Saturday, July 25, 2015

Week Five

I'll bet everyone will be happy when I stop counting!



I'm rehabbing really nicely now.  This week I was able to get back into my "good" ACL brace, the custom fitted one, and can walk with only one crutch.  It's so wonderful to be ambulating without a brace that holds my leg stiff and two crutches.  I'm back to doing almost all of my pre-surgery exercises and machines at PT, but doing them slower and at lower levels and less reps.  At this point it's all up to me to get strong again.  My therapist talked to me about the local gym here in my little town and we discussed the machines they have available there for me to work with.  I went for two weeks between my therapy and surgery and it's a good alternative to PT.  But there's no cute therapist there!  My life for the past several months has revolved around those two days a week when I blew my hair dry, put on decent workout clothes, some make-up, and drove 60 miles round trip.  I guess the good thing is now I can go to the gym five minute away with wet hair and whatever workout clothes are comfortable.  Since there's no cute therapist there!  Wait, I already said that.  Seriously, though, I guess it's not uncommon to bond with those folks who have been helping you get well for months on end - and to miss them when you've reached your goals.  I'll send them a Christmas card but I doubt by December they'll remember who I am.  They see so many people each year.  But, yep, I'll miss them - a lot.   Dang!


Here's a picture of Penny on the car ride home after a month at the boarding place.  She was like "Who are you and where are you taking me?  I want to stay there and play with all the other puppies!"



Right now she's in the empty sun room.  I threw some old rugs down in there, and she drug this one over to where sun was coming in.  She stays out there until the sun goes away.  Silly dog!  And, yes, there's a shovel by the door going outside.  I call it my snake shovel and I carry it out with me each time I walk back there with her.  I've only seen one other snake since the first scare, and it was an itty bitty baby about pencil-length long.  It's harmless and she wasn't interested in it at all.  But I'm armed and ready just in case!  And, yes, those azaleas need trimming again.  I bought a battery-operated trimmer and will tackle those just as soon as my leg feels stable enough.  It's hard to find folks to do these little jobs for me.


Back five years ago (has it been that long?) when my late boss was so sick with cancer and I was working such long hours, Anne Sutton suggested that I get a needle project that I could do to relax.  I did one of her redwork patterns and really used it as a reflective time and the stitching was so relaxing.  Remembering what Anne said, I found this preprinted Santa face by Lakadaisies in a box in the Cottage.  I don't even remember buying it, but it was nice to have it all ready to stitch.  I used a dark plum on everything, but stitched the holly in a dark green and put a touch of gray-blue in his eyes. The thread was the Needleworks thread on a spool, two strands.  I had gotten a lot of this from Anne a few years back and although I have a lot of floss, it's my go-to thread for embroidery now.  This is definitely not my best work as most of this was done reclining back on pillows on the sofa.  I started it about two weeks after I was home from the hospital and finished it this week.  A couple minutes here and there when I would get frustrated or start feeling sorry for myself.  Thanks again to Anne for suggesting this type of project during tough or sad times.

Sadness - I'm so saddened by the tragedy that happened in Lafayette a couple of days ago.  It's so scary to think that this type of thing can happen in your community.  One of the beautiful young ladies who was killed was from my little town. Her parents live just down the way from my brother.  She was just 21 years old.  I just can't wrap my mind around this.  Please keep her family in your prayers, as well as all the victims and families of this senseless shooting.

I stopped at the market yesterday on the way home from getting poked for blood again.  I'm going to cook today!  Hooray!  Baked chicken and veggies, probably Brussels sprouts, squash, maybe asparagus, a butter lettuce salad.  The produce here isn't nearly as nice and varied as it was in SoCal, but I lucked into going in a nice market nearby that was just unloading their weekly shipment.  I'm ready to get real food in my tummy again!

Off to do my morning ritual of exercises before I get in the kitchen.  I lead a very simple life these days ...

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Week Two

Today is two weeks post-op.  I'm now quite the expert using crutches on the stairs.  It would make a health care professional really nervous to watch me, but, knock wood, no crashes so far.

A few days ago my sister-in-law came over for a bit.  She stood by while I made it down the two steps into the sunroom and rolled backwards on my walker to the Cottage.  I pulled a couple of hand projects to work on.  We pulled the little green wagon into the Cottage -- there's a wheelchair ramp at the French doors -- and loaded her up.  I was able to find everything I needed, the light box, bias makers, etc., a couple of applique projects.  I was all set to prep some applique and get some stitching done while watching movies.  Unfortunately, everything that I pulled needed template plastic and I don't know where that is.  Back to Square One.  The next time I have some help over here, I'll get the Ezi table and the 350 in the main house to work on those bindings.
 
The boarding kennel that has custody of Penny has been sending me pictures and yesterday sent a video of her playing with three other dogs.  She's so cute.  The other dogs were rolling around in a tangled, playful ball of fur.  Penny was running in circle around them.  She looked like the referee at a boxing match.  The kennel owner said Penny is the sweetest dog -- I knew that already! -- and has made friends with every dog she's met there.  I have a doctor's appointment on Friday, and I hope to stop by for a few minutes to hug her.  As soon as I'm comfortable going down the steps and rolling on the sidewalk outside by myself I'll bring her home.  She's probably having way more fun there, though!

A new home physical therapist started visiting this week.  The doctor has revised my rehab plan.  I will be able to partially weight-bear sooner than six weeks, maybe as soon as this week.  It will be nice to be able to walk instead of rolling everywhere.  I just need to remember not to overdo it.  I'm one of those "give me an inch and I'll take a mile" folks.  I can't do that in this case.  And just an observation here from a senior citizen - being extremely cute must be a job requirement for being a male physical therapist!  I mean, I may be old and decrepit, but I sure ain't blind!  ;)

My iPhone today decided that I didn't need to connect to the internet.  Don't know what's up with that.  I'll call the service provider tomorrow and see if they can trouble-shoot it over the phone. 

I've taken a few pictures but never have the camera cord handy to connect to the laptop to download them.  I need to get an extra one to leave downstairs.  Something else to add to my things-to-do list.  I tell you, that list is growing and growing.   Last night I finally saw what was setting off one of the motion detectors in the back yard - a gigantic raccoon.  I snapped a picture along with shots of the hundreds of cardinals, a turtle in the very back of the yard, and anything I can see from the windows.  All of the pictures were from afar but if I can get them downloaded, I might can crop them in enough to see what's going on.

It's raining again and thundering.  I hear we will have clear weather this week.  I'll believe it when I see it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Today's the Day

I'm heading off to the surgery center in a bit.  Yes, I'm nervous.  No, I didn't get everything I wanted done but I did accomplish a lot in the past two weeks around the house.

I'll be non-weight-bearing for six weeks.  I'm a total klutz using crutches on the staircase.  I mean, a serious case of klutziness.  I can barely walk on a flat floor with them but I've been practicing.  As I think I've said here before, I'm ambidextrous.  Although I now focus on my right hand, my left hand is in constant motion.  For instance, I mouse left-handed.  I played reed instruments for years using two hands simultaneously.  I played basketball in high school and dribbled with both hands.  But for the life of me, I cannot use crutches.  I get my left leg going where my right leg should be ... it's not pretty.

I don't know exactly how the upstairs/downstairs thing will work when I get home.  Bedrooms and full baths are upstairs.  But I know me well enough to know that I'll figure something out.  I've readied the sleeper sofa downstairs just in case.

Penny is boarded until further notice.  I have hired someone to come a couple of hours each day to get me up and bathed and dressed, maybe fed.  Friends and loved ones will, I'm sure, be checking in on me.  It'll work.  It just won't be fun at all. 

This year has been a total waste for me, hasn't it?

I'm going to set up my Ezi table with a Bernina in the main house.  I have three quilts that need bindings.  I hope to be able to work on those in a couple of weeks.  I know I won't feel like doing them right away but my goal is to get them finished before I'm weight-bearing again.  That's a small goal. I can do that.

The thing I'm dreading most is the anesthesia.  I get so sick no matter what anti-nausea stuff they give me.  I mean, sick as a dog for 48 hours.  Then it's over.  So that's another small goal for me - not be sick for the first 48 hours.  I'm going to try real hard to do that, too.

Thanks in advance for any good thoughts sent my way today.  I'll talk to everyone on the flip side!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Exciting Night

I came downstairs about 11:30 last night because Penny was agitated and wouldn't settle down for the night.  When I walked through the foyer, I heard a kitten crying outside on the front porch.  I opened the door and there was the cutest little black and white kitty just crying his heart out.  I reached down for it, and he jumped/fell off the porch on the side under some big azalea bushes.  I tried to coax him out.  He was under the bushes crying so loudly.  He just wouldn't come to me but kept peeking his head out and looking at me.  So I sat on the front porch until after midnight and finally he got close enough that I could grab him.  I just couldn't go back to bed with him out there, especially under those bushes.  I was so scared that a snake or something would get him.


He was so very tiny.  His little ribs were poking out under the fluffy fur.  He wouldn't drink anything and I didn't have anything to feed him.  Nourishment would have to wait until the morning, but at least he was safe.  At this point Penny had not seen the kitten.  He spent the night on top of the kitchen counter in the little kennel.  I scrubbed down and took antihistamines because I'm so allergic to cats., and went to bed.








This morning I called the local vet who advised me to call the pound.  I hated to do that but between my allergies and the surgery in a week, he couldn't stay here.  I did introduce Penny to the little fluff ball, and there were no issues with them.  (sigh)  No, Penny, we can't keep the kitten.



The St. Mary Parish truck came right away to get him.  Apparently they are just three minutes away.  The lady on the phone was so nice, and the young man who came to the house was just delightful.  He assured me that this kitten would be adopted in very short order.  I sent the little kitty away in a heavy duty cardboard moving box with an oversized bath towel for his comfort.




He asked me whether it was a girl or a boy.  I gave the stupidest answer which evoked the silliest grin on this young man's face.  I said, "I don't know.  How would we find that out?" 

Pause.

Silence.

Laughter. 

I can hear you!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Updates on Everything

I've been an AWOL blogger.  Things moved at warp speed and then came to a screeching halt when I fell two days after I got here.  Wheelchairs, walkers, braces, physical therapy -- I'm so much better now but will never get to the point I can live life without this leg brace unless ...

I'm having ACL reconstruction surgery on 6/17.  Initially I was told that I was not a candidate for this surgery, but I have been working so hard in PT building up all the leg muscles.  (I could barely leg press five pounds at first and now I'm up to 100 pounds.  Just call me Superwoman!)   So the therapist and the doctor got together and decided to offer the surgery to me because I am so motivated.  It'll be another tough six months, but there is that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  Without the surgery all I kept seeing were more tunnels.  I have so much to do before then.  First thing is finding a caregiver or someone who can come and help me out a bit as I will be non-weight-bearing for six weeks.  I commented to the doctor that I guess I'd be living upstairs for six weeks, and he and the therapist both said I would be shown how to negotiate the stairs.  It'll be a huge step backwards as far as my mobility but then I can only look forward to a bright future with being able to work in the yard, kneel, squat down to pick up things, and not wearing this brace all the time.  I never realized how often I knelt and squatted until I couldn't do it any more!  I'll find out on June 3rd the logistics of the surgery and whether a rehab hospital stay will be involved. I'm not going to be able to drive for a while and I mentioned to a friend that I would just call a taxi if I need to go somewhere.  They about fell over laughing.  Apparently there are no taxis in my small town!  Anyway, please think kind thoughts and send good karma if you happen to think about me in the middle of June.

The last coat of paint is going on the inside and outside trim of the windows today.  It has been a long haul getting these things done, but I absolutely love them.  It was tricky trying to match the trim paint.  I think I came up with good choices, though, and now I know what colors to use when the rest of the trim is painted.  And there's a LOT of trim.  At present it's all different colors, and while that's not noticeable walking from room to room, it really bothers me.  There will be some touch-up that needs to be done on the gray house wood around the windows.  I went to Sherwin Williams in this little town and picked out a color I thought would match best.  I came home and put the sample up against the wood and it looked great.  Then I found an old can of paint in the storeage room on the property and it was the same color I picked!  Maybe quilting has honed my senses a bit on that score!

Anyway, there hasn't been much quilting going on but things are shaping up nicely so that I can dive into it during my recovery.  The Cottage is almost completely devoid of boxes, and I just need to figure out where to put the little knick-knack things that we all collect in our studios and get the boxes of kitchen stuff unloaded back there.  I am still looking for a few things, i.e., the first three months of Austin Bluebird blocks, but I know they're there.  Just need to put my hands on them.

I've given away a lot of furniture that was left here on the property when I bought the house.  There was a fire in a small apartment house downtown, and my cleaning lady's daughter-in-law was one who lost everything.  So they came last week and took the two white sofas out of the sunroom, a chest, a vacuum cleaner, a twin bed set, and a coffee table that I was temporarily using in the living room.  I now have a "gap" in front of the sofa but I plan to find a smaller table this week to put there.  (Excuse the piles in the photo.  I've been sorting stuff out and tossing and those things haven't been put away yet.)


It sure felt good to able to give this to a family who could really use them, and they were delighted to get them.  Win/win!

This week I also got in the four chairs for the kitchen that I ordered from Crate and Barrel.  I had put a small round table in the kitchen, but was just using the three dinky chairs that were left here.  I was so scared that those chairs would collapse with someone sitting in them.  Anyway, those two big boxes were left on my doorstep, but I managed to get them inside and unpacked.  It looks so much better now in the kitchen.


I now have a formal table and chairs in the dining room.  I've been so used to walking straight through the room that I actually ran right into the table a couple of times!  Also my bedroom looks so much better.  There were horrible old bamboo shades and awful maroon curtains in my bedroom.  When I put the recently finished Heritage quilt on my bed it did not improve the looks of the room any. I was going to get wooden blinds or plantation shutters but the windows are 75" wide and those have to be custom made.  So I went on an adventure to find a Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought a lot of panels of beige colored curtains.  Wow, what a difference it made, and the color matches the background of the quilt.  They aren't the perfect solution but I'm happy with the interim choice I made.  I'll get a picture of that for next time.  Next up is scrubbing down the large sunroom and getting some wicker furniture or something that will enhance that nice area.  Choosing that furniture will probably have to wait until I'm recuperating, as will painting all the walls in the house.  I need to lighten up the dark colors that are on the walls.  So much to do, but I have decided to just take it one room at a time and not get overwhelmed by the whole project.

I mentioned last time that I have been having more fun watching to see what will pop up around the property in the way of flowers or plantings.  The hydrangeas that I thought were dead have greened up and now have a couple of blooms on them.  I was so happy to find hostas under the oak trees in the front.


They are in a couple of spots, and really look nice.  I love hostas but have never been very successful in growing them because my areas were always too sunny.  As you can see from the lack of grass in this area, it's real shady.  A friend here suggested that I have the oak trees manicured to remove some of the smaller branches so that light will get to the ground in the spots where there is no grass.  Another project for another day.  One project at a time, Vicky.

Penny is over the moon about this yard.  I'm still keeping her in just the front part of the yard between the house and pool.  It's a nice big area and she really doesn't need to explore beyond that.  Her usual routine is taking care of business, and then sniffing around all of the flower beds and shrubs.  Then she finds a sunny spot and stretches out.  Oh, to be my dog!



Hopefully my next post will have something quilt-related in it!  I've been doing a little sewing but my free time is sadly lacking these days.  And here I thought I would be bored when I retired! 

Friday, May 01, 2015

Joyful Progress

I'm so stoked today.  I woke up to new windows in the den and an absolutely breathtaking view. 

It was traumatic to watch these guys lift out a 9 x 20 foot window.  I'm amazed it came out in one piece and, frankly, I think the contractor was also. 


Whew!  That's done!  Now there's a gaping hole in the wall.  The contractor had to do some reframing because this old house just ain't plumb!  I was watching him measure and remeasure and then do it all over again.  I said, "Measure twice, cut once, right?"  He laughed and said he measures a lot more than twice!  A sixteenth off here, and a thirty-second off there and it was done.  He really is a master at working on old homes.


It doesn't look that big sitting outside, does it?  Oh, there's a shutter or two missing off the back of the house.  Those are being remade.  I guess they struggled through one too many hurricanes and it was time to fix them.


At two hours later -- ta dah, new windows!  Lots and lots of wide open glass with a window that opens on each end. 


Oh, hello Cottage!  I remember you!  You're going to be my quilting studio.  I plan to get real intimate with you really soon!  Hang in there, honey.  It won't be much longer!



While the windows were going in, another crew was taking out this tree that broke.  Or the part of it that broke.  Pictures can be deceiving because this doesn't really look that bad.  It broke over 20 feet up, and there were 30 feet of limbs hanging down over the fence and into the yard.  The removal debris entirely filled a large trailer, and some of the trunks were two feet across.  The good news is that the fence wasn't broken.  The other good news is that the neighbor's dogs didn't eat me up when we went over there to remove the tree limbs on their side of the fence.  The bad news is that now I have an unobstructed view of their green greenhouse.  Get it?  Green greenhouse?   Did I ever say that blue was my favorite color? 

PT is going great.  Now that the exercises have been ramped up, I'm "glowing" after each session.  I really am sweating like a pig, but I've been told that it's much more Southern lady-like to glow.  Let's just say that my glow would light up the State of Texas for the day!  I had a really down moment last week about the therapy.  It's been five months since the injury, and the doctor told me he wants five more months of PT before a decision is made on what to do with that knee.  But my absolutely adorable therapist gave me a pep talk and I'm back on track.  Of course, the fact that he's so cute has absolutely nothing to do with my wanting to continue those sessions ... and I will never admit to anyone that I just said that!

Today the cleaning lady comes and hopefully we can rid this house of some of the sawdust that is lingering on every flat surface.  The contractor did a good job of cleaning up but it needs a woman's touch.  He'll be back today to do some caulking, and the painter will be here next week to paint the new window frame molding inside and out.  It will just get dirty again but I can't wait until they're done to clean up.  I'll just have to do it over when they're finished.  I always say I have to do everything twice.  I can't wait to get that room furnished, get the landscaping done, and be able to sit and enjoy the fabulous view all the way back to the bayou.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Busy - Sort Of

I thought I would have all this free time when I moved here.  Nope.  Of course, physical therapy takes up a lot of my schedule each week, but the time just flies by each day.  I wonder what I have accomplished as I get ready for bed at night.  Sometimes I feel like I'm just "piddling." 

The windows still aren't installed.  It's raining so much now and we have to wait for a week of sunshine to get that done.  So the den still is empty except for the fold-out table with a sewing machine on it.  The cottage is progressing but still not done five months after the move.  This weekend I will have help getting the last of the boxes moved out and then I can move in, so to speak.  I have boxes of Cottage kitchen stuff sitting in the sunroom.  My goal is another month to make it into a studio but I hope it happens sooner than that.  I will get the cleaning lady when she comes again next week to clean the kitchen cabinets and the three bathrooms back there.  Then the rest is up to me.  I can do it.

I haven't been sewing a lot but have gotten a few things accomplished. 


I'm hand stitching down the binding for my bed quilt.  Finally!  I'm real anxious to get this on my bed and get new curtains in there.  The folks from whom I bought the house were supposed to leave the window treatments.  I guess they decided they wanted the bedroom drapes, and put some awful maroon things up when they left.  My heart flips every time I walk in there.  I am going to have some wooden blinds made to fit those odd sized, very wide windows, but in the meantime I'm going to just look for some dark cream drapes or curtains to hang.   I have a lot of this fabric left over, and I will maybe try to trim out those to match the quilt.  I just know I cannot stand what's in there one more minute.  When this is done I can mark at least one room off my list.

I have been spending some time each day working in the yard.  By "working," I mean walking around, snipping things, and just basically marveling at all the flowers and bulbs that are coming up that I didn't know were there.


It's really funny but there are things that were frozen to the ground and are popping up exactly where I planned to put those same plants.  For example, this amaryllis.  I received one for Christmas, and thought I'd put it here and add two or three more.  I'm glad I waited to start digging because green started showing above ground and then it bloomed - the same spot I was going to plant the other one.


Around the oak trees in the front and at other strategic points in the yard daylilies greened up and are now blooming.  I thought I would add something green at the base of those trees.  I guess previous owners had the same thoughts.


In several places around the yard there are crepe myrtles that were so overgrown and scraggly.  I decided to just cut those back to the nubs and see what happened. I was told that wasn't the correct way to trim them. They are all leafing out and I think they will bloom nicely this year.  Now I can thoughtfully prune them each year and keep them at a manageable size.  Under these were some really awful looking roses.  They were just sticks.  I cut those back to about six inches above the ground.  They bloomed a beautiful soft pink that's not really apparent in this picture.  They are a variety of an English rose with tiny single blooms.  More daylilies surfaced. 


Penny has been enjoying the outside a lot.  I go out with her and sit while she explores.  She's only allowed to roam between the house and the pool.  I don't want her going between the pool and the bayou for now.  I was so scared of her coming across a snake.  Everyone, the gardener, workers, my brother, the cleaning lady, have all told me that they've seen a snake somewhere in the yard.  I had never seen one -- until yesterday afternoon.  I went to my nephew's for barbecue, and when I got home I walked with Penny out of the sunroom into the yard.  We both stepped right over a snake on the sidewalk about six feet from the house next to a flower bed.  When I saw it, I reach down and grabbed her, ran (or as close to running as I can do right now) to the screened porch at the Cottage and threw her in there.  I called a friend for advice, grabbed a shovel and headed back to that area, getting advice the whole time on what to do.  Well, the snake was gone by the time I got back to it.  From my description, he told me it was a garter or garden snake and was good for my yard.  Well, I.don't.think.so!  Mr. Snake can just go eat lizards at someone else's house - or in Heaven if I see him again!  So now I'm going to walk outside with Penny with a shovel or hoe in hand. 

I think seeing my first snake is kind of like getting the first nick on a new car.  Now that it's done, maybe I can relax a bit.  Maybe.  Or not.  We'll see.

It's Monday and it's a free day for me.  I'm heading in there to work on that binding.  I guess there are more important things I could be doing today, but that's what I'm focused on at the moment.  No piddling today!