No talking

Those who know me in 3D know how much I love to talk. I can talk for hours. I talk to everyone I meet. Give me the opportunity, and I will talk to a group of people at the drop of a hat. If anyone asks what I’m good at, I will tell them–talking.

That said, the last couple of days have put a dent in my conversations. There is something wrong with my throat, some weird little tickle that pops up when I talk. It has been a great burden. I have to cough to clear the tickle, and if I don’t cough, it feels like I’m chocking. Sometimes it helps to suck on a throat lozenge. Sometimes a few sips of water takes care of the issue. Even better is a cup of hot water with some honey and brandy.

Last night I was a reader in a Maundy Thursday production at our church. Three of us readers sat in the back of the church, with microphones, and read our parts. My part was rather dramatic. I had practiced, and since I hadn’t had a problem with my throat earlier in the day, I headed out to do my part. Just after the first piece, I could feel the tickle. I got a throat lozenge out and sucked mightily. After the second piece, I started coughing. Fortunately, the lady in charge of this production brought me a cup of water. It really was a God-send. That water and the throat lozenges got me through the rest of the evening. I put my heart and soul into concentrating just on my part and didn’t join in on the group recitations. A number of people complimented me afterwards on how much my dramatic reading added to the evening. I could only thank God as I couldn’t have done it on my own.

Resting overnight, and talking very little this morning, I felt fine to head out to the grocery store. We were in need of a few items and I needed to restock my throat lozenge supply. I zipped around the store, picking up items on my list, smiling at other shoppers, all the time doing well. No tickle.

I got into a long checkout line. Another checker opened up so I zipped over to that line and unloaded my groceries. The cashier greeted me and asked about my day. I started talking. The tickle started. I swallowed. I choked back the tickle for as long as I could. I had to cough. But not loudly. The tickle got more persistent. A few more coughs. I paid my bill, took the receipt. The bagger was chattering at me about my day. I normally would have replied, but could only nod my head and hurry to the door.

By the time I was outside, I had to cough–a lot. Tears were streaming down my face. The tickle was maddening. It would not let up. I got my groceries loaded into the car and found my water bottle in the front seat. I sat there for minutes, trying to regain some equilibrium, drinking water, dabbing at my eyes.

Too much talking. I will remain mute the rest of today and see how tomorrow goes. Easter Sunday may find me indoors, at home, away from people who will tempt me to do my favorite thing–talk.

Put a stamp on it

I’m one of those rare throwbacks to another era. A time when people sent letters and cards through the postal service. Although I love technology, and social media is a favorite of mine, I prefer to send special greetings by mail.

To do this, one must buy cards and stationary. I keep a stock of greeting cards at the ready for any occasion. I do need to find a new blank thank you card that makes me happy. Lately I’ve been using blank paper to send those. I also have a large supply of thank you stickers left over from my teaching days. They work nicely to seal the envelope.

Another component that I keep on hand is postage stamps. I usually buy the generic flag stamp as that’s what offered at the grocery store where I can get stamps along with my cereals and produce.


This week I had a stack of Easter cards to mail and really wanted a more “spring-like” stamp for those envelopes. I stopped at a post office, figuring they would have a lovely assortment. They still had Valentine stamps, you know, hearts and love. Not what I had in mind. Then the clerk pulled out these beautiful, very large, Oscar de la Renta designs. Gorgeous colors. Even Mr.
de la Renta was a stamp.


The stamps looked beautiful on my envelopes. I don’t know if the recipients even noticed, or cared, but I was happy.

The bugs are coming, the bugs are coming

Because it has been a very wet year, and few nights of freezing temperatures, the bugs are going to invade with a vengeance this spring. We are seeing them already and a few have made their way into the house. Today I mixed up my bug-deflector oils, soaked cottonballs in the mixture, and placed them in strategic spots around doors and windows.

I use cedar, citronella, tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender oils to keep the critters at bay. I have to refresh the cottonballs every few days, and then once a week or so, I mix a batch that I use in the sprayer for the backyard. That is if I stay vigilant and don’t wait for the mass invasion of bugs before taking action. The key here is to be proactive.

Spring time with the Zodys 

First of all, the weather has not been spring-like. 


But cold and rainy. 

Our small grandchildren had a great time staying with us during their spring break. 


While they had dinner one evening with the other grandparents, Terry and I went downtown to ArtHop, a once a month open house of various venues where local artists show and sell their wares. I met up with the artist who make lavender sachets that look like Frida Kahlo. I got two for the grandchildren and one for me. 


We also ate at a food truck where you can get jackfruit tacos. This is a jackfruit next to my purse. 


We ate carne asada this time, though. 


Although windy and cold on Palm Sunday, the sun was shining. 


I hosted the coffee fellowship. 


Terry stayed home on Sunday due to a bad cold. Can winter just be over!

Depending on your school district, spring break ends/starts today

It’s been a whole week since I last posted because it was spring break this week for my grandchildren. But, not for me.

The grandchildren arrived Sunday evening, delivered by their mother, as they were on spring break. I continued my usual weekly routine because I wasn’t on spring break. My usual routine was blended  into the grandchildren’s visit, and that involved shopping and playing and projects, and lots more laundry. Then there were things like meals and bath times.

The week wrapped up yesterday, school-wise, for me. The other grandma took the grandchildren to dinner and their father arrived. It would be his job to pack them up and get them back home as spring break is ending today. I had a tour at Kearney Mansion this morning so wasn’t here to see them off (or do one final load of their laundry). The small grandchildren were in no hurry to pack up and leave. Terry said they dawdled as long as possible before finally pulling out about 11:30.

Spring break begins today for the local school district. That means I’m off next week. Which is good. I’m tired. The house has been turned topsy-turvy. I sorted out 8 loads of our laundry which had sat all week while I was busy with the grandchildren. There is almost no food left in the house. Terry and I grabbed dinner last night at a food truck while downtown for ArtHop. I made that quick trip while the grandkids had dinner with their Nana, Grampa Don, and dad because I wanted some Frida Kahlo dolls that a local artist had promised to have if I showed up. I’ll show you some pictures in the next post. There is much to be done on spring break, no matter whose it is.

Addendum: Neglected to post that I have been baking cookies along with other tasks. I’m in charge of coffee fellowship on Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, so am making an assortment of cookies. We’ve had Lenten Soup Lunches for the past five weeks, no coffee fellowship, so this will be a nice change of pace.

There are good aspects of aging

Terry and I were discussing aches and pains last night as we got ready for bed.

“Getting older isn’t too great,” Terry said. “It wasn’t like this when we were younger.”

I had to disagree. For me, life these past 7 years in retirement have been so much healthier than when I was younger. I no longer have severe menstrual cramps. My migraines can now be controlled with Imitrex, a drug that hadn’t even been invented in my 20s when the headaches were so excruciating that I missed days of work. The ache in my arthritic knee, caused by a fall in college, is almost nonexistent due to the knowledge of oregano oil’s power to keep the inflammation down. I know why my hands go numb and have a series of exercises to keep that from happening. Changing to a nearly plant-based diet has helped tremendously with any digestive ailments I once had in my younger years. A daily probiotic keeps the colds away that I had when I first started teaching.

I guess I’ve gotten smarter about my body and how to take care of it as I’ve gotten older. Seeing friends around me making poor health choices, and suffering the consequences, really rattled my cage and got me started to eat better, investigate more options, keep moving, and appreciate all that I have. I do know it can all change overnight.

We had a fierce wind storm here last week. Lots of palm fronds blew off the big tree out front. I was able to collect those and pile them next to the garage for Terry to cut up. A limb from the maple fell on the roof, and that took an extra effort. Terry had to bring out the ladder and get on top of the house to get it plus other smaller tree branches that had fallen during the winter. He also cleaned out the patio gutters while he was up there. That is what prompted last night’s conversation about aches and pains. He was wondering how much longer he could do that.

“Oh, you can do it another 20 years, if we stay here that long.”

“I’ll be almost 90 so I don’t think it would be smart to be clamoring around on the roof.”

“You’re limber enough, and if you keep taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to do it.’

I believe in the power of positive thinking. And also the power of daily exercise!

Addendum: Another reason I love being retired, I have time to do things with others, especially early in the mornings. As my dear Readers know, I don’t attend many evening events, but I’m up early to go out, and Wednesday was one of those days. It was the monthly Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation breakfast, and I wanted to hear their guest speaker, Mary Castro, the wife of Fresno State’s president. She has done some remarkable things in her position and she always delivers an inspiring message. Terry does the photos for these meetings, so I got included in one of his pictures:

These ladies at my table were from the American Lung Association and Century 21 Real Estate. The realtor and I had quite the conversation about zip codes of poverty in Fresno and what we are doing to make things a little bit better. After the breakfast I headed to Columbia to do my little bit.

A midweek update

Busy week here but it’s all fun and games. Well, most of it. 

I read this book to first graders:


I made an Easter basket to give to the school receptionist. She’s always helping me with small favors. 


I attended a breakfast where these disposable utensils were used. They cost less than the water and labor that would be used to wash them:


These are growing in my front yard:


A fourth grader had new shoes:


I learned that two of my wonderful first grade teachers whom I’ve known for three years are being moved to other grade levels. I am devastated as I like these ladies so much. Guess it’s not all fun.