Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ain't No Sunshine...

Must be Michigan! When you hear that familiar "beep, beep, beep" and see the red banner at the bottom of the TV screen, you know something's up. We are having a "winter storm warning" here in lovely Michigan. This is what we looked at all day.

I ran a quick errand when it was just beginning to snow and by the time I came home the neighborhood roads were slick. I came to a corner going only about 15-20 mph and instead of curving around the corner, I went straight! Thankfully I only slid a short distance before the brakes caught. I had to back up to make the turn but I made it home.
I made it back from California with no problems. It was a miserable plane ride; crying babies, rude row-mates, but only 4-1/2 hours and it was over. It felt nice to sleep in my own bed again and I missed my guys and my fur kids. They were happy to see me but I was old news in no time. Apparently they were well taken care of in my absence.

People who live in California take so many things for granted. While it got chilly there at night and even some days were cool enough to wear a sweater, the beauty of California can't be beat.

These beautiful roses are growing in Ingrid's back yard.

This is a beautiful, tall Hibiscus bush.

And these beauties grow right in her back yard too! You just got out and pick one in the morning...

And then you have these for breakfast!

On the downside, you might run in to these guys in some sections. Thankfully not near where Ingrid lives. These guys were only one of several "teams" I saw as I drove through "Compton".

And I even managed to see one beautiful sunset.

And some long, lost relatives...

But it's always good to come back home again, if only for a few weeks! Because in just 3 short weeks we are on our way to HAWAII!!!!! WooooooHooooooo!

Some of us are not as happy as others about that news...

But not to worry; they'll be well taken care of by their favorite "house sitter and dog spoiler".
Have a good week!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving From (cloudy, cool) California

Ingrid believes I'm bringing this weather from Michigan with me. If it starts to snow I'll finally believe her! It's been rainy, cloudy and cool here for the past few days. Yes, I wish it were warmer but I can't really complain when it's snowing back home.

We didn't really have any plans for today. Yesterday I went to Trader Joe's to buy some fixings for a small Thanksgiving dinner. Then this morning my Great Aunt Shirley called and Ingrid agreed we would go over there for a while. I'm not quite sure she's up to it but I guess we will give it a try. I have mixed feelings. I would like to see my Aunt Shirley but the rest I haven't seen or heard from in probably 40+ years so it will seem a little odd. This may be the only chance I have to see them though so I guess I should.

I find it so amusing that I'm not cooking for Thanksgiving this year but my "men" are. Howard already texted me this morning with a beautiful picture of the turkey breast I bought a couple weeks ago, beautifully browned and ready to eat, along with a Thanksgiving greeting. Howard and Scott will be enjoying a feast together today.

Tyler called yesterday to get a few pointers as he and his roommates are preparing a feast also. He just needed a few tips on cooking mashed potatoes and how long to cook the turkey. Initially he had planned to spend the day at the beach but I guess the guys there in Hawaii got a little homesick and changed their minds and decided to cook instead.

Amber and Andy are joining some friends there in Virginia. They are still unpacking and organizing from their move last weekend. That's hard to do when you work the long hours they do. I know they will be excited tomorrow when their new couch is delivered as they sold their old couch several weeks ago and have been sitting in chairs since then.

I miss you guys and can't wait until we are all together again in just a short 25 days! That's just a little more than 3 weeks guys! Woo Hoo!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Monday, November 24, 2008

At Least It's Warm Here...

Yep, warm though not hot. I arrived in Cali on Thursday afternoon. Sadly, after a long battle with cancer, my Dad passed away on Wednesday, November 19. I received the call while at school and went home that night and made arrangements to fly to California the next day. Ingrid had already handled probably the most difficult part (thanks to a friend of my Dad's who helped her make the arrangements), which was the decisions at the Mortuary. My Dad wanted to be cremated so that's what will be done.

I'm just trying to keep Ingrid company while she starts going through this process. At this point there's not much else to do. Of course she's not ready to dispose of anything or reorganize or anything like that so most of our time is just spent sitting with her reminiscing about their lives or her life as a child. Let's just say she needs to talk. I'm just trying to make sure she eats and gets some rest. Sounds simple, I know, but she does have a mind of her own and she's not afraid to use it!

Amber and Andy moved into their new place last weekend. I know they are going to love having a place to call their own and to decorate the way they choose. The floors and counter tops are in so that will feel fresh and new for them. I can't wait to take a road trip sometime soon and see it!

Tyler is busy finishing up his semester. It will be over in just a couple weeks and I told him he really should start cleaning now for our visit next month!! That's right, less than a month away now. We will all be headed for a warmer climate and 10 fabulous days in Hawaii!! Tyler said he hoped the weather then won't be like it has been the past few days. I guess there was some type of depression hanging over the islands and all it did was rain for 3 days! Yea, I'm hoping that doesn't happen too.

Howard and Scott are holding the fort down in Michigan and taking care of my little fur kids. Howard tells me he's not spoiling them like I do but that they are alive and well. I know they will survive. I do feel bad about leaving them all by themselves for Thanksgiving but I know they will survive that too. Howard will attempt to cook his first turkey breast!

This morning when I spoke to Howard he said he had just come in from shovelling the driveway! Snow, already! Compared to Michigan it is absolutely gorgeous here. In the evening you can sit outside in just a light sweater or sweatshirt. The best part of all though is seeing the sun. Every day. Warm and sunny, together. Not gray, just sunny. It really makes me think about packing up and moving somewhere warmer! And somewhere sunnier, let's not forget that!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another gray, cold, rainy, snowy weekend...

Brrrrr, it's been cold! Just take a look!

Here's the gray part.

We didn't do much this weekend. Saturday was spent doing chores, fun stuff like that. Then in the afternoon we went to see the new James Bond movie (don't waste your money, wait for the DVD) and then to Stir Crazy for dinner.
Today I went to Kohl's to try to find some clothes as I'm desperate. I didn't have much luck, a pair of jeans and a couple shirts. I made a loaf of rosemary/olive oil bread. I am now finally able to make a loaf that pretty much comes out the same each time. Late this afternoon we took the dogs up to the high school field. It was so cold because the wind was blowing! The dogs really needed to get out though and didn't want to stop playing. My fingers were frozen and H looked like he was going on an expedition to Alaska so it was time to go! Since it's rained most every day this past week they haven't gotten out to run much and they needed the exercise.
Charlie was being quite a stinker this morning. This is the spot he likes to survey his kingdom from on the weekends. He can see all the comings and goings from this spot.

He was enjoying chewing on his little fox toy this morning.

Just a big goofball.

Amber and Andy spent the weekend painting their new condo. They've been sending picture updates from time to time. The place is lookin' good and it's a good thing since they move in next weekend!

Scott went over to Michigan State to visit some friends Saturday so it was quieter than usual around here.

We haven't talked to Ty in a while. Every time I think of calling him it's too early. I'm sure he's very, very busy studying and going to school and in his spare time working whenever he can!

I spoke to Ingrid on Thursday. My Dad was still hanging in there. The Dr. has now prescribed pain medication every 4 hours, without him having to ask, and has said Ingrid may visit whenever she likes instead of having to follow the visiting hours the hospital posts. Ingrid also said the Dr. was talking about possibly releasing my Dad from the hospital tomorrow to go back home. Ingrid will definitely have to hire help as she can't possibly do all they do in the hospital by herself.

That's all the news worth reporting. I hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray...

Gray, gray, go away already! What a dreary weekend. Howard said the sun came out for a few minutes yesterday but apparently I was in the basement and missed it! We had some rain yesterday and even a bit of snow today. Thankfully it was just flakes and they melted as they hit the ground. Here's a picture. Those streaks are the flakes.

It was cold and windy too! When I took the pups to the park yesterday we had to wear winter coats and gloves. They always enjoy the cold weather. I guess I would too if I had their lovely fur coats!

Not much else is going on. We had bowling Friday night but didn't do too hot. We only took one game. I missed out on high game by 1 pin (bowled a 181) and actually won the "mystery" pot on that one though I had to split it. I made a whole $12!

The rest of the weekend was spent around the house, doing chores, catching up on laundry, etc. I did speak to Ingrid yesterday and my Dad is still hanging in there. He is out of ICU but she said there isn't much improvement. They are discussing some type of after-care facility as he's not able to go back home yet and Ingrid doesn't want the help of Hospice at this time. That won't happen until later this week though, if then.

Amber and Andy close on their new place tomorrow. Exciting times! The next day the improvements will start and they will be going in all week to do the painting. Luckily they have the rest of the month to move in as they have their apartment until the end of November. So exciting!

This next week should be pretty calm. Last week after getting back from LA we had conferences on Tuesday and Thursday night. It made for a long week!

I saw this little guy at the feeder this morning. There wasn't much left after the raccoons have been at it all week! They are so brave. The other night it wasn't even dark yet and there was one hanging from the feeder! Aren't raccoons supposed to hibernate or something?

No pup pictures this week. Sorry Andy. I know how you look forward to them. I'll have to pull one (or three) out of the archives!

Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm Back

I'm back and must be suffering from jet lag! I'm so tired. It didn't help that the last morning in Cali, at the hotel, at 4:30 in the morning, the fire alarm jetted me out of bed from a sound sleep! Scary stuff, followed by an announcement that we must immediately evacuate the building! Thankfully it was all a false alarm but on top of everything else from the weekend it robbed me of a couple much needed hours of sleep.

The weekend was spent mostly at the hospital visiting with my Dad. His condition has worsened. When I got there on Friday I learned he had developed pneumonia. He spent the weekend getting breathing treatments between fits of coughing and pain medication. We said our good-bye's on Sunday evening as I had to leave Monday morning. When I called from the airport Monday to say I had arrived safely, Ingrid said she had received a call from the hospital at 7:30 a.m. saying they had to move my Dad to ICU except there were no beds available in ICU so instead they moved him down to emergency with his own ICU nurse. I wasn't sure he would survive that day. Apparently he now has a lung infection and possible kidney infection. At this point all I can hope for is a peaceful end to this suffering. He has fought so hard, as has Ingrid, to stay alive but I just don't believe he has much of a quality of life anymore. It was a tough visit but one that was needed, by all 3 of us I think.

Today was a busy day, first voting and then it was also conference day at school. We had a work day with no students this morning and then conferences this afternoon. Thursday night we have conferences again and then we can all breathe again.

Right now we are watching the election results. So far things are looking good for Barack Obama. I don't want to count my chickens but I am hopeful!

I took some amazing pictures of our beautiful country from the plane on the way to Cali and on the way back. Some of the places I could see from the plane looked like very interesting places to visit. Sometimes a road seemed to go on forever, through nothing but desert, not a building in sight. Amazing!

Flying into LA

The Rocky Mountains from above

The left coast

These clouds were amazing! They look so different when seen from above.

The flat lands and fields of the Midwest

My Dad's favorite rose

Have a happy rest of the week!