LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Friday, February 15, 2019

We Love Lucy

Sunshine!  We have had sunshine for three consecutive days now.  And I love it!  One of our camellias is bursting with buds and even has a blossom or two.  I'm sure the buds will get caught in another cold spell and turn brown and drop off.  Such is the price you pay for planting something at the very cusp of its planting zone.  But you do get the occasional reward of a fully blooming tree,  And the plant itself is lovely and I enjoy it.  We actually have three of them and they are among my favorite plants.



Our Lucy is about the same.  Certainly no worse and perhaps a bit better as she accommodates for the lame leg.  She moves slowly but does not appear to have any pain.  We bought more boots for her since we have had rain and we want them to completely dry out when they get wet .  She is much more comfortable with the boots on her hind legs since they give her a more sure footing.  They also protect the foot which she sometimes drags as she goes up the driveway.  It is a real plus that she seems to enjoy the boots and does not like for us to take them off to let her foot get some air.

She's looking a bit unkempt since we no longer take her for a bath and grooming.  Getting her into and out of the car and then having the bath seems like too much trauma for her.  So we groom her ourselves, trimming inside her ears and doing her foot/paw care.




My son sent me a photograph of one of his cats.  He and his wife picked her from the shelter when she was a tiny kitten.  She has a congenital neuro-muscular problem and was destined for euthanasia.  Of course that is the kitten they chose to be the companion to their other cat that wandered into their lives.  She is not  often seen when Violet is around.  But when Violet is safely in her crib the cat takes full advantage of one of the soft blankets I knitted.

Thankful that active little toddler is tucked away.



Today's quote comes from the famous Daniel Webster and could not be more appropriate:

"The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power."

The other quote comes from American journalist Garet Garrett.  I don't agree with all his opinions, but this one is spot-on.

"Loyalty of the law-making power to the executive power was one of the dangers the political fathers foretold."

[Personal note:)  YOU HEAR THAT MITCH MCCONNELL?

So ends another week.  I will be having PET (positron emission tomography) scans this weekend.  These sophisticated scans will reveal how effective the new chemotherapy has been on containing the remaining spots of cancer and to see if any new areas have popped up.  The scans will be extensive, from "skull to thighs."  We are cautiously optimistic since my cancer marker levels in the blood have not risen.  But after 30 weeks on the new treatment, we need to know exactly where we stand.  My oncologist will explain the options we have based on the result of the scans.  Keep your fingers crossed and petition the deity of your choosing, please.

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
SPRING IS SURELY COMING

Friday, February 8, 2019

We Love Lucy

What a strange week this has been.  Spring one day and winter the next.  One day with dreary mist and fog and the next with bright, warm sunshine.

I do appreciate the sun and have a touch of seasonal affective disorder.  When we built out house, the first thing I wanted to know was the orientation.  Our main living areas face the east and southeast so we get the morning sunshine if there is any to be had.  The great room wall toward the deck is primarily windows and double doors.

Our Lucy is also fond of sunshine and seems even more so as she ages.  It must feel good on her old, arthritic bones.  (I know it does on mine.)  She seeks out areas of sun puddles when the sun is shining even in summer.  She loves to lie on the hot deck when it is warm.  She snoozes on her bed with one of her pillows as the sun shines upon her.  If the sun has moved by the time she awakens, she gets up and moves to find another sunny spot.

Lucy seems to be sleeping more and is slower to get up and moving.  But the leg is the same and she does not appear to have any pain.  She is eating and drinking well and is able to walk reasonably well once she gets started.

I love the tiny spot of sunshine on her nose


Our granddaughter has been introduced to a new food.  She might live in the Midwest and she might have been born there, but she is a real daughter of the South.  She recently had first hushpuppy.  Quickly followed by her second, third, and fourth.  She crammed them in her mouth with gusto.  Fortunately, she loved the smoked turkey that followed so she gave up on the hushpuppies without much fuss.  But she clearly thought those hushpuppies were among the best things she had ever eaten and she has a broad taste in foods.

Proof that toddlers can focus.  Nothing comes between Violet and her hushpuppy.

I do hope you are having some sunshine (and perhaps hushpuppies) in your life.  Isn't it wonderful to notice the lengthening of the daylight hours?  And it will only get better from here.

Today's quote is from William Cullen Bryant:

"The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds
And swells the leaves within."

And a quote from Winston Churchill, simply because I like it:

"The most beautiful voice in the world is that of an educated Southern woman."

While I am certain our Violet will be educated, I doubt very seriously if she will have a southern accent.  Neither of her parents do.



HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE


Friday, February 1, 2019

We Love Lucy

The news about Lucy is not good.  Not good at all.  At first we thought a strained muscle was the reason for her lameness.  But as the day progressed, it became apparent she also had foot drop in that leg.  My doctor husband checked and she had no reflexes in that leg but full range of motion did not elicit any pain or discomfort.  The veterinarian had told us previously that there was weakness in the muscles of her left eye, causing the eye to recede a bit.  She speculated it might be a brain tumor.  She did not feel (and we agreed) that we should put Lucy through the tests (especially since it would mean substantial travel), that would be needed to confirm the diagnosis.  Further, at her age she would not be a suitable candidate for brain surgery.  You can see from this photograph that the left eye looks smaller.  That is because the muscle that "pushes" the eye forward in the socket is weak.  Fortunately her vision seems fine.

So this new semi-paralysis of the right leg is likely the result of a spread of the tumor to the spinal cord.  There is really nothing reasonable that can be done except to make as many accommodations as we can to make life a little easier for her.  So we moved her food and water dishes upstairs to the laundry room and blocked the stairs down to the den so she will be living on one floor.  We have a lift support to use when she starts to have more difficulty getting up or walking outside.  We put boots on her rear feet.  The primary reason is to protect the dropped foot from scraping on the pavement when she goes outside.  Another big benefit is that it gives her better traction on the hardwood floor.  Finally, it does give some support to the foot and makes walking much easier for her.  In fact, when we take them off for periods to air out her feet and massage them, she clearly wants the boots back.  We do passive range of motion to the leg so it won't become stiff.  We have reduced her rations so she doesn't gain weight now that she is so much less active.  And we don't leave her alone since she clearly is anxious if no one is visible.

And so we are sad.  But we are also realistic.  We know that unfortunately loving a dog almost always means outliving that dog.  We have much for which to give thanks.  We are delighted that she is not in pain and she is adapting fairly well to the changed physiology.  We will do what we have done with other dogs.  We will love her and care for her and she will let us know when it is time to go to the Rainbow Bridge.  We have no timeline and she may remain stable for quite some time.  We certainly hope so.

Lucy seems to love the boots.

And speaking of boots...our little granddaughter loves them.  Not the toddler-sized ones but her mother's boots.  Many of them come up well above her knees when she tries them on.


Violet loves the boots, too.



Our son says this next photograph clearly indicates that they need to start looking for a pre-school for the gifted!

Don't worry, Violet.  I often want to hide my head too.


Today's quotes are for all who are caught up in the polar vortex:

"The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches."
e e cummings

"Cold!  If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd have frozen to death."
Mark Twain

And isn't it a sad thing when elementary school children have to send drawings to educate the President of the United States on the relationship between global warming and the polar vortex?


HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, EVERYONE
WARM-UP IS ON THE WAY!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Lucy and Rocks

It may seem quite strange to some that we would actually order boulders and have them delivered to our woods.  But that is exactly what we did the first summer in our mountain home.  Why?  Quite simple.  We love big rocks.  And while our property has its share of lovely trees and a creek, we had no really large rocks.  So we ordered some.

Our neighbors came over to see what the digger was doing.  They were a bit surprised to find it was unloading big rocks and placing them strategically on our property.


The first rock to come down the hill

We had six large rocks placed and we still love them.  Both of the dogs seemed to like them as well.  Ellie would often stand on top of the largest one.  But Lucy liked the flatter one best.

Poor thing, she woke up limping this morning.  She seems to have slipped and "sprained" her hip so she is reluctant to totally bear weight on her right rear leg.  She is already on a Cox inhibitor for her arthritis so we dare not give her anything additional.  We are hopeful this will resolve and she seems comfortable otherwise.  If not, we will visit the veterinarian to see if there is something further we might do to help the healing.  We do have a sling to help her into and out of the SUV and we have brought that inside in case we need to assist her,  Please keep your fingers crossed that it is nothing serious.


A younger Lucy on the flattest rock.


Our granddaughter Violet likes sweats.  Notice that the sleeves of the sweatshirt must be rolled up so the legs will fit all the way down her long legs.  She has a college student "nanny" who comes several times a week to provide some respite for her stay-at-home-dad.  Here the two of them seem to be having a fun conversation which Violet finds amusing.

No hard rock band on this outfit.  Just love.

It has been a strange week both in news and in weather.  I won't comment further than to sympathize with our Milwaukee daughter and the others suffering the same cold temperatures.  The city is in the midst of a dreaded winter vortex with really cold subzero weather for the foreseeable future.  She has the right clothing for it, but it's still awful to head out to work when the temperature is minus sixteen.

Today's quote comes from Dr. Seuss:

"The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house,
All that cold wet, wet day."

I hope those in the frigid areas are indeed staying inside on this cold weekend.  And for so many of them, I am so glad you will be going to work and finally getting paid next week.

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
GIVE THANKS FOR ALL YOU HAVE



Saturday, January 19, 2019

Late Lucy

Friday came and went and we had wi-fi problems.  Everything seems to be working now.  Too bad I didn't post yesterday because I might have mentioned the lovely sunshine we enjoyed.  The rains set in again this morning and it has been a gray and miserable day outside.  Good for reading and hanging around and not much else.

Our Lucy loves vegetables and fruits and my husband shares a few bites before he fixes his lunch every day.  Lucy knows that the yummy food comes before his lunch and there will never, ever be anything given from his plate.  The only time she gets food during our mealtime is when our granddaughter is visiting.  Lucy takes full advantage of it by positioning herself right below the high hair.  Just in case.

Here my husband is giving Lucy a few bites of carrot.  She must sit quietly until he decides to give it to her.

I often wonder what she is thinking while she waits.




Finally, she chomps on her carrot

She likes carrots, green beans, broccoli and will eat celery, although I don't think she really likes it.  Her favorite snacks by far are bits of apple, especially the tart ones.  She sits patiently until my husband says, "That's all."  Then she gets up and moves to a more comfortable place.

I have mentioned before the unexpected response our Violet had to the little cloth dolly we gave her.  That attachment continues.  She wants Dolly with her when she naps now and she sits with her in the early morning as she comes fully awake.  I love this photograph because she still looks so much like a baby.  That is deceiving.  She is far more toddler than baby now.



She surprised (and very much pleased) my son last week.  He picked up a super-hero towel.  Violet pointed to it and yelled, "Batman!"  And indeed, it was Batman.  Amazing what goes on in her little mind.

Today's quote is for our elected officials from local officials all the way to the White House.
Albert Schweitzer:

"The purpose of human life is to serve,
And to show compassion
And the will to help others."

In the continuing Federal Government shutdown, compassion and a will to help others seem lost on our officials.  It is heart-warming to see the public step up to help their unemployed friends and neighbors and even those whose identities they do not know.  To them we give a big 'THANK YOU'.


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK EVERYONE
GIVE A BIT OF YOURSELF
AND HELP OTHERS




Friday, January 11, 2019

We Love Lucy

We have had several days of sunshine for which we are most grateful.  Some days we had high winds.  That is great for drying things out a bit but not so good for the trees whose roots are totally soaked.  Our backyard is a forest and fortunately we did not lose any trees.

Lucy absolutely loved the respite from the rain.  She enjoys all the wonderful scents from the various animals and fowl that travel across.  She doesn't run as much now that she is older, and she is wise enough to sit and rest every now and then.  But she does love being in the forest with the sun shining through the trees.


We have Adirondack chairs for the old folks
Lucy chooses a large stone from the walkway



She follows scents, real or imaginary



Both are fun and she crisscrosses the forest



Even the trees are glad to see the sunshine

Unfortunately, it appears the sunshine will end this weekend with dropping temperatures bringing freezing rain and/or SNOW!  I do hope the forecasts are totally off the mark.  We have so enjoyed our days in the sun.


Violet and her daddy spend a lot of time at museums.  Their favorite is the Children's Museum where Violet can interact with other children.  Here she is teaching her little friend where his eyes are.  The lesson was continued with locations of nose, mouth, and ears.

The little boy looks a bit perplexed either by the teacher or the lesson.


Today's quote is from an anonymous source, but is definitely timely:
"It might be worthwhile to stop wringing our hands
And start ringing our Congressman."

You can find the name and contact information of your Congressional Representative or Senator at:
https://www.congress.gov  You may cringe at the answer you receive but at least you will have made your statement.


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

Friday, January 4, 2019

Rainy Day Lucy

It seems like a broken record...it's raining here in the mountains.  It has poured all day long.  I have taken to driving down to the library or grocery store to get my walking in because I'm so sick and tired of walking in the chilly rain.  I didn't even do that today.  Just the thought of getting out of the car in the downpour was too much.  So up and down the stairs I went.  Not as good but the best I could muster today.  Forecasters are promising a dry weekend and I'm really counting on that.

As most of you know, Lucy hates the rain almost as much as I do.  She resists going outside and pretends not to hear when my husband puts on his rain suit and calls her.  She spends a lot of the rainy days lying in one of her beds.

Here she is curled up in the great room.



She is in the den and just heard my husband call her.
Oh, no.  Not outside again.

I mentioned last week that our little granddaughter was so overwhelmed by all the Christmas activities that she looked rather lost.  The day after, she decided to forsake most of the new stuff and latch on to her much-loved dolly and books.  She does have Mickey there as well.

Little red nose from a cold

Today's quote comes from Australian novelist Helen Garner:
"The rain began again
It fell heavily, easily with no meaning or intention
But the fulfillment of its own nature;
Which was to fall and fall."

And so it goes.  Here's hoping the predictions are right and that we might get a glimpse of sunshine this weekend.


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK AHEAD.
START THE NEW YEAR WITH
OPTIMISM AND HAPPINESS