Monday, June 29, 2009

As the Lee Ages

I am so old. My BABY sister just turned 30. Of course, that means SHE'S old too now. In honor of her agedness and just to ensure she remembers where she came from, I thought I'd pull out a few pictures I have her and plaster them on the internet :)

You're welcome Lee!

This is 10 year old Lee at my wedding. Wait, I got married in February and her birthday is June, so this is NOT QUITE 10 year Lee at my wedding.

Then Lee grew up.

She became a wife and a mother....

...pulled out all her hair so she fit in with the rest of us wives and mothers...

...and then got old, just like the rest of us :)
Happy Birthday LeeLee!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ripped Off Awesomeness

Lee has this really long blog roll of the thousands of people she interacts with on her blog. I got nosey today. Look what I found!

Holy cow! And they are supposed to only be 4-8th grade kids!
Glue your teeth in tight so they don't fall out when these kids get to "Footloose"...seriously awesome!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Made My Background!

When I first created my blog, I chose a background theme that was offered by Blogger. It was ok, nothing to shout about, but it sufficed. Then I got to watching Lee's blog change colors and I got intrigued. I clicked the link connected to her page and went Blog Background Shopping. That was fun for a few minutes,...but then I wanted to do my own!

It's taken me a little while, but I'm catching on! The background on my blog right now is one I made all by myself (with the help of Jacki who guided me in the coding structure. Thanks Jacki!)

So tell me what you think!

Heart Healthy Bean Stew

I know just the title of this blog entry sounds gross, but let me just tell you that I fixed this for supper yesterday and even JARED gobbled it down and said it was good! And I have to say it was quite filling and "stick to your ribs" kind of good.

White Bean and Garlic Stew

2 15-ounce cans cannellini or great northern beans (about 3 cups)
1 head garlic (the whole bulb--15-20 cloves)
2 tablespoons water (I don't know why, and I forgot to put it in)
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped (And I hate onions, so I cut mine big enough I could see to pick them out)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley (I forgot to put this in too)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I was in a hurry! I forgot to put this in too)

Break the garlic bulb into cloves and peel off the skin. If you'd like, chop one of the cloves, but leave the others whole. If some of the cloves are very large, you may cut them in half lengthwise.Spray a large, non-stick pan lightly with olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until it turns a rich, medium-brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and sauté for 1 more minute.Add the beans, tomatoes, bay leaves, and water. Cover the pot and simmer for about an hour, adding water if it gets too thick.Stir in the salt and pepper. If you're serving the stew right away, add all the parsley and the lemon juice. If you're serving it later or at room temperature, add the parsley and lemon juice right before serving.

Serve over brown rice. (I used Uncle Ben's brown rice)

Makes 6 servings. Each contains: 246 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 385mg Sodium; 15g Fiber

So with all that I forgot and just left out.....this was a delicious recipe! I wonder what it tastes like WITH those ingredients I left out! The world may never know! :)

If you want to see the original recipe and a picture of what it looks like if someone ELSE cooks it (mine was thicker than this), try this link.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Swine Flu

I have studied a lot (especially lately) about health and caring for it. Swine flu is new to me though. There are things about it I had no idea about, and thank goodness for email or I might NEVER have learned what to look for!

I understand that if you wake up one morning and look like this,.....don't go to work!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tommy's Technological Experience

This is so funny to me, so if I suddenly stop making sense, its because I've had to stop and laugh my head off again. This JUST HAPPENED 5 minutes ago!

Ok, the story first:
Maybe a month ago, Tommy got himself an MP3 player. He's never had anything like that before and our two teenagers walk around plugged in to theirs night and day. So he got it, but he didn't know what to do with it. Not long afterwards, he had a heart attack and who thinks of MP3 players at a time like that? He's well on the mend now and wanted his music put onto his player. So I took the little gadget and opened up my laptop where me and the kids have put all sorts of cd's and music downloads. I just copied gobs of stuff onto his player that I thought he would like and handed it to him.

Ok, now move forward to RIGHT NOW. He and I are sitting on the sofa. The little ones are watching cartoons and he and I are goofing around on laptops. He finished what he was doing and closed the laptop, plugged his MP3 player into his ears and turned it on. He did this really quietly, so I hardlly noticed him--besides, I was engrossed in what I was doing. All the sudden, he starts humming, so I look over at him and realize what's happening. Then his head starts bobbing,...and the humming gets more pronounced. So my cell phone is sitting beside me and I had to get a picture. Here it is....

It was a mild beginning, but it evolved...he really started to get into it. See what you think....

And then I got caught....

Tell me that's not funny!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


It is soooo hot! I'm at work today and have the A/C on, ceiling fans spinni
ng, and it is STILL hot in here! It's worse when someone opens the door, but not many people have been doing that today. I guess they think it's too hot to be out too! I think we should just go swimming.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stress Relieving Ideas

I feel like I've been sucker punched by an invisible fist attached to some big ugly guy who apparently doesn't know who he's messing with. It's starting to irritate me!

Tommy has this saying (which also irritates me) that goes: "If it is to be, it is up to me." So I guess if I want relief, I have to be the one to make it happen. Here are some ideas I've thought up and researched and hopefully I'll find time and opportunity to test them out. Maybe YOU can test them too and let me know how much relief they bring you!

  • massage (I did get one Monday. That was nice! Too bad it was just ONCE.)
  • take a bath, add music/candles/cold glass of favorite drink and close door and stay there an hour or so. (this recommendation comes from someone who has no kids)
  • comedy night: supply yourself with munchies and several comedy videos and let laughter be your best medicine (throw in a babysitter and I'm all for it!)
  • "scoot off for a day or two" and go somewhere away from the worries of life. Take a journal to help you gather your thoughts and relax. Being near water increases the relaxed atmosphere. (sounds like its good for certain kinds of stress, sounds like it might add up to dollar signs too)
  • spend a week watching no tv, which will allow you to avoid an induced emotional roller coaster (I don't watch much anyway. Wonder if it would work in reverse?)
  • guided imagery Start by traveling through our tranquil cloud imagery designed to help you relieve stress. Click the Tranquility Window to the left, and see if the flight helps you experience a few moments of peace and quick stress relief. All you have to do is focus on the imagery and be willing to let go. (this sounds kooky)
  • eat right and exercise (I'm eating better...exercise is a hard one, but hopefully we'll get around to getting a membership at the pool and go swimming. All in good time.)
  • Handle important tasks first and eliminate unessential tasks (this sounds good! I actually did it when Tommy came home from the hospital. I got a dry erase board, put it on the fridge, and kept notes there of what I needed from the store and what chores I needed to accomplish when and all that sort of thing. When something was handled, I erased it from the board. That way, I didn't have to think about that stuff to remember it and things got done without worrying about them.)
  • Take a break and meditate to slow down "mind-racing" (another person who has no kids)
  • Reduce the urge to be "perfect" (I think I was born with that. I'm not sure HOW to reduce that urge!)
  • Reduce criticism (wow...that kind of slaps ya in the face, doesn't it?)
  • Don't stress when expectations are not met (another lifestyle change?)
  • Manage your anger (I want to say "shut up!")
  • Push away negativity of any kind (Tommy and I talked about this just the other day. I'm believing its crucial at this point. It's just really hard to do!)
  • Choose to keep quiet when you feel a negative reaction (then I need some duct tape!)
  • Be cheerful, it deflates others stress and anxiety (another hard one)
  • Dab essential oils on your wrist to remind yourself to relax (Hey, I can actually do this!)
  • Utilize relaxation techniques; Yoga, Meditation, Breathing, etc (when? Can I do this in the car while driving from here to there?)
  • Laugh more, and often (I giggle and laugh all the time, unless I'm firy angry)
  • Cry (You have no idea how badly I'd like to, just have no real opportunity for it. Everybody seems to want me to help me stop crying instead of letting me have a downpour.)
  • Remember you can only change yourself (.....)

    Control Stress
    You fight a cold. You bandage a cut. You get rid of a headache. The point is if something impacts you negatively, you do something about it. Stressing brings about a negative impact, so do something about it. Don't allow stress to build. Don't allow stress to steal your joy. When you feel stress coming on, push it away. Resist it. Fight back. Use whatever tools or stress relief tips that work for you, just don’t give stress power over you.

Ok, so that's a lot to think about. There were other things I found like "light therapy" and water fountains and walks in the woods.... I'm interested in any suggestions YOU might have too. I know I'm in a time of my life when things just have "to be" and that once I'm through them, all will be ok again. It's just a slow walk down a long path and its hard while I'm in the middle of it. It's beating my own health up too, so time for a change. Want to change with me?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What do you see?

Look deep into my eyes......

Can you see it? No? Look closer.....

You see it now, right? All dark, dismal, torturous....
These are the eyes of stress...

...that reside on the face of exhaustion.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Female Dog

Have you met Herbie? She's a pretty little Jack Russell Terrier who will be one year old in a few days. This picture is her when she was younger,...and a lot less "female dog". Now don't get me wrong, I really do love this dog...but she and nerves don't mix well. She's got a stubby tail, like someone had thought about docking it when she was little. She has short little legs because she is a "Bench Leg" variety I'm told. So she has qualities I really like....something a little different. On the other hand...if you've met Herbie before, you just might understand why she has made it to my blog.

And you know how cats are, right? They own everything, including your stuff, your space, ....and you. Well take a look at Herbie now. She even owns the cat! (At one time I had pity on the cat, but I've since lost it because she graced us with 5 little baby hairballs that won't set foot OFF my front porch.)

So now you've got an idea of who Herbie is. Have you ever research Jack Russell Terriers before? Ever known one? I never have before. I've heard people talk about them, so I THOUGHT I knew...but oh how wrong I was! I've heard how they are a spastic breed with more energy than any other animal on earth. I've heard they are brilliant animals and can learn so many things. I've heard they very personable animals and love their family very much. I've heard they like to chew on things.

So let me clarify those things just in case YOU ever think you might want such a female dog in your life.

Jack Russells are a very smart breed. They can indeed be taught to do a lot of things, in fact, Herbie will even respond to hand signals. There are some things we don't even have to say out loud...she knows what it means and high-tails it to her kennel! She also knows that if she does a trick for you, she'll be in a little less trouble-- or at least that's worked in the past, so it must be worth a try, right? She'll offer you a paw anytime of day or night if she thinks she's going to be in trouble for something. This is cute for the first 4000 times, but then....

Oh and she is part of a breed called "Rat Terriers". That sounds uniquely interesting doesn't it? What it means is that she has an innate desire to be a mouser. I know this to be true because of all the dead mice she brings into my house and how many times a day she whines to go outside and locate the most ripe one out there. Who kills these rodents? I'm not sure if its just her or if she and the cat are in cahoots. The mice she brings in have had a few days to ripen in the sun before Herbie brings in them...but that's all I know.

She's never chewed up my shoes or my clothes or furniture. Instead, she chews up things that might get close to her kennel. I think she does it because she's bored and wants us to do her bidding of the moment. One time, she chewed up my cell phone charger. It was plugged in still! How did she live through that? If that wasn't enough, she chewed up a second one too! We discovered that she sleeps better in her kennel if we cover her. I guess we disturb her and the breezes from the A/C vents chill her, so she does better if we cover her kennel a bit. She's fine for the most part, but if she accidently went to bed earlier than she meant to, she's going to slip a paw out of the kennel and drag in the covering. Of course this means chewage is happening.

She's a neat freak too. She can't stand for the cats litter box to get dirty. She checks it daily for filthy deposits. If she does TOO good a job of that or if she's snarfed down too many field mice, she might have to throw up. She thoughtfully cleans that up also. I guess I should have warned you before now that this is not for the reader with a weak stomach. Sorry!

All of that is just dog behaviors, right?
Well let's revisit the spastic tendency. If you read the last blog posting here, you saw that Tommy had a heart attack Monday. They went in through the femoral artery of his right leg and installed a little device in there to open up his circulation so his heart could function better again. After a heart attack, you are on a LOT of blood thinners and that makes it quite a challenge to get bleeding to stop. So his leg took a LOT of compression from nurses and a doctor who didn't want things to go badly there. Imagine having 30 minutes of fierce pressure applied anywhere on you. Might be sore later, right? The bruise on his leg is about the same size as his I believe him when he says it is quite sore. Herbie is a jumper and thinks her place is in his lap. This has made her realize she is also a lucky dog. He hasn't thrown her, hit her or cussed her at all! If he hasn't thought about it at least once, I'll be surprised! She doesn't understand, I know...but what a stress it is to stop her before she thrusts herself onto him!

I have come to realize where that B word originated.... it was from the owner of a Jack Russell Terrier!

Now that I've gotten my frustration out, let me repeat that I really do love the dog and she can be fun to play with when I'm under a lot less stress and strain. She really does shake your hand and give you five. She really does respond to hand signals and voice commands for several things and really hasn't eaten any of my shoes yet. She's snuggly and I know she loves us all. She doesn't mean to get on anybodys nerves and she is apologetic about the fleas and smells she comes with. She's a pretty pooch who just needs a LITTLE labotomy to fix her quirks.

Somebody remind me of this when I'm sitting in the quiet room with my hands strapped down and smiling at the nice men in white jackets, k?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Heart Attack

Leave it to me to complain about not having anything to blog about! Now I've got something,...a little bigger than I was looking for!

Sunday, May 31, we go to church like good little kids and go home like tired little church mice. When we get home, Tommy isn't feeling well. I didn't think much about it, because he hasn't been feeling good for years now. He thought he had gas, so he took some anti-gas remedies I've got at home and we went on with life. He had been doing too much as usual and figured he had aggravated his shoulder from back when he had strained it or something, so he didn't think much about his arm aching either.

Then Monday came.
Let me back up to that Herb Workshop (you read that part of my blog already, right?) where I went to the Ag Center and set up a display for the herb shop. A lady there had asked me to come back. The Master Gardeners people were sponsoring a summer camp for kids called "Camp Dirty Knees". They would learn about farming and plants and all sorts of stuff. She asked me if I would come and run their "apothecary" for the day. I said sure....sounded fun. I was even going to steal Mesa's apron that Mama made for her so I could look the part.
Monday is the day I went to see where I was to be stationed so i could plan to set up my apothecary and handle the activities smoothly. Tommy and the two youngest boys sat outside under a tree and waited for me. While there, Tommy started feeling even worse. He didn't tell me all the details of that (and I'm still mad at him for that!) but his arm started to hurt pretty badly on the left side and his chest had a sharp pain stab and his neck started hurting. As I said, he didn't tell me all that then.

I had to go to the herb shop and pick up my pay check, mail off a package to Catherine and make sure of my work schedule for the week, so we went there next. Tommy was going to sit in the car and wait,...but he couldn't. He was hurting so much. So he and the boys came in where I was. I got him a package of gas stuff and opened it and made him take some right then. My boss grabbed another one, an antacid and made him take that also. We started throwing around thoughts about why he felt so bad. He was pacing the floor and his whole body seemed to sag. He was getting a little pale and just looked droopy and you KNEW he was hurting. He asked me to call Jason (an ER doc we go to church with) and ask him if he could give us thoughts or find out if he's at the hospital. So I called....and he was at home. He told me to get off the phone and take that man to the ER...NOW. He told me to say "he has chest pains radiating down his left arm" and I wouldn't have to wait. So I did what he said. We went straight in to a room (and the nurse even kicked out the person who was sitting there when we walked in!). She ran an EKG right there before she even got his name. Then she took us to a room. Another guy we go to church with is also an ER doc and he happened to be on duty. He signed on as our doc and I asked him to give Tommy a blessing. He did and i was emotionally relieved right there and ok with whatever was going on. We still thought it was probably gas. I should say...that's what I thought. He still hadn't told me much....hardheaded man.

Well a nitro patch and blood tests later, we're told there is something not quite right with the EKG but the blood test says his enzymes are normal. He wanted to admit Tommy and have them observe him a little longer and keep testing to see if the blood enzymes just hadn't caught up with things or what. While we waited for a room, the doctor I'd called comes in and he explained those things a little more for us and told us exactly what to expect.

We go upstairs to a room and this sweet little girl (someone I went to school with, but I didn't know her personally, just recognized her) was our nurse. She gave Tommy a shot in his stomach to thin his blood and we waited. Six hours after the first blood test, he got another one. They did another EKG at the same time. The EKG came back normal and looked good. The blood work showed elevated enzymes....a sign of a heart attack. So they sent us to the cardiac unit...a new room...and it was SOOOO nice! At 4am, they did a third blood test and EKG. The EKG was normal again. They told us to expect this third blood test to show the enzymes had spiked and were coming down....instead, they went from a 1.5 to a 5.6 or 5.4 (I forgot which). So no question...he had a heart attack. Stress test came off his schedule and heart catheter went on it. He got scheduled for noon (we have now moved into Tuesday,..somewhere in the middle of everything). So noon comes and he's gotten a slit cut into his femoral artery on the leg just to the side of his groin. They insert a tube thing there, then slip a little camera into it. He was numbed up there, but he stayed awake for the procedure and watched it all on a monitor! They sent the camera up as far as his shoulders looking for blockages. They found several smaller ones, but the one that caused problems is one of the main arteries in the front of the heart. It was 90% blocked. They put a stent in there, which looks sort of like one of those Chinese toys you put a finger into each end and it grabs them and won't let you out. This one though, is like a wire tube you can squeeze down small and then put it in. When you let it go, it springs open and holds open the artery. He was filled with some serious stuff for blood thinning (one called Integrelin is an IV drip that did some serious thinning) so when they finished, they got him up to his room and a team of nurses cleaned him up. He couldn't move for 2 hours....not at all! Head stayed on his pillow, bed stayed flat, leg didn't even flinch! After that 2 hours, a team of nurses kicked me out (how rude!) and took that catheter out. Remember it was in the femoral artery, so it went to bleeding. Those nurses climbed on him and put some serious pressure on his leg. Painful! They bandaged him up and i came back in. He had to stay still for another 4 or 6 hours (I can't remember which!) and then he could move a little and eat something. The spot hadn't stopped bleedign though! It was oozing a little, and that means no clot has formed and thats dangerous. So they did all sorts of crazy things trying to make it stop. Finally, the night nurse came on duty (this is an awesome nurse!) and she got serious with that bleeding. She all but climbed on top of him to get firm enough pressure held there for a long time till it stopped bleeding. Then she changed his clothes and bedding and had me go feel of it so I knew how it SHOULD feel in case it changed. She was great.

He did fine from that point on, except that at one point he strained in the bathroom. That's a bad thing because it causes your blood vessels and such to constrict. Bad timing for constriction, and it brought on chest pains. He got nitro again and an ekg and quiet rest. That eased up and his doctor told him he was fine...just be good.

Well now we're home and he's had a shower and gone to bed.
Of course, we had little moments between there and now, trying to get his medicine filled and such, but I won't get into all of that, least not right now.
He has to eat a heart healthy diet and get some exercise. So we're going to get a membership at the Rec Dept pool so he can swim regularly (its an indoor pool, thankfully) and we all need to eat better!

What a week, huh?