Saturday, January 29, 2022

Still Waiting, But Moving On


Tom's photo of cyclamen 

I got the news Friday morning. My TAVR heart surgery will be delayed. I had called my cardiology team to get a timeline for next Tuesday, Feb 1, my surgery date. But alas, my contact, Vivian, paused and then said she was about to call me. My surgery will be postponed because there are no beds available for overnight stays due to the COVID surge. 

While I was not completely surprised by this news, I am nonetheless quite unhappy about it. A new date, Feb 15th, has been "penciled in". No guarantees. 

Waiting and being prepared for this long month has been hard. Now we have updated our calendars and are making some choices as to how isolated we want to continue to be. We will be venturing out in outdoor spaces and large indoor spaces, protected by our new N95 and KN95 masks. Safeway and Costco and garden centers are on our list of approved places. We will still avoid indoor dining.

I will not rant or let my anger boil over, but it is hard to cope with the knowledge that the hospitals are full of mostly unvaccinated people, people who have made the choice to endanger themselves and others. They have given no thought to those who will have to take care of them when they get seriously or deathly sick. My inconvenience is nothing compared to those who are at risk caring for them or whose critical medical care is delayed.

 The sun is shining again today. After a slow start I made some yummy banana, applesauce, cranberry muffins this morning. Some are in our tummies and most are in the freezer for future breakfasts.

The amaryllis has three blooms now.
Right outside the window the snowdrops opened yesterday in the sun. The front yard is sweetly scented with tiny sarcococco  blooms.

I am pedaling my recumbent stationary bike every day out in the garage, with the garage doors open when it is sunny so I can see the sunshine and Charlie Cat can come and visit me. 

Walking is still hard but I am slowly recovering from gardening abuse. I know now that I will always have to take it easier than I was used to. I have a long list of body parts that are still falling apart. 

But I am moving on. I have a new quilt block pattern in the works. I have started re-reading my memoir that I wrote some years ago. I'll write about that in another post. I'm reading another good novel, The Afterlife, by Julia Alvarez, and it's full of good quotes. 

I'll walk in the sunshine, or mostly shade, in my garden. And I'll watch soccer and football and all my favorite shows. And the Olympics!

Cheering on the US Mens National Team during World Cup Qualifying. 

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."
            - W E Henley

Thursday, January 27, 2022


 A fellow blogger commented to me that maybe it was time to change my blog header to "something less alarming and more hopeful to spring."

Well, it is still January. The snow could still fall. But it is true that for many of us January has been a long month.  Whether it's weather or pandemic restrictions or ill health or effects of aging or pain or just boredom, January has been a challenge. 

But at least here in the Pacific Northwest, Spring is never far away.

Mahonia blooms are attracting our pair of hummingbirds.
Ocean Spray, our first native shrub to break bud here, is getting ready to show off its first green leaves and sprays of dainty white flowers. 
I found this bud on a euonymus shrub. It will open to pink and orange.
Tom's transplanted winter blooming cyclamen are popping up everywhere and beginning to bloom.
This clump of yellow primroses persists year after year, now edged by little bracket fungus working to return this tree branch to the soil. 

The sun came out about 11:00 this morning! It is lighting up the yard and showing off all of Tom's work. There are more newly mulched places.

And, look! The mulch pile is gone!
The mulch was delivered last Friday, and Tom finished spreading it by 3:30 the following Wednesday, with one rest day in between. He even surprised himself. Now he has a day to putter outside less strenuously before the weather turns back to winter this weekend. 

And me? Well, I seem to have messed myself up even more today, just doing my physical therapy. But I'll try a few miles on my recumbent  stationary bike now and see if that helps loosen my hip up. 

Yes, there will be a new header soon. Maybe think red, like my now blooming amaryllis. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Light and Heavy

 There is filtered sunshine streaming through my window as I sit and type just after noon here on a breakthrough Tuesday. The breakthrough is the sun coming through thinning clouds, trying to find that patch of blue and chase the lingering wisps of fog away. It has been a dreary four days - seems like more than four - since we have seen anything but fog. 

I just took a walk around to see what Tom has accomplished. I hoped to catch him in action, but those heavy buckets of compost have worn him out for the morning, and he came in as I was going out. 

I saw my shadow!
More progress.

It bothers me that I can't be out there helping, but I have crippled myself up pretty badly and I just have to tell myself "NO".

Meanwhile the pile is shrinking.

Through all of that fog, we knew that if you went high enough, there would be sun and blue sky. That's what Jill and Irene did last Saturday. Here they are on a snow shoe hike on the slopes of Mount Rainier.

They reported that it was 50 degrees up there, compared to our 38, and with the exertion they were too warm in their light mountaineering clothes. 

Meanwhile back down here we don't work or rehab all of the time. Jill gave us a ROKU for Christmas, and when we don't have our regular TV programing to fill our evenings, we are finding new things to watch. 

We absolutely love the series "Ted Lasso" on Apple TV. It is funny and kind and sometimes heartwarming, and just plain entertaining. OH, and it's about soccer!

We do not recommend the movie we watched the other day, "Don't Look Up". While it was very well done and will probably receive award nominations, it was dark and heavy and frustrating in all of the ways that truth deniers can be. Think of climate change with a big bang.

My other new diversion is the word game that is all the craze now, "Wordle", played on the internet.  I am just three days into it, but it is a fun few minutes, or longer, depending on how long it takes to solve. If you don't get the word in six tries, you're done for the day, only one try per day. Keeps you from becoming addicted. It's sort of like working the Jumble puzzle in the newspaper, which I do every day too. 

And now it is 1:00, our lunch hour. This afternoon Tom will do more work outside. I will do a light workout on the stationary bike. I'll play Wordle and work my newspaper puzzles. And the sun will continue to light up our day. Maybe I'll sit outside!

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Rest Day


We got fogged out today.  At mid afternoon it's 37 degrees and the fog is so heavy it's creating tree rain. 

We are using that as a good reason to take the day off from the hard physical work we have been doing.

On Friday morning we got a 5 yard load of compost. 

Using 5 gallon buckets and a wheelbarrow, Tom got to work spreading it on the beds we had previously cleaned out. 

And I, trying to be careful, worked on cleaning out areas we had not yet groomed, like these that I finished on Friday and Saturday.  

Some of the plant material went into our compost bins, but the fir cones and sticks and woody stems went into holding bins, since our yard waste bins were already full from the previous work. 

The pile of compost has been reduced by at least half, not bad for the first two days.

But Tom is tired from lifting buckets and I have most decidedly over done it and my back and hip are angry with me. It is time to rest. 

Primroses bloom away, unbothered by the cold and the fog collecting on their petals. 
We're feeling good about what we've done so far, looking out the windows to see such a tidy garden. 
We have lots more territory to cover, but I will be easing up on my participation. It's hard for me to restrain myself when I get down on my knees and start grubbing out gardens, but I need to. This old gal ain't what she used to be. 
We won't be sitting here to rest today like we have been lately. 
It will be an inside day. We went grocery shopping early this morning, wearing our new N95 (Tom) and KN95 (Linda) masks. There are new grocery store flowers on the kitchen table, 

with a few sprigs of vanilla scented Sarcococca from the garden added in.

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, right?

Thursday, January 20, 2022


The first hellebore blooms have opened. They are shy so it's hard to see their faces.
There will be lots more as these fat buds slowly open.

Snowdrops are blooming. They are waiting for a sunny day to open up. We might get that tomorrow. 
The first bud has opened on the hardy winter cyclamen. 
Tuesday I had my last appointments before going into lock down. I got a hair cut, and then I had a Physical Therapy session that my hip surgeon set up. 

I learned that I had been doing a lot of things wrong. I learned that I should stop doing the hip stretches that weren't helping. Yesterday I created a new checklist of the changes in my PT routine. Today I went through the new routine for the first time, stopping often to check what's next and what I should be sure to pay attention to. It will take some practice.

I developed a new pain doing the new PT, so I will have to back off of that one exercise and go more gradually. I'm hobbling around less today.

While I was doing my PT today we had a power interrupt, and then Tom, who was working on the desk top computer, couldn't get it started again. He got a very loud alarm, over and over again, as he tried different fixes. He used his cell phone to contact the Geek Squad, and got an appointment to bring the computer in since they couldn't work on it remotely when it wouldn't start. Turns out his appointment was for next week, but since he was there, the tech guy we like there plugged it in, and after a few clicks and groans it started up. I guess it was in the middle of a new update in the background and didn't enjoy being interrupted. We have it back and I'm using it now. 

Earlier I finally Googled something that had been bugging me. My Levono laptop appeared to have the possibility of a lighted keyboard, but I couldn't figure how how to do it. I finally Googled the right words, apparently, because it found the answer right away and it took two easy keyboard touches. Duh. 

It's good to learn something new, even it you feel a little stupid for not knowing it before.