Sunday, November 23, 2014

KISS A SHEEP

So, I'm sitting here with nipple cream on my lips…..  (The image you have in your mind right now says a lot about you, don't you think?)

I've noticed my body seems to be drying up, as if I've spent a year trudging the Mojave Desert.  I wonder how bad it would be if I wasn't taking that little 'smidge of estrogen replacement every day to allow me to live a normal-ish life?  Here's an aside some of you ladies might be able to identify with:  After my hysterectomy I was thrown immediately into menopause.  I started to have hot flashes that were so frequent I couldn't sleep at night.  My doctor told me to keep track -- I was having a "flash" about every hour 'round the clock.  It would start with chills -- like put on two sweaters type of feeling cold -- then within a minute or two I'd start to feel nauseated and soon was glistening in perspiration and shedding those sweaters, and everything else, to find relief from the heat.  'Round the clock.  No fun.  And exhausting.  My doc prescribed just enough estrogen to keep the hot flashes at bay.  I worry that I shouldn't be taking it, but my risk factors are low and she thinks the sleep cycle interruption is likely a greater health hazard.  I'm going with this plan for now.  I'm taking half of the lowest dose possible every other day and that doesn't stop the flashes completely, but it helps and I'm not constantly disrobing.  Plus, a little HRT keeps one from drying up completely, if you get my drift.

Anyhoo…A few years ago I noticed my skin seemed so much dryer than usual and often a little itchy. I went to the dermatologist and she said it was "age" (I hate that explanation) and environmental effects of winter.  She recommended slathering a goodly portion of Cetaphil lotion all over once a day. It helped! For years I used the lotion version, but here's a tip -- the cream is MUCH better (both available at Costco, the lotion in a two-pack and the cream in big tubs).

Two years ago I started to struggle with a "weepy" eye and occasionally blurring vision after long reading or writing sessions.  At my ophthalmologist visit I learned that in spite of the tears that stream from that eye, the diagnosis was "dry eye" and a bottle of lubricating "tears"was recommended.  So now I dose my eyes as needed.  (I use Systane Ultra, also available at Costco in a multi-pack).

Last winter I was literally in pain with severely chapped lips.  I tried coconut oil from the pantry, bought a bushelful of drugstore lip balms (Carmex and Burt's Bees Hydrating helped best in a losing battle), one of my BFFs gave me a pricey and terrific cream that was the best of the lot, but this year none of those gave me relief when my lips started to flake, crack, and bleed about 3 weeks ago -- when we had that cold, dry spell and my furnace kicked on every day.  I was miserable and a trip to the dermatologist seemed to be in order; I didn't want another chapped lip season like last winter.  But I decided to troll the Internet one more time, looking for a solution that didn't involve a co-pay.

I happened upon a stream of conversation on the topic of "severely chapped lips" (don't you LOVE Google?!?) where people were recommending Lansinoh -- a 100% natural, no preservatives added, "#1 recommended brand by lactation consultants" pure lanolin, used by breastfeeding moms to soothe sore nipples.  The testimonials said within 3 days their severely chapped lips were healed.  I hightailed it to Rite Aid.

Yep, there it was in the baby food/formula/breast pump aisle in a pretty purple tube.  About $12.00 for 1.41 ounces, but when I figured how much I'd spent on worthless lip balms, I decided it was worth it.  I coated my lips every couple of hours.  The first day I didn't see any difference, but it felt soothing.  The second day, I noticed my lips were a bit smoother.  By the third day -- MIRACLE!  Just as promised by the Internet posters, my lips had no more scaly skin, the soreness was relieved, and my lips looked and felt healthy!  I'm continuing the regimen a few times a day and really loading up at night.  (I will have to see if Costco carries it.  You would think I'm getting a Costco kick-back.  I'm not; just trying to pass on the benefit of my research.)

With this nipple cream on board I plan to remain smoochable throughout this winter season.  On Thanksgiving I'm giving thanks for sheep.

At least that's the view from here… ©



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TIME FLIES AND IT'S THANKSGIVING

Hoo-Boy.  I'm suffering a pretty good case of writer's block this month!  I can't believe I haven't written even one blog post until now.  But in fairness to me, I think I've fallen into a Black Hole where time is running at a pace much accelerated than is typical.  (Does that happen in Black Holes?  I don't really have the science down on that, but you get my drift.)  How in the world did it get to be November 19th?  And what happened to October?   At breakfast with a BFF yesterday we agreed that the days seem to fly by in some strange otherworld zone where it's even hard to recall what we did from day to day.  I noticed this happening more and more after I retired just over 4 years ago -- there were no real "markers" for the passing days -- they all sort of look alike in that I get to plan and organize them at my own pace and with activities of my own choosing.  But my friend still works and even she is having trouble hanging on to a sense of order and any ability to "slow" things down enough to understand that a new month is over half gone.  I feel like I'm in a Time Machine traveling at warp speed.

So, anyway, looking at my calendar, I see that (Wow! Already!)  next week is Thanksgiving.  We had our weekly family dinner last night and DIL offered to bring her fabulous homemade pies again this year -- salted carmel apple and pumpkin cheesecake.  I so appreciate that -- one less thing to buy at Costco.  (What?  Me bake???  Nah….)

I'm really a hopeless cook.  I've probably written about this before, but every Thanksgiving I'm reminded how stressful cooking is for me.  Of course everyone knows this by now and to avoid my meltdowns (there have even been tears!) for several years I've had lots of help -- well, let's be honest.  I'm not sure anyone is "helping" me anymore, since so many parts of the meal have been taken on by others.  Typically Hub does the turkey and gravy; Son-Two does the mashed potatoes; I do the stuffing and candied yams and cranberry/orange sauce; someone gets some veggies going (green bean casserole and/or brussel sprouts); I get the rolls in the oven.  Everyone helps dish things up and carry food to the table.  Somehow it all gets done pretty much on time and we sit to eat together in gratitude for my mom -- from whose recipes the entire meal emanates.

I think about my mom every year.  She didn't like cooking either, yet every Thanksgiving or Christmas (she and her sister traded hosting the holidays) she would shop, prep, and cook the entire extravaganza all by herself.  No one pitched in.  She didn't ask for (or demand) any help, seeing it as her job.  And it was all finished on time, all hot to the table, all served on her "good" china on a beautifully set table.  I'm sort of in awe of that.  That's a true talent, if you ask me.

Living so far from our extended families, for years our Thanksgiving was just the four of us -- Hub, me and our kids.  Then Son-One started to bring his girlfriend and her daughter, who his now our lovely DIL and our little Angel.  Next year we will have a new family member when our new granddaughter will be at the table in her high chair.   I like the tradition of family gathering for Thanksgiving.  I love the tradition of everyone helping with the meal.

At least, that's the view from here…. ©