Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In Memory of Sharon

Arrangements have been made for Sharon/Kalona.  Please see this link at the Porter Loring Mortuary website if you'd like to read her Memorial Page:  In Memory of Sharon.  Also included is the information for the service schedule.

We loved the black and white photo of Mom and Dad that Karen took recently.  Mom posted the original picture here when she was chatting about "This and That.".  It is a beautiful picture of Mom and one of the most recent we have of her so I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to Karen for taking that picture.

Jason, Dad, and I met yesterday with the mortuary.  They are taking very good care of us and of Mom.  We are pleased with their exceptional service and attention to detail.  We chose to put the celtic cross on Mom's grave marker.  It is very fitting for her, don't you agree?


Monday, August 5, 2013

Jesus, I Trust In You.

Dear family, friends, and readers,

Here is Kalona's daughter with a guest blog post:

With regret I am writing to let you know that in the early morning hours my Mom passed away in her sleep today.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
You may know her as Sharon, or Kalona, and maybe her handle as "Irish".  She was a November baby and grew up in Oklahoma and Kansas.  She completed elementary and high school as well as two years of college before she married my Dad.  They raised three children and enjoy the love and laughter of eight grandbabies.  We will miss her and will be celebrating her life and passing at a rosary and then a traditional latin mass held by Father Moses of Jesus.  Details of the day and time of the ceremony are pending.  I want to thank everyone for their continued prayers and for the outpouring of love.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mini Crochet Owl

Hello again, this is guest blogger Kelly.  My mom wanted me to post a picture of the hand crocheted little owl that I made.  Reece named her "Mercy", which we thought was a wonderful name.  So, without further ado:  Meet Mercy!

If you are interested in crocheting this little owl there is a free pattern on Bunny Mummy's blog:  Easy Crochet Owl

Just An Update

Dear readers,

This is Kalona's daughter, Kelly, acting as a guest writer to give you an update.  She is hanging in there and surrounded by family and loved ones.  Today I shared with her a new album called "Music for Sound Healing" by Dr. Mitchell Gaynor.  We are listening to it right now and it's making her smile - she is enjoying the songs.  She loves music so much and as soon as she saw Reece this afternoon she wanted him to listen to it as well.  He was just in here loving on her and Sandi and Great Gran just came by to visit.

I just asked her if she wanted to send a message to her blog readers and she said, "Tell them I love them and I'll be praying for them."  She also said, "It's amazing how you make friends on-line."  And she smiled.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our Crocheted Flower Garland

Love the bright colors!

They were fun to make.

Tomorrow I'll show you the darling little owl Kelly crocheted.  He is so cute!

She also made the cheery dragonfly in the window

Thrift Store Finds

These are some prints I found at the thrift store a few weeks ago.  They are numbered, signed prints by an artist named Mollie Jones.

I was going to use the frames, but once I got them cleaned up, I liked them, so Kelly hung them for me.

Mounted Sun and Moon Dolls

Kelly took some great pics of my dolls in their shadowboxes. It was hard to get pics of them in the boxes--there was always a glare--but you get the idea in the third picture.  Not sure why the jet black of the background turned out gray in the biggest box

We've hung them on the wall in my bedroom, and I love looking at them.

Another one down on my bucket list.  :o)

Thanks, Kel!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hard Days and Bucket List Progress

The past couple of days have been pretty rough.  Yesterday I was very weak, slept nearly all day long.  Better today, but not as energetic as I'd like to be.

Kelly brought me some polyester fiberfil and embroidery needles, and I took the "pocket sleeves" off some of my old yukata on Sunday.  Yukata are called summer kimono because they are very casual and soft and cool for summer.  They are always blue and white in color, and have classic Japanese designs and flowers.  I only used the big square pockets on the sleeves, so there is still a lot of fabric left for other uses.  Kelly ironed them for me, but I need some bigger embroidery needles because I want to use the whole strand of floss in the hem.  So she will bring me some big ones.  

We hung our crocheted flower garland and it's so pretty and cheerful on my window.  The colors match the beads in the beaded dragonfly Kelly made, which is also in the window.  

Kel downloaded some pics of the dolls we mounted for me, but they don't really show the shadow boxes, so I think we'll try to get some more pics of those.  I have some pics to download from my camera and phone, too.  Everything is such a hassle.  I can't just get up and get my cords to download stuff.  Someone has to bring it to me.

I got an email from Fr. Moses, who will celebrate my Requiem Mass.  He answered some questions I had, and gave me some good advice.  He is such a wonderful priest.  Please pray for him.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Live Cam of Alaskan Brown Bears

I've been enjoying this live cam of Alaskan brown bears on the Katmai River.  Thought some of you might like it, too.!/live-cams/player/river-watch-brown-bear-salmon-cams

Come Saturday Morning

Hope you're having a great weekend.  My days seem to kind of run together, so it's hard to remember what day it is.

Ron is mowing the grass out back, the girls were in the pool at 8 AM, but they've gone with their daddy to get chicken sandwiches now.  

I had another weak day yesterday.  My BP was only 60/40 at one point.  I slept a lot.  But it's back up today, and I feel better.

Ron brought me some Cheerios with fruit and coffee for breakfast, and I'm keeping a close eye on my sugar levels.  Guess I'm having chicken for lunch.  :o)

I think Kelly is coming over today.  I untangled the embroidery floss that the girls messed up yesterday, and I'd like to start on the handmade pillows I want to make.  I can cut them, but need Kel to turn under the hems and iron them down for me so that I can stitch them.  I'll also need some polyester fiberfil.  

I'll have to update my bucket list in a day or so.  Haven't done much, but some bits are getting there.  Happy weekend, dear ones!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Quiet Day with Kelly

Johnnie, Evann and Braden left this morning.  The kids wanted to go see their beloved Great Gran.  They came by for a little while to say good-bye.  I hated to see them leave, but loved our time together.  So they are in Bryan with Gran and Sandi tonight, will stay Friday, and head back to Kansas on Saturday.

Jason and Ahlyssa also went home.  I will surely miss my chef and carb watcher.  :o)  He took wonderful care of me.  But he said he will be back.  I know his family has missed him, and he has business to take care of at home.  I'm fortunate that he is a computer guy and can work from here as easily as he does from home.  He has some plumbing problems to take care of, too--no fun.

They had to send a nurse out this afternoon to re-draw my blood for labs.  For some reason the ones taken yesterday didn't work.  I had never seen her before, and liked her very much.

Kelly was here while Ron took Jason and Lyssa to meet Jason's friend halfway.  She is starting to put our crocheted flowers on a vine with leaves to make our banner.  It looks cute.  She has also been cleaning out our office/craft room.  I haven't been in there in months, and Ron lets the little girls play in there when he's on the computer.  (No more--I've put the kibosh on that).  They make the most unbelievable messes.  Kelly said it looked like Hoarders in there.  She hasn't finished yet.   She will take what she wants from the craft supplies and get rid of the rest.  She's such a treasure.

I hardly slept last night, so after Kelly left I took a nap.  Josh grilled me a steak, and I had broccoli and a little bit of sweet potato with it, then a couple of pieces of the wonderful chocolate covered bananas my cousin sent from Edible Arrangements.  

I can feel the love.  :o)

Mary and Family

Thank you so much for the delicious Edible Arrangement.  It arrived today and my grandkids, who love fruit and chocolate, were so excited!  (Me, too)!

The one I got was a little different from this one. Our pineapple is formed into flowers.  It also came with a box of chocolate covered fruit.  Reece and I just enjoyed  chocolate covered bananas for dessert tonight.  They are soooo good!

Johnnie, Evann and Braden were here when it arrived, and they thought it looked wonderful, too, but none of them would eat any.  There is plenty for everyone.  They should have tasted it.  :o)

How thoughtful of you to send the arrangement.  We have a store in the shopping center near us, so it is very, very fresh.  Love you all so much!  Thank you again!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Night

Johnnie and her grands got here late today because they went to see the Alamo and the Riverwalk.  I'm glad they took some time to have fun.  They ate at Dick's Last Resort, a crazy, kind of fun place on the Riverwalk.  

I love having them all in here with me, lying on my bed, looking at pictures and talking up a storm.  Reece and Braden are so cute together.  

Cyrise made a yummy dinner for us, pork in the crockpot.  And I had a little dish of ice cream for dessert, which was a real treat.

Johnnie and her grands are leaving tomorrow.  They will go to see Mom and Sandi in Bryan before heading for Kansas.  

Jason and Ahlyssa are going home, too.  Ron will drive them halfway, and Jason's friend will meet them and take them home.  I'm glad he is able to do that, because it will make the time Ron's away shorter.  He has another two furlough days on Thursday and Friday.  I think Jason is planning to come back in a couple of weeks or so.  I'm sure going to miss him.

Kelly will be here tomorrow to spend time with me until Ron comes home.  Cyrise and the kids will be here, but Cyrise has her hands full with the girls, so Ron wanted Kelly to be here as well.  Sometimes I feel as if I'm an awful lot of trouble.

I'm kind of tired tonight, but it's a good tired.  See you back here soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rainy Tuesday
Reece and I are sitting on my bed.  He's watching Ben 10 while I'm on the computer.  He wants to be in here with me as much as possible, which I love.  But I also want him to go play outside or with his sisters instead of being cooped up inside.

Yesterday was not a good day.  I was extremely weak and just wanted to sleep all day.   I feel better today.  The good thing was that my sister, Johnnie and her two oldest grandchildren arrived.  It's been very good to have them here.  

The little girls have fallen in love with their cousin, Braden.  He is so sweet with them.  Aubrey has been following him around ever since they arrived.  They love his sister, Evann, too, but Braden is someone new to them and they are very interested in him.  It's fun to have more teens in the house.

My friend, Karen, was here this evening.  She sells these pretty Lilla Rose hair clips and I wanted to get Kelly one for her birthday.  Kelly and I went to her website and Kel picked out the one she liked (the one in the picture).  It won't be a surprise, but I like that she got exactly the one she wanted.  It's always fun to see Karen and we had a nice visit.

We've had rain for the past two days.  Johnnie drove down from Kansas on Sunday and said it poured on them the whole way.  She spent Sunday night with Kori in Austin, then they drove the rest of the way Monday afternoon.  We need the rain, but I hope it clears up so that the kids can swim and enjoy being outdoors.

The hospice chaplain was here this morning to bring me the Eucharist.  He is such a nice man.  Then the RN came this afternoon.  She did a blood draw for my labs, and did the usual vital signs and took care of an ugly pressure sore I've developed.  

So it's been kind of a busy day.  We had Thai food for dinner.  Johnnie and her grands have gone shopping.  They are staying at Mom's apartment while they're here.  It's nice to have that available for company.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Good Day

It's been a lovely Saturday here.  

My morning routine is to wake around 6:30 or 7, take my synthroid and check my blood sugar levels and wait for Ron to wake up.  We are getting my bathroom routine down.  Potty, dress, roll into bathroom for washing up, toothbrushing, hair combing.  The hospice people come some days--RN, aide, pastor.

When I'm ready, Jason or Ron usually makes my breakfast.  Lots of protein and good food for the immune system, like bacon and eggs, steak and eggs, omelets, eggs and cheese, and always a little bit of carbs, a little fruit and a yummy cup of coffee.  Jason often adds some veggies, hummus, yogurt--much like the food we ate when we visited Israel together in 2005.  Very healthy.

I usually lie back down around 12:30 or 1 for awhile.  Feels good after sitting in my wheelchair all morning.  I don't usually sleep, but have my computer, the TV remote and the phone available.

This morning I worked on learning the pattern to the crocheted flowers Kel and I are doing.  She came around noon and helped me with that.

She made me some soup for lunch, with bread and parmesan cheese and a glass of iced tea.

I went downstairs around 2:30 or 3:00 and spent the rest of the day down there with everyone.  Kelly and I poured off the oil from the peppermint leaves to make the peppermint oil.  We used some to make toothpaste.  We used my homegrown peppermint.  It's all very natural and healthy.

Kel and Lys went to Hobby Lobby in the afternoon to get the shadowboxes I wanted for the dolls I made.  Kelly framed two of them already, and they look like museum pieces in the boxes.  I just love them!  I'll try to get pics tomorrow.

The third one is for a little fairy I started of polymer clay.  He isn't finished, so Kelly is going to complete him for me, and we will put him in the last box.  His head and body are done, but he needs some arms and legs, an acorn cap for a hat and some kind of leaflike clothing.  Kelly will have fun completing him.

I loaded the dishwasher, with a little help from Cyrise to reach things.  It felt good to be doing something productive.

The children played so hard all day.  They went to IHOP with Papa and Uncle Jason this morning.  They were in the pool all afternoon.  Cammy fell asleep on the couch for awhile.  

We drew pictures for a bit.  I'm still trying to learn to draw a bird.    

Jason made planked salmon and cauliflower rice, and Cyrise made green beans with bacon for dinner.  It was all so good!  Then Jason made me a berry shortcake in a mug for dessert, which was really tasty.  I have it pinned on my pinterest recipe board, but I can't figure out how to put a pinterest button on my sidebar so people can look at my boards.  Let me know if you'd like the recipe and I'll post the link to the website where I found it.

After dinner, Jason made the marinade for kalbi ribs, which we will have either tomorrow evening or Monday--whenever Johnnie gets here.  I'm so looking forward to having her here with us for awhile.

As you can tell, my appetite is still very good.  That makes me think that things are going pretty well so far.  Dr. O has written orders for labs, and the lab people are coming here on Monday for a blood draw.  I am curious to see what my labs will be like.  I have noticed a little shortness of breath lately, but nothing too bad.  I'm having some allergy symptoms, so it may be just that.  Of course I am praying for God's will, and asking that that be a miracle.  :o)  But truly, I am content, happy and I totally accept whatever it is He wants for my life.

If you are Catholic and pray the Divine Mercy, I would appreciate it if you would say it for me now and then.  Thank you so much!


Mom is unable to have a dog at Sandi's apartment, so Kelly has been caring for her little shih tzu, Teddy.  Kel already has three dogs, so she really didn't want to keep Teddy, even though she loves him very much.

So we've been hoping to find a good home for him.  My hospice aide fell in love with him when she met him one day when he and Kelly were here.  Kelly told her that we were searching for a home for him, and D said that she would love to have him.

Kelly took him to the vet, made sure he had all his shots up to date and took him to be groomed, so that he would be all ready for his new family.  D took him on Monday, and he is doing great.  We are so relieved to have a loving home for him.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Wednesday night we had more visitors arrive.  My daughter-in-law's sister, Suzanne, drove in from the Houston area with my granddaughter Ahlyssa and Suzanne's daughter, Kayleigh.  They stayed in a hotel nearby.

Suzanne is a family member by marriage, but we have always felt like family.  She is remarkable, raising her five children and working as a nurse at a hospital in Houston.  

Like Becky, she took charge of the little grands on Thursday. She took Reece, Aubrey, Camryn and Lily to Chuck E. Cheese for the afternoon.  Then they went to the hotel for awhile.  All of them had a blast.  They were gone for hours, giving Cyrise a rare break from the kids.  

Suzanne went shopping Thursday night and got all the ingredients for beef vegetable soup.  The beef cooked all night last night in the crockpot, and she came over this morning to add the veggies and barley.  I had some for lunch with a King's Hawaiian roll, and it is delicious.  I feel so totally loved and pampered.  :o)

Suzanne left this morning, taking Kayleigh and Lily with her.  Lily has been here with her daddy for the past few weeks.  I'll miss her, but I'm sure she's ready to see Mommy and her brothers.  Jason is still here, and Ahlyssa stayed, too.

So, I have been given the gift of so much love and caring this week, and it has meant the world to me.  I'm glad that loved ones are coming to see me while I'm still feeling okay, so that we can spend time together.  So far this process I'm going through has been one of the most beautiful, peaceful, loving experiences of my life.  God is so good.



I've been having a busy and wonderful week.

On Tuesday, my BFF from Missouri flew down to see us.  Her name is Becky, and there is no one in the world so sweet.  She stayed until Thursday.  My grandchildren fell in love with her immediately, and she took charge of them the very day she arrived, taking them with her to her hotel and letting them explore.

On Wednesday, she spent the whole day cooking in my kitchen.  She helped Lily make snickerdoodles, then she made chocolate Reece's cookies.  Then, she made her mom's famous, delicious lasagna for us.  We had it with garlic bread, salad, and a strawberry jello salad for supper that night.  It was sooooo good!

And, she made these fantastic desserts called peach bombs.  They are simply whole peaches wrapped in pie dough.  After they baked to a golden brown, she poured a syrup flavored with almond extract over them.  I've never had anything quite like them.  They are absolutely delightful.

When I became a Christian back in the early 1980's, it was because the Holy Spirit used Becky in my life.  You can read more about that in my conversion story.  The link is on my side bar.  He is still using her in my life.  Our friendship is eternal.

Thank you, my dear, dear friend, for everything.  I am so grateful for our time together this week.  Love you forever!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just a note.

Back soon with a post.  Just wanted to let you know I'm okay.

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Little Summer Bucket List

Don't worry, I'm also planning a little fall bucket list and a little winter bucket list.  :o)

I was thinking about some of the little fun things I've been meaning to do for a long time and decided to write them down and do them.  Want to see?

1.  Get 3 shadowboxes for some little dolls I've made.

2.  Make a crystal garland.  Years ago Kelly and I had a craft booth at a craft show in Blanco, and a couple traded me a big bag of crystals for one of my candlelights.  We are going to twist wire into loops and curls and hang the crystals on it for some sparkle.  Won't that be pretty?

3.  Make oatmeal cookies with Reece.  I'll have to use the piano bench and round oak table as my mixing area, but that's okay.  I can't stand at the counter any longer.

4.  Have a tea party with the girlies.  We have a special Gramma tea set, and another that I got Cammy for her birthday that we can use.  Maybe we will wear hats.  Reece will be invited, too.

5.  Play Ave Maria on my violin.

6.  Learn the chords to Mull of Kintyre on the mandolin.  I couldn't sleep one night, and this song was in my head.  It has become our theme lately, with Ron and Jason finding some beautiful Scotch whiskey to drink from Ron's birthday Glenfiddich glasses.  I don't drink it, but I smell it, and it smells wonderful.  It came from the Mull of Kintyre.  It's called Spring Bank Single Malt Scotch.

7.  Buy mandolin strap (this one's done).

8.  Work with Reece on his reading and math.

9.  Draw.  Birds.  Flowers.

10  Make natural peppermint oil with my mint.  Use in toothpaste.

11.  Get rid of old green couch.  (I can't do that myself, but I can nag).

12.  Get another anointing.

13.  Visit the local Schoenstatt Shrine.

14.  Visit the local Divine Mercy Mission Center.

15.  Make handsewn pillows from my old summer yukatas.  I'll hem them with blanket stitch.  Simple and soft.

16.  Crochet flowers with Kel to make a cute garland together.  (We got a few of these done today--me one, Kel four). 

17.  Get a new water bucket for my dogs.  Their plastic one keeps getting moldy.  Yuck.  I'll get a metal one. 

That's it.  Happy weekend, dear ones.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thursday Afternoon

Tuesday Ron, Jason, Kelly, Lily and I went to the coolest little store, Guitar Tex, looking for a nice strap for the mandolin.  We found a perfect one, and enjoyed looking around at everything.  They had a bunch of vintage ukuleles, and Kelly thinks she would like to learn to play one.  Her birthday is coming.  :o)

One of the owners played a little tune on one of them, and Lily had such a smile on her face and was doing a little hula dance in her swirly yellow sundress.  Wish I had gotten a video.  It was so cute. Music from a ukulele just feels happy.

So yesterday, Jason took the mandolin Ron made for me back to the shop and they are putting on new strings, angling the bridge and intonating it.  The guy was pretty impressed that Ron made it and doesn't even play.  :o)  He said it has a "good voice."

The shop is over in Olmos Park, which is a fun area to drive through, with huge old homes and gorgeous yards.  Lots of neat shops in the area.  Then we went to Sonic and got malts and banana splits.  While we were there, an RN from hospice called wanting to come see me.  She probably thought I would be at home dying, but I was out having fun.  :o)  She came today instead.

I had a terrific omelet and some nectarine for breakfast, cheese, berries and ham for lunch, and now I'm going downstairs where Josh is grilling.

Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day, 2013

I'll keep my mouth shut about politics and just say, hope you have a great holiday.  We're grilling and swimming and the kids want to go see some fireworks tonight.  Not sure I'll do that.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This and That

My friend Karen came to see me yesterday evening, bringing two of her sweet daughters with her.  The girls swam in the pool with a couple of our grands.  I think they had a good time.  :o) We are hoping to see them again soon, for more swimming and visiting.  

Karen took this picture of me and Ron.  I like it.  She is a terrific photographer!

And she brought us peach cheesecake, which is absolutely delicious.  All of us really enjoyed having some last night.  I've been eating really well lately.  Everyone is taking such good care of me.  Thank you for the yummy treat, K!

Kelly is on her way over.  Ron went in to work for awhile today.  He's been going in for a few hours each day.  They have been so nice at work, to allow him shorter hours.  Next week he has a couple of furlough days.  No pay, but time off.

I want to go out today, mostly just to get out of the house.  But I've wanted to get a strap for my mandolin for a long time, and Jason has been playing it some while he's here and needs one, so we're going to see if we can find one.  I swear that boy could play a broken rubber band and make pretty music.

Sandi called this morning to say there's been a glitch in Mom's medicare supplemental plan--the prescription part in particular.  It seems that her insurance changed when she changed cities, and in the small town of Bryan, benefits are not as good as they are here.  So Sandi is having to deal with all that right now.  I'm sure it will all work out.  I just wish things would fall into place simply instead of being such a hassle.  

Mom is doing great, though, and that is such a blessing for me to hear.  She enjoys being with Sandi.

Please send up a prayer for my little sister, Johnnie (my stem cell donor).  She lost her job yesterday.  I know she is stressed and heartbroken.  I think the loss of her job was done in a very unethical manner--the supervisor brought a friend of hers into the office to basically take Johnnie's job.  Then they told Johnnie it was because of financial cutbacks and losing some of their doctors.  

Maybe she will come to Texas for awhile.  (Silver lining)?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Catching Up

Just a quick post to let you know I'm still hanging in there. 

Jason and Lily came back today, with Ron, who went to pick them up.  I'm glad they are here.

My RN comes 2X a week, the aide comes 3X a week, the chaplain was here with the Eucharist this afternoon.

Reece and the little girls know something is up, but they are all doing okay.  Everyone is giving me lots of love.

Kelly spent the entire day here with me.  She cleaned and we talked, she brought me food and just kept my spirits up.  She's been worrying about Teddy.  Mom can't have a pet at Sandi's, and truly, she does not need the responsibility.  My health aid has fallen in love with him, and I think Kelly will give him to her.

I'm trying to eat well, but Dr. O wants me to continue with the decadron, which raises my blood sugar to really high levels and makes me feel bad.  So he cut back on it a bit, and I continue with the insulin.  Things are a bit better tonight.  HGL makes my vision blurry, which is a real pain in the patoot.  

All in all, things are going okay.  I still have feeling in my upper body and can move myself around with my trapeze.  Legs and lower extremities are still paralyzed.  Brain is functioning, hands and arms are fine, breathing is okay--low and soft mostly.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.  They mean the world to me.  I am praying for all of you, and offering up my discomfort for your intentions.  Love you! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pics and Stuff

Our big family gathering.  They are all so beautiful.

Our wonderful musicians played for us.  Lyssa and Jason.

Kelly and I went to get our hair cut today, so I look different than in the family picture.  It feels so good to have it all cut off!  Picture tomorrow.

They  brought my trapeze and a wedge pillow for my bed this evening.  The trapeze is going to be so helpful to keep me moving to different positions easily.

Jason and his family left this evening.  He is taking them home, but plans to come back Wednesday or Thursday with Lily.  He just really wants to be here to help.

Kelly and Cyrise made me a fruit smoothie when we got home from the hair salon.  I was craving one, and Josh had  bought me lots of fresh fruit last night.  It was so good!

Kell and I had a puffy taco for dinner, and she went on home.  She made sure I took my decadron with food.  :o)  They take good care of me.

I'll be back soon.  Much love!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

One more beautiful family day.

Had another beautiful day with my family yesterday.  This time it was all of us here (Ron, Josh, Cyrise and their 4 littles, Jason and Kis and their four), Kelly and Mike, then Sandi and Mom, Johnnie and Mike, Jared (their son), Cole and Collin (Sandi's sons) Kori, Steve and their two little guys (Kori is Sandi's daughter).  A big, fantastic houseful.

They brought all kinds of food!  Some of the guys stopped at Costco and Target and got everything imaginable for a big cookout.  We had hamburgers, brats, hot dogs, all kinds of cheeses, baked beans and pickles, chips and drinks.  Dinner was delish!

It is so wonderful to see the now grown-up cousins together, and the little ones, too, of course.  Kelly and Jared have a family tradition of making no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies whenever they are together, because we always did it when they were little.  They let Lily help them this time.  That was a privilege for her, because they usually allow no one else in the kitchen.  :o)  They (the cookies) were good.

The guys sat out on the patio at the back of pool, talking and talking.  They are all so handsome and strong.  Most of Great Gran's grandchildren are boys.  She has two granddaughters, Kelly and Kori, and they are both strong and beautiful, too.  Great Gran had her hair cut short, and wore cute clothes.  She is a little doll.  I liked just looking at her.

There was lots of swimming and playing going on.  Sandi trimmed my hair for me as we sat out back on the patio.  Steve took a big family picture (I'll see if it's in my iphoto so I can post it).  Oops, not there yet.  I'll try to get it downloaded later today.

We turned on the party lights on the patio at dusk, and Jason and Lys played for us, and Jason sang.  That was wonderful.  

We're all doing okay.  I haven't noticed much physical change.  I'm tired, but that's nothing new.  No new numbness or tingling anywhere, no breathing difficulties yet.

I ask for prayers for my family.  This is harder on them than it is on me.  Ron and I have been one for over 44 years, and I can barely imagine what this is doing to him.  I know the kids are worried about him.  They are all strong, but I can see that they are torn apart, too.  Please pray for strength and peace and comfort for all of them.  Thank you!

Goodbyes yesterday were difficult.  We live so far apart from extended family, and we don't know what will happen next, or when.  I feel so blessed that everyone was here while I'm still doing well.  

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your sweet thoughts and prayers.  Love you, dear ones!


Dear Adrienne,

I am sitting here on my bed smelling the beautiful scent of the Bunni candles you sent me.  Jason lit one for me right away, when Ron brought in the mail today.  It's heavenly.  Thank you so much!

I love the card and note you sent, too, and want you to know that I feel that same way about our friendship.  I think of you and Sarah when I see my pincushion, too.  Funny how a little joke and contest over a pincushion can start a bond between people.  It was fun.  :o)  And now I feel like I've known you always, even though we've never met.  You are very dear to me.

Thank you for including me in your rosary.  I will pray for you always.  Hugs to you and the music man.


To peachblossom

Hi Leslie,

Ron just brought in the mail, and I opened the card you sent.  I cannot easily express how much your words mean to me, what you said about friendship and what you said about grandparents and grandchildren.  I pray that my little grands will remember me the way you remember yours.

I've made a couple of little story telling videos for them, and included songs at the end that we sing at bedtime.  I hope they will help the kids to remember.  I know the older grands will remember, but the youngest are only 2 and barely 4, so not sure they will.  But the videos should help.

I love the lyrics to the song you sent.  Thank you for such a sweet and thoughtful letter.  I love knowing that people all over the country and the world are praying for me, and especially that your sweet little boys and you and John have me in your prayers.  Thank you!

With love,

Friday, June 21, 2013


It has been such a sweet, wonderful day.  Family filled this house with their love, laughter and joy.  Of course the usual family members (Josh, Cyrise and their four little ones) who live here were here, and so was my mom, my two sisters (Sandi and Johnnie), a brother-in-law (Mike), two big strong handsome nephews (Jared and Collin), our beautiful niece Kori, our precious daughter Kelly, and Jason and Kismette and their four children.

Josh carried me downstairs in the afternoon.  The women were all cleaning my house like crazy, and the guys were outside grilling kalbi, swimming with the kids and keeping them entertained.  It was almost like a party.  Well, it kind of was a party.

I got tons of hugs and kisses and love.  I sat on the couch and watched everything going on around me, feeling so blessed to have this big loving family.  Another nephew and his wife (Sandi's oldest son Cole) will be here tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to seeing him, too.

My home health aide came around 3 in the afternoon to help me with my shower.  The transfer bench works great and really makes me feel safer and more secure.  I was able to wash some of myself alone, without her help, because I don't have to hold on while sitting on it, like I did on the little shower stool.  Awesome.

Then I was all fresh and clean to be downstairs with family and have dinner later.  They all left to go back to Austin where Kori lives, but they'll all be back tomorrow.

After they left Josh said that it felt just like always with them; the same love and feeling of family has never disappeared, even though we live in different places and have different lives.  I've noticed that with our extended family, too.  Cousins I hadn't seen in years are just as dear and easy to be with now as they were when we were growing up.

Thank you Sandi, Johnnie, Kori, Kelly and Mom for cleaning my downstairs today.  I appreciate it so much.  Makes me feel much better!  Nobody cleans like our Croley women.  :o)  You are all wonderful.  Oh, and thank you Jared for vacuuming the kitchen vent.  And Cyrise for what you did before everyone arrived.  Love you!

Josh's children were enchanted by their Uncle Mike, Johnnie's husband.  I call him the child whisperer.  All of our kids have been crazy about him from the time they are born, or meet him.  He just has an easy, funny way with them that makes them love him.  So Aubrey was looking at him, and she said to him, "You have a good face."  :o)  Isn't that the cutest?  He said, "Does that mean you think I'm cute?"  And she said, "Yes."

Jacob enjoyed meeting all the guys and swimming with them.  He said someone picked him up from behind and threw him into the water.  I asked him who it was, and he said, "That big white guy."  I laughed so hard.  He meant his cousin, Collin.

Now I am eating a strawberry sundae that Jason and Kis got for me.  The perfect ending to a very sweet day.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some Thursday Chatter

So much going on.  

We didn't go driving yesterday, but hope to go within the next couple of days.  But Kelly was here all afternoon, which was very nice.

Jason and Lyssa played their guitar and viola for us.  I've always loved to hear Jason sing, and he sang several songs for us yesterday as he played his guitar.  He sang Vince Gill's Pocket Full of Gold (my dad's favorite), Knocking on Heaven's Door (Dylan) and Down In A Hole (Alice in Chains).  He should put his songs on You Tube.  He has a beautiful voice.  We sat downstairs most of the day.

The social worker came out in the late afternoon.  She was very nice, but extremely talkative.  Kelly said maybe she gleaned some information from us while we all chatted.  I don't know.  :o)  I was awfully tired by the time she left.  She's getting us a handicapped tag for the car.

My sister Johnnie is coming tomorrow, and maybe her son is coming with her.  I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Sandi and Mom are coming back this weekend, also.  And maybe one of Sandi's sons.  I've certainly caused an uproar, haven't I?

The health aide will be out in the morning.  Ron has transformed the bathroom where the shower is by taking off the door (now the wheelchair can go in there).  He also removed the glass shower doors and put in the transfer bench which arrived last night.  That should make showering so much easier for me.

I don't hesitate to let my sweet family know when I'm becoming overwhelmed.  Sometimes it gets to be a little too hectic in my room, with grands coming and going, talking, fussing, whining or arguing, and adults doing one thing or another.  All I have to say is, "Time to go out now," and little ones are ushered out, along with the big ones, the door is shut and I have some peace and quiet.  They are so sweet.

Happy Thursday, y'all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hospice and other stuff.

I have been on hospice for a few days now, and it is nice to have someone to help Ron with my care, particularly bathing.  

An RN comes in twice a week to check my vitals and for any questions or concerns we may have.  The first nurse came out for two days in a row, but now there is another set of workers.

An aide comes 3X a week, to help with my bath.  She's so sweet.  She likes to dry my hair and style it.  My hair came back as thick as ever, and she enjoys playing with it.  :o)  She was here this morning.

We haven't received the equipment they plan to bring out yet.  They're bringing a transfer bench, which should help immensely with moving from my wheelchair to over the bathtub.  They mentioned bringing a trapeze so that I can pull myself around on the bed.  I have good upper body strength right now.  But I think they need a hospital bed for that.  I was hoping we wouldn't have to have one of those until later.

Right now Ron and our two strong sons move me around.  Josh and Jason can pick me up easily, but Ron has trouble lifting me and I'm terrified that he's going to hurt his back.  Josh is so strong that he can carry me up and down the stairs like I'm a child.

The simplest, everyday activities, like going to the bathroom, are the hardest things to accomplish.  It's a bit bizarre.  I wake up in the morning and start to swing my legs out of bed and walk to the bathroom.  Then I remember.  Someone else has to swing my legs over and lift me onto a bedside commode (wheelchair won't fit through the 2nd bathroom door, where toilet is).  I have to have  help to pull down my pants.  Then help to get my pants back up and into the wheelchair or bed.  That's the awful part.  I'm having to learn not to be so independent, and it's very hard for me.  I've always been in charge, at least of myself.  

I'm in my room a lot, but downstairs for most of the afternoon to be with everyone.  Today Kelly is coming to take me for a drive to the Hill Country, just to get me out, and because I love the Hill Country.  I'm looking forward to that.  I wonder if there are any Fredericksburg peaches left?

One of my boys came over to see me yesterday.  When the kids were growing up, they all had friends that we all loved, and Chris is one of Josh's high school friends.  The first time I ever saw him he was sitting in a little orange sports car in our driveway, and had a big sweet smile on his face.  I said, "Well, aren't you the cutest thing?" and I've loved him ever since.

He brought me a book about using nutrition to cure cancer, called The Complete Cancer Cleanse by Cherie Calbom, MS (the Juice Lady), John Calbom, M.A, and Michael Mahaffey, P. C.  Wasn't that sweet?  I was reading it last night, but it says the juice detox program makes you very sick for about 5 days a few days after you start it, so I don't think it will work for me.  But I will definitely use the suggestions for food from the book.  It's all good for the immune system.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Today, the most wonderful priest came to our house.  I had met him once, as he does the Traditional Latin Mass at our church now.  But I've missed Mass so much over the past couple of years, I didn't really know him. 

I called to see if he would come to see me for Confession, Communion and Anointing of the Sick.  He did all that and so much more, and he used the Traditional liturgy that I love.  We talked and talked.  He blessed my room with holy water.  He invited the whole family in to see the anointing, and all of us thought he was the perfect priest for me at this time.  He is awesome!  My sins are forgiven, I received Christ and the anointing, and now I feel awesome!  I love love love being Catholic. 

Thank you, My Lord and My God, for the blessings you have given me, and please bless Father Moses of Jesus now and always.  Amen

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A hard post to write.

St. Peregrine, Patron Saint of Cancer Patients
I hardly know where to start.

I went to the BMT on Thursday for my IVIG appointment.  I took the reports from the physical therapist, saying how quickly I had deteriorated in only a week.  I went from driving myself to the clinic and walking in with my walker to barely dragging myself in with Ron's help the next week.  That day we got a wheelchair.  Now my body from the ribcage down is paralyzed.

When the doctor saw me and read the reports, he immediately put me in the hospital and scheduled an MRI.  They did the MRI late that night.  The next day when the expert read the MRI, he said the cancer has come back and involves nearly my whole spine.  We never saw any sign of it in my spinal fluid, but it's in the spinal cord.

Mantle cell lymphoma is a very aggressive, sneaky kind of cancer. The first two times I got it, the progression was very fast.  And Dr. O said that it will probably be very fast again.  He said it is moving up my spine.  Right now the lumbar region is affected, which is why I can't walk and have bladder and bowel problems.  As it travels up, it will involve my arm movement, then my lungs, and finally my brain.  

He said that I could have brain and spinal cord radiation, or very strong chemo.  There are not many chemos that will go into the spinal canal.  He said that neither of the choices will cure the lymphoma, that I'd have to stay in the hospital and could very well die there.  He said that all either procedure would really do was to buy me a little more time.

I told him that I wanted to go home.  I want to spend my last days with my family.  The doctor set me up with hospice.  We don't know how long I will live.  He said it could be days, weeks, possibly months, and that he even had some patients who had been on hospice for more than a year.  

Given the aggressive nature of this cancer, I don't expect it to be months or a year.  Right now I feel okay except for the paralysis, and that's not really painful, just uncomfortable.  

My sister, Sandi, has come to get Mom and will take over her care now.  That is huge burden lifted from our shoulders, and I am so thankful that she is able to do this.  Please pray for Mom as change is not easy for her.  And for Sandi as she makes adjustments to her busy life.  

I hoped for a longer time, but I am dealing with it okay,  The hardest part, of course, is how this hurts my family.  I've fought this cancer for over 3 years, and this is not unexpected, so I hope we get through it without too much trauma.  As my sister said today, we've had time to love one another and say good-bye.  It's not like a horrible accident where your loved one is suddenly killed and you have no chance to hold them one more time and tell them what they mean to you.  So I'm grateful for the time we'll have for that.

Praying for a miracle, but putting it all in God's hands.

Thank you for being here these past 5+ years.  It's been fun sharing my life with you and finding new friends on the internet.  I'll continue to blog when I can.  I love all of you, dear readers.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The latest in my cauda equina saga.

My oncologist had not gotten back to me about the referral to a neurologist.  So I called my radiation oncologist (who referred me to physical therapy), but her nurse said that the referral would have to come from Dr. O.  So I called the BMT clinic again, and Carla had just come from a meeting with him.  She said that he had made the referral, but got a call back from the neurologist saying that he couldn't do anything to help me.  He said I need to go to the pain management clinic.  :o(  She told me to call them on Monday to make the appointment so they would have a day or so to review my history.  

I had some hope that a neurologist would be able to tell me something I could do to improve the paralysis, or at least how to live with it.  But I also knew that it was very possible that nothing could be done.  

I'll have to call my PT to let  him know that I won't be seeing a neurologist.  Maybe I can get pics of my last MRI so that he can see the mess we're dealing with (the tangled, curled up nerves).  I'll also take the reports from the PT to Dr. O next week.  I'm scheduled for IVIG at the BMT clinic on Thursday.  

We had to go to Mom's late last night.  She had packed again, and called wanting to know where everyone was.  I think she thought we were going to move her.  We got everything unpacked again.  Ron went over today and said that she had not repacked, but was still in her night clothes at 2 in the afternoon.

I'm trying to stay upbeat, but it's not easy.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What's Going On Around Here

Well, now I'm in a wheelchair.  Ron went and got it for me yesterday, after we went to the physical therapist.  The therapist is one I saw years ago for my frozen shoulder.  I like him a lot, and have faith in him.  He thinks he can help me, but said he wants me to see a neurologist because of the rapid decline in the use of my legs.  They've gotten much worse since I was there last week, and he printed out reports from both visits to show the neurologist.  

Aubrey thinks my wheelchair is pretty cool.  Wish I felt the same.  I am grateful to have a way to get around, though.  Last night I dreamed that I was walking and walking, down a country road.  

The kids have half a day of school tomorrow, then they're out for the summer.  I ordered some books to help Reece with reading and math before he goes back in the fall.  We will work on it every day this summer.

Ron and Josh have been going to Mom's for me the past week.  She called me earlier, saying that she is packing to move back to Wichita.  It's very frustrating because she isn't moving, but keeps packing things that then have to be unpacked and put away again.  I think this is the sixth or seventh time she has thought she is moving.  Last time she thought she was moving back to her old apartment.  Josh is on his way over there now.

The kids were so surprised when they came home today, because Papa moved the couch out of our bedroom to make more room in here.  Now Reece is sitting in my wheelchair watching Ben 10.  He looks so adorable.

Life.  You never know what will happen next.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Dad in his twenties.
Today, June 4th, is my dad's birthday.  He would be 93 years old if he were still living.  It's been 21 years since his death, and I still miss him.

Aubrey has spent the past hour in here with me.  We played a Garfield game on the computer, then she practiced typing her name and Reece's.  We had a cinnamon roll which she got all over her cute face.  Then she took my cup downstairs and came back with a little more coffee for me.  She said she poured it herself, and put cream in it!  (It's not hot).

Yesterday was pajama and movie day at school, and Reece wore his annoying orange pajamas.  Today is game day.  The kids could take games to play with their classmates.  Tomorrow is water day.  Reece will wear his swimsuit (and tee shirt and shoes, of course) and they will play in the water, blow bubbles, paint themselves and be sprayed off, etc. etc.  I know he will have fun.

I think we may rent a wheelchair so that I can be more mobile.  This is a real pain in the patoot.  I finally got some straight answers about my insurance and referral, so that I can start the PT.  My right leg is so "dead" now that I don't know if they'll be able to help me.

That's about it.  Have a good Tuesday.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday With Kelly

Our beautiful Kelly
My legs are getting worse by the hour.  I can still stand on my left leg, but the right one is totally useless.  It's kind of scary.  I don't know what we're going to do.  I live in a two story house.  Ron is taking off next week to do the driving I normally do.  Thank goodness the kids only have one more week of school.

Kelly came over today to take me to lunch and for a drive.  I had to go downstairs on my bottom so I wouldn't fall (and back up the same way, which was a bit more difficult).  I can still walk with the walker, very slowly and carefully.

I went to Gruene with Kelly anyway.  She took me to lunch at The River House, a sweet tea room that has wonderful food and excellent service.  We ate outside on a shady patio.  

I had quiche, which came with a yummy muffin and fresh fruit.  Kelly had a delicious looking rueben panini with fruit and homemade house crackers.  We both had peach iced tea.  

While we were eating, a well-fed black cat came and sat down and looked at me.  I gave him some cheese, and Kel gave him some of her sandwich.  He was known at the tea room and is named Gipper.  What is a gipper, anyway?

We went driving, and talked and talked.  I absolutely love being with my daughter.  She is so precious.  So in spite of being a cripple all of a sudden, it was a nice day.

When we got back, the kids were excited to see Aunt Kelly, and Reece wanted to show her the Wii.  She brought all of them pool toys for their birthdays.  They love her.  

Ron had finished the gate for the deck stairs and had installed it.  It's tall, and I'm hoping the kids won't try to climb it.  Aubrey has already said that she can get in, but Papa told her he better not catch her even trying.

Hope your weekend was nice.  Prayers again for Oklahoma! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Not having a very good weekend.  My cauda equina syndrome is wreaking havoc on my ability to walk.  I can hardly get around, even with the walker.  I'm doing the exercises the physical therapist gave me, but as simple as they are, it's difficult.

I went to the school to watch the dance festival yesterday morning, and had to walk kind of far.  My doctor says it is important for me to keep moving, but maybe I overdid it.  I spoke to him by phone yesterday, and he's going to refer me to a neurologist.

The dance festival was fun, though.  Each class did their own dance, and then the teachers performed a dance.  Reece's class was all dressed in black shirts with "gold" chains and danced to MC Hammer's Can't Touch This.  It was cute.  I stayed to watch all the classes and enjoyed it very much.  Some of those kids have really got the moves!   I didn't get any pictures because I left my purse in the van so I wouldn't have to carry anything as I walked.  :o(

Josh went to Gran's for me yesterday, and Ron and Reece went today.  They said she is doing fine.  

Today Ron has been busy building a gate to put at the bottom of the stairs that go up to the deck.  We hope it will keep the little girls from picking my tomatoes that are on the steps.  And keep them off the deck.  They love to go up there, but it's not safe, especially for Gina, who is not always stable on her feet.  I'm afraid they are going to see the gate as a challenge, though.  I told Kelly we may have to put spikes and barbed wire at the top to keep them out.  :o)

Reece is in here wanting to use the computer.  Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Date:  Wednesday May 29, 2013. 

Time and Weather:  It's gray and cloudy at 8:41 AM, 77 degrees and will get to 87 today.  We're expecting thunderstorms.  

Clothes:  Gray v-neck tee and darker gray cotton knit pants.    

Food:  Two pieces of Health Nut bread toast with raspberry jam, two cups of coffee with cream and sugar.  I was hungry!       

Sounds:  Both Aubrey and Camryn were just in here trying to get Reece's helium balloon.  They both let theirs go outside, and now they want his.  I said no.  Gramma, balloon watchdog.  :o)

Comings and Goings:  My mom called me early yesterday morning, just after i got back from taking Reece to school.  She seemed confused and upset, so I went over there.  She is having some mental issues and won't be able to live on her own much longer.  

I had my first physical therapy session yesterday (was late because of Mom's issues).  They did an evaluation and gave me some exercises to do at home.  They were supposed to have received a referral, but didn't have it, so I called the insurance company when I got home.  They said it was still being reviewed and they would call me in a day or two.

The therapist was very nice, and she said she thinks they will be able to help me get back some of my strength and balance.  I hope so, because I am very debilitated right now.  It takes me 5 minutes to get up the stairs.

Cyrise went with me to take Aubrey to school.  She has to be walked in to the cafeteria, and I didn't want to have to walk her in pushing my walker through a cafeteria full of kiddos.


Memories:  When we lived in Japan we went to a mochi pounding.  It was winter, and cold.  We wore jackets and gloves, and could see our breath in the cold air.  There were demonstrations and food and music.  We had mochi candy and rice cakes made of mochi (pounded rice).  Some ladies had made a big pot of soup, and were passing it out in little styrofoam cups.  

If you've read my blog for awhile, you may know that I have a fish phobia.  When I got to the bottom of my cup of soup, there was a tiny whole fish, eyes, lips and everything.  It gives me the heebie jeebies even now to think of it.  *shiver*  

Thank you, God:  For all of your creatures, even fish.  Amen