Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday rain - plus a bonus

As awful as things have been around our area, it is now fairly quiet outside my door.  Since Monday, I've had over 6" of rain in my gauge - 5" last night - with lots of thunder and lightning.  There were tornadoes and fatalities just SW of us in NE Alabama; in Athens, TN, between here and Knoxville; and in Polk County, the second county east of ours on the NC/TN state line.  Plus the horrors of the awful fire in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN, Monday and Tuesday.  I hope all this rain has at least put out most of the fires.  Because of all the rain, we've had flash flood warnings, too. 

I drove myself to my doctor's appointment this morning.  I knew the swim class would be cancelled because of the lightning, so didn't see my buffird.  Nothing like driving for the first time in two months in a steady rain - but all was okay.
I'm not a cook any more, but I know folks who would like this recipe from today's paper.

Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup heavy cream, warmed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
       In a large, heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water and turn heat to medium high. Stir just until sugar is dissolved and then stop stirring completely. Do not stir the mixture; even if it looks a little grainy, that's just the sugar doing its thing. Boil for 6-7 minutes until the mixture has turned golden brown and starts to smell like caramel; make sure it doesn't get too dark or start to burn.
     When the mixture is a deep golden brown, turn the heat down to medium and stir as you slowly add the warmed cream. The mixture will boil up  vigorously (this is why you use a large pot).  Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter until it is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
     Cool the mixture to room temperature, then use right away, or transfer to a glass jar or two with a tight seal. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
     Start to finish: 20 minutes. Makes about 1 1/2 cups, roughly 12 servings.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday things

We had almost 2" of rain here last night, which should have helped our local fires.  The devastation in the Great Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park and in Gatlinburg is terrible.  According to the news, at least some of the fires were started by the extremely high winds toppling trees onto power lines last night, and I've heard some might be arson. Terrible stuff, with at least three fatalities.  We're supposed to get more rain tonight and tomorrow. 

I saw the doctor this morning, and he has released me to drive and to return to the pool.  He's also authorized me for outpatient PT three times a week.  I'll drive myself to another doc's appointment tomorrow morning (after post/pool coffee with my friends), but I probably won't go back to the pool until next week.  Sweet Randy picked me up to go to the doc this morning - it was nice to have some one-on-one time with him.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Miscellany

  • Physical therapy came by this morning.  She said I was doing great using a cane and to use that instead of the walker.
  • It has been cloudy and windy all day.
  • The weather-guessers are saying we may get our first inch of rain (in one day) since March.
  • I see the orthopedist tomorrow - hoping for release to driving and to return to the pool.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Stealing - Thanksgiving edition

How many Thanksgivings do you attend? One family and one in the dining room where I live.

Where do you attend Thanksgiving(s)? At Margaret's house

What is your favorite dish? Stuffing/dressing, cranberry relish

What is your least favorite dish at Thanksgiving? I like almost everything.

What, if any, are your Thanksgiving traditions? We're pretty flexible, but mostly the same menu, plus family and friends. And we have our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.

Name your FAV thing about Thanksgiving. Family, friends, fellowship, and food.

Do you make anything for Thanksgiving? If yes, share what and why. Not much any more, but I still help make the stuffing/dressing.

Out of everything you eat at Thanksgiving, what can YOU cook the best? The dressing

What do you drink with your Thanksgiving feast? I drink water, but almost anything else is available.

Has there ever been a feud during your Thanksgiving? No

Do you have Appetizers before you Thanksgiving meal? Not formally, but there are raw veggies, pickles, olives, etc., available

How many people attend your Thanksgiving(s)? If yes, who? I think we had 16 - fewer than usual.

Have you ever missed a Thanksgiving? Not that I can remember

What kind of pie/cake/dessert do you eat for dessert? This year I had a home-made fried pie, but my usual favorite is mincemeat pie (none this year).

Do you ever play games at Thanksgiving? No

Name 3 things you are Thankful for: Family, friends, food.

Is there anyone who has normally attended Thanksgiving, that will not be there this year? Who? No, we usually have a varied crowd.

Name the funniest person at your Thanksgiving this year and tell us more. I don't remember anything specifically.

Which person eats the MOST? Nobody checks, but I'd guess Jesse or Don.

Which person eats the LEAST? I can't think of anybody who scrimps.

Do any animals attend Thanksgiving dinner? No

If so, do they get Thanksgiving scraps? No

Who carves the turkey? This year, it was Margaret

Have you ever had to make Thanksgiving all on YOUR OWN? Of course, for many years.

Do you get along with the people you have thanksgiving with? Definitely.

Is your Thanksgiving formal, or do you just do whatever? Absolutely "whatever"!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Zelle Thanksgiving

I spent last night at Margaret's, getting to do my laundry as a bonus.  I helped her make the dressing for the turkey - and we did a pretty good job (if I do say so myself).  Everything was delicious today for our Thanksgiving dinner - turkey, dressing, gravy, country ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, cranberries, macaroni & cheese, salad, potato casserole, and a host of desserts.  Plus our great family and friends - just to make it extra special.  Carol & Stephen brought me home this evening. A great Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I hope we can all enjoy this uniquely American holiday with the spirits of family, food, and fellowship.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This and that

I love the blog called Margaret and Helen.  Helen writes a blog every year just before Thanksgiving, giving rules to her family.  Click here for all of this year's version.  But, I particularly wanted to post her last paragraph.  It's something we should all take to heart. 

I love each and every one of you and I am so glad to have yet another holiday together.  Come hungry and leave full.  Hug one another because you can.  Argue if you must, but then agree to disagree.  Try something new or let go of something old.  Give more.  Take less.   Oh hell.  Listen to me rattle on like I am some sort of philosopher.  Screw it.   Come for the food and stay for the company.  Everything else can be made better with gravy.  I mean it.  Really.
I had a PT session here this morning.  She says I'm doing great and wants me to start walking with a cane in the apartment more and more - and even try in the hall for a little bit.  I asked her if she thought I'd be released to drive (when I see the surgeon next Tuesday).  She suggested I try going to sit in my car - to see if I was going to be able to get in, manipulate the mechanics, adjust the seat, etc.  I'll give that a try - maybe when Margaret comes to pick me up on Friday (so I can have someone with me). 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Our hearts weep...

There was a terrible accident in Chattanooga this afternoon - a school bus from an elementary school wrecked with the driver and 35 students on board.  There are known fatalities, and 23 students were taken to local hospitals, and a few students walked away from the site.

It was a one-vehicle accident - the bus hit a tree and overturned.  The driver was injured and, according to reports, "is cooperating with police" in finding out what happened.  We've heard, unofficially, that five were dead at the scene, and one has died at the hospital.  But nothing said anything about the severity of injuries of the others who were hospitalized. 

Our hearts go out to all the families, schoolmates, and to our entire community.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


One month ago,  and
I've made improvements ev'ry
Day. Long way to go.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Interesting times

I felt much better this morning.  And I hope learned my lesson about pain-medication-timing.  I saw both the home health nurse and the in-house PT tech today.  I spent an hour in the PT office/gym here for evaluation and treatment.  They all say I'm doing great.  And,  I actually can see improvement myself - at least a little bit every day.

Sue came by this morning before she headed back to SC.  She's really worked hard for both me and for Randy's family this week.
Things are changing here at the Terrace, too.  While I was at rehab, the executive director (of about 4-5 months tenure) was fired.  With the latest head chef and dining room manager, the food has improved considerably, although the service is still pretty slow.  And several residents have moved away, or are planning to move.  Ah, the old curse - may we live in interesting times.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I've been bragging about how well I'm doing - and I have been.  I've been making progress that I can see, almost every day - just in little bitty steps.  Well, I guess there was one backwards this afternoon.  I forgot to take my pain medicine and let the pain get ahead of me.  And I must have tightened up some when I took a short nap.  Wow, has the leg hurt all afternoon and evening!  I'll be more careful about med timing and keep working it out.

It's been great having Sue here to visit.  We haven't done much, but just visiting/reading/crocheting/knitting has been fun.  And she's been here when the various visiting techs have come.  She's had some ideas for them, and has gotten some ideas for her to take to help her father-in-law.  (Her mother-in-law died last week, and her FIL has Parkinson's.) She's going to go home to SC tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Jean is a happy camper - at home tonight with her sweet dog.  It was great to have her here, and she was such a help.  Sue is in town now - to help both me and Randy's family.  She was here with me this afternoon - actually here when the home health care nurse came and the PT tech came to make their assessments.  They were both impressed with the progress I've made, with suggestions and plans for other stuff to be doing.  Each will be making additional visits.  I sent Sue to spent the evening/night with Randy - I think he needs her more than I do right now.  She's going to take me to get my overdue mani/pedi tomorrow afternoon (and getting herself a pedi, too, of course).  Jean took me for my overdue haircut yesterday.  That ought to keep me going until after I see the surgeon on the 29th - and hopefully by then, I'll be released to drive. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Gwin Ifill (1955-2016)

What a loss to the world of honest journalism!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Onward and upward!

Obviously things are very quiet this weekend.  The moon is several days from full, but very beautiful from my door.  The smoke has been very thick for days, but seems to let the moon shine through. 

The home health coordinator came by Saturday to get me set up for their services for the next few weeks.  This will include the nursing services here at the Terrace and the PT under their auspices.  The Terrace nurse came by to take vital signs, so I'm definitely getting checked.  Jean has had me getting to the dining room, walking in the hall, and doing some exercises. And I went to dinner tonight by myself.  Jean's been so good taking care of me - and I know she's ready to get back to her own home and her sweet dog - so she'll head for home tomorrow.  Sue will come in on Tuesday for "second shift". 

Onward and upward!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016


I'm told I can leave here about 11 in the morning.  I have to talk with the nurse about general stuff, but then Jean can take me home.  Yea!  I've met all the PT and OT goals that they had for me here, and all tell me I'm doing well.  I know there's still more to come with the PT folks back at the Terrace.
UTC women's basketball is about to start - and with a bang for us.  We open with an away game at Rutgers! and then our home opener is against Florida.  Coach Foster says "then we get into the tough part of the schedule!"  I don't know when I'll be able to start going to games, though.

The forest/brush fires keep burning, seemingly unabated, with new ones starting every day.  I-75 in our area was slowed way down most of yesterday due to brush fires and smoke along the highway.  One subdivision was evacuated, at least for a few days, but they hope they'll be able to keep the fire away from the homes.  And absolutely NO rain in the forecasts.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


How to deal with the election outcome?

Actually, we dealt with the mechanics 16 years ago, when Gore won the popular vote and Bush won the Electoral College vote.

And, although we may not have liked it, we survived eight years of Bush/Cheney.  I can only hope we survive four years of Trump/Pence.

I will remember that this is one country - and we are all Americans first.

And I will try very hard to not despise and denigrate everything he does as others have done during the eight years of the Obama administration.  We must learn to work together and compromise for the good of all.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Sad news

Sad news this evening - Our dear Randy's mother, Jean, died this afternoon.  Our deepest sympathy to Taylor and the rest of her family, especially those who are also my family.  Much love to you all.
RIP, Momma Jean

Monday news

We've started the procedure toward getting me out of here on Thursday or Friday.  I've met almost all of the OT goals - still have to have her around while I take a shower.  Lots of work yet on the PT, but I don't need to be in Rehab for that. I can get a lot of that at The Terrace. 

There are so many brush/forest fires in our area now.  The smoke was very heavy this morning, but cleared by afternoon.  It'll probably settle down into our valley again overnight.  Everything is tinder-dry, so the least little spark will set something off, and the wind carries it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

My exciting life!

I've been making progress, but very slowly.  I went to the surgeon this afternoon.  He thinks I should be doing more, but....  And he's also concerned about the breathing problems I've been having.  I'm going to get something set up with my PC to get some investigation done for that problem.  No specific date for leaving here, maybe another 10 days or so.  Between PT sessions and doctor visit, I was pretty well shot today.