Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Plumbing the crevice

At some point in Life each housekeeper must apply the crevice tool. Today was the day. I had learned from a very reliable source  the team on "Hoarders" tv show) that much of the stink in grody old carpet is concentrated in the schmutz at the edge of carpets.  I was vacuuming today and realized it was time.
 I put on the Tool and started. Yep. Overdue. I also remembered that our cat had a spot she liked to sleep under the bed, right up against the wall.  Great Caesar's ghost. there was so much hair there I though for a moment that we had another cat.  Thank goodness the carpet kept the whole thing from moving, or I'd have perished from fright right then and there. Or beat it to death with the crevice tool. 

Everyone has a crevice full of stinky, yucky stuff, whether we admit it or not. It doesn't get any better if you leave it sit. Might as well take care of it now.

Do you have the courage to do it? 

Dig out the Tool you need and get it over with.  You'll feel better. Trust me.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

To Keep Us Free

To Keep Us Free

March, 2003 - It was the day of the Ultimatum. President Bush had announced to Saddam Hussein, “Get out or we’ll take you out.” The world collectively held its breath. History balanced on a cusp of what was and what could be.

I needed to grocery shop. Seems mundane in the face of such world-changing events, but the small things in life are often unaware of history-in-the-making. I headed to the store, a bit uneasy about being out in a suddenly unfamiliar universe.

The grocery store was oddly quiet. I expected the typical “pre-storm” crowd we get here in the north whenever there is an Event, people “stocking up” on chips and soda and other essentials they might need in the few extra hours it would take to get the snowplows out on the roads. The store, though, was nearly empty, and those who were there were not laughing and talking. I guess I was not the only one who felt strange.

Outside again, I wheeled my loaded cart out to the car. It was a soft night; soft breeze, soft sounds of cars in distance, the soft wail of a train crossing a road somewhere. I popped the trunk, and as the trunk lid raised I lifted my eyes. I saw the sky above; dark blue sky pierced by bright stars, wispy clouds lower to the horizon. Then I noticed what was not there. There were no warplanes screaming through the sky. There were no bombs whistling death as they plummeted toward houses and farms. There were no ambulances flying toward someone’s death.

I saw the woman first. From the sky she looked down. It was a Vietnam nurse, her eyes were deep and shaded with pain and exhaustion. Her stethoscope was draped around her neck, her scrubs wet and filthy with sweat and who knows what else. Next to her stood a World War 1 soldier, weary and grimy. Rank upon rank they appeared, Korean War vets, Gulf war soldiers in sand-colored gear, World War 2 in olive drab, Civil War blue and gray standing arm in arm. It was the Revolutionary soldier who spoke.

Look around.” was all he said. I looked around, at the clear, quiet skies, down then at my full grocery cart. I had all the food I needed, all I wanted. I realized, except for the soldiers in the sky, that I was alone. I, a small woman, was totally alone in a dark parking lot, and I was safe. All the freedoms I ever needed or wanted surrounded me. Freedom from fear, from want, from pain, from cruel dictators who would steal my soul. It was all mine, and I had never acknowledged it.

I looked up again. The rough frontiersman-soldier smiled. “This it why we did it”, he said, “for you, and your children.” I looked down again at all I had. When I looked back they were all gone. But, I could feel them there, the years of bravery and sacrifice surrounding and protecting me.

Thank you.” I whispered, then drove home, aware, at least for now, of all I’d been given.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Swedish Goodbye

In Minnesota, saying goodbye is a complicated thing. You do not simply rise from your chair, say that it is time to leave, put on your coat and go. There are steps to follow, multiple steps. They are not written down in an etiquette manual somewhere, they are imprinted in our DNA. First you must make stirring gestures, indicating that it is getting late; that you have farm chores to finish, a dog to let out, kids to pick up, something to that effect. You talk a bit more about some inconsequential topic, the weather, the Twins or the Vikings. That may lead to crop assessment for the coming year, then gardening plans. The woman of the house may remember she planned to give you some of her preserves or pickles.

She goes into the kitchen to retrieve those items. In the meanwhile it's been established that, indeed, you are planning on leaving. The men continue to talk of men-things, and as a woman, if you are lucky, and interested, you stay and contribute. The conversation invariably turns to hunting. Someone has seen an enormous buck on someone's back pasture. They hope Johnson doesn't post his land again, because his dad always let folks hunt his property. It's just been since he moved to the Cities that he feels like he can have it all to himself.

The wife is now rummaging through drawers of dozens of saved margarine tubs and disposable deli containers for a matching lid, so that she can give you some hot dish to take home. She and hubby will never eat all that, she explains, now that the kids are gone. Once the hot dish is packed into the container, no, you don't need to return the dish, I have plenty, and tucked into a grocery bag and folded up tight, you are ushered back in to the living room where you sit down again. Again, you talk about the reasons you need to go. Again, you thank them for supper. Not dinner. Supper. You make plans to have them over. Not firm plans, on a calendar, of course, just 'sometime'. Everyone is satisfied.

Palms are placed on knees, bodies hoisted to the accompaniment of the groans and creaks of full tummies and used joints, and all shuffle toward the front closet where coats, mittens, scarves and hats are retrieved and wrapped. Hot dish, and if you are lucky and remember, pickles and jam and handed over. Everyone, including the host and hostess, head out to the car. Once there, you start the car, to 'let it warm up', roll down the window, and further conversation ensues. You discuss where you'll see each other again. Church perhaps? Sale at Fleet Farm? Got to get over to Petersons and help take down that old white pine that blew down in the last storm and took out half his old silo. Told him he should have dealt with that right away, but he wouldn't hear of it. It got that blister rust back when it was going through here back in the 70s, and rotted in the middle. Now he knows better. You can tell a Swede, but you can't tell him much! All laugh. Okay, we'd better get back in the house, it's getting cold out here. You take care, you kids. Thanks for coming over. You too. Thanks for supper. Bye. Bye now!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Life in the 10X Mirror

Men don't use magnifying mirrors. They don't really care. They'll let their nose hair get long enough to braid until a significant other tells them to do something about it. Women have magnifiers. We have valid reasons.  I got one of these super-duper magnifying mirrors that your can stick on your other mirror with suction cups.It was so I could look at my eyelashes. Oh, come on now, I am not THAT vain. It's because some of my chromosomes are just as directionally  challenged as the whole rest of me, and some of my eyelashes grow curving downward. Not a big deal in the whole scheme of human experience, but it can be annoying. It can also be painful and dangerous.

Once one of these little stinkers rubbed across my cornea, scratching it and causing an infection. It was painful and infected enough that I went to urgent care. I don't mess around with eye stuff. The doctor put in the numbing drops. Blessed relief. He put in the weird fluorescent dye. Yep, nice scratch right in the corner of my eye, and one little dinky invisible blonde eyelash turned inside out and grinding away in there.  He dug for awhile, apologized, and said he couldn't get it. He suggested that when the swelling went down I have a try at it with my magnifying mirror and tiny tweezers. I was able to do that.

I still have my 10X mirror. I look at my aging face, which looks like a lunar landscape. Chin whiskers like tree stumps. Skin like the surface of Mars. Broken capillaries snaking everywhere like fire hoses left lay after some huge house fire.   Why do I do that!?

Why do I do that about everything? If I step back and brush may hair, I don't look bad, for 52. If I look around, life is really good, I've got great friends. A wonderful husband, a son to be proud of who is talented and handsome and cracks me up. I have fun hobbies and interests.

Step away from the mirror. Yank out the eyelashes when they are problematic, and put it away.

Do you have a 10X mirror? What are you doing with it?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Migraine Wish List

A wish list for my doctors.

I wish for you the following things. This is not for ill will, but for understanding. First, I wish for you an an aura. Perhaps flashing lights, getting lost in your own hometown on the way to the grocery store, You know, the “you'd better get the shopping done before it hits” kind. You rush through the list, and dump everything on the counter, when you get home so you can crash in bed kind of aura.

For perhaps the headache itself. I could wish that for you. Kind of pain that makes you wish you could find a knitting needle and dig your own eye out of its socket so you can find the place in your brain that hurts so bad and dig it out too.

Maybe I should wish you the migraine hangover. When your scalp hurts when you comb your hair. When your skin feels bruised. When you feel foggy unbalanced and don't remember what you did the day before. Would you like that?

I think what you need is just living with the day-to-day idea of chronic pain. Of never being able to plan a life of knowing what you will do the next day. Never knowing if a date outside will end up being a day inside. Will you be out in the weather, for under the covers? Will your loved see you in nice clothes, or your pajamas? What would your medical records say for diagnosis? Annual check up? Or possible narcotic dependence? Do they really think we like taking drugs?

I don't really wish you ill. I just want you to know what it's like to be me. Perhaps then you will understand. I'm not here to get more medicine. I'm here to be understood. I'm here for you to help me. I'm not here to take up your time. I'm here to get better. I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I can do that myself. And I do. Just do what you've been trained to do. Use your brain. Search for answers to problems. The problem isn't something on paper, the problem is life, my life, and I can't live it right now, without your help, so don't send me off with more drugs and hope I will go away. Use your brain, and help my brain.

Thank you,

Your migraine patient.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mine to Claim

African-American! ?, My European Butt

Warning this post is going to be a rant, it is guaranteed to offend just about everyone, just like those films that say this is formatted to fit your screen.  This is guaranteed to offend blacks, whites, Asian, wait, can we say Asians, or is it Orientals?  I'm not sure of the politically correct choice here.
 Are African-Americans able to tell where you  are from in Africa, a tribe, the place,  maybe the country they're from?  (insert the slavery argument. Yeah, yeah, I've heard it. See rebuttal below with Native American issue.)

 I'm Swedish, and one-half at that.  I know which place, city, which port my ancestors came from.  I have a picture of one of my ancestors standing next to the sign in the town that my forefathers left to come here to America.   I've seen my Great Grandfather's naturalization papers. Do I go around calling myself a Swedish American?  Did you know that about Africa?

A couple of years ago, Bob had a friend from school that was from West Africa.  We had him over for dinner.  We pulled out the atlas, and had him show us where he was from.  He showed us where his town was, where he went to school, where his parents lived, places he visited and other points of interest.  He was a African American.

I can say that I am Native American.  I have Cherokee blood.  I can trace it to different lines of my family history.  There is verification way back, and lots of documentation.  I even have physical characteristics that distinguish me as Native American, although I am as white as skim milk. My mouth turns down at the corners.  An Apache Indian man once asked me if I was native because I had very tiny feet, which is considered beautiful in the native culture.  I laughed, and said yes, just a little bit of Cherokee, and thanked him.

I cannot, however, claim my heritage legally because the natives in my family never "signed up" and therefore are not in any major rolls.  Many were lost on the Cherokee "trail of tears" when they were forcibly  removed from their homes and marched for miles and died along the way.

There are lots of benefits afforded to me, if I were able to prove my heritage.  But I am content to realize that yes I do have native blood.  I do not claim what is not mine to claim.

So, for those of you that go and demonstrate, or worse yet, riot in the streets, act like animals, or waste your lives, and the opportunities afforded to here because you have brown skin, you are not African Americans.  You are immature children.  Grow up.  Do not claim what is not yours to claim.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How do you spell ADD?

It's 11:00. I suppose I had better put some clothes on, although I am expecting no one, and I am perfectly comfortable in my pajamas. I know I have no clean jeans or bras, so I look for something suitable. I gather up the jeans and take them downstairs and throw them in the washing machine. So far so, good.
Upstairs again, still need something to wear. I dig in a basket in the bedroom; things to be mended. Aha! a pair of jeans with the butt blown out. Again, no one is expected, so a cheek peeking out cheekily is no problem. but, wait! what is this? A black wool skirt in the sewing pile. It doesn't need hemming, the zipper's fine, the waist isn't too big. Hmm. all it needs is a good brushing and a once over with the steamer and back to the closet. See, it pays to procrastinate! In the other bedroom to find the steamer. It's too dark in here. Out to the  dining room where there is more light. there. Done. 

Now I realize that the other half of the patio drapes never got finished steaming. Well, as long as I have the steamer out and I'm here, finish those. I should put the steamer away, but it's too hot. I'm still in my p.j. top. What can I wear that doesn't require a bra? I thought there was something in the spare bedroom closet that  caught my eye. Open closet. There's the wool skirt I just steamed. Good heavens, not THAT!  Ah, there it is, a fleece pullover. 

How did this all start? oh, yeah. I was going to get dressed. Now, where are my car keys?

Summer Iris

Summer Iris