Monday, August 29, 2011


I remember when that used to be the speed limit on the interstate highways. Does that date me? Probably, but that’s OK.

55, in this instance, just happens to be how old I am today. At some places, that will get me a “senior citizen discount.” Funny, I don’t necessarily think I feel like a senior citizen, but I’m willing to take the discount. LOL! In this day of high costs, I’ll take any discount that I can get.

Today doesn’t seem to be a very happy day for me. I’m not distressed to think that I’m 55. It’s just a number. But, being 55 puts me closer to the age where how old I am does matter. It’s sort of a melancholy day – a day of reflection and looking deep within me to see what’s there, even though I’m not sure that I want to find out.

As I look back at all the birthdays, I’m reminded of some very happy days. As a child, we each got to pick what kind of cake we wanted for our birthdays. I always picked chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and coconut on top. Always. One year, we didn’t have two chocolate cake mixes so my sister made a marble cake instead – half white and half chocolate. I was not happy. I didn’t have a hissy fit or anything like that, but I did not like it nearly as well as ALL chocolate. I can say that I’m not nearly as picky in my “old age” as I was then. I still prefer chocolate but if someone made me a marble, white, lemon, or any other flavor of cake I wouldn’t turn it down.

I wrote a post last year that is as true today as it was then. I have earned these lines and gray hair. I’ve experienced deep joy and extreme sorrow. I’ve learned what it means to truly love someone, and to have someone truly love me. I’ve had the joy and deep contentment that being a parent and grandparent brings. I’ve loved and lost, but that is infinitely better than never loving at all. I’ve gained new friends and lost touch with friends over the years. I’ve experienced as much in my life as I possibly could have. But, I sometimes wonder if I played it too safe and what would life have been if I’d kicked up my heels a bit and struck out on my own earlier in life. I had several paths that I could have taken but there were times that I let others make the decision for me on which path to take. What about my life would be different if I’d chosen differently???

As a kid, we didn’t really have “birthday parties” in the sense that we had friends over, played games, and had cake/ice cream and presents. It was more of a small family affair with cake/ice cream after supper that evening. I did parties for my younger siblings but no one really did one for me (guess they just didn’t think of it). So, for my 40th birthday, Amy planned a surprise party for me. She almost pulled it off, too except a couple of days before the party, Ron mentioned that we didn’t need to mail his child support because we’d see his ex-wife later that week. Hmmm… we didn’t usually see her during the week but I let it slide and did my best to be surprised when I came home.

For my 50th birthday, Amy planned another surprise. She did a great job and no one told me anything. I just had a suspicion that she was up to something. She swears that Keith or Ron spilled the beans but no one said anything. I got suspicious when I was going to go downstairs to her closet to get a purse (we shared purses, switching with whatever was empty at the time) and she flew up out of her chair and said she’d go get it. I said that was fine and thought, "hmmm… wonder what she’s got up her sleeve?” As it got closer to my birthday, I jokingly asked her if she was going to call my friend Debbie (who lives in southern Missouri) and invite them to our house. I also asked her if Shaun and Jenny were coming home on leave. She denied but she knew I was on to her. It was a great, great, GREAT party! Amy made me a special scrapbook (I’d never made one for myself – just for others) that I treasure. Many of my friends from church came, Debbie and her husband (Herb) did come, and Shaun and Jenny were there, as nearly all of my immediate family – including one brother (and spouse), two sisters (one with spouse), several nieces and nephews. At one time, we had over 50 people in our house. It was great. I said I had so much fun that I was going to have to repeat it so I could have that much fun again.

Looking back, I’m glad that I am on the path I’m on. Many of the other choices would not have brought many of the most important people I know across my path or into my life. That would have been so much worse than anything else that I “might” have missed out on if I’d gone a different direction in life.

This past Saturday was my mom’s 81st birthday. We went to Kansas City and took her to lunch. She had a good time and it was nice to see her get out. Keith wanted her to meet his girlfriend so I drove and we took Isaiah (Ron didn’t feel very good so he stayed home). It was a much quieter celebration than her 80th birthday had been but since several of my siblings took her out individually she got to celebrate for the whole weekend instead.

Today, I had lots of birthday wishes on my Facebook profile, which was very nice. I got up to several messages and then received several more throughout the day. That made the day really nice. I figured that Ron and I would just spend a quiet evening at home since he's not felt his best, but my kids had other plans.

Keith and Lindsay, Amy and Isaiah, and Ron and I went to the local Mexican restaurant for dinner. The food is good, the company was great, and the prices are very fair. Isaiah picked out a bouquet of roses for me and a chocolate cake. And, he got me a really cute card.

It was a very good day.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking

If you've ever thought about, or used, or want to use software for digital scrapbooking, then go check out the giveaway I'm currently hosting on my paper blog.

Entry is simple and everyone is a winner because even if you don't win the free copy you'll still get a discount on your purchase.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The shower invitations are FINISHED!

And, ready to be mailed or hand-delivered. I may need to make a few more (but they will be much simpler), but I have 26 ready to go. Someone is getting the prototype but only because I was at the end of the current list, and short one. So, off it goes. That means I don't have one for myself or one to take to work, but I'm going to keep Amy's copy for a while and take it in Monday to show the "girls" I work with (who care... hehehe - some don't and I won't punish them).

The giraffe is cut from Birthday Bash (4"), the hippo from Create a Critter (2.5" - I think), and the bottle from New Arrival (circle, shift at 1.75"). On the Birthday Bash cartridge, the giraffe has on roller skates. That just wasn't going to cut it for a baby shower, so I cut them off. I put the layers together first and then did the cuts for each giraffe one at a time. Time consuming to get the legs just how I wanted them but they look more "child like" now. One of the other cartridges I have also has a giraffe with legs that look like this, but the body was all wrong. I decided this one would be the easiest to modify.

This is Amy's copy of the card. I punched a hole into each of the registry cards and threaded a ribbon through it. Then, I put those inside the card so when the card is opened, the card can be slid out and kept for shopping purposes. The ribbon will help locate it in a wallet or purse. I added a jewel to the giraffe's neck and to the hippo's hip. The ribbon and bow finish out the additions from the prototype. Those additions really dressed the cards up.

The whole group. I decided to do the baby bottle cut-out instead of the baby shower words. I just didn't have enough time to cut those delicate letters out (twice) and affix them to the card. This was much simpler. The bottle is cut at 1.75 inches and the green circle is a 2 inch punch. The cards actually have a variety of ribbons. I had less of the green (on the card) than I thought, and we're 45 minutes away from the closest store to buy that ribbon. I had to make do with what I had in my ribbon stash so that is why there you see more than one color and style of ribbon as the decorations. But, I can truly say that the cards are one-of-a-kind (mostly). Ron wanted me to stamp each one "Limited Edition; # of 25" on the back.

I know Amy loves them. What do you think? I'd love to hear your comments.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Anniversary

August 20, 1984

Who would have that that just 19 days after meeting someone on an arranged date, that I’d be getting married to him? Definitely not me, that’s for sure. I’d been down the marriage road before and it had not been a pleasant ride. I got two great kids from it, but that’s about all I was taking away with me. I have to say that I had some nice memories, family times and trips, holidays, etc. but the nice memories just didn’t make up for the other things that had been a part of the first marriage. Ron had also been married before and would have still been married, except his wife divorced him because she was in love with someone else (she’s married to him now).

Along with our children, we brought other things into this union. We brought the promise to always be honest with each other, to always treat each other with respect, to honor each other in front of our children, to support each other, and to present a united front. We promised to never go to bed angry. We promised to never trash each other in front of other friends and family because we both knew that even though we might be speaking out of frustration, those who loved us would have a harder time forgiving and forgetting. I can’t say we were successful 100% of the time, but we each gave 100% and did the best that we could with the equipment and experience that we had.

But, as is common in a lot of 2nd marriages, we also brought some baggage. We didn’t always communicate our wishes well. Sometimes we made decisions based on what we “thought” the other person wanted – decisions that sometimes turned out to NOT be what the other person wanted. Sometimes we let the other person make decisions that we knew in the bottom of our hearts would turn out badly – and sometimes they did. We tried to not say “I told you so,” but sometimes that sentiment came through loud and clear even if the words were not spoken. Sometimes we didn’t do things that we wished we would have and sometimes we did things that we wished we hadn’t. We didn’t take our children to places that maybe we should have or done some of the things with them or for them that we could have.

We tried to always tell our children that we loved them, even when they were being disciplined (that didn’t always happen but we tried). We tried to discipline with integrity instead out of anger. Sometimes we failed. Children don’t come with handbooks and there were times that we were not the best parents we could have been. In fact, there were times when we were miserable examples of parenthood. As I look at my children (as adults), I’m amazed that they are not only productive members of society, but also adults who don’t look back on their childhoods and say how badly we failed them. We know there were times we failed them, but I think they also realize that they will also (as parents) fail at times. As adults, it’s easier to look back at childhoods and see that sometimes what parents thought was the best wasn’t always, but that doesn’t mean that the parents didn’t do the best that could be done under the circumstances.

We also promised “for richer or for poorer,” “for better or for worse,” “in sickness and in health.” We’ve lived all of those and know what kind of stress and strain they can put on a relationship. We’ve had our patience and our faith tested on a regular basis. We’ve walked through the fire and come out victorious on the other side. We’ve relied on each other when there was no one else. We’ve truly discovered what it means to be “as one.”

The past 27 years have not all been a bed of roses and they’ve not all been easy. We’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. I can look back on them and say the good has outweighed the bad, no matter what has happened.

There is one thing I definitely would not change for all of the riches of the world, the ease that wealth and privilege would buy.

That’s saying “I do.”

Happy Anniversary to my best friend, the love of my life, my true soul-mate.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I'm not functioning on all cylinders yet, so when I get home from work I'm pretty bushed. I've tried to read and comment, but not spent much time working on my own blogs. I posted a BAHA update for anyone who is interested. According to the doctor, it's healing well. According to the picture I took of it, it's ugly. I mean scary ugly. He did warn me that it would not be pretty as it was healing and he was not kidding. I just feel sorry for the people who walk behind me. There's just no way for me to hide it. I am not supposed to block the air from circulating around, which is supposed to help the healing. My neck is really stiff. It's hard to find a comfortable position for it. Hopefully, this won't last much longer.

Work is going well. The stress level seems to be down. The conversation I had with my boss seems to have helped all the way around. I'm still not sure what the future holds, but for now I'm happy that I don't have to live in absolute fear each day. That by itself has helped.

Amy and Rex had their 4-D sonogram yesterday. It's pretty exciting to see a good representation of what the baby will look like. I think she's going to look like Rex with Amy's coloring (hehe - this was a joke about the coloring; one of Amy's friends posted that "she looks just like Rex but with your coloring" on Amy's FB - cracked me up). Hopefully, she'll also have Amy's eyes.

I created the baby shower invitation last weekend (the prototype) and Amy liked it, so this weekend I'll start making them for real. I am not sure, but I'm planning on at least 30. I posted a picture of the prototype on the "paper" blog, which is based on Anna's bedding.

I think they will turn out very nicely once I add the ribbon (which I forgot to buy at Michael's the other day, so I haven't made any more). On the inside, I have to put directions, the party information, and baby registry information. I think some of it may be on a tag that will just fit inside the card. That way, I can print them off on the computer and then just cut them out. We'll see.

On another note, Isaiah's school lost him on the first day of school. It all worked out well but for a good laugh go check out his blog to read how it played out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A funny for you

My son-in-law is an agricultural engineer and designs engines for big agricultural implements. Think John Deere, but a different company.

The last couple of days he was out of town at a trade show for his company where one of his designs was featured. He holds five different patents (for his company) on this engine, one of which is for the cooling system. Of the two features that were displayed for this particular piece of machinery, Rex's designs were discussed at length, whereas the other feature was just mentioned in passing.

Later, Rex was wandering around the booths and happened upon a salesman for a distributorship of these implements. The salesman volunteered comments about the cooling system, saying, "They really made a big deal over this cooling system, but I'm not really sure about the validity. Now, if it had been designed in Europe, maybe it'd be a big deal. But it was designed here in the states and I've heard that another company is working on it too and not having any luck. Who knows if it even works like they say."

Rex said, "I know the engineer who designed this and I'm quite sure that I got it right. It's been in testing for over three years."

Open mouth, insert foot. Heck, insert both feet.

I would have loved to see the look on that salesman's face when he realized he was insulting the designer directly to the designer's face - without realizing it. The problem with the other company is that they're not trying to see if it works the way Rex designed it, but they're trying to re-design it so they can by-pass his patent and manufacture it themselves without paying the patent-infringement fees.

Monday, August 8, 2011

BAHA tab

You may have noticed that I added some new tabs to my page. I'm not done with the "About Me," "Awards," or "Buttons" tabs and the "BAHA" tab is an on-going work.

In case you're interested, feel free to read the story on the BAHA tab but be prepared that it does contain pictures. Nothing too terribly graphic, but if you're queasy you might want to read just the beginning and stop after the picture of me immediately following surgery. The rest of the pictures will show the BAHA site as it heals.

I'm in the process of documenting my quest to hear again, beginning with when I recognized that I suffered from vertigo, the issues with getting a diagnosis, and the progression to where I am today.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I've (also) caught a butterfly!

Diane, over at Southamsdarling, blessed me the other day with a new award - The Butterfly Award.

To accept the award, I have to do the following:
1. Refer back to the person who gave me the award. (see above)
2. Answer the questions (below).
3. Pass it on.


Name your favorite color: Pink and Purple

Name your favorite song: This is difficult because I love so many, but I think my current favorite is from The Oak Ridge Boys, Did I Make a Difference. You can listen to it here:

Name your favorite dessert: Anything with chocolate: Ice cream, cake, etc.

What whizzes you off? Liars, cheats, petty backstabbers.

Your favorite pet: Although we currently have a little Yorkie named Maisey, I think my favorite would be a Silky terrier named Missy. I was "her" human and she loved me. Someone stole her.

Black or white: Nothing is ever truly black or white.

Biggest fear: Becoming unable to continue to care for Ron at home.

Best feature: that's hard... not sure what that would be. I like to think it's generosity or kindness, but I can be a real b*tch sometimes, too.

Everyday attitude: The glass is always at least half full. I care for others and usually try to put others' needs before my own. Not always successful, but I try.

What is perfection: God's love and the love of His Son. After that, the love/kiss/embrace of my any of my grandkids. Spending time with my husband and family.

Guilty pleasure: Do they have to make me feel guilty?

Pass it on:

Green Girl in Wisconsin - as the only female in an all male household, I think she needs an award.
Kathy's Kampground Kapers - Kathy runs a great little place to visit and park your RV or just tent camp. She deals with some of the strangest people I've ever heard of. Butterfly award would be good for her.
Knees and Paws - Jenny is a very sweet lady who has the sweetest little plush accessories for kids.

If you haven't visited these blogs, I recommend that you hop right on over and pass them a visit! Be sure to let them know that I sent you along.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Here I am...

Yesterday was really a pretty easy day. I must have had a ton of people praying for me and for me to not have any anxiety, because I did not. I didn't need anything prior to the "pre-op cocktail" they routinely give and I handled the oxygen mask very well. Usually, I can't stand to have the mask on my face. Coming out of the general anesthesia was the most difficult part. That feeling is always so unnatural (not quite the word I want, but close). You struggle to regain consciousness and not be too anxious at having all the paraphernalia attached to your body. I remembered from another surgery that if I breathed deeply with the oxygen mask on, they would remove it sooner because my O2 levels would come back up faster. So, I did. Even though I didn't like the mask I knew that it was necessary.

I had (and still have) the typical sore throat and raspiness following being intubated. I don't like that or the related chest congestion that goes along with it. I'm making sure that I cough and do what I'm supposed to be doing.

Ron took my picture with my cell phone.

The lovely headband is pretty tight and my head itches under it. I can take that off in about 4 hours (it's supposed to stay on 24 hours). I am taking Benadryl for the itch, Tylenol 3 for the pain, and hot green tea for my throat. My ear hurts but I think it's because they folded it up and out of the way to get to the surgery site. The Tylenol 3 is handling the pain just fine (I had to take 2 of them to stay asleep but that's not too bad). And, I am taking them as often as the prescription says to take them. Otherwise, I hurt. Like a migraine with my head in a vice.

The numbness of my scalp may be an issue. It's really numb. I don't like that. But, I think that I will get used to it. It might take a while (LOL - and a few doses of Xanax) but it will eventually become something that will feel normal. I read that it can take several months for the feeling to come back. What you have after 12 months will be ALL that you will get back. We'll have to see how that works out.

Thank you all for your prayers, healing thoughts and wishes, and anything else. I truly appreciate it.

(I received a new award from my friend Diane over at Southamsdarling. I will have to wait until a bit later in the week before I can properly take care of it. Still having a bit of blurry vision. But - thank you, Diane!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Last-minute preparations

24 hours from now I will be waiting in my OR prep room. I'm a bit nervous but not terribly. My biggest fear is that once the screw is in my head, I will have trouble getting used to the feeling and will be sorry that I did it. I'm not horribly afraid, but just a little bit of a concern there. I really want to hear, but I'm just not sure of my own reaction to the feeling of a foreign object stuck to my skull. The phobias and anxiety attacks... they sneak up on me when I least expect it and cause me distress. I take Welbutrin daily for anxiety but I'm not too sure how well it works because I still occasionally have one. When that happens, I take .25mg Xanax. I don't take that every day but some days I take it twice. When I have trouble sleeping, that is what I use to help me sleep.

I ended up staying home this morning so I could try and get Ron in to see the respiratory therapist. I'm not sure I'll feel like doing it later this week. I could feel just fine. I could feel like crap. I just don't know. He's doing pretty good and thinks that he'll be able to take care of himself AND be able to help me out as well. I really think that he'll be doing good to just take care of himself, but I will let him do what he can to help me. He wants to be there for me like I've been there for him so it's important to let him do as much as possible.

We had dinner at Amy and Rex's house last night. He fixed grilled chicken breasts and a grilled pork tenderloin. They were both very good but we did enjoy the chicken a bit better. He'd added Gorgonzola cheese to the tenderloin and it was a bit strong for my tastes. It was good; different, but good. I took some potato chips, Texas toast, and baked beans. It was a nice dinner.

Isaiah is such a happy child these days. He has his "off" days, but he's mostly very happy. He is excited to be getting a baby sister and he talks a lot about "when" his baby sister is born. He usually says "my baby sister, Anna..."  He's very particular and wants us to know what her name is.

I have a few last-minute things that I need to accomplish today. I got the laundry washed, dried, and put away but I need to sweep and mop the floors. It amazes me how the kitchen floor can get so dirty so fast when it's just us (usually) coming and going! I think the wheelchair tires are actually "streaking" the floor with skid marks, kind of like when sneakers leave skid marks on floors. It cleans up easily but has to be done 2-3 times a week to keep it looking really clean. Honestly, I don't have 2-3 days a week worth of free time to keep it mopped up so I usually get it done only 1-2 times a week. I spot clean in between times. Another thing the wheelchair does is mat down the pile of the carpet. Even though we have a Berber carpet, with a design so the wheelchair tracks wouldn't show as much, I can still see the difference in the carpet. I like to make sure that it's swept quite often. Got to "git er done" today because I don't think I'll be running the sweeper in the next couple of days  though. LOL!

Better get off here and get things taken care of! If you're a praying person, please keep me (and Ron) in your prayers tomorrow. My surgery is scheduled for 10:00 Central time. I'm supposed to come home tomorrow afternoon sometime.

Virtual hugs and blessings to you all!