Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
April 7th, 2014


Change! I feel truly blessed to be doing as well as I am at 90 but, even so, change is very challenging to old folks. Everyone seems to agree that providing me with a bathroom on the first floor is a good idea. But we have lived here over 50 years and with 7 kids one bathroom upstairs always seemed to be enough. And I get lots of exercise going up and down stairs. After all, Betty White says her old house with the stairs is what keeps her so spry. True, mine are rather steep stairs and there is a big old metal steam radiator right at the bottom. Falling down them would not be a good idea. (Bumpity bumpity bump CRASH!) The proposed bathroom would be in the little room now used as my computer room and which I made into a kind of walk-in closet years ago with shelves and rods and many, many clothes. Even though I almost never buy clothes they seem to accumulate (because they still fit and people buy them as gifts) and I have lots more than I’ll ever need. Every cranny and nook in this old house (built in 1870) is occupied with STUFF, and I have long felt I needed to get rid of a lot of it but, you know, that requires DECISIONS and parting with things that may SOMEDAY come in handy. So, it is, in a way, good to have the impetus of an upcoming incoming bathroom. Sonny says everything has to come down right to the lathes and there will be plumbers and all that.

On top of which (!) the living room ceiling has to come down. Early this year we had a furnace failure (the automatic water cut-off valve didn’t cut off and every radiator was dripping with water coming through the downstairs ceiling and pouring out in the basement. That same son managed to stem the tide and the living room ceiling which was bad before is really pleading for help. So, ceiling has to come down, walls, too, right down to the lathes, and, of course, everything has to be moved. (Where? Good question!) Just the thought of it is overwhelming! Two rooms to be gutted and re-done. Two rooms of furniture to be moved. To where? The other rooms, of course. Thank God I have five of them!

Now I must give credit where credit is due. Sonny is very good at planning and executing plans. He is quite able to handle such a situation. He does good work and has good taste. He loves his Mommy and I dearly love him. God willing I will survive this upheaval and reap the benefits down the line. I am trying to get a head start and sort and move and plan where everything will go while the work is going on. The trouble is EVERYTHING WILL BE SOMEPLACE ELSE. Not where it has always been. Will I remember where things were put?

I know. I am a blessed woman. Thank you, God. What does it really matter if something of mine gets moved from here to there for a week or a month? The internet is awash with warnings of a third world war, economic collapse, a government coup, of global cooking, of rampant sexual excesses, racial unrest, increasing drug addiction and suicides. For each day of relative peace I should be so grateful. And I am. A blood moon is predicted for April 15, coinciding with Passover—-interesting astronomical occurrence or Biblical sign?

The times they are a-changing.

January 27th, 2014


I am so blessed!

The MRI of my head turned out to be normal for age.  I really thought it would be, but there was still an anxiousness that comes with any sort of testing.  Being claustrophobic. I think I was more anxious about the test itself than the results of the testing.    It has been a trying month, overall, with people driving me here and there,  the water heater needing replacement, the freezing polar vortex  and two snowstorms, all in the middle of the holidays! I feel as if I’ve been through the wringer (who knows what a wringer is nowadays?). As if I’m being hollowed out – like I’m flotsam and jetsam – like its time to get off the merry-go-round and settle down – if it’s possible to settle down when you’re wobbly with a cane!

And yet, in the midst of it all, aside from gratefulness for such health as I have, there is an immense thankfulness for the family that I have.  The kids grow up, move away, live their own lives, beyond my watch. When we meet again it’s like discovering a new person. They get funny ideas and you can’t imagine how they got that way. But you discover kind hearts. It’s strange to be on the receiving end of the tender loving care. Each one has been there for me, stopping in to see how I’m doing, calling, bringing food,  taking me for the CAT scan, the physical therapy, etc, etc, right up to last night when Mary took her Xanax-drugged Mommy for the MRI scan, then brought her home and saw her tucked unto bed.  How I love those kids!

Here, Terry and I visit Dr. Mashman who ordered an MRI to rule out acoustic neuroma or a small stroke. Dr.Mashman hired me as secretary to Associated Neurologists in the 1970s.
It took me an hour to get this “selfie” of Dr. M from my email onto my blog. As you can see, I’m a devotee of “good enough.” These old brains can’t take too much strain.

Alas, once I get on an even keel, I see some dental surgery in the near future. Such is life. Thanks be to God who plans all things well.


But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go. — John 21:18





January 23rd, 2014


My first episode of vertigo occurred in 1976 when, out of the blue the world spun around, I could not stand, and I was nauseous. By the time I saw a neurologist (who I just happened to work for) that same day, I was fine. Subsequent episodes occurred over the years, the last of which I wrote about after starting this blog. It is certainly bothersome but not life-threatening.

A few weeks ago a different dysequilibrium started which I described as follows for the benefit of medics and relatives.

Today is January 5, 4 AM, 3 degrees outside, and I am thinking it may be of some value to chronicle the progression of my disease.
About two weeks ago I felt unbalanced on a Monday evening, December 23, and called Jack to say not to pick me up for the prayer vigil the next morning as I was feeling dizzy. The next day I felt better, went to mass at St. Peter’s. Called Annette for her birthday. Christmas morning had breakfast at Martha’s and a bunch came here in the PM, Terry, Sierra, Sage, Jeremy, Susana, Selva, feeling pretty OK. Fell on Dan’s back step Christmas morning striking right forehead, slight bruise and abrasion. December 28 was brutally cold and windy but we picketed and I went inside early for coffee, then we all left early for our monthly lunch at Nicks. Felt OK at Nick’s, ordered usual Capellini Florentine. Went to 7:30 AM mass Sunday morning and felt somewhat unwell but followed mass with Keurig Kahlua coffee and waffle at Peg’s. Monday night again called Jack (Dec 30) saying I would not join them in the morning because of unbalance.

Tuesday afternoon went to Dr. Curry with Dan, had an EKG, referred to neurologist, Dr. Habibi, then CAT scan at Medical Arts on way home which was normal. With Dr. Wirz’s help got appt with Dr. Mashman on January 3, referred to Lisa Dransfield same day for evaluation and physical therapy appointments.

When all of this started I assumed it was a return of my usual benign positional vertigo but it is not. It is an all day thing, not just in morning, no vertiginous eye movements. I only feel OK when lying down. Of course, as all of this was going on, Dan also had to buy a new hot water heater to replace the old one that decided to leak all over the place and plow the snow that decided to descend on the driveway. A very busy time for all.



That’s how it all began. Then January 6 I had the beginning of good old-fashioned vertigo with rotation of the ceiling, a sinking feeling in my stomach, and these symptoms would start if I rolled over onto my left side. At least I knew what to do for vertigo and I printed out a copy of the Epley maneuvers from my post ME AND VERTIGO. I did them once a day for three days at which point the vertigo disappeared and I began to feel more like my usual self.

Dr. Mashman had referred me to Lisa Dransfield in the vestibular therapy department and she provided me with daily balance exercises. Dr. Mashman had  also given me a follow-up appointment and although I was feeling better I was not back to my usual pre-episode self.   He prescribed an MRI of the brain to rule out the possibility of a small stroke, which will take place on January 23.  Being claustrophobic I am not looking forward to 45 minutes enclosed motionless in a noisy tube but I’ve been prescribed alprazolam to take ahead of time to help me cope.  That is where were are now.  I would appreciate prayers, dear friends.

December 24th, 2012


Here I am, half-way to ninety, and I have been confronted by the evidence that in some areas my ignorance is still abysmal!  It all began when sniffling and sneezing started a couple of days ago, properly treated with Cold-Eeze and vitamin C.  I hoped I had nipped it in the bud until yesterday when the coughing set it — a dry cough, persistent and uncontrollable.  I coughed until my ribs hurt and I wet my pants ( several times.)  In the middle of the night I did a wash because I had wet two pajama bottoms and I needed clean ones. Fortunately I had some cough medicine left over from my last cold  nine months ago.  After taking some I managed to sleep awhile but woke up still coughing and wetting.

Time for an SOS email to daughter, Terry, caregiver par excellence, who knows about such things.  It seemed I should buy some sort of pad so I wouldn’t have to keep changing and washing underclothes but it had been some seventy years since I had done such a thing.  What would she recommend?  Would I need, once more, one of those sanitary belts of yesteryear?  What is out there in the feminine hygiene section?

So today is Christmas-eve day and I have given myself the gift of just staying home and taking care of me.  I am loving Fox News.  The Fox News go-to priest just told a beautiful story that just happened yesterday when he visited a dying, cantankerous patient who was remarkably touched by his praying presence.  They are not afraid to wish me Merry Christmas.   I’m watching Fox, still in bed, when Terry appears with 1) cough medicine, 2) Depends, and 3) diapers. Who knew?  They have pull-up diapers for grown people!  I should have guessed it as I knew the kiddies had them.

I read the package info on the Depends:  worry-free odor control, soft, breathable, slip on and off,  do NOT flush.  I put one of them on, just for kicks, out of sheer joy that such a thing is out there for us!  I have not wet it yet and don’t really expect to as my cough is looser and more controllable today.  Who would expect that discovering the very existence of Depends would be considered a Christmas gift?

Several years ago when I talked about the joys and trials of aging, and I wrote about my vertigo, and skin cancer surgery, and all, I wondered if I would let you know when I employed Depends.   Well, I guess I have and I think it is something to be thankful for.  So thank you, Kimberly-Clark, and thank you, Terry.



December 1st, 2012


I was so impressed with Leona Choy’s Christmas 2012 letter that I copied the whole thing onto  my blog! The woman, for heaven’s sake, is 87 years old and she bubbles forth words like a fountain and turns out books, one after another, like it’s no big deal. I am in awe of her literary talent and her productivity.   Her Golden Morning Publishing site is newly updated and actually quite cute!  Leona and I were both friends of blogger Barbara Curtis who died recently at the tender age of 64.   How could one not admire Barbara? The mother of 12, including four children with Downs syndrome, hippie turned Catholic, Montessori teacher, blogger par excellence with thousands of daily hits, a force for Christ, teacher, mother, encourager, — one has only to read the reams of comments after her sudden death to realize she was greatly appreciated in this life. And then there’s me. I just plug along, thankful that I can still blog in my 90th year, well aware that I do a mediocre job but hopeful that in the end I will leave something of me behind to help my progeny understand what made grandma tick.

We seem  to be always comparing ourselves with others.  We want to feel valued and feel we would be valued more if we were smarter, prettier, richer, or did things better than others.   A few days ago I posted “NO ARMS, NO LEGS. NOW WHAT?”  about Joni Eareckson Tada and Nick Vujicic  who live extraordinary lives without the use of arms or legs.  Who would read about them and turn to God and ask “Why not me?” Rather my response to their life stories was more along the lines of “Oh, thank you, God, for my arms and my legs and my seven children and my life thus far.” Thank you, thank you for my many blessings, for the many possible bad things that have not happened to me.

St. Therese of Lisieux was called the Little Flower because she was content to be God’s little flower if that was what God wanted her to be.  Some saints are splashy saints – they levitate, work miracles, have visions, etc., etc.  If you compared them with flowers, they would be giant canna lilies or colorful fragrant roses.  Did Therese fret, “Why not me?”  She was her own kind of saint. Whatever God’s plan was for her, so be it.     She imagined herself a ball that God sometimes played with, and sometimes tossed into a corner and seemed to forget about.  Therese would have said, “Whatever.”  God’s plan was OK with her.   A contemplative nun, St. Therese rarely left her convent and died at the age of 24.  Her fellow nuns considered her unremarkable.  Why then is she one of only three women to be named a Doctor of the Church?  She knew who she was,  the beloved daughter of a great God!

Mother Angelica (who, like me, has had her 89th birthday) is also a contemplative nun who during her active life began the Eternal Word Television Network and became famous as a Catholic teacher and leader.   Today she prays and  has not been capable of much more since her stroke in 2001.  It’s a cinch  she is not wasting time murmuring “Why me?   Why is Dorothy Vining still up and about!”  She knows she out-performed me long ago!

I was in my twenties when I first wrestled with the problem of how God  could be omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning, and yet give us free will. I still find that a puzzle but like philosopher Mortimer Adler, who finally became a Catholic in his 90’s, I am content to call it a mystery and let it go.

“In God I Trust,” is a motto that I have lately come to appreciate.

Let God be God.



August 9th, 2012


I’ve written before about my experiences with Mohs micrographic surgery for skin cancer but since skin cancer is such a common occurence among senior citizens my report may be of help to other old folks. (Yesterday, in the waiting room, there were three old men, one with a bandage on his nose, another on his forehead,and the third on his right arm.) I had had a biopsy of a lesion on my right cheek several weeks ago and it came back with a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. I was told to bring someone with me to drive me home after the surgery since the pressure bandages under my right eye would be likely to obscure my vision. They were right about that!

The doctor first drew a circle about the spot where the biopsy was done, as well as a line indicating the direction for the final sutures.  The nurse injected me with anesthetic, draped my head with a hole to allow the procedure, and turned on a bright light overhead.  Doc then came in and proceded to remove tissue, quite painlessly.  Nurse applied great big pressure bandage and sent me the waiting room to await microscopic exam on the removed tissue.  By this time, my coffee in the waiting room had cooled down and was very welcome.   I had brought food with me but had no appetite for it.

About an hour later I was called back it with the happy information that the edges were clear of cancer and I could be sewn up.  Back to the drape and the lights and more anesthetic and Doc proceded to stitch me up.  All I could feel was a little tugging.  It seemed there were lots of stitches and the final suture line was measured  at 3.5 cm.  More pressure bandages, good-bye, go home, come back in a week for suture removal.

At home I was to strictly limit activites for 24 hours.  Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes each hour for the rest of the day.    “If surgery is performed on head, face, or neck, AVOID STOOPING OR BENDING, AVOID STRAINING WITH BOWEL, MOVEMENTS, SLEEP WITH AN EXTRA PILLOW TO ELEVATE YOUR HEAD.”  I could take Tylenol if needed for pain.  No Ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil, Excedrin or any products containing aspirin.   I did not feel my discomfort needed medication.

After 24 hours remove pressure bandage, wash with gentle soap and water, apply Vaseline and a bandage.  ONLY IF a bloody crust develops over the wound site, add one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to a cup of water and clease the would with this solution.  My surgical site really looked quite messy and bloody, as if blood had oozed from each stitch. and  I was afraid to wash it, fearing it might bleed.  But I did, and it didn’t, and I proceeded with the peroxide solution which helped the appearance considerably.  On with Vaseline and a bandage, and that is where I am right now.

I can finally wear my glasses and see what I’m doing on the computer.  For the time being, I am content with my progress and, God willing, stitches will be out in a week.  Thanks for listening and may your Mohs go as well.












June 4th, 2012


A couple of years ago  I blogged about a prophecy that was given to Ronald Reagan while he was still governor of California.    He was a Christian then and there is no doubt he was serious about his Christianity throughout his presidency.    We are indeed fortunate that Ronald Reagan’s church put together the following video to commemorate his birthday.

They write:   “Unfortunately the war against the evil of liberalism is still alive and well, and we fight it even at Bel Air Presbyterian. The liberal Presbyterians are doing all they can to pervert the church from the inside out. Fortunately the conservative Christians are strong at Bel Air. Ronald Reagan loved Bel Air Presbyterian as I do…Enjoy!”

March 23rd, 2012


8000 to 10,000 are reported to have rallied in Washington DC to protest the unconstitutionality of  Obamacare (HHS mandate)  as three hearings were taking place at the U.S. Supreme Court.


Below is a video from last week promoting the gathering.  I think it’s safe to say the Tea Party has not died, or even weakened.

Tea Party Patriot Jenny Beth Martin on PolitiChicks urges attendance at activities in Washington DC starting Saturday, March 24, on The Road To Repeal of the HHS Mandate (aka Obamacare.)

Starting Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear an unprecedented six hours of arguments over three days on the constitutionality of the controversial and massive health-reform initiative known as the Affordable Care Act.

The law — the first national legislative effort to rein in health-care costs — aims to extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans through an expansion of Medicaid and a provision that people buy health insurance starting in 2014 or face a penalty. Read more.

February 11th, 2012


I am not so old that I can’t become excited by a new idea! I’ve just read Earthing, which has the subtitle The most important health discovery ever?. It may be. Published in 2010, it is written by Clinton Ober,  Stephen Sinatra, M.D., and Martin Zucker.

In 1993 Clint Ober was a very successful businessman in the cable TV business when he became acutely ill with a liver infection which threatened his life and required removal of most of his liver. After a long recovery he realized that he had been owned by his possessions and decided to set himself free. “I want to do something different. Whatever time I have left I want to dedicate it to something worthwhile and with purpose.” He sold his house and business and drove around, looking for purpose. He asked for guidance. Words popped into his mind which he wrote down on a piece of paper: “Become an opposite charge.” The second thing he wrote was, “Status quo is the enemy.” It wasn’t until 1998 that it occurred to him that everyone was wearing shoes which insulated them from the earth. As a cable man he knew that electrical systems have to be grounded — and people were not.

Most people, even in this scientific age, are totally unaware of their bioelectrical nature. Practically no one has the slightest notion of an electrical or energetic connection between his or her body and the Earth. Nobody learns about it in school. So nobody knows that we have largely become disconnected and separated from the Earth.

We are  separated from the earth, which is a “brimming reservoir of energetic free electrons,” by our shoes, by plastic, wood, rubber, asphalt, and height.  We need the kind of skin contact with the earth that previous generations experienced daily.

Earthing remedies an electrical instbility and electron deficiency you never knew you were missing …or needed.

Ober’s research into human grounding yielded little.  As a  cable TV man, with no letters after his name or even a high school education, he could not interest scientists into doing a study.  Eventually cardiologist Stephen Sinatra took an interest in the subject.  Here is Dr. Sinatra:

According to Sinatra there are indications that grounding may:

Prevent inflammation as well as assuage its physical symptoms
Reduce or eliminate chronic pain
Improve sleep
Increase energy
Thin blood and improve blood pressure and flow
Relieve muscle tension and headaches
Lessen hormonal and menstrual symptoms
Dramatically speed healing and prevent bedsores
Reduce or eliminate jet-lag
Protect body against potentially health-disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields (EMF’s)
Accelerate recovery from intense athletic activity; and
Balance the autonomic nervous system (ANS) by decreasing sympathetic, and increasing parasympathetic, nervous activity.

Earthing has caught on big time in the sports world where living with inflammation and injury is a way of life. Simply put, the body is different –and heals much faster–when connected to the Earth.

This is a very young field. The anecdotal stories of patients who have been helped by grounding are impressive. The technical medical explanations of WHY it should promote healing are convincing.

November 5th, 2011


Recently I wrote about having had two skin lesions on my face biopsied with the resultant diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. It turns out that I am fortunate that my Dermatology office has a specialist in Mohs surgery on their staff; I’m told that otherwise I would have to go to Yale — which is not at all handy.

When I went for my consultation I learned that there was a special waiting room for the Mohs patients complete with refreshments, water, coffee, — and I’m hoping there is a refrigerator, too, as we were advised to expect to stay there quite a while and to bring food. The one man in the waiting room had a huge bandage on his nose and was complaining about having been there for five hours already!

Mohs surgery is time consuming because the doctor whittles away at the lesion until they find no more cancer. This requires that each little bit of tissue removed be frozen, sectioned, stained, and studied microscopically until the edges are clear of cancer cells.

I was given four full pages of information telling me what to expect, what to do and not do, wound care, what pain medications not to take (some promote bleeding) and so forth. Upon re-reading I learned for the first time that most lesions require the removal of three layers!

All this is scheduled for Pearl Harbor Day – December 7 – please arrive by 7:45 AM!

I would appreciate your prayers  for me and my doctor. You are invited to start now.

IT IS NOW  DECEMBER 8 and my Mohs surgery was yesterday.  As you can see, I am functioning but my glasses sit tentatively on my nose above the surgical site which is bandaged just under my left eye.    I had been told some one should drive me to the office for the surgery as I’d be leaving with a big pressure bandage and might not be able to see around it.   Daughter Terry was kind enough to take me and we arrived about 7:30 AM, the first ones there.  The office soon filled up with various older persons with noticeable bandages on forehead, nose, cheek, etc.  There was a Keurig coffee machine and an assortment of muffins ready for us.  And a TV.  We also brought our own food because we had been told we could be there a long time and would get hungry.

After Doctor Eickhorst  decided she would work on only one of my two skin cancers during this visit,  the area was injected with an anesthetic which rendered the whole procedure totally painless.  My face was draped, the doctor masked and gloved, bright light shone from above, and doctor removed some tissue.   The nurses applied thick pressure bandages and I was sent back to the waiting room.    There was lively conversation with the other patients, all of whom were quite friendly.  We all were, after all, in the same boat.

After enough time had passed for my tissue specimen to be sectioned, stained, and studied microscopically (the surgeon is also a pathologist) I was called back and told that they needed to remove more tissue, as 80% of the edges of the first specimen were clear but all the cancer had not been removed.   Back to the chair, more anesthesia, more draping and lights and surgery, more pressure bandage, more waiting for the verdict.    This time I was told I could go home  but first came the stitching of the face wound  which took quite awhile.  When I asked how many stitches I had I was told I had a running stitch and not separate stitches.   I haven’t mentioned that photos were taken during this whole procedure for the record.   Another pressure bandage was applied,  and post surgical instructions given.   The bandage had to stay on for at least 24 hours at which point it could be removed, the site washed twice a day and Vaseline applied.  The surgical site should be covered and not be be allowed to grow a hard scab.   Any thing stressful that might cause bleeding was a no-no, including bending, stooping, straining at bowel movement, etc., as well as instructions on how to cope with bleeding and who to call if necessary.  Sleep with head elevated.  Tylenol was recommend for pain.

The first afternoon there was considerable face ache and throbbing and headache for which I took one Tylenol.  Applying a cold compress had been recommended but really wasn’t practical with the hugeness of the bandage.  That night I slept reasonably well all  propped up and did not need further pain medication.   The next day I started to gently pry away the adhesive strips and loosen  the bandage which was off by noon.

Here I am, rather bedraggled, somewhat swollen and bruised, with a wound about 1-1/2 inches long. But feeling pretty good. I had not been in the Mohs department of this Dermatology office before and on the whole not only found them to be competent but kind. An appointment is scheduled for December 14 for removal of stitches. God willing, I’ll be perky by then.