Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Moving Right Along . . .

This morning I've forgotten every last bit of my best blog ever. I wrote it in my mind during the night and morning caused it to disappear into a haze. (I think an elf stole it.) Now I sit here trying to think of something clever to write and my mind just won't cooperate. Oh well, it probably wasn't that great anyway. Moving right along . . .

Every surface in this house is a mess. I have to face the grocery list and "git 'er done." Gifts are ready to wrap. That will be an easy process this year. I had a cold (just a regular old garden variety, 'notty nose cold) last week and it slowed me down. I'm fine again - time to "move right along . . .

Our Sunday gathering was a bit different the last two weeks. Two Sunday's ago I was running fever so gathering day was cancelled - I didn't want to spread the bug. Last Sunday we gathered earlier than usual because some of the kids had "other" commitments. We really had fun. The boys (big and little) played a form of touch football in the back yard. James had a whistle and was the referee. It wasn't a quiet game so I'm sure the neighbors noticed. Maybe next time they'll join in. I made a big pot roast with veggies and had sponge cake for all who ate "the good stuff." I almost can't wait for Christmas day. It will be so much fun to watch the boys discover the contents of their bags and boxes. I'll try to make pics if I can get Harry's super-duper camera to work for me.

Tomorrow is my hair fixin' day. I haven't had a real hair re-do in almost a year. When I was sick it was just beyond my capability to sit for hair maintenance. I had Mary keep it cut short. It was easy to keep my hair clean but other than that nothing much happened. Tomorrow ends that! Wheeee! Mary has ALWAYS been such a wonderful support for me.

For someone who had a blank mind I've written a lot. Nothing clever - just routine "Life at the House of Two Old Farts." Nana and Papa on their computers, kitty asleep on my desk, the reefs purring, and a quiet life filled with family and friends - our simple needs are fulfilled. So many blessings - we're thankful for each and every one.

Thank you for stopping by and for continuing to be my blogging friends.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Even on A Dreary Day

I've been looking at my tired old blog. I think that I'll try and give it a new face after Christmas. I haven't time to deal with it for a couple of weeks. I'm going to give my coral reef a new look by rearranging the various live rock and live stock. Plus I may get a couple of new fish. Just have to wait and see how it all works out. Harry will help me with this project. Now you know the rest of the story.

Tomorrow is wrap gifts day. My "think outside the box" button is turned on. Hmmmm . . now about that wrapping. James and Jesse love to pop bubble wrap - I'm going to wrap their largest gifts with bubble wrap. Jesse likes magic - what do you think of a magician's cape to wrap one of his gifts? James is really excited and can't wait to get a Zhu Zhu and all the "stuff" that goes with it - I don't know yet how I'll wrap it but I'll come up with something. I'm using velum that I printed with Christmas things to wrap small gifts. Blank business cards are good for name tags. Someone may get a huge black garbage bag (filled with packing materiel and a much smaller gift) tied with decorative ribbon at both ends - like an over sized piece of candy. I'm not doing a tree this year so a non-traditional Christmas is in the works. I'm asking someone to read the Christmas Story. One of the boys will ask the blessing - it won't be anything new for them to do so.

I'm getting my strength back. Can you tell? Just this past week I began to feel like my old mean self most of the time. It's been almost exactly a year since I first realized something was not right with my health. The road was long and pretty rocky at times but here I am. I can't tell you how thankful I am for the blessings I've received this year.

Outta here for now. Sunday gathering day to prepare for and enjoy. Love and wishes for happiness to all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Shopping Done

As I've said before, I did all my Christmas shopping on line. It went very well and I was able to get free shipping on everything. I have to tell everyone that through Amazon I found a company that puts priority of customer service. In Demand Toys is wonderful. I was concerned that the toy James wants might not be here in time for Santa. I sent an email - through Amazon - asking when the toy would ship. Amazon forwarded my email to In Demand Toys and guess what happened next. The owner of the company called me directly - YES called me to let me know that the toy would be here today or tomorrow. He also said that he was sorry that I'd been concerned. I also commented that I'd noticed some companies on the Internet were raising their prices because this toy is in very short demand. He said that he'd noticed that but that their policy was to not price gouge but rather to concentrate on customers satisfaction because it pays better in the long run. Anyway the toy was delivered today. I will order directly from In Demand Toys in the future.

Enough of my commercial. I might add that I'd never heard of this company before this.

It's cold here - not as cold as most of the country but cold. I'm going to bed early and 'nuggle down with my pillow. Tomorrow promises to be another busy day. I hope everyone has a wonderful evening and a peaceful night of sleep.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An Evening in the Life of Two Old Farts

This night ain't no fit fer man er beast!! Cold and a light rain that threatens to become heavy rain and thunder storms. We are just going to cocoon right here until this passes. It's a good night to sleep - I just hope I can.

Harry and I went out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant early this evening. There were at least four new dinner items on the menu. One was Chile Coyote. The dish is a green chile stuffed with beef, raisins, banana, and mango served on mushroom cheese sauce with guacamole salad and a side of rice. I've never seen it on a menu here but it was always a favorite of mine when work took me to El Paso or San Diego. Believe me, the dish that sat in front of me tonight didn't disappoint. I ate like a pig!! Burrrrp - Excuse me!!

Here I sit with my fingers on the keyboard but I can't think of one thing to say. Do I live an exciting life - or what? I'll try again tomorrow. So for now good night one and all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Uncle Arthur" Comes to Visit

Yep, that's right. Uncle Arthritis is visiting. I had a hip and knee injury several years ago and not long after "Uncle Arthur" came to visit. He's here again. Ouch!! I think this will be a short visit. I don't have time to spend nursing arthritis right now. My "other" health issues are moving to the back of the bus - no problems.

I don't go anywhere very often so I have nothing to blog about. Everyone is doing well - except Joe, our oldest, is having his first blood pressure issue. The doctor will get it under control and his life will return to normal.

Our weatherman is predicting light snow late tonight and early tomorrow. We may have a few flakes but the ground is too warm for snow to lay. It's 45 degrees out right now and we have yet to have freezing weather. The birds are busy at the feeders - I guess they got the memo regarding bad weather.

I haven't done the first thing to get ready for Christmas. I think it will be a quiet one for us. The kids will be excited and we won't let them down. This weekend we'll talk to them about plans they'd like us to make. It would be so nice if all four of the grandchildren could be here. That would be a REAL Christmas. Are you reading this Buddy and Judy?

Enough of this. Next time I'll try to have something meaningful to blog about. Take care, my friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wishing A Wonderful Thanksgiving to Everyone

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving 2009. I wish everyone a truly happy day with pause to remember the good in your lives and time to be thankful for all your blessings.

The Hooper family has many blessings bestowed this year. Buddy and his family are just getting settled in their new home. Judy and her family are celebrating the holidays in their new home. Joe, our single son, is blessed with friends and is settled with his life, Keith and his family are enjoying time together and all the wonders the boys are experiencing. Every one is looking forward to the closeness of the holidays. As for Harry and me, we have the most reason to be thankful this year. We feel close to all our children. Even though we don't see Buddy & family or Judy & family very often they are always in our thoughts and prayers. Harry and I survived the shock of my cancer and the following surgeries. It's all behind us now and we believe in a complete cure and a happy future.

Our Thanksgiving dinner will be on Sunday. Joe is cooking for Harry and me tomorrow and Keith and his family will spend Thanksgiving day with Mary's parents. I'm baking a ham and Mary will help with the side dishes for the Sunday Thanksgiving. The menu isn't as important as sharing the time and concentrating on the positive in our lives.

Can you tell that I'm feeling really humble today? The holidays do that to me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Big Girl Day

Today, for the first time in over 10 months, I got to be the big girl in charge. I drove Harry to and from a medical procedure otherwise known as a colonoscopy. It was done at the outpatient surgery center which is a large facility affiliated with the Huntsville Hospital. Everything went well for him.

While I was waiting (3 hours) I had the chance to people watch. It was an experience that's not for the faint hearted. I didn't see a lot of happy faces but I certainly observed some strange behavior.

A woman with both a computer and a cell phone talked - loud - nonstop while "clicking" her computer without stop. What do I know about this woman? She's "only a heartbeat away from her doctorate." She thinks there are too many kids in special ed - "they (the kids) just need firm discipline." Her partner, who is having shoulder surgery, is very jealous of her intellect and complains all the time. As soon as she gets her doctorate and a good job she's going to move out of his house. (In my opinion, he will be the winner when that happens.)

Woman sitting behind me was snoring and sleep mumbling. She must have had a lively time last evening - she reeked of alcohol. (I moved as soon as a chair was vacant.)

A middle aged woman with blond tousled hair, a large designer bag, jeans rolled up to her calf, 3 inch heels, and a bright red hoodie was having trouble with her lipstick. She wiped it off and reapplied it at least four times.

The only interesting person I saw was a very attractive young lady who had cornrows that extended into several braids. The braids had pheasant feathers woven in and were gathered into an interesting chignon at the nape of her neck. She seemed relaxed and at peace with herself. I would have liked to talk to her but she was too far away.

I feel like I spent the time watching people in a zoo. Do you think that maybe I've been home too long to be allowed in public? I do.

Later, my friends.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Sindows Weven"

Thursday night - yet another week almost gone. It seems that the weeks fly by and I accomplish nothing noticeable. Things are getting better day by day.

Yesterday Harry had an appointment that took him away for the house for a little while. Before he left he told me that I needed to be ready to answer the door because FedEx was delivering a package that someone had to sign for. He frequently has aquarium supplies shipped directly here so I saw nothing unusual in that.

FedEx did make a delivery and asked me to sign. I glanced at the receiving screen (on FedEx guy's electronic delivery gizmo) and saw that I was signing for two boxes. Two boxes were delivered - I signed - FedEx guy thanked me and left. I didn't check to see where the boxes were from nor to whom they were addressed. After a couple of hours I noticed that the boxes were from Dell and they were addressed to ME! Yep, Harry bought a new "big girl" computer for me.

The computer that I'd been using had been a real stinker for two or three months and no one seemed to be able to correct the problem. Harry told me that he hated how rough this summer was for me and he wanted to do something special for me. A new computer was that "something." I don't know what I did to deserve this man but I'm really fortunate that he puts up with my whining.

I can't describe the new computer except that it is new, dust free, and scoots along like a charm. We were discussing the computer after Harry drank a couple or three beers to relax for the evening. With a straight face he asked me how I liked the new "Sindows Weven." We both just cracked up. I guess his day was pretty tiring. "Sindows Weven" it will always be to us.

Gotta rest up 'cause tomorrow is a new day. One never knows what might happen next. I want to be ready.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Cry Over Spilled Soup

About mid week (last week) I decided that I could take responsibility for our evening meal and all went well. I only prepared simple things that didn't take much work and it kept us from starving. This afternoon I was feeling spunky. The cleaning lady had just left and I had a clean from top to bottom kitchen to work in. There is where this story begins - -

Feeling that I am ready to take over the world, I made a cherry cobbler. It came out of the oven looking almost decent. Next I began working on a recipe that I've been wanting to make for several weeks. There are several steps to this dish but none are complicated. Without further ado let me ask a question. Does anyone out there know just how far a can of mushroom soup mixed with half a can of hot water can spread when it's dropped? It can cover a kitchen chair (with turned legs), a kitchen table leg (turned leg, too), the side of the refrig, at least half of the newly cleaned floor, and one whole leg of your jeans. I hurried to clean the mess before Harry saw it. I didn't want him to think I couldn't manage dinner. Lucky for me I had more mushroom soup and the dish is now baking. I threw the recipe in the trash. Even if it's wonderful I'll never make it again. What an evening!! Old farts - like me - should never feel spunky.

Other than the above it's been a good day. Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy your evening.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's a Big Sunny Day

Yesterday's heavy rain from the latest tropical storm moved out of the area and today is a happy sunshine day. As one of the grandsons says, "It's a big sunny day."

I'm making plans to re-work/redesign the layout of my coral tank. A couple of reef keepers gifted me with awesome coral frags (coral babies) during my treatment. The frags have been resting on the sand bed (at the bottom of my tank) waiting for me to settle them into permanent 'homes' on my reef. With Harry's help I think that will happen next week. Picture of before and after? I'll try.

Lucky me, I miscalculated the number of weeks I'll have cleaning ladies come to take care of our house. They will be here for a couple more weeks. I bought a package deal and that gave me three more weeks of service than if I just went on a weekly basis. WaaaHoooooo!! I'll certainly miss them but all things must end.

Today I'm going to the grocery for a major buying spree. I have a 20% off coupon for my entire purchase PLUS today is senior citizen day discount of 5%. Both will apply. I know that I'll come home and fall flat on my face but our pantry, freezer, and refrig will be well stocked. The treat cabinet will be in pretty good shape, too. I might add that I'll be flat broke but who cares. It's only $$.

Enough of my ramble. Gotta get goin' if I want to keep the day on track. Thanks for stopping by. See ya later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's Too Late to Think of a Title

Several days (weeks??) ago I received this award from Soul. I am just now able to upload the graphic. Sometimes old farts need remedial training. Anyway, I'm very proud of receiving the award. Thank you bushels and more.I wish I knew something exciting to blog about but, alas, I don't. Nothing ever happens in my world - at least nothing very interesting. The big event in my life this past week was beginning my five years of medication with Arimidex.

The children were here today for gathering day. It was our oldest son's (Joe) birthday. He has reached the age that he prefers not to discuss his age. How old do you think that makes me feel? I must be old as dirt.

Harry brought a new (to us) shopping web site to my attention this morning. I enjoyed window/screen shopping for a while this morning. I thought some of you might like to check it out. It's called The Find. We've never bought from this site (Harry only found it this morning.) but it is interesting.

On that note I have a date with the sandman. I hope he doesn't stand me up tonight. Last night he was a no-show.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sunshine and Falling Leaves

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood . . . I woke up with Mr. Rogers' theme song in my head. It has been just that kind of day for me. It is, in fact, a beautiful day.

Yesterday I drove myself to my dental appointment. It certainly seemed strange to be driving. I bet I get over that real soon, don't you agree? Dentist said my teeth were just fine - no damage. That was a relief. All my life I've had a recurring nightmare that my teeth are falling out. Silly, right?

My computer faces a window that looks out at our back yard. The ground is almost covered with brown, yellow and orange leaves. I know that they came from out trees but when I look up at the branches it doesn't look possible that the leaves on the ground came from these trees. We don't rake leaves. Instead we mulch and bag them then put them onto a compost pile. Simple and effective. Yeah, sure! I don't have to do the job so it's easy for me.

I still have burns that aren't healed but on the bright side - my energy seems to be coming back really fast. This morning Harry warned, "Don't wear yourself out today" as he was heading out to do several errands. I'm doing 'sit down' jobs today. Sorting pictures, filing clippings that have piled up, etc. I'm trying to be good.

My best to everyone. Until later . . .

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Too Tired to Think of a Title

Guess who came home from Walmart with a smiley face sticker on the back of his hand. Yep, Harry did and he was proud of it. You can bet your bottom dollar that no one at Walmart will ever give me a smiley face. I always enter with an expression of dread and leave with a big frown and tired feet from standing in checkout lines. Not that I've been to Walmart since March.

Today was PET scan day so we had to go out to the Cancer Care Center which is a different direction from where I went daily for radiation. I couldn't believe how much had changed! A few stores have closed, at least three new buildings are up and occupied, and a couple of interesting stores have opened. I need to go exploring.

Speaking of the PET scan - it was the easiest procedure I had since this whole thing began. Last night I almost made myself sick dreading yet another ordeal but it wasn't like that at all. When we see the medical oncologist next Monday we should get final results. My burns are healing nicely. Not everyone has this much trouble with radiation but my skin just gave up. I had a couple of spots that were third degree burns. They should be completely healed in a week or two.

I'm still trying to upload pics but haven't been successful. Maybe this weekend Joe will have time to rattle Blogger's chain and fix the issue. On this note, I believe it's time for me to follow hubby to bed. I hope to wake up tomorrow morning bright eyed and bushy tailed - ready for a new day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just Me

Several Days ago Soul presented me with a blog award (Over The Top Award). I'm proud to have received the award and have tried to persuade Blogger to allow me to upload the icon. No luck. At first I thought that I was doing something wrong but now I think Blogger is having a temper tantrum. I tried to upload pictures of the grandsons and Harry carving pumpkins. Blogger refused to upload those pictures, too. I'll have to wait for our son, the computer guru, (Joe) to have time to appease the blogger gods and ask them to please overlook whatever transgression I committed.

That said, I completed radiation on 20 October. My burns are healing fast and I'm now looking to the PET scan on this Thursday. I should have the results on the following Monday. We're confident the results will be negative for cancer. It's been a trip but now the end is truly in sight.

I'm enjoying watching the leaves turn to brilliant golds, reds, and bronze. The winter welfare birds are arriving. Squirrels have fat cheeks and are hiding their bounty. The dad-gum chipmunks are digging in places I'd rather they didn't dig. We're having more rainy days than sun. No drought here this fall. My house plants are either safely inside or on the screen porch. Life is returning to normal.

I intend to return to regular blogging now that life is on a more even keel. Get ready, friends, here I come.

Monday, October 12, 2009

More of the Same

It's been a rainy day Monday in my world, but that's OK. I didn't have plans, anyway.

My Radiation Oncologist put me on a five day treatment "break." The condition of my skin (what is left of it) has deteriorated beyond what's acceptable for further treatment. I'm home with medications to ease the pain and promote healing. As has been the case throughout this ordeal, Harry is assuming household management and nursing care. The kids continue to be supportive of us. Mary is cooking dinner tomorrow night. She is a wonderful cook so it's a meal to look forward to. For dinner this evening Harry made German Apple Pancakes. Wonderful!!

There's really nothing current to write about and strolls down memory lane can get boring for everyone. On that note I believe I'll publish this post, take a pill, kiss Harry goodnight, and spend the next few hours hugging my pillow.

My best to everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Don't Assume

Today was day two of my seven "booster" radiation sessions. Forgive me for assuming that "booster" means less intense. Guess I was wrong about that one. The beam isn't as wide-spread. It is more sharply aimed and the exposure does not make for a care-free experience. The radiation burns are painful and ugly but the alternative is even worse. I'm thankful that the treatment is available but at the same time I want them to be in the past!!!

I'm spending most of my time either in bed or stretched out in front of the TV. In the beginning I read a lot but now I just can't concentrate on a book. That's a first for me. I've learned a lot from watching TV.

1) The History Channel screens many, many "dooms-day" programs. They seem to concentrate on such things as which volcano/earthquake/flood will destroy a large portion - if not all - the world. That's predicting the future in my book.

2) Public Television does have interesting programming - if you don't get tired of the "send us money" routine or if you haven't seen the program several times before.

3) Many - if not all - of the detective shows have gotten graphic beyond the acceptable.

But then I'm an old fart who is buried in health issues at the moment. It makes for negative impressions. I think I'll just crawl back in my hole and be quiet.

Take care and enjoy the colorful all weather - old man winter is on the way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can't Think of a title

Twenty-three down and twelve to go. Just call me "Crispy" and you won't be far from correct. What am I gonna do you ask. I'm gonna put on my big girl panties and get through this. I'm giving thanks for all the wonderful support that I've had. You, my blogging friends, have helped me keep a good outlook.

Fall has finally arrived and I'm ready. We had a long hot sultry summer but at least it wasn't dry. Last night was our first cool night - 56 degrees. I'm not a fan of really cold weather but these cool breezes are wonderful.

I can't think of anything to write. Harry is cooking dinner on the grill and, as usual, I'm just being a lady of leisure. Actually, I'm a spoiled, worthless, old fart. On that note I'm signing off. Have a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spoiled Rotten

As of today I'm officially half way through radiation. It seems like it took a long time to get this far but here I am. Not much the less for wear. There are bouts of nausea, a bit of pain, lots of fatigue, and burns - nothing that I can't manage. I do, however, avoid seeing myself in the mirror. If I actually see the burns I feel worse. Today was a "see the doctor" day. Talking to him and feeling comfortable with his reassurances made me feel better not only about the present but also about my probable outcome.

Rain came to our corner of the world and seems to feel right at home here. There's no sign of it moving along. We haven't had flooding but many have. Northwest Alabama has been hit fairly hard but not nearly so hard as Atlanta. Last summer, after experiencing a few years of drought, I threatened to have all the shrubs replaced with sand and cactus. That would have been a mistake. (I never really intended to replace the shrubs with cactus. It just made a good example of how bad the drought was at the time.)

I didn't have a playmate visit today. Jesse was running a fever this morning and everyone (not me) decided he shouldn't play with Nana today. I talked to his dad a little bit ago and Jesse seems OK now. I always look forward to play time and really miss having the grandsons visit.

Harry continues to pamper me. I'm spoiled rotten. Bless his heart, I know he gets tired of this game but he doesn't complain. Between taking care of me, the tanks, and mowing the yard his days are packed full. The cleaning service helps a lot, though. Did I mention that I'm spoiled? Yep, I surely am.

Well, that about sums up my day. So much excitement that I can hardly stand it. NOT!!! Hope all is well in your world. Take care and be happy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Sound of Silence

It's raining, it's pouring, kitty cat is snoring. She's sleeping beside me. I don't see how she can breathe at all with her nose buried in her fur.

Harry is in Memphis. He left last evening for a coral reef event and will be home late today. I just didn't feel up to the trip. I have actually enjoyed the sound of silence but it's beginning to become a bit too loud. Silence CAN become loud - at least in my world. Joe will be here in a while and then silence will slip away and things will be normal again.

I wish that I had something to write about but I really don't. My days are all the same. . . up and to radiation (5 days a week), home and a light lunch, nap, eat dinner, watch a bit of TV with Harry, back to bed. That's it. In between the events of my day I read a bit, watch the fish play in our reefs, and read a few blogs. Let's all stand and cheer for the excitement at the Hooper household. Sunday Gatherings are my highlight! They are pretty much the same except I do less cooking.

As for me and my journey along the big C road, I'm doing fine. Keeping a good outlook and looking forward to getting through this and on to better days. I do have burns (from the radiation) that are pretty uncomfortable and certainly yucky. Have you ever heard of "Lindi" gel products? They are absolutely an answer to the worst of the discomfort from radiation burns. Needless to say, I'm learning a lot on this adventure.

It's Saturday, folks. Find something fun to do and enjoy, enjoy!! My best to one and all.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Three Day Weekend

Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy weekend - a little late but . . . .

Harry and I are having a quiet weekend at home watching racing and enjoying the kids visits. We stay pretty close to home these days.

Tomorrow Harry will grill pork and chicken for our gathering day and other dishes will happen - my DIL, Mary, is bringing some sides, etc. I'll pickup ice cream and other goodies to make ice cream sundaes for the boys and anyone else who wants one.

I had a wonderful dinner this evening. Harry made stuffed mushrooms as an appetiser and Lobster and Asparagus Coquilles as a main dish. It was a delicious meal and now we're getting ready to watch the NASCAR race. I'm one happy old woman.

No more radiation until Tuesday and plenty of time to chill and/or snooze. I'm lovin' it!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lost: One Summer

September 2, 2009. Do you know where your summer went? I completely lost mine.

I'm fighting taking a long nap this afternoon in hopes that the lack of a long nap will help me sleep tonight. Sleep is a most fickle friend. Enough of that subject. Boring!

I have to write about something so I guess I'll tell you about today's appointment for radiation. The facility where I go is very prudent in scheduling appointments. The aim is that no one has to wait more than five minutes. Until today I've never waited a full five minutes before the tech comes to take me back. Today when I got there the waiting room was packed! (A machine at another location was 'down' and some of those patients were sent over.) I changed and settled in for the wait. There were two distinct groups of women talking among themselves and (it seemed to me that) each group was trying to talk louder than the other. Individuals in each group were trying to tell a bigger cancer horror tale than the others. In addition two women were complaining loudly that they were going to be late getting back to work and would be in trouble. (I could certainly understand that.) My tech called me back and I told him to take the two women who were worried about their jobs ahead of me and I'd wait as a fill-in since I have no schedule to keep. The caveat was that I be allowed to sit in the little office while waiting. Those women seemed to enjoy misery and terrible things that happened to others. Did I mention that there was one lone man sitting there? He was looking pretty stressed. I'm sure he'd heard about enough of the graphic stories the women were telling. As I left the room I heard him say really loud: "You women think you have problems - what if you were having radiation on your n*ts!" You could have heard a pin drop. All conversation ended.

Ain't life a hoot?

A small town just down the road from Huntsville had its first fatality from Swine Flu yesterday. He was a boy (11 years old). He collapsed in the doctor's office and died. Apparently he had seen the doctor just a few days before and had been improving. Yesterday morning he was worse and returned the doctor. Please be aware that this flu can be dangerous and get medical care at the first sign of flu-like symptoms.

I'm a whole bag full of gloomy stuff. I didn't mean for this post to sound that way. I actually thought the situation at radiation was a hoot! Well, it was really funny after I had treatment and was home. A great situation comedy could be written about that scene.

Treatment is going well. Five down and thirty to go.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bright and Peaceful

It's a sunny morning; it's an open the windows morning; it's a fall sky morning; it's a Gathering Day morning. In a word - it's a perfect morning. I've read the paper, listened to Harry's chosen TV program while I balanced my checkbook for this month, and had a conversation with kitty. Let the games begin!!

As you can surmise by reading the above paragraph, I'm in a good mood and ready for this day.

I've been processed and ready for radiation to begin on Wednesday. I didn't realize how much prep is necessary for this stage of treatment. I've been marked, taped, had a small tattoo, and a mold made to place me in the same position for each and every treatment. I've been invited to accept a free makeover to give my morale a boost. Not that my morale needs a boost. Harry and I have no hesitation or apprehension about the next seven weeks. It's on with the show. I have a long reading list and intend to spend my down time reading - trips to the downtown library will be my big adventure.

I wish that I had something exciting to write about but I don't. Give us a bit of time we'll try to fix that issue. I haven't forgotten that I'm holding Harry's IOU for a trip. . . . . now let me think . . . . .hmmmmmmmm . . . . . I'll get back to you on that one.

Later, friends. Meantime enjoy every minute. Find many occasions to laugh if only just for the joy of laughing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Check List and Other Stuff

Surgery One - Complete
Surgery Two - Complete
Healing - Complete
Mapping Radiation - Scheduled for 21 August
Radiation - Begins 26 August - Duration 7 Weeks.

So far, so good. I get tired but some of that is caused by cabin fever. Nothing permanent wrong with my health.

OK, that's out of the way. Now on to better subjects.

Both the boys LOVE school. Jesse's word is "Awesome" - James' is "Wonderful" Jessie is fond of recess and James loves eating in the lunch room. All is well on that front.

Jesse came to play after school yesterday and we had a good time. Papa played hide and seek with him. He and I watched a neat movie staring Dustin Hoffman. It was about an old man who ran a magic toy store. I asked about homework but Jesse said that he was waiting for James to get home from music so they could study at the same time. When James came in (after music) he was really upbeat. He played a "hard song" solo and didn't make a mistake. They left with hugs and kisses for Nana and Papa and with happy chatter. They were looking forward to a big dinner of red fish (that's what they call salmon).

One of my long time friends is having her daughter's wedding this Saturday evening. There will be 300+ guests. I told her that we'd try to be there but I think we'll stay home and wait for the video. I don't think I feel up to shaking hands, smiling, and spreading sunshine on a bunch of strangers who don't give a flip about an old worn out woman. I know everyone will be nice and I'd enjoy the event under different circumstances. Getting to be an old hermit, aren't I?

Being an old hermit means that I have very little of interest to share with you so I think that I'll just call it a night and go hug my pillow. (Harry's already asleep or I would hug him.)

Good Night and God Bless

Friday, August 7, 2009

Title? What Title?

I did it - I have a 12 week agreement with a well established cleaning service. This service has been a long-time agency in this area and has an exceptional track record. In some ways it makes me feel guilty to pay someone to clean my house and even a bit ashamed that there's so much dust to clean. Not guilty and ashamed enough to keep me from looking forward to having a clean house once again. I believe at the end of 12 weeks I should be able to manage the house.

We have a new family living across the street. The couple who owned the house moved to a smaller place when their 4 children left home. The house was on the market for several months. I think we will really enjoy having the young family in the neighborhood. They have three children (7, 5, & 3) - two girls and a little boy. Potential playmates.

James was my playmate this afternoon. I wouldn't give up my time with the boys for anything. It won't be long before they are busy with their friends and individual interests. I know they'll always love me but I'll cease to be a viable playmate. Does it make me sad? Yes, a little.

Kitty is "licking-up" for bedtime, Harry is finishing up some computer work and will go beddie-bye before long. Guess it's time for this old gal to wind down the day. Night-night to everyone.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Facing Reality and Laughing

I may as well admit it - don't want to - gonna do it anyway. I'm admitting that I just can't manage to do the things necessary to keep this house in half-way presentable order. Harry is already doing most of the cooking, dishes, and laundry. He's also doing the daily cleaning and dressing my as yet unhealed surgical site. By the time evening is here he is worn out. It isn't fair to put the total load of this house, the yard, the reefs, and his business on his plate. Where is this going? Well, I've finally faced the fact that I need to have a cleaning service take care of the house for the short term at least. I have an 11 a.m. appointment with the first candidate for the job tomorrow morning. Let's hope she doesn't run screaming to her car. It would be embarrassing if the neighbors saw that.

Many years ago the occasion arose that I needed to learn to use a stop watch in order to time line workers. I practiced by timing every chore that I did around the house. It's an experience that I didn't enjoy and had forgotten about until I found my practice sheets among some old school papers. In 1985 I could strip a bed, put on clean sheets and pillowcases, and totally dress the bed in 8 minutes 15 seconds. Today, just for comparison, I timed myself putting on a bottom sheet, top sheet, and 3 pillow cases. Just under 14 minutes. A cleaning service seems to be my solution - at least for the next two or three months. As a side note: Those times, recorded so long ago, are in the trash. No reason to beat myself up. I'm not a young chick anymore.

I hope I don't sound depressed because I'm certainly not. As a matter of fact, I'm feeling better every day. I had Jesse with me yesterday afternoon and James will be here tomorrow. I love having playmates. We can giggle and plan the next school year which begins next Monday morning.

The new picture (above) was made yesterday. It's a Yellow Leather soft coral which grows in Fiji. It's my current favorite coral and its home is my reef tank.

That's it for now. Hope everyone is enjoying a peaceful evening.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Today: Clear blue sky, bright sun, lush grass, humidity somewhere around 500; just a typical day during the dog days of summer. On the inside looking out it's a beautiful day and inside with air conditioning is where I prefer to spend these days. From my vantage point the birds and chipmunks are love'n nature's steam bath.

I haven't mentioned our reefs for a while. The new set-ups are fully operational. Harry's are doing great and my smaller reef is coming along. Harry's reefs are high-end coral that grow for really experienced reef keepers. My reef has smaller, easier to grow 'stuff' which is as it should be. I have to admit that I do little to care for my tank because all the new tanks are connected to the same water/filtration system which Harry maintains. I'll try to make new pictures and post them later in the week.

Nothing new and exciting in our world. Harry and I have settled into a daily routine that's quiet and slow - for the most part. I have cabin fever - better days are ahead, though, and we're looking forward to making them more interesting. To that end, I believe it's time for me to move away from this keyboard and get into the day's routine.

I hope everyone is having a good day. Do one fun thing or have a big belly laugh today. And when you do, think of me. My best to everyone.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's Been A While . .

. . since I posted. I imagine that everyone has forgotten me. It's only natural. I'm still here, though, and promising myself that I will post more often.

I'm still waiting for the second surgery to heal completely. When that happens I'll begin radiation. Healing has been slow and I'm learning to be patient. Maybe that's the lesson I was meant to learn from all this. For the most part, I intend to take the cancer issue out of my blog. It doesn't make for happy writing or reading. I'll be just fine during treatment and sometime around the end of October I'm sure I'll be able to post an all clear message.

Sunday gatherings are still on-going. Last weekend my doctor asked me to come in to see him on Sunday and I was afraid we'd not have a gathering. As you might guess, the kids sacrificed their Saturday afternoon to move gathering day to Saturday. Below is a video of the kind of action we have here on gathering day. On this particular day, Keith drove his off-road jeep so the boys could ride to Nana's in style. After watching the race that afternoon here's what happened:

video

Of course the kids came from third place to win the race!

Speaking of James and Jesse. How do you think two fine young men would solve a neighbor's problem with a loud tree frog? Bottom line: Everyone involved is lucky the boys had an environment kit that was tree frog friendly. They even caught a cricket for the frog's dinner. They brought it to show Nana and Papa what a tree frog looks like and explain that the little pads on his feet were there to let him stick to whatever he lands on. Nana is extremely thankful that there was no occasion to witness the jumping and sticking.That's all for now. If anyone stops by - thanks for remembering me and my crazy blog.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Out of the Fryin' Pan

So far as my prognosis related to the cancer - it couldn't be better. Just have to do the seven weeks of radiation. The medical oncologist is not recommending chemo based on my particular situation. He sees a five year regimen of drug therapy following the radiation. His statistics based on a 10 year survival rate and my personal statistics gives me really good odds. All went well with the appointment.

However: Out of the fryin' and and into the fire. Seems to be my story. Late in the day after my appointment (above) I began having hard pain - the first during this whole situation. Shortly after I felt that the top I was wearing was wet and sticky. Sparing the details, enough fluid built up to open part of the incision from the second surgery and pour out. Pour is the key word here. Harry was able to contact the surgeon's office and we were met there about 20 minutes later. They extracted even more fluid, wicked the site, patched me up, and prescribed more antibiotics. Harry opted to be instructed on how to change the dressings and wick over the weekend rather than have home health care come to our house. I'll be back in the surgeon's office on Monday morning to evaluate progress.

This wonderful man who I'm privileged to share my life with has gone above and beyond to take care of me. He makes sure I have home cooked meals, keeps the house going, never lets me go very long without checking to be sure I'm OK and don't need anything. Now, this man who almost faints at the sight of blood, has managed to take care of a really nasty situation with confidence. He is gentle yet firm about what needs to be done. Along with my children (my daughters-in-law and son-in-law included) Harry is truly a gift of God. I can only hope and pray that I am worthy.

This is just a bump in the road to full closure of this chapter in my life. Maybe God's purpose was to show me the meaning of honest deep love. I'm humbled.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update

It is much cooler here today along with a bit of rain. We really needed both the temperature break and the rain. The view from my window (in front of my computer) is lush and green. No sunshine but still almost perfect.

Jesse came to play with me yesterday and James will be here tomorrow. It's the highlight of my week to have the boys here. Since I've been a bit under the weather I'm home most of the time. The boys keep me up to date their progress in both swimming and music. We watch Netflix On Demand movies and play Noggin games. I've been reintroduced to Scooby-Do, Batman, Looney Tunes, Bugs Bunny, and Transformers (kids versions) just to name a few.

Harry is a busy, busy fellow these days. He waits on me hand and foot. I can't tell you how much it means to me that he and the children are so supportive. I've also been contacted by long time friends that I haven't heard from in years. Blessings are delivered in unexpected ways. I'm thankful for everything and everyone.

My appointment with my surgeon went well yesterday. The new margins are clear. Next step is a visit to my medical oncologist (tomorrow) and another to the radiation oncologist (23 July). One thing is for sure and certain - I've been scrutinized, examined, and probed. I have to say that I'm pleased with my medical team - I just never knew it include so many medical experts.

Well, folks, I believe it's time to watch the reefs for awhile. They are always moving and I can spend time just enjoying the coming and going of the reef critters.

My best to all along with thanks for your concern and prayers.
Mary

Friday, July 3, 2009

Out For Dinner

How is your holiday week playing out? Ours will be quiet which - given the circumstances - is good. Sunday will be gathering day here at our house and we have no real plans until then. Of course, this is a NASCAR at Daytona weekend. Races are Friday night and Saturday night. Sunday can be devoted to our family antics.

Last evening was "Nana's Night Out." (It just wore me out but was worth the effort and all I have to do here at home is rest and wait.) We - includes all local kids - went to a casual steak house for a fun dinner. It was just what I needed to clear my mind. We ate peanuts, appetizers, salads, steaks - well most of us ate steaks. James had a big dilemma - steak or mac 'n cheese. The steak lost out but he did clean up his Caesar salad. James and Jesse are model citizens when we eat out - credit to parents for helping the boys learn restaurant manners. Harry took his camera and we made lots of pictures. I didn't realize how bad I look until I saw them.

I'm going to try to upload a video of a few of the pics from last evening. If they don't load, I'll try again sometime.


video

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another Long Day

It is another hot sultry day here in NE Alabama. The sun is hot, the grass is turning brown, the fig tree is shedding its fruit, and the fire (forest) alert is now red. I know most folks who read this blog hate the snow and ice of winter but, believe me, the sweltering heat is no pleasure either. OK, the weather and my rant about how uncomfortable it is done. Now on to other items.

Today is our 9th anniversary. We met on Oct 23, 1998 and were married on 1 July 2000. Harry said it was a good time for a wedding because he’d always be able to remember our anniversary. We both forgot until this morning when the reminder came up on my computer calendar. We are just sliding through the day with smiles for each other and lots of “I love you’s.” We’re old farts – what can I say.

Today was also the day I went for a full discussion with my surgeon regarding my lab reports. The lymph nodes are clear. However there is a problem with the tissue margin that removed the tumor. So – hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to surgery I go. Dang it this really messes up my plans. This surgery will be to remove a wider margin and also take a shallow part of muscle. We knew this cancer was deep and near the chest wall so no surprises there.

I have to admit that I’m a bit depressed today. By tomorrow I’ll have my attitude adjustment in place and be ready to move on. I’m still a very blessed and lucky old gal. I’ll post again soon. If it’s a couple of days don’t think that I’ve gone into a major slump. That just ain’t me.

I truly appreciate everyone’s concern and prayers.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Half of Report

Lab report on lymph nodes is negative. The doctor hasn't gotten the report on margins of removed tissue as of 4:45 today. In any case, having the negative report on lymph nodes is wonderful news. I see the surgeon tomorrow morning. I'm sure there'll be a final report then.

I'm really, really tired this evening. Thanks for caring. Will try to post a better blog tomorrow.

Hugs to everyone along with loving thoughts

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday and No Lab Report

Monday is almost history and my final lab work wasn't ready today. It should be in the doctor's office tomorrow. I really feel like it will be clear. Until it's in black and white on an official lab report I'll still be waiting.

I can't believe how good I feel today. I'm sore and don't have a truck load of energy but I don't feel drained either. There was a breeze here this morning and I sat outside in my favorite lawn chair and just enjoyed the fresh air.

Harry worked all day long getting the back yard back into shape. He trimmed bushes, shrubs, pulled weeds, and all the other stuff that goes into a major cleanup. Our back yard hasn't had much attention this summer. I knew he was just worn out and I didn't feel like I had enough energy to cook so I took him out to our favorite Mexican restaurant. It's close to the house and we went before the evening crowd. Now we're both really tired - and full, too. I didn't eat any really spicy food so I think I'll be OK.

We didn't cook yesterday, either. The kids did come by and spend some time and it felt good to get those little hugs and kisses - and the big ones, too, for that matter. No matter what I'm still the luckiest old gal in the whole wide world.

Rest time. My best to everyone.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Million Thanks to My Family and Friends

Hello my family and friends;

Have I ever told all of you how much you mean to me and my recovery? Well let me tell you now. I'm positive that your prayers and well wishes were heard and helped to assure a good report for me. As Harry said the cancer was removed via a lumpectomy and the mass in the right breast (benign) was also removed. The sentinel lymph node at my left arm was also removed and appeared clear. We will have the final report on the node and the margin on the tissue containing the cancer either late Monday or early Tuesday.

I'm tired but relatively pain free. Meds take care of that. I am beginning to get little messages from the "Kingdom of the Lymph" I understand that may be with me for a while. Aggravating but small stuff when compared to what might have been.

Harry is a good nurse. I think I'll keep him - after all I do love him.

It's back to bed for me. Again thank you all a million times over for your concern, prayers, and support.

Mary Ruth

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Progress Report on Mary Ruth

Folks;
Guess what, Good News.
Her surgery today lasted about 1:45. The doctor told me that everything went normally and just as he expected. He removed the area that was cancerous and also the lump from the other breast. He took sample tissue from the lymph (sp) node and it appeared to be normal from a visual reference. All this will undergo lab analysis and we will know the results on Monday.
She is at home now. When we got here she wanted water. She had water and a pimento cheese sandwich. She took her prescribed pain medication as a precaution, took a potty break, changed to her night clothes, and went to bed. She is resting somewhat comfortably.
She wanted me to especially thank all of you folks for the prayers, thoughts, and good wishes that you have sent her way. Stay tuned for updates from the ole gal herself!
Thanx

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Day Before Tomorrow

At last it's the day before tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day I finally go to surgery. It seems - to me at least - that it has been a long time getting here. In truth my medical team has moved very fast. For that I'm thankful.

I'm tired beyond belief but I'm not in pain and I'm not depressed. I see no reason to 'awfulize' (a term I picked up from someone I used to work with) this situation. It will pass.

I asked Harry to please post for me following surgery. He decided he'd like to make his blog a comment to my post because he already knows how to do that. So, for the folks that follow my blog: You should see a comment to this post sometime tomorrow evening.

I probably won't post again until after my adventure into surgery but I will be back. I just bet that I'll have stories to tell!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Time Moves Slowly When I'm Waiting

Sunday night and the world is sleeping - all except me, that is. Tomorrow I go to the hospital lab to have my pre-surgery lab work completed. Will the lab work, testing, and waiting never end? Of course it will but waiting is never easy for me. I have no energy so I just sit and look at what I need to be doing. I want to get this show on the road and get it behind me.

Sunday gathering happened today and both out of town kids called to wish Harry a happy Father's Day and to ask how I'm doing. It was really good to hear from them and know they are doing well. The little fellows were really sweet to Papa (Harry) and brought him golf tees and a six pack of "adult beverage" (beer). He also has a gift card for his favorite steak house. All in all it was a good day. Oh I forgot to say that Harry cooked a wonderful meal today. James said that Papa's baked chicken breast was the best ever! Jesse's plate spoke for him.

Soul tagged me for this MEME. Here it is:

What makes me happy are these twelve things:
1) Time spent playing and talking with my grandchildren
2) Knowing that I have a loving husband who I love dearly
3) A clean house would make me happy if I had one
4) The quiet time when I can breathe deep and center myself
5) The love and support I feel from my family and friends
6) The smell of fresh air after a rain
7) The open road that leads to new and interesting places
8) Listening to a whippoorwill (Do you know what that is?)
9) Reading a good book
10) Sunsets on the beach
11) Mountain Streams
12) You, my blogging friends, make me very happy

I'm not going to tag anyone but I'd be interested in hearing what makes you happy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Latest Scoop

For the latest scoop on my latest adventure read on - - -

I've been scanned, x-rayed, needled, taped, interviewed (at least 50 times), filled out reams of forms - even told the truth on most of them - and met lots of new folks. I have a team. They are all there to take care of me and I intend to keep them busy. So has been my world for the past week. On Monday I have pre-surgery lab work. If the latest (today's) MRI is considered "OK" - by whom I don't know - surgery will be on Thursday, June 25.

Best case is that I'll have four weeks to heal followed by 35 radiation treatments over a 7 week period. No Chemo involved. If there are "bad cells" in nodes, I'll have chemo followed by radiation. I am just rejecting the idea that there will be "bad cells" and am counting about 12 weeks until this is all a memory. I'm sure some of the memories will be bad but a lot will be good. I'll hold the good memories and release the bad. Meantime, I'm tired. I'm headed for the couch and a nap while Harry cooks.

My best to one and all
Mary

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

News From My House

I’m facing one of the things none of us ever want to face. But I hasten to say that I’m choosing to face it straight on and in a positive manner. This is a post that I know Harry probably thinks I should not publish but I feel strongly that I should. I have been given the opportunity to face a challenge and hopefully overcome all the obstacles. Perhaps someone will read this and remember that they should call today and schedule any and all medical tests and/or exams that they have been avoiding or delaying for what ever reason.

I didn’t avoid or delay my mammograms. A routine, scheduled appointment found that I have a small infiltrating carcinoma in one breast and a benign papillary lesion in the other. I’m lucky that the problems were found early. The carcinoma (cancer) is small and we hope well contained. At this point my surgeon hopes to remove the mass and check lymph nodes to be sure they are clear. The final decision will be made when the margins of the mass are examined as well as the lymph node. I don’t look forward the necessary follow-up treatments but I’ll do whatever is necessary.

I have a PET scan scheduled for later this week and following that final decisions will be made and time tables set. I’m ready to get on with this process, get it over with, and move on to something more pleasant. After all, folks, I'm holding Harry's IOU for a trip.

I’m in good spirits as is the rest of the family. My life isn’t on hold. As a matter of fact I was told that the test for cancer was a definite positive on Friday. We had James and Jesse for a sleepover that night. It was a big night of movies, snacks, giggles, tickles, story telling, and after midnight a good night’s sleep. Jesse explained that he wanted to stay up all night and that midnight is the end of the night because after that it’s a.m. and that means morning. Children’s logic continues to amaze me.

Please include me in your prayers, if you are inclined to pray. If not, think good thoughts for me. I truly feel that the outcome of all this will be positive. I intend to do all I can to make it so.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Just a Small Bump in the Highway of Life

Gee, time does fly doesn't it? Gathering Days are still the highlight of my week; the days I have individual play time with the grandsons are wonderful fun; our reefs are past all the real work and are in cruising mode; the landscaper finally completed the borders along the sides and front of our house; all our children are doing well and enjoying their lives - what more can anyone ask for. Harry and I are two lucky old farts.

We truly are living a blessed life. But even among the blessings there are issues that have to be dealt with. Those things promise to take most of my time and energy for the next two or three weeks. Yes, I'm in the process of having a health problem evaluated and plans made to deal with it. One of my symptoms is being completely washed-out tired. Some days it's just too much effort to move from room to room. Other days I feel almost normal. I have an excellent medical team. I'm in good spirits and not depressed.

In order to use the little energy that I have to my best advantage I'm taking a break from this blog. I'll continue to read and probably comment from time to time. Also, when I have a firm diagnosis I will post here. I'll remember each of my blog friends and picture you having a wonderful summer with friends and family. Hey, take dream vacations and post about them so I can enjoy with you.

My best to everyone
Mary Ruth

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Sun is Back in Sunday

Hello out there! I'm sitting at my desk and looking out the window at a strange light in the sky. Rumor has it that it's something called "SUN" . . . WOW!!! I seem to have a faint memory of the sun, but I can't be sure. :-D

Yesterday we drove to a little town in Tennessee (Lawrenceburg) about 75 miles from our house. We visited another reef enthusiast along with other members of the North Alabama Reef Club (NARC). It was a fun day but both Harry and I were pooped by the time we got back home. I was surprised that there wasn't more traffic since it is a holiday weekend.

Isn't it shocking at just how "out of line" a kitchen can get if you skip a day of cleaning? Yuck!! Guess what I did this morning. The kitchen is finally ready for cooking - if you don't look too closely, that is. Problem is: I just don't want to cook. I think today is a good day to have order in pizza, hot wings, and salad. I have cheesecake to provide any extra calories anyone might need. This menu will make the kids happy and make Harry groan. Oh well - that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'll make it up to him tomorrow.

My best to all my blog friends. Thanks for stopping by. Hope the day is a happy one for you. Hugs to everyone - Mary Ruth

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Long Time - No Post . . .

Shame on me. Since we completed getting the new reef up and running things have settled down. I believe I mentioned before that the real work involved in setting up reef tanks is in the beginning. Once everything is in place, the chemistry is good, calcium reactors bubbling, skimmers cleaning the water, and lights on timers are working the rest is all down hill. The work is over. Maintenance of salt water tanks is much less complicated than fresh water.



I've been a bit under the weather for several days, too. I can't explain how tired I am for absolutely no reason. Anemia and a couple of other maladies have been ruled out. My doctor scheduled more tests for next week. Time will tell about all that but for now I'm just saying that I'm lazy - extremely lazy.



Harry played golf today for the first time in months. I went with him and rode in the cart. (Even that made me tired.) It was good to be outside in the sunshine and pleasant breeze.



As you can see - nothing is happening here. I hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to a fun weekend.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reef

This post is to document some of the work and progress in building our new reef. I didn't really edit the slide shows - too many things to do. The first slide show is from the day we evacuated the old 225 gallon tank (the one with the broken braces). Please remember that I know very little about creating slide shows - and a lot of other things, too.

video

Here's a few pics of the new setup. I didn't include pics of the 100 gallon sump/filter, the calcium reactor, or the various lights, and timers. Just too much info and not interesting to anyone anyway.

video

Everything is in place in the new reef. Fish, coral, and critters seem to be content. It takes several days for things to settle in and the water to get crystal clear again. Pictures of the finished project will have to wait until then.

I have to extend my sincere thanks to Brad at Kuboto Farm for supporting me in my selection of new heat/air conditioning systems for the room. Brad, you're a true friend - Harry and I appreciate the time you and Jay took to give us your opinion of the Carrier ductless system. The local Carrier dealer will be here Wednesday morning to install.

Enough time blogging for today. When Jesse is out of school today we are going to buy 'summer shoes'. Have I mentioned that I claim the boys' sue buying - I love it!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Title?? What Title?

I hope everyone had a good Mother's Day - Even you guys. Guys can have a good Mother's Day, too, if they spend it with someone they love.

My kids blessed me with remembrances today. The local children presented me with beautiful roses, gift certificate to my favorite steak house, special coffees, beautiful cards, and extra special hugs and kisses. Buddy, who is now in Wisconsin, called and told me he loves me. What more could an old woman wish for? The little ones, James and Jesse, each made the most artistic and sweet cards I've ever gotten. I only wish my scanner was working as it should so I could share them with you.

My computer must be jealous of my good day because it is behaving badly. I'm using the laptop to post. I really don't like to type on this keyboard. I surely hope everything gets back to a degree of normalcy (correct usage??) really soon.

I hope to soon be able to spend a good bit of time catching up with everyone and sharing some of my adventures. The last few weeks have been interesting to say the least.

Take care and have a great week. My best to everyone.......

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Once Upon a Time There Was a Rose . .

. . . And the rose continues to offer hope.


Today was devoted to getting an estimate for an additional heat/air system for the sunroom and then considering the pros and cons. So many decisions - so much work still undone - so little time - so much to be thankful for so I won't complain.

Because I do so want to show my blog friends what we've been working towards I'm posting an absolutely bad picture. I don't know how to set the exposure, etc, on Harry's fancy camera and mine bit the dust - so to speak.

This is two sides of the new setup. Each side is 8 feet. On the far side - near the windows - is another 4 ft 'leg'. The setup forms a "U" shape with the mechanics out of sight in the center. Aquascaping isn't complete yet. We're waiting for the livestock (coral, fish, and inverts) to settle down and become content with their new atmosphere.
Some guys are scheduled to be here on Saturday morning to remove the old tank, hood and stand. What a relief. When that's done I can finally begin to make headway. Maybe by the 4th of July things will be back in order and normal days will return to our little corner of the world.

I hope each of you is well and looking forward to a happy weekend in a couple of days. My best to my blog friends.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Now the Real Work Begins

Busy day here in the Rocket City (Huntsville's nick-name). 225 gallons of water, aprox 200 lbs of live rock, many huge live corals, still many more small live corals, at least 6 big serpent star fish, a zillion snails, a big load of substrate sand, and fish - I don't remember how many. Everything is out of the crippled tank. Everything except the coral is in the new 480 gallon set-up. Most of the coral is in holding tanks while the filters clear the sediment from the water. Tomorrow the rest of the live rock and the coral will move to their new home. What an ordeal this has been!

Swine Flu has come to town. Schools in both city and county are closed tomorrow. We've been so busy with our noses to the grind stone that we didn't know the Flu was closer than Mexico. Says a lot about us doesn't it?

Be safe and try to avoid this outbreak.

P.S. Tee, We move the water with syphon hose and tubs. Water is syphoned into tubs to provide holding tanks for the livestock. When substrate and live rock is transferred we wait for the filtration system to clear the water and then move the livestock (coral, fish, snails, crabs, and various other critters) to the new system. Then the holding water (salt water) is a good tool to prevent greenery from growing in places where it shouldn't.

Brad, Nope nothing can cover the old tank and cabinet. It's 6 feet long, 32 inches from the wall to front, and almost 6 feet tall. It's not pretty. It couldn't even be classified as shabby chic.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hello to Everyone

I haven't written in a while but trust me I haven't been on vacation! I've been overwhelmed with getting the new tanks ready to receive our live corals. Believe me, it is no simple operation. True, Harry does all the work. That leaves all the worrying to me and I cover all the bases. Tomorrow is "cut-over " day. We'll finally be able to move the coral from the damaged tank into their home.

Unfortunately, the work doesn't end there. There's still the damaged 225 gal tank, stand, and hood to have removed from the house. Then the painting, redecorating, and cussing (by me) will start. Oh dear me, when will it all end?


Do you remember that I received a cutting of the rose that bloomed in the horrible wreckage from New Orleans' Katrina disaster? The plant has almost covered the trellis that Harry built for it. It is beginning to bloom. Below is the first rose for this year. The flowers produced by this plant are so delicate and sweet - no wonder our maker chose this plant to spread hope in a storm ravaged city.



I hope to catch up reading about the things happening in my blogging friends' lives in the next day or two. Gee Whiz, I hope everyone hasn't forgotten me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

Kitty woke me up at 4 a.m. with her litter box foot in my face. My back is stiff from two days of muscle spasms. My computer is not being user friendly. James and Jesse both have a birthday party to attend this afternoon. Gathering day is shot - I won't have anyone to play with. Harry dropped the coffee pot and it shattered. (He has gone to WalMart to get another.) It's a gray morning and we're expecting rain/storms. I think I'll just hide in my bean bag and sulk.

On the bright side; Mark Martin won his first NASCAR race in 97 starts and Tony came in second. Tony has certainly matured - in a good way - in the past year or so.

That's my world. Tell me about yours.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Followed by Storms

How was Easter at your house? Ours was busy and high energy, to say the least. Menu was glazed ham, baked asparagus, whole kernel corn, and French bread rolls. Salad and veggie munchies goes without saying - that's standard. I made a simple bundt cake topped with a lime glaze. The Easter bunny hid 48 plastic eggs around the yard - each held one small piece of candy. Four children had the time of their lives finding the eggs and comparing contents of their baskets. When all eggs were found the kids sat in a circle on the driveway and ate their loot. We started the bubble machine and they had a contest to see who could "kill" the most bubbles. After the contest the kids made up a skit and acted it out. Jesse was a weather reporter. He reported that a "bubble tornado" was confirmed and everyone needed to take cover. Everyone hurried to our "safe place" and assumed the storm position as taught at school. When the "bubble tornado" was safely over the mountain the kids played on the front lawn while the grownups watched. Running, jumping, playing tag, and leap frog used the last of the sugar energy from the candy they ate. This is probably more info than anyone except family wants to read. Keith was taking pictures and I don't have them yet but they should be interesting.

We had a fierce storm last night starting around 11 p.m. and lasting until 4 a.m. I can't remember when we had a storm like this. We have no damage at our house but there are damaged homes on our street. About two miles away, where Keith and family lives, there was more damage. Their house is OK but their long privacy fence is down and there is a lot of cleanup to be done all around. We're just thankful that there were no deaths.

Work is on-going to ready the new tanks for population with live coral. We should be able to have them in operation by the first of next week but it'll be three or four weeks after that before the chemistry is balanced and the tanks ready to cruise on their own.

It's back to the grind for me. Thanks for stopping by. My best to everyone.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Status of Our World

Finally we have a bright, sunny day. It's cool and we had low thirty temps last night but - at 62 degrees - it's not unpleasant.

The three new reef tanks, cabinets, and hoods are now in place. There is still a lot to do before they are ready for livestock (coral, invertebrates, fish) but at least we have control over when and how tasks are completed. I can hardly wait for everything to be completed so I can, at last, commence getting the rest of the house is a semblance of order.

Our kitty, Zennia, is both interested and cautious about the new "goings-on" around here. It's amusing to watch her explore with caution. We're not sure she is pleased with the whole operation.

As you can tell, I don't have much to blog about. When you are tied to one thing for several days/weeks it's not easy to think of new - much less - interesting things to write. I do visit blogs and occasionally comment. I think of all my blog friends and want them to all be healthy, happy, and ready to enjoy the coming warmer months. Later . . . .

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Note From "Ain't Nothin' Happ'ninville"

Sunshine is gone and storms are approaching. Looks as though we may get hail like Dallas/Ft Worth had a day or two ago. Fun, fun, fun!! Just hope no tornado.

Absolutely no progress is being made towards completion of the reef tank project. The fellow who is building the tanks and cabinets is a true craftsman but he has no idea how to schedule projects or meet deadlines. I can say that the price is right and we appreciate that. Reef tanks are expensive to set up, balance water quality, and populate. Harry is an expert so none of that falls under my job description. Meantime, we're living in what is close to bedlam. Funny how it no longer bothers me. Never did seem to rattle Harry - men, you know.

On another note: I decided to buy a couple of Vera purses, wallets, and a tote. I've been carrying the old leather coach bags, etc., left over from when I was a career gal. They were appropriate then but I'm ready for fun "stuff." I selected two separate patterns: Caffe Latte and Yellow Bird. (Not planning to use them together.) Silly, I know, but darn it all anyway - I'm tired of the heavy leather no matter how nice or practical. I plan to spring the new look on the kids this weekend. They'll think Nana has lost her ever lovin' mind.

I have a chicken pot pie in the oven for dinner. That and a salad will suffice this evening. If storms come and kill the electricity, this family will have a good meal. I really don't think that'll happen - but just in case. This mind set is what happens when you live ten years in the mountains and have to consider blizzards from late fall to mid spring. Old habits die hard.

Time to close and find a comfy place to read and wait for dinner time. If you like our menu this evening, I wish you could join us. Have a safe and happy evening.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hello World! Are You Still There?

It's been six days since I sat down to write on my blog. There has been lots to write about but - well, I don't know why I've been lax.

The show here is ongoing. A bit of progress has been made but we still haven't made a dent in the overall job. Everything I start to do has to wait until something else is done. It's a never ending circle. What a ride!!


My computer is now sitting in front of one of the sunroom windows. I can see the back yard alive with squirrels, birds, a bunny, and - (oh no, weeds!!) - trees almost leafed out. I have a lawn care company scheduled to make the front borders summer ready. It's a big help to have that done for me. I will have to complete the planting (as I planned) to finally have everything in ground.

I've been walking around the house making decisions about which things I'll keep and which will have to find new loving homes. A couple of items have been adopted and I'm so very thankful for that. Every little thing that is eliminated counts towards a successful finish.

In the midst of all the activity, I'm having a flare with my hip, knee, and hand. Uncle Arthur does love old injuries and visits on a regular basis. He's a hateful old coot! Doesn't he realize that I'm too busy to entertain him? I hope he leaves before I have to throw steroids at him.

As you can tell, I'm more than a bit out of sync. I still remember and appreciate all my blogging friends and the potential for new friends, as well. Don't forget me and visit again when you have time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Moonlight Through Fog

A few mornings ago we had a heavy morning fog. Here are a couple of pictures of moonlight through that fog. This is the moon peeping through the limbs of our big tulip tree.

Moonlight over the side fence. The big tree in this pic is in our neighbor's yard.








Note From the Old Folks

I've been awake and keeping company with the coffee pot since 3:15. It's almost time to make another pot. Harry came out of his coma around 6:30 and is now out for his morning walk.

Yesterday we helped Buddy, Sarah and her parents load the moving truck. Well, Harry really worked and I just got in the way. The truck loaded well and they balanced it evenly so it would be easier to drive. The trip will take three days - Sarah's parents are following - they are doing short driving days. It was a sad time when Harry and I had to leave - there were tears all around. We are happy for them because it seems that the opportunities for them are better there but it's sad to see them go. They are going to have some cold winters complete with lots of ice and snow. Wisconsin is a big change!

The changes at our house are now going to have to be shifted to high gear. Time is running out and we have to be ready for the new reef tanks by Monday - well the cabinets are scheduled to be here on Monday. The suppliers will bring the bottom part of the cabinets. set them up and trim them out in place. Then in the next few days bring the tanks and hoods. The company will set the tanks. Harry will mount the lights and he and I will set the hoods. That's just the simple version. The actual version could go on for pages and pages. I'll spare you that.

As a matter of fact, I intend to quit ranting about all the things we are trying to accomplish in this old house. It's boring reading and my mind needs a rest from the daunting tasks. I hope I can think of something else - something happier - to blog about.

Now on with the day. It's Friday! Plan - and do - something fun for the weekend.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Update Regarding Sunday Gathering Day

We survived yet another Friday the 13th. No scars, no battles.

For the past several years I've been basking in the joy of having a big family with lots of laughter and action. Sundays will continue to be gathering day with two of our sons and families. However, changes are in the works. Buddy, Sarah, and Mav won't be here. They are moving to Wisconsin to be close to Sarah's parents. She is homesick so they are making this move work for them. Wisconsin is a bit far for routine Sunday trips. Judy, Rick, and Maddie have bought a home in Phoenix. Phoenix is a bit far for routine Sunday trips. We've enjoyed the past few years but we know that all the children have to live their own lives. All we can do is wish them well and love them.

Keith and Joe if the two of you decide to pick up home and family and move away Harry and I are going to really feel like no one loves us. Nothing like a guilt trip - nothing like a mother to apply that guilt trip.

Bottom line to all this - besides feeling sad - is that we no longer need as much room for our Sunday antics. I'm going to re-arrange the house so that I'm not looking at empty space with no one to fill it. This means that, in addition to preparing for the new reef tanks, there will be lots of moving and re-purposing of space going on in this house. It will keep me busy.

Life as we know it can change in a heartbeat. Think about that and never miss the chance to tell your family and friends that you love them - if you do. With that I send love and friendship to my blogging friends and family.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rain - Drizzle - Cold

Rain, drizzle, cold . . . . what happened? My cherry tree is starting to bloom. Official first day of spring is a week away. One day in August when it's hot and humid I'll be wishing for this day. Never satisfied.

I'm developing a realy sore throat, headache, and chills. I really feel crapy so I think I'm just going to find a place to curl up and wait this bug out. Other than this, our world is stable. I hope my blogging friends have pleasant weekends. Stay safe.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Play Day - A Date With Mav

Guess who came to visit today. Guess who is growing up too fast. Guess who stopped doing everything to play. Guess who has really weird facial expressions when making sounds like a chirping bird. Guess who is letting color grow off gray hair. Guess who looks like a manatee that's been hit by a boat more than one time. Right! Mav came to play with Nana and Papa while mommy went shopping.
Our whole house looks like this - boxes everywhere. Almost nothing where it should be - total confusion. In a month or two a bit of order may return - or not. The new reef tanks are due for delivery March 21. Has anyone seen my turkey baster? How about the kitchen shears?

I'm outta here. My best to all.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

No Title Comes to Mind

It was a good day. Enjoyed watching NASCAR and visiting with the kids. Jesse missed a couple of music classes while he was sick so his mother (Mary) took him to a tutor this afternoon for clarification of a couple of chords. They came later than everyone else. We are glad the session went well and that Jesse feels much better about his next class (on Friday).

Everyone probably knows about the web site below. I'm passing it on just in case some one might be interested and not have this information. So far as I can tell, it isn't slanted towards any political views - just a statement of allocation to each state by projected project. Don't expect me to comment in any way - I do not do politics!

http://www.stimuluswatch.org/project/by_state

Tomorrow begins a new work week for most of you and for those who, like us, are retired another week of "what do I have to do today?" We have a lot on our plates and must make haste to be ready for the new reef tanks.

Enjoy as much as you can and let the other stuff go. My best to everyone.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Night in Old Folk's Country

Here I am with still not much new to write about. The bathroom is once again functional and in full use. I still have to decide on the window treatment and a couple of small things but the big jobs are complete. I will post pictures but I want to wait until the project is completely complete.

I have to admit that I don't remember exactly what I've written about for the last couple of weeks but if I've written this before - I'm writin' it again. (old folks do tend to repeat themselves) With the closing of the old 225 gallon reef (because of potential complete seam failure) and the replacement reef being built, several things in our house will be rearranged/re-purposed/redecorated. It's a BIG job and will be stressful for a long time but this is the absolute last time I'll ever do this. Another journey in the life of an adventurer has begun.

We're having spring like weather but by mid week the tide will turn and cold weather will drift back. At least that's what the weather dude tells us. I know some of you are really suffering with the snow, ice, and cold. Here, in my neck-o-th-woods, winter is just a minor inconvenience.

Tomorrow is our gathering day. Buddy, Sarah, and Mav are driving to Nashville to visit with family so we won't have a baby to play with. I'm sure James and Jesse will be happy to tell us all about their week and show us a few things they've learned - maybe ask a few questions, too. I love it!! It'll be nice to see the grown up kids as well. I haven't decided on a menu but I'm toying with the idea of having our meal brought in. I'm truly tired but look forward to the diversion and change of pace that the kids bring. I look forward to their visit all week. Wish you could be here to join the fun - always room for one or two more.

I'm going to bed as soon as I publish this post. Don't forget to "Spring Forward." Goodnight.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

S N O W in the South

Pictures worth more than words. It's not much but it's what we have. Better than nothing. Right? Compare the first picture to the header picture.
Here's to a happy Sunday and a better week ahead.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Might As Well Laugh

Hello, everyone. I think I must be living an I Love Lucy story. I'd try to explain it all but that would take the whole night and I'm just about to fall asleep at the wheel - so to speak.

Short version - picture this. Harry is the chosen one to have the pleasure of the first shower in the newer version of our master bath. He turns on the water, undresses, checks the water temp, seems fine, steps in - then it happens - the water is cold. Jump back! Adjust the water, feels fine, steps forward - super hot - jump out of shower and yell. Does that paint a picture? It seems that something went wrong in the installation and the gizmo that mixes the water is not functioning properly. Those are my words - I don't dare print Harry's words or I'd be put in blogland exile. Plumbers will be here Monday to correct the problem. I'm so tired of this mess that I could see the beauty of a galvanized tub on the screen porch. Only old folks will understand that comment.

Sarah and Baby Mav are sick with a flu-like bug. Both have seen the doctor and are on meds. I went out there this afternoon to be with Mav while Sarah got a much needed nap. At least I was out of the house for a while. Mav is a bit fussy but still a little treasure. I enjoyed my time with him.

All is well on the home front other than all the above and the stress of taking care of a badly failed reef tank and all the related clutter.

Now I'm going to bed before I find myself asleep with my face in the keyboard. Good Night to all.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Update on the Construction Site

Monday night and all is well - at least well contained and that's something. Tomorrow we go to a small town a little more than and hour away. We're taking our plans for new custom reef tanks to a prime fabricator. (He built our new frag tank and it's perfect.) Yes, I did say tankS. After hours of ideas, drawing, and discussion we came to agreement on a footprint that is a bit different. Once again, I remind you that I'm always thinking outside the box. Some folks would say that I'm just plain weird.

The big thing is that the new tanks will be in the sun room on tile floors. No more worry about the hardwood floors or the rugs. This is going to dictate that most rooms in the house will be re-arranged. Too much to try to write about. The bathroom is ready for cleanup except that the hinges for the vanity doors are on backorder. Reattaching the doors is a snap and will take less than an hour.

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the type of work I've been doing so don't feel sorry for me. I will try to post every day or two and will certainly use my rest breaks to have another cuppa coffee and keep up with the activities of my blogging friends.

Stay safe and be happy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Here In The Real World

Picture our real world this morning. Speaker above the possible waterline. Kitchen with towels ready for a possible dribble. Furniture out of place. Everywhere you look - disarray. This was my view as I was attempting to make my list for today. You did notice the clamps holding the 225 gallon salt water tank to prevent a BIG catastrophe, didn't you? So I decided to move to another chair to change the view.Folks, it ain't no better from this end of the room. This is Sunday - Family and Friends Day. I can just see it now. The adults will ignore the mess and settle in. They won't want to make a big deal of this confusion and make me feel bad. The kids will see it as an opportunity to enjoy the new possibilities.
My world and welcome to it. Have a happy Sunday. I intend to.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Where I Live

Only time for bullets for an update.

1) I finally have everything under control on my project . . and
2) Harry's frag tank (for baby coral) was delivered and is really pretty . . but
3) It's a lot of work to get a new tank plumbed, wired, balanced, and into service . . and
4) Last night (Thursday night) the 225 gallon tank's two top braces came loose . . but
5) It didn't give way, break, or leak . . and
6) Today we had to get clamps to keep pressure on the sides until a solution can be found.

Besides all this Jesse is pretty sick with whatever over half of his class - and his teacher - have had. Mary's fibromyalga (spelling?) is flaring. I'm having pain related to an old injury and am on meds again. Harry is ready to run in circles and say bad words - no wait, I think he already did that. I need a big Margarita but I'll be happy with a good night's sleep instead.

Nothing's happening to cause long term problems but the present surely is a jumbled mess. How's the world treating you?