Monday, June 26, 2017

Today was the day...

Today was the day! Had my 2 week post surgery check-up and all went well. Glad to put that behind me.

The doctor said that I could go back to all normal activity... which includes driving and walking. Of course I was able to walk before today, but found when I did try to walk too far or too long, I got a few twinges where my surgery sites are. Since I've had no problem with pain since the surgery, I simply have foregone the walking my 10,000 steps (actually I hardly ever get more than 5,000) for a bit longer.

Sending you some pics of my youngest grand daughter visiting the beach for the first time. My son and DIL took her to Galveston Beach this past weekend. 


I think she thoroughly
enjoyed it! 

The cats are all fine. They are missing my being in bed with them during the day - as since my energy has returned, it hasn't been necessary anymore. However, I do still take a short reading time in the afternoons and do occasionally do fall asleep. This seems to satisfy them. And Tux seems to have calmed down now that things are back to relatively normal.

I finished the 2 quilts I've been working on. Here are some pics. The first is a baby quilt and the second is a quilted tablecloth for my kitchen.

This is the 2 sided baby quilt...


This is a close-up of the 2 sides...

close up of 2 sides

Quilted table cover

Well, that's about the news for now. I'm practicing with my watercolors since I had to drop the course for now.  

Getting used to colors with their tints, shade, tones, and de-saturations...

Practicing using some of the colors on sketches... 

There's so much that I don't know, but possibly I'll pick up some techniques while I wait out until the course becomes available again... which probably won't be until next summer.

Well, have a great week. The 4th of July is fast approaching (as well as my 72nd birthday which follows on the 6th)!  Life is just one big (or little) adventure after another... and I will try my best to keep up.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

the thing about blogging...


I was reading someone's blog this week (have time to catch up on this now since the surgery), and I realized that reading other people's thoughts makes me aware of how much the same we all are... not everyone of course, but certainly a lot.

I love reading (almost anything, but mostly mysteries, some historical fiction, small town, cozies, etc.), growing things (I love to plant something and watch it grow - it's almost like bringing new life), writing (have always written - journals, stories, letters, etc.), sketching, watercolor, working on the pottery wheel, nature, quilting, knitting, crochet, and cooking!

How can anyone ever be bored in this life when there are so many fascinating things to do - on top of every day obligations (loving and caring for your family and pets, maintaining your home, etc.)

I used to love fishing too... although I haven't done any in 50 years. DH is not a fisherman (even though he's from Louisiana). But my dad and uncles  had a fishing camp on Grand Isle in Louisiana and when I was growing up we used to go out there by boat to fish. I think one of the last hurricanes demolished it years ago. Thought maybe  I'd take fly fishing lessons after retirement, but really haven't found the time. 

And science has also always been of interest to me. I was in Animal Science at LSUBR back in the 60's. They didn't have a Veterinary School back then. They do now. But back then, you chose to go 2 years of AS and then apply to Vet School or get your 4 year bachelor's degree and then go on to Vet School. I chose the latter. But I worked part- time in the graduate research labs on campus making slides from tissue samples... and enjoyed it. I think research would be captivating work.

And of course I obviously love animals. We've had almost all sorts when the kids were growing up (married at 22 and had 3 kids by 28). Probably the cats were the most prevalent specie in our home... at one time we had 8.  Generally 3 was our limit, but then a feral came by and left her 5 kittens on our back porch. What's a person to do? We took them in. That was 14 years ago. We still have 2 of the original 5 (grand daughter still has 1 'the siamese one', lost 1 to Leukemia a few years ago, and 1 found another home). 

grand daughter and 5 kittens left on our porch

The other 'feral born' cat with us now is Ghost. Her mama had several kittens and would show up on our back porch on occasion with them. One time she and the others left one behind. She was a few weeks old and seemed a bit 'out of it'.  Vet said that she had genetic kidney problems and possibly diabetes - probably wouldn't make it past a year. Again - what's a person to do? We took her in. She's 10 now. These 3 will remain with us, but could possibly outlive us, so sadly, there will be no more brought inside.

Ghost as a kitten

Anyway, I find sharing things with others of like mind enjoyable... and blogging is a way to do this. So dear blogging friends, thank you for being there for me... and I will try to be here for you... reading and commenting when I can.

And to those of you who are aware of my recent emergency appendectomy, I'm home, doing fine, and feeling almost normal again. Resting, but not staying in bed  - can't drive yet, but DH and I went out to breakfast for Father's Day this morning. Energy level definitely on the increase! 

Oh... and since today is Father's Day, Here's a few pics of my dad. He passed away at 75 in 1982. Born in 1907 in London, England he would have been 110 last month. Dad was a good man; a wonderful husband, terrific father and a loving grandfather... and he is dearly missed.

my dad and mom

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

the cats and me...

Tux and his 'how could you?' stare

I think all of you who read my blog know our 3 remaining cats; Tux, Julie, and Ghost. Of the 3, Tux is my 'familiar'... bonded to me. He seems to be the one most affected by my absences. While all 3 are affected; Julie cries and wants me to hold her upon my return (which she seldom does when I'm home), Ghost will avoid me for a bit, then gradually forgive me for leaving... and let me near her again.

But Tux has been almost inconsolable since my unexpected hospital stay this past week. Upon my return, he howls and yowls and follows me around constantly wanting to be on my lap (which he can't be because of the recent surgery). I have to put a pillow over my abdomen to protect it (Tux is 18 lbs.) He stays by my side - in the bed, on the sofa, wherever I am. If we close the door (which we do at night), he sits by the door and cries. Hopefully he will get over this as I recuperate.

Tux with his  ' you just don't understand' face

Had hoped that DH and I could have walked outside today. It's the 4th day after my appendectomy. But afraid that while the soreness is easily handled, the lightheadedness and lack of energy keeps me house bound. And I'm still having night sweats... which I think is normal after surgery... possibly due to either the trauma, anesthesia,  or the pain medication.

And I so want to go to the watercolor class I started (as well as my pottery one), but beginning to wonder if this will be possible any time soon. For whatever reason (maybe age?) I'm not bouncing back too quickly.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

An unexpected turn of events...

In my previous post I mentioned how wonderful this past weekend was... with the family all here and grandson's graduation. And it was... until Tuesday.

hospital bed - not my actual hospital bed

Late Tuesday afternoon I started having pains in my abdomen. Figured it was my Interstitial Cystitis acting up. Tried to ignore it, but it gradually got worse and I ended up on the floor of the den in the middle of the night doing Yoga stretches to ease the pain in my lower back. By morning I hurt everywhere... felt like my bladder, kidneys, and everything below my ribcage was aching. And I was running a fever of 100.4...

Called my primary physician and got an early morning appointment. He sent me for a cat scan STAT at an Imagery Center... and was suspecting Gastritis or Pancriatitis... or worse (my brother died of pancreatic cancer).

The pain worsened throughout the day Wednesday and my cat scan was scheduled for 2:45... and was done around 4. They had me drink 2 bottles of something and also injected me with Iodine. When it was done, we were told to wait there for a radiologist to read the scan and relay it to my doctor. (I thought this was unusual... and not a good sign at the time)

At about 6 pm, we were handed the CD of the scan and told to take it immediately to the Emergency Room of Medical City Dallas hospital across the street. Apparently I had Acute Appendicitis.

This was a surprise! We never suspected that.

We sat in the Emergency Room (actually I lay on a bed in the hall) from about 6 pm until 1:00 am) before a bed could be found. Hospital was very busy.  But they were very attentive (I was right across from the main desk).

Saw some strange cases go by... but that may be a post for another time. My story continues.

Eventually a doctor who introduced himself as the surgeon who would be operating on me came by and told me he wanted to do an appendectomy tonight, but there was no operating room available. But he was putting me on antibiotics and morphine in the meantime. At about 1:00 am I was taken to a room in the hospital.

At about 11:30 Thursday morning I had surgery and was kept overnight (maybe due to my age?). The surgeon had mentioned that I was the oldest patient with acute appendicitis he'd ever had. Apparently most with this diagnosis are younger...

Now it's 4:25 am Friday morning and I'm ready to go home. Everyone had been very kind and professional so I have no complaints. The guys in the ER were great; friendly, attentive, and very skilled with needles. They can only use my left arm due to breast cancer on my right side. But my poor left arm is running out of space (it has 5 injection sites in it with one being a permanent catheter).

Oh, great... they just took blood again and this time my vein collapsed (don't blame it)... so they had to dig around a bit (not fun). Now my poor left arm has 7 injection spots; 3 in the middle and 4 in the back of my hand.

I'm definitely thinking 'time to go home'.  They're supposed to discharge me today. Hope they do while I still have a drop of blood in me. Wonder what they do with all that blood? My doctor took blood Wednesday morning, CT tech injected Iodine, ER took blood again, and then in the rooms they took more blood daily.

But... again, I won't complain. The pain in my abdomen is gone! Thank goodness... a little sore, but not bad. My legs have some sort of massaging apparatus on them for circulation and I have to inhale 10X every hour into this breathing device (to prevent lung collapse? - some sort of precaution)

This was one unexpected adventure! But it could have been much worse. My appendix could have burst or the diagnosis could have been pancreatic cancer.  I'm good.

As awful as the whole situation was... and I wouldn't want to relive it, everyone who took care of me was kind, attentive, and efficient. Luckily I haven't been in a hospital in many many years, but have always been leary of having to go. This experience calmed my fears.

(oh, I forgot to mention that DH and my 2 sons were here with me almost the whole time - so I was well supported.)

Well, that's my update! Sorry it was so long. I did have to miss both my watercolor class Friday and my pottery class this morning, but definitely plan to make them next week! 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 5, 2017

First watercolor class... and a family get-together

Last Friday was my first watercolor class. I was apprehensive about it, but as it turns out, I'm only one of about 6 beginners in a class of... maybe 15.  Of course all we did is go over the supply list and schedule... and then our instructor did a short lecture and a demo so we would be able to start our first assignments. 

It involves getting acquainted with the colors and how they are used (basic color versus tints, shades, and non-bias colors). I actually found it very interesting and both the instructor and the people very much to my liking. Should be a fun class! (at least this was my first impression)

I haven't bought any supplies yet... so there's nothing to show as far as work is concerned.  Maybe next week.

Also my oldest grandson graduated from high school Saturday... so proud of him. He is joining the U.S. Air Force, has already signed up, and will be starting boot camp in a few weeks. The family all went to the graduation ceremony and then back to the house to party. It is so seldom that we get the whole immediate family together in one place that it was a weekend I will always remember. 

family pic without DH (who is taking pic) and youngest grandson

family pic without me (who is taking pic) and youngest grandson

me and all 4 grandkids

It is extremely difficult to get everyone in one place to take a photo. We were so concerned with keeping youngest granddaughter sitting long enough to take a few shots that I didn't even realize that youngest grandson must have gone upstairs. But we found him in time to take one of me and all 4 grandkids!

That's about it for my week... except our bell peppers are growing with leaps and bounds!

2 large peppers on bell pepper plant

Oh, and DH and I rented "The Shack" yesterday. It was good... not exactly what I expected, but good. Have a great week!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Playing 'catch-up'...

My oldest son and his family are in the process of moving to Hawaii. They have always loved visiting and planned to retire there when the time came. However, opportunities arose that allowed them to make this move now. So here are some pics just sent to us.

I'm not sure exactly where the pics were taken, but I know it is on the island of Oahu.

And DH and I just spent the last weekend in the Houston, TX and Lake Jackson area... visiting family. We ate at some great restaurants   (mostly seafood and Cajun), but also found a wonderful breakfast place where they serve fantastic grits (I love grits when they are cooked right!) and beignets (not the same as New Orleans, but very good!) And we found a place that served American Hot Chocolate, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and European Hot Chocolate! Since we were familiar with the first two, we decided to try the third. Wow! European Hot Chocolate was thick and rich... and like ambrosia (or as a Chocoholic, what I'd think ambrosia to be). We will return for more of that next time we visit.

We also went to the NASA Space Center as we hadn't been there since the kids were very young.  Took a few pics.

DH and brother by Space Shuttle
Space Pod

 and the next pic is of the NASA Command Center:

It was a fun visit! We got to spend time with family, eat very well, and see a few sights.

However, we did miss youngest grandchild's dance recital here at home while we were gone. We were sent this pic of her in her dance outfit. Haven't heard how she did yet, but probably will soon. She does look cute!

The cats are all doing fine. Tux, Julie, and Ghost are getting used to all the activity in the house that has taken place since the big move to Hawaii began. Actually Tux and Julie don't pay much attention, but Ghost stays under the bed a lot.

The outside ferals are all doing well. The mama with her 5 babies seems to have left them in the care of Cisco and Poncho (the 2 young cats that hang together) in the back yard. The little ones are eating and drinking on their own, but still try to nurse on Cisco... he/she and Poncho don't seem to mind and are surprisingly good with them.

Going to leave you with a picture of one of the box turtles eating with a feral. 

turtle and feral having breakfast

Don't know if I'll get a chance to post anything else this weekend, so I'll just wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day now! Have a great weekend and stay safe!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

New baby chicks!... and baby kittens, etc.

Daughter sent me this pic this week of newly hatched baby chicks at her house. Says mom is a new mom and being a bit mean and overprotective.... but they are precious. If you look closely (may want to enlarge the pic), you can see that one is dark, one is light, and the one on top is 'silverish'. I love baby chicks and chickens, but with all the feral cats around here, we could never have them.

Mentioning feral cats, a young mother showed up at our back door just this morning with 5 little black kittens. They look about 5 weeks old. They ate, played on the porch for a bit, then disappeared. I imagine she's got them someplace on the property or at a neighbor's.

DH and I walked at the mall this week and came across this hanging plant arrangement. 

We thought it was really an attractive display. This pond area also has ducks and turtles. The kids love it!

BTW, my friend and I went to see "Beauty and the Beast" yesterday. It was her birthday and she wanted to see it. I hadn't heard much about it myself. But it was very enjoyable and Emma Watson ('Hermione' from Harry Potter) as Beauty and Dan Stevens ('Matthew' from Downton Abbey) as the Beast did a great job.

And here's a pic of a neighbor's front walk with her yellow day lilies:


Well, that's about my news. Perhaps I'll close with this pic of my youngest grand daughter trying on heels at Macy's.

She's a hoot!

Have a good weekend... and Happy Mother's Day!


Friday, May 5, 2017

a correction... and pottery sale results

First of all... a correction... that last pic on recent post ("monkey mind strikes again") was NOT Julie, but Julie's deceased brother, Jack. I hurriedly looked for a picture to put at the end of my post and grabbed that one (Julie and Jack are very similar although Julie is half Jack's size and has that 'martingale' marking across her chest).  DH saw the pic pulled up on my computer where I had left it... and said, "Oh, I miss our Jack..." and I looked closely, and said, "Oops! I just posted that as Julie".  So correction noted! And here is a pic of Julie hiding out on my desk as we speak.

She found me...

Our Student pottery sale was this past Tuesday on campus. It was a one day sale (not like the 3 day one in November). It wasn't terribly successful as we aren't allowed to advertise much... so it's there for anyone (usually students and faculty) that happen to pass by.

We did OK. I sold my rooster, several chickens, and a fox... as well as a few functional pieces. But the best part of it was getting feedback from the buyers of what they seemed to like and buy. I was asked if I had any tiny roosters (like my chicken size)... which I didn't (but will next time). Someone bought one of my small goblets and wanted to know if I had any more (I did... at home, but had brought mostly larger ones with me - who knew?). And the man who bought my tiny fox was thrilled with it, had me sign it,  and wanted to know if I had made any more (I told him 'only one other and that one had gone to a friend in Canada').

Here are a few pics of the student sale:

Some of the potters have been throwing and hand-building for years. Others (like myself) took it up later in life, but still enjoy it immensely. 

They say Art is Life and Life is Art... and I never really thought about this until recently. Now I seem to see it everywhere. TV shows and movies are constantly depicting what is happening, has happened, or likely to happen... Art is Life and Life is Art.

I've seen art that I didn't understand, didn't feel the emotion that the Artist felt when the piece was created... and wondered why it was considered 'good'?  Now I realize that Art is as individual as the next person... everyone won't 'see' it  - but some WILL - And that is something extraordinary. Someone put something from themselves into a form (written, sculpted, painted, etc.) and someone else 'felt,  saw, or simply appreciated it. Amazing! 

Part of this thought came to me when one of the other potters bought one of my chickens and said, "I have to have him, he keeps talking to me..." I laughed and said, "Yes, I've taught them to do that... ".

OK, time to get on with my day... so much to do, so little time. 

"... always time to nap"

Sunday, April 30, 2017

my monkey mind strikes again...

Sunday morning breakfast

This is how DH and I started off our Sunday morning... crepes!  He had the Strawberry Cheesecake crepe and I had the Mixed Berry cream crepe - both delicious! 

Have had a lot on my mind lately. I've always called this my 'monkey mind'... when too many thoughts invade. This caused me not to sleep very well last night. Finally got up, did a few things, had a cup of tea and returned to bed just as the storms came through our area. Thunder and lightning didn't help either...  the storm did set off the truck alarm which added to the night's restlessness. But we were lucky here and didn't get the tornadoes that hit in and around Canton. We do keep those people in our thoughts and prayers... as there but for the grace of god, go any one of us.

My tiny container garden is doing OK. So far there's only red bell pepper, curly parsley, and basil. I still need to get some trailing rosemary to hang out front.

container garden

Oh, and I made some espresso shortbread cookies this afternoon to send to my daughter for her birthday. Haven't made these in a while and they are her favorite. We usually go down to visit her around this time, but since we were there for Spring Break have decided to put the trip off until later in the summer.

Espresso shortbread cookies

Also I've finally decided to 'put myself out there' (so to speak) and take a watercolor class this summer. I've always wanted to do this, and have dabbled in it on my own, but would love to know some real 'watercolor techniques'. The next 2 pics are ones that I absolutely love... (not my work!!... I wish it were) but would love to be able to create this type of watercolor on my own.

I have a fascination with seagulls and how they fly and land.  So I always try to capture their movement (perhaps it's a Jonathon Livingston Seagull thing...).

I did the following watercolor years ago... (please don't laugh, it is amateurish, and again I'm dabbling on my own). 

may have to enlarge it so see it well... colors are very  light

Anyway, I've been sketching gulls again recently, but want more instruction as to how to watercolor them. Here are a few of my gulls in flight.

And... we have a Student Pottery Sale coming up in a few days at the Studio. So much to do... (but as you can see, I'm never bored).  Have to decide what to put in the sale, get it all packed up, priced, and then work the sale from 8 to 4.  

Then there are other things going on within the family... moving, graduation, a trip to visit relatives... all coming up in the near future. So no wonder my mind is too busy to sleep on occasion. 

On a good note: when I do get up in the middle of the night, the cats are always happy to see me. Julie comes and sits where-ever I'm working and watches.  

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

much ado about nothing...

Julie sitting with my art supplies

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but things have been a bit busy.  Had a few doctors' appointments to take care of... and a tooth that was giving me trouble. Luckily all that is behind me now and it's just a matter of finishing up the semester's pottery projects in the next few weeks. 

The picture at the top is one of Julie helping me do a little touch-up on a few things. She is one of those cats that needs to be 'in the mist' of it whatever you're doing. If I'm quilting, she has to sit on the fabric, if I'm knitting, she has to keep an eye on that moving yarn, etc.  I think that's why she stations herself on the kitchen counter - so she can keep an eye on the goings on around her.

We have a bay leaf tree in our yard. On occasion I cut branches down to hang around the kitchen. It's great to keep moths away as well as to use in actual cooking. Julie likes to supervise the cutting.

checking out Sunday comics

And as you can see, this is her, "enough already..." look!
So I guess I'll close.

Happy TGIF tomorrow!!