Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Old, Fat Gal and the Hypertension Blues

I've been monitoring my blood pressure and it hasn't been good. My doctor has tried to comfort me by reminding me that this is likely genetic and that I'd still have it even if I were at an ideal weight.

My current goal is to drink at least 32 oz of water per day (it's a staring point) and to remember to breathe.

I think it would feel a lot better to beat the crap out of some people and then p*ss on them, but I beleive that would end up being counter-productive.

I'll see my doctor soon and start the great trial-and-error with the anti-hypertensive meds. I shall attempt to remain calm by meditating on the question, "Just WTF is the Manley Pants Project?"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Great Galveston Getaway!

It was a whirlwind of a week! It started on Tuesday with me feeling sick and trying to figure out how I would get myself well in order to leave on Thursday. In the middle we had scorching heat and sweltering humidity, but we also had a lot of fun. It ended up with delays on the flight home due to thunderstorms in Omaha.

Read on . . .

Tuesday and Wednesay, August 7 - 8

On Tuesday I left work around noon because I wasn’t feeling well. Short version: I ended up in a local E.R. with an outrageous migraine. Although my blood pressure had spiked to 210 over 100-something, they did a CT scan of my head and said everything was normal. (Are they sure that was my head they were looking at?) I was told to rest. I went home and slept.

On Wednesday I took time off from both of my jobs and puttered around. I had a massage in the afternoon. And then, feeling fully relaxed and in control of my life, I got out the sewing machine and made a last-minute fix to the dress I’d be wearing to my nephew’s wedding. (It was really an easy fix, but, good grief!) Then the pet-sitter pooped out on us – missed her appointment to meet with us and wasn’t answering her phone. In the end, a great neighbor from across the street stepped in at the last minute to handle the dog and cats while we were away.

Thursday, August 9

All flights came and went without delays. The only hitch was that I couldn’t remember the rental car company where I had a reservation for us! While Ed retrieved our bag, I called all of the rental car companies located at Houston International Airport. None of them had a reservation listed for us either. (Hmmm….. coincidence?) Not to worry, we rented a car and all was well. Ed navigated and I drove. We hit some bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-45 as we turned off for Galveston, but it didn’t last terribly long.

We checked in to the hotel (left) without any problems.

We walked over to Landry’s (above) where Ed had oysters and crab; I had shrimp scampi.

We got to see this gentleman performing in the plaza in front of a nearby restaurant / entertainment area for families. It was right between Landry's and our hotel.

And then we went up to our room and went to bed.

Friday, August 10

We met my sister Mary and her younger son, Sean Patrick, for breakfast at the IHOP. Ross (the groom-to-be) joined us, too, which was a treat. Afterward, Ross went off to do some “guy stuff” with his best men. Mary’s husband Tom joined us and the rest of us went for a bit of a drive. Tom went to med school in Galveston, so he knew the island like the back of his hand. He drove us around some lovely historic homes.

Then we went to Seawolf Park on Pelican Island to see a WWII submarine, the Cavalla as well as a WWII ship, the USS Stewart.

That's Mary as seen through a hatch in the Cavalla. Quarters were small!

Who's brilliant idea was it to put all of these interesting dials and levers and knobs on a submarine, and then . . .

. . . tell us not to touch them????

Here's Ed and Sean Patrick on the USS Stewart.

It also had these cool guns (and I'm convinced I need one at the office).

Then we toured the Bishop’s Palace (left)which was lovely except that the guy who was our “guide” on the first floor was a curmudgeon.

After that we went to lunch at Mario’s (right) where we were joined by Tom’s sister Maureen and her husband Ben.

It had been so hot that morning (100º+) that we called off the rest of our plans in order to rest up. Actually, Ed rested and I tried out the pool at the hotel. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t much to really brag about.

When things had cooled off some, Ed and I drove over to an “Old Market” area called The Strand. It had some fun buildings

And you could play a grand game of chess if you were so inclined.

We had supper at Fisherman’s Wharf on Pier 22.

Saturday, August 11

In the morning we went back to Pier 22 to tour the 1877 sailing ship, the Elissa.

Part of the fun was getting to walk all over the ship as a crew of volunteers were on board and learning how to work on it.

Yes, that's them: sanding away in a nice little row. By the way, the hour is about 10:45 a.m. and the temp is already in the 90s (F). Oh, it's fun to be a sailor!

At left, they are learning how to deal with the canvas sails. The people behind the mast are the learners, standing on a rope and learning to secure the sails after rolling them up like big canvas blini. The people in front of the mast are teaching. Luckily, they get to learn this at just a few inches off the ground (as opposed to their ancestors who learned it by climbing up the freakin' rigging and learning while the ship was at sea).

And there's Ed (at right), my sailor-boy-wannabe. :)

We stopped briefly into the Texas Seaport Museum which contains, among other things, the Galveston Immigration Database. That's where we found what we believed was the record of my maternal grandmother's immigration in 1905. (Turned out we were wrong. She came in through Ellis Island in 1913. Long story.)

And then we took a harbor tour (gotta love those ship yards) where we also got to see dolphins! No, I didn't get photos! They were too fast!

Here's me with Vandy, our captain.

After that, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.

The wedding was held at Moody Memorial Methodist Church (say that one three times fast and see if you don't get a jaw sprain!) and was very nice.

Unfortunately, my photos of the ceremony sucked.

Sunday, August 12

We drove back to Houston International Airport, returned the car, and awaited our flight to Dallas/Ft Worth airport. That’s when the delays began. We boarded the jet at the appropriate time, then we sat there for an hour (in the sweltering heat) because there was a problem with the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit – the one that supplied the air conditioning) that had to be fixed. After we were finally in the air, we had to circle south of Omaha because thunderstorms and lightening were in the air (and it was a bad one, as folks in the area know). At last the pilot had to divert to Kansas City International airport to refuel, by which time the storms had cleared out of Omaha. We were finally on the ground around 8:00 p.m., about 2 hours later than scheduled. But, it was the only delay for the whole trip, so that wasn’t really so bad. (I can say that now.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

In Praise of Neighbors

We were all set to leave for our trip to Galveston, Texas, when the pet-sitter we'd hired pooped out on us. The pet-sitter was supposed to show up at 8:30 p.m. to got over everything. At 9:00 p.m. we'd given up and started frantic phone calls to any kennels that would answer. The one we did get to answer said that, as Charka dog wasn't up on her shots (we're a month overdue), they would require a 48-hour waiting period before taking her.

Ed came up with the idea of asking Jessica, a neighbor across the street. She said "Yes" without batting an eye! The previous people who'd lived in that house would've done the same for us, so there must be something special about that house -- it only attracts good people!

So, we're dreaming of all of the kind things we can do for Jessica to show our gratitude (she doesn't want payment). While we're doing that, would everyone reading this please just offer up a nice prayer of thanks for such a wonderful neighbor? May all good things come her way because of her selfless kindness!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fake Chocolate Chip Cookies

To make up for yesterday's diatribe, here's an amusing anecdote from one of my sisters:

My grandson thought we should make some of those "fake" chocolate chip cookies. When I queried him, he said: "You know those cookies that look like they have chocolate chips in them but they are really raisins."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I am Pro-Responsibility

While in the locker room of the gym this morning I couldn't help but to overhear the heated comments on a news program that was playing on the television mounted in the room. It was the usual blather from political hopefuls who were taking jabs at each other on the question of whether or not they were "Pro-Life."

I've had enough of the Pro-Life / Pro-Choice rhethoric. I would like to propose a sensible middle ground: Pro-Responsibility.

This means both the man and the woman accept responsibility for their choices and their actions.
This means they both act responsibly long before there is any possibility of conception.

Acting responsibly means not allowing sexual intercourse to be a substitute for self-esteem.

It means both parties are responsible for using appropriate and effective birth control if they choose to engage in sexual intercourse and prefer not to have a pregnancy as a result.

It means means that the choice to become pregnant is followed by acting responsibly during pregnancy (e.g., eating appropriately, getting proper medical care, not doing drugs or drinking alcohol).

It means that the choice to be a parent is followed by acting responsibly for raising the child to become a valued and productive member of society.

It still allows for a woman to choose to have an abortion if she is not ready to act responsibly as a parent.

It also allows for a woman to choose to give her child up for adoption.

And ultimately it allows for both men and women to choose abstinence or other appropriate methods of birth control.

It seems that the self-designated "Pro-Lifers" believe that the self-designated "Pro-Choicers" are "Pro-Death." Somehow the Pro-Lifers get so wrapped up in their anti-abortion campaigns and rhetoric that they forget about the number of children born into harsh circumstances: Children born with fetal alcoholism, children born into squalor, children born into a financially stable yet dysfunctional family — None of these is the "life" that so many "Pro-Lifers" ever consider.

Unfortunately, I haven't met too many "Pro-Choicers" who have much to brag about, either. They get so focused on a woman's right to choose abortion that they forget about a woman's right to choose to not have sex in the first place, to say nothing of a man's responsibility to choose to use birth control. They also forget about a woman's right to choose to bring a pregnancy to term.

The problems of single-parenthood, random sexual intercourse, teenage pregnancy, welfare mothers, at-risk children, crack-addicted babies, child abuse, and everything else will not be solved by protests at abortion clinics or by legislation for or against abortion. The problems are bigger than any slogan or sound bite.

I think the best place we can begin is to start with finding middle ground in the concept of Responsibility: Responsible choices, Responsible actions, and Responsible in the outcomes.

Of course, if you want responsible adults, you have to start by creating responsible teens. And if you want responsible teens then you have to start by creating responsible children.

Yes, we're certainly starting behind the mark on this one, but we have to start somewhere. And if we start now, we might have this battle against irresponsible choices and lack of accountability solved in about 6 generations.