What a nice weekend it was! The weather was wonderful, though I’m hoping(perversely, I know) that we’ll get a couple more good, wet storms before it’s over. There’s a wise saying in these parts: “Winter isn’t over until it snows on the dogwoods.” When I first came to live here, I smiled at it, thinking that it was one of those old-timers’ tall tales, leftover from the Gold Rush days. But I soon found out that there’s truth in those words. For every year I’ve lived here in the Sierras, the old saying has been right. Snow has fallen on the newly bloomed dogwoods.
We have three young dogwood trees in front of our house; the bracts are swelling fast and I expect they’ll be opening up, pink and white, within the next couple of weeks. And that means, yes, we’ll have at least one more storm with snow, even if it’s just a light dusting.
And then summer will sweep in.
We usually buy our firewood in early summer, when it’s less expensive. But this year, I’m hoping to get a gas or oil heater to supplement the woodstove when the weather gets cold. For the last 12 winters I’ve carted firewood into the house; the last two, it was much more difficult for me because my rheuma has gotten so much worse. The almondwood stove-lengths are heavy, painful to lift and move for my sore hands, and while Cary and Matt have been a great help this winter and last, they’re hoping to be able to move to their own home before too much more time passes.
Can’t blame them. Cary just turned in her final college class assignment for her Bachelor of Arts degree – graduation is officially in two weeks (!) and she’s got her resume out there, hoping to land a much better job. She hopes to be hired in Portland, Oregon, the place they want to live. I’ve got my fingers crossed for them even as I acknowledge my own sadness that they’ll be moving on. Such are the transitions of life.
In the meantime, changing the way we heat our house will be a good thing. I love the special, cozy warmth the woodstove gives – and we’ll continue to use it – but it won’t be the only source of heat anymore. It will be nice to be able to simply turn a heater on, set a thermostat and let it keep us comfortable.
I’m also glad that the Health Care Reform bill has finally been passed. It’s not perfect – far from it – but it is full of positive change for all of us. Personally, it means that when I find another job – whatever it happens to be – I’ll be able to get health insurance regardless of my income and regardless of the fact that I have rheumatoid arthritis, a “pre-existing condition.” I’ve worried about this a great deal since losing my job and my employer-based insurance.
I’ve been very lucky, as a veteran, to have the Veteran’s Administration health care system available to me, but I’ve never wanted it to be permanent. I’d much rather that the VA take care of soldiers who’ve served in wars and who need that care far more urgently than I do. By transferring my health care, one day soon, to a civilian system, my spot in the VA will go to some other vet. That’s good.
So hurray for HCR. There’s still a long way to go, but at least we’ve got a good start on making sure that all Americans, regardless of income and circumstances, can get medical care without facing possible bankruptcy.
For now, the VA is taking good care of me. I have two appointments coming up on Wednesday. One is for PT, and the second is with the ophthalmologist. It’s time; I’ve noticed quite a lot of change in my vision since my last visit, two years back. I think I have new lenses for my glasses in my immediate future, and I can’t wait. No more blurry vision! But more importantly, once the appointment is out of the way and I’m given a green light, I’ll start taking plaquinil, in addition to sulfasalazine and Arava. I’m hoping that it will have a positive overall effect on my rheuma. I’d sure like my hands to feel better.
And they do, today, by the way. They’re still sore – they always are, anymore – but not nearly like they were even yesterday. Today the pain is down to annoyance-level. I’d like to keep them that way, or (I can hope, right?) perhaps even pain-free.
And now, I’m off to run some errands. Finny is going with me – he’s such a kick, that little dog. We’ll go for a walk when we’re done with the dull stuff. Sun’s out, there’s a light breeze, and temps are in the 60s. Life is good.