Category Archives: Senior Citizens

Community ‘Personalities’

Hi readers.  This town where Jeanne lives and I currently reside on her couch gave me a strange arrangement of ponderings yesterday.  I knew my physical therapy at the hospital will be fading in July.  By coincidence the Olathe Community Center is opening, and I’d heard it would include exercise machines, etc.

By golly I don’t ignore coincidence.  Figured I could buzz over there three times a week as long as I’m here, work out, maybe connect with local seniors to play some chess, chew the fat, exchange low sodium recipes.  Old guys did those things on the Courthouse lawn when I was a kid, playing dominoes and spitting tobacco.  A piece of getting old.

To my surprise, that new Olathe Community Center is a bastion of healthiness, classes on Zombi or somesuch dancing, Yoga, big TV screens people can watch while stationary biking.  A room full of water capable of being peed into from everywhere within 100 yards any direction.  Maybe a hundred walking machines, weight machines, and combinations of all three.

And for kids?  Wow.  Two story water slide indoors with signs saying they don’t want heart patients [me] using it.  Piss on them.  I’ll use that thing if I want to.

Because in that entire enormous structure there is not one, not one single item specifically intended to be used by the elderly.  Not one ping-pong table, for that matter, to allow fast action small area activities, either.

I’d been casually searching for some while for a Senior Citizen Center in Olathe.  There ain’t one, even though the senior population here’s quite large.  Closed down a couple of years ago when the city sold the building, never reopened somewhere else.

Fairly strange.  A rich, rich, how you say, affluent community here with a large area of old, low-income houses in the older part of town inhabited by lower middle class non-upwardly mobile working-class scum and senior citizens.  And that new community center forgot they exist.

Hell, every tiny community everywhere has a Senior Citizen Center, or failing that, a pantheon of senior activities incorporated into the local community center.  Andrews, Texas, out on the high plains desert has a big one.  Half deserted towns all over Texas and New Mexico dying of thirst and hunger have one thing left functioning:  Senior Citizen Centers.

And this beautiful old farming community that’s become the home of thousands of high-income soccer and tennis playing SUV driving tofu eating Kansas Citians during the past 20 to 30 years has the singular distinction of having nothing of the sort.

Jeanne’s jobs are over in the neighborhood of Lenexa. Another grown-over KC bedroom community.  And when she got tired of my berating Olathe regarding the new Community Center and the implied attitude toward senior citizens she took me over there.  They’ve got a center about the size of one in Zuni, New Mexico, or Andrews, Texas.  About the size of each of the three in Kerrville, Texas.

Fine people over there in Lenexa.  We got there around noon, just looking around.  Maybe fifty people hanging around in there chewing the fat.  A lady running the place came up, introduced herself, showed us around.  Full of enthusiasm, got more programs going on than you could shake a stick at.  Even computers, computer instruction.

I asked about chess.  “We don’t have a chess program, but we can!  You can be the first one to get it started!”  Turns out they have a couple of exercise machines, too.  ping-pong table’s next door at the ‘regular people [read upwardly mobile SUV driving, tofu eating] living in Lenexa. 

Well, they ain’t new, and they ain’t as close as the brand spanking new shiny Olathe Community Center full of water sports and rosy-cheeked mamas with healthy white kids screaming their heads off.  But if I’m around here a while and decide to do anything senior citizen-wise, I have a feeling I’ll either try out Lenexa or go another few miles out and do it in a place where they still have real people driving 15-year-old pickups.

If such places still exist. 

Might even swing over into Missouri, where they remember what Jayhawk meant back when it actually meant something.  Lots of little towns over that way still no further than this from the VA Medical Center.  I’m betting they have senior citizen centers, too.

Not to say it’s a big item for me.  I honestly don’t like senior citizens all that much.  Too opinionated, though not as bad as younger people.  But old folks tend to be fairly obnoxious, on the whole.  I don’t blame Olathe Parks and Recreation Department for trying to forget they exist.  Old bastards need to check in at the Emergency Room down at the City Morgue.

 Old Jules

The white man’s burden: My lucky goozle

The arrow indicates the crowd pleaser point of interest.  "I can't believe it ain't cancer!' Chorus of GI specialists declares.  "Go back in and biopsy that SOB again!"

The arrow indicates the crowd pleaser point of interest. “I can’t believe it ain’t cancer!’ Chorus of GI specialists declares. “Go back in and biopsy that SOB again!”. It ain’t all because I’m a white guy. White guys, it turns out, are one hell of a lot more prone to cancer of the goozle than non-white guys. And nobody likes to see anyone win in lotteries of this nature. It makes everyone look bad.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I just this morning had my third endoscopy in two months.  Not to mention various CAT Scans, etc, and one of those big things involving a donut and a magnet on a rolling human-scale tray.  Jeanne tells me it’s the MRI, which I can’t have anymore because of my electric cow-prod defibrillator.

This week I had a manometry, gastric emptying tests, and fights with the VA hospital concerning whether I ought to be letting them do nothing instead of going to the private physicians and them doing stuff.

In fact I’m bankrupting Medicare with my heartfelt cardiac flaws and my Disneyland esophagus darling of gastroenterologists and Asian male physicians.  They do the snake swallowing a camera routine, take pics and biopsy it.  Look at the pics and say, “Ohshitohdear!”

“It MIGHTN’T be malignant,” they cautiously confide.  “We won’t know for certain until the biopsy results come back.”

Well, the nice Asian GI specialist today came after I regained my cogitude to give me a puzzled frown and tell me it ain’t cancer again this time.  But it’s inflamed as hell, got a grotesque growth about it, and has every right to rear up on its hind legs and be what it damned well wants to be.  Thinks they’d better have another look at it as soon as they can forget it ain’t.

What I haven’t confided to them is the part about Caisse’s herbal tea.  Black burdock, turkey rhubarb, sheep sorrel and slippery elm all boiled together half an hour in stainless steel, left 12 hours, boiled again, strained, and taken in increments of an ounce morning, another nights.

I call it making my own luck.  I’m not evangelical about it, but if anyone ever tells you you’ve got terminal cancer and you might as well go home and tell the heirs who’s getting what, consider remembering it.  Black burdock, turkey rhubarb, sheep sorrel and slippery elm.

My lungs and goozle think it’s death to oncologists.

Old Jules

 

Easy no-salt potato-jalapeno pancakes

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I gather some of you besides me count sodium mgs in your diet the way overweight people used to count calories.  If so, and if you’re on the lookout for a tasty treat you’ve probably never encountered before you might try this.

Blend or process a potato, a jalapeno, half an onion, a tablespoon of minced garlic and a teaspoon of grated ginger together until they reach the color of guacamole and the consistency of pancake batter.  [Works well without the ginger, too, whole different culinary experience.  I'm betting cinnamon could fit into it somewhere, to doctor it up into a mutation worthy of a space alien.]

[Edit:  Cilantro.  I forgot to mention adding some chopped up fresh cilantro.  Important, too]

Pour the mix into a sizzling pan of olive oil or butter and flip them a couple of times as they cook until they’re brown on both sides.

Pop those moneymakers into a dish and eat them like pancakes, or let them cool and eat them the way you’d have a bagel or donut.  Great under blackstrap molasses and buttered, great dry.  Name your own poison

Remember where you heard it first.

Old Jules

Radiation ain’t all that bad

sunflower asbestosHi readers.

I saw a movie on Netflix named, Pandora’s Promise.  It was interviews with all manner of people who used to be against nuclear power plants, but changed their minds.  ‘Good’ environmentalists, mostly.

Their logic is that they were duped by other ‘Bad’ environmentalists into thinking nuclear power plants were bad and dangerous, but that not all that many people died from Chernobyl, and not all that many are dying from Fukushima.  And that most of the time nukes are cleaner than coal and don’t kill as many people.

These ‘Good’ Environmentalists understand that without nuclear power they can’t do anything about climate change, which of course, they haven’t been duped by Bad Environmentalists about.  All that stuff about health consequences of radiation exposure was BS.  Bad Science.  Whereas, everything about climate change is GOOD science.  “How dare they,” one pro-nuclear environmentalist shouts of climate change ‘deniers’, “Deny SCIENCE?  This isn’t the DARK ages.”

Convincing movie.  Leads me to think we were all duped a lot earlier than that, back when the USSR was making such a nuisance of itself.  We could have bombed those people back to the stone age if we’d never had our heads confused about fallout shelters, genetic drift, mutants, nuclear winter and all the rest.  Hell, if someone had told us the only thing we had to worry about was the blast, EMP, shockwaves rolling around knocking things down, firestorms, hell, I think we’re all big enough we could have handled that.

What Fukushima actually proves is they’re spending way too much money building safety features into those nuclear power plants.  Those they had didn’t help, and when the whole thing went south it just hasn’t been all that bad.

Plus there are a lot of people alive today who wouldn’t be if we hadn’t let ourselves be duped into believing getting nuked would be a bad thing because of radioactive fallout.

It’s a heartbreaker.

Old Jules

 

Post-Pyramidial and Post-Mass-Grave grave concerns

21st Century cemeteries mostly require stones to be flat with the ground and uniform in size to allow only a name and birth/death dates.  However, this sign outside Andrews, Texas offers a potential solution for communities everywhere.  A single stone the size of the Vietnam Memorial Wall telling everything the people in the cemetery believed would be a huge benefit.

21st Century cemeteries mostly require stones to be flat with the ground and uniform in size to allow only a name and birth/death dates. However, this sign outside Andrews, Texas offers a potential solution for communities everywhere. A single stone the size of the Vietnam Memorial Wall telling everything the people in the cemetery believed would be a huge benefit.

Hi readers:

The grave markers depicted here are located in the Olathe, Kansas, Desoto, Kansas and Lawrence, Kansas [Oak Hill] cemeteries.  Lawrence is probably best remembered for the Quantrill raid and massacre of the men and boys of the town slaughtered by Quantrill’s Irregulars during the Civil War.  The town was burned to the ground and most of those killed are buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in a mass grave.

Hand signs and finger signs decorate the surface of a lot of gravestones around here.  Pointing upward, sideways, down fingers, etc.  I'm guessing some might be secret society signs of one sort or another.  However, Jeanne tells me this one is a 'deaf person' sign.

Hand signs and finger signs decorate the surface of a lot of gravestones around here. Pointing upward, sideways, down fingers, etc. I’m guessing some might be secret society signs of one sort or another. However, Jeanne tells me this one is a ‘deaf person’ sign.

cable grave

This stone and the one below have been selected by geographers to serve a dual-purpose. Initially they both merely marked the location of buried telephone cables, as noted on the orange tape. But later circumstance conspired to make them useful as markers for human burial locations as well.

Phone cable memorial marker

Limestone or marble markers are probably inexpensive, but they are prone to become unreadable in a century, century-and-a-half. The stone dissolves in acid rain, accumulates lichens and moss, and break more easily than granite, steel, or wood of most types. This is unworthy of concern unless the people placing the stone intend the grave to be identifiable over a period longer than a few decades.

bookout

A person who went through life being called by the name, King David Bookout, probably won’t object to large granite stone sitting above him a few centuries afterward. Nothing any stranger says while looking at the stone generations later is likely to be original. It all got said while he was alive.

sitar or oud teachout

Patricia Ann evidently played the oud or sitar during her life and someone considered it enough a part of her to be noted on the stone. The name Teachout would be less intriguing if the grave were located further from that of King David Bookout. A Bookout buried 50-100 feet from a Teachout seems more coincidence than needed in death.

Finding a purpose in death isn't necessarily easier than finding a worthy one in life.  Vernon Robert Phillips elected to use his to advertise Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

Finding a purpose in death isn’t necessarily easier than finding a worthy one in life. Vernon Robert Phillips elected to use his to advertise Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

This touching marker manages to convey the anguish of the surviving family.  Probably it's actually what graveyards and gravestones are all about, or at least something valid they are about.

This touching marker manages to convey the anguish of the surviving family. Probably it’s actually what graveyards and gravestones are all about, or at least something valid they are about.

Here's an example of what happens to limestone when it's utilized as burial marking material.  Fortunately there's nothing on the stone to suggest anything was worth remembering about Wheeler Green anyway.

Here’s an example of what happens to limestone when it’s utilized as burial marking material. Fortunately there’s nothing on the stone to suggest anything was worth remembering about Wheeler Green anyway.

Another emotional demonstration of whatever causes human beings to want grave markers and graves as a piece of their lives.

Another emotional demonstration of whatever causes human beings to want grave markers and graves as a piece of their lives.

Sharon Snow Fogarty is evidently still alive, but she knows how she wants to be remembered: "She never met an animal she didn't like."

Sharon Snow Fogarty is evidently still alive, but she knows how she wants to be remembered: “She never met an animal she didn’t like.”

The elaborate grave-marker phenomenon spans cultural boundaries.

The elaborate grave-marker phenomenon spans cultural boundaries.

If those people killed in the Quantrill raid had survived they might have accomplished great things.  Some might have been able to be part of the Wounded Knee incident.  As the song says, “Only the good die young.”

Old Jules

Weston, MO and Leavenworth, KS

Gertude Derks Consort of the late Bartholomew Bless - Born March 5, 1824 - Died February 23, 1892 - Requested in peace

Gertude Derks Consort of the late Bartholomew Bless – Born March 5, 1824 – Died February 23, 1892 – Requested in peace

it's cut onto the side of a stone for someone else.  Bart Bless Sr. is nowhere to be found in the vicinity.  However, the son and daughter-in-law, or perhaps grandson, is buried 20-30 feet away.

it’s cut onto the side of a stone for someone else. Bart Bless Sr. is nowhere to be found in the vicinity. However, the son and daughter-in-law, or perhaps grandson, is buried 20-30 feet away.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Jeanne’s got spring break from her daytime job this week, and my electronic brain I use for a heart these days is defragmenting.  So Jeanne’s taking this occasion to show me around some KS/MO sightseeing Mecca places.  Likely as not there’ll be all manner of highbrow cultural stuff, but yesterday it was Weston, MO [all of it that didn't burn down in 1859, or has been built since the town burned down], and Leavenworth, KS.

That tombstone at the top was in the Weston graveyard and said so much about Weston, humanity, the history of the human race, ethics, morals, compassion, and other matters we could have stopped and I’d have used it as a launchpad for this blog entry, waxed poetic and philosophical until I was sated.

But we didn’t stop there.  We went to the overlook in Weston State Park and looked, me breathlessly, at the mighty Missouri River flowing below.  Read the initials carved inside various hearts carved on trees back when the world was young.  Looked at old barns and whatnot.

Then drove across the river to Leavenworth.  Visited the only old timey Army Surplus Store in Christiandom carrying on the tradition of old odors of mildew, ’98 Mauser bolt action rifles, coal scuttle helmets, and clever posters about huns and loose lips sinking ships.

Afterward we drove to the VA Hospital, discovered a 600 acre ghost town of memories of US military veteran aches, pains, and infirmities.  Heck of an interesting place.

By which time I was worn down to a small frazzle.  We didn’t visit the National Cemetery.

But today after she worked half-day on her usually  night job she took me to see the Westport battleground.  Biggest Civil War battlefield west of the Mississippi River.   Covered with houses and large other sorts of buildings built between Appomattox doings and now.

Just driving around that 53 square mile battlefield looking at all the houses wore me down to a small frazzle.

Luckily, tomorrow I’m going in bright and early for another eccocardiogram, chest xrays, blood lab work and something else I can’t remember right now.  At the OTHER VA Medical Center nearby somewhat.  The one that didn’t lose the Spanish American War.

Old Jules

Ex Post Facto: The retroactive waltz of point-men and snipers

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I finally got to see a primary care physician in that KC VA Medical Center.

KC VA Med Ctr

I arrived early and put my defibrillator to the test carrying a 20# daypack 150 yards across that parking lot, up the hill to the entrance, and a quarter-mile of heroesque hallways.  Registered and waited around a comfy area filled with old vets.

At which point life became a hoot.

Jeeze we veterans are a bunch of liars!  And we all know it, but remain silent on the issue so’s when our turn comes all the the others will nod sagely and pretend we aren’t just blowing pure unmitigated horse manure back and forth at one another.

So here in this Hero Hall you’ve got close to a hundred of us, maybe a third wearing VIETNAM VET, or some other VETERAN nuanced headgear.  And roughly a third of those are talking in loudmouthed indignation about something a first sergeant did or said forty years ago in a different country.

Meanwhile the other 2/3 wearing the Veteran caps nod and wait patiently for that vocally active third to finish or pause for a breath so’s they can cut in and tell what some first sergeant did or said to THEM forty years ago in some foreign land.

Those of us not wearing Veteran headgear listen deadpan, saying nothing, doing nothing to break the spell of dramatic fantasies, of young men who never existed prowling through the jungles of our imaginary youths doing and saying courageous things for the betterment of mankind and Freedom.

“Hell man,” I muttered to the guy sitting next to me, “I must be the only person here who wandered Asia trying to get a dose of clap, never met a hero.  Never sacrificed a damned thing in the service of this country.  I can’t recall a first sergeant ever knowing I was alive.”

The guy smiled at me.  “Not me.  I was an Air Force Sniper working out of the finance office in Danang.  Spent the whole time killing zipperheads except when I was in an office doing payrolls.”

About then a nurse called my name and I trekked breathlessly back to see a physician.  He hadn’t received all my med records from the recent hospital stay, so we’re starting all over.  Got an EKG, Lab [blood] work, complete stomach sonogram, and XRays to get out of the way brand spanking new before I can be seen by a VA cardiologist.  He says they can’t get the records from the Olathe Medical Center work because the VA computer is connected to the National Defense computer system, which might be compromised if they allowed outside data to be transmitted into it.

So they’ll just have to do it all again.  Though if I go over to Olathe Med Ctr. and get them to photocopy everything and carry it along when I see the cardiologist he figures the specialist might look through it if I provide it that method and that context.  Maybe.

So at least I’ve got some things I can do to improve my health this week, picking up those records at Olathe Med, going over to KC MO VA for all that expensive medical testing I’ve donealready had, getting it again so’s to be able to see a cardiologist.

Confidence raising, being able to do something uncharacteristically positive.

Somehow it’s vaguely reminescent of back when I was an infantry point man and sniper in the US Army in a country I never had the pleasure to visit.

Old Jules

Desalinated, molassted and tofued into submission

Believe it or don't, this stuff makes a tasty substitute for soy sauce and woostershire sauce.  Blend it with rice vinegar and it makes tasteless goop go down easier.

Blackstrap molasses:  Believe it or don’t, this stuff makes a tasty substitute for soy sauce and woostershire sauce. Blend it with rice vinegar and it makes tasteless goop go down easier.

Hi readers.

I’m not going to say I think cardiologists know what they’re talking about, but in the matter of no sodium/extremely low sodium in the diet I believe they’re correct in spite of the fact they said it.  I’d always thought if a person didn’t eat canned goods and didn’t salt his food he was on a low sodium diet.  But when I left the hospital they handed me a sheet of paper and took the trouble to read it to me as though I couldn’t read it for myself.

2000 mg.  2 grams of sodium per day these people were unsmilingly demanding I confine myself to.  And they sent along a list of food items in one column and how much salt each contained per one-measure-or-another.

I could see with one eye these ivory tower quacks didn’t know what they were talking about.  Heck, I’m betting there’s never been a day of my life when I wasn’t fasting when I didn’t consume more than two grams of salt.

So when I arrived back at Jeanne’s I slouched toward low sodium, waved the bloody flag at it, but was completely reasonable.  Non-fanatic, not any sort of no-salt extremist anyone need fear.  And noticed a rapid decline in my physical capabilities concurrently.

You all know by now I enjoy messing around cooking and experimenting with food preparation in sometimes bizarre ways.  And since I was losing my ability to walk any distance, I figured what the hell?  Jeanne got me a couple of books from the library on no salt and lowest sodium cooking, and I began concocting all manner of experimental food with no salt, or so little salt as to pass for none.  2 grams?  Ha!  I spit on 2 grams!  1 gram until I get this down pat.

cilantro corriander

Cilantro!  Onion powder!  Tomato powder!  Lime juice powder!  Molasses.  Garlic.  Dill.  These are the soldiers, the legions of the war against salt.

Began making chips from steamed sticky rice rolled down thin and baked.  Made the best catsup I’ve ever eaten in my life from tomato powder, lime juice powder, molasses and rice vinegar.  Made an absolute jewel of guacamole with garlic, green onion, jalapeno, avocado, tofu, and cilantro.  Deeeeelicious!

Made a soy sauce alternative from black strap molasses and vinegar, along with a few other spices.

And after a couple of days of less than two grams, yesterday I walked to the end of the block and back, one-way being an uphill grade.  Didn’t get knocked to my knees by my top-kick drill instructor, either.

So I doubt those cardiologists know what the hell they’re talking about, but sometimes even a blind hog finds an acorn.  A person doesn’t have to know what he’s talking about to be correct.

Old Jules

Cheating the landfills

Computer karma

Hi readers:

Thanks for coming by for a read.

My life’s blessed at the moment having my bud, Eddie, available to kick around finding fixes for the unfixable. In this instance, all that broken plumbing and wastewater damage blowing the tires did on the RV. That stuff’s made of a material monikered, ABS, which was never intended to be repaired. Plastics, nylon, nothing much easily available attaches to it and the hardware stores don’t carry anything much in the plumbing department made of ABS.

But ABS does attach nicely to other ABS if a person can find some.

Eddie did some web searches to find out what products might be made of ABS to be ravaged for the purposes of converting them to RV wastewater heaven. One turned out to be old computer monitors.  So he dug around until he found one.

Yesterday we examined the old monitor to make certain the flat area on the side would be large enough to make a patch to cover the hole broken in the greywater tank on the RV.  Then we took a waste piece of RV broken plumbing pipe, scarified it, scarified the potential monitor, and doctored both with purple ABS goo cement.

Voila!   Yes.  You heard me right.  Voila.

That flat surface on the side of that monitor’s going to RV wastewater heaven, holding back the forces of darkness, undergoing reincarnation, likely providing a whole new US cottage industry in the future.

Damned monitors all over the US now have something to aspire to.

Old Jules

Man With the Golden Arm

The cats and I watched Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak fight heroin, illegal card games, manipulating faked handicap entrapping lying wives [Eleanor Parker] and a NYC when even all this was still good clean fun.

Ahhh Kim Novak.  1955.  Probably after her first film, Picnic.  Ahhh, Kim Novak, who looked so much like Noreen Nix of Portales, New Mexico, a couple of years older than me, that Noreen and Kim were of equal value in the heart-stopping beauty department.

Law law law, old Eleanor Parker managed to teach a youngster in that one movie how bolloxed up the right sort of guilt trips could send a person into a tailspin with only the most fortunate circumstances allowing recovery and survival.

But worth it if Noreen Nix was waiting at the other end.  Or even Kim Novak.

Old Jules