Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Trip to Oklahoma and other stuff

I went down to Amorita today to the Annual High School Reunion.  My Dad is still in the Skilled Care Center at the hospital, so I was the only Gerdes there.   I did bring Nick, Nicole and the kids along with me.  Nick had never been down to  my part of Oklahoma, so it was my chance to show him where I spent part of my childhood.
 We had a good time.  I drove out to where my grandmothers farm had been.  The road up to where the house was is fenced off.  That was sort of sad.  I thought about walking up, but that would have been outright trespassing.  After that we went to Christenson's where we lived before we moved to Wichita.  No one has lived in the house since we moved up here in 1957, so it is really deteriorating, but has the appeal of any ruin.  We walked around the house and I told Nick stories.  He was very gracious and listened to me.  I like to think that it is interesting in a historic sense.
Afterwards we came on home.  The kids fell asleep and we decided it was a good day.
Wyatt has learned how to climb trees and goes up the red bud by the pool.  Andrea thinks she should be climbing too.  Knowing her, it won't be too long.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A minor set back in my goals

I had thought I would be here tonight talking about the successful completion of my first 5K.  That is not going to happen.  The weather has been awful, and it was just cold enough, just wet enough and just windy enough for Ray and I to decide we would not go  tonight. 

I spent the afternoon vacillating about going on and running.  When it finally came down to the decision there is one reason we decided not too.  That reason: "We don't have to do it."  I think that may be one of the most liberating things about getting older.  If the circumstances are such that we can decide not to do something without a negative side effect, we know we don't have to. 

I have spent a lot of time doing things when I was younger, because I HAD to, but I didn't want to .  Now I don't have the guilt trip, although I do admit that I still have to fight off the twinges.  I didn't run tonight, but I am going to run a race soon.  I just have to choose which one.  The River Run is coming up.  I didn't want to start with a big race, but I just might.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Counting my blessing

My Dad has been in the hospital since Friday.  My sister was there when he was admitted.  My brother went down during the day and I went in the early evening.  My sister and I had been talking and trying to get a handle on his condition before I went down.

When I got there, my Dad was restless, but having a difficult time staying awake.  He would not eat and in general was not responsive unless you got in his face and spoke loudly.  All of this is enough to rattle me severely.  As I was driving home and for the rest of the evening, I tried to process all the possibilities and the probabilities.  If you know me, you know I tended to lean more into the possible than into the probable.

This morning I went down not knowing what to expect.  I get there at the end of the Doctor's visit.  The morning seems to have found an infection that is being treated and that may be the source of some of his issues earlier this week.  My Dad is still very weak and doesn't want to communicate unless necessary.  For the first time since Wednesday, he was able to keep jello and juice down.   So things are looking better.  Now to see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last night

Last night I drove down to Wellington at 8:30.  My stepmother had called and told me that the ambulance had come and taken my father to the hospital after a fall in the bathroom.  When I got to the hospital emergency room, my Dad was in a bed waiting to see the doctor.  He was a mess, a gash on his forehead and blood all over the place.

Fortunately, after stitches and a CT scan that didn't turn up any internal problems he was able to go home.  He was shaky and dazed but OK for being 91 years old.  I got both of them back home and Dad into bed and was home by 10:30.  He had a doctors appointment today because he had been feeling bad and the doctor had said he was anemic.  My sister went down to go to the appointment so we can have a better picture of what is going on.

My sister just called and said that he was not able to get out of bed this morning, and the EMS came out again.  They helped her get him into her truck and got him to his doctor.  The Doctor has put him into the hospital again to check out his blood work, his back and  a couple of other things.  My sister says that he should not have been sent home last night.  So now it looks like he will be in the hospital for a couple of days until all the possible issues have been cleared.  I guess I am satisfied with this.  It is so difficult to know what is the right things to do in a situation like this.
I am certain that my Dad and Jaunita don't tell us all of what is going on with their health.  In their minds they have a good reason.  My sister and I both feel it is time for them to go into assisted living, and Jaunita especially does not want that.  The more we know about their health issues, the harder it is to have good arguments not to do this. 
Both my Dad and Step mom are in good health for their ages and in control of the mental abilities.  We cannot make them do anything.  To be honest, even bringing up the topic makes my step mother defensive.  I am hoping that this episode where she cannot get my Dad around by herself makes her think more seriously about living someplace that would have help close by.  It is for both of their well beings, and a source of reassurance to us.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Andi's Arboretum Layout

It has been a while since I have had to create an original layout for myself.  I often find that I have a hard time getting a good idea going for a layout.  When that happens I go to the magazines.  This time I found inspiration in a layout by Nicole Pomeroy in the May/June Creating Keepsakes magazine.  The torn and rolled paper initially attracted and repelled me.  I wasn't sure it I could make it look the way I wanted.  In the final result I am very happy.  I used Coredinations pink whitewash paper for the  base and Basic Grey Sweet Threads patterned paper and embellishments.  The colors really reflect the spring day we spent down in Belle Plaine at the Arboretum and complements Andrea perfectly.

Wedding Card

A friend of Nick and Nicole's from high school is getting married tonight.  I told her I would make the gift card.  I don't get to do wedding cards very often and it if fun to see what a card maker can do to make the card look like a wedding card without all the doves, wedding bells and flourishes of a commercially printed card.  I took the idea for this design from a card by Tracy Henry in the May 2011 issue of CardMaker Magazine.   I used Basic Grey Capella paper which has been promoted as a wedding paper.  This is the first time I have used it that way and it really does work well. 
Best wishes to Chris and his new wife.  I hope you enjoy the card.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bartlett Arboretum, Mothers Day 2011

We all went to Belle Plaine to the Bartlett Arboretum Sunday after dinner.  Ray and Nick made the dinner and we had a fantastic Strawberry Chantilly Cake for Nicole's birthday.
The Arboretum is owned by Robin Macy and is not usually open to the public.  However, she was presenting a concert and you had the run of the gardens as well as being able to listen to good music.  I had not been to the Arboretum since it had been sold and it is so nice to see all the changes that have been made.  Several hundred people were there.  Lots of bottles of wine and snacks.  We didn't bring anything more elegant than water.  Next time we will have to try to be more sophisticated.  There are concerts every month through the summer and I would like to go again.

Hero Arts Sunshine Card Set

These cards were made with Sweet Threads and Lauderdale Stamps from Hero Arts.  We will be doing the class on Tuesday June 21st at Scrapbook Garden.  I really liked doing these cards.  The stamps are just the types that I like and the designs of the cards are just perfect.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ten on Ten May 2011

  Sevenish - The Amaryllis is in full bloom.  It has to be re potted this year.
 Eightish  The koi pond from the patio.  The iris are blooming right now.  Ray and I tend to take them for granted and they are such pretty flowers.
 Nineish  The penstemon in the front yard.  One of the plants we found in New Mexico.  We always seem to find more interesting plants when we are away from home.
 Ten O'clock  The new parking lot at the Y.  I would never normally take a picture like this.
 Elevenish - The koi in the pond.  I was surprised that I was even able to get this picture.
 Noon  The lily in my Mothers Day bouquet.
 One Thirty  -  Andrea playing with the toy computer.
 Two Thirty -  Andrea taking a picture of me.  It wasn't all that bad.
 Three O'clock  Back at the koi pond.  This was the pattern for today.
Four o'clock  I told Wyatt he could do anything he wanted, so of course he is webbing me.

It was easier this time to remember to take the pictures at the times I was supposed to.  It is pretty representative of my day today.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pitiful Cat Photo

Doesn't this poor kitty look pitiful?  We got Gabe shaved today for the summer.   I really don't think he minds it all that much.  About this time of the year hair drops off of him in clumps everywhere.  He gets mats in his coat no matter how often he is brushed.  The best solution is cut it all off and let it grow out again.

In a couple of weeks he will be the softest cat you would ever touch.  By the end of the summer, his coat will be back to its normal thickness.  I tried doing this myself last year, but I didn't do all that  good a job.This year he went to the groomer.  The groomer I go to doesn't sedate the animals and he complemented me on how well behaved Gabe is.   As if I had anything to do with that.  We are lucky that he has always been a very laid back cat.

I haven't done a page about his adventure.  Maybe I will some time soon.

Completion of a goal in sight.

I kept my 2011 goals simple this year.  I want to run a 5K and master the teaser in Pilate's.  Since the first of the year I hadn't been training seriously enough to do a race, and the teaser remains sneeringly out of my capacity.  Truthfully, I was thinking that inertia would cancel out the goals altogether. Then Beth, our yoga instructor walked into the picture.  There is a senior run for adults over forty, (fits us)  on the 25th of May.  Yesterday, she tells Ray we should do it.  He tells me, and so having been given the motivation I  sent the entries off.

At this point  I have to say, I will be running, Ray will be walking.  He isn't to the running three mile stage yet.  Once he retires, who knows.

Having signed up to do this, now I have to start running seriously, outside.  Most of the time I am a wimp and run inside where I don't have to deal with weather, dogs, other inconveniences.  The distance isn't a problem.  I can run 3.1 miles easily, but I don't run fast. You lose time running outdoors and this morning it looked like I lost five minutes at least from my regular time.  I have work to do. 

I am not complaining.  As a matter of fact, I am sort of excited.  Until I have completed this first run, I can entertain fantasies of how wonderful I will be.  The reality is that I will be doing this race to finish, not to compete.  If I was going to name my nightmare fantasy,  it would be to have the walkers who start a half hour later finish before me.

There is going to be food and drinks afterwards at Botanica, so I will have to be sure to take my camera.  I will also have to make sure Nicole comes up to take my picture.  That will be a page to scrap, the gray haired boomer running her first race at 64.  No body else has to think it is cool, I do.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mothers Day Card

I made this card for my stepmother for Mother's Day.  The base design is from a monthly kit I got a few months ago from Creative Stamping.  I did the flowers in the pot using my Copic markers.  This is the first project I have used my markers to complete.  I have been watching YouTube videos and reading blogs to get an idea of how they worked.  I am pretty satisfied for a first try.  Now to just keep improving.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Face of Leukemia

There is a lot more drama implied in the title of this post than probably is in real life.  Also Nicole will probably be less than thrilled by my selection of photos.  I just figured out I don't take enough pictures of my oldest child.
My daughter Nicole has chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML).  I am not in denial about this.  You can't deny leukemia, but in my typical fashion I have been very good an avoiding thinking about it.  I tried to read about the disease when she was first diagnosed but it was too upsetting.  I left all the research to Nicole who  handled it very well and let her tell me what I wanted or usually needed to know.  She has had her disease for over six years.  What prompted me to write about it today is the fact that the May Smithsonian magazine has a story about the research and testing that got the drug Gleevec on the market. I read the story all the way through.  I learned things and I didn't get upset.  I may have passed a milestone.
Someone told me once, "When you have cancer, everyone around you has cancer as well." It is the truth, you cannot have any form of this disease without your whole family becoming involved.  So this story isn't about how Nicole lives with CML  It is about how I live with Nicole's CML
Nicole was diagnosed because she was pregnant with our first grandchild.  None of us understood why she was being referred to an oncologist.  The lack of understanding must be common because the doctor had to walk us through to the probability that this was why we were there.  The doctor did the tests and we had to wait a life time, actually only a week, for the results.  During that time I prayed  and prayed. 
We all went back to the doctor and got the news, she had CML. That was the time I understood what it meant to die inside.  Nicole had leukemia, she was going to die.  BUT WAIT! Just like the commercials there was more.  There was a new drug, it had only been on the market for four years but it was successful against CML.  There was also the possibility of a stem cell transplant if a good donor was available.  Never the less, I went back to my job and cried for the rest of the day.  I was having to get past the idea that leukemia was a death sentence.
I guess I should also mention that CML is a totally random cancer.  You don't get it from lifestyle or exposure to something.  CML happens because your chromosomes split and two of them change places and go together wrong.  I know that is a simplification but it works for me.
Over time a lot of good things happened.  Nicole's CML was in the early stages so she was able to take her pregnancy to delivery.  We are blessed by Wyatt in our life.  She was able to wait a few months after he was born before going on Gleevec.  Gleevec suppresses the chromosomal abnormal activity and her CML is in remission as long as she takes her pill a day.  After three years, she was able to go off the drug to have our grand daughter Andrea.  Another blessing.  The drug makes her nauseous, not all be time but often enough.  I think she may have a bit less energy that other women her age.  But that can be having two small children as well. 
Another blessing is that her brother Andrew is a match in case a stem cell transplant ever becomes a necessity.  We were told that a sibling match that weren't identical twins is extremely rare.
So for the most part we live our lives just like CML isn't always with us.  The research that created this drug Gleevec was ground breaking in that it was the first drug tailored to deal with a specific behavior of a specific cancer.  The researchers are continuing to work on new generations of drugs to handle the fact that certain patients develop resistance to the drug. 
My only worry is that the projected life span of a CML patient on Gleevec is 30 years.  That isn't long enough.  But I have to believe that if the Doctors have come this far, there will be more years than that for Nicole and other CML patients.
Read the article.  It gives you hope. I also want to say that my prayers were answered.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Family Canvas

I have had a couple of people ask me when Scrapbook Garden was going to offer another canvas class.  At last we have scheduled this project for June 7th, just in time for Father's Day.  This is a Quick Quotes project so it has almost all the paper die cut for you in advance. The canvas is slightly smaller than some of the past projects, but I was still able to put nine photos on the canvas.
The other canvases I have done used photo's of Ray's family.  This time I used mine.    I think it will be an excellent gift for someone who would like some old family pictures, but not in an album.  I do have to say that I was desperate for a photo that worked to have used the family portrait from the 60's.