Tuesday, December 31, 2019

12.31.19 HAPPY NEAR YEAR! And a rare treat - Blue birds at the feeders.

Another year come and nearly gone. Where does the time go? It seems like we were just preparing for Christmas and now it is time to move forward into the new year. 2020! A cool number.

We had a bit of wintry weather these last two days - sleet, hail, snow, thunder and lightning. Shoveled this morning just in case it freezes and it is hard to manage the driveway when it is a sheet of ice. The boys enjoyed the time outside - always chasing those elusive squirrels!

Once we finished the outside chores, which includes feeding the birds, the boys received a special treat and I was enjoying a nice cup of tea watching the bird feeders. All of a sudden there was a flash of blue - yes bluebirds mixed with the chickadees, titmouse, cardinals and juncos (one of my favorite winter birds). A pair of bluebirds stayed within view for quite a while. They were feeding at the suet feeder and perching on the fence. What a special treat for ending one year!

Here is the male perched on a branch of a nearby bush across the driveway. All of the pictures are taken through a storm door and inner door glass window. I thought if I went outside with the camera the birds would not come to the feeders. So the quality is what it is! But we can clearly see the pair. He is a handsome bird. I have seen bluebirds in early Spring in the yard, but never in the middle of winter.

Here is the female - a smart looking bird.                                 

Hope they stay warm if they are going to overwinter here. I will make certain to keep the suet feeders and other bird feeders supplied with food to help them stay fed. I also have a water bowl for them and must remember to thaw out the ice and snow and put in some warm water for them.

Here she is at the suet feeder. Clever girl.

Here is the pair at the suet feeder. They appear to like suet better than sunflower seed.

The pair on the fence. It is nice to see the pair together.

Hope seeing bluebirds  means it will be a short and mild winter!

Fionnegan decided he liked his bone after Gunnarr tried to take it from him.

Shorty is still wearing his sweater - he had a treat, is nice and cozy warm and ready for a nap!

May you all have a safe New Year's Eve if you are traveling and celebrating. 

And may you all have a Happy and Healthy New Year 2020.

My very best wishes always.

And may the blue bird bring you much happiness and joy!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


May you and your family enjoy the blessings of this most beautiful season. Christmas is a special time of the year and I do enjoy the special moments of the season. Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the year - I find it is calm and the tree lights relaxing. Midnight Mass is also very special and most everyone seems at peace. That is to say I wish there was peace and a peaceful feeling for everyone.

 From my family to yours, may you enjoy a beautiful and peaceful day.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

12.15.19 Winter Wonderland

We had three beautiful snowfalls this month - with over 15 inches at the house with the first two. I now have plenty of experience shoveling snow and really don't feel the need to do it again!

My Yapese dog Shorty loves the cold and snow. He runs out first making tracks for all of us. He even stayed outside with me almost the whole time I shoveled - a couple of hours at a time. What they seem to like best is to run under the tunnel made by the hemlock branches that dip down to the ground, heavy with snow. Fionnegan and Gunnarr also had fun but came in sooner as they accumulate "snow bunnies' on their paws. I didn't take many pictures of the snow in the backyard as I had plenty to do with all of the shoveling and keeping sweaters on the little ones.

Here is an example of a hemlock tunnel and a willow tunnel made from bows that are weighed down by the heavy snow on the branches.

Little Gunnarr, The four legged sweater kept slipping over his paws. But these sweaters did keep the bodies warm and snow free. For a while.

Fionnegan, looking through the window. I got the snow window in the door just in time for the storm.

Shorty loves the snow. He rolls around in it, sticks his nose in the snow banks and jumps all over to make new tracks. He enjoyed some time with me chasing him through the deep snow.

All three running and playing along a pathway.

Shorty and Fionnegan are spending more and more time together. Shorty has a bit of snow on his nose!

Gunnarr and Fionnegan are always close together, too.

And the four legged sweaters only stay in place for so long. A little running, jumping and rolling around in the snow and the sweaters are half off.

So the next time they went out, we added the puffer vests to keep the sweaters in place. It worked!

Even Shorty wore his puffer vest too!

Gunnarr picks up the scnet of something in the snow bank. They found a gopher one time.

It is time to go back inside - lots of snow bunnies on the paws. Put them inside with some warm towels to dry off those wet paws and tummies, Shorty and I finished the chores!

Then over the weekend it rained really hard, and washed a lot of the snow away.  Now I have a salamander in the basement with all of the water that came in through the bulkhead!  Always something to keep us busy and entertained!

Three tired and happy doggies!

Happiness is a way of life, not a destination. Enjoy the journey.

Friday, November 29, 2019

11.18.19 Thanksgiving wishes

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Let us all take a moment to gives thanks for all of our blessings, even if sometimes we feel there are more challenges than we can handle.

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

After a big meal, only Shorty would look at the camera. Fionnegan was ready for a nap and Gunnarr has really become camera shy.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

11.17.19 Medical mission trip to Honduras

This was the third consecutive surgical oncology trip to Hospital San Felipe in Honduras in Tegucigalpa, the capital city. This was trip was organized by Health Volunteers Overseas, an organization that supports many medical mission trips to many countries worldwide.  I had the opportunity to travel with Doctor Sayuri, one of the chief residents in our surgical program. It was a pleasure to have her on the trip and the surgical oncology resident of the San Felipe program really enjoyed her expertise and company as well.

Of course, this trip starts in the wee hours of the morning. My boys were both tired and sad that I was leaving again. Gunnarr is in the foreground and is especially sad. Fionnegan is in the background and also had very sad eyes. They all had a shirt of mine place on their beds to comfort them. Even Shorty was looking a bit down. They all know the suitcase means I will be gone ofr a while. But I always come home!


This is teh Hospital San Felipe taken from the upper deck of the hotel where we stayed. It is a mix of old colonial style and modern. They are in the process of building an ICU. I was told this process is "a brick a day"! Perhaps next year we will see a lot of progress or it may be completed. I do enjoy walking around the olf sections. Apperantly so do the pigeons! They are always in the courtyards.

Here are a few pictures from the operating room. This is Dr. Sayuri operating iwth the local plastic surgeon and the intern Samuel.


She was our OR assistant.                                              Here is Fernando, the OR tech. Yes, every one has a cell phone!


Dr. Karina is the Chief resident, although she has one more year to complete her training.

Dr. Jason, the surgical oncology resident and Dra. Zyama, a gynecology resident, assisted me with a case.

Dra. Karina with medical students from one of three medical schools in Honduras. They were observing on this day. One of teh medical students scrubbed with us on our first day.

Dra. Karina, Dr. Samuel and a local surgical oncologist.

Dr. Sayuri operating.

On the first day I worked with Dr. Junior on two really big cases and do not have a picture of him operating. Here is a picture of Drs. Sayuri, Junior, the anesthesia tech, and Jason.

As per our tradition, we are provided with a little site seeing on the last day of our week. Karina and Samuel took us to the national park wiht the Cristo del Picacho. The view of the valley is spectacular. There are beautiful gardens and a chance to do a little bird watching. There were a lot of school children up there that afternoon. 

Couldn't resist the pigeon on the head of the statue. No disrespect intended. But the pigeon does have a "birds eye view".

Here is a photograph sans pigeon.

School kids running up the stairs. We walked !

Everyone takes pictures!

Cristo statue. One cannot get a photograph of the front due to the cliff.

Here is a domestic bird. 

A great horned owl.Yes, he was looking right at us. Beautiful bird.


Look at those claws.

The grounds keeper took us to see the owl after he observed us looking at orioles, blackbirds, and sparrows. That was really very kind of him as he had to lead us down the backside of a trail and point it out to us. What a special treat. 


Samuel, Sayuri, Karina

After the walk in the park we headed up to Santa Lucia for lunch. A beautiful little town in the mountains, it has an old church and a lake with ducks and turtles. There also is the opportunity to rent a paddle boat!


Tres Puntas, the restaurant where we had lunch. It was delicious.

Boating on the lake.

Some pretty flowers.

A little bird watching as we walked around town.  He thought he was hiding in the leaves but we found him.


View of Santa Lucia.

And let's not forget the dogs enjoying the beautiful day!

This was again a very rewarding trip to volunteer at the hospital. I do hope to be able to continue this for a long time! I enjoy all aspects of th etrip, from taking care of some wonderful patients who are grateful for our work, to the residents in their program who enjoy our company and the chance to learn from us. They are good doctors, and I am always impressed woith the skills and knowldge of the local surgeons. It is an honor nad provelege to participate in the training of their residents and provide care for their patients.

And yes, the Christmas trees in the hotel. Love it!


Until next time, may you all enjoy good health and happiness.