Thursday, February 27, 2014

No New Vices...

My birthday approaches.
It is tomorrow.
I will be entering my 70th year.
How can that be????

Birthdays always seem to call for reflection.
I haven't been in much of a reflective mood lately.
I decided to make a quick inventory of the past year.
It must be quick.
Now is not the time to write out a long reflection.
I'll save the long reflection for my journal.

I have no new vices to report.
I do have a few new devices.
I never saw these things coming. 
Wouldn't I always be young, healthy and full of energy?
Well, I guess not.

I never thought I'd get excited about new medical devices.
Today, my new One Touch VerioSync Blood Glucose Monitoring Device arrived,
just in time for my birthday.  
(Thank you, dear hubby for always keeping my medications, medical devices, and technology up to date.  He always takes care of these things for me.  He does a great job of it too.)

While the fact that I need a glucose monitoring device is definitely not cool,
the fact that very technologically advanced glucose monitors are available is cool.

The carrying case holds the standard items:
lancing device, lancets, test strips.
The monitor is set up to sync automatically to my iPhone.
Isn't that cool?

So, if I take a blood sample and test it on the monitor, the results go directly to an app on my phone.
The time and date of the test is automatically recorded.
I then can record if the reading was taken before or after a meal.
The results automatically show where the recording falls in the target range of glucose levels.
I also have a place to record daily carb intake and exercise.
The app can detect new patterns within a 14 day period if they occur.
It also keeps a 14 day log book.

I wondered what my dad would think of the device.
I know he would be upset that I am pre-diabetic, but I know he would be happy I am on top of it and monitoring my disease.
My goal is to beat it.
Exercise and diet are the key.

Then, there is my new device that I also never saw coming.
This is the black monster that lives in my walk-in closet:  the oxygen machine.

At night, I hook it up to send oxygen to my CPAP.

I've been on oxygen at night for three nights now.
While, I still doubt I really need the oxygen, I do feel better since I have been using it.
The holter monitor results do not even come close to matching the oximeter/pulsesock results, 
Since both the holter and the oximeter reports were collected at the same time, 
the holter monitor is the most reliable test.
It shows no alarming results.
The holter monitor test would not trigger a requirement for oxygen.

I saw the cardiac nurse today and was having symptoms while I was there.
I was very light headed and my heart was in tacycardia that would not resolve itself in a timely manner,
I must see her again in two weeks,
I see a new electrophysiologist in a few weeks after that.
We will get to the bottom of my all of this cardiac business.

Do all these medical devices come with age,
genetics, lifestyle choices?  
Who knows the answer to this.
I am not going to stress over the devices that help me have a better quality of life.
I am going to give thanks for them.

New devices around here are not the only news.
We also have a few new appliances.

Even though I really didn't want to spend money on new appliances, we really did need them.
The dishwasher no long worked, and it leaked.
I said I could wash a lot of dishes by hand rather than buy a new dishwasher.
My husband said we needed to check out a sale at Sears.
I did miss my brand new Bosch that I had to leave behind when we moved a year ago.
So, we went to Sears, and my husband bought me this:
A brand new Bosch dishwasher that has three shelves for loading dishes.

While we were looking at dishwashers, I was insisting we were not buying anything at all,
but after he bought the dishwasher, 
he bought these:
A brand new microwave and a new wall oven.
The wall oven can be set to bake the old fashioned way, or I can choose convection baking.
It is pretty nifty.
I did need a new microwave and a new oven.
The old ones didn't really work,
but I didn't want the expenditure.

Now, I am able to actually cook food that is done in the middle and not burned on the outside.

After buying all of this,
he wasn't done yet.
Within minutes, he had also bought this:
a new cooktop.

I really do like this.
The old cooktop could not be trusted.
I learned too many times that the simmer setting did not mean that the food would simmer.
It meant the food would not cook at all.
Some of the burners on the old cooktop did not work.
Now, I have this beautiful new cooktop.
The blue lights indicate that the burner controls are locked so they won't be accidentally turned on.

You know what all this means, don't you?
It means I have to cook.
That's ok.  I needed to learn to cook again.
I have no excuses now.

I also got a new sewing machine.
I bought this for myself a few months ago.
Recently, my old reliable, much used sewing machine would not work at all.
It was cheaper to buy a new one than to repair the old one.
I bought, on a whim, a Singer Curvy.
I've used it once to hem a pair of pajamas for my husband.
I wasn't sure it worked right, so I finally took the machine to my one free class yesterday.
Sure enough, it has some problems and is already in for repair.
Hmmm. not sure how this will all end.

As I write this post, I become aware that 

I do have a new vice.

It is also a new device.

It is my new iPad Mini with Retina display.

I've never been a fan of iPads.
My husband had one, and I never really liked it.

My husband wanted to either buy me a new Kindle Paperwhite or an iPad Mini for Christmas.
I've used a Kindle for reading for quite a few years now, but never liked to read non-fiction on it.
After much deliberation, I decided I would give the iPad Mini a try.
Reading non-fiction on this device is great.
I can read historical fiction and link to Google for more information as I read if I so desire.
I can read the newspaper on it.
I can read magazines on it.
I can Facebook on it.
I can use it for email.
I just don't like to use it for blogging.
I must be honest.
This little device has  become my new vice.

Hey, I live in Colorado.
I could have begun smoking pot.
I have not done that, nor do I plan to do so.
That is another subject for another day.

This is the end of my quick birthday reflection.
This reflective piece was not very deep,
but it does give a quick glance into what has been going on around here lately.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Trip Down South ~ Just What This Old Girl Needed

This has not been the best week.  Medical issues and medical tests continue to consume my days.  I had some more bad news from the doctor.  After a pulse oximeter test, it was determined I have to wear oxygen at night.  My doctor had ordered the oximeter test because of my continued light headedness and chest pain.  It just so happened that I was scheduled to wear the holter monitor at the same time as the oximeter test was taking place.   The results of the pulse oximeter were not good at all.  I won't go into details because it needs to be compared to the holter monitor results by my cardiologist before we will really know for sure what is going on.  My internist says the oxygen will help me, help my heart, but it is not the fix I may ultimately need.  Needless to say, I was discouraged, but decided until I have a better picture of what is going on, I would not completely freak out stay calm and wait for further test results.

I won't go into more details on my health, let's just say, the continual bad news was beginning to really get me down.  I told my husband last night that I don't know when I have been more discouraged.  The winter has just been too long and too hard this year.

After a down and depressing Friday, I was so glad to know I had a plan for today.  A month ago, a dear high school friend and I met for the first time to write together.  We'd talked of setting a date once a month to write together for over a year.  Finally, last month we actually met at a coffee shop and worked on our writing together for over several satisfying and happy hours.  Our time together was inspiring and gave me a renewed desire to write. Before we parted last month, we set our next writing date for today, February 22.

Since my friend IC lives forty miles south of here in my old stomping grounds of Pueblo, I decided to book a manicure and pedicure before our meeting time for writing.  My dear friend Kerri, has done my nails for years.  Since I've moved, I really have not found anyone to give me a manicure or a pedicure.  I've visited a few different places.  All were nice, but none were Kerri.  I missed her!  No one could replace her.  In fact, I'd stopped getting manicures and pedicures since we moved. (I wrote about Kerri in a blog post two years ago.  Click here to read about her.)

Before I left town, I dressed in some brighter, more springlike colors.  I'm tired of wearing black and brown and blue and red and all those winter colors!  I am ready for some color in my wardrobe again.  After dressing,  I threw together a bag for the day.  It contained:  my journal, my iPad mini, my yellow pad for writing ideas, my favorite pen, and my flip flops.  The flip flops came out when I arrived at Kerri's.  I'd need them after my pedicure.  As soon as I walked in the door, an old friend whom I usually meet at Kerri's because she gets her hair done on Saturdays was there.  We hugged and caught up on life.  I then hugged Kerri.  I then settled my feet into the waiting warm water.  Ahhh.  I was home again surrounded by my friends.  Do you remember that old song we learned in Girl Scouts?  Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver, and the other's gold.  It felt good to be back with my old friend.

I used to joke that Kerri was my therapist.  Now, I know that she probably knows and understands me as much as anyone does.  She's heard my deepest griefs, joys, dramas, and frustrations for at least ten years.  We've laughed, cried, and moaned, and groaned on a monthly basis about so much over the years.

As she massaged my feet and exfoliated my dry, cracked heels, I felt as it wasn't just dead skin that was being sloughed off of my winter and illness weary body.  I felt pampered, cared for, listened to, and renewed.  A coat of pink polish applied to my nails  added another lift to my spirit.  Two and a half hours later, I left Kerri's shop with a lighter step to my walk and with a much brighter outlook on life.  Thanks Kerri.  How I've missed you.
My feet are ready for spring.

The weather was absolutely beautiful forty miles south of here.  It was sunny and warm.  Already feeling like I'd been on a mini-vacation, I drove to my friend's house for lunch and writing time.  I was met at the door with a warm hug and the words, "You are a welcome sight for sore eyes."  I responded with, "You are a healing sight for a weary heart and soul."  From there, we proceeded to eat the wonderfully healthy lunch IC had prepared.  Chatting as we ate, we caught up on our news.

Then, it was down to work.  We started the writing session by our free write.  IC read great selection from the New Yorker written by Dave Berry.  We responded to the reading by writing for ten minutes.  It was so fun and interesting to see what each of us had written.

From there we shifted to talking about writing goals.  I love IC's great business minded approach to writing.  She is such a successful grant writer, and she is so successful at helping others begin new business ventures through her work with SCORE, so it was no surprise when she brought out the white board so we could use Venn diagrams to work out our personal writing goals.

I walked away from our time together with new clarity for my writing goals.  I was energized, and I was buoyed up by the positive feedback I was able to receive from her, and that I was able to give to her in return.  I felt like the teacher again.  I also felt like the student.  Heaven only knows that nothing builds passion in me more than being in a learning environment where I feel free to express and develop ideas.

Before I knew it, the afternoon was gone.  I'd left home early in the morning.  My day had been full.  I'd driven an hour south to where I'd been pampered,  reconnected with a primary relationship,  had lunch with a friend, and had time to write, to think, to plan.

As I left for my hour's drive home, for the life of me, I could not imagine why I had felt so used up and down the day before.  All I needed was a trip down south and a little a lot  of help from my friends to get myself back on track.  What a difference a day can make when it is filled with time with friends.  I think today was just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I'm Ready for Some Changes

Last night at 1:30 a.m., I finally got up out of bed and moved to the guest room hoping that by doing so I would finally get some sleep.  The wind had howled for hours.  We had moved our outdoor grill close to the sliding glass door that leads to our deck from our bedroom because the night before, it had been blown clear across the deck.  The more sheltered place kept the grill in place, but it caused it to bang against the door.  Thankfully, Jim slept through it all.  It must have been the nighttime cough syrup that knocked him out.

The cold, windy, snowy weather has not been the only drag on our emotions lately.  We've been sick, both of us.  Jim, who never gets sick, has bronchitis.  He is in his tenth day of fighting this pesky virus. We are keeping Walgreens in business buying Mucinex, cough syrup, cough drops, and antibiotics.  Thankfully, my husband is feeling better today.  I've warned him that this stuff likes to hang around for quite a while.  The doctor told him to plan on three or four weeks before he is really over this.  By the way, we both had the flu shot.

I started my bout with the virus that has been making the rounds right after Thanksgiving.  It began with a sore throat, a headache, and a cough.  The week after Thanksgiving, I began experiencing terrible spasms in my trapezia muscle on my right side.  This was combined with a terrible headache.  The doctor gave me trigger point injections of lidocaine in the muscle from the base of the skull to the shoulder blade.  I also treated the pain muscle relaxants, very strong ibuprofen, with massage, and even was treated with acupuncture.  Something worked; I can't say which treatment was best.  I think it was the trigger point injections that worked the best.

Then, I got an ear infection.

Then, I had an injection for hip pain into my left hip.  Two days later, I had an allergic reaction to the shot.  These are rare, my doctor said, but I definitely had an allergic reaction.

Just after Christmas, I had a bad case of a stomach virus.

Then, the cough came back, and so did the sinus congestion.  Mucinex became my friend again.

Two weeks ago on a Saturday night, on one of the coldest nights on record, I had to have my poor husband take me to the emergency room because of severe upper right quadrant pain and severe nausea.  I have fought this pain off and on since April when I was in the hospital for three days.  We still have no answers on what is causing these attacks.  As my husband drove me to the hospital on this cold snowy night when neither man nor beast should have been out, the spasms of pain reminded me of trips to the hospital when I was in labor.  Yes, I think he hit every pot hole.

The hospital pumped me full of pain medication, anti-nausea medication, and took blood and urine samples, and I had yet another CT scan.  Nothing showed on the CT scan.  My lipase levels were in range.  I had a raging UTI (urinary track infection).  During the time I was being treated for nausea intravenously, I told them I really should not be given Zofran because it puts me at risk for having prolonged QT interval.  The nurse didn't accept what I was saying until I insisted she look up the warnings on the drug and my medical history.  Soon, she came in the room and switched me to a different anti-nausea.

After four hours, I was pronounced stable, given a doze of an antibiotic for the UTI and sent home with a prescription for more of the antibiotic.  The next day, I already was feeling quite lightheaded, dizzy, and not quite right.  I filled the prescription for Lexofloxacin anyway.  Since, my new policy is not to read the literature they give you with medications so I don't freak out, I didn't read the warnings.  Monday morning, I felt terrible.  I was in a very rapid heart rate pattern and light headed.  Once I felt better, I left the house for an appointment.  Half way there, I had to pull over because I was about to black out.  My pulse was 130.  I called my cardiologist who said I needed to get to a doctor immediately.  I was asked who had prescribe the Lexofloxacin.  It is known to cause prolonged QT interval.  Do they not look at your medical record in the emergency room?  Do they not listen when you tell them?

My husband came and picked me up and drove me to the doctor.  I was given an EKG and a new prescription and sent on my way.  A holter monitor was ordered.  As was a sleep study.

Now, I here I was struggling through upper right quadrant pain, nausea, heart arrhythmia, and reactions to a second antibiotic.  Oh, and I also had to get a mammogram, a scan of my thyroid, and more blood work.  The mammogram was normal.  Thank goodness.

A few days later, I am received a call from my doctor's office.  "Dr. C wants you in her office as soon as possible to discuss your blood work."  By now, my new doctor's office knows me quite well.  I go in for my consult.  The time before when I had been in to discuss my blood work and A1C levels, she had wanted to put me on insulin.  I cried and begged for six more months to get my numbers under control.  She gave me three months not six.  Now, with this visit, she is very concerned because my iron counts and vitamin B12 levels are getting worse instead of better.  We discussed a game plan.  I told her I had yet another battery of tests scheduled at National Jewish Hospital next week to see what is going on with my iron and my gall bladder/pancreas.

A few days later, my husband got sick.  Now we at least are going to the clinic for him instead of me.

This week, I have a second MRI and second MRI with contrast of my upper right quadrant.  I will also be seeing the cardiologist next week.  I am continuing the iron supplements and B12 supplements.  It appears I am over the UTI.  The heart is mostly settled down again.

So, dear blogging buddies, I've been through it lately.  I am ready for some changes.  I am doing water Pilates twice a week, sometimes three times a week.  I am doing Restorative Yoga at least once a week.  I am trying to walk two miles most days.  I am slowly trying to change my diet.  My doctor says I must try the anti-inflammatory diet.

We will get to the bottom of all this.  We will.  I am staying strong.  The week that I struggled because of the first antibiotic was the worst of it.  I refuse most medications for the reasons given above.  If there is a side effect, I usually get it.  Some of us are just wired that way.  My main goal is find out what is going on with the pain and nausea.  I really think it is the gall bladder.  My doctor is also leaning that way, but it seems it takes more tests before they will take it out.  I'm hanging in there.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Reflections on Love and Loss

A Reflection on Love and Loss

So many words will be spoken about love today.
Some will be forgotten by tomorrow.
Flowers will be sent.
Candy will be received.
Cards will be picked out that the sender hopes will send just the right message.
Love is in the air,
or so it seems.

I would not describe myself as a romantic.
Generally, I don't read romance novels.
In fact, if the truth be told,  romance novels grate on my nerves.
I do love to read great love stories.
I like love stories that read like real life.
I like stories that tell how love survives no matter what life throws at it.
Or I like stories where the love may not survive,
but the person survives the loss of love and thrives after that loss.

I guess I'm too realistic to be a romantic.

I've learned real love outlasts dazzling romance.

When my husband and I married, 
I had a song sung at our wedding by Michael Card.  
The lyrics to the song are taken from the Song of Solomon.
"Arise, My Love"

I love the words of this song because they speak truth.
They speak of a love that honors the loved one.
The song speaks of seeking that the love one has for the other be sealed on the loved one's heart.

Set me like a seal on your heart,
For love is unyielding as the grave.
The flash of it is a jealous fire,
No flood can quench,
For love is as strong as death.

Even though we were "older when we married,

we had not idea what life would bring us when we married.
 No one does.
Jim and Sally 1992

Since those early days of marriage, we've aged.
We've been through good times, very good times.
We've been through rough times,  very rough times,
Today, more than twenty years after our marriage, I rejoice that I can say

My beloved is mine, and I am his.
Song of Solomon 2:16 NKJV

Jim and Sally 2013

Our's is a romantic story, but it is also a story of faithfulness in times of trial and loss.
It is about two people who deeply love and respect each other.
It is about two people who are as different from one another as any two can be.
It is a story about how differences between two people give strength to the relationship.
Where I am weak, he is strong.
And, the vice versa is also true.
Our's is a story of how the relationship between two people created a great team.
It is a story of deep companionship.
I have learned a lot about love from this man that I married.

Loss has also taught me much about love.

The biggest lesson of all is:

Love does not die.

As I look at this photo that Julie took of Phoenix on her last Valentine's Day on this earth,
I am overcome with grief in many ways.
(I also apologize to her siblings if this photo causes them too much pain when they see this.)
Certainly, I am so overwhelmed with a sense of loss today that tears have been silently falling from my eyes nearly all morning.
News that a friend of Julie's just learned of her death just sent all of us back into new waves of grief.

Grief is like that.

It assaults you, the griever, when you least need or want its presence in your life.
Today, my bereavement feels as fresh as newly fallen snow.
Bereavement ~ to be torn apart.

I mourn anew.

…mourning is the outward expression of grief.

So what am I to learn about love  on this day dedicated to love?

I've learned that I am shifting and moving to a new place.

I am moving from the relationship of the presence of my dearly loved daughter being in my daily life
the place where
I have a deeper relationship with the memory of her.

I see the photo above and I smile.

I remember an exchange with her about the photo and the heart that she claimed Phoenix drew for her in the snow.

I am learning that my love for her has only gotten stronger as time passes.

The loved one lives on in the heart of the one who loved him or her so deeply.

For me, my love for my daughter is always fresh and new.

Not all memories of her are happy.

Sometimes, the memories are filled with anger, pain, and deep sorrow.
Other memories make me laugh.
Some memories of her fill me with so much pride.
Memory honors the loved one best when it remembers them as they really were.

The memories of Julie are sharp at times, and blurred at other times.

I no longer focus on the death of my daughter as much I remember her life.

This is a healing place to be.

Silly picture of Julie making faces with Phoenix

I feel blessed because Julie was so deeply loved by so many.

She had so many friends.
They continue to love her.
The memory of her has not died.

Oh, how I wish she were still here making memories with us,

but, she is not.

She remains safely sealed with  love in my heart.

Love is stronger than death.

Love remains.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Katherine ~ by Anya Seton - A Book Review

This book will be added to my list of all time favorite books.  The story Katherine Swynford, the third wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, held me spellbound for days.  Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.  I have read much of it, but I believe no one writes historical fiction better than Anya Seton.  I just recently discovered her writing.

Published in 1954, Katherine, tells the love story of Katherine Roet, later Lady Katherine Swynford,  and John of Gaunt.  I personally learned much about British history while reading this well researched book.  To classify this book as just a work of historical fiction does not do it justice.  It truly is a classic and sets a standard few reach when writing historical fiction.  This wonderful work of Anya Seton's is more, much, much, more than just a book of historical fiction.  Reading it is like it must have been to view the richly woven Avalon tapestry depicting King Arthur and his Queen that was said to  hang in the Duke's privy apartment of the Inner Ward of the once great and beautiful Savoy Castle.  Truly, the telling of this story is so intricately woven that  both the scope of the story and the smallest details work together to form beautiful, unforgettable word pictures in the mind of the reader. Noted small details blend together into the texture and design of the work to create a rich panorama of dramatic and everyday events that depict the life and times of these two figures from history.   At times it almost reads like a modern day love story written by Chaucer himself.

A young teenage Katherine Roet became known at court during the days of Edward III of England when her sister, Philippa Roet, served in the house of Queen Philippa.  Philippa Roet would later marry Geoffrey Chaucer.  Thus, Katherine was Chaucer's sister-in-law.

Katherine's personality and character captivated me.  An orphan, she once lived in a convent until she came to court.  It was here in the convent where the foundations for her strong moral character were established.  She would need these solid values as she faced great loss, and criticism, and danger.  She unhappily was forced into a marriage at a young age to Sir Hugh Swynford, described as an unattractive older man whom Katherine found repulsive.  After she bore three of Sir Swynford children, and after he subsequently died, she beame the mistress of the Duke of Lancaster.  She bore four children to the Duke during the years that they were lovers.  These children, the Beauforts, were later legitimized when she became the third wife of the Duke of Lancaster.

She was caught up in the Peasant's Revolt of in 1381 when the Duke's Savoy Palace, where she was residing, was sacked and burned.  It was at this time, that the two lovers separated.  Katherine went on a religious pilgrimage after the Peasant's Revolt, and after she left John of Gaunt.  It was then when she met Lady Julian of Norwich, a mystic.   After this encounter, she returned to Kettlethrope Hall in Lincolnshire, which she had inherited from her husband, Sir Hugh Swynford.

Katherine is a woman of strong character.  She is also a complex character as depicted by Seton. As I think of the narrative of book itself, and of Katherine, I am reminded of the how in many way's Katherine's story follows the path of Campbell's hero's journey.  I may be on shaky ground by making this comparison.  This book is not a myth. The main character of the story is a figure from history.  In my opinion, the narrative  takes Katherine through many of the stages found in Campbell's monomyth.  While she doesn't venture into the world of supernatural wonder, she certain does experience a profound turning point in her life when Savoy Castle is sacked, when she learns the truth of her husband's death, and when her mind and spirit are healed by Lady Julian at Norfolk.  After this encounter, she is freed from the pain of the past and is able to live a life that is far from court.  Upon her return to Kettlethorpe, she freed her serfs and eventually established a respectable status in Lincolnshire.

Near the end of John of Gaunt's life, in 1396, he married Katherine.  At this time, she became the Duchess of Lancaster.

I concur the reviews that call this book one of the best written love stories of all times.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday in Bronco Country

All the really cool kids are at the game in New Jersey.  We will be spending the day here at home watching the game.  The sky is a blue, blue, blue.  It is amazingly beautiful outside to see snow topped trees and houses glimmering with diamond dust snow that sparkles all the more in the brilliant sunshine.  The contrast of white snow against the blue sky nearly takes my breath away.  Of course, in Bronco country, we are all hoping that the sky will be a blazing orange tonight.  As some would say, "Who says God isn't a Bronco fan?"  The photo below is one making its rounds on FaceBook today.  I love seeing the majesty of America's mountain, my very own Pikes Peak, surrounded by such a beautiful sunset.

A few loved ones are the lucky ones who were actually able to go to the game in person.  My very own son-in-law, married to my husband's daughter, is living the dream of every young man's life this week:  He is with the team, yes the team itself, rubbing shoulders with Manning and Elway and all the rest, as they have been preparing for the big game.  Here he is with Coach John Fox and Pat Bowlen, majority owner and CEO of the Broncos.  

While attending the Super Bowl is a brand new experience for Nathan, rubbing shoulders with the players is not.  He has the dream second job of working as a referee for Bronco weekday practices.  He not only rubs shoulders with Broncos players, he throws the ball to Manning himself, and he makes the calls during practice.  Last year, well we shouldn't speak of last year, he thought he'd make the trip with team.  This year he did make the trip that will hold a lifetime of memories for him.  He will be sitting in the stands cheering the team on.  I can't even imagine how excited he must be.  I am so happy for you Nathan.  He deserves this great opportunity.  

Nathan flew out last Sunday on this all expense paid trip east wearing his very best suit which was the required dress code for the trip.  He was feted with the best array of food that anyone could think of on the flight itself.  You have to keep those men fed.  While in New York, athan takes his breakfast and lunch with the team.  Each week, he actually eats dinner prepared by the team chefs after every practice.  

Others are there too.  My former son-in-law is there with his entire family of father, step-mother, and all of his siblings.  Julie's boyfriend Jason is there.  Like I said, all the really cool kids are there.

I'm here writing an blog post before I go in to fix us some sloppy Joe's to eat during the game.  I'm dressed in my Bronco shirt, and have on my lucky blue earrings made by my friend Judy. I even put on more blue eyeshadow than usual today.   I decided to take a selfie on my computer to post here.  Note that the glasses had to go on so I could see what I was doing.

Before I can cook, I must run to the store for a few things.  I'll put on my orange coat before I go.

GO BRONCOS!  We are all back home under a clear blue sky cheering you on.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Stand Corrected

I stand corrected by my 97 year old mother.  Mother called today to tell me she enjoyed reading my blog post from yesterday.  In case you have not read my post entitled, Throwback Thursday: Memories of My Youth In Leadville, Colorado, you can read it by clicking on the title.  After complementing me on my blog post, she said she had a few corrections.  Since my mother was my first editor, she always read my high school papers and corrected them, and since her memory at 97 is much sharper than mine, I listened to what she had to say and told her I would set the record straight.  

Before I do make the corrections to my blog post, I will tell you that my mother uses a desktop IMac that my husband helped her pick out a few years ago.  She uses the computer to keep up with her family on facebook, to email her friends, and to research on things she wants to learn.  In this photo, she was a youngster of 96.  In May, she will be 98.  She is an amazing woman.

Here are the corrections that my mother made:
  • She said she never emptied the ashes from the Stokermatic.  That was my father's job.  She then added that the coal was delivered by the railroad and dumped near the coal shed.  Then, my father would have to shovel the coal into the shed.  She also recalled how hard it was to keep house with that old coal furnace.  She reminded me that sometimes the thing would sputter and spit ashes into the house.  That I remember.  Of course, the ashes would go everywhere.
  • She said the back part of the house, the kitchen and bath area, were not heated with propane.  They were heated with some sort of heating oil.  The kitchen cook stove used propane.  I guess I had forgotten those facts.  
  • She said she didn't know about us taking the toboggan off of the side of the house during our sled riding escapade.  Of course she didn't.  We sneaked it off.  Now, fifty years later, she knows.
  • She reminded me that not only did the window in the back bedroom that we shut off from the rest of house in the winter have ice on the window, it also had a layer of ice on the north wall. Brrr.
  • She said they would cover the entry way to this room with thick plastic.  I do remember that now.
  • She reminded me that the switch engine would bring the boxcars that needed transferring for unloading or reloading up from Malta to town to rail yard that was behind our house.  In the photo of me in the backyard of the house, you can see how close the tracks were to the house.  (Remember this house once was the baggage building many years before we lived in it.)  She reminded me how the switch engine would run its engine all night long.  I had forgotten that.  I think the sound lulled me to sleep.  It kept my mother awake.  (Here is the photo that shows how close the tracks were to the house.)

Other family members shared a few more memories:
  • My sister remember that in Leadville on a cold morning, as soon as she would walk out the door on her way to school the nose hairs inside her nose would freeze.  True.  Mine did too.  
  • My sister also reminded me that in those days, we could not wear pants to school.  She was right.  Our legs would freeze.  I think we sometimes wore tights and probably wore pants under our skirts to school and then took the pants off when we got there.  I do remember wearing a garter belt and nylon stockings to school when I was in high school.  (TMI!)  (Remember, panty hose had not yet been invented.  I remember seeing my first pair of panty hose in 1967.  I diverge from the topic at hand by telling you all of this.)
  • My youngest sister was only five when we first moved to Leadville.  She said she remembered standing up on top of that white fence that you can barely see in the photo and diving into the snow.  I wonder how we would find her after she dove in.  She was a tiny little thing then.
  • My mother remembers that my baby sister started school in Leadville.  She would walk to school.  My mother said she could just barely see the top of her little red hood peeking above the snow banks as she walked to school.  
  • My father would have the switch engine stop at the school and pick up my little sister from kindergarten when school was over on real cold days.  The tracks were right near the school.   She would come home in the caboose.  My sis said pictures of scantily clad ladies decorated the interior of the caboose.  
  • This photo below was taken a few years back when my sis and I visited Leadville.  Suzanne is recalling the days when she rode home from school on the caboose.  On this day, she looked inside the caboose and said the girly pictures were gone.  The memories remain.