Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One More Day of 2014

It's hard to believe just how quickly this year passed; surely you must think so too.  

I surely hope that 2015 isn't quite as hectic, and doesn't require as many trips up north, but I won't hold my breath on that one.  I'll be headed north again around the 20th of January and that'll depend a lot on the road conditions through the passes...I don't do snow and ice if I can help it!  In fact, I'd be perfectly happy just staying home until all possibilities of snow have ended, but that's probably too much to hope for. 

Our Christmas tree was quite nice this year - found a nice full one and its trunk was straight!  For the last two years, we've only used the artificial 4' tree.  I still struggle through the Christmas holidays - many reasons - and this year apparently had enough anxiety about it that I was having some all-day-long heart palpitations and skipped beats.  After two weeks, I did go to the doctor who called them PVCs and referred me to a cardiologist for a stress test.  Well, that didn't work out, and I haven't tried to make another appointment yet, but as soon as we got past Christmas, those palpitations lessened to the point there are very few at all now.

2014 Christmas tree, very bushy!  I didn't put all the usual decorations on it, just didn't have the energy. 
 I will probably start taking the tree down on Friday as our our trash pick-up will be collecting them on Saturday, and with only about three weeks left at home, it would be a good time to make a concerted effort at taming the giant dust monster from every corner of the house. 
Flame and Raven - about as close to snuggling together as they've ever been.  Though they are only weeks apart in age and came to live with us when very young but at separate times, they aren't snugglers with each other or even us.
These kitties aren't really big on canned food and usually only take a few licks before walking away.  Today, Flame decided she was really hungry.  I fed her canned food twice and the second time, Raven was there as well and they both ate off the same plate from the same blop of food at the same time!  That's a first.  Earlier in the day, Flame also came and crawled into my lap and lay down for about five minutes and right now she's digging up the towel in her box like she wants to crawl under it.

The kitties, not sure which one so both are guilty, gave me one casualty.  Not bad for a first time with the big tree and all the decorations.  Raven decided she likes to play in the water basin, so she might have been the culprit, but Flame is aka Klepto-Cat and likes shiny things so it may have been her.
This will likely be my last post of 2014.  I need to find, or buy, a new memory card for 2015 for the camera. 

May you have a safe, and blessed New Year. May your troubles be few, and may your joys abound.  May you have love, and peace, in all your relationships (even with those who are 'difficult'!).  

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cleaning & Scrubbing

I was able to get Clue 2 of Grand Illusion finished pretty early - easy to do if you don't do anything else, and that's usually what I do with my weekends....very little in the way of housework!

So, what have I been doing in my non-quilty time?  Some of those once or twice a year, or decade in the case of some, maybe in a lifetime for others, but for me, something I like to get done at least once every year things.  I tackled the very necessary chest freezer clean-out, defrost and inventory on one day.  With being gone so much this year, I've had no clue what's still here and long-forgotten how old some things might be.  This freezer only builds up ice around the top rim because when you open it, warm air hits it and creates moisture, which then freezes when you close the lid.  It isn't a very large freezer, just big enough for our little family, so I empty everything into ice chests, then scoop up any loose things like spilled frozen veggies - why do the clips not get put back on those open bags? - I then run as hot of water as I can into my large soup pan/spaghetti pot, set it in atop a towel I've placed on the bottom, then close the lid and leave it alone for about 45 minutes.  Oh, and I've turned it OFF!  

When I come back, the ice on the side slips right off, I remove the hot water pan(s) and scoop out the ice then mop up any melted ice/water and dry the sides and bottom, turn it back on and re-inventory the items as I put them back....unless it's an item that gets tossed.  I also did the refrigerator's freezer but it doesn't ice up so  it was just a basic clean-out and inventory.

Once those were done, I tackled the pantry - a deep, shelved, "walk-in" space about 32" x 38". There's just enough room between the shelves and the door for a small rolling cart, and to store a few things on the floor.  I also have some overflow shelves out in the garage, so all of these were cleaned, re-organized and re-inventoried.  It's amazing how much I've crammed into those spaces.

I cleansered (is that a legitimate word?) the kitchen sink after soaking it with scalding hot water and bleach.  I discovered that the 'splashless' bleach is not quite the same as regular bleach...whatever the additive is in it, it suds, and suds a lot.  I noticed too on the jug that, in very small print, it says "Not for sanitization or disinfection.  To sanitize and disinfect, use Clorox Regular-Bleach.".  Well, so much for sanitizing and disinfecting.  I will be far more careful to read the label on my next bleach purchase.  Who knew, right?

Today, I tackled the inside of the refrigerator.  Oh my! but it was a mess.  More things got dumped.  Who needs salad dressing bottles with a half-inch of dressing remaining that "expired" a year ago?  And ugh, those shelves in the door were filthy! Not to mention the bottom after I removed the drawers. 

Oops, I need to be paying attention to the clock, it's almost time to go pick Nick up from school.

Sorry I took no pictures of my "before" and my "after"; the before would have been too embarrassing anyway.  Next, I need to tackle the microwave - sure wish my guys would learn to clean up after themselves - would make my life easier!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts are Lacking

Truly I am loving being home.  I have found though, that I am mentally all out of sorts lately.  Staying focused is a challenge.  Today I updated our financial stuff and discovered I was two days late on our cable bill.  Glad they don't automatically shut it off.  But the bigger question is, how did I manage to overlook paying it, and also end up almost late on a credit card payment?  I'm thinking this whole back and forth between home and my dad's, from my own records to his records, from my former - now non-existent - routines here at home to living day by day, has totally fried my brain.  I told my husband my routines were all out of whack and he said "What routines?"; poor man doesn't know or recognize I had routines....well, I did, even if they were often hit and miss, now they don't exist at all and my thought processes aren't even thinking about making lists to get back on track.  If I'm rambling, reread my second sentence ;p
This was a 'from scratch', crust and all, turkey pot pie.  I found the recipe online and it was from a Taste of Home contributor.  Instead of crimping the crust, I just overlapped the top one and tucked it down the insides of the pie plate.  This would have been a good one for Toaster Oven Tuesday.

This is all that was left after dinner, and I got to enjoy the leftover for lunch the next day.  The crust was really flaky.  I guess with 2/3 c. + 2T shortening it should be!

We had a pretty good rain soaking a couple days ago.  So much so that the birds were trying to find a dry spot.  Outside our upstairs windows are 'planter' ledges and you can see the silhouette of a little finch hanging out safely with Flame on the inside trying to figure out how she could grab that little birdie.  At one point there were two on the ledge, and my poor kitty was quite frustrated!

The ash tree in our back yard has finally turned to its beautiful fall yellow; leaves are beginning to drop - the heavy rains helped as well to get them to drop.  This is normal that it's leaves do not drop until December, while in other parts of the country, ash trees will have lost their leaves two months ago.

Some of the leaves floating on what becomes our own private 4" deep 'lake' in the back.  Previous owner was a cement guy so except where the ash tree is in a 20' x 20' section of lawn (make that roots & dirt), the rest is all concrete and as it's all well over 20 years old, the roots of the over-50 year tree have cracked and lifted the concrete, so water collects in that back corner.  The birds love it at times, gives them a place for water, and worm-collection.
Flame discovered she can jump from the desk top to the top of my 6' tall bookshelf upon which I have some boxed projects.She was hoping she could just jump down without Nick's help - she's very independent you know.  Nick is now 5'10" and that hair almost makes it to 6'.

I took this through the side window of my car.  Kind of represents my brain these days, very foggy.  This was somewhere south of a major university town on the interstate in the wet land I keep going to.  Those aren't DUCKS in the field ;p  they're cattle.  There were places where the fog was so thick you couldn't see but a few car lengths ahead of you...and some drivers weren't going any slower.  Me?  Well, 55 was a good speed rather than the 72 the policeman accused me of on the previous trip south.  He still reminded me of Don Knotts in Mayberry, RFD, lol.

That's it for this week, we'll see how long before I post again.  I'm hoping Bonnie Hunter's electricity gets back on so that she can get the next step of Grand Illusion out for us tomorrow.  That woman is an absolute wonder at how much she gets done.  I want to be like her when if I grow up before I die.  She must be incredibly organized and seems to have energy to burn.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy ThanksGiving!

I must apologize for never having pictures for this side of my blog.  There's a laziness in me when it comes to that camera!

Now that today is nearly over, I truly hope and pray everyone had a wonderful day with family.  And if not with family, hopefully doing something enjoyable and pleasing.  I know for some, the holidays can be a real season of stress and hardship, something I've experienced myself often over the years I've spent since leaving home at the ripe old age of 18!

As you all may remember, I have only a large toaster oven [my Toaster-Oven Tuesdays have been side-lined due to current life events] and I used it to roast a turkey.  No, the whole turkey did not fit into the oven, but I cut off the wings and legs & thighs - leaving the latter two attached to each other - and roasted them and 1/2 the back in one batch on a rack in a pan, covered with foil.  When they were done, I then did the remaining 1/2 back and the breast.  I cooked them yesterday so that I could do the stuffing today and I cut up the breast, deboned the thighs and warmed them in the toaster oven.  Along with those dishes I had mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans w/butter, deviled eggs, store-bought sandwich rolls cut in half, and I opened our last can of green olives.  For dessert, I had picked up a NY cheesecake from Trader Joe's and a jar of lemon curd which I slathered over the top and Marty, Nick and I had quite a pleasant little feast, and there's plenty of leftovers to last through the weekend!

I'm thankful for my little family, and thankful I am home to be with them and to be able to cook a good meal for them.  I'm thankful I'm here and not up north where there is so much family drama.  I'm thankful for those family members even with the drama but am also thankful I moved away all those years ago and I'm especially thankful that the Lord chose me to be one of His own.

This past week, I learned from my daughter that her baby due in mid-April, is going to be a.....GIRL!  So I will have one grandSON and one grandDAUGHTER.  I guess I'd better seriously consider getting some quilts finished, including my daughter and son-in-law's wedding quilt that I started, ahem, about six years ago, and my grandson is already four and hasn't received a quilt from Grammy yet!  And tomorrow starts the annual Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, so excited and anxious to see what it will become!

May your home be filled with many blessings.

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!!

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!

NOW TO THE NICE SURPRISE!

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.

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.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Highway Beckons

In the morning, I will once again be heading north along that long ribbon of highway between 'home' and where I've so far this year spent half my time.  

The drive will be long; that part I do not look forward to, sure am wishing I lived closer!

Marty starts his new job in the morning.  He doesn't have to be there until 11:00 as they're bringing in four or five new-hires all at once.

Hoping to get a good night's rest before leaving around 5:30 - 6:00 which will put me where I need to be around 8:00 p.m..

There's still packing to be done, and a load of laundry to finish. 

Feeling quite tired already.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Remembering Mom

 
B. "June" W.
1933 - 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Resurrection...of Sorts

A few days ago I wrote about, and posted some old photos of, my poor dead Gypsy Moth rose.  I really was quite sad that this rose bush had met its demise in my absence.  A number of days prior to my earlier post, I'd gone to the rose and cut the dead stems to verify that it was indeed dead...and by all appearances, it was.  Those stems were dry and brittle and there was no sign of life anywhere in that pot!

Much to my surprise today, I looked out the patio sliding door and saw something green in that pot.  Thinking it to be a weed, I went to the pot and glory, Hallelujah, there is definitely something green in that pot, and it wasn't  a weed.  You do see in this photo what I see, right?   I'm not imagining this?  Gypsy Moth lives
Yes indeed, even without any added water, it appears that the crown/base of this bush still lives and new leaves have sprung up.  Those two thick brown stems are dry and dead, at least at the point where I cut them back to, but from that stubby part of the bush, beautiful green leaves tinged in red are growing

I gave it some water right after I snapped this photo, and we shall see if it can remain alive.  I am amazed, and thankful!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Casualty

I was going to post something else today since it's Tuesday, but will wait.

Instead, what came to mind was this beautiful rose, Gypsy Moth.  These pictures are from my previous post of last year here and even then they were photos from 2010.

 Above is a single bloom.
And here was a cluster of three blooms all opening at the same time on one stem.

When I was home in mid-March for a week, the plant, which had always been in a pot since before Marty and I were married (18 years in June) was looking really good.  I came home this time to find it dead as dead can be.  He did not water it at all.  In fact, he had not done much in the back yard at all, other than mow the little bit of lawn that's there - and frankly, I think Nick did that!  The lawn's on automated sprinklers, so it is still living, as were the volunteer, reverted-to-wild, strawberries which he didn't mow over so that I could see them, loaded this year with itty bitty berries that taste awful - I'll leave them for the birds, or squirrels!  Oh, and the weeds in our terrace area are doing quite well thank you, without water!  Why can't they be the casualty and my rose have thrived?

But my poor old rose bush, dead, dead, dead. It was my only rose bush.  I'd had another, but it died several years ago and it's name was Garden Party.  Marty said he'd replace it.  I told him not to bother as it'd end up dead too, especially since I'll be back and forth between two states frequently.  Roses, and all other such things will have to take a back seat for now.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Today's Plans

Hah! I'm not sure I have any plans but I know I should be doing something!  

After doing some piecework for two hours the night before last, I found myself having the urge to do some genealogy.  I haven't done any serious work on that in over six months.  I spent about an hour that evening and most of yesterday, when I wasn't doing household chores, sorting through a few stacks of papers and trying to remember where I was last in that endeavor.  I alphabetized some files, and re-wrote some notes from scattered slips of paper into a spiral notebook, did a little perusing around my favorite genealogy internet sites and found by the end of the day that I really didn't want to work on it, and really didn't figure out where I'd left off.  Today, I'll probably just file away what I pulled out and sorted and revisit it all at a later date.

On my mind to do are so many things that need to be done, in addition to wanting to get back into gear with my quilting.  I need to discuss with Marty, and plan, as to whether or not I'll be doing Quilt Camp as I did last year.  I need to re-evaluate our financials by running some reports from Quicken, and I need to file what I posted to Quicken last week.  I need to start looking at my calendar and determining those trips and durations to the northern wet land to continue assisting my dad.  

But back to today.  First on the agenda...a shower and getting dressed.  I've had my coffee and toast and watched a quilt show.  I need to clear off the dining room table which has become a dumping ground for all things this week.  I need to prepare some meat that's in the refrigerator for tonight's dinner and freeze the rest.  Maybe I'll prepare all of it and freeze some of the cooked product for the guys for when I'm not here.  That presumes they'll remember it's there.  

I need to decide if I want to continue with Toaster-Oven Tuesday, having already missed this past Tuesday again even though I'm home.  Today's meat prep will be partially done in the T-O so I should have a post this coming week as long as I remember to take pictures. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Family Time

Don't forget to check out my quilting and other needle work projects at Webs of Threads.  And while there, go ahead and follow me on that blog too.
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Above is the only existing photo of the five of us siblings in existence that was not taken when we were still teenagers and younger and living at home.  You might say we haven't been a very close family.  This was taken in my Mom's hospital room after she'd been placed on hospice comfort care and before she was transported to the house.  She used to say "None of you kids can get along long enough to be under the same roof for more than five minutes."  Well, on one hand, that was pretty much accurate.  This 'all under the same roof' lasted only about long enough to get this photo!  And she was still aware enough to know we were all there at the same time.  I would have had us gather around her to include her, but had promised I wouldn't take any photos of her in the hospital, and I kept that promise.   It isn't that we don't get along, we just have different life styles and three of us live in different states.  The two in the same state live an hour and half apart. The brother with the beard was only 12 when I left home at 18.  The one with the red head band has a job that takes him to job sites all over the country under contracted durations, but he has also spent time in Antarctica and St. Croix.
Here, we have L-R, my daughter, my sister, my dad, my sister's son and his two children.
Taken during my week at home in mid-March, my daughter (Victoria), Marty, and Nick.  I would have really enjoyed having my daughter stay with us longer than just the couple of days she was able to be there.  I really miss her and she's about 1200 miles away in a different direction. 
My dad, his youngest daughter from his first marriage and her two daughters.  I had not seen her since we were teenagers or younger.  Stuff like that happens when you live 900 miles apart and didn't have a close relationship.  I was, during my teenage years, close to her oldest sister, in part because we were close to the same age and she and I had stayed in touch in my early years away from home but as life goes, we eventually drifted apart.  I've spoken with her a couple times though while I was there, and hope to take my dad over to visit with his daughters, he has three, when I get back up there.  I enjoyed meeting this step-sister's daughters.  One expressed an interest in learning about her family's genealogy and I can certainly fill her in on that as I've done quite a lot of research on my dad's ancestry.
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