Archive | September 2022

All’s Well in This Brain!

I had my appointment with the neurologist last Thursday. We talked about my symptoms, he did a bunch of physical tests to see how my body and brain react, and reviewed my MRI results.

His conclusion? My aphasia was a rare, weird migraine symptom, perhaps brought on by the stress I have been under. He says the small meningiomas are mostly not touching my brain, so it’s not likely they are doing anything but hanging out. And the finding of mild white matter disease? He says that isn’t anything that looks unusual at all and one area that they noted is actually a blood vessel.

So all of that was a HUGE RELIEF. I’ll be annoying y’all with my chatter for decades to come. And now that I can finally let that stress go and focus on exercising and relaxing!

New Life!

And so it happened!  The day finally came; my last day of work was Tuesday.  Today is my second day among the ranks of the (intentionally) unemployed!  I’m not quite there yet with the whole relaxation gig; I’m still not sleeping very well and am still worrying about work stuff.  That just how it goes for me… 

I tried my best to do what I could before my last day, but there are always things that are left undone.  It felt rushed from a work perspective, trying to hand things off, but I don’t think that could be helped.  I will say that I have rarely felt such love and appreciation from my colleagues when leaving a job.  I got so many hugs, and an appreciation lunch, and a few kind gifts, and so many kind words from those who were sorry to see me go, but understood and supported my decision.  That felt really good.  And they more than made up for the fact that my boss didn’t even say goodbye.  Not that I was surprised by that – it just reiterated why I made the decision to leave.

I am leaving for a camping trip, but got a little bit delayed because Jesus is looking out for me!  In late June I had an MRI for some weird symptoms (loss of speech) which are probably associated with migraines but who knows.  The MRI revealed three small most likely benign brain tumors, so I was scheduled for a neurology consult.  The appointment wasn’t until the end of October!  So I’ve been on a cancellation list, because I was hoping to get in before I lose my current insurance at the end of September.  I’ve gotten a few calls where I couldn’t take the call fast enough, or it was an appointment time I couldn’t take.  And I got the call again this morning, just before I left town; they can get me in today at 1:40! 

So fingers crossed that my family doctor is right, and it is just a weird and rare symptom of my migraines.  And I can head down to the coast and brave the traffic for a few days of agate hunting, relaxing, and letting the “stink blow off of me,” as the old saying goes…  I’ll keep you posted! 

May you all find blessings today.  Happy First Day of Fall!


Welcome 47!

Yesterday was my birthday!  It was memorable, but probably not in a way that you would expect.

I had a dentist appointment in the morning; a deep clean with numbing gel and novocaine.  Ouch…  AND!  I get to go back again!  Whee!!!

Then I headed into work for a whirlwind day.  Lunch with a friend – that was good!  

Then I finished out the day with a board meeting at 5 pm; that lasted FOUR hours…  The meeting ended just after 9 pm.  I had a few things left to do so I headed home at 9:30.  With stopping for a bite to eat and then stopping for gas, I finally arrived home after 11 pm.  To discover that I didn’t have my phone. 

I still can’t find it.  After looking around in the car, going through the garbage, heading back to the gas station to see if I left it… Nothing…  I really felt like I had it in my car, but I’m really hoping I’ll find it in my office tomorrow morning.  Fingers crossed…  I finally tumbled into bed at 12:30 am, and couldn’t sleep.  It was probably close to 1:30 am by the time I fell asleep.  What an awesome birthday, right?!?

But it does get better.  Because remember I said I had a few things to do after my board meeting ended? Well…  I quit my job!  Yep!  I submitted my resignation, and I’ll be done in a couple of weeks.  It’s exciting and scary and I’m sad for all the great people I’m leaving behind.  But I’m ready for new beginnings.

Onward to something new!

Book Review: The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

Elizabeth Hadley Richardson was the first wife of author Ernest Hemingway; they married in 1921, after meeting in Chicago.  This historical novel tells her story, the fictionalized account of Ernest and Hadley’s time in Paris during the 1920s.

The Paris Wife

I knew nothing about Hadley Hemingway, but was drawn into the narrative as told by Paula McLain.  Their marriage was tumultuous, with all the usual troubles of newlyweds, including money troubles and issues associated with finding your own way in the world.  Hemingway was a heavy drinker, and the two regularly drank and fought.  Hadley struggled to find her way in a marriage where she felt overshadowed by Hemingway’s larger than life personality. 

The novel details the period when Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises, arguably his most famous novel.  The couple traveled to Pamplona, Spain several times, while he is researching and writing the book.

The two genuinely loved each other, but this novel explores the very real problem of love not being enough. 

I appreciated McLain’s writing style, and the fact that while fiction, she adhered to what is known about Hadley and her marriage to Hemingway.  I was drawn into her life, the trials she faced, and her strength in adversity.

Note: A Moveable Feast, a memoir of Hemingway’s life in Paris in the 1920s, chronicles the period when he was married to Hadley Richardson, and she was included in the book.  It was published posthumously in 1964, by Hemingway’s fourth wife Mary.  I might have to dig up a copy!

5 stars.


Circus Trip 2018: Harry S Truman NHS

Day 75, Friday, September 28, 2018
Harry S Truman National Historic Site, Independence, Missouri

After camping in a small, family owned campground called Hanson Hills (they also do taxidermy!) somewhere between St. Louis and Independence, Missouri, I drove for a few hours across the state.  I was doing a bit of a quick reset through the Midwest so I could get to the West, where I wanted to spend more time.  It meant I had to make some sacrifices!

I ended up in Independence, Missouri at about 12:30 pm, and immediately headed to the Visitor Center at the Harry S Truman National Historic Site.  I signed up for the 1 pm tour of Truman’s Home.

The Truman home is a large, white Queen-Anne Victorian style home that was built by Bess Truman’s grandfather in 1867.  He ran a successful lumber business, so no expense was spared in making the home a showpiece.  It is pretty!

The Trumans were a close knit family, with their daughter Margaret continuing to travel with the Trumans on the campaign trail and spending time at the White House into adulthood.  They enjoyed music, with Harry Truman playing the piano, and Margaret accompanying as a classically trained soprano.

My tour was interesting.  After Harry Truman died in 1972, his wife Bess continued to live in the home until her death in 1982.  She donated the home to the National Park Service at that time, along with all the furnishings and personal items in the home.  The piano and music that Truman loved to play is there.  So is the calendar that Bess had hanging on the wall in the kitchen from the year she died.  The damaged linoleum floor is even original.

Sadly, the tour only includes the first floor of the home, as the second floor is unstable and unsafe for visitors.  You also can’t take photos inside the home…

The last car that Harry owned is in the garage; a 1972 Chrysler Newport.  He only had it for 6 months before he passed away, and then his wife used it until she died.  Even still, it only has 19,000 miles.  The license plate, 5745, was specially requested by Truman, as it commemorates VE Day, the end of World War II in Europe.  It was also a day before his birthday.  The license plate number has been permanently retired.

The historic site also includes other homes in the neighborhood that are open to the public on a self-guided tour, and I checked those out as well.  The Noland, Frank Wallace and George Wallace homes are there; the Nolands were Truman’s cousins and the Wallaces were his brother-in-laws.  It isn’t common anymore for the relatives to all live so close!  They are all much more simple than the Truman home but interesting to see.

I took a walk around the block and checked out some of the other homes in the neighborhood.  It seemed like a nice place to live!  I also saw a mule drawn wagon ride go by with some late season tourists having a good time.  I would also really love to visit the Jackson County Historical Society and their 1859 preserved County Jail.  It looked so cool!

I drove by the Harry Truman Library but decided not to stop, as the price was a bit steep for a quick stopover.  Truman and Bess are buried there, but their graves are inside the museum, so I’ll have to check that out on a return visit.  The ranger had recommended A Little BBQ Joint for good Kansas City style BBQ, so I stopped in there for a late lunch.  I had the combo sandwich with pulled pork and brisket, and it was so delicious!  They had three levels of kick in their sauce; I tried the Sweet Sister and the Mad Housewife.  I also got some ribs to go for the next day.

When I left, I decided to check out the Truman Farm.  Truman moved in with his family on this farm in 1906, giving up a hefty bank salary ($100 per month) to do it.  He lived with his parents, grandmother, sister, brother, and hired hands.  The farmhouse had no plumbing or electricity.  He spent eleven years doing heavy physical labor around the farm, until he left to join the military in 1917, to serve in World War I.  The day I visited, the farm wasn’t open, so I just spent a few minutes outside, taking photos and checking out the place.  I always find it so fascinating to stand where Presidents stood.

Although it was time to get back on the road, there was a lot to see in Independence and I would like to return!