Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hello Everyone!

Can you believe it has been about two years since I posted on Blogger!  A lot has happened but I am happy to say that things are going well.

What has stayed the same?

I am still crazy about raccoons!  I have a a couple of mamas that visit every night, eating up spare cat food and begging for marshmallows.  I am still gardening, quilting and taking care of cats!

What has changed?

I got older!

I took a voluntary severance package from my company for almost 20 years.  I got a new job before I even left my old one and I am very, very happy with it.  It's still about an hour away but worth the drive!

My granddaughter, Taylor, has become quite a pretty young woman.  We took her to a nice Italian restaurant a few weeks ago.  She is all of 14 now and will be going to high school next year.

I volunteered to help out at Lowe's for my company and participated in a radio station's Facebook post.  We handed out treats, had raffles and provided garden and bug information to consumers.  Somebody won a nice grill, a wheel barrow filled with product and concert tickets.

This is my drive to work due to the flooding.
This is actually a farm field but looks like a lake.

The Jeep finally gave out so I now have a Ford Explorer
which promptly got recalled!
It won't be my every day car since I drive an hour
but will be nice if bad weather threatens.  I actually drive a 
Ford Focus for my normal commute.

Well, more later.
Just stopped by to say Hi!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Is Anything Cuter Than a Bee Butt?

Yep!  It's a cutie alright.
I saw this little round bee butt sticking our of my hosta.
Pretty soon here it comes, covered in pollen and all happy.

Read below to see why I was a bit worried today.

I had a scary moment today.
I had to drive THE TRUCK and not only the TRUCK
but also pulling the BOAT TRAILER!!!

And, I had to pull it out of the water,
no boat on it though.  I had to pull it out while
my husband, Tom, and graddaughter, Taylor,
were holding the boat on shore as they prepared to leave.

I still can't get wet yet so out of caution I stayed home.

What did I do with the truck and trailer once I left?
Ahhhh, here was the tricky thing.
I can maybe drive it on the road IF I don't have to back up.
You can't see out the back so you have only the side mirrors
and while I can back my car up OK, not the truck with 
a trailer on it.  So, I left it parked out front until I can
get my brother in law to back it down the curved driveway for me.
I would have pulled in but then I'd have to back out.
No, No, No.

Someday I'll learn to do back it up.  Just not today.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tiny Frog

This tiny frog was resting on the rocks I stacked up in our
fountain for a landing pad for our bees to get a drink.
This cutie is smaller than the nail of my little finger.
He is so pretty and perfect that he must be brand new.

You can see all the tadpoles in the water with him,
there must be thousands of them!  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


It was our 40th High School Reunion!
Wow, we are OLD.

Now we didn't go to the "real" reunion but attended
the pre-parties arranged by fellow classmates.
Thursday was a nice dinner with friends from elementary school-
yes, elementary school.  We still keep in touch!

Friday was a group meeting at a little pub near our old school.
It was nice to see old friends and guess who was who.
They carried it on to another bar but we left by then to 
pick up our granddaughter since she was staying with us 
for the weekend.  We stopped by the Elks lodge and had 
a drink or two (me iced tea) with my daughter and her
boyfriend.  I think we are going to join.  It's a nice place
to sit where you don't have the public coming.
I don't care for bars, you just don't know who will 
come in or what might happen.  This is 
a small town and people are known.

My college roommate was in town Saturday and I 
wanted to spend some time with her, which is why
we didn't attend the "real" reunion.   We drove
up to St Charles, MO and spent the day walking up and 
down the cobblestone streets shopping and having 
some lunch.  I found some little miniatures, which I love.
I purchased a Hurdy Gurdy and selected The Battle Hymn of
the Republic from the various tunes they had.  Additionally,
I got a little raccoon and opossum.

Coincidentally (wink, wink) there was a Quilt Shop!!!
Quilt shops across the US, Canada and Europe are having their
Row by Row Experience event where they offer either a 
free pattern or a kit to make a single row.  You can collect
and sew these rows into a quilt with rows from your state,
from various locations using a theme, etc. 

The rules are that you have to go into the store, it's a promo.
Then there are contests for who completes one the first for
each store, a junior row by row with a contest and of course
shopping while you are in the store.  No on-line sales until
after the event which ends in the Fall.

I see the surgeon tomorrow in order to schedule my next
surgery which will include a week in the hospital again.
This should be the last one!!
I'll be glad to get this over with.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Row by Row Here I Go

It is time for Row by Row!
Quilters will visit shops between now and fall to collect
either free patterns or kits designed by the shop.  This 
introduces them to new shops, lets them visit old favorites
and offers skill building as we try different techniques.

Some quilters will combine their rows into full 
quilts, others will continue on to the contest.

Me, I'm just having fun.

I just completed these two.
One is of the Mississippi River with boats and the 
other is from last season where I visited 
Quilts and Quilts in Branson MO.

I thought this would be hard, but it was so much fun!
You cut out all the little strips that you can see inside the 
US map, sew them together and bond a cut out
of the country on top of them.  The entire area underneath
still has the various fabric strips.
Then you add the letters using a bonding material but
you have to sew around everything to keep it in place
for a long time.

The top two are from last year too
(they have been tucked away in a drawer so need ironing)
The middle two are this year and I have already
discussed HOME.

I hope to visit a couple more shops in St Louis this weekend
and pick up a couple more patterns or kits.

My real quest is to build a Kathy's Life quilt but
the logistics are in the way.  I just can't get to some 
of the places I need to get the kits.  I'd start 
out from when I was born and add rows to get
where I am now.  You actually have to be there,
no ordering on line.

Kansas City, MO  Born there but 4 hours away
Aurora, MO  4-5 hours away
Various ones from St Louis I can do.
Hot Springs, AR where I visit my mom. 

Who knows, maybe they will have a kit left over after
the collecting period is over and I can get one mailed to me.
I tried with Aurora last year but she was out of kits.

The Missouri Row by Row provides a map, printable list of shops
 (Travel List) and images of the rows (Pictures) submitted by shops for 2017,
they also have a Facebook site.
It should be fun!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

It's Been Awhile

Gosh, I sure hope this doesn't set the tone for the post!
No, no worries, it's all OK.

While I have had my issues we were able to take off
a day (that was not in a hospital) and drive down to 
Branson, taking my granddaughter to Silver Dollar City.
She's 12 and good company on roller coasters.
Not that I ride them but my husband does so they took the
death defying rides together while I roamed around the shops.

This is at the fish hatchery at Table Rock lake.  I got a kick
out of the buzzards that perched above the tanks hoping to grab a bite or two.

We had a day at Silver Dollar City, played mini-golf, stopped at
Bass Pro in Springfield on the way home and made 
another stop at an outlet place on our way back home.

Since my last post I thought I was out of the woods but ended up with another
 bout of C-Diff that was diagnosed after two ER visits missed it.
I was down to 109 lbs and the doctor had to scope me to figure
it out.  It seems that you don't normally get it in your small 
intestine so it was missed. In a couple weeks I was feeling
much better after the antibiotics took care of it.

I was ordered to gain weight or I wasn't getting my final operation.
Since I have met all my out of pocket expenses I'm not going to miss
that one.  I wish I would have had the order in writing because I would
have framed it!  It was the first time a doctor ever told me to GAIN weight!

So, next operation is on the house in addition to all prescriptions!
I received a text from CVS pharmacy asking me if I wanted to refill
my prescription that started with (they give the first 3 letters).  
I wasn't sure what it was but had a good guess.
"Why yes!  I do indeed want you to fill any and all prescriptions!"
Remember- it's all at no out of pocket expense now.
I'll take anything they want to give me!
Turns out it was my EpiPen that I keep just in case due to the bees.

It's another year with a crappy garden since I have been so sick; 
however, I'm posting some photos of some of my gardens.
Blackberries, cone flowers and elderberry flowers.
I have cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatillos,
zucchini, tomato, peppers and herbs planted.

The bees are still alive but I don't know what the honey yield will be. 
It would nice to get some this year.  Last year we had to leave it all
for them to eat over the winter.

Elderberry flower

I had my 58th birthday on June 19th, another reason
we spent the weekend in Branson.  The 19th was Monday
so I took off work and did some shopping plus
my annual breakfast at Denny's.  This year I had to drive into
town because the Denny's in the closest town, Eureka, burned
and it's not rebuilt yet.  I really like their breakfast!

I'm still limited in my diet but adding new things all the time, 
hoping I don't run into a blockage- my biggest fear with this
ostomy.  That and any leaks that could happen, based on 
what my Facebook group tells me can and eventually will happen.

I love a nice mimosa!

So, I have another operation in August/Sept and that should be it!!
I have been terrible at the internet too.  I seem to get a couple of
comments posted on FB but that's about it.  I'm hoping to start
getting some vegetables and canning/dehydrating or freezing them.
I need to get back to those bucket list activities that I had planned
and learn some new skills but it might have to wait since the next
recovery period will be 3-8 weeks depending on how extensive the 
surgery needs to be.  I sure have missed a lot of work but they
have been very supportive!  I'm pretty lucky.

I hope you all are doing well and will try to catch up on things. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

New Developments

I spent a week in the hospital and left without a colon.
Yes, it got bad enough that I was literally on my last legs.
I couldn't drive to work or do much more than sit in my chair
and watch TV.  The pain from my colitis was so bad that I 
couldn't wait for my surgery.

I was amazed at the cards, balloons, gifts and flowers I received.
I had no idea that so many people would be thinking about
me.  Some friends went above and beyond!  
I owe them big time.

I could barely eat and when I did it was so painful that
you didn't want to eat anything.  I got very weak since
Christmas.  My poor husband had to do everything the past few months.
I've lost 100 lbs and was very dehydrated, so much so that they 
thought I was not creating enough urine.  It turns out that I 
was so dehydrated I was absorbing almost all the fluids they
were pumping into me.

The day after they removed my colon I felt great,
comparatively so.  No gut pain, no cramping.  I had
a pain block shot before surgery that would last a day
so I would not be in too much pain when I woke up.
I was exhausted from the surgery that was around
5 hours long.  I had a pain medicine pump which I
used the first day or two but minimally.  I did use it just
before physical therapy, they recommended it so my
session would be productive; however, I stopped using it
early and they were surprised- even though they sent me
home with a prescription for a VERY strong pain medication
which I never took.  

I was on clear liquids for a couple days and then 
progressed to full liquids (add cream of wheat, 
milk and ice creams, puddings, etc.)
Then they had me on soft, low residue foods to see
 how I tolerated it before they could release me.

When they remove your colon they give you an
ileostomy.  This is a  stoma
which you cover with a pouch to collect your stool.
It's your small intestine that is brought to the surface of 
your skin and sewn on, sort of inside out.  You empty the 
pouch a few times a day and every few days change the adhesive
wafer that holds it on your stomach.

Now I need to determine if I keep this system 
or go for reconstruction,  I am leaning to keeping 
this.  It is inconvenient, the drawback is that you have a
bag attached to you that needs emptying and runs the
risk of leaking at some time, almost all do at one
time or another.  The biggest drawback is if I lose
my job or insurance, how will I pay for these very
expensive pouches?  With insurance I pay $13 a month,
without it would be $270 and that is without any of
the paste or other accessories you need to maintain them.

Reconstruction has its risks.  The Doctor says it works well for younger
people.  Older people, I'm 57, especially with auto immune issues
do not do as well, run the risk of infection, urgency and control
issues plus pain and burning.  The output would be liquid since
the drying takes place in the large intestine which I no longer have.
The liquid is caustic and can cause sores if your wafer leaks or
when you are getting used to your reconstructed J pouch
(again your small intestine that is used to create a pouch and
attached to your rectum/anus).  It can take a couple of years
to work through the issues and I just don't think I can go 
through that after the last couple years of problems.

I'm on medical leave right now.  Home Health was
coming in twice a week to watch me clean the stoma
and change my pouch.  I passed with flying colors by the way.

I couldn't do much.  Rest, eat soft foods, watch how
new foods affect me, no exercise other than walking,
no driving, no lifting.  So I embroidered the squares for 
my Bee Creative quilt along.  I'm doing the sashing now.
I will return to work Monday but on a work from home basis
for the next two weeks. I physically return in April when I can
make the hour drive and be able to lift my laptop bag in and 
out of the car.

I can eat again!  Nothing spicy or fibrous yet but I will be working
my way there after a few months.  You still have to be careful.
You can get a blockage in the stoma which is bad so avoid
nuts, popcorn, celery, seeds, etc.   

This is my gastroenterologist.  He was just named a Fellow of the AGA.
He took care of my until he referred me to my surgeon then sent 
me a nice note the other day to say he heard from my surgeon that I was doing
 much better.  I sent back a congratulations note on his fellowship.

That explains where I have been.  I don't have much to post but 
my husband has been taking good care of our granddaughter, Taylor who is 12, when
she visits on the weekends.  They are learning to read maps, use compasses,
hiking and geocaching.  We have picked up some things at REI that will be helpful.
She is learning to shoot various firearms.  She is showing interest in youth 
competition which  is available through our Conservation Department.

Finding the geocach

Without realizing it she is getting survival training.
I hope she won't have to be our next John Conner 

I don't know how often I will post but as I get
stronger and start doing more things I'm sure I'll
get back into the swing of things!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Santa Rides a Harley- A Christmas Lesson

Santa Rides a Harley

Sleet and snow blanketed our area unexpectedly December 2007 on a most important day, at least for three year old Taylor, our granddaughter.  It was the day she was supposed to see Santa and tell him what a fine girl she had been all year.   We were going to the mall which was at least thirty miles from our home and twenty of those are over curvy, hilly, two lane, no shoulder roads where roll-overs are the norm.  The fortunate ones don’t land upside down in the many small creeks.  

How was I going to break the news that we just couldn’t make it?  She truly is fine girl.  One of the most well behaved children, kind and sharing.   I don’t say this simply because she is my grandchild, it was a concentrated effort of all parties involved to set limits, examples and actually provide discipline rather than have a kiddie free-for-all that is so common these days.  Then it hit us- 

Our local paper advertised Santa’s arrival at the nearby Harley dealership.  It is located at the cross section of Hwy 44 and 50 just outside of UnionMO.  It stands by itself, very rural and of course has motorcycles in the parking lot.   I have passed by it several times and there have been some pretty strange looking people there.  I was a bit nervous; I had watched movies where Hell’s Angels terrorized towns.  They rode Harleys.   There were tatted up, leather capped, long hair bearded men - also women in tall boots donned in pure black leather with more than a hint of silver studding.  We could get there, but would we get back?

It was only eight miles away, we could make it.  We all jumped into the 4WD truck and headed to the dealership.   I asked my husband to wait in the truck with Taylor while I checked out the store, just in case we had to hightail it out of there.   No, I’m not the brave one, I just can’t reach the truck pedals to make the fast getaway.  He thinks I am ridiculous, a West County princess, but gives in to my request.  

I gingerly approached the door, entered the building and what to my wandering eyes did appear . . . . . ?  Sitting atop a beautiful, shiny motorcycle was a wonderfully jolly, white haired, bearded Santa donned in Santa red and white from tip to almost toe-the required black boots as the finishing touch.  The pretty lady elves in elfin garb, their pointy caps all green and red, ushered the little children to Santa, snapping photos of each- compliments of the dealership.   Little play areas were set up among the aisles where awaiting tots could build with blocks, play with tiny cars or hug stuffed bears.  

The store had been transformed into a winter wonderland with homemade decorations of candy canes and packages high up on the walls.  Display areas were filled with stuffed animals, an unusual selection with anteaters, opossums, skunks, chipmunks and squirrels, all at very reasonable prices.  There were Christmas trees- the traditional green bushy variety. There was also a very special orange and black tree covered in Harley ornaments, all very pretty and quality made.  Across the store was the bake sale with freshly made cookies, fudge and candies which rivaled any PTO selection I have seen.  All proceeds would go to charity, just one of their many charitable events throughout the year.  

I ran back to the truck to get Taylor.  She couldn’t miss this, and I couldn’t pass up this photo op!  Now this is our annual Christmas event.   She loves that Santa and you can tell how much he loves the kids.  He takes his time with them, no rushing.  He has an actual conversation with them, and also with the parents. Then he pulls everyone in for a group photo.   I’m no longer uneasy around the long haired, bearded, leather capped and tatted up patrons, in fact, I would really love to have one of their leather tooled black purses complete with the silver studding  but they are way above my price point!    I make certain to purchase several items from their bake sale and Taylor always gets her pick of unusual stuffed animals, my favorite being the opossum. 

So the magic of Christmas didn’t stop at a child’s wonder but also transformed the preconceived ideas of a grandma.  Peace on earth and goodwill to all.  Merry Christmas.   

Taylor in 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I am Still Here


Just an update.  It took a trip to the emergency room to determine that I have carried around a bacterial infection, C Diff, for months.  It's a Really, Really bad infection but we thought it was just a colitis flare.  It wasn't.  In the meantime I also twisted my knee badly so the ER also put me in a substantial brace which I was not allowed to remove, except for showing, for a month.

Today I am on Humira, which I will post about later, and finishing up the second round of antibiotics for the C Diff.   I'll be back to posting soon.  I am so far behind reading all your blogs.

Thanks for the nice thoughts while I have been out.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Little Under the Weather

I was thinking that I haven't made any progress on
the projects I wanted to accomplish as pertain
to learning the old ways.  This summer has been 
wet or I have been under the weather again, 
fighting this colitis.  It's hard to get too 
enthused when you don't feel well.

Instead, I thought I'd post some photos of the project I AM working on.
I really have enjoyed this quilting/embroidery project sponsored by
Moda,  Bee-utiful Quilt A Long with designs by Pamela Jane Morgan.
It has helped me to learn new embroidery stitches and to take
some creative license with the basic pattern.

You'll see some blue markings in the photos-
they was off but serve to outline the basic pattern,
each containing a bee or two.


It's easy to sit in my recliner and stitch
and still spend time with my husband.

In the meantime I am working with 
doctors, fighting their recommendation 
to get on medicine with potential side effects
of brain infections or TB.  Another lists 3-4
types of cancer, one 100% fatal.

Maybe the odds are small but one brain infection
is enough to change everything.  I am going to consult
another doctor to see what the alternatives are.
We've only had these new biologics (you hear them on 
tv all the time now) for awhile,
people managed before without them.

Wish me luck!