Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Stinky Stink Bugs

I've been battling stink bugs all fall.

First, I would find them while painting in our rental apartment. They pretty much stayed near the windows, and I tried to ignore them, but when I got too close with the paint brush, they would startle me by flying across the room. They are so creepy looking.

One time, I accidentally painted one with white trim paint.

I was very careful not to crush any because I heard that they spray you with their stink. And I sure didn't want that.

Next, I started finding them in my own house. One was on the ceiling in the guest bath for over a week. I didn't use that bathroom for fear that it would fall on my head.

There was one in the master bathroom that I had to catch. I put a cup over it and left it for two weeks. I figured that would kill it.

No. It was still alive when I lifted the cup. Apparently stink bugs don't need food or water to survive.

In a USA Today article from 2015, it reports that stink bugs can live six months without food. So how do you kill them? Fill a spray bottle with a 2% soap to water ratio and spray them.

I would have done that today if I'd had a spray bottle and soap in my car. I had the ultimate stink bug experience.

When I used my finger to roll down my window, there was a stink bug right in the crevice where your finger latches on to the button to roll down the window. Yes, my fingernail dug into a stink bug. Talk about gross!

Fortunately, I was in a parking lot and could stop to open my door and shoo what was left of it out.

I don't know how that bug got into my car, but it better not have invited any friends over.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I Love My Sister

I'm 3 1/2 years older than Carolyn, so while we were growing up, we didn't have much in common. While I was in the throws of junior high, she was just a little nine-year-old. And I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't pay much attention to her then. I lived in my own little world. 

It wasn't until we were all grown up and getting married and having children that I realized we did have something in common: we were sisters. She was my only sister, and thankfully, she was very sweet and kind and helpful.

She got married first and had a baby first, so she had something to teach me. She was always there to watch my three children and two dogs along with her five children when Don and I went out of town. I still don't know how she did that.

She is a much better cook and housekeeper than I am, so I looked to her with advice from boiling eggs to making macaroni salad to getting stains out of the wash.

I don't know what I'd do without my dear sister.
I love her so much!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ohio State vs Michigan

Peter and Kendall were fortunate enough to have tickets to the Ohio State football game today. I happened to catch most of the 4th quarter, and it was a very exciting game. I can't even imagine how exciting it must have been live in the stadium! Congratulations to the team!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

The first thing I was thankful for today was that all I had to worry about making was a 17 lb. turkey and a bowl of mashed potatoes. All the other food was being prepared by Katherine, Heidi and Heidi's mom, Chris.

And Don did most of the work on the turkey.

We had a great day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

P+K Engagement Photos

Even though Peter and Kendall have been engaged for awhile, they had their engagement photo shoot a couple of weeks ago by Suzuran Photography who will be doing the wedding.

Here are a few of my favorite photos. They were taken at Virginia Kendall Park - and Kendall Lake. They are so cute together! The wedding is one month from today!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Balloon Cryoblation

I can't believe I'm posting this photo
On Friday, I underwent a little heart procedure to correct atrial fibrillation and a heart flutter. One of the best electrophysiologists in the country did the procedure, so I wasn't nervous at all. Below is an account of my experience for all those who care to know.

We arrived at the hospital around 9:30 a.m., and I was in a pre-op bed by 10:00. There, they inserted an IV port in each arm, made me sign my life away, and told me what to expect. The two nurses who would be with me in the electrophysiology lab came to talk to me, then they made me get up and walk down the hall to the lab and get on a new bed. They said I would be glad for the exercise because I'd be on my back for about the next 12 hours.

It took the staff (two doctors, two nurses, and a nurse anesthetist) about 40 minutes to get me ready for the procedure. I had to be hooked up to the IV's, swallow a tube with a thermometer attached to it (which went in through my nose), get my groin area sterilized (this might be too much information), have my wrists strapped down, get instructions (they told me not to be alarmed when I get the hiccups and that I would feel some burning sensations in my chest). All the while I was trying not to think about what was actually happening.

I did ask my nurse, Bill, who was very sweet, if they were going to give me happy juice before they inserted the tubes into my groin. He assured me that they would.

What I actually had was balloon cryoblation to treat paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. That's a mouthful. It boils down to using a tube to enter the left side of my heart, through my groin, and freeze four veins in the atrial chamber. After the four veins were frozen, they used another tube to go into the right side of my heart and burn a vein that was causing my heart to flutter. This procedure took four hours.

During the four hours, I was in a twilight sleep. I would go in and out of consciousness. I could hear the doctors and nurses talking sometimes, and they would talk to me. I can remember moving my head from side to side, I can remember a nurse wiping a tear that was rolling down my cheek, and I can remember trying to tell them it hurt when they burned the flutter vein. They also forced me to have hiccups four times to avoid damaging a nerve near my diaphragm. This all sounds like I was dreaming, but I promise you it all really happened.

After all was said and done, the fun began. My nurses pulled out the tubes and spent ten full minutes applying pressure to the two groin holes. While they did this, they discussed their Thanksgiving plans over my belly. I kept wanting to chime in, but for some reason, I couldn't speak. When the ten minutes were up, they shrink-wrapped a dressing using something akin to duct tape across my midsection. This is why I was not allowed to stand up for seven more hours.

They wheeled me to recovery where I met up with Don who patiently waited for the patient. We got settled in to my room by about 6:00. I was hoping to eat something since it had been about 22 hours since my last meal. Food finally arrived around 7:30.

The reason I was shrink-wrapped was because the holes they made for the procedure were prone to open up if they did not have time to clot. Every 15 minutes, my floor nurse came in and checked to make sure I wasn't bleeding. When she went home, the next nurse didn't seem to care if I bled. I didn't see her unless I pressed the call button.

After I ate dinner, I was sleepy, so I told Don to head on home. I would see him in the morning. No need to stay with me. So he did. I asked the nurse around 8:30 when I could get out of bed, and she said my bed rest would be over at 9:30, so I fell asleep. I woke up at 10:30, still shrink-wrapped. I buzzed the nurse and asked to be released.

She sent someone else in to remove my "Foley," which I found out was the urinary catheter they had inserted prior to the procedure (forgot about that). The nurse then told me to swing my legs to the side of the bed to get up. I reminded her that I wasn't going anywhere until she un-shrink-wrapped me.

How could she forget that? Then she said..."this is going to hurt."

She pulled off the largest band-aid on earth, and checked to make sure my holes weren't bleeding. Then she told me to stand up. I made it several feet to the bathroom door before she started screaming. I didn't even notice that I was bleeding. I looked down, and blood, the consistency of water, was splashing onto my socks and the floor. I had been on a blood thinner for several weeks, and it was alarming how thin my blood actually was!

I was a little dazed, so it took me more time than it should have to get back in the prone position. My bed then looked like a crime scene. The nurse was applying pressure while screaming for help and telling someone to call the doctor. I didn't know what to think. Why had I sent Don home?

They gave me a modified shrink-wrap and made me stay in bed another two hours until I really had to go to the bathroom. Remember, my Foley was not assisting me any longer.

I was afraid to get up, but I used a foam ball to apply pressure to the site while I stood, and I did not let go. I was relieved to get back in bed. I did this two more times during the night with no leaks. Phew!

I went home the next day pretty beat. All I wanted to do was sleep. But now I am feeling almost back to normal. It will take three months for my heart to heal, so I won't know how successful the procedure was until then. But I sure am glad it's over for now!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bachelor Party

Daniel will be Peter's best man at the wedding, so he took it upon himself to organize a bachelor party which took place last night.

These guys are not what I would consider too wild and crazy. No getting him drunk and hooking a ball and chain around Peter's ankle like Don's brothers and friends did to him at his bachelor's party. These civilized gentlemen went to a Cleveland Chop and had a fine meal.

Then they gave Peter an envelope with some money and took him to the Jack Cleveland Casino where he played a few rounds of Black Jack and Craps. He came home with $50 more than what was in his envelope, so he considered himself a winner.

The most fun part of the night was at our house in the basement where these high school and college friends have hung out before. Fortunately, I was pretty tired last night and didn't hear all the ruckus.

In the morning, Kendall came over and she and Peter made breakfast for the whole gang. It was good to see all these guys again.

Just 33 more days until they say, "I DO!"

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bike Trip Extras

This is a photo of our two trip leaders: Robert and Sarah. They are standing by a modern-looking map of Savannah at our hotel on the last night of our trip.

Sarah sent all of us a group photo that was taken by the Angel Oak. You can really see how big that tree is with us standing in front of it. There were 19 people on the trip. States represented were: Massachusetts, Maine, Illinois, North Carolina, Connecticut and Ohio. There was a group of eight that came together from Massachusetts and Maine. We enjoyed getting to know them a little bit. Everyone was very friendly.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fun in Columbus

Some of Kendall's friends held a bachelorette party for her in Columbus last night. Most of the girls were from Ohio State, but Katherine and Heidi are in there, and a couple of her high school friends as well.

First, they went to the Candle Lab and spent a couple of hours creating their own candles with creative scents. Then they went to dinner at Forno Pizza Kitchen. This was all a warm up to the real party which took place after hours at Native Cold Pressed juice bar where Kendall's friend Kaitlyn works. Peter and Daniel were called in to help decorate while the girls were at dinner.

The Richards women

Housemates past and present

High school friends

Countdown: 40 days!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Serving Our Country

Since today is Veteran's Day, I wanted to post a photo of Don's dad (David J. Richards, Sr.)who served in the Merchant Marines From 1943-1945 in World War II. Thanks to all those who have served and continue to serve our country.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Savannah Bee


When we were in Savannah last week, one of my favorite shops was the Savannah Bee Company. We went to the River Street location before dinner one night and walked around sampling honey and looking at all their bee products.

If this shop had been in my home town, I would have purchased many items. But because my suitcase was already squeezed to the max with no room for souvenirs, I just had to hope they had a website to order online.

I went to Savannah Bee when I got home and found all the products in their online shop. I really wanted to get some of their Raw Acacia Honeycomb. They had a sample of it with some apple slices, and it was fabulous. I thought it would be fun to set that out as an appetizer during a party.

I will be sending away for a few things to give a Christmas gifts.

Monday, November 7, 2016


A few weeks ago, I received an email from Valerie - one of our VBT guides from the Loire Valley bike trip we took in 2014. She and our other guide, Michel, are in the photo above.

She wrote me, Pam and Carol to tell us that we were VIP's. Our photo is in the 2017 VBT catalog. See the top right corner of the page above.

No doubt we are in there because we have on our heads the berets that Pam picked up for us to wear. We look so French in them.

The other thing Valerie told us was that Chambord, one of the chateaus we visited, was flooded this year. They were not able to visit it for two weeks!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

While We Were Gone

This is the third year in a row that Riley has spent Halloween with his friend Jake. I sent a selection of costumes for Becky to choose from, and this year, she dressed them up as a police dog (Jake) and a bad dog (Riley).

They had fun watching for trick-or-treaters and helping pass out candy.

I don't think they minded at all that they were dressed in clothing (ha ha). Thanks for the photos, Becky. I stole them from Facebook.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Savannah Sweets

Last night after dinner, we stopped at River Street Sweets and watched as pralines were formed and placed on a cooling table.

There were just too many choices.

Merry was pretty excited about it. Greg had to hold her back.

Don wanted some of those chocolate-covered pretzels.

Then today, on the way back from the Isle of Hope, the rest of the group was so kind as to take a detour to visit the Back in the Day Bakery for me. It was only about a mile or so off the route.

It was very cute inside.

This is a shot through the glass from the street.

I bought Don a maple scone, Merry got a chocolate chip cookie, and our new friend Diana bought a whole baguette which she strapped to the back of her bike!

Isle of Hope

This is our guide, Sarah, handing out lemons and limes for our water bottles this morning as we prepared to ride.

Ready to bike through historic Savannah then on to the Isle of Hope.

The Isle of Hope was established as a retreat in the nineteenth century for the elite of Savannah. It provided a refuge from the intense heat and outbreaks of malaria in the summer months.

We continued on to the Wormsloe Plantation which is where the first settlers in the area made their homes.

We rode down Wormsloe's 1.5 mile oak avenue - the longest tree-lined driveway in the world.

We were supposed to stop in the Bonaventure Cemetery, but it was closed due to severe hurricane damage.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Walk Around Savannah

Today was a non-biking day. Instead, we traveled to Savannah, only one hour away, and while our hotel rooms were being readied, we took a walking tour of the city.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember some of the names of the houses and buildings we saw, but I have photos of some of my favorites.

This house was made from Tabby concrete.

This is the Davenport House which was the first double house, or duplex.

Another beautiful house.

A look down Jones Street. This is supposed to be one of the most beautiful streets in the U.S.

Approaching Forsythe Park Fountain.

There we are!