Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 425

It's working. The call I got from the rheumatologist's office confirmed it.

My inflammation numbers are down. Both tests, both numbers. The results are still way too high, but they are down. All without any arthritis medications.

Woo hoo! is all I can say. Might as well celebrate with a big glass of juice. And some sewing.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 424

Last year on Day 60 my husband forced me to go outside and I took a picture of our bleeding hearts. Here, today, almost a year exactly to that day I didn't have to be forced to go outside. I went willingly.

We planted potatoes and cleaned up some weeds. After working outside I sat in the shade of our patio and looked over at our bleeding hearts, thinking about last year. About how much has changed. About how I couldn't have predicted where I am now.

And even about how I look at things so much differently now than I did then. It seems to be more about the details nowadays, details I would have missed in the past.

Like with the bleeding hearts. Guess I never noticed that the same plant can have a different look depending on how much the bloom has opened. And that they really do look like a heart.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 423

I was planning on thanking my husband on today's blog. Thanking him for washing up and cutting the veggies for the week. (It's a long process when we use as many vegetables a day as we do.) He washed and cut so I could sew and sew. I was able to almost finish the second kids' quilt top in as many days.

But I also need to thank the kitty today, too. She kept me company, sitting in the window of the sewing room as I did all that sewing.

So when it came to the picture for the day the choice was easy. The cat makes for a much cuter picture than hubby and/or vegetables.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 422

I don't know why it took me all day, but it did.  It has been a while since I did a kids' quilt and I am SOO very out of practice, I guess.

After a full day of sewing, I finally have a top done for the Alaska group of Operation Kid Comfort. (I blurred out the faces for obvious reasons.)

Let's just hope the next one doesn't take the entire day!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 421

I thought today's word would be scoldedThe doctor scolded me for going off all my arthritis medications.

But that's not my word. Cautiously optimistic are my words. The rhematologist is cautiously optimistic that my juicing and plant strong diet may reduce my arthritis symptoms.

According to the doctor there are some people - just a few - who respond to a balanced diet that limits salt, sugar, and fat. While joint inflammation might not decrease (and bloodwork numbers could remain unchanged), the pain and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis might diminish.

I'm right on the border of having all the methotrexate (the chemotherapy drug) out of my system. According to him it takes several weeks for the system to rid itself of it. So now I'll need to be watching symptoms even more closely. If I notice an exacerbation in the pain, swelling, and stiffness I have to get back in and get on some meds. If things remain the same or get better, I won't need to go back and see him for another four months.

Four months is the longest I will ever have gone without needing to go to the rheumatologist. I'm quite pleased that he's allowing me the chance to make things better for myself without introducing drugs back into my system.

Who knows, maybe someday my body will be flexible enough to squeeze into a car I saw on a car lot today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 420

Yesterday's word was jealously. Today's word is confess. As in I confess our sensible dinners are pushing the limit on what could be considered healthy.

We've been going out to dinner a lot this last week. To the same place every time - our local Mexican restaurant, Alejandra's. Best Mexican food ever.

We've had somewhat (maybe) healthier dinners. One night we had a couple chicken tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro on a soft corn shell. We shared a chicken fajita burrito one night, a carne asada burrito another night, and tonight we shared what I think was the tastiest thing of all. Chile verde, tonight's special. The blend of the pork and tomatillo sauce was absolutely delicious! Probably the best $7.99 I ever spent.

So I confess - juice in the morning, juice at lunch, and Mexican food at dinner. Probably not the best way to eat, but other than having some cheese on top of the refried beans it can't be that bad for us, right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 419

I've been feeling a tinge of jealousy here and there lately.

Jealousy over the power bill. Over the past seven years, our average has gone down. (I'm still obsessively tracking it.) While we had a lower March month this year compared to last, our daughter had a lower one than we've ever had since my tracking began.

Jealousy over the weight. Hubby is catching up to me in the weight loss department. While he and I don't differ in the juice we're drinking, he does eat more of the "sensible" dinner. And he's still losing weight at a faster rate. It's probably my own fault - he's more active with his teaching and I've backed off the obsessive bike mileage.

Jealousy over the energy level. Hubby is also feeling great and I'm trudging along. Not good, not bad. Just okay. I thought by juicing and hitting the plant strong diet my rheumatoid arthritis would be cured (or at least getting lots better). I'm not sure it's made that big of a difference.

Jealousy over the flowers that were dropped off at my house. Our vegetables are being grown in the greenhouse at the high school, but it was hanging baskets of flowers that arrived yesterday. The cooling system in the greenhouse is on the fritz and they needed somewhere to store the plants for the end of the year celebration for those teachers who are retiring/leaving. Sure are pretty.

Jealousy over the neighbor's tree. I don't know why I didn't notice how pretty the tree was last year, but it sure is nice against the blue sky.

Guess I better get more obsessive about my power bill and about biking, hope for the best at the rheumatologist's appointment this week, plant some hanging baskets for my house, and stop looking over into other peoples' yards.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 418

When I can't figure something out or have a question I seem to come here. Just last week when I couldn't figure out what tree was in the park, I posted the picture on Day 413 and you came through. The tree on that day - the one with all the pods - is a sycamore tree.

Here's another one for this week. Last year on Day 72 I took a picture of a tulip. Now this year I've gone crazy taking pictures of about every kind of tulip I have. All my tulips are multi-colored inside - I have none that are one solid color. So for those who have tulips or know anything about tulips, are all tulips multi-colored or are there tulips that are all one color inside? I usually just buy grab bags without paying much attention.

Guess I got lucky on those cheap grab bags.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 417

The cat needs to learn the hot mustard lesson.

When our daughter was little - only 3 or 4 - we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. At that Chinese restaurant we had a little plastic cup of hot mustard sitting on the table. That little girl stuck her finger in the hot mustard. Stuck her finger in it and put that finger in her mouth. You can imagine what happened next, but that experience did teach her a lesson. Hot mustard was something not to mess around with.

Fast forward to the cat.

We've been seeing her go into the neighbor's yard. Every time the cat heads over there I tell her she's asking for trouble but she doesn't seem to listen. She's been jumping their chain link fence and roaming around in there. It's a big enough problem with her hanging out in someone else's yard, but an even bigger problem is that they have dogs. Several dogs. Small and noisy dogs. The cat is smart enough to only go in their yard when the dogs are in the house, but I'm a bit worried for her. If they happen to open the door and let the dogs out when she's in the backyard she's going to be in for some trouble. She climbs paw over paw, using the holes in the fence to get back over. A slow process. If those dogs come out, she's going to need to find a faster way back.

I had to stop watching and worrying. She made me too nervous. The hot mustard is going to get her soon.

I started watching the clouds instead.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 416

Busy as a bee. Busy as a beaver. I'm not sure which saying is the most appropriate, but one of them just has to fit. Yesterday and today (and tomorrow as well) are being spent outside prepping for summer.

Prepping the vegetable garden (which now, thanks to my daughter, has old the landscape timbers from the rose garden outlining the vegetable beds)...out come the weeds and the grass, in goes the Miracle-Gro garden soil, with seeds soon to follow.

Prepping the rose garden...clipping back the winter damage, getting rid of the weeds, adding in some fertilizer.

The never-off-my-to-do-list wildflower bed...dig out the daisies that have taken over, get those weeds out, clip out the old dead stuff, put sand in the paths to cut down on the muddy walks.

Tulips, tulips, tulips. Those lovely tulips have sprouted grass all throughout them. Grass that is doggone hard to get up without disrupting the pretty flowers. Patience, patience. And time.

Actually, busy as a wasp seems the best word today.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 415

It has been a rough year for the teachers and students at Marsing High School. A small school with large losses.

It started with my husband's mom.

Then it was the English teacher's mom.

Then it was the Science teacher's dad.

Then the school secretary's husband.

A recent graduate.

Another recent graduate.

And just this week a current student.

All during just this school year. All funerals.

When my husband received the call this week all he could say was, We need to get this year over with.

On this day with no school he should be at the funeral right now. A funeral for a 14 year old student. But hubby couldn't do it. Not again.

How do you explain such a rash of heartbreaking losses? It certainly makes everything else seem insignificant.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 414

I think our yard has become some sort of a playground this year. Every morning it's either the ducks or the squirrels or the quail or even the pheasant. Every morning some kind of creature is hanging around our yard.

Today we have a chubby Mrs. Quail (or is it a Mr. Quail?) and Mr. Pheasant. I don't know what we're doing to attract all these folks, but I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 413

A little over a month from now hubby will be home for the summer. Last year I had all those days at home, by myself, with no one to talk to and I loved it. This year, even though I'm only working part time I didn't get many of those alone days. With the countdown to hubby being around 24-7 I did I spend those few days I had alone this year? Couldn't tell you. How sad is it that I've already been back to work for nine months and never came up with a routine for my days off?

I think that's what happens living a day at a time. No thinking ahead, no planning. The day just happens and before I know it, it's over.

But hubby and I have started settling into a healthier routine. Juice for breakfast, juice for lunch. Walking afterschool. A sensible dinner. Tonight will be scrambled eggs with some vegetables wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with some fresh homemade salsa.

Speaking of walking, when we're at the park there is this tree I don't get. It has these pods on it. Can anyone help me out on what kind of tree it is?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 412

My husband and daughter both wanted to have input in today's picture.

First, the daughter...
When we went to Sisters we left the kitty in the house. Alone. For three nights. Since kitty isn't used to staying home all day and all night in the house all by herself, we asked our daughter to cat sit one night. When our daughter got home and saw the list I left her she had two responses. 1. Mom, you guys spoil her. 2. I'm going to take a picture of that list and you better put it on your blog.

No, I won't put the picture on the blog, but here's what was on the list:

Kitty Schedule
  • When you get here, let her out (even if she doesn't want to).
  • 9:30-10 PM - let her in, feed her wet food.
  • 4AMish - if she cries to go out, let her out.
  • 8AMish - bring her in, give her loving, brush her, leave her in.
  • Leave bedroom curtain open (she likes to sit there).
  • Make sure she has enough food and clean her litterbox before you go.
Yeah, probably spoiled. (Update...I guess little Miss Daughter took her own picture of the list when she was home - and posted it on her Facebook page. Maybe I need to sign up for Facebook and see what else she's taken pictures of.)

Now for hubby's interest in the picture for the day...
When we got in the car in the morning at the hotel, we had raindrops sitting on the sunroof. The first morning I took a picture of the raindrop close up and hubby wanted it to be a mystery picture. I wouldn't do it. The second day we were there we had raindrops again, but this time they were frozen and had ice crystals in them. Again, he wanted it to be another mystery picture.

No need for guessing on mystery pictures. Raindrops on a sunroof. One with ice crystals, one without.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 411

More than once over the past few days I said out loud, "What kind of freaks are we?"

It started on the first day of our trip at the Safeway in Burns, Oregon. We plopped down fifty dollars on groceries. On fruits and vegetables. No meat, no bread, no beverages. Fruits and vegetables. As I loaded the bags in the back of the car, there was the juicer sitting tall and proud. (Yep, we brought our juicer with us.) What kind of freaks are we, carrying a juicer with us on vacation?

When we stopped at the park for lunch, I went to the ice chest and poured us each a bottle of juice. What kind of freaks drink a bottle of kale, spinach, carrot, celery, cucumber, bell pepper, apple, kiwi, strawberry juice in the park?

Then in Sisters I tracked down a vegan bakery. Me, searching out a vegan bakery. Not for the bakery items, but because I heard they had a fresh juice bar. Hubby and I each sat there, drinking our juice. His was beet based, mine kale based. We traded back and forth. Yum. What kind of freaks search out a vegan bakery for juice - and love it?

Then we headed to a local market and picked up vegetable chips. We sat outside on the bench, munching away. What kind of freaks choose vegetable chips over the chocolate that was at the drugstore counter?

Hubby kept reassuring me we aren't freaks. Just folks who have decided to eat healthy.

Stopping by my favorite restaurant in Sisters for the best dessert I've ever had in my life proved we aren't all that health minded. Every time we come to Sisters I stop at the same place and have the same dessert.
If you ever stop in Sisters, you have to go to The Gallery Restaurant and have a piece of their marionberry pie. Best pie in the world. Or at least in the United States. (Remember, I've been to all 50 states so I know what I'm talking about.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 410: The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters are potentially active volcanoes in central Oregon. An old story suggests that the mountains were originally named Faith, Hope, and Charity in the 1840's by members of a Methodist mission. Three Sisters Mountains are a popular location for hiking, backpacking, climbing, and camping.

But right now, in the town of Sisters, they are best viewed by me - through my camera lens on a spectacularly beautiful morning. And best viewed with Canadian geese flying by.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 409: The Llamas

The hotel we're staying at (The Best Western Ponderosa Lodge - highly recommend it) has several llamas on the property and even has food available so guests can feed them.

We've learned so much about llamas since we've been here!
  • Llamas have banana shaped ears and flat backs.
  • Their wool does not have lanolin. People who are allergic to wool usually don't have problems wearing llama wool.
  • They guard against predatory animals. Sometimes llamas are merged into herds of sheep and goats to keep predators out.
  • Llamas can be used as pack animals and to pull carts. They can carry up to 100 pounds.
  • Most llamas cost from $1,000 to $5,000. Some show llamas can cost up to $20,000 or more.
  • They are native to Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. They are used there for their wool, but people in South America also eat the meat.
  • They live 15-25 years, weigh 200-450 pounds, and are 5-6 feet tall.
And here is one my husband found out first hand...
  • The purpose of spitting is to tell other llamas to leave them alone. Llamas don't just walk up and spit at people. However, people can be spit on when caught in the middle of a dispute between llamas. Just moments after this next picture was taken, the two llamas decided to get angry at each other (and hubby) over the food. Hubby got the bulk of the spit.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 408: Sisters, Oregon

In the 1880s Sisters was a supply station for sheep men passing through to pastures in the high Cascades in the summer. In the 1930s, the timber industry boomed and Sisters had several sawmills in or near town. By 1963 the last sawmill closed and the population declined.

Fortunately, tourist-related travel increased and Sisters became know as the Gateway to the Cascades. Now Sisters is a tourist destination. Winter has nearby skiing and summer has things like the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Held since 1975, the quilt show brings people from all over. 12,000+ on quilt show day!

Every time we ever pass through Sisters I always buy tickets for the quilt raffle and I did that again today. Of course that happened at the Stitchin' Post, Sisters' magnificent quilt shop. And of course I had to buy some patterns and fabric while I was there.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 407: Trip to Sisters, Oregon

As we drove our 315 miles to get to Sisters, Oregon today lots of phrases came out of my mouth. And I took pictures for each one.

Yay! I'm so excited!
On Day 373 I "rode" my way to the Shoe Tree outside Juntura, Oregon. I was sad to hear that vandals had burned it down. But today I was so excited to see folks have found another tree not too far from the original and are starting one up again.

I'm glad I didn't really ride this road on a real bike. Watching tv when I was biking was so much better than this.
Mile after mile after mile (after mile) is nothing but desert and sagebrush.

It's going to storm.
Our morning started with beautiful blue skies but along the way we encountered rain, hail, and snow.

We're here!
Self explanatory.

Where else can you not have to step a foot off your hotel room's patio and see this kind of thing?
Llamas, squirrels, and Canadian geese. Who knew geese and squirrels were so friendly towards each other?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 406

I'm on the verge. Tomorrow is the day.

315 miles west from Marsing, Idaho is Sisters, Oregon. And I will be there tomorrow.

Literally, even. To coincide with my biking trip we are taking our own little venture, a getaway-from-the-rat-race trip. So my posts for the next few days will be travel pictures.

But not today. Today's picture is of the blossoms on our plum tree. The tree won't be nearly as pretty when we get back as it was today.

See everyone tomorrow in Sisters.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 405

By the look of today's pictures it's obvious I'm spending more time outside than anywhere else.  (Although you'd never guess that I didn't leave work until after 6:30 tonight.)

Today we have more lovebirds, some of my pretty daffodils, and my peony tulips. (Please ignore the grass and weeds.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 404

They did it. My daugher and her boyfriend delivered my new landscape timbers and found some time today to put them in. While I sawed, they measured and dug. Unfortunately we ran out of time to completely finish them (daughter had to work tonight) but they look pretty darn good anyway. Much better than the bleached out/rotted out version.

Thanks for the work, guys!
And my daughter and her boyfriend weren't the only lovebirds busy. Take a look at the great woodpecker pictures Ruth sent my way!