Monday, December 27, 2010

Family fun


After a quiet Christmas, after a good night sleep, and after a leisurely morning, we shared a family meal with Rick, Amy and Preston.
Kids will always be kids. Kids will always find a way to express themselves. Kids will be creative. Kids will always play with their food.
No, not 11 year old Preston, but his dad. Before downing a full meal, the artist in Rick just couldn't help itself. It also made for a light hearted meal and set the mood for many laughs.
Richard was blessed this Christmas by all our children. There seemed to be a general theme in the gifts each of them presented. He received colored pens, sketch and drawing paper, cartoon books of several kinds and even a collection of cartoon pages from the Sunday papers. All most welcome and appreciated. Supplies that will stimulate his imagination and allow him to create his own cartoons for many months to come.
We also received many intimate gifts related to family, beauty and comfort. Thank you Lord for all the love and caring that fills our hearts with joy and warms the soul. Thank you for family.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fun with Family

Amy M with their two babies.





Grandpa is getting tired. Bridget's three young ones are good kids, but very active.

Brigdet loves dogs and they love her too.



Rick and Juergen are looking at something.








Hanna bought a new hat with part of her prize money. She took 1st place in an essay contest. It was a good essay and well presented too. Congratulations Hannah.

Alki Beach in West Seattle

Juergen with space needle in background.

Alki Beach looking across Eliot Bay toward Seattle.

Seattle ferry as seen from Alki Beach.

Downtown Seattle across bay.



Sako Field from across Eliot Bay.




On the ferry

View from the Fontlaroy shore south of the vacation house.
Area of the vacation house as viewed from the water.


Juergen on deck of ferry headed to Vashon Island.


Wheel house of ferry.



Boarding the ferry.



Seattle retreat

Logs for the fire. A cozy wooded setting overlooking Puget Sound.

The landlord lives on the upper story.

The view from the bank of windows in the living room.


We spent time with family in the spacious dining area. We indulged on steak, baked potato, green salad, and apple pie.


The cabin-like setting was very relaxing. Next post, on the ferry.




Monday, December 13, 2010

Home again, home again ---

Home again, home again, jiggity jog. What an intense 3 days we had. It was so nice to spend time with family in Seattle, especially Juergen, We had not seen him in almost 2 years.

Juergen was teaching all week at a conference in Vancouver BC. He slipped down to Seattle on his way home to Germany. Richard and I drove up to see him and to touch base with Rick, his family and with our grandchildren and great great grandchildren in the area. The time was short and visiting all too brief. But we made the best of what we had.

Amy rented a vacation house overlooking Puget Sound for Richard, Juergen and I. It was a great location, quiet and secluded. It had a modern cabin feel to it. All the amenities but also a wood burning fireplace and wide windows with a view. Rick, his Amy and Preston came for dinner. On Friday Juergen, Richard and I rode the ferry to Vashon Island before we went to Rick's house in Renton for a late lunch on Saturday. Our grandson Chis, our granddaughter Bridget and her 3 kids were also there. Chris and Bridget had not seen their uncle Juergen in many years. We all had a nice visit and a wonderful Mexican lunch together. Back at the rental, we had dinner utilizing leftovers from Friday. We watched a movie before going to bed. I have pictures, but it will take a few days to post them.

On Sunday we had a BIG American breakfast at Denny's before dropping Juergen at the airport. It was hard to say good by, but then it always is. It took about 6 hours to drive home. The rain was torrential nearly all the way. But PTL we made it without any problems.

Richard has a week of medical appointments starting this morning. He sees his primary physician and his nutritionist today, has physical therapy on Tues. and Thurs., and sees his hematologist on Wednesday. He had lab work on Thursday last week in prep for these appointments. His hematologist mailed some results that were waiting when we got home. His while count and a couple other areas of concern are normal. But his red count, hematacrits, and platelets are low. They are not low enough to get another infusion though. I'm not sure where the iron count is at this point. But I do know he has been very tired. I will ask his doctor today.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It will come together

Richard and I talked to our son-in-law very briefly this morning. He is due to fly out to Canada tonight. We are supposed to meet him in Seattle on Friday and spend the weekend together. That's the plan. We did manage to get his flight number and arrival time. Now if any of us knew exactly where we are to go after that, it would sure be nice.

Yes, I really do understand and empathise with our over whelmed daughter. There are a bunch of kids to look after and not all of them are well. She is stressed out with harsh reality. A daughter that can't sleep. Two pre-teen boys that are climbing the walls. A second daughter trying to study for her comprehensive exams and a young daughter having difficulties with her social life. Life is REALLY hard right now and she is facing 10 days without a shoulder to lean on or to spell her for a 5 minutes break. These next 10 days will leave her needing a vacation. One where she has no defined responsibilities. One where she can actually sleep in. She has asked for grace. I am also praying for patience, courage, and an inner peace. She will need all these while her help mate is away.

But I need a physical address so that I can plot directions to wherever it is we are going. No, I don't actually need it today. I will however need it no later than Thursday. We have to pack the car Thursday evening so we can be on the road by 7:30 am on Friday. Why so early? We have to pick our son-in-law up at SEATAC at around 1:00. It is a 4 hour non-stop drive in good weather. But there is no good weather in the NW right now and there is no telling what the traffic will be like. We will be going through Portland during morning rush hour on a Friday, just 2 weeks before Christmas.

We may not know how, why, when, or where things will come together. But I know from experience that "IT" will all come together on both sides of the pond. Amy and the kids will live through their ordeal and we will have a great time. The tables have been reversed more times that I can count. It always comes together. We can all take comfort in knowing who has it all in His hands.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blessings Great and Small

Each day my husband and I begin our day with bible study and devotions. This has not always been so. In years gone by we usually prayed individually and I would red the word to him only on rare occasions. Richard is not a reader. He does better with audio. But we started our current routine a few years back, after I retired and it is a good one. It begins our day on the same page. Oh God has always been with each of us, being with Him together is more productive though. I have certainly noticed less tension between us. Blessing #1.

We are blessed. I ran into someone at the Grocery Outlet yesterday who looked familiar, but I couldn't quite place. She evidently had the same impression, but found me again in another section of the store to ask if I was who she thought, I am. We had a wonderful chat about were we had worked together some 30 years earlier and about many other topics. Blessing #2.

Around 4:30 last evening our son called from Washington. You could hear in his voice that something was terribly wrong. He haltingly told us that his 11 year old son had been missing since right after school. Many people were already involved in the search and the police had been called. Our grandson was dressed lightly and it was now getting dark. The temperature was dropping and it was pouring down rain. He had been despondent for several days and had received some poor grades at school. Our son was desperate. We prayed. When he got off the phone, I called and e-mailed asking others to pray, as well. A couple hours later Preston was found. Praise God he is OK. Blessing #3.

These are but a sampling of God's presence in our lives. There would be no time for anything else, should I attempt to write all His blessings down, even those for a single day. I praise Him for His love, His guidance, and His hand upon all aspects of my life. Another day begins. Make God a part of your day today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Anticipation and dread

The difference between anticipation and dread is quite simple. Anticipation is full of known variables leading to a probable positive outcome. Dread is the anticipation of undesirable factors leading to either an uncontrolled negative conclusion or a known negative process necessary to arrive at a positive conclusion. OK, so where am I going with this?

Richard and I anticipate a wonderful short visit with our German son-in-law in less than two weeks. However, we dread the trip to Seattle. The roads are icy and long, making this trip stressful. I have a very short list of items requested by Amy that Juergen will either take home with him or enjoy while in Seattle. So today while I have nothing else on my schedule, I will try to find used Dr. Suese books from the Goodwill and masa harina from Winco. I also am taking some hand-carved camels made of olive wood in Jordan (found among Christmas decorations I am sorting) and an American apple pie to Seattle. Juergen loves apple pie and though Germany has wonderful pastries, you can't get apple pie there.

Since we will be going very close to Bridget's, we will try to see her family too. I have some things for her and her kids, as well. We anticipate that Rick and his family will be in Oregon at Christmas time. Not sure if they will be here on Christmas day, but certainly sometime around the holiday. But we will also see them while in Washington.

Looks like a month of travel (dread) and celebration (anticipation) for us. We dread the fast pace but anticipate a wonderful time spent with loved ones. So it all begins.

It was nice to see Lissa, Nate and Charlie at church yesterday, even though briefly. It was also nice to have friends over for dinner and an afternoon spent just kicking back with folks who share the same values and concerns. What with all the health issues over the past few years, we haven't done this nearly as often as we would like. It was very relaxing, I made sure it would be. I made sure the floors were swept and the bathroom was clean then just put a roast in the oven before church. Aside from that, no stressing out about a cluttered desk or planning special activities. No wondering if we had the right napkins to match the dishes or if the cider was right to go with the meat. I just pulled some things off the shelf and out of the freezer. We enjoyed what the Lord provided. He always privides our needs. It was really a good time had by all. We anticipate doing this sort of entertaining more often in the future. As for our guests, they are about to enter into health related concerns of their own. He is scheduled for knee replacement surgery on December 6, so will be spending most of this Christmas season stuck at home. While they dread the process, they anticipate a good result. We anticipate visiting them there during his long recovery. Maybe we can take with us a little Christmas cheer to brighten their imposed isolation.

We also received a call from our oldest granddaughter yesterday. She wanted to let us know that she had received the package I had sent last week. She was thrilled to have the afghan she used as a baby, some family artifacts and items for her upcoming wedding. She had questions about the family tree and about some of the artifacts. She expressed an interest in knowing more about individuals and the family in general. Since other grandchildren have also expressed a similar interest, I anticipate putting together a book of sorts for all my grandchildren with this information. But not until I finish going through all those boxes in the basement. I could get very distracted without even trying.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

There was more than frost on these pumpkins. We got about an inch of snow on Monday night. The temperature was in the 20s.
With it came the need to scrape windows and de-ice the steps and ramp. But only a little snow stayed around for Thanksgiving. It is warmer too, in the 30s.




Thanksgiving came with all it's color, enticing smells, and flavors. Just not all the quantity of years gone by (No bread or pie). Both good and good for us.

Turkey (no dressing)
Mashed potatoes and gravy (made with corn starch)
Baked winter squash
Fresh broccoli
Cranberry sauce
Black olives
Sparkling cider

No gluten and we really didn't miss it. We will have pumpkin soup for dinner and some pineapple sherbet for desert. All very satisfying. A meal for two, with leftovers for a couple more meals. The Lord has truly blessed us this year. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

White Christmas?

It snowed about an inch night before last. A blast of arctic cold has kept the snow from melting. But it is Thanksgiving tom arrow, not Christmas. Richard and I need to go out this afternoon for a physical therapy appointment up on the "hill". I have no doubt the roads, especially those to the hospital, have been well sanded. But just getting down the ramp to the car will be the biggest challenge. I went out and sprinkled rock salt on the ramp, the front steps (for the mail carrier), and on the front walk way. We will see. I really don't want to cancel. Richard doesn't have another session scheduled until a week from now and it really does help with flexibility. This is true especially when the cold affects his arthritic joints so badly.

The temperature is supposed to modify by tom arrow. We may even get a little rain. That will take care of any remaining ice and snow. It will also make the roads safer for all those folks going to grandma's house for Thanksgiving. Dianna called. Paul is on his way north from California and is expected to join her for the meal. They will meet at Paul's brother's home in Eugene. I am so very glad for this gathering. Paul's family has been through a lot of difficulties in the last few years. They need each other's support.

Richard and I will be spending the day alone, unless someone wants to join us. We can always make room at our table for a few more. We have much to be thankful for:
  • A loving family
  • Improving health
  • A warm home with no mortgage
  • Plenty to eat
  • No indebtedness
  • Good insurance and
  • A car in good running order
Our Lord Jesus is faithful to provide all our needs. We are truly blessed. So as we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter into the Christmas season, we look at the snow as a symbol of life. It is white and gentle as it falls, bringing with it an atmosphere of peace. Snow provides a warm blanket, protecting vegetation from the icy cold. It covers every landscape flaw just as the blood of Christ covers our sins and washes us clean. Finally, snow provides the life giving water of streams as it melts in high mountains during hot summer days. Snow is the basis of life on earth, just as Christ is our salvation for eternity. So we celebrate Christmas snow and the birth of our blessed savior. Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas everyone. Will we actually have Christmas snow? What a gift that would be.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Up early, yes again

Seems that when my mind is busy I just can't sleep. So I am once again, up before the crack of dawn. I'm really going to need a nap today. What am I thinking about? Nothing and everything.

I am grateful to God that Yesterday with all the "things" going on was indeed yesterday. Richard had an appointment at 9:00 to get his eyes checked. Richards gout is flaring, so we swung by his primary physician's office for prescription. That took about an hour. Snow was forecast and my grandsons had put my studded tires in the car. So I dropped Richard off at the house, then spent some 2 hours at the tire store waiting to have the tires changed out. I got home just in time to throw together something to eat on the way to Richards 1:15 physical therapy appointment. On the way home we stopped to fill his prescription. At home I then made the rounds in anticipation of a cold night, covering outside faucets, making sure no windows were cracked open (we had company over the last few days) and that plumbing was either covered or in a warm area. The last thing we need is frozen pipes. After dinner I had just settled in when it dawned on me that today was trash pick up. So out I went to take the cans to the curb.

There is about an inch of snow on the ground this morning. The temperature was forecast to reach a low of 24 over night. I'm quite sure it came close. The snow is beautiful. No cars have yet marred the road. No pedestrians have left foot prints on the sidewalk. The cars look like mounds of marshmallow in the landscape. All is peaceful and quiet out there. I have an eye appointment today. But is not until 1:00. Richard is sensitive to cold and he does not have to go out again until tom arrow. That is good, because the ramp can get a bit slippery. The fireplace looks warm and cozy. I have home made pumpkin soup and cider. Today will be a good day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We gather together

We gathered together yesterday for an early Thanksgiving. We, meaning Shelley and Eric and both extended families. Shelley really out did herself, as usual. The house and offerings were amazing. It was so very Martha, if you know what I mean. So much work. She is going to need to sleep for a week in order to just break even on the stress scale.

Eric's mom and dad and all five siblings, along with three spouses (and one spouses mom) and five nieces (plus one boyfriend) were there. Of course Shelley and Eric's own two daughters, their spouses and a precious grandchild were also there. It was a regular Stuewe family reunion. Let me do the math. That makes 22.

Then there were Richard and I, two more of our children and one of their spouse, and two of our other grandchildren. That makes seven Morenos (besides Shelley and her immediate family), for a total of 31(Shelley and Eric had not yet been counted). That is a lot of people in any house.

Shelley cooked up a storm. Everyone else brought food. We all ate our fill and took home enough for a couple meals besides. Four out of town family members were also staying with us. Occasions like this happen about two or three times a year. They are usually at Shelley's simply because she has the most space. But once in awhile they are here.

It is nice to go out somewhere for festivities. It is also nice to have folks over. I just enjoy getting together one in awhile, certainly not every other week though. It would wear me out and I don't recover that quickly any more. Maybe I am getting old?

I have reason to believe I am getting old. First my body has about given out. Now I wonder about my brain. I asked my sister last week if she could locate and send a digital copy of a certain old photo. In amongst the boxes of stored "stuff" I am going through. I found the photo I wanted a copy of. Sorry sis, I will send you a digital copy. I had all but forgotten that mom had given me several old photos a few years before she died.

Richard was feeling pretty good yesterday, with the exception of a sore foot. It has been bothering him for about a week now, I'm not sure what is wrong, but he can hardly bear weight on it. Guess we are both getting old. Old or not. We will continue to gather together to praise God for each other and for His many blessings as long as we are able. Have a bountiful and blessed Thanksgiving out there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The comforts of home

Home, this simple four letter word brings different images to mind for different people. Home can be described as a special place, a town or a single house filled with those things that trigger pleasant memories of the past, or even a group of people who have traditions in common. For me it is all three. Home is Oregon, the house I have called home for nearly 40 years, the family that I love, and too many memories to wrap my mind around.

We are all most comfortable around familiar people, places, and things. The welcoming front door, a crackling fire on the hearth, background chatter of friends and loved ones, a good cup of coffee and a cushy old chair. All these evoke thoughts of what we call home.

The preparation for a big gathering fosters excitement, even when the primary feast is not at your house. It can also be stressful if we forget priorities. Ask yourself, "is the house safe? Will anyone get sick or injured from being here". If you can reasonably answer no, you're half way there. Yes, it is important to have a clean house, well relatively clean. The bathroom needs to be scrubbed. But just as important is that care be taken to make everyone feel at home. It is not really important that everything be perfect. At least I don't think so. After all, if you are too worn out to feel at ease with your guests, they will know it and be uncomfortable. So I am sweeping and mopping floors. I am cleaning bathrooms. I am making sure clean sheets are on the guest beds. I am picking up clutter. Beyond that, I don't think it really matters. Who cares if my desk isn't completely empty or that some of the boxes of stuff I am in the middle of going through are in sight in the rec-room? We will eat till we are full. We will enjoy putting our feet up and reminiscing. We will probably watch a DVD or two. Yes, we will discuss politics and religion and we will be sad when it is time to say good by.

The comforts of home will still be here the next time family or friends come round. The comforts of home are, after all, making everyone who comes through your front door feel welcome and at ease. Most of that feeling is the attitude you display. So take a deep breath. De-stress and prioritize. No one will think less of you should some of the laundry not get folded. This is home, not the Grand Ritz Hotel.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

God has blessed me

For several months now, I have been asking God to keep me from infection. You see, I had what I truly believed to be a crack in one of my brittle teeth. Why hadn't I gone to the dentist immediately? In short, money. Our car needed work. We had a huge medication bill. Money around here is tight.

My first annual annuity payment came in in early October. It covered both of those other needs, but almost nothing was left. Property taxes and 6 month's worth of car insurance were due this month. We have a savings account that annually covers those two items. So when everything else was paid, I called the dentist.

Yesterday I had a day and a half. In the morning my annual physical revealed that I am in very good health. My cholesterol is a little high, but not enough to be concerned about. Because I have reached 70, I no longer require a pap smear. Seems that the risk of cervical cancer actually diminish as you get older. That is a perk. In the afternoon, I saw my dentist. While I had visions of a root canal and cap, he could find absolutely nothing wrong with the tooth in question. Thank you Lord. We can actually pay utilities, fill the car with gas, and cover all those other routine expenses without dipping into what is left of savings. We can also take a short trip in December.

Seems our son-in-law in Germany has a conference in British Columbia the second week of December. He plans on slipping down to Seattle afterward for a couple days. Our daughter Amy went on-line and rented a vacation home for a few days. It was cheaper than a hotel and large enough for us and him. So we will be putting together a Christmas package to send home and delivering it there. Thank you Lord for you love, your provision. We are truly blessed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

God's provision & His timing

How often I have wondered why, when, how, and if. Why did this or that happen? When is it going to be done? How will I ever pay for it? If it is intended at all.

Several months ago my car started acting up. It made this horrible sound when it first started up. So I took it in to a mechanic. He looked under the hood and listened to it run. Then he said he didn't think it was in the engine, sounded more like the muffler. I could make an appointment to have it looked at more carefully. OK, if it seemed to be the muffler, I would take it to a muffler shop. The guy there also looked and listened, saying it was a faulty baffle in the muffler. It was OK to to drive, provided I didn't take it too far out of town. He gave me an estimate of $265 to fix the problem. Basically a new muffler.

Right about that same time we received a backlog (6 mths worth) of medical bills from the VA. They hadn't billed us earlier because we had over-paid in a previous year and the only way they could bill us was to rectify their books. Basically they needed to cut us a check for about $30 before their computer would generate a bill. So they did, and we have been playing catchup since.

On September 30 I turned 70 1/2. By law, I have now to draw 1/20th of my IRA savings. So last week the first annual payment arrived in the mail. So I paid off the last of the VA bill and took my car into AAMCO (by now the transmission was acting sluggish) to have the transmission fluid checked. I had had the oil changed and the other fluids changed about a month ago, but they didn't check this fluid. AAMCO offered to run a computer diagnostic free of charge, so I took the car in yesterday. The diagnostic indicated that the transmission is fine. The culprit seems to be the catalytic converter. It is partially clogged and putting pressure on those baffles. I will take the car back in on Tuesday afternoon for servicing. They will run another diagnostic before I bring it home.

In the Lord's time, all things work together. Money, diagnosis/service, and medical bills all came together. It has to be His provision, His timing. Thank you Lord.

Monday, October 11, 2010

up & at ehm

Up again early, 5:00 am. Nice to have a few silent moments to sit in the dark and nurse a cup of hot coffee. Time to reflect on the day's schedule and to talk to the Lord without any distractions.

Today Richard has a 10:00 physical therapy session. It is nice to get this sort of appointment out of the way early. We will stop on the way home to pick up a few items from the grocery store, milk and the like. Then I will pick the remainder of the concord grapes, wash and juice them when we get home. Not having to stop before processing to keep an appointment will make the day flow a little smoother.

I finished all the tomatoes and am working on pears now. Most of the pears will end up in the dehydrator for snack food. I discovered a large number of canned pears last week that had been hiding on a top shelf in my storage area. I think I am going to designate those top shelves for empty jars and other true storage only. They are too tall and deep for me to see what's there without standing on a step stool.

I hear my honey getting up, so need to get off here. We are out of milk so will fix something with eggs for breakfast. Maybe some French toast using gluten free bread and coconut milk? Could be interesting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jet lag

OK, it isn't really jet lag, but it sure feels like it. I have endured that strange phenomenon enough times it know it's symptoms. I can't seem to catch up with sleep, need to nap at all hours of the day, can't really concentrate for any length of time, head ache, etc. I know what the problem(s) is/are. First of all the weather is in transition and the barometric pressure is changing. Along with that it is cooler and days are shorter, resulting in an urge to hibernate. Secondly, I stayed up several hours beyond my normal bedtime the other day in order to finish processing salsa. It really threw my body clock out of whack. Hence, mock jet lag. I have a couple dozen more jars of pears and tomato something to work up before I can put away the canner, but this not too frequent task will soon be complete. Then I can get back to cleaning, sorting, etc.

I have been asked more than once why I can. I have resources for food. But I have canned since I was a child. I remember canning with my mom during WWII. We lived in the NW where food is everywhere then too. We canned everything from fruit to salmon. We raised pigs and had a large vegetable garden. My dad hunted and brought home wild rabbit and deer. Most of the meet was either canned or placed in a smoke house to cure. Preserving God's summer and fall bounty for use during less productive seasons was a way of life.

Richard grew up on a produce farm in Arizona. Fresh fruit and vegetables were available year round. Still I found myself canning. Not so much canning and perhaps not the same things, but still it was something I did. There it was more using extra ripe fruit to make preserves or drying it for portable snacks. When we moved back up to the NW, earlier training picked in again. We were feeding 7 people on money that just did not seem to go around. So I kept 1,000 jars filled each year. Four teenage kids go through a lot of food.

There have been years more recently when my canning has been limited to a few jars of tomatoes and maybe some green beans. Last year, because of my health, I didn't can at all. Well, I did manage to preserve a couple jars of sun dried tomatoes from plants set in the garden before my accident. But this year I found I had absolutely no tomatoes on my storage shelves and most of my jars sat empty. On top of that I had access to so much fresh food through a variety of resources. I just could not stand any of it going to waste.

Why do I can? I can because I can. I can because I can not stand good food going to waste. I can because I am in the habit of canning, it is a family tradition. I can because I enjoy the process of canning. I can because I love seeing all those full jars on the shelf, it is a confirmation of God's blessing on my life and His provision in both times of plenty and times of little.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Uhh

This fall has been much busier and exhausting than I had planned. I am making progress on the storage areas in the basement. These areas include several very large closeted sheves used to store canned goods, canning equipment, and misc. other items used on an occasional basis. During the years when all the kids were at home those shelves housed over 1,000 jars of produce. These were routinely used during those months when fresh produce was either out of season or too high to purchase. I haven't canned more than a couple dozen jars of produce a year for the past several years. But this year I have both the jars, the time, and the produce. Some produce we have from our garden. Some comes from friends and family, and still more from another resource. So I am canning again. Not a tremendous amount, but enough to wear me out.

The selves are filling up as I clean them. I am making salsa this afternoon (after bible study) from tomatoes gathered at a relative of a relative's garden yesterday morning. I picked pears at friend's home on Friday of last week and will can and dry them as they ripen. I was given coconut milk and re-processed it with the help of my daughter Shelley yesterday afternoon. I have already canned over 50 jars of tomatoes, 20 of green beans, 15 summer squash/tomatoes/onion mix and several other smaller amounts of beets, apple sauce, etc. Is that the end of it? I have no idea. We are happy to have the resources for food that have come our way, especially now that there are high medical and other critical bills. The Lord is good. He always provides.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Monday

It is yet another Monday. After breakfast and after the fog had lifted from the valley, I took my morning walk. Amy was on the phone when I got home. She has been told that the big house she looked at has been sold, but she is still hopefu. It just seems so right for them. Amy went down and got a bunch of boxes to start packing up all those little extras she would need to put away in order to show their current house if they decide to sell. While we were on the phone Shelley called to see if I wanted to go pick some more tomatoes. I would have done so, but she didn't get my message in time. She dropped off some veggies instead. Thanks Shelley.

I spent a hunk of the afternoon canning tomatoes. My allotted jars and the shelf for tomatoes is neerly full. In fact I may need to buy still more jars in order to can the pears I was promised from a friend. Our coffers will be ready for winter for sure.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Where to go from here?

Richard saw the neurologist this morning in Albany. The results from his EMG indicated that all the nerves are still intact, so they do not recommend surgery. Instead, they are recommending physical theropy again. As I recall, it did help last time, but certainly didn't take away the chronic pain. So looks like Richard will not get an appointment with the surgeon at least until after he finishes physical theropy and the heavy meds will continue for now, very disappointing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Birthaday

Today is my beloved's 71st birthday. A day to truly celebrate. It has been many years since Richard has been well. This year he is actually in better condition than in all the previous 10. No longer on oxygen, blood sugar stabilized, iron in good shape after recent infusions. All things to celebrate. So happy birthday honey.

We had a frantic call from Dianna at around 6:30 this morning. The hose on her washer had sprung a leak while she slept and there was water all over the house. Part of the ceiling on the lower floor had fallen in and the upstairs carpet was a lake. She said that her cat had waken her by pawing her face and meowing. I took over (to Albany) our big shop vac to help eliminate the standing water, but there is a whole lot of damage. She will need to take a day off work and do a lot of clean up. Insurance should cover most of the damages and replace anything that may have been ruined. Thank God for insurance both home owners (the house belongs to our daughter-in-law), and renters (Dianna). I will drop off boxes to her place on the way to a Dr. appointment tomarrow morning.

We managed to make it to Sunday school and church, even if we were a little late. I am not doing anything else but keep Richard company today. Everyone is pretty well spent.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Process

Life in general is a process made up of sub-processes. It is left to each individual and/or group to figure out what that process. It is ever changing and never the same from one to the other. Action upon action, word upon word affects each action or word that follows. Each revelation or bit of new knowledge, the action or word of others also causes an affect. This week has been an extraordinary week. So many things that have or will affect our family and our lives outside the family.

On Monday Shelley called and wanted to know if I would like to join her in a partial harvest of Tina's garden. I had planned on working on the book shelves in the basement, but instead, I have been canning and drying fresh produce all week. I ran out of jars (so did Shelley) and spent time getting more. Shelley had to round up many jars and even Dianna spent time finding used jars both in Corvallis and Albany. My book shelves will hopefully still get done on Saturday - a process.

Tuesday started off with a new bible study. There was a great turn out. I gave a ride home to one of the ladies I hadn't talked to in quite awhile. It was nice. Then in the afternoon I and other C&HH members met with the pastor and the decoration committee about a matter that had been placed on our hearts. It went better than we could have anticipated. But we have also been given a major challenge for which I need to be in prayer - a process.

On Wednesday Richard had a very sophisticated EMG in Springfield. The new hospital complex there is really nice. The view from the neurology center overlooks a pleasant landscape that is very calming. The car was really acting up on the way down there. We actually wondered if we were going to make it. We got behind a piece of farm machinery and our motor cut out three times. But after we finally got around the slow moving vehicle and were able to pick up a little speed, the car did pretty good. Richard thinks we may have gotten some dirty gas in the lines - a process.

We had to wait almost an hour beyond our appointment time to see the Dr. The tests were hard. It is painful to have needles stuck in your muscles and electricity shot through them. But the results were reveling. Richard is getting electrical messages in all his muscles, but some a weak. According to the Dr. there are two ways discs pressing on the spinal chord can effect you. So we have eliminated one of them. The other is loss of balance and numbing in the extremities. We talk to the neurologist for official results on Monday. Only after all the test results are given to the surgeon, will we actually get an appointment with him - a process.

Yesterday, our granddaughter called to let us know that she has been definitely been diagnosed with a digestive problem that will mean she can no longer eat any foods containing gluten. They had strongly suspected this diagnosis, but had to do both blood work and a bowel biopsy to confirm it. Now she knows for sure and will make the dietary changes accordingly - a process.

Rick also reported this week that because his dogs did their thing on Preston's bedroom floor he had to pull the rug up. In doing so he discovered hardwood floors. Rick loves hardwood. It is also going to be a process to refinish them.

Life is itself, a process. We never know when we get up in the morning just what the day will bring. We can anticipate, even plan what we will do on any given day, but we are not always in charge. We must trust God and one another that we will be able to get through it and accomplish something positive in our own lives and the lives of others. Have a nice day out there.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Lord is Faithful

For some months I and other members of Caring & Helping Hands (church service group) have been carrying a burden for the HELPS food locker at church. Years ago a collection box was established in the main hallway to hold non-perishable foods to be distributed to those in need. When the church was painted and redecorated, this box was removed.

This afternoon we met with the pastor and the decoration committee to voice our concerns about the box. We had had one meeting with the church secretary late last spring that included this subject, so the reason for this meeting was clear. It went better than we could have hoped. The box will be repalced with something more striking and a campaign started to challenge everyone in the church to contribute. The food will be used for various ministries as well as for the needy. It is a win win situation for everyone.

Thank you for your prayers. The Lord really does honor the desires of our heart.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh my

Yes, Shelley more than wore me out today. We went to Tina's and picked our fill of veggies. Tina was very gracious in allowing us to take whatever we wanted and as much as we wanted. She even helped us pick part of it. Thank you Tina.

By the time we got home I was so tired. We had a bowl of soup and I rested for about an hour. Then Richard and I got busy. I canned 4 quarts of tomatoes and another 4 of mixed tomato, summer-type squash and onions. In the mean time, Richard cut up three large cabbage and filled jars for kraut. I washed jars, added water and salt, and did the actual canning. We ended up with 14 quarts and 10 pints of kraut. The purple cabbage looks so pretty in the jars. It will need to sit for at least 6 weeks before it will be ready and should last for about 3 or 4 years.

Tomarrow and Wednesday we will be very busy with other things. But Thursday I plan on taking care of the rest of the veggies. There are more tomatoes, celery. more squash and beets. I also got a lot of nice turnips that Richard will use as snack food and a few hard shell squash, some egg plant, and a few other odds and end that will best eaten fresh.

Like Shelley, I am running out of jars. I really couldn't believe it until I realized that nothing from stores was used last year because I couldn't manage the basement stairs last winter. We are in really good shape food wise this year. Both freezers are full from all the produce I have been getting from the gleaners. When the Lord provides, you need a lot of baskets to hold all the blessing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Scheduling

Our life is being scheduled for awhile, again. It is nice when retired, to not have every day scheduled. If I feel like going A instead of B or even C I can. But sometimes the option is not mine. Medical appointments mandate such scheduling.

Last week Richard had the first of 2 long sessions required for replenishing his iron. Tomorrow he will complete this process. While he is doing this I will will have access to where he spends most of his time, the area around the living room couch. So I intend to pull out the furniture and give the floor, rug, and coffee table a good cleaning. Then I will go to gleaners, come home and put stuff away, and by then Richard should be ready to come home.

Next Wednesday He has an appointment in Springfield at the Oregon Neurology Center for a sophisticated EMG. That will take the better part of the day. Springfield is about an hour drive away. Then the following Monday he needs to go to Albany for another neurology appointment so the Dr can formally explain what is going on with his neck. Only after that will we be able to make an appointment with the neuro-surgeon. As you can see, this process of repairs is going to take the entire fall. PTL for health enough to finally get this far in the process. Please be in prayer that they can and will do something to relieve Richard's constant pain. Also pray that my car holds out. I won't have money to fix it until October and it is starting to give me trouble.

In late May or early June the muffler started rattling when I started the car up. I took it in and the mechanic confirmed that one of the baffles in the muffler was damaged. He assured me that I could go ahead and drive it, but cautioned about going out of town very far. I hope Springfield isn't too far. Then a couple weeks ago the car started loosing oomph. It takes forever to get into what I would call second gear and while it can climb hills, I hold my breath because it just seems to crawl. Richard seems to think there may be a leek of transmission fluid or even a broken rear main seal. I hate the idea of using a credit card for this, but if it gets any worse, I may need to. I could pay it off in October when my mandatory annuity payment comes in. Always something, isn't there. So much for the fantacy of saving a little money aside for a rainy day, it is pouring outside now.

Friday, September 3, 2010

marathon

I lay in bed till almost 7:00 this morning. I knew that once up, I would not be able to sit down again until late afternoon. Some days are like that, there are so many activities scheduled that you can't even catch your breath:
7:00-7:30 Get dressed, fix breakfast
7:30-8:30 Prepare all the stuff needed for the day
8:30-10:00 Shop for items needed from the store
10:00-11:00 Put groceries away and load car (had a cup of coffee)
11:00 Delivered greens to a special friend
11:00 Got Richard set up at the clinic for an iron infussion
11:30 Picked up Richard's new medical equipment - returned a loaner
12:10-1:30 Gleaners
1:30-1:50 Put food away, ate a sandwich
1:50-2:15 Additional shopping
2:15-3:30 Went to pick Richard up (not ready), delivered paper work to friend
3:30-4:00 Went to open house for another friend
4:00-4:30 Picked up few items from yet another store, finally got home with Richard
4:30-5:00 Drank a cold drink, put my tired feet up
5:00-6:00 Fixed dinner, ate, started dish washer.
6:00-6:30 Absolutely nothing.
6:30-now Catching up on blogs, e-mails, prayer list, etc.

I am pooped. It is gratifying to know I can still manage a marathon, just don't ask me to do it ofte. It will take a week to recover. Have a good night. I plan on going to bed early,

Monday, August 30, 2010

One more stepping stone

Today Richard went to see a neurologist in Albany. Actually we drove over there and filled out paper work in late morning and returned for the actual appointment at 2:00. I was thinking of the appointment that had been originally scheduled for the 24th and got the time wrong. Yes, I am getting old and forgetful.

Anyway, the Dr. went over the findings of the MRI, did some basic poking and proding and then told us that Richard would need a sophisticated EMG. They can do simple EMGs locally, but he needs a more complicated version for which we will have to go to Eugene. They will verify insurance, make the appointment and then give us a call. Then after the EMG we will need to return for another appointment with the neurologist in Albany. Maybe after that we can make an actual appointment with the neuro-surgeon? We will see, based on results, if something else needs to be done first. One thing I am certain of, it pays to have good insurance.


What we do know as of today is that Richard's arthritis is really bad. In addition to the disc problem, the openings in the spine through which the main nerves pass are closing and impinging on the nerves. This is very painful and causing a lot of numbness, as well.

I will keep you posted.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wo said God does not hear us?

I finished my last post, went outside to turn off the water to the yard, came back in and put water on for tea. The phone rang. It was the clinic saying they had an opening in Albany on Monday for another neurologist. I am shedding tears of releif as I write. Thank you Lord. Thank you. You knew the need and were answering it even before I could ask.

Grrrrrrrrr

Did you ever get soooo exasperated over anything that you could almost scream? I know at least some of you have. I also know that because you've been there that you can empathise with me.

For almost 10 years , Richard has suffered with pain (extreme pain) in his neck and shoulders. He has gone through neurological exams, x-ray exams, and many other exams. All of which indicated that the problem is nerves impinged upon by 2 ruptured discs. But because of other physical problems of a serious nature, all that Drs. could offer was to put him on drugs. These drugs have caused their own set of problems.

Now that Richard is no longer on oxygen, has lost a substantial amount of weight, and his diabetes is stabilized, his primary physician (PP) has given the OK to see a neuro-surgeon (NS) to see about correcting the problem. Alas, the NS would not even make an appointment before Richard had had an MRI and the PP sent over chart notes for him to study. So this week Richard had an MRI. The results took only one day and indicated as we already knew, that the nerves are compromised. Now the NS says that the chart notes are not complete and he needs to see a neurologist for current status notes. Well, the order was sent over, but there is no opening to see any neurologist for another month. Ouch. They apologized, said they would call if an earlier appointment becomes available. It is exasperating. I could scream. Hasn't Richard been in pain long enough?

I know that even after Richard sees the neurologist, it will probably take awhile to get into see the NS. Then even longer to get a surgery slot. That is if the NS actually agrees to do surgery. In the interim, Richard will have the iron infusions he needs, keep working on improving his overall health and hope he doesn't get an ulcer with all the waiting and uncertainties.

Yes, we will get through this. We always have before. Our God is an awesome God. Everything happens in His timeline, not ours. It all goes to show just how human we still are. We need Him in so many ways. I have always been a bit shy of asking for patience. I guess I might be given circumstances that require it. Actually, I have been given them. Patience based on trust is a good thing. I have no choice but to trust that all this delay is for the best. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. Grrrr.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Medical month

Richard went into see his primary physician last week. He started injectable insulin about 6 weeks ago and needed a follow-up to make sure everything is going well. It is. So we asked about finally being evaluated by a neuro-surgeon for correcting two ruptured cervical (neck) discs.
It has been almost 10 years since he ruptured those discs.

At the time, Richard injured himself, he also was diagnosed with a ruptured diverticula that had formed an abdominal abscess (peritonitis). He ended up having about 30 inches of his colon removed. There have since been several other surgeries, two of them related to the same infection. In addition, he was put on oxygen, had to start taking increasing doses of oral medication for diabetes which led to a lot of weight gain. So until now they have avoided doing anything about the cervical discs, other than to prescribe heavy duty pain meds. These have taken there own toll and we would very much like to eliminate, or at least be able to cut back on them.

Now that his blood glucose has stabilized, he has lost a substantial weight, and he no longer needs oxygen, we are jumping on the potential opportunity for this surgery. Richard saw his hematologist today (he also has a chronic problem with low iron). Seems the leg cramps he has been having are related to that situation. So now that his iron level is below 50, he is scheduled for two infusions, Sept. 3 and Sept. 10. He also has an appointment tomorrow for an open MRI of his neck. After that, he will be seeing the neuro-surgeon.

I anticipate cervical disc surgery some time in October. But I will let you know. This has been a long time coming. Please pray that all comes together and that he will have the surgery he needs, it is successful, and that he recovers completely and quickly.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Habbit?

For the third time in a row, I have gotten up between 4:30 and 5:00. I got enough sleep and am ready to get on with my day. Yes, I went to bed around 9:00. I was very tired. But then I have always been a morning person. Now that I'm retired I can take an afternoon nap if need be.

When I went back to school for the first time in the late 60s, the only time I could study and retain what I read was early morning. The kids were still in bed and the house was quiet. Later on, I had to be at work by 7:00, so I got up to get everything ready for the family before I left. In the mid-80's when I returned to school, I would study well into the night. I worked 5 part time jobs and was always tired. Sometimes I would just have to lay my books aside and go to bed. Then about 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning my mind would be clear and I could get so much more out of what I was reading. As late as 2006. I had to be at work by 8:00, an hour's drive down the road. Sometimes I would leave even earlier than 7:00 in order to take part in a Toastmaster's meeting before work.

The last couple years I have slept in till around 6:30 or 7:00. Sometimes even later. I had been really worn out. Do you suppose I have actually "caught up" and am back on my normal early schedule, or is it a habit, once established, is very difficult to break?

No matter, as long as I get enough sleep. What's more, I really enjoy the still, quiet time in which I drink my first cup of coffee and read my bible without distraction. Come to think of it, rising early may not be such a bad habit after all.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Up early again

It wasn't because I couldn't sleep that I got up at 5:00 this morning. No, I slept well. I just have some "things" to do before church. I put a roast on to cook, straightened up a few areas, and I need to mop the kitchen floor. We are having company for dinner and I have been canning, making fig butter, drying apples, etc. All these forms of preserving do a number on a floor.

I was blessed to get a whole box of figs yesterday. They were over ripe and were being tossed. Some of them were beyond salvation, but most were salvageable. I washed and stemmed them. Then they went into the food processor, coming out looking all the world like mounds of guacamole. I added a bit of honey and into the oven they went to slowly bake down into fig butter. It isn't quite ready, but sure does smell good. The apples came from friends. I had shared fome fish with them and in return they gave me 2 boxes of wind fall apples.

We don't have much of a personal garden this year. Between the strange weather and our physical limitations, all we managed to get in are a few straggly tomatoes and a couple squash plants. None of these have produced more than enough for a single meal. However, the Lord does provide. When He provides, it is usually in abundance. This year has been no exception. You see, we have been adopted by the local gleaners. As elderly and somewhat infirm, we are not required to take part in the gleaning process.

There was a time, many years ago, that we were very active in this group, to the benefit of both others and ourselves, we worked hard to gather from orchards and fields that which was left after the regular harvest. But now there is no way we could do that. So as adoptees, all we need do is pick up what we need. If we can't manage that, the gleaners will even bring it to us. Praise God for his provision and for others following biblical principles. Because of that, our freezer and cupboards are full. We can use the money that would have been spent on food to pay for medication and other special items needed to live on.

We still are having to stretch our budget, but suppose we always will. Still, we can be thankful for what we have, the people who walk in and out of our lives, and a beautiful, growing family. We are so dependant on God, and that is just the way He planned.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Couldn't sleep

I lay in bed, half awake for what seemed a long time this morning before actually getting up at around 4:40. Nothing in particular was on my mind, I just couldn't sleep. A nap will be in order this afternoon, for sure. There are many "things" on my plate as of lately, all are rather routine, nothing that should ordinarily cause me to lose sleep.

There is the feeling of fall in the air. Last week was HOT. We spent a lot of time watering, even put out soaker hoses as much to conserve the precious fluid and have it do the most good, as to help preserve the content of our wallets. Still some plants are not looking very good.

I have noticed too, that there is a tinge of fall cool dampness in the early morning air as I take my 6:30 a.m. walk. Sunrise is starting to be delayed every day by a few minutes. Soon my walk will be 7:00 and even later as sunrise is further delayed. I am not one to walk in the dark or even in half light. I don't consider it safe.

When Richard was in to see his Dr. a few days ago, I stepped on the scales for the first time in several weeks. I am pleased with result. Since starting to walk for exercise again, I have dropped 12 lbs. Nothing else accounts for this loss. I haven't changed my diet or anything else in that time frame. I am back to what I was a year ago. But I still have a ways to go before getting back to the weight I was before tearing up my knees in 2003. Little by little, I will get there though. Praise God for the ability to walk. It gets easier week by week. I am up to a full mile six days a week. I don't anticipate doing more than that on a consistent basis. I do need to be realistic. But I may push it now and then. In the mean time, I am satisfied with the ability to do the mile.

We may try to pick a few blackberries this morning. I know they are ripe and there is a spot down close to the river that has good access and Richard can take a stool and pick. We don't need many, just enough for maybe a couple cobblers and to freeze for winter. Blackberries on cereal in mid-winter is such a treat.

We put up 6 quarts of prepared apple pie filling yesterday. It uses tapioca instead of flour for thickening, since Richard can no longer eat regular flour. The apples were wind falls from a friend's tree. They had used all they wanted. Our apples aren't doing too well this year. They also have a lot of pears, I can have when they are ready. My pear tree is completely void of fruit, strange. It has always had at least a fair crop. Oh well.

OK. coffee is calling me and Richard is up. So I will get off of here. Have a good day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reminders of another age

I had a series of e-mails from my cousin Mike this morning, each with an attachment. The letters he sent were written in 1937 and 1940. One addressed to an uncle was written by grandfather a few months before his death and announced my birth. The other two were written by a young aunt dying of TB. It describes her daily routine at a hospital in Norton, Kansas.

How special that these letters still exist, that someone valued them enough to save them all this time. Do people actually save letters or e-mails anymore? Do we actually value what is written by others enough to do so? or are we too wrapped up in our own lives and the future to hang onto something that describes day to day events of what we would term normal life?

Some day our grandchildren might find our routines interesting. Maybe we should think about giving them that opportunity. No, I'm not advocating for saving every scrap of written info and cluttering up the place. It is precicely the fact that the letters I mentioned are so rare that make them so valuable. We must find a compromise between saving everything and thowing it all out. That is the tricky part. But just give it a thought before discarding the baby with the bath water, so to speak.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And round and round it goes

When your kids are home and you are busy every minute of the day just trying to keep cloths on their backs, food on the table, and tears wiped away from encounters with things like sidewalks and other kids, you don't have time to even think about what it would be like if they were not there. Then they leave, all but one of of mine left practically at the same time. The straggler was only home because it provided free food and shelter while she completed her degree. As soon as that happened she also was gone, leaving us with an "empty nest". It took a long time to adjust to this reality. You see our oldest was born only 10 1/2 months into our marriage so we had never really been alone before. The whole cycle is now repeating itself with our kids.

Dianna's kids have all been gone for awhile. Two live within a few hours driving distance and the others are very far away. Shelley's have been gone for awhile too. One lives only a couple hours away and the other clear across country. Amy is facing the imminent departure of one of her 5 kids and Rick's oldest is on his own. I came to the realization long ago and our kids are confronting the fact that it doesn't matter if your children are across town or on the other side of the world. They have their own lives, their own circle of friends and you play a very limited role in their lives. Hard as it is, you raised them to be independent and they learned their lessons well. Just as we are proud of each of our kids, I know our kids are proud of our grand kids. They wouldn't want them to be any other way. But you can't have them dependent and still be independent.

God instructed us to "leave our father and our mother and cleave to our spouse". It is His plan and just like so many other things that we don't fully understand, this hurts. It hurts so deeply. We pour our lives into our kids. We nourish and care for them, sacrificing ourselves for their benefit. When they are on their own, we have to start learning to live all over again, not an easy task. We still love our kids and would do almost anything for them. Kind of like learning to swim with an anchor tied to your ankles. But no parent I know would even consider cutting the rope and completely severing the connection, no matter how hard the effort it takes to keep afloat. No, we thank God for the little time we are allowed to have with them and our precious grandchildren. Yes, allowed. For it is entirely their call. We also know that the cycle will eventually come fully around again. Our children will need to learn to let go. And so it goes, one generation followed by the next generation and then the next.

In some cultures several generations live under the same roof. In these cultures, grandparents help raise their grandchildren and the children care for their parents in their home as they become elderly. The transitions are less traumatic. But we do not live in this type of culture, so we suffer both physically and emotionally as we age and pulled apart over and over again. May God give us strength and courage to get out of bed, prepair our daily bread and look for ways to give support to those who are in need. By doing this, we fill our empty nests with hope, love, and a true sense of accomplishment. Our kids may noy really need us as they once did, but we all
have something we can contribute to others who do.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's Happening

We had two sets of company over the weekend. First, a friend of our son needed a place to sleep on Friday. He had come back to the west coast from Illinois to attend his brothers wedding and had driven down to get some "things" he left in storage here. It was good to catch up. We hope to see him again soon. Then on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning our son and his bride were with us. They drove down to Grants Pass to spend a couple days with her mom and will stop by here to pick up some stored items on their way back to Washington tomorrow.

While here, Rick helped his dad prune some hedges and took care of some minor plumbing issues in the house. Richard can no longer climb ladders or crawl under sinks. But Rick has to be back to work on Thursday, so will be in a rush tomorrow. Amy and he may or may not have time for lunch. He will call when he gets to Eugene so I'll know whether or not to fix something. We probably won't see him again until mid-September. Oh well, that is how it works. Everyone has a busy life of their own. We have to accept that little time is available for loved ones, no matter how much you would like to change that, especially when you live in separate states.

I am busy sorting and cleaning. It is a real joy to have my house back and to be finally digging out of the piles of "stuff" created when two households are crammed into one. I am confident my daughter feels the same way about her new space.

To date I have gone through several boxes and sorted out the contents into Goodwill, trash, put to use, distribute to others, or keep in storage for further evaluation. The guest bedroom and sewing room are essentially clear. The exercise room has been through the first round of sorting and the rec room has been cleaned except for washing all the glassware in the soda fountain area and dusting the books. There are still several small piles of stuff that need to be moved, mostly belonging to our daughter. Since she works and her husband is always on the road, it may take awhile for it all to clear. But it is slowly happening, PTL.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our garden grows


I love this photo that someone took yesterday. Richard holding our newest great-granddaughter Charlotte (Charley). It is so very sweet and tender. A new life held and enjoyed 36 years to the day after losing Richard's father.
Both Richard's brothers called yesterday evening. These three men, all in their 70s, still miss their dad so much. Family is so important to them.
Charley is a wonderful reminder that the love of family is carried down through the generations.
Actually, we were blessed to have 2 of our children, 4 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren together yesterday. They came from NY, Washington and Oregon. Some of the cousins had not seen each other for 12 years. It was a very happy occasion. Charley and everyone else was surrounded by love and an intense sense of belonging, a sense of security and peace.
Our family members are like blossoms in a beautiful garden. As it grows, we are struck by the variety and fragrance it holds. Some blooms are tall, others short. Some dark, others light. Some heavy, still others slight. Each has their own talents too. Some are musical, artistic, or good at crafts. Some are great cooks, or fix-it pros. All are interesting and special. If my count is right, our immediate family (starting with Richard and I at the head) now comes to well over 30. It is so amazing even to think about. Then there is the periferal family, all the other families that start with our brothers and sisters. How very blessed we truly are to live and walk in this earthly garden. How much more wonderful it will be to someday walk in God's heavenly garden where all the blooms of past generations are fresh and vibrant once again. In the mean time, we enjoy those around us and remember those who's bloom has faded. Thank you Lord for days that bring family together, days that remind us of your love.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I took a bath

What's the big deal? Ever since I fell 15 months ago crushing my leg, I have had to be content with a shower. But I am getter better. The total knee replacement surgery went well and with a LOT of physical theropy and exercise, my leg is getting stronger. I am walking about a mile every morning and am able to get around and do most everything (with some exceptions). So after working hard all day I was thinking how good it would feel to soak my sore muscles in a hot tub of water. Bottom line, if I got down in the tub, would I be able to get out? So with Richard's encouragement and promise of help if I got stuck, I gave it a go. Oh it felt good.

There is a picture in my bathroom of a teddybear sitting in an old fashioned claw foot tub. On the wall above his tub hangs a picture stating "one of life's little pleasures". Oh, how sweet it is indeed. And yes, I was able to get out.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's here, it's here

Yeah, it's here. Late yesterday, the mail lady came to the door bearing two styrofoam containers and an additional package, all from the VA. Then just before dinner, UPS brought Richard's pain meds. Finally, we have insulin and all the other meds needed for use for at least a month. Most of these meds are enough for three months, but they only issue a months supply of some of them. Richard began receiving his injections again this morning. I sure hope he starts to feel better soon. The oral meds do not keep Richard's blood gluecose as stable as when he uses the insulin. We really have to watch what he eats, the amount he eats, and the spacing of meals when on oral meds. These are not as critical when he is on insulin. We fought starting insulin for so long. But seeing the difference in what it does for him, I am glad he is on it.

Thank you for all the prayers and encouraging words while we waited, not so patiently, for these critiacal supplies to arrive.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Patience

OK, where is it? Over a week ago I received confirmation from the VA that Richard's insulin had been ordered. I talked to them again yesterday to confirm that a request for still other medication had been received and an order placed. They tried to encourage me about the insulin, stressing that Rxs can take up to 10 days. Today is day day 9. Will it come today? UPS brought the syringes yesterday. Two other meds ordered the same day as the insulin came by mail. But no insulin. Patience Nancy, patience. Will it come today? I sure hope so. The Dr has already increased the dosage and sent inn an order accordingly. I wonder how long that order will take to arrive.

I could get real worked up about this if I let myself. But I will use restraint, keep my mind on more positive things that won't cause frustration. Things like seeing my granddaughters and great-granddaughter this Sunday. One granddaughter lives in NY and we see her maybe once a year. The other just had her first child and we have yet to see this new addition to the family. We will be sure to get a 4 generation photo. How's that for positive thinking? Patience Nancy, patience. The insulin will come.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yesterday brought a finish to a project. That always gives a person a lift. To have worked hard to accomplish a goal and have finally reached it. Yesterday I completed the last of 58 pot holders I had volunteered to provide for a special give-away. One of my friends has been providing kitchen sets (about 150 of them) each year for about 10 years. These sets are among household items such as towels, dishes, etc. provided to OSU students each fall by chi Alpha (a Christian organization). This year she just couldn't manage it on her own, so several of us stepped up to help out. My part was 56 pot holders, I threw in a couple extra.

The timing was good. For reasons I won't go into, I have only been able to access my sewing machine for about 3 weeks. I have a ton of fabric, some left from when my kids were young and my friend had a drawer full of trim her mother left, that she didn't know what to do with. The filling for the pot holders is an old worn out blanket, perfect for this use. I also used up a lot of odds and ends of thread. Wha La, 58 new pot holders from recycled and/or refurbished materials. All of it just sitting there. Thank you Lord for your provision.

I have already received a call from another person who is interested in making pot holders for next year. I will need to go through all that fabric and see what I can help her with along those lines. The work is good for providing a sense of accomplishment. The gift is good for conveying a sense of love, a witness to those who receive that they are in a welcoming and caring place.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Waiting

Sometimes when you ask God for something He says yes, sometimes, no, and sometimes He says wait. All things are in His timing, not our own. It appears that the answer to our prayers concerning Richard's medication from the VA are to wait.

We did finally get a hold of both the VA and the Dr's office. The insulin has been ordered but will take about 10 days to arrive. In the mean time, Richard has his Dr's OK to go back on oral meds until arrives. Of course the insulin dose has already been increased so a new Rx has been forwarded to the VA. We will see how long it takes to go through, I do hope there will be no more gaps.

The Rx the Dr ordered for a loading dose of Vitamin D never arrived at the VA. It has had to be re-issued. So Richard is only taking a maintenance dose at this time. It won't do a whole lot of good, but will help. He saw the Dr yesterday and it is somewhat reassuring to know that his glucose level has remained relatively stable even without the insulin for 3 days. We are all in the Lord's hands. He is our provider in all situations. Praise God.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

cycle of stress

Just about the time you think you can see light at the end of that long tunnel, a train comes along and runs you down. Four weeks ago Richard's Dr. started him on inject able insulin. I went to the local pharmacy and got the Rx filled to the tune of $115 (with senior discount) for 28 day's worth. At the same time, the Dr's office faxed the Rx to the VA. A 30 day supply of any Rx from there is only $8. As it tuns out, the VA is in the middle of shuffling staff and did not receive the fax, at least they didn't look at it. In the mean time Richard's Dr. here went somewhere for a week, so when I called to verify the fax had been sent, no one could do so. Another week went by before I could contact someone at the VA and was sure the information was received. I emphasised the urgency of getting this Rx.

This morning I gave Richard his last dose of insulin. A new vial has not arrived from the VA. Where is it? I called the VA pharmacy to make sure it had been sent. The phone just rang, not even an answering service to leave a message. I called the VA clinic and got an answering machine. So they got an ear full. Then I called Richard's Dr's office and again left a message explaining the situation and asking if he could go back to taking the oral medication he had been taken off of just until his insulin arrived. I have yet to hear from them or the VA. HELP. I don't need this.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Life goes on

Today I am both optamistic and sad. Such if life. One phase begins and another ends. Sometime the lines are blurred. This is God's plan. Today on one daughtr's blog she talks about her new granddaughter and a new positive exciting phase in her life. On another daughter's blog she talks about the anticipated graduation of her daughter and how she will be leaving home. This will spell positive change for my granddaughter, but also sadness in my daughter's life. My son is starting a new phase of life with his bride of nearly 3 weeks and my remaining daughter is trying to wade through an accumulation of possessions as she sets up a new home. This is a time of stress for her, but also spells a new sort of freedom. I, on the other hand am trying to cope with putting my home back together. No stress there. Just kidding.

When I retired four years ago I "scheduled" a five year time frame for purging all my accumulation of things and being able to live a simpler life style. Through unforeseen circumstances my schedule has been thrown way off. You know what they say about "the best laid plans of mice and men". Well it has certainly held true in this case. So now on with the show. I will get as much done as I can in the time left to me. Heaven help my kids if they are left with the daunting chore of sorting through all my stuff if I don't get it done myself.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

He never rests

Have you ever noticed how when God grants great blessings in your life, Satan is right there to undermine your joy? Well he has been a busy boy around here. Yesterday our new mother Lissa developed a blood clot. She is fine. Nate was attentive enough to recognize a potential problem and got medical help. Lissa will need injections and medication to avoid a repeat of this incident.

Then there was a BIG misunderstanding about a note I sent to one of my kids. It was not sent in anger or meant to be antagonistic, but that is the way it was received. I'm really not sure how to deal with it. My daughter and her husband do not appear willing to even talk to me about it. I have tried to explain, but get no direct response. All I can do is hope is that tempers and jurt feelings will eventually calm down.

No, there is no doubt whatsoever who rules this earth. Lord come soon, very soon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

She is here


Finally home. How precious is this? I copied this photo off my daughter's blog. She had asked everyone not to post any info on our newest family member until after everyone had been released from the hospital. This request was based on a security issue that I won't go into here. But all is well now and I can boast on Charlotte. She was born on Wednesday July 7. Our Charlie, as she will be called, weighed in at 7 lbs 12 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. On a scale of 1-10, the hospital rated her health/development at 9.8. Can't get much better than that.

See, it is official, from unbiased sources. Charlie is almost perfect. I haven't seen Charlie yet, but am told she has curly dark hair, a button nose, and big blue eyes.

After two generations with no red heads, we have practically given up on it. Still, it would have been nice. One of these days a red head will come along and surprise us. Just hope I live to see it. My great grandmother Sophie, my grandmother Anna, my dad Dale (Bing), my brother John and I all had/have red hair. But none of my or my brother's kids or grandkids, not even my great grandkids, so far have had red hair. What happened?

Charlie, I love dark hair and blond hair too. We have several of both in the family. Each is different, each very special in their own way. I can hardly wait to discover just who you are and what makes you so very special too. Welcome to our family honey. Take good care of your wonderful mom. We will see you soon.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mystery solved

I figured it out. Alvin was not using the glass table as a landing pad. He wasn't seeing his reflection in the glass. He was actually after the wooden bushel basket lid under the glass. How did I come to this conclusion? When I looked out the window yesterday, Alvin was furiously licking a piece of wood. Turns out it was a small shard that had broken off the basket cover when I emptied some water from it awhile back. It was such a small piece I hadn't even noticed it. But Alvin did.

You see I have used the crock to make pickles on several occasions. While the crock has always been cleaned following the production of pickles, the basket cover has only been rinsed off. It had evidently absorbed some of the salty brine. That is what Alvin was after - salt. He will have to find a new source from now on. The crock, the glass top and the bushel basket cover are under tight security, a table cloth and heavy potted plant. What will he do now?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Not just another day

Yesterday was not just another day. In the morning, Alvin was back doing his normal antics. I actually caught the little twerp taking the edge of my glass table top in his teeth and trying to move it off the crock. OK, that was enough. I took Amy's suggestion, put a table cloth on it and then sat a heavy potted plant on it. Let him try to move that. Oops, I didn't really mean to issue a challenge. I just hope it works. So far, so good, but the day isn't over yet.

We had great news last night. One of our granddaughters has presented us with a new great-granddaughter. For security reasons, we have been asked not to publish any other details until after mom and baby are released from the hospital, by the weekend. Those of you who are close to the family already know most of the info. We are all very happy about this family addition. So if you see me in person or want to call, I will be glad to share more info with you, just can't do it on line.

I spent about 2 hours watering this morning. All our plants were extremely thirst after such a hot day yesterday, It is supposed to be even hotter today, so they really need water if they are to survive. With the cost of water these days, I would not have more than a few pots of flowers if we still lived in Phoenix. So I can't complain about it. Most of our plants are well established perennials that can tolerate at least a short hot spell. Still other plants, like day lilies and some of the ground covers are drought resistant. They, along with potted plants and more tender plants (especially the vegetables) all got a good drink today. Tomorrow watering will be more selective. Thank God this heat is only supposed to last a few days.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Going Squirrely




We have owned the same house for 38 years. We have always had squirrels that scampered over our roof, buried nuts from our trees, and generally entertained us. This year we have a squirrel that I have dubbed Alvin. He/she is a real character. Curious just does not describe it. This youngster visits my deck each day. He/she pokes his nose into anything new (boxes, empty pots, etc.). He has knocked down potted plants, dug up newly planted starts, and for some unknown reason has a facination for my glass table top. Actually it is a roung of glass sitting on top of a 10 gallon crock. I use it as a side table. Several consecutive days last week I found the glass had been completely knocked off the crock. Each time I replaced it, it would be knocked off again. I initially thought the squirrel was using the table as a place to land when jumping off the roof, so I placed a plastic frog on it, to no avail. Next I moved the whole thing, trading places with a small plastic table, it was now under the eves. Still this morning I heard a commotion and sure enough, it was the squirrel jumping on the glass. I knocked on the office window, scarring him. Still he came back. So again I knocked on the window. This went on and on, at least a dozen rounds of it before the squirrel finally left. I am sure he will be back. I have some automotive sealant in the shop. This, placed along the underside of the glass at the rim of the crock should at least keep the glass from falling. What the squirrel will come up with next is anyones guess.