Front & fruit

LAST EVENING, the wind blew, the wind chimes sang, and this morning dawned clear, beautiful and 65 degrees.

A front passed though, I think, but without rain.

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Guayaba

The wind also added to my morning fruit sweep. Curses! Every wind, it seems, brings an evil element.

I stepped outside around 8:30 a.m. and saw the grass littered with fallen fruit, more than usual due to the winds.

Big, fat pears all over the place. On the other side, tunas from the towering nopal tree littered the grass. Back to the other end, a new addition from the neighbors, guayabas.

They’ve long had an apple tree extending over the wall. It dumps apples, but not last night.

A guayaba tree now pokes over into our yard, tossing litter. There were scads of guayabas to be scooped up.

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Lots of care must be taken with the nopal tunas. They are covered with tiny spines that, in your skin, take days to remove. So, leather gloves with the tunas. I wonder why they’re named tunas. There’s nothing fishy about them except their attitudes.

Missing, thank the Goddess, were those apples, lowquats (not quite ripe) and sour orange. They stayed on their limbs.

All the fruit filled a big bucket, which I lugged heavily down the street and heaved into the deep ravine between the roadway and the railroad track.

That done, I could enjoy the lovely morning in peace.

Tale of two births

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Crawford W. Long Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

MY WIFE AND I entered the world in very different times, places and circumstances.

The top shot is where I debuted on the morning of 30 August 1944 at 4:23 a.m. I reportedly kept my mother sweating and hollering for hours, but she finally pushed me out.

World War II was still in progress. Hitler and Mussolini were still alive. Napoleon was not.

The hospital’s name was Crawford W. Long Memorial. It’s still in Atlanta, but it’s now Emory University Hospital.

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A street in Uruapan, Michoacán.

This is where my child bride entered the world on 22 September 1960. The Hippie Era had not begun, but it would not be long in coming. Hitler and Mussolini were dust.

This is not a hospital, as you can plainly see. It is where her family lived. I took the photo about two years ago, but I imagine it didn’t look much different in 1960.

She was born at home, delivered by her father who was a surgeon and family practice physician.

This house in Uruapan, Michoacán, was both home to the family, and it housed Dad’s medical office too.

Yes, the two of us entered the world in very different times, places and circumstances, but we ended up together.

The Goddess works in mysterious ways.

Good and bad

sunrise

WITH SO MUCH bad-weather news happening, I thought it would be uplifting to show good weather. This is a photo taken from our upstairs terraza … a few years ago.

There is other good news. Not weather, dental.

Since I recently had a tooth implant inserted in my upper jaw, we revisited the mouth of my child bride. When we met in 2001, her dental history was typical of Mexicans. When a tooth problem appears, you don’t fix it, you remove it.

Yeah, I know. Incredible.

At 41, she had removed five. All were in the back and not visible when she smiled. The situation,  however, created a problem later due to the spaces, so she got two bridges, also not readily apparent, but bridges are a bother, or so I’m told.

So she’ll be getting implants too, four not five. The dentist said she could easily ignore one at the very back. She begins the process in a couple of weeks, and it will take, as mine did, three months total. This will cost a bit over $5,000 U.S.

We’ll pay cash. Donations accepted via PayPal.

I wonder what four implants would cost above the border. Lots more, I am sure. Likely $5,000 each.

* * * *

Bad news

Now the bad news, also in the medical category.

Recently, I had a sharp pain in my left heel whenever I walked. When I was not walking, I felt nothing.

I visited a clinic here, a hospital actually, that’s part of a church complex. I’ve known two people who died in the clinic, but it’s a good option if you’re in a rush, and it’s cheap.

But that’s not the reason I went. I went because my heel was hurting, and my usual doctor wasn’t available.

The clinic’s right off the main plaza downtown. The doctor consultation was $4. He immediately guessed the problem correctly. Osteoporosis! But I am a poster boy for not having osteoporosis in all categories save one: I’m old.

I am not overweight. I do not drink. I do not smoke. I eat healthily, a salad a day and better. I take calcium tablets. And I’m a guy. Mostly, it’s women who get osteoporosis.

I have a girly affliction!

The Goddess has a wicked sense of humor.

To confirm his guess, the doctor pointed me over thataway to get a couple of X-rays of my foot. Cost of the x-rays: $22. That was done immediately while the doctor sat and waited.

Really.

Seems part of the bone in my heel went elsewhere, leaving a little peak that dug into my heel pad on walking.

The doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory gel plus pills that do much the same.

He told me to get a glass bottle and rub it sideways over the peak twice daily to make it gradually less pointy.

I have done this now for two days, and it’s really helped. I did my daily exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza yesterday with no problem.

And I’m doubling my daily dose of calcium.

Getting old is a bitch.

* * * *

(Update: Online research, plus having my X-rays on hand, has convinced me that my problem is not osteoporosis but a heel spur, a much nicer diagnosis. Tip of the sombrero to Al Lanier for pointing me toward heel spurs in his comment below. This means the clinic doc misdiagnosed. The good news is that treatment for the two separate conditions is basically identical.)

Paddling to heaven

nopal

AND NOW we turn to gardening news.

There’s a rosebush in Tombstone, Arizona, that’s billed as the largest rosebush — tree, actually — in the world.

I have stood beneath it. Zounds!

Little did I know that one day I would be bringing similar fame to my mountaintop town. But in the form of a nopal cactus, that most Mexican of plants.

I have mentioned this monster before, but it just keeps on growing. I attempt to control its horizontal growth with clippers, but its vertical size increases yearly. And now even its horizontal girth is beyond me.

In Springtime, it sprouts red blooms and lots of additional leaves, which are, a reader told me, called paddles. The red blooms will come mostly next month. Sweet.

I planted this big mama about a decade back. There were only two paddles at the time. It was quite small, but it really liked its new location. I planted one in half a whisky barrel in my Houston yard in the 1990s, and it never did squat.

It just sat there lamely.

My wife trashed it after we divorced because she said it was bad feng shui. I do not believe in feng shui because I don’t think the Goddess cares which direction your house faces or if you have cactus in a whisky barrel. Or anything about mirrors.*

The Goddess has larger issues on her plate. She doesn’t care if you eat pork either or clip your baby’s ding-dong. Actually, she greatly prefers that you don’t.

I sat on the ground to take the photo because I thought it would accentuate the nopal’s height, but I think it did just the opposite. This big mama is about 14 or 15 feet high.

No matter. Look at that blue sky.

The cactus below sits in a pot on the edge of the veranda. It’s reveling in Springtime too, as you see.

It’s today’s bonus cactus.

cactus* Mirrors serve only three purposes. 1) Fixing yourself up. 2) Spotting zombies behind you. 3) Lighting fires in the wild.