Category Archives: family

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.

A Week of Wonderful

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— 1 —

I’ll be finishing up the Our Lady of Lourdes novena tomorrow. It’s one I say every year. The darkness of winter around here needs as many reminders of miracles as possible, and there’s certainly no shortage of people for whom to pray.

— 2 —

I just got home from playing with a couple of the sweetest little boys ever – I look forward to Friday nights all week! Tonight we watched come cute songs with animation on YouTube. The very first was “Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee”, which took me straight back to Aaron’s daycare and pre-school years. I can see his sweet face with his little-boy haircut like it was yesterday, even though he’s a grown-up web designer with a baby girl due in 10 weeks or so. He liked the verse about smashing the bumblebee best, of course. Both my boys got my dark sense of humor!

— 3 —

Aaron’s expertise was a huge blessing earlier this week when my blog was hacked. I was beside myself because the hacker had replaced my post (a book review) with his vulgar political one and changed my password so I couldn’t log in. Aaron had set himself up a login for my blog as well as a way to access my entire computer remotely while he was in college, so it was evidently a quick fix for him. I would almost surely have had a stroke without both him and my original blog designer talking me out of my tree!

— 4 —

My younger son, John, performed with his high school’s Jazz Band this week. I wasn’t there, but my husband got great video of John’s performance, and I was incredibly impressed and proud when I watched! It’s a good thing we have a studio in the basement – I think it’s going to see more and more action. They had a guest performer – a member of the Air Force’s Band of the Golden West on baritone sax. If you’ve never seen an Air Force Band perform let me assure you: they really are the best of the best. And this guy loved John. He even high-fived him over the drum set after the song where the baritone sax was featured. That is a #proudmom moment!

— 5 —

While John was performing I was at a surprise party – for me! Three of my closest friends and I met for dinner (as we do periodically), but this time we celebrated me turning fifty (I showed off my celebratory navel ring), being an expectant grandmother, and working with these wonderful ladies for twenty-five years! The company I was working for when I was unable to return to work after my fourth spinal surgery because of constant, severe pain still considers me to be on Medical Leave of Absence, and will do so until I can finally get in front of a judge and be officially declared disabled. This means I can purchase insurance for myself and my family for the same price as if I were still working full-time. It’s hard to believe a company in this day and age could be that compassionate, but they have been. They even gave me a twenty-five year award, which I never would have expected. It was an emotional evening for me.

— 6 —

John got his official admission letter from the University of Louisville, so our next step is applying for housing. We get a discount on that deposit, thank God, but we still need to put together some money to get it done ASAP. I’m wading through possible scholarships and forwarding the best matches to John for application, and we have our fingers crossed we’ll get news soon about a really big one! John’s school counselor has been a huge help – there have been many times I’d have been completely lost without her input and suggestions. Keep us in your prayers, please!

— 7 —

I’ve gotten a little addicted to Hometalk, a daily email with several Pinterest-focused DIY/crafty projects. I’m going to have to stop cold-turkey, though. I was already really over anything that involved empty cans, empty TP rolls, or plastic cups or bottles. Then I saw an “upcycle” where someone had turned a bookshelf into a bar cart. Ponder that for a moment. If someone needs a bar cart more than a bookshelf they need to take a long, hard look at their life and their priorities. I need to take some time and better organize my Pinterest boards anyway. I discovered Pinterest early and never realized how huge it would get, so I have categories with names like “Good Ideas” and “Maybe”. Yikes.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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