Monday, May 21, 2018

An Old Gray Mare goes to the Passport Office

   My passport expires in less than a year.  My son, who works for  the State Department, will be ricocheting from Korea to Niger this fall.  For the uninitiated, Niger (rhymes with Pierre) is a landlocked country, surrounded by the terrorist rich countries of Libya, Algeria, Mali, Chad and Nigeria.  The Lonely Planet reports, "Niger rarely makes waves in the international consciousness, and when it does it's invariably for all the wrong reasons: coups, rebellions and famines."  They add that it is full of warm hearted people.  The average temperature is 120 degrees, so I imagine it isn't just their hearts that are warm.  
   I have been to East Africa.  I don't know that I want to go to Niger.  But I do want to see my grandchildren, currently 2 and 3 years old.  So it was off to the Passport office.  Before the hassled passport man took my picture, he advised me to button up.  I was displaying age spots, not cleavage.  Then he suggested I fix my collar.  I fumbled around with it.  A nice Hispanic lady fixed it for me.  I sighed and said, "It takes a village." The passport man smirked and said "makeup?"

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Kingdom for a BandAid

                                         "Doughboy" ©2004 Cindy Packard Richmond

Why are bandaids so damned hard to open?  I understand the need for a sterilized product, but my God.... Who has the finesse to pry apart the 3/16th of an inch (I just measured ) flap.  I know I don't.  I end up, one-handed (the other is above my head to remove gravity from the equation) ripping the paper with my teeth.  Often I have to tear both sides to release it.   The hydrocolloid film bandages also defy access with a small tip that is tough to unseal.  Once you have one freed, you must apply  numbered transparent layers in the correct order.  Or you have to start all over again.  There used to be a brand that had a red string that enabled easy access.

If I am exasperated, it is because my skin is depressingly thin.  I need to be especially careful as any infection can gallop posthaste to my titanium replacement joints.  This, I have been told, would be very bad.

The mildest scrape will rip an angular flap from my arms.  A sweet dog laid his paw on my arm.  When he withdrew, he pulled up three rectangular flaps. I was bandaged for a month.   Bruises flare up suddenly from the merest bump and become purply-blue blotches.  My father had the same problem, but his was exacerbated by Coumadin.  He couldn't put his hand in a tight pocket without puncturing his skin.  If I weren't so clumsy, my hands wouldn't look as if they'd been beset by an army of angry whittlers.

I have spent a small fortune on bandages.  My advice: buy those with Manuka Honey.  They don't open easily, but once you have wrested one from its sheaf, it stays for days.  The honey works in mysterious ways.  I know this sounds odd, but it's medically approved.  Sort of.  On vacation, I went  to an emergency room for a long tear on my arm that would not heal.  After the doctor bandaged me he sent me to the drugstore for Manuka Honey bandages.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Around the Bend We Go

I have lost hold of my senses.  

I was a Sixties Girl.  Rock and Roll forever.  When Disco slid onto the scene, I believed it a sacrilege.  Whiney, chirpy, and flashy....  It didn't help that disco balls and strobe lighting were a certain segue to 3 day migraines.  I hoped Disco was just a fad which would sink in the mire of its own glitz.  But it went on for years!

This week I heard the BeeGees "Night Fever" and found myself humming happily.  What happened in the intervening decades to prompt such a response?

I'm turning 70 soon.  And you know what they say, 'Seventy is the new Eighty.'

Monday, January 22, 2018

Vacation Home Fun

                                  Photo by Susan Makara  2009

I have been known to complain about the endless maintenance of a Victorian summer home.  Usually I am outside scraping the stairs or the porch.  (My family is strongly against my wielding a paint brush inside.  Which is odd, as I am a painter.  I will say their opinion is justified. )
  In 2009, the soaring stairway wall need to be painted.  My husband was the hero.  I just provided the ballast.

Susan Makara the joined in and painted the magnificent wall mural at the top of the stairs.  She used house paint and completed it in 18 hours.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mother's Little Helpers

      "Mother's Little Helpers #4" ©2018 Cindy Packard Richmond

Our gene pool is our future, we are all doomed.  I accept that no one gets out alive.  What concerns me is the quality of this rush to the finish.  I expect the road to be rutted  and ripe with unexpected disasters.  I have already had a colorful medical history.  If I follow my parents lead, I can spin the wheel between strokes, Alzheimer's and cardiac arrest.  My grandparents had what my father termed "old people's cancer".   I accepted that as an accurate diagnosis for many years.

My eye doctor repeatedly asks if my mother, an artist, had glaucoma.  I have no idea. My brothers are no help.  The doctor seems to feel I am ripe for it.  I took the test today and I think I failed.  You stare at a spot and click a button every time you see a light flash to the side.  There were several stretches where I saw no flashes.   This can not be good.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Another Christmas Is Upon Us

   When in doubt, follow George Booth's cartoon advice: "write about dogs."  Christmas is the time of dog drama at our house.  A few years ago I hosted an unhappy holiday event with 17 dinner guests and 5  dogs, none of them mine.  I love all of them individually.  They were were all familiar with our house.  Apparently there were some turf issues.  It was Crips vs Bloods vs the small Pit.  There was much gnashing teeth, blood and subsequent vet bills.  All that happened before the guests arrived.  The dogs were dragged to separate bedrooms.  Five frustrated hounds, howling, itching to renew the hostilities.  Polite conversation was lost to the cacophony.

   My daughter's pit rescue, Rosie,  has a sweet countenance and a few neuroses.   Two years ago, we went out to dinner on Christmas Eve.  We returned to shredded wood and wall board.  She had tried to tunnel out the front door.  Last summer she was with us for ten days.  She destroyed the wood around the backdoor.  And made another attempt at the front door.  We have learned our lesson.  We do not leave her alone.

   We are down to one dog this Christmas, Rosie.  Happy Chewing to one and all!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


                                    "Meditation" ©2017 Cindy Packard Richmond

     An artist asked me when did I start practicing Mindfulness.  I was surprised by the implication that everyone is mindful, the question being not 'if' but 'when' .
    I no longer meditate.  Every time I try my mind skitters off into mine fields of anxiety.  I know, I know, all the more reason for me to meditate.
    My son's family in Seoul is 30 miles away from Kim Jung Un's banks of munitions.  The State Department says they have plans to remove the 230,000 American personnel and their 100,000 dependents in Kim Jung Un's target zone.  It beggars belief.
  Still, I try to be mindful of my good fortune.  After prolonged pause, I told the artist what I had read years ago in the New Yorker.  Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller were at a ritzy cocktail party on Fisher Island.  Vonnegut asked Heller, "Does it bother you that our host makes more in one day than all your royalties for Catch 22?  Heller said, no, because I have something he will never have.  Vonnegut said, what's that?  Heller answered "Enough"
     I have enough.  And I am deeply mindful of it.