Sunday, September 13, 2020

Still Here

I’ve certainly not been much of a blogger this month.  It’s been two weeks since I’ve written a post and this past week I’ve not been commenting on other blogs much either.  We’ve been busy and out with appointments almost everyday but nothing exciting to write about.  

My sweet girl, Sophie

Tom is still not driving due to his equilibrium problems, so I’m driving him to his cardiac rehab appointments three days a week.  In addition to that we’ve each had other medical appointments, so it does keep us busy.  He is scheduled to have an MRI this week to try and find out the cause of the equilibrium issues.  If we could get that cleared up he would be able to do more and feel better.  The hearing loss may be permanent but we will see.  Sorry, I don’t mean to complain.  Mainly I wanted to let you know I’m still here even though I have been an errant blogger! 

The past couple of weeks we have had wonderfully cool Fall weather!  After our extremely hot summer, it has been a joy to have Fall start almost on cue the first week of September.  This past week we’ve seen rain almost every day but that is okay for it was needed.  As a result the grass has grown like crazy and I have just gotten done mowing it.  August was so hot and I didn’t feel well, so I hired a neighbor boy to cut our grass for the month.  It has become much more difficult for me to do yard work when we have temperatures in the 90's F.  It used to never bother me but it sure does these days!  Now that we have some cooler days, I’m hoping to get caught up with some needed yard work.  

Zeus, about ready for a nap

I tried to start a jigsaw puzzle I’ve been wanting to do, but after three slow starts I gave up and packed it up for another time.  I just couldn’t concentrate on it plus my vision has not been very cooperative for a challenging puzzle. 

Our son gave us an Amazon Echo Dot or Alexa, smart speaker/virtual assistant.  We have actually been having some fun with it as well as finding it handy.  I will write more about it on my next post. 


I apologize to all my blog friends for not commenting much recently.  Things sometimes catch up with a person as I’m sure you understand.  I admire all of you that manage to write a post several times a week or even every day as many of you do.  You are all amazing!  I hope you all have a wonderful start to the week and enjoy whatever beautiful Fall weather you have at the moment!





Monday, August 31, 2020

Cousins

 


One of the few pictures of all of us together at my Grandmother's house in 1954.
  Top row, middle is my brother Charlie, second row, far right is my other brother      Jerry and I'm the little one in front.  We've lost three of the group.
  


I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with my cousins when we were young.  My maternal Grandmother had three children and each of them had three children, so when we were all able to get together there were nine of us kids.  We all lived in different cities in Arkansas but despite that, all or part of us managed to get together on a regular basis. 

My Grandmother's house in the 1950s.


We would often go to my Grandmother’s house on holidays or weekends.  Although my Grandmother and her house are no longer here, it was my favorite place to go throughout my life.  I will always remember playing outside and digging in the dirt with my cousins at her home.  We had a few special toys we played with in the dirt making roads for tiny cars and creating new worlds.  Do kids even play in the dirt anymore?  The meals were always wonderful at her house and there would be a special “kid’s table” for the younger children.  I was the youngest grandchild so I was always at that table and that was fine with me.  

Cousins in 1948 before I was born.
  

Sometimes all or part of us would meet at a lake or creek in the summer and have a big family picnic.  I grew up going to these family picnics.  We would go swimming or play in the water and then share a big meal.  There would be all kinds of different food and always at least one big watermelon.  

One of many picnics.

I’m pretty sure I took those days for granted and did not appreciate how special they were for all of us.  Now those of us that are left are spread to the wind all over the country and we never see one another.  I do keep up with most of my cousins through email and Facebook.  In fact, that is the only reason I keep a Facebook account – to keep up with my cousins.  I was talking to one of them the other day about how much has changed in so many ways.  Those days when we got together we were kids and always into mischief.  Now all of us “kids” are the elders in the family.  How in the world did that happen?

 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A Simple Post

I’ve been busy all week but not with anything anyone wants to hear about in a post.  I’ve had doctor’s appointments and medical tests four out of five days this week.  Between Tom and myself I suppose the doctor’s office and hospital have become our August.  You do what you have to do.  Other than that, I have only gotten a few basic things done around the house.  I vacuumed yesterday – boy did it need it!  I’ve cooked every evening as usual, roasted veggies over rice last night and lasagna tonight.  I’m not the best cook but we don’t go hungry.

My Favorite Cup

I was drinking my coffee this morning and wondering what I could write about after a week like this.  I looked at my coffee cup and thought “Why not?”.  A post about my coffee cup.  It’s a special cup to me as every coffee cup I’ve ever had has been special.  As long as I can remember I have always attached myself to one particular cup for my morning coffee.  It starts my day every day.  I probably have not had all that many “morning coffee cups” over the years because when I find the right one, I stick with it as any loyal friend sticks with their best friend.  Eventually it gets broken and I’m at a coffee cup loss for a while until I find another “perfect cup”.  I often drink a cup of tea in the afternoon but that’s a different cup and it can be one of several as we have many.  It’s only the morning cup that is special. 

Do you have a favorite cup?  I’ve known a few others that felt like I do.  Tom is the same way with his cup but he has a couple of favorites.  When you get up in the morning and reach for a cup of coffee or tea do you always reach for the same cup?  If it is not available are you just a little disappointed?  Am I crazy?  (I know, probably) 


I just love this little guy hiding in the bottom corner!

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their Sunday.  After a stressful week I think I am going to finally start a jigsaw puzzle that has been waiting a long time for me.  Take care everyone.

 

 

  

Sunday, August 16, 2020

I’m Thankful for Our Cats!

 

                                                              

Sophie and Zeus

We have had a lot of ups and downs the past month or two but through it all one thing remains steady for us – our two sweet cats!  Those of you that have pets of any kind will understand my feeling I’m sure.  No matter what happens your sweet, furry family members are there for you, accept you and will never judge you.  Pure unconditional love.                                                               

When I'm at the computer Sophie holds my arm and
sleeps with her head in my hand. 

Sophie and Zeus are always near us offering love and cuddles or entertaining us with their playful antics.  If we do have to leave the house, they meet us at the door when we return.  They follow one or both of us around and generally prefer that Tom and I are in the same room.  If I’m in the back of the house on the computer and Tom is in the living room, Zeus will cry at me and try to get me to follow him back into the room with Tom.  When we are both in the same room, they will settle down to a nap nearby or in our laps or play with toys near us.  They instinctively know when we are sick or sad and they stay close and comfort us. 

Tom’s health problems have continued.  I took him to both his cardiologist and our family doctor last week.  His heart, thankfully, seems to be doing okay but he has been hit with some kind of severe dizziness problem and is very unsteady on his feet.  The doctor did not see an ear infection but gave him antibiotics in case it was too deep to be seen.  Tom did suddenly lose his hearing in one ear at the same time this started so that could be part of the problem.  He’s never had this type of vertigo situation in the past.  So, for now he has to stay in one place and try to not move around much.  I’ve been trying to take care of him and still catch up on a lot of things around the house that I have neglected.  It has not helped that I am still having trouble with the high blood pressure, but I will see the doctor Tuesday.  After that, we have to find a new family doctor as our regular one is retiring next week.  We’ve seen him for over forty years and I hate to lose him but I am happy for him to finally get a break.   

I don’t mean to just write about health problems.  Things will sort themselves out eventually I’m sure.  It’s all part of life and getting older.  But anytime we do have problems like this it always reminds me of how grateful I am to have our two cats, Sophie and Zeus!  They are always there for us.  If you have any wonderful furry family members give them a little extra love because I’m sure they are there for you in the good and the bad times.   

                                                              
They even help me when I'm sewing.




Monday, August 10, 2020

Another Year Older

As of yesterday, August 9th, I am yet another year older.  I have caught up with my husband, Tom who celebrated his birthday this past June.  We are both now 68.  I am quite sure that when I was younger I never thought I would ever be so old!  My age has never actually bothered me though and I’ll gladly tell it to anyone.  It is some of the things that go along with age that sometimes bothers me!

This year for the first time I didn’t really want to celebrate my birthday.  The past month has been a hectic one with Tom being in the hospital and us handling his health problems.  Then on top of that I have been having some increased trouble with my blood pressure.  I’ve taken medication for it for years but suddenly it has been running entirely too high.  I am betting it is stress related but I did see my doctor to be safe.  He increased my medication and will see me again in a couple of weeks.  So much has been going on recently, not to mention me being behind on a lot of the regular things that demand my attention, I decided I’d just skip the birthday this year.

However, my son Chris and his wife Kristi invited us over to their house this past Saturday night to have dinner and celebrate my birthday.  Kristi is an excellent cook and baker of cakes and she made me a Hummingbird cake for my birthday!  A Hummingbird cake is a traditional southern spice cake with bananas and pineapple and a delicious cream cheese icing. 

                                                                  

Hummingbird Cake

It was a wonderful evening spent with family and a perfect way to enjoy my birthday.  It is a gift to me these days just to see my grandchildren and grown children!

Last night (on my actual birthday) Tom and I went out to eat, which is something we never do anymore thanks to the pandemic.  The restaurants are open at a reduced capacity and following the local Covid requirements.  We had a nice and relaxed dinner and I especially appreciated not having to cook!  

 

  

Monday, August 3, 2020

Fun Times at the DMV

It’s that time again – time to renew my driver’s license.  This year the U.S. has something new called a Real I.D.  It takes the place of your driver’s license and is required if you want to fly any airline within the U.S.  You can still get a regular license but it will not allow you to board planes and fly anywhere.  Of course, there is much more paperwork involved for the Real I.D.  Since I had to renew my license anyway, I wanted to get that type of license as we do occasionally book flights within the states. 

I knew the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) was a stickler for paperwork so over a month ago I studied up on all the requirements.  Most of the paperwork required was fairly basic: two proofs of residency, Social Security card and birth certificate.  However, if you ever had any change of name you have to show certified papers proving the name change.  I have been married twice so I had to have a certified copy of both marriage licenses and a certified copy of my divorce decree from the first marriage.  When I checked all my papers, I had everything I needed but for some reason my copy of my current marriage license was not certified.  Well, Tom and I were married in this county so a few weeks ago I went to the county court house and obtained a certified copy.  That was not too bad, and then I was ready to get my license.

Dept of Motor Vehicles

I called my local DMV to try to set up an appointment and found they were closed for two weeks due to someone employed there having Covid.  Great, that put me close to the expiration date of my license.  Keep in mind the DMV was already behind since they had been closed for over two months during the lockdown.  Today was the first day they were re-opened so I was there bright and early before they were even open.  Guess what?  About 45 other people were also there at that time.  That made for quite a long (socially spaced) line wrapped around two buildings.  I knew there would be a wait and I had to get my license.  I waited over two hours outside in the hot sun and then another hour and a half inside when finally, they called my name. 


People waiting in line

I pulled out all my paperwork and the clerk said it looked like I had everything I needed.  Then she looked again at my first marriage license and told me it wasn’t correct.  What?  It was a certified copy but whoever certified it 50 years ago had failed to stamp a file number on it!  They could not accept it and I could not get my Real I.D.  Arrrg!  I now have to contact an office in another state (California) in order to get a certified new copy of a marriage license to someone I have not been married to for over 40 years!  My driver’s license expires on my birthday this coming Sunday, so I went ahead and got a non-Real I.D. license for now.  I will have to order the new ex-marriage license copy and then go through all of this again sometime before the deadline for the Real I.D. which is October of 2021.  What a mess!

Sorry this post is so long, but maybe it will help someone in this country that is trying to get their driver’s license.  Many of you have asked me about how Tom is doing and I can happily tell you that he is doing very well.  He starts Cardiac Rehab this Friday and will continue with that for 12 weeks.  Thank you all again for your kind thoughts and messages!   

 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Home

That sure is a wonderful word - home!  Tom was happily discharged this afternoon.  I got him home and we both took a nap.  Neither one of us have had much sleep the past few days.  You sure can't sleep at the hospital.  People were in and out of his room all day and he said all night too.  Plus he was hooked up to a host of beeping machines. 

He is doing good considering everything, just very tired.  He is under some restrictions, has additional medication and is supposed to start Cardiac Rehab as soon as maybe next week.  I am determined that I need to do more to try and get him to eat a healthier diet and when he can, get more exercise.  I always try to prepare healthy meals but he is a big lover of things like salty potatoe chips (crisps) which is a no-no.  We both got regular exercise twice a week until last March when the Coronavirus hit and our Silver Sneakers classes stopped.  We should have kept up at home but we did not as we are not very motivated to exercise on our own.  Now I wonder if that lack of exercise made things worse for him. 

Oh and speaking of Coronavirus, Tom was tested for it before they would do the Cardiac Catheterization and he was negative, so that's good!  We did find out there were cases in the hospital while we were there including a few on the same floor he was on.  That did make me nervous especially in the elevators even though everyone wore a mask.  I'm just so thankful he is out of there!

Thank you all again so very much for all your good thoughts and prayers.  I told Tom about all the wonderful messages from everyone here and he was blown away that so many people that didn't even know him would be so kind.  He sends his thanks and appreciation to all of you.  Blog world is full of many very special and wonderful people and I appreciate you all!

I'm going to try and get to bed early because there are so many things I need to get done tomorrow plus I need to cut the grass if I can take this heat.  But, I do want to share one thought with you all because I truly care about each one of you here.  Please be aware of any symptoms your body may be trying to tell you in regard to your health.  I don't mean worry about every little thing, that's not healthy.  Just be aware and if something does not seem right ask you doctor about it.  Tom has been through this situation and hospitalized for this twice now, once five years ago and this time.  Do you know both of those times he never had one chest pain.  The first time he had pain in his jaw.  He was going to go to the dentist but I had heard of that symptom and encouraged him to see his doctor who immediately sent him to the cardiologist.  This time the only symptom he had was shortness of breath.  It got progressively worse and he saw his cardiologist and ended up with another Cardiac Catheterization.  Both times he had a situation that could or would have killed him.  His cardiologist and that procedure has saved his life twice now.  Just take good care of yourselves, please!  I care about each of you!  


Friday, July 24, 2020

Still at the Hospital



Everyone has been so nice and supportive so I wanted to let you know the status of Tom’s Cardiac Catheterization today.  It turns out it is a very good thing this was done because he had a 95% blockage in one place and a 75% blockage in another.  He was most definitely headed for a heart attack.  They did a balloon angioplasty in one location and put in a stent in the other location.  It was a very involved and lengthy procedure this time because of the location of the two blockages.  He was admitted to the hospital and we are on a wait and see basis as to whether or not he can come home tomorrow. 

I want to thank everyone for your very kind and helpful comments, good wishes and prayers.  I kept reading over them on my phone the whole time I was waiting to hear the results of the procedure.  Even though I was waiting alone all of your kind messages helped me to feel a little less alone.  I responded to some comments last night but not today, however I do want you all to know they helped.  I probably won’t be posting or commenting for at least a few days as we get everything sorted out and get him home.  I just now got home tonight after being at the hospital since very early this morning.  I am going back early tomorrow morning in hopes of catching the doctor on his rounds.  In the meantime, I only want to get something to eat and crash with my two sweet cats.  Thank you all again!


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Back to the Hospital

Tom had his follow up appointment with the cardiologist and the doctor wants him to have a Cardiac Catheterization.  If you are not familiar with this, it is a procedure where a small tube is inserted into an artery and is sent up to the heart.  It is used to detect blockages in the heart among other problems.  Tom had one of these five years ago and they found a blockage which was corrected with a stent placed where the blockage had been.     

The doctor is doing this out of an abundance of caution and I do agree with him.  The last time we had no idea Tom was as close to a heart attack as he was until they found the 90% blockage using this procedure.  We are hoping no problems will be found but it is a matter of we would rather be safe than sorry.  This is an uncomfortable and frightening test but it can prevent a heart attack and save a life.  We have to be at the hospital very early tomorrow morning.  If everything is clear and they do not find any problems he should be able to come home sometime later in the day.  If they find any problems, he will have to stay the night in the hospital and hopefully come home the following day.

This is certainly not the best time to be spending time in a hospital with the increase in Covid cases in our area.  It does make me feel a little uneasy but I know they are doing everything they can do to keep everyone safe.  Everyone at the hospital wears a mask at all times and hand sanitizer is readily available.  I can go with him and stay in the waiting room but no one can come with me due to the Covid cases in the hospital.  If he has to stay all night I don’t know if I will be able to see him or not.  

So, that is what is going on tomorrow.  Since I had mentioned the previous test that Tom had taken, I wanted to let you know what is going on.  I’d sure appreciate any good thoughts you could send our way!  Thank you all!


Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Butterfly Bush

When my granddaughter Annika was very young she, along with her parents and younger brother, moved into a house they had purchased.  While she was playing in her new backyard, she discovered a beautiful shrub that her mother told her was a butterfly bush.  She was fascinated by the fact that there would be a plant just for butterflies. 

Butterfly Bush
                                                        Butterfly Bush

I must tell you at this point that our family has always been great pranksters.  Joking around with one another has been a good-natured source of much fun and happiness in a well-meaning way that we all understand.  Annika, like most children, was a child full of curiosity and questions.  The butterfly bush was something new to her that raised many questions in her curious mind.  In his usual serious but joking manner, my son told her that if you left a slice of bread on the butterfly bush and came back later the butterflies would have buttered the bread for you.  Well, you can imagine what this did to the imagination of a child!  Annika immediately ran to the kitchen, got a slice of bread and ran out to place the bread carefully on the butterfly bush.  She then came in and went to her room to play while she waited to see what would happen.

Yes, you guessed it, this was more than her parents could stand and one of them went outside with some butter and buttered that piece of bread that Annika had left on the butterfly bush. 

Later in the day Annika went outside to check on the bread.  You can imagine her excitement when she discovered the bread had indeed been buttered!  She was thrilled and brought it in to show her parents.  I’m sure she enjoyed that piece of buttered bread more than any other bread she had ever eaten!

Now of course they later explained to her that it was them and not the butterflies that had buttered the bread.  She understood and laughed along with them, even though she had enjoyed the temporary thrill of believing the butterflies had buttered her bread!  Our family will now always tell the story of “The Butterfly Bush”!

 

                                                        Annika & Gavin