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Friday, December 30, 2011

Can't Give Up The Extra Sparkles Yet!

In years past, I've always taken the Christmas tree and packed everything up the day after Christmas.  For one thing, the day after Christmas is my daughter Carianne's birthday, and I always tried to make the two holidays very separate for her sake.  For another, I was always just ready to move on and get the house back to some semblance of normalcy! 


This year is different.  Carianne was not here for Christmas or her birthday, so that part didn't matter... and I'm just enjoying seeing the sparkly crystals and lights everywhere. The last two Christmases I didn't decorate very much due to "life."  This year I dragged out quite a bit of "HoHo" and I really enjoyed it a lot! So... we will sparkle on until New Year's, when I will have absolutely no excuse left for leaving it all up! 


A week ago, I found out the little spot I've had on my face forever is a basal cell carcinoma. I was scurried off to the plastic surgeon who did a 45-minute surgery to remove it. I have never had a black eye before, but I had quite a shiner! I went yesterday and had the stitches removed. Here I am just before they removed the stitches. To all you young girls out there who spend hours frying your skin in a tanning booth, and spending days outdoors without suncreen, this is what you may be looking at 20 or 30 years later!  So be warned. 


One little brag... the nurse who took out my
stitches wanted to know if my eyelashes were
real and complimented them... I said yup they
are, thank you Latisse! She was glad because
she had just started on it herself!

I've been crocheting a lot this week. It seems I never finish all my Christmas gifts on time. (It's a resolution for next year!) A lot of times I don't hit on the just-right idea until the last minute, and then I have to make three or four of whatever-it-is.  This year was the mobius scarf. It was Laurie's fault... my dear god-daughter stopped by last weekend with a scarf she had just purchased in very thin knit material, and she was sure I could come up with something better to match her coat! So I did... but then she went out of town and I had to do one of course for John's girlfriend Janette in orange, her favorite color. 

Janette's orange scarf in Homespun's Spice

Sally's Scarf in 3 yarns... Cameo Bulky,
 Enchantress Sequin, and Premier's Serenity Chunky. It is heaven to touch. 

Heidi dropped by and saw the beginnings of Laurie's, and wanted the identical one. My best friend Sally is in KC and I thought a bright red one would be just the thing to brighten her trips out to doctor appointments (she spent 75 days in the hospital the last couple of months).  So far Sally's and Janette's are completed, I sneaked in a white fluffy one for myself, and I have Heidi's and Laurie's yet to do. Luckily I can get each one done in a day. I have one more planned but she may actually read this blog, so it's a secret for now! 


My White "Snowy Scarf"
I also wanted to design a doily for Sally, something special to sit on her little coffee table by where she sits. So the "Sally's Doily" is now in progress and up on my squidoo site as a crochet-along. As I complete it, I'm putting up the new rounds for everyone.  (They may get a clue of the doily's theme on the last couple of rounds I just put up today!) 


Sally's Doily In Progress
Well, I'd better keep this short as obviously I have a lot of work to do! Hugs to all... and have a very happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December Wrap-Up

Merry Christmas! 

December has turned out to be a crazy month for me crochet-wise! I started out planning to do my usual annual snowflake. That turned out to be the Rose in Snow Beaded Snowflake. Ended up giving the prototype as a Christmas gift!

Then another crocheter asked for a cupcake pattern and I remembered having done one years ago, but never patterned it. So of course I had to design a new one! It's called the "Sparkly Cupcake Ornament." I've only made one of that so far but I want to make a whole bunch in different colors! I think they would look so cute either decorating a tiny tree, or hanging in the kitchen year-round.



Then there are the crocheted gifts. I did up a bunch of scrunchies in different patterns, one I particularly liked I did pattern up and post on my site. It's called the "Princess Crowns" ponytail cover. I discovered a new type of ponytail elastic recently. It's Scunci brand and the bands are clear silicone. Perfect to crochet over, no color show-through! Keep your eyes out for them, very cool.

I'm crocheting three different scarves, two of which will not be done in time for Christmas and none of which will be patterned - no time. Thank goodness my friends are understanding and will take an IOU!! One is an orangey flavor of Homespun, (their request!) one is Red Heart Kiss and the third is Red Heart Kiss held together with Paton's Brilliant. That third one especially is going to be pretty. I'm doing moebius scarves this year.

Crocheting up some cut-apart kitchen Christmas towels as usual - I'll get done as many as I can. Doing a hand-painted, decorated apron with crochet accents. I hope it turns out cute!

Having a small minor surgery tomorrow (just an office thing) which will cut out some precious hours I need to get things done! My cards are out, my shopping is almost done, and I just have to say this one thing. This has been the best Christmas season I have had in many, many years. Just because of feeling BETTER. And I am walking so much better too. Getting stronger by the day and hoping to go back to water therapy soon.

Had a small dinner party last night for some very close friends and family, the fact that I was able to that is testament to my feeling better! Something like that before the hip replacements would have been unthinkable.

I may take a very tiny "vacation" from crocheting for about a week to give my hands a rest. When you fight with arthritis, you have to do some rest time to settle things down. And my hands have been busy!  I love every minute of it, though.

Monty, Winnie and Ladybug test-nap the
new bed they got for Christmas.  This is what
 you call "Schnauzer Tested – Schnauzer Approved!" 


The furkids are all well and happy, thank goodness.  My grown daughter is out of town for the holidays, my grown son and his girlfriend will be around so that's good. We had our "Christmas Dinner" last night and exchanged gifts, so the rest of the week is really take-it-easy time for us. And that's a good thing!

In case I don't get back here in time, I want to wish all of you the merriest Christmas ever and the best new year you have ever had! I plan to have one of those myself!







Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Future Plans & Dreams....

Usually my "productivity" ends around 5 pm when the husband arrives home. I generally land in my comfy chair and work on stuff at my desk – either on the computer, crocheting, making some jewelry, or just watching TV.

Lately I've noticed that I'm not hitting that 5 pm "fatigue wall" every day. Some days - like today - I just keep going like the Energizer Bunny! I was insanely proud of myself today for making three web pages and then spending two hours deep cleaning my main bathroom! I know - it sounds pathetic - but you have to understand that before both of my hips were replaced, something like that would have been impossible. I could chip away at one or two things, perhaps, but then have to stop.  To be able to write, do that cleaning, hang some ornaments on the tree, visit with company for awhile, then go in and put together two batches of cookie dough? NO way. This is just too cool!

I'm really tired right now but mentally I'm still "on" so I think I'll finish designing my little crochet cupcake ornament and get it patterned up.  I had done a cupcake several years ago and now I can't even find the darned thing! I did find a photo of it, but no pattern. It's probably jotted down in one of my innumerable notebooks. Here's the old cupcake.



I'm finding a lot of gratification in giving away free patterns. It's just fun, especially at the holidays. To have a few hundred people visit your pattern site in one day is, admittedly, a big thrill!

Someday, however, I'm going to get my little project done and then I'm hoping to actually sell some patterns.  I have all those notebooks I just mentioned, from years of designs going back to around 1998 or so. I wrote down almost everything I made.  What I'm doing now is slowly transcribing all those notes into page layouts which I can later sort out and combine into... a book! Yes, it's a goal.

Funny how inspiration will strike you and then you're off on a new rabbit trail! The other day I read a post from another crocheter looking for a cupcake, and of course I had to go look for MY cupcake, and then discovering I didn't have it anymore, of course I had to design a NEW cupcake! That's how things usually work. Something sparks a project and off we go.  Usually there are two or three such projects in the works at once. Usually one or two thread things, one yarn thing, and maybe an illusion jewelry thing... it's nice to never be bored!

I've often thought over the years that "being in my element" perfectly would involve having a little shop on some little town square, where I'd hang out with a couple of my dogs and people would stop by for yarn or hooks or patterns... chat, have some coffee, whatever, while I designed and crocheted away.  It sounds like heaven to me. For now though, I'll content myself with hanging out with the coffee and all the dogs, and enjoying my crochet friends online.  It sure would be fun in person, though!


Friday, December 9, 2011

9 Things I'm Really Grateful For!

1. My fairy goddaughter, Chelsea. 

I had inspiration strike on a gift for her yesterday. Her mom told me she has been baking up a storm, and the child is only 11! She is SO smart and just a wonderful little girl. She mentioned she guessed she would have to get her an apron or something. 

My Chels with my Ladybug
Well, Sheila does aprons!!!! I used to do a lot of them as gifts. I'd take a blank apron, fabric paints laid out in a palette, a brush, and go to town. I would applique on scraps of fabric, decorations, embroidery, whatever... they were always multimedia and they were FUN. I haven't done one in years. So I had to go to JoAnn today and pick up everything. My fabric paints (wherever they are) are many years old, so I picked up just a few colors. I found an adorable cupcake applique and a little sequined star applique.  Aprons just went on 1/2 price for the weekend sale, yay! Now I think I need a cute little saying to put on it somewhere.   So that's one gift that will take some major time but I'm very excited about doing something different. And yes, it will have crochet on it in some form, somewhere!! 

2) The weather. (It should be snowy at Christmas!) We have lots of snow on the ground now and it looks very Christmasy out. I hadn't gone out in several days up til today. Brrr!!! I need to make myself another scarf sometime to go with my brown mood that I have going.  I worked on Christmas decorating all week – I have to do some and then rest a bit, so it takes awhile. I used to "psycho Christmas decorate" and for the last few years I've kept things to a bare minimum due to health. But this year, I've actually gone a little more toward my "normal psycho!"  Here's a couple of pictures of progress so far. 

3) My best friend Sally was put in the hospital again this week, I would sure appreciate your prayers and/or good thoughts for her. We have been best friends for 30 years. Her daughter is the mom of my fairy goddaughters I mentioned above.  I'm grateful because two days ago she was in critical condition and now she's stable. 

4) A party to go to! Trying to decide whether I could whip out a small shawl in 24K yarn to wear to a Christmas party the 18th. Probably not, right? But I wanna.... I'm very excited, this Christmas I actually feel like going out and doing some things for the first time in soooo many years! 

5) Friends to make gifts for! I'm taking a break from crocheting for a few minutes to write this. I am making my crocheted kitchen towels as usual for a couple special friends.  So far, I've made headband earwarmers, a whole bunch of crocheted hair ties (elasticized bands), a scarf (which isn't actually finished yet), and of course my brown vest (which I am going to be doing demolition and major remodeling to sometime this winter - I wasn't happy with the rear end). 


Today I finished two Swarovski crystal (12 mm!!) illusion necklaces. Those two are plain with no pendant. They need no further adornment!!! I also did a pearl illusion necklace with a cluster pendant made up of a silver cross, a big Swarovski rock, and a silver/crystal button. You can see how to make them here . 



There are so many things I'd like to make for gifts and just so little time. I'd love to give everyone an afghan, or something equally big. There isn't isn't time. But that's ok, that's why God made Amazon:) 

6) A cool place to sell my designs! 


HEY I don't usually promote this a lot - but if you have a friend who crochets, you must see the Sterling Silver Crochet Hook earrings I designed at my CafePress store. They come in heart shape, oval, or round and are small dangles. Very pretty, and affordable!! I also have a zillion other Crochet themed gifts on there - many kinds of shirts, jackets, calendars, license plate frames, note cards, Christmas cards, mouse pads, coffee cups, iPhone cases, and so much more!  What a great way to celebrate your love of Crochet! 

Some of my artwork themes are "Hooked on Crochet," "I'm The Other Happy Hooker," "Who Needs This (Chocolate) When I Have Crochet," and several other artwork designs without sayings - like my pretty jeweled crochet hook with a gemstone dangling from it! It really is fun stuff, it's affordable, and they ship directly to you or anyone you choose.  Best of all, the profits go straight to my Miniature Schnauzer rescue.  SO... just click here , and I would LOVE to hear what you think of my designs! Here is one of the necklaces and earrings.  They have the same design as the T-shirt below. 

                




7)  - Grateful for something way-cool that happened to me! Guess it's ok to toot my own horn on my own blog just a little bit! At Thanksgiving time, in between cooking I spent the day writing on a "lens" (what they call a web page) at Squidoo.com.  It's a very unique site where you can write websites on just about anything you want, and I've been working my butt off for months doing just that. Well, they had a contest on Thanksgiving for the best Thanksgiving themed lens. I did one on my entire Thanksgiving dinner - everything from shopping to what to do with the leftovers, and turned it in. I was thrilled when they picked mine as one of the 25 winners! There was also an Amazon gift certificate as a prize! I wanted something really special to commemorate getting paid for my writing for the first time, so i picked out some really special earrings that spoke to me. It was SO much fun!!  It just feels really good to have someone applaud your work. I think that's just being human:) Anyway, if you're interested, you can read the piece here

8) I'm making huge strides with physical strength with my new hip. (Or, hips!) I think I mentioned I ditched the walker a couple of weeks ago and I have just sent it to retire in the attic, hopefully forever. I just noticed today it's been 60 days since the last surgery. I was out shopping and saw a beautiful glass ornament with just the word, "HOPE" on it. It's now hanging near my desk. It hit me so hard when I saw it - with these two surgeries, I have HOPE for a much better life now!! Not to sound sappy, but it's so true. I was to the point this time last year that I had lost all hope for anything but a life full of constant agony. I am so grateful that I am not in that place anymore. 

9) Looks like the plans are settling into place for Christmas. The daughter will be flying out east to spend Christmas with her new boyfriend. The son will be home with his girlfriend. Hopefully I will get to make a little trip down to see my BFF in Kansas City before the holiday. I really need to see her. 

Everybody stay safe, have a great holiday weekend! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Great Possum Adventure!

A flying live possum, a hole in the ground, and me with two brand new hips... NOT a good combination!

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried! I went out last night to investigate why my furkids (the seven Miniature Schnauzers) were going nuts over something in the yard. I gimped out on my cane to find a big furry lump with a long thing coming out of it - my first guess was they had killed a wild turkey. We have lots of those around. So I'm thinking ok, get it out of here, and grabbed onto what I thought was a turkey neck. Well, it started to squirm in my hand and it suddenly dawned on me I had hold of a live possum, playing "possum" for the dogs! Too late to do anything else, I gimped over the 15 or so feet to the fence and flung the possum as hard as I could in the air over the fence. As the possum flew, I stepped in a hole in the ground and down I went!  Luckily I landed on my right hip, the "old" new one, not the 7-week old one! I managed to pick myself up and miraculously, not a scratch on me.  I was even more lucky I didn't get bitten! I still can't believe it didn't bite me. Maybe it knew I was trying to help it. I had my son John go out and look for it today, not a sign of it, so it must've made its way somewhere to nurse its wounds.

Here is a picture of what I could have gotten bitten with. (This is not my possum, it's from the internet).


Other than that it's been a quiet weekend, the old man is traveling in KC attending our grandson Nick's birthday party.  I didn't have anyone to watch the dogs so I had to stay. I've spent it writing on my web pages and crocheting on my brown vest. I'm just about done with it, a few more stripes to go on the front sections.  Just put up a new pattern on the web for a free crocheted scarf, it's very easy single crochet.



On Thanksgiving I was very honored to win a prize along with 24 other writers for the best Thanksgiving lens (web page) on Squidoo.com.  If you want to, you can check it out here. I used the Amazon gift certificate to buy myself some 88%-off diamond earrings! Never had those, always wanted some... so there!

I can't express how satisfying it has been to write again. With a purpose. It just feels good. I'm slowly chipping away at putting all my crochet designs from countless handwritten notebooks into their own little web pages. It will probably take me the better part of a year, but then hopefully I'll have something to show for all the work.

I've actually been making short hops without the cane. Sometimes it goes well, others not so much. I think maybe it's time to start water therapy!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Exploring New Territory!

I feel as though I have stepped through the looking glass and I'm looking around at new territory like a new puppy testing how grass feels for the first time.  I... am... getting... BETTER!


Baby Emma, a pup we fostered long ago, exploring,
 tail up, girl on a mission...  Yup, that's me!

I posted on Facebook awhile ago that I just don't know how to act! I went through two years of sheer pain hell with two hips destroyed totally by degenerative arthritis. It caused undescribable pain. I could no longer bear to walk unsupported, and therefore learned to survive on a walker.  I crawled around in my house, unable to do much of anything except crochet, make a few pieces of jewelry, and write.  Oh, and wait for the next dose of pain meds that wouldn't do anything except take the edge off the pain.

I went to numerous surgeons seeking help, only to be denied time after time because I was too "high risk." The last surgeon who turned me down said, "Don't you get it, you could DIE?" And I replied to him, "It doesn't matter.. because as it stands I'm dead right now."

Dr, Morrison
My Hero
Miraculously Dr. Michael Morrison of Omaha Orthopedic took on my case. When I first met him, the first thing I said was, "I need you to be my hero.  Can you do that?"

Careful? Oh yeah. Many hoops to jump through, medical clearances from various specialists to be obtained... it took forever. But in March 2011 he replaced my first (right) hip. I sailed through the procedure with zero complications. It took six long months before I was medically cleared to have the second hip (left) replaced, which was done in October 2011, the day after my birthday!  Again, I sailed through it.

And yesterday, November 20, 2011, I was released. Cleared. Given the go-ahead to pursue life with a few restrictions.  Free. Come back in a year. So surprised I nearly burst into tears, and I wanted to jump up and down as I left! My girlfriend Heidi had come along with me since she stopped over to visit just as I was leaving for the appointment. She was all happy with me! People who have seen me go through this get it. They know what this means.

Now, I have to decide what to do with myself! Yes, I still have back problems and I still have Myasthenia Gravis and both are disabling.  But the blinding pain, that was with me every single step, is gone.

I have weeks of rehabbing this new hip ahead of me, going to be starting water therapy soon, and I only just graduated to a cane. My huge goal is to someday ditch the cane too. That would be a miracle!

I haven't ventured out into the world very much this time around.  I managed to pick up the local sore throat/respiratory virus going around, and still fighting with that. So I am contenting myself right now with staying in, trying to get better, and crocheting up a storm. I'm making gemstone earrings at the same time. The first pair is pearl and moonstone, the second pair is blue goldstone and sterling. They're up for sale in my Etsy store now. I have everything I need right here in my little "corner of the world." The only thing I'm missing is a coffee pot... I do have to get up for that!

 


This afternoon brought a surprise... I let all the dogs in from the back yard awhile ago and Susie had something suspicious looking in her mouth. She went by so quickly I wasn't sure... but when I followed her to the couch, she had esconsced herself there with her trophy, one of the brown squirrels from our yard! Ewwww... I gingerly took hold of its tail and removed him to the front porch, where he awaits a proper burial when my DH gets home!  Sue-Sue 1, Squirrel 0.  I really hate that. Two of the girls, Susie and Winnie, are fast enough to compete with them but this is the first time to my knowledge Sue has caught one. We are in near-woods here, and we have a zillion squirrels. A couple of them like to tease the dogs on the back fence. Sigh... gotta love nature. I took a pic of the squirrel on the porch but I just don't have the heart to put it in here and have to look at him. Delete.

The chores are almost done and I'm planning to spend the afternoon crocheting. I started an afghan awhile back and as sometimes happens, it occurred to me it would make a great vest! I need a brown vest, so I went for it. I can always do another afghan later, right? It's a bit crazy and colorful, but you know I love both so it's all good. I am almost done with the back half, going to start the front half this afternoon. I'm planning to make it seamless like the last one I made, but it's totally a different design. It's "groovy." 


No dinner plans, not cooking, not feelin' it. SO there you have it... my squirrelly day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Someday, When I Grow Up... " Why I Crochet

Someday I want to be a "REAL" crochet designer. One who can spout yardages and gauges like times tables.  Like the ones I admired as a young woman, whose intricate patterns I struggled to follow, stitch by stitch, until the magic materialized and their work was replicated once more in the world.

A Josie Rabier design – one of the last patterns
 I was able to crochet  before I developed eyesight
problems. I'm still proud of this one! 
Alice Brooks, Laura Wheeler, Elizabeth Hiddleson... those girls made every end table in America a special display gallery for their work.  Every pillowcase from San Francisco to Boston lovingly edged by someone who needed to keep her hands busy while Dear Husband was off to poker night with the boys.

As a young crocheter I'd spend hours just gazing at their booklets, the black and white pictures of Hiddleson especially. They were, and still are, like eye candy for my soul.  I'm convinced it's the reason so many of us collect patterns we know we will never have time to complete in several lifetimes! It's why we snipped magazine patterns and lovingly glued them into notebooks before the Internet existed. And magazines with crochet in them - what a concept! My stack of ancient Workbaskets is among my most highly treasured possessions. I made the rose doily on the cover of this Workbasket, which belonged to my late mom Izzy, for at least two other people, plus a couple for myself. Mama made this exact same doily for many of her friends and family, which is probably one reason I fell in love with it too! I would give almost anything to have one of her rose doilies! But she never kept one for herself.


There is just something about crochet that is so beautiful... so hard to explain, as I'm trying to do here and not finding adequate words.  It... fixes me.  Yup, that's it. Crochet fixes me. And now it is even more precious to me as my stupid body tries slowly, inexorably to take it away with eyesight and arthritis.

   


It can be any upset, real or imagined... I could be crying my heart out one minute, pick up a crochet hook, and 15 minutes later my tears have dried and the world is on its way back to level.  Pain? With four back, two hip and one knee surgeries, you be the judge... but yes, I know pain... and crochet is how I have survived it since 1994 when my back decided to betray me. It takes me to some place, some zone, where I don't think about the pain somehow.  For years I've heard the old saying that if you have a headache and go to see a movie, the headache disappears... I'm sure it's the same concept.  Somehow the part of the brain that makes you feel pain gets blocked by the part that does creative things. Whatever, I'm grateful!

So next time you are upset, or bored, or in pain, or anything else is rocking your world, grab your stash of crochet magazines or pattern books and spend some quality time. You'll feel better, and you may just end up replicating another masterpiece yourself!





Saturday, November 12, 2011

On the Way to Week 5...

Well, here it is Saturday already! In two more days I'll have achieved post-op week 5. Good, because I did NOT like week 4! I just overdid it, a lot, and I spent the week paying for it. Do I ever learn? Nah...

I'm getting excited about resuming water therapy, as soon as the surgeon clears me to do it. I started it a few weeks before the hip surgery to build up strength in my other new right hip, so it could support me better. I absolutely fell in love with it. To make things even better, the therapy pool is part of the hospital complex 2 minutes up the street from my house! Yup, definitely excited. It kind of amuses me too, the idea of watching it snow outside the big glass walls while I'm in the nice heated pool indoors!

I've been trying to figure out what the he** is going on with my weight lately. Some of you may know I've lost 70 pounds over a two-year period. Actually, I've only been maintaining for at least the last six months. But somehow I think everything's rearranging, because my measurements keep going down. Now, what's up with THAT!  If only I could get the scale to move down 3 little pounds, I'd stop yapping... it's just a "magic number" i want to reach.  Here is me in my attempt at Old Navy Rockstar Jeggings. Hmmm.

They were too big, but I still like 'em!

Very excited that on my Squidoo site I was awarded "Giant Squid-25" status! I worked hard for it. You have to have 25 very good, well put together lenses (what they call web pages). They do a review of all your writing. It was kind of a neat feeling of validation for me. Right before that, I was named as a "Squid Angel." Angels go around blessing lenses (which gives them a bump in rating).  Here is a photo for one of my new recipe lenses, Chicken Wraps.

Sheila's Grilled Chicken & Veggie Wraps

So was being invited to write an article for Squidoo's "Winter Holiday" issue of their online magazine! I'm working furiously toward a Tuesday deadline on that. Years ago, I wrote a lot for "butyoudontlooksick.com" and really enjoyed it. What can I say, I love to yap!

On the crocheting side, I'm working on a scarf for a friend, a new afghan design, and finishing up a doily design. Busy, busy. No being bored here!

"A Different Rose" Doily - almost complete



The first square of a new afghan design.
More in the "Decadent Indulgence" series. 


I thought this photo was so cute! Ladybug is jumping up for her "Daddy time" that she has to have every time he comes home. Winnie and SueSu have already had their quality time, and off to nap. 

Well, I'm off to do something - hugs to you all!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just A Darn Happy Day!

Do you ever just "wake up good?" I have had one of those mornings so far. The coffee was great, the dogs are behaving, my daughter was cleaning when I woke up... what a treat! (If you can imagine seven Miniature Schnauzers trotting in and out to the back yard full of leaves and twigs about 10 times a day, it's a full time job cleaning up after what they track in!)

I have a project on my crochet hook that's really going well so far, I'm waiting for several packages in the mail from doing my shopping online the other day and a few things from ebay... so the rest of the day should be fun too! Online shopping has really made life a lot easier, hasn't it? When you're recovering from a big surgery and going out is a production, it's a lifesaver.

There are some times it works really well, but some things - like shopping for new yarns  for a project - you can't do except in person. There's nothing like going back and forth down the yarn aisles, picking out this yarn and that and putting them together in groups in the basket, seeing how they interact. Can you tell I love yarn shopping? It's one of my 10 favorite things in life, for sure. SO, I need to do a yarn trip. Just not sure that I'm quite strong enough yet. Maybe I could compromise and cut my time down to say, 15 minutes or so. Hmmm. Now to find a willing patsy to go along with me! I'll have to work on that.

My White Yarn Basket's A Bit Low!

I did get my husband to take me to the shoe store Friday night, and that was just FUN. He is a really great shoe shopper! He has a way of finding things that work. So I scored some winter boots for less than $20 and another pair of blue shoes (I don't own any blue shoes!) I did not find what I was actually looking for, but yesterday I found a 50% off deal on the perfect pair I was looking for online, with free shipping no less! So those are on the way.

Then I managed to go into Sephora for a few minutes and play in the makeup eye candy! I kept myself down to just two items, I was proud of myself:)  I hadn't been "real world" shopping for ages, and it was just fun.

Had a big treat last week, with an unexpected visitor! My son John had a friend Justin growing up in Papillion and he was one of "my kids," over all the time.  A while back, my daughter Cari handed me her phone and said, "talk!" Turned out there was Justin, all grown up and a soldier in Iraq jumping out of planes! What a neat surprise. Well, Justin came home from Iraq recently and though stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, he is spending some leave time back home in Omaha.  So he was my surprise visitor! Here is a picture of him (on the right) with John, reunited for the first time in many years.  So, it's neat that Cari is hanging out with him.  I've always loved Justin.



I was planning to write my blog today about the new afghan I just finished, the "Decadent Indulgence Afghan." So named because I chose each yarn for its feel.  I think I'll just refer you to its web page, where I wrote all about it.  Now I've started on a new project, the "Half Square Afghan," and I can't wait to get that finished and the pattern out on the web! I really like sharing free patterns. It's wonderful how crocheters and knitters share their work on the web. You can get lost for hours just gazing at all the eye candy. 

Sue-Sue Schnauzer test naps my afghan while still in progress. She looks as though she's 
about to fall off of the footstool!  She supervises all my work.

Well, I'd better get this finished, my Koby Moo-Moo Schnauzer is woo-wooing in his kennel, which means "Mom, I'm done with breakfast and my nap, get me outta here!"  Enjoy your day, everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Oh, we're at that annoying point in surgery recovery... when it feels like it will never  be over with, you'll never be back to normal... it's kind of a big waahhhh week, you know? You have more pain than you have been having, I think it's something to do with nerves rejoining or something. I had this same thing the last time.

OK done complaining now! No, just a little more.. VERY frustrated with my weight loss, or lack thereof. I was so hoping this surgery would take another 10 pounds with it! But no... I'm precisely where I was when I went in! I always remind myself I should be grateful I haven't regained anything.  And yet, my rings are all floppy, my clothes are fitting a bit different... I dunno.  Maybe I need to do something completely different for awhile... like eat?

SueSue woke me up at 1:30 a.m. needing to go outside.  I need to take her to the vet, she has been drinking a lot, eating a lot and peeing a lot... plus the extreme irritability - I don't want to think the "D" word, but I have to.  At least, it is something going on for sure. And she's only five.



When one goes, six go.  Once I'm up, I'm up... and I stayed up and worked until about 6 am, then took an hour nap.   So that tells you how I'm feeling now. Hate nights like that. I got another stripe done on the afghan, watched The Social Network, made a pair of earrings (moonstone, clear quartz, blue goldstone)... and thought about what I'm going to do with this top I'm making.  I bought several tops from the same designer that had very long sleeves. I altered them, and ended up with several rather large pieces of fabric that all go together well.  So I'm going to do a colorblock thing out of them. Have to be hand-sewn, because I don't have my sewing machine unpacked!

Continue to be gratified by the response to Harry's memorial page. We are approaching 1,000 hits and for just word of mouth, that really amazes me. He has gone from a rank of 1.5 million to 6,000 in a week. That's pretty cool! If you get a chance, check his page out at http://www.squidoo.com/harryschnauzer.

I'm almost finished with the Decadent Luxury Afghan, and already thinking about the next one! I'd like to make my husband one as his Christmas gift.  When we were practically newlyweds in the early 80's, I used up all my scrap yarn making him a very large ripple afghan.  It is very heavy and I find it a bit scratchy, although it has survived countless washings and comforted many family members having chills over 25+ years!! I think it's about time to give it a rest and give him a new one.

Toying with the idea of sending some of my designs in to a few publishers and see if anyone likes my stuff well enough to publish it.  I've always loved the idea of work once/reward many and that definitely fits in with that mindset.  I always get the biggest kick out of it when someone buys something from my CafePress store, where I put my art on various items they sell.

Well I'm wandering into minutiae.... time to get something done! (Like the dishes:( )

Be amazed... at something today. -Sheila

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happiest Halloween In A Long Time!

Next to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I think Halloween has to be one of my favorite holidays.  I love it all, from the candy corn to the ghost stories, scary music, and tiny trick-or-treaters in little princess costumes.  It's just too much! 

Last year I spent my Halloween in the hospital (ugh!).  I was really disappointed, so much in fact that I made a foray to the hospital gift shop and bought candy to give out to the nurses! I also bought a little fuzzy spider headband so I could "dress up."  

This year was much more fun! Although I'm not walking real well yet, I was able to do some basic dress-up which was fun - Halloween gives me an excuse to wear my makeup the way I really want to, LOL!! Just kidding... 

Anyway here is my costume for this year.  You know where it went? To the surgeon's for a followup appointment (I think he really liked it!) and to the grocery store  to pick up a few things for dinner. 


I never could decide if I was a she-devil (with the horns) or a pet psychic (ditch the horns, add dog collar!)  Anyway I had fun! My 24 year old daughter scoffed at my suggestion she dress up... reminding me of her advanced age! I told her in 25 years she'd be my age and hopefully having a lot more fun!  I refuse to grow up and be a dignified senior citizen! Nah. 


Several of my furkids got in on the act, too.  Here are the three girls - SueSue, Winnie and Ladybug, all dressed up in their costumes. Following that is my little blind Koby, dressed up in the Ladybug outfit! He knew something special was going on, and darned if he didn't camp out by the front door with me to hand out candy! He was a total angel the whole time and never barked or left my side.  I adore Koby. My other helper was Ladybug, who curiously greeted everyone but barked at no one. She was fabulous. The other two were relegated to their rooms for barking violations after the first couple doorbells. 

We had 13 trick or treaters in all - just a nice number without being overwhelmed. Ron reminded me I had no trick or treaters the whole four years we lived down on the farm. So this was a whole different Halloween for a change. 


The other day, I DVR'd all the old Roseanne Halloween episodes, and spent an afternoon yesterday watching all of them. Her Halloween episodes still kill me.  

Well, lots more to tell but I'm so sleepy I can't hold my eyes open - so will sign off for now. 'Night everyone!




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Grey Autumn Saturday... Loved It!

Since I was a little kid, walking home from school on Park Street, I've been in love with Autumn.  The smells of drifting leaves, the gusty winds, the gray late October skies, now and then the scent of burning leaves; I love it all.  Here is a picture I took yesterday of the pretty trees on our street. 






I sneaked outside today with my walker (hey, it's only 3 weeks postop on Monday!) and did a bit of desperately needed gardening. It was easy; I had to work on a container.  I had put a bunch of plants together for a plant trade right before I went to the hospital, and didn't make it to get them shipped. They've been wrapped up in the kitchen for over three weeks and were looking a bit scary. Since they were all perennials, the best medicine was to get their feet back in dirt outside, and allow them to freeze tonight. Sounds a bit harsh, eh.  I figure half of them will survive. I'll have to send a double package to the poor shorted trader in the Spring. I feel bad, but I did what I could do before the surgery, and it wasn't enough. 


Brought in my hanging fern and a basket of petunias that were still just to pretty to allow to freeze tonight. I always have trouble with the first frost. I like my plants green and alive! But they'll all be back in the spring and I will be feeling so much better by then, it'll be amazing.


I was so gratified today with the response to Harry's memorial site.  For one of my sites to get over 200 visits in 48 hours is quite amazing. But then I don't think I've ever worked quite as hard to promote anything before. I want everyone in the world to read his story and take something away from it. 


Bailey escaped his haircut today, lucky boy.  Tomorrow he is doomed.  I'm in a flare brought on by the antibiotics they have me on, so didn't get a whole lot done. 


Ron came home from Walmart and was all excited because he happened to run into a Halloween costume that was a Ladybug... and he wanted me to see it so I could get it for our Ladybug of course. So I guess there's my first trip to Walmart in my near future. 


Went out to eat for the first time last night, ate at a Mexican place on 72nd Street... I think it was called Salgado's but I'm not sure... anyway, it was quite different and not bad at all.  During this phase of recovery it's really easier not to go out... the whole walker thing is very annoying to deal with.  Once I can do a cane, it's much easier to go places. 


I just finished an illusion necklace with a gorgeous picture Peruvian Opal pendant I've been saving for something special for years, and the stones were Goldstone, tiger's eye, Citrine, freshwater pearls, poppy jasper, carnelian, blue goldstone, (which is actually black), and black tourmaline.  I was doing leopard colors. Quite happy with how it  turned out, we'll see how it wears.  I crochet these necklaces out of tiny fishing line and this itty bitty crochet hook.  I have dexterity problems and eyesight problems - could I find anything more challenging? Somehow my hands have just learned to cooperate with doing it. It's weird that I can. 






Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today Was A Bit Better!

I've spent most of the last two days working through my grief over the loss of Harry Schnauzer by sharing his story everywhere I can on the web, through emails, etc.  It can never change what happened, but it can increase awareness and make rescuers think twice in some situations, perhaps... as I will. I really am gratified by the number of people visiting his web page, and I hope they will spread the link far and wide. The more people who read his story, the better.

I  have been working on an afghan for a few months now, and I'm finally ready to unveil pictures of it now that it is almost done. It's at that stage where you have to cover up with it as you work it, and it's so decadent it often puts me into a nap! That's why I'm calling it the "Decadent Indulgence Afghan." It is exactly that.  The roots of this project were formed three years ago, when I started the similarly decadent dog sweater project. I shopped for the yarns with the most soft, luxurious feel to them in color themes. One time I'd go shopping for browns, another time for purples, etc.  These were designed in stripes, so along with all the colors there would always be another couple of whites or creams tossed in.

Last year, I designed a hooded scarf with pockets, and I did it the same way - color themes with more whites and creams for stripes. I remember more than one time at JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby where I'd be on one of my yarn shopping adventures, and someone would come up to me and comment on how beautiful my cart looked with all the various gorgeous soft or sparkly yarns! That was so much fun.



Well, after all of these dog sweaters and scarves were made, I ended up with one big yarn stash - and enough of the whites and creams for an entire huge project of their own. In the photo, I'm almost to the end of it all!

 I started the lap afghan intending for it to be a vest for myself, but by the time several months had elapsed, I lost another size or two and the vest back was now too big.  Some of these yarns are impossible to frog (rip-it, rip-it).  So I added several more inches of rows running down the side of the piece, then resumed the vertical rows - and an afghan was born.  Here is the afghan on my "workstation" - a footstool at my desk where SueSue Schnauzer likes to "test drive" my work!



I'm so amazed at the quality and vast quantity of beautiful, soft yarns out there now! There are too many to list here, but they will all be listed on the afghan pattern when it's completed. What's my favorite? My very, very favorite of them all? Boy that's a tough one, but I think it would have to be Infatuation. It's a yarn from Hobby Lobby and it's soft and silky, yet a bit fuzzy, and it feels like magic in your hands. My second favorite is Pitter Patter, a Bernat baby yarn. It feels like thick terrycloth gone softer somehow. The third prize winner is Enchantress, a newer yarn from Hobby Lobby that has a great feel to it plus sequins! And you don't get to be "SheilaSparkles" without some sequins in your afghan, right?! The stitch is a simple Moss stitch, the yarn is the star here.



If I had the time, everyone on my Christmas gift list would get one of these in their favorite color. But I just realized, I could make a pillow cover instead... hmmm! A decadent nappie pillow, what's not to like!

I worked up the directions today for the Crochet Illusion Necklaces I have been making for over a year now. There are also instructions for a bracelet, and a bit of info about semi-precious gemstones. There's also a suggestion to go shopping in your own jewelry box and look for old pendants you no longer wear - you can give a whole new life to old pieces.

In between the afghan and the website work, I've been working on a little sewing project.  Over the last year I bought several Norma Kamali stretchy knit tunic tops while they were sold at WalMart, because I simply adore them.  Unfortunately all of her tops have these ginormously long sleeves. I'm assuming you should wear them all pushed up in folds or something, but I hate that! I like 3/4 sleeves. So the other day I started cutting off all the sleeves and hemming them to fit me. That in itself was rewarding. But I started tossing all the sleeves in a pile, thinking maybe I could make matching headbands to the tops. After removing the seams from a couple of sleeve remnants, I found there was enough fabric there to combine a bunch of them and make them into a camisole top - so that's what I'm going to do! They're in everything from red to leopard so it may be just a bit wild. If it turns out cute, I'll show you.

On the schnauzer front, everybody is actually well now! That is such a wonderful thing. No one else has come down with parasites after Koby, and he is all better now back to his moo-ing little self! Ladybug is completely better and regaining weight. Bailey doesn't know it yet, but he's getting a badly needed haircut tomorrow!

'Til then, -s

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Harry Didn't Have To Die Today.


Harry, happy and healthy, in better times with me. 

Harry was a 9 pound "toy" Miniature Schnauzer. He lived in my rescue, Sheila's Schnauzies, for six years. Last year, incredibly (I thought at the time) a lady in Liberty, Missouri wanted to adopt him as a companion for her other toy Miniature Schnauzer. Both dogs had issues with biting and snapping and she assured me Harry would be no problem to deal with, she was very used to that. Okay fine.

Apparently she was getting ready to leave on a vacation in early October and she contacted a local rescuer, telling her she needed to get rid of Harry THAT day.  Well, things don't usually happen quite that fast in rescue - foster homes and transport must be arranged, all kinds of things. Anyway she wasn't willing to deal with the rescuer's suggestions and tried to give Harry to a family with kids in Kansas. Well,  obviously that didn't end well. After 30 minutes the family called wanting to get rid of him. She picked him back up, and her next stop was apparently to the Liberty, MO animal shelter, where she dumped him on October 17.


Harry,  in a photo that was included with the email - obviously terrified, uncared for, and his tail down. He NEVER held his tail down. 


Fast forward to today.  Another rescuer who became aware of the situation did her job, putting the email word out about Harry. We frequently crosspost rescue dogs in hopes that someone, somewhere, could help them.  I received a frantic phone call from my volunteer, Sheryl, who lives in Iowa, just before lunchtime. She had received the email about Harry and immediately recognized him.

I hung up and called the Liberty animal shelter and had to leave a message. They called me back in about 30 minutes with some very sad news.  Harry had been euthanized just this morning. I missed saving his little life by a couple of hours. I was just absolutely sick with grief.  How could this have happened! We had an agreement with the adopter that if for any reason she didn't want Harry, she must contact us and we would take him back.

I managed to contact her by phone shortly after, and let her know Harry was dead.  She had absolutely no reaction, no remorse, no nothing. I asked her WHY she had not called us and her response was, "I wasn't gonna send him back to you guys." I asked her why in the world not, and her reply was "We don't need to discuss this - we aren't going to talk about this" and hung up on me. And that was that.

I have written so, so many times about the fact that there are two kinds of people where animals are concerned - those that view them as property, and those who view them as souls.  I am obviously from the latter category, and this adopter is obviously from the former. I just don't get it. She spoke to two different rescue groups, and had help offered; she had a contract agreement to contact me, and didn't; instead she chose to sentence him to death by dumping him at a high-kill public shelter.  She damn well knew better.

Nothing will ever help me get over this. All I can do is to learn a big freaking lesson from it - don't trust people where animals are concerned.  Or as Reagan said, "Trust - but verify."  Anyone who adopts a dog from me in the future will agree to a vet reference, a background check, employment verification, and who knows, maybe a credit check.  Hey, they have to be able to afford to maintain the dog and with this lady, it was apparently an issue. If she was leaving on vacation, and had the choice of boarding one dog or two... maybe finances were a factor, I don't know.

I can never thank the rescuers who got involved enough for their efforts.  Everybody tried, everybody pulled together to save him - I found out one of the KC rescuers actually had an adoption placement for Harry and they were going to pick him up today!! Sadly, we were all just a hair too late. Nobody's fault.

Right now I am beyond anger, somewhere in the land of rage... and when I am there, the best thing is for me to be quiet and calm down and get my focus back. So for the next few days I will be holing up and caring for my furkids, and trying to remember some happy moments with Harry.   But watch out - after that, there will be action.  As in legal, if I can raise the funds.  And definitely tightening up our adoption process and contracts.

Hug your furkid if you have one. Help a shelter pet if you don't. Do it in Harry's name, and I thank you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One Hour At A Time...

I told a good friend today, who is going through tough times of a different sort than mine, "These are the times that we can only survive one hour at a time.  Anything more than that, we'd never make it."  And I was not kidding, either.  It's hard to be in pain and have to do things that violate doctor's orders (like bending over and picking up a 20# sick dog). Or mop up one accident after another from the floor.  (Yes, it is possible to mop with a walker. One skill I'll be happy to forget just as soon as I can!)  BUT as long as you do no harm to yourself, and you survive whatever the situation was, it does give you a very large feeling of accomplishment.  (Or is that Superwoman Syndrome?) 


Weather here was pretty today but we did have our first official freeze. So know what I did today? I equipped my walker and took it down the 3 little front steps and watered my front gardens. I really enjoyed it. There was no one here. Well Cari was, but she left before I came back in. I had my phone. No mishaps other than I overturned my walker right after I went out and had to retrieve it... no biggie. At least I didn't go with it. Everything is SO dry here. I just couldn't stand it any longer. Now that it's frozen, we're supposed to have pretty weather for at least another week. I'm at the point I wish it'd just hard freeze and be done with it so I can quit worrying for the winter. They can't be too dry going into winter, stuff will die. 

I go to the doctor Monday afternoon for staple removal. Oh goodie, can't wait. Staples are absolute torture for me, especially after the last time when it went too many days. It hurt like a SOB.  Like, I was bawling. Anyway after the staples are out, the good part of healing starts, and I'll get better and better. I still am pinching myself that it's really done. 

Ladybug is so much better, improving and getting stronger every day!  Unfortunately Koby now has what she had, and is in very bad shape, in the not-eating phase.  I've spent the better part of the day feeding him a liquid food mixture with an eyedropper. At least he is accepting that, thank goodness.  

Who says you can't be post-op and care for two sick schnauzers? Check out this photo. I just had to snap it. Koby was a terrible mess when he woke up, and I had to give him a bath in the kitchen sink. Here he is post-bath, curled up on my walker, off to the living room to be dried on the footstool in front of my chair.   He is such a good boy.  You can make anything work if you have to! 


And here is Miss Ladybug, who thought it would be helpful if she sat on Koby's back to help dry him off! (Lucky she is very light!)




I'm gonna run now, time to feed the furboy again. I'm doing about every 90 minutes. I have to give him insulin at 2 am, then we are going to catch a nap.  Goodnight, world. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming....

I'm one very frustrated little person right now. I can say with absolute certainty that the one thing you do NOT want to do eight days after a hip replacement is break up a dog fight at 1:30 a.m. It is not a good idea, it will not end well, and there will be consequences. I was up being insomniac and decided to fix myself a cup of coffee. Then I decided to put the dogs all out for a quick last potty before bedtime. At the same time, Cari had just come in for the night and thankfully was still up. Not even half a minute after letting them out, I heard the fight break out. Not a fight, an outright attack. SueSue had decided to again attack poor tiny defenseless Ladybug, who is just getting a bit stronger after being very seriously ill.  This was the fourth such attack in the last two months. I thought for sure I had corrected the problem with Sue the last time, as it had been several weeks since the last attack. I guess not. It was just pure reaction, somehow I was out the back door onto the patio, pulled Sue off of Ladybug, put her in the back door, grabbed Ladybug, and then froze at the back door as I realized I didn't have my walker! Apparently I'd abandoned it in the kitchen when I flew into action. I managed to violate three major rules - no lifting, no bending, and no weight bearing - all within about 15 seconds. Nice.

Sue had to go into the kennel for the night and Cari brought Ladybug in to me to check out. It appears now she has some type of injury to her front little foot.

All this happened to begin with because I couldn't sleep. I woke up two hours after going to bed with my hip hurting. The actual incision started stinging and hurting this afternoon while I was out going to my neurologist appointment. Yes, it's red and ticked off on the whole lower third. Probably infected. I have to call the surgeon about that in the morning.

The good news from the neuro was that we can discontinue IVIG transfusions for a while and give my veins a rest. We are going to try some other treatments instead and see how they go.

I just finished my striped vest a few minutes ago. It looks too small to me. If it actually fits I'll probably faint. At any rate, I do like the design. Horizontal stripes in back and vertical in front. Pictures soon! All in grays/blacks/whites with sequins here and there.

Well, off to bed before anything else goes wrong! Night to the world.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wham!! But It's A Good Thing...

How did I manage to not write here for over two weeks? I've no idea... I do know I was somewhat frantically trying to get ready for surgery the 10th. Because the surgery was postponed four times, I kept telling everyone, "I'll believe it when I see it."  I was still saying that to myself when they gave me the happy drugs in pre-op! Even then, I was afraid I'd wake up and they'd tell me they had to cancel for some reason or other.  But no... it was done. I had everything in the house as ready as it could be - not for everyone while I was gone, but for ME when I came back! I remembered the last homecoming from hip surgery in March all too well! When I went in the bathroom to check out the new elevated toilet seat, it fell off to the left and I nearly crashed to the floor! One of the clamps had not been fastened. I remember nearly having a heart attack at the time.  That was the one really good thing about having the same surgery twice - I knew exactly what to expect and could avoid many of the mistakes from the first time. The last time, it was two days before I actually found a comfortable place where I could sleep. This time, I had the bed fixed up correctly and the covers turned down. I was ready. Here I am the night before the surgery, petrified, but hopeful.



The two things I was not prepared for were the pain and immobility. It's a lot like childbirth. You remember you were in pain - a lot of pain - the first time, but the physical memory of it fades somehow. I believe God planned it that way - otherwise there would be no second children! I knew that I would wake up hurting. I had discussed my special pain management situation (because I'm a chronic pain patient, things have to be done differently) with my surgeon. Everything was perfect. Except for the Hospitalist, that doctor who doesn't know you from Adam and decides to reinvent everything. This lovely doctor decided I did not need ANY pain meds - including my normally scheduled ones - unless I asked for them! I had an amazing nurse, Carol, who kept me "off the ledge" for several hours that first post-op night until the doctors could be bothered at home, orders revised, and drugs ordered for pain. In short, it was Hell.

And that is the "Wham." You go from survival-in-constant-pain mode, which is one thing... and postop hip replacement, which is "back to square one" in an instant.  The next morning, things were better. From the last time, I knew that I would have to stand up, walk to the bathroom with my walker, and take a shower sitting down.  Did that. Dressed in a shorts outfit (required attire at "Joint Camp").  Soon it was time for lunch, a picnic affair served by volunteers. At Joint Camp, every patient is on virtually the same schedule. Everyone gets operated on Monday. Everyone stands up Tuesday morning and gets their IV out (unless there's an issue, like me). Everyone goes to lunch together. Everyone goes to PT together. It's a well-oiled machine and brilliant in its efficiency and simplicity, in my opinion.  After lunch, back to the room for a quick nap. Then it was time for PT, back in the same room we had lunch in. After another quick nap, 6 pm and time for dinner. After dinner we could enjoy our only real free time of the day.

Wednesday is a big working day. Lots of PT and another picnic lunch with a different menu.  On that day, those patients who hadn't been through it before learned how to climb stairs, how to step in and out of a shower stall or bathtub, and how to get in and out of a car.  They have a car simulator right there that you actually climb in and out of! After afternoon PT and nap, it was time for gourmet dinner - this time with a guest  (We made our meal selections well ahead of time).

On Thursday morning, physical ability tests are passed (or not) and decisions are made. In order to go home, one has to be able to get in and out of the car, climb the same number of stairs one has at home, do the bathtub thing, walk 50 feet with the walker, get up and down unassisted from the chair, and dress oneself head to toe including shoes with no assistance.  If a person can't do any of those things, s/he is sent to a rehab unit where they stay until they can care for themselves. I went home.

At home, more drama awaited.  My Miniature Schnauzer, Ladybug, had gotten desperately ill the Thursday before. She was dehydrated, had ear infection and two types of worms. I gave her all the medications and nursed her through the weekend, but on Monday morning at 0600 I had to be out the door.  My daughter Cari took over Lady's care at that point, and did a damn fine job of it. She took her back for her follow-up appointment at the vet, and at that point she was still refusing any food. They gave her another medication to encourage her to eat and a prescription for special recovery food. When I arrived home Thursday afternoon, she had just eaten for the first time - a hard boiled egg. I knew the worms had to be dead by then, so it had to be the ears. My son John's girlfriend Janette and our friend Heidi both came over to spend the evening, so I got one of them to hand Lady to me so I could work on her ears. I pulled hair until her ears were spotless. Or hairless:) Then I put in the antibiotic drops, and spent the rest of the night feeding her eyedroppers of Pedialyte. I did take a nap on the couch for a couple of hours but was too uncomfortable (and worried) to sleep much.



On Friday morning, I managed to cook her some hard boiled eggs and she ate those with relish. She was starting to turn the corner. We stayed with the eardrops and warm packs to the ears and just nested for the day in what I call "survival mode." I crocheted, worked on websites, went from one activity to another as I felt like it. Lady was drinking huge amounts of water and, unable to hold it, making huge puddles everywhere. (If anyone ever asks you, it IS actually possible to mop while walking on a walker with an IV in your arm. Just don't ever tell anyone - they'll expect you to do it!)

That day, we had the big breakthrough.  I opened the can of prescription food Cari had bought and here comes Lady from the living room, investigating the great smell. I put the tiny dog, who by now weighed less than 7 pounds, in the kitchen sink with the open can of food. She went crazy! Devoured every single bite.  Later on I made her two eggs and she ate almost an entire carton of yogurt. She was hungry!!  That afternoon the nurse came to do a transfusion at home, and sadly she was unable to use the IV we had left in from the hospital. Luckily though the new line only took two attempts and the whole thing ran like a charm.  (The Thursday before, it took eight hours, four nurses and seven IV starts to get it done).

On Saturday morning, Ron helped me get out onto the patio and stayed there (to supervise all the dogs around me) for about 20 minutes. It was wonderful to be outside and the weather was gorgeous.  On Sunday morning, she started wanting to go outside with the other furkids. Fabulous! She still made a few puddles today (Monday) but nothing like she had been. Thank God, because I was so worried about her possibly having become diabetic. She has definitely improved 100% and barring any complications, all we have to worry about is getting the weight back on her.

When the family started arriving home around 5, I managed to shower and get clean clothes on which was heaven - always is. Tossed my wet hair into braids and got comfy for another long night - which it was.

I still can't believe the surgery actually happened. There were so many things that could have gone wrong. But this time they didn't, and I am so grateful! I got through the surgery with zero complications. I know from experience that every single day (unless I overdo it) I will feel a tiny bit better and get a tiny bit stronger. I know I'll have a lot of awkward helpless moments but at least this time I'll know in advance that the ridey-cart will NOT clear the "handicapped" restroom at the 72nd Street Walmart!  Basically, all I have to do is work hard, not work TOO hard, try to eat, (I don't want to) and keep a really good attitude - if I do all that, I will be rewarded by a leg I can actually stand on without a knife sticking up my groin and another one stabbing me in the knee (that's where hip pain refers to). I'll be back to the good-old-days where all I had to deal with was failed back surgeries, back pain, stiffness, being  half blind in one eye, having a neuromuscular disease that makes me have to have frequent transfusions, a clotting disorder that can wreak dire havoc in any part of my body, and arthritis that could decide to attack another joint any time it wants.  Whew! I say all that tongue-in-cheek... although it's true, I don't CARE.  I'll deal with it. The right hip started giving me problems over 10 years ago. The left hip showed its ugly head with cruel timing, just as the right hip started to feel a lot better after the first surgery. SO not fair.  Point being, I've endured a lot. I'll continue to endure a lot... but it's one less VERY huge thing.  And right now, that's hope. And hope is everything.




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