Friday, June 30, 2023

Devils Tower and Some Montana

Hello Everyone. We've made it to Missoula, Montana tonight. We've had a long couple of days, but fun too. We left Omaha yesterday morning and drove through Iowa and S. Dakota. We had rain as we left home and again the last 50 or so miles of the day. Heavy, heavy rain in the Black Hills as we drove through Rapid City. We stayed over night in Spearfish, SD at a Quality Inn we've stayed at many times. However in the three or so years since we last stayed there, it has gone downhill considerably. We saw several people check in about the same time as we did and they went back and asked for a refund and left. We probably should have done the same, but we didn't. Suffice it to say we won't stay again.

This morning we were up and gone before 8:00 because we wanted to get to the Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming before it got too hot outside. It was perfect while we were there. It's about a 50 mile drive from Spearfish. The photo below is about 10 miles away from the tower. Everything is so green everywhere we go. There is definitely no drought in Western S.D. or Montana from what we've seen. The rivers and creeks are all running high, even the Yellowstone River. And you'll see from the following photos how green it it.

We hiked partway around the base, but we had a long drive ahead of us so we didn't go all of the way around. If you could only smell the scents we did here. It was indescribably beautiful. The flowers, the pine trees, the grasses. It was a perfect morning.

Another view of the tower. We also got a new stamp in our National Park Passport book.

They had information all along the trail and I thought this might interest you.

The next photos were supposed to be first, but blogger had a mind of it's own tonight.
This is just a tiny example of the S. Dakota Badlands that I photographed as we zoomed down the interestate at 80 mph! There is much more impressive landscape off of the interstate a bit further.

One of the first glimpses of the Black Hills of S. Dakota. One of my very favorite places on this earth.

This is actually the very first glimpse of the hills from about 50 miles away. Every time we drive across S. Dakota, I wait for this stretch of road. It's one of my favorites as the road curves though the hills and you can see what seems like forever.

So pretty and green isn't it? The storm clouds were moving in and it soon rained on us which was nice to wash the bugs off of the windshield.

We drove over 12 hours today and finally arrived here in Missoula after 9:00 pm. Our plan was to go to a little town called Philipsburg, MT. this afternoon. We've never been there but have always wanted to stop sometime. We've always been in too big of a hurry. We arrived about 6:00 thinking we would get a hotel and then eat dinner. Philipsburg is known for it's big, old-fashioned candy store and also sapphire mining. When we got there literally everything in town was closed. There was a concert and even the hotel owner was gone and the door locked! We finally found a place out on the highway to get a hamburger. It reminded me of the bar scene in Pure Country with George Straight. Country music playing, LOUDLY. Lot of motorcylists and cowboys in there.  The casino machines were humming, and lots of people having a good old time! The food was good, and that's what we needed. After eating, we decided to come on to Missoula for the night. We got the last room here at the Comfort Inn and it's 300% better in every way from last nights room. We usually plan for everything way ahead of time, but this trip we're "flying by the seat of our pants." We're just going with the flow and so far we're enjoying it very much. We should be in Spokane by early afternoon if all goes well. There are a couple of stops we want to make at favorite places along the way. We have made the drive between Helena and Spokane dozens of times so it's very familiar to us. We can't wait to see Lake Coeur d'Alene again. A year is too long to be away from our home. :-)

And now I'm off to bed. It's been a long day of sitting in the car. How can that be so exhausting? Dennis is doing great. His hand starts throbbing from laying on the armrest in the car sometimes, so he hold's it up to his chest for awhile. But he says he's fine. I agree with a lot of you. I can't believe those pins don't hurt!!

Take care everyone and I'll try to check back again soon. It will be a busy time in Spokane so I don't know if I'll get to post again for awhile. Have a wonderful 4th of July if you live in the USA. 

Blessings and love,

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Try, Try Again

Do you know the old, saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Well, we’re going to try taking our trip again. Dennis isn’t scheduled to go back to work until the 17th, so we’re going to leave tomorrow for a couple of weeks. We’re not taking the truck and trailer, instead, we’re taking the car and staying at hotels until we get to Spokane. There we will stay with friends. On the way home we get to stop and see Jamie and our grandkids in Montana. Miss Kyleigh just graduated from high school and was valedictorian. She’s off to college this fall so we definitely want to see her before she’s off to new adventures. Caleb will be a junior and is busy working but also fly fishing, mountain biking  and any other sports he can think up to do in the mountains of the west.

Yesterday we went for Dennis’s post-op visit where they removed the surgical bandages and made his custom cast for him. He still isn’t supposed to lift anything heavier than a TV remote or a cell phone, so we didn’t think camping for our trip would be such a good idea.

I debated showing the photos of his unwrapped thumb, but as you all reminded me in my last post, you’ve seen worse as moms and grandmas! So here you go.

We certainly did not expect to see this when they took the bandages off. The pins and the balls on the end of the pins are a lot bigger than we had imagined them when they describe them to us before surgery.

His hand is still pretty bruised and swollen over a week and a half later but he says it doesn’t hurt at all.

The process of making the custom cast was quite interesting. It was a large sheet of plastic that they cut the general shape out of and then put it in a tub of very hot water. They then wrapped it around his arm and formed it to his wrist and thumb. They made little “bubbles” where the pins come out so the cast won’t rub on them. The lady who made it said it’s like an arts and crafts class with every new patient that comes in!

Ta-dah! All done.

This was his bracelet when he went in for surgery. We thought it was hilarious, that he had a fall risk bracelet. Just because he stepped backwards off of his truck.🙄 I am so much more clumsy than him, and I would definitely be a fall risk.😂

On Saturday, my sister, niece, and nephew, and Mandy, Brad and Piper all came over for lunch. Afterwords Piper and Lizzie stayed with us while Mandy and Brad went home to do yardwork. We had a great time playing dominoes together. She’s a smart cookie. She beat me very easily. Can you tell what a cuddler Lizzie is?

I really like the sentiment behind this picture.

We’re leaving our little Zoey behind at Mandy‘s and Brad‘s house. We know she’ll have a great time with Lizzie and Piper while we’re gone and it will be much easier to find hotels without having a dog along. However, the thought of leaving her isn’t easy for either of us. She is definitely our baby.

I’ll be taking my computer along and hopefully will be able to catch up with blog’s at some point along the way. The plan is to leave around 8:30 tomorrow morning and we’re hoping to stop in DeSmet, SD at the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but we’re always in a hurry when we go by. I’m hoping it’s not as hot as it is here today. It’s 94F now, with a heat index of 99F. Way too hot for me.

Take care my dear friends and I’ll post agin when I can.

Blessings and love,

Thursday, June 22, 2023

It’s Done!

We're home!  Here's Dennis, IV in and ready to go!

And here he is, right after the surgery. He ended up with a general anesthesia so I was really surprised to have him so alert when he woke up.  See his two new pins in his thumb? The surgery went much, much better than the surgeon expected. Despite several breaks and some small bones that turned to "sand," he didn't have to use plates and screws which is great. The pins will be removed in 6 weeks.  Next Tuesday he will get a custom splint made for him, after the surgery swelling goes down. His forehead is looking much better and the surgeon will take out the stitches on Tuesday.


The dress I ordered two weeks ago for Alex's wedding this fall, showed up yesterday. I don't look very happy do I? I have no idea why unless it was that I wish I was about 70 lbs lighter. Since they had to cancel the wedding several times during Covid and ended up with a Registrar wedding, they want to go ahead and have a big party and proper wedding.  What do you think? Is the dress appropriate for Mother of the Groom?

Today was also Lizzie and Zoey's 2nd birthday. Piper decorated the house and sang happy birthday to them and also gave them extra treats in a "people" bowl!  Wasn't that sweet? Those two little puppies are VERY well loved. It was a great day when we found these two sisters to adopt. They really love each other and we all love them both. They're very happy at each others house, but like to go to their own home too. Our Zoey is on the left, Lizzie on the right.

Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers and love. I appreciate them more than you know. I'm going to do my best to catch up on everyone's blogs tonight. Dennis is sound asleep in his recliner with Zoey asleep on his lap. After dinner, I'm planning to join him and work on my laptop.

Blessings and love,

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

It was fun till it wasn’t…

We’re home! Yes, you read that right. This is a long post so hold on tight. And here we go! We left Omaha about 8:30 Sunday morning and had a beautiful drive to Custer, South Dakota, not far from Mt. Rushmore. We had reservations at Fort Welikeit, about a mile outside of town. It's a beautiful campground that we have stayed in before. We started setting up the trailer. Dennis backed it in perfectly the first try. No back and forth involved. Score! I began the inside set up and my Hubby started outside. Then I hurried to make dinner because it was 6:00 and we hadn't eaten since about 10:00 am. Next thing I knew I heard a strange sound outside and stuck my head out the door and asked if he was alright. I heard a weak, "no". Uh-oh! 

But first, this is what we saw as we drove into the Black Hills around 5:00. Isn't it beautiful?

Before the Uh-oh....

The scene of the crime and a warning. If you have a queasy stomach at all...STOP reading. I'll write again later. Just don't look at the following photos. Okay? Here we go. Deep breath. (But really, we're mostly all Mom's and Grandma's on here and we've seen this kind of thing before.)

He came around the corner with his hand over his face and blood dripping down. Aren't those eyebrows craziness? I had just trimmed them about two weeks ago. Since this photo, they've received another trim! This photo is the proof that he ended up with 6 stitches total. One on the top right and 5 above his eye. Please ignore the fact that he hadn't shaved. We were supposed to be on vacation and he only shaves about every 3 days when on vacation! :-) It's his gift to himself.

And then there was his hand. Looks like a vampire bite with an extra hole for good measure! I sent these two photos to Mandy and asked her advice since she's our family medical professional. As an RN, her order was to go to the ER immediately.  Well, dinner was ready and he wasn't going anywhere until he ate. Remember that I said we were hungry. So I cut up his pork chop for him since he couldn't use his right hand at all. Then off to the Hospital we went. Would you believe that there was a hospital less than a mile away? I drove the beast of a truck there, even parked it between the lines and he went in. When they asked him what happened he said, "I fell down and went boom!" Seriously, he did. He never lost his sense of humor.  Actually what happened is that he stepped backwards off of the back of the tailgate of the truck. It's an F350 which is really, really tall. At 67 he doesn't bounce like he did at 5 years old. At least that's what he told the nurse.

A CT scan showed nothing seriously wrong in his head and that he really DOES have a brain. The ER doctor put a cast on his hand to hold it immobile after she saw the xrays and stitched up his head. And then the dreaded words..."You have to go back home for emergency surgery."  Noooooooooo. We only had one day of vacation!

The next two photos show his hand today at the orthopedic surgeons office.  It's a pretty green and blue. 

And guess what? Tomorrow he's having surgery to (hopefully), put an unknown number of pins in that thumb that's broken in several places and probably a few crushed small bones. I say hopefully because the surgeon said that until he gets inside the thumb to see it properly he doesn't know if it will be plates and screws or pins. He wants to do pins because they will come out in about six weeks where the plates and screws would stay in forever. That will be bad in the winters here with the cold. The surgery is expected to last a little over an hour.

Meanwhile, back in Custer, on Monday I got a crash course in hitching up the trailer, dumping tanks and putting all of the hoses, electrical and all outside stuff away and buttoning up everything on the outside. That's usually his job. Monday night I packed up everything in the trailer into the truck so we could just drop the camper at storage when we got back and go right home. The plan was to leave early in the morning Tuesday for the drive home. We were both too exhausted after driving all day Sunday, about 11 hours, the accident, ER visit, waking every two hours to check for concussion, etc., to try to attempt the trip on Monday. We sat around the campsite all day and just relaxed in the beauty of the campground. I also called our primary care doctor for a referral to the surgeon, made an appointment to get the stitches in his head out on Friday and make the appointment for the surgeon today. It was SO quiet. After packing everything up, (with Hubby supervising me), including hitching up the trailer, we went to bed early.
At 1:20 we woke up to the truck alarm going off. We shut it off as quickly as we could and thought, "well that was weird." Ten minutes later it did it again. Then again. It's never done that before. We decided we better scram fast if we didn't want to be shot for waking everyone up over and over at 1:30 am. We were dressed, the slide put in, stabilizers up and on the road in about ten minutes. At 1:45 a.m. After four hours of sleep total in about two nights. Oh joy. And my wonderful husband drove the entire way. With one hand. And in pain. Today he could barely move. His ribs are very painful, he must have hit them in the fall somehow.
We did make it back about 1:00 pm yesterday. Safely, thank the good Lord. The accident could have been so much worse if he had fallen the other direction and hit his head on the tongue of the trailer. Or broken a leg or hip. I wouldn't have been able to get him into the trailer or truck to get him home. God is good and I praise Him for all of His help. Our sweet son-in-law, Brad, volunteered to fly his Dad up to drive home with me in the truck while he would fly Dennis back home to avoid a painful trip. But no, Hubby wanted to prove he could drive his truck himself.
When we got home, while I unpacked everything from the truck, he took both keys to have the batteries changed. The alarm hasn't gone off since then, so it was just a low battery. I told him we need to get them changed every year at the same time to prevent this happening again. This morning when the alarm went off for us to get to his surgeons appointment on time, he thought in his dream that it was the truck alarm going off. Now THAT is the only funny thing to happen in the past several days.
He's 67 and has never had a broken bone before. The ER doctor told him that was a great track record and that she couldn't believe how good of health he's in. It was one of those freak accidents that just happen when you least expect it. 
He tells me that he's so proud of me for everything I've done the past few days. He knows how hard it is with my back. But gosh, it sure makes me appreciate him even more, and everything he does for us everyday. He gets so frustrated that I have to help him with so much. I don't mind. I love that man with all I have. Next to the Lord, he's the most important person in the world to me. 

Well, that's the saga of our first three days of vacation. I'm sorry to say I haven't had time to read any blogs since this happened, but hope I can catch up tomorrow night after the surgery. I'll update you all in a few days. And do you know that Dennis asked the surgeon today if we could still go to Montana and Washington and he immediately said, "Go"! So after his follow-up visit next week, if he's recovering well, we may drive the car to see Jamie and the kids in Montana and stay in hotels along the way instead of camping. Then we'll stay in the Queen Suite at our friends house in Spokane where we were going to camp in thier driveway. You wouldn't believe the set-up they built in their basement for Dennis to stay in when he was traveling back and forth for work when we first moved. We have some wonderful friends.

Well, if you're still with me for this novel, all I can say is thank you for being such patient and sweet friends. I'll be back soon.  Love to you all!

Blessings and love,

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Getting Ready

Good Morning to you all! It's another warm sunshiney day here in the midwest. I have a few errands today. I need to pick up prescriptions before our trip and I'll take Mom along and we'll have lunch at a local family owned cafe. She likes it, the food is great and it's not overly expensive like most places are now.

We leave on Sunday to start our journey to Spokane. We'll stop in the Black Hills for a few days, then to see our son Jamie and his family in Montana, before making our way to Washington. The plan is to take almost a week to get to Spokane, be there for a little over 2 weeks and then a week to get home. Of course it all depends on how Mom does with us gone so long. Mandy will be here, looking after her for us and we will be calling Mom several times a day to see how she is. We're looking forward to four weeks of living in our little trailer and calling it home. We still hope to do more traveling in it in the future, but we'll have to see how that works out. In Spokane, we'll once again be parking in our friends driveway like we did last year. Mooch-docking is what they call it. lol We'll actually be house-sitting for them for a week as they leave for Italy the day after we get there. We're taking care of their little dog, Izzy, who Zoey loved playing with last year. They have a perfect camp spot for us with electricity and water too. They have a huge yard and garden and a salt water pool to play in. Then, we'll have another week with them when they get back home. It's wonderful to have friends that are like family back there. I know it will be hard to leave. I'm already registered for a ladies tea at the church while I'm there. Fun times! We haven't decided our route back home yet. Of course there is the normal way we drive. I-90 straight across Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and S. Dakota. We've done that dozens and dozens of times and would like to see something new. We're thinking of going down to Utah and taking I-80 across Colorado and Nebraska. Or, go across N. Dakota and check out the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It may be too hot for that though.

I'm not sure how much blogging I'll get done. It depends on internet capabilities. I'll be able to read your blogs on my phone, but it could be the usual commenting issue. I'll sure do the best I can and I'll be able to keep up with your escapades! :-)

Last week Miss Piper and I went to see the new Little Mermaid movie.

It was pretty good and stayed true to the storyline of the original animated movie. Parts of it were really dark though, dark as in it was hard to see different scenes. Even Piper commented on it. I think they were trying to get the idea of how dark it is underwater when you get really deep, but it was frustrating instead. You knew action things were happening and you could barely see them. Still, it was very much worth going to.

Piper and Lizzie spent the night that night and Lizzie was exhausted from playing with Zoey. She gets much more tired than Zoey does. I think she was probably the runt of the litter but she is the sweetest little baby. We all love her so much. I thought this picture was so cute of her. She loves her babies and blankets.
Tuesday I picked Piper up and we ran errands together. Twelves stops in total and she is a trooper and very helpful. We stopped at "Henry's" for lunch. It's a family owned restaurant in Crescent, IA, just across the Mormon Bridge from Omaha. We eat there after church often. Wonderful food for good prices. After lunch one of our stops was the cemetery to put flowers on all of our parents and grandparents graves. She really likes to help with that. She knows that they are her ancestors too, and likes me to tell her stories about them. Especially my Mom.

Another stop was to visit with Grammy. She would literally kill me if she saw this photo, but she won't, so here it it! Ha! We had a good time laughing and talking. I knitted that blanket behind her head for her for Christmas last year. It was made with scraps, holding two worsted weight yarns together and plain garter stitich. It's really fluffy and warm and she likes to cover up with it in the evenings.

I finished the granny blanket but I haven't washed and blocked it yet so it looks a bit wonky. It will go to a nursing home right arond the corner from us.

One sock done and the other past the heel turn. I'll work on these on vacation. It's just a k1, p1 ribbing for 18 rows and the Hermione stitch down the cuff. The foot is plain vanilla. Hermione is another free pattern on Ravelry.

I finally found a fingering weight yarn for the Multnomah shawl that I like. It looks black and white in the photo, but it's really a dark navy and cream. I'm thinking about adding beads around the feather and fan portion, but haven't decided yet. It will be for the kids wedding in Cambridge in September. This is their "fun" wedding since they had to keep cancelling it due to covid and just settled for a registrar wedding. Now they can celebrate with all of their friends and family and they can also show off Baby "J"! My dress is a dark blue sleeveless number. It could be cool in the evening so I thought a shawl might be needed. I've barely made a start on it and I'm getting ready to switch to a circular needle. Multnomah is a free pattern on Ravelry. I've made several of them for different people. I actually made a sparkley one for my niece  Chaela to wear at her wedding.

And now I've got to run. I'll pick up Piper and Mom in a little while. Tomorrow I HAVE to begin packing as I've done virtually nothing. It's hard to pack in advance when you will be using most things up until departure!

Have a lovely day my friends and I'll try to send you updates throughout the month.

Blessings and love,

Thursday, June 8, 2023

The heat is on!

Good Morning! We've had a really hot week or so here and although today is a bit cooler and only around 80F, the humidity is still pretty high. In other words, it's been miserable to be outside, so I've been staying in the air conditioned condo, car or any other place that has A/C.  One of the meds I take makes me very intolerant to heat and I'm absolutely miserable once the temp goes over 70. Seriously. In fact, the words of the neurologist were, heat can kill you, so stay out of it! So, to the best of my ability I do stay out of it. When home, I always have lots of things to do.

I fiished another "Every Which-Way" baby blanket. Zoey is always helping no matter what either of us are doing. Isn't she the sweetest model? The yarn was the $1.00 Ice Cream Big Scoop Ice Cream yarn in the bargain bin at Michaels and I still have a bit left over.

Now I'm working on a wheelchair lapghan and have 22 of 24 squares done. Then will come joining and putting on the border. I'm using scraps of different worsted greeens that I have. All are machine washable.

I don't think I showed you the queen size headboard and nightstand I found on FaceBook marketplace for $25.00 for both pieces. There isn't a scratch on them and the pattern on the headboard is beautiful.
The pencil drawing above the bed was drawn by Mandy when she was in the 8th grade in art. I love it.

The matching nightstand. The lamp is one of two matching ones that were left in our last house. Dennis has one by his chair in the living room.

The quilt and afghan were made by me, years ago. The luggage rack is from an antique store in Spokane. It actually comes in very handy and I think I only paid $15  or so for it, probably 25 years ago.

This was Melanie's purchase last week at the antique mall. Isn't it great?

And I missed posting this beautiful sculpture last week that was at Lauritzen Gardens. Isn't it something? The garden has sculptures hiding everywhere, behind bushes and trees. You have to keep your eyes open. They have different "hunts" for kids throughout the year. Easter, Halloween, etc.

I thought I would show you my view right now as I type this. We've put curtains up in the living room. They are sheers with small grey flowers. I like them so much that we've ordered the same curtains for the other windows. They're supposed to arrive today and I can't wait to put them up. The "Zebra" shades that are supposed to be the latest in home decor were worthless at keeping light out. Our bedroom was lit up like daylight at night and since they were "light filtering" you could see right in the room if the lights were on after dark, even with the shades down. Happily, they left the original white blinds in the closet of each room and we've been replacing the "expensive" blinds with the old ones. They have the wide white slats and look great. They work perfectly and are much more our style and they actually give us privacy at night. The only room that doesn't have them are the living room and so far the curtains have been fine for nighttime. We may eventually get white blinds for them too.

I've got to get moving so I can get to the church service at our old apartment. I help with some of the ladies who have trouble navigating their walkers and wheelchairs and I enjoy the singing of the old time hymns every other week. You don't hear them much in regular church anymore. Everything is the newer songs, which I also like, but I miss the hymns. It's something I really enjoyed about the apartment and plan to continue going when I can.

I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon, full of God's blessings and peace.

Blessings and love,