On Wednesday, May 6, my new book Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known arrived. At last! I picked up a copy and that evening sat down just to scan through it, and ended up reading it from cover to cover. I loved it! Duh! I’m just a little prejudiced. And Bob, my publisher, loved it too. Neither of us found anything to change and were very happy with the printing––color was right on and everything lined up to be where it was supposed to be.
The next day I went to the Pacific Publishing office and signed the first box of 42 copies. And took four boxes home. This week, I’ll do some phoning and line up some launch activities in the next couple of weeks. Exciting times!
I was gone for two weeks to visit family in Bakersfield. I flew since driving 15 hours is beyond me right now. Carole, the gal who rents my downstairs, drove me to the airport, which I greatly appreciated. Because the walkways at Eugene and San Francisco airports are too long for me to walk with even a small carry-on, I requested and got a wheelchair or transport chair with an attendant to push it. Wow! That’s the only way to go––no waiting in line, special treatment, pre-boarding. Loved it!
Going through San Francisco is always an adventure and this time was no different. The plane I was boarding in Eugene had just arrived from S.F., but needed some mechanical work. Of course, the mechanic they needed was in Salem. By the time he got to the plane, did the repair, and the plane took off, it was two hours behind schedule. And I only had an hour and a half layover in S.F.
I thought I would be stranded there overnight (again), but I wasn’t because of a 12-year old boy traveling alone also flying to Bakersfield. They held the plane for him, since the airline did not want to strand a child traveling alone, and I simply tagged along. When our plane landed, the wheelchair was there and the attendant literally ran while pushing me to the waiting plane with the boy running along behind. They even waited to transfer our bags. I really lucked out!
While in Bakersfield, I became the caregiver for my mom who seems to be in just as good a shape as when I last saw her a year ago. (We refer to her as the Energizer Bunny!) I also enjoyed visiting with various members of my family at dinner every night, and attended my brother’s wedding held in my sister’s garden. The weather was quite warm at times in the mid 80s to low 90s, but other times it was in the pleasant 60s and 70s.
During those two weeks, I was up at 6 a.m. each morning and kept busy most days with more cooking than I’ve done in many months and some housework, but not the major cleaning I normally do when I’m there. About my third day in Bakersfield, I developed edema in one leg that seemed serious enough that I called my oncologist. He then called a specialist who recommended I have an ultrasound to see if I had deep vein thrombosis. So my sister and I spent a day in ER at a nearby hospital. We arrived at 10:30 a.m. and by 1 p.m., I had had the ultrasound. But it was 4:30 p.m. before a doctor told me, “I see no problems with your leg; you may go now.” I peppered him with questions before leaving, but he didn’t know why it was happening.
Other than the edema, it was a lovely visit. My mom and I played many hands of gin rummy and the last three days I was there, she beat me more than I beat her. Not bad for being 102 years old.
Going home, low cloud cover in San Francisco caused the flight in Bakersfield to be delayed one and a half hours. Fortunately, this time I had a two-hour layover. I had just enough time in S.F to eat my packed lunch. When we got to Eugene, Carole was at the baggage carousel to greet me. I just love arriving in an airiport and having someone there to greet me.
Health and yard
After I got home, my edema immediately improved. I think the change of humidity and temperature was a big part of it. I still have some swelling in one leg that goes away every night. So I try to put my leg up a couple of times each day. For almost a week after getting home, I was tired. I eventually got caught up on the mail, paying bills, emails, etc. between naps. I just didn’t feel like doing much.
Just a few days after my return was the second Florence Festival of Books meeting. I got notes taken at the meeting in my role as secretary, but it was a week before I got them typed up even though they were on my to-do list every day.
And I’m still catching up in the yard. Everything is growing like crazy, and it’s time to plant veggies and annuals and that means endless weeding and getting the planting beds ready. Yesterday, both Carole and I were out in the yard. She is also a gardener. I used a shovel and turned over the soil in two beds and then distributed two huge bags of potting soil and one of mushroom compost in each bed. The bush beans that will go there have not sprouted yet, but they will any day now. That was the hardest I’ve worked since last August. It took three shifts with two naps, but I got it done.
This is May in Florence, which means rhodies are in bloom––both wild and the hundreds of hybrids seen in yards. My rhodies are gorgeous. And my newly cleaned up and refurbished greenhouse is a pleasure to work in. It is filled with mostly tomato plants that I planted before heading to California.
While I was gone, Carole watered the greenhouse every sunny day and made sure its windows and vents were open each day. And her son is the one who refurbished it and has done a lot of my yardwork since January. What a Godsend. He is young and strong. I am still at only about 20% energy levels and hardly any strength. Whenever I work in the yard for a couple of hours, I have to come in and lie down for awhile.
When the weather is nice, which it has been, I try to spend some time outside. So my days have been filled with yard work and naps. I’ll end this post with some photos of rhodies.
Notes: If anyone wants to buy a signed and personalized copy of Devil Cat––my first hard cover book––just let me know. Check the menu and click on Books for details.
Also, I’ll be selling copies of all my books at the vendors fair at the Rhododendron Festival next weekend on Maple Street in Florence. Saturday, May 16, 10–6, Sunday, May 17, 10–3.