Monday, April 6, 2015

 Culture & Gimpiness 

2 March 2015, Minneapolis MN USA
Here I sit, having accomplished a couple of things today — got the blog finished and sent, ordered a gift for my sister-in-law’s birthday, left messages at two theaters re tickets.  Time for lunch …

Well, this turned into an exciting day.  After a short nap, I decided to have some popcorn and watch something on my Amazon Prime video streaming.  Got all settled and as I started noshing on the popcorn, the left side of my jaw felt funny.  And lo and behold, I found a walnut-sized bump under my ear at the side of my jaw.  Called clinic and triage nurse thought it was a swollen lymph node but since I had no signs of infection, she made me an appointment for Wednesday afternoon with my usual nurse practitioner and admonished me to call again if anything changed for the worse.  Stopped eating popcorn, watched some more television and checked my lump occasionally.  It had almost totally disappeared by the time I fixed dinner.  As I ate dinner, I felt the lump growing again.  So I took my temp and the thermometer was red (temperature zone) at 37.5C (99+F). Checked online and wait time at Urgent Care was only 18 minutes … but by the time my niece and I arrived, Urgent Care had closed. I should’ve read the fine print!  Also, by then the lump had receded again.  I called the nurse line and again got the same info.  So after a stop at Subway so Tomery could get something to eat, home we went.  Back to a bit of television while laying in bed and my foot started hurting, something it’s rarely done.  I took some pain pills and now I’m going to try to sleep. …

3 March … it’s snowing!

Snow on the deck
And my lump is totally gone, not even a bit of tenderness in my jaw and my foot feels like it always does — a bit chilly but pain free.  I’ve had my morning coffee and am drinking my power shake.  Wonder what this day will bring …

It brought a semi-fruitful day.  

I made a to-do list which always helps ensure I get something done.  Emptied the dishwasher and put away most of what was in there; still need to schlepp pots to hallway cupboard, more difficult on Wheelie.  On the phone with insurance adjusters, one from my health insurer and one from Inga’s homeowner’s insurer, about my broken foot.   Made reservations to go to DC for Easter week and Abby’s bat mitzvah.  Her mom and I were Peace Corps roommates for a year. While Inga and the girls go to Mexico, I’ll stay with Beza (the dog) and help Stacey prepare for the bat mitzvah.  Also started my Polish lesson, Pora na kawę (Time for coffee).  Made tuna salad for future lunch/dinner and enjoyed the chicken soup I made the other day at both lunch and dinner.  And I found that my jaw lump comes/goes with eating.  With my soup at lunch, I ate some crackers with cheese or hummus — and once I started chewing, the swelling returned.  Eventually it receded but returned when I had the same dinner.  But no temp so I’m waiting until I see Lydia, my nurse practitioner, tomorrow.  

Now back to watching old episodes of Suits, then to sleep.

7 March
Spring may be springing. Sun is shining and the temp is 39F with low to mid 50sF forecast for next week.  Amazing!

Update on the jaw lump.  Of course, it went away before I got to see Lydia.  But she did a thorough check and said it was probably a minor infection from a popcorn hull getting under my gum.  And I recall that one or two had.  So far, no return swelling … and I did eat some popcorn yesterday afternoon to test things.  Now I just wait for the big day — Monday when I’ll have another x-ray and know if I can walk on my left foot.

In the meantime, my sister Barbara, friend Jan and I are going to The Lab Theatre to see Zoot Suit Riots tonight.  I ordered “handicapped” seating, and Jan’s going to pick me up.  Monday we’ll take turns going to the doc … she’ll take me in the morning, I’ll go with her in the afternoon.  She has to have some minor eye surgery.  

Just read that livability,com has named some of my favorite downtowns to its “best” list.  At #1 is Pittsburgh, followed immediately by Minneapolis.  Alexandria VA (Queenie 1 and the boys live there), Fargo ND (brother-in-law and wife Jim & Joan, nephew Mark & son Brennan, nephew Jeff all live here), and Evanston IL (definitely not the same city where I attended college; you can buy a drink in a restaurant now!) also made the list.  Check it out by copy/pasting this link: 

8 March, Daylight Saving Time
Yes, I remembered to change the clocks last night, and no, I didn’t know it was “Saving,” I always thought it was “Savings” because we were saving daylight (?).  Oh well.

11 March
Time flies when you’re having fun.  Zoot Suit Riots on Saturday with Jan and Barbara was awesome.  The skill and energy of the dancers was unbelievable, and the two vocalists were incredibly talented too.  Well worth all the rigamarole to get me there.  Jan dropped me, then went ‘next door’ to Barbara’s condo building to park and get her.  I’d called ahead and requested ‘handicapped seating’ because I’ve been to The Lab Theater before. Their seats are rows of chairs on risers and the stage is two floors below ground.  It was an elevator ride down/up, then a hop up/down one step to our front row seats.  The lovely fellow who helped me brought a stool on which I could rest Das Boot. Ah, life was good.

Das Boot and my new over-the-knee
boot, ready to boogie

Monday’s doctor’s appointment was disappointing — two more weeks on Wheelie — but heartening — healing is going along as expected.  In his favor the doctor did originally say four to six weeks totally off my left foot, so I’m going the distance.  Then I can walk with crutches or a walker putting pressure on my left foot for increasingly longer time spans.  I will probably take the walker (if that’s what I get) to DC on 2 April to be on the safe side.  Tomek, a Polish friend there, has crutches that I can borrow if I need them.

After my doctor appointment, I went with Jan to her pre-op eye surgery appointment.  In between we had lunch at Zelo, which is in the same building, and did a short wheel down to Barnes & Noble where I bought books for my nephew John and his wife Heather’s baby shower.  I’m planning to attend; friend Janet will drive me to/from Brainerd, then spend the day at her and Ed’s nearby cabin.  I’m hoping Jim and wife Joan will come from Fargo for the shower too.  I haven’t seen them in way too long.

Yesterday was a busy day, me trying to overcome my ennui and laziness.  I did a load of laundry, made a huge pot of vegetable beef soup, organized 80 percent of what I need to send the accountant so she can do my income taxes, baked gluten-free corn muffins, made inroads on my Book Club book, and showered and washed my hair.  The latter is my biggest achievement.  I’ve learned how to safely get into/out of bathtub so I can accomplish this.  Since I’m indoors, I let my hair air dry.  Voila! Clean me, top to bottom.

It’s amazing how hyped I can get over such a small thing as showering.  But it’s no small feat when you have to maneuver around on one foot.  I’m not used to being so dependent on others nor so handicapped.  The head trip that creates for me is the worst kind.  

12 March
I just realized something this morning.  I AM getting a lot of exercise, and not just my right leg pushing Wheelie along.  I was unloading the dishwasher and putting away glasses, plates etc.  Because I have a small square-shaped kitchen with two entries/exits, it’s pretty easy for me to get things done and not have to move Wheelie … but I do have to stretch … a lot.  Ditto when I’m putting on the floor lamp for reading in the living room or reaching to things I’ve dropped on the floor or to retrieve mail from my mailbox in our building entry.  So while it may not be aerobic, it is exercise.  And I also do foot exercises, a la those done on an airplane, with my left foot to help re-strengthen the muscles.

I had a busy day.  Friend Marilyn picked me up for dinner at Runyon’s (wings, of course) and a scarf workshop at C’est Chic.  Jan joined us for both.  I Wheelie’d from the restaurant to the shop, which was more tiring than I ever imagine and harder on my bent knee.

Lily arrived this evening and made a bee line to the bedroom, where she hid under the bed as usual.  I’m the cat sitter while my nephew Christopher and his sweetie Jen are in Pittsburgh, her first visit there and her first Penguins hockey games.  I think Chris got tickets for two games.

13 March
Tomery left for Denver this morning, so Lily and I have the place to ourselves.  I worked on my taxes and did some laundry.  An exhausting day.
Lily checks our Wheelie

14 March
Roger of OurTime and coffee date in between acquiring Das Boot and surgery, called en route back into the Cities.  He offered to stop at a deli and bring dinner.  I had decided not to try to get to Brainerd for the baby shower, too exhausting without the bonus of seeing Jim and Joan who weren’t able to attend either.  So I was game.  He didn’t even ask what I wanted to eat … gave him at least 1000 extra points since I get very tired of making decisions.  But as I say so often, zobaczymy (we’ll see, in Polish).

17 March, Happy St. Patrick’s Day  
What a time it’s been since that last entry.  Right now, I’m at the Apple Store because on Sunday night my laptop wouldn’t re-charge.  It was fully charged in the morning and I’d used it off and on all day without plugging in.  When I did that at bedtime, the little orange charging indicator light wouldn’t come on … and the battery was at 4 percent!  I tried three different electrical outlets and various combinations of the two cords … no luck.  So I called Apple Support and got the first available appointment at the Southdale Genius Bar — 11:15 today.  As normal, I’m early for my appointment.  The greeter-Genius plugged me into one of their chargers and voila!  Mac is re-charging, and I’m working while I wait.  Downloaded two television episodes from iTunes, checked emails, writing this.  Thank you to Janet & Ed’s son Thom for bringing me; he’s a lifesaver once again.

22 March, Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday
I note that birthday because my sister and I saw Into the Woods this afternoon, and the playbook had a detailed biography of Sondheim, including his birth date, 22 March 1930.  The production by Theatre Latté Da was at the Ritz Theater, a beautifully renovated old theater in northeast Minneapolis.  The last time I was in the Ritz was easily a decade ago, to see the Ballet of the Dolls do a marvelous production called, Proms, as a fundraiser for the renovations.

Anyway, Into the Woods was spectacular.  I remember Greta Oglesby who was the Witch from Caroline or Change at the Guthrie a few years ago and wanted to see her again.  She was spectacular then and still is.  She and the actress who played Little Red Riding Hood captivated the stage every time they were on it.   

Afterwards, Barbara and I had dinner at my favorite spot by Loring Park, then headed to Target for a few things … while it snowed.

This is indeed my month for culture despite the limitations imposed by Das Boot and Wheelie.  Last night Jan and I heard Bernadette Peters in concert at the Ordway, tickets we’d bought last November.  Peters was her usual fantastic self in a 75 minutes no-intermission performance that included two Into the Woods songs.  We had seats on the aisle, which made it easier on me though it was a long way round to get there.  Afterwards, while Jan went for her car, I bought two CDs that we can share, then at home I went online and bought two season tickets to the Ordway’s Broadway series.  I am in hock up to my ears on those, but I like having two seats; then I can invite someone to join me.  When I worked next door at The St. Paul, I had season tickets for years and I’d to walk over to pick out my two seats.  Besides, it’s always great to have an excuse to travel to St. Paul and when I’m no longer lame, I can take the Light Rail.

Next weekend Jan and I have Gay Men’s Chorus which is doing a Beatles’ tribute.  We have season tickets together, and I’m looking forward to the concert.  I’ve missed several in this season.

Earlier in the year, Pam (a water ex friend) invited me to join her book club, and I will finally be able to attend.  I was out of town for the January meeting and couldn’t get to February because of my foot.  The book, Five Smooth Stones, is largely about the ‘60s civil rights movement, a big part of my youth.  Very well written and authentic perspective.  The main character is a black man born and reared in New Orleans who goes on to become a lawyer and activist.  I’m 75 percent done; it’s surprisingly hard to read for long periods of time even when you have them.

Let’s see what else has been going on.  Ah, the men “in my life.”  A couple of Saturdays ago Roger called while driving back into town and offered to stop at a deli and get dinner.  Couldn’t refuse that offer.  He gets double points for not asking what I wanted to eat.  (I hate having to be ‘the decider’ all the time.)   We had a pleasant evening, and he propositioned me for some future time. It was only our second “date.” … then he took off for Florida again. Hmmm, not sure what to make of that.   Zobaczymy, as we say in Poland (that means “we’ll see” future perfective form).  Oh, and Larry’s back from Bali but since I can’t dance, I haven’t seen him.  Sounds like he had a great time enjoying sun and sea.  My nephew Christopher reminded me that it had been a long time since our last “regular” breakfast.  Since he’s now usually off on Wednesdays, we had breakfast last Wednesday at Elsie’s, one of our usual haunts.  He and Jen had an okay time in Pittsburgh — a weekend of rain, rain and more rain was not improved by two Pens games, both losses.

I will not miss this thing!
Tomorrow’s a big day … I get to exchange Wheelie for a walker.  Jan helped me find one at the place where she got her mother’s.  The sales woman checked, and Medicare will pay part of the cost.  Hurray.  So, if anyone needs crutches or a walker, don’t buy them.  You can borrow mine!

25 March, still winter
A gray and chilly day.  Glad to be indoors for now.  Christopher is going to take me to Connie’s for my hair appointment mid-afternoon.  Connie will drive me home after we have dinner. In the meantime, I shall do a bit of laundry and veg.  Looking at the forecast, spring may return on Sunday.

Saw the James Beard Award nominees in this morning’s NYTimes.  One Minneapolis restaurant, Spoon and Stable, was nominated for best restaurant.  It’s the one opened by a local man who returned from culinary success in NYC.  My sister took me there for my birthday.  Excellent food, double excellent service.  Chefs from Heartland, The Bachelor Farmer and Salty Tart were all nominated for best chef in the Midwest.  Have enjoyed all three.  Great to see Minneapolis get some food recognition.  We have some outstanding restaurants here!

On to the health report (my age is showing, isn’t it?).  I now have a bright blue walker with a seat, instead of a red Wheelie.  Marilyn took me to do the transfer on Monday, and I am walking really well.  The walker helps me limit the weight I place on the left foot, and Das Boot ensures my foot is stable.  I don’t think I need either one but am being very compliant and will use both for at least two weeks, as prescribed.  Medicare paid for almost half the cost of the walker, so I bought it.  Anyone needing crutches or a walker, give me a holler; they are yours to use.
My new wheels

27 March
Enjoyed Greek food with Peace Corps pal Tom last night. He actually ventured from St. Paul and didn’t need a visa or shots.  (Non-MN friends, that’s a local joke.  Too many folks on each side of the Mississippi River act like traveling to the other shore is foreign travel.  When I worked in St. Paul, I couldn’t get anyone that I worked with to use my two Guthrie Theater tickets because the theater’s in Minneapolis.)  Anyway, Tom was willing to make the trek and schlepp my walker for me.  He is recovering nicely from his heart surgery.  He brought me his cane to use; he’s had knee replacements in recent years.

My culture month continues.  Larry, dancer partner from OurTime, called this morning and invited me to Bedlam Theater in St. Paul.  Sounded like fun and it was.  He’s off to Panama on Monday (and not long back from Bali and Hong Kong).  And you-all think I travel a lot!  Tomorrow it’s dinner and Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus with Jan.  We have season tickets, and this is the first concert I’ve been home to attend.  They’re doing a Beatles’ tribute.  

31 March
TCGMC was as fabulous as expected.  Wonderful voices, fanciful costuming.  

Today's sunny but nippy.  

An old photo of Alijah
Why I had to go to SteveBe

I watched my nephew Craig’s son Alijah, who’s almost two, for a couple of hours this morning … and of course, forgot to take a photo of the little cutie.  We played with the Matchbox cars, Macedonian owls, African baby dolls, assorted coasters. Lunch with Susan and Diane, off to StevenBe to exchange knitting needles and wind a ball of yarn. 

All in all, a nice way to end the month. 

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