"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Only Twenty Six More Days Till Christmas

Oh thank goodness our half of the state had only rain.  My sister's half had ice and are without power.     Going to mingle with the throngs of Christmas shoppers today.  Wish me luck!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Twas The Day Before Thanksgiving


when all through the house not a creature was stirring except for a [SNAKE?]

Let me just cut to the chase.  The universe was conspiring to kill me.  

Went about the business of readying the city house for the family holiday and our first Thanksgiving here.  My new baby blue modern love seat arrived at the store and I went to get it in my pick up truck (free shipping that way.)  My son went with me, we loaded it up and took it home.  Just a huge box and the love seat.  No padding or protection of any kind: a thin cardboard box and love seat???  Unbelievable. This love seat is a piece of crap and made in China.  It looks good, but the quality is poor.  It has a  raw, ragged 1/4 inch edge of fabric that they then stapled to the couch.  No, they couldn't roll the hem over a couple of times before they stapled it, and I fear it will shred or pull out before too long. We had to pull back the underside to find the legs and the woodwork looks like pieces of particle board, not long pieces of hardwood. And, this wasn't a cheap love seat.  I'd have paid $250. for it but not the amount I did pay.  So, I'll have to box it up and return it myself.  Only problem is, there is a howling wind and deluge outside and will be for the next several days.  Who gets 9 inches of rain this time of year without a tropical storm?  High is near freezing today and possible icing warnings.

Okay, this is getting too long already.  Let me just say, while waiting for the trucking company to deliver my bed, I started to prepare the pies.  I looked at the oven, and what in the world did I spy?  An oven like I'd never seen before.  A convection oven.  I've heard of them but haven't a clue how they work or how to use one.  So, I have to get out booklets left by the owner and start reading the schematics.... (my least favorite thing to do in the world).  I'd rather have a root canal.  That, and I told you I've never cooked on an electric cooktop and the dials were Greek to me.

In a nutshell (I can't seem to keep this brief), they delivered the wrong bed: the deliverers said [Senora, we can't do nothing about this.  We just deliver and set up and you have to call company.] The calling began...  They'll call back within 72 business hours.  And, I saw on their website today there is a 25% black Friday sale on everything today. I am thinking (no I am unless they give it to me half off) of sending it back instead of exchanging it for the ivory one I ordered, not the gray one they sent.

After that, a snake was in the dining area of my kitchen. Deep breaths.  Haven't a clue how it got in.  Didn't know if it was a viper or not so wasn't going to chance it and had to kill it.

I unwrapped the new bedding for my wrong bed(that I agonized over) and no shams included.   What?  This wasn't a custom made set.  So, I had to return to the store.  Oh, no, those weren't included.  Have to buy the shams one piece at a time.  Nearly as much as the bed covering I might add.  Okay. Deep breathe. Get them home and one will not unzip no matter what I tried.  I will have to fight the crowds to return it.  Grrrr.  I couldn't even find an alcoholic beverage in the house.  I rarely drink, but would have if I could have found some.

There is more but this is getting too lengthy and I'm sure you don't want to hear about all of the dark comedic happenings. Needless to say, I'm not even going to break this wishbone as I am certain I will come up with the short end.  What ever!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

610 Stompers vs. New York - "Bitter Sweet Symphony"

Just in case you missed them in today's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, here is their last foray at the parade.

"Ordinary men doing extraordinary moves," the 610 Stompers have been stomping their way into hearts for several years.  Everyday men, doctors, lawyers, garbage collectors all dancing at events across the nation.  Hailing from New Orleans, in their 70's polyester outfits, headbands and gold lame sneakers, they are hilarious.  Watch some of their different dances on youtube.  Their facial expressions alone are worth it.

And, their team supports many charities.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paint On A Canvas

I finished the palette knife impasto oil painting.  I really enjoyed doing it.  It was a completely different style for me.  I always know when I'm finished with a piece.  It isn't something I can explain.  Just know.  But then again, I can go back another time and change something if I want (and I can see some things 'I want'.)

The name of the painting is Lipstick On Her Reefer.  Don't be shocked.  I was a hippie once.  The title comes from a Laura Nyro song (one of two of my all time favorite singer/songwriters.)  One of the lyrics "lipstick on her reefer," is from the song Blackpatch.  

Haven't had time to work on anything since the sale/purchase of houses and my husband's illnesses et al.  Hopefully, soon, I can move all my art supplies to the new house.  An empty room is waiting.  I have many things I want to work on, including some very large canvasses. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

She's In The House

The last few flowers and roses are in bloom.  For a couple of days that is, before a hard freeze arrives. I've put most of the plants and the outside of the house to bed for the winter.  

I finished unpacking yesterday.  Got a few things hung on the walls, but mostly still have it to do.  I had to return to the farm, but will pack some more things to take to the city house.  

We will celebrate our first Thanksgiving next week at the city house.  Though I will have to make most of the food at the farm and transport it to the city, we will have a wonderful time.  The kids and grandkids love the new house, as do I.  I still haven't figured out how to do many of the switches, knobs etc. I keep having to call the former owner to ask how to do things.  The shower in the master bath looks like something out of Star Trek.  Who needs seven shower heads? We don't have things like that at the farm.

And, I have never cooked on an electric cooktop.  I'm thinking burned! Thanksgiving, here we come.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bed In A Teapot

Well, this is the last time you'll hear me whining about that bed.  I remembered my stash I keep in this chintz teapot.  Though I must have been dipping into it a lot, (told you I can't remember anything) it is going for my bed.  That, and I had two ladies that just left who took me to the cleaners on some of the antiques I have been wanting to get rid of.  They have a store and wanted to pay pennies on the dollar, but it was a chance to get rid of stuff and get my bed.  A twofer and a new bed to boot.  So done deal.  Yippee! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Just A Folly

I am decorating my new city bedroom in country French.  I have looked high and low for a French caned bed.  I have found very few and the ones I have discovered are all very expensive.  Some are antiques and even more expensive than the reproductions.

I finally found this one at Anthropologie.  It is ivory with a fully carved swag of cabbage roses though this photo doesn't show the detail well.   It is the one I want - it is also expensive in my book. 

I don't buy jewelry or baubles that would cost as much.  Other than sunglasses and the occasional handbag, I don't spend much on clothes.  I guess I am trying to justify purchasing it.
My husband would just die and it would even be stressful for me buying it as I guess I am just plain cheap.  I don't like to pay retail without a discount.  I guess buyer's remorse would be the more appropriate phrase.  Oh, and I  forgot to mention I need a new dining room table and chairs and wood floors.  Those alone will wipe me out.  Since I haven't moved in such a long time, I hadn't thought about how my old furniture wouldn't go with the new house.  The former owner had a very formal style of decorating.  Me, not.  The first thing to come down were the curtains and swags she left behind.  Deep blues and green and burgundy.  I'm more whites and creams and pastels.

I'll let you know if I get up the nerve to buy it.  Perhaps if I wait long enough I'll forget about it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


A few posts back I said I wasn't sure how to tell when my pomegranates were ripe.  Well, I got back to the farm this week and I think I found out how to tell.  Make a note, harvest pomegranates in mid October from now on.  They were whoppers, very heavy with juice and the nectar is sweeter than I remembered.  The juice in stores doesn't compare to the taste of these.
Logee's Tropical Plants out of CT (can't seem to get the spelling right) is where I purchased my plant.  Though I overwinter it in the greenhouse, all the leaves fall off and then starts leafing out in early spring.  You too can grow them.  I tore into the one in front. It's a great thing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Halloween Treat

This is one of my all time favorite movies.  Not sure why, but the era, cinematography, story line and suspense all play into it.  And, it's supposedly a true story.  The author/director appears in the first scene.  If you know how to do Netflix or streaming (I don't even know what it is) you can probably find it or you can go to Amazon to buy it.  Great  movie for Halloween.

Monday, October 26, 2015

It's Not Funny

How did I get so old so fast?  I am crestfallen.  Today I forgot the four digit code number for my debit card.  Twice.  I was shocked (and somewhat embarrassed.) It is gone; erased from my memory.  I cannot recall it and will have to go to the bank to get a new card and number.  The bank can't even tell me what it is.  

It's been nice knowing you and isn't this little girl the cutest?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Product Review

You ready for this?  

I'm pretty picky about my feet.  I have every implement imaginable in triplicate.  I don't go to the nail salons: I prefer to do them myself (and fear infections etc. from the salons.)  I simply can't stand for my heels to get callouses and cracking.  After a summer of flip flops, they get pretty dry even with constant attention and said accoutrement and lotions.

Here is a new item I have found.  It can be purchased in the Soft Surroundings catalog and/or spas.  Using 17 different "natural extracts" including lemon, apples, clematis, chamomile and more.  It even listed ivy.  

Well it must have been poison ivy. 

Don't look at the next picture if you are squeamish or phobic about feet.  I'll skip down.

It's not my foot, I swear, it's my friend Mary Kay's.  Okay, just kidding.  Not only did my feet peel, the skin literally sloughed off, some in sheets.  They felt like a Shaggy Bark Elm tree trunk.  It has been a week and a half already.  Even the skin on top of my feet are peeling.  

Anyway, this stuff works.  I accused my sister of doing it on purpose (getting it for me and not telling me what to expect.)  But, all in all, after all is said and done, my feet are like baby feet.  Just make sure and pick a time when you can wear socks for a couple of weeks.  Wouldn't it have been funny to go to a salon with these feet?

And, you thought you were going to see a delicious treat or fall beautifulness.

Monday, October 19, 2015


I think I just read a guy book.  Another blog listed this as one of the best books of the year.  What?  Argh!

Horrid is my review with the most obnoxious style of writing I've read.  I hurried out to Barnes and Noble for this?  So please, tell me the three best books you've ever read.  I want my head to explode.  I am batting near zero of late and need some good books to read for the coming winter.  MFK Fisher is next up.  I'm trying to read Michael Chabon's THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY and I'm not sure I'll make it through the entire book.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Puttering Around

Or a fine fall morning; just enough cool and lots of sunshine.  Found a few last tomatoes that the deer haven't eaten.  Love them.

The acorns are in abundance this year and the deer are coming right up to the house eating them.  They are also crunching underfoot on all the patios and walkways.  Slightly annoying.

The pomegranates are just about ripe for the picking.  In fact, I don't even know how to tell if they are ripe or not.

After nearly losing my entire greenhouse full of citrus last winter due to the propane tank running out, a few are fruiting.  Here is a Buddha's Hand citron, the oldest known citrus going back thousands of years.

Here are the turmeric and ginger plants I started in early summer.  The turmeric is nearly three feet tall.  I don't like the taste of turmeric, though I take it in capsule form daily.  My daughter will get those.  I am interested to see how many tubers have formed in both.

There are so many frogs and toads this year.  From the size of your pinkie fingernail to bull frog size, these little guys have taken over my goldfish pond.  They hide under the lily pads or sun themselves on top.

They are actually very stealthy - cat like in the way they stalk their prey.  Horseflies and insects buzz around for a sip of water.  The frogs sit and wait, but sometimes they move like a cat then leap.  A wasp landed on me and I slapped it and it landed in the water.  It began to swim when a toad ate it.  No reaction from the toad.  Didn't blink an eye nor move its mouth.  I guess the wasp didn't sting it or else the toad is immune to its sting.  

I think these tree frogs are my favorite.  Not quite two inches in length, they camouflage themselves to what they rest upon.  
Well, there you have it.  Not even a cute toad limerick.  Just a beautiful morning.

Monday, October 12, 2015

New Back Porch

 Here are a few pics I took this weekend at the new city house.  Remember I had a list of things I could not abide, but all those wants and not went right out the window and mainly for these reasons.  The back of the house is all windows looking out onto this large covered porch and...

my view from there.  I called it a jewel box, planted with flowers everywhere and backing right up to a pond.  It took my breath away.

There are all different areas of gardens.  I love this little bricked in seating area.

In one location, we have our own little deck dock.  I'll have to put a couple of chairs out on it.  I am told the pond is stocked with fish.  There are eight houses that surround the pond.

Lots of wildlife too.

This is looking down from the porch.  I've never seen anything like it as there is about a 6 foot drop off from the porch to a small lawn down the stairs, but mostly flower beds and plantings.

Of course there has to be something for Miss Worrywort to worry about.  Can you imagine going over to meet the new neighbors and telling them, please don't try to pet the red weenie because she will bite you...
I really am nervous about doing that.  With this kind of fence, Sister can't get through it, but she can sure get her head through it and she will bite strangers that try to pet her.  Hmmm....

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Chosen

While my husband was in the hospital a nun popped in one day.  In full habit with a backpack slung over her shoulder, Sister Mary Lucy was a sight for sore eyes; a comforting presence.  She was older than we are, (but probably the same age as the older I get I suddenly find out that people I think are older than I am, turn out to be younger than me.)

She was a serious sort and a nurse I think, as she carefully looked through all the iv's hanging on the pole. She had notes too that she perused.  She asked a few questions then reached in her pack and pulled out some cards of Jesus with prayers printed on the back.  She recited some of them.  We began to talk.  She had lived and worked at the Vatican for 10 years and commented on the Pope's visit to the U.S.  She is a fan.  She talked of times when millions of the faithful came to St. Peter's Square.  I looked in her eyes, her countenance.  I couldn't help but wonder how her life had brought her to this spot, the kind of person she was.  All business, she never smiled.  Three times the door to the room opened and quickly shut.  "They'll come back." she said.  I could tell that the nun's run the hospital and expect reverence from the staff.

She went back to her pack and reached inside for more Jesus cards which she then realized she had already done.  At that point, my husband's hip was hurting and he rolled over onto his side.  I accused him later of playing dead.  She walked over to his bedside and began to feel around his back and shoulders (he was down to 100 lbs.) and I think massaged his back and bones.  

She then read a piece of paper (she didn't know the author) in a very thoughtful manner.

The Blessing Of Unanswered Prayers

I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I had asked for,
but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

I can still hear her voice reading it.  She was so appreciated by me.  I must send her a note.  Though I am not religious, she gave me peace and wonder that day.  Bless you Sister Mary Lucy.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Amidst The Chaos Comes Calm

I've been away for what seems a very long time though I know it hasn't been.  My husband has been in two different hospitals and all that goes with it.  I feared a couple of times that he might be dying.  It was a sobering period. Pneumonia in both lungs, malnutrition, dehydration and the infectious disease all came into play at the same time; the perfect storm. You lose your sense of real time, don't know what day it is. This is how rattled I got. I had driven to the barn to lock up the animals, and I usually stick my cell phone in my bra for a pocket.  When I got back to the house, I started frantically searching for it as I talked to my son, then finally figured out I had it up to my ear. We'll discuss more about that later, but my husband  did get the feeding tube while there and it is so easy, I wonder why he didn't do it sooner (but I know the answer to that.) 

During those dark and crazy days, I'd come home in the evening to feed the animals.  This Great Heron has taken a fancy to me and comes to the nightly feeding frenzy of fish, turtles and such.  He's fearless now; comes not for the smorgasbord, but to dine on the little fishes that are waiting for me.  This brazen, ungainly fellow belly flops down suddenly into the water and comes up with a fish in his beak then struts around with it before deciding to swallow the poor little fry. 

 The moon on the pond (notice the inquisitive little turtle head poking out of the water) was the early blood moon later on that night. It was nice to see that all was well and as it should be.

We closed on the new city house the next day after my husband made them release him from the hospital.  Plan B was to sign at the hospital. Oh those poor nurses and doctors. The worst, hard-headed, terrible, awful and stubborn patient on the planet has become a darling once again.  Happy as a lark even though he may never be able to eat or drink again.  Can you imagine?  Our lives will change.  I went out and bought frozen tv dinners so I won't be eating in front of him.  We'll figure it out. 

It is a beautiful day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Season Of Change

As you can see from the above pictures and my newest header photo, I am quite the gardener.  I try to do it all and have gardened for the past thirty or so years.  

This summer has been different.  The weather was awful.  I lost many fruit trees and the blackberry vines died back. I really don't know what happened to them.  The garden struggled along and many of the crops failed (even the re-plantings.)  That, and with my husband being too sick to help, I got little to nothing from the garden.  

It is such hard work to then get nothing in return.  I can no longer crawl around nor bend down for long periods; the most I can do is scoot along on my bottom.  I think the time has come.  If it isn't in a raised bed, it won't get planted.  The weeding alone is nearly an insurmountable task.  Everything does taste better from your own garden though and isn't covered in chemicals.  

My new house has very little room for vegetable gardening.  Maybe a few pots here and there.  I've been calling it a cottage, but I looked up that definition and it really isn't.  My style of decorating is cottage style, or in reality, eclectic I'd say.  

It is funny about buying a new home.  I had to have a large lot (no neighbors too close) with privacy, no carpeting, no garage doors taking up the front part of the house, and on and on.  So, all that went out the window when I saw the new house.  You can't get everything you want unless you build your own house and I am way past that stage of life.  So, changeability seems to be the catchphrase for me.   Think I will have to have a vegetable garden at my daughter's house.  Seems I'll have to hold on for the ride in this new phase of life where plans change just as soon as they are made.

Friday, September 18, 2015

All Buttoned Up

My realtor just texted me and said, "it's a done deal."  I am relieved beyond words (but still want that check in my grubby little hand first.)  Now, on to my new cottage, which I am never leaving.  The farm will have to wait for another day.  I'm thinking of hiring an estate sale service.

See the above?  I have gallons of them.  One reason moving is nearly an impossibility for me.  I have too many collections, er, stuff I don't need, but love.  I'm going to try and go the minimalist route in my new cottage - and we'll see just how long that will last.  I need new furniture and there seems to be a lot of mid-century modern out there, but I am not going for the plexiglass furniture as I think it will be out by next year.  Just want it comfortable.  I have already decorated the powder room in my mind - in an Oscar de la Renta wallpaper, but it says only to the trade, so I'll have to figure that out. I want to do wood floors and have to paint over some red walls.  I may end up with a few nice lawn chairs scattered about.  Oh well.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Type buttons into the top left hand corner to see some of my buttons up close.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rest Time?

Rest for the weary? No, I'm still kicking - at least for the moment.  What was supposed to be a time to finally breathe or catch my breath is not to be.  The house we sold didn't close yesterday.  I could hardly wait for the day after all the work, packing, cleaning and stress. A typo, or something like that, has caused a delay.  The buyer lives in California and has bought it as an investment property so papers have to be sent overnight then back, etc.  

All utilities, etc. were to be disconnected today.  The insurance was to end today so I've been on the phone trying to re-instate it this morning.  There should be a way to fine the buyers for this.  At least for the pain and suffering it has caused.  They are now telling me maybe Friday.  Who buys a house half way across the country for an investment property?  The money from the sold house goes into the new house.  I can't stand the worrying, of course, worry is my middle name so one would think it would roll off me like water from a duck's back.  But oh no, the fates are going to make me pay for another few days.  Jeez! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

One Woman Band

I am tap dancing just as fast as I can.  Don't have time to even look for photos etc. to blog so this one says it all.  

Moving is horrible.  I have packed an entire house by myself (my husband is too sick and I don't want him to have to do anything if possible).  I have nightmares that the deal will fall through and I won't be able to get my new house.  That, and just the sound of a man's voice has me tensing up.  My ear actually hurts from all the phone calls.  They really get you with early termination fees for nearly everything - like internet, security, etc.

Contract negotiations, inspectors etc. for the sale and all that and more for the purchase.  My brain really cannot handle all of this.  It is in fog mode.  I'll be back posting when I can, but I still am reading your blogs if not able to comment, but soon, hopefully.

And, here is food for thought.  My son mentioned the other night, "Mom, you have ten times more stuff at the farm than this house."  I can't even go there.

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Bought A House

I only wish it was this English thatched house, but it isn't.  I, who know little to nothing about business, real estate, taxes, legal proceedings and paperwork, etc., went to an open house yesterday and with much gnashing of teeth, bought a house.  Let me explain.

This is not something I would ever do.  But, never say never.  We are in the process of selling our city house.  Let me add here that the moving process and packing and sale, sucks.  I rarely ever move and in fact, we've lived at the farm for 33 years.  Yet, we needed another house in the city.  My children and grandchildren live there, and my husband works there 3 days a week.  First, my daughter-in-law suggested we go to an open house on Saturday.  I loved it.  I went home and couldn't quit thinking about it.  Everyone, except my husband, who said it'll still be there (he's old school and doesn't know how houses sell in that part of the city), said if you want it you'd better make an offer or you'll lose it.  Where it could take a year or two to sell the farm someday, city houses go fast.  

So I took my daughter and her babies back Sunday to look at it.  Many lookers were there.  We went back out to the truck and I agonized over whether I should put in an offer or not.  I thought I would have a panic attack, or worse. I am the type of person to overthink everything, have to research and weigh things carefully. I finally got up the nerve, texted my husband that I was going to put in an offer on a house and meekly knocked on the door, ready to flee at any moment.  I am a spineless wuss I'll admit.

I took the seller aside and told her I'd like to make an offer.  We went into her office and I told her I would offer full price and asked for a floor allowance.  I don't do carpet; have to have hardwood floors throughout.  She agreed and she asked me to read contract first (it was legaleze and my brain was foggy and eyes glazed over).  She came back in and we proceeded.  Her husband called her out.  Seems the wife of another looker told her husband what was happening and they quickly wanted to make an offer.  The seller then told me the other people offered full ask with no allowances.  What could I do? she asked.  I had to up my offer with no allowances, but told them that was all I could do.  The other man that was making an offer, told them he'd beat whatever my offer was.

I thought I would die.  I, who know nothing of such proceedings and am a milktoast pushover, waited for their reply.  They were looking at me, trying to decide what to do for a long few minutes.  Then, the seller's husband said he didn't want to get into this bidding war, and was going to go with me. 

I died.  But, I got through it, though didn't sleep at all last night and am still running on adrenaline.  It nearly slipped away from me and I got it by the skin of my teeth, within seconds really.  They've already had four more offers they had to turn down.  The man that lost out was devastated and wouldn't leave.  Kept wanting to up the anty.

So, my husband didn't kill me.  We've been at the bank this morning filling out forms.  They want copies of everything financial and contractual etc.  Buying a house in the US is crazy, with all the inspections, closing companies, mortgage companies, inspectors and appraisers, etc.  Is it so complicated in other countries?  

I love English thatched cottages which mine is definitely not.  But, I loved the house and felt it was the one.  What I didn't tell you is that it was the first one I've looked at which is why my husband was so opposed.  "You can't take the first house you look at!" he said.  I know.  It is weird, but I just knew it was the one and was afraid of losing it and I just about did. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

Some posts back, I wrote about wondering what is really going on behind the scenes of our blogging community.  I mentioned that no one wants to hear about bone spurs or anxiety disorders, but is it really all flowers and beautiful tableaux?

The farm where we live is in a hilly, forested area.  There are ticks.  Never saw anything like it.  I myself have had eight so far this year.

I digress.  My husband has been sick and symptomatic for four years.  He has these 'spells'; that is what he calls them (though I've learned they are called flares.)  He'll be fine one minute and the next he spikes a fever, become so cold he covers up in blankets on 100 degree days, will have chills and be just literally in bed, weak as a puppy.  They would disappear just as fast as they'd come.  He would go to the doctor, a general practice MD, who would put him on Amoxicillan and send him off.  He'd get better for a while, but the spells never went away.  

One thing that has compounded the problem, is that in 2001, he had surgery, chemo and radiation treatments at MD Anderson hospital in Houston for a stage four throat cancer.  He made it, but from the radiation treatments, his throat opening now is the size of an ink pen making swallowing a daily trial.  He has his throat stretched occasionally, but mainly the benefits now are to keep it from closing up further.

In the US, you have your main doctor, then see specialists for other things.  None really know what the other is doing.  They simply don't have the time, which, is why I think his primary doctor never figured out what was going on.  You really do have to be your own medical overseer/researcher.

My husband has gotten sicker and sicker, is down to 105 lbs. and finally has hit rock bottom, literally unable to work some days.  Did I mention he is a terrible patient and hard headed?

I was reading a book about a woman with malaria and told my husband that their symptoms were very similar.  I did some research and there were actually 20,000 cases in the US last year and that number is growing.  Then, I started researching tickborne illnesses.  I couldn't believe it; there are so many different kinds and the list grows daily.  I finally convinced my husband to request a tick panel test from his doctor.  The results came back positive for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis both of which can be fatal if left untreated.  Doxycycline was prescribed and it made him horribly ill.  Bedridden and with high fever.  He couldn't even get in to see his primary physician to see if he was having a drug reaction, so he won't be seeing that doctor again.

Meanwhile, to get in to see an infectious disease specialist, you have to be referred by another doctor.  We got him in within days through another friend of his.  The new ID doctor has been a blessing.  Very competent and thorough.  After all new testing and urging my husband to get a feeding tube as it is so important in fighting ID, he said the tests would take about 2-3 weeks for results.  

Imagine our surprise when he called my husband the next day and said he had gotten some results back.  His C Reactive protein was at 17 (normal is around 1.) and more importantly, he got a test back for Bartonella henselae.  He said it was off the charts; he'd never seen a higher number in his 30 years of practice.  He wanted him to start that night on azithromycin.   He doesn't think he has RMSF for it probably would have killed him left untreated for this long, but we'll see whatever other co-infections there are.  He saw a gastroenterologist yesterday, but the earliest he could schedule a feeding tube was November.  

By the way, Bartonella henselae is a proteobacterium that is commonly called Cat Scratch Fever.  Research is sketchy and it could also be transmitted by ticks.  One thing I've learned from all of this is that diagnosis of many infectious diseases is in its infancy; after many diseases like malaria et al were eradicated in the states by new drugs in the 1950's, research fell off, monies dried up and very few went in to the practice of infectious diseases.  The Walking Dead is closer than we think.

We are finally hopeful now to know some of what is going on with my husband's health.  Some nights when he drags himself off to bed, I wonder if he will be alive in the morning, so severe are his symptoms.  I've even watched the rise and fall of his chest to see if he is breathing at night.  

The cautionary tale here is do your own research.  If you have strange symptoms that can't be diagnosed, request tests or a referral to an infectious disease specialist.  You wouldn't believe what all is lurking out there.

PS ~ we've been married for 43 years and don't know what I'd do without him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dust To Dust

I've had this textile for some time now.  I don't even know if it is Japanese or Chinese.  As you can see it is disintegrating.  

It was nearly impossible to photograph.  I took it outside for the light, but feared it blowing away in bits.  The 'thread', silk I am certain, is finer than a human hair.  It seems to be bonded somehow to a paper like backing, then attached to some kind of board.  Notice the white paper with the silk attached to the right of her chest.

There was a boy beside her.  Notice the background of a stairway to the right and stone walls and pavers on the ground.

The upper left is beautiful with it delicate florals.  What I thought were flames must in fact be drapery of some kind.  Did they even use drapery back then?

Their little shoes and dress should tell where they are from.

Again, my limited camera skills and no knowledge of how to photo shop etc. can't show much more than I have shown.  Can't imagine how someone made this so long ago.  So sweet, but sad it won't last long.