Friday, February 29, 2008

A suprising February sunrise


For a few minutes Tuesday morning I ate my oatmeal on autopilot, seated at the kitchen table, enthralled by this sunrise. Glorious.

We've had almost two weeks of sunshine and mile temperatures, but the rain is forecast to return some time today, and the snow levels will be down to 2000 feet on Saturday. Not that we're going anywhere near that!

Mama continues to improve, doing so well for the occupational therapist said she wouldn't have to come back. Physical therapy comes again today, I think. No phone call yet, so I can't be sure. We got a local phone number and a land line in the apartment, so Mama can buzz her therapist into the building's front door--that means I don't have to be off work to let them in--hooray. Duncan still has diarrhea, so we've got a 10 a.m. appointment Saturday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mama Update and Mt. Hood from our neighborhood, Portland's Alphabet District


Mama's primary care physician told her yesterday that he thinks she's doing very well. He took her off one of her blood pressure meds and changed her cholesterol one to a less expensive one which she can get next time she needs a refill. The physical therapist came back yesterday and told her he's pleased with her progress since last week. Besides walking in the hallway on the walker, she's doing leg lifts, etc. standing at the sink, holding onto the counter. And she's got a couple of 2-lb. weights to work her arms a bit at a time.

On Feb. 18 after Kay and I had gone to pick up Mama's prescriptions, we walked an extra block on our way back to the apartment. That's when we saw this fantastic view of Mt. Hood from a sidewalk. That big ol' mountain is over 60 miles away!

Speaking of Kay, she made it home to Mississippi just fine. We cannot thank her and her husband Milton enough for her being here with us.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Grapefruit, Revealed


Thanks to Tog of Coral Gables Photo for the information that this grapefruit is really a pomelo. According to Wikipedia:

The pomelo (or Chinese grapefruit, pummelo, pommelo, jabong, boongon, shaddock, jeruk Bali, or suha), Citrus maxima (Merr., Burm. f.), also Citrus grandis (L.), is a citrus fruit, usually a pale green to yellow when ripe, larger than a grapefruit, with sweet flesh and thick spongy rind.

Kay says the flesh was sweet, but not juicy. I didn't taste it; I just photographed it.

Flat Stanley at Multnomah Falls






Walking back to the car, we had to cross underneath the railroad tracks. Just as we approached a train whizzed by over our heads. Flat Stanley got a kick out of that, let me tell you! So did I. Here you see all of the engines and the last cars. This train is speeding west, toward the left of the screen, on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. On the northern side of the Columbia River is the state of Washington. This is the direction that Lewis and Clark went as they explored the Gorge.



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ABC Wednesday - E is for Enormous


Meet Kay, our bud from Mississippi with the enormous heart who has flown up here to stay with us until next Monday--all so that I can go to work every day and not worry about Mama! In Kay's left hand, she holds an enormous grapefruit that extraordinarily exceeds the expected size for a grapefruit. We got it Saturday evening at the local Fred Meyer. For the visual comparison, she holds a Granny Smith apple in her right hand.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Our Daytona 500 Spread and a Pleasant Window

Thanks to everyone for sharing in our joy that Mama and Duncan are home.

Here's our race-day food, which Lamont called a "white trash party in the Northwest Hills," with humor and respect, not putting us down one bit. We all got a laugh out of his observation. Left to right, front row, there's salsa and cashews; second row, BBQ-sauced beef cocktail sausages wrapped in wheat bread (Kay put mustard and pickle relish on hers); third row, sliced cheddar cheese, sliced cacio de roma (sheep's cheese), sliced granny smith and golden delicious apples; fourth row, white zinfandel, Mission tortilla chips and a great big bowl of fresh fruit. We enjoyed ourselves.

About the race itself, our guys didn't win, but the two guys we didn't want to win didn't win, either. Confused? Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of our guys (mine and Kay's), came in 9th; Jeff Gordon (Kay's guy and he's OK with me, too, now that he's a daddy) came in 39th. But, most important is that fact that neither Tony Stewart nor Kyle Busch won. Yea, Ryan Newman!

By the way, I was a bit uptight with 35 laps to go and poured myself a second glass of wine. Relaxed me right nice--I only hollered a little bit.

Afterwards, Kay and I went for a walk, visiting the two thrift stores within six blocks. I got this neat photo of a lovely window in a nearby house that has been converted into apartments.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

Duncan and Mama, together again, the evening of February 16, 2007. I took the photo, of course, and Kay is on the couch across from the recliner. We're stocked up on groceries for the week and party food for tomorrow's Daytona 500. Our bottoms will be glued to our chairs in front of the TV for hours and hours. Can't wait!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mama's Home!

Remember the asparagus and sheep's cheese? The sweet potatoes? Here's a plate of it along with some boneless, skinless chicken tenders and a glass of sweet iced tea. I took this photo of my Tuesday evening supper.

Mama's home! She's in her recliner, trying to keep up with the teens on Jeopardy and eagerly awaiting Wheel of Fortune. We've eaten supper, I've washed the dishes, and we're going to watch Trackside on the Speed Channel after Mama's two favorite shows.

We had leftovers for supper. I am extremely proud to report that Mama ate almost all of her asparagus, saying, "It's good, but it's green. You know me and green." She ate one chicken tender and about three quarters of a cup of sweet potato. Then she said, "I'm good and full!"

Tomorrow I'll give you the latest on Duncan. The vet said today that he's continuing to improve and that I surely can come to get him tomorrow. Yippee!

Thanks again, everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Which way? Before I forget to say it, "Happy Valentine's Day!"

I'm so glad that I found this yellow sign. It describes practically perfectly how I've been feeling lately--not all of the time but a good deal of the time. I'm either the one doing the remote control, or I'm the unoccupied cab. At any given moment, it's a toss-up as to which one. The key word there, though, is operate. I persevere; I operate.

See the detour signs? That's how my life has felt the rest of the time lately, like I'm not going down the road in the usual direction or manner, but I'm bound to get where I'm going some time, some how. I persevere; I operate.

I believe where I'm going is the future, and it's coming from every different direction.

Duncan's got pancreatitis, is at the vet's on IV fluids and meds; I'll get another report Thursday morning. He might be OK, but we don't know for sure until enough time has passed to see how the meds are working (or not). We had another essentially sleepless night, and I'm happy that he's being cared for by people who care about him which means I can rest well.

Mama's coming home Friday--hip, hip, hooray! My sons and I are working out the logistics of that happy happening. Our friend Kay from Mississippi is still flying up here to help us. My brother Howard and his wife Vanessa are working on the air travel for her. As I understand it, Mama will have physical therapy at home for a period of time and will use a walker for a period of time.

We'd all like to thank y'all again for every kind and positive thought, heartfelt prayer and visit to the blog.

I'm on autopilot now, taking a detour by the couch, on my way to the bed in a couple of hours.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Things I'm thankful I could do on the first few waking hours of my first day off, this weekend, or any weekend for that matter

Duncan woke up at 4:50 a.m. The sweet little dog has no understanding of the concept of the work week and the week end. However, he can go back to sleep with the best of them. It was 7:15 a.m. before we got up for good on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. I fed him and myself, then got busy with my day-off-chores, all for the most part of my own choosing.

By the way, Merriam-Webster has three definitions of chore. The one that pertains here says a chore is a routine task or job, that the word has been around since 1746, that it comes from chare which dates from before the 12th century and comes from Middle English char turn, piece of work, from Old English cierr; akin to Old English cierran to turn. I like that, a piece of work. That's what I ended up with four hours later, some fine pieces of work, as in piece of work remarkable products (Free Dictionary online defines a piece of work as a remarkable person, achievement, or product.) And after that four hours' work, Duncan and I visited with Mama at Mt. Tabor.

It all began with the laundry. I loaded the dirty stuff into my old rolling black bag and put my laundry necessities in my laundry purse. I turned the oven on to heat it up, and then I headed for the elevator. Duncan looked up at me from his chair beneath the living room window, snuggled in his navy blue fleece blanket.
Lynette's Laundry Purse

Peaking out of this over-the-shoulder, multi-pocket, lightweight bag you see my keys--the daisy keyring bears the discoloration of much use--and to the left of it you see the top of my very old, still functioning cell phone. Sticking up out of one of the pockets you see the pink-zippered bag; it contains a scoop and several scoops of Shaklee's Get Clean Fragrance Free Laundry Concentrate. My stash of quarters fill the bottom of the plastic bag with the little flowers on it. It costs $1.25 to wash and $1 for an hour's drying. Also in the pocket but out of sight are several sheets of Bounce Outdoor Fresh Scent dryer sheets and Shout Color-Catcher sheets--they keep colors from bleeding onto other fabrics.

If I didn't have this laundry purse filled with these necessities, how many times do you think I'd be riding the elevator back and forth to get something that I forgot? Or how many times do you think I would have locked myself out of our apartment on the 4th floor just because I was doing what I ought to be doing--heading to the first floor with the laundry? Double-digit times is my guess.
Elevator door on 4th floor

Elevator controls

First I washed a load in each of those machines. Now they're drying in the bottom two dryers.If you look closely, you can see Mama's polka dotted PJs in the window of the dryer on the right.

Once the laundry's in the washers, I head back upstairs to start cooking.

I washed, dried, and wrapped in foil three nice-sized orange-colored sweet potatoes and five firm Yukon Gold potatoes. Once I put them in this pan, I placed them in the oven and set the timer for one hour.

In the dutch oven, I browned an onion and some ground beef, sprinkled on some black pepper and paprika, then added a can of Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, two cans of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, one can of black beans, one can of kidney beans, let the entire concoction get really heated up, turned down the heat and set the lid on top, leaving a slit for the escape of heat, and headed back down to the laundry room.

Here's the clean laundry, either hanging on hangers or resting on the rolling black bag, waiting to be folded and put into the bag.

Back upstairs the place was so warm that I decided to open the kitchen window. Fresh, cool air, no rain. Wonderful.

Next I got out the asparagus to blanch. No, I'm not going to eat asparagus with chili--Leland, my 29-year-old son who can cook up a storm, just like his 32-year-old brother Lamont, wondered. I'm going to eat asparagus with sweet potato and sauteed boneless, skinless chicken tenders at some point this week. I'll saute the asparagus then and sprinkle it with Ossau-Iraty sheep's milk cheese. I'll make sauteed, thick-sliced breakfast potatoes with the Yukon Golds, along with a tomato and some eggs, I'll have a delicious scramble.


I especially like this chilled, bright green asparagus against the yellow plastic strainer. After it dripped dry, I put the asparagus in some paper towels and then inside a plastic bag, zipped shut until later on in the week.

Here's Duncan inside the shoulder-strap bag I decided he should ride in while we took the bus to see Mama. In the zipped-shut plastic bag, I have a container with some chili, a Yukon Gold wrapped in foil, and a bit of Mama's favorite margarine in a snack bag. Those are her folded clothes in the bag, and you can see Duncan's leash, too. That wad of silver duct tape on it holds it together rather efficiently--down in Mississippi he got tangled up in the legs of some deck chairs and proceeded to chew it almost in two before we could stop him!

We rode the elevator down and went through the front door, starting our walk to the bus stop at the corner of NW 21st and Burnside, to wait for the 15.
Our building's front entrance

Duncan rides in his bag, atop the black rolling bag placed on the seat beside me. That way he could look out the window as we rode east on SE Belmont.

Isn't this an interesting window display? And does that look like an arts and craft bazaar going on inside the Aalto Lounge? I wonder.

We visited with Mama in the sitting area--she was waiting for us there on the love seat because I had called her cell phone when we had 20 blocks to go. She waved at us from her window, the 6th one, not the 7th one like I previously reported, and then walkered herself right down the hall. She is getting stronger, she really is. I could only last a couple of hours in the stifling, stultifying heat coming out of the ceiling vents. Knowing full well how my sinuses and/or head react to being over-heated, I had to call it quits and head home. Thank goodness Mama understands. And she and her roomie decided to open their window for a while in their room, making me have hope that they'd be somewhat comfortable.

Duncan and I waited about 25 minutes for the 15. Here's what I could see as I sat there, waiting.
In some circles, this sign says the truth. The man can certainly play the guitar.

When not re-reading that spray-painted statement, I was looking at my cute little dog, patiently waiting in his bag. I thought for a moment or two about walking part way, but my feet had swollen so in the heat at Mt. Tabor that all I really wanted to do was sit in the cool air, circling one ankle, then circling the other, restoring my feet to normal by the time the bus arrived.

On the way home from Mt. Tabor, I've noticed this entire building covered in plastic, with signs posted here and there that no doubt name the company or companies working inside. So, I finally got a photo of sorts, for my final one in this post.
It's particularly interesting to me because it's ghost-like look matches very well it's catty-cornered neighbor--the Lone Fir Cemetery.

Duncan and I got home, ate, and settled in to watch NASCAR's Budweiser Shootout, an exhibition race that my fav driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., won!

Saturday was a good day.