Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

It is just 2 days before Christmas, the first and only Christmas Richard and I have ever spent alone. This quiet holiday could not have come at a more needed time. Don't take me wrong, we love family and friends. We always look forward to sharing this holiday with them, especially the little ones. But this year all our kids are with their families out of state and our gift is peace and quiet.

The day after my last entry I had a call from my Dr's office telling me they had found a glitch on my routine EKG. To verify that it was really an annomoly, they scheduled a stress test consisting of three stages, a resting nuclear uptake, an EKG while on a treadmill (yes I had to do this with my bumb knee), and finally a second uptake imediately following the EKG. Well the glitch was still there. A portion of my heart is evidently not getting sufficient blood flow. Now I am scheduled to see a cardiologist on the 30th. He will make arrangements for angeography. This is where they thread a catheter up the femoral vein to the heart and inject dye to see just what is going on. They may need to put in one or more shunts. If so, my knee surgery will probably be rescheduled.

Life this year has taken some real unexpected turns. However, I am thankful for how this latest issue was discovered. If not for the scheduled knee surgery I might have not been diagnosed with a heart problem until I had a major heart attack. Praise God for His timing. My life is truly ordered of the Lord and He is evidently not willing to take me yet.

Lest you are tempted to feel sorry for us, we have not been neglected. Lissa and Nate spent a few hours with us on Saturday. We watched Julie and Julia together. We had dinner with Shelley and Eric before they left for New York to spend Christmas with Carmen and Leo. Rick came down for a couple of days and we had a nice dinner with him and Dianna on Monday. Rick left yesterday and Dianna leaves today. They will both spend Christmas with Bridget and Chris in Washington.

Please continue to hold Richard and me in prayer throughout the Christmas season and as my saga unfolds. God bless and keep each of you and yours. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Merry Christmas 2009

The year 2009 has been quite eventful for the Moreno family. What started out as a routine with getting paperwork ready for taxes and lining up plant starts for the garden soon took on a whole new face. I had a CD due to mature in April so considering the falling economy, I tried to get bids on remodeling our master bath. Now you would think independent contractors would welcome work. But though I called several and had them come out to look at the job, not one actually gave me a bid. Looking back, we can see why. The funds would be needed elsewhere.

On Palm Sunday, Amy called and asked if Richard & I would like to come for Easter, she could get cheap tickets (to Germany). All we had to do was find our passports and be available. That took about five minutes. But getting us ready to take such a long trip actually is much more involved than being available. Richard’s medication and medical equipment had to be cleared with Dr’s and the airline. We even had to weigh and measure his wheelchair ahead of time. With only four days to get ready (we flew on Friday) it was quite the scramble.

We had a great 2 ½ weeks in Germany and Holland. In Germany we visited with family, did just a bit of yard work, made several day trips into Heidelberg and surrounding area, and cruised the Rhine River. In Holland we stayed in a vacation house located in the midst of flowering tulip fields and visited a 42 acre bulb demonstration garden. We had a great time, calm before the storm.

We arrived home on April 27 and on May 11 I took a nasty fall off my front steps. I broke may right leg (actually smashed it). I spent a few days in the hospital and a week in a nursing home. The following four months were miserable. The Dr. would not allow ANY weight on that leg at all. In mid-August I could finally put weight on it, but could not drive for another five weeks. The very day I got permission to apply weight, Richard had surgery for a bowel obstruction and was in hospital for nine days. They went ahead and repaired a large hernia at the same time. We are both still recovering. But round three is looming on the horizon. I am scheduled for a complete knee replacement on January 5, 2010.

The garden we had planted before our trip produced some squash and tomatoes despite the lack of care. Most other plants did not fare as well. It is our hope that the summer of 2010 will tell a much different tale.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and our Lord Jesus be with you throughout the New Year.

Richard & Nancy Moreno

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Countdown

I visited my orthopedic surgeon yesterday. All is going well with my leg. It is healing, the bone density filling in. It is also still a mess, with huge spurs digging into nerves and tendons. We wnt over the knee replacement procedure and what could be expected during and after surgery. We also talked about all the "things" that need to happen before surgery.

I need to have an MRI and x-rays of my entire right leg, hip to foot. I need lab work and an EKG. I need a chest x-ray and a pre-surgical physical with my family doctor. I am supposed to attend classes in living with a knee replacement and in how to manage taking a blood thinner to prevent post-surgical clotting. Then I need to see the orthopedic surgeon again about a week before the surgery.
In addition, Richard and I have appointments with the podiatrist and he has appointments with both our family doctor and a hemotologist with lab work before each. One busy December.
I will also need to put together easy to fix meals enough to get us through the first couple weeks after my surgery. I am getting a bit anxious to get it all over with.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Lord IS Good

This past month has been eventful in the family. I am just coming off several weeks of intense physical theropy designed to both strengthen my leg and give it more flexability in preparation for a total knee replacement in January. Seems the joint was so destroyed that it has slipped several centimeters, so is limited to what can be done pre-surgery. But I am walking to a degree.
One of our daughters blew out the engine of her car and was feeling stranded for a couple weeks, but now she has wheels again.
One of our granddaughters wa sgiven news that her unborn child might have a serios genetic problem. She underwent several painful tests and while there may be problems, they are not as serious as they might have been and most likely correctable at birth.
Another granddaughter and her husband (as well as our daughter and son-in-law) are mourning the loss of their unborn child who had a very serious genetic problem. He died a previous October but is still loved by so many.
Our son lost his job of 20 years, but has secured a new position with the same employer. He will retain all seniority and benefits.
Another daughter faced having her daughter declared legally disabled and had to take formal action to keep her from becoming a ward of the state.
Richard had a series of tests done that at first allowed him to go completely off oxygen after 6 1/2 years, but indicated a potential heart problem. Yesterday we received word that although there is an abnormal beat, it is not irratic and no serious problem was found.
Praise God for His hand on all we are and all we do. He is definately in control. Glory to His name.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

freedom

The Drs office called this afternoon and gave me permission to drive. Now I can only drive short distances for awhile, so won't be making a road trip for awhile yet. But I can drive to the store, to appointments, and to church. Not needing to rely on someone else for transportation is true freedon. I feel more excited than when I got my license at age 16. The Lord is good.

Of course this freedom will only last until January when I go in for a total knee replacement. Then the recovery process will start all over again. Hopefully it will be shorter.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Progress

It has been some time since I BLOGGED. Much has happened in the last few weeks. I am now getting at home physical theropy. It is helping, I can walk without my brace using only one crutch. But I am also really hurting from all the stretching and other exercises. How exiciting to be able to see progress after so long not allowed to put any weight on my leg.

Richard is home and healing. He has spent a short time on several afternoons doing some pruning in the overgrown front yard. It is nice to see him out there again.

Paul and Dianna have been working on our shop. They emptied out all the big stuff and done some repairs to the work bench and lighting. Next step will be to put everything back in an orderly fashion.

Paul is going through a series of medical exams in preparation for returning to the road. He is chomping at the bit and they need a boost in finances. Tomarrow will be the last exam. If all is weel, he is good to go.

Today our new gas fireplace was installed. It is really nice, puts out great heat, and the ambience is nice. Unfortunately the trim is being custom made and will not be available for several weeks. We didn't know that until the crew arrived. What a bummer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What a week

This past week's events are the making of a novel. It started a week ago Saturday with a visit from my younger brother John, his wife, and two grandsons. We hadn't seen John in over two years. It was a nice time together. The kids are really well behaved and were eager to go camping with their grandpa. They left in an older ATV for the coast around 5:00 pm. All was well at the old homestead. Then on Sunday and Monday Richard just wasn't feeling well and he took a long naps. Tuesday, he was feverish and had an upset stomach. So I gave him something for both and they helped for awhile. But by Wednesday he was miserable and I noticed some discoloring in the area of his hernia. So as soon as Dianna got home from work I asked her to take he dad into the ER. I suspected a strangulated hernia or a bowel obstruction. He actually had both, an obstruction caused by the hernia. They admitted him and did corrective surgery on Thursday afternoon.

That same afternoon, I was given the OK to put weight on my healing leg. According to the Dr. weight at this stage will actually help complete the healing process. How is that for the Lord's timing? Richard had been my legs for the last three months.

On Friday our son-in-law Paul was placed on a surgery schedule for cleaning plaque from his carotid artery, our son Rich injured his back when he stopped at the coast on his way down here from Washington and the clean up at the house began. The huge dumpster was delivered to the driveway and Dianna, Shelley and Eric spent a couple hours loading debris. Then our granddaughter and her husband Chris got a ticket just 20 minutes from the house.

Saturday everyone, including Eric's niece Sarah, got an early start cleaning up a section of the yard that included the shed Rick tore down two weeks ago, a couple large plywood containers and of course the junk that was in them. Lissa, another granddaughter and Nate, her husband arrived a bit later and helped as well. Paul was the official photographer and cook for the group. Even the three great-grandchildren helped out after all the glass and nails had been removed. I'm told the place looks really good. But I'm not quite ready to check it out. I'm on crutches, the terrain is rough, and no one else is here should I fall.

Lots of bad things happened this week, but they are balanced with many good things. Richard is slowly improving, Paul had his surgery and all went well, and we had a mini family reunion. We even may have met a future member of the clan. Never a dull moment at the Moreno household.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ready for change

I am so ready for change. Sitting here writing this, I can hear the sound of Rick mowing the lawn. It has really needed it for some time now, but no one has been either available or capable to do it.

Yesterday, Rick took me in my wheelchair to the back driveway. It was no small task over the rough unpaved surface. But I needed to see what was going on as far as disposal of items being sorted from an old shed. Rick emptied two sheds and tore down one. He essentially made two piles, to keep and to toss. That up front work will make it a lot easier for the crew of family to load a big dumpster during a cleanup week end after next. The change in the yard is way over due. Rick asked me to say hi for him.

We are actually having company (family) over three week ends in a row. Rick & Preston this week, my brother John, his wife and two grandsons next week, and then three of our kids, their spouses, four grandkids, one of their spouses, and three greatgrandkids the week after. It will be good to see them all, just wish I could get around and at least cook for the. Guess I'll have to settle for what I can do.

I received a call from Dr. Ryan's office today. I made an appointment to see him on September 14. That will be his very first day in Corvallis. Dr. Ryan is the orthopedic surgeon who will be doing my knee replacement. He comes highly recommended as having performed over 700 joint replacement surgeries. He is currently completing a fellowship in San Diego. He is originally from New York. This surgery constitutes a huge change, one that I hope will allow more freedom of movement. Maybe I will be able to walk for exercise again.

Several of our kids are having health issues. I am not at liberty to go into detail, but some big changes are on their horizons as well. These will include, but are not limited to life style changes. This could be a great thing. I would like to see many more decades of good health for all our kids.

One change that we need is in the weather pattern. It has been way too hot and dry here. Not the first hot summer we have experienced, but I don't like it. We need rain. After a similar heat pattern some 25 years ago, all our neighbors spontaneously ran into the street and embraced the rain when it finally came. I am ready, bring it on.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good new and bad

Good news today. The company that supplies Richard's oxygen and services his C-pap called and apologised. Based on the receipt I supplied they dug a little deeper and have confirmed the old C-pap they accused us of keeping and trying t sell is in their possession. They had gone so far as to bill us for over $1,700. This for something that we did not have. OT for His faithfulness in giving us stress and financial relief on this matter. Now if only insurance or some other source would cover the nursing facility bill.

More good news. I have found someone to do some cleaning. Kristen is a dear friend, the leader of my bible study group. She was looking for a way to earn money to help finance her son's trip to a national music contest in Orlando. She is energetic, does very good work, and has a great attitude. She came on Tuesday and cleaned my kitchen. Next week she will work on the entryway and clean the bathroom. Thanks Amy for this blessing.

Shelley has been working on my kitchen floor (solid vinyl). Yesterday she sanded it down (thank you Shelley) and over the next few nights I will put several coats of verithane on it. The only problem was that the sanding created a lot of dust that covered my clean kitchen. I managed to get most of it with a damp rag, but not all (hard to reach some areas without putting stress on my leg). But I do not want Kristen to spend all her time just on the kitchen.

Bad news. I was doing so well, getting around in the wheelchair and being able to do more in the house. Then my occupational therapist shot me down. She said I was not allowed to balance using my broken leg when standing to reach into the cupboard or refrigerator. She had me call the doctor to verify this. According to the doctor, my type of break can slip very easily and even if there is no pain or sense of pressure, it may still be enough to cause harm. So I can balance only if I am very very careful. So much for progress. Our pastor broke his leg last fall and has just recently been allowed to walk on it. Earlier this week he caught his toe on a restaurant mat and automatically used his bad leg to prevent a fall. He is in such pain that he has had to be in bed and won't know till Monday when he sees the doctor, if any real damage was done. Guess I better take heed to the caution I was given.

Friday, June 26, 2009

OK, Time to Regroup

Yesterday I reported that the lady we hired to do some of the housework seemed to be working out well. She is very nice, did a good job, and was flexible. But last evening she called and told me that the extra work on the other side of town was not working out for her. All her other jobs are close to where she lives. What can I say? We will have to start all over.

The other person I know who does cleaning on a private basis had a critical medical condition surface with a family member yesterday. She will be spending all her down time at the hospital for the next few weeks. So where do I turn? I will figure it out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Updates

This week has brought several small changes to my life. On Monday Richard & I both had roughtine Dr. visits. We got the results of lab work and Richard had x-rays done on his wrist. He had jammed it some time ago and it still really bothers him. No breaks, but he does have advanced arthritis and the wrist had been sprained. Richard may also have a thyroid problem.

My level of vitamin D is extremely low and may account for my osteoporosis. I have been taking medication for this for about 4 years, but it may not be working. So I have another Rx. Massive amounts of D designed to kick start calcium absorbtion. Other than that I am healthy.

Tuesday our cleaning lady started. She has a great attitude and does a good job. What a blessing she is. There are some things that we can do, but some are not doable right now. This arrangement is short term, but really nice.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Just A Trim

Richard has a lot of hair & it was starting to look pretty shaggy. Well, let'd face it, it has looked shaggy for some time. He last had his hair cut in mid-April while we were in Germany. The problem is that I am his barber. In fact, I have cut his hair for the better part of 40 years. So my inability to do anything that requires sitting straight up or standing (on one foot) for more than a few minutes merely postponed the task, not cancel it. That is why today I took it on. My stamina is not great, so it actually took two tries. After about 4 or 5 minutes of trimming I began to get a bit shakey and had to stop. Then a couple hours later I was able to finish it up. Probably not my best job, but certainly an improvement. Happy Father's Day honey.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Still more helps

Today there has been an increase in the amount of help we have/are receiving. This morning we hired a lady to come in twice a week to perform some of the household chores such as cleaning the bathroom, wiping up kitchen counters, doing some dusting, and mopping floors. She will start next Tuesday and we will see how things go. Amy suggested this & she & Rick will cover the cost. Shelley comes over on Fridays. She usually takes out the trash and changes my bedding. Dianna does the laundry & runs errands. All our kids have stepped up to help us through this trial. We can not express our gratitude too much.

This afternoon, a volunteer came to install grab bars in the bathroom to help us in & out of the showerr / tub and adjacent to the toilet. This is a safety factor and will make transitions a lot easier. There are sure a lot of great volunteer organizations and services in our area.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spring Fever

I had a hard time both getting to sleep last night and rolling out of bed this morning. Just why I am so tired is not clear, but probably has something to do with most of my energy going into the healing process. Then too, many plants are in bloom and I may be having a reaction to all the pollen in the air. Whatever, I feel somewhat lathargic, like I could go right back to bed. When I was a kid, they called it spring fever.

Richard is also tired and a bit uncoordinated today. He had just cooked breakfast, reached up to get the salt shaker and knocked down a new bottle of olive oil. It hit the stove, broke, and spattered oil and glass all over everything. Not only did it take a great deal of clean up, but he had to cook breakfast all over again. It is just one of those days.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just so I don't forget...Happy Father's day Dad!



When God Created Fathers
by Erma Bombeck

When the good Lord was creating fathers He started with a tall frame.
And a female angel nearby said, "What kind of father is that? If You're going to make children so close to the ground, why have You put fathers up so high? He won't be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping."
And God smiled and said, "Yes, but if I make him child-size, whom would children have to look up to?"
And when God made a father's hands, they were large and sinewy.
And the angel shook her head sadly and said, "Do You know what You're doing?" Large hands are clumsy. They can't manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on ponytails or even remove splinters caused
by baseball bats."
And God smiled and said, "I know, but they're large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets at the end of a day ... yet small enough to cup a child's face in his hands."
And then God molded long slim legs and broad shoulders.
And the angel nearby had a heart attack. "Boy, this is the end of the week, all right," she clucked, " Do You realize You just made a father without a lap? How is he going to pull a child close to him without the kid falling between his legs?"
And God smiled and said, "A mother needs a lap. A father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle, or hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus."
God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. "That's not fair. Do You honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?"
And God smiled and said. "They'll work. You'll see. They'll support a small child who wants to 'ride a horse to Banbury Cross,' or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill."
God worked throughout the night, giving the father few words, but a firm, authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything, but remained calm and tolerant.
Finally, almost as an afterthought, He added tears. Then He turned to the Angel and said, "Now are you satisfied that he can love as much as a mother?"
The angel shuteth up.


...Love, Amy Frog heart eyes Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, June 15, 2009

We are so thankful

A long weekend has come to an end. On Saturday afternoon we had 2 daughters (Shelley & Dianna) and their husbands (Eric & Paul) working along side Richard on the front yard and driveway. Shelley cleaned the refrigerator. Later in the day our son Rick arrived with 3 of our grandsons (Chris, Gary, & Preston) to help both with the yard and with unloading a lot of garbage at the dump. They all did a great job, one much needed.

On Sunday Dianna & Paul, Rick & the boys all did additional work on the yard and Rick did a fair amount of housework. He cleaned the rest of the kitchen mopped the floors in the living & dining rooms, and in the hallway.

Monday the boys did some additional yard work, moving a pile of sod and watering. Rick helped with this and also assembled a new bath bench for me. He has indicated that he will be spending more weekends here this summer in order to accomplish several major chores for us. We are indeed blessed to have such thoughtful kids. Their efforts are much appreciated.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Work Day

Today is supposed to be a work day here. Rick and his boys are comming down from Washington, Shelley and Eric are comming over, and Paul is supposed to be home for a couple days. Wouldn't you know it, it is raining. There is so much that needs to be done. The house and yard have both been neglected since my accident. The weeds are shoulder high in some areas and my floors have seen better days. I hope some of this will be corrected despite the weather. There is no way we can make any inroads without help.

Amy has offered topay for a housekeeper a few hours a week for about a month. This will really help, but having the house in order to start with will be a real bonus. She won't need to start out in the negetive.

Richard did manage to do a bit of shopping yesterday. He went to Winco and used an electric cart to shop, then used his wheelchair to bring the groceries into the house via the ramp. This really wiped him out. It seems like even simple activities take a real toll on either of us. I can use a walker (with a seat) to get myself to the bathroom. But it is exhausting. My blood pressure seems to jump a good 10 points and takes a good half hour to drop back to normal. This has been documented by the home health aid on several occaions. Getting well is really hard work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My latest visit to the Dr.

I had a Dr. appointment this morning. My x-rays indicate that there has been no movement of bone. This is good. It confirms that I won't require surgery to hold it in place as it heals. The Mhealing process has just barely begun. So my next orthpedic appointment is going to be August 6. In the mean time, absolutely no weight bearing, but I can bend my knee. I can already manage up to about 55 degrees before it becomes too painful (I am not to push it). The goal is 90 degrees by August. Then maybe I can start to apply weight. I am still looking at replacement surgery 3 months later. My energy level is very low. Just getting myself to the bathroom wears me out. Going anywhere is exhausting. All my energy is going into the healing process. I am thankful for all those who have stepped up to help. Even though I get a little down sitting here looking at my warehouse of a living space and wondering if it will ever be where Ican do something about it, I know that time will eventually come.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I sit here in the living room, laptop on my my lap. I have so may frustrations, yet so many people have and continue to contribute to my/our well being. Richard is taking good care of me to the best of his ability, but dependence on others does not set easy on my shoulders. It is both frustrating and humbling. Add to that the fact that neither of us has the capability of carrying anything with bulk, we are more or less dependent on the willingness of others to accomplish such things as laundry, taking out trash, and moving things from one location to anotherIt does not help that some of our family has been insensitive, pushing for us to make major changes in our lives at a time when we are under so much stress and we are beginning to feel "kept"/ dependant on the whim of others for so many things. It is a fact of life in this day and age that calendars are more often than not filled to overflowing. So adding on time to spend with us is a strain and often leads to misunderstandings and a feeling of being "put upon".

In former times, it was common to have several generations living together and each generation doing what they were capable of/ taking care of one another. This is no longer the case and I don't think modern arrangements are necessarily wrong, but it sure would be easier. Yes, Dianna lives with us, but she works and is worn out when she gets home. Shelley is at home most of the time, but she has so much on her plate that we rarely see her. Do we complain, yes. Do we none the less understand, yes. Are we frustrated, yes we are. Please forgive us if we are short or complain. We will get through this trial. We are far from perfect.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It has been almost a week since mylast post. Time is still passing very slowly, but it is passing. I still am limited to a small part of the house. I can go between the guest room, bathroom, and living room. Dianna set up Paul's old laptop for me which at least gives me access to the outside world.

Today is our 51 st anniversary and Dianna's birthday. She is spending the day with a girlfriend. She really deserves a day to enjoy herself. Happy Birthday honey.

Richard is fixing short ribs for us today. It will be the first real meat we have had in a couple weeks. Shelley gave us a basket of goodies and we also received a basket from one of Rick's friends. We are grateful for all the rememberances.

I see the Dr again this week. Hope all is progressing well. I will let you know.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

time goes slowly by

My normal life is full of housework, paying bills, caring for the garden, cooking, laundry, meeting the needs of my family, and etc. That all changed suddenly when I broke my leg and can not move freely within the house, let alone down stairs or outside. There are some things I can still do, like bills, communications (telephone, on-line, and by the web), and suduko. The rest has to be picked up by others, primarily by Richard. He brings me a pan of warm water to wash with each morning, cleans up after me, gets my clean cloths, and helps me to the living room. Then he gives me coffee and cereal for breakfast, makes sure the lap-top and phone are within my reach. At noon he gets me a bite to eat (unless someone brings lunch). Folks from church have provided lunch and some dinners for all but 5 days since I have been home. It has really helped.

When I had to leave the house for my Dr appointment Eric and Sean guy next door) helped me get down the stairs and into the car. When I returned, Dianna and Sean helped me back inside. I am getting stronger though. I can manage to get to the bathroom and bed using Richard's walker. Karen is going to bring another walker so he can have his back. He really needs it himself. Richard has been so very tired from digging out plants to make room for the great wall that he can hardly move.

Diana has been helpful in ways that Richard would have trouble and in overlapping chores. She does the laundry and brings it upstairs for him to fold. She has been taking out the trash and takes care of the watering too. Dianna also heats up leftovers or prepares dinner for us. We are very grateful that she is here.

What does not seem to be getting done is the housework. Floors and dusting are not something Richard can realistically do, Shelley has been out of town and needs to catch up on her own work, and Dianna is just too bushed from working all day and the added chores around here. The place looks like a warehouse due to furniture having to be shuffled to accommodate the door construction. Rick will be down the first weekend after he gets back (about 2 weeks), maybe he will be willing to take that on. In the mean time it is what it is.

My days are becoming a sub-routine of sorts. Time goes so slowly by, but I am in very little pain unless I try to do something foolish. The upside is that I am getting a lot of rest, unfortunately it only adds to the work load of others. I am sooo very sorry for that. But it does make me even more grateful for all those abilities I have taken for granted in the past. It is all quite humbling.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reflections

Two 1/2 weeks ago I failed to plant my foot properly on a front stair and down I went. I broke my tibia quite badly and hit my head on a landscape rock. The good news is that I have a hard head. Even though there was a lot of blood and stitches were required, no serious damage was sustained. My leg, however is immobile, non-weight bearing for 3 full months. That is a whole month longer than I was originally given to believe. Beyond that, I will require a full knee replacement around the first of the year.

Richard has been so very good to me. He has catered to all my needs (I do mean all) ever since I came home. This has meant a lot of lost sleep and even more fetch & carry on his part. Finally on Thursday. with the help of the physical therapist, I mastered getting myself into bed. This will Allow him to sleep through the night, he soooo needs it. The physical and an occupational therapist come once a week and an aid comes twice a week to help me shower. I can't tell you how good a shower felt after the first week.

A friend from church and his son spent a full and parts of several other days replacing a window in our entryway with a wide door. This will open onto an elaborate 4 foot wide wheelchair ramp due to be installed by Interfaith Services on Monday. Too late for my Dr's appointment last Thursday, but it will get a lot of use in the future. In addition to caring for me, Richard has been busy digging up landscape plants and a brick walk. Paul & a couple other friends helped move these. Today a volunteer came to do some prep work for the ramp and Richard is still moving stuff. The ramp will be U-shaped and about 35 or 40 foot long. I'm considering calling it the Great Wall because it will look similar from the perspective of the top. It will have hand rails on both sides and a total of 3 level platforms. One where it connects to the house and two where the ramp changes direction. All in all, the house will have a whole new look. Large rhodies will fill the area between the long legs of the U and there will be block or brick form an access patio to the ramp from the front walk.

Thank you for all the assistance and most of all for you prayers on our behalf. The Lord is providing even if my original orthopedic surgeon made things more or less an insurance nightmare. No, I will not go into that on-line. I have new Dr. She is great on so many levels. I see her again on the 11Th. Until later, Nancy

Monday, May 11, 2009

Schwetzingen Castle & Gardens




Formal gardens spred out from the palace. I can't imagine the effort it takes to prune and manage these geometric shaped hedges. The alley of tree lined lawn frames the main structure.



The main structure was built in 1350. It is flanked by two "Circle Houses" forming a disconnected semi-circle. These were constructed in the mid 1700s. There are many fountains, statuary, and iconic structures dedicated to ancient civilizations (ie. Greek, Roman, Turkish, Oriental).
Just outside the gates, white asparagus (a German favorite) was being offered for 15 Euros a bunch. What a rip-off. You can get it in the local markets for around 2 Euros. Anything for that tourist cash.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Wall


I saw this and thought of you, Paul. This wall is constructed of wirw and coke can. I know your drink of choice is Coke. This wall therefore, was specially made for you. Wasn't that thoughtful?

Nother spot of color in the shade of linden trees. Anyone have a cold glass of lemonade?



Friday, May 8, 2009

Vacation Home in Holland




This cluster of vacation homes in Holland (The Netherlands) is only a few miles from Keurkenhauf and in the midst of 100s of acres of blossoms. As you can see by photos of the main floor, it was modern and well equipped. There was a 1/2 bath on this floor and a full bath upstairs (steep stairs). The 3 bedrooms could accommodate 7 adults (bedding included). It was quite comfortable.

From here we took day trips to the flower gardens, an art exhibition in The Haag, and drove along the sunny shoreline of the North Sea.




Thursday, May 7, 2009

Show stopper


This is the windmill located on the Keurkenhauf grounds. Nicole & I climbed to the deck and took pictures. Richard took pictures of us. As you can see, the weather was amazing. The photo below is one of many beautiful displays of flowers found within several pavilions.




We also visited an art show featuring Esher. This was held in a palace at the Haag. His works are intriguing as most of them either tend to through your sense of balance off or use forms from nature that morph from one pattern to another. A simple example of this idea is shown here.
Today I am trying to get myself and the house in order. It really got set back with me having such a head cold and fever for several days. No, it was not the swine flu. I had no other symptoms besides headache and fever. No aching muscles, no chest conjestion or intestinal distress, not even a sore throat. But it has certainly taken a toll on my energy level. I need to get with it and get everything ready to be gone for a month. Richard & I will be taking care of Preston while Rick flies off to Europe. This will be his first trip abroad and plans are in the works for him to visit Paris, Germany, and Cyprus. We are soooo excited for him. Since school is not yet out, Preston could not go along, but then he had a trip to Disney with his dad just last month. Maybe I can relax in Seattle? One can only hope.



Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kirkenhauf


I'm bacl, well almost. I am still fighting the last rmnants of jet lag and what appears to be a head cold.


Our trip was fantasctic. RIchard had a hard time on the way over. He was pretty sick for about 24 hours and had some difficulty for short periods now and the, but all in all he did very well.
It was great to see Europe in the spring again. To stroll through our favorite bulb garden Kirkenhauf), drive along the North Sea, have coffee in a winter garden in old Hiedelburg, and cruise the Rhine with all the castles and vinyards on the hills. BUt most of all it was good to spend time with our daughter Amy and her family. My how the kids are growing.
In the nest few weeks I will be writing about segments of the trip in more detail. But for now there is a lot to catch up on both around the house, financially, and in our own garden. It is good to get away and even better to come home.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Last minute packing

This will be my last post this side of the pond for about 3 weeks. It has been a whirlwind of activity here the last three days. There all sorts of were arrangements to make, paperwork to obtain, cloths to pack, and financial chores to take care of. Would you believe that the airline even required me to submit the weight and over-all dimentions of Richards wheelchair by Tuesday? Today I have already put in last minute laundry, fixed breakfast and done the dishes, verified our frequent flyer numbers, checked my e-mail, and caught up on both my daughters and my son-in-law's blogs. I still have to make another run to both banks to get a little cash and make sure there is enough in the bank where I have a debit card so that I can draw out Euros if needed, pick up some American Easter candy for my German grandkids, buy some last minute items for the trip and complete the packing. We will be on the road by 8:30 tomarrow morning. Our flight doesn't actually leave till 1:15, but we need to make a short stop in Salem and still be in Portland by 11:15. I may or may not be able to post from Germany. If not, I will have lots to share when I get home.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Torn

How do you keep from being torn in several directions when you have several kids and grandkids, all with different issues, hundreds, even thousands of miles apart? I guess you don't. Sunday is a special day, not only because it is Easter Sunday, but also because it is Shelley's 50th birthday. Richard & I have been given this wonderful gift of traveling to Germany for the first time in 6 years. In fact, because of health-related problems, Richard has not flown anywhere during that time. He has, however improved to the point that he can. So it was not reasonable to pass up this opportunity. There are also other issues on the table right now that I will not go into here. Still there is a sense of guilt at not being present at our daughter's landmark birthday event. Shelley, please forgive us for not being physically present on this very special day. We regret that more than you know. But we will be with you in spirit and pray that you have many other family members and friends around you. You are our first born child and no one else can ever take that place in our hearts.

Have passports, Love to travel



So much for "best laid plans". But a change of plans is not always a bad thing. Since we have not been able to go there, our daughter Amy has faithfully come to visit with us from Germany each of the past 6 years. Schedules being what they are this year, Amy is not able to come here and financially, we are not able to there. Solution, she just called and asked if we could come - they would buy the tickets.

Wow! I never expected that. But there are no more medical appointments, prescriptions are current, and our passports are up to date. Why not? It will be a bit scrambled getting everything together, but OK. We can do this. It has been way too long since we saw all our German family at the same time. We had planned on going last year, but the timing wasn't good for them Then we would have gone this spring, but our house desperately needs help and we don't have funds for both. The Lord certainly does provide. He never fails to amaze me. So we are going to travel this year after all. Praise God and thank you Amy & Juergen. See you next weekend.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Good news



As promised yesterday, here is a photo of my evergreen clemetis in bloom. It is so fragrant and long lasting, and since it is evergreen, a joy all year round.

Now updates on both Philip and John. First of all John's surgery went well. It lasted some 3 1/2 hours and they accomplished much. Praise God, John has no nerve or muscle damage to his left arm. The doctors had anticipated both. He has lost the external left ear, just plain gone. They cleaned off all the dead skin from his left arm and left side of his face and transplanted new skin. It will take about four days before they know if the grafts took. If not, they will try again. Other, less critical burn areas will be dealt with later. He is still on a resperator, but in general doing better. Praise God!!

Amy received some results from Philip's tests. The tumor is static at this point. So they are going to just watch it for a few months. If it starts to grow again they will remove it. The tests also showed that Philip is low in cortisol, a salivary stress hormone. This may be the reason for his aggressiveness. Low cortisol is treatable by using the same drug that is prescribed for HDAD. HDAD is what Amy & Juergen had originally had Philip tested for. That test came back negetive, but sometimes you have to go around in a circle to get back to the same place. OK, we can deal with that while we wait for the other more serious surgery. The Lord does have a suttle sense of humor.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Surgery today



Please be in prayer today for Richard's brother John and all the medical staff involved with his care. John was originaly scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, but it was postponed till today. They are going to try and mitigate the damage done to muscle and connective tissue on his left arm and hand damaged when the gas bbq blew up in John's face last Saturday. We expect there will be many additional surgeries to clean away damaged tissue on his head/face, torso, and right arm. Also be in prayer for John's wife Barbara and all those who love him. This is such a trauma to to entire family.

So it begins















Spring is here. There is no doubt of it. Bulbs are in bloom and so are the early flowering trees. These pale daffodils are among the first to grace us in the year and will be followed by a succession of other bulbs, other varieties of daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinths, etc. This pink flowering plumb is one of several ornamental fruit trees in the front yard. The white flowering plumb and a flowering cherry are also in bloom right now and the double blossom flowering (a weeping variety) cherry in the rose garden will bloom in a couple weeks. It's buds are full and ready to burst open. When in blossom, the weeping cherry is spectacular. The evergreen clamatis by the east deck is also in bloom. I will include a photo of it tomarrow. Shelley plans on taking cuttings of this vine for propogation later in the year. We actually took cuttings and did the same thing in order to cultivate this plant many years ago.

Monday, March 30, 2009

An eventful weekend

Today is my 69th birthday. Where oh were has the time flown? I was talking to my oldest greatgranddaughter this morning. She will be 12 the end of April. It occured to me that the years since I was 12 have been so very short. At 12, I was living in Kansas on an old farm. We had very little in material goods, but much in rich experiences. I spent a lot of time fishing, jigging for frogs (their legs are great fried up), spotting cotton tail rabbits along the hedge rows for dad to shoot, and helping mom in the garden. You would as likely find me upside down in a tree as much as any other position and I took up landscape painting, using odds and ends of paint left from jobs my dad had completed. He painted and remodeled houses for a living. At 12, I nearly drowned in the Arkansas River while scouting an area near the shore to see if it was shallow enough for my younger siblings to wade in. They roared with laughter when I went under, because my hair got wet. I had stepped into a 20 foot hole left from sand dredging. It was probably my anger at being laughted at that helped me get out of it. I never did really learn to swim. Yes, I remember being 12 as if it were yeaterday. Being 69 is hard. My arthritis makes it hard to many of the tasks I used to do very difficult, especially those requiring fine motor skills. Still, I have many memories and plan on making a few more.
Some friends came over on Friday night to help celebrate my special day. We sat around and talked and had strawberry shortcake and coffee. We don't do that half as much as any of us would like. It was nice. On Sunday, our church class gave me a card and sang happy birthday to me. After church Shelley and Dianna prepared a wonderful lunch and gave me flowers and tools for the garden. They will be put to good use as I establish the beds for this year's crop.
Today, I am taking it easy. Dinner will be from the freezer. I have heard from several members of my family, wishing me well and expect to hear from still more before the day is done. I love hearing from all of them. Each is special in their own way.
The bad news this weekend is that my brother-in-law, Richard's brother John, was in a horrible accident on Saterday evening. He was lighting his bbq when it blew up in his face. He is in an ICU burn unit, air medivaced some 4 hours driving time from his home. He suffered 3rd degree burns over about 25% of his body, primarily to his head, arms, and upper torso. He is facing many surgeries and skin graphs and is heavily sedated. We will know more in a few days. Please be in prayer for his complete recovery and for his family. His wife is living in a hotel close to the hospital for now. This is devestating to the entire family. John is 73. We visited with them for a week this past Sepember while on our road trip.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It is finished




The sewing room is as done as it is going to get this year. A bed is set up for Dianna, the sewing desk is large enough for both her's and my sewing machines, and I have already made a curtain for the window. While the closet in the room itself is filled with fabric, there is a totally empty closet at the foot of the basement stairs that is available and cleaned out for her use. All of the storage bins and boxes she had in the family room have been moved to one end of the sewing room, leaving the family room for her to use as a kitchen/living room. Yes, it is finished for now. There are a couple small details that will wait for another time (ie. trim around the pump closet door and maybe a false wall on the east side).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Carpet & Paint




On the left, the dark stained look is the before (well almost) shot. I had started painting prior to taking this photo. The built-in shelving is now an off-white and the beam is the same color (beige) as the walls. The mottled blue carpet has just enough of the same beige to really tie it all together. The baseboards are braced to allow the liquid nails to set on the concrete walls. The base boards against the sheetroack walls are nailed in place. My room has been blessed and will serve as a bedroom/sewing room for the next several months. Rick will be here tomarrow and he will finish the ceiling and help me move in the furniture. Only then can I really start to "clean" the basement. I had vacuumed and dusted between tasks once before, only to have the guys start sanding mud again with the door open. The family area did look fairly decent for a couple days though. Timing is everything. Dianna moves back on April 1.
We have had several rounds of medical and medical-related visits this week. On Monday I met with a group of Medicare experts and together we are researching for a process of getting the government to cover the cost of handicap accessable bathroom equipment. It is getting more and more difficult for Richard to get into and out of the bathtub. We also had an appointment to order new diabetic shoes for Richard. On Tuesday he had another Dr. appointment. Wednesday was busy, but no appointments. Thursday he had a morning appointment with the VA in Eugene and an afternoon appointment with his gastroenterologist. Today he had to go into the hospital for some lab work. I'm glad not every week is this hechtic.
My garden is growing well. The peas I planted in mid-February are just breaking soil and all the dafodils are in blumb. One of the flowering cherries is blossoming too. It actually is begining to feel like spring. The grass really needs a hair cut. Maybe this week end, if it doesn't rain.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Almost There

Over the past week many changes have taken place in my sewing room. The built-in shelves have received 3 coats of paint, the doors were already white so only got 2 more coats. The walls were spray painted with 2 coats of baige paint. I pulled off the problem ceiling patch that had no support and replaced it. Today the carpet will be laid and the mop boards installed. This may seem a bit premature, since the ceiling has neither been mudded or painted yet. But there is a reason for it. None of the crew working on this project, including me, can manage the mudding of a ceiling. Let's be real. We are all getting older and we all have physical restrictions. One a bad back, another a bumb shoulder, and me arthritic hands and wrists. So our son Rick has agreed to take on that chore. He requested that the carpet be in place when he arrives this weekend. We can cover it with plastic to protect it from paint and mud. Then while he is still here, he can help move in the furniture. This project has taken on a life of it's own and ended up involving so many. I thank God for willing hearts and for willing hands. May He bless each and every one who has contributed labor, materials, and funds. Working together, they have accomplish what I could not do on my own. I can hardly wait to post photos of the finished room.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Need to Explain




I have been told more than once that I have a very dry sense of humor. I find humor, not in the slap-stick or blatent, but rather in the ironies and subtleties of life. Those small things that we all have in common. Like doing the mending. No, I do not hate mending. In fact, my whole life is based on one form of mending or another. I love to take old furniture and refinish it. I get a kick out of using scraps to make something beautiful and useful. My two working careers were all about helping mend people's health and improving the environment we live in. I even started a ministry that encourages others to help one another when in crisis (both major and minor). Mending is actually a pleasure, a small task that extends the life and usefulness of fabrics. I merely used it as a metaphor for life.


The old door I brought into the house from a leaky shed for the guys to use in my sewing room is a good example of mending. It had several coats of old peeling paint on it, as well as dirt from having been used, re-used, and then stored for many years. The guys laughted and made jokes and even had serious thoughts about tossing it. But it is a solid door. It just needed a lot of TLC. I put in several hours on that door. First washing, using a paint scraper, and then a lot of sanding. At that point the guys hung the door, still they had reservations. But yesterday I did a final sanding, wiping down, and finally applying two coats of fresh new paint. Even now it doesn't look new. But I don't want a new door in my 87 year old house. It would look out of place. I think this old door looks pretty good for it's age.




Monday, March 9, 2009

Updates - never ending

I live in a house that is not finished. In fact, I have lived in this same house for nearly 40 years and it has never been finished. Many changes, remodels, updates have been finished, but never can I say that everything has been completed all at the same time. Right now I am focusing on my sewing room. But many other projects have just a little something to be accomplished in order to declare them finished. There are still others that have gotten started but for some reason, money, energy, physical ability or time have sat unfinished for way too long. Will any of them ever be complete? Is it just me or is it God's way of keeping me dependant and hopeful? I may never know. What I do know is that every once in a while, something is accomplished that brings the goal closer. I may never see it happen in the natural, but God has given me the grace to visualize it in my mind. I am humbled by this gift.
My house can be easily compared with life. We start our journey with a vision and a goal. This vision may, or may not happen. Many things can occur that will prevent us from reaching our original goal. Some we have control over and many more we do not. These curcumstances distract us or change the direction in which we go. We may sometimes need to stop and regroup, take a detour, or perhaps even find a new path altogether. Life is full of unfinished or altered projects, but there are enough completed ones to give us hope and keep us going foreward. After all, life is not finished until God calls us home - our new and wonderfully completed heavenly home.
Today I will do a little painting in my sewing room. No, the walls and ceiling are not yet ready for paint. The mud has not been applied and when it is, will require at least another day to dry before painting. The guys working on this project are growing weary. Other commitments are catching up with them that they need to address. I am not at all sure when they will get around to working on my room again. But in the mean time, I can paint the doors. I must look for what I can do and not not focus on what I or others can not do. After a month, yes it will be a full month tomarrow since this project began, I am getting anxious to hang a curtain, bring in furnature and maybe do some mending. Is that crazy or not? Who ever heard of someone wanting to do the mending?
Then there is the contractor that was going to work on my master bath. He has officially backed out. He just has too much to handle taking care of his 87 year old dad. This is a mature and proper setting og priorities, but which path do I divert to now? I guess I'll just take it slow. I have an appointment with Medicare next week to explore the possibility of getting federal help to make the bathroom handicap accessible. I'll see where that leads before making any other arrangements. On the positive side, out of three bathrooms in the house I do have one that is functioning. Thank God for all blessings both large and small.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pray for Philip


Our grandson Philip was adopted from Thailand when he was 3 years old. He was a special needs child, born with a heart defect that was repaired when he was still an infant. His history has many unknowns, but this we do know. Philip was abandoned in a busy marketplace in the north of the country when just a few days old. He is probably of Chinese linage (he looks Chinese and there is a large Chinese population in that area). Someone had branded his thigh with a cigarette, a Chinese custom that indicates that he was loved. How very difficult it must have been to give up a child you love to an unknown future because of a serious physical condition you could not afford to have corrected yourself.
Over the past couple of years, Philip has had an increasing number of problems related to both physical and mental development. I won't go into these specifically, but needless to say, they have set off alarms. Doctors have been less than helpful, putting off these problems as possibly the result of fetal alcohol syndrome because nothing is known about his birth parents. How frustrating, but finally an MRI has indicated that something abnormal is developing in Philip's brain. Now they say it is not posing a threat to his life, so they want to study it and evaluate just what it is doing before any action is taken. Please hold Philip and his immediate family in prayer. Also pray for the medical community that will be conducting these additional tests and evaluating them. I know God can heal. I believe that He will heal. But Lord help my unbelief in the German medical care system.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Progress Report




Today there is progress to report for my sewing room. The well closet door has been installed and most of the taping and mudding of seams completed. As you can tell from the left photo, the seam between the closet and ceiling still needs some work. But I am beginning to think we may pull this off after all. These guys are not professionals by any means, but you have got to love their hearts. They are willing to tackle a challenge and keep at it even when nothing is plumb, level, or anything else you expect from a modern structure and it has already taken more than 3 times as long as they originally anticipated. My house is, after all, some 88 years old. The old girl may be getting on in years, but she still functions and has much more character than what you'll see built today. This little face lift just makes her even more charming. I can hardly wait to move furniture.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our son Rick, in his mid-40s is planning to visit his sister Amy in Europe this spring. This will be Rick's first trip abroad. He has been a somewhat reluctant traveler, dragging his feet on both getting a passport and in looking for a good deal on a ticket. But I must say, he is finally getting excited about the whole thing. His passport has been ordered and yesterday he found an incredible fare on Lufthanza. It is a direct flight from Seattle to Frankfurt and return for well under $700, all taxes, fees, and insurance included. That is much better than I have ever found and I have made the trip more than 1/2 dozen times. Way to go Rick.
There is no doubt that Rick will come back filled with excitement. Not only will he be taking in some sights in Germany, but will also travel with Amy's family to Cyprus for 10 days. I anticipate he will be bubbling over with stories and filled to the brim with new ideas for painting murals. Don't you just love it when your kids are really happy? Nothing warms my heart more than to hear the voices of my kids filled with excitement.
Richard and I will be holding down Rick's fort, so to speak, while he is away. It will be too early in the year for Preston to go with him. School isn't out until mid-June. It will give us a break from all the work around here too. Of course it will still be here when we get home, and more.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Update on construction bid

Well, the builder did show up for our meeting this time, but there still was no bid. Turns out his dad, who had had a stroke in January, is not doing as well as he had previously indicated. Basically, the builder just handed me back the rough drawing I had given him and said he couldn't do it. He appologized many times and was truly sorry for all the broken appointments, delays, and now his inability to follow through.
When we first talked about this project, the builder had said the Lord had told him to do this job. I had gotten the same message. I needed to remember that. So I told him about my appointment with Medicare in March to see if they would cover the remodel for the existing bathroom and reminded him of the monitary delay for my CD that would mean he could not begin the project until the end of April at the earliest anyway. I also indicated that Richard and I would be away for about 3 weeks beginning mid-May. So that if he needed to delay even further, till mid-June, it would be OK. That is, as long as the project were completed before September. I also gave him a letter I had composed that laid out our expectations for this project and that we anticipated concideration as the senior partners in both the planning and decission making processes. All this was received well. I gave him back the rough drawing, wished him and his dad the best, and I will expect a ball-park bid by the end of next week. Only if that figure is way out of reach, will I then look for an alternative means of completing this project.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Progress & Delays

Yesterday, there were three men working on my sewing room again. They finished putting down the floor and putting sheetrock on the ceiling. Yet to do is framing in the door to the pump closet and then all the finish work. I keep telling myself that it will get get done, it will get done, it will get done. Maybe I should click my heels together?
We did have a laugh. I fixed a wonderful eggplant dish and turns out one of the guys hates eggplant. He was polite, just diligently picked it out of the dish and ate the rest. Another of the guys took it off his plate and ate it. Then the stories started about all the times the first fellow had been served eggplant. We added to his collection. When his wife came to pick him up and we told her of the eggplant she just roared.
The contractor who is putting a bid together for remodeling our master bath has postponed getting the bid to us for the third time now. We had a firm appointment yesterday at 9:00 am and he just plain did not show. Not so much as a phone call even after I called him and left a message. This morning he called to appologize and wanted to make another appointment for next week. I told him no, I did not want to put it off any longer. He supposedly will be here this afternoon at 3:00. If he doesn't show or even if he calls and tries to postpone again, I will not even consider him for the job. I am about as patient as anyone, but I can't handle this lack of accountability. Please pray for me. I need/want this project to move forward.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Harvest Table


It may seem a bit strange talking about the harvest table in February, but not so strange as it appears. The American tradition is at least as old as the first Thanksgiving and represents much more than celebrating after a boutiful crop has been harvested and safely put away for lean times (winter). One example is food prepared by women for workers during a communal harvest. In this case farmer's wives and daughters would cook all morning and take a warm meal out into the fields where their husbands and sons were working together to reap grain, hay, or some other large crop. Another example is the old fashioned barn (house, church, school, etc.) raising where the community would all pitch in to construct a building. Sometimes for private and sometimes for public use. Again the men would do the heavy labor and the women would provide a hot and plentiful meal. I consider my sewing room remodel to be in this last category. The men from church are volunteering their time and labor to make my basement room "livable" and "useful" once again. The very least I can do is feed them well. The first week they got enchaladas, beans, rice, and salad. They were full and asked me not to bother with a big meal the next time they came, so I didn't and they got hungery. I think their request for no lunch must have been just an attempt at politeness. So I heated up some chicken nuggets and served them with orange slices. They were grateful. When they came again, I fixed b.b.q. ribs, wild rice, and broccoii. This week they are going to get a hearty beef and vegetable stew with french bread. These men need and deserve no less than a good meal as a token of thanks for all the Christian love they are demonstrating to me. It is my version of the harvest table.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grandpa draws ...and so do I



Here is a new blog with some drawings from Richard and our 15 year old grand daughter Nicole. The link will always be on my links too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Progress in the closet




I have sorted, folded, stacked, and in some cases discarded fabric for the better part of 2 days now. The 5 wrap-around shelves are nearly filled. Woven fabic is on shelves to the left. Knit fabric (most of it from the 70's & early 80's) is on the 3 shelves straight ahead. Scraps, projects in progress, yarn, and lace are to the right. Batting is on the top, center shelf and boxes filled with fake fue for stuffed animals, clothing with reusable fabric, and old draperies take up most of the other space. Can you believe it? I actually have almost 2 feet of empty shelving left over. I had to come up for fresh air and water several times today. The dust from 30 year old cardboard boxes was getting to me. Tomarrow I need to haul all of them out to the recycle bin. It is quite a stack of cardboard. There are only a few of the empty boxes worth keeping and I'm sure it won't take long to fill them up. I have a whole room full of odds and ends stacked in the furnace room that are dying to be sorted. The guys will hopefully finish the floor and sheetrock next Tuesday. Then all I have to do is paint, lay tile, and move furniture in, a piece of cake, ooh.


Early Start


We have had a couple of beautiful afternoons here in Oregon. Yesterday Shelley came by to get some garlic starts for her planting beds and ended up spending a few hours helping her dad in our garden. As you can see from the photos, we have the beinnings of a great salad already growing. I did get the peas planted on Tuesday but it is encouraging to see a litttle green and not just seed this early in the season. Shelley dug up and transplanted a lot of our garlic and some perenial flowers for me and took home enough starts to more than fill her beds. While she was doing that, Richard started pruning the grape vines. Those haven't been pruned for about 3 years, so really need it bad. He is outside again this afternoon working some more on that project. It is supposed to rain the rest of the week, so you have to get the outside work done while the sun sines.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Harsh Reality

Today I tacked taping and muding the sewing room closet ceiling. What a kick in the pants I got. The reality of age and what it brings just keeps reminding me that I can no longer do what I have always done with ease. Today it was mudding that ceiling. What will it be tomarrow? Yes, I know my hand and wrist have been bothering me over the past couple weeks, but the harsh pain has subsided and the swelling has disappeared. Even so, when I tried to apply the mud, I could not put enough pressure to the knife to spread a thin, even layer. It came out looking thick and uneven, even after sanding. Oh well, it is in the closet. No one but me will ever see it. I can take solice in the fact that the wall patches I put on came out fine. Maybe it has more to do with applying pressure while reaching over my head. Unfortunately it means that the guys will need to do the mudding of the new ceiling in the room itself. But I still have hopes that I can handle the painting. At least I'll give it a try. Irregardless of what next week brings, I start putting fabic away tomarrow.

I have a closet

When I returned home from bible study yesterday there were 5 men working in my basement. That is an increase of 1 over last week's number and made everything a bit crowded. My storage closet is all but finished. I will need to tape and "mud" the ceiling toay and then I can actually start putting fabric away. I am so very excited about that aspect.
The guys have accomplished a great deal this week. They got the plastic underlay down on my sewing room floor and about half of the sub-structure and plywood flooring in place. They will probably finish up next Tuesday. I will do the "finish" work. This includes mudding and painting. I'm not sure about floor covering. Guess I'll have to wait and see. The point is that there is a lot more to remodeling an old basement room than just thowing up a few sheets of plywood and sheet rock. So if I can take a little of the burden off the guy's shoulders by doing some of the finish work, I am glad to do so. After all, it was the heavy work I really needed help with and they have provided that. Is my impatience showing yet? The guys already have plans to help out someone else. An older couple (late 80s & early 90s) with some landscape and roofing chores. Praise God, I guess my project hasn't discouraged them. They seem to be tired physically, but energized emotionally. These men are all retired and it does them a world of good to be able to contribute in a meaningful way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Looking ahead - A week in the making

Today is bright blue and shining. It actually looks and feels more like spring than winter. Could our friend the groundhog be mistaken? He predicted 6 more weeeks of winter. But then the weatherman forecast rain for all this week (today excluded). We will see. In the mean time, I will enjoy the sun. Peas and spinach go in the ground this week, regardless of rain, sun, or snow.
On Thursday, I sent a small chocolate cake in the shape of a heart home with each of the men working on my basement. They were meant as a token of appreciation from me to their wives. I got some interesting stories on the subject at church this morning. Two said that they had shared theirs, one that his wife eaten the whole thing, and one forgot to give it to his wife until today. Sounds strangely like a normal bell curve of averages to me. Yes, I kept one for Richard and I to share yesterday. Evidently all the men had a really nice Valentine's Day with their loved ones. That was, after all, the important thing, not to neglect their own wives to do something for me. These same guys and perhaps some additional workers will be here again on Tuesday morning. I will be at bible study till around 11:15. But I have promised them ribs and ribs they shall have. The ribs will go into the roaster oven tomarrow morning.
I am getting a little anxious about the bid for construction on my master bath. I'll give the remodeler until Wednesday to submit it and then if it hasn't come, I guess I'll have to call and find out what the hold up is. It is getting close to 4 weeks since he was last here to take measurements. It is about 2 months before he gets started on the project and I need time to study the bid and decide how to proceed. If I need to get another bid, it must be soon. Remodelers get pretty busy in the spring and summer and it can be hard to get on their schedules.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Where the money is



Today Rick, our son suggested that some of his dad's cartoons/drawings be added to our blog. Why had we not done this before? It is a great idea. So here is the first instalment. I think we can all relate to this sentiment.