Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tonight I fly to Amsterrdam

my creation for the Mom's group Should have decorated it

Rhubarb custard bars: shortbread crust, rhubarb custard middle, whipped cream/cream cheese top

these smell so good when I am out doing hours of yard work

my two rhubarb plants are huge but I used last years rhubarb frozen for the dessert

rhubarb flower. I think I am supposed to cut them off to make more stalks
I have been trying to get things done before my big trip which starts tonight. Why be typing into a blog when so much needs to be done? Well it is  very early and Steve isn't up yet. Hopefully I will be tired enough to sleep on the plane.

Breukelen. This will be the first town we will sail to on our barge after a 3 night stay in Amsterdam. I asked Steve if he had any idea how it was spelled. To my surprise, he spelled it correctly. The first Dutch settlers sailed from this town and ended up in New York and named their landing place after their town later anglicized to Brooklyn. Growing up, Brooklyn Day was a holiday and he had to learn the origins of his hometown. We will begin our bike riding there and go across a Breukenlen Brug which will be much smaller than the one that connects to Manhattan.

Dutch:  I've been trying to learn it for the past 4 months. I should be able to read it and maybe gargle a few words but understanding it will be tough (Italian was so much easier!) It sounds like a mix of trying to expel mucus and obscenities. Words like vaak, zich, hoor sound really bad. And the grammar! I just did a painful unit on reflexive verbs. They have expanded the concept way beyond the romance languages which I thought were a pain like in French: je m'appelle Sue (I call myself Sue) but at least the reflexive pronouns are always in the same place. Not so in Dutch, all over the place though generally after the verb (instead of in front) zich which sounds like shit is for third person nouns. And they use it way beyond for washing, shaving, combing also for hiding, locating, etc.

Gardening: May is extensive gardening month. Things need clearing, weeding and planting. I at least got my vegetables in. Flowers will have to wait. Hopefully Steve will water things.

Scan anxiety: Miracle of miracles, my mammogram eventually came back clean. First time I didn't have to have things retaken. I have a huge benign seroma that looks like a tumor so they have to line it up perfectly to make sure it hasn't changed. As it seems to hurt more (I have staples still in me that I think cause inflammation) and felt different and I had received some bad news about my cancer chances being significantly increased from what I thought they were, I was nervous. And though my surgery for another set of body part removal had been denied, it seems it is just because I didn't go through the approval process correctly despite trying to do it right. Still a mess to entangle that I will handle upon my return though I remain highly annoyed at my insurance and maybe my doctor.

Seeing a friend for the last time: My friend is on hospice and thought she would die in my absence. However her condition has not seemed to get worse in the past week and in some ways better so she will be still around. She did manage to have enough energy to fix my bangs and think she will cut my hair one last time

Maybe I will read all the guidebooks on my flight tonight if I can't sleep...


Monday, May 13, 2019


Some of my visitors. I have maybe ten. So far they have consumed two jars of jelly and numerous oranges. A catbird is to the far left. They love fruit too

Pretty. Most of the orioles are Baltimore orioles but yesterday I had the much rarer chestnut colored orchard oriole. He was somewhat smaller Alas no photo

They have been eaten suet too. She is doing battle with a woodpecker

Blurry selfie of us watching All my Sons at the Purple Rose. A fun night

Crouching life sized tiger at the local art studio which had a show this weekend

The parking lot is decorated with lots of statues

including this life sized giraffe

my purchase. I like him even though Steve thinks it is missing a hind end

Josh and his family took me here for Mother's Day

Sadly not my photo as I was too lazy to stop when I saw a tom all puffed up. This tom is about two miles away in a friend's yard

Cute stepping stone from Shanna for Mother's Day

As I was picking up Maya from school last week I told her that we had orioles. Good she said. They are her favorite cookie.

No, the orange birds. They come each May.
They were late this year but soon a flock descended so I spend much time refilling jelly cups.

Scan anxiety redux: I get a mammogram once a year and dread it as it never, never goes smoothly.Usually multiple scans are necessary. Sometimes biopsies  But I was sent home after a minimum of scans the other day with them saying they will call if there is a problem. What? I usually get the appointment that has the radiologist read the results then and there but I messed up or they did so I have to wait. What are the chances I will have to make another trip? About 100% though the tech says the scan was 'good' meaning it lined up perfectly with last year's. I have learned their idea of 'good' is quite a bit different from mine. Good for me is no sign of tumors. Good for them is we see the tumors loud and clear. So I get a long period of anxiety.

And for extra fun, my surgery was not approved by my insurance. My chances of getting a particular lethal kind of cancer in my current condition is 20% versus 1% for the rest of the population. I am appealing as I know it is covered in other states and was mandated in particular by the AHC. 

so lots of running and biking for me. Yesterday I heard the most unusual combination of birds. On one side of the road were the sandhill cranes croaking their prehistoric cry; on the other side peacocks

In 8 days I'm off to Holland. Will I get everything done before then? Will my friend survive until I get back. She fills her days seeing everyone she has ever known. She is at home with hospice visiting regularly. She is so calm about this.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Watching a friend die

cute bunny hanger I have  on a wall that contains other bunny art

A bit of sadness. Nylon threads were hanging from a basket that I have a bird feeder on. I should have cut them off before this sweet guy got tangled up and died

A belated birthday brunch with Josh and Allie on a rare sunny day. We then went to a playground and then on a hike

All kinds of daffodils out now
A early visitor. They live on fruit alone. In a few weeks this tree will be covered with fruit and the cedar waxwings. Now just blossoms
I have two of these trees. So lacy looking

Some recent visitors although we always have the woodpeckers. Back from their winter travels, hummingbirds, grosbeaks, chipping sparrows, orioles crowned sparrows and various swallows. Gone north are the juncos

This week has been hard. My friend was recently hospitalized for the 4th time since October this time for having difficulty breathing and extreme weight loss (and she was bony to begin with) Various scans revealed a huge growth that was not there 3 weeks ago when they xrayed her lungs to see if she had pneumonia. This thing, a type of lymphoma unique (and very rare) to transplant patients is pressing on her heart. Extra bonus, breast cancer has returned too but that would not impact her for months whereas this will suffocate her soon. Could they do something about it? Yes, chemo might work, but she has had it. The other day her daughter and I were trying to convince her to at least try but she was adamant that she would not go through any more chemo though the type they would give her is much more mild than what she had to kill all her bone marrow before she had a transplant. She is remarkably calm about this. Usually she is very high strung. Maybe she is in shock or doesn't believe it. She is going through a list while she has some energy of things that have to be done before she dies.  She is trying to go home as she doesn't want to die in the hospital.

I have been bicycling and running a lot. I've done a fraction of the work I need  fix our yard and gardens up. I have harvested my first crop of asparagus.  My spring birds retuned though a few days later than in the past.  was ready it my feeders for  hummingbirds. They are fun to watch. Two male Baltimore orioles showed up today. While biking the other day, I found a tom turkey all puffed up and fanning though it wasn't clear who is audience was. I wish I took his picture I see turkeys often but rarely in this form.

Today I was attacked by 3 dogs though only one of them wanted to bite me. I was running on a road  usually I'm not on. With all my yelling, the unapologetic owner came out to retrieve them. It didn't bite but was snarling an jumped on me.


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