Monday, February 29, 2016

Surgery Update

And now it is Monday, the last day of February. 

Turtle with its broken shell is a get well card from Kathy to Julie, who remains in the hospital with a headache from an accumulation of CSF.  

Early Saturday morning, it was the desire of the neuro team at the hospital to have her taken over to Denver for surgery, but I pitched that it was not in Julie' best interests to have her transported there, for more than a few good reasons.  Julie concurred.  So she remained in hospital here over the weekend until a different surgeon was back on duty today who might be willing to take on her challenging case.

Twice over the weekend her shunt was tapped and excess CSF fluid removed, lessening the headache.   But nausea and headaches continued.

Now it is time to put on the Full Armour of God and go see what the day brings.  Hopefully, some relief for Julie and a surgery to "fix the problem."  

Her name is in the prayer book at Immaculate Heart of Mary.  If you are a praying person, please remember her in your talks with the Almighty for grace in her time of need.  God bless.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Shunt Revision

IT is Friday and Julie has spent the last twelve hours both in the hospital ER and in a room with a view.  The view is of the parking lot, but a view nonetheless.

The ventricular arterial shunt has been causing Julie problems and she is facing a revision soon after the neurosurgeon on-call finishes up with a surgery.  The Physician Assistant, a pleasant man in his early middle years, finished with his assessment this last hour.  Julie's headache is manageable with Fentanyl and other pain medications.  It would be a stretch to say she is resting comfortably, but she is tolerating this newest ordeal with her usual perseverance.

Her blanket brought with her by ambulance from the manor is at home in the wash.  Gene will bring it later today.  My red pillow and iPad and phone are close at hand.  Julie rests, or feigns rest, and waits.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Preparing for Lent

Shamelessly reproduced here from one of my favorite bloggers:

British Library - Arundel 108 fol-10v Detail The Empty Tomb - The Resurrection

Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were afraid. And he saith unto them, Be not afraid: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is arisen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. (Mark Chapter 16)

A previously published pen and ink drawing (icon) of the Beggar Christ and Vincent de Paul by Meltem Aktas caught my attention. A copy of her work is displayed in the meditation room at St. Mary’s Hospital Pavilion (oncology clinic) in Grand Junction, CO. It certainly gave me pause after studying this icon and reading the poem associated with the drawing.

On the back of this framed illustration is a poem written by Jennifer Gordon for the 10th anniversary of Colorado Vincentian Volunteers that explains Aktas' rationale for creating this piece of art:
In unfamiliar streets I wander laden 
With a loaf so full
That surely there will be enough for all. 
In the same streets we meet. 
I see your clothes, Your eyes, and think, “Aha!  
Here is one who needs me.” 
With a smile I hope is warm 
I offer you bread 
Only to know that the piece you give me 
Is exactly what I did not know I needed.

(my rendition in watercolor: 5" x 7")

Friday, February 19, 2016

Yesteday: A Rainbow and Brush & Palette Meeting

A rainbow seen from the patio:

 And Brush and Palette met:

Gary Hauschulz, talented and determined artist, provided B&P its February meeting demonstration.  Interspersed with some of his favorite cartoons, Hauschulz emphasized a quirky sense of himself as a maker of art.

Speaking of quirkiness and nonconformity, Hauschulz took home the Colorado Wine Fest 2012 poster prize, one he painted with Colorado wine.

He urged everyone to pursue passion with passion.  There’s a time to scribble, a time for perspective, a time to get real, and a time to become yourself.  He says there is then a “time to move on.” Gary used the hours of a clock to lead participants through the natural stages of artistic development, including the tough times when most people quit, but artists continue on.


Participants were led through the face of the clock, crayons in hand, symbolizing personal growth at each stage from babyhood (one o'clock on the face of the clock) into adulthood (eleven o'clock), with guided imagery at each hour.  Participants were challenged to go beyond their perceived limits in art:slides of Pollack and others' abstract art were displayed.  They pushed through their limits.  So can YOU!


Linda won the Mini Show and pocketed ten dollars for her score.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ollie Again and Scrabble Update

For a month Ollie has been away.  Then this morning an owl appeared in the house, spotted around 8:15 am.  I had checked at dawn, but the owl house was vacated.  So some owl appeared later after sunrise.  Gene thinks it may be a different owl.

Owl seen on Janurary 10, 2016:
Owl seen on February 16, 2016:
We think it may not be Ollie, but Ollie II.  This owl is lighter in color and the area to the left of his closed eye is a bit more heart shaped. What do you think?

Scrabble and Julie Update:

The 32nd annual Scrabble tournament was held at the Hilton Doubletree in Tempe.  Warm weather and a fun time was had by most all.  We used the updated dictionary, including over 5,000 new words.  I challenged "ZEDA", one of the newly included words in the TWL, losing the challenge, of course.  

Although I had a bit of a time worrying about Julie while in Arizona, it was nice to be away from Colorado in warmer weather, playing my favorite game. 

Juliet had and has an upper respiratory infection (aka as a "cold"), but Gene held down the fort.  He finished reading aloud to Julie the third book in the liturgical mysteries series by Mark Schweizer and started on the fourth.  She had a chest x-ray over the weekend that showed no pneumonia. The manor has been giving her breathing treatments as her nebulizer has not been of help with this particular bug.  They also have her wear an oxygen mask at night as her H2O sats are low.  

The wound vac suctioning sound and the loud alarms on the machine are pretty much constant during the night, disturbing her sleep, but the nurses are taking good care of her.  She hopes the wound vac will have done its job healing up her belly incision, and that she can have it removed on Thursday of this week.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Scrabbling in Arizona

((Written yesterday)

Here in Tempe, it is noon and the 32nd annual Scrabble Tournament is four hours into play and I am two up and two down, sitting in the 85 degree shade writing about my first game.  Zachary was my opponent, eleven years of age, from LA, and smart as a pistol.  He beat me.

Before every game, it is mandated that the scrabble board be set up displaying squares of 25 tiles in each corner to show no tiles are missing prior to play.  Here is his board he set up in about five minutes, to display his 100 tiles, proving he had all required tiles, including two blanks.  

He beat me.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Alpha Male and Grace

photo by Jack Heniford (1947-2015)


It comes when you’re not looking. Has been there
Before you noticed. Blazes forth between
The hickory’s new leaves, their tender green
Massy above you flopped into a chair,
Hot from the garden, with an aching back.
Two phoebes flit from tree to eave to tree
Feeding the tyrant nestlings you can’t see;
You watch them labor, mind and body slack

Then among bobbing boughs a flick of red!
Binoculars have leapt into your hand,
Swept the green shapes and fixed an active blur
That moves—moves—lights in focus as the wind
Pushes, and full sun strikes him breast and head.
It flares, it flames out. Scarlet tanager.

"Grace" by Judith Moffett from Tarzan in Kentucky. © David Robert Books, 2015

photo by Jack Heniford (1947-2015)

Post Script:

Julie is back at the manor and doing very, very well.  Thank you for all your prayers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ollie is Away

Either the owl is inside, or has left the rental property

And Julie will go back to Mesa Manor today!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Recipes from Deliciously Ella and Karen Ehman

For ease of reference, so I can easily locate them and cook from iPad instead of printing them out:

From Deliciously Ella

  • 500g new potatoes, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes or powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 400g can of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 180g quinoa
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 150g spinach
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
Place the potatoes in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, then let them cook for about 25 minutes, until you can easily stick a knife through them. Drain them well.
Place the potatoes in a large pan and add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, chilli, ginger, coconut milk, tomato purée and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper, then add the quinoa with a mug of just-boiled water (300ml).
Reduce the heat to a simmer, place the lid on and allow to cook. Over the next 30 minutes, stir every 5 minutes or so to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. (This is quite a long cooking time, but this is how long quinoa takes to cook in all these ingredients, rather than just in water.) Halfway through cooking, add the chickpeas. When there are just 5 minutes left, add the spinach and stir it in until it wilts. Once the quinoa has cooked and is fluffy, not crunchy, it’s ready.
Thank you, Betty the Woodfairy, for posting that you made this, because I shamelessly copied it and will make it this week!  Or Maybe Gene will, except he cannot have greens because it messes with his rat poison, and he does not care for chickpeas.  Never mind, I will make it.
1 (15 oz) can Crushed tomatoes

1 (15 oz) can Diced tomatoes

1 (15 oz) can Tomato sauce

1/4 cup Grated parmesan cheese

3/4 cup Plain low fat Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp Garlic powder

1/2-1 tsp Salt (to taste)

1/4-1/2 tsp Pepper (to taste)

Optional: pinch of sweetener of choice or honey (to taste)

Put all of the ingredients for the soup into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into individual bowls and microwave until it reaches the temperature you desire (or put soup in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until it is warmed through).   Yields: 4 Servings

Julie Update:

Still in hospital, grumpy about it, discouraged because daily wound care takes a long time for nurses to attend wounds.  The 3 x/week "team"(wound care team consists of two specialized nurses and often the doctor observes progress) will see her this morning for assessment. 

Infection is decreasing according to the numbers in the blood, but she is still on IV antibiotics but needs to be on oral medication before being released back to the manor.  She was placed in a recliner twice over the weekend.  That could be called progress.

Huge snow day today, and schools are closed; town is on accident alert as it continues to come down.  Using Jack's camera while it is still dark in the early hours of Feb. 1: