Thursday, March 30, 2006

We've been doing a bit of gardening. Last Sunday, (yah, I know I promised to post this earlier this week, but I've been busy, okay?) This is a Peace Rose, just opening. I took the picture on a foggy morning, and didn't even know what I'd captured 'till I opened the picture. Ain't serendipity fun?

This is a not too bad view of the side bed in the front yard. The pipes in the grass are part of a drainage system from the backyard. We've paved a good bit of the back and side yard now, with the goal of insuring that the garden will be accessible to me and 'Pup even if one of us is in a chair or using a walker. So far, the precautions are just that, but 'Pup and I seem to be "belt and suspenders" kinda people. The drainage is needed because the backyard tends to tip towards the front, and the water had started to back up in hard rains. In 2001, Allison hit Houston, and even though we were on the comparative dry side of that gully washer, we had some high water on that sideyard. It didn't quite come in the house, and we'd like to keep it that way. By the end of the summer, the grass will have evened out and we'll be putting some nice rocks at the end of the pipes to hide them.

We removed about 9 Mexican Heather plants from the side bed and I put in 3 rose bushes. One "Peace" rose, a rose called "Cherry Parfait" and a pink rose that promises that it will be very fragrant. The rest of the room in the bed is taken up with daylilys of various kinds and colors. I'm hoping for a very colorful summer.
This is a yellow rose (dang, I forgot to bring the name with me, and I'm blogging from work (before the kids get here, between private students). We took out another 5 or so Mexican Heathers from that area of the bed that runs right in front of the house. There are some more daylilys in pots behind it. I'm going to be taking the daylilys out and replanting them in the ground in the side bed.

This bed was where there had been a large juniper tree. We took it out because it blocked the view of and out of the front door. We put a row of 16 inch pavers between it and the driveway, with the idea that it would be a good "getting out" area and approach to the house. It was, but just not wide enough. So.... the good Sr. M came out and did some re-engineering of the area.

We ended up with putting another 16 inch paver and a half (8 inch) paver row between the old pavers and the new bed. Now, I have a nicer approach to the house and an easier time of getting out of the van when both cars are in the driveway. We planted the bed with purple, white and red petunias, a few volunteer allysiums from last year and about a 1/3 of the stand of lemon grass that was there. We replanted the rest of the lemon grass on the sunny side of the house. I'll have to take pictures and tell about that another time.

And here, are two more smallish beds I've got in the front yard. I do have a picture of the whole thing, but it didn't make it here to work. Hey, I've got to have something to post later, huh? The octagonal one on the right has miniature daylilles, petunias, pansies, and a varigated bouganvilla. The bouganvilla got bit by that frost last month and is still recovering.

Don't you just love this dog? He really is as sweet as he looks here.

The news. Well. We've not been able to get Brain Dog into remission. We're trying one last nasty chemo drug, and if that doesn't work, then. We'll have to say good bye. It's going to be hard.

This is Chucky. Or Charles. Or NO! DOG!. I'm beginnng to think he recognizes the last name better than the others. We'll have to see.

We've been trying to figure out the parentage of this dog. Honestly? He's got the head and face of a friendly beagle. The coloration of a Doberman.. but not the size (he's about 32 lbs). His body is the conundrum. He doesn't look like any dog I was familiar with... and then? At the Vet's office it suddenly struck me. The dang dog looks like a coyote. Long legs, up thrust back end, strong front legs and all. When I mentioned it to the Vet she took a double take at him and said "Good GRIEF! He DOES!" Sigh. I've got a feeling he's going to be an interesting challenge for a while. He's about 2 years old, so it's liable to be a loooong while.

We're thinking of renaming him Wiley. The cat's name for him is unprintable by the way. I don't use such language myself, but Lady Spitfire's had a salty tongue from the beginning. She's still under the bed, in spite of the fact that Chucky/Wiley/NO DOG!! keeps asking her out to play.

She is not a happy cat just now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Missing in Action

I know I seem to be missing in action lately. I've been kinda busy.

Short version to last you till I can write it out tomorrow:

1. Got a new dog. Name's Charles...or could go either way. Think: Doberman crossed with beagle and a little engergizer bunny. Brain is still asking if we really need another dog. The cat is sure. She hates him. It's mutual. She's trying to break the world's record for crouching under a bed. Really. It's an interesting mix. I'm just say'n.

2. Been working crazy hours. I leave the house at 6 am and get home around 9 pm. I'm tired. And yet, still poor..........

3. Garden. Green, Growing, Jasmine is setting blooms, passionflower blooming up a storm, crossvine blooming up a storm, Ham'nEggs lantana sizzling along, most things rebounding after the freeze we had a couple weeks back. Lots of other things growing and doing well. Or so I've been told. I've not seen much of the garden in daylight lately. GRRRRR!

4. 'Pup, the dear hubby man has lost around 60 lbs so far. I think I've found a few. GRRRRRRRRR!!!

5. 'Pup, the dear hubbyman has started a new blog. It is called The Tale of Three Pups. I love the name. It's a better name than my blog. ARRGGGGGHH! (linkyloo later) I THINK the addy Icould be wrong. (It's been known to happen) (Okay, I fixed it... this is the right one.

6. Sad news. Dad is not responding to anyone. He's getting weaker.

7. My boss lady at the tutoring center is having her own fight with cancer...or rather her husband is, with a tumor that started on the kidney, but has already spread everywhere. They pray for a miracle, and he's got a church full of people praying as well, but. Sometimes, you ask God for something, and he answers. Sometimes, that answer is no.

8. My boss lady just called. Two of the other tutors can't make it in tonight to the center. They're sick. There are only four of us. She's at MD Anderson, and may not make it here this evening. 'Pup is going to come in and help out. He's tutored other people before, and used to volunteer in my classes.....and was good. He's never tutored like we do here. I think he can do this. I really do. He's not so sure. (eeeeeeeeee!)

And this was the short version.

More later.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


(That's the sound of Spring sprunging)

This is what it looks like. The bluebonnets are beginning to make their show. Brenham is one of the best areas to look at them and you can also take in a tour of the Bluebell Ice Cream factory. They make the best ice cream! And they give samples. We didn't take the tour, as ice cream is permanently off 'Pup's allowable food list.

He's down another 15 lbs or so. He'd have lost more, but he was ill, and not able to do the exercises he's supposed to do. He's feeling better now, but it'll be another week before he'll be back at the gym.

I'm up in Austin now, visiting the dear Ma in law and Pa in law. We drove up slowly yesterday... and by slowly I mean we left NW Harris county about 10 am and got to N. Austin around 4...

We stopped to take a few pictures here and there.

Bluebonnets, a country church and an interesting yard.

Indian paint brushes, a close up of the blue bonnet and a white flower I'm not familiar with. Anyone know it's name? It grows about an 2 inches high and is about an inch or so across.

More blue bonnets, a red bud tree, and an old stump.

A country house, with a windmill. There is a water tank on the other side of this house, so I suspect that this windmill really does pump and supply the house with water. The mail box doesn't go with the house, but I liked it. The old suspension bridge is not used anymore, and would probably be dangerous to cross, even on foot. Yet, I there was a footpath that led to it. I don't know if the people who live around there use the bridge, or just climb down to the shallow, clear, spring-fed river beneath the bridges. If I lived near there, it would be hard for me to resist walking across.

Some pleasant views of one of the small towns we passed through.

Two different stock ponds. These are usually made by the land owner, and the water is either from an underground seep or a creek with a dam. Both look like they'd be good places to wet a line.

A well established pecan grove. The trees haven't leafed out yet. In the summer, the ground beneath them will be in deep shade. In the autumn, there will be a rain of nuts. I suspect there are probably a lot of fat squirrels around as well.

Green. Just. GREEN. I didn't do anything to these pictures. I suspect that they're fields of alfalfa, and growing just fine, thank you. Pretty, huh?

Take a gander at the limbs dragging the ground! I wish I could have gotten closer to this tree, but I had to satisfy myself with a picture.

I just liked the composition of this. They were some old oak trees that had fallen, and the owner of the land had cut them up and left them where they'd fallen. I'd guess he or she will finish cutting and stacking later.........or perhaps not. Not a whole lot of need for wood heat here, so unless they like to barbeque, they might not have need for the wood. I wouldn't mind a few chunks to set in my back yard as pot stands or as places to sit. I'm all about sittin'.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Now for The Bad News

I hate cancer.

I'm not alone in that distaste, I know. There are several bloggers that are fighting their own battles with the disease. The courage shown by some is humbling. And my fervent hope is that they will win their battles.

My father is losing his.

My mother tells me that he is not responding to anyone, even her. My niece in law came with the newest great-grandbaby and put her near him, on his good arm. He didn't look down at her. Her older sister, at five, seemed to sense that her beloved Paw-Paw wasn't going to talk to her. She was sad, and patted his hand, but wasn't surprised when he didn't respond. Her brother was a little more confused at the lack of responce but didn't let it bother him.

My father's other great-grand-daughter was a little different. She is the child of my father's favorite grandchild. He had tried not to have favorites, but this grandchild had needed him more than the others when growing up. This great-grandbaby needed him too. Her mother, my niece, is going through some difficulties, and my mom and dad had been very involved in taking care the baby girl.

When this 2 year old great-grandbaby came to visit her Paw-Paw whe would always run to him first. And he'd always had a wide smile and two open arms ready for her. They'd had many a long conversation out on the back porch. What they'd talked about, only the two of them could have said. And they weren't say'n.

But last week, when she came to wasn't the same. Her Paw-Paw's eyes were open, but they weren't looking at her. There was no smile in his eyes or on his face. There was no hug, not even the half hug he'd been able to manage lately.

She didn't let that stop her. She climbed up into his bed and sat next to him. She patted his face softly.

"Paw-Paw, I here Paw-Paw. PAW-PAW! I HERE Paw-Paw!"

But he wasn't. He isn't. He's still breathing, but he's not there.

I hate cancer.


I have quite a few things to post about. If will let me. Things are slow to post lately. There's something wrong in bloogerville.

I started this blog on March 9 of last year. I was just coming to the full realization that I wasn't healing quite as fast as I wanted to, after the laminotomyfor bilateral recessed stenosis (basically, I was growing extra bone where I shouldn'ta been and pinching the Hades out of my spinal chord). It was not a happy realization.

I was trying to heal, trying to walk, trying to get some stamina. Instead, I was recovering from an infection in the inscision, walking with two canes (my pride wouldn't let me use the walker out of house), and when I went to the store to gauge my strength, I was crying with exhaustion when I got home. The only thing going well was my garden.

I could work in my garden a little. If I sat in a small stool, I could gingerly lean over and weed a little, and dig a hole with a long handled scoop before I plopped in a bedding plant. I couldn't do many at a time, but I was happy when I could do it. The good Sr. Medina was also helping. He needed a little money and I needed a lot of help, so together we started getting the garden in order.

This year, I've not had the TIME to get things in order. My good hubby, 'Pup, has been helping. He planted some peas, has been working with Sr. Medina making some compost and cleaning and pruning and getting things ready. We had a little setback this last week, with 'Pup getting sick. He has a recurring problem with a leg, and had to spend the week with it up and him down and so..........I still have all those herbs I bought a while back sitting on a shelf in the backyard. They're doing okay and I'm glad I got them early, as some of the varieties tend to sell out quick.

Yes, Dana, I've some idle thyme sitting in my backyard.

So, I'm behind this year. Not a problem, since we had that FREEZE hit us a couple of weeks ago. Imagine. A FREEZE in February. The idea!

Last year at this time, the jasmine was just beginning to bud. Not this year. It's a little late. Lastyear, the passion vine was just beginning to grow up the trellis. This year, it's a little ahead of the pack. Oddly, the thicker vines died back. The younger vines are doing well and will take over. I've not looked it up, but I suspect this native (weed to some!) may be a biennial.

Last year, I was calling the school, talking with the teachers on my team in first grade and trying to support the substitute(S!) my class was eating errrrrrrr.......oh hell. They were eating up subs and spitting them out. I became more and more willing to stay home for the rest of the school year as I heard of the antics of some of my more challenging darlings.

In the end I wasn't to be allowed back. The school district said that the doctor's release giving me permission to return to work could contain NO restrictions of any kind. The good doctor, a respected and experienced neurosurgeon was incredulous when I told him that the district refused to let me work with the minor restrictions that I not pick up more than 20 lbs, try to keep my back straight and not bend over, and that I sit down as much as possible. I was also to use a cane or canes to walk with, so as to make sure I would not fall down.

Seems the district wanted me to be able to pick up a 45 lb first grader and be able to carry him/her at least 100 yards. The reason for that requirement (according to the human resource person I spoke to) was so that if a first grader fell from some of the playground equipment and couldn't get up, I could pick him/her up and carry the child to the nurse.

A couple of my readers are nurses. I can HEAR y'all screaming.

I know... I know! If a child had fallen, not been able to get up and needed the nurse? If I'd picked him/her up, I'd have been risking making whatever injury had occured much worse. In fact, I would have been trying to keep the child from getting up and sending for the nurse and monitoring the child till medical personnel arrived.

Ah well. As I've mentioned before, this district and I weren't really a good match. And, to be honest, I don't think I'd have had the stamina to effectively work last spring. There are days even now that I have a hard time doing the light work I do. Well.......not the work so much as the getting from there to here and back again. Downtown, I have to walk a block or so from my car (thank you Houston for having the policy that disabled car owners can park for free on the street!), and then another couple hundred yards in all to get to the 27th floor of Humungous Oil Company's skyscraper. The tutoring center is easier, not as much walking.

Even so, the walks that I do have can be very trying. How trying depends on how tired I am. Oddly, or perhaps not oddly, if I'm well rested I can walk a couple of blocks with only a little trouble. If tired? A half block can require me to stop, rest, and recover every few steps. I'd never have made it last March in that school, with that class. In another district, such as the one I'd come from........there would have been much less problem.

My garden isn't where it was last year. That's okay. Things change and that's a good thing. No spring is ever the same as the last. Somehow each has it's own personality. Like people, seasons have their own rhythms and milestones. This one is a little warmer and drier and had a brief interruption. It's recovering. What it will look like in May? I'm looking forward to finding out.

I like Spring.