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I’ve written about parts of this previously. Yesterday, I was asked to think of the most magical, romantic summer and this is what popped into my mind. So, with a failing memory, this is how I remember that magical summer.

 

High school. Sophomore year. That was the best year I remember.  It was mostly because of Him. He was a year older but we shared a couple of classes and because all the teachers seated us in alphabetical order, I was always right behind him. He was cute. He had that boyish look and his sense of humor oozed. His smile was sweet, innocent, yet mischievous, and I loved it. We didn’t see each other outside of classes but there was an attraction; a chemistry that couldn’t be denied. He always joked with me or paid me compliments as we got to our seats. Mine was the last seat in the first row in Geometry. One day, as we were passing our homework forward, he grabbed my hand instead of my paper and he didn’t let go right away. He just hung on. The person in front of him had to turn around and grab our work from him. That broke the hold but then every chance he got, he would grab my hand and not let go. It was silly and it was kind of nice to have the attention. Well, it was more than kind of nice. Then one day, while the teacher was at the front of the class and students were being called on to demonstrate different geometry solutions, he put his hand back, reaching for my hand but he ended up grabbing my pencil. It was the only pencil I had and I really wanted to follow along with the demonstration at the front of the class. Besides, I wasn’t super good in geometry so I needed to pay attention and I really didn’t like getting into trouble and I was afraid I would. I quietly asked him to give me my pencil and he handed it back over his shoulder. I reached for it but he wouldn’t let it go. He just held on to it. Then as I nudged it away from him, he grabbed a hold of it again and the pencil broke in half.

By then, the teacher was aware of some kind of disturbance in the field but he was a really cool teacher so he just sort of looked back and went on. Then there was an effort to get me another pencil as He asked the other students around us if they had an extra pencil. No one did. So he said he’d have to fix it. How do you fix a broken pencil? Well, you ask everyone around you for tape and you try to tape it back together and while you’re doing that, you’re going on and on, just above a whisper, describing what you are doing to fix the pencil, srep by step. It took several attempts at cutting the right size piece of tape and getting the two pieces into just the right position to wrap the tape around them. By then, the teacher had stopped talking and was looking back waiting for him to stop talking. The whole class was looking at us and I was turning a deep shade of red and trying not to laugh at the narrative which was really very funny. Finally, the teacher asked him if he would turn around and pay attention and he had the nerve to say, “Just a couple more minutes. I’m performing surgery on this pencil.”  The whole class cracked up, as did the teacher who just said, “Alright then hurry it up so you can follow along.”

That did it. After that we were just about inseparable, spending our Nutrition Break and our Lunch Break together every day, sitting on the Library ledge, talking, laughing, and then walking to classes together. There were after school functions but we didn’t go together because my parents were very strict. We had to meet at the gym and part ways at the gym after the games so my parents wouldn’t see us walking together when they dropped off and picked up.

Then came summer. That was really difficult because neither of us drove yet (he would get his license later that summer and I was still a year away from getting mine) and we lived pretty far from each other. Neither of us had a bike either. So the end of school meant we would, most likely, not see each other until September. When he signed my yearbook, he ended his page long dedication by quoting the lyrics to that old song, See You In September. It didn’t end there. That summer, my aunt and uncle came to visit us in northern California and they talked my parents into letting me go home with them. They lived in southern California, near Huntington Beach. The plan was for me to go home with them and then drive to Mexico with them for their annual summer trip to visit my aunt’s family. I would be gone for over a month. I wrote a letter to my sweet young man and he wrote back, asking me to send him some sand. Well, I did. One afternoon, as my cousin Rosie and I lay on the sand at Huntington Beach, I wrote him a letter. My cousin had heard all about him during our late night confessions as we spent hours talking when we were supposed to be sleeping. Rosie dared me to send him some sand like he had asked me to. So I wrote the letter and finished it off with the lyrics to Sealed With A Kiss and just before sealing the envelope, I put in some sand, sealed it, and kissed the back flap.

When I got back home, he called and asked if I could go to play miniature golf with him. He had gotten his license! Well, my parents said yes but only if my little sister could go with us. So, embarrassing as it was, I called him back and told him of my parents conditions and he accepted. So off we went to play mini golf but only after my dad invited him in to see his gun collection. I found it not so funny that every time a boy came anywhere near the house my dad took out his guns to clean them and the boys always were invited to see the collection. So after the not so subtle gun display, we went off to mini golf where he managed to steal a few kisses while my sister wasn’t looking. Our magical mini golf night ended with a trip to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour where we shared a huge banana split before he drove us home. When he walked me to the door and we said goodnight, he dared to kiss me again and I was in heaven. 

A couple of days later, while we talked on the phone, he informed me that his mom had not been happy about having sand spill all over the floor and he had to spend hours cleaning up every grain of sand to his mom’s satisfaction. That ended up not being so great because his mom soon put a stop to our budding romance by telling him that he was getting too serious about me and forbidding him from seeing me anymore. So, while summer held out promise, fun, song lyrics, mini golf, stolen kisses and sand, in hindsight that sand and the lipstick kiss on the back of the envelope might not have been a good idea because it garnered the attention of his mom.

Oh well! It was fun and it was probably the best summer I had for many decades. So, to the Pencil Surgeon who might be reading this, thank you for the best summer of my youth!

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On July third my right knee started to hurt more than usual and I wasn’t able to put any weight on it without it buckling and pain shooting down the front of my leg. I pretty much stayed off of it until the fifth when I got the doctor to order x-rays because I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to get better on its own. I was right. Friday, the results of the x-rays showed that I have something called advanced tricompartamental osteoarthritis. That means that all three of the bones that make up the knee are involved. The stabbing pain that I have been feeling is because the bones are rubbing against each other, the cartilage having been worn away.

The is no cure for it. The only way to treat it is with pain medication, anti-inflammatory medications, and a brace. In some cases they are able to inject a steroid right into the knee. In some cases, surgery is required to replace the parts that are worn away with artificial parts. In my case, my doctor says she feels that it is far enough advanced that she wants me to see the orthopedic surgeon. Yay. Not. I’m not looking forward to it. I’ve had six knee operations (on the same knee) in the past. They’ve been done through an arthroscope so the recovery has been “easier” and it was pure hell! I’m not looking forward to having them open it up. I’m hoping they are able to treat it with injections.

I haven’t even come to my one year anniversary since that last major surgery and now I’m looking at eye surgeries and knee surgery. Oy vey!

For now, I’m hobbling along using a cane, wearing a brace, smelling like Tiger Balm, and wincing in pain. I borrowed crutches and a friend gifted me a brand new walker (the kind with a seat on it) so at least I have some ways to get around so I don’t end up stuck in one room of the house!

Enough negative stuff! I’m hoping the weekend will bring a positive or fun (or both) post here. Come back and check!

Changes, Fear, Oh My!

Well, now what will I do?

As most of you know, I live about a two minute walk from three of my four grandchildren. I see them every day. My life pretty much revolves around what they need and their calls to take them to the park. Really, they call me. We both have Amazon Echo devices so they can call me very easily by asking Alexa to call their Nana. And they do call me to ask me to take them to the park or to the store or any number of places. I love seeing them every day. When they were gone for a week last month, I was depressed and didn’t know what to do with myself.

And now they’re moving. Moving away from me. At least it’s in the works. We aren’t sure when but it will, most likely be this summer, before school starts so the boys can start school when the school year begins. And that’s the other thing, I homeschool one of them so that means he’ll have to go back to regular school and I don’t think he’s ready for that. If my daughter’s plan works out they will be about forty minutes away from me. I know that’s not far and I’m glad they won’t be further but that means I won’t see them every day and it will be more difficult to see them because the time will have to be planned out to fit in with their schedule and traffic, which at times could make it more like an hour to drive over to see them.

I just found out less than twenty-four hours ago and I’m still in shock.

My daughter depends on me a lot. She calls me with no notice to go watch the kids for her or to go put Maya to sleep because I’m the only one that she’ll let put her to sleep when she is being cranky. And that little girl gets so excited when I go over. She sees me and throws her head back with a huge giggle. And she cries without consolation when I leave.

And I guess the other side is that I am comfortable with having them so close. When I fall, I can call them for help. When I’m sick and need soup or medicine from the store, I can call on them. When I need a ceiling height light bulb changed, I have to call them because I can’t get on the step ladder due to my knee. And of course, my health is now failing and I really have peace of mind knowing that they are so close. Now they won’t be.

I’m just kind of falling apart at the news. I know that in the end, we’ll all learn to live with it and it will be okay but I’m really having a tough time with it. I was just at the point where I was not going to renew my driver’s license because I’m having so much trouble with my eyes and physically, I can’t always sufficiently check for traffic when I’m driving. I scare myself at times when I realize how close I came to being in an accident. And if I do that, I won’t be able to drive to see them. I won’t be able to even get groceries. My daughter is the one that takes me to get groceries because I can’t stand or walk very long so she is there to grab things for me quickly and finish my shopping if I need to go sit for a rest.

Anyway, it will also mean fewer blog posts about my adorable grandchildren and what they say and do. I guess I will have to write about other things.

If we can all get used to it and get into different routines, it will be best for my daughter and the kids. It will mean a lot of changes (she’ll be permanently separating from her partner which is a good thing) for the kids and the changes will hit all at once. They will be moving physically, not living with their dad, not seeing me every day, not being around familiar surroundings. I’m scared for them.

Well, that’s my brain and heart dump for the day. 😦

Thrown For A Loop

This week has been interesting, to say the least. It has left me unsettled in a number of angles. Let me tell you about it.

First, you may remember that I have had a number of falls. In the last eight weeks, I have fallen four times and have had five or six near falls where I either am able to grab onto something and not fallen all of the way or someone has been nearby and has caught me. That’s a lot of falls. I had my doctor’s appointment last week and she set me up with an eye doctor. Her feeling was that I might have a vision problem that was making me lose my balance. I kind of thought she was crazy. I thought it was my medication, but I did go to the specialist. Well, it seems my primary care physican was right. I have developed “significant” cataracts in both eyes and they are obscuring my vision. I need to have them removed surgically, sooner than later. Additionally, I have diabetic hemoraging in my eyes, which we expected. But the kicker is that they also found a cyst in my right retna. It appears to be rather significant and it needs to be addressed immediately. The most likely treatment will be surgical removal. Yay. Not. I go to the retna specialist on the 16th. Wish me luck! I’m really kind of unnerved by this because the cataracts were very minor in October when I last had my eyes dilated and examined. Now they are significant. And the October exam didn’t find the cyst. So I think it is progressing, or rather growing, quite quickly. And that explains why I have been having so much trouble reading. I have over 18,000 unread emails in my inbox because I can’t read more than one or two before I have to stop. So if you’ve sent me an email in the last six months, it’s probably still unread!

Then, on Thursday my niece posted a link to an article on Facebook that caught my eye. She said something like “it’s weird to think we’ve been living next to a murderer all these years!” Yup. It caught my eye and I read the article. It was about a murder suspect that shot and killed himself as sheriff’s were knocking on his door to serve a warrant. I think that pretty much confirms he was guilty of that murder. Then I read on and was shocked by the murder. It was a cold case that I was sort of involved in back in October of 1974, when I was a freshman at Stanford University. It was a brutal murder. A very shocking murder and I was outside the Church when it happened. I’ve written about it before and about how I have had nightmares since that murder. For the last forty-four years I’ve had a nightmare that I was in the Church alone and the killer was coming after me and I couldn’t get out as I was locked inside with him. They are terrifying nightmares that have me wake up breathless and with my heart pounding. So I’m still sort of unsettled about that. And the coincidence that he would end up living right next door to my niece! What are the odds?!

On the good side, my daughter leant me her laptop charger that works with mine. Mine has been lost for months so I haven’t been able to use my laptop. I’ve been using my phone for reading and for writing so it has been very difficult. Her laptop isn’t working so she said I could keep the charger untill she gets the laptop fixed, which might be never. Yay for me. Boo for her. In any case, it will make it easier to read and write and, hopefully, I will be able to really get back to blogging. However, please forgive typos as I can’t see them easily so I can’t correct them and this Chromebook doesn’t seem to catch them with spell check. Oh well!

So here’s to the end of my nightmares, to a positive outcome with the cataracts and the cyst, and to more blogging. Yay!

Spinning Wheel

My first school dance was in seventh grade. It was in the gym, right after school. We had a live band! Normally, it would have been just DJ type of entertainment but one of the teachers, Mr. Spitaleri (yeah, what a name!), had a teen son who was in a band and they came to play for our dance. They were pretty good. And of course, all of us girls were right up at the foot of the stage ogling the guys in the band. Yeah, even me. It was a lot of fun. In fact, it’s probably the best school dance I ever went to. There were no expectations. We didn’t have to get dressed up. No one had dates. It was just a fun time. My favorite song that they played that afternoon was Spinning Wheel (originally by Blood, Sweat, And Tears) which was climbing the charts at that time. They had one of those lights that has a color wheel turning which makes the room look different colors. I still remember those couple of hours so very well, even though it was fifty years ago!

Well, that’s what my life has felt like this past month…like I’m on a spinning wheel and I can’t get off. As soon as it slows down a bit and I think I am going to get a chance to catch my breath it starts up again at full speed. Let’s see, I guess I can tell you that I have fallen down four times in the last six weeks! I lose my balance, due to the medication I take for the pain from nerve damage. At least that’s what I think is causing it because it is a documented side effect.m But I will definitely discuss it with my doctor at my next appointment on the twentieth. And I am having a lot more problems with my eyes. Reading has become next to impossible and I am thinking that a lot of it has to do with my new glasses. I had so much trouble getting the prescription right. It took them four tries to get them to where I could see distance and read. But they aren’t perfect. I’m still dealing with very watery eyes when I try to read and having to close one eye so I can focus with just one. So I guess I should go back and see if there is anything they can do. Or go some place else. Not happy about that.

I do have one very good thing that has happened to share with you. You might recall that I also am deaf. Almost completely now. I had been using some “sound amplifiers” which look like hearing aids but are a fraction of the price. They didn’t work great but they helped me get through day to day living. Then one stopped working and about a month later I lost the other one. They didn’t fit right and I think it just fell out someplace. Well, you might also remember me telling you about Buy Nothing which is an international “gift economy group.” I am now an Admin for my local group and have met a lot of people. We do this “Big Ask, Small Ask” thing each month. Members list one big thing they need and one small thing then other members try to fulfill the needs. I had posted twice about needing hearing aids and asked if someone might have some from a relative that “no longer needed them.” Nothing. Then last week I got a message from a new member that said her mother had died and she was wondering if I could use her mom’s almost new top of the line hearing aids! I jumped at the opportunity so now I have new hearing aids. They need to have new molds of my ears made so they fit right but one is almost a perfect fit and the other is good enough as is until I can find someone to do that for me and save up some money. But I can hear now! They are amazing! They’ve brightened my days and my outlook.

In any case, that’s what is going on with me. Currently I am in bed and on pain pills because I have some kind of undiagnosed pain in my leg which is excruciating. I think I might end up seeing the doctor before my next appointment if this keeps up any longer. But we’ll deal with that.

What is up with you? I’ve missed blogging and hearing about everyone’s lives. Let me know how YOU are!

Pain In the…

Technology can be such a pain, but then it can be amazing, too. I used to be pretty good at figuring things out on my own. When I got my first desktop computer in 1993, within just a very few hours, I had it all set up, working, and I was able to get around very comfortably and I had not ever used a computer before that day. I think it took me about three hours to set it up and get on it and feel rather comfortable. That was in the days of Windows 3! A very long time ago. I could also set up whatever electronics we had in the house and get them working just fine. I could figure it all out and make things do what I wanted them to do.

That was then. Now, well in the past ten years at least, I’m not very good at it. Or rather, I should say, I’m not wanting to figure things out on my own. I’m tired of it and it is getting to the point where it takes too long to figure out how things should work and how to get them to work that way. For example, the laptop I use now is running Windows 8. I never got around to upgrading it to 10 because I was using a Chrome Book at the time and because I really wasn’t feeling up to finding out how to do the upgrade and then do it. But now I can’t find the charger for the Chrome Book so I got out the older laptop. So I am thinking that Google, in all its wisdom, should figure out a way for us to make it look like we want it to look without needing a Ph.D in computers. I use the thumbnails on the home page to navigate to different sites. However, I accidentally deleted the one for Google search. Now I can’t get it back. You can’t add thumbnails because they are determined by how often you use a site. So Google search should be up there but I think that because I removed that thumbnail, it won’t create one for that site, even though I use it a gazillion times a day. Apparently, there is no easy way to do it. Some people on the public forums say you can deleted your browser history, restart the browser and then start from scratch. Do I want to do that? Does deleting my browser history mean that it deletes my passwords? Because if it does, that kinda screws me because I don’t remember my passwords. The browser does it for me. So Google needs to find a way for us to do that simple thing. Don’t you agree?

But then this morning I was reminded of one of the good things about technology. An old friend from high school (yeah, about three lifetimes ago) posted a question about one of the teachers at our high school. You know how something gets in your head and you can’t get it out of your mind until you figure it out? Well, he was trying to remember the first name of one of the English teachers at our high school. I knew it and posted it for him. So I think it’s pretty neat that he could go on and post his question at 9:43 and I could answer it when I went online at 10:02. It’s one of the things that makes the internet amazing. It lets me keep in touch with people from all over. If I can’t be in the same room talking to an old friend, I can still feel like we’re in touch and have a few laughs and share some memories. (Thank you, Al Gore! 🙂  )

So I guess I won’t throw the laptop out the window. I’ll continue to be frustrated because I can’t get the thumbnails that I want back on my screen. I guess I could wait and see if my son can figure it out when I see him in a couple of weeks but then I would have to bring the laptop and I wasn’t going to take it on that trip. Hhm. I’ll figure it out, I guess.

 

Whew!

Well, it was an interesting month with the A to Z Challenge. This was my third year participating and it was a tough go. I didn’t start on schedule and I didn’t get caught up until the very end and that’s because I doubled up on a couple of the posts, posting two letters in one post. But hey! I finished on time!

It has  been a tough couple of months, actually, a tough three months. I have felt like I am sinking and there’s no way out. Sinking health-wise and emotionally. I did finally get the doctors to listen to me so I am now on a new medication that I inject once a week (along with my five injections of insulin each day and oral medication for diabetes) and that’s supposed to stop the weight gain which is the reason I am sinking. I think I have posted previously that the insulin processes sugar differently so a lot of people end up gaining weight. I have gained a full one hundred pounds since last August. That is a lot of excess weight. It effects everything I do. I have a lot more trouble walking, sleeping, sitting, moving around, and just plain being. Day to day activities are either impossible or take me so much longer to do that I end up giving up. As you can well imagine, this has taken a huge toll on me emotionally. I’ve asked the doctors to give me  an anti depressant but they didn’t listen until a couple of weeks ago when one of the nursed became concerned about my mental/emotional state and talked to the doctor. I got my prescription and started it right away. I’m not sure I feel much difference yet but I have been told that it can take up to a month to see/feel some difference. I’m crossing my fingers.

I’m hoping to get back to more regular blogging. I think it’s one way that I keep sane and I haven’t had that for awhile. April was more regular but that was a set topic/theme so not my normal blogging. However, I did come up with a few characters that I might explore with a longer piece of writing. Did you have a favorite this month? Let me know and maybe I can try to develop that soon.

My eyesight is not great these days. It’s a direct result of the diabetes. I have a lot of  trouble, especially with “screen time.” I end up not being able to spend too much time reading online. I’m working on a few things that might help, one being those glasses that help with the glare of back lit screens. I’ve used them before but I need to get some more. I think I gifted mine to my mom when she was here in July so I need to see if I can find an economically feasible pair.

Speaking of economics, my Social Security finally came through so at least I don’t have to worry about paying rent. I do have to come up with an additional two hundred dollars a month so I can pay my electric bill and afford gas in my cars and some of the other things that my check doesn’t cover. It basically covers rent and my internet connection ($40/month). So I will be looking for some babysitting and anything else I can come up with to make a few extra bucks! It’s doable, though. I am hanging on to that thought!

I’m actually looking forward to today. My daughter and I will be joining a group of about fourteen people on a trip up to Seattle. We were lucky enough to get admission to the fifth anniversary celebration for Lularoe clothing. A friend is a consultant and she and her husband rented a big van to take us all up there and were nice enough to pay the fifteen dollar fee for each of us to attend. It should be fun, or at least an experience! And later this month I will be driving up to Seattle to see my grandson who will be turning two years old on the eighteenth! I don’t get to see him often enough so I am really looking forward to that.

Anyway, that’s it. That’s my update. I’ll be reading y’all soon!