Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Winter Garden and A Couple More Books

Getting tired of all the reading I've been doing? Sorry, no, I'm not.
Winter Garden was our selection for book club. I've read at least one of her other books. When I checked it out the librarian said that this was her favorite book. It is a good one. There are 4 characters: dad, mom, and 2 daughters. It's written from the daughters' perspective. The father is the glue of the family and the girls feel that the mother doesn't love them. She's Russian and loves to tell fairy tales.................the farther dies and the girls promise to take cre of their mother....and as she tells the fairy tails she  reveals her story.
I also read a couple of classics: The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck. It's about  a Chinese farmer and the life he makes from the land. It's a must read if you haven't read it.
I've wanted to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe....when I found 3 of those books here I decided to read one, donate 1 to a little free library, and one to my daughter's children. It took part of an afternoon to read it. It's a great youth book to use to explain God to children, a lot of symbolism in there.

More books coming up!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

All Packed And Ready To Go

I wish I was all packed and ready to go.....to the Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin........but I'm thinkin' about it....keeps me awake at night. I need to realize that I can wear what I already have, no need to buy new.
I'm pretty happy that I'm able to go on this 4 day bus trip.
One of my priorities for retirement was to go on trips. Last year I was able to do a few things and I had my trips planned earlier for  this year. BUT I had to cancel several things. (sad face)
I do have one more day trip planned.......I'll have to see if I find anything else that catches my fancy while I am feeling good.
I am so thankful & blessed that I can go on this trip and am having a good summer; it looks like a beautiful area that I've never been to. 
I am going because: 1) I feel good enough go take a bus trip
2) I have a good friend to go with
3) if I am having a bad day I can stay back at the hotel (we are staying at the same place for the 3 nights)
4) it doesn't seem like a very strenuous trip
5) another good thing - my oncologist said I can take an extra week off my chemo pills 
A couple of bad things: I have to pack all my morning and evening pills. I'll have to take long sleeves and pants (maybe a maxi dress, it will cover my legs and will be cooler than pants). I need to take  all of my lotions and 'potions' with me.
 Hip, hip hooray!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Beautiful Cards

I have friends who send me beautiful handmade cards. The ones I make look like beginner cards. Cards in my mailbox are always good, handmade cards are 'more good'. 

This card has a unique fold.
Joanne has some really pretty dies.

Carla used a stamped bird....I love her. A person could use scraps on this card.....if you don't have enough cardstock for a complete card.
The blue strip in the middle is open, it's connected by the bird. Clever, huh?

As always - thanks for the cards.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pretty Things I Love

 My succulents. I love this kiwi, and  I managed to save it from last year. 
 I love the color of this geranium,  so I bring it in every fall.
 This purple one is from a plant one of our Red Hatters received several years ago.

Sweet little arrangement. 

My grape tomatoes are starting to ripen. I can't wait, I have a tomato every day.

I was going to look for sea glass, no room to walk on the sand here. It surely was peaceful to listen to the waves though.
 There are flower gardens all along the Mariner's Trail (along Lake Michigan). The gardens are maintained by volunteers. 

I would have liked to walk along the beach (the water is too high - no sandy area to stroll on) and along the trail to see the flowers. 
On my way home from my dr appointment I stopped to drop off some books at the Little Free Library and stopped to 'smell the roses'.

Sunday's Visit

When my daughter sent this photo to my small phone at first I thought she was on the cover. Silly me.
She helped the kids on Crazy days. A busy family, a good family.

She brought her hubby and one of the girls to visit on Sunday afternoon.......and she brought PICKLES!!!!! The oldest girl was at cheer camp and Cole stayed home to clean his room so his 'laundry service' would continue. (meaning mom would wash some clothes) Claire is so easy............we barely knew she was here, no nagging her parents or demanding attention. She found stuff to do or just sat with us.
It was raining in the morning so I was afraid we'd be stuck in the house, but it cleared up nicely so we were able to visit outside on the deck. I hate being inside.
That was my Sunday.....it was a nice weekend with visits from both of the kids.
This week I have 2 doctor appointments. One is in Milwaukee (I will be able to buy more pickles).
Have a great week!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sometimes It's Just The Little Things

Like hearing people telling you you're a sharp dresser, like picking up money from the consignment shop for clothes that don't fit you anymore, like getting invited to go places, like seeing what good parents your adult children have become,  like having a grandchild want to go to church with you, like having people bring you fresh vegetables & flowers because they know you love them, like getting a 'Hello' text for no reason .....that's what makes me smile. 
Another day is almost over and I've been thinking. 
I cleaned the bathroom and did a bunch of laundry today...even that made me feel good to be able to do those tasks. Actually I should be doing more!

My oldest son and his children came for a visit on friday. Usually we visit some local place of interest. Friday we went to the fishing museum.  I haven't been there for about 10 years. Two Rivers is well known for it's commercial fishing endeavors since the 1840's. It's a popular place for charter fishing. 

The Rouse Simmons, or 'Christmas tree ship', is Lake Michigan's
most famous shipwreck. The ship was eventually found off the shore of Two Rivers in 1971. Every year fresh Christmas trees were brought from upper Michigan to Chicago, but in 1912 a storm overtook the schooner and 16 men died. The museum contains artifacts from the schooner. 


Later we stopped at the beach, at another museum for ice cream cones, and at a local fish market. We both got some smoked fish....I love smoked fish! I've never been to that fish market so it was nice to check it out. 
Saturday was a quiet day here. I did housework and read, nothing out of the ordinary. Kevin golfed all day.....part of the day was a bachelor party event. 
The laundry is calling..............time to fold it....it hasn't folded itself all day. (sad face)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Photos

A couple of weeks ago we stopped to see the Pink Heals trucks. I  posed so Kevin could take a photo.
 My grape tomatoes are looking pretty darn good and plentiful. I can't wait until they are ripe.
Thursday night grandson Jalen was allowed to spend the night. I decided to have the boys stay overnight one at a time and Thursday was his night.  Jalen used to spend every saturday night here. We went to church, he is used to going with me. It was such a blessing to have him sitting next to me....with his arm around me....waving at other church members. 
We made banana bread that evening. 
 When we got home we just hung around home and watched TV and he snacked on popcorn.

I am really tired tonight because he set my alarm for 6:30 and let me stay in bed until 6:45. He wanted to spend time with me and not waste it sleeping. He is really chipper and happy when he wakes up, I prefer to wake up slowly. We went downstairs and he made a birthday card for his cousin. He likes to scrapbook and make cards.
Next he decided to bake cookies. You can see he likes to get his hands dirty....unlike his grandma. 

Later in the morning my friend came over to empty my drain and brought us yummy gifts. I was surprised that Jalen watched the procedure and asked questions. My friends love Jalen. 

Like I said earlier I'm tired and plan to go to bed as soon as I'm finished with the burger Kevin brought home from the golf course.
More about the weekend later. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chemo is Chemo......

Yes, all Chemo is  bad for your body and wreaks havoc with it. Or maybe it's a good thing??? It does seem to help, but I think something  better will come up within 10 years.
Two years ago, the first time I had chemo it was really heavy, duty poison. 
I napped a lot, I just wasn't me, my nails were very bad (non-existent), odors aggravated me something awful, and I seemed to get every side effect around, I did not eat any chocolate, and nothing tasted good at all. Yes, I think some side effects you can't get away from - diarrhea and constipation are 2 that almost everything lists. I don't understand how one med can have both???
This time around I am on a different formula. 
This chemo isn't quite as bad, I did loose my hair (although it's growing back). I developed drop foot from both chemos, but we changed from IV to an oral pill about a month ago. I am sure I'll be on the chemo pills for a long time. The drop foot is improving, but I still have nerve damage, not sure if it's permanent. I'm still tired, but not nearly as bad as I was.  My appetite is great! chocolate included, but I don't eat nearly as many sweets as I used to have. I have a big, ugly, red rash on my  upper chest. I think it's from the sun and I avoid the sun. I've had it for about 6-8 weeks and it is not improving. I've tried different ointments, some make it worse and some don't do anything. I need to talk to my dr again. 
I've heard people say they would not do chemo again. I have. I don't remember the really bad things...............and that's a good thing.....about my whole life.....not that my life was all bad. 
Those are just a few of my thoughts on chemo.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Here A Book, There A Book, Everywhere A Good Book

This series of books was recommended by my granddaughter who is an AVID reader, an entrepreneur, and a very self motivated 13 year old.
The GIVER series (of 4 books) was written by Newbery award winner Lois Lowry. It's a young adult series that I really enjoyed.

It takes place in a somewhat perfect, very well controlled, and planned society. Spouses are matched, children are requested from birth mothers, life is planned for the residents, there is no color....very different from what we know....no free will, no choices.
The ensuing books take place in different communities with different ways of life. One of the characters from book 1 runs away and shows up in the remaining books. In the 3rd book the young boy from the first book is a little older and learns of his special posers, each of the characters has a special power. The trade-master appears in the 3rd  and 4th books. He's evil,  but not everyone knows that. The last book takes place about 15 years later and the boy from the first book is searching for his mother.....the trade-master appears again....what does he want in trade to help them reunite?
I really enjoyed these books and recommend the series. They are not long books....I think several of them are about 200 pages. I do not like to give too much away when talking about a book because I want YOU to read it. 
Thanks for the recommendation Ava! And Bev, thanks for passing it along to me. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Out and About / Should I

Friday my bff took me shopping, in regular stores, we did hit one thrift store though. We had lunch, it was nice to feel good and be just another friend.  We stopped at Hobby Lobby, Kohl's, Walmart and St Vincent's. In the past few months I've purged a lot of  things, including too big clothes. I buy most of my 'new' things from the thrift store. It is really quite nice to have room in my closet and drawers. I don't work any more and don't need to dress up often, so why spend the extra money?
But I wanted something NEW and had a gift certificate from Kohl's. So we were off................I did find 2 shirts and a pair of  capris, but not the maxi dress I wanted. 
But should I buy NEW things? Will I need them next year?
My appetite has returned and I've gained 5#.
I've been reading up a storm the past 4 months.....Should I just relax and read or should I get busy and work on my grandkids  scrapbooks? I want to enjoy the sun and warmth right now, but should I force myself to work on them?
Since I feel relatively good with only a few minor 'inconveniences' I tend to ignore that fact that I have cancer. Yes, I follow my doctor's instructions and take my medications, but should I be  doing more? worrying? Planning ahead?

Coulda, woulda, shoulda?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

More Books

I read a lot, a couple of hours every day. That was my plan for the summer and I do enjoy it. Today it was very overcast and it did rain in the afternoon, so I stayed in all day and worked on putting together our spare room that Kevin painted. My mom liked rainy days and I couldn't understand that.....but now I do.....the weather forced me to stay inside and do something. And I have over 4000 steps today, that's a lot for me, just walking around the house.
One book I recently finished was this e-book.
A young woman boards a plane to her wedding that she's going to cancel because of a break up with her fiancee. takes some Dramamine, and has a drink.....a bad combo. 
She tells her story to the passenger she sits next to before she 'passes out'. He gets her off the plane....and that's when it starts. He meets her family....she finds a 'substitute' groom...where? who? what happens?

I also read a REAL book by the same author as Me Before You.
Have you seen the movie? I read the book but didn't feel like going to the movie.
It's about a single mother (dysfunctional family) whose motto is ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THING. They meet up with a single man who befriends them. Read about their unusual relationship. I liked both of these books. I'm taking a break from murder mysteries. 

Come back for more book reviews soon!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Red Hat Fiesta

 Finally I attended one of our Red Hat meetings.....either I didn't feel good, had no appetite, or just didn't feel like going out in the evening. Last night our queen held our  annual picnic at her house. She has a big back yard and put out a fabulous spread (all on her own). I've been feeling good (even tho an acquaintance told a mutual friend that I look 'peaked') and wanted to go. It was a great time and I ate lots of food. 

Here's most of our group - I'm in the pink sweatshirt behind the tripod. I wasn't hiding on purpose. 
 Some of the fabulous food, this photo doesn't do it justice. 
In the Chicago area they like their corn on the cob with mayo and Parmesan cheese. I tried it, but I already had butter on it and the corn wasn't hot anymore. MAYBE another time.

We had strawberry Margaritas to drink, regular or non alcoholic. YUMMY
My first one had 1/2 a shot, my 2nd one was a virgin. 

The yard is a work in progress, but she had it decorated very nicely. We always have a good time at Sandi's. It was so nice just to sit and visit. 

I slept until after 9 this morning....so I guess that staying up later than usual and all the fresh air made me sleepy.

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Sunday/Monday Drive

It may have been a long, holiday weekend, but it was a quiet one for me. That was OK, for the most part. I was rather bored during the day...but yet I don't have to be entertained and go to everything and everywhere. If I could drive I would have found something to do/someplace place to go, but I didn't have anything I REALLY wanted to nor did I want to irritate Kevin. We didn't watch the fireworks on Monday night.....Kevin had to be up early the next day for work and I was tired and didn't care if I went or not. Last night I heard fireworks until after 2AM, then I listened to a barking dog for over an hour, and at 7:30AM someone decided to mow the lawn at the school across the street. 
About all we did was take the convertible our for a ride.
When we were parked and Kev was talking to a friend I spotted this 'face'. Do you see it?
Later we stopped at a friends, he lives on the river. Kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and relaxing on the deck are popular activities with his visitors. 

Kevin always drives past the beach....the new canopy for the band is complete.
The beach was packed and I understand why.

We also visited his sister and DQ  so I could get a hot fudge sundae. Not an exciting weekend, but not a bad one. Hope you had a happy and safe holiday weekend.

Friday, July 1, 2016

What's New Here

It's been a beautiful week and I felt pretty darn good. I weeded most of my flowers, a never ending job.  Of course I was off my chemo pills for a week so that probably helped . Today is day 2 of round 2 and it's going OK.
I've decided to get the Zometa infusion suggested by my oncologist to strengthen my bones. It is not supposed to stop the cancer but will help prevent breakage. I do not have osteoporosis but my bones have thinned due to the chemo. The drug is given every 3 months. I'll call the nurse on Monday, she wasn't in today. 
Today I was released from the home health care association because I am not housebound anymore, I can drive a bit, much to Kevin's distress. He does not like me driving, at all. It was a bittersweet event, the 2 nurses I deal with are so sweet and caring, we will miss each other. It is a wonderful service!!!
Today a friend, who is also a nurse, came over and watched how to empty my drain and she will do it from now on. It is very nice to have a nurse as a friend, actually all friends are wonderful to have. It is on my side and there is no way I can turn my body to do it. 
Don't tell Kevin, but I ran some errands today and ran into a friend at the thrift store. One of the things I bought was this fitbit band, it's not the fitbit brand, but I LOVE the color....the other bands I have are black or steel blue. I love funky colors. It was priced at $12 but I was talking to the clerk and told her it was an 'off brand' and she gave it to me for $6. I saw it online for $14.99. My fitbit is going back on! I know I won't get near as many steps as I'd like, but I am curious. Last week I had a couple of big walking days.

No big plans here for the long weekend, maybe something will turn up. I'll just putz around here and Kevin will golf. Same ol' same ol'. 
Hope you have a relaxing and safe weekend.