Saturday, February 28, 2009

Natural weather indicators

Around here we can tell the approximate temperature by the way Peanut reacts. If the temperature is mild, the wind is down and the sun is out, Peanut will want to go outside several times a day – sometimes even several times an hour. She loves soaking up sunshine on the front “deck.”

If it’s cold, blustery, snowing, rainy, any kind of nasty, we have to pick her up and carry her outside and she does her business in about three seconds flat, about three inches from the front door and scuttles inside as fast as her little three inch legs can move. There are times that Norm has to shovel a path out for her because even three inches of snow will hit her tummy and she HATES snow on her tummy!

Now, because of my knee, we can tell when a front is coming in – especially a severe one. The therapist said that the pains I’m feeling sometimes are because of the barometer actions. My knee has fluid on it right now and it acts like a barometer. So, not only does the scar, the bruises, the knee itself hurt but I hurt in the whole area when a storm is coming. However the therapist claims that the fluid will go down fairly soon and I won’t have that weather indicator after awhile.

Thursday morning our predicted storm hit. It was difficult to get Peanut to go outside and I was sitting here complaining about knee pain. The storm was all that the predictions (mine, Peanut’s and the weatherman’s) had said. We ended up with about eight inches of snow, cold and blowing.

Friday morning it was about eight below zero with a wind chill of around minus twenty-six. We chose not to go to therapy because of the wind and also because of the roads – they were still pretty “dicey” yesterday morning!

Besides the cold, the sore knee and Peanut’s refusal to budge from my lap, it was a beautiful storm, a beautifully sunny day yesterday. You have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I lost my grandfather!

Does anyone know where he might be?

My dad is interested in doing something with my mother’s family tree and asked me to scan in the list of family members that I have on the genealogy.

Well, I got out my stack of papers to scan in and he’s gone! I have my great-great, Mathias Saueressig, born about 1809, with the list of his children. My great-grandfather, John, was born about 1843, but I don’t have a list of HIS children. It stops there.

Now, I KNOW I have that bunch of papers somewhere! I thought everything was all together, but I guess not!

I had the scanner here by my recliner, hooked up to the computer and ready to go, when WHOOSH – the plan was over. Back to the drawing board – or actually, back to the digging. I have looked in the file cabinets, in the cupboards, in some boxes that carry papers. It will take some time, I’m sure, but I know I will find Robert somewhere. I just hope it doesn’t take years to find the papers!

It was almost 50º today – just beautiful out, but it’s going to get cooler tomorrow and we have a chance of snow again on Thursday. This weather is so up-and-down! You would think we’d be used to it, but we never are. It was beautiful today – you have a beautiful day!

Here is a picture of great-grandfather John and great-grandmother Anna


Friday, February 20, 2009


Several things have been going on the past few days.

Firstly, I went to therapy and the torturer drilled me through my paces and wanted to show the doctor how well I was doing, so she pushed me harder than I wanted to go! Came home with more pain than I wanted to accept, but thrilled that I can now (with help) bend my knee to 85 degrees!

I got a call from the doctor’s office in the afternoon, saying that he would be in surgery all morning and all afternoon – could I wait until next Tuesday for my appointment? I whined and said I HAD to get these staples out NOW! So she called back saying that I could come have a tech take them out and he would TRY to make it between surgeries to see me. Otherwise, I’d have to come in another day to see him if he didn’t like what he saw on the x-rays.

So on Thursday morning Norm and I headed to Sioux Falls for a fun day of shopping and staple removing. I was napping (as usual) when we got close to Sioux Falls as Joy called. So I was still sleepy, talking on the phone and didn’t have my eyes focused when we got to our turnoff. Norm asked me if this was the turn. I waved at him to say, “I don’t know, yes, no, don’t bother me,” and he kept truckin’ on, only to discover that it WAS the turnoff. So we had to go about 6 miles out of our way in order to turn around. Norm did agree that he should have known where to turn. After all, we’ve been visiting Sioux Falls on a semi-regular basis for 3 ½ years and have taken that turn off about 95% of the time!

Of course, what trip is taken without at least 1 turn-about on the way?

We did our little bit of shopping (Norm mostly, while I sat in the car) then headed to the clinic and this time did NOT get lost or have a turn-about. I had my x-rays taken, my staples taken out and we sat waiting for the doctor to arrive after his 1st surgery.

The staple-taking-out was not as terrible as feared but was worse than hoped. Doctor saw the x-rays, told me I was doing fine, wrote to the therapist that I was to continue therapy. I am to keep on my walker until I see him in 3 weeks.

And it was over and I could head home. We had lunch at Subway and I had a pain pill (can’t LIVE
without those little yellow pills!). I had brought an ice bag with me, so put that on and tried to take a nap.

Our van has a lot of wind noise, so I asked Norm if my window was really up all the way. Now, because of a faulty wire or dust or something, I can’t close my window – the driver’s side button does that work. So Norm pushed the button up, it didn’t go any further up, so he pushed it down to open it and then re-shut it.

Guess what, boys and girls? It did NOT shut! So here we are, driving 70 miles an hour with the window half down. It took about 10 minutes before we could find a turn-off to stop. So I bundled up with a blanket and tried not to fuss about the cold, Norm put his hat on to cover his bare head and we kept on truckin’.

Fortuantely, Norm knows what to do in cases like this, so he hopped out of the car after we stopped, grabbed his ever-trusty Leatherman knife and came over to my side, opened the door and opened up the area where the wires are for the window and lock. A little bit of blowing, a little bit of wiggling and the window went up (whew!) and we could continue on the way in warmth and relative comfort (don’t count my aching leg!).

Okay, so now we’re home. I had promised myself that I would try sleeping in bed once the staples were out, but it didn’t work. About 5 this morning, I gave up and toddled back to the recliner. My leg is still too stiff and sore to be able to lay comfortably in bed no matter what position the leg or I are in.

This afternoon we went to the therapist’s and it started snowing just as I went inside. By the time I came out (45 minutes later), the ground was covered and there were big flakes of wet snow coming down. We have had about 2” of snow but now the wind is blowing, so the snow is starting to whip around.

All in all, it was a beautiful few days, as everything worked out; you have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An exciting weekend

Well, as you can guess, I am living a pretty quiet life here on Ash Lane Farm. Not going anywhere but the torturer’s and the vampire’s places.

But Saturday was our “Stitches in Time” meeting and Norm took me there for the morning. We had several visitors, including a newsman / photographer from the neighboring town. We also had a lady come to learn to spin. She has sheep, so brought some of her own wool and I brought the wheel (well, Norm brought it, I just supervised). It was a fun time and I lasted until noon before having to go home and put my leg up. My new spinner took the wheel home and hopefully she is doing well. I think she’s going to be very good – she seems to have the touch.

Last week, Joy called to tell us some news that we were to keep secret for a while but we now have permission to broadcast it. They have moved home to Minnesota! Ken has gotten permission to work out of the home in Minnesota with the hopes of getting clients from this area for the company.

So Saturday and Sunday were exciting for both Norm and I, as we followed the kids up the road from Florida to Minnesota. Bitty spent a lot of time on the phone, talking me through towns, mile markers, way-sides, Dairy Queens that Dad wouldn’t stop at, and temperature changes; Norm had the atlas and he kept track as to where they were by the map.

I talked to Joy, some, and Bubba, some, but mostly to Bitty. I told her about games that I used to play when my family traveled when I was growing up. I said goodnight Saturday night and when they called on Sunday morning, Bitty had started some of the games in the car to help pass the time.

Joy then called me when they got home, around midnight on Sunday night. So we will soon go up there or they will come down here to visit for our first time since Christmas!

We are not sure how long this stint will last, but we will take it one day at a time and enjoy them being closer.

So, now that one-half of my heart is happy, I need the second half content and happy to complete my life. Eric, are you listening? I need you and Jill to move CLOSER, too! I know that you love your area – and I don’t blame you, but I don’t see you often enough, either!

Norm is in the kitchen, warming up leftover pork loin that he baked yesterday; we will go down to the family room to watch a Netflix movie that just came in today.

I had two visitors today – Llama Bill stopped by as he was delivering hay bales to a neighbor. And LeAnn stopped by on her way home from a church sewing circle. Fortunately the vicious watchdog allowed them to come in so I didn’t have to get out of my chair to welcome them in. I enjoy my peace and quiet, but it’s nice to have friendly faces to help pass the time and to collect gossip from. LeAnn, we will have your cake for desert, thank you!

It was a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I’m sittin’ and watching the woodpeckers

That’s what I’m doing most of the day, but I thought I’d tell you a little bit more about recovering from knee surgery (from MY point of view).

Today is day ten of my new knee.

I have the recliner next to the west window so I can see the birds come to the feeders and the suet on the tree. I can see my lovely Betta that Jody gave me – his name is “Guy Noir, Private Eye.” He goes by Guy Noir. I am watching the lovely plant that Candy and Wayne gave me – it’s an Aglaonema Lilliput that has a little bird nesting on the side of the pot. I am also watching Norm’s orchid blooming (finally, after over two years since the last bloom). If Peanut is not on my lap, she is either in bed with Norm (she is lonesome) or in her little bed under the orchid stand.






I even have Toby come watch me through the window!

Next to me is my laptop with my external keyboard ready to sit on my lap and my wireless mouse on the stand on my right side. The stand also holds my water, my pills, my phone and some books to read. I have the computer tuned to on-line radio stations so I can listen to the radio or to music that I have put on the computer.

My walker is close to the recliner so that I can reach it when I get up. I have a cute picker-thinger-upper that my mom used when she had hip surgery. It’s great when I drop things!

So, now you know my setup, let me tell you what I can and cannot do!

First, I cannot:
Ø Lift my leg up without assistance
Ø Go more than three hours without a nap
Ø Go more than four hours without drugs
Ø Walk without my walker
Ø Get a sock or pant leg onto my right foot / leg

But, I CAN:
Ø Get OUT of the recliner by myself
Ø Go down to the basement, one step at a time with Norm holding my arm and using the railing AND get up, too
Ø Go up the five steps to the studio / bedroom level by myself with the railing AND get down, too
Ø Get down the three steps into the entryway and open the front door to let Peanut outside. I can use the walker but it’s actually easier using the cane
Ø Walk a little ways with a cane, not the walker
Ø Walk quite a ways WITH the walker

I have been to therapy three times and met with (♪♪ dumb-ta-da-dumb♪♪) The Torture-ers! Both he (Dana) and she (Crystal) have no pity. They must live in that “Town with no Pity!” But I am bending my knee a little bit better and walking a little further each day.

Tonight, Norm cooked a Valentine’s dinner. He got some Filet Mignon steaks in town the other day – grilled them, caramelized onions, baked potatoes and it was out of this world! And much easier on me than going out to eat tonight. Thank you, Norm!

Tomorrow is our monthly fiber group meeting in Storden. Candy threatened me with life and limb if I didn’t show up. Norm is going to drive me there and probably stay for a while and work on spoons. We have a woman coming who wants to learn to spin, so I am taking my training wheel, she’s bringing wool from her own sheep and we’ll take if from there!

So, now it’s bedtime – I am guessing I will be sleeping in the recliner until the staples come out (in six days!), when I can bend my knee a little less painfully. Norm has offered to take my staples out to surprise the doctor. * I* offered to take his teeth out if he tried!

It was a beautiful day today – it should be one tomorrow. You have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yes! I am …..

…..legally blind, now in both eyes.

…..planning on cataract surgery on both eyes, two weeks apart.

…..slowly getting better in bending and moving my knee.

…..taking therapy and exercising said knee.

…..a bionic woman (well, by the end of March)!!

It was a beautiful day, full of plans for the future. You have a beautiful day!

PS --- tomorrow is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It’s the two-hundredth anniversary of his birth!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I can’t believe it’s been ten years!

Ten years ago today, our sister, Cara, left us. It was sudden, which, at the time, seemed more tragic to me. However, as I look back and as I still miss her, it would have been as tragic even if we had had time to know she was leaving and had time to say a proper goodbye.

I remember Cara from the time I was four – so she was a constant in my life. She and Candy were closer in age, as they were the two youngest in the family; they were closer in all things because of this.

Even after ten years, there is still anger (why did she leave us?), there is still grief (why did she leave us?), there is an empty hole in our hearts and lives (why did she leave us?).

Cara, I miss you. I wish you were here to be my mentor, my guide through life. I love you.



Sunday, February 08, 2009

Is this too much information?

Well, we arrived home about 5:00 Friday, after a very busy intense week. Thanks to Jody for helping by putting a post on about my knee operation.

So, now y’all know about my knee and I’m going to tell you about my experience at the hospital, with all the lovely people there.

We chose Avera McKennen because that is where Norm spent his time in November 2005 with his broken neck. They were so good to him (and me) that we hoped we would be able to get that good care for me, this time.

We went to Sioux Falls on Monday night so that we didn’t have to rush on Tuesday morning. About suppertime, we got a knock on the door of the motel room with “telegram” being called to us. Norm opened the door and it was my folks!! They had not said anything but snuck in to town to surprise us!! Candy had assisted by asking where we were staying and asked us to call with the room we were in after we got there. They had come to be there for the surgery and to be there for Norm in the waiting room. That made me very happy because I didn’t want him to be alone while I was in surgery.

So we went out for supper at the cute little restaurant next to the motel, then sat and visited for a while before going to bed (they had gotten a room just down the hall from us).

The next morning, Tuesday, Mom rode with us to the hospital and Dad followed with their car. Then they sat with me until I was ready to go into the operating room. I was so glad that Norm had someone to sit with him while I was in the operating room! I hated the idea of him sitting there alone.

This was one of the rare times that I have seen an operating room, as I am usually doped up by then. But the anesthetists couldn’t find a spot to put my intravenous needle in (as usual) but the anesthesiologist was busy and didn’t put the needle in until I was in the operating room! I ended up being stuck 4 times (is this too much information?) before they got the IV in and the medicine started to kick in – but when that did, it didn’t take too long for me to go “bye-bye” into La-La Land.

Then it was “all she wrote” until I woke up in the recovery room. They got my pain level down to acceptable (to them) and rolled me into the room where Norm and my folks were waiting. They asked, (as always) “On a scale from 1 to 10, how is your pain level?” They were not sure what to answer when I answered “75.”

After that, it was a blur of nurses and “techs” – lab workers and housecleaners – doctor and PA. Many people passed by me in these past 4 days and not one was grumpy or even had a frowny-face. I was blessed with wonderful care and wonderful people.

I cannot give you all the names of the people, but they were indeed most caring. The day nurses and techs were seen more often, as I was awake more of the time, but anytime I needed something at night, there was a friendly face (not someone who looked like they wanted to say “WHAT???”) asking if they could help. When I first moved into the room, a volunteer came in with a carnation – Dr. Watts had given me one (as all doctors to for their surgery patients). I was in a private room, which was great! I love the hospital beds because you can raise or lower them to any position, which makes it more comfortable for most things.

Day 1 was pretty foggy – I was still under the influence of the anesthesia so was unable to do much. The therapists wanted me to get up in the recliner, but I couldn’t sit up without getting dizzy and sickish because of the morphine as well as the anesthesia. They had put a numbing block in my leg so were able to switch to Vicodine, which made me less dizzy. After the first day, there was pain but no dizziness, so I could go to therapy and do some walking with the walker. However, walking was difficult with all the tubes connected. There was the oxygen tube, the IV tube, the finger thing that read the oxygen level and something else, as well, the tube connected to my leg to give me the pain blocking medicine (like Novocain that you get from the doctor). But is that too much information? Every day I got something more taken off until I was yippee-skippy free!

Along with the tubes, I had a machine that bent my knee automatically for 24 hours a day and also had these bags like blood pressure cuffs on my ankles, to help push blood around so that I wouldn’t get blood clots.

Avera McKennen is a very nice hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. The staff there is wonderful – kind, caring and thoughtful. As I said, everyone was so good to me. There was Sue, who was the only one I saw more than one shift; there was Tracey, there was Eric, there was Jon. I am sorry that I can’t remember any other names --- oh! Wait! There was Vicki, too. And then there was Lola. When she came on duty, I thought I recognized her. After asking, I found out that she had been on duty when Norm was there with his broken neck. I happened to catch the two of them in the area at the same time so that they could talk. Lola remembered Norm but he did not remember her, as he doesn’t remember much of anything that happened in the hospital.

I had the therapists, Cheryl and Angela, two times a day. Avera McKennen runs a “Joint Camp” that helps you begin to move after any kind of joint surgery. The room is a large room with a lot of recliners (the hospital kind, not LazyBoy kind). I was encouraged (!!) to walk all the 20 miles from my room to the “Joint Camp” but was allowed, the first 2 days, to get a ride from the recliner from my room. However, by Thursday afternoon, they didn’t even BRING the recliner, and kept saying, “You can make it!” So, I did make it, but it was tough!

The last day of therapy, we (the other member of the “camp” and I) were given gifts. I got a lovely angel statuette. We also had a graduation ceremony, where they played the graduation march and THEY marched to US with our graduation diplomas!!

So then Friday morning came. I had been awaken (as every morning) at 5:00 by the lab tech to draw my blood for the day’s test; then awoken again by Angie, Dr. Watts’ PA; she told me that everything looked good (after my last blood test) and that I could go home after the last therapy session. What a pleasant way to wake up … a pretty, smiling face with good news, not a pretty, smiling face with a needle!

So, now it’s Sunday night and I’m about ready for bed, again. Well, for recliner sleeping again. I tried the bed on Friday night but it was not comfortable enough and I needed Norm’s help to get in and out of bed. I have my laptop on a TV tray next to the chair and have an external keyboard on my lap. I have had visitors – Candy and Wayne brought Pizza over last night and friend Katie came over this afternoon.

I have had lots of calls, lots of emails (thank you) from friends both near and far. Tomorrow I go to therapy and another blood test – to keep an eye out on my coumadin level (but is THAT too much information?). I got flowers from Norm’s boss; a plant from Candy and a lovely pink teddy bear from my folks. Dad figured a cushy bear was cuddlier than roses, which is right.

I had the nurse take a picture of my staples, but I figure that THAT is too much information, so won’t include it unless my millions of fans request it. But I will leave you with a picture of “Princess Rose,” who, along with Peanut, is my constant companion.


Thank you, all, for your prayers, circles of lights, candles lit and other good thoughts. I appreciate all of them. And will say goodnight on a beautiful evening, hoping you didn’t get too much information!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I Got My New Knee!!!!

Hi there folks! Jody here, just sending you a message from Norm who called from the hospital in Sioux Falls. Connie came through the surgery with flying colors. She had the TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT done, instead of just the partial. She and Norm had told the doctors that, if there was any doubt about the knee, to go ahead and do the total replacement instead of the partial. She was in surgery just over an hour. Don't you think that is amazing? Just over an hour to replace a knee! And I am sure that, once she gets up and is able to walk 'normal' she will tell you that it should have been done long, long ago. The timing just was not right until now.

I went onto the hospital site, and GUESS WHAT??? We can email her at the hospital!!! Isn't that awesome?!! So I zapped an email to her right away, congratulating her on her bionic knee. Maybe you could do the same - tell her that SOON, she will be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. And all that kinda stuff!

She will be at the hospital until Friday. Norm will be staying in Sioux Falls, as well. He is staying at a motel and visiting with Connie during the day. Here is the main hospital address (in case you want to send cards or a flower), the phone number, and the website. Just go onto the site, and it will have a little section on the menu on the left-hand side of the page re: emailing a patient. Just click on there, and send her a message.

Avera McKennen Hospital
800 East 21st Street
Room 224
Sioux Falls, SD 57117
I'm hoping that y'all keep warm, wherever you are! It's COLD up here in MN!
Signing off for now,

Monday, February 02, 2009

A great weekend

Well, the Brookings Living History Fair and Educational Days went well.

We got there about 4:00 on Thursday and set up. We saw several people that we know and said hi. I “registered” Peanut, giving someone a copy of her health shot records, so that she could join us.

Then we went to the motel and got settled in. We stopped at KFC to take supper to eat at the motel. Peanut is such a good girl that she will sit on my lap while I’m in a chair or on the bed and not try to eat the food I have on my lap, with her. I generally say “Nose down” and “Covers” – she will crawl under a blanket on my lap and sleep while I eat. (Not that she sits on my lap all the time when I eat, but it’s nice to have her behave if she does.)

And, on a side note, did you know that there are children growing up that do NOT know that “KFC” and “Kentucky Fried Chicken” is the same thing? When we were with the grandchildren one time this year, we planned on eating at KFC. I, being old fashioned, still talk about getting Kentucky Fried Chicken or going to visit the “Colonel.” When I mentioned Kentucky Fried Chicken, the girls did not know what I was talking about!

Okay, we watched a romantic movie on the Hallmark channel and hit the sack. We got up early so that we could be at our stations before 8:00.

The kids were very good – we had 800 of them going from station to station, hopefully learning more than “how much is that rock candy?” “Oh, how much is that bunny skin?”

As far as the rest of the time, once the kids left at 3:00, we had the public coming in until 9:00 that night, and then we started up again at 10:00 in the morning.

I did very little spinning – mostly just for the kids, but I did weave and I did knit on a sock – I even got the heel turned! And visited. And visited.

There are many favorite people who show up here, so I will show you their faces (or partial faces) in the following pictures.

Peanut was excellent! She either slept under my feet or in her crate. We have a soft-side, fold-down-able crate that she has been afraid of since we got it. She was never crate trained as a puppy, so it has been hard to get her to be comfortable in one. However, this winter, all of a sudden, she started going into the crate, voluntarily, and even sleeping in it. I had the crate next to me with a blanket over it (to hide the non-periodness of it) and the door was opened. I usually close Peanut in the crate when we have children around but this time she slipped into it when the groups came, then slipped out and went under my feet when we were alone. It ended up that she spent most of her time sleeping in the crate. I was SO proud of her! I could even get up and walk away without her waking up and following me. She must have been content to do that!

Other than that, not much happened. Norm sold some spoons, but mostly to other demonstrators. I had a wonderful time bickering with Ole Oleson … we bicker so well together. I even got a new insult in that totally stunned him!

Then at 4:30 Saturday afternoon, we packed up and headed home. It’s only a 2 hour drive so we got home at a nice early time, even stopping for supper half way.

So yesterday was unpacking, washing clothes and re-organizing. And today? We finish around the house and head to Sioux Falls in the afternoon. A nice (hopefully) supper at a neat little café next to the motel and then head to the hospital in the morning.

And when I write next, I will have a new knee! I am so excited. No more pain (well, after a bit, anyway)…. I have been told I will be dancing in 2 weeks. Probably not quite that early, but I will be able to walk without pain before spring hits, don’t cha think?

So, it looks to be a beautiful day today. It will be a beautiful week as I have the surgery and recover and come home. You have a beautiful day!