Monday, January 17, 2011

The Nancy Nurse Role

In December 2009 one member of our household had a major injury, rare, complex and totally unexpected.  Happening as a surprise and just before Christmas, the injury caught us unprepared.  It was a stressful time for everyone concerned.

The recovery seemed to go as expected until June of this year, when it appeared a problem might require correction.  That was later confirmed in early December.  Not wishing to spend another Christmas recovering, we decided to postpone the necessary surgery until January.  Well, here it is already January and this is the week for the surgery.

Therefore, I will not be posting for about six weeks or so as I play the role of "Nancy Nurse" and assist in the recovery.  Thank goodness for my previous homecare experience!  So many things are more positive and easier this time around.  We have been able to make plans since we were not caught unawares.  We are eager to get this behind us and resume our active lives.

I will try to keep up with your blogs as time and Internet access allow.  And we do ask once again that you petition the deity of your choice for rapid healing and a good outcome.

This photograph of Lucy checking out the sled was taken the day before the injury.  Little did we know what was in store for us.

When the injured player returned home from the hospital, the dogs were so happy to be near him.  We placed a stool to keep them from coming too close.

Lucy thought the quilt under the footrest of the recliner made a perfect tent.

She spent a lot of time there while Ellie took her spot on the other side of the chair.

On a different note:  Many counties in North and South Carolina have school in session on this Martin Luther King Day.  The national "news" is presenting this as an indifference to the importance of this day.  In truth, this is not the only holiday that will see children in school.  Because of the unexpected number of snow days so far in this school year, the schools will be in session on President's Day and possibly Memorial Day and days have been tacked onto the end of the year.  The "Easter" break will be shortened and there will be school on several Saturdays.

So please, disregard what the media are insinuating.  This holiday is not being singled out but is one among many that will see students attending school.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fridays are Golden

The Golden Girls got their favorite Christmas present.  Antlers.  They love them.  And there is a very strange process that repeats itself every single time we get new antlers for them.  There's no way to understand the dynamics, but here goes...

Each dog gets an antler

Lucy takes hers to her bed to begin chewing.

Ellie works on the floor with hers.

Lucy will decide after a few minutes that she prefers the one Ellie has.  She will take her antler and lie next to Ellie.

Lucy holds her antler and sneaks a lick of Ellie's.

She puts her mouth on one end.  Ellie does nothing to keep this from happening.

Finally Lucy has the antler that Ellie had.  Ellie will not reclaim it and has no interest in the antler Lucy had.

Believe it or not, the antler Ellie originally had is the only one the dogs will chew.  No matter how often we "offer" the other antler, neither of them is having any of it.  At various times, one or the other of them will chew the antler.  Ellie's best opportunity is in the late evening when Lucy is so tired she sleeps soundly nearby.  Ellie will chew on the antler for an hour or more.

Fast forward two weeks.  Since Christmas the girls have enjoyed the antler.  Not both of the antlers...only the one Ellie was given.  The one Lucy had for a few minutes lies untouched.  And here's a picture to prove it.

You will note that the antler on the left is practically pristine, while the one on the right has been reduced to one-third its original size.  We haven't a clue why this happens, but neither dog will chew on the long antler until we have discarded the small piece of the other one.

This has been a troubling week for every one of us.  There are so many places on our planet where people are suffering to an extent we can hardly imagine.  Let's focus on them for a while this weekend.  For them, and for the families that grieve their losses.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Day I Met a Favorite Singer

My friend handed me a copy of "The Shepherd Express" as I was leaving work.  I didn't look at it until much later that evening.  I saw a little notice on the bottom of page three.  I screamed at my husband, "Look at this!"  The notice said that Judy Collins...THE Judy Collins would appear at a nearby book store to talk and autograph her new CD.  I looked at the time.  I had little more than half an hour.

Judy Collins has always been one of my favorite vocalists.  I own every single one of her LPs; that's old-timey vinyl records for some of you who may not be familiar with the term.  I thought it was worth taking a cover over for the signing and perhaps she might autograph it.  I grabbed my favorite one, "Whales and Nightingales," and ran off to the book store.

Copies of one of her books were lined up near the door.  I felt obliged to purchase one, especially since I was going to ask her to sign my album cover.

I went downstairs to the coffee shop where Judy Collins was expected.  She came in and I was astounded.  Here I sat, not three feet from Judy Collins!!!  She talked about her life and sang several songs and she was every bit as wonderful as I might have imagined.

After the performance, I quickly walked upstairs where I knew the signing would take place.  I was third in line.  As I approached her, she saw the album cover and started chatting as if we were old friends (much to the dismay of the people lined up behind me).  We talked about the various songs on the album and then she autographed it for me.  She was charming and gracious.  I thanked her and started to walk away with my treasure.  She called out, "Carolyn.  Don't you want me to sign the book as well?"  So I handed her the book which she also personalized.

I was totally in awe of this performer whom I had admired for so many years.  On the way home I felt more like a college student than the mother of two grown children.

The album cover hangs in our little library.

Amazing the coincidences that led me to meet Judy Collins.  What if my friend had not handed me the "Shepherd Express?"  What if I hadn't looked at it until the next day?  What if the book store hadn't been so near?  What if I couldn't have found the album so quickly?  But that day everything fell into place.

You may ask why I selected this particular album among the many I owned.  Simple.  This Judy Collins album was the first gift my husband gave me while we were dating.  And now it is even more special.

Judy Collins will never remember meeting me, but I will never forget meeting her.

Monday, January 10, 2011

At Least It's Better Than Last Time

Yet another huge snow storm had blanketed the south.  We awakened to six inches of snow, and that's just the beginning.  If the weather predictions are correct, we will have several more inches today and tomorrow and possibly on Wednesday.  [HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I HATE THE SNOW???]

After helping to shovel the driveway, I took a few photographs of the ugly white stuff.

Our house in the woods.

A very cold yard bird.

Another cold yard bird.

These two yard birds seem to be shouting their disapproval of the snow.

At least this time no one is waiting in vain at an airport.  No one laments the fact of being stuck here and unable to get home.  Our freezer and pantry are full, thanks to a discount card we got last week from our grocery store.  The wine cellar is stocked even though the discount did not apply to wine.  We have a new battery in the generator that failed during the last snow storm and power outage.  But, did I mention I HATE SNOW?

So my plan for the afternoon is to catch up on blogs with my back to the windows.  Then I'll pop in a Bette Davis DVD and do some knitting.  That will be the plan for several days, since we are expecting freezing temperatures to continue for several days.  That means we won't be able to leave our community for a while.

For those of you who love snow, I am happy for you.  And I really am trying to change my terrible attitude.  If I'm successful, I might just take a long walk and enjoy the beauty of the freshly fallen snow.  Even the dogs (who typically do not like snow) are enjoying romping and playing in this one.  Maybe I'll go out and play with them later and enjoy the scenery.  I'm really trying, but I'm not quite there yet.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fridays are Golden

Given Ellie's enthusiasm when she stumbled upon a stuffed toy the other week,  we decided to give each of the girls a stuffed toy for Christmas this year. 

They wait patiently for the toys.

Lucy doesn't seem to know what to do with this strange object.  But Ellie is ready to dig in.

She carries it to a bed and searches for the weakest spot.

Here's how you do it, Lucy.  You put it firmly under your paw and then you chew the dickens out of it.

Lucy looks perplexed as Ellie enjoys the toy.  I just don't get it!

With Lucy's disinterest, Ellie takes both toys and alternates chewing between the two.

She's quick and the stuffing flies.

Ellie seems to be having so much fun that Lucy gives it another try.

I STILL don't get it!  What's so fun about that?

Lucy did not understand the toy and did seem to like the way it felt in her mouth.  She went on to other things and Ellie quickly tore the stuffing out of both toys.  The process lasted only a few minutes but Ellie had great fun.  All of us laughed at Ellie's determination and Lucy's confusion.  It felt good to laugh after the snowstorm had stranded our daughter and she didn't make it home until after Christmas.

So...let's all start 2011 with laughter.  Even Abraham Lincoln, troubled as he was, saw the value of laughter.  He said, "With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die."

Our own lives are often filled with strain and even in the worst of times we need to laugh.  When things get so complicated that we can't stand another stressful event, perhaps it would do us good to find some reason to laugh.  I'll try very hard to do that this weekend as we face two major weather fronts that are predicted to dump us with yet more snow.  Our record snows last winter are much in my thoughts so I am trying very hard to laugh.

I do have another favorite quote about laughter and I apologize that I do not know its author.  The phrase has helped me a lot in some weird circumstances.  Here it is:
"If you know you're going to laugh about it later, you might as well laugh about it now."

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

That's Not What I Wanted

When I was a child, my mother taught me to receive gifts gracefully.  "Never let anyone know it's not what you wanted," she reminded me.  On many Christmas mornings, I have been glad the giver of some of the gifts was absent.  While I would never say, "That's not what I wanted," I must admit to having thought, "What on earth were they thinking?"

This Christmas brought a gift to our county.  Many of our friends and neighbors were delighted.  The snow began to fall Christmas morning and kept falling all day.  While others marveled at a white Christmas, I was screaming all day, "THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANTED!!!"  The snow continued to fall.  I cringed whenever anyone said, "Isn't it lovely?"

Our daughter was at the Chicago airport getting ready to board the plane.  Realizing we would not be able to get to out to pick her up, we made reservations for her at a hotel near the Asheville airport.  Just as her flight began to board, the Asheville airport closed and her flight was canceled.  At the end of the day, she returned to Milwaukee and made reservations to come down three days later.

Our son and his wife had wanted to return to their home the day after Christmas but the snow kept them here for a while longer.  So...the one who wanted to come could not get here and the ones already here could not get out.

The snowfall was widespread and EVERY SINGLE county in North Carolina (all one hundred of them) received at least some snow during the storm.

I'm happy to report that our son made it home and our daughter made it here and we did have some wonderful times with them, even if they did not make it the same time.

The birds appreciated the feeders and were active all day.

A cardinal sits in a nearby tree.

A Downy Woodpecker waits for the suet feeder.

A wren and a titmouse share the sunflower seeds.

I must admit, I did not enjoy the snow at all.  We moved here to get away from the snow.  We had one of the coldest Decembers on record capped with the heavy snow at the end of the month.  I do hope it's not a sign of things to come.  That's definitely not what I wanted.

I hope all of you had a good holiday and got exactly what you wanted.  Somehow, I don't think this little goldfinch wanted this much snow either.