Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Life Well Lived

How do we decide someone has lived their life well? The first thing that comes to my mind is what kind of effort the person put into their life. Did they put forth their best effort, always doing the best they were capable of? That's really the crux of the matter, isn't it? Because from that one character trait you can look at how one treats their family, friends, and the rest of the world.

My mother is gone. She passed away October 23rd, 2010. She never sloughed through any task or relationship. She always did her best.

I could go on and on about all the things she did well and she did do many things well. But I won't. She simply did her best, always.

Thank you, Mother, for setting an example I try to follow. Proverbs 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Rubies can't begin to compare with you, Mother.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Overnight at Fanning Springs

Katie and I decided to spend Friday night at Fanning with her children.  Lee joined us later after he got off work.  We stopped to visit Mother on our way through Trenton.  She was in a semi-conscious state, not really awake nor completely asleep.  

We went on to Fanning and prepared dinner.  I went to bed pretty early and awoke when Lee came in and again about 4:30 a.m. when Linda Grace was fussy.  I took her to my bed and she smiled and cooed for a while until she found her thumb.  I could tell she was sleepy, so I turned off the light and we both fell asleep.  She slept until almost 9 a.m.!  

About 10 a.m. I went in alone to visit Mother.  She was in bed, semi-conscious but would not open her eyes.  I sang two or three songs to her and stroked her hair.  She moaned a little and only opened her eyes once when I began singing "Red River Valley".  Katie and I had planned and packed a picnic lunch to take to the river, but Linda Grace slept on until almost 1 p.m. so we had a lovely lunch on the porch.  Later, Katie, the children and I went back to see Mom on our way back home.  She was pretty much in the same state.  The nurse told me she had been up for breakfast, though she ate little and they had been able to feed her a little for lunch in bed.  

How much of her lack of responsiveness is due to medication and how much to her true condition, I cannot tell.  I plan to talk to her hospice nurse on Monday to find out how much pain reliever they are giving her and if her condition is congruent with the medication.

Katie and I got home about 3:30 P.M.  Lindy invited me out for dinner so I took a bottle of Sterling, some cheese and crackers and had a lovely evening with her.  Bob was still there when I arrived but left for his Saturday night gig with his band buddies.  Cary was there also, but had his friend, Maelee over, so I saw very little of him. 

The photo is one I took last weekend at Fanning.  I tried to capture the sun's rays coming through the trees.  I am not satisfied with my efforts but hope to do better.  A friend who is a good photographer and I plan to make regular photo op trips together and I hope to learn a lot more from her.  I find photography very relaxing.  I have always admired art that followed reality rather than the abstract and photography satisfies that interest.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Time to Sow and a Time to Reap.

I love looking at fields after the hay has been harvested.  What a vision of plenty!  I've recently been putting up pears and just feast on the sight of all those jars of spiced pears that are "laid by" for future enjoyment.  I think I'll do a whole series of photos on this theme.

We spent the weekend beginning Friday at our place at Fanning Springs.  My sister, Yvonne and her husband, David, came down from Georgia.  We had a meeting Friday at Ayers with a representative from Hospice.  My brother, Marcus, and his wife, Sandi, also came to the meeting.  My mother 's condition has deteriorated to the point she needs extra care.  She is sleeping a lot, pulling up into the prenatal position.  She's also not eating much and often refuses her medications.  Yvonne and I knelt by her bed and released her on Sunday.  We just let her know we didn't want to hold her back if she was ready to go.  Her eyes were closed and I wonder if she really understood, but she did acknowledge me when I asked her if she understood.  Mother has never expressed a desire to leave this world.  She has always been a person that made the best out of whatever situation she found herself in.  I think that's one reason she has been at Ayers for 9 1/2 years.  She simply made the best of it and adjusted to the life she had there.

We have no way to know how long she will live, which goes without saying, I suppose.  We just all hope and pray she can go quickly without becoming a bedridden patient.  So, please pray with us that she will be able go soon.

That's about all my news except to say I'm enjoying my grands very much.  Olivia was with us a couple of weeks and of course, I see Katie's children often. 

Linda Gail

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Beginnings

Today marked a new beginning or, perhaps more accurately, a return to former vitality and pleasures! It was cool enough this morning that I made myself a hot cup of tea. I've been told green tea is the healthy choice, so, since it is almost tasteless, I put a constant comment tea bag in with the green tea bag. This begs the question, have I negated the benefits of the green tea by adding another tea?

The cool air also permitted me to be outside all morning. I took a few photos in the yard which I will share. I put away the chairs around the pool, cleaned up Olivia's "pasta kitchen" on the front porch, moved plants around and weeded a corner of the side yard. My blue gingers,white butterfly gingers and curcuma gingers are all blooming now. The white butterfly drenches the air with a heavenly scent. A most pleasant area in which to work.

Last new beginning is I no longer have chickens to care for. I only had 3 and yet they still managed to do a lot of digging when roaming free. They were miserable in the pen. So Lindy graciously came over and took them back to her place. Dolly and Daisy originally came from her farm and Wheatie was from an egg Lindy brought me that was hatched here by Francine, one of my samatra hens. The main reason, however, for giving them to Lindy is they tie Cary and I down. Mickey can go with us and I can leave enough food for several days for Sheba in her food dispenser on the back porch. I know I will miss the chickens but truth be told, there is a time and season for all things. My mother is not doing well and in fact, Hospice has been called in to make an evaluation. I believe she suffered a stroke a couple of months ago. She often refuses to eat or take meds and cannot hold her head up while sitting up. I'd like to feel free to spend more time at our place at Fanning just to check on her more closely and perhaps bring her more comfort during the time ahead. I do not feel her death is imminent but still feel I should be more available to her.

Now as to the photos. I find it difficult to place descriptions with the photos, so I'll just give a brief description now. The golden rod in my pool area just volunteered there. Our bees find it most enticing (as well as the love bugs! ugh!). The large planter beside is has seeding sweet basil. The little tree is an olive tree and should bear fruit within 3 or 4 years. I bought this tree a year ago at the Seedlings Spring Garden Show and it has doubled in size already. The neat thing about olive trees is they can live for hundreds of years. I like the idea of leaving something behind that might survive long after I am laid to rest. The vine is on my pool fence. I don't know the official name but call it "Butterfly" since the seed pods form a butterfly shape. It blooms spring and fall and both the blooms and seed pods are pretty. The other photos were taken on the south side of my house in a more shaded area. Blue gingers, a potato vine that comes back on top of my azaleas year after year (I love the chartreuse color) and the white butterfly ginger whose scent makes gardening a pleasure.

I really do feel closer to my pre-op, pre-chemo and pre-radiation self today! This cool weather has started a trend!

Love to all,
Linda Gail

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pulling Together | Pulling Together

Pulling Together | Pulling Together

I shared this on Face Book and realized just today I wanted to share it with those of you who read my blog. This little video says so much, and much more eloquently than I ever could, about how I feel toward all of you who have lifted me up over the past months. This has been a journey I am thankful that I did not have to go alone!

Today is my and Cary's 38th Anniversary. We met through my parents and I have to confess, Lindy fell in love with Cary before I did. In fact, she proposed to him, asking him to marry her Mama. That speaks volumns about the wisdom of children and the character of my husband! I'm so thankful he came along when he did and now 5 children, 3 sons-in-law, 8 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild later, I can truthfully say I am happier now than ever!

Our ceremony was very simple. We planned ahead of time to stand up after regular church service on Sunday morning and exchange our vows. Lindy and Bobbie stood up with us. We didn't want to make much of a fuss and with the exception of not getting any decent pictures, I have no regrets. The only photo I have is quite small and faded. Oh, well, I have boxes of pictures taken since then which my children are going to hate us for if we don't get them culled and organized!

I hope you enjoy the video "Pulling Together/Pulling Together". Simple Truths has a large selection of wonderful videos at

Linda Gail

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'm back!

Sorry about the long hiatus, but somehow I couldn't get going again after I finished radiation. I thought I'd post a few photos of my chicks, just to show you the growth of the 3 chicks Freckles hatched (2 pullets, 1 rooster) and the one little chick Francine hatched out, Wheatie. Wheatie is going to be a giant when she's grown, maybe even larger than Daisy, my white leghorn. Notice in the 2nd photo how she's already as tall as her mom. I say "she" wishfully because I'm hoping Wheatie is not another rooster! As it is, I don't plan to keep Sultan II. He's shaping up, however, to be as pretty as his pa. He just isn't grown yet and doesn't have the golden cowl around his neck that Sultan the 1st had.

Daisy and Dolly(the Americana)are both laying pretty much every day. Freckles gives me the occasional egg, when she feels up to it. She has tried to set again twice since she hatched her three and both times I've broke her from it by making her stay in the chicken run area at night rather than roosting with the others and in the daytime she's outside the entire compound. The first time I broke her, it took 3 days and nights. The last time, one night was enough! Shows you her pea sized brain might be able to retain a few things.

I keep a little bowl of eggs on my hutch. I love looking at them. Strange as it may sound, those eggs are little treasures to me. The greenish ones are from Dolly, the Americana, the brown ones belong to Daisy, the white leghorn, and the cream ones come from Freckles.

You will probably remember this photo from a previous posting also. This is Freckles with her 3 chicks on the roost when they were little. One of the chicks is hidden underneath her on the roost. The other photo was taken today as the 4 of them roamed the yard together. Freckles is leading the way and Sultan II is bringing up the right flank.

I made a new friend today who lives near here. Her name is Sandra. She lives in the woods out from town and has a blog about foxes. She has videoed these foxes right outside her home. She has an amazing story to tell about a young kit whose head got stuck in a plastic mayonnaise jar! If you'd like to visit her blog the address is She has used her photos to create sale items which she has also posted on her blog.

This blogging, especially posting pictures, is time consuming. And I admit, I don't know enough about blogging to make it easier. There is probably a way I could set my blog to let you know when I have something new. I'll try to figure that out, but meanwhile, just check about once every week or so.

Thanks to all of you (mostly one friend in particular) who have encouraged me to continue the blog. We'll see how long I last this time!

Linda Gail

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where to now?

Well, dear friends, I've been casting about wondering what direction this blog can possibly go now that I have completed the worst of my treatments. I don't know. I just feel somewhat at sea right now as far as any commentary goes.

I feel incredibly blessed to have weathered the treatments as well as I have and am thankful that my life can resume some semblance of normalcy. Of course there are the herceptin infusions every 3 weeks and I am continuing physical therapy for the time being.

Cary and I plan to go to our place at Fanning after VBS is over. We will be taking Olivia and Ana back to their mother after this trip. Ana plans to live with her mom. This will be a major change in all our lives, but we are praying for Jenny and Brian to make a family with the girls and their new baby boy due in August.

Perhaps when it cools off in the fall, I'll grab my camera and share photos and a little descriptive prose to go along with the pictures. I've seen so many things lately I wanted to take shots of but didn't have my camera along. One shot I missed was the banners the new owners put up on the old Christian-Reber home during the 4th of July. They took them down before I could get back with my camera. Those banners gently rippling in the breeze just seemed to be whispering a promise to that old house and all passers by that better times are on the way!

Love to all,
Linda Gail

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

One more!

Dear Ones:

My oncologist thought my skin so improved today that I should go ahead with the two lost chest wall treatments. I had one today, so tomorrow is the very last one. For real, for sure, this time!!! It is amazing how much better my skin felt after 8 solid days with no treatments. Conversely, it's also amazing how tight it already feels tonight after the one treatment today.

I finished "One True Thing" by Anna Quinlan. It is also a very good read. She is a gifted writer, though her story lines are serious. I am currently reading a short biography on Winston Churchill. I like biographies. I am always amazed by details of people's lives that I wouldn't learn otherwise. I have Lucille Ball's biography and have had for several months. For a real change of pace, perhaps I'll read that next. Although, Cary and I were at our place in Fanning last night and I brought home "Armageddon" by Leon Uris. It's a rather thick paper back and the print is quite small. If it's interesting into the 2nd or 3rd chapter, maybe I'll stick it out and finish it. When we bought the place over there, the lady who sold it to us left a few things behind including a little hall bookcase with a collection of books. One she left behind that I really liked and want to read again is Mitchener's "The Source".

I don't know if you all can keep up with which chicken is which, so if I repeat information you already know just remember it is in the interest of keeping my chickens identified properly. I had two Samatra hens left when I gave The Sultan and his favorite hen away. One is Freckles, the alpha hen. She has 3 half grown chickens (2 pullets and a little rooster - so far all unnamed). The other Samatra, Francine, had tried to set once before and was run off the nest by The Sultan. About a month ago she began sitting again. Only trouble was, the eggs were not fertilized. Lindy brought me 4 beautiful chocolate brown eggs that I put under her. Of the 4 eggs, only one produced a biddy. That old saying that a hen will scratch just as hard for one biddy as she will for a dozen is really true! Francine clucks and scratches and runs the other chickens away from her biddy. Freckles likes to mess with her, though. She is either very curious about the biddy or has designs on stealing it. That little chick is so bonded with it's mom, though, I don't think Freckles has a chance! Dolly (the Americana) has laid every day since she began about 5 days ago. Her first egg was a beautiful blue but they've become more green as they increase in size. Today, Daisy (our white leghorn) gave us a nice white egg. Now if Freckles would start laying again, we'd be getting 3 eggs a day.

The little half-grown rooster has started training the two little pullets to come to him when he clucks and acts as if he has something to eat. I got a chuckle yesterday when he clucked, Dolly ran over and smacked him as if to say "Now we aren't going to put up with that!" It is interesting to me that the of the two pullets left that Lindy brought me, they both hang together. The 3 half grown chicks hang together. The only brood mates that don't hang together are the Samatras. I expect that's because Freckles is so hard to get along with.

Francine and little Wheatie

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sheba leads the way!

This is pretty much the way Sheba and I spent our day yesterday. I'm not sure if I was so tired because of the atmospheric pressure or whether after getting done with radiation treatments my brain just called for it. Whatever was going on, I laid around most of the day.

Just finished Anna Quinlan's "Every Last One". Quite a story, but sad. I do recommend it as a good read. I had her "One True Thing" on hand also, so I started it yesterday.

I plan to clean today. Cary is driving down to meet Jenny and pick Ana up. Ana will be in church camp next week. She's very excited about it. She will be with a group camping out, planning and cooking their own meals, etc. I'm a little concerned about mosquitoes because she is so allergic to the bites. We've bought "off" spray and Off now puts out a battery operated bug repellent I thought might be good to use at night while she sleeps.

Wow! The rain yesterday was something else. Best we've had in quite some time. I probably need to fertilize again. I'm sure anything I put out earlier this year was washed to China! I did manage to dead head my hydrangeas yesterday. That's an easy job that doesn't take too long. I'll miss their beautiful blooms in the garden. Sister Teresa continues to shine, however. She's white and the blooms change a little but are very resilient.

Bobbie sent me a little plastic thing that resembled a douche bag. It has two suction cups. I had to call her to find out what to do with it. Seems she bought it when she visited Butchart Gardens. They used them to display fresh flowers on the windows! It is open on the top and has 3 sections to it. Oh, heck! I'll just take a photo and show you! The photo with my china cabinet is the first place I put it. I have blinds on my windows which creates a little problem. But then I decided I wanted to see how it looked in a window. Brighter flowers would help a lot, but right now I have only Sister Teresa hydranges. Well, that's not true exactly. I could cut some of my Black Eyed Susans. But, I want them to reseed for next year so I've left them entirely alone. Anyway, isn't that a neat way to display flowers?

Let us all pray that our 4th of July will be celebrated without any crazies out there trying to make a statement!

Love to all,
Linda Gail

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Serendipity Day

My treatment yesterday may become my last radiation treatment. I thought I had one more scar tissue and 2 more chest wall treatments but yesterday I had my last scar tissue treatment. When I saw my oncologist, she didn't think my skin was ready for 2 more chest wall treatments. I have raw tissue under my arm where the tubes exited my body after surgery. I'm to go back to her next Tuesday and if I've healed enough, I will go ahead with 2 more chest wall treatments.

The serendipity part of this is that today is my mom's 89th birthday and because I didn't have to go back for another treatment, I drove over to see Mother on her special day. I bought us both fried chicken deli dinners at Hitchcock's in Newberry. We had a private dinner in the family room, then sat on the front porch where there was a gentle breeze cooling things off under an overcast sky.

Daphene, my Rhode Island Red hen, is no more. We let the chickens out yesterday after the shower Sunday night. They eat corn, corn, corn all the time and I feel sorry for them. I thought they'd enjoy scratching around in the damp earth, finding a few earth worms and eating greenery they like. When we returned home, Daphene was on the porch the obvious victim of a vicious animal. I suspect a dog but since no one seems to have actually witnessed the mischief, I won't ever know. Whatever it was trapped her in the corner wall of the front porch.

Dolly, the Americana pullet, has been exhibiting signs of wanting to sit on a nest. But I've caught my irascible alpha hen, Freckles,running her off. So today when I caught her at this, I let her out of the pen. After all, she can fly straight up into a tree if something starts chasing her! I later found a small blue egg, not in the nest, as I would expect, but on the ground. Maybe Dolly will get the hang of it if she's left alone long enough. The egg is bigger than a Mocking Bird's egg, but not by much. Very cute and pretty! Americana's are a cross breed from the Araucana chickens. They lay either green or blue eggs and are commonly called Easter Egg Chickens.

Someone asked why we are feeding the bees sugar water. They feed on this and store the honey they make from pollen rather than eating their honey. That way, they'll have a good store of honey for lean pollen months and we will be more likely to get more honey when we rob the hive.

Linda Gail

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Last Leg

This week should see me through the completion of my radiation. I have two more treatments on the scar tissue and expect to take the last two on my chest wall Wed. and Thurs. I am still very uncomfortable, though some of the burned area is healing. I expect the two days on the chest wall will cause some new burns and more healing to be done. Tomorrow will be a full day. Beginning at 10:30 I will be getting an echo cardiogram. At 12 Noon I'm in for a herceptin infusion and at 1:20 I get radiation.

Someone asked me about the bees. The bees have doubled in number and the brood box is nearly full. They have it capped off at the bottom. Cary expects to have 90,000 bees by the end of July. They are eating a half gallon of sugar water a week. They are interesting to watch. There are guards at the entrance to the hive to make sure no uninvited guests come in. As the worker bees land and crawl inside you can plainly see the pollen on their legs. One day I was standing out under my vitex tree around noon and a solid chorus of buzzing was going on up in the blossoms. Quite pleasant and reassuring to know that insects so essential to ensuring that plants continue to seed are so industrious!

Linda Grace continues to thrive, gaining about an ounce a day. She seems to be a very relaxed, laid back baby. Of course, after three children, I'm sure Katie is a much calmer, laid back Mama!

Linda Gail

Monday, June 21, 2010

Update, better late than never

Okay, so it's been a while since I posted anything. This radiation thing is every day, 5 days a week, except for weekends and holidays for 30 treatments! Everyday I head out about 1 p.m. and I'm normally home within an hour and 15 minutes. It does take a plug out of the middle of my day. We have had Olivia with us since last Wednesday. Also, I had, up until last Friday, been going to Katie's in the mornings to help out with daily chores and getting in my Linda Grace "fix".

Speaking of Linda Grace, she is such a good baby. She's sleeping good stretches at a time so Mama and Daddy can get their rest. She hadn't lost any of her birth weight when she visited the doctor last week and she's filling out very nicely!

My chest is really, really burned and painful. That explains why I haven't made it to yoga. I called in today to see my radiology oncologist before my treatment time because I felt I just couldn't take another treatment on the same area. I only had two left of those, then I was slated to do 5 days on my scar tissue. After a long wait and a short talk with the doctor, she agreed to let me go ahead with the 5 days on the scar tissue and we'll revisit the issue of the 2 days left on the chest wall. There will be some overlap with the scar tissue treatments but hopefully it won't overlap over the worst burned area. The skin has thickened so medication is not being absorbed. The aloe gives a temporary relieve to the area which is a wonderful plant to have around! Laurel and Frank brought me a trio of them because I didn't have an aloe plant.

We went to Brunswick, Ga. over the weekend to help Cary's oldest brother, Charles, celebrate his 80th birthday. Silas came along and drove for us, so with Cary in the passenger seat that left Ana, Olivia and I in the back seat. We actually did pretty well, all things considered. The girls got to know cousins they had never met before and I got a photo. These McCollum girls are 3rd generation from Cary's parents. They had a great time together eating and then taking a swim in Uncle Charles' and Aunt Caroline's pool. We spent the night in a hotel which Olivia pronounced "hellatella".

My cousin, Madelin, is coming for an overnight visit Thursday. She lives in Tallahassee. She has always been very close to my mother and will come by to visit her before coming here. Madelin is my senior by 12 years and has always been like another older sister. Her mother, my mom's oldest sister,was my favorite aunt and served as my surrogate grandmother. She made cute dresses with matching bloomers for me, saved empty powder boxes and other little trinkets to delight a little girl.Aunt Lola will always hold a special place in my heart!

I had a surprise visit yesterday afternoon from my cousin, Kendra, and her husband. They drove over from Jacksonville. She recently had a bad fall, a concussion, and is having a time recovering. She is younger than me but we enjoyed each other as children and have been close since we've been grown.

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath to hear the update on the chickens! Right? Francine has been sitting on her nest for about 2 weeks. She has what we hope are fertilized Wheaton eggs under her. Her sister, Freckles (You remember her. She's the "bitch" mother hen.) started laying again as soon as she got sick of her biddies. Being the bitch that she is, she would jump up in the nesting box with Francine and run her off to lay her egg. Take into consideration there are 5 other nesting boxes to choose from. Francine, not being too bright, would just jump into another nesting box. An empty one at that. She didn't seem to notice there were no eggs. So I had to go run Freckles and Francine off the nests, steal the egg Freckles laid, separate her off in the chicken pen, and without fail Francine would get back on the nest. At least Freckles was keeping the eggs warm while she sat there. Cary came up with the idea of placing a wire screen over Francine so Freckles couldn't get in the nest. So what does Freckles do? She gets in another nest and proceeds to go into setting mode! So now she is baned from the nesting boxes entirely except for roosting time at night. Hopefully she will pick a spot in the chicken run pen to lay her egg. The 3 pullets Lindy brought me have been eating laying mash but not laying. I really think Francine keeps them so rattled with her proprietary attitude, they can't settle down enough to lay. Would anyone like a nice hen for chicken and dumplings?

Linda Gail

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Linda Grace Deaderick

Linda Grace was born yesterday, June 9th, at 11:07 a.m. She weighed 7 lbs. 9 oz and was not quite 19 inches long. She favors her sister, Maggie, a lot. She is nursing, sleeping and all the other little things babies need to do very well. Katie is hoping to come home tomorrow but it may be Saturday. Katie is feeling as well as she might expect to after a c-section.

Annie has been the perfect big sister. She wanted to stay with her mother and Linda Grace during the day but still had school and a couple of final exams. She asked her parents to allow her to ask permission to take the exams early and get out of school so she could help her mother in the hospital. So, that's what she's doing and we are all very proud of her.

I saw my oncologist yesterday, or rather his P.A. It is doubtful the Herceptin (an antibody) was causing the pain in my legs. The more likely culprit is a delayed reaction to the chemo. He gave me a prescription for pain meds but so far I haven't filled it. My legs still ache but they are much improved from the intense pain I had last week. I would rather not take pain meds because they also bring with them side effects. So, if my legs don't put me in fits like I was last week, I can live with it. Today after I received my radiation I went to the infusion center and received my 8th herceptin infusion. I have 7 more to go to complete the full round of 15 infusions. I should finish either December or January. I'm very thankful to qualify for these infusions. Test trials have shown that herceptin increases the chances of survival of my cancer by 50%.

So far my skin is holding up well to the radiation. It is red and irritated but regular applications of aloe vera and an aloe vera product by Vaseline, have kept it from blistering or breaking open. I have 13 more radiation treatments. I am over half way! Yeah!!!

Best to all,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Today marks the half way mark on my radiation treatments. So far my skin is holding up fairly well. It is pretty irritated on the chest wall where they give stronger treatments to the lymph nodes. Yesterday I was measured for my last set of plates which will be used the last 6 days of my treatments to treat the scar tissue. They have made 2 other sets of plates since I began treatments. The plates are made from lead and just the area they wish to treat is cut out of the lead. It's amazing how quickly they get me out of there (usually 13 minutes or so).

I am anxious to talk to my oncologist tomorrow about the Herceptin treatments. I really would like to finish them since the research on it shows it increases my chance of survival by 50% over women who are Her2 positive who don't receive the Herceptin. The pain in my legs is a little less troublesome and the sciatic problem is resolved. Thanks to massage therapy and a stretching exercise, I am no longer having that pain.

Last night Ana graduated from 5th grade. The inspirational speaker was a young man of 16 who had a book published at 14! He also plays the piano. I thought it rather neat to have a speaker for them to whom they could readily relate. The school bought copies of his book for each graduate and he signed each of them after the program.

Well, Francine, the other Samatran hen has decided to set. She only has one egg. You may recall she tried to set back when her sister hen set on her eggs and The Sultan ran her off her nest. She ran around here wild eyed for days afterward. The one egg she has under her hasn't been fertilized so I think I'll do what Lindy does with her little Cochin hen who is always broody. I'll let her set 21 days, go get a biddy from somewhere and place it under her at night and bingo! She's a mama. Freckles (Mother Hen) has finally weaned her 3 little ones. I've seen her peck at them when they come around her and she no longer shares food. The last two nights she has gone to the roost without them. I did notice last night the one biddy that looks like a rooster has taken a place on the top roost with her but the other two which I think are pullets took a lower roost. It will be interesting to see how the dynamics of the group change once the little rooster comes into his own. The 3 pullets Lindy gave me stick together, often sitting in a little clutch in the afternoon.

Tomorrow Linda Grace will arrive!!! So, more later.

Linda Gail

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Linda Grace, Lightning, Legs and Radiation

Katie's c-section has been moved up to June 9th, this coming Wednesday. Her blood pressure continues to be high as well as her blood sugar. Linda Grace weighs about 7 lbs. and is practicing breathing, so the doctor feels confident she's ready to greet the world! I am so excited about her coming. Another little one to dote on and get sugars from! I'll post a photo as soon as I have one.

My internet service has been down since last Friday due to a lightning strike that took out the chip inside my computer that communicates, the internet modem and my printer. The lightning hit a tall palm tree on the south side of the house. Once it left the tree, it cut a trench about 12' long and about 6" deep through my flower bed, decimating a Shooting Star Hydrangea and ruining the new growth on two old French Hydrangeas. Shooting Star will make it, but it's beauty has been stripped this year and I had been feasting on it with my eyes for several days!

I have been experiencing severe pain in my legs, particularly late in the evening. It began as muscle soreness and continued to get worse. Then about 4 or 5 days ago, my left sciatic pain kicked in robbing me of rest at night. I realized it must be related to the Herceptin drug I take every 3 weeks. One of the side effects is muscle pain and heart problems, our hearts being the largest muscle in our bodies. Before I began taking Herceptin the doctor ordered an echo-cardiogram and every three months following the beginning of the treatment. My next treatment was scheduled for Monday but my next appointment with my oncologist wasn't until Wednesday. I called his office today and spoke with his nurse. She recommended canceling the next treatment. I don't know whether I will be able to continue on this medication or not. I do know I can't continue to endure the pain.

I had my 12th radiation treatment today, leaving 18 more to go. I'll reach the half-way mark on Tuesday. So far I have tolerated them very well but am beginning to feel the skin tighten up and itch. I use an aloe product immediately following the radiation, then reapply it and real aloe again that night and the next morning. I must rinse it off before my next treatment. The radiation department is very efficient. Once I'm on the table, I'm out in about 13 minutes. I haven't had to wait over 5 minutes for an appointment since I began. Today Cary and I were almost home within an hour of leaving the house.

Our good friends, Jan and Jim Elliott, were here this past weekend. We had a very "laid back" weekend. They enjoyed being in the country, particularly visiting Lee's garden. It is quite something to see. They also went with us to the end of year program of DKNP home school. The students did a Greek play complete with beautiful props. Parents brought covered dishes for a delicious dinner afterward. Maggie really hammed up her part in the play. It was obvious she was thoroughly enjoying herself. Jan and I ran around in the golf cart and visited Mary Ann Kelley to see the garden her grandfather began in the early 1900's. We got a twofer! Mary Ann took us to her woodland garden(which Mary Ann calls her "Secret Garden") out in the pines. It was delightful and enchanting.

That about brings you up to date on our news. I'm just about sick of Freckles (Mother Hen). Her biddies are big enough to fend for themselves but she still runs herd on all the other hens. Anything that comes in that pen (to eat) is hers and her biddies. She still occupies the top roost and is generally a bitch.

'til later,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

1st Night on the Roost

Mother Hen decided last night was the night to finally establish her position in the flock. I don't know how she did it, but she herded those three little chicks all the way to the top of the roost. She wouldn't allow another hen on the roost with them. The top roost was her roost. Tonight, however, was a different story. The Amerighana hen, Dolly, went to the far end of the top roost and gingerly sprang up to take her place. I have watched her with the other Samatran hen, Francine, and have thought she may become the alpha hen. Time will tell, but they are funny as all get out to watch. When they were all on the roost, it was Freckles (Mother Hen) and her three chicks, Daisy (the Amerighana) and Daphene (The Rhode Island Red) on the top roost, Francine (2nd Samatran Hen) on the 2nd roost and poor Daisy (the White Leghorn) on the bottom roost.

I know people passing by on the back street who see me with my camera by the chicken house must think I'm some kind of fruit cake!

We had a great visit with my sister, Yvonne and her husband, David. I felt so bad yesterday, though, we came home early just because I wanted to be home. I felt much better today. Tomorrow starts a whole new week of the radiation treatments.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Alpha Hen

This was so interesting, I just have to share it. We only have two of the samatran hens left since we gave The Sultan and his favorite hen to a friend. One hen, Mother Hen, is separated all day with her three biddies from the other hen and the three pullets in a day pen. Because we separate them, it's kind of a rigamaroll to get them all back into the roost area at night. The one samatran hen who is allowed to roam free during the day with the three pullets has established herself with them as the alpha hen. Mother Hen is shut up all day in the day pen with her biddies. At night, we wait until the 3 pullets and the hen are on the roost, then we open the little gate from the day-pen and the roost for Mother Hen and her babies to come into the roost area where they have a little brooder box, which I shut them up in after they come back in.

Tonight Cary and I had a meeting to attend and arrived home after dark. Mother Hen was still out in the day pen, the biddies had squeezed through the fence and were nesting in the brooder box, and the other samatran hen and three pullets were on the roost. When Cary opened the little gate for Mother Hen to get into the roosting area, she didn't go into the brooder box to her biddies right away. Oh, no! She jumped up on the roosting poles and gave the other samatran hen a good peck!

I think her message was "Who the hell do you think you are? You think you're the alpha hen? In case you've forgotten, you're not! I'm still in charge. So there!"

Talk about the "pecking order".

Ana and I have named the hens. Funny how it wasn't important to name them as long as The Sultan reigned supreme. The Mother Hen is actually named Freckles because she's black with little white spots on her. The other Samatran hen is named Francine. She has wild looking eyes and somehow the name Francine just suited her. If you'll recall, she tried to nest and get babies going but something always happened to run her off the nest! I think that's why her eyes are so wild looking. We have a white leghorn pullet we named Daisy, a Rhode Island Red pullet named Daphene, and an Ameraucana we named Dolly. The Ameraucana will lay either blue or green eggs. She has funny feathers around her face. It remains to be seen who the real Alpha hen will be as the pullets grow into maturity. I'll try to post pictures of each hen later with their names. They really are interesting to watch.

What is that old saying? "You can the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl." That's me!

Love to all,
Linda Gail

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First Radiation Treatment

My first radiation treatment went well. They promised it would be quick and it was. This week because I'm starting on Tuesday, I'll have just 4 treatments. Then again Memorial Day will garner me another 4 day week. Wish those 4-day weeks were toward the end of my treatments, but glad to get them either way. Of course, I must complete 30 treatments, regardless.

Last week I spent two days and nights at St. Augustine with members of our book club, "McIntosh Undercover". We had read "Bloody Sunset", a true story about a murder that occurred in St. Augustine in 1973. We looked up two of the homes mentioned in the story and talked to a local shop keeper who remembered the murder and had a definite opinion as to "who done it". We had a fun time just relaxing on the beach, playing balderdash, and shopping.

Best to all,

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I didn't realize it had been so long since I had posted. We have had Olivia for the past week, which has kept me really busy. She will be going home in the next day or so. Of course, we'll miss her the minute she's gone!

Well, the 4:30 to 5:00 a.m. wake-up calls by The Sultan lost him his tenure with us. We found him a new home and allowed him to take one of his hens with him. There are other pullets also at his new home. I really hated to give him up, but between having to pen him and the hens and his incessant crowing, we made the decision to let him go. There are just some things in life we have to do!

My scar tissue issue is now labeled axillary web syndrome. It is also called "cording". The scar tissue where the lymph nodes were removed is drawing causing some discomfort. I am continuing to do exercises and find that I feel better after yoga classes.

My radiation treatments start on May 18th and will continue through til the end of June. These treatments are 5 days a week except for holidays for 6 weeks. While the treatments don't last long, it is a trip to Gainesville every day. Please pray that my skin will hold up and I will be able to tolerate them well. My sister just completed her treatments and had to have a 6 day rest before the end because of damaged tissue. I told Cary with all our modern medicine and science, these treatments seem primitive to me.

I have tried unsuccessfully to load a little video Ana helped me put together of my wildflowers. I have enjoyed them immensely, especially the poppies. The heat of the last week have pretty much spoiled them, but they were quite beautiful for two or three weeks.

To each of my friends who are mothers and to my daughters, "Happy Mother's Day". I believe a mother's impact on the lives of her children cannot be underestimated. William Ross Wallace wisely said, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world". I was just thinking yesterday that I wish I had been as good a mother as I am a grandmother! But like all mothers, or parents for that matter, I did the best I could at the time.

Love to all,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bees and Wildflowers

Yesterday Cary and I made a trip to Baxley, Georgia to pick up 9 lbs of bees - 3 separate hives. They are all now safely in their hives with their respective queen bees and are buzzing around, licking up sugar water. The first thing they have to do is dig the queen out of her little cubicle, then they will start preparing the brood box chamber for her occupation. Two hives will be tended by the Pierponts on their horse farm near Flemington and one hive is here near the house. Bees are fascinating creatures and these appear to be quite tame. I stood around and took photos without any special netting or equipment to cover me. A few lit on me, but no stings!

We had a great day, though it was a long day, leaving about 7:30 a.m. and getting back about 7:30 p.m. We stopped in Odum, Ga. and had lunch with Cary's Uncle Bobby and Aunt Dorcas. They live on the original land that Cary's Grandpa Trull homesteaded, though the old house burned down. They have a pond on the back of the property where they enjoy fishing for catfish and brim.

I was totally wiped out by the time we got home. Took a quick shower, put on my jamies and climbed in bed. Cary cooked a chicken pot pie for each of us from the freezer, so I got up long enough to eat and went right back to bed. I have been in bed some this afternoon, with my feet and toes freezing and feeling a little numb. The scar tissue around my arm is pulling and a little painful, more so than usual. Don't know what has happened there.

The poppy blossom is from the collection of wildflower seeds our daughter, Bobbie, brought back from her trip to Antonio, Texas last year. I scattered them around during the coldest weather, the chickens scratched them in (I thought they were eating them). They really came up very well and I'm hoping to have seeds again for next year.

How Great God Is!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Sunday Bouquet, "Curtains", and Cross Creek,


Mary Ann Rath Kelly brought it to me last Sunday after this lovely basket bouquet had graced the altar at McIntosh Christian Church. All the amaryllis blossoms came from a sunken, walled garden that Mary Ann's maternal grandfather, Mr.William Dedman, created probably sometime in the 1920s or 30s and started with 25 amaryllis bulbs. Most people called him either Uncle Will or Uncle Bill. Chris,Mary Ann's mother, took over the task of caring for the garden in 1952 when Mr. Dedman passed away. Mary Ann began the tradition of adding different varieties and other friends and relatives followed suit.

Chris and the garden were featured in the 1988 John Deere Calendar as Miss March. The garden is beautiful right now and Mary Ann has graciously offered for anyone wanting a peak to just drive by. I recently took my friend from West Virginia up to see it. It really is a wonderful local attraction with such an interesting, rich history. Chris grew up in the wonderful old farmhouse as well as her children, Mary Ann and Bill. Mary Ann came here to live with her mother shortly before Chris passed away in 2008 and has stayed on to care for the house and garden until Bill and his wife come to restore the house. Rarely does a home and garden have such continuity to nurture and sustain it!

A group of us went to the P.K. Yonge production of "Curtains", a Broadway production, I believe. Broadway couldn't have made a more professional presentation. I understand some of the crude material was left out(an improvement, I'm sure). Curtains is a musical from a book by Rupert Holmes, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and music by John Kander, with additional lyrics by Kander and Holmes.

Based on the original book and concept by Peter Stone, the musical is a send-up of backstage murder mystery plots, set in 1959 Boston and follows the fallout when the supremely untalented star of Robbin' Hood of the Old West is murdered during her opening night curtain call. Can a police detective/musical theater fan save the show, solve the case, and maybe even find love before the show reopens, without getting killed himself?

Our grandson, Cary, played the part of Chris, the director of "Robbin' Hood of the Old West" and had all the hysterically humorous one liners. We were very proud. There were twelve of us there which included his maternal great grandmother (90 years young), his paternal and maternal grandmothers,his namesake grandfather, a great aunt and uncle, 2 aunts and 2 cousins. On the way home Ana, Papa and I decided our favorite character was...Chris, the director!

Kitty Dunn and I spent Friday visiting the artist working during the plein air paint out at Evinston, then drove over to Cross Creek. I remembered my camera was home while visiting the artists, so we dropped back by the house for it before heading to Cross Creek and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings home. The farmstead took me back to my childhood, cracker houses, chickens in the yard and a small kitchen garden. Ms Rawlings furnishings were fancier than our plain stuff, but the house didn't look a bit more comfortable. My personal favorites of the four photos are the barn and the rooster resting under the shade of an antique Louis Phillip rose bush. His hens were sitting further back.

The rain today has been such a joy! We had our lawns sprayed for weeds last week and the rain should help the spray do its work. Of course, there were so many weeds we may have a brown lawn soon!

Tomorrow is Infusion #6 and the very last one! Hallelujah! I thank the dear Lord for seeing me through with you good friends to cheer me, side effects I could live with, and my dear sweet hubby who has been right there with me. I know prayers have lifted me up and I'm thankful for those who pray and the power of prayer.

Love to all,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Biddies!

I tried several times to get a good photo of the little ones, but this was the best I could do. Mama Hen is very protective and tried on a couple of occasions to flog me when I was inside the enclosure with her and the chicks. Three out of four eggs isn't bad. Mama Hen was faithful and sat on those eggs through last night when the third one hatched. The fourth didn't make it and number three seems weaker than the first two. He's slower, and often stops to close his eyes, isn't quick enough not to be stepped on by his mama. So, I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't make it either.

Well, now that food is tasting normal again, it's almost time for another infusion. But...It is infusion #6, the very last one, so I can endure another few weeks of food not tasting good just knowing that I will done with the chemo.

Cary has finally finished the chicken pen complete with wire overhead to keep them from flying out and predators from coming in. I was beginning to think I was going to have to call in reinforcements to get the job done. It was a difficult project because of two different roof lines plus a little alleyway between the two buildings.

Tomorrow Shirley and I will be going to Sparr Elementary to their Earth Day celebration. Shirley will be demonstrating solar cooking, solar driven music box and sun tea. I am taking a sample of the quilt blocks 4th grade made last year using transparent paint to create designs using leaves, flower, etc. The little 2 1/2" squares are painted with the paint first, then the design material is placed on top, and placed in the sun. Once the material is dry and the design material removed, it leaves the design on the fabric. Each student completed a cathedral window square, which was a lot of work! I am taking supplies and will demonstrate on several squares so the learners can get a first hand view of how it's done.

This is Ana's square.

My sister, Yvonne, is having difficulties with her radiation which is stoking my own apprehension about my own radiation treatments. Please pray for her that the rest of her treatments will be easier. Her last treatment is supposed to be on Monday. And,dear friends, pray for me that I will overcome my fears and hopefully, not have difficulties. Others have told me the radiation is a piece of cake.

Did I say I like cake?

That's about all the news around the ole homestead.

Love to all,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Iddy biddy baby biddy

I'm happy to report that The Sultan still has a job! Mother Hen has two eggs under her, as well as the new baby. Hopefully they will hatch tonight or tomorrow sometime. I was surprised the baby was yellow. I guess I expected him to be dark, like his mommy. Anyway, he/she is adorable.

Silas spent another afternoon with me in the yards today. There's still plenty of weeding to do, but there always will be, won't there? I did buy a weed retardant that works for about 3 months, according to the label. It is a pre-emergent weed killer which prevents the weeds from coming back up. I haven't used it yet because I'm still waiting for the chicken pen to be finished (needs an overhead covering and a working gate). I wouldn't want them to get sick pecking away on this stuff.

Sorry to say that Sheba most likely broke up the mockingbird's nest. It was spoiled yesterday afternoon when Ana took a little peek. Sheba loves to catch birds and other small creatures and "play" with them. She has brought several bats through her pet door to the back porch, several squirrels, but never a mockingbird. But she must have tried to take the mother mockingbird from the nest. Those birds build their nest less than 4 feet off the ground, near the house, for heaven's sake! You'd think they would get far away from humans to start a family.

Sheba was just doing what cats were created to do, and that is hunt for prey. She later came in and curled up on my bed like the queen she is. She has learned to leave the chickens alone. The Sultan warned her off fairly early. We plan to keep the biddies in a little brooder box with their mom until they are big enough to get out with the rest of the flock. Lindy has 4 little pullets we are to get as soon as the pen is finished. One is an American Araucana and 3 are Rhode Island Reds. It will be interesting to see the dynamics of the flock, and The Sultan's reaction when his harem more than doubles!

Not much else happening around here. Just couldn't wait to share photo of our youngest member of the tribe!

Happy weekend,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Manifestations of Spring

I was going to title this post "Spring has Sprung" but honestly, the weather doesn't know it yet! Such turns in the weather this week with a little windy sprinkle bringing a chill back to the air and the wind just continues to blow!

The mocking bird's nest is located in one of my favorite camellia bushes. I've placed air-layers on several branches of the bush and those parents got really nervous. So far they aren't dive bombing me when I go outside, but I've seen mocking birds give Sheba, our cat, a really hard time. Sheba usually holes up in the house when she's under surveillance by the birds.

Years ago when our children were younger, Evans Smith told Cary after church one Sunday that we must have raised our children in a mocking bird's nest they all sang so pretty! I've cherished that remark and have to agree, all our children have fine, beautiful voices. Each child has their own style, too. Well, enough bragging!

Silas has been out two days this week helping me in the yard. He's helped me move two large bushes, set up an arch on the south sidewalk and do a lot of weeding and edging. Now I ask you, how many sons would take their vacation time to come help their Mothers? I really appreciate it too. Of all the things that need doing around here, the yard work depressed me the most. I dearly love having my yards cleaned and spring plantings done. Well, enough bragging. Did I say that already?

As to my physical well being, my energy continues to be very strong. After the last two infusions I have experienced more problems with my intestinal tract and I expect the last infusion will render the same results. It's just something I have to work through. Food hasn't tasted good for a longer period of time and I've completely quit trying to have my glass of red wine at night. Also, the scar tissue under my arm continues to be a problem. It becomes constricted if I don't exercise or if I do. Sort of a damned if I do, damned if I don't situation. I still see my physical therapist, though not as often. That's my report on my health issues. Please pray that I can work through this last infusion as well I have the last 5 and that I can get a handle on the scar tissue. I really am very thankful for fairing so well.

Cary got a really good report from his doctor the last visit he made. His exercise and weight loss have paid off so well that the doctor reduced his blood pressure medication by half. Also, he thought he might have to take meds for sugar diabetes but his sugar level was normal - also attributable to his exercise and weight loss!

My sister, Yvonne, is just 8 days from completing her radiation treatments. She has experienced a problem with burning so they've changed her treatments, giving her 6 days of booster shots rather than radiation, then the last 3 days she will have the radiation again. Evidently, the 6 days of booster shots usually comes at the last of the treatment but they felt her body needed the rest.

Oh! And I have a chicken report/update. Tomorrow the biddies should hatch that our little speckled hen has faithfully sat on for the past 20 days. We had another hen trying to set, but she had her nest outside the fenced nesting box area. I moved her into a nesting box, but she was having none of it! These Sumatrans are really not far from the jungle. I mean they are wild. Anyway, I feel badly for her and I know if Speckles does hatch out a couple of biddies, she's going to be very jealous. If Speckles doesn't hatch out a biddy, guess who is going to be replaced? As fine a looking rooster as he is, The Sultan will have to go! Any takers?

I hope everyone is enjoying spring, chill winds and all. It hasn't been that long since I was hovering around the wood burner. It feels wonderful to actually work up a sweat now and then!

Love to all,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mark's photo

Don't know what happened to Mark's photo in today's blog, but it previewed fine before I posted it. So h e r e ' s MARK!

So far...

This first photo was taken at Van Ness Park of the beautiful resurrection fern growing on the oaks. The next photo is of Mark, at the park, participating in the annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Garden Club. Next is Olivia in yet another Easter dress she received this year, and last is Ana and Olivia Easter morning. Blog follows.

So far I am weathering infusion #5 just great! My energy level is good and I've worked this morning in the yard, re-potting plants and doing a little trimming. I came in about 11 because pollen is at it's worst during the heat of the day. I rinsed my eyes with eye wash and rinsed my sinus passages with saline solution(thanks for the suggestion, Mary Ann), so I am hoping not to have a repeat of sinus trouble this time around.

I think the weather has a lot to do with how I feel, and all the prayers that are being sent up for me. I thank the Lord for both. I received some disheartening news from my cousin, whose husband has cancer also and has had a recurrence. His name is Tad, and he's facing a pretty tough decision after testing is completed today. Please pray for him and Betty as you feel led to.

Yesterday Cary and Ana left for an overnight chartered fishing trip, so I've had some time to myself. While I love them both, it has been very pleasant to do what I want, when I want and not have to consider someone else. Now if that is selfish, I'm guilty. I ate a whole mango right by myself for breakfast yesterday and later enjoyed an iced coffee. Now I know I could indulge myself when others are around, but somehow these indulgences are better enjoyed alone! I mean, I would have to share the mango (I only had one) and I'd probably have to make another iced coffee for someone who asked me what I was drinking!

Yesterday evening a good friend brought me the most delicious, authentic Italian lasagna with an arugula salad. Katie had shared some rosemary bread with me which completed the meal nicely.

Life is good, friends. I love every minute of it, alone or with family and friends!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Infusion #5

Well, I haven't written a post in a couple of weeks. (Nobody seems to have noticed!) Tomorrow is infusion #5. Cary also has an appointment tomorrow at the VA so it will be a full day for us. Plus, I have my bible study tomorrow night on Joshua.

Olivia has been here since Wednesday, having gone back to her mom today. She enjoyed coloring eggs with Mark at Aunt Katie's and an egg hunt in their field. She made a new friend, Ashlynn, who participated in the egg hunt with her and Mark. They didn't really have time to get to know each other, but hopefully they will continue their friendship the next time Olivia visits.

My recovery time from infusion #4 took a little longer than previous ones. I still feel very fortunate to be getting along as well as I am. I've had a sinus infection for which I just finished antibiotics. The pollen has been extra heavy this year and even well, I normally have a lot of sinus trouble in the spring of the year.

Nothing witty or earth shaking to share. Up until recently I have felt a buoyancy of spirit. Lately, though, I have felt weary of this whole process and discouraged about my recovery around my arm. Nerves were damaged and scar tissue continues to be an issue. If I don't do my exercises, I feel it and if I do my exercises, I'm sore. And...I understand it gets worse again once the radiation begins. This is not meant in way of a complaint. Just sharing where I am right now.

The weather has been wonderful and I've enjoyed being warm! I'm a little frustrated I can't work in the yard, but keep telling myself next year, next year, next year!!!

Love to all,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ready to Dig!

I have loaded the little dish garden on my face book page, so for everyone on face book with me, please just bear with me! My little garden has bibb lettuce, dill, chives, and narcissus. Cary took some sprouting red bliss potatoes from the kitchen and planted them in my front bed. They have sprouted out and so far have not fallen victim to the scratching chickens.

My book club met yesterday. Laurel brought me the beautiful camellia pictured below. It is at least 3" to 4" across and she said the first blossoms on this bush were much larger. What a dreamy blossom! We discussed "American Eve, The Crime of the Century". It is quite a story and gives real insight into the way things were for women in the late 18th, early 1900's.

I have seeds for the Blue Hyacinth Vine I had on my front trellis last year. The flowers look like sweet peas and once they are gone, pretty purple beans adorn the vine. Thought I'd give them to the garden club for their sale in April, but if anyone wants a few seeds, just let me know and I'll mail you a start. You need a bright, sunny location and a strong trellis. I am enclosing a photo below for you to see.

I didn't feel as well after my 4th infusion as I have in the past 3. My food tasted bitter and metallic. But, this morning my cereal tasted almost normal, so perhaps that has passed. I have yoga in a little while which I am looking forward to. My physical therapist has cut me back on visits since the scar tissue is broken down some and my range of motion is near perfect. I really do like going to PT. The scar tissue is already bothering me since normally I would have gone yesterday for another session.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Morning After

So far, so good, friends. My infusion went very well yesterday. Cary took me to Ruby Tuesday's later for lunch. I love their hamburgers with avocado slices on top. It wasn't as tasty this time because I had to order it well done. That's one thing about chemo treatments. You have to change the way you eat. We saw friends there who came and sat with us a few minutes.

A funny thing happened in the parking lot as we were getting back into our car. We noticed a tall, redheaded, obviously of Jewish descent, young man. As we were entering our car (the guy and his obviously gentile girlfriend were just two cars over) Cary said, "There's King David." The guy heard him, turned his head our way, and smiled. As they were walking toward the mall, he evidently relayed the remark to his girlfriend and she turned and smiled at us as we drove by. I wonder how many times that fellow has heard that. I got to thinking last night about him and I wondered if he might actually be a descendant of Kind David. Anyway, it was an amusing diversion that obviously entertained the other couple without any offense. We could use more of that in this ole world!

Speaking of red, I mentioned a red jungle fowl in my blog yesterday. I thought I would try to post his picture along with a photo of The Sultan. Lindy's remark regarding The Sultan is right on the mark, "He didn't fall far from the proverbial family tree! So, here goes!

This is the Red Jungle from the web:

This is The Sultan:

Not the prettiest photo of The Sultan, but since I want to get this posted I won't wait until I can take a better one. This photo of The Sultan was taken when he was still immature. He's now in his full plumage and quite gorgeous! Maybe I'll take a photo and post it later.

Looking forward to a great day! Hope you all have one too.

Love you all,

Monday, March 15, 2010

Infusion #4

By this evening I will be past the half-way point with my chemo infusions. I have made a habit of saying when asked how I'm tolerating the infusions that "so far" I have done very well. I guess in the back of my mind, I think they will snowball on me sooner or later. Anyway, I covet your prayers for continued tolerance and blood reports that allow the infusions to continue.

When we go to the infusion center we meet and/or see others who are in much worse condition than I am. People tell me all the time how positive I am, what a trooper I am. I must say, Stage II cancer with a positive prognosis is much easier to be positive about than say, Stages III, IV, etc. or in situations where the cancer has gone to other organs of the body including the brain. I met a lady last time, Alice, who is going through her second round of chemo. The cancer is in her brain and her husband shared with Cary she has very little time. I am hoping to see her today.

I have to take a medication the day before, the day of and the day after my infusions. It typically robs me of sleep. Last night I went to sleep about midnight and awoke before 5 a.m. It wasn't long before I heard the Sultan crowing away. Once he gets started crowing in the mornings, he keeps up a steady chorus. I wondered why roosters crow, so I looked it up on google. The best anyone can say is that roosters crow to establish that they are here, this is their territory and by the way, I have this harem of hens that are all mine - so, "back off buddy." The experts seem to think our domesticated chickens are descended from the wild red jungle fowl. When I googled the red jungle fowl I got a picture of guess who? Someone who looked strikingly like the Sultan! The things you learn.

Namasta (I honor the Spirit within you that is also within me),

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve

Just a couple of photos from our trip to Ft. Myers and Sanibel Island. We saw so many birds in the Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve on Sanibel. I saw rose colored spoon bills which were not close enough to photograph, but which were quite beautiful. The weather was warm during the day, though the wind still had some chill in it. Jim and Janet built a fire every night in their fireplace. We had a lovely time, in spite of cooler temperatures than we expected

I am experiencing some discomfort under my arm where scar tissue continues to be a problem. I slacked off on my exercises, so perhaps that is at least part of the problem. This is a condition I expect will always be a problem. It's just a matter of my making up my mind to stay after it with exercise and self massage.

I have puttered around in my yard a little this week. I brought back a few petunias I found on the reduced rack at Lowes. I have planted them in pots since the chickens would decimate them in the ground. I scattered quite a few wildflower seeds a month or so ago and so far don't see any plants coming up. Wondering if the chickens got those too.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Going South

Thought I might make everyone envious. Cary and I are headed to Ft. Myers tomorrow. I'm hoping for some warmer weather and maybe even a trip to the beach. We have very good friends living there, Jim and Janet Elliott. I met Janet in 1977 when Ben was only 6 months old. She and I met, I believe, at the Methodist Church. Or it could have been through the preschool program that Marion Keep ran on top of the hill where Hunter's Antiques is now. Her daughter, Laura, and our Katie were both attending there.

Through the years we have visited them many times and have traveled with them several times. Of fondest memory is a trip we made with our campers up to Canada. We stopped by places of interest along the way. Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, was my favorite. Janet was always organized, a great camper and planner, and never failed to have lunch ready at some scenic roadside picnic area! Truly a jewel of a person to camp with!

My physical therapy is going very well. In fact, my physical therapist may dismiss me until my radiation begins. This is more a consideration of what my insurance will pay for but also my range of motion is about maximum at this point. I find yoga a much more relaxing and satisfying way to stretch than the required exercises from PT. Many of the yoga asanas accomplish the same stretches. I may try to work out a little yoga routine to do at home and leave off some of the PT exercises.

Today is such a beautiful, sunny day. I haven't been out to see how cold it is, but perhaps I'll take Mickey for a short walk.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

All is well

We had a pleasant surprise last weekend. Cary's oldest brother, Charles, and his wife, Caroline, came down to the Herlong Mansion in Micanopy to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. They invited us to breakfast with them. The Herlong is a beautiful old mansion now being used as a bed and breakfast. If you are curious about it, you can just google it online. We had a very pleasant visit at the Herlong and they stopped by the house for a short visit on their way south afterwards.

I said I would give an update after my Monday infusion, so here it is. I am doing very well. I have kind of learned to get ahead of the after effects of the chemo and hope it continues to work.

Our church ladies began a new bible study Monday night. Actually, we just got through the introduction to it. It is on the book of Joshua. Joshua, as you may recall, was successor to Moses and actually led the children of Israel into Canaan, the promised land. That land is the same land that all the fighting and dispute is over to this day. The woman who wrote the study was born in Syria and raised in Lebanon. I am very anxious to learn what her study provides that will help me understand and get an insiders view of that region of the world.

Olivia was with us for almost two weeks until I returned her to her Mother last Friday. She stayed with Cary and I during the day and spent evenings with her Dad and sister, Ana. She is a very affectionate child, also very headstrong. We enjoyed her and we miss her.

Our other grands are thriving and doing well in their studies. Katie is home schooling Maggie, teaching science and social studies. Two other mothers are also homeschooling their children so between the three mothers all subjects are being covered. Annie and I had a pleasant afternoon last Saturday. She came over to help me make muffins for church fellowship. We watched a video from America's Test Kitchens a friend had loaned me. I had a quilt that I had intended to give Annie when she graduated from 5th grade at McIntosh Area School. Mrs. Wilma Ward from the Evinston community that Annie knew well before she passed, had made it. The school auctioned it the first year we were open and as would happen, a bidding war sprang up between Cary and a wonderful community supporter, Mrs. Louise Courtelis. Mrs. Courtelis finally outbid Cary, then very graciously gave me the quilt! Since Annie was in the first class to go from 1st grade through 5th at the school, and she knew the maker of the quilt, I felt it should be hers. So I took the occasion we had together Saturday to give her the quilt. I enclose a photo of the presentation. The pattern is a school house, printed on the fabric, not pieced. However, Mrs. Ward added applique to enhance the quilt.

I love hearing from all of you. My mailbox usually has several cute e-mails each day. Some I forward, some I don't, but I enjoy them nonetheless.

Have a great weekend!