Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Day, Another Doctor!

Good Morning! Man, did I sleep last night! I was asleep by 9:30 pm, didn't even know when my husband came to bed, and didn't even get up to go to the facilities during the night! When my hubby got up to go to work I heard him - was aware he was up - but went right back to sleep and didn't wake up again until he called me @ 6:30 to make sure I was awake. I wasn't, so it's a good thing he called!

First, a huge thank you for all your thoughts and prayers! Especially to Tish, Nancy, Jane and Sue ~ you know who you are!!!! Tish, your words were just what I needed last night - thank you!!! Despite all you are dealing with right now, you took the time to reach out to me - you are a very precious friend! Nancy and Jane, the sweetest 2/3 of our 'Three Sisters in Christ'! The love and caring you two show me means more than you will ever know! The fact we have only known each other about 1 1/2 years, but yet have such a strong bond of love and friendship is, in itself, so very amazing, and a very precious gift! Thank you for holding me up with your love and your prayers! I love you both! And Sue, knowing that I have a prayer warrior on her knees is wonderful. Knowing that we don't know each other beyond an e-mail or two and yet you are praying is mind-boggling!

Just a quick catch-up on yesterday's happenings: The urologist tried to insert a catheter in the office and couldn't. The whole problem is that the scar tissue from where my dad had radiation for prostate cancer YEARS ago is causing blockages in his urethra (sp?).

We have to go today to do pre-op for outpatient surgery on Friday. He will insert a 'camera' up in there and find the scar tissue and snip it. Then he will insert the catheter. He is also going to go in just above the pelvic bone (I think that's what he said) and temporarily insert a tube. In case the catheter gets blocked or something, my dad can open the tube and drain his bladder. He thinks that will be there for about two weeks.

This means we have pre-op and an appt. with his primary dr. today, outpatient surgery on Friday. That also means I'll have to take my mom for her first of the month shop-a-thon on Monday, and that gives me 3 days max to get everything ready for our trip - should we still get to go! I'm reserving the right to postpone or go somewhere closer until after the surgery on Friday. If he's doing okay, we'll still go - just maybe not as far away as Savannah, but somewhere within a couple of hours from here. Not onlydo I need to get away, but my sweet hubby has been under a lot of stress at work, and he really needs and deserves a break, too!

As for today, I can handle most anything as long as I get some sleep, but when I don't get it, I get bitchy and can't focus as well as I need to! I had a hard time talking to the urologist (oh man, is he gorgeous!!!) yesterday and when I apologized he said "You look like you are exhausted!" and reached over and hugged around me. Not only is he gorgeous, but I think he's a really good, caring and compassionate doctor. We have been so fortunate over the years to have many wonderful doctors for my dad! We just adore his cardiologist and vascular surgeon. His primary - not so much, but daddy would not let us change to someone else for the world!

I just talked to mama and she didn't sleep well - partly because she dozed yesterday afternoon after we got home, and partly because she was afraid she would oversleep. She should know by now that I would call her early, but I guess she doesn't.

I am not really worried about the surgery. For one thing, the same doctor did basically the same procedure last month when he was in CCU and he did fine. They only sedate him the minimum amount because the risks of fully sedating him are too great. And for the other thing, he is in God's hands. This may sound harsh but I have great peace in saying it: Even if something happens and he doesn't make it through, I will have peace because I know that we've done everything we possibly could for him, and 'absent from the body is present with the Lord'! Although when that time comes I will grieve my loss, I will also rejoice knowing that Daddy will no longer be in pain, and will be whole and healthy and able to move around in a way he hasn't here on earth for several years now! In the words of my sweet hubby, 'he will live like he's never lived before!'.

Oh, and one more thing!!! I know they won't read this, but I'd love to thank the Clerk of Court, United States District Court in Gainesville, Georgia!!! A few weeks ago I had received a summons to jury service beginning yesterday! I wrote them a letter explaining my situation with my parents, and they excused me from service. Thank you for that! Can you imagine going through all we've been through the last 38 or so hours and worrying about getting to Gainesville for jury duty??? I could not have done it! So I am very grateful they were so understanding and excused me from that responsibility!

Well, I need to go get ready and back on the road again! I think I'll stop at Guys and get my favorite - a big old biscuit, buttered and with a chunk of old fashioned hoop cheese in the middle for my breakfast.

That's it from Camellia Cottage Senior Medical Services. I'll talk to y'all later, B.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Hardest Job Ever!

Good Morning! Or is it? Although the sun is shining and the birds are singing and the resident landscape maintenance guy from down the street is busy cutting the grass for all his neighbor-customers, you couldn't tell it by me!

It was a long night.

It was a very long and stressful night.

It was a very long and stressful and almost sleepless night.

Are you getting the picture here? Probably.

Between 6 pm Sunday and 6 am Monday (today) we were at the hospital emergency room twice and for a total of about 9 hours. My dad was having plumbing problems and in pain because he couldn't urinate. Because they live closer, my dad's youngest sister and her husband went to get them and took them to the hospital, for which I am truly thankful. It meant they got to the hospital probably 45 minutes to an hour sooner than if I had had to go pick them up and take them.

We (my parents and I) were there from 6:30 until 9:45, I got them home, got to my home 35 minutes away by a few minutes before 11 pm, and was back on my way to get them by 11:35 pm. We were at the hospital again by 12:20 am, and I got back home shortly before 6 am. Exhausted, frustrated, tired of my parents incessant arguing and bickering, and wishing wholeheartedly that I had a sibling who could share this responsibility with me. (Now, I have a brother, but as I've told you before he is absolutely zero help, and only comes around when he wants something. And no, I'm not exaggerating. And yes, I am a little bitter, but I try hard to not to dwell on it!)

I drove about 130 miles last night, just going from my home to the hospital, back to my parents home, back home, back to my parents home, back to the hospital, back to my parents home and back to my home.

We have to be at the urologists office at 2:20 this afternoon. We have to get at least one more prescription, and we must! Absolutely MUST make time to go buy my dad some chewing tobacco or he will have a hissy fit! Another 60 miles or more today. Tomorrow we have an appointment with his primary doctor. Another 60 miles or more tomorrow. Friday I have to take my mother to pay her bills and do her first of the month shop-a-thon. Closer to 100 miles for Friday.

And it's not the miles that bother me.

I know that when I get exhausted and stressed and worried, and all the myriad of emotions I go through at a time like that I tend to get petty and selfish in my head, but I dare not let it out to my parents. I mean, I would only get my feelings hurt because they would be appalled that I was thinking of myself. The fact that they (neither of them) show one iota of gratitude or appreciation doesn't help much, either. As far as I personally am concerned, it's a lose/lose situation, and I see no way out of it until God decides it's time to call them home. And I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but I am a realist, sometimes brutally so!

Oh, please God, give me strength, give me patience, give me wisdom, and help me to take myself out of the picture when I am stressed and exhausted and can't think straight enough to listen to a doctor or nurse who is trying to help us!

Have a blessed day, Becky

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Messy Saturday . . .

. . . . Calls for some spring and summertime dreaming! And that's what I've been doing yesterday afternoon and in the sleepless wee hours of this morning - dreaming and surfing for my favorite flowers. Since I didn't get around to doing a 'Floral Friday' post yesterday, I thought I would share "Someday Saturday - Dreams of Blooms". Enjoy!

I have a top 5 list of flowers that I 'CAN' grow here. The top of the list are these lovelies - my all time number ONE favorite flower >>>

I couldn't resist this next picture, I mean since my dream house is a farmhouse, and my favorite flower is lilac - what else could I do but post this for all to see!

Probably my next most favorite flower, and one that is somewhat difficult, but possible, to grow, is the peony. Take a look at these beauties!

I have one very similar to this next one - mine is called Shirley Temple.

And next, being a Southern Girl, I have to include the gorgeous hydrangea! I have a number of hydrangeas, but the last three years I've had a hard time keeping them growing due to the extreme drought. So far, I don't think that will be a problem this year, thank goodness! And although I have several - I'd have dozens of these beauties if I had the money, space, energy and time to care for them.

In fourth place on my list of favorites is the rose - especially the David Austin or English roses. I have half a dozen David Austins, and probably 6-8 other varieties. But these are a few of the ones I'd love to add to my garden.

This next one is 'Graham Thomas'. I have a GT climber, but I'd love to have the non-climbing version!

Next up is a Heritage, and I have one, but if I could, I'd have many, many more. She's so beautiful, and the scent is even more gorgeous!

And last, but definitely not least on my list of top five favorite flowers is the majestic foxglove! These lovely plants can grow up to several feet tall, and the blooming period is long because the bottom blooms open first, and the top blooms open much later. I have several of these, and this spring I've seen several new babies from the seeds from year before last. Gotta love those re-seeding bloomers!

(All photos from Flickr)

So that's the list of my top five favorite flowers. I love almost everything that blooms, but these are just the ones that are nearest and dearest to my heart. So tell me, what are your top five favorites!

Have a blessed weekend, Becky

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Apron Memories "Not a Contest" Giveaway

I've loved aprons for as long as I can remember. I used to beg my mother to let me play with her 'Sunday Best' aprons from my childhood in the 50's and 60's. One of my first real sewing projects was a gold and cream gingham apron. And over the years I've collected a few. Some new, some vintage. And then when I found Blogdom I realized I was far from being the only apron-a-holic!

EllynAnne Geisel has taken apron collecting to a world class level, and has even written books about them. Her latest book - The Kitchen Linens Book - has just hit the news stands, and to celebrate she is having a mega giveaway. But you have to do something special to enter! You have to make something new from something old around the house, and tell about it on your blog. Here's what I made >>>

I've had this doilie of my grandmothers for years, and wanted to do something with it, but never got around to it! It only had the embroidery and lace on one half of it, so I folded it over, sewed up the three sides, and made a pretty pillow from it.

I don't know if my grandmother "Mama Cliffie" did the embroidery, or someone else in the family, but she must have cherished it, because, although obviously old, it as in pretty good condition.

I embellished it with an old vintage brooch that had been hers,

and attached a multicolored organza bow and green button.

This is going to go into our guest room, also known as 'The Grandmothers Room' as a little decoration for the bed.

Oh, and if you are curious, the fabric underneath the pillow is a vintage chicken feed sack from our chicken house. It burned down in February of 1958, a few weeks before my 6th birthday. I have several of these treasures, and that is what they are to me, treasured pieces of my childhood. You can read about that HERE on a post I did a while back.

Thanks for visiting, and wish me luck. I'd love to win one of those incredible prize packages more than you can imagine! Blessings folks, Becky

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bella Shabby Giveaway!

Thanks to my sweet friend Teresa in Maryland, I'm getting in on this great giveaway! BellaShabby is having a double giveaway to celebrate her 50th post, and you are supposed to tell her which of the two goodies you'd rather win. Can you guess which one I would love to win???
Run on over to her blog and enter for yourself! Blessings, Becky

A New Friend!

I have a new friend! Of course it's a fine, feathered friend, and I've been so glad to make her* acquaintance!

(* I am calling my friend a her although I really don't know the gender of my new friend!)

About two or three weeks ago, as I was sitting here at my computer I heard a strange noise outside my window. I looked up, and there was a squirrel trying to get to one of the feeders, and a strange bird refusing it access! Way to go, birdie! After the offensive squirrel left, Birdie (as I have affectionately named her) spent quite a while eating from the suet cake I have attached to the deck.

I hadn't seen a bird like that on my feeders before, so I grabbed my favorite birding book (Birds of Georgia by Stan Tekiela) and started looking. The closest thing I could find was a Northern Mockingbird, but they aren't known for visiting feeders. But I soon knew she was a mockingbird, for after she finished eating, she sat up on a limb and showed her appreciation by singing a lovely concert. She sang happily and at her finest!

I can't say I see her every day, but I don't spend every minute of every day sitting at my computer where I can look out the window, although some days it seems like it! But most days I do catch glimpses of her on the suet feeder or in the poplar tree just beside the deck.

Last Friday, after I got home from my estate sale and visit to Bessie Mae's, I made a sandwich for my lunch, and took lunch, my laptop and my camera out onto the deck to enjoy the sunshine. I ate my sandwich and started loading the day's pictures, but soon I was visited by Birdie, and she wasn't happy that I was so close to her chosen food source! After all, about three feet IS a little too close for comfort.

But she stayed in the tree nearby for a long, long visit, and I talked to her softly, and tried to convince her she could feed there any time, as long as she kept those thieving squirrels off the feeders! I think we made deal that day, because I'm seeing much less of the rodents, and much more of Birdie!

So that brings me to my question of the day. Do you talk to your feathered friends? Do you talk to your four-legged furbabies? Do you sing to your houseplants? Just curious to know if I'm the only crazy lady who talks to her dogs, the birds, and sings to the hummers!

Happy Wednesday! Becky

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - March 25, 2009 - Bloggers Choice

Visit Dixie at French Lique Texas for more great Wordless Wednesday bloggers!
I'm sorry, but this 'Wordless Wednesday' post deserves a little explanation, so here goes.
On February 16, 2008 my husband's oldest sister, Myra, passed away after a sudden illness.
My husband had been in Alabama for several days, but came home that evening, spent one night at home and we drove back down on Sunday afternoon so we could be at the funeral home for visitation that night.
All that day there had been severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, and once we checked into our motel room the siren began, and we heard them many times over the next few hours.
But although the all clear was sounded, the skies continued to look ominous!
The small Alabama town where we were was okay, but we kept hearing of storms around northern Georgia, so while at the funeral home I went outside to call my parents and make sure they were okay.
As I went out the front door of the building, I noticed the southwestern sky. The clouds were
parting and the setting sun was forcing it's rays through the opening in the heavy cloud cover. It was so remarkable! In my minds eye, I half expected to see Jesus standing in those clouds, with the sun's rays illuminating Him!
I went inside and got my husband and brought him out to see it. Of course I always have my small Canon camera in my purse, so I took these two pictures.

What I didn't know until later was that on the back side of the funeral home, facing north, there was a magnificent double rainbow. Our niece and her husband and their friends had seen that gorgeous display.
No matter which sight any of us saw, we all felt we'd received a gift - a gift of knowing that life goes on, and that everything would be okay.
If she were still with us, today would have been Myra's 61st birthday,
and this post is dedicated to her memory.
God Bless You All!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Treasure Hunting

What a better way can you even imagine to spend the first day of spring? I was up early this morning, looking in the paper (online) to see if there were any garage sales in the area when I stumbled upon an ad for an estate sale between Cleveland and Helen, Georgia, or about 60 miles from here. That didn't stop me, though! I got dressed as fast as I could, fed the dogs, called my hubby and hit the road shortly after 7:30.

It took me a while, but I found the sale, and it was pretty good. I'll tell you about my goodies in another post, but I just had to tell you about the neatest store I found along my way!

Now, some of you may know I have two dachshunds, named Bailey Sue and Bessie Mae (see pic in the sidebar to the right). But as I was going up Hwy. 115/52 between Dahlonega and Cleveland I saw a store named - Bessie Mae's!!! Of course I knew I'd have to visit them, but I didn't want to stop on the way - besides, they weren't open yet - so I made a point of stopping by on my way home, and I'm so glad I did!

The owner was so sweet, and her husband who was working the front counter was as well. They had some of the cutest things for sale, too! There were a lot of primitives, candles, gorgeous things for Easter, dried flowers, barn stars, vintage dishes and lovely tea towels and even some precious vintage Christmas decorations.

Look above at the chicken nesting box, filled with painted wooden eggs and such. The basket in front is filled with cute stuffed chickens.

Bessie Mae's had a nice selection of candles. I bought one of the soy jar candles with their name - Bessie Mae's - on it and the scent called "Ye Olde Homestead". The best way I can describe that scent is that it's a strange, but sweet, combination of clean linens and my great grandmother Ma Cook's Tea Cakes! Just scrumptious! There were also tart warmers and little wax tarts to go with them.

This was my favorite corner of the store, with the old wood stove, more chicken nesting boxes filled with tea towels, barn stars, and so much more. I bought a blue and white checked tea towel with roosters on it that I think I'll make an apron from if I can find those instructions, and a cute square sign in honor of 'my' Bessie Mae. It says "Beware, dog can't hold her licker"! And my Bessie certainly is a licker!

This corner was filled with spring decorations - chenille eggs, mini trees with small ornaments to go with them, bunnies and chicks galore!

And some of the cutest quilted and embroidered pillows! If I remember correctly, these were around $10 each!

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Bessie Mae's and if you are ever in the beautiful mountains of northern Georgia, I recommend it as a stop along your way.

Bessie Mae's Website

Have a great weekend, folks! Becky

Floral Friday - More Pink Flowers, and Living Flowers!

Happy Friday, Friends! I am so excited that spring officially starts today! The rebirth, the new beginnings, the warmer temps and of course, the promise of green shoots bursting forth from the ground! If it wasn't for the over-powering presence of pollen, it would be THE perfect season, but of course, the pollen is just another indication of life, blooming, growing, so I guess I'll deal with it again this year as I have for the past 50+ years! The pollens that bother me the most are the trees - oak, pine, etc.; and they are also the pollens that make our cars - no matter what the color of the paint job - yellow for a few weeks in spring!

Today's 'Floral Friday' pictures were taken in my yard on August 4, 2008 - the same day as the pictures from Wordless Wednesday earlier this week. It was one of those magical days when the butterflies and hummingbirds cooperated with my need to take pictures!

First up are a couple of pictures of the hardy hibiscus. I have several of these plants, and was so lucky to get a couple of the pink with burgundy centers seen here, as well as one of the solid deep burgundy. Maybe this year I'll get some pictures of those.

Note the green butterfly inside the bottom hibiscus in the second picture. I just love these beautiful flowers - and they are one of largest bloomers in my garden. In years past I've had dinner-plate sized blooms, but I think the drought of the past few years has caused the blooms to be smaller than usual. These, however are probably 8 inches or more across!

And this bright pink zinnia, being visited by a tiny bee!

And of course there are the living flowers in my garden! I have a hummingbird feeder that attaches to a window in my breakfast room with suction cups. It holds on very well, and the biggest problem with it is ants! But I have my ways of getting rid of them, lol! Anyway, the day I took these pictures, I sat my camera on the window ledge inside, just an inch or two from where the hummer was perched. I go visit them a lot, so they get used to me. They don't like sudden movements, but as long as I'm calm they will sit there and let me watch them with no problems.

Please excuse the quality of these photos - I think they are pretty good considering they are being taken through a double paned window!

I have another, larger feeder hanging at the outer edge of my front porch, and one hummer sits in the oak tree a few feet away and 'protects' that feeder from the other hummers that try to come and feed. When she is sitting in the tree, I'll go stand right beside the feeder and talk and sing to her. She will come and feed (with the feeder just inches from my head) and hover in font of my face, just fussing at me! And I'll fuss right back, telling her if it wasn't for me she wouldn't have that wonderful sugar water to enjoy, so she should best be nice to me! As you can probably tell, I'm right partial to the hummers! I enjoy all the birds that visit my feeders, but the hummers are special!

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to my garden today! Before long (as soon as the danger of frost has passed) the team of Camellia Cottage gardeners (hubby and myself) will be out raking the leaves off the young plants and looking to see which of our babies survived another year. As things progress, I hope to share more pictures with you, so stay tuned!

Wishing you a wonderful first day of Spring! Becky

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tasty Thursday - Provolone, Basil and Onion on Italian Bread

Good Morning! I had intended on sharing the recipe for my favorite "Fay's Cream Cheese Pound Cake" today, but I had to make an unexpected trip to my parents yesterday to help them out some, so I didn't get it posted. I'll post it (along with pics) next week. Since I didn't get the cake recipe on here, I decided to share one of my favorite summertime indulgences with you instead!

I found this recipe three or four years ago in a Cottage Living Magazine - another great one that is no longer published! :o( A link to the recipe on myrecipes.com is HERE. (Note: myrecipes.com is a website with all of the recipes from Southern Living, Cottage Living, Coastal Living and some other publications. It is a great place to find delicious recipes!)

In summertime, when I have fresh basil growing in my garden, I keep a container of grilled onions in the fridge, and a loaf of sliced Italian bread on hand. This just delicious!!!

Photo from myrecipes.com website.

Provolone, Basil, and Onion on Italian Bread

(Makes two sandwiches in 5 minutes for prep and 4 minutes to cook!)

  • 4 slices thick, country Italian bread
  • tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I find this is optional)
  • 8 thin slices provolone cheese
  • 4 very thin slices red (or other sweet) onion
  • 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil works for me just as well!)

Brush each bread slice with a small amount of balsamic vinegar. Arrange 2 slices provolone, 2 slices of onion and several basil leaves on half of bread slices. Sprinkle with pepper and top with remaining provolone and bread slices.

Melt butter in a cast iron or nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add sandwiches to pan and cook, pressing down with back of spatula, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until cheese melts and bread is golden brown.

(For extra flavor, grill the onions and add sliced sweet tomatoes when in season.)

Note: I take an old brick, wrap it in aluminum foil and sit it on the sandwiches to press them. This works equally well in a skillet or on a grill. If you are fortunate enough to have a panini press, you are indeed fortunate, as this sandwich would work beautifully on a panini press!

This sandwich is great any time, but in summer, with fresh picked basil and sliced sweet tomatoes, well, it's heaven!!!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! And have a gorgeous day- spring officially starts tomorrow - YIPPEEEEEEEEE!!!

Be Blessed, Becky