Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm Tired

The last time I had a puppy I was 20 years younger; I think youth is an advantage. I was so tired this morning that I got my pillows from the bed and laid down on the floor of my sewing room to sleep next to Harleen. The gate was up so I knew she couldn't escape. It's just like with a baby. When they nap you nap. Except we also have to take her out every hour to pee and poop. She's doing pretty well on that score today.

Not too much noise from her during the night. I did learn an important lesson when I took her out right at sunrise; stay out of the grass because the mosquitoes are still enjoying their evening reverie. I had my nightgown and sandals on. No telling where I was bitten. Won't know until the middle of the night tonight. That's always when the itching starts.

McCain's choice of Palin sort of got my brain moving; the man is nuts if he thinks that Hillary supporters will switch to him just because he put a woman on his ticket. In fact, I'm downright insulted that McCain would think that I would switch to him. I'm not happy that Hillary isn't on the ticket, but I'm not dumb enough to punish the country by voting for an old man who chose someone with no experience to be his running mate.

Palin and I have nothing in common. Let her live her life and let me live mine. Just stay out of my uterus. What I decide to do or not to do is no one's business.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Introducing Miss Harleen Weighing In At 11.6 Pounds

She's eight weeks old and a little doll. I had forgotten how good they smell at that age. That sweet puppy smell makes up for later in life when they role in cow pies or road kill.

You can't see much of her here but we will have more photos over the weekend. Our friend Steve and his wife Janet were there for the big event. Steve and Kerry both took tons of pictures. She was a furry starlit on the red carpet at the Academy Awards for cute pups and she didn't even notice it.

Kerry confessed that he already loves her; me too. The green stuff by her right ear is the stuff they put on her ear before she is tattooed with the CCI phone number. That must have hurt.

So here's what she went through in the last 24 hours: saying goodbye to mom, eating kibble, traveling to the Santa Rosa CCI kennel, sleeping in the kennel last night with her brother Heron, being poked, prodded, shot and tattooed by the vet today and then being handed over to us for a 150-mile drive back to Lincoln where she was greeted by Kate the border collie and our two cats. Right now she's in her crate in our bedroom with her food. Actually right now she's asleep in the crate with her paws almost wrapped around the food dish.

A sad outcome for Heron; the person who was going to raise him called this morning to say she couldn't do it. Now they are faced with further disruption in his life by sending him to a foster home before he is adopted. Poor guy. He deserves better especially with a name like "heron."

On the trip home she rode in her new soft carrier in the car. She cried and yipped from Santa Rosa to Sonoma; about 45 minutes. Then she fell asleep and only let her presence be known with occasional yips. She did not like those bumps on Interstate 80 where they have not yet repaved.

We have been told that no matter what sounds she makes during the night when she is in her crate, we are to ignore her. If she "soils" her crate she has to sleep in it til morning. That's a good way to reinforce don't poop/pee where you eat. So this is our life and her life. The grand adventure begins. We had the orientation person in stitches describing anyone named Harleen as a waitress in a west Texas diner who chews gum, has big blond hair and calls everyone honey. At one point I said, why I don't know, "once an asshole always an asshole." Steve and I worked with many of them. Neena from CCI cracked up.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Twas The Night Before...Harleen!

Yes, tomorrow is the day we drive to Santa Rosa to pick up our little girl. We are meeting our friends Steve and Janet at Chili's for lunch (they recently lost their precious golden lab Abby) and then heading up to the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) campus, which is named for Charles Schulz (he and his wife were big benefactors). If you are a reader of mysteries, Dean Koontz is also a big benefactor.

At 2 p.m. we meet the little girl and go through orientation. Kerry and I are nervous and excited. The manual gives so many instructions, it's hard to know where to begin. The most important thing is for Kerry and me to be the alpha people in Harleen's life. Meanwhile it's going to be 106 degrees tomorrow. Yikes.

We have her soft crate, which she will be in while we drive home, her regular crate in our bedroom, her food, her water and food dishes, etc. It's like preparing for a baby. Normally we would be going to puppy kindergarten on Saturday but because it's Labor Day weekend there are no classes. So we have a week to bond with our little girl before we begin training.

This is going to be fun.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vicky Update

She has been at home since last Friday. She is sleeping in her own bed with her husband. When my brother and I called last night (he's visiting for the weekend and then starts work in Tracy, CA today) Vicky and Neil were snuggling on the couch watching the Closing Ceremonies. Now that's something I'll bet neither one of them thought they would be doing any time soon. She is eating; Neil is cooking. I love the fact that this is such a boring post. No stab of fear in my gut as I write. No request for prayers, reiki and energy. Just plain old life at their house in Brooklyn Park, MN. It doesn't get any better. Thank you for all that you did to make this happen. Your continued interest in her well being means a lot to my family.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Turtle Is In The Driveway

Kerry and I were sitting in our rocking chairs on the front porch a couple of nights ago when we noticed a cloud of dust on our road heading to the house. Sure enough it was Turtle Doug and his cute companion (shown here) Miss Kate. He was going to leave tomorrow to go to Reno to join some of his "burner" friends but decided to spend an extra night here so he and my brother, who arrives tomorrow evening, can talk about Obama.

His "burner" friends are those who will be at the Burning Man Project in the Nevada Desert from August 25 to Sept. 1. If you want to learn more about it go to

This is Doug's third year at Burning Man. Dog's aren't allowed so Miss Kate will stay with us. She will get to welcome Miss Harleen, our puppy we are going to raise for Canine Companions for Independence. Everyone needs a big sister and Kate will fill that role nicely for Miss Harleen.

Report on my first attempt at making cheese; a dismal failure. I tried to make cream cheese but ended up with something that was runny and tasted terrible. I've always had trouble measuring accurately but usually can fudge. With yeast bread and cheese, accuracy is a key ingredient. I will try again. The bran, molasses, sunflower seed bread I made turned out. It is delicious toasted in the morning with just plain butter on it.

Have I told you how much I like to look at blogs about sheep. There are several out there, Farmgirl Fare, Boulderneigh, Ramsay Farms, and Silveraurora where the barnyard pictures are just plain cute. These women and one man know a whole lot more about sheep than I do; I'm just a visitor to their blogs for the photos and recipes. Boulderneigh recently featured a zucchini bread with dried cherries and chocolate chips. It looked delicious. I will try it soon. Well, dinner is in the crock pot and the Olympics are on TV so I'd better get busy.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

This And That

I have now been retired for about 15 months. I'm not sure what I expected but I have to tell you it is better than I dreamed. I spent my years from college until 15 months ago as a type A+ personality. There wasn't a project I wouldn't tackle and there wasn't a promotion I didn't want (I didn't always get them). My days were filled with commuting back and forth to work, meetings, trips, more meetings, Jazzercize, parent teacher conferences, Little League practices and games, working the snack shack at Little League games and on and on. I get tired just writing this. I didn't think I would ever enjoy slowing down. Of course when you slow down you have time to think. Lots of folks shy away from that. I used to, but not now. I figure whatever comes into my head bears looking at even if it's just for a few minutes.

During the past 15 months I have learned about peace and quiet. Many of my family and friends find it hard to believe that I have become so mellow. I can still rise to the occasion as I did with my sister's care when I felt I had to step in and be assertive. But for the most part Kerry and I really enjoy a very laid back life. He's never been a Type A. If anything he's a B-.

I'm coming up on my one year anniversary of taking my first quilt class. I'm knee-deep in projects with all types of fabrics and techniques. Right now I'm working on a table runner that features the roadrunner (got the kit in New Mexico where the bird is as prevalent as a sparrow is in Minnesota).

The move to the country from the San Francisco Bay Area was a touch of genius on our part. Sometimes I wish we had moved even farther from civilization. Back then I needed to be close to an airport so we couldn't go as far as Kerry wanted.

Our days are made up of sightings of the new turkey flock in the area, going to farmers' markets, getting eggs from our neighbor, cooking, reading, and very little television (that's me not Kerry; he loves his TV).

Surprise. Today I ordered the things I will need to make my own cheese (not expensive). I was listening to a wonderful book by Barbara Kingsolver. It's called "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."

It's sort of a less academic "Omnivore's Dilemma. Her family decides to spend a year living off the land in southern Appalachia where her husband owns an old farm (the best part of the recording is Kingsolver's Kentucky accent. She makes the word "Appalachia" sound so special.) The part I'm listening to right now is about cheese making. It sounded great and very tasty. I'm starting out small with cream cheese, mozzarella and ricotta. Italians have this crazy way of using double consonants sometimes and then not other times. So if I've spelled stuff wrong...well, so be it. I'm a Type A- now. Or maybe a B+.

Reading this book has made me even more committed to eating locally and healthfully. The cruise in late December will be a test. I've already decided that I will eat vegetarian. I don't want to think about where the meat and fish will have come from. So I'll stick with veggies, cheese and eggs and, of course, dessert.

Those are my musings on a Sunday afternoon. It's a lot cooler today. The air conditioning has not come on once today.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some Of My Favorite Men

Left to right, my brother Richard, his sons David and Andrew. Richard is an attorney for the largest maker of mozzarella cheese in the world, David will be a freshman at the state college in New Jersey this fall and Andrew returns to the classroom for Teach for America. He graduated from Columbia and wants to enter law school in the fall of 2009. I think they are standing on a bridge over the Platte River, which flows through downtown Denver. I love them all and wish I could have been there.
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A Miracle Has Happened

Just got this note from Vicky's husband, Neil.

"Hi everyone,

It is now official. Vicky has been told that she will be discharged from Ambassador Health Care Center on Friday morning, August 22. The Miracle has happened and she is coming home.

Love, Neil"

And it would not have happened without all of you in blogland. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Hugs to everyone.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


It's weird to be working on Christmas wall hangings when the temperature is 106. The wreath I've already shown you, but the Santa is new. Again, it's paper piecing which I like because you get such accurate points. I could never do an entire quilt with this technique. It would drive me crazy. And, of course, some of the pieces for the One Block Wonder are still up there, which I seem to be ignoring. I need my friend Deborah to help me with it.

My sister text messaged me yesterday with the news that they took away her wheel chair. She just has a walker. Right now her date to go home is next Friday. Today I read over the posts I've made over the past six months. It's easy to forget how awful things were and how many of you prayed, sent energy, reiki for her. She is indeed a miracle. Thank you so much

The other big news is that a fellow blogger ( is making the earrings to go with my wedding outfit. When they are finished I will show you a photo. She is a fabulous designer and her prices are more than reasonable. That's all for now.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm Back

I haven't posted in a while. Just haven't felt like it. Nothing is wrong. I'm just feeling like silence is a good thing right now. But tonight I decided it was time to update. There are some good things happening.

My sister is thriving in her new rehab facility. Right now they are saying she could possibly go home on Friday, August. 22nd. That is great news. She is eating and doing PT. Last weekend she went home for a few hours to determine what things need to change in the house so she can get around with her walker. Her husband found a guy who does this kind of retrofitting, especially for bathrooms. With all the baby boomers aging, the guy has a very good business.

Other good news; once you are 65 you no longer need to have a pap smear. Now that is good news. I had one today. My health care provider also does the HPV test, which means you can go three years between pap smears. In three years I will be 66...yippee. No more stirrups. Next week I have my annual mammogram; then I am done with testing for the year.

Mark and Julia's wedding invitation arrived in the mail today. I kissed the envelope when I pulled it out of the mailbox. For so long I have wanted him to find someone who was really good for him; Julia is. I remember holding him just hours after he was born and wondering what his life would be like. I have to say that I am awfully proud of how he turned out and how he continues to live his life.

He was not raised with a particular religion. His dad is Jewish and I was raised Catholic; a judge married us. I just told him that he should live his life based on the Golden Rule. It was that simple; I think he's done a fine job of doing just that. I know many of you out there are much more religious than I am. Hell a telephone pole is probably more religious than I am. This way of life works for me.

Our trip to the Grand Canyon for the wedding has turned into a return home via Phoenix. Mark and Julia need to start their trip to Kuala Lumpur on the evening after they get married. We are going to caravan with them to the Phoenix airport and then take their car back to Lincoln while they are away. That means I get to bring the wedding dress home with me. One more car for Kerry's growing fleet.

My long time friend Cathy lives in Phoenix so we are going to take this opportunity to visit with her and her husband Ray. And they get to meet Harleen. I just hope the poor dog doesn't get car sick. She will be in her small crate so hopefully that will help.

A lot of my silent time has been spent with fabric. I've created a few things that I will share with you later. Time to fix dinner. I have lots of vegetables from which to choose.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I'm In Seventh Heaven

I got the new Elizabeth George mystery novel from the library today after a lengthy wait. I started out as Number 8 in line for the book. That was in June when it came out. Today it's all mine; all 626 pages. This is her 14th mystery novel. I have been waiting almost a year for this one to come out. I finished number 13 a while ago. I've already read 100 pages, and she isn't disappointing me. I have never yet been able to guess who "done it." I always think I know but in the end I'm wrong. Stories take place in England; the main characters work for New Scotland Yard. The author lives in Washington with her retired fire fighter husband.

The other news today is I finally figured out what to do with the paper pieced block I did for a class a few months ago. It has been hanging on my design wall for quite some time. Today I discovered that I had a pillow form in my closet that was just the right size. I used the polka dot fabric in the block as the backing. So there it is; my first completed pillow. I say completed because I have another one that awaits completion. Now that I've done one I'm hoping I can do the next one with more confidence than I've felt. It's silk so there is a bit more to lose if I screw it up.

My sister is in a new rehab facility that she actually likes much better than the previous one. She was discharged from the hospital yesterday with a pretty good appetite and her kidney infection under control. The doctor told her she got the infection because she wasn't eating or drinking enough. Hopefully that put a little fear in her.

The facility isn't as new (1980s style wallpaper) but they have physical therapy seven days a week (the other place had it just five days a week); this facility seems to take more care in getting her meds to her on time. Plus she likes the nurses, one of whom is a wound care nurse so she feels like there is someone who can help her with her ostomy bag (under control at the moment) and her belly wound. The belly wound has not been healing as well as it should have because she wasn't eating enough. She had eaten breakfast and lunch when I talked to her earlier today.

Her new address is Vicky, Room 311, Ambassador Health Care Center, 8100 Medicine Lake Road, New Hope, MN 55427.
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Sunday, August 03, 2008

No More Feeding Tube

Turns out she had a kidney infection. Loss of appetite and sluggishness are two symptoms in older people; she's 59. They put her on an IV drip of saline and an antibiotic. She was also severely dehydrated. That started last Thursday night when she got to the hospital. Friday she was still pretty cranky. By Saturday she was a new person; it's like my sister was back. And Sunday she had a cheese omelet for breakfast and ate half a pizza for lunch. My brother was there and said it was amazing to see the change in her.

She's going back to rehab either Monday or Tuesday but the place she was in doesn't have a bed for her. Tomorrow her patient, long suffering husband, Neil, will go look for another place for her. I could really tell she was feeling better because she wasn't upset by the fact that she couldn't go back to rehab in Elk River.

So we may be back on track to get her to the wedding on Oct. 4. I sure hope so. I want my sister there.