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Patios and Pajamas

A sign of a life well lived is Patios and Pajamas.   If you are sitting on a porch, patio, deck or landing in your pajamas, enjoying reading or viewing material along with your beverage of choice, you may assume you have finally “arrived.”  Look around, breathe deeply and appreciate the moment.

You may be on your own landing or someone else’s. You could be renting a view for the day. If friends and family are nearby you are fortunate, and if furry friends are nearby so much the better. And if something wild acknowledges you, it’s the closest thing to magic besides being in love.

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Escape from the ER

So, here we go again.

After almost 2 years without an incident I’m passing out again. It’s been random as usual. It’s also very confusing as usual, since the medical bills keep coming and it’s hard to keep track.

The other day, shortly after the base ambulance dropped me off at the local emergency room, I escaped with Spooky at his urging.  A nurse helped us sneak out.  So long as we hadn’t seen a doctor yet, she said, it was OK for us to leave.

My car is still on the base and I’ve been working at home, or riding to work with a colleague. The downside to not being able to drive is that so many errands go un-run. I have to rely on other people and feel bad about it.

The upside to not being able to drive is . . . not blowing all my money at TJ Maxx?  Actually, the best part is working at home on days when I can’t carpool.  Without a commute I get an hour at the end of my work day to read outdoors in the cool air.

Whether or when to get on the road is my judgment call, as there are no restrictions with my condition.  I should be able to drive safely, in the sense that I ought to feel crappy enough before a spell to stay at home.  At least, that’s the theory: If it were actually true I wouldn’t have gone to work that day.  Actually, I did feel like crap that day. I should have known better.

Kelly Gray circa 1999

During random dissassociative moments I find myself googling for vintage St. John ads.  I do it in part  because pop culture has destroyed my mental image of the midlife female with “Cougar Town” and reality TV, and I may be trying to scrub Hollywood’s Disgraceful Older-Woman imagery out of my brain with more appealing images.  The old St. John ads were purposeful design parodies, and they were fabulous, and the sophisticated look was in vogue in the late 90’s when I got divorced and started buying my own clothes.

The other reason is, I just bought my first St. John dress:

Isn’t it ordinary looking?  It’s really not: The department just store picks the wrong models for their established designer lines. On a middle aged woman with some shape St. John knits are perfect:  Professional, forgiving, just right, worth the price, but only on clearance.    I was lucky enough to be in a store that had my size: One of their stylists picked it out for me and I fell in love with the quality and the fit.  There is a reason the St. John Tribe is so devoted:  It’s one of the few design houses that cater the midlife body. Customers scream bloody murder when new designers try to “update” the style or fit.

As a woman at midlife, I find that if I want notice, I must command it. Waiters can be slow to respond to my black Banana Republic pantsuits. But they “ma’am” my St. John.

My first St. John was a $1000+ splurge, but I’d just gone through a period of extreme wardrobe aggravation. My super-abundant closet space had been overstuffed with clothes I loved but couldn’t wear, not because I’d gotten “fat” but because my body had changed shape without my permission.  My ribcage expanded, which made button-up shirts out of the question. All of a sudden I had hips . . . which was good in a way, since I’d never really had them before, but DAMN, I couldn’t button my tailored pants anymore.

Much in the way one’s eyesight fails in one’s forties, there is nothing that can be done about middle aged spread except buy new clothes.  This is why women in their forties wear yoga pants all the time:  We don’t want to admit we’ve reached the elastic-waistband-pants stage of our older female relatives, who we swore we’d never look like.  Unfortunately Time doesn’t care what we think.

I finally boxed my old size (4) and put them in the attic for some future when I magically reverted to my old weight, as if that would ever happen. I decided to give them to my niece. A year later, I boxed my size 6 clothes, and will probably give them to my younger sister.  Today, some of my 8’s don’t even fit, unless they’re knits, which means my wardrobe is now 95% knits. I’ve come to terms with it, and found a way to make it all look professional.  The smartest tactic was to go high-end retail on important items, and fill in the rest with stealth.  I went crazy during Coldwater Creek’s going out of business sale, and returned to my old online standby, Boston Proper’s slowly-morphing travel collection. Some recent acquisitions:

One would think I’d find solace in my shoes, because at least feet don’t get fat, right?  WRONG.  Feet expand and contract when hormones go whackadoodle.  For a year or so my feet shrank a whole size.  Then they grew back.  Now even they are tight.  Consequently my closet is full of shoes I can’t wear on any given day so . . . My advice?  Unless they are adjustable, shoes are NOT an “investment.”  DO NOT DO THIS:

So am I finally reconciled with my new body and my new closet? More or less, since Spooky doesn’t give a flip either way.  I can get through a work week without headaches now, and my old clothes no longer taunt me from their hangers. Out of sight, out of mind!  The shoes though . . . both my feet and my pocketbook say “Ouch.”

Emergence

femme

Finally framed my Merglenn print! Isn’t it interesting where the flash hit?  Looks like I haven’t quite reached the third frame yet. But soon . . .

I was going to write a post with my *new* New Year’s Resolutions but got sidetracked.  It’s no big deal: Besides the generic “get organized, get out of debt and save money” I didn’t really have any.  I had purchased a scanner and planned to go paperless, but that would be a multi-year project.  I planned to spend more time on crafty/artistic pursuits, but had no specific goals, just a “do it already, get busy, do stuff.”  Meaningful stuff. Whatever that meant.

I took a loan from my 401K for my new roof

Last year’s resolutions were mostly met but for the financial ones. I have a good reason though: I was partially furloughed last summer and had to take a 20% pay cut. I was fully back to work after about a month and a half, but it was a setback nonetheless.

Things have been tight but I can finally see daylight at the end of the tunnel, so long as I’m not derailed by another medical emergency. First order of business after certain debt payoffs is a financial cushion, one I’ve not fully enjoyed for at least fifteen years.  Getting out of debt completely is second on the list, though it will take longer than a year to achieve. Still, the path forward is clear, and I look forward to a bright, sunny, debt-free existence in the near future.

crow-585x272 (1)

One thing I have “resolved” to do – which I suppose qualifies it as a “resolution,”  –  is spend more time in the sun. This decision came to me seemingly unbidden a few days ago, when I was  . . . well, doing whatever I was doing, minding my own business, probably housework.

While busy with this mundane whatever, something that *felt* like the last stanzas of a poem invaded my thoughts.  Something about putting my face to the sun before I die.  The thought, and the image it evoked, felt important, magical even.  So as not to dwell on it I quickly put it in a mundane context: “Okay,” I thought, “I will put my face in the sun. I spend too much indoors, could probably use the vitamin D.  In fact maybe it will prevent me from dying sooner.”

Jose Marti

Of course I Googled the phrase eventually, and found this poem by Jose Marti, the poet who inspired the Cuban independence movement:

I wish to leave the world
By its natural door;
In my tomb of green leaves
They are to carry me to die.
Do not put me in the dark
To die like a traitor;
I am good, and like a good thing
I will die with my face to the sun.

A Morir [To Die] (1894)

To the best of my knowledge, I’d neither read nor heard this poem before.  I’ll do my best to remain unperturbed that the poem is about death, which is *not* on my list this year.  Stepping outside to enjoy the sunshine, however, finally is.

This is always on my list

Drinking more wine is ALWAYS on my resolutions lists. A nightly glass of low-alcohol table wine really does seem to help my digestion.  My insides feel “healed” now, and I have a gut feeling (haha) that it’s due to important changes in my intestinal flora.  There is even evidence for this being the case, so . . . that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

WebMD: Drinking Wine is Good for Gut Bacteria

Enough about the resolutions. So what’s new? Bunny is getting ready to graduate from UArts and recently announced a move to California with her boyfriend. Thinking about it feels a bit like the wind being sucked out of me.  Then I take a deep breath and remember that this is the way life is supposed to go:  Kids grow up, learn trades, find mates and fly the coop, not necessarily in that order.  My child is right on schedule, and all is as it should be.

Hiatus

I do math all day at work

For those of you who attempted to comment while I was on hiatus from blogging, THANK YOU and SO SORRY I it took me so long to find you! All comments are now approved.

Where have I been? I wish my answer were more interesting: I’ve been working late nights. I was approved for a “reasonable accommodation” at my job, due to my morning dizzy spells. Now I get to work when I can and put in my time. When I get home from work it’s usually well past dark, and Spooky (bless him) usually has dinner on the table or is about to. No time for blogging! After dinner, I look after the cats and go to bed.

As Time Goes By . . . still a lot of catching up to do

On weekends we play catch-up, same as any 2-career couple with full lives.  No time for blogging! On my days off I’m at my other house, painting and spackling and sanding, getting it ready for a sale this spring. Yes, I’m selling the house!

I’m exhausted. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see Judi Dench staring back at me. Which wouldn’t be a problem – I mean, she’s a great actress and looks great – but she’s 78 years old! I’m fortysomething!  I hope she was fortysomething when she did As Time Goes By, because I swear I can relate to her character.

Will I keep blogging? I want to, so I believe I will.

Just so you know:  It’s embarrassing when you start getting collection-type phone calls from a Catholic charity hospital.   It’s bad enough to have a bill collector call, but when the nuns come after you, that feels serious.

It’s not that I don’t have the money; I do.  It’s just that the billing and insurance got so confusing, and it was shocking to see some of the large dollar amounts on some of those bills.  A “facilities charge” for a simple diagnostic?  Were they shitting me?

Here’s something annoying:  Every trip to the emergency room translated to several bills, and I had three trips to the ER over a short period of time and it seems every doc/technician who poked his/her head through my curtain was an independent contractor who sent his/her own bill. Sometimes they’d bill me repeatedly, so I got confused over which bill it was and whether or not I’d already paid it.

Then there were the bills from the tests.  Test for this, tests for that, all of which by the way have turned out NORMAL.  Every one of these doctors and laboratories had to get in line and wait until it was all sorted out.  I’m up to my February appointments, and have Bunny’s rent to pay, thus they will need to wait.

Not to mention I’m about to receive a furlough notice from my job. Sequestration, bitchez.

So, I’ve decided to take a break from the medical, despite not yet having a diagnosis. Then again, perhaps it’s best NOT to have a diagnosis.  At least, that’s what my cardiologist told me last week. My tilt table test was a bust, because the hospital (Lourdes Camden same-day surgery, great place) had me pumped up on saline, which meant I FELT GREAT!!!  “This ride is boring,” I complained. “But I feel great on this IV drip, can I take it home with me?”

“It sounds like your problem is dehydration,” said the doctor who performed my test.

My cardiologist agreed. “Seems you have an issue with retaining fluids.”

Sigh. No kidding. I officially knew as much now as I did before I began my investigation.  “Sjogrens? Maybe?” I suggested. “I have the eye thing too.”

“Do you really need a label for it?” he asked. “Maybe you should quit while you’re ahead.”

I shrugged. Since there was no cure for Sjogren’s I suppose it didn’t matter.

“Right now, as things stand, your health looks perfect. I could sell you life insurance and make a fortune.” He gave me a meaningful look, as if he were telling me, without actually telling me, that there would be financial consequences for a diagnosis.  A diagnosis that, at the end of the day, probably wouldn’t help me a bit, especially since I was ALREADY doing everything I could do to help my symptoms.

He was probably right.

Pinky Clouds


Here’s an idea: Every January, do a word cloud of your previous year’s writings. The above is what happens when I type my blog address into a random word cloud generator.  It seems to catch the first “page” of my blog, and it’s clear I’ve spent the last few posts muttering about all my stuff.

I cut and pasted my text from my 2012 writings and got this: Ordinary words with plenty of qualifiers, almost as if I’m making excuses for something:  “because,” “actually,” “just,” “probably,” “only,” etc.

And when you take my whole blog, you get this:

Just All About Pinky and Spooky.  Which basically means I’m an ordinary gal with an online diary. Interesting exercise.