Monday, July 22, 2019

Keep a stiff upper lip

Skeeter welt onmy chest last year
For several years I have had severe allergic reaction to insect bites, welts, itching, all misery.  Spiders are the worst for me but the MN 'skeeters are almost as bad. So when I am outside working as is usual for me everyday here in good weather, I soray up with Deet types of repellant, to avoid tick bites especially and potential affliction of  Lyme disease.    Besides my OFF spray, I douse myself with Avon's repellant and with Buggs for gnats, recommended last year by a professional pest control technician and pat real vanilla extract around my eyes,nose and on my face.  We have our lawns and shrubs and garden areas professionally sprayed by a Pest Control Company with only commercially available chemicals to ward off mosquitoes, gnats and other pesty flying insects. It is worth the cost as bugs flourish here.  I love being outdoors and although it is hard work out there, I do not mind the workouts. I wish Jerry were able to help but since he cannot, I soldier on. I might grumble now and then about my aching muscles but it is all good for me and preferable to being confined inside or worse living communally in apartment or some place  without any yard, gardens to tend. 

Then again, I hear my heritage, I come from a family of workers, not whiners.   My late Aunt Jinx always said, " never complain about doing good hard physical work, it means you are strong enough to handle it.  Others cannot, sometimes they are sick, feeble, old or even lazy. Be glad you are not like them."  So I bend, stoop, and the range of motions working outside, doing everything I can. 
Some more of the back near mighty maple
 Besides it burns calories, free exercise.   I spent another couple hours yesterday gathering debris from winds against our mighty maple, limbs, self pruning.  And down below, a pine had dropped about 8ft. from its top down into the garden.  This was huge, but I managed to single handedly hoist it over the garden fence and then to use my heaviest pruners to cut off branches for the debris pile before dragging it downhill. Yes, I can do hard work.  Decent temperatures help.
Along one side of our home


Yesterday evening I made the mistake  of going out to the front rose garden at dusk, despite Jerry's adamant warnings to me about how bugs are more active then. But I was excited because in the morning  I'd harvested 6 cherry bomb tomatoes, first of the season, and I didn't want to miss any.  We enjoyed them,delicious and nutritious. 

Not  on this blog, but my FB  knows about my experiment this year, I impulsively planted 2 tomatoes and 1 jalapeno pepper plant in the rose garden.  These replaced the rose bushes that did not survive the winter.  With Jerry's recovery keeping us home this summer I figured I could grow a couple favorites.   
Tomatoes amid the roses out front 



Hundreds of little green marbles
The cherry tomato plant has grown immense and is loaded with  hundreds of green tomatoes. It has far outgrown 2 cages and now I have used all sorts of spikes and things to add support to the laden limbs.

So I went back out for evening patrol.  While there, I take along clippers to dead head and trim shrubs and flowers.  Just about the time I finished, I felt a sensation on my lip and in  the few moments it took me to go inside, my upper lip felt heated and almost like a cold sore had emerged.  Only it was not!  But in the mirror I saw a huge welts, bluster on the middle of my lip, and within seconds it swelled. 


My anti sting bite swabs
 I immediately applied one of my insect anti sting swabs, something I always have on hand but have never before used on my mouth,.  Because the welt or bluster was inside the lip  I dabbed the swab there too.  Not a pleasant taste, but the relief had to outweigh the bad taste of  menthol and benzocaine.  My upper lip swelled so much that there was not any evidence of the two points, normally marking my lip line.  I also applied ice.   Fortunately the misery was localised, no breathing problems, so I decided to take a Benadryl capsule too.  The antihistamine could only help.


Leary on the deck this morning
  It was very uncomfortable my upper  lip so stretched resembling the worst application of Botox.  I joked that it was a good thing I was never tempted to try the Botox lip enlargement treatments so many women went for.  On me it was grotesque.  This morning it is much improved but still slightly swollen.  So I am icing it and taking it very, very easy,for me.  I will skip working out today and instead just stay put.  No 10,000 steps tracked for me today, letting my body repair itself......this experience is surely not what is meant by, keep a stiff upper lip,😉
The morning after, residual swelling


Writing from my tablet sitting in the 4 season room,






Saturday, July 20, 2019

Rains and snarky skies

Out back skies from the west
The skies are ominous, that is the way we describe the darkness in the dayllight.  Storms approach from the west and all day we will and have had thunder storms, which are better than the tornado warnings to the north and east.  It is a day to hang around close to home with flash flood warnings.  

Daily I do a yard patrol and pick up debris  tree twigs, branches, leaves, etc. mostly from our very might Maple in the back. Being a conscientious good person,  I even pick up what it drops  onto the neighbor's yard. I doubt she even knows I do this because she has never said a  thank you nor mentioned it.  I wish the ones who live the other side of us would retrieve the debris from their multitude of trees that always blows over here, but there is no possibility of that because they do not even collect their leaves in the fall.  So when I can I toss their branches across onto their lawns.  They are oblivious and just mow over them.  In some ways it must be nice to be so carefree, but I was raised to be tidy and to keep things up, maybe too much, but at this age I will not be able to change my ways and preference for neatness.  Perhaps it is a compulsion but I despise clutter and disarray.  

Looking up through the red maple tree
So as Mother Nature sends storms and prunes I pick up .  Whenever I lament the ash trees that gave us so much shade out back until we had to have them removed two years ago, I remember how much more debris they scattered in the storms and so today maybe it is a good thing they are gone, ravaged by the emerald ash borer and so cut down and taken out .   Just yesterday Facebook showed a picture of Jerry at the back garage door and there was one of the big ash trees.  That is another thing I enjoy  about FB, the memories it provides. But I started to write about our thunderstormy day. 
Last ash soon to go 2017




Preparing to take them down. 2017

 
Front of our home on this dreary day

Japanese Beetle in Apple Jack Rose
But we can weather these storms, water for the grounds although we have more rainfall than adequate already.  And perhaps this weather will discourage those nasty Japanese beetles that have returned, the scourge of the East and Midwest gardens. I spray with copious does of Sevin and that helps.  The stragglers are hand scooted into  what I call my Death Jar, a jar I keep in the garden, covered and  half filled with water with Dawn soap.  They go in there for a swim and that is the last of them.  So far keeping ahead of them, but this is supposed to be a bumper crop year.  I heard on a radio  gardening show  that the larvae thrived over the severe winter, one would think just the opposite but apparently they did not get enough deep freeze to do them in.    

We celebrated good medical news yesterday, well all week was hell week with all mine and Jerry's medical appointments.  My follow up cardiologist appointment went well, all good to go for another year although Dr Myers agreed with me, this extra 6 pounds I accumulated over  late winter has got to go, as he said, "you are a small person and cannot carry extra weight."  Don't I know it.  Besides, I  do not want to expand and outgrow my clothes.  So watching my fat grams again, which curtails my nightly enjoyment of ice cream.  But all for the good.   Jerry's oncologist appointment to discuss his 3 month follow up blood tests and CT scan went well, although we knew the good news ahead as Mayo gives us access to all our tests, medical notes, etc online.  I look at all this online so we knew his tests were good, no cancer signs.  Hooray!  Also his heart tests show improvement in the pumping function which had some concern earlier in the month.  His pulmonary rehab appointments  are over but he is back to exercising at home, working out in his own private  gym with treadmill, weights, slant board for crunches, he monitors his oxygen level and watches that carefully.  But his  muscular strength is returning and now if he can wean off  or decrease the supplemental oxygen will be good.  Would have gone out for dinner last night to celebrate but the weather was too hot, heat index almost 100, so I opted for a  boiled but then cold shrimp dinner at home,  mac salad, tomatoes, fruit, melons and fresh bread.  

Good news to end the week.  Tonite will be a tenderloin filet at home, using the convection oven and probe.  And fresh asparagus, locally grown.  We eat well, no cheap cuts in this kitchen!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

St Anthony comes through again, how could I doubt.

Returned, unscathed, thank you again Dear St Anthony, I will donate extra at mass this evening. 


I posted this on my Facebook page hours ago and had acknowledges from over 40 folks within minutes,.  I thought I would update here too since I blogged it yesterday,  the difference, no one sees this.  :  "   Thank you, St Anthony, you never let me down.   An hour ago  I felt an urge to patrol garden perimeter again, carefully. After all, neither the birds nor bunnies would carry the sunglasses off,  they must be somewhere,  could not have vanished, as I told friend Jan earlier.. Sure enough, middle perimeter as I stopped to pull out the pesty creeping Charlie, I spotted a glimpse of blue, victory amid the Charlie, reward amidst the weeds.."----

And at mass we had a visiting priest from southeast India who is working in our Win one, MN Diocese.  He told about the seminaries and the schools for orphans in his native Southeast  India and the extreme poverty, the starvation, the destitute.  We had a second collection which would be for his mission work back in India.  How could I not honor my commitment to St Anthony.?  If course I gave extra money to this mission.

Posting this from my tablet,  different than working on the computer.

Adding this additional information, I grew up Catholic and learned about St Anthony very early in life, I remember seeing this very portrayal of him probably at church and at my grandma's home.  I learned the chant early, "St Anthony, St Anthony, please come 'round, something is lost and must be found."  

Sometime along the way, I started to call on him as Tony.  It amused me to find  online about the prayer to St Anthony, that I am not the only one to call on "Tony" . Praying to St Anthony when something is lost is a Catholic tradition.  Many years ago my late friend Sandy became curious about this habit of mine after her sister returned from missionary work in Mississippi where she learned about the faith people placed in St Anthony. So I shared my prayer with Sandy, but told her the tradition  requires that when your lost item is found one is supposed to donate extra to  the church poor box. Sandy was not Catholic but wondered if it might be all right with Tony is she just gave a donation to a local charity. 

Nevertheless there is a more formal prayer, above,  but for me the chant learned in childhood sticks.   Saint Anthony of Padua,was  born Fernando Martins de Bulhões, August 15, 1195 to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal  and died June 13, 1231, in Padua Italy.     He was Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

My unique skill at losing something right in the garden right where I am

Days roll by, just like today, this morning we learned a local friend Bob Koljard passed away at home a day ago, he was 88, had been ill, wheel chair confined, and not well enough to do much for several years so it is for the best, they say and I  agree. Yet, Jan, now a widow  has been Bob's caretaker all these years, they were married  almost 60 years and when Jan and I talked I knew she was weary.  I can relate because here, Jerry  cannot do what he used to do and so I have been shouldering and soldiering on.  Jan and I said to each other that it is very confining and not the life we ever imagined but the life we now have.  She said that she too is so doggone busy through the day  that by evening she  falls into bed only to begin again the next day.  At times it feels like the hamster treadmill, the other day I said life had become Ground Hog Day after day.  Yet I cannot complain, things are better, just not beck to full gear and we cannot travel.  So we are occupied at home.  Jerry has been going to pulmonary rehab 3 x a week and is significantly stronger, yet still needs his supplemental oxygen 24/7.   

Professional window washers
Fortunately we have someone hired to mow the lawns and this week window washers came to do the inside and outside, but there is just an awful lot to do. We are blessedly financially able to pay for services, it  is often a bigger task to find someone to do the work in this area where everyone is working, servvices are few and busy and often not taking on new customers.   Besides Jerry used to do so much, he has always been handy, a real Mr Fix It and often preferred to do things himself because he is very particular and wants it done right. But with his recovery  no longer is he doing so much. I now not only cook dinner I have cleanup afterward, Jerry used to do that and once in a great while he  does some, at least cleans off the stove, but I used to sit down after dinner, check my Facebook, catch up and finish my glass of wine.  No more, I am often on clean up duty.  Sometimes I have an extra glass of wine as I finish up.  My comfort beverage.  So after  calling Jan to  express our condolences and offer what help we might be able to give her, I proceeded on my day,  an outside chore. 

 
Far right side of the garden  where the volunteer
maple tree thrives
Yesterday I spent a few hours down in the garden weeding, clipping and spraying Round Up.  Just as recently as last year I would not have used the Round Up but  kept on pulling weeds, this year, I try to make things a little easier for myself. I have used several gallons already this year in addition to my old school pulling methods, but spraying Round Up is much easier on my back and no  stooping, etc.  Lazier maybe, more expensive, certainly, but yet anything that makes it easier I am all for these days.   



Big pile of clippings debris, branches, weeds, limbs, etc
 I kept taking my sunglasses off and on from shady areas to sunny areas..  Finally I put them in my shorts pocket because mostly I was in the shade and did not need them.  Sometime  in this last  span of  maybe 40 minutes they slipped out of my pocket.  I noticed as I headed up to the house that they were not in my pocket.  I looked around under the  shrubs and trees and perimeter where I had been last.  I know I had them in my pocket when I finished in the garden and did perimeter and bank work.  The sunglasses were  Vuarnets, over 25 years old, I had bought them in CA from my eye doctor to use when we would go  skiing up to the mountains.  I  use them primarily around here working outside because our sun is very intense, sometimes I wear them on my walks.  

One of my garden whirly gigs
Reluctantly I came up the  back hill to the house sans glasses.  I decided they must have fallen out onto the pile of lawn debris, clippings and  such that I have accumulated and that is waiting foir the landscaper service to remove when they come to do summer pruning anytime now.  The pile is massive, over  5 foot high and  3 feet wide and  yet I keep adding to it.  I had been pulling some weeds near the pile so  thought perhaps I could spot  my sunglasses there, but no luck.  So I shrugged reluctantly and turned it over to St Anthony, my go to saint  who has returned multitudes of misplace and lost things to me over my life.  Today I returned to the debris pile with more briar cuttings and my handly old pitchfork another tool from CA gardening days.  I sifted again through the  outer area and  removed the top from yesterday, the pile is so dense that they could not have fallen deep into it, so I thought for sure I could find them.  Well I was wrong, I did another perimeter and  full garden patrol and  had to admit defeat.  I guess it is time to say good bye to my favorite blue sunglasses.  I had google d last night and see they are not at all cheap in price to replace, so likely I will now  switch to using my old Ray Bans and  the Bucci's.  But I am going to miss the Vuarnets.  At least I did get a chuckle from Facebook over this escapade.  I posted about  my loss and  as soon as I began to scan for updates from friends and family I had an ad from Vuarnet, touting that they have made the best sunglasses from 1957.  Who says FB doesn't pay attention to posts?.  Yet it is still my preference for communication because it is very easy and all at once, no cumbersome logging in, writing emails, etc...I simply cannot understand people who refuse to use it. I figure they are not into social media either cannot figure it out, possibly are limited in their technology skills and/or are afraid, afraid of what?  It is as safe as a person makes it.  But this message will never change their minds and so they go along without knowing what I'm up to and since I am in touch via FB with several hundred others, I  do not care. Within a second of that FB post, I heard from a cousin in PA who had been having a bum luck day yesterday too.  And later on from another friend in  northern PA who had also  lost something yesterday,  We decided that the air waves were all in cahoots.  

Monday, May 27, 2019

Remembering Memorial Day and always

It is a dreary wet rainy day here in La Crescent,  the weather gives me a respite from the heavy duty outside gardening, trimming, hauling, etc myriad mighty physical chores I have been hard at these past few glorious spring sunshiny days.  Rain gives me a chance to rest, that is to do inside domestic chores that are never ending.  But so goes life here, while Jerry is recovering, maybe, although he has ups and downs, and lately more downs than ups???  On Thursday, we drive to Mayo in Rochester where he will see more lung specialists, to determine why he cannot process oxygen keeping him tethered to tanks and hoses.  His primary life outside the house is three days a week at pulmonary rehab where he is strengthening his muscles, but his lungs are not working.  Who knows what lies ahead anymore,  his attitude is not the best, because he feels useless, unable to do much of anything.  So this leaves it all up to me and as a friend said today, "good thing you are healthy and able to do so much."  Yes I am thankful for that, but it would be good to have a rest now and then and not always have the next task beckoning.  Being a compulsive person with only 2 settings either on or off, I spend all day doing so that night brings me exhausted to bed.  Jerry has little interest is even riding somewhere and it is really rough to even get a semi conversation out of him. He never has been one for talking much, but this all leaves me worn out too.

Greenwood Cemetery, Lower Burrell, PA
Hillside family graves plot
Still as I started to write it is Memorial Day and I feel badly that I did not get to PA again this year so far to tend to my graves and to visit my 2 friends there at Greenwood Cemetery too, Dana and Carlie passed last year.  Really I know more dead people than living folks or so it seems.  This is the cost of aging.  We survivors, left behind to remember.  I wish there were a florist I could contact in PA to have flowers delivered to my graves, I say my graves because it is only me who is left to care for them, a duty I feel deeply.  And yet when I am gone, there will be no one, so perhaps the graves are being prepared for the coming neglect.  

My father and Combat Crew 193
My father Lewis S BallAdd caption
Today I remember my father, US Army Air Corp 2 Lt L S Ball, B-24 pilot, gone forever disappeared somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean with his entire combat crew 193, June 1944, months before my birth.  The father I never knew but knew of, the young  man I would now outlive by many many years, he is standing back row, this photo  on the far left with the crew members. .I would learn later in life through my membership in the American War Orphans Network (AWON) that there were  many, some 185,000 of us WWII kids, deemed "orphans" by our own   government, yet Mom never acknowledged the word"orphan", she said she was alive and that I was not an "orphan." I never knew anyone in my situation growing up, how I wish I had, because I have learned so much through AWON, we share so many similar feelings.  A time when  little was discussed contrast to today when everything is talked beyond reason.  I always wanted to get to Charleston, SC to look out at the Atlantic ocean from there where the plane departed, never to return, but so far as  with other things I want to do someday, no Charleston trips have materialized.  This photo shows him, gazing out there toward the ocean that would consume them all.  Oh how different life could have been.  I have no grave to visit for him, no cemetery plot to leave flowers, only the vast Atlantic.  Because no trace was ever found of the plan and crew, my paternal grandmother went to her grave always believing he would return some day.  I have learned about the German U boats that p[atrolled the east coast, and there was speculation, what if on that return flight from Nassau, as they radioed that they needed fuel, what if, a German U boat surfaced, bam, and disappeared.  My late uncle Henry, his brother believed there was something to that and  perhaps there was, it was a different country, time, place.  much speculation, no definitive answers except that he would be gone ..

"Wally", in my dad';s writing
.Another mystery to me was this photo of "Wally" that I found in 2004 when Mom died and I was clearing out her closet.  There among a suitcase of mementos and documents of my father along with letters she had received from Hap Arnold, founding General of the US Air Force, was the photo.  I would learn much later, several years back now from cousins I never knew and have yet to meet,  in Taunton, MA that Wally was the only child of my father's aunt Margaret, a sister to my paternal grandmother.  Walter Kudzia, KIA in the Battle of the Bulge in Germany, 1945 months after he had turned 20.  His body would be returned to MA in 1947 to be buried at home, as his mother wished.   Wally was a rifleman, US Army, enlisted right out of high school.  Part of his tale is told in a recent WWII magazine.  It seems that my family paid dearly the price with fatalities in WWII.  Something I will be asking the good Lord about at the end of my time here, "why"  I pause to remember them, the ones I did not know.  I suppose the answer could be, "why not"  
Walter's death WWII magazine

And so Memorial Day, wet, rainy here, pausing for some time at the computer, I have posted all this and more onto Facebook, where I will get comments from my AWON family for sure.  This blog writing that I do so sporadically, is almost a private diary for me. 


Today another friend sent this You tube link, nicely done, A Soldier  Died Today, it brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat     ttps://www.youtube.com/embed/eEs4ke7cdNQ?feature=player_detailpage%25&fbclid=IwAR08yZr3tMz4dpapnxg0DJn2qTVkqT4f15jp-Vi6Eoh2MvXzf4VdjTuTCT0   If you are not moved, you are heartless..Here in La Crescent there is no more Legion building where the old guys go to gather and talk, instead it was sold out, the building had gone to ruin, sold for a pittance of a room in a Community Center, the big deal for the town.  Many of us think this will be another waste of money and become a burden on the property tax payers in the future but for now it is welcomed by the community.  However the Legion is no more, gone with it are the reminisces and the multi thousands of $$ donated to this town and the entire community over the years.  The event Center, bah humbug!  I know I am aging, I do not like these changes, I am comfortable with familiarity.  

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Look forward, ever forward, eyes on the prize



Seems to me at times that I have more memories than plans ahead.  As Jerry recovers slowly, we are grateful, but it is slow.  We have had to cancel our plans to attend the American Coach RV Rally in Houston in May.  I just knew that after his pneumonia bout it would not be but he kept assuring me that we were going, he too would like to get out and about.  But finally he faced reality and agreed that I cancel.  I guess all is not lost, there is a waiting list and so someone else will happily take our spot.  I worry and wonder.  And yet I have to chase that feeling away,  looking ahead is the way to be, forward,, ever onward keeping eyes on the prize.  Never weaken for that is defeat.  And do not settle, keep on.

Watching the vertical flakes out the front window

Today our cooler April temps have returned but yesterday we avoided the predicted 3 to 5 inches snow storm.  Our Mississippi River Bluffs shielded us  and the worst of the storm fell south and proceeded east.  Yes the snow came down in big fluffy white flakes, wet and melting as soon as it hit the ground.  Phew!  Just last week I had put my boots  away, cleaned up, into boxes on the closet shelves,  so glad I did not have to retrieve them. I was glad that I was able to get to mass Saturday evening.  I prefer that to Sunday morning mass but sometimes the weather can foil my plans.  
Easter pastel bouquet
To the right is my self purchased Easter pastel bouquet for this year, I am very impressed with it's lasting.  The colors perfectly complemented my pastel bunny vintage Easter tablecloth.   That is another  thing, seems most of  my favorite possessions, used occasionally, are vintage, at least 20-30-40 years old or more.  And that makes me wistful too.  All the time I spent carefully accumulating and keeping in good condition all my treasures and yet there is no one who is or will be interested in them.  I always imagined having grandchildren, relatives or friends to pass things along to, family treasures that I inherited and treasured, all with memories, my own collections, etc., but fate did not go as I planned. 
My vintage Easter bunny tablecloth.

As I got this out this year, I wistfully recall so many Easters years ago setting our table in northern California for family gatherings and so joyfully displaying this tablecloth. Often back then we had huge gatherings, which we always hosted and  most often served buffet style.  Today with just Jerry and myself, I set a fancier table while missing the old times, less work, and not nearly the commotion but also not the fun.  Did I appreciate it fully back then?   I  know as well as reading articles that no one wants your treasures, books, linens, china, crystal, you name it they are not interested.  That's why the stuff shows up at estate sales cheap.  So I try to enjoy and use things periodically and  little by little I am  donating things when the time is right.  Perhaps not my most treasured, but certainly am clearing out, benefiting the church rummage sale, where someone will get a big bargain and I will have cleared out some. It was not too many years ago that I sought bargains at such sales, now I do not even go there.  I do not want to be tempted.  One recent treasure that I donated was my late aunt Jinx's immaculate, beautiful sunbeam stainless steel electric fry pan.  I brought it back here when she passed in 2009 and  we cleared her home.  I should have left it for the sale, but I thought maybe I would use it.  She took such care with all her belongings.  Yet that  electric pan has sat on the bottom of the linen closet in the hallway ever since.  I had forgotten about it until I saw it while moving everything off the closet floor to prepare for new carpet.  I debated, but talked to myself, " how long has this been there"  So off it went.  Ahh Aunt Jinx, she was always tickled to be able to give me something when we visited and her words I still remember, "someday all this will be yours."  At least she had me, but even I sentimental, could not keep everything.  And now, I find myself with excess and so it will move along, little by little.  I have made some progress,  half my fabric stash is gone, donated to friends who quilt and sew, I no longer do that but so enjoyed accumulating fabrics.  Two shelves of craft items gone to the church rummage sale, ribbons, boxes, ties, paints, beads, you name it, all for ideas I had, projects never done.  My  intentions far exceed my execution.  As they told me when I was a kid, "your eyes are bigger than your stomach" 
Inside the Nordic bundt rose pan
Nordic ware rose shaped bundt pan

Another of my  treasures the Nordic ware expensive bundt pan, I bought this about 2004, so many times the flopped cakes came out of it, not the beauties I imagined baking and serving. About a month ago I tried it again, to another disaster, the cake was delicious but did not  come out  from the crevices, although I greased it  so carefully as instructed.  I  placed it back on the shelf and  then asked myself, "Seriously have you had maybe one good experience with this over the years?"  So off this went to the church rummage sale, with my well wishes for the next baker who may have far better luck producing a beautiful rose petal cake than I did. While I wished for roses I got flops, just like life sometimes.    
Crumbled bundt cake delicious
 but not as  rosey as intended


 So we cannot know what tomorrow brings, but we can be realistic about today.  

Thursday, April 18, 2019

When your other half is only about 1/3

March 26, spring a few skimpy patches of snow remained
March 26 drying on clothesline
I write this in April, another snow winter blast here yesterday just when we had enjoyed high 60 degrees and 70, we thought it was spring, but Old Man Winter returned, although not as severely as last April.  Still yesterday we had icy rain, then snow, over night thunder and lightning which continued to this morning and then sleet.  A wintry mix, a common Midwest term with which I have become too familiar  for crappy spring winter weather, continues through tomorrow.  March 26, photos here show springtime, I had clothes hanging on the line to dry, as my sporadic spring cleaning began. 


Moved table and stuff from study to TV room
 I face some intensive projects this spring, replacing the carpet in the living room and hallway on the main floor, upstairs and replacing pad from seepage in the study downstairs, with restretching the carpet.  That seepage, never happened before but this March with sudden melt and heavy rain, the ground leaked.  What a mess, but still way better off than others with flooded basements.  I discovered it while Jerry was back in the hospital for a brief time and somehow managed to move all the furniture out of the way.  Fortunately I found a company to come the next day to steam clean the carpet to avoid mold and the young man pulled out the soaked pad for me. A heavy duty rental fan from Heth Hardware in place over the weekend ensured full dryness and neighbors and friends helped with carrying the 50 lb. fan downstairs and returning it for me. 

 I have had to do most everything around here with Jerry not being at full capacity and strength. That is why the title of the other half only maybe 1/3.   It has been a long long siege of health challenges with him since his lung operation November 7, just when he was finally mending.  March brought a flair up of the adhesion in his gut from the 35+ year old surgery in CA way back (happened last year too Easter), and we were blessed that it healed without follow up surgery.  He was home only a week until our PCP on a follow up visit sent him back to the hospital, for what would finally be determined bacterial pneumonia. He has been home about three weeks now and I operate on the fear of what next and how can this keep going, but truthfully we have been blessed and are very thankful.  
March 21, Us thru it all


Jerry's follow up with oncology just the other day now, was good news, all tests show no cancer, and that is a huge  blessing.  Meantime.  three days a week he goes to pulmonary rehab to try to get his lung capacity and strength back to where it was pre pneumonia.  And yes, he had the pneumonia inoculations, including the heavy dose for seniors but truthfully, there are so many diverse bacteria that can strike and his lungs being compromised from surgery hosted the infection.  Thankful that we live here with care from Mayo, who pull out all stops as they did analyzing and testing for legionella, streptococcus, etc. ruiling out everything else, they get to the root cause before proposing treatment.  Well it has already taken me over 2 weeks to complete this post, yet again why I prefer Facebook or FB as we know it.  A day by day entry and everyone is kept up to date.  Here, I write for "amusement" or posterity. 
April 11, snow again

I began writing this post to include our recent snow "bomb" April 11, so here it is.  but now all is menlted and the green grass emerges, surely soon the tulips will show buds and the daffodils will emerge.  This is different from CA where the daffodils preceded the tulips.  And at least this is not the bigger snow dumps we had last  April when Easter came earlier and the two heavy snowfalls meant getting the plow guy back to clear our driveway.  I recall one day I did not go over to the hospital where Jerry was with the adhesions.  Wow  I sometimes say this has been the Winter of our discontent but really all this started a year ago with hospitalizations.  Enough  and now we go  forward.  One last snow shot, with sun rise, looks mystical with that blue sphere, likely a reflection from the window.  But I do prefer the green grass and clear drive.  
View from front window. April 11.  

 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Wintry Blahs Gripes

Another cold winter snow swath is predicted to hit us tomorrow, so today I prepared by getting ready to be stuck at home and the just in cases.  I filled up with gas and made a grocery run.  Jerry had warned me when he woke me up, "If you have anything to do best do it today because tomorrow is not going to be good weather" Oh great  again.

When I got out of bed this morning I already felt what I can only describe as "Blah" 
and decided I would not go to the Y for my Monday morning Zumba.  Used to be I would prevail upon myself and tell me I needed the activity and  when I did not want to go was just the time I should, and I would be right and glad I did it.  But today I could not muster up that conversation with myself,  I cannot talk me into doing much these days.  Long winter blahs have  overcome me, even though we have had bright sunshine  the past few days. Jerry is still healing and we have not been as active socially as I would like, but that is all part of waiting out  the winter. So long as I get out around most days, I am  somewhat content, but I am getting cabin fever and at a minimum frustration  with lack of variety.  I do not understand how those cooped into smaller places cope. Frankly this is not what we planned, we are supposed to be down south in Florida in our coach living the good life.  Plans, we make them and God laughs.  

Snow from  over nite Jan 19, 2019
The weekend snow storm  and sub zero temps would have the La Crosse Y parking lot Y icy, they do not clean the snow off thoroughly  the last year.  I have noticed many things have gone down hill with the retirement of the senior staff, maintenance crew and now in the hands of the younger staff.  And today MLK Holiday the Y will be even more crowded.  Mondays have become a drag, almost an impossibility to park even on the far side, King Street where I usually park.  Nothing frustrates me as much as not being able to park to work out.  Honestly the Y really needs to do something about the situation, but what?  The do not have the parking capacity but continuously do outreach for new members, holding meetings, enticing people to join, and encouraging folks to sit there for hours.  Actually there is I feel too much lobby and area sitting,  many people just congregate there, I guess it is social and all for the good, but while they sit  their cars take up all the parking spaces.  I have long supported the YMCA for their Christian values, but truth be told I am now questioning my  commitment to them.  I  wonder why I would support an organization where I no longer enjoy the  activities and experiences as I once did, has it just grown old for me or  has it changed, have I?  Ahh too many wintry questions. When I helped in their annual fundraising efforts, which I no longer do, I  learned that  25%  of their membership is  on a subsidized  plan of some sort, this means lower fees for  those unable to pay and higher fees for  the rest of us.   I used to think that was nice but lately I have been either becoming less charitable or more aware?  Is this  just another  socialistic movement with a Robin Hood like agenda, take from the haves and give to the  have-nots, make it all equal.  That is a philosophy which I rather detest, it leads to dependence at worst and laziness at best, socialism, communism.  Not for me.  So I find myself feeling less amenable towards solicitations for the betterment of whatever group.  I donate very generously to my church and to a few select organizations, and really do not consider myself hard hearted or stingy, but  when does enough become enough? Truly if there were other options than the Y I would switch, but the gyms are not for me, and the community ed group classes are in the evenings, I prefer daytime.  And so  I may be stuck with the Y, it occurs to me that being cooped for the winter makes me think more about things like this than I would if I were outdoors.