Monday, December 30, 2013

Food Stuff

Every morning when I wake up I feel a bit panicked. Every night without fail I've had a dream about food. The situation is the same - I'm out and about, or at work, or traveling - and grab something to eat. One night it was Hershey's Kisses, one night jelly-filled doughnut holes (do those even exist?), and more than one night the dreams have involved sandwiches. I eat the particular food item and then remember I'm supposed to be only on liquids. And I panic about what to do.

I'm not sure why those dreams keep popping up because I've pretty much settled into my liquid routine. Protein packed sugar free hot chocolate for breakfast and protein packed broth for lunch and dinner. Then lots of baby sips of liquids in between. Water, low calorie Gatorade, sugar free jello, sugar free Popsicles. Four vitamins a day.

And no hunger. No desire to have anything I see on TV, no desire to taste hubby's meals. Although at Target today they had a poster for Pizza Hut breadsticks. I didn't want to eat one, but wouldn't have minded licking the seasonings off the top of one.

Speaking of Target (where I got my walk in for the day) hubby found a sign on a shelf where they had cleared out Christmas decorations. A sign he felt was important enough to take a picture of, a picture to represent the transformation I'm encountering/about to encounter.

Friday, December 27, 2013


I got my grades today.


No, I didn't take any classes. I went to the doctor for my follow up appointment.

B+ for liquids. I'm doing a pretty good job at getting close to 64 ounces a day, but it's hard when the tummy is so tiny. It's sip, sip, sip the entire day. 

A for the way my incisions are healing.

C+ for my protein intake. I'm supposed to be drinking three protein drinks a day but it's a bit of a struggle. I've been adding protein powder to my soups, to my pudding, to my drinks. But I just can't get there.

I've been using the walker to get my walking in, I made it through the wonderful smelling foods on Christmas Day without partaking, and I've lost 19 pounds. But it's not enough. He's threatened me with an IV. (No thanks.) 

I'll work harder, get the water in, get the protein in. Three more weeks of it before the next appointment and by golly I want straight A's next time.

I do think I can claim all A's on the freezing fog we're having. Yeah, I went overboard on pictures...

Monday, December 23, 2013


What's longer than a football field and weighs a million pounds?

A megaload. A vehicle with equipment headed to the mining fields in Canada. A big vehicle. Lots of controversy has surrounded the shipments and permits haven't been issued without protests. Because of weather, this particular megaload has been stuck in Oregon some time now. Routes have been altered, timelines changed. I thought I missed my chance at a picture of it being I'm a non-driver right now hanging out post-op in Boise.

But I got my picture. Really, hubby got it. My mom had to take him to Marsing today to pick some things up. And guess what was parked right out of town?

Something that takes two pictures to get it all in. Boy, that's big.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

1/2 Mile

In the movie 8 Mile a young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make the most of what could be his final opportunity but his problems around gives him doubts.

A lesser known movie you may not have heard about is 1/2 Mile. A middle-aged woman, struggling with her weight, wants to make the most of what could be her finally opportunity. She undergoes surgery, has a real rough time of it, then bounces back and walks the floors of the hospital. Enough trips to equal a 1/2 mile in one day.

Pretty amazing film premise, eh?

Just my life. Feeling so very much better, took multiple (albeit slow, albeit with a walker) walks and got discharged tonight. Camping out at our in place in Boise through Christmas. Thanks to future son-in-law who didn't complain when I asked him to take a detour on the way home from the hospital I got a second view - and my own picture - of the State Capitol Building. He driving on bumpy snow covered roads while I held my belly and my camera phone gave me a couple of blurry pictures.

But I don't care about the blur. I walked 1/2 a mile today.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Between ICU, dry heaves, and throwing up everything I drink it has been a bit icky. But I'm hanging in. And hubby tells me I have a nice view out my window. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Other Side

My surgery is this week. Not a gastric bypass, but a gastric sleeve. With a bypass they reroute your digestive system; with a sleeve they cut out most of your stomach. 85% of the stomach, in fact.

There's so much I've been thinking and so much I could write, but I'm keeping it brief.

Wish me luck, enjoy my picture of Sunday night's sunset, and see you on the other side (in a good way).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Not so Perfect

I had mentioned at work the other day that I was trying so hard to be perfect but it just wasn't working out. While I was only talking about an overlooked e-mail, I should have kept that thought in my mind while I was out to dinner.

Knowing that very soon many foods will no longer be available to me, I've been having some last meals. We had hamburgers the other day. I'm okay letting those go. Chinese food? I can pass. But steak? That one will be hard.

So after hubby's doctor appointment we went out for steak. It was going to be perfect. A perfectly cooked medium steak, seared on the outside and pink on the inside. When we ordered at the counter and one of hubby's former students, now the manager, paid for our meal (a manager has comping abilities, I guess) I really knew it was going to be perfect.

Well, no. For the steak came to me well done. I wouldn't ever care too much, except this was my last steak. Maybe forever. So for the first time ever I sent a steak back. And the new one they brought out? Pretty dang rare. And pretty dang far from what I expected from a perfect steak.

But maybe it worked out fine. Having that as my last steak in my mind might make me not miss steak as much as I thought I might.

But what is perfect? That the military base in Alaska sent me more pictures to make into a quilt. So yay for charity projects like the newly finished Spiderman quilt. Much more important to me than any darn steak.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Last year on December 15 I wrote that we didn't go out much after dark, especially at this time of year. It was hard for me to see when driving and it was so doggone cold. (Ditto for this year.)

Last year on December 15 we just so happened to be in Caldwell as the sun was setting. (Ditto for today.)

Instead of rushing home before it became pitch dark we decided to go out to Chinese food for dinner. (Ditto for tonight.)

Yet last year it wasn't the Chinese food that became the picture. (Ditto.)

It was what we saw when we came out of the restaurant. (Ditto.)

Last year we could see Christmas lights from the restaurant. (Ditto.)

Last year we took a post-dinner walk and went to see the creek-side park decked out in every possible color of Christmas light. (Ditto-ish.)

Well, if I could walk this year we would have taken the jaunt. But if we walked I would have been out of breath. So then Scooter would have been the preferred method of transportation to the park. Except with the streets and sidewalks covered in snow and ice, Scooter couldn't go. So it was a little drive in the car, one step out of the car to snap a picture of the decorations in the snowy, icy, single digit temperatures, then back into the warm car.

Pretty? (Ditto.)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cleaning my Plate

I had to go to a class this week. Kiddo loves her mom again so she came along. Looking around at the chubby folks in the room it was obvious she wasn't a member of the group but I was sure thankful for her support.

The class was a pre-op class for those about to have weight loss surgery. The class focused on the food, the exercise, and even the emotions involved with this type of surgery. With my surgery date just around the corner - December 18 - I had a lot of ah-ha moments. The biggies:
  • The days of cleaning your plate are over.
  • Short term, the immediate sense of loss of food is often a cause for distress. Even with its problems and tensions, obesity was comfortable, simply because it was known. Now, that life is gone.
  • Many of your friends will be positive and genuinely delighted for you. They will stick with you through the highs and lows and relate to you as the lovable, unique person they have grown to appreciate. Others won't.
  • It's all about you now, not about taking care of others. (My daughter shook a you better listen mom finger at me on this one.)

I thought kiddo was cute waving her finger at me, but when we got back to her apartment I got a picture of something cuter. I just love those blue eyes.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Lost adjective \ˈlst\: not knowing where you are or how to get to where you want to go : unable to find your way

There is no other way to describe the last week of my life.

I had no blog to write.
I had no pictures to take.
I had no Thanksgiving dinner to make.
I had no charity projects in the works.
I had no schoolwork to do. 
Hubby spent most of the time watching football.
Kitty spent most of time outside.
Kiddo was mad and not talking to me.

Everything I had, every single thing that gave purpose to my life, was wiped out all at the same time. And being on the verge of losing the one crutch I've had all my life - food - made the downward spiral continue.

So I'm back and so is kitty. At least I think that's our cat curled up on our bed. That might be an ear up top?

For those loyal followers, welcome back. You'll probably hear from me again this week.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Pic a Day Project

Medical problems have dominated my life. The first bout occurred during high school when I came down with some sort of virus resulting in a hospitalization. I was so sick I couldn't return to school. Sick enough to have to spend the remainder of the school year doing independent study from home in order to finish out my sophomore year. But that was only the beginning. 35 years later and the number of surgeries I've had are in the double digits. Medications into the thousands. Pills, injections, infusions. As I found the list of ailments growing I found the need for a project to make it through my days.

Thus the Pic a Day Project was born. Out of work, hurt, sick, and bored beyond belief, I needed something to keep me going. Something to keep me busy. Something to keep me moving forward.

I started with a goal of taking a picture every day for a year. I’m a pretty private person but I took a leap of faith and put it all out there. Every day I wrote about something and took a picture. Sometimes it was pretty and sometimes it was astounding and sometimes just downright strange. Sometimes it was something that fit my mood for the day and sometimes it wasn't. Just like the days of my life, some were harder and some were easier.

Where did it get me? Well, 365 days turned into another 365 days which turned into 1000 days. Yep, just call me the crazy lady who took a picture every single day for 1000 days.

The crazy lady who was living life one day at a time, one picture at a time.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 1000

The Universe sure has a way of making things happen as they should.

When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was look out the bedroom window. It only seems right that the rose garden died off this morning. Not even one little bit of color. No more rose pictures for the year.

I packed up the quilts for Alaska and took them to the post office today. No more charity pictures for the year.

We went to Alejandra's for dinner tonight. Only a couple items left and we're done with eating through the menu. No more food pictures.

All on Day 1000.

Then the phone call I was expecting arrived. If you know me, you know I've struggled with weight my whole life so a serious decision has been made. A change is scheduled to happen December 18.

Then as I was cleaning up the sewing room, I came across a notebook I had in the bottom of a basket. It had inspirational quotes I had written down, cut from calendars, and printed from the Internet. Just look at the one I had printed from 13 years ago.

The perfect way to end my 1000 days. And the perfect way to begin the next chapter in my life. While there won't be a Day 1001, I'll be back. Maybe next week. Hope to see you then as I work through my next new adventure. Until then...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 999

Yes, I had one of kiddo's cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
No, I didn't get the phone call I was expecting.
Yes, I went to work today.
No, I didn't eat lunch.
Yes, I went to the grocery store to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving.
No, I didn't buy it because I couldn't find my wallet.
Yes, I got home after dark.
Yes, it was cold.
Yes, I went straight to my recliner (after finding my wallet on the table).
No, I don't want to change out of my work clothes.
No, I don't want to move from this spot. Ever.

But I will. For two reasons. Two kids in Alaska who are waiting for quilts made with their Dad's work clothes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 998

One thing I know I'll have done before Day 1000? The kids' quilts for the military base in Alaska. The mom wanted Dad's clothes in the quilt. Talk about a challenge!

Here's a peek at the girl's. A peek at the boy's is being hampered by kitty cat.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 997

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

Educators hear that story quite often.

But right now I feel like it is written for my personal life. I never imagined this picture thing would be anything but a way for me to document my life. But hearing from you is leading me to the realization that what I'm doing here is bigger than myself. Over the last few days the comments, emails, and phone calls I've gotten from you has left my heart full.

Thank you.

And to top it off, kiddo was home today and wanted her momma to show her how to make cinnamon rolls. It's nice to feel needed. Boy, she has tiny fingers.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 996

More than once I've used the phrase, "the perfect storm". It usually has to do with something not weather-related. I've also felt like I've been in the Twilight Zone. Today was one of those kinds of days. So many strange occurrences. For them all to align within a few days of the end is just too much of a coincidence.

Maybe my days aren't done. Maybe I have more to share.

I'd ask kitty her opinion but she's too busy keeping warm in the scrap basket.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 995

There are so many things I thought would be different. I thought 1000 days in my life would have found me full of remarkable changes. I've accomplished so much but feel like I've changed so little.

I've seen some successes. I made it back to work and now have a dream job. I've done so much sewing for charity with quilts and stockings and pillows. I've written a book. I've conquered my fear of heights. I bought a place for retirement. I've supported my husband through a bad bout with kidney failure. I've seen my daughter get engaged. I've seen our cat grow smaller and weaker. I've traveled and sucked out all the marrow of life. I've gotten a couple tattoos to inspire me to keep plugging along.

What an amazing life I have. But I've taken thousands of pills, given myself hundreds of injections, and had several rounds of infusions all in the attempt to make my self well. And it hasn't worked. Here I am, 995 days later, and the pain and stiffness and fatigue drains me as much today as it did back then. Living these last few months with only one working lung has made life even more difficult.


Yet each and every day I get myself out of bed. Each and every day I find something to take a picture of. Each and every day I turn to this blog to help me through the next step (and misstep). 

What will I do without it? What will I do without you cheering me on?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 994

Shock and awe.

Why is this still happening?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 993

Someone has spent more time than I have with my new sewing machine.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 992

What is up with our roses? We might wind up with a rose centerpiece on the Thanksgiving table.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 991

The days are drawing to a close. For the blog and for the rose garden.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 990

I don't know which picture is more adorable. Kitty glaring at me while I was drying her off after her bath.

Or the Mohawk that appeared in my sewing room. (And no, I didn't style her hair that way.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 989

8:00 AM.

30 degrees outside. 

Frost on the roof. 

In a short sleeved t-shirt, sweats, and house slippers a crazy lady wanders the rose garden with her phone. 

Looking for a picture of frost on roses. 

Think I got it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 988

Gotta love eBay fabric lots, especially such a cheap one with yards and yards and yards of high quality fabrics. But I need to stop buying. Soon.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 987

Yeah, the leaves are out of control.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 986

The day is coming. The day I can no longer make it out and about. It became quite clear after a series of events today. Between phone calls and home and work and the doctor's office and the pharmacy and back home again things were rough every moment of the day. So when I got home I forced, absolutely forced, myself to the rose garden to take another picture of a bloomer. Because I know I may never, ever, for the rest of my life, be able to see a rose up close at this time of year.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 985

I sure wish this picture of ice crystals on my tail light was a bit clearer because they were so interesting. At least to me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 984

On Day 939 I posed this fill-in-the-blank question:

When my daughter and I walked out of the ______ ______ she said, "A mom should never have more ______ than her 25 year old daughter."

The answer was :
When my daughter and I walked out of the tattoo parlor she said, "A mom should never have more tattoos than her 25 year old daughter."

I held off on the picture because I was waiting for the bruising to go away. I got the tattoo just a few days after infusion and my body's defenses were down.

But it still hasn't gone away. I've found out it's not bruising, it's from ink leaking into a layer of my skin. Now it's time to cover up the "bruises". At a different tattoo parlor.

I'm not exactly someone who knows where to look when it comes to a tattoo place. But the gal who draws my blood every time I go to the rheumatologist's office does. Go figure.

It was a good recommendation. Just look at the before and after. Amazing what color can do. And it looks so much more joyful!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 983

When I looked through my bedroom out to my rose garden it sure looked like things had finally been killed off by the frost. Only when I went into the garden itself did I find I was wrong.

How can I be so lucky to find even more roses still in the bud stage?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day 982

I do it at home, but not at work.
I do it in my recliner, but not in my sewing room.
I do it in the doctor's office, but not the waiting room.
I do it when the car is being serviced, but not when I drive.
I do it in the bedroom, but not the bathroom.
I do it in a hotel room, but not a cruise line cabin.

I play Words with Friends. And occasionally, ever so often, I get a score I can be proud of. 111 this time.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 981

What makes this next kids' quilt project so special? Why is it that I need to spend more time thinking and planning than sewing?

Is it because I'm doing two quilts, one for each sibling?
Or because they're for another military family in Alaska?
Or because the kids' pictures are in them?

But mostly because these were special request quilts. If you remember, recently I made one for a niece who was super-close to an uncle who was killed on Christmas Day.

These two new ones will be different. The Operation Kid Comfort gal contacted me and wondered if it was even possible. Knowing how much it would mean to the family I couldn't help but say yes.

The request?

Use dad's Air Force fatigues in the quilt. The project is still in the thinking stage.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 980

There could be any number of numbers of significance in October. It would be impossible to choose one that is most important.

625 Christmas stockings for Stockings for Soldiers.
4 days I couldn't breathe in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
3 shots in my knee.
4,438 dollars won on a penny machine at the casino.
1 new sewing machine.
13 doctor appointments.

Even though November is just beginning there is one number of great significance. (And it isn't the 10 doctor appointments already scheduled.)

It's the number 1000. I imagine you know why that's important.

But I'm surprised I didn't list the number of nights going out to dinner for the two months. I haven't kept track but the number would be high. Really high. Hit the pizza place tonight. How many local pizza joints serve corn chowder? Don't know but ours does.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 979

When you're walking out of the house
at 7:30 in the morning
on the way to the doctor
who is going to shoot your knee up again
you aren't thinking about using a camera.

Sometimes your energy
is so drained
the best you can do
is grab the phone.

And take a picture
of sunrise.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 978

It took every bit of breath I had in me to make it into the rose garden today to take pictures. Only through that oxygen-depleting activity did I realize how lucky I am. 

Who else, in Idaho, with these cold temperatures, in the month of November, could still manage to have roses that are putting on a show? 

Lucky me. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 977

I'm embarrassed to say I'm still opening boxes of fabric I picked up on eBay. It's like Christmas but without 625 stockings filling my house.

I'm not sure which cat or dog fabric I like best.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 976

Just because I've been crazy with Christmas fabric it hasn't stopped me from buying non-Christmas fabric. (Thank goodness it came in the door after the stockings were gone.)


Friday, November 1, 2013

Day 975

625 Christmas stockings will be heading out my door on their way to Afghanistan. I don't have words for today. Do you?