40 Days and 40 Nights

We Southern Californians aren’t very good at telling time when it comes to cold, rainy weather. It goes something like this:

Day 1 – Okay, the weather report said it would rain by noon today so we had better get a bike ride in early.

Baby it’s cold outside!

Day 2 – Ah, a rainy day, perfect for baking cookies, except the previously unopened jar of all natural peanut butter has a layer of oil, inch-deep on the top and the ground peanuts below are hard as clay. The “best by” date says July 2021 but I’m not one to demand the best so I generate some much-needed body heat by stirring it into a lumpy form of “butter”. While I wait for the dough to chill, I check the weather report. Yup, more rain to come;

Day 3 – Well, actually, it’s still day 2 but it’s now 3:00 in the afternoon and my laundry is folded and put away, there’s bread rising in the bread machine, the house has been cleaned (more or less) and I’ve completed my prescribed exercises for my geriatric hip/back pain;

Day 4 – I check the calendar to confirm that it’s still January 15th, then I check the weather report again. It’s the same as it was yesterday which was really this morning, or was it yesterday morning?

In the last 2 days (or has it been 4?), I’ve finished two books that I’d been reading long enough that I had to renew them. The Orphan Master’s Son (good read despite the torture) and The Four Winds (think Grapes of Wrath Lite), neither of which did much to lighten my mood.

Now, here I sit, in my jammies, eating potato chips and waiting for my subscriptions on Word Press to post something. I’m only half way through the predicted 40 days and 40 nights of rain. It would be hard to take if not for the promise of green hills and superlative traction to come.

Painted with a Broad Brush

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

I went to the doctor the other day for an annual wellness exam. I’m not sure why my insurance company insists that I have a wellness exam but they pay me $50 to do it so, I comply.

The visit consisted of a fully clothed interview with a physician’s assistant who asked me what I wanted to discuss today. I had just come from a particularly fun mountain bike ride so I told her all about it.

She listened to my heart and lungs and stomach with a stethoscope placed over my down jacket. Her subsequent report said we had discussed: Mild brain atrophy and chronic kidney disease. I’ll have to concede the brain atrophy part because I have no recollection of having discussed either of those things. There was nary a mention of the stimulating bike ride.

The physician’s assistant’s assistant administered a cognitive test, asking me to remember three words and draw the face of a clock. Banana, sunrise and chair weren’t that difficult to keep in mind but it was difficult to resist responding, “It’s, uh, like, person, woman, man, camera, TV,” but feared she wouldn’t get the humor. She proceeded to take my blood pressure, 98/72, and checked my oxygen saturation 97%, weighed me, 121.8 (still fully clothed including jacket).

I was sent home with three pages of instructions. Here is a sampling:

  1. To prevent falls, take up throw rugs at home; use a walker or cane for instability and hold onto railings when going up or down stairs. Nary a mention of training wheels!

2. Please be sure to get some regular physical activity at whatever level you are able. I am also encouraging the following; Annual Flu vaccine (we had already determined that I was current on this), improving physical health, improve mental health.

I was super impressed that she was able to diagnose the fact that I needed to improve my mental health. Usually it takes getting to know me to learn that I need to work on that.

The last recommendation was to not drink any fluids after 6:00 P.M. to improve bladder control. That imposes a pretty narrow window since I’ve been told one shouldn’t start drinking until after 5:00 P.M. Gotta go now as it’s 4:48 P.M. and I need to roll up my throw rugs. Cheers!

Photo by Enis Yavuz on Unsplash

Let’s See, Now Where Was I?

Oh, yeah, the trip from Denver. Well, after Sedona everything paled by comparison.We drove home through desert scenery that would flabbergast anyone who had never seen saguaro forests, desiccated wadis, brooding mountains, or untenable cities sprawling over a hellish wasteland. Well, to be honest, we skirted Phoenix by traveling a new freeway that was built with the expectation of Colorado River water being infinite.

We stopped in Indio at El Mexicali Cafe to grab some breakfast/lunch/dinner, knowing that the fridge at home would be as bleak a wasteland as the aforementioned desert.

El Mexicali is squeezed into a strip of land between the railroad tracks and heavily-trafficked Indio Blvd. which makes the outside dining patio about as inviting as a table in the infield of the Indy 500.

But the dining room was as warm and hospitable as your abuela’s kitchen and your tio’s favorite cantina. Seriously, if you’re ever hungry in Indio, skip all the chain restaurants and try the fish tacos here. Heck, the chips and salsa and guacamole are worth the price of admission.

I spent the next two days preparing food to take to Carlsbad for the family Christmas event. My traditional dishes are rum cake and zucchini appetizer pie.

Sadie gave me this reproachful look when I informed her that I was leaving again.

The time at the beach flew by as we hiked, ate, drank and generally behaved, or more accurately, misbehaved like children.

Like good little Dutch people, we leave our shoes at the door…even in a rental.

And then it was all over but the journaling, blogging, and remembering.