Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bobble Head Dog

Matty and Noah
Maddy and Emilee

Going through some old papers yesterday, I found one on which I had written funny things my oldest granddaughter Madelynne said when I was tending her every day for a couple of years when she was about 2 – 3 years-old.  Back then (even only seven or eight years ago), cell phones didn’t have texting or cameras, so I had to manually write down the things I wanted to remember to share with her mom and dad.  For example, one day she kept saying she wanted to watch “Pokeybononio” and I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about (all I could think of was 'Pokey Little Puppy' but that received as resounding, "No! Pokeybononio!).  She finally told me it was in the diaper bag.  When I checked, I found the movie, “Pinocchio”.  (Of course! Silly Gramma!)   Another day she was running up and down the hallway and laughing hysterically.  When I asked why she was laughing, she said, “I just laughing!” and continued on her way.  Wouldn't that kind of joy be great?
          Last night, at the ripe old age of ten, she was tickling Noah and he was laughing hysterically and she laughed and said to me, “I just love to make him laugh like that.”  Oh how far we’ve come...
          Emilee, my other granddaughter, at age 4, (whose parents are no longer a couple) saw a picture of her mother at my house and said in surprise, “Hey, you know my mom?”
          Matthew, her twin brother, the quiet grandchild, laid me on the floor laughing when we went to a 3-D movie a few weeks ago and he kept earnestly reaching out and trying to touch the figures on the screen.  I guess that’s the purpose of 3-D movies, but it sure was funny to watch.
          These days, I tend Noah, age 3, while his mom goes to school and his dad works.  He is talkative and has a great vocabulary for his age.  He is being raised in the age of interactive educational programming.  Almost every cartoon he watches has characters who ask the viewer questions and then wait for their answers.  After an adventure, Dora the Explorer will ask, “What was your favorite part?”  She stands and listens, then says, “I liked that, too.”  Noah answers Dora and Mickey Mouse and the Umizumi kids and every other character on these shows.  The other day, a trash bag commercial came on that said, “Don’t get mad. Get ‘Glad’!”  Noah responded, “I’m glad!” 
          I am thrilled that these kids have overcome the genes that their grandfather and I contributed, which, no surprise, everyone knows are from the shallow end of the gene pool.  And one of us contributed genes from the really scurvy end.  (I’ll let you figure that one out.  Hehehe!) 
          Now this is where the title of this piece comes in…
          As their grandmother, I feel like a Bobble Head Dog in a car window, shaking my head in amazement as I watch their growth, their interaction with each other and their lives whizzing by me.  (I felt this way with their fathers, too.  Time flies, as they say…but it is moving much faster nowadays.)
          A few days ago, I heard Noah’s quiet, but plaintive cry, “Gramma, can you get me out?”  I looked over and he had wrapped himself in the vacuum cord until he couldn’t move, so I had to go untangle him.  Of course, he wasn’t in any danger (I had been watching him out of the corner of my eye.) so I took a picture first. 
Hog-tied and ready for butcherin'
I guess some of those shallow genes may still be floating around.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How's YOUR Morning Going?

Aways stretch before exercising...

I got out of bed this morning with energy, radiance and the power of accomplishment. "Today is the day!" I thought. Got dressed in sweat pants and a baggy t-shirt and walked to the gym at my apartment complex to use the treadmill (walking around WalMart involves stopping and starting, so it doesn't really count as 'exercise', although if I see something I want, I can get a little cardio going).

The treadmill was already on, so I made sure the little red emergency stop string was by my hand, I stepped on, pushed the start button and, literally, got thrown off the thing.  (Just like on "America's Funniest Videos!  Where's a camera when you need it?)   Apparently the last person who used the treadmill was running - REALLY running - like bill collectors were chasing her.  I sat there for a moment (I missed landing on the Yoga mats by this ' ' much), assessing the damage and didn't find anything broken, so I stood up (after sending up a small prayer that I'd be able to...).

Kudos to me for re-adjusting the speed and getting right back on!  I walked for almost 12 minutes and it started going really fast again!  This time I was savvy enough to put my feet on the side runners that don't move and stop it before I was thrown off again!  God has a way of sending us signals when it is time to stop certain activities.

I am home now, eating a bowl of comfort oatmeal w/maple syrup (sugar-free), after neosporin-ing my scraped knees, elbows and left pinky finger (yeah, I don't understand that one, either...).  My knees are bruising and I already have a HUGE bruise on my ego, but I swear, as soon as I can move again, I'm gonna go to WalMart and walk around.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I swear to you, this is exactly how it happened…

As I got in the checkout line at Walgreens, there in front of me were two real-life cowboys.  (And, believe me, I’ve lived here long enough to be able to tell real from play-acting…)

The first one was 40-ish and mildly attractive, but the young one was mid-20’s, 6’4”, blue-eyed, white-shirted, form-fitting jeans-wearing, brown broken-in-Stetson-sporting, just stepped out of a Western movie-looking hunk o’ pretty.

I said, “There’s nothing I like more than seeing a couple of good-looking cowboys in my neighborhood.”

The young one smiled and began to blush (Did I mention adorable?).  I said, “Now you go home and write on your facebook that an old, fat woman in Walgreens said you’re good-looking.”

He honest-to-goodness tipped his hat, gave me a little wink and said, “I don’t do facebook, ma’am.  I do face-to-face.”

Then he turned on his bootheel and followed his companion out of the store, leaving me standing there with a stupid grin plastered all over my face.

So, what did I do?  Came home and posted this on MY facebook and wrote a blog about it! 

Yippie Ki-Ay, Baby!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Let me 'splain. No, ees too much. Let me sum up." Inigo, from 'The Princess Bride'

Normal Potassium Levels for 'Normal' People
I love the above quote.  And I will try to 'sum up'.  But some explanation is needed, so I will try to be brief and, um, tactful...

Things had been strange around here.  It started with exhaustion, nausea and diarrhea (sorry to be so blunt, but it's an important point) a few months ago.  My doctor diagnosed me with gastroparesis - paralysis of the vagas nerve in my stomach from diabetes (I had been gambling with my health!  Get it?  Vagas nerve, gambli...never mind.).  I argued with her - really, I did - and on subsequent visits I asked her if she was positive that was the reason for the nausea and, well, you know.  She always said yes with a slightly condescending look as if to say 'Who's the doctor here?'.

On March 23, 2011, I was tending Noah, and suddenly vomited.  (Again, sorry to be so graphic.)  I had a doctor appointment for the next day just as a follow-up for some bloodwork from a few weeks earlier and instead of cancelling it (as I often do...) I kept it.  I thought I had a bad case of stomach flu and wanted her to fix it.

At the doctor's office on Thursday, March, 24, they repeated some bloodwork because I complained to the doctor's resident-in-training that I was still nauseated and had, well, again, you know...  She ordered more bloodwork than what I had been scheduled for earlier.  As I sat waiting for the phlebotomist I got weaker and weaker and by the time my name was called, I literally had to be helped from the chairs to her lab. (I had been weak like this at home, too, but each time it happened I just fell back onto the sofa and tried again.)  She told me after she had drawn my blood (that sounds completely different than what she really did...), that they would have the results Monday or Tuesday.

Friday morning, watching Good Morning America, my phone rings with a frantic call from my doc's office.  My friend, Kathleen the Nurse, told me my potassium levels were critical - more than double the normal level - and they wanted me to have my blood re-drawn as quickly as possible.  To make a long story short (yeah, too late, I know...) I was rushed to the hospital and admitted immediately.  Apparently I didn't have the flu...

All of the symptoms I had been exhibiting for over 2 months, were because my potassium levels were fluctuating and finally became critical and I was in complete renal failure (meaning my kidneys had quit working for those of you who aren't 'hospital-lingo-savvy').

Within an hour of being admitted, I was in Interventional Radiology having a stent put into my jugular vein (THAT was fun...) so they could put me on dialysis to remove the potassium and other not-so-healthy stuff from my blood.

Miraculously (and no, that isn't a euphemism), it took only two sessions of dialysis for the potassium levels to return to normal.  According to the nephrologist (kidney doctor), this is an unheard of short time.  They thought I would have to be on dialysis for several weeks.  My original potassium level was 8.4 and the nurses told me they had seen patients die from levels at 7.9.  THAT made me think!

Now, let's re-cap the miracle 'sum up', shall we?  Because I thought I had the flu, I kept my scheduled doctor appointment (and trust me, I cancel more than I go...).  Because I saw my doctor's resident instead of my doctor, extra bloodwork was ordered that showed the critical potassium levels and no, it would NOT have shown up in the originally ordered bloodwork.  Because I had been so sick on Wednesday (and continued to be so), Scarlett got someone else to tend Noah for Friday, leaving me free to be rushed to the hospital.  Because my two oldest sons, Lucas and Stephen (Jared didn't know at the time), both posted my condition on Facebook almost immediately, prayers were being sent up on my behalf before I even had my first session of dialysis. (Thank you all.)  Because I still have something to complete here on this side of the veil, I was made well in the shortest time the doctors had ever seen. I count a miracle-minimum of five.

So, if any of you have any idea of why I am still here and what I need to complete before being allowed to go see my mom and dad on a permanent basis, I'd appreciate the input.  I have a couple of ideas, but they seem kind of lame, compared to the miracles that kept me here.  By the way, the nausea and, um, other stuff, are gone and my vagas nerve seems to be fully functional.  And, yes, I tactfully kept my comments to myself and didn't lambaste my doctor about this.  (This is called a 'humble brag'. Hehehe...)

I added this picture of Inigo just 'cause he's so good lookin'.  And he sings great, too, in real life...
Fezzick (Andre the Giant) Inigo (Mandy Patinkin) and Vizzini (Wallace Shawn)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Foodie Gifts for Christmas ( OR All I Want for Christmas is Food!)

When looking for homemade food gifts to give for the holidays, I found a terrific website by two sweet young women, Kate and Sara.  The site is called Our Best Bites: Tips, Tricks and Tastes from Two Real-Life Kitchens.  Click on the title above to be taken to their recipe index or the box in the right-hand column to be taken to their home page.  You won't regret it.

They have some wonderful gift ideas - some new, some tried-and-true - but what caught my eye were the unusual recipes they had posted, such as No Yeast Sweet Rolls with Cinnamon or Orange FillingThis recipe uses cottage cheese and buttermilk - not something each of us necessarily keeps on hand all the time, but, worth the purchase for these delicious, tender breakfast rolls.  Plus, they bake in only 20-25 minutes and are best served warm and soft right after you drizzle on the Orange Glaze (or the powdered sugar glaze if you make the cinnamon type).  Of course, there won't be any leftover, anyway, so you needn't worry about storing them.   The girls found a glass pie plate was the best baking dish.  (It is hints like this that make this site unusually there are LOTS of photos showing the steps for each recipe.)

These might be a fun gift to deliver warm to your neighbors on Christmas morning if you can keep your family from gobbling them all up!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


"…We have two hands. One is for helping ourselves and the other is for helping others."
                                                                             - Audrey Hepburn, Actress and UNICEF Ambassador

Generosity is giving freely without expecting anything in return. As the quote above states, we have two hands and we should give as much as we get. Most of us don’t have a problem helping ourselves. We have learned to take care of ourselves and our responsibilities. Often, the difficult part is finding time to help others.

Putting change from a purchase at the store into the plastic bin for whatever charity or person is on the label, writing a check to a charity, putting a few dollars in the Salvation Army Christmas pot while Santa rings his bell – those are the easy things and make us feel better about ourselves. But what of generosity of spirit? This requires a little more effort.

Take a couple of hours this holiday season to truly give…

• Knit or crochet some warm scarves or hats and donate them to a local homeless shelter.  You just sit around in the evening watching television anyway, why not keep your hands busy?

• Bring your child or a friend to a soup kitchen to serve a meal or two. (Always involve your children when you can.)  Childre learn what they live.

• Find a family whose Christmas might be incomplete and give them an anonymous gift certificate for a full meal from a grocery store or for a toy store or a clothing store (but don’t disappoint a child with only clothes!). Taping an envelope to a door, knocking loudly and running is more fun than licking an envelope and sticking a check in the mail!

Take notice of how you feel afterwards. Your heart will be beating fast and the smile on your face will be difficult to erase.

This is true generosity and it requires two hands to accomplish but you will want to hold onto the feeling you get inside with both hands, too. Your spirit will be filled with joy and you will look forward to doing it again and again.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Brutal Honesty

Three posts for the price of one!  Such a deal!  Each of these posts is quite personal, although not very funny, which you know I try to be as much as possible.  Just in a serious mood, I guess.  Thanks for reading!  

I am addicted to chocolate. It isn't a secret. I like chocolate alone or chocolate with peanut butter. No dipping fruit in it. No nuts. No wafers or caramel. No self-pity. No claims of victimization. No denial. No need for a 12-step program. It is an addiction I am fully willing to live with and indulge in for the rest of my life. Do I somehow believe the addition of peanut butter makes chocolate healthier? I'm sure it doesn't. Although I don't think it hurts, either. I am past trying to trick myself into believing it helps qualify it as health food, though.

I have read everything that has come my way about chocolate's addictive chemicals and the reactions they cause in the brain and the body. I have also read how it helps and that it has health benefits. Sugar and white flour are more damaging and don't have any health benefits, so I am avoiding those quite well, with the exception of the sugar contained in chocolate. Maybe that will compensate a little. And if it doesn't? Oh, well... Everything in moderation, right? That is the healthiest way to eat or indulge in anything. I no longer eat several candy bars in one sitting. I have adopted a moderate, middle-of-the-road attitude. If you have a similar addiction or just want to try something new, check out the recipe attached to the photo above. Trust me, you won't regret it.

I don't know what your opinion is of Michael Jackson, his music, his Neverland Ranch, the public accusations or the strange way he seemed to live his life. Even if you did not watch the tribute to him today, if you hear his beautiful young daughter's words, through her tears, it will break your heart. I pray that these children will be able to live a more normal life than their father was afforded at the same age. I pray that they had a relationship with him that the news reports and controversies cannot damage. I pray that his music will live on and that the difference it made in many hearts will continue.

Separate the media reports of his personal life from his music and you have an unforgettable legacy left to the world. If you can't find it in your heart to do this, listen again to the anguish and love in 11-year-old Paris Michael Katherine Jackson's voice and give a little credit to him for loving his children so much and hope that your children will be able to express that much love when you pass.

Until six weeks ago, I had gum disease. Yep. Time to make this confession, as embarassing as it feels. According to Prevention Magazine diabetes can cause this, and because of the gum disease, the diabetes worsens. It's a two-edged sword. About two weeks ago, I began experiencing extremely low blood sugar episodes each afternoon. Average blood glucose levels are 80-120. Mine was 43. It made me dizzy, sweaty, shaky and a little scared. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what was happening. It had been about a month since my dental surgery, but I didn't think to connect these two things. Then, providentially, I happened upon the Prevention Magazine article on gum disease and it's effects on glucose levels and I began to monitor my blood sugar more diligently.

A few months ago, I would awake with a glucose level of 250 and would have to take an insulin injection and oral medication before breakfast and at least twice more daily to lower it to a more normal number. Now, after dental surgery ended the gum disease, my glucose levels when I wake are 150. That is a HUGE difference. All the because I no longer have gum disease. Unbelievable! This needs to be broadcast to every diabetic everywhere! I couldn't be happier about this and, of course, my medical doctor is pleased, too. Now, as long as I stay off sugar and white flour (except the sugar in chocolate, of course...) and continue to lose weight, I may turn this diabetes around. Plus, I have a really pretty smile now! [Oh yeah, I have lost 73 pounds in the last year. Even that didn't change my blood glucose levels as much as the dental surgery! I have that much weight to still take off, but I'm on my way. WooHoo!]

*Click on the photos above to be taken to the links about them.