Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hunting & Gathering

Something funny happened to me today. Usually I have been staying up till after midnight (doing email, myspace, and writing in this blog), and then sleeping till about 8. Well, last night, I went to bed at 10 and then got up when it was still a bit dark -- before 7! I showered and ate and then got my jacket and headed out for a hunting & gathering mission.

I drove to the mall, parked, and went in. The stores were .. closed! I looked at my watch and was amazed to see that it was just 9:15! I know that, in real life, this is late. I know that, in a past life, I was teaching my 2nd period math class by 9:15.

I left and went to KMart, picking up a couple of things on my list, before heading back to the mall. I parked at the other end of the mall, and Dillards was open by the time I got there. I found what I was looking for, too -- a neat shawl for my shoulders for New Year's Eve. I have ... several... such wraps in Bloomington, but they don't do me much good here!

I also went to the Ann Taylor Loft, and found a cute top for New Year's. If I think of it, I'll have someone take a picture of me in my new duds.

I went to the Verizon store, to plead my case for the $250 in overages, during the month that Michael died. The guy was sympathetic, but not helpful. They were unable to reverse those charges, he said, because that month had passed. I explained how it was impossible for me to deal with things like how many minutes I'd used on my phone, when I was so busy taking care of my dying husband. I cried. He was unmoved. :/

I went to Office Depot and bought a write-on calendar for my fridge. It has purple accents which actually look good in the room. Have I mentioned yet today how much I love this cottage?

I went yesterday and looked at some tiles. I'll show you what I choose, but for now, suffice to say that there is a large variety of tile from which I'll be selecting! I'm going to tile the floor of my patio first, then the walls.

I talked to a young woman named Rouge, who assured me that I can do this myself. She told me to procure a tile saw from Home Depot, and I'm on my way! I guess I need to measure next. Well.. the concrete has to dry out first, and it's doing that right now. I get to move my RV back to its new pad on Monday or Tuesday.

The day was a little warmer than it has been, with a high of 54°. It's still 9° cooler than normal for this time of year, and it was a bit windy too.

Jack and Kathy didn't get back today as planned. Instead they will be back tomorrow. Their cats are doing great, and seem to enjoy my visits. The awning guy didn't come today, either.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Chilly Day

You folks are really kind and I so appreciate all of the support that you've given me. Michael was such a wonderful man and he deserved only the best care.

I hope that those of you who read my blog will take the time to read the love stories shared in the comments from the last entry.

It is chilly again today, with the high getting up (maybe) to 54. Wind kept it from feeling warm, even with the bright sun. I'm getting a ton of wear from my cute little J.Jill jacket (just like Angie's and Ann's) and from the sparkly scarf that Jan made for me! :)

I don't know if I mentioned that I'm taking care of Jack and Kathy's cats till they get back. I'm going over twice a day. Remembering how I have enjoyed Suzannes daily notes to me when she cares for my cat(s), I have been leaving notes for Jack and Kathy. :)

I thought this morning that my new site had been hacked, but what had happened is that the name has reverted back to my old host. So, when I thought that I was seeing new pages, I was really seeing the old pages on the old server. I know that this name changing stuff takes time and so I'll be patient while the magic works!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Love and Hope

I got into it today with a woman on one of my groups. The discussion was about whether it's better to be realistic about what's going on with a brain tumor patient, or to just go on and pretend that everything is fine. The talk moved to the subject of hope, and I posted this:

"I don't think that your realism is a "character flaw" at all. You are trying to hold onto what's true, what's real. To hold onto false hope is not doing him any favors.

"And I think that being prepared emotionally does help after he passes. The death brings lots of changes and lots of things to do. Having to feel the shock of 'oh no, you mean the chemo didn't WORK?' is something that you just don't need.

"Plus, being prepared is more than just an emotional thing. People who refuse to see the inevitability may postpone bringing in Hospice or outside household help. I wish that we had had more time with Hospice. As it was, we got just 4 weeks, which wasn't even enough time to get to know anyone. Hospice means free drugs, free wheelchair, free hospital bed, counseling, help.

"If the family thinks that everything's fine, then they may postpone coming to visit, thinking that there is an indefinite period when they can visit. If you keep thinking that there will be a miracle, then you're left with having to explain to family why he 'suddenly' died, why 'no one told us he was that sick.'

"Of course no one who has 'faith' is going to hear my saying, 'but it isn't real.' They are going to go on believing what they believe, and that's fine. It still doesn't make it real, but it's fine. I've decided to just stay out of those MRI threads."

Another woman posted back. Here is part of what she posted:

"As usual not everyone is going to agree on certain subjects. I chose to have 'faith' and believe in God.

"If you just give up, how does this make the person you say you 'love' feel? They need hope until the end!!!!"

And here's my response to her:

"[quote]If you just give up, how does this make the person you say you "love" feel?[/quote]

"Don't even be suggesting that I didn't love my husband or show my love for my husband! I have my own beliefs, which Michael and I shared. And my beliefs don't make me any less loving than you are, with your beliefs.

"I guess it's a question of how you define hope.

"Of course we had hope. We had hope that today would be a good day. We had hope that we would laugh, have good food, and enjoy each other. We had hope that we would be able to see our family and friends, and that he would feel good. We had hope that Michael's quality of life would remain, that he could continue to do the things that he loved to do.

"When he became unable to do those things, I did whatever I could to keep him comfortable. We talked about the here and the now. And we talked about our past. I brought out our photo albums from the 25 years we were married. We laughed, we cried, and we hugged.

"Give up? I'm not sure what you mean by that, but anyone who knows me knows that I did not give up treating my dear husband with love and dignity. We stopped going to doctors for treatment, when we all determined that the chance of its helping was remote and the chance of its causing him discomfort was definite.

"I believe that every family makes this decision when it is right for them. No one's going to live forever. There comes a time when chasing cures will just cause more angst and misery. We found joy -- real joy -- in giving thanks for the good life that we had.

"Yes.. you're entitled to your opinion, but if your opinion is that I'm less loving than you are, I take issue."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Photos of my hardscaping projects

Today started very early, as my neighbors and I were jolted awake by my concrete team, all of their trucks, and a huge cement mixer truck -- at 6 am! The men worked and worked till they had my project finished. They are going to return in a couple of days to clean the splashes off of my paint.

Here are some photos of the project before we got started:
Here, the men are beginning to do the forms for the concrete.

And here it is with the concrete poured and the forms removed:

I got many wonderful holiday gifts! This is the gift that came from Dave and Mrs. Beasley's!

Mrs. Beasley's stuff is all delicious. The first thing that disappeared from this package is those 3 little cakes.

A package came for me today -- 3 in fact! One was Chocolate Bing Cherries from Angie and George. Two was my mail from Bloomington, sent with love (and some gifts tucked inside) by Suzanne.

And the third was orange-candied pecans, which Katherine made and sent to me! These got my attention first, and I ate a third of them before I could stop. YUMMY! Katherine, I will definitely use this recipe, though I won't have fresh Florida oranges for the zest.

Katherine, you asked whether these were less "orangey" because of the fresh orange zest. This is right. Commercial orange zest is dried, and therefore, will be much more concentrated. You need four times as much volume if you use fresh zest, rather than dried. And you can get about 2T of fresh zest from one large orange. I might be tempted to add some orange extract, too. But, in any event, these are so good!

I was so nervous while the men were doing my concrete work, that I rearranged my furniture in my cottage. (I always get that way, when people are working around me.) There are not many choices for where to put things, but I changed the chair and couch around and ... I like it! I think that it improves my cottage's feng shui.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! And it was merry for me. I spent the morning with Harold, Kathy, their son Steve, and Harold's sister Nancy. I brought my presents over there and put them under their tree. We took turns opening things, one at a time, to stretch out the fun!

I got neat stuff -- pears & popcorn, cookies and fruitcake, cheese and chocolate, a car emergency kit, a dog grooming comb, a recording keychain, a sparkly scarf, and .. more! :) And I talked on the phone to a bunch of people, too. The biggest treat was talking to Liam, Wren, and Josie -- my grandchildren!

I went for my walk in the Pantano River Park, and it was difficult. The wind had picked up, and it was about 52°. It was so windy that I could hardly see the Catalina Mountains for the dust in the air. I gave up on walking the wash, and walked around Far Horizons for the rest of my time. Brrr!

After my walk, I took a shower and purtied myself up for tonight's dinner. It was fun! I went to BJ's, and Jeff and Barb were there too. Conversation flowed and a good time, good turkey, and good laughs were enjoyed by all.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve

Ok, a somewhat festive red for today! Yesterday was a somewhat cool day. I took John to the airport, where he boarded a plane for Denver to spend the holiday week. Then I went and did a bit of shopping, picking up a plum-colored throw and pillow to augment my living room color scheme. I must say that they look great with my new furniture.

The men came to make the forms for the concrete yesterday and finished up today. They will be here for the pouring of the concrete on Wednesday, bright and early! It's all looking very good at this point. Next, I'll be shopping for tiles and pavers. The tiles will go on the front patio floor and walls. The pavers will go around back.

I did some moving of site parts yesterday and more today. That's a slow process, just because my site is so big, and sort of scattered about in my hard drive. I have the site in about 10 different files, because it was taking GoLive too long to open it when it was all one file. I don't know if DreamWeaver would take that long; it opens each of these little pieces instantly, which is good. It is working fine in the pieces, so I will just leave it as it is for now.

I also wrote to my soon-to-be-former hosting company to inform them of my desire to move. I have to get the domain unlocked and the DNS updated to the new name server. I am very ready to move the site and to have it be clean again. I don't know how my site got hacked, but I think that it's evil that someone did that to me, particularly during this difficult time. And the fact that my current host is unable to give me a way to get the stuff off of there is really mind-boggling. I mean.. I can upload updated pages; the bad ones just reappear the next day!

So... other stuff. I did laundry today which seems to be an even bigger job, since Michael died. I'm not sure why that would be, except for the fact that.. LOL he always helped me with the laundry, or did it himself, when we were here!

Pam and Mike invited me to supper at their cottage, and it was great. Their friend Mary was there, too, and we had a jolly time and lively conversation.

I'm caring for Jack and Kathy's cats while they are in IA for the week. They are good cats -- much bigger than Eddie! -- and they like me just fine. I'm going over twice a day, which is easy because I can see their cottage from mine. :)

So tomorrow's Christmas. I'm going to be opening my gifts over at Harold and Kathy's. They thought that the idea of opening gifts alone was sort of grim.

I got a call from UPS, telling me that they have a package that they tried to deliver to #620, but that's now a vacant lot. I'm now in #206. Well, so they will redeliver on Wednesday. They assure me that it will "still be good," but they didn't let on what it is!

My toes hurt again today. I have been taking Aleve daily now since August for the stupid toes and they have not hurt. But I kind of think that I shouldn't take so much of it for so long. Maybe I'll stay off it for a week and go back if my feet still hurt. :/ I miss Michael when I have pains. He always had answers for me.

Tonight I'm thinking of all my family and friends back east, and wishing that I were there with you!