Saturday, December 27, 2008

A lull

We dined with family on Christmas Eve at K and S's. Christmas day I managed to prepare a really good "fake" crown of pork roast. The local grocery didn't have the correct pork loin to make the real thing, but the fake one was really quite good.

Yesterday I ventured out to the local pharmacy to buy a container for some cookies to give MIL. We are going to have to go to the Capitol City on our way to the SSB. Her birthday is the 29th, but it was decided that tomorrow would be a better time to get together. I found a little container that resembles Chinese take out. I would give her more of the cookies Lady Bug and I baked, but she is not appreciative anyway. So, . . .

We were going to the SSB today, but since it will just be G and me (well Simone too), we will save some driving and just go tomorrow. That means I will not be around here for about a week. The dial up just doesn't cut it,

I considered taking my big sewing/embroidery machine, but it is so heavy.Taking it also means taking a lot of associated things - like fabric. I think I will be able to find enough to keep me busy though.

Hope the rest of your holidays are great. See you around the 6th.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

That's done

Our marathon of cookie making has ended with only two sets of clothing and one chair being the only sacrifices.

LB manned two pastry bags yesterday to decorate her sugar cookies. I decided that ordinary liquid food coloring was not sufficient for coloring icing. So I bought the jell type. Boy that stuff is strong.

We set about making the sugar cookies yesterday morning. I mixed the batch and located the various cookie cutters. The problem was that LB is a little slow in choosing the cutters. The dough was very buttery rich. Add slow choosing and butter rich and you get dough that is not as easily handled as it could be. She also wanted to put the cookie cutter in the very middle of the dough. I tried to explain how to place the cutters to utilize the one rolling as much as possible. That was a concept that seemed to elude her. The dough made several trips to the freezer between rollings.

We got the cookies into the oven. The first ones almost burned to a crisp. The recipe called for a 400 degree oven for ten minutes. Whoa - too high and too long. We got the temperature lowered and all the cookies baked off.

By that time it was lunch time. I took her to our favorite Tex-Mex fast food place. I was lingering over the last of the nachos, when she announced that she was finished and ready to decorate the cookies.

I stalled as long as possible, then began tinting the frosting. Taking a tip from Sandra Lee and Semi-homemade, I had bought prepared frosting. I put some into two mixing bowls and tinted one a deep green and the other a fairly deep red. I left some uncolored explaining that this could be the "base frosting" on the cookies. That idea was quickly discarded.

I loaded two pastry bags with the tinted frostings. I showed her how to twist the bags and where to push. She immediately grabbed one in the middle and squeezed. We went over how to do it again, and she was really good. I, foolishly, left her to her own devices. This was her thing.

After a bit, she told me she was out of red icing. I came in and the pastry bags were extruding icing from the filling end. I was clearly reminded that her 8th birthday is next month! This was clearly something that required more supervision.

It all ended fairly well. I realized that I had red icing on my shirt. When I was going to clean up the bags, there was so much icing left in them that my hands were surprisingly red. Clearly the red coloring is much stronger. She had red and green on her shirt, and some red on her jeans.

All in all, the cookies are cute, and she is proud. She made three rocking horse cookies for Doodle Bug since DB is getting a rocking horse for Christmas. When I told her mother she was thinking of DB, her mother was touched. She asked if LB remembered Monkey Boy with dedicated cookies, I said no. When I told LB that, she said he could have the bells because he is a "ding-dong."

She was with me for 24 hours, and she wanted to stay longer. I felt she really needed to go home, so she went. It was fun though. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful granddaughter.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ended up busy

Yesterday, I thought LB had changed her mind about coming to bake cookies. I had all but given up when the phone rang, and a little voice said "Grandma, can I come to your house?" What a question! Of course.

It seems the excuse her dad gave was Doodle Bug fell asleep on him and he couldn't move. Now they got back from breakfast with his loser friend about 9:30. LB called at 2. I know DB doesn't sleep that long.

Anyway, I had already made a couple of simple batches of cookies. So when she got here, we made three more things. During the afternoon, she said she would like to sleep over. So that's what she did. She knew she didn't have to depend on her parents to get here this morning. Of course, she is still asleep, but that's OK.

We were going to make the marshmallow/corn flake wreaths. She couldn't wait. About half way through, she was sorry we did that particular treat. Her mom remembers us making them during her childhood. I don't and am really surprised that I don't. I just hope I remember what a mess they are the next time I get a wild hair.

Today we make the sugar cookies and decorate them. I know as soon as her eyes open, that will be the first thing on her mind. I need to set about finding the cookie cutters and assorted things.

I didn't get pictures yesterday of the gifts. I will try to get them sometime before Christman Day.

She's up - so it's off the make the cookies.


Monday, December 22, 2008

I've been very good, Santa

Yes, I've been a very good little elf! I have been embroidering and sewing my little fingers to the bone for the past couple of days. I made Lady Bug a pink apron with little cupcakes embroidered on it to go with her little cupcake maker that Santa is bringing her. Then I set about making insulated bread basket liners for daughter and daughter in law.

As for LB's apron, I will never, ever make that pattern again. It is cute, no doubt about that, but I didn't realize how significant the 1/4 inch binding was to that pattern. It was supposed to be everywhere. I tbought it was just trim. Nope it practically held the thing together.

My problem with that binding is that no matter how meticulously I tried to make sure the fabric was caught, there would be places it didn't catch. I would go back, rip out that seam, try again, and by golly, it still didn't catch. I almost wore out one of the pockets because I ripped that seam out so many times. Finally I decided that I could spend the remainder of my life on that apron if I continued to put the binding on all the seams. I just went about constructing the apron pretty much as I know how to make garments. Besides, it is a kid's apron. It won't be worn that much and won't be inspected that closely.

The bread basket liners really turned out rather cute. All I had was instructions that I downloaded from the internet. I had to make the pattern and all. My craft room has precious few flat surfaces that don't have some type of implement on them. Being basically lazy, I tried to make the pattern pieces I needed as I went in just inches of space. Let's just say that some of the pattern pieces I drew were a tad skewed. My liners don't look like the picture that much, but they are rather cute, and I'm thinking of making myself one. They only took the afternoon yesterday - about 6 hours for the two of them. Comparing to the apron - about the same time. I felt a lot more productive with the liners!!

Today and probably tomorrow, LB and I will be making cookies. I hope she has more patience this year because we are not doing the slice and bake. I have told her we will be making them from scratch, and I have chosen about 8 recipes. I also told her last night that I would be teaching her how to measure the ingredients, and how to put them in the mixer. She will be taking a more active part. We'll see how that goes. I'm not holding out much hope, but you never know. She is almost 8, and she should be able to handle what I am going to give her.

I will try to get picture of the sewn goods to post. It is too late today. I don't want LB to see them, and she will be here before too much longer.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Life in the little towns

I was visiting over at Rana's place this morning. She was posting about errands and visiting. She was remembering how when she would run errands in Little Town, the errands would take such a long time because you simply had to visit with folks.

I completely understand this. When we go into town when we are at the SSB, we also end up visiting with everyone. It is so amazing because we didn't grow up there unlike Rana. We are relative newcomers even though G's mother grew up there. We don't face the scrutiny a lot of new faces get because we have roots there. But even so, these people are warm and accepting of everyone - even those foreigners who didn't grow up there.

When we first would go to that area, we didn't have our own house. Far from it. At that time, we didn't have the land. It was still one large parcel. We would go - G would go out hunting twice a day. I didn't think it was safe for me to take the vehicle and make the 45 minute trip to town with him out. That only left mid-day. That didn't work either. Most of the city closes and rolls up the sidewalks at noon.

So I would sit, huddled in the house with one television channel, either grading papers (which were the bane of my existence) or working on some craft project or another. All this while, trying to appease bored children. It was just so much fun. It's no wonder that I finally decided that I really didn't like being there.

Add to this was the fact that we stayed in MIL's house. She is definitely OCD. Everything had to be absolutely perfect, and she certainly deemed me far from perfect. So I would work myself silly trying to keep things even better than when we arrived.

To say we didn't know anyone is an understatement. Now the place is surrounded by relatives, but at that time, there was only one who lived out there on a full time basis. To get to Ruby's house, you had to follow what was euphamistically called a road. It actually was a game trail that followed a dry creek. How in the world this older woman traversed that trail even once a month was asurprise to me, but I know she was on it at least once a week - to church!

We ventured down to Ruby's once. That was enough for me. I was clearly surprised we made it there and back. Now the road has been moved so that it is out of the creek bed. That was probably partially due to the fact that her grandson started a "hunting lodge" which is being generous. But he did have hunters frequenting the place.

Now there are four sets of full timers living there. We visit with them regularly when we are there. We are members of the communty club. We go into town often. We even venture over to the other wide spot in the road (which is larger in actuality than the one closest) much more often. We go to that church when we can, and it has a store that we frequent for corn and their delicious hamburgers!

I never thought I would feel so comfortable up there. The comfort level grows with each visit we make. Being around relatives - both close and distant - is a wonderful thing. It is such a contrast to living here in Swampland.

So now we are planning a New Year's Eve with our true friends at the SSB. Hope yours will be good too.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The time has come

For the last two years, I've found excuses, one after another, for not getting rid of the clutter in my house. I could still come up with two very good ones, but the time has come to pay the piper. I am having a guy come out to measure for those new blinds.

Usually, I just don't have people come into my house. I find one excuse or another to get around that. Today, I'm sunk. He will have to move the couch to measure the windows. It hasn't been moved in two or more years. When the robot runs, it pushes more things behind it.

We have been trying to get an electrician out to run power to our little out building that was put in last year. During this time of year, we put our tender plants in it and call it a greenhouse. It doesn't happen often, but when the weather does get really cold and stays that way for a couple of days, the plants don't do well. We have to put a small heater in with them. It holds the temperature just above freezing and saves them.

The electrician finally came out today. I had asked for a plug on the back of the house so that we could have the fountain plugged into an outlet instead of using an extension cord. So safe and so lovely, you know! He looked at the back of the house, and then suggested coming from inside.

I paled at that idea. Going into my bedroom! Gads. It is a total wreck. Fortunately there is no plug on that outer wall, and when he suggested coming from the attic, I knew that was not going to be worth the money.

My problem is very simple. I hate housework. I can always find something that is so much more fun to do. I keep thinking the solution would be to get the house in shape, then have someone come in at least once a month to do the heavy stuff. That is getting to be a problem too. Ah yet another perk for getting older.

Perhaps some day I will get things done. As for now I need to tackle the Christmas tree who sits there without a single ornament on it because it decided that it would be fun not to light this year. I'm still trying to fix that. Guess the cleaning will have to wait for another day.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I don't know if I still have chemo brain, menopause brain, anesthesia brain or if I'm just flat old, and becoming demented. Apparently I can't read a calendar anymore! I know that when you age, time flies but this is getting ridiculous.

I am fully aware of the fact that today is December 17. My daughter's birthday is tomorrow. I know, at least intellectually, that her birthday is one week before Christmas. I usually try to get all my shopping done way before this, but here I sit with the realization that I still have three gifts to buy. I don't have presents for daughter, son in law, and daughter in law. These are not easy ones either!! Now add the fact that I HATE to shop and I HATE crowds, I guess I'm in a world of hurt.

I seem to have this problem with the calendar all the time now though. For the most part, I pay my bills through direct payments - either drafts or hitting the credit card. I do have to pay the pool man directly though. His bill comes about the 15th and is due on the 1st. I think there is a big chunk of time there, and before I know it the bill is past due! I'm glad he is understanding.

So now I am here with the real need to get out to get this stuff done, but I am waiting for the electrician to call (again because he "forgot" last week, and G has decided that our Christmas present this year should be new blinds (and yes, we really need them).

I had thought I would make the girls bread baskets with embroidery inserts that have the insulated batting in them. I guess I could still do that, but there is still the problem of getting the baskets! I know what S would like, but I still have to go out to get them. He loves my silicon baking sheet liners, and I was going to get him some. Same problem. Should have been ordering way before this.

I ordered Lady Bug's gift last week. One item I ordered for myself (really the house) came yesterday. I really hope hers gets here - like soon. I wasn't going to do the internet thing this year because when we are out of town, I worry about the packages piled up on the porch. That happened last year - a lot.

I suppose the answer is to really use my daytimer. I have it to remind myself of doctor's appointments. I guess I should use it daily and put reminders in it of what need to be done.

Getting old is not for the weak. The problem is that I forget that I am getting old!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And it's not even winter yet

Ok, I spoke about the snow last week. They we returned to the normal balmy weather that is usual for this area.

We packed up to go to the SSB. A friend went with us. He needed to get away for a while, and G invited him to hunt. I think the separation was good for him and his wife. They had gone through a really rough time with his teenaged daughter from another marriage. It was really brutal.

Saturday the winds were about to blow us off the mountain. The hurricane here had nothing on those winds. Sunday the winds stopped for about 8 hours. Then they began again. The temperature reached 82 that afternoon.

We watched the news from the Capitol City. The weather was forecast to get cool. The temperature at 9:30 was predicted to be 42 in that city. That presents a unique problem to me with the thermostat at the house. The house holds heat very well. So sleeping required some cooling. But if it is going to get that cold, well that's another problem all together. I really have to watch the heat because it can become oppressive.

So we went to bed with me thinking I had turned the air conditioner off and just had the fan to the unit running. About 4 a.m., I realized that it was cold in the house. I got a flashlight and went to turn on the heat.

At 8, the house was boiling. But I didn't know what the temperature was outside. When I got up and looked at the thermometer, it was 28!!

We have a saying "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." There is truth to that - especially at the SSB.

I am sitting here in Swampland right now. Our low was only about 34, but it is past midday, and the temperature is 45. It has been overcast all day. I am sitting here freezing at this point. But all we have to do is wait. By Saturday, the temperature will be approaching 80 again.

I do wonder what the real winter holds for us though.


Thursday, December 11, 2008


That's the only way I can explain our weather this year. Of course, we Texans have a saying: "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." I'm sure that could apply to other states as well, but it really is true of Texas.

Our current situation began Tuesday with a wind shift. It was balmy and warm until about mid afternoon. Then the winds shifted, and how! They were blowing at about 30 mph. K told me she was putting out the recycling. Monkey Boy was with her. The winds suddenly shifted and began blowing. He had not witnessed our Texas Blue Northers before. She said his eyes got as wide as they would go. He couldn't figure out what was happening to him. His only words were "tornado."

With that wind came the cold. Yesterday it did not get above about 47 all day. Late in the afternoon, K called me and said that she could swear it was snowing. I looked out, and at first, I didn't see anything. Then the flakes got much larger and falling much faster.

Yep, Swampland had snow. That isn't a big deal in most of the country. Snow happens. But here on the gulf coast it is a rare phenomenon. Our last snow was Christmas Eve of 2004, and the one before that I don't remember. This is the earliest that I can remember, but then with menopausal brain, chemo brain, and anesthesia brain all rolled into my head, I don't remember much!

Snow around here is a disaster. It didn't really have an effect on last nights rush hour. It didn't stick. But this morning we woke to find that the areas more to the east got three inches. Then it got to sit on the overpasses all night - and freeze. The traffic accidents were frequent and many. We just don't deal with this well.

So, the score around here is weather - 2, people - 0. First we are hit with Ike. People are still recovering from that. The most severe damage was to, of course, the eastern parts. Where was the snow. Naturally. I am worried about some of those folks. As of two nights ago, there were many still living in TENTS! Living in a tent in 30 degree weather with snow! No way, but I guess they had to manage.

I really worry about what the rest of the winter. I think we will have more really abnormal, severe weather. And they say there is no climate change? Our rainy season hasn't been. We had a major hurricane. Now it looks like a real bear of a winter. Not weather as usual. Anyway . . .


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Searching the internet for items that are needed is really a great thing - if you can think of just how those things might be listed on said internet.

I really, really hate shopping. The older I get, and the worse my knees get, the more I hate shopping. There is a direct correlation there. I tend to do most of my shopping on line, and thus far, I have been lucky. I get what I want.

Sunday while we were hawking out wares, I bought a salt lamp from another vendor (see Monday, December 8). I brought my prize home. I didn't buy it for its reported health benefits. They are supposed to "delete negative ions" - a claim I can neither believe nor doubt. I plugged in my beautiful salt crystal. The thing weighs about seven pounds. I turned the switch, and nothing happened. Well.

So I assured G that I really didn't believe the vendor was out to cheat my, and I still don't. I didn't realize I had an information booklet with the lamp. It fell to the floor without me seeing it. I decided to write the company via email asking if I could buy another light fixture from them. This thing is only a night light bulb in a socket that fits into the crystal. They got right back to me. Their response was that I could find said fixture at any hardware store.

Hummm. That would mean that I would have to go to said store and try to find someone to help me. They suggested I take that part with me to match it. I didn't like that idea, so I turned to my browser. What do I put in? Finally, I decided that searching for "lamp making supplies" would be just the ticket. My dad used to make lamps. In the 70's big, tall lamps were all the rage. So he would take all sorts of things to stack to make lamps. He even drilled into glass vases.

That worked rather well, but when I would get into the site I had some trouble narrowing my search. I finally found the right site, found the right verbage, and ordered the right part (I hope!!). Now I sit and wait for the mail to bring me my socket to put into my beautiful salt crystal.

As for the health benefits - I'll let you know!


Tuesday, December 09, 2008


My father in law died a year ago yesterday. He was such a fine man. He was loving and fair to all the grandchildren. That statement carries an important thought. When my kids were growing up, their grandmother was not fair and loving to all the grandchildren. The girl cousins are three months apart and the boys are two weeks apart, so obviously, they are the same age.

She had her absolute favorite. That was K's cousin E. She looks like their aunt, who is grandma's baby girl. The second in the running was M. My kids were also rans. Holidays were spent in the Capitol City. The trips to Swampland were few and far between.

We all miss father in law greatly.

Mother in law stayed in the Alamo City until just before Thanksgiving. She did move into independent living, but she was alone in Alamo City. That was brought home to her big time when she was whisked to the emergency room. But more than that, she lamented that no one came to see her. Now by "no one" she was referring to us. The same ones that she never bothered to come to see, and were at the end of her favorites list.

She has moved to assisted living in the Capitol City now. We all said that we could visit more if she moved there. Well, it is still difficult. But G and I went by to see her the Monday after Thanksgiving. I didn't think it would have affected me. It did. Greatly.

As we were walking up to the door, there were about 10 rocking chairs clustered around the doorway for the smokers. It was the same where my dad was. My stomach lurched with the memory. I was so glad it was really chilly that day so we didn't have to walk the gauntlet of those old folks sitting, rocking and smoking.

When we went in to sign in, I was struck at just how much these assisted living places are all alike. Sure, this one is two floors with an elevator, but it was just like the one dad was in. When we stepped into the elevator, tears came to my eyes. I missed my dad so much then - as I really do much of the time.

I think from now on, G can go in to visit. I think I need to stay with Simone in the car.


Monday, December 08, 2008

I call it a success

We (K and I) did a craft show yesterday. I really thought we wouldn't sell a thing. With the economy as it is, people just aren't in to buying crafts. Since we live in this little city, we don't have to pay for a space so we would only be out the gasoline (perhaps a 20th of a gallon) and the exertion of setting up our tables and stuff.

Admittedly, we do live in an upper middle class area. Most people here aren't as strapped for cash as a lot of other people, but since Swampland's economy is based on oil and gas, it those prices keep dropping, people will begin to feel the pinch. Right now, we have been rather recession proof, but I'm not sure that will last. '

Anyway, we were really surprised. We did as well as anyone else, and far better than others. Some folks didn't sell a single item. Many closed up early, but we decided we weren't in any hurry. We did some business right at the end of the time.

We had fun though. People are so interesting to watch. Last weekend, we harvested some mistletoe at the SSB. Last year, K, Lady Bug and I tied it up with red and green ribbon that was so cute. We brought it all back home. Of course, the weather last year was horrible. Cold and rainy. This year, I decided that I would just put it in baggies. I really only wanted to charge 50 cents for it, but we include sales tax in our prices so that we can round off to the nearest dollar. We don't have that kind of change. G suggested we label it $1 or free with purchase. What a sales trick. One teen girl wanted the mistletoe. When she saw it would be free with purchase, she decided to look for a necklace. A little flawed logic to be sure!

K and I had a nice afternoon out on a beautiful sunny, cool day in the park. She found a cross from another vendor, and I found a very unusual Himalyan salt lamp from another. SUccessful? Yes, although I think we may have just broken even!


Friday, December 05, 2008


The party was good for the most part. My Southwest Shepherd's Pie was a hit. It got rave reviews. I won a prize - a piece of applique software. I don't really know how to use that kind of software, but I guess I'll learn.

The attendees were from three clubs, so there were a lot of people I didn't know. Just before the party began, a little man about forty appeared in the doorway. I had never seen him before. Then he said "Merry Christmas." I knew right then. He was profoundly retarded. A lot of the women knew him and addressed him by name. He was David.

He disappeared for a while. I thought he might be employed by the business, and he had to return to his job. After a bit, he was back. Then I realized he was with his mother. A woman behind me said that she saw he won a prize for his apron in the contest the store held last month. She said she also had won. I really was surprised at that.

David then took a chair next to me. He began talking about his truck and his Camaro. He said that Santa was going to bring him more presents. He asked if I had a truck. We talked for a while about trucks, comparing colors, sizes, transmissions and so on.

David became my dinner companion. He was a slight little man. He was about 5' 2". His hair had little grey flakes in it. He had thick glasses. He could have been considered good looking if his condition wasn't a factor. Retardation does effect the visage.

He ended up being rather fascinating. His mind was like a five year old. I could have been talking to Monkey Boy. He was complete stream of consciousness in his conversation. We would sit in silence for a while, then a thought would hit him. It was straight to the mouth. It was really cute, and he was really sweet.

He wanted to show me his apron. He didn't get to. Our party had gone on so long. While he and his mother were participating in the ornament exchange, I retrieved my casserole dish and left. It wasn't until I was half way home that I remembered David wanted to show me his winning apron. I'm sorry David!


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Change of plans

We are experiencing another blast of what passes for fall in other parts of the country. It is dreary, cool (44 degrees), and a slight wind. In other words, a Texas norther has blown in. The weather reports predicted today to be cold and rainy. So like a good Swamplander, I decided that yesterday was the day to venture out to forage in the local grocery. My plans were to spend today and tomorrow upstairs in the craft room - where is it warmer, and I could get ready for Holiday in the Park on Sunday. That is one of the two craft shows we do.

As I was planning my shopping list, I realized that the sewing club I belong to is having their Christmas party today. I know I have only been attending since September, but I really wanted to go. So I bought the ingredients to make the casserole I had intended to make, and girded my loins to brave the brutal weather today. Well, as usual the weather people missed the boat on the forecast. It is, as I said, overcast and cool, but there is no rain.

I almost feel like I am doing Thanksgiving all over again. How many times do you prepare mashed potatoes at 7:30 am? It is not something I normally do unless it is Thanksgiving. I don't even do it at Christmas. But to make my Southwest Shepherd's Pie that is what I was doing. In a minute I will return to the kitchen to brown the hamburger and throw the entire thing into the oven.

I was thinking about how I was going to get this concoction into the store where we meet. After all, it will still be fairly warm. I remembered my holder for the 9x13 baking dish that I have. I remembered it to be stainless steel or aluminum. Nope. It's silver. It hasn't been used in over five years. Would you like to guess what it looks like? Would you like to guess who doesn't have any silver polish? Would you also like to guess who is going to go ahead and use said device? I am such a slob!

One of the things they will be doing (you noticed I said they) is an ornament exchange. I had visions of running upstairs and quickly stitching an "in the hoop" ornament so I could participate. But these people are serious sewers. I think I'll sit on the sidelines and watch this one. I'm not sure that I would put a $8 - $10 value on what I came up with. If they are not extravagant, I'll participate next year.

Time to cook again. Peace

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Second verse

I have not been ill in a good long while. Chemo didn't even make me very ill. This thing that I picked up over Thanksgiving simply will not leave me alone. I thought I was fine on Monday. I thought it was a simple 12 hour bug, but it decided to visit me yet again yesterday. It wasn't as bad, but still . . .

The verdict is out for today. I think I am back to normal, but only time will tell. I just hope it doesn't come by to check in tomorrow. I called B last night, and he is well. So that's good news.

K called yesterday. Among the things she said, and I believe it was really first on her agenda, was she didn't know if they would make the traditional trek to the SSB for New Years. She said that is causes her to be too hard on her children so they won't bother anyone. She made hints at B and C, but she knows they won't be there since C is not going to be able to travel by then.

I really think she was addressing me. I am not allowing Monkey Boy to be an animal in my house anymore. Thanksgiving Day, he did his usual "grazing." He has never been made to sit at the table and eat. In fact, they eat at the coffee table in the den in front of the TV. So he was at least at the table, but sitting side saddle. He was dropping food everywhere. Simone ate the droppings off the floor because I was too lazy to get up to sweep up his mess. I was really tired after cooking dinner. She was sick all day Friday. Monkey Boy actually got in her face once to make fun of her.

When he started eating like that again, B and I made him sit properly at the table to eat. He is never required to mind. Lady Bug is supposed to give him whatever he wants if she has it. He brings golf balls into the house to throw. Nothing is said to him. I have two sliding glass doors and a glass fireplace door. Glass and golf balls don't mix. All that is said about him is "he is just a boy."

I had a boy too. He didn't act like that. K was always accusing me of getting on her rather than B. Well, you stab your brother with a pencil . . . I did discipline B. I didn't excuse his actions with him just being a boy. She says that when B and C have their baby, they will see why she is the way she is. No. They have the same ideas about child raising that I did. Children want to be disciplined.

That was the most obvious when I was the Educational Therapist at an in-house unit for mentally disturbed children. We would discipline them. It was behavior modification. There were strict guidelines for their behavior. They were great - until they went home on a pass. There were no boundaries there. They would come back and act out. On Monday mornings, I always had to check to see who was in seclusion after coming back to the unit and acting out - violently.

I'll step down from my soap box now. Thank you for your attention. I will return to keeping my mouth shut - unless my house is in danger.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008


We pretty much survived four days of togetherness at the SSB. There were nine of us ranging from 64 to 16 months. Fortunately, the weather pretty much cooperated. It was a little cold and very windy, but that still allowed the women to venture into Tiny Town. We had lunch at the new resturant there. They almost have more resturants than any other form of commerce!

Doodle Bug was probably the most irritating being. She really hates the word "no," and reacts by crying. She cried a lot. I think there were times that everyone's patience was stretched to the limit. For instance, just after arriving, G threw a bag with a pint of paint onto the deck. K was helping him unload the truck, and she didn't know to wait until he had gotten everything out before transferring it to the house, so he threw the bag probably being impatient. The can opened. He accused me of opening the paint. I yelled - back - that I wasn't responsible. Things went from there and not nicely. But it ended before I could really react the way I was about to. Let's just leave it that way.

S and K got into it a couple of times. I really don't know what was going on there with the exception of the fact that they have three children. That may have been a good part of it.

C was just miserable with her pregnancy. I can't wait for January and February. She doesn't know what lies ahead of her!

Things were fairly smooth until late Saturday night/very early Sunday morning. G awoke at 2:30. I heard him in the bathroom. I knew he didn't feel well. I thought I was having another attack of indigestion, so I took two of Simone's Pri****k.

A couple hours later, I wasn't feeling well. Then things went to worse. I had a gastrointestinal problem. Details of which will be omitted. Suffice it to say when the kids decided to leave even before breakfast for the five hour trek home, I was not sorry. It was a relief for them to go.

I finally got better, and so did G. We were able to get home without any incidents! I have always worried about getting sick there. And I especially worried about getting sick just before coming home. At least it all ended well.

Just about the time we walked into the house, the phone rang. It was C. She told me B had the same thing. Seems like some evil virus is making the rounds here in Swampland (and beyond, I guess) bacause her best friend had it and so did everyone they had Thanksgiving with.

We just wish we knew who the vector was. We both would like to kick butt. I think only the tip of the ice burg has surfaced. I know C is really worried that she will be next!

Hope you had a great holiday. Peace.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A little giggle to leave with you

I am preparing to begin the final running around town to prepare to leave town with this annual feast at the SSB. It really seems rather stupid, if you want to know the truth. But it has become a family tradition with S and K and kidlets going every year, and B and C joining us on alternate years. The festivities begin with G moaning and groaning about how heavy things are to pack and unpack. His usual comment is "I thought we had moved in already!"

It would be so much more simple to have Thanksgiving dinner here, but Thanksgiving is a prime time for harvesting meat (yes deer). This will be the only trip B can make since C is due to have the baby in late February thus not able to travel the five hours after this. S doesn't like to make the trip without K, and as long as Doodle Bug is at her stage which means she cries almost the entire way due to hating the car seat so much, it is not a fun trip for K.

So I will only have dial up for the next week. It works - sort of. But I use it for emergencies only because it is so slow. I feel good about having it. Whe Dad died, I didn't realize just how far behind civilaziation you are without the internet or at least a fax machine. We needed it despirately, and we had neither. We went to the neighbor (relative) two mountains over to use theirs. At least they were in contact!!

I will leave you with a humorous (I guess) story about what a klutz I still am. With all my joint problems and surgeries, you would think that I would be more careful on our stairs. I generally am. But I guess Saturday I thought I had mastered those stairs again.

Now I have to interject stories about those stairs. I have missed the last step before. I had my hands full since it was before severe arthritis in my knees and I could go up and down without a death grip on the banister. I missed the last step, fell and put a hole in the opposite wall with my elbow. G has missed that last step, fortunately not putting a hole in anything. K would fall both going up and coming down the steps. I think B may have even fallen on those stairs. They are the result of us taking in our attic to put two bedrooms, a bath, and a small sitting area up there. The steps are steep and the runners are small because of where they are.

Saturday, I was thinking about something else, turned off the overhead light, and forgot to count steps. I missed the last one, ending up on my butt. Talk about being scared to death. I was sure I had broken something. As I sat there evaluating systems, I figured out I wasn't hurt, but I did have to figure out how to get up. I finally managed, but I was hurting afterward! I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to get out of bed on Sunday, but it wasn't bad.

Later I told G the reason the steps are so dangerous. There are thirteen of them. Didn't know I was superstitious did you? Not really. Just klutzy - like the rest of my family.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope you can share the blessings in your life with those you love.


Monday, November 24, 2008

A change?

We went to son and daughter in law's last night for family dinner. Since she prepared gumbo, it was "extended family dinner." That is fun because we get to see other people.

We were talking around dinner, and my shoulder and the impending surgery was brought up. Crystal, who is in the extended family - really non-family, asked who the doctor was. I thought she was going to choke when I told her.

She had been to this guy when she was having back problems. Her pain was terrific. He did all the tests and, as she admitted, was very thorough. He then told her he thought it was all in her head. In a way, I can see him saying that. My first impression of him was that he really was rather short.

So now, knowing that he doesn't believe in the new methods of doing that surgery - meaning he will lay that shoulder open, and the way he treated Crystal, I'm not sure. I really, really don't want this surgery. I will be out of commission for two months. I am tired of being out of commission.

I think it's time for a second opinion. Oh, and Crystal's back pain - she later went to ob-gyn who told her, and correctly, that it was endometriosis. Now I set about finding another doc!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Silly daughter!

The other day K informed me that they had decided to get Lady Bug and Monkey Boy Gameboys for Christmas. She rationalized that they were good for hand-eye coordination, and the only thing they would take away is more TV time. They plan for the game systems to only be used downstairs. In addition, the units would be an early Christmas present that they would get on Wednesday for the annual pilgrimage to the SSB for the appointed Thanksgiving celebration there.

Lady Bug will be able to handle hers just fine. She will be 8 in January. She knows how to take care of things. She has always been rather mature anyway. I see no problem. Now Monkey, on the other hand, will break his before they leave the city limits. He doesn't know the meaning of the words take care of something. I know, he is only 4 1/2. That's my point. He is only 4 1/2. After he breaks his, he will go after LB's. The sad situation is that he will be allowed to take hers.

The other thing that has me giggling is when she said they would be an early Christmas present. Now you and I know what will happen on Christmas morning. The fact these were gifts will be forgotten. Especially since they will be toast and a fond memory.

The last giggle is that the playing downstairs will not be monitored. That rule will go be the wayside. Monkey will pitch a fit, and it will all be over.

Now, I'm not opposed to any game systems, They are fun. I know LB will really enjoy hers - as long as she has it. There are a lot of good things about them. I just see big problems ahead, and as a grandmother I sit back and giggle. There are some things they need to learn for themselves.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Drama, drama, drama

The reason I went to the ortho doc in the first place was to shut G up! He keeps telling me that I need a knee replacement. I only bring this up because when I told him that the doc wants to do surgery on my shoulder was met with less than enthusiam.

Now I'm looking forward to another surgery like I would look forward to having bamboo shoots shoved under my fingernails. I have already decided that I certainly didn't need to have that nipple fashioned on the reconstructed breast. There goes my career as a nude model (ha!).

He immediately asked all sorts of questions like: did he say the cuff was completely torn, what does torn mean, are you going to get a second opinion. Actually he was more like GET A SECOND OPINION.

That's not bad advice nor a bad idea. But it has taken me years to set about making this appointment. I spend two months playing phone tag with the other practice. I even went to their web site where I could request an appointment on line. Still waiting for that one.

My confusion here is why there is so much concern about having the rotator cuff repaired as opposed to a knee replacement. I think, although I'm not sure, the rehab time is considerable for either.

I had just about talked myself out of having the surgery. I had been feeling pretty good - although a bit stiff. That was until I simply opened the door to let Simone out this morning. That little twist sent a shock wave up the arm to the bicept. It was a gentle (!) reminder of what was still going on.

All I can say about this whole thing is even after 40 years of marriage, I still don't understand my husband. I finally told him last night to call the doctor himself. He backed down at that. I still don't understand his thing about the surgery. Probably never will.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ortho - Part 2

The verdict is in. As if there were any question about it. The MRI shows a tear. Surgery is indicated as the way to end the pain. The results are up to me after it. Depends on how hard I am willing to work. He wants to schedule it for late January or Early Februrary.

There never seems to be a good time for these things. Late February or early March is the time the new grandchild will present itself. I really don't want to be laid up then. If I wait too long, the muscle will pull away and stiffen. Then reconstruction won't be as successful.

I really don't want another surgery. I managed to live my life for 60 years with only one surgery. That one was due to a car accident where I was ejected, dragged, and broke my ankle. Now I've had five in two years. Yuck!

Welcome to my pity party. I should just suck it up. The real cause of the problem is age. The doctor said that as people age, the incidence of rotator cuff tears goes up with the age. He said by the 80's, most people have some tear even if they are asymptomatic.

Well, I have to let this digest a little more.


Ortho - Part 1

I am going to check with the ortho in just a few minutes. I finally had to call yesterday. That was a trip. At first it was they had not gotten the interpretation, then 30 seconds later, it was do you want to come in tomorrow? I am begining to wonder about this operation. Ooh what a word to use since I really think that is what he is thinking about.

In an other tone, without sounding self centered, if you might have tried to comment, that feature was changed somehow. I think when I got the one comment that was so hateful, I wanted to change them from open commenting to moderating comments. Somehow, it was that comments could only be made by registered commenters. That was not my intention. Anyway, comments are open to all, but I will be moderating them.

I'll check back later after my visit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Foiled plans

Even though I don't have a hard and fast schedule, I do make some plans for the day ahead. That was true of yesterday, but they just didn't happen.

Mondays mean that G is usually off. He works a 4 day week, and that gives him Mondays off which is good when we go to the SSB.

Since he was off, as usual, and we were in town, he decided that Sunday would be the best time to do the 24 hour urine collection for the endocrinologist. So bright and early yesterday, he took the collection to the office. That went pretty quickly.

We had decided it was time to get our flu shots. Our primary care doc retired - about a year ago. We neither need a primary anymore because we have specialists out the kazoo. But those specialists don't have the flu vaccine.

We called the "old" number for our doctor because it is still being answered by the doctor that bought the practice. They have moved close to us - like right here in our bedroom suburb's city limits. I knew they had because son, B, had gone to them for something. But I got the wrong impression of where they had located.

When G had called earlier in the week, they said we didn't need an appointment. Just come in, sign in and put "flu shot" by the name. OK! Great. After he got back home, we got in the car and set out for the office.

We drove to the new office complex. There were no signs on any of the four offices in that complex. So I thought it was the next one over. Nope! B had told us, and I think the office told G, that they were on Village Green. After looking through the second complex, I called to find out exactly where they were. They are in the "old" strip center. In fact they took the office of another retired doctor. So success.

We were in the office and signed in. From the inner office we could hear the crying and moaning of a woman. As people came in, they would say that they were running behind. This was the second emergency walk in of the day. I was really puzzled. If I were in that much pain, I would opt for the ER, not the local Family Practice doc!

We sat and sat and sat. After about an hour, we had just about decided to leave, but they called us back. In the mean time, the woman who was in pain had been taken out the back door via a wheel chair. She was still crying and shouting and moaning in the parking lot. Another patient who was waiting got up to see just what was going on.

Even when we got into the inner office we had to wait. Finally the shots came, and we got them. When we were leaving, I asked the guy who was still sitting out in the waiting room what happened to the woman. Turns out it was a 16 year old girl with muscle spasms of unknown origin. I still would have rather been in the ER!

Our wait for the shots threw off the rest of the day. We had planned our trip - as we got used to doing when gasoline was so expensive - and the next stop was the med center out in the next "city." G needed inserts from the foot doc. Unfortunately, her office was closed for lunch by then.

We still needed to go to the "fancy" grocery store that was a little further out. They had a free turkey if you bought a spiral sliced ham. Can't pass up those free turkeys when feeding 8 for Thanksgiving. They also had pork butts that we need to make venison sausage.

G suggested we eat lunch first, so we set out to find food. In our area, if you find a strip center, you will find a cleaners, a nail salon, and a Mexican restaurant. That's where we ate. We found another good place! It is between the churches we attend (one where we have been members for over 25 years with the pastor who is so boring that he drove our kids away, and the other mission church that we really do enjoy, but have mixed feelings about - torn between loyalty and the fact they are into contemporary worship).

Then on to the store. That was a snap. Then back to the foot doc who was back open by this time!

To say the least, my time frame was off - a lot. But then what else do I have to do. Well, calling the ortho for one. So that is my focus now.


Monday, November 17, 2008


I still haven't heard from the ortho doc. The MRI was last Tuesday, and I know he has the results. SO I guess I'll be calling him today.

Part of the reason is that I aggravated the shoulder last night. I was preparing for family dinner night. I was draining some vegetables that were to go into the casserole. I thought I was about to drop the strainer. I grabbed it quickly, and I experienced such a pain down through my biceps. It was at least a level 9.

After that, G had to finish preparations. I couldn't lift anything more than a pound with my right hand. It has settled down some today, but it is still so sore. I slept fitfully last night, and that was even with a pain pill.

So I guess I'll toddle off to find his number and give him a call.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Self discipline

That's what I wish I had. I don't seem to be able to set my priorities appropriately. I SHOULD be cleaning and de-cluttering my house. What am I doing? Well, you're reading it.

If I weren't doing this, I would be upstairs with the excuse of having to make more blankets, aprons, purses for the craft show in December. I don't have to do that, but let's face it, it is surely more fun.

Night before last, I sat and watched the machine embroidery eight receiving blankets. It was so much fun, and I wasted three hours. Yesterday, I began cutting out two retro aprons. I then went upstairs to begin sewing them. I did come down to make dinner. I'm so thoughtful that way. Then I was back to finish them up.

Now you have to understand that right now, as I'm sitting here in the breakfast room, I am looking at three huge totes full of merchandise that came from the July show in Bitty town. They have been here for a month now (we left them at the SSB for a while) because I hurt my shoulder (the torn (?) rotator cuff). There is no way I can wrestle them up the stairs.

We have plenty of merchandise for this show. But I still hope that new designs will sell better. I also know that in this economy people aren't wasting money on aprons and other crafts.

If it weren't blogging, reading blogs, sewing or something like that I would find another way to escape house work. I simply hate it. I think I was supposed to be born into luxury. Perhaps a princess or something would have been more like it. That darned stork dropped me in the wrong place. That has to be the answer. It isn't that I just can't (don't want to) set proper priorities. I knew I could find an excuse, err, answer to my problem.

So from the land of mess - peace!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I wanted to post yesterday before crazy happened.

This time of year is such a beautiful time in the Texas Hill Country. Generally speaking, Texas does not have the fall follage events that are so common in other parts of the country. Pretty much, the trees stay green all year around, or right after the first really cold snap, the leaves fall off - all at once.

The Hill Country has had three or four cold snaps. That has caused the trees to begin to shut down their food production to get ready for the real cold. That being the case, the chlorophyll has begun to wane, and the other pigments in the leaves are left to show. And show they do!

When you look over the hills, it is a patchwork quilt of colors. I wish I had taken a picture, but the camera was in the back seat.

The tree that gives us the most color is the sumac. Now that is an amazing tree. It doesn't grow very tall, and during the regular growing season it doesn't really stand out much with the exception of ONE thing. They seem to have the amazing ability to grow in no dirt.

When we return to Swampland, we travel through the Capitol City. The roads have been cut through some of the hills there. Those hills are obviously mostly rock. You can see the striations of rock in the cut. Growing out of those rocks are the lowly sumac. That amazes me because where we put the double wide at the SSB has about 18 inches of dirt on top of solid rock. We know because we had to put the Cadillac of a septic system in because there wasn't room for anything else without blowing up rock! I wasn't too eager to use explosives. I keep thinking about finding some of those seeds and planting them around the house. I know what the result would be. I keep telling G that planting trees would be useless because in the millions of years that land has been there if a tree hasn't grown, it won't grow now.

This is my favorite season to go to the hill country though. I can almost pretend we are on the east coast with their beautiful foliage displays. It's just on a much smaller basis.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How plans change

I should know that when I make plans, they are changed by outside forces. Coming back from a beautiful weekend at the SSB, G asked me what I had planned for the week. I simply replied "nothing." In the back of my mind, I had visions of going upstairs to my craft room (B's bedroom when he lived here) and sewing all week long.

I was sitting reading Sunday's newspaper Monday evening when the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID, and it showed an Open MRI facility. When I left the ortho office, she told me that SHE would call me. I called home several times to see if there was a message, and there was none. I was prepared to call the office on Tuesday to see what had happened.

The voice that came from the receiver told me they were confirming my appointment for the following day with arrival time at 10:30 am. I was so shocked! I know the caller thought she had been connected to a dimwit. I told her that I had not been told about the appointment, but that was fine. Then I said "now tell me where you are located." Of course all the pens that should have been around were gone!! (Does that happen at your place too?) Anyway, I got the directions, and was really glad that the appointment was set.

Yesterday I had been talking to K, and just as soon as we hung up, the ortho office called. For the life of me, I cannot remember exactly what she said, but I explained to her that I was on my way to dress and make the appointment.

I got to the appointment with quite a bit of apprehension. I have heard stories about the dreaded MRI, but I wasn't nearly as scared as if it had been a closed MRI. I got ready and got on the table. It really reminded me a bit of the radiation therapy apparatus. The thing that shocked me was the two easy chairs set up with a side table between them. Looked like a lounge with that MRI table as the focal point! I never saw something like that! I could have been the main act.

The tech told me that a contrast study had been ordered. That meant an IV. Great, but ok. We went through about 40 minutes of clicks and bangs. She came in to tell me that it went great, and got me up. I asked about the IV. She forgot.

That meant an additional 15 minutes to get everything reset where it had been, then the stick. But it was done. After we chatted for a while. It seems the ortho office had called them earlier to tell them I wouldn't be coming in. Then they called to say I was. The MRI place was as confused as I was. But in the long run it all worked out. Of course, now I am waiting for the results. I wonder when they will call.

I am curious as to what my options will be if there is a tear in the rotator cuff. I really, really don't want surgery. I lived 47 years before my first surgery. That was when I broke my ankle. In the last two years, I have had five surgeries. That is enough for the rest of my life.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's that time again

Yep, I'm packing up the tote that lives between my breakfast room and den for the trek to the SSB. It is the second week of hunting season, and G is all set. For those of you who may be anti-hunting, I'm not going to set up a big lecture, but I do want to say that there are so many deer in our area that if some weren't taken, they would die from starvation. The land in our area is transition from hill country to desert. Grasses are sparse, as are the forbs that the deer dine on.

Deer happen to be rather stupid. That is a trait that sometimes accompanies anything cute. But they really are. They find an area they like, and they won't go far - even if the grazing becomes sparse. But they will do "what comes naturally" and produce fawns.

Our family doesn't trophy hunt. If it is killed - it is eaten. Even our hunters we lease to are that way. The one who is there the most often usually takes one or perhaps two a year. In total, I would say that much fewer than fifteen deer are harvested from our place. I can't say the same for the cattle that come to us every summer!

I don't and have never hunted. I have always been afraid that I would just wound the deer and not make a killing shot. I guess that's the biologist in me. But I have always loved venison. My uncle used to store his deer in my parents freezer, and we could use as much as we wanted.

If the trip goes as usual, G won't shoot anything this trip. He really just loves going out and watching the deer and other wildlife. I would go to one of the stands, but I don't think I could sit still that long. I wouldn't be able to move when it was time to leave. The house has been in place long enough that the animals are used to it, so we do get some wildlife venturing close so I can watch them.

Peace to you all.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

More normal - whatever that is

In my emotional mess from yesterday, I didn't update on the current status of doctor visits. I added a new physician to the stable. G has been telling me for several years to go to an orthopedist. I finally made the appointment because the pain in my shoulder had been terrible. I was dipping into my stash of heavy duty pain killers left over from the various surgeries. At times the arthritis and shoulder pain can be far worse than after surgery pain.

When I arrived at the office, I was given a 10 page form to fill out. Now I know why the receptionist/radiographer had suggested she email it to me! It took me 20 minutes to complete it.

The first stop after the exam room was the x-ray room. I swear, I glowed last night. They took something like a total of 10 x-rays. Since I was there, I decided I would present a laundry list of the faults in my skeleton. Of course, I forgot to list the back pain, but that will go away if I can ever get back on track and lose weight again!!

To sum up the visit:
The cartilage in my knees is gone. The scheduled treatment for now is to increase the anti-inflammatory drug. This has to be the first step as mandated by insurance. I think he is looking, without comment, at something bigger down the line. I think he knows that just the meds will not do it. I know it too.

I am to be scheduled for an MRI. This is to determine is the rotator cuff is torn and to what extent. I am a little anxious about that. First, I'm scared of the MRI. The CAT is bad enough. I also am worried about the pin in my ankle. I hope it is plastic. I asked G if he had to remove his wedding ring when he has one. I didn't ask because I don't take mine off - far from it. Lady Bug and I had our ears re-pierced Sunday. Those have to stay in for 6 weeks!!

My "trigger thumb" was treated by a steroid injection. It seems to have worked.

I guess getting old is really hard, but I keep working to try to get older.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I have been blogging for three years and two months today. I mention that because it is just now that I have been targeted by the hostile, hateful. If you check yesterday's comment, that is exactly what happened.

As far as I can tell, that person has never been here before, at least on that specific computer, and I don't know what directed them to this blog to leave such hate. I had put up two posts in response, but that's silly. I'm sorry that the person at 99.162.239 (SBC) latitude 39 and longitude 97. If this is someone who is a reader here, I will be so very disappointed.

I have not witnessed such hate - ever. I am completely speech less. I don't know how they zeroed in on this specific page which makes me think they stop by at times. That comment is making me seriously consider shutting this thing down. For the time I will limit comments. I will not accept anonymous comments anymore. The internet has people thinking they can do verbal "drive-bys." I have just been hit.

I am really glad that the pain of my mother's death is long over, but the fact that this person things that all white people are evil really upsets me. To consider melanoma to be the revenge of the blacks is so horrible that I cannot comprehend it. To compare sickle cell with melanoma and say that sickle cell is the smart disease is really off center.

I have a very sad, heavy heart while I write this.

I still can say however, and really mean it especially for 99.162.239 - peace be with you.

Monday, November 03, 2008

What I did this weekend

Interesting - I didn't notice when I posted last, but today when I logged on I noticed that the date of the last post was October 29. That would have been my mother's 93rd birthday. In a big way it hurts me that I didn't note it on the day. She passed away December 1972 from melanoma. I am aware of her birthday, but at that moment my mind was elsewhere. Happy belated birthday Mom.

This is in line with what I did yesterday. It dealt with another cancer death. Here is Swampland, we have public service announcements from our blood center. I think even last year, they showed two with a darling little boy named Johnny Romano. The first was Johnny and his mom. They stood out to be because he was still bald from his chemo for leukemia. They were addressing how important blood donation is because it was so important to Johnny in particular. He stood out even more because he had on a pink T-shirt that something like even real men where pink. His smile was so warm, and his eyes just sparkled.

The next spot he did was with a man who would hold an apple. He likened the apple to the number of people who could donate blood. He then removed the stem with the words that that represented the number who actually did donate. He tossed the apple to Johnny who then took a big bite from the apple with eyes twinkling.

I didn't know the rest of Johnny's story. He was a really good skate boarder. I am not into skate boarding, so I certainly didn't know that. He was seven years old. He was diagnosed in May of 2005. He immediately was taken to Texas Children's Hospital where he began his chemo.

The family was so looking forward to September, 2008 when his chemo would stop. During these years, he was really on chemo the entire time. He had quite a following. Again I was unaware of all this. Yesterday our newspaper had a front page story on Johnny. He died September 27, 2008 - the day he was to stop chemo. He had a relapse in June, 2008, three years to the day of his first diagnosis.

I was entranced with Johnny's story. I went to his blog, written by his mom. I followed each entry. I could so relate to much of what Johnny endured. I was especially moved by the entry that described one of his treatments where they accessed his port only to not get a return. If you should not understand, that is part of the accessing of the port to make sure it's open. Saline, or perhaps a blood thinning agent, would be injected into the port, then they would pull back on the plunger of the syringe to get a return of blood. Often the accessing paraphernalia would have to be removed, and then it would start all over. In my case, I really hated it because my port was very deep. I would agree with Johnny's take (and others) that the pressure was not comfortable. His mother didn't know about that pressure. It made me think - that was probably just one thing those who have never had chemo don't realize.

After his relapse, Johnny basically never left the hospital. His last months were really a pure hell - especially when you think of a 10 year old boy. I was so impressed at the valor he showed during the entire ordeal. He was my hero. I just wish I had known when he died. As I have said before, I don't read the obits. G does, but I find myself lingering over the young women who have died from breast cancer. This time it would have been for a darling little 10 year old boy.

Should you be interested in reading Johnny's story: It's a read that will really draw you in with your emotions vacillating constantly. Even knowing the end, I found myself rallying with the mother with her hopefulness.

Peace be with you all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekend, doctor, and dad

Well, we are safely back from the SSB. The weather was beautiful even though it did begin to heat up - a lot! We were surprised to find four "feral" cows on our place however. It seems we have a fence problem back on the east side where the land pluments into a huge, deep valley. We did find who is leasing the property for grazing - and the owner of the cattle. From there we found the number of the land owner who is, as is usual in that country, a distant cousin. I think he's only remotely related to G, but I haven't finished my dad's genology yet. He may be a distant cousin of mine as well, but through a different path.

I had an appointment with the plastic surgeon yesterday. I'm so glad they left a message on the machine because I thought it was Thursday. Anyway, we are still at a decision point about the reconstruction of the nipple. It's a little tempting because it will take 15-30 minutes, done under a local. But he still wants to do it in the operating room both because of sterility and SHOULD there be a complication like bleeding. I am still mulling it around.

When I arrived at the parking lot, there was an older couple who had pulled up before me. I guess I should explain that I use the valet parking. Being right at the door is such a big plus for me. At this facility, it is free, so that makes it even better. Back to that couple. They were driving a fairly new Cadillac. When the man got out, I could see that he was dressed in a nice looking sport coat, tie and sharp slacks. He looked very dapper. One of the other attendants opened the door for the lady. She looked beautiful. She had on a lovely printed full skirt, blouse and jacket. Her hair was done meticulously. She walked with a cane, and he was very attentive.

I lost track of them because they got the elevator before I got it. My doctor was running late - about an hour, so it was a good hour and half before I was back at the parking lot. They were there. When their car arrived, he opened the door for her and helped with her seat belt, making sure the skirt was nicely tucked into the car.

I was so struck by them. They were of the generation that dressed when they went out. It didn't matter where they were going. They dressed appropriately. That meant being very well groomed. But that wasn't the biggest thing that got my attention. The man being so very gracious reminded me of my dad. He would treat his wife with the same consideration. He was such a gentleman. I miss him so.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Army of Women

On October 1, Dr Susan Love, in conjunction with Avon, began her campaign against breast cancer with Army of Women. She is looking for a huge group of women who could be considered for certain research opportunities to stop this killer. She is trying to formulate a ery large, diverse group for sampling. As a scientist, I know how important it is to have a large diverse group from which to choose for research.

On October 28, she will appear on Good Morning America to announce the first "Call to Action." She makes it clear that they will be looking for only certain qualities for this one and not everyone will qualify. This is going to be true of all of the projects.

I am asking you to please consider signing up with this army! If you want more information please go to I really think it will answer any of your questions. I feel there is no risk to you and the rewards are great for our daughters, granddaughters, and even sons and grandsons as they too are at risk.

I also added the pledge form. Consider signing the pledge to help keep research going. We really have come so far. If I had been diagnosed many years ago, I would have been given a certain death sentence. As it is, even though I can't know the future, I feel I have a real chance to live my life.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What next?

In my search for things to put on my body to make it better, yesterday meant I traveled to the shoe store. Their claim to fame is that if you are having foot, knee, or back problems they have the fix. Well, OK! I was already sold.

K and I were going to go together this past weekend, but she has had a contractor rebuilding (from the studs) her kitchen. Silly thing, since he had finished she wanted to put it all back together. Humph! Dong that over her mother.

Anyway, I decided yesterday was the day for me to hit that shoe store. K was a little disappointed I think, but I needed help. My shopping on Monday had left me really sore and hurting. I had to find something that would help.

I walked into the store. They had two clerks actively working and a woman at the register. I walked to the woman at the register and explained that I had arthritis in my spine, knees, ankles and feet. She promised they had just the thing, and one of the clerks would be right with me.

Sure enough, the lady called me over to a chair. She could find me shoes as well as working with the other woman who was already there. And that's just what she did! She measured my feet. My right is right about a 9 1/2 - really closer to a 10. Then she measured my left. It was a 9.

I immediately thought of my time at the bra place. Great! One breast clearly at least one cup size smaller than the right - and now my left foot clearly one size smaller than the right! I could not believe it. I am completely lopsided I guess!

The good thing is that the clerk brought me about 6 pairs of shoes. They all felt great. I bought one pair. The bad news is that my feet feel the best in one type that is made in Germany. They are the most expensive. As she put it, I have Cadillac feet.

After my experience at the bra shop, I could really only allow myself to buy one pair of shoes. They are the first that I actually want to wear. Usually I go without shoes as much as possible. These are ones that feel so good, I want them on my feet. But due to their sticker shock, I only have the one pair. I am, however, in love with another pair of shoes. These are walking shoes. Ugly as can be, and priced at $265. I really, really want them though!

I can tell I will be back at that store. I will be getting more of these shoes. Payless will never see me again!

After my last two shopping forays I am afraid to be fitted for anything else. I may find that my left side is simply disappearing!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


My mother in law may finally be coming to the realization that she shouldn't be living in the Alamo City. G's brother called last night with the news that she will be visiting the Capitol City at the end of the week with finding a facility there in mind.

Her first complaint is that no one comes to see her at her independent living place. Well, she is basically correct. I still could shake the liver out of her for putting a terrible guilt trip on my son about not coming to see her. He NEVER goes to the Alamo City! He often works overtime on weekends that he and his band don't have gigs. It would be the trip and a stay in a motel. All that adds up.

G and I don't go. For one thing when we go to the SSB, it is out of the way. Also she lives on the fourth floor. They don't allow dogs up there. Simone can't wait in the truck. When we DO come by, no one talks. There is nothing to say.

Another problem is that G still harbors great resentment about his mother. She made it clear, and still does, that he is not the chosen child. She has always preferred G's brother and family to G and us. She was abusive to G when he was a child. She would bend over backward for the brother's family. She even admitted it to my daughter in a weak moment. K is far more attentive to her than her cousin (who is three months older). At Christmas, it wasn't what my kids wanted - it was what the cousins wanted that was given.

It seems that Saturday night she was taken to the hospital. It was rather late when brother got the call. It was too late to get down there. I think she has realized that if she wants the comfort of someone around, she better move. Sister in law tried to tell her that at the reunion. SIL said HER mother was thinking of moving to be closer, but MIL laughed it off. She ignored the tone of SIL's voice when she remarked how much easier it would be to take care of her.

I guess it's sad. She has realized she is not the Queen Bee that she thought she was. No one is really going out of their way for her - with the exception of the chosen boy. I've been in that situation - more because I was the only child, but I surely don't want it again. I ended up moving them without their permission. I still feel some guilt about that, but there was no other way. You can't care for elderly parent(s) with them 100-200 miles away. It is just that simple.

So MIL has finally figured that out too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Whole New Experience

Never, in my 63 years, have I ever been fitted for a bra. But with my new plastic body, I figured I would never be able to find the correct sized bra. I think I was right.

I ventured out this morning to the bra shop. I knew that their merchandise would be pricey. K had been there a while ago, and walked out with $200+ of bras. I didn't think I would let that happen. Guess what. It did!

I went in and explained that I had a mastectomy and reconstruction. The clerk said ok. We went to a dressing room where she measured me. I was a little shocked. The band measurement was 6 inches more than when I was measured for the mastectomy bra that held the prosthesis. But then I did go tbrough chemo and my body held on to all those calories that I was hoping it wouldn't. I enter chemo thinking it would be a good thing for my weight. Boy was I wrong.

Anyway. The first bra she brought was an "E" cup. My poor little breasts were swallowed up completely. I'm not sure that my previous breasts would have filled that cup, but they probably would have.

The real work began then. We kept trying different bras. The band would fit but not the cup or the cup would fit but not the band. Or one cup was fine and the other was way too large. That is part of the problem. When Dr Plastic did the reduction, he got a little carried away. The left is much smaller than the right with the implant. His solution was to take some of the silicon out. I vetoed that right away. I know they are better now, but I don't want to take a chance on the silicon leaking.

After an hour, I scored three bras. Of two different sizes. Using band extenders. You see, now I have small boobs and a broad back. If it fits the back, it won't fit the boobs. But it looks good. I was absolutely amazed how good the sisters look.

That should be motivation to stay on my diet now. I surely need something.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dr Poison

Finally today I got to keep the appointment with Dr Poison. Last night I was wondering however because the rains have come to Swampland. Flooding, heavy rains. But we DO need them. Really. But I was thinking this would be canceled appointment number three.

The first that had to be canceled was the Tuesday after Ike visited our area. I couldn't even call to cancel because their phones were down. The second was the fiasco of them not seeing patients out here, and then I was afraid of being flooded in today.

It was really rather pointless. He told me that the bone scan showed the take up of the isotope was in the knees, feet, ankles, and spine. Bone cancer takes up the isotope in the middle of the bone. Diagnosis - arthritis. Wow!! Could have fooled me!!

His next announcement was that I should be exercising to prevent the return of the cancer. It is effective to prevent colon and breast cancer recurrences. Sure. I was on the recumbent bike for one minute this morning, but my knees hurt so badly I couldn't stand more than that.

Then he wrote the order for my mammogram in January. I don't see him again until March.

It was such an exciting morning. Now I guess I better go call Dr Plastic Surgeon, since I canceled that appointment for last Tuesday. I also am going to try another orthopedist. This time I'm calling another physician in the practice. If "Mike" for the first doctor is so busy that I always get voice mail, then I can see that succeeding appointments would also be a problem.

Exercise people!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No clean clothes

The appliance guy came on Friday before we left for the SSB and the reunion. I thought all was great. I got the trip to the grocery store in, the appliance guy, everything packed and the cars all sorted out to leave before 11.

I knew Simone's bedding, that caused the entire thing, had not been rinsed well. I went in to put the washer on rinse and turned away to do some other things. I went back into the utility room to pick up the laundry basket that had been put in front of the door. It was WET!!

I really didn't think that much about it at that moment. It wasn't until I looked again and realized that I had an inch of water on my floor that was running out of the door that I really got into action. My utility room was underwater. I turned off the washer and then went to spin to get the water out. I swept the water out, and when I was outside I realized that the water had run under the wall between the floor plate and the foundation.

I called the appliance guy. He apparently knew what was wrong. I think he has to hook something up again. He said he would be here this afternoon. Haven't heard from him, yet. Guess I'll call.

I really have my doubts about this guy. When I needed him before, he never returned the call. He said he knows our hunter who is a repair guy in Sweetland. A said he didn't know T was in the repair business. He knew him from parts sales. Hmmm. Is this a sign?

Monday, October 13, 2008


Busy, busy, busy weekend. We went to the family reunion in the Alamo City even though we stayed at the SSB which is two hours away. For seven of us and a dog, it was a lot less expensive - even with time.

G's mother tried to put me on a guilt trip - once again. She was going on and on about how my sikser-in-law had done "sooooo much" for her where as we haven't been to her independent living apartment twice since January.

M was telling us that HER mother is planning a move to the Capitol City and she tried to get MIL to say she would do the same. She talked about how much easier if will and would be if they were both there. It went right over MIL's head. She would rather they travel from the Capitol City to the Alamo City at her whim. What I did with my dad and step mom was hard, but I think that is exactly what needs to be done with MIL. I know she is in a "protected" environment where Dad wasn't, but noone should be expected to make trips to check on family like has to be done.

Other than that the reunion was fun. The rest of the weekend was a little nerve wracking. Monkey Boy needs a good butt warming. He has been allowed to get what he wants by crying for his entire life. Whenever things don't go his way, he whines. If dinner isn't chicken nuggets and fries with catsup, he cries. If he is told to do something that he doesn't like - he cries. It was a weekend of his noise. Mom and Dad (more Mom) are realizing just what they have created, but it is still annoying.

Doodle Bug is a red haired wonder! She has the temper to match that hair. She can be so happy one moment, and she is really ticked off the next. She does love Simone however. I wish I had my camera out when they shared their kisses. When Simone would get up in the mornings, Doodle Bug was at her happiest.

Lady Bug was her usual good self with the exception of thinking she could get her own glass yesterday out of the cabinent. We are minus one glass. I just hope she asks for help from now on. I really had to laugh when her dad said she should be using plastic anyway since he gives both older kids my thin, fragile juice glasses for their drinks. Ah, well!!

S and G were able to get the feeders up and running. Although at one point I was wondering if that was going to happen. They waited until about noon yesterday to even move. When they went out, there were three dead batteries! The old farm truck was dead, the Mule was dead and the four wheeler was dead. G said he was afraid to even try the troop carrier (the F250) or the Expedition. We must have some kind of warp field around us!

We are all back home and, some of us at least, are in quiet, peaceful places. I will spent the next weeks getting ready for Thanksgiving. There will be nine of us in the less than 1800 square foot space. One of those will be 6 months pregnant. Oh my! Should be fun. At least I know where the key is to our hunter's cabin. I may disappear there - often.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

It's all because of fleas!

As we live our day to day lives, everything we plan, down to the most simple things, can be instantly changed. I had the day mapped out in my head. Guess what - it all changed!

As a way of explaining part of what was going on today, I must tell you that we are having a terrible time with fleas and Simone. I keep treating her and the house, and G still gets bitten. I really think HE is the vector bringing them into the house. He is outside more than she is!

When I picked up her prescription dog food at the vet's office Saturday, I told them I was having a terrible time. They said there is a pill out that will make all the fleas leave her within 30 minutes. Well, OK. So I bought 2 of the little gems ($4.40 each). Since Saturday was hot, and we wouldn't be home when it was cool on Sunday, we decided that Monday was the day to give her pill number 1.

She tolerated it well, but since it was going to rain on Tuesday I would wait until Wednesday for the second pill. That was also tolerated well, and I decided today would be the day for a bath (at the vet) and the application of Frontline which up to now has not been effective at all.

I got her up early, had her go outside and fed her. Then I loaded her into the truck, and we were off. Now she thought she was going to her slaughter. She planted her feet most of the way to the back at the office, but they picked her up (all 65 pounds!), and all was well.

I returned home, and set about washing her bedding. I was fiddling around with something when the washer made a horrible noise. The bedding had gotten out of balance. I thought it wouldn't be much of a problem. It happens all the time with a large load. I opened the lid and shifted everything around. I lowered the lid with the expectation of the spin beginning once again. Silence.

I moved things around again. Moved the dial a little. Lowered the lid again. Silence.

So I called the Maytag repairman - probably woke him. He came out about an hour later. He poked about for a while, removing the panels from the machine. Then he pronounced he needed a part. He would return this afternoon.

Under normal circumstances that would have been fine. But today, I have Simone at the vet, and I planned to hit the grocery store as we are going to The Alamo City for a family reunion and I need provisions to make food to take. Plus we will be staying at the SSB along with K's family of 5. I need to prepare. We will leave tomorrow at noon. No time for the grocery.

But I guess things will just have to wait. It is almost 2pm. Mr Maytag has not called again. I guess I'll learn some patience and wait. I DO have to be thankful that he didn't pronounce the washer DOA. The thing is about 20 years old. I should be happy instead!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Such a puzzle

G is a devoted reader of the obits. When the paper is brought in, he settles down with that section and reads every last obit in the paper. Let me tell you, there are a lot of obits in the local Swampland paper.

I glance at them on occasion. Each time I read them I get really depressed. Perhaps it is because, not unlike anyone else, I simply don't know what my future holds for me. None of us are promised a set number of days, but I think mine are seriously diminished by the cancer. I cannot be sure it is really gone.

On another cheery note, I finally called the orthopedist yesterday. I got his "scheduling person" Mike. I had to leave a message. I could not believe that! I had to leave a message to make an appointment. Here it is, the next day at 10:06 and no return yet. I wish I could have had a job like that. Apparently he comes to work at 10am (or later) and gets off at 4. Wow! What a deal.

I also got a call from Dr Poison's office. They asked if I would come to the office across town. I said no I could not. You would have thought I was signing my death certificate on the spot. I wouldn't be willing to drive an additional 20 miles for an appointment that isn't all that important anyway. So we rescheduled for next Thursday. My, my. These doctors!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

It's time

I'm finding that I don't want to go any where. I don't want to shop. I don't want to go out to eat. I don't want to see anyone unless they are here in my house.

I'm not just antisocial. My knees and feet hurt so much that I can't stand the thought of walking around. Just going to the mailbox at the curb is a major trip.

G keeps asking me "so - when's that appointment?" He is talking about me making one with an orthopedist. I have to do it. I just hate to add yet another physician to my stable of doctors!

I see Dr Poison later today. I'm curious about the real results of the bone scan. I was supposed to see him several weeks ago, but Ike blew in and changed all our lives around here. I had called the office. The nurse said there were signs of arthritis. I wonder if the good doctor will go ahead and order an MRI. I sincerely hope not. I really don't want to do that. The thought of being in that tube scares the liver out of me.

I guess I should serve some cheese with this whine. We'll see what happens this afternoon. I've got the recumbent bike working (I think), so I believe I'll see if that will help anything.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Foot in mouth disease

I really try to not critisize how my daughter and son in law are raising their children. I KNOW it is not appreciated. I don't think I would have liked it one bit either.

With that said, I did exactly that last night. It was Sunday night dinner with the family. I was already not feeling well. I decided to serve frozen lasagna with salad, bread and a bought Halloween cake. Simple.

Monkey Boy is a picky eater, and he is encouraged to be just that. For lunch after church when we went out his was macaroni and cheese with fries as the side dish. That was washed down with lemonaid. Carb city.

I know he does eat spaghetti and other noodles, so I expected him to eat last night. When he SAW the lasagna, he immediately began crying and chanting no-no-no. This boy is four! \

My son was really irritated by this. Now they won't have their baby until almost March, and he is hopefully making his words nice and soft, but his feeling is that his kid won't act that way. I hope so for his and the child's sake. I was irritated also. I could see no reason for this act except for the fact that he thinks he doesn't have to eat when he is here. I felt the behavior was uncalled for.

When time for dessert came, at least his parents didn't give in. He sat on the floor by his older sister and just bawled. They remained unmoved. I was proud.

Then he came and sat on the sofa between me and his dad. His dad then asked if he wanted a sandwich when they got home. I just about had a cow. I said nothing at the time. His dad was then ready to go - right then. K was watching the program on TV. On the way out, I told her about the sandwich thing. She didn't believe me at first, and I assured her that the sandwich deal was going to happen. She became defensive and said that it was nutrition.

That wasn't my point. I don't like sending kids to bed without dinner, but come on. They wonder why is will behave for his teachers but not for them. This is the reason. They don't make him behave. I hate to see this happen to him.

They had a big birthday party for him at some children's game place. No one came. There is a reason. He is a bully and quite honestly not a nice kid.

K didnt mention it today when I talked to her. She apparently didn't think it was a big deal. I guess that's good, but on the other hand . . .

Friday, October 03, 2008


Right now I'm trying to decide if I REALLY want to go to the Alamo City to attend my 45th (gasp) high school reunion. I just don't know if I really want to spend the time and money.

High school was a great time for me. My high school was a gorgeous campus. We really were treated like we were more in college than high school. I was in the "pep squad" and had a great time with the other girls and the band when we practiced for half times together.

I loved most of my teachers. I know it's impossible to love all of them - just as I know that not all of my students loved or even liked me. That's life.

We have lived in the Swampland area for about 38 years. I haven't seen any of these people in that time. I haven't had any communication with any of my friends save one in all that time. When we went to the last reunion, none of my friends were there. I really was rather bored.

It seems that mostly it is the males who keep up with high school buddies. That's the way it looks from what I see from the high school site. That's the way it seems with my daughter and son's classes too. She doesn't see those people and doesn't care to attend a reunion. My son is still best buddies with his classmates.

I have to make up my mind soon. I am so torn.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Stronger than I thought

I kind of feel like the Little Red Hen or the Little Engine that could or perhaps a cross between the two (what a terrible run on sentence). Just exactly who I modeled most after depends on the time.

I felt like the Little Red Hen when I decided that since no one helped me move my HEAVY sewing/embroidery machine downstairs so I could go the the machine brand club meeting, I would just do it myself. I planned it all out last night. I would go up to put the materials and sewing supplies that I needed into the sewing machine carrier last night. Then today, I would go up to get first the machine and ease it down step by step. I would then get the carrier last. When they were both downstairs, I would put the machine into the carrier and I would be set.

There was some consideration to taking the smaller plain sewing machine, but my ego got in the way. This club is made up of those who have these fancy, dancy machines. I didn't want to be the one there with the older (much) little machine. Pride!! It causes some terrible things.

I went up last night and loaded (most) of the supplies I needed. Since I had the time for the club meeting wrong, I was able to go to the nearby fabric store to get what I had forgotten. I had to laugh at the others who showed up without some important items. I thought I was scattered at these meetings. I'm better than the first one (two months ago) when I showed up with NOTHING I needed as far as supplies. They thought I was some sort of alien. Well, there were three new people this time. I guess the club is getting their act together because they were warmly welcomed.

This morning I went to get the machine. I doubt I should be picking it up right now. I am still on restricted activities for now. But I gingerly removed it from the cabinet. I got to the stairs, and that's where the Little Engine came in. My stairs are steep!! We enclosed our attic about 20 years ago, and it became our kid's bedrooms, a bath and sitting area. Due to that - our stairs are steep and the treads are narrow. I "screwed my courage to the sticking place" as someone once said, and ventured to the stairs.

I always have a fear of falling on these steps. I really didn't want to trash my beautiful machine. But I managed to go, step by step, down the stairs.

Humph - I did it myself. I don't need help. Go me!