Archive | November 2019

The Spins

Your body has a way of deciding that it has had enough.  My everyday world is jam packed, and I don’t really have time to be sick.  Sometimes I think adrenaline carries me through some of my busiest weeks.

I truly believe that sometimes a break in the jam packed routine lets my body finally take over and succumb to whatever illness is trying to take hold.  So, since I have a few days off for the Thanksgiving holiday, I of course, woke up this morning with a sinus infection.

There’s nothing like some severe vertigo and all day dizziness to force you to slow down to a crawl and rest.  I have spent my day watching a few movies and falling asleep on the couch.  Good thing I wasn’t planning to do any Black Friday shopping!

I did manage to snap a few photos of my Mount Shasta view.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m ready for a quiet Thanksgiving, reflecting on what I’m thankful for.  I made the long drive yesterday, so my keys are resting in my pocket, and my blue Honda, Viaje, is parked outside, having done his duty once again to transport me safely.

I’m thankful for family and friends who love me and whom I love with all my heart.

I’m thankful for a healthy work environment.

I’m thankful that I’m generally healthy and have no risk factors for my upcoming surgery.

I’m thankful for all the delicious food and wine I have to eat and drink.

I’m thankful for the snow storm that was over by the time I had to drive through where it had been!

I hope all of you enjoy your Thanksgiving, if you celebrate.  Hold your loved ones close and appreciate the blessings of the season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Circus Trip 2018: Vincennes State Historic Site

Day 27, Saturday, August 11, 2018

Vincennes, Indiana

Just steps away from Grouseland is the Vincennes State Historic Site.  The site preserves a few original buildings from the early 1800s, as well as a few replica structures.

The Visitor’s Center for the site is in an 1830s cabin.

The original Indiana Territorial government building (the red building above) was where the bicameral legislature met.  One part of the legislature met downstairs and the other met upstairs.  It isn’t fancy but it served their purpose!  Fourteen men were elected to the houses of the territorial government and made decisions to be implemented across the territory, which was an enormous area of land!  The building served as the government building from 1800 to 1813.

The Elihu Stout Print Shop is a replica building that housed the printing press, used to print the news that was coming in from the East Coast.  The Indiana Gazette began publication in 1804, using a Ramage printing press.  It often took a month or more for information to make it as far west as the Indiana Territory, so people were eager to hear what was going on in the rest of the nation.

The Jefferson Academy building is a replica built to look like the first school of higher learning in Indiana; it is the predecessor of Vincennes University.  The school began teaching students in 1801!  The school taught only boys at the time, when people largely considered girls’ learning to be exclusively in the home.  It is interesting to think about how children learned at the time, with very few supplies, and none of the technology that we have today.

Jefferson Academy

Desks at Jefferson Academy

The site also contains an old frame house, where Maurice Thompson, author of Alice of Old Vincennes, was born.  It’s likely you haven’t heard of the book; it was written in 1900 and is a novel about the Revolutionary War and an orphan named Alice Roussillon.  Fun Fact!  It was the second best selling book of 1900, and it is still in print and available on Amazon, if you are interested in checking it out.

Old Frame House at Vincennes SHP

I also got to visit the Old French House, built circa 1806.  It is basically just that; an Old French style house.  It was built by a French fur trapper, in the French architectural style of the day – posts on sill.  It has a unique feature in how the framing was done, the upright posts sat on a horizontal beam (the sill) at the base of the structure, instead of the posts being sunk into the ground.  This apparently ensured that it stood the test of time better than a lot of other 200-plus-year-old buildings.  The Old French House also has an antique box bed (known as a lit clos in French).  It is an enclosed bed!  Back in the days before central heating, being able to close yourself up in a box bed meant that you would stay warmer; plus it provided some privacy when many homes only had one or two rooms and the whole family slept in the same room.

The buildings on the site are open only on a tour, and there was only one guide the day I was there, so you might have to wait outside while the tour guide is conducting the tour for others.  Don’t get discouraged – it is worth waiting!  The Old French House isn’t always open, and is a few blocks down the street, so I felt pretty lucky to get the tour of it.  I enjoyed chatting with the guide about some of the area’s history while we walked down there.

It was neat to see these historic buildings, even if some of them were replicas.  We just don’t have many buildings this old on the West Coast!

Arizona Getaway, March 2019

Day 1, Thursday, March 14, 2019

Tucson, Arizona

I had few weeks in March between when I got my job offer and when I would start working.  Mom and I were still pretty shell-shocked after dad’s death and I casually mentioned that maybe it would be good to get out of town for a few days.  I found a relatively inexpensive direct flight to Tucson, and to my surprise, Mom agreed.

Mom had a few places she wanted to see, and I had a few places I wanted to see, so a weekend trip was born.  On the first day, we had an early flight, so we could make the most of our day.

Mom was interested in checking out some rock shops and bead shops, so after we arrived and got our rental car, we set off to find them.  But lunch first.  We ate at a Mexican restaurant called La Parilla a Suiza that I googled nearby the first rock shop. They say their cuisine is from the Mexico City region and it was good!  The only drawback was the air-conditioning was way too high, and it was freezing in there!

The first rock shop, called Norcross Madagascar, was one Mom had heard about in a beading group she belongs to.  They sell wholesale mostly, but also welcome retail customers.  At first we weren’t sure we were in the right place, because it certainly didn’t appear as if they did any retail traffic.  However, the ladies who showed us around the shop were so warm and friendly.  They explained the properties of various stones, and what healing properties they were known for.  Their specimens range from giant to small and they had things that fit every budget, even if you were just buying single items.  They sold carved animals, hearts, cabochons and huge specimen pieces too.  I enjoyed wandering the rooms of polished rocks and display items and found several things that came home with me.

Mom found quite a few things too, including one carnelian orb that she bought.  Carnelian is believed to help people move through feelings of depression, worry and grief.  This one did something more.  We placed it on the table several times, on different sides of the round orb, and each time it wobbled back and forth instead of simply rolling to one side like you would expect from a ball.  I have no idea what it means, but it was oddly comforting.  Maybe it was a message from Dad.

After that we went to Bead Holiday, a traditional bead shop.  I’m not into beading like my mom is, but I did get a few pairs of beads that she made into earrings for me.  I have such a sweet mom!

We checked out the historic downtown area and spent some time at Old Town Artisans.  This block of shops and a few restaurants was once the stables section of El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson, the fort constructed beginning in 1775.  It was fun wandering around in the maze of shops, filled with a combination of tourist souvenir items, antiques and items created by local craftspeople.  We shared some nachos for dinner; another delicious meal!

Our early morning flight made for an early evening after we got checked into the hotel.  It was a good first day!

 

My Body, the Jerk

A few weeks ago I made the decision to have a hysterectomy.

My uterus is full of fibroids, benign tumors made of uterine muscle tissue that can grow inside the wall of the uterus, outside the uterus entirely, or inside the uterine cavity.  I have all three kinds – lucky me! They are fed by estrogen and a healthy blood supply, which apparently, I have in spades. Fibroids are very common in women (present in about 80 percent of women in their forties), but some (like me – (sarcastic) yay!) have the ones that get out of control, trying to conquer the abdominal cavity kingdom and proclaim total dominance over your body and your life. Go big or go home, I suppose.

I’ve been dealing with this for a long time, but it has gotten so bad I can’t try to ignore it anymore.  My uterus and the tumors have more than tripled in size from the time they were measured on ultrasound a few years ago.  Tripled is a conservative estimate.  Basically my uterus has grown so large that it’s taking up all the room that my other organs are supposed to get to occupy.  It is uncomfortable at best, and excruciatingly painful at worst, and other fun-filled female symptoms that are a bit too TMI for my taste. You can google all that if you are dying to know.  Or just ask me.

If I continued the “watch and wait” approach, my uterus isn’t going to shrink or settle down until after I hit menopause, and even then it’s not likely to shrink enough. It is likely to keep expanding like an undead alien baby until then.  I’m tired of dealing with all this, so surgery it is.

Part of me is angry. I’m angry at my body for hijacking things.  I’m sad that I didn’t have the opportunity to have children in the days before my body decided to go wild. It isn’t that I don’t already know that I likely wasn’t going to be able to have children at my age, but this surgery carries with it a finality that kicks you when you are down.

I’m frustrated and a bit nervous to have to do a major abdominal surgery in order to get some relief. I had an emergency appendectomy at age 27, and while it was much easier than it could have been, it was still tough. This one will be way worse. I’m worried about the surgery. I’m worried about the recovery. And unlike all those women who have emergency hysterectomies, I get to worry about all this until the morning of December 23, until they actually wheel me into the operating room. Joy.

I also am looking forward to feeling better. Once that recovery is over, I will hopefully have a lot less pain and discomfort. I’ll be able to do things that are problematic now. I’ll have some freedom back.  I have a fantastic doctor who came recommended and really takes the time to answer all my questions and make me feel comfortable.  I’m trying to focus on that.

Meanwhile – here are a few pictures of me in my happy places.

 

Book Review: The Winter Sea

The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley

I found this historical romance novel in my neighborhood free library, and it looked interesting.  And it was!

The Winter Sea (Slains #1)

The book tells two parallel stories.  An American author, Carrie, living abroad, trying to overcome her writer’s block and get moving on her next historical novel.  A young, orphaned woman, Sophia, living in the early 1700s at Slains, a castle owned by a distant relative who has taken her in.

The novel weaves expertly from the past to the present, with Carrie writing the Sophia’s story, learning more and more about her, and realizing that Sophia is her own ancestor.  The story is set during the Jacobite Rebellion, where an exiled King James is attempting to mount a revolution to regain the throne from France.

I don’t know much about the English kings and queens of the 17th and 18th centuries, and I don’t know how historically accurate this book is, but it was interesting and it read quickly.  The cliffhangers at the end of each chapter made me want to continue reading long after I should have gone to bed.

There is a fair amount of romance in it, both in the historical portions and the present day, but it is mild if you aren’t a romance reader.  I enjoyed the combination of history and love story.

3 stars.