Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Robin's Hood - Day 1

The Robin mama has been spotted.

And she is expecting.

We're hoping that the egg has been fertilized and that we will have a baby robin in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, she has custody of our deck and back door.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


It's not as easy as it looked on TV.

First, drill through the two "eyes" of the coconut.

Drain the coconut milk.

Poor, sad little coconut!


Mmmm, fresh coconut.

Unfortunately, this is where it got a little sticky. Getting the coconut meat out of the shell was definitely a task that is best left to the professionals.

I'm waiting for the coconut fairy, or Alton Brown, to make their way to our house and finish the job.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yet Another Trip to the City

I forgot to mention that last week we had to make yet another trip into Chicago for more broken stitches - this time in my other eye. The doctor removed several and told me to stop lifting heavy stuff.

He also suggested I might want to lay off the cooking and the cleaning.

I love my doctor!

Monday, April 21, 2008

We're Expecting

. . . baby birds.

A momma bird picked our unfinished brick wall just outside the back door as a good place for her nest.

. . . beautiful weather.

The last couple of days have been gorgeous, and our flowers have started to bloom. Let's hope that spring is officially here and that winter has moved on.

. . . a call.

We're waiting for the doctor's office to call and schedule the next surgery for Vern. He will need at least two more surgeries and will probably be off work for at least two more months. They are bringing in a special radiologist to help with the placement of the nephrostomy tube into his kidney.

. . . the unexpected.

Because honestly, expecting the unexpected has been the way we have rolled lately. I wouldn't expect any less.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rock of Ages

Believe it or not, this is the newer, slimmer version of the mega stone that Vern has in his left kidney. The doctor was able to break some of the top of it off in the procedure last week. We'll find out later today if it was enough for them to continue with the surgery to remove it safely.

As a comparison, he has a normal size kidney stone in his right kidney.

I'm willing to bet that Vern wins the next time the guys get together to play the "My ________ is bigger than your ________" game.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lock Me Up and Throw Away the Key

Things went well with Vern's surgery at the hospital yesterday. The doctor managed to break off the top of the stone (which is apparently shaped like the state of New York). We have to wait another week to see if that's enough for them to get into the kidney with their tools to remove the stone in large pieces.

Things did not go so well at the hospital with me, however. I'm apparently a big thief.

The surgical waiting room hands out beepers so that family members can travel freely throughout the hospital but still be reached if there is news about their loved ones. I received my beeper and then shoved it in my knitting bag.

It wasn't until later that night when I received a call from the hospital looking for their beeper that I even gave it a second thought.

I have to go back to the hospital today. I'm a little worried about that. We all know how much a hospital charges for something as simple as an aspirin. I'll probably get the death penalty for stealing a beeper.

It might be time to start knitting a pair of these.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I'll Take Kidney Stone for $100,000 Please

Yes, I know that I'm mixing up my game show references, but what do you expect out of me at this time of the morning.

We're headed back to the hospital today for what is only the new "first step" in this whole process. They are hoping to break up the stone just a little bit to give them room to gain access into the kidney to remove it surgically.

The bills from the first surgery are rolling in. This is easily going to be a $100,000 stone before we are done. If we are talking $100,000 rocks, do you know how big of a diamond I could get for $100,000?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fingerprint Me

I ran across the coolest thing the other day, compliments of my favorite sister who turned me onto the television show Divine Design.

It's called Fingerprint Art. I did some Internet sleuthing and found a company that does this (
DNA Their prices are a little steep for me right now (keep in mind we just overstimulated the economy), but I KNOW that I can figure out a way to take our fingerprints, scan them in, do a little digital manipulation, have them printed out on canvas, and then mount them on an artist's canvas.

What a unique and personal touch to add to your home.

They also do DNA art from your own personal DNA scan.

I think I'll skip that one though. I'm going to have a hard enough time explaining why I want Vern to give me his fingerprints. I doubt that "Honey, I need a sample of your DNA" is going to go over well.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

And Speaking of Stimulating the Economy

I did my own little bit to help out too.

I picked up a bit of yarn for some hats and other items for my Etsy shop.

And look at these awesome buttons I picked up while in Chicago earlier this week. You can't tell from the photo, but these are LARGE buttons (2" and larger). It's absolutely impossible to find buttons like these anywhere locally.

I think we have now overstimulated the economy, and it may need a nap.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

We Won the Lottery!

Not really. But we sure have been stimulating the economy this weekend like we did.

We haven't really been working on the house since Vern's first surgery because he's still not feeling well enough to do much. But he does feel well enough to SHOP!

And S.H.O.P. we did.

We bought a sofa (like this only a darker brown)

And two swivel/glider chairs like these but in olive green (they don't look like much, but they are seriously the smallest, most comfortable chairs ever and they swivel and turn in every direction just like a carnival ride.)

And a coffee table (2/3 of the top lifts up to use as a higher table and the other 1/3 lifts up to reveal space for hanging folders)

And a dining room table with 6 chairs.

And a Persian rug. Notice how the dogs immediately claimed it as theirs before we even got it rolled out. (I naively had no idea that Persian rugs cost eleventy bajillion dollars. Fortunately for us, a rug gallery in our area is going out of business so we got 75% off of eleventy bajillion dollars, which still came to something outrageous for a rug for the darn dogs to lay on.)

And Vern spent a little time wandering (and spending) at his own personal Mecca, The Rockler House of Tools.

I'm happy to put all your fears at rest - - There will be no recession.

We have single handedly seen to that.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Stitch In Time

I'm very happy to report that all of the pain and vision loss I was experiencing was just the result of two broken stitches in my eye. I think that I probably had one broken stitch for a couple of months and then sometime in the last week or two, the second one broke. (The stitches stay in for a few years and some of them stay in permanently since the corneas have little to no blood flow and as a result, the healing process is incredibly slow.)

A little bit of stitch removal, antibiotics for a few days, and I'm good as new.

And hugely relieved that God, indeed, won't give me more than I can handle right now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's just a loose stitch, right?

I just got yelled at. I'm not so crazy about that. I'm usually one doing the yelling.

Well, yelling might be a little dramatic, but I definitely got taken to task.

I've been having an issue with one of my cornea transplants. I've put it off, blaming it on dry eyes, the woodburning fireplace, the drywall dust, etc. It's been mildly uncomfortable for a while, but not so much to make the effort to call the doctor and go all the way to Chicago, especially when we've been working so hard to make progress on the house.

However, last week it got worse. Quite a bit worse. The problem is that if I have an issue with my eyes, it means I can't drive. I can't drive in Chicago on my best day. I certainly can't do it with one eye that is screaming in pain and pouring out a flood of tears from the sunlight. And Vern was certainly in no shape to drive.

However, he's driving again, so I figured it was a good time to call my surgeon. He was NOT happy that I waited. At all.

So tomorrow morning we head into Chicago. I'm sure it's just a loose stitch. Right?

Because God wouldn't do that to us right now, would he?


As promised, albeit a little late, here are photos of the soapstone installation.

The stone was brought into the house in smaller pieces. Soapstone weighs approximately 20 pounds per square foot, so even the smaller pieces required three men to carry them.

In this photo, you can see the difference between the sink, which has been oiled with mineral oil, and the "raw" pieces of soapstone.

The seams were epoxied together and the surface was carefully sanded and smoothed. This process took a few hours.
The finished countertops, installed and oiled.

A few close up shots of the various veining patterns.

This is to the left side of my sink. We had drainage grooves cut in.

This is my favorite piece. It's on the island to the right of the rangetop, and I call it my "lightening" piece.

There's so much more work to do, but getting the countertops installed was a huge turning point.