Archive for June, 2013

Just How Far is it to the End of My Rope? Just How Far is it to the End of My Rope? Just How Far is it to the End of My Rope? Just How Far is it to the End of my Rope?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2013 by drycreekherbs

Dear Mom,

This will be the most poorly composed letter—with no logical punctuation but I am determined to write you a sweet love letter before we leave tomorrow and to catch you up on the horrors of remodeling, too.

It is possible that I might have gone past the end of my rope! I never dreamed that the remodeling could be so disruptive…the trick must be to live elsewhere not in the midst of it all. On one hand, I think well only once was a really freaked out and that was when they first put the counter tops in…but that only lasted a bit and the issues are already taken care of—a seam didn’t look right to me and there was a black spot in the quartz…all gone now. It is the painting that has really been hard. Nothing is where it should be and stuff put on the porches and who knows where. I had a bunch of coins wrapped and ready to turn in to the bank…and they are totally missing.

OK, here’s the long and short of it. It looks very good and we are delighted with the counter top although it is hard to tell if it is clean just by looking. The new light fixtures look good, the appliances are very smart, the sink is super, etc. I miss the busy blue pattern in the tile but soon I won’t even think about it. We haven’t hung anything back up really. The cabinets have no hardware yet, the glass shelving for the china above the range isn’t here yet, and we are missing some cabinet doors…and one light fixture needs to be ordered.

While we are gone they will paint the outside of the house and the newly replaced porch columns. Jackie says I am very brave to go off with the work continuing, but what can I do. Collins, Katie’s husband, is reallllllllly good about checking on things and fixing things that to wrong….for example: On Friday I was sitting in the bed room, when they were cutting down one of the rotted porch columns. I heard a big craccccck. I looked up just in time to see the column smash one of the big urn fountains. Some one said, I hope Susan didn’t see that! Collins said looking up into the bedroom, “Yep, she saw it.” He and I will go fountain shopping when I get back. It didn’t bother me so much, but it realllllly made Collins sick. I tell him, “It isn’t a mistake if you can fix it. “

Diego is going to stay and Joan and John’s ranch tomorrow. They have a Labrador Retriever…and they also have a sort of Doggie Day Care for some of the MCEC’s staff dogs! Len and I are both anxious about the arrangement only because we are so attached to the beast. This is better though for Diego since he can pretty much run with Bella, the Labrador, in a large fenced area. Mickey will stay here with the house sitters.

Have you finished reading The House at Riverton? I really liked it. I am listening to a suspense novel called Agent 6 that is really good too. I will order it for you as a book. It starts in the 50’s Cold War up to today with same characters. You will like it and I believe Bros. Bill will too.

Our housekeeper, Teresa, has been wonderful during this house business. It is much easer to take things down and store away than it is to put them back….all covered with fine dust….yuck.

Sweet, love letter! Mom, you are so dear. I admire you endlessly for your goodness, patience, generosity, gentleness, and so many other things. Oh, and before I forget, Mom, I did pray that the Spurs would win, as you requested….guess you should have asked for supplications from a person closer to God! It was heartbreaking to see them lose. But, what gentlemen! Pop and his team epitomized good sportsmanship. It was a great playoff, even if we didn’t win.

Billy keeps me up to date on what is going on with you. I worry that your appetite is waning. Please keep drinking those Ensure drinks. You can drink as many as you like!

I will be home not long after our return from the cruise….I have your appointment with Dr. Benson on my calendar so I can take you. I will text or call Billy while we are away to see how you are doing. Know that I love you so much and will think of our past travels together – we did have lots of good times.

Here is our itinerary—

July 2-5 Copenhagen, Denmark; July 6, Rocstock, Germany; July 7 Gdansk, Poland; July 8 at sea; July 9 Tallinn, Estonia, July 10-12 St. Petersburg, Russia, July 13 Helsinki, Finland; July 14-15 Stockholm, Sweden! The weather will be in the high 60s and mid 70s. I have to go to bed now…Len has a tight schedule for tomorrow.

I love you!

Susan

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In a Word: Catastrophic .

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2013 by drycreekherbs

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Just when I think this house can’t get any worse it does get worse—and significantly. I haven’t cried yet. I would say I am keeping a very stiff upper lip. This is what I think. I am totally blocking out what I can’t help….BUT, just for the record, I think I could just belly up and crack with little or no warning. The painters say they will be finished this week. Here’s the issue. We leave July 1 and I would really like the house to be functional for the house sitter. Collins says he thinks the inside will be completed but the kitchen sink might not be in…the one we ordered was cracked! No other sink will fit as it was measured to fit the quartz counter top. Tooooooo much. Tonight we sleep in the guest bedroom

Today we had our last dance lesson in the series of five. Just today we started getting the two step…we want to go to a dance this Friday night….actually I don’t know that we WANT to go but we need to and it will be something different. Our instructor will probably have to have veneers on his teeth–from grinding. I know we have reallllllllly taxed his patience. Len is have more and more difficulty with his leg going numb…I think he has been a great sport about taking these lessons considering his infirmity.

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The other day I had some thoughts about daydreams. Not too many years ago I daydreamed a lot…ok what is the difference between a fantasy and a daydream? I will look it up. Meanwhile, I’ll continue with the flow…Here it is. I used to day dream about being smarter than I am….usually in some public way…like suddenly speaking fluent Spanish, Italian, Japanese, or the like. I would display this fluency when all were in a bind to need the language and I would be really humble. Like anyone would believe that! Ha! Or, I might have some really awesome second life – like a spy or a faded flamenco dancer….all revealing these traits with humility, somehow that makes it ok to be a show off. Now here’s what is funny. Once I asked Len if

he ever had daydreams….this was before he retired. He said, yes, answered honestly which I love about him, sometimes. Anyway. He said he used to daydream about fist fighting this one guy at work. I howled. Here’s the deal. Len was the senior executive over about 300 people but they all worked for different companies…so he lead them operationally but not administratively. One guy was a real ass. It made Len nuts, hence the fistfight day dream. Aren’t we funny? I wanted to be amazingly smart and Len wanted to have control. I guess that’s what it all meant.

Recently I went to the Sammons Senior Center in Temple to take Sweatin’ to the Oldies. I imagined it would be like a Richard Simmons dance frenzy. When I got there I was surprised to see about 40 chairs arranged in a horse shoe….there were men and women, some morbidly obsese, and all much older than I but for one. Here’s the point. It was hard and I did sweat! I saw that they are offering line dancing. I will do that when I get back because, why the hell not? Got to keep moving and I think it is good for my brain too. At Mah Jong, we talked about other dance options. Becky is interested in ballet and I am-sort of-but I am really interested in tap. Just imagine all those burning calories.

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I went home Thursday. The plan was to meet Belinda at the McNay for their Food Truck and Rock n’ Roll night highlighting Fearless Freddie. But it the event was rained out so instead, we met at La Paloma Blanco…great visit and phenomenal mojitos! We are narrowing our focus on the cruise…

Billy’s birthday was Friday so we had a little birthday dinner bringing the food in from Central Market. Billy and David were going out with some of David’s chums from TMI.

As I readied to leave for home, Mom and I were saying our loving and tearful goodbyes—Mom asked me sweetly if I would pray for the Spurs to win and especially for Manu to be able to play like the athlete he used to be! Now that is so funnnnny. She is a Spurs devotee. As I am writing this I am watching the finals and I am hoping the Spurs wax the Heat…well they lost by one stinkin’ point so there will be a 7th game. This is killin’ us. I will pray harder.

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I went to Barnes and Noble to get some good long books for Mom…she is an avid reader. I selected three then as I checked out I saw the Sports Illustrated with the Spurs on the cover. I thought, she will like this….little did I know. When I got home I told her I found some good books and she was pleased…but when I pulled out that Sports Illustrated, time stopped. She took the magazine and immediately started reading. I made her day.

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IMG_0152.JPG A cute story. Mom was reminiscing. She is so timid so this story was especially good. She said that when she was a young 2nd Lt. nurse on the ward, the ‘boys’ would get on the loud speaker and sing a version of a popular Guy Lombardo song, You Know it’s Love. The lyrics are: “You know it’s love when your heart goes bumpety, bump, bump, bump.” They would sing instead, “You know Bump, she is our love, love, love.” Yes, my Mom’s last name was Bump!

Last night Jackie and I went to Austin for dinner and our last show of the season at the Long Center for Performing Arts. Dixie’s Tupperware Party. I had very low expectations–and it was wonderfully funny. Lewd, raunchy, interactive, and almost intolerably hilarious. I wept all the way through it. It was a great night…super conversation with Jackie and shared belly laughs and two huckleberry margaritas at the Roaring Fork.. Nothing better!

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Goodnight.   

Catching Up. My Life is Discombobulated.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2013 by drycreekherbs

Actually I am holding up pretty well considering everything I own is someplace different than it has ever been before and covered in dust in a room that has probably been painted a color I have never seen before. Fernando might be a great painter but I do think he has spent too much time whiffing paint fumes. We talk. We discuss. We look at paint samples. The next time I see him he shows me samples of colors I have never seen in my life. We leave for the cruise on July 1 and I have little confidence in the project being finished. I am nervous and discombobulated.

Currently I am in the wonderful Salado Library—The expansion is great. Today is Monday and one of the Children’s Reading days. So it is a little boisterous but happily they are on the other side of the building. I am here waiting to have lunch with Nina and if I were at home I would have to be sequestered in my bedroom.

IMG_6619.JPG IMG_6622.jpgTo catch up. Susan and Bill have been here for a few days of farm maintenance…sadly I didn’t get to have them stay at the house except to come see the conditions. We did get to play MJ, have lunch and a happy hour visit. I love this photo of Len and Susan’s feet during the tan competition…they were the only two participants and it was a tie for best foot tan.IMG_6593.JPG

Len and I took Diego over to Joan and John V’s ranch to see if it might be a good placeIMG_6578.jpgIMG_6609.JPG for Diego to board during our cruise. Very poor sentence. Anyway, he and their Bella hit it off well. It looks like he has been accepted for the duration. While we were there, their parrot took a snip towards D’s nose. They have goats, chickens, cats, a lab, and the parrot. I hope Diego is good and doesn’t disgrace us and/or we have to replace livestock and home furnishings. Len continues to think Diego is very smart and maybe he is–he does so well with potatoes that maybe we should “train” him to dig truffles.

OK, so Ginger and Fred we aren’t. I think Len is a so-so dancer and he thinks the same of me. In reality, both of us must be pitiful at best. Our teacher indicated we will abandon the turn on the two-step and go to the a 3 step waltz. Tomorrow is the 4/5 lessons and the two step is usually a one day class. You can see that he is frustrated and annoyed! It is almost funny I think. It has been a nice diversion. I might mention, I dance very well with the teacher! Hmmmmm, what does that say? The adventure at Bo’s barn last weekend was really funny. Len and I can only dance in one direction…it gets pretty boring–it is like we are on a carousel! No Dancing with the Stars for us! BUT, Len has been a great sport about this and that is all that matters.

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Oh misery, the Cancer Fitness Research class is over and I am sad. We had a great time and it was good for me. So today I will go to the local Salado gym and sign up for a month. I have lost about 5 pounds but need to shed 5 more. My body is just a different shape than it used to be.

Max has been back a couple of times and plans to be back full-throttle once he is cleared. Meanwhile I dig potatoes. I find a couple then Diego takes over…he finds more. He is a beast of burden. We have had a healthy amount of rain so everything looks good and green—the farmer’s corn is beautiful for the first time in a few years. Hopefully it will be a better summer.

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I HAVE to get out the sewing machine and repair two things…that’s it. But where will I do it? If I don’t do it I will feel burdened and nonproductive. Kathy J had this on her Facebook that is funny considering all…1949 Sewing Manual advice.

I am scheduling the house in Mexico…September seems far away but it will be here before I know it. It is all about the Spiral of Death! Meaning as we get older things happen fast and toward the end things realllllly happen fast. OK, so Len comes the first week, Jackie and Barbara are coming 11-18th, and I hope Sally can come sometime too! I might even invite Foy!

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SatuIMG_6656.jpgrday I went to my third Women in the Outdoors….I got up really late so I only attended the afternoon sessions—First Aid for Pets and First Aid in the Field…both classes were outstanding. I now know how to give Diego and Mickey complete physicals and how to muzzle each, what is poisonous, what people drugs can be administered, etc. The First Aid for the field was taught by an Army doctor…learned lots and especially how to pack drugs with duct tape! This requires a  shopping trip to Walmart to get decorator duct tape. I love this day…. We had some kind of celebrity boy there from Dallas…he had on a fine belt buckle….I think this could be a great hobby for a middle aged woman…taking photos like this! Ha!

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Waiting Around to go Dancing at Bo’s Barn–A First in this Household!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2, 2013 by drycreekherbs

slide4.jpgSince Len and I started our Country Western dance lessons we have yet to practice away from the studio…It is just a little hard to get the momentum with all the drapes of plastic hanging from the walls and ceilings…so tonight we are going to Bo’s Barn with one of Len’s golf buddies and his wife This is new and big. What is really new and big is that Len’s buddy called to say that the music starts at 9:00 pm,! Huh? What? It used to be that Len was always in bed by 9:00; now after chemo, I am in bed by 9:00 pm or 2 am….just depending. We are freaked. We may have to take No-Doz…

Never Again

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2013 by drycreekherbs

I usually say, “Never say never.” However, I am 110% sure Len and I will move before we will remodel again. And certainly we don’t want to be in a house that is being remodeled. It is madness. We came back from our trip to NY to find the house completely, and I mean completely, draped with plastic sheeting. I don’t know how Jeannie, made it through the week. It is just awful, awful, awful. Collins came this morning with the painter to discuss paint again. We are doing something wrong…our communication skills have evaporated—something. While we were gone the only thing I can tell that happened was the dry wall for the door to Len’s den and the ceilings retextured. One of the big surprises: The painter covered the Subzero refrigerator with sheeting which caused the air compressor to work improperly…either that or just lousy timing for the refrigerator to malfunction…so we had to throw out a lot of food….it was probably a good thing but not at this point. Grrrrrrrrr!

To add to the difficulty, Diego sprained his leg doing who knows what. Jeannie was such a trooper—she called to let us know that she was at the vet with him…so he was on pain pills and incarcerated in his chateau so he wouldn’t run around. She earned her fee! She may not want to do this again.

So, about the trip I was dreading. We had a great time. Literally, nothing but good times. It is good to have low expectations sometimes. We zipped up to West Point from LaGuardia if you can call traffic in NY zippable. We changed into our dressy duds and headed to the post with Brother Bill in tow. We met David and Mary at the banquet. Some observations in general. Because Bill and Mary are in the throws of divorcing it was easy to imagine it all going down hill. I am not going to write much about the divorce situation. It reminds me of what my Aunt Myrtle said to me when we saw her after Mom and Dad’s divorce. She said something to this effect, “I don’t know what happened between your Mom and Dad but I love them both.” So this is it. At one point Mary wanted to talk about the situation but I just said that I thought this might be the best for both of them. I think David has difficulty with Mary. I don’t know. Family stuff is so complicated. I know we did our part to make her feel welcome and she even said that to Bill. David is a study in deep waters. I don’t know what he makes of a situation. He isn’t very social—or at least not with us but I do think he cares about us in an abstract kind of way. Oh well. It is what it is. We went and we did our part to make it festive…maybe my only claim to fame. The banquet was very traditional of course and it was delightful to see it all. I took Edward’s IMG_6319.JPG fashion advice and felt spiffy with all my bling on one arm. It was freeeeeezzzzing and

IMG_6397.JPGwet. There was a plan to move the graduation ceremony indoors and that would reduce the number of people who could go. As it turned out it rained really hard so I stayed put in the car and slept…No one was the wiser…and Billy had encouraged it. Len went and got some fantastic photos of David. We moved the car again and met all at the Officers Club where San Antonio parents had catered a buffet…. a great idea. Otherwise we would have been prowling around the post looking for grub and there were thousands of cars and people in such a small area. We went over to the Cadet Mess Hall were we waited David’s turn to be given the Oath of Office. Len read the promotion orders and gave David his 45 year-old 2nd Lt bars…I think David liked that. It was a very nice ceremony and David did a nice job of making remarks. About 10 of his buddies showed up and that was nice for David too.

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A little packing. So this time I almost had it all right. Granted I did not wear a lot of the summer clothes but I had them just in case the weather forecast was incorrect. We did end up going to Walmart at 11:00 pm to buy sweatshirts and socks but that’s not bad…we were there with dozens of other West Point party goers buying fleece.

So Saturday afternoon Len and I drove back to NYC and began our mini vacation. We had a super time. It all just clicked. Len turned the car in so we used public and private transportation. We arranged for a driving service to take us to the Eugene O’Neil Theater for The Book of Mormon. It was outrageous, hilarious, and quick moving. Lots of talent—and the Mormons are bound to be furious. There was a full page advertisement in the program from CLDS promoting Book of Mormon. Our seats were so bad they were good…Last row in the balcony next to the light studio!

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On Memorial Day we were super patriots—we did a harbor tour to see the skyline, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, etc. Then we at hot dogs before going to Ground Zero. It was so moving and a perfect way to spend Memorial Day. All our meals were great too. It was just plain fun. The last day we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art—it poured and was nasty all day. Undaunted, we took the subway to Little Italy and China Town.

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Recently Edward and I were talking cheap jewelry and he sent me to Burlington Coat Factory which was a bummer except I did get to teach a woman with cancer how to tie a scarf around her head…so I went on to SteinMart then Sam Moon. Each place was better than the last…So I told Edward about Sam Moon’s and he said the funniest thing…that he thought the place was just plain scary…See, this is why I like it. It is just like China Town and yes; I

images.jpg love everything about Oriental stuff. My early childhood was spent in Okinawa and maybe this is where that appreciation was created. I love blue and white rice bowls, Buda statues, bright silks, Japanese Lucky Cat figurines, Poky candy, Geisha Dolls, ginseng teas, etc.!

I think part of the reason we had such a good time is that we knew we couldn’t see all that much so we just took our time…Len was great about not pressing for a 6:00 am departure each day and when he did say to get up, I jumped up! No whining.

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I am not just enamored with cities…and NYC has not been in my top 10 places to visit. This IMG_6442.JPG time I did not feel swallowed whole like I have before. It was easy and pleasant. The subway was easy probably because of the holiday…Not so many people that you felt violated…but here it is. Germs. I am not a microphobe like Mom or Stephanie…but I will say I nearly boiled my hands at every opportunity. I walk like an old crone down stairs so I was a hindrance to those behind me getting to the trains. We walked for miles and that felt good for the first ¼ mile…We both liked walking through the neighborhoods in Queens.

Yes, it was a great trip. David is launched and headed to Ft. Sill. Billy and Mary are back in SAT trying to find their way. Mom is eager for photos…I think I will send her this entry….and Len and I are back at the casa wondering if the Hampton Inn at LaGuardia might be more comfortable until this remodeling is over! Len is so happy to be back with Mighty Mutt, Diego. Life is good.

Next Year…..

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2013 by drycreekherbs

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I am getting my stomach (in German–Bierbauch, as in beer belly) cut off. I can live with the spider veins but no to the belly. So I may not get to go to Viet Nam..because I am going under the knife.

Part II: That Which Was Cut Off Somehow!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2013 by drycreekherbs

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Today I drank TWO Icees…a Dr. Pepper and Coke (130 calories for a medium). Mango Lite Icee has 165 caloriesand Mango Free 0 calories!) Icees are my new most favorite non-alcoholic beverages…replacing McDonald’s Caramel Frappe (550 calories.) So Icees are really diet drinks. I also love Brigadier gelato…Brazilian caramel and chocolate concoction with about 2,000 calories but low in fat!

I just saw Len and Diego whiizzzzing by in the golf cart…something must be going on in the pasture. They just came back….Len says he is trying to stay awake…it is 7:09 pm. This isn’t a good sign.

I love travel catalogs. Magellan’s, Travel Smith, Johnny Jet, etc. I can spend hours pouring over each page, dog earring page after page. I also love travel accouterments. Bag tags; bottle barriers for wine; luggage in a variety of sizes, colors, and materials; tiny make up containers; travel blankets; sleep masks; individual packs of Woolite; shampoo; moleskin; ear plugs; on and on. And the best: miniature tins of Vicks Salve. I also love searching for the perfect travel shoe that doesn’t look like Miss Marple-wear. Foot Smart catalog works for that.

In light of all the traveling I’ve done this year, I’ve noted big changes–clothes, security, carry-ons, who gets on first, ticketing, checking in, luggage types, etc. I reminded Len of the time I was into mixing up handmade hand cream…I made a gallon jar for Cee and her Mom…I put it in my carry on for the flight where it promptly expanded completely out of the jar into my carry on and the floor! I would be arrested for that now. AND Cee and her Mom would have been polite about the hand cream but probably not really wanting it! Like the time I made a Jordan almond pie that nearly broke everyone’s teeth and also the time I made sesame cookies that only Jim ate! Funny times.

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Today MCEC honored me for the 2nd year as their Relay for Life Survivor. It is very moving and I am very proud to be a part of the event.

It is supposed to rain again this evening…we are still in the wide swath of evening tornado watches. What I do like after the rain or even a big thunderstorm is the sound of morning…. nothing but the occasional Mourning Dove lamenting her wet feathers and the abandoned rain drop soldiers falling from leaves.

I don’t need extra hours in a day. I need extra days in a week.