We Have Offended An Evil Genie


I’m sure of it.

Somewhere, somehow, in the past few months, Paul and I have definitely offended some seriously evil force in the universe.

If you saw my last post, where I said “It could be worse“, you know that my usually reliable good luck has kind of evaporated. What with the return of Covid, my strange blood issues and upcoming cancer surgery, a big old hurricane coming along….it’s beginning to feel like this might be a good time to huddle on the bed in the pile of bubble wrap.

Because, you know what?

Stuff just got worse.

Yup.

Last evening it was starting to seem as if things were getting better. Hurricane Henri had slipped to the west of us, and our power had stayed on. All of our kids were safe at their homes, and there wasn’t any damage to the venue where our son’s wedding is set to take place.

So around 7 pm, after cleaning up dinner, I told Paul that I was really, really, REALLY in need of a night of sleep. My pattern for the previous two weeks had been to sleep from about 10 to 12 and then to lie awake like a rigid, frantic, panic stricken heart attack victim until around 4AM, when I’d doze for two more hours.

I was tired.

As in: I was so tired that there were moments when I was starting to wonder if I was real or if I was a badly drawn avatar making my way through a pretend universe.

Yup.

Wicked tired.

But it was Sunday night, with nothing on the agenda for Monday. No pressing issues, no incoming storm surge, nothing. So I decided to take matters into my own aging yet hip hands. Now that I had finally weaned off of the loathesome prednisone, I’d knock myself into sweet, sweet oblivion and FINALLY get a few hours of decent rest.

I scooped up a lovely 1/2 teaspoon of what we lovingly refer to as “Kelly’s Magic Butter”. A tasty, herbal butter loaded with the fabulous weed grown by our dear friends.

Now, I have to explain that I have a medical marijuana card from the state of Massachusetts, and I regularly use a few cannabis gummies to help me to manage pain and insomnia. But over the course of two weeks on prednisone, I had found that my nice little indica candies were doing NOTHING.

It was time for the big guns. The big, non-narcotic, safe, tasty sleepy guns. Kelly’s Butter. Yum. I made my toast, I ate my butter, I felt all relaxed and happy. I went to bed at about 8 with a good book and cup of herb tea. Paul was reading in the living room, happy, well fed and untroubled.

I can’t begin to describe how peaceful and happy I felt as the magic butter did it’s work on my achy muscles. I closed my book, curled up with a sigh of pleasure, and I FELL ASLEEP.

Hahahahahaha.

Yeah.

Roughly 40 minutes after my descent into oblivion, my poor hubby gently shook me awake. “Honey, I need help.”

Poor Paul had spent the past hour and a half fighting an increasing bout of abdominal pain. He had gone from “oh, oh, indigestion” to “I think I’m dying” without ever even bothering me.

A fact which is illustrative on two points. A) the man is a saint and B) when I’m on prednisone, you better be facing imminent death before you bother me.

I tried to rouse, I really did. I got out of the bed. I washed my face. I asked a couple of questions about symptoms. I think. I mean, I tried to ask them.

Maybe I just frowned and mumbled something about getting some rest. I’m not sure. All I know is that I was desperately trying to figure out if I was real, to identify the source of the funny music I was hearing in my left ear and to appear supportive of my clearly suffering beloved partner.

In between his bouts of moaning and vomiting, I got myself into a cold shower. I drank about a gallon of water, and I thought I was thinking clearly.

I wasn’t.

I grabbed my purse and told Paul that I’d get him into the car and drive him the 10 minutes to the emergency room.

Luckily, in spite of his pain and suffering, he knew the sight of a kite-high old woman and overrode my suggestion.

We called our son-in-law, who came by to take us to the hospital.

So.

Things got worse, right? M’hm.

Paul spent last night going through diagnostic testing in our local ER. I was there beside him, in a recliner, with a pillow and blanket. Trying to stay remotely coherent.

Luckily, it’s 2021, and I fessed up to the medical staff.

“I have been having some bad insomnia….blah, blah….prednisone….blah, blah…..medical card…….”

The lovely nurse gave a little chuckle, handed me a big pitcher of ice water and left the room.

So it was a lonnnnnnnnnnnnng night of dozing for ten minutes at a time in a plastic recliner, jerking awake every time the door opened or the lights came on or I dreamed that I was being attacked by a giant polar bear.

I couldn’t relax because my hubs was in pain, because my dogs were outside in the remaining hurricane winds, and my mouth was so dry I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pry my tongue off my palate.

Finally, the sun came up, and I called my daughter for a ride home. Paul was headed for surgery, and I was free to collapse.

Except that when I got home, I was too wound up to sleep. I let the dogs in, fed them, sent a few emails out to let people know what was happening. I managed to doze off around 7.

And the texts started coming in at 7:10.

So I was up for the day by 8, and was too anxious, too wound up and way too tired to know what to do with myself.

Given the past month of medical bullshit, I decided that it would be a good idea to “change the energy” in the house.

Yup.

I cleaned the upholstery, vacuumed the entire upstairs, rearranged the living room furniture, changed all the knicknacks on several shelves and burned sage. At the time, I thought that it made sense to make myself as physically tired as possible. Because…..you know…..sleep.

By around 1pm, I was finished with everything. I had cleaned and organized. I had cancelled Paul’s clients for the next two days, spoken to all the key family and friends and I was waiting for a call from the surgeon.

And I waited. Awake.

And I waited some more.

Finally at about 1:30, I called the hospital to check in on my patient.

“Good news” said the cheery nurse. “He did great! He can come home tonight!”

WHAT?!

My heart beat ramped up to about 220, and my head started to pound.

I explained the situation to the nice nurse. I tried to convey the fact that I am an old lady with a bad temper who has slept for about 15 seconds in the past week. “I can’t do it, ” I tried to tell her. “I can’t take care of him. It won’t be safe for either of us.”

Pshaw.

They assured me I’d be fine. They had great faith in me!!!

“Come get him in an hour!”

So. I hung up the phone.

I sobbed. I cried. I swore a little bit.

I put the dogs out so I could get Paul in the house safely. I washed my face. I put some ice cubes in my armpits. I drank some Tulsi tea.

Then I sat down to wait for the call from the hospital, telling me that the patient was ready for the world’s oldest, crabbiest, most exhausted nurse to come get him.

I only had a couple of minutes to feel sorry for myself. Then my phone sent out a shriek, and the TV started to bleat out an alarm.

“A tornado warning has been issued for our area.”

Are.

You.

Kidding.

Me.

I don’t know when or how it happened, but there it is.

We have rather obviously offended a very evil genie.

Time to Stop Blaming Myself


I grew up in an Italian Catholic family, which means that guilt is my middle name. I grew up feeling guilty for an unmade bed, a missed homework assignment, and a mean comment tossed out to one of my siblings.

I grew up feeling guilty for being a terrible athlete, even though I was a decent musician and writer. I grew up feeling that my testy moods were my fault, although I understood that the hormones of adolescence were the likely culprits.

As I grew into adulthood, I shifted my guilt feelings just a bit. I learned to feel bad about myself if I ate an ice cream cone, knowing that I might get fat (guilt) and not look as lovely as I was expected to look. I learned to feel a deep sense of guilt for every mistake, every emotional outburst and every weak moment experienced by my kids.

Guilt, a feeling of deep unworthiness, was my defining characteristic.

But you know what? I sort of got over that feeling, for the most part. At some point in my 50 year relationship with my husband, I realized that he wasn’t actually upset with me for gaining a pound, missing a bill, having a bad day. He accepted me. He didn’t expect perfection from me, and I slowly, slowly learned to let go of the same expectation of myself.

And being a mother changed my view of my worthiness, too. My kids were great. They were happy, healthy, loving and secure. They were far from perfect, but for some reason, that was OK with me. In return, my own lack of perfection as their mother didn’t make any of them look at me as if I was a bug under a shoe. Instead, they taught me to laugh at my cranky moments, to embrace my human mommy self and to accept the fact that life has some pretty rough edges.

I have been evolving for about 6 decades. You’d think I would be pretty secure by now, right?

Enter the thought of physical frailty, and I am right back in my most guilt wracked days of self-loathing.

You see, when I was growing up, we all admired those older folks who remained hale and hearty. My uncle, who cut down a giant oak tree in his yard at the age of 70, was a family hero. My Nana, who lived on her own until the age of 99, and who took no medications, was a superhero.

I thought, for some reason, that my own aging experience would be just like theirs. I keep active. I eat well. I am always learning and thinking.

I thought that would do it.

But when I found myself struggling with ongoing pain and fatigue, and eventually was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I immediately asked, “What did I do wrong to cause this?” It felt like my fault, although I have no idea why that is true.

In the past few years, I’ve added a minor heart issue and two unrelated blood disorders to my medical records. I am smart enough, and informed enough, to know that having an inherited blood disorder can’t be my fault. I understand that having a condition labelled “idiopathic” means that even the highly trained doctors I meet with have no idea why this has hit me.

I still feel responsible. Deep in my heart, I constantly ask myself, “If I had just gone to a pilates class, would this have happened?”

Now I find myself on the scary edge of the cancer world. I have a very early, well contained, breast cancer. I need a lumpectomy and radiation therapy. It’s fine. It’s not like, “real” cancer. It just has to be dealt with.

My treatment is slightly complicated by my blood issues, meaning that before I can be treated by the surgeon and sent on to the oncologist, I need to meet again with the hematologist. There will be some extra blood tests and some platelets transfused.

Not a biggie.

I’m not scared (although I’m not happy, either).

But I do feel guilty.

I know it’s stupid. I know it.

But as I lie awake at night, pondering the next few months, I find my thoughts running along a familiar track. “If you had just worked out more……” “if you didn’t drink alcohol……” “Why didn’t you become a vegan?”

I don’t understand this thinking at all.

When my family and friends run into health issues, I never, ever, ever blame them for their bad luck. I don’t.

So why do I blame me?

I don’t know.

But I do know that I need you guys to respond, and to tell me that at 65 years old, stuff happens. People get sick. They get injured.

It’s life.

It’s not my fault.

Right?

Grace Under Pressure?


You know, when I’m daydreaming and sort of just fantasizing about life, I picture myself as a person who would display enormous grace under pressure.

I imagine myself hearing scary news and reacting in a calm and measured way. “Well,” I imagine myself saying to my doctor, “I’m just so happy that I live in a time when there are good treatments for this disease.”

I see the looks that my dear family would share. “Isn’t she amazing?” I imagine them murmuring. “So brave.”

When I picture myself (too often these days) facing a world on fire, a world where the grid has gone down and the food supply chain is broken, I see a strong, brave woman. I see myself channeling my inner Ma Joad, bracing myself to face the danger with a sturdy back and an unflappable courage.

In my head, I am always serene but strong. I do not waver. I smile through the darkest moments. I rise above the challenges that face me, ready to take on any struggle in order to take care of those I love.

I am, of course, completely full of shit as far as this fantasy is concerned.

I know this because for the one and only time in my life (so far), I have a couple of minor medical issues facing me. I am not dying. I do not have a terminal illness. I sort of have more of an annoying few days of medical tests to make sure I don’t need some medical intervention.

Should be nothing.

But it’s something.

The reality of my life is this:

I am not a serene, calm, accepting older woman who is ready to take on any challenge. Instead, I am a scared, whiny, weepy mess of a woman who wants to curl up under my covers with a box of cookies and a glass of wine. I want my kids. I want my mommy. I want a boatload of m&ms.

I am disappointed in me, to be honest. I’m afraid that when the shit hits the proverbial fan, I won’t be the one to organize the neighbors into a rescue force. I won’t be the kind and wise lady who sets up a foraging team to feed the kids in town. I doubt that I’ll be the resilient leader who looks at the reality of the situation yet manages to stay hopeful in the face of disaster.

I suspect, to my chagrin, that if I get scary medical news in the next few weeks I’ll start whimpering and I won’t stop until I’m either all alone or no longer capable of whimpering.

I don’t want to be a horrible and wimpy aging human. I don’t.

But I’m not sure how to turn myself into the person I see in my head.

Any suggestions?

Nonni Hits the Dispensary


Back in the olden days, when I was young and we called it “grass”, I rarely indulged in recreational marijuana.

But times have changed, and Nonni has joined the growing list of aging potheads.

Thanks to a few conflicting but minor ailments, I am now a fibromyalgia patient who can’t take any over the counter pain medications. Nor can I drink alcohol (hello there, aging liver!). I am trying to cut down on the medication that helps me to manage the fibromyalgia discomfort, which means that at the moment the only part of me that doesn’t hurt is my right earlobe.

Enter the magical joy of the Medical Marijuana Card!! Ta, da! Safe and happy pain relief (I hope!)

For the past few years I’ve been the lucky beneficiary of weed guidance from my kids. My sons and son-in-law have helped me to find relief from insomnia by providing me with cannabis infused butter. They’ve introduced me to the new version of smoked weed, which smells like a dead skunk, burns like a forest fire and can make you melt into your sofa cushions like hot wax.

Not exactly perfect for this old lady….

Anyway, the other day I had a telehealth visit with a lovely young (as in, probably a sixth grader) Nurse Practitioner. I didn’t even need any medical records. I just self reported all of my ouchie booboos, and presto! She certified me!

(No, not that kind of “certified”, although many have told me that I am definitely certifiable.)

She approved me for a Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card, good for one year.

I then spent about an hour maneuvering the state’s website and paperwork, and printed out my temporary card. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Off to the local dispensary I went!

Well, holy confusion.

Luckily for me, the kind, patient young people behind the counter were more than willing to explain things to their gray haired befuddled patient/customer. They barely even snickered.

The young man who was helping me explained the differences between the strains of weed. Did I want to be energized and given pain relief? “Yes, please.” OK! Sativa it is!!!! But he warned me that in some people it can increase anxiety. “No, please.” OK, then Indica it is! But that would make me sleepy and sedated.

Eventually he advised a hybrid.

But then we had to talk about THC to CBD ratio. Pain relief and anti-inflammatory versus pain relief and high. Or something like that. And don’t forget, there are many other cannabinoids that are helpful for other issues, like inflammation and appetite suppression. We looked at charts. We looked at graphs. We looked at printouts and glossy images. He talked. I bit my lip behind my mask and hoped my eyes looked intelligent.

Eventually, he seemed to feel like he knew exactly the right potion for granny here and jotted down a few notes. All was good. I had pretty much stayed with him so far, and was feeling fairly hip.

Until he started to talk about terpines.

Which sound to me like some type of fire accelerant but are actually related to smell (I think?) and to various types of high but also (maybe) have different health effects. Anyway, we had to consider our terpine preferences.

By now I was just nodding and sweating. There was a line of people waiting outside, six feet apart from each other, but looking a little surly. I just wanted to get my goodies and go home.

But my young and enthusiastic pharmacy major friend wasn’t done yet. Now I had to think about how to take my weed. I could choose lozenges, infused edibles, gummies, sublingual drops, topical rubs, roll on oil, vape, flower or something that was either wax or oil. Oh, and there was even a choice of various “sauces”!

Now I don’t know about you, but when I go to the doctor for a backache, I just want him to write something down on paper and send me to the pharmacy. I do not want to have to decide on my dosage, my route of ingestion or the flavor of the drug.

My little brain was awhirl. I did NOT want to look stupid. I was NOT ready for the teenagers to laugh at me.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were other “mature” people in the place, but most of them looked like they had been using weed every single day since Woodstock. Some of them were apparently using it to help cut down on their meth use.

I kept nodding my head, and saying, “Sure, whatever you recommend.” I kept trying to repeat, “Just make the ouchie booboos go away.”

Finally I thought I was ready to order. I wanted a topical cream, some sublingual drops and one vape for sleep. I pulled out the vape I’ve been using, and told the young man that when I had gotten a new cartridge recently, it just wasn’t staying in the device. Something was wrong.

The 13 year old working beside him looked at me over her flowered mask. She frowned. “You did remember to unscrew the magnet from the old cartridge and put it on the new one, didn’t you?”

The room filled with giggles and chortles as my face turned purple. I looked around at the experts, several of whom already appeared high, and shrugged my shoulders.

“Who knew?”, I laughed, getting into my role as the funny old lady butt of the joke. “You know, we should write a show for Netflix about this situation. We could call it Nonni at the Dispensary.”

Now the laughs were real, and kind and good natured. “Welcome, Nonni!” my young man barista said. “Here’s your product.”

Thanks to a “first time customer” offer, Nonni went home with two vape cartridges, lozenges, sub-lingual tincture, cream and ointment. As of right now, everything still hurts.

I just don’t care as much!

No Guilt Nonni


Oh, my. Poor Nonni.

If you’ve read my recent post about snow tubing, you’ll know that I have a pretty badly bruised right arm and some cracked or bruised ribs.

This is, without a doubt, my biggest ever “ouchie”. I am finding it very hard to sleep (did you know that you need your thoracic ribs to roll over?), to laugh (holy chest pain), to sneeze (catch me, I’m going to faint) or to cough (I’m going to throw up, I mean it, get that bucket, I am serious!)

My right arm just keeps swelling, getting more and more purple/black/orange/blue/yellow with every passing hour.

Me no likies. Me wicked sore.

Nevertheless, being Nonni, I agreed to watch the kids yesterday. My daughter stepped up on Tuesday, so I did get a whole day of rest after my big tubing adventure.

But after that, I really wanted to see the kids. I missed them! I needed them! So yesterday I took care of my two grandchildren. I wanted them. I needed to be with them.

And I wanted to prove that I could handle a little ol’ tubing crash without missing a beat.

So I lifted Johnny with my left arm (ouch. I didn’t know my ribs would be so connected). I snuggled Ellie on my lap (Yikes, did you know your ribs were connected to your lap?) I changed some diapers and served some meals and some snacks. I helped Johnny climb into his crib for a nap (oh, man, ribs are used for lifting on the other side?), but I had to lift him out when he woke up (ouch, ow, ow, ouw).

You get the picture, right?

One cannot Nonni with only one working arm.

Last night I woke up every time I tried to 1) roll over 2) cough 3) breathe. Every rib I have ever met seemed to be screaming at me.

When I got up this morning, I was surprised (and completely disgusted) to see that my entire right arm was swollen like a sausage.

Yuck.

But what could a Nonni do? I got up, took my shower without looking at the ugly purple appendage on my right, and got ready to take care of the kids.

I tried. I did.

But.

You cannot wrestle an 18 month old boy out of his poopie clothes and into his clean ones without your ribs. You can’t snuggle a sad 3 year old in your arms without using your right arm. No matter how hard you try, you can’t wipe down two wet dogs with one working arm. You can’t make pasta, or a sandwich, or get a snack for three hungry toddlers without dragging that aching right arm into service.

So.

I did it.

I did what no self-respecting Italian Nonni would ever do.

I asked for help.

I texted my daughter, telling her that I wasn’t able to keep the kids safe with my one working arm. I told her that she needed to come home from work early, and that I didn’t think I should have the kids tomorrow.

I felt breathless with guilt. I felt weak, worthless, upset, guilty.

And then my daughter came home.

“Mom,” she said calmly, “You’re hurt. You can’t watch the kids. It’s fine.”

And just like that, the guilt and weakness and oh-poor-me lifted off of me.

Tomorrow I plan to sit still, with ice on my arm. I plan to read. I plan to take my ibuprofen and use my ice packs.

Tomorrow I will be Boo-Boo Nonni instead of Super Nonni. And I will be OK with that.

It isn’t easy, let me tell you, but even an Italian Nonni can find a way to give her swollen purple arm and her smashed up ribs a chance to heal.

Thanks, Kate!!!

This was the first night….you should see how gross it is now…….

Jeez, what a jerk


close up me

Do you ever have those days when you know, with absolute certainty, that you are a big fat jerk?

I do.

More often than I like, actually.

I mean, I try to be a good person. I try to be kind, to be generous, to be welcoming. I do. I try.

But sometimes in the middle of a visit or a social event, I step back just long enough (like 2 seconds) to listen to myself, and I have to think, “Oh, my God. What a JERK.”

Sometimes it’s because I’m not listening well enough. Sometimes I catch myself doing that awful, selfish thing. I sorta, kinda listen to the other person just because I’m dying for the other person to pause so I can respond.

Awful.

And then there is the whole “I know everything” syndrome from which I have suffered for years. I HATE people who answer every comment with how much more they know about everything than I do.

No kidding. I can’t STAND that. I mean, maybe I mention something about making homemade ravioli and the other person immediately jumps into a long lecture about the proper ratio of semolina to whole wheat flour. It does not matter if that person lived in Tuscany for a year studying under a master chef. It still just plain pisses. me. off.

So why do I do the same thing to my own friends and family?

I don’t know.

The other day I had a rare and very treasured visit from two family members. Two wonderful women who I’ve loved for 40 years. Women who are kind, smart, funny, loving, and (thankfully) forgiving. We started to talk about the medical issues that face us in middle age. You know, aches, pains, insomnia….I should have listened. I should have asked how they were feeling. I should have commiserated and made supportive sounds.

Instead I launched into a stupid lecture about medical treatments, benzodiazepine dependence and the benefits of cannabis butter.

Seriously?

Even as the words were flowing like a backed up sink right out of my big mouth, I was thinking, “Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!!”

Sigh.

I guess its a good thing to recognize my weaknesses and personal foibles. That way I can a) keep myself awake for three nights in a row telling myself that I’m a horrible person and am totally undeserving of friends and b) work toward being a better listener, friend, relative.

It also helps to put these thoughts into a little blog that is rarely read. That way I’ve thrown it out there, given it to the universe and possibly garnered a few supportive comments.

BUT: tell me the truth! Don’t you just HATE those know it all types?

 

Is This Healthy? Or Am I Kidding Myself?


The thing about summer is that all of the veggies are amazing.

Right?

It’s July now. So I can drive up the street to the local farmstand where I can buy fresh, buttery lettuce, fresh peas, tomatoes still warm from the sun, cucumbers that are as crisp as breadsticks.

I can run up to the weekly farmer’s market and get garlic scapes, fresh spring onions, tender, fresh kale.

I can go home and microwave some beets, then cool them and mix them into all those fresh, tender greens with a bit of goat cheese.

Holy delicious.

I am the healthiest eater in the world from June through October.

But does all that delicious green goodness buy me extra time on this earth if I refuse to touch salad in the winter?

I mean, I try. Every single year, I try to eat salad in the winter. I buy grocery store lettuce (bitter!) and grocery store cukes (flabby!) and grocery store tomatoes (tasteless!).  And they sit in the fridge until they begin to liquify, at which point I give up until the following summer.

So am I still healthy if I sort of stock up for six months? Can I still call myself a healthy eater if I only eat roasted carrots, beets, potatoes through the fall? Is it still a good veggie side dish if it’s roasted butternut squash with butter and real maple syrup?

My theory is that New Englanders learned to eat a whole pile of greens all summer (I DO!). And then they learned to preserve summer veggies like corn and tomatoes and beans (I DO THAT, TOO!) so in the winter they could eat pig fat while telling themselves “Well, at least we have veggies put up in the old root cellar.” (YUP, THAT’S ME.)

The early New England settlers managed to survive without eating hothouse tomatoes. They didn’t die of scurvy just because they refused to eat hothouse kale.

And I won’t either.

Right?

By shucking the corn and taking the peas out of their pods all spring and summer, I am earning my way into ‘healthy eater’s heaven’, aren’t I?

I love summer food. The peaches, the cherry tomatoes, the ripe berries all over the yard. I love it. I could forage all summer on the garden delights that surround me, as long as I could get a free pass to eat pork and butter my bread all winter long.

What do you think?

Am I delusional, or can I really save up my health points before the cold New England nights set in once again?

IMG_20170507_190003

What the absolute f*ck?


I know. That’s just such an improper headline. I know.

But my sister Liz showed me the most hilarious little video that had that as the punch line, and now its in my head.

And when I tell you what has happened to me in the past week, you will also feel the need to say that same phrase.

Really.

Let’s begin three weeks ago, more or less.

I realized that every now and then, when I sipped my nice hot espresso, my lower left molar would go into a screaming fit of pain. My mouth would fill with saliva and my left cheekbone would start to feel like someone was jamming a hot spike into it.

Now, I am not stupid.

The fourth or fifth time that happened, I realized that I needed to call the dentist. So….a week or so after I realized that I needed to call, I looked up the number.

A few days later, with “call the dentist” at the top of my To Do list, I started to notice the same hot spike feeling if I ate something cold. Or sweet.

So I called.

See? I am not an idiot. I called the dentist and I got an appointment for three weeks later.

Yay, me!

This past weekend I went down to Pennsylvania with my sister Liz, who is better than I am at everything. I love her in spite of her awesomeness, and the two of us laughed our way down the  highways toward Lewisburg Pa, where we were going to meet our brand new great niece.

On the way, we stopped for coffee.

I was driving. Liz was looking at the map and chatting away. I took a good deep swig of the hot coffee and I felt the entire left side of my head explode.

My left eye watered as I drove. My heart hammered in my chest. My vocal cords made an involuntary “eh-eh-eh” sound.

I needed to have my tooth yanked out. But I kept driving.

After a half hour or so, the pain faded down to a dull roar. All was well. I knew I could make it another week before my appointment.

Liz and I went to Pennsylvania. We met our gorgeous little great niece and we celebrated with her wonderful parents. It was so so sweet! And my jawbone cooperated without having a screaming fit, so I was very happy.

Last night I got home, and unpacked and chatted with Paul. I went off to bed feeling happy and relaxed.

Hahaha. Silly, silly me.

As I went to bed, I popped in the little rubber mouth guard that I’ve been using for the past 5 years. It stops me from grinding my teeth and breaking all my molars. It’s not a big deal.

I fell asleep and had a lovely dream about the new baby.

Then I woke up. It was 3 AM. Something seemed off.

As I came more fully into consciousness, I noticed that the tip of my tongue felt very very strange. It felt like sandpaper. It felt like a bloated balloon. It felt like a big, bloated, sandpapered balloon.

I ran the scratchy balloon across my lower lip.

What. The. Hell.

My lower lip was just wrong.

I got up, fumbling for my phone to give me some light. I stumbled to the bathroom and quietly closed the door so I wouldn’t wake Paul up. I turned on the light, and made my way to the mirror.

Holy horrific images!

There was a face looking back at me. Its eyes were ringed with wrinkled, puffy sacks. Its gray hair was standing up in tufts all over its head. It had a big nose and a HUGE, pendulous, swollen lower lip hanging out over its chin.

It was my scary, creepy Uncle Salvatore staring back at me from my bathroom mirror.

The shriek that came out of that mouth would have roused the dead.

Luckily, I realized that the sound was coming from me, and that the distorted face was the result of some kind of crazy allergic reaction. I pulled out the mouth guard, took a long cold drink of water, and tried to think of what to do.

My mouth was burning, swollen, itchy and numb at the same time. I took a Claritin and some herbal antihistamines. I laid back down in my bed.

I tried to sleep, but my giant lip kept finding its way between my teeth. Finally I dozed and I woke to another day.

I have no idea why my body decided to react to the mouthguard after all these years. I have no idea why my lip turned into a giant raw wound filled with hot coals. I don’t know if any of this is related to the nerve in my lower jaw that definitely needs to be removed as soon as possible.

All I know is that as I stood in front of my bathroom mirror in the middle of the night with my gigantic lip throbbing in pain, all I could think of was the final line of that video Liz shared with me.

“What the absolute f*ck?” could be my motto today.

What am I supposed to do with the world’s biggest lower lip?

 

Oh, Brassicas!


Bacon-Radish-Brussel-Sprouts-1-Watermark

Oh, how I love being the Mother of children who cook!  Its so rewarding to hear my three grown kids discussing the various ways to prepare incredibly healthy foods! All of them buy local, sustainable, GMO free organic foods whenever they can.  All three of them cook those foods and eat them with great pleasure and an awareness of the health benefits of what they are consuming.

I’m so proud of them!

In fact, I’m so proud of them that when I realized that both of my sons would be heading home this weekend to complete their tax forms, I decided that I should probably cook something local, organic, sustainable and wicked delicious.   So I defrosted a big pork roast, from a farm about 5 miles away.  As a fairly recent convert to fresh, organic pork, all I can tell you is YUMMMMMMMM.  Yum, Yum, super yum, holy yummification factor, wow, YUM.    I love these fresh pork roasts.  So. Much.

And I decided that I should also roast up a big pan of local, delicious, fresh veggies.  Like the red onion, the fingerling potatoes and the crisp fresh carrots that I got from our local food source last month.

But I also decided to add a big pile of brussel sprouts to the roasting pan.  Because my son Matt told me a couple of weeks ago that he “loves all of the brassicas”.

Yep.  The little boy who wouldn’t eat a grilled cheese unless it was served on a glass plate and cut on the diagonal, that little boy, “loves all of the brassicas.”  The child who refused to eat green beans or fresh tomato, that boy has grown up to be the king of roasted parsnips, brussel sprouts and cabbages.

So I tossed a huge pile of wonderful veggies in olive oil and flavored salt. I added some herbs from last summer’s garden, and popped it all into the oven with the incredible roast.

And everyone came for dinner.  My daughter and her husband and our beautiful baby Ellie, and both of our sons.  All gathered in the house for a wonderful dinner, for laughter and music and good conversation.

It was just what this Momma needed! Nothing is sweeter than seeing my children together, seeing them happy, seeing them with the baby.  My heart was full to bursting!

And after they left, and the table was all cleaned up, Paul and I went out onto the deck, to relax in our hot tub.  We gazed at the beautiful stars, and listened to the wind in the pines. We talked softly about how blessed we feel to have such happy and loving young adults as our children. We soaked in the hot water, feeling our muscles relax and our minds fill with peace.

And we stepped out of the hot water, and into the warmth of our home.

Where we were greeted by the lingering dirty diaper smell of roasted brassicas on the air. We looked at each other, our noses wrinkled.  “What the?????” Paul asked.  I hurriedly lit a lilac scented candle and opened the kitchen window.

Phew.

I know that no matter what I do to counteract it, we will smell the uniquely sulphurous aroma of roasted sprouts all night.  There will be no escape.

My only hope is that as I come awake at 3 AM to the unpleasant reek, I will roll over and murmur to myself, “I love having kids who can cook.”

Holy Brassicas.

Next time I’m going to make some frozen corn.

 

Feeling my age


Sadie, aging far more gracefully that some of us.

Sadie, aging far more gracefully that some of us.

Ya know, it could be the imminent arrival of my granddaughter into this world.  Or it could be the fact that my last haircut revealed that the salt outnumbers the pepper up there.

Maybe its the fact that I overestimated my ability to chop, prune, weed, mow and mulch.  Or it could be that I tried to clean out one too many closets this week.

Not sure what happened, but I woke up yesterday and realized that I feel like I’ve been run over by a cement truck.  I feel about 200 years old.

You name the body part, it hurt.  My posture looked remarkably like a question mark.

It hurt enough to keep me awake last night.  So I got up at midnight and took two ibuprofin.  Laid back down.  Twenty minutes later, my achy/nauseous stomach got me back up for some Tums.  Laid back down.  Neck hurt.  Got an ice pack.  Laid back down.  Dozed.

I must have fallen asleep, because I was yanked awake when my right calf turned into a giant ball of searing pain and I had to jump up and flex my foot.

Sigh.

I love summer.  I love the green yard, the gorgeous blossoms, the warm air. I love the smell of cut grass.

But my aging carcass is beginning to long for a nice cool rainy day where I’d be forced to sit still in my recliner and doze while the soup simmers on the stove.

I must be getting old.