Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Hawaii - The Day Before the Wedding

Friday April 22nd - Continued

We got back from lunch and tried to get the boys to nap, but no luck. Finally we gave up and Sarah and I put on our bathing suits and went into the pool area with the boys. Sarah started feeling queasy and before too long she was sick. We thought maybe she inadvertently had an allergic reaction to something in the fish sauce on a poke bowl. She was basically sick for the rest of the day. She’s better this morning, but still not 100%. I went to the grocery store and got her some Gatorade and saltines.

In the evening Mark, Mary, Blake and Joanne came over with carry out Vietnamese. It was great, and it was nice just chatting with them. The little boys slept much better last night. Kirby slept straight through until 5. Leo woke up at 2 but got in bed with mom and dad and went back to sleep. We’re getting there!

Then in the middle of the night Lee got sick too. He and Sarah are insisting that it must be food poisoning and not a gastrointestinal bug of some sort. They are the ones with the sensitive stomachs, and nobody else is sick.

Saturday April 23rd

I can’t believe it is the day before the wedding! Hopefully everyone that is sick recovers quickly and nobody else gets sick.

Late in the  morning we went to Dan and Kelsey’s “Bites on the Beach” event at Moana Alo Beach Park in Waikiki. Sarah really wanted to go but she wasn’t up to it yet and neither was Lee, but the rest of us went.

They had set up a big tent in a picnic area, and had lots of food too. I met a bunch of Kelsey’s uncles, aunts, and cousins. They were all super nice. I will remember their faces but names are hit and miss. Dan and Kelsey seemed happy and pretty relaxed considering. Erik, Kris and Suzanne took the boys to see the ocean. There was a nice lagoon with no waves. Leo went in up to his waist but Kirby wouldn’t go in the water. He probably just thought it was a giant bathtub!

We thought the boys would fall asleep in the car on the way home, but alas. But Sarah was determined to get them to nap so they would be functional for the rehearsal dinner. And after a lot of screaming and crying they both fell asleep.

The rehearsal dinner was great. The food was wonderful and the venue (Roy's Waikiki) did an excellent job. We met Craig’s parents. Craig’s father does floral arrangements and gave us one he had made especially for us. 

The wines I picked out were nice but in retrospect I wish I had chosen a Sauvignon Blanc instead of a Chardonnay. I was trying to please the maximum number of people, but unless it’s dry I just like Sauvignon Blanc’s better. The Pinot was amazing however. 

There were a collection of Asian appetizers, a dumpling, an egg roll, a grilled shrimp and something else that I forget. I ate the dumpling and the shrimp. I was pacing myself. Then a nice salad. It had pickled radishes on it which I thought were kind of weird but Kirby loved them and he ate everybody’s. Then the main course. I had the butterfish and it was wonderful. Then a bread pudding for dessert. Wow!

Sarah and Lee were feeling much better. They were able to socialize but not eat or drink much at all.

I gave a toast. They say not to embarrass your son, but what fun is that? So I told the story of Daniel losing his soap at summer camp and coming home so dirty that we wouldn’t let him in the house until we hosed him off outside. The object was to show how much he has improved over the years, but Kelsey said he still leaves his dirty dishes on the bedside table, at least sometimes.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Hawaii - The Trip There and the Days Before the Wedding

Thursday April 21 Wedding T-3

Boy it’s been a long time since I’ve done a flight like that. 9 hours. Plus we had a 2 hour delay. We made it though! It was such a long day. The little boys would get restless so one of us would take them for a walk, up and down the isle of the airplane. Lee and I were in Comfort+ so we had a little legroom. They had a hard time sleeping on the plane, until about an hour before we landed. None of the rest of us slept much either.

By the time we got to the Airbnb it was 8 pm here, and the middle of the night in Minnesota. We were mostly in bed by 9-9:30, but of course we started waking up by 3. The little boys were up by 5. We all had oatmeal, some of us had coffee too. Then I went for a run.

I thought I would only run for 30 minutes to an hour, but it was actually very nice out, about 72F and humid, but very breezy, which made it cooler. I ended up going a little over 5 miles, first up the road toward the mountain until it dead ended, and then down along the ocean.

Came back to the house and the boys were playing in the pool and Sarah and Kris went to the grocery store. And it’s only 8:30! 

Friday April 22 Wedding T-2

Yesterday we mostly hung out. Napped, swam, ate, repeat. The boys are tired and confused, but Kirby passed out in front of the TV and we just let him stay there for a good 2 hour nap. Leo tried but he couldn’t fall asleep. Around 3:30 it was time to go over the the hotel to do the wedding rehearsal. This is the first time I’d seen the hotel. It’s beautiful! The coordinator was very organized, walked us through everything we needed to know, lined us up. Then we practiced. First Lee and I, then the groomsmen, and Daniel, then the bridesmaids, then Kirby and Leo, then the flower girl and then Kelsey and her parents. It’s a 50-50 shot whether the boys will make it down the aisle without an adult. We’ll see! They’ll be adorable whatever happens.

We practiced twice and then went back to the house. Suzanne and Kris were making tacos and Daniel and Kelsey came over as well. We had a nice evening sitting out on the patio, eating and talking. By 8 Dan and Kelsey had left and we went to bed.

I slept better but I still started waking up at 2, then 3, then 4, and finally got up at 5. I had some coffee then then went for a run. Just 4 miles, and I felt I was dragging. I’m 13% heat adapted according to my watch anyway!

At 10 Sarah and I had appointments for mani-pedis with Kelsey, 2 of her bridesmaids, and Kelsey’s mom. I got light pink on my fingers and an opalescent light purple on my toes. They both look very nice! If I can keep my fingers from chipping before the wedding it will be a miracle, however.

Then we met Lee, Erik and the boys at Ono seafood. Kirby was asleep in Erik’s arms and looked sweaty and tired. They had spent the morning at the beach.

 We got a variety of poke bowls. Then Mark, Mary, Blake and Joanne showed up! Afterwards the boys got this bright purple sorbet with sprinkles from a nearby stand. It was the most garish ice cream I’ve ever seen! Kirby made a huge mess, of course and declared it “yucky”. Poor guys. 

Daniel had remembered a shave ice stand down the street, so Mark, Blake and I walked down there. I got Daniel’s recomendation, the Obama rainbow with condensed milk on top. I immediately got the worst brain freeze! It was painful but the shave ice was yummy, and I ate it all.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

San Francisco 2022 - Part II

Friday evening, back in San Francisco, we went to Japantown for ramen. We went here several years ago on a visit, before Covid. The ramen place is really great, and very popular. When we put our name on the list they said the wait was 90 minutes, but it actually didn't take that long. While we were waiting we walked around Dario, a typical Japanese "general" store, which means they carry a little bit of almost anything you could possible imagine. Dan and Kelsey bought a couple of ramen bowls and some rice bowls and I found some tapestry needles so I can weave in the yarn ends as I crochet!

On Saturday, March 5th, the plan is to do Section 3 of the Cross City Hiking Trail, the one that does a lot of steps. We stop in the Tenderloin for croissants to eat along the way. Then we take the metro to Forest Hill and away we go, high above the city, lots of steps, gorgeous views. The highest point is a park at the top of Mount Sutro where you have a 360 degree view of San Francisco, almost as high as Twin Peaks. 

Then down we go to see the the tile mosaic steps. Somehow we are lucky and there aren’t a lot of other people on the steps so it’s possible to take lots of pictures. They really are amazing. Up close there are so many little details, but if you stand back a little each flight is a picture of something wonderful, flowers, birds, butterflies, the sun, the moon and stars, even a giant lizard!

Because we gobbled up the croissants on our hike nobody is hungry for lunch. I’m actually worried that I won’t be hungry for dinner but that's not a problem! Lee had found a place called Causewell’s that was supposed to have the best burgers anywhere. We were going to sit inside but when we get there they have massive heaters outside so we put Kelsey close to one of them and we’re fine outside. My tummy is out of sorts so I opt for chicken, risotto and broccoli which hits the spot. I think my tummy was upset because I hadn’t eaten anything except croissants all day! Everyone else had burgers which they said were fine but not spectacular.

On Sunday, March 6th, Kelsey makes us pancakes for breakfast. She is an excellent pancake maker. I have two….and then one more….and then just one more. Thank you Kelsey!

We meet Kelsey’s friend and wander over to the Ferry Building where they are having a maker’s fair. The only booth that really delighted me was one where a woman had made all kinds of flowers, plants and FOOD out of crochet. Her daughter said she had designed them herself. I was so impressed. I should have gotten her card. 

We got some coffee and then went to the entertainment space next to Dan and Kelsey’s apartment building. A band was playing New Orleans music. It was the last day of mardi gras and almost lent. People had beads, and some people were dancing. We sat at a table a little ways off and just chatted and enjoyed the sunshine. Dan & Kelsey pointed out their apartment. You could tell which one it was because of the giant TV in the window. The windows take up two walls in the living room and kitchen. We couldn’t see a tv in anyone else’s window. I wonder where other people put theirs?

We had carry out chinese for dinner. It took a long time to be ready,  1.5 hours. Dan and Kelsey are disappointed in the food. They say its not as good as it used to be. I think it tastes just fine, but then I’m judging against typical midwestern chinese fare, not San Francisco standards.

We’ve had a great visit, but we miss the dogs and its time to go home. I don’t miss the weather however! Back in Minnesota, on Tuesday I run 5 miles and its 19F with a windchill of 4F. And its very very icy on the trail so its back to spikes, and even with the spikes I have to be careful. I was the only runner I saw, but it was kind of late. 

In 6 weeks we’ll be on our way to Hawaii! I can’t wait!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

California 2022 - Carmel-by-the-Sea

In the morning on February 28th, the last day of a short month, a ran a short 3 miles, wearing shorts! Then in the bright and sunny weather we drove south, to Carmel-by-the-Sea. We're staying there for the week, to give Dan and Kelsey a break from having visitors.  We stopped along the way at a sandwich shop that had bahn mi's. We sat outside to eat. They were excellent!

I drove after lunch. The road immediately turned narrow and twisty. Ugh. Pretty views, however, of ocean, dunes, cliffs, and mist. Lots of farmland too. 

Our hotel in Carmel, The Candlelight Inn,  is nothing fancy but clean and quiet. We get settled and then go walk to find coffee and a small grocery store for bananas and more Lara bars, and beer for Lee. We drop our supplies off at the hotel and go walk along the beach. I remember the huge hill to get down there from when we were here before. The tide is out; we walked to the left for awhile and then returned. We took some stairs back to the hotel, a little boardwalk through the dunes. It was very nice until the end when we had to go up a very steep hill. Whew!

Then we sat by the hotel’s fire pit for awhile, until it was time to go to dinner. Carmel is very quiet right now and it was no problem getting reservations, even at very popular restaurants. We chose a place that had Japanese Shaba shabu, Flying Fish Grill. It was great! It’s been a long time since I had this, I’d forgotten how good it was.

On Tuesday, March 1st, we did the 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. We did this years ago when we came to Callifornia with the kids and drove up the coast but I have only the vaguest memory of it. We are only about 10 minutes from the entrance. It costs 11.25 to drive the road, and boy is it spectacular! We stopped at almost all the stops and admired the views, took a few pictures and walked around a little. We stared in awe at the waves, and at the golf course too. There are actually several golf courses there, besides the world famous Pebble Beach. There’s one that’s has several holes right next to the ocean, Spyglass Hill . We saw a couple playing a hole where the fairway seemed to go right over the water. Breathtaking, and intimidating! I can’t play golf, but for some weird reason I like to watch it. 

We ended up at the visitors center right around 11:30 so we stopped at the market and got a Ruben for Lee and soup and a salad for me. There are several sit down restaurants but they are pretty pricey. The food was ok, nothing special.

We finished up the drive and went back to Carmel for the afternoon. Did a lot of being lazy, a little walking around. That night a carry out pizza and watched Biden's State of the Union speech. Its such a strange time in the world, with Ukraine under siege, inflation on the rise, the Republicans tying themselves in knots trying to condemn Putin without offending Trump. I wish we could at least unite ourselves as a country against Russia. It makes me sad.

On Wednesday, March 2nd, I went for a spectacular run along the coast this morning along Scenic Drive. I needed 8 miles so I ran along the coast for two, then ran two miles into Carmel along a residential street, and back. The 1/2 mile down Ocean Ave to the coast is very steep, but the rest wasn’t too bad. So pretty!

Found a late breakfast around the corner after at Pangaea Grill. I got poached eggs with roasted tomatoes, tapenade,  and ciabatta. 

At around noon we walked around Carmel for awhile and then did a couple of wine tastings. The first, at Hahn Winery, was ok, not great. The second, at Blair Winery, was fabulous. I liked almost every single wine, enough that we ended up buying 3 bottles to take back to Dan and Kelsey. Then we walked up the street and had a snack at a little French place, Patisserie Boissiere. We sat outside and I had fruit, Brie and pate, Lee had a roasted artichoke. It all tasted great, and it wasn't too much food either.

On Thursday, March 3, we went to the Monterey aquarium. We saw all the exhibits, and 2 shows as well. The show featuring Luna the otter was especially touching. We wandered through all the exhibits and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It’s a great aquarium if you’ve never been.

Later we ate a late lunch at the same French place as yesterday. I had a cup of French onion soup and a chicken sandwich on brioche that I could only eat 1/2 of. My next crochet kit finally showed up online so I happily crocheted for a couple hours until it was time for dinner 

We had sushi for dinner at Akana. This is an old school traditional sushi restaurant run by a man and his wife. There isn’t even a sign outside; Lee found it online. we got the omicase (chef’s choice). One by one about 10 courses came out, so many good things that normally you can’t find outside Japan. Abalone, mackerel, all very fresh, made in front of us by a nice Japanese man. It was all great. Some things I don’t normally eat but I tried them since it was all so good, such as raw shrimp, fried shrimp head! The tempura was a mix of different veggies and shrimp mixed together in small strings. A lot of the sauces that could only be found in Japan, ginger sauce, garlic sauce. By the last three courses I was really too stuffed to enjoy them. A fish and mushroom soup, his homemade tofu, and a lovely hand roll at the end. I highly recommend this place if you like sushi and are a bit adventurous.

On Friday, March 4th, I ran 4 miles in the hills above Carmel. If I could run here for a month I’d be ready for the San Francisco Marathon and its hills! One more breakfast at Pangaea. This time I had steel cut oats with fruit, pine nuts and steamed milk.

We took highway 1 up the coast back to San Francisco. We have until 4 pm to return the car so we took our time. We stopped in Santa Cruz but the wharf was tacky and VERY windy. The drive to Pescadero Beach was gorgeous. Because of the wind the ocean is in a frenzy of whitecaps and very confused surf! No surfers! Before cutting over to I-280 was hung out in a coffee shop in Half Moon Bay. Its just too windy and cold to hang out on the beach. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

California 2022 - San Francisco Part I

We flew to San Francisco on Thursday February 24th. We dropped the dogs off at Rita’s  (our dog sitter) in the morning, and then took an Uber to the airport. Their care has gotten so complicated as they’ve aged! I had to write out the instructions for their food and medications and she was a little intimidated. But it’s like anything, you do it for a couple days and then it becomes second nature.

We got to the airport pretty early. We really liked our Uber driver. He was smart and interesting and we enjoyed talking to him. The flight was long but uneventful. I spent most of the time watching episodes of Call the Midwife and reading my New Yorkers. I’m impatiently waiting for the next set of instructions to drop online for the afghan I’m making but it hasn’t happened yet.

Dan picked us up at the airport in San Francisco. It’s sunny, but chilly for the next few days, 40’s and 50’s. That first night it was windy too. 

We got to see their new apartment. It’s so pretty and a great design with a lot of nice touches. The fridge is large and built in so it looks like just another cabinet. It has a big island and the living room is roomy, with floor to ceiling windows on two sides.  They have automated shades that startle me every time they go up or down. The guest room is small but they are going to get it redesigned so that the closet is smaller and then it will have more space. It’s in a new building, on the 19th floor, with beautiful views. The only thing is, the building kind of pops and creaks now and then, which is kind of unsettling. It doesn’t sway at least! They are on the 19th floor.

We walked over to the ferry building for a coffee at Blue Bottle. Later we drove over to the Mission for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was very good, but Dan accidentally chose a vegan restaurant! Vegan Mexican, a new concept, at least to us. We didn’t care, it was delicious.

You have to show proof of vaccination to eat in restaurants in San Francisco. I used the Docket app on my phone and it worked great. It’s only available for some states. I’m glad MN has implemented it, it’s very handy.

Friday February 25th.

I wake up early, my body is still on Central Time. No matter, I hadn’t run in 2 days so I decided to go ahead and do my 6 miler today. I wore my normal running outfit for 40 degree weather, but added a running jacket because it was in the low 40’s to start, and windy. The sun was just coming up over the Bay Bridge. I ran to the big hill just past Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can first see the Golden Gate bridge and then turned around and came back. I took my jacket off on the way back.

We decided to do part of the cross city hiking trail today. It was lots of fun! We did Section 2, that started at the Glen Park Bart Station and ended at the Forest Hills Muni station. It went about 3 miles, going from one green space hiking trail to the next, skirting Twin Peaks, with nice views and woodland trails.

We brought Rossi with us. She had never been on Bart before and she was pretty alarmed by the experience. She loved the hike, however. She’s only a year old and has lots of energy, but Dan said it was the longest hike she has been on, so far.

We found out that fares for seniors on Bart and the muni are super cheap, so Lee and I both got Clipper cards (free for seniors) and put $10 on each one. That was way more than we needed but we’ll leave them for Dan and Kelsey to use for their guests, or we can use them the next time we’re in town.

Dan downloaded the map and I had the written instructions which were very clear and easy to follow. It’s the kind of thing I love, like deciphering a puzzle while walking.

When we got to Forest Hills we were all hungry. There was a highly recommended burger place right there so we sat outside in the sunshine and ate hamburgers, and then rode the muni back to the Embarcadero.

We were going to dinner that night with Kelsey’s parents and I realized that my plan to wear a skirt and sandals was highly impractical in 40 degree weather, so I stopped at a Walgreens on the way back to the apartment and got myself some black tights to wear with the skirt. I always seem to have trouble planning for the weather in California!

For dinner we went to a Peruvian restaurant overlooking the bay called La Mar. Turns out Peruvian food is highly influenced by Japan and Mexico, so it was their take on nigiri, ceviche, empanadas and other delicious stuff. Dan and Kelsey ordered us lots of small plates and everything was great. I especially liked their empanadas, made with mushrooms, corn, steak or chicken.

We went back to the apartment after and sat around and talked for awhile. By the time we went to bed it was long after 10 pm. I was really tired and slept right through to 4 am, and then dozed until 5:45.

Saturday February 26

I was tired after running and hiking and walking around a lot yesterday. I did some PT exercises in the morning but that was it. We went to the farmer’s market at the ferry building for breakfast. I got empanada’s (the one's last night were so good!) and everyone else went to the Mexican place. The empanadas were yummy but then I kind of wished I had gotten the Mexican breakfasts instead. 

We went back to the apartment to chill for awhile and listen to the news. It’s all about Ukraine, so very sad. Kelsey went to get the first fitting for her wedding dress. I've seen a picture now. So pretty! I’m starting to get excited. Lee, Dan and I went to get oysters for a late lunch. 

That evening we went to Belota, the Spanish place we tried to go to last year when we didn’t want to sit inside. It was so delicious! We got different tapas and a half chicken, half pork paella. My favorite tapa was the Brussels sprouts that were crunchy and very flavorful. Lee liked the lamb meatballs with lentils best. We also got potatoes, anchovies, and accidentally got a beet dish we didn’t order but since we didn’t have to pay for it nbd.

Sunday February 27

I ran 4 miles in the morning. It was warmer, and very sunny. Then we went to Hong Kong Lounge for dim sum. It was right at 10 when they opened and there was no line, which seemed strange, but it was still as great as always so who knows. By the time we left there was a line. Maybe it was just early for a Sunday.

In the afternoon we went to an exhibit at the Asian Art Museum. It was an interactive art/video/3D exhibit by a group from Tokyo called teamlab. The exhibit was titled Continuity. We got there a little early so first we went into an interactive area where you could decorate an outline of a fish any way you desired. Then they scanned it and it was entered into the exhibit. The fish first "swam" around in the room where they were decorated and then later some of them would appear in the main exhibit. This sounds strange but it was very neat. I decorated a squid with one of my abstract doodle designs. It came out looking like one of Picasso’s ladies, totally by accident!.

Then we entered the exhibit. Beautiful colorful birds, flowers, and fish move on the walls  and floors. You could interact with it. The schools of fish would divide when they encountered you. It you touched a flower the petals might fall, or a butterfly appear.

There was one room that was vertigo inducing. You had to wait in line to get into the room, and then sit down to watch it. It was hard to describe except I kept thinking of LSD experiences in my past, so you get the picture! 

Lee made chicken a La Becca for dinner. Why is this dish called by this name? I thought you'd never ask. When Sarah was very small her friend Becca and her sister Stephanie came to spend the night. Lee made this chicken dish for dinner. Chicken roasted in a tomato sauce and served with lots of french bread to soak of the gravy. When Becca got home she asked her mom and dad, "Why don't YOU ever make something this good?!" And so the name. And yes, it was delicious.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Don't Click on It!

This post is an open letter to a dear family member who has a bad habit of clicking on links in emails from suspicious sources. I thought I’d show you an example of a clever suspicious email that showed up in my inbox today.

Here is the email. The reason the email is tagged as suspicious is that I had already reported it as spam by the time I took this screen shot. The email says that my Norton account has been renewed. First of all, I don’t have a Norton account. But wait! It says I’ve been charge $540.40 for this renewal! Omg! What should I do? Should I call the number in this email? No.

First of all, the English in this email is poor. The email is from an individual, not a Norton business email. It’s spam.

Now, if I was worried at all, I could check my bank account, and our credit cards. If a charge for $540.40 were to somehow show up I’d dispute it and that would be that.

Now this one is a little interesting since there isn’t a link to click in it. What would happen if I called that number? Probably not much, but once they had me on the line they’d try their best to get my personal information. But I’m not going to call it, so too bad for them!

Now what if this email had looked more like it was from a reputable source? Then my question would be, did I initiate this communication? No? Then I shouldn’t click on anything in it until I have verified that it is from a reputable source. How do I do that? Get on the website of the company that I think it might be from, find their customer service number, call it and ask them if they sent the email. Yes? Great, click away, if you want. No? No clicking, report it as spam and go on your merry way.

What if you get an email from a friend that seems a little odd and has a clickable link in it? Feeling uneasy? (You should be). Send them a separate email (not a reply to the one you received) asking them if they sent you an email with a link to ”great ways to lose weight today!” They did? A weird friend, but ok, you can click on it if you want. They didn’t? They’ve been hacked, and now they know, so they can change their password. You report the email as spam, and you’re done.

It’s hard, if you’re basically a trusting person, to become a suspicious user of email. But the basic rule is don’t click on it if you have the slightest doubt about its origins. Do a little research, and then decide if you want to click, or not.

I don’t want to act like I’m above it all, although I’ve gotten better over the years. Maybe 10 years ago, back when I still had a PC, I had Ransomware pop up on my computer. I fell for it and spent a lot of time trying to undo the damage. I think I eventually had to wipe my hard drive clean and start over (it was that or pay), but it was a bitter lesson at the time. 

Scammers are always coming up with new ways to trick us, so we have to stay alert and cautious if we want to continue to enjoy our screens. Good luck!

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Health Topics

I haven't written a blog entry in ages, and mostly its because this is the next topic I need to address, and for a lot of reasons I've been reluctant to tackle it. First of all, there's nothing much wrong with me so no need to worry, but I've got several things going on that at least people that are around my age, more or less, might find interesting. They're things that happen to a lot of us as we age, yet I'm probably not alone in thinking that somehow I would be the exception! Wrong!

First of all I’ve manage to acquire a running injury. It’s my own fault, I felt it but tried to ignore it, until it became something that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I’ve strained my hamstring, by not giving my body enough time to recover after a 5k and that 10k trail race. As my PT says, hamstrings are tricky. I rested it, did a lot of PT, learned some new exercises to strengthen my glutes so that I won't overuse my hamstring. I'm back to running, but pretty slowly, and not a lot. My main goal at this point is to take it easy until mid-March when it will be time to start training for the San Francisco Marathon, in person, finally!

Secondly, over the past few years I’ve started having more and more difficulty with urinary incontinence. It’s one of those things that nobody likes to talk about. I feel embarrassed even writing about it, but I’m SURE I’m not alone. You only have to walk down the incontinence aisle at any grocery or pharmacy to know that it’s a pretty common problem! But I tended to think that only REALLY old men and women had that problem, not relatively "young" seniors like me. 

Last year I went to a pelvic floor therapist and she taught me how to do bladder training, which I did last year. Basically you gradually train your body to hold urine longer, very gradually. I did it over a period of several months and got a lot better. But then I got lazy and gradually things became problematic again. I tried to do the bladder training again, but this time it didn’t work. 

So earlier this fall I went to see a urinary gynecologist. I had no idea there even was such a thing! He diagnosed me with a prolapsed uterus AND bladder, so no wonder I couldn’t hold my pee-pee sometimes! He fitted me with a pessary, a rubber ring that fits inside my vagina and holds my organs in place.  If it sounds a little medieval that’s because they’ve been around in one fashion or another since the 15th century!

I’m gradually getting used to it. On the positive side, it really works. I haven’t had an accident since I got it. On the negative side, it’s no fun to put it in and take it out, and I can’t seem to poop with it in, so I’m taking it out at least once a day. But it really is a minor miracle for me. I've had it now for over 3 months and its transformed my life. I don't have to wear a pad, and I don't have to structure my every activity around the possibility that I might have to pee at any second. 

The third thing is the weirdest, and I guess potentially the most serious. When I had the blood work done for my annual physical my blood glucose levels were elevated and my kidney function has deteriorated somewhat. So my doctor ordered another test, to check my A1C levels, which is the test for diabetes. I was a 6. 5 or lower is normal, 7 is diabetic, so I’m classified as pre-diabetic. But weird, huh? I’m not overweight, in fact I’m about the thinnest I’ve ever been, and that’s without watching what I eat at all. And obviously I get plenty of exercise. My doctor was a little puzzled, said it might be genetic. But there’s no diabetes in my family, I don’t think.

So I googled “thin, fit and pre-diabetic” and came up with something called LADA, latent autoimmune diabetes in adults. I asked my doctor about it and she had me tested for it. I'm using a glucose monitor, and and I've gone to an endocrinologist and a dietician. This may seem like overkill for an A1C of 6, but since I don’t fit the Type 2 diabetes profile, and these results are new, it’s better to get a jump on it. If it was LADA, it’s treated differently than T2 diabetes, since it will slowly over time progress to type 1 as your pancreas quits working. But if I can manage it properly maybe I’ll die of something else before that ever happens! The additional blood work determined that I probably don't have LADA, although they can't say that with 100% certainty, since the tests for it are still being developed.

The endocrinologist basically just wants me to watch it and keep testing my blood glucose levels. I had my A1C tested again at the beginning of the month and it hadn't changed. This might be concerning, since I've also started taking metformin, the standard drug used to lower blood sugar. I'm going to see him again next week, so we'll see what he thinks.

I had my appointment with the dietician last week and that was interesting too. She gave me a lot of information about what foods to eat, and which ones to avoid. I'm not any good at making dramatic changes in my life, so I'm trying to focus on one dietary change at a time. But I seem to really love the things, like carbs and sugar, that aren't good for me, and struggle to find substitutes that soothe my cravings. More healthy protein helps, to a point, and so do smaller amounts of more complex carbs. Its going to be a long journey, though, I can see that right now.

The endocrinologist also said that I should go see a phrenologist about my kidney function, so off I went to yet another specialist. The kidney doc was an old guy with a bow tie, and decades of experience in the field. He asked me all sorts of questions, looking for any possible reason why my kidneys weren't functioning as they should be. He sent me for an ultrasound, which came back normal. And he had me do a disgusting test, where you collect ALL your urine in a jug for 24 hours and then send it off to a lab. I did it, but it was pretty annoying.

The 24 urine collection, however, is the definitive test to check your globular filtration rate, which is the real test of how your kidneys are doing, and after all that, my kidney's are just fine! My creatinine levels are a little high, which is what started this whole thing, but he said that was probably because I've got a lot more muscle mass than your average 69 year old woman, so I fall outside the normal range. 

So. After months of doctors and tests, my hamstring is slowly improving, I'm still pre-diabetic, and my kidneys are probably just fine. But I'm getting old, there's no way to get around that. Our bodies don't last forever, and someday mine will stop functioning, just like everyone else's. Its a strange thought. We somehow can't quite imagine our own death, even though we might try. An even stranger thought is that except for my hamstring, even 20 years ago I wouldn't have had any idea there was anything going on with my blood sugar or my kidney function. I guess I'm glad I know, so I can be proactive, and take care of things, yet at the same time it seems a bit like overkill at this point, since nothing is really wrong, yet. 

As I said earlier in this entry, its quite likely that something else will kill me before my blood sugar or my kidneys get their chance. I guess I'm okay with that. I'm not ready to go just yet. I've got grandchildren to play with, afghans to crochet, more baby quilts to make, at least a few more marathons to run! If I'm anything like my mother I won't want to give up on life until the very last moment. That's ok with me.


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