Thursday, July 30, 2015

Just Making Conversation

This Cecil the Lion thing puzzles me.  Why is the PETA awe-rolling ardent animal support group going after an obscure dentist (a dentist fa Gawd's sake)? 

The guilty parties are clearly the natives who lured the poor sunuvabitch out of his habitat and into his doom.  And who advertised (presumably) in hunting magazines about the availability of a real lion to shoot?  Those are the guilty parties to me.

This mornings L.A. Times devoted an inordinate amount of space to the fact ((I guess) that our freeways don't match architectural styles!  What you're seeing out of your windows is a mishmash!  The horror!  You go from "natural" hill protection to manmade slide stoppers!  All in a space of perhaps 8 miles when you aren't focused on the traffic around you.  This is an outrage just not to be born!

For those aesthetes traveling such as the 405, for example, this is almost the trigger for a nervous breakdown.

There were strong hints that we need to start making our freeways more unified in their appearance.  This is almost as big a bad idea as the "bullet train to Nowhere" and goes far to explain why California in it's entirety has earned the reputation as "The Land of the Flakes and Nuts."

This would have never flitted across my radar screen had I not see it mentioned in the Daily News, UK --Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn have been together for the past 23 years.  The happy couple are now 79 and 44 respectively.  And Allen is quoted as saying, "I thought it was just a fling."

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Being Funny for 101 Years

Yesterday was a comic named "Professor" Irwin Corey's 101 birthday.  I looked him up only being familiar with his name.  Of note:  he and his wife were married for 70 years!

Now that's a goal!

In other news, the surgeon removed 10 staples from my butt (Richie counted) and my ass didn't fall off, so progress is being made.

However when the PT lady came this afternoon she indicated that she was less than best pleased at my progress.  She issued a series of exercises that are to be done seven times per day.  She got me up on the exercise bike (which I enjoyed) and told me I have to  ride seven times a day.  To my sister in Chicago - look for me around New Year's Day.

Monday, July 27, 2015

In the News


Bobbi Kristina Brown has died, at the ripe old age of 22.  She spent the last six months in a coma, following an ill-fated attempt to emulate her mother who drowned trying to scuba dive in mere inches of bathwater.

Oh, the furor (for Mommie)!   Given the usual media hysteria when a noted person dies, I am expecting front pages re decedent's property and estate except for the fact that all valuables have apparently been recovered by family well before the issuance of the death certificate. 

So let's move on.

California pundits (or those that consider themselves such) are wetting themselves with excitement about the presumed increase to $15/hour minimum wage.  In the resulting exultations, this pertinent fact was not highlighted:  50% of Californians work for our government.  It seems to me that firing 50% of them would be a good start.

Physical therapy resumes this afternoon.  Pray for me now and at the hour of my death ...    (JOKE)

Sunday, July 26, 2015


As I suspected, whined yesterday.

One a brighter note, the Daily Breeze ran my letter on "Grey Water Cocktails" this morning.  Originally ran 7/3/15.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Home Again

Got home yesterday(Friday) around noon when they finally released me.  Surgeon wouldn't let me go until after one more round of physical therapy.  I was three days post-op.

After laboriously making it up the stairs, I couldn't stand up without getting dizzy so I spent the night upstairs in a chair especially rigged so that my hips were positioned above my knees.  Richie wouldn't leave me, so he chaired it, too.  The night passed  uneventfully.

 And so has the day in my chair. Day 5.   I was malnourished and dehydrated (another reason to hate hospitals) so today I have eaten every three hours (semi-solids such as yogurt)  An easily my own weight's worth of water and I still haven't peed.

I mention these details in answer to this Q/A - Isn't a hip replacement easy peasy?  The answer is a RESOUNDING - NO.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Packing For the Hospital

To this day, pregnant women pack a little bag and put it where it's at hand for the dash to the hospital.  I looked at the lists of various items that Moms consider absolutely necessary and I needed exactly none of them.  I did pack three Depends because:  who knows if I'll be able to get out of bed, still somewhat dazed from the anesthetic and then do something stupid like trying to pee out of a window.  Rather not chance it.

Much like pregnant women, elective surgery patients need to pack a bag, too.   I imagine that upscale women bring their own Porthault bed linens, personal scent to spray around the room, boxes of Lady Godiva for visitors and a supply of flower vases for the offerings.

My bag is considerably simpler.  Two changes of clothes (in case I get stuck here for three days, not two;) several paperback books, a sweatshirt as hospital rooms would generally also be useful for hanging sides of beef, make-up and that's about it.

I have given a great deal more thought to this morning's outfit.  Ancient khaki shorts (because they are easy to peel down and pull back up as the nurses check the incision site or do whatever else that requires looking at one's derriere) and a favorite t-shirt that reads "Get Over It!" to cheer my own self.  Plus I have never worn it without it getting a compliment. 
A hospital, for God's sake, should be a slam dunk.

To give Staff a laugh I will be wearing a pair of fluorescent orange "Cheekies" from Victoria's Secret.  I don't think many 75 year old women wear them.  And this is only the second wearing for me.  Lace itches. 

We have to be there at 11:30 a.m. for a surgery presumed to begin at 1 p.m., into Recovery by 3 p.m., out of there by maximum 5 p.m. and then DINNER and a BIG drink of water!

To avoid the  Michelle Obama Memorial cafeteria, Richie will leg it over to Guiliani's for Italian sandwiches.  And so to sleep.  Ready to kick ass tomorrow morning.

Monday, July 20, 2015

24 Hours

Yesterday morning I woke up to sheer terror (about tomorrow's surgery to replace my right hip.)  What if it didn't work?  What if it did work and I broke it somehow?  (And I wasn't even out of bed yet.)  Yes it was a major case of the fantods and purpose tremors.

Today?  Woke up as sunny as a day at the beach.  After all, some 323,000 hip replacements are done annually.  Before you "Ooooh" about that, know that it's nearly double that figure for knee replacements. 

More positives:  I will be on the 2nd floor, not the 4th.  The nursing staff up there is friendly and professional, but the "doctor" who is responsible for all of the patients on 4 is not.  She never showed up after having been called for until hours later.  I got the distinct impression that she loves swanning about on 4, taking her own sweet time to respond.

As I am not a pussy (like her staff) I shrugged and checked myself out AMA (Against Medical Advice) both times.  This did not inspire cozy warmth on the part of the nurses and in retaliation they only removed half of the cardiac leads (which is no big deal.)

Lastly:  because I have had nearly four months on a walker, have done the exercises ordered, am expecting to be able to go home well within the "1 or 2 days post op."

The point of this is - don't succumb to terror (like I did) but instead realize you are going to get much-needed help, pain pills galore and CHEER UP!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

This'n That

This will mean nothing to anyone located in a state that actually gets rain, but today out here in SoCal we are having thunder!  Not that we will get any rain out of it as usual, but the promise of rain is nearly as good as the real deal. 

Yesterday at the intake part of a planned surgery, I was asked a number of questions that made very little or no sense at all.   These really happened:

Q  Do you have spinal bifida?
Me  Er, I think that'd be kind of noticeable ...

Q  Do you chew tobacco?
Me (Looking suitably horrified) What on earth has THAT got to do with hip replacement surgery?
(Questioner shrugged and patted my knee in sympathy.)

2:20 p.m.  It actually rained!  Not for long and not very much but enough to now (3:24 p.m.) permeate the air with that wonderful "just rained" scent.  Very cheering.

As the day progresses, hope to be able to add to the above amusements.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Richie Strikes Again

Daily Breeze, July 17, 2015

Reader Thinks of Enron
when pulling up to pump

Re "Drivers seeing 69 cent gas hike (July 15)

Why, when I pull in to fill up with gas, do I think of Enron?

Richard W. Murphy
Redondo Beach

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In Which Richie's Week (plus 2 Days) is Made

I had an appointment for an echocardiogram yesterday and the tech came out to get me for it.  We didn't talk much as he positioned me where he wanted me on the table and charged up his equipment.

Obviously feeling that he needed to start some kind of chit chat, he said, "So - was that your son out there with you?"

And in rapid succession I thought, "Sweet Jesus, do I look THAT old?  He's just making chat - be nice; he's going to be embarrassed enough..."  So I grinned to show no hard feelings and said, "Nah, that's my husband."  And then I changed the subject as it was obvious that he couldn't think of anything to say.

For the record:  Richie is one year, one month and three weeks younger than I am.   I think the tech just saw his hair and his face didn't register.  That's what I'm telling myself; never mind what you may think!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Will Harper Lee Have "Legs"?

The morning paper headlined some reactions to today's issuance of her second book - 55 years after the first "To Kill a Mockingbird" - which carries on the story of Scout, heroine of that book.   Back in February Barnes and Nobel's top 100 sellers listed it as #1 and it wasn't available to hold in your hands until today July 14, 2015.

And, since Nelle Harper Lee is 89 (born 4-28-1926) and lives in an assisted living facility undermined by being wheelchair bound, deaf, sight impaired  and somewhat confused, it seems extremely unlikely she will write again - unless her lawyer unearths another finished manuscript from the ole safe deposit box.  Sinisterly there is already talk of that.

Curious about the private woman, I searched and found these tidbits.  Her first name is her grandmother's name -- Ellen -- backwards.  She has three older siblings and one sister in particular is praised as being an excellent copy editor.

She and fellow author Truman Capote were lifelong friends; in fact the character "Dill" in Mockingbird WAS Truman.  In turn he featured her as his travel companion in "Murder in Cold Blood" and hi first novel "Other Voices, Other Rooms."  

She left her small Southern town for New York where by day she worked as an airline reservations agent; writing by night.  Such was their awe of her abilities that friends put together a year's living expenses and gave it to her for Christmas telling her she could quit work for a year and just write.  Talk about faith in a writer!

It is widely believed that "Scout" grew up to be a lesbian as was Miss Lee.  I would say that back in those days, "a lesbian" was pretty much an unknown idea more usually described as "Oh, she's just a tomboy - always has been." 

Given the great (deserved) fame of her first book, we shall see what the fate of this one proves to be.  Since reviews have frequently stressed Atticus Finch's change into a racist in his later years and since all of America is seemingly pointing fingers at others and playing "the race card" the eventual outcome will be ... interesting.  But will it sell books? 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Walmart Disappoints.

Part of post-op hip replacement surgery is to ride a stationery bike.  The surgeon's office thoughtfully provided a list of where they can be found.  The first stab at this was a rental place that brings it to your house and then takes it away when you're finished with it for $1 a day.  The one they brought was just the right height for someone 6' 6" and I am 5'5".  Back it went the next day.

Among the listed "buy" sites was Walmart.  Neither one of us has ever been in one, but I think we're all familiar with the "Walmart Shoppers" photos that frequently cross our computer screens.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Google "Walmart Shoppers" and peruse them for as long as you can stand it.  Obese women AND men wearing totally unacceptable clothing - too tight, too revealing, too ...whatever you can think of that is appalling and/or an insult to fashionistas worldwide. 

The Website showed a variety of exercise bikes that are reasonably priced (as opposed to Dick's Sporting Goods which are priced from $500 to $3,300.  I would expect the latter to make beds and load the dishwasher as well.)

Thus Walmart looked pretty good to us.  We set off with anticipatory glee.  "Now don't laugh in their faces," I cautioned Richie, "and for God's sake, don't ask them where they got it ("it" being rude slogans, genital-viewing shorts or breast-baring scanty tops.) 

Since Walmart stores cover sweeping departments, we had to tour around for some time before finding stationery bikes.  We never saw any, uh, "remarkable" clothing.

They had a bike we would have bought if not for the dangling flywheel control band.  But!  Hark!  They had three of this model at the 190th Street store.

Richie went in by himself because carrying an enormous box in a shopping cart and steering me in the transporter chair would have been non-productive, however amusing to passers-by.  Still, I had the customers entering and leaving the store to observe.  And to no avail at all.  Clearly SoCal shoppers are all decent God-fearing people and not the crazed exhibitionalists found in other locales.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Wherein Surgery Begins to Sound Like a Day Spa

Surgery:  Be at hospital at 12 noon on Tuesday, 7/21.

Meanwhile -
Today - Saturday, 7/11  Shop for stationery bike Walmart.  The rental one didn't work out.
Sunday, 7/12 - Respite!  The Jazz Club
Monday, 7/13 - Grab bars, downstairs bathroom, installed
Tuesday,  7/14 - 11:30 a.m. electrocardiogram
Wednesday 7/15 -- 1:45 p.m. blood test
Thurs. 7/16 - quit takingIbuprofen; start using Hibiclens skin cleanser
Fri. 7/17  1:45 p.m.  see surgeon for pre-admittance paper work then take straight to hospital. 

Weekend off

Monday, 7/20 - 8 a.m. Take one Reglan and 1 Xofren with food.
9 a.m. - 2 Tylenol and 1 Oxycontin

8 p.m. 1 Reglan and 1 Zofren
9 p.m. 2 Tylenol and 1 oxycontin

Reglan for heartburn; Zofran for nausea

Tuesday, 7/21 - 12 noon at hospital

Take home:  premeasured doses of injectable Arixtra; take for 14 days.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

"And I Want to Swab Your Navel"

That's what I thought I heard from the orthopedic surgeon's nurse at yesterday's pre-op appointment for a hip replacement.

I was somewhat stunned even thought the navel is closer to the operation site than, say, my left foot.  Still ... it was puzzling ... did they plan to go through my navel to replace the hip? 

So, I said, "Excuse me?  You want to swab my navel?"

She looked startled and then started laughing.  "No!  (clearly not wanting any part of my navel)  I want to swab inside your nose!  We want to make sure you don't have any germs or virus that could affect the surgery internally."

Oh, well, that's rather a different matter!  She did a test swab and packed it away for the lab and then told me that the pharmacy will have an ointment for me to use a.m. and p.m.

They did.  I was busy when we got home (mainly resting up from the stairs here and making my way up them) and didn't look at it until later.  To say I was surprised that it was Mupiricin, an antibiotic I use in lieu of anti-biotic o-t-c ointments is understatement.   I already have a tube!

Still ... it was to be applied to inside-my-nose and not my navel (God only knows what lives there anyhow and I don't want to find out.) 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Letters to the Editor

Richie scored this morning with the first letter to be read in the Daily Breeze.  For those of you who aren't locals, this won't make much sense to you, but - as usual - "He's agin it."?

Header:  Cost of bike path 'folly' on Herondo Street?
Deck:  Critics:  Bike path a roadway to ruin?

Dear Sirs:

From the people that brought you the fountain on Catalina Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway - the bike path (or the Herondo Street folly).  How much will this cost the Redondo Beach tax payer?

Richard W. Murphy
Redondo Beach

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Holiday Report

I had a good 4th yesterday
My neighbors had a good 5th

from the talented pen of writer Jay Simpson

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Norman Rockefelller Americana

A certain block in Redondo Beach will today be exhibiting scenes that would have painter Rockefeller grabbing his easel and chair.

To wit:  a block party on our good friends street.  Their block will be closed for the following - an 11 a.m. kids' parade down the street on their trikes, tiny bikes and wagons all decorated by the kids who, if memory serves, last year had a flock of little girl princesses in spangled outfits and billowing net skirts.  But that was last year - this year they may all be dressed as mermaids or whatever the latest Disney offering is.  Walt has a lot to answer for.

There will be a great big "Bouncy House" for the hyperactive and the site is a narrow strip of grass with a sand pit, picnic tables, benches  and kid-sized play equipment.  In the quaint, but precious phrasing of  Southern Californians these are called "parkettes" and dot the region.

Adults will group and regroup always with a watchful eye on their offspring.  Food will be provided by a taco truck hired especially for the occasion.  Quesadillas for the vegetarians.

In the afternoon, Station 2 will send over fire trucks for the kids to crawl over and explore, along with their parents - no one ever seems to lose their enthusiasm for fire fighting equipment.

All of this is picturesque enough but what makes it "Americana" to me is the fact that our friends, who suggested it and organized it last year and this, are from Great Britain (the Dales) and New Zealand respectively.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Grey Water Cocktails

Southern California has worse drought problems than Northern California and, personally I think it's because it's never very warm there.  Be that as it may and I don't want to hear how hot it was in 1904? 1906? (I wasn't there despite appearances)  because that was the year of the Earthquake and subsequent fires which burned down most of the "city" as it was then.

So never mind the North.  We need to get inventive down here.  To that end, I had what may (or probably may not) be a brainstorm..  To wit:  Dirty Water Cocktails.  These would be simply a variation on what many of us do anyhow --- invite friends and family over for a drink and horsies (hors d'ouevres).  Most guests bring a bottle of wine or a 6-pack of a sensational new beer.  Very nice of them and much appreciated.

But:  what if the guests were encouraged to bring a container of grey water - the residue from the dishwasher, for example - and offered to the host instead?  In nice weather, the party could be held the backyard and each guest could "adopt" a specific plant to water?

This could spur rivalry - "Look at MY poinsettia plant!" and perhaps encourage others to actually MAKE an effort to conserve their own dirty water?

Speaking for Richie and self, we have enough wine left over from other guests to easily hold several of these events and how much does a box of Ritz crackers and a tube of Velveeta cost anyhow?

Yes ... definitely an idea whose time has come...  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Question for "Jeopardy"

And my question is -- and this isn't spur of the moment either - where on earth do the producers find so many morbidly obese women for the show?

Is there a sort of game preservation facility deep in the wilds of the Midwest?  Where the stock is kept on a steady diet of cream puffs a la mode?  Exercise consists of elbow bending?

I have seen (and so have the rest of the viewers) women so big they were wider than the podium they occupied - whose fat encroached on their next door contestant.  The other night I wondered if they were transported to their spot by forklift?

I am not being unnecessarily cruel or catty here.  I assure you the obese know they are.  They may try to be cute about it - t-shirt:  I'm not fat; I'm fluffy!" or as Alexander McQueen Smith tells us about the women of Botswana have "a classical build." 

To both, I retort:  Yeah, right!