Try to Behave

21 Aug

A few weeks ago The Squire asked our GP about the arthritis in his hands. That good man suggested the problem might be my husband’s CMT* attacking his upper extremities.

A trip to a neurologist, Dr. Thomas, who agreed that this was the problem. He was surprised that The Squire had not even gotten a diagnosis until he was in his mid-30s, and astounded that he was in as “great shape” as he is. Most people with CMT are in a wheelchair – or worse – by their 70s. They discussed the three-times-a-week trips to the gym; keep on keeping on, but try not to overdo it. While The Squire can prevent too much more deterioration, he can’t build muscle, because there really isn’t anything there to build on. The doctor didn’t think the hearing loss was related, as there are no muscles in the ear.

“Now, let’s take a look at those hands.” A nerve conduction test was scheduled and performed, and there is, not surprisingly, a good deal of weakness caused by the nerves dying. One thing the doctor pointed out was that The Squire should be very careful of where his hands are and what they are doing. “You may think you have an item in your hand, but drop it because you don’t have a firm grip on it. Also, when you reach for something, your hand may not go as far as your brain says it has, so be careful of that.” Twice, The Squire has grabbed for the egg turner and touched the side of the frying pan instead, and now it makes sense.

So – he came home after getting the results of the nerve conduction test, and relayed all of this good stuff to me. He wandered around a bit, and then came into the kitchen to clean a bag of fresh string beans I’d gotten from a friend in our knitting group. “I have to find a way to keep busy without messing up my hands and feet any worse than they are.”

Today, he went outside and took rocks out of the stream, tossed them into the cart, and took them away to toss into another spot. So much for not messing up has hands and feet.

Try to behave yourself.

*CMT –  Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome is named after the three doctors, Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie, and Howard Henry Tooth, who first clinically identified it. It is an hereditary condition which causes the nerves to die and the muscles atrophy. If it “kicks in” when you are a child, the bones “warp” to a certain extent to accommodate this, but if it begins in later years, the pain of the tendons pulling against the bones is so severe that some patients have a leg amputated, rather than endure the torment. There is no cure, only palliative care. The Squire has donated his body to the anatomy board.


Quote Without Comment

10 Aug

immigrant+children (2)anne frank

Lost in the Past

4 Aug

Many years ago, when I was still in high school, my girl friend and I were up in her attic reading National Geographic magazines and drinking iced tea. Lynn’s mum called to her and she went down to see what was up, telling me she’d be right back.

Sometime later I floated to the surface and realized it was getting dark, and Lynn hadn’t come back. I went downstairs to discover the house was empty. They had gone out and forgotten I was up in the attic, with my nose in a magazine.

I went on home, carefully locking the kitchen door behind me as I left.


I Need All the Help I Can Get

31 Jul

memory foam

With thanks to Garfieldhug for this one.

A Good Summer Dessert

24 Jul

When my Mum died, most of my inheritance consisted of a massive collection of cookbooks that she had inherited from her mother. If you need a recipe from the 20s, 30s, or 40s, I’m your girl. A lot of them are teaching women how to get the most out of their new “electric ice box”.  I’ve often joked that my grandmother could have fed Coxey’s army with a pound of ground beef and a handful of oatmeal – and I know where she found the recipe!

And so, without further ado, I give you . . Ribbon Ice Box Cake. I found this in a booklet featuring “Pet Condensed Milk; Irradiated for extra Vitamin D”. The recipe includes amount for fixing two, four, or six servings, but I always make six. No more trouble to make enough for several meals.

Mix together . . . 2 whole eggs, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well   drained, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Save the pineapple juice.

Cook over boiling water for about 4 minutes, or until thickened.  Chill.

Meanwhile, dissolve 1 package orange gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Add 1/2 cup                pineapple juice, 1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind (optional), 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Cool, then add 1/2 cup Pet Milk.  Grease an 8×4 bread pan with Crisco or similar product.  Pam doesn’t work.

Chill until mixture begins to thicken. Beat with a rotary egg beater or and electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Pour half of the gelatin into your prepared pan, and cover with a layer of graham crackers. Top the graham crackers with the pineapple mixture, cover the pineapple with a layer of crackers, and then pour in the rest of the gelatin. Chill until firm.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan, cover with a plate and flip it over.

This is one of The Squire’s favorite desserts.  Enjoy!

Any Port in a Storm

23 Jul

We had a real log-lifter of a thunder storm last night, and both the dog and the cat were upset about the noise.

Right before The Squire took this picture, Blazer had his head resting on Eddie’s back.  When you are in danger, nothing is as comforting as an old friend.



22 Jul

Today is my birthday, and The Squire offered to take me anyplace my little heart desired for lunch or dinner. Since we prefer to eat our main meal in the middle of the day, I originally suggested going to a locally owned Oriental restaurant, but late yesterday I decided what I REALLY  wanted was to go out for hard crabs.

And so we did.

There is a nice place not too far from here that had mediums crabs for $45 a dozen, hard crabsand when you consider that will feed two people it’s not a bad deal. Two ears of corn and two bottles of O’Doul’s probably didn’t come to any more than a nice meal at a really good restaurant, and we both enjoyed every minute of it. And we had three left over for later.

While we ate, we reminisced about other times we had eaten crabs.  When The Squire first came to Baltimore, fresh from the mountains of North Carolina he’d asked his coworkers to order for him while he went to wash his hands. When he got back to the table he discovered they’d gotten him a soft crab sandwich. All elbows sticking out from under the bread, and when he lifted the lid his lunch was staring back at him.

When we were going together we ran into some friends at the store; they bought two dozen crabs and met us back at my apartment. I showed The Squire how to eat a crab and told him I’d fix him a sandwich. We all got to talking and it suddenly dawned on me I’d never gotten him something to eat. I looked at the pile of shells in front of him and exclaimed, “How many of those things did you eat, anyway?”

“Six. And you’re no more surprised than I am.”

He’s never looked back.

We went to a crab feast held by my sister’s church. I don’t remember the price, but everybody got six crabs for their money. Six crabs in a brown paper sack.  That was it. Nothing else, and I mean nothing.  We were reduced to cleaning the crabs with my sister’s embroidery scissors and The Squire’s pen knife. Somebody took pity on us and gave us a fistful of napkins, and an extra mallet.

For a while I was allergic to ingested iodine, and went along with some friends anyway. They suggested I take some Benadryl before we leave to prevent breaking out in hives, so I could eat with them. The next morning I was so dizzy I sat at the dining room table with my head in my hands to keep it from floating away. I pressed my elbows on the table to keep it from doing the same!

Crabs are delicious, and eating them breaks every possible rule of good etiquette. Newspaper for a tablecloth, mallet and knife instead of a knife and a fork, you wash your hands in a bucket of water, and put your elbows on the table. It’s not rude to ask the host what he paid for the meal; it’s pretty much understood somebody will ask.

If you ever come to Baltimore we’ll try to take you out for crabs. Even if it isn’t my birthday.