Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not many words . . .

We were in Missoula today - it is Dad's last days. We did not take things with us so we could stay over. I will go back tomorrow morning early.

I will write again after.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful day with family and friends.
Enjoy your blessings!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

New week -

First, there is nothing different with Dad in Missoula. He is sleeping more and more. And he asks for water or his favorite apple juice or hot chocolate. I wanted to go over today, but I woke with the room spinning and have thrown up everything I put down today. It is not a good day to try to the 3 hour drive to Missoula - and certainly not a good thing to take into a nursing home.

Our Helena friends came for the weekend. Laurena and I have known each other since we were freshman in college here at Montana State University. Bob and her husband, Ken, went to the football game and watched the cross-state rival (University of Montana) beat our own MSU. It was expected as they have a great team and will probably take the national championship at their level.

Laurena and I stayed home and sewed these crazy bibs for adults. You can use them for ribs and spaghetti or you can use them to eat in front of the TV. A good friend had given two to Bob and I a couple years ago and they got stuck away in a drawer and not used. We were laughing about how difficult it is to keep our clothes from spills when we eat in front of the TV. So - we made up 4 each after a quick trip to Joann fabrics.

It was a good weekend, but I knew by noon yesterday that I was not up to par. I hope this passes quickly. We are planning to have Thanksgiving here and with Stan, Rainy and the little boys and then all head to Missoula on Friday. My sister is in Missoula this week from Phoenix.

Friday, November 20, 2009

And the week continues . . .

There is no change with Dad in Missoula - he has good days where is is aware, eats something and talks and days where he sleeps all day. I will go back over on Sunday or Monday unless sooner if things change.

Weston came to visit yesterday afternoon (Thursday). He hadn't been out here alone for three weeks - since before his Colorado trip, our Billings doctor trip, and the Missoula Dad trip. He wanted to make gingerbread men. I have never done that so I had some new gingerbread cookie cutters and we gave it our "first try". He helped me roll the dough after it cooled and he cut some of the critters out. And, we had fun just frosting them - no decorating. It was our "first try". He loved them!

When we were in the store before we started our baking, he saw a toy guitar and he really wanted it. I said, "I think you have one at home, don't you?" He agreed he did. But, you know how it is, I bought it for him anyway because he assured me "I need one for Grandma's House". So after the cookies and supper, it was time to go home. He wanted to take the new guitar home. I said again, "I think you have one at home, don't you?". This time he looked at me very seriously, "No, Grandma, it is a violin". He is 4! There seems to be no better time. Of course I thought that when he was 1 - and then 2 - and then 3 - and now it continues. We watched our first run of "The Polar Express" - we would pause it as we did more rolling and cutting.

I also had my hair colored and trimmed yesterday - the first time since my "boy cut" in August. I had wanted to let it go natural - again! But the gray is not pretty - and the natural part is too dark. So - it is bright with highlights again - lots of them! I like it for this time of year and my soul likes the extra light as well.

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death. -- Robert Fulghum

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nothing much has changed . . .

Yesterday and today - no change in Missoula with Dad. I am wanting to go back over for a couple days on Sunday, but I will go sooner if things change.

Tonight I had a great dinner with an old technology/professional development friend from Dallas who is in the state to meet with several school superintendents. It was fun to remember the "good old days" - and laugh about the fun we had doing workshops together for schools. We are so much alike - the good and the bad. It was a fun night on her expense account. . . ouch!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another day on the road . . .

Bob and I went to Missoula today. Mom called last evening and said that Dad was much worse and not expected to live so we hit the road early. It is 210 miles each way to Missoula from here. When we got there, we found that he was about the same as he has been, but the doctors finally decided that they should discontinue the cancer treatment for prostate cancer (he is almost 91) And they placed him in a hospice type program that the nursing home there uses rather than Hospice. That was very upsetting to Mom (she is almost 90) and she saw that as the end.

I suspect Dad will probably die within the next 6 months, but I don't believe it will be today. The nursing home and his doctor keep him pretty drugged up so they can "manage" his behavior. He doesn't like being there - who would? But, he will not leave Mom in Missoula and they will not move here - we tried that 4 years ago. They stayed for 6 months - hated every hour and let me know about it daily and then moved back on their own. One thing for sure - they are tough and independent. God bless them both.

I will go over for a couple days next week and each week thereafter. It might help Mom - she gets a bit confused from being so weary and she still insists on driving so I can help with that. Although, she really doesn't want anyone intervening in her life. She could have selected a senior apartment within walking distance of Dad, but it wasn't "fancy" enough. Did I say they are tough and independent? So she has to drive through the worst traffic in Missoula for several miles to get from her apartment to his nursing home. She could ask for transportation from where she lives or from her sister (much younger) or call a taxi (they can afford that), but she prefers to drive. She goes about every other day. Did I say they were tough and independent?

I loved seeing them both and enjoying Dad's sense of humor even though his speech is slurred from the drugs. I will probably be just like them. I just hope to live so long. Tough, independent, stubborn, long-living, land-loving Montanans - not bad at all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Home again . . .

It is good to get home so I will share some pictures today. There were some pleasant surprises. Our good neighbors had plowed us out. As we drove west from Billings, I kept thinking, "no way, can there be 2 feet of snow at home." There was just a dusting in Billings and very little along the way although the roads showed the remains of many drivers in the ditch and some still there including a turned over semi-truck. But, once we came to Bozeman, the 2 feet of snow was a reality. And this is what it looked like this morning after a day to settle and melt some as the sun came out yesterday. This is the walk from the driveway to our back door into the kitchen.

I was also greeted by the new blooms of my Christmas cactus. It begins blooming every year at this time and it continues until about the first of April. The pot is one I made years ago and it is "hand built" from slab. I just like it beside the plant. The plant sits on an old piano stool. The plant came from clippings from my aunt who got them from my grandmother who passed away over 70 years ago. It is a family plant.

Of course - I did have to stop at Fiberworks in Billings before we left town. It is the most amazing quilt and fabric store I have ever been in. It is like walking into a visual symphony of beautiful quilt samples and fabric. It is owned by Laura Heine and she is a wonderful fabric artist and does amazing longarm quilting. Her focus is more on texture than pattern and the piecing or applique is always enhanced perfectly. You know how sometimes it is fun to see different quilt tops quilted differently? With her work, I can not imagine the quilting being anything other than what it is. I bought this pattern. I am not sure I will make it as I just love the pattern. The quilt itself is amazing, but I am not sure I want to replicate it - rather just enjoy looking at the picture. . . drooling on the picture may be more accurate.

Bob is off to the football game - the MSU Bobcats are playing Sacramento State from California. It is cold out - maybe 31 degrees for the high today - so one of his good friends is using my ticket. They will both enjoy that and I can stay home to quilt. It works for me! I am so thankful Bob is not recovering from surgery - and we will work on the recovering part.

I also came home to some overripe bananas and decided to make whole wheat banana muffins. I need to get with the baking and cooking and try some low fat recipes. This one has little oil and I replaced part of it with applesauce. It is my part in helping him get to a better place with the health issues - and it sure won't hurt me either.

So, the coffee if fresh and the muffins are hot - I wish you were here to share a visit, a cuppa and a bite or two. It is good to be home . . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lots of snow and no surgery now. . .

We are still in Billings. Bob had another test this morning and the final decision by the team of doctors is to try some drugs and check it again in 3 months. So we are enjoying the idea no surgery now and we will do this again in early February.

And - we talked with our neighbors at home and we have over 24 inches of snow and the power was out for 6 or 7 hours. So, we decided to wait and go home tomorrow.

We had a nice supper out tonight with some long time friends. It has been a good day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some good news . . .

We got here to Billings and Bob had the ultra sound done here again at the cardiovascular clinic here. They did not believe the blockage was as bad as we had been told in Bozeman. They said they would place it at between 50 and 69% on each side and they follow the guideline that unless it is over 70% and there are symptoms of mini-stroke that the surgery has more possibility of stroke than that blockage level. He does have some symptoms, however, so they are going to do a CT scan with dye in the morning to verify the readings here as there has been discrepency in the various tests. But, it sounds better to us. If they see a need for surgery, it would not be considered an emergency and we can schedule it for next week or the week after. There could be a kink or severe turn in the arteries that are reading as heavy blockage and that will show up tomorrow.

But for now, we are feeling better. We have just returned to the hotel after a wonderful dinner out at a favorite restaurant. Our hotel is right in the parking lot of this large medical complex and it is a wonderful hotel. We go out the front door of the hotel and walk into the entry to the cardiovascular clinic.

Veteran's Day . . .

I remember a story of my Uncle Paul when he was in Korea - one that has guided my life for all these past decades. He wrote a letter home to Mom and she was reading it in the car to Dad as we drove home to the farm from town. I was in the back seat and I can see the back of that seat, their heads and hear her reading just as if it happened a moment ago. He wrote how they were on the front lines in a trench and shells were being lofted from friendly fire behind them and the enemy in front of them. His buddy next to him was hit. It was dark and cold and they were without any protection. He remembered Psalms 23 from memory and repeated it over and over until morning came. That visual and these words have guided my life and held me strong for all of my life . . .

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I watched the memorial service yesterday for the fallen soldiers from Fort Hood. I watched every minute and some parts many times. I could not stop the tears. These words in particular, from President Obama, stay with me today:

"Tomorrow is Veterans Day. It is a chance to pause, and to pay tribute – for students to learn of the struggles that preceded them; for families to honor the service of parents and grandparents; for citizens to reflect upon the sacrifices that have been made in pursuit of a more perfect union.

For history is filled with heroes. You may remember the stories of a grandfather who marched across Europe; an uncle who fought in Vietnam; a sister who served in the Gulf. But as we honor the many generations who have served, I think all of us – every single American – must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who have come before.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes."

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometimes . . .

For the past few months, I have been trying to stay out of the spider web. I had an epiphany one night in a hotel in Missoula in early August. I realized that I get in trouble when I think I can "right the world". This usually manifests itself in my thinking that if I just talk with certain folks, they will come to "understand", "see the light", and then all will be well - or at least "well" as I see it.

In the middle of the night, awake and trying to figure out a better way, I realized that it is like a spider's web for me. I need to not go there. Stay out of the web . Let people think their thoughts and say their words, but don't enter that web. I can only "do" me.

This morning, and I know it is because I am very tense about Bob's coming surgery, I found a couple things that are potential webs to me. Why would someone post on a public quilting discussion board about another person's business practices - of course no names, but lots of hints - but why do that? If you have an issue with someone's business practices, take it up directly with that person and resolve it there. Can one event deemed "unprofessional" be resolved by another unprofessional act? Now I am reminding myself to stay out of that web.

And, why is it okay, even meritorious, to openly criticize a huge section of our world who follow a different religion? I can understand that as the world works to become one in peace, we have a lot of work to do. There are changes that are difficult for everyone, lives lost that shouldn't be, wounds that never heal - but it is the journey we are on and one for which we have to find our way as humans. As soon as we post our side being best, in song or deed or event or token, we ostracize the other. That is one huge web that has no place on a quilting discussion board. So, why go there?

Maybe I should stay away from quilting discussion boards. That might be the real web. Hmmm, I will have to think about that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tote is finished. . .

And I am very happy with it. I made one first and now have two others to make for gifts from the same fabric. This one is for me! It is the "Open City Tote" from Quilts Illustrated and is designed by Penny Sturges. I first saw it made up on LAChat by a member there (if you are a member you can see it at that link) and that is where I got my first inspiration. I used home dec fabric from Joann's that was on sale for the outside and quilt fabric for the inside. I love the shape and all of the little pockets inside. I like it even better than I thought I would and that is always a great surprise.

Taking a nap . . .

This big guy was taking a nap right outside the door of our bedroom. I took this picture through the door so it is not very crisp. Then I walked to the back patio door to take another picture from further away. I quietly opened the door, he woke up, but sat still while I took his picture. He did not even seem wary. His entire harem of 9 or so other deer (females and older babies) are in the backyard sleeping and eating with him. He is just watching and snoozing as they go about their business.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What we know . . .

We are set to go to Billings next week for consultation and surgery. We have been advised to plan to stay for several days and I know everything will be okay. Bob will have carotid artery surgery to remove blockage. It is amazing that he has over 70% blockage on one side and almost 70% blockage on the other side. He is not overweight, does not have high cholesterol, never smoked, has always been atheletic and exercised all his life. The other arteries in his body are clear. His doctor was shocked as well. I think the "not knowing what the solution would be" is worse than the coming events. We feel confident that we are now on the right path and recovery will be good. They will do the worse side and then make a decision on the other one for later.

I also had a couple more facial moles removed today. One of them was very difficult and was quite a little surgery and very painful. (I feel silly even saying that considering what Bob is going to go through - but it did hurt a bunch) I figured I might as well go ahead as with this as planned because it does not matter to me with everything else going on whether or not I have stitches and bandages on my face. I really like this dermatologist. She is a pretty straight forward doctor and I like that. But she did tell me that she knew the last one was going to be a lot more painful and more of a procedure so she saved it until last. She said she thought I would probably not have the others removed if she had done it first. She was right.

I did get the stitches out from the removals on Monday and the doctor was amazed that they had healed so well. I didn't tell her I used my secret "potion" once I could. I use emu oil - great stuff. It helps things heal quickly, minimizes wrinkles, and helps arthritis when rubbed into sore areas.

So - after a nervous day of waiting for Bob's surgery schedule, eating all of the ice cream in the freezer (well, almost anyway) and getting through my "recovery" - tomorrow will be a better day to get some stuff done here so we are ready for next week and for a couple weeks of recovery for Bob after that.

Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts - we appreciate both so much!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A bit more . . .

Only a bit of sewing today - it was a busy day. We started out at the hospital and ended up the day at the hospital. Bob will need surgery as soon as it can be scheduled. They can't do it here, so the doc is sending us to a specialist in Billings (about 150 miles east of here) if they can do it in the next few days or else we will travel further. It has to be done soon.

I delivered a couple quilts today and begged off taking any more. I am officially retired again from doing quilts for customers - this time for good I hope! I have only a two here from good friends to finish and one QOV which I enjoy doing. I love quilting and have some other ways to make my Miss Daisy and Hoke worth their keep.

I am saying prayers and sending love to the families of all of the soldiers at Fort Hood. That was such a terrible tragedy today. About 15 years ago, I did quite of bit of education consulting in Killeen, TX near Fort Hood and am familiar with that area. It just breaks my heart to know there is so much pain tonight in so many homes. God bless them all and God Bless America!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not much news . . .

I worked on the purses this morning and we spent most of the afternoon at the doctor's office with Bob. We won't know anything for sure until we go back tomorrow for a couple more scans.

I started the purse and realized I had enough fabric for three so I cut out three and got started. I had to quit in the middle to go to town, but here are the pictures of where I stopped. I loaded them on Miss Daisy with some fleece and have done some quilting. I will get two quilted and have to get some more fleece for the third one - who knew I would end up making three purses. I am going to love this purse and I will use the other two for Christmas gifts.

Here is a cute picture of my older son Stan when he went fishing a couple days ago. This is the brown he caught on the Madison - one of our many "blue ribbon trout streams" in southwest Montana. He is a "catch and release" guy and he caught this fly fishing. Look at that smile - you would think he was eight again. We stopped at his office after the doc visit to hear the whole story as Rainy and the boys are in Colorado so he really needed to tell and retell it several times.

More tomorrow. . .

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Change of plans. . .

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage." ~ Lao Tzu

Today everything was so uneasy - you know the kind of feeling. Things are just "not quite right", but you are not sure what it is. Finally it hit me - I need to change my travel plans and go with Bob to his doctor's appointment tomorrow. He has some rather serious health concerns that have come to light and he kept saying he would be fine, but once I decided I would not be "fine" unless I went with him, things evened out and the jitters left. I know if it were me going under the same circumstances, I would want him with me. And, so it shall be.

I am going to have a purse sewing private retreat tomorrow morning and plan to make the purse shown here. It is what I was going to work on with my friend at our sewing day. I posted this pic a couple days ago and tonight I stopped and got some iron-on fleece to use for batting as suggested by the pattern. I will post progress pics as I work tomorrow. I want to get an early start as the doctor's appointment isn't until 3.

Also I have two quilts ready for delivery and will get another one loaded. This one is a QOV from a local quilter so I am going to "let Hoke do it".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Interesting Day . . .

I had the courage today to go to a dematologist and have two facial moles removed. I have not liked them for years, but just didn't feel like I wanted to go have them removed as I knew it would take a couple stitches on each. So I went for a consult and the doctor said she could do two of them right then and there - and it wasn't bad at all. I will go back on Friday and have two more removed and then next Monday have stitches out from these todays. I am feeling pretty good about it and so glad I am getting them done. My mother had them in the same place and she used stuff you buy to remove corns years ago to remove hers - I didn't have that kind of need to have them gone.

Just a little more work on the Breakfast Club quilt this evening. I try to work on it for at least 30 minutes each day and it is getting done. It is a bit over half done as I finished a couple more blocks tonight that are not in this picture. It will be a nice little lap quilt for Mom for Christmas - maybe I will put flannel on the back.

The weather here is going to be gorgeous all week. I am planning to head to Helena on Wednesday for a sew day and then on to Missoula Thursday for a friend and parent visit if all goes well here. Tomorrow is another interview for the possible education consulting that I might consider again. It will be interesting.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November . . .

This is one of my favorite months and I love Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays. I love Christmas as well, but Thanksgiving is such a peaceful time of giving thanks with family and friends. It is a holiday of good character without so much of the commercialism that we have now with Christmas.

We went to the football game yesterday and the MSU Bobcats won! That is a good thing as about a third of the team as H1N1. I read that if you were born before 1950 (also heard befoe 1954) you are less likely to get this virus. Another reason to be thankful, huh?

Then we went to Stan and Rainy's house to have fun "trick or treating" with the kids. Weston enjoyed giving out the candy more than he liked going around the neighborhood. It was a really, really good day.

"I will waste not even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness. I know that the seeds I sow I will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will plant only good seeds this day." -- Og Mandino, Author