Friday, December 23, 2016

December 23

Christmas preparations have been going on here at a snail's pace which is unfortunate since Christmas is two days away. But then, what else is new; call it a character defect or just plain procrastination, but I've never really been entirely ready for much of anything in my life.  Apparently I don't know how to function without a mini-crisis.  

 Look it's an undecorated Christmas tree!  In the dining room!

We had a tree from the septic tank renovations at least, a large Black Hills spruce had to be cut down to make room for the mound in November.  Carl plopped the tree in the Quarry to keep it watered until last week when I fished it out before the pond froze solid.  We finally moved it into the customary place by the upstairs staircase and it's three-quarters decorated.  Good enough.  It will do. 

Every year I vow this will be the Christmas I'm going to change my slacking ways but then something always seems to come up.  My hat is off to the Organized People of the world.   

This holiday season I have a legitimate excuse(s) of sorts; I've been wrangling with my health issues and the elders in my care.

I had to take Mom in for a doctor appointment last week; she says she feels fine, but her weight continues to go down.  She's at 94 pounds now.  I told her she can gladly have as much of my weight as she wants, but sadly it doesn't work that way.  Luckily, a friend of ours dropped off an array of garden statuary for Mom to paint.  She's been working on the projects for a few weeks now and almost has the first batch done.

 Mom is still as camera-shy at 96 as ever.  She doesn't realize my cellphone also takes pictures so I sneak photos during my daily visits with her.

 She doesn't want me to cook for her, but I've been bringing Christmas cookies and random assorted meals for her to eat.  She told the doctor she's not hungry but she assures us all she'll keep on eating to make us happy.

The picture below is her painting station setup in her kitchen.  She sits by the east kitchen window for light and has her TV and remote right by her side so she can watch her shows.
A few weeks ago she was painting a park bench for our garden.  For some reason, she decided to add glitter to the design which makes for a shiny park bench and I'm sure some shiny visitors next summer until the glitter wears off. 

 (Joel, our family glitter-phobe, will not be sitting on that park bench any time soon.  David is not fond of glitter either and has often jokingly referred to it as 'the  herpes of the art world.') 

 The glitter is a new interest and all my fault; a few months ago I found her cutting up various shiny candy toffee wrappers with a scissors in an attempt to make her own glitter.  She was having a difficult time making the pieces tiny enough to her liking.  When we took her to Wal-Mart a few months ago, we had her pick out new paint colors and silver and gold glitter, too.  Now that Mom has an abundant supply of glitter at her disposal, everything is sparkly and beautiful.  That's fine, she's having a ball.

On the other hand, Carl's mom is still struggling. 

I took the picture above of my MIL when we were at the hospital waiting for her last wound care appointment for her leg.  She's resigned herself to using a wheelchair because her legs hurt so much.  She has an appointment next Wednesday to see another surgeon.  Her dementia is advancing and we're not sure what the outcome will be yet.  I don't know how we will handle her care; I guess time will tell.

I've been feeling a little better as the days go by; I'd say about forty percent so far.  I still don't know what brought on the bleeding and the extreme low back and pelvic pain, but whatever is, I hope the saying 'this too shall pass' applies.  There were a few days I wore both a back and abdominal brace at the same time.  Ah, the joys of industrial strength elastic and velcro.

I'd made an appointment for this past Tuesday with a surgeon for a consult on a possible hernia but ended up cancelling because the pain migrated away from the site I wanted him to check.  Sad to say, we can't afford to go to the doctor if the pain isn't where it had been.  I have a follow-up appointment in late January with the gynecologist; maybe things will be better by then.  If not, well, our $10K deductible resets January 1.  We'll get a jumpstart on 2017 bills.  

I bought a book 'Heal Pelvic Pain' which contains exercises which seem to be helping quite a bit if I can force myself to do them.  The stretches are quite intense and I'm also quite inflexible, so I find almost all of them to be painful. I think I somehow shrunk my hamstrings, too.  Nothing wants to bend the way its supposed to.  Marble statues are likely more limber than I am, especially since this last bout of mystery pain.  

The book lists eleven different stretches, and each one is meant to be done three times for 30-60 seconds at a time.  In other words, a stretching session takes well over a half hour.  And the instructions also state to do them 2-4 times a day, along with at least a half hour of cardiovascular exercise.  I don't have a job and I'm finding it hard to fit this commitment into my schedule, but I'm doing my best.  I'll do anything to put this pain behind me.

 Carl and I went shopping tonight for some last minute gifts; apparently we're not the only ones who are unprepared, several of the clerks we spoke with were also running around trying to tie up last minute details of their own, too.  See, I'm not the only one.

I had to buy a new ergonomic keyboard for my computer as I've worn out the backspace key on my old one.  (Apparently I make far too many typing mistakes?)  

Anyway, while standing in line at a very crowded Best Buy waiting for Carl to be checked out, I spotted the Perfect Christmas Gift for Joel:   

 I sent Joel the picture and a text:  'Merry Christmas, Joel!  Love, Mom'

A few hours later, his response:

"I hope you got a gift receipt for that phone case."

Aww, phooey.  Maybe David will like it.




FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear, dear Karen ~ Your sense of humor always lifts my spirits, and inspires me. You have been going through so much and yet that sense of humor of yours just keeps on giving and giving and giving. Bless your heart.

I'll be baking some Christmas cookies today, and tomorrow baking two loaves of bread in my bread machine, oatmeal, and parmesan/black pepper breads. They both are yummy. They are for Christmas day's dinner. At least, that's my plan.

I loved seeing the pics of your Mom painting and the glitter story is cute and what a great photo to freak out your son with. :-)

May you and Carl have a lovely Christmas and a great 2017 ~ FlowerLady

Sue said...

You, my dear, are in a CROWD of people that are behind for the holidays. I'm so happy Christmas is in a couple of days, so then I can dismantle my half decorated house (never did get to the outside this year!). And come the New Year, no one will remember anyway!

Hope you are feeling better by the day.
Try "Yoga for the Rest of Us"--it's marvelous for loosening up tight joints. I have never been flexible-even a hundred years ago in my teens--and this has helped me very very much!

Merry Christmas to you and your dear family-mother and MIL's too!

Karen said...

Rainey, thank you! Your home must smell wonderful with all cookies and bread baking! I'd love to have you here for Christmas dinner (even though it may be a 'tad' disorganized. Sending you a hug!

Sue, my take on it exactly, I almost fished out some of the Christmas decorations I traditionally set up, but in the interests of time they will stay in the boxes for next year. In a week it will all have to be put away and really, who notices besides me? I'll check out Yoga for the Rest of Us....I'm assuming it might be something like Yoga for Dummies? I definitely need a tutorial, ha. Merry Christmas to you, too!!

Alison said...

I've heard that phrase before about glitter. Glad to see the elusive Lucille still painting, and feeling enthusiastic about something. I solved the Christmas decorating procrastination problem a few years ago by not doing it any more (Call me Mrs. Scrooge).

Karen said...

Great idea, Alison! The way things are going around here, I'd be ahead of the game if I decided not to play. :-)

Pam's English Garden said...

You always make me laugh, Karen, although pain and caring for loved ones are no laughing matter. Loved the glitter story. Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a Healthy 2017. P. x

Donna@GWGT said...

I really hope your health improves for the New Year. You are so wonderful taking care of your mother. It is something she is 96. My mom did not live nearly that long and I know I have her and my dad's bad health genes. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Karen. I bet you are far more organized than you admit. The attention to detail in your garden and stained glass gives me the hint you are far too modest. Have the best the season can offer. Have fun and good health too.

Lona said...

Hi there! I see you are a busy lady. Do you ever est girl? LOL! I wish I lived close by I would keep your Momma busy too. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas. I am going to go back and catch up on everyone's posting.
Merry Christmas

Karen said...

Pam, Merry Christmas to you, too! Glitter and all!

Donna, thank you! I truly wish I was more organized, but I guess Jan. 1 is the time for new resolutions, so it's time to make a list. I hope you have a great New Year, too!

Lona! How good to hear from you! Yes, please do send over things that need painting, Mom's got boundless energy for art work! Merry Christmas!

Bonnie K said...

Merry Christmas! I love the glitter phone case!

outlawgardener said...

Hope you had a merry Christmas, Karen! What a great glitter case. Glad your mom is still doing well and that your pain is somewhat relieved. Some years, like this one, I don't decorate for Christmas. it makes the years when we decorate more special.