Sunday, August 29, 2010


This past Friday, my mom turned 80. We've been quite worried about her and had a surprise birthday party for her the previous Sunday. She has a Facebook page and on Friday, posted this...

Thoughts on my birthday. Some times in life you wish you were older or younger, but you reach an age you say "I'll be so and so my next birthday" as if you have just won a great prize. You look in the mirror and see an image of your mother there. You see the bags under the eyes and the lines around the mouth and think "I earned those just by living."You think of family and friends no longer here... of the husband and daughter that left way before you were ready to let them go, the grandson you never got to know. He would be 24 next month, a man.

Then you think of the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that have so enriched your life that are still here

God is good...This is my birthday. I am 80.

Such deep thoughts and great wisdom from her. My mom is usually a woman of few words and this was quite the post by her. (The grandson she refers to is my nephew who was stillborn 16 days before Keith was born; he was my sister's first child.) We're all so grateful that we still have our mom and love spending time with her. She had a great time at her surprise party and was just overjoyed to see her former co-workers who were able to come. She told me Friday that she felt like she'd neglected her family but she was just so excited to see those ladies. I said, "yeah, just a bunch of old farts hanging out." She laughed; the son of one of my cousins asked if it was an "old folks home" when he walked in because of this circle of old ladies sitting there.

So, today is my birthday. I'm 54 and I don't have near the wisdom or deep thoughts that my mother has. I do agree with the thought that I've earned a great prize. I'm at the age where I hear that "so-and-so" died and realize that the person is MY age. I used to think that "my" age was really old. I look in the mirror and although I see the lines (I've earned them, too) and the circles under my eyes, I don't really "see" someone who is in her 50's. I still see "me" and I don't feel like I'm an old lady. I wonder if my grandkids think I'm an old lady???

I feel like I can still do the things I did in my 20s and 30s. I feel like I still have so much ahead of me, and then I realize that, at 54, I have left most of my lifespan in the past and the time left is probably so much shorter. What can I do with the remainder of the time that God has given to me? Have I used "His" time wisely in the past? How much more will He trust me with? How can I use what is left to bless others?

I don't know, but I pray that He gives me enough future time to see all of my children all happily settled and my grandchildren grown; I pray that He gives me the time and the opportunities to bless others. I pray that He uses me in whatever area that He has for me.

I'm thankful for my life.

God is good... This is my birthday. I'm 54.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Great news from the kidney doc!!!

I took Ron to see his kidney specialist (Dr.M) on Thursday and he was so pleased with the results of Ron's blood work that he was all smiles, laughing and joking with us. He is an awesome doctor and always remembers that we have a small dog - he always asks how she's doing.

Even though he's got a great sense of humor, Dr. M still says it like it is for Ron. He told him last time we saw him that if Ron didn't change his habits and such, that his life span was going to be greatly reduced. That was just in April. Then, Ron had surgery in May, in June, and in July and you'd think the three of those surgeries would have impacted his kidneys adversely because of him having to heal and his body having to work at healing. Evidently not... Seems like all of the doctors think that the leg was causing the rest of his body to be strained and that's why so many of his systems were having trouble.

Ron's potassium was up a bit, but Dr. M thought it wass because the rehab facility increased one of his blood pressure medicines that has a tendency to cause an increased potassium level, so he lowered it back down. Then he told me that no one changes Ron's medications without HIS permission. "No one touches this man without talking to me first." He said he has never seen Ron look this good or have this good of blood work (except for the potassium part). He did increase his Vitamin D-3 to 4,000 IUs daily (up from 2,000) and lowered the one blood pressure pill from 30 mg to 10 mg.

Dr. M really joked and kidded around a lot - it was so funny and we could tell it was because he was so happy with Ron's blood results. He said he can't remember the last time that Ron looked so good and that he could tell Ron had also lost weight, and not just because of the leg. Dr. M also said that being minus the leg would cause his creatine to go up a bit, which it did, but not by much. He asked Ron if he was "peeing" OK. "You go pee OK? Every time I see you in hospital, you don't pee - have to be catheterized."

Then, he actually got serious and said I was a good wife and wonderful woman - Ron is alive because of me and if he didn't have me he would be dead. When he did his dictation he included "and his lovely wife" in his notes into the tape. It was a great visit. He doesn't go back until December 16.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'd Choose Him Again

One of my most favorite songs, sung by The Forrester Sisters, is I’d Choose You Again (not sure who wrote the lyrics). I’ve used it many times in the past years to say in a nutshell what I’d do if I had the opportunity to choose who to spend my life with.

Lookin’ at my life
Through the eyes of a young girl
Growin’ older all the time
Maybe just a little wiser
I can clearly see
All my mistakes
Keep comin’ back to visit me
Pointing out the roads not taken
So much I’d like to change
But one thing I’d do the same
I’d choose you again
I’d choose you again
If God gave me the chance
To do it all again
I’d carefully consider
Every choice and then
Out of all the boys in the world
I’d choose you again
Times weren’t always good
Seems like the Lord gave
All the easy parts away
But every time the road got rocky
You’d look at me say
Had all you needed
Long as I was there with you
You’re the reason I kept goin’
If I could start my life anew
The first thing I would do
I’d choose you again
I’d choose you again
If God gave me the chance to do it all again
I’d carefully consider every choice and then
Out of all of the boys in the world
I’d choose you again

The words I wrote last year, for our 25th, are just as true today as they were then. In addition to the things I mentioned then, we’ve also made a few other changes.

We’ve changed diapers
We’ve changed residences
We’ve changed cars (LOL – more than I care to count!)
We’ve changed our hair styles (in some ways – definitely for the better!)
We’ve changed jobs
We’ve changed our opinions to match each other’s or to differ from each other’s

Yes, we’ve definitely changed in the past 26 years. Not all of it has been for the better, but it’s taken all of the blessings and issues of the past 26 years to make us the people we are today. There are definitely things that I wish we had done differently, but if who we are today would be different, then maybe I wouldn’t make those changes. We could have made better financial decisions, we could have planned better for the future, and we could have taken better care of ourselves physically. The main thing is to learn from your mistakes (which sometimes we had to make more than once before we had our “aha” moment) and go forward from there.

I’d still give the same advice to others who would ask how we’ve made it…

  • Faith. Regardless of your religion, make faith part of your everyday life.
  • Don’t go to bed angry. That’s easier said than done, but it can be done. See next point.
  • Agree to disagree. Face it; you’re not going to agree on 100% of the stuff 100% of the time.
  • Give 150% - marriage isn’t 50/50 – it’s giving 100% from each party, so give 150% instead
  • Laugh at your mistakes together and not at each other.
  • Be willing to compromise. Again. Again. Again. As much as it takes as long as it doesn’t involve safety issues.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. There will always be little irritations in life – just let go of them and don’t let them build up to become a major issue.
  • Present a unified front to others. You have issues with each other? Discuss it privately.
  • Support each other’s decisions. That includes in front of your children.
  • Provide words of encouragement to each other. You never know what kind of day your loved one has had and one little encouraging word may make all the difference in his (or her) day.
  • Don’t lose yourself entirely in the relationship. Have shared interests as well as individual interests. Individual outside interests are not only important, they provide opportunities for conversation.
  • Remember that saying “I love you” can’t be overdone. Just because you said it last week, or last month, or last year doesn’t mean that he (or she) doesn’t need to hear it today.
  • Give hugs. Touch is very important and a pat on the back, a light shoulder rub in passing, or the touch of your hands is as important in any stage of a relationship as it is in the beginning.
  • Decide that your relationship is something worth working on. Too many people give up too easily and throw in the towel.
  • Have eyes only for your spouse. That being said, if you have a good healthy relationship, your spouse is not going to feel jealous or less than “yours” if you comment on a nice looking individual. By the same token, neither should you. Ron and I have both admired the looks of someone else – but we know who we’re going home with at night and there’s never been a question of where our love is or where our loyalties lie. I can say “he’s hot!” and he knows that doesn’t make me think any less of him. He’s also admired more than one set of nice looking legs in the past 26 years. Big deal. He loves my whole package and that’s all that matters.

This morning when I left for work, I told Ron “Happy Anniversary.” He said, “It’s not our anniversary – is it? Oh wait; it’s the anniversary of the day we first met.” I said that, no it really was our wedding anniversary. He felt so bad because he’s told himself that he wouldn’t forget anything like that. I told him to not worry about it – I had the best anniversary present that anyone could ever have.

Him. Sitting right there in his chair. And I hadn’t had a funeral this summer for him.

God is good!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to School card

While I'm not nearly as talented as the ladies I copied this idea from, I am pretty happy with the results. In fact, I'm happy enough to toot my own horn. LOL!

If you would like to take a look at the card I made for Isaiah, it's posted on one of my other blogs, here.

I spent hours on the silly thing but I know that he will be very pleased. He LOVES his Star Wars and I duplicated his very own new backpack as closely as I could.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blogs of Substance

Skippymom over at I Make Soap let me know today that she had named me as one of her "blog of substance" recipients. How sweet and unexpected! It's nice to know that my ramblings and other "attempts" at humor mean something to someone else. I bow with appreciation.

These are the rules that I must abide by and follow:

1. Thank the person who gave me the award.  Thank you, Skip for bestowing this award upon me. I'm so tickled to be considered part of your family.
2. Write the reason why I blog in 5 words. Maintain some semblance of sanity.
3. Name 5 other Blogs of Substance and the reasons why I chose them. This is going to be tough. I have found so many blogs and so many online friends who support me, inspire me, and who have helped me find my way through the "tomorrows" that were so difficult. How to choose, how to choose.... I would pick I Make Soap but she tagged me so I'll have to pass on her. I also wanted to make sure that I didn't duplicate her choices.

So, here they are in no certain order:

kathy's kampground kapers. I love to read about Kathy's adventures at her campground. The people who visit her camp seem to be a mixture of wonderful friends you'd like to enjoy coffee with and those you might wish would take their business elsewhere. She's a very talented seamstress and I love to see the creations she's made for her grandkids.
A View from the Edge. Pat has a gift for bringing the typed word to life. I can read her blog and if I'm even the least little bit down, I can count on her stories and pictures to not only raise my spirits, but to also brighten my day.
Butts and Ashes. Marla's sense of humor always gives me a laugh. She's handled the stresses of life and the worry over her sister's health with an approach that lets you know she doesn't take time to feel sorry for herself but just gets right down to the business of living life to its fullest. She pokes fun at herself and doesn't take herself too seriously.
Discovering the Purpose of Our Lives. Donna has been one of those individuals who has taken the time out of their busy lives to send me encouragement when I needed it. Donna also knows what it's like to be a caretaker of a loved one and how important it is to take time out for yourself. She helped me see that I needed some "me time" in order to be there emotionally and physically for Ron when he needed it.
Four Dog Day. Kathy is another talented seamstress and one of those "artsy fartsy" people who can take something someone else has deemed trash and turn it into a work of art. She sent Ron a "shirt saver" that has really saved me lots and lots of time in the laundry room! Check out her stuff in her Etsy shop.

These are just a few of the blogs I read all the time. Rae over at Weather Vane is another of my favorites, as is Silver Strands and My Random Insanities. All of my online friends have sent such nice notes of encouragement, prayed for Ron and I when we needed it most, and have listened when I just needed to vent. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and you can all consider yourselves worthy of this award. So, feel free to snag it and pass it on to some of your bloggy friends!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Grammar Police

I admit it - sometimes I am a member of the grammar police. I don't do it on purpose, but those things just jump out at me. Now, that is not to be confused with just plain, ordinary misspelled words. Those grab me, too. I make my share of typos but I usually don't misspell something unless my mouse (which has issues at times) and my eyes are not in agreement with each other. Like everyone else, I can (and frequently do) read right past my typing errors because I "know" what it is supposed to say.

In the "old" days (back when Jesus was a child; when I was growing up), if someone graduated with a high school diploma, you could trust they could read AND write using correct grammar. Not any more. These things get to me when I see them posted, in messages, on signage (you'd think someone creating the signs could actually proof-read the thing before it's sent out):

To, Too, and Two
Your and You're
Their, There, and They're
Except and Accept
Affect and Effect
Our and Are
When to use "suppose" and "supposed" - as in, "I suppose so" (implying now) and "I was supposed to be..." (implying past tense)
It's and Its
How to make something plural and How to make something possessive; Acronyms, such as DVD, don't become plural with an apostrophe; that's possessive (DVD's vs. DVDs)

I'm sure there's more, but this is enough for now.

What brought this on, you might ask... Today, as I was driving to my doctor's office, I saw an advertisement on a sign for a new day care. KinderLearning...Implies they're going to be doing some preschool stuff. I'm good with that. The sign said, "Is your current day care to expensive?"  It's TOO people, not TO! If the person who wrote the sign didn't know the difference, the person creating the sign (it was professionally done) should have proof-read the thing and pointed out the error to the customer. If the person creating the sign couldn't tell the difference of when to use TO and TOO, then that person shouldn't be making signs to sell to people.

Several years ago (20+ years), the company I worked for was closing our main office and only having agent offices. We ordered a sign from a well-known Wichita sign company with the address of the new agents. The sign maker abbreviated Kansas with KA - not KS. It wasn't a typo because it was done more than once. If that had been the only error, I might have bought into typo; it was so poorly done and the spelling was so bad, we refused to pay for it and had the owner of the company come and look at it. He stood there for a minute reading the sign, and then he picked it up and left our office without saying a word. We didn't get a bill.

OK, I'm off my soap box now and back to regularly scheduled programming.

Have a great night!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Wedding (Part II)

Amy was starving so Rex's family brought us a bit to eat before the service. She told me I better not be taking her picture. Yeah... Right... No, I'm not doing that.

Isaiah didn't want to stop eating long enough to go do the service. Everyone was outside in the garden except him (and a couple of others). We finally had to tell him that his food would be OK and as soon as we were finished he could come back and finish eating.

After the ceremony was over we did return to the building for a little cake reception before we headed out. I took Ron home to let him rest for awhile and then we headed to Rex and Amy's for the cookout. It was a lot of fun and we stayed for several hours.

Amy had changed into a pretty white dress for the cookout. Anyone coming into the house who didn't already know she was the bride, didn't have any trouble figuring it out once they saw what she had on. She looked very pretty in it, too. They did helium balloons in the tent so that's what she's doing here - tying on the strings.

All in all, it was a beautiful day and a wonderful time was had by all. Rex's family was very gracious and they have really opened their arms to Isaiah. His "nana" and "poppa" are great; his Aunt Susan, Uncle Scott, Aunt Christie, and new cousins all just treated him like he'd been in the family forever. I was very touched.

"The" Wedding (Part I)

And you all thought Chelsea Clinton's was "the" wedding - Nope! let me set the record straight.... Amy's wedding to Rex was "the" wedding. Invitations were more scarce than those to Chelsea's and I would imagine the food was every bit as good as, if not better than, what she served her guests. Now, I have nothing against vegetables and I eat them on a regular basis, but I LOVE beef. Steak, roast, hamburger, etc. - grill it, bake it, roast it - it's all good.

We arrived at Botanica at about 11:30 to set up "The Cottage" for the cake reception. Oh. My. Goodness. That place was tiny with a capital "T" and the three round tables were very nearly touching each other. The air conditioner was a wall unit stuck in the spot above the door. Thankfully, it did drain outside the building but it did leave a nice (read nasty) spot you had to watch for when you went in or out the door.

We had yellow tablecloths on the round tables and blue on the long table (where her cake and stuff would go). I did the centerpieces (with a little help from my sister) and I got her bouquet from the grocery store. Yep - the GROCERY store. We did have to snip off a couple of things out of the middle and stuck in a couple more of the yellow baby roses. It had an odd look to it until we did that.

The cake came from a local bakery called Cameo Cakes. It was good. The outside looks like fondant but it was really just very nice butter cream frosting. It was sooo good (in fact, I want some RIGHT now!).

We had a wonderful rehearsal dinner (sorry - no pictures of that) on Friday night at their house. Rex's family is amazing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Christie, his sis-in-law, made the most delicious steaks with potatoes, carrots, and onions. It was so good that I wanted to overeat on it. Seriously.  Then we had decadent brownies with ice cream. Too much.

Yesterday's food was on the grill stuff - hot dogs, hamburgers - with all the fixins. Again, his family came through with an outstanding meal. Some others brought some side dishes, but his family hauled the tent, tables, and chairs from western Kansas AND produce from their farms AND their own home-grown beef. We had corn on the cob, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cantaloupe, and watermelon last night. I seriously told them I need a care package every month or so. I did bring a cantaloupe and a watermelon home. They offered; I accepted. I would have looked pretty funny trying to stick one in my back pocket to sneak it out, but I did briefly consider it. I cropped these out of a bigger picture.

OK - on to the wedding.  The place where the ceremony was held had no changing area for brides. You either came in your dress, or you changed in the bathroom. Amy was smart... she brought a sheet to lay down on the floor to stand on while she dressed. No "bathroom" stains on her dress!!! She looked so pretty and I was a good mom and didn't take any pictures until she was dressed. hehehe!

It was so hot outside but that didn't stop the ceremony from being very nice. Isaiah was charming when he escorted her down the "aisle". He was so excited to be getting a new family but by Saturday he was pretty tired from all of the festivities, so he was not as energetic as he had been during practice the night before.

He had to be reminded to go sit down with us when he was done giving her away.

After the service, we had a bunch of pictures taken. This one is one of my favorites. He's such a little poser for the camera.

Ron and I got in on the pictures, too. I asked for one of Amy and I together. The other couple in the pictures with us is my ex-husband and his companion. (LOL - she's been with him longer than he was married to either one of his wives, so I guess she's doing something right.)

Our good friend and former pastor, Terry Burchett, drove all the way from Houston, TX to perform the ceremony. The only thing missing from that is his lovely wife and one of my dearest friends, Kenni, had been unable to make it because of car trouble. We missed her greatly!

And, finally - the bride in all her glory! She was such a beautiful bride.

I also did a video with my cell phone. It's about seven minutes long and the sound isn't very good. The water fountain feature was right behind me.

(Part II coming up)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

He's home!

He's doing very well. We've already worked on transferring in and out of his recliner, in and out of the bed, on and off of the toilet (hey - it's important), and practiced getting things out of the fridge/freezer. I've got the George Foreman grill set up on one counter and I'm going to get a small table-top microwave for the other counter.

I think I'm so relieved that I've developed an intense headache and an upset stomach. Is that odd? Or is that relatively normal? Heck if I know. LOL! I'm supposed to work four hours this afternoon but I don't think I'm going to make four hours.

Maisey was so glad to see Ron. It didn't take her very long at all to assume her favorite position when he's in his chair.

I think life might get back to "normal" for us now.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Creatinine up; Potassium up

Not a good thing when you're planning on going home. Doc ordered an ultrasound of Ron's kidneys this afternoon and they conducted that while I was there this evening. The tech did say that she didn't see anything abnormal, so that is good.

But, no clue on why the creatinine and potassium are both up. Kidney failure is not on our list of things to do this week. Not at all...

Will see what tomorrow brings. They'll be doing more blood work to check his kidney function again.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday, Sunday...

It's been one of "those" weekends - not quite the hysteria of the days past but not quite the cool, calm, and collected persona that I like to present to people. Friday night when I went to buy the gifts for Amy's shower, I started crying at the checkout counter. Luckily, I was in a very small store and the owner was working the cash register. She just came around the counter and gave me a big ole hug and said everything would be just fine. She said for me to come talk to her anytime I wanted and that she'd be praying for us. I was able to present a calm front for Amy's shower and that was very important to me.

Saturday, Ron was a bit down during the day. His sugar has been elevated and he wasn't feeling quite up to snuff, so I didn't stay very long. He wanted to sleep (he was legitimately tired) and I needed to wash his laundry so I only stayed a couple of hours. By the time HE was feeling better, the gloom had transferred themselves to me. Keith finished moving in and then went out with his friend who had helped him. They went to another friend's house to cool off and swim. Sounded like fun. I did not enjoy being home alone so I took myself to bed. Nothing here to really eat so I had a piece of Amy's shower cake and some cookies. That made my sugar 145 this morning. Oops...

This morning, we went to church and at the altar call, Keith leaned over and said that he was going to join the church. I thought that was great and he made his way forward. He's going to be baptized next Sunday, which will be nice because my mom will be here and Ron will be home from the rehab and he'll be there. We're going to surprise Ron with it though and not tell him until he sees Keith in the baptistry. Ought to be an emotional time for him.

We went to see Ron after church and stayed for only about an hour. I was feeling really tired and a bit sick so we came on home. I did some laundry (Keith brought in at least 7 loads and since I was bored, restless, and didn't want to go to bed last night, I did all but 2 of them; finished the last 2 this afternoon along with my own clothes). Keith left to go back to his friend's house to celebrate another friend's birthday. I was feeling pretty left out because the other friend is my friend, too and I wished they'd have thought to ask if I wanted to come along. Oh well... Sucks when you realize that you're too old to go to a friend's birthday cookout - even if you are old enough to be her mother. LOL!

Decided I'd take a nap since I was having this lovely pity party but Ron called about 30 minutes into it. While I was talking to him my sister called on the other phone. I don't dare try to go take a nap now because if I do, I'll be wide awake at about 3:00 or so - I may be anyway but I sure not need to guarantee it by going to bed early.

I really wish that I could feel a sense of relief instead of this overwhelming sense of dread that's hanging over my head. I've got a great wedding coming up, a new son-in-law (who is fabulous), my youngest son moved back in, and Ron coming home on Wednesday. I am thrilled with all of that but the overriding feeling is the one of fear with regard to Ron coming home. What if??? What if??? What If??? WHAT IF??? I'm not sure I can do it; I'm not sure he can do it; I'm not sure we can do it.

One of Ron's doctors (a staff doctor at the rehab center) happens to go to the church we've been attending. He brought his wife over to meet me this morning (she works there, too and has already visited with Ron) and I just started crying again when talking about him coming home and me going back to work. I'm going to do all that I can to ensure he has a safe place and access to as much as he can - but I can't control everything in his environment and I have to go back to work. Most of my co-workers have not asked how he's doing; they could be they're waiting for me to volunteer information but I really don't want to walk up to someone and start out a conversation with how things are going with Ron. Like many people have said, they wouldn't know what to do for me so it's easier to just not ask - and I really understand that, but it would be nice to hear something from them, even if it's only "how is Ron doing today?". I don't expect them to volunteer to do anything for me; they are all busy, they have their own lives, and my problems are not their responsibilities. Just expressing some concern every once in a while would be awesome. I seriously don't know whether to go to work and volunteer information (what if they really just don't want to hear it) or wait until someone asks (and they may be thinking if I want them to know, I'll volunteer it). LOL! Catch-22 situation.

Tomorrow morning, I'm taking the car back to the rehab center so Ron can practice transferring in and out of it again. He did really well last week so hopefully he'll do just as well, if not better. He's running a low-grade fever this evening, which has him a bit concerned. He had the nurse take a look at his incision and she said it looked good - not red or puffy. Understandably, he's very careful with it and wants to only make sure it doesn't get injured or infected. That would be ugly.

I'm going to try and find something constructive to do and maybe take my mind off of things this evening - that doesn't involve numbing it with alcohol. I could do that. In fact, I could do that very easily.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. Just writing my thoughts and fears down makes them seem less intimidating. The shadows on the wall don't have to loom ominously over me. I can talk them down to a manageable size.

God's blessing to you all.