Friday, November 7, 2014

I'm Getting Ready

It's no surprise to my followers that I'm not on here much these days.  Maybe that'll change at least a little bit soon.  I'M GOING HOME on Monday with hopes, and plans, to be home until at least mid-January or even late-January.  

My dad has been doing well since his surgery.  I had a private meeting with his primary doctor the other day and updated him and discussed some of the issues I see.  When you have a man like my Dad with his mind-set, sometimes there's only so much you can do, and the rest you commit to prayer and trust God to take care of what you have no control over.  

An example of my Dad's stubbornness:  It's been just two weeks since his surgery.  There had been a windy rain storm right around that time.  A few roof shingles appeared to be affected.  My Dad said he was going to get up on the roof (single story house) to check them out.  He's 81 years old and thinks he's only 40.  I strongly recommended he wait until his much younger brother (67) could come over and help him (he's been helping said brother a lot on some of his own house repairs).  What happened?  As soon as I was out one day, and it wasn't raining, he climbed up on the roof with no one around.  He refuses help from others.  Had I been here, I probably would not have been able to stop him, but I could at least make sure the ladder didn't fall, and should he have fallen, I could get help right away.  His response to that.  Don't you dare, you leave me where I fall.  I will not go in an ambulance.  Um, yeah.   

Today was the first day I re-checked the comments on my last post since right after I posted.  There was a third comment, I have deleted it.  It was from that old familiar "Anonymous", whoever that is.  I've never met anyone by the name of Anonymous.  It had nothing to do with things posted on my blog, not even on my quilting blog.  I can only presume Anonymous claimed he is an "American man".  Anonymous seems to have issues with American women.    He sounded very angry and bitter towards American women - describing them very negatively.  He urges American men to boycott American women.  He linked a blog-site of his own which he said was for the sole purpose of explaining why American women are inferior to foreign women.  I did not click through.  Well, I hope he can find that "perfect" non-American foreign woman.  And I can't help but wonder just how perfect he sees himself as an American man.  How sad to be so jaded.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Surgery Update

On Thursday, I took my dad to the hospital for his surgery.  Yes, finally, it was scheduled and happened!  What an ordeal trying to get it set up these past many months...and it shouldn't have been that way.  

A year and 10 month's ago, my dad had a cervical fusion involving the C-level vertebrae.  During that surgery, the surgeon implanted hardware - kind of like wedge-shaped spacers - between the vertebrae and then put plates over the fronts of them (anterially - front of neck side).  With the lower of the three, surgeon #1 left jutting out about an inch saying that he couldn't insert it fully due to bone spurs and proximity to the spinal cord, so with that in essence it was like having a big speed bump in my dad's throat, which obviously would be both uncomfortable and create some swallowing difficulties.  This, coupled with his dysphagia swallowing difficulties and choking issues created a rather burdensome situation for him.

The original doctor left town for back east "due to family emergencies"....well, I'm not so sure, but he isn't here, so we found a new surgeon and my dad really likes him too, though it is a further drive to that hospital as it's not here in his town.  So back to the surgery, Dad was scheduled for 2:15, but didn't get wheeled in until close to 4:30 - yep, a long delay - but it did happen.  The surgery lasted about two hours, during which time I drove the 45 minutes back to the house to eat as I'd only had breakfast, tend to the cats, and pick up my cell phone and make some calls.  Yeah, I'd forgotten my cell phone at the house that morning so couldn't keep anyone informed other than a few via my laptop, which I remembered.  I got back to the hospital about 10-15 minutes after the surgery was finished, and after missing the surgeon's call as I didn't answer my phone while driving - no bluetooth, I'm so behind the times - and it was a couple more hours before my dad was put in his room.

The surgery was 'successful' in that the surgeon was able to remove the offending piece of hardware and did not have to put a new one in as the neck was now fused at those vertebrae (a good thing medically) but the surgeon was a bit stymied as to why surgeon #1 did the original surgery in the first place - he said he saw no need from what he could ascertain via the records and from his exploration during the surgery.  He also removed a lot of the bone spur growth and I'm hoping that will help relieve some of the arthritic pain he feels.  We knew going in that this wasn't being done to relieve pain, but to give him better comfort from a swallowing standpoint.

It took four hours to get him released from the hospital yesterday (my only complaint) after the doctor did his morning rounds and pronounced all was well and good.  He has few restrictions which is good, he's a very non-compliant patient, he slept very little last night he said - not surprised as he sleeps very little usually but with, I'm sure, still having certain drugs in him from the surgery, it increased his hyper-ness rather than the reverse. He has also, up until the last hour or so, talked incessantly in a rather Marlon Brando-ish whisper (think The Godfather).  He's walked to the store - in the rain, worked busily in the garage for hours after getting home, with flashlight in hand went slug-hunting in the back yard last night, and is working on his very rustic leather projects.  

With the surgery going well, and his not needing a great deal of after-care, I see no reason why I can't go home on Nov. 10th as planned, and I pray I can stay home until after the first of the year.  One day at a time though.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Duck, Duck, Duck

Yeah, I'm watching the Ducks womp Washington.  While I did not attend either school, I am rooting for the Ducks of course, after all, I am a Duck Out Of Water!

And speaking of Ducks, yes, I am here in the wet land again, and hooray, it has been wet off and on.  I've enjoyed that part.  I will most likely be here for another three weeks, maybe more.

My dad had a medical procedure on Wednesday - nothing requiring recuperation time, and it went well and so far nothing appears to be amiss but full results won't be in for about a week.  The very next day we drove over to the hospital where he will, finally be having the surgery on his cervical spine to remedy his previous surgery in the same location, for his pre-op.  I hope he quits complaining after this, but that's highly unlikely.  At his age, it seems he's constantly complaining of some ailment including his inability to regain the 20-25 pounds he's lost this past year, and that he no longer has the muscle mass of a 30-year old.  It's tough to be 81!

I'm hoping to take part in Bonnie Hunter's annual Quiltville Mystery Quilt again this year [watch for any updates at my quilt blog Webs of Thread, if I have any].  At the very least I will be following other bloggers' progress while I print out each week's instructions.  I've already picked up the paint chips from Lowe's and was surprised to see that the yellow one wasn't quite as yellow as my computer monitor made it appear.  I may be stretched to shop my stash for this one, not to mention my not being home, so may end up with some additions to my stash numbers again - oh darn! right?

With this trip north, I brought a box of genealogy to work on in my spare time and I have an embroidery project I can work on too.

Those of you who do, please keep praying for me in all areas as I continue to help my dad, rub elbows with family, and am so very far from my husband, son, and church though all are accessible via the internet.  Oh, and include my dad with his surgery which is for this Thursday, and that he'd be a "nice" patient - his reputation is one of non-compliance, impatience, hostility and a whole lot of 'language'.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Surprises can be nice, and some surprises can be not so nice.  I've had a little of both this week.

I'll start with the not-so-nice and get it out of the way.  I was doing laundry and other chores earlier in the week.  We have a lot of dust here.  Dust is not my friend.  Dust is winning has won here.

It was time to flip the mattress.  It flopped down on the box spring and dust swirled in the sunlight.  I'm sure a hoard of dust mites was flooding the room about that time too.

Progressing to the laundry room with the sheets and pillowcases in hand.  A bald man + a CPAP machine and a pillowcase needed a super-spraying.  I use Amway's Classic Laundry Prewash Spray Spot Treatment (formerly SA8 prewash) - good stuff.  I think I sprayed TOO MUCH.  Between the dust & the spray, I was suddenly thrown into a severe coughing spasm for the next half-hour, to the point of gagging all while trying to breathe.  If I were to self-diagnose, I would call it chemical-asthma.  I went to the doctor the next day, received a breathing treatment, a chest x-ray, and sent home with a diagnosis of 'bronchitis' (really?) and a prescription for drugs to use in our nebulizer.  I gave myself another breathing treatment yesterday.

I have had one other incident like that.  Many years ago, our street was repaved and I had to park over a block away.  It was very hot out, the chemicals were coming off the pavement and I'd walked very quickly to my car and immediately began coughing in the same manner for about the same length of time.  Not fun!!

I'm thankful to be better today though, but I'm being very cautious and waiting on doing any more laundry for a few days, especially any that requires pre-treating!


I had just redirected my living room blinds to allow more light in, laid my finished Gathered Over Time flimsy out on the floor and was standing on the arm of the sofa to take a picture of it and could hear a child's voice approaching my door.  I have to admit, I groaned with the thought that it might be a child working on a fund-raiser for school.  About that time Marty had looked out the window from his computer chair and said, "Oh, it's (old roommate)!".  

What a NICE surprise.  Marty and this former roommate had bought our house many years prior to any of us getting married and shortly after he & his wife married, they moved up north, and now he was making an impromptu visit along with his 5-year old adopted daughter.  This was such a pleasant surprise as we'd lost touch with them a few years ago after they moved from one house to another up there.  

The only one missing was his wife as she was visiting another friend of hers here in town.  The wife is also a quilter.  Both are just the nicest people and I made sure I got their new address and phone number!! They only live about 25 miles from my dad so I can go visit them when I'm up there too.  The little daughter was so precious, and not at all shy.  As soon as I opened the door, she came in and wrapped her arms around me before I could say howdy, sweet!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Passages of Time

Marty went to the mountains with a friend in hopes of some good fall color photography and won't be back until Sunday afternoon.  As Friday night is usually our night for take-out, Nick and I ordered our respective pizzas at that national chain that stuffs crusts, so we can eat off those for a couple of days.  

Today, Nick and a friend wanted to go see a movie that was a good 15 - 20 minute drive from home.  Sometimes it is really hilarious to see what teenagers involve themselves in.  My son is a bit of a geek in some ways, and he and this friend are both "Bronies".  As in guys who like My Little Pony cartoons.  There's a whole 'cult' following of teenagers, both boys & girls alike.  As we sat in the parking lot awaiting his friend's arrival, sure enough, it was mostly teenagers, and many brought their MLP plushies with them to the movie.  I suppose when I was a teen, my own mom was shaking her head in bewilderment every time I decided to wear bell-bottom pants, love beads, chokers & rolled my curly hair onto soup cans to straighten it - every generation has its uniqueness.

While I was biding my time to pick him up from the movie, I came home and continued working on some stuff I'd pulled out last night that I'd brought home from my Dad's from my Mom's memorabilia.  

I spent quite a bit of time on these old postcards.  I was able to find some, or similar, online.  My Mom's dad had been in the Merchant Marines during WWII and would send or bring her postcards from his travels.  Some, as with the cherub with bells were mailed to my grandfather by his cousin when he young, in the early 1900s.  The very colorful scenic is a Japanese card and done in oil paint.  There are still more at my dad's which I will eventually bring home too; all to be eventually split amongst the siblings and I will probably scan all of them.
These are tintypes.  The larger is in what is called a union case (nothing to do with the 'Union' of the Civil War) and is made of a type of thermoplastic.  The lady in the picture is my great-grandmother Minnie (real name) at age 18 in 1892.  I love the decorative impressions made in the velvet of each one. The smaller one is a wooden case and is believed to be ca. 1861-1865 as the oval inner frame depicts the stars & stripes flag along with a drum and the phrase "The Union Now & Forever".  I do not know who the lady in the photo is, but my earliest ancestors in the United States on that side of the family arrived ca. 1850 whereas the others of my mom's lines didn't arrive until 40 years or so later, so would have to be either from the Sander or Machenheimer lines (these are real ancestral names).
Edward Voltmer 1859-1918
This man is my great-grandfather, Edward Voltmer.  He died at the relatively young age of 59 after developing blood poisoning from a scratch.  My understanding is that in an attempt to save his life he also lost the affected arm, but that proved futile in the end. 

I will continue working on this for another hour or two, and then see if I can get Circle of Light's rows sewn together to be able to post some fabric OUT for a change on tomorrow's Stash Report Sunday!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm Still Around

In the morning I'll be headed home again, and I'll get to stay for a full month!  My last trip home was only a two week stay after having been here for over five weeks.  This trip, I've been here about three weeks again.

During that last trip home, Nick began his Sophomore year at the local high school and Marty completed his first 90 days on the new job.  This trip home will include being able to celebrate Nick's 16th birthday on Oct. 8th. 

Much of what my Dad considers "clutter" - my Mom's decorative items and kitchen things he has no use for and wants gone - has been packed up and I'll be taking home with me though I don't know where I'll store them, maybe I'll leave some of it here in the closet, some has been distributed to my sister, some has gone to others.  For me, it's a bit heart-breaking because all too rapidly, the home that was a product of my Mom's tastes is turning into something quite different essentially erasing her presence.  My Dad would be happy with four bare walls and only a piece or two of furniture - at least that's how it comes across much of the time.  I don't like dealing with his desire to get rid of everything, I think it's rash and try to persuade him to wait as he isn't including some of the other siblings - he has his reasons, but I'll be the one who has to deal with the fallout from his actions when he's gone, and with that in mind, much of what has been packed, though going home with me, is my keeping in mind that there are things others may want "from his estate".  I really really dislike this - and my husband jokingly says I'm becoming a hoarder - he doesn't get it, but I know my family and am expecting the worst down the road.

And on that note, I'm going to go finish up those few packing details I've been dragging my feet on.  Once home, at least for a month, maybe I'll get in a few more blog posts as I make every attempt to feel "normal" again in a short time.

I cherish prayers for safe travels and no automotive problems.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Here I Am Again

Seems like it's been forever ago again since I've posted, but it's only been a week.  Did you miss me?  Hehe, it's ok if you didn't, just don't tell me you didn't.  Well, let's see, where'd I leave off last time?

**The garden - plenty  of zucchini - some hide & get huge.  The lemon cucumbers are absolutely prolific. The corn has finally started showing some silk & ear growth. The tomatoes are slowly ripening.  Most has been given to the neighbors or others.

**The neurosurgeon - appointment went well; was clear to point out though that a reparation surgery will NOT ease any of the pain, it's osteoarthritis, but should help with swallowing issues - one of the prosthetic pieces juts out creating a 'speed bump' in his throat- it will be removed or replaced.  

**I'm planning on heading home 8/7, but then returning 8/25 or 8/26.  I calculated my time since 1/1/14 through 8/7: 130 days here, 80 days at home, and 8 days on the road.  Seems to be a disparity in my time splits...would sure like to be home more, and I suppose I could if I planned my time better, and could trust that my dad wouldn't start having issues as soon as I leave.  When I went to quilt camp, the very next day he went to the doctor to get something for his anger/anxiety/depression.  I'm already hearing rumblings of 'issues' that he may go to the doctor on before I get back.  It's a challenge.

Well, on to some fun stuff.  The local county fair is on.  My cousin's 11-year old son is in 4-H and has a sheep for his project.  Yesterday was showing as a market lamb, today was showmanship.  His sheep, aptly named Custer (he'll be auctioned for slaughter) weighs more than the boy, and these incredibly dumb, defenseless sheep, can be quite cantankerous - a bit like a rodeo.
Custer misbehaving a bit.  Custer is buddies with the sheep held by the boy in blue so was doing everything he could to be next to him.

Hold on tight!

This was a different sheep for showmanship.  It was a little better behaved than Custer, but not much. 
I tried to upload a video but could only get an error message :(  boo Blogger!  The video shows the sheep rearing up a few times and eventually breaking away and being chased down.  It also shows another 4-H-er's sheep rearing up and bopping the poor gal right in the face, but she eventually got it under control again.  

While at the fairgrounds, nostalgia took over as I wandered into the arena where I don't think I've been in 45 years!  I too was in 4-H with my horse at fair competitions and my mom & I had joined a local horse group that met at that arena every Saturday night to ride for a couple of hours.  I haven't had a horse of my own to ride since those days, and the memories made me tear up as I looked around the arena building seeing it not look much different - maybe new benches.  Oh how I would have loved to be back in the saddle exercising a horse.  How I miss it, and how I regret having let go of that part of my life to follow a boy to the 'big city'. 

Also yesterday I took my aunt and went to one of my favorite quilt shops and spent a whole lot of money.  I'll write about that over at Webs of Threads in coming days - hopefully Sunday for an updated stash report - it isn't pretty, but then, that depends on how you view it.  I also realize I'd promised to write about, and haven't, a tool I purchased during quilt camp, so will try to get that done over there too.

Well, tonight we get to go swimming at a pool in a neighboring town.  My aunt and I will be going with one of my cousins and her kids.  I'm not sure if the other cousins are going or not.  Tomorrow will be a quilt show in the morning over at the coast and it's also my dad's 81st birthday though he doesn't like celebratory stuff.  Saturday we're going back down to the coast where his youngest daughter lives to celebrate the birthday of one of her daughters.  Then I hope the next five days I'm here are calmer - one has a doctor appointment for my dad and is just an annual checkup.

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