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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Waning hours

Full flexion is at 155 degrees. I should have 70 to 90 flexion post op. The rest will be gained during rehab. Can you guess what is on my mind these remaining hours before surgery?
I had my hair done and a pedicure. Tomorrow night a shower using anti bacterial soap and Monday morning at 6AM I'll check into the hospital. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be the first one on the surgery schedule. At this point I just want it done so I can began to recoup.

We have plans for March 17th. Downtown Alive to see Tab Benoit (ben wah)(Grammy winner 3 years ago) playing a free concert for the locals. Downtown Alive is every Friday night and is a music show held in the streets of the downtown area. See where it gets it's name? The streets are blocked off and the bar doors are propped open. Everyone wanders from place to place and out to the street to listen to the bands. Families are there dancing with their children. They start em early here.

In April we plan to go to Independence, Louisiana for the Italian Festival and May to Natchez, Mississippi to tour the cotton mansions.

I have the next few months planned. Goals to reach in walking to keep me motivated. I've never been one to be unmotivated when it comes to rehabilitation. I don't like to be immobile.

I plan on joining a health club and getting the strength back in my legs as soon as I get full flexion. Who knows? Maybe one day I can ski down a bunny slope or a blue diamond run. Ok, now I might just be dreaming on that one. We shall see.
I'm off to bed and some television viewing. One more.

Strike a Pose

Pretending to be asleep





Carrie with her Halloween Fangs.
Carrie was in a goofy mood yesterday.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Two

more days after today. The hospital just called to tell me to be there at 6AM Monday morning to check in. I should be headed for the surgery suite two hours later.

I've been organizing around here in preparation for not being here for a few days.

I'm not much in the mood to spend any time online right now. I'll have plenty of time later. I'm going to take my laptop to the hospital with me. I don't know if I will use it or not but I'll have it in the event I have times of boredom.
More later.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Countdown

Three more days before surgery. I have moments where I'm almost physically sick thinking about it then I have moments where I just want it over and to be out of the hospital. The doctor plans on keeping me in the hospital from 4 to 5 days. As soon as I can show them I can walk, they will release me. I plan on doing cartwheels down the hall the second day. Maybe he will send me home?

I'm also noticing all the things that need/could be done here before I go. I won't be doing any of these things after surgery; I'm trying to catch up now. I'll just have to live with what is until I can move around normally again.

My plans were to get my passport renewed. That WAS my plans until I found out what the dollar was worth against the Euro. I might have to rethink where I can go on vacation when I can walk normally again. At this time the best place is a third world country where our dollar rates even with theirs! I'm thinking somewhere with sombreros and sandals or incense and rice meals. This would not be my trip of first choice.
Updates to follow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On The Way There







In an earlier post I mentioned we had gone to Lake Martin and the swamps yesterday. What I didn't mention was the experience in getting there.



We were on Hwy90, a four lane highway separated by a wide median strip of soil. The speed limit is 60mph on this stretch of road. We were in the left lane of the double westbound side of this highway. Suddenly in the right lane beside me appeared a guy with a motorcycle helmet on and a windbreaker and jeans. The strange thing about this was he was looking DOWN at me as he kept the same speed beside me. I had to look up to where a normal height would be for someone in a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
For a few seconds my brain wasn't processing what I was seeing. I couldn't quite understand how he could be looking down from such a height until I realized he was riding his rear tire only. He rode that wheelie at 60 miles an hour for the next 1/2 mile beside the car I was in. I watched as gusts of wind would slam into him and he would compensate by leaning into the gusts. Behind him was his buddy who was riding his cycle with his body to one side of his bike, both feet together barely missing skimming the pavement. When we approached the next stop light, the wheelie rider dropped his bike back to two wheels and his buddy swung his body astride his bike. Safe!
Riding beside someone on a motorcycle makes me nervous anyway. I'm always in fear they will wreck and slide under my car so I always drop back and let them get some distance between their bike and my car. To watch this guy ride that wheelie at the speed we were going and in the wind that was gusting gave me a queasy stomach. I was relieved when we reached the intersection and made a turn off the four lane highway.
I chalk this up to it being Mardi Gras. Always something crazy to be seen on Fat Tuesday.
The streets downtown were lined with large crowds for the parades. Getting around was impossible. Streets were barricaded. Cars were trying to reverse out of line when they found they were stalled in a long line of cars in front of a barricated road. Any place that had a bare area was taken by campers, bbq pits, chairs and people. Rules of the road are pretty much ignored. I think the only thing the police are patrolling for is drunk drivers. The drive in Daiquiri stores were having a booming business day.
A couple of murders here, a couple in Baton Rouge and more in New Orleans. Yep, a typical holiday for us.

Lake Martin






























Cypress knees that grow up from the roots of the cypress trees.








Yesterday we drove to the swamp to see if the alligators were out of the water sunning themselves. Right now you can still see through the swamp; the vegetation hasn't grown enough to block the view. We saw 3 alligators, lots of turtles and egrets. There were no neutra rats which was strange.
The cypress trees have not leafed out yet so the spanish moss could be seen blowing in the breeze from the branches.



I'll add more pictures to this blog later. I have too much to do to sit here at this computer!

Spring Feb. 24th, 2009




















Monday, February 23, 2009

Brass Horn Musicians




We got up and out early today and went to the Casino for a few hours. It's about 45 minutes from here. The cane carts were lined up beside the highway empty and waiting for the next season of hauling the sugar cane.
Fields on both sides of the highway were sprouting the next crop of sugar cane. Tractors were clearing the irrigation ditches; a new season arrives.
We played the video poker machines and when we ran out of food for them we walked to the cafe. Four musicians were playing Mardi Gras tunes on saxophone, trumpet, and french horn. Mardi Gras beads were gifted to everyone although they weren't the same beads given in the past. I have beads with ceramic faces decorated with feathers from previous years. The ones this year are not ornate. I'm thinking the recession has hit the casinos.
Fat Tuesday tomorrow. Sinning will cease. Ash Wednesday and church anointed ashes on the forehead signals the end of another Mardi Gras.
for web cam views of The French Quarter.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Spree

Today I added a sparkle to the living room. All the glass, brass and crystal glows. The light can filter; no obstruction from the haze that used to cloud the once translucent glass objects. I cleaned the living room. Once started, I stripped the curtains off the windows and washed and rehung them. I was on a cleaning spree; a much needed cleaning.



I cooked a large stew and hubby made some cornbread; daughter and family joined us for dinner.



Tomorrow we will go to the casino and waste a bunch of nickels in the slot machines. I'm tired and sleepy and need a hot shower. I need to have some sparkle and maybe a shower will do the job.



Fat Tuesday is the 24th and we will all go to the Cajun Dome for the festivities and food.

Alligator on a Stick, Chicken on a Stick and Flossie's Funnel Cakes; one of
each please.

Wow!

I saw this on another blog site.




"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another Video

video

Youngsville Parade 2009















The barbeque pit of one family parked on the parade route.
Dressed for fun!
This family loaded up their sofa and recliner onto a single axle trailor and parked on the route. You can double click on these pics to enlarge.
A huge crowd showed up in this small town for the parade. The screams for beads were heard like a roar up and down the street.
VIDEOS:

video

video

Mardi Gras Parade

Everyone here is trying to get a shower and dressed. We are headed to Youngsville for the parade which doesn't start till 1P.M. but parking will be scarce so we will go soon. I don't do many parades; I usually don't do any unless I'm in New Orleans. Too many people and no where to park leaves me wishing I had stayed at home.

I'll go today because I want our house guests to have the Mardi Gras experience and the parades are a big part of the celebrations.

Short post but we are pressed for time here. Happy Mardi Gras to all.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ring Ring?

Ah cell phones! What would we do if we could not be constantly connected? I"m connected through my cell phone and my laptop. If I leave the house my cell phone is attached to my hip via the holder or hidden in the bottom of my purse. My laptop is packed for every trip along with my GPS. I'm connected!

This is Mardi Gras time and one tune you will hear often is the Mardi Gra Mambo song; a catchy tune that makes you want to dance in the middle of the street wearing minimal if any clothing, drink a lot and generally be a fool. I think this is my favorite time of the year just because of the music that is played.

My cell phone has different tunes assigned to the callers I have listed within. Hubby's tune that plays when he calls is the Mardi Gra Mambo.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H09xer9sVXMDaughters call tune when she is calling from her home is the LSU fight song. I don't even have to pick up the cell to know who is calling . The tune says it all.

Yesterday I was out and about in my car and I had left my cell phone at home. Of course I forgot that I didn't have it with me so when I heard the Mardi Gra Mambo song I checked my hip, then started digging in my purse for the phone. I checked under my purse, ran my hand along the floor and was engaged in all sorts of maneuvers to locate my cell. I'm frustrated now. I reach to turn off the radio and that's when I realize where the sound is coming from. It's Mardi Gras stupid..it's on the radio!

Thus far this has happened 4 times in the past week. When I have my cell with me I reach for it and hopefullly it is in it's holder on my hip, flip it open and say "hello". No response so I say louder this time "HELLO" and finally I realize I'm once again hearing the Mardi Gra Mambo on the dang radio. I'm conditioned to pick up the cell when I hear that tune. I'm one of Pavlov's dogs! If someone is in the car with me I just fake it after realizing it's the radio and not the phone and say "dropped call".

One more week and I can respond to my cell phone instead of the radio!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chicken And Sausage Gumbo and Clean Sheets

Yes, I've been busy this morning. I have house guests on the way but they are still a way away. (I'm not concentrating on correct grammar with that) I have the beds freshened up and the vanilla aroma in the electric burners and a big pot of Gumbo on the stove.
Next, I'm going to the store for sandwich fixings. I don't intend to cook a LOT so I'll have quick stuff to eat and little mess to worry about. It's chilly here today so I can get by with making a Gumbo.
I have batteries all charged up for pictures; daughter and kids will come for Gumbo so I can get pics of everyone together. I think I'm ready except for showering and dressing which is where I'm headed right now!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bitch Fest and 11 Days

and counting. Counting down to March 2nd and my up close encounter with my ortho doctor. I suppose an optimist would say "counting up" till the time of surgery and the near future when my knee will be replaced, when I'll be fixed. I should be looking forward to this but I'm not. Right now I can stand and walk; not far and not for long but I still can. A month from March 2nd I should be able to do the same once again. Maybe I should be focusing on March 31st instead of March 2nd.

March 31st I should be able to walk pain free from room to room and maybe even outside. I should be walker free and using my walking stick. I should have more range of motion established with the metal knee. I should be looking forward to this but I'm not. I still have those weeks before I arrive at March 31st.


I warned ya in the title that this is a bitch fest. It' s my blog; I can bitch and whine. This is my diary/journal and this is how I feel right now.


Give me a few hours and I'll be past this. It seems to loom sporadically, this feeling as the time draws nearer. The worst part is the waiting and the knowing. My sister who needs knee replacements X2 says she wants the doctor to do hers the day after he tells her she needs surgery. She wants to bypass the waiting.
I wait for surgery. I wait to heal. I wait to walk. I suppose we all wait for different reasons.
I've waited for payday. I've waited for vacation, for dinner, and in numerous lines to get what I needed or wanted. I should be looking forward to this but I'm not! Call me in a month; I should be past this. Another wait.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shred Today, Gone Tomorrow

The office desk is piled high with "stuff" that needs to be shredded. I used to get at least 5 credit card application offers a week. That has decreased to about 2 a week now; I'm figuring it must have something to do with the economy or it could be because I am doing a little maneuver my sister told be about.

As she instructed, when I get those offers I open the envelope and take out the self addressed stamped envelope they always include with the application. I stuff the application in along with any other junk mail I have here. If I thought I could mail an old empty tube of lipstick or dirty underwear I might try that too. Have I mentioned I hate to shred? I seal the envelope and mail it back to them. I'm hoping they get the message; they had to pay for that return postage and if the envelope has been stuffed with so much junk they might even have to pay extra postage. Maybe that's the reason my offerings have gotten so lean. I'm probably being watched as a subversive or person of suspicion.

Even with less applications, I still have a lot of things that need shredding; things with personal information on them. The alarmists screaming about all the fraud has me nervous so I shred. I wonder how many trees I shred in a month? Speaking of trees sorta, I've noticed that our newspaper has not only gotten thinner but more narrow too. The weekly paper here is many pages less thick and about 5 inches more narrow. Less to write about or less people buying the paper?

One day I'll walk into the grocery store and see only one selection of catsup, mustard and other food products. Generic brands on all the products and only one selection of each item will be displayed. Think of all the advertising dollars saved.

The milk should be labeled "Liquid Gold" and the carbonated drinks have shot up in price. Marketers can't raise the price on those things that are "wants" as you can get by without the "wants" so they are upping the price on those things one "needs" as in food. Food products and gasoline are the only things I see increasing in price. Sales on clothes, and other merchandise are dropping as the demand decreases. Gas in again on the rise. The refineries are cutting production.

Frugal is the new "in" thing to be these days. Soon people will be removing the designer labels out of clothes and bragging they got them from Goodwill? Ok, that might be a bit much but there may be many things "gone tomorrow" in the world as we knew it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stuffed The Stuff

What has taken me so long? I know I haven't taken many breaks yet I am just now finishing up with all the "stuff" I had to do today.

Lastly I washed the big car and cleaned and vacuumed out the interior and cleaned the windows. It's sprinkling rain of course so washing the exterior may have been a futile exercise. At least it smells fresh and clean inside. The Toyota has been parked in the grass for months now and I wanted to move it to the carport so it could be cleaned. Not cleaned today but soon. Of course it wouldn't start so I had to drag the jumper cables out and hook it up to the big car after pulling the big car onto the sodden grass. I thought I would see tracks deep enough to contain a small lake of water but it didn't sink ...much.

I have left it idling on the carport but if it won't start again, at least it will be easier to get to. I backed it in just in case.

Now it's time to get a quick shower and I'll make a determination after that as to IF I feel like leaving the house or going to bed for a nap. I remember when I could get a lot more done, but then of course I didn't need a nap.

It's a dreary day. That's enough of a reason to nap.

Stuff

As I exited the living room to the hall to get to my bedroom last night, I couldn't help but notice what a messy pig I am. There is "stuff" everywhere. The "stuff" is not where it is supposed to be. The kitchen has "stuff" strewn on the counter, the table and the floor.
The bedroom has "stuff" on the dresser and stacked on more "stuff". It's time to start sorting Carrie's last summer's clothes and getting rid of the too small "stuff" and putting her new "stuff" in the drawers.

I woke up at 4AM, smacked the coffee pot to flow and started remedying this mess. The kitchen was first and by the time the coffee was steaming in my cup, I had the sinks and counters cleared. I have a goal today.
I'm going to get all the "stuff" cleared away even if it means pitching a bunch of it to the curb. Fresh sheets on my bed and all the laundry put away and then I'll start on my nasty car.

It's pouring the rain and I can hear thunder rumbling distantly but cleaning the inside of that car won't be affected by rain. I think Carrie and I road-daying all day yesterday and then taking her to Lydia (small town) and leaving her with her dad didn't leave much time for "stuff" organizing.

I delivered her to her Dad because I wanted to pick up a "walker" from her grandparents. I'll be needing it soon and I wanted to make sure I have it here for that time.

This really won't take long as long as I don't take breaks (count this typing as one break). I'm off to find the finish line. My reward will be playing with my Photo Shop program and starting Carrie's 4th photo album. I do one a year and end it and start another each January.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Movie Day

Carrie and I had a special trip today. Her first visit to a movie theatre was a success. We left the house in time to get to the theatre 5minutes before the movie started. There were few cars in the parking lot and nobody at the concession stand except the staff. We got our tickets and collected a child snack pack for her. She stood quietly waiting for me to finish. She took my hand for the walk down the hall; she was observing everything. We got to the door to our movie and stepped inside. I had her wait till our eyes as adjusted to the dim light. Still holding my hand, we moved down the hall and found our seats. She hasn't said a word but I am watching her as she climbs into her seat and faces the screen. Her eyes are roving from one end of the screen to the other and she whispers "It's so big." The movie started almost immediately and her attention was totally on the movie. Occasionally she would extend her hand to mine if the scene was scary for her. She would gasp and giggle and make a remark about what she was seeing. She was enjoying herself and stayed attentive through the whole movie.

I had my doubts about doing this. I thought she may become bored and want to walk around instead of sitting in her seat. Our next time? Ice Age. I already promised her.

A New Experience




Last night I had just finished the last load of laundry and had it in the dryer. I went to reset the timer on the dryer and nothing happened. Not one sound issued from the old hag. I know she has seen better days; I know I should have been shopping for a new one months ago. I checked the plug in to make sure it was still plugged in. No start. I took the laundry out and spread it around the kitchen because it was too late to hang it on the line and the stuff was almost dry anyway.
Today I planned to go shopping for a new one. Last ditch effort, I went to the circuit box and checked for a circuit breaker that might have tripped. Everything looked fine but I turned off and on the breaker and ran to check the dryer. Voila! It runs again.
My plans have changed. I'll shop for a new dryer this weekend. Today Carrie and I are going to see Coraline. She has never been to the big screen. This will be a first for her.
She just got here and I have her dressed and groomed and ready to go. The first showing is at 11:45. We can get in a movie and still get a nap following that. I'm curious to see what she thinks about the big screen animated version of her usual movie viewing.
It's great fun introducing her to new experiences. She will have a load of questions and will be talking about it for days afterwards. She just informed me she still has to put her makeup on so on that note, I'm off to get her mirror and face paint (I'll have a washcloth cleanup before we leave the house).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just Some Sunshine Please

At least that was how my day started. I was up again at 4AM. I was up just in time to catch the storm that was blowing through here. The chimney stack was crackling and popping. I could barely see the trees whipping back and forth in the wind in the darkness and then the rain started. Before daybreak the storm had passed. Right now it's calm. Calm with loads of sunshine. A good day to paint which is what Fidel is doing right now. He hates to paint and usually that is my task.

All my usual tasks are on hold so I'm sitting inside with Carrie watching Tinkerbell.

I've never seen this one. I must have had a deprived childhood. I don't remember staying indoors and watching cartoons. Were Disney cartoons around when I was a child? I do remember the first time watching TV. The grandparents had a television and I can still remember seeing the sailboat on the waves.

Eventually my parents got a TV. TV in my parents home was for watching the evening news. My parents kept us too busy to sit around during the day watching TV. If we weren't busy with chores, we spent our time outdoors and in the woods.

The television memory leads me to the current day. A journey of technology with TV, cordless phones, then cell phones; typewriters to word processors to computers to internet and vinyls to 8 tracks to cassettes to CD's to Ipods; a journey I've witnessed in my lifetime. I can only imagine what the next 10 years will bring.

To close out my afternoon, Carrie came into the living room after spending only an hour for her nap. I called her over to me; she was distressed. As she got close, a sour smell wafted through the air. She had vomited; she was tearful and she needed a bath. I hate it when I get nauseated and vomit. I don't know why, but it makes me feel so defenseless. I figured she felt the same way so I held her as long as my nose could stand it, then we headed for the bathroom and a tub of water. I had to shampoo her hair and we did a fast bath. I dressed her in p.j.'s, put a movie on for her and spent the next hour holding her. She just wanted to be held.

She went home with her mother and I'm still doing linens. Maybe tomorrow we shall just have sunshine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Adult Life Starts at 6PM




Carrie leaves at 6PM or shortly thereafter. Puzzles are packed away, crayons and coloring books are shelved and the doll is ignored in a chair for another day. The television is dedicated to the news of the day; the sounds of TV cartoon heroes fade till she returns.

On the flip side of this, Carrie takes her giggles and laughter home with her. Her spontaneous show of affection and her spinning, jumping and dance maneuvers are gone for the day. The questions she asks and the entertainment she provides goes out the door with her.

The instant she leaves I start missing her. While she is here a nap seems so important to me. A nap for me. An interrupted shower is a wish that goes unfulfilled while she is here. Then....
It took a while for me to develop a strategy to have some "me" time. Breakfast is served to Carrie in her high chair pulled up in front of the big screen. I race to the bathroom for a quick shower; no time for a long bath. I can usually get bathed, dressed and do something with my hair before she calls out that she is "done".

Anything done following her breakfast time in her high chair is done with her helping. This help will cause any chore to be increased 3 fold in the time taken to get it done. Lunch time and it's back to the high chair for Carrie. I can use this break to get beds made, floors swept and mopped and soon I hear her call out "I'm done".

2PM and nap time for Carrie. I would love to take a nap with her but usually don't. I do have to lay down with her tills she falls asleep then I sneak out of bed and have a quiet time unless something needs to be done.

4PM and Carrie is up again and ready to be entertained and entertaining till 6PM or shortly thereafter. I cannot remember what I did before Carrie started spending her days with me. I know I wasn't bored. It doesn't really matter though. Soon enough she will be going to school. Soon enough she will find friends she would rather spend her time with. Soon enough she will be grown. Now is her time for us.

Sleep Less

Damn it! I've been up since 3:30AM. I grabbed a blanket and a pillow and squirmed around a while till I found a comfortable position on the sofa. I figured I might drift off for a few hours. With the TV on and the volume set to "low", I was almost there.
The phone started blaring so I put away the thought of catching a few hours of sofa sleep time.
Ted wanted to know if I wanted to take him to Burger King for breakfast. I declined as politely as I could seeing that I was less then happy to hear the phone ringing.
Once again, I position my pillow, arrange my blanket and find my comfortable position and again the phone rings.
What's up with this? My phone doesn't ring this often in a whole week. Now it's a brother calling. We talk for a while and I'm seeing daylight flood my living room. Enough already. I'm up. I'm going to be dragged out and sleepy by 11:00AM but I guess this is it for sleep for me today.

Maybe I'll turn on the depressing national news. I'm looking for an unStimulus moment. That should do it!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Hop, Skip and A Jump

I'm carrying on as unusual. Usual for me would be to do some of the things around here that I had on my "to do" list. I wanted to move everything out of the living room and paint the ceiling and walls and redecorate the whole space. I wanted to order a new bedroom suite. I wanted to paint the laundry room and replace the counter and faucets. I wanted to paint the office and replace the desk in there with a smaller one.

I'll get it done but it won't be soon. I have 20 days remaining. 20 days till I voluntarily enter into an agreement with my surgeon to be incapacitated for the next 3 months. I'll be able to walk but it will be measured in steps. Steps that will eventually lead to a few minutes to hours of walking. I keep telling myself "one year from today you will be all ambulatory once again".

I find myself focusing on people walking with that springy bounce to their step; I watch them spin to turn and crouch down and sit on their heels. I see them run to catch a bus, dash to get out of the rain and skip up stairs. I'll admit it. I'm envious of their ability to do these things. I remember when I could do these things.

That is my goal. This time next year..this time next year..this time next year.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

LaZee Sunday

Today was a lazy Sunday sort of day and thankfully it was Sunday. The weather is just perfect; perfect for me. Sunshine without lots of heat and a soft puff of breeze now and again. We cruised around town here and made a few stops at some of the stores then found a bistro for lunch.

The outdoor tables were filled with others feeling the need to be fed and frolicked by the weather. Too soon it will be too hot to enjoy an outdoor table but right now it's a perfect place to be.

This was our first visit to this new eatery and the food was great. We had burgers and fries and hotdogs. I know. You are wondering how those foods could warrant a mention. It's the bread. It's not the typical bread beneath that burger and that hotdog.
It's a crusty french bread from one of the local bakeries and the bakeries here are awesome. My hamburger was on a square bun; husband's hotdog was more like a sausage then the typical hotdog. It was a Nathan's hotdog with some great chili, onions and cheese and the bakery hotdog bun crunchy and all goodness. Beers were "two for one all day everyday" which was happiness all over husband. I had my usual water with lemon and we both enjoyed our long drawn out as possible lunch. We were in no hurry to be anywhere. We kept that pace all day.

Today was a rest day. Today was a lazy Sunday.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Orleans/Mardi Gras Day 1












We got up early this morning, hurriedly showered and dressed and loaded our cameras into the truck and headed away from the house. We had no idea where we would end up but it was just too nice a day to stay home. The sun spiked the temperatures to 75 degrees with an occasional cloud that pretended to threaten rain.

We drove the back roads for a while then entered the interstate at Breaux Bridge and headed east. The first stop was for boudin balls and meat pies which we munched while heading east.

We drove around Baton Rouge and thru LSU's campus; the campus was deserted as it should be on a Saturday. Eventually we made it to New Orleans. I was surprised to see the crowds this year. Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has never seemed as crowded it was pre Katrina. We walked to Cafe Dumonde and waited for a table. We waited and waited. This is normal. The place was packed. Eventually I did find a table then waited again for the wait staff to find us. The beignets as usual were perfect. Cafe au lait and beignets is a must stop for me every time I'm in the city. Crowds were everywhere. The street mimes, tap dancing children, artists, and dancers were hawking their talents.

We eventually made it to the River Walk and watched the traffic on the Mississippi River. We could see paddle wheelers, barges and ocean tankers in the water; bikers, skateboarders and strollers on the levy. The homeless were out with their closets packed into their shopping carts and busily talking to themselves. In the background you could hear the jazz bands playing and spontaneous dancing by the crowds; New Orleans is a noisy city. Sirens, music and people make for a city that whirls and spins with laughter and music. Mardi Gras just amps it up even more then usual.

We spent some time driving down St. Charles and looking at the mansions built by the cotton and sugar cane moguls. The streetcars on St. Charles were making their frequent stops and starts catering to the visitors and the locals that use them for transportation to and from their jobs.

We cruised Bourbon Street and inched down the street among all the crowd that walked in the middle of the street until a vehicle came through and moving leisurely to allow for traffic. A wedding party dressed in black with the bride in a black and white gown marched ahead of us giving way when they heard the trucks' approach.


We had dinner at Tony Medina's on Canal Street. This is the first time we have been back to Medinas' since the hurricane. The previous times we have driven by seeing all the kitchen appliances sitting on the sidewalk; the building was devastated from the hurricane. It has been remodeled and now open again for business. Canal Street is almost back to normal. Palm trees have been replanted down the center of the street; the street lamps have been repaired and the stores are no longer boarded up.

We didn't go to the Lower Ninth Ward this trip so I don't know how much restoration has been done there. There is still a lot of cleanup to be done but the crowds are back which will help the city recover.


I love driving through the 'Quarters and watching the people and there were lots of people to watch. By 6PM you could spot the tourists. Glassy eyed and staggering or screaming, dancing and flashing their "hurricane glasses" of drinks these guys were never going to be conscious at midnight.

A friend bought an apartment on Boubon Street immediately after Katrina from a man that wasn't staying around for the next one; the next hurricane. The apartment is on the sweet end of Bourbon. It is a double apartment; two apartments bought and connected by remodeling and tearing down the adjoining wall. Steve was having a gathering there; cooking a chili and drinking beer with friends before the parade. We were invited to attend. No parking spaces to be found anywhere close to his apartment so we headed home. Maybe next time.

This will probably be the last time I visit New Orleans pre surgery. When I am in walking mode again, it will be too hot to go and I don't do New Orleans in the heat of summer.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Change in Plans

A change in plans. Instead of spending the day outdoors, I called the United Blood Services for their hours of operation. With a Carrie-less day, it was the perfect opportunity to go and get those 2 units of blood drawn and banked for surgery.

I thought I would have to make two trips but after checking my 'crit, they were able to draw both units. Interview over, all paperwork completed and I was escorted to a recliner to wait for the lab lady to start. She ties off my upper arm with a blood pressure cuff and inflates it. Spotting a vein, she zeroes in with a 17gauge needle that looked like a garden hose. Ok, I'm a coward. Needles are not my friend.

Oh, you might say "but you're a nurse". My answer to that is "I'll do the sticking. I like it better when I'm the sticker and not the stickee". I grimace, gasp and tense up. Then I feel like a fool. It's barely noticeable when the needle goes in. It's my imagination that hurts the most. All that anticipation is wasted on something barely felt.

I watch as the blood is drawn out and into the tubing and disappears into the centrifuge. It's spun down in the centrifuge and separated from the platelets and plasma. The platelet/plasma bag begins to fill with an off white liquid. My platelets/plasma is being saved. Soon the cuff deflates and I know it's time to start receiving the plasma and platelets back. One down, one to go. The whole process is repeated again. I can taste a chemical taste in the back of my throat.

I've sat and watched at least 2 other donors take their seats and get hooked up to donate a unit of blood. I watch as they finish and get up and leave. I feel a whine coming on. The first donor gets up and leaves and another arrives. I'm still sitting there watching. Finally I said "Why is she done already", and as I say this I realize I sound like someone sitting at Denny's and noticing that customers arriving after you have been seated and are getting their order of food before you.

I'm not only getting more units pulled; I'm also donating packed red blood cells only. I am getting back the plasma and platelets. Silly me! I know this but the whine was out before I could stop my mouth it's wayward unruly irrational whine.

All in all, it wasn't that much time. It had to be done and now it is. One more step closer. One more step to the time when I'll be able to take many steps without the use of my walking stick.

Maybe Dwyers tomorrow!

Freedom Day

Carrie spent the night at her house last night. This morning I got out of the house early to do some shopping and hurried home to be here when her mother dropped her off to spend another day. At the supposed time of her arrival her mom called to say she would be spending today and the weekend with her dad. I didn't know this so I didn't make any plans to do anything . Now I'm at a stand still. Re planning is in order and soon.



The weather is cooperating for a day spent outside. Maybe lunch at my favorite outdoor table at Dwyers. Dwyers is a "for locals" place. It's been in business for many many years and all the locals know about it. It misses a lot of the tourists but that has never hurt their business. They serve blue plate specials of the local fare. It's either smothered or fricassed. Bread pudding is usually on the menu and rice and lots of it is served with your smothered or fricassed whatever meat they are serving that day.



I'm outta here to enjoy my unexpected freedom day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sweetheart

Carrie got her box of chocholates early or this might be the first of more to come. Valentines' Day is still weeks away. Consumerism! it's a wonderful thing. I think most holidays should be abolished. We escape from Christmas right into Valentines' Day followed a hop away from Easter and St. Pat's day is mingled in there somewhere. I suspect that some business owner encouraged all these holidays to boost sales for the year. Now there is even a Grandparents day along with Mothers' and Fathers' day.

Let's declare a "holiday free" year. Wait. I think that has been decided already by the majority; the recently unemployed that are quickly becoming the majority.

The economy is so bad you can't even joke about it. Jokes' on who?



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

To Do on a Cold Day

Carrie arrived here about an hour ago. We played with the web cam on the computer then we decided to do some baking. The treat from the oven and the added benefit of the oven heat was the deciding factor.

Carrie manned the bowl and mixer and I was in control of the measuring cup and ingredients. We browsed through the pantry to see what we had on hand. Yellow cake mix, maraschino cherries, brown sugar, crushed pineapple and pecans dictated we make a pineapple upside down cake. I love pineapple upside down cake which is probably why I had all the ingredients to make one. I don't do "from scratch" cakes. I don't wear heels and pearls when I bake either. I am not June Cleaver. Poor June. It must have taken her half a day to get all dressed up to just stay at home and cook and clean. By the time I get Carrie's hair brushed and then mine half the day is gone. Nix on the heels and pearls.

This time I added some pecans to the layered brown sugar and pineapple and cherries in the bottom of the pan. I debated on adding shredded coconut, chocolate chips and marshmallows. I like all these things but I realized I was getting out of control and stopped myself. The only extra we added was the pecans.

We now have the cake doing its rising in the oven and in approximately 35 minutes we will be viewing our creation. Since I like warm cake, we won't have to wait for it to cool. My sweet tooth is calling out to me. I'm going to answer it soon!

Experimenting

This was taken just a few minutes ago with the web cam feature on this laptop. I'm just experimenting. The only light on in the room was a lamp to the right of us. The next time I may try it with more lightning in the room. Carrie was just amazed to see her face come up on the laptop monitor.

It's cold here so we are staying in today. This was not meant to be a post. It's experimenting.



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pre Op Day

I made it to the Ortho's doctor's office almost on time. I allotted 10 minutes to drive there and of course not 1/2 mile from my house the lane was blocked because of an early morning traffic accident. I've never been good at taking an alternate route but I chose to do that instead of waiting. Luck was with me and I didn't get lost but I wasn't on time, but only a few minutes late.

This visit was with the P.A. to get consents signed and confidentiality agreement signed. I had a few questions for him about ligaments; do they tighten them during the surgery? My other concern was the length of the leg after surgery. The ligaments will be restored to natural control and the leg will be restored to same length. I know this might sound like a ignorant question but I have seen patients that awake to find they have a permanent limp. My last question was because of the hardware already in my knee; what's my chances of developing a raging infection. He said they do about 600 knees a year and 1% have problems with infection. I hope that 1% has been achieved before my time to go in.

The surgery he said will be an hour long skin to skin which means from the time he starts the surgery and closes; the time in holding and post op of course will add extra hours to the time I'm out of my room and back. So far so good.

Next stop was to a building about 4 blocks away that is part of the hospital. The usual insurance information which took longer then any of the Pre Op tests. Blood work, x rays and cardiac rhythm strip and I was on my way to the Blood Bank to get a unit pulled and banked. I took a left instead and went home. Enough for one day!
I'll go have the blood pulled later this week. I have a month to get it done. I'll save some of this fun for another day. I'll have to make 2 visits to the Blood Bank as they can only pull one unit a week and I need a total of 2 units banked before the surgery.

I'll have a morphine pump for 2 days following surgery. I can't began to tell you how happy that makes me. Morphine makes me itch and vomit; it also makes me pain free so I'll tolerate the itching and vomiting quite well thank you very much!

This is the third time on this knee; hopefully the last time too. I haven't started whining yet but I have a month to get in the "whine mode". I'll be listening close to my tone of voice for the next 30 days. I'll let you know if I hear any whining.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Untitled Cause I said so

Carrie's mom had an early morning appointment this morning so Carrie spent the night. We kept her up late thinking her mom was coming to pick her up and by the time we were asked to have her spend the night it was already way past her bedtime.

About 11PM we all go to bed and by 2AM she had awoke and crawled into our bed. Since she snores so loud, hubby leaves the bed for the sofa. Hopefully the snoring problem will be fixed soon when she has her tonsils out.

I got up at 4:30AM and soon afterwards Carrie is standing at my elbow while I'm sitting at the computer. I gathered her up and took her back to bed. When she is at home she sleeps till 10AM; I have no clue why that does not work that way at my house. I thought I would have hours of quiet time before I saw Carrie but that was not to be. She didn't go back to sleep so I moved her to the sofa and the TV while I tried to get some early morning chores done.

I have been on my feet all day. My feet don't bother me; it's that next joint up that causes the problems. Today it seems that Carrie needs more then her ordinary amount of attention so I've been busy. Around noon she calls her Poppy to go into the bathroom while telling me to stay out. I know this is a bad sign.
She had somehow managed to stop the natural flowing of the toilet. Another job to do. After I plunged the damn toilet, I had to remove the rugs and sop up a small lake of water.

Her new thing is to ask "why?" after everything I say. I give an explanation and she still asks "why"? This can go on forever. I now give her one explanation and when that inevitable "why?" comes up, I respond with "because I said so" and remembering all the times my parents response being the same thing and finally understanding "why".

Right now I have her in her high chair watching Noggin and having her lunch and our next stop will be the bedroom for a nap I know she needs and it doesn't matter what she thinks. It's "cause I said so" and I need her napping while I sit down for a few hours. I might even lay down for a few hours myself!

I still have a list of things I needed to get done today; I need a nap more. Goodnight!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday Capitalized

The chicken wings have been marinating since last night. Cheese and veggie tray is ready and the beer is chilled. All signs that it's Super Bowl Sunday. Shouldn't I be at the stores shopping?

Sometimes I watch the Sunday games and sometimes I take time out and go shopping but usually I always watch the Super Bowl. It's an American Tradition that is right up there with Christmas. It's always capitalized. Doesn't that indicate it's importance? It happens every year and every year millions of Americans plant themselves in front of the big screen either at home, with friends or in some sports bar some where.

Some are excited about the game and some watch it for the commercials. The commercials get as much after game air time reviews as the games. I mainly show up for the buffalo wings and the margaritas. I've never developed a taste for beer.

For hours today the sports casters will fill the air waves with commentary about the players, the coaches and the prior games leading up to today. The game doesn't start till late today but the whole day will be devoted to it.

I'll devote a few hours to watching the game and skip the all day reviews and that's my plans for this Sunday.

February One 2009

The first day of the second month of 2009. Two days from my pre op appointment, 30 days from surgery and less then a month from my birth date. Milestones in my future; a short list of milestones. One year from today I should be looking back on some of these milestones. As I write this I'm curious about what other milestones will be listed for the coming year. A year from now will the economy be better? Will there be food on the shelves of the grocery stores in plentiful amounts? Will any of my friends and neighbors still have a job? a house? a car? The future appears scary.

I'm a chronic worrier. I wish I were the type that could just sit back and have the attitude of "what will be will be", but I've always been one that has tried to anticipate and be prepared. Some things are out of one's control; the economy is one of these things. I live in Catholic saturated country. I hear people in times of crisis say they survived by putting things in God's hands. Their faith pulled them through. I say that is selective memory. What about those times when the crisis did not have a positive outcome. They don't remember these times? Where do they place the blame? Did they not pray hard enough. Do they blame themselves for not being devout enough?
The guilt must be horrendous.

Just maybe learning to give up regardless of what or who you assign your worries to, is a survival techique.

Hopefully, I'll be able to revisit this post one year from now and post once again a comparison of February One 2009 and February One 2010, God willing. (Grinning)