Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Friday, August 3, 2018


Teeth are a good thing. I don't think we give enough thought to how much our general health is affected by our teeth.

My sister-in-law was in the hospital a few days this week being treated for malnutrition. That sounds horrible but it's a common diagnosis among the elderly. For whatever reason she began to feel bad. Food did not taste good to her, soon she was too weak to care about fixing herself something to eat. The more she didn't eat the weaker she got until she couldn't cook for herself. She lives alone which is often a negative for elderly eaters. Her income is meager so it's difficult sometimes to think of something to eat that she can afford.

There is though another player in this mix, her teeth. She badly needs a new set of dentures. It's difficult for her to eat a lot of food. Meat is often difficult for her to chew as well as a host of other foods.

It seems the healthcare industry does not view teeth as having much to do with a patient's over all health. Dental work is not insured like health insurance. Dental 'insurance' is little more than you get back what you pay into it, and that's about it.

How will she get new teeth? Likely she won't. She will continue to spend money from her meager income on compounds to stick her teeth in her mouth long enough to try to eat. She'll continue to make do.

I would like to see dental brought under the umbrella of healthcare. Why can it not be included in healthcare insurance?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Homeless or Houseless

After Bob died I felt the need to give myself a break from the news and politics. I only meant it to be a break but it's been so nice I'm inclined to make it permanent. I always have a bee in my bonnet so I turned to the issue of the homeless or houseless to relieve my boredom.

I have no idea why this subject caught my attention but possibly because it is real, it is happening in my city. I see it when I go out.

There appears to be a variety of variations of it. One variation is homeless people who find their way into abandoned RVs and attempt to live there. Sometimes on neighborhood streets, vacant lots, and other locations. These are easy to spot because the vehicles are in bad shape, and getting worse.

Then there's the very young living out of their cars or vans to save money. It probably works for them for a few years but not long term.

The ones that bother me the most are the retired people who have come to retirement and find themselves without enough income to provide a roof over their head. I think it probably happens more often to women than men. They take the last of their meager funds, find a used car, van, truck, or RV, turn it into a living space and try to convince people they're excited and happy to be living such a lifestyle.

It's amazing what can be done to a car or van to make it livable. Remove the back seat and passenger seat and you have space to make a bed, set up a tiny kitchen and call it home. Taking care of bodily functions can be done but it's not easy nor effortless.

What's going to happen if these people become ill? What happens when they're too old to live like that? Isn't this just kicking the can down the road on this problem?

I read the book Nomadland, which seemed to be a good place to begin. From there I've continued to explore.
More on the subject of retirement with no money, my sister-in-law has been hospitalized with malnutrition. That sounds horrible but it happens frequently among old people who live alone and become depressed. I've known two other ladies that recently moved into assisted living facilities for that very problem. My sister-in-law has no funds for assisted living. Are there older 'nursing homes' that will take people for their social security?
I wasn't blogging when the buzzards/vultures came to live at my daughter's home. Their habitat was being destroyed so they decided to come live on her porch. It was a pair so the lady laid an egg, then they ate it. Then she laid another egg. They were a nervous pair and projectile vomited on the window and patio door when anything upset them. The wildlife people were called out. They shook their heads and said they could relocate the egg but not the birds. Federal law against that, they're protected. They took the egg away but warned they would likely be back.

This morning they were setting on the wall of her back porch. They're back.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Journals and Lists

I find myself drooling over the beautiful journals in stores today. Oh how I wish I journaled, but I don't. I've tried many times but it never seems to work for me. Linda at Linda's Life Journal is what I call a super journalist. Her blog is a journal but she also keeps a paper journal and has for years. What a treasure she will be leaving her children.

Remember the ringed organizers that we bought refills for according to our needs? Now I was the queen of those. My daughter has always teased me that when I'm old and in a home she will come by every morning, remove the pages from my organizer, and throw them in the air. Then she'll scoop them up and leave me happy as can be with the task before me to organize again all those pages. That would probably work for me because I did love playing with organizers.

With my simple life these days a list and a calendar gets the job done. My calendar is almost empty. Do you use an academic calendar? I much prefer those to the regular calendars. Perhaps because I used one for seventeen years working in the academic world. Before Bob died my calendar was full, and poof, all that went away.

Since I tend to be scattered, and have the attention span of a flea in a hot skillet, I do better with some structure, and a list is just the thing. It isn't I don't know what I need to be doing, the tasks just seem to whirl in my head without a list to organize them.

To be honest, my list is never very long, and probably takes no more than an hour or so to complete, but I feel better with a list. Last week I timed how long it took me to run the vacuum, ten minutes. Yes I pad the list with things like 'make bed.'

Recently every day was Sunday when I opened my eyes in the morning. It finally came to me that I kept up with the days of the week by Bob's medical appointments. Without them I was lost. I fixed that. At the top of my list now I write the day of the week.

Are any of these things a part of your daily life?

There were spots on my carpet that really bothered me. Bob was hard on carpet. Remember he poured bleach in places trying to remove spots! Those places are there to stay. I just try to view them as love notes from Bob. I can't do that with spots of dirt. Neither can I get on my hands and knees anymore, nor scrub with the arm where I've had shoulder therapy. 

I thought if I had a long handled scrub brush I'd be set. I found this Woolite set on Amazon and ordered it. I don't care about anything but the brush but it seems to work well. I don't want to do a full rug shampoo because I'm undecided how long I'm going to stay here. This seems to do the trick for spots. When I see a new spot or an old sport returning it will be quick and easy to give it another squirt and brush.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Is Old

For the first time I've noticed people now think of me as old, or that I'm still young. Now which is it? Young people see me as old and people over 80 see me as "still young." How do you know when you're old?

If I schedule an appointment with a new doctor she has no idea what she will be dealing with from the number 75 written on my chart. She could open the door to find me in a wheelchair not knowing  my own name, or the days of the week. It's also possible she could find me running in place in my jazzy exercise outfit, anxious to get back out on the street and continue my morning run. (not likely).

Sometimes health ages a person prematurely. Loss of sight and hearing can have a severe impact on aging. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many other health issues have a direct effect on how we age.

Some personalities age better than others. My sister-in-law asked me recently why I seem to be happy most of the time. I don't have an answer but I know that her melancholy personality is doing a real number on her when it comes to aging.

I think our view of life is a factor. I have no scientific proof, but I believe curiosity is anti-aging. It would be nice if we could drink from a bottle. Some people are old at 50 and others young at 100.

Looking at a stranger in a crowd, where you have only their physical being to go by, what tells you a person is old?

How do you decide who is old?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Say That Again

I answer a knock at my door to find a young boy about 14 and a girl perhaps 18-20. The boy says "Good morning ma'am, my name is Joe and this is Jane. Can you tell me some things you think would make marriages last longer?" "Say that again," I say.

By then my brain has caught up with the situation and I explain my husband has died recently and I doubt I'm the person they need to be asking.

Joe, the boy, expresses his sorrow and asks if I'd like him to read me a scripture passage assuring me I will see my husband again in heaven. By this time my sense of mischief and amusement has kicked in. I was sorely tempted to exclaim in horror, "Don't tell me I've got to spend eternity with him. Could I go to hell instead?"

Fearing I might scar the boy for life I simply assured him I was at peace with my situation and it would not be necessary for him to read scripture.

After closing the door (Jane never uttered a word by the way) the situation made me laugh.

Whoever sent this kid out to proselytize needs to rethink that opening question.

They both were carrying iPads. He raised his when preparing to read scripture to me. Do you think he had the Bible in its entirety on his iPad? If so, King James is surely flipping in his grave. Everyone knows the Bible is not holy unless its on onion skin paper bound in leather.

This situation is a good example of how poor we are at communication these days. I live in a community with a lot of international people. Wonder what they thought about that approach?
If you have a spare minute I encourage you to read this blog post from the blog Murrmurrs.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Colored Pencils

Since I was a small child I have be fascinated by pencils and pens, any old pencil will do. I have a lot of mechanical pencils but still prefer a #2 pencil. There's always an abundance of pencils around me.

Then it seems I wasn't the only one who liked pencils. Adult coloring books and expensive colored pencils became the rage. Supposed to be a way to relieve stress, even called therapy.

At first I was a bit embarrassed by it all. What adult wants to be seen buying coloring books and pencils? Then I began to see some amazing art done in colored pencil. I decided that was for me, not. An artist I am not. Drawing makes me very nervous. I can't handle too much freedom.

Since Bob died I've been like a flea in a hot skillet, can't settle on anything. Then I remembered the colored pencils I'd purchased when I was going to be an artist.

I love having a colored pencil in my hand. Any pencil is soothing to me. I struggled with a reason for coloring in coloring books. What are you going to do with them? You can cut the pages out and frame them I suppose but how many coloring book pictures do you need in your home?

I've yet to figure out why an adult would want to get into coloring books and colored pencils. Makes no sense to me. I only know that when I engage in this activity I am calm. I am at peace. I go to a good space mentally. I turn on an audible book and life is good.

What am I going to do with all these coloring books and supplies? Probably pitch them but they were soothing to my soul for a time.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Food Is Necessary

I'm learning the hard way that food is necessary and I can't live on snack food, fast food, or junk food. It's amazing what comes back to haunt you when you mistreat your body. Many years ago I was hospitalized for pancreatitis. Guess what recently came knocking on my door? I am mildly diabetic, but can easily control that.

Mostly I consider food a waste of time and am annoyed that I have to pay attention to specific foods. Low carbs and low fat, that's the name of the game for me.

When Bob died I had two crockpots. I've never used one much because I never liked the mess. I immediately gave them to my daughter-in-law who thought she'd like to try crockpot cooking.

When Susan (daughter) was here recently she bought me a new crockpot! Let me tell you I was thrilled!

To my great surprise I have to admit there may be hope. It's a small one, perfect size for a person living alone. I also like the oval shape, food fits it better.

The best thing I've learned is you don't have to use liquid to cook in a crockpot. Yippee! No mess!

I like butternut squash but very seldom cook it because it's evil to peel or cut up when it's raw. From what I read this morning all I have to do is lay a butternut squash whole in the crockpot, with no liquid, and cook it 7 hours on low. Let it cool, should be tender enough to peel easily and prepare any way you choose. I can do that. I don't have the strength in my hands to work with one raw.

Rice and potatoes had to bite the dust in my diet. When you can have only half a cup it's not worth cooking for one. I don't like either one as leftovers. Rice is higher than potatoes in carbs.

Earlier this week I browned half a pkg of Jimmy Dean sausage. I cut an acorn squash in half and scraped out the seeds, put the squash halves in the crock pot and filled them with the sausage, no liquid. Cooked them on low for six hours, delicious. It would have been even better if I could have added a box of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice mix with the seasonings, and the necessary water for cooking.

I was pleased to see the new skillet she got me. She bought it for me to cook tilapia fish. Sorry, but I'd never tasted tilapia, let alone cooked any. I was in for a cooking lesson and oh my goodness, I do love tilapia.

I'm also eating a good bit of salmon but I cook that in the oven.

I cooked a Cornish hen in the crockpot, minus liquid and it was juicy and tender. Just right when you're cooking for one. The only negative was it tasted like chicken and I hate chicken.