Tis a Humbling Thing

supermanIt is a humbling thing to be confronted with the fact that you are not Superman. You can no longer do things you once could … or rather, when you do them anyway you pay a hefty price. Stamina fades faster that it once did. And concepts you were confident you could handle turn out to be deeply distressing.

This is a big part of why I said “farewell” to my co-workers at the Humane Society of Jefferson County today. This was a bittersweet parting for I do need to rest and heal but I have enjoyed working with the animals, and the people, and I have learned a lot: especially in the realm of medical treatments and testing.

All of the staff members were (are) great to work with: patient while I was learning (for there is a great deal to learn) and helpful when I lagged behind. I found no petty rivalries here: they are a team of big-hearted, hard working people dedicated to providing a clean, safe environment for the animals in their care, and then finding them homes again. There are also some wonderful volunteers who step in to help and will work hard without pay. These volunteers deserve an extra helping of praise.


On the one hand, I love working with the animals. Except maybe the rats: I still can’t say I enjoy the rats. As a youngster I wanted to be a veterinarian, but that was not to be. The medical side of this job has been as close to that as I’ve come. And I liked it. I like every one of the people who I worked with, and will miss them.

On the other hand, I will again have time to spend with the 6 dogs I have at home: some are pets, some are fosters. I’m supposed to be training the fosters, I will again have time to actually do that. These animals will be thrilled to NOT be cooped up and on their own all day, almost every day. I will also have the opportunity to let my abused body heal, and to catch up on the “office” work that has been piling up while I was occupied elsewhere.

So I’m moving on. Or stepping back or … maybe sideways. It’s hard to say yet. But I feel this is the right thing to do, even if it’s not easy.

Growing Satisfaction

People garden for a lot of different reasons: reducing household costs, increase food quantity, increase food quality, providing food for the less fortunate of their community, those who tend flower gardens seek to beautify their property, give shelter to certain insects and birds, and improve the aesthetics of their life. But one common thread that runs through it all at some level is that we do it because we enjoy it: when we grow flowers or vegetables we are also growing satisfaction and contentment.

satisfaction, gowing, gardening, dirt
Image courtesy www.Patheos.com

There is something therapeutic about working the soil with our hands, watching as seeds we planted push up through that soil, develop into plants and thrive under our attentive care. Then we EAT THEM, mua-hahaha! Sorry, I got carried away there. (read more…)

Resurrection from Emphysema

Around Easter we tend to think about new beginnings. For believers this involves the resurrection of Jesus, for others bunnies, chicks and eggs symbolize Spring, revitalization, and a new growing season. For me, Easter of 2015 holds a special meaning.

emphysemaFor an indeterminate number of years now I have been dealing with emphysema – a result of having spent 30 years as a furniture maker, breathing wood dust and lacquer fumes. Five or six years ago I attributed the shortness of breath and fatigue to advancing age. The summer of 2012 brought occasional chest pains. By November 2012 the pain was so constant and pervasive I was fearing congestive heart failure. In December I finally admitted that it wasn’t getting any better, went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with emphysema. Since then I’ve been on inhaled steroids to slow down the degradation, but it’s been just a matter of time as I feel my strength and stamina slipping away and the pain increasing. Medical science says emphysema cannot be cured, just slowed down. I had resigned myself to this. Continue reading “Resurrection from Emphysema”

Faith and Healing

healingAbout two months ago my left shoulder started hurting. I have no idea what I did to it.  About the time I started thinking that it wasn’t getting better on its own and I might need to see a medical professional, Marie got sick.  I spent a few weeks carting Marie around because she could not stand upright.  We used a wheeled hassock as transport, but I had to push or pull and lift the little caster wheels over the strips that join carpeting to tile or tile to wood.  That didn’t help any.  By the time Marie was better my arm was a wreck.  We again thought about seeing a doctor, but finances were a problem.

This morning it hurt so bad I almost didn’t go to church.  The pain ran from my left ear to my left elbow to my left shoulder blade.  It was not a sharp pain or a burning, but a battered, bruised feeling like some invisible possum-devil has been beating me with a ball bat.  But it would hurt just as much at home as it will at church, so I decided to go to church.  If I didn’t I’d miss out on something because every lesson Pastor Dan gives teaches me something wonderful.

I sat in the pew fidgeting and shifting because I hurt.   This morning our Pastor led us in a prayer for healing.  Several people are dealing with major problems.   Continue reading “Faith and Healing”

Mullein: Alien Plant that Heals

Do you remember the movie Day of the Triffids?  It is a schlocky sci-fi adventure from 1962 involving plants from outer space trying to take over the world after blinding most of the population.  In case you’d like to see it, I’ll embed it below.

common mulleinLately I’ve been seeing these strange plants popping up along our roadways and wondered what they are.  They are big.  They look alien.  They remind me of the Triffids in the movie.  So I asked my super searcher web sleuth (Marie) to see what she could find on them.  She found an excerpt from a book written by Tom Remaley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN.  It identifies the strange plant, which grows to be as much as 10 feet tall, to be a Common Mullein.  It is a member of the figwort family of plants which is native to Europe and Asia and is identified by the Alien Plant Working Group (I KNEW it was alien!) as one of their Least Wanted Plants here in America.

Mullein may not have the ability to pull their roots out of the ground and walk around like Triffids (although they do have very shallow root systems, so; maybe!)  Nor do they spray poisonous gas at passersby, but they seem to be almost as invasive and dangerous as Triffids: at least to meadows and forest edges.  Here they spread rapidly and choke out native vegetation.

On the flip side herbalists collect mullein – a few actually cultivate them.   Continue reading “Mullein: Alien Plant that Heals”

Brain Rot and Getting Old

Neurons brain old
Neurons firing in the brain

OK, I admit that I passed the half-century mark in age quite some time ago, but I do not consider myself old, although the term “old” does seem to have taken on some fluidity over the years.  When I was a kid, 35 seemed ancient, when I got to be 35, 65 was old.  Now that I’m pushing 60, old is somewhere above 80.  And I most certainly do not consider myself to be the least bit senile, although… I have caught myself having what some would call a “senior moment” now and again.

Just the other day, it was a Saturday, the day I always fix a nice breakfast for my sweetie (omelets are my specialty, but I can do other things too) I found myself standing in the kitchen, with an array of delicious food stuffs neatly arranged on the counter, but could not for the life of me remember what I had planned to cook.  I stood there for several moments, inventorying the items I’d laid out hoping for a clue.  Finally it came to me and I forged ahead again.  But it was embarrassing, even though the dog and I were the only ones who knew about it.

It wasn’t the first time, either.  I can’t even count the times I’ve gone into another room to get or do something only to wonder, “Why did I come in here?”  That is disconcerting.  I do find that telling the dog what I’m going to go do helps me remember.  I suppose you don’t actually need a dog, but if you forget and do this while someone is visiting you don’t look quite so crazy to them.   Continue reading “Brain Rot and Getting Old”

The Camel, the Straw, and Stress

camel, straw, load, stress
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You’ve heard the saying “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.” and you probably recognize that it refers to a slowly increasing load or burden that eventually crushes the one carrying it, but have you ever given the saying much thought?  Have you ever considered whether it applies to you?  Or perhaps you’ve been through an experience that could be described by this prophetic witticism.  Our modern society is very good at pushing the idea that if you’re not flitting around like a hummingbird, involved in everything, and severely stressed by it all; you’re not normal.  I say if that’s normal, strive for abnormality!

Continue reading “The Camel, the Straw, and Stress”

Doctors, Drugs and Dastardly Plans

Doctor Jim

I recently went to my annual doctor’s visit.  I say that as though I go every year, but I don’t.  In fact this is the first time I’ve made an appointment because it was time to go again.  He had not told me to come in, but it has been a year since I last saw him, and I thought I should check in to see how ‘things’ are going.

He started off by asking me, “Why are you here?”

“Because it has been a year since I last visited you, and I miss you.”

“That’s nice, but you could have called.”

“Everyone everywhere always says that I should get an annual check-up just to see if anything is wrong.  So, here I am: poke and prod away.”

“OK.  Anything in particular wrong?”

“I have a headache.”

“Who doesn’t, these days.  Let me tell you something about annual check-ups.”  And he proceeded to tell me this story:

Continue reading “Doctors, Drugs and Dastardly Plans”

Herbal Cures From Your Garden

I’ve been meaning to write an article about common herbal garden items that have healthful benefits beyond their vitamins and minerals.  Now that spring is upon us and the garden is coming along nicely it’s time I got around to that.

Herb bed, gardening, raised bed, herbs, health, herbal
Growing herbs has many advantages and takes very little space.  You can grow 16 different herbs in a 4’ x 4’ raised bed garden.  You may need to pot some plants: like mint, which is wildly invasive, but you can set the pot down into your bed if you want to keep them all in one place. Continue reading “Herbal Cures From Your Garden”

The Sound of Sirens

Photo credit: Oklahoma City Examiner

The one thing that has distinguished the past couple of days from most is that at least once each day we have heard sirens wailing in the distance.  My mom even commented on this.  Many of you will shrug and think, “So what?” and I understand this.  When we lived in St Louis, the mournful wail of emergency vehicles was so ever-present it was just part of the background noise that we tuned out – unless the siren came into our neighborhood.   Continue reading “The Sound of Sirens”