Monday, February 18, 2019

a quiet weekend

It never did clear up, warm up, or dry up on Saturday and Sunday was the same until late afternoon when the sun finally came out and I got over to the garden beds and finished the one and started on another. Today dawned sunny and windy so I have one more day of good weather to get over there and continue to clear out my garden beds because the next 5 days are predicted for overcast and rain. Sigh.

I did finally reply to everyone's comments on my last post. The meds seem to be kicking in as I've only had two short episodes in the last four days.

I don't really have anything to write about as I didn't do anything over the weekend but moan about the weather. Well, I do but I'm not ready to post about it yet so I'll take a page from Steve and show you pictures of my dog.

This is an old picture but I'm not sure I ever posted it. Minnie had been laying next to me when Marc sneezed three or four times. She got up and laid on his chest looking at him intently.

She is not rocking the hood.

Disemboweling the whale.

The other dog is my grandson's puppy. When they were first introduced a few weeks ago, Minnie was bigger than Yote though he already outweighed her and all he wanted to do was play. He is about 4 months old in this picture.

This is Yote's paw at 4 months. The dog is going to be monstrous.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

matters of the heart and other things

I got a phone call from the cardiologist RNP's office Wednesday morning, they had my referral and I could come back in that day if I wanted. I wanted. I finished my interview with the assistant, told her I was currently having an episode (which started up on my way to the office), she hurried me into the EKG room and finally! got it recorded. The RNC came in with the printout, sat down, looked at me and said I was in atrial fibrillation (heart rate 125 with normal being 60 - 100) and she wanted me to go immediately to the emergency room after she started me on a blood thinner for a chemical ablation (intravenous) in order to stop it immediately since oral medication would take too long. Whoa nellie! Not exactly what I wanted to hear. I balked. I really don't want to go to the ER and I really don't want to go on blood thinners. The blood thinner, she explained, was because when a heart is in afib, blood pools in the upper chamber, and gets gooey I guess, and could throw a clot and cause a stroke. Hmmm. I still didn't want to go to the ER (expensive and because SOP is 'cover your ass' they would want to admit me and run every test they could think of, also expensive even with insurance, and I would be there for days if not a week) but I agreed to go on the blood thinner while we discussed meds and other more invasive procedures that might be done if it couldn't be controlled with meds. I told her I was confident that the current episode would pass soon enough because that was the pattern of the last three months and that I would prefer to start with the least invasive approach which was the oral beta blocker combined with the blood thinner but that if two or three hours from then I was still in afib, I would go to the ER (said mostly to ease her mind). I left with a sample packet of blood thinner while she called in the scrip for the beta blocker and, as I expected, the episode passed soon enough. So now I'm on two new meds and I go back to see her next Thursday. So far, so good.

Last Thursday was Garden Club meeting day and Estate Sale day where I found this iguana 

so I was gone most of the day though in between I did get the rest of the roses pruned back as well as the ground spreading lantana and the water sprouts off one of the crepe myrtles while Marc mowed over at the shop.

Foggy and overcast and drippy yesterday morning, and this morning, which has been the norm lately but cleared up and finished trimming around the crepe myrtles. My poor raised garden beds are a disaster 

so I worked over there most the day yesterday 

and plan to again today once it clears up and if it's not too wet from the current foggy drizzle.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


Spring is busting out all over. The pear and peach trees are in full bloom as are the japanese magnolias, new growth sprouting on everything. Even my little confused peach tree has finally gotten with the program and has half a dozen flower buds coming on in the right season. Tuesday the sun did come out and it was a cloudless day Wednesday. I got out there Tuesday and started pruning stuff back, cut the confederate roses and the morning glory bushes back to the ground because if I don't, by fall they'll be 20' tall, started cutting the roses back and did some weeding. So much to be done out there it was hard not to get distracted and jump from chore to chore. Dug up the rest of the sow thistle and gathered up all the prunings yesterday and Marc mowed so the wild field of wildflowers is shorn. 


my peas are blooming


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

navigating clover and health care

Have I mentioned lately how tired I am of the gloomy overcast wet and drippy days? According to a friend we've had 7” of rain so far this year. That's more than an inch a week as today makes just six weeks and we got at least 1/2” if not more last night. Everything is WET. The sun came out for about two hours yesterday, looked at everybody being all happy and chirpy and decided that was enough of that. The oft wrong weather app on my device says today starts a week or so of mostly sunny days. I'm for that as both pairs of my muck around outside shoes are soaked but so far I'm not seeing it. If that actually happens I won't be getting any glass work done this week either as I'll be out in the yard trying to tame it. hahahahahahaha I just kill me. The clover over at the shop is knee high 

can't even see the path I made through it to the burn pile with the garden cart yesterday

and as I was blazing a trail through it to the door of the shop something stung me on my big toe and for all you peeps who shake their heads at me because I'm always barefoot, I was wearing shoes! Well, sandals. I thought it was a bee but it hurt different (I looked through the clover but didn't see the culprit). It hurt like the sting I got on the bottom of my foot from the red velvet ant (wingless wasp aka cow-killer) that took two months to heal and damn if it isn't all red and sore and some swollen today.

And now what a clusterfuck this has was supposed to be my cardiologist appointment with the Nurse Practitioner cardiologist (RNP) of my first choice, after the PCP said she was referring me to her on Jan. 21. To get this appointment I had to

1. call the Patient Concierge Services on Jan. 24 and found my referral request hadn't been sent yet and call the PCP and tell them to send the referral request

2. call the PCS Jan. 29 inquiring about my referral

3. received a call Jan. 31 from PCS telling me I could now call the WRONG doctor for my appointment and when I informed them of their error was told they would send the referral to the right RNP and it would just take a day or two.

So here is where it gets sticky. I figured maybe they ignored who I wanted to see because she wasn't in my network and just sent it to the guy who was, so...

4. called PCS Feb. 1 and told them I would just see the guy since it was taking so long

5. but didn't call the appointment desk to make my appointment til the following Thursday the 7th, because I've been complaining about how long the whole thing is taking, only to learn he couldn't see me for 2 freaking months so, who else you got?

6. another guy who could see me the next week, I made the appointment for the 14th. Then I decided to look up on my insurance company's website to see what doctors were in my network (because I couldn't remember the name of the guy I had an appointment with) and I only saw the one doctor's name, the one who had the long wait time.

7. so I called the appointment desk back but they checked and yes, #2 was in my network. So then, I'm thinking if doctor #2 wasn't on the site maybe neither was my first choice so I called my insurance company and yes she is.

Yay, right?

8. called the appointment desk back a third time and canceled the one appointment and made the one I wanted in the first place because apparently the woman on the other end of the line didn't bother or didn't know to check for the referral.

And that was for today and I went. I paid my co-pay, I was shown in the room, was going through the initial symptom and history interview with the nurse/assistant when we were interrupted by a young woman come to tell me that I didn't have the appointment, that they didn't have a referral for me, that she was really sorry, (poor thing), but I wasn't supposed to be here but they were working on it now trying to get the referral for the RNP and I could come right back in as soon as they got it so I got my co-pay back and left. So that's where I am right now, waiting for tomorrow to call the PCS...again. Because the referral has to be for the specific doctor/RNP instead of just the cardiology department. If they had just sent the referral to the right person in the first place we would have all been saved a lot of aggravation and misunderstanding and time.

I saw this on Ms Moon's blog today and it is eerily illustrative of trying to navigate what passes for healthcare in America.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

from the How Hard Can It Be? Dep't

Short answer: a lot harder than it should have been but TA-DA!!!

three finished skirts

True, I haven't sewn for myself since the kids were babies but there were those few years when the grandgirls wanted to learn how to sew but at least we were using patterns!

Last Sunday I had cut the fabric for the first skirt, two lengths, one for the front, one for the back, and the waistband so Monday I selected a thread color from my accumulation, wound the bobbin and sewed up the side seams only for some reason, the thread kept slipping off the hookey-do that goes up and down while the machine is running. Grrr. So frustrating having to stop periodically too damn often to untangle the mess in the bobbin and I rethreaded that machine about a million times but I finally got the skirt gathered, the waistband on, the elastic in, 

put it aside, and got skirt #2 cut and the side seams done thinking I would have to take my machine back to the repair place on Wednesday.

Tuesday morning I decided I wanted pockets in my skirts so I examined the side pockets on a skirt I have, made a pattern, cut the fabric, tore out part of the side seams, and wondered if the thread could possibly be the problem and changed the thread which miraculously solved the problem of it slipping off the hookey-do and it's been running fine ever since. Yay! I threw the problematic spool away and then began the days of if it could go wrong, it did. It took me three hours to finally figure out the pockets and to get them sewn in involving ripping out the stitching from prematurely sewing the two halves together. Next I readied the waistband and ran the gathering stitches on the two halves of the skirt and ran out of bobbin thread halfway through one side. I quit for the day.

Wednesday I finally got the gathering stitches in and started to gather the front and for some reason there was a knot that the gathers just would not go past. FINE. I'll just pull from the other side. That worked so on to the back, gathers hit a knot grumble grumble, pull from the other side and...hit a knot. Oh fer cryin' out loud! And I quit for the day.

I didn't sew on Thursday because other plans had been made but Friday I finally got the skirt #2 finished after the third try at getting the elastic in because stupidity and repeating the stupidity, and then started on skirt #3 

which I finished today with only two instances of torn out stitches.

Skirt #1 has no pockets which I'm going to regret but am I going to take it apart and add them? Hell, no. I'm going to add patch pockets. Tomorrow.

Monday, February 4, 2019

no doubt about it

I'm over this poison ivy. It can go away now.

We had a good time at the gathering Saturday night sitting around Edith's farm table eating tacos, sipping blackberry flavored whisky with two or three conversations going on the whole time. Five houses, two singles, three couples.

It's barely February and it is definitely spring out there. The birds are convinced, the cedar tree is blooming, 

the spirea is putting on buds, one of the azaleas is blooming, the ground orchids are starting to send up their blooms, 

the woodlands painted petal have opened their first blooms and the rest are sending up bloom stalks right before my eyes 

and the yard is solid with 10 petal anemone blooms 

a fairly typical section of yard

and henbit too. I need to get out there and prune back the roses and fertilize them because they'll be putting on new growth any day now.

Since our last dip in the low 30s every day has been a bit warmer and this week the highs are going to be in the 70s with another dip into the 30s Thursday night. Warm it may be but it's also been overcast, foggy, drizzly, rainy, WET. We got 1 1/4” rain Saturday night added to the 1 1/4” we got earlier last week. This week, warm days aside, is predicted to be the same. Sigh. It is so wet out there. I spent an hour or so out in the big backyard Sunday digging up sow thistle which thanks to the flood have once again colonized the yard. Made a dent but didn't get all of them. I got tired of having to scrape the wet sticky clayey mud off the shovel and trowel after every plunge into the ground. When I went in my shoes and the bottom 6” of my pants were soaked and I had mud all over my shirt.

I'm putting aside the glass work for a few days. I finally got my sewing machine repaired and the lady told me to be sure and use it because there was only a 30 day guarantee so I'm going to make a couple of long skirts. I bought some lightweight cotton plaid fabric years ago at a garage sale and never used it and since the two skirts I have are at least 30 years old and fragile with all kinds of holes and tears in them I figured it was time. 

No pattern, I'm just going to wing it. How hard can it be to make a gathered skirt with an elastic waistband? I'll let you know.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

feathers, flowers, leaves, and pie

I think I've decided how I got so much poison ivy on my face. The day I was over at the shop pulling out the dead cosmos, Minnie was doing her dog thing poking around among the heavy growth along the back fence of the shop property where poison ivy grows vigorously. She's a very sweet and affectionate little dog and will put her paws on my shoulders and rub her face against mine and my neck. I'm thinking she had a face full of urushiol (the oil in the sap that causes the allergic reaction) and she generously shared it with me (even though she pokes in there a lot and has never in the past transferred any to me). While I'm still getting small outbreaks on my hands, the places on my face are beginning to dry up and heal. And I discovered the the NP cardiologist that I wanted to go to is not in my network boo hiss and so I am giving the guy they referred me to a try. Still have to make the appointment.

We're going over to a neighbor's house for a get together and dinner tonight with our little social group on the street and I'm making a key lime pie to take as soon as Marc gets through juicing the limes for me. He volunteered to do that part because he knows the arthritis in my thumb joints would be screaming at me if I did it.

So the last bunch is out of the kiln. The third heron feather came out great and I'm really happy with it and will use it with the heron box. 

The hibiscus flower and leaf fired well also and that red is in-your-face red (in hindsight I should have used a 50/50 blend of red and white) though it shrank more than I expected. 

The three experiments with the transparent glass got weird. Well, two of them did. The star which was all transparent powder fired just like opaque glass (see above) which means that I can expand my color palette without having to buy more colors in the opaque powder. The two with transparent glass that had fine frit, the leaf all fine frit and the flower shape half fine frit and half powder got weird. The all frit leaf is heavily textured not having melted completely together at the low temperature and the color changed to more of a teal than the green it is supposed to be and the yellow flower shape turned a ghastly sort of murky green for which I have no explanation.

I still don't know where I'm going with this stuff. The next things I try will be a little more complex, more than one color, maybe pansies.

OK, pie is made...with blueberries!