Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sleepy day

It has been raining here all day.  Sweet, steady rain, soaking into the ground.  Soaking into my gardens here at Labrun.  Floating rain in our swamp.  Bug rerouted the driveway trying to move the trucks driving in to work a little higher so they would not get stuck.  Unfortunately we have so much water so close to the surface that the new road is now worse then the previous drive.  He is working with Robbie to get some fill brought in.  Bug has built roads before so he is working on drainage right now, then he will decide what to put in each layer.  We need to get this fixed pretty quick.  This is our normal dry season, so who knows what we have got ourselves in.  I am still in love.  I think Bug had hoped for more tractor property.  But once we get into the house and start gardening in that front acre he will have plenty of tractor work.

I slept until 9:30 this morning.  It was dark, and the rain is tapping on the roof.  My babies are happy peeping away.  Our second white one, Gardenia is struggling.  She just doesn't seem to be as healthy as the darker ones.  Bug and I were worried about here because all of the other chicks and the two ducks keep themselves clean, but Gardenia is struggling.  We needed to separate her from the others.  They are pecking her.  Not because they do not like her, but she is covered with food.  And the other chicks just peck at the food.  I have tried washing her with warm wet paper towels and then wrapped her and Rudbeckia up in a towel and held them until Gardenia was dry.  Bug asked why I had brought Ruby out.  I said that every time I take one of the babies out everyone has to adjust and then again when she is put back in.  But if I take the strongest, most curious and bravest chick with the weakest out, then when they come back they both are being introduced into the pecking order and I find that the weaker chick will usually stand up better with another going through the same thing.  And after an hour or so, I put the two back in under the heat lamps and the next time I checked on them, everyone was getting along.  happy happy happy. 

I have started putting fine little shreds of greens.  I had some mixed baby greens and some baby spinach.  Cut into little shreds, Iris (my smaller duck) and Rudbeckia are all over my hands eating the greens.  I put it in the feeder for those not brave enough to get on my hands, but even little Gardenia came up and was pecking my fingers.  That is good.  I love giving them little treats and hopefully I can teach these little ones to love strawberries.  My older chickens, the 8 that are left, do not care for strawberries.  They love grapes, okay with blueberries, love tomatoes, but no on the strawberries.  Since it is Plant City, Florida strawberry season maybe this is the perfect time to raise some gorgeous strawberry eating chickens.

They are starting to develop individual personalities.  Their tiny wing feathers are coming in and the colors are so different then what you would think from the colors of the peeps.  So far I know which one is Gardenia, Rudbeckia and Pansy.  There are a couple of others that I am trying to find their names. 

The two ducks are so precious.  The bigger one is the younger of the two.  I have their names, but waiting to see if we are going to end up with any boys.  I did let the ducks have a minute or so in warm water in the sink.  They get into the drinking water.  Only one foot will fit into the water in the drinking jug, but they splash and play and have a wonderful time.  The sink was scary and new to them, but I think a few more trips and they will start to look forward to their pond time.  I can't wait until they are old enough to start going in the pond.  I love my little ducks.  I love my little chicks.

I slept like the dead last night, only waking once.  I might have slept for a hundred years if Mom had not called.  I have tried to call her but she was in rehab.  I would have liked to keep sleeping, but I really wanted to talk to her more.  She had one story after another about life in a nursing/rehab center.  She is handling it with a sense of humor and we laughed and laughed.  I fell back asleep for another half hour or so before dragging myself out of bed.  I ate some eggs and toast and just as I was getting off the couch to go back to bed my Honey came home.  He brought me a couple of waffles from his and Dad's breakfast.  We talked for a while and he dried out a bit.  He is back at the property working on finding a way to get the contractors in.

Things are moving along and Robby is working close with Bug as they schedule and work.  As soon as the electric is done by the first of next week, Robby will start on the Florida room.  Bug and I will start working on putting up the fence then we will start painting, flooring and that is really the biggest of the work to the house.  After that we can start moving in.  No rush, just move as we can.

I have made an appointment with the Doctor.  My arm, hand and neck are affecting my everyday life, or lack of.  Bug is also worried that I might be coming down with something.  Dad has a cold and it is just normal for me to sleep like this.  Or it is, but it doesn't feel like me.  He asked me how I felt.  I said I was tired, having stomach issues.  Oh, yeah that is my normal life.  But I am able to sleep more then my normal self. 

I am feeling a little shaky with the knowledge that I can not live a day without pain meds, and not one, but two forms of anxiety/depression meds.  No matter how I try and paint it, I can not do anything without pain meds any longer.  Do you die of pain?  My late husband died of pain.  Call it what you want.  His cancer started to get so big that his head swelled up to twice its normal size.  And he had a big head to begin with.  He kept hanging on, and was in so much pain.  The RN with Hospice gave him the maximum dose of morphine every time he could have another dose.  You could see the pain subside enough for him to breathe.  Finally he did not come back after the last dose.  I realize his body was shutting down from the cancer, but it was the pain and the morphine that was there at the end.

I don't have that kind of cancer, so it will not be the same.  But every once in a while the fear of what I am going through takes over, hence, the anxiety meds.  But not about dying or when, but how.  It seems to take a strong person to die, and I hope that I have the strength.  So I think I will go back to bed now and sleep some more before Bug comes home so I will have the strength.  Time to rest, and the sweet rain sings the lullaby for me to snuggle down in our giant bed with the cool soft sheets and the warm down and all the pillows.  It is a luxury I am so lucky to have.  so is sleep

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The last week of February

It is the last week in February and the weather is acting more like the winter I am used to.  It is sunny and warming up to the upper 70s today.  Woohoo!!  Tomorrow it is supposed to rain and get cold again.  But yesterday and today it is gorgeous. It is common to have little blips of cold, even freezes through mid April.  This is the time of year that as a gardener I am in the most awe. 

Just to see recognizable plants, innocent delicate sprouts pushing up through the dark soil.  Then to turn black and squishy if they get nipped to hard with frost.  I do not think we are looking at that cold at this point.  In another week or so the sprouts should be able to weather any light frosts.  But then the buds and flowers will be sensitive, so at this time of year you watch.  You watch the strong survive, the lucky.  You see those too sensitive at the wrong time not make it.  Yet some of those that seem to die back, come back.  It is always amazing each year.  And after time spent in the house during the coldest times here time passed and life is coming back and turning green.  We still have almost another month until the "official" spring, but I can survive the rest of the cold because I can see the green.  The sap rising in some of the trees making the stems green under the older stretching bark. 

Hopefully we are at the place where cold is two nights, maybe almost three days and then warm again. And the return of life and plants.  A perfect time to move into our new place.  Bug was out with the John Deere yesterday.  He loves his tractor.  He bush hogged as much of the front 3.5 acres as he could.  He is finding lots of pockets of water.  Call them springs, call them high water table, I don't know, but we have the rest of our lives to enjoy them and learn them.  Tomorrow is 80% chance of rain, so doubtful there will be much tractor work tomorrow. 

Right now we are waiting for the delivery of the frig, stove and micro/hood from Lowe's.  Our vanity has had to be reordered because all the ones they had turned out to be broken.  They say the product is good and quality, but their shipping containers are no where as strong and secure as the other cabinets. 

The electrical turns out not to be the worst case scenario.  Here is the story the neighbors told Bug.  A husband and wife owned this house.  He built it by himself, which explains some of the bad decisions, ie the back room roof.  It also was a "Stilt house" with a two car garage on the first floor along with the bathroom and Florida room.  That also explains why the vinyl on the front is different then the sides and back of the house.  Anyway, the couple get a divorce and the husband leaves later but the son stayed there. That was when the making two bedrooms downstairs happened.  The son and his friends were evicted from the house.  The story is that some of the "kids" came back and wrecked the house.  And they did not do as much damage as it first looked like.  The electrical is already fixing in most of the up stairs.  Wow, we might be in the house sooner then we imagined. 

Hahahahahahahahaaaaa, it is a little early to be saying that.  All we have had is one day with the electricians, but hope bubbles forth.  Just like the water on our property. 

I have messed up my neck which is causing a few problems.  Stella jumped onto Bug clawing him and then she jumped on me leaving three nice bloody claw marks on my right knee and two swipes on my right arm.  But at the moment she jumped on Bug I looked toward him and then jerked my neck in the opposite direction and immediately felt it in my right arm.  At first I thought maybe she had just got a nerve or something in my arm, but three days later and I am still having this much trouble.  When you run your fingers along my neck you can feel where things are not right.  The biggest inconvenience is I can not crochet.  Admittedly I was a little obsessed with crocheting since before Christmas, but I set a goal for next Christmas to crochet each of the grand kids an afghan.  I already have Shireen and Kayla's done.  I have two more started, but that is a no no movement with my neck right now.  I am trying to stretch and relax it.  I am trying yoga and meditation, and I am almost pain free for about an hour after each session, but as soon as I start doing anything again I feel it come back.  I have found a way to type where I don't seem to hurt it much.  Because this is old woman pain, not cancer pain I tried to just take a naproxen instead of the heavy stuff.  What I found was that I actually was in pain, but the arm/hand/shoulder/neck pain was simply loud enough to not hear the other everyday pain.

Everyday pain.

I am starting to realize what that means.  My cancer might be moving slow, but it is there.  The meds are wrecking their own havoc on my body and I can no longer simply skip through life.  I am not going to quit skipping, which might explain part of the reason that I fall down so often, but to ignore where my body is in this process can no longer be denied.  I have tried not to take a pain pill everyday.  I have cut back from one pill twice a day to half a pill twice a day.  Why?  Well, I still believe the longer I can keep from total reliance on pain meds, the longer the quality of my life.  But it has given me a lot to think about yesterday.  I did manage to get most of the house cleaned, swept, mopped, vacuumed, cleaned the showers, the sinks the kitchen.  I did it all in one day.  That did not include heavy dusting, but I did clean the tops that we live with each day. 

While I continue to wait for the call from the delivery men, who might call Bug, but I need to be here if they call here first, I can enjoy some of this weather by trimming some of the dead.  I can see the green pushing up from the bottom, so time to take the dead off the top.

Mom is doing much better and they had a conference at 10 this morning to go over the plan for her stay and rehabilitation.  I did try and slip a little idea in Dad's ear.  I asked him if she could come home and have the rehab visit her there.  He didn't know, but maybe he might ask if that is possible.  As soon as I find out what is going on with the delivery I will take the green truck over to the trash and then on to the new house.  Bug is looking for a new motor for it but he thinks it should be okay to drive to the house, and well, the trash is on the way so hopefully I can get it there safe and sound.  It is a great truck and I was thinking of it as Bug and Dad's play truck.  They loved to hop into it and take off to run errands.  It does get much better mileage being a small truck and it is gas, so that is much cheaper then using Bug's giant diesel.  And Dad's truck is a full size gas truck, but they are like two kids when they jump into the green one. 

I am also excited to see the property now that Bug has so much of it chopped back.  He also has an amazing post hole digger that will be the only way we could get that fence in.  It will also be amazing for planning trees, and I will have a few trees to plant. 

Bug is wearing himself done working on the new house.  I am a wimp and wearing myself out just trying to keep this place clean.  And at the same time trying to complete a few projects.  I have some reupholstering to do.  I will need to make the covers for the Florida room rattan.  I also want to make a piece of stained glass for the octagon window at the top of the stairs.  I am thinking something free style of a tree and a creek with sky and grass.  I will be busier when the walls are done and I can paint.  So get some things done here, try not to wear myself out, so maybe start a little packing in the garage.  Lots of possibilities for the day. 

A hello to my friend Karen.  We grew up a few blocks apart, went to the same church and both grew up as Millers.  Karen, Lisa and I took dance together when we were around 4.   I was remembering our first dance recital. Most of my memories I am sure are from parents retelling the story. But this is how it went. Lisa Pratt Clements, you and I were dressed in red, white and blue with little red plastic buckets covered with aluminum foil and something red, white and blue like maybe feathers on the front. Karen was in the middle, Lisa and I a little older and taller than you flanked the sides. The music started, it was On the Good Ship Lollipop and Lisa and I put our little hands up to our foreheads, perfect little salutes like Shirley would have done. Karen walked up to the microphone stand and walked it down until she could sing into the mic and started singing Frank Sinatra. I remember Lisa and I dancing our little hearts out. I think I was being very bossy and telling her not to stop. Karen's parents came up and removed you from the stage. Hee hee, she were so tiny back then. One of my very favorite memories of childhood. Love you dearly cuz.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

camellias, rattan and rehab

This morning I got up early and left the house before 8:00am, with a bra and make up on.  I was in my garden club clothes.  I swung by Mom and Dads to pick some of Mom's camellias for the exhibition today.  I was at the Downtown club about quarter after 8 and they were already placing flowers.  I was given my instructions and started putting the flowers in cups with the paperwork filled out.  Then I was given the job of starting to put out the flowers in alphabetical order and then I worked with a couple of the guys from the Tallahassee Camellia Society who were assisting us in identifying the various varieties.  I loved working with the identifiers.  As an Entomologist and Birder, I understand what to look for to help identify a particular bug or bird.  But I do not know that much about camellias.  After today I would say I know about a 100000000% more.  It was fascinating and I was actually able to start to see the different varieties.  When I got there I could identify two different plants, pink perfection and seafoam.  Two of my favorites.  They both have the similar petal pattern which I think is why I like them.  Now I can identify maybe six different varieties.  I was able to clerk for three judges, and then assisted them when they went to the back and picked the four best in their size and then finally the best in show.  I enjoyed the process so very much and learned new things and made friends with some of the other camellia growers and one said he would help with air layering to make sure I was doing it correctly. 

But the very best of the entire experience was then to be standing back while the Judges picked the top four and then the best of show.  The seafoam camellia that I picked for Mom off the camellia by her bedroom window won Best of Show.  I couldn't believe it.  I had put her name down, of course, it was her flower. I ran right over to Brynwood Rehab as soon as the judging part was done and they just needed people to be there to tear down.  I had signed up for the first shift but stayed until the end of the judging so I felt like I could leave to go tell Mom.  She was thrilled.  Best of Show.  And I have to say, it was a beautiful flower. 

On my way home for lunch before I went back up to the Camellia show, just in case they did need a little more help, and then we had the Opera House Stage Company meeting, I saw the most beautiful set of rattan chairs, ottomans and couch.  I pulled into the flea market and saw that they were in Ham's space.  The first furniture I bought when I came to Monticello was from his flea market on Hwy 27.  He is a nice man and I am so happy with my new pieces.  I also got a glider chair with a matching ottoman, so we are set on furniture for the new place.

Friday we went to Tractor Supply to pick up a post hole digger from the John Deere tractor.  Guess what they have?????  Baby chicks and ducklings.  Oh My!!!  Heaven, I'm in heaven.  I picked out 2 ducks.  We have a pond now, I think a couple of ducks would be very happy to get to play in the pond.  I also bought ten chicks.  All sex linked.  Well, that is what they said, so I hope so.  I love baby chicks.  They are sweet, fluffy, cute and they peep.  But now that I have had baby ducks, they are sweet, fluffy, cute, don't peep quite as much and they have the most amazing feet.  They are so cute.  Almost transparent little feet.  I love my baby ducks and chicks.  I have started thinking about names.  Of course Mom wants one named Camellia in honor of her winning, but I already have one.  I thought about Seafoam, but not too sure.

We have closed on the house and Thursday late morning the keys were delivered to us.  We drove right over and unlocked our house, put on new dead bolts and started working on the house.  Bug carried me over the threshold of our new home.  He is so sweet.  We busted down one wall we knew would be going.  I started ripping down wallpaper.  We met with our Contractor on Friday and they hope to get the electrician in on Monday to look and then start working on Tuesday.  It apparently is real.  We keep coming and going and no one stops us.  We have the keys in our hands.  It is our home now.  It is our swamp, our pond, our woods.  It is our job to take care of them, and I am so excited.

Life is pretty good here.  I did not get to go to the OHSC meeting between Mom, furniture, moving vehicles and helping to take care of Dad while Mom is at Rehab.  It is probably good I did not go.  I really can't do anything.  I know I would volunteer and then regret putting other people out because I can not do what I said I would do.  I will call Jan tomorrow and she will tell me all about the meeting. 

Time to walk up my sweetie from his way too short nap and get over to Dad's with the supper I made.  Spaghetti with my version of a marinara sauce, salad and cookies.  Dad picked up the bread.  Tired.  Sore.  but life is good

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

500 miles

It has been a busy few days.  Saturday Bug and I started removing 500 feet (okay not miles) of PVC horse fence with a goat fence liner.  We removed the goat fence first then started popping off the post caps and then pulling out the running boards from the 6 inch square posts.  The corner posts were cemented in, but the running posts were just planted deep.  Very very deep.  I mean like a 7 foot tall post and the fence was about 3.5 feet above the ground.  It was not 4 feet tall, so the rest of the posts, set at 8 feet were buried deeper then they were above ground.  They were like iceberg fences.  Bug would drive the tractor up to each post and I would attach it to the strap on the bucket and he would pull it up.  I would then swing the post out so we could lay it down on the grass. 

The corner posts they had poured the cement into the post.  Not at the base using the post stand that they sell you attach the corner posts to.  So there were globs of cement that leaked out from the posts at the bottom and along the sides were the running boards were slipped into.  The cement went all the way to the top.  It was insane.  All of us peered into the posts with amazement at the amount of cement used.  It took us three days to get the fence removed, and stored behind our new house where it will stand one day. 

Yesterday while we were working on the fence Dad called and said Mom had fallen and he couldn't get her up.  He wouldn't call 911 until I got there to get her dressed.  She ended up falling three times in total.  The ambulance came by twice.  The second time they took her to the hospital.  She was so exhausted by that time she didn't even argue.  We were exhausted too.  When Dad headed to the hospital behind the ambulance we felt guilty but we were too tired to go.  And I have not had a flu shot and going to the emergency room when I am this worn out is not to be considered.  I was worried to death over Dad, but we had worn ourselves down further then I would have thought was even possible.  We are numb from the physical exhaustion, and with Mom falling and going to the hospital it completely overwhelmed us.  Dad took one look at us and understood.  I was almost falling asleep standing still for a minute.  We have just been so busy, and then add in pulling up fence. 

Why would you ask that we do such a crazy thing?  Well, we saved at least $5K on this fencing.  Okay, we would never have bought this fence because of the cost, but it will look wonderful in the back yard and keep the dogs safe and the chicken coop will also be in this area, so an extra layer of protection.  We questioned ourselves at the end of each day why were we doing this.  But now that it is down, we are proud of ourselves.  Every inch of our bodies hurts.  Even after powerful pain meds I would say my pain level today was between 4 and 5. 

Mom is doing fine.  We got Dad to leave her in the room for about half an hour to go downstairs and get some food.  He had not eaten all day, and I am not sure that either of them ate yesterday.  Mom will be in the hospital for a few days while they run tests and try and find out what all is wrong.  She may have had a heart attack, maybe not.  She may have a UTI, probably, but maybe not.  That is as far as they had gotten so far today.

I had a doctor appointment today with Dr. May.  I thought it was at 11 but it was actually 11:45, so we had time to run by the Goodwill.  Bug found towel bars, shelving, hooks, toilet paper holder that all matched and will look gorgeous in one of our bathrooms.  We stopped by Lowe's while I was at the doctors and found the same towel bars.  One package with a towel bar, towel circle and toilet paper was almost $15 more then we paid for 12 pieces.  Oh yeah!!  We are getting some lovely things.  I found a set of sheets, cream colored with palm trees embroidered on the pillow cases and the flat sheet.  I found them for 1/2 price of what I have seen them on sale in those bed places.  score.  Then I found a shower curtain for the upstairs bathroom.  We also found mosaic tile pieces in the color of the shower to replace the purple turtles.  Yes, the upstairs bathroom has a hand tile shower with the bottom portion not matching the walls.  At all.  Nope, purple turtles in turquoise green grass aren't that bad in themselves, but the simply do not match the rest of the shower.  Since the purple turtles are only about 2 inches wide and run as a border near the top of the stark white bath room tiles.  We found these lovely little mosaic tiles that have the right colors, including the white from the wall tiles and the smaller brown/sandy floor and seat tiles.  Bug looked up how to take the turtle tiles down and replace them with the new ones.  And again, we paid less then a fourth of them at regular price.  These had a limited number left and were going out of stock, so they were really reduced.  It takes time.  It takes looking, but Bug is amazing at finding great deals.  Just little pieces of special things here and there.  Touches of us healing our wounded home.  And we enjoy the hunt.

Not only did we get over 500 feet of fencing, two kinds, but we also met some lovely people new to our area.  I have mentioned the garden club, Opera House, Art Center and Chamber of Commerce to them, showing them how helpful they are in finding the special moments in our magical little community.  As we were talking it came up that they had a new matching set of washer/dryer for sale.  We ended up getting the new matching set for the cost of the dryer he had ordered at Lowe's.  We went into Lowe's to explain that we did not need the washer and dryer any longer.  They were, "Okay."  We said that with the money we were saving we would like to go ahead and get our micro/fan hood.  They said, "Even better"  and then we found a great deal on a new vanity/counter/ sink for one of the bathrooms.  We have bought a couple lights and feel like we are ahead of the game.  We have only bought things when they were on the list of needs, and they had to be ones we both liked and it had to be quality at a good price, value, over cheap.

We close tomorrow.  Tomorrow we will own over 10 acres.  Mini land barons.  hee hee.  I do feel over rich in land.  I have friends with literally 100 acres, but owning these couple of pieces of Florida land, I feel like the richest person in the world. And tomorrow it will be real.  And a house.  Cement, wood, PVC, copper, insulation, plastics, natural products all held together for us. 

And now the fun begins.  Stripping wall paper, replacing a roof, replacing ceiling, drywalls, move window, remove carpet, lay floors, paint walls, build islands and tile work and decorating.  I am so tired that just writing all those things is done with a numbness of body and mind.  We will not be doing all the work.  But we will be doing as much as we physically can.  We are testing those limits now, and learning a lot.  oh, ouch, a lot.  But we still feel good about what we are accomplishing.

I am excited.
I am so very tired.
When Dr. May saw me today she looked a little concerned.  I was worried because the amount I weighed when I walked in and the amount I weighed when the doctor came in was over a pound difference.  I am having stomach issues and they completely wipe me out.  No wonder.  I weighed myself 15 minutes apart, only a stomach issue changed anything.  So I know I have a weight issue.  She did not know about the fence, or the truck cap so the weight loss, and change in numbers for the labs, but the same scan on the PT were worrying her.  When I explained all the things we had been up to, she laughed and said that explained the numbers.  That maybe I need to take a little rest.  Don't stop, just be a little more thoughtful of what I am doing to my body when I am doing things healthy people at my age do not do often enough.  She said no wonder I am fatigued, loss of weight and increase in pain level.  I laughed and said, I couldn't wait to tell Ms Geraldine that and knew the look and clucking noises she would give me after I told her about the fence.  The ladies in the lab had giggled and asked me about my tick head.  We all giggled over the tick incident they also giggled and laughed at me when I told them about the fence.  They all agreed that together they could not take down 100 feet of fence.  Well, that is because one said it was stupid, she wouldn't take fencing down no matter what.  Then when I told her how much the fence cost she had second thoughts.  We giggled and hugged and I headed on. 

The doctor and I discussed my meds usage and she thought it was very reasonable and she likes to know how much I am taking to help judge how things are progressing.  We talked about how long can someone keep going.  Not like in so many years as much as what would be the next marker so to speak.  She said that imagine I am in as much pain as I currently am in, and exhausted, like right now, and shortness of breath, even more often then now, and imagine that was from watching a Hallmark movie.  See, little did I know that I was bringing the Doctor's visual aid.  It made a very clear and concise image in my head.  It also gave me a point on this ray.  I have my starting point, I know there is an ending point, and now I have another point on that ray I think of as my life.  It gives me perspective and a guide as to notice what causes the consequences of my actions.  My actions.  I feel a little more in control.  If I do not want to feel like I do right now, be a little moderate.  When I start feeling like this with out being full open, I know then to let the doc know that things are changing.  Life is just easier with a manual.  Even if you have to write it as you go.

The Japanese magnolias are in full blooms.  There is a block or so just west of the courthouse where there are at least six magnolias in all their luscious pink/purple full glory.  Not to be out shown there are also camellias the size of saucers on huge old bony trees.  The camellia exhibit in Monticello is next Saturday.  We are hoping that people still have camellias in their yards and they bring them in to show and to be identified.  They are camellias in the yards of this county that are 50 - 60 years or older that may not exist anywhere else but in someones back yard.  There were quite a few established camellia gardens in Monticello.  The Tallahassee and Quitman Camellia clubs are helping us with our exhibition.  They hope to find heirloom plants that no longer exist outside of our little community.  It is hard to know how valuable knowing about long lost specimens can mean to a group dedicated to promoting them.  It also tells us stories of how and where these plants started and where they have travelled.  It speaks to me of lace gloves and hankies, tea dresses and lemonade sipped as I walked through gardens of neighbors filled with their hearts desired fulfilled.  Some were avid propagators, others just loved gardening and often their plants were given to them by their grandmothers/fathers, aunts/uncle, parents, best friends.  I always assumed that all gardeners had some plants like that.  All the southern gardeners I knew did.  And I knew as many men who gardened as women.  

The azaleas are peaking out more and more.  Ours are starting to bud out, but still a week or two from the first bud opening its face.  The red buds stand out and the green is starting to fill in the empty places.  I am sure that there will be at least one more cold snap.  The weather predicted for the next week or so are all in the 70s for highs and 40 - 50s for lows.  Pretty darn perfect and I hope to get out and enjoy some of it.  I hope that it stays this way forever, but it is still February, not that far past middle and freezes here are not unheard of in March, even possible in April, so enjoy this hint of spring and live for the moment, I say.

So, basically even pulling fence where the temps were at least 10 degrees colder then this week, we enjoyed the sunny weather.  I have whined through the winter, I still believe to be the worst ever, maybe.  But right now, it is "what winter?" 

It is late and I need to lay down.  We are both just barely holding on to consciousness.  We both hurt all way through and out the other side.  We are worried about Mom and Dad.  I need my pain meds.  I am able to live with a little more pain because I know where it is coming from.  It is just pain now, not scary.  Not knowing is scary. 

So tired.
So happy
love the tile
love the appliances
love the lights
love the bath hardware
love the sheets/shower curtains
closing on our house in just hours
I love Mr. Peabody and Sherman
and the way back machine
I am really tired

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Shell shock

I know this sounds so silly but here we are again facing winter.  Yes, I realize that the people up north have been living some of the most brutal winter they have had in long memories.  But we are experiencing for us a brutal winter.  I woke up this morning to gray raining skies and temperatures dropping.  It is winter, so okay.  Have I ever mentioned I don't like cold weather?  probably once or twice.

Anyway I headed up to my PT scan and will find out about it next week when I see Dr. May.  It is a long day, but really I look forward to my PT scans.  Ms June is the nurse who checks me in and then does my paperwork and does the blood tests and then tucks me in with warm sheets and blankets in a recliner, turns out the light and leaves me to meditate for an hour or so.  For the test to be performed properly they need you to lay still and quiet.  Any stimulus can cause false information the radioactive nucleotides are drawn to the fastest growing or moving, so laying still is important once they do the injection. I love Ms Cindy my Radiologist, she is a so sweet and wonderful.

But today was crazy.  Contractors kept walking in on my quiet time and then they brought in an elderly woman who is now scrawny and frail, bless her heart.  Unfortunately she was a whiner.  I love my dark quiet space.  The contractors did try and whisper, but then they seemed to think I would want to know what they were doing.  No, I really didn't care what they were doing, and ever after their long quiet explanation, I still don't know.  Or care.  I appreciate that they tried to be nice.  But the woman next door insisted on screaming every 5 - 15 minutes or so.  "Nurse" she would shriek.  I know that Ms June and Ms Cindy are way too busy to be available to a shriek.  I asked her across the dark and the wall between us if she had a nurse button.  She didn't know what I was talking about, so I pushed mine.  Funny, but Ms June did not come to me, but directly to this other woman.  When she realized it was my button she stuck her head in and I said I was only pushing the button for the other woman.  She said that she thought that.  Another 5 - 15 minutes and she would start screaming, "I'm cold!!!!!!!"  "It's dark in here"  "I want a TV".  Finally I put on my voice and said, "They need us to be quiet, dark and not moving or making any noises so that the meds will work.  You are radioactive and every time you scream you are making the radioactivity worse."  OK, the radioactive part is not completely true.  I mean we are radioactive, but screaming doesn't change that.  But we are supposed to be quiet for the tests.  After that she was quiet.  I am sorry, I respect my elders, but we are all either sick or taking care of others who are sick.  There is no reason to scream and shriek.

Everything else went fine after that.  Except for the rumors about weather.  One rumor was a woman had grabbed a pole in the parking lot and stuck to it.  It was raining, so I don't think that was true.  They were worried about snow and whether they will get their nucleotides from Macon, GA.  We just don't know how to handle this weather.  This is a land of people who live in heat and humidity, not cold.  We are wimps, we are unprepared, uneducated for this brutal weather.  Okay, I exaggerate, but I love being a southern this winter because it is so cold everywhere.  But we are more dramatic down here, and honestly cut us a break we do not have the equipment and experience of people who live in the frigid north.  We are doing our best.

I am home, warm and cozy sitting with my honey and drinking a glass of wine.  Maybe still glowing with the radioactivity, a little.  But drinking lots of water, and now wine also, and feeling fine.  It may be cold outside, but it is warm in here. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lessons learned

Friday I picked up Mom and took her to Tallahassee.  She and Dad have been learning Thomasville.  Okay, they have gotten lost on several occasions, but through these side trips through the area they are learning a lot about Thomasville.  I mean a lot. hee hee

But I had a coupon for JoAnn's that was burning a hole in my pocket and I was so excited for Mom and I to go and check out this makeup my friend Carolyn had told us about.  I have to say my friend Carolyn is looking wonderful.  She is focused on loosing weight.  Weight put on during years of care taking her beloved John John and then mourning and coming back to life in a new place.  She is not always able to be a physical as she was used to and now she is changing things about herself and looks amazing.  That is all I can say.  I know she must be getting tired of hearing me say it, but my gosh, she looked just fine before, but now, wow. 

Mom and I made it to JoAnn's before the crowd, which was wonderful.  I bought some yarn to crochet into an Afghan for a grandson and then some sale yarn to crochet into another afghan, possibly for another grandson.  maybe.  Then I bought some material to make pillow cases and finally I bought spools of ribbon and iron on fusing.  I am doing a presentation for the Camellia Garden Circle called the Journey of Plants.  Huge topic.  But I had 15 minutes.  Fifteen minutes can last a really long time if you are bored and sitting in a small circle where everyone can watch you nod off, especially the person talking.  So to avoid that I cut the ribbons into 6 inch long pieces and the fusing into 6X6 inch squares and then I cut up cardboard squares a little larger and picked up some straight pins.  I had the ladies weave the ribbons into little squares to make into sachet bags.  It was just something to keep their hands busy so they would not grow bored.  I explained that I thought of this because it was weaving a story of plants as we discussed all the plants that have moved around the world.  It was fun researching out the subject, and for the most part everyone enjoyed my talk.  I had taken a lot of meds before I left on Sunday to give my presentation.  But that was not because I did too much on Friday with Mom, but because of Saturday.

Mom and I were gone most of the day on Friday and went by the credit union, had lunch in the mall and I got my watch fixed, but not my diamond ring.  We finally found the makeup place Carolyn had told me, but it was late and so we headed home.  We had a lovely day together and managed to get Dad three belts and my trunk filled with craft projects.

Friday night we tried to watch the Olympics but somehow kept missing the good stuff.  I don't know what it is about these Olympics but as hard as they keep trying to show us how much Russia has changed, it still doesn't feel free to me.  I have never felt this strong from watching the TV.  They keep showing us all these happy people in the various parts of Russia and how much they love where they live.  I hope it is as lovely as they show.  Maybe it is simply that this has been such a cold winter for us.  Yes, I know I live in Florida, but for us, this has been brutal and watching the winter Olympics has not been from the warmth of my home with the doors and windows thrown open as the sunshine warms the winter into the 70s.  No, this has been a winter where one day every 10 days or so, does get near 70.  Actually one day it was almost 80, but then it is gone.  Like a day lily.  The flower opens and dies all in one day.  That is how I feel.  I start to warm and open up only to be closed down with the cold.  I still have the Olympics running most of the time I am up, and I am still really looking forward to curling.

Saturday Bug and I took the green truck over to his parents and his Dad gave me the truck topper that he and Bug found when they were cleaning the weeds in the back yard.  It fit my truck and Dad had the pressure washer guy clean it up.  So Saturday Bug and I drove the little green truck, now covered with John Deere things.  JD mats, steering wheel cover and license plate cover, back to the topper.  We squatted down and lifted up and at that moment I realized this was way too heavy for me to pick up.  I struggled and finally got it up on the back of the truck while Bug held on to the other side.  I am much stronger then I look, but apparently it is not a good idea for me to do these things anymore.  Once it was up.  I moved up against the wall of the house and felt the most excruciating pain sear my entire chest area.  My breath was forced in and out of lungs that were screaming nasty things at my lymph system and I realized for the first time that there are things I should not do.  It is not about being willing to pay the consequences in some of my actions.  It is still clear this morning that I made a very bad choice. I have been taking my pain meds.  Only one in the morning and one at night, and that is making me be able to continue getting up and moving.  But slower, much slower.  And breathing is a little harder.  I am not sorry what I did, but I did learn my lesson.

Sunday I made quiche for the garden circle and I pulled out a banana bread.  I packed up bowls and napkins, utensils and wine cups and headed over drugged probably more then I should have been driving, but I did not feel goofy, or slow, just not in as much pain. 

Bug and I have been stopping by our new place whenever we get a chance.  We walk around the yard and dream of all the things we will do.  Just two more weeks and it will be ours.  Hopefully we can move into it by the end of March, maybe the beginning of April. 

I went to bed early last night and slept late this morning.  I am still hurting and need to fix some real food and take a pain pill.  Lots of things I would like to do today, and I need to take it easy, but get them done.  We are taking the three dogs to see Dr. Matt today for their annual checkups and vaccinations.  That is this afternoon and it will be warm today.  But I think it starts getting cold again tomorrow.  It is winter.  It is a real winter for us this year.  Not the pretend winter we all love here.  Sweater weather is how I like to think of winter, not Michelin man clothing.  Ah, but in two months it will be spring and then summer and it will be hot then.  I like hot. 

Life is good here.  My little truck is looking fine.  Bug has been working on the John Deere and it is looking wonderful.  He keeps eyeing the little truck with his John Deere Green paint he is using on his tractor and honestly I would not be surprised to walk outside one day and find the truck painted JD green.  That would be okay.  It is just a little beater farm truck and the first truck I ever thought of as part mine.  Bob the dog is slowly come back to himself.  Edna and Harley are spending a lot of time getting in trouble.  We can always tell when something is wrong in the house because Bob will be sitting outside and look up with the most honest eyes that say, "I tried to tell them not to."  Bob is a good dog.  He doesn't really tattle, but he does make sure we know that he knows the other two are behaving badly.

My fairy god daughter is coming to visit me this next weekend.  I am over the moon happy.  Today is her brother's 20th birthday.  I love those two kids.  Christopher has a new pet.  An Eastern Box turtle that he will take care of for at least 30 days to earn a merit badge.  My cousin Lori is planning a trip down in a few months.  The sun is shining so far, and hopefully warming up. 

Busy week with another PT scan for me, and a couple of doctor visits for Bug and of course Valentine's Day on Friday.  Sigh, I love holidays.  I think we will stay home and I will make something romantic and we will cook together and share a bottle of wine and celebrate a year since he proposed.  If someone had told me that I would be where I am in life right now I don't think I could possibly imagine how wonderful my life is.


Monday, February 3, 2014

It's warmer

Yes, that is really the most important thing to me today, the frigid weather of the last few weeks, or was it days, is finally gone.  It will take me a little while to completely thaw, but I am working on it.

A few times each day so far it has been glorious blue skies, but they have not lasted and even if there was no blessings from the skies in the way of rain, it has definitely brought a bit of gloom.  All the more reason to celebrate the blue skies when they manage to peak out around the clouds.

I watched the first half of the Superbowl.  I had gone into the game hoping that Denver might actually have a chance against the Seahawks with Payton.   But on the first down when it flew over Payton's head and the Seahawks scored Bug looked at me and said he was not going to sit through a blowout.  Once Seattle has 4 scores above Denver he was planning on checking to see what else might be on.  I had no problem with that.  I was tired after still thinking I was invincible at Mom and Dad's lifting and moving the mattress and box spring to finish attaching their headboard.  I had been able to get by several days with no pain meds, but that has changed now.  No complaints, I know what heavy lifting can do.  I don't remember if I saw the halftime show or not.  After the last few years of Superbowl half time I can't say it is something I look forward to.  I like some of the commercials, but not enough to endure anymore of a game that appeared only one team showed up to play. 

This morning we were up and out early to return the moving truck back to the rental place in Thomasville.  Of course it was a lot more involved than you would expect for simply returning a truck a day early.

From there we went to Goodwill and found some track lighting that will help us to illuminate some of our art work.  We have some really gorgeous pieces of art.  Almost all are numbered signed prints or originals.  This lighting, whether bedroom or living room is going to really show them off.

From there we went to Lowe's to look at floors, carpets, wall colors, kitchen appliances, cabinets, counter tops, back splashes, washer/dryer and lights.  Amazingly we both agreed on the floors.  I showed him a carpet I had seen with his Mom when she and I had been there.  I liked it, and so did he.  He then showed me his idea of colors and we did need to come together a bit, but mostly we were pretty close.  I did not see a stove I liked because all of the electric stove tops at Lowe's are those flat top surfaces.  Gas is not an option.  We simply do not need to pay to convert to gas at this point.  Electric is what is there, I am happy to have it again, but I really did not want a flat surface, but I guess I may not have much of a choice.  I am sure that whatever we end up with I will be happy in my house with the view of the trees.

We looked in the garden area at stones, walls and water features.  We have a swamp and we have a pond, but the gold fish will need their own little spot.  They wouldn't make it long as bright as they are in the clear water of the pond.  We would be very popular with whatever bird found them for a very short time.  I would rather have Queen Bubba and the Bubba minions happy and safe closer to the house with plants to cover them.

It was fun getting to look at the choices to hold paint colors and bamboo floors next to the round rug we both liked.  To get an idea of all the possibilities there are in just one store.  I like this part and I enjoy doing it yourself.  The part that is hard to take is exactly how much will it cost for each part, each room.  To be able to tell how far can we go at each time. 

I need to get some rest.  I have a little trouble falling to sleep, but since I have started pacing my pills better it is better.  I usually sleep for about five hours and then I am up and down every half hour or so laying sleepless long after laying down again each time.  I have so much on my mind with the house and this house and gardens and so many other things.  Just need to spend more time doing yoga and meditating.  I spend some time each day, but sometimes it is a total of 15 minutes between the two for a day.  Not enough for anyone.

So no one to blame but myself, and I don't feel like blaming.  I will just try and do the best I can do each day.  Yeah, sounds good.  But there is some hope in that. 

My honey has been out working on the road and in the yard with Gus his new John Deere.  He has all the appendages for him and they have quick connect that seems to work well.  Here is a picture of him and Gus:



The camellias and magnolias are blooming.  I have seen a few red bugs and blooming cherries along with a few over anxious azaleas  peaking through. It isn't spring for another six weeks or so, but with a little warmth, a blue sky and the rain washed camellia petals like a slip that has lost its elastic bright and shiny around the glossy green leaves.  The air is filling with the fragrance of blooming flowers, the sound of song bird and frog duets around our new home.  How lucky can one woman be.

My little Japanese Magnolia with blooms


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ground hog day and the Super bowl

My sweetie made it home Thursday night.  I was in bed, tired out from the last week when he came in the door.  I called him from our warm bed, not as warm as when he is sleeping next to me though.  He came in and kissed me hello but was still wired from five days of driving.  When they left Louisiana that morning they had about a six hour drive.  It ended up taking them more like eleven hours because of all the east west road closures.  I crawled out of bed and snuggled into my softest sweetest robe he had bought me for Christmas and sat on the couch as he talked away.  Retelling me his life for the last two weeks plus.  Exhaustion poured out of him in a rush of words and I watched him as he started slowly returning my honey back to our life.

The next morning he headed over first thing to his parents to get the unmoving organized.  I had my second day volunteering at the Art Center.  We had a class show up from the High School.  Twenty two students and their teacher.  She wasn't as big as most of her students, but she was an amazing teacher.  First, she took them out of school during their lunch to come see this Exhibit.  Then she grabbed the first one that wasn't paying attention and she made sure that he and the rest of the students understood how lucky they were to have this exhibit they could come and see and she expected to see the appropriate respect.  They respected her and after Dr. Anne Holt got done walking them through the exhibit I have no doubt that each of them learned or thought about something they had not thought about before.  After they left Dr. Holt was so happy.  She loves sharing her passion of history.

When Carolyn came to take the afternoon shift I slipped out and headed over to the parents and help Bug.  He had already unloaded about a quarter of the truck when I got there.  I was a little confused because we had hired some guys to come the next day and unload the truck and there he was working his way through the truck all by himself.  His Dad was in the house in his chair that Bug had unpacked and Dad did not look good.  Mom was moving back and forth between Dad, the living room and the bedroom as their new carpet was put down.  The colors Mom picked out looked great in the rooms and I went back outside and helped Bug to pack up some of his things and to continue unpacking the things to go in the garage. 

Bug finally hit a wall and Dad offered to take us out to lunch.  You can just see the pain in every fiber of Dad.  Mom spoke up and told Dad to let  Bug and I have some private time.  Dad looked as relieved as I felt.  We enjoyed our afternoon and lunch out, but we were both worn to the bone and I was in bed again before 8pm.  He had taken some of his pain meds which had helped with his pain, but the meds wire him out and he can't sleep.  I got up and down a couple of times coming out to sit near him.  Each time weariness would take over and I would trudge back to bed.

Saturday morning was gray and drizzly and the fog thick as a wet blanket dripping over our now thawing world.  That was one of the amazing things to me when we finally broke freezing and our world began a slow dripping warm.  The sound of dripping was everywhere.  Icicles I had not been aware of on the grape vine around the chicken coop was almost deafening with dripping noises and the plopping sound as the soil was misplaced from the thick heavy dripping.  Drip drip drip, everywhere. I had never known how loud spring could be.

We dressed much warmer then the temperatures would have dictated Saturday morning.  But with all the damp the world still felt cold to the bone.  Bug and I moved the truck gingerly on the soggy yard hoping not to get stuck, but trying to get the truck positioned so as to minimize how much mud the movers would traipse across Mom's new carpet.  We had the truck up in position at one point, but it was awkward so Bug now thought he could position the truck a little straighter.  Unfortunately the weight of the truck was bringing more and more water up and soon the truck was stuck.  The movers never complained and Bug covered the area with cardboard and other rugs to try and keep the mud sticking to all of our boots off the new carpet.  We had hired three guys to do the heavy work, but Bug was working right along side of them.  They were polite and worked hard.  Okay, maybe not as hard as Bug, but he is more like me in that everything he does he does it all the way.  I was finally given the task of sitting with Mom to try and keep her from helping.  The apple did not fall far from the tree from either of his parents.  Mom made the mistake by sitting down on the love seat.  I sat next to her and kept her occupied.  The movers smiled and talked to us and were so nice.  They listened to Bug tell them where everything went, then they would come in and Mom would give them directions.  Sometimes these were the same, sometimes not.  I got one of them aside while Mom had gone to check on Dad who was in bed with the blanket over his head trying to get through the worst of the pain.  I told him to pay attention to Bug.  He had boxed everything so knew what was what.  They appreciated knowing who to listen to and Mom never knew that they were listening to other directions.  She was happy, Bug was getting the work done.  I was sitting with Mom, fixing food for Dad and getting water for the movers. 

Once the truck was mostly empty Bug was able to attach his truck to the moving truck.  I drove Bug's truck and he drove the moving one.  He would wave his arm out of the window and I would follow his directions.  The truck pulled out of the yard on our first try this time.  By now we had trimmed and moved and sawed up branches, unpacked the truck, taken care of Mom and Dad, cleaned up after the move, cleaned the truck and picked up Chinese food to celebrate the new year.  Bug spoke a Chinese greeting to the woman at the Chinese food and she was thrilled and spoke back to him.  He is an amazing man and awed the movers as little bits of his life slipped out in his conversations.  He has lived a pretty incredible life and hopefully has plenty more left to enjoy.

While all of this was going on Bug was carrying on a conversation with the previous owner of our tractor.  Bug bought this John Deere before he left for California and now he was back and he was salivating over all the things he wanted to do with his new toy.  Bruce, who told us the tractor was named Gus because he had been made in Augusta, Georgia, was not ready to give his beloved John Deere up.  But Bug was gentle and prodded him into completing the sale they had already shook on.  The second half of our day was driving back and forth bringing Gus and his various utensils home to Labrun.  Bruce struggled with letting go of this precious toy.  His wife's grandmother is at the end of her life and they needed to leave yesterday to get there to visit her before the end.  She had called everyone and said goodbye, but they needed to be with her one more time.  To wrap their arms around her and love her and to send her on her way surrounded by the family she held so tightly around her.

We finally got the brush hog and Gus on the trailer, our last load and headed home.  Bug's eyes glistened brightly and he talked merrily and with more energy then I had heard in his voice in many days. 

We both went to bed early last night.  Each of us exhausted from our physical and emotional few days packed with responsibilities and hard work.  He was up early, I stayed in bed.  I am still worn out.  I know he is too, but Gus was calling.  While I watched my beloved Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood and one more glorious reminder of Pete Seeger, Bug was out and happily working on his green glory.  He has worked with a lot of large equipment and looks very natural up on Gus.

The sun is out shining and chasing all of the gray out of the day.
Phil saw his shadow, so six more weeks of winter.
The super bowl with the Broncos and the Seahawks is this evening
Go Payton!!!!!
I am going out to get some pictures of my sweetie and Gus
I am slowly letting out the exhaustion from my body. 
Afraid to give in completely that I might just disappear into it
I was not able to stay up to see Bill Murray on David Letterman, but my sweetie recorded it for me.  He is so sweet.
I need to get up and straighten the house up
fix some food for the Superbowl
But I think I will just slip outside and play with Bug and Gus.
Just for a little while
The side effects, red spots, stomach issues, pain, etc from the cancer almost seems like no big deal anymore. 
Maybe because my honey is home