January & February…WTF??

Sorry I haven’t posted in a hot minute (an understatement maybe?), but AGMA’s been cocooning.  It’s been cold and snowy here in Chicago.

Duh.

Now I DO understand that was something I should have expected when we moved up here permanently in November.  And I did.  Son#1 has lived here for the past 20 years, and in the mid 70’s to late 80’s, my sister and BIL lived in Chicago.  And I grew up in Pittsburgh.  I really though I was ready.

How naive I was…

AGMA just didn’t expect the ferocity of it all.

It’s hard to type on a keyboard when you are bundled up in your living room like Ralphie from A Christmas Story (yet another iconic movie that I have never seen all the way through…)  So I couldn’t write any posts.

Yeah…sure.  But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Honest to goodness, I have no idea how you folks in Canada and the bordering US states do it!

AGMA is f*cking cold, and I have been f*cking cold for the past 3 weeks.  And we haven’t seen the ground (other than what’s been shoveled or plowed) since January 25th.   We got 30 inches of snow from snow “events” that have happened seemingly every other day since 1/25, and we have another 10 inches from the snow storm today with more on the way tonight.

WTF??

Three of the best purchases we’ve made since moving to Chicago:

  1. A remote starter for our 2017 AWD Toyota Highlander.
  2. A snow shovel with a ‘helper handle’
  3. An Eddie Bauer down stadium coat (that weighs at least 10 lbs) that is rated to -40 F.

And I made a purchase last week that is helping immensely in our quest to keep warm.

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!

Thankfully, we only have to worry about clearing the snow from the 8 steps on our front, and our deck & steps in the back.  Our HOA takes care of plowing our tiny streets and all the walkways.

Sweet!

Still, it feels like we have been shoveling and salting fools.  We’re running out of places to put the snow we are shoveling.

Oh…the humanity!

But things are definitely looking up.  Spring is right around the corner.  It’s supposed to get up into the 30s early next week. And while my friends in Atlanta are marveling at the flowering of the first daffodils, I am looking very much forward to actually seeing the dead grass in our little front yard.

It’s the small things…

So much has happened since my last post.  For most of you in the US, you had the same reaction to the national political news as we did.  Elation on January 3rd, anger on January 6th, joy on January 20th, *&#%$@^* anger this past Saturday.  How could the Senate not convict the Inciter in Chief for his attempted overthrow of the US government and the attempted murder of our representatives in Congress?  Maybe the meme below explains it?

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Hmmm…I suspected they were missing.

From the AGMA news desk, I had a birthday last month.  And I continue to age as ungracefully as I can.

So far, so good.

Son#2 flew up to visit us a few weeks ago which was lovely.  I miss his eye rolling and thinly veiled impatience with hubs and AGMA.  I really do.  He does a great job of keeping us grounded and tuned into the Millennial mindset.  He felt it was safe to fly, not because he got his COVID vaccine, but because he actually HAD COVID at the beginning of January.  This was surprising news to us.  He chose not to share the information with us until he was feeling better.  He was wise as Momma Bear would have hopped in the car and drive down there to catch COVID with him.

And we continue to kernoodle with the 3 grands quite often (which is the sum total of the reasons we moved to Chicago in the first place.)  Considering the unending snow and how f*cking cold it is, it’s a damn good thing they are still so adorable and fun and delightful, and make us very, very happy.

A damn good thing.

Please, stay warm, stay safe and don’t ever believe again that the GOP cares about blue lives, the US Constitution, law and order, and anybody who isn’t white and part of the 1%.

You’re welcome.

The call to serve

AGMA isn’t sure I’ll be around to post after today.

I don’t mean to upset you, but I feel like I need to prepare you for the worst possible scenario.

Just in case.

No, I don’t have COVID or another illness that is about to take me out. Yet.

No, I haven’t decided to give up blogging. AGMA is one of my “touchpoints of sanity” in the totally insane world that is 2020.

No, I’m not going into exile to escape what is sure to be a very rough time in the US over the next 4 months. Although I’m sorely tempted.

Son#1 and DIL will be going away by themselves for a well deserved long weekend to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

Soooooo – AGMA and Hubs will be babysitting our 3 young grandchildren (ages 5, 3 and 14 months) for 3 days and nights by ourselves.

BY OURSELVES!!!!

(Did I just shout?)

Well, that’s not entirely true. My DIL has a lovely young lady come over during the day Monday through Friday to help her with the kiddos. The kids adore their nanny and she loves them so it’s really a great arrangement.

Super nanny will be around to help us on Thursday and Friday into the early evening. But we’re going to be solo at night and on Saturday and part of the day on Sunday.

Oh the humanity!

I’m not entirely sure I’ll survive.

Please don’t get me wrong… AGMA loves my 3 grandchildren dearly.

We sold our house, put most of our earthly possessions in storage, and moved over 700 miles away to be closer to them. During a global pandemic. And (of course) brought lots of toys with us.

And the 3 grandchildren I have now are it. There are no additions on the horizon nor will there be.

Zip. Nada, Zilch.

Son#2 is more than happy being a life long bachelor and having to only care for 2 cats.

Son#1, the kiddo’s father, saw to it, surgically, that there will be no additional rug rats added to the brood soon after #3 came along last year. If you catch my drift…

So these 3 precious children are it. They are the legacy that AGMA will be leaving to world when the sand runs out of my hour glass. My chance to achieve immortality of sorts. The future of my DNA.

Plus they are just a cute and adorable and personable as they can be.

I love them more than words can say.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m looking forward to spending a whole weekend with them. Alone. I mean, seriously?

There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. AGMA isn’t as spritely as I used to be (which wasn’t all that great to start with!) I get tired (translation = exhausted) trying to keep up with them.
  2. Hubs has a neurological condition that impairs his balance and mobility so this means that I will be doing all the “stair running” (they have 3 floors) and carrying of anybody or anything that may need carrying.
  3. We like to sleep at night. The kids don’t. The older ones often pile into their parent’s bed in the middle of the night. This is the very same bed that we will be sleeping in this weekend. It could be difficult to sleep with a foot in my stomach and an arm across my face or a squirmy 3 year old at my head.
  4. After 3 nights of interrupted sleep piled onto exhausting, stair running days, AGMA will not be somebody that anybody will want to be around for any length of time. Just sayin’…
  5. Most importantly, we like to be the “good guys” to the kids. We don’t want to have to discipline them or order them to pick up their toys or tell them they aren’t allowed to have that extra snack. You know – stuff parents normally do. But we might have to do all that this weekend. And that’s just no fun.

But we knew there would be assignments like this when we moved up to Chicago. We were aware of the risks.

We are the brave, the strong. We are grandparents. And we will serve despite the risks. That’s what grandparents do when called to action.

Even if we have a nasty case of bone spurs.

Please remember AGMA fondly just in case I don’t come out on the other side of the weekend…

Have curriculum, will coordinate

We’ve been apart for what feels like forever.

AGMA found out that WordPress has a new editor! I’m giving it a try so who knows what this post is going to look like. Where the heck is the word count?

And Andrew at Andrews View of the Week moved from California to Nevada.

What other big changes have gone on out there while I was in hibernation?

Despite crazies like AGMA and Andrew who decide to sell their homes and move in the midst of a pandemic, I think that most folks are like Marty over at Snakes in the Grass and have pretty much been staying home. He complained that there’s just not much to blog about when there’s a wild virus raging outside your door. He volunteered to move to Chicago to help us grandparent TMWGITW. I told him that the children (5, 3 and 1) would indeed provide the needed inspiration for amusing blogging.

The 5 year old, my Boo, keeps himself entertained by asking Echo (at his house) and Alexa (at our apartment) to do fart sounds. There are even fart songs.

Who knew?

Evidently Boo knew….

We are closing on 4 weeks in Chicago.

Other than a horrific pandemic that has basically gone unchecked in the US due to totally incompetent leadership leading to close to 5,000,000 total infections, and, tragically and totally unnecessary, nearly 160,000 deaths, things are going pretty well for AGMA.

After living in a different city and state from our son and DIL since they were a “thing” and had kids, wondering how all of this togetherness was going to play out was sort of natural.

Comedy, tragedy, melodrama, tragicomedy, theater of the absurd…??

Adding to the concern was that our relationship has had it rocky patches over the years. Some very rocky patches. Like Rocky Mountain rocky patches!

If I was a betting woman (which I am!) I have a sneakin’ suspicion that son and DIL had the same concerns.

But due to AGMA’s diplomatic skills, charm, and easy going (WTF???) personality, not to mention the fact that the kids think Nana is the bomb because she risks her life in their bounce house, things have been going swimmingly.

My Boo will be in kindergarten this year. Thankfully Chicago Public Schools just recently announced that, for the first quarter at least, all learning will be virtual. No instruction in the human Petri dish called a school classroom.

It’s cute how some school districts (and businesses, restaurants, airlines, theme parks, etc) act like everything is okey dokey, back to normal, and have rolled out the red carpet for all comers.

Just adorable. If you’re the coronavirus.

Because Boo will be doing online learning, my DIL asked if I would be one of his curriculum coordinators.

Huh??

AGMA said yes, but I have no idea what that entails. I guess I’ll find out. Should I be worried?

But it will actually give me something to do. In between visits to TMWGCITW, activities in the AGMA Hobbit hole are few and far between. TV, social media, some reading. And it’s small and dark in there. And I’m together with Hubs almost 24/7.

Oh, the humanity!

So yes – I’d be HAPPY to be Boo’s “curriculum coordinator” if it gets me out of the cave!

One bright spot in a year full of huge spiders and venomous snakes is that professional cycling is back!!

OMG, there IS a God…

Those of you who’ve been reading AGMA for a spell know how much I LOVE men’s professional road cycling.

About 10 years ago, I found that the Tour de France was the “gateway race” to a late in life, absolute obsession with young men in spandex climbing mountains on bicycles with skinny wheels. And since it’s 2020, COVID sucks and I live in a “garden apartment”, AGMA’s gone all in with watching races on TV and online. I have subscriptions to 2 different streaming services that will be streaming different races.

AGMA was supposed to go to France last month to follow the last week of the Tour. Clearly that didn’t happen for multiple reasons. The Tour ended up not being cancelled, but postponed until 8/20. But since Americans aren’t allowed to basically travel anywhere in the WORLD because of the Orange Covidiot throwing up his tiny hands and saying “It is what it is.”, I’ll be staying in my Hobbit hole during the Tour. So AGMA figures that paying for a couple of subscriptions for streaming services is the least that I can do for myself!

‘Cause it’s really all about me…

AGMA hopes all of you are treating yourselves to some special things during this surreal apocalyptic year of 2020. Hopefully that doesn’t involve any controlled narcotic substances. Or alcohol.

Okay – maybe some alcohol.

Maybe more than some.

Stay safe my friends!

P.S. Did I say it’s sooooo good to be back??

OMG…I’m back!!

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Picture of a Hobbit Hole taken by AGMA in New Zealand last November,

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

I can’t believe it!  I can’t believe it!  I can’t believe it!

AGMA’s back.

“AGMA who?”

I deserve that.

But we have reached the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel!  Hubs and I are now living in the Windy City.  Homeless.  Sort of.

More about that later…

We closed on our home in Atlanta at the end of June.  It’s been 8 years since we sold our last house and I forgot what a “treat” selling a house can be.  Like watching a WH coronavirus “task force” briefing.

So. Very. Painful.

For those of you who are regular AGMA-ites, you know I’ve complained over the past few years about how I just can’t seem to multi-task anymore.  Younger years were spent juggling the many balls of growing kids, aging parents, work and volunteerism.  And I was pretty darned good at it.

Modesty is overrated.

But once I hit 60, I seemed to lose the ability to manage multiple projects at once.

Well…I’m very glad to report that AGMA still has what it takes!  It wasn’t that I lost the ability; it’s just that I didn’t really HAVE to do things like when I was younger.  Once upon a time, kids had to get to ballgames on time and projects had to be done for work on time and volunteer commitments needed to be fulfilled on time.

It’s truly amazing what you can pull off when you have hard and fast deadlines.  When things HAVE to get done because you don’t have any other option.  When there can’t be any Plan B

I HAD to find temporary apartments in Atlanta and Chicago, HAD to sort and pack all of our belongings and find a place to store them, HAD to make arrangements to give away, get rid of the stuff we weren’t taking/storing, all before the movers came. And I HAD to buy a car that could fit 3 car seats before we left for Chicago.

Yup – I did it all.  And, mostly, it pretty much sucked.

I went to bed exhausted every night.  I quit using my blood pressure cuff because I had so many spinning plates to keep up in the air.  Similar logic to the Orange Covidiot’s logic on coronavirus testing…  If I didn’t take my BP, it couldn’t be high, right?

Basically, I was pretty much a bitch.  And with the pandemic on top of it all, AGMA found herself in some dark places mentally and emotionally at times.

So be glad Debbie Downer didn’t post for a while.

Another one of my “issues” with writing is that I didn’t have any place to write.  My muse of a coffee shop in Atlanta – Dancing Goats – was closed for all but carry out because of the pandemic.   And even after the Orange Arse Kissing Covidiot of a Governor in Georgia opened everything back up and invited COVID-19 to have field day infecting Georgians, Dancing Goats is continuing to only do carry out.

AGMA didn’t realize how important DG was to me as far as blogging inspiration goes.  I tried a few times writing from home, but…nah….

Then we moved out of our 3400 sq ft townhouse into our 700 sq ft temporary apartment in Atlanta for 3 weeks until we were able to move into our 700 sq ft temporary “garden” (meaning it’s in a basement and a bit like a cave) apartment in Chicago 2 weeks ago.

It’s cosy.  And dark. But it’s nicely appointed, has lots of high end touches, and is less than 2 miles from the MWGITW (most wonderful grandchildren in the world!)

That’s really why we did this.  All of it.

Seeing them, spending time with them, playing with them, hearing them laugh, having them hug and snuggle with us has made all of the tears and stress and anxiety and curse words (oh yeah – there were a lot of them!) of the past 4 months worth it.

Totally.

And yesterday, hopes of AGMA rising like a phoenix from the ashes of unwritten blog posts were rekindled!  I think I found my new “Dancing Goats” here in Chicago!  It’s a delightful French bakery/cafe with a nice big shaded patio and only an 8 minute walk from our Hobbit Hole of an apartment!

And OMG…they sell bottles of lovely French wine for patio consumption for a pretty reasonable price.

Alert: drunk blog post coming soon!

Damn…it’s good to be back!

 

 

 

 

 

Wanted: more joy

 

highclere

AGMA has noted of late that my posts aren’t the light-hearted romps into absurdity that they once were when I started blogging nearly 6 years ago.

I’m pretty sure the change started on November 8, 2016.

And with each

  • mass shooting (#MassacreMitch’s once again sending his NRA inspired thoughts and prayers to Midland/Odessa…)
  • report of innocent children being ripped from their parents, caged and denied basic health care
  • hurricane/drought/deadly heat wave/flood event/tornado outbreak
  • environmental protection dismantled
  • edict meant to take protections/rights away from GLBTQ people/racial minorities/women/immigrants/the military/labor
  • ally alienated
  • enemy of America, democracy, and human rights embraced
  • conviction of criminals placed in high government positions
  • innocent person killed because of the color of their skin, their place of origin, their sexual orientation, their religion,

AGMA strays farther from the “very light-hearted” state of mind.

Add to that the normal “stuff” of living and I’ve been downright morose.

Plus, I gained 8 lbs since the beginning of the year and my normal “mammoth petite” clothes are too tight.

Sh*t.

“Mr. Fader, you sound like a real delightful guy!” to quote Roseanne Roseannadanna.

Two things this past weekend slapped me in the face like a cold sockeye salmon and screamed, “You REALLY need to figure out how to put some joy back in your life AGMA!!”

First was dinner with Son#2.

Now I need to say that Son#2 has always been a bit like Eeyore.  He has a touch of SADD, and likes living in Atlanta with all the sunshine in the winter months.  He’s not one who would be called a raging optimist.  Much like his mom.

Hubs and my discussion at dinner centered around:

  • our sadness at the banishment from seeing our grandchildren in the foreseeable future for reasons beyond our understanding (which we have been told is temporary, but we’ll see…)
  • the devastating effects of climate change and how more catastrophic storms like Dorian will be happening with more frequency (Hubs is a bit of a climate change expert.)
  • the book Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson that I had just finished to listening to on Audible.  It chronicled the migration of African Americans from the Jim Crowe South to northern and western cities between 1915 and 1970.  A long book and a very intense examination of the violence and systemic racism in both the South and North against African Americans.
  • the anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder in 1955.  He was a 14-year-old African American from Chicago visiting family in Mississippi.  His parents were part of the Great Migration.  He was lynched and his body desecrated in Mississippi on August 28, 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.

OMG…weren’t we just a barrel of fun?!?!

And Son#2 called us out on it.  He said, “Can we talk about something that’s happy?  You know, there has to be something happy we can talk about.”

For a moment, AGMA bristled.

“Sure,” I thought, “Let’s just pretend that none of this injustice and corruption and sadness is in the world and we’ll act just like everything is just peachy dandy, and ignore the assault on humanity that is going on all around us.”

AGMA has been known to be a bit dramatic…

We changed the subject and started talking about fluff.

But it made me think.  Is there a way to hold both the righteous anger that comes from injustice assaulting us on so many different fronts, and the simple joy and delight in living?

Clearly AGMA has not been doing a very good job at that.

Second, I heard a piece on NPR about research study that concluded that optimistic people lived longer.  And that optimism can be taught to a certain extent.

Cha-ching!

I need a course in Optimism 101!

Maybe I need to sign up for Optimist International?

This weekend, after realizing that I DID need to do a better job of finding my joy, I took definitive steps.

I started watching….

Wait for it….

The Downton Abbey marathon that was on PBS this weekend!

Nothing says cheer up like the Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess telling her American DIL, Cora, played by Elizabeth McGovern, “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again.  When I’m with her, I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.”

I tuned in and out of it the entire weekend.  I managed to see the very first episode on Saturday and the last episode in Monday with a number of episodes in between.

I was in my happy place!

Keep in mind we have all of the seasons on DVD.  But I would never think of watching them sequentially.  That would just be crazy.  Watching them as I had time during the weekend seemed less like I was wasting my day staring at the TV, and more like I was becoming reacquainted with old friends in bits and pieces.

Only in the mind of AGMA…

And to make things even better, the DA movie comes out in the US this month on September 20th!

Son#2, who normally would poo poo the idea of something like Downton Abbey, said that a number of his friends, to his amazement and surprise, couldn’t wait for the movie to come out.   He was actually considering seeing it.

I told him I would be happy to loan him our DVD’s of all 6 seasons so he could get caught up with the 52 episodes he missed.

At which point his eyes rolled back in his head…

Then we laughed.

While we shouldn’t, we absolutely can’t, ignore the big things that are assaults on our fellow human beings and our Mother Earth, we also need to recognize and embrace the little joys that come into our life in unexpected ways.

AGMA promises to try to find more joy and happiness in the little things that move my heart and spirit, and turn those moments into a deep reservoir of hope.

And more light- hearted posts.

I promise!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happened Nana?

V

Ah…out of the mouths of babes…

We were up visiting the MAGITW (most adorable grandchildren in the world) a couple of weekends ago.

These are always bracing visits.

AGMA always thinks I’m doing pretty well physically until we visit the MAGITW.  They have a way of breaking you down and making you feel your age.  I realized my self-deception on this visit within the first 24 hours.

It all started with the bounce house.

My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter, V, has been a pacifier addict since she was a tiny babe.  Her “paci” was a source of comfort, stress relief and just plain ole good times.  80% of the pictures I have of her up until now has been with a paci in her mouth.

Like she did with B, V’s older brother, when he was small, the Paci Fairy made a visit to their house.  In case you didn’t know, the Paci Fairy – a distant relative of the Tooth Fairy – takes away all of the pacifiers in a house, but in their place, she leaves a gift.

On this visit, she cleared out all of V’s pacis and left a bounce house.

A full sized, air inflated, skull cracking bounce house.

Sweet!

So of course Nana AGMA had to give the bounce house a try.

Of course.

I cranked up the inflation thing-a-ma-jig.  The bounce house filled up with air, and B, V and I piled in.

Up to this point, I was still under the delusion that I was in pretty good shape.  Then the bouncing commenced…

It was fun for the first 2 minutes.

Round ’bout minute 3, AGMA started wondering, “What the hell was I thinking????”

B, my grandson, is a large 4 year old who’s a bit hyperactive.  He was literally flinging himself against the sides of the bounce house with all his might.  So much so that I was afraid he was going to collapse one side and all three of us were going to tumble out.

Evidently the frenetic bouncing got to V too, who is still getting the hang of using a potty.

She slid down the little exit slide and announced, “I have to go pee pee.”

Panicked, AGMA tried to get out of the bounce house to assist her, but in my haste, I fell down several times.  B thought I was intentionally flinging myself around so he decided to body slam me a few times.  The last time, as I was sliding down the exit slide lying sideways.  He slammed his full weight down right on top of my left shoulder which jammed my right shoulder into the hard floor.

I remember thinking, “Oh – this is not good…”

Fun times.

And as it turns out, it was all for naught.  V peed in her pants anyway.

Oh well.

AGMA feels like I was in an episode of I Love Lucy.

So, in addition to screwing up my right shoulder, all the bouncing and falling and flinging aggravated AGMA’s lumbar discs that have been squished due to my scoliosis, causing lumbar nerve compression causing my right leg and hip to ache for the next 5 days – 24/7.  Fun times…

“Mr. Feder, you seem like a really delightful guy!” to quote Roseanne Roseannadanna.

The bounce house was NOT inflated again during our visit.

Screw you Paci Fairy!

My granddaughter, V, is actually an incredibly sweet and kind child when she’s not acting like a 2 year old.  She likes to take my glasses off and wear them.  Then she orders me to “Ki Nana!”  And I have to play-act cry that she has my glasses until she gives them back.

It’s the dance we do.

At one point during this visit, before I put my glasses back on after being ordered to “Ki!”, she got up really, really close to my face and looked deeply into my eyes.

At that moment, I was looking into the eyes of pure innocence.  And kindness and goodness and gentleness.  Looking into her young, full of love, beautiful blue-gray eyes that have so far seen nothing of the harshness of the world, I was transfixed.

Then she winkled up her nose and whispered…

“What happened Nana?”

And pointed to the bags under my eyes and the age spots around them.

“Oh sweetie,” I replied,  “Nana just got old.”

AGMA felt like Wendy Darling when Peter Pan comes to visit and and finds a gray haired Wendy with her grandchildren.

Nana just got old.

It happens.  If you’re lucky…

But don’t take it all too terribly seriously.

Betcha AGMA’s back in the bounce house in June.

Aging gracefully my ass!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of sh*t can happen in 5 years!

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In 2015, at 92, Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman to complete a marathon!  She passed in 2017, but what an inspiration!

So somewhere in the bustle of the holidays, my never ending sniffles, and out of town guests, I missed my 5th anniversary on WP!  It happened like on December 30th (give or take a day.)

Happy Anniversary to my little ass, Aging Gracefully!

Holy cow, that was a fast 5 years!

When I started AGMA, I had a lot of time on my hands.  Blogging seemed like a good way to fill some of it.  I’m a bit ADHD, so I needed something to keep me busy.

Little did I know that the next 5 years would turn out to be crazy eventful.  And my days would soon be overflowing with “opportunities” to be busy…

  • The most adorable grandchildren in the world (MAGITW) made their appearances in 2014 and 2016.  And there is soon to be a 3rd MAGITW!  Stay tuned this summer…
  • I decided to start “running” marathons, and have 6 notches in my belt so far.  I ran my 1st one 2 months after starting AGMA.
  • My love of thrifting turned into a little Ebay business.  The problem is that AGMA loves thrifting more than listing the items on Ebay.  And I’m running out of places to store the crap…eh…treasures.
  • I gave up the space I was renting and made the decision to switch my massage practice almost exclusively to corporate chair massage.  And business has been good. Very good.
  • Because of the series of most unfortunate events on November 8, 2016 and after, arranged by Comrade Putin, I’ve become a Resistor (NOT the electrical kind.). This has taken up quite a bit of AGMA’s time.  But it’s time well spent (refer to the 1st bullet point!)
  • I’ve been able to indulge my passion for travel both domestically and internationally like never before.  With a very flexible work schedule, family & friends flung all over the US, a bit more in the bank account, and the desire to sample local wines in every country in the world (still working on this…), AGMA has racked up beaucoup miles in the air and in the car.  Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about!
  • Some “not aging gracefully” health junk has taken up way too much time.  I’m not a fan and ignore whenever possible…   But I’m pretty pumped because I had my BIG birthday a few weeks ago.  It’s Medicare time now baby!

Whew.

It’s been a rockin’ and rollin’ 5 years.

But I love this little AGMA blog and ADORE my blogging friends.  Yinz guys (to say it in my native Pittsburghese!)

And I’m looking forward to another 5, 10, 15, dare I say 20 (?) years of blogging.

By 2038, I predict I will have at least 4 more tattoos, will have run at least 30 marathons, have an Ebay business that Jeff Bezos will envy, will have finished my wine quest (hic), will have a great grandchild, and will have visited the Big Orange Cheeto and his posse in prison at least once since being sentenced in 2019.

Nah – maybe not that last one…

But you can read all about it here on AGMA so stick around!

P.S.  I am forever grateful to the now “retired” blogger, Dobster, who gave me wonderful encouragement in those early months of AGMA.  I still miss him – he quit blogging cold turkey one day in 2015.  It was jarring and I felt like I’d lost a friend.  If he hasn’t already, I hope he returns to the blog-o-sphere one day.  His posts made me laugh.

Diversions

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AGMA thought October was going to be a crazy month…

Two weeks ago, on 10/3, I flew to Chicago.  At O’Hare, I met my friend who had been flying for over 30 hours to get to the Windy City from her home in Australia.

She looked amazingly perky.  AGMA would have been bleary eyed, grouchy and hangry.

But then she is 20 years younger than me…  Bitch.

We spent the next few days hanging out with TMAGITW (the most adorable grandchildren in the world) and seeing the sights in a rainy, cloudy Chicago.

Then on Sunday, 10/7, we both ran in the Chicago Marathon.

What???

AGMA finished.  But I was very sloooooow.  Let me put it this way…  You could have flown from Chicago to Dublin, Ireland in the time it took me to run/walk the marathon.

Where’s my Guinness?

And, against all odds (medical issues and under-training), my friend finished as well.  It was a show of true grit and determination on her part.   She wanted to give up at the 30K mark, but, because she was running in the 2nd largest marathon in the world, she pushed on.  This was her first marathon.

AGMA was incredibly proud of her.

I’m convinced that the main reason we both finished was because we had:

THE.BEST. CHEER. SQUAD. EVER.  

My sweet B (almost 4 years old) and my darling V (almost 2 years old) were at mile 9 and then again at the finish holding their sign, GO NANA RUN   

The picture my DIL took of me, B, V and my son with the sign will be one of the photos that will go in the the “pictures for the photo montage at AGMA’s memorial service” box.

I honestly can’t even begin to describe how special that run was because they were there watching and cheering.

Crusty ol’ AGMA got a tear or two in her eyes.

Then, on Monday the 8th (still very sore from the marathon), my Aussie friend and I flew back to Altanta.  AGMA began her 7 day stint as the Atlanta hostess with the mostess.

I can even begin to list the  “stuff” we did while she was visiting.  We spent 7 days on the run.  She’s a very laid back, easy going guest (I mean, she’s Australian…), but AGMA still felt pressure to make sure she had a memorable visit by doing and seeing as much as we could.

Hence no WP post last week.  Sorry!

She jetted off to NYC this past Tuesday.  I wonder if she was as tired as I was?

Probably not.  Bitch.

But no rest for a wicked AGMA…

This week has been hectic with playing catch up from the previous two weeks, working a job, seeing School of Rock (so cute!), helping new citizens register to vote, 2 physical therapy appointments, a haircut, and and and…

The rest of the month isn’t going to be any better.

Warning: posts may be few and far between for the next few weeks.

But the busyness of the past 2 weeks has been a wonderful diversion; a much needed break from Cadet Bonespur’s unhinged insanity, social media bad news, and the Georgia election frenzy.

I was touring Chicago when sexual predator Brett “I like beer” Kava-NOT was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

I missed the first reports of Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal and savage dismemberment death at the hands of the Saudi’s in Istanbul because we were in the North Georgia mountains.

And I missed the initial report that the Georgia Secretary of State and elections czar, Brian Kemp, who happens to also be running for governor against a very popular African American woman, Stacey Abrams, was not processing 53,000 new voter registrations (mostly minority voters) because of a 2017 enacted “exact match” requirement.  This, of course, was passed to suppress minority voters.

You can read about it here.

Of course, civil right groups are suing claiming that the “exact match” requirement violates the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

And they would be right.  But it probably won’t matter in Georgia, a state where the GOP has elevated voter suppression, election tampering and gerrymandering to fine art.

So AGMA’s two weeks of sightseeing, running and tour guiding were lovely diversions from the relentless sh*t that Americans have to face everyday when they look at social media or watch the news or read the newspaper (do people still do that?)

Can we go back to having a President who causes a scandal because he sports a tan suit or his wife wears a sleeveless dress?

Life was so much simpler in the “good old days”!