Sunday, September 25, 2022

It's always something.

This weekend has brought the most wonderful fall weather we've seen so far. The temperatures are in the upper 40's at night and the mid 70's during the day, just perfect. It's so nice to be outside.

The dogs think so, too. Poppy loves spending time outdoors, but George has preferred the air-conditioned house all summer and would rarely venture past the back porch while it was so hot. All that changed on Friday afternoon. It felt so good outside that George actually went out into the back yard with Poppy and wanted to play! They ran and wrestled and acted like two puppies together. We were amused, watching their antics, and happy to see George being so active. 

Well. Turns out, we should have discouraged George's boisterousness. He rounded a corner running at full speed, stumbled slightly, and let out a small yelp. He's been limping ever since. Martina came over the next morning to have a look at him (she's a vet tech) and she thinks there's a strong possibility that he ruptured his cruciate ligament. It's common among bully breeds because of the way their knees and hips are built. 

We had some pain/inflammation medication for dogs on hand, thank goodness, so I've been giving him a dose each morning. He's getting around fairly well, but he puts very little weight on that one back leg. I'll be taking him to the vet when I get off work tomorrow afternoon. Worst case scenario (if it's a complete tear of that ligament) is that he may need surgery. I dread the idea of that! My poor Georgie.

Please send all your best positive thoughts for a much less serious diagnosis when he sees the vet tomorrow! Any dog owners out there who have dealt with these kinds of issues? I'd love to hear about it if you have.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

This week

This week is flying by. Tuesday was another day off work, this time to take Gregg to have another endoscopy. They wanted to do an ultrasound of the lesion on his duodenum. The initial biopsy tested negative for cancer cells, but they wanted to look deeper and more closely just to make sure everything was okay. It turned out to be a totally benign cyst and nothing else. What a relief! I felt pretty sure it was going to be something like that, but Gregg had been worried for weeks. I'm so glad he can put that particular worry behind him now.

All the new asthma meds the doctor gave me have me feeling so much better. I have more energy than I've had in months, not to mention sleeping better and just generally feeling like my old self again. The only hiccup in the medication regime was that they forgot to tell me to rinse my mouth out after using a new inhaler medication each morning. I developed oral thrush, which is no fun at all! Of course, the doctor called in a prescription for something to fix it, and now that I know to rinse after using that inhaler I should be okay going forward. That's a small price to pay to be feeling so much better.

Poppy went to the vet this week for a weigh-in and she's up to 48 pounds! We're really surprised she's turning out to be such a big girl. She's double the weight she was when we adopted her back in April, and since she's not quite a year old yet she may still hit 50 pounds. She's a total delight, although I will admit she's a little bit bossy and stubborn. She's definitely no shrinking violet, that's for sure! She's carrying on that fine tradition of tough women dogs that Ginger started. :)

Work is going fairly well. I'm finally getting used to all my new job responsibilities and I'm feeling more and more capable as the weeks roll on. Although I'll never trust her, my boss has been nothing but complimentary about my work so far, so as long as I stay out of her way and keep my head down, it looks like I'll be able to cruise through this year with a minimum of trouble (fingers crossed). Fall break is coming up at the end of the month. A week off in early October is going to feel wonderful!

It was hot today, but tonight the weather is supposed to take a real turn. The lows will suddenly go down into the 40s and 50s over the next few nights, and the highs are only going to be in the mid 70s. Fall is definitely here! Speaking of which....

Saturday, September 17, 2022


 Today, the one and only Marcoman is 15 years old! Happy Hatchday, Marco!

I decided to make today festive so I invited Marla and Martina over to help us celebrate. I sent Marla the following text last night, and her reply made me laugh.

We had a tiny little party on the porch this afternoon with lots of good treats and hard apple cider!

I even made Cajun spice boiled peanuts in the crockpot overnight. Marco loved those the most!

Many happy returns, buddy!

Monday, September 12, 2022

One thing after another

 I had today off for my appointment with the allergist. They did the allergy tests and here are the things they found that I'm allergic to: dust mites (this was apparently the thing I reacted most strongly to), two types of grasses, two types of outdoor mold, cats (which I already knew), and to a lesser extent, dogs. I'll be starting a weekly regime of allergy shots soon and I've been given a list of things to do in the house to help. Things like getting rid of any rugs too big to throw in the washer with hot water, buying a mattress and pillow covers for the bed (and instructions to wash all bedding in hot water weekly), giving the dogs more baths, and keeping the dogs off the bed and (this will be hard) out of the bedroom. Eventually the immunotherapy shots should either cure (or really improve) my allergies, but it's going to take years.

The real surprise I got at the doctor was when he tested me for asthma. Years ago, I was told I had "mild, intermittent" asthma that flared up along with my seasonal allergies. Well, today I found out that there's nothing mild or intermittent about it. My lung function when I first arrived at the office this morning was only 55% of what it should have been! After giving me some medicine via inhaler they only got it up to about 70%. No wonder I've been feeling bad for months now! Then there's my eczema. It's going through another bad flare and they believe there's also some infection going on with it. So that's another issue we're going to have to tackle.

The doctor assured me that we're going to get all this stuff under control and soon I'll be feeling much, much better. He comes very highly recommended locally, and my visit today went well, so I think I'm finally on the right track to get my health under control. I hope so. The asthma thing is scary.

After I finished at the doctor, I had to go by the dentist. Last Friday afternoon before I left work, I grabbed a piece of hard candy from the bowl in the front office, and when I bit down on it and felt (and heard) a loud crack. I thought, "Uh oh." 

Uh oh was right, a crown had come off one of my molars. On a Friday afternoon with no hope of getting seen until today. So I carefully put the crown back on the tooth, and it fit down snugly with no problem. It felt fine, so silly me, I decided it wasn't going to be a big deal, that I could just breeze into the dentist's office and get it glued back down again. WRONG!

They did an x-ray and found that I'm once again the victim of the horrendous dental care I got a few years ago at another practice. This particular crown was attached to filling material, not the actual tooth, and a crack had formed and decay got inside. It was shoddy dental work, no question about it. Now I have to have a whole new crown, to the tune of $860. And that's after my insurance pays half! (It's going to be the second time I pay for a crown on it). They wanted to do the work today, but I just couldn't handle that on top of everything else. We scheduled it for the first week of October, when I'll be off work for fall break. 

What a depressing day it's been. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Book sale and breakfast

This morning was our local library's annual book sale, an event eagerly anticipated by the bibliophiles in our community. I met up with three of my book club friends there at 9am, which was when the sale began. There was already a large crowd.

Before I left, you know what my husband said to me? "You realize you have stacks of unread books all over this house, right?" The nerve! :)

I did promise to try to rein myself in as much as possible, depending on what I found. We do have a problem with overflowing bookshelves and random piles of books in almost every room! Luckily, this year I didn't find all that much of interest. Two fiction novels in hardback, Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James and Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and a nonfiction directory of herbs with beautiful photographs. All three were only a dollar each! That's a great deal.

Afterwards I went to Venus Restaurant with my friends for breakfast. It was nice to sit and drink coffee and talk over a meal after book shopping. We discussed the death of the Queen, naturally, and politics. Everyone agreed that it was so sweet to see Steve Bannon in handcuffs yesterday! We even clicked coffee mugs in a toast over it! 

When we finished breakfast Marian and Karen decided to go back to the book sale. Volunteers were continuously putting out more books as the tables cleared off, and they were hoping to find some more goodies. I opted to go home instead, as did Paulette. I've been here ever since, relaxing with George, Poppy, and Marco. It's been a gray, rainy, cool day...perfect for reading!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Queen's passing

I was so sad to hear of the death of Queen Elizabeth II this afternoon. I would like to offer sincere condolences to my friends in the U.K. What a remarkable woman your late Queen was; what a remarkable life. 

May she rest in peace.

I, for one, will miss her bright, beautiful outfits with matching hats! They never failed to make me smile. 

The next photo was shared this afternoon by a friend on Facebook, along with the caption that follows. I think it's a fitting way to end this post. 

May her journey be joyous, and may all who love her be comforted by the memory of a long life well lived.

(This photo was taken earlier this year, and I am envisioning it as her otherworldly escort.)

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Finally, September

Maybe it's just me, but this August seemed like the longest month ever. I blame work stress; a lot of teachers and other staff members have told me they feel the same way this year. In any case, I'm so happy that September has finally arrived! No matter what the temperatures are like, once September begins it seems like fall to me. 

I've been waiting on Tom to make his annual comment about "mists and mellow fruitfulness" but unless I've missed it (which is possible) then I've beaten him to it!

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
  Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
  Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
  Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
  Steady thy laden head across a brook;
  Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
  Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
  And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
  Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
  Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
  The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

-John Keats

Now I'm in the mood for changing leaves, cool nights, camping trips, soups and chili instead of salads and grilled meats, and mountain apples arriving in the farmers' markets. Speaking of apples, this showed up on my Facebook "memories" from four years ago today:

My first (and so far, only) attempt at making baked apple roses. I wasn't entirely satisfied with how they ended up looking, but they tasted great! I think slicing the apples thinner before wrapping them in pastry would result in a prettier rose shape; maybe I'll try making them again later this month. It was fun to do. 

Another thing to like about September is that it's time to start decorating with things like pumpkins, gourds, colorful dried ears of corn, and those ubiquitous flowers of autumn here in the south: mums. The farm stand I like to visit (it's only two miles from my house) just got in their first shipment of them yesterday.

Of course, lots of flowers do well around here during our slow, long, mild South Carolina autumn. Even roses often rebloom (after the awful summer heat subsides) this time of year.

Next week middle school and high school football resume. Although I couldn't care less about the actual sport of football, there's something about a game that stirs old, old sense memories of growing up for me. The sound and feel and smell of a football stadium on a chilly autumn night. Bright lights, school band playing, climbing up high to the top of the bleachers for the best view, the smell of popcorn and nachos, then the excitement when the game starts and the announcer calls the plays. My house is close enough to one of the high schools that we can faintly hear the distant sound of the home games while they're going on. It always makes me smile.  Also, in the five years that I've worked at a middle school, I've occasionally stayed late to watch one of our team's home games. It's a fun seasonal activity to do occasionally, like watching one of little Prophet's baseball games in the spring! 

What else? There's so much to like about the arrival of fall!  Since next Monday is Labor Day, there's a three-day weekend coming up. That's going to be a really welcome rest. Then at the beginning of next month we'll have a full week off for fall intercession. I'm really looking forward to that! 

What do you like about the arrival of September?