My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Birthday Boy, Blooming Blossoms, Big News!

I may not have been blogging lately, but I have been gathering blog fodder! And now I finally have an opportunity to start sharing from my stack o'goodies!

The first bit of news (not the Big News of this post's title, that's coming up in a bit) and main reason for my absence lately is that BW had arthroscopic shoulder surgery on May 15. He had a large, hook-shaped bone spur in the shoulder joint that had badly damaged the bursa and was fraying the rotator cuff - though fortunately the tendon had not yet torn. They removed the spur along with most of his bursa (which will regenerate). 

Other than having wisdom teeth pulled, this was BW's first surgery and he was NOT impressed. The anesthesia really did a number on him and it took him a couple of days to recover from it. He had to be at the hospital at 6:30am and we thought he'd be home by lunch, but they weren't able to release him until 4:30 - and even then, he was still a pretty sick and stoned puppy. He was also unable to do anything with his right hand (and of course he's right-handed) for a couple of weeks, which made me one busy woman! I think BW missed being able to cook most of all, while I seriously missed his ability to mow! :-) He goes to PT three times a week and does an hour of strengthening and mobility exercises at home on the other days, and though he's still limited in what he can do and still experiences pain (especially after a session with the "physical terrorists"), his recovery is going well and he's able to do a lot more now. Hence my ability to finally blog a bit! :-) Because of the physically strenuous duties of his job as a UPS man, he won't be released to return to work until at least July 7th - and he starts 2 weeks of vacation the next day! So I'm getting to enjoy the daily pleasure of his company, and staying up late watching Netflix is making us feel like kids on summer vacation! :-) In fact, the surgery and time off for recovery gave him time to reflect on the wear and tear his job of 23+ years has on his body, our financial situation, and our priorities - and he decided to retire on July 31st! So at most he has nine working days left. He can hardly wait to start using this clock! :-)
It will really hit home when Christmas rolls around. I was not terribly surprised by his decision - last Christmas at UPS was an especially grueling one, and we were both pretty sure he didn't have another one left in him. Since he worked as a part time driver at Christmas for two years before going full-time, this will be the first year of our marriage that he won't be a UPS man at Christmas (except for one year when he was in USAF Reserve training in Texas and didn't make it home to Wyoming till Christmas Eve!) So I anticipate finally getting to experience a very different sort of Santa than the one I've gotten used to…

As if all that weren't enough, yesterday was BW's 55th birthday. Although we'd had more exciting plans for it, the day was rainy and windy, he had a PT appointment that was particularly painful, and I was down and out with a headache. So it was a subdued celebration (we'll make it up this weekend), that wouldn't have amounted to much of anything were it not for our neighbor Carol bringing him chocolate zucchini muffins (which she made with pumpkin instead of zucchini, because only Carol would be brave enough to make a recipe in spite of lacking the main ingredient! lol) with the frosting from this recipe, and a festive cupcake balloon!...

The eternally boyish BW!

Like I said. :-) He's almost always this happy, too - when it's not Christmas! lol

Loved the adorable silicone cupcake cups Carol used! 
Despite having feet the cupcakes couldn't outrun us and were a memory by 1pm. :-)

And in non-BW news, it's been an incredible spring for flowers! We never got a typical big spring snow that so often wrecks the tender buds, and maybe because of that the flowering trees and bushes have been the most prolific, perfumed and pretty we've ever seen! We also got lucky - we may not have had a big snow, but we did have a very destructive storm in late May that clocked wind speeds of 75mph, but it arrived just after the peak of the flowering crabapples (less than a week after I took the photos below) and just before our roses bloomed! Here's how our beautiful rosebush looks this year, with more than half its blooms still yet to open when I took this...

Here's a neighbor's amazing crabapple tree, looking dressed for a wedding...

Another neighbor's crabapple, so pretty in pink (how I wish these were scratch-n-sniff, the beautiful fragrance all up and down our streets was heady stuff!)...

And the pinkest crabapple of all, this one (of several) in front of Sheridan Physical Therapy where BW has his sessions...

There are several more blog-worthy goodies left in my stack to share, so I hope to get more blogging done this week between planting more flowers, mowing more lawn, running more errands, and several more appointments! I will definitely post at least a SkyWatch Friday post if nothing else… so stay tuned, and have a great weekend!


  1. Happy Birthday to BW! And congratulations on his retirement! And best wishes for a speedy recovery so he can enjoy said retirement as soon as possible. The blooms are all gorgeous and exciting — they make me just a little sad that our trees have all finished their displays, but happy that you now get to enjoy yours. I was almost expecting the big news to be about locations, if you know what I mean.

    1. BW says thank you on all three counts! :-) It's been an eventful spring for him. :-) I fear that many of our blooms have now gone by the board for another year - the lilacs should be wowing us now, but for some reason they haven't been as impressive this year. Maybe those high winds hit at just the wrong time or they were less impressed with our lack of moisture. But our flower beds are coming on strong, so there's that. As for locations, the PNW is still singing its siren song! :-) The timing is less certain, but that's still where we'd like to be. We'd love to rent a place from which we can do much more exploring, though we sure do love South Whidbey!

  2. I am pretty certain that the physical therapists take sadism tablets with their breakfast. No one could be that vicious naturally.
    Congratulations to the birthday boy - and I am in love with your blooms. And grieving a bit. I just finished chopping down a crab apple which had given me joy for many years before it turned up its toes. I will get another. Or two.

    1. I suppose they reckon they have to be cruel to be kind. I wouldn't want to be one and have to inflict all that pain (no matter how much healing results from it) or have to listen to all that whining (I prefer to be on the giving end of that!) :-)
      It's always so sad to lose an old arboreal friend like that. I hope you'll get two, so they can keep one another company and encourage each other to grow and blossom!

  3. Hidee-ho! Birthday wishes to Mr. Happy. Hell, I'd be happy if I was finally on the mend and had a much-deserved retirement in my future. Sounds like me a couple years ago. I wish him all the best and I know you're going to be so glad to have him around full-time, especially on the Holidays.
    Yes, PT's are sadists, case closed! I truly think CG's made her worse. Anyhoo, the worst is over.
    Lovely blooms around town. You're so lucky to have them. xoxo

    1. BW says thankee, Spudly-Do-Right! He's definitely already in Retired Mode - the other day we were walking the girls when the driver who is doing his route drove by in his package car and honked and waved, and I asked BW how that made him feel - and he surprised me by saying it feels completely unrelated to him and his life, as if he was never a UPS man! I thought the answer was going to be "relieved," so it just goes to show, never assume! :-) And yes, it will really be nice to have him around at Christmas! We'd talked about going somewhere for that first non-UPS Christmas, just to get a totally different experience to help wash away all the bad mojo that might linger from the last 25 Christmasses, but now that our girls are elderly and needier, I doubt that will happen. But that's okay too… it'll be great! :-)
      I'm sorry that PT may have made CG worse - BW's was too, till one of the therapists noticed his posture was off, and correcting that made a big difference. Still, one can push things too far when trying to recover from an injury - BW was warned by others not to let that happen!

  4. Those crabapple flowers are...just wow!

    I had similar surgery at about the same age, but...I actually got to where the PT was sort of fun and when they got to the part where they used the electrical stimulator on the muscles...well...I still want one of those for myself. :-)

    I hope all is better and all occasions enjoyed! :-)

    1. I know, wouldn't it be great if you could smell them through the computer monitor? :-)

      I'll let BW know he may have something to look forward to! I don't know if they're still doing the electrical stim, they were earlier - I had that done to my neck and shoulder a few years ago, and I enjoyed it as long as they didn't crank it TOO high! But it was the massages I really enjoyed! Do they sell those machines to we hoi polloi? You should get yourself one! :-)

      Thank you for your good wishes! xoxo

  5. Get well soon, happy birthday,happy retirement..did I miss anything?
    Jane x

    1. Nope, I think that covers it all! :-) Thank you!

  6. Wow, lots of great news! I knew about his surgery (which, of course, is not great news but I'm glad his recovery is going well now) and retirement but didn't know about his birthday. So, a HUGE happy birthday to BW! Tell him I cannot believe he's only 55- he looks like he should be in his mid 40's (as do you!). Talk about super vegan powers. :)

    The cupcakes Carol brought over are adorable with those feet and I had to laugh at BW's grumpy Christmas photo. Ha! How exciting for you both to be able to enjoy the rest of your lives without work getting in the way anymore. We hope to join you close to the same age, as long as all goes well!

    The roses and crabapples are gorgeous. I can almost smell them through the computer! We left to the trees just starting to get buds and came home to everything green, so spring finally seems to have arrived here. There are even (finally!) a few lilacs blooming, which made me very happy.

    Another big happy birthday to BW!!! I'm glad to see him so happy. Keep enjoying staying up late and watching Netflix!

    1. Hey, Molly! BW got to it first and so read your comment to me, which is the opposite of how it usually goes! :-) We both found it delightful and thank you, especially for taking the time when you're still decompressing from your trip and settling back in. I told him the exact same thing - I think he looks a decade younger than he is! Vegan super powers at work for sure. Love your line about enjoying life without work getting in the way - perfect description. Our friend Jackie (she of the repaired maple tree, which is doing well, btw!) retired last year, and when I shared the news with her she described retirement this way: "every night is Friday night and every day is Saturday!" :-) I hope you guys are able to retire young as well.

      So glad you got home in time to see the lilacs bloom! I know how much you enjoy them! And nice that spring is there at last. Maybe you'll have a cooler summer this year, thanks to all the lake ice. It would be nice if it could be more comfortable for you than last summer was. xoxo

  7. I actually had time today to take my time reading through your post. I really enjoyed getting all the details on your news instead of just the highlights! I was particularly excited for BW to read that he has at the most NINE workdays left!! That is so wonderful and I am so happy for both of you.

    I loved the comment about the "Physical Terrorists". I've never done PT but I'm guessing it's a pretty good description of how they make the patient feel!!

    The cupcakes look great and the photo reminded me of the one I took of BW with the Rogue beer. He's such a good sport!!

    The flowers are so pretty. Ours here a the Soo are starting to bloom and the lilacs are about to be in their glory - I can't wait.

    Again, great to have a minute to check in - great post!!

    1. Hey, Jo! I'm glad you were able to find a bit of time to stop by during your hectic short week! (I also hope you enjoy a very nice visit with your folks, I'm sure your dad will be thrilled to get to spend Father's Day with you! And I hope you'll get to relax a bit!)

      BW was just telling me last night that he hasn't had any UPS nightmares since being off for his shoulder recovery - he'd almost always have those on Sunday nights. I'll be curious if he'll experience any as his back-to-work date approaches, given that he's only got the 9 days left (at most!)

      I noticed I called the chocolate zucchini muffins as cupcakes in my photo caption, and often make that mistake. They're so light and fluffy that they have the texture of cupcakes, I frankly don't know why they're called muffins, which to me are much denser and heartier. Anyway, BW is definitely a good sport - or a goof ball, depending on your perspective! LOL

      I hope the lilacs will just be entering their prime when you return from NH, and that the flowers there are showing off too, just for your visit! :-)

  8. ooooh, lovely blooms! and retirement sounds wonderful - there's no point in putting it off until you can't enjoy it anymore. the pt may be painful and seem like the seventh circle of hell, but be glad of it, so he can get back to cooking and mowing :)

    1. LOL at PT being compared to one of the deeper levels of Dante's Inferno! No wonder BW is always icing after PT. :-) It would be nice (cheaper, too!) if cooking and mowing WERE his PT! And folding laundry and vacuuming - I'm sure they all have great therapeutic value for shoulder surgery recovery. ;-)

  9. Happy birthday to BW from all us on the Canaries!!! Wow, he looks like much younger than 55... (sure one of the many advantages of being vegan).
    We also wish BW gets well soon so that you both and the girls can enjoy his retirement doing lots of things together, for example learning to sail and coming to visit us ;).
    The crabapples are adorable, I like the white one the most. Finally our frangipani is in bloom but the hydrangeas are starting to dry...

    1. BW sends his thanks, for both the birthday wishes and the compliment, to his favorite Canary Islanders! :-) And he wants you to know what the idea of sailing there so we can visit you is great motivation when doing his physical therapy! :-)

      I wish you could have seen that entire white-blossomed crabapple tree, it was just breathtaking! After we had the strong winds, many of its petals covered the ground beneath it, which was also very pretty! I'll bet your flowers are gorgeous there too… can't wait to see them some day! :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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