Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Kissing Doctor

I thought this was cute-when we got to the ER on Friday night, after the nurse helped Dr. Arturo with something he kissed her on the cheek. Irene asked if all the nurses got that kind of treatment and he said, "Only from me!"

Sure enough, all week, as they worked together the nurses would turn their cheeks so Dr. Arturo could plant one . He's happily married with children, but still kisses the nurses. I hear Mexican men are Casanovas but this is the first kissing doctor in my experience.

Long Saturday

I went back to the hospital early the next morning, assuming (and telling the family) that I would be fetching Irene and bringing her back for some sun-soaked recuperation. Just after I got to the hospital, the nose specialist showed up. He was a very interesting young man. His dad was a history teacher and he is a history buff himself. He talked the whole time he was examining and splinting Irene's nose. I was ashamed that he knew more about the Alamo, the Spanish-American war, and the Louisiana Purchase than I did. He was, however, thrilled to find out that I lived on the Lewis and Clark Trail.

He told us it was a good thing that she bled as much as she did since that would prevent any blood clots. His English wasn't as good as Dr. Arturo's, but with Dr. Arturo's coaching and some guessing on my part, we got what he was saying. After he left, they gave Irene breakfast, a TV remote, and a control for the air conditioner. We also met Gloria, the patient liaison. She asked if we spoke Spanish and when we said no, she said it would be a good chance for her to practice her English. I was glad she knew English because none of the nurses spoke a word of it.

After a while we started wondering how long Irene would have to stay there. After all, it was only a broken nose! When Gloria popped in about noon, we asked her to see if she could find out. She found Irene's file and came back with the news that the file showed it would be afternoon or evening before she would be released. Oh, boy, how am I going to let Stan and Gram know?!

I located the number of the resort in my purse and tried to dial out on the phone in the room. I don't think that the resort was a local call. Earlier, when I called with a report for the family, Gloria had had to ring the front desk and have them call Torres Mazatlan. Now I couldn't call out again. I really couldn't even get the thing to give me a dial tone. Amazingly, with the handful of Spanish words I knew plus some gestures, the nurses did the same thing for me as Gloria had, and I was able to tell the family to go ahead and cook dinner because we were stuck there for a while.

For lunch, I wandered back out to the nurse's station. Just as I walked out and was asking Dr. Arturo where I could find some food, an American lady came out of the next room and said she would show me how to use the cafeteria. That was another adventure! First you go to the receptionist, tell her what you want, then pay for it. She gives you a receipt that you take to the cafeteria, just through the door and to the right. OK, but the receptionist also didn't speak English and the other American didn't speak Spanish either. (I really gotta learn Spanish!) Gloria to the rescue. She helped me tell the receptionist my order and get my receipt. Now to get my lunch. The cafeteria is six feet wide and about fourteen feet long, with a narrow counter on one side with a couple of stools. I could see a kitchen in the back, with pop coolers and bins of vegetables. A shy girl came out and took my receipt. The other American had ordered a cup of coffee, so they microwaved a Styrofoam cup of water and handed her a jar of instant coffee.

They handed me my burger in a box and I went back up to Irene's room. I had to pick through and take off the tomato, onion, and huge slices of avocado, but it was a pretty decent burger. Later I went back down and got a Coke. The receptionist got a dearintheheadlights look when she saw me coming, but was relieved when she understood that I only wanted Coke.

After an afternoon of both of us dozing in front of the TV, Dr. Arturo came in and released her at about 7:00. Now to the cashier. The bill said $19,000.00! Irene was hyperventilating. I couldn't get through to her that that was pesos. They don't take Champus, of course, so she had to put it on her credit card. In the taxi on the way back to Torres, she finally realized that with the exchange it was only about $1600.00 US. Pretty good for the excellent care she got.

Since I forgot to take the camera to the hospital, I didn't have pictures to blog with. Stan took some nice sunset pictures from our balcony, however.

Meanwhile back at the "ranch" Stan whiled away the hours cooking, wandering around the resort, and listening to Gram retell story after story. They also argued a bit about how to cook the chicken.

As soon as Irene hit the shower Stan and I hit the beach for some moonlight over the ocean time. People at the resort asked after Irene and were very relieve to hear she was fine.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

In Mazatlan

The night we arrived we ate dinner at the restaurant on the grounds of the resort. It's a four star restaurant and it's a blast to eat there-the wait staff bend over backwards to make our meal a good time. I had cheesy bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp. Oh my! After dinner, I walked a short way on the beach just to say I had.

After breakfast the next day, we took the bus to Mega-a huge supermarket. What fun to shop there! Armed with a "Daily Spanish for Dummies" booklet, I proceeded to read labels and try to find something that wouldn't make my allergies flare up. I didn't do too badly, we bought chicken, eggs, yogurt, chips, mangoes of course, and a whole lot of other fresh, tree-ripened things only available near the equator.

We laid low the rest of the day, taking naps, walking on the grounds and photographing anything that caught my eye. We decided to eat at the restaurant again that night-wonderful barbecue. Before dinner, we did the happy hour thing-Gram had three Pina Coladas and ended up dissolving in giggles at dinner.

Stan walking with his mom, while I photographed flowers (and Gram).

Getting giggly after the second pina colada.

Irene had a question about the money she had exchanged that morning, so while we went back to the condo, she popped over to the front desk. Coming back, she ran for the elevator, tripped on the step, and fell flat on her face. And I mean FLAT! By the time we got down there, blood was everywhere. A doctor was called, and when he got there, he announced he was taking her to the hospital for x-rays. I was elected to go with her, so we piled into the doctor's van and off we went to a tiny spotless hospital near the resort. Cab drivers in Mexico have a reputation for being wild drivers, but this doctor drove just as wildly. By the time we got there, Irene was alert and the bleeding had stopped. Doctor Arturo wheeled her into ER himself. He also wheeled her to x-ray and back, and assisted the radiologist. The results-she had broken her nose, and needed some stitches over the bridge of her nose.

After about an hour in ER (yes, only an hour), the Doctor announced that Irene was to spend the night in the hospital. He wanted to give her several doses of antibiotic because the broken bone pierced the skin. He wheeled her to her room (really!) and got her settled. I took a cab back to the resort, telling her I would come back early in the morning.

I was glad I could give good news to Stan and Gram-they were quite worried, and trying to telephone someone in a foreign country when you aren't fluent in their language can be iffy. I spent a few minutes on the balcony looking at the ocean to unwind and contemplate on my adventure, and turned in.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Trip

An unusual color for a hibiscus, I thought.

I think I'll try to write a day-by-day account of our trip. Maybe it'll stay forever in my mind that way. I used to read the author, Peg Bracken a lot-she wrote many books, "I Hate to Cook Book," "I Hate to Housekeep Book," "I try to Behave Myself," for instance, and wrote newspaper and magazine columns for many years. Her best advice for life was, "If you come into a bit of money, be sure to spend it on something permanent like a trip and not on something temporary like a car or refrigerator. I strive to live my life that way. Do what's important.

Wednesday: we left here, stopped in Belgrade, picked up Grandma, and drove to Billings. We always fly from Billings-it's cheaper and we would be meeting Irene there anyway. It crossed my mind to ask if Gram had her passport with her, but I didn't want to treat her like a child, and besides didn't Norma pack for her? We pulled up in front of the restaurant that evening and I popped up with, "Gram do you have your passport?" No, she didn't. Oh my, I'm sure glad we found out when we did. Niece Shannon to the rescue-she drove to Big Timber and Norma met her there with the passport. Whew!

We left Thursday morning, taking advantage of the low rates on a nifty new airline called Allegiant Air. Keep in mind if you fly with them that they don't like to be late so be sure you're at the gate in plenty of time. Hubs was in the men's room and almost got left. I talked a custodian into calling him out, otherwise Lord knows where we'd have met up with him! We landed in Phoenix, expecting to go to another gate to catch our AeroMexico flight. Uh, oh! Allegiant flies in and out of Phoenix/Mesa airport, not Phoenix Sky Harbor! After a $70 taxi ride, we found our flight and continued to Mazatlan.

The plane change in Hermasillo was interesting. We had to go through Immigration there, but they also had us fill out forms swearing we weren't sick and they took our temperatures. I was hoping that a hot flash didn't count as a fever! I was a bit nervous, because we only had 55 minutes between flights, but they waited for us-oh yeah this is Mexico! We took off in the biggest dust storm I've ever seen.

When we landed in Mazatlan, we had to fill out the same form and had our temperatures taken again. They used a kind of gun to do this both times. There were posters all over with instructions on how to properly wash your hands. We caught our shuttle and went "home" to Torres Mazatlan, just after sunset.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, a Day Early!

Tomorrow is my son Dave's 38th birthday. Since we will be doing the OJ Simpson thing through airports tomorrow, I'm wishing him an early happy birthday.

Dave is quiet, artistic, kind-hearted, and very intelligent. He is a luthier by trade-someone who makes guitars or mandolins. He does both, but his paid job is as a finish worker on mandolins. His work is breathtaking! He's a pretty darn good cook, too! He lives in Austin Texas now. He moved to Austin to be near his sweetie, Laura. She keeps him there, but he really likes Austin, too.

Dave, age 3, with brother Jim, age 5.

Around second grade.

Fourth grade.

Family fishing trip.

Laura, Dave, and Stan last year when we visited Austin.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Weekend

My DIL Kat and I drove to Billings for the Women of Faith conference. A super conference, as usual. After the stressful week I had, this was just the tonic I needed.

This beautiful lady is Mandisa. She is a finalist on American Idol-my understanding is that she will be competing this Wednesday evening, so tune in. What a phenomenal voice! She was really the highlight for me. My very favorite singer is Sandy Patty, but Sandy performed on Friday, and since Kat had an essential job interview, we had to miss her. That's OK, I have a new "Voice" to follow! Mandisa has a tremendous story to tell.

After a stressful week-Millie's surgery; Gracie, Sam and Stan's being sick; and pretty much no sleep, this was a good time to just let down, worship and heal.

The bad thing is I came home sick. I caught Stan's bug, hopefully I don't catch what Gracie and Sam had too. Gracie had the croup-ended up in ER Friday night-and both of them had really goopy eyes. Mexico is breathing down my neck and I really don't want to be sick in paradise.

Ending on a good note-Gracie is fine, didn't have to stay in the hospital, and Millie was released yesterday afternoon. She's sore and not moving very fast, but how great that she went from being on a ventilator on Friday morning to being home on Saturday afternoon!

I apologize for the picture quality-it's hard to get clear ones in a semi-darkened arena, and those doggone performers move around a lot!

Well, back to my recliner. I'm actually hungry so maybe I'm on the mend. I've taken all my herbal remedies that usually work, so here's hoping!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Really. Really. Need. This. Beach. Now.

I can't go into details, but I am very disappointed in people and their lack of forgiveness. I also hate it when people don't keep up their end of the bargain.

The good news? I DO get this beach-Thursday afternoon I should be able to walk on it.

Pray for me that I can do some forgiving too. Right now I don't want to do any.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Prayers Are Appreciated

Millie was taken into surgery about 4 hours ago. The spine surgeon is rebuilding her entire neck, from C1 through C7. The whole procedure should take 7-8 hours. The older boys are in school and we have the two little ones. Please pray that she sails through this. The surgeon is very skilled and trusted by the family, so our assurance is that God is in control and she will have an end to the pain and numbness.

Millie is very much a take-charge person and it's hard to think of her submitting to a doctor for such a long time. We'll be caring for her for a change.

Update: Just after I posted this, Millie came out of surgery, about 4 hours earlier than anticipated. Jim said the doctor was happy with how it went, there was good bone for the transplant, and she is doing great! God is good.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Mother's Day

Saturday Millie and Jim brought me this beautiful potted flower:

It's called "Gazania." The petals close at the end of the day. Very pretty. Then Steve called Sunday morning. (They were in Billings where Kat was bowling in the Women's State tournament) Then late in the afternoon, David called from Austin and we talked for at least an hour. Stan gave me a digital picture frame, and we went to Bar 3 Barbecue for their brunch buffet.

A lovely day indeed.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


One of my pincushions has been featured on an ETSY Treasury page! Exciting! Maybe this will generate some interest.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How Time Does Fly

Four years ago, the day before Mother's Day, the kids happened by. In the warmer months, we always seem to gravitate to the yard. This picture of Gracie and Sydney in Poppa's garden cart was taken that day.

Today Jim and Millie and their two littlest came by with a flowering plant for me, and I got this shot of Gracie and Sam in the same cart.

Good grief, where did that time go? Sam wasn't even born in that first picture and he's now taller than his older sister and cousin!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Finally Finished the Overnight Bag!

This bag was born in my head after our cruise. We had spent most of two days rambling (or racing) through various airports and all three of our bags are the Pullman style. That's OK until you have to collect the big bag from baggage claim and there's only two of you to carry bags. If you have a bag with two handles, you can loop them around the Pullman handle and drag the whole thing through the airport. Also I couldn't stuff my smallest bag under the seat or in the overhead in the smaller planes because it's hard-sided.

It turned out a bit bigger than I had anticipated-I'm always making things too small so I guess I overcompensated.

I used upholstery fabric and backed it with iron-on fleece. I put tabs at both ends of the zipper-I thought maybe it would extend the life of the zipper. I know, I should have used a heavy-duty zipper, but I was too lazy to go all the way out to Jo-Ann's to get one. (The closest Jo-Ann's is 20 miles away) We'll see how this one holds up.

Pockets at both ends:

Pockets all around inside:

The distance thing factored in to what I used to make the handles. Using the cotton I lined it with, I cut the strips 4 1/2 inches wide, and cut fleece 2 1/4 inches wide. Then I fused the fleece to the center of the handle. I folded and pressed the fabric excess on each side over the fleece, then folded the whole works in half and pressed it. Topstitched, it made nice handles. I wanted something a bit thicker than usual.

My plan is to make a couple of zippered square bags for lingerie and incidentals, and a small purse with a long strap that I can either pack in the suitcase or carry criss-cross over my shoulder so I can reach my passport quickly. I might figure out something to insert in the bottom of the bag for stability. Time is running out and I have Grace and Sam next week while Millie has her surgery so I'd better get cracking.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birthday Sewing

I had to sew some things for the Princess' birthday. It started because every pair of pants she owns does not cover her little bum. I think this is the way most girl's clothes are manufactured these days. So I made a pair of pants with cows on them. Well, there was enough fabric for a top, too.

I tend to get on a roll, so I made the same top with the actual capris that came in the top pattern. This piece of seersucker is compliments of my neighbor. Her hubby hates to see leftover stuff-he's kind of a neat freak, so she gave me a couple of pieces that she had already used and had a lot left over. It worked out that it perfectly matches the sweater I made her.

She loved her new clothes, in spite of thinking the cow outfit was pajamas! Whatever-as long as they're worn!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Pattern

I have a couple of teapots, cheapies that I got at the Dollar Store. They make fine tea, though, so I needed a cozy to keep my tea hot. After perusing the Net for something quick, warm and knitted, I became frustrated. I found a couple of patterns, even a nice crocheted one, but I am a knitter first even though I do enjoy crocheting. So I decided that it shouldn't be too terribly hard to make up my own pattern, so here it is. My teapots aren't very big, and the spouts are kind of short, but this pattern would work for the longer spouts, probably even better than the short.

Warm and Cozy Tea Cozy
Small amounts of two different skeins of knitting worsted. I used a solid green and a brushed green, which made a nice look. About 2 ounces of each.

US #9 knitting needles
yarn needle
Size H crochet hook

Gauge: 3 stitches per inch with 2 strands held together, but gauge isn't very important.
Cozy measures about 9" across and 7" high

First panel:
Holding two strands together, cast on 28 stitches. Knit 2 rows.
Row 1 *K4, P4* repeat across, K4
Row 2 *P4, K4* repeat across, P4
Row 3 *K4, P4* repeat across, K4
Row 4 *P4, K4* repeat across, P4
Row 5 *P4, K4* repeat across, P4
Row 6 *K4, P4* repeat across, K4
Row 7 *P4, K4* repeat across, P4
Row 8 *K4, P4* repeat across, K4

Repeat rows 1-8 three more times
Knit 2 rows
Bind off

Second panel:
Holding two strands together, cast on 28 stitches. Knit 2 rows.
Row 1 *P4, K4* repeat across, P4
Row 2 *K4, P4* repeat across, K4
Row 3 *P4, K4* repeat across, P4
Row 4 *K4, P4* repeat across, K4
Row 5 *K4, P4* repeat across, K4
Row 6 *P4, K4* repeat across, P4
Row 7 *K4, P4* repeat across, K4
Row 8 *P4, K4* repeat across, P4

Repeat rows 1-8 three more times
Knit 2 rows
Bind off

Sew panels together: for spout sew up one side 2" from bottom, leave a 1/2" hole, sew to the top. For handle, sew up other side 3/4" from bottom, leave a 3 1/2" hole for handle, sew to the top. Make sure you match the checkerboard pattern. Weave in threads.

With crochet hook and one of the yarns, make a chain 28" long. Thread chain on bodkin and weave through cozy about 1 1/2" from top. I used the checkerboard pattern as a guide, which looks very nice. Tie a knot near both ends of chain and trim tail to 1/2".

Enjoy! (I hope I didn't make any mistakes on this pattern. If I did, let me know and I'll fix them.)