Sunday, May 21, 2017

Golf Gypsy In a Pickle

It's one thing to stretch and rub a leg cramping while walking or playing golf, but it is a moment of agony to wake up in the middle of the night with three toes cramped tight, turned under and sideways while the left calf is pulsating knots of pain up and down the leg.  Screaming, grabbing, and yanking myself out of bed to stand and push the pain away, as tears of surprise and near anger flowed down my cheeks, is one way to handle the moment. Actually, I didn't stop to think of a better way. 

Options in the past for recovering from summer's heat, and the perspiration my body exudes when exercising have been to drink "Smart Styx" replenishment supplements, 60-100 oz of water daily, eat a banana, or drink a nice cool beer in a frosted mug with salt on the rim, and continue to take daily doses of calcium, potassium, and magnesium pills. 

I mentioned my agonizing leg cramps to my physical therapist, Natoshia, Therapy in Motion. Immediately, like a chorus to a song Natoshia and another therapist chimed in "You need to drink pickle juice!"  They looked at each other and laughed.  She continued, "You need to drink pickle juice or eat a dill pickle everyday, and eat a banana before you play golf or go for long walks." 


"I've never heard of pickle juice as a cure," I retorted and then laughed, "Unless it was to drink with Crown Royal shots after you've lost a golf match." 

Naturally, that line was a stopper. They listened as I recalled the time Manon and I were beat early in a "Horse Race" at a golf tournament at Smoky Hills Golf Course in Hays, Ks.  As spectators, the cart girl came by offering us drinks.  Our friends who'd also lost suggested we try Crown Royal shots and dill pickle juice.   I can assure you that I did not suffer leg cramps that weekend, nor did I suffer a hangover, but we sure laughed a lot. 

But I digress.  

Being a dutiful student, I bought a 6-pack of Pickle Juice at Academy Sports, and bananas at Braum's, plus Ice Cream bars just because. I ate the banana before I drove in the driveway. That afternoon while relaxing on the patio, I discovered that I enjoyed the flavor of the nutritional bottle of pickle juice, loaded with sodium, vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron, and potassium.  For those, like me, who can eat a healthy dose of salt consider sprinkling salt on bananas, grapefruit, and cucumbers instead of sugar. 


Most recently, I rediscovered the old fashioned giant dill pickle that spurts juice everywhere when I take a bite. For a brief moment, I'm back at the Coleman Theatre on a Saturday afternoon with friends where I could buy a large dill pickle out of the jar for only a dime. Coleman Theatre


Did the pickle juice and banana help? Yes.  So far no leg cramps in the last three weeks.

I'm not recommending this pickle juice/banana regime for everyone, because I have low blood pressure, perspire measurably, and can handle salt.  I've always been a salt lover, while my husband can thrive on chocolate. If I eat ice cream I often follow up with a saltine cracker and smile. 

In reflection, perhaps it is the salt of the earth that helps us to endure. 



Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day Baskets

Once upon a time in my childhood neighborhood we made May Day Baskets.  In fourth grade I discovered the beauty of cutting and folding cherished wallpaper samples.  We shaped them like ice cream cones, the larger sugared cones.  Using tape, staples, or Elmer's glue to hold the edges together made me feel artistic with a flair for something different. One by one we passed the single hole punch around the room, and one by one we cut a ribbon from which to hang our baskets.  The intent as that we'd give a our baskets to our mothers, after filling them with fresh cuts off the spirea bushes or honey suckle that lined the alley way to Roosevelt school. Like a dutiful daughter I proudly carried mine home that day, letting it swing around my arm as I danced home. 
One for practice 

Sadly, what I handed to my mother was not the same beauty I had earlier created. Instead, I handed her a colorful cone shaped basket without a ribbon, but filled with spirea and a few bright yellow dandelions, which I thought added flair to my bulging creation. 










Over the years, my mother, sister, and I continued to make homemade baskets, fill them with whatever
fold and tape
flowers and blooming shrubs we could find and secretly deliver them to the elderly people in our neighborhood. My mother insisted and repeated her mantra, "Kindness first." 


How ironic, as I write this my mind flashes back to the delight I found in surprising these people.  The Shaw's were always the kindest and most grateful, Miss Einsel scared me as I probably scared her in some unknown fashion. So many people go nameless in my memory, but I recall them working in gardens, canning foods, showing me how to make a compost
flatten cone, cut edges 
pile so the vegetables tasted better. Two of the couples spent hours sitting on their porches watching us run up and down the streets, playing tag at night, kick the can, red rover red rover,  and grey ghost.


Then like Puff the Magic Dragon, I grew up and lost the magic until I fortunate granted me a little girl to raise. She, too, learned the magic of giving a basket of flowers. How sweet my memory of watching her leave our apartment early one morning and running to the neighbors door. She hung the homemade basket, rang the door bell and ran home, but not
arrange flowers then deliver
inside.  Katy didn't want to miss the moment as the attractive gray headed lady, who drove a pickup, opened her door and saw the basket. Standing on our little cement porches there we exchanged smiles. A bouquet of kindness lifted three hearts that day, and left a lifetime memory of joy. 




For more information on May Day click on this link:
May Day Tranditions

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Iris and the Pupil

Iris, the eye of spring


Walking among the colors and contrasts of seasonal flowers refreshes and rejuvenates my soul in any season or locale. 




This year the fall colors of the trees seemed less radiant than usual; my golf ball appeared to be a lighter shade of pale gray that my eyes couldn't follow in the clouds; the manicured flowers of the desert weren't as radiant as I expected. 



I blamed the rainy day for blurring my vision and nearly stepping into a prickly cactus. 

Realizing that my cataracts had worsened, I decided to have them removed. 

I cleared my calendar, gave up some spring golf time, stepped away from reading and writing for a month, and delegated shoveling and planting chores to Jack so my grey jello like cataracts could be replaced with new Crystalline lenses. 



Surgery on one eye at a time starting with my non-dominate eye, the right one, changed my world like walking through a Monet garden might do. I didn't realize how much I was missing in our world of color and detail until the cataract surgery opened my right eye to a bright new world, and I became the pupil once again asking questions about eyesight.




Notice the clarity and lighter color of my right eye, as opposed to my left.  A few days after the first surgery I began looking at every flower and every scene with my left eye closed. The iris, working like a diaphragm on a camera, controls the amount of light reaching the back of the eye and automatically adjusts the size of the pupil. Now with the new Crystalens lens, my eye sees bright colors, tiny leaves budding on the trees, birds sitting on high branches cheerfully calling to me. 



With my right eye this is what I see now.


With my left eye this is what I see and have been seeing with both eyes for the last ten years.















This pupil learned that as a cataract grows or ages, it becomes more like two day old jello that gets sticky and thick. It could cast hues of gray, yellow, or green. Everyone's cataracts are different. Often overlooked is the aqueous humour, the clear liquid in the eye that supplies the nutrition we need to clearly see. 
 
Years ago I told stories about the trolls who freely roamed the Norwegian mountains and valleys at night causing mischief in peoples lives. They slept by day and roamed by night, seeing and living the opposite life of the people in the valleys. If a troll peeked at the sun it turned to stone, or it burst into millions of splinters and often a splinter would end up in the eye of human causing the human to see things askew, so that what appears right to them seems wrong to others. 

Now as I look out on a clear world with one eye and a blurred world with the other, I wonder about those Troll splinters. Could they affect our perceptions? Perhaps it is that slight touch of humor which allows each of us to see things differently.  







*Thanks to Dr. Kurt Weir at Southwest Eye Clinic in OKC, and Dr. Jake Smith at Classic Vision for giving me a new look on the world.