Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Pushing myself to make the soups was worth it--hehe!! :):)
Today Caroline was supposed to come. I got up early--but the parking lot hasn't been plowed and it looks awful out there. I called her and we will reschedule. Usually she comes on Thursdays if she can't come on Tuesday--but I am supposed to have my recheck on my jaw, so we are going to play it by ear. The colleges are closed, so she might be able to come on Friday??
We'll play it by ear and get in touch later on in the week. The snowstorm is supposed to let up by tomorrow. I haven't heard any news reports yet this morning--haven't been up long enough--hehe!

I caught a picture of Miss Karma last night--she was snoring!! So funny!
She does that once in a while. Cracks me up!
I made a short little video for YouTube showing the snowstorm yesterday. So grateful that Miss Karma and I are warm and safe. She can snore all afternoon again today if she wants to. And I have lots of soup left--ROFL!! :):)

Monday, March 30, 2009


Need I say more?
Leah's mom could get out in her boat yesterday (ice melted) and took pictures of her house!
It is sitting on its own little island!!
She and Leah's brother Aaron are fine. They got Internet service back today--and water (hard to believe, eh?) a couple days ago.
She doesn't live close to any neighbors. No wonder she has a boat!!
Meanwhile--today a snow storm has moved in. Yesterday they were saying we were supposed to get 4-7 inches of snow by Wednesday.
It is pretty sloppy snow--wet. We are praying that it stays cold enough that we don't have a rapid melt before the river recedes--but not cold enough to cause ice jams.
Meals On Wheels is back in operation today. (I didn't realize they had closed! What about all those poor people who depend on them for food? My goodness!) No trash pickup or schools open all week. The military dropped one ton parcels of sandbags on the inside of the dikes on the curves in the river to help prevent erosion--because the river is flowing so much faster than normal--3-4 times? A lot of businesses are still closed this week, of course.
Everyone is thinking positive up here. Praying. Waiting for the river to calm down. (Remember--flood stage is around 18 feet--and it is still just under 39 feet at the moment.) The river is surging north and there are, or will be, more small towns enduring the same process as the excess water heads for Grand Forks. Grand Forks has been fortified after 1997, so they should be okay--thank goodness!! :):)
Me? I am just sleeping, resting, and eating my soups--hehe! Have this peculiar taste in my mouth since the surgery--from the sterilized bone they packed in the space that was carved away. Probably because I know it is somebody's actual bone and it has this odd dry taste--makes me think of Egyptian mummies! Weird, eh? Another thing they can take from me as a donor one day, eh? I never thought about people needing bone. Amazing the ways we can help each other even after death. What a wonderful thought. :):)
I can hardly see out the window right now--a white wall. The wind and the snow have picked up. Karma and I are resting peacefully inside where it is calm and warm. I feel extra, extra grateful now to have moved over the river into Fargo--to the middle of nowhere--hehe! And Dagan and Leah ended up in the safest part of the area up here--West Fargo. We are very, very fortunate. There are so many people who are out of their homes and who will be dealing with the water damage and clean up.
Just heard an announcement that there might be a secondary crest of close to this same height (around 38-40+ feet) again here in April! Good grief! On that sobering note--I am going back to my blanket and pillow--hehe!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Well, I have been flying along on the pain pills since Thursday afternoon. Yesterday I took half of the maximum prescribed--cutting back because I will be out of them shortly. I am also getting to the end of the steroids (one more pill today and one more tomorrow), so I was able to actually sleep. Well, maybe out of sheer exhaustion I actually slept for 9.5 hours last night and this morning--and I was nodding off in my chair all night--hehe! I'm sure there will be a repeat chair performance today. As I am weaned off the oxycodone pain pills and the steroids--my cheek is bigger today than it has ever been and I feel worse today that I have since the surgery--chuckle! (But in the instructions it did say that the swelling is the worst from 48-72 hours later--so don't worry, there's nothing wrong.) Thank goodness for the meds, eh? Can you imagine what I would have gone thru without them?!! Whew!!

The oxycodone (am I spelling that correctly?) is WAY stronger than the pills I take for my fibro (darvocet). I joked with people on the phone how they were strong enough that I could hardly feel my usual fibro pain at all--the mouth pain was actually the worst for the first time--hehe! Well--I was moving around a lot more because my body actually felt the best it has in many years--until I cut back on the oxycodone yesterday--hehe! So, I am paying for all that activity. Believe me--I'm not complaining. It was a joy to have a glimpse back in time. :):) I have no complaints--am honestly wistful--as I sit here typing with one hand with a heat pack on my cheek. :):) It was actually glorious not to really feel my body for a couple of days. ROFL!!! :):)

Anyways, I have now just begun to hit the pain wall. I have eight oxycodone left and will use them judiciously, I assure you. :):)

The flood--?? I have no idea what is going on--ROFL!! I assume the dikes are holding or it would be all over the TV and it isn't. As I spoke--the hourly news update came on. Still on alert--standoff with the river--sandbaggers needed again--going to be bagging all night long--dike patrol is highest priority. So far, so good.

My hot gel pack and I are heading for my chair....

Saturday, March 28, 2009


We have to hope the forecast (this was from last night) is fairly accurate and it stays cold for as long as possible. Been watching the flood fight 2009 for days.
At night I love to move my gaze over to my newly cleaned fish tank--the de-stresser--hehe! Especially nice with all the tension here on dike watch.
This huge pump was flown in from Montana, I believe. Had to be flown in pieces on three military planes--because of the weight and because the roads to the west were blocked because of blizzards.
The area is still shut down--hospitals, nursing homes, etc, have been evacuated. Schools will be closed all this coming week. The national weather service said the river had crested, but the officials up here aren't convinced. I guess back in 1997 the NWS said it had crested and it rose another foot and a half--and Grand Forks hadn't been prepared for the surge back then.
And the river is moving about five times as fast as it was in 1997. So--the dikes are eroding in some of the snakelike curves in the twisty Red River. They will be gently dropping sandbags by helicopter on the insides of some of the curves in the river to help reinforce the dikes. They actually kind of want people to be around during the day near their homes in the evacuation areas--because the population is our best line of defense on dike watch. But they are not allowed to stay there during the night.
Some areas (like Oakport) have homes that have lost the fight, but the main 48 miles of dikes through town are holding pretty well and are being patrolled. This standoff with the surging river will last for days. These dikes have to hold up for days. So--we wait. Not sure how many businesses will be open now this coming week? No schools. No trash pick up. Dagan doesn't know if he will be going to work or not. Chuck and Michal teach--so they will be off all week.
All weekend here they wanted only flood related businesses to remain open--hardware stores, etc--and have wanted people to stay off the roads. They are building a back-up dike in Moorhead along 8th Street someplace I heard. I even got a call from my worker to check on me yesterday to see if I needed any help. How nice!
So we are thinking positive and praying the weather cooperates! :):) The people up here have been amazing! And many people came from all over to help. Five million sandbags!! People making food and bringing it to the workers. Cookies and fudge always help the spirits, right? The community has really come together and everything has been working quite efficiently. It is truly amazing!! :):)
I got a pretty Easter card with get well wishes from Ruby yesterday--and stamps!
And I sold a book to Howard (new member of the CPB group) and he sent me a check in this gorgeous card!! This is his first attempt at Chinese Brush Painting--gongbi style (detailed and layered). You can see why he can probably put the gongbi book to better use than I--hehe! But I did make copies of all the pages I wanted--never fear. I told him I got what I wanted from it and I can hardly wait to see what he paints!!
His card went right up on my inspiration wall, of course! :):)
Meanwhile--these are the focus of my days right now.
I had never tried these ready-made soups that you nuke. I had the perfect excuse, right?--and it was really good.
But, since yesterday, I have mostly been eating/drinking my cream soups that I made. Sooooo glad I made those!!
I am not close to the flooding areas, but I started to think about how even after they flush the water pipes sometimes like they do, you know--you can have horrible brown water for a day or two. And I decided I would like to be sure I have water for cooking, coffee, cleaning, drinking, etc. I doubt I would ever lose power here--but--well, better safe than sorry, right? I filled up containers last night so that is one less thing to think about.
Put cutting boards over these to keep you-know-who and her cat hair out of them.
Karma was fascinated and went from bucket to bucket tasting them all--hehe!
Nice to have some covered water here and there because of Karma's exuberance for anything out of the ordinary--chuckle!
I've been up and down with the sleeping. The steroids wake me up no matter how tired I am and make my head feel funny--but they are helping with the swelling. And I am taking dwindling amounts each day. I am down to three today, two tomorrow, and one on Monday--so soon I should be able to sleep better.
Sorry--I forgot to say that the weird shadowy shape in my jaw joint (why I had the CTscan)--was nothing to worry about. Just how I "felt" when I looked at it. Probably just fluid from the arthritis he said. TADA!!! And I go back in a week--Thursday, April 2nd.
That's it from Fargo for today from chipmunk cheek--hehe! :):)

Friday, March 27, 2009


Traffic on Interstate 94 was at a standstill yesterday. Leah snapped these pictures when she left to run some last minute errands yesterday in the early evening. So many roads are flooded or icy or too much snow around town (they only plowed emergency roads after the last snowstorm) that main roads were the only safe travel.
No surprise that they are asking for no traffic at all today in Fargo Moorhead area except for emergency vehicle and vehicles related to sandbagging.
They scrambled like crazy yesterday to raise all the dikes to 43 feet because the prediction went up to 41 feet--and since then they say it could be 42+ feet at the crest. It was just over 41 in 1997 and we surpassed that record already. The sandbags were freezing so that they couldn't be fit as tightly--creating more fear of leakage. In different places in North Dakota (the entire state is having problems with flooding) they are using dynamite to bust up ice jams.

Dagan and Leah stayed with me last night. They left around noon today to go home and shower and change. By now there are less places to go and sandbag--and they are shutting down sandbagging operations at 6pm tonight. They don't want people to be traveling at all. All unnecessary businesses have been asked to close today. Home Depot and I would imagine Lowes and Menards are open for flooding supplies. Moorhead and Fargo schools are closed all next week.

Water and sewer has been turned off in the mandatory evacuation area in Moorhead. If I was still in my old apartment--I would have been in the evacuation area. Goes from 94 to north Moorhead by Moorhead Center Mall, etc, and all the way across east to 8th Street (and I've also heard to 12th at one point--which is almost over to MSUM, too?). Code Red. Concordia College is in this evac area. There is a "suggested" evacuation area in Fargo, too. I missed exactly where that area covered.

The stand-off has begun. Supposed to last for the next 5-8 days before the water recedes. More water is coming from the south. (The Red River runs north up here.) The Red River is supposed to crest within the next 24 hours or so--but the sandbag dikes have to hold until the water subsides, of course.

There are constant 24 hour dike patrols and dumptrucks of sand traveling about to help plug up the gaps they find in the existing dikes. The National Guard is here to help protect property and patrol the dikes. Red Cross is here to help with the evacuated folks. Some people in town near the river are not evacuating--have 43 foot dikes and generators and pumps--and back-up pumps, etc. Leah's mother lives up by the Oakport area where the flooding is pretty bad and they have already lost some houses to the flood. She and her son Aaron are now cut off--surrounded by water--last I heard. She calls Leah for reports on the flood levels--she's lost her Internet service. She has a generator and still has electricity. They drug up most everything they could from the basement--she could still get more water--but she's holding her own so far. She has a boat, but can't use it right now because of the icy water and doesn't need to get out for anything. They're stocked up.

People are being relocated to shelters--high schools, community centers, etc. They are busing them from parking lots--like WalMart and Target. MeritCare Hospital on University is being evacuated. They keep showing the lists of what to do when you evacuate before you leave and what to take with you. I even got a call this morning from my state worker asking if I was okay or needed any help. I am fine--thank goodness. And even if the water flooded way over here to where I am--I am sure glad I am on third floor--no problem for me. I have lots of liquids and edibles and would be okay.

Dagan and Leah--the Sheyenne River was previously diverted--so Dagan and Leah's place is supposed to be okay because they don't expect the Sheyenne to go over 23 feet. The Sheyenne River level mysteriously dropped--ice jam? But so far, so good where they are, tho. West Fargo is one of the safest places to be apparently. And my area should be fine, too, I'm a few miles from the Red River.

One of the problems is--we are still getting snow and they are not really sure about the weather. First they were predicting rain coming next week and now maybe more snow instead--but hopefully it will stay light. All this snow we just got could melt rapidly again if it gets too warm--so we are hoping for cold for a while, actually. Makes it awful for the people who are out in this sandbagging, etc--but we are better off with cold and snow right now.

There is nothing to compare this to. Since recorded time--there has never been this much flood water up here--ever. And the water is still coming through for the next several days from the south. It is a sit and wait and see how high it gets and if the dikes hold. This sandbag dike stand-off will last at least a week from the sounds of it. They are hoping it won't be as bad as Grand Forks saw back in 1997 where the entire town was under water.

It is amazing how well organized and calm the response and activity has been all along. You know us stoic Midwesterners--hehe!

Dagan and Leah kind of felt bad that they weren't out sandbagging someplace yesterday--had to stick around and take care of me. And by today--they could stay home--and watch the Sheyenne River out their back door with Chuck and Michal--hehe!

They left about noon. I'm a bit shaky today, but better as the day goes on. I hadn't eaten for so long. In fact, I am finally having some split pea soup as I have been taking breaks here while I type-- little by little--and listen to the breaking flood watch news on TV all day. I feel much less shaky now than when I started writing an hour and a half ago. Time to take more pills and curl up with my heating pouch thingie for my chipmunk cheek. :):)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Surgery Day--hehe!--almost 1pm

Well, I am home! All went well. I am posting quickly before the Novocaine wears off. I wasn't asleep--but with the tube up my nose and the IV in my hand and the Novocaine--I didn't care what they did to me--chuckle! They were a happy, efficient team--laughing and so kind! I think all the good thoughts and well wishes and prayers and good energy sent my way worked on all kinds of levels. :):) <--not that I can actually smile right now---hehe!

Dagan and Leah are taking good care of me and will be here tomorrow, too. They don't have to leave for the appointment for court tomorrow morning because that got cancelled, too, with all this craziness up here with the weather. So they will be around and taking care of me tomorrow, too. :):) No worries! The pain wall hasn't hit yet--but I also have some stronger pain pills for a few days, too. Not sure when I'll be back posting--but all is well and I am so glad this is over with! :):):) Bye for now!


A gift in the mail from Ruby yesterday! A couple of books and some embroidery floss! (Which I use to sew bookcards together, of course!) I LOVE Lorna Landvick!! Saw her at a book reading at the Fargo library a few years back with Jennifer. Lorna was a complete hoot! So entertaining and quick witted--just plain funny and a joy! Was the best reading I have ever been to--ever! Lorna had been a member of an improv group in Minneapolis--as you could tell by her quick comebacks and sense of humor. She rewarded people who had questions by throwing them Hershey's Kisses! I already loved her books, but fell in love with her, too, after meeting her in person. She writes about unique and quirky--but ordinary and realistic--characters who will make you laugh and cry. If you ever get a chance to meet her yourself--I don't think you'd ever forget it or regret it!! :):)

Meanwhile--on the home front--I slept restlessly for a few hours and finally couldn't get back to sleep at all. A little nervous about the procedure, of course--but also wondering if I will even be having it at all? Leah called last night and said Michal heard that they were canceling all unnecessary surgeries--except for emergencies it sounded like? I did get a call yesterday to confirm on the surgery, but that was earlier in the day.

Anyways, I will call this morning and double check--and then call Dagan and Leah and let them know by about 8-8:30am, as soon as I can find out. And then--the roads are so horrible with ice--and some are flooded--will we find a route to get there? Well, no use worrying about it, I know. I already took my mega dose of steroids (for the swelling) with dinner, used the special mouthwash, haven't eaten since 6pm, and no fluids since about 9pm. Slept from 10pm-2am. And now here I am bothering you--hehe!

Moreso than the worrying about whether or not I will have the surgery or if we will be able to even get there (we'd get there if we have to creep along--we're Minnesotans, don'tchaknow!)--is the fact that I couldn't take a pain pill. That is mostly what was keeping me awake. So--since my surgery isn't until 11am--I took a pain pill with a tiny bit of water at 2:30am. I know they said no fluids after midnight--but my surgery is later in the day, so I think I'll be just fine on that score. It even said if you had medication you had to take you could take it with very little water. I know--I didn't have to, but..... I am waiting for it to take the edge off.

It will be very disappointing, to say the least, if they have to cancel. I already took the steroids and such. And I have been waiting for quite a while--what feels like forever. The announcement went out in the evening--so they probably wouldn't have called people about cancellations--and wouldn't until this morning, if that is the case. Time will tell, right? Meanwhile--the harder edge is softening just a bit. I thought--as long as I was up...who knows when I'll have time or feel up to blogging, right? So strange--I almost didn't make it to the dentist that other day because of the weather. The forces have been against me on this--hehe! Well, it is a test of patience and my personal dance with pain, eh? I am winning, tho! Never fear! I can hang in here even longer if I have to--no problem. :)

I am going to go watch Netflix or something on tape...maybe snooze in my chair, if I am lucky, eh? And say a little prayer for all the people fighting the flooding!! Dagan and Leah and I are all fine on that score. Leah's mom, too--so far as I have heard. They said they are now predicting the highest cresting of the Red River ever recorded--41 feet by Saturday? Yup! A big prayer! :):)

P.S. I will keep you updated--on the flood and the surgery. Even if I have to have Dagan or Leah post a little something for me. I promise. :):)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flood Update

Here are a few more pictures from Leah's Picasa album. This is one of the driveways to her mom's house yesterday.
Pictures of the water rising nearby.
Leah's mother's house sits on this higher piece of land. This shows where the flood water came in 1997. It sat surrounded by water like on its own island.Here's her mom's house.

View from the back yard.
Back yard.
Sandbagging around the window wells, etc.

Another view from the back yard.
The driveway two hours after the top picture.
And then--Dagan and Leah's balcony after the snow last night. Had been all melted away.
I thought I'd send along the pictures right away. Blogger is going down for a scheduled outage here pretty soon--so I will try to post this quickly. :):)
Check Leah's Picasa album for more pictures and information.


For days this is what we have seen on TV.
Calls for volunteers for sandbagging...
...floodwatch reports...
...the red cross and the national guard to the rescue...
But last night the snow storm warnings came in on top of the flooding conditions.
Back to cold weather again...
...and it doesn't look good for the next few days.
Me--I made Flemish carrot soup yesterday. Worked on the set of birthday cards and made another video.
I've had birthday cards coming early this year. Thanks so much! Lifts my spirits! Tomorrow is surgery day.
The snow did come in last night. Here's what it looked like at 2:30am.
I turned on the porch light to get a shot of Karma eating snow--again.
What a crazy combination--snowstorm and flooding!! The roads are terrible because there is ice under all of this. There are roads closed because they are flooded and they are advising no travel again because of the icy roads and low visibility. This is what it looks like here this morning.
Dark day.
We were just about rid of our white winter world. None of this will last very long, of course. And the snow is a good thing, I guess. Better for us to have snow than more rain is what they are saying. I hope the roads are better by tomorrow. I haven't seen the news yet today but closings have been running across the bottom of the TV screen since I turned it on. Even the big mall--West Acres--is closed today. This is the third time we have basically been shut down this winter due to bad weather. Only occasionally happens once--let alone three times in one year.
So today--I am just washing clothes. I think I have plenty of creamed soup--hehe! I guess I'd better watch the news and catch up with what is happening up here, eh? I'm supposed to have the oral surgery at 11am tomorrow morning. I'm sure they'd call me if the bad weather changes anything with their scheduling....
Good day to be inside!! :):)