Thursday, March 31, 2011

3-31-11 The Table

Mom and Dad came to visit this afternoon, bringing tables for the garage sale, and one very special table for me. Not the greatest pic, but here's the hospital table from which I can work, eat, and watch Netflix, which I am signing up for next month so I can stream movies and tv series to my heart's content. I'm thinking maybe I'll start Lost from the beginning and do all six seasons (I've never seen an episode.)

One week! 

3-31-11 Crust

even the rats know, bread crusts are better as housing than as food

As I was making Sammi's lunch this morning and cutting it on a diagonal, I thought, "I should just use the sharp knife to take the crust off while I'm here."  But then it occurred to me that this would create too much dryness between now and lunch. In Colorado, you leave a piece of bread out on the counter for 5 minutes and you've got toast.

So she'll just peel the crust off when she's ready to bite into it and get right to the soft, yummy, this-is-the-entire-point of the bread straight away.

Like I do.

Like I've done for 40 years.

Like my mother still rolls her eyes at, every time she sees me do this.

But the crust of the bread is the burned part. I don't even like my grilled cheese sandwiches to go anywhere past lightly golden before they taste burned to me. Why wouldn't I peel off the burned part of my bread, where you can't actually spread anything (because it's burned!) anyway?

Flash backward to somewhere around age 4. I'm at Julie's house next door and we are having sandwiches at her house for lunch. Her mom, a nurse, becomes shocked and appalled as I peel away the crust to eat my sandwich. "It's the healthiest part!" she exclaims and stares at me like I've just shown her daughter how to pole dance by doing this at her dinner table.

I wasn't buying it. Healthy? So is tree bark. And I'm not running out and finding that to layer on my sandwich either. I can get all kinds of healthy things into my diet the yummy way without forcing down a dry bit of tasteless overcooked brown bread.

Cue the darn German scientists, who published a report in 2002 (28 years after the declaration by Julie's mom) that in fact the crust was healthier. The chemical processes of the baking pushed the antioxidants and cancer-fighting good things into the crust and all that jazz.

So it turns out I've been giving my dogs anti-cancer crusts all these years. (I do love my dogs.) And they love my crusts. And I seem to be able to find plenty of anti-oxidant rich foods without choking down those dried edges myself.

Oh, and before any of you crust-lovers out there start to feel too smug about my childlike disdain for bread crust, consider this -- eating crust can offer health benefits, but only if it's not overcooked. Then, it seems, the chemicals change into acrylamides, which are carcinogens. Bread crust is like Gremlins -- instead of getting them wet, you just have to burn them to turn them evil.

I'm staying Gremlin free.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3-30-11 more phone stuff

Mostly if Katy waiting patiently for us to load up and head home on Sunday, making sure the ball doesn't get left behind.

Fisher must have missed us, because every night since we've gotten home, he hangs off the arm of the couch and plants his butt on the edge of my laptop and doesn't let me move. 
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3-29-11 take it from your mumsy

Mother knows best
One way or another
Something will go wrong, I swear

Sammi and I are watching Tangled tonight and I'm enjoying it more the second time around. I've informed her "take it from your mumsy" is going to be our next catch phrase.

I love the back and forth between her exultation at being free when she finally sets foot in the grass, and defying her mother and her overwhelming guilt at doing so. It captures so perfectly the breaking free that is so inevitable, whether you're a kidnapped princess in a tower or not.

I love that Disney returned to the fairy tale genre, particularly another from the Brothers Grimm.

...with a few Disney variations. . .  Pascal the chamelon definitely doesn't appear in the 1812 Grimm version, or the 1698 French version, or even the 10th century Persian version. But I bet you already knew that.

But then, we wouldn't have Maximus.

And that would make me very sad.

Flower, Gleam and Glow
Let your power shine
Make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine
Heal what has been hurt, change the fate's design
Save what has been lost, bring back what once was mine
What once was mine...

And it's like the sky is new 
And it's warm and real and bright 
And the world has somehow shifted 
All at once everything looks different

Monday, March 28, 2011

3-28-11 Second Showing

Got the call at 11:00 for a "second showing" tonight from 5-6 p.m. This could be the one, please God let it be the one . . . A second showing means they are coming back again and probably are trying to decide between our house and perhaps one other.

Much sparkling housework is being done in between job work. Thank you God that Bob is off today and the two of us can make the place shine between now and then, get all the laundry finished and put away, and be out of the house pretty easily. Tomorrow this would not have been the case.

We started with snow this morning and now the windows are open, the sun is shining, and the birds are singing. I saw another robin watching me from the branch outside my window today. Harbinger of spring and new life, he was a welcomed sight.

Prayers for the people coming to our house today at 5:00, be blessed! (and please love my house!) :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3-27-11 Breathe. then Breathe again.

Serenity now. . .  I've been teaching myself to get into the habit of deep breathing at least once every ten minutes. It is incredibly relaxing. And one of the things I've been really working on is finding "happy places"  (see picture above) to cope with the incredible stress of this upcoming surgery, added to house showings \ selling the house, work, graduating son, daughter on highly dangerous  medication, college prep, the list seems insurmountable sometimes.

So, I breathe.

Deeply and slowly, feeling the air fill out every inch, imaging the tiny little alveoli swelling up huge and round, and then, as slowly as I'm able, to exhale all the stress and fear and anxiety about, well, everything . . .  surgery, health, kids, jobs, house, all of it, just to let it all out in that breath.

We got home to find Fisher had yacked up cat food right by his bowl on the stone floor in the corner and Faith had left a present upstairs in the corner of the family room. Fabulous. I'm sure they decided to do this the minute the house was vacant, so that every showing while we've been away has grossed out every looker.


I'm really stressed about putting other people out during my recovery. I tell myself to get over it, to be my own advocate about what I am going to need, and to let someone take care of me for as long as I need them. But it's easy to say and really hard to do. Six weeks for recovery. That idea alone makes me break out in hives. Then I read other womens stories who didn't listen, did too much, and ended up back in the hospital, some of them back in surgery, from internal bleeding. Their rushing things lands them in the months of recovery "don't do what I did" stories. I've seen how much cutting, bleeding, and suturing is involved. I now understand why the findings of a growth that is highly vascular is so worrisome. The whole stinking organ is vascular and connected all over the place to other things that also have to be clamped off, cut, and sutured shut. I am being gutted like a fish. And hoping that's all I have to go through.


So my vacation away from home is over and the next week will be filled with work and school and garage sale prep, shopping and cooking and laundry, trying to prep the house for post surgery when I can't bend or lift anything, possibly more house showings when I have to stop everything else and go sit in the car with my laptop and dogs and wonder how any of this can possibly go on after my surgery.

And even then, the best thing I can do is surrender it all in prayer, to breathe deeply, and be continuously thankful for life, and love, and family and friends, for memories and hopes, and let that be enough.

Delays, delays...

Sooo.... 11:00 and here the fog sits. The showing service has called three times in the past 15 minutes and our house will have three showings between 12 and 430 today. So much for going home. Bob and Nick should be to the Springs by 1:00 and then we'll have to wait them out until later this afternoon. Praying that out of 11 showings in a week we'll get an offer soon!

3-27-11 Morning surprise

Wasn't expecting this when I stumbled out of bed this morning to let the dogs out. . .

Usually you can see the city, instead, it's all ice fog.

In the early morning light there are certain things, like the neighbors telescope that look like an archway has opened across the way.

By request on our last breakfast of our Spring Break escape . . . more cinnamon bread :)

Since the heaviest thing I packed was a light workout jacket, Mom pulled Dad's Smoky the Bear sweatshirt out for me to stay warm in, so we matched over breakfast.

We'll wait out the icy stuff and head back after lunch. We had another showing yesterday, so hopefully if they call again for any time today I'll know it before we hit the road. Bob and Nick are already headed out from Dumas, so we should all be back home by late afternoon, with piles of laundry and some very irritated kitties. 
Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sammi drawing while we watch The Godfather part II

Ok ... and while I figure out the phone posting details ;)

3-26-11 Letterbox FAIL

Sammi was not pleased to hear we were going letterbox hunting. I promised her the fresh air and sunshine would do her good. The doc upped her meds and she's not tolerating the extra dose well, lots of stomach and joint pain, rash, etc. So curling up on the couch is very tempting. But like I told her, she has to remind me after surgery in 10 days how good it feels after you make yourself move, even when you don't want to.

So we took our letterbox directions and set out in the Stratton Open Space to try and locate it.

The wind had been fierce this morning going to breakfast at Cracker Barrel, but it died down to a cool breeze by the time we were climbing around rock and looking under trees.

Sammi perked up, too!

Evan is always perked up.

But we crapped out on the letterbox. The map and instructions kept contradicting each other, too many sub trails, too many Ponderosa pines. Really, why not choose a spruce or something less common?

No matter, this is the fun of it; the treasure is really in the hunting. :)

3-26-11 SHSU Trip

Bob just called from the Wichita Falls Whataburger as they are about halfway back to Dumas from Huntsville today. The picture above was taken on Thursday at lunch as they were on their way down to Huntsville. And in between I think they've Whataburgered three other times. Maybe that will hold them over for a few months.

Hoping to see Nick on one of these banners soon!

With cousin Heather at the Bearkat Onecard office, getting his picture taken for his card.

Off to lunch with Kristi to Mr. Hamburger which reopened this month at its new location. Lines are out the door.

It was Orange Crush Friday around campus, and Nick ran into Sammy Bearkat near the card office.

The campus has changed quite a bit since Bob and I were students. Right now the blooming azaleas and trees are very pretty. I forget it really looks like spring down there.

The big events are still held at the Lowman Student Center, where the Honors College Dinner was held Friday night. Nick called after it was over and said a man had come up to him and said, "That's clearly not the first time you've worn this suit, you look like a pro." He gave him his card and told him if he needed anything to give him a call. He turned out to be the Provost & VP of Academic Affairs.

Nick discovered that when he makes the team, he will be the first ever Honors College student athlete. Let's get this started! Six weeks to graduation . . . 

Test of blogger phone app

Back from a sunshiny morning hike!

Friday, March 25, 2011

3-25-11 Old Houston

A few favorites from the vintage Houston vault. . .

This is the Gulf Freeway at Almeda Road, circa 1956

I remember going to The Red Lion for only the fanciest occasions 

3-25-11 Friday dusk

Falling from the higher ground
down toward the city
out of the sunshine
just before dusk
the light warmer
an amber glow
receding behind me
driving down the highway
The vibrant colors turning
a washed monochrome
melting into sameness
before the coming of night
~Raymond A. Foss

3-25-11 YouTubers

Michelle Kenway is an Aussie physiotherapist who has put a number of simple, helpful videos: how to get out of bed after surgery, how to focus on deep breathing that aids in healing, etc. The accent helps. ;)

I found Michelle's quiet, straightforward videos after I'd just blindly plugged in "abdominal hysterectomy" and gotten a slew of results all over the place. I've watched most of the surgical ones already.

One of them, though, got me giggling almost immediately. I know, I'm pretty weird.

It wasn't the incision or the blood of Dr. Abdul Vahab's video, it was the freaking music! I am not alone in finding this amusing. One of the comments echoed my first thought, "what's with the music? It's surgery, not a workout video!" And what's with the title? Easy Steps? Is this for the do-it-at-home contingent? Do the same people leaving victims in ice-filled bathtubs missing kidneys need primers on yanking out uteruses (uteri?) now? Why do I have a vision of Dr. Vahab that looks like this?

And maybe it's my imagination, but I'd swear he's yanking that poor organ out in beats to the music. Compared to the staid teaching videos that have about half the "action" of this guy's work, I'm thinking my very quiet, straightforward female doctor is a Godsend. (The fact that she has a degree in German literature is just icing on the cake.)

3-25-11 stuff off the phone

Random pictures off the phone from the past couple of days. . . 

The Saltsman clock carried over by my great grandparents from Alabama in the breakfast nook (one of the chimers)

Waiting on breakfast yesterday morning

Waffles! (and Evan bird watching in the background)

Properly sorted blueberries on the waffles now -- one in each square and throughout the center cross.

Dinner out last night. Sammi's reaction to realizing she had a plain unadorned tea cup.

Breakfast this morning: poached eggs over hash browns. I'm getting spoiled (-er).

Mom and Dad heading out for day three of walks with Katy and Evan.

The winds this morning: