Wildwood Days

July 31, 2008

So, I survived the trip to Wildwood.  It was a mixed bag of negatives and positives.  The biggest negative was feeling very out of place among a group of kids with an age range of 19 to 21.  Even though I don’t mind being alone and believe that solitude can be a wonderful thing, there were times when I felt extremely lonely.  Oddly enough, those weren’t the times when I was physically alone; it was when we were all together.  On those occasions, I spent a lot of time in my room.  The kids were great, and went out of their way to include me, but, much of the time I felt awkward being around them.

On the other hand, there were plenty of good times.  The weather was very accommodating, and I went to the beach five days out of seven.  The only reason I stayed away the other two days was because I was getting too dark from all that sun.    Usually, I went to the beach alone, but the young people joined me on a couple of occasions.  Here’s a shot of bathing beauties, Leigh and Alana.  (Leigh is on the left.)  Imagine me sitting next to those bodies!

Traveling to and from the shore was another negative.  Because of heavy traffic, what should have been a four hour drive turned into seven hours.  We headed for the beach almost as soon as we arrived in Wildwood.  Leigh’s boyfriend, Pat, and I were most anxious to see the ocean.

At one point, Pat bolted into the water and came back with this horseshoe crab.  (He released it right away.)

Another highlight of the trip was going out on a dolphin watch.  Leigh and Alana wore the matching t-shirts they bought on the boardwalk.

Here’s a short clip of some of the dolphins we saw.

This is an “extreme ride” Pat tried to convince me to go on with him.  Of course, I declined, and one of his friends went, instead.  They’re in the red seat.

The beach was about a mile from the rental unit, so that’s a two mile roundtrip walk.  In addition, the boardwalk is two miles long.  On average, I’d say that I walked four miles a day.  I wasn’t eating very much, and, in fact, felt hungry most of the time.  I knew I HAD to have lost some weight, and was looking forward to stepping on the scale when I got home.  You know what the scale showed me?  A one and a half pound gain.  I just don’t get it….

Friday was our last night in Wildwood, and we were treated to a fireworks display on the beach.

All in all, it was a pretty decent vacation.  I leave again next Thursday for the family fishing trip in Canada.  I don’t know how I’m going to handle being in the car for the fifteen hour drive.  My back has really been killing me lately.

I saw the pain management doctor yesterday and told him what the orthopedic guy said about sacroiliac joint injections.  The pain management specialist said that he had requested authorization for both Epidural Steroid Injections and SacroiliacJoint Injections, but, apparently, worker’s comp only authorized the ESI.  So, his office will now try to get authorization for the SJI.  The procedure has been scheduled for the end of August.  In the meantime, I am in terrible pain.

Song of the Day:  Wildwood Days by Bobby Rydell

L5 Jive

July 17, 2008

Two canceled and rescheduled chiropractic appointments (first on Monday, and then again on Tuesday) really messed up my plans for this week, especially on Wednesday.  LA and I were supposed to get together, but that was the only day I could see the chiropractor before I leave for the Jersey shore on Saturday.  I’ve been in terrible pain, and was hoping an adjustment would provide at least a little relief.

Dr. Bill pressed a few spots on my lumbar spine and said, “L5 is not happy.”  By the time I left, L5 was in a better mood.  I just hope it lasts long enough to get me through the week in Wildwood with my daughter, Leigh, and her friends…

I feel awful about having to back out of my plans with LA.  We haven’t seen each other since January, and I really miss her.  Maybe I can convince one of my daughters to drive me over the river and through the woods so I can see my dear friend and meet the Princess.

Right now I have to get ready for my third trip to Albany with My Friend.   She’s been going up there for pre and post-op appointments.  It’s a long drive, so I’ve been going along for the ride to keep her company.

This will be it until I get back from New Jersey.  Ta ta for now.

Song of the Day:  Goodbye For Now by P.O.D.

Bring Out Your Dead

July 13, 2008

I finally saw Spamalot!  A local community college offered a bus trip to NYC yesterday for the unbelievably low price of $11.  (The train costs $30.)  I went with my mother, my aunt, my cousin, Kathy, and her friend, Bob.  When we got to the city, we split up.  My mother, aunt and cousin had already seen Spamalot, so they went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Bob and I headed for the TKTS Discount booth, and, fortunately, Spamalot was among the listed shows.

Before the performance, we had lunch at Bistecca Fiorentina.  It was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. For an appetizer, Bob ordered grilled octopus and squid.  I had a mixed plate of roasted polenta with Gorgonzola cheese, a stuffed mushroom, zucchini with béchamel sauce, eggplant Parmesan, and a roasted, stuffed red pepper.  It was way too much food for me, so I shared with Bob.  Still, I barely had room for my lobster ravioli entrée.  Even with Bob’s help, I couldn’t finish it.

After we ate, we headed over to the Shubert Theatre.  I was very excited.  The play certainly lived up to my expectations.   It was so much fun!  This was my favorite number.  Hilarious!

At present, Stephen Collins (the father on 7th Heaven) is playing King Arthur, and Drew Lachey (former member of 98 Degrees, along with his brother, Nick, who was married to Jessica Simpson.  Drew was also a “Dancing With the Stars” winner.) plays Patsy.  Marin Mazzie is the Lady of the Lake.   What a voice!  I had such a good time.

The only downside was the physical pain.  I’m really hurting.  Sunshyn and Texas Peach are right.  I most definitely should not have done all that backbreaking gardening, and, yes, I am crazy.  The pain is worse than it was when I was out on disability.  I keep hoping it will get better, but it hasn’t.  I don’t know what I’m going to do…

To add insult to injury, I’m not sure the garden will flourish.  The layers of compost, etc., aren’t as deep as they should be, but it’s the best I could do.  Please keep your fingers crossed.  It would be devastating for the garden to fail after all the hard work I put into it.

Song of the Day:  Not Yet Dead from Monty Python’s Spamalot

Grieve Reprieve

July 11, 2008

Incredibly, Bowie rallied enough to receive a temporary stay of execution. The Ex will keep an eye on Bo-Bo, and re-evaluate the situation on a daily basis.   (An aside about the nickname, “Bo-Bo.”  Oddly enough, I also call Penny “Pen-Pen,” and Ellie is “Bell-Bell,” which evolved from “Ellie Belly.”  When she was little, my daughter, Leigh, was “Lee-Lee.”  I wonder why I do that…)  Anyway, it appears that the grieving can be put off for a little while longer.

In other news, I had an appointment with Dr. Spine Specialist on Wednesday.  I only had to sit in the waiting room for about 15 minutes before the nurse called me in, but then I waited for another half an hour in the examining room.  After he finally got around to seeing me, the doctor expressed surprise that I had Epidural Steroid injections.  Apparently, he referred me to pain management for Sacroiliac joint injections.   HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! I went through that agony for nothing!

Unbelievable, huh?  Dr. SS suggested that I discuss SI injections when I see the pain management specialist later this month.  You bet I will.

He also recommended a “TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator).  The guy who handles that was busy with another patient, so I was told to go back to the waiting room until he was ready for me.  I sat there for half an hour.  Finally, the guy called me in and said he had to go get a unit to demonstrate how to use it.  He said he’d be right back.  Half an hour later, I got up and walked out.  I left him a note with my phone number.  He has not contacted me.

When I got home, I got started on the “lasagna gardening.”  I was out there for three hours, working on just one side of the lawn.  The heat was oppressive, and I was so weak and dizzy I actually keeled over.  I didn’t black out, but I did fall down.  That was my cue to pack it in.  Stupidly, I went back out the following morning to work on the other side of the lawn.  Since then, the lower back pain has been excruciating.

Thank goodness for my sister’s swimming pool.

If I have to be resting, it might as well be on a float surrounded by refreshing water.  I’m getting too much sun, but that should take care of my Vitamin D deficiency, at any rate…

Reading:  Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Song of the Day:  Aching Back by Michael Pacholek (A parody of The Rolling Stones’ Paint it Black)

I see a line of pills, supposed to help my back
with aspirin and steroids, ease my coughing hack.
I pop ’em in my mouth and wash ’em down away.
Doesn’t work, my muscles ache, they hurt me every day.

First, the good stuff.  The Asian lilies I planted in the fall are blooming. This is noteworthy for someone like me who does not have a green thumb.

Sunday was my grandmother’s birthday, and she was so happy.  She said she hopes she lives to see 100.  I hope so, too.  Anyone who makes it to 97 deserves to  hit the big One Oh Oh.

Now for the sad news.  The ex called a little while ago to let me know that he made arrangements to have our dog, Bowie, put to sleep on Thursday.  We got him as a puppy almost 15 years ago.  That’s a long life for a big dog.   Unfortunately, the quality of his life has been declining.  He’s having trouble standing, and is in pain.  It’s time to put an end to his suffering.

This hurts.  A lot.  He was such a good boy, and I love him so much.

My heart is breaking.

Song of the Day:  Dog’s Life by Gentle Giant

4th of July

July 4, 2008

I don’t have any big plans for the holiday, and that suits me just fine. (The weather isn’t being very accommodating, anyway.) The only thing on my agenda for today is to go shopping for a birthday present for my grandmother. She is going to be 97 on Sunday. That’s NINETY-SEVEN.

My first week off from work was very nice. I didn’t have as many doctor appointments as I thought I did. I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday, and to the dentist yesterday to have some silver (mercury) fillings replaced with white composite fillings.

I was supposed to go for trigger point injections on Monday, but had to reschedule because I’m in the process of switching insurance companies. The person who handles insurance for the school district called a couple of days ago to let me know that, even though our contract states that we only have to pay a certain percentage of our insurance, MVP subscribers will now have to pay an additional $1500 for the family plan.

I was under pressure to make a quick decision about whether or not I wanted to switch to another insurance company. The fifteen hundred dollars made it relatively easy for me to opt to switch. I went to the district office yesterday and signed all the necessary documents. All medical appointments have to be postponed until I receive new insurance cards. What a PIA.

I’m scheduled to see Dr. Spine Specialist on Wednesday. Fortunately, that appointment doesn’t have to be canceled because it’s covered by Worker’s Comp. Other than that, and another trip to Albany with My Friend on Monday, next week is looking pretty leisurely, too.

One thing I want to do is try my hand at “a new layering system for bountiful gardens. No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!” A while back, “Typewriter” left a comment suggesting “before you rototill, check out a book called Lasagna Gardening. Much easier!”

I didn’t have to buy the book because there’s lots of information about this style of gardening all over the Internet. Yesterday, I went to our local composting facility, which provides free compost to city residents. I loaded up on the stuff (and was a grimy, sweaty mess by time I had shoveled compost into four large garbage bags and a big plastic bin.) Next I headed to a garden center for peat moss, topsoil and plants. Step one will be to spread layers of wet newspaper over the areas marked with a black line in the photo below. (The white line indicates the spot where I tried to dig and was unable to break the ground, which is why I’m giving lasagna gardening a try.)

There is an area on the side of the house where I am able to do more traditional gardening. Last fall, I planted Asian lily bulbs. They should pop open any time now.  I’m so excited!

Happy holiday weekend!

Song of the Day: Independence Day by Bruce Springstreen