Tuesday, December 31, 2019

In Review of 2019

As we usually do on New Year's Eve, I've been doing a bit of reflecting of the year 2019. I have to say that I am glad to be saying goodbye to what has been a "Hard Row To Hoe"! 

The year started off good, with my weekdays being spent watching my precious granddaughter. Seeing her grow and learn about the world.

And I absolutely loved every moment of it!

We played, learned to do chores and had lots of fun!

Weekends were spent having lunch with my kids and hearing about their lives and adventures. 

Time I always love and treasure.

Then as summer began we learned that my son-in-law has cancer. 
It was a huge blow!

But, though life threw a huge curve-ball, I have seen his family and friends come together to love and support him in this battle.

I have seen my daughter and her husband become so much closer through this journey. I've seen the love for one another that they share. I've seen them bond as a couple and as young parents. It has truly warmed my heart to see them grow as a couple and to witness them rise up and fight this battle together. 

And, most of all seeing Tyler Kicking Cancer's Butt!!

Then on September 10, 2019 as I as taking a morning stroll with my granddaughter, I fell and broke my ankle. 

At first I thought okay I will be in a cast for a while, but it will be alright. 
I definitely underestimated the extent of my injury. I had three broken bones. The heel was shattered, my ankle was broken with the muscles and tendons torn, and my fibular shaft was broken with butterfly fragments.  

I ended up having surgery to insert a plate, 9 screws and a pin in my ankle area. I had an incision on both sides of my leg with 11 staples on one side and 24 staples on the other.

I spent the next three months in some sort of cast not able to put any weight on my right foot. I had to use a wheelchair, crutches or a walker to get around. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do! Having to pretty much stay in bed with my foot elevated was a real task. 

One thing I learned through this tough time was just how much my family is there for me! My siblings came through for me in my time of need in a way I will Never forget. I'll never be able to thank them enough for the help they gave me, mere words are not enough to express the love and support I received from them. It was a rough time but the blessings I received got me through it. 

Thankfully I am doing better now and am able to finally wear a regular shoe and walk a limited amount.

Another challenge of 2019 has been for my older brother. He too has a broken ankle/foot and is still struggling with other issues before he can have surgery to have his foot repaired. He still has a tough road to go down in the coming days and months. We are hopeful that he will soon be on the road to recovery.

So with all this I am so ready to say Goodbye to 2019 and Welcome the new year with Health and Happiness to my family and friends. 

May we all weather the curves that life throws us with love and compassion for one another.


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Hodgepodge 1-2-3

Not a lot going on here in my neck of the woods but getting myself mentally prepared to begin the dreaded radiation treatments. They now have my plan together and I will have my first treatment on Thursday. I was a bit surprised that they are starting them on a Thursday, with the plan being Monday through Friday I assumed that they would start on a Monday. But, like my Mother always said, that is what happens when you assume!! They told me that as long as they get at least two treatments in before taking a break, then they can be started. I see the Radiation Oncologist on Thursday before the treatments so that he can explain to me the precise treatment plan and show me where exactly the beams are going, how many beams are being used, the dosage and how they are missing my heart and lungs. With the treatments being to my left side the heart and lungs have been a concern. I am not looking forward to this phase of the process, but I know it is an important part of my goal to be cancer free and with these treatments it changes the recurrence rate from 45% to 7%, a Big Difference. 
Now on with Hodgepodge .....

1. This week's Hodgepodge is Volume 123. What's something you've done recently that was as easy as 1-2-3? 

On Saturday I attended the "Spring Fling" in the little town that I grew up in. This annual event, held at the local library, consists of a health fair, live music and booths selling homemade goodies and crafts. I had my eyes, blood pressure, blood sugar level and cholesterol checked as well as having a bone density test and my blood typed. I have small veins and they have a very hard time finding one they can use to draw blood and now, since they can not use my left arm to get my blood pressure or blood from, it has become an even harder task, but with all the testing I have had in the past few weeks I have found that my hand has good veins.  So as easy as 1-2-3 they were able to get the needed blood from my right hand.  

2. The Wednesday Hodgepodge also happens to fall on the first day of May ...what is something you may do this month? 

Get plenty of rest and try to avoid stress, a hard task for a worry wart like me.

3. The Englishman Horace Walpole is credited as saying, "The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think" How do you see it?

I suppose this could be different for not only different situations but for different people. Some situations are tragic to feel but I would not want to go through life without feeling and sometimes you can spend your time over thinking things and miss out.  I suppose the trick is finding the happy medium.

4. May is National Hamburger Month...how often do you eat a burger? What are your must-haves when it comes to burgers? I assume you vegetarians won't be celebrating so tell us what you'd like instead? 

Burgers are consumed in this house at least once a week, mainly by my husband. Sometimes I opt for other things. But, if I do have a burger, pickles, onion, ketchup and mustard are a must. Tomatoes too if we have good ones or homegrown ones.

5. Pansies, petunias, geraniums, impatiens...of the four mentioned, which is your favorite in a patio pot? Will there be pots on your patio this spring? (Or whenever spring comes to your part of the globe?) Who does the gardening at your house?

Impatiens are my favorites, I have planted them along the front of my house and had them in pots too. I hope to have some at least in my front porch flower pots. I am usually the one that plants anything in our yard. 

6. When did you last (literally or figuratively) shout "Mayday, Mayday!"

I prefer, "Calgon Take Me Away", and shout it often when I see my kitchen after my husband has been cooking. How one person can make such a mess is beyond me and we won't even start on how many items he can dirty.... 

7. Say farewell to your April in ten words or less. 

Farewell April, May hath promised warmth and beauty!!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Update and Hodgepodge

When I last posted I was working hard to gain somewhat normal motion in my arm. I had my appointment with my Radiation Oncologist this past Wednesday and he was very pleased with my range of motion, actually he was very surprised at the improvement. Granted it is still not perfect or anywhere near normal, but I am able to get it over my head and in the position needed for the treatments. So even though we still had not gotten the results of the gene (Oncotype DX) test the doctor wanted to go ahead and do what he called my "simulation".  

This "simulation" consisted of lying on the table shown in the picture. The table moves up and towards the machine. The material I was lying on was then conformed to my body making a mold that will be used for each of my treatments to ensure that I am in the same exact position every time. The doctor then came in with a sharpie marker and marked the area to be radiated. The machine rotated around me and pictures were taken. Once they were satisfied that they had the area targeted the nurse gave me my permanent tattoo marks. I now have three small dark blue tattoos, (just little dots). These too will ensure that the correct spot will be treated each time.  

Finally, Monday evening the Medical Oncologist called with the test results.

My total score was a low 12, so this means NO CHEMO!!! I am so happy and Thankful for this news. 

I go on Thursday to have a cat scan and with this the Radiation Oncologist and his team can put together my exact treatment plan. Because they will be treating my left side the team has to take extra precautions to keep the radiation from hitting my heart. 

They hope to have a plan together to start the treatments on Monday, if not than it will be the following Monday. Six weeks of Monday through Friday treatments... I am dreading this so much but know that it is what is best for me and I just want to be done with it. 

But for now, on with the Hodgepodge.........

1. April showers bring May flowers...what have you been showered with this month?

Tulip Tree March 2012

I think the only thing I have been showered with lately is Doctors. 

Not really much growing in my yard, even my Tulip Tree hasn't bloomed as beautifully. When the tree blooms were just beginning to open up we had several cold frosty days and the blooms never fully opened but turned dark and fell off. 

2. What is the nature of compassion? Is it learned or innate? Can compassion be learned? If you're a parent is this something you've purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?

I do think compassion can be taught. Experience is the best teacher and if our children see us as parents and role models being compassionate towards others they too will learn compassion. 
Simple things like treating others with respect no matter their status in the community, or collecting clothes and toys for a family who has lost everything in a fire, bringing food to a friend or neighbor who is ill,  teaching our children to be accepting of those who are different from ourselves, opening a door for the young mother struggling with a child and packages or groceries, stopping as a funeral procession goes by, and so many other acts of kindness.....

3. Do you prefer to watch romantic comedy or romantic drama...or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flicks?

I would have to say that I enjoy them both. Give me a romantic movie any day over an action flick!!

4. It's April which means baseball season is officially upon us here in the US of A. Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." Agree or Disagree?

Oh I so Agree!! There is nothing like a hot dog from a ballgame. I don't know what it is about them, but they are always sooooo good!!

5. What's something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?

The roadways. There is so much construction going on and so many areas have had streets torn apart with the installation of underground wiring and bigger drains. 

6. Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in its title.

This is the first song that came to mind and one that I enjoy, The Rose by Bette Midler.

7. April 22nd is Earth Day...do you believe there's life on other planets? That wasn't the question you were expecting was it? 

No little green men or monster like beings, but micro organisms I supposed there could be. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trying To Find Some Normalcy

I am happy to be joining in once again with this fun meme. I attempted to before Easter but simply did not have the energy. Since having my surgery I have been so exhausted and then while still in the healing process I developed a sinus and ear infection. This combination totally zapped my energy. I had multiple doctors appointments scheduled, (follow up visit with the surgeon, first visits with the oncologist and radiation oncologist), I thought that one of them would be able to treat me for the sinus stuff too. But, they would not. So a visit to my family physician was added to my agenda. Thank goodness for steroid shots and antibiotics. I am feeling much better now. As for my healing process, it has been a rough road. The doctors have been pleased with my progress except for the radiation oncologist. He was not pleased with my arm motion and wanted to send me to physical therapy. He said in order to start the radiation treatments I would have to have much more range of movement in my arm. So he gave me a week to get the arm moving or off to physical therapy I go. It has been rough, and I cried while doing the exercises for a few days. But, thank heavens I am gaining more use of the arm. It is still swollen and very sore but I am able to raise it over my head now and to do the exercises without crying in pain. I see the doctor again on Wednesday and hopefully will be able to move forward with the mapping out of my treatment process. I am still awaiting the results of the gene test to determine if I will be able to skip the chemo. I should have those results by the end of the week.

**     **     **     **     **     **     **     **     **     **     **     **

And now on with the Hodgepodge.......

1.     April 15th is the deadline for Americans to file their state and federal income tax returns. What's a job you do on a regular basis that could be described as 'taxing'?

Keeping files updated at the office. My husband often leaves things where he finishes with them instead of putting them in their proper place, so I spend a lot of time trying to locate documents that should be in a client's file. We work at home at times, more so since my illness, so documents are scattered at home and at the office. I periodicity have to check the conference room and his office at work as well as our dining room table and computer area at home for documents.   

2.     I'm participating in the April A-Z blog challenge, and the Hodgepodge happens to fall on Day O this week. In keeping with that theme...olives, onions, oysters, okra...of the foods mentioned, what's your favorite O food?

Ohhh, how I love onions and olives!!!! I like to put onions in everything or eat them on the side with certain foods. I love the smell of onions grilling and there is nothing like a green onion and a tomato fresh from the garden. Throw a few olives, green or black, in there and Yum, Yum!!

One of my favorite lunches is what my hubby calls a "nibbly plate" a few olives, tomatoes, green onions, cheese, grapes or pineapple, a slice of ham or turkey and a few crackers!! 

3.     What is something memorable you experienced as a child that your own children (or future children/nieces/nephews) will not get to experience? 

So many things... Telephone Party Lines, rotary phones, only three television networks to choose from, having to move the rabbit ears to get one of those stations to come in, having to go outside and turn the antenna to make the television stations clear, moving the rabbit ears on the television so you could have a clear picture, watching shows in black and white, counter checks....

My kids and I have had several conversations about many of the the items listed above. The telephone party lines simply blow their minds and the thought of only three tv stations does as well. But the counter checks has been the most amazing to them. Maybe it was just a small town thing. But where I grew up we had two local banks, we called them the white bank and the yellow bank, not because of the buildings but because at local businesses they had pads of counter checks white and yellow. When customers would go through the check out process and say they were going to pay with a check the clerk would ask, white bank or yellow? Which ever bank your family used that is the check pad you would be handed. You filled out the check and signed it or signed your parents name and yours underneath it. It was more of a task keeping up with the checks with more family members writing them on the same account and them not being chronologically numbered. 
My kids seldom even write checks and when my daughter lost her debit card and had to do without it while they issued a new one asked me how she was going to be able to get cash or pay for things. The thought of writing a check was a foreign concept to her. 

4.     Term limits for our elected officials...your thoughts? 

I am on the fence on this one. While term limits would possibly bring new eyes and new ideals to the table, sometimes the wisdom of age and experience is best.  
5.     On April 18th, 1775, Paul Revere made his famous 'midnight ride'...when did you last make a midnight ride? Perhaps the fate of a nation wasn't hanging in the balance, but tell us where you were headed anyway.

One night my kids and I were up late. We decided we wanted something to eat. Since the only places open around here at midnight or after are White Castle, Taco Bell and the local Donut Shop we decided to make a midnight run to White Castle. The furthest place from the house of course. It was actually fun and a great memory of time shared with my kids. 

6.     What would freak you out more...a mouse running across your floor or a big fat hairy spider? 

Not that I am fond of either one, but the mice I can control. Spiders are another story. We have those pesky Brown Recluse spiders around here and they are nearly impossible to get rid of. We spray our house every year for them but still see them at times.  My husband and step son have been bitten by them, both of them had to see a doctor for their bites and had to take medication to get the bite site to heal. I am constantly on the look out for them. Once I saw one under my pillow. I turn my pillow over Every night before climbing in bed now.  

7.     I love it when people ask me________________________?

How I keep my hair in such great shape. Many times when I get it cut the people will remark about how soft and healthy it is. This past January while in Florida I got my bangs trimmed and the guy commented on my hair. The thing is I really don't do anything special to it. I change shampoos often, I try to at least trim the ends twice a year and very seldom blow it dry. But I color it every few months and straighten it or use hot rollers on it nearly every day.

8.     Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Surgery Update

March 19th, the day of my lumpectomy.

I was a bundle of nerves before the surgery. All the what ifs and questions running through my head.... What if it is worse than the tests have indicated? What if it is in my lymph nodes? What will I look like afterwards? Will I ever feel normal again? How am I going to wash my hair after surgery? 

We, (my husband, my son and I), arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. The schedule was - prep upon arrival; Radiology at 7:30 for dye injection and scans; Surgery at 9:30.
So after my vitals were checked the ID bracelet was placed on my right arm and into the beautiful mint green paper attire I went. Next the iv line was started. I have small veins and sometimes it is quite the task getting the iv in, but the nurse was able to get it going with one try. Then we waited... around 7:45 they took me to Radiology. They told my husband and son that they would take me from Radiology to surgery and that the doctor would call the room when the surgery was over and I was in recovery. The injection wasn't too bad. The needle itself is small and the process is quick. They do have to move the needle around to inject the dye where it is needed. This dye helps in locating the sentinel node, (the closest lymph node to the tumor and likely the first node effected) and surrounding nodes. Once that was done, the doctor initialed my shoulder, and the tech moved me to the small table for the scans. They allot 2 hours for this test, everyone's body drains differently. I drained rather quickly and they were able to trace the dye and get the pictures needed for surgery within 45 minutes. Since the operating room wasn't available for another hour or so, the tech initialed my shoulder and I was taken back to my room to wait.
I did have to laugh with my son and husband about the initials on my shoulder, but I suppose it is another way to verify that the dye has been injected before surgery. Around 9:40 I was taken down to surgery. I was placed in the line of patients just outside the operating rooms for what seemed like an eternity. The doctors and anesthesiologist would come by, check charts, start an antibiotic and off they would go into the operating room. I remember it being a constant flow of masked people going by. Many of them asking if I was warm enough, they kept trying to cover me up, I was hot and kept kicking the covers off. There was a tv on the wall in front of me on some news channel but I had a hard time seeing it without my glasses. The next thing I remember was a nurse adding the antibiotic to my iv and a few moments later feeling my iv being moved and the anesthesiologist saying he was putting a little medicine in my iv, my eyes became very heavy I saw a huge dry erase board but couldn't focus on it...The next thing I remember was the sound of the heart monitor and a nurse asking me if I wanted ice chips.

Once in surgery the Dr. injected more dye to trace my lymph nodes. He then removed the sentinel node as well as two other lymph nodes. These were sent to the lab for a freeze test, (preliminary test) which gives them an indication to the need for more nodes for testing. If the lab says more nodes are needed for testing the surgeon will remove more nodes after the lumpectomy is completed.  The surgeon then performed the lumpectomy removing the entire tumor and surrounding tissue, giving me a little lift so as to create as normal as possible look. The lab was satisfied with removing only three nodes, so surgery was complete. 

I was taken back to my room where my husband, my son and now my daughter was waiting. I was given a Coke and a few crackers. They checked my vitals a few more times and made sure I was not feeling nauseous. My iv was removed, at home care instructions were gone over with me and my family, including how my present blue appearance would not last and that I shouldn't be alarmed with the blue pee I will experience for a couple of days, I got dressed and was ready to head home. (I truly had a blue tint to my face and upper body and had blue pee for two days - we are talking tidy bowl blue)   

On March 22, after receiving the complete lab results, he Dr. told me that the margins were clear (which means no other surgery will be needed) and so were my lymph nodes. I see him for a follow up appointment on April 4th and he will then refer me to an oncologists for treatment. 

My son took a leave from work this week and has stayed with me around the clock, taking excellent care of me, waiting on me, making sure I eat, doing laundry, taking care of the dog, taking me to the beauty shop close to my house to get my hair washed, etc.  His significant other has cooked dinner every night and kept the dishes washed up. My daughter has come by after class each day to help out. My neighbor, a retired nurse, has also been a huge help with changing bandages and making sure the incisions are healing properly. My husband has had several Court Hearings and work obligations so having everyone help out has been a Godsend.

This week, as I have gotten a little stronger and able to care for my self somewhat, my son went back to work. My husband is working from home as much as possible and my neighbor still checks in from time to time. I am still quite sore and unable to raise my left arm very high or use it much, thank goodness I am right handed, but I am doing as well as can be expected. It has not been easy and most of the time I am uncomfortable, but hanging in there both physically and mentally. 

I still have a long road to travel, but am trying to hang on to as much normalcy as I can.    

Sunday, March 17, 2013

An Emotional Rollercoaster

It has been three weeks since my last blog post. Three weeks that have gone by at a snails pace and have been one long emotional roller coaster ride. 

On February 22 I went in for a diagnostic mammogram, a follow up to an earlier screening mammogram. This is not the first time I have had to do this and I thought it was going to be just like the other four times, they take additional views, possibly an ultrasound and tell me it is nothing, we will do a follow up in six months, and make sure it hasn't changed or grown. 

Not this time. This time was different. Everything about it was different. The suspicious spot was on the other side, the left. The lady performing the mammogram stopped talking after taking one view on the left side. She had been quite talkative while doing the right side. She used different paddles on the machine, so that they could target a smaller area, something that had not been done on my previous diagnostic mammograms. When she was finished she asked me to have a seat in the small waiting area outside the mammography room. She said that she was wanted the Technician to look at the pictures to be sure that they were good pictures and that no further views were needed. After a couple of minutes another lady came and asked me to follow her that she was going to do an ultrasound. This in itself was not shocking, as the first time I had to have a diagnostic mammogram an ultrasound was performed. But again, this time was different. Before they had to search and find what was needing to be looked at. This time she went right to the spot, it was clear what she was looking at, (even I could see the difference on the monitor), I asked if it was the dark area that she was looking at, she answered yes but didn't talk to me much and took several measurements. At one point taking a clear plastic strip and measuring on my breast, again something different. She then left to speak with the technician to make sure that was all that was needed. When she returned. I asked if they had found something, she paused and I said, I know you aren't supposed to tell me. She then said yes and proceeded to tell me that the technician was writing the report now and would fax it over to my doctor within the hour, once again something very different. Previously I had been told that the doctor would receive the report in three to five business days.  So this is when the real concern began to set in. As soon as I got in my car I called my doctor's office, I knew that they closed early on Fridays but wasn't sure exactly what time. They were already closed. I spoke with the on- call service and was told that it would be Monday before the doctor would see the report. I thought to myself, this is going to be one long weekend. But, on Saturday morning I called the place where the test was performed and asked if I could pick up a copy of the report. Within thirty minutes I had the report in my hand... BIRADS score of 5... 95% chance of malignancy. Surgical consultation and biopsy recommended. I was numb....

I spent the weekend researching everything about breast cancer. The tests, the surgeries, the treatments, the statistics, I read it all. I also did a lot of crying.

Monday morning I called my doctors office. They hadn't even pulled the report off of the computer yet. The nurse read the report and said that she would call surgeons to see who could get me in the quickest for a biopsy. 

March 1, the following Friday I met with the surgeon. He specializes in breast surgery and came highly recommended by one of my friends. He looked at the pictures and the report from the mammogram and the ultrasound, examined me and then performed his own mammogram. His ultrasound machine was able to show different views and clearer pictures. He told me that he was quite concerned with the tests and that a biopsy was needed.

March 4, the following Monday I went back to his office for a Vacuum Assisted Core Biopsy. 
The procedure itself wasn't bad. A bit uncomfortable at times and unpleasant hearing the clicks and sounds of the equipment as well as watching the samples being passed over me and placed in the jar.  I was told to come back on Thursday for results. But on Wednesday morning I got a call from the surgeons office asking me to come in. They had received the results. It was confirmed... Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Oddly I didn't even cry. I think I was prepared for the diagnosis, I had gotten my crying out of my system and accepted that this was the hand I had been dealt. I was able to talk with the doctor about my options. 

This coming Tuesday, March 19th I will have a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy. This will be followed by radiation and possibly chemotherapy. 

If you are reading this and you are a person whom prays, I ask that you please say a prayer for me.  I truly believe that prayer does make a difference and that with the support of my family and friends I can get through this.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Another Hodgepodge Wednesday

Hodgepodge Time once again and our gracious host, Joyce over at The Other Side of the Pond, has another group of great questions for us. Below are the questions and my answers.  

1. When were you last 'on a mountaintop'? You may answer in the literal or figurative sense.

Well the only mountain I have ever visited has been the Great Smoky Mountains. 
The last time I was there was in the Spring of 2005. My daughter and I, and my husband and step son walked the half-mile steep trail to Clingman's Dome.  

Clingman's Dome

Clingman's Dome, at 6,643 feet, is the highest point of the Smoky Mountains. It is the highest point in Tennessee. 
Clingman's Dome is located along the state-line ridge, half in Tennessee and half in North Carolina. A paved trail leads to a 54 foot observation tower. It was atop this tower that my husband proposed (April 5, 2005)

2. Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household? What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own?

I try to stay on a budget, but with a child in college the budget goes out the window a lot. Plus the fact that I work for my husband and if money doesn't come in we struggle.

After my divorce from my first husband, I relied on credit cards to get by. I did alright until the recession hit and they cut my credit limits, which jacked up the interest. At about the same time I had to have a couple of medical procedures which created more debt. I dug myself into a bit of a hole that I am still trying to dig out of.

Many of our bankruptcy clients have very similar problems that lead them to our office. I am often shocked at the number of credit card accounts that people have.

My advice would be - STAY FAR FAR AWAY from Credit Cards, or at least use them as little as you possibly can get by with. They are good to help in building credit, but are far too easy to use and quickly you can find yourself in too deep. 

3. Cherries-yay or nay? Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Cherries Garcia...pick one.

Yay, Yay and Yay!! I love cherries. Cherry Pie, Cherry Coke, and Ben ad Jerry's Cherry Garcia is my Favorite! If I had to pick just one Cherry Delight, hands down it would be Cherry Garcia. How can you go wrong with it, after all it not only has cherries, but chocolate too!

4. Should you ever discuss religion or politics with people you don't know? 

 I think religion and politics are very sensitive topics and ones that often become heated discussions. I think a person should tread lightly when discussing these topics with someone you do not know.   

5. When you take a road trip do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger? Where were you headed on your last road trip? 

I prefer to be the passenger/navigator on road trips. I am not comfortable driving in places I am not familiar with. 

Our last trip was in December - January. While we flew to Orlando, we drove from Orlando to Tampa, from Tampa to Melbourne, and then from Melbourne back to Orlando. So I suppose you could consider it a road trip since we drove from one side of Florida to the other. 

6. If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalent?

Black, it is slimming and as I have gotten older I have put on a few pounds, I need all the help I can get!!! Plus I have to dress business casual for the office and most dressed slacks are black or grey.

7. Who's your favorite senior citizen and why are they special?

A woman that I worked with a several years ago, Miss Shirley, as we called her. She always told me that I reminded her of her daughter, who died in a car wreck at the age of 21. Her daughter and I were born on the same day and the same year. She kind of took me under her wing and we became very close. Even after we both left the workplace we remained close. She moved away because of health issues and needing to be closer to her family. We stayed in touch even after she moved and would talk on the phone for hours. She eventually ended up in a nursing home after having a stroke. After that she had problems with her speech so our calls stopped. She tried to write a couple of times and just a week before she died had one of the nurses write to me for her. She was a special lady. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Seeing Signs of Spring

This week I have started noticing a few signs of Spring.  One of my neighbors has a row of March Lilies down both sides of their driveway and this week the flowers began blooming.  In my own yard I have noticed tiny buds on the trees. 

Also this week, I have noticed the Grackles visiting my feeders and sitting in the trees. 

Though the bird book I have says that they are in my area year round, I generally only see them in the early Spring. I don't know if it is because at this time of year they have a harder time finding food in the farmer's fields. I have noticed a few farmers starting their plowing and field prep. Two of my neighbors have broken ground for their gardens too. 

Wednesday morning as I was watching the birds from my kitchen window I noticed there was a lot of red in the trees and on the ground. I counted 12 Cardinals and 6 Purple Finches. 

I couldn't get a good shot of both trees with all the birds. So I went out and put some seeds on the patio wall hoping that they would come a little closer. A few minutes later the birds slowly started coming over to the patio wall. I love the way this Cardinal seems to be looking at the little Finches. 

I put seeds on the patio wall quite often so the birds visit there almost as much as they do the feeders. 

The neighbors cat likes when I put seeds there, he sits and waits for the birds and tries to nab them. Luckily, the birds know to avoid the wall when the cat is around, (most of the time).

As long as I move slowly at the window they will stay on the wall and feed. Sometimes as the camera snaps they will stop feeding and listen.

I had to change my position a few times in an attempt to capture a couple of the birds at a time in the same shot, but when I would move they would fly away. 

One end of the wall has a missing light with the wires sticking up, (one of my husband's "I can fix it" projects that never seems to get totally completed), my camera often tries to focus on those instead of the birds. 

The doves like to visit the wall too, they aren't as easy to frighten away as the other birds and most of the time I can capture them in photos easily. 

I saw this bird sitting high in the tree and wasn't really sure what it was. I grabbed the camera to focus in on it in an attempt to identify my feathered visitor. I ended up taking a couple of shots, I think it is a Grackle, but an still not positive. Makes a good shadow shot anyway. 

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