This little house is the house I grew up in and lived in most of my life. The little house on Linnwill. In truth I will always think of myself as a “Linnwillian” first and an Iowan second. I wouldn’t say it was a house full of happy times, as a lot of sadness lived there. But it was my home. I lived there on and off, mostly on for all of my life, until 2005 when my mother died.

It was small, the main floor only 848 sq feet, but the truth is, I never thought of it as small until someone asked me once how three people who could have lived in that little house at the same time. My brother lived and mostly stayed in the basement. I had my own room. We all shared one TV – which was always on. Always.

This is my house in the early morning on May 6th 1986. Oh yeah and that is my wee little LeCar sitting out in front parked on the street, or the creek, depending how you look at it. This was a time when living in the basement wasn’t such a good thing for my brother! Oh well, he got a new bed out of the situation. And I got a new car. Who got the better deal?

One of the best things about growing up there was that our back yard opened up to Legion Park.

Swing sets, jungle gyms, slides, teeter totter. A wading pool. A Tennis court that became an ice skating rink in the winter. A baseball field, a basketball court. I loved that park and certainly felt like I was a part if it, and it was a part of me. I remember once, when I was about 20 or so, sitting in the park once night, a few friends and I, when a cop car drove in and parked. And the cop came over and ordered us to leave, as the park closed at 10. I actually said to him “I don’t understand, this is my park”. I did understand, I just never thought of it as something that closed. I mean it was my back yard.

The park looks nothing like it did in those days. Three tennis courts are now one. Both shelter houses have been torn down and new fancy things rebuilt in their place. The good old metal, they should last forever toys were all removed and replaced with some sort of manufactured stuff that is at ever playground everywhere. All the risk was removed! I cut my head open when I was four on the jungle gym and had to have stitches. Now that my friend is a true jungle gym! Today’s kids are pampered.

I couldn’t find any pictures of the park “back in the day” but found this on the Parks and Rec website. It doesn’t show much. And this isn’t the park how I care to remember it.

Anyway, all of this makes me think of this song by Karla Bonoff:


Traveling at night,
The headlights were bright.
But soon the sun came through the trees
Around the next bend
The flowers will send
The sweet scene of home in the breeze

And Home
Sings me of sweet things
My life there has it’s own wings
To fly over the mountains
Though I’m standing still



Since about early September or so, I have been having problems with arthritis in my left hand.  I am left handed so it has been, well, rather inconvenient. Slowly it got worse and worse, until sometime in November I lost use of my left thumb.

It was no longer opposable. Just… well… straight.

Pretty much just like the picture above. 24/7. Painful and immovable.

As December came, it just got worse, and the right hand was also starting to show arthritis. Dressing in the morning became a chore, especially putting on my bra, tying my shoes.  Putting on gloves made it worse. Scraping car windows wasn’t pleasant, and pulling on my seatbelt made me want to bite through my lip. There were many mornings where I was crying as I drove to work.

Typing wasn’t too bad as the thumb doesn’t do much but hit the space bar. Writing was very painful, and so no Christmas Cards were sent this year. I had to use pliers to open up my pop bottles!

Finally I gave up and went to the Doctor who prescribed something called Rabumetone which is an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. He also had me go to radiology and have a series of hand pictures taken. The last one, the tech said.. now make an “Okay” sign. When i said I couldn’t do that, she walked over and with some sort of evil smile on her face (not really) she took my hands and made a damn “okay” sign. Ex..cruc..iat… ing. Ahhh.

And the medicine just made it worse. The doctor said a couple of things – give it a good three weeks and don’t take any Aleve or Advil. There were days during the past three weeks when I wanted to sit at my desk at work and cry. Every joint in my body started hurting. I had to have a friend wrap my presents for me. She also had to buckle my seat belt for me on a day we went shopping together (suddenly I was suddenly elderly!)

It all came to a head this past Friday night. I took a nap and woke up, unable to use my hands at all. I tried to cook dinner and could barely stir the pot. I couldn’t use the can opener and to open a little packet of taco seasoning, I needed scissors. I felt like I had no hands at all. Just balls of uselessness stuck at my wrists.

Luckily Saturday the hands were a little better. I decided to go to the gym and swim. I love to swim as often it is just me and a few people, and it is very meditative, just slowly swimming lap after lap. I spent 45 minutes in the pool and got out and did 10 minutes in the whirlpool.

I felt like a new person. My hands felt great. I also made the decision to stop the medication, three days before the 3 week mark. I was done with that.

And an amazing thing happened…

Is that thumb looking all bendy?? Why yes it is! It bends! It moves! No pain!

I can almost make a full fist on both hand too. There is still some tightness in the fingers but no pain and it is so much better. I got dressed today with no pain. I put on my bra, I tied my shoes and I put on my gloves. I scraped my windows and put on my seat belt. No tears!

I went swimming again tonight. And I can’t help but saying it…. I feel A-okay.

And totally opposable!


Changes.. finally

Well there is it. The long dark wait is over. I have officially changed the name of my blog.

An Iowa Life.

It’s just one single life in Iowa.  I don’t expect it to be a representation of every Iowan’s life,

Just me.

Just mine.


Where this goes and where I take it are up in the air, but with a more generalized title I think

I will feel like I can post more about anything.

Like this.

That was sitting in my parking lot today. Poor old chair. I’ve been feeling a lot like that lately.

So has my blog.

Poor thing.