Saturday, January 30, 2010

(Mostly) Menopausal Madness

It's all true what they say about menopause. I have experienced all of the above symptoms. The hot flashes have been miserable. Here's how it happens: I will be out shopping, in an air-conditioned store. Suddenly I feel the heat creeping up on me. It's as if a switch has been turned on deep inside me. My face turns red. I feel breathless. The sweat starts running down the back of my neck. Pretty soon my hair is soaking wet. It keeps up until I can't concentrate on what I am doing. I just get hotter and hotter and sweatier and sweatier. I start to feel as if I might collapse. I finally give up and drive home, with the air conditioning in my car running on high.

At other times, it's the forgetfulness. The forgetfulness drives me mad. It makes me wonder if I have lost my mind. No... it makes me feel as if I HAVE lost my mind. It feels like my brain is gone and an empty shell has been left behind in my head. Mostly it manifests in losing things. Some days it feels as if I spend hours just looking for things. Sometimes I have something in my hand, set it down for a minute, and when I turn around it's gone! I try my best to organize things so I can find them when I need them. You can find me at Target at least twice a week buying plastic boxes to store things in. Later, I go through all the boxes trying to remember which things were put into which box. I make lists then lose them. I start a new list, then find the old list and forget what I had added on to the new list. Socks get lost; sweaters get lost; receipts get lost. Just last week I called my doctor in a panic because I had lost a prescription he had written for me. Later I found out I had already had it filled and just misplaced the pills.

Sometimes my husband complicates things, that's true. Typically, I will gather all the items I need for running errands and put them in my car, all ready to go. Later, he will find the bag in the car, meant to be returned to the store or taken for recycling, take it out of the car and put it in the laundry room or the garage. I may come across it weeks later and wonder what it's doing there. I can't begin to count the times we have searched for an important something (document, bill, receipt, whatever), each claiming the other one had it last. He keeps a set of files. I keep a set of files. We each guard our files, lest the other one remove something and lose it.

Well, now I have wandered off from talking about menopause to talking about husband/wife issues. There is more than one kind of madness taking place here, isn't there? I think that's enough for one day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

How Things Have Changed


I grew up with all of these things:

I listened to the radio with my grandparents. Fibber McGee and Molly, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Jack Benny... all the old radio shows ("The Shadow Knows").

The milkman left bottles of milk on our back porch. The cream rose to the top.

Finally, when I was six years old, we got a T.V. Howdy Doody was a favorite.

We drove a Chevy that looked like this. No seat belts, no air conditioning.

Our phone looked like this. We were on a party line.

As a teenager, I played my records on a turntable like this:

And I loved my little transistor radio. I took it with me everywhere.

I remember my dad using one of these:


Now we have all of these things:

We shop for ipods, iphones, and laptops:

We shop for apps and itunes. We consult with geniuses.

We shop in glass houses:

With glass staircases:

When I was a little girl I used to wonder what the future would look like. Well, I think this is it.


Now I have three little nieces, ages 12, 10, and 8. I guess they will remember all the things we have now as part of their childhood. I wonder what they will see in their future. I hope I am around to see it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm Hooked, Like It or Not...

The sixth, and final, season of "Lost" begins next Tuesday. I will be watching. I've been hooked on "Lost" since the beginning. I haven't always liked it... but I can't stay away. It's simply mesmerizing. But... it breaks your heart. They make you love the characters, then they do terrible things to them.

I hate what they did to Juliet:

I hate what they did to Daniel:

I hate what they did to Sayid and Nadia:

I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out the story. I just go with the flow and enjoy the ride. It's creative and always surprising. It's evocative and mysterious. I have never seen anything else like it.

I just wish the characters weren't treated so badly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NCIS... I Like the Old Guys

I like to watch NCIS. It has an interesting cast of characters. I wasn't crazy about Lauren Holly when she was on it but she has been replaced by a better character. Good move. She was always so moody, and I didn't like the back story between her and Mark Harmon.

I especially like the old guys in the cast. First, there is Mark Harmon. A good looking man who has aged very well. Then there is David McCallum. I actually like him better now than I did when he was young.

Do you remember "The Man From UNCLE"? Probably not, unless you are as old as I am. It was on from 1964 to 1968. Robert Vaughn and David McCallum played agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. UNCLE was the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (the good guys), fighting the evil THRUSH. It was a super show!

Anyway, this is how David McCallum looked back in the sixties:

This is how he looks now, playing Dr. Mallard (Ducky) on NCIS.

When I watched the first episode of NCIS, I was surprised and pleased to see David McCallum in the cast. A wave of nostalgia swept over me, as I was transported back to the sixties. It was so much fun to see him again. I hadn't thought of "The Man from Uncle" in years.

It's hard to believe so much time has passed since I was a young girl. It all goes so fast. It's fun to revisit your youth!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Our newly adopted kitten, Munchkin, has been trying to make friends with the established cats in our household. She hasn't had much success with our two females, Katie and Tinkerbell. When she approaches them, they just hiss at her. Tiger, on the other hand, is our mild-mannered male cat. So... Munchkin has chosen him as the most likely candidate for a friend. She began by chasing Tiger around the house. Now she has apparently decided on a less aggressive tactic.

Here, she faces him and they just look at each other from a distance:

Then she comes a little closer, and makes it clear that she is not going to chase him. I think it may take a while, but she is making progress... don't you think?


This is one of the little black kittens that showed up on our deck this summer, after being born under my neighbor's back porch. She was the smallest of the litter and seemed to be the friendliest.

Well, we caught her, along with her siblings, and had them all spayed. She was friendly enough (especially for a feral kitten) to let us pet her. We adopted her and now she lives with us in the house. We have named her Munchkin. Here she is, agreeing to share the big chair with my husband. Having a new kitten in the house has really shaken things up. Our other cats, used to their quiet routine, still are not sure what to make of her!

Speaking of cats, Tiger reminds me of "the princess and the pea"... he loves to rest on top of piles of quilts:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh, One More Thing

It's getting pretty bad... trying to remember things and stay organized. The answer, I know, is to make a list and stick to it. The problem is, I think of something I simply must do before the day is over, then I can't find my list and a pen to write it down. Then, by the time I find my list and a pen, I have forgotten what I wanted to write down. Oy!

No Tears for Me

My eyes are dry. Very dry. Yesterday, the eye doctor described them as "dry as a bone". I have something called Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune condition that dries up your tears, among other things. Some people try plugs to dam up the tear ducts. I tried them several years ago, but they eventually fell out. Dry eyes hurt. They feel like there is sand in them all the time. Sometimes the few tears that are in there dry up and it feels like your eyes have glue in them.

I won't be able to read much, or use the computer much until this calms down. I will be here as often as I can, though.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Freezing Fog!

I have never heard of it before, but that's what we are having today. It's like the very air is frozen. You gotta love winter!

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's All Relative, Isn't It?

Some people live in Italian villas with views like these. From time to time, each of us might feel envy toward others who live in better circumstances than we do. Then there are times, like now, when we are reminded that we already live pretty well ourselves. That there are many who envy us for what we have, no matter how modest it may seem to us.

People in Haiti and are suffering. There are many there, and in other parts of the world, who envy us, we who have food in our pantries, running water, and a safe home to live in.

I am a "middle class" American. I live in a "middle class" home in a "middle class" neighborhood. I am very lucky. No, I don't have "high end" finishes in my home. According to the couples who hunt for homes on HGTV, my home would be considered "dated". I don't have Brazilian hardwood floors, granite counter tops, or marble tiled bathrooms. But guess what... I don't need them. I have a roof over my head (warm in the winter, cool in the summer), I have food on my table, I have a hot shower any time I want it.

George Clooney does have one of those magnificent villas in Italy. Yet, he was born and raised and went to school less than fifty miles from where I live. His standard of living has certainly become higher than mine. But... mine is still higher than most of the people in the world. Yes, it's all relative. I am very lucky.

I Hear Music!

My husband and I recently leased a new car. With it, came a six-month subscription to Sirius radio. Being an old, low-tech person in a new, high-tech world, I barely knew what Sirius was. I still don't know how to find a list of channels, or how to locate what I want; however, I just experiment by pushing random buttons. So far, I have found classic vinyl and 1940s swing.

I love it! Yesterday, having returned to snow and ice from the white sand beaches of Mexico, I was running routine errands... going to the post office to retrieve our mail, to Target for storage boxes for Christmas ornaments, etc, etc, etc. As I drove my sleek new car (delighting in the smooth ride compared to my old clunker) I was listening to the radio.

First I heard the Eagles! Then, Santana! John Fogerty! Frank Sinatra! Then Count Basie! Driving down my old, familiar rural road... listening to "Topsy" by Count Basie! It changed my world. Suddenly I discovered the joy of driving. I intend to spend a lot more time driving my new car and listening to music!
Here I go!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Wonderful Break from Snow and Ice

This is the beach in Cancun. The colors of the ocean are so beautiful. I must have taken a thousand photos, trying to capture those colors. But no photo can capture it. I could just sit and stare at it all day!

I am home again, after six nights in Cancun. The photo below shows the view from my room. It was heavenly!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Best Thing Ever!

I have had my Kitchen Aid mixer for years, and it has served me well. Except... I didn't like having to stop it every few minutes mid-mixing to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then I found this! (Photo above.) I didn't even know this thing existed; I found it while browsing in a kitchen supply store.

I bought it several weeks before Christmas, in time to do all my Christmas baking. It replaces the regular beater on the Kitchen Aid, and it has rubber along all the edges. It scrapes the bowl as it mixes. And it does a perfect job! I didn't have to stop to scrape the sides of the bowl once. This is a small thing but it makes such a difference. (This is not a paid endorsement... I am completely on my own and just wanted to share it.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Escaping the Cold...

It's too cold here... freezing cold!

I'm going to get away for a few days:

I need a beach!

Friday, January 1, 2010

She Has Her Winter Coat On

We have a whole flock (herd? pride? clutter? clowder?) of cats that show up in our back yard every day. There are blonde ones, black ones, gray ones, multicolored ones. This one showed up recently. It is the furriest cat I have ever seen!