Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Another short post because only my non-dominant fingers are free for typing so far.  According to the surgeon, my torn rotator cuff was right out of the textbooks -- a clean, through and through tear, cleaned up and anchored to the bone with four screws.  More challenging, he explained, was my bicep,  which was shredded and pulled clear out of the channel where it belonged.  That, he said, had been responsible for most of my pain and will take some time to heal.  He also removed a large bone spur.   He gave me a stack of photos and, although I have little idea what they are, I find them fascinating. Apparently the white ends are of muscle and the photos of bloody holes were torn rotator cuff -- I'll spare you those!   The shredded muscle reminds me of ice caves one might find in a sci-fi movie.

I am using a lot less pain medication than I had expected but still spending way more time dozing than I had hoped.  Although I don't feel terrible, I don't feel great, either, and I am very tired.  My blog can rest with me until I have either more news or more mobility.   See you later!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Post Op

So far so good.  There were no ill effects rom the general anesthetic, I am home again after an overnight stay and settled in for Stage One of my recovery.  Typing is hard with just my left, non-dominant hand free, and of course there is pain but there are pain pills as well.  Things are moving along awkwardly, but well so far.

Sunday, January 19, 2020


We've had several inches of snow and it is fairly cold this week, in the 20s and windy.  It is still snowing on and off and the reports say that the roads are icy.   I have done the sensible thing and stayed indoors where I am warm and cozy, even though I have a pretty long list of little things that would be smart to do before the surgery.   The big things are covered, though, I think, so it is hard to put pressure on myself to go out into the cold.

For my birthday, my son and his wife gave me a membership to Shipt, a local grocery delivery service.  I tried it out for the first time today and I have to admit, I had a lovely experience.  The woman who shopped for me was wonderful about keeping me informed about what substitutions were available when things were not on the shelves and she did an almost perfect job with my list -- the only, very small, error was that I asked for two dozen eggs and she only purchased one dozen.  When she arrived with the delivery, we had a lovely chat when she saw my quilted hanging in our entryway, and she showed me photos of her own quilting as we discussed that and our grandchildren. Jack said he had never thought much of the service before, and he was amused when I found it delightful from both the time-saving and the social aspects!

I have not left the house since the 5 or 6 snowfall this weekend, but we did go out before the latest winter storm hit and went to visit  my brother Bill in Grayling, which is about 90 miles north.   Jack has been making use of and enjoying his newest tech toy, a Tesla Model 3, which has a plethora of safety features and a screen that shows, for instance, when there is an object to the right of the car.   Although Jack's stroke/brain injury created a blank spot in the right side of his vision, he was able to pass the state's driver's license test, and he feels comfortable driving the Tesla.   He is sort of like a new, 16-year-old driver, looking for every excuse to do local errands for me.   I am happy for him to feel some independence again, although I am no more onboard, I guess, than I ever was with any 16-year-old.

I do NOT feel comfortable with the idea, but since he is legally licensed, there is not much I can say about it, although I will not yet ride with him as a passenger.  Anyway, we decided to take the Tesla to my brother's house, to test its range.  Jack did some local errands earlier that morning and when we left for Bill's house, I drove, with the heat turned up since it was cold out.  We picked Bill up, drove to a restaurant in another city, and did a few things around town.    After 3 or 4 hours, I realized that the battery life was dropping faster than I had expected -- perhaps a combination of using the heater and the effect of the cold weather on the batteries -- so we dropped Bill off like a hot potato, as we used to say, and drove to the nearest Supercharger, about 30 miles further north.    We cut it a little closer than we liked, and ended up having to drive extra miles in the wrong direction, but we learned a bit that will hopefully help us better to plan future trips.  Jack is a huge believed in supporting the Tesla technology, both for the potential for green energy and for the nationally made nature of all the parts.
We will try a little harder in the future not to get the battery down quite so low again though!!

We have our weekly Dominoes game with Evan tonight.   I am making orange chicken and broccoli, and thanks to the delivery service, I am also able to make a greek salad because 'my shopper,' Sandra P.,  brought me the ingredients I was missing.  

 I feel so spoiled!   I got to sip coffee by the fire this morning instead of rushing out to do errands, and stay home and cook while someone else when out into the cold for me.  I sure couldn't have predicted this kind of life when I started this Blog!

I titled this Blog entry "countdown" because I am four days away from my surgery.   But let's not think about that for another couple days, shall we?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Dull Days of Winter

We are settling into the gray days of Michigan winter, when every glimpse of sunshine is cause for celebration.  Maybe it seems especially dull because family is busy during the school year and, as a retired person, I don't have a schedule to keep me moving.   I really need, or at least want to create a more scheduled life for myself, and I tease myself with ideas about yoga and book clubs and sewing circles, but I am not sure yet where to find any of those things.   And, of course, we are still in moving stage, since my husband's furniture is still not here in the 'new' house.   He started again yesterday, hauling empty drawers and full boxes with no clear plan for where they will go, so what little order I had created is gone.   As the clutter steps up again, I am as guilty as he is of letting other things go, creating a snowball into chaos effect.   We will try to pull it back together today, but the quick descent into clutter will begin again tomorrow when he brings another load, until he is finally moved in and then maybe this part of the cycle can end.   People tell us to allow a year after moving to be settled, but it's too soon to tell yet when the actual beginning of that year will really be.

Since my surgery is scheduled for January 23 (despite the ongoing conflict in my mind), I have plenty of excuses to put off planning for things that would help create a pattern in my life, classes, or menus or even new furniture shopping.  An object at rest stays at rest.  As so, doing my part to support science, I do.  But my dreams lately are filled with lists of thing that should have been finished weeks ago.  

In my laziness, too, I have had too much time to brood on everything from the changes in human civility, to the deplorable lack of common sense and understanding of science, especially involving politics and climate change.   I am so lucky and warm and comfortable, with a world falling apart around me.   It is hard sometimes to know how to feel.

I did manage to do a little work in the (very messy and disorganized) sewing room.   I made a few little ornaments that went on the tree shortly before we took it down.  I put two of the little gnomes on my Grands' packages for Christmas.    My goal had been to make them for my whole family, but I felt lucky to get done what I did.   The other was a free Kimberbelle pattern, cute.

Now, although I have lots of other things I should probably be sewing (and doing) instead, I am working on a table runner for February.   It is a Sweet Pea design, one of my favorite companies for embroidery files for my machine.

It would be nice if it is finished in time for THIS February, but as you can see, I am not making a lot of demands on myself!   Besides, we don't really have a table yet . . .  we are still using the old card tables that I moved from my basement, "just in case" we might need them some day.  But this is small stuff, that hopefully we will look back at one day and laugh.  And really, if it turns out that I am eating at a card table for the rest of my life, there are worse things.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Happy 2020

I feel so fortunate, so "blessed," as many of my friends would say, as I enter 2020.  It's true that Jack came down with a terrible Man Cold at the new year, and we had no celebration other than my kissing his sweaty head and telling him happy new year, but I feel fortunate all the same.

I spent New Year's Eve as I prefer to do, with my son and much-adored daughter in law and my deeply loved Grands, eating dinner and chocolate fondue.  Being with them always makes me happy, chocolate or not.   I was sorry that Jack had to miss because he has not had time to make this the beloved tradition that it is for me.   And frankly, being with my family is easier these days, with less drama and stress, than being with his.   

Dinner was salad, roasted vegetables, and a lovely sweet and sour brisket, prepared by my daughter in law.   The fondue was the much anticipated dessert.   

The chocolate fondue tradition goes back to my own children's childhood, on a New Year's Eve when my first husband was out with friends.  My sister and her husband were doing a catering job, so I ended up home with my kids and their two sons.   I was feeling sorry for myself but wanted the night to be at least a little bit special, so I created a festive interlude with half a Hershey bar, some evaporate d milk, and a couple pieces of fruit.  That first chocolate fondue wasn't much, but the kids were delighted, and it made me laugh to see them chowing down on graham crackers and apples that they would otherwise have ignored,  just because they got to dip them in a little bit of chocolate sauce.   The tradition has continued since then and expanded into a pretty gourmet experience, as our experiments with dippers has gone off the charts.  

It is a marvel to me that what started as a pity party has become a second generation treasure.  The sauce is much richer and more sophisticated now, but the laughter hasn't changed a bit.  Fruit is still a favorite dipper, but everything from bacon to store-bought cookies and potato chips have taken a turn. It might well be my favorite night of the year.   I didn't take a single photo this year so you will have to take my word for it: it was a treat.

Since then, Jack has taken his first solo trip in the Tesla, definitely against my better judgement because of his impaired vision.  But to be fair, even though he is missing an entire field of vision since the stroke, he DID pass the eye exam required of legal drivers.   And of course the Tesla has a lot of safety features that our other cars have lacked.   I will not ride with him anytime soon, but I can hardly raise a fit about a legal driver driving a car that he has purchased and insured.   Fingers crossed for all of us.

Yes, there are flies in the ointment.  Life is not perfect.  My daughter is still in the Orleans Parish Prison, waiting for her hearing this coming Monday on probation violation and the underlying cocaine charge.   She spent her 40th birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years there.  Her biggest fault is a mental illness and the addiction she developed to try to control it.  There is lots of post-company work here at the house that Jack, still mostly in bed, and I, still partly crippled, haven't yet gotten under control.  I have heard from my surgeon, and they are ready for a phone conference about my upcoming surgery.    I will be glad to have some details, although I am still torn about the whole idea.  I am getting used to being in constant, chronic, low level pain, and hate to think of ramping it up to something worse.    Still (taking a deep breath), it would be nice to be able to do usual household chores again.   I'm trying to believe in life after prison, life after chaos, life after recovery.

So for now,  for just a little bit longer, I am enjoying life by the fire.  The tree is still up for another day or so, and we had bean and ham soup simmering on the stove today.  The Christmas leftovers are gone and Dominoes season starts this coming Sunday.   Life is not perfect, but it is still almost unbearable good.   Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas Week

It has been another busy week, but mostly lovely.  My trees are still up and I am still enjoying them.  One little tree in the guest room, one in the entry way, the larger one in the living room, and a small ceramic tree by the downstairs fireplace.  But the presents have been distributed and company is tapering off.

On Thursday, my son's family came over for a Christmas brunch.  We had a variety of meats and cheeses and pastries, both cold and warm, and enjoyed each other's company.  I am always sorry to see them go, it is never enough time for me.  My grandson interviewed all of us for his upcoming science fair project, and he and his sister played around with their new ukuleles.  I do hope they have some fun with those!  

While we were visiting, a couple who have been Jack's friends for more than 30 years (and mine for about 7) stopped by with an unexpected housewarming gift -- this metal "H" is quite large, 28" square,"  and we are still trying to decide exactly where it should be displayed.   It is not our usual style -- a bit showy for us -- but we will find a place for it.  And for the lovely Belleek blessing wreath that Jack's sister and brother in law brought back from Ireland, also something we would not have bought for ourselves.  It is fun to see our house shaping up, with bits of each of us and the people we love.

Yesterday was the gathering of my Michigan family; my sister and brother, my son's and nephew's families.   Although we were in daily contact when our kids were small, now we get together as a group pretty rarely, only a few times a year, so this annual gathering is always a treat.  My brother spent the night last night and I was grateful for that.  He lives about an hour and a half north of us, and yesterday's family gathering was a little more than two hours south, so he drove to our house and he and Jack and I drove to my nephew's house together.  I drove our new Tesla, a trip that included a stop at a Supercharger, and managed to get us there and back with all of us, including the car, intact.   It was late when we returned home and we were all tired, so my usually stubborn brother gave in and agreed to sleep over. He is not well, otherwise I am certain he would have pushed himself on.   Now it is 6:30 a.m. and both he and my husband are still soundly sleeping, giving me a few minutes to myself, sitting under a quilt, blogging by the light of the tree and the fire.

Now that our schedule should be slowing down a bit, maybe I will find time to sew the gifts I had intended to make this year, and put them aside for next.  More likely, if I get them sewn at all, I will give them away instead of waiting.  

I love the holidays, but I admit I am ready to have a less cluttered house and a lot less cooking for a little while!   Just a short breather, before our annual New Year's Even chocolate fondue!   I hope your holidays were peaceful and bright.  :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Crazy, Continued

It's been another crazy week.   My husband's birthday was last Sunday, and since I knew I would be busy that day, I carefully (or semi carefully) scheduled all the necessary tasks and chores around his little celebration.  The morning before his birthday, however, he got a text -- which he eventually shared with me -- saying that his daughter had decided to drive to Michigan to visit and the share his birthday and that, hurray, she would arrive at 1:30 am!  My husband was delighted and so was I, truth be told, but I had to work a little to push the long list of to-dos out of my head!    We had a lovely day.  I made puff pastries in the morning, we had Facetime with his family and his twin sister, went see Star Wars together at his request, and then we finished off the day with dinner with all his kids and a couple that he has know for probably 30 years.   A good day for all of us.  But for sure we had stayed up too late the night before, and my semi-careful task list was already beginning to erode.

My husband had ordered a new car several weeks ago and he got 3 texts that afternoon, one announcing the the car would be delivered on December 28th, one announcing that it arrive a little later, and one announcing that additional information would be forthcoming.  A fun text to get on his birthday, even if a little confusing!

The next day was the day we had chosen to celebrate Christmas with his kids.  His daughter's gifts, of course, had already been mailed to her in Washington D.C, so we were empty-handed for her.   Some of the gifts for the others had arrived and some had not, but no problem, we are not gift-focused people.  My husband, his daughter and I were just getting started cooking and getting ready for the other siblings when my husband got a text that his new car was being delivered . . . now, in just a few minutes.    His daughter and I went outside with him and sure enough, we could see the car carrier just down the street.  Quite a bit down the street, in fact -- the driver later told me that he could not park by our house before the trees were too low.

What excitement!   We spent a few minutes checking off the checklist and figuring our how to work this new contraption, and then we drove around the block, waving while my step-daughter filmed us and apparently posted it on Instagram!

Amid all the excitement, my husband's other kids and daughter in law arrived, and we enjoyed the first minutes together admiring the car and beginning to assemble the meal.   At some point, out of my presence, one member of the family took offense at something that had been said.   He stormed out of the house and did not return.   The remaining members tried to figure out what had gone wrong, with each of them saying to me at some point in the day, "Maybe it was my fault . . ."   Eventually, though, since he did not answer our calls or texts, and since there was no consensus on what had been so offensive, we carried on with a lovely dinner, fun gifts, and hours of board games and laughter before we called it a night.

Today is Christmas Eve.   The new car is not insured until the 26th since the earliest it should have arrived was the 28th.  The offended family member is still offended.   But I made banana bread, and although I did it all wrong, it tastes pretty darn good.   I didn't realize until house later when I opened the microwave that I forgot to add the melted butter to the batter!  

I also got a few errands finally done and got my monthly - rarely monthly any more - pedicure.   It feels so good.  At the moment, my husband's daughter is visiting with friends, my husband is asleep in the chair beside me in front of the fire, and I have had the space of time needed to finish a gift for him to open tomorrow -- a lovely pen wrap for his endless collection of fountain pens, and maybe something to prevent ink stains in his shirt pockets going forward.

Not a creature is stirring, and I couldn't be happier.   I hope it is peaceful and pleasant in your life, whatever you are celebrating and wherever you are doing it.