Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday was a family day. My cousin Rachelle came to brunch with Bob, her Significant Other. She had told me about him when she was in Phoenix in January, and I was looking forward to meeting him. The four of us had a great time, and Mom and I enjoyed getting to know him. In the Trivia Department: Rachelle was surprised to find that she's not the only 'list maker' to add something to a 'to do' list after it's already completed just for the sheer satisfaction of crossing it off. :)

After they left, Mom and I headed over to visit her parents, my Uncle Allen and Aunt Helen. Allen is Dad's younger brother, and looking at him is almost like seeing Dad again. By the time we left their place it was starting to rain. We adjusted our original plan of going out to dinner later and instead we picked up some takeout Chinese on the way home.

In the evening we played some rummikub and then while Mom made some phone calls I finished up the last season of Prison Break. The surprises just kept coming, and I have to admit that it did not end the way I expected.

Today Cindy (who lives in Great Falls, VA) drove over and joined us for lunch at The Pub. We met at the beach years ago when our daughters Lisa and Haley became friends, and continued to rendezvous for our annual week at the beach every year after that. She and Haley are leaving on Thursday to visit family in Colorado (where they've had some recent serious snow... and more predicted for Wednesday. Meanwhile, back home in AZ it's supposed to be 101 today. Go figure!) The three of us enjoyed reminiscing and catching up; last time I was in visiting Mom we couldn't get together because Cindy was out of town

It's been raining off and on today (as predicted) and is going to be rather cool for the next several days. It appears that I may not have brought enough warm clothes with me.

Mom's off for an early dinner downstairs before her Monday night bridge game. I'm certainly not hungry after our late lunch; my plan for this evening is some reading and TV, and then the leftover Chinese whenever I finally do get hungry.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I was awake (pre-alarm) around 4:00 this morning so there was no problem being ready to head out for the airport at 5:30. First wrinkle of the day occurred on I-17 when we encountered lots of traffic, prompting Tom to wonder where all these people were going so early on a Saturday. Then we read signs that said "3 left lanes closed ahead" - turned out they were preparing everyone to exit at Cactus, which of course had us wondering if we'd make it on time. But we were able to get right back on - looked like they just chose today to install new lights at that exit. A little further on another sign advised that the entrance ramp to I-10 west was closed because of an accident (which indeed looked very nasty) but since we needed I-10 east that one didn't impact us. There were no more adrenaline rushes during our drive and we actually arrived at the SWA curbside baggage a few minutes ahead of schedule. There was no one in line so I had plenty of time to fill out a card and pop it into the only mailbox at the airport. At this point I headed for my gate. There was no line at security which turned out to be a very good thing, because when I got to gate B16 I found myself at the wrong place... It was a USAir gate...I had been looking at my boarding number! By the time I raced over to the SWA gates (naturally not terribly close) they were already boarding the A numbers. But all's well that ends well. Not only did I get the seat I wanted, but the middle seat remained empty, which is always nice. There was considerable turbulence (at times the flight attendants had to take their seats) but on the plus side we arrived early. And as Tom predicted, my lunch (smoked brisket, strawberries and cantaloupe, celery sticks, and cookies) was probably the best food on the flight. The only thing I was missing was a chocolate bar; Tom's seemingly unending stash of large Hershey bars apparently ran out a few days ago. (I would have had time to stop to pick one up if I had paid attention and gone to the correct gate to begin with, so I have nobody to blame but myself.) We also had a couple of poopies in the cabin, sharing a small kennel with great mesh visibility. Reminded me of all the times I flew with Echo, although she was way too big to be allowed 'upstairs' with me. I'm happy to report that my luggage made the same trip I did, and Mom pulled up at the curb about a minute after I got out there. Good dinner and now nothing left to do except make up my bed and relax the rest of the evening. ;)
Yesterday was not quite as laid back and relaxing as I had expected.  After I got my mani and pedi, a new lithium battery at the jewelry store for my watch (long overdue, and of course I don't want to 'run out of time' on my trip), and cash (always comes in handy!) I arrived back home to find out that we were meeting Alex on his dinner break at 5:00 for a Finished With Chemo celebration.  

Unfortunately we were scheduled to let the irrigation water go at 6:00, so I had to make arrangements for Ben or Estera to do that for us.  That certainly helped me enjoy my dinner without stressing out about getting home in time.  Also before I knew about our dinner plans Patti had texted me to see if it was okay to swing by and see me after work, and arrived shortly before we had to blast off for Carrabba's.

Dinner was delicious (always is - that's why I chose Carrabba's!)   I'd been hankering for one of their melt-in-your-mouth steaks, but when we got there I was enticed by one of my long-time favorites, tilapia nocciano.  By the end of dinner I was stuffed from their 'to die for' bread (love the wonderful herbs they add to their olive oil), a Caesar salad, al dente green beans, along with that delicious fish, and <gasp> could have skipped the Chocolate Dream cake... but Tom had pre-ordered one.  The three of us shared, but
I couldn't manage to eat my usual share, so Alex had to take up the slack there. He also got to visit with many of the employees still there from when he worked there.  And we got quite a surprise when Tom got the check - the manager (who stopped by to chat with us) ended up comping half of it, which was totally unexpected.

Once home I did some of that pesky last minute packing.  Pretty sure I've got everything, though that usually means I won't think of what I'm missing until we're already heading to the airport.  I watched a little Prison Break before bed (Tom crashed quite early - yesterday was his mow-the-ditch day, never an easy task) but I still have 3 episodes to go. I'll just have to hope to find some time here and there at Riderwood to head downstairs and finish it up before we head out over the big puddle.  Otherwise I could miss out on some sleep, 'wondering' LOL if it'll have a happy ending.  It's one exciting episode after another, and the twists just keep on coming.

Looks like this is my final entry for a bit.  

And unless something VERY unexpected happens, no more illustrations or photos to spruce up my prose.  Sorry, folks!

Friday, April 26, 2013

My last chemo was anti-climactic; as expected, I slept through most of it - and then some!  The brownies were a bit hit with the staff and other patients; everyone wanted to know where I got them, so there could be a run on Safeway brownies today! My phone rang and woke me up about 90 minutes after Tonya removed my 'feeding' tube; it was Alex, wondering where I was.  He had stopped by the house to congratulate me on finishing up.  

When I got home a little before 2:00 Tom's truck was here but he was gone.  It turned out that he and Alex had gone out for lunch together.  I stretched out on my bed to watch more of the last season of PB (working hard to finish up the series before I leave tomorrow) and ate a late lunch/early dinner of leftover smoked brisket, which was just as good cold as the night before. 
Some time around 6:00 I went back into nap mode, and didn't wake up again until midnight.  (Tom had said that Alex was going to stop in again later after class, but if he did I was fast asleep.)  Lay there for a while, and then took my trusty little blue pill, which I haven't needed for some time.  So I got a really good night's sleep... slept in until a little after 7:00  Of course I immediately got on the computer and logged in to get my Eager Beaver boarding number for tomorrow, which turned out to be B16.

That should be high enough to get me my seat of preference, the aisle in the next-to-the-last row (easy access to the bathroom, and the seatback will recline.)  It's also the kids' section, but of course I don't mind that.  In fact I enjoy it.

Today is irrigation and the final stage of packing.  Otherwise, it's relax-and-watch-PB-on-Netflix-day.  I think I am now about halfway through the final season; it'll be iffy as to whether I can actually get to the end, which I assume will have a Happy Ending.

A lot of you have been asking if I'll still be blogging while I'm gone.  It turns out I will have access to wifi at Mom's in the common area at Riderwood, as well as on certain areas of the boat in France.  But since I still haven't figured out how to include pix when blogging via my iPad (if it's even possible?) entries will be text only.  Sorry for the loss of the entertainment factor!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I woke up really, really early today - guess I was just excited to get a start on this wonderful day.  Today is my last chemo!  (I'm bringing in brownies to get the party started.)
And speaking of parties, we had one here last night, with Alex and his roommate Clay, Kaye & Teresa (she brought some yummy pineapple upsidedown cake she'd baked), Rich & Susie, and Ben & Estera and the kids. Tom smoked a brisket and a pork butt, we finally had a chance to open that mega can of ranch beans, and there was also coleslaw and fruit and chips.  The meat came out better than ever (and that's no easy feat because it's always good!) and we all oinked out poolside.  Willie was pretty insistent about "bubbles, bubbles", but despite that I still managed to eat my fair share. 

Alex was thrilled to be offered a lot of the leftovers to take home.
Apparently he's been eating a LOT of PB&J sandwiches...

We checked the humming bird nest - the little one was sitting up with its (very) tiny beak open WIDE, waiting to be fed, but sadly we didn't see any sign of the parents.  
It's still dark outside this morning, but later on I'll go check and see if the baby is still with us.  Alex got a great shot on his camera, but he hasn't sent it to me yet.  When he does I'll share it.

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from the cruise line.  "Somehow" (?) they double-booked cabin 16, so we're being moved to cabin 23.  (Naturally I had just gotten around to filling out my luggage tag a few hours earlier.) Because the new cabin is closer to the engine room  <sigh> we're getting a refund of several hundred dollars, which is nice.  I'm just hoping that the noise does NOT keep us awake at night!

And now I'm off to watch some more of  the final season of Prison Break.  Not sure if I'll manage to finish it before I leave, although I'm giving it my best shot!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I took a break from packing to attend the Busy Bee business meeting this morning. Joni demo-ed chevrons, the next row of this year's project. I've had too much going on to add this project to the mix, but am thinking that chevrons would make a nice border for a future quilt of mine...

Only a handful of ladies had something to share with us at Show&Tell today.  Marjory's Halloweenie quilt was all the more impressive when we discovered that she had designed the blocks herself!  The patterns are available on her blog:   

Doris is almost done with family quilts for all of her grandchildren, with this one being (possibly) the last.  Although she also has 7 (so far) great-grandchildren, they are not on her list.... she's says she's done!

Sharon whipped up this Springtime mini-quilt for a swap; 
naturally we'll be interested to see what she receives in return.

This baby quilt of hers used bright and cheery fun fabrics, right up my alley.

Jan showed off her Goose quilt top (love her batik fabrics/colors!) which she had hoped to give to Pennie today for quilting.  Unfortunately Pennie was a no show; maybe she's too busy quilting on Zach & Bekkah's wedding quilt? <g>

The meeting ended early, and even with a stop at the grocery store (got some goodies to bring to MY LAST CHEMO TOMORROW to celebrate) I still arrived home in time for the service call by the COX guy.  He not only switched out our cable box (which should fix all the issues we've been experiencing lately) but he also made it so we can use a single remote (now that I've finally learned which remote to use for what.... LOL)

Willie was outside 'helping' his Dad do some cement work on their corner irrigation gate, but everyone <g> agreed that 'bubbles, bubbles' with me would be more fun.  While in the backyard we fed Pokey (which as any kid will tell you is lots of fun) and supervised Tom who was continuing to trim the monster oleander hedge.  There was a mini crisis when it was discovered that one sawed off branch on the ground turned out to have a hummingbird nest with a baby in it.  I snapped this quickie with my cell phone.  
Tom wedged the branch back into the same bush where it should be fine unless we get some high winds.  We'll just have to hope that Mom/Dad find the nest, although they may wonder how/why it moved.  It was hard to tell if there's only one baby in there, or a second one underneath.  (It's also possible that one baby fell out when the branch fell; we'll continue to look, of course, but if one fell out it could have gotten scooped up along with some of the trimmings.  We're doing our best!)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tom has been filling up the cans (again) with leaves raked from The Jungle.  We keep saying "next cycle should get them all", but (as noted) we keep on having to say it!  He ended up needing to bushwhack the jungle (translation: 'trim' the monster oleanders, despite 'promises' of NEVER doing that again!) in order to get to the leaves underneath.   

It's hard to tell just how much he's cut, but up until a few hours ago that hedge on the right reached all the way over to the peach tree on the left side of the picture. (note large green trash can in the shade for scale.)

Tom's lost track of how many wheelbarrow loads of branches he's taken over to the bulk trash staging area.

And look how nicely the other hedge (easily 15 feel tall before this winter's 4-day hard freeze) is filling in after Tom had to cut them way back this spring.

I'm about to go refill the hummingbird feeders.  This morning I picked up a baby bottle brush in hopes of being able to get the feeders really clean inside; a paper-towel wrapped around a chopstick just doesn't quite work well enough.

Long wait at the lab to have my blood drawn, but otherwise all went well.  Apryle is going to miss me as a regular; not only did she have "Bobbi's last" on her wall calendar in the room, but she had a gift for me, an Angel of Hope.
What a sweetie!

Next stop was Target, where (along with a few other items on my list) 
I found my belt!

But I do not have good news with regard to my camera battery - no one carries them except Canon; it seems that every camera model takes a different one!  I'll see about ordering one online, and then just have to hope that it arrives at Mom's before we leave!

You know what they say about wearing out your welcome?
Walking from Target to Office Max I saw cheery doormats on sale out in front of Michael's.  (Obviously I may need to scrub down the cement once I get back.)  

When Tom was feeding Pokey yesterday he found a fledgling on the ground out by the jungle, but when he brought me out to see if there was anything I could do it scurried under the oleander hedge.
Most likely it fell from a nest in the cottonwood, unfortunately WAY too high up for us to do anything about it. 
At least it's reasonably safe in our yard for the time being, although some of the neighborhood cats have been known to visit our yard.

And speaking of small birds - Alex mentioned yesterday that he parks under a tree at his apartment, and just above eye level there's a hummingbird nest.  He's seen Mama (or Papa?) flitting about, but has no idea if there are any eggs/babies in there because he doesn't want to disturb the parents by checking it out.  Here's a clip about a rescued baby hummer.

Getting ready to start my day: bloodwork, some errands, and then Volunteer Luncheon at Park Meadows.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Alex came by today to get rid of some of the dead limbs on the tree out front.  I helped by tossing the (closed) saw up to him, pointing out where the dead limbs were, and dragging the downed limbs to the pile to await the next quarterly bulk trash pickup.  Of course I was in Mom mode, and had my cell phone with me, ready to dial 911 should he tumble out of the tree.  Not only was he up pretty high with a saw, but also in some rather awkward sawing positions; a fall could have been pretty disastrous.

I found the perfect belt the other day at Target, but when I went to pack it this weekend I couldn't find it.  Looked everywhere it could possibly be (at least) half a dozen times.  Finally I checked my Target receipt, and it wasn't on there.  I'm pretty sure I remember taking it out of the cart and placing it on top of my new suitcase at the checkout, but after that who knows what happened to it.  Tomorrow after my blood draw I'll swing by Target again (have to stop in at Office Max and get a new battery for my camera so I'll be right there) and hope that the belt is back on the rack.  They only had one in that style (of course) so I'll have to hope nobody else has grabbed it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

We received a memo from the Irrigation folks yesterday: the Board has voted to increase the hourly rate from $12 to $15.   

While that $3 represents a hefty 25% hike, happily it's not nearly as much as originally discussed; for quite some time there's been serious talk of charging $20/hour. (No surprise that there was a lot of negative feedback regarding that!)  Since the rate has stayed the same in the 14 years we've lived in this house it's been inevitable that at some point they would need to raise the rates.  And now that time has come.
It is necessary that we make this change due to a steady rise in the cost of delivering water to our irrigators. Since our last rate change in 1996 we have faced increasing electric bills, water usage taxes, and insurance, along with an increase in our overhead due to our reorganization under the guidelines of the Maricopa County Irrigation and Water Conservation District.
Since even $15/hour is still WAY cheaper than city water (and with our wonderful oasis we require a LOT of water, especially during the hotter half of the year) it'll still be a bargain - just not quite as large a bargain.
And WMID irrigation water costs WAY less than that!

 Our property needs 2 hours, so the twice-monthly irrigation during the (seemingly unending) Summer had been costing us $48 each month; now that will be $60.  But on City Water I shudder to think how many hundreds of dollars we'd need to spend each month to keep all of our shade trees and bushes thriving.

Yesterday afternoon Summer brought her four boys (ages 2 through 8) over to visit/feed Pokey (I'd saved the previous night's bowl of watermelon, strawberries and lettuce for them), climb trees, taste test grapefruit, and otherwise enjoy our backyard.  Once school is out and the pool has warmed up a bit more I expect they'll find it even more enjoyable.  Dad Karl hauled off Alex's bike ramp, and I expect it'll get a lot of use in a family with 4 little guys with their bikes and skateboards, and any other modes of transportation.

Then Patti came by, and together we came up with a perfect solution for tailoring the new bras I bought for my trip.  EVERY woman will confirm that comfort in that department is SO important... and why so many of us go without whenever possible!!!)

I grilled up some steaks for dinner, and we had just sat down to eat when Alex stopped by (unexpectedly) on his way home from work.  (He sure does clean up nicely.)  We were able to divvy up our steaks and salads (he turned down the baker) which no doubt gave him the strength to then make it home.

An evening trying to watch a movie on TV was frustrated by some serious issues with the cable on various channels (involving both TVs), which indicates to me that it's the feed from their end, and not a sign our TV is dying. I didn't mind the video being outrageously pixelated since it did make for quite an interesting effect, (and no, there were no drugs involved.)  Ours was worse than this.... guess I should have taken a picture!
 Unfortunately the accompanying disruption in the audio made it impossible to follow what was going on, so we ended up watching our current Netflix (a B&W movie from 1934, Academy Award winner It Happened One Night.)  Tom had originally declined to watch it (which was why he opted for a movie on TV), and (of course) there were NO surprises in the plot, easily predicted within the first minutes of the movie.  But as Dad used to say, beggars can't be choosers, right?
And Tom did get a lot of finishing work done on his tomahawks, knives, and frames of points (he's getting ready for a couple of upcoming events) without the distraction of having to really concentrate on the plot.
(He's totally taken over my sewing table, but I won't be using it for the next 5 weeks, so that's okay.)

Now it's Sunday, and the official start of the last week before my trip.  So today I get serious about packing!