Thursday, January 28, 2010

Going to/At the hospital

At Justin's house before leaving for the hospital. Vultures sit on fence posts at the back of his property and spread their wings in the sunshine. From a distance with a bit of poor eyesight (and some imagination), they look like the tails of whales as they dive into a sea of green. There's molasses in the pink tub, I'm not sure why farmer Justin does that.

Nicolaus Rd, N of Pacific Ave and the railroad tracks:

Pleasant Grove Road N of Howsley Road:

Mom is holding her own, she may be marginally better. More GI x-rays today, results tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I know you're out there

It's time to say "thank you" to a few people:

~Bill Early who leaves comments on the blog - a rare event!
~Carolyn who calls me on the phone every couple of days with words of comfort
~Paula M and Mike W who have sent emails
~Leone who included Mom on the Calvarary Lutheran prayer chain
~Sandra, my cousin in Carrot River Sask., who told Justin in a recent card that she is keeping up with Mom's situation by reading the blog
~Val who left a message with Justin on Facebook
~my husband who Skypes me every day
~and, Phyllis, who meets me for dinner and lets me decompress despite her own catastrophe at work
~and the rest of YOU. I know you're out there. "Lurkers" I believe is the blogger term. I am one myself -- I read several blogs but comment only rarely. Nevertheless, I feel your support, so thanks to each one of you, whoever you are.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At dinner with Phyl

Two women look across the room at each other. Is that...?

Bobbi Haskell from my teaching days with RLUSD. Today, she's Bobbi Mowrer and teaches 2nd grade at Pioneer School. She told me her own "cute little love story." Bobbi was happily single for 23 years. About 5 years ago she met a wonderful man, who also has a special-needs daughter like Bobbi. Love blossomed, they've been married for about 3 years.

At the hospital

Mom was moved today from the trauma unit in the new tower to "surgical acute care" in the older part of Mercy San Juan. And look who came to the same floor -- Alicia, our favorite nurse, a standout RN at MSJ.

Monday, January 25, 2010

At the hospital

We thought things were very slowly getting better and Mom would be discharged today to a skilled nursing facility. When I arrived today, a portable x-ray machine was being set up in her room.
Food given through the feeding tube just sits there, it isn't moving through the system. Mom slept most of today.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Keeping busy

This is what I do while I sit around at the hospital. Today as I finished the one on the right, Dr Galofre, Mom's doctor, asked if I was making it for my granddaughter. "No, I made it so my husband has a place to put all the Valentine's gifts he gets me." The two on the left are for Thais' collection.

At the hospital

Mom is doing somewhat better, but not ready for discharge yet. Goals: no fever, less pain, less bloating, tolerate feeding tube, labwork.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

At the hospital

No discharge today and most likely not tomorrow. Mom is battling 2 infections and received a pint of blood yesterday. Today, she has an inflamed colon so they stopped the food into the feeding tube (until tomorrow) and increased her fluid intake. She seems to sleep much of the time, you can't touch her unless you're gloved and gowned.

One day at a time.

Getting to the hospital

Nicolaus Road: the ditches were full of water, big flocks of birds in the flooded rice fields.

Howsley Road: water over roadway. About five more of these until
I came to this one on S Brewer Road: the one I wouldn't drive through.
I backtracked and waded through about ten more water-over-roadway places, all had a mostly visible center yellow line. It took 1 1/2 hours to get to the hospital.

For all my friends who no longer drive in the rain, this was quite the driving adventure.

Monday, January 18, 2010

At the hospital

The new entrance at Mercy San Juan Hospital, a rainy day.

No discharge to skilled nursing today. Mom now has diarrhea with a bacterial infection in addition to a urinary tract infection.

Conversation @ Starbuck's w Gaby

As I waited for my sandwich to arrive,

Gaby: You have a bag of See's Candy. I love chocolate. Last night I wanted a piece of chocolate so bad, but my car is broken down. I couldn't even drive to the store to buy some.

She handed me my hot sandwich and I drove away with a smile on my face. Actually I use the See's Candy bag to tote my embroidery project to/from the hospital. This is what the Starbuck's employees see from their drive-thru window perch:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

At the hospital

Mom is doing better, she will be discharged tomorrow to a skilled nursing facility. Meanwhile, Sophia entertained everyone.

Conversation @ Starbuck's w James

My drink order wasn't quite ready.

James: What are you up to this Sunday?

~A: On my way to the hospital.

James: I saw your shopping bag on the seat and I thought maybe you'd been to the See's Candy store at Arden. I love See's chocolate, mmmmm. What's your favorite piece?

~A: Bordeaux . . . chocolate sprinkles on the outside, brown sugar/buttercream filling. What's your favorite?

James: Those thin caramel wafers . . . with the hard crunchy center.

My drink arrived and I drove away with a smile on my face.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


for my mom was also at 9 am Saturday. Basically a throat dilation and temporary feeding tube so she can get enough calories.

Sophia's Baptism

9 am Saturday at the downtown Sacramento Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. (Sorry about the zombie eyes, I don't know what happened.)

Godparents, brother-in-law Jeff and longtime friend Kristen Wymore Clements.

Justin Hampton and Heidi Peterson

L-R: Sheri Meyer, Danielle, Jeremy Clements holds son Logan, Michael (Danielle's husband).

L-R: Conrad Del Castillo, Leiah (Lenin's older sister, Jeff's wife), Holly (Lenin's younger sister) with a niece.

Brunch afterwards at Zócalo:

Note the picture frame on the back wall showed a slide show of Sophia's life so far and many photos of her family. On the screen at this moment are 4 generations of Hodel/Hampton/Del Castillo women.
Cupcakes from Ginger Elizabeth:

Kristen Wymore Clements with Jeremy and sons, Logan and Mitchell:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Overheard: SLC to SMF

Lisa and Ray were among the last passengers to board the plane in Salt Lake City.

Lisa: I can't get this suitcase inside this compartment.

Flight Attendant: Ma'am, that suitcase won't fit in there.

Lisa: There are too many backpacks in these upper compartments. They should be under the seats.

FA: Ma'am, that suitcase is too big, it won't fit in that space. (Bam! Bam!) Ma'am! Don't try to force the door shut.

Lisa: There are too many backpacks in all these compartments. If somebody could take their backpack out, I could find a space.

FA: We're not going to go down the aisle removing backpacks. You'll have to check your bag. We're trying to get ready for takeoff.

Lisa: Well, there are still too many backpacks in these upper compartments.

The FA took the suitcase. Ray and Lisa sat down across the aisle from me and back one row. I had a window seat! with no one in the center seat! and a Little Old Lady in the aisle seat. The flight attendant returned and spoke to Lisa.

FA: Ma'am, is that your assigned seat?

Lisa: No, my seat is about 10 rows up, but I want to sit here.

The FA turned to the young man standing behind him and asked if he'd mind switching seats, but the young man really wanted a window seat so he could sleep better. The FA told Lisa she'd have to move. Lisa pointed across the aisle and barked, "Can't he sit over there?"

Indeed it was an available window seat, the young was satisfied. At last the plane was ready to go. By snack time the LOL was sound asleep. The FA gave me a package of peanuts and took my drink order. I pulled out a package of giner cookies that I'd saved from the first leg of today's flights. Thirty minutes later, the LOL flagged down the FA, "Where's mine?"

FA: I think you were sleeping, but I'd be happy to get you something now.

LOL: I want cookies!

The FA attendant gave her a blank look, but finally said he'd go check to see if they had any.

FA: I'm sorry, we don't have cookies, we only have peanuts.

LOL (with a quick glance at my cookies): It would be beter if you had cookies.

FA: Yes, ma'am

Later, as the plane neared the jetway, the LOL jumped out of her seat and rushed up the aisle gaining about 10 rows before she was slowed down. "Excuse me, Excuse me, can I get by" got her another 3 rows before others stopped accomodating her and clogged the aisle.

Meanwhile at the back of the plane, Lisa is now on her cell phone, "Yeah! The plane left a little late, I don't know why, but we had a tail wind so we . . . " I never heard a peep from Ray.

24 hours later

Just 24 hours after our chiaquiles breakfast, I was back in East Nicolaus, playing with Sophia and visiting with Thais before heading for the hospital to see my mom.

Mom fell out of bed on 12 Jan and broke her hip. Justin and Thais had taken over her care, dealt with the surgery and post op, and contacted me by email. Dick rented a car on Wednesday and drove me to Tucson International Airport. At 8:30 am Thursday, I flew to Sacramento via Salt Lake City. Here Justin shows me the break, where the titanium plate is located and the 4 lag screws it took to fix it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chilaquiles a la casa de Roberto

Chilaquiles at Roberto's house.

My favorite breakfast: put tortilla chips in a frying pan, top with salsa and cheese; heat for about 10 minutes. Serve with a side of refried beans, fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, and for dessert dulce de membrillo (a firm, sticky, sweet reddish hard paste made from quince). The chilaquiles were even better this time because Francesca made her own salsa and refried beans.

I got this picture of dulce de membrillo from the web:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tortillas de papas = lefse

Potato tortillas are almost the same as Norwegian lefse. One day last November, Dick saw tortillas de papas for sale at Santa Fe market and bought some. He asked for 6 and the clerk began weighing out 6 kilos. No, no, just 6 tortillas, and later he said they were almost like lefse, a Norwegian treat the Skaug family enjoys every Christmas Eve. Although he checked back almost every day since then, the tortillas de papas have never been available again.

He decided to make his own. It was a 2-day process with the first day being peeling, boiling, and mashing the potatoes. We don't have a potato masher on the boat so Dick used my plastic colander to force the potatoes through the holes, a lot like ricing potatoes. A very good idea, but later I had to poke a wooden skewer through EVERY hole to remove potato bits and still had to take it off the boat and squirt it with spray nozzle of the hose. There was a fine flour dust everywhere and lots of potato-flour cement on mixing bowls. New kitchen rule: if you make lefse, you clean the galley.

Day 2: the dough was sticky and hard to work with. Rolling out the balls of dough was difficult until Dick covered a plastic panel with a clean t-shirt. Nice rolling pin, huh? Dick cleaned the galley!

The final evaluation from Dick: "They're not as good as the lefse made by Merrilyn and Grace." I thought they were delicious.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Día de Reyes

Kings Day. Today the three kings arrived with their gifts for baby Jesus.

A rosca is the traditional bread served today. It's supposed to look like a crown. There's a tiny plastic baby somewhere inside. Whoever gets this piece is supposed to host the candelaria celebration on February 2. I'll be hosting this year's celebration although I'm not quite sure what that means yet.

This reminds me of the time my good friend Paula sent me a King Cake, the traditional pastry served in New Orleans and surrounding area on Epiphany.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Clavícula Rota

Broken clavicle.

A look at the latest x-ray shows that the bone is healed, but no boat work that requires exertion for the next month.
Dr. Sanchez.

The sign outside the door said this is where surgeries are done, the equipment looked like it was straight out of the 50s.

Once again, we were very pleased with the quality and cost of the health care received.

Trash talk around the yard

On November 1, Dick fell about 4 feet when some scaffolding broke. Debra wagged her finger at him everytime she saw him, because he wouldn't go to the doctor. Finally in early December he went to a local doctor who confirmed he'd broken his clavicle. This only happened thanks to ongoing nagging from Debra, Dick's sister Carolyn, and son Greg.

Domingo, a young man who works in the yard, touched his shoulder and grimaced everytime he saw Dick.

Elke, from s/v Wind of Change from Hamburg Germany always crooked her arm.

Luis suggested that Dick's should hurt more because he'd been tipping a few too many beers.
Luis comes occasionally to the yard to sell super-fresh, gigantic shrimp.

Gil, s/v Sunday from San Diego always had a joke or story to tell, but my favorite was about the teasing he took from his fellow firefighters after a particular rescue effort. An old woman had fallen out of bed and was wedged between the bed and the wall. Gil laid on the bed and was reaching out to help her when she looked up at him and said, "Aren't you a little OLD to be doing this?"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Próspero Año Nuevo

Happy New Year! The cruisers had a potluck barbecue on the 31st just of the port bow of our boat. I went for little while, but where was Dick?

On the settee with the flu with everything he needed: tissues, bug spray (year-round mosquitoes here), fluids, a clock, ibuprofen, a knit cap to keep his ears warm, a book to help him sleep, and an extra blanket for his perpetually-cold toes.

I generously gave Dick my little cold I'm sure, but it hit him harder than he's ever experienced. Previously, if he had a cold, he'd lay down and rest for 6 hours and - poof! - it was gone. It's taken 5 days for him to feel any improvement.