Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

This is Summer?

DSCN1776Summer in Oregon has definitely been a dud so far this year.

Today is rainy, again. We should really be used to all this wetness by now.

As I was making dinner, my guys complained of being cold.

DSCN1799“They” say it will be nice for the Fourth, but their track record hasn’t been all that great. The fireworks could fizzle instead of pop. And given that Oregon has outlawed anything that could fly above a foot, the kiddos could be in for some disappointment. (We still hear the illegal ones going off all around us, though.)

Our grandson doesn’t want to accept that we don’t waste money on fireworks. Some things are just hard to accept, I guess. Grandpa usually is a pushover for everything his favorite grandson wants. Maybe the neighbors will put on a great show for him.

This is posting number 100. I had hoped to come up with a scathingly brilliant idea for this post, but much like our weather, my brain feels rather blah lately.

I’ve been rather busy with my one-armed bandit club, but they are both healing well, and I am pleased with their progress.

DSCN1795With this weather and with two of my guys being unable to do much, we have been playing more cards lately. Though I cannot seem to win, I still enjoy the game and the friendly banter.DSCN1798

And as for a spectacular posting, well, maybe I can come up with something by number 150!

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Guys, Gotta Love ‘em

big wheelMy son had his surgery last Thursday. It was a long and tedious day, which, of course, he slept through. When my best friend came to pick Trevor and I up, she noticed that his bed was a “Big Wheel.” Little boys just cannot get away from their toys, even when they grow up.DSCN1764

I wasn’t as lucky to get to sleep through all the stress and worry of why his surgery was taking twice as long as scheduled (so much extra damage) or why his surgeon didn’t immediately come talk to me after the surgery was over. Trevor was in recovery almost an hour before his surgeon finally came to speak to me because he had been immediately called away to the emergency department to consult on another patient. I understood once it was explained to me, but it did nothing to relieve my overwhelming anxiety beforehand.

Trevor is now home and faring well. He has a high pain threshold, which he probably gets from me. If my hubby is any indication how most men handle pain, then Trevor is a rare bird, indeed. Ken doesn’t do well at all with pain, but I can’t fault him for that. We all have different set points and tolerances. I don’t like pain, either, but I have learned to deal with it.

The pain I most abhor is migraine pain. And yesterday was a migraine day.

But my guys came through for me in spades.

Trevor’s best friend, William, whom I also count among “my guys,” has been here since the day after Trevor’s surgery. He has been a huge help, stepping in where Trevor cannot right now by helping me mop the floors after the plumber was here. (We had our plumbing back up—again.) And he has also helped out with dishes and laundry and garbage. What a guy! He’s also great at providing comic relief, in trying to get me to laugh despite my migraine.

Despite his back and hip being messed up lately (plus still recovering from shoulder surgery, himself), Ken has been doing his best to help out as well. In fact, for last night’s dinner, he pulled homemade paella out of thin air! It was amazing, much better than my homemade soup the day before, though my guys are so good they wouldn’t admit my soup wasn’t that great even if threatened with torture.

The best thing my guys did for me, however, was to play cards all afternoon and evening, with the television off, so that I could rest. Silence in the house makes for such a nicer me the day after a bad migraine. I just love my guys, all three.


And a special thank you to my best friend, who has unwittingly become my hospital chauffer lately. I don’t know what I would do without you. I love you!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Too Many Bananas

DSCN1760What do you do when you find that your surplus of bananas have ripened faster than you could eat them?

Why, make banana milkshake pops, of course!

We have been so busy around here lately, running from here to there for all of Ken’s therapy appointments, plus all the other appointments, that sometimes things, like bananas, get overlooked. When that happens, I am forced to make a decision—toss them, freeze them for later, or make something now.

Well, part of the reason we have been so busy is that our grandson will be here in one week and I want everything to be ready for his arrival. Once he gets here, we have many fun things planned, including a trip to Neskowin.

Needless to say, I am very excited.

So I decided to make the banana milkshake pops for when he gets here. And here is the recipe:

Banana Milkshake Pops

  • Six overripe bananas
  • One 12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
  • Four cups low-fat milk
  • One-half to one cup Splenda granulated, or to taste
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract

Mash the bananas well. Beat in the other ingredients. Pour into 5-ounce Dixie cups, which are in a cake pan to keep them upright in the freezer. Place a plastic spoon in each cup and then place the whole pan in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, cover each individual cup. Alternatively, you can cover the tray with foil or plastic wrap and then carefully insert popsicle sticks, but I happen to like the plastic spoons instead—less chance of spilling as I try to insert sticks. Freeze overnight and enjoy.


They taste just like a banana milkshake, and since they are only 5 ounces and health-consciously made, they won’t spoil my diet, like an entire milkshake would.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

OUCH! Thanks!

DSCN1739We have had a few beautiful days here in Oregon, surprising when you consider how wet our spring has been. In fact, today, my “office” is outside, under a bright blue sky. There’s only a few wispy clouds overhead, and a slight breeze. What makes it all the more wonderful out here in my backyard is that it is peacefully quiet, and I am grateful for the respite from all the noise of dogs barking and equipment running next door.

I can hear the breeze rustling the leaves of the neighbor’s maple. I can hear a distant crow, and another returning the call from the other direction.

These are the kind of days I am thankful for, and rightly so.

Yesterday, however, was another matter altogether, with a whole range of odd things I am thankful for.

DSCN1740Yesterday was free fishing day at Battleground Lake in Washington; so we headed north in search of adventure—and we got more than  we bargained for.

I’ve not been feeling well, as I have spent the last two weeks with a nasty cold and the cough still refuses to let go. Even so, my energy was higher than normal and I was raring to go, despite my usual levels of pain.

As we began searching for the optimum fishing site, we started our walk around the lake. This site had too many submerged logs. That site had too many overhead trees with lines already caught in them. And all the good sites were taken. So we kept trudging along, despite the fact that I had wrenched my left knee first thing that morning and despite the fact that many spots along the trail were muddy, some even having standing water still from the recent rains.

We stopped at one possible site, and as Ken eyed the logs and overhead trees wearily, something told me that I would have to continue walking with my painful knee. He did allow a short rest, though, which I was very thankful for. While there, I opened my big camera backpack (which I had consciously made the decision to burden myself with because of the quality pictures I can get with my DSLR compared to our other cameras). Turning on my camera, I discovered that the battery was stone cold dead. Not even a flicker of power remained, and I thought that I had recently charged the silly thing. I was upset, frustrated to say the least, but I packed my camera back into it’s case and flung the backpack back on. Luckily I had taken Ken’s little camera along, so I removed it from my other bag and placed it in my coat pocket. I will get back to my camera situation in a bit.

Humph. Okay, so we moved on, passing a few more unavailable or unworthy sites until we spotted the perfect spot. It was wide open, with no visible logs, and the trees were sufficiently high above. Ken had beat  me down to the water’s edge, and as I followed, tackle box in  one hand, camp chair in the other (and remember the heavy backpack too) . . .

. . . I slid. My left knee began to hyperextend. I took a quick step and my right knee began to hyperextend as well, as I went careening down the muddy slope.

Sometimes these things really do seem to happen in slow motion. I made the conscious decision to not let my knees blow out backwards, and I forcefully buckled them forward instead. This sent me face first down the rest of the hill, covering my front with mud. But I saved my knees, and I was very thankful for that.

As my head came down, I really expected that I would be eating mud, along with wearing it. But no. My head hit a downed tree. Is it too odd to be thankful for hitting my head? I bet you are thinking I have a concussion and that I am delirious. Nope.The log was just big enough to stop me from hitting the mud but not big enough to cause too much of a headache. It was about six inches in diameter. Besides, Ken says I have such a hard head, that’s really what saved me. I have had a concussion before (and I never want to go there again), and so I am very, very thankful for that particular log, for it saved me from a face full of mud and also from another hellish concussion.

I am also thankful that my big camera had had a dead battery, because if it had not, then it would surely have been hanging around my neck and would have been crushed and destroyed by the mud as I fell.

At first I cried. Tears poured and mingled with the mud beneath me. Ken came running and tried to help me, with his one good arm. I stayed down a few minutes, to mentally assess the predicament I found myself in.

When I finally got the nerve to get up, not wanting to know the true extent of my injuries and not wanting to experience the inevitable pain, I used the chair to pull up onto.

I pulled just about every muscle on my left side and a few on my right. I was in a miserable state, and still am today.

Next, I pouted. I got mad at Ken for “making” me walk halfway around the lake to go fishing. I was mad that his arm was in a sling and that I had had to go along at all, to be his helper. (I really did want to go along. I was just mad.)

Then it dawned on me. I had no right to be mad at him for something I allowed to happen. I could not fault him for my mistake. If I had not wanted to go (at all) I should have refused at the onset. If I had not been willing to walk so far around the lake trail, I should have been more assertive about the pain I was already experiencing in my left knee. I had had many opportunities to say, “stop.”

I immediately stopped being mad and made the decision to make the best of the situation. I was going to have to get back eventually, but I might as well have fun now. So I took two pain pills, which thankfully I had remembered to throw into my bag, and I proceeded to fish.

Before proceeding, however, I prayed. Lord, I don’t know how we will make it home today. If I cannot drive, then what? Lord, just get me back to the dock, and once there, we will figure things out. And then, Lord, help me to get up the hill and back to the Jeep. If I can get to the Jeep, we have a chance. Then finally, Lord, we’ve made it this far, please help me be able to work the clutch so that I may get us home.


I caught two blue gills, which made me the master fisherperson of the day. Ken didn’t manage to catch anything, but then again, he was having trouble being one-armed.



My two little fishies were too small to keep, so we released them.

DSCN1756Our friend who was floating about on the lake actually caught like a bazillion (not really) blue gills. We left before he did, so he was not able to give us any of his catch, and I guess I am thankful for that because otherwise I would have had to clean fish last night. Whew, narrowly escaped that chore.


Ken was a bit upset that we didn’t have anything to show for all our efforts that day. So I told him what I have many times before. I have had to fish for my supper (literally) and I have fished just for the fun of it. I much prefer fishing without the pressures and stresses of having to come home with dinner. For me, the true purpose of fishing is the relaxation, the quiet surroundings, and the peacefulness of God’s natural landscape.


Our day ended on a good note, with fresh strawberry smoothies from Burgerville.

It was a very painful day, but God carried me every step of the journey, from drying my tears and releasing me from blaming Ken, to each physical step, then mile home. And I am very thankful He watches over me, always.

Monday, June 4, 2012

One Down, One To Go

76550009Another town and one more show.

I wish.

I am so ready to be on the road. My toes are itching to be digging in the sand, down at Neskowin or farther south. I would really love a chance to get away to California or even Texas right now, but life is still keeping us tied to Portland. For now.

We met with a surgeon in practice with Ken’s, for a second opinion on our son’s shoulder. I just didn’t like what the first surgeon was saying, only giving Trevor 50/50 odds for surgery outcome. The first surgeon was the one recommended by worker’s comp.

So, today, we heard about two options the first surgeon didn’t even mention, and that may be because he was young and inexperienced. Who knows?

Tonight’s task is prayer and discussion, so that we may make the wisest decision for Trevor’s future. It is never easy when your baby has to go through surgery, even if your “baby” is 20.

So, until both my guys are well on the mend, we are forced to bide our time here in Portland. Maybe while Trevor is recouping, we can get away to the beach, allowing him a bit of vacation away from home as well. He has complained that he hasn’t been away since his junior year. Unfortunately, that is part of adult life.

Whether we go to Neskowin or not in the coming months, we will have to wait and see. Only God knows.

I refuse to say, “When Pugs fly,” as to when we may eventually get out of here!


Tinker Belle as a tiny pup. (And yes, she got her name because, when young, she thought she could fly, climbing high and just jumping off things.)