Sunday, August 02, 2020

Unexpected Happenings

This past week was QUITE a week.

We knew Dad had 3 scheduled appointments.....but the week went off the rails. We ended up with  more appointments - but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Josiah is quarantined due to a work exposure to COVID 19.

Jamin is also staying home due to the fact that he shares a home with Josiah.

BreZaak and crew began the week quarantined due to Izaak's exposure.

Dad's first appointment went well.  We came home and did a bit of work in the neglected garden. Dad has adopted the corn patch - which is SHORT, but tasseling.


Dad's second appointment was for an angiography and possible stent on the blockages detected in previous tests.  They allowed me to go into the hospital as I'm his caregiver.   I waited and waited  - masked - and thought up parody songs about, "I'll mask up for you..." The work needed was more extensive than they had expected.  All 3 arteries are 80% blocked. They referred us to a heart surgeon.


We began to discuss the issues with Dad....stay the course with meds, stents, or open heart by pass surgery.  We hoped for stents and waited to hear from the surgeon.

The surgeon called at 9:02 the next day.  They wanted to see us in Anchorage at noon. Up we went.  Due to the placement of the blockages in the left artery, to stent would require at LEAST 5 seconds of no blood to Dad's heart. The Dr. said he feared his heart wouldn't start up again. In his opinion this was the option with the shortest life expectancy.

Two options were to accept a major heart attack is on it's way....statistically 80% chance it would be within a year...could happen any time, or have the by pass surgery. Dad chose the surgery.  He chose the option with the chance of the longest life expectancy.

There just aren't a lot of photo options at doctors....this little sign in the elevator cracked us all up. There is NO WAY 4 folks will be 6 feet apart in here....maybe 2 could pull it off.  


We texted and called family and Dad's family-like-friends on the way home to the valley.

I spent significant time talking with various folks to get permission to at least attend pre-op with Dad. Anchorage has the policy NO ONE can attend patients...not even caregivers. I told them I understood, but if they had info pertaining to Dad's care I NEEDED TO HEAR IT....and  if they want him to go directly to surgery on the morning of surgery, I need to accompany him. I got a call back Friday afternoon saying I can attend pre-op and accompany him until the surgical nurse meets him. I will then leave and see him again when he is released at the door of the hospital. I can live with this.

The heart surgeon is predicting 4 days in ICU and a total of 7-9 days in the hospital.

We spent Saturday readying the RV. Michael, Stacia and I will go up with Dad on Tuesday. We'll stay in Anchorage for the first few days post op. I KNOW we can't visit or really do anything - but stay, we will.

Michael and I went shopping for a tablet so Dad could have video visitors in lieu of visitors. We worked on setting it up today only to  discover Dad has no interest in video visitors.  He is just fine talking on the flip phone and didn't want to take the tablet to the hospital.  It was MY need to have that contact. Stacia has a birthday in 2 weeks and is HAPPY to take the tablet off grandpa's hands.



We ended the night, and started the new week, playing Farkle...and eating treats. Stacia made a yummy carrot cake, Michael pulled out ice cream and Krista had Belgium chocolate left from her trip to AL.  One of her fellow chaplains had flown in from Germany.


Even Millie wanted to play tonight....look how quickly she is growing. She is 3 months old now. We suspect she will be more than the 50lbs we were anticipating based on her Mom and Dad's sizes. She was 21 lbs last time we weighed her.

Dad's surgery is Wednesday, August 5th at 0730. We appreciate and crave your prayers. There are many things about this I simply don't like.

This song has been playing in my mind......




[Verse 1]
I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never failed me
All my days, I've been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

[Chorus]
And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

[Verse 2]
I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
And in darkest night You are close like no other
I've known You as a Father
I've known You as a Friend
And I have lived in the goodness of God, yeah!

[Chorus]
And all my life You have been faithful, ohh
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God, yeah!

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Day Before

It's the day before dip-netting 2020. Ready or not, we will leave for dip-netting, Fish Camp 2020, in the morning. Mike worked on the RV. I ran essential errands.  Stacia made BBQ meatball sauce, Chicken Divan sauce,  hot chocolate mix, hospitality Chai tea mix, Bird balls, brownies for dessert, and shredded 4 pork roasts. While she was busy in the kitchen, the others cleaned the house.  Nolan, Krista, Stacia and I checked the meals list and got the food out to the RV.  I thought we were packed and then remembered - I'd not packed any personal clothes yet, an alarming oversight...but the fishing gear and the food are all loaded. ::snort::

Is this not the cutest picture? Livie was our dinner guest tonight - along with her mom....and Josiah. 
Livie and Dash...and Stacia's arms

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago  Josiah and Carrie were Facebook official. Let me make it blog official and  introduce you to Carrie and Olivia.  We are enjoying getting to know Carrie and Olivia and you'll most likely see them from time to time on the blog. I now have permission to post photos....so consider yourself introduced.
Carrie, Cy, Olivia - via  FB 

This is the last day before we leave and we worked all day. I didn't realized what time it was until they walked in the door. I'm ALL about those first impressions. ::snort::  We had pizza, salad and brownies....and fun conversation.
Carrie, Krista and Livie work to crack the egg -(Josiah)
while Mike yells encouragement

Krista had not met Carrie before...and a bit later CoRielle dropped by to meet Carrie and Olivia as well.  Carrie is prior Air Force so we enjoy the Air Force connection.

Stacia and Livie hit it off. Benny had a blast playing with both of them. Kimber and Millie had a puppy play date. Millie was FAR too over-stimulated with so many new folks around....I'm a bit worried about how she'll be out dip-netting.

Oh...while I was out walking this a.m. I actually had to reach for my bear spray.....good thing I noticed it wasn't moving before I wasted good spray on this....

Another highlight of the day was my "goals group" meeting.  It turned out to be just Tamara and I today - a personal coaching session. It was fun to be able to share back and forth a bit more than usual.

I didn't find the time this week to get into the garden. It's apparent.  It will be a mess when we get home and that's just the way it will have to be. I'm trying to leave it watered well....and we'll just deal with what I have to do when we get back.  I DID take about 30 minutes to water and pull a few weeds before I came in to end the day.

Tomorrow, I need to pack my personal items into the RV and do a few last minute things, but we have great hopes of leaving for the Kenai by 0900.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Whew - what a long day!

As is often the case around here - things didn't go quite as planned today, but everything that NEEDED to get done is done. LOL

Stacia and I are in between studies, but we decided to go out early anyway. We brought Krista with us. We decided to do a drive through and a walk. The minute the car stops at the drive through window, Millie gets EXCITED.

C'mon - why are you making me WAIT? 

Tori makes a mean puppacino


She's only had ONE puppacino but she seemed to KNOW....

We ate our breakfasts at the trailhead and took off.....This is Millie after her puppacino....

Check out her ears and the placement of her front paws...and Stacia's expression. I love this photo. 

We managed just under a mile on the trails before we ran screaming, and flapping down the path - being wildly chased by mosquitoes. Krista shared how many had commented on the "terrible mosiquites" in AL and she tried to tell them they were nothing compared to AK mosquitoes. They were bad this morning. At one point I rubbed my hand over my head and ended up with six skeeters sucking on my hand.  I walked another 3 miles when we got home. My goal is an average of 3.5 miles a day so I can make a monthly goal of 105 miles....but my math is off as my goal is 110. ::snort:: 

I had a food prep plan ready to execute today. I bagged brownies and keto brownies before we left the house. Stacia agreed to make cookies and bag them.  On the beach - with all that fishy slime and such - individual wrapped snacks are essential. I have bagged trail mix and dried apples. Krista contributed some Cajun mix and pretzels.  I had a big day planned.....

Check out GG's eye.... I called his primary doc and he said to bring him right in and he'd confirm it was what he suspected.  Off we went....It turns out its a superficial rupture of a blood vessel and will resolve itself on it's own in the next week. The picture looks good - it was horrible looking. 

I brought Dad home and discovered Stacia had been busy in the kitchen. She not only made cookies, she browned hamburger and cooked up about 20lbs of chicken. What a boost that gave me. 

I headed to the lab - for ME. I forgot I was supposed to have blood drawn April 30th! I AM working to remember to schedule the things I'm supposed to have done  - but they are never quite as urgent. 

Next up was a trip to 3 Bears to buy convenience snacks and groceries. I couldn't get everything and will have to make another shopping trip tomorrow. I did get about 80% of what I needed. 

When I got home, Michael grilled some pre-cooked chicken thighs, Krista got fries in the air fryer and I put out salad (which no one touched) and set the table. 

Michael and I did an inventory of the RV. I wiped down all the surfaces in the RV. Michael loaded some things into the basement of the RV. 

I started 4 pork roasts for pulled pork sandwhiches....I will let them slow cook over night. I should learn how to use the smoker...that would have been some good pulled pork....

And with that....I'll call it a day. 

Trailhead Treasures

We've noticed something since moving to Alaska...the trails are lovely....sometimes challenging, sometimes relaxing.

In the winter there is ice, snow, and the vision of the way ahead is comparitively clear. There is a sense of peace when hiking in Winter. The bears are sleeping. The moose are up high.  The boys have seen wolves. Hmm....

In the spring there is running water, mud, mud, mud....but no one cares much - the days are getting longer. The sun is out. Summer is a promise about to be fulfilled.

In the summer animals, wild flowers, and brush abound....one walks tall and loud...with bells or whistles if one rolls that way. Personally, we leave the bells and whistles and walk with lots of talking, laughing, and bear spray. One or two are known to carry - but I still don't.

In EVERY season there are copious amounts of leaverites....the stuff you discover and decide to "leave er right" where you find it.....Does your family use this term? It's a term made popular by Dad G when Michael was a young boy.

 Sometimes these things are left on the trail. Often, helpful hikers have collected them and left them at the trailhead. I call them trailhead treasures and I look to find at least one on every walk/hike. Unfortunately, I didn't think to snap photos until this spring - during the Covid mandates....when life was slooooowww enough for me to think such thoughts.

Without further ado a few of the trailhead treasures we've found this spring and summer....we left them all with the hopes their owners will remember where they lost them. Most likely the Fish and Game employees scoop up whatever is left and take them to the big bin in the sky.
Hats are popular spring trailhead treasures

Sure to notice the next time one needs gloves

Birch dressed for spring
The finder here gets points for creativity

A sure sign you're hiking in April - ice cleats left on a trail....how did those get left on a trail? I haven't a clue. LOL 

An obvious placed treasure - right at the trailhead up the street from our place. It was a fun surprise one fine May/Covid morning.

Treasures show up at local parks too 

Maybe the hat wanted to enjoy the view a bit longer

We've transitioned to summer - and maybe I should start a new post....there are no ice cleats, hats or gloves to be left behind. Naturally, one would expect to find fewer trailhead treasures. Unfortunately, one finds MUCH more trash than treasures left behind in the summer.

However, at a popular fishing spot, we found these - SOCKS. Our first pair of socks - and a pretty pair too. I was tempted - many of you know my sock fettish - but I LEFT THEM!

Any guesses as to what trailhead treasures we'll find next?

The adventure continues.

And, yes, I should be working on fish camp prep - getting right on it, NOW. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Fish Camp 2020 (Dip-Netting) Prep

After the success of prioritizing yesterday, I picked 4/5 must dos from today's list. Walk, Submit paperwork to IDEA, take Millie to the Vet,  run a couple of errands, and hopefully get some snacks baked for our upcoming dip-netting trip.

We ran into a baby moose while walking. The photo didn't turn out and I wasn't getting closer. We were sure Mama was somewhere - but we never saw her.  After Millie and Stacia went home I walked another 3 1/2 miles....I saw a group of wild turkeys...which was fun. Those photos also didn't turn out. LOL

Yes - I DID get everything done. I wrote about Millie's vet in the previous post.

While out we ran by the library and then by a local shop in town which had been recommended for screen printing. I love to shop local.  Krista and Stacia had found a bunch of clearance t-shirts at Joann's. Sizing was limited - but we snatched them up and we'll just make the sizes work. When I went in with my idea for t-shirts Ron said he needed a vector file.  I thought I COULD make it work - but I KNOW SOMEONE who is GOOD at putting together graphics and is much quicker than I. I emailed Rachel in Japan and she put together a graphic. It was just what Ron needed. We love it.

Did you check out the details? A salmon wearing a mask...the words, "If you can read this you're too close".....snort. Alright, I crack myself up. Dip-netting IS combat fishing. There is now way people will NOT invade our 6 foot bubble...but we may as well laugh as we harvest our fish.

I finished  meal planning for the trip.

I baked keto brownies (in other words SUGAR FREE for me) and regular brownies for the rest of the tribe.

I got a call from the local doctor that I've neglected to get labs they wanted me to get over a month ago. Bother. I'll make that a priority tomorrow. I had forgotten they changed my thyroid meds and wanted to check labs in 30 days. 

When we got home from town Krista and Nolan were MOWING....this is a job which takes hours and needs to be done every couple of weeks....it looks so nice when it's all done.  Of course, that sent me to the garden...and I lost 1 1/2 hours out there.... We've had some rainy days/week...and I didn't weed. The chickweed grew as fast as the squash did....BUT we'll be gone another 5 days so I'm hoping to find time to get out there and weed. Today, I cleared out the squash patch and started on another section.

I found the start of broccoli in the midst of the chickweed.  

Last summer we bought 3 picnic tables. The girls and I painted them turquoise. I love them. When everyone is over it IS nice to have 3 tables in the yard...but when they aren't....we only need one. I have been saying for months that I want a patio table. I envision something like a cafe table...but we had picnic tables sitting down below...and it WOULD be nice to have dinner outside - without having to take everything down the stairs and out to the yard.....I commented again and asked Nolan or Krista to measure and see if it would fit. I wasn't sure we could carry the thing up the steps - they are heavy....but they told me it fit...and before I knew it they enlisted Alex and we ate outside on the deck tonight.
It makes me smile. We'll be able to study, journal, paint rocks (maybe not - grass is easier to clean than the deck) do crafts..... eventually I may move another one to the orchard or out into the garden....so many options.  It only two 2 winters for me to realize if we moved the rockers to the end of the deck rather than in front of the windows, they wouldn't blow over and hit the window....Dad likes the faux Adirondack chair. He likes to sit in it and watch the birds and mountain and so I moved it in place too...it's a bit crowded...but I think we're going to like it. Dad said, "Hey, I can eat my bacon and eggs out here!" LOL

Millie Teaches Us Several Lessons

LOOK at her! 10 weeks old...and teaching us so many lessons....
That's my new spatula in her mouth
 Lessons learned: 1. Be SURE to close the dishwasher - spatulas make great puppy teethers, and 2. Be sure to push chairs into the table. To think Michael doesn't want a cat because they climb on the tables.

Millie woke this morning with boatloads of excess energy - she was rambunctious. We've learned in 3 short weeks she needs to be playing, busy, and active to work through that energy...or she bites....shoelaces in this case, but her favorite spot is the back of knees. Often these behaviors clue us in that she is BORED.

Lesson 3: Hmmm....like many of us it takes a bit to actually begin the workout, but in the end we're glad we did it. Millie always ends up liking her walks. 

CoRielle have been bringing Kimber over for puppy play dates. The two of them are amazing to watch. Well....scary-amazing. I swear they are going to kill each other...but tails usually wag, credentials are exchanged, and there is usually no growling....We sent Arielle a Marco Polo during our morning walk. She was JUMPING down the road....

Arielle decided it would be a good idea to bring Kimber over for a puppy play date. 
Photo via Arielle's phone

Cory said Kimber would put Millie in her place and she'd learn proper behavior....but um.... Often Kimber rolls over and lets Millie climb on top of her, biting at her neck and pawing her all over....and when Kimber has had enough she gets up and Millie summersaults away. Kimber is such a patient big doggy cousin.
Photo via Arielle's phone

Every once in a while Kimber forgets how strong she is...and Millie has no clue what appropriate behavior is....but we have found she is much more compliant and sleepy after a good puppy date with Kimber.
Photo via Arielle's phone
Not only did Kimber and Millie have a playdate - Benny was reunited with Auntie Coco

Millie met her new vet today.  It's all curbside and we were sad as we sent her off to her fate. She got her 2nd set of shots. Lesson 4 - sometimes strange places DO REALLY HURT!

The vet  said she's doing fine. He said if she likes to walk - it's fine for her to walk as far as she wants to walk, we had been told it was too early. He also said some dogs love to run and if she seems to enjoy it she can begin running with Stacia at any time, rather than waiting 18 months. He did say not to run her until she is totally spent...but 3 - 5 miles should be o.k.  He gave us things to keep her away from in order to avoid parvo...and said not to be overly worried about salmon and moose poop. Hey - these are big puppy owner questions up here.

I had thought she could be clipped after these shots...shows how new we are to puppies. It will be another 2 months before she is done with all these shots....and THEN she can visit a groomer. I wonder if the problem is the clipping or just going where others dogs are. Maybe we'll need to learn how to trim a labradoodle.

Let's see  - Millie  got into the garden and romped in the corn rows G Dog had weeded.

She has started peeing in the HOUSE....and so we are stepping up her training in that area. Feel free to share your ideas. I'm SO thankful we only have one carpet in our house.

Through it all - we love this dog. She is MUCH better at biting. Cat and Travis were a huge help in this area, as was a Zak George YouTube Video.  Michael says her attitude reminds him of his childhood dog. She's cuddly and loving and pure fun....with quite a bit of chaos added in. She's perfect for us. AND NO HAIR...we shed more than she does!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Top Three Things - Tuesday

Early this morning I received a text with this photo. And, I KNEW. 
Via Krista's phone

Krista had cleared quarters and was on her way to the airport in Montgomery! Such excitement.

Millie was a bit excited too. "What, you don't WANT me on the leather couch?" 

 I totally understood why I  didn't work out yesterday - but it frustrated me  I didn't figure out how to make it work.  Yes, I'm always open to flexxing and schedule changes....but this week I have about 3 pages of things to get done before Saturday.  I decided, rather than ping ponging around the to do list, I would choose 3 top priorities and make sure they got done.  Time with Jesus and picking up Krista were givens for the day. I chose a walk, paying Dad and our bills (and MAILING Dad's), and emptying and cleaning the Salmon Freezer. 

At the exact moment I settled on 3 Top Things ...my phone rang! Alex needed a ride home from work. I suspected it was a bit early for him to be at work. He spent one more day with antibiotics and around the clock Ibuprofen and Tylenol. I think he's good to go for tomorrow. 

It began to feel like dejavu as my mind spun up on how to make the best out of this trip to town...but rather than run off on 8 errands  because I had to go to town to get Alex....I focused on getting home and working on the THREE TOP THINGS - the PRIORITIES. 

Stacia and Millie joined me for a 2 mile walk. During this walk we encountered a horse...a horse which crossed the street to meet Millie. YIKES. 

It was a nice walk, but my goal for today was at least 5 miles....Sunday's walk was cut short by moose and Monday's walk didn't happen.  I took off to walk another 3 miles. In the end I decided to go another 4 miles, for a total of 6.2 miles...it was such a gorgeous day.


I  told Dad I thank God everyday I am no longer a medically induced vegan during lunch. This had chicken breast and a bit of feta cheese in addition to all the produce and nuts. 

Michael headed off for an appointment. Feeling sufficiently satisfied, I headed to my desk to work on bills. Dad took the opportunity to get out in the GARDEN. He said the corn rows needed hoeing...they did. It's been raining for nearly a week and I need to get in the garden and take care of the wild growth....but the garden did not make the top 3 today. The top 3 are so pressing because the garden has become my favorite place to spend time. LOL  Dad enjoyed it too. 

I had one priority left to give attention to - clean and empty the salmon freezer.  Saturday is the start of our family fish camp 2020....Our immediate family can catch 85 salmon. Josiah and Jamin get 35. BreZaak can catch 65 and CoRielle can get 45 this year.  I think that's 230 fish - though I seriously doubt we all get our limits. Our 65 salmon filled this freezer last year. It's emptied and ready to fill again. No, we are not hoarding. We live at the end of many supply chains and having fish in the freezer means we are at peace living at the end of the supply chain. A moose is on my dream sheet too....and the other freezer will be full of garden produce.

Tomorrow we will see if we can fit this into the RV. LOL 

Michael arrived home and he and I raced out the door for Anchorage. We had a plane to meet. 
Via Krista's phone

We are all thrilled to have our resident Air Force chaplain back in the house. 

As I worked through the 3 top things....my mind found a solution to our dip-netting dilemma. Dad had already informed me I was NOT going to miss dip-netting and I knew I'd need to have a talk with him and let him know that is exactly what was going to happen. He just isn't feeling up to it this year and we totally understand and agree it is best for him to stay home. We brought him here to care for him....I didn't plan on leaving him home alone.  As I worked to get meals ready, RV packed, freezer emptied I realized there would be a hole missing in the team if I'm not there. The beach support and the meal prep person - me.  

Nolan is staying home. He will have the weekend off. He'll be here afternoons and evenings. 

Dad sleeps in and then reads the paper and gets breakfast...there were just a few hours to take care of. I wasn't planning to find a solution, I figured this year I just needed to stay home, until a sister friend told me she knew I hadn't asked her opinion, but  a caregiver needs to keep balance and being at fish camp was important to me and the family.  Dad agrees.

It hit me....CoRielle can't come for all of fish camp this year. Arielle and Benny are happy to come over when GG is ready for company to play, have lunch, picnic for a few hours M-W.  

What do you know? A solution. I talked with Dad. I told him why I worry about leaving him alone. I told him I didn't want him to get bored and that Arielle and Benny would like to come over M-W to spend time with him...and Nolan will be home on the weekend.....he loved the idea.

And so now...the list will shift a bit. I don't have to have quite so much meal prep done by Saturday...I do need to keep moving forward on the list and be sure there is something edible left behind - easy dinner plans for Nolan and Dad.

It's been a good day. I would like to think I could get more than 3 things done in a day...but I was pressing all day to master these 3. I'm not sure if I'll chose 3 or 5 things to finish tomorrow. LOL