Thursday, December 17, 2009

Robots: Scary and Otherwise

For the last month or so my youngest grandson has become infatuated with a few movies which he desires to watch again and again. Most have some connection with robots. Robots this and robots that and big bad robots. He likes Wall-E, Robots, Monsters, Inc. (trust me, there are robots in there), Batteries Not Included, The Incredibles, Star Wars and...that's all I can remember at the moment.

Personally, I think this youngster has good taste. (I like all those myself.) I'm convinced that he could watch them 24/7 and, well, we're just not going there. One day a few weeks ago as he was heading downstairs, I heard him say,

"Honey, where's my super suit? Honey! Where's. My. Super. Suit?" (Name that movie.) After we got to the bottom of the stairs, I asked him, "Did you just say, 'Honey, where's my super suit?" He grinned his enigmatic grin and looked caught.

Every so often after that, for who knows what reason, I'd hear him repeat the lines sometimes with greater emphasis than others and I'd crack up laughing. When I asked his Mom if she'd ever heard him say that, she was a little skeptical but found him and asked him about repeating the movie lines.

He smiled and said them for her with even greater emphasis. She responded: "Honey, where's my super suit??? It's in the wash!"

Now it's a bit of a running joke between him and me. He mostly obliges and gives me his great happy smile and now, more often that not, he repeats the lines quietly.

Two-year-olds are so much fun to have a round. Especially ones with a cute sense of humor.

Oh, before he identified that movie (The Incredibles) by name, he referred to it as the "movie with the scary robots." He assured me that was his favorite part of the movie, the scary robots.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and More Pumpkins (and Gourds)

After we left Round Top, we stopped at a roadside Pumpkin Distributorship. I can't begin to tell you how much fun I had checking out all the great piles of pumpkins in varieties I'd never dreamed of! I had to record as much of it on camera as I could, and my dear Sweetheart obliged me in my obsession to do so. Then came the tough part: I had to select some to buy for and take to our three grandchildren.

It was lots of fun and they seemed quite excited to get them.

I'm Behind . . . Still

Back some weeks ago, my husband and I got off for a weekend alone. We traveled to Round Top, Texas where they, the Round Top citizens, and several other of the tiny communities close by have hosted (for more than 40 years) an Antique Fair each spring and fall. There are several venues in the area that sell antiques during the Fair weeks, many apparently coming from Europe. The weather had been really rainy before we arrived and was threatening, but we managed to get some great photos of some of the original dwellings in Round Top itself before the moisture filled the air, etc.

Wikipedia has some interesting facts about its history including its German immigrant influx, mentioning that the town is 1.0 square miles, and in 2000 the census was of 77 residents.
I believe, according to the Wikipedia account anyway, that this Luthern Church is the oldest active Luthern church in Texas. It is tiny, but beautiful in its simplicity. I just adore old church buildings!

We had time to snap these and a few other pictures before we went looking for lunch. Lunch consisted of two enormous (Texas-sized) bar-be-que brisket sandwiches on extra large slices of homemade bread. We attempted to eat outside under a tent . . . until the heretofore threatening rain clouds dumped copious amounts of water all over the place!

We managed to get back inside without drowning. I don't think either of us managed to eat more than 1/2 a sandwich each. Had we known, we'd have just ordered one and shared. 20/20 vision in hindsight, you know.

We did trek about checking out all kinds of interesting antiques, furniture being the most plentiful, but it was all very interesting, except for having to traipse through the foul mud as many of the venues were housed in tents. A lot of the furniture looked genuinely ancient, some looked as if it had been well used (as in huge work tables) for centuries, others might have been centuries old, but was pristine looking and gorgeous.

What I found distasteful about the event, was all the "other" vendors--etsy, modern stuff--clothing, bangles, etc., etc. Don't know what that has to do with antiques, but hey, maybe in a few hundred years, if it even survives the next 5 or 10, maybe it'll be an antique too.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time Warped

Ever have one of those experiences where time just didn't feel right? You know, like you felt this sense of deja vous where you were sure you were repeating the same experience. Erie. Or the week that dragged on for what seemed like a millennium? I suppose everyone's had the "dreaded Monday" kind of days--always coming too early and the eagerly anticipated Friday's that always seem to come too late.

Parents often have the sense that time has collapsed when they watch their baby (of what seems like two weeks previous having entered this world) marching to their high school or college graduation, or better yet, down the isle toward a waiting groom!!! How can those things happen so quickly? Where does the time go? Why does time play tricks on us?

Like last Friday, October 16. My baby (10 years my junior) sister's 51st birthday. For crying out loud! How did that happen? It was just a couple of months ago that our oldest brother (3+ years my junior) rescued her from cutting her pinky toe on my bicycle's chain guard when she was only 4. (She'd been warned repeatedly to not try to ride my BIG bike.) She was freaking out because she saw how profusely her little toe was hemorrhaging. It was a minor cut and easily bandaged. But that was just not that long ago, ya know?

Nonetheless, last Friday didn't FEEL like a Friday. So much had happened during that week! I wasn't prepared for it to be Friday already--except for the fact that it was "date night" for Grandpa and Grandma. Whew! Just like that, it felt great that it was a Friday night.

But Tuesday, just the day before yesterday, I promise you it seemed like the lost Friday from last week. *Scratching head*

So how does that happen? Any clues?

How does time warp for you? Or, doesn't it? *sigh*

Well, I'll just ponder and pray I don't get caught in the wrong day/night anytime soon. Pray I'm prepared (and lucid enough) to handle whatever day it is or seems to be without freaking out too much!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Family Together Again

These are my girls. It was good to see them all together again. We put on a little Open House for the youngest--the one in the middle--since she got married two states away with only parents in attendance--as posted last December.

My husband was the photographer, so don't have him in this series of photos

This next one shows the youngest and oldest of our offspring, he, standing (the youngest) she, sitting next to me and a family friend sitting next to me on the other side. The husband being honored is somewhere in the photo stack, but I didn't have a good picture of him to post. I'll dig through and try to fix that another day. I think my other son-in-law might have taken some better ones.

We had a small, enjoyable gathering of family and friends. Oh. We did not color coordinate our wardrobes either, so it was kind of funny that all the kids wore black!

How Not to Rent a Moving Truck

Okay. I know I'm slow, but I've been busy with my family--and my grandchildren take a lot of time and care. Just so you know, I enjoy singing "Rock-A-Bye Baby" with my two grandsons just about every night. I think they enjoy it because Grandma rocks them and makes a big deal out of the "when the bough breaks the cradle will fall" cause I engineer them falling. I can't resist the giggles, and the hugs. So, I finally found a couple of hours to "record" the Craaaaaaaaaaaazy Friday experience for anyone interested in hearing/reading about it. It was wild.

On a Monday in August of this year, I called a U-Haul rental place in one town in north-east Louisiana to reserve a truck to move some furniture. I’d talked a few times with the guy who ran the business—on the side—his normal business being a towing service. Previously he said that all I’d have to do was call Monday to reserve a truck for Friday. Okay. So I called, the Monday before we wanted to get the truck, gave all the pertinent data, credit card number—you know the drill, and reserved the truck for a 4:00 PM pick-up that Friday. We had about 160 miles to drive to get to this “dealership”. Everything seemed like a normal business transaction, right? So my husband called a few guys to set up having them arrive at the house we were moving the furniture from. His parents’ house sold earlier that week and we needed to get out what was left.

As my husband and I were driving to our destination on Thursday afternoon, (with our son who came along to provide some of the muscle) and were about one-half to two-thirds of the way there, we got a call on the cell phone.

“Hey, if you want your truck you might want to come this afternoon to get it.”

“Don’t you close at 5 pm?”


“Well, we’re on the road and won’t be able to make it there by 5. Besides, we don’t want to pay extra for another day’s rental, you know?”

“Well, I just wanted you to know that I have a truck for you now and I’m not sure about tomorrow.”

“But we did reserve it for tomorrow at four pm, right.”

“OK. Just thought I should let you know.”

“Thanks, but we’re on the road and can’t get there in time today and we did reserve it for tomorrow.”

So we continued driving and discussing all the things we needed to get ready before 4 pm Friday thinking we might even begin loading that evening. Friday came; my brother-in-law arrived to assist. We packed, covered, taped and brought a lot of the stuff out to the carport in preparation of the “crew” coming on Saturday morning to help us load.

Sometime prior to 2:00 that afternoon I got a feeling I should call the U-Haul rental place (that’s 40 miles away) to make sure “our truck” would be ready for us to pick-up at 4:00 pm per our reservation.

I know with the build up you’ve most likely guessed that the truck is was NOT available. I called and, as you’ve rightly guessed, the truck wasn’t there. Funny, don’t you think, how a reservation is not a guarantee. However, IF I’d reserved it for two days and happened to keep it a little longer than the two days of the rental agreement, do you think it wouldn’t be guaranteed that they’d get all uptight about me being unwilling to guarantee I’d pay for an extra day? Uh huh. This guy who’d seemed so nice on the phone all the other times I’d spoken with him suddenly became less so as he reminded me that he did call me the day before to tell me I might want to pick up the truck he had at that moment on his “lot”. I believe I asked him the point of having me go through all the trouble of “reserving” one in the first place. I don’t know if I even waited for an answer. Time was running out, and we’d guaranteed 4 guys a chunk of change for even just showing up to help us out loading, so I dang sure had to have a truck for them to load. (Two of them were high school kids—grandsons of a guy my husband graduated high school with.)

I called U-Haul central and explained my dilemma to the lady on the other end of the phone, emphasizing my great displeasure and immediate need of accessing a truck. She went to her computer to see where she could find a truck that was available in the “neighborhood” of where we were located. I think she must have assumed we were in the same town as the reserved truck “dealer” was located. I was familiar with the town in which she found an available truck, and received a local phone number to contact that establishment. This location was 50 or 60 miles from where we were.

The lady I spoke to at the NEW U-Haul location was kind of funny on the phone when my husband spoke to her about the condition of the truck, if they had enough moving pads and dollie we need to rent (as we had originally reserved with the “other” location). Both of us received instructions as to how to locater her place of business. This lady urged us to “get down there quick” because it was nearly 2:30 and someone else was going to be there at 4:00 to pick up another of the two (same size) trucks she had on the lot.

So, my husband, son and I jumped in our truck and headed there. Now you need to understand that the little town we were traveling to is a rather old town located not far from the Mississippi river. I have no clue what industry keeps it going, except that it’s not too far from an interstate highway. Farming may be the main industry, don’t know for sure. As we neared the railroad tracks, which we were told we’d have to cross immediately before we arrive at the building she was located in, which was painted yellow, we noticed a fairly nice looking coffee shop or something of that sort, where two police officers had apparently handcuffed a guy and were talking with him. (Don’t you just love that run-on sentence?) We didn’t recognize the omen of things to come that it represented, but proceeded with great faith that we would be able to quickly fill out the paper work, pick up the truck and other equipment and be merrily on our way. (Chuckle, snort. Chuckle, snort.)

At about 3:30 we saw the “yellow” wall of the building, and eventually noticed a U-Haul truck parked on the grass between the railroad tracks and that building. My writer’s radar immediately went into overdrive thinking: look closely at all the details, I can just feel the richness of detail this place can provide for a story. There were a variety of signs posted on “the yellow wall” advertising the various business enterprises the proprietor ran from the other side of the race/sports-car-yellow walled building. Printing services. Passport pictures. Notary. And others.

We parked marveling at the scene before us. The business we were about to enter had a store front of no more than ten feet, and was one of several housed in the same building. There was a counter to our right where a cute 6 or 7 year-old girl was busying herself with shuffling papers, and her brother, I think, was finding as much mischief as he could while “Ya Ya” was busy on the phone. There were a couple of chairs against the wall on our left close to a small desk housing a computer. A few feet further back, on the same wall was another small desk with another computer. The wall was covered in computer printed color pictures and calendars. A third computer was sitting on yet another desk to the right of us, and almost behind the counter.

“Ya Ya” greeted us and inquired as to what she could help us with. We were still under the misguided assumption that we would complete the necessary paperwork, get the keys to the truck and be back on our way in fifteen to twenty minutes. Ya Ya fussed at her grandson and threatened him with the fly swat if he didn’t sit down and stay out of trouble—between her phone conversation and the three of us standing around waiting to get our transaction completed and on our way. She told us that “our” truck would be back in a minute as she’d sent a young man to pick up the moving pads and dollie.

About five minutes later, someone she knew stuck her head in the door and reported, “You know (insert young man’s name—I never quite understood what it was)? Where he’s at?”

“Why? I sent him over to the warehouse to get stuff for these folks.”

“Well, I was over to the Kangaroo” (I finally remembered that there is a gas station of that name close to the interstate) “and he done backed up and tore off a lady’s front bumper. And the cops’s lookin’ for him.”

“He what?!!! What he doin’ at the Kangaroo?”

“You don’t know where he’s at? He fled the scene.”

And it just got better after that. Eventually, the young man did come back. But apparently at some point, the truck that he’d deftly removed the lady’s front bumper with was deposited at the “store” and he took its near twin to the warehouse to pick up our “stuff”.

It was all very confusing—to all parties, it seemed. Fifteen or twenty phone calls—on various phones at the business—transpired while the first lady tried to locate the perpetrator of the driving crime, the truck, whichever truck he was in and/or the truck we were supposedly going to eventually rent, a number of other customers came and went visiting about the pictures or other items they’d come in to collect and pay for, grandchildren being admonished/threatened from time to time, the police coming and going and coming again, the “young man in question” showing up only to reveal that he’d not actually been to the warehouse yet to get the “stuff” he’d originally been sent to get and I could go on for about as long as the hour-and-a-half we were there.

During that time we went out to look at the truck and the “Ya Ya” lady never quite told us—for the longest time—if/when we could get the truck and leave. My husband was about to blow a gasket. He was far less than happy, I should say. My son and I just traded amused chuckles and smiles, between rolling our eyes in astonishment from time to time and shuffling in and out of the building. After the police came by the second time and made the young man drive the truck “back to the scene of the crime” and at least an hour had passed, I decided to contact the Central U-Haul office to see if they could help us out. The whole situation was so out of control, we were getting nowhere fast, and five o’clock was swiftly approaching. Miraculously, I was able to talk with the very woman I’d called at 2:00 something earlier that afternoon. After I explained the circus we were currently involved in and had been attending for the previous hour with nothing settled as to if we’d ever get a truck (after traveling about 60 miles one way to pick the stupid thing up in the first place with another 60 to go before even loading it) she asked to speak to the employee we’d been trying to deal with. Ya Ya was not happy with me for going over her head.

The young man came back into the office after a time and Ya Ya asked him if he’d finally gotten the 24 pads we’d requested and the dollie. “No, you only axted me to get a dozen.”

She turned to me, “Did you want a dozen or two dozen?”

“Two and the utility dollie.”

“We ain’t got no utility dollie.” She turned to him, “So now get back to the warehouse to get those other pads and don’t be going back to the Kangaroo and makin’ any more trouble.”

“No, I already got 2 dozen pads. That’s what I meant.”

For some strange reason, at that moment, I began to question his math abilities. I’m not sure why. Seriously, my two-year-old grandson can accurately count up to 13 items —without assistance, just so you know my point of reference.

By then, my husband (and I) didn’t much care. We wanted to get the truck on the road and get back to load it and be done! We were finally ready, we thought, to get the contract signed, pick up the keys etc. But, as luck would have it, the computer decided to freeze up. She had to reboot and begin again—once of twice—at least. (I think she was about a frazzled as we were by then. She kept mumbling to the kids about their mother should have picked them up hours before. All the while, the little girl was very busy organizing two different half-page forms of some kind. Some were a pale yellow. The others pink. She’d sort them and then connect one yellow with one pink with a staple in the top left corner. She was very quiet and didn’t easily engage in conversation, but she smiled generously.)

In the mean time, the other individual who was also renting a truck of the same size came to get her reserved truck. She was put on hold and eventually said she’d be back before walking out the door. We finished our transaction and finally, finally, headed back the way we’d come with the large U-Haul—my husband at the wheel, my son riding shotgun and me following behind in our personal (actually my husband’s) truck. We stopped at a gas station/Subway shop/convenience store (NOT the Kangaroo) so I could avail myself of the “facilities” which were much needed. While there we all concluded that we might as well fill the enormous gas tank—(I think it was over $50 to fill it up from just under half-full), to fill us up with sandwiches and something to drink while there. And so we did.

The next morning bright and early, my brother-in-law, and all the “hired hands” showed up. We got everything loaded that we’d planned to and finally, hit the trail. About 170 miles later, we stopped at the storage facility, and began unloading with the help of some friends—who actually volunteered to help w/o pay!! And we crammed the 10’ x 20’ space nearly full with our “hual”.

We then drove to the U-Haul facility in that city, neatly folded our pads—only to discover that there were only 22 and not the “dozen, er 2 dozen” reported to have been included. We’d had the truck almost exactly 24 hours—we’d rented it for 48. The establishment was closed when we got there, but we followed the instructions on the drop box and the paperwork and locked everything in the truck and dropped off their copy of the contract and the key and called it good. I immediately called U-Haul’s 800 number to explain what we’d discovered with the pads, and that we were returning the truck at that moment after only having it for 24 hours. The lady I spoke with sounded like everything was okey—dokey.

Much to my surprise and, I might add, chagrin, I noticed an extra debit to my checking account made to U-Haul about a week or so later. You can be sure I got on the 800 number to express my, shall we say dissatisfaction, dismay and need for an explanation AND REFUND of what could only have been a huge error on U-Haul’s part.

The very kind gentleman who answered explained that there were two missing pads and that we’d gone over the miles. I explained the whole sorry saga of why we didn’t personally count the pads after the hour-and-a-half drama we endured before we were able to rent the stupid truck. He was very helpful and said someone would call me within 2 days to clear it all up.

Yes. You guessed it. No. One. Called. After a few more days, I called them back and when through the whole process . . . AGAIN. I was then informed that we’d gone over the miles, were short 2 pads and were a day late in turning the truck back in. My ceiling still probably shows the marks I made when I hit it after hearing that! I very carefully asked how in the world we could be charged for turning in a truck a day late when we only had it for 24 hours AND called their office to let them know about the short number of pads, and all the other hairy details. And I told them I wanted my money back!

Yep. Another—“Someone will call you within 48 hours.”

You know they actually did call my house—after I requested that they call my cell phone, because I was going to be on the road heading to/from the doctor’s that day. My daughter answered the phone, knowing how much I didn’t want to miss that call and asked the lady that called to please call my cell. Made a point of asking her if she would call me on my cell phone. My daughter was told she would. She didn’t.

However, one day, after another phone call and another week or so of waiting, I did find a credit to my checking account from U-Haul. Woo Hoo! It was a really different experience all the way around. Makes you want to run out and rent a U-Haul, huh?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Craaaaaaaaaaaazy Friday

I've got to tell you about last Friday. We were moving lots of furniture from my in-laws, rather husband's and his brother's house--since they closed the deal (sale to a young couple) on Tuesday--to a storage unit closer to where we actually live. I'd called (on several occasions trying to work out all the details for this move) and talked with a guy that's in the business (apparently on the side of his towing business) of renting U-Haul trucks and trailers, etc.. We had to line up some muscle (i.e., strong young lads) to load the truck on the front end of the journey and similar help to un-load on the final end.

I think I could write a book about it all. The experience was "colorful" and like reading a book--for some reason I felt rather detached from the incredibly improbable circumstances involved that may be, more typical that I realize of how some things just are in this life. Anyway, since I do write books--I haven't braved trying to get them published yet, I kept thinking I should take notes so I could get the multitude of details imprinted in my brain. It was wonderful fodder for future writing.

Remind me, if I forget, or lose track of time, to tell you the story. I really didn't get as uptight as I normally would in a situation like it was because I kept thinking how great the "scene" would be in a story. My son and I actually chuckled through a lot of the hour and a half experience (my husband did not)--and believe me--it was an experience.

Somehow I'm just now thinking of Seinfeld, the TV show (did I misspell his name?) and some of the ridiculous sets of circumstances some of those episodes contained. That Friday, I just kept watching and listening--and interacting from time to time--thinking it was rich and needed to be recorded.

Remind me to sit down and write it one day. . . Hopefully my life won't be so crazy and loaded with stuff as it has been for the past couple of months--or longer. Anyway, I need to do it before I forget all the details, right?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Outta Gas

Yep. I've run outta gas. And my brain doesn't work well either. I've come to the conclusion that being 60 and running after 2 year olds for hours on end might be good for aerobic exercise and all the attendant benefits, but seriously, my clock seems to be losing power somewhere along the trail.

Since last post a plethora of things have occurred. I'm not sure I can remember them in detail, or even in sequence, but I'm now totally outta my league. At the age where some folks used to think about getting off the merry-go-round and settling down to retirement is so far removed from my reality . . . Maybe I'm just winded!?!

I love watching my grandson that's 2. He counts his toes, cars, blocks, correctly identifies shapes and colors and is the sweetest of little guys--till he feels thwarted in some form or fashion--and if you're familiar with the movie The Incredibles, you'll know why the picture of Jack-Jack might come to mind. For a pint-sized person, he's got more stamina, grit and energy that the law should allow! He's without fear, and nearly impervious to pain. And no fat, just muscle--except in his fat little cheeks.) But his little face is so precious and sweet, his voice matches, and he gives sweet kisses and hugs . . . it's just hard to reconcile with his "other side" sometimes!

His older siblings have their good and bad sides, too. (Don't we all?) And they are a joy to behold--most of the time. I just need to find some really good ear plugs. They're so exuberant that what they say often explodes from their young throats. Of course, I could tell you that I, myself, was often spoken of as "very shy" in my early years--up to maybe the age of 15 or 16--(backward would probably more closely describe me then) but I remember the multiple, multiple times I was warned by my parents that I was being "too loud"! And to "Quiet down!" I guess those of us who have joy in living and an excitement about our daily discoveries can be a little overwhelming for those not in the same place. At the same time, why does diminishing hearing not kick in when it's most needed for myself and others who are past 60? I still say--as I did when my children were much younger: someone needs to invent a volume control--complete with a parental remote control device; oh, and add a speed control (for those fast little legs they have) as well.

Okay. I'm not going to weigh you down with the myriad other things in our basket at this time. Heaven forbid I should bore you, right?

I'm going to bed. I'm tired, pooped, well . . . yeah. Outta gas. Pfsssssssssssssssst. " 'Nite, ya'll."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Not Hiding

It's late. I've checked on my blog friends to see what they're up to. Didn't comment. But had pleasant visits catching up. I haven't exactly been hiding. Just overwhelmed with everything going on. Husband's still having some health issues. Don't know if they're related to the heart meds and/or implanted computer to keep his ticker ticking. Who knows?

But we have two daughters coming. In the next few days. One is bringing three very young and lively children ages 2, 4, and almost 6. The other is bringing one--expected to arrive on my birthday in January! It will be great to have all 4 children "home" once again for a while.

HOWEVER . . . I've been cleaning house like a mad woman. I've let things build up over sixty-leventy days, weeks, months, something like that--some of the stuff to be dealt with belongs to the four lovely offspring mentioned above. (Two live pretty close by.) So, I'm trying to unload what I can of theirs on them--though it seems they have little space to accommodate--less than we do???

I've seriously been de-junking, which means rediscovering sweet memories, finding (lost) misplaced items of necessity, tons of yarn and fabric just waiting for artistic and utilitarian projects to begin, and I have not time to describe it all.

Suffice it to say, I'm under the gun, and about half-way . . . maybe . . . done with the whole job. I'd really like to paint walls after the super cleaning that needs to take place after de-junking, but well . . . only if super woman flies through a window tomorrow morning, or perhaps a Harry Potter and/or Hermione with magic wands in hand appear, or perhaps the combined efforts of all the aforementioned characters . . . not to mention the need for several more bookcases to materialize, and shelves downstairs to house various craft items, including boxes and boxes of school paper, crayons, colored pencils, folders, etc., etc.

As an aside: My husband has accompanied me on several occasions when shopping for artistic tools and supplies. He's seen the glazed look of adoration and wonder that transforms my face into a trance of sorts. And he's said, "Why don't we just buy the store?"

I looked stupefied and asked, "Really? Why?"

"Because then you'd have all the sewing, crocheting, embroidery, paints, brushes, papers, cake decorating and everything else kind of supplies handy."

I was in shock. "Really?"

"Well, yeah. And, then you'd know where everything was and maybe, just maybe, we could sell some of it--to finance the rest."

I love my husband. He actually understood my fascination with craft stores. But then, I have a thing for hardware stores, too. Especially the really old ones. I could get lost daydreaming in places like that for weeks. I love tools, and bolts and screws and nails, pliers, screwdrivers, hammers. I better stop tangent-ing--that's what gets me in the trouble I'm in.

So . . . we're not quite done with doctors. I'm not quite done with house cleaning, re-arranging, and I've just begun on a ton of new Church callings which will tax my fledgling talents--if there are some there--to make it all work. Maybe I'll find a minute or two next month to update. Here's hoping. But, now, I'm getting ready to go to sleep.

Maybe that's why I'm so tired lately. And, NOT hiding.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hummingbird Nesting

Addendum: And at the beginning . . . or second beginning.

My dear sister, Janet, was so sweet to email these pictures so that I could share them with you! She pointed out that the wire the nests are built on, actually provides power for her patio lights. And if you look REALLY closely, you'll see that the nest located near the center of the photo is built directly atop a switch--which can't be much more than an inch long. So, we're talking minuscule nest, here.

She further explained that the nest to the right side of (most of) the pictures is actually one from a couple of years ago. That one, according to her report, contained two little eggs approximately the size of little almonds (shelled almonds, I'm sure). I'm impressed. I've always wanted to see a hummingbird nest close-up and this might be the only chance I get to do that! (She lives like a two-day trip from me--a LONG two days! Dang it!)

Notice the rapidly moving wings up there?

See the switch the nest is built on?
Isn't this just sweet?!!
* * * * * *
I have a sister who took a picture of a hummingbird on its nest. It's under the patio cover at her house. The nest was constructed on an electrical wire, of all things, and she, my sister, now has limited access to her patio (the nest is really close, she said, to her access door). The little jewel's chosen spot is just over the BBQ grill, so grilling, for a bit, will be curtailed.

I've got to see if she'll email me a copy her picture and post it. It's just so cute! And who doesn't need "cute" right now in this world? So, IF she'll email me a copy of her great picture, I'll share it with you. (She did, as you might have noticed at the beginning, the new beginning of this post.) Otherwise, you'll have to be like I was yesterday, and be completely oblivious to what a hummingbird on its nest looks like. (Unless, of course, you've already been so privileged.)

Best to you all, and to all little, glittery hummers wherever you are! (Not the rugged 4-wheeler version vehicles. Rather, the high-energy, feathered, acrobatic masters of flight ones!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Where, Oh Where, Have I Been?

I'm promising myself this will be brief--otherwise I could be here all day filling you in on pages and pages of info you'd probably care less to read.

So--succinctly as my verbose nature may allow--my husband (with me driving/assisting) have visited 4 different hospitals (including a few trips to 3 different emergency rooms) since May 3. He's doing well while sporting (under the skin beneath/below his left collar bone) a whiz-bang computer/battery combo that regulates his heart beats to 70/minute and will, if/when necessary, ZAP his ticker to establish/re-establish proper rhythm in all chambers . . . I think. IF he's had any zapping, it's been the mild kind. The Doctor said it will, when necessary, ramp-up from mild, to medium to MAJOR zaps to keep his heart from "running away" with itself. Apparently (Who would figure? *note heavy sarcastic tone*) one's heart isn't particularly efficient in passing freshly oxygenated blood to his body--which is rather essential for continual life processes--so the device is essential to life. His life. --when it's running at 280 beats, or so, per minute. Funny how that is! (I edited since that little bit seemed to mess up the possibility of understanding what I was really trying to say. My mind . . . Oh Where, Oh Where has you gone, honey?) I'm so grateful that the technology is available and our health insurance is SO good--and that they (technology, doctors, hospitals, etc.) are available--even if they may be 160 miles round trip away.

He's doing a little better each day. Trying to get used to the 4 heart meds and all their weird side effects. I'll continue to do what I can to encourage him and support him and take care of him.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Hospitals and Doctors

Wow! Tonight, I'm tired. My husband is tired.
Saturday we had a trip to the ER (30 miles away) to check out the swelling near the heart-cath insertion site. ER doc said: Most likely a lymph node.
It was larger yesterday and today, so called back to the Doctor's office (the one who performed the hearth-cath) to report in. His Physicians Assistant said "come now" for an ultra-sound of the site. That hospital/out-patient center is 80 miles from home. When we go there and the ultra-sound tech first saw everything, she was afraid she was going to be viewing a pseudo-aneurysm. Not a good thing, I learned, but treatable.
Since my husband was feeling all kinds of "weird" things in his chest, etc., we asked about seeing the cardiologist. The answer from the heart-cath doctor's nurse: you should probably go home and call the other cardiologist about making an appointment.
Well, we were hungry so we called our daughter who lives close by and went for lunch. Then, after, at her apartment, we called the other cardiologist to see about getting worked in today--since we live 80 miles away and didn't want to have to do the 160 mile round trip later. AND we'll be traveling down again on Sunday for the study on Monday.
They were very kind to work us in.
This doctor, excellent reviews from the first doctor and other people we know who've been treated by him, scared the begeebers out of us . . . as he commented on what could have happened to my husband 9 days ago.
With the way your heart was doing, you had three different morphologies going on, a heart rate of 280/minute . . . if your heart weren't in as good a shape as it is, you'd be dead now.
Nothing like that to put the frosting on the cake and give you a huge sigh of relief! Or more likely the anxiety-city my husband is feeling. Not to mention the definite realization of the serious fragility of one's mortality!
Then, as this doctor answered our questions about what will happen next Monday when he does the "EP" study--I believe the EP stands for "Electrical Pathways", he's going to try to get my dearly beloved husband's heart to repeat the bizarre behavior of 9 days ago. The very A-typical heart behavior this doctor has never seen before. So my husband asked, in blatant curiosity of his chances for survival, Won't I then be at risk for my heart stopping all together?
Well, quite frankly, yes.
But I don't want that to happen, you know!
But you need to understand, there's not a better place on the planet for your heart to stop than in that hospital EP study room. There will be staff and equipment to fix that situation.
So, you'll have to zap me?
If your heart stops, yeah.
Won't that hurt?
You probably won't be totally awake, so it shouldn't bother you.
That's when I ante up and mention: Better than the alternative, I think!
So, I'll be sedated?
Well, a light sedation. We don't want you too deep because we won't be able to get your heart to repeat what it did the other day if you're too sedated.
Then the discussion went into the defibrillator/pace-maker implant he will much more than likely have to insert into my husband's chest with electrical leads into his various heart chambers.
My husband is taking this all so calmly. Kind of like we did when we learned he had prostate cancer two years ago and all that implied. I'm so impressed with his ability to be so calm through the whole thing, even when he was in the hospital with the horribly fast racing heart, talking to me a thousand miles away--literally--and telling me he's fine and doesn't want me to worry about him.
Then, the whole thing really kicked me in the teeth today, when after leaving the Doctor's office, and getting him another medicine we were driving close to where our son was at work. Since it's a retail store, I asked, Do you want to go by and see Andrew?
He said, Yeah, let's do that. I would like to see him.
And we did. Andrew was glad to see his Dad, too. Somewhere in there I said something about I thought he'd want to hurry back home--we'd been gone most of the day by then--and this was the part that really caught in my throat--he said,
You know, thoughts keep going through my mind, if I don't see him now, this might be the last time I get to see him.
You can't see the tears in my eyes right this minute, nor feel the wrench in my heart, but I, too, have considered how close he's come to that point of leaving mortality. And, I'm not ready for that. I'm not sure any of us are ready to give up a spouse--or other dearly loved family member or friend.
I believe that it wasn't his time to go. And, perhaps the prayers of his family and friends and his little grandchildren (who at 4 and 5 are earnestly praying each day for their Grandpa without being prompted to do so) have found place in the Lord's heart to lend him to us for more time here in mortality. I know for sure that God hears and answers our prayers, but He still has a plan that may not include all that we desire and pray for and He expects us to prepare for whatever may come our way.
I'm just grateful He's blessing my husband now, and each of the rest of us as well, to have more time together. I pray it's many years, if it is His will.
And I'll keep praying and trying to get my life in order.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Traumatic Few Days

  • I'm home.
  • Things have been really weird since Sunday.
  • Some weirdness began Saturday.

My youngest grandson had infected ears--with tubes in--that drained beginning on Tuesday (last week). Then Thursday, the middle youngin, another boy, woke around 1:30 AM with a very hurtful ear. I had a developing cold/cough. Saturday I called my husband to talk with the youngest who was a wild man most likely due to his discomfort with the ear aches. When this little one knew "Gampa" was on the phone, an immediate grin replaced the grumpiness. "Gampa" then mentioned that when I had a minute could I please call him back; he needed to ask me about something weird he was experiencing. I told him: Tell me now!

The "experience" included "reflux" type of discomfort, the upper thorax pain radiating up to his jaw, and a tingling kind of sensation in his chest, like you might feel in your foot when it was asleep and waking up. And it was occurring over and over again. I tried to urge him to get to the ER immediately, but you know how guys are: I'm invincible. I'm tough. I can handle this.

Somehow, I did manage to convince him to at least go check his blood pressure at Walmart. After he agreed, and left, I realized that driving himself to Walmart might NOT have been one of the wisest things I've encouraged. So I called a friend and asked if he could be on stand-by in case somebody needed to go to the ER 30 miles away--where his heart doctor was. This wonderful friend, was more than willing to do so--at least until Tuesday, when his own wife was scheduled for surgery.

Sunday, a severe storm raged through our town. Trees went down around 7:30-8:30 AM, and with them, of course, power lines. My husband tried to drive to church. The roads to there--not far from the house--were blocked by fallen trees/limbs.

Then, the chest pains began again, and were more intense. He finally was convinced he needed to get to the ER. So, he drove himself. The friend who was so willing to drive him, was totally blocked in his own house by a huge fallen tree. Two other families from our Church had trees fall on their homes--one which was demolished 45 seconds after they got out! It was the result of a twister.

He, my husband, did make it to the ER under his own steam--and that of his truck, of course--probably in the nick of time. His heart rate was recorded as 200 beats a minute!!! The doctor tried to stabilize him and planned to heli-flight him to another, larger hospital that's a one-and-a-half hour's drive from here, but due to weather, all flights were cancelled.

About the time he made it to the ER, my daughter and her husband made it home from their trip and I tried to arrange a flight back home to be with my husband. I was in touch with my husband off and on all day. How his cell phone battery lasted without a recharge, I don't know, but it was great!

The transport to the larger hospital, via ambulance, was a wild ride, I heard. They made the trip in about 45 minutes, lights and siren going!

I did fly to the city where my brother-in-law lives--three hours from our home. He picked me up, drove me to the hospital where my husband left his truck, we went to the house to pick up a few items for my husband and booked it down to the hospital where he was undergoing a heart-cath. We got there about eleven pm. That was Monday.

Dear husband was released yesterday, Tuesday--to wait for a heart study to be done later. Got the word today that the Cardiac Electrician (as he's referred to) will do the "study" on the 18th and depending on the results, may insert at defibrillator. Fun, right?

More bad weather is forecast for this coming weekend. My friend (who had surgery yesterday) is doing well. Spoke also to the friend whose home was demolished, and she's doing well--though she said the whole thing is still surreal. I'm thinking of baking some bread and a chocolate, fudge drenched cake--which is one of her husband's most favorite desserts--and going to see them tomorrow. With said baked items, of course!

My cold/cough is getting better, but my head--especially my ears are very congested and things sound weird. My voice, I'm told, is sounding more and more like normal. (When I called our son on Sunday to let him know about his Dad, he was about to leave for work and had no idea who called him to tell him about such bad news. Finally, it apparently dawned on him who I was and he was able to somewhat put the pieces together. The things we never realize, sometimes about how we sound! Our oldest daughter thought I was her brother when I first talked with her that day! I must have sounded BAD! I do have a bit of a low speaking voice, I guess, but it must have been way down in the basement on Sunday!) My ears, however, still hurt--the plane trip was painful on the descents--and I want desperately to de-congest! My chest isn't as tight as it was for the first several days--mucus is breaking up (I know you really wanted to hear about this) and I'm coughing up yucky stuff, finally. So I must be getting better! I've had so little sleep for the past few days, especially, that I fell asleep this afternoon on the couch.

I am grateful, however, to have been with my grandchildren for almost two weeks! I miss them already. I'm grateful my brother-in-law is such a great guy, I'm grateful that my two children that live in the town where their dad was in the hospital were able to be off work in order to stay with him till I was able to get there. Grateful HE is home now--and stable! Grateful we had no trees fall on our house or in our yard--like three years ago! Grateful for friends and family who've been praying for us. Grateful for good doctors and all that worked together so that we have a good result at this point!

Now, I'm probably going to go to bed and to sleep. In my very own bed. In my own house. With my husband. Life is good!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Grandma's Feelin' It!+

I'm feeling every bit of my 60 years tonight! I've been wrestling the 3 grandchildren, laughing, tickling, scolding, bathing, dressing, cooking for and feeding them and ready to drop into bed by 7:30 pm each night. They are amazing little creatures and they keep me hopping. I might (or not) get to post again before I get back home in about 8 days. If my youngest daughter weren't here to help me . . .

Well, let's just say I'd be lost without her! Especially because the 2 year old thinks she looks and acts enough like her sister, his Mom, that he's happy! Whoo hoo!

Grandpa left early this morning to get back to work tomorrow, so this same little one has been calling for him all day: "G'ampa. Where are you?" They all love their grandpa!

Next post????? Next week?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Indefatigable Blue Bird

This is one determined little bird. Isn't he beautiful?

This is the object of his nesting desire . . . it seems. And, don't you just love that word "indefatigable"? Love the way it sounds. And it does clearly describe this little Blue Bird that is still, two hours later, trying to enter my kitchen window. Since he was so persistent, I decided to attempt to capture his hard, though futile, endeavors to find what he apparently considers the best nesting spot.

Here he is as he circumnavigates the yard--trying to avoid me and the camera outside the window.

As I anticipated, having camera in hand--close enough to catch him at the window--spooked him. However, since he was determined to achieve his goal, he simply flew in a circuitous route around the yard/house as I held my ground--camera in hand. I captured him in various spots and he vocalized his displeasure with my presence every moment or two with each new perch.

Since he would not attempt the window with me being 20 feet close, I decide to try from inside. I managed to think of turning off the auto flash feature and actually got several picture of him from less than 2 feet away. Of course. INside, he didn't feel threatened. His mate encouraged him from the wire outside, in plain view of their goal.

Isn't he cute?

I do wish they'd investigate other possibilities. I'm afraid he'll exhaust himself before long.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him, however. Love his tail being splayed out like that.

Blue Bird Activity

Ever have a Blue Bird try repeatedly to get in a closed kitchen window? I heard something odd as I walked from the laundry room, through the kitchen to the living room. I stopped, looked at the window over the kitchen sink, saw nothing and decided to poke my head outside the dining room French doors. There were several birds in the trees--this is spring and they are very active. (Heard an owl last night and hear woodpeckers all the time now.)

A few minutes later, while speaking to my husband on the phone, I noticed a bird at the kitchen window screen. It was a Blue Bird--a female with a speckled breast. A minute later I saw a male of the same species sitting on the outside window ledge and looking in. He hopped along the ledge and peeked in between the inside plants growing on the inside ledge. Then he flew off. Either he, or another male, came next and perched on the side of the window and looked in. Over the next couple of minutes--and I can still hear the poor dear--he flew towards the window repeatedly attempting to get in. I opened the French doors again to try to discourage him and found that I startled him away. But then I noticed a bunch of Blue Birds fluttering in the leaves of the nearby oak tree. I figure they're interested in nesting.

I remember similar behavior--the attempts at flying into the kitchen window--from a few years ago. I hope they find suitable housing/nesting facilities. We do have a Blue Bird box attached to the oak tree. I think Blue Birds are some of the most beautiful birds I've ever seen. I'm very grateful we have them in abundance here.

Humming Birds have returned as well and I saw one at the feeder in front of the house yesterday. They are so much fun to watch.

So. What to do to discourage the Blue Bird from attempting to enter my closed kitchen window? Any suggestions? Ever have similar experiences?

If I were Bush Babe of Granite Glen I'd have about sixty-'leven pictures to document this strange event. Wish I were more like her! Sorry I'm not.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle

If you haven't seen or heard Susan Boyle who very recently was shown on Britain's Got Talent, you've GOT to look and listen. It's a heart-warming experience to listen to this woman.

Susan Boyle on YouTube. Please check this out. You'll be glad you did. Of course, she's singing a wonderful song from Les Miserables. The music from that play . . . more than awesome. Of course, the book, Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo is one of my ALL TIME favorite books. I can't say enough about Ms. Boyle or the music or the book. Just go see her, listen to her sing. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rambling Along

I love reading where (more or less) people come from to visit this blog. And, I find it rather interesting what brings them here: Making chicken and dumplin's or rice krispie treats, and the Cardinal bird and bumble bee. You just never know, do you?

I've been rather out of the blogging posting--as you might have noticed. I've been playing "Dear Abby", it seems. Friends or family seem to call and want to seek my perspective on stuff. And, I'll be the first to say, I'm not expert on much of anything. But, I do listen, and when asked, I do often have an opinion. (Even sometimes when I'm not asked, okay?)

So, other than that--listening for hours and visiting with loved ones on the phone--I don't seem to have accomplished all that much. Well, the dishes have been washed. Meals have been prepared and eaten, but the fridge really needs cleaning out. The clutter that's been accumulating--even though I tossed a lot of paper clutter into the fireplace--and the flames--seemed a lot, there's so much more to go. AND, with the temperature rising to near 80 degrees these days, using the fireplace is only practical when the outside morning temperature is closer to 45 or 50 degrees--which it has been.

I'm rambling. Yes. I know, but it's after 1 am, so don't act surprised.

Easter this year was the first time ever in my life that I was alone for the most part. No husband until late in the afternoon--he'd been on a business trip for four days. No children. Two closest were working. The other two too far away to make it. My Mom and siblings, also too far away to come for dinner.

But I did attend Church, which was very spiritual, deeply meaningful and uplifting--considering how the Resurrection of the Savior of all mankind was the most significant single occurrence in all of Earth's history. Well, I'm eternally grateful to Him for His atoning sacrifice and continued caring and guidance to us here on the earth.

Easter is wonderful, too, with the beauty of life returning so beautifully after the cold and drear of winter. Spring is so symbolic of resurrection, The Resurrection, don't you think? I absolutely love Spring.

Oh. Easter Sunday, just a quarter hour before Church was over, we had a torrential downpour! According to my rain gauge, we received 1.5 inches of rain in about 30 minutes. That's a lot of rain in so short a time.

Another random thought: If I were to post another recipe, what would you find most interesting?

Chicken and Corn Chowder?
Chicken Gumbo?
Broccoli Cheese Rice?
Something else?
(If you have something I might know how to do, I'll even try that. Not that I have an endless list of recipes. And, as one of my daughters pointed out, I do pretty basic kinds of cooking. She's the gourmet!)
Let me know if something here interests you and I'll see what I can do. I'll even consider doing the picture thing as well.
That is, after I get back from babysitting my grandchildren. I'll be leaving next week and gone for about two weeks. It might take me a day or two to recover from the high activity level I'll be dealing with, but hey! It'll be loads of fun. Except for the dirty diaper changing thing. You know.
If I sound like I'm asleep or out of my mind, consider that you've picked up on something that might be close to reality.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's! Happy Birthday

More than 25 years ago, I was expecting my third child. We'd moved into our first home (to own) and that was kind of nice!

My first two experiences with childbirth were kind of wild. #1 was 7 1/2 hour labor. Not a big deal. Then . . . the placenta didn't come . . . for 3 1/2 more hours and was a far more painful delivery that the 7 lb 10 oz baby had been. But at least I didn't have to have a hysterectomy the same day I delivered my first child!!!

Baby #2 was little more than a year after the first. This one was "posterior"--meaning her face was not down--as it needed to be for delivery--but up. So I had back labor. TALK ABOUT A TOUCHY-WIFE-IN-LABOR KIND OF THING. Those of you who've experienced back labor know the kind of pain I'm talking about. (Labor is sort of divided into three stages.) With this labor I had no pains until I launched full-bore into 3rd stage labor. That's when things get tough! Contractions began lasting for more than a full minute with only a couple of minutes between. They ratcheted up to 2 minutes or more with only 1/2 minute between! It was TOUGH! The Doctor was able to successfully turn the baby, but the pain remained. Excruciating pain. The ONLY thing that helped was the Lamaze breathing techniques. Thank heaven for that training!!!!!!!!! 3 1/2 hours, tops, after the onset of labor I had daughter #2 in my arms--all 8 lbs 1 oz screaming at the top of her lungs. (She screamed full force for hours afterwards.) Poor little dear was hurting and didn't mind sharing her displeasure with any and everyone within ear shot, and some of those were half a block or more away.

So, on the lovely April First spring day, when at 3:30 am I felt that initial contraction or two, I assumed that somewhere in the next 3 to 8 hours I'd have another brand new little bundle of joy in my arms. WRONG! My OB knew my history and since I lived a good 20-30 minute drive away from the hospital, he didn't want me waiting for "things to develop" very far before I was to get to the hospital. At about 6:00 am I had another two or three significant contractions and some other evidence that "things were definitely under way." As I watched my husband drive out of the driveway to work, I felt the tiniest contractions begin and continue every 15 minutes. Okay. These contractions were tiny as compared to what I'd experienced with my other two labors. And they were regular! And consistent. A novel experience for me!!

Call me crazy, but I always looked forward to labor and delivery. (I was the second oldest of eight children, so having babies wasn't exactly something out of the norm.) I know. I know! But it's true. I simply love the miracle of bringing a new life into the world. It was one of my dreams as a very young child and I wasn't able to have my first baby until I was only days from being 27 years old.

So, I thought, don't eat. Don't drink because the full onset of labor is bound to happen really soon--judging by how much faster the 2nd labor was than the 1st and the 1st wasn't particularly long--according to some I've heard about. Well, I tend to be hypoglycemic--and especially so during pregnancy--it's pretty much the opposite of diabetic, but you have to kind of eat the same way--frequently, and with higher protein content, etc. be careful about the carbs (which does indeed include sugars.)

My in-laws were already on their way, driving probably 8 or 9 hours to get to us to help with the older two children. I waited to call the Dr. till about 9 am, because the contractions were so mild and the ONLY ones I EVER had that were actually 15 minutes apart. EVER, EVER.

(First child, I had to laugh. My poor husband was so NOT around people that had babies--was totally uninitiated. I had him call the hospital to report that my contractions had begun with my membranes breaking (crazy as this sounds, I HEARD them break. Can't explain. Just know that I did at, 10:00 pm, just as my boss called to find out why I wasn't at the hospital yet--and oh, yeah. He had a question about work.) and to let them know we'd be on the way. He was asked if my contractions were regular and 10 - 15 minutes apart. He quite honestly told them, "No." Period. No conversation. No questions. No telling the nurse my pains were MUCH CLOSER together than 10 minutes!!! My contractions were 5 minutes or less apart, and were, therefore, irregular. So, without further discussion, the nurse told him "when your wife's contractions get to be regular and about 10 - 15 minutes apart, then you can bring her in." My eyes must have rolled to China and back before I very politely [you know better, don't you?] explained that they were NEVER going to be 10 to 15 minutes apart because they were ALREADY 5 OR LESS minutes apart NOW! He, all rational and everything, did, in his own defense, mention that they still weren't REGULAR. He had me on that count. I again most politely (ahem) requested that he call back and give a clearer picture of the reality of the situation. (By this time I'd been sitting in the bathroom gushing fluids for nearly 45 minutes.) That was #1 baby, labor and delivery.)

Back to Baby #3. Where was I? Oh, I didn't call the doctor until about 9 something am. I first had to round up a babysitter, get one of my neighbors to look for my in-laws to give them a key to the house--wait for my husband to drive home (20 minutes) get me, take the kids to the babysitter's and THEN drive me to the hospital. So, remember, it was April First, right. I finally got to the hospital after 10 am. The Doctor came in worried that it'd been over an hour since I called. He was just about ready to call out the paramedics to search for me on the side of the freeway in process of delivering my child. They got me all hooked up (this was prior to the marvel of ultra-sound stuff, ladies) and guess what? No, I repeat, NO contractions. Zip. NADA. However . . . there was all this seismic looking activity on the printout from the monitor they'd strapped around my bulging belly. Dr. said: "Well, you're NOT currently in labor, but something is definitely going on. I'm pretty confident that this baby will be here soon. BUT, since you're NOT in labor currently, we're going to send you back home. Go home get some rest."

RIGHT. I'm excited about giving birth. And I KNOW FOR SURE it's about to happen. How am I going to gear down to rest? Now as I said earlier, I LOVE giving birth. (Yes, I DO know I sound like I'm out of my mind, but thus it is.) So we left. I have no recollection of how my husband got back to work. I do remember going home. Trying not to eat. Trying to rest. What a joke! NO CONTRACTIONS. A few teasers here and there, but nothing concrete. This child was pulling the biggest joke ever! I made supper--since my husband and children would need nourishment and his parents would be getting to our house close to supper time. I went to pick up the oldest two children and, guess what! Driving/riding caused contractions to occur. Nothing serious. But contractions. I must have driven down to pick up my husband from work, but then I don't really remember that.

His parents arrived. After everyone (but ME) had supper, his Mom and I went outside to watch the sunset as the girls rode their Big Wheels (tricycles) up and down the driveway while we sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed the spring evening. Then it happened. And I knew it was FINALLY for REAL! Around 9 or 10 pm we left for the hospital. Our youngest daughter (at the moment) was very distressed (I learned much, much later) and cried most of the night without Mom being there.

But, the little bundle of joy and jokes wasn't quite ready to make her entrance, still. After getting into the labor room and answering all the list of everything required, and reiterating that I DID NOT WANT ANYTHING FOR PAIN, thank you VERY MUCH, and I don't care what stage of the delivery I'm in, I DO NOT WANT ANYTHING FOR PAIN. (I'd had a BAD experience with the previous delivery--was given a pudendal block--AGAINST MY EXPRESS WISHES--and it went into my sciatic or some other nerve in the interior pelvic area and I could barely walk for days--which is a real trip with two tiny children to take care of. Not to mention that my leg hurt like the dickens! Pain killers and I don't have the best of relationships. That's mostly why I give them as wide a berth as I can.) This dear, well-meaning nurse gave me a glucose drip--even though I told her I couldn't have a GLUCOSE drip--saline would be okay--because I'd not eaten all day and I was hypoglycemic. She'd had enough of me, (and me knowing what I did and didn't want) apparently, stating that it was STANDARD PROCEDURE AND THE DOCTOR GAVE NO OTHER ORDERS so the IV went in, glucose and all.

After about an hour of that, I lost it. I couldn't concentrate to breathe right when the real contractions began because my blood sugar dropped too low and I was so sleepy I could barely concentrate. I couldn't remember how to breathe properly and the doctor hadn't yet made an appearance. (In California, with my first two, the doctors were with me from start to finish--that was many years ago, and I still love them for that!) My sweet, honorable, brave and tough husband, allowed me to squeeze his hand (into hamburger) as I tried to Lamaze my way through the contractions that were really starting to get with it--now that it was past midnight! The nurse did kind of redeem herself--she got down on top of me somehow and modeled the proper breathing for me to follow. When things began moving along better she checked to see how the labor was progressing. "You're about to have that baby, finally." she announced. "So, are you finally going to call the Doctor now?" "Oh, Honey. We don't have time to call the doctor."

If I could have sprung from that bed, that poor woman would have been strangled. But, like an angel of mercy, the dear doctor appeared at the doorway and asked, "Are you ready to have this baby?"

I was SO grateful!!!!

Then, I was taken to the delivery room. Then, the lovely doctor said something so strange and so weird! He told me to bare down. Can you imagine? I'd never with my first two had the urge to bare down. Never. But I'd done a smashing good job of it, if I do say so. Especially when my husband was right there next to me, breathing in sync with me. And, yes. I'd felt the urge all evening with this baby, but now it HURT! And I DIDN'T WANT TO!!! The Doctor was a gem. He was SO GOOD. He gently explained that the baby wasn't coming out until I did what was necessary to push it out. This whole entire labor and delivery was SO TEXTBOOK first pregnancy labor and delivery. You can't imagine.

So, after a little more coaxing, and with terrible screams of pain and agony, which I NEVER before had resorted to, I pushed for about 5 minutes. Maybe 10 and was rewarded with not the son I fully expected, but with a beautiful, chubby 8 lb 4 oz baby daughter. She was--and is beautiful. She is, however, very skinny now a days. But even though her baby brother (6 years her junior) was 1 lb 4 oz heavier at birth--yes, yes. He was 9 lbs 8 oz. She was the plumpest of all my babies. Her creases had creases, if you know what I mean.

And yes. She still has a deft sense of humor. (She liked "The Far Side" cartoons at the age of 4.) I'm convinced that she conceived the whole April Fool's Day ALMOST delivery joke. I fell for the whole--I-must-be-going-to-have-a-baby-on-April-Fool's-Day thing--and she was born on 2 April a little after 3 am. You never know just what to expect with this girl! She's very sweet and helpful, creative and artistic. And a welcomed gift--as each child has been. I feel very blessed and wish you, Sarah, a very Happy Birthday! TOMORROW!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Heer's Da Cake

My sweet niece, Corrine, emailed me these fine pictures last night--despite the fact that she's probably still preparing for finals--(college student, you know).
I'm so glad to have the slaving in the kitchen done. All the technical problems solved and completed. And, to make it even more worthwhile, I got a very nice compliment from someone who attended the reception, via my sister:
"So, who did Shalise's wedding cake? I have a birthday coming up soon."

I chuckled when my sister told me and said,
"You can tell him, 'Sure! My sister would be happy to make your cake--if you want to fly her back out here!" She and I both laughed.

PS. I didn't do the flowers. The lady that did the decorating (of the room) did those. I could have, and have done so in the past--but we must give credit to those who earn it! I think she did a lovely job and was glad I could tell her so in person.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm Back

Just over a week ago I left for my niece's wedding in the Rocky Mountains. I do love the Rocky Mountains, by the way. They were gorgeous, rugged, and topped with snow at various points. My cute little niece was bouncy and bubbly, when not vexed and over-stressed with all the last minute things to do--while patiently giving up seeing her intended for a full week so he could complete his quotas for chosen career field--insurance. He worked like a demon, from what I heard, and it was said that since he rarely slept or shaved over the long ordeal . . . well, he might have looked a little rough. However, by doing so and going above and beyond the required quota of writing policies or whatever, his superiors were most impressed and he got the career path he was shooting for--as I understand it.

In the meantime . . . I slaved over the cake baking chores as best I could while enjoying several hours of visiting with my delightful nephews--brothers of the bride and the parents--my baby sister and her husband. The day before the wedding, I think I racked up close to 14 hours (or more) of cake baking, icing making, cake frosting, ganache making, mumbling and grumbling when the ganache bled through the white frosting/icing whatever you like to call the sticky sweet stuff and had me nearly in tears. I've never combined ganache filling and topping with white iced sides on a cake. Shoot! I've never made a 14" layer (or two together for one tier) kind of layer for a wedding cake before. Have I? Hmmmmm. Let's see. Ummmmm. Maybe. Perhaps the bottom layer of my daughter's carrot cake wedding cake 11 years ago was 15" in diameter. Yes. Maybe so. So, you see, I've never made a 14 incher prior to last Friday. This tier of the cake was a Devil's food, and very moist. The middle tier was only 10" in diameter and a marble cake (2 layers deep) with the same icing and ganache. The top tier (which is kind of misleading, I think. Each tier was resting on a different satin draped pedestal; each pedestal of a different height.) was a white cake with the same treatment as the other two tiers.

Late that night (very late that night--around 11:30 pm) we delivered the cake to the refrigerator at the Church. I was majorly relieved!!!!! And NOTHING fell apart!! It was wonderful!!!

The following day was the wedding. The Maid of Honor came. She was a darling girl and just what the bride needed to assist in calming and directing her for the remainder of the day--at least till the groom took over.

Surly there've been few brides as bouncy, giggly and delighted to be marrying the man of her dreams as my niece. She--and he--radiated--and they couldn't stop kissing each other. Strange behavior, if you ask me. You know, for a newly married couple to just kissy-face all over the place like that. Strange. Very strange. *smirk*

The reception was very lovely. Decorations were elegant. The cake garnered several compliments--which was nice--even if the bride already gushed her thanks. I was very blessed to have participated in the whole thing.

As another bonus, I was able to visit with my Mother, who's birthday was the day before the wedding--another nephew and his lovely wife hosted a party for Mom on Monday. It was well attended and quite enjoyable for all of us. Mom beamed while surrounded by many--though a small portion--of her posterity of over 100 individuals. If I remember correctly (and she remembered correctly) there are closer to 175 grandchildren and great-grandchildren combined.

We experienced snow from Sunday evening through most of Monday. Got around 4-6 inches. It's been quite a while since my last experience with lots of snow!

But now I'm home with storms raging outside of another sort . . . we're under Sever Weather Warnings, Tornado Watches and Warnings. And my throat is sore. And I'm not sure if my migraine ever completely left from last week and yesterday. Anyway, I'm back home and happy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wet Weekend

Friday it rained. By late Friday night we had five (5) inches of rain in the rain gauge. Many low places and small streams had become large lakes. We so very much needed the rain. Thank Heaven it came!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring (and lots of pollen) Is in the Air

Saturday I felt wretched: headache, tons of sinus drainage, feeling flushed, and add to that nausea. I couldn't figure it out. A little while later, I went out to run errands. Then I saw it!!! The culprit. Pollen. My car was COVERED with yellow oak and/or pine pollen. I don't know why it always surprises me each year, each spring, but it did. Again! Oh, the pain and agony of--no, not allergies, according to the good allergy doctor who tested me--but of irritants that deeply and profoundly affect me and my overall wellness indicators. No end of irritants. And I feel well irritated, indeed!

As I grow longer in the tooth, I find that my "comfort zone" temperature-wise is growing thinner and thinner. Whereas 70 degrees on the thermostat inside when the outside temps. measure in the 20-60 degree temperature range--finds me freezing cold. However, Saturday, the temperature inside registered 73 and outside about the same. I was perspiring like a--well--leave it at that. It wasn't a pretty picture. I was miserable. And besides that, I don't like it. In about a week, however, I'll be refreezing my tail off once again when I embark on a journey to the Rocky Mountains for my niece's wedding. They're getting snow now and for the next few days, it looks like. Oh, the joy!

However, the spring flowers are abundant--the kind I actually enjoy seeing--the kind that don't shower TONS of the irritating pollen upon every surface known to man that is under the wide expanse of heaven's dome--at least here on this particular portion of earth. Our azaleas (and many others) are blooming everywhere. Spirea are blossoming. Redbud trees, Bradford pear trees, plum trees, tulip trees all look wonderful and life in general is waking up after tumultuous, cold weather. Oh. Remember our little, wonderful, happy, early-blooming peach tree? The warm temperatures followed by freezing temperatures managed to kill most of the tender little peaches. *Sigh* but I found a few that have mustered up the courage to hang on. Those little peaches are probably no bigger than the end of my finger, but they are hanging on for dear life--at this point.

So, it appears that life maintains an equilibrium: beautiful flowers to gladden the heart, and pollen, ugly pollen by the truck load, to irritate and cause misery to other parts of one's anatomy.