Wednesday, July 27, 2016


So, last night was pretty epic, yes?

I haven't been around in a while, but it feels right to break out the keyboard and write down how I feel about the nomination of a woman for President of the United States.

I know this will sound odd in a post about a history-making woman, but I miss my dad. He was the political junkie in the family. I came to political activism much, much later. I suppose it's a testament to the good governing of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman (dad's heroes) that my childhood was fairly stable. Daddy was born at the beginning of the Great Depression and lived through WWII as a teen-ager.

What must that have been like?

Dad wanted Hillary to be the nominee in 2008. Hindsight's 20/20, and Father Knows Best. (I supported Obama all the way. As soon as he became the nominee, Dad was a hundred percent on board.) Looking at all that's happened over the past few years, we might have been better had Dad's preference prevailed.

But it didn't.

And now it has.

I kept thinking I might get a text from one of the women in my family – I'm the matriarch, so it would have been my daughter, a daughter-in-law, or my granddaughter. But none of them are political or even history buffs. It wouldn't resonate with them the way it would have with my dad or does with me.

So here's how I feel this morning.

Hillary Clinton will and must be the next President of the United States. The stakes are too high for any other outcome. I'll do all I can possibly do to make sure Donald Trump never sees the inside of the Oval Office. It terrifies me that he is now getting security briefings on sensitive issues.

Hillary Clinton is not perfect. No candidate is, but she comes with an extraordinary amount of negatives, courtesy of popular media that feeds on negatives and a populace all too willing to let the media do their thinking for them.

But here's the truth. Hillary Clinton has been under scrutiny for decades. She's always done what she felt was the right and good thing to do, given the circumstances and facts before her. I can say that, even though I don't know her, because the results bear that out. You can watch the many, many speeches from the convention last night and learn more of the quiet, private good she's done in her lifetime.

You can watch Fox News to hear the negatives and, yes, the lies. Because Fox is an entertainment network, they're not bound by the truth.

I don't have stars in my eyes for Hillary Clinton. Neither she nor her pick for vice-president have the charisma of the First Couple or the fire and sizzle of many of the up-and-coming Democrats. (Our bench is deep, and wow are we fortunate for that. Especially considering that the Republicans have majorities in the House and Senate and Donald Trump is the best they could do.)

We live in a time where solid, measured government is necessary. President Obama is so darned good at it. He doesn't let emotion take over, but you know how he feels and where his heart is.

Hillary Clinton is good at it, as well. We will expect more of her, because she's a woman. She will, right or wrong, have to work twice as hard to earn the respect of an equally qualified man. It's astonishing that our country, often called the most powerful in the world, regards women as not good enough for governing, but just fine for accessorizing.

Here's the thing: No one in America – man or woman – is more qualified, more experienced, more committed, or more ready to lead this country than Hillary Clinton is. Whether you like her or not is irrelevant. We're not voting for Homecoming Queen. This is serious.

Hillary Clinton has made tough decisions, run into obstacles, changed course, weathered storms, dealt with private matters in public, and taken public matters to heart day after day after day. She's looked at life from not just both sides, as Judy Collins sang, but from all sides. That's what you do when the stakes are high. And that's what you do when you have to do the best, most-right thing, no matter who's watching.

In the end … for a host of reasons I can't really articulate …

I'm with her.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Six months later

I know I said I wouldn't post any more hip-surgery updates, but it seems like six months post-op is a good time to assess.

In the six months since the operation, I've walked nearly 500 miles (493.94 to be exact), and I'm now averaging about 14,000 steps per day. I'd logged 187 miles after four months, so the past two months have been pretty darned good.

Nice weather helps, of course. I have very few residual effects of the surgery. The pain I'd been living with is completely gone. I have trouble – still – getting up from a chair and getting started walking. I need to steady myself with a hand on a wall or table, for instance, until I feel secure. I have a lot of trouble if I need to get down on my hands and knees and then get back up again.

And despite all those miles walked, I've lost only seven pounds since the surgery. I am well and truly stuck where I am, and not happy about it at all. I eat reasonable portions of healthful foods. I'm not willing to walk more – I'm averaging more than five miles a day.

I plan to add some rowing to the routine, something I've been "meaning" to do, but just haven't been motivated enough to actually accomplish. A six-month assessment such as this seems to indicate I need that kind of push.

Most 65-year-old hip surgery patients aren't as active as I am, based on the reaction I get when I tell people my age and activity level. Maybe I just need to let go of the desire to lose weight NOW, and be grateful for the progress I've made so far.
The last 28 days have been fairly consistent, and certainly better than a year ago!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

No longer on the fence

I thought about having both Bernie and Hillary stickers on my car all during the primary season. In the end, I opted for neither and sported a Goodwin for Governor sticker.

Keepin' it local.

But last night? And last week? Secretary Clinton is and was on point in her two most recent major speeches. It's time for me to say #ImWithHer.

I hope Bernie says it, and soon. It won't make a difference here in WV. Trump is wildly popular among non-college-educated, low-income white men, which describes much of the population here. But Bernie's support for HRC could go a long way toward healing the rift in the Democratic party.

No candidate is perfect, which is why I wavered and couldn't commit.

But it's game on now, and if there's one thing I'm quite sure of it's #NeverTrump.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What a week!

My husband and I aren't anti-social, but we definitely don't do much socializing. At our age and in our circles, people really just don't get together much. Or at least we don't. Maybe everyone else does and we don't know about it.

Or care. Heh.

ANYWAY … beginning last Tuesday, May 24, we've gone somewhere or entertained someone every day. Today we get back to normal.

I enjoyed all the activity very much. Moreso than I expected to, actually. My biggest anxiety this week was finding enough clean clothes that fit. Mission accomplished! And one outfit didn't even get worn, because I didn't have enough time to hem the pants.

You short girls will relate.

This week is much less frenetic. A dentist appointment tomorrow and a lunch meeting Thursday. Easy-peasy.

So … retirement reception, birthday dinner, scholarship banquet, three-day family reunion, and dinner with friends … CHECK!

Over and out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

That was a nice little break

I can't quite believe it's been a month since I've updated the blog. Neither of you have missed it, or at least you haven't said you have. How about if I promise not to write about hip replacement surgery any more?

Today's my birthday. The big 65. I'm officially geriatric, although I don't feel like it. Even with a hip replacement, I don't feel old, or even oldER.

Time does, however, march on, and aging is certainly better than dying, at least when you feel good and are relatively healthy.

Google remembered my birthday with a special Google Doodle:
Starbucks has loaded a free drink onto my app and Ruby Tuesday's has a burger waiting for me. I could have gotten $5 off a pair of DSW shoes, but I don't need shoes.

That's one thing about getting oldER: My wants are way less important than my needs.

One thing I wanted, however, was for this birthday to be special. To be noted. My husband and children really don't make a big deal out of birthdays, but I made sure they all knew that this one was different. And they came through.

My children are taking me to see Bob Dylan in Nashville next month. Each time I see him in concert I think it may be the last time, since we're both getting up there in years (he's been geriatric for 10 years!). It's amazing that he's still touring and producing new music. I'm thrilled that I'll be seeing him with both my daughter and my son and his wife, and that I'll get to spend the weekend with all of them and their children. We seldom have the opportunity to all get together at the same time and place.

My husband offered me either a big party or a new computer. No question on that one … my old laptop has been slowly dying for about six months. I don't have the new one completely set up yet, but they've been talking to each other. A few more file transfers and the old model will be used for storing music and photos. He made this birthday very special.

My month-long blog break wasn't intentional. I'll be updating a little more often going forward. Because, you know, when you're old you have a lot of wisdom to impart. And a lot more time on your hands.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The battle begins

In earnest. And it's two battles, really.

The ongoing battle with my weight is one I'm losing right now. I'd rather report that I'm losing weight, but in two months the loss is negligible.

I'm tired of paleo, but I know that carbs are killing me. As I'm now moving more (I averaged 11,000 steps per day last week), I hope the increased activity will help boost my metabolism. I naturally want to eat lighter when the weather warms up, so I'll work on taking advantage of that – fruit salad instead of pie, right? Heh. The goal is the proverbial move more, eat less, and I'm adding to that to eat less often. If I'm not hungry in the morning, why eat breakfast?

I'd like to think I'm winning the battle with the weeds. The asparagus bed is almost cleaned out, and asparagus is on the menu almost daily. I'm going to put some in omelets tonight. The peony bed is looking good – weeds are mostly gone and the old, dead lavender plants have been replaced by creeping sedum, which is a natural mulch that spreads itself every year. That's my kind of mulch.

I put cardboard down between the asparagus plants and brought a couple loads of mulch from a big pile we have on the side of the field we like to call our "back yard." That pile has been decaying for a couple of years now, and is perfect for weed-suppressing duty. Except for two things.

One of the best garden tool investments
I've ever made. This thing really gets a workout!
As I was working on filling up my large rolling bucket, I thought I was running into the blackberry brambles that have grown up there. (Volunteer blackberries is Thing One.)

When I actually looked to see what was sticking my ankles, I saw Thing Two: ants. Crazy, biting, red ants. Thousands of them. The entire mulch pile is teeming with them. (So gross.) I decided, after two loads of mulch, that it probably isn't the best idea to introduce ants into our living space: The asparagus bed is on the south side of our garage, and only a few feet from our house.

I'm still going to use it – it's a yuge pile, and perfect for spreading around the base of several trees, far away from the house. I'll be wearing tall muck boots, instead of sneakers, to fill the bucket however.

For the asparagus and flower beds, however, I'm heading to town later for bagged mulch. And hoping that having a ready supply will encourage me to keep working on the flower beds.

I have to pace myself (stamina still isn't where I'd like it to be), and I also have to believe that even as little as an hour of weeding a day will eventually result in garden beds worth looking at.

Thank you for your recent kind comments … I appreciate them, and you!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Just in time for spring …

The busy-ness of my life is beginning to wind down, finally. The Big Event is over and was a Big Success – well attended and we made a little more money than we'd hoped for. That's always nice.

I've started spending some of the funds on newspaper advertising. My ads are mostly words with an evocative image. I tried boosting one on Facebook and it was, at first, approved, but then was disapproved because it exceeds Facebook's no-more-than-20-percent-type rule.

For Facebook marketers who are selling concepts or ideas, rather than products, the 20-percent rule is quite limiting. I haven't figured out any way to get around it, other than to reduce the size of the type to "insignificant." Which kind of makes a concept ad irrelevant.

At any rate, since these are newspaper ads and newspapers love type, I'll just share them on our Facebook page and ask for people to share them. It will save us money until I can figure out how to make an image look like the concept "Vote for Democrats." Heh.
We will be going to a funeral tomorrow, a sad day for us and for our small town, but a blessing, as well. Our friend had been ill for a long, long time, and was not going to get better.

I continue to walk as much as possible, and to do the physical therapy exercises, although not daily, as I'd planned to. I'm not a disciplined person. Being required to show up for an appointment was great motivation. Having to report to the therapist that I had or had not done the exercises on my non-appointment days also was motivating. Being completely responsible for my own recovery? Not so motivating at all.

And with that … I think I'll go do my exercises. And then take a walk. And then finish weeding the asparagus bed. And then do a load of laundry while I vacuum and mop my floors. That will take me up to late afternoon, I'm sure. And it will be time to get ready for the visitation at the funeral home. Two long days, coming right up.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Back to normal!

It's been 12 weeks today since my hip surgery, and I'm doing just about whatever I want to do. Except running, of course, which is forever prohibited. The physical therapy sessions were very beneficial, and I am again glad my doctor didn't push me into them right away. 

Certain movements are restricted immediately post-surgery – bending, crossing your legs, putting all your weight on the operated limb – and my therapy would have had to respect those limits. Waiting until the restrictions were lifted gave the therapists more leeway to push me a little harder.

At any rate, I'm now able to put my socks on, tie my shoes, enter and exit the car, bend, stretch, stoop, you name it and I can do it without discomfort. Pretty cool, huh? I still tire easily, and that was an issue this weekend.

The other back-to-normal thing is my life. Our county Democratic Executive Committee, of which I am a member, hosted a banquet honoring a retiring state senator this past Saturday, and banquets don't just happen out of thin air, like they do in Disney cartoons. A great deal of planning and preparation went into it. And a great deal of walking and standing ensued. I didn't even eat dinner.

BUT: It was quite the success, both in attendance and in replenishing our treasury so we can do some voter outreach efforts. We learned a lot from the experience – we've never hosted this kind of affair before – and we'll definitely be doing it again.

Just not soon. Heh.

Yesterday my husband and I went to a book reading, which was accompanied by music (lovely, soul-filled music) and followed by a reception at the home of the organizers. The book – Voices from the Appalachian Coalfields – was researched 25 years ago by a man who became ill before he could finish it. His wife eventually completed the project. It's an artistic and educational masterpiece.

And a pretty long day.

Winter returned last week, and I finally had the opportunity to walk on the treadmill instead of outdoors. My fastest outdoor pace – if you want to call it that – is about a 24-minute mile. I can do three miles in an hour on the treadmill, and knock off an episode of House of Cards while I'm at it. I still like outdoor walking better, but I'll gladly hit the machine when the weather doesn't cooperate.

So that's about it from the Middle of Nowhere. Thanks for hanging in there with me for the surgery saga. I probably won't mention it much going forward. We have a primary coming up, and then an important general election. I'll bet you just can't wait to hear what I have to say about that! Heh.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Another post-surgical first

I know you're probably reallyreallyreally bored with all this hip surgery nonsense, and I apologize. I'm writing it here so I have a record of it, and documenting it in case anyone stumbles across it who is facing the same procedure. I didn't think about looking for others' personal experiences until after I'd been released from the hospital. Maybe my ramblings will help someone else.

At any rate – whether you're bored or not – I took a trip this weekend! I haven't seen my younger granddaughter since Halloween. She and her parents were having scheduling troubles finding time to head to our place, so I decided just to go for it and went to North Carolina.

Just keep waiting, just keep waiting.
Quite an impressive cloud bank, yes?
It's about a five-hour trip for me, not counting time parked on the interstate waiting for accidents to clear (one on the way down Friday and two coming home yesterday). I'm not a fast driver. My son has made it to my house in four hours.

The only problem I had was getting out of the car after driving for a couple of hours. I was definitely stiff and felt like I needed a little support before I could walk comfortably. But no pain.

[The big win was not spending a penny while I was in the state of North Carolina (to protest passage of HB2). I'm sure the taxes collected on my customary trip to Trader Joe's won't make an iota of difference in the state budget, but it's the principal of the thing. I rarely need to spend money when I visit family there, but I was a little concerned about whether I'd have to refuel before I hit the Virginia state line on the way home.

There's a gas station at the last exit in Virginia before entering North Carolina, and I filled up Friday on my way down. I had about three gallons in the tank when I got back there Sunday. #winning]

I did my physical therapy exercises Friday before I left and Saturday while I was there, and managed to get 10,000 steps Friday and 9,000 Saturday. Was very tired yesterday when I got home, and skipped the exercises, but took a short walk for a total of about 5,000 steps.

Food was a disaster. Let's not even go there, mkay? Other than it's time for a reset.

I'll end with a "Go 'Nova" for the NCAA championship game, and a "Play ball!" for MLB Opening Day. Because it's time to move on from all-surgery, all-the-time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I shall be have been released

I've been sprung!

No more trips to the hospital for PT … I thought tomorrow would be my last session, but we all agreed that I've made great progress and am motivated to continue on my own at home. So yay for that.

Yesterday was quite the active day. An three-mile outdoor walk in the morning (still s o o o   s l o o o o w), physical therapy (including 15 minutes on the exercise bike) in the afternoon followed by several errands. I don't mind telling you I was pretty tired and sore by the time dinner was done.

But the FitBit logged more than 5 miles, almost 14,000 steps and 40 flights of stairs (thank you, WV mountains!). Quite an impressive day. And I really don't feel too awfully bad this morning.

So now, if it is to be, it's up to me. Clean up the food. Continue the walking. Increase mobility and strength and stamina with targeted exercises.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Physical therapy is AWESOME

Except for the part where I'm stiff and sore at the end of the day.

Like yesterday. But I know I wouldn't have made the progress I've made this last month or so without PT. I'm really glad the doctor offered to order it, and I'm even glad he waited until all post-surgery restrictions were lifted. I've definitely been able to do more than if I'd had to be careful about bending or twisting my operated leg.

I finally found my ankle weights. I'd been doing my exercises with a hand weight slipped over my ankle, but it wasn't very secure, while the real ankle weight definitely is.

I'm up to about 20 exercises daily now, and it takes a long time to get through them. Like close to an hour. I also walked for almost an hour yesterday and then kind of collapsed the rest of the day.

Doesn't that sound wimpy?

Even if it does, I'm getting better at listening to my body and trying to rest when I need to. I get up very early, so by mid-afternoon I've depleted my energy reserves. Glad I don't have to work outside my home.

I'm going out of town this weekend, so only two therapy sessions at the hospital this week – one today, and the other one Thursday – and I suspect Thursday will be my final session. My surgeon wrote an order for 12 sessions. Thursday will be the eighth, but I'm now doing everything I said I wanted to do.

I have no trouble at all getting in and out of the car or a chair, and I've put my socks on without the assistance device for three days in a row now. I have every intention of continuing the exercises at home, as I've been doing since I started PT, and I'm trying to add a little extra time/mileage to my daily walks.

I don't think there's anything else I could be doing. I need to be patient with the lack of stamina. That will return in its own good time, I suspect.

But seriously? I can't wait! Heh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Here we are, nine weeks later

So physical therapy continues to be good, and I'm making real progress. My therapist bumped me up a pound on the ankle weight, from two to three, last Friday.

Progress stopped for a day. Heh. Seriously, you wouldn't think one measly pound would kick my surgically altered arse so badly, but I took Saturday off. Completely. No walking and NO exercises.

Sunday I did them without any weight, and didn't have any trouble at all.

Yesterday we dropped back down to the two-pound weight, and added a 10-minute warm-up session on the bike before we did anything else. That helped a lot, and I got through all the moves without too much discomfort.

One of the exercises uses a resistance band, and they're color-coded from easiest to ouch. I started at green. Since they were out of blue, they gave me two greens to use together.

Each time I've gone they've added something else, and yesterday I got to march in place. My husband informed me Richard Nixon worked out in the Oval Office by marching in place, so I guess I'm presidential. SNORT.

The good thing about marching is it makes me raise my knee, and the good thing about raising my knee is it increases flexibility in the operated leg, and the good thing about increasing flexibility is … I can put my socks on!

With difficulty and effort, but hey … PROGRESS!

This week I'm going to increase my steps per day into the 8000-range. I'm pretty consistent on the weekdays, but drop down to only a couple thousand on Saturdays and Sundays, so an additional goal will be to make sure I get 8000 steps every day, not just during the "work" week.

So that's it for this week's post-surgery report. I feel just as positive this week about PT as I did last. It's been helpful and motivating and just what I needed to really feel like I'm recovering my strength and mobility.

Still working on stamina.