Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another Thing I Love & New Year's Eve

How did I manage to NOT put "wine" on that list? I have to admit, I'm a sucker for an interesting label, and my evaluation expertise is pretty much on the "I like this one, but I liked that one better" level. Those first two bottles are what I refer to as our "house" wines. Readily available, taste good, and they have screw tops which are really handy for camping or for say, when you are on the side of the road in Arizona with 10-20 of your sisters with trailers waiting to get into the campground! Big House Wines has a cute and fun interactive website!

I found these two at the market last night - the selections from Wine Sisterhood are very cute, and Purple Cowboy supports breast cancer research. Check them both out!

We have never been much into New Year's Eve partying, and since I am such a morning person, I just love that the east coast feeds on Direct TV mean we can watch all the festivites and 9:00 PM, I can head for bed, and hubby can get back to his movies!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Update

Miss Libby counting the moments until I'll let her back in the house. Our entire yard had the same footprint pattern... notice that tail wagging at warp speed. Yes, our dogs wear winter coats, but not those frou-frou "fashion" numbers meant for chihuahuas who never have to walk under their own power... these coats are tough-as-nails winter coats made by the same folks who make equally tough winter horse blankets. This particular one is close to 20 years old, nice thick fluffy insulation, ripstop nylon lining, nearly-indestructible Cordura outside, velcro closures and seat belt webbing for trim.

Hubby a.k.a “my patient” is doing very well. We had a period last week where he was, shall we say, “not himself” due to Valium on top of about a dozen painkillers a day, but I pitched the Valium and he’s now down to a mere five Norcos a day - 10/325’s for all you pill experts – and he’s back to his normal humorous self and therefore no longer at risk of being dropped off at a homeless shelter sans identification! (Just kidding, Connie!) He trundles around on his walker, can relocate himself in whatever room he needs to be in, and has his very own wheelchair (I love ebay!) he parks in front of this computer. The home nurse signed off on him today, but we still have P/T coming in twice a week. He's no longer waking up at 3:30 every morning – life is good! Big ol’ bright light at the end of our tunnel! Note to self: No more planning surgeries during winter! Shoveling snow & ice, managing cold, wet, muddy dogs... too much.

I managed to produce a Christmas dinner for two consisting of grilled ribeyes, baked mashed potato casserole with almonds, fresh asparagus, fresh brussel sprouts, our favorite creamy lime gelatin salad, homemade cornmeal rolls (standard white bread recipe with ½ cup of cornmeal thrown in for interest), a mincemeat pie and a pecan pie. Only managed to get one Christmas cookie recipe made, a macadamia eggnog bar. Very good, but almost too sweet for me.

My Christmas Eve excitement was to make a new batch of homemade dry laundry soap, this time with Zote laundry bars (as recommended by one of my sisters) instead of the Fels Naptha brand. I did something different this time – instead of grating the bar soap with the attachment on my Kitchenaid mixer, I cut the bars into about one-inch cubes, added a cup or so of the baking soda, and just did it in two batches in my food processor with the blade. It worked very well and fast.

Here’s the recipe:


approx 4 lb box Borax
approx 4 lb box washing soda
approx 4 lbs baking soda
3 bars Fels Naptha or 1-1/2 bars Zote laundry soap, grated

Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub. Use 1-2 tablespoons of powder per full load.

There are a bunch of laundry soap recipes out there, many of them for liquid, but I love this dry one. Liquid soap takes up way too much room!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Something Christmassy...

Since I didn’t put up a tree or any decorations this year except for a strand of lights on the outside of the house, I thought I’d share some pics of past years. This little tree sits on our dining room table. On it are the vintage pinecones from my grandmother, and these STUNNING pink balls from my dad and stepmom. My Anna Lee critters fit right in!

The pastel dish is also from my stepmother and I just adore it, so I made a little tree skirt to tie the whole thing together. So not my colors, doesn’t match a single thing in our house, but I love it! And it is so much fun to make cookies to match each section...

Here's an old photo of our POWDER BLUE flocked tree with those PINK balls on our GOLD carpet next to the TURQUOISE sofa. Okay, all together now, oooOOOooo!!! I mean YIKES! That color combo is nearly painful to behold!
This was our tree… we have mostly glass ornaments - fruit, pinecones, nuts, and Victorian “clippie” birds, but storing it took up way to much room in the shed that we “remodeled” and reorganized over Thanksgiving, so, it went to the thrift shop along with the other truckloads of stuff I’ve hauled out this fall. I’ll be looking for a slimmer tree for next year.

Margo & Debbie came by on Friday to visit my “patient” and they played Santa Claus! They brought and decorated a big potted rosemary shaped like a Christmas tree (smells wonderful!), a potted poinsettia, the fresh wreath I had ordered, and the cutest little Santa “blizzard” globe – has a fan and snow that whirls at about F-4 level! Hilarious! Isn’t he adorable?? Can’t you just hear him screaming


Friday, December 18, 2009

Patient Update

Breakthrough! Doctor from ER called yesterday to badger Duke - asked him why he couldn't just drive over... is this guy clueless? Duke had to get downright rude to get him off the phone. Then he calls me at work and asks if I had "forgotten" to bring Duke back for bloodwork. I told him I had not forgotten, I just wasn't bringing him over. He finally decided it would be "okay" for the home nurse to come to our house to draw blood and deliver it to the hospital. Imagine that. Still have a few more blisters appearing, but there is no infection, it is merely fluid trying to escape. The physical therapist just left, and she was very pleased with the progress so far. Now I just need to catch up on some of my missing sleep! I am in zombie mode...zzzzz...

Oh, before I forget - yesterday's spontaneous, humorous, drug-induced conversation:

"Six what?"
"Six eyes!"
"What in the heck are you talking about?!"
"You asked me how many eyes I had!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Elf in for Repair

Well, we had planned on camping over the long Thanksgiving weekend, but as it turned out we only got to spend the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day at the campground with our friends – probably worked out for the best, as I had a lot to do before hubby’s hip replacement on Dec 7th. Surgery went well, daughter Lisa and I stayed in Santa Barbara four days (ooo, a vacation!) and I cannot say enough good things about our doctors at the Sansum Clinic and the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. This is a hospital where a routine part of your pre-op appointment is a warning that YOU WILL GET NO REST! There is at least one person, normally two, every 20 minutes checking to see if you are feeling okay, need something, food, water, nurse, meds, pillows fluffed, whatever. Newspaper is delivered to your bedside table each morning, and the meal bearers are nice young men in dressy black slacks, white shirts, and black ties who merrily say “room service” as they deliver your meal and announce with a flourish what you are being served. And I love their valet parking! This is so unlike other hospitals where I was afraid to leave Duke alone and you could ring for help for upwards of two hours and get NO response! I swear, Duke actually enjoys each visit! He makes the whole experience fun, joking and chatting with all the staff, and this trip they fondly referred to him as their “fun” patient!! His doctor is wonderful, with a sense of humor to match Duke’s. They jumped through hoops to get him discharged and on the road by 9AM (thought there was more snow coming) and we drove the four hours home on Thursday well ahead of the rain. Thank goodness we missed the big snow and ice storm earlier in the week! We had the very best of house sitters, so never had to give a single thought to the house or 24/7 care of our horribly spoiled dogs! It was nasty job getting our perpetually shady lower driveway by the front door cleared of ice before we arrived. Fortunately, our long steep driveway is about the first thing in town that is melted and dry as it faces due south. Duke is doing very well compared to the “other” hip which was broken only one month following the surgery to repair his broken neck. That time he was in the hospital for nearly a whole week and then a rehab center for two more weeks. We did have an issue with some inch-diameter blisters on his foot yesterday, but after conferring with the visiting nurse, visiting physical therapist and doctor by phone, we headed to the emergency room. That too went well, until the doctor called us as soon as we got home and says “I stabbed myself with the needle that I used to drain your blisters and you will have to come right back in to be tested for HIV!” Excuse me?!?! No. You want blood? Send someone over to the house and get it... you know, like maybe the nurse that was just here this morning to draw blood to deliver to you?? They swear… well, the doctor swears… it’s hospital policy to do this onsite. Tough tacks. Duke’s policy is also to do it onsite. Our site. Geesh! Anyway, I made it to work today for a whole four and a half hours, hope to do longer tomorrow. Duke still has to relocate between bed and chair every two hours (even though I had to leave him for five hours today) and he can’t get up out of his chair by himself, and is unable to manage pillows and blankets under and over his various body parts by himself, so I need to work out two trips home during my ten-hour days or do a shorter day and bring work home with me. The only other issue is “someone” hallucinating big time on all the pain meds… no, it’s not me! We’ve had rousing unwinnable arguments about spiders, mice, bats, giant wooden bread boxes and fences that were so NOT sitting in the middle of the living room, but the best episode (so far) was Duke suddenly waking up and yelling “pretty!” while looking at the reflection of our living room lamps in a mirror… sigh… does this qualify me to work in a mental ward?

The “fun” patient!

The fun orthopedist, Dr. Bliss

Here’s a picture of one of the visiting critters - another perk at the Cottage Hospital! Her name is Diamond, she’s 17 months old and her “dad” brings a big selection of homemade jeweled necklaces for her to wear. What a cutie! She visited every single patient and all the waiting rooms – Lisa and I got to see her three times!