Sunday, January 31, 2021

Recovery Projects

 Last July, after my spine surgery, once I felt well enough, I needed something to do that wasn't too physical and could give me a bit of chance for creativity.

I decided to look in my fabric scrap box and see if I could make something. I went on line to get some ideas, and a bit of a tutorial on fabric landscape  design.  Then I made a sketch and began seeing what fabrics might work.

I was in no rush. I worked on it a little bit at a time, over months, actually, just picking it up when there was a time gap to fill. As for the design, I pretty much made it up as I went along, starting at the top and adding layers.

Here is the end product, finally hung just last week.

Today I Facetimed with granddaughter Irene and I was telling her about some of the fabrics. Everything has a story. She remembered the dresses. 

The sky blue is from a dress I made for her, back when she wanted fancy dresses. The solid blue in the mountains and the solid green are scraps from making Sounder flags in the early days of our fandom, ten years ago. The pale green is from Irene's rainbow dress, maybe ten years ago. The patterned green is from a vest I made for Isaac, part of our dress up occasion for celebrating an Irene birthday with high tea at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. That might be the occasion for the rainbow dress too. 

The dark green with the vertical lighter stripes is from a big piece of fabric I found in an antique store in Garibaldi on the Oregon coast. It was used in all kinds of things, including Christmas placemats. The other two green floral calico pieces are from way back, when I made stuffed JILL letters for Jill's bedroom, and Christmas ornaments, let's say 40 years ago. 

Last week I started a new recovery project, once again digging through my scrap box. I am making a set of two placemats to go with my Valentine table topper. These are going faster, because it is now the last day of January, and I want to use them for February. 

I'll post again when they are finished. There will probably be more stories. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Flowers and an Update

 When I finally got out my fabric scrap box yesterday and began to dig through it, I also remembered to get out my February table topper.

Then I decided I didn't have any placemats that matched the table topper, so I began to see if there were enough scraps to make some. There might be. I didn't get any farther with that project.

This morning Tom went to Safeway to do our weekly grocery shopping. I had been thinking it might be time for some grocery store flowers but didn't say anything. He came home with lovely bright pink carnations and Gerbera daisies! He said they would look great with my table topper.

And they do!

I arranged them in an old McCoy pitcher and replaced my winter green table topper (the back side of my Christmas one) with my Valentine topper. I was going to wait until the first of February to change but Tom gave me a good reason to rush the season. 

Now, for those of you who were worried that I would do myself in with my new "four wheeler", I took it outside yesterday to try it out. It was much easier to use on the gravel driveway and the lawn as  I surveyed the yard. I don't plan to do any down hill racing with it on our steep street. But my legs are strong and my grip is tight and I do believe I can safely control it on gentle inclines at the park.

Tennis balls are a common solution, but I think they would soon be a mess outside, and I plan to be outside whenever I can be. 

Thanks for caring.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Four Wheeling

 I wore my walker out already. Well, part of it.

A required piece of equipment for total hip replacement is a front wheel walker. 

I have used it diligently, wearing a path around the inside of my house. I have also taken it outside to walk on our gravel driveway and across the lawn. It doesn't work that well on gravel or grass so I lifted it it lot.

Recently I have taken it over to the neighborhood park to walk/wheel on the paved pathways. Much better.

However, I wore right through the post caps on the back legs.

Thinking about what to do, Tom looked on line and found wheels! They can be replacement wheels or they can be used to convert a front wheel walker to a four wheel walker.

We ordered them yesterday and Amazon delivered them today.
There were no directions so between the two of us we just figured it out. Tom pried off the old caps then we discovered we needed to take off the metal sleeves too.
Then the new wheel sleeves slipped right on.
This would not be approved for early in recovery, because at first you need more stability and these wheels could just slip right out from under you. 

But now I am using my walking stick in the house and my four wheels will be great for outside. Zoom!

Yeah, I know. Easy does it. I am modifying my eagerness a bit due to some pain I need to get under control. But I am happy with the possibilities of my new wheels. 

And.... my Amaryllis is reblooming on its second bloom stalk. So pretty. 

All is good. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021


 It has been chilly here, but sunny.

On Friday I bundled up against a cold breeze, took my walker outside, and walked up and down the gravel driveway and around the yard. Then I had Tom move a patio chair into the sun so I could just soak up some Vitamin D. It felt great. I took a selfie.

I am using my walking stick most of the time in the house, but have strict instructions from my PT to use the walker outside. That suits me just fine. I am not all that stable yet.

On Saturday I decided it was time for a real walk. We drove over to our nearby neighborhood park where I could walk/wheel on paved pathways.

I walked just under a half mile. That doesn't sound like much, I guess, but it will just be three weeks on Monday since my hip replacement surgery. I was pleased with myself and so happy to be outside walking. I could have done more, but, as you know, I have to monitor myself so as not to over do things. 

Tomorrow, Sunday, we may have some snow before the day is over. It won't last, but it will be messy. I will have to put park walking on hold, but hopefully not for too long. 

My COVID life was OK as long as I could walk and drive. Now I am grounded and it sucks. I am getting restless. I guess I need to find a project.

Thursday, January 21, 2021



It really, finally happened. 

We have a new president. A man I can respect and trust.

Many are writing about the inauguration of Joe Biden, your impressions, your favorite parts. 

We watched all of it. It was as J Lo was singing "This Land In My Land" that tears began to stream down my face. They were tears of relief. We had our country, our land, back. We had transitioned to a new president and without endangering anyone. Everyone was safe. 

Joe Biden is a man who will tell the truth, who will put people first. Kamala Harris will be fun watch as she grows in power and stature. Her no nonsense approach will be welcome.

There is much talk of healing.

Healing can only happen if truth prevails. As long as people cling to conspiracy theories and warped takes on events and ascribe false motives to the actions of the new administration, there will not be healing. 

I still hear it all around me, that mean spiritedness that refuses to believe in goodness of  motive. Those who feel wounded will only heal if they want to. 

But it can happen. We can have hope. And we can make progress even as we try to bring others along.

There will be disagreements on policy. That's democracy. But let's give peace a chance. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Doing Stuff

 While life isn't very exciting around here these days, we are doing some stuff.

On Saturday Tom finally took down the outside Christmas lights and now all of Christmas is stuffed back in the attic.

Sunday we needed an outing, so we drove to several places along the sound. First stop, Seahurst Park, where we found lots of people out walking dogs and kids. We found an empty handicap parking space and claimed it long enough to get out of  the car and walk around just a bit, me with my stick and Tom's arm for  support.

Then we drove to a nearby Starbucks for a drive through treat. We talked about the news as we enjoyed our lattes.

We took the scenic, sound shore route south to the Des Moines Marina, where we enjoyed the views and walked a little bit more.

It was good to get out for a while. 

Monday is house cleaning and laundry day. I did some dusting and sorted and folded the laundry. I am also getting my own breakfast (pouring my own juice and cereal, no big deal) and lunch, help with cooking dinner, and I'm getting up and downstairs by myself. 

Tom says I am getting too independent. I am just trying to lighten his load and be helpful. It also gives me a reason to be moving.

Then I get back in my recliner to ice my hip, which today was telling me I might have done a bit too much. I try to ice five or six times a day.

Today while I was sedentary, I went through all of this year's Christmas cards, taking time to re-read all of the letters and take pleasure in them a second time around before sending most of them to recycling.  I also enjoyed my blooming amaryllis, which was glowing in the sunlight streaming in through the window.

Recovery is coming along well, and life is good enough. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Friends In Far Places

 One of the joys of blogging is the people you meet, the friends you make, even if you will never actually "meet" them. We become familiar with each other's homes, gardens, families, hobbies and activities, and yes, even a glimpse of their politics. We don't have to think alike to be friends. We  just have to care, to be interested, to be friendly.

One such person I have met is Connie, who goes by the Blogger handle of "Far Side", as in "Far Side of Fifty".  Connie lives in rural Minnesota. Her lifestyle is far different from mine, but there are traces of familiarity in it. I am a city girl now, but I grew up on a small farm in rural Oregon, surrounded by family, much as Connie is. We also have Nordic heritage in common

Connie and her husband Gene ( Far Guy) have many talents. She likes to keep her hands busy and is an expert in crocheting. She makes lovely hand made greeting cards. She and Gene are also wood carvers. Every year they carve Christmas ornaments, dozens of them, to give away to family and friends. I am pleased to say I possess one from several years ago.  

Last week Connie posted about two little Santa carvings she had just finished. Cool. Hand carved Santas. My thing! 

Saturday one of those little Santas arrived in my mail box. What a wonderful surprise! My eyes leaked a little.

The wonderful little Santa came nestled in a box with two crocheted scrubbies, and one of her special cards.  What a lift to my sagging spirit!

Connie is like that, always sharing with others. Other bloggers tell of surprises they have received. She is a special person, kind and generous and caring.

Connie, thank you, thank you, for brightening my day, and for being a wonderful friend in a far place.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Mountain is Out...

......and so was I.

We went into the city today to see my surgeon for a ten day check back.

I am OK. The x ray shows everything is where it is supposed to be. My motion is good. The additional pain I am having happens to some people, and is explained, partly because I maybe tried not using my walker too soon, partly because blood pooling in muscles below the incision happens, and partly because the nerve that was already bothered by my back issues got re-bothered by this surgery.

Time and icing and gentle movement should take care of it.

Oh, and the dressing was removed so now I can take a real shower!

It was a beautiful day. As we drove into the city we had great views of the snow capped Olympic Mountains to the west. Driving back home, south on the freeway, we had this.

Mt Rainier , The Mountain, was out in all of its glory.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


 Watching history unfold today is painful. 

I support the move to impeach the president because I believe he incited insurrection, perpetuated lies about a stolen election that inflamed his base and undermined our democratic process, and is a clear and present danger because of his mental instability.

Listening to the speakers in the House, I am also getting a clearer understanding of why many continue to support him. They like what he achieved. While those "achievements" are not ones I agree with, those are policy differences that I can accept. What I cannot accept is that in order to get lower taxes and greatly reduced regulations, among other things, they made a deal with the devil and they continued to enable his dangerous divisiveness.

Last wednesday the devil claimed his due and it was ugly. It was dangerous. It was threatening to our democracy.

In order to reduce that threat, we need to insure that Trump can never again seek public office. 

But the process is painful and not carried out lightly.

My healing process had a little set back too, with some new pain, probably because I did too much too soon. 

So here I am. bundled into my recliner, feet elevated, debate on the television, sun streaming in the window after days of rain, watching history unfold, as threats of violence mount. 

The only good thing is the sun. 

Monday, January 11, 2021


I am one week post hip surgery. What a week it has been. 

My recovery is coming along well enough. Everything is tolerable. Pain comes and goes and is not bad. Digestive system is on track. Limited mobility is chafing but necessary. Mental attitude is healthy. Emotions are stable. I am trying to give Caregiver Tom at least an hour of respite several times a day to take care of himself.

The day is dark and drippy and dreary but I have plenty to keep my mind occupied. This little vignette near my recliner is cheery. The Christmas poinsettia is still lovely. The little vase holds wonderfully fragrant vanilla scented sarcoccoa from the yard and a geranium bloom from Tom's greenhouse. That very tall Amaryllis is very slowly opening.

My surgical wound is nothing compared to the wound our nation has suffered. The enraged mob that stormed the Capitol last Wednesday was the culmination of years of a deliberate crusade of misinformation, lies, conspiracy theories, open racism, an underlying systemic racism, and threatened white privilege. 

I have spent more time than I should reading and watching in the aftermath of that attempted coup. Trump is guilty and should be removed, mostly so he can never seek office again. But he is just the provocateur of actions that have always been just under the surface. We claim we are a nation of liberty and justice for all, but when those who are white and have always had the upper hand because of their race, even when times are hard, now in this modern world see that the "others" are claiming their share of the power, they are threatened and easily provoked. Of course that does not include all white people. Many of us who live in urban, multicultural areas are used to sharing the power, and we are perhaps more aware. But when economic hard times hit less "woke" populations, the urge is to blame the "other" and hold on tight to what little they have. Anger boils over and lies are easily embraced. 

A quote from Voltaire popped up on my Facebook page: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Yes, indeed.

I don't know what it will take to truly heal this nation. I know it will be a long, painful process. It won't always be peaceful.

I see my job as to stay informed, be aware, seek truth,  promote kindness, and embrace peaceful solutions.

Friday, January 8, 2021

My World Is Small These Days

 Here I am in my recliner, with my feet elevated, where  I spend much of my time and where I sleep at night. I get up at least every two hours to walk for 15 minutes. Walking loops around the inside of my house is not much fun, but it does let me know how my hip is progressing.

Pain is under control without the use of the oxycodone I was prescribed. Sure, it hurts when I walk, but not bad. My hip is stiff and that's why I walk, to keep it loosened up. Some position changes are hard and I have to be careful.

The digestive system issues are clearing up faster with this surgery and I am very thankful for that. I can eat!

My world is small these days but that isn't much different than with the Covid restrictions. I can appreciate what I do have, like these beautiful flowers that were sent to me.

And the Zoom meetings we have twice a week with the Friday breakfast club.

Of course I watched TV most of the day on Wednesday as the president carried on his hissy fit denial of the election and then sent his minions to besiege the capitol and "go wild". What a shameful display of ignorance and disregard for the rule of law. They call themselves patriots?  I think not.

A physical therapist will visit me again today, so I'd better get out of this chair and do another walk about. He will be checking up on me.

Today is Isaac's 18th birthday! We will have a Zoom birthday party this evening. I won't get any cake but I think we still have some ice cream in the freezer. Let's party!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

I'm OK

 It's day three of my hip adventure. I am OK.

Sleeping in bed is not comfortable, so I have moved to my recliner.

So far the pain is manageable without opioids. We got the vomiting under control pretty fast this time. My hip is very stiff and sore when I first get up, But is gets better when I do laps with my walker around the house.

Tom is a great care provider. It's lot of up and down for him so he's earning his good night's sleep.

I am managing our steps up to the second floor quite well, and did so the day of the surgery.

Thanks for all of your good thoughts and wishes.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Being Outside

I needed to go outside today. I don't know when I'll get to again for a while.

It was raining lightly as I went out to the street to get the newspaper this morning, but I took time to enjoy the color along the driveway. 

While the Christmas decorations are all gone inside, we still have the light up outside. 

The hummingbird couple we have overwintering here will soon be enjoying the just opening blooms of this Mahonia 

They like the winter jasmine too. 
We have been enjoying the color on this cotoneaster for months now. 

After enjoying my walk down the driveway and back, it was time for breakfast, PT exercises for the last time, mopping the kitchen floor, and doing laundry. Then there was a break in the rain, so it was time for a walk in the neighborhood. 
On the way back we saw the first robin on the cotoneaster. We have been expecting them. I'm sure there will be more now and they will be eating all of those berries. 
Although the rain started back up again, it was very light and I took the opportunity to check out what was happening in the rest of the yard. 

The first hellebore is blooming. 

The snow drops are getting ready to bloom/
The hardy cyclamen leaves make a beautiful green mat.  
All the work we did in the fall pays off with a very tidy looking winter garden.

Primroses are starting to bloom.

Tom checked his bonsai under their winter shelter. 
Moss and fern fronds are the features in the secret garden.

Tom has been planting little hardy cyclamen starts here and there, and there they are, rapidly spreading.
My walk in the woods is limited these days to a stroll under our big firs and wonderful cedars. 

Oh, the Sarcococca is beginning to bloom. I must have Tom pick some to bring into the house next week. The scent is heavenly. 
A few hardy fuchsias still dance in the breeze.  

In the greenhouse, my amaryllis is getting very tall. Tom will bring it in when it breaks bud. 

Just as it was time to go in, the sky lightened and the sun even broke through briefly.
But I was happy with my time outside. It will sustain me for a while now as I move on tomorrow to my next big adventure.