Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall is Here in Ohio

It's been a great fall, with dramatic skies, brilliant colors in tree leaves and wildflowers and lovely cooler temperatures. I've been busy with working on my stores, drawing, visiting with old friends and doing things around the house.
I've been noticing that the birds at my feeders will eat through all weather. Nothing gets between them and their seed! Especially the goldfinches, nuthatches and woodpeckers (downy, hairy and red-bellied)! It's so fun to look out and see near constant bird activity, those little guys sure love to eat. The chickadees are so tame that they will stay on the other feeders near me as I fill a feeder. They're so friendly and talk to me, really cute.

Despite the cooler weather now, my gardens are still looking pretty good. I brought in my tropical plants and the cats love sniffing the leaves and sitting under them. The big hibiscus tree is blooming happily in my kitchen, covered with double peach flowers. The red flowering hibiscus bush in my living room is full of buds, too. I sure hope they're this happy in the middle of winter. As long as they have water and an occasional light feeding, they're happy.
I'm back into orchids again, bought a few plants for my kitchen. I had over forty orchid plants when I was in Florida and gave them away before coming up here, since they love the tropical climates. But, my orchid addiction never went away so what the heck, got a few. Which, of course, will lead to getting a few more..
Mom & dad's cat Moxie ran out their front door two weeks ago and is still out there, living it up as a free cat. When he sees them, he runs! He and his siblings were born to a feral mother cat, and my parents rescued the kittens three years ago. Mox was dad's constant buddy, with him everywhere that he went, all day long. Now, even dad can't get him inside! Amazing. He turned wild again. Dad leaves food out for him every day, and we all hope that when the weather gets really cold that Moxie will finally decide that being outdoors isn't fun anymore..and come home.
My two cats are having a good fall, watching birds at the feeders and the leaves fall. They armchair-birdwatch. Laziest way possible to exercise but oh, so cute. Matisse will get in the winder and want to pounce, but then just getting in the window (next to the chair, easy to get to) to him is a big effort that then deserves a nap. Ahhh..what lives they have! The birds actually watch us, too! Goldfinches frequently sit on branches overlooking my living room windows and stare in at us! It's so cute, wish I knew what they're thinking :)

So, fall is progressing. Pretty soon it will be Thanksgiving, one of my fav holidays. It's been a TOUGH year health-wise for mom and dad so this year we have a whole lot to be thankful for. I plan on doing the whole dinner, whether or not they come. With LOTS of stuffing. Being single, I tend to eat the same leftovers for a week sometimes, doesn't bother me at all. Especially not roast turkey leftovers.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Peaceful August in Amish Country

It's been a comfortable and peaceful August so far (well, except for my car breaking down/needing expensive repair in the beginning, but I won't talk about that). I enjoy the cooler temperatures (while they last, after all, it IS August in Ohio), and having my windows wide open to let the breeze in. So far, this month has been very laid back, the way I like it. Dad's health is improving, which is a big relief! Seeing him with color back in his face and life in his eyes again means so very much to me. I never, ever take my wonderful father for granted, because he's such a good person and after all he's been through, it just shows how fragile life can really be. One day at a time, and he's happy so I'm happy.

Mom's been busy gardening and with her various projects. She's enjoying the summer, too, and we all will miss the great outdoors when winter rolls around (we all pretty much hiburnate in bad weather). It's great to see her garden full of birds and butterflies, it's a little nature preserve! I love that my family loves nature and animals so much. It's one thing we all have in common.

At my house, the birds are busy chowing down at my bird feeders. It's so cute to look out and see five male goldfinches pigging out on nyger seed, the white-bellied nuthatch running up and down the tree and my latest additions, the chickadees, going to the feeder to get one seed at a time, fly off with it, and then return for yet another single seed. I have to chase off the sparrows from time to time, as they bully the goldfinches like a band of little marauding thugs. And, they ate nine pounds of bird seed all by themselves in one day, so I decided that they can have the food on the ground, but no more messing with the songbirds on the feeder. All I do is clap my hands from my chair as I work, and the sparrows fly off (for awhile, at least). The finches stay put, as if somehow knowing that the clap wasn't meant for them. I think birds are smarter than we give them credit.

My cat Beau loves to lay in front of the room fan, letting it blow his fur like crazy. He's a Southern cat and used to love the fans when I had them down South so his fondness of fans has stuck with him even after living down there. Matt, on the other hand, winces at the wind. He doesn't like his beautiful fur blown at all. Two distinctly different personalities.

My garden is doing pretty well, some things really thrive while others sort of just hang on. The Portulacas, butterfly weed and dianthus are really going nuts. Even the double yellow hollyhock is now settled in well and looks happy. The first year of planting is always the hardest but they are establishing themselves and hopefully will come back bigger and better next year like the wild geraniums did.

I love the country, it's so perfect for my parents and I, after all those years in living in busy, stressful suburbs. Out here there is nature everywhere, tractors and horse trailers go by my house every day, and Amish buggies pass by, too. People talk about composting and county fairs with excitement. I buy jams and produce from Amish vendors at a local farm market from time to time.

The neighbors in the big, fancy house across the street have bonfires and I love the smell of the burning leaves. It smells like fall, which is my favorite season. Mom and dad say how they wished we'd moved out here years ago. Well, we're here now, and loving every minute of it.

Monday, July 02, 2012

July is Busting Out All Over

It's hard to believe that July is here already but it is! Time has flew by this year so far. Dad's illness has consumed my thoughts and I jut haven't paid attention to much of anything else. He is stablilized as of now, and though I can't relax completely about that, I'm very relieved.

My dad is now recuperating from having a pacemaker put in by the fine surgeons at University Hospital. He went from having no energy and not being able to breathe hardly at all to color back in his face, sparkle back into his eyes and increased stamina to live his life! They saved his precious life, and now he is healing. I can't say how amazing this is, to see his transformation. He's not out of the woods with his health yet, there are still many medicines to take, monitoring by doctors and nurses, and dealing with the heart failure and COPD. But to see him up, walking around and being able to spend time enjoying life again is miraculous.

I'm concerned about the little boys (aged 2 to 7, roughly) next door overwhelming my poor parents' house. With my dad being ill, this is getting intolerable. They aren't watched very well and come over to their house waaaay too much. Yesterday was a total fiasco, with them all over their porch, invading like an army, touching/getting into everything, one wanted to paint their window when he wasn't getting the attention he wanted! Dad needs peace and quiet, and they don't know how to be quiet in the least, and don't want to go home when asked to. Mom loves the little boys, but they are invasive and loud, and even she is tired of it, she tries not to let it show, though. I may have to step in if it gets out of hand, but for now, mom tries hard to handle all of them. They need to be home, with their family, not taking over the porch and letting themselves in my parents' house, uninvited. I'm friends with their older sisters, who try to handle them but it's just too much work for young girls to do. Heartbreaking. They should be out playing, not babysitting all the time at that age. I'm so glad I was an only child. The parents are very nice people and are basically friends but passive..there's 11 children and they don't seem to realize how very troublesome the little boys can get..and my elderly parents don't need that stress at their ages. They aren't babysitters. Mom teaches them for free, from the kindness of her heart. She's retired, meaning she should be able to be out in her garden or sit on her porch without being comandeered by an army of little boys to teach them. I just watch..for now..but worry, and will step in if they overstep their bounds much more. The family will be moving soon, so this problem should correct itself without any need for intervention. One day at a time.

As for me, I'm busy with trying to feel better, myself. I'm working to improve my own health, that has been lacking. Doctors monitor me and are concerned, I have to see two doctors in about a week, I hope that I don't end up in the hospital myself. It all stems from an infection started in my teeth that hasn't gone away, hopefully it can be eradicated, so far it hasn't been with multiple courses of antibiotics. I feel sick but am eating healthy and doing my best to repair myself. It's a process and I'm just dealing with it little by little, maybe the new doctors will help get me back to feeling like myself again.

My garden is growing, looking better as time goes on as the plants get bigger. It feels so good to see them every morning. It's fun to see progress, and to take a once barren front yard and bring color, flowers and life into it. I added a new birdfeeder to my other one, and get a good variety of birds coming to it. So far I've seen a white-bellied nuthatch, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, rose-breasted grosbeak, house finches, goldfinches, cardinals, chickadee, black poll warbler. It's fun to watch them come and go. Nuthatches really crack me up as they defy gravity, walking up and down the tree upside down and backwards, shimmying here and there, and raising up and down on their little legs, trying to find the perfect angle to jump on the feeder from! So incredibly cute.

July 4th is coming, and along with it comes festivals and other fun things happening out here in Amish country. To get away from the stresses, my parents and I will enjoy as much of the festivities as we are able. We love living out here in the country, all of us remark frequently on how great it is and how we should've moved out here years ago. It's wonderful to see my dad enjoying himself (when small boys aren't invading the porch) outside, enjoying nature and the birds/animals that come around. Their house is like a little nature preserve. Little chipmunks come practically up to us, birds and critters drink from the birdbath. There's a mother bird with her babies living nearby. Mom's beautiful flowers look so lovely, and bloom all the time. When some plants stop blooming, others start to flower. Her garden is impressive and growing bigger with every year.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Check out author Peg Streep's latest article on Psychology Today.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Precious Dad is a Real Trooper!!

Lately it's been really hard for my poor father. He's had problems with his lungs, heart failure, arrythmia and LOW heart rate. So low, he just had a pacemaker put in. Dad is a true survivor! He does it all with style and class, too..smiling and joking, being an excellent patient and doing whatever is needed. I truly admire him for his strength and tenacity during this extremely tough time.

My dad is a self-made man, coming from growing up on a farm originally. He was a very talented photographer in the US Navy and paid for college with his earnings. He went on to become an amazing architect. All my young life I was amazed at all the interesting projects he did, from Naval prisons and parts of the Cleveland Art Museum, zoos, universities, NASA, Tower City and much more. He did it all humbly and fiercely hardworking. At home, he was/is a loving father, and always loves his animals.

Now, in retirement, dad takes care of a family of cats he and mom rescued from the streets awhile back. He and mom love each and every one of them like the furry kids that they are. Those cats won the "feline jackpot" coming into this family!

As time has gone on, dad's chronic arrythmia got worse and worse, and this year he was rushed to the hospital multiple times, and ends up staying there a week at a time. First at Cleveland Clinic and now at University Hospital. He's gotten to know the staff at University and they remember him when he returns. He's a special man with a huge heart (that just needs some repair right now). I pray that the new pacemaker will help the other health issues to become less bothersome so my precious dad can enjoy his retirement peacefully without incident, with mom and I, and of course, the cats for a very, very longgggg time.

Whatever it takes to make him better, will be done. His team of doctors, physical therapists and nurses are impressive and efficient. It's quite amazing to watch the professionals take turns helping him. They work hard, very hard, and yet take time to explain what is going on and what to expect. His physical rehab team even visited him as he rested in Intensive Care two days ago! I can't say enough good about University Hospital, they are so wonderful.

So now, mom and I wait to bring him home from the hospital. He will be so happy to be able to have his kitties curl up on and around him back at home, and there will be a visiting nurse to make sure his health stays on track.
Being a worrier by nature, I worry a whole lot, but am comforted to know that my dear dad is feeling a bit better now with a regular heartbeat (thanks to the pacemaker). The nurse says it will make treating the other health issues easier. Good!

Here's to my dad, my hero. He is so very loved. I feel helpless about not being able to help him in feeling better but do my best to encourage him and think positively, as mom is doing. Together, we're a team. And we're getting through this, one step at a time!

Custom T-Shirtsgoogle-site-verification: google7067dc8e96d74570.htmlThe Fine Artwork of Carolyn McFann

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Check out author Peg Streep's latest article on Psychology Today's site:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Here is the latest article by well-known author, Peg Streep for Psychology Today. Check it out:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Keeping Busy

Custom T-Shirts It's been pretty quiet lately, which is fine with me. Dad's health has improved with medicine and a new health regimen. I've been busy working on some drawings and on my sites. When my eyes get tired (which happens more often the older I get), I go do some gardening instead of looking at the computer screen. I had to go to the Opthomologist two weeks ago (for the first time in my life) and the doctor told me my eyes are healthy, but due to my age, I need glasses for doing work on the computer. Those reading glasses you get at the store just aren't good enough. He gave me a prescription and I'll get them soon.
I found out recently that someone I know (a few years older than I am) has a serious illness. Getting older is tough, seeing things like this happen. I pray he is cured of the disease! I used to take health for granted but not anymore. In the last few years, seeing people I know, especially my dear father, struggle with various medical problems has made me more alert to taking better care of myself. I suffered with bad teeth and now am healing since they were replaced. It will take a long time to get the infection that was there to go away, the dentist said it's due to my age, it takes longer. Ugh. So, I bought a good,strong blender and have been making smoothies, slushies and such with fruit nearly every day. Before I didn't eat much of anything fresh all that often. Not anymore. Mom got a blender and is now doing the same. I pray that my family stays as healthy as possible despite so much illness in the world.
Also within the last month, I found out that my parents' neighbors (whose three girls I have so much fun with, aged 8, 10 and 12)have to move! The house they are renting has been sold and they now need to find a house that will allow 11 They will surely find something, how I hope it is close by to us, because my mom and I have grown so close to the kids. She likes the little boys (they give me a headache, very rowdy little kids but are cute). I enjoy taking the girls out to do things. If they move far away, it will be a blow on us. I told the oldest girl to keep in touch with me, she has my number, either way, she will. I still want to take her horseback riding some more. Fingers crossed.
So, I keep myself busy, feeling a bit stressed but the answer is to keep my head down and keep working. Drawing is therapeutic to me, along with the cats who are always at my side as I work. Next month I plan on getting more flowers for my garden and will spend more time doing that, too. I do some now, and it does look pretty good but there is a lot of room for more plants. I want to make it an Eden, just a lush, floral place. One step at a time. With a back that has been bad for awhile (but is doing somewhat better recently) I don't push it. Slow and steady is the way to go.

Monday, May 21, 2012

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Check out this fantastic article by writer, Peg Streep on Psychology Today's site.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Great tshirt for tropical fish/coral reef divers or aquarium keepers:
Excellent article by author Peg Streep for Psychology Today:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How happy are you? Do you post your feelings on Facebook or other social media? Check out this interesting new article by author Peg Streep on Psychology Today's website:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Check out the latest article on Psychology Today website by author Peg Streep:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Check out this very interesting new article by author, Peg Streep for Psychology Today:

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Recuperating from Dental Surgery

The last few days have been lifechanging, as I have had some serious, wonderful dental surgery. All credit for this goes to my very talented oral surgeon/dentist, Dr. Richard Slaten and his staff at Perfect a Smile dentistry. Click the title of this entry to go to their website. My teeth were breaking off, one by one, due to infection and weakness. Infection itself from the teeth was poisoning me all over, draining my energy and health. It was out of control and this is the first phase of bringing back my smile.

All six of my frontal upper teeth have now been replaced completely with crowns and posts. It looks fabulous, what a beautiful job he did. I am still swollen, predictably, of course. It was major surgery, and one of the most mind blowing aspects of it all, the procedures were relatively painless! I must have had some very poor dentists in the past because this just goes to show what they all should live up to: being truly painless. I feel like a dork being so complimentary but it's unavoidable, this was outstanding work, the likes of which I've never had. And I've been to some so-called "superior" dentists in my past. Finally, I can feel "safe" in the hands of someone not only capable but courteous. Something must be wrong with me because I actually look forward to going back there for more work. Soon I will have the ability to eat hard foods again, when he puts molars back in, can't wait for that..I miss steak. Anyways, the results are so wonderful that I keep looking in the mirror, even if I'm still swollen :)

The weather is pretty lousy out, so I'm home, in bed here with my laptop, cat wedged up against me, watching my "Phantom of the Opera" DVD and drinking hot coffee. I was told to drink hot fluids, and I'm happy to oblige. Once the swelling goes down, I will post a photo but it's still a bit soon.

Custom T-Shirts google-site-verification: google7067dc8e96d74570.html The Fine Artwork of Carolyn McFann