Monday, January 27, 2014

 Happy New Year 2014!

We seldom have a “normal” year, unless “unpredictable” is normal, in which case 2013 was a normal year.
As many of you know, my Mother, Chris Withrow, moved to Colorado in 2008 when she was 88. Her health began to decline in 2012, and she died on the 13th of January 2013. During her last, difficult weeks and months, each of my sisters came for a visit, spending special time with her and being a great comfort and help to me as well. We buried her in Teague, the little Texas town where she was born, in the family plot next to my father. What a rich life she lived!
So now George and I are retired! We are willing to continue working, but jobs are hard to come by these days, especially when some people consider you to be a senior citizen (gulp, really?). So we decided to make the best of our new freedom and do some traveling.
In March we spent a few days in San Francisco with Daniel and Tien. Some highlights of the trip were the Bay Cruise on a sunny day, exploring the city, and being able to watch the ocean from their apartment, as it looks west across the sand dunes to the Pacific Ocean. We had a memorable train ride back through the Sierras and the Rockies. 

In June we flew to Louisville, KY, to visit my sister Jill and her fiancĂ© Lee Pennington. We were there to attend a special event at the University of Louisville – the opening of the Lee & Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery (Lee’s wife, Joy, died of cancer a couple years ago). We had a delightful time with Lee and Jill, met many of their interesting friends, and took a leisurely ride on the paddle-wheel riverboat, the Belle of Louisville.
Over the summer we took trips around Colorado to Ouray, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Leadville, and Grand Lake. Our son Kit went with us; he had never seen most of these places and discovered new areas of Colorado he wants to explore some more. 

We also spent relaxed days on our land in South Park, enjoying our view of the vast valley with 100 miles of mountain peaks rimming the western edge.
We added a puppy to our household -- Rita, a chiweenie (chihuahua-dachshound mix). She's a perfect fit for us and loves being the center of attention.
The year was not without it challenges, and these came mostly in the area of our health. As senior adults, we’re dealing with some of the usual aging issues. George now wears a hearing aid and he had cataract surgery. I have heart problems, and must now take medicine for that.
Our year ended with a wonderful Christmas. Daniel and Tien (who are expecting their first baby in May) flew out from California, so, along with Julie’s family and Kit, all of our family (11 of us) came together at our house. 

With 2013 behind us, George and I are feeling very blessed and are anticipating more good days in 2014.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life Turns a Corner

"Out of the blue" on Saturday morning (the 11th) the thought came to me that I should quit my full-time job so I could care for both my aging mother and George, who we can see will be an invalid for some unknown length of time while he recovers from his PE (pulmonary embolisms). By the end of that day, George, Mother, and I had agreed on the change. Talk about a sudden change of course! Life turned a corner, and it didn't even warn me with a turn signal.

Mother will be 92 in April. We have a trip to Georgia planned for her birthday, to visit Alice's family. Mother has lived in her own apartment for over 2 years in a senior retirement community. She has helpers who come in, morning and evening, to help her dress, bathe, do laundry, etc. Lately it's become evident that she needs someone available all the time, but she simply will not consider going to an assisted living home.

With George disabled, I am overloaded -- I can't manage an outside job and take care of my family and home too. I have resigned from CBS as of the end of March, which is the print deadline for the 23 courses we're publishing this year. The publishing team is working hard to make the deadline, so I'll stay and finish up that big project. Though I really love my job, I am at peace about quitting -- this is the right thing to do.

George's Journey to Health: How it Started

It's time for me to start up this blog again. I've had a job -- Senior Editor for Adult Curriculum at Community Bible Study -- that keeps me glued to a computer all day long, writing and editing, so when I get home, I don't do much writing. However, now that we need a platform to keep people informed on the newest challenge in our lives, I'll be blogging more often.

George spent 3 days in St. Francis hospital in early February, being treated for pulmonary emboli (blood clots) in his left lung. He had been getting weaker and finding it more difficult to breathe since January 14th, when he experienced an extremely sharp pain in his left side that wouldn't go away. After a few days of him yelling out every time he moved, we went to see the Physician's Assistant he usually sees at our doctor's office. She decided that he had pulled a muscle, and prescribed some medicine. It was on a Friday evening 3 weeks later that we finally decided he should go to the ER. They discovered multiple blood clots in his lung and the oxygen level in his blood was 81 -- extremely low. He was admitted and began treatment to thin his blood so he wouldn't produce more clots and to dissolve the ones in his lung. It is taking a long time for his lung to recover from the damage, and he can't go without oxygen. He's tethered by a 40-foot tube to a nifty little machine that makes oxygen, day and night.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Georgia's Scooter

Here's our little Georgia on her new birthday scooter.

This last week has been taken up with surprise surgery for Madeline, who had her gallbladder removed. Everything went very well.

We had two days of unseasonal, sub-freezing weather. Icey fog coated everything with a thick layer of ice. The sun came out today and melted the ice. Now we can get back to Fall for a few weeks -- we hope!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Last Day of September

Summer is waning. We should have a beautiful day today with intense Fall sunlight and slight breezes with teasing hints of the cold to come. Tomorrow we move into October, when cold weather begins to dominate. Right on time, a new cold front is supposed to reach down into the state. The colors of turning trees and shrubs are striking down here (at a mere 6,000 ft.) where the Great Plains hit the Rockies, but are even more beautiful as they wash across the mountains. This photo was taken near Leadville last week.

November 5th is the day that Christopher (Kit) leaves his army post in Germany, released from active duty. He'll be home for the holidays. He hasn't made any decisions on where he'll go to college, but that's the plan. He probably just wants to enjoy his freedom for a while -- and I know he wants to enjoy being in the U.S. too. He's seen how much that means during his time in Iraq and Europe.

Our youngest granddaughter, Georgia, had her 6th birthday on August 29th, and George had his 67th one month later. What an interesting perspective one achieves with age -- looking back at one generation still represented before us (my mother), seeing where our generation has arrived at, and looking at the lives of our grown children and their young children. Though we all grew up in the same country, our cultural experiences are so very different!

Daniel returned to San Francisco from Southeast Asia in August. He has spent much of his time trying to figure out and put together all the required paperwork for Tien's visa. It looks now as though she won't be here until 2010 -- early in the year, we hope. We have enjoyed getting to know her a little from afar, and we think she's delightful.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Engagement Party

In Vietnam, the engagement party is evidently a huge affair. Both families are usually involved, but in this case we just "participated" from afar. Daniel and Tien had a big studio photo session with them in various outfits, including traditional Vietnamese dress. Tien was gorgeous in every one, and they look very happy together. The party was held on July 14th at a big restaurant with lots of food and lots of people Daniel didn't know. He also didn't understand the ceremonies he participated in. Lots of photos were taken, and video too. We're looking forward to viewing those.

They've been working on getting Tien a fiancee visa, which will take 3-6 months, they're told. Daniel may return to the U.S. during that wait, or he may stay in Vietnam. They plan to come to Colorado and have George perform their wedding in a lovely outdoor setting. We are certainly looking forward to having Tien as a daughter-in-law!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Big, Big News!

In June, Daniel totally surprised us by calling from Vietnam to say he'd asked Tien to marry him. He and Tien have corresponded via Internet and letters for 8 years, but we knew nothing of her till he went and stayed a week with her family near Saigon. Daniel left Saigon to travel around Vietnam, but that didn't last long; he flew back to Tien and proposed. We are very pleased and happy for them.

Christopher (Kit) was home from Iraq for most of June, and Wendy came from Alaska for a week-long visit. Kit had some remarkably good fishing, and we all spent a night in a large suite overlooking the river at the Breckenridge Marriott. The whole state is lush green from all the thunderstorms that have rolled through. Kit will return to his base in Germany and be out of the army in just four months!

I (Madeline) broke my arm about mid-June (distal radius fracture) and had a metal plate inserted in my wrist to repair it.