Thanksgiving 2019

We had 17participants for Thanksgiving: Billie Jo and her family of Joel, Stone and Dakota: Dave, Liz and Jack; Rob and Linda; Kelly, Mike, Izzabella, Phoenix and Jesse; Eric, Kathryn and Jim. As usual set and clean up were a major undertaking and Kathryn cooked a perfect meal. We tried something new this year – spatchcocking. Spatchcocking a turkey is the process of removing the backbone and flattening it onto a baking tray. It seems a bit intimidating but it’s not difficult to do, saves a lot of cook time and helps everything cook evenly. With this method, you can cook a 10-12 lb turkey in about 70-90 minutes

RIP Scout

Our beautiful Scout died. There was never a more devoted companion, gentle, affectionate disposition and sweetheart of a dog. Such a big empty space in our lives right now.

The first week we had her we couldn’t come up with an appropriate name. But then we saw the little girl play the role of “Scout” in To Kill A Mocking Bird. That’s how she got her name.

Turns out she had a tumor on her spleen which caused her body not to produce hemoglobin which meant her body was not being oxygenated which meant her breathing got labored.  Even though she was eating and drinking, still was affectionate and sweet, the vet said she probably was feeling a bit like she was suffocating.  We couldn’t let it go on so had to make “the decision.” 

We expected to miss the companionship, affection and enthusiasm. We are surprised to miss: clambering over a big lump of sleeping dog every time Kathryn got in and out of bed or off the couch; having shoes strewn throughout the house and not being able to find a matching pair; having the bathroom door flung open to join the occupant; feeling urgency to get home because she’s been left in the mud room for hours.

HP Varsity Basketball

13 players participated in basketball tryouts and Coach Smith decided to keep all thirteen rather than cut one player for a 12 man squad. Eric is working to increase his endurance. Prior to tryouts we encouraged him to drop some weight and get a regular workout schedule, but he was sporadic about workouts. He has been plagued by shin splints several days.

Lancaster Volleyball Tournament

Kathryn organized a volleyball team to compete in a seniors tournament in Lancaster PA. They had 5 65+ players and one 60 player which meant they had to play down an age group; competing vs 2 other 60s teams. They ended up in 2nd place for the tournament.

Fall Decorations and our First Snow

Kathryn put up my Christmas lights but then put Thanksgiving stuff over them so the decorations are currently more seasonally appropriate but on the day after Thanksgiving, we can easily take down some stuff to turn it into Christmas decorations. Two birds with one stone!

Scout Update

After a period of time in which we thought she was a goner, Scout rallied, regaining mental alertness and personality, eating/drinking well. We eventually saw the vet, who diagnosed myotosis and prescribed prednisone, antibiotics and iron supplement. Scout is doing pretty well, seems almost her old self, but somewhat weaker. And, of course, she is still 12 years old.

Garden Wrap Up

Just three artichokes

This year I planted Brussel Sprouts, peas, tomatoes, broccoli, artichokes, pole beans, pumpkins, acorn squash and kale. New this year is the attempt to grow artichokes – I have never tried them before and use of hog panel fence for the pole beans. Cullen ate all the peas. The pole beans were old seeds and never sprouted. I had a minimal return on the acorn squash and kale. We had about 10 medium pumpkins and some cucumbers. I did, however, have a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes – mainly the heritage ones that BillieJo gave me. They were slightly larger than regular cherry tomatoes and had more flavor. We had lots of broccoli all year long. The artichokes grew healthy plants, but only yielded three small buds.

October End of Month Odds and Ends

We have been visiting colleges with Eric.  So far, his favorite is Hilbert College in Hamburg, a small private school started by – you guessed it – the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph.  We visited St. Rose but that wasn’t a good fit.  Eric liked SUNY Canton; HCCC is the “safe bet” school but does have an agreement with Hilbert so he could start at HCCC and transfer.

Eric’s grades this year are promising.  So far, actually very good.  He took one road test and didn’t pass so has his second try at it this week.  He has not been doing much about going to the gym, and basketball tryouts are coming up. 

Jim has been struggling with heart issues (a fib and now also “flutter”) for a few months and is pretty depressed about it, since when his heart is acting up he has zero energy and can’t do anything.  He is scheduled for an ablation on this Thursday and we are hopeful it will resolve the issue. 

On top of that, his company lost a bid for a major contract, and so there is not work for many of the staff in this area.  Jim will be RIF’ed 12/15.  He does not seem ready to retire and is bummed…he really liked his schedule and current job description.  He is talking to a couple of companies.  I figure we will be OK no matter what he decides.  Either he will get ready to retire or he will find something else.  But between his heart and this, he is not in a good mood.

Kathryn returned from 10 days in Utah for a seniors’ tournament.  Her team sucked big time – even worse than last year, and they were already describing themselves as “not very good” when she joined them then.  It was quite demoralizing; we sometimes looked like the 3 Stooges (only 6).  The good news is they treat Kathryn like a rock star because she can move and they can’t.  But she didn’t have much fun playing with them.  However, she managed to take some significant hikes : up Cassidy Arch in Capital Reef National Monument, to Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase/ Escalante National Monument, Navajo Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park, Angel’s Landing Trail in Zion National Park, Trail of Sleeping Rainbows in Utah Petrified Wood State Park, Anasazi Petroglyph Trail in a local park.  So it wasn’t a totally wasted trip.

Billie Jo just had a “Haunted Campground” day at their place, so Kathryn went out there to help out this past weekend.  She is having some health problems, most likely due to Lyme Disease.

I have no idea what is likely to happen at Thanksgiving here.  However, Kathryn has booked tickets for her, Billie Jo and Dakota to go to Seattle the first week of January.  That should be fun.

Ablation, Again

Since July I have been plagued with irregular heart rhythms: Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter. Medication helped for a while, but the re-occurrence increased until it was a daily event by late September. We scheduled an ablation for the end of October. I checked in early Thursday morning, endured a 3+ hour surgery and spent a day in recuperation. This was my 3rd ablation – the last one (a mini-maze procedure) was effective for 11 years. Dr. Berg cautioned there would be a ‘settling in’ period. Hopefully, this will facilitate a return to activities I enjoy.

SCS 1971

Schoharie Central School class of 1969 held their 50th year reunion and along with a planned parade (rained out) and formal dinner, they had a “Meet & Greet” for all class years. The class of 1971 was represented by Susan, Mike, Ellen, Margo and Martha, in the front row. Bob, Jim, Bruce, Darlene and Claudia in the back row. We started plans for our 50th year celebration.