Bill, James and the Tot

grace

Last week was crazy.

AGMA had to work all week (the horror!!) and then we went to visit the Grands on Friday.

Between those two things, and the fact that tRump is indeed President and that it was NOT a bad dream, I was exhausted.

But visiting the Grands is always fun even if visiting with their parents is less than fun.  Long story that you don’t want to hear…

AGMA’s hoping time will bring them around.  Again.

Things weren’t too good before and after B, the oldest, was born.  We didn’t feel very welcomed when we would visit and got served a lot of cold shoulder.  With no sauce.

But after V was born nearly 3 years ago, things got much, much better.  The reason why is a mystery, but we were encouraged to visit often.  And when we were there, we felt very loved and welcomed.

After years of being emotionally distanced by them, it felt like a fairy tale ending where everybody lives happily ever after.

But, how does that old saying go…nothing lasts forever?

Dammit.

I noticed the change starting when DIL was 6 months along with their 3rd.  The distance started creeping back in.

Then we were told that we could not be there for the birth or even afterwards for the foreseeable future to meet our new grandchild.

WTF??

“Ah oh,” AGMA thought,  “they be going crazy again just like they did after B was born.”

And yes indeed.  They have.

They did invite us up to meet TT two weeks after he was born, but the notice was so last minute that airfares were quite high.  So Hubs decided to stay home.  I was NOT going to miss meeting my new grandson so I pulled out the credit card, swallowed my pride and bought the $400 ticket.

Thought a miscommunication, we also booked a trip for both Hubs and I to come up this past weekend.  I don’t think our son or DIL wanted us there, but the tickets were bought…

And Hubs finally got to meet TT (8 weeks old now.)  He was TOTALLY smitten.  I mean, he’s even crustier than AGMA, and he was complete jelly around the little guy.  He must have taken 200 pictures of him.

I now believe in love at first sight.

Who knows how long he would have had to have waited before we got “approval” for a visit?

Our welcome was cool, but at this point, AGMA didn’t care.  I was over their cray cray.  I just wanted to see my grandkids.  And to make sure they know they are loved by their Nana and Bumpa.

During our visit, as I was lying on a couch with TT sleeping peacefully on my chest (OMG – does it get any better than that???),  I started praying for him.  I prayed that he would grow up to be a man like my recently departed friends, Bill and James.

Bill was a Deacon at my church.  I got to know him through volunteering for 2 years with our morning sandwich ministry.  AGMA’s church is in downtown Atlanta which has a massive homeless population.  Every Monday through Friday, we hand out bag lunches, bottles of water and cups of coffee to homeless men and women until 9:30 or until we run out.  I volunteered on Mondays.

Bill was in charge of this ministry and also the food pantry that gave out groceries to people in need.

Bill retired about 5 years ago.  What I didn’t know at the time was that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimers.  He continued to attend church and try to sing in the choir until about 2 years ago.

He was a gentle man of great faith, and devotion to both God and his family.  He also had great compassion for “the least of these.”

He saw God in the needy and destitute rejected by society.

He passed away on August 9th at 70 due to complications from Alzheimers.

James really wasn’t a friend, but I felt like he was.  He was a monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, just outside of Atlanta.  He’d been a priest for 20 years before he decided to enter the Monastery in 1994.

AGMA started going to retreats at the Monastery in the mid-2000’s.  It’s in a beautiful setting and I loved interacting with the monks.  They are witty, intelligent, engaging individuals who have lots of outside interests.  I spoke with Fr. James a few times and loved his humor and down to earth attitude.

James was a photographer and a writer.  He published 6 books, two of which contain his photographs of scenes around the Monastery along with inspirational writings.  He also wrote for various publications like the Georgia Bulletin, the Living Faith devotional and the local newspaper to name a few.

AGMA knew that he was a man of great gentleness, humility, and faith though his photographs and his words.  He had the ability to turn something very ordinary into something sacred and extraordinary.

He saw God in the simple, commonplace things around him.

He passed away on August 15 at 71 due to complications from a lung biopsy.

And so I prayed for that tiny precious little boy sleeping peacefully on me, lulled by my heartbeat.  I prayed that Bill and James would intervene somehow to help him grow into a man who, like them, would be compassionate, loving, faithful and able to see the sacred and holy in the ordinary.  That he could see the divine in those marginalized by society.  That he would have a heart capable of great love, great kindness and great forgiveness.

And my resentment of the cray cray of his parents dissolved into prayers for their marriage, and their physical, mental and emotional health as they try to navigate life in these uncertain times with 3 little children.

Thanks Bill and James, for not only watching over my sweet TaterTot but for giving AGMA a much needed attitude adjustment.

I’m sure I’ll be talking to ya’ll again soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A benediction

As I told my friend Marty today over at Snakesinthegrass2014, after more senseless mass killings, this time in El Paso and Dayton, I’m tired.

Very tired.

And upset and frustrated and angry and incredibly concerned about the soul of our country.  And the inaction of our elected officials.

I don’t normally post memes from the internet, but I found this to be encouraging and uplifting during this time of deep discouragement and sadness.

I hope it speaks to you like it spoke to me.

benedition

May God bless you…

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

pittsburghese-ron-magnes

Poster art by Rom Magnes

Hubs and I have been on the road again.

AGMA think’s you’re not surprised.

Last weekend I went back to where it all began.  Actually to where I began.  My hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

It’s changed immensely since I left for college in 1971.

The beautiful three rivers of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio are still there as are the skyscrapers downtown, Allegheny General Hospital, the Cathedral of Learning and the inclines up Mt. Washington.

But so much is different.

The demise of the steel industry over the past 40 years has been devastating for the steelworkers in the small neighborhoods around the mills and the small businesses they supported.  But out of those ashes, something new has emerged.  Pittsburgh’s become hotbed of tech.  There are new mixed use developments and beautiful parks where the old steel mills used to be.  And the air and rivers are much cleaner minus said steel mills.

Much cleaner.

The North Side that was home to Heinz (the ketchup you know?), Three Rivers Stadium and Allegheny General and little else, is booming.  Two new sports stadiums, Heinz Field and PNC Park, replaced Three Rivers, and the old Heinz plant is now loft apartments.  The original Allegheny General Hospital (where AGMA came into the world smoking a cigarette and drinking champagne) is still there, but is dwarfed by a huge addition.  Add the Andy Warhol Museum, The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center, the Mattress Factory Museum and the National Avairy plus new hotels and restaurants, and the area is sizzling with life!

The Strip District was full of grimy warehouses, and blue collar workers from Italy and Eastern Europe worked in its streets and alleys.  It’s now turned into one of the hot, hip spots of the cities where Millennials and GenZ-ers go to eat, drink and play.

And AGMA of course.

We went to the Steel City to visit my niece and her family.  But we spent our first night downtown (dahntahn) because it had been years since I wandered the streets I used to haunt as a child and teen.

There was much that was new, but, comfortingly, much of what has been there for years and years was still there.   Even if it has been repurposed.

Back in the day, three department stores anchored the downtown area – Gimbels, Hornes and Kaufmanns.  All three closed a long time ago and their massive buildings still stand partially empty.  We were a Hornes/Kaufmanns family with many a meet-up under the Kaufmann’s clock.  To see people walking past these once great retail powerhouses that teamed with shoppers without a glance sideways made AGMA a bit sad.

One change thrilled me.

I went past the Lutheran church I was baptized in and attended as a child.  It’s in an area of town called East Liberty which is coming back from being blighted for years.  Once great homes that fell into disrepair are again being restored to greatness.  My church was very formal and conservative back in the late 50’s/early 60’s.  Imagine AGMA’s delight when I saw the rainbow flag flying from the front door, a banner over the other door saying “Immigrants and refugees welcome!” and the electric church sign saying “Love everyone, exclude no one” with a rainbow background.

You go St. Andrews!!

One thing that, thankfully, hasn’t changed is the dialect, called Pittsburghese.

AGMA used to be quite proficient in Pittsburghese. As a freshman in college in Texas, learning the rest of the world did not call a rubber band a “gum band” was truly a revelation.  Or that everybody else called a Coke a soda and not a “pop”.  I had to quit using “yinz” and start using “you all”.  The first time my roommate heard me say, “We need to redd up the room and do the worsh,” she wasn’t sure what the hell I was talking about.  Still, to this day, I call people “nebby noses” if they’re being just a bit too inquisitive.

But I think “jag off” is a rude term.

Except as it applies to one particular individual with orange skin and hair, and tiny hands wearing a red MAGA hat over his KKK hood.  Jag off.

Sometimes I miss my hometown.  I miss my family and friends still there, the beautiful hills, the food, the scenic rivers and being grounded in the generations that came before.

But according to Heraclitus, change is the only constant in life.

This is true for Pittsburgh and AGMA.

Neither one of us wants to get mired down by the past. And we don’t want to accept the status quo. We seem to always have to be growing, changing, reinventing.

Aging gracefully my ass n’at!

Yinz alls rock on!

 

 

 

Of pelotons, echelons and musettes

pont du gard

Stage 16 of the Tour today went over the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct built in around 60AD.  AGMA was there in May as part of the Grand Tour of France!

It’s the time of year that all AGMA followers (with a few exceptions..) dread.

It’s TOUR DE FRANCE baby!!

Once again I’ve been transformed from a graying, dignified village elder to a giggling tweeter.  And I have 5, count ’em, 5 Tour de France fantasy teams.

AGMA loves her men in spandex!

It’s all Son#2’s fault.

My son really got into watching Le Tour in the mid 2000’s.  It actually inspired him to become a serious cyclist, health nut and nature enthusiast.  Waaaayyyy better than sitting in his bedroom playing video games…

He was a pretty good cyclist and considered going semi-pro until a “series of unfortunate events” occurred.   A shattered wrist here, a broken femur there…it all convinced him that maybe this was not a wise career choice.

He still cycles, but for fun now.

And he sort of dragged me along for the ride as far as watching the Tour de France goes.

(Get it??  Dragged me along for the “ride”?? OMG – I crack myself up!)

People always assume that because I love men’s professional cycling, I must love riding a bike.

Uh…no.

AGMA never learned how to ride as a child.   I honestly don’t know why, but it just wasn’t part of what I did.

“Learn to ride now!” people say too me all the time.  Easy for them to say.  They won’t break their collarbones when they fall.

Truth is that I’ve tried to learn.  AGMA’s okay on a straightaway, but add some hills or dips or curves, and my palms start sweating.  The reality is that it’s really hard to learn to ride a bike as an adult.  All that balance “stuff” gets hardwired in kid’s brains when they learn young, but it doesn’t work the same with adults.

I made sure both of my kids learned to ride a bike when they were young not realizing that it would indirectly lead me to a late in life odd passion.

The 2019 edition of the Tour de France is turning out to be the best AGMA’s seen in my 11 years of being a spandex groupie.

The pre-Tour favorite, Chris Froome, who has won 4 previous Tours, had a horrific crash during the 8 day Criterium du Dauphine which is a pre-Tour warm up race.  And just in case he reads AGMA (ha ha ha), heal fast Chris!  All of us miss watching you ride!

Or some of us.

Last year’s winner, Geraint Thomas, crashed out during the Tour de Suisse (another pre-Tour warm up race.) And with very few racing days in his legs, he’s still an unknown for the Tour de France in terms of his conditioning and form.  And the tumble he took from his bike today didn’t help.

Ouch.

That’s all to say that for the first time in a long time, there is no clear favorite to win this year’s Tour.

That makes it especially exciting to watch as a fan!

I can hear you now…ZZZZzzzz….

But really, it IS incredibly exciting.

For the first time in like a kazillion years, a Frenchman, Julian Alaphilippe, is leading the Tour after 16 stages and wearing the Yellow leader’s jersey.  The French press and public are going WILD!!   It’s been 34 years since a Frenchman won the Tour.  Will this be the year?

Who the hell knows??

Alaphilippe wasn’t supposed to be in the Yellow jersey after 16 stages.  He’s a Classics rider (1 day races) and a puncheur (a rider who is specializes in rolling, hilly terrain with short, steep climbs.)

He’s not a GC rider.

GC stands for general classification (as opposed to sprinters , puncheurs, climbers and time trialists). A GC rider is a rider who, at the end of a 7, 8, 9 or 21 day stage race has the fastest times, so he’s sort of a jack of all trades.  They are the riders groomed to win stage races.  ALL Tour de France winners are GC riders.

But maybe not this year??

Who the hell knows??

And that’s what makes it all so exciting!

It’s going to be a knockout, drag out fight the next 4 days.  Tomorrow’s stage moves into the foothills of the Alps.  Then all hell breaks loose on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with 3 brutal Alpine stages that will push the riders to their physical and mental limits.

Even if you’ve never watched the Tour before, I urge you to tune in later this week.  AGMA promises that you will not be bored.  It’s going to be a battle royal between some of the best male athletes in the world in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

Then on Sunday, what is left of the 176 riders that originally started the Tour on July 6th, will ride, battered and bruised, into Paris, and finish up with a sprint on the Champs-Elysees.

What’s not to love???

And the winner of the 2019 Tour de France will be…

Who the hell knows??

OMG – I can’t wait!!

(Peloton – The main field of cyclists in a race.  Sort of like a swam of cyclists. NOT the exercise bike/program called Peloton…  (but now you know where the name came from!)

Echelon – The staggered, diagonal line that cyclists form to deal with crosswinds.  Each rider is slightly downwind from the previous rider.  Kinda like one side of the V when geese to their thing.  

Musette – bags that carry food and drinks for cyclists on long races.  Basically it’s a cyclist lunch bag.  And like kids, they throw away the stuff they don’t want to eat.)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put me in coach!

 

KnuteR7

According to a piece on NPR’s Marketplace yesterday, parents are now hiring screen-free coaches for up to $200 an hour to “…guide parents in the implementation of “screen-free” activities.”

WTF???

And AGMA heard a couple of young mothers talking a few days ago.  One said that she had to call the ‘sleep coach’ because their 3 year old wet the bed because she didn’t want to go to sleep.  The mom seriously had no idea how to handle it.

I ask again, WTF???

That’s right up there with the ‘postpartum doula’ concept.  They tell you what to do when you get home with your new baby.  Seriously?

At $100 to $200 per hour, AGMA wants to get in on this action.

Talk about easy money…

I can slap up a website and call it “AGMA’s ‘that’s what mothers and grandmother are for’ coaching”.  But that name might just be a bit off putting for some….

Thoughts?

And for their $100 to $200 per hour, I’ll cover all the bases from bringing the baby home to helping them get the baby/toddler to sleep through the night to thinking of stuff for the little critters to do besides look at a screen.

AGMA will be the one stop coaching shop for parents!

To tease all of your folks out there who are itching to pay me $100 an hour (to build up my clientele, I’ll use the lower end of the pay grade…), I’ll give you a small sample of the my coaching wisdom.

Question:  What to do with the new baby when you get home?

Answer:  Feed it, burp it, change it, put it down for a nap, hold it, snuggle it, kiss it, sing to it, love it.  Pretty simple really…  

(AGMA is going to get serious for a hot minute…  Postpartum depression is real and nothing to joke about.  If this is an issue, mom needs seek help right away.)

Question:  I’m sleep deprived because my newborn needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours.  What can I do?

Answer:  Welcome to the new parent club!  Did you really think you would get to sleep with a newborn?  Don’t worry about the household chores or ordering cute baby clothes on the Internet or getting on Facebook or Instagram or anything else having to do with technology.  When the baby sleeps, you sleep.  Period.

Question: How do I get my baby to sleep?

Answer:  When your baby gets tired, it will sleep. Trust me on this. Unless it has colic and then, yikes….you need to call in the reserves!

Question:  How can I keep my children busy/out of my hair without resorting to screen time?

Answer:  What did your parents let you to do?  You were raised pre-screens so let you kids do that same stuff.  Duh.

That’ll be $50 dollars please….

AGMA is wondering how we’ve gotten so far away from tapping into the wisdom of the elders in our society.  For millennia, young parents have been looking to their parents and grandparents for advice (free no less!) with great success.

You know, the village concept.

And although their parents and grandparents have successfully (most of the time…) raised children, some new parents refuse to tap into that rich source of knowledge.  They’d rather pay somebody with who knows what kind of credentials to tell them what to do with their kids.

Huh?

But obviously, at that price, this type of coaching is only for folks of a certain income bracket.  Those outside of that income level are “stuck” with the wisdom of the village.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

The Marketplace report did report on an interesting and disturbing result of the income gap regarding screen time.  Children in lower income families who generally live in low income areas tend to have more screen time because of cuts in funding for their schools.  In order to make up for the reduced budgets for teachers, they are forced to offer more material online.  More time staring at screens.  

We can ‘afford’ (not really…) to give the rich millions and millions in tax breaks, but we can’t seem to afford to educate our children in a healthy manner.  How does that work again?

As for AGMA, my new business is still in the concept phase.

I like the tough love approach, but realize that to make the big bucks, I need to act like my potential clients are the only people in the world who ever had children.   And that their children will certainly be the most brilliant, unique, talented and successful individuals who ever walked the earth.  

AGMA needs to get her schmooze on big time.

But I’m not sure I can pull it off.  

I’m much too practical, and believe that you’re not meant to be your child’s friend until they are adults and living on their own.  While they are young, you are the parent and they are they child.

And yes, you ARE the boss of them.

If AGMA would get a call in the middle of the night from the parent who’s child peed in the bed, I can see me telling them to just ignore it and go back to sleep.  A night spent avoiding a big wet spot on the sheets is a ‘teachable moment’ and very likely, won’t happen again.  

Yeah – I can’t see that conversation going over very well.

But honestly, it costs next to nothing to put up a website, and I do have real life experience AND an MBA (that really has nothing to do with parenting, but it will look good next to my name…)

Maybe if AGMA offers a free 10 minute chair massage with each consulting session?

Cha-Ching!!

 

Table for 5

tater_tots_closeup.0

We have a baby!!

AGMA is happy to announce the birth of a male grandchild, who will forever be called my sweet little tater tot!

By me.

HIs parents must never know.  They don’t approve of “cute” nicknames.

Party poopers.

We’ll just call him TT for short.

Actually, he was born before I posted my last post on June 26th, but we weren’t privy to this information until several hours after he arrived.  I guess they were bonding or something.

Whatever…

I fly up to see the little critter and his older siblings on Thursday.  And Son#1 and DIL.  Of course.  

AGMA has to be honest.  I feel a special bond with TT even though we’ve never set eyes on each other yet.

We’re both the #3 child in the family pecking order.

There have been many studies done about the impact of birth order and a child’s personality and emotional development.

Experts smexperts…AGMA isn’t sure I buy into all of it.

According to an article titled How Birth Order Affects Your Child’s Personality and Behavior in Parents Magazine from 2015, third children are:

  • Fun loving
  • Uncomplicated
  • Manipulative
  • Outgoing
  • Attention-seekers
  • Self-centered

I beg your pardon??  Manipulative??  Attention-seeker??  Self-centered??

AGMA is many things but NONE of those three things.  Well…maybe a very teeny tiny, itty bitty bit attention-seeking.  Minuscule really.

I have a blog after all.

Because there were 6 years between each of my siblings, and I went to foster care as a toddler, and then only lived with my sister & mother after my parents divorced, AGMA thinks that perhaps some of the typical traits of 3rd children don’t apply to me.  There are other, “atypical” traits I developed.  ‘Nuff said.

Little TT has an entirely different situation.  Born to loving, emotionally and financially healthy parents, he has an absolutely adorable sister, V,  2½ years older and a charming, witty brother, B, 4½ years older.  Who both adore him. Right now.  

Poor little guy has an uphill climb a head of him.

Nana will help you my sweet little TT!!!

According to the Parents article, B, as the firstborn, will tend to be:

  • Reliable
  • Conscientious
  • Structured
  • Cautious
  • Controlling
  • An achiever 

So far, the only thing I can say about him for sure is that he, like his father who was my firstborn, is VERY cautious.  Like his dad, he has a strong instinct for self-preservation.  At the playground, his younger sister will climb up on the highest slide possible and slide down, while he just watches.  And he’s just fine just watching.

Self-preservation in action.

My feisty little V is now the middle child.  She is much like I imagine Megan Rapino was as a 2 year old…  According to the article, she will tend to have the following characteristics:

  • People pleaser
  • Somewhat rebellious
  • Thrives on friendships
  • Has a large social circle
  • Peacemaker

Not sure about the rest, but as a 2 year old, people pleasing doesn’t seem to be in her life skills toolkit right now.  AGMA realizes this when I hear her high frequency, 100 decibel screams when she doesn’t get her way. 

Pass the ibuprofen please…

I’m really not sure what to expect when I fly to Chicago on Thursday.

But oh my…AGMA can already tell there is a YUGE difference between the arrival of B 4½ years ago and the arrival of TT 2 weeks ago.

Hubs, Son#2 and I all had to get shots (I’ve blocked out what “horrific” disease it was to protect the baby against) before we were allowed to visit baby B.  And they had a 5 gallon vat of hand sanitizer that we had to use AFTER we washed our hands before we touched him.  And nobody could make a peep when little B was down for his nap.  He HAD to be in his crib or bassinet, and every bit of light had to be blocked out.  And I was not allowed to change his diaper anywhere else but on the changing table.

On the other hand, TT went to Whole Foods at 3 days old and Costco at 10 days old.  He and his mom went out to lunch yesterday at the ripe age of 12 days with a stop at Starbucks.  And, through the miracle of technology, on July 4th we saw him sleeping peacefully in his father’s arms in their sunlit living room while his brother and sister were running around screaming.

And, if AGMA was a betting woman (which we all know I am…), I would say his diaper has already been changed while he was lying on a couch.

Oh the humanity!

What a difference 4½ years and two children make.

No longer a table for four with peaceful nights, self-feeding children and no diapers, they’re now a table for five with delicious chaos and mayhem on the menu. 

This weekend’s going to be fun!

Welcome to the world my sweet, darling, wonderful TT!

 

A sandwich and an apple

dagwood-sandwich.png

AGMA’s tired.

I awakened at 4:20 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I knew that Son #1 and wife just checked into a hospital in Chicago 5 minutes earlier to start…

The Great Baby Watch of 2019!

My third grandchild is about to be born.  Maybe.

He/she seems to be a bit reluctant to appear.  Evidently it’s pretty cozy there in my DIL’s womb (what a great word!)   I don’t blame the munchkin.

It ain’t all rainbows and unicorns on the outside.

I mean, my God, Donald Trump is President.  That’s enough to make a little one want to stay put until, say, 2020.  It’s enough to make me want to find a roomy womb to crawl into to wait until, say, 2020.

But instead, AGMA had a colonoscopy.

Nice segue right?

Colonoscopies are actually rather comic affairs and a great subject for a blog post if handled delicately.  Or not.  Here’s my first post on the experience.

AGMA’s had 3 in the last 8 years.

2011 was a standard preventative screening.  The 2016 was because I was having “issues”.  This one was a “hey, let’s take a look to see what’s going on in there cuz it’s been 3 years.” one.

Since this isn’t my first rodeo, AGMA tells the doctors office what kind of prep I want.  OTC all the way for me.  None of that prescription prep stuff if they want me to actually drink it.  Yuck.

I used a store brand version of Miralax and mixed it with orange gatorade. It was pretty tasty.  For the first 3 glasses.

After that, I got kinda sick of orange gatorade.

And I got sick of jello jigglers too.  They’re fun and games when you first start jiggling and eating them, but since that’s basically ALL you can eat for the entire day before, they get pretty old pretty fast.  To mix things up, I decided to have a couple of cups of chicken broth.

I know – I’m a wild woman.

What AGMA finds fascinating is the huge part your mind plays in the prep process.  You know you basically can’t eat the entire day before the procedure, so you don’t really get all that hungry.

I wish I could trick my brain into thinking every day was the day before a colonoscopy.

Anyway, the gatorade elixir worked its magic and AGMA could boldly declare later that night “This house is clear!”

The next day, we toddled off to the outpatient surgery center where they treated me like a queen.  Seriously.  Warm blankets, warm socks, a nice cushy bed.  Almost made the day before worth it.

Almost.

Three different people quizzed me on what I ate the day before.  I thought that was odd.  Until hubs and I heard the guy next to me.  Then we realized why they quiz people multiple times.

“A sandwich and an apple.”

That was his answer to the “What did you eat yesterday?” question.  And he too was getting a colonoscopy.  Maybe.

The nurse asked if he had received the prep instructions from his doctor’s office.  Yes, he had.

The nurse asked if he had read it.  Yes, he had.

I couldn’t see the nurse, but I could actually hear her eyes rolling back in her head.

He had two options:

  1.  They could try to “flush” him out with water in the procedure room, if the doctor gave his okay.  Wouldn’t you hate to be one of the techs to draw the short straw to work in THAT procedure room?
  2. He could cancel the procedure for that day and would have to do the prep all over again for another appointment on another day.  Minus the sandwich and apple.

At that point, AGMA was rolled out of my cubby to the procedure room so never found out what option sandwich guy went for.

I truly hope that sammy was worth all the hassle.

Per standard AGMA, I chatted up everybody in the procedure room (my doc included) until the anesthesia tech started the propofol.  “See everybody later.” I said and promptly zonked out.

I think they just wanted me to shut up.

Did AGMA mention that I LOVE propofol?  It is GREAT stuff and you wake up back in your cubby feeling like you had the best nap ever.

Unfortunately they cut me off a little early and I woke up in the procedure room as they were getting me ready to wheel me back to my cubby.

Bastards!

But the good news was that everything looked great – much better than 3 years ago.  And I don’t have to do a repeat performance for another 5 years.

Yeah!

Now for the public service announcement…

As much as I like to make fun of colonoscopies, they DO save lives.  According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the US.  It’s also the second most common cause of cancer deaths when men and women’s numbers are combined.  Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women.

Two years ago, during a normal, screening colonoscopy, Hubs had a large polyp removed.  Turns out there were cancer cells in it.  It was caught very early and he just had to have a minor procedure to remove the area around the polyp.  He had clear margins and didn’t require any other treatment.  He returns to his colorectal surgeon on a regular basis for rechecks.

Early screening saved Hubs life.

If you’re over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, get thyself to the GI doctor!   And if it’s been over 10 years since your last colonoscopy, call today to get an appointment for another one ASAP.

I love all my blog friends and want all of you to be reading AGMA for years to come.

In the meantime, The Great Baby Watch of 2019 continues…

I can’t wait to tell my new grandchild when he/she gets older that I blogged about his/her birth in a colonoscopy post.

I hope they have an AGMA sense of humor…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fugitive

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So that title is a little dramatic.  AGMA hasn’t gotten into any sort of trouble.  

Yet… 

But I AM escaping.

This weekend I’m headed out to Arizona to visit the foster mother of my early childhood.  Jane and her family took me for 18 months when I was 1 1/2 years old to help out my family.  Due to some very nasty circumstances that you really don’t want to hear about, my mother was temporarily out of the picture, and nobody in my immediate family could care for an 18 month old.

Jane was a friend of my mother.  They went to nursing school together and remained close after they each started families.  Jane’s daughters were 8 years old and a 14 years old when I came to live with them.

AGMA has no memories of the 18 months I lived with them, but I know that I received far more love and attention than I would have had I stayed in my home.

That being said, it was a horrible trauma for a 1 1/2 year old to be given to, in her mind, strangers.  I’ve been told that I cried and cried and cried for my “real” family. 

Much like the children who have been separated from their parents and put into cages at the US Southern border.

Science has shown that this type of early childhood trauma actually alters the brain chemistry of the child as they try to cope with what is happening around them. 

Permanently.

This can lead to all kinds of issues from emotional to cognitive to physical to economic.

To add to the trauma circus, AGMA was reunited with my mother when I was 3 years old and removed from Jane’s family.   As part of the nasty circumstances I mentioned earlier, I had not seen my real mother since I was an infant.

So now I was living with another “stranger”.  My mother.

Again, AGMA has no memory of this time.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned this in a previous post when I wrote about Jane, but I remember visiting Jane and her family with my mother when I was older, but I had no idea who they really were.

All I knew is that the always gave me great Christmas presents!

After my mother died in 1965 when I was 11, I went to live my my father and all contact with Jane and family was cut off.

Fast forward to 2012 when Janes youngest daughter “found” me through Hubs online genealogy profile.  They were overjoyed and I was thrilled to find my lost foster family (as an adult, I found out about their existence from my brother.)

AGMA’s been traveling to Arizona every year since then to visit Jane and her daughters.  I wrote about her last year when I went out for her 100th birthday celebration.

Guess what?

Janie’s 101 now!

And she still lives in her own house and still (last I heard) drives her car short distances.

So AGMA’s heading out to Arizona again for a visit with these good people who took me in and selflessly cared for me so many years ago. 

It’s a short trip – only 2 nights – and I’m going solo.  Hubs is staying home to take care of the cats. 

The first half of the trip I’m hanging with Jane & family.

The second night, I booked a room at a posh resort in Scottsdale.

I’m escaping.

For one night, I am going to do exactly what I want to do.  Or not do.

Part of the effects of my early childhood trauma is that AGMA has always been a pleaser. 

When you are “abandoned” by your primary care givers 3 times before the age of 4, a small child’s mind is not able to reason or understand what’s happening.  A small child internalized the fact that people keep leaving them as a sign that they are not lovable, or worthy of love and care, or they have been too naughty.

As the child grows, they think they have to “earn” the love of those close to them by trying to please them and not do anything that could be interpreted as misbehaving.

Hence, AGMA was an obedient, compliant pleaser for years.  

And I’m here to tell you, you can lose yourself in all that obedience and compliance and pleasing.

In the past, I would have never dreamed of bailing on Jane’s family early – I would have felt too guilty.  Or spending money on a one night getaway at a resort by myself, without Hubs “approval”.  And I would have tried to get together with old friends (who are Don the Con supporters – ugh…) from college who live in Phoenix.  Or I would have invited another old friend from Tucson to come up and spend the night with me on my dime.

But then it wouldn’t be a “selfish, only for AGMA” escape.  I’d have other people I’d have to “worry” about.  And please.

When it’s just me, I don’t have to be concerned about making anybody happy but myself.  At least for a night.

Years of therapy and a powerful spirituality journey toward wholeness have helped immensely in breaking old, unhealthy patterns.  

Honestly, I’m still a work in process.

But then aren’t we all?

See you at the pool!

Never, ever

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The American Cemetery in Normandy

On this 75th anniversary of D-Day, I wanted to share some of the pictures from our visit to Normandy in 2014, shortly after the 70th anniversary.  Scores of WWII veterans who were part of Operation Overlord have passed away since then.  It’s highly doubtful that more than a handful of them will be with us to observe the 80th anniversary.

My visit to Normandy was one of the most moving experiences of my life.  I actually have tears in my eyes right now as I type this.  I struggle to comprehend the terror so many young men experienced that June morning 75 years ago.  And how many fathers, uncles, grandfathers never were because they fell as young men on a beach in France to defend the world against unspeakable evil.  And how many mothers and fathers never knew what happened to their sons because their bodies were never found.

The world is in danger of forgetting how evil like that still lives in the hearts of some.  Of repeating the same mistakes of rampant nationalism that led to the unspeakable suffering of millions.  Of not being vocal enough in denouncing all if the “-isms” that can lead to the dehumanization of “the other.”

Latest estimates indicate that 4,414 Allied soldiers were killed on June 6, 1944, 2000 of them being Americans killed on Omaha Beach.  There were a total of 10,000 casualties that day.  And that doesn’t include the deaths and casualties on the German side.

Staggering.

We can’t ever forget what happened 75 years ago.  And why it happened.  And do all we can to never, ever let anything even remotely like that ever happen again.

Ever.

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Memorial to the “The Bad of Brothers” Airborne unit.

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Utah Beach marker

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Dick Winters was the leader of Easy Company. This statue was put up after his death because he would not permit anything honoring only him and not the rest of E Company in his lifetime.

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One of the hundreds of memorials in Normandy. This is at the top of Omaha Beach.

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Memorial honoring the 1st Infantry.

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Memorial honoring the Navy.

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There are so many museums about D-Day around Normady. This is the one at Utah Beach.

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Old German guns in concrete bunkers.

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German fortification on Pointe du Hoc where incredible brave Army Rangers scaled the cliffs to take the location against heavy German artillery.

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Memorial at Pointe du Hoc

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The ground is still pockmarked some 70 years later from heavy artillery fire.

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Point-du-Hoc

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The cliffs that the Army Rangers scaled on D-Day.

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The tiny church at Angoville-au-Plain where two young American medics worked treating both Americans and Germans on D-Day. A fascinating story. One of the medics, Robert Wright was buried there when he passed away in 2013.

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The 70 year old blood stains on the pews where the medics treated the wounded.

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A stained glass window in the church honoring the two medics.

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The remains of the artificial harbor the Allies built in Arromanches-les-Bains after D-Day to bring tanks, jeeps, munitions and other supplies to the troops. The story behind the building of this harbor is fascinating.

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Utah Beach

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Utah Beach

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Omaha Beach

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The hillside above Omaha Beach were the German gunners hid and picked off American soldiers in the first wave of landing craft.

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The American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.

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The American Cemetery contains the remains of 9,380 fallen American, most of whom lost their lives on D-Day and the ensuing operations in the following days and weeks.

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In addition to the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, there are also English cemeteries, Canadian cemeteries and German cemeteries that all hold the bodies of the young men killed as the result of a madman’s dream of racial purity and world domination. Such a horrific waste of young life.

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God bless them all and may their spirits help us to never forget.

 

 

 

 

What I did on my almost summer vacation

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AGMA goes to France!

I know I promised last week, but it’s just so difficult to distill 15 days worth of sights, sounds, tastes and experiences into just 35 photos.  But honestly…that’s probably the maximum number of pictures of somebody else’s vacation that anybody really wants to view.

I know, right?

The “tile” organization of the pictures kind of distorts them – yuck and sorry…  You can hover over each picture if you want to read the compelling caption on each one.

As promised, “AGMA goes to France” in pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

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The Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley that is world famous for its gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The back of our car at the end of 2400 miles around France. It’s kind of a good thing our friends luggage never caught up with us, but they were reunited with it in Paris before they flew back to the US.

Speaking of travel, for heavens sake, if you haven’t already, subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights!

We just booked another trip last night for September on British Airways, $290 round trip Atlanta to Paris.

Wow!!

We promptly cancelled it this morning to get a full refund (even non-refundable fares are refundable within the first 24 hours).

AGMA hated to do that!

But we need to let our waistlines and bank accounts recover for a bit before heading out again.

Sometimes being practical sucks.