Monday, January 17, 2022



We have had persistent fog during what was supposed to be a dry, sunny weekend. After our walk on Friday along the shore of the sound, we worked in the yard on Saturday, getting some cleanup done. 

Daffodils are emerging. It will be a long time before they bloom though.

Sunday afternoon we drove over to our nearby park for a walk. 

The sun never quite broke through, but we had a good walk and enjoyed seeing dogs running and playing in the dog park. 
I use the phone app Map My Walk to measure my distance, hoping for about 1.25 miles for each walk. Sunday I made it. In fact I completed the McMicken Chicken. See the chicken?

We live in McMicken Heights and this is Crestview Park. Paved paths wind around the playfields and through the woods of what used to be a school site. By repeating loops you can add up the distance. 1.33 miles is about my limit these days. 

Today, Monday, was housecleaning and laundry day. I was on my feet all morning, but since it wasn't raining we tried for another walk. After sitting for an hour for my late lunch, my back stiffened up, so I only made it a mile before getting back home where we sat down on the patio to extend our time of being outside.
The fog finally lifted and it was actually sunny here around mid day, but clouds are slowly moving in. 

Looks like we'll have showers off and on for the rest of the week. We'll try to catch some more walks between them. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Friday Refresher

 When I walked out to get the newspaper Friday morning, there was the promise of a pleasant day in the sunrise.

Then we were off to breakfast with our view of Mt Rainier over a fog filled valley on our way.
Only our friend Jan was at breakfast with us this morning, but we had a good visit while I enjoyed my bacon and egg and hash browns that someone else had cooked for me. I am not a morning person, but I love a cooked breakfast, so it is a real treat to have it cooked for me. Unfortunately this will be my last breakfast out for a while. I have two appointments next Tuesday and then I will be going into lockdown until after my heart surgery. The exception will be a well masked trip to the grocery store during a non busy hour.

After getting back home this morning and catching up on some blogs, we went outside to do some work in the yard. It felt good to be outside and get some light work done. 

Then after lunch we went on a little outing, a change of scenery I had been longing for.

On the way to Seahurst Park over on the sound, we stopped at a Starbucks for coffee, for me a latte and a bit of chocolate. Then we sat on a bench at the park to enjoy the scene and our beverages.

Then it was time to walk.

We walked the path and then got down on the beach a bit, enjoying the crunch of gravel under our feet. 
The Olympic Mountains to the west were just barely peaking up over the fog bank. 

We walked just under a mile and a half. It was hard but also wonderfully refreshing. 

I'm  good now for a while, until I have to run away again. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Settling In


We had an unusual visitor yesterday. This Sharp Shinned Hawk decided to check out the possibilities in our front yard. By the time I noticed him, or her, they had scattered all of the chickadees and sparrows and finches and juncos that frequent the feeders and that maple tree in front of our family room window. They have to eat too, but hopefully not one of my sweet little birdies.

Watching birds is one of the things we do as we settle in for these virus impacted winter months. 

Tom is spending a lot of time on genealogy research. He might have found a connection to the Reeder line back to Long Island in 1640, but he now has to hook up the past to the present with a yet obscure middle.

I spent a lot of time yesterday on self care, with a long PT session, more stretching and icing on my hip, trying to see if that works, putting up with a new pinched nerve in the back of my "good" knee, and I dusted off the stationary bike in the garage and did seven miles. 

Today the pinched nerve seems to have settled down. I'm trying to settle down to the limits of home confinement. I'm told sunshine is on the way in a day or so, and I can go outside.

Yesterday Jake, with the help of my cousin Dan, moved into his new apartment in Friday Harbor. They were on the Anacortes Ferry to San Juan Island by 8:55 with his car and the U-Haul truck. He reports that everything went smoothly and by early evening he was getting his kitchen set up so he could cook his dinner. I am promised some photos today, after he is settled in. 

Jill is recovering at home and Irene was doing a Zoom math class when I was last updated.  

My sister Laurie gave me this glass dish of Paper Whites when we were together before Christmas. Tom had them in the greenhouse on a heat mat.  Oddly, one bulb flourished and is blooming while the other three are languishing. Is that some kind of a metaphor of our times? 

The fragrance is delicious. 
We'll put the other bulbs back in the greenhouse when the early bloomer fades.

Sometimes late bloomers just need more time.

Hang in there. Bloom where you are planted. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Normal Monday?

 I'm not sure what normal is any more, but at least we did the normal Monday chores: light house keeping done, all of the laundry folded and put away. 

This afternoon we went for a walk, my normal 1.25 mile route in the neighborhood. That's not easy any more, what with my stiff back and hip tendonitis, but at least I didn't have to stop and rest much. Today it was cloudy, but yesterday we got to walk in sunshine! That's not normal, but it was wonderful. When I got back I looked for sunbeams to sit in outside for a while. 

Sun and jet contrails through the tree filter. We live by the airport.

Sunshine lighting up moss.
I spent some time just sitting on the garden deck, contemplating not much. 

Walking around the garden I found pretty foliage. 

Elephant Ears are indestructible and a nuisance, but pretty when so much is bare. 
Hardy winter cyclamen will soon be sending up flower buds.

This bark covered vase was a gift from Jill. I filled it with a winter "bouquet" of red and yellow twig dogwood and euonymus branches. Tom's new little glass house from me has reindeer moss and concrete birds from Jan.

Isaac went back to WWU yesterday only to discover that they are operating classes remotely for another two weeks. He's frustrated with the missed opportunities first in high school and now in college because of Covid.

Jill is recovering and Irene tested positive but asymptomatic, so they are going to be able to keep each other company at home for another week. 

Tom and I are resigned to going back to Covid restrictions and hoping we stay well while waiting for my valve replacement. I emailed my hip surgeon to see if I can get some relief for my tendonitis. This is our normal now. 

But we  have so much to be thankful for. We will keep that in mind as we navigate January. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Sometimes Plans Change

 As I wrote previously, we were going to celebrate grandson Isaac's 19th birthday with a family dinner here on Saturday evening. 

On Friday morning Jill called to say she and Irene had tested positive to COVID, the omnicron variant. Irene is fine but Jill was sick with a headache, sore throat, fever, and fatigue. The dinner had to be called off.

That made us sad, especially Jill, so we did what we could to make it better. We had a little outside party in their driveway.

I went to the grocery store early Saturday morning, before the crowds, bought a little cake and candles. I pulled some birthday decorations out of a box in the computer room closet. We arranged a time, arrived with a card table, cloth, plates, forks, and napkins. 

We lit the candles, which I had to do several times, it being outside. Thankfully it was not rainy or windy.
I got them lighted long enough for Isaac to blow them out.  We all sang "Happy Birthday". 

Jill watched from her bedroom window over the garage.

Irene watched from the yard and Facetimed Aunt Jan on the phone.
Then Isaac, who had tested negative just before our party, opened his gifts. I called Jake to fill him in and let him wish Isaac a happy birthday. 

Isaac was pleased with his gifts and his little party. He will return to Bellingham and college Sunday. They had remote learning this past week. 

Jill was even more pleased that her boy got to have a party. Her fever broke and she is a bit better, just very, very tired.

If Irene gets negative results from her last COVID test she will be able to go back to high school Monday. 

Jill figures either she or Irene caught it from school. Jill will be on vacation this week. She has been isolating in their house. It's not the best way to get time off, but she will have the rest she needs to get better.

Jake came over after we got home. He has been packing for his move to Friday Harbor and he had a couple of tubs of things he is not yet ready to part with to store in our attic. Tom was just finishing putting away the outside Christmas lights that he had just taken down from the eves. We got to see Jake too before he moves on Tuesday. 

It seems like we covered a lot of ground on Saturday.

Catching this variant seems to be as easy as catching a cold, very transmittable. Tom and I are back to hunkering down, knowing our dear ones are doing OK. 

Be careful out there.  

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Medical Update


This photo has nothing to do with the content of this post. I just needed a pretty picture. 

When things start to go wrong with you physically, you learn a lot of new stuff. Because my aortic heart valve has calcified and is not functioning properly, I need to have it fixed. In preparation for that procedure there are others that need to be done. Yesterday I was introduced to angiograms. 

A catheter, a long skinny tube, is inserted through the radial (wrist) artery into the heart. A dye is injected which highlights all of the coronary arteries. X-rays read the images which are projected onto a large monitor.  

While I was given a mild sedative, I didn't notice it, and was able part of the time to view the monitor. My cardiologist studied the images to detect any blockages or conditions that might affect the valve replacement procedure. She did show me the beginnings of a blockage in one coronary artery, which will have to be monitored. I am going to have to pay more attention to my cholesterol intake. But we will proceed to the valve replacement.  My team met yesterday and I should have more information by tomorrow.

I spent 6.5 hours in the hospital, in the Short Stay ward, where I spent quite a bit of time waiting while others were taking care of more urgent cases. When it was finally my turn the procedure went well and fairly quickly. Then I was back in my bed to wait two hours for the pressure band on my wrist to do its job and keep me from bleeding through the hole in my artery.

Every 15 minutes my nurse would use a little reverse pump to let some of the air out of the band.

In the meantime I got to eat! and drink! It had been about 13 hours since my last food, and 9 hours since my last drink of water. 

While being in the hospital is never fun, I did my best to interact with the staff that was giving me care and we shared laughs and smiles and thanks. My nurse Holly was sweet and kind and lovely. The guy who wheeled me through the halls and into elevators, sorry I can't remember his name, was just plain fun. He asked about my life and told me something about his. It was great. The busy staff in the catherization surgical room were warm and friendly.

I was drained by the time I got home about 8:00, but happy that all went well. 

I have to be careful with my wrist for a few days. No PT pushups or planks for a while, and no dish washing. Oh darn. I have to keep my wrist out of water and keep weight off it it for a while. I'll handle that.

If this is more information than you needed, or you have already had this experience, forgive me for being long writed. Is that a word? Long winded doesn't fit when you are typing. :-)

Update to the update: I just heard from my team that I am a go for TAVR valve replacement, but it probably won't happen until the end of January or a couple of weeks into February. They will keep me updated. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022


All of the calendars in the house say January. In fact it's the 4th of January already. How did that happen?

On Saturday, the 1st, we began packing away the Christmas decorations. Since it takes days to put them up, it also takes days to put them away. Several tubs were filled.

On Sunday, the 2nd, I packed up all of the Santa Claus collection. That's four tubs. That left bare shelves.

Since I had already done my hour plus of PT that day, it was time to rest and watch football. Oh, and make a big pot of beef stew. 

On Monday, the 3rd, I had to go get a COVID test. That took three hours and a lot more patience than I had. Since it was stormy most of those three hours I was glad to be waiting in my car. 

I got home just in time for my pre-check in phone appointment for my angiogram in Wednesday. Then Tom brought in the pottery tubs and the tub of pop up books, my collection and his. We had spent quite a bit of time over the two previous days searching the house for those pop up books. Finally, at the same time, from different parts of the house, we realized they were in a tub sitting in the garage under the pottery tubs. Duh. There are lots of ways to feel old these days. Now everything is back in its place. 

The TV news was showing long lines of people with their kids standing outside waiting for their COVID tests before going back to school on Tuesday. I was thankful to have been in my car. 

Now it's Tuesday, the 4th, and after a busy day, darkness is beginning to settle in. Today we took down the two Christmas trees, packed up all of the ornaments, and then "stuffed the tree up", sort of like the Grinch, except most of it is now stuffed in the attic over the garage and not up the chimney. 

The calendar is filling up, some with fun stuff and some not so fun. Tomorrow is a not fun day. Saturday we will celebrate Isaac's 19th birthday here with birthday dinner. Jill wants to do most of the cooking. We will also say "So long" to Jake, who has taken a new surveying job and is moving to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Visiting him will be a 5.5 hour trip involving a ferry ride. We'll miss having him close by, but he is excited for a new adventure. 

I have added all of the Sounders soccer matches to the 2022 calendar. The games start the last day of February and I hope to be there. The season ends in late October.

No date has been set yet for my valve replacement surgery. My team is meeting tomorrow, and all of my tests should be done by late Wednesday as well. Then we'll see. Will COVID cases mess things up?

Outside the snow is nearly gone.

As the snow melted away the primroses emerged unscathed. They are hardy souls. 
The sarcococca buds will soon pop open, filling the air with their vanilla fragrance. 
Hellebore are getting ready to bloom even as they emerge from the snow. 

So too the snowdrops.

While winter here is dark, it is certainly not dead. 

So on we go, marching into the new year. Bon voyage, everyone.