On October 8th I had hip replacement surgery….I was in the hospital until the 13th when they transferred my to a local rehab place. And I stayed there until October 23rd. On Friday the 24th I went home. It was a lovely sunny day. I was doing well. I had had a half hour of Physical Therapy and a half hour of occupational therapy every day…

corona homecoming from surgery 10 23

But Saturday I woke up with terrible pain in the groin when I tried to walk and lots of drainage. The pain was intense – a 9 or even a 10 when I tried to walk with the walker. I tried to do the exercises I could do. Yesterday Dr. Wilcox saw me in the afternoon. The x-ray showed that everything looked ok.  He prescribed a new pain medication and a covid test which happened today. Thursday morning they are doing another small surgery to see if there is an infection or reason for the drainage……..I hope they can find a reason for all this. I am not sure if they will keep me in the hospital. I hope this will all resolve in a good way. It’s a bit discouraging at the moment, but “this too shall pass”,

Pretty Much Ready

Alice came over to help me get every last thing ready for surgery tomorrow. Andy will be taking me at 6:30am…I’m trying to be calm as I can be.

flowers forget me nots 9 2019

Continue Reading »

Good News, I Think!

My ds Andy has been spending a lot of his time, recently, taking me to this and that medical appointment. I’ve had hip replacement surgery scheduled for October 8th for quite a while, but had a hard time believing it would really happen since I questioned whether I was well enough for it. But last Wednesday I had my nuclear lexican stress test and the results were normal! And yesterday I saw my cardiologist who also gave me the go ahead for the surgery. Monday Andy and I go to the wound center again, but the cardiologist thinks that even if it is not perfect, if it is still improving it will not stop the scheduled new hip. And Tuesday I go for a covid test. I hope it is good. I don’t show any signs at any of my other appointments and I certainly don’t mingle with the world and do use a mask and wash my hands.

Andy brought in a bouquet of frost asters Thursday evening and I felt that fall was finally here.

corona flowers frost asters

It has been quite a bit cooler lately, but today Emily, Sofia and Clara came over for lunch on the deck and we were able to sit outside quite comfortably and enjoy pizza. We had pepperoni pizza for Clara and to send home to Ingmar, Hawaiian pizza for Fia who adores pizza with ham, bacon and pineapple, the veggie pizza and the onion and bell pepper pizza for Andy and for me. Emily loves all of them.  It was delightful! And for some reason there was a lot of bird activity around in both flight and song. Well, can we call the noises made by blue jays, crows and ravens “song”? The goldfinch were doing their usual bouncing flights and lots of    tiny birds were around and about. I even thought I saw a Baltimore Oriole, reminding me of that Hoagy Carmichael song.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua1vTbRYI4M.

I am still painting but haven’t photographed any of it to share. Not sure how soon you will hear from me again….Probably after surgery and some recovery.

Summer’s Sweet Ending

Chaut from Izzy Campbell's era. She was born in 1900.

The above is a photo of Point Chautauqua from around 1900 to perhaps 1910. When we first had our cottage here in 1981 I met a lady, Izzy Campbell, who was born here in 1900. She told me about the slide you can see on the right hand side of this postcard. She called it her “chute de chutes”. Neither it nor any of these buildings are here any longer…Izzy was wonderfully hospitable and welcoming and brought every new member a copy of an old Point newspaper (pre-WWI) and some other historical things she had photocopied. I’m thinking about the Point today because most of my family is up there this weekend. There were all taking in the dock with our dock partners which is rather the end of the 2020 season at Point Chautauqua…We had planned to have a very different summer! Just before Covid appeared in our view, my D.E. Stevenson friends and I had selected a week in early August to meet as we have been pretty much every summer since 2014. That summer the Dessies had had a much larger gathering in Toronto and several friends from farther south (Virginia and Tennessee) had wondered whether they could stop on their drive to Canada at Fern Lodge. Of course I said yes! The more the merrier. And now it is a lovely meet up of eight of us, when there is no pandemic getting in our way.

But even though we cannot meet in person, Karen from Tennessee has managed to arrange a weekly zoom meeting for us which is very satisfying! We exchange all sorts of information, especially of the “what are you reading” sort. I have my fingers crossed that the summer of 2021 will let us be together in reality again!

Meanwhile, I keep on with my innumerable medical appointments. Next Wednesday will be a nuclear stress test that should make it clearer whether I will actually be able to get a new hip on October 8th….

And I keep on watching many different YouTube videos about water color painting. And I keep on painting. I’ve done some flower paintings and a strange sort of abstract color study today which someone said looked like a mid-century modern work. And random other things. The important thing is to paint something every day possible. It is so therapeutic and satisfying and takes me away from thoughts of pandemics lasting forever…..

corona wc 9 21 roses

corona wc 9 26

corona wc 9 23

The Days Bump Along

I say “bump along” because the sense of flow has disappeared, at least for the time being. Mostly I bump along from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment. I will be surprised if my hip replacement can happen as originally scheduled because there are a few problems that may take time to be addressed. And perhaps it’s all making me a bit depressed. I continue to do watercolor painting but am not terribly pleased with the results. But I have been watching some new tutorials about floral painting and will try that this morning.

I was really happy with lots of flowers I got on Friday when all of Emily’s and Alice’s families joined Andy and me on the deck for a socially distanced meal.

I seem to be in the horrible new WordPress editor and cannot figure out how to choose “classic” nor how to add a photograph.

I am really angry at the stupid people who ruin things that were perfectly good. I have been googling to find some help with this, but have found none.

I may have been able to post a photo of the flowers. Emily and her daughters went to a sunflower farm nearby and brought us all these happy sunflowers and Alice was doing the flowers as a gift for her niece’s wedding and had some yellow roses left over. Yellow is such a cheerful color!

I had a lovely dinner last Friday even though it was a little too cold. Everyone was rather bundled up and using the extra blankets Em brought to keep warm.

It is supposed to go back to something warmer by Wednesday.

corona flowers from al and em 9 18

Some News

Two pieces of news, really.

First of all, WordPress has decided to change their editor. I was quite happy with the way the previous editor worked. I assume all these changes are for their benefit rather than mine, or their other users. But perhaps I am being unfair. I had a choice of using what they call “classic block” which is supposedly the editor before the current one. It doesn’t look quite the same. I am not sure how one adds photos now. Sigh.

(But I figured something out.)

The second piece of news is that I am scheduled for a hip replacement on October 8th. I am a bit nervous about this but something has to happen so that I can walk again. At the moment I only hobble. We are lucky that such possibilities exist these days.

I have a lot of different appointments with doctors coming up and two days before will have a covid test. O tempora! O mores! My children who are children no longer are so wonderful at supporting me in all this.

I continue to do watercolor but am not liking anything I paint. Perhaps a symptom of my present unsettled mood. Here is one which looks as though it had been driven over by a truck.

corona wc 8 30

Both of my dear daughters and their families are at the cottage this weekend, along with my sil Alice whose husband recently died. I saw a wonderful photo of them in the kitchen at Chautauqua this morning, cutting up peppers and tomatoes to make lecso. This was a great activity for the morning because it was raining a bit. I am making lecso, too. I will probably do it tomorrow. All of us were given boxes of tomatoes and peppers from my sil Aniko who has the amazing garden.

It has gotten quite a bit cooler and I hope we have no more 90degree days this season.

Emily has begun her fall teaching. Most of her classes are remote but she has one lab which is done outside. (Why do I always think a lab must be a chemistry lab? It’s silly.) I cannot share the photo of her class on the sloping lawn in front of the science building, though I wish I could. You will just need to imagine about 15 students sitting on the glass, wearing masks, keeping about ten feet from each other. It made me happy to see them. They had to identify plants which Emily showed them.

Friday I had a lovely zoom meeting with my Chautauqua book club friends while we discussed what we are reading and doing. We also talked about different sorts of coleslaw and Christmas trees, among other desultory topics.  It’s how our minds work, sometimes…..One of our group usually spends the winter in Florida and the rest of the year in Maine. Her special 8foot Christmas tree, whose ornaments are all manner of mementos and souvenirs from her travels (she is VERY well traveled!) is in Florida. But she has decided not to go there this year. So she is a bit sad about her tree and trying to decide what to do in its place. Strands of popcorn and cranberries are part of her plans. I hope she sends us photos!

I continue to do watercolor. I just finished my second CansonXL watercolor book since the beginning of Covid. There were also some random smaller paintings in between. I am really enjoying the Daniel Smith PrimaTek paints which are made from ground up minerals and are often granulating and sometimes have surprising sparkle and reflections. I think I have not posted these here yet.

corona wc 8 24

(I did a little more painting on this one after the photo was taken.)

Corona wc 8 26

The amethyst and the blue apatite genuine and the serpentine green are examples of granulating pigments.

Andy amused me by sending me a Mongolian folk saying about how the last camel gets the heaviest load. This could be a punishment or a reward. Or motivation to get a move on and not be that last camel. I am taking it to heart.

Happy Friday Evening

For the last week my dd Emily and her family were, first at Chautauqua, and then camping at the Allegheny Reservoir. They had a wonderful time, Clara especially liked the fact that the place where they swam had a rope she could use to swing out over the water and jump in. But Thursday evening they had to return to Ohio for some of Ingmar’s baking. And Friday they came over for dinner. Rather than delicious but more expensive take out we had the large Stouffer’s Mac and cheese, sweet corn, and two salads, one a lettuce and shaved fennel and the other a caprese salad which is so delicious. Emily used the basil from her garden for this. Andy made lemonade to drink.

Afterwards we played a game which Clara had invented a few weeks ago. She calls it “Doggy Woggy”. She has many sheets of paper and each has a picture of a dog – usually a puppy. The “judge” for that round throws the die (which has letters rather than numbers) and each person has to make up a name for that dog beginning with that letter.  Then the judge chooses a winner. Emily kept score of each person’s wins but I don’t recall who the ultimate victor was….It is perhaps not the most brilliant game, but a good invention for someone who just turned eleven. In some ways it reminded me of a game my friends and I used to play outside on summer evenings. We called it “statues”. One person took another by the hand and swung him/her around and suddenly let go. The one let go would fall into a pose and the other would choose a name for the statue.

I haven’t been doing that much painting in the last few days. As Cee Cee might say, perhaps my Mojo has left me. I will have to do something to get back in the swing of things…I’ve been reading a rather long and somewhat complicated mystery called The Pumpkin Seed Massacre by Susan Slater. But well enough written to keep my attention through all 328 pages. It is set in an Indian Reservation and the main characters are Tewa Pueblo.

I continue to see both Swallowtail butterflies and Tiger Swallowtails as well as cabbage butterflies and Ruby Throated Hummingbirds.

butterfly eastern tiger swallowtail

butterflies male tiger swallowtail

I see both these sorts of butterflies and always thought the yellow one was the tiger swallowtail and the black one just “swallowtail”. But apparently, it seems, the yellow is the male and the black one is the female in its dark morph form…That is, if I have understood anything I just read…


Too hot, it is, this good old summertime. But there are certainly compensations!

Food is one of them…We have fresh delicious sweet corn. We have peaches which may or may not be local but are certainly delicious. And we have lecso! This comes because of the generous gifts of my sweet sister in law, Aniko, who has a huge garden, though only a small portion of what she used to grow when her sons were young and living at home. She gave us a large box of tomatoes yesterday and I made lecso this morning.

I blogged about this several years ago here:  https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/lecso-time/.

I used some large red bell peppers from our grocery store, but also two of the Anaheim peppers I am growing on the deck. One was quite long and large. I cut out the tip and the membranes and left out the seeds so it would not give too much heat. But some people like that.

I think our sweet corn is from Szalay’s in the National Park…They grow their own corn.

My sweet Stephen and his Dad are doing dirt bike riding for “their thing”. It is challenging to find dirt bikes at a reasonable  price these days, but they have accomplished it. Something broke on Stephen’s bike after three hours of riding and it took Alice a few days to repair it. (Part of the time was spent waiting for a part to arrive.)  Alice felt it was good to challenge her mechanical skills with this enterprise. I had not realized until just now that dirt bikes are motorized. Even used ones are not “dirt” cheap (pun intended) and not easy to find just now when people are buying all sorts of recreational equipment.

I continue to do some watercolor every day.

corona wc 8 8

I often do the background the afternoon before  I finish the painting so that it may dry well before I continue. Sometimes this is good. Other times I want to do something which doesn’t jive with what I had been thinking about the day before.

corona wc 8 9

The painting above came about as I was thinking about late summer and autumn when it might be cooler.

corona wc 8 11

This day I wanted to paint birds but had a background made for plants…Ah, well.

Emily, Ingmar, Sofia and Clara came for dinner on the deck which was again very pleasant. It was just cool enough with occasional breezes. This time we shared take-out from the Bombay Grill. I had lamb biryani. Ingmar had Madras lamb. Andy had vegetarian Aloo Gobi. I’m not sure what the other orders were, though I know one was mostly spinach and that was Sofia’s favorite. There was naan bread and several little cups of different sauces. But the most fun was being together. My granddaughters continue to enjoy being creative. Clara had painted a vase I had bought for her a long time ago. And Fia is making a page of cartoon stories about dogs. She would only show it to me as it is a surprise for the rest of her family.

Fia is so in love with dogs and wishes she had one…She turns 13 next month and all her birthday wishes have to do with dogs – dog books, dog socks, dog pencils, dog hair bands. Upon hearing that I have a pair of pajamas with dogs on them she immediately asked if she could have that for her birthday, too. Sofia enjoys walking her neighbors dogs and going to visit her cousins and their dog Pepper.

While we were having dinner humming birds came many times to look at the flowers, especially the red snapdragons.

Em and Co. are going to Chautauqua this weekend…

The days are very quiet. Except for various doctor appointments I don’t go anywhere, really. I read, paint, watch TV, read blogs…It’s enough to satisfy me, but still I think it shouldn’t be. The news is always sad because it’s always bad. The horrific explosion in Beirut and its aftermath is heartbreaking. Political news is not something I want to hear about often. But I do like to read Tanks Good News, The Good News Network, and Upworthy. They have stories of good things happening in the world. Fortunately there are always good stories and I think we need to hear them.

Here is a recent painting. I think I want to do something a bit different soon.

corona wc 8 6

And my garden on the deck continues to make me happy. No animals have yet eaten my tomatoes though neither are any ripe yet. I have several Anaheim  peppers ripening. Lots of lavender, sage, basil, mint, dill, etc. And many flowers. Life is good and thinking about all the things I have for which to be grateful is important.