Monday, August 31, 2015


Ok, I really don't want to be rude.  I don't want to insult anyone, I don't mean to hurt anyones' feelings....

Public service announcement:

Can we not ask this any more??  This came up again today, and the circumstances were ridiculous and I can not divulge them.  And someone who should know better claimed to not know whether I eat fish or not.  FFS. Not for 3.5 years.

And this is the second most ridiculous thing.  

And it is true.  And that is all.  :)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

chit chatty randomness

I will not probably be posting photos in this post either, but you never know what lies I could be telling you right now.  HA!  I am too lazy to edit photos this evening, and if I am feeling energetic enough I will be kayaking again in the morning and might have more pix.  So I will see what happens in the morning.
Ok, so I lied, photo included

I may kayak Butternut Lake tomorrow morning, early.  Because I can and it is actually supposed to be sunny, unlike today where it stayed cloudy until literally 10 minutes after I got home.  Well shoot, I just checked and it might be cloudy in the am.  sigh.  Whatever.  I am going unless my arm hurts.

Next on the random list of stuff, is I am getting my piano tuned tomorrow for the first time in several years.  The piano hurts my brain and makes my eyeball roll into the back of my head it is so out of tune.  Oy. So YAY for that.

I found a bunch of drawings I did a long time ago behind said piano.....  and some of them are ones that would fit in with my previous blogpost.  So I may photograph and update.  Who knows!  :)

I am also going to try to find a new light fixture for the kitchen, as the one I have works randomly in spite of a new switch that was put in....  and with some humid weather coming it won't work.  It is an aged thing, and I need a consistent light source.  And speaking of the kitchen, I am more than a little irritated that the handle of my new refrigerator is still not tightened properly and that I had to order a new one.  I am usually pretty laid back about things like that, but this bugs me to no end.  Not positive that Sears will get any more of my business.

Today I kayaked on the river, as was hinted at before.  A fisherman, who later apologized, apparently didn't see me and took off like a rocket, which never happens on the river.  The boaters here are so considerate.  I was well behind him, fortunately. Anyway, when I paddled by him later, he offered apologies which I graciously accepted.  He said his son told him about me being there, and he was sort of mortified.  No danger and the waves weren't too bad.  So on this trip, I get down to DeMars Bridge and was really surprised to see a whole lot of floating beer cans in the water.  I managed to fish most of them out of the water and dragged them home with me.  SOMEONE was drinking under the bridge apparently.  Seriously people, throw your litter away!!!  It bugged me a lot, they could have at least just put their cans in the cardboard box they left under there.  sigh
This is a murky photo because I took it through the dry bag.  Two of the 7 or 8 beer cans I fished out of the river....  

So school is starting Tuesday and BLAM- the temperature is supposed to be in the mid to upper 80's all week.  Thank you so very much Mother Nature.  That is just awesome. At least Labor Day will give us 2 four day weeks to sort of ease back into the swing of it all.

I didn't realize that I was edgy about so many little things!  Lol.

Between cleaning out the refrigerator and clearing off the piano, I suddenly have a pile of things to do tomorrow!  But that is ok, I will kayak and enjoy myself first and then see how much I can get finished in the afternoon.  A little fun and then some clutter clearing!  I might have to make a quick trip to the local thrift shop....

Hope your Monday has a little bit of fun and then a mission accomplished. How could the day be more joyful than that?

Back in time

I am going to take a break from my summer musings (and it is possible that I am done with them) to recap a story that I bet the majority of ya all don't even know about me.  Why I am dredging this up I am not sure, other than the fact that I talked about it with a friend of mine in the last couple days and I kind of had forgotten about the whole horrible thing. But the results have been so positive that it seems worth reviewing.  For old time's sake, I suppose.  And it is a story I haven't thought about in so long.... so much complexity to this, but you know how that is.  I'm leaving a lot out.

So the conversation came about because this person had had a sore spot in their back, which really felt like the hip area, but when it was described,  I could pretty safely say that it was most likely a spinal issue.  I want to say for the record, that I am in no way a medical person and know NOTHING.  Do not quote me or make fun of me or hold me up for admiration other than how damn lucky I was to come out so well on the other side.  I was the right person at the right time to have this good of an outcome.  So there is the disclaimer - sit back and enjoy the story.  Or move along to another interwebs site.....  ;)

Anywho, now that the legalities have been covered, this brought up some memories that had been put aside for a long time.  Back in the middle of the 00 decade (is that a thing?  does that make sense?  Let's say around 2004) I had a moment of unwitting stupidity that eventually sent lil ole me into surgery.  I have had back issues, as most/many people do at some point in their life, off and on since college.  Some muscular and some discular - :) They had been fairly minor or short lived for most of the time, but sometime after the kids were grown up a bit - something new occurred.  I actually thought, like my friend, that I had a hip issue.  It was a deep dull pain right where the leg and hip join together in that ball socket.  It just felt like nothing I had had before.  Weird, right?  So the doctor sent me to PT even though they didn't think it was my hip at all, and told me it was most likely a back thing.  Oh CRAP.  I had done PT for my back before with much success.  The nice people before had given me a book with some good yoga type rescue poses for pain, and it worked slick.  Nothing like time and a little exercise.  And a back roll that was my friend and savior, who got accidentally sold with one of the Intrepids, but that is totally beside the point.  (and btw, if I lent my little blue back book to any of you many moons ago, I'd totally be down for getting it back again......  please!)

For some reason, though, this time, the previous exercises didn't help and I ended up with a different set of PT people.  Which was fine, and in fact the things they were having me do were spot on.  It was getting better, the pain was receding and getting back closer to the middle of my back, etc.  And since I was getting stronger, the gave me an exercise ball to do stuff on. ..........  so being of childlike nature, I did my sit-ups like I was supposed to, and then got creative.  Oh if you know me, you will not be surprised by how I would have been laying on my stomach and rolling around on it like a 5 year old.  While watching tv.  Because that is what I did.  Which didn't seem like a big deal, but apparently was.  I woke up in the wee hours of the new day feeling weird and uncomfortable.  Now I was used to the uncomfortable part, as this back thing was something that woke me up a lot.

It occurs to me that I blamed someone's SNORING and a bed that needed replacing on my back woes.  As in I ended up on the couch from the snoring (this was for the better part of a year) and when I was in bed, it was getting pretty soft and mushy.  However I believe at that time I had at least one kid in college and I think 2.  So a new bed had to wait a few years.  And the snoring was eventually solved by me refusing to buy ice cream and chips and bringing anyone food after dinner...... but I digress.

Back to the bathroom, which is where I was when I was trying to figure out what my problem was.  When I attempted to stand, my left foot basically was not having any of it.  Any pressure placed on said tootsie resulted in the most excruciating pain ever I have felt. The benchmark for pain that I measure all else against is my dear second sons delivery, which I will spare you the details of, and that pain smashed the original one out of the park.

I limped into the livingroom, where I ended up on the floor and then was unable to get up.  This is where I called for the MA, who kindly tried to help me back to bed.  But I couldn't get up, which is where I gave the opinion that I need an ambulance, but no, go back to bed....  um.....   Anyway, whilst this discussion was playing out, I felt a pop in my back and the pain was gone, but I could feel a pulsing buzz of electricity through my back and leg.  Did I mention that the pain went well down into my leg before?  It did.  Lucky me.  By the time this was all said and done, my big toe was totally numb.  So yeah, I was back in bed and I actually went to work the next day, I think, but I was not in good shape.  The pain returned in much worse way, not acute but constant and burning and horrible.  Turns out of course that my disc had burst and not only was the pressure of the gel that came out of the inside the disc pushing on my nerve, but it is also caustic.  And so I had chemical burns in there.  Isn't that special?? So for those in the know or who want to know, I believe it was L5/S1 that burst and L4/5 had some displacement/bulging issues. It was ugly whatever the names.  

So, I am not second guessing any doctor, but let's say I found out later that prescribing tylenol with codeine was a bit of an under-reaction to what I felt and experienced.  I tried massage, the chiropractor, and a few other things during that acute pain, and nothing helped.  It was nasty.  I got advice from friends at school and I contacted the Pain Clinic over in Minocqua and THEY have their shit together.  I had a wonderful team of an osteopath, some awesome nurses and the anesthesiologist who hooked me up with some good injections!  Which worked with varied success.  I worked with them from about October through June, when I was chatting with a friend who works in the medical field and she talked about surgery to me. I never ever entertained that notion!  And coincidentally another friend of mine actually HAD back surgery with the same Doc.  So I decided that I needed to go that route.  The surgery route was the next thing that they would be recommended anyway, as the third injection was only a partial success, and it just wasn't going away.

A fun aside- at the pain clinic you had to indicate where your pain was on a line drawing of a person....  and because I am after all like that, I dressed the rest of the body.  First with pens, and eventually more and more elaborate.  And I kept getting these papers every time I went, so I eventually put these people in Halloween costumes, Madrigal costumes, and other clothing I don't even recall right now.  :)  I of course photocopied the papers and spent a goodly amount of time with colored pencils having fun with those drawings.  They were hung up in their office for a long time!  It was a hoot.  I was an entertaining patient I think.

Ok, cut to June, calling Marshfield to get appt., had to endure another MRI (guess what!!!  Debi found out the first time through that she is indeed claustrophobic!  Woo hoo, panic attack time) this time properly medicated, and a few trips down to Marshfield, finding out my doctor was IMPOSSIBLY good looking (that is a whole different story that is pretty funny, best told in person), but he was/is?? the Head of Orthopedics there and very skilled.  I was an easy case I think. Anyway, my MRI matched my symptoms and I had surgery in mid-July.  Something about a lamenectomy and a laminotomy....  And 6 weeks later thought I was feeling so good, which I realized 6 months later how I had not been feeling all that great, but ignorance is bliss.

So did I mention that once I got to the Pain Clinic I was taking goooooood pain pills for like 9 months??  yeah.  It took some work on my part to kick the pill habit after the surgery.  Those pills, wow.  They speak to you.  They want you to figure out a way to get more.  A bad scene indeed.  But I kept a few in my medicine cabinet for in case I needed them, which I did once.  About 2 months after the surgery when I found out standing on cement stairs for 15 minutes yakking with someone was just not a good plan.  At all.  Lots of micro-corrections going on in that little scenario, and that just hurt.

I had so many restrictions during my recovery.  There was a crazy list of things I could and couldn't do and for how long.  I remember not being able to lift a gallon of milk for 3 weeks and not VACUUM for 3 months.  Which is when I started having my dear dear friend clean my house and I haven't looked back!  Even after I could vacuum again.  Oh I also had a back brace which SUCKED more than you can believe, and I used a contoured back pillow when sitting for years!  Apparently nerve heals at a rate of about 1 inch per month.  My big toe was totally  numb, and it indeed did take 2 years for that 24/26 inch length of nerve to heal completely.  But it did!  I have slight residual weakness in my leg/foot, but it is very slight.  whew!

So what is the take away here??  I followed directions and did what I was supposed to.  I exercised and stretched and walked and did what they told me.  I followed those directions to a T, and eventually lost the extra weight they had wanted me to lose as well, but that took a few years.  I have very very few back issues.  Once in a while I feel a twinge and if I do, I know what to do.  And when those things happen, I examine what I have been doing and what I have been omitting from my routine and I put it back in!  Back stuff sucks!

But I am a success story, and this gives me very very much joy!!  But I have to tell you, I am kinda afraid of exercise balls!  :)  Can you blame me??

I would like to point out, that until the previously mentioned elbow thing happened, I had had a good track record for health..... just sayin' :)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Best of the summer- wildlife photos and maybe some not so wild

Whilst perusing the summer photos for these posts I very much enjoyed seeing all the kinda good animal pictures that I got this summer.  I like animal pix, but I don't always have the patience to wait for the critters to stand still or come close or what have you.  A longer lens would be pretty awesome and quite helpful.

Loon on Smith Lake

But because of previously mentioned (to the point of obnoxiousness I am sure) kayak, I have been able to get a little bit closer to those creatures that hang out by navigable bodies of water.  

The Eagle who hangs out on the north side of Butternut Lake

Strange looking deer near Golden, CO (not kayaking but oh well.  Its my blog and I can go off topic if I want)
It took me a while to get the hang of the whole paddling and maneuvering the camera, but I managed.  Getting the dry bag for my DSLR was super helpful, as it is tucked down between my knees and readily available for use!

Early spring Loons with baby

I surprised this deer who was wading in the water on Smith Lake

I saw things that I never would have, because I have control over when I could get out onto the water.  And a lot of the time I was just lucky!

32 turtles, baby (Flambeau River)

The Loons on Smith, apparently doing a male domination ritual.  That was fascinating.
Really lucky!
Juvenile Merganzers (Boulder Junction area)

A very noisy young Eagle over near Boulder Junction
I was thrilled to get this shot, those blue herons are shy and flighty!

Blue heron- they are the reason I decided I need a longer lens!  :D

Mama of the noisy young Eagle as previously shown
So I had lots of good shots from the kayak, but I also found a few interesting things in my own back yard, or there abouts.

Tree toad- a very little tree toad that perched on my door's window

Tree toad that had been on my garage door and fell onto the side of my car!  Not quite so teensy
I have this guy hanging around all the time!  But there are lots of other places that I found sort of not real wild life.

Jac says hi!

This guy is always happy to see me, and the feeling is mutual!!

Mama deer and baby seen near the bike trail
I have a big old spider to add to the mix, but did not stop to shoot (as I had no GUN) the bull snake that was lying across the Tuscobia during my bike ride.  I was too busy shrieking and cursing.  I don't do snakes well at all....
Lookie the little spider I found on the horse bucket.  She's pretty cute

LOVE this guy.
The MA thinks I should try to find the Leopard frog that is lurking about the area but I didn't feel like it.  If he presents himself in the next day or two, I may add him below.  Do not hold your collective breaths.  That little sucker is fast.

Some of my best pictures of the year!  I can't wait to see what else I can get, as my adventures are not done yet.  And that gives me a lot of joy...

The best of the summer- kayaking on the Big Lake

I had some amazing days and nights this summer.  It is hard to choose what the most memorable, but we all know that the kayak was most likely involved.  I loved going on my spontaneous (and provoked- haha) 30 mile bike ride, and going on the bike trails.  Of COURSE I loved seeing my children and grandbabies, and MY FREAKING BIRTHDAY MONTH was so cool.  I covered all the people I got to see and hang out with.....  but "firsts" are always memorable.  And I had several firsts this summer, and certainly the thrill of kayaking on Lake Superior was right up at the top.

Naturally we chose to go up there on safe days- days when the wind was projected to be lighter, and we went in the mornings when the breezes are less likely to be a problem.  And of course sunny mornings are perfect- mostly- for photography.

Yes, putting my feet up on the kayak and paddling and snapping photos was a sick obsession.  Don't judge me!

I want to see this sign again soon, preferably in a car heading towards that round-about
Though the Mad-English teacher and I put on a lot of kayaking miles, we would not consider ourselves "experienced" when it comes to rough water.  In fact, one rough day on a smaller lake put us right in our place - we would have been terrified, but we were too busy paddling like Mad people...

So, like the incredibly smart people we are, we chose to tackle Gitcheegumee while she was calm and snoozing.  And she is just beautiful in repose.  

Paddling up the shoreline and visiting the caves and looking at all the rocks on the bottom made for perfect mornings.  There are little beaches all along the Chequamegon Bay, and we got out at a few of them and filled our pockets with little stones and covered our feet with the sand.

Yeah, I know, again with the feet...

Such a varied terrain along the shore

The marsh area across Hwy 2 from the lake in Ashland
There was a lot of weather that happened in a short time period on both days we went up there.  And lots of good photos to be captured.

LOVE the rocks and cliffs and trees and caves...

And as you can imagine there were moments to be shared with people who weren't even with us.  You know who you are!

When the days were done, we put on over 6 miles.... and replenished our bodies and souls with a trip to Coco's and then later to Bayfield.  Because..... well Coco's and Bayfield.
I will always think of these two trips with great fondness.  It was a time of awe-inspiring beauty and we felt like we were one of the cool kids with the kayaks on the car driving up north, parked in Washburn, and tooling around Bayfield.  Sigh.

I think the Mad-English teacher would agree that these trips, along with the whole Denver experience, are certainly the best times WE spent together this summer.  And since we did a lot of stuff to keep ourselves happy and active and occupied, that is saying something!  
I absolutely can not wait to see what life brings me next summer.  Some of it I have planned, some of it I am hoping for and some of it I can't begin to anticipate I am sure.  And certainly I will find a lot of joy in it.

To all of you who complimented me on my summer activities, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It gives me a smile and some part of the summer pops to mind every time.  Whether recorded by this blog, shared with special friends or just moments that occurred, I had a spectacular time. Not every minute was fun, much was uneventful and even sometimes sad and stressful- but those times make the good ones stand out.  And that is all part of a joyful life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer Memories: Scene 3- It's the People, people!

You know, the thing that really was spectacular about this summer,
Bayfielding with my friends

besides the activities that I ADORED doing, was all the company that I got and the places that I visited.  There are a few of my favorite peeps that I missed out on this summer, but I have great hopes for another time soon.  My friend ,Callen, pops to mind almost first.  I try to get together with him, one of my oldest (as in longest in duration, or years I've known him...... um, yeah, I will stop here while I am ahead) friends once a summer since I hunted him down on Facebook.  I'm still thinking it could happen this fall!

Pedis with Rose and Emily!
And final product!  

Aunties Linda and Ruth, plus uncle Dave.  All my dads siblings- aunt Cathy is off to the side in blue

A few cousins I haven't seen in forever! Rose, Debi, Kurt, Theresa and Karla

I started my summer with some awesome stuff.  Of course the required Bayfield kick off with the Mad Science teacher and the Mad English teacher, followed closely by a visit to my seester-Rose's house.  I invited myself there, since we were planning a lil visit to the south to hangout with my aunties and uncle and cousins.  Not to mention my Jon, Sarah Grace and Ella!!
One of my favorite pix of the summer, and a sad moment for both of us

A quick coffee and visit with Bonnie at Caribou Coffee

Next, I did my fantastic trip to Denver with the Mad-English teacher, where I managed to meet one of my internet friends totally by accident and got to walk and talk and hug my dear dear friend Lori and her adorable girlies.

On the plane

My lovelies - Lori, Bridgid and Brianna.

Hanging out with Leland on my last day in Denver- I seriously covet his selfie stick!  :)

Then there was the best EVER visit up HERE from my friend Cheri in July- SO awesome!!  And in there was a stop at Jon's house again, with a stop at my sister's on the other end of that visit.  And a second Ella encounter in one week.  It was SO amazing.

Stayed the night with Jon and Sarah after picking up Cheri!

Cheri and Debi at the Pixley Dam

Kayaking with Cheri and Adam
In this period of time we were absolutely BLESSED to have the second Mad-Son and our Sarah-Jane and Greggy move up to the great north!  This has been an amazing addition to our lives!

Greggy and Gramma

Sarah and Greggy resting for a moment

The last section of the summer involved a lot of the Mad-English teacher and our quest to kayak all over the north, my sister visited me up here, Jon and Sarah were up here again as well, plus I got to see my former coworker, Jen for the first time in over a year.

Not sure, but I think a certain Jennifer is mocking me!!!  Lol
My sweet friend Jen, who I finally got to see after a year!

School friends, past and present!! Jess, Sheila, Paula, Adam and Jen

Vibrant!  No actual pic of my new friend Keith- sorry!

There were other miscellaneous kayaks with friends, and weddings and bike rides as well, which just added up to a whole lot of good summery times.  My birthday week was chock full of guests and visits and kayaking, which about did me in, but I had a GREAT time!

Rose and Emily at Houghton Falls

Birthday Dinner- the elusive Mike and the equally camera shy MA

I got to see Karen this summer!

Never see this lady enough! Love hanging out with my dear friend Cat.

Kayaking with Annette and Carol- didn't get good shots of them- they are elusive!

Connecting with my friends and family is surely the most joyful part of all...