—a car that I co-owned with Mark and then paid off in full right after his death. I have had this same problem with other accounts. Some people tell me the problem was that Mark and I owned everything equally as Mark Handley AND Judy Handley, when it should have been Mark Handley OR Judy Handley. So words do matter. AND and OR do make a difference. I was on the phone for over two hours this morning talking to people at Motor Vehicles and then to people at the bank that held our car loan. When I paid off the car loan after Mark’s death, I received a nicely embossed, clear title in the name of Mark Handley, Judy Handley. I knew I then needed to take that title to Motor Vehicles to get the name changed to just me. I put that off until three months ago. In October, I took the title to Motor Vehicles and they had me fill out a form, give them Mark’s death certificate, pay a fee, and then they took the title and said I would receive one in my name in four weeks. That was October 7th. I called in December and they told me I needed to talk to the bank that had the loan because there is still a lien on the title. I made many calls and had long waits but got no where. So I made my stand this morning. The woman at Motor Vehicles who I am sure hates me, told me the same thing. Her story–The title I gave them doesn’t exist any more and I need to get the bank to do an electronic release stating I paid off the loan. The bank’s story—Yes, I did pay off the loan and was sent a title. What is my problem? After being very assertive, the woman at the bank dug deeper and found that I had paid off the loan on a car with one title number, but now the bank shows that I owe for a car with a different title number. Bottom line, the bank knows I owe nothing and they agreed to do an electronic release for this new title number. Hopefully this will work, but I won’t know for another three weeks. And since there was also an address change processed in October, who knows if I will ever receive anything. Enough of this rant, but I cannot tell you how frustrating this ongoing problem is. No matter how many death certificates I have sent to my own bank, bank documents are still sent to Mark. I’m beginning to think that ‘liberated woman’ thing was just a myth!

I won’t even get started on how frustrated I got tonight listening to the President of the United States use the Oval Office to continue to lie and use scare tactics to try and persuade the American people to support his need for a physical barrier between the United States and Mexico. I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not want a physical barrier (a wall) around the country I live in. I do support border security and I am going to continue to hope that this government shutdown can somehow end tomorrow and that discussions on border security can then continue in order to find a way to support sensible border security. And I find it unbelievable that a Trump campaign fund raising message was sent out right after tonight’s speech. I guess we are living in unbelievable times.

Tomorrow I head to Hyannis to meet with my orthopedic surgeon to discuss the current state of my knee and the knee surgery scheduled for late February. Updates on that tomorrow night.

2019 Life Logs, Day 7: Tennessee to Cape Cod

2019 Life Logs, Day 7: Tennessee to Cape Cod
Date: Monday, January 7, 2019
Weather: Mostly Sunny; Temps on Cape Cod–High 34, Low 22 degrees F
Location: Back Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

It is always good to get home, but I hated to leave my sister to deal with all of Joe’s health issues. She has her daughter Janet to rely on, but having me there gave her a break from the everyday chores of cooking and cleaning and also gave her someone to talk to about the issues. I called this evening when I got home and she said that today the home health nurse came, plus the occupational therapist, the physical therapist, another nurse that had a lot of questions, plus a speech therapist. That is a lot of therapists in one day! When the occupational therapist came last week, I asked her if she could get Patsy a copy of the hospital report on Joe’s condition as they did not give us anything when we left the hospital. When the occupational therapist looked it up on her tablet, she was very surprised that a CT scan Joe had while in the hospital showed evidence of an ‘old’ lacunar stroke. Patsy had no idea that had ever happened. Maybe that discovery triggered the need for the speech therapist. No one mentioned that addition last week, but speech therapy will be happening now as well. Some therapists come one time a week, some two times per week, and some three times per week. All of these sessions are going to keep Patsy busy for a while. Hopefully it will help Joe’s current situation which is basically that he sleeps 22 out of 24 hours unless the visiting nurses and therapists are there to work with him. This is a very complex situation and I just hope my 85 year-old sister that weighs only 88 pounds can stay strong. Go, Patsy!

My trip home took 9 hours, but the flight was only 2 hours and 20 minutes. The bus trip from Logan Airport to the Park and Ride where my car was waiting took 2 hours and 10 minutes. And then the drive home took another 25 minutes. Add in the wait time at the airport and wait time for the bus, and the trip takes all day. While I was waiting for the bus at the airport, I got a text from Heather inviting me over for an early dinner as all three boys had Scout activities tonight, I jumped at the chance to see the Goldstones and not have to cook dinner. Thank you, Heather.

On my way to Heather’s for dinner, I stopped by my house to turn up the heat and to check on the aquarium. I used an aquarium vacation feeder which allows the fish to eat at will and found that the babies have doubled, even tripled in size in the past two weeks. I turned the light off in the aquarium for the time I was away and when I got home this evening, the two glass fish the boys and I added to the aquarium in November were swimming around. I have not seen them since the day we put them in the aquarium, so I assumed they had died. But it seems they are alive and well and living in the aquarium castle. I’m going to get the Goldpebbles to build a Lego ship wreck for the aquarium and then take the castle out for a while. Maybe then we can see the glass fish. But I have to say watching the baby Platys grow is such a delight. They looked like little bugs when they first appeared and now they looks like miniature adult Platys, each with his or her own distinctive look. I really enjoy having the aquarium. Knowing that I can leave it for two weeks and that the fish do just fine is also a great relief.

Yesterday I took down my sister’s artificial Christmas tree and got it stored away. It comes apart in three pieces and is quite difficult to handle. When I got home this evening, my ‘live’ Christmas tree was here to greet me. So now I must get the ornaments stored and the Christmas tree (still green and beautiful) out the door and ready to be ‘recycled’. The rest of my week will be spent putting away Christmas, meeting with the orthopedic surgeon about my knee (oh, my poor knee), and going to various meetings and appointments. Tomorrow I have an 8 am appointment to get an oil change and tire rotation on my car and then at 12:40 pm I will pick up the Goldpebbles from school as it is an Early Release Day. No lack of things to keep me busy around here!

2019 Life Logs, Day 6: Last Day in Tennessee

2019 Life Logs, Day 6: Last Day in Tennessee
Date: Sunday, January 6, 2019
Weather: Sunny; High 63, Low 44 degrees F
Location: At Home with Patsy and Joe Kerwood in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee

It feels like I just got here, but it is time to fly home tomorrow. I have an appointment with the knee surgeon on Wednesday that I really can’t miss. It takes so long to get an appointment and I would like his opinion on what has happened to my knee since the fall on Halloween. I’ve seen his assistant twice, but I want to see the surgeon to make sure that whatever I have done is not going to cause problems with rehab after the surgery in February. So home I go.

I had another massage today compliments of my niece Janet and did some shopping for Patsy. Her entire house, except for the bathrooms, have wood floors and she didn’t have any easy way of mopping them. So I bought a Swifter Wet Jet for wood floors. I came home and mopped the whole house except the master bedroom and it was so easy. Plus the floors look great. I bought other household items—extra sheets and a new mattress pad–and then I came home so she could go to the grocery store to finish the food shopping I did yesterday. She can no longer leave Joe alone, so as soon as possible Janet is arranging help to come in three days a week, but in the meantime, she has plenty of food, an easy way to clean floors, and extra sheets. Now she just needs a live-in housekeeper to cook the food, clean the floors, and change the sheets. But I’m afraid neither of us can afford that!

It was a beautiful, warm day here with a high of 63 degrees. It actually looks like early springtime. When I arrive in Boston tomorrow afternoon, the forecast says it will be 30 degrees but feel like 21. Ouch. I am going to have to do some quick adjusting.