LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Friday, December 14, 2018

We Love Lucy (and Violet)

We did indeed get the full blast of the latest winter storm.  We received twenty inches of heavy wet snow.  Broken branches and fallen trees led to major power outages.  Clearing mountain roads is a very difficult task because most have protective fencing on one side of the road and high banks on the other side.  We lost power late Saturday and it was not restored until late Monday night.

We have a very large generator that will power the house and sequentially turn off "non-essential" things if the propane levels get low.  I could hear the hum of the generator from my bedroom and on Saturday night it was reassuring to awaken and hear it.  After that, it became annoying because it meant power was still not restored.  We had no Wi-Fi but we did have television, thanks to Direct TV.  I must admit it was frustrating to watch television and see sixteen utility vehicles just sitting in downtown Brevard waiting for the roads to be sufficiently clear.  We conserved energy as much as possible, eating soup and sandwiches rather than using the oven to cook.  We didn't bother to clean off the gas grill since it was socked in with snow.  We cleared a small path near the deck railing to hang the bird feeders and fill the heated water for our feathered friends.

We still have plenty of snow on the ground but we can now get out of the community and downtown,  Unfortunately we are experiencing heavy rain and flash flooding will be a big problem as the rain adds water and melts the snow.  Thank goodness I had my chemotherapy last Wednesday.

I mentioned before that Lucy was not interested at all in the Christmas decorations this year.  That was not always the case.  Here she is in 2016, inspecting each ornament and then following my husband to the tree.



Granddaughter is growing like a weed.  Now 18 months old she is in the 95th percentile for height.  That doesn't necessarily mean that she will be really tall, but she does have such long legs it is hard to buy sleepers for her.

Our son is a stay-at-home dad and says it's the best job he's ever had.  Here is our Violet, dressed by her dad.  Pink kitty hat.  Red Def Leppard sweatshirt.  Yellow pants.  Purple shoes.  Carrying a stuffed otter.

Only a true fashionista could carry off this look.


She seems mechanically and musically inclined and already knows how to operate all the safety features they have installed.  Fortunately she is not yet strong enough to operate them but she knows the process.  On a recent visit to a good friend who has two-year-old twin boys, Violet learned how to open their gate at the foot of the stairs.  Then she taught the twins how to do it for themselves.  She has quite a sense of humor and is such fun.  I'm so envious of her other grandparents who live in the same town.

Today's quote is from the author Tennessee Williams.  It fits someone we know quite well as both.
"The only thing worse than a liar
Is a liar who is also a hypocrite."

Whatever your faith or beliefs, I do hope you are enjoying the season.  We are relishing it, taking things slowly and not rushing about trying to do everything.  Store bought will do just as well as homemade this year.  Well, except for Ina Garten's sour cream coffee cake.  That must be available for Christmas morning's coffee.


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
RELAX
MOST THINGS ARE JUST THINGS



Friday, December 7, 2018

And We Love Lucy

We've begun decorating for Christmas and listening to carols as we do so.  We are so grateful to have this Christmas together.  Last year I was discharged from rehab days before Christmas, still very weak, and we were anticipating chemotherapy as soon as the surgery was completely healed.  A totally unknown and frightening future lay ahead of us.  Our Christmas was low key as you might imagine.  So while we are still realistic, we are also optimistic and we are indeed celebrating with enthusiasm.

 We decided it would be too difficult to put up our regular tree which exceeds more than ten feet with very heavy sections.  So my husband went  to Lowe's and got an 8 foot tree we could manage.  To our chagrin, the top section of the pre-lit tree did not light up.  We did the usual troubleshooting and it still did not work so the next suggestion was "return to store."  My husband was not happy to have to take the tree and expected to have to argue with some clerk.

But when he told the clerk his story, she looked deadpan and said, "Well damn!  Let me go get you another one,"  He thought it was the best customer service he'd had in quite a while.  Best of all the tree did indeed light up all the way and a smaller one seems just fine.  He has enjoyed spending time selecting ornaments since we have far too many to fit on the tree.

Lucy was totally disinterested in the tree.  Her only concern came much earlier when we moved the armchair that was in the corner.  Like many other dogs, she does not like her environment changed.  Once the chair was gone she pretty much ignored the rest of it.  Alas, another sign of her aging.  In the past she would have stuck her nose into every ornament as it was moved to the tree.

She manages the stairs more slowly but doesn't seem to have pain




In the den she enjoys her soft bed




And upstairs she finds the sun puddles wherever they may be

We have very strong predictions for heavy snow this weekend.  All models predict at least ten inches for us and some of them say the snow will be measured in feet.  We are prepared with plenty of food and a generator with a full tank of propane.  We will dig out for Lucy first and then do the rest at our leisure.  (Actually, my husband will do the digging.  I use a cane for stability and can't imagine a cane in one hand and a shovel in the other.)

Experience has taught us that snow in the mountains is unpredictable.  Often a small difference in elevation will make a large difference in the amount of snow.  The valleys and peaks also make a difference.  So I'm hopeful that we will get much less snow than predicted.  I really should not mind the snow.  After all, we have no place we must go.  My chemotherapy treatment was Wednesday so that won't be a problem.  But after 20 years in Wisconsin, I had my fill of snowy winters.  It was great at the time and we enjoyed the outdoor activities.  But now I will stay inside and enjoy reading and watching old movies.

The quote for today is from one of my favorite philosophers, Marcus Aurelius.  It reminds us how important it is to think positively and with kindness and hope.

"The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
STAY SAFE AND WARM
AND THINK POSITIVELY



Saturday, December 1, 2018

And Still We Love Lucy

And here it is the first of December.  Our Jewish friends will begin the Hanukkah celebration Sunday at sundown and in a few weeks the Christians and heathens alike will celebrate Christmas, all with their own reasons and motivation.

I went to my hair stylist for my first haircut in more than a year!  It was not really a haircut; more of a trim up some wild areas.  As my hair has grown in, it has grown rather wild in all directions.  Think of the worst baby picture you've ever seen with wild hair sticking out all over the place and that gives you an idea of what mine was looking like.  It is still very short, but my stylist was at least able to trim it to manageable and now it looks like someone who dared to cut her hair short enough to dry quickly on its own,

Ironically  enough, Lucy had a bath and style herself.  She doesn't mind her bath and the groomers let her wander around rather than wait in a crate.  She loves watching them work and they seem to love her so we are very pleased with them.

Never one for posing, she sits for a photograph but does not smile.

It's pouring rain here but the weather is warmer.  We had such a subdued Christmas last year we are decorating fast and furious this year.  And we are ever so thankful we have yet another Christmas to celebrate.

Today's quote comes from the late Stan Lee:

"We live in a diverse society
In fact, a diverse world-
And we must learn to live in peace
And with respect for one another."

There is no room for isolationism.  We share this planet with others.  Their problems are our problems.



HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK
DON'T GET HASSLED
ENJOY THE SEASON

Friday, November 23, 2018

We Love Lucy

I hope it was a good week for everyone.  If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I'm sure you are still ready for a dinner of leftovers tonight even after all that feasting yesterday.  We had a quiet day and I fixed a whole turkey breast and a couple of thighs rather than a whole turkey.  It was moist and juicy (thanks, Ina) and we have plenty of leftovers.

We do not share any human food with Lucy except for the occasional treat of apple or carrots.  She is especially thankful when our little granddaughter visits.  She positions herself directly under the high chair and takes advantage of the errors a toddler can make in learning to use a spoon and fork.  Alas, no toddler yesterday and thus regular dog food for Lucy as usual.  She is now on a prescription diet consisting of both canned food mixed with kibble and she views each meal with great enthusiasm.  She never had canned dog food before this year so it is quite a treat for her.

I often wonder what sort of things go on in her head as she goes about her day.  As she ages, she seems to need more and more to be with us.  She follows my husband around all the time when he is home.  She follows me as a second choice.  She loves her big bolster bed in the den and often puts several tennis balls in it.  She rolls them around and also uses them as massage balls.  Although our Ellie loved her toys, Lucy never cared much for them.

Lucy in her bed



Stretching



And rolling



Back and Forth


You may notice there is a green bed next to Lucy's.  Yes, we still have Ellie's bed there and sometimes Lucy lies across both of them.  And yes, my preference would be to give the bed to the shelter, but it seems to mean a lot to my husband.

Today's quote is from Henry David Thoreau:

"I am grateful for what I am and what I have.
My Thanksgiving is perpetual."

Wouldn't it be great if we all were perpetually thankful?


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE!


Friday, November 16, 2018

We Love Lucy

We have had very weird weather, mostly rainy and cold.  But today brings bright sunshine and clear skies and we are thankful.

A brief health update:  my blood cancer markers continue to be low (and normal) so the new chemotherapy regimen seems to be keeping the cancer in check.  That is very good news.  There is not much available data on the long-term success of this drug for ovarian cancer because it was only recently approved.  But I'm assigning myself to be best of the statistics.  If that turns out not to be true I will have lost nothing by remaining positive.

Our sweet Lucy remains positive all the time, assuming that good things will always happen.  She had some really great days while our seventeen-month-old granddaughter visited.  At every meal she positioned herself right under the high chair and reaped the rewards of a little one feeding herself.

She is still moving more slowly but is ever so much better on her new meds.  She loved the attention of more people in the house, assuming each one was here to pet her,  Our daughter is visiting now so she is still enjoying extra attention.

She does not like to pose for pictures



Ready to go back inside




Our little Violet was so gentle with Lucy.  She would toddle over, slowing down as she approached Lucy and holding out her hand to gently touch her her.  Lucy loved it.

Violet is a mover and shaker.  She hardly ever walks; she runs everywhere.  My son snapped this photograph of her in her dragon pajamas crawling into a Nordstrom bag.  He said he feared his wife was a bad influence.  I told him to be glad it wasn't a Tiffany box.



I hope your weather turns better.  And we continue to send positive thoughts to those affected by the raging California fires.

Today's quote is from Carl Sandburg:
I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes, 
So live not in your yesterdays, not just for tomorrow, but in the here and now.
Keep moving and forget the postmortems; 
And remember, no one can get the jump on the future.

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK
HELP OTHERS AS MUCH AS YOU CAN


Friday, November 9, 2018

A very interesting week here in the US to say the least.  I'm glad the election is (mostly) over.  There were results that made me happy and results that made me sad, but the overwhelming feeling is relief that it is finally behind us.

We had a most wonderful visit from our sweet granddaughter.  She is a very active little girl who sits still only when reading books or eating.  She rarely walks anywhere...she runs.  They flew this time rather than driving so we bought a lot of toys for her to have here when they visit.  She has a very sweet nature and was wonderfully gentle with Lucy and Lucy adored her.  She stationed herself squarely under the high chair and was well-rewarded.

Tall for her age with really long legs





Lucy smiles while the house is quiet



We had two good days with bright sunshine,  Lucy loved running free.  Her sprints are shorter and she is tired when we get back in, but we allow her to do as much as she wants.  Otherwise, we do insist that she gets plenty of walks to exercise her joints


Running like a younger dog
My dear beloved (and quite old) Nikon seems to be in the throes of death.  I shouldn't be surprised.  It is one of the first digital SLR cameras Nikon made.  I can't get any of my recent photographs off the memory card so I'll take it to a camera shop and have them take a look.  I will likely go with Nikon again for the simple reason that all the lenses are compatible.  Otherwise I may use my husband's camera or rely on the one on my iPod.

Today's post-election quote comes from Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Let us never forget that government is ourselves
And not an alien power over us.
The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not
A President or Senators, or Congressmen and government officials
But THE VOTERS OF THIS COUNTRY.


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
THINK POSITIVELY ABOUT THOSE SEEKING REFUGE
AND DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR


Friday, November 2, 2018

We Love Lucy

We've had some sunny autumn days, some very windy days, and now some very rainy days.  Like the old saying, "If you don't like the weather in the mountains, just wait another day and it will change."

Despite her age and arthritis, Lucy still loves a day at the park.  She doesn't run nearly as much, but she does trot often enough to get some exercise and then she rests.  When she was younger, we had to force her to to sit and rest but now she seems to know when to rest herself.  She is still a thing of beauty with her long floofy hair flying in the breeze.  She has always had a rather strange sitting posture and it makes her look much larger than she really is.

Sitting in the soft moss at the park.

We were all stunned at the shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue this week.  It was a hate crime and 11 people were killed.  The people were gathered for a bris of a baby boy.  The event shocked and saddened many of us.  The President of the United States indicated that outcome would have been far better if there had been an armed guard at the synagogue.  An armed guard at a bris?  Seriously?

I leave you with a quote from the late Haile Selassie:

"We must become bigger than we have been
More courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook.
We must become members of a new race,
Overcoming petty prejudice,
Owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations
But to our fellow men within the human community."


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY...VOTE
AND REMEMBER WE ARE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE ON OUR PLANET