This ash tree started out in 1985 in a five-gallon pot as a housewarming gift. As soon as the leaves begin to drop–in just a day or two– the branches will become bare and I’ll have a LOT of raking to do.
Abscission is the reason why leaves fall. Scientists believe that a reduction in sunlight leads to the reduction of chlorophyll in the leaf due to a reduction in photosynthesis and this may trigger the abscission of leaves. The actual process occurs when the weaker cells near the petiole are pushed off by the stronger cells beneath them.
I’m sure there’s an analogy or parallel to my LIFE but I’ve had a tough week and I’m tired of thinking and not able to direct my brain to untangle the profundities because right now all I want to do is quietly savor the stark, elegantly naked branches.
Like a ship that runs aground because of low tide or unseen rocks or fog or navigational errors, our beautiful heart can be damaged when blood flow is restricted or when it flows unregulated.
I grew up hearing the term, “Stress kills.”
I was never quite sure what that meant, but then I did when it happened to me.
After a seemingly nonstop barrage of a personal stressful situation–like a ship hitting the rocks over and over again–it all finally took an undeniable toll on my physical health.
One of my favorite places to live is in the state of Denial, but I’ve been forced to temporarily move to a new town called Reality. Hopefully, I’ll just visit there for a bit until I can come home again.
After experiencing some intermittent and strangely terrifying heart pains, I went to the doc who took my blood pressure and was concerned about the results. It was super high. I had always had enviably LOW blood pressure since I exercise regularly, am vegan and never smoked, so this raised concerns.
Over the course of a couple weeks, my BP was checked daily and it stayed consistently high; dangerously high, which only made me more anxious and more stressed, and at one of the office visits, I started hyperventilating and had a panic attack. (Super embarrassing for the doc and absolutely mortifying for me.)
This led to an order for an Echocardiogram along with all the other heart-focused tests. The echo was done at a local hospital–a definite trigger. No one wants to go to a hospital at any time, but especially during Covid. It seemed like I was being admitted, with a wrist band and lots of little stickers, and I was devastated.
I almost bolted out of the front door at that point, but I persevered. I can share with you that it’s a scary time when you have to figure out why you don’t feel great. I’ve been a medical advocate for several loved ones, but it’s radically more difficult when you have to care for yourself. Poor me.
The technician was amazing, especially considering I tormented her with a million questions. I know enough about medical stuff to see that she was concentrating on a certain area of my heart. I really appreciated her patience with me and her detailed explanations during the hour-long ordeal.
The results showed a dilated aortic root valve and regurgitation of the mitral valve.
What this means is that the accumulation of stress and panic attacks and PTSD that I’ve endured during the last four years manifested medically and physically and caused structural damage to my heart.
“Severe physical or emotional stress increases blood pressure to the point where the tensile limit of the aortic tissue is overwhelmed, causing the rupture.”
“Over time, certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause your heart to work harder, gradually enlarging your heart’s left ventricle.”
“Mitral valve regurgitation can cause complications such as atrial fibrillation, in which the atria of the heart don’t contract well. This leads to increased risk of stroke. Also, elevated blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension).”
Hypertension makes the blood push harder against the valve and causes it to dilate, enlarge, and that’s pretty much the same scenario for the mitral valve, which seems to be the cause of the intermittent chest pain.
I’ll need to be monitored regularly because if I can’t control the stress/blood pressure and the valves stretch to a dangerous size, the only solution is surgical intervention–or death.
Reducing stress and hypertension can possibly keep the valves from enlarging any further, but the damage is done–nothing will make them reduce in size back to normal, except surgery.
Let me tell you that it’s true. Stress kills.
Now I’m off to change course, take some magnesium, eat more beets, meditate, calm down and regulate my breathing so that I don’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.
“Grandma, you should have seen this. Daddy catapulted himself from the cushion onto the sofa.”
“T, what was that big word?”
“Daddy CATAPULTED. You would not believe it.”
“I hope Daddy is OK! T, that is such a wonderful word, very descriptive, and I’m so proud of you for knowing it and for using it correctly in your sentence!”
“Now. Look. Feast your eyes on this, Grandma. It’s a new bench for the kitchen table. It’s nice, huh, Grandma?”
“Oh wait right here. I’m going to put you down and you can watch Mommy make dinner for a minute. I’m going into the Grandma room. I want to show you the present I have for you in our special drawer. It’s a surprise. It’s sparkly just like you like and it’s shiny.”
“Well, hold on. Let’s think about this. If it’s a surprise, do you want to wait until I’m there before you show me?”
“No, ‘cos you’ll forget by then.”
“But what if I don’t forget? What if I remember?”
“Oh, don’t worry little Grandma, you’ll forget.”
“Wow, it IS sparkly and shiny, you’re right about that!”
(It’s a Christmas tree decoration from last year, a shiny little silvery disco ball.)
“Don’t forget to put it back in the drawer so you can show me again.”
“And Grandma, don’t forget to bring me a surprise for the drawer too, OK? I’ll be at the airport to pick you up.”
“Do I EVER forget?”
(The answer is obvious. I never forget.)
As a side note, when he was out of the kitchen getting my present, I asked, “He seems to think my visit is imminent. What have you told him?”
“Don’t worry, imminent means something different to T. He doesn’t really have a good grasp of time.”
This is the sad plight of grandparent’s new reality…not to be able to hug and play with our angel boys and girls, and to miss the excitement of Daddy catapulting himself around the house.
Still, there’s always always something to be grateful for, right?
That’s the question (with apologies to William Shakespeare).
There’s a lively discussion on NextDoor about a woman who was walking on a local trail with her nine-year-old son when he needed to relieve himself and did so a few feet off the trail in the bushes.
This is not a remote trail, it’s pretty much in the city, paved and well-traveled.
Apparently a woman stopped to stare and made the boy feel uncomfortable. There were quite a few negative comments directed toward the woman who (allegedly) was looking, comments like “mind your own business”…
Mine seems to be the ONLY comment that talked about the possibility that it might be inappropriate for a boy that age to urinate in public.
In my opinion, I think this would be a different story if it was a toddler in the middle of toilet training, but a nine-year-old is too old for that behavior.
Normally I don’t respond to NextDoor because it’s a dark hole like Facebook, but I felt compelled to share my thoughts.
What if it was a nine-year-old girl? Does that change anything?
Obviously, they were in plain sight. I wouldn’t want my son or my grandkids to see someone else’s body parts or something that should be private.
What if there was a predator around?
I’ve hiked a lot in many different wild places and had to find a secret spot myself, but this location isn’t a forest or a remote mountain trail. It’s a mile-long walkway paralleling the railroad tracks with houses and windows all around.
I love jewelry boxes. I love them so much that I wanted to pass on the sweet tradition and sent baby Char a ballerina musical jewelry box fit for a princess that plays a tune from Swan Lake. Char wore a rainbow colored tutu for Halloween, so it’s definitely this Grandma’s job to nurture an early appreciation for dance.
It turned out that she loved it so much (and so did Theo) that I had to send him one too, only his featured characters that twirl around from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince and plays Mozart’s Eine Klene Nachtmusik. It’s about the right time for him to read that book, too.
I also found a new one for me (of course), and it’s better in real life than the photos portrayed on Amazon. The green is truly a beautiful background for the gold dragon. This one doesn’t play music but I have another one that does, so I’m content.
Now we’re all happily playing with our new boxes…a thousand miles away from each other.
We’re lucky here in SoCal to have had a couple days of cleansing rain and it’s supposed to continue all day, but there was a break in the storm so I took the opportunity to go for a walk in search of a rainbow.
I didn’t see one, but I’m not disappointed because the sky and the clouds were magnificent.
I’ve been listening to different versions of this song, Feeling Good. Which one do you like best? Sammy or Simone? I can’t choose.
From Dan Rather: “This is a win for decency and democracy. A new chapter in American history begins today.”
I’m writing this with tears in my eyes. It’s a very emotional time for us. We’ve been holding our breath for four years and can finally exhale.
We can breathe now.
The nightmare really is over. The planets have aligned.
Decency, integrity, and honor has been restored to the people’s White House.
The United States of America has been saved.
Democracy is back on track.
It’s OFFICIAL. They called it.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will take over the helm and repair the damage of the last four years.
We are finally seeing the healing light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
No fighting, no lawsuits, no rioting by his racist cultists can change the outcome. It’s a mathematical impossibility for them. In addition to winning the popular votes, at this time Electoral College votes are 284-214.
We have been led out of the heart of darkness.
I think we’re gonna shut down our street and have a socially distanced block party.