All posts by Angie

Growing Up Country

My husband likes to tell people I like both types of music: Country and Western (Blues Brothers reference for any under-fifty readers). He’s fairly accurate, though.

Until I was in Junior High (what they call Middle School today) I had no idea any music besides Country existed. Well, except for what I saw on the Donnie and Marie show and Sonny and Cher. When Donnie sang about being “a little bit Rock and Roll” I just thought that meant he was an Elvis fan. I’m not sure what genre Cher’s music was, but it blended in enough with Tanya Tucker that I didn’t suspect a thing. We didn’t have any albums by Tanya Tucker, whom my mom always referred to as “that slut” for as yet unknown reasons, but I’d heard her on the radio. I figured saying I wanted to grow up to be Cher wouldn’t be a popular comment, either. But who didn’t want to be Cher? Tall, thin, beautiful, with long shining hair and a voice to die for. Instead I got a daughter-in-law who’s more beautiful than Cher and has a better voice. Not even kidding.

The albums in our house (large vinyl discs played on a device with a small needle inside a console the size of a credenza) were many, but not varied. Elvis Presley (my mom’s), Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, and Freddy Fender.  I believe I could sing any song we owned by Loretta, Elvis, or Johnny right now.

Of course you wouldn’t want me to, because I’m completely tone deaf – just like my mom. When I bought my first album (actually it was an 8-track tape, which I will not even try to explain) it was by the Eagles. She sang along and said it was great to jitterbug to. I couldn’t jitterbug if my life depended on it. I didn’t get her dancing ability. Album covers, by the way,  were an art form. Not as much in Country music, but if you still have any albums you love . . . frame the covers. I have this album in my basement awaiting framing:

When the radio was on in the car or truck, or on the tail-gate of the truck if there was work going on, I’d get to hear Olivia Newton-John, Tanya Tucker, Merle Haggard, Jim Stafford (hilarious! – Google him), Charlie Rich, Dolly Parton (I Will Always Love You is her song, not Whitney’s), Tammy Wynette, and even some Johnny Paycheck if I didn’t sing along! I still have this Olivia Newton-John album, and I’ll be singing “Have You Never Been Mellow” when I’m ninety and demented.

Then came Junior High, and my musical world exploded! Queen, Joan Jett, J. Geils Band, The Police, Blondie, Quarterflash, and Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, a song that changed music forever. Watch and see an incredible Rap group who dressed like Mr. Rogers and didn’t swear. The closest things to violence they mentioned were not properly appreciating the food at a friend’s house and stealing Superman’s girlfriend.

Through high school and college I became a fan of Prince (RIP, Purple One), Rush, Vanity Six, Michael Jackson (temporarily), Modern English (Melt With You is still my favorite song), Madonna, Wham, and many others.

When I started work as a nurse in a coronary critical care unit where everyone had at least ten years experience to my ZERO and I was working twelve-hour night shifts, often with residents who knew even less than I did I got through it with The Beatles and Billy Joel. As I drove to work for my third twelve-hour shift in a row I’d always sing along to “I’m So Tired”. On the day I was born The Beatles were in the studio recording “Strawberry Fields” for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s kind of karmic that they were there for me when I needed them.

But I soon drifted back to Country music, with some Tom Petty or music from a favorite musical thrown in. I’ll never give up The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But now I listen to Miranda Lambert, because she’s a bad-ass and honest as hell. Toby Keith – same reason. Just a few notes from a Kenny Chesney song can transport me to the beach, and Aerosmith transcends genre – they are a burst of adrenaline when I’m just about to drop.

What music did you grow up with? Check in with Mama Kat this Thursday – I can’t wait to read everyone’s posts!

Paging Dr. Pinterest

I’m joining in with Mama Kat this week about things I’ve pinned on Pinterest and then ACTUALLY DONE! Yeah, with my Pinterest boards that’s like one in a thousand, because I pin a million different brilliant things and then forget I’ve pinned them. It’s actually supposed to be about crafts and recipes this week, but I’ll have more than enough of those posts to come. These are about health.

I’ve been trying really hard to use my health care dollars more efficiently and to not use antibiotics at all unless I absolutely need them. A month on broad-spectrum antibiotics by mouth and through an IV at home would convince anyone antibiotics are nothing to be taken lightly. Neither are steroids, pain medications, or anti-inflammatories. I’m not a doctor and not trying to diagnose anything or dispense medical advice, but these are all things that were worth a 24 hour trial for me. All worked and saved money, discomfort, and time.

URINARY TRACT INFECTION:

I’m a fifty-year-old woman who has birthed two children. I’ve worked as a nurse for over twenty years, and gone many a twelve-hour shift without stopping to empty my bladder (let alone eat a meal). I know when I have a UTI. So when I called my primary care doctor’s office, told them I had a UTI, listed all my symptoms, and asked to have an antibiotic called in I was insulted to be told I’d have to make an appointment to see the doctor. Really? I was feeling compassionate that day, so I offered to compromise. “How about I come over and pee in a cup for the nurse practitioner?” I asked. Nope, not an option. So I set up an appointment for the next day. Men rarely get UTIs, but if they did you’d better believe their staff would call in prescriptions. Even the most timid would have patients come in immediately and work them in quickly. Dr. Pinterest, on the other hand, suggested a dose of Alka-seltzer 3 times a day until symptoms are relieved. Evidently it changes the pH of the urine and kills off the virus. I cancelled my appointment, and couldn’t help but be a bit smug about it. Anyway, it saved me a co-pay and a prescription I really couldn’t afford and I never had to leave home. YAY!

SORE THROAT:

We’ve had nasty viruses going around this winter, and allergies are still acting up because the weather is so unpredictable here in Kentucky. My husband and youngest son both had sore throats, but did not appear to have Strep. Dr. Pinterest to the rescue! They gargled with mouthwash and peroxide and perked right up. No antibiotics, no long wait and large co-pay at the Immediate Care Center on the weekend.

NOSEBLEED:

This one I learned the hard way (pre-Pinterest). A heavy nosebleed that won’t stop is controlled by Neosynephrine spray in the affected nostril and pressure (thumb and index finger) just where the nostrils divide. I paid $250 for that.

WASP STINGS:

Ground wasps can take over small holes made by moles, chipmunks, and other unappealing creatures. The only way to know they have done so is to mow over or walk over an opening. My husband was allergic to bee stings as a child, so when he came in covered with stings I was frantic. I ran out to see what we were dealing with, and got stung all over. I immediately gave my husband benadryl and made him sit beside me while I hit Pinterest. Soon we were using plastic cards to swipe the stingers out (try them in both directions), and then pressing thick onion slices to each and every sting. We didn’t even swell. Thanks, Pinterest!

HICCUPS:
Here’s my own Pinterest tip: a no-fail cure for hiccups a patient taught to me when I was a young nurse. Hiccups can be quite dangerous for people who have recently had major surgery or who have chronic lung disease.

Why Ash Wednesday Falls When It Does

Ash Wednesday is March 1st this year. For those readers who really don’t care about when Ash Wednesday or Easter fall this year (or any year) this may come in handy someday as cocktail party chatter. For others, It’s a menu-planning guide, a social calendar, and a second chance at behavior modification if that whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing didn’t go so well. There are actually two calculations that are used to create Ash Wednesday.

In 325 A.D. the Council of Nicaea set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the spring equinox. In practice, that means that Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21. Easter can occur as early as March 22. We know that Easter must always occur on a Sunday because Sunday was the day of Christ’s Resurrection. But why the paschal full moon? Because that was the date of Passover in the Jewish calendar, and the Last Supper (Holy Thursday) occurred on the Passover. Therefore, Easter was the Sunday after Passover.

Then there is the length of Lent. From the earliest days of the Church, Christians have desired to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection at Easter through a period of fasting and prayer that mirrors the forty days that Christ spent in the desert at the beginning of His ministry. But there was one little hitch: Because Sunday is the day of Christ’s Resurrection, from the time of the Apostles on fasting has been forbidden on Sunday.

We’ve whittled it down over the years in our culture to mean “no meat on Fridays, and give up something for Lent”. So most people give up sweets, alcohol, TV, or whatever. Then they go to a big fish-fry on Friday nights! Lent is kind of a party season where I live. Every Friday night the lines at all seafood restaurants are out the door, and churches that have fish-frys are bombarded, and the neighbors complain their driveways are blocked.

But Lent isn’t really another chance to give up something bad for you. It’s an opportunity to do penance for your sins. Of course children, the elderly, the ill, and pregnant women are excluded. Since my conversion to Catholicism as an adult I’ve given up something different every year. The hardest year was when I gave up novels. I detest non-fiction. Within a week I was all twitchy and reading shampoo bottles. Seriously. I’d see a novel by an author I liked on a patient’s bedside table and the doctor I was rounding with had to practically drag me out of the room. But I realized how much time I spent reading fiction.

This year I’m pulling out the big guns. I’m fasting for the forty days of Lent. I will take dietary supplements, but I will only consume liquids. I have a lot to atone for this year. Ask anyone. “Sweet Angie” has been in hibernation. I’m being honest, authentic, genuine with everyone. That means no filter. I suspect it comes from being in constant pain that only increases as the years pass. And probably the stress of being a breadwinner who hasn’t won any bread in several years and is thereby only a financial liability to everyone I care about.

So if you want an honest answer about anything I’m the person to ask. Just check with my pharmacy and my primary care doc’s office. Someone dropped the ball, and I really didn’t care who. I just wanted the massive dose of blood pressure medication I’d been without all weekend called in and filled before I had a stroke. I got that accomplished, but not without multiple phone calls and me spending my entire day in bed.

There are wonderful things coming up this spring! My granddaughter will be born in April, my youngest child will graduate high school in May, and sooner or later I’ll get a hearing with a judge and hopefully I won’t have to worry about keeping a roof over our heads or keeping the power and water on!

So when I get ashes Wednesday it will be a symbol of me giving myself over to God. I will fast and I will pray. Pray More Novenas will be sending out a prayer daily if you don’t have one planned. I’ll be praying for my family this year. They are undergoing a lot of change. Positive change, but change nonetheless. And change is stressful. This Lent, make a positive change for yourself!

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