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.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sometimes Life Is Tiring

I am back in the Pacific Northwest, the land I refer to as The Wet Land.  It isn't very wet right now, in fact two days ago, it was in the upper 90s but today is better with overcast skies yet no moisture.  I can do that!

Monday night is when I arrived back here and yet it seems like I've been here without a break.  Two weeks and two days were all I spent at home, and it went by quickly.

On my agenda is still to get my dad in for a "second opinion" as to whether anything can be done regarding his neck/nerve pain from a neck surgery he had in January of 2013.  For the past eight weeks I've been working on getting an appointment with a neurosurgeon at a university hospital in a large town to the north, having been referred to two different ones there by the daughter (an ER nurse there) of my brother's woman-friend.  And only TODAY, after EIGHT weeks, have I found out that the one hasn't been there at all during this time, and the other is leaving and not taking any new patients..."they only just found out".  Aaargghh!!!

So....I looked up on the internet, in a town closer, all neurosurgeons - there are but six and one of those is over 70 years old!  I chose one, he had a 4.5 star rating out of 5 and called and yeppers, they need all the same data FAXed to them as well - no surprise - before they can even schedule an appointment, so back on the phone with my dad's local doctors' offices to get them to do that.  Now, we will see how quickly that really gets done, and how quickly this new doctor reviews and gets back to us so that my dad can get an appointment.  

Yesterday I went with my dad to his eldest daughter's (my step-sister, she's just younger than I) to drop off some stuff he's been wanting to get rid of and that she and her man-friend can use.  I'd not seen her in probably 10 years.  We had to take a ferry across the river and I hadn't done that since I was a kid.  We had a good visit and my dad's driving only frightened me a few times.  He takes country road corners rather fast for my liking and when stopped behind other vehicles creeps to within inches of their bumper, and he does rolling stops at stop signs with jack-rabbit starts to boot. 

Six more days and I will have five days "just for me" while being with my aunt, cousin's wife, her mother and some others as we go to quilt retreat at Suttle Lake.  That's right next to SISTERS and the quilt show there is that weekend!  And there's a wonderful bakery in Sisters, yum! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flying Time

Nope, I'm not flying anywhere, but time IS flying by, and I see it's been awhile since I updated.  Going back and forth between the states is beginning to confuse my mind.  The first morning back, I awoke and from my bed looked around and I was confused momentarily as to where I was.  I'm sleeping well, and that only happened that first morning.

I arrived home Friday night with the expectation of being here only two weeks, though that could stretch to as much as three - I'd like that, it's nice to be home, even if I was met with loads of laundry, floors to sweep, litterbox to clean, and a myriad of other household chores that seem to be largely overlooked when I'm gone.  I shouldn't complain.  When I'm at my Dad's, he mostly does the normal household stuff while I observe his abilities, take care of his financial paperwork and keep track of his health-related stuff. 

When I was packing to come home, I couldn't find my camera's battery charger.  I was sure I'd had it with me, but could not locate it.  Then I thought maybe I'd left it here at home, but I'm not finding it here either.  I am at a loss.  I likely stuck it in something as I was packing, last minute, to go north a month ago, but now I can't find it.  No bueno!

A few years ago, I had bought my Mom the same camera, albeit a newer model.  I thought I could recharge using her charger.  Nope, they ever-so-slightly changed the battery size and charger to accommodate the new one.  Well, I can use her camera, but I'd still like to find mine as I had planned to give her camera to Nick and mine works very well - when the battery is charged!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Catching Up

Here I am, eight days after my last posting on either of my blogs.  It's Memorial Day, and it's a beautiful day here in the Northwest with low-70 degree temps and partly cloudy skies, the kind that make you want to lay out in a hammock and find object-shapes in them.  Yesterday, my sister said one of them looked like an airplane and I found myself actually looking for the airplane she was talking about until she said 'in the clouds' - well, isn't that where airplanes are anyway?  She of course, saw an "airplane-shaped cloud" and it did look like one but rather cartoonish in style.  Fun anyway!
Lovely peonies
Let's see, what have I been up to for the past week plus since my last post? I traveled north of course and that was a 13 1/2 hour trip making only three stops for gas and using those same stops as my restroom breaks and for grabbing something to eat.  They were quick stops; I wasn't wasting time on the road!  The drive went quickly and after arriving back at my Dad's, the next few hours also went by in a flash and before I knew it, it was time to get to bed.
I love these rust irises, though they really look brown in the house.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that my Dad actually looked better, though he was still complaining about his health and weight loss (he's gained back about 10 pounds though he doesn't think so - but I saw the scales!).  I have my own opinions on the causes for his current health issues! 
My dad dozing off on the sofa - probably not the best picture
While glad to see him looking so good, I was a bit irritated that I left home at least two weeks earlier than planned because over the phone it sounded like he needed some medical attention (non-life-threatening) sooner than later.  It was not the case and we won't be seeing the doctor until tomorrow. 

Since I've been back here, I've been fighting a tension of complete inner irritability yet requiring the need to display abundant outward grace and patience along with trying to explain (from my better reasoning abilities) what may be causing some of his problems over the last few months.  Remember, my mom passed away and they had "taken care of" each other for 56 years.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with is his retelling of stories from his younger years and the 'escapades' of himself and people he knew; stories of a nature that should not be spoken of nor heard about once, let alone frequently!  Trying to tell him he's already told me that story hasn't worked.  Having known him for 78 58 (edited) of his near-81 years, I also know it would do no good to tell him I just do not want to hear them because he'd conveniently forget my request or tell them even more often! 
Another beautiful iris
Lest I give the impression that he's an ogre, he is not, he just doesn't have very good 'filters'.  He can be quite congenial and quite generous and sweet.  When I arrived, he had walked over to the Chinese food place and brought back dinner - he was walking in as I was driving in.  He had also gone out during the day and picked, not one, but TWO vases of flowers for me and had one in the dining area and one in my bedroom.  He has highly complimented me to others on my efforts at helping him with his financial affairs and working towards getting his medical needs squared away and recognizes how all of this takes me away from my husband and son and the responsibilities of my own home.
Vase 1: Rose, lily, peony
Vase 2: peony, pansy, rose, lily, clematis, and that purple flower (if you know what it is, please tell me) delphiniums.

I spoke privately with my Dad's general doctor.  I can't say as he enlightened me of anything I haven't already recognized.  I've not yet met the doctor he we will be seeing tomorrow, and after reviewing the medical files here at the house, I'm not sure he's going to give us any new insights either, but at least I will be there, taking notes, with eyes, ears and mind fully intact. ;)

This morning, I went along with my aunt, uncle and cousin to visit a cemetery while she put flowers on some graves.  Though Memorial Day originated from a day of remembering soldiers who died during a war, it seems it has morphed into a day of remembrance in general of those who are no longer with us whether they were in the military or not, and many others even see it as a day to honor those in the military still living on this day, perhaps confusing Veterans and Memorial days.  Regardless of how one sees this day, I enjoyed going with family members to remember those who are gone and those we miss.
The headstone image above is not known to be that of any relative, although within one married-in branch of the family, there is the name Pankratz.  Perhaps that's why I took a photo of it, just in case it ultimately does show up connecting to that family.

I went to a local RV show yesterday with my sister.  I wanted to see just what might be available for Marty should we reach the plan I've thought of with eventually moving here to the Northwest and having him take off to his favorite photo-op locales for weeks or months at a time - I'll stay home and quilt, work on genealogy, spend time with family and enjoy four real seasons!

Last night I had dinner at Wendy's with my Aunt Irene & Uncle Lloyd, my Uncle Carl and Aunt Claire, my cousin Dale and his wife & son.  Uncle Carl brought a few old coins to show as my cousin's 11-year old son has taken an interest in coin collecting.
1847 silver dollar
My uncle acquired the coin from my Grandma Freda's estate back in 1986.

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