Thursday, January 25, 2024

Winter Projects

 Winter calls for indoor projects. Some of them happen here. All of them require being done on the cheap because we have had some big expenses lately. 

Yes, I got out my sewing machine and have started on some more quilt squares using fabric scraps. It's fun playing with color and shape, and sewing even seams is a challenge. I need challenges. 

I just finished my first one for this round. I work slowly and cautiously, and not with perfection.

Here is the new one next to one I did last year, using the same pattern but a different color scheme. Look how different they look. 

In that same work station where I sew, Tom works on his genealogy. Fitting data and DNA records together to chronologically make sense is a puzzle of another kind. Also challenging. 

Another project I work on is Project Me. Yes, it's time to take stock of my physical condition, and since the Docs have no answers for me, I will do what I can. I have taken several walks of about a mile with my new trekking poles, and alternate that with time on the stationary bike, which is in the garage, and rain doesn't stop me. I also have added hand weights back into my daily PT routine to regain arm and shoulder strength. 

It was time to put away anything holiday, so I got rid of the candle and centerpiece on the kitchen table, flipped over the table mat, and picked some sprigs from the garden. The sarcococca is almost finished already, but I found a few sprigs with flowers to bring in to scent the kitchen with wonderful vanilla fragrance.

I still haven't figured out how to restore my spell check, so you may find errors. That's a project I might have to call Geek Squad for. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Pacific Northwest Winter


After that few days of deep freeze, we have gradually returned to our typical coastal Pacific Northwest winter.

It's mild, 45 - 50 degrees F, cloudy, with a steady light rain. It's the Big Gray, but we'll take it over what much of the country experiences. 

Before the steady rain started, I got out on Friday and Saturday for some short trial runs with my trekking poles, about a mile each day. I have a long ways to go, but I'll keep at it, once the rain gives us a break. 

The deep freeze didn't do much damage to our plants, and they are all perking back up.

On Saturday we attended a memorial service for our teacher friend Colleen. It's sad to lose old friends and she was always so much fun, but at the end she was very ill and her passing became a blessing. 

With no sports teams of our own in any playoffs, I have chosen to follow some of the classic old football teams, and I watched several playoff games this weekend. I was unhappy that the Buffalo Bills  and the Green Bay Packers lost, but very happy that the Detroit Lions are still in it, as well as the Baltimore Ravens. 

Today we finished all of the Monday house work and laundry. I got a pot roast started in the oven, and now we are both taking it easy for a while. I want to read my book, but I keep falling asleep when I read in the afternoon. 

I guess I'll stay here at the computer and see if I can figure out why the spell check stopped working. With my clumsy typing, I need it!

Thursday, January 18, 2024

No News

 It will be two years next month, following my TAVR (aortic valve replacenemt), when I got all tipsy and wobbly and scared everyone in the clinic and in the aid car, and whoever else eventually was involved, that I might be having a heart attack. I wasn't, and I knew I wasn't but after every possible test, it was decided that I wasn't. But a Dr. in that Federal Way Hospital, who I never met,  saw me walking with an "abnormal gait", ordered a brain MRI, and decided I might have Normal Pressure Hydrocephalis. 

I checked myself out of that hospital, but back in my own medical center I did have that MRI and there was some scan evidence of slightly enlarged brain ventricles, a sign of NPH. 

Several neurologists examained me and found no clinical evidence of NPH, but from then on until now I have been daily evaluating myself, worried I might have NPH, even though I could not self-identify other symptoms either. 

Since then I have had my second hip replacement, and have finally mostly recovered from that.  I have been exrayed and tested and evaluated, trying to figure out why I am losing my mobility. 

I have been to my hip surgeon, my spine surgeon, had x-rays and MRIs, had my ears examined by an outolaryngolist for inner ear causes, and none of them have found anything.

Finally, this last Tuesday I saw a new doctor, a neuroligist specializing in movement disorders. She examined me thoroughly and found, " no evidence for NPH and your recent MRI is less concerning for this as well".  

She also checked me for Parkinsons and found no symptoms. I am to go back in 6 months for another check on some slight "rigidity". That's not too surprising given my recent physical therapy session. My PT assigned me to do "Standing Pelvic Circles", the motion you do when you play with a Hula Hoop. I couldn't do them - at all. But I've been practicing, and now I'm at least a little bit less rigid. :-) I can circle my hips. 

Today we went out and bought me some trekking poles.

If it ever stops raining I will take them out for a walk. Eventually I'll take them to PT and have my therapist make sure I am using them correctly. 

One way or another I am going to work on getting my mobility back, or at least improved. 

I am not ready to give up walking. 

I am ready to give up worrying. No news is good news. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Getting Outside

 Yesterday, Sunday, when I walked out to the street to get the newspaper, late because we slept in, I was struck by how wonderful it felt to be outside. 

It was still cold, 20 Degrees F, but it was dry and calm and sunny, and I decided we should get out for a bit of a walk and just have a change of scenery. It was almost noon when we arrived a Seahurst Park on Puget Sound. 

There were others there but there was still plenty of parking.

The sun was muted by high thin clouds, great for photography, and enough to light up the new snow on the Olympic Mountains. 
Mountains, sea, and ferry boats. That's Seattle. 
The leaves are gone, of course, but the color and texture of the trees and bushes still make for a lovely scene. 

Ice lingers but it didn't freeze hard enough to stop the rainwater runoff from the hillside. 
And there's pretty ice lace in the runoff drain.

Today, Monday, was a work day, but now the house work and laundry are done. We can relax and enjoy the fact that the temperature is now 36 F. 

We'll dip below freezing again tonight and tomorrow night, but then the rain will return. I should get back outside again tomorrow while I can. 

Friday, January 12, 2024

It's Cold

 We enjoyed some pretty good weather during the week, but we were warned it was coming. Thursday evening the temperature began to drop from 40F eventually down to 22. We had a dusting of snow but no more and by morning that was freeze dried in the cold north wind. 

We were  able to drive easily down the hill to my dentist appointment this morning. I had an extraction and an implant, beginning a months long process to get a "new" tooth to replace a badly broken one. So far the pain in minimal with just ibuprophen and Tylenol. But the Novocain is just wearing off, so we'll see. I want to eat!

Early in the week I made a big pot of beef stew, and then yesterday I made a big batch of spaghetti, so Tom has plenty of left overs to last a while. 

Tom changed our Google password without telling me, because of some trouble he was having. After two days of having trouble commenting on blog posts, I think I finally have it straightened out. He apologized. (It's now hours later and I'm back to finishing this post on my laptop. My desk top is messed up. Grrr)

I took some photos in the garden a couple of days ago because I needed something for a blog post. You can be sure that most of the flowers I posted last week are shriveled up and frozen now, but most will survive.

The first hellebore opened, but the photo isn't very good because I was upside down and backwards.

The lawn was full of fir cones. We've had wind.

Later in the day Tom was out with the rotary lawn mower "vacuuming" up all of the debris. 

Then last night a big limb came down out of a fir tree. Tom was back outside beginning the clean up in 18 degree weather. He kept warm for a while hauling the branches to be placed on the dahlia bed for insulation. Hope it's not too late. 
He came in when he got too cold. Eventually this will be a chain saw job, maybe when it's warmer. 

I was still fighting with my computer when he came back in. Then Tom discovered that the cold water in the upstairs bathroom was frozen. That happens when it gets this cold.  I monitored the faucet while Tom tackled the pipe, which unfortunately was left exposed by the builder, with hairdryers. Eventually it broke loose. Now we will keep the faucet trickling and leave the heat up over night. 

I still have a gauze pack in my mouth because the extracted tooth site is still bleeding. It's dinner time. I'm trying hard not to be "hangry". Tom doesn't deserve it. It's a good thing he has leftovers.

It's now down to 16 and dropping.

It's cold. 

Monday, January 8, 2024

Happy Birthday, Isaac

 From zero to 21.

Today is Isaac's 21st birthday. We celebrated yesterday with a family dinner out. 

We had good Italian food and then lots of dessert. 

Isaac was a sweet baby, a sweet little boy, and now a sweet man. 

Happy Birthday to our favorite grandson. We love you.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

All Done

 From Thanksgiving to New Years, the shelves were full of Santas. In fact, there were holiday decorations everywhere. 

The tree came down first. 

Then it was time to put the Santa collection and everything else away and move on into the new year. 

The shelves were all cleared off and the Santa collection was packed up in tubs which will go back into the attic. I've spent the last three days taking down Christmas all over the house. Jake came over to help stuff it all back into the attic and help take down some the higher lights. Tom took the rest of the outside lights down, when there was a break in the rain. 

A lot of cleaning happened today. Tom did much of it.

Then all of my pottery collection and Tom's pop-up book collection came out of temporary storage to go back on the shelves. We worked together. 

Now everything is back to "normal". 

It feels good. We love the holidays but when it's over, it's over.  It's all done. We're moving on.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Blooming and Booming


We watched fireworks from the Space Needle on New Year's Eve. 
Unfortunately a fog bank parked itself right over the Space Needle. 

I hope it's not an omen of things to come. Probably it's just Mother Nature playing tricks on us. 

This year the weather was hospitable during the day on the 31st and Jan 1st, and I got out to do something I used to do every year: What's Blooming on New Years Day. 

Winter blooming Mahonia, a humming bird treat
Winter jasmine

Little bits of spring bloomers
Hellebore emerging
Hazelnut Catkins at the park. Yes, we went for a walk!
I forget, but leftover from Fall. 
Primroses are back after the heat of summer. 
Snowdrops are emerging. 
Sarcococca is blooming and scenting the air with vanilla. 
Witch hazel
More Hellebore emerging
Lamium, out of season

Kaffir Lily, hanging on. 

And now darkness is slowly descending on the first day of our new year. 

Tom informs me that he found Dungeness crab when he went to the store. Yay! A crab feed for dinner, while we watch the U of W Huskies in the Sugar Bowl.
A good start to the new year.