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.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gardens and Surgeons

One of the nice things about staying here at my Dad's is that I get to enjoy the fresh produce from his small garden.  Here's a small sampling:
The first picking of grape tomatoes.  That paper plate is only a 6" one.  The entire branch snapped off when I tried to lift it up to pick the ripe ones.

Two more strawberries - it's nearly the end of them.  Three more large zucchini - the biggest one there is over a foot long and over 2" wide; it was hiding!  And the lemon cucumbers, oh yum.
It's wonderful having all this freshness to enjoy but makes me sad that my Dad won't eat any but the cucumbers.  He likes watching it grow and seeing others appreciate it.  His corn is only just beginning to tassel and I don't know how long after it does to expect the corn to be harvestable.  He had some peas but they didn't do well and I only had a couple tablespoons worth when shelled.  He had planted radishes, again not because he eats them but because he likes how the plants look.  They didn't really develop any edible radishes either oddly enough.

Tomorrow we finally have an appointment with a neurosurgeon to see if there's anything that can be done to help my Dad's neck pain.  He had neck surgery January 2013 on the C3-4, C4-5, and C5-6.  There were bone spurs (osteophytes) that the surgeon did his best to remove but because of safety/risk concerns couldn't fully remove some of them and the C5-6 fusion protrudes further anteriorly than the others which could be some of his issues.  Also, well over a decade ago he had both his uvula removal, and a tracheostomy in attempts to combat his sleep apnea issues - there may have been more to that than I know too.  In fact, he had become discouraged with the trache, so had it removed, but then later had it reinserted, but then again got upset about it and removed it himself!  

And now he's 81 (on 8/1) and is convinced the first surgeon 'botched' the neck surgery and that is why he has ongoing pain issues and why we're consulting a neurosurgeon for his recommendations.  My guess is that it will be deemed far too risky to attempt to re-do the surgery due to calcifications, scar tissue, osteophytes and the proximity to the spinal cord - it was risky enough the first time.  I would also guess that a recommendation would include cortisone treatments by injection which may or may not be ok with my Dad.  He's locally known as a 'non-compliant' patient who often refuses to follow doctors orders to the full extent.  We shall see. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Busy Times

Oh would that time could be slowed!  

Where have I been, and what have I been doing since my last post?  

On July 4th I went with my aunt, uncle and cousins to a not-too-far-away town where we had a late breakfast brunch and then went to watch a parade.  It was nice and fun to watch.  It was also quite hot sitting/standing next to a brick building, on the sidewalk without any shade.  Note for next time, take an umbrella for shade.  I didn't take a lot of pictures.
There were these adorable little Shetland(?) ponies pulling carts.  Maybe they're Miniature Horses and I don't know the difference.

And being in farm country, there were tractors, trucks and other such equipment.

There also were other horse groups.  This was a nice big horse with big feet.  Clydesdale, maybe.
On July 6th, my daughter, son-in-law and grandson arrived for a less-than-24-hour visit.  While my daughter had flown in shortly after my Mom passed away to spend a few days with me as I traveled back to the dry land, I had not seen my grandson nor son-in-law since November 2000, when grandson was just a couple months old.  We had a wonderful time taking in some time at a local park, then a museum and finally a late lunch at a favorite sandwich shop.  And then it was time to say goodbye :( to them as they had to drive back to Washington state to catch their flight on the 9th back to their big state in the south.  
I'm afraid this is the only picture I can show of my grandson as his parents, especially his dad, does not want his picture shown out in cyberspace.  Believe me when I say he is absolutely adorable, has a great smile, intelligent eyes, and smoochable dimples.  Yes, I truly loved being able to spend time with this youngster who is now almost four years old!  That's a long time to go without grandma time with him.

On July 8th, I made an appointment with a local realtor to go look at a property.  It was in an area I've been keeping my eye on over the years, and the price was good.  The problem: Marty and I don't have our ducks in a row to really be looking at property yet, but I'd seen this one listed before as it had been on and off the market without a sale several times over the years and curiosity got the best of me.  When we went to look at it (my dad and I), we also met the owner and he seemed to be a really nice guy.
A corner view of the house and carport.
Area showing the garden with mature grapevines along the garden fence.  I was told there were also two kiwi trees.
The stream area and back hillside.
The lovely and serene pond.
I fell in love with the property and only about 80%-so with the house.  It was certainly livable, but would need some changes for my liking.  Had we been all squared away in advance, I'd probably have made an offer.  As it was, another buyer was having a second look that evening, and I have learned that a full-price offer was made on the property.  This property had so much potential for us, including a second, smaller home which would have been ideal for when the time comes for my dad to need to have someone around full-time.  It was not meant to be, at least not at this time.  God will put us where He wants us in His time, so I can't be upset, though I am a little disappointed this wasn't the time nor place.

Then just this past Friday, my aunt's and uncle's children put together a very simple little cake and punch event to celebrate their 50th anniversary, which was back on June 5th.  It was held at a tiny little country church where they had gotten married.

My aunt and uncle.

The sweet little old church where they were married.  It was built in 1886.
Between the 9th and 13th, my aunt and I were at quilt camp, but I'll post all about that at Webs of Thread, hopefully yet today!  In between all these highlighted activities have been numerous times of getting together with others for meals, some shopping, working on my dad's finances and doctor stuff, and some times of just sitting around doing nothing. 

I miss being home though, and miss my husband and my son.
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