Wednesday, July 27, 2011


It's time to take inventory. When the boss sent out a memo reminding us of the the whys, wherefores and how's to get this process accomplished, I knew this was going to end up being a grueling task. Being accountable for not just the "things" in our life, but for all the responsibilities we each have, needs to also be reviewed.

I've spent a number of hours on my back since surgery, on July 15th. Everyday I take inventory of all the good things that are happening so, I have a map of where I have been and review the route to help guide me to where I want to be.

No bending, no lifting, and no twisting for at least 12 weeks.

I can get out of bed unassisted.
I can use the restroom by myself.
I can brush my teeth without help, except I still seem to get drool down the front of my shirt.
I can shower alone, but cannot finagle underclothes by myself yet.
Makeup and hair are a snap.
I manage to carry on a pretty good phone conversation (at least by my standards).
I can make a cup of coffee, if I can find someone to transport it for me.
I can sit for brief periods of time. The new rods and screws in my back seem to be in the way.
I can read my iPad and return emails.
I can still order on the Internet, just can't get to the door quite quick enough to greet the UPS guy.
AND, my appetite seems to be holding it's own. I hear some people actually lose weight when they have surgery - no such luck for me.

I've taken inventory and I believe life is pretty darn good and when I arrive at the edge of my map, it may even continue to get better.

Next time I go out, I need to order a "real" BLT,

Friday, July 22, 2011


I am anxiously waiting, with hope, that the "back" angels are all fired up to do their thing. I took a deep breath, and let me tell you, this was a really, really, extensively deep breath and under went back surgery, a laminectomy and fusion. All I can tell you is - it is amazing how quickly the nurses and surgeons must move when they are working on you.

I remember talking to Steve regarding something totally frivolous when in came two charming ladies. I believe they were about to ask me to join them for a party or something when one reminded the other that she had brought the magic potion for the event.

Strange how anxiety can totally disappear when "magic" enters your vein. Personally, I don't quite recall the rest of the invitation, but Steve said he walked with me down the hall where the girls put my party hat on and he proceeded to tell me he loved me. I remember none of this, but apparently I reassured Steve that if anything went wrong, I had lived a great life!

That was the most disappointing party I'd ever been to. I had no snacks (they had asked me not to eat for twelve hours, so I was plenty ready for cake or something). The only hostess gift I received were these yellow socks with grippers on the top and bottom of them. The drugs must have been pretty high quality because I did feel fairly well.

We will now skip days two and three, as to not spoil if for those of you who may some day need this procedure in the future.

I am now home, safe in my comfortable bed, with my own pillow, a new bed spread and shams (the old one just wouldn't do in this situation). Steve purchased an exercise step platform for me to step on to be able to enter and exit the car. He also bought and installed a grab bar for our bathroom and a "pik-stik" so anything I needed, that's on the floor or out of reach, I can quickly arm myself with this contraption and retrieve it.

Steve thought I should have everything at arms reach in order for me to be independent. This morning, as our day was just beginning, the unthinkable happened. I reached for a tissue, caught my arm on the pik-stik, which in turn knocked over the glass with the left over diet orange pop, which promptly spilled all over the top and down the back side of my bedside table. Sounds pretty bad until I tell you, I have WHITE carpet.

Wonder what color of carpet will complement the new spread,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Whine, no Wine!

I look forward to summer when the weather allows us to enjoy the atmosphere outside. The flowers are in bloom now and they have not begun to wilt from me forgetting to water them. In other words, I haven't killed them yet.

Summer also allows us to interact with our friends more because we tend to hang outdoors when it is nice. In the summer, Thursday's are special in our neighborhood, we have our "Wine in the Park". No, we don't "Whine in the Park". This is a freelance group of neighbors who get together to enjoy each other's company. Some actually drink wine, others sip on iced tea, pop or maybe even a beer or two. Conversations range from where to buy the best tenderloin, to what's happening on the family front.

Everyone seems to enjoy the evening, not only because we see our neighbors, but also because no one needs to do any preparation to make this event happen. No need to straighten up the house or get snacks pulled together, because we all simply take care of ourselves.

This morning will be a busy one for us. It's lab day today so that means it's errand day. Steve and I make our lists and while we are out on this mandatory run, we attempt to remember all the other errands we need accomplished.

It sure seems like "the remembering" gets harder as you grow older. We both make an effort to jot down our lists when the light bulb goes off and reminds us, but then the trouble begins when we forget the lists at home.

My mother had a system that seemed to work for her. She was a teacher, so she would tape a note (this was long before post-it's) to her purse, which she would leave in her car (here again, a long time ago). It must have worked, perhaps I could update her system.

List so far:
Blood work
Sunscreen for face
2 ft. 4" vent pipe
Organizer insert
Wine for park

May you have nothing to whine about,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Are Not A Guest, You Are Family - Part 1 - Anticipation!

Your family is anxiously awaiting your arrival. Whether you were a surprise or a long awaited being, your arrival is an important event in their life.

Don't be surprised at all the hustle and bustle that occurs around your new home in preparation of you. Remember, there are plenty of hormones floating around the premises and they can surely influence what people do and say. Don't worry, we will discuss hormones at a later date.

In most families, the expectant arrival is anticipated as one of the most important "guests" they will ever prepare for. Especially, if you happen to be a "first-born". Notice the prospective parents have finally tackled the task of cleaning up and clearing out the "junk" room. Now, do you know of any other family member they have done this for? Usually they simply close the door to that room and hope no one looks for the bathroom that direction.

Yes, it is very confusing at first. Your room has been painted, a new bed has finally acquired the last left over screw from the box marked miscellaneous on the instruction sheet. Someone has decided it's time to utilize the home economics skills, acquired in seventh grade, to make the picture perfect curtains for your new room. Maybe not quite your taste at this time, but you can already feel the love in each stitch.

As your new home continues to fill up with big and little specialties for you, the little "prince" or "princess" to be, I can tell you are preparing for your role as diligently as your family is. You are ready to respond to voices, you have also found your thumb to sooth yourself. You already know your kicking will bring attention to not only the Mom, but also to those around her. Yes, your role as "star" is well suited for you and you haven't even met your grandparents yet.

Soon it will be time for you to make your grand entrance into the family and be the "highlight"of their life.

Whoa, "You are not a guest, you are family!". Yes, at first all of the signals are mixed. I can certainly understand how you might be confused.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pool Guy

I am back at my home reflecting over the past weekend. I'm glad to have had such a pleasurable experience with my neighbors. It is always good to get away from your own place of comfort and enjoy another's home base. I don't believe any of us would have changed any part of the weekend. We accomplished everything we set out to do.

The trip went remarkably fast, as you might expect, with four women chatting simultaneously all the way to the cabin. I was the only one who had been to the home before, so it was fun to see how close I could describe it to the others. The food we brought turned out to be appropriate for all of our outdoor meals. Perhaps the ambiance of the setting contributed to the delicacies also.

I am proud to proclaim that my sleeping partner confirmed I do not snore and stated that proclamation to dear Steve, when we arrived back home. I've been telling him for years that he is snoring so loud himself and that is what he is hearing. Glad we have that straightened out finally!

Our thanks goes to "the pool guy"! I am sure we would have had a wonderful time if our friend's husband had not been home, but he certainly made a number of things much easier. "Pool Guy". a.k.a. Gary, was home due to a back injury. that however, did not seem to stop my friends from requesting a couple of boat rides, the blowing up of the floating island, a tour of the neighbor's home and art work, or ice and wine delivered to the raft. With a grimace and then a smile, Gary seemed to accommodate everyone. Thank you Gary! I can't imagine the women getting the boat in and out of the boat lift.

Our husbands were all waiting when we arrived and it was fun to witness the garage doors opening in sequence as we approached our designated homes. You see, the four of us girls live next door to each other, so nothing gets by any of us.

Steve enjoyed his roll as hostess, our second night away, and served the guys steak dinners. Of course when we heard this was underway, we each called our spouse to make sure everything was in order. (What did we do before cell phones?) Kris made sure Tim made brownies, Theresa left a message for Tom to bake a frozen cherry pie (but Tom told Steve he chose apple instead), Patti reminded Frank to check what else would be needed and Steve let me know he had everything under control and of course he was serving a vegetable, asparagus and hash browns.

I've been told not to ask too much about the first night we were gone, because they ate out at a "place not probably approved by us". I'll leave that to their conscious then.

Thanks to our hostess with the mostest and to her "pool guy",

Friday, July 8, 2011

Girls Gone Wild

Today, four of us "girls" (I use the term loosely) are on a weekend jaunt to visit a friend who moved from the neighborhood about six months ago. Last month we set these plans in motion. A time schedule was determined, menus were discussed (we thought we would treat our friend) and a route selected in order for our group to meet at her log cabin, in Iowa, at noon.

After realizing two coolers, 4 bags, plus all the other paraphernalia could not fit in a regular SUV, we finally left in a van. Just think of the size of the trailer we would have needed if we had decided to stay longer than two days, or if we had decided to camp?

We arrived at the beautiful cabin just in time to drag in and set a wonderful, outside lunch for all of us. The weather is beautiful and we could not ask for better accommodations.

You would think that us neighbors would eventually run out of conversation topics. Not so, perhaps we are to the stage in our life when we have probably heard a number of these stories before, but simply can't remember. Getting older has a few benefits.

As I am writing this, I am sitting in the shade, on a veranda. There is a soft breeze blowing and a huge butterfly just perched itself by me. I can observe the geese swimming their little hearts out in the river/lake off the shoreline, just in front of me. The others have taken a boat ride to see the sites. I have declined because I'm not confident to make it down to the shore and then attempt to secure a spot in the boat. I weighed the consequences of a missed step, and decide I'm just "Jim Dandy" right where I am.

Some of you may be wondering what our spouses are doing back home, without us supervising. Well, we are too! Perhaps it's better for us not to know. On a normal day, the group of guys wait until about 4:30 before they find a reason to venture outside to the mailbox. Granted the mail sometimes does not show up until mid afternoon, but I finally figured out their sneaky pattern. The first guy has a secret beam he sends out, about that same time, to alert the others that it's time to meet in someone's driveway. They then give a wave to one another and jog home to retrieve a refreshment and ride over in their golf cart to keep the others company. (The golf cart is a necessity because that provides them with a comfortable seat.) They linger there until one of us girls reminds them how long they've been there. God only knows how long it will last without a call. Suppose I could still give him a call from Iowa, just to help them out.

Miss you Dear,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Roller Coaster

My house is dusty all the time! Does anyone have any suggestions to control this? I understand we have construction going on our highway 370, but does that dust really drift all the way over to my house? I suppose it could, and does. Remember when Mount St. Helen's volcano went off in 1980? The reports were the volcanic ash drifted all the way around the world. Perfect! When company comes, I'll just blame the dust on some fictitious volcano half way around the world. Any bets my company will agree they have noticed the same phenomenon at their home?

Speaking of our beloved highway redo...I sure hope the improvements being made enhances our trips to and from the Husker stadium. Have you watched how those big earth movers have diligently cut down the country side and built up the valleys? I always felt as if we lived out in the country. You know, where we could enjoy the fields, watch the horses tails swish the flies away and wait with anticipation to get to the top of the hill to find out what vehicle was traveling toward us. I'm going to miss the roller coaster ride to Gretna. Progress is being made by limiting the elevation changes of our route.

I often ponder the sensibility of those in charge of repairing or upgrading our roads. Today I once again had to ask the question, "Why would they do that?". We were traveling on our normal route through town when we came upon a ROAD CLOSED sign. Sure, this was not unusual as we could tell an upgrade was underway. The baffling part was, the detour road was "under construction". Now, I ask you, "Why would they do that?". See what I mean?

Most times, and it seems to make no difference what time I'm out on the road, I notice the "pot-hole fillers" are taking a break. How many people does it take to walk up and down the "under construction" road to get a piece of equipment moving? Perhaps if I spent a little time out in the elements, with no bathroom available and no chair to rest my buns on, I would be doing the same. I'd just like to stop and ask someone, "What really takes so long to get things done?"

It is so easy to sit back and judge when I am not the one involved. Just like my company can when they see the dust and wonder why it's still there.

Coast on,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Picture Perfect Parade

What a picture perfect morning!  The fourth of July bash was a huge success.  Over a hundred people showed up at our first annual parade and brunch in the park.  How fortunate we are to live in a neighborhood where enthusiasm is contagious. 

Steve and I started our morning pretty early with an assembly line to produce more than 225 pancakes from scratch.  We kept them hot in two large roasters.  With help from our trusty neighbor Tim & Kris, the park across the street from us, changed into a patriotic party zone, for the rest of the neighborhood.  The pleated flag banners flew with pride as the tables were adorned with red, white and blue.

Soon the neighbors began to arrive with their own contributions of food and games.  You could feel the energy begin to build.  Patriotic music resounded from the pavilion which added to the feeling of the day.

Promptly at 10:30, the parade got underway.  It consisted of decorated golf carts, riding lawn mowers, bicycles, wagons, and strollers.  The participants and the observers all seemed to enjoy the spirit of the occasion.

I couldn't believe the unending line coming through for the brunch.  I am happy to report that with the addition of the fruit, sausage, egg casseroles and the breads from the attendees, we had plenty of pancakes for the whole bunch.

The children played on the playground equipment, as the others got caught up with the latest gossip in the neighborhood.  I, on the other hand, made a final decision that having back surgery next week is a definite go.  My poor ole body cannot do what it used to do and I hope this will be the right decision for me.

Steve and I look forward to doing this again next year with plenty more bottles of water available.

Thank you "great" neighbors!  We are so glad we live here!


Sunday, July 3, 2011


I'm having a difficult time concentrating on the present due to the upcoming events tomorrow. I have planned, plotted and planned again to make sure our neighbors have a good time at our, first ever, fourth of July parade and brunch.

I believe it is so important to know your neighbors. Not just know their name, but also to know who they are. Who are the members of their family and what are their joys and hurts.

We are fortunate that in our neighborhood we are close to more than a dozen neighbors, however, that means there are over a hundred other families we don't know. So, it is my intention to help bring people together. Our friends continually state that one of the main reasons they stay in our community, is because of the friendships they have made.

Tomorrow Steve and I will get started early to set up the park pavilion for the festivities. We already have the pleated flag buntings hung. We plan to have patriotic music playing. The majority of the homemade buttermilk pancakes (200 of them) will be made prior to the gathering. Steve has decorated his golf cart "over the top". The tandem bike looks great and is also ready. The 40 cup coffee pot is ready for fulfillment and gallons of orange juice is chilled. Oh, by the way, we are expecting around eighty people. Perhaps that's the cause of my trepidation. HELP!

The parade will begin at 10:30 and after the neighbors round up their food donations,, we will begin the brunch. Now, if all goes well, I promise to include pictures and the parade tape link to utube. Cross your fingers! We could use a few extra hands if you care to stop by.

Excitedly yours,