Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life's Little Adjustments

I took Richard to the Dr. yesterday for his annual physical. We both anticipated there would be "things" that needed to change. For one thing, several previous visits the Dr. had been talking about the possible need to go on insulin. We had struggled to bring down Richard's A1C (long term sugar) to no avail. In times past this had been accomplished by restricting carbohidrate intake and timing of when he ate, but this time it just hasn't worked. His A1C is still well above 8.0. So this morning I gave him his first shot. It went well, but the dosage will probably need to be adjusted every few weeks until they reach a stable level.

Secondly, both his viamin D and B-12 are extremely low. The Dr. prescribed a loading dose of D and daily intake of 2000mg and 1000mg of B-12. More pills on top of the ton he already takes. I am not sure the VA will cover all of this, but I am hoping. These things can get expensive.

We also made a change in the company that provides supplies for Richard's C-pap. He has an appointment on Friday to get a new mask and filters for his machine. We made the appointment for after July 1st because we have also changed Richard's supplimentary medical insurance. This new plan (N) will require an initial $155 for the first Dr. visit and a $20 co-pay for each subsequent visit. But everything else stays the same as Plan F and the monthly premium is only $70 a month instead of the $240 a month for his old plan. Change can be good.

I have been walking (for exercise) for a week now and it feels so good. My morning routine is to get dressed, have a single cup of coffee, walk a 1/4 mile (I power walk-took a class many years ago), fix breakfast, clean up, watch GMA (part of it), check the Blogs and E-mail, then outside for a couple hours work. I am out of here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

returning normal

Life in the Moreno house is finally returning to normal. How so? Well if you can actually define normal, it goes something like this.

I started walking again before breakfast. Granted I am currently only walking about 1/4 mile and actually feel a bit shaky doing so. But it is a start. Being able to walk was one of the goals I gave my physical therapist. The others were shopping (without the use of an electric cart) and climbing up and down stairs (to do laundry). These other two goals are also still a bit tenuous. I can shop at smaller stores but still use the cart at those BIG stores. I can also go up and down stairs, but need one hand to hold onto the rail. So I can do laundry but can only carry up a few cloths at a time, not a basket full. Still, it is progress.

Another sign of normalcy is that I actually mowed the lawn and used the weed-eater a couple weeks ago. Paul has mowed it since and I really need to do it again. Maybe I will tackle part of it this afternoon. I don't yet have the stamina to accomplish the whole thing at once.

Yesterday I stripped the guest beds, folded up the roll-away and moved it to allow for better access to Dianna's boxes in the exercise room. I had tried using my stationary bike about two months ago, but access to it was compromised to the point that I just gave up on it. Soon that too, will be resumed. When the room is cleared out I can also set up the treadmill, as well. While Richard finds it difficult to walk outside, he can walk on the treadmill where he can hang on to the bars. This is a manual device, so he can set his own pace. Right now he gets very little exercise.

A new normal is eating no gluten. It is incredible how many foods contain gluten, but we are learning this truth. While I have gone through most of our cupboards and given away literally hundreds of dollars worth of food to our kids, food drives, and the church pantry, I am still working on the freezers. It will take some time, but when all has been consumed or given away (I refuse to toss good food), we will only restock with gluten free foods for both of us. It will make cooking a bit easier.

Gluten free products are available in Corvallis. You just have to look for them. That means shopping at several stores instead of one. It also means reading labels in detail and using mostly fresh products. Nothing wrong with that, except the cost. The Lord provides even for that. Since I now get some groceries, especially fresh and frozen produce from the Gleaners, my budget can be used to purchase gluten free products. So in the long run, I spend no more than I did before.

Today is the first day of our lives. This is true for each of us. How we use the time we have is not entirely our choice. It is somewhat limited based on outside forces. But for that other portion of which we do have a choice, I pray we will all use it for good. God bless and keep you. May His peace be upon you. May you find at least one positive thing in your day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life is good

It has finally gotten warm enough that I opened the windows while I slept last night. I always use a fan to circulate the air, but that air was so stuffy it needed to be refreshed. Could it be that summer has come? Dare I hope? Will my tomatoes actually start growing or is this a tease? Only time will tell. Lord knows we are all ready for summer. But then we are nearly always ready for a change of season when it comes, well nearly.

Dianna and Paul are in the process of moving to their own place. We are excited for them and for us. I was able to send over some supplies from my refrigerator and cupboards to help out. It was a big relief, actually. I had stocked up and cooked for a crowd over the weekend and hardly any of it was used. Richard and I just don't eat that much. He can't eat flour any more and I had baked a couple apple pies using what was on hand. No more than a couple pieces actually were eaten so I have had pie for breakfast 3 days in a row and for desert each night (it was made with splenda). Finally the pie is gone. I won't want to look at another piece of pie for a long time.

It will take a couple more weeks till Dianna and Paul start actually taking their "things" from here over to their new place. They emptied out their 2 storage units and took over all the furniture they will be using. They are currently going through boxes and also taking other "stuff" they need. Next they will put all the left overs into one of the units and give up the other. Only then will they come and work on the things they left here. They have many boxes, a small dresser, a roll-away bed, storage shelves, a computer, clothing and more to move from the house before I can even think about getting my house back in order. But there is a candle flickering at the end of the tunnel. I may need to look around the bend to see it, but it is there.

Tomorrow morning I start walking again. First a broken leg, then recovering from surgery, and lastly an irritated hip that has finally started to feel better after using a lift in one shoe for a few weeks. I used to love to walk and am really looking forward to making it a part of my routine again, I need to. I have put on several pounds during this ordeal and walking is about the only effective way I have ever found for taking it off.

This morning I picked about 2 quarts of sugar pod peas. They are so yummy, green candy. I have been picking for about 2 weeks now, but as the weather warms they will stop producing. So we will enjoy while we can. Peas with salad, peas in soup, peas in stir fry, etc. We love them. I will put a few in the freezer if there are any left. They will taste even better this winter.

I picked a couple ripe cherries this morning too. These are the Queen Anne's and so good fresh. We have a lot of pie cherries, a couple varieties of plumbs, apples of several sorts, a peach, walnuts, almonds, fig, kiwi, and several sorts of berries and grapes. Each ripens in sequence, keeping us busy until mid-October. I love it. Being able to pick fresh fruits and veggies as I need them. We do can, dry and freeze, but not so much that it gets tiresome. You have to have some sort of limits on it. If it gets to be too much, we give the rest away. We always share it anyway. Fresh produce is better than chocolate, at least to me it is.

Life is good. There have been some losses and recent grief, but right now no one is seriously ill, we are able to get around, we are adding to the family, and we don't owe anyone a red cent. What more can we ask? Praise God for His provision.

Monday, June 21, 2010

wedding day

Shelley and others put so much work into preparing for Rick and Amy's wedding. The yard was carefully manicured and laid out to accommodate for both ceremony and reception. It has taken several months and a lot of planning to pull it off, an incredible expression of love.

Richard and I spent the morning preparing flowers for this special occasion. There were 4 boutonniere/corsages, the bridal bouquet, tall arrangements for the cake and beverage tables, 2 arrangements for the serving table, and 9 smaller arrangements for the dining tables.

Friends of Rick's from Washington made and transported wonderful cupcakes to the ceremony.
Paul and Dianna prepared BBQ for the reception. Other guests contributed side dishes.
Most importantly, we gained a wonderful new daughter-in-law. She was radiant in a grass-green dress as she and our son exchanged vows beneath an umbrella. Yes, it rained. It was just a light shower, not enough to interfere with anything. After all it is Oregon and I understand that rain at a wedding is supposed to bring good luck.
Today they are off to Hawaii for 10 days of sun, sand and solitude. They can both use time out. There will be so many adjustments, especially for Amy.

In addition to a bride, Rick gained 2 daughters, another son, and yes, he became an instant grandfather as well. Isn't our new great-grandson just a living doll? He is 2 years old.

Who could have imagined when Richard and I married in 1958 that our family would have grown to include 36 members (37 in a couple weeks) in just a little over 52 years. Each member is unique. Each is precious in God's eyes and special in ours. We are feeling especially blessed this Father's Day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

waves upon the sand

Life is much like waves upon the sand. Sometimes the waves are gentle. These waves deposit sand on the shore. Sometimes waves hit the shore explosively, eroding the beaches. Sometimes waves are what is termed as a rip tide. The latter is sneaky. It grabs you, knocks you off your feet, and if you aren't careful, can drag you out to sea. Today has been a day with all three types of waves.

Amy L came by and dropped off flowers for the wedding. She is a gentle soul. It is always nice to see her. She brought one of her daughters. It was the first time I had opportunity to meet any of my new step-grandchildren. I'm sure they are all much like their mom.

Later, I had a message from my oldest daughter. Stress is really starting to get to her and it is definitely showing. She exploded in expressions of frustration. Still another message from her indicated she felt out of control, hit by a rip tide.

I made some suggestions, most of which were carried out and now all is calming down again. Communication is so very important. Not only does it reflect desires, but it also dispels frustrations that lead to needless misunderstandings and anger. Never stop talking, especially to those you love. Communication can be that life saver thrown in the tide to save a drowning loved one.

It will come together

So many last minute details, so many final changes, so many unexpected blessings.

A big family wedding is an event to be anticipated with joy. Yes, it is a lot work. Yes, it can (is) stressful. Yes, there are issues and changes that are not anticipated. But that is precisely why you do literally everything you can anticipate as far in advance as possible. If there is one thing that you can count on, it is that there will be changes and unexpected issues. It is just the nature of planning any project, be it a family gathering, a trip, or something else.

Shelley did not anticipate children at this wedding, but there will be several. Neither Shelley or I expected out of town house guests, but all our beds, plus mats on the floor will be filled. From my view point, it is wonderful. We don't get much opportunity to see some of these folks. They are more than welcome. They won't be here more than a night or two. But these people will need to eat.

I will be busy on the day of the wedding and not really available to cook, So I spent yesterday in the kitchen. No, I did not go out and blow my budget. In fact, I had already been slowly working through the food stored in my freezer, much of which Richard can no longer eat. I pulled out apple pie filling that had wheat flour as a thickener and pre-made crust to make 2 pies. A roll of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and one of ginger cookies were baked, as well. There were cooked pinto beans to which I added onions, hamburger, cheese and taco sauce. I also found an abundance of flour tortillas. A hardy vegetable soup went into the crock pot and a ham into the roaster oven. All this and an assortment of great breads all from the freezer. Then I cleaned out the vegetables from the refrigerator, assembling an eggplant casserole.

Sweets for Richard were not neglected. I made a pan of macaroons (gluten free) from a carton of egg whites, splenda, corn starch, and coconut. It was topped with a layer of chocolate. All these ingredients were also off the shelf or out of the refrigerator.

Breakfast items I have on hand will provide a variety of choices, as well. I have the ingredients for waffles, scrambled eggs, toast, cereal, and don't forget that ham. All I really need to get is coffee and maybe some fruit. I would have needed these anyway.

Company is helping me clean out the old to make room for this year's harvest. Thank you Lord. Shelley, do you need any food?

Monday, June 14, 2010


It is gorgeous out today. The forcast for Saturday is sunny and 74. Thank you Lord for granting even the vain and selfish things we ask for. Looks like the wedding will be outside after all. Tables will be set up outside. Flowers will decorate the scene. Wonderful food will be served, making for a contented group of family and friends. We anticipe the day with great joy.

Rick and Amy spent the last couple days loading all her "struff" (including a baby grand piano) on a truck and spucing up the Albany condo. The carpets are clean, the cupboards washed, and all the paint freshened. It is ready for Paul & Dianna to move in.

Everyone spent last night here, but had so much on their minds that they didn't sleep well. Rick, Amy and Preston were on the road by 7:30 this morning. The timeline for unloading and turning in the truck was tight. Rick has to be back at work tomarrow.

Amy will come back here on Wednesday to take care of final wedding plans. Rick and his boys will come down on Thursday evening. Not long now. We all look forward to the wedding. We all look forward to getting beyond it. Everyone involved is going to need some down time.

The bride and groom will spend 10 days in Hawaii before rebuilding their new life together. Shelley and Eric have already placed their boat in mooring and intend to spend time on the lake. They also are expecting their first grandchild. Dianna and Paul will move into their own place for the first time in well over 3 years, giving Richard and I back exclusive occupancy of our house. All positive changes.

All of us will benefit by having our own space. What can I say? There is no question that none of us would hesitate to do all we can for those we love. But keep in mind that we are at different places in our lives. We need a degree of seperation so we can function. Thank God for this large, diverse bunch of people we call family and thank God we are not together all the time. We would go out of our minds. But we are also greatful for the ability to congregate and to celebrate each other. It is at times like this (a family celebration) that absent members are sorely missed. Some because they have passed on, some because circumstances have prevented their attendance. But all are held close in our hearts.

So here is to Saturday. It is this day that we have worked for, prayed about for several months. It is finally happening. Our family will increase, our stress will decrease, our dreams will manifest themselves in celebration.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stress releif

The Lord answers prayer even when you don't ask directly. Thank you Lord. Our stress level was getting too high yesterday. Not something we can handle for all but a short time any more. But the Lord knew this, He is faithful and He provides. Our special thanks to both Amys. First to Amy 1 (Heymann) for sensing our stress and offering to contribute funding for flowers. Secondly to Amy 2 (Lockram) for being flexible in what will go into arrangements and settling/even purchasing silk callas for her bouquet. The two of you have made our lives so much easier. Again, thank you.

Putting together flowers for our children's weddings is an act love that has become a tradition. We look forward to it. Flowers from our garden have adorned more wedding celebrations than I can count. Unfortunately, this has been what some have called the coldest, wettest spring in over twenty years. We have had lots of beautiful blooms, but they don't last for long. They are beaten to the ground by heavy rain, even hail. I picked a huge bouquet of peonies yesterday. They were all laying on the ground even after being staked. The same goes with the big white calla lilies.

I'm not sure where the roses will be by the time of the wedding or if we will even try to use them. All I can say is that we will have flowers. Their bright display will herald the bright future of a new life together for two very special people. A life filled with love, trust, and respect for one another. A life based on a personal relationship in Christ. What more can anyone ask? We look forward to the blessing of adding another daughter, another Amy to our ever growing Moreno family.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Well, OK

I placed both a large white calla and a very small greenish/white calla (both from our yard) into red dye yesterday. Over night the large white calla absorbed "some" dye, enough to say it is kinda pink. But not enough to really be considered hot pink. The small call (the size we need for the bridal bouquet) did not absorb any dye at all.

So here is where we stand. We can dye some white callas to include in the table bouquets and use some of the small greenish/white callas in coursages for the parents and Nicholas. I will order enough truly pink callas for the wedding bouquet and to make the grooms coursage. We will take pot luck with the other flowers, using a combination of what we can find at either Trader Joe's or the Farmer's Market and what we have in bloom here at the house.

I picked some Queen Anne's Lace yesterday and hung it up to dry. Seems it is already too late to gather premature flowers. All the Queen Anne's Lace has already bloomed. Some had developed heads of green seed. I am not sure if this will dry green or fade to brown. We will just have to see.

It is off to the Farmer's Market for me to get an idea of what is available. I will keep you posted. Irregardless, I anticipate a gloreous wedding. I am praying the weather will co-operate.

Friday, June 4, 2010

How quickly time passes

Rick & Amy's wedding is just two weeks from tomarrow. How quickly the time goes by. Richard & I will be doing all the flowers. This is a big deal. We love flowers. But just procuring the raw materials is proving to be a challenge. No one in our circles is what you could call well off and the flowers of choice are expensive, 3 dollars a stem. Sometimes life calls for innovation and compromise. We have plenty of experience with both. The primary goal is to not dissapoint the bride. She is a lovely and flexable woman. What more can I say? She deserves the best we can come up with. We will try very hard to please her.

Does anyone have any other ideas? We do not want to use silk flowers. The colors are citrus and hot pink. We would like to use big Gerba Daisy type flowers. Again, they are really high priced from the florist. I will look at the Farmer's market and I know they have them at Trader Joes, but these are bundles of mixed colors, primarily red and yellow. These and blue are the specific colors the bride does not want. So in order to get the colors we do want, we would have to purchase many more flowers than we actually need.

I have some ideas. We are soaking white flowers in red dye to see how they come out. If we don't like the results, I will order enough truly pink callas for the bridal bouquet and improvise everything else. This is compromise. Another request is for green queen Anne's lace. There is plenty of that along the roadside right now, but in 2 weeks it will all be in full bloom and white. My thought is that "maybe" if I pick some green and dry it upside down, it may hold it's color and look good. It is worth a try. If it works, great. If not, we haven't lost anything.

Help. Any and all thoughts are welcome. Maybe we can use them, maybe not. But they may stimulate other trains of thought. Thank you.