ROCKING THE ROCKERY

 

Since Escalante Days the weather has been absolutely gorgeous and a real delight to be outside. With all my repainted frogs and gnomes, not forgetting the new ones, plus my craft fair purchases, Sunday became Day 1 of the layout.

Travelocity and friends

Of course these things take time and plans tend to get a bit more ambitious as the mind sees all the possibilities.

The “Mary Rose” is full of wasp’s nests!

Came very close to being stung

The week kicks off with a rather dull presentation at the High School which perhaps is one of the worst I have seen! Projected back light with a single bulb, softly spoken teachers and no microphone and very dry boring material.

School bus driving begins on Tuesday and as this is a “non chemo” week I can drive which is something to look forward to and enjoy.

Need to redesign the top of the waterfalls that took a battering when the sign blew down in the gale. I feel the need for a higher volume of water coming over the top and I do have some nice sandstone flats that have been water carved over the years and should give some classic pool to pool natural drops.

Just the right shape for “flow” on these sandstone pieces

Some rebuilding required

Not forgetting those lost in the sign “deadfall”

I do have an extra pump but I think a bigger one with more flow and outlets is where I’m heading but before that I need to see how I can route it to achieve the desired effect.

A bit more on the layout with some of the birthday frog and turtle team on the backside of the rockery

Meanwhile the lovers are enjoying the sunshine below the Hilary Step and should see the more refreshing waters in the near future.

Ideal for sunning and topping off the green tan

The “Guide” shows how to get to the summit

Frog, Salamander and birthday Turtle

The week comes to an end, delightful weather, and 2 trips a day on the School Bus to get back in the swing with a record number of 48 kids going home Thursday night!

Friday and time to deal with the bus battery problem!!! yes, Safari batteries won’t hold the charge so its disconnect everything, taking a drawing of where all the wires go, ……… into Walmart and get them checked ……. 3 other batteries ahead of mine (4) and each one takes 1-2 hours to check!!!

Ok everybody, its off to Walmart for you 4 !

Saturday, back to Walmart, NO! they are all toast including the new one that was fitted last year. Well they replace that one free of charge (pun) so now I have 4 new ones all with a 2 year warranty!

Well hello, 4 new batteries

Back home and try to decipher my diagram of the wiring. Trays cleaned of dirt, mud, and rust. Push/pull greased and functional so time to be bold and fit set No 1. All in, so far so good, and only one wiring repair to some miscellaneous earth wire?

Hope I have this correct

1st set in place ….. stay lucky!

Second pair go in and cables arranged in what I hope is the correct sequence. ……. the acid test! Yes, FULLY CHARGED and with one turn of the key the massive CAT engine bursts into life!! YIPEEEE!

Now down to Dolores River RV Park and get 12gallons of LP gas to see if the generator will fire up. Yes, fully working GENERATOR!! This really is turning out to be a GOOD DAY……… now try and start the Fridge which switched over to Electric when the LP ran out and dragged the batteries down. Holy Moly, it STARTS!!!!

OK, you deserve this ONE!

More on the Rockery …. soon I promise.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESCALANTE DAYS 2019

 

Our 1st Escalante 2 day Trial (2013)  …. all lined up for the parade

After yesterday’s rainfall a bit cooler this morning but the forecast says a nice 80F and not much wind so fingers crossed.

Champers Time under the big fir at Carol’s

First stop is at Carol’s down on 9th Street for some early morning champagne as the parade goes by. Carol is bright and bubbly and seems to be recovering very well from breaking her hip. Even, George makes it out to watch and is also looking a lot better now they have changed a lot of his medications.

Here come the mountain bike racers on their multi distance runs based on ability, desire and age. With them on their way for  the next few hours popular local Sheriff, Steve Nolan, leads the parade in the other direction.

With the parade over time to move to our next liquor hideaway down at the Brewpub. Some more champers and then onto my drink combos of the day

Beer for fun, the red thing for hydration ….. hey don’t knock it, it’s working!

Lunchtime, and time for the Chainsaw Competition, and as you could predict Bill Ragland at 84 years old wins AGAIN in another record time.

The “Master” wins again!

A really nice afternoon bumping into lots of old friends including Travis who used to own the Hollywood before selling out to what is now the Montezuma. Travis now has a 200 acre ranch over at Summit and a 5 year contract working on Oprah Winfrey’s new resort home at Mountain Village, Telluride!!!

More drinking and talking back at the Brewery and after a  visit to the craft fair back there again for lunch.

Another “must have” Mushroom

Lizard or Salamander ?

Couldn’t resist the honey and it’s cute pot

A few more beers and a “4 Cheese” completes the day

 

…….. and what a lovely day it was!

TONY DOWN

 

73 AND CHEMO ROUND 3

Drip on again, its round 3

Not the best way to start your birthday but at least its 1 less session of that chemo poison. Different Doctor this morning who answers all my questions re the last session.

He also changes the nausea medicine and gives ME the all clear to drive if I feel up to it. Now many of you may think that’s a little pig headed but let me assure you when you have Cancer anything that gives you a chance to look forward to something really feels like progress and some forward momentum.

Some nice presents in the form of frogs and turtles and a super winter cycling thermal jacket which would have been too small for me last year but now, 40 lbs lighter, it fits perfectly.

A couple of really nice chocolate cakes  ….. yumeee!

More frogs arrive today in the post, layout will have to wait as I’m still connected to bag and pump.

Big Bertha for the top of the “Falls”

Harley Frogs

Luv ’em

Tiny the pot hanger

Mr T

I already have them “planned” in my mind’s eye.

Friday, and time to get the bag off and get some semblance of normality back in life.  Might even get to phase one of the layout later this afternoon. On the good news front NO nausea or vomiting this week so maybe the change in medications was on point.

The day progresses, the bag is off, and time to do things. Start Safari and aim to get some LP gas for the generator.  Local station STILL broken so a drive into town to the big Maverick …… NO LP !  Well no matter a few more days to wait but the drive was good.

Back home, finish a bit of weeding I had started and the plan is now a ride down to the brewery as its the start of Escalante days ….. but it starts raining and does so through until 2000 …. annoying! Still no sickness after this round of poison and not so tired … time to be thankful.

Bit of Nostalgia from those Escalante Days Trials 2014

Under the 4th Road Bridge before the rain!

Sunday in Lost Canyon Creek

The Graded Hill they hated!!!

THREE Cleans for ME !!!!

 

TONY DOWN

 

FROGS AND GNOMES

Still a million questions including all the “what ifs” and “why me?” but the battle continues and its now 7/30. Still very tired, some nausea, dehydration, dizziness and loss of taste. Energy and guts, or willpower, are where I need to concentrate, and stop feeling sorry for myself but that of course requires a lot of effort at this point.

Bit of a plan for today, start Safari, water the seeds, mow the grass and finish off the frogs and gnomes. With the exception of the grass the rest gets done but then suddenly the chemo kicks me and I’m not feeling too good. Another one of those moments when you realize you might not make it!

No matter, let’s see what Michael Angelo has been up to in the Chapel. We started with the sad pairing of “Steptoe & Son” our two Travelocity Gnomes who had made it through 10 years of Colorado winter’s and were definitely looking “shabby chic”

Steptoe less than chic

Son, shabby

New, hats in red, fresh blue coats and some clean black wellies. New belts and buckles to complete the outfit along with a visit to the barber’s for a trim of the beard.

Nice beard

Pretty snappy!

A couple of pond “newbies” from the Dollar Store. They came with orange coats ……. yuk! so they got the blue coat treatment

The last remaining “big frog” got the complete makeover

“Hello”

The pool lifeguard got the full treatment too and is now on patrol by the one open water lily

See you in the pool

Last of the old frog collection “the unattached swinger” was looking pretty rough so another full makeover

Sad, and off color

Much better …… and Brenda patiently rehangs him

While still in the Shade Garden our “Queen Ladybird” was looking a little tatty so a repaint for her in proper Ladybird colors

A  repaint coming

Sadly two of the biggest frogs were destroyed in last year’s gale when the sign came crashing down on the rockery and pool beds. One was a beautiful ceramic that I had purchased at the Escalante Days Festival

Crushed!

Now that’s a deadfall !

Dead ceramic

Gruesome fate

Well our local garden center has a few replacements and these are home waiting for layout and placement ……. and then of course I have a birthday.

Hear No, Say No.

Family group

Why me ?

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHEMO ROUND 2 OF 8

Some of you may remember the rather nasty bout of pneumonia I went down with way back in October 2015 which then became COPD Stage 3.  The upshot of all that was to PUSH some air round the lungs and get out there on the bicycle and get the COPD back down to Stage1. Not easy, but for 2016, I did manage 2031.22 miles before winter shut me down.

I had embarked on the old Nutrisystem Diet and came down from 219.8 to a demi respectable 195.6 …… The diet then moved into the GT diet and held even ground until winter 2016-17.

Out again in 2017 with the new road bike in the form of the 16.00 pound Roubaix, another 3602.09 was pedaled up here at 7000′

Ambition changes and a new target is to cycle around the earth, some 24,902 miles in my lifetime. The year goes well and I manage another 4644.30 giving me a 3 year total of 10,277.61

As the clock turns into 2019 I can’t help but notice that the “gut” has reappeared again despite all this manic cycling. Back for another dose of the Nutrisystem again

Let’s try again!

Again!

Day 1 of the dreaded chemo begins not knowing that I had the “chicken egg” up my bum! First session seemed OK with no nausea or other side effects other than extreme tiredness. That tends to last until the 3 day pump and supply runs out and it gets pulled on Friday and then there are 2 days where all the body wants to do is sleep.

2nd session on 7/24 and by the Thursday I’m feeling nauseous and finding it difficult to breathe and sleep. By Friday I’m vomiting despite the pills and this of course has that “knock on” effect as I’m becoming dehydrated. I can only assume they upped the dose just to see how much I can take.

Well you can always get a drink in a chemo ward!!

However, it has to be said that if you really want to lose weight then you should give this chemo diet a go as after this last double whammy my weight is the LIGHTESS ITS BEEN SINCE AGE 13!!!!!

Sunday  7/28 ……….  ONE HUNDRED SIXTY NINE POUNDS!!!!

Tuesday and down to a ridiculous weight   …… not where I want to be!!! back to Cortez Hospital who draw some more blood through that shoulder device to see if I’m up to more chemo poison tomorrow. …… as they say it takes you to the very edge before bringing you back.

Over to Durango for Session 2 which after nearly 3 hours on the drips I’m quite tired but even when we get home I can’t sleep or rest. Even with two of their anxiety tablets nothing happens but I seem to be short of air and sleep is out of the question as I’m scared I won’t wake up!  Manage about 2 hours so maybe that’s another side effect but at least no nausea.

Two days on the carry bag and then I’m 1/4 way through unless there is more suffering I don’t know about. Thursday and I get the impression they have increased the dosage as I’m desperately tired and a bit dizzy. By lunchtime the vomiting starts leading to our old friend dehydration …….. most unpleasant! The rest of Friday is on the couch.

TONY DOWN

GETTING A GRIP

 

With the first round of chemo kicking the crap out of me and making me feel very sorry for myself I think I’m coming out of it and getting a tougher attitude as I have to fight or this will be a very one sided battle.

While I might not be up to pounding out those miles on the bike I can at least paint the gnomes and frogs, do some weeding, and go and check the lakes for fish.

This morning starts with a complete refit. All bags, tubes, bits and bandages are removed ….. the refreshing warm shower water flows freely, old age and death are in the bucket and sweet smelling joy is restored. Now all I’m hoping for is this dreaded embarrassing leak to dry up and allow me to walk freely without unexpected falls of soot!

The leak continues and is infuriating as well as undignified and I wonder just how much longer this will last? My bum is now very sore and looking at where they made the cut there surely can’t be too much left to come??? Give me strength!

Seems I’m confined to the house until this goes away, yes, I want to fight but its difficult when you can’t make any headway with what you want to do.

Another poor night’s sleep for no apparent reason, must get on and do something …… anything!!

Here we are, Saturday 7/20/19 and not 1 mile on the odometer this month! Gardens look awful, grass is yellow and needs mowing, my dianthus died and the bloody arsebine is back!

Need to charge the batteries on the Safari, plant some more salad seeds, and start the repainting. We will see what gets done.

A recap picture of my “4th of July” recovering from the surgery and a whole load of thinking!

Happy 4th of July

That sums it up !

Well back to the tasks, yes the batteries go on charge ……

Something done at last, ……. now the seed bed ……

Another row of radish, and more lettuce

Back in the Shade Garden time to review what needs tarting up on the painting side.

A scruffy giant Travelocity Gnome

Gnome junior

A frog that “went a wowing go”

A badly painted Ladybird

Well we will see how these turn out

 

Still Alive!

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THAT CUCKOO ?

ALL Cuckoos will be SHOT on sight!

First dose of 3 days of Chemo to see if I can shift the Cuckoo of its nest in my liver ? A reasonable nights rest and no chemo side effects so must be thankful. Just a little discomfort where the Port was fitted and the needles are still connected.

Friday lunchtime and back into Cortez hospital to have those poison chemicals and drip removed. The nurse who did it has something similar going on and I guess there must be something in her family as her father recently passed but he refused to have the “bag” fitted.

Saturday and no significant pain as  such, and the stomach muscles are beginning to strengthen up again after the battering they took with that “Michelin” surgery!

Not a thing of beauty!

Cycling wise not quite up to getting back in the saddle yet but back to see the surgeon on Monday so maybe the “all clear”.

While I’ve been in hospitals and the “patient” that bloody arsebine has been growing furiously AGAIN and is really annoying me!!!

Right now I’m still desperately tired and just sitting around like a limp rag. Three operations, much indignity, some pain, and very little get up and go. Perhaps tomorrow as the first chemo free day may see a brighter spark.

No more of that for 10 days

Maybe a good day to repaint some garden gnomes and frogs that our extended winter ravaged. Very tired and low energy for Sat and Sun but maybe just a little brighter today. Weight continues going down and now at an all time low of 177.8 ….. not sure this is good!

The lower tube that was cut which houses the dreaded tumor is leaking downward and causing a lot of unpleasantness but at least something is coming out and clearly can’t go on forever as it must eventually dry up. If I could feel I could walk around without embarrassing myself then I could probably get on and start doing some of the things I like to do.

Need to get into a more positive vibe, get my fishing license and go sit by the lake.

 

Cuckoo you are toast!

 

TONY DOWN

 

THE BATTLE ROUND 2

 

After two days and nights of fighting with leaking bags it was back to the hospital this morning for the last of this series of operations to fit the chemo valve on my upper chest and remove a nasty looking polyp that had popped out of the main stoma!.… ugly little bastard.

Another very tiring night for all with Brenda doing her very best to keep this thing from leaking. The hospital gave us some more supplies and some better glue.

Tomorrow is Day 1 of the chemo after about a two hour talk over all things cancer and chemo. Multiple drips and bags and 2.5 hours of infusions and chemicals through the port or (oil change filler cap) and then sent home via Cortez to pick up another load of chemo pills to deal with nausea and other discomforts. After the 2.5 hour bombardment I get a “flush” and then another 2 day supply with its own pump and carry case are attached and these will run until Friday lunchtime when its back to Cortez to have them removed and that will be the end of session 1. In two weeks time back to Cortez who will draw blood through the same device and send the results over to Durango before I start session 2 on 7/24/19.

So far, no side effects of which there could be plenty! Now what I HAVE learnt is that it isn’t liver cancer but rather colon cancer that has migrated to the liver and now behaves like the infernal Cuckoo chick that pushes other birds chicks out of the way to feed and finally kicks them out of the nest.

Cuckoo chick kicks all the other eggs out of the nest

The huge cuckoo still feeding from its adopted parent

A bit sore and battered and way down on sleep.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

ROUND 1 OF THE CANCER BATTLE

Wednesday 7/3/19 and off to the hospital to be dismantled so that the drains don’t get blocked up.

Hideous garment

Into the hospital gown (what a ghastly item!) and lay around as more and more needles and IV drips are made ready. Eventually I’m carted off and its into surgery with a vague idea of what’s coming. A solid, deep, anesthetic  and then the micro holes for disconnecting our old friend  “mien arseholen”. First in with the cameras and tools and then pumped up like the Michelin Man.

The before and after, yes it is like that

With stomach walls blown up and clear of intestines surgeons can start cutting and making the “stomas”   ……..these it transpires are anything but pretty!! The prime one will be for the main exit to the bag which I will be wearing up to around Christmas and then if the rest of the treatment is successful it can all be reconnected.

Don’t ask

Some time later the brain tells me I’m in a Bavarian forest and up ahead I can see some blue light through the trees but its blurry and there could be animals or people …… can’t be sure…….. stumble on,

light increases, …….. yes, people! Make a short appearance back on Earth then drift off again.

All night long and about every 3-4 hours they are injecting me or taking more blood and giving me pain IV drips, but I don’t care and sleep on.

Thursday and my diet changes from clear fluids to fluids! This includes ice cream and jello. When I finally come round I realize the magnitude of what they have done ……… I feel as though I’ve been kicked in the gut and other places …… and the mind boggles as to how they got this catheter in here and even worse how do they get it out?

Various pains come and go including one in the shoulder caused by the anesthetic and a cough also caused by same but that really hurts the gut. They certainly take good care of you and you know it must be quite serious surgery to warrant this much attention and checking all vital signs so frequently. Doctor comes and goes and says no more blood samples at 0500. Fireworks from the local park and a night on the history channel which is one of the few in focus.

Overnight the bags start leaking and then in round 2 its just full of gas and very painful.

Friday another day of constant checks and different style of bags but these start leaking. Well at least I’m on light food of soups and scrambled eggs and the coffee is quite good. Seems I’m going home tomorrow.

Dreadful night, can’t get to sleep, leaking bags, seemingly constant interruptions for vitals. Must have moved the bed angles and its very uncomfortable …… give in!

I think I screwed up the controls??

Saturday and another set of bags that don’t leak…… home at last but very weak and tired.

TONY DOWN