Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ed is Wired Up!

Ed has been busy this week working on the wiring in the house. His foray into the attic revealed an antenna that picked up 47 over the air stations! He connected a TV for me in the kitchen so I can watch the news while I cook!

He spent hours testing outlets and wires to see where they went. He even labeled them with yellow tape so he can find them when he needs them!

This all started when he went ventured into the attic to see if he could connect and wire up our pretty hanging lamp over my jewelry chest. He borrowed one of my masks to mitigate the effect of breathing in insulation and dust.

The result is perfect. I can now see clearly what color my necklaces are when I'm getting dressed in the morning! Thanks Ed!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sleepover With Mabel and Parents

Brittany and John spent two nights with us this week, during the rehabilitation of their kitchen. I forgot to take their pictures, but I got a few of Mabel. It's so fun watching her play with toys. She likes this bucket as much as the animals inside it!

She found lots of joy playing with the dog's stuffed animals, as well as throwing the dog's ball. She would have liked it even better if Coda would have fetched for her!

These magnetic blocks provided lots of entertainment for her, as well as for me!

It was fun watching her interact with Brittany's old Cabbage Patch doll (which I've been saving for 30 years)! She rather liked the "baby." It's a good thing, because in 10 days (or thereabouts) they'll have a real live baby joining their family! I hope she likes the real one as much as the fake one!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Snowshoeing with the Hiking Ladies

I was invited to joint the hiking ladies on a snowshoe adventure this morning. It was fun to get out in the snow and get a little exercise with a wonderful group of women.

We stuck to the trails that had been used before, because some of the others had snow over our knees! It snowed the entire time we were out, but it created a magical scene as we wandered through the scrub oak.

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We timed it just right, as Ed was just finishing snow blowing the driveway when I got home!

Rumor has it that it might stop snowing for a few days now. We can't wait!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Brittany's Tilers are Coming

Brittany had some water damage last year and is getting her kitchen tile replaced today. She invited us to help take the items out of her lower cabinets yesterday. The timing could be better, as she is due to have another baby in 2 weeks!

Fortunately, we had time to play with Mabel afterwards. She doesn't realize that her world is about to be turned upside down with the arrival of a new sibling! If she could talk, she'd be saying, I hope I get a sister!

Early Morning Meeting

The Relief Society Presidency was reorganized Sunday, and I was called to be secretary. My friend, Janet (left) is the president. We had our first meeting at her house at 7:30 a.m. yesterday! These are busy women! I was glad I only had to walk across the street to get there!

Did I mention I had to wear my boots to walk across the street? We've had so much snow this January--about double a normal year. We have 18 inches piled up in our backyard this morning, and it didn't even snow at all yesterday!

Fortunately, the mountains are beautiful and the view from the back of Janet's house was spectacular! It was a lovely place for us to start planning for a new year!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Surprise in the Attic

Ed picked a cold day to check out our new attic. He went looking for some power to connect a light in the bedroom for me. He couldn't believe how big the attic was. He could even stand up and walk in it. It is his favorite attic ever!

He was even more surprised to find a TV antenna up there and that it actually picked up all the over the air stations! He tried it out in our basement electronics hub room, and it worked perfect! Who knew? Next time Dish has a fight with KSL we could still watch Jimmy Fallon at night!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Happy First Birthday, Calvin!

Yesterday my great nephew, Calvin turned one year old. He was a little leery of me, but allowed me to share a shoulder with his grandmother, Barbara!

My nephew, Eli and Lacy hosted the whole family for lunch.

Lacy was lucky to have some of her family come down from Idaho for the occasion!

Calvin didn't know what to do with the cake, but he knew how to look cute when it mattered!

Mabel didn't realize the new toys belonged to Calvin, and she was happy to help him try them out!

Women's Conference in the Snow

When I awoke up this morning and saw a foot of snow on the table in the back yard, I thought, "Surely, the Stake Women's Conference will be postponed!"

But not in Alpine!

I thank Ed for driving me safely to the church. When I got there at 9 a.m. the chapel was packed! And the majority of them had the courage to drive themselves!

This would not have happened in Maryland or Colorado! These pioneer women come from hardy stock! We had some speakers and workshops and a wonderful musical number written by my friend Suzanne Shippen! I was glad I went! (And that Ed picked me up afterwards!)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lunch on a Snowy Date

This was my street at 1 p.m. yesterday. We've had a continuing series of snowstorms, which makes me nervous to come down from the mountain! But my Alpine neighbors are tough and don't let a little snow stop them!

Lorraine Walz had invited a group of ladies to celebrate my improved diagnosis over lunch at the Olive Garden yesterday. None of them seemed phased by the weather, and they even picked me up! We had a great time and just talked non-stop for a couple of hours. The snow even melted by the time we got home!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dobro Lessons

My wrist and fingers are still too stiff for guitar and banjo, so I thought I'd take Dobro lessons instead! I found a teacher in Draper, just 20 minutes from my house.

Fairly Sparks (what a great name for an artist), is a Dobro master and I hope I can share some of that with me over the next few months.

It's nice to be playing something again!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mini Mission Reunion!

I had some old friends visit yesterday afternoon: Elaine Smith and Kent and Marca Merrell. They all served in the Bolivia La Paz Mission with me in 1976 and 1977. I knew Elaine even longer, as we met as students at BYU while serving in Project Mexico in 1975! It is amazing how 40 years doesn't make any difference, when you are good friends. You can just pick up where you left off! We had some great experiences together!

Kent and Marca even brought us some chicken noodle soup, which Ed and I have had for two meals now. I was glad they didn't find out my cancer was less lethal till they got here. Otherwise I might have been forced to make dinner myself last night!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Matriarchal Line-Up

My brother, Jon, made me a beautiful memory of the women that came before me, up to my great-great grandmother. It has a little blurb about each of them and their lives. I love the idea of looking at family through the matriarchal line. It is also nice to know a little more about those women I never met.

He also accompanied it with some thoughts my daughters wrote about me. That made me cry! It is nice when your children say nice things about you. I'll have to try harder to live up to the good side of Judy!

Goodbye VanValkenburghs!

My sister, Annette, hosted a farewell party for her daughter, Nikki and family last night. They are moving to Scotland to live in this gorgeous house just outside Glasgow (near Paisley)! She and her husband, Dave (right), are taking their three children on an adventure of a lifetime. Andrew (left) is going to have to find all sorts of ways to express his musical talents (singing, playing violin, cello and piano) in a new country!

We at home can keep Nikki in our hearts and minds by re-reading all her books! Hopefully, she'll keep pumping them out during their epic European experience! Check out her author page at Amazon!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Painted Study

We finished painting my study today. It took a good portion of 3 and a half days this week, but it turned out so beautiful! The chair rail and the boxes beneath it made it extra work, but we love the green walls with the crisp white wainscoting look.

Now we're waiting for my new desk to be delivered in 2 weeks.

We thought it would take us longer to renovate the room. It turns out living in chaos is very motivating! I can't wait to get my computer back again!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Second Second Opinion

We went back to Huntsman Cancer Center yesterday to consult with Dr. Halwani again. It is so fancy there that I feel like I am being disloyal to the much older facility at LDS hospital. Dr. Halwani said he would be happy to monitor me with monthly blood tests to make sure that I truly have an indolent form of cancer. In 10 years they will undoubtedly have a completely different way of treating it.

We went out to celebrate at Sizzler, which has every bit as good of a salad bar as the defunct Sweet Tomatoes!

As soon as I get my left hand working again I'll be almost as good as new!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Study

Ed and I started remodeling my study this week. We had been planning on remodeling the kitchen, but we couldn't get back in the cabinetmaker's schedule till February. We had put it on hold till my cancer treatment was over.

Ed is doing all the heavy labor. He put in a chair rail and framed boxes below it all around the walls. He got 16,000 steps today just working at home!

Painting is something I could do with one good arm. We're painting the top light green and the bottom will be white.

Even with making a trip to Home Depot for Ed, as well as helping shovel the driveway this morning, I still only got 8,000 steps. It's hard to keep up with Ed!

Afternoon with Mom

It's nice to be feeling better. It was also nice that it didn't snow yesterday. We went down from the mountain, and I spent the afternoon with my mom. We bought a new tablet for mom, who's old tablet had died. She is unusual in her age bracket. She likes to keep up with the electronic age!

Ed had stayed at Brittany's house to help her hide some wires in their theater projection room.

When I arrived back at Brittany's they weren't quite finished, so I got the fun task of keeping Mabel out of their hair while they worked. She is constantly moving, and endlessly entertaining!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Back in Therapy

I started therapy on my wrist again today.

It felt good to feel good enough to do it. I changed therapists, as well and was very happy that Dry Creek Therapy had a real therapist who spent time with me and really knew what he was doing. In 8 visits to Alpine Therapy I met the therapist briefly on the first day  and was treated only by assistants who were college students majoring in exercise science. Hopefully, I'll start seeing some real progress now!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

I'm a Zebra!

We had a visit from the Reichmans, our friends from Colorado yesterday. Robin gave me a zebra and told me that we're both zebras. Apparently, in medicine, doctors are told to look for the most probably illness, like a horse, but sometimes it get's more complicated, and those cases are zebras. Robin also had a very difficult illness last year!

We're both glad to be on the mend again! They only had a few hours to spend with us, and it wasn't nearly enough time to catch up on our family and Broomfield friends!

They also left me a book about miracles signed by our friends Colorado. I'm going to snuggle up with my zebra and read it by the fire tonight!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Acoustic Music Evening

Janet and Everrt invited us to an evening with the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association last night. We started with a quick dinner at Cafe Rio first. We tried eating at Sweet Tomatoes in Sandy first, but guess what! They went out of business! We were bummed, but Cafe Rio was a great backup!

The music evening was four singer-songwriters from the local area. We enjoyed the banjo girl, Mindy Dillard most, as she was funny, spunky, and had some very clever songs. She played played mostly guitar, but pulled out her clawhammer banjo for the last song, which included all the singers, as well as the audience. She even included a crowd pleaser,  Good-night, Irene as a closer. All the old people (including us) enjoyed singing along with that!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New, Improved Diagnosis

We met with Dr. Gouw at LDS hospital this afternoon. You can't see me smiling in this picture, but we all are happy. I'm wearing a mask to protect Dr. Gouw from me, not the other way round! I have a cold, but am not feeling too bad.

The results of the pathologist from Mass General came in. Dr.Nancy Harris is a pathologist at Harvard Medical School and a leading expert in her field. She was able to do some tests that only a few labs can do, and concluded (by ruling everything else out) that I have Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma.

The good news is that it is a very indolent disease and doesn't progress much at all. I can live with it and just monitor it. If I get more symptoms or my blood tests change they could look into treating it, but as it is, I appear to be quite stable with it. If my abdominal pains get uncomfortable, perhaps they could remove the spleen, which might even cure the cancer. But, because this cancer is not aggressive, I might have years before anything would need to be done. And by then they might have different treatments!

So, I'm entering a monitoring phase with monthly blood draws and quarterly visits to the doctor. If everything appears stable we can space the blood draws and doctor visits further apart. We will also transfer to Dr. Halwani at Huntsman for the monitoring. If anything new comes up on the horizon he would be in a position to let us know.

A Capitol Morning

Ed and I had an adventure in Salt Lake this morning before going to see the doctor at LDS hospital.

We started with breakfast at the Straw Market, which had some great reviews on Yelp. It was only a few blocks from the hospital, as well.

We loved the crazy chandeliers there.

It wasn't very big, so we were glad to be there on a week day and have plenty of seating.

The omelettes were delicious. I had the Denver, and Ed had the meat lover's omelette.

For $6 you get hash browns and a cinnamon roll with it! You can't beat that! It was even warm--fresh from the oven!

We parked our car at the hospital and walked all the way to the capitol building and back. It was SO FUN to go for a walk again. I haven't walked since I broke my wrist in October!

We peeked in the Capitol building, but they were having the governor's inauguration, so we didn't stay. We hurried back to the hospital to face the music. Stay tune to the next blog post. The music was sweeter than we expected. Almost as sweet as that cinnamon roll!