Old friends

washer

When Son#2 was around 4, our dishwasher died. Feeling rather panicked at the idea of…OMG no…hand washing all of our dishes, AMGA and Hubs went out to purchase a new one immediately. When the delivery/installation people pulled out the dead dishwasher and hauled it away, Son#2 started wailing.

Evidently he and the dishwasher had a ‘special relationship’. Like Putin and Cheeto Man.

Only the passage of time and M&M’s managed to calm him down. It took about 15 minutes. I think he liked the look of the new dishwasher.

4 year olds tend to be a bit fickle.

Once upon at time, AMGA laughed at what’s become known as “the dishwasher incident”.

Not anymore… I get it now.

Some of AGMA’s best friends are machines.

Take Goldie for example.

Goldie is my 2008 Toyota Prius. I bought her in September of 2007 after I was T-boned in my 2006 Prius – Bluie – on I-75 at about 50mph.

The good news was that AGMA was basically unharmed from the accident. The bad news is that Bluie was totaled.

(Can you guess the colors my last two cars? AGMA’s creativity is simply astounding and can’t be contained… I’m like an American Dali.)

So I’ve had Goldie for nearly 11 years. That is the longest I’ve ever owned a car. It’s 25% of my car owning life.

I feel old.

AGMA tends to take my cars for granted. I get Goldie regular oil changes and check-ups, but other than that, I basically ignore her.

My interior looks like I am homeless, and live in my car. On any given day you can find a treasure trove of banana peels, energy bars, half empty coffee cups, a plethora of napkins from Starbucks, mail, a variety of plastic utensils, salt and pepper packets, 15 reusable shoppings, empty soda cans and used dental floss (ewww…) in her interior.

There’s a large chocolate spot in the rear hatch back carpet area (spilled mocha), the carpet under the gas pedal is thread bare. Her glove compartment is stuffed with oil change receipts that date back to 2008.

But despite my treatment of her, Goldie has been very, very good to me. She’s been the most dependable mode of transport I’ve ever had. And she hasn’t been fussy at all.

Plus, she gets killer gas mileage – 48mpg. Her hybrid battery, that was supposed to last only 7 years, has far exceeded expectations.

Which is exactly why AGMA is thinking that it might be time to start looking around for a late model used car.

Shhhh – don’t tell Goldie.

Truth be told, I’d love to have a car with all that hands free stuff and blue tooth and the internet and the loud alarms that let you know you’re too close to the mailbox when you’re backing up.

My son and DIL have a car that parallel parks itself! WHAT?? Yeah it does!

But then I look at Goldie. And I realize that she’s a lot like me. Not fancy, not flashy, not a lot of bells and whistles. But sturdy, dependable, cute in a 2008 way and wears her mileage well.

I’m pretty attached to her. I’m real attached to her actually.

I think it might be love.

And then there’s AGMA’s washing machine and dryer.

We bought them waaaayyy back in 1995. Well before the advent of high efficiency (HE) front loading washers.

There’s something about those front loaders that I don’t trust.

My son and DIL have one, and I watch it sometimes when I’m visiting.

Seriously.

It just sort of tosses the clothes around in what looks like 1/2 cup of water and a tablespoon of detergent. I guess it’s fine for now while their kids are little. But there’s nothing like a full tub of soapy water and a violent agitator to knock the crap out of the clothes to get the the grime out of a 10 year old’s play shorts and shirt.

AGMA’s going to be sad when they need replacing. Which may be soon. Actually, at this point, every load they do is a gift.

I’ll be sad not only from a “Holy sh*t…a new washer is how much???” perspective, but from a ‘tug on my heartstrings’ one as well.

I washed/dried innumerable soccer, baseball, football and track uniforms in them. I washed/dried the last couple of years of little boy play clothes before they turned into teenage angst clothes. I washed/dried pants & shirts that were worn to junior and senior high school dances. And I washed/dried massive loads of clothes brought home from college on breaks.

Call AGMA crazy, but I kinda miss those days…

I washed/dried throw rugs that were ‘messed on’ by our dog, KC, and our cats, Wart, Willie, Caesar, Gus and Max. Okay – maybe not such a fond memories of the messes, but 4 out of the 6 critters have gone over the rainbow bridge. I still miss them…

I washed/dried my sweet step-mother’s clothes in them weekly while she was in the Alzheimer’s unit of a local nursing home. And AGMA was very grateful for the long soak cycle at the beginning, the extra wash cycle and the extra rinse cycle. If you catch my drift. She’s now been gone for 17 years. I will always miss her…

Yeah…AGMA is just one big sentimental blob about my washer and dryer.

And Goldie.

I’ll probably cry like Son#2 did so many years ago when they reach the end of the road.

Anybody have any M&M’s?

 

“This House is Clean!”…rewind

roto

(This post was originally published in 2014.  It’s a humorous take on a subject most folks are reluctant to discuss.  For obvious reasons…

I’m reposting because it want to make sure EVERYBODY (and AGMA means EVERYBODY) over the age of 50 knows how critically important it is to get regular colonoscopies.  Sooner if there is a history of colon cancer in your family. 

A little over a year ago (February 2017), Hubs went in for a “regular” colonscopy (his previous ones had been clear).  The GI guy removed a large polyp and it turns out there were cancer cells hiding in the polyp.  

Damn cancer cells.

It was very, very early colon cancer – literally only a few cells grouped together.  It wasn’t even staged.  In May, the area around the poly was removed and the margins turned out to be  clear.

There was much dancing and celebration at Casa AGMA the day the pathology report came back!

The survival rate for early detection of colon cancer is very high.   This is a very good thing!

So this is all to say, if you’re over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, get thyself to ye olde butt doctor NOW!)

On the way to a group run Monday, my running buddy told she was getting her first colonoscopy next Thursday. A colonoscopy virgin. Grasshopper has much to learn…

(Leave now if you don’t like TMI ‘cause this is going to be “one of those” posts!)

She complained that she couldn’t have any solid food on Wednesday; just clear liquids. She said she would be hungry. She was obsessing over how hungry she would be. “Oh honey,” I wanted to tell her, “hunger will be the least of your worries next Wednesday.”

I’ve had two colonoscopies. I think this puts me into the “experienced” category when it comes to this sort of thing. Lucky me.

Studies show that early screening for colon cancer save lives. I’m all over that. And, a colonoscopy really isn’t as bad as people say. Really. Maybe not.

I’ll give you that the prep is kind of yucky. My friend is going to be taking pills to “get ready” for the big day. I’m jealous. I was never offered a pill option.

The first doc in Ohio wrote me a prescription for something that I had to mix with water. It made 30 gallons. It seemed like it was 30 gallons. They said I had to drink it all over the course of the afternoon and evening the day before the procedure.

Game on!

Initially, it tasted like a cross between Gatorade, Pediacare and lemon-lime Kool Aid. Not too bad I thought at the time. “At the time” being the key words here…

Three gallons and three hours later into the prep “protocol”, my upper GI tract started to rebel. It was getting hard to drink the stuff. It was now tasting like a cross between horse sweat and liquified, stale Easter peeps. My throat was starting to clamp shut.

‘Round about that same time, my lower GI tract started to join the party. That’s the nice way to put it. I hovered close to the water closet. Very close. I was thinking of moving in for the night.

Several hours and several more gallons of the now totally undrinkable foul witches brew later, I took a stand. Enough is enough. The gag reflex had started kick in. This is never good. And what I did manage to force down started to shoot through me like I was a goose on speed. I made the unilateral decision that I had successfully completed the prep phase.

My second doc in Missouri didn’t write me a prescription for a prep concoction. He told me to get several over the counter products at the local drug store. Said they worked just as well. And it was cheap. No 30 gallons of toe jam peep sweat. No clamped shut esophagus. It was much more civilized with basically the same squeaky clean results. Easy peasy. Kind of…

So once the prep work is done, you’re basically home free. Other than the next day they snake about 15 feet of tubing up your colon while the doc wears a miners light on his head, a hazmat suit and stares at his monitor with live video of your now clean as a whistle innards. Can I order that on NetFlix?

But the best part of the whole process is the amazing twilight sleep stuff they use to knock you out! You have no idea at all what’s happening. This is very good. And you wake up feeling like you’ve had the best sleep you’ve had in years. In a sick way, it kinda makes it all worthwhile…

So if you’re over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, for heaven’s sake schedule one! It’s a relatively simple procedure that could save your life. Plus you end up (get it – end up?) with some pretty good stories that you can swap with other 50+ types. Good times.

But I do have one question – when did they stop calling them proctologists and start calling them gastroenterologists? Proctologist is just such a great word. It’s the stuff great jokes are made of…

Two proctologists were talking about their patients (obviously pre-HIPPA…) The first one said that he was probing one of his patient’s “nether regions” and pulled out a bouquet of flowers. In stunned amazement, the second protologist said, “Where did they come from?” The first proctologist answered, “I don’t know. There wasn’t a card attached.”

Badum-CHING!

Stalking friends

address-bk-pages

So I’m still working on my holiday cards. Yup. The past month hasn’t quite worked out like I had hoped. As evidenced by, once again, not posting on AGMA for two weeks. *sigh*

I’m shooting for mailing them out by Easter. But Easter’s early this year so I might be overly optimistic…

I was updating some addresses in my contacts app today. This app links to my calendar and Google Maps and Email and probably five other apps I don’t know anything about. Boggles the mind.  My mind at least.

It made me think about how much my “address book” has changed over the past 40 years.

Of course, back in ancient olden times, when men wore stovepipe hats and women couldn’t show their ankles, we used physical address books. Like the kind with paper in them. Like a real book with pages in alphabetical order with blank spaces for names and addresses. And you would actually write somebody’s address with a  pencil or a pen. Quaint.

I still have every one I’ve kept since I was 19. Seriously. Just a little OCD AGMA showing…

Perhaps not the most efficient way to store friend and family address information compared to digital options today, but to me, my old address books are absolutely priceless. They are the story of my life and the lives of my friends in just a few lines.

Kind of a Twitter type of biography/autobiography.

My early address books reflect the life of a confident young woman just starting out in the world. That would be me. I was so naive…  Lots of information about college friends and still some high school friends. And old boyfriends. Most of whom got crossed out.

As an aside, crossing somebody out of your paper address book is far more satisfying than just deleting their address card from your contacts app. Far more. I mean, think about it. You can slash through their name with your pen like you’re Dexter. Or press your pink eraser to the page, and scrub and scrub their name until tiny beads of sweat start popping out on your upper lip and you lick them off with triumphant delight.  Satisfaction.

Those early address books had a lot of crossed out and erased addresses as friends left the cocoon of home and school, and entered the big wide world. Young professionals starting out in apartments, moving from city to city, buying their first house. Lots and lots of address changes as we all tried to find out where we belonged. And who we belonged with.

Then came the additions. Lots of additions. Cute Kathy Collins became Cute Kathy and weird Gene Wilson. Or Collins-Wilson. It was the 70’s after all… The single names morphed into two names (or three) and the address almost always changed along with it.

In a few years, there were even more additions. In the column beside cute Kathy and weird Gene’s name & address, I added other names along with birth dates. Nicholas 10/31/79. Corrie 7/8/82. Stephen 1/25/84. And more addresses were scratched out/erased as people moved to make room for growing families.

You’d think at this point I would have quit using a pen. Evidently AGMA’s not that smart.

Things stayed pretty stable for a while as people settled into their marriages, homes and families. My address book started looking better than it had in years.

And that’s when some the names started getting scratched out. Uncle Jim, leaving Aunt Ann strangely alone in the name line. And Uncle Harry was alone as well after I crossed out Aunt Mildred. Older relatives and co-workers. In a few sad cases, college & high school friends.

Then, once again, addresses began to change. Children graduated from high school and college. Some friends downsized. Some moved to new cities. Some turned from one into two entries as couples decided to go their own separate ways after years together.

I switched over to digital address tracking about ten years ago. First it was just a document that had all of my contacts in it. That was just a pain in the arse.

Now it’s a contact app that is sooooo much more efficient than my simple paper address books could have ever dreamed of being. So simple to delete a name or change an address or add a new last name. And it wipes out all traces of the previous entry. Completely.

I’m not sure that’s such a good thing.

My old address books are full of amazing memories. Of friends made and lost. Of new love and injured hearts. Of the joy of children and new places, and the sadness of loss and broken relationships.  Priceless.

Because when you cross out a name in a paper address book, you can still read it.  It’s still there. When you erase an address, there is still a faint trace of it on the paper. There’s a history there. A history of how life evolved for my friends and family over the past 40 years. And a history of myself through my relationships with them.

That’s pretty awesome.

I’ve had to delete two names this year. One, a former neighbor, and one, a friend we ran with when we were all 20 somethings. Deleting always makes me incredibly sad.  I don’t mean to be morbid, but I have a sneaking suspicion, at this age, the deletions are just really beginning. The circle of life and all that you know?

But today, I added two new entries. One is a Facebook friend who is going to the “next level” – I’m going to visit her next week! The other is the son of one of my longtime paper address book friends. I’ve known him since he was six. I added him and his wife, and in the notes section, the names and birthdate of both of his young children. That made me smile.

So here’s to a 2016 with more additions than deletions! We’ll throw that out the the Universe and see what happens…

Aging gracefully my ass.

Happy New Year and keep your fingers crossed!

Let’s Go Krogering!

Kroger

Although the last few years have seen me in Whole Foods every week, I’m really a Kroger girl at heart.  If you aren’t familiar with Kroger, it’s a US grocery store chain headquartered in the city I lived in for most of my adult life, Cincinnati, Ohio.  You pretty much can’t spit in Cincinnati without hitting a Kroger.  They’re everywhere.

OMG – this is going to be a snoozer post…

Since Whole Foods is waaayyyy too expensive to buy food for more than one or two unless you have a trust fund, last weekend I went into my local Kroger to get some goodies to donate to my church for Thanksgiving food baskets.

But a weird thing happened.

After I had checked off all of the boxes on the list of things to get – cans of vegetables, cranberry sauce, evaporated milk, boxes of instant potatoes, stuffing and pasta – I didn’t want to leave.  I just couldn’t bring myself to go to the cashier to check out.  Or to one of the horrid self-service checkout things that are always calling the attendant on me because it didn’t “sense” me putting the 1 oz greeting card into the bag.  I’m convinced they call the attendant just to mess with me.  I hate those things.

But honestly, I didn’t want to leave.  I found myself pushing my cart, aimlessly wandering up and down the aisles.  Thinking about November “Krogering” trips from years gone by.

It’s pretty crazy how and where memories can be triggered.  These were good memories of shopping to feed the seemingly endless appetites of teenage boys, buying turkeys and “fixin’s” for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, getting ingredients for home-made holiday treats for teachers, friends and co-workers   Memories of family and community brought together by the sacred act of sharing food together.  Of spending time and energy in creating a body and soul nurturing meal out of the simple elements of meat, vegetables, bread.  And love.

Like alchemy.

I’ve been running away from some memories for a long time.  Maybe running away is a bit too dramatic.  How about “detouring around”?

The bad ones because they are just pain bad and painful. Understandable.  But I’ve been detouring from some of the good ones too.  Really happy ones in a different time and place and situation.  They tease that life may never be like that again. That the best really isn’t yet to come – that it’s already been.  Total nonsense I know.  Life is a continual adventure with unexpected joys and opportunities presenting themselves all the time if we can find a way to open our hearts to them.  I really try.

Screw Whole Foods…  This year we’re having an all Kroger Thanksgiving!  I have 364 days of the year to eat organic and “locally sourced”.  I want some good old comfort holiday food tomorrow. Food that will make my kitchen smell like it did 20 years ago when I was cooking for my growing family, and having friends and family in and out for the holidays.  Food that makes me smile and remember, and feeds my body and spirit.

Hmmm…

Maybe this means the detouring is winding down.  Maybe it means that I’m finally getting my act together.  Or that the life I’m making for myself now is just as happy as in days gone by, but in a new and different way.  Or none of the above.

I need to not overthink this.  Tomorrow, I just need to dig in, enjoy and be thankful.  For lots and lots and lots of stuff.

Like you, my WordPress friends.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

Martha Stewart’s Evil Twin

SNLtopless

With the holidays fast approaching, the American tradition of unrestrained gluttony is right around the corner.  Good times.

The season of parties and office potlucks.  The season of dinners that have five starches, four vegetables, three desserts, two meats and a partridge in a pear tree.  The season of eating three times the amount you normally eat, and then wondering why, come January, you’ve gained ten pounds and your LDL is 200.  The season of the unmovable, pepto bismol, “why am I constipated?” feast.

It’s the hap-happiest time of the year.

It’s the time of year when you are forced bring an appetizer-type thingy to your office “eat like you’re going to be out of a job by December 24th because you probably will be” holiday luncheon spread or to the neighbor with the dog that poops in your yard’s holiday party.  Or you may want to host your own celebration so you don’t have to Uber it home – you can just pass out on your own bathroom floor from all those candy cane jello shots.

You can only do veggies and hummus so many times.  “I need a new idea!” I hear you lamenting…

Well my friends – you have come to the right place!  AGMA is going to try her hand at giving holiday recipe advice.  You won’t find any of these on Martha Stewart’s website.  There’s a reason why.

I’m here to tell you that, in 2014, everything old is new again.

Now let’s dust off the AGMA recipe box and peek in for some suggestions from years gone by.  You’ll be the talk of your friends, neighbors and/or co-workers.  Because I guarantee they will most surely talk about you if you try to bring or serve any of these.

The first is the famous dried beef cheese ball.   This is for the cook in a hurry.  It takes 5 minutes to put this baby together.  You take an 8 oz pack of cream cheese, 3 oz of dried chipped beef, 2 green onions, 1/4 tsp onion salt, 1 1/4 tsp MSG (seriously, do they still make MSG?) and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce.  Say that fast three times. Awkwardly mix it all together and voila!  You’ll feel like you’re watching An Officer and A Gentleman for the first time again.  After spending a couple of hours in the fridge, it’ll be ready to spread on Ritz.  Everything tastes better on a Ritz right?  Probably not this.

The second classic is the legendary sausage and Velveta hors d’oeuvre.  I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering already…  Simple to shop for – only four ingredients.  1 lb. ground sausage, 8 oz Velveta, Worcestershire sauce – clearly the 70‘s & 80‘s go-to ingredient – and a couple of little loaves of cocktail rye bread. Brown the sausage then drain off the grease.  Cube the Velveta and mix it in with the sausage along with some of that fabulous, all-purpose Worcestershire sauce.  Cook until it’s a seething, bubbling cauldron of artery clogging goodness.  Plop a glop on a piece of cocktail rye; then when you run out of glop, pop the treats into the oven to get a nice brown crust on the top of each glop.  Serve pipin’ hot right out of the oven.  Bellisimo!  This is best served with some Lipitor on the side.

WARNING: The above recipes are not for the lactose intolerant.  The author is not responsible the mass exodus of party goers due to “side effects” if this warning is not taken seriously.

And last, but certainly not least, is the simplest, easiest of them all. Cocktail weinies in bbq sauce.  No lactose here – just pure Midwest Americana at it’s finest.  This is a no-brainer that can be quickly prepared ahead of time to free you up to make those last minute sausage and Velveta numbers.  Only three ingredients to this sweet yet savory snack…  One pack cocktail weinies, 1/2 bottle of bbq sauce (your choice) and 1/2 jar of grape jelly.  Throw them all into a crock pot set on low, mix it up, and forget about it until the good times start rolling and the candy cane jello shots come out.  The proper etiquette is to provide multi-colored toothpicks for your guests to use fish them out of the crockpot.  Be sure to supply plenty of napkins.

So good luck if you decide to prepare any of these vintage appetizers. And if anybody asks who made them, just act like you brought the veggies and hummus…

There are a lot more recipes from years gone by in the ol’ recipe box. When you least expect it, more posts may pop up featuring more AGMA retro-recipes.  The world needs to have these classics recycled if only as a warning for future generations.

Because, it’s a good thing.

The day before Black Friday formerly known as Thanksgiving

NoSanta

Did anybody notice that Costco had their Christmas stuff out before Halloween?  And the city of Decatur, Georgia’s streets are already festooned with holiday/Christmas decorations.  Fa la la la la…   We haven’t even gotten to double digits in November.  What the hell?

Enough is enough.

I’m not one to pine for the “good old days” because, usually, on closer inspection, they weren’t really all that good…  I mean, I’d never want to go back to the days when I couldn’t immediately look up the history of ketchup on my smart phone while waiting in the Steak N Shake drive thru.  That’s just crazy talk…

But I do long for the days when Thanksgiving was considered a real holiday instead of being relegated as an mere appetizer in the Christmas/holiday frenzied gluttony.  Now, it’s just barely tolerated for the sake of nostalgia and the fact that it’s the day that people use to rest and fuel up to prep for the carnage of Black Friday.

But I remember the days, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when no store would dare to put up a sprig of holly or a wreath until after Thanksgiving.  No self respecting Santa would show his face before THE REAL Santa made his appearance during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  And the “buy a Chatty Cathy” Christmas commercials didn’t start on Saturday mornings until almost December.

You couldn’t go out to do any Christmas/holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day even if you wanted to because all of the stores were closed.  Up tight.  Doors locked.  Going out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t an option either.  They were all closed too.  So, unless you had a medical emergency that landed you in the hospital with a wishbone lodged in your throat, you were stuck at home or going over the river and through the woods to a relative’s home for Thanksgiving.

But, back in the old days, for some strange reason that will be lost to future generations, people actually wanted to be home with their families.  Huh?  For better or worse.  In sickness and in health.  The good, the bad and ugly.  Even the cousin who picked his nose was okay on Thanksgiving.  Kind of.

My mother and aunts cooked all morning and well into the afternoon preparing the Thanksgiving feast.  The uncles would drink Iron City beer and talk about how the Pirates would do better next season.  Except in 1960 when they won the World Series.  That year they just drank more beer.

Aunt Ann made her cranberry jello mold and Uncle Jim mashed the potatoes and carved the bird.  And Aunt Mildred always made her rockin’ poppy seed roll.  Uncle Johnny and Aunt Sadie yelled at us kids for making too much noise fighting over who got to pull the wishbone.  But even they got a pass on Thanksgiving.

My family was far from perfect.  As a matter of fact, we were downright dysfunctional in a charming Eastern European kind of way.  But on Thanksgiving, the house always smelled and sounded like happiness and love  To a seven year old AGMA, that was a magic all of it’s own.

The good old days.

Heed my warning – Thanksgiving’s in danger.  I think it’s going to go the way of Pluto.  Remember, Pluto got a planet “demotion” in 2006 because it just wasn’t up to snuff?  People think that Thanksgiving’s not really a real holiday because there’s no big money to be made with it as a stand alone holiday.  Because it’s not really a “job creator” holiday and it actually encourages people NOT to work, don’t be surprised if there is “holiday demotion” legislation introduced in 2015 from the Koch Brothers Fan Club (formerly known as Congress.)

Thanks, Obama!

In Search of a 15 Hour Energy Drink…

batmanmasseuse

Life has been crazy these past few months.  Good crazy.  Mostly.

One casualty of the busy has been that I haven’t been posting on AGMA very much.  The other is that I haven’t had time to read all of your wonderful blogs.  I hate that.

I went on two wonderful trips to Europe.  Did I mention I love to travel?   My question now is, why did I come home from the first one?

Looking back, it made no sense to fly over and back twice, endure jet lag twice, do all that packing and unpacking twice.  The trips were five weeks apart.   It would have been so much more practical for me to have hung out in Europe for those extra five weeks.  Duh.  So common sense, right?  My husband, who is the founder of my travel feasts, might not agree.  He’s such a buzzkill…

So at the same time I’m packing and unpacking, getting over jet lag and trying to find somebody to feed the cats, I was also in the middle of learning a complicated new clinical soft tissue manual therapy technique.

What the hell?

Oh, haven’t I ever mentioned that I’m a clinical soft tissue manual therapist (CSTMT)?  Let me use another term that you might be more familiar with as long as you promise to respect me in the morning…

Massage therapist.

That first word carries soooo much baggage – I cringe when I have to use it to describe what I do.  Now honestly, didn’t your eyebrows go up just a little bit?  See…

My journey of becoming a massage therapist at 55 is a long story. It’s all part of the plan NOT to age gracefully.  But that’s another blog post.

So to be clear, I’m not the type of massage therapist who advertises in the classified section in the back of The Riverfront Times or Creative Loafing, or on Craigslist.  And whatever you do, never, EVER call me a masseuse.  My eyes glaze over, roll up into their sockets, and I lose all bladder and bowel control.  It’s not a pretty sight.

Anyway, I took a five day class to learn this fabulous new technique. It’ll help me help my clients resolve issues like frozen shoulder, carpel tunnel syndrome, runners knee, planter fasciitis, IT band issues and more, all without expensive unnecessary surgical intervention.  This is the stuff dreams are made of for this AGMA CSTMT!

The class is just the beginning.  To become proficient, I’m spending hours and hours studying the technique, complementary techniques and working on “guinea pig” clients.  Hey – I give them a big price break…

Plus, now I’m studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT).  Good Lord…  I’m doing it because I need to be able to “legally” give corrective exercises to my clients as part of this new technique.  In most states, giving exercises to clients is out of the scope of practice for a massage therapist.  Translation – I can lose my license and/or get my ass sued off if a client hurts themselves doing one of the exercises.  I can’t even guesstimate how many hours getting my CPT certification will take.

The icing on the “Is AGMA going crazy and why hasn’t she been posting much or been reading my blog?” cake is that I threw a big, elaborate baby shower for my daughter-in-law last weekend in Ohio. I live in Georgia.  I literally couldn’t move on Monday and Tuesday. I was one tuckered puppy.

Oh yeah – the holidays are coming, the grandson is due to arrive in December and I’m training to run my first marathon in February.

I figure I can sleep in my 70’s…

Ocular Misadventures-Part Deux

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[FYI, this will be my last post for a couple of weeks.  I’m off again tomorrow on another AGMA travel adventure!  I’ll miss ya’ll!]

In my elementary school, each class marched into the nurses office once a year to read an eye chart. They wanted to make sure our vision was okay.  I guess my eyes were passable through 5th grade. All hell broke loose in 6th grade.

I started squinting to see the chalkboard.  Very gradually – so gradually that I never really noticed – the moon developed a hazy ring around it.  Trees branches lost their definition.  The world became a soft, fuzzy place with blurred boarders.  Everything looked like it was surrounded by blobs of cotton candy.

In 7th grade, I went to a “proper” eye doctor.  Turns out I had become extremely near-sighted.  Duh…  I needed glasses.  This was a death sentence to a tween girl.

I was going to be a four eyes.

I didn’t like getting glasses.  They felt odd on my face and made my eyes look beady.  But it was wonderful being able to read the chalkboard and see individual leaves on a branch.  The moon and car headlights didn’t have halos around them.  The world was in sharp focus – at least visually.

But I was desolate.  Everybody knows, “Boys never make passes at girls who wear glasses.”  Pigs.

In high school, I traded in my glasses for big girl contact lenses. They weren’t particularly comfortable and were a royal pain to take care of, but I was “make a pass at” eligible again.  Nobody did.  Pigs.

In college, the abuse started.  Many nights I would fall asleep (pass out?) with my contacts still in my eyes.  The next morning I’d have to chisel them out.  Ouch.  Going to college in Texas, then Arizona, there was no shortage of windblown sand and dust.  Ouch again. And when I “slept over” and didn’t have my contact solution, I spit on my contacts to put them back in my eyes in the morning. That is assuming I actually took them out the night before and put them in the closest thing resembling a Dixie Cup for safe storage.

It’s amazing I have any sight left at all.

I wore contacts until I was in my early 30s.  After the birth of my second child, I didn’t have time to fool with all that contact lens nonsense.  Married for 6+ years, I figured two kids sealed the deal so I didn’t have to worry my looks anymore.  I started wearing glasses again.  I honestly don’t think my husband even noticed.  He’s an absent minded professor type…  I still don’t think he’s noticed.

Round about the time life started to settle down again for a minute (meaning the kids went off to college), I started thinking about wearing contacts again.  But damn…now I needed readers for seeing things close up.  Even if I got contacts, I’d still have to wear glasses for any “close up” stuff which is like 50% of the time.  Crap.

I could get those “Jekyll and Hyde” contact lenses where one eye has a distance contact in it and the other has a close up reading contact. Really?  They say that your brain gets used to seeing catawampus. I’m pretty sure my brain is already working to it’s maximum catawampus capacity.  I seriously don’t want to confuse it any more than it already is.  Besides, the whole thing just sounds creepy…

I opted for progressive, no-line bifocal glasses.  The lenses look like “normal” lenses, but they’re very sneaky.  The top part is for distance and the bottom part is for reading and, true to the advertising, there is NO LINE.  Nifty…but I’m STILL wearing glasses.

Shelley at Destinationnow.me commented on my last post that she had new eyeball lens implants when she had surgery to remove her cataracts.  She’s glasses free because one lens implanted is for close up vision and the other lens is for distance. Still kinda creepy, but the idea of having nearly perfect vision and never wearing any corrective lens ever again is somewhat intoxicating.

So, in ten years, when I get my cataracts removed, provided I don’t contract ebola and die in the meantime, I will, once again, be “make a pass at” eligible!  I’ll be nearly 71.

Get in line boys….get in line.  My dance card is fillin’ up fast!

Behave while I’m gone!

Ocular Misadventures

EyeExam

Hot on the heels of my post of a few weeks ago about the explorations in the deepest, darkest parts of my colon, I’m going for another doctor related post.  It’s what we Boomers do – talk about our visits to the doctor.  ZZZzzzzzz…

Last week I went for my bi-annual eye exam.  I went to a new O.D. Everybody in the office was very nice and extremely friendly. Everybody told me how happy they were that I chose their practice. I was immediately suspicious.  This is Atlanta.  Nobody in a customer service position here acts like that.  Must proceed with caution.

I don’t like going to the eye doctor anyway.   I hate the inevitable “gives you farsighted vampire eyes unable to read or be in the sunlight” drops to dilate your eyes.  And I always seem to get the techs who were former Abu Ghraib interrogators.  They position the eye dropper 4 feet above your eyes and then squeeze.  You endure the agony watching the drops fall and fall and fall before they plop into each eye stinging the crap out of them.  I’m sweating now just thinking about it.

But last week, I was offered a choice.  I could have the normal “Guantanamo Bay Special” eye drops or, for $35 extra, a new procedure that takes a picture of the inside of your eyeball.  No drops, no sting and no vampire blindness.  They could have charged $135 and I still would have signed up.  Don’t tell them that.

After the pictures and some other odd tests (“Click the buttons when you see the shimmering lines appear.” WTF?), we moved on to what is second only to the eye drops as my most stressful and anxiety ridden part of the eye exam.  I like to call it the “Is it better here or (sound of lens clicking) here?” conundrum.

They put this huge mechanical contraption in front of your face that looks like the old big binocular machine that was at the U.S. Grand View Hotel on Rt 30 in Pennsylvania back in the 60’s.  You’d put a nickel in and you could see three states and seven counties.  Only I don’t see three states and seven counties from the OD’s contraption; just lines of random letters of different sizes.  Downer.

Then starts the incessant, relentless questioning.  Can you read the third line down?  No?  Then they spin the dials and flip things around.  Can you read line three now?  Is it better here or here? Over and over and over…

At this point, I have line three memorized so it wouldn’t matter if they put a hood over my head.  I could recite line three in my sleep. This whole process could use a little more creativity.  It’s really easy to cheat.

They continue to madly spin dials and flip lenses.  “Can you read line three better with #1 or [click] #2?”  Sometimes the answer is obvious. But most of the time it pretty much looks the same to me. But they want an answer.  They’re insisting on an answer.  Now. Dear God in heaven….I can’t tell a difference!  My hands start to get clammy, my respiration gets shallow and I feel my heart pounding in my teeth.

I try to stall for time.  I ask them to see #1 and #2 again.  They’re not happy with me.  They’re starting to speak in clipped phrases with tight lips and a slight Brooklyn accent.  They aren’t going to take “I can’t tell the difference” for an answer again.  I think might wind up in the cornerstone of some new building or at the bottom of a river if I don’t come up with an answer.  Fast.  I desperately try to figure out if #1 is truly better than #2.  I blurt out an answer. “NUMBER 2! IT’S NUMBER 2!

I need a Xanex after we are done with the binocular machine.

Satisfied that I’ve been beaten into ocular submission, the doctor puts my eyeball pictures up on the computer screen.  I perk up.  I’m an anatomy geek so it’s very cool to see the inside of my eyeball.  He says my optic nerve looks great.  He says my macula looked perfect. In both eyes.  He says that I have the eyeballs of a 20 year old.  I’m thinking, “Yeah I do!”

Then he says, “Except for the cataracts that are starting. See the cloudiness?”

Yeah, I do.  Shit.

So I need to be careful when I’m in the sun.  Aside from the sunscreen I have to slather myself with to prevent skin cancer, age spots and wrinkles, now I have to wear polarized sunglasses all the time to protect my eyes from the evil UV rays seeking to destroy my vision. This will “delay” the development of the cataracts so that I probably won’t need surgery for 10 years or so.

You can run but you can’t hide from a body that has been around for 60+ years.  Some wear and tear is creeping in.  It happens to all of us who are lucky enough to stick around for this long…

Aging gracefully my ass!

September Yin and Yang

September

Yeah, yeah – I know I’m a little late since it’s already past mid-September.  This is a post that really wanted to be written at the beginning of the month.  It begged me to be written.  But because it’s not my normal “wry humor” (and I say that wryly…), I said no. It’s been nagging me ever since.  It would not relent.  I gave up. Thanks for your indulgence for my indulgence.

September is a very special month to me.  I always feel big changes in the air.  I can smell the changes.  September is chance to start over.  Brand new beginnings.  Most good and welcomed.

But not all.

September always means a new school year.  As a child growing up in Pittsburgh in the late 50‘s/early 60’s, school didn’t start until after Labor Day.   I was always excited to go back to school.  I couldn’t wait to see my friends again.  And back to school meant a new dress and a new pair of shoes for the fist day.  Cha-ching!

Getting a new dress was a big deal for me.  Due to divorce, I lived in a single parent household – unusual for the time – and my mother worked as a nurse in a VA hospital.  There wasn’t much money for new clothes.

Or new anything else.

But for the first day of school, not only would I get a new dress and shoes, but a new notebook, new pencils and a new book bag too.  (FYI – bookbags were the old school version of the modern backpack…)  It was a huge treat to go shopping with my mother for all my new stuff.  She was always so very busy all the time with work and taking care of the house and doing laundry and grocery shopping and cooking – we never had time just to hang out together. We would ride a trolley to downtown Pittsburgh and shop at one of the big department stores.   We always ate lunch in a restaurant.  To me, it was a thrilling adventure!

I experienced the same type of excitement at the beginning of September years later with my own kids when they started school. We’d go down the list of “suggested supplies”, head out to the mall and shopped ’til we dropped!  We all had fun, but I’m pretty sure that I enjoyed it the most…

And September was always the beginning of another year of volunteering.  I worked part-time in IT, so I was usually able to make time each week to volunteer at the kid’s school.  Yeah – I was one of those moms.  I was in PTA, helped out in the classroom, worked in the bookstore and on after-prom, baked cookies, was a Football Mom and a Soccer Mom.  All through their grade school, middle school and high school years, I volunteered.  And I loved every minute of it.

Now, every September when I feel the chill starting in the air and hear the sound of the September “critters” in the morning and see the leaves starting to put on their Fall regalia, my head and heart flood with the memories those happy new beginnings.  But September also reminds me that new beginnings can have their challenges.

My children have long been out of school.  The high school PTA and Football Moms are now run by people whose children were tiny babies back when I was involved.  September reminds me that every season comes to an end.  That very happy time in my life is over. Oh, I’ve adjusted to the empty nest and have reinvented myself several times over, and stay very busy and active.  I even started a blog!  But so far nothing has equaled the joy I had in parenting my kids when they were growing up.  September reminds me, sometimes cruelly, that time marches on.  Relentlessly.

Also, on a September day in 1965, my dear, sweet mother who worked so very hard to support my sister and I, died suddenly from undiagnosed pancreatic cancer.  She was two weeks shy of her 47th birthday.  So young…  I had just started 7th grade.  After the funeral, I was shipped off to a new city in a new state to live with my father who I had barely seen since he moved away when I was six, and his new wife who I’d never met.  I would never see the house I grew up in or any of my grade school or neighborhood friends again.

The smells and sounds and “feeling” of September remind me of new beginnings. But they also remind me that sometimes a new beginning isn’t welcome.   But it comes anyway.

I sigh and remember and mostly smile.