Thursday, February 26, 2009

It was warm today,

so I went out and walked around the yard for the first time since the men cleared up the storm debris. From the windows, I couldn't see what they had done about the hole left by the roots of that tree that had blown down a year ago. I don't know where they got the dirt, but they filled in the hole quite well. There are still broken branches hung up in some of the trees, too far up to reach, so every high wind for a while will blow some down.

I also finally threw out the rest of the stuff from the freezer in the shed. I unplugged it after the power had been off long enough for everything to thaw. There was mostly pumpkin that I had frozen three years ago, but also some peppers. That all went into the compost bin. I'm leaving that freezer off for now; I really have plenty of freezer space in the refrigerator.

There was a message in my voicemail a few days ago from an elementary school art teacher in the area. Several years ago, I had helped her out with a traditional skills day by demonstrating spinning - both on a wheel and with a spindle. She was planning to do that again and wondered if I would help this time. I thought about it for a few days, but decided that I don't want to expose myself to all those children and their germs. It might be fine, but my immune system is compromised, so I don't want to take the chance of catching something.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Signs of Spring

I saw daffodils blooming today! I drove to Bardwell, and on the edge of town, on a bank that gets sun most of the day, there were several dozen daffodils in bloom. Beautiful!!!!

I went to the hardware store whose sign declared, "2009 Garden Seeds Have Arrived."

I take both the flowers and Flegles' sign as sure signs that spring is on its way. I will certainly welcome warm weather.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Angels in Disguise

This morning, as this Episcopalian was working on a project for the Nazarene youth, the Methodist men knocked on my door and volunteered to do some ice storm cleanup.
I scared the man who came to the door. Sometimes, if I start walking too soon after I stand up, after a few seconds I need to hold onto something. This morning was one of those times. By the time I got to the door and unlocked and opened it, I had to hold onto the door frame. The man thought I was about to have a heart attack or something. (I wonder if he really thought I was drunk!) After a minute I was able to explain what happened and that it is caused by medication.
Anyway, these men worked around here for a couple of hours and really made a big difference. They even took care of the tree that blew down a year ago, that I had not made much headway on yet. And they worked on Angela's maple tree. It looks much better now, but those big scars where the limbs broke away will probably cause problems in future.
The project I'm working on for the Nazarene youth is related to my weaving at the Walk through Bethlehem. I am determining which natural-fiber yarns in my stash will be easiest for the youth to weave squares with. I will be lending them several Weave-It looms to make 'cloth' to 'sell'/give at this year's event. I'll give them the yarn, of course.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pictures from the storm

First of all - I'm home! Have been since Saturday. Power was restored on Friday, or at least that's what I'm assuming. One of the nurses in the treatment room at the cancer group lives a few miles from me. On Friday, she said she didn't have power yet, but Monday she said it was on when she got home that day. I drove out to Milburn Saturday morning to collect mail and check on things, and was delighted to find the power on. I turned up the thermostat, threw out more things from the refrigerator, and went back to Mayfield to get my stuff. I greatly appreciate Alyssa and Trevor's hospitality for two weeks, but it's nice to be back in my own house, with my own things around me.
Here's my car covered in ice. There was more frozen precipitation of some kind after I took these pictures, so it was about an inch of ice and snow that I cleared off the car on Thursday 1/29. The door to the shed behind the car was covered with ice as well, so I couldn't get into the shed until the weather warmed up a bit.

These two show some of the branches from my neighbor Robbie's pecan tree. I think some hit his golf cart, but didn't damage it. He's legally blind, thanks to a motorcycle accident a few years ago, and uses the golf cart to travel around Milburn.
Fortunately none of the limbs from either his trees or mine hit my car. These pictures were taken about mid-morning Tuesday 1/27. More limbs fell during the rest of the day as well as during that night.

This is the holly tree whose branches rubbed against the porch. By the time the ice stopped forming, it was bowed down a lot, but has bounced back up since the ice melted. You can see that I didn't get the porch swing down last fall - I just lashed it to the porch pillar so the wind won't blow it around too much.

The pines have quite a few broken branches that I'll have to trim off. The top of the one on the right now looks almost like a Norfolk Island pine.

The thing mid-range here is my lilac bush. It looked like it was split in half and the two parts lying on the ground. I'm really surprised that it has popped back up. I'll need to do some pruning on it, but maybe it will be OK.

And this is my neighbor Angela's maple tree. It was huge, well-shaped, beautiful! It looks sort of pretty with the ice on it, but look at those large limbs broken off. It will never be beautiful again. I'm wondering what Angela will do about it. Again, this was taken early in the storm - more branches fell later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ice Storm Aftermath

As I was driving to Mayfield that Thursday morning and saw many broken utility poles, I realized that it was going to be more than the 7 to 10 days the neighbor had mentioned before power was restored.

Lexi had spent a few days with her paternal grandparents, but Alyssa picked her up on Saturday morning and brought her home. Rather than sleeping on the couch, Alyssa made a nest for Lexi on the floor in her room, so we've been sharing the room.

On Monday, February 2, before I went to my appointment at the Cancer Group, I stopped in at Grace Church to let them know that I'm all right. They said they had tried to call, but of course my phone was (is still) out.

On Tuesday, February 3, I had the PETscan at Western Baptist Hospital. It was the same mobile unit, but WBH is where it was parked. After it was finished, the technician asked if I was going to be around any children. I had mentioned to her that I am staying with my granddaughter. I told her that I am sharing a room with a seven-year-old. She said that for the rest of the day, I should keep a distance from her (like across the room) and that we should not sleep in the same room that night. The reason is that the solution she had injected into me for the test was radioactive. I said that Lexi could sleep on the couch in the living room. When I got back to Alyssa's and told her, she said that Lexi was at Nana & Pawpaw's and would be spending the night there, so that worked out well.

On Wednesday, February 4, I went out to my house, stopping to pick up Lexi on the way. I got more stuff and threw out some food from the freezer. Lexi wanted to visit Robbie, next door, and since I hadn't told him on Friday where I was going, I thought it would be a good idea to tell him then. He said he had power. I figured from a generator, since there was a box from one in the driveway, but he said it was from the grid. I figured, then, that the reason I didn't have power was that my supply line had come loose from the service pole in the yard. I thought I'd need to hire an electrician to repair that. When I got back to Mayfield, I stopped at the electric company to see if my theory was correct. The lady at the desk said she didn't want to give me bad information, so she wanted me to talk to a man who would be back in a few minutes. I sat down and waited. The man lives two or three miles down the road from me, and he knows exactly which house I live in - he said he had personally removed my supply line from the road a few days before. He was surprised that Robbie has power, but thought perhaps his service comes in from the back, and is therefore from a different main line than mine. He said it would be two to three weeks before my service is restored. He also said that since nothing has torn loose from the house, it is all electric company responsibility.

That evening, Lexi and I decided to eat out (she said Burger King, but as we were driving, she decided she wanted pizza). As she was putting on her shoes in the sunroom, there was a change in the amount of light around us. I thought it was a reflection off a car window or something, but she exclaimed, "We've got power!" I looked up, and sure enough, the ceiling light was on. She immediately jumped up and started doing a happy dance and singing, "We've got power! We've got power!" On the way to Pizza Hut, we stopped at Alyssa's work to tell her, and after we got home, we made use of that power by watching Horton Hears a Who on DVD.

On Friday, February 6, I went to see the orthopedic surgeon. Both the ankle and the hip are doing well. He wants to check the hip again in November.

From there I went to With Ewe in Mind, my local (Paducah) yarn shop. I sat there knitting for a couple of hours. I was really glad to see that the shop was fairly busy, and it is always nice to talk to other knitters and crocheters.

Saturday morning I decided to let McDonald's make my coffee for me. I brought my French press coffeemaker to Alyssa's with me, because I figured that as long as I could boil water, I could make coffee with that. But sometimes it's nice to let someone else do the work, and besides, I wanted a sausage biscuit. I sat there for quite a while, eating my breakfast and reading.

Then I went to Walmart for a skein of yarn to crochet a poncho for Lexi's new American Girl doll that my daughter (her grandmother) gave her for Christmas. She is named Julie and is from the 1970. She is dressed in bell-bottom jeans and a peasant blouse over a turtleneck shirt. I figured a crocheted poncho would be appropriate. I got a colorway called Cherry Chip, which reminds me of cherry chocolate chunk ice cream. It didn't take long (and less than half the skein) for me to make the doll's poncho, but then I asked Lexi if she wanted a matching one. Of course! So I started on it and finished the skein by the end of the day. I'll need about three more skeins to finish the child-size poncho.

Lexi went back to school on Monday, and I went out to Milburn to collect mail and check on things. I burned paper trash and sat in the sun on the back porch for a while. It was a beautiful day! I had been a bit afraid that I might have burst water pipes, because it did get quite cold one night, but everything seemed OK.

Yesterday, I took Alyssa to the dentist in Murray to get a tooth pulled. She felt pretty rotten for the rest of the day. I didn't see her this morning; it was Trevor who came and told Lexi to get up. She did call, "Have a good day," as Lexi went out the door with me right behind her. Lexi got on the school bus and I got in my car. I let McDonald's make my coffee again, and then went to the Senior Center for a couple of hours.

I'm at the library again posting this and checking email. I'm really glad they provide this service.

I guess that gets me caught up to date with what is happening.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Monday, January 26 started out as a beautiful morning. I had appointments for a PETscan and mammogram at 12:15 and an oncologist visit at 2:45. That should have worked well. I went first to the bank for some cash, then stopped at city hall to take some paperwork to Teresa from the Nazarene church. Medicare wants the church's insurance information, since I broke my ankle there.

Teresa asked me where one can buy the Weave-It looms I had shown her when she brought my floor loom back. She has had the same thought I have - to weave a bunch of small squares to be given/'sold' at this year's Walk through Bethlehem. She is thinking it will make a good youth group project. I have several of the looms they can borrow and lots of yran they can have.

As I left city hall, a city worker was spreading salt. I asked if he was expecting a lot, He said he had talked to his brother in Tulsa that morning, and they were getting the storm then. The storms always moove this way.

Then I went to the Senior Center and visited and knitted until time to go for the tests. They did the mammogram right away, and then sent me back out to the Radiology waiting room to wait to be called for the PETscan. I don't know what people do with knitting or a book when they have to wait somewhere. About 2:15 I told the Radiologist receptionist that I had the appointment upstairs with Dr Winkler at 2:45. She said that the delay was caused by someone parking in the wrong place and then disappearing. The PETscanner is a mobile unit and they had been unable to move it into place. I went upatairs and had blood drawn, blood pressure taken, etc. I decided that it was too late for them to do the scan, so I ate a granola bar. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, Radiology called to say that the machine was ready for me. I didn't know whether to go down for the scan or stay put for the medication, but Dr W said to go for the scan. On the way down in the elevator, I remembered the granola bar, so I told them about it in Radiology. They wouldn't do the scan because of it!

So I went back upstairs for medication. Of course they had taken me out of the line-up and had to work me back in. The nurse practioner explained that for the scan they inject a sugar and the test shows how much of it is absorbed by the cancer cells. Eating the granola bar changed the amout of sugar, and therefore the test results would be bogus. So I got my Velcade and went home.

Ice storms are not good for trees!

I'll have some pictures to post when I can get back on my own computer - I'm at the Graves County Library now.

On Tuesday, January 27, I was up before daylight for some reason. I made my coffee and toast and sat in my knitting spot. I heard noises on the front porch that sounded like an animal, but didn't see one when I looked out. When it got light enough to see, I realized that it was the branches of the holly tree rubbing the porch as they drooped because of ice-load.

My neighbor's huge, beautiful maple tree will no longer be beautiful. I think I've lost my lilac, but with they way lilacs like to send up suckers, I may be ablt to rejuvenate it. All day Tuesday and Tuesday night, I listened to tree limbs falling all around tiny town - some of them sounded like gunshots.

The power went out about 8 am. My furnace is gas, but it requires electricity to circulate the warm air. As the temperature dropped, I regretted not replacing the gas logs in the fireplace. They've been out of order for several years, and the heating guy had said it would probably be cheaper to replace them than fix the bad valve. Since I get my phone sevice through Galaxy Cablevision, electricity is required for it as well.

I had plenty of things that can be eaten cold - cheese, bread, cereal, milk, fruit, nuts, etc, so I wasn't going to starve, but no way to cook anything.

By 5:30 it was too dark to knit, so I threw a second down comforter on the bed and crawled in with a book and clip-on book light. I was nice and warm. I read for a while and then slept. It was cold when I got up to use the bathroom, but I warmed back up as soon as I was under the covers. I stayed there until daylight, which meant about fourteen hours in bed. I did that for three nights and would up with a sore upper back. That's too much time to spend in bed!

Wednesday, with several layers of clothes, I was not too uncomfortable, but my fingers were cold. I wore fingerless gloves, because I've heard that if your wrists are warm, your hands will be too. It ain't necessarily so! Keeping my fingers moving by knitting did help somewhat.

About midafternoon, I heard a knock on my back door. There was a little, white-haired lady standing there. She is a friend/family of Robbie next door and was at his house for hot food. He had asked her to check on me. She said she had heard that it woulf be seven to ten days before the power was restored. That really surprised me, because we've never had it out that long before.

On Thursday, I decided to drive to Mayfield, to see how things were there. There were some snowy/icy patches for the first few miles, but then they roads were clear. I went to the hospital for a cup of coffee. I hoped to get some hot food, as well, but all they had was tomato soup and sandwiches. At least chicken salad on a croissant was different from what I had been eating.

I discovered that Alyssa has a gas floor furnace that doesn't require elecrticity to circulate the air, and gas water heater and range. She and Trevor said to come stay with them. I went home, but every time I was awake during the night, I was coughing. I decided that I shouldn't be staying in a cold house, so Friday morning I packed up clothes, toiletries, medications, knitting and the meat from my freezer and headed to their house. I had to make friends with the dog, but that really didn't take long.

From the hospital, I called the Cancer Group to see if they were open. Since they were, I kept my appointment that afternoon.

God works in mysterious ways!

At the Cancer Group, they told me that eating that granola bar on Monday had saved me several thousand dollars! turns out that Medicare has not approved the PETscan for multiple myeloma, and therefore would not have paid for it. However, they have gotten me onto a study that Medicare is paying for, so I will have the test on Tuesday, February 3.

Much of Paducah has power, but traffic lights are spotty. People seem to be handling it well though.