New Gig

MCSS Shuttle

Today I had my first solo experience driving the Mountain Community Senior Services shuttle.  I first heard of this service over a year ago, and since I had been looking for a volunteer opportunity, I signed up a few weeks ago. MCSS provides two types of transportation for community seniors: volunteers who drive seniors to appointments in the volunteer’s vehicle, and volunteers who drive the shuttle for what is called the “social” program. For the social program, the shuttle picks up clients at their homes, delivers them to lunch, and then returns them to their homes.  At present, I am driving once a month.

I was fortunate that the first woman I picked up today was adept at giving directions, so I didn’t have to rely on the GPS of my telephone. Although I thought I knew northern El Paso County fairly well, I have discovered completely new neighborhoods sheltering among the foothills.

The shuttle was easier to drive than I expected. I had figured it couldn’t be any more difficult than our (no longer existing) horse hauling rig, and I was right. I was amazed about how small the Subaru Forester  seemed when I drove it home afterward.


Orange Shoes


A few weekends ago I was at a local park which is popular for outdoor weddings.  The male attendants all wore orange sneakers.  The female attendants wore orange heels (with gray dresses.)  A few of the women looked a little worried going down a sandy hill in three inch heels and clung to their escorts with all their might.

Pikes Peak Library District – New Hours

In these days of cutbacks to so many library services, I was surprised to see a notice on the Monument Library door announcing they were opening an hour earlier most days, at 9:00 am.  When I mentioned it to the librarian, she said that most of the Pikes Peak Library District libraries were following suit, due to “popular demand.”  We have a fabulous local library system, and it will nice to have another place to get wireless access when I don’t feel like getting breakfast at Starbucks or Panera’s.


1751 Kenmore Zigzag Sewing Machine

I enjoy going to the occasional garage sale.  I’ll usually spend less than five to ten dollars, and take home a small trove of what only I would call treasure.  I feel I’ve had a good day when I get home and don’t go:  “why did I buy that?” I keep going because every once in a while I’ll find something like the lateral file that I bought at an estate sale for $5.

Yesterday, Jack called after he got to the golf course to remind me that Gleneagle was having its community day for garage sales.  I made sure I had lots of ones and fives in my wallet and headed out.  I hit several places and my most exciting find was a working electric pencil sharpener for $2.  (The seller plugged it in and demonstrated using a pencil.)

As I pulled up to yet another house, I thought “that looks like a Kenmore.”  I had a hand-me-down Kenmore portable (actually luggable) that I finally passed on to a friend years after I bought a lightweight electronic machine. I still missed the power of that all metal machine. I’d occasionally looked at Craiglist for an older all-mechanical machine in a cabinet, but they always wanted at least $50 for them.

There was a sticker saying “make an offer.”  I turned the hand wheel and it had that soft, smooth heavy feel I remembered, moving the needle up and down.  The manual and accessories were featured right with the machine, which was spotless.  I asked the seller if she would take $25 for it, and she accepted. (This was the second year she tried to sell it.)  Fortunately I had unloaded the station wagon before leaving the house, and the cabinet and machine fit in easily.

I had it threaded and was testing it within an hour of Jack carrying it into the house.  (It is similar enough to my old machine that I could have done it from memory, but I used the manual, just in case.)  I held my breath when I pressed on the pedal, and was happy when I head the quiet power of the motor.  It sewed a straight balanced seam which looks great.

According to a site I found, the model 1751 was made 1971 to 1972.  I am very pleased with my new acquisition.


I received a query about the surgery I mentioned in my Twitter stream.

I’ve had fibroids for several decades.  In 1993, the year after we moved to Colorado, I had exploratory surgery.  I went to sleep expecting anything from the removal of an enlarged ovary to a complete hysterectomy.  (I think my gynecologist expected to find something ugly:  she asked a Denver cancer surgeon to assist in my surgery.)  She said she was relieved to find that the enlarged ovary was a normal ovary with a fibroid wrapped around it.  I woke up with both ovaries and a longish incision.

For several years afterward I had normal pelvic exams.  More fibroids grew and I had to get an annual ultrasound after my annual checkup.  Fortunately, aside from the way the fibroids interfered with a normal exam, I had few symptoms.  After menopause, I assumed that the dropping levels of estrogen would cause the fibroids to start shrinking in size.

Unfortunately, this was not the case: the little suckers were growing larger.  Several months ago my doctor recommended that I either get a hysterectomy, or get an ultrasound every four months. I was very tired of ultrasounds.  Five weeks ago I had a hysterectomy and had my ovaries removed at the same time.

Lots of things had changed in nearly 20 years.  The first time, I was scheduled to be in the hospital three nights, and stayed two nights.  Now, it is considered out-patient surgery, though I did stay one night.  I had the laparoscopic procedure, and ended up with three small incisions instead of one humongous incision.  Aside from a little post-anesthesia queasiness, I actually felt pretty good the first night, aside from being bored by nothing to do and annoyed by the leg pumps they insisted I wear. (Every time I started to fall asleep, the leg pumps would do their thing, waking me up.  I hated them.)  When the nurses helped me out of bed the next morning, and I was able to keep down some water, going home seemed perfectly feasible.  (I had my doubts until then.)  Jack and I left the hospital about 2:00 pm, a little under 24 hours since I’d had the procedure.

The first surgery was much scarier than this surgery because of the chance of finding ovarian cancer. Having known I might need a hysterectomy for nearly twenty years took a lot of the excitement away.  My main concern this time was making sure that we had adequate supplies of critter medications and food, and that Jack was properly trained to feed them. A friend fed the night I was at the hospital, since Jack was there late. She complimented me on the provided documentation.  (Actually she said it was incredibly anal, but I decided to take that as a compliment.)

My recovery has been uneventful.  I was limited to lifting 10 pounds the first two weeks and was told not to drive.  I tired easily enough that I didn’t mind the restrictions. I had a little soreness, but not enough to make me want to take the prescribed Percocet. After the first two weeks, I was able to lift 20 pounds and resume driving.  I still get tired easily, and even take the occasional nap.  The iPad 2 was very helpful during my recovery, since it was light enough that I could sit in the easy chair and keep it on my lap.

This week I will be having my six week checkup, and I expect to be released to do all my normal activities.  I hope to lose the habit of taking naps.