Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Slide Show

This week butterflys arrived in Mom's yard. They were really attracted to some tall purple flowers she has this year. They would flit around the others but always came back to these. I got some wonderful shots using the continuous shooting mode on the new camera.

(Edit: see the slide show links on right for the Butterfly slide show.)

Silly Rabbit and her babes have moved on. The two babes came out of the nest this week and I managed to watch them for a time. Such tiny things to be braving the big world. At least they have stayed out of my dogs' yard.

We also have a deer with three legs in the neighborhood. I saw him alone one day eating my crabapples and then with another buck the next. Dad and Beth say there are four of them at times. My dogs dash out the door so fast when I open it that they probably chase the deer off before I can see them. They also chase off the grey cat that has been hanging around for a few weeks now. I see it slinking around bushes and the corners of things at times. I hope it has a real home somewhere.

I have been out of the Boot all day today. Dad, Mom, Beth and I went out to WalMart then down to the Fairgrounds to enter photos in the Fair that starts this week. I entered butterfly photos and one I took of my Day Lilies this spring. We stood in line for an hour or more just to enter the photos. I don't expect to win anything - I just want others to see my photos.

So standing in line plus the time in WalMart took a toll on me. I haven't really been out anywhere except to work and for groceries for several months because of my foot. We went to eat lunch after submitting the photos and I came home and napped afterwards. But the foot is not too bad so far. I used my cane while we were out and stood on one foot a lot while standing in line. I hope to be able to walk without watching every step soon, but I will be careful for now. The BP is doing fine without meds, too. I have been using the wrist monitor we have at least twice a day just to keep track and am always in the good range for both top and bottom numbers. Even after exerting myself the numbers don't go much above the normal values and never into the higher ranges. And I feel much better without the meds.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wonderful Day

It is another beautiful day here. The sun is shining and there are fluffs of clouds in the blue sky.

Silly Rabbit is still sitting in the field. Yesterday I watched her lure a cat away from her nest to protect her babes. The cat started out across the driveway at Dad's and gradually crept closer to her as she sat in the field. When she thought it was close enough she zipped across the field and over towards my house and into the hedges. She was successful in eluding the predator and has been back in the field in various vantage points both yesterday and today. I checked the nest and there is no evidence it has been disturbed.

We went to both Becca's birthday party and the Ice Cream Social yesterday. The weather was beautiful. Warm enough to sit comfortably in either sun or shade but not hot enough for water games. The kids were all younger ones and there were puppies, too. Three Jack Russell terrier mix puppies recently joined the family. Two belong to Nanny's daughter's babes and one to her son's babes. They are all from the same litter and get along wonderfully. Nanny's older dog, Peaches, looks for places to escape, though. The kids and pups had a wonderful time. We singers were able to eat a little before we left for the Ice Cream Social and then brought home-made ice cream back with us to the party afterwards. It was delicious. Mint Chocolate Chip and Vanilla.

The singing engagement was good, too. We were inside the fellowship hall at Pleasant Hill and sang as people talked and ate a variety of foods, cakes, and the ice cream. We sang for nearly an hour and people sang along with us on songs they knew.

I wore the Boot so as not to strain my foot and took a stool I intended to sit on for the singing. But I stood up the whole time. You just cannot get good breath control or volume sitting down. I tried to tap my foot once to the beat and discovered it was not a good idea in the Boot. I admit I was exhausted afterwards ... but it felt good.

Thought I would share a picture from the past. In front on the left is my mother Dorothy, my cousin Sandra, and Aunt Irene. Between them and just above Sandra is Sonny (Charles) in his wheelchair. Above Aunt Irene is I think Chuck (also Charles) being held by Grandma and to the right is Aunt Eva, Sandra and Chuck's mother.

I am in the process of scanning many of the old photos into my computer so I can put them on disk for family members. It is time-consuming but so worthwhile. Mom says Grandma liked to take pictures, too. Maybe that is at least in part why Jenny and I have this addiction (although I think everyone has it).

Linda May has asked some questions in a comment that I am researching now. Funny how you take so much for granted about where you live and what is around you. I did not even know the latitude/longitude or elevation for Moundsville until I looked it up (maybe I knew and just forgot). Anyway, I am learning more about the local area as a result of her questions. From what I have been able to find out this area and hers are much the same. She lives in a small town outside a larger city with similar populations to Moundsville and Wheeling here. Seasons are reversed but other than that we are a lot alike.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Off with their meds!

Alice in Wonderland had bad experiences with "drugs" and so do I. Yesterday afternoon at work the side effects of the BP meds manifested quite strongly. If I could have thought clearly I would asked someone for help but in the times I was able to think a little more clearly what I thought was "There, that should be over now." But by the time I got home (yes, I drove my car home myself) all I could do was collapse.

Now bear in mind that this same thing happened Monday and I talked to the nurse on Tuesday morning about it. I told her that I was weak, shaky, sleepy, dizzy, light-headed, could not complete a thought, weepy, and wanted to crawl under my desk and hide - but I was still functional at times (I think - we have not found enormous errors from Monday, at least). I went in to the doctor's office on Wednesday to have my pressure checked and talked to the nurse more then. Her advice was that I would adjust and the side effects would diminish. She takes the same meds for her BP. She suggested I continue to take the meds but try it at night as I had on Tuesday and hopefully I would sleep thru the worst of it.

I don't think so.

Friday at work was not quite as bad as Monday but it was close. I was weak, aching in every joint, close to tears a number of times, exhausted, and spaced out if I did not concentrate very hard. I put my head down on my desk and slept at lunchtime. I knew I could not drive myself home at that point but did not have the capacity to call someone else to come get me - and I had so much to do since the computer had been down for 2 days earlier in the week that I could not make myself leave (we'll have to wait and see if I made any big mistakes). So I stayed at work and was feeling somewhat better by 4:30 and drove myself home. Then I collapsed - first in the recliner then across the bed.

When I was able to move again (at least I could walk) I went over to Mom & Dad's as we were supposed to practice for singing on Saturday. Cousin Barb had come down from Wheeling and I wanted to be sure they knew which stack of music Dad and I had pulled out from our inventory the night before. (I had no problems with the meds on Thursday at all except for being tired!) I was barely able to talk without wanting to cry. Sister Beth called the doctor's answering service and they passed a message to the doctor on call. She called back to Beth after I went back home and said stop taking the meds and call my doctor on Monday (which is what I wanted to do in the first place when I talked to the nurse on Wednesday!!!!). She thinks the meds may be aggravating my fibrositis and IBS etc.

Neither of my parents were able to tolerate these particular meds either. I have made a point of telling the doctor who my parents are so he can keep family history in mind (we all have the same doctor - right now) and it's all in the file. Apparently he either did not think this was significant or thought the risks were worth the benefits (if I'm upset this way wouldn't that elevate my BP?). I am not impressed at this point with this doctor.

But as you can tell, this morning I am feeling better and able to express myself coherently (right?) or least vehemently. I am still weak and shaky but no longer exhausted. I am NOT taking this medication anymore no matter what they say about adjusting to it.

I would go completely drug free if I could (except for those nice pain pills when I really hurt and even then I try a cup of tea or hot chocolate first). I take vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements to help with the fibrositis (that's all in the doctor's file, too) and would prefer to treat other conditions with "natural" products when possible. But I understand that some things require "drugs." Just keep them away from me as long as possible.

Tirade finished (for now ... more to come, I'm sure).

The weather is supposed to be beautiful this weekend, clear and sunny with highs in the 70's. The Ice Cream Social up at Pleasant Hill and Becca's birthday party should have nice weather and a good turn-out. We will be singing for the Ice Cream Social without Nanny, our sole alto, who is hosting Becca's party (she's the granny). But we will be doing old favorites and it is for background rather than featured performance so all should go well. Our time slot is from 3:30 to 4:30 and we plan to eat ice cream, too.

Have a nice day, everyone and don't worry about me (but keep me in your prayers).

Friday, July 20, 2007


I finally got good pictures of my two dogs - by ignoring them and pretending to not take their pictures. I also used the telephoto feature on the new camera and the articulated view screen was a great help. Here are the results.

This is Myste on the left and Sassy on the right. No fancy settings, just the Auto feature.

I was actually trying to get a picture of the Silly Rabbit who has now built her nest in the middle of the lower field. No high grass, no bushes, no protection at all but a great view. She crouches there and pretends that no one can see her as we walk across the sidewalk between houses.

I also got scolded by Jenny for not telling her I was on BP meds. It only happened last week and I was so upset about it myself that I assumed the whole world knew (I actually thought her mother would tell her as I had talked to Beth about it). I still don't think I need the meds as my home BP monitor shows me consistently in the normal range but I'll take the meds and see the doctor next month.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Freedom! ... sort of

I went to see Dr. Le yesterday about the foot. He was pleased and said I can start working my way out of the boot - wear it outdoors and when doing a lot of walking but can take it off indoors and gradually do more walking without it. He gave me another Rx for pain pills so he must expect there will be some additional pain but he says I am doing fine and don't need to go back to see him unless it gets worse again (after allowing for more use). I told him what I have been doing and he said just continue with it (I have already not been wearing the boot in the evenings at home as long as not going up and down basement stairs to laundry). So less scritch/thumping is in my future.

However, I am now on blood pressure meds and adjusting to that. What I am taking is leaving me exhausted much of the time but that is supposed to diminish as I adjust. I was taking it in the morning with my oatmeal but could hardly function at work in the morning. So after talking to the nurse I am now taking it in the evening about 2 hrs before I go to bed and most of the exhaustion is gone by the time I get to work at 8:30 am. I'm not happy about how I feel yet but will wait and see what the result is when I go back to see Dr. Hess next month.

Loving the new camera and the pictures I am taking with it. Still can't get a good picture of either of my dogs or Dad's even with the Kids&Pets setting which is supposed to help with subjects that don't stand still. For some reason all our pets seem to be camera shy (or stubborn) and as soon as they know what you are doing they find somewhere else to look or be. Linda May commented on my picture of the QA Lace that at least flowers stay still and I am grateful for that. Here is one of the Trumpet Vine in Mom's yard.

Linda May's sister needs prayers right now. She is recovering from a bad dog bite as related in Linda May's July 18 post. I can only imagine what she is going thru - I still remember a tiny insignificant dog bite from my childhood (and have never liked dauschaunds since).

It's raining right now. A nice gentle rain instead of the downpour I heard around 2 am. We have needed the rain. Haven't had to cut the grass again as it isn't growing and parts of the field are turning brown. I don't see much evidence of the drought when I am in town but out here on the edges you can tell the difference. We need the rain - just not too much too fast.

And, Lord, can you have the rain miss Pleasant Hill on Saturday for the Ice Cream Social and Nanny's house, too, for Becca's birthday party? But we need the rain, so I will understand if it has to rain in the valley on Saturday.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Camera

I love my husband. He knew how disappointed I was over the demise of the Olympus camera and even though there was nothing that I absolutely had to take pictures of right now he encouraged me to research digital cameras and when I had decided which one I wanted he took me to the store and we bought a new Canon PowerShot A630. A big difference between this one and the old basically point-and-shoot model we had before. There will be a learning curve as there are manual as well as preset functions and it even makes movies with sound. But I think I have at least begun to learn to use the foliage close-up setting. Click on the picture to see it in actual size for the detail.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I think my camera died today

I think my Olympus D390 died today. I have been having a wonderful time taking pictures of flowers and plants and family as well as crafts. Today I was over at Mom's taking pictures of the Rose of Sharon (she has three different colors) and the battery was low so I thought I would just continue taking pictures until I drained them and would then put fresh in and recharge the expended ones. So when the screen went dark I took the old batteries out. New batteries did nothing. Tried another set ... and another ... and another. My DH thought of course I was a woman who did not know how to operate the camera and he tried several battery sets. It wouldn't work for him either. So he charged batteries and tried again. Still dead. An old friend gone.

So we are looking at new cameras on line and reading reviews. My Olympus was only 2 megapixels and technology has changed so much that we are looking at 6 to 8 megapixels now. I always have such a fear of making the wrong choice when purchasing something that will have to last a long time that I read and read and read before buying and still question if making the right decision. Any recommendations from anyone? We are seriously thinking about the Canon PowerShot A630 or another Olympus like the FE 230 or 250. There are so many. We are limited in our choice of vendor at this time and will probably purchase through DH employer and take advantage of the employee discount. We have checked them out on line and the price is comparable with other sources if we take the discount into account.

Speaking of decisions, today we went for the package deal and now have the triple play - cable, internet, and phone services from one provider. We already had digital cable and high-speed internet. Now we have digital phone service, too. Another thing we debated and researched for a while before making the decision. It should save us money for at least the next year. And our internet is even faster with the new modem. We were hooked up today (that's why I was over at Mom's - the dogs had to be outside for the serviceman to be inside and I was trying to distract them by being on the opposite side of the house from where he could be seen going up and down the outside steps). Installation only took about an hour even with a few glitches he ran into and we are now reading more on the DVR for the cable (imagine learning how to "pause" live TV and record on two channels at the same time at my age) and voice mail etc for the phone (the answering machine is still plugged in as I write this).

Monday, July 9, 2007

Silly Rabbit

I always put the dogs out in the fenced backyard around 7:30 in the morning when I go over to Mom and Dad's. They will have already been out several times in the morning so I usually don't worry about anything being caught unaware. This morning, however, there was a rabbit in the yard. Sassy chased it into a corner of the fence and knocked it down but it leaped back up and took off for the lower gate and scooted out and across the field and over to Mom and Dad's. It wasn't until I came back from visiting that I saw what the rabbit had been doing. There are three of these starter nests in the yard right where my dogs love to roam. Silly rabbit.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by the slideshows I have put on my blog so I have removed most of them and added links to them instead. This way they can be revisited at will and I can add links to new slideshows, too. Figuring a few more things out and moving things around and redesigning the blog. If something was here and you don't see it now and miss it, leave a comment.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Independence Day Revisited

Wonderful 4th. Bubbles were blown. Squirtguns were emptied. Balls were kicked and hit. Sidewalks were drawn on. Fireworks were viewed from far and near. And we ate hotdogs, sausages, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, ice cream cake, cupcakes, cookies, baked beans, pasta salad, chips, pretzels, more deviled eggs, and popsicles ....

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Feast or famine?

Friday, June 22, was supposed to be our scheduled gas meter reading. Someone needs to be home because the meter is in the basement. (We've asked about getting a meter that can be read from outside but there are various reasons we can't have one.) I made arrangements to take the day off from work (to rest and get ready for the last night of VBS) and was home all morning and until 1:30 pm. The only time I was gone was about 5 minutes when I went across the walk to Dad's to carry home some VBS supplies we brought home the night before. I left a note on the door for the meter reader that I was just next door and would be right back. No meter reader. No indication anyone ever came to the door.

The next week (last week) I was off on Thursday and called the day before to make arrangements for the meter reader to come Thursday afternoon. That would be June 28. So when hubby got home from work on the 27th (the same day I called) he found a "We missed you" note on the door from the gas company. I called when I got home and they were so sorry, someone wrote down wrong date. Again made arrangements for someone to come on the 28th in the afternoon. He did come about 1:30 pm on the 28th.

This evening, July 3, about 7:30 pm there was a knock on the door. Another gas meter reader was here. He had the notation that someone tried to read the meter on the 27th and no one was home. Had no information that anyone had read the meter on the 28th. He read the meter again. This time I signed that he was here and read the meter.

It's the height of summer!!!! It's 80 degrees outside!!!! The only gas appliance we have is the furnace!!!! We don't even have the gas turned on to the furnace!!!!


On a more reasonable(?) note, I made the banana popsicles tonight. That makes 126 popsicles. This is reasonable?

Lord, help me find my sanity.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Any requests ... ?

I did the chocolate pops this morning. (Silly me. Recipe: 1 1/2 cups cold water; 1 small package instant pudding. Makes 6.) They set up faster and I put the sticks in as they went into the freezer.

I was thinking banana ....

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Every July 4 the family gets together, almost always at Mom and Dad's which is just across the mutually owned field from my house. Kids of all ages play games of all sorts in the field (usually involving water) while the wiser or more timid of us sit on the big porch and watch. Everyone brings food and drinks and every year for some time now I have made popsicles for the 4th of July.

I have a favorite and very simple recipe I use with some variations:

1 small box of gelatin (any flavor or match it to the drink mix)
1 envelope unsweetened drink mix
up to a cup of sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water (can use fruit juice or pop if desired).

Mix the gelatin, drink mix, and sugar. Add the boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Add the cold water. Stir some more. Let the bubbles disperse. Fill 3 oz plastic cups to about 1/2 inch from the top (I use one of the cups as the dipper). I put the cups into high sided trays and can usually get 18 in a large cake pan. Coincidentally, each recipe fills 18 three oz cups. I cut off plastic drinking straws and when the popsicles are partially frozen (anywhere from 1 to 3 hours after putting in my freezer) I stick a straw in each one (instead of popsicle sticks which can splinter). When ready to eat just warm the cup with your hands and push on the bottom to release the popsicle.

This year there are 5 flavors - 90 popsicles - so far. Black Cherry, Red Raspberry (both favorites), Peach, Pineapple (using pineapple gelatin, lemon drink mix, and pineapple soda - sugar adjusted to allow for the soda); and the mystery flavor of the year (Green Apple/Watermelon). If the mood strikes and I find another flat spot in the freezer I may make chocolate pops using pudding again. I have to find my recipe for that one.

Time to go check and see if the popsicles are ready for their sticks.