Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Took a Bath the Other Day

And it was just what the doctor ordered. Seriously!

No kidding, I bet it has been more than five years since last I filled our bathtub with super hot water, and took a nice soak. Lovely, actually.

From my last post everyone assumed I was getting near the end of things, and oh, I wish that were true, however, it was not. Over the weekend I began noticing some other problems which I kept wishing away. Unfortunately that did me no good.

So, Monday I called the office, and explained my situation, hoping that a phone call would solve things. But, it did not. Please come in Tuesday morning. Twice in the span of five days when I'd gone SEVEN years without a visit to the doctor? Say it ain't so!

By the morning I was once again a weak and sick puppy, having Bruce drive me the mile there! My bp numbers were so good, probably because I was so down by then. Anyway, I'll spare you the details, but following an examination, and another prescription, I am, once again on the mend.

Bringing cheer to me throughout the weekend, this lovely bouquet arrived from Tom's Mum, and Dad. Such a beautiful array of colors!
After yet another day on the couch, during which time I watched four, yes four documentaries. Thank God for Netflix, or should I say thank Jon and Alissa as we are sharing their service! Here's what I watched in order:

  • 20 Feet from Stardom: Highly interesting and entertaining look at the singers who make the big stars sound good. And, sometimes look good. 
  • Good Ol' Freda: Another winner about the 17 year old girl who was secretary to the Beatles! As a former President of a Beatles fan club this was right up my alley. If you can imagine, thinking of how people (me) share everything, she kept silent about her role for 50 years!
  • The Artist is Present: A documentary about Marina Abramovic, the performance artist, I watched this thinking I would not really like it, but, much to my surprise I did. 
  • Gerhard Richter Painting: Recently one of Richter's paintings sold for 45 million dollars! How does he do his work--watch and see.
Thinking of my fan club days, and my children have heard this story more than once, I believe I was president because I started it. That's one thing, the other is that in a case of total mortification for a 10 year old, the refreshments I served at our home, at my Mother's behest, were water and saltine crackers. I suppose today some folks might applaud the lack of sugar, however, even to this day, I am not one of them.

Before my life was turned upside down, at least in the short run, I spray painted some vases purchased at an estate sale. I'm trying to add small bits of the aqua family because of the new sofa.
Bruce has the spray station set up on the side of the house making it easy to fiddle around with spray paint. Anyway, yesterday I was up and about, not doing much, but at least not on the couch. I spray painted a heart thing I bought at Hobby Lobby. I think they call it pressboard? This morning I went out and saw it in the day light.
Now you see the previous paint job joined to the last one! You'll notice the water; a wild and windy rainstorm came through during the overnight hours. So wild and windy, the rain lashed the screen of the open window above my head. Around 5 this morning I woke to tiny sprinkles of rain on my face! 

What is the heart for? In a first for me,  I'm copying something I saw on the internet. Bruce is in Virginia, so after a terrific two hour phone call with Karen Hirsch, I began making this:
It is a bit like doing a jig saw puzzle trying to make it all fit together. What does B being in Virginia have to do with anything? Well, the question of dinner, such as it has been the last eleven days, did not come up. I am eating again, however, my appetite is certainly diminished for now.

I do have some excellent news and that is that last night I took my final Flagyl. I cannot tell you enough how happy this makes me, in more ways than one. The first thing Bruce said when returning from picking it up a week ago Monday was, "honey, I have some bad news for you; drinking wine while on the medicine is a big fat no-no." Apparently the side effects of doing so can make you just as sick as the colitis, so naturally I did not chance it. Just when I thought the day would arrive to once again imbibe, I read that it is best to wait three days after taking it! I'm thinking, if all goes according to plan, that a Saturday date night might be the time to reinstate my wine drinking ways!

And now to another bath.....

Monday, February 23, 2015

Resuming Normal Life?

Seeing the caller ID on the ringing house phone, I could tell someone was calling from ORMC, however, I was surprised to learn who it was. "Gail, this is Dr. Serafimovska calling, are you alright?"
She, whose name is on my prescription for Flagyl, the nastiest tasting medicine you can ever imagine. But you've heard that complaint before, haven't you? I assure you, I'm not exaggerating in the least.

The true purpose of her call? She told me that she'd seen Bruce at the hospital, asking directions to the 10th floor, and was worried I'd returned. In truth, she probably wondered if she'd missed something, and who can blame her? She said she was scouring the hospital data base to see if I was re-admitted, and didn't see my name, but still decided to check. Assuring her I was managing okay at home, I told her the real reason Bruce was there, and it is not good.

Matt Stromberg is dying.

I suppose all of us who knew his history are not surprised, but gee whiz, we all hoped he'd be the rare case who would beat a recurrence of brain cancer. Turns out Matt was in the hospital at the same time as I, however, God bless him, he's still there, unable to walk, and tiring easily. I'd had a text from Angela on Saturday evening about him being back in the ER, unable to walk, but wasn't able to get back to her right away. I'd made some cookies for our Friday night dinner guests, and Saturday, dropped some off at the Strombergs for him, as he loves my cookies.
This was a new recipe, one from a Rachel Ray magazine, given to me by Jon and Alissa for Christmas. Red Velvet Crinkles sounded like a nice Valentine cookie to me, and it was pretty good, albeit, not nearly as pretty as red velvet cake, that's for sure!

Anyway, by the time I returned home from my 24 hours in the hospital (was it really that short??), I called her to get an update. It was then that I learned the cancer had metastasized down his spine with no real chance for recovery. She told me this sad news on their 7th anniversary. Need I say more?

Bruce had a nice visit with Matt yesterday afternoon, and his report was thus: Matt is still smiling. He's 47 years old, and not a nicer guy could you meet. Moving into the house that Mae and Charlie lived in for 30+ years, Matt was our son Matt's age. He set to work renovating, but it was not until Angela came into the picture that the renovating went into overdrive, and seriously, even in their new home, it has never stopped. And you thought I was bad?

We may have liked the cookies, but Matt, not so much. As soon as I'm able, I need to fulfill his request for chocolate chip cookies, which hopefully will be very soon!

As to the dinner I made for our guests, for the first time in my life, I purchased brussel sprouts to roast alongside cauliflower.
They seemed to like it, finishing off all of the bowl down to the dark bits! I, on the other hand, thought the dish may have benefited from a more liberal dousing of vinegar.

What else is new? This has been sorely tempting me, but I know better than to attempt chocolate just yet.
I don't know about your grocery store but our Publix went nuts for Valentines Day.
Heart overload!! These, of course, are photos I discovered on my camera once I was well enough to get out of bed, which I've been doing more of as the week progressed.

Before I forget: I stopped at  a garage sale, pre cdiff, finding in a bin of books,  a 1950 yearbook from FSU. How about this logo?
Flipping through, I came across a photo of Dr. Doak Campbell. Haven't heard of him before? You would if you'd gone to a FSU game--the stadium is named after him! He oversaw the transition from an all female college to co-ed and started the football team. My friend Karen Howard will get a kick out of this.

One reason I stayed in our room for so long is close access to the bathroom, however, on Saturday afternoon I thought I'd see how long I lasted in the living room. Turns out, a long time. Long enough to watch FOUR documentaries on Netflix, the first television I'd watched in a week. All of them very interesting. In order they are



Seriously, and I mean seriously, watch Muscle Shoals--simply an amazing story. In a crazy coincidence, Nancy also watched it on Saturday night, having taped it from PBS earlier. Still shaking my head over that!

For the record, I might just have the nicest friends and family there could ever be. Flowers, soup, cards, visits, emails, fb comments--you all have made this so much more bearable with your acts of kindness, I can't thank you enough. My illness is fading, sort of like this tulip:
and the truth is, I wish it were long gone, but I've got some days ahead of me still. Can you imagine how difficult this is for the likes of me? Can hardly sit still to save my life? Well, I've had to, and I can't say that I like it any better, but putting things into perspective (see above), helps. Dr. Parillo has given me the go ahead to stop the medication at 10 days, rather than 14, and I could NOT be more grateful. Let's hope he's right, and the bed looks like this during the day from now on!!!
Until we meet again....

Gail


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Visiting a Foreign Country

At least that is what it felt like to me. My mode of transportation? An ambulance.

Do your very best not to have to visit an emergency room anytime soon because that is exactly what it feels like. Mind you, I did not plan to make the trip, however, it was out of my hands.

Sunday, maybe around 2 in the afternoon, my stomach began hurting--not horrible, just a little ache in my belly. The day was beautiful, the crowds plentiful. While chatting with a Scottish/Canadian woman about the weather where she lives in Canada, I began sweating profusely and told her I did not feel well. I sat in my chair for a moment, however, I could tell I was going to pass out so, I'm sure, much to her surprise, I laid myself down on the cool concrete in the back of my tent, with the fallen oak leaves as my pillow. Vaguely I remember some young ladies asking if I needed help, and I begged them to take me to the bathroom at the nearby World of Beer. Getting me to my feet, they did what they could...

My recollection of the next part is shaky at best, but somehow our young policeman got involved, I kept begging to be taken to the bathroom, and the next thing I know I'm once again on the ground vomiting. Meanwhile Eduardo, the policeman, has called an ambulance and a whole scad of fireman are lifting me onto a stretcher, asking me questions, including if I knew who the President was. Answering yes, they insisted I say his name, which is a silly recollection I know. I also remember people kept saying "food poisoning." If only it were that simple.

Once at the hospital I was finally allowed to get into the bathroom and it was not pretty. After being in the hallway for a short time I was wheeled into room 18, just across from the station where I could see what was going on. It was then that I realized things in healthcare have dramatically changed. As in, there is no care. Yes, they poke and prod you, but behind all of that there is no feeling of compassion whatsoever. Computer screens line the oval desk, and for most of my 17 hours in the emergency room, the nurses had their faces glued to screens.

Remembering the scene at the market when total strangers came to my aid, during every one of my trips to the bathroom, which were extremely difficult carrying an IV bag, and multiple wires hanging off of me, not ONE person came to my aid. Fortunately, Bruce arrived to help, after getting a call from Dina, my closest market neighbor now that Jim and Kathy are gone.

Then too, apparently all that computer work is not helping much as I had to relate my story to multiple people who could just as easily have read it, or so I presume. The business office girl was sweet though when asking for our money.

I had a nurse on the day shift who told me her name, yet never once came back to check on me. There are various techs whose job is a mystery. Plus there are nearly more men working as nurses, as there are women, which is also quite foreign to me. But what, as a former health care worker is most foreign to me, is the lack of compassion, something I cannot for the life of me understand.

Because of a former hospital stay that left me with a very bad taste in my mouth, I had no interest in staying even one more minute than necessary to stabilize my condition. One bright spot was a darling resident named Matt, who was probably near our own Matthew's age, who was sweet and understanding. He gave us options about tests. On the other hand, he painted the bleakest picture to sway our decision! After the CT scan he told Bruce and I that if left untreated by IV antibiotics, severe colitis, which is what the scan showed, could lead to a perforated bowel which no one would sign up for if given the opportunity.

And so I stayed in room 18 throughout the night as there were no beds available. With the aid of a pain pill, I slept off and on in spite of being on a stretcher. At least my night nurse was good, not especially sweet, but competent. Around 5 in the morning they asked for a sample, which sadly I was able to provide and the next thing I know it is 7 and Bruce is arriving, his clothes covered by a protective gown. It turns out I have C diff. The severe kind.

Shortly thereafter, a girl arrived with a stretcher, which she proceeded to, with great fanfare, clean with bleach wipes in front of us. It was then that I was moved to a room, and another nurse, with not an ounce of caring, asked me all over again what had happened. It was all I could do to be civil! A doctor arrived, giving me a treatment plan which consists of a liquid diet, and a VERY nasty tasting pill to be taken three times a day for two weeks! If I could tolerate the pill, I could go home, and so we did just that. What most amazed me was that one minute everyone is wearing a yellow gown around me, and the next we are making our way downstairs as if nothing had happened.
The hospital is big and fancy, with a beautiful lobby, which is all well and good, but where is the beauty of the workers? It feels as if you are in a restaurant with servers bringing you all sorts of dishes you don't want, not like a place of healing, or health care, for that matter.

Surprised I'm blogging? Me too, but I wanted to get this down while it was still fresh in my memory.

A bright spot is now I have some beautiful flowers to gaze at while lying in bed, the tulips from Matt and Tom, and the orchid arrangement from Dave and Michelle.
And, of course, my darling Bruce, who thankfully was not scheduled to travel this week. :)

How long will it be before I am better? Don't know just yet but if the power of positive thinking helps at all, it won't be long!

Friday, February 13, 2015

I Can Hear Clearly Now

They may be a slight exaggeration, but I know any day now I will.

For the last few weeks I've had quite the time with mucous. I know that sounds gross, but I'm only being honest with you. Night after night, the stand beside my bed would have a pile of tissues on it by morning. Well, as it turns out, this nuisance led to otitis media with effusion, which led to me not being able to hear out of my left ear, which has proven to be a bother for more reasons than one. I was lucky indeed to get in to see Dr. Parillo on Wednesday afternoon, during which time he diagnosed my problem, and put me on a steroid pack along with a nasal spray. It is simply remarkable what medicine can do for a person. Although my hearing is still not back, the mucous problem is abating, and eventually I will once again be able to hear. Or, that is how it is supposed to work! Tincture of time, as my old friend Dr. March would say. Tincture of time.

Michele, my sister-in-law in Minnesota remarked that my last post covered a lot of ground. Where has she been? Don't they all?

Let's begin with the sky, shall we? Because B went to Tyson's Corner yesterday, I went out to get the newspaper this morning, something he likes to do. It was sweet with the little half moon between the bare-ish (not a word, but let's use it anyway!) trees, and dawn just lighting the sky. As well, the streetlight.
A light trifecta!! Yesterday, it just so happens that I took a photo of the end of that day while I was meeting up with the gang at Hillstones to celebrate Catherine's birthday. Lovely, as well.
The plan was to meet for drinks lakeside on the beautiful grounds, however, most of us are weather wimps, and thought it was too cold! Probably 60 degrees at sunset. We are due for some even colder weather this weekend, however, the skies will continue their sunny ways and you know how that makes everything better. Or, at least I think so.

I nearly freaked while coming home last night. Pulling up to the stop light at Ferncreek and Michigan, glancing to my left, what should I see, but Road Warrior parked in front of Johnny's Fillin Station! Some of you know, while others do not, but this VW van, which to date I had seen once two years ago, has made me a fair amount of money. Relatively speaking, mind you. Anyway, the day I saw it backing into Lake Conway was a good one for me. I have always wondered why, in this small part of town, I'd never seen it again. Not the best photo taken out the car window, but it'll do.
Now I have. :)

Are you wondering how the other sofa looks? Wonder no more!! As a review, here's the before:
Ta Da!!
The fabric swatches on the couch are me wondering about throw pillows. I've made one using the brown pillow pictured above, covered with the middle fabric. In a first for me, I learned how to put the button in the middle. Could I possibly be happier with the outcome of the sofas? No, an emphatic no!

Bruce did some frame painting the other day, completing five of them.
We tried, or I should say, he tried, a new color mix on the flower pot one, taken at Sue's house, if you're wondering. Bruce cringes any time I change one out at the market because he is very particular, which I know comes as no surprise to some of you, on how the canvases go in the frame.
The bench brush on the far left belonged to my father. And yes, there is a red coat of paint, followed by, I believe it is called Sea Glass. What do you think?

In more painting news, we saw this on Saturday coming home from Bill's house.
I wonder if he's coming back to finish the job?

Let's move on to food. Remember me talking about roasted cauliflower and how I like it dark? I was not kidding.
Yummy! So, that is quite the easy dish to make. I learned the hard way about another food I'm fixing to show you--not quite so easy. While picking up orange juice I noticed both the sign and contraption.
Inside the store I duly noted the pecans bagged in either one pound, or five. I chose the one. Although the sign said they would only crack the bigger bags, he offered to do mine. Well, cracking and shelling are two entirely different things as I was to learn. Here's how they look when they come out.
Although delicious, getting them out of those shells is not the easiest, making me think , going forward, I may just be sticking to the bagged ones at Costco. It did, on the other hand, remind both of us of our childhood when shelled nuts were quite the luxury. I am wondering what sort of machine does that?

Had enough of me for the day?

You might think by now I would run out of things to write about wouldn't you? Not yet my friends, not yet!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

February is Flying By

Do you agree?

I suppose the folks in Boston would be the first to disagree as this winter certainly must be testing even the heartiest New Englander. So far it seems as if we will go another winter without a freeze, although technically there is still time left for that foolishness. What we have had is more rain than usual, another inch fell yesterday, beginning in the afternoon, and continuing into the night. I laid in bed finishing All The Light We Cannot See listening to a small rain outside our window. All I'll say about that is there is a reason I waited a month for the library to deliver it!

Yesterday afternoon while drying off after a shower I heard the sound of many birds calling. I love it when the windows are open; the new ones are so airtight during the summer I feel such a disconnect with nature. Anyway, earlier the crows were feeding like mad out front, so I thought it was them, however, much to my surprise it was the ROBINS! I wish this were better, but it is not.
As you may be able to tell it was drizzling--I actually threw on my robe and went outside quickly with my camera to get this shot! In the middle of the afternoon no less! Because they were everywhere, I did go inside to get dressed, returning to the rain with an umbrella this time. I followed them down the street to the house in the middle of the cul-de-sac where they were feeding in the yard.
Perhaps they will return today?

It was a bird kind of day because earlier, during my bike ride, I once again saw my eagle who seems to be getting bigger, or maybe it is another one?
By now we are kind of used to this sort of thing, however, I lived most of my life never once seeing an eagle in the wild. So, I'm still excited every time I come across this scene. While waiting patiently, well, as patiently as I'm able, I turned around to see a mockingbird chilling on a hedge.
I once heard someone say that when you hear a bird call in Florida, chances are it is a mockingbird!

I have some good news for you.....Ken is miraculously better! In an act of God, or fate, however, you choose to interpret it, when the stroke occurred they were having company, one of whom knew what to do for a stroke victim! Stabilizing him, he called the ambulance, and in the nick of time he was given that new miracle drug that reverses the effects of a stroke if given soon enough. Soon enough indeed, he was at the market Sunday!!!
Looking as cute as can be! I needn't tell you how their recent marriage made all the difference as far as his hospitalization went.

The market was super busy again, with gorgeous weather bringing folks out in droves. Generally I don't post the market photos, however, this one showcasing two of my favorites is kind of pretty.
Oh how I love radishes! Recently I saw a recipe for roasting them, which I've yet to try, but everyone knows how delicious roasted cauliflower is. The darker the better in my opinion.

Oh what the heck, here's another one from Lake Eola, not technically at the market, but at the park anyway. Can you even imagine feeding this dog?
Those of you who have been with me for the ride, know that when I began the market, there were about 15 vendors, certainly in the summer for sure. Unbelievably, on Sunday, there were 102!!!
They just keep spreading! And the city wants it to keep growing! Bruce had just left the market when Dana called him asking if he would return--she had an emergency. Well, although he had planned to go home and work on some frames, he can never say no to Dana. Long story short, he spent about an hour and a half making the rounds with the city electrician finding ways to improve the power for all of those vendors. Eventually he showed Dana how to make a conference call, so he could be home when the sofa was delivered. (!!!) Conference call ensued with Bruce, the head of the Downtown Development Board, and Dana. Problems solved!

He did find time to get them primed, then Monday he did the painting at his new station on the side of the house.
Amazingly enough I sold three more on Sunday leaving me with only four framed canvases which people are just loving. You can imagine how I love telling people what a wonderful husband I have. :) You can also imagine what I say when people try to talk me down on the price--go to Ikea if you want cheap.

Here's a little look at our winter flower garden which looks worse than this in person!
Weed city! While I'm writing this, Bruce is out mowing the lawn, using the bagger to pick up the copious amount of oak leaves, fallen from our trees, and our across the street neighbor's seven big oaks. One thing about working for a company based on the West coast is the time change--people in the office are still sleeping.

While on the subject of landscapes, I have two very different photos showcasing pink. Here's something I've never seen before...
and here is something I have seen before but it never grows old.
Heavens to Betsy--those trees are beautiful!

In some family news:

  • Sister Nancy will be moving to Bristol, TN next week for her store manager job at the new Marshalls.
  • Sister Maureen is having Herbert work his magic in her bathroom. As I type he is over there installing a new toilet, vanity, and light fixture--honestly, he is the absolute best.
  • We had a nice pizza over at Bill and Fallon's on Saturday while we over there for Bruce to draw a layout for his bedroom closets. A year later and the closets will soon be getting the Herbert/Bruce treatment.
  • Son Matthew spent last week  in Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan on a business trip. I've lost count of the cities he's been to but it is a bunch. Never in our wildest dreams...
Finally, and I know you thought I'd never get here, Saturday night we went to the movies (gasp!), with Cheryle and David, as well as some airbnb guests from Maine. What did we see? The Imitation Game. What a film! See it soon if you haven't--you will not regret the decision.

I said finally, however, I've one more thing to share before I forget! More new friends, Bill and Roxanne, live nearby. During a party at you know who's house, he and Bruce were discussing how time flies (see title). Bill likened life to a toilet paper roll. When you first put it on it seems like there is too much, however, the closer you get to the end of the roll, there's not much left. Actually that is a poor telling of the analogy--maybe you can figure out how I could have written it better!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

It is What We Do

Bill called the other evening on his way home from work, nothing unusual about that, and nothing unusual about my response when he asked me what I'd done during the day. I made stuff. Bruce helped me, as always. It is just what we do.

I am having a lot of fun with the stamps, not to mention learning stuff as I go. John Copley, for example, is immortalized on a stamp. Curious to learn more, I turned to our friend Wikipedia and learned this. A Colonial painter of extraordinary talent, he is immortalized on more than a stamp, a good many places in Boston bear his name. There are quite a number of stamps promoting peace, and it got me to thinking about the time frame many of the stamps came from--the Cold War. Then too, I realized that very few woman are on United States stamps--Susan Anthony, Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt and a few others, whereas European stamps are covered with women, or make that one woman--Queen Elizabeth's face graces stamps from many of the British colonies. So, it is not only fun to make something, it is interesting as well.

My latest effort is with international stamps, including some places that no longer exist, or should I say have been renamed, in particular I'm thinking of Yugoslavia.
I made it on a really cool plate made of what looks like mother of pearl, purchased for a dollar at the thrift store. Sitting beside it is one of the frames in progress. What am I going to do with all my stamp creations? Try selling them, and I've found just the place to do so. Whether they will sell or not is tbd!

Actually, it did not occur to me to do so, however, Bruce, albeit somewhat biased, thinks they might. While picking up some canvases from RT-Art, I walked along the center looking at the shops and came across a really neat place called, The Lovely Boutique which looks like this:
Filled with all manner of crazy stuff, I talked to the owner who showed some enthusiasm. This week, after Bruce superglued hangars on the back,
I dropped them off while picking up more canvases. I brought two stamp covered vases as well. She asked me about pricing and I was clueless. She then mentioned she would do a little research on it, which I was also clueless about. Curious, the minute I got home I looked it up, and lo and behold, I am doing something not in the least original, although I only discovered it with the help of our friend Google. Take a look at these remarkable pieces--oh my! Simply astonishing. So, we shall see...

Meantime, I took my bike for the tune up, although not without some difficulty. Bruce had to hang it on the rack in a very unorthodox manner.
Buying the new bike, it occurred to neither of us, that it would not fit our rack. Fortunately they sell a bar that can be used to make a girly bike work which I picked up while there. Once the bike was done, before loading it back on the car, I rode around the nearby neighborhoods for a change of pace. Along Orange Avenue there are still cute shops, but Florida Hospital is sure taking over this part of Orlando, as evidenced by yet another crane.
If ever we live in an apartment in Orlando, I'd like to make it one of these:
The center housing the bike shop still sports the original neon.
Lets Groove indeed. :)

Riding around, the streets have adorable homes, however, the neighborhood is also full of tear downs turned into very large new homes,
generally twice the size of the neighboring home. One year, awhile back, this area was part of a city calendar assignment, and I remember this door looked not nearly as nice as it does now.
I love that door!! A very creative use of paint, don't you think?

The rest of the sofa fabric arrived and is now in the hands of Mr. Upholstery. Any day now the living room will be back to the new normal. Woo hoo!

Flowers never cease to amaze me. More than a week ago when I wrote this post showing some yellow daisies from the yard. Okay--so what? This is what--the same night as I wrote the post I noticed the flowers closing up. Thinking that would be that, I was surprised to see that they opened in the morning, and if you can imagine, they still look as if I just cut them!
In other news, it has been quite some time since I updated you on Angela's husband, Matt's, condition. Sadly he is not doing very well. So much so that he is now using a walker in the house and a wheelchair when out in public. He still can walk, which is good, but the bad news is that he is losing his motor skills, the result of both the brain tumor, and the treatment. Spending some time with her yesterday afternoon, I learned that there is a significant increase in brain necrosis at the tumor site. They are looking at all options as to what to do next. :(

I hate to end this post on a downer, but I learned of another friend with health issues--Ken, of Jim and Ken fame, had a small stroke last weekend, however, in his case, they are fairly confidant his recovery will be full. Did I ever tell you that Ken was the college quarterback at Oklahoma State University? Now you know.

Bruce is in the garage making a bunch of new frames to replace the NINE (!!) sold in the last two weeks. And here's another one of my stamp wall hangings...
It is what we do....

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Robin Sighting

I'm not going to lie to you--I was pretty jealous when I saw my friend Robin post a photograph of a robin, the bird type, in her yard the other day. I see from this Wikipedia article the proper name is American robin. I stand corrected.

In any event, this time of year we generally have about a two day span when a whole scad of Ars come through our neighborhood, feasting on the camphor berries in a tree two doors down. Until yesterday, their absence has been felt by you know who.

It was a very cold morning, by Florida standards anyway, and I kept thinking I don't REALLY want to go for a bike ride, that is until, when letting Baxter outside, I saw a Ar flying high into our neighbor's tree. As my late Mother would say, I got my bike clothes on PDQ. Despite my quick clothing change, although nothing like Katy Perry in the Super Bowl halftime, which wasn't that remarkable?, there were no birds to be seen on my street. Boohoo!

With four layers on my top and gloves on my hands, I rode to the Post Office to drop off some notes. Of course, I could have put them in my own mailbox for the postman to take, but sometimes I need an excuse to get me going in this chilly weather. Aside from birds. From there I crossed Michigan to ride down some streets I'd not visited in a while, having no reason to do so. One claimed that it was a dead end, however, that was not entirely true, up to a point, as you will soon see. But, the purpose of all this rambling is that, lo and behold, I heard bird calls, and looked up into an ugly ear tree, and there they were!
As you can imagine I was stoked! Or jazzed as I used to say--actually more than I should have, if you want to know the truth. Just the other day though, I thought that when someone writes my obituary, enthusiastic may figure as a prominent feature of my personality.

Where the dirt road led is behind both Boone High School, and Blankner School, both of which I attended, albeit in different forms as both schools have been greatly upgraded since those days. We spent many an afternoon/evening  watching David play baseball for the school team, and I'm fairly confidant that it did not look nearly as fancy as it does now.
I have no recollection of those wonderful orange seats, but how reliable my memory is has to be taken into account. I rode around the back of the school, near all the playing fields, and it was here that the road lived up to it's billing--locked gates ended my progress. Turning around I found myself above the road,
looking at a small lake I'd never seen from this side. It was a chilly ride home to say the least. I forgot to show you what I saw leaving the house, instead of robins in the tree, our neighbor Gail had a little flock of ibis, a bird known more as a ground bird than a tree bird.
I'm loving all the bare trees, although some trees think it is fall, rather than winter.
Another fantastic day at the market!! There were loads of people, and once again I sold framed canvases, as in five! My booth was pretty crowded at times, obviously something I love.
One couple came in to admire the Follow Your Heart canvas, saying they might be back, however they sure would like it framed, and really, who could blame them? I said I wasn't sure I had any existing frames to coordinate, and she was quick to point out--how about the yellow one? Now that was an excellent idea! While they were gone I switched it from Beach Daisies, and gosh I really liked it, figuring if they didn't want it, someone would.
Before long, they came right back, and handed over their card. Of course this all means B has his work cut out for him--no pun intended! The above frame was made using rough sawn cedar, yellow paint, and rubbed with brown shoe polish to get in the grooves. A coat of wax finished the project.

Driving home, the same way as always, this scene is not one you see every day..
Note that the round building is finally down, although a big hole in the ground remains--more work to be done.

For those of you unfamiliar with my reupholstering ways, while searching my photo library for a photo, unsuccessfully I might add, I found this--
I was absolutely stunned to discover that this was taken in March, 2010. No one could have convinced me I bought these nearly five years ago, had I not seen it for myself! If you can stand one more look at the new sofa, I wanted to show you how Baxter is liking it--not so much.
He's spent a good many days, and years, perched on the back of the sofa, now, however, he seems to think the floor is more comfortable. :)

Or, behind me in my desk chair where he is sleeping as I type. The bike shop has called twice now, suggesting I need a free thirty day tune up, so that is where I'm headed next. May the American robins be out today....

Long Beach, CA