My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How I'm Spending My Summer

Since we last left this story... a restraining order was put in place that prevents me from giving further details about the aforementioned situation. Suffice it to say that proper steps have been taken to resolve the issue to our satisfaction. I'll update when I'm at liberty to do so.

In the meantime... Big Brother started again this Summer and again, I'm using it as a diversion. So far I'm partial to the returning players, especially Nicole.

I've been enjoying my nieces having a cellphone. Nothing beats getting random, "I love you" texts from my favorite redheads. I recorded the musical Hairspray for them the other day. I've got to watch it through again to scan for inappropriate parts but I think it's pretty innocent. I mean, as innocent as segregation can be.

Our blackberry bush is still producing fruit and I've been loving fresh picked blackberries with honey on my yogurt in the morning. My fig bush is starting to bear fruit. It did this last year and they all dropped off before maturity. I'm hopeful that this is THE YEAR it starts making edible figs. I love figs and you can hardly ever find fresh figs in the stores here. I'm still enjoying fresh cherries in stores and ... watermelon is so good right now. I'm a fruit fiend.

Mom just brought down some green beans she picked from the garden today and cooked this afternoon. That was dinner and that was enough! They were so good! Now I'm ready for some home grown tomatoes and cucumbers. I may have to visit the farmstand tomorrow.

Still diligently working on my Italian. I use the Duolingo app. I've learned all the words in it so I just do a review every day. I have done it 168 days in a row! I am using Memrise.com which is also free but has parts that you can pay for (I paid $19 for three months to upgrade my program - a bargain compared to most language learning programs). According to memrise.com I'm up to 2400 words of Italian memorized. I'm... ok with looking at a picture or English word and knowing the Italian word for it. I'm ok at looking at an Italian word and knowing the English translation. I'm not good at putting together sentences. The sentence structure is in a different order than English. I can read newspapers and websites in Italian and understand about half of what it says and can sort of figure it out. I can't listen to someone speak in Italian and keep up yet. I believe learning a foreign language is a good way to keep your mind stimulated and it's a great distraction for me.

Then there was the appointment I had yesterday that I thought I might be running late for... I called and let them know that I thought I could make it but was afraid school traffic might slow me down. That's right... school traffic. At the end of June. When school is out. I was so embarrassed when she said, "is there school in session today?" Nope. No, there isn't. It's just my out-of-touch brain. We had a good laugh about it when I had to go back to their office today. I confided that I was just a month post-hysterectomy and that I was having a little post-anesthesia/post-missing parts brain fog. She's having one soon so she was sympathetic. I should give her my blog link...

Our new deck is coming along nicely. The new stairs went up today. Still no rails around it so it's too scary for me. I am becoming a pro at backing out of the driveway with the big red dumpster in the corner and assorted pickup trucks scattered around. The guys who are building it are super nice... father/son/grandson. They start up around 7am some days but we're all mostly awake by then so it hasn't been bothersome at all.

Pain wise my post surgery healing is going nicely. Much improved since last week. Not holding things that are too heavy for me has helped, I'm sure, but my heart is heavy enough to make up for it. Stress does a number on pain sufferers and the humidity has been way too high. I've also done more physical things this week that have been necessary to resolve our situation but I can feel the extra activity in my pain levels. To summarize: my body hurts but it's ok.

I wore my fancy Tiek shoes to an appointment yesterday and they made me feel ten feet tall and bullet proof. My sister-in-law Helen (who gifted them to me) said they are my "power shoes". Every girl needs a pair of shoes that make her feel invincible... so grateful for mine!

Counting down the days until I can find my way back down to visit with Oliver. I facetimed him the other day and love when he recognizes me. He's just too beautiful for words. Of course, Austin and I both find ourselves breaking down whenever we see a baby... but we can't talk about that right now. The beginning of July is full of things that require my attention and then my dad is going out of town, which will require me to be around to transport Austin back and forth to work. The way it's looking, it may be August before I can squeeze in an overnight... or it will be just a short visit. At any rate... I need to snuggle that kid SOON!

I know there have been lots of crazy comments added to my blog and I know you guys know me and my kid well enough to sort those out. I feel like it's in our best interest leave them for now but it's all good. He's a good man, a hard worker and most importantly a great father and I have never been prouder of him than I have been in this past week. I'm pretty durn proud of y'all too. My blogger babes and mother hens are the best. Y'all give me strength in more ways than you know. We've got this, y'all.

Love and hugs and happy Summer! I promise to add pictures next time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Post Op Check and Our New Porch

Today I straightened my hair. Haven't done that the past few washes. Which is like... weeks... because I only wash my hair once a week. You may think it sounds gross but it really isn't because I'm like... indoors 99% of the time. It keeps my hair healthier. This was totally NOT the point of this blog. I did my hair, I put on makeup, I naired my legs and I wore a dress to go to the prom my post-surgical re-check at the GYN doctor. Living la vida loca, y'all! I did at least get a "you look fabulous" out of the doctor but, honestly, compared to seeing me naked, unconscious and upside down anything would look better, wouldn't it? Sorry for creating that mental image. Really sorry.

Austin was off today for the first time since Tasha and Cosette moved out. We knew I was going to be at the doctor so he didn't plan to see the baby. Things are just really, increasingly unpleasant and it's quite stressful. Not my story. Not my story. Not my story. Trying not to blog things about it. Tasha and Cosette did come over yesterday and hung out for an hour or so which was nice because Sarabeth and Jamie spent the day with me. Cosette loves her "big cousins" quite a lot so she enjoyed seeing them. Austin was at work so he missed out.

Again, not my story, but most people get it... if you're not getting along well enough to live in the same house, you're not going to get along well enough to have casual conversation... or even meaningful conversation about your child because your own personal stuff can't help but get in the way, whether it be hurt or frustration or anger or misunderstanding or whatever happens to be the case. Not saying any of that is the case here, necessarily. Just that it's awkward. Everything that is an issue gets magnified when you take away the cushion of "I love this person and don't want to fight with them". The stakes are higher. The stress level is higher. Especially for the mom who loves her son and understands him... and loves her granddaughter and wants to keep the line of communication and visitation open with her. Stressful.

My doctor visit was mostly ok. One incision out of the three isn't healing well but the part that isn't healing is the top, outer level, which is better than it being all the way through. There was a lot of pushing and pulling involved in determining how it was healing so that was rather unpleasant. It was hot outside. The doctor said I shouldn't be holding babies yet ...oops! And he said to give it another two weeks before trying the baby holding thing. He said that after major surgery, with all the extra energy your body uses to heal, you can expect to be randomly tired for up to several months. I didn't mention that I've been randomly tired for the past five years all of my adult life. At least for now I can blame it on the surgery.

We're having one of the upstairs decks rebuilt into a nice screened porch. The work for that started today. I've taken lots of before pictures but I'm only posting one for now.

BEFORE











 After one day of work. It looks like all they've done is take off the rails but they actually took off all the boards down to the shed. 

I'm particularly fond of the big red dumpster they're using for the project. Isn't it lovely? As if our driveway wasn't hard enough to back up in.
Today for dinner we had Captain D's. Fish burps. Ugh. 

Summer is a good time for this sort of project because the trees around our property kind of make us isolated. For instance... I had to go way to the corner of the yard to catch our neighbors across the lake. Can you see the house across the lake? Right there in the middle. They are part-timers. They live in Florida and are only here occasionally and briefly. When they're here they're noisy and obnoxious and get out on the dock at night. Otherwise, they're good neighbors. When they're gone. 
Austin came home with a new tattoo. It's a heart with "Cozy" in the middle. Austin and Tasha abbreviate Cosette as "Cozy" not "Cosy" like I do. Whatever. Still pretty darn sweet of him to get a tattoo with his daughter's name. He loves her very much and misses her terribly. He just couldn't handle the constant conflict between him and Tasha. And honestly, it was really hard on my parents hearing a lot of fighting going on because Gant's tend to be non-confrontational and don't raise voices except to sing or laugh or when my dad sneezes and scares the cat who, when startled, sinks his claws into my belly, which is already tender and THEN I yell. But not loudly. A few times I made the mistake of getting in the middle of things with Austin and Tasha and I finally had to stop. If Cosette can't grow up in a house with both of her parents, then I at least want her to grow up having peace in her life. She is loved, so deeply loved. We just have to make sure she always knows that.

Ok. That's it for tonight. Love and hugs! 
















Sunday, June 19, 2016

This Past Week

What a crazy emotional week this past week has been! The shooting in Orlando... then the tragic death of the little boy at Disney... and my granddaughter and her mom moved out of our house.

It's a strange thing, this being a "paternal" grandmother... it's like you don't have the same security in the relationship with your sons' children as you do your daughters'. Like the old saying, "a son's a son until he takes a wife but a daughter's your daughter the rest of your life." Fathers have fewer rights and Austin's role has always been to be the breadwinner, which he has done faithfully. Tasha has been a full time mom and she and Cosy are very strongly bonded, meaning that of course, it makes sense that Cosette would go with her mom if/when the relationship fractured. Austin and Tasha's relationship has been rocky, for quite some time and it's always been in the back of my mind that our bond with Cosette could be difficult to maintain if things ended badly.

Initially, long before she was born, I worried about being involved in her life and one day losing our ability to see her. Having loved and lost, as far as my brother's children are concerned, I know how painful it is as an Aunt to lose contact. I don't handle loss well. Or more accurately, I don't put myself in the position to suffer loss any more because of my brother and... well, men in general. Of course, I loved Cosy long before she got here and have loved her intensely all of her little life, from the moment I heard her first cry through the door of the hospital room where she was born. I was willing to take the risk of loving her, to enjoy every moment I had with her and never take for granted the opportunity to be her Nana. I've worked hard to be a friend to Tasha and to support her as a mother as much as I could. Right now, I feel like Tasha and I have a bond independent of her and Austin and I'm hopeful that she will voluntarily continue to allow us to spend time with Cosy. Obviously, it's not the same as having her here, hearing her call, "Nana" from her highchair and spending afternoons playing on the floor with her. Her little toys are still scattered around my living room and I'm hopeful that she will still be over to visit them (and me) often. 

I have a lot of residual guilt that my sons aren't close to their paternal grandmother. I mean, when I "logic it out," I realize that there wasn't much I could do. She didn't really bother with them much. Their dad didn't (doesn't) have any relationship with his mom so for the most part it wasn't as if he was taking them to her house. There were real issues that I had to protect my children from where she was concerned. Her husband was a bad man. He is in jail for kidnapping and beating my ex-mother-in-law's step-mother to within an inch of her life. He was involved with drugs, to the extent that there was a raid on their house while Ryan was there. These are obviously not concerns that Tasha would have with Cosette being here. Our house is safe. Austin and I have an extremely close bond. When he spends time with Cosy, I'll spend time with Cosy. She's just down the street. We can do this. Tasha's parents are crazy about Cosy, too, and I know they will take good care of her.

But still... when I held her yesterday while Tasha and her dad loaded up their stuff... I whispered in her ear, "I will always be your Nana and I will always love you, " which is the same thing I told her the first time I held her. I took pictures of us together even though I was definitely not looking my best. Rolling around on the floor with a toddler when you're not quite a month out from major surgery... it's not pretty. I made sure to take her outside to pick blackberries like we've don't every day here recently. I was hot and sweaty and frizzy and... yet, I still wanted to record those memories.

Cosette is smart as a whip and remembers stuff like... the other day it was raining so we stood in the shed and I stuck my hand out to feel the rain. She stuck hers out and when it got wet she pulled it back under the shed and then reached back out to pull mine in too. Everyday since then, when we walk through the shed to get to the backyard she reaches her hand out first to see if it's raining. She remembers which flowers we can pick (clover and wildflowers) and which ones we can't (roses). She knows which button on my remote control turns on Netflix, which is where we can find Sofia the First. We play with the same toys when she is with me... we have tea parties and blow bubbles. She knows to hold her hand out flat to show the cats she will touch them "soft". She makes the same clicking sound to call the cats that I do and she pats beside her where she wants them to sit, just like me. We use empty toilet paper rolls like a trumpet and do a little fanfare sound and I say, "introducing... Cosette... Sauls..." she can't quite copy the sound but she tries and the other day she said, "ette"... trying to say "Cosette". She has legitimate memories with me and I want her to be here often enough to still remember the things we do and to make even more memories.

Cosy and Austin - sleeping in the exact same position
I know with my niece Sarabeth who I saw - not that frequently when she was little because we lived 100 miles apart - would remember the special things I did with her like let her have my sunglasses and put on "glip gloss". Jamie did too, although I've lived nearby since Jamie was three so she's used to having me nearby. I know I don't have to see Cosy everyday to be her Nana but I'm going to miss seeing her every day, just like I wish I could be with Oliver every day. Ollie knows me when he sees me and it doesn't take him long to remember the things we do... like blow raspberries and make car sounds.

It's all very selfish of me, of course. I know the most important thing is for Cosy to remain bonded with her daddy, who works an awful lot and who doesn't always handle transitions well. I know it's a bigger issue for Tasha to take on more responsibility. And it's important for Cosy to know she is loved by all of us, on both sides of the family. Truly, I know this isn't about me. And, like I said when I started this, this week has been so tragic for so many. I know there are people with much larger concerns. I know that God already knows what every day in her life will be like and I know He isn't the least bit surprised by this turn of events. He's got this. We've got this.

On a happy note...I've been snagging photos from the past week from Vacation Bible School that I thought I'd share...

Sarabeth (r) and my adopted niece Jorjanne, leading a drama at VBS. They're so grown!


 My dad teaching a class of rowdy boys.













My niece Jamie in her last year of attending bible school. Next year she'll be a helper! She's on the second row, far right, in case you can't tell!











Pictures of Cosy in her first bikini:

Enjoy that figure while you can, baby girl... 

And I snagged this photo off Facebook today... it's "downtown" Cleveland, the main town square. I love that it shows how small and quaint and picturesque our little town is. 


I've been up since 1am. Just one of those nights where the pain wouldn't let me sleep and the cats didn't help much. I was hoping for an early bedtime and we're already at 9pm and fading fast. At any rate... Hang in there, folks. Life has been a bit of a bumpy ride and we still have the election to get through... I just keep reminding myself that God is still God. I'm gonna let Him take over some of the worrying for awhile.

We start our big renovation tomorrow... taking down the old shed and deck above it and replacing with a sturdy shed and a lovely covered porch above for my mom's "outdoor living room". It's going to be noisy and dusty but hopefully, it will come out looking better than ever. I hope we all will too. 
Love and hugs, y'all! 


Saturday, June 11, 2016

So You're Having A Hysterectomy.... My Robotic Hysterectomy

I got a Facebook message from an old friend who is facing a hysterectomy next week and asked if I had any tips. I started responding and as it grew into a longer and longer paragraph I realized it might make a good blog post for those who wanted more info to prepare for their own...and for folks who wanted to know more about how mine went. So here's my response to my friend...


Yikes! I mean, congratulations! Everybody who has had one told me it was "the best thing ever". I'm not quite there yet but I'm glad it's in the rearview mirror. It was definitely time for me to have it done but I can't say that I was excited about it.

So... tips... do you know what kind you're having? I had a robotic hysterectomy which is much like a laproscopic one but the doctor is using a video game set up to control the instruments around the corner from your body instead of being right there with you. My doctor said he found that particular surgical method gave him more control over things than any other surgical method and it was preferred for me because I'm thinner higher up and thicker around the hips...

I have three incisions, one in my belly button and one to each side of it. The incisions hurt more now than they did originally... just that healing phase where they're itchy and the glue that they use (instead of stitches) is peeling off. My waistbands all catch right in that area so... annoying but not terrible. Maybe plan for higher/lower waistbands or none at all if you can.

My greatest fear was the position they use for surgery - they tilt your head down lower than your belly and sort of hang you by your legs. If you're not having a robotic hysterectomy this won't apply but for me... and anyone who has migraines.... that is a scary thing. I talked about it to my anesthesiologist and he promised me he knew how to make it so that I was comfortable and honestly, it was fine. I haven't had a migraine since the surgery and I usually have them 2 or 3 times a week so that's huge. I have heard that the head down position can be bothersome for people who wear contacts because the extra pressure dries out your eyes so maybe take some eyedrops with you if that could be a problem.

I was worried about being nauseous from the surgery and I wasn't... until about the third or fourth day home which coincided with when my anti-nausea patch came off. So if you're prone to nausea, ask for one of those. I did have to take anti-nausea stuff for a week or so to help with that. It may not be an issue for you but I have sort of a fickle stomach even on good days.

Because I'm a chronic pain sufferer my doctor worried that pain control would be a problem. Initially waking up from surgery, I was in horrible pain and they gave me morphine and I was golden... until they moved me to my room and then they gave me... demerol which was also great... I was all sunshine and unicorns until later that evening when they switched me to a percocet / hydrocodone rotation which only worked when it was given on time and it wasn't. 

The night nurses sucked. I was by myself because there wasn't anyone who could easily stay with me and I tend to introvert when I don't feel well so I didn't want to have to feel like I had to entertain anyone. As it turned out, I had a catheter and couldn't move to get even the basic things...like tissues when I was bawling because the nurse was an hour late with the pain meds... so if someone can stay with you, I think it would make it easier. 

My surgery was at 1pm and they kept me overnight, which I was prepared for. I wasn't prepared to stay awake all night but that's what happened. Originally when they moved me to my room they said they were going to take out my catheter and let me start walking around at 7pm that night and then shift change happened and the new nurse was not down with that plan and honestly, I think life would have been so much easier if they had stuck to that plan. It was a long night. I didn't sleep one tiny bit, despite being given sleeping meds because... I've been on sleeping meds for years and the ones I normally take are much stronger than what they gave me because my blood pressure was low and they were afraid to give me anything strong. Seriously, that night sucked. I prayed a lot that night and most of it was asking God to get that lazy $%^& nurse to my room with my pain meds!

The next morning I was chomping at the bit to get out...my doctor came by and said I just had to be able to pee and I could go. So... I texted my dad and he headed right down to pick me up. Big mistake. The whole "need to pee" thing was greatly understated. They wanted me to produce 200ml of pee to be able to go. After four hours and two entire liters of water, I was still at 100ml and that was after splashing a little water into the pot to add to it. My dad was sitting there missing his tee time and growing more aggravated by the minute. I finally said to the nurse, "I'm sure my bladder is empty, is there a way to check?" and there was, so she did and it was... completely empty. I was major swollen because my body absorbs a lot of water and narcotics make that worse so... if making pee is one of your conditions for release, make sure you keep that whole bladder scan thing in your box of tricks in case you need it. 

Once I got home I stayed on top of the pain med rotation and just slept. Because of my back I sleep in a big cozy recliner and that's where I camped out am still camping out here at Day 17. After about a week I was down to one dose or two of pain meds a day (keep in mind that I take a normal daily dose of ultram/tramadol for my everyday pain needs which means that I'm technically still taking pain meds but also means that you're going to probably need far less, for less time, fingers crossed!) 

After about ten days I felt well enough to hold Cosette and Oliver who are around 18 pounds each. NOOOOO... of course I haven't held Cosette and Oliver yet.... *wink*... not for long, anyways. Honestly, I can hold them for a minute without being uncomfortable and have played on the floor with both of them with no problem at all. Well, other than getting up but that's always a problem! Still totally worth it!

It took me a good two weeks to get my appetite back, which is what I experienced before with abdominal surgery. I think it's just because your innards are moved around. I was eating but not really much at a time and then all of a sudden I was STARVING. I weighed after one week and was down seven pounds even with the extra bloating/gas so either my uterus was a big old rock or I really cut back on what I was eating.

I had stocked up on the big giant post-birth type pads which (sorry for the TMI folks) I really didn't need except for the first day, truly. 

One thing that helped me a lot during the first few days was the standard, over the counter Azo Standard pills - the ones that make your pee orange - because the pain I had was more crampy than pain and it felt more bladder-ish than anything. The Azo-standards helped enormously. 

Also... gas is a real issue because if they do anything laproscopically they pump you full of gas to give them more room to work so... that gas must go somewhere... so... gas-x is your friend. Don't be embarrassed to toot. They may make you do that before leaving the hospital too. My dr asked if I had but didn't require proof, fortunately. 

Also, pain meds make you terribly constipated so you want to be on some kind of fiber stuff. I love the fiber gummies. The first poop feels like your insides are being ripped out but it passes. Also, for a little added fun I got really pukey sick at day ten-ish and let me tell you, throwing up when your belly is glued together is not for the weak. It hurt a lot. 

I am fortunate to live with my parents who do all the cooking... and I have a stair lift because of my back so I don't have to climb stairs. Both things helped me a lot. IF there's a way for you to just take it easy and not do stairs, that will help. 

I started driving again on day 13 and honestly, it did hurt a little bit. You don't realize how much you use your gut muscles when you drive. 

I went to the grocery store on day 14 which... would have been better if I wasn't in White County because I got cornered in the dairy section by a lady who had asked Austin for some help with locating things in the store and she wanted to ask me a lot of extra questions about things like, "is the organic produce here any good?" and things that I didn't know/didn't care to talk about, especially if it meant standing for extra minutes. Just because my kids works in the meat department doesn't mean I know all about the produce section but... whatever. The point is... I was ok to be out and about a little bit but standing for a long time got uncomfortable and still, probably here at day 17 is still true. 

I know there are sometimes hormonal issues even if they leave your ovaries. They say they can be sort of shocked by parting company with your uterus and just not work for a bit. They left me one but weren't sure how much "juice" (doctor's word) it has left in it. I don't think I've been any more hormonal than usual but I did have a good cry on my dad the other day that threw him for a loop, so maybe. 

I didn't have any concern about future fertility because... I'm nearly 50 and single and all of that but then the check out girl at Ingles the other day gave me a coupon for baby formula and said, "maybe this means you'll have another baby!" and for the first time I thought... hmm... nope. No possible way. But really, there's been no possible way since my tubes were tied in 1995 and then since my uterine ablation in 2008 and definitely since I'm like... single and celibate... but. It was weird. 

Anyways... I pray that all goes well with you and I hope this has been helpful in some way. If you have any questions, I'm glad to share from my experience. Don't watch Youtube videos of hysterectomies. I promise, that will not make you feel any better about things! I am truly glad it's over and I do feel better every day but still kind of have to remind myself that I'm not ten feet tall and bullet proof when I get a little boost of energy.

Love and hugs!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Past Month

Good news! I survived! My surgery on May 25th  - two weeks ago tomorrow - was a whopping success. I mean, I guess it was a success in that I left there uterus-less and did not die from being held upside down. There were some dramatic moments such as a "must empty bladder to leave hospital" decree that had me arguing with nurses for four hours over 100ccs of urine. I won the draw when I said, "do you have one of those scanners that can tell if my bladder is empty? Go get it.". Once they realized that 100ccs was indeed, all of the urine my bladder had contained after drinking two liters of water (this is not my typical exaggeration) they agreed to release me. I had one nurse who was so precious to me that she returned on day two of my stay despite passing kidney stones... and one who was so evil that I called her "evil" when I filed a complaint, less than a half hour after coming out of anesthesia. Even when I'm down and out, I'm still sharper than most. Her mistake was to bypass giving me the ordered post-operative medications because - in her words - I am a "chronic pain patient and nothing will touch her pain anyways". I was awake. And heard. And demanded to be treated appropriately (I was, with morphine and yes, it did work) and asked for her supervisor.... who held my hands in hers and explained that I had "such very low blood pressure" that they were waiting as long as they could to give me pain medicine. Whatevs. So... yes. That was two weeks ago. And I am (as of today) driving and mostly back to normal. There's one little spot that isn't healing as pretty as I would like but... it's not like I'm going to ever wear a bikini again (you're welcome) so... it's ok. That being held upside down thing - they really do hang you by your legs in stirrups with your head at about 45 degrees lower than your body. Something about gravity moving the other organs out of the way. It was my greatest fear, even greater than fearing pain. I mean, because there is more of a gravitational pull on me, if you get what I mean... My anesthesiologist promised that he would keep me alive and he did so... there's that.

I've had LOTS of time to keep up on current events and we're in a sorry state of things, for sure. I've had lots of pain meds but not so many that it blurred my eyes to the daunting reality of a President Clinton or President Trump. I've never been a Trump fan but I've said that I would never ever ever vote for a Clinton. Or a Democrat. But especially a Clinton. Then Trump had to get out there and malign that judge with his Mexican heritage. The thing is... this little boy who holds a huge chunk of my heart in his beautiful chunky tan fingers is also of Mexican heritage... proud, legal, strong, responsible, good, GOOD heritage... the hard working, tax paying, college educating, loving my son like he was one of them Mexicans... the Mexicans who were here before we were kind of heritage... would a President Trump think less of my sweet Oliver because of this? There are two things you don't mess with... my money and my children... which now extends even greater to my grandchildren... and anyone who would think less of Oliver could never get my vote. I told Austin this morning that I would vote for Ugly Baby before I would vote for Clinton but... aaarrrrgh Donald Trump! Your big stupid mouth!

Ugly Baby is a doll that my aunt Ginger sent up for Cosette, out of her large... LARGE doll collection. It's a really ugly doll who makes a odd squeak when you move her arm. She kind of scared Cosy at first but I told her that even ugly babies need love so she is now in the growing line of dolls that Cosette must cuddle and then pass around for mommy, Mawmaw and Nana to also hug when Cosy's playing down in Nana's "house". I got such a laugh watching Ollie play with Cosy's toys last weekend. Cosette was on a church picnic with her mom so the babies didn't get to play together but Ollie played with Cosy's toys. Where Cosy would have "given a love" to the babies, Ollie dragged them around by their hair or the hem of their clothes. Where she would never go to the side of the hearth where there is no padding because the stuffed gorilla is there... Ollie had no fear. Ollie loved playing ball and blowing bubbles and playing her leapfrog bus. It was surreal to have a different child with the same toys. The babies will not likely be together again until Oliver's birthday in July.  It will be a logistical curiosity getting all of us down there and back but we'll figure it out. In the meantime, a little Ollie fix did me worlds of good. Cosy's mommy has been good to not tempt me to hold Cosy while I wasn't well enough to and they have spent a good bit of time with her parents lately. I want more baby time than is good for me right now but they are both just the most beautiful, entertaining, smart, funny... I mean, they're my grandbabies, obviously I think they're perfect!

Anyways... I hadn't said much for awhile here. I've been sort of introspective and not out of sorts but definitely not myself. I saw the pain doctor yesterday and he thinks I'm doing fabulously and gave me lots more meds which I hope I never need but I'm glad to have them available if I did. I'm not at full steam yet but I'm feeling better than I've felt in a long time. When I feel good, I have a lot to say so... there you go. I'm still working hard on learning Italian - I didn't take a break from it at all. I'm up to about a thousand words, which duolingo counts as 7% fluency. I don't know about all of that but I am learning. And I'm happy to know that the old grey matter still retains language. And perhaps will even allow me to articulate for you kind folks again here every now and then. I hope you're all well. Leave me a long comment telling me the most important thing that has happened to you in the past month and the thing you're most looking forward to this summer. Until next time... love and hugs, y'all!