Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Friday, December 23, 2016

It is Almost Christmas

Christmas will be here in two days, so now is the time to record photographs and what has been happening in our neck of the woods this month.  We have not put up a decorative tree in years, but I do make displays of angels and votive candles and Madonna and Child icons to commemorate the season.

On Tuesday, friends came over for coffee.  I was so bold as to ask that each bring a refreshment, otherwise I just did not believe I could host a small coffee.  Why, getting up from bed or resting would have required an hour of standing! I am only half kidding here, because I do spend most days fatigued and prone on the bed. Thank you, everyone, for bringing tasty treats.

This is Marianne and Janice's boys putting together origami trees. Marianne brought tasty biscotti and entertained the young guys for quite a while; the boys seemed to enjoy playing with the papers.

This is Janice, the boys' mom.  We lost her mom, Maureen, to metastatic breast cancer (mbc) almost three years ago.

The ornaments above are like ones that Julie chose to give to the workers at the manor.  Every one of the workers at Mesa Manor received this small gift, along with a candy cane.  After going back four times to Michael's to supply the goodie sacks, ensuring no one was overlooked, we made a total of 52 sacks.  Julie and the last few bags are posing below.

This picture was taken prior to our holiday lunch last week and pasted on FaceBook by Verda, so I am reposting it here.

Healthwise, it has been a rough couple of weeks since pneumonia germs seemed to have found a nice spot to multiply in my lungs. Talk about a fatigue maker, pneumonia and its fighter, capsules of Leviquin, combined to create an atmosphere for feeling awful.

A PET scan and an MRI are scheduled next week to determine if the Ibrance is working to keep tumors at bay.  The oncologist decided to change medicines and will make further decisions after he reads results of the scans.  "Scanxiety" is the term for wanting to know, yet not wanting to know results from tests scanning for cancer growth.  Actually, I do not have scanxiety. as I will never be abandoned or lost (Hebrews 13:5).

Leaving you with a favorite Norman Rockwell Christmas painting:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Kinsey Visit; Furniture Replacements

Gene's brother, Pat, and Pat's daughter, Jackie, came from Missouri for a weekend visit.  The two of them, Gene and Pat, used to really look alike in their younger years but not so much now.
(1994: Pat and Gene)

(2016: Pat, Jackie, Nancy, Gene)
Furniture Front:

Last week, friend Beth and I went to several re-store places in the Aspen area.  She convinced me that I could find beautiful old, used, and even restored or replaced items for a song.  Was she ever right. 

A new (old) mirror that we both really liked.  The margins of the mirror are painted in what appears to be Swedish, or rosemaling flowers.  The outside dimensions of the mirror are 32"x 39" and it will be hung atop a new (old) sideboard previously belonging to its former Aspen area owners.

(close up of mirror corner)
Then we picked up this piece six foot long sideboard and brought it home in the back of her SUV:

(close up of middle section front)

Tuesday, I bought a few factory produced furniture items for our newly established homestead that are to be delivered today: two end tables for the bedroom and a desk and filing cabinet for Gene along with these two pieces for the living and dining room area:

TV console

curio cabinet
Medical Front:

Just to keep a sort of medical diary, here are excerpts of emails sent to a new virtual friend in New York who also has cancer, and we have become a sort of support system for one another (as least she has become one for me)...

Today I have an appointment with a RO to map out the next two weeks of radiation treatments.  But I am having second thoughts about this and will discuss my concern with her, of course. Maybe it will help to clarify in my mind why we are doing this, so here goes my thought process:

1.  Yes, hips are hurting but in three weeks since MO suggested radiation, things have changed.  Three weeks passed and that was a necessary delay because I had another PET scan, then another MRI to further delineate where the Rays should be targeted.  But now, ribs are hurting as much as hips.  Question is " how do you decide where to put radiation and why, if there are more than one or two spots giving trouble?"

2. PET scan did not prove anything was worse, and that the Ibrance medication was helping the rib tumors to remain stable, perhaps decreasing in size, but also showed a new lesion further down, where it now hurts, 9th rib.  Question: "radiate here now?  Benefit?  Radiate both hip and rib, BOTH places ( on left side where original cancer was found) ?  Again, three weeks since MO said radiation would help hip pain.  Things change.

3. Hip pain is tolerable, ditto with rib pain. It seems we are doing radiation too soon.  Should I not wait until pain level increases to start radiation?  And how many times can you radiate same area?  Does more radiation help or hurt the same areas of concern?  Will I be back in another six months for more radiation?

As you can see, Sue, I am a bit troubled by jumping in with rads too much, too soon.  I don't expect you to have any answers, but am kind of wondering if you had or have any of these thoughts, or similar ones, as you trudge through this.  I believe you, however, are having many more and deeper issues with pain since you are pretty much home bound, as you say.

Thanks for being a sounding board.  You and the onsite cancer board are now my support group of those who have cancer, Sue.

Then, yesterday afternoon, this email was sent to my friend:

After brief discussion with the RO, it seemed that the prudent thing to do is to have rads to both lower rib and the hip and the base of spine.  I got mapped out with markers and clear sticky tabs that are supposed to stay on for the two weeks.  Ten days of twenty minute sessions.  Side effects are fatigue and diarrhea, oh my.

How are you? What are your medical treatments now? Are you a reader? Books have been neglected for too long here.

Thanks for your emails, Sue.

Long story short, I am mapped out for radiation and will start a ten day regimen beginning October 17 targeting left lower ribs, pelvic area and spine.  Side effects will not be much of a treat come Halloween, given the optimistic fact that I can answer the door for trick or treaters without interruption from bathroom breaks.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Moving Accomplished

Two dogs are looking up at my mug of canned chili with extra added tinned tomatoes, microwaved to perfection, their salivary glands on overtime, trying to convince that they really do need just a morsel of meat from the mug.  "Just a minute" means nothing to either of them.  There.  They each had a bite and now are off to their other person for an additional sniff in a different room where more unpacked boxes abound.  All of us were up at 4 AM, and morning nap time now looms.  As do the unopened boxes.

The move of households has been accomplished.  Yesterday was the final hurrah as the last of the plants were loaded up, the patio hosed off, and garage hoovered out.  A few cob webs are likely still lurking in the corners where the cars spent their evenings over the past nineteen and a half years, but the new owner will be too busy moving himself in to notice such a minor detail.  I hope.

September was hard on the husband: I vacationed and dined on luxury cruise cuisine while he ate from cans and used up frozen foods.  He made note of that fact more than a few times as he made up lists of tasks that had to get done involved around changing addresses.  He packed up and labeled boxes with tons of accumulated house hold items.  And he discarded many items, he tells me.  Changes are hard for him, and this move about used him up. He is resting now and well deserves a month or so off from Honey Do's.

Julie fared well over the past month.  Last week, Activity Director Linda at the manor took her (and Louise) up in the van and over the mountain to see the changing of colors in tree leaves, especially the aspen, in the high country east of Grand Junction.  She had no health crisis this autumn!  Playing Phase 10 continues to be her activity of choice, as well as dinking around with Word Chums, and throwing in Bingo on the weekends.  Gene finished reading to her the 11th book in the liturgical mystery series book on those September afternoons while I was vacationing. Eye surgery for Julie is scheduled with the ophthalmologist for October 12 to pull in eye muscles, helping to correct the crossing of both eyes (strabismus). She is actually looking forward to that surgery as she knows it will improve her appearance.

My health is holding, and the PET scan from last week proved Ibrance is doing its job since the metastasis in ribs has not increased.  On the breast cancer web forum, reports are coming in that Ibrance has helped other women keep mets at bay for up to 18 months, on average. However, MRI's are scheduled next week for suspected growth in cancer activity in the femur. We will deal with that when the time comes.

In the meantime, have a lovely first week of October.  What do you have planned for this new month?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Homestead for Sale

Our home for almost 20 years is now for sale.

It is with mixed feelings that Gene and I are selling, along with all the hard work that has gone into it, from choosing a floor plan, to building on a vacant lot, then forwarding on to create a home. 

(nostalgic pictures from 1996 as we were building)
(Larry Bennett was builder)
(late 1996)

(August, 2016 our house for SALE!)

You can imagine the reasoning that has gone into the decision to sell, if you have been following this blog for a while.  It is difficult to say that the return of cancer is nudging us along, because that ugly disease is not going to make me a victim. I do so want to be the Girl on the Right. SHE would not be a victim.

My brother John and SIL Char were here this week and John was a trooper, helping to fix the garden gate, transplanting iris into a big pot, trucking dead foliage into the pit, and helping to move a 75 year old workbench and heavy oak table onto the back of a friend's pickup bed.  The workbench and table have already found a new home thanks to Marianne, Judy and Bill.

We also had some recreational time.  SIL tickled heads for Julie and me while Uncle John photographed. We had some good days together.

Today starts day 9 of 21 days for the first cycle of the Ibrance chemo drug at 125 mg/day with expected side effects (SE) of fatigue and woozy-ness.  Not too bad, and SE should diminish as time goes by.

Pictures tomorrow of a Girls on the Right Luncheon with friends and salads and summer drinks on the patio.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Mother's Day Thought without Flowers

One of my favorite sermons concerning Mother's Day was delivered several years ago by a Lutheran pastor.  She spoke a few words in a heartfelt message about Mother's Day, and how it is not always a happy time for many individuals, especially for women who had lost children to death, to drugs, to estrangement, or to legal intervention which placed children in other homes or institutions. And women who chose abortion as a means to end an unwanted child were also mentioned with sadness by this pastor: how, indeed, would that female remember Mother's Day and her prior actions to prevent the start of a life from shortly becoming one of her own children?

This pastor went on to say that not all people were lucky enough to be born to exemplary mothers; some people were not nurtured with love, with bed-time stories, with chicken soup and sweet kisses on hurts, but instead had only painful memories of their mothers. And those unpleasant memories were brought to their attention and in juxtapostition by Mother's Day being joyfully celebrated by others.

But if you are lucky enough to have children who give you esteem out of love, or even simple duty, then you are blessed.  And blessings to you if you have or had a mother who did not abandon you, and who more times than not, gave you love.

Simply being reminded that motherhood is not all ribbons and bows is worthy of thought.  And it makes one careful of calling out "Happy Mother's Day" to female strangers at the supermarket, since it might evoke an untoward response.

On Sunday afternoon at the manor, the activity directors sponsored a tea for all mothers at the facility.  Refreshments and flowers were well received, and we heard some amazing stories about elderly resident mothers who were honored that day.  One son told of his mother having read the entire Bible each year for 48 years.  Forty-eight times she had read the Bible, and lived her life with those lessons in mind.  He and his dad are there every day for a few hours at lunch time, honoring their mother, cajoling her to eat, giving their attention to her. She is truly blessed.

Julie gave me potted tulips in my favorite colors, and a wooden carved face to place in our garden.  She gave Gene's mother flowers, and then we had his mother and part of her family over for dinner in the evening while Julie stayed at the manor.

Gene advanced pups Mercy and Libby some money, and they gave me presents he said they told him to purchase to thank me for a year of being a good dog momma.  Gene made this picture of them:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Cardioversion, A Birthday, A Shawl

What do you call a "busy week?"  For just the husband and myself, the week now ending could be called filled with activity, if you consider numerous visits to various physicians and a birthday lunch a bit out of the ordinary.

Yesterday was the husband's birthday; he spent half the morning in the hospital being zapped by electricity through his heart. Actual terminology is cardioversion; he has been in atrial fibrillation for quite a while now, so that is an effort to get the heart beating correctly. This morning he said his chest felt like someone had punched him hard, poor guy. But yesterday the nurse ordered him a full breakfast and asked kitchen staff for a piece of cake since it was his birthday. Cake was not to be found, but the tray came with a cookie that I wrapped up and took back home for his dessert celebration.

Julie came home two days ago, again in the big white bus, for a lunch with relatives. She comes every Thursday now and seems to enjoy being away from the nursing home.  She says she feels like a released inmate when she travels away from there.  I hope she is kidding, I think she is kidding, but I understand.  Julie gets good care there and the staff is conscientious.  I now think of the nurses and activity directors as friends.  The on site social worker even gifts Julie various Word Chum apparel and is very fond of Julie. Julie is easy to like. 

And next week Julie has two appointments with physicians away from the Manor, so we will both take the big white bus to see a GI doc and a surgeon.  Julie will likely have an operation fairly soon to take away some diseased colon, but enough of that.

Frost was on the lawn this morning and it is below freezing during the night hours.  An owl was heard hooting around 6 AM, but he has not appeared in our owl house yet.  Gene says it sounds like a Great Horned Owl, not like the screech owl that lived in our back yard last winter.  We keep close watch on the doggies when they are outside because critters, raccoons and foxes, are coming down from the mountains in search of food.

On the knitting front, I am almost finished with another shawl for Julie.  This one I am keeping back as a Christmas present, along with a purchased flannel lounger in exactly the same colors. Notice Libby is modeling the shawl and not seeming very interested in the process.

About time to get out and to the favorite Mexican food place to get Julie and me some take-out for lunch, then on to the Manor.  I get enough for us so that I can eat with her not only on Saturdays, but also on Sunday after church.  Would that be called left over left overs?  The other lunches during the week, I usually take soup and eat with her in the Garden Room at the Manor while she has a food tray served.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Three Weeks in Summer

Forgive me readers, it has been 22 days since I last posted.  And I have made many mistakes and committed to just a few major decisions.

As daughter Julie is in a nursing home, and is the youngest resident there presently, she seems to be considered either a staff sister, daughter, or granddaughter.  Julie is treated well and respectfully, although at times waiting for help is inconvenient.  But waiting for her is not life threatening, and the hours and days continue on.

Visiting with daughter takes my mornings, and worrying about her comprises the afternoons.  I try to plan something to do with her each morning: a manicure, doing a crossword puzzle, a hair trim, petting a dog.  Suggestions appreciated.  I used to take care of the entry garden area, pruning the rose bushes with clippers, picking up debris, and puttering.  That came to a screeching halt yesterday when I brought in my battery charged hedge clippers to trim the bushes and was told that this was not allowed as it was a "liability hazard."  Funny, who knew trimming plant overgrowth was considered hazardous.

When I left yesterday before lunch she was talking (high decibel level) to a resident new to her assigned meal table.  He was hard of hearing, and she was helping to make him comfortable by chatting him up.  She has a good soul.  Julie later called to tell me she encouraged him to eat, similar to how as a child she had also prodded her great grandmother to take "just a bite."   What caring lessons she learned as a child seem to have carried onwards.  Maybe she can still help someone now.  I think so.
Julie, smiling on the 4th of July, Gene, not smiling.  Dogs playing at Gene's feet, but out of sight. They were happy visiting.  Gene or I take one or two dogs several times a week to be petted and they are getting into a routine of outings in the car.  Libby, the Wonder Therapy Dog for 7 years, newly retired because of knee problems, is much better at sitting and patiently waiting for the visit to end.  Although she does like the head scratches and cookies that Julie gives them, albeit five calorie Milk Bones snapped in half.

It will not be three weeks until I again post, but sooner.  Count on it.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Daughter Julie Returns to Colorado

Yesterday was a bittersweet 24 hours, filled with good byes to friends and Julie's home in South Carolina.  She and I spent several hours in sorrow, but welcomed a new beginning for her as she returned to Grand Junction, where she and Jack lived the first five years of their marriage.  As she said, she left Colorado as a wife and is now returning as a widow.

We flew back to Grand Junction from Rock Hill, SC via AeroCare air ambulance on a Lear 35 jet with Sven, the Norwegian pilot, and three other staff assisting us in all ways possible for a safe trip home via air.  Here are pictures from the journey yesterday.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Musing

      One goes through a lifetime very sure about one's parentage, or at least I did. You were either born to a mom and dad, or to a single mom, or you were adopted by a family who very much wanted a child because your parent or parents could not adequately care for you. And if you were not adopted, you grew up in an institution called an “orphanage,” not a preferred method of living for a child since Charles Dickens' writings and the story of Oliver often comes to mind. As a kid, I must have become aware of how children came to be in families or other various iterations of children being cared for. It is likely a prevailing world view of how children begin their lives.

     I was born in the south in the early '50's to a stay-at-home mother and a father who was farming a family dry land ranch plot outside San Angelo, Texas. My two older brothers, six and three years old at the time when I came into being, may or may not have been aware that their world would change when a new baby was brought into the house. There must have been infant crying and other demands on their mother's time which they would likely have felt as intrusive. But then again, most of the families I knew as a young girl had many siblings at home, so new babies were just a fact of life.

     Cousins, childhood friends, kids at school, in fact anyone born to a parent were all compared to their mother or dad in these terms: she/he has his mother's/father's nose, or hair color, or body structure, or temperament. My older brother was said to have my mother's artistic talents and more sensitive temperament. Our male cousins so strongly resembled their father that it was always commented on. And my mother lamented the fact that she did not inherit her mother's musical abilities for playing piano and organ. My father did not inherit his mother's musical abilities either, and could hardly carry a tune. I must say that choral singing was one of my childhood favorite past times, and I spent years singing in choirs.

     Both my brothers, as they came into maturity, had idiosyncratic ways of speaking or moving their hands in a certain way when talking that it often brought on comments, especially by mother. As in, “you look just like Charlie when you do that.” They were of similar height, too. But I was always taller than they, and I was blonde whereas they were deeply brunette with skin that easily took the sun. I always burned when outside for more than a few minutes, whereas they sported nice sun tans during the summer, like our dad.

     Fifteen years ago, as my mother was dying and when the cancer had reached deep inside her brain, she became less inhibited. Once she looked at me and said “Are you really my daughter?” I assured her I was, patting her hand and giving her consolation. But then just a few weeks before she died, she asked me if there were anything I wanted to ask her about before she was gone, while I still “had time.” I assured her that I thought we had talked everything out, and that I could think of nothing else to ask her. I prompted her and said “Is there anything you want to tell me?” but she shook her head “no.” Pushing her a little further in this direction, she again responded negatively. The moment passed.

     It was a year or two after she died that my brother and I had a conversation about this odd, amusing event of mother asking me to ask her a question. It was then that the light bulb flashed on in my subconscious. Was my father of 94 years my biological father?

     I don't know. I will never know now. Funny thing, at this point, in the grand scheme of the universe, it does not matter.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mereta, Texas and a Cardboard Box

It appears that I have abandoned this blog in favor of Path to Writing, but alas, that is not the case. Seems that  now I am spending more time for my class with writer Sandra Dorr.  And it also occurs to me that I have not shared a picture that my talented brother and commercial artist Charles H. McCarroll put together some years ago of the farm house where we spent our formative childhood years in Mereta, Texas, dry farm land in Central Texas.

Here is his rendition of our farm in mixed media:

... this is my rendition of the farm house in watercolor (yes, it was a pink house)

I wrote about a corrugated refrigerator box where I made-believe when I was five years old.  It can be read here if you are interested, which is a stretch of the imagination, even for me.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Selling the Family Silver

We rarely use sterling silver flatware pieces, and it requires constant polishing. Entertaining around food centered themes?  We usually do that in the back yard in the summer, sans formal table settings. Then throw away plates and plastic forks and spoons are the usual cutlery.

We have an embarrassment of riches in sterling silver. So now it might be the time to sell those three sets (my grandmother's, my mother's and my own),  Each of the patterns has complete settings for eight. That is a lot of sterling silver flatware.

I decided to do some research about how to undertake this task of selling silver without being robbed blind.

Mr.Money Mustache.  Have you heard of him?  He was a wealth of information.   Regarding selling old silverware: unless it has sentimental value, go ahead and ditch the silver plated stuff is his advice. Or give it to someone who can make jewelry from it, like my dad did in his day.  (I have a blog post about dad's jewelry business written in 2010 and you can read it here.)

(some of my dad's hand crafted key rings and jewelry he gave me)

Back to Mr. Money Mustache and his article about selling silver.  He says
Silver flatware actually comes in two varieties: 
Silver Plated, which looks and feels just like silver, but is actually only covered with a thin coating of silver. Other, cheaper metals lie within. This stuff is not worth much in this context 
Solid Sterling, which is always stamped “sterling” on the handle. This stuff is 92.5 percent silver metal.
Today's silver price is $16.86 per ounce, down from a ten year record high in 2011 of around $48 per ounce.


So now might not be the best time for selling the solid sterling, but I can get the silver pieces cleaned, sorted and piled into the sell-able silver, the 92.5 percent sterling pieces, vs. the sentimental pieces (mostly my grandmother's from the 1920's).

Let the polishing and sorting begin.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Our Dog Mercy

She has a need to be alone. It is her primal nature, for she was bred in the north, Calgary, where the cold wind blows. She was meant to stay in solitude for hours in small spaces and to keep quiet, the perfect condominium animal, bred over twenty generations for solitude and minimal barking. Keeping still and silent is necessary for some animals, the owl, the snake, the wolf. Now it is in her genetic makeup as well.

In her essence: a she-wolf. She observes, focuses, and is a watchful waiter when human food is being consumed. Patient, patiently watching and waiting until that last bite, knowing it is saved for her,  is gratefully taken with intense poise into her gentle mouth. It is almost a kiss she gives when taking her small treat. Her mustache is smoothed down with a light human touch, and she is told she is loved.

This is her day: a short walk led by the man of the house, a bit of play time, kibble and water, and then sleep. For sleep consumes the majority of her day. Snuggling down into the pillows on the bed, uncovering the bolster if necessary in order to reach her master's down pillow, her favorite, she takes time to make her day nest. Here she will stay for hours, only nature's call for elimination of fluid urging her out of this nest that only she inhabits. The others in the house, her sister animal friend and the humans, do not inhabit this space of hers called the peoples' bedroom. Those others stay in their own dens doing whatever it is they do during the daytime hours...reading, knitting, cooking, talking. But here, on this bed and on the once forbidden pillow, she stays.

Occasionally, when dreaming, a slight whimper will come from deep within her throat. It is not unlikely that she yelps. Perhaps a play date with her sister dog is in her dreams, or maybe it is one of those pesky UPS men ringing the doorbell and making her jump to attention, shaking her from that sleepy lethargy. Whatever the cause, those yips and slight low growls sometimes can be heard from farther rooms when she is deep in slumber. Her distant presence is made known.

Now the night comes. The people in the house retire to this, her place, at night. At first she welcomes them, and snuggles down, this time at the foot of the bed, into the old down comforter throw that is kept just for her, although the feathers are slowing disengaging from the seams, and little white fluffs can be found on the bedspread beneath her silky throne. With the lights off, now surrounded by these human masters of her universe, she again settles and sleeps.

After two or three hours of this nighttime darkness, she awakens and feels the presence of the humans and realizes she is, indeed, not alone. She jumps from her downy nest on to the wooden floor, her toenails making a soft, padded sound. She yips, awakening her masters. They interpret the yipping noise to mean that she wants out to pee, and the one called Gene cooperates, reaching for his flashlight at the headboard of the bed, pulling himself up and out of slumber, releasing her out into the cold night air. Upon command, she performs her duty, and both the human and she return into the room.

Circling round just the right number of times, she replaces herself on the nest. She again sleeps. But I often wonder if what this canine really craves is to be alone, again, on the bed she calls her own. Sometimes, when the owners correctly interpret throaty call, her name is sternly called out in the darkness to return to bed. Reluctantly, she comes back to her rumpled place at my feet. Perhaps she woke to realize she has others in her space. Her primal need was again calling her to solitude.  All she really craved was to be alone.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Photos Scanned, Clean Up Happened

Although I have not been blogging, I have been reading each of your posts, my friends.  First, let me say that I have tried to comment on most of your blogs, and secondly, since two weeks ago, daughter Julie came through her medical problems just fine.  No more headaches, no surgery.

That new scanner I ordered is the bee's knees.  Or is it bees' knees?  Anyway, it works very well, creating light where there was none, enhancing colors, cropping off non-essentials, etc.  It is just a run of the mill brand and was inexpensive, but it is the technology that has changed over the years. The old scanner just was not cutting it.  Results of all that scanning of old photos resulted in several trash cans full of old albums and photos.  And several boxes of heavier papers and albums were taken away by the local disposer.  We get an old age discount because the waste disposal guys figure that seniors don't have much trash.  Suppose we more than got out money's worth from this trash removal service over the last couple of weeks.

All in all, those pictures from the 1970's until digital times have all been scanned.  And the result? The best ones are now residing on one thumb drive. Amazing. It was an emotional time, truthfully.  Looking at my daughters when they were babes in arms, thinking of those years, most of which were troubled and unhappy, working hard, having little free time.  I had so much rather be living my life now rather than then. A couple of digital photo flashing frames were loaded with hundreds of vacation and family photos. The good times can be remembered at will. Happy, happy.

One large four drawer file cabinet is now in the garage ready for the "Fresh as a Daisy" pickup that the city provides in April for items too large for regular pick up.  And now my little study is boasting a new two drawer mahogany and much smaller file for papers.  Lots of the old files were also trashed.  Who knew one could accumulate so much unimportant stuff over a few years time?

Clean up pictures:
 (organized, items tossed)


And the amaryllis bulbs Natalie gave me are growing, finally,  in the guest bath:

The husband ordered new retirement business cards.  He has not yet handed one out, and I'm wondering if people will need an explanation of his thought process in creating these.  Probably he will not even get reactions.  Who knows.  And what price would one pay to a holistic detective agent?

Yes, knitters, I have now completed two thirds of my Looped Loop cowl and am on the home stretch of the Delancey Cardigan in grey and mustard orange.  The Looped Loop has to be knit under strong light. Usually I am watching some Inspector Lynley mystery shows on Netflix, so there have been a few dropped stitches. Next up to watch is "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", Jan.   And yesterday I was involved enough to have to rip out some grey on the cardigan because it was time for a stripe.  Onward.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Bye to 2013

And good bye to, among others, all soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our freedom

Good bye to various actors, authors, poets, politicians, painters including

  • Van Kliburn
  • David Frost
  • Scott Carpenter
  • Yvonne Brills, scientist
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Muriel Sievert
  • Helen Thomas
  • Ed Koch
  • Joyce Brothers
  • David Brubeck
  • other actors, authors, poets, politicians, and painters

And goodbye to my friends and family

My father, Charles W.  McCarroll (1919-2013)

                      My aunt Mary Howard Mays
Friend Mary Oman
Friend Maureen Keesler
Friend John Heniford, father of SIL Jack

Father of all,
we pray for those whom we love, but see no longer.
grant them your peace;
let light perpetual shine upon them;
and in your loving wisdom and almighty power
work in them the good purpose of your perfect will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Methodist Worship Book, 1999 (p498)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fires; Trashcan Cooking over wood

Colorado has had terrible fires this week, both near Colorado Springs and closer to our home, about 60 miles away, the Black Forest fire.  Almost 38,000 people in 13,000 homes have been affected by the Black Forest fire, Fox News reported.

The UK Daily Mail showed this picture and also reported that this is the worst fire in the history of Colorado with close to 500 properties already destroyed.  Three houses were miraculously left standing.

Please pray for all affected.

Being careful of fire and using appropriate measures, the husband cooked out down in our lower area and smoked a chicken for our dinner last night.  He smoked it in his home-made trashcan cooker.

The bottom of the trash can was placed inside an existing fire pit and the old fire pit  grill and cover were repurposed for cooking over coals.

The chicken was seasoned and smoked 1.5 hours, and was turned every quarter hour.  It turned out to be a masterpiece, even without sauce.  Delicious!

Happy Fathers' Day to all.  Prayers for all affected by the fires in Colorado.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello, June

We've been saying hello to spring. Sprucing up. Painting. Gardening.

(in process, but now painted)

The master bathroom has been painted white the entire time we have lived here, so it was only appropriate to welcome in spring with a bit of a face lift and a few new accessories for the necessary room.  The picture above is a "before" one of the east window.  Indulgent Mocha from Behr over builders' white paint is now its cover.  A new clock on another bathroom wall to let us know how long it takes to brush teeth.

And I whipped up a new valence for that east window.  Seems it always gets hot in mid morning from that direct sun, so perhaps this fabric will shield some of that sun while taking showers.

Gardening!  Our wildflower garden planted last spring is doing nicely, thank you.  But the bluebells did not make it over the winter.  It was just too darned cold for their survival.  But the penstemon did VERY well.

Welcome to my garden with purple and yellow columbines...

honeysuckle that opened up this morning with a heavenly smell...

and welcome also to the prayer garden in the back that is filling in nicely with ground cover, iris, chives, mums and natural tall grasses, along with a few other bulbs.

And then it was time to whip up a few new dishcloths (the eLoomanator and Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth held with triple strands of cotton yarn to make a couple of fiesta potholders.

Sadly, my husband the chef said that three strands of cotton was not enough thickness to keep his hands from a burn.  So these fiesta cloths might have to go into the facecloth pile in the closet. Sigh.  
For lunch, my favorite chicken salad recipe found here by Emeril.  It uses fresh tarragon, of which there is an abundance in the herb area.   I use more than Emeril says, and we seem to never have an apple on hand, but it is good enough even without the apple.   Next time a picture; this time I forgot to snap a picture of the herbs, and the salad is not yet made.
How are you welcoming June?