Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

Photo by Ross Atkinson

May all of us see the new year come in brighter, happier, and more golden than 2008 has been. While I realize there were some very good things about this last year - my granddaughter's birth, the finding of a potentially lethal aneurysm in my DH before it could kill , my daughter's PhD ceremony ending years of her hard work, the welcome hugs from friends throughout the year, etc. - I believe this past year is one many of us may wish to forget...

But should we? I remember both of my parents telling horror stories of having to go through the Great Depression. My mom lived on a farm in Wisconsin which provided fairly well for the family's needs in the way of butter, milk, eggs, meat, and so on. But my father grew up in a coal mining town in Colorado with very little in the way of money or food. It made me understand why Dad replaced a can of food used with two others from the store. I never understood that mindset fully...until this year.

We are lucky here at Oleo Acres. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table and a fairly stable income. Many others are not so fortunate. A friend of mine who works in a Food Bank in Oregon was telling me of how so many people, for the first time in their lives, are having to request aid to have food to eat. Some others have lost homes and are living out of cars. Knowing these things makes me realize many of the "problems" I may have are small and insignificant by comparison.

I'm not a believer in New Year's Resolutions. to me, they are promises. I don't make promises unless I intend to keep them. But what I do this time of year is take stock of what I can do to be a better person. To do the right thing. To follow the Golden Rule. Right action speaks louder than words spoken.

When I see the above photo my SIL took at the beach in New Zealand, it reminds me to look for the golden things that are all around me in life...and to try to bring a little "golden" to others.
Pax vobiscum. And may this year be truly "Golden" to each and every one of you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Introducing...

Gwendolyn Sophia Atkinson
Born 22 December 2008
Auckland, New Zealand


Mother and Daughter


Father and Daughter enjoying a moment to themselves

We are so delighted to become grandparents! Our only wish is that we could have been there, but as soon as my Hired Hand With Benefits gets clearance from his doctor after his upcoming surgery, we'll be over in a shot! For now, little boxes sent from the States will have to suffice.
Congratulations to you both, Kelly & Ross! One never knows or understands the love of the Parent until one becomes a parent themselves. Bless you all...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In Remembrance

Mr. Frodo Atkinson
2003 - 21 December 2008


This morning, my daughter and son-in-law found that one of their cats, Frodo, had unexpectedly passed away underneath their deck during the night. We are heartsick for their loss.
After moving to New Zealand, Kelly found she missed having cats around so she and Ross sought out suitable candidates through friends. It so happened that a friend of a friend's cat had a litter of kittens. Two brothers joined the household when they were old enough - Sam, an orange marmalade, and his brother, Frodo, a sleek black muscular feline.
Frodo was the one who tended to explore more than Sam. He would almost go into a "patrol mode" each day, checking out the garden in back. He also could find ways to open the cat door when he wasn't supposed to go outside almost like a miniature version of a Houdini.
Kelly said they thought he might have been hit by a car but it appeared he didn't have a scratch on him.
Please, if you can find it in your hearts, say a little prayer for Frodo and Kelly and Ross. I know how much they loved him. I know they are both hurting at his loss. And Sam will be lost without his brother.

Wherever you are, Frodo, may you be at peace. I wish my coming granddaughter had the chance to have you watch over her...may you still keep watch over those you loved and who loved you. You will be greatly missed...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No, I'm Not Stuck In A Snowdrift...Yet!


I'm still here! But am I ever tired! Since both my Hired Hand With Benefits and his trusty lawn tractor/snow thrower are both out of commission for the season, I have been the one to shovel, and keep shoveling, our thigh-high snow. I know we wanted a White Christmas, but geez!
I informed the Hired Hand this evening that I do not need to take "walks" lately as I am getting more exercise than I've had all year long. The one thing I've had to realize is that I have to pace myself. I have had my heart skipping beats. I believe this is due to stress, shoveling, stress, snow, stress, splitting wood, stress...and have I mentioned stress? Yes, I'm making sure I eat regular meals and have added vitamins to my regime and I have noticed it acting better already. And yes, I will indeed visit the cardiologist...I promise.
I think it's the worry about the HH. I have had a hard time getting through to him that he can not do things he normally does, like fill up the wood bin for the evening's fire, split kindling, or even lift heavy grocery bags. Worry aside, I have to admit that I'm not as young as I used to be either. I really don't mind snows like this, but I need to work smarter, not harder.
The sheep seem to be fine except they can't understand why some of them are Barn-Bound. And Skit seems to insist I come in his pen and dig his tire out of the snow. (Yeah, right...like that's going to happen!)
The one sheep I should really thank is Ole Olafson. I arrive at the gate huffing and puffing as I refuse to shovel a path and walk through the snow instead. When I lift my head up to see, there is Ole - encrusted in snow and a look of delight on his face. He wants his kiss and hug. I get through the snow while he waits patiently. Yes, I occasionally give Mr. Ole a peck on his clean nose and a big hug. He loves it. He would live in my back pocket if he could. I used to think Colin was the Love-Bug in the crowd, but Ole has turned out to be the one who seeks out attention. And on these snowy days it's a pleasure to see him waiting to return the hugs with sheep kisses.

There's another thing I'm a bit worried about: My daughter is due to deliver my first granddaughter any time. Well, that is IF this kid will turn around right. She's backwards. And she's staying backwards no matter what they've done to turn her around. Apparently this kid's going to be like her mother - except that Kelly was just impatient and wanted to get going. heeheehee My DD was scheduled for a C-Section on the 24th, but that's now been changed to the 23rd. We'll still keep our fingers crossed that the kid decides the 21st is OK.

So, everything is actually pretty "normal" around here. But I warn all of you east of us...get ready for this storm system now...it's a doozy!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Under Re-Construction

My computer has decided to go Walkabout, so entries may be few and far between until it is fixed. Please bear with me.

Also, there is another reason I may not be blogging much in the near future:

All summer long my poor Hired-Hand-With-Benefits had been having intestinal problems. We'd try this or that OTC medication, or eliminating one food or another to see if that helped - all to no avail. This past month I finally put my foot down and made him go to our doctor. All sorts of tests were run from blood test to cultures to CAT Scans (as if he doesn't get scanned by the cats enough around here!) to rule out any growth or obstruction.
Last week, while he was out of town naturally, the Dr.'s office called to ask if we could come in as soon as he got back. Sure thing...I made the appointment without even asking him. I remember the doctor mentioning diverticulitis, but in the same breath she mentioned an aneurysm had been found on the artery to the spleen. We immediately got an appointment to see a thoracic surgeon who looked at the CAT films and decided the aneurysm was not in immediate danger of rupture. Still, my DH is not allowed to lift anything over 20 lbs. or strain. That meant not to do anything, at least where I'm concerned.
We saw the surgeon this week to determine what to do. At first he recommended a "Wait and See" plan of action...until I asked about flying long distances to visit relatives. When he heard that he changed to doing a spleenectomy as the aneurysm is right where the artery goes into the spleen. He'll be fine until the surgery date (Jan. 5th) as the aneurysm had started to calcify - a sign he's had it a while and the body was trying to "repair" it.

So, now we're doing pre-surgery stuff like another more in-depth CAT scan, ultrasound of arteries in the neck, banking blood and a stress test as it's been a while since anyone got a good look "under the hood".
Naturally, I'm bouncing off the walls. I try to keep busy and DH even goes in to work (OK'd by the Thoracic
Surgeon) as he realizes he needs to keep himself occupied so he doesn't dwell on up-coming events.
I can't help but think that all the plans we made such as going to New Zealand to be there for the birth of our granddaughter, etc., even not going to Black Sheep Gathering to save money to go to NZ...well, all plans we had made, were not fulfilled for a reason. had there been no stomach problems, this might have gone undetected or worse, burst flying way above the Earth somewhere over the Pacific. Some One has been watching out and watching over us.
.....Thank You!

And should I be slow in answering any emails you send it's just all this computer business. I really do believe my computer has been chatting with my car....They must all be incahoots with each other, darn it! Let's hope the sheep don't get wind of all of this or they may start to mutiny for lack of their shepherdess' attentions.