Catching up -- Tuesday, 6/20/17

Happy Summer Solstice!  Summer, with a vengeance -- hot as an oven (but it's a dry heat, right?)  What's up, you ask?  Not too much.  While Jimmy and I are planning trips, we aren't traveling yet.  Not till next month.  Or maybe August.  Meanwhile, we stay busy in Nevada City while Jimmy continues his knee recovery.  There's plenty to do.  We're still helping out at Tumbling Creek Farm, and picking berries.  Blueberries are ready now, to my delight, making my breakfast cereal a tasty treat.  (Blueberry jam will be coming soon.)  We've also begun some abbreviated walks around the neighborhood, which seem to be working out all right for Jimmy.  But, now that we're at fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk temperatures, we have to get a very early start, no matter what's planned for the day.

At the farm -- more and more strawberries!  Go, Jimmy, go!

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On the home front, our back yard is abloom!  Above, perennial daisy wildflowers make a nice show every spring, and the blossoms last a long time. I have clusters all  over. They reseed and spread, and, like everything else in the yard, can become invasive.  Ditto for the Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) below.  I love the brilliant magenta color of this old-fashioned favorite, and so do western tiger swallowtails.  Both these perennials seem to be drought-tolerant.  They'll wilt in the blazing sun and perk up when the tall trees provide shade.  Did I mention invasive?  I have approximately 10 million dinky Rose campions popping up.  Anybody want some?

They're gad-abouts and don't light but a second on any flower

We netted our burgeoning raspberries, to keep the birds from stealing!

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On Sunday, Father's Day, Matt and family drove up to spend the evening.  Matt stuffed and grilled a pork tenderloin, and it made for a yummy dinner.  As usual, three-month-old Everly Rose stole our hearts!  We had such a grand time and we're always happy to see them.  Everly Rose is a joy to be around.  She's a good baby, happy and not whiny.  And not colicky, lucky for Matt and Jen!

I wish you could see her smile.  Her face shines when she smiles -- she looks so adorable. Alas, she smiles for people, but not for the camera.  Pretty blue eyes!

And Grandpa Jim is baby-tender here!

I'm adding this photo so you can see how good BOTH Jimmy's knees look.  In this photo, taken on Father's Day, he was five-and-a-half weeks post-op from his RIGHT knee replacement surgery.  Though the deck is shaded in the afternoon (thank goodness), we were all sweltering, and as soon as the grilling was done, we disappeared indoors to A/C.

Love these two!

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I guess most people have heard that the Western States are enduring (or suffering) a "crippling heat wave."  I'll second that!  We went to the movies Tuesday afternoon to escape the 100 degree day.  The blistering heat began Sunday with a hot 98, and won't quit till next Tuesday, another whole week of this!  Not easy to keep plants alive with these temps.  I'm sorry to say that Jimmy's six-week knee check is scheduled for Thursday in Sacramento -- and wouldn't you know it's supposed to be THE hottest day, with a predicted temp of 111.  God save the Queen, and me.

Hoy, look at this!  A blank wall on the corner of Mill and Main streets in downtown Grass Valley was transformed into a fantastic 20' by 80' mural in one week. Justin Lovato, an artist with local roots, painted the intricate details of his design, which include a Yuba River scene, native plant species and the name Grass Valley in bold letters.  I wanted to see the work in progress, but didn't make it to town.  Today, after watching Wonder Woman on the big screen, we walked to the corner, and Justin (white shirt, above) had Just Finished. Isn't it eye-catching? I think it's an asset any community would be proud of.

A newspaper photographer was taking pics for the local daily paper, "The Union."
I like the guy in the red shorts.

We had to pass this yogurt shop on the way back to Smartie.  It was so bloody hot outside, that we felt we should stop in to cool off with a cup of chocolate swirl.  It worked, for a while, but back at the ranch, we sort of fell into a heat-related coma.  We'll probably come out of it next week.


And then there was the time ... 6/11/17

One of the books on my table now is Bill Bryson's newest, The Road to Little Dribbling (Adventures of an American in Britain), published in 2015.  Anything written by him tickles my funny bone, and this book is no exception.  The guy cracks me up.  For instance, this excerpt below made me snicker, followed by a gradual nod in agreement: 
What a joy walking is.  All the cares of life, all the hopeless, inept, f**kwits that God has strewn along the Bill Bryson Highway of Life, suddenly seem far away and harmless, and the world becomes languid and welcoming and good.
Well, it didn't take my mind long to drift, recalling some memorable walks I've taken over the years. Oh yes, what a joy walking is!  I bet I've put a gazillion miles on my feet, beginning with back and forth from home to kindergarten, a very long time ago!  While my feet have grown weary plenty of times, I feel like I grow with each walk I take, and my walking has taught me a few things, or maybe I should say opened me to some of the better aspects of life.

If I hadn't been pushing a stroller (almost daily) with my colicky son in 1980, I would've missed meeting my long-time pal, Lyn, in our Santa Ana neighborhood.  Her son was two at the time, and she reached out to me, the new mother.  Lyn and I don't see each other often enough anymore, but when we get on the phone, we'll reminisce and giggle over crazy shenanigans that made us LOL even then.  We had such fun.  We're kindred spirits who relish being outdoors. 💓

As an office worker, I was cooped up inside from 8 to 5, except at lunch, and then if a park or a lake was nearby, I'd take my sandwich and head outside on fine days.  I always saw something of interest on these walks -- birds, turtles, clouds.  People, too.  One lunch hour while walking around a lake in Baton Rouge, I saw a young man slouched in the grass near the shore, and something didn't look right.  I walked past him, stopped, turned around and approached him.  A troubled teen.  I asked if I could sit next to him and he replied yes.  We commenced talking.  He was despondent.  I offered him a caring ear, and shared a few bits of wisdom (gained from age) when needed.  I didn't leave till I felt he was okay, though I was overdue from lunch.  Sometimes we're in the right place at the right time.  In my heart I believe I helped this youth, though I got in trouble at the office.  Serendipitous walking.

Call 'em what you will -- walk, stroll, ramble or roam, even hike.  These days it isn't always easy for me to define "walk."  Sometimes walking turns into a hike, or vice versa.  Many of my walks were lone junkets, quiet and contemplative, but walking with friends or family can be such a delight!  These days, Jimmy and I love to be Out and About, walking or hiking.  (I am so looking forward to him getting the "all clear" from his knee doc, allowing him to hit the trails once again.)

My creative juices flow like a river when I'm out walking, at least when I'm on my own.  I can dream up stories, "write" paragraphs and poems, create a menu, a letter or an email, or plan a trip itinerary.  I've written, keeping a journal or diary most of my life; in fact, some of my stories have been published.  And I'm hear to tell you, many of my ideas popped up while I was on my feet!  Nowadays, most of my creativity is unleashed on this blog, each post a story via text and photos, but here's a little rhyme I wrote back in 1999:

Not a Pulitzer prize winner, I know!
(Enlarge to read it and then use your back arrow to return to this post)

Walking is a spiritual experience for me, as I behold earth's bounty and beauty, the smiles and greetings from strangers I encounter.  I can walk out my front door feeling heavy and doomed (maybe over politics?) and with each step, I can shed the mulligrubs and angst like a trapped fish escaping a net.  I hate seeing litter and graffiti, but feeling negative emotions when I see so much that is good simply doesn't work for me.  Good overpowers bad.

But some walks involve nothing more than the thrill of being ... like the time my high school chum, Jean, and I decided to go for a walk ... in a full-fledged Niagara Falls blizzard, and almost got caught in a snowplow's path!  Well, heck, we wanted to see our boyfriends play in their band, and it wasn't our fault a blizzard was raging.  We were young and obstinate, sure that we'd be okay.  It was already dark, so how my parents let me out of the house is still a mystery.  Bundled to the max, we set out on our country roads, and a couple of miles later, we made our dramatic (unintended) entrance at the club.  We screeched when we heard that snow plow behind and almost on top of us and dove into a snow-filled ditch.  Crazy.  We laughed the rest of the way to the club.  Memory tells me a kind heart drove us home.  The wonder of walking!

This has been a slow month for me, meaning not many walks and no hikes.  (Lots of gardening work, tho, and drives to see Everly Rose in Sacramento.)  Jimmy is one-month post-op on his total knee replacement.  He's walking well, and in two weeks, we're anticipating his doc will release him ... to walk wherever and whenever.  Based on this post, it's obvious to me I'm missing this. 😊 So is he.  Woot-woot!  We have lots more miles to put on our feet!  Yep, for us, walking is a joy!


Real Life ... interrupted. June 1st, 2017

Hard to believe it's June 1st.  Already we're sinking our teeth into the sixth month this year, with summer lurking around the corner.  In some areas of the country, summer-like heat has hit like a smack in the face, but we've been fortunate here.  We've had a taste, but only that, and we're enjoying a lovely spring, tho skeeters have been annoying.  Jimmy says, "What do you expect, with all the rain we had?"  Bad with the good, huh?

This morning I found this not-so-subtle pearl in my inbox, from our Tallahassee friend, Nancy Abbey:  
Nothing new on your blog since May 17, and it’s now June 1!  How’s Jimmy coming along?  How’re you surviving as nurse/caregiver?
That was it.  Well, nothing like a gentle reminder to get the ol' rear in gear!  Thanks, Nancy, and here you go!

What have we been doing since May 17th?  Truth be told:  work and not much else.  Jimmy has one simple job these days, and that's to heal his knee.  He is three weeks post-op on his right total knee replacement surgery (left was done two years ago).  Appointment notes litter the days on our May calendar.  Home health care and a physical therapist have been regulars.  Thus far, the June calendar is clear except a Dr. Blumenfeld app't on the 22nd.

Exercise.  Then:  Ice and elevation.  Repeat two or three times daily.
But, he ices and elevates his knee frequently. 

I wear many hats while he recuperates.  I haven't been out doing much, but yard work has kept me plenty busy.  I learned how to use the Weedeater and it seems as though I've been hired!  All the green behind me is St Johns Wort and Periwinkle.  What I'm after here is a different invasive -- crabgrass ... before it goes to seed.  Losing battle.  I appreciate all that Jimmy does both in the house and outdoors, and I'll be happy when his knee is healed and he can resume helping.  I miss my buddy at my side.

Must keep the hummingbird feeder filled.  They depend on it! 

Hooray, we had a cookout on Sunday (for Memorial Day).  Matt and Jen and Everly Rose (and Sophie and Maggie) drove up from Sac for the afternoon.  Food is always a part of our together times, and we have fun milling around in the kitchen.  Today, however, Matt did the grillin', while Jimmy supervised.  I'd made a cabbage/kale salad and a strawberry dessert in advance, so I was excused from the kitchen to tend to my chore for the day -- playing with Everly Rose.  Ahh, chores like these I love!

I rocked my granddaughter into dreamland. 💘💖💓💜
So adorable.

Everly Rose is blessed to have such a beautiful mother!  Notice the one shoe on-one shoe off?  I couldn't help myself.  While I was sitting outside on the deck with Everly Rose, I took off her shoe 'cause my feet were hot, so I figured hers were, too.  Besides, I wanted to look at and cuddle her cute little toes.  It was sweet.  And my feet cooled off immediately.

The steri-strips are gone, and the much of the swelling is gone.
Doesn't look too bad, although those are some stark white legs!!

Oh, yes, I've been working at Tumbling Creek Farm, too, weeding, planting and picking.  I picked strawberries a couple of times, and one Tupperware (above) yielded a four-pint batch of strawberry jam.  Just in time.  We were "officially out."  Whew!

My Everly Rose (bush) in solid bloom.

Yesterday Jimmy asked me if I wanted to walk around the fairgrounds today.  I said, "Yup, I would."  He said he's like to give it a try, too (the footpath is paved and level).  Above you see him walking (!!), using only his hiking/walking stick.  Three weeks post-op -- isn't it amazing?  He didn't go far, but he went far enough.  Tomorrow we'll return, and he'll try for a bit more distance.  He is doing all right, wouldn't you say, Nancy?  I'd say so!  And Nurse Ratched is doing just fine.  Thanx for asking!


One week later ... Thursday, May 17, 2017

Warning:  Candid Knee Photos

Hooray, the deer didn't eat the buds.  What a showpiece!

Two years ago (June 2015), when Jimmy had his left knee replaced, the heat was on in NorCal.  This year's different.  The past week in Nevada City has been cool -- our furnace's been on every morning, fireplace toasting us each evening.  That's fixin' to end, according to the weather folks.

Temperature is not the only difference.  Though Jimmy is now an "old hand" at getting new knees, each operation (basically the same) is distinct.  To wit:  1)  The hospital after-care compared to the previous knee was different.  2)  His post-surgery reaction has been different from his first operation.  Two years ago, he had no nerve pain block and needed pain meds immediately.  This year, at home with the remaining nerve pain block still working, he had little-to-no pain at first (got a little cocky), but a few days later and block meds spent, pain brought him to his knees (so to speak). Kidding, kind of.  Now he has to remember to take meds regularly to keep his pain in check. One similarity:  He's been up and walking in the house, using a walker or a single walking stick, and then he retires to his recliner to ice his knee.  Only one week post-op, he's doing well.  We both are.

Linda with Progressive Home Care is preparing to remove staples.

28 staples this year.  24 last time.  BTW, this didn't hurt.

All fixed and covered with long steri-stips.

You can check out the 2015 knee surgeries by clicking here and here.  Use your back arrow to return to this post.

We came home from Sutter Hospital on Friday, the 12th.  The next day, Matt and Jenny and 8-wk-old Everly Rose (and their two little doggies) drove up from Sacramento for a visit. They brought me a lovely bouquet of flowers (below) for Mama's Day or, in my case, Gramma's Day!  Matt and I made pizzas (and a mess) in the kitchen and we all passed a delightful few hours.

Below are a few of Jimmy's favorites ... with Everly Rose, of course!

She was intrigued by the ceiling fan blades going 'round and 'round.

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While Jimmy has been busy healing, I've been occupied in the yard doing much-needed maintenance, and admiring plants and flowers that are showing up due to the gallons of precip we've received this year.  But, oh, I've been weeding!  I don't remember seeing crab grass in our back yard, but we have a bumper crop this year and I've been slowly and painfully yanking out each small plant before it can produce seeds.  Phooey, I believe the durned pesky weed is winning.    

Love the Iris blooming in our front yard.
The one on the right is ready to pop open.

Little native wild Iris finally in bloom in the side yard.

Whoa, here's a newcomer in the back.  A California native Stickweed, tho I can't identify which one, but it's a perennial herb.  Pretty color.

There's a story behind this picture.  This fragrant rose in my backyard came from Matt and Jen's yard.  Last year, he transformed his yard to drought-tolerant, and out came their roses.  We came by when it was this rose's turn to be removed. I said I'd take it and dug out most of the root, except for the big one.  Matt said he'd get it and jerked it out, minus the root.  Oops.  I took it home anyway, despairing it would live.  You see it lived and is thriving.  I've named it ... (what else?) Everly Rose.

Here now is my dearest Jimmy one week post-op.  He has two new knees and two straight legs!  This evening he's watching Two-and-a-Half Men and laughing out loud at their shenanigans.  Laughter is therapeutic!  He's doing good right now, actually, he says.  Betcha he'll keep on "doing good" and getting better every day!

Go, Jimmy, go!


It's a done deed. Wednesday, 5/10/17

WARNING:  Knee Bandage Photos

Jimmy has known for a long time -- since he had his left knee replaced two years ago -- that he'd have to "go under the knife" again and replace his right knee.  While we were snorkeling (using fins) on the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns, AU in December, the last vestige of cartilage in his right knee pulled/tore loose, and left him walking in pain.  Not all the time, mind you, but nagging pain became his sidekick, even when he lay down to sleep. Bone on bone hurts.  Something about using fins in water can aggravate an already problematic knee (too much strain or pressure?), but we didn't know at the time that snorkeling using fins could land him in the hospital within months.

Jimmy saw Dr. Blumenfeld on February 21st, hoping for an early surgery date, but no such luck.  He had to wait 11 weeks and he counted off every one!  Since his left knee surgery with Dr. Blumenfeld went so smoothly, Blumenfeld was the only orthopedic surgeon Jimmy would use for the right one.  He is the best in the west.  Above, Jimmy is prepped and ready to "do it."  Even smiling!

And here is Dr. Thomas Blumenfeld in his "space suit."  This is what orthopedic surgeons wear during surgery.  Jimmy actually watched true-life knee operation videos and knew the docs wore these hygienic get-ups, so he asked to be kept awake long enough to see them in person.  (don't ask me, I wouldn't watch one of those videos)  An associate took this picture. 

The 2pm surgery went well, and my dearest husband was alert and in a room by 5pm, looking for coffee.  He had to settle for broth, hot tea and a pink sorbet, all of which he dispatched with alacrity.  A nerve block was attached just above the bandage and, consequently, he had no pain.  That's a good thing.

He had a smiley face on his right big toe and a "B" on his upper thigh, like tattoos, meaning, pick this side!  This is his knee post-op.  He spent two nights in the hospital, and came home with a brand new waterproof dressing.  And the new bandage is perfectly straight, like his new knee!  Compression sleeves were on both legs and he wore those till his release.  So amazing, so wonderful, what medical science can accomplish anymore, replacing broken-down joints with new, workable, pain-free joints.  BTW, Sutter Hospital employees also rate a high mark.

Never mind the gown or the IV hose or the messy bed covers,
this photo is iconic Jimmy: With a coffee cup in hand!

The next day, Thursday, he was up and walking and beginning P/T.  Don't worry, he was covered by two gowns -- front and back, no show 'n tell!  Also?  No pain.  He's grinning!

Neither of us could remember the exact measurements for slushy ice.  Either 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 cups of water to 70% alcohol.  I emailed Laurie Brown and she said 4 to 1, but I thought it was 3 to 1, so I compromised by 3 and 1/2 to 1, double Ziploc bagged.  When frozen, it's pliable enough to mold over Jimmy's knee.  Not using bags of peas!  We got this, Laurie!

Everly Rose -- 8 weeks!

Two years ago I stayed with Matt and Jen in Sacramento.  The little tapper above precluded that scenario this year!  I stayed at Jen's parents, Tom and Alice's home in Roseville this time (roughly 20 miles from the hospital), so I didn't have to drive the 65 miles back and forth to Nevada City -- a real blessing (thanks, Tom and Alice).  Not only did I get to spend most of those two days with my favorite guy at his bedside, I had some playtime with sweet Everly Rose at her home, a real bonus.  Ohhhhh, what a sweetheart.

We're home now; he was released Friday afternoon.  He's up and moving around, with a walker, of course.  Saturday both a nurse and a physical therapist checked in, and Jimmy passed inspection!  It's a relief to get this knee fixed.  Life is short and at our age, time grows shorter.  We still have many things we want to do, places to go, trails to hike.  Two new knees give us the opportunity to take off.  Maybe go fishing later this summer in British Columbia.  The past two autumns we've toured overseas ... where should we go this year?