Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring out the old, ring in the new!

Where has 2009 gone? Really where has the last decade gone!? Just seems like yesterday that everyone was worried about what would happen to computers, etc. when 2000 began...and here it is almost 2010!
We have had a fairly quiet day. Woody offered to go to the grocery store...and I readily took him up on the offer. He said that since it was a "drizzerable" day, he would get his exercise in at the grocery store. He did say that by the time that he got the groceries brought in that his arm was hurting and he was ready to be finished with that particular "exercise program!" I put the groceries away. He has watched TV and DVDs and read this afternoon and evening. I have worked some on Esther's quilt...the top is nearing its finished size...then on to plan quilting it. Graham came over for a while and built with his new set of K'nex that he got for Christmas.
We are pretty boring when it comes to New Year's Eve activities...probably early to bed for Woody...and...I may see in the New Year sewing or reading! And, so...on that note I will close out the last blog for 2009 (my 369th blog this year).
Just after I posted, we got our friendly automated call from Vanderbilt to remind us of Woody's appointment this coming Tuesday. Also, yesterday, we got a nice check from Vanderbilt (a nice change!). It was reimbursement for travel expenses to and from Vanderbilt for the drug study. The check was from Vandy, but it was really from the Abbott Drug Company. The nurse had told us a couple of months ago that we should be reimbursed for our travel, and she got Woody to fill out a couple of forms...guess filling out the forms worked!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Was he trying to tell us something?

Yesterday, on our back road route, we got behind this snowplow/deicer. Wonder if he was getting ready for something that we don't know about!?! But is just rain...don't think that he is going to be out there plowing snow tonight!

We have had a pretty low-key day. Woody is trying to recover from yesterday...from the trip and also the dyes that they inject into too...just from the trip. Woody did get out and pick up sticks/limbs that had come down in our heavy winds last week. He said just doing that pretty much did him in, so we didn't try to go even for a short walk this afternoon. I ran some errands this afternoon and this evening have started working on Esther-Noel's quilt again. I was busy making decisions about what size strip to add next and realized that the time had gotten away from me and that it was past time to blog. Get me busy at the sewing machine and I lose track of time! Now I am listening to a treat I bought for myself...a new Christmas CD..."Noel" by Josh Groban...VERY NICE! Guess that I'm still in a Christmas mood! Woody has watched TV and read and rested this afternoon and evening.

And, maybe, just maybe, the snow plow pictured above will be needed sometime in the near future...I'd like a nice snow! It's the Arizona in me...guess I didn't get enough of it while I was growing look forward to it and enjoy it when it long as I don't have to go any where! I don't want to drive in it! I just want to look out on the pristine whiteness of it and stay warm inside!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Good Report

We left the house around 6:45am. Woody was at the check-in desk at Dr. Holt's office by 8:30am for his 9am appointment. Almost as soon as he was taken to a room, he was taken back for an x-ray. But then the slow-down came...Dr. Holt didn't come in to see Woody till 11am, but her visit didn't take long...we were out of her office by 11:15am and heading to the radiology department for his noon appointment for CT scans. We both got quite a bit of reading done while waiting today. I finished a book and Woody got a good start on his book. We were in the car and on the way home by 1pm and drove into our driveway at 3:pm. So a long day...but not as long as some have been! Dr. Holt's report was good...everything looked as it should in the signs of any tumor in that area. And...what I term "the many legged praying mantis" still resides in/on his arm bone. The lighter color in his upper arm bone is the bone cement. He still does have quite a bit of arm pain...which she says can still be attributed to radiation and the pain in his elbow is partially due to muscles that he is using when he is doing his exercises. There is also one place on his elbow that is tender and that is probably caused by motion of the wrist and lower arm bones which aren't exactly aligned correctly. Anyway...Dr. Holt was pleased with how things are looking and Woody will see her again in six months. We're glad to be at home relaxing this evening. Oh, I guess Dr. Holt paid Woody a compliment...she said that his hair looked darker! (But he really is finally getting some gray!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cycle 6, Day 21

The above picture reminds me of illustrations in Sunday School literature of yesteryear. This picture I took of this year's tax collector at our church's Bethlehem Village. He greets the visitors as they come in the gate at Bethlehem and charges them two danarii and has them sign the census registry.

It has been a cold day here in Middle TN. Woody went for his walk mid morning...he walked to City Hall to pay our city taxes and then stopped at the library on the way home...about a 3 mile walk. Then the rest of the day he has pretty much taken it easy...reading, watching TV and DVDs.

Tomorrow we will be heading off dark and early to go to Vanderbilt. This time he will be seeing Dr. Ginger Holt. She is the doctor who removed the melanoma tumor from his upper arm bone back in January. This is a return 6 month visit. After he sees her, he will head to the radiology department in Vanderbilt hospital for a CT scan. The scan is for the chemo drug has been eight weeks since his last scan. This scan will be one of the determining factors next week as to whether he will continue on to the 7th cycle/month of the chemo drug study program. Today is the 3/4 mark of the 6th cycle in his drug study.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Secret Sewing Unveiled

Here's pictures of the secret sewing that I was hidden away doing for several weeks in December. Abigail got a complete "Little House on the Prairie" costume including boots...along with a doll dress for her baby that matches the bonnet. Joy and Esther each got something new for their baby dolls. And, this only shows the secret sewing...I made quite a few other items for was a busy Christmas sewing year for me.

Woody and I both taught our Sunday School classes this morning. We came home and settled in for the afternoon and evening. Woody went on a two mile walk while I took a nap. He has been watching football and reading. I managed to get current with the pictures that I have been taking...moving them from the "to be sorted" file in the computer into their more specific files and backing them up in two places in external drives...hoping that they will be easily accessible and safe.
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Saturday, December 26, 2009


Pictured tonight is our tradition of the "Christmas Pickle" aka "Pickle Present." Hanging a pickle on the Christmas tree is an old German tradition. The way the tradition goes is that on Christmas Eve there is a pickle hidden somewhere on the Christmas tree. On Christmas morning the first child to find the pickle gets a special gift. The tradition at our house started many years ago. We hide the pickle and then the first child to find it on the tree gets to open that year's Pickle Present. The Pickle Present contains toys, books, etc. that stay at Grammy and Goosey's house to be played with when the grandchildren come to our house. Often the Pickle Present is the "main toy" that we give for that year...for example last year we gave the Fisher Price year we gave the Fisher Price Pirate year it was all old fashioned toys like Woody and I might have played with as a child...sometimes it consists of several small things that will appeal to each of the age ranges...this year the present contained a couple of difficult puzzles, a shape puzzle, an age appropriate truck for Elijah (Esther liked it too), an ice cream cone kaleidoscope, an old-fashioned pin ball-type game, and a book. All from oldest down to the to the youngest (well, not Elijah this year) really enjoy looking for the pickle. The two pictures on the left show them all looking around the tree to find it. The larger pickle pictured is the pickle that we hang on our seems to have become too easy for the oldest to this year we sort of played a trick on all of them...we took our pickle ornament off and brought the one from Nathan and Kathy's tree (smaller one pictured in Graham's hand)over and hid it on our tree...and, we didn't tell any of the children. The younger children were at an advantage since they would recognize the smaller one if they happened to spy it! And...Graham found it this year...first year that Erin or Alex haven't found it first. It is tradition to take a picture of the victor with the pickle ornament in his or her hand and then the victor gets to open the pickle present...picture on the top right with the children gathered around Graham. They seem to remember pickle presents from year to is often pointed out to me when one of them is playing with something...that that particular item had been a pickle present. Once our tree gets decorated each year, the children have what they call "pickle practice." This year Graham headed straight to the tree, when he first came over after I got the tree decorated. It didn't take him but a short time to find the pickle and tell me that I needed to hide it some place different (and I thought that I had put it in a really good place when decorating the tree!). So one of the adults will hide it some place else on the tree till another child finds it. We didn't do "pickle practice" as much this year since they were "banned" from the house for a lot of preChristmas due to my secret sewing.

So there you have another Dorrell tradition!

Today has been a rather slow-moving day for Woody and me...I think that things leading up to Christmas and then Christmas itself have sort of pulled the rug out from least my feet! We did go for a walk around the block this afternoon...with the wind blowing...brrrrr! I still alternate not being able to breathe with having to blow my nose constantly...and I still can hardly taste anything (no fun with Christmas goodies around!). Woody has watched TV and DVD's and read and rested. He also has been a big help and accomplished a lot more around here today than I have...he vacuumed up glitter, Styrofoam, paper bits, ribbon pieces, etc. in the living room and family room. I didn't have enough energy today to lift up the vacuum nozzle...much less push/pull it around!

One year ago this date, Woody had his first appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Sosman at Vanderbilt. much has happened since that day a year ago!

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad! However you spell it...hope that you and yours have had a wonderful day! We have had a very low-key day...which has been very nice. Woody got up...but not quite as early as usual. He went on an eight mile walk on this rather cool, windy, wet Christmas morning. It rather tired him out. He has been taking it easy the rest of the day...snacking, doing a cross-word puzzle, watching TV and DVDs, and reading. I have been playing with a new "toy"...a negative and slide scanner. It has been fun looking at pictures that I took prior to my digital cameras. I also scanned in some of my father's slides that my sister sent.
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Here's our birthday cake for Jesus! Melany made a scrumptious white cake with homemade strawberry jam in between the layers and then frosted it with white chocolate cream cheese frosting...YUM! YUM! It has been a tradition in our family to have a birthday cake for Jesus after our Christmas lunch...blowing out the candle and singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus...and then, of course, eating the cake.

We had a wonderful day...opened a lot of gifts...ate too much...laughed a lot...heard lots of little voices (7)playing throughout the house. Fun was had by all (well, Alex (12) wasn't feeling well so it wasn't the best day for him)and all seemed to be pleased with their gifts. Now I can reveal the secret was for Woody's suggestion, I made her a "Little House on the Prairie" dress-up outfit...complete with pantaloons, camisole, dress, pinafore, sun bonnet, and even socks and boots (we bought the socks and boots...I didn't make them!). She was quite pleased and later told her mommy that Goosey (Woody) had made a good choice with her gift.

Woody and I are both tired...but a good tired! We got our friendly automated call from Vanderbilt this evening reminding us about Woody's appointment on Tuesday with Dr. Ginger Holt, the surgeon who removed the melanoma tumor from his upper left arm bone. Woody will also be having a CT scan that he has every eight weeks while on this drug study.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Details! Details! Details!

Well, we are almost to the point of the last minute details...hopefully we will be ready to celebrate a joyous Christmas with our family tomorrow. We have been cooking and cleaning most of the day. Woody got going on the vacuuming early this morning. I got going on the cooking. We are trying several new recipes this year so it takes a bit more planning to get everything to coordinate with opening presents and being able to eat lunch at a reasonable time (Grammy can't cook till it is time for us to have our Christmas she does for Thanksgiving!). I think that I just have a few more cooking preparations this evening and then on to other wrapping a few more presents, etc. Woody made a recipe that we hadn't made in a long time--Orange Pecans--Yummy! We did take a break this afternoon and walked around the block. This is the first time that I have walked since all my congestion started...I'm still having trouble breathing...but survived the walk!

We had a special treat after lunch. Abigail invited us over to her house for ice cream and cookies...a party celebrating her juggling scarves for the first time last night. Lots of reasons for a party next door!

Hope you enjoy one of the reasons that I love our Precious Moments Nativity...the many shots in pockets, tinfoil halo tied onto a stick, a braid on the oriental king of the "Wee Three Kings," sawing a star and a pile of saw dust on the "We Saw a Star," bow tied on the chicken's egg, droopy eyed cow with a birdie on her back, patches on clothes, and on and on!
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Five-Month-Old Takes Center Stage!

Ta-dahhhhhh!!!!!! Here's Elijah doing his trick of standing on his daddy's hand. This is how Nathan introduced him to the crowd at their shows this year at the Night In Bethlehem. All of their children learned to do this trick early on...but I think that Elijah did it the earliest...seems like he first did it when he was three-months-old. A lot turned out for the annual Christmas event at our church...both last night and tonight. We have had two good weather nights this year...some years have really been miserable...with extreme cold, rain, snow, and one year an ice storm cancelled the festivities. Tomorrow may not bode as well weather-wise...but we'll take what fair weather we can get! I didn't go out into the Bethlehem village tonight...just stayed in and tried to get some decent pictures of the juggling show. I'm still learning this camera and night scenes and lots of movement (like juggling) are a challenge. I took the tripod tonight and used it for their last show to see if that would make a difference.

I got up early and completed a secret sewing project that Kathy had asked me to do. Then I got underway with making a huge book order and filling memorials for our church all day job. At one point the neighbors arrived bearing presents to put under the tree and then they stayed a while to shake presents. Then Graham, Abigail, and Joy decided to stay on till lunch. I went back to work on my memorials and they played and read with Goosey (Woody). A little later in the afternoon, Nathan brought Joy over because the rest were going to rest and she wasn' she and Woody spent a while longer together...while I continued to finalize the book order and assign books for memorials. I made the order and finally got the paper work done that I needed to turn into the church so headed off there around 4:30pm. Came home had a sandwich for supper and then headed back to the church a little after 6pm to watch and take pictures at three juggling performances. Abigail officially juggled scarves this evening for the first time...6 catches...hooray for Abigail! Woody went out this morning and finished up his Christmas shopping and also made a stop at the library for more DVD's. Then he has played with grandchildren, read, watched TV and DVD's and tried to take it easy...he needs to be well rested as I have LOTS planned for him tomorrow. Our family Christmas is Thursday and there's still lots to be done before then. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep so I will have a HIGH energy day tomorrow to accomplish all that needs to be done!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cycle 6, Day 14--half-way through Cycle 6

Living Nativity--2009 at First Baptist Church, Tullahoma, TN
A bit late in posting tonight. I spent the evening at the church taking pictures and enjoying the variety of activities that were presented.
I spent some time wandering through the Bethlehem village and then stopped for a bit to listen to our choir sing various Christmas songs, then went in to warm up a bit and watch the jugglers(aka our son Nathan and family). I thought it interesting that I got to the Nativity scene just as they were placing the first set of actors (we rotate Mary and Joseph and the kings and the angel throughout the evening so they can go inside and get warm). Anyway, the first set of kings wore the costumes that were made for the very first Living Nativity back in 1997. I made the king's costume on the left. Glad to see that it is still holding up!
Woody walked to get his hair cut this afternoon. I took off in the car and finished my Christmas shopping. Hip-hip-hooray! Woody has read, watched TV and DVDs, and relaxed today.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Night in Bethlehem: A Living Nativity

Everyone, who is in a close proximity to Tullahoma, (and those who aren't who want to drive the distance!) is invited to come to First Baptist's A Night In Bethlehem: A Living Nativity starting tomorrow night (December 21) thru Wednesday (December 23). The pictures above are just a sampling of what is offered. These are pictures that I have taken over the past years. It begins at 6:30 each evening and goes till 9.

I'm blogging early today as I will be heading off to church in a few minutes. The children's choir is doing a Christmas musical this evening and Graham and Abigail are in Grammy needs to get to the church to claim a spot for herself and her camera! Another highlight to the evening is FBC's White Christmas--an ingathering of non-perishables that will be distributed to families in need tomorrow.

Woody got up early and walked around the the cold. He came in saying that there was heavy frost on the car...later when it grew light enough to see better, he discovered it was snow...very light snow rather than a heavy frost! We both went to Sunday School this morning. Woody taught his class. We came home to rest and relax.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Nostalgia

This afternoon I sat down in the living room across from the Christmas tree and just let the memories surround me. I decided to get my camera and capture some of the ornaments that we have had the longest. The angel on the top left my parents sent to me my first Christmas at Cottey College in Nevada, that dates back to 1966. The ball, angel in the tree shape, angel on the shooting star, and the egg ornament were hung for the first time on Woody's and my first Christmas tree in 1970. We married in 1969...but the first Christmas we didn't have a tree, as we went to our parents' homes to celebrate Christmas...first to Woody's parents in MO and then on to my parents in AZ...a long trip...and I was pregnant with Melany. We had some not so great snowy road conditions on our return home and decided that it best not to travel between TN, AZ, and MO at that time of the year! We moved to California in 1971 and that year and 1972 we did celebrate with my year in AZ and the other they came to CA. So in our 41 Christmases together we only celebrated 2 of them away from our own home. And, it became a tradition to exchange ornaments among family members each of the reasons that we have so many ornaments! The little choir boy with the yarn hair is also one of our early is one of the first Hallmark ornaments. Anyway, I just sat for a while this afternoon and enjoyed memories that different Christmas ornaments brought back to me. The ball and the egg are probably miracles that they still exist considering that they are quite of the balls met its demise some time back when Melany was very little...she pushed too hard on one and broke it (she didn't get cut). Three of those balls survived...I gave Melany and Nathan each one to put on their trees when they married. The box of balls was purchased at a store in Tullahoma...long out of existence...Big K...long before the existence of K-Mart and to my knowledge no relationship to K-Mart. I still have the original box for those balls too...and a price sticker is still on the box (not much money by today's standards...but I'm sure that I felt that they were rather expensive back in 1970 (and probably got them on an after Christmas sale)!). The egg ornament still resides in the original box that it came in when not on the tree. It is a snowy scene of two people walking towards a church. The angel on the shooting star has had her wings hot glued back on and the little angel that hangs in the tree no longer has the pieces of wheat that were once attached to the top of the tree. Anyway...such are the ramblings of my memories tonight.

Woody and I went to Lowes this morning. Then I went to the grocery store and Woody went to the library. He has been reading and watching DVDs and ball games on TV this afternoon and evening. I'm still having a lot of problems with "desperate" and made some Rotel queso dip this afternoon to try to open up my head! Verdict is still out...but it tasted good...and, that's saying a lot as most things don't have much taste to me at the moment.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Bob the Builder

What a fun day. We started it out at the neighbors (aka Nathan, Kathy, Graham, Abigail, Joy, Esther-Noel, and Elijah's house) with a breakfast of French toast and ice cream! Ice cream for breakfast is a birthday tradition at their house and today we were celebrating Goosey's (aka Woody) birthday. A birthday we were very happy to be celebrating...because as Woody said..."I wasn't sure last year at my birthday, if I'd be here to celebrate this one!" He related the story about coming home from the hospital as a baby they put him in a dresser drawer to sleep!

Now, to explain tonight's blog title. As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, Woody wrapped presents much of the day yesterday. So this got the interest of the grandchildren...wanting to check out what had been put under the tree and for whom. They have found some strange name is to Bob the Builder. When Graham found that tag yesterday, he didn't know exactly what to make of it. I told him that I guessed that Bob was going to be here to celebrate Christmas with us. And, Graham told me that he was sure that Bob the Builder was just on TV. So we had to figure out who Bob might be. Finally, Goosey reminded Graham that sometimes he calls Graham "Bob the Builder" because Graham loves to build with K'nex so much. So Graham was finally convinced that probably the "Bob the Builder" gift was for him.

This morning the children presented Goosey with cards that they had made from him...and one of them was to Goosey from Bob!!! Graham finally told Goosey they he had started to write Graham on the card, but that there wasn't enough room so he crossed it out and wrote "Bob!" Good for several chuckles!

Just before we headed back to our house after breakfast, Woody told the children that they needed to come over sometime today and check out the presents under the tree. They had to go practice this morning for their juggling performance at First Baptist, Tullahoma's Night in Bethlehem so couldn't come over then. About 11:30am, we got a call, they were home, and Joy had her boots on (it was raining) and wanted to come over to find her presents and shake them. She is in the picture on the left. She got a call to head home when their lunch was ready. We got a call from Abigail, when she finished her lunch, asking if she could come over like Joy had to find her presents. She is on the right...checking out a tall stack of packages that are tied together. She finally discovered that those were hers! She had fun trying to figure out what might be in them. She has decided that the red package has an umbrella in it and she is going to open that one in the stack first. After Abigail had been over for a while, the phone rang again and this time it was Nathan wondering if Graham could come over with Esther-Noel. So Abigail traded places with her big brother and littlest sister. They are pictured in the middle. The only one who didn't come over was Elijah...and he isn't too much into shaking presents at 5 1/2 months!


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cycle 6, Day 10

Woody has been wrapping presents most of the day. Who do you suppose gets this one? Nice to have grandchildren with Christmas names...easy to find cards, ornaments, etc. that are already personalized! I have sewn most of the day...I'm on the last doll dress. That will be the end of the secret sewing...then on to "friend sewing!" We'll have our Christmas one week from today (24th)...I feel like I am ahead of the game...but doubt that I will have the same feeling Tuesday or Wednesday of next week! Woody is also looking through recipes...we're trying to finalize plans for our family Christmas dinner.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cycle 6, Day 9

It has been a cold day here in Middle Tennessee. Despite the temperature, Woody decided to go for a walk. He walked to the library...returned some books and DVDs and checked out some more. He did say that the walk tired him out a bit. Woody has read and watched TV and the DVDs this afternoon and evening. A call from my doctor's office awakened me this morning...but there was good news on the other end of the lab work came back okay and I don't have to go back for 6 months...sounds good to me! After the call, I headed into the sewing room. This afternoon before heading to the church library, I finished up one of the doll dresses...two to go.

Tonight's picture is one of the several butterfly ornaments that adorn our tree. This one is made of shells. Melany brought it back to us from a trip to Hilton Head Island. We have ornaments that remind us of our trips and of other's trips too.

There's lots of Christian symbols on our tree. The butterflies remind me of Christ's resurrection: the butterfly emerging from its cocoon represents the resurrection of Christ from the tomb. The butterfly can also represent our new life in Christ: as the butterfly comes forth with a new body, those who trust in Christ come forth with new life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cans for Lottie Moon

Lottie Moon, an early Southern Baptist Missionary, was born and died on December 25. Due to her many years of dedication to the mission work in China, Southern Baptists named their yearly offering for foreign missions in her honor. For many years our church has recycled aluminum cans to give the money earned to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. For quite a few years our garage has been the storing place for the cans brought to the church for recycling. Throughout the year Woody gets the bags, boxes, etc. of cans out of the garage and takes them to the recycling place. Ever since Woody broke his arm last year, Nathan and family have helped to get them to the recycling place. Today, Nathan brought over his empty trailer and he and Woody loaded it up...they even had to put some into the back of Nathan's van. Then Nathan and Woody headed off to get the last recycle check of this year to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.

Woody has had a busy day wrapping presents, watching TV, and reading. I have kept plugging along on the Christmas sewing. The major project that I have been working on was completed an hour or so for a several dollies that need new dresses! But shhhhhhhhhh...don't let the dolls know...still secret sewing!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Williamsburg Christmas

Quite a few years back now...I got to do something that I had dreamed about...go to Colonial Williamsburg, VA at Christmas time for their Grand Illumination. One of the daughters of the owner of the Montessori School, where I taught, attended William and Mary. When she started school there, we made up our minds that we (the school owner and myself) would go before she finished...and we did. What a marvelous time! Colonial Williamsburg is just about my favorite place to visit. I'm wanting to go back now that I have my new camera to capture the area digitally!

Well, I went to the doctor this morning. I'll know tomorrow or the next day if all the labs come back okay. Doubt that they will...almost every time something is wonky. Last night I started getting a sore throat...thought that it was probably sinus...but the doctor said that it was red and she put me on an antibiotic...a surprise to me when I thought that I was just going in for a well-visit...good timing though for my sore throat to show up (before rather than after the doctor visit)!

Woody drove me to to the doctor and put the seat back in the car and rested his eyes while I was in the doctor's office. We saw nothing of note to stop and take a picture on this jaunt. He read this afternoon while I continued on my sewing marathon. I had to hide anything that would give away the gifts, as we have Graham and Abigail with us while the rest of the family performs for an Upward's banquet in Alabama tonight. Graham and Abigail didn't want to miss their Upward's practices. Graham is on an Upward's basketball team and Abigail is doing Upward's cheerleading. Woody turned on PBS for them to watch a couple of shows. Abigail did some school work while I started preparations for our supper. And, then Graham and Abigail helped us open up the shipping boxes with presents from Arizona...they got to put them under the tree after checking whom each package was for...FUN!!!! Woody has taken them to their practices and left me to get a late supper for all of us. I have it ready except for cooking the pasta so decided to blog early. Well, best go get the water boiling so they can eat as soon as they get back...I'll bet they will be hungry after their workouts.

Best news of the night...Woody downed his last chemo pills for this cycle, just before he left with the kids...a very good thing!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

No Room in the Inn

We went to Sunday School this morning. Woody taught his class. We came home after church and I headed off to my annual Sunday School Class Christmas Party. It is so great to fellowship with close friends...we shared good food, laughs, even a few tears...some of the tears came from laughing quite hard at times. We have an ornament exchange. Every year I read a story entitled "The Right Family." While I read the story, everyone passes around the wrapped ornaments...every time I say "right" they pass the gifts to the right and every time I say "left" they pass the gifts to the left. It really is matter how many times we have done it.
Woody has read, watched football, etc. this afternoon and evening. He is still taking it easy due to his allergies. Today is cycle 6, day 6 and he has gotten today's chemo pills down and will be finished taking pills tomorrow for this cycle (4 in the morning and 4 at night).
Tomorrow the norm is changed and I have to go to the doctor for a six month check-in with our personal care physician and have lab work done. She has moved her office to a town that is an hour away. Since I don't know where I am going and since Woody is off from work, he will be taking me. Guess I had better go pack my camera...going in a new no telling what we might come upon for a possible picture for the blog. Well, I'd best get back to my secret sewing. I have been cutting out since getting home from the party...just one more item to cut out and then I can get back to the sewing machine. Maybe...just maybe...I can see a slight glimmer at the end of the sewing tunnel!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A better day!

Woody has had a much better day. One of the first things that he did after getting up (well, probably he took his pills first) was to get started making Chex Mix. I woke up to that wonderful smell wafting up the stairs...made me know that it must be the Christmas season, as it has become a Christmas tradition for Woody to make our Chex Mix each year. He made two big batches...which we will use for gifts and for munching on over the holidays...I probably did a bit too much is sooooooooo good! I made banana lemon tea bread. That smelled wonderful as it was baking, also. I also made chili today. Woody went to the library and stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of items that we needed. He came home and watched a couple of DVDs and also some football this afternoon. He has also read. He sort of took it easy today after his not so great day yesterday. But he definitely feels much better today. I haven't managed to do much Christmas secret sewing today...I'm hoping to get going on it again in a few minutes. By the way, this is my 350th blog post for this year!

These acorns that hang on our Christmas tree are a reminder that great things come from small an old Latin saying goes: "Tall oaks from little acorns grow." According to legend, the acorn is a symbol of how hard work pays off over time...acorns have potential that is deep within...we all have such potential within ourselves. There can also be Christian comparisons/symbolism with the acorn: a mighty oak comes from humble acorn...likewise, Christ came to live on this earth as a tiny babe... a very humble beginning...born in a stable and having a manger for his first Christians, we base our eternal life on a Person who came from humble beginnings...Jesus...born in a stable...Jesus...sent to be Savior for the world. The ultimate illustration of "humble to Mighty!"

"For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Cycle 6, Day 4

Not a good day for Woody. He is still having allergy problems...which leads to sinus drainage...which today has lead to nausea...but he has been able to keep his pills least so far! He is just sitting very still in his recliner with his eyes closed...hoping to feel better quickly! Tomorrow will be the last day for him to have to take soooooo many pills in a day's span. After tomorrow, he will "just" be taking 4 in the morning and 4 in the evening for two days. And, then drug-study chemo pill taking will be over for this cycle.

Woody got up early as usual, took his anti-nausea medicine, went to work, took his nine chemo drug study pills, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home. This isn't exactly the way he would have chosen to feel as he starts his Christmas vacation. Today was his last day of work till after the New Year. I just hope that he will feel better quickly so he can enjoy his time off.

Today the roofer came to hopefully fix a leak This begins the process of several home improvements that will be taking place over the next few months. I ran errands and did our weekly grocery shopping.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cycle 6, Day 3

On this very cold day in Middle Tennessee, Woody got up early, went to work, took a cold walk at lunch, worked some more, came home and has been relaxing this evening with the TV and reading and resting his eyes. He still doesn't feel great...but does feel better than he did yesterday. He has completed one more day of this drug study cycle...much to his dismay (over taking the pills)...but also relief that another day of pills is finished! I have once again sewn most of the day...a usual occurrence for me prior to Christmas. No matter how I plan I always seem to have some Christmas gifts to finish...some years more to finish than other years...I think that this year qualifies for a "more year!"
Pictured tonight is part of my angel collection. I have them posing on top of the china cabinet as the heavenly host above our Precious Moments Nativity. One angel has a Bible verse in her storage box: Psalm 91:11 "He will give His angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cycle 6, Day 2

Woody got up early, went to work, managed to get his chemo drug study pills down, walked at lunch, came home, ate, watched some TV, and has pretty much collapsed in his recliner for the evening. He's not feeling the greatest today...probably a combination of allergies, day after Vandy, day after a Zometa infusion, and the 2nd day of the 6th cycle of his chemo drug study. I would say that all of the above mentioned could make you feel tired...and he did use the word "tired" today! He walked at lunch, but he said that mid-way he got wasn't cold today, but very windy and then you add in all the rest of the reasons that he felt tired on his walk. Last month, he didn't even attempt to take a walk at lunch on the day after he had Zometa and got started back on the chemo pills. My sewing machine has pretty much been humming all day...I'm making a "slight" dent in what I am hoping to do.

The little Precious Moments angel figurine is named "Seeds from the Chapel." Woody bought him for me when we visited the Precious Moments Chapel in Missouri quite a few years ago. He is only sold on the Chapel grounds. The meaning behind this figurine is that the Precious Moments Chapel is spreading the seed of the gospel to all who visit. This angel stays out all year round in our china cabinet...but he joins the Precious Moments Nativity at Christmas time.

I can now (7:50pm) report that Woody has taken all the chemo pills for today...two days down (literally)!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cycle 6, Day 1

It rained on the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the physicians and the patients, the professors and the students...all at Vanderbilt. I took the above "umbrella and other ways to keep dry" study, while Woody was waiting for and having his Zometa treatment. These were all taken through the window of the room that we were in. If you look really closely you can find Woody in one of the pictures (hint: it's his reflection in the window behind one of the umbrella carriers).

We started so early that we beat the rain to Nashville. We didn't realize that it had started raining till we were called back to the waiting room outside Dr. Sosman's patient rooms. Once again, things got going very quickly once we got there. Shortly after registering, Woody was called to have his labs done. And, it wasn't too long till we got called back to the "inner waiting room" and we didn't have to wait too long in that area till we were taken to one of Dr. Sosman's examining rooms. We did wait a while in there...but in that wait...Woody's drug study nurse talked to us and told us she would be back...she came back and said that his labs looked like things would proceed for the next cycle...then a doctor in training came in and asked Woody questions and checked him out...and...finally it was Dr. Sosman's turn. At some point during that time, I handed the nurse the pill bottles from the 5th cycle and the diary card and she handed me the new card for the 6th cycle. Once Dr. Sosman had left, we were told to go on to the Infusion lab to get registered to have his Zometa treatment. We waited a while for a room there, but really not all that long. And, this time the Zometa got brought in quite quickly from the pharmacy. Zometa is a short infusion time (around 15 min.). When it was finished, I called the research nurse on the cell phone to find out where she wanted us to go to wait for the drug study drugs. She said that she was on the way to pick them up and to wait right where we were. Woody finished taking his 9 pills at 12:15pm and we headed out to claim our car. Now, that is where the wait was really long...made to feel especially long as it was damp and cold. The car was finally brought to us and we were on our way out of the Vanderbilt area by 1pm.

We stopped at Melany's to pick up a book that she had checked out for Woody to read from her school library...a Newberry Honor book that Woody had been wanting to read that our public library doesn't have. We saw their pretty Christmas decorations and ate some yummy strawberry cheesecake. And, then it was "on the road again." I was worn out and slept a good part of the way home. It did start raining on us again on the way home. We drove back into our driveway a little after we had a ten + hour day on the road and at Vanderbilt. Woody's nurse suggested that he wait till 10:15pm to take his evening chemo drug study pills...I know that it will be hard for him to stay awake till then!
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Monday, December 7, 2009

"All I Want for Christmas is MyTwo Front Teeth!"

Abigail can sing that song "for real" this year! I was talking to Kathy on the phone when Abigail announced excitedly that her tooth had finally come out (it had been hanging for several days!). It wasn't long till our doorbell rang and three little Dorrell's bounced in to show off Abigail's new smile. I ran upstairs and brought down one of the Cd's that I had bought recently...appropriately named... "All I Want for Christmas" and handed it to her. She needs to learn that song!

This is a respite day for Woody, as yesterday finished his fifth cycle on the chemo drug study. We will head to Vanderbilt dark and early in the morning. Hopefully tomorrow will be day 1 of Cycle 6. Will let you know on the blog tomorrow night. We will be stopping at Melany's on our way home tomorrow to pick up a book that she has for Woody and we will get to see their Christmas decorations.

Today Woody got up early, went to work, walked at lunch, worked some more, on his way home he stopped at the Post Office and stood in a long line with a sick child in front of him, came home and washed his hands, went next door and babysat the neighbor grandchildren for a short time, then came home and has been relaxing...watching TV and reading. I have been busy in my Grammy workshop (sewing room)...lots to do and the deadline is getting closer! UPS delivered one more package we are a bit closer to being finished with Christmas gifts for this year.

Oops...just realized that I went downstairs to ask Woody something about the blog...and...I asked...but forgot to come back upstairs to post the blog, as my cutting table for one of my sewing projects caught my attention and I began cutting again...(also got intrigued by Antiques Roadshow) posting a bit later than I meant!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What's a tutu?

I just asked Joy (4) if she could have a tutu what color would she like. She shrugged her shoulders. Goosey (Woody) said that maybe she didn't know what a tutu was. So I asked her what a tutu was and her answer...(drum roll, please)..."four!" We were watching The Nutcracker movie and that is the reason that the question came up. The above picture isn't that great tonight as I took a picture of the TV screen...but it definitely illustrates our question of the night! "Kids say the darndest things," as Art Linkletter used to say. We did tell her what a tutu was. She now says that she would like a pink one!

We got up and went to Sunday School. Woody taught Sunday School. We came home ate lunch and then Joy came over to spend the afternoon and evening with us. Nathan and family had a gig in Smyrna, TN and Joy is sick so she came over to be with us while they went to do a juggling program. Since Woody took care of her yesterday, before we knew that she was sick, we figured that he had already been exposed to whatever. She really doesn't feel well. She has spent most of her time on the couch in our family room resting and watching movies...Cinderella and The Nutcracker. She has now come up to check to see what I am doing and has crawled up in my lap...she feels rather warm...we don't like our little Joy Bug to be sick!
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Look what we woke up to today. The neighbor grandchildren really had fun. I stepped out the front door and took two pictures and then went to the back door and Woody swept the steps off and I stood there and took several pictures of the kids throwing snowballs and of them sledding. We haven't had much snow in the last couple of years so they were really excited to have even this small amount.

Woody went to the Post Office and the library this morning. Then he took care of Joy and Esther-Noel while Nathan, Kathy, Graham, Abigail and Elijah went Christmas shopping. He made Tahitian Treats (a yummy no-bake confection made with dried apricots, coconut, sweetened condensed milk and then rolled in confectioners sugar) to take to Sunday School in the morning. He has started working "the puzzle" of putting all the boxes back in our Christmas closet. We are both having sinus/allergy problems (at least that is what we hope it is). He has been taking Benadryl...I woke up in the middle of the night with an allergic reaction to took some that makes for a bit of a "sleepy day." Woody has also read and watched football this afternoon and evening. I have been trying to get going in my sewing room (which included some shopping this aftenoon for some needed items)...Grammy's workshop needs to gear up for several items that are needed by the time that our family celebrates Christmas together. I got a bit of a reprieve tonight as we were going to have our family Christmas on December 19...but we had forgotten the practice for the children's musical that Graham and Abigail have to now we are having it on December 24...a few more days to "create" and get ready!
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Friday, December 4, 2009

O Tannenbaum

Decorating is finished...and I am about finished too! Here's our tree. Last night I showed you the first ornament that I put on the tree yesterday and here it is about 699 ornaments later...what a job! The sides and back are just as full as the front. We have no lights on the tree...the ornaments are our lights! I enjoy putting them on (despite the back ache!) because each one is a memory. Yesterday and today while I trimmed the tree I thought of each family member and friend who gave them to us.

Woody has had a busy day...he got up early, went to work, walked at lunch, came home, and almost immediately headed out to do the grocery shopping. We had so many errands to run that we decided to split them up...but I fell down on my part...I was just too tired to run errands today. Woody ended up going to Kroger, WalMart, Office Max, and Lowes! So he had a major outing! This evening Joy came over after they returned from being away this week. Nathan is working on winterizing their motor home and he came over to borrow a certain size wrench and left Joy till he brings the wrench back...he's not back yet. Joy thought that maybe they had forgotten about her! She said that she could just sleep over here...which would be a possibility...BUT all extra beds are covered with Christmas related items. Oh...Nathan just came to get her...he said that he thought about just keeping the wrench for a while and letting us take care of Joy till he brought it back! As soon as Woody came in from shopping, I got started on our turkey soup...Thanksgiving leftovers are about over...they certainly have been a life saver for me this week...I didn't have to think about cooking while I decorated. By the way, all decorating is the big job putting ALL the boxes back in the Christmas closet...Woody's job to work that puzzle! We're both looking forward to the weekend...Woody will be babysitting for Joy and Esther in the morning...and I have to get busy in Grammy's workshop (sewing room).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First ornament on the tree for 2009

Melany made this ornament for us for last Christmas (2008). She used pictures of Erin and Alex (our two oldest grandchildren). She has a program on her computer that turns pictures into a kaleidoscope-type picture...then she came up with a way to make them into an ornament. Since we didn't put up a tree last year, this is the first year that it has been on our I put it on first. It shows things that they had done during 2008. The most important thing that they did that year was to make a decision to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They were both baptized on the same Sunday...a doubly special day!

Woody got up early, went to work, took a cold walk at lunch, came home to eat and rest. I am still in the throes of decorating...starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The main thing left is the tree...but...what a will understand when I share a picture of it after it is decorated. We just got an automated call from Vanderbilt to confirm Woody's appointments this coming Tuesday.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cycle 5, Day 24

It has been a rainy, windy Wednesday here in Middle Tennessee. Woody has had pretty much a same ol', same ol' day...he got up early, went to work, walked at lunch, worked some more, came home, and has been relaxing most of the evening. He is having remote control problems...but figured out a way around it and is now watching a DVD.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One year ago...

One year ago, a little after 8pm on December 1, 2008, Dr. Aiken called with the news that the place that he had removed behind Woody's ear was melanoma. It put us in a tail spin of absorbing the news and then finding out what we would do next...and then next...and we continue to be in that "what is next" phase. There haven't been many dull moments in the past year! I can't believe all that Woody has been through in this span of a year's time...a ton of lab work, tests, scans, surgery, IL-2 (two rounds), radiation, kidney stones (2 bouts), chemo drug study...and the list goes on. I'm very thankful for all the doctors that we have had and the way things have sort of fallen into place all along the way. God saw us through this past year and I know that he will continue to lead us forward...guiding and directing our decisions and doctors' decisions. This coming week Woody will be starting on his sixth cycle (month) of the chemo drug study, if all is okay with his lab work. I will say that a lot of the past year has been pretty much a blur for me. I am so thankful that the chemo drug study seems to be stopping, or at least slowing, the progression of Woody's melanoma.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Precious Moments

Woody got up early, went to work, came home to relax. We went on a short walk around the block before it got dark. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! The temperature had dropped and it was breezy. I have spent the day decorating for the moment we are in quite a mess! Last night Woody started pulling boxes out of our Christmas closet...trying to get to the two Christmas tree boxes...which, or course, are on the very bottom under tons of other now the office/school room is filled with boxes...but he got to the trees! But...what he was really looking for was our Precious Moments Nativity set. He was successful in finding those boxes last night before I went to bed I got the Nativity set up. The Precious Moments Nativity was what Woody missed last year when we didn't decorate.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cycle 5, Day 21

Woody started out his Sunday with about a four mile walk. We both went to Sunday School and taught our Sunday School classes. We came home and enjoyed Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch and then relaxed...Woody with football games, reading, and a with a nap mid-afternoon. I think that my adrenalin must have stopped flowing after a very busy last week! I rearranged the Fisher Price Nativity so I could take a picture of it to share here on the blog...after taking the pictures, I sat down in the chair across from it to ponder on it AND begin to think about attacking our Christmas thing I knew it was an hour later!

Pictured in this collage is the Fisher Price Nativity that I mentioned in yesterday's blog. The last picture is our 2-year-old granddaughter, Esther-Noel, pointing to the Reason for the Christmas season!
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

The party's over!

We really had a nice day with our children and grandchildren gathered here at our house. It was a busy day...starting out quite early...Woody and I got up before 6am to start the turkey cooking and then to get the other dishes prepared and the tables set. Melany, Wade, Erin and Alex arrived mid-morning. Nathan, Kathy, Graham, Abigail, Joy, Esther-Noel, Elijah and Kathy & Nathan's 6-year-old nephew, Emerson arrived closer to noon, as they were saying good-bye to Kathy's parents who had been here celebrating Thanksgiving with them. Nathan did "talk" Alex into blowing leaves before lunch...I think that Nathan used a sort of "Tom Sawyer method" to entice Alex to do it..."Hey, Alex, we have this neat leaf really need to try it out!" Or something like that! Well, it worked! And, once again our yard is blown clean of leaves...but for how long!? Melany carved the turkey. Wade mashed the potatoes. Woody sat with the younger children at the table in the kitchen. The rest of us ate in the dining room. Woody said that he was still a child...but...really sitting in the kitchen put him closer to seconds! After lunch, Woody sat to work doing the dishes, Melany cut the rest of the turkey off, I put away dishes, later Wade took over doing the dishes. After lunch, the children started putting out the Fisher Price Nativity scene, Wisemen set, and Inn set that we gave them last year. I had the coffee table all covered and the boxes awaiting them...and several noticed them when they came in and I told them that they could set it up after lunch. They enjoyed doing that...of course...we have a couple of sheep on top of buildings or trees and other objects in odd places...but they had fun and that is what matters. And, hopefully it got them thinking about the reason for Christmas! Last year Woody and I made the decision not to decorate for Christmas due to his broken arm...and, then, we were really glad that we had made that decision, when we learned about his melanoma the new children's nativity scene sets put Christmas in our home. I'll probably blog a picture of it during this Christmas season. Oh...and, Alex had so much "fun" blowing leaves before lunch that he did more later in the afternoon! Everyone was busy either playing or working or visiting!

Today I posted a picture of a nuthatch that Woody and I spotted yesterday on our walk...I guess I should say that we we heard him first peck, pecking away...and then spotted him. We both have realized that our "photography walks" have made us much more observant of our surroundings when we walk. We are sometimes amazed at all that we see (or hear).

At the moment, Woody and I are both ready to put our feet up and rest after our day of celebrating Thanksgiving with our family.