Thursday, February 24, 2022

The perils of packing lightly, and other observations

Yep, I'm still in Texas. My stay is no longer indefinite, though; I plan to be home by March 8 at the latest. (Pray that the ewes cross their back legs until then!) That's 'just' two and a half weeks longer than I thought I'd be here. I've always been a relatively light packer, and packed even less than usual for my six-day trip, since I thought I'd mostly be moving stuff out of my parents' house, not visiting the hospital, going to medical appointments, and picking up prescriptions. Oh well; I'm cycling through the same two pairs of jeans and four tops I brought, and supplementing with a vest and a sweater of Mom's. I can pick up additional toiletries. However, Rick has had to Priority Mail me – twice – a prescription I quickly ran out of, and then would've run out of again as I extended my stay. Such is the nature of the state of affairs here.

Speaking of purchases, it is an adjustment of mind and wallet to come to a state with sales tax, as Oregon has none. But at least one thing is cheaper; two scoops of cappuccino chocolate chunk in a dish at Braum's (a regional ice cream and fast food chain) is only $2.15! See, I am taking care of myself. 😁 I'm also walking when it doesn't risk frostbite or hypothermia....

You know the old weather joke, told practically everywhere: "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute." Well, it may take longer than a minute, but the variability here seems exceptionally psychotic. The first week I worked in short sleeves, as the highs reached 70 or more. Then we were waking up to single digits that with any breeze put the "feels like" into the negative double digits, and staying bitterly cold all day. Today started that way, then warmed up into the high 40s. Next week the forecast is for highs up to 80°! But regardless of the temperature, it is D.R.Y. here and nearly always windy. "Yes, Virginia, there really are tumbleweeds." And static electricity strong enough to knock your socks off!

I've caught a couple nice sunsets, though. First one:

Second one:

Back to my initial purpose for this trip: cleaning out my brother's old room and anything else my mom will let me haul out. (They have a big house – and enough stuff to fill three!) Back home so much would be recycled, but here, it all goes to the dump (or the thrift shop); there are NO recycling services. And lots of people have dumpsters, showing just how much trash they generate! SO different from the more environmentally conscious West Coast....

Of course, Dad's hospitalization and diagnosis soon dictated a new purpose for my trip: supporting my parents emotionally and physically. Today Dad had the second of his three radiation treatments, for which he wears a custom fitted mask to hold him absolutely still. Monday he wants me to follow him to the treatment room for his last treatment and get a photo of him wearing it, which I am told I can do.

I've also been able to help them schedule a needed remodel of their master bath area, which will start (and supposedly end!) next week. My so-capable dad, who has been a builder, mechanic, teacher, and logistical engineer in the aerospace industry, had another lifetime of projects he wanted to accomplish; I'm so proud of him for allowing someone else to come in and do what he no longer can.

That's it for now far, far away from . . .

Friday, February 18, 2022

Git along, little doggies

Poppy, I'm not in Oregon anymore

Tonight I was sitting here, still in Texas, trying to figure out how to start a blog update. Stumped, I read through email, including one from a blog pal who knew I was scheduled to fly home yesterday and asked how things went. My response to her was the tillage needed for a post to sprout. Thanks, Debbie.

A week ago today, the day I left, my dad ended up at the ER for a CT scan after therapists at his usual PT appointment noticed a decline in his abilities. Sometime last summer or fall he had a small stroke diagnosed well after the fact, so the concern was that he had had another stroke. What we finally learned, in fact, is that he has an inoperable tumor in the right thalamus, deep in the brain. He was given three options by the neurosurgeon: #1 – do nothing, and have weeks to live; #2 – have a biopsy done to ascertain as much information about the tumor as possible to guide treatment options, certainly radiation and probably chemotherapy, and live, on average, a year to a year and a half; and #3 – have palliative radiation, and have months to live. Dad has chosen #3, so he was finally discharged today and will get the radiation next week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday). What a gut punch to us all.

Now mind you, I planned this trip to help my aging parents deal with some of the mountain of stuff they have in their large house – his stuff, her stuff, my brother's stuff (he is now in a nursing home and has no room for stuff), and my aunt's stuff (she died over a year ago, and they had to clean out her house to sell it). Early in the week while we were all waiting on tests to be done, my mom and I did manage to clean out my brother's old room, start on another room, and have a big trailerload of STUFF hauled off. In other words, we made a dent. But there is still an alarming about of clutter, and this is a Problem. The PTs at the hospital were shocked and skeptical about Dad's discharge today, as he was labeled a fall risk at the hospital and not allowed out of his bed without assistance. His entire left side is numb and weak and not really under his control, so he needs much support to move anywhere – much more than my sometimes-unsteady-herself mom could ever manage all by herself. With my help it’s do-able, but I can’t stay forever. A home health nurse is supposed to come tomorrow afternoon and palliative care providers will probably come Monday; I am hoping they will be the “bad guys” and break the news that Dad is not safe to be at home with just Mom to assist. In the meantime, I need to be here; for how long, I can’t say yet.

Of course I brought a spindle and fiber along on the trip; ended up with the perfect backdrop spinning in the hospital lobby.

My guys seem to be holding down the fort okay; I talk to them and my sister regularly to give updates and get emotional respite and advice. I am so thankful that I ended up being here during my parents' time of need, so gutted by the thought of all that is to come in the not-so-distant future, and so longing for my Oregon life and animals.

That's the update far, far away from . . .

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Wednesday randomness

The annual march of the flowers begins here in January with snowdrops and sarcacocca, regardless of weather:

They are still going strong in February (even stronger now, in the case of sarcacocca's amazing aroma):

When I took the second photo of snowdrops this morning, I was surprised by these two little periwinkle on one of the two Vincas I planted in the island bed as ground covers last year:
I guess I'd better start weeding while I can still see them; weed season is beginning early this year.

Our "rain year" begins here in October. We have been below average for years, but this year started out "normal" for a change and stayed strong through early January. Then the rain stopped, and we had quite a stretch with nights below freezing. The valley warmed up during the day, but up here on the hill in the shade, ice and frost remained.

Now it is mild and beautiful. It's been pretty much dry for five weeks now, and that is not good, especially for the snow pack in the mountains. Mud may not be fun, but we need a lot more precipitation!

As always I have a spinning project going. A friend sent me some lovely dyed fiber that I am chain-plying as I go,

and today I pulled out some natural-colored roving to spin while traveling:
Yep, I am indeed flying to Texas to help my parents. I got to talk to my hospitalized boss on the phone Monday, and she said, "Go!" I'm relieved, because now is the best possible time to be gone. Among several other things, all is still quiet among the pregnant ladies.

This morning as I was doing a visual check, Blaise asked for attention. She wins the prize for cutest little ears in the flock,

and cutest nose and lips.

She's just a pretty girl!

Spot has cute little ears, too; I really want to see what these two "beautiful sheeple" can produce!

Tomorrow is a busy day and I leave Friday morning, so I will leave you with some sunrise shots
Mt. Hood

Mt. Jefferson

and something new I spotted at a discount grocery store and just had to try. The colors coordinate with the sunrises, and they're tasty, too!

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, February 04, 2022


For my records: on Wednesday morning Rick helped me vaccinate my breeding flock (even Spot) for Covexin 8; that way the lambs are born with some immunity. And he didn't say a word about my breeding four ewes, so I think I'll ask him to ultrasound Blaise. 😉

At this point I'm still tentatively planning to go to Texas. My boss has had surgery and is so far recovering well; her son and husband are home. Very encouraging news, especially given the state of their vehicle:

My last post featured 'therapist Chuckie' Today I am featuring another of my essential mental health professionals – Poppy. Living with her, playing with her, watching her play, and training with her are all good for body, mind and soul.

Keeping me company during morning devotions:

Playing with her sister last weekend:

Living dangerously with my high-spirited mare:

Running a course during agility class last night:

I finally thought to ask another class member to shoot video of us. REALLY impressed with the quality given the low-light setting!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

On standby

My parents are in need of some physical assistance. With lambing looming (but hopefully not until early March), I figured I'd better go as soon as possible, so last night I secured a ticket to Texas for the middle of this month.

This morning a co-worker texted me. Our boss and her family were driving, hit black ice, and flipped; all I know so far is that my boss has a broken back. This may necessitate taking on more responsibility at the office for a bit; the Texas trip may have to be postponed. If only I could be cloned. I know my husband would like that; he starts moaning and groaning about A-L-L that he'll have to do if I make plans to be gone, even for a weekend. 🙄

Chuckie says loving on him should be FIRST on every list:

Oh, and happy February from . . .