Tag Archives: Over The Backyard Fence

Gallery

Rejuvenating Retreat

This gallery contains 5 photos.

It’s been a quiet month for me. I’m still fighting some minor health issues, so have mostly stayed close to home, though I did have the extraordinary opportunity to go away for several days and write in one of the … Continue reading

Debugging a Medical Problem

I went to the doctor Friday. A specialist in allergies and asthma. When I left, after two and a half hours, I was in tears. Happy tears. For the first time in a long while, I felt someone really tried to dig through my confusion and find the root of the problem.

You see, I have asthma. It’s been very well controlled until these past few months. I’ve had this long term cough/wheeze thing going on and those, I know, are difficult to debug. Then, as winter gave way to spring, it got much worse. To the point where I didn’t want to go out of the house, my cough/wheeze was so bad. I didn’t’ know if it was something infectious or what. Did I have allergies after all these years on Planet Earth? I honestly have felt like I had some sort of chronic lung or heart disease coming on and it scared me. A lot. (Yes, after being retired from the medical field for fifteen years, I still envision worst case scenarios, a byproduct of that line of work.)

My doctor thought my inhaler wasn’t doing its job and switched me to a stronger one. A month later, I was no better, completely disillusioned and depressed.

So I saw the allergy and asthma doctor at my primary caretaker’s request. God bless her. He was amazing. Old school. He took time with me, did an extensive workup, trying to debug this cough. Tests and treatments and fifteen minute Q&A’s. I never sat waiting for more than five minutes between things.

At the end, he believed it was either an asthma exacerbation that needed help or pneumonia (even though my chest xray was normal last month.) For the first thing, a steroid can generally kick start calming things down. For the second, he said two antibiotics would be needed. But, if we did both at the same time, we’d never know which one helped. So I’m on the steroid now, as I write the blog on Saturday. Started it 15 hours ago and already I feel better this morning. Only coughed once since I got up.

For the first time in months I feel hopeful. If things aren’t significantly better in a couple days, I’ll go on the antibiotic. And, he says once things calm down, he wants me back on the less potent asthma med. He suspects I don’t need the stronger one once we get me controlled again.

Halleluiah! There’s a light at the end of this tunnel. The main reason I wrote this blog is to remind us all, myself included, to keep trying. To keep digging. If you don’t feel right, keep asking questions until someone figures it out.

Oh, and the really good news? I don’t have allergies. Most particularly, I’m not allergic to cats. That would have made life very, very difficult, since Dude likes to lay across my neck and cuddle. Whew!

It’s been a while since I posted a Dude pic, so here he is, a much happier, not-so-little cat who’s loving that winter is GONE and sunshine is returning. 🙂IMG_8410

I hope your Spring is uplifting and sunny, with just enough rain to make things grow.

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
Newsletter
Website

Gallery

Snow, Stories, and one very Ticked-Off Cat…

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Since everyone’s probably tired of hearing about (and seeing) snow, I’ll make this quick. We had over a foot of snow. That’s crazy for us. We usually get this shadow effect from the mountains around us and don’t get the … Continue reading

Gallery

Autumn Fun – Making Cider

This gallery contains 5 photos.

This blog is probably going to be more pictures than explanation. My husband and I made apple cider this last month, and I think I drove him a bit crazy with my requests for pictures. But it was worth it. … Continue reading

Living on the “economy” in 1976

***WARNING*** Badly preserved pictures ahead.

This month, for some people, is devoted to Oktoberfest. I drink beer, so I get it. Especially since I’ve had the privilege of going to the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. I was way too young to recognize that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was 21. And I only drank wine then. So if we hadn’t of taken a bus that day, I’d have been the designated driver. We didn’t find the one little tiny wine tent until about 7pm. Lol.

I went to Kitzingen, Germany to join my then husband. It was an experience that I learned so much from and I am so grateful for my time there. He was a Spec 4 in the Army, so not high enough in the chain to get base housing. So we lived “on the economy” as it was called. We had a small apartment above a very nice German family.

I was five months pregnant when I flew there. I scared the wits out of my husband because I got there and slept for twenty hours.

What am I grateful for?

  1. That we had no car, so I walked the two miles into base two or three times a week. There was a bus that would take us grocery shopping and to do laundry, thank goodness.
  2. That it’s okay to not trust a taxi driver on the autobahn. We never got in an accident, but boy, sometimes, it was close!
  3. That we had no running hot water. I learned to stoke a boiler under the hot water tank with paper, wood, and coal. And to plan baths because it took two hours to warm up enough water for a bath. Oh, and one night, when my husband was in the field with his platoon, the pregnant me got stuck on that floor. Stoked the fire, then couldn’t get up. Sat there for about the two hours it took to heat the water. That was the best bath ever!
  4. That we couldn’t just turn a switch and have heat. I learned how to pour oil into our heater, and how to keep track of how much oil we had left. Taught me to keep my house stocked.
  5. That I met Yolanda. In 1976. And we have been best friends ever since. I was pregnant and alone a lot of the time, with my husband out in the field. She’s my age and managed to be my friend, confidant, shoulder, and mother.
  6. That one of my daughters was born there. Definitely the best part of this whole trip.
  7. That, when I got off the plane after a year with my eight-month-old daughter, the nice Captain helping me with all my stuff, after a 9 hour flight, looked down through the customs window at all the people waiting there. There were a lot. He asked me which ones were my family. I say “see those three on the right?” “Yes,” he said. “Well, everyone but those three are my family.”

You see, I had the first grandchild born in the family and they’d only seen her in pictures for eight months. So they all showed up at the airport.

Yes, Germany will always be a special place to me. My husband and I did not stay together, and I’m happy for almost 30 years now with my soul-mate. But my first husband and I had a good life while we were together and he made sure I remembered our time in Germany with happiness. I do. I treasure the memories I have from that year, and will for the rest of my life.

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
Newsletter
Website

Bavarian fun in the middle of Washington State

If you read this blog regularly, you know that my family goes away on a winter cabin adventure each year. Well, the women in my family also do a summer weekend of wine-tasting. Okay, it started as a wine-tasting event, and we really do test wines.  But it’s kind of evolved into a “sit by the pool reading and chatting” kind of weekend. Relaxing, and a great catch up time with my sisters, daughters, and nieces.

This year was our sixth, I think. For the past three years, we’ve been going to a wonderful little Bavarian village in central Washington State called Leavenworth. It’s pretty commercialized, but it’s also, well, just plain beautiful and fun.

In the 1960’s, trying to turn a failing community around, Leavenworth remodeled an entire town into a Bavarian motif to accent the alpine hills surrounding them. All businesses have to follow the Bavarian theme, even the McDonald’s. And that idea took off. Boy, did it ever. These days, it’s busy any day of the year, but that doesn’t stop us. They make it work well.

It’s easy to walk around. In fact, we park our cars and don’t get back in them until we’re ready to leave. Our hotel is about half a mile from the center of town, and easy stroll. The area is full of shops, places to get bratwursts, beer gardens,  and there’s live polka music in the park. Oh, and you can raft the river, too.

We always have fun. Sometimes, maybe a bit too much. Lol. But this year, we actually did some wine tasting again and I found some excellent wines to purchase.

It’s a fun weekend. Bonding as a family, relaxing before the end of summer. (I did not just say that phrase, did I?) And winding down from life, just for a couple days. I love my entire family, but I cherish this time with the women who carry on our mother’s rich heritage of love and family.

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
Newsletter
Website

Steam Trains

#25 in Garibaldi, Oregon

My husband is a steam freak. He loves steam trains. Okay, steam anything. He grew up in the country where you bucked bales of hay for a dollar, you went to the Grange Hall for social nights, and everyone knew everyone. I could fill a year’s worth of blog posts just on the stories from his childhood. What’s most important to know is that family friends own their own steam mill and my husband has so many fond memories of those days helping out.

However, this blog isn’t about that so much as it is about a recent steam-related trip we took. There are quite a few places within driving distance of us that have running steam trains. So over the last several years, we’ve visited most of them. Actually, all of them now. There was one more, and we just got back.

Our very first steam train ride was local, within 45 minutes of home, and we got to enjoy that with Over The Backyard Fence’s own Lavada Dee and her husband. Then we began branching out, to Summerland and Port Alberni in British Columbia, and to Oregon. This most recent trip meant a 7 hour drive up and into the heart of British Columbia, Canada. It’s worth noting that just the drive itself was an exceptional piece of this trip. The scenery through the Cascade mountains is amazing. And the drive was also worth it to see the refurbished 2141 engine in action. This train sat in a park for 33 years, used as a toy for kids to crawl over and play on. Then, back in 1994 the newly formed Kamloops Heritage Railway spent the next eight years (and with 80,000 man hours) moving and restoring #2141 to its former glory. It’s been carrying passengers on an eight mile rail tour since the summer of 2002.

There’s nothing like the whistle of a steam train. And the sound of the train getting up to speed like The Little Engine that DOES, well, even I break out in a smile. The video below is from a trip to Oregon a few years ago.

On this trip, we got robbed. Well, not really, but three lady robbers rode up on horseback, guns (with caps, not bullets) ablaze. It was a great show, and an awesome finish to a warm, but fun day. Worth the drive, even though we had to come home through Friday traffic.

And, since it’s the last semi-local one that we know of, we’ll have to branch out to see more. Hmmm, I read that there’s a great steam train ride in Auckland, New Zealand. I wonder if I can convince the hubby…

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
Newsletter
Website