Thursday, July 29, 2010


Have your blood pressure
checked often by a
trained professional and
also yourself!!!
After more than two weeks of guessing, I believe the nurse practitioner at my clinic has figured out the blood pressure problems as "malignant hypertension."

Rather than go into every detail,  those of you who are interested may follow the link. Some of you may be familiar, maybe too familiar, with this kind of hypertension.

This is a sudden turn in my hypertensive state and probably is the cause of some earlier weird sensations such as my previous post, Dizzy as a Dingbat, Drunk as a Skunk. I have scans of my carotid and renal arteries Thursday. The renal artery is suspected to have cholesterol plaques like other arteries. Like other arteries it can be stented. The only danger is I only have one renal artery and kidney after losing one to cancer 15 years ago.

Investing in a home blood pressure
monitor unit is expensive; be
sure you get a unit where the
cuff fits your left or right
arm correctly!!!
After adding a second blood pressure medicine I feel somewhat better today and less apprehensive. No spikes and no burning and stinging so far today.

I was advised to buy a blood pressure monitoring device from a professional medical supply store as the cuff size can be changed. Most box and drugstore units have only one size cuff--medium. I need a small cuff, despite my flabby wings. I just invested $100 in a drugstore model, only to be told I needed another one to get the most accurate readings.

I will probably heed the advice, but when my b.p. was 202/101 on the recently purchased unit, I knew that was too high and got myself to the physician's office. Plus the new top reading you pump the cuff up to is systolic 300. OUCH!

This diagnosis certainly jump-started my weight loss and better eating resolve. Not Surprisingly I lost 2.5 lbs yesterday. I think the second med may have some diuretic effect. I'm not in favor of diuretics as women seem to abuse them in chasing the magic number on the scale, a very unwise decision for anyone.

As I said, NOT BAD, NOT GOOD, but could be worse. Some my bloggers are facing similar or more serious problems as we age.

Monday, July 26, 2010


The past couple of weeks have been busy with projects. My husband (H)  planned two rather large and somewhat expensive projects, he hoped to have completed before his August 7 birthday.

The largest project was to place a canopy or roof over our front deck which is the entrance to our home. I call it the smoking parlor as this is where H smokes. The weather is uncomfortable summer and winter.
Roof over deck;
completed in 2 days of
excessive heat and humidity.

He purchased a painted white metal insulated roof from a family owned dealer in a nearby town.

July 19 a brother and sister of the family arrived in Arkansas heat about 9 a.m. to begin mounted support structure for the roof. They had a cooler of water bottles.

These people needed more than Weight Watchers for salvation. They were each 150-200 lbs overweight by H's estimates. A third person, the father, arrived shortly thereafter. He was chunky, but by no means was he as hefty as his children.

I started shuffling through my homeowners' insurance about liability for heat stroke of workers on property. After 3 hours (noon) the sister was taken home, too hot. I breathed a slight sigh of relief.

The father/son worked until around 2 p.m. H told them to come as early as they wanted the next day. They and a walk-on employee appeared about 6:30 a.m.(no sister). The job was complete around 2 p.m.

Shelly paid them; they departed; I breathed a sigh of relief and re-filed my home-owner's policy in the safe. I nearly had a heat stroke worrying about them. I should have filed on myself!

 The result looks nice; it adds some pizazz to the house, even though it is quite simply a square white block!

Then Thursday a father/son who were enclosing a porch and building on a bedroom across street, moved over to our shed that Noah delivered in 3000 BC (estimated). This building was all that was on our lot when we bought it. I figure it may have been one of the first buildings in Bull Shoals, probably about 60-75 years old, but, that, too, is an estimate.

Concrete Block Bldg
White "sticks" construction
remnants for Monday's
garbage or other pickup
It is a very old concrete block building originally intended as a one room cabin w/single car garage. The mortar technique reminds me of sodding log cabins. The windows were framed in but had plastic over the openings as did the attic vent.

Inside, a rough concrete floor was laid for about 2/3rds of the building with just ground in the garage area. There was water and septic connections in the intended living area which also had an Asphalt Impregnated Fiber Board ceiling--no doubt an hazardous material which we have not disturbed.

There was a single door entrance with a home-made "dogie door for the water hose to exit the building from a standpipe hydrant which was plumbed to an old time washroom sink.

The garage door was two wooden home-made misfitting garage doors with a simply hasp lock which were rebuilt twice. About a year ago we installed a modern single car garage door with electric powered lift.

The roof was very old corrugated tin which remained in place for the 30 years we have lived here.

However, H decided to shingle it. All that was really needed was remove the tin, mend sheathing, add drip edge/flashing a few places, apply tar paper (roofing felt) and shingles. No vent was needed so it was a fairly simple job completed in 1-1/2 days.

Green Bell Pepper is 6.5" long
as predicted on pot label;
Orange Bell Pepper is about
2 inches. No further info
is currently  available.
Meanwhile master gardener H is harvesting his produce. The green bell pepper is 6-1/2" long; the orange bell pepper must be midget size. The two sweet peppers make a curious pair in a photo! He has plenty of small Juliette and Roma tomatoes, a few larger tomatoes and smattering of green beans-no mess yet.

As I was taking photos of these activities, I came across an interesting flower in an old flower bed. I am unsure if it is weed or something I have forgotten.

Unknown plant or weed;
leaves show are the
dominant leaf.
I appears to be a cross between mums, marigolds and/or dandelions. There are two kinds of leaves sprouting from a very dried looking stem. One leaf type reminds me of mums, but the other more dominant, plentiful leaf does not remind me of any of the flowers mentioned. The bunch in the photo are ALL attached to a seemingly dead stalk you can see at the top of one photo.

Hope some of you can help me identify.
See mixture of leaves.
The plant clump appears
to be attached to the larger
perpendicular "dead" stick but may
be a part of both two larger sticks.
The mum-like leaves are much
lower on sticks, and the dominant
leaves and flowers are at the end
of the apparent dead stems.

The entire clump of weeds and flowers
To complete the week we carried our housekeeper and a neighbor to Mt. Vernon, MO to transport a car she bought that needed repair. She is a deserving person who lives by her wits on Social Security, and whatever she can do.

She volunteers time to many charities, especially those involving animals. She organized a Volunteer Spay and Neuter Clinic in consortium with such a clinic in Izard Co. The charges are very reasonable. Her group SOLD OUT two clinics and anticipate have 4 clinics in 2011.

However, the trip was hard on H and me. We did not make it to church. But we at least helped someone worthy. As I see it all "counts."

But it seemed the trip provoked another episode of my weird high blood pressure. Thank goodness! I currently have tablets to use before I call the ambulance anymore. I am experimenting omitting some of my meds for short periods of time.

However, I have qualms about going to Springfield for three days by myself.

[Looks like Blogger In Draft is daffy again. I cannot change size of my photos more than once. Oh well, if they are interesting, hopefully y'all will be able to double click on them and get a larger view.]

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


FOR ICE CREAM!  Maybe even Luckie!

I heard this ditty every since I was about 5 years old.

During long forgotten hot and steamy summer days, we endured and waited with great anticipation, the ice cream wagon (truck) daily routes in our neighborhood, selling ice cream cones and novelties for nickels or dimes. Ah! those were the of best memories of care-free summers!!

Purina Frosty Paws,
box of 4 cups, one
of which is in
the blue dish
Today I buy novelties from grocery and convenience stores in boxes with varying quantities from two items to two dozen or more!

This week I was re-stocking my favorite Weight Watcher ice cream novelties, latte or strawberry smoothie bars at 1-2 points ea., when I noticed an intriguing box called Frosty Paws.

Thinking this must be a take on "dog days of summer," I grabbed a package to read its contents.  Amazingly, Purina has developed ice cream cups for dogs, 4/pkg. Ingredients were common to dog foods, like soy and whey. Plus Purina seems to have developed several frozen products for our pampered pals.

Of course, I bought a package home. The fun began when I decided to treat Luckie to a frozen delight from the doggy ice cream shoppe a.k.a. our freezer.

Below is series of photos of Luckie, her reaction, or maybe, lack of reaction.

What is the round white blob
messing up my master's newly
painted deck?

OOPS! It is scooting and sliding
across this deck like a hockey
puck or melting ice cube!

BURP! This stuff was not intended to
be gnawed with my back molars!
Or swallowed whole!

WOW! This frozen stuff rocks, but
I have this pain in my eyes--my
mistress has this pain when she
binges on ice cream. She calls
it 'brain freeze!'

I seem to have a fascination with portable potties. This PortaPot was located where the local Police Auxiliary served pulled pork sandwiches, taco in a bag, and drinks during a recent event in town. I am a member of the auxiliary which is trying to raise funds to buy tornado sirens for our somewhat isolated city. It is a big undertaking fund-wise.

The PortaPot was provided by a local septic tank cleaner.

Hope you can read the one-liner
at the bottom of the label. If
not, or click/double-click
to further enlarge print.

I will be in doctor appointments or out of town much of the next two weeks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Due to reactions to an antibiotic (azithromycin) I have made two trips, consecutive evenings, to ER over the weekend and am confined to very light activity.

Although I apparently used this antibiotic once before, this round was  bad news with spiking systolic pressure above 200 and diastolic pressure above 100.  But the convincing side effect was rare (1 in 1000) spasmodic side effect of burning, stinging sensations with no signs of rash, known as paraesthesia.

So I am behaving, and much better today, blood pressure spiking less spectacularly twice since Sunday and the paraesthesia less intense.

It takes awhile for the drug to clear the body after last dose (Sunday).

There was reason not to take it and I (a retired pharmacist) questioned the pharmacist, whose glib response was it was only for 5 days. That was 5 days too many!!

Unfortunately two other events complicated zeroing in on the culprit, which included an accidental inhalation of an insecticide and use of an OTC cough syrup.

You are your own best advocate!!!

Friday, July 09, 2010


The week began peacefully with our usual church attendance, followed by a surprise from my husband, a meal at Gaston's White River Resort, which has a breakfast buffet Sunday until 2 p.m.

Gaston's is a premier resort, offering a variety of choices in cabin rentals, a well-stocked gift shop, restaurant, small zoo, conference building, small plane day landing strip, river boat rentals, guides, tennis court and other recreational options.

The restaurant sits on the edge of the White River below Bull Shoals Dam; its over-sized windows give an excellent view of flat bottom boats drift fishing for rainbow and brown trout. The full featured menu includes a breakfast buffet on Sunday which in my mind is the best offering on the menu.

Monday was a legal holiday since July 4th was on Sunday, so I accomplished none of my planned weekly assignments.

When Tuesday dawned, the week began a steady downhill trend.  I had appointments to make, but some did not materialize to fit my schedule including my last "in warranty" oil change, etc. on the hybrid SUV , but nevertheless was made for Wednesday..

Plus I had received a letter from my opthamologist to call to make  an appointment for a glaucoma pressure check. to repeat a field of vision test.  The doc is trying to establish if I have glaucoma.

Tuesday I received a call to repeat a previous peripheral vision test; a recent test (my second) did not correlate with the first.

 If you've never had this test, it involves a screen where you look straight ahead and various dots of light appear around the periphery of the screen. You click a device every time you are aware of a light. My hand/eye coordination is not as fast as the lights go.  It is not an uncomfortable test, just annoying.

So I had to make two appointments, one of which extends my schedule into August. They cannot be done together. Grrrr.............

Frustration is beginning to seep into my planning.
Then I drove to an area Farm Supply where I buy dog treats in bulk, some of which are quite small intended for miniature dogs.. Luckie lives for treats, a.k.a. as food in her vocabulary. Since the smallish ones have less calories, she sometimes gets one or two instead of normal sized ones; these seem to  satisfy her "reward" instincts and demands.

Arriving home I sort them by size in various containers, some or which are not empty. I was horrified to find a weevil infestation in some of the containers, despite my Bay Leaf "insecticide."
So I pitched the old hole riddled treats/bay leaves and purchased new bottles of Bay Leaf for the new supply. I HATE weevils despite their alleged "harmless" reputation.

When I lived in Morocco I became acquainted with the  insecticide quality of bay leaves, which were native. It was used by Moroccans in their various flours, cous-cous, and other products prone to weevil infestations, or so I was told.

Since I'm still sore and achy from my fall I skipped exercise class.

Then the Police Auxiliary meeting seemed most disorganized for a major event to start Friday--yeah this Friday is BroStock weekend!

The beginning of a cold/or extreme allergic reaction reared it ugly head. It seemed to intensify when I inhaled a vapor of an insecticide spray used to kill weevils in the trash container.  How stupid can I get. I put on a mask after the first spraying episode.

Then Wednesday I traveled to Harrison for my SUV checkup. Since this was the last  time I could use my original warranty and maintenance agreements, I checked for an add-on policy only to find I would not save any money.

After a brief shopping spree to the Wal-Mart, fueling frustration to a new level..

Now it is Thursday and I called Dr. office for relief--hope she does not want to see me. I just want to stay home all day. Luckily, she did not summon me, but called in an antibiotic for my sore throat. I have plenty of remedies for the remaining symptoms.

Friday and Saturday I volunteered to pull pork for the Memphis BBQ sandwiches to be sold by the Police Auxiliary. This is a 2-hour shift after which I can go home. If some of the pork is not used for sandwiches, whole BBQed chunks will be sold. I hope to get one to freeze. By then I hope frustration as melted into nothingness.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Learning Some New Tricks

I have been spending my "down time" since my fall from grace, hmm, better stated, ban from ladders, I have been learning how to create slideshows on FlickR and ultimately to create some slideshows with a couple of programs at the requests of some friends for various purposes.

I decided to try the web-based slideshow, which is a no brainer in FlickR before launching my free lance career.  FlickR creates the slideshow after you designate the photos to include.

The editing tools are minimal and difficult to use, in my opinion, especially the "Rotate". Since I take pictures in portrait mode more than landscape mode, I frequently use this or similar tool.  I have one photo that's been rotated left and right 270 degrees, 180 degrees, 90 degrees, so much it must be dizzy. 

The photo of a red rose is soft-focus which gives it a dreamy quality. This was not intentional and I will later use it to create some kind of artsy thing in Photoshop. Sometimes you make a mess with macros when you spot meter for focus and light on the wrong spot! Such was the case.......

So the link below is my first effort of some photos you have already seen, for the most part. Click on link here.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


All clear insofar as fractures or broken bones from Cat scans; just a lot of soreness and bruises the size of which I have never seen before now..

I considered making a picture of the humongous bruise but decided it not only was gross, some might consider it obscene, even though it is in an area sweet young bikini clad females regularly expose.

I was in more pain/soreness than Monday, but all in all am functioning, albeit at a snail's pace. I have a weekend + holiday to recoup.