Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vicky Update And The Puppy's Name

Vicky is going back to Methodist Hospital to have a feeding tube inserted. Don't know how long she will be there. They did a CAT scan of her stomach; it looks normal. I am so frustrated, sad, angry at the world and her surgeon, and distressed by this turn of events. My brother will be there this weekend, which is good, although she doesn't want him there. Why, I don't know.

I was awake from 4-5 this morning thinking about her. That's a real bum time to lay awake thinking all kinds of depressing thoughts. Then I realized I had locked the kittens in my sewing room. I did some painting around where the old TV was and I didn't want little peach-colored paws. I checked the paint; it was dry. So at 4 this morning I released them so they would come to cuddle with me. A little warm, furry body always helps.

I'm beginning to think that what Vicky really needs is some time in a really good psychiatric facility. There is a good one in Minneapolis where she has been treated before when her hearing got really bad. I even mentioned this to her husband; he said he had been thinking the same thing.

But there is happy news. The puppy who was born July 8th (a Cancer) is a yellow lab and her name is (drum roll) Harleen. Sounds like a country western singer to me or a hooker in New Orleans. I guess we can at least play some country western tunes for her. We are going to be a big hit in the park. Come, Harleen, come. That should get some looks from folks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My High School Reunion

Heard about it from a friend who has lived in the same place for a long time. We didn't have a 40th but now we are having a 45th. I went to the 20th which was fun.

I don't feel that old, which is why it's so hard for me to deal with the fact that 58 of my classmates are dead. I read through the list; I can see their faces. I got out my yearbook and looked at their senior pictures. These people have not aged for me so it's even harder to think of them as dead. But yet they are gone.

One in particular that really got to me was Gary Rustad. He sat behind me in homeroom from 7th grade through our senior year. Homerooms were alphabetical. No one joined the school to come between us. He was sort of an obnoxious twerp; but in those days any attention was better than being ignored. Well, he died five years ago. I found his obit which named his dog, Tuffy, as one of his survivors. He also had the usual survivors, wife, kids, grandkids, parents, etc. But he was 58 when he died. I know that happens, but it's not supposed to happen to people with whom I went to high school.

The reunion is Sept. 8th at an Indian casino in Hinckley, Minnesota. I'm not going; just can't afford another trip there. The people I really want to talk with are dead. I want to know what happened to them. How did their lives become so short. I guess that's the newspaper reporter in me. I always have questions.

Getting Ready For Christmas

I paper pieced this wreath which measures 18x18 inches. That's without the border and binding. The swirls in the white part are part of the fabric. I started working on this on Saturday and finished this much today. Paper piecing is the only way you could get the points this exact.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our TV Died Last Night

Kerry, pictured here, could barely contain his glee when he told me this morning that our TV died last night. He has wanted a big screen TV for as long as we have lived in the country (5 years). Thanks to my friend Susan who told me about a purchase her daughter and son-in-law had made, we now have a 42-inch HDTV from Target at a reasonable (?) price. Am I happy. No. Is it necessary. Yes. I guess. I would have been happy to become one of those households without television. I guess we will get more people to attend our Superbowl party next February. And Kerry thinks he will have more friends because he has a big screen TV. I will have to paint behind the current TV. It's housed in a wonderful wooden piece of furniture. Luckily I still have the paint. Notice his shirt matches the van. That's all for now.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

A Quilt For Our Bedroom Wall

It took 4-1/2 months from start to finish; here's my twisted bargello quilt. The one thing you can't see in the picture is the wonderful quilting that Shelley did. It was a hard quilt to do because there were so many little pieces. I don't know if I'd do another one. That's it for Friday.
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The Reasons We Don't Make Our Bed

Cute cats who like to sleep on my side of the bed. They prefer it be unmade. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Nora is the one glaring at the camera. Giorgio is the contented looking one. He was probably there first and then she arrived.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Loved "Mama Mia"

It is just wonderful when mature women get to dance, sing and have fun at the same time. The dancing and singing numbers looked like so much fun. Meryl Streep is 59 years old, been married to the same man forever, and has four kids. She danced and sang like a young pup. Who says women don't get better as they get older. In fact, all the main female characters have been married to their husbands forever.

Julia Walters, left, was in "Calendar Girls." She took her clothes off in that movie and looked great. Christine Baranski was born in 1952. Wow that is really old for an actress, but I loved her because she is not 22. She does have really bony shoulders. In Tom Wolfe's book "Bonfire of the Vanities" he calls women like her "x-rays." Great book, terrible movie. Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith were just wrong, wrong, wrong.

The songs, the energy, Pierce Brosnan (even if he will never be given an award for singing) were wonderful. The women both old (much older than Streep) and the young seemed to have so much fun. I loved when they jumped into the ocean. It felt good to see a movie where anything goes.

I'm not good at Batman movies or anything of that ilk. I've seen two movies this year: Wall-e and Mama Mia. That tells you a lot about my movie taste. Thank goodness for Netflix. Otherwise Kerry would never get to see a movie that he likes. Guess what I'm listening to in my car this week?
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just Trying To Keep Up...

With the vegetables. They just keep coming. We hadn't quite finished last week's box before we got another box yesterday. So now I have zucchini, potatoes, corn on the cob, beets, basil, turnips, cucumbers, purple string beans, pea shoots, carrots and lettuce. You never want to get behind.

I just made zucchini bread. That took care of three zucchini. Tonight I'm making more pesto to freeze. For dinner we are having the pea shoots stir fried with the purple string beans. Meat loaf is the main dish.

I also bought mason jars so I can turn the cucumbers into bread and butter pickles. That's on my to-do list for tomorrow. Friday night we are having friends for dinner so we are having the corn on the cob and potato latkes made with potatoes and turnips. Barbecued sausage will be the meat course.

I would really like some more turnip recipes. So let me know if you have some...or a dozen.

I'm not really complaining because the veggies are so delicious, and I'm enjoying the experience of trying so many new foods and recipes, but yikes I feel like there are vegetables chasing me around the house.

Kerry and I are "locavores." That's a term I've been hearing a lot lately. It means you try to buy your food locally; it's good for the environment and the local economy. Locally grown organic food is still more expensive than the grocery store non-organic variety, but with rising fuel prices that may shift. Flying a plane load of cantaloupes here in January from Mexico and then trucking them around to the stores may become something of the past. The fuel will simply be too expensive. And that's better for the air.

I just ordered a book on CD from the library. The author is Barbara Kingsolver who writes great fiction (Poisonwood Bible). The book is "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." It's about the year she and her family spent eating locally and what it was like.

Another Car

This one is a 1970 Cadillac owned by Kerry's sister Joanne. She's pictured here with her dog Wiley. Car belonged to their dad. When he died Joanne decided she wanted it. She lives in Washington near Bellingham so she doesn't get too many days when she can ride around with the top down. Pretty cool car; a very long one with good fins.
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Monday, July 21, 2008

Kerry's New Used Car

If you are new to this blog, then you don't know that I live with a wonderful man named Kerry who is obsessed with cars. He doesn't just like to look at them or drive them, he wants to own them. Currently he has five running vehicles. I say running because he has a really cute Porsche 356 in his studio that needs a lot of work. It doesn't run.

He bought this 1982 Porsche 911 last week. It's sitting in our driveway as I write. I went for a ride in it Sunday morning when it was still cool; the air conditioning doesn't work. Not a good thing for summers in the valley. He says he's going to get it fixed.

The most interesting part of the ride that we took was how many men slowed down to look at the car. Most of them were driving SUVs or big trucks. So that's what's new at our house.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

High-Heeled Crocs

These are my shoes for the wedding (see earlier post). You can't walk around at the Grand Canyon wearing spiked heeled shoes. My outfit is peach with some celery green. I'm going to decoupage the peach fabric on the part of the shoe that is white. I'm leaving the Crocs logo. I also bought them in black and white. Very comfy. I'll be a hit.
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We Are Back

Had a great trip to Albuquerque. It rained; I loved it. No smoke in the air; I loved it.

You may be wondering who that strange guy is with the funny black hat and hair. Well, that's Kerry. He's wearing a Che Guevara hat and wig that we found in the Santa Fe Opera gift shop. From time to time they sell replicas of things that were worn in previous operas. I got my brother a fake ermine and red velvet crown a few years ago. This time we saw the hat with the black hair so Kerry put it on, I took a picture with my camera and thought, my blogging friends will like this. The big card on his forehead is the price tag. Sort of the Minnie Pearl of revolutionaries.

We saw the opera "Billy Budd." The music (Benjamin Britten was the composer) and voices were fabulous; the show was just too long. It should have been two short acts or one long one instead of two long acts. At this time of year the production doesn't start until 9 p.m. so we didn't leave the opera until midnight. We got home about 2 a.m. Add to that the elevation at the opera, 7,000 feet, and you can imagine just how tired we were the next day.

Julia fed us some very tasty dishes. For the most part she's a vegetarian so I learned some new recipes that I can make when we have as surfeit of today.

Had a great time meeting her mom, Kathy, and dad, Bud. Mom, Julia and I went shoe shopping on Sunday. We shop together very well which is a very good sign. I bought some high heel Crocs, well really a mid-heel. No that's not a typo. They make them. I'll try to find a photo and post it. The most comfortable shoes I've owned in a long to my sprongs.

We were going to have a picnic on Sunday but there were flash flood warnings so decided to picnic in their living room.

We flew home last night on the most perfect airline: ExpressJet. The flight was non-stop from Sacramento to Albuquerque, they fed us for free and beer was a buck. And (drum roll) there are no middle seats. While we were in Albuquerque we found out that they are going out of business on September 1. Drat and double drat. Some things are too good to be true.

That's all for now. Gotta go get our box of vegetables. It's wonderfully cool here and the smoke is gone.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vicky Is Leaving The Hospital Friday Morning

And going back to Guardian Angel Transitional Care. Her blood work looks good, she has all the right ostomy supplies so her anxiety is lessened and she is eating very well. When I talked to her husband tonight she was eating a hamburger, french fries and orange juice. That will make a big difference in her energy level when she goes back to Guardian Angel. So today is a good day despite the heat and smoke.

I was going to run some errands today but decided against it. The sky looks very cloudy but it's not clouds; it's smoke from numerous fires but none of them close to us. Kerry ran my errands for me; bless his heart.

Got a call from Canine Companions for Independence today. Our puppy was born July 8th. We will pick her up on Aug. 28th. She is a purebred Labrador retriever but we don't know what color she is or what her name is. Her name will begin with an "H". All puppies born in July will have names that start with an "H". Maybe it will be Hillary.

I am pissed off about a few things, even though this has been a good day. First, the Vatican saying that having women Anglican bishops will set back unity between the two religions. Makes me feel like I have a disease. It's hard for me to believe that in 2008 people still think of us that way.

Second, the young man who shot himself on June 18th rather than return to Iraq for a third tour in the 101st Airborne Division. His name was Ben. Vicky had him in daycare when he was a toddler. Her heart and Ben's mother's heart are broken by this sad turn of events. He left a note saying he just couldn't go back.

Third, that scurrilous little turd Karl Rove failed to show up to testify before a committee of Congress. His lawyer claims he is immune. I can hardly wait until Bush and his toadies are out of power.

On to positive things; I loved the story in the New York Times this morning about Ted Kennedy's return to the Senate to vote to stop the medicare payment reduction to doctors. The story read like a good novel. His doctors had advised against traveling due to his treatment but he showed up anyway and in a firm voice, voted "aye." Just his presence in the Senate convinced 9 Republicans to vote "aye" as well. There is so little drama left in Washington. After the vote he was whisked away to a private jet.

We leave for Albuquerque tomorrow afternoon. Probably won't have a chance to blog. I'm just hoping we come back to clear skies.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What A Way To Start The Day...Cats And Blood

Our cats, Nora and Giorgio, have developed a habit of racing around and across our bed in the early morning hours. They have always preferred to land on Kerry as they bounce off to the floor. That's probably because he sleeps on his back thus giving them a larger landing zone. I sleep on my side. I got up first this morning so Kerry was left to deal with the cat Nascar race.

Not long after I got up, Kerry appeared in my sewing room with blood dripping from cuts on his nose, left hand and chest. One or both of them dug their claws in extra hard this morning as they raced around the bed. They dug them in extra hard in the three places I just mentioned. Now he's really pissed at the cats. He says he refused to pet them after he got up; that's something he always does. Giorgio seems to be in hiding just because Kerry yelled at the two of them but Nora seems unfazed in the face of yelling and lack affection.

I want to tell him to sleep on his side and wear a t-shirt, but even when he starts out on his side he always ends up on his back. So a bit of cat mayhem in this morning.

It's still hot and smokey here. I went to the dentist for a cleaning and earned an A+ for my flossing. Just call me Miss Tooth Perfection. I have a friend coming over to sew for the afternoon and then friends for dinner. A very good day.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Back From The Farm

Just picked up our organic vegetables for the week: basil, garlic, zucchini squash, Yukon gold potatoes, purple string beans (shown in photo), radishes, lemon cucumbers, and pea shoots. I've never seen purple string beans. Every week that we get basil I make more pesto and freeze it. You can never have too much pesto. I have to use as many vegetables as possible before we head to Albuquerque on Friday for four days.
Not much happening today. Smoke is still very bad. I coughed all the way back from the farm. Temperature is supposed to reach 111. We never were able to open up the house last night. I hate sleeping with the windows closed.

Today will be another lazy day designed to protect my lungs. I feel sorry for people who have to work outdoors. This is not good for any one's lungs.
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Monday, July 07, 2008

Wall-e Is A Must See

Kerry and I don't go to movies very often. I want to feel good at the end of the movie; he doesn't care. Thus we go to few movies. He has Netflix. But this movie was great. It's a kids movie, but the message is for adults. Watching this movie will hopefully make all of you do the right thing about our environment. It is a wonderful political statement in a time when this message is not popular with the party that has an elephant as its symbol. The elephant supposedly never forgets but the party of the elephant has forgotten about the importance of clean air, water and land.

Okay, that's enough preaching. We also went to a new restaurant for us; Auburn Alehouse. They make a pretty good pomegranate martini; not as good as Crush 29. And the fish tacos are wonderful.

But the big news of the day is my sister. Remember all her angst about her colostomy bag. Well, today the ostomy nurse visited her in the hospital. This is the person I found on Google. She had an appointment for this Thursday, but because she was in the hospital the ostomy nurse came to her a few days early.

Vicky sent me a message about how much she liked Patty. I called her and she shed tears of joy. Patty provided her with lots of information about her stoma and found the right bag for her. Tomorrow she will return with more supplies; then she is writing an order for the rehab facility so they will have the right bag. Vicky's heart rate has been around 100 for so long and no one knew why. Well, today after Patty helped her with her bag her heart rate was down to 79. I only know this because she is in the telemetry unit at the hospital so is always monitored. Anxiety can do terrible things to your body.

Her calcium level is back to normal; the doctor doesn't know why it was so high but has ruled out a parathyroid problem. They are keeping her a few more days which I'm thankful for. Today she drank two cans of Ensure. That is a miracle. Not long ago she gagged at just the mention of Ensure or any food. She still doesn't eat her crusts; that's something I remember from our childhood and she's still not eating them today.

So go see Wally and offer a silent prayer for all those people who suffer from anxiety. It is a horrible thing that can cripple your mind and body.
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Friday, July 04, 2008

Back To The Hospital

That's where my sister went last night at 10 p.m. CDT in an ambulance. The reason: her calcium level in her blood is extremely high. Symptoms of hypercalcemia (thanks to the Mayo Clinic web site) are: vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea and depression. My sister has all of them. This could also be related to her lack of the thyroid hormone.

Neil called at 2 a.m. PDT to tell us she was settled into the cardio-vascular floor at Mercy Hospital (not the one she was in before) and receiving saline solution through an IV. Part of the treatment for this is to increase urination so the calcium is swept out of the body. They had trouble finding a vein that would accept the IV; that must have been painful for her.

Not sure why all of this happened so late. Neil had left for the evening so when Vicky found out what was happening she got him on his cell before he could get home. He turned around and got there just as they were loading her in the ambulance.

That's all I know right now. I wish I was there to comfort her. She sounded terrified when I talked with her last night. I tried to help her understand that this is a good thing because now they know why she has been so ill and depressed. Not sure she bought it.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Birds, Puppies And My Sister

This is another applique block that I finished for the quilt I'm making that is made up entirely of applique blocks that are each 12" x 12". I won't have this quilt done any time soon. It is a labor of love. I tried something new when I made the flower. It's a technique called "ruching." The flower came from the gathering of 60 inches of ribbon. The gathered ribbon is then circled around itself until it forms the flower. That makes it three-dimensional. The button I found forms the center. A lot of work to make but very satisfying.

We had our visit yesterday from a puppy raiser to see if we would be good parents. She was here quite a while with Whisper, the female black lab that she is currently raising. She's been doing this for 18 years. She approved us. Now we wait to hear from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) to find out when we pick up our puppy. We learned yesterday that we are raising a puppy but we are also joining a wonderful group of people who come together fairly regularly to socialize and raise money for CCI. She mentioned that they often share a glass of wine when puppy raisers are together.

I think this little puppy is going to keep us very busy for the first couple of months. That's when you establish the routine that will help the puppy when he or she graduates and perhaps goes to work for someone who has a disability. First we have to complete Puppy Kindergarten Training (PKT). It's a good thing we have nothing going on until the wedding on Oct. 4th.

Whisper is currently taking "riff-raff training." That's where they teach the dogs not to be distracted by anything around them. That plays a big role in whether or not they go on to be CCI guide dogs. A lot of that training takes place at the Galleria, a big, busy mall in nearby Roseville.

And, one final thing; my sister had her meds changed so we are hoping that things will improve for her.
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