The Phoenix V.A. is awesome, Part 2.

Today, I’ve got an anecdote about the Phoenix V.A. Health Care System:

Last year, I took note as a gentleman roamed through the E.R. waiting room asking patients for their opinions of the Phoenix V.A. When a person stated that they’d had good experiences, he didn’t want to hear it. He moved on to his next target. It was amusing to watch him get more and more flustered as no veteran in the room had a bad word for the Phoenix V.A. We enthusiastically shared our approval of and appreciation for the Phoenix V.A., and our uninvited investigative reporter was left at a loss.

He was from Florida, if I’m remembering correctly. He was not a veteran.

It wasn’t like this guy happened to catch people in a good mood, either. No one is ever thrilled when they’re sitting in an E.R. waiting room, no matter what hospital they’re in!

Have I told this story before? How this guy wandered around needling veterans in his attempt to extract complaints about the Phoenix V.A., as it’s “one of the worst ones in the country,” as he put it?

I’m thinking of this now because I’m sitting here surrounded by things given to me at the V.A. last week… not at the pharmacy, but right there in the doctor’s office. In all my years of experience as a patient in privatized health care, I’ve never been to a doctor whose office handed out “Virus Kits” to patients with respiratory ailments during cold/flu season.

 

“Virus Kit” given to me at the Phoenix V.A. last week: lip balm; nasal spray; Ricola cough drops; hand sanitizer; surgical mask; and Kleenex

 

When I asked my friend for a writing prompt recently, she suggested telling of my V.A. adventures. They can be summed up thusly: I love the V.A., and I will defend it to the death. I’ve written about it before; click here if you’re new and curious.

The End.

p.s. Unrelated: I can’t wait to get better so I can run to the theater to watch Underwater.

p.p.s. Happy Friday Eve!

 

Sitting on my ass is hard work.

Pneumonia recovery still in progress over here. I have four more days of antibiotics, and I’m still coughing, though nowhere near as much as I was last week. I’ve been trying to just rest and do nothing, but of course I want to do everything… and during the day, no one is here to stop me.

Running Hank (our roomba, aka robot vacuum) in the kitchen/dining room the other day wasn’t as simple as that, because I wanted to dust and wipe down the counter-tops first, like I always do before I vacuum. It didn’t stop there, though, as I noticed that the drawers and cabinet doors could use a dusting, too. It’s easy and fast and takes almost no energy when you use a Swiffer wand, I reasoned.

I was tired after that, but some items on the counters needed to be rearranged, and it wouldn’t take more than ten minutes to do that, would it? (It did. But it was so satisfying!)

Then I noticed a spot of dried pasta water on the stove.

By the time I’d cleaned all of the appliances (because I couldn’t just do the stove), I was wiped out, even with lots of rest moments as I worked… but finally, I could let Hank loose to do the vacuuming.

All of this happened after I’d straightened up the living room, which isn’t even a big deal, either. None of this kind of stuff is a big deal until you’re not supposed to do it.

Every day has been like this. I scrubbed down my shower before I got into it last night, because it needed it. It’s just felt like forever since I’ve cleaned! Thing is, I feel like I can’t even work on my book if the house needs cleaning. I got some housework done over the weekend, which worked out because I had Callaghan here to help with carrying things (laundry) and moving furniture out of the way so Hank could vacuum after I’d dusted. I’m not used to asking for help with carrying things and moving stuff out of the way.

Tomorrow I’ll sort papers in my office and then file, recycle, and shred as necessary. Sit-down work.

Surprisingly, I’m still in high spirits. I can’t remember the last time I had to pull myself out of an extreme and prolonged depression abyss. I’m not sure why, but I’m grateful for it.

It’s been cozy times here with Nenette in my office. If she’s not curled up in her cat tree, she’s usually on the furniture with her glass of water. She loves to sit on the velvet panel I put there… she’s made it hers.

 

Kitty with her water! [21 January 2020]

That’s it for today’s updates, my friends. Until Thursday, then!

 

 

Mini life update, a New Year’s resolution, Australian wildfires, a weird dream.

I’m still sick, and today’s been the worst. It’s been one week and four days. Callaghan’s still trying to kick this virus, too, and he’s had it a week longer than I have! The same thing happened to him: just as he thought he was getting better, he woke up one day feeling full-blown sick again… even worse, in fact. This virus is the holiday gift that refuses to stop giving.

Still haven’t been back to the gym. (Last time I went was December 28.) Still would love to deep-clean my house. Despite virus-related set-backs, 2020’s off to a rockin’ start on account of the huge amounts of sleep I’ve been getting! I’m feeling upbeat and victorious at the same time that I’m blowing my nose and coughing up both lungs in my unclean house.

There are things I need and want to do, though. I have dry-cleaning to pick up, groceries to buy, friends to meet, a car to be washed; I need to hit a few second-hand stores before I can get my car washed, because I have a trunk filled with items I’d like to try to sell before I haul them off to the Goodwill. I’m behind on life, but still, I’m feeling good about life.

There’s no mail piled up anywhere, for one thing, and somehow that makes me feel like I have my shit together. Did I ever mention that my New Year’s resolution for 2019 was to get my shit together? I haven’t exactly managed this yet in the so-called big picture, but that’s okay. I don’t think everyone can stay on top of everything in their life every single day.

My resolution for 2020 is to focus less on myself and more on others. Family and friends. Veterans. Animals.

Things are good. All of my mail has been opened and dealt with. I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. Salem sleeps in her laundry room. I’m up to date on my banking. I’m free of pressing future concerns. Being sick, behind on housework and errands, and grounded from the gym (again!) are all just little inconveniences. I will get back on track, and next time my husband gets sick, I won’t kiss him until he’s well. Lesson learned.

Pretty sure it’s been weeks since I’ve seen the inside of a Target, which isn’t a terrible thing at all. Target deserves to be avoided as much as possible, for I am finally just annoyed with it. It has a way of shutting off my impulse-control, and not even in the way of impulse-shopping anymore! I mean, I’ll be in there, right, and suddenly I have to go to the bathroom and I just leave my cart somewhere and go, because I have to, even if I could actually hold it. Or it’ll occur to me that I’m hungry or thirsty, so I’ll grab an energy bar or a bottle of water to consume on the spot, even if I could actually wait.

I always feel kind of rude when I place an empty wrapper or water bottle into the cart. Thankfully, I’ve never had a cashier get mad about having to scan my garbage at the check-out.

People can be nice.

The world can be nice.

WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue is experiencing high volumes of traffic right now because the world is being so nice. Use Safari or Explorer when donating, they advise.

Two nights ago, I had a very clear dream in which the free world was ruled by a world government. I jotted it out by hand in note-form when I woke up:

Supreme Leader (w/Council – 5 people in total) of the world sitting at the center of a large sofa the shape of a half-moon, two council members on each side. Behind them is a gigantic bookcase built in from floor to lofty ceiling. The countries of the free world are stored as square or rectangular volumes in the bookcase in proportion to each other; the volume titled “U.S.” takes up almost a full column at the far right-end of the shelf, against the wall. The countries’ volumes are royal blue with their names embossed in gold. The bookcase is a dark, rich brown oak. The sofa is tan leather with a tufted back-rest. There are a few countries with unusual names, like “Measuring Line,” but recognizable countries are also there. When a country is pulled from the bookshelf, you see that it’s not a book, but a box, and when you lift its lid, a vaporous being/entity gives a signal or a vocal greeting, as in answering a door. The country I saw pulled from the shelf was “U.S.,” and the being inside greeted the opener with the utmost deference.

Just thought I’d share. It’s not often that I have a dream I remember so well, or in such detail.

I’ll close this post here before my sick ass can ramble any longer. Happy Friday Eve, all! Stay healthy.

 

 

 

 

Ze plague, ze plague!

First post of 2020! There’s nothing to report here except that I’m down with the upper respiratory plague that Callaghan brought home from work. We’re both sick. He’s at the end of it, and I’m in the thick of it. We cancelled our New Year’s Eve plans. I cancelled other upcoming plans involving people, as well.

We all know this, but I have to say it, anyway: being sick with an airborne virus morally obligates us to stay away from others. It’s so simple! Just stay home. If you must go to work, at least wear a mask and/or stay out of other peoples’ offices, and please cough into the crook of your elbow. (If you’re the person who went to work sick and spent much of the day in my husband’s office, thus getting him sick, thus getting me sick, then yes, I’m looking at you.)

There’s a 50% chance that I’ll miss Body Pump on Saturday.

My spirits are high, though, and I don’t feel all-over lousy. I’m actually feeling okay despite some pretty nasty cold symptoms, as this particular virus doesn’t include fever, body aches, or headaches. I can feel a clear delineation between the half of me that’s sick and the half that isn’t… weirdly energetic from my feet all the way up to my lungs, with everything from there on up being woozy and congested. I want to take my lower body to the gym and leave my upper body at home.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you this evening… basically just an update and a Public Service Reminder. I’m going to go eat something. Stay well, my friends! Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Avoid people you know or suspect to be ill. 

December Favorites post coming Tuesday!

 

 

Not aging, but advancing in time. (Birthday Eve post!)

I’ll be 51 tomorrow, on 27 December. Generation X has crept into its 50’s, and our parents are feeling old because of it. I’m not, though.

I take a sort of vampiric pleasure in the notion that I’ve now been alive and roaming the earth for over half a century. It is so f*cking cool. Maybe I shouldn’t be posting this today with such glee, because I won’t actually be 51 until tomorrow, and, you know, knock on wood, but… eh. I’m in the mood to play with superstitious fire. (I’m tempted to throw in some expressions involving water and air to make a cliché set of the elements, but I’ll spare you.)

Wonders accumulate in experiences had by this point in time, if one is so lucky as to have survived this long. Life is funny: if you live long enough, you can “see it all” without having seen anything.

It’s staggering to think of how this planet has so much to offer, including countless commonplace, extraordinary sights I’d love to see, but will never. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to witness a galactic battle of whale vs squid in the dark depths of the ocean? Imagination plays at creator in such instances. I do see some terrestrial explorations in my future reality, though.

So far, the most eventful times of my life were compacted into the four years I spent in the Army, between the ages of 18-22. Those years gave me all the life experience extremes I could need in order to say that I’ve seen a thing or two. When those years were over, I restarted civilian life from age zero. That was how it felt. In some sense, it feels as though I never fully transitioned back.

A civilian rebirth in 1991 makes me 28; since I’m again a late bloomer, even younger than that. I was reborn feeling old, yet I don’t feel “old.” (I make stupid life mistakes like I was born yesterday, so maybe I’m a small child.) I don’t feel that I’ve ever grown up. I’ve stopped expecting that I will. You have to want to do something before you can do it, right? Anyone can grow up if they want to. The desire to grow up has yet to visit me.

I personally think that it’s more important to evolve than to grow up. I’ve felt the process of evolving too keenly at times, but I have no complaints.

I’m still trying to learn from my mistakes, though. I’ve learned a lot from a lot, but “mistakes” has been a bitch of a teacher. (Either that, or I’ve been a bad student, which is probably more the case.)

Forgive me this ruminating. I don’t mean to sound so serious! My birthday being tomorrow means that we’ve arrived at the end of the year, which makes me reflective on an occasion that already asks for reflection. Superficially speaking, I’m just a Gen X-er advancing in time, a Capricorn with an Aries moon walking around in the same not-granny panties, trying to figure out how I want to wear my hair, aspiring to make it to the gym more often than I do, continuing to avoid cosmetic treatments and procedures, and vowing to open the mail every day. 

Here’s my day-before birthday selfie, taken this morning (untouched/unfiltered, as usual… not to brag, but just to say as a birthday pic disclaimer):

 

[26 December 2019, the final day of my 50th year!]

Thank you for reading this far, as always. Until New Year’s Eve, then!

 

 

 

Merry Christmas! (Greetings + cookie recipe)

This may be early, late, or irrelevant to you or to where you are in the world, but for what it’s worth: Happy Christmas Eve!

 

 

(#christmasapp)

I made gingerbread cookies for a gathering on Saturday, and the friend I met for lunch the next day got some, too. Of course I had to post the recipe when it was requested! I forgot to take a pic before the cookies disappeared at my house, but Caroline took one at hers and kindly sent it over. It’s helpful to have a pic to go with a recipe, right?

 

Honey’s Ginger Snaps

 

I’ve been making Honey’s Ginger Snaps for over 30 years. They were a part of a holiday treat spread at someone’s house, and my mom knew the person who brought them, and I asked her to ask for the recipe, AND I modified the recipe over the decades. Originally, the recipe asks for 2 teaspoons each of all the spices (ground cloves, ginger, and cinnamon), and 4 tablespoons of molasses. I cut the cloves and ginger down to 1 teaspoon each, and I use 3 tablespoons of molasses instead of 4. (The original recipe also says that you can use Karo syrup rather than molasses, but I’ve never made them with Karo.) You can adjust the spice levels to your own taste, as I did.

I also modified the recipe to make it unrefined and vegan: I use whole wheat flour rather than white, Earth Balance buttery spread rather than butter (the original recipes asks for either margarine or butter), and a plant-based egg replacer to equal 1 egg rather than an actual egg.

HONEY’S GINGER SNAPS

Sift together:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or flour of choice)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon

Cream together:

  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread, softened (or butter/margarine of choice)*
  • 1 cup sweetener of choice
  • Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer = 1 egg
  • 3 Tbs molasses

Instructions

[Preheat oven to 325F]

–Mix the sifted dry ingredients into the larger bowl of creamed ingredients. Chill dough overnight.

–Use a teaspoon to scoop the dough and form into small round balls; roll in sugar, cake decorations, candy sprinkles, etc.

–Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes**

~~~~~

*If you use butter, go with UNSALTED
**I bake mine for the minimum 10 minutes, so they come out soft. If you want your ginger snaps to be snappy, bake them for longer!

~~~~~

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

 

 

You guys are magic. (Update: Salem is back in her room!)

At least one of you who read my last post sent prayers and blessings to Salem, because that same night, our feral furbaby returned to her laundry room and slept in her bed!

The morning after I wrote about Salem not sleeping here anymore on these cold nights yesterday morning Callaghan saw her emerge through the laundry room cat door before he went out to feed her breakfast. An hour later, I checked Salem’s bed and found her fleecy cream blanket properly packed down into a round cat shape, lined sparsely with black fur, and speckled with bits of leaves and dirt. Salem!

She slept here that night, and she slept here last night, too, and… she’s just back. I don’t know how or why, but she decided to come back the night I wrote about it.

Thank you.

There’s something about this blog space, too, I think. It’s kind of like magic how I’ll lament something here, and then the thing will fix itself… and I mean the silliest things, too. I’m thinking of the time I wrote about how doing dishes grossed me out to where I couldn’t bring myself to do them, and I was happy drying/unloading/putting them away. I’ve been doing dishes ever since! It was as if writing about how I hated it reversed the hating it into not minding it. My anti-dishwashing tongue-in-cheek rant was invalid almost immediately after I posted it.

And Salem came back to sleep in her laundry room/bed immediately after I posted about that.

And I’m so relieved and grateful.

 

[Pic from 11 December 2019]

Happy Friday Eve, all!