Friday, January 30, 2009


Patsy here. Greg did the photos for me but I'm writing my first full blog post in awhile.

It has been an eventful day. I was in a-fib much of the day, off and on. The most enlightening thing was that I didn't realize it at least once when I was in it. But Sara, my nurse, was exceptional about checking on it today. I really, really like her.

In the background, notice the basket of beautiful yellow flowers. Mark sent those. He's been sending me flowers every day and that was today's entry. Do I have the best friends, or what?

So far, I like everyone I've come into contact with here. The reason the deal about me not recognizing the a-fib is significant is that it can be dangerous over the long haul if it's happening a lot. I thought I always knew when mine was happening but the telemetry lab tells another story. So, after consultation with a cardiologist who has seen me a couple of times since I've been here, she and my surgeon agreed it would be ideal for me to stay a couple of extra days while they put me on a medication that has to be monitored in a hospital setting, to address the a-fib on an ongoing basis.

I jumped at the chance to do that because it does affect my life when, at times, I just can't do anything but wait for it to pass. My heart always converts but if I can take a pill that just addresses the issue that would be fabulous. So, I started that tonight and we'll hope for the best in the morning and see where we're at. I'm hopeful this pill will do the trick and the a-fib will no longer be a factor in my life.

My patient care tech today was Hemma. It's the first time I'd been with her and she's a jewel, too. Her name is Austrian, by the way. Of course, you know me, I asked. Her parents are from Austria and gave their kids traditional Austrian names. She's a real sweetie.

I am continually struck by the superior care I'm receiving here. Everyone seems to go the extra mile for the patients and this patient appreciates it.

I was sharing that tonight with Staci, who was my nurse last night, too. But tonight I realized she was the charge nurse. I'm not sure exactly what that means except that she's in charge of some things. I'm not a medical person, you know.

Late this afternoon I was having some pain in my left leg. Because of the a-fib and surgery there was a concern about clotting so they sent me down for an ultrasound that came back negative so all is well in that department. Greg couldn't resist a photo of me with the morphine pump in hand.

And, bear in mind, if this isn't the most eloquent, or understandable, writing you've read on my blog, that I'm a person with a morphine pump. And I'm using it.
Patsy here. I am feeling much better today. My bowels are still not fully functional which is not unusual with female surgeries. That is probably why my stomach was so upset yesterday. But I have eaten a little bit today with no ill effects so that's a good sign. I have been having more a-fib problems so the cardiologist is talking to the surgeon about trying a medication that would completely control the a-fib but it would require monitoring the effects in the hospital for 2-3 days. I think this is a great idea so I am hoping it all works out.

(sent from mobile device so please forgive brevity and typos)

Thursday Pictures

After Patsy finally settled into a deep sleep Wednesday night I went exploring and found there was a 1947 chapel literally hidden in the center of Via Christi, having been surrounded and dwarfed on all sides by subsequent expansions.

It's called the Chapel of the Sorrowful Mother. Do you feel guilty just reading that name? I almost do, and I'm not even Catholic.

It was locked when I took this picture at 3 AM, but it's amazing what you can see through a crack in the door. I have since been able to enter and will post pictures on thelope when I get the time.

Dawn painted the walls of Via Christi Thursday morning. I went over to the motel for five hours of sleep at about 10AM. Sharon and I seem to have settled into a routine; I sleep a few hours in the late morning to mid-afternoon and she sleeps from about 11 PM to 6 AM.

Patsy's friend Barbara Robinson (left) stopped by and brought her friend Mary Bruce. Patsy shot this picture, her first since arriving here. It was a slow day for visitors, which was just as well because she was nauseous most of the day - not exactly a great social mode.

She got better in the late evening and walked the halls quite a bit. At about 2AM Friday she ate some apple sauce with no ill effects. She woke up a couple times during the night and we go out for "walkies. It's 4:15 AM now and she's watching TV - catching up on what Obama has been up to. She's more "herself" - a cautious sign that today's dawn will bring a better day.


patsy here. Greg and I have been out to walk a bit in the halls. I can't tell you how impressed with the care at Via Christi. everyone on staff seems to truly care. We've run into no one that's jaded. Very cool.

(sent from mobile device so please forgive brevity and typos)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Patsy update

this is Patsy... It has been a rough day. I've been nauseated all day and had horrible heartburn. It has been a rough day but I'm feeling somewhat better tonight. I hope its over and I'm on the mend. They tell me this is very common with female surgery. I guess I didn't escape it.

(sent from mobile device so please forgive brevity and typos)

Pictures from Wednesday

This is Greg, again. Of course, the big news was that Patsy's tumor was benign, but other stuff happened yesterday, including some visitors.

Patsy's anesthesiologist, Dr. Eilert, dropped by soon after Dr Holbelt left.

The cafeteria at Via Christi actually supplies respectable eats at about 2/3 the price such dishes would cost in a typical restaurant. This is part of the dining area.

Sharon wore a blue velour shirt that makes her look much like a costume from the first or second pilot shows of Star Trek.

Belinda was Patsy's patient care tech.

A statue of St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253) stands by a window on the 8th floor near Patsy's room. St Clare is the patron saint of television. Her bones are on display at her shrine in Santa Chiara, Italy. Note the train in the background.

(Note added by Greg on 2-7-09: St Clare was an inspiration to Mother Frances Streitel, who founded the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, who in turn, according to the Via Cristi website, took charge of St Francis Hospital in the late 19th century. St Francis later became part of the Via Christi system.)

Although Via Christi as a whole is architecturally too new-ish for me, there is a bit of older character in this doorway near the northwest corner. It is part of a late 1920s addition made to St Francis Hospital.

This is another detail from the 1920s building.

I arrived back at the hospital to find Jocelyn Woodson, who visited for several hours. Patsy and I helped her with some website difficulties.

Diana Heim-Johnson stopped in.

Patsy takes one of her first "walks around the block" with student nurse Dorcas assisting. Patsy tells me Dorcas is from Kenya and has lived in Wichita about four years now.

Martha Slater-Ferrell showed up later in the afternoon bearing flowers and a candy-carrying Woodstock sent by "CHICKS", a small group of Hutchinson women that Martha and Patsy are a part of. I don't know what CHICKS does, but I suspect them to be part of a shadowy underground city government, manipulating local politics with subtle machinations which...Oh..uh. Forget what I said about CHICKS. Nothing to see here. Move on.

Christy, an RN, gave Patsy a shot of heparin, a blood thinner. The flowers are from Mark Reddig.

Patsy was on her cell phone as the shot was given. For some reason that struck me as funny. She told me later she was talking to her great nephew, Bobby Clark. She assumed he was calling because he had gotten the message the tumor was benign, but he hadn't heard yet. When Patsy went to call her family she couldn't reach anyone because Kentucky is iced in. No one has any power there. She reached her nephew, Jackie, on his cell phone, and let him dispense the news on that end. A short while later she heard from BC and assumed that was why. How cool that it was just happenstance he called that night.

In the evening, the good news about the tumor being benign arrived.

What was supposed to be a relaxed night of savoring the news turned rather active. Late Wednesday night, Patsy's atrial fibrillation acted up. Dr Horbelt had advised her to tell someone if the A-fib acted up as it could lead to a clot.

After messages were passed between various medical personel, including Dr Dory (above), she was tested for pulmonary embolism via a CT scan and was found to have none. At about 2 AM she was settled back in her room.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Greg here. The word just arrived from Dr Horbelt. The lab results came in early. Patsy's tumor was benign.

Was there ever a more beautiful word than "benign"? Nope. Not today. Not for all of us.

"Benign." There; I said it aloud just to hear it.

Patsy update 2/3/2009: This is the first time Ace has ever smiled. I'm flattered.

Wednesday Morning

Greg here, I made sure to arrive at Patsy's room in time to catch her surgeon, Dr Horbelt, making his 6 AM rounds. He got here around 7.

He's a jovial guy and seems to really put her at ease.

There was really no new information but it was the first time Patsy had gotten to talk to him, post-surgery. He went over the same stuff he told me yesterday - that her tumor was a "tumor of low malignant potential" - not cancer and not necessarily benign. He said it is "low suspicion". This is an improvement over the "highly suspicious" status the radiologist had given it.

I asked him about the size of the tumor, as most of the estimates of its size we've heard have been related to sports equipment or fruit. Dr Horbelt says he prefers sports equipment comparisons because such things are standardized. "If you say orange, how do you know you didn't get a wienie orange" he had previously said. To satisfy me, he gave a number - 16 centimeters - not bragging size, he added.

I still want clarification, especially as to how something that isn't cancer can have even a slim chance of being malignant, but he doesn't speculate and says to wait for the results. He reminded us that the pathology report would be in Thursday or Friday and at that point he'll be able to go into greater detail.

He removed her bandage, checked her over and told her to get up and sit in a chair today and to try drinking some fluids if she likes (she can even have pop as long as it's flat). Her incision looks neatly done and stapled.

I hope to return you to your regularly scheduled Patsy later today. She is hitting the morphine pump button less often and is more normal all the time.
Patsy again. Greg just arrived. I'm glaf I insisted he go sleep becaude I've hardly slept at all. Nothings wrong. I'm not in pain.i just wasn't sleeping. I'm feeling ok. Little nauseaus but I think that's jsut drugs with no food or water.

(sent from mobile device so please forgive brevity and typos)

This is Patsy. I insisted Greg and Sharon go get some sleep in real beds. The staff here is so good I feel comfortable being by myself even though I can't get up. I've got the call botton and the phone as a backup. I am so thankful for everyones comments and emails. Your prayers have meant do much. I've tried to be accepting of the situation and I have been very comforted by the power of prayer. Thanks.

(sent from mobile device so please forgive brevity and typos)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Moved to Room 8042

Patsy has been moved to a private room, 8042. Here, Katie, an RN, helps move Patsy, who carries a balloon and a gift bag from Ann, who has headed back to Hutchinson.

Room 8058

Patsy is intermittently awake in room 8058, a shared room, though she is on the list for a private a room.

She has been fairly lucid - even showing a bit of her sense of humor at times - though the morphine tends to put her to sleep.

After a day of being a supportive trooper, Sharon has left to sleep at a motel for awhile and will relieve me at about 9 PM so I can sleep and be up at 6 AM when the surgeon comes by. Hopefully, by 9 tonight Patsy will have a private room and I'll be able to sleep on a cot. They won't let me stay in the shared room past visiting hours because I'm a male and the other occupant is female.

I am told that Patsy may or may not remember anything that happens today, so I'm trying to leave her a record of the better things about this day, and to think like Patsy while doing so (i.e. photographing people instead of buildings.)

So, I shot pictures of Ann, who visited her from Hutchinson today. Ann is a nurse at Promise Regional Medical Center, which will probably always be called by its former name of Hutchinson Hospital by locals.

Ann was quite a help in that she brought useful stuff like lip balm and made suggestions the nurses followed like putting a bubble thingie for comforting humidity on the oxygen line they are using on Patsy to help work the anesthetic out of her system, and adjusting the bed so Patsy's tummy muscles felt better.

As much as a "document everything" nut as I am, I haven't taken any pictures of Patsy after surgery because...

A. It would not be her at her sparkling best.

B. I don't doubt that even though has more tubes and wires hooked to her than a Star Trek Borg, she could reach out and strangle me with said tubage.

So far, I am impressed with Via Christi. The staff have been polite and personable while staying focused on their tasks. It feels very professional here - like the people actually enjoy their jobs. Nobody has been dismissive of Patsy's post-operative pain.

We chatted awhile with Alyce (right), a Nurse Care Manager and Dorcas, a nursing student.

Also, the place doesn't smell like a hospital. It's a teaching hospital and students are everywhere. As I write this, a student nurse is conversing with the other patient about looking forward to her career. So far, so good.

Much to my surprise, Patsy asked to have her picture taken with Ace. She's getting perkier when she's awake. She says it's because she's watching the clock and knows to hit the morphine button every 15 minutes (its minimum allowed interval).

Thank you for all your comments so far, I read some to Patsy and will respond to a couple questions from comments in the previous post as I am able.

Not Cancer - Tumor of Low Malignant Potential

Patsy's surgery is finished. Her surgeon, Dr Douglas Horbelt, just spoke with me. He says that Patsy's tumor is not cancer but neither is it definitely benign.

He called it a "tumor of low malignant potential" and described this as being in a gray area between benign and malignant. He did say it was entirely removed, along with the hysterectomy. They also took her appendix and some of her omentum.

As to the whether the fact of this tumor having been in her has any negative implications for her future, he said he could not answer until the pathology report on the tumor comes back on Thursday or Friday. He said it would be sectioned like a loaf of bread and studied.

I wish I had a more definite answer for all of us, but that's all we know for now except that she is expected to be in recovery for about three hours and should be released Friday or Saturday.

A quick google reveals articles from The National Cancer Institute and The Library of Cancer as well as a smattering of other information. Despite the sources of the articles I cite, I should stress again that he said it was not cancer.

Clearly, we'll have many questions later in the week when the pathology report comes back. I hope for a more black and white answer then.

9:30 Report

The waiting room attendent took a call from the surgery area which reported that Patsy is doing fine - no other information, though. Her surgery continues.

Surgery has Begun

Patsy's surgery began at 7:52, according to the Via Christi surgery waiting room employee.

Getting There and Waiting

Hi there, this is Greg.

After paperwork and a few tests, Patsy was taken to be prepped for surgery at 6:45. She was in good spirits, as she almost always is.

I'll update all of you as new information is available. It'll be awhile, though. The operation probably won't start until about 8AM and in a best case scenario she'll be out in about 3 1/2 hours - that'll be 11:30. If there are updates before then, I'll jump online and tell you.

In the meantime, have some pictures from Patsy's night and morning.

As Patsy noted, it took us one hour and forty-five minutes to drive the usual hour-long trip to Wichita; this is the view just outside the city. We had snow and freezing drizzle at just the right temperature to freeze on the windshield wipers, which we had to stop so I could de-ice. This wasn't a bad thing, as the attention-intensive drive helped keep our minds off the reason for the trip.

Sharon followed us down. It was reassuring to see her headlights following in the distance. When Patsy saw Sharon's truck drive up as we prepared to leave this morning at 3:45, she said she'd never forget her for that.

A pleasant phlebotomist gave Patsy a green band to match a red one she'd been given earlier - very fitting for a Christmas maven.

The hospital bed was delivered and set up yesterday in Patsy's dining room. Last night she practiced ringing her thrift store bell for attention. I noted its fragility; she noted that she has two metal back-ups.

Again, I'll update this when there is any news at all. Thank you so much for your prayers and positive energy.

I'm in

I'm checked in and in radiology waiting for a chest xray. It took about one hour and forty five minutes to get here in the snow and ice. That's about twice the normal time. But we arrived safely. Sharon followed us over. That woman is a jewel. She will wait with Greg today.

(sent from mobile device so please forgive brevity and typos)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Surgery Details

Greg and I leave for Wichita in the wee hours of the morning. My surgery is set for 7:30 a.m. We are supposed to be at Via Christi/St. Francis at 5:30. We have some snow on the ground, and possibly freezing rain in Wichita, so we're leaving plenty of time to make our way to the hospital near downtown. I'm hoping for the best, and am mindful this may be a blessing in disguise. I appreciate everyone's good thoughts and prayers.

Greg will be updating my blog at each time he hears something during surgery. If you read my blog elsewhere, pop over there to get the updates. I'm not asking him to update anything other than that one blog.

When I check in I'm going to ask them to give information about my condition to anyone who calls. I'm not sure if they will do that or not, but I'm going to ask. So, if you want an update, hopefully you'll be able to get it that way. Otherwise, you can call my cell phone or Greg's cell phone. He will have my phone during surgery. Feel free to call for updates, or just check the blog.

I'm not sure when I'll be checking email or blog messages again. But you can send me a note through the hospital's system by going to Thanks so much for your good thoughts and prayers.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

A First Hand Look at the Inauguration by Miles Tossie

Miles Tossie is a high school senior from Hutchinson who attended the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama. I prevailed upon him to share some of photos and experiences with us at the blog. I just loved this young man's eloquent account. Thank you, Miles! Here it is:

An Inauguration Experience
by Miles Tossie

The election of Barack Obama means a lot to me personally. Being biracial myself I understand how big this moment was. As someone who would have voted for him had I been 18, this was a truly special event for me, and it was made even better by the fact that I could be there.

I arrived in D.C. on the Tuesday before the inauguration and from that moment I could tell that there was a feeling of excitement in the air. It didn't matter who you were, people treated you like they had known you all their lives. Everywhere you looked people had smiles on their faces. Everyone wanted a piece of history and many people were wearing clothing with Obama's name or face on it.

All of this excitement grew and grew until the 20th came and it was truly palpable. There are very few events that can get people up at 1 or 2 in the morning to stand in the freezing cold for 10 hours for an hour long ceremony. There are even less than can get 2 million people on D.C.'s National Mall, 90% of who knew going in that they may never see him as more than a dot in the distance. But for an event this historic, for a man this inspirational, I know for a fact that all of us who were there would have waited for twice as long in twice as cold a temperature. That was how much we wanted to be a part of history. It was a life changing experience that I will never forget.

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The Days Grow Short

The days before surgery grow short. Tuesday morning will arrive very soon and there are still some things I want to get done before then. But at the same time, I need to keep some feeling of normal life.

Greg and I went to Roy's for lunch. Today was my last chance to have Roy's for awhile. I'm just guessing barbecue is not going to be one of the things suggested for me immediately after surgery. I could be wrong, but it's just a hunch.

After Roy's we went over to Sharon's house. She had some computer questions and I was able to help her with most of them. It felt really good to share some tidbits I've learned that are helpful for her, too.

I've been working in the house, getting things set up. They deliver the hospital bed on Monday and I wanted to get things ready for that, including putting a rug down to set it on. We must protect the hardwood floors, of course.

Getting the bed turned into a hassle. I wanted it delivered Monday, so I could disinfect it and make it up before I go to the hospital. I'm thinking as soon as I get home from the hospital I'm going to want to lie down.

They told me I couldn't get it until I was being discharged. Of course, I don't know when that will be. Somehow I'm supposed to magically be here to let them into my house while I'm being discharged from a hospital an hour away. Duh. I asked Barbara if she would come and let them in and she said absolutely.

Of course, this is all far more complex than it needs to be - a day is a month for rental so the number of days didn't matter - but they said insurance wouldn't pay for it while I was in the hospital.

We asked what if I was being discharged on Sunday. Well, in that case they'd probably deliver it on Saturday and date it for Sunday. Translation: Lying isn't really a problem - we're happy to do that for OUR convenience, but not yours. I just wanted to scream, "Hey, people, I've got some major things going on here... do you just HAVE to make it more complex than it already is? Do you just WANT to make it harder?" Apparently so. Because if you can lie about the date, then it doesn't really matter what you write down and you could deliver it whenever I'd like it done and just write down whatever you need for the system.

Bear in mind, I wasn't asking for any reduction on the cost at all. I'm happy to pay for it to sit idle while I'm in the hospital. I just wanted it taken care of before I left. Simple. Or so you would think.

Of course, I'm only the patient, and therefore have no real rights, so I just left feeling abused by the system. Then, the next morning, they call and tell me my insurance doesn't care - they can deliver it Monday. So, all that was just a little bit of sick fun they like to have with people who are going through difficulty already.

I'm being facetious, of course, but it did feel unnecessarily difficult and unreasonable. Imagine something involving the insurance industry seeming unreasonable. Shocker. Although, in fairness, the insurance didn't care ultimately. And, I'm sure the store was just trying to protect me. But what kind of tale does that make? A dull one.

Tonight I've just been working on more things around the house, and appreciating these little bits of life I'll be away from while I'm in the hospital. As least I'm assuming there will be no Wedgewood Teacups or hand-crocheted bits of lace lying about amidst the tubes and bandages and call buttons.

I'm just hoping there are lots of drugs coursing through my system. My dream is to spend the days after surgery in a drug-induced haze. That was my goal when I had surgery about 20 years ago, but it did not happen. I was in a lot of pain for a very long time.

To add insult to injury the first nurse I had after waking up then was wearing a "Just Say No to Drugs" button on her white uniform. I've never forgiven Nancy Reagan for spearheading that campaign, which was at its zenith. I swear if I had had the energy I would have ripped that button off her uniform and thrown it across the room, which would have been far kinder than stabbing her with it, which I also fantasized about repeatedly. She wasn't a very nice person. Or maybe my perception was colored by the pain and her reluctance to give me the prescribed pain medication.

In my weakened state, she was more than safe, a fact which did not escape her. This was the same woman who the next day bounded into my room and asked, "And how are WE this morning?"  I had been splayed open and was in no mood for such foolish questions, much less phrased in such a patronizing manner. Then, right there, as she bent over me, was that darned button, glaring red on her white uniform.

I was having trouble processing the words she was speaking, but they seemed to be forming the question, "Are WE ready to get up." I just looked at her as if she had lapsed into latin, a language I had no knowledge of. She took my lack of response as a personal affront and leaned over and said, "Honey, you're going to get up. We can do it the easy way, or we can do it the hard way, but you're going to get up. It'll hurt less if you help me and we do it the easy way." What choice does a person with stitches and tape holding them together have?

No matter what she was doing the next four days, that button was ever-present. And every time I saw her I asked for more drugs. We had a rocky relationship at best, and I had a distinct disadvantage - she had the drugs and the button. I had nothing but charm on my side and, admittedly, I was pretty weak on that without mass quantities of drugs.

I hope she doesn't now work at this hospital.

Maybe pain control has improved dramatically in the intervening years. I can only hope. They tell me I'll have a pump for drugs, but I hope they allow me to have enough to actually relieve the pain. I have a low pain threshold and even though I'm very sensitive to medication, it never seems to be quite enough to kill the pain. So, I'm just hoping, hoping, hoping they actually keep me comfortable. And if not I guess I'll just manage.
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Meetings, McPherson and Christmas

My day started with a meeting this morning about an idea I have that I'm trying to get others on board with. I think it would be really cool for our community. We'll see how it develops - if it does. At the very least, I think I saved some trouble for a friend who was going to be in a position of having an aspect of her job take far more time than was expected. If it goes anywhere, I'll have more to say. If not, I'll just chalk it up to a learning experience. Life is full of those, it seems.

I got to have lunch with Trish today, and hear all about her trip to the inauguration. It was amazing, incredible, and every other adjective you might imagine. She also brought me the coolest present from DC - an Obama Ornament. It says "Yes We Can" at the top, "President Obama" at the bottom and has "Jan. 20, 2009" off to the side. Sorry the photo isn't better, but I haven't taken it out of the plastic yet.

I may have to do a whole tree around this ornament next year. Maybe a white tree with red and blue ornaments and some flags and maybe some stars, with this as the centerpiece. We'll see. I might also just add it to the main tree. It's such a cool thing and the PERFECT present for me. I have such great friends.

Tonight Greg and I went up to McPherson, about 30 miles from here. The Buttonhole, this great fabric store, is going out of business and has everything on sale. I've always loved this store - more than 12,000 bolts of fabric. Even though I'm not a quilter, I liked to drop in and look at the material. They cite the economy as the reason they're closing. It's a pity. And it's going to leave a big hole in downtown McPherson.

I bought some cool batik fabric I thought would make a great summer dress. Now, whether or not I'll actually get that done is another question. But, it would make a great summer dress. Greg picked up some fabric for Ace.

Afterwards, we went to the Main Street Deli, one of our favorite spots there. They have great sandwiches and soups. We sat there and talked for quite a while and played with the camera.

In light of all this medical news the last couple of weeks, Greg and I are both feeling a need to "circle the wagons." We've spent a lot of time together doing nothing in particular, just hanging out. Neither of us can explain why we feel this need, but we're both feeling it. I think maybe it's just because we're so focused on the medical stuff.

And, it's not exactly pleasant conversation so I've been hesitant to discuss it with people too much in person. Here people can read it or skip it. That's harder to do when someone is holding you captive in person. So, I'm trying to not be the person making everyone wish they could gracefully get away.

When we came out of the deli in McPherson it was snowing. It looked like it might really amount to something so although we had planned a trip to Walmart to see what they had left in their Christmas section we aborted that plan and headed back to Hutchinson.

When we were going through Inman we couldn't help but notice this...

It's strung between two phone poles, with every light lit up, so it must be a new addition to the landscape. Maybe it's someone who's happy about the election or maybe it's someone who's just feeling patriotic. Regardless of the reason, I pulled over and Greg hopped out to take this photo with the grain elevator in the background.

When we were approaching Hutchinson I pulled into Walmart to grab some AAA batteries for a little book light I bought yesterday, and some gatorade. An hour later, this is what my cart looked like.

They had their remaining Christmas stuff 75% to 90% off. I got some ornaments to go on the blue, white and silver tree. And some lights and some other things.

I would like to state for the record, that I did remember to get the batteries and gatorade.

I'm going to spend the weekend doing last minute things around the house that I want done before surgery, and getting everything ready. Monday will be a day of preparations and of course Tuesday morning I go into the hospital. Frankly, I'm amazed at how calm I am about it. One of my first prayers about the situation was to have peace about it, and it seems that has been granted. I have been working hard during the day and sleeping soundly at night.  I'm still very optimistic, but I will be thrilled to hear the word "benign."
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Friday, January 23, 2009

The Handwork of Vintage Potholders

Vintage potholders are one of the things I'm always hunting for when I go to thrift or antique stores. I've gathered most of these around here. One of the joys of living in this area is that many, many, many of the older ladies around here still do handwork. These potholders are generally in pretty decent condition. I think they were more decoration than hard-working tools.

I love going to the MCC sale every year, and always find some treasures when I do. There is still real quilting happening here - by hand - too. Knitting, crocheting and embroidery can all be spotted and I love that. When a society forgets how to make things something significant is lost.

I love it that ladies here still know how to take some crochet thread and a needle and make something as colorful and charming as these. I long for the days when newspapers and magazines carried patterns for these little jewels. Truth be told, I'm not likely to make any myself - although I have bought some old patterns, and recently picked up some old metal crochet hooks - but I absolutely love the idea that this creation is still happening.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why We Read Blogs

I've been thinking a lot lately about why we read blogs. It's an interesting question, really.

We've been reading journals for centuries, and I think the reasons today remain the same - we want to see how people live. I can't think of a single blog that's successful that doesn't offer a glimpse into someone's life. We want to see how others live and blogs are a modern version of how to do that.

I'm continually flattered and amazed that people share my daily life through this medium. I love to get emails from readers and get a peek into their lives, too. I feel a real connection to some folks I've had repeated contact with through comments or email. I was touched to receive a card from a reader today wishing me well with surgery.

This curiosity we have about our fellow humans must be satisfied, it seems. And blogs capture a moment in time unlike anything else I can think of. It's quite extraordinary when you think about it - thousands of people are giving us a snapshot of life in this time every day. Of course, I'm sure you've discovered just as I have, that some of those word pictures are easier to take in than others.

Ultimately, I think blogs have to have a personality, and it's generally the personality of the author. We get to know people, where they live, their families and friends, and how they live all through the few words they share with us.

I'm still mulling this over. Your thoughts are most welcome.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The President Can Dance

The President Can Dance. In time to the music. Old school or not.

It's not that I care so much if the president could do a guest shot on Dancing with the Stars. I just want someone who has enough joy in their soul that they can dance. That they want to dance. That they look comfortable dancing. That "fits" with their spouse and seems to enjoy being close to said spouse. That is young and vigorous enough they want to go to ten different balls, ending the day around 3 a.m. they say, and yet be in the office before 8 a.m.

Sharon invited us over to her house to watch the inauguration and then have lunch. That's our lovely hostess there, with another friend, Mike.

I didn't think I'd be able to stay very long because I had a lot of work to do today to prepare for an MHA meeting tonight. But, I was so excited I couldn't sleep last night so I kept working until about 4:30 this morning and got it done then. I went upstairs but was still awake after 5 a.m. Then I got up about 8 a.m. to start watching the coverage. When Obama and Bush got in the car to leave the White House, we got in the car to go to Sharon's.

At one point I texted Trish, who was there, and said, "Hey, wave at me, I can't find you in the crowd." I thought it was funny. She might have been less amused, having been in the sea of millions since the wee hours of the morning. I haven't heard back from her yet, which may well mean she didn't see the humor in it. Or her fingers were too frozen to use the keys on her phone. However, she got to witness history up close and I'm sure that was incredible.

A few people have asked what my favorite part of the day was. It was 12:00:00 when Obama officially became the 44th President of the United States.

Diana and I couldn't take our eyes off the screen during his speech. Tate was slightly less interested.

This historic day has been filled with a series of memorable moments. I expected to be in tears again, like I was the night of the election, but today I was just happy. Happy, happy, happy to have Obama finally become president.

It was a great day...

Greg had fire....

Jocelyn popped over briefly... also happy...

and even Tate enjoyed himself...

The food was great...
The company was fabulous...
and The Moment was historic.

It truly is a New Day. To quote, "I woke up this morning feeling brand new. All the dreams that I been dreaming has finally come true. It's a New Day." My guess is I'll feel that even more intensely tomorrow. But for tonight I'm putting head to pillow feeling proud to have Barack Hussein Obama as my President.
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