Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year!

May 2008 be filled with little blessings and small joys. Those lovely little things that add sparkle to normal and "boring" days.

...may there be mercy as we look forward to the new year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

merry christmas to all

Merry Christmas!

May you find something today that feeds your soul and refreshes your spirit.

...may there be mercy as we find joy in the true meaning of Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

time to rest

Interesting that I'd say it's time to rest when everyone is gearing up for the last harried and hectic time of the holiday season. Stress abounds around me...

... and I'm on vacation!

Right now I could be totally stressed out about the fact that every single one of my family's Christmas gifts still sit in their respective bags. Unwrapped. In my not decorated for Christmas living room.

In Washington.

Not in San Diego where my they should sit, gaily wrapped, under Mama's Christmas tree.

I could be stressed out about that, but I'm not.

Another thing that could stress me out right now is that part about my not yet decorated for Christmas living room. But I'm not stressed about that either.

Have I moved into "Bah! Humbug!" land? Nope!
Have I shopped for the special meal items yet? Nope.
Have I shopped for my sweet husband's Christmas gift yet? Nope.
Have I planned anything special yet? Nope.

Normally this would make my blood pressure rise and my back hurt from the tension. Not this year.

Instead, I'm simply enjoying the Christmas Season vicariously. The herniated disc in my neck makes the actual physical doing of much of the stressful items simply impossible. So I'm enjoying the decorations in the places I go. I'm enjoying watching others do all the stressful things. I'm spending the time resting and enjoying being with my sweet husband.

Yep, we're on vacation together!

Originally we had planned to go away for the entire week. Something about the fact that my precious father-in-law is now 85 is holding us back. We want to spend time with him. We know each day that we have with him is a gift. We're taking time to enjoy each day's gift of him.

So instead of stressing, I'm focused on family and rest... and loving that those are wonderful gifts this Christmas.

...may there be mercy in our non-stressful celebrations.

Friday, December 14, 2007

checking in

Just a quick check in so folks don't fret because if I go too long without a post I get emails! Love you guys!

Health: herniated disc in neck... big, major OWIE! To quote my sweet 85 year old father-in-law, it hurts like dammit! You know it's bad if I don't want to even attempt to quilt... and I don't. Had an MRI on Wednesday. Should have gotten results today, but doctor had a family emergency. Will get results next week.

Family: still need to finish writing up my travel log from San Diego, but everyone is okay. Sweet husband and I are looking forward to a week of vacation together over Christmas week!

Work: greatest Board of Directors! Gave us a generous bonus in spite of the fact we are at 1/3 the profits of last year. A lovely vote of confidence for the employees and a wonderful morale booster.

Holidays: yep, they are there! I've got a lot to say about the holidays and the "I got" syndrome. Later post will cover it.

...may there be mercy as we plow through "normal" during the busy-ness of December.

Monday, December 03, 2007

back to routine

While I'm not completely "rested" right now, I am ready to face going back to work because wow... what a trip and vacation I had! Definitely soaked up Mama and my family and am so very glad that I got to go. At the same time, I so very much missed this man in my house! It's good to be home with him, getting back into my normal routine of daily life. Will try to give some highlights of the simple moments that always make for great memories tonight.

...may there be mercy in the normal routine and joy in the memory of family.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Family... wow, the changes and the stuff that is still the same.

Mama. She's an ever constant. At the same time, she's getting older and it shows. I see such changes this visit that tell me those things we don't want to face. Oh her health is still good, surprisingly good for a woman just a few days away from 75. At the same time, visually she looks a lot older this trip. I notice that she has a bit of difficulty walking... the old "hitch in my git-along". Doctor tells her it is probably a pinched nerve and may be there for the rest of her life. She says it just will not be. I notice also that she is a little more forgetful, but that it's not an overly bad amount. She doesn't get confused, her mind is still sharp... thank God.

While I don't like to see her getting older, and when she does go it will rip a portion of my heart out... her aging process is actually normal and I am okay with that.

Big Brother. Wow... now this is the biggest change and the hardest for me to see. He's always been physically the strong one of the family. His body's betrayal in how it has changed makes me fight to hide tears from him. Thank heaven I have some good acting skills here. He has trouble turning his neck, his right arm won't lift past chest height, he walks with some difficulty - especially when tired. And he tires easily, actually taking a nap right now, mid-afternoon on his day off. In spite of it all, he fights hard and last week finally got cleared to go back to work. When he comes home, he is beyond exhausted. We used to have eating contests where we would make ourselves sick... and to see him eat only about 1/4 of what he normally eats (without a contest) is striking. Big brother is only 3 weeks older than my sweet husband... but now looks like he could be my husband's father. It's hard for me to see him this way, but at the same time, I am so very grateful to see him at all.

Brother #2. Haven't seen him yet because he lives in Los Angeles. He will be down tomorrow. Talked to him on the phone... he sounds the same as always and that makes me smile.

Brother #3. Our King of Drama. Yep, some things never change. He is still full of drama and a terrible con man. But his eyes are clear and he is drug free. That's really all I care about.

Little Sister. She turns 45 today. Her body has changed so much since her gastric bypass surgery. Of course the loss of 160 pounds will show dramatic changes on anyone, eh? The changes that concern me for her are the ones of the heart and spirit. Her last husband (divorce was final on 11/5) managed to kill any confidence she had. She gives the public appearance of confidence, but I see where it's an act. growing up in the same bedroom and having all those connections of being sisters will let me see what many will not. But... she is overwhelmed and thrilled with the quilt that I made for her. And we are talking much more than we have in the last 2 years since her now ex-husband is out of the picture.

Those are the difficult changes I see in my family. At the same time, we have been having a blast laughing and talking every moment I have been here. So much is good about this trip. But that is for another post. Mama is waking up from her nap and I am going to go soak up more of her.

...may there be mercy in the soaking up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

family time

Wow... many changes have happened here. Some great, some harder to accept.

Like big brother's health and what his body allows now. More on that later, it's late.

Soaking up time with Mama.

...may there be mercy as we love up on one another here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

seeing family

I can hardly believe it's been 2 years since I've seen Mama and my family. Way too long!

Tomorrow I head down to San Diego to celebrate Mama's 75th birthday and my sister's 45th birthday. I can hardly wait for that first Mama hug!

If possible, I'll post a bit. If not, see y'all next week after I return.

...may there be mercy as I travel and love up on my family in person.

3BT... the rest of that week!

Well we didn't have internet availability during the actual Thanksgiving weekend while we were in Portland... but I saved up!

Thanksgiving, 11/22:

1. safe travel and making good time while driving.
2. sunrise behind Mt. Rainier.
3. hugs from precious longtime friends and joy around their table with new friends since they invited other "strays" to join us.

Friday, 11/23:

1. laughing with SuziQOregon at our 5th Annual Day After Thanksgiving Breakfast.
2. visiting gorgeous wineries and the fun of winetastings.
3. sitting in a massage chair in the evening while watching a movie.

Saturday, 11/24:

1. watching our men doing guy-type activities and enjoying the simplicity of the fact that they are men.
2. the warmth of the vehicle after being outdoors in 29 degree weather for several hours.
3. barbequed steak for dinner... oh, yum!

Sunday, 11/25:

1. safe journey home without any traffic delays in the midst of many folk heading for home.
2. unpacking and getting the laundry almost completely done by bedtime.
3. holding hands with my sweet husband while we watched a movie and enjoyed a glass of wine together.

...may there be mercy and remembering to be thankful always.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

3BT night before

1. the surprise of a sunrise that was orange and not pink.
2. getting all my errands done during lunchtime... with time left over to actually eat lunch!
3. laughing with co-workers as we were counting down the hours to my vacation... which started at 5 today!

...may there be mercy as we are thankful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Continuing to be thankful, appreciative and sharing three "moments" in my day... join me!

1. hearing my sweet husband laugh out loud at a joke.
2. lunch with friends.
3. going to a hair appointment and coming home with a dramatic change.

...may there be mercy as we are thankful.

Monday, November 19, 2007

3BT week

One of my chief complaints is that we have stopped being a thankful people. We skip straight from Halloween to Christmas without a pause.

Hey! Wait a minute!

There is a whole 'nother holiday in there. It's called Thanksgiving.

In honor of being thankful, this week is a 3BT week here for me. Yep, 3BT all week. Please join me. I'd love to hear what simple things in your life give you pleasure... and be thankful with you for those things.

1. a heavy handed neck massage during physical therapy.
2. tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwich for lunch, sitting inside warm and snug while watching it rain.
3. a great big hug from a 6-year-old friend.

...may there be mercy as we are thankful.

Friday, November 16, 2007

random miscellany

A little random miscellany...

--got new glasses yesterday. The new frames appease my way-too-big vanity while the new prescription lets me see again. I like both parts of this equation.

--a co-worker has terminal pancreatic cancer. His wife also is a co-worker. A couple weeks ago I was convicted that he needed a quilt to keep him snuggled and warm during his last few weeks... hoping for a couple months. Raced to get a very simple quilt done that still felt like I put my heart into it to make it a pleasing combination of fabrics. Great for a guy to enjoy while he is still here, but pretty enough that his wife will enjoy it as a memory after he is gone. I called this quilt Simple Comfort because it was made simply, but with many prayers for comfort. Yes, I raced to get it done... and felt peace when I very privately handed it off to my boss for delivery to our other office. (Had the boss deliver to the wife because she is still working.) The sweet note I got from her yesterday telling me that she came down from upstairs to find her husband sleeping in his chair, wrapped in that quilt, moved my heart in ways you cannot imagine.

--my sweet husband gave me a gift of an iPod Nano the other day. It was totally unexpected and actually made me cry. Mostly because of what he had engraved on it... but also because of the tone in his voice when he told me the why of the gift. I love this man so very much and thank God for the lovely gift of him in my life.

--no layoffs at work this week! Business is very slow and many of us are expecting a layoff to happen at any time... and to anyone. It's Friday and we did not have a layoff this week. I'm grateful!

--24 working hours until vacation!!!

--listening to my iPod and hearing Nat King Cole sing "Ramblin' Rose" makes me smile. My sister and I used to sing this at the top of our lungs when we were kids. I get to see my sister in 11 days!

--seeing the completed quilt for my sister. She thinks that I'm coming down to San Diego because we will all be celebrating Mama's 75th birthday. Yep, we will be doing that. But we will also be celebrating my sister's 45th birthday. Everyone knows about the quilt except for my sister. The surprise will be quilt fun for us all!

...may there be mercy in the bitter and the sweet of my miscellany.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Excitement is the word of the day since I completed my sister's quilt last night. I have to say that I absolutely love this quilt... probably my favorite that I've made so far! It's queen-sized, for her bed and a total surprise. She has no idea that I will be bringing it to give to her when I head to San Diego at the end of the month. A picture will be posted later because I don't have time for that right now... gotta get ready for work.

...may there be mercy as I enjoy the completion of this quilt.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


It's late. Been a very long day with work, a lunch date with my sweet husband, physical therapy, errands and bible study group. I actually have much to say, but am exhausted. 3BT will have to fill in for this night.

1. Compliments on my work from a client.
2. Taking a trip down sweet memory lane at this website: I sat under this man's teaching at the church where I grew up.
3. A surprise visit from my precious father-in-law just because he wanted to give me a hug.

...may there be mercy as we look for the beautiful things each day.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

cooking day!

I love cooking day!

Once a month, during the fall and winter months, my best girlfriend and I spend a Saturday cooking enough meals for a month. It's a boatload of work, but the rewards are so worth it! Having a freezer full of delicious meals that are ready for us to enjoy is such a timesaver, not to mention an energy saver for me. Yep, I love coming home and not having to cook after work when I am always tired then.

Yesterday was cooking day... and today my body tells me that I'm getting older... and the price is a little steeper! But my freezer is full and I don't care! I can rest up today, enjoying some down time and quilting time.

Power cooking is not for the faint of heart. But while it can be overwhelming to consider doing it, if you break it down into organized bits, the overwhelming goes away. At one time, I wrote up a little "how-to" on the process. If one can read through all my notes, one can do it!

We started doing this about 10 years ago. Our beginning was based on the book, Once a Month Cooking. Since then, we have taken it to a whole new level. The book is a great beginning. Some of the recipes in it we still use. But most of the recipes are comfort food styles and times have changed as to our being far more aware of how to eat healthy.

Now when I say we are more aware of eating healthy, many folks think that we've taken the savory flavors out of the good old fashioned comfort foods. Not at all! Oh, we eat healthy all right... but we sure eat well! The recipes we've tweaked and the newer recipes we've discovered all have great flavors. Everyone loves them. No one who eats in our homes has any idea that the meal is "good for you" in addition to being tasty. Fun!

We also save so much money by doing our cooking this way. My grocery budget has dropped dramatically. For example, yesterday we made all of this:

Beef Stroganoff - 2 meals
Asian Beef Stir Fry - 5 meals
Boeff Viognier - 2 meals
Chicken Divan - 3 meals
Las Cruces Chicken - 3 meals
Chicken Enchiladas - 9 meals
Sloppy Joes - 16 individual servings
Tater Tot Cassarole - 1 large = 2 meals, 1 small = 1 meal

(Meals listed above are for us to enjoy together, plus an additional serving for 1 or both of us to take for lunch the next day)

Now I've got the meals listed above in my freezer and my friend has the same stuff... but double the amount because her family is bigger.

We split the cost for all the food at 1/3 for me, 2/3 for her. All that food and my portion was only $115.00! A major savings in cooking this way. When we didn't use wine in some of our meals, the savings was even more. But we like to cook with wine, so it's worth the additional cost for us!

Yep, I'm tired today and need some down time to let my body recoup. But oh, so worth it with all those yummy things to eat!

...may there be mercy in the enjoying the fruits of our labors.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


1. the simple comfort of making a new quilt and how the fabric feels in my hands.
2. the warmth of my socks as I put them on my cold feet.
3. hearing in a friend's voice that she is happy to hear my voice.

...may there be mercy and beautiful things today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

another round

I have a pain in the neck.

No, I'm not being a pain in the neck... I have one!

I know some were thinking it and can guess pretty accurately which ones of you that would be!

About 2 months ago, I slept wrong and woke with my neck hurting. It got progressively worse. I paid for a deep tissue massage, which helped for about 24 hours... and then the pain was back, equally bad. After another 2 weeks of trying to get it to settle down by self care, I finally broke down and went to the doctor.

Verdict: arthritis flare up.

Arthritis??? Isn't that for old people? Oh... yeah... guess I am heading toward 50 at a rapid rate!

So they sent me to physical therapy, twice a week for a month. Today is the last treatment and then I go back to the doc next week. Sadly not seeing much progress in pain relief. I'm dreading the doc appointment because I expect to be told that there isn't much to be done, just learn to live with the chronic pain... again.

Battling chronic pain is not a pleasant task. It is exhausting and it can be discouraging. When life is on an “up” cycle, with health going fairly well all around, I forget exactly how exhausting chronic pain can be. Especially since I've done well for several years now.

But battle I will.

...may there be mercy and rest in the battle.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

Yep, singing because it was such a great time in St. Louis with my amazing friends. We laughed and ate our way around.

Notice I did not mention sleep. Mostly because we didn't do much of it!

Too tired for stories tonight. Will give my 3BT for today and go to a very early bedtime.

1. The look in the eyes of a newlywed couple on my flight home.
2. The gravelly sound of the retired cop's voice as we talked on the shuttle.
3. The welcome home hug from my sweet husband.

...may there be mercy and rest tonight that refreshes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

rock 'n' roll!!!

I've spent the day doing a bit of pampering myself with manicure, pedicure and hair appointments. Feeling pretty good on the spiffy-o-meter.

Now I'm packed and ready to relax with a good night's sleep before I head to St. Louis in the morning. At least I'm supposed to sleep... I'm too excited at this point! Getting to see so many of my friends, in person, at the same time is amazing. The anticipation has been huge. The fun and laughter will most likely be non-stop.

But I need to sleep tonight!

So I'll mention my 3BT for today and go try to bring myself down from the rafters.

1. The joy in my sweet father-in-law's voice when I asked him for a breakfast date for tomorrow, followed by a ride to our airport shuttle. When he feels needed, it's a lovely thing.
2. Red, orange and gold leaves. The colors just popped out at me today and took my breath.
3. Watching an autistic man in his determination to do a good job where he works.

I'm off... in rock 'n' roll mode... and going to bring myself down... until morning!

...may there be mercy as we all travel... and fun!

Monday, October 08, 2007

time for me

In case I haven't mentioned it lately...

... as of 5 p.m. today I am on vacation!!!

Looking forward to a couple days of relaxing and pampering myself followed by that very fun trip to St. Louis to see all my lovely friends.

...may there be mercy and refreshment in time off... and a bunch of fun!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I'm thinkin' this Three Beautiful Things (3BT) may become a frequent "filler" post when I have nothing else to say. It's a good concept.

3BT for today:

1. the smell of coffee.
2. the warmth of the water in my shower.
3. that first yummy taste of boneless pork chops browned quickly, then braised in wine, garlic, onion and rosemary.

Add a couple more that are more of a "big ticket item" than a moment of beauty:

1. Coffee and conversation with my dear friend and almost sister, Kim at our favorite independent coffee shop.
2. A lunch date with my sweet husband, with great ongoing conversations all day... I miss him with his current work schedule being the opposite of mine.

Cool... I've got bigger day than the 3 today!

Okay, if you're up to it, play along with me... what are your 3BT for today? Remember it's about the moments... not necessarily the big stuff!

...may there be mercy as we see the beautiful things given us this day.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Recently someone gave me a link to a blogger whose entire purpose for the blog is to list three beautiful things that she noticed that day.

It's not quite a gratitude journal, but a noticing of those moments in a day that make your heart smile... those moments that make you laugh... or those really simple little moments that just give you a bit of pleasure in an otherwise mundane day.

My online buddies and I decided that Thursdays would be our 3 beautiful things (3BT) day. Each week on Thursday, during the course of our normal postings to one another, we will include the 3 beautiful things from our day.

Yesterday I was in a ton of pain, so it was kind of hard to play the 3BT game with them. (I've done something to my neck, causing lots of pain and a month's worth of physical therapy... and a diagnosis of probable arthritis already. Ugh! I'm only 47!!!) But I was determined to see those 3BT's and was pleased that I could.

Some days it's so easy to see them. The 3BT turns into an entire day's worth. Yesterday wasn't one of those days! But I did find those moments and thought I'd share them here... because sometimes it's just important to share the simple moments with friends.

Thursday’s 3BT:

1.A moment of sunshine in a very black cloudy day... and the sunshine was warm on my back while I worked at my desk.
2.The sound of excitement in a friend's voice when she heard that I get to meet up with my friends in St. Louis next week.
3.That moment of a first time discovery when I actually figured out what feeling full and not overstuffed was like... way cool.

That third item is a big, big moment for me since I've never been able to figure out the feeling full mechanism in my tummy. I'm taking a class right now on stress/emotional eating issues. One of the things I've figured out about myself is that I actually trained my tummy to never feel full. I did it early in life when I never gained weight and it didn't matter.

But now it matters that I learn how to feel comfortably full. Somehow I managed to work the Weight Watcher's program, lose 50 pounds and never learn the feeling full thing.

Yesterday's moment was one of a great discovery for me!

So today, I'm going to continue watching for my 3BT and see what happens. Sometimes they are big ticket items... sometimes little moments. No matter, they improve my attitude and my spirit.

...may there be mercy as we notice those moments of beauty given to us.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

more life

Not so crabby, but oh so busy!

Taking a class and also joined a new small group. Between them it will keep my evenings a bit on the busy side.

Being very thankful right now that I'm taking extra days off next week before I travel. So I've only got 3 working days until I am on vacation. Yay!

Can hardly wait for a day to sleep in... and a little time to quilt... and to travel to see my friends!

I've got a great story to tell here, but too tired to write it out right now. Soon. Needing sleep!

...may there be mercy and restful slumber tonight.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


too much stress... not enough fun... tired and crabby girl.

Work tomorrow. Ugh, but only because I'm simply not rested enough!

Wishing for more time off now, but waiting for the next trip... soon! Gosh but I'm excited to see my friends.

Did something weird to my neck a couple weeks ago and can't get it to stop hurting. Tired of pain at this point... and yet it isn't really something serious. Just frustrating.

But for now, sleep awaits.

...may there be mercy and rest.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

beginning anticipation

Yesterday I drove 2 hours to have lunch with a couple friends. I do this several times a year. It's the halfway point between the most northerly person (me) and the most southerly person (Q). Some folks I know think I'm nuts to drive that far just for lunch... but these people are sooo worth the drive.

It's interesting how online friendships go. I've been a part of online groups that have failed... spectacularly. Having been part of a successful online group for several years now, I'm still finding that my friends and family are not completely understanding how cool this particular group is... and how unusual it is in that we have not had a major implosion.

Yes, there have been some folks who have joined us and some who have left us. Those who have left us have done so for a variety of reasons, but we haven't had a major fight break out as a reason to leave. Those who have joined us have done so because their observations lead them to want to be a part of this very special group.

The group is diverse as to geographic location, marital status, beliefs, having small kids or grown kids or no kids, religious point of view, politics and everything else. We don't always agree. We simply allow one another to be who we are.

Yes, there are times when each of us does something to bug the snot out of the others. And then there are moments where the outpouring of love and care is so tangible that it moves me to tears.

Some of these folks I've met in person. Some I've been corresponding with for over 3 years and am so anxious to meet.

Which will happen in 5 weeks!

We set a date and a place near the middle of the country to make it easiest for the most people to make it. Looks like about 15 of our group will be converging that weekend... how cool! And a week ago we booked my flight. I'm so excited to see these people!

For me, seeing some of them will be that first time squealy huggy... oh my gosh I can't believe I'm finally meeting you!... kind of meeting.

Some of them will be that long hug which says I've soooo missed seeing you in the last 1 (or 2) years!

Doesn't matter that we talk on the phone or write daily... in 5 weeks I get to see faces and get hugs.

So very way cool!

...may there be mercy in our anticipation of this fun!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

back in the saddle

Started doing ding dang exercise once again... at 5 a.m. UGH!!!

...may there be mercy and perseverance in the early hours.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Apparently we dropped through the cracks. At least that is what the DSL people are telling us. But they only got us back online because I stopped into their local store and raised ho-ly-hellllll with them for the amount of time that we have been off line.

I did it in a very nice way, and very quietly so the other customers in the store didn't have a real clue what was happening. But ho-ly-helllll was raised and it looks like that was what it took to get things fixed.


Now we have to get the air conditioning fixed on the truck because that went out 3 days ago and no matter what setting we put it on, it blows massive hot air at us.

Oh well. I'm just glad to have soe progress being made.

Gotta check out what's been happening with all my normal stuff now. Will write a real blog soon.

...may there be mercy and a very cheap fix for the truck!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

from the coffee shop

Still having internet issues. Will take until the 24th... if all goes very well... before it works at home again.

So I'm posting from the little coffee shop near my work. Thankful for free wi-fi!

...may there be mercy and contentment as we wait.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I love when Mama calls me. Her voice just does wonders for my spirit... most of the time! This morning was not one of those times, and yet, at the same time, it was. I've spent the rest of the morning in an emotional state... close to tears and overflowing with tears and trying to express my gratitude the entire time.

Let's start with the part that my sister is okay. That's the most important part anyway. And the reason for the gratitude.

Last night, my sister spent the evening with a friend. They played games and talked and fairly early, she headed for home. She parks in her normal area, a couple houses away from hers. She walks from her truck toward her house. A guy is walking down the street the other way.

My sister is an alert female, needs to be living in the big city, and is aware of the guy... but it's already too late. The guy pulls a ski mask over his face, a gun out of his pocket and grabs my sweet sister.

He puts the gun to her throat and demands her truck keys. She complies immediately, thinking, "this is it. I'm gonna die and this is going to hurt."

She is terrified, rightfully so.

The guy grabs her keys, pushes her away from him and says, "run!"

She runs... and hopes that he won't shoot her in the back.

Thank God that he doesn't! He jumps into her truck and races off. My sister collapses on the ground, pulling out her cell phone. Amazing that she still has it. She calls the police. She calls her friend. Both arrive within minutes.

The police are able to track her truck since she has that Lo-Jack system in it. They have helicopters with lights shining onto the truck within a few minutes. She says it was like being in a movie. They have her truck stopped and the man arrested within 15 minutes!

The truck is returned to my sister immediately. (wow!) She is requested to head down to the police station to pick the guy out of a lineup. She does... and can pick him out immediately since she had seen his face prior to him pulling the ski mask over it.

And there is another guy there. One who was not quite as protected as my sister. This man had been attacked by the same guy a couple hours earlier. The guy had made this man lie face-down on the ground while he pistol-whipped him. The man is okay, he has a massive headache today, but he is okay. He also picked the guy out of the lineup immediately.

The police have informed my sister that she is miraculously lucky. The guy was so high on drugs that it was amazing that he did not accidentally pull the trigger on that gun when he had it to her throat.

I've talked with my sweet sister this morning. Hearing her voice made me cry, which is okay. She's still very afraid and it will take time for her to be okay emotionally.

I'm just so grateful that she is okay and will later be okay on the emotional level.

...may there be mercy and comfort for my sister.

...there has been mercy for me and I am in awe.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

internet woes

So... I'm sitting in my truck, typing madly trying to check email and also check on y'all.

Why am I sitting in my truck to do this???

Oh... yeah... internet issues at home. DSL line is too old for the new modem we needed. Will take up to 10 days to get switched over. Cable lines are too old and still have filters on them to prevent us from "stealing" their worthless HBO channel. These filters also blok us being able to use the cable internet that we signed up to get. So that will take a service call to fix - which is also a several days wait.


Thankfully my church has a coffee shop with FREE wi-fi. So... if the church has a coffee shop with free wi-fi, why am I sitting in my truck typing? Why don't I go inside and have a nice cuppa, sitting at a nice table doing this?

Sadly, for 2 days now the gal hasn't shown up to make the coffffffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.... yikes!

Hope she's okay!

At least I can check on y'all and get email from just outside the door of the church, eh?

...may there be mercy and peace with what we have.

Monday, July 30, 2007

under consideration

Church yesterday was interesting. Our pastor is challenging us to consider starting our own ministry. Not a church or even necessarily a big thing... just to find something that interests you and where God can work through you.

Some of the things he mentioned were to:

Start with praying about what that thing might be.

Don't get ahead of God in what or how he wants to do this.

Talk with others to get feedback on your idea.

Organize and plan.

Consider the cost of what you are wanting to do... not just the money, even though that is important. But also the time and energy needed to continue the ministry.

So as our pastor is talking yesterday, all I can think is how to bring my quilting into ministry. I know that it's possible to do... there is a great ministry out there already called Prayers and Squares.

Ministry for me would be to start a Prayers and Squares Chapter at my church... if God and I can come to terms with a few things like time and money!

...may there be mercy as I prayerfully consider how to minister.

Friday, July 27, 2007

all better!

Seems like that nasty staph infection in my leg is all gone, so yay!

Freaky MVP episodes will do what they will do... so "whatever!"

I'm feeling pretty darn good after a couple nights of solid and wonderful sleep.

Going to spend the weekend with my sweet husband and just enjoy feeling good.

...may there be mercy and enjoyment in each other.

Monday, July 23, 2007

freaky things

Some days I wonder about this crazy body of mine. It works just well enough to keep me going, but does freaky things periodically. As evidenced by my last few blogs about health issues, now is apparently one of those times.

While my leg has been healing from the staph infection, my doc told me that I had to go back if I was not 100% today. Having residual redness and a little tenderness this morning, that equates not being 100%. Went back and the doc says that while the "blush" color may take a little time to go away, the tenderness requires a few more days of antibiotics. Easy treatment, so that's good.

While I was there, we had a good discussion about all my heart testing and results. My test results show that my heart is doing well. The mitral valve is apparently acting up a little bit, so we'll watch that. It is not even close to a stage requiring surgery... and I really don't want to take medications yet, so he agreed with me to let it be a watch and wait time.

Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) can sometimes cycle into play and cycle right back out again. That has happened before, although never before to the level of symptoms as in this go round.

...may there be mercy and this cycle settle back down quickly!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

what's your bra size?

So... I'm guessing you are already wondering why I am asking the bra size question. We'll get to it shortly!

Yesterday I did the first portion of the Sestamibi test. And yes, the exercise portion actually DOES get a person to the seventh level of hell where they inect said person with glow-in-the-dark juice and then make same said person continue exercising for a full minute.

It was not fun and if you know me, you know that I really, really like the fun part and really, really hate the exercise part.

The funniest part of the entire day was walking into the treadmill test room and having the tech ask me my bra size. Yep, they gotta know bra size in order to know how much density the camera has to read before getting to the heart... so I told her it was a negative A and that my bra fits better when worn backward. She cracked up.

The technology for the pictures of the heart is pretty cool. Too bad I couldn't see anything since the screen was directly above my head.

Today I went back for the resting portion of the pictures. Don't eat for 4 hours, go have them inject more glow-in-the-dark juice (this time in the other arm so I now have a matching set of bruises), now I am instructed not only to eat, but to eat fatty food. Okay this part cracked me up royally. Doctor's orders to go eat a hamburger and fries or candy bar or ice cream. Right on!! Can I get this doctor for my regular doc?? Oh... that's why I had to lose 50 pounds before. Never mind. Anyway, apparently the fat makes the glow-in-the-dark juice go to the correct places in the body and avoid others. Interesting stuff.

Don't know anything yet because these guys had really good poker faces. Guess I'll have to wait until next Wednesday for my results.

While I am waiting for those results, I continue to keep my leg propped up everywhere I go. The staph infection is healing, but slowly. It's a pain in the backside to keep it propped up at work, (went back to work yesterday afternoon) but there are folks who are willing to be Step-n-Fetchit for me. And it makes my boss happy that I am there, so that's a good thing.

Now to have this dang thig healed up completely would be way cool.

My doctor put the fear of all things into me when he diagnosed this infection. He actually told me that if things go bad, they will be exceedingly bad. The "least" bad thing is that I could lose my leg. The worst bad thing is that I could end up like my precious big brother and have septicimia and/or endocarditis. The thought of any of those things is truly keeping me on the straight and narrow where this is concerned.

In all of this keeping my leg elevated and not being able to run around like I want to do, I have to admit being grateful for several people.

My co-worker who keeps coming by to see if I need anything picked up and brought to me or delivered to anyone in the office.

My dear friends who have been sending cards and making calls to keep me cheerful.

My lovely father-in-law who runs errands for me.

My sweet husband who has been waiting on me at home.

...may there be mercy for healing and blessings on those who have given me the gift of the sacrifice of service.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

healing takes time

Well... there is definite progress on the healing so far. The 2 spots on my leg have shown significant reduction in size, which tells me that this process of antibiotics and elevation are working.

Of course I want it to work instantaneously!

And I was told early this morning that the sestamibi stress test is still on after all.

So I'm sitting here with no caffeine in my system... no chocolate to comfort me... leg elevated... trying to type on a laptop... backspacing like crazy because of the typos... and wishing the exercise part was done.

Since there is some pain in this leg, I'm really not looking forward to the exercise part tomorrow.

Oh well. Must be done, so it will be.

...may there be mercy and some answers in the next few days.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Sestamibi test gets put on hold while I heal up from a staph infection in my leg. UGH!!!

Currently stuck on the sofa with my leg elevated for the next several days. Big gun antibiotics on board.

Boredom factors likely to be very high, very soon.

...may there be mercy and quick healing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

testing... testing...

Yep, just like I thought, more testing next week. Will be doing a 2-day Exercise Sestamibi test on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

When I called to talk to the Nuclear Medicine folk, they were impressed at how well I could pronounce that Ses-tah-mee-bee word. :-) They were also fun to chat with and calmed my concerns about potential allergic reactions to the dye they will use on me. Having had normal IV contrast dye almost kill me, understandably it is of concern! Thankfully this has no iodine in it and apparently is not an allergy issue.

From what I have been told...

... I get injected with some freaky radioactive dye... eeeuuuuwwwwwww, it's glow in the dark time!!!

... they exercise the living heck out of me... ugh! I truly despise exercise!

... they don't let me eat first... ugh!! I get crabby when I don't get my breakfast!

... they do NOT allow me my coffee or tea or any kind of caffeine for a minimum of 24 hours prior to the test... not even a smidge of chocolate to comfort me in my time of need... YIKES!!! Cruel and unusual punishment!!!

All kidding aside, the reality is that the hardest part for me will be the lack of caffeine. Anticipating a big headache, which is typical for me any time I miss my morning coffee.

Test is fairly straightforward and simple. Show up in non-caffeinated mode, wearing comfy clothing and sneakers, get an IV started, take pictures of the heart, make me do a boatload of ding-dang exercise which I hate, continue that ding-dang exercise until I drop, add more weird stuff into the IV and make me exercise for yet an additional one minute even though I will be past the 7th level of hell by then, stop suddenly without a cool down period and take more pictures of the heart.

After all that, they send me on my merry way (hahahahaha! who's gonna be merry at this point?!) and off I go to work. Feel sorry for my coworkers. Feel very, very sorry for them because I don't think I get to have my coffee at this point... I don't think I get my coffee until after I go back on Thursday. Yep, feel very, very sorry for my coworkers. But at this point I can eat. Thank God for small favors, eh?

Thursday I'll go back and they will take another series of pictures of the heart. Results a week later.

So... are we having fun yet???

...may there be mercy and the crabbies be held at bay.

Friday, July 06, 2007

zero to 165 in no time

Guess I should start with the "I'm okay" part first.

I am okay!!

I've been debating for a few weeks (while feeling really crappy most of that time) whether to write about health issues yet again. The debate continues in my mind, but I've decided to go ahead and write about what's been happening... mostly because this is the easiest way to express my feelings while also updating those who read my blog and pray for me.

So... health... um, yeah.. that thing.

Over the last year, I've been ignoring some symptoms that I probably should not have ignored. But when a person has had chronic illness, she gets tired of doctors blowing her off and attributing symptoms to stress or being mid-40's or whatever because they are busy and don't want to take the time to figure out what is going on.

Oh. The symptoms... pounding and racing heartbeat, pressure in the chest, sometimes accompanied by chest pain, always accompanied by shortness of breath, sometimes ache and/or pain down the arms, sometimes dizziness... yes, I know, all classic symptoms of a heart attack.

Don't ask why I waited so long to get it checked out. I just did. Not one of my best moves, but there it is.

Since the symptoms were becoming more frequent... and more intense... I finally said something to my doctor when I went for my physical in June. Believe me, it got his attention!

He set me up with the Arrythmia Clinic here in town, and a handy little device called a Heart Card which is extremely cool technology.

A patient experiencing "cardiac events" will carry this Heart Card for up to one month. It's the size of a credit card. Carried in your pocket or purse. When I get these events, I place the Heart Card against my skin in the center of my chest and push the "record" button.

BEEP... BEEP... BEEEP... BEEEEEEP... yep, it was kinda loud for the 30 seconds that it recorded. And yes, it was a little, tiny EKG machine that I carried in my pocket. Cool technology!

The Heart Card holds up to 3 event recordings. When you've got a couple, then you call into the Arrythmia Clinic... they push a few buttons to connect the phone with their computer... and I push the "send" button on the Heart Card while holding the phone to the card.

Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep!!! right back into their computer, where they can tell me immediately what's been happening. Waaaaaay cool technology!

The upshot is that I carryed that Heart Card around for about 18 days and got some good recordings... which show that I've got some atrial tachycardia going on. (and that there is a heart in there... I am not the heartless wretch that some might believe!)

From what I've been able to research about atrial tachycardia, that means that from what should be a simple resting heart rate of 60-80 beats per minute, the heart rate shoots up for no good reason... up above 100... and mine shoots up frequently into the range of 145-170 beats per minute. Usually when doing something very simple like putting on my makeup before work... which is not a stressful thing to do!

The events are not horrible, but they are unpleasant and leave me fatigued or exhausted, depending on how high my heart rate goes.

What does all this mean for me?

The obvious is that this means we have to find out what is causing these atrial tachycardia events. In the research I've done so far, one of the major culprits is Mitral Valve Prolapse. (MVP - normally a fairly benign condition that many folk have... the mitral valve in the heart is not functioning exactly as it should, but usually does not cause problems ever)

Yep, we've known for many years that I have MVP. When it was diagnosed years ago, they told me that I could either act like a cardiac patient or I could treat it like a nuisance and get on with enjoying life. I decided to go with the nuisance option. Cut back on caffeine, take antibiotics prior to dental appointments, and get on with enjoying my life.

If the mitral valve is the source of the atrial tachycardia, then it needs to be managed. What I've found so far is that there are about 4 treatment options.

1. Medication
2. Mitral valve repair
3. Mitral valve replacement
4. Pacemaker

Since I've only just turned in the Heart Card yesterday, and my follow up doctor appointment is set for next Wednesday, I don't know what the actual cause is. But I do suspect the mitral valve as the obvious culprit.

There are several potential next steps in determining the cause of the atrial tachycardia. Most likely scenario is an Echocardiogram... an ultrasound of the heart. Had one of those years ago. It was cool to watch my own heart beating on the TV screen in the exam room.

At this point, we wait until Wednesday to find out what the next step will be. I get these events too frequently for them to be ignored completely.

All medical jargon and clinical attitude aside, while I am concerned about my heart... I am not afraid right now. I think that it's because I'm not looking very far into the future and scaring myself with the "what if's".

Mostly because I'm leaning heavily on my Heavenly Father for today's needs only and not looking with fear at tomorrow's unknown.

I've been told by medical professionals that these events are not heart attacks and I trust their knowledge.

I've been told by my Heavenly Father that I can lean on him today and trust him for tomorrow's needs.

I like that plan.

...may there be mercy and peace as we wait.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

still alive

lots happening here... back soon.

...may there be mercy on our days.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

travel notes

This is gonna be a long one, but if I don't do it now, it may never get done!

Taking a vacation like this one is very cool. Knowing that we were going to be doing things that each of us enjoy, together. Planning the time while leaving room for spontaneity.

Now that we are home, it's hard to put it all into words and describe our fun. But you know I'll try!

Day 1: Long drive! Left home at 7 a.m., heading south to Medford, Oregon. Enjoyed a quick stop in Portland for a fast lunch with a friend who lives there. Nice of her to buy lunch! Back on the road a few more hours, arriving in Medford to find that the hotel has put us in their very last room... a smoking room... and my sweet husband is allergic to smoke. UGH! After a lengthy discussion with the desk clerk, who can't and/or won't do anything for us except call the sister hotel to see if they have a room. They do, but it's $50 more. No, nobody will comp the difference. After asking the clerk if there is a manager available, we find there isn't one on-site at the moment, but she will call the manager at home. Manager gets on the phone and tells me it's all our fault that the room reserved is a smoking room. We must have done it. Oh... the travel agent must have done it. Oh... that's all they had left when we had our room booked because the hotel's bookings had been filled up for weeks. Oh... whatever! She just wanted to find someone to blame and make me go away, without fixing the problem or making things right for us.

The reality is that the person who walked in the door ahead of us asked the clerk, “do you have any rooms for tonight?” and was given a room immediately. So it wasn't booked up weeks in advance as we were told by the manager.

We had written confirmation in hand that showed a non-smoking room. Our travel agent knows about the smoke allergy, so she would not have booked a smoking room.

The manager at this point said she would come down to the hotel to see what we had, if we would wait. She was only 5 minutes away.

Lousy manager never showed up. She called the clerk about 5 minutes later and told her to give us a room with a story of a “phone hold expired” making the room available right that minute. Yeah, right. Whatever the story, we finally were given a non-smoking room so we could get some sleep.

It was not a pleasant process to get a room... but we were not going to let that spoil our trip.

We will, however, be contacting the hotel's corporate office to complain. Their motto is 100% satisfaction, guaranteed. Sorry, not satisfied at all.

Day 2: Another long drive, Medford to Sacramento. Up early and on the road, trying to find radio stations along the way and laughing at some of them. (Bob-FM cracked me up for some silly reason and we've giggled about it since.)

Got to our hotel a bit early for check in, but were given a very nice room anyway. Unpacked a little, grabbed cameras and headed down to the railway museum to see the fun. The walk along the Sacramento river was really nice. About a mile, which gave us a good stretch after so much sitting in the car. As we walk up to the museum, we can hear jazz bands playing... sweet!

We can also hear the sound of a steam train... cool!

And we are in time for the last ride of the day on that steam train... excellent!

While waiting for the train, we got to talking with some of the volunteers who run it. What a bunch of great characters they are!

Train ride was fun, little jazz band on the train playing for all they were worth and getting everyone to sing along. Very fun stuff.

After the ride, we wandered around Old Sacramento to find some dinner and then wandered back to the hotel to plan the next day.

Day 3: California State Railway Museum ( What an amazing place! Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and of course, my man spent the entire time there! The museum begins with a 20 minute movie about the history of trains, a 20 minute tour (with a guy that reminded me of Jimmy Durante!) and then you wander the exhibits. Superb stuff. The exhibits include several train engines that can't be found anywhere else now. My sweetie was like a 5 year old who had just gotten a great visit from Santa.

I had fun watching him... and then watching the jazz band playing inside the museum. They had a couple of 65 – 70 year old ladies, dressed up in flapper costumes, dancing around the big place and having a grand ol' time!

After about 3 hours, I went into train overload. We took a break for lunch together, grabbing sandwiches and eating picnic-style along the river. Then it was back to the museum for him and wander around Old Sacramento for me. It was fun to dink through the shops, talk with people, watch the Mounted Police and their horses “dancing” to the jazz bands as they wandered the streets, enjoy a wine tasting, buy the obligatory salt water taffy that every tourist area has and eventually wander back to the museum to finish the day.

The museum staff certainly know their trains... and are a blast when chatting!

That mile back to the hotel was a bit harder after all the walking we'd already done this day!

Day 4: Wine country. Heading up US 101 into Healdsburg (don't ask why I read this as Heraldsburg before the trip, but that 1st “r” really isn't there!). ( It was another pleasant drive into some lovely countryside. Vineyards everywhere you look.

After an early check in at our hotel, we took the advise of the desk clerk and caught their shuttle to the town plaza. Good thing we did! Thankfully we are very careful about drinking and driving anyway, but by the time we were ready to head back to the hotel, we really needed that shuttle!

Driver was cool, gave us a brief rundown of the available tasting rooms and shops and let us loose to wander. His first recommend was La Crema Winery. (

Oh... my... yummmm!

Starting there at La Crema's tasting room was a great introduction to the area!

We enjoyed both the beautiful tasting room and the wine! Chatting with Toby as she led us through the day's tasting was cool. She's into trains and history, in addition to wine... which makes her a fun person for us! Favorite wine: The Los Carneros Pinot Noir. It was fabulous. One that I could have just smelled the aromas all day long, so good... and the flavor to back it up!

After we'd determined what wines we wanted to purchase there, Toby recommended that we head next to Selby Winery. (!

Susie Selby definitely figured out how to do wine and do it well. She also has a great staff member in Jen, who was our tasting hostess. (wish I knew what her official title is, whatever it is, she's a great person for the job!)

Jen welcomed us as if we were long lost friends, included us in conversation when local folk came in to buy wine and just made us feel like we belonged in the community. Wow!

Selby winery had about 9 wines on their tasting list for the day. All of them were good, but there were a couple absolute standouts. Favorite wine at Selby: Old Vines Zinfandel. Another that I could sit and smell all day with great aromas, but also that great flavor to back it up!

One of the cool things here at Selby was the number of friends who popped in to talk with Susie and Jen. Each one got a hug or a kiss and we got introduced. Shawn, who had started his brand new catering business that day, gave us our dinner tip of the day.

While we were at both La Crema and at Selby's, everyone kept inviting us to the Tuesday Concert in the Plaza. A free community concert from 6 – 8... cool! The locals bring picnic and wine, passing food and beverages to one another in a real community setting. Lots of laughing, talking, enjoying food and friends. Kids dancing in front of the band. It was awesome!

We caught part of the concert from the Bear Republic Brewing Company, where we had dinner. Yep, beer with dinner in wine country. I know, too funny! ( But they have really good beers and really good food!

After dinner, we wandered a bit more around the plaza, listening to the music and just enjoying. Finally, we had to call Bobby, the shuttle guy to come get us. Like I said before, Bobby was a great idea because we would not have wanted to drive at this point!

Day 5: Wine country, part 2. There is a little tasting room I found online called Locals Tasting Room. ( The concept is that you try several different wineries versions of the same kind of wine, in a side-by-side taste test. There are so many to try there, that if I had tried everything it would have put me in the hospital! But I did enjoy trying the “flights” of Sauvignon Blanc, Rose', a single Sangiovese and of course, Zinfandel. While we were at Locals, visiting with the owner, Carolyn, one of the local winemakers came in to deliver wine. Joe Ramazzotti is a great guy! Just as friendly as could be, introduced himself and chatted a bit with us. It was very cool that his wines were the ones I liked best. When we open the bottle of his Zinfandel, we will remember his great personality and happy spirit. Favorite wine at Locals: Ramazzotti Zin-Giovese Rose

This is also the “experience” day... with a planned visit to Francis Ford Coppola's Rosso & Bianco Winery. ( While the website still says it is unnamed, we were told they named it Rosso & Bianco just a few days ago.

Okay, this place is exactly what one thinks of when envisioning a winery. Glorious vineyards surrounding an old-world style series of buildings. Sweeping staircase up to the tasting room and cafe. Yeah, the guy does movies, so he knows how to dress a winery, but hey... what else should he do??

A couple years ago, I discovered the Rosso wine from this winery and began telling friends about it. Already being sold on the Rosso as the so-called “table” wine, I've gotta say that it was very nice to find that the other wines were wonderful, too. Favorite wine at Coppola's: Director's Cut Zinfandel.

After we did wine tasting here at Coppola's, we decided to wander the grounds a bit with our cameras and then have lunch. That whole not drinking and driving thing still coming into play. Got some good pictures, and more importantly, had a really nice lunch with a great waitress names Lori.

The entire day here was simply lovely. Wine, food, experience, staff, view, everything.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was close to 3. We had decided that there were 2 more tasting rooms on our “really want to get there” list. So we called Bobby the shuttle guy who took us back into the plaza area.

Dropped us off at Toad Hollow. ( Toad Hollow is owned by Todd Williams, whose famous brother is Robin Williams. In chatting with the tasting hostess (dang it, never got her name!) she told us that their mother is an even bigger kick in the pants than Todd or Robin. Interesting growing up, I'm sure!

This one had great artwork and some interesting wines, but the staff was a bit on the standoffish side. Todd was there having fun with clients when we walked in, spoke to us briefly, but he left to run errands shortly after we got there. I suspect this one would have been a lot more fun if he had still been on-site... or maybe the gal was just tired that day. She was pleasant enough, but not even close to the caliber of friendly and fun that all of the other places staff had been. Favorite wine: Erik's the Red... a blend of almost everything red and probably a little of the kitchen sink thrown in for good measure! Complex tasting, but really nice.

Rosenblum Cellars was our final stop on the tasting tour. ( Now I know we can get a variety of Rosenblum wines locally, and everyone knows that “Rosenblum KNOWS Zinfandels”, but I suspected they had some things that one can only get there or online... and I was right!

My sweet husband really enjoys a nice dessert wine after a special meal. I try to keep some on hand... and usually the ones I have are from one of our fun trips. Great memories for us when we open a bottle!

Rosenblum has a dessert wine that is a chocolate infused zinfandel... and incredible! Wow, just wow! Yep, favorite wine at Rosenblum: Desiree Chocolate Dessert Wine.

Staff was indifferent, but that dessert wine certainly made up for them!

Of course anyone who knows me also knows that if I am in a new town, I will find the fabric store! Yep, there was a very cute little fabric store called Fabrications and yep, I did buy some fabric!

After all that wine, we went back to the Bear Republic for dinner. They were so good the day before and we wanted to try a different beer!

Day 6: Giant redwoods. How do you describe something this big around, this tall and this old???

We got up fairly early and just got on the road heading from Healdsburg to Eureka. A lot of windy roads, some down to just 2 lanes, but a beautiful drive.

Once we got our stuff into our hotel room, we grabbed cameras and backtracked a little to the Avenue of the Giants. ( Have to say that it's really hard to drive in this section because the trees are so incredible that you completely forget the road.

We spent a couple hours just driving from the Northern end of the Avenue, stopping to take some pictures in the glorious “golden hour” late afternoon, early evening light.

Day 7: Giant redwoods, part 2. See question in Day 6 about how one describes these amazing trees!!

Another early morning (wait, aren't vacations for sleeping in??) of grab the cameras and go. We began this day with a little wander through Ferndale, CA. Cute little town that a friend described recently as a Victorian Mayberry.

Ferndale is also home to the Itsy Bitsy Quilt Shop... and yes, I bought fabric there from the very nice lady who owned the shop!

Headed back down to the southern end of the Avenue of the Giants. We figured to have lunch in Garberville and then spend the rest of the day taking pictures of incredible trees.

Of course you know I found a fabric store in Garberville called In Stitches! And you also know I bought fabric. Well, for pity's sake, it was right across the street from the deli and she was having a sidewalk sale! How can I pass up a sale on fabric?

Fabric purchased, on we go to the southern end of the Avenue of the Giants. There, we just drove a bit, stopped to take pictures and wander around a bit, get back into the car and repeat. At one stop, a blue jay flew right up to me and landed at my feet. He hopped around a little bit, let me take a few pictures and then left. Pretty certain all he really wanted was to see if we had a handout for him.

Not being able to do justice to those magnificent trees and the forest and the area in general, I'm just going to post a couple pictures tomorrow and wish they could capture the reality of the place. I'm also going to encourage you to visit the area. You need to see it for yourself.

Day 8: Exceedingly long drive home. We made really good time, but it was a 12 hour drive... a little on the brutal side. Mostly we just wanted to be home and have a day to relax and recover before going to work tomorrow. We left Eureka at 8:30 a.m. and pulled into our driveway at 9:25 p.m. Only made minimal stops for bathroom breaks and filling the gas tank... lunch was all of 25 minutes and we “lingered” over dinner with 40 minutes.

Hitting the freeway in Portland at straight up 6 p.m., we were shocked to find ourselves home as early as we were. Normally it's a minimum 4 hour drive with good traffic...

Day 9: Today... we actually did get up and go to church. But that's about all we've done. Oh, we got the laundry all done, and have spent a bit of time looking at the pictures we took, but not much else. We've been resting up, reading, being lazy... as befits a last day of vacation, eh?

There are moments from this vacation that I will treasure and savor in my memory...

The staff of the Railway museum who were having so much fun showing off their place and enjoying their visitors.

Shawn, Jen and Toby in Healdsburg, who treated us like old friends and wanted us to enjoy their community as much as they do.

Being reminded again that quilters are the same everywhere, joyful and friendly and excited about what you might be making.

The silence of the forest.

The beauty.

The fun.

The joy at being away with my sweet husband.

...may there be mercy and refreshment as we return to work tomorrow.

home again

We made it home in one very long drive... and are pretty dang tired. In the next couple days will post a bit more about this wonderful trip. Too tired right now and gotta get to church!

...may there be mercy as we get back to our normal routine.

Friday, June 01, 2007

heading home

We've had an awesome time on this vacation. Tomorrow we get up early, early and head for home. It's about a 12 hour drive, so we are hoping we can push thought and make the drive in one day.

...may there be mercy and continued safety as we travel

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

on the road...

...having a ball...

...wish you were here...

...may there be coninued mercy as we travel and enjoy the time!

Friday, May 25, 2007

vacation eve

Yep... as of 5 p.m. today, we are officially on vacation! Yay! It's another in our series of "Days of Wine and Railways" vacations. Love it!

My sweet husband and I are heading out early tomorrow. We will have lunch with friends in Portland, and eventually get as far as Medford, Oregon, spend the night, get up early again and get to Sacramento, California by noon on Sunday. There is a railway museum in Sacramento that he has wanted to visit since before I met him... and we've been married almost 20 years.

I'm too tired to fuss with making the all kinds of pretty and perfect "links", so I'm going to give the actual URL's.

Museum link is:

Sacramento is also having a jazz festival over the long weekend. Little jazz bands playing all over the city. Cool!

Jazz Festival link is:

On Tuesday, we will head to the Napa Valley and enjoy wineries. There are lists and list and lists of wineries... it's kind of amazing and overwhelming. But... we are going to concentrate our tours in the Heraldsburg area. If you know me at all, ya gotta know I enjoy a good glass of wine! This part of the trip will be lots of fun for me because one of my favorite hobbies is simply trying different wines.

After spending a couple days in wine country, we will head up to see the giant redwoods. On the way, we will ride the Skunk Train. Yep, it's a real train.

Skunk Train link is:

Eventually, we will wind our way home sometime next weekend. We have a long drive ahead of us tomorrow, and sleep is just not coming. Hoping that I can relax enough to fall asleep soon... it's hard to do when I'm this excited!

...may there be mercy, safe travel, joy in one another and refreshment in our time away.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


My online Weight Watchers group has been holding a series of 5 week challenges. The challenge is not all about who can lose the most weight. Instead, it's totally about how you work your weight loss program, how you get yourself healthy... and how friends can motivate us to getting there.

We started this process in December with a month long conversation about getting our mojo back and getting back on track on January 1st. The conversations were eye-opening for each of us. We talked honestly about binge eating, stress eating, boredom eating, what will set us off into an eating frenzy, triggers, emotions involving food... just about any part of why we all got overweight and unhealthy in the first place.

At the beginning of the first challenge, I decided to be a cheerleader for the group instead of an active challenge participant. Being only 8 pounds over my goal weight, it didn't seem like such a big deal to get where I wanted... and I didn't want the competition factors to bug me.

So I tried to watch my portions and just manage getting back to my goal weight by myself... while watching and cheering my friends as they made great strides toward their goals. It was fun to make up cheers each week for them.

When that challenge ended, many of the participants had lost at least 10 pounds which was very cool. I had not made any real progress. Decidedly bad for me.

With a week off for the Challenge Mistress, a second challenge was offered. Realizing that I was actually in such horrible shape that I could not get to the top of the stairs at work without being so out of breath that I had to rest, I knew I had to do something. Especially since there is no alternate to getting upstairs at work! We have no elevator, our break room is up there and we store closed files up there. I'm up there several times a day, so this was getting to be kinda scary for me.

Swallowing my pride, I emailed the Challenge Mistress to ask for help on an exercise program. I'd come up with an idea of one, but needed help to know if it was enough exercise to get me into shape. Surprisingly, she actually took away some of the stuff I had put in so I didn't get overwhelmed at the outset. She also tweaked the program I'd come up with so that I would not get bored. I hate exercise! I always have.

Bummer for me! That's the only way I'm gonna get in shape and be able to do anything now. Ugh!

So I get myself back on track with my Weight Watchers program and start exercising. I'm doing pretty well... over the first couple weeks a couple pounds come off... and then, my big brother's situation happens.

After a week with that level of stress, I knew I could not keep up the pace of anything extra and keep my sanity. It was enough to get through work each day. I quietly bowed out of the challenge and spent much time praying for my big brother.

Fast forward a few weeks, he second challenge is over and big brother is doing better... finally! At this point, I'm wishing for another challenge to start, but know that the Challenge Mistress has got to be tired of doing this for us. I am amazed when she agrees to do a third challenge... and determine that nothing will stop me from participating. The challenge will run from April 9th to May 13th... today.

Yep, I've been participating the entire time. The timing was interesting because tomorrow is my birthday and we are going on vacation in another couple weeks. I admit that I am vain enough to have wanted to get myself into shape mostly so I could look good for both birthday and vacation.

But, at the same time, today I've got to admit to having learned some interesting things during this challenge.

I learned that I truly do hate exercise! Yep, I do. But... like cleaning the toilets, some things that we hate doing just have to be done. So I've been getting up at 5 a.m. almost every day to do exercise before work. Knowing how tired I always am when I get home, I knew if I didn't do it early, I wouldn't do it at all. Some mornings have been terribly difficult to get out of bed and it was all I could do to not re-set my alarm for more sleep.

I learned that this ding-dang exercise thing actually works. Yep, go ahead and laugh. It was a lesson I needed to learn since when I lost the 50 pounds the first time I didn't do any exercise. Just did it with managing food and portions and working the entire Weight Watchers Program except the exercise part. It also works in that I've lost inches in interesting places! In the last 5 weeks, I've lost 1 inch in the bust (bummer that, but oh well!), 2 inches in my waistline, 1.5 inches in my hips and 1 inch in my thighs. Now that's very cool stuff!

This ding-dang exercise thing (the DDE) has gotten me to the point of being able to fly up the stairs at work without pausing for breath. I have a ton more energy. I feel so much better. It seems my immune system is also responding because I didn't even get a cold this year when everyone at work has been practically coughing up their lungs onto their desks!

I've also enjoyed the fact that the DDE has helped me with my posture. I've always had terrible posture... but since my abs are getting tighter and my back is getting stronger, I've noticed that I'm not sitting all hunched over all the time. Now I notice when I do and straighten up because I've discovered it's actually more comfortable.

Another lesson in all this is that my friends are truly amazing people. I've known that for ages, but they reinforced my understanding of how supportive they are during this challenge. Their celebration with me the day I announced that I could climb the stairs at work without getting out of breath was awesome! They celebrate the pounds lost, the victories of not eating certain foods that are triggers, the days when I can fit into clothing that I'd given up on ever being able to wear again, the normal day-to-day stuff of learning to live with food issues... they encourage me and I am so grateful to each of them.

The weird thing I learned about myself is the fact of how competitive I am. Wow... I didn't realize that would be such a motivator in this process! In all of this, I've worked the challenge hard and managed to stay at the head of the pack. Right now, as of Monday which was the last time the Challenge Mistress posted results, I am 2 points ahead of the next challenger. She's keeping me on my toes and working hard all this week to stay ahead of her. It will be interesting when our Challenge Mistress posts the final results to see if I managed to keep my very slim lead.

Today is the end of this challenge. My scale shows me at 3 pounds UNDER my goal weight and I'm thrilled. I have to admit that I've enjoyed being a participant in spite of the DDE portion. I'm going to have to keep my routine now, and get up early several times a week to do the DDE. I do not want to lose the far healthier feeling I have going on. It really is wonderful to feel good.

...may there be mercy and blessing on Challenge Mistresses and encouraging friends.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Well Gang... apparently in honor of the day, it being National Nurses Day and all... I have managed to need to see a lovely nurse named Amber at our local doc-in-a-box. No idea the name of the nice doctor I just saw, but the nurse was very cool.

Probably because she called me a trooper. ;-p

Also probably because she was soooo gentle with me when cleaning off all that blood... and while telling me that I won't be sewing or quilting for a week or two. I think she knew that would be the more painful part!

Oh... ya wanna know what stupid thing I did?

Managed to cut off the side/end of my finger (including a chunk out of the side of the nail bed) with my rotary cutter while cutting a piece of batting for the purple quilt that I am making for a friend to take to chemo treatments.

Ding-dang-dumb thing to do. I always check one extra time before cutting to ensure that I do NOT do this... but got in a hurry.

Just really glad I reacted so quickly and did not get blood on the fabric.

...may there be mercy and a fast healing so quilting can be resumed!

Monday, April 16, 2007

chasing trains, making friends

So... yesterday... what fun! The first steam train to chase of the season. The train to be chased... the Royal Hudson.

We had no one ahead of us at the border crossing. Of course it was 8 a.m. on Sunday, so nobody else was crazy enough to be traveling that early.

The Border Patrol Agent was funny. When he asked us what our business was in Canada, I told him we were going to see the train in White Rock. His droll reply was, "don't they have trains in the US?" We laughed with him.

Got into White Rock, drove along the beach to see where we'd like to set up for our picture taking. Had a very big breakfast because we didn't know when lunch might be... or if we'd get a lunch with the crowds and trying to get all the pix of the train we could... and we also knew we'd do a lot of walking to burn off extra calories!

Drove back down to the beach and were trying to figure out the pay to park system. A lovely couple who lived just up the hill from the beach were walking their dog and told us where to find a local park that allowed people to park there for only $2 for the day... instead of $2 per hour and a 4 hour maximum stay!

But they warned us that it was a bit of a walk and going back would be all uphill. For that price to park, we decided it was worth it.

Yep, straight up the cliff going back. Literally 120 steps up the stairs... and then half mile through the park, mostly up a fairly steep incline. All after walking the 5 miles on the beach. LOLOL!

All I could think was that it sure met and exceeded my activity and exercise plan for the day.

Oh... just got y'all to the beach with us and now I've got to go to work. Will have to continue the really fun part tonight after I get home.

(insert a long workday here!)

So... lessee... I got y'all down to the beach with us, right? Do you have your jackets on because it's co-old down here on the beach right now! ;-)

We're wandering around the beach, talking and laughing together... just figuring out the best place for our pictures. People are walking their dogs or their kids. Everyone is smiling and greeting one another, known or unknown, didn't matter.

Along comes this BIG German shepherd with a pretty good sized stick in her mouth. She made us grin and we were still laughing about something we'd been saying, when her owners commented that we were quite jolly for the morning.

I piped up, "it's because we're waiting for the train!"

This sweet couple (mid -60's, retired) somehow hadn't heard about the train coming into White Rock. So we told them about it and the husband whips out his cell phone to call a friend to get down there right away. They decided to wait with us to see this train... since they had ridden it in years past when it was still a passenger train.

We start talking trains... and travel... and conversation flows, connection is made.

Suddenly I hear something and ask my sweet husband if that was the train. His head whips around to see... nothing there. No train coming around the point yet. He laughs and says that he hadn't heard anything because he was flappin' his jaw. At that moment, someone on the beach shouts, "there it is!!!" Cheers all up and down the beach!

Yep, I'd actually heard it first... and there was that train, big steam plume rising as it rounded the bend at the point.

I'm sure it looked funny, all those people jerking their cameras to their faces almost as if we were all given a cue by the director of a movie.

Cameras blazing, we took pictures to our heart's content. We took them while the train was far down toward the point and all along it's journey toward us. We had located ourselves well enough that we could get pictures from the distance and also from the side as it whooshed past us... then wave like crazy people at the passengers.

Big sigh... we love seeing a train go by!

Our new friends then invited us to their home for lunch! They live just up the hill from the beach and would love for us to come up. The neighbors had come down to the beach, too, and the 6 of us trooped up the ravine, up the side of the cliff (yep, back up a LOT of those 120 stairs!) to this wonderful home with a view and great artwork.

This house had a marvelous view of the beach and the islands beyond. The view was simply incredible. I'm betting the sunsets are spectacular.

Can you believe these lovely people met strangers on the beach and invited them home for lunch?? They fixed us a simple meal of soup, bread, cheeses, organic veggies and smoked salmon. But we talked and laughed like old friends. What fun!!

It was over too soon because the train would be steaming out of White Rock on the return journey. We left with their email address so that I can send them the pictures I took of their dog. (and I figured out their street address so I can send a thank you card for the lunch, too)

So we head back down the cliff (laughing because we already know it's gonna be tough at the end of the day to go back up yet again!). Back to the beach, train comes back by, more cameras blazing... big sigh, train is gone.

My sweet husband says... let's walk down to the White Rock. Yep, there is a great big white boulder that the city named itself after. We start walking... and walking... and realize that it's a good 2+ miles down there. We figured out later that it was just about 2.5 miles each way. We didn't walk down there for any good reason, just because we'd never been all the way to the white rock.

Going back up the cliff, we just encouraged each other to take it slowly, pace yourself, take your time, we can do this, rest if you need, we can do it... and finally we were at the top of the stairway... still looking UP the hill for the last half mile to the car. A few more deep breaths and we start walking... finally getting to the car, get it open, grab water bottles, gulp down water!

Drive home was easy, border crossing was not bad and we were here in time to fix our own dinner. It was a great day, but I'll always remember one thing in particular.

Overlooking the beach in White Rock, there is a home where hospitality and kindness live. It is peopled by folk who invite strangers to enjoy their table, their laughter, their friends and their food.

...may there be mercy on those who show hospitality to strangers.

Friday, April 06, 2007

voice from the past

About 15 months ago, I was told that a certain person was dying. She was undergoing chemo to treat an aggressive series of cancers. Note the plural... cancers.

This sweet lady was my insurance agent... and a friend from Weight Watchers... and a simply lovely person. Every time I saw her, it was a good conversation and I left feeling good about something.

Then she got cancer... again. She'd had cancer previously and dealt with it courageously.

She dealt with this cancer with equal courage. The last time I saw her, she was not feeling well at all, but fighting hard.

A few weeks after that, I ran into her boss, who told me that she was dying. Sad, sad, sad... but recognizing that she would no longer be in pain. I missed the funeral notice (which happens frequently with me) and just prayed comfort for her family.

I've driven past her office many times in the last 15 months. Each time I do, I think to myself... I miss her.

Today she left us a voicemail!!!

When I listened to the message, I just looked at my sweet husband in stunned disbelief... she didn't die... she's alive and we just had no idea since we hadn't run into her anyplace in town for that whole 15 months!

I'm anxious for Monday so that I can return her call and find out what happened. And to tell her that I am so very glad she's still here.

...may there be mercy and joy in good news.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

technical difficulties

Will be blogging again soon... just have a few things going on that I'm not ready to discuss. Might not get ready to discuss and might just move straight into whatever is next in life's journey.

We are okay, big brother is healing, sweet father-in-law is fine and healthy.

I'm just calling it technical difficulties and moving along.

...may there be mercy and a quick move along.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

we're off the critical list!!!

Well, it's been quite a day!

Mama called to tell me that they not only took big brother off the critical list, but they booted his butt out the hospital door and into a skilled nursing facility!

Apparently last night the doctors were trying to decide if home care or nursing care would be better. Their concern is that some of the nursing facilities in their group are not good. They were afraid that he might end up in one of those... but they simply could not say which ones those are. But... his wife has to work and Mama could not get big brother back up if he fell. He simply can't be at home for this level of care.

Mama has a neighbor, Mrs. E that we've known since I was a baby. Mrs. E is a retired nurse. Of course Mama has been over there with questions every single day during all of this stuff. Last night, after hearing about the nursing facility concern, Mrs. E started calling her friends who are still working. They gave her a short list of 2 facilities within that particular healthcare system that they felt are still good and they would allow their family members to stay for care.

The facility that big brother was taken to today is on that list. Yay!

He will be monitored for his IV antibiotics, his neck issues, his brain abscess and will get physical therapy while he is there.

Mama said something about already set up doctor appointments scheduled for the entire time he is there. This doctor wants to see him in 2 weeks, that doc wants to see him in 1 week, etc.

I'm thinkin' they finally decided he's gonna live! Yippppeeeeeeeeee!!

He's got a long recovery ahead of him, with more surgery once he gets stronger, but I'm grateful that God has spared his life for now.

Now the biggest thing is continuing to pray about his eternity.

...may there be mercy and an answer while he heals.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

reconsidered surgery

Mama didn't call until 5:30 today. Most of the day I was fine and in the "no news is good news" mode. Parts of the day, well, I wasn't in such a good mindset. But for most of the day I was able to remain in prayer for our family without trying to take back control. A victory of sorts for me.

Apparently the doctors decided that doing vertebrae replacement is just far, far too risky to do at this time. They will not do surgery for this... the loss of some of the motion/use of big brother's right arm will not kill him, so he may just have to live with that after all this is over.

Later, after big brother is better, they will discuss doing this surgery.

For now we're back on to the brain abscess and hoping that the antibiotics will start shrinking it... so they don't have to go in there and deal with it.

Staying in "no news is no news or good news" mode. Mama will call again tomorrow with an update... but if there isn't any "news" or big stuff happening, it could be late in the day again.

...may there be mercy and rest as I wait, held tightly in my Father's arms.

Monday, March 19, 2007

continuation of the rollercoaster

Update... big brother is under even more massive observation for the next 24-36 hours.

Sometime within the next 24-48 hours, he will undergo another surgery.

Apparently I misunderstood something Mama said and I thought that there was only the brain abscess to worry about.

It's still there, not growing, but not shrinking either.

The current crisis on the rollercoaster is that the infection has also settled into the arthritis in his neck... at the C-4/5 level of his spine. This pressure is already causing some paralysis in his right side.

Those vertebrae are going to have to be replaced. Probably more of the vertebrae also. This surgery will take 9-12 hours.

And again, it's another "he might not live through surgery" moment.

The doctor says that he hopes the surgery will help... before there is irreversible damage done to the spine... but it might already be too late for that part.

Once this part is over... and he survives... they will then consider the abscess.

I'm exhausted and going to spend tonight snuggling with my man.

...may there be mercy and rest as we wait.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

no change

Have talked with Mama and there is no change from last night.

The doctor says that big brother never had a stroke at all, it's been this abscess all along. Apparently the two will mimic the symptoms of each other.

The antibiotic regime they currently have him on for the septicemia is "containing" the abscess so that it is not spreading. Since this is the case, they are waiting to see if they can avoid surgery. They are also hoping that the antibiotics will begin to actually fight that abscess and not just contain it.

We will continue in the "no news is good news" mode.

I told my sweet husband last night that while I love rollercoasters, this one is "one hard-azz ride".

We are going to head over to my father-in-law's house to do some stuff with his computer and help him with a couple settings on his new cell phone. Probably going out to lunch with him after. All of which will be good distractions for me. Then home to continue taking care of myself with lots of rest.

...may there be mercy in waiting.

Friday, March 16, 2007

critical mass

Big brother now has an abscess on his brain, at the brain stem, in a dangerous area... the one that controls breathing.

The doctor told Mama this afternoon that "anything can happen, at any time."

...may there be mercy as we pray and wait.


Brief big brother report... he probably did have another stroke, but he was stronger yesterday afternoon.

He's still fighting hard, which is very cool.

His doctors have determined that he has yet another bacteria causing the septicemia... which means additional antibiotics to fight that strain and the previous strains.

Mama says he had an attitude yesterday afternoon and she actually got mad at him. He should get over that pretty quickly. He usually does.

...may there be mercy as they figure out the rest of it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

more setbacks

Big brother is not in skilled nursing, he's still in the hospital. They are still scanning him from stem to stern to determine what is wrong.

There is some thinking that he might have had another stroke. Nothing definite yet.

I continue to surrender him to God's care because I have this awful tendency to try to take him back... as if me worrying would be helpful or something.

The entire family is exhausted, both physically and emotionally, with this rollercoaster of being given small steps of hope then crashing down with each setback. Knowing that any single setback could take him from us is a very hard place in which to live.

...may there be mercy in healing for big brother and rest for my family.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Yep, there is progress in the land of prayers for big brother. He's not only suvived surgery, Mama says he's eating like he's making up eating time. I like that!

He's being moved to a skilled nursing facility tomorrow... where he will be for the next 6-8 weeks while his body continues to fight.

I find it interesting that they won't take him off the critical list (???) and yet they are moving him out of the hospital environment.

Don't really care about that as long as he gets the care he needs... and continues to improve.

I've neglected posting because I'm making a quilt for him. He needs something there that reminds him of my love for my big brother. I think I'll be able to finish it tomorrow night.

...may there be mercy as he heals.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Wow... just wow.

Big brother survived surgery today.

He is not out of the woods, and won't be for quite a long while. But tonight he is fighting and still breathing and God did it all.

The doctor even said so.


There is a wrung-out limp rag sitting in my chair. I think it's me. The emotional exhaustion is hitting hard and I will spend the weekend resting... while being thankful.

...may there be mercy, rest and healing for big brother this night.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Surgery to replace the aortic valve in big brother's heart is scheduled for 6:45 a.m. The doctor has been painfully honest, and yet so very kind.

...without surgery, big brother will die.

... at the same time, his chances of surviving surgery are very slim.

The infection has attacked most of his major organs. He had several small heart attacks today... and a stroke.

On my way to work this morning, I softly sang "Great is thy faithfulness". The words to this song speak a truth that is important for me to remember during this terribly difficult time.

Yes, this is hard and heartbreaking stuff... but, no matter the outcome, God IS faithful.

I spent a large portion of today praying as I worked, and one of the most important things I did today was to completely surrender big brother to God's care.

Yes, my heart aches that tomorrow may be his last here. Yes, I'm sad. And at the same time, finally peaceful about it all.

...may there be mercy in our surrender.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Have talked to Mama this morning. While his condition level has not changed from stable, big brother did not tolerate well all the things done to him yesterday. We talked about how he will have ups and downs and that right now he's on a down.

Tests showed two items of significance. The bacteria causing the septicemia is the MRSA version of staph. UGH! The source of the infection is deep in one of the valves of his heart, which is throwing "blocks" of infection into his brain. Double UGH! They told us that once he is over the septicemia infections, then they will have to replace that heart valve and maybe others. (if timing is right, then he will have heart surgery right about the time of his birthday)

He is so weak he can't do more than whisper, sometimes, in response to questions... and can't even lift his hand off the bed.

From something that big brother said to my sweet sister, there is some concern that he might be giving up. Mama is going to check that when she goes to see him later today.

The good report from yesterday is that his liver function is starting to come around "nicely" according to the doctors. We'll take any progress and good reports at this point!

Thanks for being here, sweet friends, and for all the prayers, care and love your pour into my life. My days are not complete without each of you.

...may there be mercy on the down days.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

a good report!

Just got off the phone with Mama. Good report this morning! Big brother is responsive and interactive in conversation... and is starting to complain about being in the hospital! Yay!

He's also royally ticked off that they lost his upper plate in the process of saving his life, which cracks me up. He's very glad they saved his life, but he wants his teeth back!

Today will be a LOT of very big tests that I don't understand, but will give a better picture of what is going on inside his poor body. One of the tests is something Mama thinks is called a T.E.E., that goes inside his heart to see if it is the source of the infection for the septicemia. Translating from the doctor to Mama and big brother's wife to me, sometimes all the info doesn't get all the way to me, but at least it tells me enough that I can start Googling and figure out the rest... or call my buddy who is a nurse!

They have been told that he will be in the hospital for at least 6 weeks, probably longer.

There are a bunch of behind the scenes details that I cannot share here in public forum... but need a boatload of work to fix and manage on big brother's behalf... Mama and big brother's wife have to do all of it and it's not going easily for them with all the privacy laws. I've reminded them that since he is now coherent and can understand what he is signing, they need to get a Power of Attorney signed right away. Prayers for those details would also be appreciated.

...may there be mercy and small damage to big brother's body.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

stable condition!

Some of y'all have gotten an extended version of this in email, but this is today's update on big brother.

Wow.. what a great phone call. More of the story is beginning to be filled in on what exactly has happened with big brother.

But... the best news is that during the night, he was upgraded to Stable Condition. (Thank you, Lord for that answer... now for the answer on his eternity, please!!)

His vital signs are all good.

He is responding to questions, with appropriate answers! He has no memory of anything since Monday night when he went to bed... and is very confused why he is in the ICU and how it can be Sunday when in his mind, last night was Monday.

Today, he will be moved from one hospital to another... the one where he was when he had the aneurysm. (insurance reasons now that he is stable)

I told Mama that she'd better start making soup and goulash for him because he's gonna start yelling for "real" food by tonight.

Too bad the hospital lost his upper plate and it's going to be hard for him to eat until his wife can get a call in to his dentist!

We recognize that he is not totally out of the woods yet. But... he's turned around and headed in the right direction.

Once he gets to the other hospital and settled in, they will begin running tests to determine several things.

1. Source of infection for the septicemia and the endocarditis: was it actually his heart or was it from a cut on his hands. (He's always getting cuts and gouges on his hands at work)
2. Damage to internal organs from the infection: currently they know there is some liver damage and probably heart damage. They do not know exactly how much for either one and also need to continue evaluating the remaining organs for any signs of damage.
3. Brain lesions: yesterday's tests indicated lesions on his brain. They need to figure out exactly what those are... they could be several things. New brain bleed from the stress on his body... the infection attacked his brain... old lesions from the old aneurysm. More testing will give the answers we need.

We are just so thrilled with today's news that we are all crying... but it's the better kind of tears today.

Mama and big brother's wife both said to make sure y'all know how much they appreciate your prayers... and you know I am grateful as well.

...may there be mercy on his long recovery road.