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March 29, 2009

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Just like Pagliacci did

March 14, 2009

My Friend treated me to my first live opera experience last night. We went to see Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci, featuring Teatro Lirico D’Europa (European opera touring company). I enjoyed it very much.

We had a bit of a retiree reunion at the Opera House. Three former co-workers were there, one of whom is in her seventies and looks amazing.

Not much else has been happening, except that our washing machine needed to have the timer and a belt replaced. This has been a particularly bad month financially, with the $940 gas & electric bill, $162 for the furnace, and now $222 for the washing machine, not to mention the new car payment plus insurance. Oh my aching pocketbook.

The repairman just left, and I have a lot to do, so, in the words of the immortal Porky Pig, “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

Reading: March by Geraldine Brooks

Song of the Day:  Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson

Hormone Zone

March 6, 2009

A couple of people wanted to know what’s going to happen to Lollipop now that her owner (my neighbor) has died.  I really don’t know.  Helen has a brother, so I suppose he or one of her friends has taken the cat.

Geez, LA, I thought my Gas & Electric bill was bad, but $1,300??  The horror.  Honestly, just the thought of that makes me shudder.  I’m not sure when this house was built – some documents say 1909 and others say 1910. All I know for sure is that it’s old and drafty.   I’d love to have the place insulated, but there’s no money for that (or much of anything else).

In other news, after not having been to the gynecologist for four years, I finally went today.  The main reason I made the appointment was to get a script for a mammogram.  I haven’t had one of those since 2002.  That’s very irresponsible of me, especially considering that I once had a lump removed surgically (after an unsuccessful needle biopsy).  When I woke up in the recovery room, the surgeon told me that the cell structure of the mass looked malignant, so she sent a sliver of frozen biopsy tissue for  “frozen section.”  (A frozen section provides a quick preliminary diagnosis.)  Fortunately, the results came back benign.

Dr. OB-GYN thought he felt something during the breast exam, and wants me to have a mammo ASAP.  I have an appointment for the 18th.

We also discussed my night sweats.  He said that the Hormone Replacement Therapy scare was greatly exaggerated, and recommends that I give it another try.  (I was on it briefly several years ago, but discontinued the therapy because my menopausal symptoms were pretty mild at the time.)

I’d be very interested in hearing about experiences any of you might have had with HRT, good or bad.

Song of the Day:  Estrogen by Kyle Riabko

Another Death

March 4, 2009

This morning, I woke up with the same tension headache I went to bed with last night.

Let me explain.  Yesterday, I was having a discussion about furnaces with a co-worker whose husband works for a heating company.  I mentioned that I needed to get my furnace cleaned, and asked if her husband does jobs on the side.  She said he does, but is very busy in the winter, and therefore recommended that I give him a call over the summer.  I made a note to do so.

As luck would have it (my luck, that is), I came home to a freezing cold house.

Fortunately, I was able to get someone from the aforementioned company to come over pretty quickly.  He replaced the thermocouple at the cost of $162 ($125 of which was just for the house call).  This came on the heels of a $940 gas & electric bill.  (We have gas heat.  Still, that’s a lot of money for two months, especially considering that we keep the thermostat set at 68 when we’re home, and 65 during the night and when we’re at work.)

To add to yesterday’s bad news, I also learned that our elderly neighbor died on Sunday.  A few days ago, I asked Daniel if he had seen Helen.  I said I was worried because there had been an unusual amount of activity going on over at her place.  It turns out that I was right to be concerned.

Helen was a tough old broad.  I’ll never forget the first time I met her.  She introduced herself with a handshake that crushed my fingers.  I swear, it hurt so much I couldn’t wait for her to let go.

Helen was on dialysis.  About a year ago, she was admitted to the hospital on an emergency basis.  Her cat, Lollipop, was hanging around our back porch late in the evening, so I realized something must have happened to Helen.  We put food and water out for Lollipop until Helen was discharged from the hospital.  Helen’s brother stopped by one afternoon, and I mentioned that we were looking after the cat.  He told Helen, and she called to thank us as soon as she got home.  She said she was especially grateful because Lollipop was the love of her life.  (Helen was a widow.)  I thought that was so cute.

A few months ago, I was out on my back porch around 5:30 pm.  It was pitch dark.  Suddenly, I heard Helen call my name.  She asked if I would help her.  I followed her voice to a spot between our properties, and found her standing there, afraid to move.   She said she had fallen, and, while she was able to get back on her feet, she was too shaky to walk to her house.  I asked what she was doing outside in the dark, and she said it wasn’t dark when she went out.  That meant that she had been standing there for at least an hour.

I put my arm around her and led her to her back door, step by painstaking step.  She kept stumbling, and had to stop and rest every few seconds.  A couple of days later, she sent me a thank you card.

Except for a few waves in passing, that’s the last real interaction I had with Helen.   It’s hard to believe I will never see her again.

Song of the Day:  If I Never See Your Face Again by Maroon 5

She Had a Good Run

March 2, 2009

Before I get to the topic for this entry, I’d like to address a comment.  Fay asked if I meditate, or do any sort of ritual de-stressing each day.  Good question!  I have tried to meditate, but can’t seem to shut my brain down.  As for ritual de-stressing, I’m open to suggestions.  I’d also like to thank Sheryl for her comment.  It’s always good to hear from someone who has firsthand knowledge of what chronic pain sufferers have to live with.

Moving right along… I’m in a hurry because we have a snow day and I want to go back to bed.  I should probably stay up and tackle the multitude of things I have to do – taxes, FAFSA applications, clean the kitchen, etc., but this untreated sinus infection (I don’t believe the nonallergic rhinitis diagnosis is accurate.  The mucus is yellow, for crying out loud!) is getting the better of me.  Anyway, this is an excerpt from an entry I posted on January 8, 2006 on Diary-x:

Centenarian Coquette

Daniel and I went to a party for a friend’s grandmother who just turned one hundred years old.  You’d never guess her age. She gets all dolled up, and looks amazing. She’s sharp as a tack, too. Incredibly, this woman worked until the age of 94!

I can’t say I had a good time at the party, but it wasn’t bad, either. There were at least fifty people there, and I didn’t know any of them except for the host and his wife, so it was a bit awkward and uncomfortable. We don’t like to leave Ellie in her crate too long (but can’t leave her unsupervised, either), so we had a good excuse to leave early.

One thing we did enjoy was the barbershop quartet that serenaded the 100-year old birthday girl. They were pretty good, but what made the experience even better was watching The Coquettish Centenarian’s reaction to the men as they sang to her. It’s good to know that a person can still be flirtatious even at such an advanced age. More power to her!

Yesterday, Daniel and I went to her wake.  Rest peacefully, Mildred.

Song of the Day: Coquette by Paul McCartney