Thursday, February 29, 2024

Still coughing

Sorry I haven't been around. This cold I have? I haven't been tested for influenza but I'm pretty sure that's what we've had, (have).  I did do two separate covid tests, days apart and both were negative but didn't even think to get an influenza test. But it definitely isn't a regular cold. We're both still coughing but are getting better very, very slowly. Mom has it too. I'm afraid I gave it too her when we were moving her and I thought it was just a sinus thing. She does seem a bit better too. I'm exhausted all of the time. So much for getting a flu shot and RSV vaccine. 

The night before we both got sick, we went to Florentino's. It's a dinner our church youth group does every year just before Valentine's Day. It's been going on for almost 40 years. In fact, we were part of the group that started it, long before we moved to Spokane.  It's the big fund raiser for the youth every year to help pay for camp, rally's, etc. for kids that can't afford it. Dennis said that Olive Garden could take lessons in efficiency from these kids. They have it down to an art. They cook ALL of the food from scratch. They always have the Friday before the dinner off of school and spend the day at the Union Gospel Mission, using their commercial kitchen. They make meatballs and grill all of the chicken there. They even bake the bread! The kids do it all, with supervision of course. 

They decorate the church basement with fairy lights, candles and flowers.

Every year there is a fountain with goldfish. Oh, the stories I could tell about the goldfish!

Isn't it pretty? The kids work really hard on this dinner and decor. We're proud of them all as it's not a big group. Only around 13-15 kids.

My selection was chicken fettucine. I had plenty to take home for a second meal the next day.

Dennis got the spaghetti with huge meatballs. The sauce was made from scratch too. That's not regular sliced cheese. They buy huge blocks of cheese and hand slice it and the meatballs are buried under the sauce.

Here's our group. My sister Melanie is at the end of the table, her granddaughter Anna, her SIL Tim and daughter Chaela, Mandy is facing away talking to her best cousin Chaela. Dennis and our friends Donna, and you can't see her husband Ted. We've known them since before we were married. Donna and I sang in the choir together for years before we moved to Spokane. They are in their late 80's and don't drive much at night anymore so we gave them a ride. Oh, we had so much fun! You can tell we were in the first dinner seating and one of the first groups there.

Then, the next morning I was sick with whatever this is and Dennis succumbed about 3 days later. As I said, we thought it was just sinus or a cold, but it's definitely not. Much, much more severe and long lasting. I'm so glad we were able to go to the dinner though. It was so much fun. They had three seatings, 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00 and served hundreds. Since our church is fairly small, only about 100 people, you know that word of mouth has spread throughout the area. The kids are very attentive waitstaff and it's donation only for payment. 

I did finish Piper's third sweater several days ago. In the picture, I haven't washed or blocked it yet. I think she will like it. It's a combination of the Pure Comfort and Portage sweaters.  I used Big Twist yarn in Dk Coral and it took a little over 4 skeins. It's the womens small size. She loves the pockets. Yes, my baby girl is growing up and out of little girl sizes! She'll be in middle school next year. I can't believe it.

I have started a new blanket using five different colors and cream for the linking color. It will be for charity, either a toddler blanket or wheelchair blanket, I haven't decided. It's a pattern of crochet shells. I'm sorry that I forgot to take a photo. 

Mom is adjusting somewhat to her new surroundings. She changes moment to moment. One minute it's the best place she's been, the next she's sure she's at the hospital waiting for us to pick her up. Yesterday she told us that she's managing a bistro, (the diining room), and she has all of these great young people working for her. An hour before that she had called and told us that she was waiting for us to pick her up to go to lunch. That they told her she can't eat there anymore. It's a hospital and the doctor never shows up and we just left her for her appointment alone. None of it makes sense, but it does to her at the moment. We just go along with whatever she says and try to make her feeel better. She hangs up on us, tells us we don't understand. It's hard. Especially when we were so sick we couldn't go see her. She didn't understand why we weren't there every day.

I know that many of you have went through this with parents and know exactly how hard it is. We just do the best we can. She remembers nothing of the apartment we moved her out of two weeks ago. Only this place and they are amazing people there. We couldn't have chosen a better place for her to live. So far they have been the epitome of patience with her and happy and cheerful. They all seem to love her.

Beginning today, I'm going to try to get back to all of your blogs. I'm SO, SO sorry that I haven't been here. I have read them all, just no energy to comment on them at all. I've missed you all very much.

We broke records for high heat on Monday. It was over 80F, which apparently it's never reached 80 in February in Omaha! Then the very next night, Tuesday it snowed, with a "feels like" temperature of -9F!  Crazy! No wonder we're all sick. Today is supposed to be near 60 again. I thought this meme was very appropriate for the past week here in Nebraska.

Take care my friends. Stay well!

Blessings and love,

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


Sorry, I have been absent from both here and visiting your blogs for the past week. We moved Mom on Thursday and Friday to her new assisted living place. That has been a struggle in and of itself. In the middle of unpacking boxes Friday, I had to take her to see a new neurologist. She now has an MRI of her brain scheduled for early next week. 

On Saturday I woke up with a little bit of a cough and by Sunday morning I had a full-fledged cold. And it’s a doozy! I’m coughing so hard I can’t even eat anything and my nose is running like crazy and a low-grade fever to boot. I have tested negative for Covid twice. That was a relief. 🤧😷🤒

Needless to say, I can’t go see Mom, so it’s been left up to Dennis to go over three or four times a day and calm her down. I talk to her on the phone at least five or six times every day. She does not understand where she is. She thinks we dropped her off at a small town and left her there in a hospital. Well, sometimes at the hospital and sometimes it’s a hotel. We think that is because I got on the interstate to take her to the neurologist on Friday and that made her think we went to a different town.  She thinks we all, Dennis and I, Brad, Mandy & Piper, live there with her. She keeps asking where Piper’s room is because she wants to go tuck her into bed. I feel so bad for her because she sounds so lost and alone sometime. But other times she’s thrilled to be there and thinks it’s the greatest place in the world. They took her to the theater upstairs this afternoon, where she watched “Beethoven” and had a wonderful time and then they had a welcome party in the dining room for the new residents.

We’re hoping she will settle in more and more every day, although we know that our new reality is going to be much different than it has ever been, and will change daily. Meanwhile, I just don’t have the energy to do anything except sit and knit a few rows at a time and mindlessly watch YouTube. I hadn’t started packing anything at Mom‘s apartment until Thursday so we wouldn’t confuse her. Even with that, when I got there early Friday morning, she had already unpacked a few boxes, and I found things in the strangest places! By Friday night we had everything put away in her new apartment except the pictures being hung up on the walls. We did that Saturday morning with Mandy‘s help.

I’ll be back when I can but I think I’m going to have to take another short break. I’m still reading your blogs. I just don’t have the energy to comment at this point. I don’t know how Cindy does it with having Covid for weeks. My hat is off to you, Cindy!😍 (Cindy has the blog “delighted hands.”)

Take care everyone!

Blessings and love,

Monday, February 12, 2024

Busy Days

Hello again. I'm back with an update on our drive home to Nebraska from Texas and what's been happening since. I apologize if it's long. It's certainly been busy around here. I haven't even had time to be online yet today to check your blogs. I hope to do that right after I finish posting this.

On the way home from the cruiseport in Galveston we decided to take a detour across the state of Texas to San Antonio.  We left the ship around 9:00 Saturday and drove to San Antonio where we stayed the night. We had lunch on Sunday with a very sweet lady named Terri who has a YouTube channel called "Yarn Joy" that I have watched for several years, since her very first video.  She and her husband met us after church for lunch at a great Mexican restaurant. Terri and I hit it off right away and Dennis and her husband also found some common interests, so the guys had a conversation while Terri and I talked grandkids and yarn! It was SO FUN! The time passed so quickly and before we knew it we all had to part ways. I love meeting my online friends in "real life." We both thought it would be a great thing if we lived closer together and could spend some time crocheting with each other. I always look like such a giant. :-(

We also visited "The Alamo" in San Antonio. We've always wanted to go there and it was so interesting. We could have spent a lot more time there, but parking was hard to come by and we used up our entire allotted time on the parking meter. We had a few phone calls about Mom while we were there and by the time we left, our minds weren't really on The Alamo anyway.

The heroes of the Alamo. They really didn't stand a chance. 182 men against Santa Anna's 6000.

We stayed in Austin Sunday night and on Monday morning, we visited with one of Dennis's long time customers from before he retired. They were very surprised and happy to see him. He went to Austin many times to see them through the years and they also visited Spokane. I was glad to see how pleased they were to see him again.

After that, we headed to Waco, TX and the Magnolia Market and The Silos, where Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV fame have a fun space. Lots of little shops and the bigger market. I had gone there a little over a year ago with my sister Melanie and niece Chaela, but I wanted Dennis to see the silos. I did find a nice heavy 9 x 9 cake pan for Mandy. She's always cooking and baking something and this seems like a pan that will last a long time. 

The obligatory picture in front of the sign. We both HATE selfies. 

I am always impressed when I see real flowers blooming in the winter months. I have no idea what they were but there were boxes and boxes of them everywhere. Cabbage roses? I don't know!

And the silos. That's the industry Dennis was in for years and years.  Although he designed silos made with galvanized metal, not concrete. He traveled all over the world, since his sales territory was Montana, the Middle East, Africa and Europe! :-) I'm sure glad he doesn't travel those places anymore with the craziness in that part of the world. He used to go to the Ukraine often along with other places that are now very dangerous. That was before he became part of management and he didn't travel much after that.

After that we drove on to Wichita and stayed in a hotel one more night before we made a beeline for home and our own bed after almost two weeks away. We arrived home and immediately set in with life. 

We toured several Assisted Living places and then took Mom back to the one we really liked last Thursday. She really liked it too and to try to make a VERY, VERY long story short, we're moving her on Friday of this week. Meanwhile she's had several doctors appointments scheduled during these two weeks that we had planned even before our cruise. Today, the nursing director came to visit her in her current apartment to evaluate her and so I could let her know all of her prescriptions. Dennis had to work today and tomorrow, so I've been running all over. Tonight we picked up a twin bedframe that I found on facebook marketplace. It's in almost new condition for a very good price. Tomorrow I'm driving his HUGE truck to Costco to pick up the new mattresses. Pray for me. That thing is so big and I'm used to my little Honda CRV. His truck is an F350 diesel and even sounds big! Ha! I've bought her all new bed linens, mattress pads, comfortor, etc.  Wednesday we sign all of the admission paperwork and start packing. Friday morning we've hired the Firefighters to move her furniture. She'll be able to take it all with her except the queen size bed. She's fine with that. We had the Firefighters move us last May and they are wonderful.  We just can't do it all anymore. This makes 6 moves between us and Mom in the last 2 1/2 years! We're the people that usually stay put!

This facility will take care of all of her medications and her insulin injections. While we were gone the company that was supposed to take care of her insulin and blood glucose testing dropped the ball at least once. Again. It's happened a few times and we have to run over there and give her her shot. That's why it's hard to go anywhere. We worry about her the entire time. Plus, her memory is getting worse all of the time and we're really worried about her wandering off. This facility is one where you have to be buzzed into or out of the building, but they have several nice sized courtyards that she can take her walks in. She does love to walk. It's a super nice place and has been voted number one in Omaha for several years. Plus, we've known several relatives that have lived there and a friend too. They've all like it we are. No one said this was easy did they? Another plus? She's only about 5 blocks from our condo. We can get there very quickly if need be.

Last weekend Grandpa helped Miss Piper work on her Valentine box for school. Can you guess what it is? It's the quidditch field from Harry Potter. She came up with all of the ideas, Papa just provided an extra set of hands to hold things while she applied tape. I think it turned out great. We're so glad to be close enough to her to do school things and just experience life with her. We missed out on our two oldest grands since they live in Montana and also with Baby J in London. We facetime lots, but it's not the same.  Her Papa sure  does love her and so do I.

Mandy and I went to the Jane Austin Book Club on Saturday where we're reading Mansfield Park. When Mandy graduated from nursing school, the two of us went to London for a week. We also visited Bath, Jane Austins home. Mandy has always been a fan of hers. Since Brad was helping a friend move, Papa spent a few hours with Piper and then took her to a friends birthday party. We love doing those things. 

Here's our girl, ready to cheer on the KC Chiefs last night! And they won! Guess who's a happy girl? She's definitely a KC fan. She even has a "superbowl" ring replica from their last win. Her Uncle Bill makes sure she knows about sports. He takes her to the College World Series every year too. Bill is Brad's brother and also lives close by. He's definitely a doting uncle. 
Now, quickly to the crafty part of the blog because I'm writing waaaay too much tonight. I finished the wheelchair lapghan that I started before we left on vacation. I got about 20 or so of the 48 squares done before we left and finished it right after we got back. I tried to replicate that new Red Heart granny square yarn with yarn from my stash. I came pretty close to one of the colorways. This will be donated, maybe to the memory care at Mom's new place. Zoey seems to be asking if you like it? :-)

Last week I started Piper's latest and third sweater I've made her in the past two months.  It's a mix between the Portage and the Pure Comfort sweater patterns. The sage green one I made her is the Pure Comfort and the white one is the Portage. She likes different things about both, so I'm combining those parts in this sweater. I'm using JoAnn Fabrics Big Twist yarn in Dark Coral. I'm working on the bottom ribbing now. Not much is going to be happening with it this week because of the move. There isn't much time to knit.

I'm sorry to drone on and on. It does help to decompress with typing it out. It really has been a stressful time since we got home. Wishing you all a wonderful Valentines Day.  Remember that God ALWAYS love you.

Blessings and love,

Monday, February 5, 2024

The Cruise Life

Hello my friends and happy Monday night! As I promised, here is a quick post about the actual cruise.  The Harbor House is where the four of us stayed the Friday night before we boarded. It's a nice hotel, but much more expensive than we would normally spend. However, the cost was for the convenience to the actual cruise terminal. We walked less than a block before entering the terminal. To save on the cost, the four of us shared a room with two queen size beds. Good thing we've been friends for over 30 years! I detest pictures of myself so I'm going to pretend I don't see myself. :-)

The front of our ship. The Carnival Jubilee. It is a gorgeous ship. We were the 4th cruise of it's life.

Here's a bit better photo of the entire ship, (almost). It is huge and can carry about 6400 passengers and 1800 crew. We had over 5800 passengers plus crew on our cruise. Look at that gorgeous sky. We didn't see much of that on our trip! The guys ran our luggage over to the ship around 9:00 am and then we drove to the other side of the island and did some sight-seeing and had lunch before boarding at about 1:00.  We ended up leaving port around 5:00 pm.

After boarding, we visited our muster station and learned how to use life vests and where to go for our lifeboat if necessary. By then it was announced that we could go to our cabins whenever we wanted so we went to see the cabin and drop off our carry-on bags. We never, ever check our medications, jewelry, important documents, money, etc. We always carry them with us onto a plane and now the ship too. There is a safe in each cabin and we were grateful to use it for our valuables. You put your own combination in and only three people on the ship can override it. The Captain, The Head of Resort Services and one other that I can't remember now, so we felt it was a safe place to put things.

Then we went exploring this huge ship. That took days to visit everything.

The theme on the Jubilee is the boardwalk and under the sea. This art fixure is so beautiful and three stories tall of fish swimming in circles. At night it's lit up and looks as though the fish are alive. Dennis looks pretty happy and relaxed. We had such a great time.

This was part of the under the sea portion. We spent several evenings here listening to Jeffrey Michaels,  a country music singer. You can see a few people dancing in the walkway. There was always someone out there dancing when music was being played. The screens up above are underwater scenes that change constantly. 

Closer view of Jeffrey Michaels. He sang the older country songs from when we were younger. George Strait, Conway Twitty, a little Elvis, etc. We really enjoyed him and another 6 person group called the "Backyard Band". They sang 50's. 60's, 70's music. There was also a violin trio that we saw several times. There were a lot of comedy clubs, bands, games, and shows that we never had the opportunity to see. Some, we didn’t want to see and some, we just ran out of time.

The bar was Dr. Inks PhD, or "Drinks". We're not drinkers but we could get soda or water there too.

Here's a small view of the back, or aft, part of the Lido deck. As you can see by the flag, it was really windy.  It was beginning to get stormy too. You would see people staggering all over the ship as we were tossed to and fro on the waves. There was quite a lot of movement for such a big ship! At one point the four of us were walking down a corridor, and we all took a step to the right at the same time as the ship tilted. A lady coming toward us did the same thing. She told us that they call that the cruise waltz! 

We had lots of storms and a rocky ship all week but it didn't bother us a bit.

Jenny snuck this photo of Dennis and I sitting outside on our cove balcony the only day we had a little bit of sunshine all week.

The next two photos are of our cabin. We didn't watch the TV very much. Usually we just checked the weather for the day and the ships itinerary to see if it had changed. We had a refrigerator and a sofa bed.

At this end of the room are the closests on the right with the safe. Lots of closets and drawer space. We unpacked all of our clothes and didn't use even a fourth of the space! On the left in the photo is the bathroom and the door to the hall. I should have taken a photo of the bathroom, but take my word for it, it's tiny. The room was great though and more than sufficient for our needs. We were only in there to sleep anyway. We were too busy roaming the ship to just sit in the room.

Every day our cabin steward made us a new towel animal and the last day he made us a heart with a thank you note. I kept them all lined up on the countertop by the mirror. This was one of my favorite things about the cruise. I loved coming in and being surprised by what he made every day. Aren't they so cute? And even the eyes!

Here's the sun getting ready to set the first day off our balcony.

This was a beautiful rendition of the Jubilee on one of the main walls. Neal and Jenny took a great photo in front of it.

This was also the Lido deck in the buffet area. Almost every afternoon we spent a few hours here playing dominoes with Neal and Jenny. We always played dominoes together in Spokane for date night. We would go out to dinner and then end up at our house to play dominoes. We have really missed it. Here we are with Jenny, her brother Matthias and his wife. The cruise was to celebrate Matt’s 50 birthday. They cruise a LOT.

We had such a great time. As I think I said before, I didn't leave the ship once all week. It was rainy at both Cozumel and Rhoatan and we had to skip Costa Maya because the seas were too rough to dock the ship. I didn't mind. I'd been there before and Dennis and I both enjoy the ship when it's not as crowded. Dennis and Neal did get off at Cozumel and went to one of the port shops to get vanilla for Jenny. They came back and found us in the Center Stage area. I was knitting and Jenny and I were visiting. They were soaked! I bought vanilla last time I was here and still have half a bottle. It's the BEST vanilla for not much money.

One night we ate in the dining room and one evening we ate at a specialty restaurant that served both asian and mexican cusine. We had Guy's Burgers outside on the Lido one day and pizza from the Summer Landing area. Now THAT was good pizza. Otherwise we found ourselves at the buffet most of the time so we could each get whatever we wanted. They made too order eggs and omelets every morning and so much other food every meal. And snacks. Everywhere there were snacks. No wonder we both gained 5 lbs.! I have to lose that before we cruise again!

The weather and rough seas definitely didn't deter either Dennis or I from wanting to cruise again. He wants to book something now! That's a surprise because I really didn't know if he would like it. 

I hope I didn't bore you too much. I really didn't take a lot of photos. I just didn't think about it. We were having too much fun playing on the ship. Even with so many people on it, it didn't seem crowded at all. 

I'll be back again with just a few photos of our trip home and then it's back to normal life. I don't know what's happening this last week! I've had to make my own bed, cook, wash dishes and do laundry. What happened!?

Blessings and love,

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Home Again And It’s My Birthday!!

We’re home and I’m ready to go cruise again. We had the BEST time with Neal and Jenny! I boarded the ship on Saturday and didn't get off in any ports. I only left the ship when they made me leave the next Saturday to go home! It was wonderful. I'm happy to reposrt that neither of us had any sort of seasickness at all. And it was a very "rock and rolling" ship. Even with how big it is, there were lots of people seasick and we only had 1 and a half days of sunshine. Did that matter to us? Nope. Not at all. We met so many great people and just enjoyed the sea life and the rocking boat. We got very good at doing what is called the Cruise Waltze as we walked around. We were lurching every which way and grabbing each other to get our balance again.  :-) I'll have to tell the story of our trip in a couple of posts because otherwise there are way too many photos. 

We drove from Omaha, NE to Ennis, TX the first day. Ennis is just south of Dallas. It was a long day, but it meant we arrived in Galveston in the early afternoon on Friday. That gave us time to explore the island a bit. Lots of people had decorated for Mardi Gras already which is to begin tomorrow, Feb. 2. The decorations were so bright and festive with the purples, greens and gold.  Neal and Jenny had a really long day of traveling Friday. They left Spokane at 5:30 a.m. and didn't arrive in Galveston until after 10:00 that night. Their plane left Spokane late because of de-icing over and over, but it really didn't matter because their flight was delayed 5 hours in Salt Lake City. They were exhausted when they finally arrived. This is why you plan to arrive for the cruise the day before you sail.

This was our first glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico as we drove into Galveston. It may be cloudy, but it was a wonderful sight. When we left Omaha it was -20F with a -42F wind chill. I looked at the temperature when I took this photo and it was 61F. I cannot tell you how wonderful that felt. It did get chillier over the next few days before our cruise, down to the 40's F, but I wore a sweater and flip-flops the entire time. It was like summer to us after -40! People did look at me strangely though. Most had winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves on. 

The Pleasure Pier in Galveston. This was really neat. The rides stuck out into the Gulf on the pier. I think it might be a little scary on that Ferris Wheel out over the water, not to mention the roller coaster, don't you?

The Carousel is the first ride that you see when you walk onto the pier.

But Bubba Gump's is the first building on the pier. We ate there twice. Once the first night we arrived and had some very delicious clam chowder. Then we took Neal and Jenny there for Neals birthday lunch on Saturday just before we boarded the ship.

Bubba Gumps is named after the movie "Forrest Gump" and there is lots of memorabilia around from the movie. I like this sign that you put out for your server. If everything is okay it says this. If you need your server, you flip it over and it says, "Stop Forrest Stop".  It's really a fun restaurant. We ate at the one in Lahaina on Maui years ago. It's so sad that it was burned to the ground in the fire last year.
This was the view from our hotel the first night in Galveston. Palm trees and water. It can't be beat (unless the electric poles were hidden!)  :-) We were just happy to be in the warmth of the 40's and 50's.

The next day we changed our hotel to one right next to the dock. It is less than half a block from where we boarded the ship. It was so convenient. We were even able to leave our car there while we were gone and then just walk off the ship, get into our car and start driving. Next post I'll show you pictures of the cruise itself and tell you how wonderful it was. We are looking at maybe a trans-atlantic cruise in the next year or two because the port it ends up in is in Southhampton, England, just a little over an hour from Alex and our DIL's house. That is a 15 day cruise and I think we would love it. It only costs a little bit more than the 7 day one and I can only imagine how hard it would be to get off the ship after two weeks! Dennis had to pry me off this time. :-)

I did finish a pair of socks while driving and started a new pair. I've barely got the first cuff done though on the new pair. I didn't pick up my knitting once while on board. We were just too busy.

This is Opal yarn "Cat's and Dogs". It didn't have a color name. I bought the yarn last January when I was in London for a month with the kids. I ordered it from Germany and had it the next day! Maybe next time we go I'll do the same thing because the cost is very reasonable when I get it there.  As you can see, I made them fraternal twins instead of identical. 

I had almost all of the 48 squares done before we left. I think I made four or five after we got home late Tuesday. Then last night I began joining them. I tried to duplicate the new Red Heart continuous granny yarn colors with worsted weight yarn from my stash. Of course it's not continuous and I'm joining it with Hobby Lobby's "Ivory" yarn in worsted. It will be 6 squares by 48 squares and will be donated to a nearby nursing home for a wheelchair blanket.

Yesterday was spent getting things done at home like laundry, checking on Mom, picking up mail at the post office and all of the things you do when you get back from a trip.
Today, Mom woke up with a swollen leg and a rash around her ankle so that merited a couple of trips there to check on her. We also had to meet with our insurance agent because my medical insurance was messed up and I was scheduled to do a download on my pacemaker today. Thank goodness, our agent was able to call them while we were there and "hopefully" straighten the mess out. Although it still doesn't recognize my primary care doctor which is NOT a good thing. Then we had a Costco trip and finally, Dennis took me to the Texas Roadhouse for dinner. I had a GREAT steak and salad. 

We both managed to gain weight on the cruise so we're back to the basics with eating for awhile. Me, much, much more than Dennis. I "only" have "eight Zoey's or so" to lose! I sure hope I can do it because I know I'll feel better all over. 

I'll be back soon with another installment and some pictures of the actual cruise. If you aren't interested, just feel free to skip these posts. I missed you all and will be trying to catch up on your posts, although after missing two whole weeks, I may just start fresh from here!

Blessings and love,