Friday, October 29, 2010

This 'n That

It's been a whirlwind lately but, hopefully, things will settle down some now.  Hubby had the stent repair yesterday (plus two more stents we didn't anticipate) and says he is feeling the best he's felt in a year.  Let's hope and pray that feeling continues for a very long time.  Now, to just get his body recuperated from all its pummeling!!!   The boy wants to play golf again so bad he can taste it, or even do yard work!!!   You know its something extraordinary when he wants to do yard work!!  
Not that we'd need it or anything!  Our poor yard has been neglected for years, at least since 2006-2007 when I was caring for my mother and spent so much time away from home.  And since then, just haven't been motivated to do much, compounded by Hubby's medical problems for the past two years.  

I love old fashioned flowers like hydrangeas, crepe myrtles, altheas or rose of sharon, daisys, roses, that kind of stuff.  Now, I don't grow all of them, of course.  Some are just more work than this lazy gardener is willing to endure, but I still like them.  We hope to get back to our traveling and when you are away most of the summer, you can't have finicky plants.  They've got to stand on their own with the help of a sprinkler system.  

I also got a new computer this week.  The old one has been acting up for a long time, beginning with a full crash about a year ago.  Thankfully, my computer tech was able to restore it for me with no loss of data and has performed fairly well until recently when it started being difficult.   The processor is getting ready to go psffft, so it was time for a replacement.  If you don't have the stuff on your computer backed up somewhere, please, please do it right away.  I depend on my computer way too much to lose something by carelessness.  It's easy to back up to an external hard drive or storage device and provides peace of mind you can't believe.  For instance, I've been able to load all my files and photos onto this computer and I can use them just like on the old one.  What a treat!    This one has Windows 7 and I'm finding it surprisingly easy to use.  Very similar to XP that was on the old one.

Still no picture taking, so you're just gonna have to make do with some older ones.   This is one of my favorite photos of all times, perhaps my very favorite.  I was home in Florida visiting my parents about this time of year (about 1986) and it had been rainy for several days.  Finally the rain stopped and Daddy and I had to get out of the house and I grabbed my camera as I went out the door. As we walked along, I lagged behind him for no apparent reason except wandering and looked up to see him in front of me.  I focused my (film 35mm) camera while walking and paused only long enough to click the shutter.  He never knew I took the picture.  Since it was film, I had no idea what I had captured until I got the photos back from processing.  I picked them up on a lunch hour and this is what I got. 
This is about a tenth generation because of all the scanning, cropping and converting to jpeg that was necessary to get it usable here, so the quality of this one is less than wonderful.  This doesn't actually show the entire original picture due to some damage to the original that was scanned.  Some of the composition is lost, too.  My boss at the time just went crazy over it and insisted that his artist wife frame an enlargement of it for me.  So I have an 11x14 matted and framed very nicely and it hangs in my hallway where I look at it every day. 

I mentioned a while back the quilt for my brother.  Here he is on his buckskin back in about 1965 or 1966. 

 Some time after this picture, he was riding and while crossing the road was hit by a car which topped a hill.  He severely sprained both wrists when he landed after being thrown from the horse, but nothing broken.  However, poor Sunny wasn't as fortunate and, having suffered two broken front legs, had to be immediately put down.  That was his first horse.  He has gone on to own many horses, and at one time he had eleven, but is now down to three I think.  Here is a couple of them. 
Of course, his new wife also has three, so the horse population doubled in one fell swoop.

I could go on and on, regaling all with tales of my family, but I've got to save some for another day. 

Y'all take care. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Role as Florence Nightingale

It has been a week!!  I think I should change my name to Florence Nightingale.  What do you think?  Hubby had the angiogram on Monday which showed a stent is nearly blocked and must be fixed but that was postponed until next week.  Because another hernia was developing on the left side, it needed to be fixed first due to the meds he would be on once the stent is repaired.  Once you're on those meds, you can't have any surgery for a year unless its a life threatening situation.  Since he'd already put up with a very large and painful hernia on the right side for the past year thanks to those same meds from earlier stents (open incision repair only a month ago -- double yuck), he wasn't about to do it again.  So, Monday morning the angio, Monday afternoon visit the surgeon, Wednesday pre-op, and yesterday the laparoscopic surgery for the new hernia.  Recuperate for a few days, followup with surgeon next Tuesday, and then fix that stent next Thursday!!   Now, don't all you guys want to join this fun?????   He is doing well, though, so we just have to hang on a while longer.  

I haven't had a minute to even think about taking pictures.  My photography class will be over in a couple of weeks and I don't feel as though I've learned much there.  I just need to devote some time to practicing the various settings and reviewing the results so I'll know where to go for a specific situation. 

I did get my brother's quilt off to the quilter.  She won't get to it for a couple of weeks, but at least its in her hands.  Here's a picture of the finished top. 
 It's quite large at about 76x104.  There are photographs in the gold looking blocks.  He's a farmer/rancher, so in addition to pictures of the family, there are shots of his horses and cows and house.  The green looking fabric is grass and the brown sashing fabric has swirls like rope.  Its for his birthday coming up soon and he has no idea I'm making it.  

I worked on my great horned owl picture a little bit and got it to where you can see him better.  The whole time I was looking at him, I wanted to just hold him and stroke those beautiful feathers.  I don't think that would have gone over well, though. 

Y'all take care. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Contemplation and Thankfulness

There are so many times during the day when I think of things I'd like to include here.  The right words, the right inflection, the right idea.  But then, by the time I'm ready to start typing, its as though a bubble bursts and there's nothing left but air.  I suppose, of course, its the same for lots of others.  We can't always be as eloquent and impassioned  as we'd like.

Part of our life this weekend is the prospect of another angiogram for Hubby bright and early Monday morning.  He's been having these symptoms of problems for several weeks now and they are getting worse. If I let myself dwell on his medical issues, it gets me very discouraged.  As I look back, it seems as if fate was directing our every move in preparation for this time in our lives.  That realization, however, does not make it any easier for me to accept.

In 2008, it was exactly 10 days after we returned from an extended (4 months, over 14,000 miles) trip to Alaska that Hubby wound up in the hospital the first time with heart problems.  Obviously, they had been developing for some time, but there had been no symptoms that would alert us that he had a problem.   Since he is 11 years older than me, I had expected he would encounter health issues at some point, but certainly not at the age of 67!!!   Thus far, he's had 8 (I think) angiograms, has 8 stents, and has regularly had pain and discomfort.  There is pervasive artery disease, and even with cholesterol levels much lower than I could ever imagine, his arteries keep clogging. Who knows what this round will bring. 

I won't even mention the other significant medical issues we've dealt with for the last year, and which he may be facing again. 

As a result of these issues, our travels have been severely curtailed and our activities have dwindled to a precious few as Hubby's physical activity has been severely limited.

Although these comments may sound like complaints, believe me when I say that I realize how extraordinarily blessed I am to have the life I do.  Growing up a very poor farm girl in Florida, I never envisioned a fraction of the experiences I've enjoyed.  I'm trying very hard to keep things in perspective and realize that even though these are serious conditions, there are so many other folks with even worse things to deal with.  

I am also trying very hard to concentrate on the beauty that is around me.  

I'm trying to forge better connections with my family.  And I'd like very much to be able to develop roots and not feel as though I'm waiting for my life to happen.  

Y'all take care. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Train of Thought

There is a swampy area down along the road and we regularly see great blue herons feeding there.  Today, however, I actually had to stop in the road to allow one to finish walking across from one ditch to the other!!!  No camera in sight, of course.  Never had that happen before but it was really neat.   This shot was taken at Big Lagoon State Park back in March.  They are such grand birds, and stand between 3 and 4 feet tall.
Well, I tried to insert a photo of a Great Blue Heron here, but the software keeps turning it on the side.   And I'm too tired to mess with it.  

I had lunch with some cousins today.  We've had it planned for a while.  Being a ditz on occasion, I didn't look at my calendar and showed up LAST WEEK.  Made a phone call and found out I was a week early, so I didn't waste a trip to the Mexican restaurant.  So, that made lunch out two Wednesdays in a row!   What a treat.  I think we're going to try to do this monthly or so.   Three of us live here within a few miles of each other, and the fourth lives about 30 miles away.  No excuse.

I finally finished the top for the quilt for my brother.  This was just a trial run to see audition the sashing.
I decided to omit the gold cornerstones.   There is a brown first border, and just tonight I decided to use the blue for an outer border.  Looks nice.    I'll go tomorrow to pick out backing for it.  It turned out huge and I simply don't have anything to use.  I have arranged for a long arm quilter to start working on it next week, so I need to get the batting and backing  ASAP.  It's so big that I can't take a picture without help.  May not be able to post a picture until it is all finished, but I'll make sure to do so before I give it to him.

I went with my Bird Lady friend on one of her survey trips up in the state forest.  We spent most of the day Monday traveling over little two lane dirt tracks, stopping every little bit to check for what birds might be around.  We had a wonderful day.  The weather was great.  We always seem to have a good time up there.  Nobody around to bother you, although a couple of hunters were checking out the area in preparation for hunting season to open soon.  I'm sure they were quite put out to find two ladies up there in "their" woods with binoculars and bird books.  A couple of forestry personnel were also out checking on things.  One reason we went this week is to get this area checked before hunting season begins.  Too risky to be up there then.  Those drivers think the roads are their own private raceway, and there's too many itchy fingers near triggers, if you know what I mean.  Once the hunting season opens, we stay the heck out of those areas.

I still have one or two hummingbirds stopping by the feeders.  Probably will be only a few days until they are all gone.

Hubby is having chest discomfort and pains again.  He's to see the cardiologist tomorrow afternoon.  He is so discouraged right now, and ticked off, and just generally angry about all these medical problems.  Just when you think one is getting cleared up, something else crops up.

Y'all take care.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yippee, the Photo Worked!!

I guess I'm feeling brave this morning, or stupid.  Let's see which, okay??  Just for the heck of it, I'll try to insert another photo and see what happens.  A ton of folks on the help forum are having the same problem, so something is definitely up. 

Wow, I can't believe I got it to work so easy.  I still couldn't use the drop down menu, but when I used the sidebar to access my pictures, it then worked fine.    I was beginning to think my blogging days were coming to a halt.  Nobody wants to have to struggle to share with their friends. 

The above quilt top is patiently waiting to be quilted.  It and several others are in the armoir.  I really need to pull them out and send them off to the long arm quilter.  I haven't learned how to machine quilt using my home machine.  I have done a simple cross hatch on a baby quilt, but the throat of the machine is so short (about 7 inches) that its hard to get the bulk of the quilt through there.  

On to something productive today.  

Y'all take care. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Aggravations and Magnificence

Okay, I'm going to try one more time.  I wanted to tell you about my birdwatching trip this week.  I saw my first great horned owl in the wild.  He was magnificent.  I didn't have my camera with me when I found him, but since they are nocturnal birds, I figured he'd still be there later.  We went on our way and came back with the camera.  He was so patient with us for the longest time but finally got tired of us and flew off to a perch in a tall pine tree where, hopefully, he got some rest.

Okay, I got the picture in here.  Let's see if the rest of the post works like it ought to.  I had to switch to Internet Explorer to get it to work.  Been using Google Chrome and until today have had absolutely no problems with it.

We also saw a huge flock of white pelicans.  They were amazingly beautiful against that blue sky.  My friends were estimating it at less than 100 birds, but after I got it on the computer, I could count them pretty well and came up with about 150.  What a great sight that was.  You'll need to click on the picture to see the pelicans.

While I am getting pictures into the blog, I'm having to do lots of extra steps and this just won't work.  I have to get this clarified by somebody.

I know, whine, whine, whine....and yes, I do like cheese with it.

So, for now, goodnight.  

And if any of you who have blogs have a fix for this problem, I'd love to hear it.  You can contact me at the address shown in my profile.  Thanks.

Y'all take care.

Blogger Problems

I'm going to comment again about these changing fonts. Sometimes the size font I see while composing is definitely not the size font that gets published. Having reached a certain age myself, I want a font that is easy to read and big enough to read without a magnifying glass!! At the same time, I don't want one that pushes me away from the computer because its so big. What to do, what to do?

Now, I'm having another problem. Whenever I go to post a photo, blogger cannot access all the photos in My Pictures. It shows only part of them. What a hassle. Been fussing with this all afternoon, so its time for a break.

Y'all take care.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Busy-ness of All Kinds

 Our fabulous fall weather is continuing.  We have clear blue skies and sunshine, steady breezes, temps in high 70's and humidity levels around 35%.  That's perfection for us Floridians! 

For several days, I've had just 2 or 3 hummingbirds.  Today, however, and particularly this afternoon, there's a flock of them!!!   They are constantly skirmishing over the feeders.  Several times today, one has crashed into the window or the eave overhang while facing off.  There is absolutely no way for me to capture that kind of activity, but I wish I  could share it with you.  Their little high-pitched chirping and that unmistakable sound of wings whirring keep me company. 

The steady north wind today would likely have made for good birdwatching at the local migrant traps, but I had other projects I really need to devote time to, so I stayed home.  If the wind continues, it might be worth a drive over to Ft. Pickens tomorrow morning.  It takes me nearly an hour to get over there, what with having to cross the bridge and then head out the peninsula.    I saw a grey headed catbird at the birdbath today, and two Carolina wrens were flitting around.  

There has been a number of hawks in and around our house recently.  I know that there has to have been a nest close by, because the young ones are seen too often.  On Thursday, I saw two red-tailed hawks sitting in the top of a pine tree across the way.   The hawks on the top of a dark green pine tree against a deep blue sky made for a wonderful sight.  They were too far away for my camera, so all I could do was keep looking and drink it in.   I think they were juveniles from their behavior.  And on Friday, I saw a red shouldered hawk sitting in an oak tree not 30 feet from my back door.  I think that one was also a youngster.   Unfortunately, he didn't cooperate and stay long enough for me to get the camera.  

My bird ID class has turned out to be really just a birdwatching outing.  I'm disappointed.  I was hoping to learn some of the basics concerning classifications, behaviors, etc.  Some of the field locations are further than I want to drive, so I don't plan to attend those.  The photography class is interesting.  I already know a good bit of what is discussed, but there's enough new material to keep me coming.  
My brother and his fiance will have a very small wedding next weekend, but they have asked me to take pictures for them.  I'm flattered, but told them "you get what you get".   They are just asking for snapshots, not professional style photos.  We'll see how it goes. 

And the other "don't know how to describe it" class is turning out to be very interesting.  The best thing is the stimulation and incentive to think about those things in your life that are normally left tucked away.  I'm finding that some of the untouchable subject from my younger years have new meaning when I look at them now.  This new understanding would have made dealing with them much easier had I known then!!  But its also letting me accept some of those past events for what they are and move on.  

I've finished squaring the block for the quilt.  We had a family gathering yesterday and I took a picture of my brother and his fiance.  I decided that since they are getting married next weekend, I ought to include it also.  I spent the entire afternoon struggling to get the picture sized correctly and printed onto the fabric!  What a bout.  Then I took apart one of the other picture blocks and inserted that picture into it.    A while back I used a 50% off coupon and bought a rotating cutting mat.  What a wonderful thing!!  Squaring is always an odious, tedious task but a rotating mat makes it so much easier.  

If you quilters don't have one, run to get one as soon as you can, and get the biggest one you can afford!!  Mine is 14 inches, so can do blocks up to 12 inches.  

My 82 year old aunt also asked me to make a quilt for her, and I was flattered and honored to say yes.  Then she added a little tidbit -- she wants it king size!!!!!  I think I blanched at that comment.  However, I stuck by my word and told her I'd do it.  She has a new 4-poster and wants a new quilt for it.  She'll let me know the basic colors and then I'm on my own.  

This aunt had no children until she adopted her son when I was about 12 years old.  Up until then, she treated me like a substitute child.  Her older sister did the same, until she also adopted a daughter a couple of years later.  Both those ladies are very dear to me and they are the only ones left of my mother's siblings.  At 82 and 88 years old, I don't want to ever take them for granted. 

Y'all take care.