Featured post

Tennessee Adventure

I’m not a big sports fan. I like individual sports teams, usually local or college teams.  Wooooo Pig. Sooooie!  Goo Lady Bears!   It wasn’t until the day before we left for Nashville that I found out the NFL draft was in Nashville the same time we would be.  Oops.  Fortunately we’d made reservations for the hotel and had our tickets to the Gatlin Brothers at the Ryman.  The only real issue would be traffic and parking.

It was raining when we left Willard (cue country music background).  Uneventful trip and check in at motel.  Wednesday we toured the Carnton house and the adjoining Confederate cemetery, as well as the Carter houses.  This battle could have been avoided and included a charge even larger than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. After all the touring and listening to stories of the families involved during and after the battle we ate at South 55. I had their Memphis hot chicken sandwich.  It was almost too spicy but I managed to eat it all. My dad said it was the best chicken sandwich he ever had.

Thursday morning we headed to Nashville  the area around the Nissan Arena was blocked to traffic   We found a parking garage near the Ryman and paid the $30 event fee to be there all day.  We checked out the Johnny Cash museum.  Did you know Leonard Nimoy sang “walk the line” ?    You can check it out on you tube  we are a sandwich and for dessert Dennis and I shared a GooGoo Cluster.   They were advertised on the Grand Ole Opry.  They are also good   Then we went to the Patsy Cline Museum   Also fun   Then spent several hours at the Country Music Hall of fame before ending the evening at the Ryman   Gatlin brothers were good  but Ashley Campbell was amazing.   Daughter of Glen Campbell.   The night opened with Tony Jackson in his first time at the Ryman.   I’d never heard of him before but I bet everyone will soon know his name.

We finished up the backstage tour just as the fireworks were going off over the Nissan Arena.  Crazy traffic but we made it to the hotel without incident


A bump in the road

To recovery. Dennis was doing great until Monday night when he complained about vein donor leg hurting worse. I looked at it. It was more swollen, red and hot. My first thought was blood clot but the redness and pain wasn’t localized. It was his entire lower leg. Cellulitis was second thought. Tuesday morning I was in contact with surgeon. Appointment at 1:30. Antibiotics for cellulitis. At this point he couldn’t put weight on his left leg, so I was wheeling him in a wheelchair at the hospital. Got him home and started cephalexin. Things were better by Wednesday morning and continue to improve. Still painful but less swollen and not red or radiating heat.

It’s been a chilly and rainy week. It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow and warm up into the 80’s Saturday and Sunday. In spite of the rain the strawberries have been ripening. A few have molded but most are delicious.

I started reading The Seeds of America trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson. It’s about the Revolutionary War from slaves perspective. I got the books when I worked at the middle school and the librarian was raving about them and encouraging students to read the first book _Chains_. Many years later, I’m reading them and amazed at how good they are. I recommend them with no reservations. The perfect blend of details of daily tasks and actions of the characters and the drama of the war.

Since we shut down our heat system, I brought the space heater up from basement. It keeps the living room above 65* and sometimes up to 70*. Also motivation for soups and baking. Weird weather for late May.

At some point the sun will come out and I’ll be mowing grass, pulling weeds and complaining about the heat. I’m looking forward to it.


It started out at 46* and was 59 at 3:00 when Brenda and I walked. Cloudy and windy.

The robins have 4 eggs in their nest. You can see a bit of a yellow rose in the upper middle of the photo.

Last night we watched “Dr. Phibes Rises Again”, the sequel to “The abominable Dr. Phibes”. It wasn’t quite as elaborate as the original but was better than I expected.

Dennis continues to improve. I’m looking forward to senior exercise tomorrow and a few routine activities.

At Home

Dennis was released from hospital about 6 PM yesterday. He received excellent care and made amazing progress. He’s done even better at home. he and Khloe hung out on the front porch for a while.

We’ve had thunderstorms rolling through since midnight. Temperature dropped to 53*. It’s been an inside day for everyone. I baked a chocolate pie for Larry. It also warmed the house a bit. He’ll have to share it with my dad who also helped mow and weed eat Tuesday and Wednesday while I was at hospital with Dennis. that was a huge relief for me.

The bite on Khloe’s hip is healing. No sign of infection and they way she runs around, it doesn’t bother her.

I’m 2/3 through _Black Cake_. It’s a thought provoking book about food, traditions and culture and what holds a family together. it’s a complex book with plenty to think about.

Moving Forward

Dennis looked much better yesterday morning but he had a rough night with nausea and vomiting. He got another sponge bath and a fancy nightgown with snaps and slits for hoses and assorted tubes and lines to go thru. He’d been weaned off his nasal cannula O2 so that was one less tube. Then they pulled his arterial line from his groin. After 15 minutes of pressure and a pressure bandage was put on, he had to lay flat for 30 or 45 minutes. He napped a bit and I read more in _Black Cake_. It’s keeping my attention even in the hospital setting.

About 10:30 it was time for Dennis to get up in the chair. After he got arranged in the chair, he threw up again. Just the sips of water he’d taken and bile. His nurse got him a patch for behind his ear and that helped. The goal was for him to be sitting up in the chair to eat lunch but he declined his green jello and some sort of broth. Every hour he does his breathing exercises. I took a break to get my own lunch. The weather was sunny with a strong breeze, but not hot/humid. Probably upper 70’s. So I walked down the street to Einstein Bros Bagel. I had their avocado veg out. It was a lot better than the hospital chicken wrap I had the day before. Plus I got fresh air and stretched my legs.

When I got back they got him up and he walked about 10 feet down the hall and back. That earned him the right to get chest tube and catheter out. At that point he was wanting another nap so I headed home. I thought I might be able to get some mowing done.

When I pulled into the driveway, there was Larry and my dad mowing for me. I got the mail and gathered the eggs and went inside and collapsed. After the mowing was finished, I took Khloe out and we played catch for a while. I can tell she misses Dennis. I went to bed as soon as the chickens went inside their palace and I could lock them up.

It stormed during the night 1/2” rain in gauge this morning. I’m showered and as soon as I finish my coffee I’ll head back to hospital. Hopefully they were able to move him to cardiac step down unit after I left.

As Soon as the Chickens Roost

I’ll be headed to bed. Up at 3:45 and arrived at the hospital a little before 5 am. We got checked in. Dennis got his chest and both legs ( for the graft vein) shaved. We hung out for a while, then chatted with the surgical team before Dennis was taken away about 7. I spent the next 4 hours in the cardiac waiting room. I received updates about every hour, the final one being that they were closing him up. I then went to ICU waiting room. Dr. Day stopped by and said he did 4 bypasses and everything went good. He suggested I eat lunch since it would be a while before I could see him in ICU. I had a chicken wrap from the cafeteria. I plan to pack my lunch tomorrow. About 1 I got to go to Dennis’s icu room. He was slowly waking up and still on ventilator. I’m not sure he knew I was there but he shook his head no when asked if he was ok. Once he was off the ventilator he managed a thumbs up when asked if he was ok. About 4 I decided to head home. Respiratory was there for some breathing exercises. I’ll be back early tomorrow morning.

Blood has been Drawn

This morning Aaron’s black dog came into our yard while Dennis was filling bird feeders. It attacked Khloe and bit her left hip. It bled. One definite tooth puncture and some torn skin. Not requiring immediate medical attention but I’ll call the vet in the morning. I cleaned it good but antibiotics might be considered. Dennis reported it to sheriff and emailed the details of the event and previous incidents of the dogs aggressive behavior to the Greene County investigator. Nothing can be done about a viscous dog outside of city limits unless a bite has occurred. I talked to the property owner who claimed he had no idea his son was still keeping his dog there.

Brenda and noticed I that Mr. Crotch Rocket enjoys early morning rides about the same time as we walk. If he only knew how unimpressed we were with his antics as he zooms by us. Even the dogs roll their eyes.

Dennis was thinking about going out to the garden to plant corn and okra but a thunderstorm blew through. The rain has since stopped but the wind has picked up. Temperature dropped from 81* to 65. All the storm warnings predict more rain and thunder and lightning.

Last night Dennis and I watched “ The Abominable Dr. Phones”. Vincent Price was was creepy, his methods of murder Biblical and his assistant Virginia North is beautiful in her Art Deco costumes. A good Saturday night date movie.

We plan to set our alarm for 3:45 AM. That gives Dennis time to shower for the 2nd time with his special soap and for us to double check we’ve got everything we need, then get to the hospital at 5AM.

Pre-surgery Appointment

It took much longer than planned because after Dennis got his very detailed instructions and several tubes of blood drawn, including type and cross match for blood (just in case), we had to go to several different locations (requiring driving to a different building) for chest X-ray and ABG’s (arterial blood gas). That little clothespin thing they use at the doctors office to measure O2 isn’t enough for open heart surgery. We started before 10 and it was almost 1 when we finished. We decided to eat at a locally owned place we see advertised on local station, Lucy’s Chinese Restaurant. It was incredibly mediocre. I had their specialty, cashew chicken. Dennis had General Tsao and said it was not very spicy. Next time we’ll chose a different place.

Last night we had a mosquito in the house. I finally killed it when it landed on Dennis’s head.

Larry came over to help Dennis get the bean and cucumber fence/trellises up. Dennis is slowly getting the tomatoes in the ground. A few at a time with plenty of breaks. I’ve been pruning and cutting back bushes and trees after they finish blooming. Also weeding and planting flower beds out front. I planted lavender again. I’ve never had much luck with it surging in the past. I still have my indoor potted rosemary which I use year around for cooking, but am also planting some in the ground to see it it will survive the winter mulched in a protected area. And of course zinnias everywhere!

The heat and humidity continue. Today we are expected to tie or beat the old record of 90*. 🤪


It may not be summer by the calendar but the weather fits my definition of summer. Yesterday I sweated and today I sweated through my clothes. Two nights ago I turned on the AC. The rest of the week has upper 80’s and some 90’s predicted. current temperature 85 with 82% humidity.

Saturday night was our church Mother /Daughter banquet. The office count was 65, which was down from pre Covid attendance. The people there seemed to have fun. The food was good. None of the princesses tripped over their hoops, so I call it a success.

Our killdeer nest disappeared. It just vanished. No broken egg shells or even a sign it had been there.

My white azalea was spectacular again this year. The irises are blooming. There are lots of tiny green strawberries on my plants. Dennis’s heart issues and all the rain has put current gardening on hold. At some point we will get back on track.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mostly sunny and no rain. Temperature up to 75*. Ground still soggy. It’s windy so things should dry out. No rain predicted for the next several days.

Dennis’s surgery date is May 16. We have a pre-surgery meeting this Wednesday, to discuss pre and post op instructions. We are looking forward to getting this done.

Last night’s Mother/Daughter banquet was a success. Wearing a long brown wig as Belle, quite a few people had trouble recognizing me. That was fun. No one fell in our gowns and hoops.

Before Hannah left, we went to the Springfield mall. We found my mother of the bride dress. It is fancy enough but still comfortable. Hannah approved and I like it, so I bought it. Another item crossed off my to do list.

My patch of lavender irises is blooming. I went out and picked a big bouquet. The dark purple will bloom in a few more days.

In honor of Mother’s Day, several of us who also wore hats on Sunday agreed to wear them again today. Maybe the hat is making a comeback.

Frog Strangler

We’ve had a lot of rain. Lots of flooding in the surrounding areas. I emptied over 7” of rain yesterday—a 2 day total. This morning I dumped another 3/4”. It seems the rain is over but the gray skies and 50* weather continues.

Yesterday we took Hannah to Rolla to continue her travel adventure. We met up with St. James friends and spent over 2 hours hanging out and chatting. Then we left Hannah with her friend Alyce. They’re headed to Chicago and a Justin Bieber concert before she flies back to California.

We won’t be doing any work outside today. There’s standing water everywhere. The sump pump is doing its job and the basement is dry.

Hannah’s big project of putting greenery and flowers on the crescent moon metal covered in chicken wire wedding “arbor”. Dennis and I helped but it’s all Hannah’s vision and work. we’ll keep it covered in plastic until she returns for the wedding and makes any needed final touches.

Today will be spent adjusting to a quiet house and catching up on things I let slide the past week. Dennis saw Dr Day on Wednesday and he said Dennis would have his surgery ASAP. Unfortunately scheduling isn’t in a hurry and we still don’t have a date set.