Saturday, June 15, 2019

One Week and Counting

Lee does not have an Internet connection at his house, and I am hopeless at typing more than a paragraph at a time on my phone, so while Charlie and I are camping out there I will only be posting when I make brief visits home to pick up the mail, wind the grandfather clock, and feed my sourdough starter.

Ten days after surgery, Lee is doing very well.  His surgeon received ringing endorsements from all the hospital staff, and I can see why - he does joint replacements every day, and apparently has them down to a science.  The scar is much smaller and neater than I expected.  The VA hospital staff has also been very supportive.  They sent him home with an Iceman therapy machine which has done an awesome job of bringing down the swelling in that arm and hand.  After a week, they also started him on physical therapy with a Skype-like app for his Android tablet, which saves us the hassle of having to drive downtown and back for his appointments.  And, he just received a TENS unit to control pain and stimulate his muscles.

Lee was worried about being under anesthesia too long, but he was back to his old self within a couple of days.  He was also concerned about receiving opiods for pain, but he is already off everything except an occasional Tylenol; in fact, he says his shoulder already hurts less than it did before the operation.  Yay!

The last remaining hurdle is to get him to accept the PT technician's decree that he can't drive for six weeks - or get her to change her mind before he goes stir crazy.

"If you're going to have cabin fever, have a big cabin, you know." ~Joe Cocker
If you're going to have a cabin fever, have a big cabin, you know. Joe Cocker
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Saturday, June 8, 2019


Lee had his reverse shoulder replacement surgery on Wednesday.  The surgeon said his shoulder was a real mess - ALL the tendons were torn, it was full of arthritis and fluid, and the arm bone had moved partway out of the socket.  The surgery went well, though, and although he had quite a bit of pain on Thursday (it took his nurse four hours to deliver his pain pills after he asked for them), they did let him go home that evening and he has been feeling better since.  He will be in a sling for a month and has to sleep in his Craftmatic bed with the head elevated.  Charlie and I are camping out there for the time being; I am trying to keep him from doing all the things he's not supposed to, like pulling t-shirts over his head and using his right hand "just to help."  As his son said, "Let the high maintenance begin!"

"Rotator cuff tear arthropathy (arthritis with a large cuff defect) is a devastating condition that seriously compromises the comfort and function of the shoulder. This condition is characterized by the irreparable loss of the rotator cuff tendons and destruction of the normal joint surface of the shoulder. Because these tissues cannot be restored, the shoulder is often weak, painful, and unstable. Using special techniques and a reversed total shoulder design, qualified surgeons can improve the stability of the shoulder and enable the deltoid muscle to power it, even in the absence of a normal rotator cuff." ~University of Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Lure of Beauty

Today I was sharing some of the items in my Poshmark closet in a "wardrobe goals" party, and I was struck by how many of descriptions say "worn once" or "only worn twice."  How could I have purchased all this clothing and jewelry, hung onto it for (in some cases) 30 years, and never used it?

I blame the Lure of Beauty.

I'll bet you know what I mean.  The color, the fabric, the design was just so amazing I had to buy whatever it was.  The feel of the soft silk!  The saturated colors in the paisley print!  The stunning asymmetrical neckline!  Then when I took it home, it didn't go with anything else I owned.  Or it was gorgeous, but not really cut right for my body.  Or, in the case of my most recent wardrobe mistake, I realized too late that I don't feel comfortable displaying my booty in maroon pants, even though they're well cut and go with most of my other things.  Beauty on the hanger or in the jewelry case doesn't always translate to wearable.

When I was an insurance executive in New York, I could afford to buy clothing and accessories I wore only occasionally (or never).  With retirement staring me in the face, that is no longer the case.  Now before I buy something, it has to pass through these filters:
  • Is it an item I really need?  Does it fill a gap in my wardrobe AND do I anticipate wearing it frequently? 
  • Do the color and style flatter me and coordinate with the rest of my things?
  • Does it fit my body really well, or can I have it tailored cost-effectively?
  • Will it be easy to maintain?  (I rarely buy "dry clean only" any more.)
  • Can I afford it?
  • Does it make me feel fabulous?  (Those maroon pants were never more than "yeah, OK.")
I actually tried to ask some of these questions in the past - particularly "does it coordinate with the rest of my things" - but then a luxurious cashmere or a particularly beautiful semiprecious stone would convince me that surely I could wear whatever it was with SOMETHING in my closet.

Oh, the lies we tell ourselves when seduced by the Lure of Beauty.  Now when I am in danger of succumbing to it, I watch a few videos by slow fashion and sustainable style blogger Alyssa Beltempo, and eventually the moment passes.

"Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There's no how-to road map to style. It's about self expression and, above all, attitude." —Iris Apfel

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Grand Canyon in Winter

The first vacation Lee and I ever took together was a train ride to the Grand Canyon in January of 2016.  It snowed so hard the day before that the "train robbers" who were supposed to hold us up on our way home had to "attack" the train on foot instead of horseback, but it was a fun day anyway.  We drove home by way of Sedona, also cloaked in snow. Here is part of the trip in pictures.

“There will never be a photograph of the Grand Canyon that can adequately describe its depth, breadth, and true beauty.” ― Stefanie Payne, A Year in the National Parks: The Greatest American Road Trip